A Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon fan fiction story
Chronicled by Dro'gan NiteFlier
Disclaimer: Some characters copyrighted by Naoko Takeuchi, Toei Animation, and Kodansha. I'm still not idiot enough to claim them. Some elements were taken from the game Lords of Magic, copyright © Sierra Games and Impressions Studios.
Part Three of Three
Here am I.
Where am I?
Am I, I?
What is this place?
Who am I?
I drift in and out of madness, here in this place of no-time. There is no day, no night, no way to tell time in a place anchored to the very forces that control it.
I don't know how long I've been here. It could be mere seconds, or it could stretch thousands of years.
I've lost track of the times that I have been insane.
I've walked and walked and walked, yet no matter the direction I go in, I always come back to the Gate.
It sits here in this misty place, perhaps the only truly real thing here. I have examined it in my saner moments, tried to destroy it in madness, and merely sat and watched it at times. It appears to be nothing but a great doorway, a stone arch with ironwood doors and worked metal hinges. There is no lock, merely runes of power. I have tried every Word of opening I know, yet it has done nothing, and nothing I do to it changes it.
There are only three other things here in this mist. My dagger, the Light Blade, Vahailia's broken staff, and myself. The Gate watches over this place of mist, and I wait here in exile, forever.
The staff is six feet long, and is a dull gray color. Near the bottom are workings into the cracked metal that appear as a key, but in no way is there a keyhole in the Gate. The staff is cracked and flawed, it is nothing compared to the beautiful weapon that Vahailia wielded.
But it is no longer a Talisman, for there is no Senshi to wield it, and no planet for that Senshi to be reborn for. The staff belongs to me as much as it could to anyone now, for its true owner will not come for it.
I am sure that it is my key to freedom.
What is this?
A door and a dagger?
A door, a dagger, and a staff?
A door, a dagger, a staff and a woman?
Who is this woman?
Is this woman me?
This woman with green hair, and red eyes?
Eyes as red as the gem on her chest, the gem on the dagger.
The dagger and the staff.
The Light Blade. The Time Staff.
Not just a blade of dark light, but of white and ruby. Birth and Life and Death. I have wielded the light of darkness. What else might I wield?
Not just a broken staff, but one that commanded the very primal forces of time. Past and Present and Future. She wielded her power over them all, to see my past, to see my present actions, and to even foresee her own death by my hand.
Why did you choose to die?
How can I recompense your sacrifice?
All of you that I have killed, how may I repay you?
Must I save a life for every one I took? Then I shall.
Must I build up a world, where I destroyed one? Then I shall.
Must I take your place among the Senshi? Then I shall.
The image flickers in the air, guttering and flawed, yet I can make out the image of Sailor Neptune and Sailor Mars sparring with magic, two of their elders in the background, watching the young Senshi to make sure no harm comes to them.
The image fades, my will over the Gate failing under the pressure from the magical structure.
I have gained ground over time. I now know how long I have been here, for I can look into the present at other points in space/time.
My age is over. My home is one of the planets of Queen Serenity now, the ninth in her collection. They call it Pluto now, after the god of the underworld. That is perhaps the only thing that is the same as I remember it. D'kay is truly a city of death, for it was abandoned twelve years ago, and nothing lives there but ghosts and a few remaining Shades. There are other cities, where once there were ruins, ruins that I made. Growth blooms year round, WindHome rises over the icy peaks, and Pyre's fiery workers produce some of the best weapons of Sol's system.
Sailor Surnuro's time is over. Golgotha is no more, and neither is his servant, but I still wield the Light Blade, and I am still the Senshi of Death.
But perhaps I can be something different from what I was….
Even in Growth, the city of Life, things must die to make room for others to be born. Perhaps… only necessary death?
Even so, it all comes to nothing while I still am in exile.
The images that I call up from the Gate are sharp and crisp, as if I were standing there myself. I think that is why I went mad so many times here: I was so alone.
Now, even though I am still alone, I am no longer lonely, for the Senshi have an unknown watcher, one that they will never find.
I will watch until I figure how to return from my exile.
There was a gem. A multicolored gem. In a silver heart, set atop the full silver staff.
Another gem. Made out of garnet. Carved like a gaping skull, the pommel of a deep violet dagger.
