Title: Crescent Mirror
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"Ow," I complain and then catch my mother's slight head tilt, "I'm sorry, Luna, " I apologized and tried not to complain anymore.
"You wouldn't be hurting so much if you hadn't overdone it," Mina scolded from her corner where she was holding various shades of orange ribbons to her dress. Personally I couldn't tell any of them apart.
"Well if Ami hadn't made the course so intense!" I whined and then seeing Ami's face fall I changed my tone, "I really enjoyed it Ami chan!"
She smiled and I felt like I had just been given a present.
"We did give those boys a run for their money," She said simply and continued basting Goddess knows what to a headband.
"Well if you keep using that Cutie Moon Rod we don't need to fight the Negaverse, we can just nag them to death," Lita cracked her neck looking up from where she was discussing ribbons with Mina.
Mina smirked, "Is that thing still talking?"
"Yes!" I blew my bangs off my forehead in frustration, "I swear to the Goddess it told Endy to go get a haircut and treat us like ladies,"
Mama and Aunt Gaia pealed with laughter. Everyone joined in except Luna who had a mouth full of pins and gave me a weird smile.
"Have you not figured out how to make it stop?" Aunt Gaia asked with a smile playing on her lips that mirrored her son's so much I felt my knees go weak.
"No!" Lita snapped, "The blasted thing made comments on my lightening attack as well! It needs a muzzle,"
Mama laughed, "Sere bring me your Rod later. We'll see what we can do,"
"If only to save their engagement," Aunt Gaia added giggling. I stuck my tongue out at everyone to let them know I was done being made fun of.
"Has anyone seen Rei?" Ami piped up and we all looked at each other guilty. Several hours had passed since the "showdown" in the conference room and while I knew Jadeite would have attempted to speak to her by now…The rest of us had not tried.
I closed my eyes as Luna patted my back, "Finished, it fits like a dream," she spoke gently and I didn't even look at myself in the mirror as I was taken out of the dress. I took the offered tunic and flowing pants and belted it with a robe.
"Are you going to try and speak to her?" Mother asked as I pulled my pigtails out of the robe.
I sighed, "Someone besides Jadeite must risk himself—besides I know she wasn't trying to—" I trailed off. Rei hadn't exactly been out of line but she hadn't exactly been supportive either. The last thing we needed was more bickering amongst ourselves. If we allowed the Negaverse to disturb our balance how could we hope to triumph?
Your light…they will always come after your light…
I shook my head. The last thing I REALLY need was to obsess about the prophecy we had read in the Crystal Vaults. I overhead Mama telling Luna what had happened and Luna's reaction wasn't exactly heartwarming.
"Not to be Rei?" Mina offered helpfully. Lita and Ami rolled their eyes and I motioned that no one need to come.
"I'll be fine," I smiled cheerfully like playing dual monarch and best friend was an easy fun task.
I waved a quick farewell to my mother and Aunt as Luna went to break up the bickering that Mina and Lita were in the midst of.
"Honestly, Sele, I wonder if those girls will ever grow up," I heard Aunt Gaia comment as I exited the room.
I forced myself to keep a stiff face as I wandered the halls heading towards Rei's meditation chambers. I'm sure she would be in front of the fire trying to see what we were not seeing. Who or what was our real enemy? What was this interlude we were currently experiencing? How could we possibly have an engagement ball in honor of the Inner Princesses? How could we have an engagement ball period? I loved a dress and a dance as much as the next girl but I was literally overcome with attention all the time. I had already had enough drama without adding my own engagement announcement to it.
And, my inner voice added sounding suspiciously like the Cutie Moon Rod, why are you worrying about getting attention for your engagement when there are much greater things to worry about?
Scowling, I found myself in the white marble corridor of the Sacred Fire.
"That's wonderful expression, Sere. I hope you're not here to offer Rei any curdled milk," Jadeite piped up from a quiet side door.
I gave him a dirty look, "Haha Jadeite. So I guess she's not interested in any curdled milk?"
I gestured to the closed double door at the end of the hallway.
Jadeite rolled his eyes and ran a hand thru his already rumpled dark blonde curls, "Its like she can sense me coming,"
I anxiously looked over his uniform to see if there were any scorch or burn marks but found him suffiently clean.
"Psychically Sere—she's just getting better at it," Jadeite remarked sarcastically and rubbed his forehead in memory of the attack.
I stuck my tongue out at him, " You know sometimes I really don't like you," I complained wondering if I should tell Endy that Jadeite without Rei was a major pain in my ass.
