Ami suffered helplessly within the Mist’s expertly induced nightmare as she sat at her exam desk writing furiously. No matter how many lines of equations she scrawled on the paper Ami was never able to get past the first page, though the oddity of that never seemed to occur to her. The amount of anxiety coursing through her was so extreme that Ami’s muscles had seized, her limbs shook, and she kept fighting the inexplicable urge to vomit. Ami was trapped in silent panic and her body temperature kept climbing.
She desperately tried to stop her hands from shaking as sweat glistened on her brow, “God! I can’t believe I’m blanking out while writing the most important exam of my life!!! I’m flunking the Senta Shiken!!! This is not happening to me! My future will be destroyed! I won’t get into any of my top choices! All my hard work will be for nothing!”
Ami shifted uncomfortably in her seat while her heart thundered in her chest. If she had been allowed to think rationally, Ami would have recognized that the amount of fear and anxiety suffocating her was amplified well out of the believable range considering the situation. Ami had forgotten that her intense feelings originally burned for Usagi. However, Ami was so fully engrossed in deception that Usagi was nonexistent to her, courtesy of the Mist.
Ami was on the verge of tears when suddenly the teacher pierced her distressed thoughts, “Five minutes left class. You should be finishing up.”
“Damn it!” Ami thought as she glanced at the clock, hoping the teacher was wrong. The moment her gaze fell on the timepiece Ami froze in place. The seconds silently passed by as Ami curiously stared at the clock on the wall. Unable to look away Ami could hear nothing but the sound of scribbling pencils, which caused an intuitive frown to creep across her face. In that silent moment Ami became strangely aware that something was amiss and her eyes narrowed in suspicion. She clung to the rogue idea that the sound of insistent beeping should have been present, but all she could hear were scribbling pencils, and it felt wrong. The Mist was hard at work forcing Ami away from that curious thought when she looked back down to her desk. As she did, a sweat bead trickled down the side of her face and splattered on the paper below her. Ami’s frown deepened. That one, seemingly insignificant act struck a faint chord that rang directly to her memory bank. Ami now knew that she had experienced all of this before and the feeling of déjà-vu began to overwhelm her.
The Mist was thoroughly caught off guard by Ami’s strange, ‘quicksilver’ mind and exerted itself in gaining control over the unpredicted thoughts passing through. The Mist was at a complete loss to understand where the feelings of resistance were coming from since she was so fully engrossed in the deception. As mentioned before, the Mist excelled at dispersing thoughts from the conscious mind that posed a threat to its control. However, what it was unprepared for was the speed with which the Mercurian girl was able to process her thoughts. Ami’s mind was unlike any it had ever encountered and the frequency at which it operated was very unique. Before the Mist could even begin suppressing the problematic thoughts, Ami’s mind had already navigated her way back through the last few moments to remember that she had had a dream exactly like it. In the span of a nanosecond Ami knew that when she originally had this dream a relentless beeping noise had awakened her. She then recalled that at this point in the dream the bead of sweat had startled her to look at the doorway.
Even though Ami was totally consumed in the fabricated reality, in real space-time Ami’s head lifted and turned.
“And then . . .” Ami’s eyes fell upon the empty doorway. For some reason the doorway being empty did not sit well with her, even more so than the absence of beeping. However, just what was supposed to be there proved the hardest to remember. She simmered in frustration, as if there was a deliberate mental block; something was supposed to be there, but what was it? Her memory suddenly flashed with the image of a shrine maidens clothes.
“Temple . . .” Ami thought in confusion. Then suddenly she saw the face of who wore the clothes clearly and the hold the Mist had on her buckled.
“Rei!” Ami pronounced as her eyes gained back a bit of focus.
At the end of this fleeting second of revelation her thoughts instantly navigated from Rei directly to what was most important.
Ami’s eyes snapped to full attention as she felt something stir deep within her.
The control the Mist had over her shattered well before it could begin to process what was happening. The Mist was stunned that a human girl could break out of mental captivity. It didn’t make any sense. They were powerless! The Mist seethed, unsettled by the perplexing display of mental power.
Ami was grateful that she had remembered her dream once she broke through the illusion and surfaced into reality. She blinked her eyes several times and was able to see Usagi. Ami’s stomach lurched as she stared at her best friend. Usagi had degenerated into the most inhumane state Ami had ever seen. Her physical condition was sickening to behold and Ami wondered how Usagi was able to stay conscious given her injuries.
Something caught Ami’s attention and she was forced to squint her eyes in order to make it out. For the strangest reason there was a sword lying on the ground. Ami fell into confusion, “What’s going on?”
Before she could ponder any further Ami witnessed a look of unbreakable determination fill Usagi’s eyes as she gripped the sword, sluggishly sat up, and placed its tip over her heart. Ami was then consumed with panic, “USAGI! Usagi NO! Don’t you DARE!”
No matter what Ami tried she could not break free of her prison. Her heart shuddered in fear as she watched Usagi prepare to thrust the cool blade into her beating heart. Ami glanced away involuntarily only to notice a faint light flickering rhythmically. Bemused, Ami focused her attention on the ring of crystal spheres radiating their powers in the distance. She rubbed her eyes in disbelief. The sphere blazing with the power of Earth flickered in and out of existence. Ami was stunned, “What-?”
At that exact moment, deep in the back of Ami’s mind she heard Mamoru’s voice clearly bellow Usagi’s name.
Ami watched Mamoru’s powers flicker intensely and then disappear all together. Amazed, she glanced at the other spheres but they continued to rage with the rest of their powers just like before. She looked back at Mamoru’s sphere wide eyed . . . it was now empty. Simultaneously, Mamoru materialized out of thin air just five feet from Usagi. Ami paled. She immediately understood that Mamoru had been in a prison just like her own. She also quickly surmised that the rest of the Senshi were most likely just as close by and probably held captive in similar prisons.
While Mamoru and Usagi lost themselves in a heart felt reunion, Ami gawked at the crystal balloon dedicated to Earth as Mamoru’s power signature roared back to life, and Ami was the only one who noticed. Still captive in her own dimensional cocoon Ami whipped her head back and forth between Mamoru and the power sphere for Earth. She was now thoroughly confused and truthfully had no idea what the hell was going on.
Without even realizing it Rei fell easily into the Mist’s deception. Knee deep in a nightmare of her own design she was practically delirious. Rei was forced to live through countless, meaningless relationships with an endless string of men, one after the other, down through the chapters of her life. Never finding true love. Never finding a love like Usag-
The Mist exerted its dominance steering the Martian’s thoughts away from the root cause of her fear. For months Rei was subconsciously terrified that she would never find a love like Usagi and Mamoru’s, fearing that she would end up alone for the rest of her life. This fear only existed deep in Rei’s subconscious, but proved the most frightening for her. Rei loved Usagi and Mamoru through and through, and would die to protect such a magnificent love . . . but Rei, with her wild and passionate spirit, was secretly petrified that she would never find such a rare and beautiful thing. All of this was now non-existent, as well as what was happening in true reality. Rei was completely immersed in the make-believe nightmare.
The Mist raged on, bringing Rei deeper and deeper into fear and anxiety. She was helpless, now starting to hyperventilate from sheer panic. However, being accustomed to frequent meditation and body stillness Rei suddenly became aware of her body and how it was reacting. Rei observed that she was shaking, her muscles were tense, her body was overheating, and she felt increasingly nauseated. Rei’s intuition hinted to her that she must be having intensely negative thoughts, and could be the only explanation as to why her body was experiencing such rampant stress. Unbeknownst to her, only someone with a very strong connection to their Higher Self could have surmised that. Upon this revelation Rei knew that there was only one thing to do given the circumstances. In the midst of high panic she closed her senses and began chanting the kuji no shingon.
The Mist fell into shock. This girl was attempting to meditate in the middle of her deepest, most blinding fear. In desperation it put maximum force into dragging her down.
Due to her efforts Rei instantly awoke to the sensation of a powerful negative energy. She was slightly surprised since she hadn’t sensed something that strong and clear in some time. Now knowing that evil was causing whatever was happening to her, Rei’s confidence in her spiritual abilities strengthened immeasurably. Her chanting intensified and she slipped deeper and deeper into meditation. Rei’s breathing gradually slowed, her temperature decreased, her muscles relaxed, and she was still. Rei was unaware that her intuition had never displayed such strength before, transformed or not. She also didn’t know that the symbol of Mars flickered on her head and could not see the crystal sphere holding her powers flicker as well.
Ami hardly had time to grasp what was happening with Usagi when she noticed Mars’ powers flickering inside its crystal sphere. Ami wondered where Rei was being held captive amid the infinite, ‘empty’ spaces around her. She also began to wonder if the variability of the power sphere had something to do with Rei herself. The brief flickering of the powers of Mars stopped soon after it had started then held steady.
Rei quickly exited her nightmare. She opened her violet eyes and regained focus, the hold the Mist had on her shattering as she recalled her sole purpose.
Rei snapped into full consciousness and could slowly make out Usagi, Mamoru, and Cirius just outside of her prison. The Mist was now beginning to feel fear and desperation. These unlikely events were never factored into the equation. It was not pleased by these inexplicable and seemingly impossible displays of power. It knew that it had to change tactics if it was going to remain in control of the deteriorating situation.
Interrupting the tender moment, Usagi had reminded Mamoru of what was most important. The Ginzuishou. As Mamoru hurriedly went to retrieve it Prince Cirius stepped out of a portal next to his throne and snatched the Silver Crystal up with a triumphant, sadistic grin.
“Too little, too late.”
The instant Mamoru laid eyes on Prince Cirius the mountain of hostility lying dormant within him ignited like an atomic bomb and he instantly lost all self-control. Before anyone could blink Mamoru exploded, closing the small gap separating the two princes yelling, “YOU DEMENTED PIECE OF SH-” and tackled Prince Cirius with hateful force.
The two men tumbled haphazardly on the ground while the Silver Crystal went flying.
“Mamo-chan!” Screamed Usagi as she watched in horror but unable to do anything while chained to the floor and horribly crippled. As her heart pounded for Mamoru’s safety her gaze held steadily on the Ginzuishou as it flew away from them.