The Light Blade. It had changed when I grew, going from a child's toy to a full and deadly dagger. Could I, perhaps, reform it again?
Into a violet heart, with a smooth sphere of garnet?
A metal staff, deep violet in color, with workings near the end like a key, and capped by a heart, with a sphere of garnet inside.
The hand that holds it is covered in a white glove, and as I look down at it, I also see the dark skirt and boots, below a white body suit, and a bow to match the skirt. In the center of the bow is a dark garnet sphere. I cannot see them, but I know that there is a choker around my neck, and my earrings and tiara are golden.
I am Sailor Pluto.
They have been looking for me.
Not me me, but for Sailor Pluto. They have forgotten about Surnuro and her crimes. Crimes that I must still atone for. They look for Sailor Pluto, for they know that all planets have Senshi. I believe that Queen Serenity will need a Time Senshi soon, and so I will end their search.
But there is no need not to end it in style!
The Gate shows me the Throne Room of Serenity, with the Queen and her entourage of Senshi. Near the throne is Rexar, the King of Mars, and Jonu, King of Jupiter. They both stand near their wives, the Senshi of their planets. Besides the group near the dais, the room is filled with courtiers from all planets, including a representative from the Kingdom of Pluto, even though there is no ruler for the planet. Those of Pluto had decided to follow in the Kingdom's path and allow their Senshi, once she was found, to rule them. Currently, they had a council, made up of members from each city and their principalities.
All was in place for an event that will change the course of the timeline.
It is the end of an otherwise normal day; in fact, it is a day that holds no importance to the Lunar Court. But it does to me. It is the anniversary of my exile, and today I will once again present myself to Queen Serenity, albeit a far descendant of the one who banished me. Earlier in the day, a note was delivered to the Chancellor, requesting an audience with the Queen. It specified no time, only that it take place sometime this day.
The Chancellor had informed Serenity of my request during the luncheon break, and she had told him to announce it at the end of the day, for even she knew that a bit of excitement would raise the mood. That time was now.
The Chancellor raps his staff against the marble floor, silencing the room. "An unknown request for an audience with Queen Serenity was received this morning. Let that person who requested such step forward now."
No one moves in the room, and Serenity frowns slightly. She opens her mouth to speak, when there is a waver in the air before her throne. She stops, and leans forward. Several of the Senshi covertly ready spells, preparing for an attack. I see the shimmering solidify into a closed doorway when the image of the room is cut off.
I lean back from the Gate, and take a deep, steadying breath.
The doors before me swing wide, and I am looking at the Queen and the Senshi. I take four steps and am through the Gate, and standing in the same spot as I was last time I was in this room.
I can feel the doors close behind me, and the terminal fade from this plane. I look into Serenity's eyes, and see surprise, and… relief. She knows who I am.
I kneel, bowing my head. "Queen Serenity, I am here at your need."
The Queen stands, and spreads her arms. "Welcome, Sailor Pluto, to Luna."
The uproar is deafening, and Serenity steps down from the throne and comes to me. I feel her hand on my head, as she speaks again. "Pluto. Rise, friend."
I stand, and see her smile. My heart is uplifted, and I realize the power of the daughters of Serene.
It has been quite some time since I began my service under the Queens. The other Senshi were surprised to find out that I did not age, and thus would need no replacement. I merely smiled and told them that it came with being so close to Time, but they just laughed.
I have learned to count the years as a Terran would, leaving behind yenda and tannom. My world continues as it did in my absence, prospering as it had not under my hand, so long ago. I let the Council continue their job, partly because I feared repeating the same actions that I had in D'kay, even though my link to Golgotha was long broken and faded. I have had a hand in training some of the younger Senshi, and have had the pleasure of knowing them, and the sadness of watching them fall, be it to accident, battle, or old age. For each of them, I remember, and I am there when they die, for that is one of the powers not granted by the Gate and the Key, but mine own, as the Senshi of Death. I have mourned seven queens, and I can see that I will mourn at least five more before the future becomes so hazy as to be unguessable. Mayhap my predecessor, Vahailia, could have seen though it, but I am not the born Senshi of Time, I merely stand here for awhile, until I am no longer needed.