"Well the feeling is mutual, Princess," Jadeite threw his hands up in frustration, "Sorry for being a jerk but maybe you can do better,"
I doubt it came the mental comment from Rei. We both winced with the harshness of it but clearly she wasn't adverse to me entering.
I'm coming in Rei chan, I announced and took a deep breath before presenting myself in front of the double doors.
Taking another deep cleansing breath I made an effort to clear my mind.
To the Sacred Fire I present myself
I, Serenity, daughter of Selenity, daughter of Selene announce myself
I enter clean of heart, mind, and spirit
I present myself to the Sacred Fire
Humble in my entrance and submit to Its Will
Enter Daughter of Selene and you may find that which you seek.
The door rumbled its response and I forced myself not to look back at Jadeite whose eyes were boring into my back.
I hastily removed my shoes and threw them to the side as the doors flung open and showed me the long hallway down to the humming glow at the end. Inside the shadows danced and wove around the long pillars flanking the red carpet to the fire.
I tentatively reached out with my mind and felt nothing hostile from Rei. I retreated before I could feel anything else. The hallway felt longer today. Longer and harder to traverse than it normally is.
The fire senses all that has been, all that is, and all that will be, my mother once told me when I was a small child. All the daughters of Mars have always had an affinity for the Soul of the Fire. Your friend Rei is no exception. Her mother, our beloved Countess, was consumed by the Fire and Rei has never quite forgiven her mother, her father, or the Fire for this. The Fire is her only solace because it connects her with her mother and her most bitter enemy for it also stole her mother.
I felt as if the Fire was responding to my memories and I worried that Rei was sensing what I was thinking. I didn't want her thinking that I was worried about her mental state—even though I obviously was.
"You're suppose to clear your mind before you enter this room," Rei's voice floated like a discombobulated entity towards me.
I sighed. Evidently she knew exactly what I was thinking and was definitely displeased with it.
"Did nothing Michiru teach you about meditation work Meatball head?" I nearly fell upon Rei as the Fire cast her into relief.
"Geez, Rei, you scared me," I stumbled to put a more safe distance between us as the Fire grew to twice its size.
"Twice the life force," was Rei's only comment as she continued to sit with her legs crossed and eyes closed. I noticed that she had traded her dress for traditional Miko robes and her hair was loose and flowing like the shadows across the white and red of her dress.
Rei didn't say anything else so I proceeded to sit down on a cushion near her.
We sat in silence. Out of the corner of my eyes I saw Rei's lips slowly moving. I knew she was chanting the Nine words of Power. When I was little I had tried to imitate the words of Power and found out much to my detriment why they were called words of power.
"I remember that—your mom thought that your eyebrows would never grow back and that your hair was permanently singed," Rei broke the silence.
I smiled at the shared memory. Luna thought I had killed myself.
"Do you remember how Ami got so frustrated that she nearly cried when no matter how hard she chanted the fire never responded to her?" I timidly brought up.
Rei gave a half smile but still did not open her eyes, "That's the only time she had ever failed at anything,"
I gave a small laugh and closed my eyes—basking in the glow of the fire.
We continued to sit like this and I saw the Fire dance behind my eyelids.
I felt a cool hand cover mine and I wordlessly held Rei's hand as we sat in the presence of the Fire. We were sisters, soldiers together in our seemingly eternal fight against the Negaverse. We would over come.
"Your Majesty," a timid youma's voice broke Beryl's trance and she snapped her mouth shut in frustration. Energy and blood dribbled down her pointed white chin and her long hands clenched in fury.
"How many times have I told you I must not be disturbed?" Beryl's voice was low and dark. The menacing threat froze the youma in his tracks and all he could manage was to stutter as he felt his life energy slipping away.
Beryl's lips spread open in pleasure as she absorbed the youma and his unnecessary information. She sighed and looked back to the Wiseman's orb again. For days she had been struggling to master it. To learn from it the secret of the Black Crystal that Wiseman was so incessant about mining. Why he was not happy with the Negaverse energy she would not care to understand. All she knew was that if Diamond, she scoffed to herself, and the Wiseman cared about than she too must care about it.
Rubeus's smirking face drifted across the face of the crystal and the little joy that Beryl had felt at consuming the youma disappeared as the red head's face drifted into the fog
So Rubeus was deciding to make himself useful after all…Beryl smirked to herself and tried not to purr in delight. She waved her long fingers over the orb again—how Wiseman could be so foolish as to leave this behind she could not understand. Momentarily she wondered if he would ever find his way out of the dimension she sent him to. With that break in her concentration the orb clouded over again and Beryl clenched her fists in frustration. Long red nails pierced white rock flesh and little drops of blood fell thoughtlessly onto Wiseman's Orb.
