AN: This is for Reddit June prompt. My three words to use were: Tell, horror, freighter.
As always, I don't own Sailor Moon.
*Two weeks ago*
Minako sat down behind the desk. "I wonder what the Silver Crystal looks like." Usagi shrugged as she opened the safe. "I guess like any other crystal." Minako crossed her arms. "Do you think it really has the power to reset time?" Usagi said. "If it does, what time will we go back to? Will we relive what has already happened or will we be able to change the course of history? I'm not sure if I want to change history." She closed the safe.
Minako said. "Why? Wouldn't that be awesome to stop some of those awful things from happening? Maybe we could prevent a world war! Maybe we can prevent your grandparents' home from burning and they wouldn't have to move." Usagi walked to the desk with a box in hand. "Yes, but if they hadn't moved, then my parents would have never met." Minako slumped down in the chair. Usagi said. "We can't go back and prevent every unpleasant thing."
Placing the box on the table, she said. "This is the sixth box. You ready?" Minako nodded, "Of course! Hurry up so we can go on the next adventure!" Usagi unlocked the box. Opening it, they found a journal and a key. The first page read:
"Box number seven
Guarded by a beast
Thirsting for a feast
Frozen in place
By a broken heart"
Minako said. "Maybe the beast needs to find true love. Like Beauty and the Beast." Usagi shook her head. "I hope whatever this month brings, that it's better than last month." Minako blinked as if she didn't remember, even though Usagi knew she did. Usagi reminded her anyway. "Murder hornets, Minako. Murder hornets chased us." Minako shrugged. "Well, we survived and now have a tale of horror to tell. How bad can this month's adventure be?"
*Three days ago*
They sat at a cafe, sipping their drinks. Minako said. "The clues in this journal so far indicate the next box is in a freighter. I just can't figure out this next clue. I can't read it at all." Usagi grabbed the journal, rotated it, then handed it back to her. Minako chuckled. "Heh. I knew it was upside down."
A familiar voice spoke. "Hey! What are you ladies up to?" They looked up to see Motoki and Mamoru. Minako said. "We're on an adventure!" Motoki smiled. "What kind of adventure?" Minako looked around, then lowered her voice. "We're searching for the legendary Silver Crystal. It is said to be very powerful. So powerful, it can reset time. Each box leads us to the next, which will eventually lead us to the crystal. We're on the hunt for the next box." Motoki nodded. "Sounds cool. Is it dangerous?" Usagi said. "Last month murder hornets chased us." Minako waved her hand. "Pfft. Don't listen to her. She's being dramatic." Mamoru looked wide eyed at Usagi, mouthing "Murder hornets?" She nodded. They watched as Minako easily convinced Motoki to join them. Motoki faced Mamoru. "What do you think? Sounds fun, doesn't it?" Mamoru shook his head. "No." Motoki faced Minako, "What's the next clue?" She handed him the journal. He read it and said. "I'm confident the clue is saying the freighter is a cargo ship. Those are only docked in one place and I have a buddy who will give us access."
Minako exclaimed as he handed the journal back. "This will be so much fun!" Motoki said. "Give me a couple of days to get us access and then we can search for the next box."
Mamoru mumbled as Motoki and Minako went ahead of them. "This will be fun, they said." Usagi giggled. He looked at her, "Why are you searching for this crystal?" She shrugged. "If it really is powerful, then it needs to be properly locked away. What if it hadn't been Minako who got the first box? What if it had been someone like Beryl?" Mamoru grimaced. "That would be a disaster." Usagi nodded as they searched the deck of the ship.
Mamoru asked. "How did you end up being chased by murder hornets?" Usagi sighed. "The clue stated a nest guarded the next box. We had been searching for hours and hadn't found the box. Aa a last ditch effort before giving up, Minako thought the box might have been inside the nest." Mamoru winced as she continued. "So, she grabbed a bat and hit that nest like it was a pinata. Needless to say, the murder hornets weren't happy about it." Mamoru shook his head. "How did you get rid of them?" Usagi shrugged. "We didn't. It was the last day of the month and at midnight they just… vanished. The instructions for each box of Pandora is to not open it until the first day of the next month." Mamoru slowly nodded, then went wide eyed as he faced her. "Pandora? Usagi, why would you two open any box of Pandora's?"
She shrugged. "Partly because Minako had already opened the first one, and the world didn't end. Partly because what if there is a powerful crystal? It doesn't need to fall into the wrong hands. Besides, whatever Minako unleashes will vanish at midnight." Mamoru shook his head. "Usagi, if the box is for the entire month, then wouldn't whatever she unleashed, stick around until the end of the month? We'll be stuck with whatever she angers for the next two weeks." Usagi blanched. "We need to find her." Adjusting her cross-body bag, she took a step, but stopped when she heard a click behind them.
