Chapter 1: Betrayal
A running Usagi finally slowed down at the entrance of the Hikawa Shrine, throwing open the doors to the room that the meetings of the Senshi were usually held in. Releasing a breath, she slowly walked into the room, her face slightly red from her frantic sprint from her house to the temple. "I'm sorry girls," the blonde apologized, bowing deeply before she straightened to walk closer to the group. "What's wrong?" she finally asked, her expression turning dead serious. "What's the meeting about? Is it a new enemy?"
The four guardians were strangely silent. Even the two Lunar felines, who were watching the conversation from a distance, didn't speak a word, only sharing short, knowing glances between the advisers.
Usagi felt fear stir in her heart. She really didn't need another problem to deal with alongside the strange twinges of darker magic she occasionally felt reaching out to her. "G-girls?" she stammered out, her voice slightly shaking.
"It's not about the enemy, Usagi-chan," Ami's quiet voice cut through the silence like a hot knife through butter.
"Then what's the matter?" Usagi ventured, uncertainty in her tone. 'The' enemy, Usagi noted silently. That meant that there was a new threat. She swallowed nervously.
"It's been a team decision, Usagi-chan," Minako began gently. "We've been discussing this for a while, and we've finally made a choice. The four of us," the blonde Senshi paused to gesture around to the four guardians, who all bowed their heads, barring the aloof Rei, almost as if they were ashamed of facing her. "Have decided that..."
"Get on with it, Venus," Rei said sharply, her face of delicate, aristocratic features cold and stoic. "Don't drag it on for more than needed. We made the decision, now spit it out."
"Fine!" Minako snapped, her blue eyes lighting up in irritation. "Usagi-chan, it pains me to say this, but..." the reincarnation of the Venusian princess swallowed and looked at the others, who all returned her with a pitiful glance, only Rei having her eyes narrowed. "You're off the team. It's—it's for your own protection."
"Wha-what?" Usagi stuttered, stunned by the other blonde's words. "Why?"
"It's just because you can't take care of yourself during a fight," Makoto tried to explain, the tall brunette looking at the Moon Princess with begging green eyes that matched the colour of her transformation wand. "Please, Usagi-chan, just accept it. We'll still be your friends, and we can still meet up for meetings, but all you need to do is stay away from the battles!"
Usagi's eyes narrowed and her brow furrowed, a frown on her face. Surely Ami couldn't feel that she needed protection... could she? Turning to the blue-haired Senshi, the princess was startled to see Ami breaking down in tears. She took a shaky step closer to the guardian of Mercury, hand outstretched to comfort her, but Ami slapped her hand away, sobs shaking her frame.
"I'm sorry, Usagi-chan!" the genius blurted out, tears running down her face. "Mako-chan and Minako-chan... they're both right. You need to be safe and protected." The girl leapt to her feet, throwing her arms around Usagi in a rare act of affection for the other girl. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she repeated, sobbing into Usagi's shoulder. "Forgive me, Usagi. I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
Shaking her head frantically, Usagi shrugged Ami off, stumbling back with her eyes wide. "Girls..." she whispered softly. She shook her head, her long blonde pigtails swinging in the air. "I won't!" she shouted out. Her brooch, pinned on the front of her uniform, gleamed, the crystal inside responding to her distress. "You need me!" she cried out. "We're a team!" Fresh tears stinging her eyes, she bit back the sob that was going to escape her and she tried to reason with her friends yet again. "We're supposed to... work together..." With each word, her voice grew softer and softer. "Please... reconsider."
Minako looked to be fighting back tears of her own as she shook her head full of long, lustrous blonde hair. "I'm sorry, Usagi-chan," she apologized. The girl gave a sideways glance at Makoto, who was busy consoling the hysterical Ami. "But you're in too much danger out there on the battlefield. You're our princess. We're supposed to keep you safe." As she spoke, her hand reached out to gently clasp Usagi's shoulder. "Be reasonable."
Usagi didn't move, her fists slowly clenching tighter and tighter as what the Senshi said drilled itself into her mind. "No," she spat as coldly as she could manage, her hand slapping Minako's away. "No," she repeated louder, much to the astonishment of the others, who, she bet, were probably expecting her to cry and give in. "I'm not going to stand down," she hissed at them, "and I'm not going down without a fight."
"Usagi." Rei stepped in, and with a fierce glare, silently ordered Minako to step back. Much to the Moon Princess' surprise, the blonde obeyed, joining Makoto and Ami, soon breaking down along with the blue-haired genius. "Be reasonable, odango-atama," the raven-haired priestess stated sharply, crossing her arms over her chest. "I don't want to have to force you out of here too."
"Don't bother," Usagi snapped at the priestess angrily. "I'm leaving. You always wanted me to follow you, well now I am. But I'm never coming back." The princess' face turned impassive as she took a step back. She turned her back onto the four, as well as the two cats, who still hadn't spoken a word yet. She took a few steps towards the door, but just as she was going to walk out, she turned back to face them, her eyes narrowed in anger.
"If this is the way you want things, then so be it," the princess spat, her eyes hardening into icy blue rocks. "But one day, I swear on the name of the Moon that I'll show you my worth as a Senshi, and I'll make you regret doing this to me." She whipped back around, her long hair slicing through the air. Storming out, the door slammed forcefully behind her, the wooden frame nearly splintering into small pieces.
Artemis and Luna stared after her, their eyes filled with regret and pity for the princess. Both cats looked at each other, then transformed themselves into their human forms. Artemis headed over to comfort Minako, while Luna walked over to Rei, who, by now had started shaking, with fresh tears in her eyes. Luna clapped a hand on Rei's shoulder. "It's okay, Rei," the woman gently said to the priestess. "You did what was needed." Luna's long, deep black curls fell over her shoulder as she continued to speak with the raven-haired girl.
Artemis gently soothed Minako, his hands gently rubbing her back as he looked back to his partner. Luna met his gaze, eyes regretful. Both knew that they had done what was needed to make their princess stronger.
Chapter 2: The Split
Usagi stalked along the road to the Crown Arcade, her face set in an angry scowl. Her hands shoved roughly into the pockets of her jeans, the Moon princess headed towards the safety of the beloved arcade. So they think that they can just push me out? Well, I'll show them! Usagi promised herself angrily. As if on cue, the darkened skies above her lit up with a threatening flash, and roaring thunder followed. Jumping physically, the blonde hastened into the arcade just as a heavy rain shower began.
The girl sighed, slumping against a wall. She trudged towards the counter, taking a seat on one of the brightly coloured seats there. She rested a lot of her weight on her elbows, pressing them on the counter-top. Her eyes fluttered shut, and she held her hands in a manner similar to the way Jupiter would use one of her attacks. She let her head put the rest of its weight on her fingertips.
"Usagi-chan?" Motoki's voice, like a worried older brother, sounded from in front of her. A few minutes later, the sound of a glass sliding across the counter could be heard.
Usagi sniffed miserably and looked up, seeing one of her signature drinks - an ultra-deluxe chocolate milkshake - in front of her, complete with the metaphorical cherry on top - which was actually a curly straw. "Motoki-onii-san..." she trailed off, a small smile on her face as she grabbed the milkshake in front of her. After a few sips, she felt significantly better. "I just had a bad day..." Usagi said quietly. "I had a falling out with the girls, and Mamo-chan still won't talk to me!" The girl verged on breaking down, but she held herself back, chewing on her lower lip.
Motoki seemed to notice her hesitation to bawling as she usually did, and frowned deeply at her behaviour. "Imouto-chan," he started warily, but was cut off when the doors slid open to reveal the four guardians of the planets as well as a tall, dark-haired prince of the Earth. "Oi, Chiba!" Motoki called, though not loud enough to draw unnecessary attention. With narrowed eyes, the older teen crossed his arms over his chest as the aforementioned prince approached.
Usagi cursed silently under her breath and slipped out of her seat to avoid the confrontation that was no doubt brewing. As she headed out of the Crown, despite the rain still beating down, she saw the four Senshi head to their usual seat, in the midst of a heated discussion. Rei seemed to be the most aggravated, and her usually aloof face was angry, her brows knit together and her violet eyes narrowed. Usagi wondered what had happened. Seeing Mamoru walking over to their table, the blonde watched with bated breath to see what he would do.
To her shock, he ultimately did nothing. He simply slid into the seat beside Rei and the group continued with their conversation. Somehow, Usagi thought she spied Mamoru's hand over Rei's on the white table. Fighting back the tears that burned her eyes, Usagi sniffed and turned, running out of the arcade and into the rain, where her tears mixed with the falling rain.
Usagi finally slowed to a stop when she reached the park, miraculously not slipping on anything on her way there. She sat down heavily on a bench in the park and continued to sob her heart out, covering her face with her hands. "Mamo-chan..." Her hands slowly fell to her lap, tightening into fist beside her. She tipped her head back, and she unleashed a scream of anguish, crying out the name of her past lover. "Mamo-chan!"
The rumble of thunder drowned out her cries as they collapsed into pitiful sobs. Her sobbing didn't last for long, though. A shrill scream pierced through the air, alerting the Moon Princess to trouble. If she had been in the same situation before a few months back, she would have gladly shied away and let the Senshi take care of the problem, but now, Usagi had a mission to prove the four guardians wrong.
She unclasped her brooch from her ribbon, raising it into the air. Screaming out her transformation phrase, she was lucky that there was no one out, or else her identity would have been exposed. But then again, who would be out in this kind of weather? Only she would have been. The bright silver and pink glow that swallowed her within its luminous grasp died out and revealed the protector of justice - Sailor Moon - standing in the place of Tsukino Usagi.
The Senshi of the Moon immediately sprung forth to seek the location of the attack, using the barrettes on her buns to aid her search. After some time, she pinpointed the location at the far end of the park and sprinted as fast as she could to reach the area. When she did arrive, she spotted several droids, all identical in appearance, attacking several civilians, one of which she noted as being one of her classmates.
"Hold it!" she yelled at the droids, quickly summoning the Cutie Moon Rod, which appeared in her gloved hands as soon as she thought of it. Pointing the end that was used to attack at the droids, she mustered the strongest voice she had and shouted out, "Don't you dare hurt those people any longer! I am the pretty sailor-suited Soldier of Love and Justice, Sailor Moon!" Standing defiantly and with her wand raised to attack any moment, she called out her battle challenge in as confident of a voice as she could use. "In the name of the Moon, I'll punish you!"
Each of the droids made a high-pitched screech and dropped their victims, flying at her to attack. Sailor Moon's eyes widened and she ducked the first attack, jumping up high into the air to avoid the next. As she fell, she planted the heels of her red boots into a third, before spinning around to land a kick at the forth. Unfortunately for her, her chronic clumsiness made her fall as soon as the kick had connected forcefully with the droid, the loss of solid balance making her a wide target. Moon reached for her wand to decimate the next droid, but another attack slammed into it, throwing it far away from her.
A chain of attacks followed the fiery rings summoned by Mars. The blond cursed her uselessness as she watched the four planetary guardians systematically take down the series of droids.
"Shine Aqua Illusion!"
"Crescent Beam Shower!"
"Sparkling Wide Pressure!"
Sailor Moon's gloved fist slammed forcefully into the ground as the droids were all pushed back and severely weakened. Cursing herself profusely, Moon raised her hand and shouted out her attack, dissolving each droid into a pile of dust. "Moon Princess Activation!" Sailor Moon got to her feet, a scowl on her face as her transformation dissolved in a shower of pink sparks, leaving behind harmless Usagi who couldn't do much other than cry and scream. "I don't need your help," she spat, hand clenching into a fist. "I can take care of myself."
"Didn't look that way to me, odango-atama," Sailor Mars shot at her, returning back to priestess Hino Rei in a powerful red glow.
"Usagi-chan," Sailor Venus pleaded, turning into Aino Minako as she reached out to the other blonde. "Please, Usagi-chan, be reasonable. You can't keep coming to battles anymore. You'll just get yourself hurt."
Usagi scowled, crossing her arms over her chest. "You can't tell me what to do," she ground out. "I'm a Senshi too; it's my duty to protect!"
"But you'll get hurt, Usagi-chan," Ami's quiet voice startled Usagi as the genius, no longer Sailor Mercury, stepped up to look Usagi in the eye. "See?" she whispered. "You've already hurt yourself here." Her hand brushed over a cut on Usagi's cheek.
Usagi winced, tearing herself away from the other guardian soldier. Her hand slapped Ami's away. "It doesn't hurt," she lied coolly, her scowl still on her face. "I don't need you to help me."
"Why do you have to be like this, Usagi-chan?" Makoto shouted, her concern seeping into her tone, but only serving to make Usagi angrier. "Damn it, it's our job to protect you!"
"Because I don't need your protection!" Usagi exploded. Turning her back on the group of guardians, she stormed off, barely noticing that the rain had turned into a light drizzle. "Leave me alone," she spat.
"Usagi-chan..." Ami's quiet whisper of her name was drowned out by the light pitter-patter of droplets on the ground.
The blonde walked off, never turning her head back to look at them, her jaw set and blue eyes narrowed, not even noticing the Illusionary Silver Crystal pulse with vibrant, silver light.
Jump City, California
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos... Azarath Metrion Zinthos... Azarath Metrion Zinthos..." Raven repeated as she floated in the air, her legs folded Indian style, hovering just inches above the roof of the Titans Tower. Her mantra was soothing, calming her down even as a food war raged in the floors beneath. Just as the sorceress felt like she had attained a level of peace like she had never done before, a wave of energy hit her like a truck.
Stumbling back, Raven's violet eyes widened as she caught herself before she fell to the floor. Her breathing turned laboured as she fought to stand. White energy, she recognized. It was pure, untainted white energy that had slammed into her with all the force of a semi-truck. Gasping for breath, she felt her telekinetic powers reach out and smash something within the tower. Judging Beast Boy's cries of protest, it was probably one of his games, Mega Monkey whatever.
Raven stepped to the very edge of the rooftop, her violet eyes scanning the city for any disturbance at all. She found nothing, but when she left to descend the stairs and see what damage she caused, a name popped into her mind, and she said only one word. "Serenity..."
Chapter 3: A Fight's Aftermath
Raven hovered in the air above the battleground, her violet eyes alight with the dark, demonic magic she was cursed with. Her eyes searched the battleground for something she could use to attack with, to no avail. Once more, the purple-haired sorceress cursed her telekinetic magic. Finally seeing the debris that was being made by the damaged buildings, she raised her hands. "Azarath Metrion... Zinthos!" she incanted, the debris encasing itself in the unholy black aura that signified her powers.
Swinging the levitating missile around in the air several times, she finally flung it down at the large, lumbering block of concrete that the other Titans were fighting - Cinderblock. The missile soared through the air with a 'whoosh', finally smashing into the side of the large creature with an ear-splitting 'crack!' The thing made a sound reminiscent of a groan - certainly not a sound that an ordinary villain would make when hit by a piece of concrete the size of a semi-truck, but Cinderblock wasn't exactly a conventional villain.
With a large, jagged piece of debris planted firmly into his side, the massive villain headed towards her with surprising speed for something of his size. He opened his mouth and let out a silent roar, ripping out a street pole and slamming it down on her head. At least, he tried to.
Raven levitated herself well out of range for his attack, and out of the corner of her eye, the demon-spawn saw the resident alien launch beam after beam of luminescent green energy from her eyes at the concrete creature. When that didn't work, Starfire then dropped to the ground, and summoned one of her infamous starbolts, charging it up with her supernatural plasma until the bolt expanded to twice its usual size. She released the bolt of energy at Cinderblock, sending the massive being toppling onto the ground.
"Cyborg!" Robin yelled out from beneath her. The walking traffic-light held an explosive bird-a-rang in his gloved hand, and the cyborg nodded, raising his arm, which then morphed into his signature sonic cannon. The black-haired leader then flung the weapon at the felled villain, and when the bird-a-rang was in shooting distance, Cyborg levelled his cannon at the projectile, firing at it with a glowing blue beam of sonic energy. The beam sliced right through the explosive, making the projectile blow up like a bomb, kicking up enough dust for a mild sandstorm. When their vision cleared, Cinderblock was on the road, unable to get up.
Raven levitated the villain, binding him with steel beams and a lot of wiring, then leaving him for the authorities to escort away. The sorceress hovered down until her booted feet touched the ground, upon which she abandoned the power she was using to keep herself in the air. Her favoured blue cloak fluttered down around her, draping over her as usual. The girl's face was impassive as she walked over to join Robin in surveying the scene. Holding back a wince at the massive damage inflicted by the fight, Raven's voice was as steady as ever as she spoke to her leader in her usual monotone. "Cinderblock was destructive today."
That was it, a simple, obvious statement. But Robin knew the weight that the sentence held. Cinderblock never attacked of his own agenda - the pile of blocks was just too dull to be able to function on a scheme by his own. Raven's lips turned into a mild frown when the raven-haired boy replied to her, his staff out as he glanced over the area.
"So were Overload and Plasmus," Robin said, his tone dry and mirthless. "Someone's behind them - this is the third attack this week."
"Think it's someone we already know?" Cyborg asked from behind them, the half-machine walking up to them from behind. "Like, you know..." the older male fidgeted with his bionic fingers. "Slade?"
"Not a chance!" Robin spat, and Raven could sense his emotions stirring up into a rising maelstrom. The leader of the Titans looked agitated at the mere mention of his enemy's name, gloved hands tightening into fists as he glared through his domino mask at the cyborg. "It-it has to be someone else, right, Rae?"
Raven's violet eyes switched from her surrogate brother to the former sidekick of the infamous Batman, and she reached out to put her hand on his shoulder. Her tone was grim, hand tightening slightly on his shoulder, the black cape wrinkling slightly under her grasp. "It could be," she started slowly. Her eyes glowed a faint violet, the sorceress' pale lips pressed tightly into a thin line. "But we don't know for sure."
"Friends! Beast Boy is injured!" Starfire shouted at them. The alien jogged over, her lustrous red hair flowing in the mild wind despite her somewhat haggard appearance. Even after a good two hours of patrol and a half hour of combat, the toned girl still looked as fine as ever. The only thing marring the other's otherworldly beauty was the prone form of the team's resident changeling.
Beast Boy had been put out of commission quickly when the fight started. The piece of concrete that had fallen on him during the fight didn't help, either. The green changeling was making incoherent mumbling noises, and there was a pretty nasty cut on his brow, still bleeding viscous, red blood.
Raven reached out to him, her hand glowing a pale blue. Using her healing magic to the best extent she could manage, she sent the magic through the changeling, forcing his body to speed up the healing process, stopping the blood flow and knitting together the damaged areas. When her hand dropped to her side, the sorceress wasn't surprised to find that the cut had been reduced to a much more insignificant red line and that the green shape-shifter was starting to wake up.
After a short while, Beast Boy got to his feet with some aid from Starfire, and the two joined the team in surveying the scene. "Well," the boy started, his green eyes taking in all of the damaged buildings. "This isn't good."
"I agree with Beast Boy," Starfire murmured. "This is bad, yes?"
"Very," Cyborg agreed.
Raven rolled her eyes and turned around, her cloak fluttering in the mind, as did Robin's cape. "Well, either way, we can't do anything about it," she replied quite bluntly. "I'm going back to the tower." Her teleportation powers, though somewhat rusty from recent disuse, were still top notch, but when she moved to leave, she felt a hand take hers and she turned back, looking right into the mask of her leader. "What is it, Robin?"
"Can we talk?" the boy asked her, looking around before turning back. "In private?"
Without a second word, Raven wrapped the both of them in a shadowy bird, and the two of them disappeared from the site, leaving behind Cyborg, Starfire and Beast Boy to return in Cyborg's beloved creation, the T-Car.
Usagi shuffled home after a particularly bad day at school. Although, if she stopped to consider it, it wasn't entirely bad either. She had reconnected with Naru and Umino quite quickly, and though Ami and Makoto repeatedly trying to mend their friendship throughout the day had soured her mood, the sixty-five she had scored on a test had been the topic of a well-deserved talk between Sakurada-sensei and herself, wherein the teacher congratulated her for the grade.
Then again, after the mood-lifting grade, she had encountered the entire group at the Crown, all pleading for her to see reason, including the backstabbing priestess and the cheating, two-timing Earth prince. Her mood had soured again, and she had stormed out of the Crown and headed for the park, where she was confronted by a droid, which she failed to defeat yet again, and had to rely on the Senshi for help.
Usagi sighed heavily, kicking off her shoes and trudging upstairs after calling to her parents that she was back. The blonde got into her room, slamming her door shut, and she lied back onto her bed, her blue eyes fluttering shut. A pulse of energy hit her, and she jolted upright, her hand clutching at her chest, where a pain was starting to blossom. "Wh-what?" she choked out. The magic was dark, almost... tainted.
Gasping in pain, Usagi felt a burning on her brow and stumbled to her vanity, seeing the crescent moon of her lineage appear on her forehead, pulsing with light. Then, as suddenly as it came, it vanished, making her fall back onto her bed, clutching her head in her hands, shaking in mild terror. "What was that?" she whispered, lying back with a hand clasping her locket.
The girl, tired from her day, finally let out a shuddering breath, starting to drift into sleep's arms. One word left her lips as her eyes fluttered shut. "Selenity..."
Chapter 4: Dreaming of a Sister Unknown
Usagi mumbled a series of curse words as she sat up in bed. She had been running a high fever for over ten hours, and her temperature still hadn't gone down. Her parents were incredibly worried about her, and even Shingo had expressed his concern when he thought she was sleeping under her pink bunny covers. The blond princess sniffed and stood, however shakily it was, and headed over to her vanity, staring at her reflection in the mirror and seeing the golden crescent burning brightly on her brow.
The girl attempted to force it off her forehead, but a wave of pain crashed into her, and her hands dug into the table of her vanity as she steadied herself. She flopped back onto her bed, turning onto her side and pulling the covers of her soft pink bed over her head. From the top of the vanity table, her brooch gleamed, her crystal pulsing with power from within. As Usagi fell into an uneasy rest, the Illusionary Silver Crystal glowed with a blinding silver light, leaving the brooch and hovering above Usagi. The crystal faded into her body, and Usagi fell into a deep sleep.
Usagi awoke in a grand room, painted entire silver and white with the bed in the very centre of the spacious room. The girl gasped, backing up on the bed, shaped in a circular fashion and covered in spotless white sheets with fluffy, comfortable pillows. "Where am I?" she questioned to no one in particular. She got herself off the bed, surprised to find she felt so much more graceful, gliding across the smooth, polished floors with ease as she headed towards a set of large white doors, guessing that it led to a balcony.
The girl pushed open the doors easily, and wandering out onto the balcony, she looked out, reeling back in surprise when she saw the dark sky of space, dotted with bright stars, and the Earth in the far background. Only then did the girl look down, seeing a long, silver nightgown, elaborately embroidered with fine details. Her hair hung from her head in her usual buns and trailing tails, but her hair was much, much longer, and several shades lighter as well. She wasn't Usagi, the girl realized. She was Princess Serenity.
"Serenity!" a voice, cool and collected, called from behind the princess. A girl strode up, around the same age as the princess, and spun the golden heir around to face her. She was much taller than the blonde, with short, dark hair and exceedingly pale skin, almost unhealthily so. "What are you doing out?" the girl snapped, her deep blue cloak fluttering around her like Serenity's nightgown. "Mother has orders for you to stay in your room."
"But Selenity!" Usagi - Serenity, really - found herself protesting the other girl's statement. "Look at the Earth!" she exclaimed. "It's so beautiful tonight, don't you agree."
'Selenity's' jaw tightened. "There is nothing beautiful about the Earth," she finally responded. Unclasping her cloak, she draped the thick, royal blue fabric over Serenity's shoulders, exposing a sleek black dress that had a slit cut into the side. The dress had long sleeves, contrasting Serenity's sleeveless nightgown perfectly. "Let us return inside, Serenity, before you catch cold." With nary a flick of her fingers, the doors opened for her, and then closed gingerly when the two were inside. The dark girl steered Serenity back to her grand bed and summoned her cloak to her with a finger's beckoning.
"How I envy your powers, Selenity," Serenity bemoaned from the bed, though Usagi was still silent in observation. "I can do nary but summon the Illusionary Silver Crystal from mother; I cannot even use its power yet!"
The girl remained silent for a bit more, fastening the cloak around her shoulders with a ruby red brooch. "It will come in time, Serenity," she finally responded. "There is no reason to worry. As the chosen heir, the power of the crystal will be readily available to you long before you take the throne." Selenity turned around so her back faced Serenity, and the girl raised her hood over her dark-haired head. She moved to the door - the balcony doors - and threw them open.
As she took a step forward, she turned back and looked at Serenity over her shoulder, showing her face, covered in shadows except for the lower half, and the two glowing amethyst eyes from under the hood. "Sleep well, Serenity. I will come see you in the morning." Her sentence finished, the girl jumped off the balcony, and the doors swung shut behind her.
"Yes, sister," Serenity murmured, exasperated. "Sleep well." The princess laid down on her downy bed and her blue eyes fluttered shut. Not long after, the princess was fast asleep.
Usagi started awake, her hands grasping something hard. She looked down, wiping the sweat from her brow. "The crystal?" she mumbled to herself, seeing the Illusionary Silver Crystal in her grasp. She trudged over to the vanity, putting the crystal back into the brooch. Looking at her reflection, she noted that her crescent had all but faded now, and could be mistaken for a scar of sorts. Her hand reached up, tracing the outline of the mark. "Selenity," she repeated the name, staring deeply at her reflection. "My... sister?"
She moved to the window near her bed. If Serenity had a sister, then why don't I remember her? Why didn't Luna tell me about her? Staring out at the full moon hanging in the sky, she made a soft prayer. "Mother, Queen Serenity, where ever you may be, please, send me a sign on what I'm going to do..."
A star shot down from the sky, streaking across the black background and glowing with a soft silver light. Behind Usagi, the crystal pulsed in response.
Chapter 5: Pain of the Unknown Past
Raven got to her feet from her meditative stance, startling Starfire, who was hovering peacefully beside her.
"What is the matter, Raven?" the alien asked, gracefully landing on her feet. The red-headed heroine hadn't sensed anything out of the ordinary yet, but Raven, the resident empath of the Titans, had felt the discord that practically emanated from one of the rooms there.
The sorceress shook her head. "It's fine, Starfire. I need to cancel this session," she explained. "There's something wrong with someone in the tower. Can you help me check Cyborg and Beast Boy to see if they're all right?"
Starfire nodded. "Of course, Raven." The alien walked off in the direction of the elevator, heading down to Cyborg's garage first.
Raven knew that it was neither of the two, though, and phased herself down a level to the training room, where she saw Robin angrily punching and hitting a dummy with a suspiciously familiar mask. She watched passively as her leader started ripping away at the dummy, screaming incoherently and beating it to the point of the dummy's surface actually rupturing. That was when the demon spawn decided that it was enough.
Reaching out to the dummy with her magic, she encased it in her powers and levitated it away from Robin, who was panting heavily, lying on the floor in exertion. "That's enough for today, Richard," she commented, tossing the ruined practice dummy away from the black-haired boy. She walked over to him, her cloak fluttering as she extended a pale hand to help him to his feet.
The former sidekick to the infamous Batman snarled and forced himself up without her help, a scowl firmly printed on his features. The boy tossed his cape over his shoulder, storming over to the practice dummy to pick it up... at least, he would have, if it wasn't for Raven's hand on his shoulder. "What do you want, Raven?" His tone was stiff, unyielding, and Raven knew the cause, her amethyst eyes slowly guiding themselves to stare at the all-too-familiar mask once more. "Because I'm fine."
Raven remained silent, as always, and with a small yank, she pulled the boy back to face her with surprising strength for her slender frame, granted by her father's influence upon her soul, no doubt. "To talk," she replied softly, releasing her hold on the hero and walking out of the door. At the door frame, where the semi-automatic sliding doors parted, she turned back and glanced at her friend. "My room is always empty. Come."
The leader of the Titans grumbled, adjusting his domino mask and following behind the sorceress as she took the elevator up to the level that held the living room. They walked in silence down the carpeted corridors, their feet not making a sound. Finally, the two reached Raven's room. The door opening at her request, the half-demon stepped into the dimly-lit room, decorated sparsely with her own items, the rest being much of Cyborg's design.
Robin crossed his arms over his broad chest as Raven settled in a meditative stance on her bed, her eyes locked on him. "What did you want to talk about?" he asked gruffly. "Because I told you. I'm fine."
Raven's expression didn't change at all. You forget, she said, reaching out through their mental bond. Robin stiffened, but started to slowly relax as she continued to speak to him. We have this bond. What you feel spills over the barrier to me. I'm afraid I can't block it off this time - your anger is too much to contain.
Robin winced, looking away.
Raven didn't bother, however, and continued to speak through the mental bond. You're angry. Over Slade. Why?
"I'm not angry about Slade!" Robin burst out. "What I'm angry about is that he's still taunting me!"
Of course. Slade Wilson was still alive, after all, even after his death at the hands of the traitorous Terra. Raven sat calmly on her bed, calmly staring at her black-haired friend. She didn't speak, not physically, not even through their mental bond as Robin broke off into a rant about his hated enemy. Even as the leader started shouting about Slade, she didn't pay much attention to his ranting, calmly lacing her fingers together and ignoring the boiling rage that was spilling through their connection.
A pain shot like an arrow through her head. Raven reached a hand up to her temples to attempt to soothe it, but as her fingers brushed across her chakra, she felt like they were burning to a crisp. Gasping in pain, she clutched her head with both hands, terrified that it was the mark of Scath returning to haunt her. She cried out, and her magic reached out to the closest object that wouldn't cause too much mayhem, namely a vase put right at the edge of her room, exploding the item and sending shards all over the floor.
Robin's rant cut off immediately, and the boy rushed over to her, gathering her shaking form in his arms. "Raven!" she could hear him yelling. "Hold on, I'll get you to the - " Something else exploded, and he quickly wrapped both of them in his cape.
Raven saw black spots dancing in her vision, and eventually lost consciousness just as something else was destroyed within the vicinity of her powers.
A groan left her as she got to her feet, hands holding the side of her head. The sorceress placed her hand on the wall next to her - when did she move? - and steadied herself. She let out an incoherent mumble and was instantly snapped awake by a shout.
"Attack Selenity now, Guardians!"
She didn't know who Selenity was, but her body moved of its own accord, ducking as a fiery arrow shot over her head. Raven shot away from the place, a stream of glowing beams pummelling the area behind her. She ran, panting lightly as she narrowly escaped a strike of lightning, and then she whirled around, catching a series of icy spikes fired at her with her magic. With a conspicuous fling of her arm, she shot the frozen projectiles back towards the direction from whence they came. No more attacks followed after that, and Raven straightened up, brushing a strand of dark hair away from her face.
"Selenity!" called four voices in unison, and soon Raven saw four young women hurrying towards her. They were each dressed in a sort of uniform, with a white bodice and a coloured skirt, a bow tied in front as well as a sailor-style collar. They also wore white gloves and heeled footwear. The one on the left, a girl with long, voluminous blond hair and radiant blue eyes laughed light-heartedly at her, hands on her hips. Her collar and skirt were coloured orange, with orange heels.
"I must say, Selenity," she spoke in a cheery tone. "You truly are a formidable opponent. I haven't met anyone who could counter my Crescent Beams since my mother passed on the title!"
"Your powers are based off light, Venus," Raven found herself saying coolly. "I am the dark. Logically, it would stand that enough darkness could curb your light beams."
The girl beside 'Venus' nodded in agreement, adjusting her blue visor. She had short dark blue hair, her eye colour hidden by the visor. Her colour was blue, and she wore knee-high heeled boots. "Selenity is correct, Venus." She turned to Raven, who by now was assuming that she was this 'Selenity' they kept on mentioning. "But I have to admit that your abilities are indeed unusual, especially of one of your ancestry."
The two beside her, one with long black hair and violet eyes, whose theme was red with high heels, the other with brunette hair tied into a ponytail and green eyes, with green as her main colour and somewhat sneaker-like boots, nodded in agreement. "I'll say," the brunette spoke, arms folded across her sagacious chest. "The Silver Millennium hasn't seen a combatant royal like yourself in ages!"
"Then consider yourself lucky that you have faced me, Jupiter," Raven, no, Selenity, perhaps, replied. Without her directing her body, her hands reached back and put up her hood. "The power of the moon is eternally there for me to utilise; unlike my sister Serenity, my domain is over the dark moon. I will see you during dinner." She spun on her heel, her cloak, a slightly darker blue than the one she usually used, fanning out around her. "I must attend to my sister. I bid you ado, Guardians."
"This princess... isn't very friendly, is she, Mercury?" Venus' voice came from behind her.
"No. Selenity is much unlike Princess Serenity," Mercury, the blue one, agreed.
"If only the princess was a combatant instead, wouldn't you agree, Mars?" lamented Jupiter.
The last one, the red one, Mars, presumably, responded to the green warrior. "Perhaps not, Jupiter. Princess Serenity's personality would make her an easy target, and I suspect that Selenity would be very hard to guard if she were the crown heir to the Queen's throne." After a short pause, Mars continued, "Besides, the Illusionary Silver Crystal works off passion, and for someone as detached and passionless as she is, I doubt the power could be used at all."
Selenity, or Raven, whichever it was, grit her teeth and a scowl found its way onto her face. She reached a pair of double doors and pushed the ornate white marble open. She paused as a gap was left, just large enough for one to pass through. Not glancing back at the group, she spoke," You should know, Guardians, that I can hear you. Mother would not be very happy with you for that, but I'll act as if it never happened for your sakes." And without another word, she walked out of the place, the doors slamming shut behind her with a boom.
She took a step further, and then an intense pain hit her. She collapsed on one knee, holding her head. Her forehead burned, and when she forced her eyes open, she saw her reflection on the marble floor. She looked like herself, her hood pulled over her head, the middle of which was shaped like the beak of a raven. And then, a golden glow appeared from the shadows beneath her hood, shining like the stars in the night sky. A crescent moon was marked on her brow, and it was from there that the pain started. Her eyes widened, and then the pain became unbearable. She cried out, clutching her head tighter than ever.
Black danced in and out of her vision, and she lost consciousness.
Raven shot up, gasping sharply for air. She glanced around, seeing her teammates slowly coming into focus on either side of her. Further inspection showed the sorceress that she was in the tower's hospital wing. She raised a hand up to her head, still throbbing with pain caused by an unknown source. "What...?" she murmured.
"You okay Rae?" Cyborg leant over and gently held her hand. The resident cyborg of the team had worry in his dark eyes and a look on his face that practically shouted that he was anxious about her. A couple of blinks later, Raven could also see some oil stains on his metallic parts, showing that he had come straight from the garage.
"I'm fine," she murmured. "Just a headache," she assured him. She didn't mind him calling her Rae, so she didn't blow up in response, just sitting up straight and gently massaging her temples. "My head..." she trailed off, wincing a bit.
"Are you sure you are all right, Raven?" Starfire asked concernedly. The alien reached out a hand and put it to her pale forehead. "You are burning up," she added.
Raven's lips curled upward slightly as the Tamaranian used a slang term, correctly too. "You've improved, Starfire," she commented, lying back against the headboard of the pristine white bed. "I'm impressed."
Beast Boy glanced at her from Starfire's side. "Raven?" he started meekly. "I don't mean to be Captain Obvious here, but you collapsed in your room screaming. My Mega Monkeys 1 to 3 were blown up. You don't usually break things anymore. What happened to you?" The out of character shyness made Raven realize that the changeling really was scared, and the fact that he was trying to hide behind Starfire's tall frame didn't help matters either.
"I don't know," she murmured, holding her head. "My head hurt like it was splitting apart. Like something was burning a mark on it."
"Like the mark of Scath?" Cyborg asked.
Raven shook her head. "Trigon is gone. Sealed away in the infinite pits of Hell until he gets another gem to free him. That won't be for another thousand millennia yet."
Beast Boy opened his mouth, presumably to ask how she knew all this, but one look from the sorceress at him and he quickly snapped his jaw shut.
"All I know," she continued, staring at the only member of the Titans who had yet to speak. "Is that there is something odd about to happen. And it has something to do with the moon." Her eyes locked with Robin's, though Boy Wonder's blue irises were hidden behind the mask. "It's going to be big," she continued. "Not quite an apocalypse on Trigon's scale, but it will be dangerous for us. All of us."
Each of the Titans glanced at each other and nodded confidently. "It doesn't matter," Robin spoke confidently. "We managed to stop Trigon, we can stop this too."
Raven felt an incoming sense of déjà vu, but she didn't respond. I hope so, she thought with a frown, staring at the window opposite the bed and realizing that she had been out for hours. It was already night, and a full moon hung in the sky. I'll get my answers soon... Serenity.
Chapter 6: Enter the Time Guardian
The princess ignored the voice, continuing to try and figure out her Mathematics homework. Her pen tapped on the paper, making small calculations whenever was necessary.
Again, the blonde ignored it, a frown crossing her fair features as she crossed out the equation she had written out and begun yet another. Her paper was already filled with them, and there were a few pieces of completely crumpled up paper, both surfaces were completely written over. Her pen set out to make another one unusable.
"Usagi-chan!" A new voice joined the first one.
She paid no attention, irritation filling her as she crumpled up the piece of paper as well. Why can't I do this right? she thought to herself, irritated. Come on! She finally wrote down another equation on a fresh piece of paper, coming to the conclusion that she really needed a calculator.
"Usagi-chan, pay attention, damn it!"
"What?" Usagi snapped, her head up and her blue eyes boring into fresh green irises. She stood, her chair pushing back, and her arms crossed over her chest as she gave her former friends a steely glare. "What do you want, Am-Mizuno-san, Kino-san?" she asked, correcting herself at the last minute. They were not her friends, she reminded herself, true friends wouldn't have done that to her. There was an unmistakable distaste and venom in her tone, and she thought for a moment that she actually sounded like Rei.
Makoto reeled back, almost like she was afraid of 'little, useless Usagi, who couldn't even protect herself'. The brunette Senshi composed herself and spoke, "Usagi-chan, we just wanted to talk," she tried. "You haven't shown up to any of the thirteen meetings we've had lately, and while we realise you need some time to compose yourself, isn't this too much?"
"Mako-chan's right," Ami timidly added, her deep blue hair framing her face as she shyly looked at Usagi from her place standing behind Makoto's tall and toned frame. "You're carrying this childish grudge for far too long. And what about Chibiusa-chan? She's been at Mamoru-san's place for a while. Don't you think that it's time to - oh, uh, I'll just shut up now."
Usagi's glare didn't drop, not even when the Senshi of Mercury agreed to drop the matter. "Good call, Senshi of Wisdom," she hissed in a low tone. She was lucky that it was recess and Usagi didn't feel like eating today, or else their conversation could have been taken as something else entirely. She took a sick sense of satisfaction from seeing Ami flinch at the way she spat her title. The princess fought back the burning that threatened to peak on her brow. Lately, her Lunar heritage had been particularly to make resurface, including the crescent mark, and she couldn't have that happening in public, now could she?
She stood, pulling out her lunch box from the drawer of her desk. "I'll be heading out," she spoke curtly. "If you really take me as your princess, then give me some respect when I want some alone time. Don't follow me out." She swept out of the room, wincing when she banged her shoulder into the wall. Her other hand shot up, palm held out. "I said," she ground out, stressing her words, " 'Don't follow me out.' I meant it."
Usagi stormed out, her blond pigtails fluttering in the wind, leaving behind Ami and Makoto, both just standing there, mouths agape in surprise.
Ami took her seat in the room, acknowledging the blond Senshi of Venus and the raven-haired Senshi of Mars as she did so. A few seconds later, Chiba Mamoru appeared as well, and he took the seat next to her, giving her a short nod that she returned in kind. "Now that everyone's here," Ami started, clearing her throat so that everyone looked at her. "We must discuss the problem of Chibiusa-chan. Mamoru-san, if you would?"
The prince gave a simply, jerky nod. "Chibiusa hasn't said anything since the split," he said grimly. "In fact, she's been completely silent. Like she's lost her ability to make sounds, even. She can function, but other than that, she's like a walking corpse." He shook his head. "I don't know what's happened to her. She's gone chalk-white, and she doesn't even respond to touches. I've seen her trying to do something with the key she has, but it's not working for her." Mamoru sighed, running a hand through his black hair. "I don't know what to do. I'm not a Biology major, for crying out loud!"
"I see." Ami's tone displayed just enough concern, so the blue-haired Senshi thought. She wasn't sure though. "I believe Minako-chan has something to discuss with us?"
Minako nodded, her high blond ponytail swaying in the wind. Both of her hands rested on the table top, and her features were completely serious. "It's about Usagi-chan," she proclaimed. "The fights that have been reported, about Sailor Moon fighting alone, have become extremely frequent. What's going on with the Watch?" From her school bag on the floor, she dug out a couple of newspaper clippings, tossing them onto the table. All of them displayed Sailor Moon's distinctive silhouette and the images of droids in the background of the snapshots.
"We're trying," Ami offered as she examined a clipping, noting that it mentioned nothing about the other four Senshi at all. "We've been taking down as many as we can, but even with Tuxedo Kamen's help, we can only do so much. Makoto-chan is on Princess-Watch for the day - she'll effectively be incapacitated if a fight occurs."
Princess-Watch. The program of sorts that the Senshi had devised to keep Usagi safe. Miraculously, Sailor Moon still got to battles. The Watch rotated between the four Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen, meant to deal with danger in a five-metre radius around her, but it was still failing. Ami didn't understand how - she had calculated everything, including shifts, which meant little possibility for time to let the Moon Senshi slip out.
"Be as that may," Rei interjected, "we still need to find a way to deal with all the droids. We can't afford to let the Princess get hurt. It's our duty to protect her, as her guardians, not her friends."
"Right." Both Ami and Minako acknowledged this with a nod.
"We're still short a pair of hands, though," Minako noted, frowning. "One of us will be incapacitated at all times, meaning we'll be short a team-mate every time the enemy attacks. What are we going to do?"
"I can help with that, Guardians."
All four jumped to their feet, and with a blinding flash, they saw a tall, dark-skinned woman in a black and magenta sailor outfit standing in front of them, holding a staff shaped like on over-sized key.
She smiled, ruby-coloured lips almost the same colour as her garnet eyes, and her long deep green hair swept in the air as she approached them, even though tied up into a half-bun. "I am Sailor Pluto, Sailor Senshi of Time and Space; the final Guardian of the Silver Alliance."
"What?" Usagi near shrieked the question. The blonde was looking panicked as she stared at her parents. "You're - you're kidding, right?"
Ikuko shook her head sadly. "Sorry, Usagi-chan," she said tenderly, reaching out to hold her daughter's hand. "But it's true. Your father and I are..." she looked at the man for approval to tell their daughter, and returned to gently hug Usagi, "divorcing."
"But - but, mum!" Usagi wailed, tears gathering in her eyes. "You can't!" she protested, lower lip quivering as she sniffed. "What about me and Shingo?" The blonde looked up at her parents, on the brink of crying her heart out.
Kenji frowned and put his hands on his daughter's shoulders. "We love you, Tsukino Usagi. Nothing's going to change the way we feel about the two of you as your parents. The two of us have just..." he struggled for a word to properly describe the situation, "drifted apart over the years."
The blonde sniffed, her hands reaching up to rub away the tears from her eyes. "But, mum, dad," she protested over her sobs, eventually settling for crying and letting her parents hug her. She was vaguely aware of the third person hugging her, as well as the fact that her uniform top was getting partially soaked. "Shingo?" she croaked out, sniffing as she pulled away, still rubbing away the tears.
"Sorry, onee-san," Shingo whispered, with his eyes red and tears welling up. "But I don't want mum and dad to divorce either." The boy, showing that yes, despite his usual snarky personality that clashed strongly with his sister, he was still a young child, wiped his eyes roughly, only making his eyes redder. "I don't want - " He was cut off by his sister wrapping him in a tight hug.
After a while, both siblings pulled away, Shingo trying to resume his usual persona and Usagi still teary and sniffing. "Mum..." Usagi started quietly, "what's going to happen next?"
Ikuko looked at Kenji, and back at her daughter. "The papers are signed, Usagi-chan. We'll share joint custody over the two of you, so you'll see us both regularly, alright?" At Usagi and Shingo's nod, she continued. "We're moving away from Japan."
"What?" Both Usagi and Shingo echoed in eerie unison. "We're moving to another country?"
Kenji nodded, adjusting his glasses. "To the States, actually. Your mother purchased a property in California, and my job has transferred me to Oregon, which is nearby. We'll change custody periodically, but you'll resume schooling and other matters in California. None of the Sailor Senshi business there - no monsters, no bright lights that act as molecular dissolvers or something like that - just a normal city, in a normal state."
Usagi wasn't so sure about that. Trouble followed her like a magnet, and she was pretty sure that the enemy would come after her too. "Where in 'Kalifornia'? she finally asked, tripping over the word with her lacklustre English command.
"Oh, it's a fine city called Jump," Ikuko waved off with a smile. "It's somewhere near the sea, so I'm sure you and Shingo can have fun on the beach on weekends."
The blonde liked the sound of that, actually, so wiping away the last of her tears, she nodded. "When..?" she trailed off, not wanting to finish her sentence.
"Next week. You'll have to say goodbye to your friends then. We're sorry, Usagi-chan, Shingo-kun," Ikuko said with a soft sigh. "You can make new friends over in the States, right?" A smile, though looking somewhat forced, appeared on the woman's face, and the mother of the two children watched Usagi and Shingo as they processed the information.
Usagi was actually quite happy with this news - she wouldn't have to see that cheater and the traitors again, well, not until they came looking for her again. So, with a lighter heart, she excused herself to her room to tidy herself up. Once in her room, she looked at herself in the mirror, and unexpectedly, her crescent mark burned brightly on her brow once more. She winced, digging her fingers into her vanity to keep herself steady.
"So this will be a new start," she stated to herself, detaching the brooch from her bow. The Silver Crystal gleamed at her. "A new start," she repeated, "without them. A new chance, to prove myself." A smile spread across her lips. "I can do it," she promised herself, determination burning in her eyes.
"I can do it."
Haruka drove through the city, Michiru strapped safely into the passenger seat beside the racer. The young woman ran her hand through her messy short blonde hair. Her sunglasses gleamed under the sun's rays shining down. The Senshi of Uranus leant back in her seat and looked over at her partner. "Michi-chan," she started to say, using a hand to keep the steering wheel steady while the other was used to adjust her glasses.
"What is it, Ruka?" Michiru asked, the violinist's brow furrowed in concentration. "Hold on - I've got something, I think." The young woman shot up straight in her seat. "The park, Ruka!" she shouted urgently. "We need to get to the park! There's an attack!"
Haruka placed her sunglasses firmly in front of her eyes and bared a growl. "Hold on, Michi," she muttered, revving the car. "I'll get us there faster than you can transform." The sandy blonde raced towards the park in the town centre, her dark eyes narrowed behind her darkened glasses.
Raven hovered in the air above the Titan's Tower, her cloak billowing around her. The demon's spawn shot into the air above the park, where the attack was taking place. As she arrived, she paused, staring in horror. "What the hell is that?" she asked herself, just staring at it. She shook her head, quickly picking up a trashed street lamp with a low mutter of her spell. With a flick of her wrist, she sent the projectile, enveloped in her black energy, flying at the robot-like creature.
It turned at her and screeched, making the sorceress wince at the sheer volume. The thing duplicated itself multiple times, evading the attack before it merged yet again, picking up the fallen post and flinging it right back at the demon's spawn.
Raven shot into the sky, cursing softly. She raised her hands again, muttering her mantra. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" she hissed, catching the post. Letting it hover in the air with her telekinesis, she waited until both Robin and Cyborg unleashed their combo at the thing. To her utter surprise, it shook off the attack and shrieked again. Raven cursed. There was one last thing she could do, but it would require all of the Titans to cooperate. Could she do it? The only way she could manage was by telling them all, but they were too far apart, and the thing was too fast. She grit her teeth. Fine, she had another trick up her sleeve.
She hovered in mid-air, constructing a quick protective barrier around her - one that would immediately keep anything that touched it suspended in her aura semi-permanently - before she fell into a meditative stance. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos," she repeated, her eyes turning from amethyst-purple to a bright, blinding white that took over even the sclera. Extending mental hands out to each of the Titans, the sorceress called out to their minds, trying to bypass the natural defences that came from their person.
Starfire, she called out, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Robin. Listen to me.
Each of the Titans temporarily stiffened but they continued to fight, though their bodies seemed to flicker with a black outline. Raven's sorcery was hard at work, keeping their bodies active enough to avoid getting them hurt while they were talking.
Raven, Robin responded almost instantly. Do you have something?
I do, was her response. Surround it from all angles. Beast Boy, go under; Cyborg, the front; Starfire, Robin, the sides and back together. I'll attack from above. When I say 'Go', attack together.
Surely a metal post won't do much damage to it, friend Raven, Starfire reasoned, still firing bolt after bolt of pure green energy.
Raven smiled mentally. I'm not going to throw the lamp post at it. I have something bigger in mind.
Don't worry, Rae, we can do it, the metal man of the group replied, gung-ho. Just do whatever you have to; we can cover you just fine.
What Chrome Dome said, Raven, the green shapeshifter told her.
Raven disconnected the mind links, giving the Titans their bodies back. Within seconds, the other four were throwing attack after attack at the android-like monster, Beast Boy having disappeared under the ground. The purple-haired girl didn't dispel her barrier just yet; she reached through the fabric of space, trying her best to disrupt the strings that held it together. Weaving through the thread, she gently tore open a hole back to her room in the tower. Pulling out a leather-bound white book, she closed the hole away and opened the book with her magic.
Her eyes glowing white, she dispelled the barrier, starting to read the spell from the book. "O magnum luna ego filius invocant sanguine vires," she recited, the energy in her hands crackling like wild lightning as it jumped from the tips of her fingertips. A striking pain stabbed at the inside of her head, and she barely winced in pain before she had to fight it back. Concentrating on the raw power in her hands, she raised her arms above her head.