When looking at Prince Cirius, the only thing Mamoru could fixate on was every fucked up thing Cirius had done to Usagi. What fueled Mamoru’s hatred even more were the things he didn’t know. With a heavy dose of testosterone and adrenaline gushing in his blood Mamoru gladly clamped his eager hands around Cirius’ neck and throttled without mercy. Prince Cirius choked within Mamoru’s crushing grasp and quickly realized that he was thoroughly depleted in supernatural energy. He had hit the bottom of his resources and unless he could come up with some way to increase his reserves, Cirius would be stuck on a level playing field with the Earth Prince, who was coming at him with everything he had.
Prince Cirius luckily managed to punch Mamoru in the face before blacking out. With Mamoru momentarily stunned Cirius scurried out from under him and instantly remembered the Ginzuishou. Cirius was unable to realize that he was beginning to think without restraint for the first time in millennia. The Mist had descended into hibernation for the purpose of gaining back vital energy. Since the Mist was not present to object to his patterns of thought, they flowed naturally. Prior to this moment Cirius ‘thought’ that he had only wanted the Ginzuishou in order to keep Serenity away from her power. However, with his mind now liberated it was the first time in thousands of years that Prince Cirius remembered why he truly wanted the Silver Crystal.
It began to dawn on him, “Wait . . . I am a descendant of the Royal Family of the Moon. Regardless of how far I’ve strayed I can squeeze at least some power out of the Ginzuishou!”
Prince Cirius, however, was still insane, “Then I’ll kill him easily.”
Mamoru raised his knee and lunged forward, aiming to find his opponent’s chest, but Cirius miraculously disengaged and made a run for the Silver Crystal. Mamoru was immediately alert to what Cirius was doing and knew the next few seconds were critical. Mamoru had to be the one to get the Ginzuishou first. Period.
Remaining focused, Mamoru executed a superb axe kick just before the crown of Prince Cirius’ head escaped his reach. The Moon Prince felt it coming and clumsily blocked the attack. Both men recovered, stood up straight and glared at the other, both suddenly remembering Mamoru’s promise of death. The brief silence evaporated as they sprung into action, attacking to kill.
Both men seemed to be equally matched as they began an intricate dance of blocks and attacks, neither of them landing a hit. The fight proved rabid from the start since they were full of such contempt for each other, though for vastly different reasons. Add the fact that they were both planetary princes as well as seasoned warriors and it became clear that it was truly a fight to the death.
Amid the flurry of limbs and rippling muscles Cirius managed to force Mamoru around while holding his arm in such a way that would break it. Mamoru felt this so he instinctively relaxed his muscles, flowed with the motion and side swiped his opponent’s legs. Cirius flew backwards and collided with the floor, which prevented Mamoru’s broken arm and created a golden opportunity. Mamoru wasted no time as he jumped over the schizophrenic in order to get to the Silver Crystal.
“Usako first,” he thought. “Revenge . . . second”.
It was not too long after Mamoru had freed himself from his prison while screaming Usagi’s name through all dimensions that the rest of the Senshi started to dispel the hold of the Mist. One by one, each of them remembered Usagi and returned to reality only to find themselves in a brand new nightmare. The Senshi could only watch everything unfold in front of them, believing themselves completely helpless to stop it.
As Mamoru sailed over his enemy Prince Cirius recovered and gripped Mamoru’s foot that was almost out of reach to yank him down to the floor with a heavy thud. Mamoru lost his breath, but as he felt Cirius try to pass him he thrust himself up onto his arm while angling a kick directly at Cirius’ knee. Cirius saw this at the last second as he tried to twist out of the way, but Mamoru was too fast.
Cirius buckled and fell. His knee exploded in pain but Cirius sighed in relief, thanking his good fortune that it was not broken or sprained. Mamoru had the glint of the Silver Crystal in his eye as he jumped up, desperate to get to it, and Prince Cirius paled watching Mamoru close in on the Crystal.
In a final, vain attempt Prince Cirius leaped forward and clumsily crashed on top of Mamoru’s back forcing them both to the floor. Mamoru’s strength surged and Cirius knew that he had to find a way to immobilize him. If they fought much longer Cirius had the sinking feeling that he stood a chance of losing to the passionate and youthful Earth Prince.
The thought of Cirius doubting his own survival functioned as a faint alarm bell for the Mist as it slowly forced itself to rise from its subconscious state.
Mamoru could feel that he was about to gain the upper hand and kick the living shit out of Prince Cirius, when he suddenly felt the strength in Cirius’ arms increase steadily. Fear took hold of Mamoru as he realized what that meant.
Cirius’ eyes clouded dark grey. The Mist was trying extremely hard to awaken prematurely so that it could help with self-preservation. It wasn’t even close to full strength but it had to do something.
As a burst of negative energy coursed through Cirius’ veins he snaked his arm around Mamoru’s neck and squeezed with increasing power. Mamoru’s eyes bulged as he flexed the muscles in his throat as hard as he could. If he relaxed just a little he knew his trachea would be crushed.
Trapped within her chained and shattered body Usagi’s eyes blurred with tears, feeling very light headed. Staying conscious in her damaged condition was becoming more and more difficult. As her mind floated in and out despite all her efforts to stay conscious, a dormant part of her personality pushed through.
A weak crescent moon appeared on her head, “Endymion,” Serenity pleaded, panic stricken.
“No.” She commanded. “We will not do this again!”
Through Usagi’s memories Princess Serenity recalled the many times she had been forced to deal with her lover’s death. A fire began to burn inside her even though her body was on the verge of giving out. Serenity’s voice hardened, “Never again!”
Mamoru struggled to keep breathing as his eyes remained fixated on the Ginzuishou. It pulsated with the same, strange frequency as before. Despite being strangled to death Mamoru picked up on Usagi’s voice, though he could barely hear her.
Through their deepened connection he sensed his heart beating in sync with hers and was shocked to see the Ginzuishou pulsating at the same rate.
Prince Cirius thought he heard Serenity. He dismissed it immediately considering it unimportant since he would be powerful enough to break Endymion’s neck in a few seconds.
Just when Cirius tensed up to snap Mamoru’s neck bone, the mysterious energy that had been slowly poking its way through Mamoru’s consciousness little by little from deep within him, pushed through again . . . and much stronger this time.
The Senshi watched the events before them in horror. The Ginzuishou sparkled brilliantly at Minako’s feet, but because she resided in her own dimension she was unable to touch it, driving her crazy. Mamoru was being choked to death directly in front of Makoto and she couldn’t do anything to help him. Usagi lay in a broken heap directly facing her Senshi without even knowing it as she suffered terribly, on the verge of a coma.
Rei could barely watch as Mamoru inched closer to death until she caught a strange look crossing his face.
Ami was slow to grasp what was happening when a small, golden light ignited in the centre of Mamoru’s forehead. Her jaw dropped and she fell backwards in amazement as she witnessed the symbol of Earth carve itself out on Mamoru’s brow and shine intensely for the first time in his existence.
Everyone stared in disbelief as Ami witnessed Mamoru’s raging powers in the crystal sphere dissipate into nothingness. Unfortunately, neither Mamoru nor Usagi could see any of this, and a sequence of thoughts began to present itself to Ami. It was slowly beginning to dawn on her what all of this could mean. Ami suddenly remembered something she had previously overlooked. She remembered that just after she had lost her powers in the lake at the park, she had remained transformed after her computer confirmed loss of power in her henshin wand.
Ami’s heart fluttered. Was it possible that there could be another explanation here other than power theft?
Mamoru was completely unaware that his planet had marked him for the first time, but that did not prevent him from losing himself in the massive surge of energy. His utmost desire at that moment was to get Prince Cirius off of him, and from that desire he subconsciously repelled the Prince away.
Stupefied, Prince Cirius flew backwards landing forcefully on the valley floor. The momentary burst of power also speedily pushed the Mist back into hibernation. Since Mamoru was unaware of what had just happened he wasn’t able to hold onto his new state, so the symbol of Earth flickered away and the surge of power dissipated.
Ami watched the sphere reserved for Mamoru spring back to life and was thoroughly baffled. That was the last thing she had expected to happen.
Knowing that he couldn’t stop Mamoru from getting the Ginzuishou Prince Cirius searched around frantically for some sort of leverage . . . then smiled darkly.
Mamoru snapped back to attention and dove for the Ginzuishou, clutching it firmly in his hands. He turned around triumphantly followed by his heart stopping dead in his chest.
Prince Cirius was knelt directly behind Usagi. He had a fistful of her hair entangled in his hand as he held her head off the floor with the sword’s razor sharp edge resting menacingly beneath Usagi’s throat. Mamoru froze.
Cirius’ breathing hitched and his eyes flooded with desperation, “I’ll slit her throat!!! . . . I’ll do it!” The hand holding the sword shook ever so slightly.
Mamoru felt inclined to call his bluff. Prince Cirius was definitely psychotic, but Mamoru also noticed that Cirius harboured a strange attachment to Usagi; a deranged attachment, but one nonetheless. However, knowing that Cirius’ body was home to another entity entirely made Mamoru hesitate wisely. He didn’t know what to do when all he wanted was to get the Ginzuishou to Usagi. He stared into her eyes. She looked back at him with complete trust. Mamoru shuddered. That was the exact same look she had given him moments before Prince Cirius dragged her into that portal. He could not fail her again.
Mamoru shifted his attention back to Prince Cirius, eyes hard, “What do you want?”
Making up a plan with each breath Cirius commanded, “Place the Ginzuishou on the floor! Now!”
Mamoru’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. In response Cirius dragged the sword lightly across Usagi’s throat. She shifted in his grasp as blood trickled down her neck. Mamoru slowly placed the Silver Crystal on the floor as directed.
Cirius struggled to think clearly. “Now, kick it closer to me. If you even try to kick it to Serenity I’ll take her head off before she can grab it!”
Deathly silence permeated the valley.
“NOW!” screamed Cirius, his eyes swimming with insanity.