A man spoke. "You're not going anywhere."
Motoki shook his head. "I think this piece will go there." Minako tried the piece he handed her and smiled. "It does!" They high-fived. Motoki asked. "Do you think completing this puzzle will reveal the next box?" She shrugged. "We're about to find out. There are nine pieces remaining." As she placed them, she said. "At first I thought these didn't go with this puzzle, but they clearly do. Who would have thought, in a solid red heart-shaped puzzle, that nine pieces with a snake head on each one would go in it?"
He furrowed his brow. There was something he couldn't quite remember from history class. Was it the time they studied mythology? Ahh, he couldn't remember, but he had the feeling the information would have come in handy right now. If only he had studied his textbook more. Instead, he had spent the semester studying Reika. He looked over as Minako exclaimed. "Finished!"
They whirled around at the sound of ice cracking. Loud hissing echoed through the air as ice shattered. They took a few steps back, eyes on the door to the next room. Whatever it was, was in that room. Suddenly, an enormous eye looked at them through the window.
Motoki shrieked, "What the hell is that?" She blinked. "I… don't… know." Moments later, the beast burst through the door. He glared. "You said this wasn't dangerous!" Minako kept her eyes on the beast, nervously chuckling as they continued backing away. "Well, there's always some danger." Motoki glared at her. "Some danger? That thing is danger incarnate." The beast hissed, and they ran screaming at the top of their lungs.
When they reached the deck of the ship, they froze upon seeing Usagi and Mamoru being held at gunpoint by Jadeite and Nephrite. Jadeite smirked. "Hand over the box and your friends will live." Minako shook her head. "We don't have the box." Jadeite raised an eyebrow. "Oh, really? Then why did you run out of there?" Motoki said. "Because she woke the beast guarding the box."
Usagi and Mamoru blanched. Nephrite chuckled. "Well, you're going to have to face that beast and get us the box." Mamoru asked. "Why do you want the box? I thought you were after the rainbow crystals." Nephrite shrugged. "We are, but since you're after them too, we've been keeping an eye on you. Now that you're after the silver crystal, maybe we should go after it too."
The statement confused Usagi and Minako. Rainbow crystals? Usagi asked. "What are the rainbow crystals?" Jadeite laughed. "This is great. How do you intend to work together while keeping secrets?" Motoki tilted his head. "You know, you never told me what the box looks like." Jadeite laughed even harder. "You're looking for a box and you don't even know what it looks like!" Motoki replied. "Neither do you." Minako perked up. "Oh, it's…"
Usagi yelled for Minako to shut up, but it was too late. Minako had rattled the description off so fast. Nephrite smirked. "Thank you for the information." Mamoru and Motoki were wide eyed. Mamoru said. "Motoki, you and Minako go home. Usagi and I will take care of things here." Motoki nodded. "Understood" Minako shook her head, but Motoki whispered. "He has a plan. I'll explain once we're safely away from those guys and that beast you awakened." She nodded.
As if being summoned, the beast broke through the deck between the two groups, making everyone fall. Jadeite and Nephrite fired shots at the beast. Motoki took advantage of the distraction, grabbed Minako and jumped overboard. He hoped the plan worked and was glad their role in it was to stay out of the way.
Mamoru was relieved to see Motoki and Minako get off the ship unnoticed by the beast. However, when Nephrite ran out of bullets and drew his sword, he yelled. "Nephrite, don't!" Nephrite sliced a head of the beast off, and then another. His victory was short-lived when the heads regenerated. The first neck had regenerated two heads. The second had regenerated four. Nephrite staggered backwards. "What the hell is this thing? It's like Medusa on steroids."
Mamoru said. "That thing is Hydra." Usagi asked. "Do you know how to kill it?" He nodded. "Cut off its head." Nephrite yelled while jumping out of the way of one of the newly regenerated heads. "I just did that, and it didn't work!" Mamoru said. "Burn the neck once the head is gone. That will prevent regeneration." Usagi said. "Since Nephrite is the only one with a sword, the three of us can burn the necks as he cuts the heads off."
Nephrite waited until all three were ready with torches and then he began cutting off the heads again. Eventually, only three heads remained. Nephrite breathed heavily and barely jumped out of the way when Hydra tried to strike. Swinging, he cut the head off and Usagi was there with a torch to burn the neck. Jadeite nodded. "Two to go." As Nephrite cut one head, and Jadeite burned its neck, the remaining serpent swung, throwing Usagi overboard. Mamoru looked at the two and Nephrite said. "Go, we got this." Mamoru handed his torch to Jadeite and jumped off of the ship. Nephrite said. "Once we take care of this, we'll search the ship and get the box." Jadeite smiled, nodding, as they finished the beast.
