A Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon story
Disclaimer: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
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It was the Princess' fifteenth birthday. To celebrate, a huge party was being held at Cybele Palace. The guest of honour was none other than the protector of Centauri, Sailor Centauri, who had recently defeated the evil Nitrate, and brought a period of peace to Centauri once more. Of course, the Senshi was pretty unhappy at how the party was going.
"I'm sick of this, Hermes," she griped to the small white cat beside her "No one is even coming near me. Are they scared of me or something?"
The feline looked up, the star on his forehead catching the light. "Perhaps they're overawed. You are almost a legend."
"Yeah, well being a legend sure is lonely. I wish someone would just come up and say "Young lady, could I have the pleasure of a dance?" She looked enviously at the Princess, the centre of attention, dancing with a masked man.
"I'd dance with you… except that I'm just a cat." Hermes said.
She smiled down at him, "You always know just what to say." The cat purred as she scratched behind his ears. "I may as well go get a drink." As she walked to the table with the drinks, people parted to allow her through, looking at her in a mixture of awe and nervousness. She returned to her guardian cat, drink in hand. "I hate this. Why couldn't I have come as myself? At least people would treat me like a person."
"The invitation was for Sailor Centauri, not Noriko Ka'Tenmei," the cat reminded her. "No one knows your true identity."
"I don't know how. Surely someone would notice that Sailor Centauri and Noriko Ka'Tenmei are identical. Plus the fact that I always rush off right before Sailor Centauri appears surely must raise a few suspicions." She idly twirled a lock of her long white hair around her fingers.
"People believe what they want to believe." Hermes attempted to rationalise it for her. "Sailor Centauri is the eternal protector of our world, and people think of you that way rather than considering that you're really a schoolgirl most of the time."
"Seems like a pretty dumb explanation to me," she said tiredly. Hermes just shrugged his cat shoulders mutely. He was used to her occasional self-pity trips.
She considered things for a moment before adding, "I suppose some people have found out before…"
"And then died mysteriously," Hermes finished, only being half sarcastic.
They stood watching the party around them for a few more minutes before Sailor Centauri sighed and said, "Aside from the princess and you, no one has said a word to me all night. Maybe I should leave."
Hermes looked up at her, shocked. "We've only been here an hour. That would be considered very rude."
"Oh, and they're all being warm and welcoming, I suppose?" she countered.
"Point," he conceded.
Just then, a harsh female voice rang out. "Give me your star seed!" All eyes turned to the source of the voice. It was… it was a Sailor Senshi! How can this be, thought Centauri, I'm the only one! The outfit was different from her own, but unmistakably the fuku of a Sailor Senshi. The woman in the Sailor Senshi outfit was tall, almost statuesque, but she moved quickly, rushing towards the princess. But Sailor Centauri was quicker.
"I don't know who you are, but you are interrupting a very special day. Even if the princess forgives you, I won't! In the name of Centauri, I will punish you!"
She quickly spun round "Centauri Star Shot!" and fired a ball of incandescent light at the mysterious interloper. It hit her full on, knocking her to the floor, but she recovered fast. Too fast, thought Centauri.
"Who are you?" the intruder asked as she rose back to her feet.
"For love and honour, I am the sailor-suited beautiful fighter Sailor Centauri!"
She seemed unimpressed. "Well, I'm Sailor Copper Eagle. And Galaxia wants the star seed. A little girl like you isn't going to stop me. Enough talk." She raised her arms above her head then pointed at Centauri. "Cosmic Crash!"
What looked like a miniature galaxy formed at her fingertips, then shot across the room at Centauri. It exploded just in front of her, the force of the blast sending her flying into a nearby pillar. Once her vision cleared, she saw Sailor Copper Eagle holding a small white object, which quickly turned black.
"It's not the one." She said in disgust. "But I may as well remove this irritation." She turned back to Centauri, who had gotten back to her feet, but she was stopped by the voice of her queen.
"Leave her, Copper Eagle. She will be mine," the voice came in her head. Obediently, she stepped into a phone box which appeared, and promptly disappeared.
The next day, Noriko was in her room with Hermes, discussing the events of the previous night.
"No question of it, she was a Sailor Senshi," Hermes said. "That attack she used, though… I've never seen anything like it."