Mamoru was at his wits end. He didn’t want to comply but he didn’t see any other choice. Then Usagi’s soft, weak voice was heard, “Mamo-chan . . . Please d-”
Prince Cirius clubbed Usagi in the head with the hilt of the sword and she went out like a light. He quickly decided that Usagi being able to talk to Mamoru was dangerous considering the inexplicable surge of power a minute ago.
“Usako!” Breathed Mamoru in heavy concern as he instinctively stepped forward.
Using the sword Cirius sliced Usagi’s cheek open, “FOCUS ENDYMION! GINZUISHOU! TO ME! NOW!!”
Mamoru hesitated as long as humanly possible. He did not see any way out of this.
Usagi groggily opened her eyes and tried to adjust them. Instead of seeing Mamoru bargaining for her life she looked up to see the brilliant, blue Earth hovering high in the dark sky. She noticed that her body was completely healthy and intact. Usagi knew that she had astral traveled to the Moon again, but she was still in her twenty first century form.
She felt someone nearby and turned to see Queen Selenity standing in an exotic lunar garden. Usagi was immediately overcome with urgency.
“Mother! Please! I don’t know what to do! It looks like Mamo-chan and I are going to die! Again! It can’t keep happening like this! But . . .” Usagi lowered her watery eyes, “we don’t have the power to fight.”
She looked back up to her mother in distress, “Mother, what am I supposed to do?”
Queen Selenity continued to gaze lovingly upon her daughter and really appeared like she was about to burst with pride. The Queen’s powdery-grey hair fluttered behind her as she made her way towards Usagi.
Usagi appeared unsteady and borderline hysterical, and her eyes appeared much older than they should. She couldn’t understand why her mother looked so joyous. Did she not know what was happening to Mamoru? Was her mother completely unaware of what she herself had been through since her uncle had taken her?
Queen Selenity’s greyish-blue eyes glistened with admiration as she cupped her daughters face in her hands. “My lovely daughter! I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am! Serenity, you are the first of our ancestors to reach this stage!”
Usagi visibly faltered and could barely maintain her countenance. She had absolutely no clue what that statement meant. “Mother what are you talking about?! There is no time for this!” She grasped her mother in desperation, “I don’t know what to do! We are about to die! I don’t have the power-”
“You do have the power.” Interrupted the Queen suddenly looking deathly serious. “You’ve always had it.”
Usagi was at the limit of her patience, “But, without the Ginzuishou-”
The Queen interrupted again, “Serenity, I know that you do not retain the majority of your memories of the life you lived here on the Moon. I thought that it would be easier for you all if your memories were severely limited. You do not remember that the leaders of the Moon rarely had to use the Ginzuishou, if ever. For the most part, the Silver Millennium was relatively peaceful and the full use of the Silver Crystal was rarely ever required since the Senshi could more than take care of any flare-ups.”
Usagi could only stare blankly in confusion. Queen Selenity laughed lightly at the look on her face, “Consider! There has never been a Senshi of the Moon until you Serenity.”
The Queen turned serious. “Earth’s Moon never had a history of birthing Senshi every generation like most life-bearing planets in the galaxy. Instead of producing warriors of justice the Lunar goddess put her energies into birthing highly pure, peace loving, and powerful leaders every generation instead. They were usually the ones entrusted with powerful, mystical items, such as the Ginzuishou. All Lunarians knew the ancient prophecy telling of the legendary Senshi of the Moon that would appear in the galaxy’s darkest and most desperate era. Very strange things can happen when the Universe is forced to balance the equation and swing the pendulum back to centre. I had hoped to send everyone to a peaceful future for another chance at happiness.” Her face fell into sobriety, “But I should have known that no one can escape their destiny. Everything happened as it was supposed to.”
Usagi continued in confusion as her mother explained further, “Due to the volatile nature of the era in which you live, you have used the Ginzuishou more times in four years than twenty five generations of our ancestors all together. And close to full power well more than once.”
Usagi strangely began to relax. Her mother always had that effect on her, “But mother, the Ginzuishou is acting . . . weird.”
The Queen radiated with pride, “It’s reacting to you Serenity.”
Usagi paled, “How is that possible?!”
“Serenity, you have used the Ginzuishou many times . . . and Galaxia even said it herself, the purity of your heart is of no comparison in the galaxy. Because of these factors you have indirectly created a relationship with the Ginzuishou.” The Queen fell into deep sadness, “Similar to Imbrium and the Mist of Niraasha . . .”
Queen Selenity did her best to shake her sorrow at the thought of her brother. “That spiritual bond has developed to the point where the Ginzuishou can respond to you and you to it.”
Usagi was indeed surprised but still desperate, “I need the Silver Crystal to help Mamo-chan!”
Queen Selenity placed her hands over her daughter’s heart and smiled warmly, “You have the Ginzuishou Serenity. The power that you so desperately seek has always been right here.” Usagi could feel her mother’s warmth within her heart as their eyes met, “And no one can ever take that away from you. It is where your true power lies.”
The new, strange feeling caused Usagi’s crescent Moon birthmark to sparkle into existence. Her twenty first century clothes dissolved away to be replaced by an ornate, flowing gown of the purest white. Usagi had no clue what was happening, but she had emerged into her Princess self feeling power she had never felt flow through her heart and spread throughout her body. It was glorious.
The scenery began to slowly fade away. As the Queen dissolved from view Serenity could see tears of joy sliding down her cheeks, “I’m so very proud of you Serenity. My daughter.”
Serenity remained utterly confused and did not understand what her mother meant by that or what there was to be so proud of, but her mind focused on Mamoru. She could feel power unlike any she had ever felt permeate her entire being . . . her true power. It was overwhelming.
As Prince Cirius moved to slice open Usagi’s throat in pure frustration, Mamoru conceded.
“Okay! You win. Just . . . don’t hurt her anymore.” Mamoru kicked the Ginzuishou in his direction dejectedly.
Prince Cirius immediately left Usagi and grabbed the Silver Crystal laughing manically, feeling victorious. “I’ve done it! I’ve beaten you cocky brats once and for all! I will forever be the only one in the Universe to succeed in destroying you!”
As he laughed in delirious insanity Mamoru stared at Usagi’s unconscious form. He wished he could tell her how sorry he was. It seemed like he was always destined to fail her.
Usagi slowly made her way back into consciousness. To her surprise she felt the Ginzuishou urging her to awaken; something must be seriously wrong. Usagi’s eyes fluttered open and tried to focus. She saw Mamoru looking at her consumed with apologetic sorrow.
Upon seeing her awaken Mamoru brightened a little, “Usako!”
Prince Cirius stopped laughing. “Well, look who decided to join us. You’re just in time to see me take what has always been rightfully mine!” He raised the Ginzuishou into the air with delight.
Mamoru moved instantly to Usagi’s side, holding her tender form in his arms, “I’m so sorry Usako.” Mamoru now truly believed that this was the end and he could not fathom why Usagi looked so calm.
Prince Cirius began to shake with apprehension as he uttered the phrase he was craving to say since his birth.
“Moon Crystal Power!”
The Ginzuishou ignited as the entire dimension began to quake. The clash of colossal positive frequencies colliding with the negative rendered their world unstable. Mamoru held Usagi close as they struggled to keep their balance. Usagi noticed that Cirius’ crescent birthmark was nowhere to be seen. She assumed that he was too mentally far-gone to even remember how to connect with that part of himself. Mamoru felt Usagi moving in his embrace and glanced down. His eyes widened in astonishment, as Usagi, with numerous broken bones and massive bodily trauma broke free of his embrace and kneeled up as best she could.
Her voice was heavy with fatigue but solid with determination. “Cirius!” She commanded, “Unhand the Ginzuishou! You are not worthy to call upon its power!”
Prince Cirius laughed, “Stupid Serenity! Watch as I kill Endymion with that power!” He turned to Mamoru and attempted to focus the Ginzuishou’s energy. “I will never give you the Ginzuishou!”
Usagi’s eyes softened as she raised her head to the sky feeling a wave of power surge through her mind, body, and spirit. Her heart swelled and she instantly felt what she was going to do. The atmosphere surrounding Usagi seemed to ignite and her voice carried, “Spirit of the Moon,” she pledged, “I align my will with yours.”
Usagi took a deep, empowering breath and bellowed, “COSMIC MOON ETERNAL!”
Firm in Prince Cirius’ grasp the Ginzuishou pulsated brilliantly and then vanished into thin air. He could only blink in disbelief.
The Ginzuishou instantaneously reappeared in front of Usagi and the shine emanating from it was unprecedented. When Usagi held out her hands the Silver Crystal erupted into a cloud of sparkling, crystal dust. Once what had just happened registered in Prince Cirius’ brain, he began to panic.
The Ginzuishou dust expanded to encircle Usagi as Mamoru stepped back in awe. Usagi’s chains disintegrated and she rose upright into the air, her crescent birthmark bursting forth as she slowly rotated in place. The swirling, crystalline dust contracted, adhering to Usagi’s body and concealing her entirely. As the energy of the Silver Crystal passed through her cells it instantly healed all of Usagi’s injuries and restored her body to its absolute, healthiest state.
Once Usagi was fully healed the Ginzuishou dust cloaking her body ignited into silvery white light at the tips of her toes and ascended to reveal pristine white, knee high stiletto boots trimmed with three layers of sparkling silver, V-shaped folds at the top, held together by a starburst crystal in the front. The light shot higher unveiling a triple layered fuku skirt similar to her Eternal form, but the bottom layer was now a glittering gold, the middle layer pure white, and the top layer sparkled silver. The skirt was trimmed with two braided ribbons of gold and silver held together by a gold crescent Moon in the front. The ribbons weaved themselves into a delicate looping bow trailing behind her. Mamoru and Cirius were both dumbstruck into silence.
Her bodysuit materialized, being pure white and sleeveless with translucent, triple layered shoulder guards reminiscent of Super Sailor Moon. Her sailor neck scarf was now silver with three white sailor stripes along the edge. The bow on her chest shimmered gold and was layered like a butterfly with a crystal clear starburst jewel in the centre. The tops of her white gloves were cut on a diagonal just below the elbow with two layers of white folds at the top and a silver, V-shaped fold at the wrist. To match, a silver, V-shaped choker appeared on her neck studded with a gold crescent moon. Her crescent Moon birthmark blazed brilliantly through an intricately woven silver tiara and each of her odangos retained fitted jewels, but were now pale gold with silver trimming. Lastly, completing the dazzling transformation, the light of the Ginzuishou flowed up through her crown and into her hair, changing it to her original colour; a breath taking, silvery white.