Some bits of my past still haunt me, and that is meant quite literally. When I came back from my exile, a single Shade sought me out. The Shade has never once communicated with me, and has not served me as one of the demon souls should, but rather as a human would. I have thought that perhaps the human soul that was given up to feed the demonic entity to lure it to this plane for binding was not completely consumed, for the Shade feels different to my senses as well. It keeps about, but never shows itself to any but me, so I have assumed that it must have been one of the people I sacrificed once. Even though that theory make sense, however, the Words of freeing for the Shade have gone unheeded, and it still remains, unFaded from this plane of existence.
I think that it was the Shade who first gave me a hint of the cataclysm to come.
She was a bare ten years old when she first came to the Lunar Court.
At first, I paid small attention to Jupiter's heir, for I was winding a possibility into reality, for later generations. When I was finished with that task, I had decided to rest for a time, before seeking out my youngest comrade.
She didn't give me the chance.
It was in the palace gardens, a lush, beautiful place, that I rested. Spending such time among the growing, living things, both plant and animal, soothed my soul, for I still recalled a time that I would think nothing of destroying it without care. Laying in the grass, listening to the songbirds sing out their melodies, watching the Earth sink lower on the horizon, that was relaxation to me.
I heard a soft step from the path, but paid it no mind, for the bushes spared me curious glances from the well-worn trail. I thought not of any who might wish me harm, for I was still immune to all but the most vicious of wounds, and why would any assassin or such follow me, when there were the Queen and her family? Selfish, perhaps, but true.
It was thus, that I was quite surprised to hear someone drop to the ground beside me. I turned my head a bit, and saw her.
She had a frown on her petite face, and was staring with some concentration at the Earth, high above. Her soft sable hair was a stark contrast to her pale skin, and she had an almost delicate look to her features. She was dressed in a light green tunic, with the symbol of Jupiter contained in silver thread on the breast. I found myself instantly disapproving of the color of the tunic, for it made her look as a sickly child.
"Who are you, my dear?" I asked her softly.
The child turned her head to look at me. I saw that her eyes were a brilliant silver, as she replied, "I'm Galadri! But everyone here calls me Jupiter the Younger."
I smiled. "Jupiter the Younger? Merely a title. I will call you by your name, if you do not mind, Galadri." Her eyes sparkled and she smiled at me. The girl so reminded me of a pixie that I was surprised that she did not grow wings and fly away. "Well then, Galadri, what are you doing here?"
Galadri frowned. "Lady Driela got mad at me for asking questions, and told me to go and learn from Sailor Pluto if I would not stop bothering her."
I sighed. The current Sailor Jupiter, Driela, was a short-tempered minx, and I was greatly surprised that her heir was not of the same temperament. "I suppose that it was also she who gave you your wardrobe?" At Galadri's nod, I sighed. "Do you know what she really wanted you to do, Galadri?" I asked as I lay back down and watched the sky.
I heard a rustle as she emulated me. "No, what?"
I gave a small smile. "Driela never cared to learn from me when she first came here, and her indifference to me has continued to this day. I suppose that she believed that I would treat you as I did her, after I saw how she was."
Galadri was silent for a time. "So… She wanted you to get mad at me for pestering you?"
"Something like that," I replied.
"But you're not mad at me, right?" the girl asked.
"No," I said, and smile in my voice.
"So even a Senshi can be wrong!" I sat up and looked at her. Galadri had made the amazing leap from several facts to an end conclusion far in advance of what I had expected.
"Quite true, young Galadri. Even a Senshi can be wrong." I gave a soft grunt and stood, offering my hand to her. She took it and I helped her up. "Let us away to the kitchens, and see what the cooks are arranging for dinner. Though, belike, I am not prepared to wait that long!" Galadri giggled at my courtly speech, and tugged me to the path. I went willingly, and told her as well, "And then we shall stop by the tailors, for if the rest of your wardrobe is as that, then I will have to take it upon myself to redesign it!"
Driela was not pleased that I had taken Galadri under my wing, but there was naught she could do about it after the Queen remarked that the young Senshi's talents were growing in leaps and bounds studying with me, while in the months that Driela had taught her, she had barely learned anything.
I was inordinately pleased when Serenity gave her blessing, for I had grown quite attached to the girl.
