She was standing motionless at the foot of the old stronghold where just hours before, the greatest tragedy of her life had taken place. A strong wind carrying tons of dust was waving her short blonde hair. Her eyes were dull, devoid of any expression; indifferent. She knew that what had happened had been fate, and yet she still could not be reconciled with it. The fields surrounding the fortress were covered with armies of soldiers and grotesque demons. Everyone had hateful eyes in which the power of their leader – The Queen of Darkness – was mirrored. But the woman didn’t feel fear. She was gripping the sword set with jewels tightly.
“Everything began suddenly, although everyone had known for hundreds of years that this moment would come. This was written in the scriptures, taught by the aged masters of the Silver Millennium. The evil approached from the blue planet, craving the lost longevity and power. The army of bloodthirsty demons changed the peaceful state into a land of death and despair. ”
The night sky was twinkling with thousands of stars and the gentle wind was moving the branches of bushes and trees that surrounded the verandah of the palace. The fountain hidden in the darkness filled the space with a pleasant noise. A young, turquoise-haired woman was looking at the blue planet hovering above the horizon. That night, the planet was looking like made of crystal. The girl ran her fingers along the icy marble railing, humming an old song.
“You cannot sleep again…” She heard the voice coming from deep inside the garden.
After a moment, she saw the woman with short, blonde hair immerge from the shadows. They met each other on the small stone staircase.
“It’ll begin shortly, right?” the blonde asked.
Her friend lowered her eyes. “You already know.”
“Pluto came back to the Gates. This means it’ll be over soon.”
“We must also return to our castles, perhaps for centuries...”
The girl could not look her friend in the eyes; she was hiding something. It was apparent that whatever was on her mind was troubling her immensely, but she refused to reveal the thoughts tormenting her. Only the monotonous humming of the fountain was breaking the silence. At last, her companion put hands on her shoulders and tried to force her to look her in the face.
“Why are you refusing to talk, Neptune? After all...”
The turquoise-haired girl looked at her with eyes full of tears. “Uranus, do not…” Her voice cracked at every word. “Let us not go back to the castles… let us not go back there, please!”
“What are you saying? This is an order; we cannot oppose it. You know, I don’t like the fact that we’ll just be waiting, unable to fight, but we cannot-” Uranus raised her voice.
“That is not my point!” Neptune interrupted her firmly. “Don’t you understand what the return will mean for us? We’ll be separated, perhaps forever. Do you want it to happen this way?” She started trembling, instinctively embracing herself with her arms.
“But if we don’t go back, we’ll be facing death. You know that we can’t stop them, not now.”
Neptune embraced her friend, her head nuzzled between her breasts.
“We may die, but we would be together...” The tears finally started flowing down her cheeks. “And if some second life exists…” She started to sob uncontrollably.
“Then we’ll be able to be together again.”
“Neptune…” Whispered Uranus.
From then on, they said nothing. They kissed deeply, longingly; as if they hadn’t touched for eons. They stayed locked this way, looking like two marble statues fusing together. The wind blew stronger, dropping leaves from the nearby trees; the sounds of the fountain merged with the noise of the surrounding meadows.
“Visions of war. War of the Earth with the Moon. Darkness flooding the Silver Planet, Metalia’s power backing her huge armies. The infernal laughter and the frenzy of Queen Beryl engulfing all cities. Her eyes paralyzing defenders of the Silver Millennium with fear. Pillars of fire consuming thousands of houses, the inferno spreading out of control. The march of the Generals; the very leaders once allied with this world, now its torturers. Symbols of the Silver Moon drowning in the blaze. The annihilation of a civilization, and the beginning of the new order…”
A stronghold engulfed in blackness was lit only by the glitter of a few torches attached to the walls. In the distance, one could see hordes of the enemy army coming near. The sounds of their approach was heightened by the sinister-sounding anthem of the Kingdom of the Earth, carried with the wind. At first it was barely audible, but the chant echoed off of the walls of the castle as the assailants came closer.
The blonde, now in a sailor senshi uniform, was standing at the top of the highest tower of the fortress. She was looking into the darkness, waiting expectantly. The cold wind reflected from the stone walls and carried a sorrowful melody of mourning. Not far from her, the air rippled and a dark portal appeared. A man in uniform with long, auburn hair immerged from it. Uranus looked at him with a mocking smile.
“I can see that you managed to convince them. It’s remarkable how much they believe in your prophecies.” she said.
The man put his hands in his pockets and stayed in place, the darkness hiding his face.
“I didn’t do anything important; I simply explained that the army should take the road leading by this stronghold. It will delay Kunzite capturing the capital city for at least half an hour… and these are not just prophecies, but the will of Fate; even you asking for my help has played its part.” He replied.
“You may believe in your stars.” She said. Nephrite only smiled.
