AN: I had this idea coming when I realised that in "A Hazard of Hearts" the main character was called Serena and in the american version of "SM" Usagi is being translated with Serena. And from there on it just flowed. I kind of like Jane Austen as well and when I was at a loss for names I might have nicked on or the other character from her.

This whole project was merely meant to practise my writing in English.

Reviews welcome (they might keep me going :-p )

Happy reading.

Serenity's Hazard of Hearts

An anxious feeling

Anxiously, Serena awaited her dad coming back.

He was out for the night, leaving her and her family alone.

"I need to get some more money", he said. She knew what that meant.

Gambling. He would always gamble as if it was his life's purpose.

Why would he not cherish the life he had? Usagi often wondered.

Here she was, 14 years of age with a dad who had a lovely wife and two - in her eyes - wonderful children. Granted, sometimes she wondered if her little baby brother Shingo really was all that lovely. But then again, despite all the trouble he made, she loved him to bits. And her mom, she didn't even want to start with. She was love in person. She would make everyone feel at home and welcome. She would care for every single person in the world if she had the means for it. Sadly though, she didn't have the means. While her heart was as big as the universe, her wallet was as small as a mustard seed. In fact, sometimes it wasn't her wallet anymore at all, because her dad would steal it away in the middle of the night to hurry out on another important mission of gambling away their last penny.

Little did she know that this night was even worse than any other night. There was a certain anxiety in the air. She could feel it. And it was not the anxiety she would feel when she was afraid someone had discovered her well kept little secret.

If anyone would have known who she really was, they would have either been scared to death or she could be burned alive, misjudged as a witch even. As long as her secret was safe, she was safe. The secret of her identity, who she really was, a princess from another world.

Mind you, her teachers would not have had the slightest problem testifying that by all means there could not possibly be a princess as clumsy and lazy as she was. For a princess must know how to sew, how to dance, how to play piano, how to write diplomatic letters, how to read with an air of royalty and even more so: a princess has to be the daughter of royal blood. And surely, her dad was a lot of things, but not royal blood.

Her dad was known to be a poor gambler, one that could never say no to a challenge, even if it was crystal clear from the very beginning, that he would never in a million years win. What was more important: he was not her real dad. But he must never find out. No one must ever find out. If she would have to say, her dad was not her real dad, she would have to say also that her mother and little brother weren't her family by blood.

Her real mother was dead. Killed in an attack that destroyed her whole kingdom. A kingdom full of love, magic, friendship, wisdom and power. Oh, how her mother was the wisest person she had ever met. But these were times past. As far as she knew there were no survivors but her. She had lost track of her guardians and her advisers.

She did, however, find her mom before she was killed. The last act of her mother was to hand her, Princess Serenity, the silver crystal to protect herself.

When she saw everything around her dead and bombed to ruins she used all the power of the crystal she could muster to teleport to Earth and to implant memories of her into her new family and the surrounding area so she could blend in. She still didn't know who attacked and destroyed her kingdom, but she knew enough of the world to understand that she would be in danger if ever anyone found out she was alive.

Despite that, if anyone from the Moon Kingdom would have seen her, they still would have recognised these sparkling blue eyes and the silver golden hair that almost glowed, especially in the moonlight. Though she hid her forehead's crescent moon, she still kept the air of royal authority with her when she remembered who she really was.

And this night, she remembered. This anxious feeling, that something terrible was going to happen was still lingering all around her. Wherever she went, wherever she looked, she expected something terrible. It felt like the night before the attack. Something was going to happen that would change her life.

Something was threatening her home.

So why could her dad not just come back? Why could he not end her agony and come back with the bad news, however bad it was?

Serena looked out of her windows and gazed into the sky. It was a beautiful night sky, the moon shining brightly above her. Again, her thoughts drifted back to her lost past … and that is how she finally fell asleep, dreaming of moon unicorns, moon roses, night dances, her friends and guardians and her most beloved advisor, Luna.

The next morning came with a glorious sunrise and with that a wonderful breakfast made by her mother. But during that breakfast also came a very out of breath cousin, Motoki.

He burst through the door, not even bothering to take off his coat or shoes. "Serena, I need to talk to you! And then I need to talk to you all! Quickly!"

He seemed desperate, really in a hurry, yet frightened.

She led him upstairs into her room. Hastily he put his things down and remembered his manners. He gave her his usual big cousin hug, although she felt that his hug was more fierce and somehow stronger than before.

She hated when people wouldn't just tell her what was wrong.

"Motoki!" she begged, "Just tell me what is wrong! Will you now?"

"Serena, you have to marry me instantly. I already organised a priest who would be willing to serve and we can get married at a little chapel just outside London."

"What?" What was wrong with him? If Serena expected bad news, she most certainly didn't expect this. Not that it was an unwelcome proposal, but it wasn't the end of the world. Was that really all?