Beryl watched with a sick fascination as the Orb sucked up her blood and readily responded. Not energy but blood? She thought to herself as she focused on Rubeus. She saw him in the Control Panel programming youma and wondered if this accidental blood sacrifice could finally procure from Rubeus what she had been after since the beginning.
Rrrrrrubeus, she hissed telepathically and felt a harsh joy when she saw him stiffen and his brilliant red hair stand up as if full of static. I know your secret heart-I know what you hide in your mind. You believe in sssaving yourself but this is not possible unless you give yourself up to me…I am your only master…
Rubeus grabbed his heart and his breath came out in sharp gasps—No, not again! He thought desperately to himself. Would his will ever be his own? Rubeus felt his knees hit the sharp granite floors and he struggled to remain upright as the weight of Beryl's malicious maneuverings battled against his soul. It is no use…Was that his voice or the harpy?...There is only power and those who are too weak…
Weak…I was always too weak to say no…was Rubeus's last thought as he convulsed violently on the floor.
Beryl watched this transformation with growing satisfaction. This was her first true puppet. If this worked…her mind fast forwarded through a dozen dark images and settled on the one that kept her up at night. The midnight blue eyes that haunted her twilight hours. The chiseled jaw set in firm opposition to her desires.
"Oh yess, Endymion, I think I have found the key to your undoing…" Beryl purred as she saw Rubeus stand up and look into the space around him. His normally crimson eyes were a dead black.
"I am yours to command, my Queen," Rubeus announced to the darkness in a flat voice.
"I need to use your droids and stage an attack. We have a ball to attend,"
"Yes, your Majesty," Rubeus bowed low and clicked down the hall to reanimate certain droids. Beryl laughed gleefully to imagine those girls being used again. How perfect. Who knew her plans would fall into place so well?
Selenity, Queen of Luster
Selenity stopped dictating midsentence. She had felt a movement—a disturbance that rattled her very core. She forced herself to take some calming breaths and center herself. She willed herself to unclench her hands and managed to smile serenely at Luna.
Luna was not fooled. Her very black curls managed to drop as she clapped her hands once dismissing everyone else from the room. Once she managed to do she immediately hurried to Selenity's side. Dropping to her knees besides the throne Luna could not manage the words to ask what had happened—for surely it was a very desperate situation that would have caused the Queen to be so frightened.
"Is it—" Luna found the courage to squeak two words out voicing all her concern in those syllables.
Serenity. Always Serenity. The Darkness follows the Light of she who will be Queen.
Selenity took a deep breath, "Fetch Apollo, Lawrence, and Artemis. We must continue as planned. We cannot let the children know," Can we not give them this much? Allow them one night of frivolity?
Luna did not hesitate as she hastened from the room—wool rustling against silk as she obeyed her mistress's orders. Yet, Luna could not help but ponder if Serenity should be told. The girl was growing into an amazing young woman. Despite all her burdens had she not earned the right to be informed?
Selenity stood and paced the marble floors. Her lamb's wool slippers made no sound as she replayed the possibilities in her mind.
Queen Beryl was obviously plotting something nefarious for the Engagement ball tomorrow night. She had discovered something more sinister than her previous power. What was this being Metallia that could not be suppressed? Selenity's nails dug crescent moons into her palms. She stopped to ponder if she had been merely mortal—simply mortal and nothing more—would this have drawn blood? Could her pain have been released that way?
Selenity gasped—this is what Beryl had discovered. The being Metallia, her mother for all intensive purposes, fed on pain and despair. Such was the power of the Black Crystal and the Negaverse. Where the Silver Imperium Crystal existed on the power of love, the Black Crystal was truly its inverse—existing on the negative essence of life.
"Is it true?" Apollo had entered the room noiselessly with Artemis and Lawrence flanking his sides. Gaia fluttered over to Selenity and pulled her onto the lavender velvet chaise lounge.
"What have you learned?" Gaia asked scrutinizing her best friend's face. Decades together had taught Gaia every miniscule change in Selenity's peerless face.
Selenity felt her face crumple in a way she had not let the public ever see, "Our very worst fears have come true,"
Luna gasped and Gaia stood taller. So it was wall true. All the rumors and darkness that had been haunting them over almost two decades. This was their final moment. Apollo put one hand on Lawrence's shoulder before he went to his wife.