For five years she trained under Driela and myself. She went to Jupiter for instruction in her magic, but for all else, she came to me. Where Driela taught her minor spells and transformative sequences, I shared with her everything from the philosophy of magic to the hierarchy of the Court. Venus once remarked that it was as if Galadri was Pluto the Younger, and the name stuck to her, until the day that she became Sailor Jupiter in full.
I was with Galadri, strolling in the gardens as we so often did. Driela had gone back to Jupiter, to take care of a report of monsters in a settlement on Ganymede. She had left with a snort to her young protégé, telling her that when she returned, she would teach the girl some real magic. Galadri and only smiled, and wished her a speedy return. Driela left with a scowl on her face, for she and Galadri had been at odds for years now, one galling the other on, hoping to get the upper hand in each exchange. The pixie that had first come to me in the gardens had grown into a mischievous nymph.
But as we meandered through the gardens that day, speaking of little things, I stopped suddenly, feeling a crawling up my spine. Galadri halted as well, for she had seen this once before, when Sailor Mercury had died, just a year ago. Her brow creased and she asked, "Who, Pluto?"
My mind immediately went out to find the dying Senshi, and I gasped. "Galadri. Go to the Queen. Now!" The teen looked startled, but was truly surprised when I called the Garnet Rod to my hand, and teleported away.
It had been a small village on the shore of one of Ganymede's great seas, but the burning homes and stench of rotting flesh quickly doused by hope of any innocent survivors. I focused on the feeling of death, and followed it to its source.
"OAK EVOLUTION!" I heard Jupiter cry, as I stepped into the small village square. The monster crackled with electricity, and its charred corpse fell. A dozen more of the beasts approached the fallen Senshi, snarling their rage.
At this sight, I was well pressed to keep my own rage contained, but that lapsed all too quickly as I saw that several of the fiends still carried the severed pieces of humans, men, women, and children.
Shaking with newfound rage, I shouted out a Word of Power to the monsters. Many of them fell to their knees there, but some resisted the Word, and turned to me. Too late; they found me already on the move, and with careful touches and quick spells they were on the ground, shaking, whimpering, crying out. I left them there, and quickly made my way to Driela. Her eyes were wide, and one of her hands was pressed to a gash in her side, trying to staunch the blood flowing freely from her fingers. Of her other hand, I saw no sign, for it looked as if her arm had been gnawed off shortly after her shoulder, with blood gushing from there as well.
"Pluto." She strained to even say my name. "Pluto! Galadri, she must…!" she cried out as I touched her forehead. She blinked and said calmly, "Pluto, my pain, what have you—?"
"Say it quickly, Driela, for I have done nothing but staved off what is coming for a time. Speak!" I commanded her.
She took a short breath. "My rooms, a book, with Jupiter Unchained. Give it to Galadri! It holds our magic, so much that I could not even learn half of it in my time. And tell her—" She grimaced, and I could tell the she felt Death's nearness. "Tell her that she is everything that Sailor Jupiter should be."
Her eyes faded, and closed. I watched as a few daring sparkles rose from her, and cupped them in my hand. Her soul brightened at my touch, and I gave her a silent blessing as I released her to the other side.
I rose from her body, and turned to the thrashing fiends that had ended her life.
I teleported to the throne room, to find that the Queen and her Senshi had gathered there. Galadri was not the only one who gasped in shock at the covered bundle in my arms.
I approached Serenity, and gently laid the body at her feet. I met her eyes, as tears began to trickle down her face. "Your Majesty, Sailor Jupiter is dead, defending her people from the unworldly monsters that killed her subjects." I took a step back, and bowed. Turning, I silently left, even as cries of sorrow rose behind me.
It was some time later that I dared enter Driela's quarters in the palace, searching for a book with the symbol of Jupiter Unchained upon its cover. It did not take me long to find it, but that was perhaps because another had already acquired it.
"Galadri," I said softly. She raised her head from the book, and I saw her eyes held unshed tears. I came and sat next to her on the chaise. "Sorrow, such shall we need thee, even for one we compete with." The girl blinked, then her face twisted, and she buried her face in my breast, wailing her grief.
I held her for a time, knowing that time would come that here would be someone for me, but not already realizing how far I was already.
