A Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon story
by Elsa Bibat
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.
[Silver Millenium, A Long Time Ago]
The beauty of the ballroom was breathtaking. The polished marble floors, the beautiful golden arches and the paintings on the ceiling enhanced the grandeur of the place. But if the place alone was beautiful, the people who filled it were more so.
Handsome men in dress uniforms, complete in their full regalia, and beautiful women in their stunning evening gowns danced upon the shiny marble floors to the music of one of the best musical troupes in the Kingdom of Erewhon, the most powerful kingdom on Earth. They glided gracefully upon the dance floor, each pair of dancers as equally magnificent as the others.
However, one particular pair was a cut above the rest. The other dancers had noticed this and they stopped to admire the pair. The man was tall and clean-shaven, black hair delicately combed. He wore a gray dress uniform, tunic and pants; the only signs of decoration were the roses embroidered into his collar, the epaulets shaped in the form of roses and a ceremonial sword at his side with a rose at the cross-hilt. He was a bit lanky, but with his pose and self-confident smile he managed to look like a gallant knight.
The woman, in her own way, looked like the princess that he served. Her hourglass figure was enhanced by the form-fitting purple evening gown. Her flaming red hair that reached the small of her back was kept in check by an ebony tiara. Her emerald eyes looked back at her partner with a mixed look of annoyance and affection. A smile was on her ruby-red lips, though it was a lot more subdued than her partner's. They danced through the intricate steps of the dance, both of them moving in clockwork motion, with a lot more added finesse.
As the piece ended, the two bowed at the applause they received from their audience. They moved away as the band struck up another tune. The man took two crystal glasses of wine from a passing servant as the pair moved to entrance to the balcony to get some air and rest a bit after their recent dance.
"Here, Milady, a glass of wine for your parched throat."
"Thank you, Milord," she said as she accepted the glass, taking a sip.
"You know I hate it when you call me that," he said, a touch of annoyance in his voice.
"You call me Milady, I call you Milord," she said, her smile widening a bit.
"Okay, Beryl. You win again."
"My dear Attis, you should know by now that I always win," she replied, a triumphant grin breaking out on her face.
Attis laughed softly, took a sip of his wine and looked down at the palace grounds. The full moon was reflected from the waters of the fountain. The trees and shrubbery that lined the walkways around the large pool formed by it were dark; very fortunate for some of the more enthusiastic couples, he thought. A slight grin was on his face as he saw a giggling couple duck into the darkness.
"It's a beautiful night, isn't it?" he asked Beryl as he looked to her, setting his wine glass aside and resting his hands on the railing. The moonlight brought out the highlights in her hair and her face framed by her red tresses was extraordinarily beautiful.
"Yes, Attis. It's very beautiful. It fits the event."
Attis favored her with a sideward glance. "Beryl, I know you didn't come to socialize. You're here because of Endymion, correct?" he said as he set the glass away and put both his hands on the balcony railing.
"And what if I was? Is there any problem in that?"
"No. But the last time I looked there was a really big ten-year gap between 18 and 28.'
Beryl's eyes roved over the palace grounds, ignoring her companion's statement.
"Come on, Beryl. This obsession with my nephew can't be good for you. It's unhealthy. Listen to a friend's advice. We've been friends for what, twenty or so years now?'
Beryl responded with an arched eyebrow and a withering glance.
"Okay, Okay, I didn't exactly act civil when we first met. By the Seven, I was six years old! It was perfectly normal me to douse you with a bucket of water."
Beryl remained silent as she looked to the palace grounds.
"I still don't know why you're fixated on Endymion. Hellfire, you can have your pick of the nobles with your beauty alone."
"You've always been good at laying on the flattery, Attis."
"I'm not kidding. You've got power. You've got beauty. You've got--"
"A question, Attis. How many of the nobles would love me for who I am?"
"Uhm… ah… uhm."
A short, bitter laugh came from Beryl's lips. "We both know that everyone who courts me, courts me because I'm heir to the second most powerful kingdom on Earth. If I were just a minor noble I wouldn't be receiving that many suitors. My reputation would make sure of that."
"Well, you are a bit short-tempered. And I still believe that kneeing the Crown Prince of Lemuria in the groin when you didn't think highly of his advances didn't help any. Though I still think he's a total bastard."