She turned to him and in that moment she was the guileless teenager he had found in the woods. The years stripped away and he remembered the first time they had stood like this—about to face an unknown horror and the first true test of their powers.
"Yippie-ki-yah," Apollo echoed the cry of his youth when his sword had yet to be bloodied and no man's death had been on his conscience.
And some how everyone laughed—everyone laughed till they were crying. The sounds of their hysteria echoed down the halls, lifting everyone's spirits.
Mina, Princess of Venus
Kunzite, Lead Guardian
Mina heard the laughter of her guardians and felt her step lighten. She paused to stretch. The course had truly been challenging. And, what was worse, she had spent little to no time with Kunzite in the past day. She chewed her lip. Her parents had already sent their heartiest blessings. This couldn't have gone better had they arranged it themselves. Surely, she, the Senshi of Love, had nothing to be afraid of?
She turned the corner and saw the object of her search. Kunzite had removed his armor and his trademark cloak. He once admitted to Mina that sometimes he feared his cape was more a hazard in fighting than anything else. He was leaning against an open window, the cool air flowing in, causing his loose silver hair to obscure his features.
"I can hear you sighing from here," he called and turned to see her. The setting sun illuminated him like a halo and Mina felt her heart melt all over again. Her anxiety eased away as she quickened her pace to reach him faster.
With a softness one would never believe of Kunzite, he gathered her in his arms. Mina inhaled his scent, a heady mixture of orange blossoms and some spice she couldn't remember, and thought to herself for the hundredth time that this was home.
"I can't wait to marry you," she murmured into his tunic and felt him tighten his arms around her.
"I have been waiting for you even before I knew I needed you," he replied. They turned and watched the sun set over the Crescent Mirror. Mina almost thought she could see Endy and Sere lounging on their favorite island but could not bring herself to look further. Let them be…she heard Kunzite purr in her head and she nodded. Tonight was for love, she thought to herself.
Selenity, Queen of Luster
Selenity stroked Serenity's gown. The rose pink shown as bright as an early dawn and the roses that decorated the tiny waist and heart shaped bodice were of the palest pink. Two above each crest and two at her waist—two, one for Serenity and one for Endymion. The gown had a poofy pink bow in the back that surprised Selenity. She could not believe her hellion little princess was still enough of a little girl to want this addition. Even though Mina had rightfully said it made her waist look even smaller. Selenity sighed as picked up one long evening glove. The purest white it came up to almost Serenity's shoulders with ribbons that complemented the roses on her dress. This gown was pure Serenity—it paid no homage to her Luster heritage. This gown was simply her.
"I cannot believe she's wearing pink," Apollo's voice was husky and hiding stronger emotion.
Selenity could not believe it either. She also could not turn around and face Apollo. She knew he was facing keenly the loss of their only child. "To have a daughter is to mourn," her mother had said to her once sighing as her strength left her. "You nurture her, you give everything of yourself into her—in essence she is the continuation of you, and she is your death" Selenity's eyes had gone huge and her nurse had almost ushered here out at that moment but the Queen had raised her hand.
"No, child, you are not my death. My death was written in the stars by the Fair Ones long ago. What I mean is that so much of you goes into your daughter. She is the best of you," The Queen had gripped Selenity's chin, "She is your reflection—the mirror of all your choices good and bad lay in her," The Queen kissed Selenity's birthmark, "You are my greatest achievement," she whispered.
It was years before the emotion of that memory stopped reducing Selenity to tears. Now she understood what her mother had been trying to convey—a daughter is heartbreak. And now here she was, sending her daughter off into the world, into the very maws of heartbreak and death and without a mother's protection. She jutted her chin out stubbornly, a mannerism so similar to Serenity's that Apollo had to laugh.
"Whatever you are dwelling on is truly perplexing you," he tickled into her jawline. She raised a hand to muss his still golden hair.
"Do you remember our wedding day?" Selenity asked.
"That perplexes you?" Apollo teased and kissed the hand that was trying to swat him.
"Hush," she turned to wrap herself in his embrace.
" I remember that it was dawn," Apollo started,
"Not the sunset?" Selenity laughed remembering how vehemently her mother's councilors, well, her councilors had argued that it should be moonrise and not sunset. Selenity had just waved them off. They were creating a new kingdom with new customs. Perhaps Serenity would marry at sunset? Knowing that child it would be moonrise—the best to sleep in for.