Now... She flinched in pain, disrupting her concentration. The power flickered, and she jerked sharply. "Gah!" she spat. The lightning was released and directly faded away into the air. "No!" she protested in vain. Growling in anger, she flung her arms out, opening the book yet again. "I have to do it this time," she told herself.
Starfire suddenly shot up into the air beside her. "Friend Raven!" she shouted out. "We cannot do it for much longer; it is too fast for us!" The Tamaranean had scratches and cuts on her flawless skin. She was panting hard as she tried to regain equilibrium. Green eyes glowed with bright radioactive energy as she called forth her eye beams. "We can try, but that creature is too fast for us to be able to defeat," she informed.
The grey-skinned sorceress shook her head. "I'm trying, Starfire," she insisted. Her eyes took on a blinding white glow again, and she started her chant yet again, but before she could activate the spell once more, Robin's hoarse shout drew her attention. "Robin!" she hissed.
"Friend Robin!" Starfire shrieked, panicking.
An energy sphere was shot right at the monster, and it let out an unearthly shriek as it was thrown back. An earthquake rocked the ground under the monster, and it screamed yet again.
Raven caught sight of two people on the scene, both wearing something in brighter colours. She noted that one of them had aquamarine-coloured hair, but she didn't see much more than that. She repeated her chant, and her eyes glowed white. "Providete mihi virtutem illam bestia, legati finem minatur!" she yelled. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!"
The black lightning crackled from her fingertips and she threw her arms out. The raw energy flew through the air, slamming into the creature with enough force that it soared through the air, shrieking. It slammed into the ground, and slowly dissolved into dust. Raven and Starfire watched with bated breath as both of the teenagers descended to the ground. "Did it... work?" Raven asked warily.
Starfire shook her head, her long red hair flying. "I am not sure, friend Raven," she murmured. "We should go and look."
The girls walked towards the pile of dust, Raven noting that the two mystery people were standing there too. There were two people, one was taller with boyishly short, sandy blonde hair and dark blue eyes. She wore something similar to a Japanese schoolgirl uniform, with ring-like sleeves and a short, pleated skirt attached to a white bodice, with two bows on her bodice, one in front, another in the back. She also wore loose boots and white wrist-length gloves, and a golden tiara was on her forehead. A choker was around her neck.
Her sailor collar was navy, as was her choker, rings around her gloves, the bow at the back and her skirt, as well as her boots. The gem that was set in the tiara was also a dark blue. The bow in front was yellow.
Her companion, a slightly shorter woman with the aquamarine hair, was also wearing the same attire. However, where the blonde's clothes were navy, her clothes were sea green, and where the blonde had yellow, she had navy.
Raven caught sight of a badly battered green puppy limping pitifully back. The dog whined loudly and returned to Beast Boy's form. Cyborg walked up a moment later, helping Robin to limp over. The black-haired leader was wincing with every step, but he didn't complain. Starfire exclaimed in surprise and quickly headed over to help the teen. After a pause, Raven joined them, lighting her hands up with blue energy and coursing her power through Robin's form. Within no time, the Boy Wonder was back on his feet, with scratches all over him and a torn costume to show that he had just been in a tough battle.
"Thanks, Raven," the former sidekick muttered. The eyes behind the domino mask fell onto the two newcomers, and finally, the Boy Wonder addressed them. "Thank you, for helping us," he said slowly. Perhaps he was trying to figure out if they were threats? "Who are you?" he asked cautiously.
The blond inclined her head. "I am Sailor Uranus," she replied, a thick Japanese accent underlying her fluent English. "The Soldier of the Sky, under the guardianship of the noble planet Uranus."
Beast Boy snickered at that. "Heh, she said Ura- ow! Cy!" he whined.
The robotic Titan whistled innocently, but the taser that he had shifted his right finger into didn't escape Raven's gaze.
The aquamarine-haired woman followed. "I am Sailor Neptune," she spoke, graceful, her voice like silk. "The Soldier of Deep Waters, under the guardianship of the noble planet Neptune."
Robin nodded. "I am Robin, leader of the Teen Titans. These are my teammates."
"Cyborg," the tin man stated with a nod of acknowledgement. "Pleased to meet you."
"Name's Beast Boy," the shortest boy of the three male Titans stated boldly. "I'm the one with the sense of humour around here."
Starfire's eyes lit up, but thankfully, she didn't act like she had when they met Terra. "I am Starfire, friends Uranus and Neptune," she said eagerly. "Will you be joining with us, friends?"
Raven didn't say anything, not because she didn't want to, but because her head was suddenly feeling like it was going to split apart. Her hands grabbed the sides of her head and she flinched. She tried to regain footing as her world spun, but her knees gave out and she simply collapsed... or she would have.
"Princess!" Uranus and Neptune both yelled in unison, and a strong, firm hand grabbed Raven by the upper arm, helping her regain her balance. The hand shook her lightly, and Uranus continued, "Selenity, are you okay?" She sounded frantic.
Selenity. That name again.
Raven slowly got to her feet, staring up at the concerned blonde. "I'm fine," she managed to say. "What did you just call me?" The pain intensified and she flinched, wrenching her hand out of Uranus' grip.
"It really is her, Ruka," Neptune breathed. "Look at the mark! The lineage of the Silver Millennium lives..."
"What are you talking about?" Raven asked, forcing herself to her feet. She felt the pain slowly ebb away, and finally, the girl could stand once more.
Both the women looked at each other, and in unison, they fell on one knee, bowing their heads. "Our services did not end with the Silver Millennium," they echoed in eerie unison, "we are the protectors of the moon's legacy. Selenity, we will follow your lead!"
Raven felt the pain strike once more, and she spoke of her own accord, "This Lunar child accepts your allegiance. Rise, daughters of Uranus and Neptune, as the soldiers of the Outer Circles and noble servants of the Moon's lineage." Once the last word left her lips, the pain disappeared.
"What just happened?" Beast Boy asked, jaw hanging open.
Neptune smiled. "We have renewed an age-old contract between her blood and our own. It would be a pleasure to be inducted into your ranks, Titans."
"Right," Robin muttered. "You sure about this, Raven?"
The sorceress blinked. Why was he asking her? Then she remembered that she was the one that had forged the contract... or whatever it was. She nodded. I'm not sure why, but I know that these two can be trusted, she informed the Boy Wonder.
Alright, he returned. Pulling out two communicators, he handed the yellow and black items to the duo, who accepted the devices. "These are our communicators. Officially, you are now Titans." He paused. "I assume you stay in the city? If it wouldn't be much of a hassle, you are welcome to move into the Tower." Jabbing his thumb at the conspicuous 'T'-shaped construct on the island, he said, "It's that one, by the way."
Neptune smiled kindly in response. "Our duty is to protect Selenity. We'll be there in a couple of days, Robin. Ever such a pleasure to meet you."
And with that, both the Sailors bounded off to the rooftops.
Everything fell silent for a while, and then Beast Boy blinked.
"What just happened?"
Raven's spell: Oh great moon, I, descendant of your blood call upon your powers. Provide me with the strength to destroy this beast, one that threatens to end my legacy!
Chapter 8: The Meeting
Usagi watched on apprehensively as the plane took off into the air. Her mother's arm, wrapped tightly around her, tightened even further. Obligingly, Usagi reached out and put her arms around her mother as she stared after the plane. Her father was in that plane - off to Oregon - while she was here in California with her mother and Shingo.
Speaking of Shingo, the boy was holding their mother's hand like it was a lifeline. One week had been plenty of time for Usagi to get her priorities straight, but Shingo? The boy was a couple of years younger than her, and while he certainly acted mature, he was still a child while Usagi was already a teenager. He also had much more in Japan to leave behind that she did - she had cut her ties with the Senshi and her so-called prince not too long ago, when they decided to confront her after learning about her leaving Japan from Ami and Makoto.
It hadn't been a pretty sight. She had thoroughly chewed them out for trying to get her to stay in Tokyo against her will, and when they were too stunned to respond, she had walked out on them. The girl had noticed a dark-skinned woman meeting them not soon after she had turned around and walked off, and she now wondered if the woman was Mamoru's girlfriend - she certainly was old enough.
Shaking he head to clear her thoughts, the blonde girl found her mother leading them to the front of the airport. The blue-haired woman hailed a taxi for all three of the Japan natives and the family soon found themselves on their way to their new home. In approximately half-an-hour, Usagi was standing in front of their new house, holding her bags tightly as she stared.
It was an average suburban house, with its own yard, a picket fence, and white gate. The house was a two-storey building, much like her old home in Japan, with white walls and a brown door. There was a row of picture windows on the left of the door, presumably where the living room was, though covered by a white curtain. Bay windows hung from above, from where Usagi presumed were the bedrooms.
The inside was decorated nicely too. As she had thought, a living room painted white lay to the left of the door. The kitchen was behind, done in shades of pastel orange and pink, after the dining room which was right in between the two rooms and decorated in light, flowery wallpaper. The second floor indeed consisted of bedrooms. Her and Shingo's lay next to each other, her room coloured in pink and white while Shingo had blue and green. Their mother's lay across the hall, painted in soft maroon and white. All in all, a very lovely home.
Just as the trio had finished getting their luggage into the house, Usagi felt an arrow of dark energy strike through her. Shivering, the girl hurried up to her bedroom, calling out to her mother that she would be in her room for a while. Grabbing her brooch from her luggage, the blonde instantly held it in the air, opening the golden casing to reveal the Illusionary Silver Crystal, glowing with power. Invoking the crystal's power, Usagi yelled out, "Moon Crystal Power, Make Up!"
In a flash of white light, Sailor Moon stood in the place where Tsukino Usagi was. Grabbing hold of the bay window, she threw it open and leapt out, keeping it partially open for easy return. The Senshi of the Moon crossed her fingers and muttered a quick prayer to the Moon, then jumped off of the window, breaking into a run mid-air. To her immense relief, Sailor Moon landed on the ground with no injury, and kept on running. The reincarnated princess ran blindly for a while before she realized that she had no idea where she was. Skidding to a stop, Moon started to panic.
Maybe Queen Serenity was looking out for her daughter, because at that moment, the red coverings on her buns turned into the locators she had used in her early days as Sailor Moon, leading her to her destination.
Moon sprinted like she was late to school, her long blonde pigtails flowing behind her like ropes spun from gold. After barely a minute of running, she found her destination, and Sailor Moon tried not to sound irritated as she muttered, "Really, the park?" But then again, where else did monsters attack? The Sailor Senshi summoned her wand to her hand, but as soon as she did, she realized that there was a literal swarm of droids attacking, and that there were already people fighting them.
A green boy, probably around her age, was suddenly replaced by a green rhinoceros. The animal charged straight into the midst of the droids, quickly getting piled onto. The droids scattered when a vibrant blue beam was fired into their midst, though they didn't turn to dust. The rhinoceros turned back into the boy, who shouted out, "Thanks for the save, Cy! Three o'clock!"
Sailor Moon had completely no idea why she could understand them when they were speaking in English, but 'Cy' was a half-mechanical man. Almost all of his body was covered in blue robotics, and one of his eyes was instead a glowing red circle. His remaining human parts were dark-skinned. His right hand turned into a cannon, and he whipped around, sending the beam of light that Moon had seen previously. Looking up, he shouted, "BB! Get to Star!"
'BB', the green boy, leapt into the air, turning into an eagle, also completely green, as he soared through the air. The eagle soon joined a light-show in the sky, striking droids down to the ground while a tall girl with bright red hair, presumably 'Star' fired bolts of green energy at them. 'Star' finally shouted out something in a very foreign language and shot two thin green beams out of her eyes, beating two droids to the ground.
At this point, Moon gripped her wand. She could see where this was going. Pointing her weapon at the droids on the ground, she shouted out her attack, "Moon Princess Halation!" A beam of white light flew from her wand, dissolving the fallen droids into dust. Seeing more droids emerge, she whipped her handy tiara off her forehead and transfigured it into the projectile of light. With a well-practiced swing of her arms, she punted the boomerang at some incoming droids. Catching the tiara once it returned to her, Moon put her golden weapon back on and spun her wand, ready to attack again.
"Hey! Behind you!" 'BB' shouted at her, lunging in the form of a horse. The stallion bucked a droid hard, so hard that it was sent crashing into a tree.
Moon's hand instantly shot up and she shouted her attack once again, disintegrating the droid. She turned to the green horse and nodded in gratitude. "Thanks."
The horse cocked its head, and she wondered if he didn't understand. Seeing the droid coming from behind him, she turned to fire her attack, but a black light enveloped the creature and it was tossed away like a rag-doll. Another droid came up, but in the exact same way, the back energy picked it up and tossed the machine away. The horse whinnied and pawed the ground. Then, he charged into the midst of yet another group of droids.
Moon aimed her staff at yet another droid and yelled the attack name, dissolving yet another droid into dust. As she turned to destroy yet another one, a small boomerang-shaped projectile smashed into the chest area of the one she was facing and promptly exploded. She fired her attack at that particular droid when the dust stirred up was still floating around the droid. Falling into pieces, the droid ceased to be a threat.
A boy with spiked black hair and dressed in a costume that was coloured like a traffic-light and a yellow and black cape dropped onto the ground, a metal staff in his green-gloved hand. "Raven! Get Uranus and Neptune to cover Beast Boy!" he shouted out. He twirled his staff expertly, pulling out another boomerang and threw it at yet another droid, setting it off.
"Of course, Robin," a girl wearing a deep blue cloak and a long-sleeved black leotard replied. Her hand, lit in black energy, shot out, enveloping a group of droids. The cloaked girl then muttered something under her breath and flung both her arms out into the air, tossing away another swarm of droids.
The ground beneath Moon shook as she yelped, trying to keep her balance. She failed, falling onto her rear as she stared on at the damage that the two new attacks inflicted. A sphere of pure energy slammed into the droid instantly rendering it into dust. Two women garbed in the same uniform that Moon wore, except with minor differences and colour schemes, appeared into sight, both looking irritated.
"Damn it, Michi!" shouted the taller one, a sandy blonde as she collected yet another sphere of pure energy in her gloved hand. "Where are all these monsters coming from?"
The aquamarine-haired woman frowned, she then whirred around and shot another energy attack at a droid behind her partner. "I'm trying, Ruka," she shot. "Hold on... There!" she shouted out, pointing at a droid that stood still in the middle of park. The woman back-flipped and kicked an incoming droid in the face.
Taking the opportunity, Sailor Moon fired her attack at it.
Pausing to stare at the dissolving droid, both women whipped to stare at her. The blonde's eyes widened. "Michi!" she hissed, grabbing the other woman's arm. "Look! Is it her?"
The other woman stared, then her jaw dropped open. "By the gods, it is her! We've found both the princesses!" she exclaimed. Suddenly, her eyes widened. "Behind you, Serenity!"
Sailor Moon twisted around just as the attacking droid was encased in black energy and thrown aside. She instantly gripped her wand and yelled out her attack. "Moon Princess Halation!" She got to her feet and she plucked off her tiara, holding it in the air, she then tossed it at the standing droid. "Moon Tiara Action!" The tiara struck the droid, but it didn't do much to stop it. Catching the projectile as it swung back to her, Moon frowned. Gripping her wand tighter, she wondered if a direct blow with her attack would enough to dust the creature.
"World Shaking!" The blonde shook the earth, cracking it open as the droid was shaken from its place. The onslaught of droids slowed, then returned with a vengeance as the droid stood again. The woman cursed. "Hit it once, Michi!" she shouted. "That should do the trick! Serenity can vanquish it once it's been weakened enough."
'Michi' summoned her attack once more, shouting out the name and firing at the droid with deadly precision.
Raising her wand, Moon shouted out her attack name, finally managing to hit the droid. As the droid fell, so did all the others, all the others fading into dust that vanished into the air. Moon fell to her knees, panting in relief as she wiped her brow. Dark blue boots entered her vision, and a pale grey hand was extended to her. Holding out her gloved hand, she took it and stood.
"You're another of the Sailor Senshi?" A boy's voice drifted into her ears. She turned to see the traffic-light boy standing to her side, his staff still in hand.
She nodded. "Sailor Moon, the beautiful protector of love and justice," she replied, giving her old introductory speech.
The boy paused for a while, then the girl in the cloak from earlier sighed. "She says, she is Sailor Moon, the guardian of love and justice."
"I see," the boy said. "Uranus, Neptune, do the two of you know her?"
The sandy blonde stepped up. "That we do, Robin. Neptune and I have been searching for the Moon Princess Serenity for a while, and we believe that we have found her. Isn't that right, Serenity?"
Moon blinked. So they were another two Senshi? Uranus and Neptune, two Senshi of the Outer Planets. Did that mean that a Sailor Saturn and possibly a Sailor Pluto existed as well? "You are... Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune?" she asked warily.
"But of course, Serenity," Neptune, or 'Michi' as she had been addressed earlier, replied in a soft, silvery voice like water. "We are the Senshi entrusted by your mother and the queens before her to safeguard the Solar System." She paused for a while, soft teal eyes staring into Moon's bright blue eyes. "Selenity," she called. "Do you remember her?"
Selenity? The name of the girl in the cloak from her dream, she realized.
"Well then," the boy, Robin, said. "In that case, Sailor Moon, you're welcome to join your comrades here with us and become an honorary Titan. I am Robin, the leader of the Teen Titans. This," he said, gesturing to 'BB', "is Beast Boy."
"I'm Cyborg," the cyborg said.
"And I am Starfire, new friend Sailor Moon!" squealed the red-head as she was pulled into a bone-crushing hug. "Oh, do tell me you will be joining us!"
Once she was released, she took a couple of deep breaths to get the air back into her lungs. Her eyes finally fell on the girl in the cloak, who removed her hood slowly. The girl looked up and their eyes met. Purple met blue. Sailor Moon's eyes widened as did the girl on the other end of the gaze.
Chapter 9: Foreshadowing
Dimande pressed his fingers to his temple, eyes closed to hide the smouldering fury in his glowing purple irises. "Five weeks," he growled. "Five entire weeks and you have not even located a sign of the Rabbit?" he demanded, anger bubbling up in him. Imbeciles! Couldn't they locate a pink-haired little girl who emitted a unique energy signal with all the help he had bequeathed to them?
Esmaraude bowed her head, kneeling. "My deepest apologies, Prince Dimande," she spoke, her sharp voice echoing throughout the chamber. "It is by my miscalculations that we have not managed to capture the pest yet." She seemed to want to speak further, but he cut her off, anger seeping into his tone.
"Of course it is your fault, Esmaraude! I assign you with one task alone: to find the Rabbit and capture her alive, and even after a month, you fail to provide me with any result!" the white-haired prince snapped, standing. His purple-lined cape billowed in an invisible wind, and the young man fought to control his third eye from activating. "Even Rubeus was of more use than you are!"
Esmaraude lowered her head. "I am sorry, my prince. I will try harder. The Rabbit will be yours," she promised.
Dimande growled, his eyes shining with a dark, menacing light. "You had better. Saphir, the news of the Sailor Senshi?" he asked, picking up his wine glass from the armrest of his white throne. Swishing the deep red liquid around in the crystal glass, he looked on at his blue-haired brother. His fingers drummed incessantly on the other armrest, setting a soft, yet appropriately urgent beat to the situation. Each time the sounds echoed in the chamber, his brother seemed to get more anxious.
Finally, Saphir replied to him, keeping his head bowed. "There seems to be a new Senshi that has joined their ranks, brother." The blue prince's hands clenched into fists as he spoke - for what reason, Dimande knew not, and the white prince cared even less.
"And this soldier is?"
"The Soldier of Space-Time, brother. Sailor Pluto."
Dimande cursed, feeling tempted to slam the glass onto the armrest and let it shatter. "What?" he spat. "She has left her eternal post to join them? Unbelievable!" Raising his glass to his lips, the prince sipped slowly at the wine, trying to get himself to calm down before he attempted to act rashly. "No matter," he ground out. "Her powers are bound by oaths - no threat will be posed to us other than her wealth of experience. Esmaraude," he commanded.
"Yes, Prince Dimande."
"Arrange another attack. I want to see how the Sailor Senshi work with the Guardian of Time and Space. Use whichever droid that can cause damage and is not as easily destroyed, I do not rightly care which is it that is used." Turning his attention from the green-haired woman to his brother, he continued, "Is there anything more of note, Saphir?"
The man hesitated. He looked away, reluctant to speak. "Well," he finally muttered.
"Saphir," Dimande said in a warning tone, slowly setting his glass down.
"Sailor Moon has left twenty-first century Tokyo."
"What?" Esmaraude gasped in poorly disguised delight. "She has?"
The white-haired man frowned. "She has?" The prince of the Black Moon Clan steepled his fingers together as he immersed himself in his thoughts. Could she have abandoned her friends? he wondered briefly before he dismissed the thought. No, too unlikely. Sailor Moon is not one to run. Then what? Why has she left? An image of the lovely blonde flashed across his mind as he gripped the armrests of his throne tighter.
Could it be possible that she has left the company of the Senshi?
"Where?" Esmaraude sounded mildly disinterested, and once again, Dimande forced himself to turn his attention from his thoughts to the conversation that the green-haired woman was having with his blue-haired brother.
"The States," Saphir was saying calmly. "Sailors Uranus and Neptune have appeared and they are threatening our operations there."
Esmaraude wrinkled her nose. "Why do we have operations in the States? The points of energy are all within Japan!"
"Because," Dimande replied, "the kingdom of our time mainly operates in Japan, yes, however, the States are the second stronghold, where Neo-Queen Serenity has most allies. The other areas of the world also lack the sophistication and resources they have, of which helps us to create our droids." He kept a shrewd gaze on the green-haired woman, well aware that she would stir up more trouble than she was worth.
Esmaraude hid a laugh, standing from her position on the floor. Sweeping her fan out from somewhere, she opened it with a flick of her wrist. With a flourishing bow, she announced her leave. "I will take my leave now, Prince Dimande. The Rabbit will not capture itself." She waited for his permission to leave, which he did give, with a lazy, dispassionate wave of his hand, dismissing her. The harpy swept her fan out as she gave a low bow. Straightening, she walked backwards until she reached the door, then she pulled the heavy door open and slipped through.
With a glare at the doors, Dimande flicked a finger in its direction, swinging the doors shut with a loud slam. "Imbecile," he growled, loud enough that his brother overheard.
Saphir stifled a snicker as he stood. "I would not say this on a normal basis, brother, but for once, I agree with your view of Esmaraude," he concluded. Folding his arms over his chest, the younger brother of the two exhaled and looked down. The blue-clad man walked over to Dimande, putting a hand on his brother's shoulder. "You should head to your quarters and get some rest, brother," he addressed, concern seeping into his tone.
Dimande shook his head, waving away Saphir's concerns. "I'm fine, Saphir. You have something you wanted to tell me?"
The blue prince winced. "I'm afraid so."
He reached into the air, activating the same holograms that the white prince often used to gaze at a replica of the Neo-Queen. Spreading out a horizontal map, he split the image into two, then shifted the one on the right to a three-dimensional map of the twenty-first century Tokyo. The other, he changed to a city which Dimande failed to recognize. Said city had an island with a prominent 'T'-shaped building on the edge near the sea.
"This is?" he inquired.
"Jump City," his brother replied distastefully, "where Sailors Uranus and Neptune have surfaced." He pointed to the building on the island. "They have forged new allies. Those allies are the ones who reside in this building. They call themselves the 'Teen Titans'." Scowling, Saphir turned his attention to the Tokyo hologram. Pulling up six holographic figures, he positioned them in the city. Five of them were lit with the colours of blue, orange, green, red and black respectively. The last was coloured white.
"The Senshi and Endymion," the blue-haired man elaborated. Moving them around yet again, he stood back when he had moved the Senshi into a ring with Endymion in its centre. After a moment of thought, he added a pink figure in the centre, obviously representing the pink-haired offspring of the lovely silver-haired Neo-Queen and that despicable Earth King. "The Rabbit," he continued. "Right now, Endymion hasn't been seen in any battles since two weeks prior to Sailor Moon's disappearance."
Dimande hummed, draining his glass. "Do you think that it has anything to do with Sailor Moon's disappearance?"
Saphir shrugged. "Perhaps. Either way, though, the attacks on this Tokyo may proceed as usual; however, they may likely end up just like they had when Sailor Moon was still present," he warned. Setting aside the hologram for later strategizing purposes, he focused his attention on the other city. "Jump City may be the one posing the larger problem, though."
The purple-eyed prince sat up straight, leaning closer to the hologram. "How so?" he asked, peering closely at the queer building.
"The Teen Titans," Saphir replied distastefully. As with before, he summoned figures, seven, this time. Five were placed together, the other two together. The Five were lit in the colours red, light blue, green, pink and purple, while the other two were yellow and teal respectively. Gesturing to each group, he labelled them as the 'Teen Titans' and the 'Senshi' respectively. He brought the Senshi closer to the Titans. "As I mentioned, the Senshi have found allies in the Titans, and they are currently hard at work at destroying every single base we have for our operations there."
"So?" Dimande asked, bored. "We send the strongest we have and destroy them. Those 'Titans' can't be much of a threat."
Saphir shook his head, blue hair flying. "I'm afraid that it's not that easy, brother. Each of these Titans are heroes in their own right. Their leader is the former apprentice of the infamous Dark Knight of legend; one is a shape-shifter that led operations to take down a worldwide anti-hero organization; one is a former worker at the STAR labs; yet another is a princess from the planet Tamaran and quite possibly another Senshi in her own right; and the last is a sorceress."
Dimande raised a brow at the lack of description of the last Titan. "They are formidable?"
"Very. The team works so well together that their enemies always end up defeated. And with the new addition, they have more power than before. I fear that they will notice our efforts to obtain our supplies and then cut us off."
"I see." Dimande scowled. "How big of a threat do they pose in our plans?"
Saphir frowned, calculating everything in his mind. "Nearly half the threat the Senshi pose in Tokyo alone," he said after a spell of silence, "but they are our biggest enemy in making sure our plans can run. They are interfering with our attempt to retrieve supplies." Grimly, the younger brother continued, "In all, they are over seventy-five percent a threat to out plans overall. The Senshi themselves are a mere twenty-five in comparison."
"And what can we do to stop them?" Dimande asked, deep in his musings. He drummed his fingers on his armrests, frowning. "Should we deploy more droids in their area? Perhaps I should contact Wiseman for advice," he then murmured.
"No!" Saphir suddenly burst out. "We have no need to contact the Wiseman!" he said, panicking.
The prince raised a brow in surprise at the words of his brother. Was it really so trivial that they didn't need to inform Wiseman about the turn of events? Saphir made out the Titans to be extremely dangerous enemies - was his brother that confident in his abilities to strategize that he would decline the aid of Wiseman? He hoped that his brother knew what he was doing. "Very well then, Saphir. What plans do you have?"
Saphir seemed to calm down then. With a relieved smile, he addressed his brother once more. "Well..."
Raven shot straight up, amethyst eyes snapping straight open as the demon's spawn tossed the covers off of her. The sorceress stood, reaching for her cloak that hung beside her bed. Clasping it around her neck in a smooth, well-practised move, the teenaged heroine phased right through the ceiling of her room and headed to the rooftop. Standing at the very edge of the roof, she settled into a meditative stance, legs crossed Indian style.
"Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos..." she repeated to herself, trying to wash away the remaining fear of the nightmare she had had. It was a miracle she had possessed enough self-control not to destroy anything when she woke.
What kind of dream was that? she wondered, feeling her heartbeat slow down to its original pace. Letting herself remain in her levitating stance, she looked over the lights of Jump City, the streaks of dawn that was rising soon in the distance, and the deep black sky, dotted with pure white stars. Raven sighed, finally lowering herself to the ground. It was just a dream... wasn't it?
The memory of the new Senshi they had encountered the afternoon previous drifted into her mind, and the girl recalled the events that had transpired. After their eyes had met, a painful jolt had coursed through her head, like the previous times she had experienced it. However, it seemed much more powerful. A minute of silent staring, then the other girl pulled away, and fled like there was a demon on her tail, blue eyes wide.
Which, technically, there could be said to be one.
Raven had kept her eyes on the blonde as she fled, shocked beyond comparison.
"Selenity?" Neptune's soft voice drifted to her, and Raven turned to meet the woman's eyes with a frown.
"I thought I told you and Uranus to stop calling me that," she muttered. "No matter who I was back then, I am not them now. Raven will suffice."
Neptune chuckled. "Of course, Raven." The woman walked over to join her. "It's a beautiful sight, isn't it? The morning is always so lovely," she murmured. "Serenity always loved the sunrise - I remember you mentioning that you needed to barricade her balcony with spells before she got the hint about not making herself seen." She laughed.
Raven allowed herself a weak smile. "Of course, Neptune." She looked over the city again. "I don't remember," she said, sighing tonelessly. "Who is Selenity? Why do I feel like I know Sailor Moon? Who is Serenity?"
Neptune smiled. "Answers naturally come in time, my princess. You must just be patient. And soon, time will come to you." Laughing softly, the woman continued to stare out at the scenery.
Raven stared at the woman in confusion. "Just be patient," she echoed to herself, looking back out on the city. "Answers come in time."
The entire tower flashed red, and the siren sounded. Raven's eyes narrowed. "Trouble," she murmured.
Neptune's gloved hand found its way onto her shoulder. "We must hurry, princess," she said with a smile. "Time is of the essence."
Raven nodded. Her eyes lighting up with her power, she enveloped both of them in a shadowy raven that disappeared into the tower.
Chapter 10: The New Enemy
"Akuryo Taisan!" Sailor Mars set off her flames, igniting the droid with her fire. Her black hair was getting into her eyes, obscuring her vision, so the priestess brushed her bangs away from her face. The Senshi of War blinked when a blonde blur was thrown back, whizzing past her. "Minako-chan!" she shouted out, hurrying to help the leader of the four Senshi up.
Sailor Venus wasn't in prime condition. Her mane of blonde hair was tousled, and not in the usual movie-star way. "Ugh," the blue-eyed blonde groaned, getting to her feet with Mars' assistance. Smoothing her messy bangs back from her hair with her gloved hands, she adjusted her large red bow to hold back her blonde hair from her eyes. Grabbing hold of her chain, she looped it into a coil in her hand, like one would do a whip or a coil of rope. The chain gleamed under the shine of the silver moon and the street lamps in the park, and Mars wondered if it was just the reflection of light or if it was the power of Venus making the gems glow.
Venus sprinted forward again in her orange heels, shouting out her attack. "Rolling Heart Vibration!" she shouted, forming an energy heart in her hands, then firing the attack at the droid, which had somehow shrugged off being set on fire without a scratch. The droid shrieked at an impossible volume as it was struck back, but just as soon as it was sent flying, it got back up again. Venus' gloved fist slammed into her other palm as the blonde cursed in a low tone. "Damn it."
"Shine Snow Illusion!" Mercury yelled out, sending the snow storm out onto the battlefield. She took aim, the magic spiralling between her gloved palms, struggling to get free, then fired it right at the droid.
The freezing storm left a thin layer of frost over Mars' bare arm, but the Senshi growled, heating up her own body temperature to temperatures that would designate a terrible fever if she had been normal, and melting the frozen water right off. The violet-eyed Soldier of Mars prepared another attack in her gloved hands, but she was beaten to it by Sailor Jupiter, who raised her hands above her head, her brunette curls furiously whipping in the wind left by the conjured up snow storm.
"Supreme Thunder Dragon!" she roared, green eyes aglow with powerful green light. The electricity-generated dragon unleashed a roar of epic proportions before it smashed straight into the enemy droid. When the attack faded, the droid was still standing. A bit burnt and toasted, maybe, but it was still functioning fine.
"The hell?" Jupiter spat out, lightning dancing up and down her arms. Agitated, the Senshi of Thunder and Courage drew herself to her full height of a hundred and sixty-eight centimetres, cracking her knuckles one by one. "I'll show it who's boss," she grumbled, letting the sparks along her skin draw out into dangerous electric arcs that jumped from one hand to the other in an impressive display of light. "Stand back."
Electricity gathering at the antenna from her tiara, a storm - a real, dangerous thunderstorm - stirred above. Lightning crashed down onto Jupiter's tiara and she used that power to fuel her attack. Gathering the bolts of lightning in her hands, she spun around and threw the raw element at the droid. "Supreme Thunder!" she declared with passion, skidding to a stop in front of the other three Senshi. "That ought to have dusted that damn thing," she growled. The green-eyed girl stood, folding her arms over her chest as the Senshi waited with bated breath for the dust stirred up by the attack to settle.
It did, but not by its own. The droid whipped its way out of the dust cloud and charged at them, shrieking like a banshee. Long claws stretched out at the four Senshi as they stared in shock.
"Chronos Typhoon!" Pluto's clear voice rang into the area, and a cyclone ripped into the droid. The older woman dropped onto the ground behind the droid as she brandished her key-shaped staff in her gloved hand. Garnet eyes gleaming and a confident smile on her ruby-coloured lips, she shouted, "Dead Scream!" With those two powerful attacks, the droid was finally rendered into dust. Pluto stepped over the remains of the droid and walked calmly over to the Senshi, the orb that topped her key staff still glowing faint traces of power.
"Took you long enough to drop in." Jupiter scowled.
Pluto's smile was too serene to be sincere. "My apologies, Sailor Jupiter. I had duties to deal with at the Time Gates that would not let me leave until now." She gestured to the dust that was scattered in the wind. "It does not matter now. The droid has already been destroyed."
Laughter was heard then, echoing around the battle area. It was shrill, like a banshee, and it seriously hurt Mars' ears. She flinched. "What's going on?" she hissed in a low voice to Venus.
The blonde leader shook her head, brow furrowed. "I have no idea," she whispered back. "Maybe another droid?"
Mars frowned deeply, brow furrowing together. "It doesn't seem like it."
In a flash of black, durst was stirred up, then banished with a gust of wind on Pluto's behalf. A woman with bright green hair stood there, a reddish-pink fan in her hand. She wore a dark green dress with three gems adorning the front, and the most striking thing about her was the black down-turned crescent moon on her brow. The new enemy, Sailor Mars realized, and instantly, the soldier of Mars readied herself for an attack.
"Who are you and what do you want, Black Moon scum?" Venus demanded, having apparently come to the same conclusion. The blonde pulled off her belt, the red gems gleaming menacingly as she pulled it taut, ready to lash out at the woman the instant she tried to attack. The metal chains clinked together in a disharmonious chorus, echoing in the empty park.
The woman snorted contemptuously. "What an obvious and expected question," she said disdainfully, turning her nose down at the five Senshi. "If you must know, I am Esmaraude, that fool Rubeus' direct superior and the right-hand woman of our leader himself." She snapped her fan shut and tucked it away. "And what I want, isn't that obvious by now, pitiful Senshi? I want the Rabbit! Where is that pink brat?"
Jupiter growled at her. "Why would we tell you, lady?" she spat, green eyes narrowing and electricity making her ponytail frizz. Sparks generated at the tips of her fingers as she raised her hand to eye level, the current steadily growing stronger until lightning was dancing up and down her gloved arms, a dangerous reminder than Jupiter might have been a good friend, but she was still one of the most dangerous people in the area. "We are the protectors of justice!" she declared, her voice loud and clear. "We right all wrongs, and we triumph over evil!"
"And that," all four of Serenity's protectors echoed in unison, "means you!"
Esmaraude laughed, her harpy-like voice echoing eerily. "Hmph, useless things." She stood back, smiling viciously. "If you won't say anything, then I'll just have to make you, now won't I? Chiral, Achiral!" she commanded, flicking her hand out. "Get the blue one!"
Two nearly identical men, one with lighter hair and skin compared to the other, lunged out of nowhere, heading straight for Mercury. They were cut short when a blast of energy smashed straight in front of them. Mercury was pushed back, and Tuxedo Kamen now stood in front of her, his black cape lined with red drawn up and held out like a matador trying to taunt the bull in front of him to charge.
"Come on," he growled coldly. "I dare you to." His gloved hand was ready, an attack at the tips of his fingers.
Esmaraude's eyes narrowed. "You," she spat in distaste. Eyes glowing in anger, she redirected her rage to Tuxedo Kamen. "Him!" she shrieked. "Leave him, Chiral, Achiral! I need him alive! Get the Senshi!"
The two obeyed, once more lunging for Mercury, but the prince of Earth wasn't having any of that.
"Tuxedo La Smoking Bomber!" he yelled, firing the blast of Terran energy straight into the two, sending them spiralling back and smashing painfully onto the ground. He whipped out a blood red rose and flung it straight at Esmaraude, narrowly missing her by a small margin. "Leave this place!" he spat. "The Earth does not welcome you here!" he ordered.
Esmaraude made to attack once more, however, Pluto was much wiser than that. Her Garnet Rod was up, the ornament at the top pointed at the woman from the Black Moon Clan. Garnet eyes calm, she spoke in a voice too serene to be believed. "I suggest that you leave now, Esmaraude of the Black Moon," she addressed calmly. "My infinite time does not mean my patience is so as well. I have over two millennia worth of experience and time to hone my skills." She smiled. "I am sure you do not wish to be on the receiving end of my unholy rage."
As if to reinforce her statement, Pluto's staff sparked with energy, and Tuxedo Kamen had brought his cane out.
Esmaraude, seeing no other way out, bowed into their order. "This will not be the last time we meet, Senshi," she threatened. "When that time comes, I will capture the Rabbit." She vanished the same way she had appeared, and only then did Sailor Pluto's tense form relax.
Tuxedo Kamen retracted his cane and kept it away, and turned to the Senshi, looking extremely frantic. The rest of the Senshi took it to mean that there was something terribly wrong. Venus was the first to speak, her empathy letting her instantly sense the anxiety that wafted off him.
"Mamoru-san," she started, frowning, "what's the matter? Why aren't you with Chibiusa?"
"That's the problem!" he suddenly exclaimed. "Chibiusa's gone missing!"
"What?!" The group of Senshi were frantic.
"You must be joking, right?" Mars asked, her gloved hand tightening into a fist. Her heartbeat was unusually fast at the notion that the pink-haired girl could have disappeared, and she could distinctly hear her heart beating in her ears. "Chibiusa can't have gone missing!"
Tuxedo Kamen shook his head slowly, looking downwards.
"Let's not stall," Pluto immediately said, taking the reins from Venus. "Quickly. We must head over to Chiba-san's residence and find her." In mutual agreement with the rest of Serenity's protectors, she led the way, leaping over rooftops as she sprinted towards the prince's house, somehow knowing the way despite having never been there before.
Usagi jolted awake from her sleep, staggering to her feet and instantly heading for the bathroom. Splashing some cool water onto her face, she turned off the tap and walked over to her window. Standing there, she gazed silently at the full moon, reaching out to open the windows. The moon's rays, uninhibited by the glass of the window, shone down on her, calming the princess down.
The blonde stared at the moon, reaching a hand out, as if to touch it. "Queen Serenity," she prayed, "tell me, why has this happened to me?"
She received no answer, and sullen, the reincarnated princess stared at the velvety-black night sky, filled with blinking white stars.
On her vanity, the brooch holding her precious Illusionary Silver Crystal gleamed under the rays of moonlight. Usagi turned to look at it for a while, eventually walking over and picking it up in her hands. The cool energy granted by the crystal surged through her, calming her nerves. Closing her blue eyes, the reincarnation of Serenity curled up on the floor, examining the golden brooch in silence.
The droids, she recalled. Why were droids in the States? Surely there was nothing there that held their interest? Usagi was clueless, but the appearance of those two new Senshi was perhaps the reason. Maybe they were after something else? Or maybe, they had known of her moving here, and wanted the Silver Crystal to themselves? Anything was possible at this point.
Usagi was less concerned about the Black Moon Clan - she knew that she could definitely handle it. What the young princess was thinking about was the mysterious girl. The girl in the blue cloak. She hadn't been able to see her face completely, but her voice, what part of her face that she had seen... she had been identical to the Selenity girl that Usagi had seen in her dreams.
Selenity... Serenity's sister. Her sister.
She had said the name, and the girl had said Serenity's. She had just stared on, stunned as her crescent mark burned on her brow behind her tiara. Then, she had turned and ran. Why? She didn't know. Maybe she was scared - her crescent was burning so powerfully she felt like it was starting to hurt. She still didn't fully recall the Silver Millennium, and as far as she knew, neither did Artemis or Luna. They had sided with the Senshi anyway, so she sure as hell wasn't going to ask them for help.
The princess stood, placing her brooch on her palm and opening it to reveal the Silver Crystal, winking back at her with bright, beautiful light. A pulse of reassuring energy flooded her, and Usagi smiled. Closing the brooch once more with a soft 'clink' as metal hit metal, she clutched it close to her chest. Tomorrow, or rather, today, was a new day. She'd be starting school today, in a new city, where no one knew her.
It would be perfect. A new start, just for her.
Putting her brooch down on the vanity, she walked back to the window, smiling up at the full moon. The moon was always there, even when it was a new moon. It was constant, always providing her with comfort and the energy to keep on. It was the soothing mother, and she its child. "Thank you," she whispered, closing the windows again. "Thank you for always being here for me."
Getting into bed again, Usagi pulled the white covers up to her chin. Out of the corner of her eye, she swore she saw a silhouette of a woman standing in front of the moon. The brooch gleamed under the light, and Usagi succumbed to the siren's call of sleep. Her golden crescent moon gleamed on her brow as the rays of moonlight, filtered through the glass, shone on her peaceful face.
Chapter 11: The White Moon Lives On
Raven hated the siren in the Tower - it was loud, obnoxious, and it hurt her ears. Kind of like Beast Boy, but more unbearable, and fire engine red. The sorceress growled her discontent and levitated herself to her feet from her meditative stance. Her amethyst eyes flickered between a blinding white and their usual purple colour as she fought back her annoyance, holding back her powers just in case she accidentally blew something up again.
There had been too many incidents that week alone.
"This is the third time this week, and it's only Monday," she noted in a forced monotone as the doors to the living room slid open, almost as if welcoming her in. She strode in, her midnight blue cloak fluttering behind her. "What's the crisis this time?"
Neptune looked up from the screen in the middle of the room, her eyes brightening up a bit as she saw Raven. "Ah, Raven," she greeted, looking back down. "Ruka is already at the park. She's dealing with the droids there. Robin and Cyborg are here," she pointed to a familiar dock area, making Raven frown slightly, "dealing with someone else. Starfire and Beast Boy are also heading there. Robin's instructed me to stay and monitor the situation, and he suggests that you join Uranus with the droid clean-up."
Raven resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Of course, the walking traffic light did. She stretched her fingers, reaching back to draw her hood up over her short purple hair. "Alright," she informed coolly. "I'll see what I can do there."
"Be careful," Neptune implored, the aquamarine-haired woman looking down at her work again as the sorceress left the room.
Raven hovered in the air, then called upon her powers, phasing through the ceiling until she reached the rooftop of the T-shaped tower. The demon spawn headed to the park, shooting through the air in the form of a shadowy raven, where Uranus was taking care of a group of droids. Her cloak billowed in the wind as she descended onto the scene of the fight, eyes glowing with bright white energy.
"World Shaking!" Uranus shouted, unleashing her attack and splitting the earth apart with her power. The blonde somersaulted out of the way of another droid that swiped at her with long, sharp claws and kicked out. The soles of her blue boots connected solidly with the face of the droid and sent it slamming back into the ground, disintegrating it once it impacted the ground. "Take that!"
Raven's hand shot in the direction of some more of the droids and she instantly invoked her mantra. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" She grabbed the droids, spinning around and flinging them in the direction of another group. Miraculously, the harsh impact rendered both groups of droids into dust. "Where are all these creatures coming from?" she asked, frustrated. Levitating over, she extended her hand to Uranus and helped the woman up. The sorceress glanced around warily, hands lighting up with blue light as she healed a cut on the blonde's upper arm. "There."
"Thanks, princess," Uranus acknowledged. Her blue eyes scanned the area. "No idea. Whatever's going on, it seems to like the park a lot."
Raven snorted. "Perhaps we could take one of these creatures back to Cyborg. He might be able to tell us where they're from and what they want," she mused.
"Good idea, Selenity."
A scream pierced the air and both heroines snapped their head to look at the group of droids that had emerged from nowhere. "Not again," Uranus groaned. Raising her hand and collecting yellow energy within it, she suddenly stopped when another voice was heard.
"Moon Tiara Action!"
A projectile of glowing light cut through the air, slicing through one of the creatures and swinging right back. Sailor Moon's voice was soon heard loud and clear as the new group of droids shrieked in anger. "I am Sailor Moon, champion of justice and defender of good! In the name of the Moon, I'll right wrongs and triumph over evil, and that means you!"
Raven arched an eyebrow. "So she can speak English now? Last month, she was rattling off in Japanese the whole fight."
Uranus shrugged, running her gloved hand through her messed up sandy hair. "So it seems," she replied. She paused, taking a step forwards and standing in between Raven and the scene. "Should we... help her? I mean, sure, Serenity can hold her own, but -"
"Civilians," Raven hissed, finally seeing where the scream had come from. "Sailor Moon can take care of herself," she informed the guardian quite curtly. "Our job is to protect the city and the people living within." She rose into the air, rising up above the battle below. Eyes glowing white, she raised a hand and grabbed two droids that were advancing on the dark blue-haired woman and the brunette boy in the middle of the droids. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" she chanted, surrounding the two civilians in a black dome barrier. Touching down onto the ground, she immediately enveloped more droids in her dark magic and tossed them away like rag-dolls.
Sailor Moon looked away from her one-sided fight with a droid - that she was losing, mind you - to glance at the sorceress in surprise. Big mistake. The droid lashed out and caught her in her abdomen with sharp claws, sending her slamming into the hard ground, clutching her stomach in pain. She reached out for a staff-like weapon that had flown from her hands, trying to get it back. When she realized it was too far away, she wrenched the tiara from her head, and it turned into the projectile of light that Raven had seen earlier. "Moon Tiara Action!" the blonde yelled, flinging the weapon at the droid.
The light weapon slammed into another droid and rebounded back into Sailor Moon's hand. Still on the ground, the girl groaned in pain as she tried to sit up.
"Uranus, cover me!" Raven yelled at the woman, who gave her a thumbs up before launching a series of precise, powerful strikes at the droids. Holding her hands against each other, she chanted her mantra, then threw her arms out, creating a small shockwave that threw the droids back as she hurried over to the girl on the ground. "Sailor Moon," she hissed quietly as she knelt down. "Can you hear me?"
The Senshi nodded, wincing. Her bodice was torn open and a little blood was soaking out through the white fabric and her white glove. "Ugh," she muttered. "It hurts."
"Take your hand off," Raven instructed. "I'll heal you as best as I can." Carefully, the demon's spawn pried away the blonde's arm and set to work, hovering her hand over the wound. Thankfully, the blonde had managed to dodge a bit as the droid attacked, meaning that her wound wasn't too deep and was easily repaired. The blue light that signified her healing powers faded after she cancelled the flow of magic, feeling that the wound was healed. "There." She pulled her hands away, revealing the cuts had faded to thin scars that would no doubt vanish with good care.
The blonde gave her a nod of gratitude. "Thank you... um..." Sheepishly, she looked up at Raven and scratched the back of her neck.
"Raven," the sorceress replied curtly, helping the Senshi to her feet. "Looks like Uranus is done with the cleanup." It appeared to be so. Piles of dust littered the ground, and the sandy-haired woman was walking towards the two, brushing the dust off her uniform. With a casual flick of her wrist, Raven disabled the dome barrier that she had set up to protect the civilians. Rearranging her cloak so it fell around her once more, the purple-eyed sorceress looked over in the Senshi's direction.
"Raven!" Uranus called out, hurrying over. "Sailor Moon! Are the two of you alright?" Her tone was concerned, and she checked the both of them for any serious injuries, eyes lingering on the healed cut that was on Sailor Moon, as well as her bloody glove. Then, she glanced over at Raven and sighed in relief.
Raven simply nodded, adjusting her hood, while the short blonde slowly gave a reply, looking down at her glove in annoyance at the red staining the fabric. "Yes, I am."
Uranus nodded. "Good. Don't let your guard down just yet," she informed both of them in a low whisper. "Neptune has told me that she feels great evil here." She glanced around warily, posture stiff and on high alert.
The purple-haired girl arched a brow in mild surprise. Great evil? Well, at least nothing could be more 'evil' than her father, right? "Very well," she muttered back in an equally low tone. With an aside gesture, she pointed at the two cowering civilians discreetly enough to not make it obvious. "We should get the civilians out of the way, though."
Sailor Moon immediately turned to her. "Let me," she offered, and without waiting for an answer, she ran over and began speaking to the two in rapid Japanese. After a minute, both nodded and the woman took the boy's hand, both quickly running out of the park. As she walked back to them, the blonde picked up the wand that she was reaching for on the ground before Raven had healed her. "They say that they are thankful for the barrier, Raven," she informed, though she seemed to have difficulty pronouncing the words.
Raven nodded. "Now," she said, turning to Uranus, "this evil you mentioned?"
Sailor Moon suddenly tensed up. "I feel it," she whispered, blue eyes wide. She flinched, and immediately, Raven felt the pain blossom in her forehead.
The sorceress stumbled back, reaching up to cradle her head. Thankfully, Uranus caught her before she fell to the ground. She could feel it - the presence of something tainted by black energy. It wasn't demonic - no, that was unthinkable. However, it was still very dark magic. "Reveal yourself!" she barked out, steadying herself and trying not to blow up something in the park.
"What?" a male voice echoed. "You can tell I'm here?"
"Reveal yourself!" she ordered, the pain slowly building pressure inside her skull. "Now!"
"Interesting." A man appeared in a flurry of black energy, with dark blue hair and eyes. Strangely, a black crescent moon was on his brow, facing down. "Interesting indeed..." he mused. "This power that can be felt from you... it is unearthly."
Raven's eyes widened. Could he feel her demonic parentage? Impossible! She opened her mouth to fire off questions, but Uranus had already beaten her to it.
"Who are you?" the woman growled, protectively standing in between the man and both the shot blonde and Raven. "What do you want? Are you the one behind all these attacks?"
"So, you are Sailor Uranus," he noted distastefully. "I am Saphir of the Black Moon Clan," he replied coldly, not moving from his position. "We have our eyes on you, Senshi. And you Titans should stay away from our operations if you know what is good for you."