Galadri was inducted as Sailor Jupiter one week after the death of Driela, and spent the next year and a half on Jupiter and her moons, meeting her people. I stayed at the Lunar Palace, as was my wont when not at the Gates of Time or tweaking probable futures. We sent a few letters back and forth, but for the most part, I did not hear from her again until twenty months after she became Sailor Jupiter.
I was lying in the grass, in the same little glade that she had first found me. She did not lie down silently, but instead, kneeled by my side. I looked up at her quizzically. She had a soft, wondering smile on her face. I attempted to get up, but she placed her hand on my chest, silently telling me to stay still.
Then she lay down beside me, snuggling up against my side, and throwing her leg across mine. I blinked, and hesitantly placed my arm around her shoulders. She sighed, and embraced me.
We lay there for a time, and I eventually realized that Galadri had fallen asleep. I sighed, and settled in as well.
When I woke, Galadri was still with me, but we had each moved around some. Our legs now hopelessly intertwined, she was now fully on top of me, her head resting beneath my chin, and above my bow. Our arms encircled one another, and I had the distinct feeling that if someone were to come upon us, they would immediately draw conclusions that were not true.
I sighed softly, and with but a short shift of mind, Galadri and I disappeared from the garden grove, and reappeared in my bedroom. I gave a deeper sigh to feel the soft sheets on my back, but almost immediately regretted it, for Galadri stirred when she felt my chest move.
"Mmmm?" came the questioning hum. I believe that she must have opened her eyes and seen where we were, for her next move was to nearly jump off of me and stare in shock around herself. "Where?!"
"Calm down, Galadri!" I told her. She turned back to me and questions filled her eyes. "We just came here a few moments ago. You fell asleep out in the garden. So did I. When I woke up, I moved us here." She sighed, and nodded. "Now then, will you answer a question of mine?" At her nod, I continued. "Why did you choose to… to…."
She grinned her impish grin, "To snuggle up to you?" I blinked, then nodded myself. "Because I've missed you, my dear. I was so bogged down in matters of state and going to every town and village in Jovian territory that I barely got any time to sleep, much less read your letters and write to you." She suddenly became stricken. "You didn't think I had forgotten you, did you?"
I gave a wry grin. "No, but I was surprised by the way you decided to greet me again."
Galadri blinked, then blushed. "I'm sorry, I just… I just…" Her blush deepened until she was as red as Martian sand. I just looked at her, confused, when she suddenly leaned forward, and kissed me.
My eyes widened in shock, unbelieving of what had just happened. I suddenly realized that the young girl whom I had helped teach had become a beautiful woman. Galadri pressed me down into the bed, and I closed my eyes once more.
It was a rather curious dance we played after that. Galadri was needed on her world, settling in as Queen, and I, while not particularly needed anyplace that I was not already, could not, and would not, monopolize her time. But each of us would, from time to time, have a curious little smile on our faces that very few understood.
For over three-quarters of a century we loved, but she eventually fell, like all things mortal, into my hands. I still remember her aged hands cupped in mine, as her light faded peacefully in her palace on Jupiter.
I had grown a bit distant to my fellow Senshi. The death of Galadri, Sailor Jupiter, had shaken me quite badly. I knew, and both Serenity and my Shade had warned me no few times of what would result of my love, considering my agelessness.
But she found in me a teacher, a confidant, and a lover. And I had found in her the same, for life for me had been spiraling down to what it had been during my time in D'kay, alone and hopeless.
Galadri's death drove me from Serenity's court, to where even she could not reach me.
It took me the better part of a decade to reintegrate myself into the ranks of the Senshi, even as distantly as I did.
I hadn't paying much attention to Terra, or its prince. Perhaps if I had, I might have headed off the meeting of the pair until each had found someone that their respective societies would consider more appropriate. Perhaps I did not act because of apathy, but perhaps because I wished to see love work out for once, and did not look to the future and see what would result from their love.
But I did not look, and thus, did not see jealousy give way to anger, hate, and other dark emotions.
It was not until I realized, with the help of my Shade, that I had been feeding off these emotions, and found their source, that I realized my terrible mistake.
I immediately went to Serenity, but she had already signed quite binding treaties with King Endymion to merge their families. I begged her to put it off but one generation, and she took me to task for wanting to break up love merely because I had lost mine.