Selenity had worn her mother's pearls and the gown all daughters of Selene were married in. Pearls were knotted around her wrists and hung from her arms like garlands. Her hair was up in royal odangoes and in the center of each odango was a brilliant ruby. Her mother's councilors had nearly had an apoplectic fit when they saw those. Her dress was long and simple. Legend spoke that it was made of the tears of the Shining Ones who had wept see their daughters live mortal lives and so constructed a dress to make sure they never forget where they came from. Luna had wanted her to put the Silver Imperium Crystal in her diadem but Selenity was still apprehensive of the jewel. The crystal responded to the heart of she who would be Queen. Selenity did not want the jewel to be part of this day. She had her Crystal she could control easily and effectively. To call upon the power of the Silver Imperium Crystal was to provoke the prophecy. A prophecy that had almost stopped her marriage…no she would not think of the legendary Quisez or her future child. She would marry Apollo—a man she had loved at first sight not even knowing he was destined for her.
"And the sun rose behind you, and illuminated you with this other worldly glow, the same light that shone on you the day I saw you," Apollo whispered, "And I heard bells, and song, and knew that my destiny was always you,"
Selenity tilted her head, "You heard the bells too?"
Apollo laughed, "Why do you think the heralds sang that the very heavens rejoiced the day we wed?"
Selenity waved the compliment away, "They do tend to exaggerate. I thought it was my own joy I was hearing. My own heart singing,"
Apollo took Selenity's slim hand, resplendent in its simplicity and placed it over his heart. Though the thick red velvet of his tunic Selenity felt his heart beat strongly and surely.
"I thought we were going to lose you," Selenity murmured remembering those dark days, so recent, when she had been convinced Apollo's heart was failing and that there would be no more happiness left for her in this world.
"Did you think I was going to miss my own daughters' weddings?" Apollo teased, "The return of Endymion, the miraculous resurrection of Gaia, and the sheer love pulsating through this Kingdom, DESPITE the encroaching Darkness. How could I not find something to live for?" Apollo ended huskily.
Selenity lifted her chin and joined her lips to Apollo's. Too much sorrow of late—they would hold back the Darkness and allow their daughters this one night. One night before the fullness of the future fell heavily on them. They could do this. They had been doing this for many years and would continue doing so until this mantle of burden was no longer theirs to bear.
Serenity, Princess of Luster
I shivered just slightly as I curled myself against Endymion's warm body.
"You know this really wasn't the best meeting spot," Endymion murmured against my neck as my toes curled in their leather boots.
"I didn't want anyone else to walk in," I replied twisting a gloved hand in the back of his neck as his mouth found mine.
I never thought I would ever find this much joy in Endy's mouth or anyone's mouth. I could spend hours examining his lips if I did not have to breathe. Endy laughed against my mouth and I mentally rolled my eyes. He should be careful what he listens to.
"Your lascivious thoughts scream out at me," Endy purred as I swatted him.
"Tis not lascivious if the one I'm thinking of is my intended," I reminded him as I breathed deeply into the hollow of his throat, warming my cold nose.
"Indeed, and what else did you think was going to happen on this cold rock?" Endy gestured to the Crescent Mirror frozen in solidity around us.
I blushed and burrowed deeper into his cloak, "Nothing," was my muffled reply.
"Come out here, baka," Endy lifted my chin to his. The Ocean in its infinite capacity stared at me and I was drowning in happiness and love, "I cannot wait to marry you. And I will fulfill every one of those hopes and dreams,"
Tears came suddenly to my eyes from the cold possibly. His words sounded prophetic and melancholy. The dark image of a pink haired girl screaming in the wind came to me and I blinked it away. Our future would have its challenges—but I just wanted to be here, and now with Endymion.
"I love you," I kissed him and all my worries melted away.
I cannot thank you enough for sticking with me. Some of you have been around for the decade this story has been in the works. The past two years have brought a lot of changes and heartbreak and heartache. My father passed away in July of 2012 and I quit medical school shortly there after. Since then I have become a teacher at a private school and am finally living a semblance of a life. I no longer feel lost or confused about where I'm going. The last half of this chapter came to me suddenly and I can only hope and pray for more of those moments. I find myself rereading the story and becoming lost in it. I cannot believe how far we have all come and I can only hope you, my readers, don't hate me for not writing. The reboot of Sailor Moon on Hulu Plus has also sparked some creativity as has rereading the manga. I hope to continue with this story. Thank you for being there and believing in me. Please review so I know you guys are still around!