"Not a chance," Raven growled, raising her hand from her head and pointing at him. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" A black raven shot from her fingertips, composed entirely of her black magic.
"Hmph." Saphir turned towards her. "Such an attack doesn't even pose a threa- what?!" the blue-haired man exclaimed, eyes widening in surprise. He made to dodge, but the shadow raven slammed right into him, sending him flying back. He clawed his way back into the air and gave her a dumbfounded look. "Impossible," he breathed. "Impossible!" Without another word, he vanished into a flurry of black misty energy.
"The Black Moon Clan," Sailor Moon hissed angrily. "I knew it!"
Raven pressed her hand to her brow, wincing. When her hand fell away, a golden upturned crescent moon shone before it vanished.
"Brother!" Saphir yelled, rushing through the hallways of the palace on Nemesis. "Brother!" The blue prince burst into the throne room, where Dimande was listening to a report by Esmaraude.
"Ugh, Saphir," the green-haired harpy griped, giving him an angry glare that made her eyes flare with dark energy. "I'm giving my report!"
"This is important!" he snapped right back, folding his arms over his chest. Esmaraude's glares never worked on him, after all. They wouldn't start working now.
Dimande frowned at both of them, and the white-haired prince held up a hand, effectively silencing the two of them before they could start an argument incited by Esmaraude. "Enough," he commanded. "Saphir, what's seems to be the matter? I thought you were in the States of the twentieth century, collecting our resources. What happened?"
Saphir immediately knelt, clenching his fist. "The White Moon lives on," he simply said.
"What?" Dimande leant forward, perplexion in his tone. "What does that mean, Saphir?"
"Another Lunar child is in the States!"
"What?" Esmaraude positively shrieked in indignation. "You mean another of Serenity's brats?" she shrieked.
"No," Dimande growled. "He means a child of the White Moon, not the Lunar-Terran bloodline. Serenity's family lives on." The wineglass he held in his hand cracked, and Saphir could hear liquid dripping onto the floor.
Saphir lowered his head. "Affirmative."
"Another Senshi has surfaced?" Esmaraude griped. "How annoying." She stood, whipping out a fan. With a low bow to Dimande, she said, "Allow me, Prince Dimande. With proper allocations of resources, I'll dispose of the -"
"Enough, Esmaraude," Dimande ordered, the venom in his tone practically tangible. "Dismissed."
Esmaraude looked as if she wanted to argue, but after a brief pause, she obeyed the order, bowed and left the room. The double doors slammed behind her.
When she was gone, Saphir released a sigh of relief. "No, not a Senshi," the blue-haired man muttered, looking up to meet his brother's stone-cold gaze. "A sorceress."
Chapter 12: Plans Are Set
Dimande's eyes narrowed as the white prince stood up from the throne. With barely an aside glance to the cracked glass of wine, he left it on the armrest and started to pace. "She's one of the White Moon's Lineage?" he spat angrily. "No wonder she was dispatching of our droids so easily!" In a rage, the leader of the Black Moon Clan whirled around, his purple cape billowing in a non-existent wind.
Saphir winced as his brother started a tantrum worthy of stirring up a royal conflict. "Pax, brother," he tried, attempting to soothe his brother's ruffled feathers. "She poses a threat to us, true; however-" he started, but before he could continue, Dimande spun around on his heel, purple eyes wide in anger and the black crescent on his brow flickering between the third eye and the pitch black sigil.
"However? However?" Dimande roared, hand flying out and inadvertently sending the cracked wineglass smashing into the smooth marble floor. Shards of glass scattered over the floor, and the wine splashed against the cool surface, sending droplets everywhere. "This," he said, "this sorceress is our bane!" Throwing his hands into the air, the prince went back to his pacing, seething in rage. "She's one of the White Moon," he spat, venom in his voice, "and a sorceress to boot?" With a growl, the prince continued to pace.
"Brother, I-" Saphir tried yet again, and was cut off by Dimande starting to rant in anger, venting out frustrations as he went. The blue-haired man could hear him ramble on about the 'bastard Endymion' and about the rest of the Sailor Senshi as he went. Lowering his head, the man went over his cards. So far, he had told his brother about the sorceress. He still had a card or two left to play before he was forced to play the ace in his hand.
"Brother," he tried yet again after a good ten minutes had passed, the white-haired man still pacing the width of the room and monologuing about the Senshi and the king of Crystal Earth in an irritated tone, hoping that by now his older brother had calmed down enough to listen to him. "Listen to me, brother," he said in a serious tone, and to his delight, Dimande listened, stopping in his tracks to glance at him.
"She is not important right now. Our operations can be shifted to other cities in the States, like Steel City," he offered. "The Senshi can still be dispatched of. With careful planning, we could annihilate them." He paused hesitantly, then gathered his courage and said, "Forgive me for saying this, but the Rabbit is less important than getting our resources."
Dimande had made his way back to the throne and was taking his seat. The man sighed in response to what the blue-haired prince had said. "I... suppose you are right, Saphir," he agreed reluctantly. The purple-eyed prince leant back in the throne. "I'll call off operations in Tokyo until we have a secure footing in our resources once more." The man sighed. "Perhaps it's for the best that Sailor Moon has gone missing."
Should I? Saphir's eyes darted away from his brother in anxiety as he contemplated his next course of action. Dimande had been surprisingly easy to placate... Something had to be up. Blue eyes flickered back to the prince on the throne, and wary, Saphir ducked his head to glance at the floor. "Of course it is, brother," he said through gritted teeth, finding the floor to be very interesting all of a sudden. The lie mattered little, especially if it got his brother out of his frivolous obsession with the damned Neo-Queen.
"The Senshi," Dimande said distastefully. "How would you suggest we dispatch of them, brother?" The white-haired prince drummed his fingers on the armrests of the throne absentmindedly, creating a soft, constant rhythm of muted thuds that echoed in the enclosed throne room.
Saphir had been waiting for this question. "Esmaraude," he answered, looking up at his brother. At Dimande's perplexed expression, he elaborated, "Not to kill, merely distract them for long enough to put the sorceress out of commission." He paused to consider his next words. "That would be a great boon to our activities in the States."
The white-haired prince contemplated this for a while, resting his chin on a fist. "Perhaps," he murmured. "Yes, yes, that would be a very good plan, but could Esmaraude of all people finish her task as she should?" The distaste for the green-haired harpy was obvious in his cold voice, and Saphir found himself in agreement with his brother. "That woman is, after all, merely a pawn that keeps making her own decisions."
"Maybe," Saphir hastily agreed, though he was panicking inwardly. "But on the off chance that she does, indeed, complete her task as is asked?" he offered, inwardly praying to the ancients that his plan succeeded. The last thing he needed was for it all to fall apart, just as everything was going on so well.
To his relief, the older of the two brothers nodded in consent. "Acceptable," he conceded. "But we need a back-up plan just in case she invariably fails. The Wiseman could provide us with some reserve power-"
"No!" Saphir burst out, panicking. Correction, he told himself, the last thing I need is for Wiseman to interfere. His fingers crossed, the blue prince waited, trying to calm himself down before he could make another outburst. Come on, brother, he thought, agitated at his brother's lack of response after a while. Saphir's hand, braced on the floor, slowly closed into a fist, clenching as he waited for his brother's decision.
"I... suppose we can manage," Dimande agreed after a painful five seconds more.
Saphir released a breath he hadn't been aware he was holding. Good, he thought, relieved. I don't need that skull face trying to plot over my plans. Looking up, he gave his brother a quick glance filled with regret before looking down again. I'm sorry, Dimande, brother, but this is for your own good. Serenity is nothing more than a disturbance in your life. She needs to go.
"Very well then," Dimande acquiesced. "I suppose now is as good a time to start as any," he sighed. "Alert Esmaraude of her next mission," he informed coolly as he stood. "She is to dispose of the two Senshi in the States using whatever means possible. The Titans are not a primary target, but killing them is appreciated, if it is not interfering with her job."
Saphir stood, not willing to meet his brother's violet gaze, deeply scared that the older of the two could somehow see what he was planning through eye contact alone. Dimande had always been called the more perceptive of the two, though whether that was still true or not, the blue-haired man wasn't sure. His obsession for that blasted silver-haired queen of Crystal Earth was clouding his judgement. He sank into a low bow at the waist. "I'll go and inform her of her mission, brother."
Dimande waved him away, already calling up the holographic image of the Neo-Queen to gaze at even as Saphir walked towards the doors.
Saphir growled. Damn that Neo-Queen, he seethed as he headed out, the double doors swinging open as he passed through. When the doors slammed shut behind him, he spoke out loud, voice filled with anger and hate, "You'll see, brother. I'm doing this for your own good. That nuisance of a queen will be dispatched in no time."
And with that, the prince stormed off, seeking out the green-haired harpy for the first step in his carefully thought-out plans.
Step one, he thought with a wicked smile, take out the Senshi.
Esmaraude was whining. Again. The Black Moon Clan's sole female member after the departure of the Ayakashi Sisters following their battles with the Sailor Senshi was pacing the length of her chambers, hair frizzled and metaphorical feathers ruffled after her beloved Dimande's prompt dismissal of her. Her belongings were strewn across her room, some of the more fragile ones torn up and tossed all over the floor.
"Dismissed," she mocked, a scowl on her face. "Why?" she spat, frustrated. "Just because Saphir is his brother, that does not give that man the right to interrupt my report like that! I was making progress too! Ugh!" Hands in the air, she continued to pace exasperatedly, green eyes narrowed and lips curled back in an ugly sneer. "I'll show him," the woman spat in distaste. "And I'll show Prince Dimande why I deserve to be his queen, not that brat Serenity!"
"It looks like we have very much the same goals then, Esmaraude."
The woman jumped, screeching in surprise. She whirred towards the door, where one of the double doors was opened, and leaning on the door-frame was Saphir, arms crossed over his broad chest, and his dark eyes on her.
Esmaraude crossed her arms over her chest. "What do you want, Saphir?" she sneered.
"Brother has informed me to give you your new mission," replied the blue-haired man, pushing himself off the door-frame and walking into her mess of a room. The younger of the Black Moon Brothers glanced around, a smirk on his face as he observed the damage and the mess she had made. "You made quite a mess," he taunted cockily, smirking at her.
The green-eyed woman was holding back a growl, her fists tightening as she glared daggers at the prince. "Skip the small talk, Saphir," she snarled. "What's the mission?"
Saphir met her glare with a mocking smile. "Leave twentieth century Tokyo alone," he informed her plainly. "Your new targets are in the States." The man turned on his heel, ready to leave. "Eliminate the Senshi from the game, kill the Titans if you can and if it does not interfere with your targets." He paused, turning around, that damned smirk on his face again. With a lazy wave, he gestured around her room. "And clean up your room. It looks like a tornado came through here."
Esmaraude bared her teeth in a snarl when Saphir headed out like nothing had happened. With a wave of her hand, she slammed the doors shut as hard as she could without breaking them, hopefully also letting the infuriating man know that he wasn't welcome near her. Instead, she heard Saphir's chuckle through the door, and in her frustration, the woman picked up a pillow from her mostly undamaged bed, and with force, hurled it across the room. It hit the door with a small 'thump', then fell to the floor.
"Damn you, Saphir," she growled. "Men."
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos," Raven and Starfire repeated in unison, both the female Titans hovering in the air with their legs crossed Indian style. The two continued to repeat the phrase in calm and soft tones, facing the full-length glass window that showed the marvellous scenery of the sea from the living room of the famed Titans Tower. A joss stick was burning in a pot beside Raven, almost completely gone by now.
When the ash from the stick fell into the pot, Raven lowered herself gently to the floor, her eyes opening. "Time's up, Starfire," she informed her red-headed teammate with a smile, picking up the pot. Holding it in one hand and with her powers, the teenager stretched out her muscles and joints with a sigh of relief.
"Oh, so fast?" The alien cracked open a bright green eye and looked over at the pale sorceress. "I was hoping for some more time," the princess of Tamaran expressed with a disappointed sigh.
Raven chuckled, mildly amused by her friend. "Maybe next week, Starfire," she said, a smile curling the corners of her lips. "I can't promise you anything, but maybe next week."
"Very well then," the red-headed alien agreed with another sigh. "I shall wait until next week, I suppose."
A cough was heard from behind them, and Raven turned to see Neptune behind them, Uranus right beside her partner. "Neptune, Uranus," Raven greeted calmly, and with a snap of her fingers, teleported the pot into her room. "Is something the matter?" The sorceress got ready to lift her hood in case of something happening, but was stopped when Uranus shook her head.
The sandy blonde ran a hand through her hair and spoke, her thick accent having lessened up considerably. "Robin wants to see you, Raven," she informed calmly. "Also, Starfire, he has said that the Titans East require more help due to an influx of droids attacking. He is transferring you and Beast Boy over temporarily until the Titans East have the situation under control."
Starfire nodded. "Understood, friend Uranus," she replied. "Has Robin said when we are leaving?"
"Tomorrow, actually," Neptune interjected. Turning to Raven, she spoke, "By the way, the Boy Wonder says he'd like to see you, Raven." Her silvery voice was smooth, as always, and the woman gestured to the elevator.
Raven sighed, walking in the direction of the elevator.
"He's in the meeting room, Raven!" the aquamarine-haired woman called from behind the demon's spawn.
Raven nodded in a gesture of appreciation. "Of course." When she was inches away from the elevator, the purple-haired girl brought up a mental map of Tower's layout. Let's see... the meeting room is... that way. After pinpointing the location of the meeting room, she called upon her powers and phased through the floor with a shadow raven enveloping her. The girl didn't want to bother with the elevator - this way was far more efficient anyway.
Seeing the Boy Wonder sitting at a table with newspaper clippings all over, she walked over, dissipating her power. "You called, Boy Blunder?" A smirk decorated her lips at the jab.
Robin looked up, a smile on his face. "Neptune and Uranus have mentioned the droid situation in Steel?" he asked hopefully, leaning back in his chair. "I'll get straight to the point - Raven, right now, only you and the three Senshi in Jump can affect the droids to a large extent. Starfire has been able to some damage, and Beast Boy is just there to provide support in numbers." Sheepishly, he scratched the back of his neck. "Anyway... Raven, I'm setting aside a few members for droid control specifically," he informed her. "Cyborg and I can do the usual patrols, and you, Neptune, and Uranus can take over once a week."
Raven frowned. "A side-team?" she asked. "Risky, especially if our rogues' gallery decide to take the chance to escape during the chaos."
"Which is why Neptune and Uranus will be making up most of the droid control. They've shown that their abilities are more specially conditioned against them compared to ours. If Cy and I encounter something a good old Sonic Boom can't deal with, we'll contact you for help." Robin stood up, clasping his hands behind his back as he gestured to the clippings on the table. "I suspect that the Hive and Slade are up to something, and when Slade is involved, it's never something good.
Raven's amethyst eyes narrowed. "So that was why you were at the pier," she muttered to herself. "If that's all, Robin, then I'll -"
"Stay for a while, Rae," Robin interjected. "It's been some time since you and I last had a talk." He paused for a brief moment, then looked back at her. "Please?"
The sorceress thought over it for a while, and finally, she nodded. "Alright," she conceded, taking a seat. "What do you want to talk about?"
The former apprentice to the infamous Dark Knight smiled, taking his seat again. "Where to start?"
Chapter 13: The Alliance
Usagi stiffened when the girl felt something going on outside the school. The princess grit her teeth and raised a hand, speaking in a soft voice, " Mrs Lancer, may I be excused to the bathroom?" She really needed to take care of the droid before something happened, and her mark was threatening to appear on her brow, for some strange reason. It had been happening since she had arrived in the city.
The middle-aged teacher gave her a scrutinizing look through unflattering round spectacles and relented with a nod. "You also look rather pale, miss Tsukino," the strict woman said in a smooth voice. "If there is a need, please head to the nurse's office on your way back."
Usagi got to her feet and nodded. "I understand," she replied. Making her way out of the classroom, the girl sprinted towards the bathroom, and once she was sure there was no one around, hastily unclasped the golden brooch from behind the black tie that was worn with a short-sleeved white shirt. Thank the heavens that I was allowed to bring my brooch to Murakami High, she thought, relieved. She raised her brooch in the air and whisper-shouted her transformation phrase, willing herself into the form of Sailor Moon, protector of love and justice. "Moon Crystal Power, Make Up!"
Looking around, the transformed girl saw the open window and scrambled out of it, having a rather rough landing when she fell flat on her rear outside. "Ow..." she whined, rubbing the sore area. The Senshi of the Moon shook her head, her long pigtails flying through the air. "No," she scolded herself. "Bad Usagi! The park - I need to head to the park. Where is it?"
After a short moment, she identified the path to the park and sprinted there.
When the mysterious girl was too far away, a girl looked out from a bathroom stall, brushing board straight platinum hair out of wide blue eyes. "What the hell?" Tara Markov breathed, shaking in her black shoes. Something clicked in her mind, and she dug out a flat, circular disc out of her pocket, looking at it and back through the window.
The disc, golden with a jewel in the centre, twinkled in the middle of her palm.
Sailor Moon ran to the park, arriving without even breaking a sweat. Wow, she noted. Record time! I should really try out for the track team. Whipping out her weapon in preparation, she scanned the area with a shrewd gaze. "Just one droid?" she asked herself, seeing the normal park with no unusual things. Then, to her surprise, a yell was heard as Sailor Uranus flew back through the planted trees and hit the ground. "Gah!" she shrieked, dodging to the side to avoid getting hit.
Uranus got to her feet, groaning in pain as she ran a hand through her messy sandy hair. "Ugh," she groaned. "My head." The sandy blonde rubbed the back of her head for a short while and looked around the scene, her dark blue eyes suddenly falling on the sailor-suited princess. "Serenity!" she hissed. Then, her eyes widened. "Duck!" she basically ordered, grabbing Sailor Moon's gloved wrist and yanking her to the ground just as a piece of debris came sailing across the blonde's head.
Moon exhaled shakily. "Thank you," she managed, gripping her Cutie Moon Rod even tighter. "How many droids are there?" the blonde asked the older woman.
Uranus shook her head. "Only one, Serenity. That," she muttered under her breath, "and some crazy chick in green harping on about how much she hates us Senshi."
Sailor Moon frowned. "A woman in green?" she asked, brow furrowing. "Did she have a black crescent moon on her forehead?"
The Senshi of the Sky nodded in confirmation. "She did. It looked almost identical to the one the White Moon bears, but inverted and coloured black instead of gold," the woman explained. With a wince, the woman pressed a gloved hand to the back of her head. "Ouch," she mumbled with a wince, pulling away. "Definitely going to leave a damn bruise."
Sailor Moon frowned - looks like it was a new enemy from the Black Moon Clan. Clutching the Cutie Moon Rod to her chest, she ran in the direction of the fight, ignoring Uranus' call for her to stay back. I don't need another 'protector', she thought, angry. I am in charge of what I do and don't do. Raising the Cutie Moon Rod to the air, she flooded the weapon with the pure power of the Illusionary Silver Crystal, making the pink orb on top flicker silver. "Hey, Black Moon scum!" she yelled, bursting into the battle scene with her weapon raised.
"What?" screeched a woman, who, just like Uranus had described, was in green and had a black crescent moon on her forehead. "Not another of you Senshi brats!" she griped, turning around to face the protector of love and justice. The harpy froze in her tracks when her green eyes landed on the blonde. "No." A fan clattered to the ground and she snarled, angry, for some reason. "No!"
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Raven's usually impassive voice was filled with irritation as a black shadow shaped in the form of a raven sprung out of nowhere, slamming into the woman's form. "Neptune, finish the droid!" she ordered, suddenly appearing in Sailor Moon's line of vision when a black shadow raven emerged from the ground, leaving her to the blonde's right. Her purple eyes were completely white - even her sclera - and her hand was enveloped in a black aura. "What do you want?" the Titan growled, her eyes suddenly flickering a dangerous red.
Moon swore she saw four glowing red slits appear in the shadows cast by the drawn-up hood. Unconsciously, she backed up. Whoa, she thought, clutching her Rod tighter. She's got serious anger issues.
"Ugh," the green-haired woman spat. Slowly, the member of the Black Moon Clan got to her feet, hand pressed to her forehead. "Isn't it obvious, you little brat? I want all of you dead!" Picking up her discarded fan, she gripped it so tightly that the reincarnated princess distinctly heard it cracking under the pressure. "But now, now that you've appeared again," that was directed towards her, Sailor Moon realized, "I'll have to finish the job now!"
"You've outstayed your welcome here," Neptune's cool voice started from behind the woman. "Leave now, or I will be forced to use... well, force." With a glow of teal energy, she grabbed a violin out of the thin air. "Now, your choice?"
The Black Moon Clan woman snorted derisively. "Do you really think that that little instrument of your could possibly cause me any harm?"
"If it can't, I will." Uranus smoothly stepped up in front of her, cracking her gloved knuckles. "My princesses will be protected."
"Don't you try and hurt anyone, Black Moon scum!" Sailor Moon said, finally finding her voice again. "It's four against one; never good odds!" For good measure, she raised her weapon, pointing it at her. "You're done for!"
Raven's cloak fell around her, the dark blue fabric rustling at the hem as a black, leather-bound book appeared in front of her. It opened itself, flicking through pages until it slowed to a stop on a page. When she next spoke, the Titan's voice echoed eerily. "Well?"
The woman turned a circle, slowly and warily weighing her options, staring down each member of the four that now formed sort of circle. She glared at Neptune, who raised her violin higher; she turned to Raven, who merely raised a hand out of her cloak's shadow, letting her fingertips glow with black magic; she whirred to face Uranus, who indifferently crossed her arms over her chest, staring her down; finally, she turned to Sailor Moon, and hatred filled her green eyes. "This won't be the last time we meet, brat!" she announced. "I, Esmaraude of the Black Moon Clan will ensure your demise, Sailor Moon, before long!"
With that said, she vanished in a swirl of black mist.
Neptune lowered her violin, and with that, Uranus relaxed her tense posture. "She's gone," the aquamarine-haired woman confirmed, her instrument vanishing into thin air. The Senshi of Neptune brushed a stray strand of wavy hair out of her eyes and sighed, turning to Raven. "Raven," Neptune started but was cut off by the Titan holding her pale hand up.
"Sailor Moon," the sorceress addressed, turning to face the blonde Senshi. "This is an urgent situation - it appears the members of this Black Moon are out for the blood of the Sailor Senshi. Like Neptune and Uranus, you are very much a big target here. As one of the senior Titans of the original founding group, I am asking you to at least accept membership and become an Honorary Titan so that we may contact you with ease in case of another attack." Her purple eyes bored into the Senshi's blue irises, almost as if she could see right through the girl's soul.
Uranus nodded, running a hand through her messy hair. Crossing her arms over her chest, she blew a lock of sandy blonde hair out of her face. "Raven is correct, Sailor Moon." She paused, thinking, before she added, "Serenity."
The guardian of the moon stiffened at the name of the princess she used to be in her past life. "I'm not Serenity," she managed. "Not anymore."
Neptune walked up, her heels clicking on the ground. "But it doesn't change the fact that you're still a target as one of us." With a delicate gesture of her gloved hand, the woman made it clear that all three of the Senshi were targets. "We are not saying that we want to protect you, Sailor Moon - as the Senshi of the Outer Rings, that had never been our concern. We are here to make sure this world is safe. Leaving your life intact is merely going to be a side-effect of that."
The princess paused, looking first at Neptune's green eyes, then Uranus' dark blue irises. Her Cutie Moon Rod vanished from her hands, no longer needed to be present as the youngest of the group debated with herself on whether to accept the invitation or not. She exhaled, holding her hand out. "Alright," she conceded. "I'll become an Honorary Titan."
Raven's expression didn't change, although both Uranus and Neptune sported smiles at her decision. "A sensible decision," she stated, her impassive voice right back in place. Through the opening of her cloak, she extended her pale grey hand to the Senshi. Instead of the expected handshake though, a black sphere suddenly appeared in the middle of her palm, exploding harmlessly to reveal a black and yellow device.
It was a flat cylinder, coloured an eye-catching yellow with a black circle on the top, a white 'T' shape emblazoned on the front. There was a black area on the lower right corner, with five yellow buttons marked out. A red button protruded out of the upper left, as did a black and yellow button.
Raven placed the device in Sailor Moon's outstretched hand and retracted her hand. "This is the Titan's communicator, Sailor Moon," she informed the girl in a monotone. "If you happen to encounter another droid or an enemy anywhere and need help, you can use it to contact us. The red button is for emergency calls, so press it to send an emergency beacon to the Tower."
The blonde nodded. "Understood," she said in a soft voice.
Neptune and Uranus smiled, both glancing at each other knowingly. Were they sharing some kind of secret? Probably. "Welcome to the Titans, Sailor Moon," they echoed in unison. Uranus put her hand on the girl's shoulder, while Neptune leant her head on Uranus' shoulder.
Sailor Moon found her lips quirking into a smile. Maybe being with these new Senshi wouldn't be as bad as she had thought.
Saphir flinched, quickly looking down. He knew it was bound to happen. Gritting his teeth, the blue prince slowly regulated his own breathing, trying not to make his shock apparent - Dimande would know, and letting him know that he already knew she was there was a very bad thing. "Damn you, Esmaraude," he growled under his breath. "Why can't you just keep it to yourself for once?"
"What now, Prince Dimande?" The harpy looked up at the white-haired prince, a sneer curling her upper lip. "Shall I dispose of her as well?"
"Absolutely not!" the purple-eyed man growled, and Saphir swore he could hear the glass he was holding crack.
Great. That's the second one this week, he thought dryly. I hope we can't deliver any more bad news to him. Three glasses a week seems overboard.
"Saphir!" Dimande growled, and reluctantly, the man looked up to meet his sharp gaze. "I want you to organize an attack," he growled. "Work with Esmaraude, contact Wiseman - anything, as long as you get rid of those damn Titans and the Senshi! And remember: leave Sailor Moon alone. I need to talk with Wiseman..." he grumbled darkly.
Saphir swallowed. "Of-of course, brother," he replied hesitantly, getting to his feet. "In that case... I'll be on my way." Bowing deeply, he walked backwards out of the room and shut the door. When he was safely out of earshot, he yelled a curse word. His fist slammed into the wall and he screamed in frustration. "Damn you, Esmaraude!"
Seething, he stormed off to his quarters, where his plans for attacks were all laid out. As he entered his room, he paused, an idea appearing in his mind. "Of course," he muttered, a smirk crossing his face. "I know what I can do. Sorry, brother, but while I may hate Serenity, Wiseman is more of a danger to you." His doors slammed shut behind him as he entered the room.
Raven stirred her cup of herbal tea as she headed to the living room, hood down and cloak fluttering behind her as she walked. She looked up at the television and then froze in place. "What?" she muttered in confusion.
Flashing on the screen in bold red font was a message.
Next droid attack: Jump City Park, Monday, 1500 GTM
Chapter 14: The Battle
"- told you that gold looks good on me," Tara Markov, a prefect in the year above her, argued with her dark-skinned friend in a joking sort of tone, a smile on her face.
Usagi glanced up from her lunch at sensing some sort of power around her in the cafeteria. Oddly, the blonde could see no one with that sort of power she expected, and with a shrug, looked back down and carefully tore apart her lunch with a fork. There was a can of unopened soda beside her tray, and the princess eyed the canned drink warily for a second before reaching out and using an old trick she had figured out when she was younger to stop carbonated drinks from spraying out after being shaken - by accident, or on purpose.
Tapping the top of the can several times, she finally decreed it safe to open without getting herself soaked. With a sigh, the princess raised the can up and took a sip of the carbonated drink. She didn't feel like finished her lunch anymore - then again, she hadn't felt that hungry anyway. Pushing her tray away from her, she downed more of the drink and stood, picking up the discarded food and carrying it away to be disposed of.
Usagi had no idea why, but she felt sick - sick to her core like there was something... bad.
Like the Black Moon Clan.
The princess shuddered, walking out of the cafeteria and heading to the familiar path to the rooftop, her drink still in hand. Stepping out onto the mostly empty roof, she headed to a railing placed around the roof to stop students from falling. Leaning on the cool metal, she sighed, finishing her soda as she stared out across the school grounds and into the sky that lay above the horizon.
The sun was shining, weak rays of sunlight filtering through lacy clouds that marred the noon sky. Usagi thought it odd that the sun would be so weak at this point of time, but said nothing about it, instead choosing to simply stand and watch the students in the school courtyard mingle and laugh amongst themselves.
"Hey." A voice called her from behind, and Usagi turned herself to glance over her shoulder.
The third-year prefect from earlier, Tara Markov had apparently followed her onto the rooftop. The girl brushed a strand of platinum blonde hair out of her large, light blue eyes, walking over, and the golden tag that read 'PREFECT' in all-capital letters gleaming under the rays of sunlight. "Can I talk to you, miss, er..."
"Tsukino," Usagi mumbled, standing up straight. That weird feeling was back again, and the girl wondered if the prefect was the reason why. "What do you need, miss Markov?"
The platinum blonde looked surprised. "You know my name, miss Tsukino?"
Usagi could definitely feel her now. Tara Markov was surely the source of the power she felt, she was certain. The power seemed so... familiar, though, yet the princess couldn't seem to put a finger on it. "Of course I do," she replied softly. "Prefects have name tags, don't you?" True enough, just below the golden tag of the prefect position was another, sewn onto her white blouse, that read in carefully embroidered letters: TARA MARKOV.
Markov looked down, and with a chuckle, replied, "I guess so." Clearing her throat, the girl walked closer, about to speak when her precious crystal flashed with its power in the brooch, sending a warning signal to Usagi that the Black Moon Clan was nearby.
Usagi blanched, reaching up to her temples to stop the human girl from seeing her sigil, the other hand reaching back to support herself from the sudden influx of information. "Whoa," she breathed, instantly looking in the direction of the park. Why is it always the park anyway? she asked herself as she regained her balance. No, now's not the time to think about that - civilians are in danger, and there's a school in that direction. Wait, a school? That's Shingo's school! Paling, she ignored Tara Markov's concerned questions about her well-being and dashed off to find the bathroom on the floor below. Ducking in, she transformed, and through the window, she leapt out.
No one seemed to notice the blonde with long pigtails wearing a short-skirted sailor uniform running through the school's backyard, though in hindsight, that was probably because no one went there in the first place. It was much too gloomy to be liked by the students of Murakami High.
Sailor Moon dashed past the field, leaping over the tall fence in an impressive display of athletics, and for once, didn't trip or stumble on her way down. With a quick lunge through the air, she bounded quickly onto a low rooftop, and from there, she continued over buildings to the park, praying deep inside that her brother was safe and unharmed. Please, be safe, Shingo. Please.
Cyborg's metal body hit the pavement with a loud crash and a screech as the metal dragged across the gravel for a couple of seconds. The half-android lay on the ground for a couple of seconds before a black aura enveloped him and set him upright, letting him get his balance back. "Thanks, Rae!" he shouted over the din of the battle.
Up in the air, the blue cloak of the dark girl billowed in the wind, and a black-enveloped piece of debris crushed the droid about to attack him. Briefly, the girl looked in his direction, purple eyes gleaming white, and gave a short nod of acknowledgement. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" he heard her shout, throwing several pieces of debris from the school's walls in rapid succession.
Equipping his arm-cannon, Cyborg yelled out, "Eat cannon!" With that, he fired his trusty weapon, sending a good dozen droids flying through the air. Glancing around, he caught sight of the familiar black and yellow cape, and he shouted out, "Robin, we need the boom!"
Extending a metal staff out to its full length, the Boy Wonder whacked several droids over the head, then planted a bird-a-rang in one's chest, flipping back through the air to a safe distance, whereupon said droid exploded in a cloud of smoke and flying debris. "Why are they attacking the school of all places?" the masked hero roared in anger, charging at another droid with his weapon ready. "I'm on it, Cyborg!" Whirring around, he flung his explosive projectiles at the large mass of droids, then turned to kick another one in the head.
Cyborg took aim and fired, slicing cleanly through the explosive projectile, and not even a microsecond later, the weapon blew up in the middle of the group of droids. "Star!" he yelled, continuing to take aim at the droids and physically taking them down when they got too close, "how's the evacuation going?"
Two rows of neon green light carved apart a group of droids and a flying barrage of green bolts cut down more in their path. "It is progressing well, Cyborg!" she yelled. Both Starfire and Beast Boy had returned from Steel City the day prior, and neither of them were happy at the fact that the very next day, they had a large battle to fight. Shouting out a loud battle-cry, she charged into the midst of the droids, then threw them all off with a green explosion. "Many of the children and all the adults are already out!" A starbolt in her hand, she reeled back and delivered a forceful uppercut to a droid, sending it flying through the air and slamming into one of its comrades.
"Yo dudes!" Beast Boy yelled, quickly turning from his pterodactyl form to human, landing on a mostly erect wall with a precarious perch. "Look out!" He leapt into the air once more, morphing into a green rhino that landed on the ground with a loud bang, creating indents in the pavement. Pawing the ground like an angry bull, the rhino charged, intent on spearing the droids through his sharp horn.
"World Shaking!" Uranus' attack ripped through hordes of the droids, rendering them all into dust. The woman snarled irritably, preparing yet another attack. "Michi!" she yelled over the fight. "Civilians in the line of fire!"
Cyborg turned around and saw two people - one a young brunette boy, the other a woman with dark purple hair standing in the middle of the carnage, surrounded by a group of droids. One prepared to lunge, and Cyborg quickly and hastily cut it down with his cannon. "Damn it, Beast Boy, Star!" the half-human shouted out, barreling himself into another droid, launching missiles at a third. "Save the civilians!"
"Mama! Shingo!" Another voice - Sailor Moon - rang out as the blonde arrived on the scene, whipping out a wand and firing blast after blast of energy at the droids, rendering them all to dust. She wrenched her tiara off and flung it, ripping through several droids easily. "Hold on!"
"Deep Submerge!" Neptune attacked, followed by a loud, very unladylike curse when more replaced the droids that were dusted. "We need something more effective, Ruka!" she yelled. "The princess' crystal could possibly work, but it's too time-consuming to destroy them like this!" She whirled around, kicking one away with her sharp heels. "Submarine Violon Tide!" Grabbing a violin from nowhere, she played a quick tune, sending a large wave of energy crashing into the droids, effectively rendering over half of them into dust.
"Mama!" a boy cried out, loud and shrill. "Itai!"
Cyborg guessed it was the brunette. He spun on his heels, and saw what had happened - a green-haired woman was duelling with Starfire, while two identical-looking men were dealing with Beast Boy. With no one dispatching the droids that were going after the duo, one had gotten the boy in a death grip, long claws having one of his arms bent out of shape into a very painful position.
"Shingo!" Sailor Moon yelled. "Moon Princess Activation!" She fired a beam of light towards the droid that was attacking the boy, rendering it into fine dust. "Tsukamatte iru! Mama! Shingo!" Running at another droid, she slammed her heels into it with a kick, narrowly managing to retain balance and continue with another.
"Hold still, you infuriating brat!" the green-haired woman yelled at Starfire, and drew back, suddenly unleashing an onslaught of black energy at the alien princess.
"I will not!" The Tamaranean shot into the sky, avoiding most of the blows, and supercharged one of her starbolts to a size where massive damage would be caused. "I would suggest that you hold still instead, for this will indeed be very painful if you move." Without waiting for an answer, she shot down, twirling in mid-air and hurling the mega-starbolt at the woman with a shrill battle-cry in her native language.
"Chiral! Achiral!" The woman shrieked, and instantly, both the men shifted their attention to her, lunging in front of her and taking the blast. When the dust cleared, neither of them seemed injured other than scrapes and bruises on them. "Get her!" the harpy shrieked. As the two turned to face Starfire, she turned her attention to Beast Boy, who morphed into a bull and charged at her, only for her to vanish and reappear elsewhere, making Beast Boy's horns get stuck in the wall.
"BB!" Cyborg yelled, firing at the woman and running over to his friend. "You're in big trouble, lady!" he shouted, prepping his cannon for another shot.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" A black shadow raven shot from the skies, circling the woman before finally slamming into her with much force. Raven teleported in front of him, hand out and surrounded with a black aura. In a split second, almost all of the debris surrounding them was captured in the dark magic and levitating around the woman. "What do you want, Esmaraude?" she asked, her voice perfectly neutral.
Cyborg winced and turned his attention to the rest of the fight, which was slowly drawing to a close.
Uranus and Neptune worked together in perfect tandem, methodically taking out hordes of droids, leaving piles of dust in the air, slowly collecting in piles on the ground. They destroyed more droids, and with Robin using his explosive projectiles, soon, they were almost all gone.
"I want you dead!" the woman, Esmaraude, spat. "You, and especially Sailor Moon!" She made to attack, but a shriek pierced through the air, and everyone's attention was diverted to the source.
"Shingo! Mama!" Sailor Moon yelled, destroying another droid.
The woman was hunched over the boy, pieces of shrapnel embedded in her back. Blood was pooling underneath her, and it was obvious that the boy was injured in some way as well. Upon closer inspection, the boy's shirt was ripped open and there was a single, deep gash across his stomach.
"Okay, this is bad!" the green changeling exclaimed once he regained human form. "We need to get them to a hospital, ASAP dude!"
"Leave, Esmaraude," Raven's voice rang out, crisp and clear. "The Teen Titans aren't here to deal with your nonsense." As is to reinforce that statement, her eyes turned completely white as she raised both her hands, more debris rising into the air. "I don't have the patience to deal with you. Uranus, Neptune," she commanded gruffly, "get them to Jump's hospital. Now."
"Got it, Raven," Uranus echoed, instantly moving over to pick up the woman while Neptune carefully picked the boy up. Both leapt out of sight and out of the battle, heading quickly towards the hospital.
"Beast Boy, go with them," Robin hastily instructed, "the hospital recognizes you as a Titan. Them, not yet."
With a squawk, a green bird shot off after the duo.
Esmaraude, now cornered by Raven's levitating debris, Cyborg's active cannon, and Sailor Moon on the other side, glanced around, trying to find a way to escape. "Hmph - you Titans are just a bunch of meddlesome brats," she sneered, "and you, Sailor Moon, are just a little girl trying to be a princess."
Moon seemed to snap at that. "I am a princess!" she shouted, angrily. "I've saved this world before, I can do it again! I am Sailor Moon, defender of the innocent and the destroyer of evil!" she proclaimed angrily. "And that means you!"
"Enough with that dreadful speech already," the woman griped, glaring at the blonde. "It's so tacky and cheesy! Chiral, Achiral!" she suddenly commanded, "leave the girl alone. Do not forget our mission."
"Not so fast," Raven smoothly cut in, the debris hovering closer. With a flick of her fingers, the debris shot around the duo and compressed itself into a prison that prevented them from escaping. "Now, Esmaraude," she continued blithely, "you were saying?"
The green-haired woman actually looked nervous now. She took a step back, eyeing the general area. To her left, Sailor Moon had her tiara off and ready to throw at her; to her right, Cyborg levelled his cannon; Robin and Starfire were keeping an eye on the makeshift prison that Raven had formed, and Raven herself was in front of the woman, hands alight with her aura.
"There's nowhere to run," the half-machine stated, cannon powering up.
"You are cornered," Starfire called.
"Surrender!" Robin shouted over.
Esmaraude scowled. "No can do, brats." And with that, she vanished into a swirl of mist just as a black raven crashed into the area she was just standing.
Raven cursed, the prison collapsing on itself to reveal the two inside were gone as well. A piece of debris exploded, but thanks to Robin shielding himself with his cape and Starfire shooting into the air, no one was harmed.
"Damn it!" Sailor Moon snapped. "Mama... Shingo..." she muttered, looking downcast. The blonde girl suddenly stumbled back, gripping her head. Her wand clattered to the ground and she fell to her knees. With a sound like glass shattering, her tiara fell to pieces.
At the same time, Raven held her head in her hands. "Ugh..." his surrogate sister managed as she started to sway on her feet. "My head..." She collapsed right after, as did Sailor Moon.
"Raven!" the three Titans exclaimed in unison.
Cyborg quickly picked Raven up and Starfire flew over to Sailor Moon, doing the same. In unison, they echoed, "The Tower."
Robin nodded in agreement. "The Tower. Let's go!"
All three of the Titans shot off.
Chapter 15: Selenity
Raven's prone form hovered in the air above the sterile white medical bed, midnight blue cloak removed, carefully folded, and placed on the table beside the bed. Her pale body, clad in her usual black leotard, was glowing a faint blue, possibly her magic at work to get her awake. In her slumber, a soft glow emitted from her brow, just around the red gem that was placed on her chakra.
Every so often, a golden crescent moon flickered into existence around the red jewel, then as quickly as it appeared, it would vanish. Every time it appeared, it lingered longer still before vanishing like it had never been there. Each time it was there, Raven reacted, turning partially, making soft sounds that resembled murmurs of a name, and sometimes changing her usually peaceful expression.
The golden crescent moon flared to life on the brow of the demon's spawn, and the sorceress' eyes snapped open for a split second, glowing with the blinding white of her power.
Raven slowly closed the doors behind her, clad in a long-sleeved black dress with a long slit up the side. Her deep blue heels clicked on the marble floor as she started walking to somewhere. Just like in her previous dreams, she couldn't control her body. Submitting to the strange power of the dream, she continued her slow walk out to a balcony. Once there, she simply leapt down, landing with a smooth gesture of simply bending her knees to absorb the impact.
With a simple crook of her finger, a deep blue cloak materialized around her, billowing behind her as she continued to walk. The girl continued on her path until she came across a beautiful groove with flowers planted all over. None were flowers that she recognized, though, all different shades of white, silver and grey. Inwardly, Raven wondered if all the colour had been sucked out. Her heels clicked on a gravel path until she walked into a clearing, where a white marble pavilion was constructed.
Two women were inside, one a sandy blonde that looked identical to Uranus, except lacking her earring and with much fairer hair, and the other completely identical to Neptune, appearance and all. The blonde, the taller of the duo, was wearing a deep blue gown with ribbons down the back as well as a matching choker. The aquamarine-haired woman wore a sea-green gown that was similar, but not completely identical. Both had unique symbols on their foreheads that Raven identified as the planetary symbols of Uranus and Neptune respectively.
The blonde, with her arms wrapped around the green-clad woman, murmured something in her ear before looking up, her blue eyes landing on Raven. "Selenity!" she called, a smile on her face. "I did not expect to see you here. Come, join Neptune and me in the pavilion."
Raven inclined her head a little and continued her path, eventually reaching the excellently crafted pavilion. "You should not be so open with your displays of affections, Uranus, Neptune," she, no, Selenity said in a calm voice. "Your people expect you to wed so as to produce heirs, after all." She crossed her arms over her chest and leant against one of the support pillars. "I am aware that there are plenty of men who wish to gain your favour, and there have been rumours around that court that Jupiter's brother wishes to gain your hand in marriage, Neptune."
The aquamarine-haired woman sighed, glancing over in her direction. "Then I am afraid to say that I have no intention of wedding him," she stated in a soft, melodious voice. "As a guardian of the Silver Alliance, I have the privilege of not being forced to wed as soon as I come of age. As do the rest of my fellow Guardians."
Uranus nodded. "Indeed." The woman buried her nose in the shorter of the two's hair, wrapping her arms around the other's thin waist. "The four princesses of the Inner Circle do not have this fortune - as sworn guardians to their planet and the White Moon's power, they must secure their positions in order to be able to provide the future queen necessary support in the political area.
Selenity rolled her eyes with a scoff. "Politics," she sneered. "What good is a court if the nobles do little but back-stab and betray each other the first chance they get?" she voiced her rhetorical question out loud, pushing herself off the pillar and taking a seat on one of the five marble seats surrounding a white table in the middle of the pavilion. "If the Queen was not so stubborn and focused on those useless peace talks in between the people, then the nobles would not be able to run amok!"
Neptune shook her head, joining her and taking a seat as well. "Patience, my dear," she chided. "Even as a sworn knight to the Alliance, you must know when to retreat," she lectured, "for your powers make you a formidable enemy, and many nobles are displeased with your appearance."
Uranus joined her lover, though she sat on Selenity's other side. "I must agree with Neptune," she spoke solemnly. "There are many nobles who have a fair claim to the throne, and while it is Serenity who will ascend, if anything happens to her, you will become the Heir Apparent. As it is always, many nobles who seek their power plan to assassinate Serenity as to get closer, but you are still the largest obstacle to overcome."
Neptune hummed, reaching over the table to touch Uranus' hand. "That is correct. As powerful as we are, it will be difficult, if not impossible to overcome the political power of entire duchies and earldoms against us." She sighed.
"Which is why I protect my sister," Selenity said plainly. "I have no desire to become the Queen."
Uranus chuckled, amused. "Say as you will, Selenity," the woman said, smiling, "but I can see that you are glad to not have to be wed to one of those Lunar nobles. It was rumoured by the nobility in my court that Her Majesty Queen Serenity had planned to wed her eldest to one of the planets out of the Silver Alliance to gain an ally for her politics."
Selenity made a grunt that sounded anything but ladylike. "I would confirm those rumours, but mother has not mentioned anything remotely similar to the concept of marriage since I came of age last year." The girl shook her head, reaching for an intricately painted white teacup that was put on a silver tray in the middle of the round table. "This is Plutonian craft," she noted.
"I am glad you recognized it, my friend," another voice, one of a mature adult woman rang out. "I had Countess Lucille of the Nix region ship it over this morning while I was at my post at the Time Gates." A tall woman with long, dark green hair and crimson eyes strolled up to the pavilion, dressed in a uniform identical to Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune, except in black and garnet. A staff shaped like a key was in her hand, with a glowing red orb topping it. "I do hope that it is to your liking."
Selenity nodded. "Thank you, Pluto," she expressed. Examining the cup, she let a slender finger trail across several floral designs as she turned it over in her grasp. "Very delicate work. Is this the craft of young Elodie or Briony?"
Neptune picked one up as well, holding it up to eye level. "Elodie's work is a bit finer, and she prefers crystals, not flowers," the woman remarked. "This must be Briony's work."
Pluto chuckled as she entered the pavilion, her uniform dissolving away into a shower of garnet sparks to be replaced by a slender black gown. "That was very accurate, Neptune," the woman said, red lips curling into a smile. The elegant woman brushed a strand of long green hair away from her face and took a seat delicately, her green bangs revealing a glowing symbol that represented Pluto.
Uranus chuckled at the scene. "Accurate as always, love," the blonde teased, smirking. "We have talked enough about our lives, my friends. I find myself fancying a good spar. What say you, Selenity?"
Selenity rose from her seat, arranging her dark cloak so that it fell around her. "Not unpleasant of an idea, Uranus," she said amicably. "I believe the castle courtyard is empty as of now."
Neptune chuckled, standing as well. "Let us not dawdle, then. If we wish to use the courtyard to train then we must hurry - I do believe that the princess' protectors train there every so often."
Pluto smiled, joining them. "Then we shall make haste. If you would, Selenity?"
With a small quirk of the lips, the pale girl raised her hand, letting her fingertips glow black, then, with a burst of a black, shadowy raven, all four disappeared into the night.
Raven found herself walking through a long hallway, with portraits of women with long silver hair in buns and flowing pigtails hung on the walls. She was still wearing Selenity's dress and cloak, and with displeasure, she noted she was still Selenity. She continued down the empty hallway, finding herself wondering where the servants were supposed to be.
"Selenity! Sister!" called a voice from behind. "Please, wait for me!"
The sound of heels clacking against the smooth, hard floor made the dark-haired girl pause in her tracks and turn around, seeing a blonde with hair in the same style as the women in the portraits run up to her in a delicate, flowing white and gold dress. "Serenity. What are you doing here?"
The blonde, Serenity, huffed, drawing herself to her full height that was around a good six inches shorter than Selenity. "Must I always have a reason for wishing to talk with my favoured sister?"
"I am your only sister," Selenity replied dryly. "Do not attempt flattery, Serenity - I am not amused." She continued walking at a brisk pace, not waiting for the blonde to catch up. The girl slowed to a stop in front of a set of double doors, painted a crisp silver in contrast to the general darkness of the hallway, which was shrouded in shadows at this end.
"Oh hush, sister!" Serenity called, pouting. "I must learn this art to perfection! Mother would never let me into court if I did not!" Without another word, she pushed the doors open and stepped in, letting Selenity enter and shut the doors behind her. Taking a seat on a large bed with black sheets, she pouted, looking up at the taller girl.
Selenity barely gave the black, blue and silver room another glance as she walked to the vanity carved of ebony, passing the blonde without a second word. With trained hands, she pulled a silver hairbrush from an open drawer and unclasped her cloak, letting the dark blue fabric pool on the floor. The dark-haired girl crooked a finger, sending the fabric across the room and onto a stand, where it rested. She marched over and took a seat behind Serenity on the silk sheets of the bed, raising a hand up and cleverly undoing the complex bun, letting the golden strands of hair cascade down the shorter girl's back like a golden waterfall.
The taller of the two gave a 'tsk' and started to brush the girl's golden hair, making the blonde whine when she encountered tangles. "Honestly, Serenity," she chided, "with hair as long as yours, I would have thought you knew how to take care of it!" Not being particularly gentle, she brushed out the ends of the long locks before gradually moving upwards. Gently, she ran the brush through the locks of hair when the tangles were all out, easily brushing the long strands from root to tip.
"Selenity?" Serenity asked softly.
"Hmm?" Selenity parted strands of hair with deft fingers, carefully separating the long mop into two parts. "What is it, Serenity?" The girl twisted the mop into pigtails, then wrapped a bun on one side of the other girl's head, making it stay in place with a flick of her hand as she got the white pins from the bedsheets, then pinned them into the hair, and making the bun and long pigtail stay in place when she released her hold on it.
"When you are done with my hair, may I brush yours?" The blonde stayed still while she spoke, a good thing because Selenity was working on the other golden tail now.