The transformation was stunning and bright, revealing Sailor Moon standing righteously, completely reborn.
The Ginzuishou reappeared in front of her and glowed spectacularly as it changed shape, blossoming into a fist-sized starburst surrounded by a pulsating field of energy. It then set itself floating within a plate sized, double-edged crescent moon disc with an ancient Lunar language engraved along its outer edge. The crescent ring fused itself atop a cluster of clear, terminated crystals, which grew from a six foot, crystalline staff that Sailor Moon grasped firmly in her hands.
Prince Cirius stammered backwards in fear, his mouth bone dry, “This-this is impossible!”
Mamoru on the other hand had thoroughly lost himself in Usagi’s beauty as he couldn’t help but exhale, “Sailor Moon . . .”
As if she had done it a million times Sailor Moon raised her new staff above her head, twirling it in a blur of crystal then pointed it menacingly at Prince Cirius.
Her voice came powerfully, “You have committed vile acts of blasphemy and are guilty of unspeakable crimes! You have disrespected God, your family, humanity, and yourself.”
Sailor Moon planted the staff into the ground directly behind her, the talisman now standing on its own with the Ginzuishou sparkling brightly above her head like a shining star. She raised her hand high in the air and began her introductory poses with majesty. “I am the Champion of love and justice, the pretty sailor suited soldier, Cosmic Sailor Moon! In the name of our Moon,” her eyes burned into his, “You will be punished!”
Prince Cirius trembled with hatred upon seeing the powerful state Serenity had achieved . . . a state never before reached by any of their ancestors. A state the ancient legends could only vaguely predict. He exploded in revulsion, “THIS ISN’T FAIR!!!” And threw himself at her, lacking all common sense.
Cosmic Sailor Moon gripped her staff tightly and closed her eyes, a thick, vibrating pillar of light shooting out from the talisman. The searing attack hit Prince Cirius dead in the chest. Cirius shot across the valley like a missile, the immense force punching him straight through a mountain to disappear from view. The Mist was fully alert at this point and greedily began absorbing whatever remained of the Ginzuishou’s residual energy that lingered in Cirius’ body from when he had called upon its power. This was the energy source it needed to jumpstart its revival.
The moment their enemy was removed from the playing field Mamoru’s tenor voice quivered with impatience, “Sailor Moon.”
She turned to face him as her staff disappeared into her sub-space pocket. Mamoru held his hand out to her, his eyes burning into hers with numerous, unspoken words hovering between them.
Cosmic Sailor Moon immediately obeyed to place her gloved hand in his. Mamoru startled her by pulling her possessively into his body. He wrapped a strong arm tightly around the small of her back while the other encircled her shoulders securely. He enfolded himself around her, his head dipping into the crook of her neck as his hands pulled her so close he hoped their souls would merge. Sailor Moon’s trembling arms slowly closed around Mamoru, burrowing deeper into him as they lost themselves in each other; reveling in their newfound closeness. Hands touched and explored, their faces caressed and grazed against the other while expressions of pain and immense relief flitted across their features. It was as if they could finally breathe again. They were together. They were strong. They were complete.
Regaining his senses Mamoru opened his eyes; his face positioned an inch from hers with their foreheads melded together. The amount of desire Sailor Moon witnessed in them caused her breath to evaporate, his deep need for her rendering Sailor Moon weak in the knees while in her most powerful state. Hopelessly lost in Mamoru’s depths she breathed his name.
He moaned hers softly with unbearable longing. Absolutely unable to restrain himself any further he planted his starving lips upon hers, catching her in the most passionate, earth shattering kiss they had ever shared. He slowly and seductively ravaged her mouth with wild, passionate abandon; incapable of containing his deep, physical need of her. Mamoru’s tongue hungrily assaulted hers with an aggressive but loving caress, and was the first time he had let himself kiss her as if she were a grown woman; no longer holding back his wild hunger for her as a man. He would never again take the chance of not letting her know how badly he wanted and needed her.
Cosmic Sailor Moon reeled with shock at first, but soon responded eagerly as she entangled her gloved fingers in his ebony hair and melted into him, her mind swirling in drunken delight and her heart thundering like Jupiter. This, she suddenly realized, was exactly what she needed.
Mamoru began to feel that strange power bubbling up within him again as the symbol of Earth ignited on his forehead while he kissed his soul mate deeply, pressing his body against every inch of her. The golden light expanded to envelope him entirely then suddenly dissipated to reveal his brand new form.
The crystal sphere supposedly reserved for Mamoru’s powers promptly shattered into millions of pieces. Mamoru broke free of their kiss, now infused with torrents of energy wearing his legendary, dark blue prince’s suit with some slight modifications. A triple sailor stripe of dark, rich gold now ran along the outer seams of his pants, as well as trimmed the cuffs of his sleeves. The inside of his cape had changed from red to the same deep gold as his stripes. His prince’s sword hung off of his hip in the usual fashion and he retained all of his armour, but in this form Tuxedo Kamen’s medallion remained, hanging from the same red neck ribbon and tied around the collar of his Prince’s suit, resting majestically on his upper chest. The golden symbol of Earth gleamed magnificently below his silky black hair and Cosmic Sailor Moon faltered from Endymion’s striking and attractive appearance.
Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen had been reborn as Cosmic Sailor Moon and Eternal Sailor Earth, or, Eternal Endymion. Throughout Mamoru’s transformation they remained in their intimate embrace, bodies melded together looking deep into each other’s eyes. The love radiating out from them had coupled with their combined power to dissolve the dimensional cocoons imprisoning the rest of the Senshi.
Each of the Senshi emerged from isolation to appear in the same reality, their weary eyes glistening with infinite relief and tears of immense joy. The Senshi stood silently in front of their Prince and Princess while studying the evolved transformations achieved by the royal couple. As they observed Cosmic Sailor Moon the Senshi felt humbled, reverent, and not surprised in the least that she was able to obtain such an astounding metamorphosis. Usagi would forever be the only one completely oblivious to her own potential, but the Senshi were not. However, it was Mamoru that confounded them. A few moments earlier they all believed him to be completely powerless . . . but there he stood; Eternal, strong, and thriving with power.
The inner Senshi had scarcely dared to breathe since Rei had lost her powers, and once Usagi had been taken there seemed to be a constant pain in their chests. However, now standing in front of Cosmic Sailor Moon and Eternal Endymion, the Senshi felt a glorious, divine energy saturate them. The two lovers broke out of their trance and turned to look at their friends standing around them.
Not fully comprehending how or why this had happened, but beginning to trust their own eyes, the inner Senshi began to believe in their own potential. Seeing the shattered remnants of Mamoru’s crystalline sphere while basking in the sublime energy was the first time they truthfully started to believe in themselves and their destinies. What they had experienced only minutely in the last few hours now flooded their hearts overwhelmingly. An unknown power ascended from deep within them and vigorously bubbled to the surface. Ami, Rei, Makoto, and Minako’s eyes drifted shut followed by the faint appearance of their planetary birthmarks. When this happened their power signatures in the crystal spheres began to flicker in and out.
Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn stood there in awe because they also believed that the inner’s powers had been stolen, especially after seeing the immense crystal balloons roaring with energy. Though the outers did not go through the same ordeal as the inner Senshi, they were far from immune, feeling something stir deep within their hearts. In response their eyes closed as their tiaras disappeared to reveal their own planetary birthmarks. Suddenly, the Senshi’s clothes melted away, their bodies now glowing with their respective auras as the power spheres for the inner Senshi shattered spectacularly.
Each of them found themselves standing at the threshold to their highest state of being. Once their hearts accepted it their new transformations instantly materialized. With a bright flash of light they became Eternal Sailor Senshi.
Each of them retained their signature style of shoe, but they were all now pristine white, with elements of their own respective colours thrown in. In addition, they now sported triple layer fuku skirts with the top layer being their primary fuku colour, the middle layer a translucent version of their secondary colour, and the bottom layer pure white. Each Senshi had white gloves terminating just below the elbow with the usual triple piping. They also wore a sleeveless, one-piece bodysuit with sheer triple shoulder guards exactly like Cosmic Sailor Moon’s. A starburst jewel now appeared on their V-shaped chokers and in the centre of the bow on their chests. The most distinct difference was the fact that their tiaras were now gone to reveal their planetary symbols glowing brightly.
In muted amazement each of them glanced down at their new transformations and could feel an awesome power they had never felt before course through them. Sailor Moon could barely hold herself back once her friends had appeared before her, since not too long ago she sincerely believed she would never see them again. Sailor Moon’s eyes glistened with tears, she was overcome with happiness for them and her heart swelled with joy.
“Minna!” She whispered.
Now that the Senshi had recovered from the initial shock they instantly bulldozed Sailor Moon over crushing her with hugs, words of comfort, and giggles of relief. Cosmic Sailor Moon received them gladly and fiercely embraced each of them while laughing and crying herself.
Once the joyous reunion was over silence descended as they studied each other. There was such a seriousness felt and they could easily recognize the deep trauma present in Usagi’s eyes, just barely contained by the transformation of Cosmic Sailor Moon. It was immediately obvious to the Senshi that her eyes seemed older and Usagi’s ever-present child-like innocence had vanished entirely. That alone caused all of their hearts to shatter. She did not deserve whatever had happened to her, and it was still their fault.
Sailor Moon observed that the inner Senshi carried a noticeable burden in their eyes, getting the feeling that it would not go away any time soon. The experience had also left them heavily scarred in ways Sailor Moon was reluctant to know.
Eternal Sailor Mars approached Cosmic Sailor Moon and surprised her by pulling her into a fierce and compassionate hug. Even though these two waged a new world war almost every day, it was an obvious sign of the strong affection between them. Mars could not conceal the deep empathy and respect she felt for Usagi as she fought tears.