"Well, it hurt like hell." Noriko rubbed the back of her head where she had hit the pillar. A lump had formed. "But what are we going to do about it, and why did she leave like that?"
Hermes mulled it over before finally responding, "She must be taking orders from someone. She did mention someone called Galaxia."
"Well, it's news to me. We'll just have to play it by ear. I'm just glad the princess recovered," Noriko said. "Hey, why don't we go out? It's too nice a day to sit around in here. We can go to the park, since we have to wait for them to make their move."
"The park is the logical place to go, since eighty-eight percent of your battles have taken place there," Hermes agreed.
"That many? Maybe we should put traps there sometime," Noriko suggested.
"I don't think that would make us very popular," Hermes cautioned.
"Just a thought," she said sweetly.
"Is it just me, or is the park emptier than usual?" Noriko wondered aloud. The park was deserted.
"I can't see anyone," Hermes said as he looked around.
"Welcome, Sailor Centauri."
"What!" Noriko looked around to find the source of the voice, but it seemed to come from all around her.
"Yes. I know who you are. You will be mine."
The sky seemed to darken, as clouds came in seemingly from nowhere.
"You"d better transform. I don't like this," Hermes said fearfully.
"Centauri Planet Power, MAKE UP!" she cried as she drew her transformation wand. Where Noriko Ka'Tenmei had stood, now was Sailor Centauri.
"Show yourself!" she screamed at the sky.
Evil laughter, barely discernible at first, but steadily growing louder, emanated from everywhere. Lightning played across the sky. "Very well." Ten metres from Sailor Centauri, a figure appeared. It was a young woman, in a golden Sailor Senshi outfit. She had red hair.
Unconsciously, Sailor Centauri stepped back. "Who… who are you?" Her voice didn't carry the confidence she would have liked.
The gold-attired Senshi frowned. "You don't remember? I suppose being reincarnated would do that." She smiled evilly. "I am the most powerful Senshi, and ruler of the galaxy. The Golden Queen of Shadow, Sailor Galaxia!" The smile grew colder "And you are in my way. You can join me as my unquestioning servant like Copper Eagle here…" She gestured, and the Senshi who had attacked the princess at the party appeared. "…or you can die."
Centauri backed off another step. "I'll never join you!" she said with a surprising amount of force.
The smile on Galaxia's face shrank just a bit. "A waste. But I will have your star seed." She turned to Sailor Copper Eagle. "Eliminate her." Then she disappeared, leaving Centauri and Copper Eagle facing each other.
"I was like you, once," Copper Eagle said, her voice void of emotion. "But I was shown the power of Galaxia. You are a fool for defying her."
More confident now that Galaxia was gone, Centauri shot back, "We'll see who's a fool. I'll punish you for Centauri!"
Copper Eagle readied her attack. Centauri did likewise. "Cosmic" "Centauri" "Cra—" "Star" "—sh!" "Shot!" The two projectiles impacted into each other, creating a huge distortion wave which passed through both the combatants and the cat, but apparently didn't affect them.
"Impressive," Copper Eagle said in appreciation.
"You haven't seen the full extent of my power!" Centauri said, growing more self-assured by the second.
"I still have a few more tricks left, girl," Copper Eagle said harshly. "Dark Night Blast!" She leapt into the air and a beam of pure black emanated from her hands and hit Centauri.
The pain was indescribable. It was like she had been sprayed with liquid nitrogen. The left side of her body, where it had hit, was almost paralysed with agony. She couldn't even scream.
Keen to press her advantage, Copper Eagle readied another attack. "Cosmic Crash!"
There was no way she could have avoided it. Centauri was on her knees, barely able to move. The projectile homed on its target, but a small white cat leapt up and took the blast.
"Hermes!" Centauri screamed seeing her guardian cat flying through the air and landing in a crumpled heap. "No…" Tears flowed freely down her face as she saw Hermes struggle to speak.
"Sailor Centauri… please… believe in yourself… don't worry…" The effort of talking became too much, and the cat passed out.
Struggling to her feet, Centauri glared at Copper Eagle, who seemed taken aback by what had happened. "Centauri Seismic Shock!!!" she screamed as she fell to her knees and slammed her fist to the ground. The fabric of the planet seemed to ripple as a huge wave in the ground built up and rushed to Sailor Copper Eagle. The Animamate was totally unprepared for this, and was hit by the full force of the wave. She groggily tried to get up.
