A/N: Second chapter! This went a bit differently than I thought it would, but I'm proud of how it turned out.
A few cultural notes:
I'm using the basic conversion of 100 yen = 1 US dollar. So the 200 yen candy bags cost around $2, and the "thousand yen" mentioned later is about $10.
Konpeito is a type of sugary Japanese candy. Fun bit of trivia, it's actually what Kakeru gives Luna in the S movie.
Enjoy the chapter!
"Let's get back to the palace," Rin said. "We can take a better look at that with the equipment there."
Losna nodded, hopping back. "I have a feeling we're needed there as soon as possible… I'll lead the way!"
"This is the first time you've ever been here, are you sure you want to do that?"
"Come on, the palace is giant and right in the center of town! How hard can it be finding it?"
Two hours later, the girls were hopelessly lost.
"For the last time, we're not lost!" Losna let out a sigh. "I'm sure we'll find the palace in no time!"
"I don't even think we're in Crystal Tokyo," Seiko muttered. "It's been hours."
"Technically, it's been two hours, thirty-nine minutes and twenty-two… twenty-three seconds!" Umi chirped, looking up from the Mercury Computer.
"That much?" Usa let out a groan, staring up at the sky- dark clouds were starting to circle around, and none of the girls had umbrellas. And the worst thing was that being lost meant she couldn't help but remember that time… Her memories had all blurred together, but there were still moments clear in her mind.
"I can't believe it! Today I get to spend time with my very own Sailor Guardians!" Nine-year-old Usa- still Chibiusa, at that point- spun around her room excitedly as she got dressed.
"You're training, Chibiusa. There's no time to play around, you know." Diana sighed, sprawling out on the windowsill and pawing at a buzzing fly.
"Yeah, but there's going to be a picnic too!" She grinned. "And we can eat lunch with Umi and Seiko and Rin and Sakura!"
"Welcome to the Super Awesome Training-Picnic Spectacular!" Minako yelled enthusiastically.
Makoto let out a sigh. "You had to name it?"
"Of course! Naming it makes it official!"
"Asteroids, since your powers are still dormant, we will begin with exercises involving stamina and agility." Ami addressed the girls.
"Small Lady, Usagi... well, Neo-Queen-Serenity will be training you during the afternoon, but you'll be with us for the morning." Rei explained.
"Your first activity will be an obstacle course in the forest," Makoto continued. "Luna and Artemis have hidden 5 bells in the area marked off. Each of you has to find one of them. You all have your communicators, right?"
"Yep!" The girls answered.
"You have an hour… If you're late, you can't eat at the picnic!" Minako exclaimed… much to the horror of Chibiusa, who instantly paled. "I'm just kidding… don't give me that face…"
"3… 2… 1… GO!"
The girls ran into the depths of the forest…
"Umi? Seiko? Rin? Sakura?" Chibiusa looked around nervously. "Where are you?" At first the five had stuck close together, but it had been so long since she had seen any of them... and she was scared. The woods were too dark and ominous to be daylight at that point… but surely she hadn't been in the forest for any more than half an hour, right? It felt like hours, and still there was no sign of the bells or of her friends…
Chibiusa turned the corner as she came to a forked path. For a moment, she looked towards both paths; then, she glanced up at a tall tree between them and cracked a smile once she noticed the small golden bell tied onto a branch.
"Fin…ally!" She panted. After several minutes, she had reached the top of the tree. With a sigh, she sat down in a crook between two branches, looking out over the forest.
Suddenly, there was a flash in the distance. Slowly, it grew bigger and bigger…
Chibiusa's eyes fluttered open as she took in her surroundings. She was on the bed of one of the hospital rooms, surrounded by the queens, her father, and the guardian cats.
"Thank goodness you're awake." Luna sighed.
"I think she only fainted from the shock," Queen Ami explained. She was in her lab coat and glasses instead of her fuku at this point, and a couple pieces of equipment were set up.
Chibiusa blinked, looking around. "What happened? Why are we back here? Where are-"
Suddenly, a realization came to her: The Asteroids… it couldn't be…
Instantly, she sat up. "NO! Sakura! Umi! Seiko! Rin!"