“This world was so beautiful. I remember how I arrived here with Endymion once...” At a time like this, he wanted to start a conversation. Nephrite moved closer to Uranus; the torch was illuminating his entire silhouette.
“Enough!” shouted Uranus. The man reopened a portal before him.
“You’ll be able to fulfill your desire, and the moment of delay will give the Queen time for the preparation of the Ginzuishou. Everything will finally end...” With these last words, he began to slowly disappear.
“Wait! I want to ask you something...” She extended a hand to him.
“Yes?” He smirked. In his eyes some infernal flash appeared.
“How can you bear this double infidelity; first, Endymion, and now Metalia? How can you live with this?”
He just laughed. “Live? You know that in a few hours, none of it will matter. I take no sides; the light, the darkness... It’s not important who will win, everything will end the same. Serenity and Metalia are only puppets in the hands of destiny. It is the will of the stars. Remember: the stars know everything.” The man looked at the sky. Uranus noticed as a tear slid down his cheek.
“I pity you, demon.” She lowered her head. The air waved and Nephrite disappeared. The wind was playing with the girl’s short hair.
Koukai wa shiteinai
Anata to susunda michi dakara
Kimerareshi hoshi no shita
Jiai wa umareru mae kara sadame no senshi
Uranus and Neptune were standing on the wall, holding their talismans. They watched the forces of Queen Beryl coming nearer. Their hearts were beating as if they were one. They knew that what they planned to do was good and they couldn’t hesitate. A moment of weakness from either of them could destroy the entire plan. They had to act as a single unit, with one body and soul.
“You can free the huge strength of your talismans. When they fall into resonance with each other, the released energy will be so great that it can wipe out an entire city. However, the wielders will evaporate from the surface of the Earth. Therefore, it is not allowed to concentrate their powers.”
They remembered the words of Pluto, words she often repeated while teaching them how to use their talismans. They didn’t think that it could ever be done in practice.
“Neptune, are you sure it’ll stop them?”
“No, but perhaps it’ll weaken them enough that Queen Serenity will be able to destroy them with the Crystal. The new reality won’t be written by darkness.” The girls looked at each other one last time. The talismans started shining with a holy glitter.
A few demons rose up into the sky. Attacked the senshi with venomous spikes, the whistle of membranous wings and the roar of mouths full of teeth permeating the air. The blow from an attack affecting Uranus; falling, she hit the hard stone floor of the stronghold. Pain… her left leg. Confusion. Chopping with the sword blindly. The blood of demons splattering, their bodies breaking against walls.
“Neptune! What are you waiting for? Free the strength of your talisman! Quick! Before it is too late!”
Next assault of the sword. And the next. Demons are falling down dead. Uranus turns around. Beryl’s furious soldiers running straight for her. Clang of swords, breaking of armors. People are falling down. The girl can’t see that behind her, one demon is still alive. His sword is reaching her. Time stopped.
Sound of a shattering mirror is heard; the holy glitter of the talisman is disappearing. Red blood and the cascade of emerald hair. Fragile body falling down to the ground.
“World Shaking!” Uranus cast the spell, ripping the armor of the soldiers to shreds. A moment of insight; the girl stuck her sword into the ground. A huge energy barrier surrounded the stronghold from the rest of world.
“Why? Why have you done it? You had a chance to finish it!”
Uranus was holding her companion tightly in her arms, a flood of tears pulsating in her blues eyes. Neptune looked up at her lover, her beautiful face marked with red.
“I could not... I could not let you die in such a disgraceful way… I simply could not.” The girl pronounced her words with great effort, eyes watering.
“Do not cry.” Uranus chided, but she could not refrain her own tears.
Uranus was sitting in one of the chambers of the fortress, looking at her beloved all the time. Neptune was lying on the floor on a feathery carpet, her bandaged wound no longer bleeding. Unfortunately, the blood loss left the girl unconscious. Turquoise hair scattered everywhere, it surrounded a frail, pale face. The blonde looked at her with eyes red and blurry.
“Neptune, I can fight no more. I cannot stand up before them without you; it wouldn’t make sense. After all, you promised that we would walk away together. Why couldn’t you keep your word?” She put her head on her lover’s breast.
“If you’re not by me, I’ll truly lose my mind. Don’t leave me alone.”
She started to sob once again. Air in the chamber waved. After a moment, Nephrite appeared. Light from the magic lamp granted some demonic, supernatural expression to his face.
“How did you get here? The barrier from the talisman is...” Uranus got up. The general leaned against the stone wall.
“Impenetrable? Maybe it is for soldiers and demons, but you forget that I am elite; belonging to neither the light nor the darkness.” He corrected his wind-swept hair. Shadows cast from him and the girl danced on the wall, looking like bizarre creatures.