"Time to end this!" Centauri yelled. "Even if Hermes forgives you, I won't!" She readied her ultimate attack. "Centauri Meteor Strike!" Hundreds of glowing red globes appeared above her and shot at Copper Eagle, mercilessly pummeling her. She raised her hands to protect herself and one of the projectiles hit her bracelet. It broke and fell off.
As the bombardment ceased, Sailor Copper Eagle lay dying. "Thank you… you freed me…" The Animamate faded away, leaving only the broken bracelet as a marker of her existence.
The sky lit up. It looked like it was on fire, as angry red flames leapt from cloud to cloud.
Galaxia appeared again. She wasn't smiling this time. "Very good." As she spoke the temperature seemed to drop a few degrees.
All of Centauri's confidence evaporated on seeing Galaxia again. Something about her inspired fear of a kind she had never known. "Few have the honour of being killed personally by me. You are the first in many years."
"You won't have me, or my planet."
"I will have your world. Just like all the rest. And I will have your star seed."
"Never!" Centauri yelled. "Centauri Meteor Strike!"
The glowing orbs shot towards Galaxia. But they all got bounced away just before hitting her. "Is that all of your power? I'm disappointed." Her voice actually did convey some disappointment.
Refusing to give up, she tried another attack. "Centauri Seismic Shock!" A huge wave roared through the ground towards Galaxia, but it parted upon approaching Galaxia before merging once past her. It carried on a short distance before dissipating.
"Enough games." Galaxia raised her hands and blasted Centauri with dark lightning. The power was too much and Centauri could do nothing but take the attack. But it was so powerful that she couldn't hope to survive it for long. She could almost feel as if a part of her being was being torn from her… Her star seed!
"Noriko…" It was Hermes, who had regained consciousness. "…use the teleport… we must escape… she's too powerful."
She barely heard him above the roar of Galaxia's continued assault. But she knew he was right. Galaxia was too powerful. "Centauri… Crisis… Teleport!" she gasped out, and disappeared in a flash of light along with the cat.
Galaxia stopped blasting. "We'll meet again. And there will be no escape, I promise."
Sailor Centauri looked around. She didn't know where she was. Thick mist stopped her seeing more than a few metres in front of her. "Hermes! Hermes! Where are you?" She called out.
"I'm here." Hermes' familiar voice reassured her. She looked down and saw him lying by her feet.
"Where are we?" she asked, still looking around.
"I haven't the foggiest," Hermes said weakly.
"I'm glad you still have your sense of humour." Centauri smiled at the ivory feline, partially obscured by ground-hugging mist.
"Wait, look to your left," Hermes said urgently. Centauri turned and saw a figure approaching. Galaxia? No, this was someone else. As the figure became clearer, it became apparent it was a woman, with hair about the same length as Centauri's own. She was holding a staff.
"Who are you?" Centauri called out. "Where are we?"
The woman emerged from the mists. Another Senshi! Her hair was a strange dark green colour. And her face seemed slightly sad. "I am Sailor Pluto. This place has no name. Who are you?"
Centauri drew herself up. "I am Sailor Centauri, protector of Centauri." If Pluto was impressed, it didn't show. "You are a long way from home, Sailor Centauri. This is Earth."
"Earth? I thought you said this place has no name." Confusion was written all over Centauri's face.
"Both are correct. This is a place between times, but in space it corresponds to the planet Earth," Pluto answered cryptically.
"Between times…?" Hermes repeated questioningly.
Pluto looked down at the talking cat. Her face showed a little surprise, but it was quickly replaced with the blank, ever so slightly sad expression she had before. "Yes. From here, you can go to any point in time. I am the guardian of time. I have always been here, even when I am not."
Centauri was really confused now. "How can you be here when you're not here?" she asked.
"All times exist at once. When we next meet, I will still be here. I am bound here for eternity, but can leave whenever I please," Pluto said, not very helpfully.
Centauri's mind was performing all kinds of mental gymnastics as she tried to grasp what she was told, but it was futile. She clutched her hands to her head in frustration. Hermes decided to take over. "You say you're the guardian of time. What exactly do you do as guardian?"