"Chibiusa! Don't overexert yourself!" Diana hopped onto the bed from her perch on the windowsill.
"But they're… they're…"
Neo-Queen Serenity looked at the others in the room. The Senshi nodded and left, Luna and Artemis following them. Only Diana and King Endymion remained in the room with the mother and daughter.
"Small Lady," the queen said tenderly, smoothing out her dress and taking a seat beside her daughter on the bed. "You know that what happened was meant to be? A fixed point?"
"I know, Mama… But I just found out that they were my Senshi! And now they're… they're gone!" She bit her lip, trying to stop the tears threatening to flow.
Endymion spoke up. "Not gone, Small Lady, they're in the past. They'll be alright, back in a couple months… we knew it was going to happen eventually."
"Chibiusa," Serenity said. "There's nothing to worry about. Do you know why?"
"Because you were there with them, you know! You know what happened. Little seven-year-old Chibiusa made sure they ended up right back here!" The queen struck a smile that was much more Usagi than Serenity.
"How… how do you know that?" She sat up, wiping her eyes and taking a deep breath.
"Because I was there too, silly!"
Chibiusa cracked a smile.
"Come on, Small Lady! Remember how Rei said you'd be with me for the afternoon? I'm going to teach you my tiara attack!"
"Really?" Chibiusa immediately jumped up. "Awesome!"
Just as the two were about to leave the room, the queen turned back to her husband. "You come too, Mamo-chan! It'll be like a family outing! And we never ate the picnic food, I'll get Mako-chan to bring us some sandwiches!"
"It'll be fun!"
"Oh… oh, sorry!"
"Usa, you can't just stop in the street like that." Seiko sighed. "We need to get going if we want to get back soon."
"Yes…" She sighed. "I was just thinking about, you know, the last time we got… lost."
"Oh, Usa." Her voice softened. "You know nothing like that's ever going to happen again, right?"
"I know, but… I still get worried." She replied. "Seiko-chan, I don't want to lose you and everyone else again!"
"That's not going to happen, not if we have anything to say about it." Seiko smirked. "C'mon, let's catch up to the others."
The two ran up to the other four girls, who had stopped at a street corner to gather their bearings.
"So, this is Jade Street, right?" Losna squinted at the street sign in the distance.
"Yeah… that's right on the outskirts of town." Sakura explained. "One of the few places in town that you can't actually see the Palace from."
"Well, that's convenient for us…" Rin sighed.
"I have an idea!" The girls turned to Umi. "We can hitchhike!"
"Umi, we can't do that!"
"Why not?" The blue-haired girl blinked, beginning to sign at the cars passing by.
"We can't just leech off of others like- Umi! Stop that!"
Too late: a sky blue convertible was already stopping. The driver- a high school boy with blond hair and a mischievous smirk- rolled down his window, lifting up his sunglasses to reveal his dark eyes.
He looked at the girls, then blinked and scratched his head. "Do you ladies need a ride?"
Seiko walked up to him. "No, I'm s-"
"Yes," Sakura said dreamily, her eyes practically producing hearts at this point. Rin rolled her eyes, grabbing the girl's arm and walking away, ignoring Sakura's protests of "But he's hot!"
"Sorry to trouble you," Losna took over. "Some of them can be a little eccentric."
The boy simply raised an eyebrow. "Trust me, you don't know eccentric until you've been to my house."
"I just felt a raindrop on me!" Sakura yelled.
"It's just water," Losna replied. "You won't melt."
"But it'll mess up my hair! Do you have any idea how long it takes to style this?"
The catgirl chose to ignore her, instead turning to Seiko, who was attempting to use the GPS on her phone. "Find anything?"
"Not really," the redhead sighed. "But I think if we just go towards the center of town and not get distracted we'll be fine."
"Ooh, look, a candy store!"
"Of course, Usa did not pick up on that last part." Seiko muttered.
"But there's chocolate in there, Seiko! And lollipops and taffy and gumdrops and maybe even pocky and-"
"Fine." She retorted. Usa smiled happily, running into the store while the rest of the girls followed.