"Motoki!" she began using an air of royal authority with her. "We are very close and I do like you very much, but marriage is more than just liking each other. And I do not understand the haste you make. That leads me to the conclusion that something else is amiss. Will you please tell me what on earth is going on?" There, she made her little speech, trying to sound very serious and using a tone that would leave no room for talking around the subject.

"Serena, oh, how do I tell you? Dreadful news!"

"Motoki, just tell me, starting at the very beginning." She was almost there. Just a few more seconds, and she would discover the reason for her anxiety yesterday evening.

"Serena, it's your father." Motoki stopped, becoming sad and angry at the same time. "He… he… your father is dead."

"He what?" Serena saw the world crumble around her, again. Her father was dead? "What do you mean, dead? What happened?"

And so Motoki could do nothing else, but tell her the whole story.

"Yesterday night, he went to the Crown and met in the gambling room with others of his kind. But he didn't have much money with him and no one would lend him anything. And then a stranger came in. His name was Diamond and he offered him to gamble his house against an equivalent huge sum of money. Your dad accepted."

Serena stopped breathing. Diamond. What a coincidence. A funny name for a person living in London. But wait, her father gambled away the house?

Motoki went on, "Of course you know already that your father would lose. We all know he is an impatient and terrible gambler and that is why everyone took advantage of him."

"So, you are telling me now, that we have to leave our home because he gambled away the house?"

"No, worse, Serena."
Really, what could be worse?

"After he lost, this gentleman Diamond asked him who would live in the house, disguising his enquiries as concern for the wellbeing of the people living here. When your father mentioned you, this gentleman became interested and offered him an incredible deal. He offered him your hand in marriage for a chance to win back everything else he lost that night. And he accepted."

Serena stopped breathing again. "He what?" She couldn't believe it. "Oh my goodness! Motoki, are you serious? He gambled me off to a stranger?" She really couldn't believe it. It took a few seconds for her to process what she had just heard.

"I'm a human being" Well, she thought, as far as everyone else is concerned… "I can't just be gambled away! I will not marry a complete stranger!"

Boy, she was angry! How could her father have done this? He was supposed to look after her!

Motoki interrupted her. "Serena, that's not the worst."

Serena was struck with dread. "Not the worst? It gets worse?"

"Yes", Motoki confessed, "This gentleman Diamond seemed a nice enough man, considering he was giving your father a chance to win everything back. But after he won you, someone else interrupted them. It was Lord Endymion."

"Oh no, this is getting worse and worse." This was the point where Serena became really worried. Lord Endymion was known for being ruthless, emotionless and normally he got what he wanted. He didn't care for the cost and his wealth was incredible. He lived in a big estate with his mother by the sea a few hours south of London. His father died some years ago of a heart attack and he inherited everything. While his father was said to be a gentle and loving character, his son was said to know the ways of a gentleman only to make women fall in love with him. There were many women who fancy themselves important enough to be a match for him, but as soon as he had them falling for him, he would dismiss them. It was said that he is not a man of many words, and when words leave his mouth they were rarely nice. It was even said that he was more a man of fists than a man of his word.

"Serena, Lord Endymion challenged Diamond. He didn't want to in the beginning, but was advised by various people that he should never decline an offer from Lord Endymion. He felt pressured and accepted the offer. And you know Lord Endymions luck. He won. He won your hand and the house with everything that is in it. Your father left the room in a frenzy and I stayed behind to see what Lord Endymion's plan was. The next thing we heard was a gunshot. Your father shot himself because he could not bear the shame he had brought over you."

"My mother and Shingo." Serena had tears in her eyes. Yes, she was in a mess, but her little innocent brother and her wonderful mother as well? She wanted them to be safe!

"No, Serena. They are still free to do whatever, but they will lose their home. This is, Serena, why I want you to marry me. It will save you, your mother and Shingo!"

"Motoki!" Serena began. "Your act is an act of true selflessness. But I do know that there is a woman called Reika you fancy. And our marriage would be a sad one, for both of us, if we were to marry out of desperation."

Serena's heart broke. She knew it would make life more bearable for her to marry Motoki instead of a stranger. But this would eventually lead to a deep depression for Motoki, having to spend the rest of his life away from the person he really loved without having had a chance to court her.

"Serena, don't you see? You will be ruined and become a slave to Lord Endymion if we don't marry. And Reika has only eyes for Lord Endymion. She never looks at me twice."

"Still Motoki, you don't love me as a man should love a woman. And neither do I love you that way."

Serena was right. They were friends but nothing more. And she would not destroy another one's life just to ease her own. She already has seen too many lives destroyed.

She needed some time alone. So she sent Motoki back downstairs, telling him she would follow soon.

Revised: 2020-08-01