"I stop people going…" A slight smile played across her lips "…when they shouldn't be."
Hermes looked at Centauri nervously; she was in no shape to fight. Her body was weakened from Galaxia's attack, and her mind appeared to be a lost cause right now. She was muttering almost inaudibly about being in different times at the same time.
Sailor Pluto caught his unease and said reassuringly, "It's all right, I have no intention of stopping you—" She was interrupted by Sailor Centauri.
"Yes! I've got it!" She punched the air in triumph. Looking at the quizzical stares of Pluto and Hermes, she lowered her arm and muttered sheepishly, "Sorry, but I just figured out what you meant…"
Pluto kept her gaze on Centauri for another moment, then turned to Hermes. "As I was saying, I won't interfere. You will go to the time you are meant to." With that, she turned and strode off into the mists. "We will meet again," was her parting comment.
"Wait!" Centauri called after her "Where do we go? What do we do?" But there was no response. "Oh well, may as well go… thataway." She pointed in a random direction and walked off. Hermes quickly followed, surprised at how his body seemed to have recovered from the earlier battle.
"You seem pretty happy considering what just happened with Galaxia," he observed.
Sailor Centauri picked him up and smiled warmly at him. "Well, my furry feline friend, that's because we've been given another chance. I don't know how we ended up here, but now we can go back in time and stop Galaxia!"
"But how do we get out of here?" he asked, surprised at how well Centauri was taking things.
"You heard the mysterious, green-haired Senshi," she chided him. "We will go to where and when we are meant. Something's bound to happen." She stopped walking and looked at Hermes. "Galaxia acted like she knew me. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?" she asked the cat.
Hermes searched his memories from a thousand years ago before responding. "I wasn't with you when you died, but I do remember you left Centauri to fight against Chaos. Most of the Senshi in the galaxy were involved, either possessed by Chaos, or fighting against it. It wouldn't surprise me if Galaxia was involved, but I know very little of what happened in that period of time. Sorry," he apologised.
"That's all right." She reached down and scratched behind his ears. "I wonder what I was like back in those days."
"A lot like you are now, except you were older when you left Centauri. You were a bit of a paradox. Very serene and peaceful sometimes, but also impulsive and idealistic. I just wish I had gone with you during the Sailor Wars, but you wouldn't allow it."
Centauri smiled. "Probably for your own good. If I died, who knows what would have happened to you."
"I can take care of myself!" Hermes sniffed indignantly.
"And you've saved my life more times than I'm comfortable with," Centauri said to appease him, but it had the opposite effect.
"What do you mean? Are you embarrassed of me?" he demanded.
"No, of course not. I just meant that it's not good that I actually need to get saved by anyone," she protested, waving her arms in a placating gesture.
"Well, you've improved a lot since I first found you," he pointed out.
"Yeah, I didn't take anything seriously at first. It was just a game to me. Now I know better," she said grimly.
After walking for… a time… Centauri's enthusiasm was starting to diminish. She trudged along slowly, Hermes following suit. "It seems like we've been here forever," he complained.
This brightened up Centauri a bit, and she waved a finger at her cat. "We have been here forever, but we also just arrived AND we just left." She smiled smugly at her new understanding of temporal mechanics. Hermes just sighed.
Later — or it could have been earlier, for such arbitrary temporal distinctions were meaningless here — they noticed a light in the distance, and for want of something better to do, they approached.
As they drew nearer to the light they could occasionally hear voices. Someone called Chibi Usa was talking to someone called Pu. Chibi Usa was crying, and Pu sounded like Sailor Pluto. They could also hear some people talking about a place called Crystal Tokyo and something called a Ginzuishou. But they could never localise the sounds or see anyone. They finally reached the mysterious light, and Sailor Centauri reached out to it as it enveloped them. "It's warm…" she whispered.
This is not good, thought Setsuna. It was unlike her to be late for anything, but she had lost her left shoe and it took her five minutes to find it. Five minutes she didn't have. She hurried to the place where Sailor Centauri would arrive in a few seconds. I just hope she hangs around. I don't want to have to trawl the city looking for a confused alien Senshi. She berated herself again for losing her shoe. She had eventually found it under the couch.
To be continued.
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