"Look! We can get big candy bags for just 200 yen!" Sakura pointed to the cases of bulk candy lining the wall. Usa grinned widely, instantly running over and beginning to fill up a bag.
"Cheap… candy…" Losna's eyes widened.
"No, Losna-san, don't join their ranks!"
"Okay, do you have any idea how rare it is to find good candy on Mau?" And with that, she joined the others at the candy buckets. Seiko groaned, flopping down on a counter. Rin stifled a laugh besides her.
"Do they even have money?" Seiko muttered.
"Of course they do," Rin replied. "They couldn't have bought ice cream otherwise. Besides, if we need to, I always carry around my wallet."
"You, out of all people, carrying around a wallet? Aren't you worried you'd get mugged?"
"In Crystal Tokyo? No chance. Besides," she smirked, "I'd annihilate anyone who tried to pull anything on me."
"I guess you would." Seiko giggled.
"And I've had to carry cash around with me for a while now. Because a certain person always wants me to get-"
Seiko's eyes narrowed. "Don't you dare go there."
"I see you eying the konpeito! You're going to make me buy some again!"
"Fine, just never call me that again."
"Seiko-chan! Rin-chan!" Usa ran up to them. "I got gummy bears and gummy worms and gummy frogs and gumdrops and-"
"Yes, yes, we know," Rin said as she grabbed a bag of konpeito off the shelf (much to Seiko's concealed joy.)
"Shall we get going, then?" Losna asked, taking a bite out of the licorice she had gotten. "It's getting pretty late, everyone must be wondering where you all are."
Sakura nodded as she paid for her candy. "I think I have a pretty good idea of where we are now!"
"Great." Seiko replied. "I'm exhausted, I literally just want to get back to the palace and fall asleep."
Usa's eyes widened. "Wait, are you guys staying with us?"
"Technically no, but we've always had the option of crashing at the palace if we needed." Rin explained. "Now that we're going to Azabu Pearl with you, we'll probably stay over a lot more."
"That's great!" Usa smiled. "We can have sleepovers and stuff! And we can stay up all night eating candy and watching movies and-"
"Not tonight, please." Seiko sighed.
"Trust me; there's been way too much adventure already today."
"Look! There's the Crystal Palace!" Sakura pointed up: surely enough, the palace appeared in the distance, its crystalline figure almost shimmering in the sunlight.
"What are we waiting for? Let's go!" The group ran towards the building; however, Rin and Sakura (who were in the front of the group, with Seiko and Losna close behind and Usa several feet away) instantly stopped in their tracks.
"What the- UMI?"
"Oh, hey guys!" The blue-haired girl waved casually- she was sitting on the palace porch, Diana curled up beside her. "I was kinda wondering when you'd get back… you guys took a really long time!"
"How did you get here?" Seiko blinked. "Weren't you with us the whole time?"
Rin shrugged. "I thought we had just lost her in the candy shop… Where were you, Umi?"
"You didn't notice? I just got a ride back with that guy we met!"
Instantly, Sakura started seething with rage. "You got a ride back… with a hot guy… and we didn't even notice?"
"You could have come if you wanted." Umi replied. "His name's Hikaru! He's really nice!"
"You… know his name…"
"Yeah! Why, do you want to meet him? Maybe I can give you his phone number!"
"You have his phone number?"
"Of course! I like to keep touch with all my friends!"
"F-f-f-f-f-f-f-friends…" She stuttered out. "Usa, catch me!"
"No! Sakura-chan!" Usa rushed to the aid of her now mock-fainting friend.
"Whoa, she's really melodramatic…" Umi giggled. Suddenly, her eye caught on one of the bags that the girls were holding. "Wait a second… is that candy? Huh? Is it? Is it? Is it?"
Instantly, Umi clutched onto Seiko's arm, tears welling up into her eyes. "You… got candy… without me?"
"I'm sure you can have some," Seiko sighed, awkwardly patting the other girl on the head.
"Who's melodramatic now?" Rin whispered to Losna, who chuckled in response.
"Come on, everyone!" Diana leaped onto a pedestal, the bell on her collar ringing to alert her presence. "You all need to get inside, the Serenity Court has been waiting for you all to arrive!"