The dark-haired girl paused briefly in her work, stopping just as she was about to wrap the bun at the beginning of the pigtail. "Of-of course, Serenity," she finally replied, continuing her work on the hair. "My hair does not require much work to maintain, but I suppose I appreciate the gesture nonetheless." Pushing the final white pin into the golden hair, she sat back and took a pigtail in her grasp, running a brush through it to break up any tangles she might have made. "There."
Serenity got up from her position at the end of the bed, quickly hustling Selenity to the edge, taking the silver brush in her delicate hands. With practised strokes, she started from the middle of the dark-haired girl's barely shoulder-length locks and worked her way up, just as the older of the two had done. Owing to the fact that Selenity had much shorter hair than the blonde, she reached the top fairly quickly, and true to what Selenity had mentioned, there were little tangles to manage.
Selenity held a relaxed posture as she sat on the bed, feeling each stroke of the brush clearly. However, she suddenly felt a slowing, then an abrupt stop to the soothing movement, and without moving, the girl asked, "Serenity? What is the matter, sister?"
"Sister," the golden girl was hesitant, "I have... something to ask you. Would you mind it if I asked you a question?"
"No, no," the darker of the pair comforted. "Not at all, sister. What is it you wished to say?"
Serenity gulped audibly. "What... what does it mean, when you see someone, and your heart misses a beat? When... you find yourself yearning to be with said person? When you feel nervous around them?"
Selenity paused, frowning at the bizarre questions. She slowly reached behind her and grasped Serenity's delicate hands, easing the brush out of the fingers and into her own. With a quick stroke down the length of her dark locks, she turned around to face her sister, brush in her lap. "I... do not know this emotion, sister," she started softly.
"Oh," Serenity mumbled, looking downcast.
"But," she continued, "I have been told of it before. That feeling you have described, sister, is called infatuation. Given time and adequate response, it may as well venture into love."
Serenity's form perked up, light shining in her blue eyes. "So it is infatuation," she said with a fond sigh. The blonde clasped her hands in front of her heart, smiling widely. "Tis such a wonderful feeling!"
Selenity wasn't sure what to say about that. "Who has caught your fancy, sister?" she inquired, a thin brow arched high. "Was it one of Venus' cousins? The one that had you pining for him for years before?"
Serenity shook her head, long blonde hair spilling over the bed. "Nay. A man with hair as black as a raven's feathers, and eyes as blue as the Terran sky, sister." She sighed once more, lying back on the black bed. "With a smile that could melt a frozen heart," she recalled, smiling in a love-struck manner, "and a face so handsome that 'twould put Venus' many cousins to shame!"
The dark-haired girl felt a knot twisting in her stomach as the shorter's description went on. The Terran sky? A raven, which was a native of Earth bird? Why was her sister using Terran terms to describe someone - oh. It slammed into her like a truck and Selenity grit her teeth. "The Terran prince," she spat. Standing, she glowered at her sister. "You're infatuated with the Terran prince!" she very nearly shouted. "Sister, what do you think you're doing? Earth is our enemy!"
"But Selenity - "
"No! Speak no more about this, Serenity! I will not breathe a word to Mother, but if I receive a message of you with that Terran prince, he will die." Selenity said no more, and walked out of the room, summoning her cloak to her and slamming the doors behind her in a fit of rage, ignoring Serenity's cries for her to wait as she scrambled after her.
Raven found herself elsewhere once more, this time clad in silver and black armour with a blue cloak fluttering behind her. No, she wasn't Raven - she was still Selenity. Selenity brought down a black sword on the neck of a monster, decapitating it and caking herself further in blood. Swinging around, she slammed the blunt end of the blade onto a human soldier's head, then bringing her blade down in one fell swoop, killing him as well.
"I told her," she ground out angrily, "that Terran prince was nothing but trouble!" Raising her left hand, she threw it out in the direction of several beasts, entrapping them within a cage of black mana. Then, with a flick of her wrist, she compressed it until it was no bigger than a coin.
Blood splattered all over the place, including onto Selenity.
With a disinterested growl, she swept out of the area, blood-splattered cloak billowing behind her like an ominous victory flag. Breaking out into a sprint, she launched herself into the heat of battle, tearing through the ranks of the Earth's forces with ease, taking down monsters with brutal, messy attacks that left none standing. "Foolish beasts," she grunted. Her dark eyes scoured the blood-soaked battlefield once more before she saw him.
He was a strong figure on the white field, clad in black armour and with a fluttering red cape. His cursed sword was red with blood, and Selenity's rage boiled over. The black-haired man was alerted to her attack by a loud battle cry as she teleported over, and he just barely managed to swing his blade up to deflect hers.
"Die, Terran!" she spat, skillfully slashing at him with her sabre, which he had to hastily block. Her first few attacked glanced harmlessly off his blood-stained blade, but her last caught him in many places that caused large wounds to stain his armour red. Readying herself, she ran at him, blade out, and with ease, she plunged her sword into his flesh.
The prince snarled in pain, tearing himself away and lunging with his sword.
It was a lucky hit. Selenity deflected the attack well enough, but he changed his path and stabbed at her shoulder, piercing her armour through. The weapon was no doubt poisoned as well, for Selenity's shoulder instantly felt like it had gone up in flames. With a snarl, the armoured girl took advantage of the close range, and plunged her sword into his back, her magic phasing it through his black armour and out the front. With the point of the weapon sticking out of his chest, the girl pushed it further in, then pulled it out.
The prince gasped for air, then he collapsed onto his knees. "Serenity..." she heard him croak. "Forgive me... love."
Eyes ablaze with anger, she swung around and raised her sword high. "Do not defile my family's name again," Selenity snarled. Her black blade fell, cutting cleanly through Endymion's neck. The girl left the scene of the corpse and started to run desperately towards the palace, where the main forces were. She had barely reached the throne room when she stumbled over her feet, gasping in pain.
Her shoulder burnt, throbbing in unspeakable pain. It was a miracle she had ignored it for as long as she had. Trying to shake it off, the girl forced herself a few steps further until her knees gave out under her, shaking from the exertion. Shaking her head, she used her sword as support, trying to keep herself upright, but her hand shook too much, sending the blade across the floor, and without her support, Selenity collapsed.
Her breathing laboured, the girl reached out desperately for the weapon which was just an inch away from her grasp. Black rimmed her vision, and Selenity realized in dismay that her time was already up. Cursing weakly, she fought to stay awake. "I am sorry, sister," she whispered in a hoarse voice.
"Selenity!" she heard. And then, she heard her sister cry out, "Sister! No!" A burst of white light emitted from her sister's heart, and Selenity smiled weakly. "You have done it, Serenity," she praised softly. "I am sorry I could not save you."
Serenity sobbed loudly as she fell to her knees beside her sister, cradling her head in her lap. "Do not sleep, sister," she urged, sobbing.
Selenity chuckled weakly. "We will meet again, Serenity." Her voice sounded distant like she was underwater, her vision was blurred out. "I promise this."
And her world went black.
Raven awoke with a gasp to see a strange white world around her, surrounded by mist. Where was she?
Chapter 16: Serenity
Sailor Moon's body laid on the white hospital bed, her sailor uniform flickering between being solid and a mass of ribbons wrapped around her torso, extending from her brooch. Her tiara, gone since the fight, did not reappear, exposing golden crescent moon identical to Raven's, though constant on her brow rather than the flickering golden shape that the sorceress' was. Like Raven, every once in a while, the blonde would toss and turn, flinching in pain whenever the other's brow had the symbol appear.
On occasion, the blonde girl would say names, varying from sensible ones to the odd, and they were often said one after another. 'Mamoru' was followed by 'Tuxedo Kamen', which was in turn succeeded by 'Prince Endymion'. With a whimper, she would recoil and cry out for these people to stop doing something and beg for them to reconsider.
As Raven's crescent moon flared to life, the girl's blue eyes snapped open, wide, and glowing with silver power behind the blue irises.
Usagi sat at a white table on a white marble balcony, staring down into a courtyard where four blurs of orange, red, blue and green exchanged blows and various kinds of magical attacks. Without much time, the blonde quickly realised her even longer hair and her white gown meant that she was experiencing a flashback of Princess Serenity. The princess sighed, reaching for a delicately painted cup with an image of floral designs on it that was put on a silver tray in the middle of the white table.
The cup, not yet filled with its intended contents of tea, was put before her, and the blonde princess stood to pick up the teapot on the tray. A pale hand was clapped onto her shoulder, jerking her back into her seat and making her glance up to see a face belonging to a taller girl wearing a dark blue cloak. "Hello, sister," Serenity immediately said, with a smile.
The now identified Selenity removed her cloak, and Usagi mentally gasped. She and Raven were more than merely alike - they were completely identical! "Are you still wishing to be near your guardians when they spar?" the girl asked with a raised brow. "I am quite certain that they have told you that it is far too dangerous for you yet."
Serenity pouted. "But sister!" she very nearly whined. "As the future queen, am I not required to be able to defend myself in the chance that my protectors are defeated in battle? And what of honour duels?"
Selenity rolled her dark eyes and picked up the teapot, pouring two cups of tea for both of them before she took a seat on one of the white chairs beside the blonde. "Mother has outlawed those delightfully entertaining battles between nobles," she replied, hiding something of a smirk by raising her cup to her lips. "A pity. Watching those foolish nobles slaughter each other in the courtroom has always been..." she paused, searching for an appropriate word, "...amusing." She chuckled.
"Sister!" Serenity cried, sounding mildly disturbed, just like Usagi was herself. "How could you say such a thing? The loss of a life is always such a horrible thing!"
The dark-haired girl smirked, lowering her cup. "It was foolish of them, yes," the darker of the pair noted coolly, "but they were the ones that chose to enter into those duels in the first place. Everyone is aware that honour duels only end with the death of a participant. It is merely a fact that you will have to rectify... if you choose to, upon your ascension, of course."
The blonde princess slumped. "But-" she tried to argue.
"Ah," Selenity interrupted, standing as she finished her drink, dark eyes narrowing. "It appears that your... protectors have finished their spar." Without her reaching for her hood, it levitated up and over her head, shrouding her face in much shadow. Her cloak rearranged itself to fall over her body, and if it were not for the fact that the colour was an obvious dark blue, she would have completely blended into the shadows of the balcony. "I must take my leave."
Serenity stood as well, reaching over the table-top to clasp the dark girl's hand through the cloak. "Please, sister," she started earnestly. "Could you... perhaps stay and converse with them?" When the taller of the two locked a sceptical gaze with the blonde, she hastily amended, "I mean... in the future after my coronation, you will be required to become my personal protector, would you not?"
Selenity gently eased her sister's hand away. "I am one of the Knights, sister," she replied calmly. "Not one of them. We usually do not get along with each other."
The blonde princess stubbornly refused to let go of her sister. "Selenity," she tried once more, frowning. "Please, I'm asking you this as your sister, not your princess. Not your liege. Please, just give them a chance! Maybe... maybe you'll start to like them?"
The cloaked girl paused in her tracks, her hand loosening its grip on the blonde's hand. The dark-haired girl slowly exhaled, shoulders dropping from a tense posture. "I... of course," she finally relented, cold voice warming up a bit with the blonde princess. The older princess — for who else could the sister of the White Moon princess be? — slowly sat back down, but the dark blue hood that obscured her face in shadow stubbornly remained, an indicator of her distrust of the four guardians.
The double doors leading to the balcony opened gracefully, revealing the four soldiers in their uniform as the princesses strode to their respective seats, coloured in blue, orange, red, and green respectively. "Hello, Selenity," Sailor Mercury was the first to say, albeit hesitantly. Her blue eyes were glimmering with a sliver of fear, and the Senshi was tense sitting opposite the pale girl in the cloak. With a shaky exhale, the blue-haired Senshi released her transformation in a blur of bubbles and blue light.
"Mercury," Selenity greeted back cordially, though curtly, with a sharp little jerk of the head. "You three as well; Mars, Venus, Jupiter."
The blonde, ribbon-wearing soldier let her uniform dissolve back into a frilly yellow gown. "Ah yes... hello, Selenity," the leader of the four replied warily. "What are you doing here, might I ask? I was... under the impression the Knights did not associate with us protectors of the princess."
The dark-haired Knight lowered her cup from her lips, just about to take a sip of the tea inside. "You would be correct to assume that fact, Venus," she replied shortly, making no attempt to sound friendly. "I am merely here under my sister's behest. If Serenity wishes for privacy with you four, then," here, she set her cup down, "I will gladly take my leave." She stood, and Serenity immediately followed.
"Sister!" she exclaimed. "Please, I thought you promised to —"
Selenity clicked her tongue. "I did not explicitly say to you that I was going to give them a chance, sister," she admonished softly. "Besides, I must leave now. The Soldiers of the Outer Rings and I have a meeting today, one of utmost importance." Gently, she smiled at the shorter blonde. "Pax, sister. I will join you and mother for dinner tonight if you wish."
Serenity huffed childishly but relented nonetheless. "Very well then," she mumbled. "Fare thee well sister. Until tonight."
The Knight nodded. "Of course, Serenity. I shall see you tonight." Without another word, she strode off to the whispers amongst the four protectors.
Serenity sank into her seat, sighing heavily. "Oh sister," she whispered.
Usagi found herself in another scene, once more as Serenity. Something was off, though. The serene, calm air was disrupted by screams and cries. Hoarse roars ripped through battle-cries and blasts of energy could be heard impacting their targets. The final battle between the Silver Millennium and the Dark Kingdom had started.
Serenity rushed to her balcony, trying to get the white doors open. "Open, blasted doors!" she cried, the double doors not giving way. "Blast it!" the princess cursed, slamming her fist into her open palm, then wincing in pain. "Why won't these doors open?" she asked, frustrated. Pacing the length of her room, the blonde princess in her white gown felt worry bubble up — not for her Terran prince, but for her beloved sister, who, as a Knight under the White Moon, was required to protect her kingdom.
A hoarse scream from outside drew the princess' attention, and the blonde desperately pounded at the doors before turning to the one thing that could possibly help her in this situation — a ceremonial sceptre that was placed on the wall. Her mother had told her that it was a family heirloom, one passed down from mother to their eldest daughter. She recalled quite plainly asking the queen why she had it and not Selenity, but the golden princess' question had been ignored.
Nonetheless, it was going to be her way out of her chambers.
The petite princess managed to lug the sceptre down from her wall and with a mighty swing, she managed to make a dent in the doors. Lugging it again, she hefted the thing and whacked it against the doors until they finally gave way. "There," the blonde panted, tossing the heavy thing aside. "Where are they?" she whispered, looking outside. No wonder her doors had been barred. All the guards were gone from their posts, and hallways were empty.
The princess, terrified by the eerily empty hallways and the echoes that she heard, crept down the hallways, clinging close to the walls for fear that an assailant was lying in wait for her. Then, a loud clang rang out, the sound of a blade on the floor ricocheting through the empty palace, and Serenity knew where to go.
Picking up her voluminous skirts, the golden princess ran like there were assassins on her heels, down flights of stairs, down all the maze-like hallways of the palace, huffing and panting as she tried to get to the throne room. After falling sometimes and hitting the cold floor, the princess resolved to drag herself to the throne room. Picking herself up, she stumbled through the hallways until she finally got there.
Pale, tired, and dishevelled, the golden princess of the White Moon limped her way into the throne room, unused to so much physical exertion. Her blue eyes looked around, tired, but bright and wary. With a sharp gasp, her azure gaze fell onto the cloaked figure that then collapsed onto the floor. The blue cloak was stained a dark purple with the blood, and the floor had puddles of the viscous vital fluid smeared over the once pristine surface.
The person reached out weakly, trying to scramble for the weapon that had fallen out of their reach, just barely managing to get it in their grasp, but alas, it was too far away. Finally, they stopped their futile struggle for the weapon, gloved hand — and the armoured arm — hitting the floor with a clang. "I am sorry, sister," Serenity heard them say, and with a horrified look, she realized that her sister was bleeding, dying.
"Selenity!" the princess shrieked, running over to her beloved sister, not caring that her long gown was getting stained with vermilion from the spilt blood. Panicking, frantic, the princess turned her darker sister over, so that the bloodied face of the elder could be seen. "Sister!" she cried out, tears burning in the corners of her eyes as the armoured Knight's breathing became shallower and shallower with each shaking breath she took. "No!"
Hot tears burnt tracks down her face, dripping down and splashing onto the silver and black armour of the Knight. Serenity felt a pain in her chest — a familiar one that signified the Illusionary Silver Crystal was coming out of hiding to obey her will. The golden princess didn't know that, though, and continued to cry, silently begging for her sister to stay with her. With a pulse of blinding white light, she crystal phased out of her soul and into her hands.
Selenity smiled at her — a weak smile, but a smile nonetheless. "You have done it, Serenity," she said softly, voice weak and raspy. Her dark eyes turned sombre. "I am sorry I could not save you," she whispered, voice shaking.
The blonde had tears streaming down her face. She knew what that meant, and it was a lie. Selenity had done so much for her. The princess collapsed to her knees beside her sister, cradling the bloodied head of the older girl in her lap, not caring that her white dress was soaked red with blood. "Do not sleep, sister," she urged the older of the two, shaking with sobs.
Selenity merely chuckled as she looked up at her with half-lidded dark eyes, hazy from the pain. She was going to slip away soon. "We will meet again, Serenity," she promised, her usually cold voice soft and soothing. "I promise this." Her voice was so soft and weak that Serenity could barely hear it. Then, her eyes fluttered completely shut, and the cloaked girl fell limp in her arms.
"Selenity!" the blonde cried, hands quickly gripping the older girl's shoulders. "Please, sister!" she shrieked. "Wake up!" The Silver Crystal pulsed and hovered above the dead girl, glowing and pulsing a bright, vibrant silver as it attempted to get her attention. Desperate, the princess looked up at it and prayed. "Please," she started, voice shaking, "can you save my sister?"
It was a ridiculous sight, a small, petite blonde cradling a larger body and talking to a glowing crystal, but Serenity didn't know what else to do. Her heart pounded in her ears, and the blonde could distinctly hear the roars of the Terran army outside, approaching the palace. Hands shaking, she reached up and cupped her hands around the Silver Crystal, the jewel obediently floating back with her as she held it to her heart.
"Please, Illusionary Silver Crystal!" Serenity cried out, hot tears burning their way down her cheeks. "Please, I cannot live without my beloved sister! Bring her back or let this world fall at your power! This one of the White Lunar blood commands you!"
"No! Serenity!" Her mother's voice was heard, echoing through the empty throne room as the monarch ran in, dress ripped and long hair dishevelled. "You must not!"
Queen Serenity's warning fell on deaf ears.
The golden princess of the Silver Millennium — Princess Serenity — raised her cupped hands as the glow of the Illusionary Silver Crystal brightened. With a scream as the light started heating up into a fire, the crystal pulsed once in her hands, then exploded in a shower of light, incinerating everything that it came into contact with.
Thus ended the great Silver Millennium.
Usagi shot up, screaming as the pain from the unexpected end of the Silver Millennium started to fade from her form. Her lower lip quivered as she remembered her mother and her brother getting hurt in the battle and being sent to the hospital. Breath shaky, the Sailor Senshi looked up, blinking away hot tears that had appeared in the corners of her eyes.
Mist surrounded her, obscuring her vision. "Where am I?" she whispered almost timidly. Walking around, she saw a dark figure in the close distance, something rippling in a soft wind.
"Who's there?" the figure asked in a cool, emotionless tone. Raven.
The fog lifted just as Usagi reached her, and the blonde stared at the sorceress, her features melting into those of Selenity, with her red diamond chakra morphing into the golden crescent moon of the Lunar monarchy. Unbeknownst to the girl, she was turning in Serenity in the eyes of the Titan as well. Usagi took a step forwards, shakily looking into violet eyes. "Hello, Selenity," she whispered.
Raven just stood there, staring. "Serenity," she returned, voice melting into a warmer tone, just like Selenity.
"Welcome home..." a voice echoed around them. The remaining fog that surrounded them vanished completely, revealing a grand palace in the distance, one that Usagi recognized as the palace of the Silver Millennium.
Without another word, the blonde began to head there, as if in a trance. Raven soon followed, and both girls were at the doors of the palace soon enough. With a loud creak, both doors opened inwards, showing a majestic woman with light silverish-lavender hair in the same style Usagi wore her hair in. Her smile was serene as she stood from the marble throne.
Welcome home," she whispered, walking towards them, "my daughters."
Chapter 17: Remembering
Raven stared at the woman. She looked somewhat like Arella, but not much. The pale-haired woman shared a similar eye shape, and a familiar smile, but that was the extent of their similarities. "Queen Serenity," the sorceress instantly said, only knowing the name that rolled off her tongue like water. She didn't know how she knew it — it was just like how she knew how to respond when Usagi called her 'Selenity'. It was a reaction that she didn't control.
"Selenity," the woman breathed, walking over to her and embracing. "Oh, you've changed! Your hair is so much lighter than it used to, and your eyes... just like the crystal of the moon."
"What?" Sailor Moon interrupted. "I thought the crystal of the moon was the Illusionary Silver Crystal?" The blonde walked forward, brow furrowed together in confusion.
The Queen shook her lavender-haired head. "Not quite." She pulled away from Raven, her white dress pooling on the marble floor. "Now, return, my daughters." She clapped her hands, and instantly, memories flooded Raven's mind.
The sorceress fell to her knees, holding her head. "What-what are you?" she gasped out, wincing in pain. It was like floodgates had been opened — names returned to her, things she had never learnt in the first place suddenly appeared, faces of people she had never met stopped becoming hazy blurs and cleared up. She looked up at the silver queen, noting that her hair had darkened several shades as she slowly got to her feet, brushing it away.
Her eyes roved over the palace, suddenly feeling it familiar, and a feeling a dread crushed her, making her slowly step back. The place she — no, not her, Selenity — had died over a millennium ago. Unconsciously, she pressed her fingers to her forehead, only to feel that her chakra was not present, but instead, something burned under her fingertips.
Raven looked down at the smooth palace floor, so shiny it reflected her in entirety. Her eyes were darker than their usual amethyst, and instead of her leotard and blue cloak, she was clad in a long, sleek black dress with a slit up the side, a cloak of a darker blue draped over her body. On her brow, instead of the chakra she had expected, a golden crescent burned brightly.
"I am..." Raven couldn't find it in herself to finish the sentence. She instead looked around, trying to find something else to distract her. Dark eyes landed on the blonde's crumpled form, adorned in a flowing white dress, and instantly, Raven — no, that was the Selenity inside of her — snapped. She rushed over to the blonde, carefully shifting her so that the blonde's head was in her lap. The dress felt a bit odd, but the sorceress didn't care. "Serenity!" she hissed, shaking her. "Please, wake up!"
Sailor Moon stirred, groaning softly. "What time is it, mum?" she groaned. "I don't want to go to school — wait!" She shot up, wide blue eyes filled with fear. "Where...?" She looked around, then saw Raven. "Raven!" she exclaimed. "What just..." she trailed off when she saw something behind the dark-haired sorceress.
Raven knew that it was Queen Serenity. She was the only other person in the room.
"Mother..." Moon whispered, eyes tearing up. "Oh, mother!" Instantly, the blonde shot to her feet and she ran into the woman's embrace. "I missed you so much!"
Raven slowly stood, quietly watching them. It was so much like her and Arella when she was younger. Much, much younger, in fact. The demon's spawn looked away, not wanting to watch.
"Raven..." Moon's voice trailed off, and the girl looked at the blonde with a frown. The blonde suddenly grabbed her hands, and then she hugged her tightly. "Selenity... sister... I missed you so much..."
The dark-haired sorceress tensed up at the contact, but gradually relaxed into the embrace, slowly returning the hug. "I... missed you too, sister. Serenity. Sailor Moon." Raven smiled softly at the hug. "I missed you so."
Two slender arms wrapped around both of them. Queen Serenity. "And I missed you both, my daughters. But my duty here is once more complete." The woman closed her pale eyes. "I must apologize. Now, I must leave yet again, and leave you two to complete what fate has in store for you." She stood back, hands cupped over her heart, and pulled away to display a magnificent crystal shaped in the form of a lotus.
The crystal left her hands and hovered over to Raven, darkening to an opaque black the closer it got to her. Still, it gleamed with power and pulsed when it was around the sorceress. She reached out to it... and it vanished in front of her eyes, turning into smoke that encircled her. "Oh," Raven said flatly, dropping her arm.
"That was the crystal that belongs to you, my dear." Queen Serenity's voice was echoing, like a disembodied voice. Her form was shimmering, fading away from the bottom up. "I cannot tell you where it is now, but you will find it someday... or it may come to you. It is yours to wield. It will never be lost. For now, I must say... farewell."
Words echoed in Raven's mind as the girl shot straight up in the hospital bed, short, purple hair once again framing her face. She turned to see Sailor Moon in the uniform of the local high school — Murakami High, was it? — sitting next to her, looking straight at her with a smile. "Sailor Moon," she greeted coolly. "Or... should I say, sister?"
The blonde shook her head. "No. Usagi," she corrected. "Tsukino Usagi, sister."
"Rabbit of the Moon?" Raven quipped, raising an arched brow.
Usagi laughed, getting down from her bed with shaky legs and throwing her arms around Raven, smiling. "Yes." Her blue eyes gleamed with mirth as the sorceress sat on the edge of the bed with her. The blonde unclasped a golden brooch from her white uniform, clicking it open to reveal a glittering silver crystal. "This," she announced softly, "is the Illusionary Silver Crystal."
The crystal gleamed at the sisters from the brooch, and briefly, Raven saw an image of Sailor Moon and herself, in the form of Selenity, standing side by side. The image melted to show Serenity holding up her crystal in her hands while Selenity, in black armour, deflected black streaks of energy from hitting her. The sorceress blinked, rubbing her eyes. Was she seeing things that didn't exist? It seemed to be so.
The door to the infirmary was opened and both looked up to see Robin and the rest of the Titans standing at the door. The rest of the original five — Beast Boy, Starfire, Cyborg and Robin — rushed to Raven's side, while Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune walked over to converse with Usagi in a subdued Japanese. Raven caught snippets of their conversation, bits like 'glad you're okay', 'how are you feeling?'and various mentions of 'princess' throughout the conversation.
Usagi cleared her throat nervously. "Everyone," she said quietly, almost shyly, attracting the attention of the Titans, who were busy bombarding Raven with questions. "I... have something to tell you all." She looked back over at Raven, and the sorceress nodded reassuringly at her, pale hand reaching over to rest on her shoulder.
"Tell them," Raven said quietly. "Or I can do it if you wish."
Usagi shook her head rapidly. "No, I have to do it myself, and... there's more that I haven't told you." Now that everyone had their attention on the blonde teen, the girl started a long story. "It all started a long time ago, back in an era called the Silver Millennium..."
Usagi was fidgeting with her brooch as she finished the story of the cursed Silver Millennium. "... and so, with the destruction of the Silver Millennium by the Princess Serenity, the souls of her, her sister, and their guardians were sent to the next life to stop the darkness from rising again," she concluded. "And well..." she trailed off, fastening her brooch back to her uniform, "the story hasn't ended yet."
At this, Raven straightened, violet eyes darkening as she frowned.
The blonde princess swallowed nervously before she continued. "I am Tsukino Usagi," she said, just loud enough for all of them to hear. "I am Sailor Moon, the guardian of love and justice. I am Princess Serenity, the heiress to the White Moon." She opened her brooch and whispered her transformation sequence, turning into the sailor-suited soldier of justice in a flash of light. She clasped her brooch nervously and exhaled slowly before she continued her story.
"I was awakened by one of the Lunar advisors, Luna, a year ago, and have been Sailor Moon ever since. My protectors were the four Senshi of the Inner Circles — Sailor Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter — and my, erm, ex-boyfriend, Tuxedo Kamen, otherwise known as Prince Endymion."
Raven's fingers dug into the sheets and amethyst eyes turned blood red, making Usagi jump.
"As-as I was saying, we managed to fight and defeat the forces of darkness that destroyed the Silver Millennium in our past life. Next, we were faced with a duo of aliens from space, and managed to save both them and our planet." She swallowed. "Then, um... a lot of things happened. A pink-haired brat came into my life, and after her were a group of sisters that wanted to kidnap her. We converted them to our side, and well, learned that there were a lot more people after her. Then... uh... my boyfriend broke up with me. The rest of the Senshi then booted me out of the group when I wanted to do my duties." She stopped looking away.
Something blew up in the corner of the infirmary, and Usagi yelped, scooting back and falling into Uranus' hold.
Raven's repeated muttering of 'Azarath Metrion Zinthos' didn't help matters either. The sorceress stood, growling. "Who are they?" she asked in a low voice.
Neptune quickly held a gloved hand out. "Hold, princess," the aquamarine-haired woman said, frowning. "Don't be so reckless. The Senshi will get what they deserve soon enough."
Raven scowled, but thankfully, nothing exploded this time.
"Wait," Robin interrupted. "You mentioned that Serenity had a sister, Selenity, didn't you? And Uranus, Neptune, you two have been calling Raven that name nearly all the time."
Raven nodded, sighing. "That deduction is a bit late for you, Boy Blunder," she teased, and a small smile crossed her face. "But yes," she said, lacing her pale fingers together, "you're right. I am Selenity, or at least, her reincarnation."
Uranus cleared her throat. "By now, our princesses have told you everything about the Silver Millennium. Serenity's told you everything, so I suppose that we should do it too." Her sailor uniform faded away to reveal a slender woman in men's clothing. "I am Haruka Tenoh," she introduced in a rough, low voice, though it was definitely female.
Neptune followed suit, revealing a woman with short, curly aquamarine hair. "I am Michiru Kaioh," she continued in a soft, silvery tone.
Robin shot Raven a glance, and Usagi was instantly worried that something was wrong, but after a while, the Boy Wonder nodded and pulled away. "I guess that... it's about time we come clean to each other." He sighed, running a hand through his spiked black hair, making the strands go askew and messy. With a frown, he quickly restyled his hair.
Cyborg nodded. "Yeah. We've already gone through the apocalypse, right?"
Starfire hovered a bit over the floor as she drifted over to Robin and Raven. The red-haired girl smiled widely. "Well then," she declared cheerily, clasping her hands together. "I shall start first, yes, Robin?" Without waiting for an answer, she shot higher into the room, then twirled as she landed in the middle of the room. "I am Koriand'r," she said, smiling widely, "princess of Tamaran."
Beast Boy grinned from the foot of Raven's infirmary bed, revealing a sharp fang at the corner of his mouth. "Garfield Logan," he said, prompting a snort from Raven.
"Garfield?" the sorceress asked in an amused tone, her lips curling into a smirk.
The green changeling turned red. "Uh... yeah?" he said, sheepishly rubbing the back of his neck.
Cyborg laughed heartily. "Name's Victor. Stone." The half-machine clapped a mechanical hand onto the changeling's back, making the small green boy stumble with a yelp.
"Not funny, Cy," Beast Boy huffed.
Cyborg's laughing didn't drown out the masked leader's coughing to draw attention. Robin reached a gloved hand up to grab the edges of his mask. "Raven, you know who I am, but..." He slowly peeled it off, and piercingly blue eyes scanned the room. "Richard Grayson," he said with a smile.
Eyes all fell to Raven, who simply shrugged. "You still already know my name," she replied in a cool monotone. "I never used a pseudonym, so my real name is Raven. Just Raven."
Usagi smiled and just reached out to hug Raven. "So... about the Honourary Titan thing... can I just join full time?"
Raven chuckled, sounding amused, and much to the surprise of the other Titans, nothing exploded. "Robin?"
The black-haired teen nodded. "Sure," he said, smiling. "We could use all the help we can get." He held a gloved hand out to Usagi. "Welcome to the team, Sailor Moon."
Usagi clasped his hand, eyes shining. "Thank yo—"
Robin's communicator rang shrilly. "Oh, um, hold on," he said, flipping it up to answer the call. "Robin here."
"This is Jump General Hospital," a muffled voice said from the other side of the call. "We're afraid we have bad news. The two patients you sent in, Tsukino Ikuko and Shingo, died mid-operation."
Usagi's hands shook. "Mama?" she whimpered, tears collecting in the corners of her eyes. "S-Shingo?"
Chapter 18: Meet the Traitors
Rei slammed her hand onto the surface of the table in anger. "Damn it!" she snapped, violet eyes flickering with fire. "This isn't working!" With a yell of frustration, she swept a bunch of written notes on the table in the meeting room of the Hikawa Shrine. The priestess slowly ran a hand through her long black hair and sighed, slumping against a wall. "At this rate, I'll never be able to find anything." The soldier of Mars put her head in her hands, groaning.
There was a knock at the door, and Ami's dark blue-haired head stuck in from the doorway. "Rei-chan, Sailor Pluto says that she has news for us."
Rei got to her feet, nodding. "Sure. I'll be right over." The girl followed after her dark-blue haired friend as they headed to the middle of the courtyard, where the rest of the Senshi were standing.
Makoto was pacing around, her hands clasped behind the tall, busty girl's back. Her long, curly brown hair bounced as she took each step, and her green eyes were narrowed, brow furrowed together in worry. Her transformation wand was in her hand, gleaming green. If one looked carefully, they would swear that there were small bolts of lightning shooting up and down her arms and dark hair.
Minako was sitting beneath a group of cherry blossom trees, absently stroking the top of Artemis' white head as she kept an eye on Makoto's pacing. The blonde reached a hand up to adjust her large red bow, bright blue eyes staring out at the tall, Amazon-like brunette. Minako seemed to be speaking in a low, soft tone to both the Lunar felines as she reclined against the trunk of the tree.
Mamoru was sitting on a bench, unshaven and in his signature green jacket as he glanced down at his hands. The prince of Earth was downcast, and his face was gaunt, with dark shadows under his eyes. He yawned tiredly, rubbing his blue eyes as he ran a hand through his tousled black hair that was so messy, it seemed to have been unbrushed for days.
Ami walked towards Minako and sat down beside the leader of the four Senshi, pulling out her reading glasses and perching them on her nose bridge. The guardian of Mercury took out her computer and started typing away, lowering her head as she softly conversed with both the cats and Minako. The dark-haired girl continued speaking softly with the blonde, eyes focused on her screen.
Sailor Pluto, however, was nowhere to be seen.
Rei scowled. Had she left her work for nothing? The priestess fought the urge to strangle something — or someone, preferably the dark green-haired woman — for making her waste her time when she could have been searching through the Sacred Fire for the missing pink-haired child. "Where is she?" she snapped, crossing her arms over her chest. "I swear, if she doesn't appear in five minutes, I'm going to— "
"Going to?" A smooth voice cut Rei off in the middle of her rant. "My apologies for being late, Hino-san. Unlike you, I have important duties at the Gates — duties that prevent me from leaving for extended periods of time. Even as we speak right now, my work is piling up." Sailor Pluto, in all her garnet and black-themed sailor suited grace, had appeared behind the black-haired guardian of Mars, key-shaped staff in hand as she walked forward.
Her high-heels clicked on the ground of the Shinto temple's courtyard as the tall, mature woman stopped in the middle of the area. Her long, dark green hair was up in her usual immaculate bun, one that Rei was really getting tired of seeing every time she turned her back to the priestess. With a tap of her key-staff on the ground, the self-proclaimed guardian of the 'Gates of Time and Space' cleared her throat. "If I may have the ground?"
Rei grunted. "You already had it when you appeared," she muttered darkly. "Don't waste my time with nonsense like this."
Pluto looked to be forcing herself to maintain her polite smile. "It appears that you do not wish to know Small Lady's location then," she replied airily.
Mamoru had shot up to his feet at the mention of 'Small Lady', which, as the group had learnt during the past few weeks, was what Pluto called the pink-haired child. "You know where Chibiusa is?" he asked, eager. The prince was a complete wreck, not that Rei blamed him, though. Mamoru had been extremely hard on himself since Chibiusa vanished while she was under his care, and had devoted almost all of his time to finding her, skipping his classes and even forgetting to eat and sleep.
Pluto nodded. "Not exactly, but there is a lead. I could possibly tell you where you may be able to find a trace of her," she replied, idly tapping the end of her staff on the ground. "And if that fails, I may just have to resort to another way." The garnet-eyed Senshi tucked a strand of her hair behind her ears.
"So?" Makoto demanded, "now where is she? Stop stalling!" Her hair was frizzled, the occasional lightning bolt popping out the end of her brunette strands. "Come on!" She slammed her fist into her open palm with a loud smack.
Minako walked up, Artemis in her arms while Luna perched on her shoulder. "Mako-chan's right," she said, deceptively calm. "We can't stall anymore. Who knows what's being done to her?"
Ami joined the group, removing her reading glasses with care. "That's right," she agreed with a nod. "We need to find her now."
Pluto huffed. "Very well then. Head to Jump City, in California," the older Senshi said calmly. "There are people there that could help you find her." She checked her watch and hummed. "Ah, looks like I need to get back to work. I'll see you once you get to the States, Senshi." With that, she walked off, and before the annoyed priestess could catch up with her, she vanished.
"Oi! Pluto!" Artemis leapt from Minako's arms, trying to chase after the long gone Sailor Senshi. "Pluto! Wait up! Pluto!"
"Enough, Artemis!" Luna called, jumping down from Minako's shoulder. "She's gone." Sitting down in the centre of the ring that the Senshi and Mamoru automatically formed, Luna swished her tail around. "Now, the important thing is to arrange a trip to this 'Jump City' at once in order to find Chibiusa."
Ami was already on it. Typing away on her laptop, she announced, "Done!" and turned it around. "I've booked seven tickets, once for each of us. Our flight leaves tomorrow, at seven in the evening."
Usagi was curled up in her new, pink, white, and silver themed room, sobbing into her pillow as Raven meditated in the corner of the room. The older of the two's calm mantra seemed to have a small calming effect on her, and soon, the blonde managed to stop her sobbing for long enough to hiccup, "Thanks, Raven."
Raven, seemingly unaware, continued her repeated mantra. "Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos... Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos..."
Usagi sniffed. "Raven..."
The violet-haired sorceress repeated her mantra a few more times, hovering in mid-air before she cracked open an amethyst iris to look at Usagi. "You're welcome, Usagi," the reincarnated sister of Princess Serenity said, voice calm and monotonous. She closed her eyes again and went back to murmuring her chant.
The silence was shattered by the alarm siren sounding, making the entire tower's inside flash red periodically, including the various rooms of the T-shaped building, from Usagi's room to the garage down underground.
Raven got to her feet, gracefully pulling her hood up over her head. "Trouble," she said flatly. "Usagi, you should stay in the Tower. You're not—"
"I'm ready," Usagi snapped, suddenly jumping to her feet. Raven was her sister, but there was no way she was letting herself be protected again. No, she could hold her own. She didn't need to be protected. "I'm coming." Whether you like it or not, the blonde silently added.
The purple-haired sorceress walked over to her, and raised her pale hands, putting her index fingers on either side of the blonde's head. "Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos..." A blue glow slowly filtered from the delicate fingertips to cover Usagi's head, covering the reincarnated princess' vision up. Usagi, can you hear me? Raven's soft monotone echoed in her head as the empath stepped back.
I... I can. What did you do? The blonde slowly clutched her brooch, wanting to transform into her Senshi form already before the sisters headed out.
Nothing much. Raven was already at the doorway, and she turned, extending a hand to Usagi. Merely opened a connection between us. "Come on, Sailor Moon," she urged calmly. "Let's move."
Usagi nodded, raising her brooch up into the air. "Moon Crystal Power, Make Up!"
It was yet another droid.
With an annoyed growl, Raven shot up into the air above the battlefield, encompassing several large pieces of debris in her aura before she threw them at the droid, slowly managing to narrow down the area of which it could run by moving each piece closer and closer to it.
Sailor Uranus raised her hands high above her, collecting a sphere of glowing yellow energy, which she quickly slammed into the ground of the park. "World Shaking!"
Beside her, her partner Sailor Neptune had her attack prepared, and once the earthquake hit, the aquamarine-haired woman released the energy building up in her hands. "Deep Submerge!"
The droid shrieked, shaking as it got back up. Raven could see that it wasn't going to survive for much longer. With a signal for the other Titans to stand back, she lowered herself next to Sailor Moon, who had been helping marginally by making the droid move to area where it could be hit. "Sailor Moon," she said with a nod at the droid. "Your turn. Finish it off." Her tone was clinical, but she gave the blonde's shoulder and encouraging squeeze before she stepped back as well.
Sailor Moon summoned her sceptre, pointing it at the droid. "Moon Princess—"
"Akuryo Taisan!" A piece of paper was thrown at the droid, slamming into its forehead, and for some reason, rendering it immobile.
Sailor Moon took a jerky step back, and instantly, the other two Senshi on the field went to stand on either side of her, while Raven took her front protectively.
It was strange, the sorceress abruptly decided, how she was being so protective of the girl after not even a month of knowing her. But then... she had known her for an entire lifetime, hadn't she?
"Venus Love Me Chain!" A glowing orange whip appeared, striking out and hitting the immobilized droid with a loud crack. The droid disintegrated into dust at the contact. "Ugh... stupid Black Moon Clan!" the voice which had shouted out the chain attack continued. "They don't even stop going after us when we're in the States!"
"No, it can't be them. Why are they here?" Sailor Moon muttered. "They should be in Tokyo!"
Robin took charge, as always. His staff in hand, fully extended from the earlier fight, the masked disciple of the infamous Batman stood forward. "Who's there? Show yourself!"
A group of six appeared, accompanied by two cats, one black and one white, both with crescent moon marks that were identical to the symbols of the Lunar family. They looked familiar, but Raven couldn't quite... oh. She knew who they were. A tall woman wielding a key-shaped staff stepped out. "I come in peace," she said in a calm, defending tone. "I mean the princesses no harm."
Raven stepped forward to meet Robin's gaze, while both Neptune and Uranus moved to cover Moon. "Sailor Pluto," she addressed calmly. "You've left your post at the Time Gates." Reaching out to Robin through their link, she requested, Stand back, I"l take care of this.
Pluto smiled. "It appears so, old friend. I seek to renew our convent. Will you allow me the pleasure of serving the Lunar monarchy once more?"
Raven held her hand out to the woman and was rewarded with a gloved hand accepting it. "The kingdom fell many years ago, Pluto," the demon's spawn replied calmly. "But your duties have yet to end. This child accepts your offer."
Pluto joined Uranus and Neptune, and with a short greeting to Moon behind them, assumed a position of defence.
Turning to the group, Raven's amethyst irises went over them, mentally going over their names. Sailor Mercury. Sailor Venus. Sailor Mars. Sailor Jupiter. The Lunar advisors, Artemis and Luna. And... the Terran scum, Endymion. Her eyes narrowed as she glared at the masked, tuxedo-wearing man. He wasn't in his armour, but she recognized the offending face all the same. "What are you lot doing here?" she nearly spat.
They had hurt her sister. Hell was going to freeze over if she let them do it again.
Chapter 19: Through the Gates
Raven's violet eyes were narrowed into slits, almost glowing red and duplicating into the demonic eyes inherited from her father. "So?" Her voice was now echoing eerily, and without having to look behind her, she knew that the other four of the original Titans were worried about the partial change. "What's your excuse?"
The group looked taken aback by her harsh accusation. "What excuse?" Sailor Mars all but demanded in a sharp voice that was layered with a thick Japanese accent, purple eyes flickering with fire as the black-haired young woman stepped out of her group." We should be asking you that!" Her gloved hands seemed to spark with a red flame for a second, not that it was particularly threatening — Raven had dealt with a demon in a sea of lava, after all. "Where's Chibiusa?"
The name echoed in Raven's mind, and instantly, the sorceress put on a blank mask in front of the angered Senshi, reaching out to the link that connected her to Usagi. Usagi, who is she? After a short pause, the half-demon was bombarded with memories of a young girl, not older than ten, with bubblegum-pink hair and red eyes, as well as some information trickling across the link. I see.
Raven's amethyst irises focused on Mars. "We know of no such person," she replied calmly. "She is not with us."
"I led them here, old friend," Pluto's voice sounded behind her, calm and unshaken. "There is much I must tell you of, but —" The green-haired woman cut herself off, slamming the end of her key-shaped staff into the ground out of nowhere. "Show yourself, trespasser!" With a flourish of her weapon, she pointed it up at the air, the garnet coloured orb glowing furiously atop the staff. "A fish out of its water is always obvious — hide, and I will seek you out myself!"
A harrumph, then a flurry of mist appeared to reveal a familiar green-haired banshee. Esmaraude.
Raven's eyes slit, duplicating and turning a blood red. The sorceress was radiating a terrifying aura as her demon half slowly took over her. Her cloak billowed in an invisible wind as she glared at the harpy. "Esmaraude," she addressed coldly. "What do you want?" A subtle gesture of her left hand — the fingers gently smoothing over the edge of the blue cloak — had both Uranus and Neptune on their guard.
Esmaraude turned her nose up. "I don't answer to you," she stated imperiously, crossing her arms over her chest. "I answer only to my lord." Suddenly, her hand shot out into the air, palm out and gathering dark energy before she threw it at Sailor Moon behind both Uranus and Neptune.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Raven's hand shot out, pulling up a black shield, which swallowed up the dark blast of lightning. With a quick flick of her wrist, the lightning was redirected to the woman. "Uranus, Neptune!" she ordered, eyes glowing a pure white as she started to concentrate her powers on redirecting the blasts of energy that the green-haired woman kept on sending at the group.
Robin took his mantle as the leader of the Teen Titans, quickly shouting out formations, commands, and orders to the original Titans as they flawlessly worked to defeat the green-haired harpy. "Cyborg, to her left! Beast Boy, the back! Star, the skies!" The masked Boy Wonder himself took out his staff as he kept to the woman's right.
Uranus collected energy in her hand, then slammed it into the ground. "World Shaking!"
Neptune followed suit, blasting energy from her gloved hands. "Deep Submerge!"
The Titans attacked Esmaraude in a smooth formation, the green changeling morphing into a rhino and charging at her. Starfire threw a barrage of glowing green starbolts at her, then blasted her with thin green beams from her eyes. Robin aimed and flung an explosive bird-a-rang at her, then Cyborg followed up with a well-aimed shot of his sonic cannon, ripping through the explosive and slamming into Esmaraude at the same time.
All the attacks connected, tossing the woman about like a rag-doll before had a chance to retaliate. "Gah!"
"Moon?" Raven offered, glancing over her shoulder at the blonde.
Sailor Moon shook her head. "You can take it," she said quietly, gripping her wand.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" A black raven shot out from the pale sorceress' fingertips and shot out, flying at Esmaraude, making the woman gasp and scream as it connected.
"Ugh!" She screamed out again and turned, attempting to attack, but was stopped by Pluto pointing her staff at her.
The dark green-haired Senshi smoothly replied, saying, "As you can clearly see, you're outmatched. Run before we resort to drastic measures."
Esmaraude looked around, then finally, her eyes landing on Raven and Moon, and she cursed, muttering a threat as she vanished into a burst of mist.
"That was rather anti-climatic," Beast Boy muttered once he returned to human form, dropping onto the ground.
"Indeed," Pluto agreed. "Now, as I was saying, I have much to tell you all about. If you would all just follow me..."
Raven tuned out the rest of Pluto's dialogue and moved over to Moon. Usagi, what's the matter?
It's them. They're staring at me.
Amethyst eyes flicked over to the group of Senshi, who indeed were staring wide-eyed at the blonde Senshi. I see. Almost comfortingly, the sorceress took Sailor Moon's hand in hers and squeezed gently. It's okay. They're not going to be able to do anything, sister.
Sailor Moon swallowed nervously. Yeah... sister.
Sailor Pluto had been alive for many years. Millennia, more accurately. The guardian of Pluto had seen many great kingdoms rise and fall — even orchestrated some of the proceedings behind the scenes. Alexander the Great, Rome, Cleopatra. All those had been the result of a little meddling on her end. The protector of the Time Gates had seen it all, nothing more was new.
The green-haired soldier of time and space brought her Garnet Rod up, the glowing light from her Talisman, the Garnet Orb atop her precious staff, lighting the way for the large group as she led them through the curling, hazy mists of time that surrounded the fabled Gates of Time. The Gates could be seen in the distance, and Pluto was confident enough to lead the group through the confusing fog even without the light of her Orb.
"So, there are the legendary Time Gates," Raven said in a smooth voice as the large group walked through mist and fog to arrive at two doors decorated with crescent moons.
"Yes, indeed, Selenity," the garnet-eyed woman agreed. "Welcome to the Gates of Time and Space." With a gesture of her white-gloved hands, the mist cleared up, revealing the doors more clearly. The tense atmosphere remained, though, as did the occasional glances between the Titans and the traitorous Senshi. "The time has come!" she announced dramatically. "The past, the present, the future, all will come together soon."
Or would it?
Hopefully, it would. Pluto knew many things, but none of what she knew involved herself. Contrary to the beliefs of the ancient Lunar court and the Guardian Senshi of Crystal Tokyo, what lay behind the gates was not a viewing window into the complex and confusing maze of time. No, it was, in fact, a gateway, as its name suggested — a gateway to and from the Corridor of Space-Time, which was the very place they were journeying through at the moment.
The mists, however, were another story. They were what truly allowed one to view the past, present, and future, not the gates. A clump of mist that stubbornly refused to back from sight was a dark, murky red, rather than the dusky pink and purple fog that was spread like a sheet over the invisible ground of the Corridor. The murky mist remained in place in front of the Gates to the thirtieth century, stubbornly refusing to diffuse. The Black Moon Clan.
It was a stain upon time, their ability to travel back in time. It corrupted the stream of time, and unfortunately, it would remain there forever. You see, time was not as simple of a concept as one would think. It was not linear, rather, it was almost paradoxical in nature. Everything that happened had a purpose, yet a single change in the path of time would completely render everything obsolete.
Pluto had learnt it long, long ago. Giving the doors of the gates a quick glance and frowning briefly, Pluto turned to face the entire group. "Indeed, the future," she said as if answering the unspoken question that was written all over the faces of some of the group. "You have lived through one life, and are now learning of another. Mystery shrouds the truth of the Silver Millennium, but the one who stands guard at these Gates is untouched by time. I watch all, see all, from my post here, and the past, present, and future is no mystery to my eyes."