The last words I spoke to her before the end were these: "I am sorry, my Queen, but I must do all in my power to stop Met'ala from arising again!" With that I left her, and retreated to a place I had not stepped foot in for nearly ten thousand years, ever since I left on the great ships to ravage other planets.
My Spire had withstood Time, and stood as I had left it, even though the Citadel had crumbled around it.
I spent weeks in the study, reading every journal and treatise over and over again, looking for anything that could bind the Demon-God. It was a blessing of sorts that Golgotha had not decided to take Met'ala under him when he ruled, instead of locking her away as he did.
But with Golgotha gone for so long, his bindings on Met'ala and others were weakening.
Reading through the journals of the first Surnuros I found others like Met'ala that he had sealed away, and took some little time to make sure that they were still bound.
Even with that short time at the Gate, I did not sleep nor eat until ever last book had been combed through for the method that Golgotha bound his various rivals with.
It was not recorded.
My Shade evidently had had enough of my plowing myself into the ground, and stole just enough energy from me that—
When I woke, I was on my bed, the blankets over me still amazingly soft, even though I cannot imagine how, when even the steel of the palace had rusted and crumbled. It occurs to me that there might be ways to stop the effect of Time without stopping the effected, but that knowledge was lost with Vahailia.
I sit up suddenly. Vahailia! Could she have known even back then that I needed access to the journals?
But never mind that now! What of Met'ala?!
I take the Staff from beside me and shift myself to the Gate. Activating it swiftly, I see…
That nothing has happened yet. I still have time.
A whispering campaign, soft nudges to people here and there, careful deposits into certain accounts for services requested.
It has been quite some time since I have gone about without magic concealing my face and form, but I know that no one will be able to recognize me. It is necessary, now that I am working against both the Terran and Lunar courts.
Perhaps I should make note: I never swore allegiance to any of the many Queen Serenities that I served under, merely pronounced my services to the greater good, which was, for the majority of that time, Luna.
I now work against her, for if it will save more lives than it takes, then I must prevent the awakening of Met'ala.
Public sentiment on both worlds is starting to sway, and thoughts of war rise to the surface of the peoples of both kingdoms. But I turn the tidings of war against one specific province, that of the House Daimond, and the Lady Beryl that rules it.
She is the one most likely to free Met'ala, something that must be prevented before Serenity takes action, for I see hers as the last act. An act that will destroy more of this system than even I imagined.
Shattered. Ships dying silently in the night. Met'ala's Invincible Shadow creeping closer. The Senshi, standing against the blackness, knowing that they cannot hope to defeat such a creature.
It is thus, that they are shocked when the Shadow screams in rage, and begins to… shrink. I may not have learned such methods as to seal away Met'ala again, but I know more than enough to constrain such a mockery of Shades.
The Senshi still stand firm, until they see whom it is that has spared them.
I look upon them and feel sorrow, for I see the coming of each of their deaths. I slowly walk among them, not saying a word for all their questions. My soft, sorrowful smile is all I give them, and I know that they understand what that means. The older Senshi tense, and I know that they wish there were some way out, not for themselves, but for their younger, less experienced comrades.
I can give them no hint as to what I know, but hopefully they will understand if they remember.
I direct them to the spaceport, where we can see that another wave of dark beings have arrived, and they are off, with only a few backward glances at me.
Serenity's breath is labored; her blood runs freely from her mortal shell. I kneel beside her, and lift her head up, forcing her to drink from the chalice in my hand.
"Pluto," she whispers as I take the cup away. "I… cannot ask…."
"Do not, Serenity. " I tell her gently. "Do not. For it was my folly first, to so neglect you and yours."
"I know, Serenity. And I promise. I shall take care of each of them until it is time for them to awaken. They reside in my realm now."
Serenity closed her eyes, smiled, and let go of life.
I laid her body back down and sighed. The last few sparks of her soul drifted up and disappeared into the infinite, and I silently directed them to the same place I had put all of their souls, Senshi and Serenity.
The Gates of Time stand in this place of no-time, unaffected by the ages, even as am I.
The Shade draws near, and I can feel it watch me. Perhaps it is right. Now I can focus on my atonement, as I have not been able to before.
I have stood in her place, but failed.
I must not fail again. I am the last Senshi, and I must make sure that there will be those again whom I may trust.
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