"The Court?" Usa blinked; she knew her parent's court met almost every day inside the palace, but she rarely was told to meet with them.
"Yes, yes, there's a very important announcement!"
Important announcement… I guess it makes sense with everything that's been happening, Usa thought to herself as they walked through the palace to get to the courtroom. When she opened the door, she was greeted by the many familiar faces of the court: Queen Ami, Queen Rei, Queen Makoto, and Queen Minako, who were all in their Senshi forms; King Ryo of Mercury, King Motoki of Jupiter, and King Adonis of Venus; Luna and Artemis, who were quickly joined by her daughter; several elected officials that aided with decisions mostly of the political rather than Senshi variety; and, of course, King Endymion and Neo-Queen Serenity. The five girls all curtsied respectfully before taking up several open seats facing Serenity. Losna looked around, confused and slightly uncomfortable, before Diana made a motion to her. With relief, she switched forms and sat down besides the other cats.
Serenity stood up on a platform, overlooking the other girls with a smile as she began to speak. "Girls… first, I would just like to say how proud we all are of you. As Sailor Soldiers, you have grown and matured so much…You have faced hardships and fought threats that are more than unimaginable. All five of you have shown great courage, determination, aptitude, and willpower."
Her speech suddenly broke as she flipped an index card; however, she quickly kept going. "Though not all of you are directly related, you still each possess the spirits of the Senshi before you. Which is why there comes a time… where these spirits must reawaken." After flipping another card and looking at the confused faces of the teenagers before her, especially her daughter, she let out a slight laugh. "What I mean to say is that… the Asteroid Senshi must now take on the powers of the four guardian planets."
"And Small Lady… it is time for you to become the full-fledged Sailor Moon."
The girls silently exchanged glances of surprise, excitement, and nervousness- but finally, one of them spoke up.
"But… why, Serenity-sama?" Seiko asked. "Aren't our powers good enough as they are?"
"Perhaps they are… but…" Serenity's eyes suddenly clouded over. "I fear that we may be approaching a time of great danger. For not only Crystal Tokyo, but the… the whole universe." She looked down worriedly; quickly, King Endymion clasped her hand from where he was standing behind her.
With a shaky, yet grateful smile, Serenity continued. "After the Black Moon invasion, I have held a pronounced fear of a possible new enemy. The Silver Crystal is as strong as ever, perhaps even more so… but my reign over it is ending at a surprisingly fast rate. Soon, it must find a new heir, or else my usage of it could have disastrous consequences. That new heir is to be you, Small Lady."
Me? Have Mama's Silver Crystal? The thought was almost unimaginable to Usa.
"We have known this for a long time, even before you all had become Senshi… but now, the matter has become urgent. Because we are picking up on a new foe… much stronger than the Black Moon Clan, we believe. I and the current Guardian Senshi may not be able to fend them off for long; as such, you are the only hope."
Us... the only hope… Usa stared down at her feet.
"Don't look that way, you all!" The queen managed to crack a smile. "We have complete faith that the increased strength of your powers will be able to defeat them in no time. And we will be aiding you in every way we possible can… we'll be beside you every step of the way."
"Do you all accept?"
Usa quickly weighed the choice in her mind, thinking to herself: It's terrifying… but it's my duty as a Senshi.
Before long, she spoke up. "I do, Mama." One by one, the Asteroids all nodded in agreement.
The Inner Senshi all looked each other, closing their eyes in concentration before slowly reaching their arms out. Various lights began to appear from their palms, before blending together in the center of the room and giving the entire area a bright, warm, white glow. Usa closed her eyes, feeling a sudden surge of power go through her. Once the light faded, a crescent moon appeared on her forehead, before quickly fading again.
Rin shrugged, sticking her hands back in her pockets. "So, now we just automatically have new powers?"
"Not exactly," Serenity says. "It'll be like how your powers as the Sailor Quartet were- they had to awaken. But it's likely that they'll activate in a moment of danger very soon."
"Likely… but not certain." Queen Ami sighed. "If within a month they don't awaken, we'll intervene."
"Hey! I'm pretty sure it'll work! This time!" She protested.