That was the truth. Pluto had watched many things, from the fall of the White Moon to the rise of Crystal Tokyo, and yet, every day, the future of Crystal Tokyo would ripple at the edges, fray at the seams. The future was unstable, that was guaranteed, but never in her immortal life had Pluto seen something like this. Perhaps it was due to her own meddling, though.
The mist could observe all but its guardian — its largest flaw. It could let the guardian see the events from thousands of years into the future, but it would not let the Senshi see anything that involved her, purely because as long as she stood at her post, she did not belong in time, and as such, was incapable of being registered in the time stream. Even in past events that she had taken place in, there was no mention of her at all. Perhaps the people recognized her, remembered her, but time itself did not.
Sailor Pluto had yet to see if her meddling was truly why Crystal Tokyo was on the verge of vanishing, though. She would see soon. Brushing with a thin spiral of pink mist that slipped through her gloved fingers, the tall woman let herself peer into the past, back to the scene of the Senshi first turning on her precious princess. She could see nothing out of the ordinary... until she saw the grey fur at the edge of the scene.
The ageless woman frowned. That little kitten that had followed Small Lady through time — could that really have caused such a large disturbance in the future? Small Lady's key had already turned unstable once she had passed through time, strangely enough, and with the betrayal of the Senshi, it had shattered completely, reappearing on the chain that Pluto wore, and signifying that something was severely wrong with the pink-haired princess from the future.
The mists revealed nothing about it, however, and no matter how hard she looked, she could see no princess at all.
The betrayal must have caused a larger ripple than I first thought. The tall Senshi's garnet irises gleamed as she gave a larger-than-life gesture at the doors. "And now, the time has come for the truth to be shown to you all as well. Shall we commence?" she announced, forcing herself to remain calm
Robin was first to speak up, voice laced with well-hidden distrust that didn't escape the Senshi's years of experience. "What do you mean by 'commence'?" he asked warily, gloved hand inconspicuously reaching for his staff that was hidden in his belt. Yes, Pluto knew that he kept many weapons there. It was not hard to see.
"The full truth of the Silver Millennium, of course, and the truth of the Senshi's first clash with Chaos' forces," Pluto replied calmly, brandishing her key-shaped staff. "I'm aware that the princesses have told you what they know about it, but that's not very much, compared to the real truth." Was it wise to tell them that it was Chaos who was the cause? she wondered, looking carefully at the face of the elder princess of the Lunar Kingdom, carefully watching the impassive face for a hint of what the dark princess was feeling.
The sorceress was exceedingly good at hiding her emotions, however. Applause-worthy.
Pluto explained the concept of time simply, not wanting to overwhelm them with the information that had driven many crazy before. "— and now, I'll show you what I mean," the guardian of the gates finished calmly. Raising her staff up, the glowing orb atop her weapon flashed bright garnet, gleaming powerfully as the mist raised up around the group once more, devouring them in a mix of hazy colours.
Dusky pink swallowed the group, flashing images before Pluto's garnet eyes. Pink was the constant colour, one that signified the inability to change in the Corridor. The pink mist was that of the past, history that was set in stone. The familiar scenes of the Lunar kingdom played out before the one that had watched its rise and fall, and the guardian averted her eyes at the destruction of the kingdom out of respect and sorrow. Serenity's anguished scream for her sister was ringing in her ears, and Pluto had no wish to relive the moment that ended the once great kingdom.
The pink mist receded after a while, and gathered once more, though this time curling around the feet of the guardian of the Time Gates, obediently obeying her commands not to overwhelm the poor Titans and the Senshi, not that Pluto was feeling sympathetic towards the soldiers of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter as well as the prince of Earth for what they had done to Serenity.
The Titans looked mildly sick, and the Senshi had already lost their lunches onto the non-existent floor of the Corridor.
Pluto raised a thin brow. She would have thought that the Senshi would have stronger constitutions than that. Then again, she noted, Selenity was always a brutal fighter. A small smile crossed the soldier's mouth as she fondly recalled the calm, confident warrior that served as a Lunar Knight as well as the final companion of the four soldiers of the outermost planets.
Once the Senshi had gotten their stomachs back under control, the Senshi of Pluto tapped the end of her staff on the ground to draw their attention. "Ahem."
The Senshi of the innermost rings still looked sick, as did Endymion's reincarnation, but they looked at her anyway.
Hiding a chuckle, the green-haired woman pointed at the door. "Now, let us go. There is still much for us to do." Walking over, she tapped the end of her staff on the bottom of the door, opening the door to reveal a blindingly bright light. "Come."
Raven was the first to enter, with Sailor Moon by her side. Both sisters were sharing looks, and the older Senshi swore she saw the older of the two moon princesses take a glance back at her before the two entered the gateway. The Titans and the Senshi hastily followed, and Sailor Pluto walked behind them, already knowing the sight they would see.
"Welcome, to Crystal Tokyo."
Chapter 20: The Future
Sailor Moon's blue eyes widened at the desolate, greyed out town area. "C-crystal Tokyo?" she stammered. The blonde Senshi took a step back, a bit disturbed by the ruins of the Tokyo of the future that she saw scattered in pieces on the ground. "What happened here?"
Beside her, the purple-haired sorceress stiffened, tensing up as her cloak billowed ominously in the wind. "I don't like this," she hissed sharply, and the princess of the moon thought she saw four thin red slits from under the shadow cast by her drawn-up hood. A terrifying aura emanated from her, making the blonde flinch in mild fear.
The older of the two snapped her head towards the blonde, amethyst eyes locked on the Senshi of the Moon. What is it?
You were scaring me back there. What happened to your eyes? Sailor Moon clutched her Cutie Moon Rod nervously as she took a step forward. She shivered, gripping her weapon tighter.
Just... a foreboding presence.
"Something terrible," Sailor Pluto replied from behind the two reincarnated princesses. The tall guardian walked up to stand on Raven's other side. "The Black Moon Clan attacked Crystal Tokyo when it was in its prime." Her voice was solemn as she walked forward, holding her key-shaped staff in her gloved hand. "So many died, but the royal family suffered the most losses. Neo-Queen Serenity nearly died from over-exertion when she used the Imperial Silver Crystal."
"Neo-Queen Serenity?" Tuxedo Kamen's voice sounded up from behind the group.
"That's right." Pluto glanced out at the ruined city. "The ruler of Crystal Earth, alongside her beloved husband King and their daughter, Small Lady." The Soldier of Time and Space sighed heavily. "But enough about this world. Answers were promised, after all, and none will be provided if you just stay and just stand around here." The green-haired woman started to walk towards the looming crystal palace in the distance.
"Let's get a move on," Raven agreed, starting to walk after the mature woman.
"I'll get this back to normal," Sailor Moon promised herself. "I won't let this world be ruined."
After a beat, Sailor Moon started walking after the pale-skinned girl, her walking pace fast as she tried not to be left behind with the cats, the Senshi, and Tuxedo Kamen. "Raven, wait up!" The blonde could hear the other Titans, including Uranus and Neptune, heading after the two princesses. Her golden-blonde twin tails fluttered behind her as she walked beside her reincarnated sister at a fast pace.
As the group reached the palace, Pluto stopped abruptly and held her staff out like a barrier. "This is it," she announced. "I'm afraid that this is as far as I can go." She raised the staff and pointed it at the base of the palace walls. "Be careful," she warned, and just as Moon was about to ask why, a gossamer-thin barrier sprung up between the green-haired guardian and the crystal palace. The garnet-eyed guardian merely smiled and turned on her heel, vanishing instantaneously.
"Whoa!" Beast Boy yelled, jumping back as he shrank into the form of a cat and clung to Cyborg's face. "What's that?"
"Hey! BB!" The half-machine protested loudly and ripped the cat off his face, holding it by the back of the green feline's neck. "Watch it, Gar!"
The changeling shifted back to human form, still raised roughly half a metre off the ground by Cyborg's large hand on the back of his neck.
"This is... a protective barrier," Mercury's voice sounded up from behind the Titans. "It's powered by planetary signals that are quite close to ours," she reported.
Sailor Moon walked up to the barrier and much to her surprise, the barrier separated to allow her through. "What the..."
Raven walked right after her, and as her hands glanced over the barrier, it tore a hole open which sealed shut as soon as her hands left contact with it. "Looks like it's attuned to the Lunar bloodline," she noted. "Come on, hurry up and enter. I'm not sure how long it'll keep open."
The original Titans didn't need any more prompting, and the four heroes headed into the palace through the barrier.
Uranus and Neptune just looked at each other, then walked up to the barrier. The blonde put a gloved hand on the barrier, and it phased through the glimmering barrier easily. "I think it's more accurately attuned to the powers of the Senshi that served the White Moon," the sandy blonde woman noted.
Sailor Moon barely heard the agreement of the aquamarine-haired soldier of Neptune as she entered the darkened palace, shadows cast by the walls when moonlight hit the crystal making her shiver as she walked closer to Raven. The sound of her heeled red boots clicking on the smooth crystal floors didn't help either, as it echoed eerily in the empty corridor, sounding much louder than it rightfully should.
"This place is creepy," the blonde muttered in a low tone, gloved hands gripping her Rod carefully just in case she needed to attack something. She rocked back and forth on her heels whenever Raven stopped and held a hand in front of her as the older of the two looked around a corner before the group moved on. The corridor on the path the took was shut off, one could say, only having one possible pathway while having many twists and turns as it led to somewhere.
"Who's there?" A soft, masculine voice echoed in the corridor as Raven suddenly stopped in front of the blonde princess. The voice sounded oddly familiar, though Sailor Moon couldn't quite place her finger on it... A flash appeared in front of the two Lunar princesses, and a tall man in a pure white tuxedo appeared. No, not a man — a hologram, like the one Queen Serenity had used to communicate with her before.
He wore a domino mask, as well as a pale lavender cape that hung from his broad shoulders. His black hair looked unkempt, messy, and sharp, devastatingly familiar blue eyes looked out from behind the mask...
"Mamo...ru?" Sailor Moon whispered
Tuxedo Kamen had seen a lot in his life. In hindsight, seeing a future version of himself shouldn't have been so surprising.
"Usako," the man in the holograph said with a gasp of shock. "How — you're still asleep!" He took a step forward, gloved hand reaching out to her, but he phased right through her. Standing back, the masked man glanced down at his hands. "Oh. Right."
"Mamoru-san," Sailor Mars whispered to him, tugging lightly on his sleeve. "I-is that really you?" The soldier of Mars, standing right behind the prince, was wide-eyed.
The black-haired man shrugged. "I don't know," he murmured back. "But it looks like that's the case. He even calls Usako the same thing I do."
"Who are you?" The other black-haired male from the people from Jump City spoke up, looking wary. The domino-mask wearing boy in the colours of a traffic light stepped up, voice laced with distrust.
The holographic man smiled sadly. "I am King Endymion of Crystal Tokyo," he replied softly, still looking at Sailor Moon. "The husband of Neo-Queen Serenity, and father of the first princess Usagi Small Lady Serenity."
"Small Lady?" The Senshi looked at each other, and Venus smiled widely. "This is great!" she cheered in a hushed whisper. "Fate wants you and Usagi-chan to stay together!"
Tuxedo Kamen, the four Sailor Soldiers, and the two Lunar felines closed into a group, beginning a hushed discussion.
"This future is our future, isn't it?" Jupiter noted. "This is wonderful! Usagi-chan doesn't have to be with those strange people and get her mind poisoned by that freak in the cloak. You and Usagi-chan are going to be together, and you're going to rule the kingdom of Earth, and have a kid. What's better than that?"
"I agree," Mercury said clinically, blue eyes wandering over to their beloved golden princess. "Usagi-chan needs to be away from those upstarts if she is to end up as a queen. She's simply not fit to be saving the world like she's trying to do now."
Mars harrumphed. "Oh please, Usagi-chan is barely able to be a princess," the black-haired Senshi pointed out, violet eyes flickering with fire. "She'll need us to help extensively if we want this golden age to exist. I mean, she doesn't need to stay in Japan. We can ask her mother to let her stay with one of us here again, and if Tsukino-san doesn't agree again, well, we can always resort to desperate measures."
Luna hopped onto Tuxedo Kamen's shoulder. "Mars is right," she agreed in her usual calm voice. "Now that we know that Usagi-chan is destined to become a queen of a great kingdom, she needs to be safe and protected at all times, not out here and joining a group that recklessly allows her to fight."
Artemis nodded calmly. "That's right. We should ask about Chibiusa-chan," the white feline noted. "He's her father, so he should know where she is, right?"
Jupiter nodded. "Yeah." Breaking the group, the tall, Amazonian-like girl turned to the king in the holograph. "Is Chibiusa here?"
"Chibi— you mean Small Lady?" the masked ruler asked warily. His hand closed into a fist. "Small Lady... she's... not in good condition." The dark-haired man turned on his heel, his cape fluttering behind him as he walked off down the corridor. "Come."
Without a second word, the Senshi, the Lunar felines, and Tuxedo Kamen followed the king, eager to see the small, pink-haired girl again. Before long, the group entered a large, crystalline room, with a strange large piece of quartz crystal in the centre of the room. Tuxedo Kamen frowned at the out-of-place piece of crystal. What was it doing there? He took a step forward, stopping when he saw a clump of long silver hair suspended in the crystal.
"Usako," King Endymion said softly, walking closer to the crystal. He put a flickering hand on the case that instantly phased through the solid quartz. The masked king sighed, but he still didn't move from the spot where he stood. "They're here."
Tuxedo Kamen shared a look with the Senshi as he started walking carefully towards the quartz crystal. What he saw made him stop in his tracks. "Usa...ko?" He gaped.
The girl — no, the petite slip of the woman — was pale with silver-hair, the long, almost white, silver locks pinned up into Usagi's signature buns and pigtails style, but even if she had been without the trademark hairstyle, the masked prince would have still been able to recognize the face of the slightly older Usagi. What really caught the young man's eye, however, was the pale, cotton candy pink hair beside her that faded out of sight occasionally before returning.
No, it couldn't be... could it?
Mamoru Chiba prayed deeply that it wasn't what he thought it was and slowly walked over to the crystal's other side.
A small girl, curled up in the fetal position, with pale pink hair that was pulled up into two large pigtails on either side of her head lay beside the unconscious woman, small form fading into nothingness before abruptly returning to solid form in front of the shocked man's eyes. "Chibiusa?" he asked, gasping. The young girl continued to appear and disappear at intervals that were almost random, and once she vanished for a beat too long, Tuxedo Kamen panicked before she returned back.
The crystal wasn't any random fixture, the masked man realised. It was a coffin.
"So you've finally seen her." Pluto's wary voice sounded out as the woman's heels could be heard clicking on the floor. The dark green-haired woman walked to stand by Sailor Moon and the hooded girl, giving a polite bow to the masked man in the white suit. "King," she greeted cordially.
"Pluto," the ruler replied back, tone heavy and tired. "You left the Gates."
The Soldier of Time and Space merely displayed a mysterious smile to the king and cast a glance over to the quartz coffin. "Rest in peace, Neo Queen Serenity," the Senshi said solemnly. "Your future will be missed. As will Small Lady."
King Endymion shot a wary look at the soldier. "What is that supposed to mean, Pluto?" he asked.
Pluto turned and smiled sadly at him. "The Black Moon Clan is the only linchpin that holds this time apart. Once they are destroyed — and rest assured King, their demise will come soon — your timeline will collapse on itself, effectively ending this future's existence. The smallest change in the past can change the future completely, such as a simple change in the decision of what to wear can change time so that you might not have survived that one fight." The garnet-eyed woman looked away from him and sighed.
"And with such a big change as the one created by these seven..." The guardian of the Gates of Time and Space turned to give a sharp glare at Tuxedo Kamen and the other Senshi. "... the future has changed drastically. You still live because of the Black Moon Clan's interference within the timeline, but once they are removed, there's nothing to stop you from fading." She shook her head. "My apologies, King."
The king chuckled weakly. "I see. So there's nothing that can be done about it." The hologram turned to the Titans. "I wish you luck then." Without further words, the holographic man vanished into the air.
"Wait, vanish?" Tuxedo Kamen finally found his voice, and he was quickly joined by the rest of the Senshi, also voicing their discontent with the green-haired Senshi's words. "No, that can't happen! Usako and I have a beautiful future, with a lovely daughter. You're trying to take it away!" he accused.
"I'm afraid I can't let you do that!" Mars yelled. "I'll protect this future!" Without missing another beat, she gathered her power in her hands and shouted, "Akuryo Taisan!"
Chapter 21: The Senshi Versus the Titans
A stream of fire was sent at the Titans, followed by shouts of, "Shine Snow Illusion!" "Rolling Heart Vibration!" "Supreme Thunder!", which were in turn followed by a snowstorm, a glowing heart, as well as bolts of lightning flying at the group.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Raven incanted, raising a wall made from a black shadowy raven, which quickly swallowed the attacks and rendered the energy harmless.
"Titans, go!" Robin ordered, pulling his staff out as Tuxedo Mask started his turn. The two masked males started a clash of poles, the top hat-wearing older male wielding a cane and the younger ex-disciple of Batman using his steel staff. When it came to power, the Raven was not completely certain of the Boy Wonder's physical strength, but when it came to skill, the walking traffic-light had it all.
Cyborg and Uranus had teamed up to perform a team attack. The half-machine used his sonic cannon at the Senshi while Uranus called forth her earthquake attack to make the traitors fall to the ground, opening them wide up to get hit.
Neptune followed up with a blast of energy from her gloved hands, then she joined Starfire's glowing green starbolts with blast after blast of energy, creating a blur of turquoise and green as the attacks flew at the Senshi.
Beast Boy charged at the group in the form of large animals, trying to herd them into a group so that the others could get them more easily. The green tiger roared loudly as it lunged at the Senshi.
"No," Sailor Moon protested in a low voice. "Please, stop that." Her small voice was drowned out by the sounds of energy blasts hitting the floor or their target, and the blonde shook her head, taking a step back.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Raven incanted, throwing up another barrier to deflect a bolt of lightning that had been aimed at her by the Senshi in green and pink. Annoyed and not a bit angered at the fact that these so-called guardians saw it fit to dictate someone else's destiny for them, the sorceress' eyes narrowed, engulfed in an opaque white glow that signified her magic at use. She raised her hands, covered in the black glow of her demon-tainted magic, ready to deliver another strike with her powers.
"Akuryo Taisan!" The black-haired Senshi of Mars raised her white-gloved arms into the air and directed a steady torrent of raging flames towards the Titans, manipulating the glowing red tongues of flame at the superhero team with an unnatural ease. Then again, what she was was already unnatural. "Mercury! Now!" she ordered, leaping into the air to avoid Uranus' World Shaking attack as it tore at the crystal floor.
The dark blue-haired Senshi nodded, raising a white-gloved hand to the side of her face and activating a transparent light blue visor that covered the top half of her face. "Sabao Spray Freezing!" She gathered her hands together, then as whiteish-blue bubbles began to froth, she threw her arms outward, turning the battlefield into a misty, fog-covered area. The temperature took a sharp drop to freezing, and while Raven did not feel affected, with the adrenaline coursing through her body, she was aware that Moon was starting to shiver a little.
"Sparkling Wide Pressure!" Jupiter's strong voice echoed out in the room as bolt after bolt of flickering blue lightning was shot at the Titans through the fog that miraculously failed to evaporate even though the lightning was rightly at a high temperature. The light from the electricity that was used as projectile briefly illuminated the fog enough for Raven to see that the Senshi were gathered together.
Sending that information through her link with Robin as she raised a shield, the half-demon girl saw the Boy Wonder flash her a thumbs up as he started making mental plans and calculations. Raven's ears picked up on the sound of a metal chain being unwrapped, the soft 'clink' audible to her ears, but judging from the shift in Beast Boy's pointed green ears and Starfire's frown, they had heard it as well.
"Venus Love-Me Chain!" A golden-orange chain cut through the mist following Venus' voice ringing out.
Before it could deal any true damage, Starfire shot over to the chain and grabbed it with her bare hands, letting the ends wrap around her wrist before she yanked on it. Hard. To the resounding yelp of pain on the other end, the alien told firmly, "I am sorry, but you must deal with the consequences of your actions, yes?" Without waiting for an answer to that, she brought her arms up, still holding onto the chain and then forcefully swung it down, sending a wave reaction through the length of the glowing chain. A thump could be heard on the other end as Sailor Venus was roughly smacked onto the ground.
"Nice hit, Star," Beast Boy said with a wide grin, exposing his canines. The green changeling shifted into the form of a polar bear, though his green fur did little to remedy the strangeness of his outward appearance. The polar bear growled lowly at the mist, turning to where the Senshi were, sharp nose seeking the group out with ease. He glared sharply at the direction, letting the Titans know that they were in that general area.
"Good job, BB!" Cyborg cheered in a low tone. Changing his arm to his sonic cannon, the half-machine grinned widely as he took aim at the Senshi. The blue light that lit up the weapon gathered at his arm, then it cut straight through the cold mist and fog to reveal the group of seven, just standing there like deer caught in headlights as the neon blue laser shot through the fog at them. "Eat sonic cannon!" the man announced proudly.
"Get down!" the man in the tuxedo yelled out. "Now!"
The group all scattered like dust being blown by the wind, though one of them wasn't as lucky. The blonde, blue-eyed soldier in orange and blue was caught by surprise when she nearly tripped over a crack in the crystal floor and fell to the ground, luckily avoiding the brunt of the attack, though several inches of her golden blond locks were shaved off. "Ugh, seriously?" she yelled, quickly getting to her feet as she eyed her burnt-black strands of hair. "Hair damage like this can't be repaired, you know!"
"Get the sonic ready, Cyborg," Robin ordered in a low whisper as he discreetly pulled out an explosive projectile from his weaponry arsenal — not that it mattered, since once Cyborg's sonic cannon vanished, the mist gathered once more and blocked their sight again. "I've got the boom."
The half-machine man nodded in understanding, the old code-name for their combo ringing familiar as always. Raising his arm once again, he readied himself for the masked superhero's throw, and once the Boy Wonder flung the bird-a-rang into the air like it was a discus, targeting the area where the changeling directed him to, Cyborg activated his sonic cannon, the blue light once again tearing through the layer of mist and fog to punch into the explosive projectile,
As was expected, the explosion lit up the room.
Sailor Moon had had enough of the fight, though. Closing her eyes, she shouted out, "Stop! Stop fighting! Now!" The golden brooch on her bow flared right up, burning a blinding silver that quickly filled the room.
Raven could feel the dust stirring up in the room, a sharp stab of pain appearing on her forehead. She winced, furrowing her brow.
Once the dust settled, the fog was gone. The Senshi were mostly unharmed — mostly because Venus' hair was scorched and she was scratched from being thrown around earlier, Mercury looked to have a couple of scratches, and the man had lost his top hat in the midst of the chaos. His cape, however, was also smoking like it was about to burst into flames. Endymion finally dropped the cape and looked at Sailor Moon with a frown.
"Usako," he started, sounding almost pleading. "Please, come back to me. To us," he said, gesturing to the rest of the Senshi.
"Yeah! Usagi-chan," Jupiter stated confidently as the brunette walked forward, holding out a gloved hand. "You're our princess. You deserve better than those freaks."
Sailor Moon's teeth grit when she heard that, and the blonde's hands curled into fists. "Stop!" she yelled. "Don't you dare say any more! The Titans are not freaks!"
"They're probably droids in disguise!" Mars shot back. "Just look at them! They look like droids!"
"They're not droids!" Moon yelled out angrily. "I'm never going back to you, not after what you did to me!" Without another word, the blonde turned and ran out of the room through another doorway, moving so fast that Raven was surprised. Before anyone could react, the princess had left the room, not even the ends of her long pigtails in sight anymore.
"You people are pitiful," Raven growled, crossing her arms over her chest. "I don't understand why she even liked you in the first place. "I shouldn't have expected much more from traitors, though." Her violet eyes narrowed, and she could physically feel them turn into four red slits as the group took a step back, shocked expressions on their faces. "I'd consider a crime against a princess to be treason, and all of you are certainly guilty of doing so."
Ignoring the looks on their faces at her cold declaration, the sorceress forced her eyes back to normal as she headed after the blonde.
Starfire frowned deeply at the Senshi. The princess failed to understand the actual concept of why exactly they were protesting the events that were scheduled to take place. According to Sailor Pluto, anyway, everything that happened had a purpose, yes? At least, that was what she had managed to grasp from the already complex concept.
The orange-skinned alien touched down onto the cracked crystal floor, large green eyes intently staring as Raven left the room, chasing after Sailor Moon with her blue cloak fluttering behind her. With a frown, the red-headed princess recalled the way her friend had rebuked the other group and the word she had used.
Yes, what they had done was most likely treason. After her sister, Komand'r, had betrayed her twice, the older of the duo had been permanently banished from their home and exiled by her order. Certainly, it had stung, but the alien princess supposed she had done the right thing. Even if she hadn't, Blackfire would have been sent away by Galfore at the very best and publicly — and very messily, might she add — decapitated in front of the whole kingdom. Not a fate that she wished for her sister to experience, even for as bad a sister as Komand'r had been to her.
"You people are unbelievable!" Robin snapped at them, bringing out his staff and expanding the steel pole to its full length. The masked boy slammed the end of his blunted weapon onto the floor, creating another minor crack.
Starfire tuned out the rest of her leader's speech as she frowned, thinking back on what they had said. Freaks, they had called them. There was a similar word in her native tongue, though as did most of her language's words, it translated more towards 'weakling'. The alien's green eyes glowed in mild anger at being called that and the red-haired princess walked up to stand with the rest of her friends. "These people are not very agreeable," she noted with a frown.
"Not very agreeable?" Beast Boy made a strange face as he turned back into his human form. The green-skinned changeling shook his head as he stood i between her and the even taller Cyborg. "That's kind of an understatement, Star."
"Yeesh, BB. 'Kind of' is already an understatement." The half-man, half-machine snorted as he crossed his arms over his metal chest.
Robin finished up his harsh rebuking of the Senshi and stormed over, fuming as he retracted his staff. "Those people are complete hypocrites," he ground out, and even under his mask, Starfire could see the subtle twitch in his face. "We need to go and look for Sailor Moon and Raven."
"Already on it!" Sailor Uranus called from the corridor where the two members of the Titans had left through. Sailor Uranus was standing with Sailor Neptune, who was looking through the corridor. "They went through here —"
A loud scream suddenly pierced through the air, and the hologram of the masked king suddenly reappeared. "What happened?" he demanded.
Starfire shot into the air. "That is Sailor Moon!" she exclaimed. "We must hurry to them! They must be in danger!" The alien quickly started flying towards the direction of the scream. "Quickly!"
All of the Titans quickly dashed off after her, all preparing to fight as they made a frantic sprint towards the outside. "Raven!" Robin yelled, very obviously concerned about their pale-skinned friend.
"Princesses!" Uranus and Neptune echoed in unison as they ran along with the group. Both moved in sync, sprinting in the front of the group, under Starfire, as she flew through the air.
Starfire was sure she heard the other group running after them, but she concentrated on happy thoughts as she sped through the air. Her red hair was blown back behind her as the alien narrowed her green eyes. "Are we at their location yet?" she yelled.
Cyborg checked his arm, his metal feet making large thumps on the crystal floor. "Rae's comm is just outside!" he shouted back. "We're almost there!" The large man turned the sharp corner as the two Senshi sprinted around the turn. The half-machine skidded to an abrupt stop when the groups reached the outside of the palace. "What the... where are they?"
"Raven's cloak!" Beast Boy yelled, changing from a green hawk into his human form as he ran over to some pieces of torn blue fabric and golden shards. "Look!"
The masked leader of the Titans stopped at the green changeling's side, picking up a torn blue scrap. "This is..." He took a close glance at the blue cloth. "Raven's cloak. And those shards are from Sailor Moon's tiara," he realized. The black-haired boy closed his hand into a fist, staring into the air. "What happened here?"
Chapter 22: Escape from the Black Moon
Her head hurt.
Usagi winced as her eyes opened to be assaulted by light. "Ouch," she mumbled. "My eyes." The slender blonde made a face as she slowly sat up, finding herself in a very large room decorated in colours of dark blue and pristine white, on a large, comfortable bed that resembled Starfire's bed back at the tower. It was covered in soft, smooth sheets in white, possibly made of silk, from what the blonde could tell.
She felt odd, though, as she slowly sat up, feeling the smooth satin of her dress shift as she held her hand to her head — wait, her dress?
Usagi hastily looked down, bright blue eyes widening in shock as she saw the pale blue, white, and gold dress that bared her shoulders to the cold, chilly night air. "What? Where's my uniform?" she panicked, realizing in her haste that her transformation brooch was also gone from her, along with her signature red and blue sailor suit. "Where's the brooch?"
The princess freaked out, quickly groping around to try and find the golden transformation item that housed the Illusionary Silver Crystal. "Where is it?" she asked herself, scrambling over to feel for the cool metal of the bejewelled golden brooch. "Where is it?!" The tips of her fingers brushed against something cold, and she instantly tossed away the soft, downy pillow and the pristine white covers to see her brooch. With a relieved sigh, she grasped the golden item firmly in her hand, clasping it tightly against her heart.
Good, it's safe.
Usagi relaxed substantially as her crystal weakly pulsed in response. The princess frowned — that was strange. What was going on with her crystal? Just as she was about to click it open to check on her precious crystal when a voice, low and masculine, echoed through the room.
"Enjoying yourself in your suite, my lovely queen?"
The blonde princess nearly screamed in surprise as she physically jumped, thankfully not letting go of her precious brooch. "Who's there?" she demanded, emboldened by the fact that she had her crystal with her. "Show yourself!"
A smooth laugh echoed through the room. "Ah... my lovely Neo-Queen Serenity," the voice said. A flash of black light, just like what she had seen before she had passed out, appeared in the room, and when the light faded, a young man with white hair was in the air above her bed. He was clad in a white suit, in a style that was faintly reminiscent of the style on the White Moon Kingdom of the Silver Millennium, with a dark purple cape draped over his broad shoulder. His features were handsome, striking, even, but his eyes were cold, almost menacing, and there was a hunger present in his features.
"My apologies," he said with a cold smirk, lowering himself to the ground and sinking into a deep bow when his feet was on solid ground. "Did I scare you, my queen?" He shook his head and walked closer, his cape dragging behind him like an ominous purple cloud. "No matter, my queen. I trust you are not harmed?"
Usagi warily shook her head, indicating that no, she was unharmed. "Who are you?" she asked, selectively choosing to ignore the fact that he kept calling her 'my queen' in a bizarrely low and husky tone. It scared her and was creepy on more levels than one. "Why am I here?"
Usagi, where are you? Raven's voice echoed in his head, and the blonde Senshi immediately recalled her sister.
Raven! I don't know, but there's someone here. Where are you? The blue-eyed princess gave the white-haired man a wary look.
Suddenly, the man crossed the distance between them and cupped her chin, forcing her to look up into his narrow, sharp face. "I am Prince Dimande of the Black Moon Clan," he introduced, a smirk on his face. "And as to why you are here? Well, that is of no importance." His grip suddenly changed and he forced her head to look upwards, straight into his cold violet eyes and the black, down-turned crescent moon on his forehead.
I don't know— There was a short pause in their link, then light groans from Raven's end of the connection. Sorry. There was a droid jumping me. Stay put — I can sense you. I'll find you soo—
"Now," Dimande whispered, voice low and husky, cutting off Usagi's concentration, "look into my eye!"
Wait, eye— Usagi's blue eyes widened, and she tried to look away, but the black crescent moon then dilated and turned into a third eye on his brow, one that made the princess feel drowsy just by looking at it. What's going on...? The edges of her vision were rimmed with violet haze, and her thoughts were sluggish, making it hard to even process what was going on. Clumsily, she reached out to push him away, but her hands felt like lead, too heavy to even move.
Please... stop... she thought as she tried to move again. She faintly registered her had being tilted back as the white-haired man leant down, a smirk on his face. She was pulled up, vaguely feeling his arms snaking around her waist and pulling her up, closer to his body. His grip was painful on her, not giving her an inch to move as he leant in closer and closer. I need to fight him off... but... how?
Her hand slowly closed around the golden brooch in her clasped hands. I have my brooch, she realized. My crystal. As if on cue, the Illusionary Silver Crystal flashed blinding silver in the brooch, then burst out with a flood of light, making the man let go with a string of curses. Immediately taking the chance, Usagi raised her arm over her head, opening the brooch to reveal the gleaming crystal inside.
"Moon Crystal Power, Make Up!" she invoked, but to her astonishment, nothing happened. There was no spark of light, no shower of warmth. Nothing. Bringing down her brooch to look at it in surprise, Usagi shook her head and quickly tried to transform again. Nothing. Frustrated, the princess picked up her skirts and did the first thing she could think of — running.
The satin of the dress proved to be a nuisance though, and the blonde cursed the fabric as she headed towards the doors, trying to get to them before the white-haired man recovered his senses. The long skirt impeded her usually fast running speed, and the girl had to start ripping at the fabric to be able to run. She was so close!
As she lunged for the doors, arms wrapped around her and Usagi lashed out, hands striking back to hit Dimande. Successfully, she caught him in the upper chest and he freed her with a grunt of pain. Usagi tried to reach for the door once more, but she was spun around by the man so that their eyes made contact.
"You really are feisty, aren't you, my queen?" he breathed in her ear, making the blonde shudder in disgust.
"Get off me!" Usagi shouted out, kicking him in her ripped dress. Her hands clasped her golden brooch tighter as she beat his chest. The petite girl's frame didn't offer her much leverage in the way of physical strength, regrettably, and the soldier of the Moon was in no way able to win a physical fight against a man. "Let me go!"
"I'm afraid not, my queen," Dimande replied, and without warning, the crescent moon on his forehead changed into the scary third eye once more, turning Usagi's mind to mush as she unwillingly relaxed in the prince's grip. "Now," his hand gripped her chin, forcing her to look up, "allow me." He leant down, intending to kiss her as his hand started to slowly tear the dress off her body.
He didn't succeed.
A black tendril shot out like an arrow from the side, cutting in between them and breaking Dimande's concentration, along with the sound of shattering. Snapping his head to the side, Dimande's cold violet eyes narrowed. "Who's there?"
"I am." A very familiar, and very scary voice replied. It echoed throughout the room eerily, sounding like there were two voices overlapping each other. One was softer, more familiar to Usagi. The other was low, gruff, demonic-sounding. "Let her go. Now."
Dimande growled. "Where are you?" he demanded. "If this is one of your games, Wiseman—"
"I assure you, this is no game." Without warning, the entire room was cast into shadow and red flames began to lap at the bottom of the walls, stretching up to engulf the ceiling. From the fiery rage, Raven emerged, completely unharmed, but still missing her cloak. Unexpectedly, the flames stuck to her shoulders as she left the cover of the fire, and turning black, they melted into her dark blue cloak, hood up over her head and casting a menacing shadow over her face.
In the shadows over the upper half of the pale girl's face, four blood red slits could be seen, glowing with rage as the incensed sorceress took step after step forward. Raven had a sneer on her face, revealing unnaturally sharp teeth that Usagi knew weren't there on a usual basis. Her hand reached out to Usagi, but the Titan turned to face Dimande. "So?"
The white-haired man scoffed, eyes narrowed. "What's this? Do you think a mere illusion can scare me?" His third eye reappeared, but Raven didn't show any signs of being affected by it as she continued forward.
When she was within reaching distance of Usagi, her fingers suddenly lit up with her black magic and Dimande was completely enveloped in the black aura that encased her fingers. With barely a flick of her wrist, the man was thrown to the end of the room. Raven spared Usagi a passing glance, where Usagi caught sight of her sister's amethyst eyes for a split second before the four slits were back. "You dare to try and take advantage of my sister?"
As she neared Dimande, her size suddenly increased. Her cloak opened in the front, revealing an endless black abyss within, blood red swirls mixing with the black to create an ominous looking effect. From this black abyss, long black tendrils shot out, sinking into the walls and the floor around Dimande, just narrowly missing his head. "You will not hurt her!" The tendrils phased out of the ground to start curling around Dimande's limbs, slowly and threateningly dragging him back.
"Raven!" Usagi yelled. "Enough! We need to leave! Please, don't do this!"
As suddenly as her menacing appearance had come, it faded, and Raven instantly snapped back to her original appearance. Amethyst eyes made contact with Usagi's blue irises and the pale sorceress left the white prince alone. "You're right. What was I thinking, losing my temper like that?" The sudden change from the anger-laced tone to Raven's familiar dry monotone was slightly unnerving, but Usagi tried not to let it show.
"We need to escape from here. I don't know what's going on, but the crystal won't respond to me," the blonde said urgently. "I don't like this. It's draining my energy to keep itself powered now."
Raven's eyes narrowed. "Come on. We need to get as far away from here as possible." The sorceress grabbed hold of Usagi's wrist and started running down the corridor.
Usagi managed to keep up, though with a couple of small stumbles. The two girls raced through a maze of corridors, and though Usagi had gotten lost quite quickly, Raven seemed to know where she was going. Finally, they slowed to a stop in front of a room.
"Saphir!" Raven shouted. "We're here!"
The door slid open, revealing a young man with short blue hair, dressed in a blue suit of a similar style to Dimande's. Dark blue eyes were hard as stone, but the man looked somewhat relieved to see them both. He hid a scowl, that much Usagi could see, but he still looked strangely happy that the two were there. "Come," he told them, voice laced with tension. "I do not know what you have done, but I hope you did not inflict too much pain on my brother."
Raven rolled her eyes. "No physical injuries, but I wouldn't rule out mental scars," she replied dryly. "I have yet to thank you for driving off those droids."
Saphir shook his head, stepping out and shutting the door behind him as he started heading down a darkened corridor. "As much as I detest your blood, you were the only one capable of saving Serenity without brother becoming suspicious. If I hadn't come, you would have eventually freed yourself anyway." Without a glance back, he said, "Come on, if you wish to leave this place, we should not waste any more time."
Usagi instantly scrambled after him, while Raven strode briskly behind her, dark blue cloak fluttering out as the pale sorceress walked. After a while of silence, broken only by the sound of their shoes on the black floor, Usagi spoke up. "You said you hated our blood. Why did you want me to be saved?"
Saphir was silent, leading them through a maze-like passage. Only when they had reached the end of the passage, approaching the exit, did he speak up. "Because you two are the only ones who have the power to save my brother." His blue eyes stared first at Raven, then Usagi, then to the brooch the blonde clasped tightly within both her hands. "Though I am reluctant to have to rely on you," he said, distaste colouring his voice as a frown crossed his expression.
They stopped at the doorway that led outside, Saphir making way for them to pass. "My help rightfully ends here," he told them stoically.
Raven made to pass him, but she stopped and looked back, amethyst eyes glinting with a degree of curiosity. "You say we are the only ones that can save your brother. How?"
"By defeating Wiseman."
Chapter 23: The Black Moon's Story
"Wiseman?" The sorceress with the blue cloak asked, her eyes glinting from beneath the shadows cast by her dark hood.
Saphir wondered how it was that her eyes managed to stand out in the darkness of the shadows. Then again, the blue prince considered, she was a sorceress after all. There was no telling what she could do with her sorcery. He nodded solemnly. "Yes. The Wiseman. I don't know what exactly he is, but he has dark magic that only the Illusionary Silver Crystal can rival in pure power."
The blue-haired man shook his head and clasped his hands behind him. "I would hope that the two of you can defeat him and prevent him from returning for good," Saphir admitted. "It is a far-fetched wish, but it is more than nothing. The man walked closer to the exit, frowning deeply. "If you could possibly defeat him, I would forever be indebted to you, but I do not dare to get my hopes up." The blue prince sighed.
He was aware, in the corner of his mind that the shadowy adviser had plans for the duo, especially the White Moon's heiress, but the man was not completely sure whether he should mention it to them or not. Pinning them each with a stoic look, Saphir stated bluntly, "You should leave. Now. I do not know what my brother will do once he recovers, but I can assure you that it will not be pretty."
The sorceress made a contemptuous sound. "I've dealt with an inter-dimensional conquering demon. Your brother is not much of a threat to me," she said dismissively. "Nonetheless, we do need to leave. Usagi, hold on." She held her unusually pale hand out to her sister.
"Wait," the blonde said, taking both of her sister's hands in her own. Unexpectedly, she turned towards Saphir and held one of her hands out to him. "Saphir, right? Come with us," she invited, blue eyes earnest. "You helped us, so it's only right that we help you," the princess continued, smiling gently. "I don't want you to be in trouble."
"Usagi," he heard the sorceress warn. "He's still our enem—"
"Raven, please," the blonde — Serenity — interrupted. "Enemy or not, I don't like the way he's describing things. Something bad will happen when we leave, and I don't like the idea of leaving him here." She looked at the sorceress with pleading eyes, making Saphir somewhat surprised.
The legendary kindness of the Neo-Queen Serenity was rumoured a good many people, but Saphir had always thought of it as just that — a mere rumour. Now experiencing it first hand, the blue prince was taken aback, unsure of what to say as he silently observed the suddenly wordless conversation between the two sisters. Absently, he likened them to himself and Dimande, though in an opposite manner.
The older of the two was the blue-clad sorceress — Raven, she had been called by her younger sister — whereas he was the younger of the Black Moon Princes. However, both were devoted to their siblings, seeking out only the best for them. They were the other sibling's unofficial protector, both doing their duty from the shadows, though from what he had seen, the White Moon's elder princess — Selenity — did her duty from the literal shadows.
As for the other sibling, once again, the age order was reversed. The White Moon's heiress — their golden princess and future queen — was the one ruling in out in the open, as was his brother, at least, in the future it was. They served as the public face for their respective kingdoms, the heads of their governments, and the protector of justice.
He was suddenly aware that the blonde was looking at him and mulling over what his brother would likely do when the white prince learnt that he was the one that had freed the older Lunar princess, he made his decision. With a hesitant sigh, he gave the blonde a firm glance. "If I do, can you stop Wiseman for good?"
Serenity nodded confidently. "I am the protector of the weak," she announced, "and I will deliver justice."
For some reason, her bright smile and the confidence she exuded comforted Saphir.
Selenity took a step forward, her cloak billowing behind her. "If Usagi agrees, then I agree to it as well. Now come on," she ordered, holding out her pale hands to both of them. "We have to hurry."
Serenity took Saphir's hand and clasped it together with Selenity's, and in an unnatural black shadow that sprung up around the trio, a black, shadowy raven circled around them and swallowed them into its depths. In a quick, unsteady flash, they were inside the barrier that was surrounding the grand crystal palace of the ruling family of Crystal Earth.
"Ugh, my head," he heard Selenity mutter, releasing her hands and staggering a bit. "Usagi, let—" She cut herself off as she collapsed forwards.
"Raven!" Serenity yelped.
Saphir quickly lunged forward and caught her by the arm, slowly letting her down to the ground so that she could rest. He checked her pulse, noting that she had an erratic heartbeat, possibly from adrenaline. "She's going to be fine," he diagnosed. "I'm afraid I don't know why she collapsed, though."
"She lost it earlier," Serenity recalled, kneeling down beside her sister and pulling down her hood to reveal the sorceress' purple hair and pale face. "I think she overexerted herself." She looked into the corridor that was right in front of them. "I'm sure the others are worried about us." The blonde stood, frowning as she tucked a rogue strand of hair behind her ear. "I'm not strong enough to get her inside myself."
Saphir shook his head with a sigh, carefully scooping the unconscious girl with the purple hair into his arms, finding it relatively easy to carry her. "I'll do it," he informed her clinically. "Let's go."
The slip of the blonde led the way through the corridor, though there really was no need, as there was only one path. "Hey... Saphir," she said as she made her way through the darkness, clutching her brooch tightly to her. The crystal inside was giving off pulses of power, faint as they may be, but the blue prince sensed it nonetheless.
"Yes, Serenity?" he asked, absently adjusting his hold on the older princess. "What is it?"
The blonde bristled a bit. "Don't call me Serenity," she said with a frown. "I'm not Serenity." She huffed childishly, making Saphir raise a brow in surprise at the child-like behaviour she exhibited. The princess walked around another corner, her golden blonde hair highly visible even in the darkened corridors that were faintly lit by some unknown source.
"Very well," Saphir acquiesced, "I will refrain from calling you Serenity then, Sailor Moon."
She opened her mouth, likely to protest, but the girl sighed and shrugged. "I guess I can accept that," she mumbled, taking another turn. "I wanted to know why you're after Chibiusa."
Chibiusa? Saphir raised a brow in confusion until she amended to say the name of the pink-haired child of the Neo-Queen. "Ah. The Rabbit," he said, frowning. "Perhaps you should know of our... less than stellar history with Crystal Earth then. It's a long story, but if you believe you have the stomach for it, then I'll tell you."
"I can take it!" Serenity sounded irritated by that. Absently, he wondered why. Her voice softened, and the princess sighed, saying, "I need to know. Please, Saphir. Tell me."
"Well," the blue-haired man muttered. "It started quite some time ago," he recalled, eyes growing distant as he started recounting the story of their twisted little family. "The Earth had just reawoken from the many years of hibernation by Neo-Queen Serenity not long ago, and she was still adjusting to becoming a ruler in her own right. If I recall correctly, it was not an easy task. Her loyal protectors, the Sailors Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter, never strayed from her side even once, and her newlywed husband, King Endymion, was busy securing their influence and power.
"The new queen had her crystal used to 'purify' everyone who awoke with the end of the Great Slumber, fearing that some evil influence had been the reason behind the slumber and that it would corrupt the people. There was an unintended side-effect of the purification, however. Many of the purified lived longer, healthier lives, and for that reason, many were overjoyed.
"However... some did not take too kindly to what they saw as 'unnatural' and 'fake'. They protested the purification and staged multiple revolts, but none succeeded, all squashed by the Neo-Queen's protectors before they could start. It was after many, many years when the ruling family, who had seemingly become immortal, declared that all those involved in the revolt were a hazard to safety, not only to others but to themselves as well. After years of attempting to negotiate, the royal family gathered all those who had refused the 'purification' and banished them to a planet away from Earth, one known now as Nemesis."
Saphir took a pause from his story to look at Serenity, who had stopped in her tracks down the hall. He couldn't properly discern what it was that he saw etched on her features, but the blue prince was aware that she had a deep frown on her face.
"So Pluto was right after all," she murmured softly. "This future won't be saved." She shook her head and started walking again. "I'm sorry. C-can we continue?"
"I suppose. Now... the banished people, the inhabitants of Nemesis, were the ancestors of the Black Moon Clan. One day, they met a mysterious being claiming to have the power to help them win back what they had lost — the Earth, as it originally was. That being was Wiseman. Wiseman promised them the power to take back the Earth, and they accepted. That was when the Black Moon Clan was well and truly formed.
"Several generations had passed before the current members of the Clan as you know it now were born, and each generation grew more and more clueless of the ways of the Earth that we wanted to take back. Wiseman declared that it was time to attack Crystal Earth, and my brother, the head of our Clan, launched the siege. We had collected power throughout the years, due to Wiseman's Maleficent Black Crystal, and in one fell swoop, we descended upon the Earth."
Saphir sighed as he recounted the tale of the attack on the Earth. It was the first time he had ever seen bright flowers, the beauty of nature, and had felt the strong sunlight of the sun shine down on him. On Nemesis, where all was dark, sunlight barely made it to their home for more than an hour each day, and even then, it was weak. His first journey to the Earth was wonderful, brilliant, and their purpose was to destroy it. Inwardly, the blue prince had felt that it wasn't a good idea to ambush the Earth. He had suggested proposing a treaty, but his brother, under Wiseman's advice, had shot that idea down at once.
The bad feeling he had only amplified when their attack took place. He could remember the chaos as people started running for their lives as the Black Moon Clan laid siege to the palace. He remembered how the Sailor Senshi took to protect their home, fighting mercilessly in battle as they defended the Crystal Palace. He recalled how Neo-Queen Serenity herself had run out, wielding her crystal to protect her home, and how his brother has instantly been smitten.
The blue-haired prince grit his teeth. Damned queen, he thought with a scowl. "The battle was over after a couple of days. Crystal Earth won, but with heavy losses. Much of our family died as well, but there can be no war without death. The scenario you now see is the aftermath of it all," he finished, frowning deeply.
Serenity was silent for a while, then she spoke up once more, just as they rounded another corner. "We're almost there," she informed him. "I... don't know if you know this, but being in close quarters with that Maleficent Black Crystal isn't good for you. Its influence is like a taint — I can feel it. Maybe it's just my crystal reacting to it, but it's threatening."
Saphir merely blinked. "I see. And you wish to do something about it?"
Serenity nodded. "If you'd let me, at least. The Illusionary Silver Crystal could counter its effects and cancel it out, leaving you a blank slate, unaffected by either crystal's power," she said. "I won't ask you to let me use my crystal on you and purify you like Neo-Queen Serenity did, but the offer's at least on the table if you want a fresh start after this all ends."
Saphir looked at the petite girl with a scrutinizing glance. Curious, he thought. This girl barely even knows me, yet she offers help? The past is truly something odd, or perhaps this is simply the way people on Earth are. "I'll keep it in mind, Sailor Moon," he replied. Indeed, I'll keep it in mind. He watched as Serenity took another turn to reveal the room beyond them.
Maybe she truly does stand a chance against Wiseman, after all.
Chapter 24: Return
Robin was pacing the length of the ruined crystal room, black and yellow cape billowing behind him. The masked Boy Wonder had a semi-permanent-seeming frown on his face as he anxiously walked to and fro between the walls, gloved hands clasped behind him. Underneath the domino mask, the leader of the original five Titans was a worried mess, for both the missing Titan and her sister as well. "Damn it," he muttered gruffly. "Where are they?"
Behind him, sitting on a chair that he had found, was the Titan's second-in-command, Cyborg. The half-machine man had wires plugged into Raven's trashed yellow communicator, having managed to fix the item with what he had found lying around the castle. "Chill, Robin," the older man growled, tapping his control panel as he worked on tracking down Raven's location.
Unfortunately, Raven's cloak clasp had also been left at the scene, which meant that the only thing Cyborg could even try to track was the residual magic from the Titans' resident telepath.
