There had been a battle, they knew that much. Many denizens were unaware of what exactly had happened for several days until the generals began to pour back in, wounded, near death. Sailor Earth among them. Her short, white hair was stained with blood, and it ran down her arms and face. Limping in, using her sword as a crutch, it was she who gave them the news.
"The queen is dead!" she roared, trying to stand on her own. There was a hush over the entire kingdom as her voice carried to the far corners. "She is dead! Killed by THEM! I saw it!"
She dropped to one knee as blood gushed from her mouth. It was… strange. It smelled odd to several around her, but her words were far more important.
"The queen lays dead at their feet! We are BROKEN!"
Her eyes went wide and she choked. Some went to tend to her at once, others broke into screams, and others wondered… who would lead now?
No one knew the true name of Sailor Earth. She had just appeared to them one day with no explanation from the queen.
A young boy, who was one of the servants, was tending to her while his elder brother was in a war conference as one of the generals. The boy was trying to change the bandages on her arm when she awoke with a start and struggled to sit up.
"What…?" She hissed as she put a hand to her head. "Th-the battle… I must…"
He gaped and wasn’t sure what to do. He sprung up when she tried to stand.
"You can't get up," he pleaded "you're badly hurt."
She stared at him with her yellow eyes. She seemed to stare through him and it always made him uncomfortable. She wasn't like them, after all. Sailor Earth was… different.
"The battle stopped, it ended. We lost."
"You blacked out."
Earth leaned forward and tried to will those memories to come back. It was shaky, but in the end, she had an idea of how it had happened. "We lost."
"I need to change your bandages."
She looked back over to him and nodded as she undid the fastening on her arm. He went pale at the sight of the gore but managed to redo it with clean linen. Earth was unsure if he could do the others. She was numb where they were and was sure the wounds were just as hideous.
"Go find another to aid me," her voice commanded. The boy stood and hurried out of the room as she got back up and went to look out the window into the darkness.
There was no wind to greet her in this desolate, hostile place. It was their fault things were this way. She found herself growing angrier with each moment.
"You're awake. I was beginning to wonder," a voice greeted. She didn't bother turning around.
"The little one couldn't handle the sight of the gore. I trust you to fare better."
There was a laugh as she pulled her robe open to allow access to her bandaged mid-section, the new attendant came to aid her.
"How terrifying. Our mighty Sailor Earth couldn't handle a few enemy soldiers. What hope do we have if they plan to march on us?" the attendant asked.
"We are far too broken for them to concern their selves with us. I'm sure they'll return to their corrupting ways soon enough." She looked back out the window and tried to not hiss when the wounds stung and began to bleed again.
"You haven't been checked in a long time. Is it wise for you to be up?"
"I'll be fine. This place sustains me."
"Hm. Nevertheless, you should take it easy," he chastised "you don't want to be opening those wounds with such a struggle going on."
"You speak as though this concerns me. Surely the queen has an heir-"
She turned at once and grabbed his shoulder. "What was that?"
"Oh? The struggle?" the attendant asked. He was met with a glare. "Ah, you didn't know about that. Perhaps that blackout did more than erase temporary memories."
"Ukito, you mean to say we are without a ruler?"
"Yes. A terrible thing, too. Many are fighting over power. Several of the generals are in argument about it as we speak, I think they plan to crown one of themselves and continue on."
She didn't stay to hear. She was out the door as Ukito watched. There was little to do to stop her when she set her mind to something. Earth stormed past the boy, shoved her way through several servants and only had to knock one person over for not moving fast enough to suit her quick pace.
"What is going on?" she roared. The bickering generals paused at the sound. One looked back and frowned. Of all the others, he disliked her the most. She disgusted him, she could see it in his eyes.
"It is none of your business! We seek the right to rule!"
"And I was not invited to your conference? I am a general to the old queen as well!"
"You are an outsider!"
That stung at Earth, but she didn't let it show. She pulled her sword free of its sheath. The jagged runes carved into the steel of the blade caused the air around it to sing with its movements.
"I may be an outsider, but I was the most trusted confidant of the queen, General Yukio! I led the attack when their intentions became clear! I defended her in her final moments, I took many of the blows for her, and where were you!" she shouted as the leveled the blade at him. "You were here! Claiming illness kept you from the fighting! And now we would allow a coward on our throne?"
"You returned when many did not! Why did you live and so many others die? You are the coward! I am positive those 'injuries' of yours are self-inflicted!"
Many sat silent and stared at the two. The anger between them was so intense it was choking.
"I will not sit idle and allow a child on the throne! I don't care if your tactics have won battles, you are a child!" Earth's face went red; her vision was clearer than it had ever been. Her yellow eyes pierced through him and for a moment, only a moment, General Yukio considered stepping down.
"And I will not allow an outsider be our queen!" he roared, striking her.
Earth's head snapped back as she was hit with a backhand and she put her palm to where the injury struck. With a growling noise, she lashed out and struck at him in a flurry. Her sword stuck in the ground but she ripped it out which brought bits of the floor with her. She ran at him. The others moved back, knowing full well that interference would likely mean their deaths.
"You will not be my King!"
"You will not be my Queen!"
The anger filled the room. Many people fled in a panic when the blade of Sailor Earth sliced a pillar of marble clean through. It toppled over as she was struck back into it. The fire in her eyes was intense. She was wild.
She jumped up and brought the blade down. The runes sang in dissonance and it sounded as though the very air around them shrieked in terror and pain. General Yukio fell back and missed being sliced in half by inches. He wiped blood from his mouth and ran from the room.
Earth collapsed to one knee as blood poured from the wound in her side.