Mamoru swam to Usagi, relieved she knew how to swim. Reaching her, he asked. "Are you okay?" Nodding, she said. "Yes. We need to hurry and get back on board. Once they finish it off, they'll look for the box." Whispering in her ear, he said. "It isn't on the ship. Motoki and I found it. It's in the cave over there. We need to stay underwater for as long as possible." Nodding, she said. "I'm not that fast of a swimmer." He said. "Then hold on to me." She held onto his back and they each breathed deeply before going under.
Usagi paddled with her legs to help so she wouldn't be dead weight. Although, if they didn't surface soon, she might be dead. Her lungs were burning, and she wasn't sure how much longer she could hold her breath. Tapping him on the shoulder, she signaled for him to surface. He did, and Usagi gasped for air.
Entering the cave, Usagi collapsed on her knees, clutching her sides. Mamoru was by her side instantly. "I should have swam to shore and we could have walked around to get here." She shook her head. "I'm fine." Sighing, he examined her. "You're not fine. It seems Hydra may have fractured a few ribs." She waved her hand. "Go get the box. When Jadeite and Nephrite realize the box isn't on the ship, they'll search the area and come after us."
Mamoru dug up the box. Usagi nodded. "That's it." Placing the box in her bag, she grimaced at the contents being soaked. At least the bag had been zipped closed and nothing was lost. Wincing at the pain as she stood, Usagi began to walk away. She blinked in confusion when Mamoru grabbed her hand. Pulling her to him, he kissed her. Usagi ignored the pain and wrapped her arms around his neck. She was thoroughly enjoying the kiss until someone rudely interrupted it.
"How touching. I believe you have something I want." Breaking the kiss, they glared at the intruder. Mamoru growled. "Kunzite." Kunzite chuckled. "You shouldn't be surprised to see me." Mamoru shook his head. "No, can't say I am. You four seem to travel in a pack. Where's Zoisite?" Kunzite shrugged, "Who knows. Now give me the box."
Mamoru shook his head. "No." Usagi said. "I have an idea." She pulled out two boxes from her bag. "One box is the box we just retrieved, and the other is the old box. In the old box is the key that unlocks the next box. You pick the box you want." Mamoru harshly whispered. "Usagi," She said. "The next box cannot be opened until the first day of the next month. It doesn't matter which you choose, our paths will still cross. Choose the next box and you must come after us for the key. Choose the old box and we'll have to go after you for the key."
Kunzite crossed his arms. "What's the catch?" Usagi said. "Leave us alone for the rest of this month. We use this time to relax and recover from fighting that beast." Kunzite nodded, noticing she held one box closer to her. Reaching for the box she held closer to her, he said. "Then I choose this one." Kunzite left with the box and Mamoru said. "Usagi, what were you thinking?" She smiled, then winked. "Let's find Minako and Motoki. They're probably worried about us."
Minako threw her arms around Usagi. "I'm so glad you're alive! We were beginning to think you were dead." Letting go of her friend, Minako asked. "Are you okay?" Usagi nodded. "Yeah, Hydra knocked me overboard and I might have a fractured rib or two." Minako gasped. "I'm so sorry!" Motoki said. "What happened?" Mamoru told him what transpired after he and Minako jumped ship. Motoki blinked. "You worked together with Jadeite and Nephrite?" He nodded. "Nephrite cut the heads off while the rest of us burned the necks."
Minako sighed. "It's kind of cool though." Usagi glared. "Cool? How is being attacked by a 9 headed serpent cool?" Mina frowned, "Yeah, that part isn't cool, but the mythical creature is real. What else is real? Hercules?" She clasped her hands together. "Maybe he'll be our hero!" Usagi rolled her eyes, "Or maybe I can find the silver crystal and start this year over."
Motoki said. "Didn't Hercules slay hydra?" Minako slumped her shoulders as Mamoru nodded, saying. "He did." Motoki said. "Did you get the box?" Mamoru nodded. "We did, but Kunzite showed up and Usagi let him have it." Minako screeched. "You did what?" Usagi held her hands up. "I told him to choose a box. Choose the old box, and we'll have to go after them for the key. Choose the next box and they must come after us for the key. The box he chose was the old one. On the condition they leave us alone for the rest of the month."
Minako was angry. "How could you?" Usagi dug around in her bag. "When I was thrown overboard by Hydra, it jarred the box open. I never put the stuff back in it." Holding up a key, she said. "We have the next box and the key that unlocks it."
AN: Thank you for reading.
I've decided to continue this and write the other 11 boxes.