The half-machine cursed, disconnecting the repaired communicator and setting it aside. The older man sighed and put his head in his hands. "I can't get a grip on her," he grunted. "I've tried everything, but it's not—" He was cut off by Raven's communicator starting to beep from Cyborg's programming. "Okay, now I've got a connection."
"What?" Robin all but demanded.
The Titan swiped up the communicator, connecting it in once more and starting to type away. "Rae's... close. What?"
"Everyone! I'm back!" Usagi's loud voice cut through the tension, and instantly, Uranus and Neptune leapt to their feet and rushed over to her, instantly checking to see if she was safe.
Behind her, a young man with dark blue hair and in a dark blue suit walked in as well, holding a blue mass in his arms. Briefly, as he entered the room, Robin caught sight of a flash of purple. Wait, purple?
"Raven!" Robin yelled. Instantly rushing over, he took the mass of blue, actually Raven's midnight blue cloak, from the man and adjusted her in his arms without much trouble. Raven was quite light, though not underweight, and it was easy to pick her up. The unconscious Titan groaned inaudibly and shifted in his hold, making the walking traffic light quickly adjust her so that she was in a comfortable position.
Without a second word, Cyborg marched over, the taller man taking Raven from the Titans' leader with ease. "We should get her to the hospital wing," the man said, frowning. "Though they probably don't have the technology that we have for Rae."
"I'm going with you!" Beast Boy called, running in with Starfire flying above him. "Star and I just had a walk around the castle to clear our heads, and we found the hospital wing. Badly trashed, but it's in operating condition."
The red-headed alien nodded in agreement, green eyes gleaming in worry as she descended to the floor. Clasping her hands together, the Tamaranean spoke, " Boy and I have managed to tidy the hospital wing up and I do believe that it is in the condition to hold Raven as she recuperates, yes?"
Cyborg nodded. "Right then," the half-machine said. "Come on, Star, Beastie. Lead me there!"
And with that, the trio left with the last member of the original five Titans, with a promise that Robin would be informed once Raven woke up. Robin wasn't concerned. He trusted each of his team with each other. They would do everything to help each other. Everything.
"You're one of the Black Moon Clan," a voice observed. "Why are you here? That battle, you won; my wife, nearly dead; my daughter, right beside her. You have no reason to be here." It was the man in the white suit — 'King', as Sailor Pluto had called him. The holographic man was staring straight at the blue-haired man that had entered after Usagi had done so.
Only then did Robin see the black crescent moon that was imprinted on the man's forehead. Just like the one Usagi and Raven have, only the opposite way around, he noted.
The blue-haired man frowned, but he didn't say anything else.
The holographic man's declaration was just like a wake-up call to the other group that Raven had called 'traitors'. The group had instantly leapt to their feet and the girls had prepared themselves to attack. The girl with the long black hair had a slip of paper in her gloved hand and was currently chanting something her breath. Without warning, she suddenly yelled out, "Akuryo Taisan!" She flung the slip of paper like a dart at the man.
"Wait!" Usagi shouted out, moving in front of the man with her arms held out. "Don't attack Saphir!"
"I got it!" Neptune called, then with a call of a name, she punted a sphere of energy that slammed into the paper, instantly crashing it off course and turning the paper attack to fire that was quickly put out.
"I— thank you, Sailor Moon," the man — Saphir — said, surprised. "I did not expect for you to do that."
A continuous stream of conversation in Japanese erupted from the other group, and in a unanimous decision, theystood their ground and prepared to attack.
The blonde didn't move from her position, but she looked at the three Senshi, two of which were official Titans already. "Hear me out!" she shouted, the golden brooch that was grasped tightly in her right hand glinting as it caught the light. It was a dangerous reminder of the crystal that hid inside, one that had power beyond imagination. It would not be a far stretch to say that that power could have defeated Trigon with ease, given that Princess Serenity had used it to destroy an entire solar system.
"Don't worry, princess," Uranus assured, cracking her knuckles as she moved in front of Usagi. "Those upstarts won't be able to do anything. As a guardian of Princess Serenity, I'll protect you."
"You took the words right out of my mouth, Ruka," Neptune agreed, walking to join the sandy blonde. The aquamarine-haired woman turned hard eyes on the group, visibly making them wince and take a step back. "Both of us will protect you."
Pluto tapped her staff on the ground, reminding the black-haired Titan that there was still one more Senshi left. She held her key-shaped staff confidently as she joined the other two Senshi in front of Usagi and Saphir. "Do make that three. Even though I am the guardian of the Gates, I am sworn to protect the White Moon, and that includes you, princess."
Usagi smiled gratefully, and Robin decided to speak up.
"Raven trusts in your judgement, so I'll do the same," he decided, walking over and extending his staff out. "And mind giving me answers sometime soon?"
"Agreed," the blonde said with a nod.
"So what will it be, traitors?" Uranus asked in a lazy drawl. "Four against five is hardly a battle. For you, that is." She gave a cocky smirk, crossing her arms over her chest.
The group murmured amongst themselves for a little while, and begrudgingly, they lowered their defensive positions, obliging to the silent threat to stand back or else from the sandy blonde.
"Well, now would be a good time as any to speak up," Pluto said simply as the four in front of the blonde broke the defensive formation they had gotten into. "I know what has happened, but the others should know as well. My position forbids me from speaking a word about it — a solemn taboo that must never be broken, lest I wish to face grave consequences for my actions."
Usagi nodded. "Right. But..." she looked down and frowned, "is there anywhere I could get a change of clothes? I don't feel like being in my Senshi form for the rest of the time that we're here."
"That, I can help with," Pluto informed. "I'll be back in a matter of minutes with some clothes. Neo-Queen Serenity hasn't changed too much physically from how you are now. Her casual attire should be able to fit you, though they may be a tad on the large side." Without another word, she left, her heels clicking on the floor of the room.
Robin followed the woman with his eyes, though they were hidden behind his signature domino mask, until he saw her walk out of sight. The leader of the original five Titans sighed and turned back to Usagi, already hearing her start to talk. Briefly, he glanced towards the man from the Black Moon Clan, seeing Saphir glance back at him. The masked boy merely kept his gaze on him, passively studying the man.
In turn, Saphir raised a brow at him, crossing his arms over his chest as he returned the unrelenting stare.
"—Raven burst in," Usagi was saying. "I don't know what happened back there, but she was really angry. Her eyes were red, and they were glowing." The blonde shuddered as she spoke.
Wow... haven't seen Rae act like that since... well, since we last dealt with Doctor Light, Robin considered, frowning mildly as he recalled the terrifying side of the dark Titan. He could still remember the last time she really lost it in front of him.
The four slit red eyes that glowed a bright, menacing red, visible from under the dark shadows cast by her hood, piercing through the darkness and like they could strike right through one's soul.
The sharp-toothed snarl that replaced her usual blank expression, baring much more teeth than was normal, a menacing reminder of how she could easily tear someone apart while like that and have nothing holding her back from doing it in the most painful way possible.
The taller-than-normal stature, with her dark blue cloak shifting to adjust, and the black tendrils that appeared from the depths beyond, a terrifying way of dragging her victims into what would likely be their prison, and the sheer power that they carried, likely able to crush buildings, heavy objects, and people alike with just one of the shadowy tendrils.
Robin was roughly dragged out of his memories of the scene when his communicator beeped.
"Robin, Rae's awake," Cyborg's voice was heard over the connection.
Robin nodded. "Got it. I'll be right over."
Usagi suddenly ran over. "Wait, can I come with you?" she asked, blue eyes earnestly looking at him. "I want to see how Raven's doing."
Robin nodded. "Sure. Come on, let's go."
Dimande's hands were shaking as the white prince of the Black Moon Clan slowly pulled himself to his feet. He was dishevelled, violet eyes empty and hollow as he stared at the ground. "What... what kind of power was that?" he rasped out weakly, looking blankly at the ground. His hand slowly balled into a fist. "She nearly killed me... Wiseman!" he snarled.
"Yes, Prince Dimande?" The shadowed advisor rasped.
"How did she escape? I thought she was trapped with the droids!" Dimande snarled, turning to glare at the cloaked man. His white suit was torn in the places that the black tendrils had wrapped around, with black scorch marks at the edges of the torn up fabric. His pale skin had faint burn marks where his clothes had been torn, and he was faintly shaking. "Saphir was in charge of that! Call him here, now!"
"I'm afraid I cannot do that, Prince Dimande. Your brother has left with Princess Serenity and her sister."
Dimande's purple eyes widened. "What?" he hissed. "You're lying! Saphir would never do something like that!"
"I would not lie to you, Prince Dimande. I have no reason to."
"Saphir..." The white prince of the Black Moon Clan snarled. "That traitor!"
Chapter 25: Confessions
She felt like there was lead weighing her down.
Raven's brow furrowed together as the Titan grimaced. Slowly, the purple-haired sorceress' eyes opened, and the girl sat up. "Ugh..." the demon's spawn groaned softly. "What happened?"
"Raven!" Starfire's voice was heard, loud and clear as always. The alien shot over to her side and the red-head offered a bright, perky smile. "You are alright, yes?" Earnest neon green eyes stared into Raven's dark purple irises, and for a short while, the sorceress was startled before she recognized it as her friend.
"I'm fine, Starfire," she replied in her usual curt manner. The pale girl picked up footsteps from down the hall, hearing both Usagi and Robin's voices slowly grow louder as the footsteps echoed in the hallway. The girl winced and reached a hand up to massage her temples. "My head hurts," the sorceress stated plainly in her usual monotone voice.
"Raven!" Usagi's voice suddenly rose in volume and the blonde slip of a girl entered the room in a run. The princess skidded to a stop beside Raven's bedside and the blonde smiled, relief in her blue eyes. "You're okay."
Raven saw Robin enter the room and lean on the door frame. The black-haired young man wearing the domino mask caught her glance and gave her a small smile and a nod of the head, signifying that he was glad she was alright. He didn't have to say anything — that glance spoke volumes. As did the relief she could feel pouring over their bond.
I'm okay, Richard, she assured him over the link. Just a bit exhausted.
I'm just glad you're alright, she heard. You need to rest. Do you need us to head out?
I have to talk to Usagi privately, but... well, could you stay? My head doesn't hurt as much when you're around.
Raven was a bit surprised — of the original Titans, only Cyborg had ever called her by that name up until now, excluding Beast Boy, granted. Nonetheless, she managed a small smile at Robin, and the purple-haired sorceress slowly made herself more comfortable on the sterile white bed. She gave each of the other Titans a small, reassuring look as they passed, nodding as Cyborg told her to take care of herself. "I will," she replied.
It wasn't long before only Usagi and Robin were in the room. Robin had leant himself on the wall opposite the bed, and the petite blonde had found a chair to sit on. The blonde was holding Raven's hand as she looked at her for any injuries. "You're just tired, right?" she asked again, wanting to affirm that she was okay.
"Yes," Raven affirmed patiently. "I'm fine. I just overexerted myself earlier. I'll be back to normal in a couple of hours." The pale girl pushed aside the covers, finding them obstructive, and settled into her usual meditative stance. It was much better — much more comfortable than having to lie straight. Her powers kicked in and she levitated a bit off the surface of the bed as she started murmuring her usual mantra in a calm, even tone.
Usagi nodded, the blonde absently playing with one of her long pigtails as she fell silent. It was a blissful couple of minutes of silence that passed, with only Raven's repetition of her mantra disrupting the blessed silence. Finally, the blonde Senshi of the Moon broke the silence. "Raven?" she asked slowly.
Raven stopped her meditation and cracked an amethyst eye open to look at her younger sister. "Yes, Usagi?" she asked patiently. "What is it?" Intently, the pale girl met the blonde's blue gaze, absently wondering what she wanted.
"What happened back there?" Usagi blurted out, staring back at the Titan. "Back in that room. You were acting so... unlike yourself."
The purple-haired sorceress winced, feeling like cursing. She had lost her temper pretty badly against the white-haired upstart that had the nerves to try to take advantage of her sister. Not even Doctor Light had been on the receiving end of that degree of anger, and she had only gotten angry with him twice. For that man to have upset her so badly by just what he did... Raven wondered if she was just being protective of Usagi or if Rage was on a rampage again.
It was something that she would have to check on when they returned home, the Titan decided. But not now. Now, she had to answer Usagi's question. She opened her mouth, about to answer, but her masked leader beat her to it, stepping forward.
"It's because of her father," the black-haired former sidekick to the infamous Batman replied smoothly.
Raven sighed. "Yes. My father, Trigon the Terrible. An inter-dimensional demon who conquered, vanquished, and enslaved multiple worlds." Her voice was flat when she spoke about her dreaded father. She very obviously had no love for the demon that had sired her, and it showed in her prominently disgusted tone.
"Demon?" Usagi sounded dumbfounded.
Raven didn't blame her. Not even in the Silver Millennium had people believed in actual demons. "Yes. A demon," the purple-haired girl replied. "So I am half-demon. My mother was human, but she was taken into another dimension. It's how my powers originated." She stopped levitating in the air and lowered herself onto the bed again. Both her eyes opened and the girl settled out of her meditative pose.
The pale sorceress adjusted her position on the bed, watching impassively as her sister took in the information. "I know, it's hard to digest," she said simply, used to the reaction.
Robin cleared his throat, breaking the tension. "Raven, can I talk to you?" Giving Usagi a side-glance, he added, "Alone?"
The blonde immediately got the gist of his statement and stood up. "I'll just leave you two to talk then," she said. Squeezing Raven's hand, the younger of the two said, "I'll be with Uranus and Neptune."
The purple-haired sorceress nodded, offering the blonde a small smile in hopes that it would cheer the girl up. It had the intended effect, and the blue-eyed blonde exited the room with a bounce in her step. "So what did you want to talk about, Richard?" Raven asked, discarding formalities. The demon's spawn uncrossed her legs from the meditative stance and laced her fingers together to look up at her black-haired leader.
The masked former disciple of the infamous Dark Knight took a seat on the chair that was formerly occupied by the Senshi of the Moon. "It's about the team," he said automatically, and after a beat, he added, "and us." The boy offered her a small smile.
Raven raised an arched purple brow. "Us, Robin?" she asked.
Robin nodded. "Yeah... but first, the team," he insisted. The teen leant back in his chair, looking awkwardly down at his steel-toed combat boots. Oh God, jeez, this is awkward, she heard him think.
Subconsciously, her lips twitched into a little smile. It appeared that the masked leader still hadn't figured out that his thoughts could spill over to her through their bond. Her amethyst eyes gleamed with mild amusement as the pale sorceress took it into consideration. You remember the old rule of no mentioning religion and deities in front of each other, right? she sent through their bond, chuckling a bit.
In an almost comical fashion, the boy wearing the domino mask seemed to stumble back on the chair, and the very edges of the black-and-white mask widened a bit in surprise that was practically pouring over his bond to her. You can hear me? I'm not even concentrating on the bond!
Trigon's defeat solidified my powers. Though he was correct in saying that my powers came from him, now that he is no longer in existence, his powers have channelled into the only remaining evidence that he was once real. The pale-skinned girl offered a soft smile at the black-haired boy. Haven't you noticed how my powers have drastically increased? With an aside glance, the entire bed she was sitting on suddenly levitated, as did Robin's chair, bringing them both into the air.
Whoa! Robin looked down at the furniture, noting that the black aura that was usually surrounding it was barely even visible. How are you doing that?
Raven smiled, letting them both down. "Hiding my magic is a much harder task than simple levitation," she said with a chuckle. "I've been practising it for weeks now. What do you think?"
"It's amazing, Rae," Robin said with a smile back, getting comfortable on his chair again once it was firmly on the ground. "So... erm... the team."
"Yes, what about the team?" the purple-haired girl asked, tilting her head slightly to the side in curiosity.
"Well..." the masked boy started, scratching the back of his neck. "It's been how many years, four, five? Since we became friends and formed, that is," he added at the end. "We've all survived through a ton of things, from alien invasions to the end of the world as we know it. We've become pretty close-knit, huh?"
The half-demon girl merely nodded, not quite sure where her leader was taking this conversation. Quirking a brow, she said, "And your point... is?"
"We've grown close. We're a family, Rae," the Boy Wonder simply concluded. "We care about each other. We may be strange, bizarre, and sometimes even a little dysfunctional, but we're a family."
The sorceress nodded. "I understand what you mean. Cyborg is the older brother I never had. Beast Boy is the annoying younger brother that I wish I didn't have. Starfire... well, she's Starfire."
"And me?" Robin pressed, leaning forward and taking her hands in his. "What about me?"
Raven's brows rose to her hairline. "I don't... I don't know," she admitted. "You certainly don't act like a brother or father or anything."
The Boy Wonder gently squeezed her hands before he inhaled sharply, raising a hand up and peeling off his mask. Staring back at her with blue irises, he continued, "Rae, when I see you, I feel like smiling. When I'm next to you, I can feel my heart skipping a beat." Blue looked deeply into purple. "And that bond we have — I know what you're feeling, what you're thinking. I know you, inside out, and you do too."
"Richard..." Raven trailed off, looking at him in surprise. Her heartbeat was suddenly rising, and her emotions were talking rapidly in her mind. She reached out, firmly taking hold of her emotions and forcing them to calm down before she lost control of her powers. "We're close," she finished. "We've been through the most together. You were the one that came for me when I was lost. The one that convinced me to believe again when I believed all hope was lost. You have a way of bringing hope to me, Robin."
"And you keep me, the team, everything, together. You bring order and serenity while we balance out with chaos and craziness." He smiled, laughing a bit at the joke. "You hold the team together. Starfire may be the heart of the team, but we can't lose even one part, especially not you."
When did our faces get so close? Raven absently wondered, taking care not to let it enter their bond and let Robin listen to her thought. "And we can't be without a leader," she replied.
"I guess what I'm saying, Rae, is that... you make me sane. You keep me grounded when I need to be. You're the one that makes me smile, the one that understands me. And I think... I may be infatuated with you."
Raven's amethyst eyes widened. "Richard, you...?"
They quickly broke contact with each other when the door was slammed open by Cyborg. "Robin! Rae! You guys have to see this!" he yelled.
Robin looked over at Raven, who got to her feet and started heading towards Cyborg. Raven...
We'll finish this later, Richard, Raven finished. Let's see what's going on for now.
Chapter 26: A Visit From The Future
Usagi was standing in the throne room with Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune on either side of her. The petite blonde was talking in soft tones with the two soldiers sworn to protect her, and Pluto was on the edge of the room looking deceptively calm as always. "Ah, Pluto," the princess started, but was quickly cut off by the dark green-haired woman turning to the exit.
"My apologies, princess," the Senshi of Pluto said regretfully. "I have an appointment I have to attend in a couple of minutes. I'll be right back after I finish my business." The soldier in the black and dark red sailor uniform gave the princess an apologetic smile and brandished her key-shaped staff, walking outside. The hells of her dark boots clicked on the smooth crystal floor with each step, and even without having to look, Usagi knew when the woman had left the room when she could no longer hear the rhythmic clicking of the floor.
"Anyway," Neptune said, tucking a strand of wavy aquamarine hair behind her ear, "as I was saying earlier—"
"— you ain't funny, BB," Cyborg's voice cut in as the trio of Titans entered the room, first the two male Titans, followed by the red-headed alien drifting above their heads.
"I thought that was rather amusing," Starfire offered innocently. "Was that not of the 'funnies', Cyborg?"
"See, Star thinks my jokes are funny!" the green changeling said with a fanged grin.
"Yeah, and she doesn't understand Earth humour," the half-machine shot back. "No offence, Star, but she's like the only one that actually likes your jokes. None of the other Titans find you funny, and that's all of the Titans around the world. Especially Robin and Rae," he added at the end.
"Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire," Usagi greeted with a cordial nod. "Have you seen Raven and Robin?" The blonde absently toyed with one end of her long pigtails. "Robin told me he had something to speak to Raven about, and asked me to leave."
Cyborg's eyebrow rose in surprise. "Rob wanted to talk to Rae privately?" he repeated in surprise.
Usagi nodded. "Yeah. Any idea what he'd want to talk about?"
The half-machine man shook his head. " 'Fraid not, Usagi."
"Well, it was nice to know that Bird Boy wanted to talk to Selenity," Uranus quipped with a chuckle, a good-natured smile. "Now... back to the topic?"
Neptune nodded. "Ah, yes. Saphir, wasn't it?" the aquamarine-haired woman asked her lover.
Starfire frowned, floating over. "What about friend Saphir?" she inquired, having taken to the blue-haired man quickly, mainly because he had saved both Usagi and Raven.
"I dunno," Uranus said, running a wrist-length gloved hand through her short, sandy hair. "I mean, he just seems suspicious. He's supposed to be our enemy and all of a sudden, he up and says, "I'm going to help and I want to have this guy, who's basically helping my brother to kidnap you, defeated in return."
Beast Boy raised a green brow. "Well, that kind of sounds fishy when you put it like that," the changeling noted. "But if he saved Raven, then I'm pretty sure we can trust him. Besides, he's no match for the Titans anyway." He bared a little grin, exposing his left fang that poked upwards. "We can get him if he tries anything fishy," the Titan said confidently.
Cyborg gave a barking laugh. "Yeah, sure, BB," the man said with a chuckle, clapping the green changeling on the back with his large metal hand, making the superhero squeak and stumble as he fell forwards, which in turn made the metal man laugh harder as he held his chrome side.
Even Uranus cracked a grin and Neptune hid a delicate laugh behind her hands, while Starfire giggled innocently at Beast Boy.
Said changeling quickly flailed on the ground, switching from animal form to animal form as he tried to turn over and get up that way. He was in the form of a pint-sized green kitted when he finally gave up and switched back to his relatively human form, huffed as his green elfin ears twitched. "Can someone help me up?" he mumbled.
Usagi laughed gently and stepped forward, holding her hand out for him to take hold of so he could pull himself up.
"Thanks," he mumbled, taking hold of her proffered hand and getting onto his feet. The green changeling scratched the back of his neck. "So... erm, what now?" he asked.
"Now, one of you calls Richard and Raven," Cyborg interjected. Wait, no, that wasn't Cyborg. It was his voice though, but a tad deeper and sounding more mature.
Usagi turned around in surprise, seeing a half-machine man walking into the throne room of the palace, looking just like an older version of the Titan. Cyborg's blue and white circuits were white and light grey, but nothing else changed, except for a taller and more muscular build.
The other half-machine flashed the group a grin. "Whoa, it's so odd to see me like that after so long," he said with an amused chuckle. "And I haven't seen you in that costume since, like, ever, Gar."
"Oh shut it, Victor." Beast Boy's voice, deeper and a bit more aged, was accompanied by a green-skinned young man walking in, dressed in white and purple instead of his black and purple spandex jumpsuit. "I grew out of that silly outfit years ago."
"Silly?" Beast Boy whined, pointed ears turning downwards.
"Yes, Garfield, silly," a woman said in a voice similar to Starfire's, except a tad lower, floating into the room. Her bright red hair was hanging to her waist in length and green eyes were gleaming in amusement. The woman was wearing a purple and silver armour-like version of what Starfire wore, covering up her midriff and her shoulders. Her English was perfect, without a hint of Starfire's awkwardness. At this point, Usagi was fairly sure that the people she was seeing were the future versions of the Titans. "Quite silly, in fact. The mask made it worse, but at least you got rid of that before you were a Titan."
"Aw..." Beast Boy whined, pouting. "But I thought—"
"It looked cool and that it hid your secret identity." A man with shoulder-length black hair and a white, blue, and black outfit walked in. The domino mask gave it away that he was Robin's future self, though it wasn't too hard to tell, considering that the voice was nearly the same. He chuckled smoothly as he stopped once near the other three older Titans. "I remember that day."
"It was a very, very long time ago," Raven's voice joined in, though without as much audible change that Usagi could hear. A woman clad in a pure white cloak walked in, and once she joined the group of the future Titans, she pulled down her hood to reveal a grown-up Raven, with shoulder length dark purple hair. A small smile decorated her features, and the purple-haired woman chuckled softly. "Yes, quite a long time ago. It's been quite a long time since I've thought of that day when we first met," she commented.
"Whoa," Beast Boy exclaimed. "I just realized, but you guys are from the future!"
"Is it really that surprising?" Neptune arched an elegant brow. "We're in 30th-century Tokyo, and you're surprised that you've just met your future selves?"
Cyborg snorted. "Girl has a point, grass stain," the half-machine noted.
The green changeling from the future slapped his forehead and groaned. "Jeez... was I always this dim?"
The Cyborg and Starfire of the future started laughing, while the current Cyborg also guffawed in amusement.
"Yes, you were, Changeling," the future Robin said with a smile. "And you kind of still are."
"Am not!" the future Beast Boy, identified as Changeling, protested. "Uh... am I?"
The white-cloaked Raven chuckled. "Nightwing's right," she said, putting a hand on the shoulder of the Robin of the future — Nightwing — as she smiled. "You are still rather dim."
Usagi blinked, but stepped up, almost thoroughly confused at this point. "Uh... you mentioned getting Robin and Raven?" she asked, blinking.
"Oh, yeah," the white and grey-circuited cyborg said, nodding in confirmation. "Could one of you go and get 'em?"
Cyborg raised his metal hand. "I'll do it," he voiced, and quickly left to the hospital wing, heavy footsteps slowly fading to nothingness as he ran too far away for the blonde to hear.
"Anyway..." Usagi started slowly. "What are you doing here?" The blue-eyed blonde frowned, absently playing with one of her long blonde pigtails as she waited for an answer. "You can't possibly be here to visit... can you?"
White Raven shook her head. "I'm afraid not. This isn't even our timeline."
Uranus frowned, raising a brow as the woman crossed her arms over her chest. "Then why are you all here right now?" asked the sandy blonde, dark blue eyes gleaming with a bit of curiosity. The soldier uncrossed her arms and placed both gloved hands on her hips, weight shifted predominantly to her left leg as she waited patiently for an answer. "I doubt that any of you have time-travelling powers or something... do you?" There was a small pause as the Senshi, unsure of whether she had just hit the nail on the head, gave each a wary glance.
"Of course not, Uranus." Pluto's voice rang back as the graceful Senshi of the Gates walked back into the room, heels clicking clearly on the crystal floor again. The soldier of time and space quickly crossed the distance between her and the two groups, resting the end of her key-shaped staff on the floor as she slowed to a stop. "I brought them here upon a call from Selenity." She gave the white-cloaked Raven a quick nod. "There is much urgency in what remains to be said. I would suggest that we all pay close attention."
Cyborg's heavy footsteps returned to the hallway outside, this time accompanied by a pair of lighter footsteps that sounded no less like metal. It was probably Robin's steel-toed boots if nothing else. Raven ran in with Robin and Cyborg as well, though she lagged behind a good couple of metres, only arriving a minute after they had.
"What's the— whoa," Robin breathed, his jaw dropping as he took in the sight of the future Titans. "So that's what I look like after twenty years."
"Actually," Nightwing interjected, "it's more like twenty decades." The superhero gave the masked Boy Wonder a little grin as he moved forward. "Now that's a sight for sore eyes. I haven't seen than traffic-light outfit in decades!" The man laughed, amused. "I'm so glad I ditched the colours."
"I am too," White Raven said with a chuckle. "Though it's sad I can't call you a walking traffic light anymore." Her purple eyes briefly locked with the Raven in the blue cloak, and both the pale-skinned sorceresses were silent for a second as if they were having a silent conversation, which they probably were, considering the duo were telepaths. Breaking eye contact with the blue-cloaked Raven, the sorceress from the future dragged her hood up over her head again.
"Either way, Pluto is right. We have a lot to tell you about," the future empath stated grimly. "The Black Moon Clan is creating a disruptive effect in the timelines. It's fraying the edges of time itself."
"And that is very, very bad," Pluto interjected with a frown. "The Gates of Time and Space shudder under the weight of the world that they bear daily. This additional weight caused by the strain of their unnatural travelling through time, while unlikely to cause it to break, does strain my abilities." She sighed heavily, her garnet-coloured eyes dark with worry. "I must implore you, princesses, to take them down before I am taxed to my limits."
Usagi shared a look with Raven.
I thought we had more time, was Raven's thought. Apparently not. It would seem that Pluto brought them here to help us.
I do hope so...
"So you're here to help," Raven concluded as the purple-haired sorceress turned to her future self.
White Raven nodded. "Yes. There's a lot for you to learn, and you need the help." Purple eyes gleamed. "Will you accept it?"
"We need all the help we can get," Usagi declared, blue eyes gleaming in determination. "We can do this!"
The Titans of the future just looked at each other and smiled. White Raven nodded in approval. "I wouldn't expect any less."
Chapter 27: Connections
"Raven, Usagi, may we talk privately?" Nightwing's voice cut into Raven's concentration.
After the impromptu visit from the future Titans, the sorceress was on edge, especially after her talk with Robin earlier and the fact that Rage may be loose in her mind. The demon's spawn lowered her dark blue hood and delivered a calm look at the black-haired man. "I have no objections to it," she agreed simply, crossing her arms over her chest. "Usagi?"
The blonde looked away from her conversation with both Starfires — the older one preferring the name Koriand'r — and over to her sister, the white-cloaked future version of her, as well as the masked leader of the future Titans. The princess paused for a short second, then hummed and nodded her head, excusing herself from the cheerful chat and hurried over. "Sure. What did you want to talk about?" she asked, absently toying with one of her long blonde pigtails.
White Raven shook her head, moving towards the balcony. "Not here," she chastised gently. "Come with me and Richard. There is much for us to discuss yet." Her calm amethyst eyes twinkled a bit in amusement as the lips revealed by the dark shadow cast by her white hood curled into a smile. "How would you like to hear about our future?" Without waiting for an answer, the white-cloaked woman started walking off, followed by Nightwing's broad-shouldered form soon after.
The future? Raven raised a brow as she followed the two future Titans, sparing a moment to beckon Usagi to catch up. Well, they did say that this wasn't their timeline, she mused to herself. I wonder... what their future is like.
Me too, Usagi's thoughts joined hers in conversation. I just hope it's not a repeat of Crystal Tokyo...
Raven nodded with a soundless sigh, carefully adjusting her hood so that the shadows hid her face better. I can feel it, Usagi. The end is coming closer. If it ends up anything like Trigon... The pale demon stopped herself just before she could say anything about it. Never mind that.
No, please, continue, Usagi insisted. I want to know more about you. You're my sister.
The purple-haired sorceress shook her head. Maybe later. It's a long story, she explained, slowing to a stop when she reached the arch that led to the balcony. The demon's spawn leant against the arched doorway and kept her eyes on the duo from the future, already noting how close White Raven and Nightwing stood to each other, and the way the white-robed version of herself leant against the railing, her body facing Nightwing as the masked vigilante rested his hands on the railing on top of hers.
The glances that they shared certainly didn't help, and neither did the knowing smiles and the gleam in White Raven's shining purple eyes as she removed her hood, letting the pristine white fabric rest on her shoulders as the woman ran a pale hand through her mid-back length purple hair, a fact that still surprised Raven, considering she didn't exactly like the long hair.
"Now," Raven said calmly, "you mentioned something about needing to talk to us?" Imitating her future self, she dropped her dark blue hood around her head, arching an elegant brow at the woman.
White Raven chuckled. "Oh yes," she said, a fond little smile on her face. It was not much, but it still was present on her features. "Ah, our time... where should we start, Richard?"
Nightwing merely chuckled and smiled. "Perhaps a general overview?" the masked man offered, with a grin on his face.
"Well, imagine the Silver Millennium," White Raven said to the sisters, smiling at Nightwing. "But more prosperous, influential, peaceful. Raven, think Azarath," she added at the end.
"The Silver Millennium... reborn?" Usagi mumbled with a far-off look in her eyes as the reincarnation of the Silver Millennium's golden princess imagined the scene. Her blue eyes lit up. "Wow," she breathed, a wide smile on her face. "It sounds so... perfect!" She clasped her hands together, eyes glinting.
Nightwing nodded. "It's as perfect as you could imagine. Not quite a utopia, but as close to one as is physically possible," the grown-up disciple of the Dark Knight said with a smile. "Rae tells me that it's better than the Silver Millennium in many ways, and much better than Azarath in some aspects too."
Raven was silent, imagining a future combining the peace of Azarath combined with the prosperity of the Silver Millennium. Without even having to combine it with the utopia-esque wonder of both destroyed places. The sorceress held back a grimace as she realized that she had inadvertently caused the end of both. The pale girl sighed inaudibly and shook her head. She really was cursed, even without being the spawn of Trigon the Terrible. She reached a hand up to rub her temples, a frown crossing her features.
Briefly, her future self caught her eye, and the eye contact between them allowed a short telepathic conversation between the two daughters of Trigon.
I realized that myself quite some time ago. It's okay. It wasn't us, it was because of other reasons. The link was broken as quickly as it came as the white-cloaked Raven gave the teenager a smile and a wink.
It's not my fault... yeah right, Raven thought with a frown and a sigh. The dark-cloaked sorceress raised her hood back up over her head, closing her purple eyes. Her brow furrowed as she felt a foreboding aura from far away, and the Titan frowned. What is that I feel? It's... it's even worse than Trigon. A chill was sent down her spine, making the girl snap her eyes open. What is that?
Usagi suddenly stumbled on her feet, grabbing her head as the girl reach out to brace herself against the railings of the balcony. "Ugh," she mumbled out, gripping her head. "My head... hurts."
Raven flinched as pain suddenly flowed over her link with the blonde, and it took all her self-control to not end up blowing something to pieces inside the palace. "Usagi," she hissed. "Take it easy." The sorceress leant heavily on the arch of the doorway, brow furrowed together as the pale girl worked on controlling the overflow of emotion through her sister's end.
Suddenly, there was a bright flash of light from the Silver Crystal encased in the golden brooch that was pinned to the front of Usagi's white and pink sundress, and out of the corner of her eyes, Raven caught sight of a golden crescent moon appearing on the younger of Silver Millennium princesses. Following the sight of the upturned crescent moon, immense pain shot through the purple-haired sorceress' head, like she was coming into contact with power that was directly in opposition to Trigon.
The Titan winced, doubling over as she gripped her head with both her hands through her hood, eyes quickly shutting on instinct as she lowered her head, forcing out her mantra in short, choppy phrases in an attempt to calm herself down. "Azarath — Azarath Metrion Z-zinthos. Azarath Met-metrion Zinthos. Aza—"
A loud crash was heard, then the sound of something — likely porcelain or glass — shattering followed not soon after.
Raven bit back a groan, slowly righting herself as she managed to get a better grip on herself as the pain subsided just a bit. "Great," she muttered dryly, bracing herself against the arched doorway as she rubbed her temples, relieved that her head wasn't feeling like someone had wedged an axe enchanted with white magic into her head and split it apart. "And I was doing so well with a track record of a month without accident too."
Her dry remark was met with a shake of the head by her white-cloaked future self.
"What just happened?" Saphir's voice was heard as the blue-haired man walked outside, a cut on his hand. "I was walking towards the throne room with Cyborg when the glass of a window shattered right next to us. I avoided most of the damage, but he received a couple of shards of glass to one of his arms."
Raven winced, lowering her hands. "Is he alright?"
The blue-haired man nodded. "None of the shards severed the important circuits, and his battery was unaffected. At least, that was what he told me." The man paused, furrowing his brow and narrowing his blue eyes. "By the way, what was that surge of power from the Crystal earlier?" he asked.
"The Crystal?" Nightwing suddenly muttered. "The Illusionary Silver Crystal... oh... I get it now," the masked vigilante said with a knowing nod. "Why didn't you ever say anything, Rae?"
White Raven merely shrugged, and extended a hand to Saphir, lighting the tips of her fingers with a pale blue glow and healing the cut into a mere scar over the palm. "You never asked, Richard," the woman replied with a serene smile. "And Serenity and I solved the problem later on," the future form of the sorceress said casually. "It's not anything to be worried about, Richard."
Raven frowned. What are they even talking about? she thought, brow furrowed deeply. Problem? What problem?
Nightwing sighed heavily. "You really should have told me, Rae," he scolded.
The Raven of the future chuckled softly. "You never asked," she repeated, eyes gleaming in amusement. "And as I said, Serenity and I resolved the problem in the end." She reached a hand out and rested her pale hand on his shoulder. "It's okay."
"What are you talking about?" Usagi spoke up again, frowning as the girl twirled one of her long blonde pigtails. "What's wrong with Raven?"
"It's the crystal," Nightwing stated in a matter-of-fact way. "The Illusionary Silver Crystal is pure white magic. Trigon's power opposes white magic."
Raven frowned — how had she never made the connection herself? The girl directed a glance towards the golden brooch that was pinned to Usagi's dress, and the crystal inside glinted innocently, and the pale girl flinched, a slight burning pain appearing behind her skull, pounding hard on the inside of her forehead. It was like the mark of Skaath had returned to haunt her or something, but thankfully, it wasn't the case.
"Raven... your forehead," Usagi started slowly, clasping her brooch.
"Hmm?" Raven blinked, reaching a hand up to brush over her forehead, only to have her fingers burn at the very touch when she felt the centre of her forehead, just below her red chakra gem. "Gah!" She pried her hands away and looked at her hand. It didn't look like she had been burnt, of course, but the pain was there.
A black mirror appeared in front of her, courtesy of her future self, and Raven glanced at the smooth reflective surface. Under her chakra, the golden upturned crescent moon was there on her forehead. Well, that certainly explained the burning pain she felt. The pale sorceress frowned. "That could pose a problem," she stated flatly.
"That could pose a problem?" Usagi said with a concerned frown. "No! I don't know why, but the Crystal is acting up. Maybe I should just stay away from you until it stops acting so weird."
"I wouldn't think that a good idea," Saphir stated simply. "If the Crystal is as powerful as the legends say, and if the power of the mythical Trigon the Terrible is as vast as I imagine, as so long as the Crystal is flashing with a burst of power, this will still happen."
"Then what?" the blonde princess asked, frowning.
Raven shook her head and sighed, standing up straight. "Never mind," she said, shaking her head, pulling her hood back up over her head. "I need some time to calm down and think. Maybe I should see Cyborg too. I'll head inside." Without another word, the sorceress swept inside, her blue cloak around her as always, and a frown was on her features.
Chapter 28: Saphir
Usagi stared wearily after her sister as the blue-cloaked girl stormed back inside without a word. "Raven," she tried again, taking a step forward to go after her sister, but the half-demon just ignored her as she walked inside, muttering something about 'needing to meditate' and 'Nevermore' as she went. The blonde didn't understand half of what she had said, but the princess wasn't sure if she did want to know at the moment, considering Raven looked angry.
The future Raven sighed heavily. "Was I always like that, Richard?" she asked in a low tone, sounding disappointed. She tsked, a frown on her face as she stood and headed after her younger self. "I'll go and talk to her," the woman said with a shake of her head. Her white hood was encased in a white light that raised the fabric over her purple hair. The sorceress sighed again. "Teenagers," was the only thing that she said in an exasperated tone.
In response, Nightwing snickered, grinning. "Yeah, teenagers," he said with an amused smile on his face. "I'll come with you, Rae. You were so hard-headed back then." He paused. "Well," he amended, "you still are, even now."
"Richard!" White Raven exclaimed, playfully hitting the black-haired superhero on his broad shoulders. "I am not hard-headed! If anything, that's you..."
Usagi lost the last bits of the conversation as the duo walked further away from the balcony. "Great," the blonde reincarnation of the golden princess of the White Moon muttered glumly, putting her face in her hands as she groaned in disappointment. "I said something wrong... again." She mumbled an incoherent curse word and sighed heavily, shoulders slumping.
"Not very surprising." Saphir's tone was dry as the blue-haired man spoke up.
Usagi raised her head a bit, blinking. She had forgotten that the man from the Black Moon was still there, considering that he hadn't said a word since he asked about the crystal. "You're... still here?" she asked, then proceeded to mentally hit herself. Idiot! Of course, he's still here! He wouldn't be talking to you if that wasn't the case!
Saphir seemed oblivious to her inner thoughts, however, as the blue-eyed man gave her a flat look accompanied by a sigh. "Well, it would certainly seem that I have severely underestimated the capabilities of the Illusionary Silver Crystal," he mused, looking down at his formerly injured hand. "And if that is your sister... I have also underestimated her abilities." He harrumphed. "This will certainly be interesting to watch unfold."
Usagi huffed, blowing out her cheeks as she clasped the golden brooch with the crystal held within in a protective manner. "Is that all you have to say?" she asked indignantly, blue eyes narrowed and glowering at the man as she frowned. "Because if it's meant to be helpful, it's not working."
The blue-haired man chuckled smoothly, leaning on the other side of the arch that led inside. "I suppose you wouldn't be comforted to know that it wasn't meant to be helpful then, Sailor Moon." Saphir offered a thin smile and crossed his arms over his chest. "I am not quite sure I could be as helpful as you want, even if I was aiming for that effect."
The blonde scowled. "Really?" she muttered, indignation still colouring her tone. "Well, you're obviously doing a wonderful job of just the opposite." The reincarnated princess huffed, crossing her arms defensively over her chest. "What do you want?" That may have sounded more hostile than she intended, Usagi realized later, and with a wince, she hastily corrected herself, saying, "I mean, it's not that I don't like you hanging out with me, but I thought you had better things to do."
The man raised a blue brow. "Not really," Saphir replied. "Most of what was going on was being resolved with that cyborg friend of yours, and I'm certain that he is plenty capable of taking care of it by himself without my aid." Dismissively, he waved the question away before a smirk curled his lips. "Granted, watching you act like an immature child is certainly amusing."
Usagi opened her mouth to speak but paused. He did have a point. The blonde just huffed and glanced away at the railing of the balcony. "You still haven't answered my question," she mumbled. Following her sentence ending, the Illusionary Silver Crystal then pulsed in her golden transformation brooch. The powerful crystal's pulse of white magic was then followed by the sound of glass shattering and a loud curse by one of the future Titans, likely Changeling, from the sound of the voice, and Usagi winced.
"That crystal of yours can be very versatile at times, can't it?" Saphir questioned rhetorically, standing straight as he observed the glint of the golden brooch that peeked out from under her hands that were clasped around it. "But to answer your question, I suppose it is me offering my help," the man concluded simply. "In exchange for your aid in stopping Wiseman, I offer my aid to you as well so your task can be made easier."
The blue-eyed blonde looked at him quizzically. "How can you help?" she asked, eager to know. She wasn't quite sure about what she would be facing, but she already didn't like it. Hopefully, he could help shed some light on the situation, or at least give her some help on what she had to do to defeat the Wiseman he kept mentioning. Usagi didn't like how melancholic or how ominous he sounded when he mentioned that name.
"Not very much, I'm afraid. All I can do is provide some information and perhaps offer some meagre help in regards to distraction," the man stated simply. "My abilities come from the Maleficent Black Crystal, and being so far away from it has severely weakened any abilities I had. And if I choose to agree to your little 'purification', my link with the crystal will be demolished entirely, leaving me incapable of doing anything." Saphir shook his head, closing one hand into a fist. "In the end, my greatest strength has always been, and will always be, my intellect and strategic ability."
Usagi paused at this point, questions in her mind but not quite ready to be asked. The blonde toyed with one of her long pigtails for a moment, diverting her blue gaze to the inside of the palace as she inwardly wondered how the future Raven and Robin had been talking with Raven, as well as what damage might have been caused thanks to the instability of the Illusionary Silver Crystal and Raven's powers. Finally gathering her scattered thoughts together, she shoved her worries to the back of her head and turned back to Saphir. "Why are you offering to help?" she blurted out, inwardly cursing herself for her tactless approach.
Saphir raised a brow at her blurted out question. "I already answered why before, didn't I?" he asked, crossing his arms over his chest. "But I will repeat myself again for your benefit. I am offering my help in exchange for yours in stopping Wiseman." He sighed, and Usagi caught him faintly muttering something to himself about 'blondes'.
Blowing her cheeks out in indignation, the princess huffed. "I am not dumb just because I'm blonde!" she snapped with a frown.
"I never hinted that I was thinking that in the slightest, Sailor Moon." Saphir's response was dry. "I find it surprising why that was your first thought."
Usagi made a face. "Whatever," she mumbled. "But I didn't mean why you were helping. I wanted to know why you were offering your help against the rest of the Black Moon Clan, against the people you lived and grew up with, against your brother."
Saphir flinched immediately. "That is a sensitive issue, Sailor Moon," the blue-haired man replied sharply, narrowing dark eyes at her with an unpleasant gaze. "But I suppose I should provide you with an answer... no matter how unpleasant it may be for myself. As I have already told you, I want Wiseman gone." His blue eyes darkened further, and the blue-clad man spat, "He has been using my brother like a puppet, corrupting him with promises of reclaiming the Earth and claiming Neo-Queen Serenity as his own."
The blonde girl paled. So that was why the purple-eyed prince was acting so creepy towards her. As the past version of the Neo-Queen, he had likely just seen her as one and the same, and had wanted to get her instead of the comatose queen. Unconsciously, she gripped her brooch tighter, like the powerful crystal inside could provide her with a tad more comfort and ease. Much to her irritation, her crystal pulsed yet again, and this was followed by... nothing.
A tense silence stretched out, and Usagi's panicked heartbeat raced in her ears as the girl awaited another accident to happen. When nothing came, the blonde let her shoulders slump as she sighed in relief. Wiping her brow, the princess slumped against the wall, eyes fluttering shut. "Good," she mumbled. "Nothing happened."
"I would suppose your sister has found a way to suppress the backlash," Saphir noted dryly. "Or if not, then she's too far away for the results of the destruction to be heard."
Usagi just sighed, putting her head in her hands. "I need to find a way to get around this," she mumbled to herself.
Saphir just remained silent.
"Usagi," Neptune calmly called out. The smooth clicking of the aquamarine-haired woman's heels was getting louder on the floor, and Usagi knew she was getting closer. Two pairs of footsteps followed next, and it wasn't hard to tell that Uranus and Pluto had joined the elegant woman. "Oh, hello there Saphir," the woman smoothly added once she stopped at the arch leading to the balcony.
"Oi, Usagi, we need to talk," Uranus called out, walking out and giving the blue-haired man a nod of acknowledgement as the sandy blonde passed him. "We — that is, Pluto, Michi, and I — think we've got it."
Usagi tilted her head to the side in confusion. "Got what?" she queried quizzically.
Pluto adjusted her key-shaped staff and rested the end on the smooth crystal floor. "A plan, princess. A solution to our... ah... Black Moon problem," the green-haired guardian of the Gates replied cryptically. "At the very least, we are certain that we can provide a plan that will lead to that end." The Senshi of Pluto absently tapped the end of her staff on the floor.
"Well, Sailor Moon, it appears you have your work cut out for you," Saphir interjected, straightening from his position. "And do take my offer into consideration. You know where to find me if so." The blue-haired man gave each of the Senshi a polite, if distant nod, and walked back into the building.
Uranus' dark blue gaze followed him until he was well out of sight. "What's he talking about?" the sandy-blonde asked, thumbing a gloved finger in the direction of the blue-clad man. The Senshi of Uranus shook her head. "Never mind that," she said with a shrug. "Anyway, Usagi, come on. We've got an entire plan to lay out, and the Titans have been discussing their own plan too."
Usagi nodded, following the three Senshi as she was lead back inside the palace, listening to Uranus and Neptune talking about the general outline of what they had in mind, Pluto occasionally interrupting when they were losing track of the plans they had set up and started to settle into a more normal conversation about life in general.
Saphir, Usagi thought to herself, frowning briefly, don't worry. I can see the love you have for your brother. For your sake, and for his, I'll definitely defeat Wiseman!
"—ncess? Princess?" Pluto's voice cut smoothly into her thoughts, making her blink.
"Sorry, what were you saying?" Usagi asked apologetically as she was led towards the throne room.
"As I was saying," Uranus continued, "after that, we need you to..."
Usagi nodded as she listened, thinking, Everything's going to work out in the end. It has to.
Chapter 29: A Peek Into The Future
Raven stormed into the palace, harshly cursing her lack of control over her already unstable powers as she went. With great force, she managed to keep her emotions in check enough to avoid blowing up everything that was in her path. Curse that damned crystal! She seethed, curling her pale hands into fists, her short nails digging into her palms with enough force to draw blood. It's not like me to lose my temper like this, the sorceress realized with a frown. Either I was right earlier and Rage is loose in my mind, or I'm losing my touch... maybe both...
The violet-haired girl slowed to a stop when she was far enough from the balcony, and with a heavy sigh, she crossed her legs in mid-air, settling into her usual meditative pose with great ease. "Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos..." she murmured, feeling the soothing mantra start to calm down her frayed temper. "Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos... Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos..."
"Raven." Her own voice was distinctive to even the most unobservant of listeners, calm, collected, and very much flat.
One amethyst eye cracked open and the blue-cloaked Titan glared out of the corner of her eye, knowing that both her white-cloaked future self as well as the masked Nightwing were standing behind her. "What is it?" she asked, a little annoyed. Her anger was threatening to bubble up again, and the sorceress was now very worried. What was going on inside her head?
"Your emotions are out of order," White Raven simply informed her, walking beside her and settling into a meditative stance of her own. "Richard, I can take this from here. Go and collect Koriand'r, Cyborg, and Garfield, just as we planned," she instructed smoothly like she had been through this before." Then again, the white-cloaked woman was Raven's future self. She most likely had been through this before. "Peace, calmness, and tranquillity will not be effective this time, Raven. Please, allow me."
The present Titan sighed heavily. "I don't suppose I have a choice?" she asked, voice as dry as ever.
White Raven chuckled. "I asked that too, when I was your age," the white-robed woman told her, amusement tinging her voice in a highly audible manner. "Relax. Close your eyes, and repeat your mantra. I will do the rest."
The purple-haired sorceress obeyed, eyes closing fully and her muttered mantra continuing. "Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos..." she repeated, and her voice was soon joined by that of her future self. Both Titans calmly repeated the three words of the mantra over and over again, until Raven felt something shift in the world around them. Nevertheless, she continued to repeat her mantra as requested, the Titan not faltering in her repetition in the slightest.