They shared a light laugh. Beryl became serious as she looked out again at the palace grounds. "And that is why I love your nephew, Attis. He is unlike your ordinary young prince. He respects people for what they are. I've seen him treat servants with respect. Even the lowliest peasants, if he thinks that they deserve it. He is lot like you in that respect. All the others are snobbish brats who couldn't care less. That is my reason. I intend to have him as my husband. You don't have anything to say that can change that."
Attis looked at her thoughtfully and sighed. "What if I said that I was proposing marriage to you?" He said as he looked away from her.
Beryl's eyes widened as she looked to her old friend. “You’re joking, right?"
Attis was silent.
"If you… if you asked… if you proposed, then I would say no." Beryl stuttered out her answer. Attis kept his mouth shut and contemplated the moon upon the placid waters of the fountain. The music from the ballroom behind them was the only sound they could hear, as the pair was silent. "I can't marry you, Attis. I never thought of you that way. You were like the brother I never had. I could never--" Beryl's soliloquy was interrupted by the trumpeting fanfare from inside. Prince Endymion had arrived.
"Excuse me, Knight of Roses. I must present myself before the Crown Prince." Beryl bowed before she reentered the ballroom.
Attis was silent for a while as he still looked into the palace grounds. The marble cracked slightly from his clenched hands. He smiled ruefully as he brought out a small black box and opened it. An exquisitely detailed ring topped by a fire opal, a girasol, looked back at him. It glittered in the moonlight as it shifted from azure to lavender and crimson, shifting its hues constantly as all girasols are known to do.
"What is it about me and women," he said softly, as he looked from ring to the full moon, "that always has me ending up on the floor, cleaning up the thousand pieces of my broken heart?"
Attis was limping as he walked, fighting youma all the way, through the flaming ruins of the palace. The last youma he had fought had been pretty tough and had managed to wound him badly before he dispatched it. The sounds of battle, the screams of the dying and the clang of swords mingling with the crackle of the fires, surrounded him.
As he sliced another youma with his sword, he saw who he was looking for. He felt his blood running down the side of his face as he called out.
"Endymion!" Attis shouted across the din at his nephew as he saw him running in his direction.
"Uncle! You'd best go now. Beryl's coming, and--"
"Hush, nephew. I know she's coming. That's why I have to give you this." Attis said as he pulled a crystal from his pocket. "It's a teleport crystal. Find a teleport pad. Use it to reach the Moon Kingdom. Ask for their help. Now go! I'll try to hold her off."
"No 'but's'! Get out of here!"
Endymion hesitated a moment. Then he looked grimly at his uncle and started to run.
Endymion stopped to look at his uncle, who still managed to look regal with all the grime and blood over his gray uniform. He saw his uncle close his eyes and saw his gloved hand glow red. A red rose materialized out of thin air in his hand. He managed to smile as he saw Endymion catch the thrown rose.
"Give it to your fiancée. I know how much she loves them."
Endymion returned Attis' smile with his own, as he gave his uncle a simple salute and ran away in search for a teleport pad.
"Come to pay your final respects?" Attis' rasping voice reached where Beryl stood. Attis was propped up to a remaining wall of the palace.
Her four generals, the former Guardians, were behind her.
"Where is Endymion, Attis?"
Attis looked at Beryl, not with a look of contempt, but pity. "I think you know where."
He saw Beryl's face contort in anger and she started to turn around.
"You know, Beryl… you still look cute when you're angry." Attis saw Beryl stiffen and slowly look down at him, surprise etched on her face. "No, Beryl. I don't hate you. You might be thinking that, but I'm not. Even though you've destroyed my kingdom, slaughtered thousands of innocents… I don't hate you." Attis coughed, blood flecking his lips. Everything was going dim, but he noticed his old friend was looking at him and was standing a bit nearer than before. "That probably makes me crazy. But how can I hate the only woman I ever loved?"
Attis managed a wiry smile as he pulled out a small box from his pocket and opened it, revealing a beautiful girasol.
"I'll always love you, no matter what." His eyes closing for the last time, Attis saw a single teardrop fall from her eyes.
And then blackness.
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