A Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon story
by Elsa Bibat
A story set in "A Dance Set to the Music of Time" sequence
Disclaimer: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC. This is used without permission.
This disclaimer also applies to several intellectual properties referred to in the text. Please be guided accordingly.
Note: Technically, everyone is speaking in Mandarin, unless so noted.
The place gave the illusion of infinite darkness in all directions. The only place for light was the central position, a bright shaft that had no source.
This was the Council of the Seven, the holy of holies of one of the most powerful secret organizations on the planet, the Si Fan. Chinese in origin, it utilized the entire exotic arsenal of the East against the West. Their greatest weapon, however, was the person standing in that circle of light.
The man known to the world as Doctor Fu Manchu stood in obeisance of those he served. The most cunning mastermind had come to pay his respects and to respond to the summons given him.
He was a tall skeleton of a man, dressed in black and blue robes cut in the Mandarin style. His hair was drawn back into a queue, and it reached to his hips in a sinuous pigtail. He was bareheaded, highlighting his close-shaven skull and high forehead. Delicate eyebrows were set over two feline eyes that glinted tiger-green with intelligence.
"Excellencies, I am here as you have commanded." Green cat-like eyes shone with a seemingly unearthly light as he bowed to his unseen masters. "All goes well with my part of the project, and I have sent my earnings to the Golden Lion Hoard."
Silence met his declaration, and for a moment, the Doctor knew fear. The failure to respond could mean many things in the labyrinthine organization of the Si Fan. It could mean a lifetime of torture, or a consideration for a promotion in the organization. More often than not, it was the first.
But the Doctor hid his fear well and straightened from his bow with utmost dignity.
The silence of the room was deafening. A lesser man would have started fidgeting or have shown other overt signs of weakness.
The Doctor stood in silence, features schooled into a mask of respect and projecting an aura of confidence. But behind the heavy-lidded cat eyes of his, a mind that was equaled only by five others in the world was working furiously. Questions of failure and betrayal crossed his mind, as well as plans of escape if his masters had found his service displeasing. An enigmatic smile played on his lips as he looked straight ahead, his brain a well-oiled machine that was working overtime.
The moment of silence could have lasted for hours in that dark room. No conscious sign of time was ever seen in the Council's chambers. In that hallowed sanctum, the mind was played tricks upon; hours became seconds and half-seconds became years.
Still the Doctor stood, resolute and defiant, at the center of the circle of light.
Then the silence was broken by slight applause.
"An admirable display, Doctor."
The cat-green eyes narrowed as the Doctor heard the voice and the sound of clapping hands. Another pillar of light blossomed directly in front of him and his suspicions were confirmed.
Two people were clapping their hands. A tall man dressed in robes of black, with a mask-like face set under a magistrate's hat. His eyes seemed to burn with a hidden purpose. He stood beside a seat where his companion, a woman, was ensconced. The woman, in contrast to her partner, was dressed in white. From the ribbon that held her hair in a bun to the canvas slippers on her feet, she was an alabaster vision. A delicate face with haunting red eyes was framed by strange hair that changed color depending on how the light played on it, raven black to auburn to a strange viridian green.
"The Underworld Magistrate Ying Ko. The Death-White Beauty Lao Xiaojie." The Doctor's tone was dangerously low. "What are you doing here? Where is the Council?"
"Actually, as of two months ago, we are the Council, Doctor."
"Two months? Hmm… Yes. I see. The strange changes in the operating patterns of the other departments are now clear. You have managed to keep the Si Fan operational, but have diverted its abilities to other ends."
The white-robed woman whom the Doctor had called Lao Xiaojie arched an eyebrow. "You are not surprised?"
"I had already determined a change in the power structure two weeks ago. I had assumed a new master among the Seven… someone who had managed to cow all others into submission. Your unified control has managed to make the Si Fan more powerful, though you have strangely blunted it in recent months."
"Then our presence here is no surprise?" Ying Ko's dark eyes seemed to blaze with amusement and a peculiar smile danced on his lips.
"Your identities are a surprise. Though I should have expected that even the most upstanding individuals would seek power for themselves."
"Not for ourselves, Doctor. This is but a stepping stone." Lao Xiaojie shared her companion's amusement. The Doctor only arched an eyebrow in response. It was Ying Ko who continued for her.
"Doctor, you are privileged to be one of the ten people capable enough to stop us. You are skilled enough, I think, to guess who the others are."
Jade eyes flashed in understanding.