“I came to you to say that tomorrow, perhaps the day after tomorrow, everything will be over. The palace will fall shortly. Kunzite and Jadeite already have control of the majority of the areas. Supposedly, the Inner Senshi no longer live; precisely as I read it in stars. Remarkable, isn’t it?”
“Why did you come here? To gloat over my pain? I can kill you at any time, you know I can!” Uranus didn’t hold back the fury from her words. She didn’t care anymore; she wished only for peace. Nephrite remained stoic.
“You are worse than Zoisite.” He replied ironically. “I simply came to say goodbye to you and your emerald angel.” He looked at the unconscious Neptune. “Her hair is like the meadows surrounding the palace, wouldn’t you agree?” He said with a note of sadness. “I will reveal you what stars told me recently: Your hearts are saved; you will revive at one time happy, because you are following the light. As for me...”
He hesitated. “…although I am a winner in this battle, I’ll be condemned for eternity. But the stars will be with me, regardless of where I am. Isn’t it beautiful? Spending my entire life only with the stars; they will never disappoint. They will always stay with you, no matter which side you are on… unlike people...“
He performed a gesture and looked at the sky. But this time he noticed only the old ceiling of the castle chamber.
“You are crazy.” Uranus replied incredulous.
“Yes, but Fate is also deciding on that.” He laughed and disappeared in to the black portal. Uranus sat down on the carpet by her friend. She started gently stroking her face and then playing with her hair.
“Could you hear him, Neptune? We are saved. We’ll be happy someday. And I heard it from the mouth of one of the people who has led to our deaths. Has it any meaning?”
Neptune opened her eyes. She caught the hand stroking her hair.
“Certainly, it has meaning.” Neptune smiled sadly. The blonde opened her mouth, but was unable to get any sound out. The turquoise-haired girl slowly raised her head. She clenched the hand of her companion. “Since I have known you, I’ve been in heaven all the time...”
Uranus tried to stop the flood of tears.
“The kingdom of Darkness can take everything away from us; our home, power, life. But it cannot take our love. And because of that, Nephrite is probably jealous.” The words tired her out. She put her head back down on the floor.
“Neptune, we’ll still be able to carry out our plan. You need to rest.” The blonde girl stated hopefully.
Her beloved shook her head. “No, my time is already ending. I feel the power of Metalia from the sword destroying my body. But...” She looked at Uranus more carefully. “You must fulfill the rest of our plan alone, Uranus. Swear to me you’ll do it...”
The blonde wiped a tear with hand and leaned over her friend.
“I swear.” She bent over her, moving her face down to her lover’s. She smiled.
“Let me give you the courage you need...” Their lips met in a gentle caress for the last time.
“Perform the final task. Rescue our future.”
Uranus ran out to the balcony of the chamber. An icy wind enfolded her from every side. Her heart was pounding. She wanted to howl, to hit the wall with her fists, to scream. She wanted to be far away from the place where she had to say goodbye to Neptune. She looked at the river flowing beneath the stronghold. She wanted to jump.
“Serenity, Pluto, Nephrite, anybody...” In thought she summoned her acquaintances and friends for help. The entire world seemed to be falling down around her. She fell down on her knees and started crying quietly.
After some time, she returned to the chamber. She looked down at her dead companion. She smiled.
“I will rescue our future, darling.”
She ran in the direction of the exit from the stronghold. She looked at moving hordes of soldiers and demons. She gripped the sword, preparing for the attack. For the last time, she looked at the stronghold, the night sky and meadows of the Moon overrun by strange invaders.
“I’m coming to you, Neptune!” the Sword started to glow with bright gleam. Enemies moved with a simultaneous roar, surrounding her. Suddenly, the entire field was engulfed by the intense light.
“You will revive at one time happy, because you are following the light.”
“I thank you, Nephrite”
Kono unmei wa utsukushiku
watashi no namida o
Haruka Tenou woke up, dripping with sweat. She looked around the room. It was the middle of the night. Light from the nearby lamp post flowed through the partly closed curtains. Silence of the summer night was broken only by the barely audible music reaching from some distant flat. The girl looked in the direction of her alarm clock on the cupboard.
“Three in the morning. There’s no way I can fall back asleep…” She looked at her Michiru lying beside her. She smiled to herself as she gently caressed her lover’s face.
The woken girl opened her eyes. “Haruka, did something happen?” She rose up to a sitting position on the bed.
“I had a dream about the distant past. But it’s not important.” She pulled Michiru to her body.
“What are you doing?”
“Tell me where you want to go tomorrow, what do you want to buy. I will grant your every request.” Haruka said gladly.
“Where is this sudden generosity coming from? - Michiru asked surprised.
“Why? Because an angel is with me.” The girls nestled into each other. A musical piece coming from the window ended. After a moment, another one began, calmer.
Unmei ni kansha shitai
Anata to meguriaeta kara
Itsuwari no seijaku o kowashite
Futari de kachitoru shinjitsu no heiwa