"You can stop now." White Raven had stopped her muttering of the calming mantra, and her robes rustled as the woman stood up from her position in the air with her legs crossed in the lotus position. "Come with me. Let's settle our problem together."
The violet-haired girl sighed, reluctantly opening her eyes. To her surprise — or, well, not really, since she had expected something to have changed — the crystal room around them had shifted to the demonic-looking black and red landscape of her mind. "Useful little trick you have there," the younger of the two commented, looking around.
"Yes," White Raven noted, stepping forward as her pristine white cloak fell around her, hiding away her garb underneath. "You'll learn this a year or two away from now," the woman stated nonchalantly. "It's become extraordinarily useful in situations where I do not have my mirror with me." The older Titan started moving along the narrow path that led from whichever region of the dark Titan's mind they were in, to the library that housed her yellow-cloaked intelligence in the distance.
"I would certainly think so," Raven drawled, moving along behind her future self. "You have something in mind," she said after a while. "I suppose you want to tell me something?"
The older Titan laughed softly as she moved along with grace, her cloak shifting a bit as she moved on forwards. "Very true. You know yourself well, Raven," the woman said with a faint smile. "But yes, I do have something to tell you." The two Titans moved down the narrow path with the ease that came from practice, not once needing to levitate as they walked across the path that was only broad enough to support two at a time. Both held precision in their steps, the future Raven with a grace that seemed like a dance, the present Raven with a firm and steady step.
Raven gave a little 'hmph' as she continued on her path, blue cloak billowing behind her in an invisible breeze. "My interpersonal skills have never been great. Intrapersonal, however, has always been different. What did you want to tell me?"
The white-cloaked woman chuckled smoothly. "Well enough," she acquiesced with a nod of her head. "We'll start from the future, I suppose."
The future. The future that seemed too good to be true. The future that was the best of both worlds, of both the destroyed Azarath and the Silver Millennium combined together. It was... unthinkable. Something that perfect couldn't exist in reality, could it?
As if her mind had been read, White Raven laughed softly. "Oh, it exists, Raven. It exists." There was a far-off look in the amethyst eyes that were visible from the shadows cast by the white hood, a certain fondness creeping into the irises. "If Azarath hadn't been destroyed in our reality, perhaps it would be identical to my present."
"But it was. And by our father," Raven hissed, spitting out the last word like it was venom in her mouth. It pained her to even acknowledge the foul demon as her father, but it was a fact that she couldn't change. Sired by him, birthed by her mother, and causing destruction to everywhere she went. That was her life, unfortunately. Even in the past, she had failed to escape the curse of destruction, causing the downfall of the great Silver Millennium as a result of her death.
"No. You said it yourself, Raven," her future self chastised. "Fathers care for their children. They raise them. Trigon is not our father. He created us, but he did not care for us. He sired us but did not raise us. At the very most, he can have claimed to be our sire, but he was never and will never be a father." Her future self's tone was suddenly stone cold, venom lurking beneath the surface, and the present Titan understood why.
Trigon was a touchy topic, even within the original five Titans after they had successfully stopped him and sent him back to the Hell that he had come from. Raven was still bitter about how she had allowed him entry into Earth, her true home, though, and while she managed to remain calm and composed when discussing him, the Titans knew better than to speak his name around her. Only she had ever spoken his name since his defeat, and even then, it was rare.
Raven nodded silently in response to her future self's lecture. "Understood," she said with a sigh. "Now what about the future?"
"Keep in mind Raven, I was once you. I know what you are feeling right now," White Raven abruptly said. "There are many things you still have to learn before you and I are the same, but do bear this in mind: Only when you have full control and acceptance over who you are, will you be able to appreciate the future. Appreciate what you were gifted with, be it your past or your present."
The girl raised a brow at the cryptic message. "What's that supposed to mean?" she asked.
"You'll see soon enough," White Raven assured. "And you'll say the exact same thing when it's your turn. Now come. Your emotions will not calm down by themselves."
Raven sighed, resigning herself to a life of crypticism and mystery. "Very well."
Nightwing walked along the corridors of the palace with White Raven, both Titans silent. After a pause, the masked man cleared his throat. "Raven," he addressed as they headed towards the throne room.
"Yes, Richard?" His white-cloaked second-in-command asked, stopping as they reached a corner. She held a hand out, stopping him in his tracks, and lowered her white hood around her. Her purple hair gleamed like smooth silk under the lighting of the Crystal Palace and her features were set in a gentle-looking expression that she reserved only for her friends and family, complete with a sincere smile.
Nightwing grinned at her, brushing a stray strand of hair away from her face and tucking it behind her ear with his gloved hand. "Have I ever told you how beautiful you look without the hood?"
The woman chuckled. "Several times." She reached out, taking his hand in hers. "Now come on. The others are in the next hallway, and we have to get to them soon." Her amethyst eyes — one of the few features that hadn't changed since they had met — glowing a pure, untainted white, the Titan enveloped both in a white shadowy version of her namesake, phasing them both through the walls and into the next hallway, where the raven vanished back into its creator.
"Richard! Rae!" Cyborg called out to them, the half-machine man hurrying over. The man, fiddling with a control panel on his white and grey circuitry, reached them with his metal feet pounding on the ground, followed by Changeling and Koriand'r catching up via the air, the former changing from a deep green-feathered hawk to his human form as soon as he was near to them. "What took you? Flirting? I told you, keep that for the bedroom!" There was a grin on the man's face, the corners of his eyes lifting as he smiled at the two. Cyborg, the oldest of the Titans, still looked very much in top shape. Aside from his circuits being upgraded, maturing a bit from his prankster ways, and growing more protective over his surrogate sister, he was still the same old Cyborg.
"What did we miss?" Changeling quipped, grinning at the duo as his pointed elf-like ears twitched slightly. There were times where Nightwing wondered if the green shapeshifter would ever change from his childish persona. Truly, with the exception of his appearance and voice, the youngest of the original five Titans hadn't changed much within, still being the same tofu-loving prankster when off-duty.
Koriand'r lightly hit Changeling over the head. "I don't think much happened, Garfield," she chastised the green man. "Richard and Raven would have told us otherwise. And besides, I think this was the time where we were discussing plans to take care of the Black Moon Clan, yes?" Starfire, or Koriand'r, as she preferred nowadays, had perhaps been one of the five with the most changes, having a cosmetic change, undergoing training to hone her powers back at Tamaran, and improving greatly in her English, as well as officially taking up her role as ruler while having Galfore stand in for her unless she was doing her weekly visits home.
"I think so, Star," Changeling said with a nod. Out of all of the Titans, only Changeling stuck to calling the alien 'Star'. The others usually called her 'Kori' out of convenience, while Raven used the full name. "How did the plan go again?"
"Gar!" Cyborg teased with an expression of mock-horror. "I can't believe you forgot something as important as that! I mean, this was a big battle! How could you have possibly forgotten?"
The green changeling huffed. "Jeez, Vic, sorry! I'd like to see you remember it then, after all the other big battles that we had to go through!"
The half-machine snorted. "Course I can remember! We were... uh... wait, what did we do again?" he asked sheepishly.
Changeling started laughing. "Told you, Vic!" he exclaimed with a grin that showed his fangs.
"Truth be told, I don't remember much except the bright light myself," Koriand'r mused.
"We can remember our past back home," Raven told the group as she moved to the centre of the Titans. "Right now, we've played our part, and home implores us to return to it."
"So soon?" Changeling protested. "I didn't even get to teach past me all the great tricks I learnt while pranking!"
"Garfield," all four Titans scolded in unison, making the green Titan's ears droop down.
"Uh... sorry?" he squeaked.
Nightwing chuckled. "It's okay. But Raven's right. We don't want to mess things up for more than we need to. Let's go home."
The remaining Titans looked at each other and then back at him, nodding. "You're the leader, Richard," Cyborg agreed, followed by the other two nodding in agreement.
"So let's go then," Raven finished, smiling.
Chapter 30: Plan of the Inner Circle
Makoto growled, annoyed, as she drummed her fingers on the surface of the table. "This is pointless," she hissed, rising to her feet and slamming both her hands, palm down, onto the surface of the table. "Those freaks calling themselves 'superheroes' are around her twenty-four seven! Not to mention those traitors Uranus, Neptune and Pluto! We're supposed to keep Usagi-chan safe, can't they see that?" The tall brunette threw her arms up into the air in frustration, green eyes narrowed.
Rei sneered. "Forget it, Mako-chan. Those upstarts think they're better than us because they have Usagi on their side. We obviously know better than that airhead when it comes to her safety." The priestess' violet eyes were disdainful as she spoke, arrogant and prideful.
Minako gave a nod of agreement. "Agreed, Rei-chan." The blonde leader of the four Senshi stood up, adjusting her bright red bow that stood out against her fair skin and her gleaming blue eyes. "Alright, we need a plan of action," she announced smoothly, crossing her arms over her chest. "Anyone?"
Luna hopped onto the table and sat down, her dark fur a bit ruffled as the Lunar feline pressed both her ears back against her head. "I think the four of you should just transform before anyone sees you," she scolded. "At least Mamoru-san has the sense to keep his mask on!"
Artemis leapt onto the table beside Luna, the white cat nudging the black one with his body. "Ah, Luna, relax," he coaxed. "We're in a room right now, and the door's closed. Let them relax for a bit."
Luna huffed, putting her black paw down on the table's smooth surface. "I guess so," she relented with a sigh, sitting back and swishing her dark tail around. The feline advisor was looking the tiniest bit anxious, her amber eyes not completely in focus on the group of five.
"Oi, Luna?" Makoto started, leaning forward to look at the feline. "Are you okay?"
Ami leant forward and gently stroked Luna's black head. "Mako-chan is right," the blue-haired genius agreed. "You've been spacing out recently. Are you alright?"
The black cat seemed to jump visibly as she snapped back to reality. "Ah!" she exclaimed, leaping back, fur frizzled in distress. "I'm sorry, you four. Those Titans just have me paranoid, that's all. Especially the one in the blue cloak."
The reincarnated prince of the Earth grunted, crossing his arms over his chest as dark blue eyes narrowed behind his white domino mask. "Agreed. She gives off a bad vibe. Usako seems to trust her too much for her own good," Tuxedo Kamen growled, slamming a gloved hand down onto the surface of the table. "I don't trust her," he continued, voice venomous. "Not that I trust any of those others either, but that girl, in particular, doesn't mesh well with me."
The priestess of the group nodded in agreement, pulling a slip of parchment from out of the folds of her white and red priestess robes that she had been in before she transformed. "Mamoru-san is right," Rei announced, the Senshi of Mars revealing the neatly written scripture ward that was glowing faintly, an indication of something evil in its vicinity. "She exudes an evil presence. Her friends do not, but she feels like a demon," the black-haired girl hissed.
"A demon?" Makoto asked, partly intrigued by the idea. "Is that even possible?" The tall, athletic brunette tossed her ponytail over her shoulder and onto her back and leant forward, eagerly awaiting the temperamental priestess' response. "Well," the green-eyed Amazon pressed, "is it?"
The Senshi of Mercury adjusted her reading glasses. "According to modern science," the blue-eyed girl replied, "it's not. According to the old data of the Silver Millennium..." The studious girl pulled out her reliable Mercury Computer and started typing away at the keyboard, slender fingers moving over the keys in a graceful dance. Ami hit the final key, looked over the faintly glowing screen, and then shook her head. "Also impossible," she concluded. "Demons do not exist."
"I know what I felt!" Rei snapped, stamping her foot on the ground impatiently, her violet eyes smouldering in anger. "That's the aura of evil! A demon!"
"Everyone, enough!" the blonde soldier of love and beauty commanded in an authoritative tone, not moving from her seat at the crystalline table. Hard blue eyes stared down all three of the Senshi in a manner reminiscent of a mother scolding unruly children. "We're not here to argue over whether demons exist or not! We are here to discuss our plans on getting Usagi-chan back where she belongs — with us!" Minako's voice was steely, commanding, as befitting her role of the leader of the four.
Artemis stood and walked forward, the white-furred feline, in contrast to Luna's black fur, looked around at the Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen. "Minako's right," the white advisor stated firmly. "Sailor Venus was placed in charge for a reason. "Sailor Jupiter is too brash. Sailor Mars is too temperamental. Sailor Mercury is too analytical. Tuxedo Kamen is... not a Sailor Senshi," the cat finished, sitting back and letting his tail swish in the air.
"Venus is boy-crazy," the black-haired soldier of war sniped, huffing. The priestess folded her arms across her chest and sat back in her seat, looking indignant. Still, Rei kept quiet after that, silently staring at the glowing scripture ward she had put on the surface of the table with a deep scowl on her sharp features.
The Senshi of Jupiter cleared her throat and settled herself back into her seat. "Ahem, the plan, everyone?" Makoto reminded, blowing a rogue brunette curl out of her face.
"Right," Tuxedo Kamen acknowledged with a nod. "Now, where were we?"
Ami adjusted her reading glasses as she closed the Mercury Computer and tucked it away, patting her pocket once to make sure it was securely inside. "I do believe we were at how to separate those Titans from Usagi-chan," the blue-haired girl reported calmly, lacing her fingers together.
Minako nodded, her voluminous blonde hair bouncing with the action. "Thanks, Ami-chan. Now, as I was saying..."
"— never works, Minako-chan."
The future self of Raven heard the voices speak in hushed Japanese as the woman passed by a room on her way to find the Senshi of Time and Space. Instantly raising a hand up to her lips, she made the gesture for silence. The white-cloaked woman recognized the voice as the voice of Makoto Kino, the Senshi of Jupiter from the twentieth century.
Nightwing stilled as well, and following his example, the remaining three fell silent, all of the Titans listening intently to the conversation inside the room. The masked man directed a glance over at Raven, and tapped his gloved finger soundlessly on the wall in Morse Code, asking her what was going on inside.
The white-cloaked woman simply shrugged her shoulders, indicating that she didn't quite know just yet.
"But it always works in films!" Sailor Venus' past incarnation protested with a whine, followed by a childish huff.
"Uh, yeah, because those are the films," Sailor Mars pointed out sardonically.
"Statistically speaking, we do have a forty percent chance of this succeeding, while there is fifty percent chance that we will be found by either those Titans or Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Pluto," Sailor Mercury reported calmly. "Either group finding out will be a catastrophe for us."
"What's the last ten percent, Ami-chan?" Endymion's tuxedo-wearing past self inquired.
"Total annihilation when found by the blue-cloaked Titan," Mercury reported flatly. "She holds a special kind of connection to Usagi-chan. If she discovers us, we will be killed within the span of a millisecond."
Jupiter scoffed. "Oh please, how bad could she be? We've already faced Beryl and Metallica. Even if she's a demon, we could take her."
Raven scowled. In her over hundred years of life, the one thing that always got to her was comparing her to her bastard father. Even though her powers were by far more controlled than they had been when she had first attained her fully white robe, they were still linked to her emotions, and rage was one of the most powerful of them all. The pale woman sighed soundlessly, reaching a hand up to rub her temples to soothe her temper before it reached its bursting point.
The woman in white felt a hand rest on her shoulder, and she gracefully turned to see Cyborg behind her. The empath offered her brother a thin smile and felt the mostly metal man give her shoulder a light squeeze in encouragement. Reaching out with her powers, she quickly found the link she shared with each of the Titans in the cyborg and connected their thoughts
Relax, Rae, the man thought to her with a smile. We know you're not just a demon. You've saved this world more times than they have even fought evil. They're young and foolish. Don't take their words to heart, okay?
Raven's smile was soft. Of course, brother dearest, the woman thought with a mental chuckle. I just... don't like being likened to a monster like my... sire, that's all.
Cyborg nodded, letting go of her shoulder. Right. But you defeated him. You don't agree with him or what he is. You're your own person. Trigon doesn't even hold a candle to you.
Raven nodded, breaking off the connection.
"So we have a plan?" Venus asked.
There was a quick pause, then a chorus of 'yes'.
"Then it's settled," Venus announced.
Without another word, Raven motioned for the rest of the Titans to come closer, and once they were all within a metre's range, the white-clad woman engulfed them all in a white shadowy raven and teleported them to the next hallway. "I do not expect anything good to come from that," the sorceress said with a heavy sigh.
"Neither do I," Nightwing agreed with a frown.
Changeling's pointed ears flattened against his head. "Should we tell our past selves about it?" the green-skinned man asked.
Koriand'r simply shrugged, quipping, "Do we need to? We didn't know back then and look, Serenity is still with us in our time."
"Kori's right," Cyborg agreed, the man folding his arms over his broad chest and nodding. "Everything ended up just fine for us."
Raven smiled and held a hand out to her fellow Titans. "I'll be back soon," she promised. "I'll just talk with Setsuna and then we'll head home."
"Are you sure, Selenity?" Pluto asked cryptically, raising an arched brow at the woman clad in the white robe. The dark green-haired woman fingered her Garnet Rod carefully.
The woman in the white cloak suddenly changed into a suit of striking silver and dark blue armour. "Positive, Pluto," the future sorceress confirmed, nodding. The woman drew the sword that was held in a gleaming scabbard by her side. "This will only take a moment." She held the sharp blade out, shrugging her purple hair over her shoulder.
Pluto sighed heavily and nodded her consent, going down on one knee and holding her Garnet Rod tight with one gloved hand. "As the guardian of Time and Space, under the guardianship of Pluto, sworn in by the children of the White Moon, I do solemnly accept the blessing of the White Moon's knight," the ancient guardian intoned solemnly.
"I, daughter of the Moon Queen Serenity, sister of the Neo-Queen Serenity, Knight of the White Moon, grant Sailor Pluto, Meioh Setsuna, the full power of the Pluto Crystal. May you use this power well, and protect your liege at all costs," Selenity recited from memory, the golden crescent appearing on her brow as her blade gleamed.
Pluto's golden tiara shattered and her planetary mark underneath was revealed, glowing powerfully. The Garnet Orb atop the Garnet Rod flashed with light, then a crystal materialized from within, hovering in the air for a while before it pressed against Pluto's brow, vanishing with a flash of blinding light. "I do so swear," the woman replied, garnet eyes narrowed in determination. "On my honour and of that of my planet and comrades, I will protect Serenity, Sailor Moon, Tsukino Usagi, and Selenity, Raven with my life."
Chapter 31: Titans and the Outer Circle
"So here's the plan," Uranus announced confidently, the sandy blonde slamming her hands down onto the surface of the table as she looked around at the five Titans that sat on one side of the table, whilst she, Neptune, Pluto and Usagi were sitting at the other side of the long table. Saphir, who, in his own words, belonged to neither group, was standing near the only exit and entrance of the room, leaning against the wall as he watched the two teams lay down their plans.
"We storm the castle?" Cyborg asked incredulously, the half-machine jumping to his feet. "Man, that's a death wish!" the man exclaimed. Clasping his large metal hands behind his back, the resident tech genius of the Titans started pacing the length of the room restlessly. "We don't even know what we're up against!"
Neptune sighed, the aquamarine-haired woman twirling a strand of wavy hair around her gloved finger. "Not a complete full-on frontal," the Senshi of Neptune corrected smoothly. "Some of us will provide a distraction while the rest of us charge inside to locate this so-called 'Wiseman'. Once we have him, we then corner him from all angles and attack." The woman shrugged gracefully, lacing her fingers together and resting them on the tabletop.
Starfire cocked her head to the side, the alien's long red hair falling over her shoulder. "Is that wise, friends?" the princess inquired, earnest green eyes staring at the three that sat opposite her. "We have tried that same tactic with one of our fallen enemies, and it did not work at all."
At this statement, Raven seemed to sit more rigidly than the others in the room. The girl wearing the dark blue cloak, sitting at the end of the table, had both her hands on the table and one noticeably curled into a tight fist before relaxing. The sorceress' amethyst eyes, the only thing visible of her face through the shadows cast by her drawn-up hood, seemed to turn fully red, glowing in the darkness for just a split second before they returned back to normal.
It seemed as if Usagi, who was sitting right next to the Titan, had noticed her sudden unease, as the blonde reached over and clasped the pale-skinned Titan's hand in her own, giving an encouraging squeeze to it before giving the pale girl a soft smile. The reincarnated princess of the Lunar Kingdom mouthed something to the sorceress and leaned closer for a short while before she pulled away with a nod. "Okay," the blue-eyed blonde said, loud enough for the whisper to reach Uranus' ears.
The Guardian wondered what was going on between the duo.
"Perhaps," Pluto replied serenely, "but Trigon was a much different issue than Wiseman. However, just like your battle with him, victory is not assured, yet neither is loss."
Robin slammed his gloved hand onto his other fist with a growl, the masked leader of the Titans standing. "We defeated Trigon in the end," he spoke, harshly as if recalling a particularly bad memory. "And we will defeat this Wiseman too." The teen crossed his arms over his chest, the unpleasant scowl his features were drawn into stubbornly remaining.
"That's enough," Raven commanded, the sorceress glancing up at the standing people around the table. "Cyborg, Robin, Uranus, sit down." There was a certain undertone to her voice that hinted at unpleasant outcomes if they refused to listen to her. "Pluto is right. This isn't Trigon. Unlike with him, we know nothing of his tactics, the way he functions, the way he fights."
"And this is where Saphir comes in to help," Usagi cut in. "Saphir?" she asked, turning back to the blue-haired man, who seemed to be watching all this with a faintly amused look in his eyes.
"Perhaps it would be more beneficial if there is another plan," the man simply said with a shrug, though there was an amused look on his features. "One that is not so... reckless in hindsight."
Beast Boy just groaned and laid down on the surface of the table, resting his head on his arms. "Ugh... this is boring," he whined. "I get that we need a battle plan, but can't we just wing it like normal?" The green changeling's pointed elfin ears were pressed back against his head as the Titan continued whining about something.
Cyborg stopped his relentless pacing, the half-machine man heading over to his seat at the table. "What about a lure?" the man suggested idly as he took his seat. "I mean, that always works for grass stain."
Ignoring Beast Boy's indignant outburst of 'hey!', Uranus lowered herself into her seat and leant forward, the sandy blonde lacing her gloved fingers together. "Yeah?" the woman asked, raising a brow as the Senshi of Uranus anticipated an explanation. "Elaborate on that?"
The Titan looked a bit surprised, but he nodded and started to explain what he meant nonetheless. "Well, they want Usagi or Rae, right?" Cyborg asked rhetorically. "We could ask the both of them to walk openly into there, though we place tracking devices on them and follow them closely every step of the way. If they come out, we attack."
Saphir snorted contemptuously at that, and the blue-haired man stepped forward to the table, arms crossed over his chest. "That would not be wise either," the man replied flatly. "What if they are transported away and your tracking devices are disabled? Or in the event Wiseman takes the bait, you would be confined to a small space to fight. The corridors of the Black Moon are rather narrow for a purpose."
Uranus grunted a curse, slamming her gloved fist onto the surface of the table. Had it been a wooden one, the surface of the furniture would have perhaps been splintered or even broken outright. The sandy blonde ran a hand through her short hair with a groan, frustrated. "This isn't going anywhere," the Guardian of the Sky hissed in frustration.
The blue-eyed man merely unfolded his arms and placed both of his hands palm down on the surface of the table. "Perhaps this will be of more use," Saphir stated bluntly. "I will tell you this: destroy the Maleficent Black Crystal, and the Black Moon Clan's power all but diminishes. Our power all comes from a crystal that is much like the Illusionary Silver Crystal. Destroy it, and you will cut off the flow of power that is channelled to us."
Robin grunted, folding his arms over his chest. "And this Wiseman?" the masked Titan asked with a scowl. "His power comes from this Maleficent Black Crystal too?"
Saphir nodded. "That's correct."
Uranus cracked her knuckles. "Then let's get to work," she announced. "We can put our heads together and make a new plan."
The aquamarine-haired woman beside her nodded in agreement, and the Senshi of Neptune spoke up. "I agree. The saying is that two heads are better than one. Two teams will be much more productive."
"Then we should get to work, yes, friends?" Starfire suggested, floating into the air as the alien tossed her bright red hair over her shoulder.
"Right, Star," Cyborg agreed. "That means you too, grass stain!" The metal man picked Beast Boy by the back of his suit.
The green changeling yelped, struggling in the air as he morphed from shape to shape in order to get free from the metal Titan's firm hold on him. From rat to rabbit to weasel, the green Titan still couldn't get free from Cyborg's hold, and he eventually changed back to normal with a huff. "Jeez, Cy," he whined, pointed ears flattening back against his head. "I get it!" then, he was abruptly freed in mid-air, and the unprepared green changeling dropped onto his chair with a yelp.
Saphir shook his head, walking over to the head of the table. Folding his arms over his chest, the blue-haired man stated firmly, "You need another input. I will provide any help that I can give. Now," he paused, placing both hands on the table's surface. "Let's start."
Usagi glanced at the pale Titan out of the corner of her blue eyes. Raven? she tried thinking, hoping that the purple-haired girl had heard her through their connection. Sure enough, after a pause, the blue-eyed blonde heard a response.
Yes, Usagi? Was Raven's response. What do you want?
To talk, the blonde quickly replied in thought. Just between you and me, you know?
The Titan seemed to be ignoring anything else on the outside, leaning back in her chair as she stared in front, seemingly just focusing on the plan that was being discussed. However, her amethyst eyes quickly darted over to the blonde princess and the pale girl gave the tiniest of nods. Okay, Usagi, the pale sorceress agreed. She then stood, her blue cloak billowing as she moved, settling to fall around her, hiding away her figure from the outside. "Usagi and I will be outside," Raven stated flatly, her tone giving no room for argument. "You know where to find us if you need us."
Robin seemed to want to protest at first, turning to her and opening his mouth, but Cyborg quickly reached out and yanked him back to the table, displaying a thumbs up with his large metal hand to the princess and the Titan. "Y'all go ahead," the half-metal man told them, looking up and over Starfire's tall frame. "Just be careful."
"Beast Boy is the reckless one," Raven replied dryly, reaching a hand out of her cloak and gently taking hold of Usagi's hand. The Titan offered a small smile at Cyborg, and then she led Usagi out of the meeting room into the hallway, walking out towards the end of the hallway. Her blue cloak fluttered behind her as she went, billowing in a non-existent wind.
It was only then that Usagi really noticed how empty the grand crystal palace seemed. The hallways were depressingly silent, to the point where it was stifling. Actually, it was so empty it felt like a vacuum. The blonde, unnerved by the eerie silence, quickly hastened after her sister, looking around warily as the dim lights of their path showed them their way.
"You shouldn't be scared, Usagi." Raven didn't turn, but Usagi knew she was giving the blonde a glance through the corner of her eyes. "The corridor is empty. There's no one here but you and me."
Usagi just walked after her for a while, silent as she clasped her brooch, the crystal inside occasionally pulsing and making Raven recoil and wince in pain before the duo continued. "Sorry," the blonde mumbled apologetically in response whenever that happened.
The taller of the duo shook off another pulse from the Illusionary Silver Crystal and stopped at the end of the corridor, letting her blue cloak fall around her once again. "What did you want to talk about, Usagi?" the pale girl asked gently, taking hold of Usagi's hands in her own.
"Well, I'm... I'm worried," the blonde admitted softly, fidgeting with her transformation brooch. "About the plan, about this," here she paused to motion to the gleaming brooch that encased the Illusionary Silver Crystal, "about the future." The princess exhaled slowly, her shoulder slumping, making her look visibly dispirited.
The cloaked Titan sighed, squeezing Usagi's hands gently. "I'm sure the plan will turn out fine," she reassured, voice warmer than it usually was. "Robin and Cyborg will be looking out for the technical problems, and the Senshi won't let either of us get hurt. And besides," she added, "Saphir is there to help oversee flaws. Everything will be fine. That goes for the future too."
The pale sorceress smiled softly at the blonde princess. "And I'm sure we'll find out a way to bypass the conflict. Just trust me, hmm? Everything will turn out to be just fine."
Usagi nodded. "Okay," she replied softly. "I trust you."
Somewhere in the back of her head, the reincarnation of Princess Serenity knew things would turn out okay.
Chapter 32: Visions
Raven offered a soft smile at Usagi, finding it much easier to express the emotion after her future self had helped her calm down her rogue emotions. "You're not the only one who's worried, Usagi," she murmured, pulling down her hood. Her amethyst eyes stared right into her sister's blue ones, serious and firm. "I'm worried too..." the pale sorceress trailed off, looking distant as a deep frown etched itself onto her features.
"Raven," Usagi said firmly, the petite blonde reaching out and grabbing Raven's hands in her own. For a moment, there was a momentary discomfort as the brooch pinned to the front of her dress gleamed, the precious silver crystal inside no doubt exercising its power, but it faded as soon as it came. "Hey... you know you can tell me whatever it is, right?"
The demon's spawn managed a faint smile. "Of course, Usagi," the girl replied, voice soft and gentle as the pale Titan lightly gave Usagi's hands, clasping her own, a squeeze of reassurance. "I'm just worried about my control, that's all." Her voice was calm and steady, unwavering enough to mask her true level of concern over the matter — a true testament to how well the empath could control her emotions. Even her eyes betrayed no hint as to how panicked she truly was about the situation, the amethyst irises like the purple gemstone itself, though they had a certain degree of softness in them towards the younger girl.
"Control?" the blue-eyed blonde asked, blinking in confusion. She tilted her head to one side as the Senshi of the Moon scratched the back of her neck. "What do you mean by that?"
Raven sighed, running a pale hand through her short purple hair. "You recall how I made the glass shatter with Saphir?" the Titan asked with an arched brow. "Or how I reacted with that white-haired bastard who decided to try and take you for himself?" She waited for a nod from the blonde, which was given only seconds later, and then the pale sorceress continued, saying, "Those were examples of me losing control."
The Titan stopped briefly, gently easing Usagi's hands away and turning to look out through an open window, curtains pulled back at either side, at the devastated kingdom, her cloak falling over her form again. It was a good thing too — the wind at midnight always seemed to be the coldest, and it seemed as if the kingdom was trapped in a state of eternal night, with the silvery moon barely out to illuminate the night. Stars still dotted the velvet black sky, no doubt about it, but the light from the faraway celestial bodies seemed much fainter than it was back on the roof of the Titans Tower.
Perhaps it was just Raven being overly cautious.
"You're very formidable without control," the golden princess of the Silver Millennium finally said from behind Raven, the blonde girl hurrying over to the window as well and putting both hands onto the windowsill. "I don't think even the Crystal could be a match when you're angry."
"Trigon's influence, I'm afraid," Raven stated sharply, eyes narrowed. "I can't control it, and yet it can control me — argh!" The Titan suddenly cried out, stumbling back unsteadily. A pale hand shot out to grab the sill, steadying herself a bit as she clutched her head with her other hand, a sharp, stinging pain drilling into her skull just below her chakra gem. It didn't take a genius to figure out what was going on.
"Raven! What's going on?" Usagi called out, rushing over to help her sister. As the blonde princess got closer, she suddenly stumbled and had to grab onto the windowsill as well, her features pinched into an expression of clear pain. Then, a bright glow came from her brow, and the golden up-turned crescent moon of the Silver Millennium's Lunar kingdom became present. The princess seemed pained by the sudden appearance of the golden symbol, much like Raven was.
The pale sorceress muttered a curse in another tongue and tried to wrench herself upright, though her shaking arms were making it hard and nearly impossible to do so. The girl winced, trying to stand up without stumbling over her own two feet or falling over, but that seemed to be a failing battle. Raven cursed once more, growling as she quickly reached out mentally to restrain her anger at the situation from taking over and destroying something else... again. "I don't know!" she hissed harshly, not realizing that her eyes had briefly turned to four blood red slits.
The blue-eyed blonde suddenly flinched, which made the Titan realize that she was doing something that was scaring the Senshi of the Moon.
Raven muttered a curse. "Sorry," she muttered, but as suddenly as it came, the pain intensified, and the Titan gave a strangled cry of pain.
Don't worry, two voices spoke together, one recognizable as the future Raven's calm and steady monotone, while the other was a slightly lower and more aged version of Usagi's own voice. The future is fine.
The pounding on the inside of Raven's skull suddenly became unbearable, and the pale demon crumpled to the ground, struggling to keep herself awake. It was a lost cause, though, and her vision faded into a mass of black as the Titan blacked out.
Usagi's black world slowly returned to the full-colour landscape the blue-eyed blonde was used to seeing on a daily basis. There was a faintly misty fog that shrouded the edges of her field of vision, but the reincarnated princess pushed it aside for a while, choosing to focus on what exactly she saw. Around her was a thick blanket of white, with a dark, starry night above her, the velvety black sky illuminated by only the light of the faraway stars.
Flakes of feathery white snow fell from the darkened night sky hanging above her, and her breath came out in wisps of translucent mist that faded into the air around her as quickly as it formed. The snowflakes landed around her, on her — through her? For indeed, the feather-light flakes of snow that fell to the ground seemed to pass right through Usagi's form, almost as if she was a spectre. "Huh?" the blonde mumbled in confusion as she slowly got up to her feet.
There was a distinct chill that could be felt permeating through the night, though with the falling snow, it rightly should have been much colder. The temperature didn't dip any lower than it was at the moment, though, remaining at a steady chill that was just faintly uncomfortable.
"It's passing right through us," Raven's voice could be heard noting the fact down, and Usagi hastily turned to find the pale Titan getting to her feet as she observed the snow that fell. "We can stand, but it seems as if we're not actually here at all. Look at your feet. We're not leaving footprints."
The blonde princess looked down to see that yes, indeed, Raven was correct. Beneath the soles of Usagi's shoes, there was no indented imprint left in the snow when Usagi's weight — no matter how light she was — should have at least left a small indent. With Raven too, the snow was pristine and untouched, even as the Titan strode over to stand beside the blonde. "That's strange," Usagi began. "What's going on?"
The pale sorceress shrugged in a manner that said 'I'm not sure'. Then, the cloaked Titan raised a hand up to motion for silence as she looked over her shoulder. "Look. Over there."
Usagi immediately snapped her head over to the direction that her sister had indicated, and it was a miracle she didn't get whiplash or break something in the process. The blue-eyed girl saw two people walking in the distance, slowly coming closer and closer until they were within around five metres' range of the two.
Both were women, one at least half a head taller than the other. One of the women was clad in a white cloak, along with a familiar white robe that draped over the woman's form. The hood was drawn up over her head, but from underneath the shadows cast by the hood, two gleaming amethyst eyes could be seen. The woman had one arm around the other woman as the two stopped in the middle of the blank spread of snow.
The other woman was wearing a sailor uniform that was strikingly similar to the Sailor Senshi's outfit, but in shades of gold, white, and silver, with a long cape draping behind her. Her hair was a pale silver, tied into the very same bun and pigtails style that Usagi had done her hair in, except the buns on her head were done in a heart shape instead. A brooch was pinned to the front of her winged bow, and the woman unpinned it, opening it with a click to reveal a familiar silver crystal that glinted and raised itself into the air, slowly changing shape into a delicate lotus flower.
"Usagi, are you ready?" White Raven asked, not looking at the silver-haired woman. Her white cloak seemed to fade and blend in with the white snow on the ground and around her, making her look like she had just emerged from the snow.
"But of course, sister dearest," the Senshi chided gently. "I can control the crystal now. It'll be fine."
White Raven chuckled softly. "But of course, Sailor Comos," the woman said with a light teasing tone. "Now, shall we?"
"We shall. Cosmos Crystal Power!" The woman called out the phrase, and the crystal flickered with glowing power, suddenly blossoming into an open flower and bursting with bright silver energy.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" The white cloaked woman's hands joined those of Cosmos around the crystal, and a bright white glow appeared, surging through the crystal and being amplified. "Let us wake this Earth from its slumber!"
"Let us recreate peace anew!"
Together, the duo called out, "To bring back hope and peace!"
Light filled Usagi's vision, making the girl have to cover her eyes to shield them from the light. And then, the light died down once more, and the chill that the blonde felt vanished. Anxiously, she cracked one eye open to see what was going on. Instead of the snowy plain, the princess instead saw a grand cauldron, gleaming and full to the brim with magic. "Huh?" she mumbled.
"Just now... that was a vision of sorts, wasn't it?" Raven muttered. This time, the sorceress was still next to Usagi, and the sisters were looking at the cauldron together. "And this... what is this?"
The blonde shook her head. "I wish I knew... hey, isn't that..." In the distance were the same two people from the earlier scene, though this time, the future sisters seemed to be holding a glowing crystal-like item in their hands.
"It is." Raven watched, seemingly intrigued. "What is that they're holding?"
The women approached the cauldron and then moved closer. Cosmos removed her ungloved hands from on top of White Raven's, letting the gleaming crystal be seen more clearly as White Raven slowly let go of it above the cauldron. The crystal fell into the cauldron, gleaming as it caught the light, and another brilliant flash flooded the duo's eyes.
Finally, the light faded, and Usagi found herself back at the window overlooking the devastated kingdom of Crystal Earth. "Those two... those were us!" she exclaimed. "In the future."
Raven looked momentarily stunned as the girl looked out at the scene beneath the sisters. "It was... wasn't it?" she asked softly. "We were using such an amazing power together... together..." The sorceress seemed to realize something. "Together..."
Usagi had to pause for a while, but she understood what her sister meant in a flash. "Together..." the blonde said to herself. "Together we stand, divided we fall... as long as we're together... we're unstoppable." The girl took a step forward and took up Raven's pale hands in her own. "You don't need to worry, Raven," she said with a bright smile. "As long as we're together, everything will be fine!"
The pale sorceress paused for a moment and smiled gently at Usagi, giving the blue-eyed blonde's hands a squeeze. "I think I've got a plan," she said with a soft smile, amethyst eyes warm. "Come on, I'll tell you about it and the others when we get back to the room."
Chapter 33: Enter the Lion's Den
Raven stopped in front of the imposing doors of the Black Moon Clan's fortress, feeling fear start to brew inside her. She wasn't sure why — Trigon had looked more terrifying than this. Perhaps it was the fact that this time, she wasn't going to shield the Titans up inside a barrier, or that this time, she wasn't alone. The sorceress glanced to her side, at her blonde sister, the Senshi of which was gripping her pink and golden weapon tightly in her gloved hands.
"This is unnerving," Sailor Moon mumbled to her, blue eyes not on the cloaked Titan, but rather on the grandiose fortress of the Black Moon. Her golden tiara with the ruby red gem in the centre twinkled in what faint light managed to get to Nemesis, and behind the metal headpiece, Raven could feel the faint white magic of the symbol of the White Moon calling out — both to her and to the crystal that rested inside the brooch that was firmly attached to the front of the Moon Princess' bow.
Saphir's voice was stern as the blue-haired man walked up behind the two. "This is merely the outside, Sailor Moon. Do not be scared — now is not the time for fear, that comes later." He eyed the menacing castle that was his home, blue eyes filled with an unidentifiable look — to most.
Raven was not most, though. The empath could practically feel the mixture of emotions that were roaring as they ripped through the former blue prince of the Black Moon. Resent was there, of course, as one of the most powerful of his feelings. Then there was grief added into the mix — to whom, the sorceress could not properly sense, but she had a strong feeling that it was towards his fallen 'family' as well as his brother. A harsh storm of anger, though not as volatile as her own, was tightly bound to his inner self, and the girl found herself impressed by his strong mental walls. If it had been her, her rage would have overtaken her long ago.
To say she was ill-tempered would be a grave understatement indeed.
The pale Titan withdrew the natural field around her that allowed her empathy to reach out, knowing that Saphir's maelstrom of emotions would be a distraction she didn't need. "We shouldn't waste any more time," Raven stated firmly.
Saphir nodded, dark-blue eyes narrowed. "Indeed. Your friends are lying in wait in their own positions, just as we have arranged." He turned a steely gaze onto Raven and Sailor Moon. "Are you absolutely sure that you can proceed?" he asked, though it was nearly absolutely rhetorical, because they had already come to the gate.
Sailor Moon nodded, her blonde pigtails bouncing slightly as she did, and the shortest of the trio glanced over at the august doors of the fortress. "I'm ready for this," the blonde announced, her voice firm and steady, even as her grip on her Cutie Moon Rod tightened. "Let's go."
The blue-clad man made a sound of agreement as he started walking, only a little behind them. "Good spirit." He didn't say anything else, and as soon as the trio reached the doors, they opened inwards with a smooth, soundless motion, making the man grit his teeth and draw his features into a harsh scowl. "He's anticipating us. Wiseman," he hissed in a tone so low that only Raven, closest in proximity to him, could hear. Venom dripped from his tone, and even without the need of her empathy, Raven could feel the absolute hatred that wafted from him.
Reaching a pale hand out, she firmly caught him by the shoulder, looking him straight in the eye. "Reign in your anger," she cautioned. Without another word, the cloaked spawn of Trigon the Terrible released her hold on him and continued down the dimly-lit corridors.
"This is such a classic villain stronghold," Moon mumbled, blue eyes large and wary, glancing around while a spark of fear could be seen present in her irises. "It's like they want it to be intimidating."
"Well that what this entrance was designed for," Saphir replied bluntly, taking the lead in front of the two sisters. "If your enemies are too terrified to attack you, you win before you even have to fight."
The Titans' resident magic-user nodded in acknowledgement. She could understand that — Trigon had designed his realm to make the entrance as terrifying as possible, though it wasn't hard, considering that it was already the base of Hell. "But it doesn't mean anything if you're not scared," the sorceress stated in a matter-of-fact manner. "And I am not scared."
"Neither am I," Sailor Moon declared bravely, walking just a bit faster.
Saphir shook his head, though whether in dismay or just an aside movement, Raven couldn't tell without the use of her empathy. "Then we must proceed, though do so with caution. My brother and... Wiseman, they control this place. The Maleficent Black Crystal lies in the heart of the fortress. Destroy it, and the connection will be severed. Wiseman will be ended."
Raven nodded at the warning. "Understood. I will keep my guard up." Her amethyst eyes were narrowed as the irises slowly scanned the area, waiting for something to lunge out and attack.
Perhaps that was a mistake.
Just as the words left her lips, Sailor Moon's scream was heard and the sorceress twisted to look at her sister... who suddenly wasn't there anymore.
Sailor Moon came to on a hard, concrete floor, a wicked headache brewing in her head. For once, she hadn't released her transformation upon losing consciousness — a welcome change, she would assure you, from having her identity be revealed whenever a hard enough blow would knock her out cold. Gingerly, the blonde reached to the back of her head, where she felt the pain start to pool, and mumbled a curse when she felt the pain shoot through her as though lightning through metal. "Ow," she mumbled incoherently.
"Princess Serenity..." a low, raspy voice called out. The voice echoed in the room, which, now that Moon was taking the time to properly look around, was completely shrouded in shadow. There was a single spotlight that shone down, cutting through the opaque darkness that covered every corner of the room, and illuminating a perfect circle around her, around one metre in diameter.
Sailor Moon slowly rose to her feet, her heeled red boots making a soft 'clack' on the floor. "Who's there?" she demanded, reaching out for her Cutie Moon Rod, which appeared just as soon as she thought of it, heeding her call almost immediately. Inside her brooch, the powerful crystal within glinted with her power, assuring her that the princess could take care of the situation with the aid of the Illusionary Silver Crystal.
"Sailor Moon..." The voice was menacing, threatening... and worst of all, it emanated darkness. Not the same kind of darkness that Raven radiated — no, even Raven's darkness had a certain warmth to it, chilling as it was. This darkness permeated into her very soul, making her shiver in fear, and not even the sudden pulse of bright energy from her crystal seemed to ward it off.
"Tsukino... Usagi..." There was a glint in the very edges of the room, and suddenly, rings of dark magenta energy leapt forth, curling around her like restraints, which then tightened until it was painful. It felt like it was burning marks into her skin, even though it was so cold that the blonde was sure it was below subzero temperatures.
"Who are you?" Sailor Moon yelled, thrashing around as she tried to get herself free of the painfully constricting rings of energy. "Let me go!" she exclaimed, voice rising in volume and fear. "Now!"
"Who am I?" the raspy voice whispered, the tone so chilling it might have turned moisture solid. "Why... I am Wiseman."
Sailor Moon tensed up, and for a second, stopped her struggling, blue eyes wide in terror. Wiseman... was this a trap from the beginning? Saphir said they had absolute power in here, but did he already know we were here from the start? Suddenly, her fighting renewed with a vigour, trying to lash out from the restrictive hold that the energy rings had on her and to free herself from its bind. There was a clear crack that suddenly resounded through the darkened room, though it wasn't from her bones being broken by the force of the constricting energy.
Then another crack and a piece of gold clattered to the floor. The tiara she wore as a part of her sailor outfit. Another shard joined it, and then, the ruby fell with a clink as well. Then, a pinprick of pain on her brow spread to being a full-out burning sensation, and Sailor Moon felt the power of the Illusionary Silver Crystal suddenly surge in a flood. "Moon Crystal Power!" she yelled, channelling the energy through her like it was second nature. Her tiara shattered, falling off, and the rings of energy surrounding her were attacked by her own energy, expelled out with a scream.
Free of the restraints, Sailor Moon stumbled on her feet in the room, tired from the output. The blonde slumped to her knees and used her arms to hold herself out as she gasped for air that had nearly been denied to her by the broken restraints.
"Hmm... you are much more resilient than I had thought... but it matters not... Prince Dimande... she is yours."
"What?" Sailor Moon scrambled to her feet even though she was exhausted, reaching out for the Cutie Moon Rod once more. "Moon Princess—" Her world suddenly became sluggish, heavy, like it was lead. "Hala..."
"None of that now, princess," Dimande's voice cooed in her ear, and the white-haired prince appeared in front of her, his third eye glowing with some sort of magic as he held her there, a hand cupping her chin whilst another grabbing her by the upper arm. "Now, finally, after so long, you are mine." The sheer glee in his tone was terrifying, and his menacing leer as his vicious violet eyes gleamed with wicked delight chilled her to her very core.
What did he want with her?
The white-haired man leant in closer, stroking a finger across her cheek as he smirked in an arrogant manner. "Now... my dear Serenity... my precious, lovely Serenity... you are mine." The man gripped her chin tighter and tilted her head up, leaning in to press a kiss onto her lips, but he stopped at the last moment. "No, no," he mused. "This doesn't have that source of satisfaction." Suddenly, his third eye suddenly flashed again, and Sailor Moon's world seemed to slow down, almost stopping around her.
"Kneel to me, Serenity," he commanded lazily.
The blonde struggled with her body, her mind yelling at her to stand, whilst her body, already surrendered to Dimande's control via magical means, was giving in, her knees buckling under her. "Yes... my prince..." she found herself saying, much to her horror.
Dimande smirked, and chuckled, the wicked sound making the princess want to shudder. "Now kiss my hand." He held a pale hand out to her.
"Yes... my prince..." The princess was thoroughly disgusted with him at this point. Now that was low, forcing someone to do this against their will just to put on a display of power. It disturbed her too, but the princess was helpless to prevent it as her body acted without her control.
"Akuryo Taisan!" Suddenly, the door to the dark room was slammed in on itself, smashed apart by red flames that quickly ate it up. Sailor Mars ran into the room as light flooded into it, the brightness of which broke Dimande's concentration and allowed the blonde Senshi to regain control of her senses.
At once, four near-simultaneous cries filled the air, along with one more.
Chapter 34: Storm the Castle
"Usagi!" Raven shouted out, cursing in her mind as she tried to reach out to her sister. The sorceress' attempts were roughly bounced off a wall of sorts, one could say, as each of her mental connections — including the one she shared with Robin — were blocked off, though it was rather... crude in its construction, to say the least. The pale Titan snarled a loud curse as she reached out, clasping the gleaming red gem that held her cloak together over her shoulders.
The tracker inside the ruby clasp of her cloak flashed periodically, sending an apt distress signal towards her friends. Raven closed her eyes, trying to concentrate and get through the barrier that had deflected her attempts at contacting Usagi.
Saphir ground out a curse word, startling the sorceress. "This is Wiseman's doing," the blue-haired man spat angrily. "I should have known. He's set this up as a trap, played us like an instrument! I—"
Raven's brow furrowed, eyes still shut in concentration but snapping open in alarm once Saphir's rant was cut off by a sharp gasp of pain. "Saphir?" she hissed, inwardly panicking. The cloaked Titan found a dark ring of crystals had sprung up around the man, one of them having stabbed right through his lower torso in a painful manner.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" she hissed, eyes enveloped by a blinding white glow, as were the crystals that punctured the air. Her hand balled into a fist, shattering the large bits of crystal that surrounded him. Releasing her hold on the shards, she then followed up with a crescent of black energy that sliced cleanly through the crystal that had found it prudent to injure the blue-haired man, then grabbed the offending weapon to gently ease it out.
Before she could, however, Saphir managed to gasp out, "N-no, you need to turn—turn around." His hands were pressed tightly to the wound, and a painful grimace twisted his features, but he wasn't in danger of bleeding out.
The Titan whirred around on her heels, sensing a menacing presence somewhere around her. "Who's there?" she hissed. "Answer me! Show yourself!" Her amethyst eyes flared a blinding white, then narrowed. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" A glowing arc of black energy raced through the air, followed directly by the shattered shards of the crystals being levitated into the air, ripping right through the air to stab into the direction where she sensed the malevolent force.
A black aura suddenly intercepted the flying shards of crystals, and they were sent right back at the sorceress.
The Titan hissed a curse, and quickly summoned a shadowy raven that swooped in front of her, taking the shards of crystal and deflecting it to the side. Raven growled and muttered another curse. Her white eyes flared with a violent glow as she took a step back closer to Saphir, a growl twisting her expression. "Show yourself!" she repeated. "Now."
"Impatience is a vice... Selenity." There was a flash of colour that could be seen in the corner of her field of vision, and when the sorceress whirred around, she was met with the sighed of a hunched, withered figure covered in a tattered cowl, with long spidery kaleidoscopic fingers curled over a darkened crystalline sphere. "But here I am..."
"Wiseman," Saphir gasped out weakly, grimacing in pain.
"Saphir... your brother would be very disappointed in you..." Wiseman rasped. "But now... you're out of commission. On the other hand... you are being a menace." Without even the slightest hint of warning, sharp crystals shot straight up from the floor, attempting to impale her through.