"The Professor of Mathematics," the Doctor said as he stroked his chin, "has been eliminated by the Great Detective. The Italian has gone off to a lamasery in Tibet. The Hound of Shanghai is occupied with the Fox. The Mongol is sleeping in Xanadu. The Cherry Blossom of Nihon has fallen. The Monk is contemplating eternity in the Himalayas. The Undying One from the Carpathians has been… inconvenienced. The Masked One and his organization have disappeared since the Paris incident. The Russian is a deranged lunatic from what he has encountered. Nine have been accounted for, leaving only me. All in a single decade. Impressive." The viridian eyes of the Doctor gave the two before him an admiring glance. "I would have never thought I would owe so much to champions of justice and truth. They would have all been inconveniences for my long-term plans."
"Not your long-term plans, Doctor. Ours. You are incorrect on one or two points, but you have managed the gist of it. A new century has begun, and the time has come for some plans to come to fruition."
"And for that, Lao Xiaojie, you need me? I would think that I would be eliminated next. As you have eliminated the Seven."
The couple before him smiled. They were not nice smiles. It was a sight that would have made an ordinary mortal cringe. A bead of sweat formed on his forehead as the Doctor endured the look that the duo gave him.
"Lord of Strange Deaths, we know who you are." The Doctor could hear the power resonating in the voice of Ying Ko, feeling the irresistible will behind it.
"We know what you want." Lao Xiaojie's voice had the same ring of power. The hint of indescribable age in the tone, that note of agelessness the Doctor had heard only once before, in Shangri-la, from the mouth of a being who had seen millennia. But the voice was older than that.
"We know why you are here." Two voices of power, mingling, twisting with each other to create a seamless whole. A vision of something infinitely, horrifying beautiful exploded into the Doctor's mind, a sight that reminded him of the things he had read of, from books that no ordinary mind could bear. The Book of Eibon. The Codex of the White Queen, hidden in the vaults of Shangri-la. The Book of the Four Gods of Heaven and Earth. Knowledge both sacred and profane flooded his mind, then suddenly it cleared, and he saw the two before him for what they were.
"What are you?" Sweating heavily, yet still dignified in his own way, the Doctor stood his ground.
"Voices in the wilderness." Lao Xiaojie's tone was playfully serious, her eyes burning red with an eldritch light. "Heralds of what is to come."
"The East has been chosen for something very special, Doctor. This century heralds an age of accelerated development and accelerated history. Before the century ends, someone will be born that is destined to rule the world."
"And what is my part in this?"
"Our Queen will rule, but the road to the throne is a long one. We seek to shorten it. That is where the Si Fan comes in, Doctor."
"As of this moment, all criminal activities of the Si Fan will stop. We have no need of them anyway. Our legitimate holdings are enough for our needs. The Si Fan is to begin paving the way for Her coming."
"And you, Doctor, will be the steward of this organization. You will shepherd it to the path that we need it to be set upon. You will be our face to the Si Fan, but you will also be our assistant in this great endeavor. Doctor, you will be setting the foundations of your dream. An Empire of the East, though not ruled by you."
"You will not live to see it, Doctor. But your children's children will see the day that an Empire of the East rules the world over, and even the worlds beyond."
The Doctor considered this, his eyes oddly shaded like that of a lounging cat. Then he bowed.
"Then I will serve you. For the sake of the future."
Then, remembering his momentary vision, he added.
"For the sake of the White Queen."
Author's notes: I've always been a fan of the Doctor. In actuality, I cheer him on more often than the idiotic pair of Smith and Petrie, probably because I'd be one of the rulers of the world if the Doctor ever won. ^_^
Anyway, it was inevitable that I include the good Doctor in the Dance sequence as a… heroic character. Always did want to rewrite Rohmer, like the way Saberhagen did with Stoker's Dracula. The good Doctor will next be seen in the Dance sequence in The Three Doctors, a good-sized tale featuring Doctor Fu Manchu (I hate that name. Why didn't Rohmer give the Great One a decent name, damn it?!), Doctor Sun Yat Sen, and Doctor Wong Fei Hung! Chop-socky revolutionary action! ^_^
As always one or two of the Senshi are related to / descended from the Doctor; make a wild guess. ^_^ As for the other references that pepper the work… Well, part of the mystery, ne? ^_^
By the way, the monikers "Underworld Magistrate" and "Death-White Beauty" are in the tradition of the martial arts epics of the Far East, with nicknames like "One-Eyebrow Priest", "Humpback Club", "Fire-hand Judge", etcetera, etcetera. They hint at the other crossovers with Chinese characters of the wuxia genre, as depicted in the next Dance vignette, Hong Kong Tea.
|Hong Kong Tea|
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