Luna muttered to herself: "She's the queen of the solar system… but she's still baka Usagi sometimes." With a sigh, she looked at Usa and the other girls. "You can leave whenever you wish. That goes for you too, Diana."
"Thanks, Mama!" The cat leapt down from her perch and walked down to the rest of the girls. Losna was about to follow, but Artemis quickly stuck out a paw to stop her.
"Don't worry, we'll explain everything to you." He whispered. The lavender cat had a wary look on her face, but Usa gave her a reassuring smile as she left the room.
"So… new powers." Seiko broke the silence.
"That means we get new attacks and costumes and everything! I'm so excited!" Umi blurted out.
"But all that talk about a new enemy, too…" Sakura sighed. "I wonder if it had anything to do with that monster we fought."
"You fought a monster?" Diana asked.
"Oh, yeah…" Seiko began to tell the story of their adventures out today. While the other girls were distracted listening to her rendition, Usa turned the corner absentmindedly… and came face to face with a very familiar door.
"Huh? How'd I end up here?" Usa wondered. It seemed that every time she ended up there, she didn't know it until it was right in front of her. There was never any set path to its location- she had once been told that she would only find it when she needed it. Fitting, it was, for a door of space and time to appear so sparingly.
Usa tried to turn the doorknob, but it wouldn't move. She tried pushing on the door, but to no avail. With a sigh of defeat, the young princess leaned on the door.
She knew she shouldn't have even tried to open it.
It was no use.
It hadn't opened in eight years, after all.
She didn't understand why she kept trying. It was locked since the Black Moon incident, but she still tried everything she could. It never worked. She had no idea why she could still use her time key; the Setsuna Meioh of the past refused to answer any of her questions. She had tried asking everyone she could; it was always the same answer.
"We don't know why it's locked. We have no idea the whereabouts of Sailor Pluto anymore. And we haven't seen the other Outer Senshi since Crystal Tokyo formed."
"Puu, why won't you talk to me?" She whispered. "Why can't I open the door? Why can't I see you?"
She closed her eyes, her grip on the doorknob tightening in frustration and unhappiness. "Where are you? And where's Haruka-san and Michiru-san and-"
She loved her friends here in Crystal Tokyo. But Hotaru… the two just understood each other so well. They could talk about anything. They had been through so much together… and sometimes, Usa just missed her so much.
"Wherever you are, I hope you're happy. I hope you're all together… that would probably mean you'd be happy, right?" She bit her lip, trying to hold back the tears threatening to flow. "I hope you… I hope you didn't forget about me."
"Puu, I'm just so scared! All this talk about a new danger… and the Silver Crystal belonging to me! I can't use the Silver Crystal yet! Only a lady like Mama can… I'm not a lady! I'm just… I'm still chibi! I'm not ready for this!"
Says the girl who used the Silver Crystal when she was six.
"W-what?" She looked around, knowing she heard a voice but seeing no face to put it to. "Who are you?"
I'm no foe, Lady Serenity, if that's what you're asking.
"Don't call me Lady… I'm not a lady."
Well, you don't look like a man to me.
"What?" She shouted. "That's not what I mean!"
Then what did you mean?
"I meant that… that I'm not a lady like Mama."
She wasn't always like that herself, remember? She used to be… just like you. You should know, you met her.
"I… guess that's right." She straightened up, listening attentively.
You've done so much more than you give yourself credit for. The Black Moon Clan, the Death Busters, the Dead Moon, Galaxia… none of them would have fallen without your aid.
Trust me, I'd know. Don't underestimate yourself, Lady Serenity- and more than that; don't underestimate your allies, in both strength and number.
"I never have," she managed to smile.
And as for the Outers… do not worry. They're together. They're safe. And most definitely happy. Not only that… but your paths will cross again very soon.
"No way… How do you know that?"
I just do.
"And I should trust that?"
Good point, you really shouldn't. Never trust a mysterious faceless voice, Lady Serenity. Or, while I'm at it, that guy with the white van offering you candy.
To her surprise, Usa started laughing.
Now I'll be taking my leave then. I thought I'd announce that to you, because otherwise you wouldn't have any idea I was.