Sailor Moon blushed with a heavy heart as Eternal Endymion gingerly took one of her hands. “Sailor Moon . . .” he began.
She looked up at him, curious. She could clearly see darkness in his eyes as his hand trembled, fighting desperately to hide his fear.
Cosmic Sailor Moon squeezed his hand reassuringly, “What is it Mamo-chan? It’s okay.”
Endymion shut his eyes in an attempt to hide his distress, but the twitch in his eyebrow betrayed him. “Usako . . . did he? . . .” Endymion paused, not knowing how to speak as he looked to the floor. “He didn’t . . . um . . .”
Frustrated with his sudden lack of articulation Eternal Endymion tenderly cupped Sailor Moon’s face in his hands while gazing into her eyes with untold sympathy and fear. He took a brave, deep breath, “Did Prince Cirius rape you?”
Sailor Moon could feel Mamoru’s body quivering for fear of what she would say next. The mere thought that Usagi had lost her virginity through rape at her uncle’s hand would undoubtedly shatter Mamoru. He knew this implicitly but he had to know. For her sake alone he hoped he was wrong.
Sailor Moon looked up at him and spoke the truth, “No Mamo-chan. He didn’t.”
Endymion pulled her into him, embracing her affectionately with his eyes closed in order to hide his anguish. Prince Cirius may not have outright raped her, but he sexually assaulted her nonetheless. “I’m so sorry,” he breathed.
Sailor Moon hugged him back violently. “I don’t think he even knows how to want that anymore.”
The moment Sailor Moon recalled her months of torture she became immediately unstable, speedily descending into a hopeless and delirious state.
Cosmic Sailor Moon’s voice became pitiful, “He’s really . . . truly insane.” She subconsciously began rubbing her wrists where her chains used to be, “it was a nightmare.” Her face crumbled pathetically, unable to remember that it was over, “. . . insufferable!”
Her trauma was so overpowering that Cosmic Sailor Moon dropped with Eternal Endymion catching her the second before she hit the ground, swearing to God that he was going to kill Prince Cirius for what he had done to her. The Senshi were appalled and regretful of what their Princess was forced to endure and could feel their powers flaring up in furious response.
At that exact moment an explosion shook the valley as Prince Cirius shot up from the depths of the mountain, huge chunks of rock flying in every direction. Floating in mid air his eyes were pitch black and the Mist swirled violently around him since it was now fully awakened and at its most powerful state thanks to the residual energy of the Ginzuishou left in Cirius’ body. The Mist studied the Sailor Senshi in detail. It was bewildered to find them all transformed, but even more so because they did not look the same. The energy they exuded appeared similar to their usual signatures but . . . different somehow. It was as if something else radiated along with them. The Mist could not reason any further. The sight of the shattered spheres vexed the Mist but it was not dismayed.
The moment they spotted their enemy the Eternal Sailor Senshi somersaulted about to effectively surround their Prince and Princess. Their eyes narrowed dangerously while raw planetary energy bristled into existence around each Senshi in spiteful anticipation.
The Mist and Prince Cirius laughed sardonically, “Well, I don’t know how you managed to take your powers back, but it’s of little matter. Thanks to the energy from that crystal I can now destroy you all easily!”
The violent mist storm surrounding Cirius exploded outwards to engulf the entire valley in dense, pitch-blackness. Lost in darkness Cosmic Sailor Moon’s nerves settled like the eye of a hurricane and she effortlessly slipped into a warrior’s frame of mind. She stood up and subconsciously took command. Since the Senshi were all fiercely battle ready they were unable to contemplate the differences inside themselves. Sailor Moon was unaware that she was completely ready for battle without having to be eased into it as she usually did. She found herself naturally calling out a strategy.
“Everyone! Spread out as far and as wide as you can while keeping me in the centre. Inners! Create a box perimeter. Outers! Go even further.”
As she spoke her Senshi instinctively followed her direction as best they could while immersed in total darkness; none of them conscious of the subtle differences taking place. Eternal Endymion remained right by Sailor Moon’s side, as she knew he would. After everything that had happened he would not leave her even if she asked him to.
All of this unfolded in a few short seconds, then Endymion, acting as second in command yelled, “Mercury!”
Eternal Sailor Mercury needed no further instruction. She drew her arms in to her chest as a gargantuan icy hurricane swirled around her building up ridiculous amounts of mass. She then spun rapidly with her arms out, expelling a dense, sub-zero mist that forcefully exploded for miles. The magnitude of the assault caused the Senshi to blink in amazement. The bone-chilling attack physically shocked the Mist into retreat and the Senshi could see once again.
Prince Cirius’ eyebrow twitched with loathing when he witnessed the strength of Mercury’s Shabon Spray. He had never seen it on such a massive scale. While the Mist recovered the Senshi quickly perfected their formation. The outer Senshi formed a trinity on the outskirts of the valley with the inner Senshi forming a diamond inside, yet still miles away from each other with Cosmic Sailor Moon and Eternal Endymion in the centre.
Drawing from the residuals of the Ginzuishou a gigantic ring of mist crashed over the mountaintops and raced down the mountain face towards the valley floor. As it neared the bottom the Mist transformed into tens of thousands of hungry Kirikuma, and much larger than they were before. As they descended on the Sailor Senshi the Kirikuma emitted a collective shriek so intense that the valley floor and the surrounding mountains cracked and shifted, causing numerous rock avalanches in their wake. The Senshi would never survive such a hit.
With her planetary sigil glowing bright purple, Eternal Sailor Saturn raised her glaive high in the air erecting a protective dome barrier the size of Tokyo city around the Senshi, causing the damaging sound wave to dissipate on impact.
Prince Cirius burned with hatred but was also secretly impressed. “Okay . . . so they upgraded a little. So what!”
Across the wide expanse Cosmic Sailor Moon’s searching gaze locked onto Prince Cirius, piercing deep into his eyes. Time seemed to slow as they stared each other down. Prince Cirius could clearly see an incomprehensible amount of fear raging violently beneath the heroic persona of Sailor Moon; her transformation acting like a thin membrane struggling to hold her trauma at bay. Regardless, Cirius got the distinct impression that she was at war with herself, battling through some sort of inner conflict. That aside, Cirius could sense that Sailor Moon was attempting to peer into him with intense scrutiny, causing alien feelings to rise up from deep within him. Prince Cirius gulped uncomfortably under the heat of her gaze, but the longer he looked at her Cirius could not suppress feeling a somewhat, breathless awe. She was truly magnificent.
It was then that Prince Cirius recognized another entity shining through Sailor Moon’s eyes that hadn’t been there before. He became instantly alert, sensing that he had encountered that presence only a handful of times during his Lunar life. When it dawned on Cirius what that entity was, and the repercussions of what that meant, his face distorted in disbelief and deep jealousy. Hell bent on revenge all over again he assumed command as the Kirikuma leapt high into the air towards their prey and the battle began.
The outer Senshi were quick to attack. Dodging falling rocks and boulders Eternal Sailor’s Uranus and Neptune practically ignited; wordlessly expelling a spectacular world shaking and a colossal deep submerge attack. Meanwhile, Sailor Saturn could feel that she possessed much more flexibility with her new powers and executed a massive, silent energy attack. All three assaults exploded towards the incoming flux of Kirikuma to punch gigantic holes in their numbers. As their powers rushed forward the rest of the Senshi were dumbstruck at the sheer magnitude of power, now wondering how their own powers had evolved. The Kirikuma that were hit were immediately destroyed but more kept pouring in. The inner Senshi anxiously prepared to strike while the outer Senshi continued to do battle.
Eternal Sailor’s Mars and Venus could see waves of Kirikuma catapulting towards them and smiled, ecstatic to be active Senshi once again. A storm of fire ignited around Sailor Mars growing into an unbearable inferno as hundreds of plasma sparks swirled intensely around Sailor Venus. Following new instincts Sailor Mars concentrated the massive amount of fire into the palms of her hands forming her trademark bow and arrow. She pulled back the super charged flame and pitched it high in the starry sky. The arrow of death soared then pierced deep into the demon’s ranks. Upon impact the arrow detonated spewing roaring curtains of flame in every direction, engulfing hundreds of demons as they incinerated into smoke and ash. The Kirikuma that had escaped her flames were now coming down for the kill. Mars did not waste time as the airborne Kirikuma met with an explosion of hundreds of energy-packed, burning mandala rings slicing each demon in half as they erupted in flames.
Mars stood for a moment, totally blown away by what she had just done and blurted out, “How the hell-?” knowing that she had never been able to do anything even close to that before. She forced herself to stay focused and continued to fight.
The plasma sparks swirled around Eternal Sailor Venus like a miniature galaxy when hundreds of super-condensed energy beams erupted forth. Each love-me beam pierced directly through the chests of hundreds of Kirikuma, dissolving them on contact. Venus was amazed, but as more Kirikuma came in to take their place she began to feel that the source of her new power went deeper than she realized. Lost in the feeling she called forth the pure, raw power of the planet Venus and opened her heart expelling the pristine energy directly into the new wave of Kirikuma. The demons seized in debilitating shock then stumbled about dazedly colliding with each other in blind pain. Taking full advantage Venus launched a stellar love and beauty shock that flew deep into their ranks and detonated. Every Kirikuma within a mile radius erupted in blinding, hot light.
Venus jumped up and squealed beneath both her hands. “No way!” she enthused, then snapped back to attention and ran into battle.
Kirikuma just kept pouring in and Eternal Sailor Jupiter was forever grateful. Thoroughly elated to be in the thick of battle once again she stretched her arms towards the heavens. A mammoth bolt of lightening emerged from the sky and with a deafening crack, connected with the ground to engulf Jupiter entirely. She relished breathlessly in the enormous electric field for a moment. Trying to remain focused on battle Jupiter took another second to revel in delight then completely discharged. Countless branches of lightening exploded out of her at light speed to electrify the hundreds of Kirikuma around her who had no time to screech as they fried and crumbled to ash. Jupiter quickly assessed where she would attack next sensing the presence of her planet more than ever. Feeling absolutely euphoric she couldn’t help but glare darkly at the incoming demons while lightning crackled around her clenched fists. “Come and get it bitches!” Jupiter bellowed and leapt fiercely into battle.
