24 Hours to Life
by Moon Momma

11:00 pm, Tokyo time
Jadeite, Kunzite, Zoisite

* * * * * * * *

After about an hour of playing, Jadeite, Kunzite, and Zoisite met in the casino's bar to compare notes. They had each tried a variety of games without risking a lot of money at first, and had found the games that they seemed to have an affinity for. It wasn't cheating, Jadeite had told himself as he watched a small ball spin around a roulette wheel and knew before it stopped where it would stop. He just... knew without even trying. Trying to see the future would be one thing; that would definitely be cheating. But just using this instinct was something different. He, Kunzite, and Zoisite just happened to have different natural abilities than normal humans; if they weren't supposed to use those abilities at all, why would they have come back to life with them? And again, it wasn't like he was trying to have an unfair advantage over the other players, some of whom also seemed to have an uncanny knack for knowing where the ball would stop spinning. It was gambler's instinct, that was all; having that gut feeling how the game would turn out.

At any rate, despite some initial losses, when they gathered in the bar they found that they had already nearly tripled the amount of money Nephrite had given them. It still wasn't nearly enough to cover what Jadeite estimated they owed, but it was a start.

Zoisite sipped at the bright blue beverage in his martini glass. Jadeite didn't know what the drink was, and he didn't want to know. "This is too easy," Zoisite said. "I don't even need to cheat."

"Good," Kunzite said. "Remember, if you cheat, it'll ruin everything."

"I know; you've only told me about a hundred times."

"I just don't want to lose the chance to have another chance at a life with you."

Jadeite looked away, not particularly wanting to witness any "special moments" between the oldest and youngest of the Generals.

"You're getting soft, Kunzaito-sama."

"Only for you, Zoi-kun."

Zoisite giggled. "Or drunk."

Jadeite tuned it out. So far, their quest to come up with a large amount of money was off to a promising start. Which left Nephrite's task of finding out exactly what had happened to make everyone forget them and what, if anything, could be done to reverse that. And the problem of finding Thetis and persuading her to forgive him. If he found her, he would probably have about two seconds to make his case before she attacked him. And how was he going to find her, anyway, with less than twenty hours left?

Her lovely face came into his mind, and he thought of a possibility. It was riskier than teleporting to a specific place, but if you really wanted to find a certain person, you could think of their face and teleport directly to them. Of course, that meant taking the risk of ending up in the afterlife if the person was dead, or in some other awkward, uncomfortable, or dangerous position, depending on where they were and what they were doing. For instance, if she was scuba-diving (the example seemed obvious, given her affinity for the sea), he would end up deep under water with no breathing equipment.

First things first, he told himself. If he couldn't come up with enough money for refunds and reparations, and if Nephrite couldn't figure out a way to make everyone remember them, there would be no point in risking Thetis's wrath.

"So," he said, interrupting Kunzite and Zoisite's whispered conversation, "shall we try our luck here for another -" he glanced at the watch Nephrite had loaned him "- hour, and then decide if we want to move on? Remember, Nephrite said they start to get suspicious if you win too much."

"That sounds like a good plan," Kunzite said.

"We should lose a little once in a while, on purpose," Jadeite said. "That should keep anyone from getting suspicious."

"Lose?" Zoisite protested.

"Just a little," Jadeite went on. "Not too much."

Kunzite and Zoisite nodded their agreement. The three of them finished their drinks, then went back out into the vast gaming room, to test their luck a little longer.

* * * * * * * *

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The Nephrite and Naru Treasury