Ukito had tended to her wounds and she was waking in her bed once more. The little boy was in there, watering the few flowers she could get to bloom anymore.
"You are here again?"
He looked up and nodded a little before going back to his work. "They were going to die. You've been asleep for a few days."
A few days. "Has your brother taken over? Am I to bow to his lead now?"
The boy shook his head, not looking up as he plucked the dead leaves, careful of the thorns.
"No. Yukio is injured, too. You managed to hit him before he left the battle. No one else is trying, they all fear it." He picked up his watering can and continued his work.
"…what is your name," she wondered as she kept an eye on him. He was small, or he at least tried to seem so. His hair covered his ears and was a muddy blond. The boy looked up, obviously startled that she would even care to ask for something that should have been so trivial to her.
"M-my name? Uh… it's Hirokazu." He paused. “Are you well? Should I summon for Ukito?"
Earth shook her head and stood up. As she cinched her robe closed she went to leave. There was a power struggle going on, one that truly concerned her and she'd be damned if she were lying in bed as it happened. She locked the door behind her and took the only key with her, sealing the child in.
"She is a lying WHORE!" General Yukio shouted, slamming both fists into the conference table, causing the men around him to jump. "I will be DAMNED if I listen to her!"
The others around him merely listened as he raved and ranted on about the Guardian of the Earth. She was a whore, she was no good, useless… his list went on and he began to repeat himself, though it mattered little to him that he was. His anger called for it.
"For all we know, for all the time she has spent THERE, she could be one of THEM!" he reminded, gesturing in the overly general direction of 'there'.
"One of what, dear general?" the woman in question asked smoothly, smiling from her place in the door. She did not have her weapon with her, she was not transformed at this time, but she still commanded respect… even when dressed for bed.
"You know DAMN good and well what I mean!" He seethed as his head swam. The sight of this woman gave him a headache. Neither was fully recovered and he wished he was capable of combat. He would destroy her where she stood. She didn't belong, she was an outsider… and she was trying to become their Queen, only days after she had been killed by the enemy.
"You're getting that look on your face again," the woman teased, trying her best to agitate him without opening her own wounds any further. "You're looking at me like that again. If you want to kiss me so badly, then come on."
The smirk on her face and the kissing motion she made caused him to go red with anger.
"The LAST thing I'd ever want to do is kiss some scum-sucking whore such as you! You DISGUST me!" He felt the veins in his head ready to pop, and he turned to storm away before that happened.
"I can sleep anywhere, you know," she said as he walked past her and was well into the hallway. Against his better judgment, General Yukio stopped and looked back. She wasn't looking at him, and that just made him angrier.
"What do you babble about now?"
"You have a choice to make, my dear general. You either abdicate your claim to the crown… or I destroy the only key to my room."
He began to laugh. It started quietly and slowly built until he was holding the smooth, stone wall for support. He feared he would open his wounds, but her 'threat' was pathetic at best.
"Y-you honestly expect me to fear that? What is in your room that I could possibly desire?” he wondered with a sneer.
The snort she gave off then made him wonder.
"I was referring to your brother, Hirokazu. The windows are locked; the door is reinforced… why, if he were to stay in there for too long, he could die."
Earth stepped forward to avoid a punch to her face and spun, avoiding one to her back. She was now facing the enraged general.
"You bitch!" he screamed, trying to strike her. Impossible. She would simply dance away from his blows, leaving him exhausted with blood trickling from the corner of his mouth. Though he despised this woman… his brother was far too important to him to risk losing over something like a squabble.
He had no choice but to accept, and it ripped at his insides to do so.
It had been two weeks since that fateful battle, between the two kingdoms, when their queen had been killed. Sailor Earth was well enough to transform once more with help from a salve.
Hirokazu had been released only once the coronation had been announced and General Yukio had renounced his claim. He took his younger brother into his arms to hug him and make sure he was uninjured. Aside from coming out smelling like the flowers Sailor Earth kept in her room, he was fine.
The woman in question was on the throne for a short ceremony. They could not dawdle long. So many had been killed in the last wave and many would be needed to the front lines at once. She stood with her sword at the side of the throne, the simple crown on her head. As though she expected a battle.
"The battle we waited for so long, the end of the fighting has come and fate was cruel to us. We have lost, and we are a broken kingdom, under THEIR rule."
The crowd was hushed as she spoke; none dared to even breathe loudly.
"THEY are in control, and they claim to others that WE are the ones who are evil! They accuse, they lie, they cheat, they subjugate us and force us into submission to THEM! They won that battle, but I will NEVER allow the war to be over! Our queen's ashes are scattered on THEIR soil, desecrated by their evil ways, and they expect us to be obedient children and bow our heads in THANKS to THEM for our very LIVES!"
The more she spoke, the angrier she became, her yellow eyes staring out at the others.
"I will not let the war end, not until we are free once more! I am the Queen, I am the one who will bring salvation to our people, to this place that has welcomed me and sustains my existence! They claim we are evil, that they are righteous, so we will EMBRACE the brand they have cast on us! If they claim we are evil, we will BE evil! For if their rule is 'good', I can see no other path to take!"
As she spoke, even General Yukio, who stood in the back, holding his brother aloft on his shoulders to let him see, began to feel a spark of respect for the woman's tenacity, the fire she had. He wondered if maybe he had been wrong about her.
"No longer are we the Golden Kingdom, the Kingdom of Elysion! The old royal family runs to the very Moon Kingdom that rules as tyrants! The name is DEAD! Never speak it in our sacred halls again! Forevermore will we be the Dark Kingdom!"