Eternal Sailor Mercury’s visor activated from thought alone and she instinctively utilized the new software. After a speedy decision she drew one leg forward then anchored her feet firmly to the ground as she raised a frigid, tsunami-like wave behind her. On command it rolled over her head and crashed into the mass of demons. The monstrous current forced hundreds of Kirikuma under to tumble mercilessly downstream. The symbol on Mercury’s forehead flared and in the span of a heartbeat the water froze into a mile wide glacier, trapping every Kirikuma it had claimed inside. The demons that had escaped into the air were descending upon Mercury fast. With her visor locking targets a droplet of water fell at Mercury’s feet and exploded into hundreds more as they swirled up her body. Mercury raised her arms as the droplets swirled up past her wrists and into her hands. The sphere of droplets then exploded into the sky just as the Kirikuma blotted out the stars overhead, promising to overwhelm Sailor Mercury in seconds. Each droplet smashed like a bullet into the chests of the airborne demons causing them to freeze solid. A second later they crashed into the ground surrounding Mercury and shattered on impact sending up a spectacular spray of ice shards.
Eternal Sailor Mercury could not help but stand still for a brief moment, completely floored, also slowly realizing that things were now different. On their own each Senshi could now easily handle much larger numbers then they could before. They were also manipulating their powers by intention alone. Even though the Senshi were effectively destroying huge numbers of the Kirikuma, the Mist appeared to be continually pumping out fresh reinforcements, probably due to the Ginzuishou’s energy.
The Kirikuma kept breaking through the onslaught of attacks in small, energetic spurts, closing in on Sailor Moon and Endymion. As the demons drew near Eternal Endymion tossed the edge of his cape over his shoulder with the swing of his arm and gripped the hilt of his sword, unsheathing it with fluidity. Endymion was quick to notice that the infamous Golden Crystal was now in his possession and embedded into the base of his blade surrounded by a beautifully engraved rose. He was also quick to notice the antediluvian language engraved down the centre of the blade.
Endymion surveyed the shit load of incoming while radiating a regal sense of invincibility. His soul felt a strange peace because he was by Sailor Moon’s side, now more capable than ever at protecting her. Everything was as it should be and Mamoru silently declared that he would let no one get within fifty feet of Usagi.
Preparing to fight Endymion took a few steps away from Cosmic Sailor Moon. Compared to the rest of the Senshi, Mamoru was undoubtedly experiencing the most shock and surprise concerning the new depth of his power since he had never been ‘fully activated’ as a Senshi until an hour ago. Mamoru had literally plunged head first into a giant evolutionary leap in his capabilities . . . and he was just itching to let them loose.
As Endymion’s thoughts moved to battle he felt a steady surge of raw power rise up from deep within him, and his body almost buckled from the jolt, as this was all still brand new to him. Immediately calming his nerves Endymion forced himself to just relax and go with it. He had the feeling that if he thought about things too much he could become distracted, and he could not afford that today.
Eternal Endymion exhaled all of his doubt and began skillfully spinning his sword, practically begging the Kirikuma to come. As he waited for the right moment a steady breeze ruffled Endymion’s hair followed by a torrential tornado of wind and dust gathering around him. The storm continued to beef up until the Kirikuma came into range. Once they did, Endymion expelled the attack and a relentless cyclone of violent wind and piercing sand spiraled outwards sweeping the first batch of demons up and hurling them out into the sky.
Endymion swallowed the lump in his throat as the potent energy flowed out of him. That was definitely new, and he couldn’t help but exclaim, “Holy shit!”
Pockets of Kirikuma kept pouring in so Endymion flexed his powers even further. After sheathing his sword Eternal Endymion lifted his hands erecting five monster tornados placed strategically within their enemy’s midst. As the storms roared to life all demons in the vicinity were either swept up or ejected. Receiving guidance from the presence deep within him, Eternal Endymion swelled his five creations until they blended together, conjuring a fat ring of cyclone energy ensuring that the Kirikuma between him and the inner Senshi were helplessly trapped inside. Now that the demons were at his mercy Endymion upped the ante, as the piercing sand, infused with the power of Earth, ripped into them until every demon eroded away; disintegrating into the storm.
Regardless of the consequences the demons outside the cyclone wall continued to throw themselves in, aiming to make their way through it in order to kill Sailor Moon. Eternal Endymion watched as countless demons jumped willingly into his death trap where the sand began eating away at them. They screeched in frustration but kept making their way towards the inner edge.
Against all odds one Kirikuma tumbled out of the cyclone half eroded and screeching bloody murder as it sailed through the air towards Cosmic Sailor Moon. With hard eyes Eternal Endymion summoned a rose into his hand and with unmatched precision planted it in the demon’s chest. As soon as the mystical rose embedded itself the demon crumbled into dust with Endymion blinking in surprise.
Then another Kirikuma made its way through, then another, and another. Endymion continued to protect Sailor Moon with his roses, the demons decaying into dust on contact while he carried on feeding energy into the cyclone.
Throughout all of the mayhem Cosmic Sailor Moon stood in the centre of chaos silent and still. From her position she observed the Senshi battle magnificently. They were absolutely superb and her heart swelled with pride.
Prince Cirius floated some distance away directing the Kirikuma from a safe vantage point. As he continued to orchestrate his attack he could not take his eyes off of Sailor Moon. What the hell was she doing? She achieved a state more brilliant and powerful than anything he had ever seen, yet, she was just standing there. What the hell was she waiting for?!
Being a hopeless slave to his insanity Prince Cirius’ rationality stopped there. “She’s mocking me! Serenity is mocking me! Look at her! She is shining so bright my eyes can hardly stand it! Who the hell does she think she is!? Why is it always her?! Why is my sister’s daughter the One? Why is it always Serenity achieving such greatness?!”
Cirius saw how easily the Senshi were handling the Kirikuma and he festered with deep resentment. “They will NOT beat me!”
And with that said he poured every last ounce of energy into a full frontal, do-or-die attack.
The number of Kirikuma immediately swelled into the millions and leapt to kill with renewed vigor. The Senshi were slightly shocked by the sudden change but found that through the burning presence deep within them they could draw whatever they needed and battled just as well as they did before, only more spectacularly. Aside from the fact that the Senshi were holding their own, the level of concentration they needed was now very high. That was exactly what Cirius wanted. It was now or never.
The Eternal Sailor Senshi were dishing it out like crazy. Massive amounts of planetary and elemental power pounded the Kirikuma relentlessly. Behind the Senshi’s innermost defense line the number of demons willingly throwing themselves into Endymion’s attack increased to the point where he had to let the cyclone go. Once the attack dissipated thousands of Kirikuma charged forward, heading directly for him.
Not entirely aware of what he was doing Eternal Endymion followed his own advice and fully succumbed to his instincts. As the demons drew near Endymion closed his eyes and his planetary birthmark began glowing a magnificent gold. With pure concentration and clenched fists, spider-like cracks appeared in the ground underneath his boots and raced outwards, stopping just before it reached the other Senshi. The mangled ground heaved and parted creating chasms and canyons out of nowhere. As the fissures grew every demon trying desperately to get to the royal couple plummeted into them, tumbling over each other and screeching in fury. Once the Kirikuma fell victim to the quake Endymion raised his sword into the air and the Golden Crystal began to sparkle brilliantly. He gripped the hilt with both hands and plunged it into the ground. The Golden Crystal activated and a powerful, golden energy shot into the ground to erupt skyward from every chasm and canyon Endymion had created. The Kirikuma trapped inside howled in defiance as the golden energy consumed them and they all disappeared.
The Eternal Senshi were deeply engaged in battle, which is why Prince Cirius chose this precise moment to vanish from his position and reappear directly behind Cosmic Sailor Moon with a chunk of heavy black crystal in his hand. His eyes lidded heavily with obsession as he prepared to smash her in the back of the head and teleport away with her knowing that none of her Senshi would be able to stop him.
Busy with hordes of Kirikuma, Endymion felt his heart constrict. “Usako,” he breathed.
Endymion quickly turned around to see Prince Cirius directly behind her. He was so close to harming Sailor Moon that Endymion could not even yell for her to move. He had already pulled a rose out of thin air aiming to plant it between Cirius’ eyes, but also knowing he would be too late. Endymion’s stomach lurched when he realized that Cirius planned to smash her in head and steal away with his beloved . . . again.
Just before Prince Cirius could connect with her head, Cosmic Sailor Moon miraculously vanished then reappeared directly behind him just as he had done to her. As if on purpose, choosing not to use her powers at all, she turned gracefully and delivered a spine crushing spinning back kick into the centre of Cirius’ back. Prince Cirius catapulted forcefully through the air . . . heading directly towards Eternal Endymion.
Seeing that she was all right Endymion flashed Sailor Moon a look of untold relief, to be quickly replaced by vengeful gratitude as his chance to avenge the suffering of his Princess sailed straight towards him. The rest of the Senshi could only glance at what was transpiring in the centre. Since they were warriors of justice the thought of Prince Cirius getting what he deserved caused them to fight even harder. Each of them sensed the other’s utmost desire to not let even one Kirikuma through their defenses. With the Senshi increasing their strengths Endymion could give his full attention to Prince Cirius.
As the former Moon Prince flew towards Eternal Endymion he swore that he would fight to the death and hopefully bring the Earth Prince with him. Failing that, Prince Cirius promised that he would inflict as much pain on Endymion as possible.
Moments from collision Cirius prepped his attack when a strong microburst of wind smashed into his back forcing him into the ground face first with a sickening crunch, shattering all the bones in Cirius’ face. Endymion sidestepped as he crashed and summoned four roses, piercing each one through Cirius’ wrists and ankles, anchoring him to the ground with unnatural force.
Prince Cirius bellowed in agony but squinted through swollen eyes to see Endymion standing majestically over him. Endymion’s features hardened as he recalled what Cirius had done to Usagi.
He bent over to look Prince Cirius in his broken face. “This,” he spat, “is your karma.”