Because I'm the mysterious faceless voice you shouldn't trust, Lady Serenity!
"You know, you're only the second person to call me that… Only Helios ever has." She blushed a bit.
Oh, that dude? Guess he was right to…
"Wait a second… do you know-"
"Huh?" The girl in question looked up to see Sakura standing before her. "Oh, hey, Sakura-chan, sorry about that…"
"Geez, Usa, what was with all that talking to yourself?" Usa was about to protest, but Sakura continued. "Whatever, let's just get you back with everyone else. We're all in the meeting room finishing up homework."
Usa nodded, letting Sakura lead her up two flights of stairs into the Serenity Capsule. Due to its high-up location, none of the palace residents were allowed to have rooms up there- however, they were willing to make an exception for the girls' hangout. They had set up in a loft overlooking all of Crystal Tokyo, with a door to an outside deck nearly inaccessible from the amount of plants Sakura had growing. The room's walls were lined with bunk beds and a high-quality entertainment system; the area also boasted a mini fridge, a popcorn machine, and a minibar that was checked nearly every day by Luna for any "suspicious beverages." This was where Usa tended to bring friends, do homework, and simply have fun; now that the other girls were there, it was due to become a hot spot of action.
"Usa-chan!" Umi waved but refused to take an eye off the video game she was playing. "I found an old Wii at a garage sale, come play Smash Brothers with me!"
"Whoa, really? That's so cool! Those are so old, you can't find one anywhere!" Usa quickly ran towards the television… but was quickly stopped by a certain grey cat leaping onto her.
"Just one game, Diana?"
Usa sighed, sitting down on a couch. Her book bag had inexplicably migrated to her; she opened it up and got out her work. Immediately, she sighed, not understanding a single word on the page.
"Need help?" She looked up to see Rin giving her a sympathetic grin. Usa nodded quickly.
"What class is it for?"
"Science," Usa groaned.
"Here, hand it over, I'll take a look at it." Usa obliged, eager to get the paper out of her hands. Rin squinted at it, then nodded. "Chemical reaction formulas! I know this! So, Usa, this here is the chemical formula for- you're not listening?"
"What? Oh, yeah, I was… I totally wasn't daydreaming about cake…"
"Do you want my help or not?" Rin grumbled.
"Well, it's not like I'm ever going to need this… and you know it all, so…"
"I'm not going to do it for you!"
"Thousand yen and it's off your hands."
"Rin! Stop being a bad influence!" Seiko groaned, looking up from her algebra.
"Come on, I'm just teaching Usa the school of real life!"
The girls giggled. As Rin showed her another problem, Usa looked out at the other girls- Rin and Seiko at the table with her, Umi and Sakura sprawled out on the couch playing video games, Diana curled up asleep besides her.
I guess I shouldn't underestimate them, should I?
Meanwhile, a strange dark sphere appeared in the northernmost point of town. It began to grow larger and larger, until suddenly a dilapidated white cathedral took its place. The stain-glassed windows were cracked and no light shone through them; no matter how hard someone pulled, the door would not budge.
Inside the church, a man dressed in red appeared. He ran his fingers through his blue hair nervously. "Queen Fantasma, you called?"
"Yes, Adelite," a voice sounded from father inside the building. It was a black-haired woman with icy blue eyes, dressed in an ornate violet dress and sitting on a throne. "Have you begun our plans?"
"Yes, my Queen," he bowed. "I administered the first test today, in fact."
"And yet you get me no energy?"
"It's a matter of simple mathematics, Queen. If we send out a Seirei, the Sailor Senshi are capable of defeating it due to their heightened strength and the Seirei's limited power."
"Sailor Senshi… If they're causing so many problems, why don't you just eliminate them?"
"Queen, it's not that simple, the Sailor Senshi transformed have power beyond what we can achieve… and when they aren't transformed the majority of them are royalty protected by not only armies, but more Sailor Senshi."
"When I give you an order, you complete it!" She yowled. "Kill those Sailor Senshi! And get me that energy!"
"Simple mathematics, Queen…" He disappeared.
"Sailor Senshi…" she muttered. "They must pay for the wrongs they did to me…"