-=Prologue: Broken Peace=-
The earth below them was in turmoil; lightening laced the sky making a latticework stretching from the clouds to the earth. Earthquakes made the ground itself tremble, the great darkness of Chaos itself poised on the brink of swallowing the world whole. With a flick of her hand the Queen activated her sphere, her sun-gold eyes staring at the scene projecting itself to the Court.
The Court showed no signs of the great defeat they had suffered five years ago at the hands of a small Princess and her senshi-comrades. The once-dank Palace had been remodeled by the new Queen, ever-shifting energy walls replaced by black and forest-green marble; the halls were unblemished marble now, no longer riddled with cracks and strain or signs of a weak Queen. Everywhere the Dark Kingdom was reborn: the vision of the new Queen, one who already had firm control of Metallia.
The changes in the Dark Kingdom had been swift, the young ruler opting to remove any remnants of the old rule instead of trying to work with them. Not a single youma who had survived the purifying blast of energy from the ginzuishou had been allowed to live - a new army had been built from their blood, flesh, and deaths. Alongside the new youma ranks, the Queen had called upon a long-forgotten weapon to be used against the senshi, the Black Rank Commanders; to the Queen's right stood the proud leaders of the Dark Kingdom 's Army, six sets of eyes watching both the Court and their liege.
"My dear friends," Another flick of her hand stopped the images, all eyes reverting from the globe's projections to the Queen. "Now is the time we shall begin to move." With a thought, and without any grandiose motion, the Queen called upon the powers of Metallia; the seal on the Dark Kingdom that had held for five long years shattered easily, giving way under the constant pressure of dark energies sent at it. The ripple of power shook the ground under the Court's feet, the amassed youma army giving a cheer when they felt the barrier crumble.
If the senshi had been paying attention, or if anyone on earth had been paying attention, they would have seen the cloud of darkness covering the moon from behind. But the Sailor Senshi were battling Galaxia and her army of Star Seed-less Sailor Senshi, their moon-guardian cats busy trying to help their charges stay alive. With the battles happening on earth, ripping the planet into shreds, no one noticed the seconds-long darkness against the backdrop of nearly eternal war.
"Jedite," the Queen called, one of the six men and women to her right stepping forward at the sound of his name, "Go to earth. Begin slow attacks on Europe ." Her eyes narrowed on the bowed man before her, her hand raised in a hover over the sphere. "I trust you will not make the same mistakes again, Jedite."
A flicker of distaste crossed Jedite's face, the man's hand curling against his chest in his salute. Trust the Queen to bring up his most horrific failures in front of them... Ice-blue eyes darted to his left, looking at the five men and women clothed in the Dark Kingdom 's Black Rank uniform. They smirked at him or offered mock-sympathetic glances when they caught his attention; they didn't understand how it had been. After all, Queen Beryl had been afraid of the Black Ranks, afraid of their reputed power. Beryl had preferred to manipulate the Oath to make the four highest Generals to be nothing more than mindless slaves, never minding that it had been her own desire to control their actions that brought about every last one of their failures.
Beryl's fear had caused Nephrite's defection and murder; Zoisite's death; Kunzite's death. None of those men had been incompetent before Beryl's manipulations, none of them would have fallen to the weak Sailor Senshi as easily as they had all done. Beryl had been the reason he had failed, although she had not killed him. Rising from his bow, Jedite disappeared from the Court, appearing over the skies of London for a split second.
Beryl's mercy had left him imprisoned in a never-ending nightmare; it would have been more merciful to have left him join his fellow Generals in death. Beryl's death had freed him from his prison and Tanzanite's ascension to the Throne of the Dark Kingdom had restored his sanity. And although he could still feel the mental hooks of the Oath in the back of his mind, clinging to parts of his soul and magic, he wasn't cocooned by the bonds.
Snapping his fingers Jedite sent a single youma to target the youths at the strip mall, instructing it to vanish after a handful of successful drains of energy - he wouldn't make the same mistakes this time.