Endymion then thoroughly let loose on him showing no mercy and Cirius had no choice but to take it since he was pinned to the ground, just like Usagi was.
After just a few minutes almost all of Cirius’s bones had fractured, each of his organs were battered to a pulp, his head felt ready to explode, but the sense of justice permeating the air remained strong. Endymion continued pummeling him with dutiful purpose as he bellowed out between hits, “You are . . . truly . . . sick! . . . what the . . . fuck . . . is wrong with you?! . . . How could . . . you do this . . . to someone like . . . Usagi?! . . your own . . . flesh and . . . blood!”
On that note Eternal Endymion ceased the beating and spat on him.
As Cirius whimpered pathetically Endymion unsheathed his sword, called upon the Golden Crystal and pierced the ground with it as he did before. The golden energy erupted from underneath Prince Cirius and engulfed him entirely.
Cosmic Sailor Moon promptly called forth her crystalline staff.
The energy from the Golden Crystal forced the Mist out from Prince Cirius’ body and mind.
Sailor Moon grasped the talisman and closed her eyes.
The Mist gathered itself above Cirius’ body and proceeded to rapidly change colours.
The Ginzuishou ignited with blinding light and began to pulsate with intensity.
Responding to its master the army of Kirikuma battling the inexorable Sailor Senshi stopped fighting and collectively inhaled, preparing to permanently scramble every human brain in their dimension.
Cosmic Sailor Moon abruptly opened her eyes, pointed the Ginzuishou towards the Mist with one arm and gladly commanded, “SILVER MOON POWER!” The Ginzuishou discharged its awesome light into the centre of the Mist hovering above Cirius’ broken body.
The Mist shuddered violently then promptly collapsed in on itself as every single Kirikuma also imploded; disappearing into spheres of blinding, white light.
The Mist was a thriving, ancient entity. Unbeatable one minute with billions of years of unabated misery under its belt . . . to vanishing from existence in the next due to Cosmic Sailor Moon.
Prince Cirius was in an entirely new world of pain now that the Mist had left him and he could barely see anything through his swollen eyelids. What he could see was the dazzling shine radiating out of Cosmic Sailor Moon and he choked in amazement. Cirius was forced to admit that it was the most exquisite sight he had ever beheld. Pure goodness.
The Kirikuma were no more, and by now the rest of the Senshi had gathered around Prince Cirius looking down on him with a sense of fulfillment and cold hatred due to whatever he had done to Usagi.
As Prince Cirius groaned in excruciating pain Endymion looked on him with disdain, “How does that feel?”
Eternal Sailor Mars’ violet eyes radiated loathing, “You deserve far worse than what Endymion did to you.”
“Sailor Moon is your family!” Venus exclaimed, “How could you do that to her?”
Sailor Jupiter clenched her shaking fists, “We will never forgive you . . . Never.”
Not being able to resist, Sailor Uranus kicked him a few times then spit on him.
Satisfied, Endymion gripped his sword tightly, “We strongly believe in never sacrificing a life . . . but every rule has one exception.”
Sensing what was about to happen, Prince Cirius glanced at Sailor Moon who stood further away by herself. There appeared to be a very human look of contentment on her face as she watched her torturer get his comeuppance . . . though, her eyes revealed uncertainty. He could sense heavy uneasiness coming from her.
“Besides,” Endymion continued, voice wavering, “I have seen enough to determine that you have no soul anyway.”
Prince Cirius continued to stare at Sailor Moon. The look of justice embedded in her features remained strong. On the deepest level even Cirius knew he deserved this. Actually, he deserved far, far worse, but her eyes still betrayed her, quivering with fear and knees shaking.
Prince Cirius had killed his own parents, attempted to murder his sister, his niece, and two generations of Senshi more than once. Endymion knew that he had no choice but to finally end this depravity. Making good on his promise of death Endymion plunged the sword slowly into Cirius’ throat, twisting the blade at random intervals and taking more time than he should.
As the blade, still warm from the energy discharge, pierced into his flesh Cirius groaned pitifully but glanced back at Cosmic Sailor Moon. She was staring at him intently, her sky blue eyes struggling, almost as if searching for something. Her knees gave out and she sank to the ground.
The pain increased exponentially as Cirius was forced to inhale more of his own blood. Still transfixed by Sailor Moon he wondered what it was about her that seemed to give him glancing moments of mental peace.
“What I would give,” Prince Cirius thought, “for everlasting, mental peace.”
Once that thought passed through his mind, the blade twisting deeper, Prince Cirius died. A look of satisfaction quickly reflected in the Senshi’s eyes just as angry, frustrated tears erupted from Cosmic Sailor Moon’s.
After a long internal battle Sailor Moon finally surrendered, whimpering in defeat. With her head bowed in frustrated submission she lifted the Ginzuishou, and with a flash of light as Cirius’ gave up his life, the Silver Crystal took hold of his soul just before darkness took it forever. The soul that no one thought even existed was now held within the soft light of the crystal; a small semblance of what little spirit remained of Prince Imbrium of Earth’s Moon.
When the Senshi fully comprehended what had just happened, each of them whirled around and collectively gasped from incomprehension.
Sailor Uranus stepped forward, eyes wide, “Sailor Moon! . . . What are you doing?!”
Sailor Mars could hardly believe it, “After what he did to you?!”
Sailor Venus followed, “To your family! And your mother!”
Endymion just stared at her in baffled silence.
Ignoring the protests of her friends and with her head still lowered she spoke in a shaky voice, “You . . . are a degenerate man . . . but . . . as much as you deserve to suffer eternally for all that you’ve done-”
Sailor Moon lifted her head to look directly at Imbrium’s soul. The Senshi gasped yet again because it was the first time since this ordeal started that she looked like her usual self. The moment she raised her head Sailor Moon left her misgivings behind. Now her expression was warm and inviting while her eyes glistened with purity and hope.
Cosmic Sailor Moon finished her sentence, shining brighter than she ever had, “Everyone deserves peace if that is what they truly desire.”
The Senshi could only watch in shocked amazement as Sailor Moon continued, “Will you choose light Prince Imbrium? Or will you choose darkness for the last time?”
The essence of Prince Imbrium was completely overcome with awe, humility, disgrace, and gratefulness. “Sailor Moon . . . I can’t even . . . yes, I do.” That was the first time he did not call her Serenity, “I choose the light.”
Cosmic Sailor Moon smiled warmly while the Ginzuishou purified what remained of his soul.
It had been eons since he had felt anything even close to stillness and peace that Imbrium could hardly keep his wits about him once the healing was over, but he had something very important to say.
“Serenity . . .” He began in utter shame.
The moment Prince Imbrium spoke her royal name, all of the trauma from her recent captivity seeped back into Sailor Moon’s demeanor, suddenly filling her with contempt all over again.
Prince Imbrium continued, “You must know that-”
In a sudden fit of rage she cut him off. “Enough! I don’t want to hear another word out of you! I will not gift you with reincarnation, you deserve no such opportunity . . . but, I will hand you over to the spiritual realm, and I leave it up to the Spirit of the Moon to decide what to do with you.”
Before Imbrium could impart his mysterious message or even apologize and thank her, he vanished to his fate because of Sailor Moon’s desire for him to be out of her sight once and for all. Sailor Moon dropped her arm holding the crystal staff in extreme fatigue. She looked utterly exhausted, almost as if continuing to live from that point on was incomprehensible to her. The Senshi stared wide-eyed at their leader and Princess in dead silence. No words would come.
Sailor Moon let out a long, sad, heavy sigh. She then gripped her staff tightly, using it to find her footing and pulled herself up to stand straight, effortlessly slipping back into the character of Sailor Moon as she turned to face her Senshi.
Overcome with the strongest sensation of honour and respect, each of them fell to one knee holding an arm to their chests and bowed their heads to her in reverence. They had never seen such a demonstration of selflessness and purity of heart, and it resonated beautifully within all of them.
As the Senshi honoured their Princess, Cosmic Sailor Moon raised her staff high above her head. A spectacular beam of light erupted from it and shot into the sky while another beam shot down to engulf Sailor Moon followed by eight others shooting out to engulf each Senshi.
“Home,” whispered Cosmic Sailor Moon. With a blinding flash they all disappeared leaving behind the body of Prince Cirius and an empty time-space cocoon that would silently drift through the outskirts of Monoceros Ring for the rest of eternity.
Juban Shopping District . . .
It was a crisp, autumn afternoon and Juban Shopping Street trickled with people. Shoppers and commuters bustled about with only one camera crew broadcasting. Four months ago Juban Shopping District was overrun by news crews and reporters desperate to find a story in Sailor Moon’s now infamous neighbourhood. Now however, only one journalist and a lone cameraperson could be found.
“I am here broadcasting from Azabu-Juban Shopping district; the neighbourhood of the now more than infamous Sailor Senshi. It has been four months since the story broke revealing the identities of the Sailor Senshi and no one has seen or heard from them since. All trace of them seems to have vanished while speculations concerning their whereabouts have only become wilder and greater in number. One can only guess if this is deliberate, or perhaps it has something to do with the reports of black fog months ago. Will we ever hear from them again? Are they still in Juban but in hiding? Do they have disguises? There are more questions than answers right now and none of the Senshi’s relatives have given any comments.”
The reporter had a witness standing by, “We have a young man here that-”
Before she could finish her sentence a flash of searing white light blinded everyone in the area as people screamed and covered their eyes. Once the light subsided and everyone regained their vision they spotted Sailor Moon holding something shiny high in the sky surrounded by the Sailor Senshi. They had appeared out of thin air, shoulder to shoulder with people in the crowd. They looked different than they had before and also seemed to shine a little.
For about three long seconds no one moved a muscle or took a breath. Everyone in the vicinity stared as the dumbfounded warriors opened their eyes to realize where they had ended up. A wearied sigh was heard coming from the Sailor Senshi the moment before Juban erupted in pandemonium.
“It’s the Sailor Senshi!”
“What the fuck-”
People were elbowing each other as they tried getting closer. The people within arms length of the Senshi rushed in and grabbed them with thoughtless, celebrity lust. Cosmic Sailor Moon was barely holding herself together but had to stay focused. She called to the Senshi, “The temple!”
The Senshi magically disentangled themselves from the mob and the mob could not fathom how they got loose. In the blink of an eye the Senshi had vaulted into the air to land outside the mob, then took to the rooftops heading in the direction of Hikawa Jinja with startling speed.
The journalist was already on her phone telling her colleagues to get to Hikawa Jinja on the double while the crowd ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’ at the Senshi’s escape. After watching the performance everyone started making their way to Hikawa Jinja while messaging everyone they knew and posting the news all over the internet.
The Senshi could feel that the public nature of their arrival had sparked a flame that would soon run rampant. Regardless of what was going to happen they knew the media would have to be dealt with one way or another. It was unavoidable. However, if the Senshi ever needed a moment of peace, it was right now.
Kenji didn’t speak much and had taken on an attitude of seriousness and silence. For him that was the safest. All of Shingo’s friendships had deteriorated as they desperately tried to find out what they could, harassing him constantly with questions he couldn’t even answer. It had been four months since they witnessed Usagi magically transform into Eternal Sailor Moon and Shingo still didn’t know how to handle it, especially since he had the strongest feeling that Sailor Moon and the Sailor Senshi were in dire straights. He was beside himself with worry but refused to believe the worst. “Come on Sailor Moon . . . You can pull though it whatever it is.”
Ikuko suddenly gasped aloud as she flew up from the couch like a bolt of lightning. Shingo and Kenji looked at her in concern.
“What? What’s wrong?” asked Kenji.
Once they followed her gaze to the television they could see the Sailor Senshi standing in the middle of Juban as clear as day.
Kenji fell to his knees followed by Ikuko, but she crawled straight up to the T.V. screen as Shingo just stood shaking all over. There was silence everywhere, even the Tsukino’s weren’t breathing. Once the crowd erupted with noise the Tsukino’s watched intently and distinctly heard Usagi’s voice mention the temple. Then they saw an unbelievable display of acrobatics, agility, speed, and strength and the Senshi were gone in the blink of an eye.
Motoki wiped his kitchen counter in concentric circles over and over while gawking at the journalist reporting live from Juban Shopping District. Motoki drifted with his thoughts. He was floored when he found out the Sailor Senshi were in fact close friends of his. To think that he saw them almost every day, that he had considered asking Usagi out before he met Reika, that he was best friends with Mamoru, and had spent countless hours hanging out with the Sailor Senshi without even the slightest suspicion. A part of him felt like a complete idiot. The moment he found out it was practically impossible not to see the glaring similarities and odd behaviour. However, for reasons he couldn’t explain, if he didn’t already know who they were . . . the idea of ditzy Usagi, her friends, and Mamoru being super heroes would never have occurred to him.
Motoki frowned and stopped scrubbing, “That’s the whole point of a disguise you idiot!”
He sauntered over to the coffee table and straightened up his textbooks for the twentieth time. He didn’t work at Crown much these days; there was too much Senshi drama directed towards him. The world had learned pretty fast that the Senshi went to Crown all the time and were good friends with him so he pretty much buried himself in his schoolwork. When Motoki was cooped up in his apartment he took to cleaning everything over and over and thinking incessantly about Usagi, Mamoru, and the girls. Then, one of the pictures on the wall caught his eye. Motoki stood up and stared at it. The photo was of him, Unazuki, Mamoru, Usagi, and the girls at the solar eclipse three years ago. Motoki could not shake the feeling that something really bad had happened to them.
“Where the hell are you guys?” he pondered, “Will I ever see you again?”
He studied the picture further then shook his head, “I never would have guessed.”
The shouting coming from the television promptly interrupted his thoughts. Motoki turned around to see the Sailor Senshi smack dab in Juban Shopping District. Motoki gasped in surprise as he stumbled backwards into the wall. He heard the Hikawa Shrine mentioned and watched the Senshi take off spectacularly.
Motoki clawed at the wall for support. In a high pitched voice he uttered, “I can’t believe they can do that!”
His memory flashed with visions of fluttering mini skirts and long, slender legs.
Umino and Naru were out eating in Roppongi when they saw the Senshi appear on T.V. When the news broke four months prior Umino fell into mind numbing shock. He could barely speak sense for days but once he calmed down and talked to Naru he asked her why she appeared so together. Naru told him that she had known who they were for a few years now. Umino was astounded, demanding he tell her how she knew. Naru reminded him that she and Usagi had been best friends for years. Naru was there when almost overnight Usagi collected a brand new circle of eccentric friends that seemed to gel with Usagi flawlessly, as if they grew up their entire lives together. It was just when she made these new friends that fatal threats to Earth started coming out of the woodwork. Even though Usagi was always the same, klutzy, fun-loving girl, Naru could tell that a hidden part of her was maturing exponentially, as if Usagi had experienced things most people wouldn’t, even if they lived a thousand lifetimes.
When Umino and Naru heard Hikawa Jinja being mentioned they looked intensely at each other.
As all of the Senshi’s close friends and relatives caught wind of the breaking news, thoughts of getting down to the Hikawa Shrine started to overrun their thinking.
The Senshi sliced through the air with speed and precision as they reached the temple courtyard. The beautiful silence and peaceful atmosphere was a stark contrast to the screaming people of Tokyo.
“Rei!” Her grandfather called out from his hiding spot, awash with relief, “Thank God!”
Eternal Sailor Mars caught sight of the small man peeking out from behind a sliding door, “Grandpa!”
As they looked at each other with much love Mars realized what he had called her and could not help but ask, “By the way, how long have you known? Did you find out when the story broke?”
The elderly man rolled his eyes, “I knew long before that! Do you think I’ve gone deaf and blind over the years? All of your secret meetings up here, talking cats, and teleporting or whatever it is you guys do that demolishes my stone walkway every single time!”
Rei grinned sheepishly while the rest of the Senshi laughed, though briefly. “Sorry.”
“Never mind that,” he scolded as he stepped out of the temple and fell into his grand daughter’s bear hug, eyes shimmering with tears.
Her grandfather grasped Rei tightly. “I was never so worried about all of you in my life! Where have you been the last four months?!”
Rei gave him an incredulous look, “Four months?! What? We’ve only been gone for, what, twenty four hours?”
Endymion surveyed the colourful, falling leaves and felt the cool air as he stated, “It’s well into autumn. We’ve missed a whole season, but, how is that possible?”
“Sailor Moon,” Mercury called gently, “for us you were missing for about three days . . . do you know how long were you gone for?”
Everyone looked to Sailor Moon as she quietly responded, “Well, I can’t say exactly, but it felt like a year at least.”
A horrific silence descended when what she had just said became clear, and that silence soon became deafening. Here they thought that she had been missing for three days, which was difficult enough to accept considering she was in the hands of Prince Cirius, but in fact her situation was far, far worse than any of them had imagined.
Usagi had been trapped with Prince Cirius for a year, maybe more.
The intense guilt each of them already felt was now magnified a thousand fold, and the Senshi didn’t even know what she had been through yet. Swimming in guilt Endymion held Sailor Moon close as the Senshi realized the full extent of their failure. Bile rose in their throats and their self-hatred intensified. The extensive damage done to their beloved Princess and leader was unknown and they had no clue how to approach the helpless situation. They truly believed that Usagi was beyond mending and believed even more that they had to be the worst Sailor Senshi in history.
Before anyone could speak a group of reporters and civilians had reached the top of the stairs and were moving towards them. As the Senshi crouched low getting ready to scatter, Eternal Sailor Saturn stepped forward.
“I’ve got this one.”
The crowd slowed down at the sight of Sailor Saturn running towards them at top speed with a sharp weapon in hand. Not knowing what was about to happen some of the ‘anti-Senshi’ crowd started screaming. Sailor Saturn then surprised everyone when she planted her feet and erected a powerful barrier of translucent, purple energy and began to slowly push the growing crowd back down the stairs. Once she had forced all of them down to the street her barrier bonded with the twenty-foot stone wall, sealing everyone out. As they all yelled incoherently Sailor Saturn’s planetary symbol flared bright purple, which forced the crowd into an unnatural silence.
“Look, you really need to back off right now. Please, just give us some space. Thank you.” Demonstrating the strength of her power she bowed, walked back up the stairs and joined her fellow warriors while the barrier continued to hold strong without her.
When Saturn reached the top of the stairs her eyes gravitated towards a distraught Sailor Moon in Endymion’s arms while the other Senshi stood solemnly nearby. Everyone watched as Sailor Moon trembled and could hear her erratic breath and choked sobs. This was the first true moment of rest she had had in over a year. The defeat of their enemy and the sudden lack of adrenaline forced Sailor Moon to finally confront what had happened to her. Endymion just held her firm and close as the Senshi hung back, not knowing what they could do for their damaged Princess, if anything.
Then, Saturn noticed a silvery sparkle in the air and pointed, “Look.”
Everyone obeyed to see the form of Queen Selenity take shape, and this time she was not an apparition. This time she appeared just as she did when she was a living, breathing person.
The Senshi gasped, “Queen Selenity!”
From standing in the Queen’s presence each of the Senshi’s transformations glowed brightly and then subsided to reveal each of them in royal form, and the only change for Endymion was the disappearance of his golden sailor stripes.
With joyous eyes Queen Selenity said, “Greetings, all of you. I am here to first congratulate you on your achievement, but more importantly, I am here to ‘debrief’ you so to speak.”
There was a long silence before she continued, “I’m sure that you can all feel that something has changed within you. I am here to satisfy your curiosity as there is much that you don’t know and no one deserves to hear the truth more than you.”
Queen Selenity then looked somberly but happily at her daughter. “I am also here to tell you exactly what you all have become and the new future that you now face.”
The Senshi’s hearts skipped a few beats from what was just said as the Queen became more solemn with each passing word. “Everything has now changed . . . I have come to properly set you at the beginning of a long and difficult, but unique journey.”
The Queen’s eyes glistened, “You have really exceeded expectations.” Her face fell into seriousness again, “And it is time to prepare yourselves.”