Raven was prepared at this point, and quickly wrapped herself with a shield constructed out of her dark, shadowy powers. She growled as the sharp crystal jostled roughly against the shield, managing to keep the shield together and shattering the crystals. Her amethyst eyes narrowed to slits, and a white glow quickly took over. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" The black shield exploded outwards, obliterating the final shards of the crystals.
A deep scowl etched itself on her features, and she sent another wave of black energy in a sweeping arc towards Wiseman, eyes glowing in the relatively dim lighting of the hallways. The black arc was intercepted by an invisible wall, making it disperse. The Titan cursed.
Dark purple rings of energy leapt out at her from the shadows, and it was only by luck did Raven manage to avoid them all. The sorceress twisted her body, quickly moving around the attacks, and quickly shot out with another attack of her own. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" she shouted out, hands alight with black energy and quickly countering each ring of energy with a darkened blast of her own. "Damn this," she hissed, quickly sending more arcs of black shadowy energy at the hunched-over figure. She snarled out her incantation again, once more attacking, only to be countered by the infuriating wall that dispersed her arcs of energy attacks.
Without her noticing, the darkened rings of energy crept up on her once more, and Saphir managed a weak shout of her to be careful, reaching her ears a second too late. The cloaked Titan whirred around at the warning, the energy rings slamming into her and throwing her against one of the walls with a grunt. The pale sorceress winced, quickly wrenching herself back to her feet, muttering a curse as she got herself back together.
"That hurts," she mumbled in a flat enough tone. Her eyes were closed as she took a slow inhale of breath, wincing at the harsh impact.
"Raven!" Robin's voice cut into the scene, and her eyes snapped open just in time to see the Boy Wonder rush into the corridor with the rest of the Titans. All of them looked like they had gotten themselves into a serious fight, with ripped and messed up clothes, and Starfire looked like she had lost a couple of inches of hair in the process.
"How fortunate for you... Selenity... you get to live just this once." Wiseman vanished right after he finished his sentence.
Raven muttered another curse as she staggered back to her feet, wincing as a spike of pain shot up her nerves. The sorceress glanced down at herself, realizing that a large section of the black leotard at her side had been burnt off, with an ugly burn scar accompanied by a large, striking gash that was dripping red blood.
Saphir groaned a bit as Cyborg crossed over with Beast Boy to help him up.
"Damn," the half-machine muttered. "That's a nasty stab."
The green changeling nodded. "That's an understatement, Cy," Beast Boy said, shaking his head. "You okay, dude?"
Saphir grunted a bit at the question. "I got stabbed right through my midsection. I do not think that can qualify as 'okay', Beast Boy."
The jade-eyed Titan winced. "Right, dude, sorry."
Robin gently helped the pale sorceress to the centre of the hallway, where she caught sight of Uranus and Neptune glancing around warily. Pluto still had that ever calm, serious look on her mature features. "Where's Sailor Moon?" the masked Titan asked, as Starfire shot over to take over, helping the blue-cloaked girl stand and letting the sorceress lean on her for support.
The purple-haired Titan murmured a soft thanks to the alien and then turned to the blue-haired man. "Cyborg, can you get Saphir over here?" She paused, drawing breath sharply through her clenched teeth as the wound on her side was irritated with the movement. Her pale hands lit up with a faint blue glow as she eased the pain on her side.
"You sure, Rae? You look terrible," the half-machine said, concern heavily lacing his tone as he strode over as he helped the man.
"I'm fine." Raven waved it off, ignoring the flaring pain in her side. With Starfire's help, she headed closer to them, hands alight with a faint glow. Placing her hands roughly five centimetres over his chest, she sent her healing powers through him, slowly forcing the bits of crystal that had stabbed through him out of his system and away, forcing his body to quickly regenerate lost tissue and knitting together the skin.
Once she felt he was healed enough to be able to walk on his own, she tore her hands away, cutting off the flow of power instantly. With a gasp, she staggered back, with the tall alien behind her instantly reaching out to steady her.
"Careful, Raven," Starfire gently cautioned, the red-haired Titan hovering a bit to get her back on her feet. "Are you alright to stand?"
Raven nodded jerkily. "Yes. Now come on — we need to find Usagi."
The leader of the original Titans shook his head. "Not a chance, Raven," Robin hissed. "You can barely stand!" He gently grabbed her by the shoulders, making the sorceress look into his eyes beyond the domino mask he wore.
"I can do it, Richard," the Titan ground out to her leader, shaking off his grip on her. "Let's go." The pale girl stalked off towards the other end of the corridor, quickly pausing to steady herself as she held a hand to her injury, forcing a bit of power into healing herself before she continued. "Are you coming or not?"
Neptune's heels on the floor were clear, accompanied by Uranus and Pluto's footsteps, as all three of the Senshi headed after her.
"Raven!" The Boy Wonder cursed out loud and hastily chased after her, quickly followed by Cyborg's heavy footsteps. Beast Boy and Starfire quickly followed as well, though relatively soundlessly, as Starfire had taken to the air and was flying near Cyborg's head level and Beast Boy was too light to make too much sound.
As the group rounded a corner, Raven flinched, staggering back into Uranus, who quickly grabbed her by the arms to steady her. Pain shot through her head in a very familiar way. Her brow was burning like someone was trying to brand her, and it took the shape of the familiar upturned crescent moon. "Usagi!" she gasped out. "I can feel the crystal!"
Pluto made a motion to all of the others behind to stop, tapping the end of her staff on the ground. "Princess, can you track the location of the crystal?" the dark green-haired woman demanded.
Raven winced, brow furrowed as she concentrated on sensing the location of the crystal. "I think so," she murmured. Her eyes closed as she blocked out other distractions, focusing solely on the pulsing waves of power that originated from somewhere in the fortress. Her amethyst eyes snapped open, and the sorceress gasped, instantly launching off into a sprint, ignoring the burning pain in her side as she ran off in the direction she sensed the crystal in.
Robin's steel-toed combat boots thumped on the ground as the Boy Wonder ran after her, yelling out to the group, "Come on! We need to find her!"
The cloaked Titan skidded around another corner as she sensed the power growing stronger — was it getting stronger or was she getting closer? Maybe it was both. Usagi! Raven shouted mentally. Can you hear me?
There was a vague, mumbled response, but it was the blonde. Raven just knew it.
Hold on, Usagi, I'm coming! The Titan launched herself into the air as she shot towards Usagi. Slowing down in front of her set of grand double doors, her eyes were enveloped with a bright, glowing white. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" she snarled, sending an arc of black energy smashing straight into the doors, crashing them open.
A scream was heard as the black-haired form of Sailor Mars was tossed right out of the doors, hurtling straight into a wall with a sickening crack, before the red and purple-clad guardian of Mars slumped, motionless save for the faint rise and fall of her chest. Her sailor suit was torn, and she has nasty cuts, gashes, and bruises across her body. She was lucky to still be breathing, with the condition she was in.
Raven ignored the Senshi of Mars as the rest of the Titans caught up. "Inside," she murmured to Robin, just as a shout of 'Rolling Heat Vibration!' was followed by a bright flash of gold.
"Foolishness." Dimande, Raven realized. The unseen man laughed mockingly. "You really think you can win? Die, pathetic Senshi." A bolt of bruise-coloured lightning shot out into the line of sight of the Titans, slamming into Sailor Venus.
"Venus!" Sailor Jupiter shouted. "Supreme Thunder Dragon!" The green-eyed Senshi's attack didn't seem to land, and another bolt of lightning threw the brunette out of the room as well.
Raven grit her teeth. "I'm done with waiting for this," she murmured, and ignoring Robin's attempt to stop her. Her blue cloak billowed behind her as she strode in, and unconsciously, her eyes had turned to four blood red slits. "Where is my sister, Dimande?" Her voice echoed eerily, and all activity in the room stopped instantly.
The white-haired man looked completely terrified, violet eyes wide as he took a step back. "Y-you!" he stammered out, sounding completely horrified.
Raven couldn't help herself from baring a vicious smile. It seems like she had managed to scar the man with her outburst. Her eyes looked over the room, dismissing the crumpled forms of Sailor Mercury and Tuxedo Kamen in the corner, and finding Sailor Moon lying on her side near the wall. "Usagi!" Something snapped, again, and her rage took over. Her voice darkened, taking on the eerily familiar demonic undertone. "You! What did you do!"
"No, Raven, stop!"
Chapter 35: Brothers
Dimande stared at the cloaked monster in front of him, taking a step back as he tried to mask his horror. Not this beast again... He took another step back, but he knew that his eyes were betraying terror and dread. "No," he gasped softly, absolutely terrified.
"No, Raven, stop!" That voice made him tense up, and his violet eyes quickly snapped to the monster's side, seeing his blue-haired brother stumble into his line of sight, looking disgruntled, blue clothes stained a dark purple shade with what seemed to be... blood. "Raven, stop, now!" he demanded, a grimace twisting his features as the blue-eyed man turned to the terrifying red-eyed monster, pleading for it to stop.
But Dimande's eyes were drawn to the subtle way he was favouring his side, and the grit teeth as his brother talked with the beast. That wasn't even including how his hands were stained with a darkened, caked red.
Was he injured?
No, the traitor had left with Serenity, helped her escape from him. Why, oh why would his brother come back after fleeing? The traitor didn't deserve to come back, not after he abandoned their ideals, not after he had abandoned him. Saphir didn't deserve his sympathy!
For a moment, anger flooded his mind, pushing his fear to the side. "Saphir," the white-haired man spat angrily, resent clear in his tone. "Traitor."
His brother finally turned around as the monster moved away, instantly going over to Serenity's prone form and turning back into a cloaked girl, though its eyes were still the menacing four slits that promised hell. "Brother," Saphir murmured, a bloodied hand pressing carefully to his side. The traitor grimaced, taking a sharp breath as he winced, moving a little closer to the white prince of the Black Moon Clan.
Dimande snarled. "What are you doing here?" he hissed. "Why return after you've betrayed us, betrayed the Clan?" His voice rose, ending his sentence with a growl and a roar. "I should have known that I was the only one loyal to our cause. The Ayakashi Sisters turned to those pathetically weak Senshi." He tossed an aside glance to the collapsed form of Sailor Mercury and Sailor Venus in the corner, along with the slumped Endymion of the past. A sneer curled his lips. "Rubeus died, but perhaps he was loyal. Esmaraude—"
"Esmaraude turned on you?" Saphir interrupted, looking genuinely taken aback, blue eyes wide in surprise. "She was always so devoted to you... unthinkable that she would do this."
The white prince snarled, hands closing into a fist. "The same can be said of you, traitor," Dimande sneered. "I thought you wanted to see Earth! I thought the family was supposed to value one another! Yet you not only free the beast, you aid in her escape? You let her free Serenity, you let them run! And you ran with them!" The white-haired man shook his head, violet eyes hard as diamond. "And now, traitor, you'll die. Just like Esmaraude," he spat.
"Wait, Dimande, brother, please listen to me," Saphir protested, "Please, you have to listen!" The younger of the two siblings took a small step closer to Dimande, a pleading expression on his face. He reached a hand — covered in dried blood — out to the white-haired prince, making the violet-eyed man wonder if he had gotten hurt once more. "Please brother. Just listen."
Dimande's violet eyes flicked from his brother's bloody hand to the younger man's face. "I..." His gaze settled on the begging look in his brother's eyes, and his brow furrowed in indecision. "Fine," the white prince finally acquiesced. "I'll listen. You have one chance. Explain." His words faltered, and the demanding tone that he intended to use petered out to a faint plea to his brother, that it was just a misunderstanding.
Saphir's blue eyes, wearing and pleading, lit up with a spark of hope. "It's... Wiseman, brother," the man said, his tone completely serious. "Wiseman is manipulating you! He's using you for his own ends, brother." The man shook his head. "Wiseman never had the intention to aid us in the first place!" he said, voice rising as tried to convince Dimande. "He's—"
"Enough!" Dimande snarled, cutting his brother off abruptly in the middle of his sentence. "Enough of your lies!" the man shouted out, violet eyes narrowed. "You truly have turned traitor, Saphir. I am disappointed in you."
"Please brother!" Saphir begged. "Please, you have to see the truth!" He took a step forward, closer to the white prince of the Black Moon. "Dimande!"
The violet-eyed man shook his head, snapping, "No, I refuse to believe your words! Wiseman has been loyal to our cause for years, he would never turn traitor!"
Saphir took a step back, recoiling a bit from Dimande's outburst, like the white prince's words had somehow physically hurt him. "Brother, please—"
"No! Stop lying to me, Saphir!" Dimande snarled, taking a step forward. "I've had enough of your lies! Now be silent!"
The younger of the duo shook his head vigorously. "No, no, I won't back down, brother! You need to see Wiseman for what he is, you need to understand this, Diman— brother!" The blue-haired man suddenly lunged forward.
Dimande found himself on his side at the next moment, for a second, confused and disoriented. What had just happened? His violet eyes searched the room, finding Saphir lying on the ground several metres away, sprawled out and with a pool of blood slowly growing under him. Despite himself, the white prince quickly uttered a curse and scrambled to his feet, rushing over to his brother. "Saphir," he hissed, voice low. "Saphir!"
The younger of the brothers failed to stir.
The white-haired man grasped one of his brother's bloody hands in his own, his free hand placed on the other's shoulder as he tried to shake his brother awake. "Saphir! Don't scare me, brother, wake up!" When the blue-haired man once again did not stir, Dimande hissed another curse word and shook him harder, for a moment lost as to what to do. "Saphir, wake up!"
It seemed like forever, an eternity of tense waiting, when Saphir winced, eyes opening. "Brother..." the blue-eyed man murmured, grimacing as soon as he finished speaking. An expression of pain twisted his features, and the man attempted to get up.
"Lie down, fool!" Dimande hissed. "You'll only make the injury worse!"
The blue prince of the Black Moon Clan gave his older brother a faint smile. "Apologies... brother..." he murmured, the smile leaving his features once he finished, and the grimace returning semi-permanently. "Brother... do you remember the promise we made... when we were much, much younger...?"
The white-haired man's violet eyes softened and the man gave Saphir's hand a light squeeze. "Of course, Saphir," he murmured.
"Brother, what do you intend to do when you're all grown up?" The five-year-old Saphir had asked once before, as the two brothers sat together in one of the many rooms of the Black Moon's fortress, silently enjoying one of the rare, quiet moments that the siblings had to themselves.
"A hard question to answer, Saphir," the older of the two boys had mused. "But what else is there to do but to reclaim the Earth?"
"Crystal Earth..." The younger had sighed. "I hear that it is a beautiful place. Unlike here, on Nemesis..."
"Then it is settled. We will reclaim Crystal Earth, and see the beauty of the place together." The white-haired boy had smiled at his brother, and once more, the two children had fallen into a comfortable silence, with plans of the future filling the older of the duo's mind.
Saphir's weak chuckle brought Dimande back to the present time, where the white prince uttered a curse and glared at his brother. "Stop wasting your energy and lie back, Saphir," he snapped harshly. "You're already injured enough as it is."
The blue prince offered him a faint smile. "I'm sorry... brother..." the blue-haired man murmured. The younger sibling grimaced, taking a quick inhale of breath through clenched teeth.
Dimande could hear the Senshi, the Titans, and Serenity along with the beast in the background, and Wiseman's power was palatable, but the violet-eyed man paid no heed to their strained conversation, nor did he give a shred of attention to the elaborate show of blasts of magic behind him. "Keep your eyes open, Saphir, look at me," the older sibling urged, gripping his brother's bloody hand tightly. "Do you hear me? Stay focused!" The man wasn't aware of it, but his hands were shaking mildly. "Please, Saphir, for the sake of whichever deity that actually exists out there..."
The injured brother chuckled weakly, followed by a violent cough. "I didn't know you were still religious, brother."
Dimande fell silent for a short spell. "I have never been religious, Saphir. Why are you trying to make light of a situation, even when you're on the brink of death?" The man's voice rose as he talked, though the battle in their background drowned out most of his words. Honestly, the white-haired man supposed it was a miracle he could even hear Saphir at this point, with the sounds of the battle growing stronger and stronger as the fight progressed.
"Because..." Saphir paused to cough, "because... I don't think it matters any more. I'm sorry, brother. I should have told you my suspicions about Wiseman in the first place. I should have talked to you earlier, then maybe... maybe this wouldn't have happened."
"You absolute fool. Do you think I would have listened anyway?" Dimande stared down at his brother, eyes hard for a split second. "I doubt I would have, even if you made a compelling argument."
Saphir's gaze shifted briefly from him to the battle behind the white prince, then back at the older brother once more. "... your implication is that my argument was weak?"
The white-haired man paused, caught by surprise. "What? No, I—" Abruptly, he cut himself off, shaking his head. "You... you're impossible, Saphir. Always focusing on the logistics, the numbers, the meanings in my speech that I never notice."
"You're too focused on the now..." Saphir mumbled. "Too driven by instinct and emotion. You can't see... see past the surface. That is your folly."
"My folly, eh?" Dimande murmured. "And yours is that you care too much about me."
The blue-haired brother cracked a small grin. "As I have always, brother," he assured, voice soft, and barely reaching Dimande's ears. "I never had any other choice but to look out for you... especially when you didn't do it yourself."
The older man shook his head slowly and painstakingly pulled his brother into an embrace, giving very little thought to the way that the still-flowing blood was staining the front of his white suit. "I'm sorry, Saphir."
The younger chuckled faintly, and Dimande felt his arms slowly tighten around the older sibling to return the embrace. "There's nothing to be sorry for, brother. Thank you."
"For what?" Dimande choked out in a whisper, feeling himself start to shake.
But Saphir didn't respond.
"Saphir?" The older sibling tensed up, and quickly took hold of Saphir's hand, feeling for a pulse.
"Saphir..." Dimande murmured, laying his brother on the floor. "I'm truly... so... very... sorry... Forgive me, brother mine..."
Chapter 36: The Battle Begins
Sailor Moon made a soft moan of pain as she stirred awake, brow furrowed together as her blue eyes slowly opened. The blurry world around her slowly refocused together to form the darkened walls and floor of the room she last remembered being in. What had happened? She recalled the Senshi bursting in, crying out her name, then something had hit her and she had lost consciousness. A steady headache thrummed in the back of her head, not very painful, but it was there, an obvious distraction, making it hard to focus.
As she regained full consciousness, a warm pulsing of power emanated from two points of her form. One of them was the precious brooch that held the Illusionary Silver Crystal. The other was from the still-present upturned crescent moon that adorned her brow, marking her as a princess of the fallen Lunar Kingdom of the Silver Millennium. Fallen by her hand, no less. The blonde grimaced, pushing that thought away for the moment.
What was going on? Her crystal was an assuring force with the waves of power it radiated, but there was something else nearby, dangerous, warning, malevolent... oh.
Raven had taken the demonic-looking form that she had assumed when the sisters had first escaped the Black Moon's fortress with Saphir's aid, except this time, she seemed less likely to stop. Her height tripled, she was easily looming over the much-smaller by comparison Dimande, who in turn looked absolutely terrified of her. The cloaked Titan's eyes — four slits of a deep blood red — seemed to actively glow in the light of the room, anger boiling in the blank irises that had no pupils.
None of the Titans seemed intent on stopping her, and that included Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, the former two already heading over to her while Pluto and the original four Titans were inspecting her former friends and protectors.
"No, Raven, stop!"
The enraged Titan somehow managed to let the words cut through her anger and reach her coherent thought. Twisting her body to the side in the slightest, her piercing red eyes left the white-clad man and turned onto Saphir, who stumbled over to her, clothes for some reason bloody. Her gaze was imperious, threatening, but Saphir did't back down and instead begged her to stop once more.
Finally, Raven conceded, and backed off, shrinking back to normal and hovering over to the blonde, though her eyes were still the four pupilless red slits. After a while, the four-eyed beast within finally vanished, receding to be replaced by the blue-cloaked Titan that Sailor Moon — and Usagi — trusted above everything. Amethyst irises glanced down at Usagi as the Titan knelt down beside the blonde. "You're injured."
"And so are you," Sailor Moon murmured, leaning heavily on Uranus as the stronger woman helped her sit up, leaning her against the wall. The princess frowned, catching a glimpse of Saphir and his brother from behind Raven, the blue-haired man trying to convince his brother — was he older or younger? Perhaps she could ask after all this — of his intentions.
"Sit still," Raven instructed, ignoring what the blue-eyed Senshi said. Her pale hands lit with a cool blue glow, and the sorceress' hands hovered over the torn midsection of the princess' sailor suit, healing the blistering burn on her exposed stomach. "What happened?"
The blonde soldier of love and justice frowned, wincing a bit at the icy-cool sensation. "I was kneeling... and then they burst in... Rei attacked, and she misfired..." the blue-eyed girl slowly recalled. "It hit me instead of Dimande." The slender girl shivered — whether from the cold or from the memory of the pain, she wasn't sure. "Then I remember hitting my head and falling unconscious."
Uranus' gentle hand on Moon's shoulder suddenly tightened its grip, and only when the blonde audibly gasp did the sandy-blonde woman realize what was going on and quickly loosened her grip. "Apologies, Usagi," the woman murmured.
The blonde shook her head. "I'm fine. But... you're not fine," she observed silently. "None of you are fine. Uranus, your left arm is bleeding. Neptune, you're limping slightly. And Raven... what happened to you?"
"Fight." Was what the purple-haired girl replied. Both Uranus and Neptune nodded at the admission, signalling that they too were involved in a fight.
Sailor Moon shook her head, struggling to her feet. "No, no. You need to be healed. Please, let me use the crystal—"
"We'll be fine, princess," Neptune cut in softly. "It's fine."
The blonde turned her eyes to Raven, hoping that at least her sister might see sense that the two guardians of the planets failed to see. "Raven?" she asked softly. "You understand, right? You need to be healed!"
The sorceress shook her head, lowering the hood of her cloak and unmasking her face of the shadows cast by her hood. "I'm fine, Usagi," she assured gently. "It's just a little burn. I can take care of it once we're done with all of this."
The princes clasped her brooch tightly. "Are you sure?" she finally asked softly, blue eyes going to each one of them, imploring for them to reconsider and to let her use the crystal on them.
Uranus gave her a light squeeze on the shoulder. "Positive, Usagi. And you'll need all the power you can get to fight." A faint smile curved the blonde woman's lips, and the Senshi gave her a reassuring nod of the head. "No stress."
Neptune seemed rather amused by her partner's assuring words, for a faint smile curled her lips at the sandy blonde woman's cool statement. The graceful woman brushed a single strand of her aquamarine waves out of her face, tucking it behind her ear with a finger. "Be on your guard," she warned, silvery voice hard, but only in a whisper. "I sense great danger around us."
The Titan nodded, eyes narrowing as she encased her hood in a black aura, bringing it up over her head and masking her face in shadows once more. She seemed to be ignoring the loud argument between Saphir and his brother behind her as she looked around, amethyst eyes scanning the area, looking through the shadows. "Agreed, Neptune," she said firmly. "I do as well. This is the same presence as earlier... Wiseman."
"Brother!" No sooner than Raven had uttered the name did Saphir's cry ring out, and then, the air was saturated with foul, dark energy, surging through the air, making the blonde princes flinch. The sound of someone hitting the floor was heard, and Moon forced herself to look around, seeing Dimande and Saphir sprawled out on the ground, Saphir lying there, unmoving.
"Saphir..." Usagi gasped, trying to jerk up to her feet, but Uranus held her back, shaking her head to stop her. The blonde looked on in mild horror as Dimande scrambled over to Saphir, breath held in fear. Was Saphir alright? She certainly hoped so. Slowly, she started to stand despite Uranus' protests, leaning heavily on the tall sandy blonde for support until Raven moved closer to her and grasped her by the upper arm, letting the Titan support most of the petite blonde instead of the woman.
"Azarath Metion Zinthos!" Raven suddenly hissed, her left arm snapping outwards as she unleashed a crescent of black flaming energy. The opaque black flames splashed harmlessly against a barrier and the Titan cursed. "I thought so."
Sailor Moon summoned her Cutie Moon Rod, gripping it tightly with her gloved hands. "So this is it?" she whispered. "The battle that decides everything here?"
Raven stared at the direction that the darkness was thickest, as the shadows coalesced into the form of a withered figure covered in a cowl. A sneer twisted her features as she hissed out another command, lashing out with her dark powers to rip out chunks of the wall and fling them at the enemy.
"Titans, go!" Robin shouted out, and the other four Titans leapt into action beside their friend and comrade.
Cyborg launched the bright blue beam of light Usagi now identified as his sonic cannon. Starfire took the air, neon green eyes blazing as she fired out thin green beams at Wiseman, her hands glowing with spheres of similar energy as she threw them one by one in rapid succession. Beast Boy was in the form of a flying dinosaur, with Robin held in his claw-like feet as the Boy Wonder threw explosives at the figure.
Nothing seemed to work until Uranus, Neptune and Pluto started launching their attacks. "World Shaking!"
The three energy attacks from the trio of Senshi converged into one beam of light as they struck, sending the figure back some, and the Titans instantly followed up with their own attacks.
"Raven, Sailor Moon, take 'im down!" Cyborg yelled.
"Usagi, the crystal," Raven muttered.
The blonde nodded, unclasping her brooch and holding it up. "Moon Crystal Power!" The Illusionary Silver Crystal started glowing, pulsing with immense power that thrummed throughout the princess' form. Her sailor suit dissolved into ruby red ribbons that quickly reformed into a regal dress of pure, pristine white and gold, and the brooch that contained the powerful crystal melted away, leaving only the crystal in Sailor Moon — no, Princess Serenity's bare hand.
Raven flinched a bit, and visibly recoiled as the crystal glowed a blinding white, but her eyes were soon taken over by a white glow that blocked out view of her iris, pupil, and sclera. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Around the red chakra gem on her brow, the golden mark of the White Moon appeared, burning with a intense warmth as the sisters launched their attack.
Left arm around Raven's shoulder and with Raven's right arm supporting Serenity's torso, the sisters were right next to each other, and Serenity brought the crystal to the centre, and Raven's other hand cupped around it, both sisters supporting the glowing crystal. "Once more," Raven murmured to her. "Together."
"Okay," Serenity said, nodding, a look of determination etched onto her delicate features. "Moon Crystal Power!"
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!"
Serenity felt something burning on her brow — the golden crescent moon, no doubt — sending a wave of familiarity and warmth through her. It grew in intensity, growing from only a warm pulse to an almost painful scorch, and it took almost all of her concentration and willpower to keep herself from breaking the connection.
Raven seemed to be taking it badly, though. A painful grimace saturated her features, even as the golden crescent became brighter, showing that indeed, it hurt her very much to be doing this. However, her expression didn't change, and even through the blindingly white glow that encased her eyes, Serenity could see the determination to win.
The Illusionary Silver Crystal suddenly turned into a bright, blinding sphere of light, warmth radiating out from the delicate, yet powerful crystal, and with a combined push from the sisters, the light was redirected into a violent beam of pure energy that tore straightforward, ripping through the withered figure in front of them, a terrible screech echoing as the figure was torn apart, disintegrated and rendered to dust by the beam of light.
Instantly, Raven broke the connection and dropped to her hands and knees, gasping for air, her limbs shaking as the crescent faded away and the glow in her eyes vanished. "Th-that's it?" she whispered breathlessly, still gasping for air.
Robin's footsteps were heard as the Boy Wonder ran over to her, helping her up and carefully draping his cape around her.
Serenity stumbled back without Raven's help, and Uranus shot over like an arrow, gently looping an arm around her to help her stand. "I... I think so," the blonde princess said, blue eyes looking around. Her gaze fell on Dimande and Saphir, and the princess started to head over to them, the crystal that was tightly clasped in her hands emitting a soft glow in response to her urge to help.
"N-no..." Raven murmured. "There's still... he's still here!" she suddenly shouted, and her hand shot out, creating a black shield that suddenly absorbed a rough blast of dark, malevolent energy.
"But how?" Serenity murmured. "We destroyed him. We saw him being destroyed."
"The Death Phantom..." Dimande's voice was weak, but he answered it for the sisters. "Wiseman is the Death Phantom. Nemesis is known as Death Phantom's body because of its geography."
Raven cursed aloud as Robin came to the conclusion for them. "Nemesis... Nemesis is Wiseman!"
Chapter 37: Sisters
A menacing chuckle rang out as the sisters both got back on their feet, standing right next to each other. "Very smart of you, boy..." the voice that clearly belonged to Wiseman hissed. "Well done." His disembodied voice echoed in the fortress, coming from nowhere and yet everywhere at the same time. "But not good enough."
The imposing castle around them started to crumble as a dark, misty form reappeared, solidifying into Wiseman's withered form once more. "You were very clever... using white magic against me. But I'm afraid that your time ends... now." The castle's walls cracked, sending large pieces of stone and debris falling onto the floor.
"Azarath Metrion—" Raven's incantation was cut short by a sharp shard of crystal flying straight at her. Fortunately, the sorceress was quick enough to move aside, so that the shard sliced across her cheek, leaving a thin string of blood running down her pale face. It dripped onto her blue cloak, staining the blue fabric a dark violet that almost seemed to be a darker shade of her eyes, but the Titan hardly cared at this point.
"Word of advice: use shorter magic words."
Raven gritted her teeth at the memory of the villain's taunting words and forced her powers into a large black shadow that vaguely resembled a raven, wrapping the shield over and around the group to prevent the falling debris from injuring one of the Titans or one of Usagi's guardians. A large cracked stone smashed into the shield, shattering over it and falling to the ground, making Raven grunt from the exertion of keeping the protective barrier intact.
In truth, she really didn't need the incantation to use her powers — they just helped her concentrate when using large amounts of magic. And now, without a medium to concentrate through, she was nearly taxing herself by keeping the barrier up. Another piece of debris fell from the roof, smashing into the barrier and making the Titan grimace. "I'll have to let go of the barrier in a minute at most!" she hissed to the group by the way of warning.
"Titans," Robin called out, assuming control as the leader of the original five Titans, whipping out his staff and slamming the end of it into the ground. "Once Raven gives the signal, scatter and attack! Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, since the thee of you have the most impact with your attacks, you'll attack, then leave an opening for us to follow up with another attack. We'll alternate between each attack until Raven and Sailor Moon can do what they need to!"
The Titans each gave their version of a 'yes' or 'okay', and the trio of Senshi nodded solemnly. "We're ready," Uranus growled, cracking her knuckles.
"Let's do this, dudes!" Beast Boy shouted, green eyes narrowed.
Serenity reached a hand out, gently resting it on Raven's shoulder. "It's going to be fine," she assured, determination sparkling in her blue eyes. "I promise, Raven."
The purple-haired Titan nodded wearily. "Ready, move!" The sorceress stopped pushing her power into the barrier, letting it collapse, and without wasting time, she and Serenity quickly ducked out of the way whilst the others scattered around the room immediately. Raven almost instantly felt the backlash of using so much power without a focus, wincing as she gripped her head, trying to temper out the wicked headache that pounded in her skull.
Serenity had summoned the Illusionary Silver Crystal again, and the lotus-shaped item glowed in the dim lighting of the ruined castle, pulsing with power. "We need to cleanse his essence from the world," the princess said firmly. "We have to stop him once and for all." The crystal that hovered in between her hands suddenly pulsed as if it agreed with her words, though the surge of power gave Raven a mild headache that paled in comparison to the discomfort of overexerting herself.
"We can do this," Raven murmured.
"I believe so." Dimande's voice could be heard from behind the sisters. The two had moved towards the two brothers when they had left the protection of Raven's collapsed barrier. "The crystal that carries his power is somewhere within the castle. Wiseman can summon it to draw more power, and that is when you must attack," he continued. "Destroy that crystal, and it will instantly disperse all power and influence he has upon Nemesis."
Raven nodded, not wanting to question him at the moment no matter what he had tried to do to Usagi. "Understood," she said, voice strained with tension.
Serenity, on the other hand, looked less inclined to be hostile. "I'm sorry," she said quietly. "For Saphir..."
The white-haired man lowered his head, eyes downcast. "No... no... this is my fault..." he whispered. "If only I had listened to him... perhaps we would not have come to this... Princess Serenity... Sailor Moon... I am sorry."
The Titan grimaced at a sudden pain in her head. "No time for apologies," she hissed, amethyst eyes narrowing in pain as she observed the fight while slowly working to fight back her discomfort and return her control over her powers.
"Dead Scream!" Pluto shouted, spinning her key-shaped staff and sending the energy attack towards Wiseman. Instantly, the attack was followed up by Robin flinging an explosive projectile while Cyborg unleashed a bright blue beam from his sonic cannon, detonating the projectile into their 'Sonic Boom' combo.
Wiseman laughed mockingly. "Such persistence... but it fails to have any effect!" In front of him, a black crystal slowly took form.
That was it — their chance!
"Usagi, now!" Raven hissed, and wrapped both sisters in her shadows, quickly reappearing in front of Wiseman as the sisters concentrated on their crystal once more, a bright white beam of energy shooting out to attack the black crystal that Wiseman controlled.
"Moon Crystal Power!"
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!"
The beam of white light intensified, pressing against the black crystal, almost to the point of cracking.
Wiseman cackled maniacally. "Fools! Your efforts are nothing! My crystal, destroy them!" The Maleficent Black Crystal started pulsing a sickly black, countering the bright white beam of the sisters with a darkened, murky glow as it pushed the white energy of the Illusionary Silver Crystal back. "Pathetic sisters, die!"
The darkened magic was getting stronger by the second, pushing back against the sisters' combined power with a great deal of force. Raven grimaced, the conflicting power of the Illusionary Silver Crystal was bad enough, already weakening her by simply being white magic. "It's not enough, Usagi," she gasped out, hands trembling as she fought to keep the powerful white energy under control. "I-I need to use my own magic to counter it!" Her amethyst eyes narrowed, and she snarled out her incantation, the colour of her eyes completely being taken over with a white glow. "Azarath Metrion Zinthos!"
From her hands that were cupped around the crystal, the telltale black glow of her powers emerged, turning into a dulled white glow as they passed through the Illusionary Silver Crystal, adding the slightest bit of strength the beam of the sisters, just enough to counter the darkness that pushed them back. "It's still not enough!" she hissed.
"We need to make it work!" Serenity shouted out, the golden crescent moon on her brow suddenly seeming brighter as it glowed. "It will work, don't worry! We can do this, together!"
"Together," Pluto suddenly echoed. "Princesses, I give you the strength of Pluto!" She stepped forward, placing a hand on the blonde's shoulder. Her tiara shattered, golden shards vanishing into nothing before they hit the cracked floor. On her forehead, formerly hidden by the golden tiara, the sign of Pluto burned a powerful green. "Pluto Planet Power!" With her free hand, she spun her staff and slammed it into the ground, garnet eyes closing as she channelled her power into the golden-haired princess, and indirectly, into the crystal.
"Together," Uranus and Neptune agreed, stepping up as well. Uranus took a step forward, resting a hand on Serenity's shoulder. "I give you the strength of Uranus! Uranus Planet Power!
"I give you the strength of Neptune!" the aquamarine-haired woman called out, imitating her partner's actions. "Neptune Planet Power!" Their tiaras shattering, the marks of Uranus and Neptune gleamed on their brow as the trio of Senshi sent their powers to the princesses.
A tri-coloured beam of green, blue, and yellow joined the mainly white beam of the sisters, fading into a brilliant white as it passed through the crystal, strengthening the power of the beam further. It seemed to be working, pushing back the black glow of the Maleficent Black Crystal more and more, slowly building up an advantage for the sisters.
"It's working," Serenity murmured.
"Not quite, fools," Wiseman hissed, and the strength of the black crystal suddenly increased tenfold, pushing back the beam of energy that was channelled through the silver crystal. "I am the God of Darkness! I will not be defeated!"
Raven cursed, struggling to keep up a defence as the Illusionary Silver Crystal pulsed, attempting to drive off the foreign forces that were attempting to shatter it. "I... can't... keep this up... much... longer!"
A heavy metal hand clapped onto her shoulder, and Cyborg gave her a light squeeze. "Course you can, Rae," her surrogate brother assured her softly. "You can do it."
"C'mon Raven," Beast Boy joined in, gloved hand resting on her shoulder. "This is nothing. You can do it!"
"Yes, friend Raven." Starfire hovered behind her, both hands gently resting on each of her shoulders. "We are the Teen Titans, yes?"
Robin's hand found its way onto her shoulder. "And the Teen Titans always win. Always." He sounded so determined, it was infectious, even. The Boy Wonder always had a knack for being inspirational. "Titans, go!"
"Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos..." Raven repeated, concentrating. Please... just work with me this once... please... "Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos..."
Let's do this! I'm ready for a fight! Courage.
I'm sorry... I'm scared to lose... so we have to win... Timid.
Let's show him how optimism works! The Titans always win! Joy.
Anyone that goes against you is against me! Kill him! Anger?
For our sister, for our friends, for our family. Love.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Raven shouted out, sending an intense flare of power out towards the crystal, though strangely, it was a pure, untainted white. Her cloak bled from a dark blue to a brilliant, snow-like white, and her eyes glinted as the white glow that marked use of her powers took over.
Her cloak and leotard, both now fully white, billowed behind her in a gust of wind summoned by the intense power rush she felt. It was an awe-inspiring sight to see — the power that surrounded her from her friends, emotions, and her family through and through. The glow that left her hands was a pure white that rivalled that of the Illusionary Silver Crystal itself, fading into the brilliant glow from Serenity's hands and channelling into a powerful push that slammed Wiseman and his crystal back.
The golden crescent of the Silver Millennium's Lunar Kingdom gleamed on her brow, identical to the one sported by Serenity. This battle had only just begun...
White Raven was back, and so was the Princess Selenity.
Chapter 38: Victory
"Let's do this," Raven intoned seriously, glowing white eyes narrowed. "Serenity."
"Selenity," the golden princess returned, a smile gracing her face. "Together."
The sisters, hands cupped around the glowing silver crystal, repeated their own empowering phrase to themselves, then once more aloud, seriousness tangible in their voice.
"Moon Crystal Power!"
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!"
Twin beams of bright, untainted white light burst forth from their hands, twisting and dancing around each other, surging into the crystal, amplifying it and weaponizing the brilliant glow of energy that the two sisters, aided by their friends and family, pushed forth. The black glow that emerged from the Maleficent Black Crystal on Wiseman's end was steadily being pushed back by the sisters, the duo's willpower and strength overpowering the hatred carried by the crystal.
You can do it, I believe in you. My daughters, fight on...
Serenity gasped a bit, but she didn't falter. Queen Serenity... mother... I won't let you down!
An added burst of power was added to the bright white beam of the sisters, and they thrust out with their hands, slowly edging the fight in their favour bit by bit, second by second. Within minutes, the power of the Illusionary Silver Crystal, bolstered by the two sisters and the strength their friends and family lent them, threw the darkened beam from the Maleficent Black Crystal back even more.
"Almost," Serenity breathed. "We're almost... almost there!"
"Then let's win!" Raven hissed, and together, the sisters pushed all of their available energy into taking out the being who called himself Wiseman.
The bright white beam inched closer and closer towards the robed figure, and he shrieked, "No! This cannot be! I am Death Phantom, Rule of Darkness!" Then the light tore right through the blackened crystal, and once it hit, it expanded outwards in an explosion of blinding light and fireworks, filling the view of anyone in close range with white.
The light spread out, surging a wave of warmth and reassuring power through the golden-haired princess. The princess' wide blue eyes snapped open once the light washed over her and instantly, a wide, confident smile spread across her face, lighting up her expression with no small amount of joy and relief. Wiseman's presence could no longer be felt.
They had won.
A loud cheer broke free from the princess as the silver crystal dissolved in her hands, returning to its slumber inside her once more. "We did it!" she shouted out gleefully, her white and gold dress turning back into red ribbons that reformed around her to become the pink dress she had been wearing before she transformed into Sailor Moon.
Uranus smiled, nodding as the taller blonde stepped over to pat her on the shoulder.
Neptune clasped a hand in her own, giving it a light squeeze.
Pluto, smiling faintly, walked closer, resting the end of her staff on the wrecked floor. "Well done, princess," she praised softly, the mature woman's voice warm.
"We did it." Raven's voice had dropped to a murmur as the white-cloaked Titan broke away from Usagi, stumbling back with a sharp gasp and falling into Robin's arms. Held up by the Boy Wonder, the pale sorceress turned to make eye contact with Usagi, offering a faint smile as the golden crescent gleamed once more on her brow, fading away into her skin.
"Booyah!" Cyborg hollered, pumping a large fist into the air. "We did it, man! Give me five, BB!"
The green changeling leapt into the air, high enough to reach the half-mechanical man's hand, and a loud, ringing smack could be heard as the best friends rejoiced at the victory. "Whoo! Oh yeah, Chrome-dome!" he yelled. "Rae's got him good!" And for once, Raven didn't chastise him for the nickname, making his fanged grin widen exponentially.
Starfire shot into the air, flying in circles as the redheaded alien cheered on the victory of her teammates. "Oh joy!" she cried out, clasping her hands together as she descended again. "We have done it!"
Robin just let Raven lean on him, the corners of his lips twitching up as the completely exhausted Raven sank into his arms. "Yeah. Good job," he murmured, exhaling in relief. "Victory."
"Congratulations, Serenity... no... perhaps I should say Sailor Moon and the Teen Titans." Dimande was still next to Saphir's body, violet eyes dark. "I... I suppose I should say thank you," he whispered out faintly. "Thank you... for bringing me back to my senses... even... even if I did lose my brother."
Usagi took a step towards him, but Raven quickly caught her by the wrist. "We're going together," she informed the blonde, and with Robin's help, the sisters headed over to Dimande.
"Let me try to help," Usagi said softly, kneeling down beside him.
The white-haired man shook his head. "No... no, I don't—"
"This isn't for you," Raven cut in. "We're doing this for Saphir. He deserves another chance at life."
Stunned into silence, the violet-eyed man just watched silently as Usagi called forth her silver crystal, shining a brilliant light over Saphir. The light emitted from the crystal bathed the five in a warm light, though Raven actively flinched away from it. Wherever the light hit, it healed injuries and cleared up messes, mending the torn costumes of the two Titans and washing away the blood on their skin.
Her newly mended black leotard once more covering up her no longer injured abdomen, Raven encased her white cloak in a black glow, arranging it so it fell around her once more while the Titan waited to see if the golden princess had done it, if she had managed to save Saphir from his early demise.
The blue-haired man didn't stir.
The pale sorceress, having regained some strength — at least, enough to stand on her own — rested her hand on Usagi's shoulder, already seeing her disappointment in her body language. It was rolling off her in waves, the Titan abruptly decided with a faint sigh that went unnoticed by all... except for perhaps Robin, who quickly shared a glance with her through his domino mask. "It's alright, Usagi," the sorceress said softly.
"I failed... didn't I?" Usagi asked.
Raven lowered herself down with a grimace. "No, you didn't. The crystal isn't all powerful. You've done everything you can."
"Your sister is right, Serenity... I mean, Sailor Moon." Dimande was looking at them now, regret filling his eyes, and was that envy? You have succeeded in many ways. This was my fault, and you have saved me. Please, forgive me."
Raven stared at her sister, and she knew she wasn't alone. Dimande and Robin were both giving her a look that asked if she had lost her mind. "Usagi..."
"Let me finish, Raven," the blue-eyed blonde said softly. "I forgive you, Dimande, but you still have to rebuild what you've destroyed, mend what you've wrecked, help those that have been hurt. You have to make things right."
The man lowered his head. "And that I will. Thank you, Sailor Moon."
"Usagi," the blonde interrupted. "Call me Usagi."
There was no mistaking the emotion that Dimande gave off. Awe. He was awe-struck by the petite blonde, who then stood and hugged Raven as tightly as her small frame would allow. He couldn't be blamed — Raven was in awe herself by just how forgiving her sister was. "Thank you... Usagi." The murmur slipped from Dimande as Usagi, Raven, and Robin headed back to the Titans.
At this point, the former guardians of the golden princess had been woken up from their defeated state, and the five now sat on the ground, nursing their injuries. None of the Titans were on speaking terms with them, unsurprisingly, and the group kept on asking questions that weren't answered. Raven decided to end their endless questions there and then.
"He's gone," she said coolly, letting Uranus take over and support Usagi's slight frame. "Wiseman; he's gone. Gone for good. Banished by the power of the Illusionary Silver Crystal. Usagi didn't need your help to banish him, she managed it without you."
"Face it," Robin added, walking up next to her and resting a gloved hand on her shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. "You're no longer needed. Don't try to talk to her just yet. We'll be watching."
"You don't get to tell us what to do," Mars began, only to be shut up by one of Raven's glares. She lowered her head, leaning back against her friends for support as she tenderly held her right arm that had seemingly been broken in the fight between them and the former head of the Black Moon Clan.
Raven took a step back and looked at the others. "Let's head back to the palace. It's time to go home."
Back at the palace, it was a sight that warmed the heart. King Endymion was reunited with his wife and daughter, and the royal family had stepped out to bid the Titans and Senshi goodbye for the final time.
Robin supposed that this was a happy ending. The Boy Wonder stood next to his teammates, watching with a faint smile as Raven and Usagi talked with the rulers. He sighed, running a gloved hand through his spiked hair. "So... time to go, huh?" he asked when Raven walked back to the Titans, the blonde following closely behind.
Raven, her cloak a pure, shimmering white, smiled at him, an action that made his heart skip a beat. "Yes. Time to go home," she confirmed. Amethyst eyes turned to Pluto, and the Titan said the woman's name.
The guardian obliged. "Of course, Raven."
"Eh! Wait, what about them?" Usagi asked, pointing towards Tuxedo Kamen, the two cats, and the four Senshi that had formerly been her guardians.
The green-haired woman smiled. "I will send them back to Tokyo, Princess. Don't worry," she said, red eyes gleaming as a smile coloured her features.
"Don't think about them for now, let's head home!" Robin interjected, giving the guardian of the Gates a quick nod as she opened up the Gates to allow them passage home. He reached out, gloved hand curling around Raven's wrist, and he felt the pale girl move her hand so that their fingers were interlocked. A wide grin spread across his features, and the leader of the Teen Titans started making his way back to the familiar big tower he called 'home'.
After a short journey back, the Titans, and yes, that included Usagi, Haruka and Michiru, were walking into the living room when the screen of the television flickered to life. Instantly on his guard, Robin prepared to give an order, but instead, he was greeted with a familiar face bearing a smile — no, two faces.
"Greetings, Titans. I hope your journey back was safe," Saphir greeted from the screen.
"Saphir!" Usagi exclaimed, her blue eyes lighting up.
"I thought you were... dead?" Starfire questioned, cocking her head.
"The Illusionary Silver Crystal does miracles, just like its owner," Dimande answered, coming into the frame beside him.
"Then joy!" exclaimed the alien. "This is cause to celebrate!"
The Black Moon brothers laughed, and then the focus of the screen shifted to show a familiar yellow and black communicator, bearing the signature 'T' of the Teen Titans. Another voice came onto the feed, this one recognizable as Robin's own... or should he have said Nightwing?
The future Robin smiled into the camera as it zoomed out, revealing the brothers and the future Boy Wonder to be standing in the Titans Tower that seemed much more futuristic. "Yeah," he said, answering the unspoken questions. "They're honorary Titans. Thank Usagi for that miracle, and they're an incredible help."
There was a short laugh, and much to the Titans' surprise, both future and present, it came from Raven herself. "Thank Usagi indeed," she agreed heartily. She glanced over at Robin's direction, and her amethyst eyes glinted.
Robin smiled back at her. Everything was well.
Chapter 39: Epilogue
Some time had passed since the end of the Black Moon Clan as well as Wiseman's subsequent demise at the hands of the sisters. The Titans — which now included additions of the three Sailor Senshi Uranus, Neptune and Moon, with Pluto occasionally dropping in to help as an Honorary Titan — had gotten back into a comfortable routine in the Titans Tower after their stint in the future, the very basic routine of helping around town and answering to calls of help having never seemed so relaxing.
Raven walked out onto the roof, her new white cloak fluttering out behind her in a light breeze, exposing the darkly-coloured leotard she wore under her pristine white cloak. The sorceress glanced out over the city of Jump, hearing the sound of busy traffic from the city proper, even from the relatively isolated island the Titans Tower rested on. A sigh broke free from her as she stepped out towards the edge of the roof, lowering her hood to let the breeze rustle through her short purple hair.
Crossing her legs in midair to assume her familiar meditative stance, the Titan exhaled slowly, letting all the tension in her bleed out as she started repeating her ever-familiar incantation, a smile actively spreading across her face without her fighting it. "Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos... Azarath... Metrion... Zinthos..." This is all I need. A beautiful day, no crime around Jump for a good mile, and most of all, no distractions to stop me from meditating. Her soft smile widened, and if her shut eyes had been opened, one would have seen a spark of sincere happiness in her amethyst eyes. Relaxing...
A knock on the door to the roof temporarily displaced her focus, along with the bright voice that followed. "Raven?"
The Titan opened her eyes and slowly readjusted into a standing position, her smile still on her face. There was little chance she would be angry at her sister for disrupting her extra meditation time, after all. "Yes, Usagi?" she asked, turning around to look at her sister, sharing a smile with the blonde, who gladly returned it with a bright and cheery grin of her own. "Did you need something?"
"Actually, Richard asked me to get you for the party downstairs," the blue-eyed blonde explained, quickly moving over to stand next to her. "But... I think the Boy Wonder can wait for a while, right?" Mischief sparkled in her bright blue eyes — no doubt Beast Boy's fault, of course. And now that the blonde mentioned the party...
The loud pop music from the living room one floor behind them blared from the open door that led to the roof, some of the flashy disco lights that Cyborg and Haruka had set up flashing their neon lights onto the walls of the staircase. The party was somewhat of a late celebration to welcome the newest additions to the Titans as well as to celebrate their victory over Wiseman. Starfire had offered to cook, but Michiru had quickly covered it by ordering snacks from the stores instead of trying out the Tamaranean princess' indigestible alien delicacies.
"How're you enjoying it?" Raven asked, tucking a stray strand of purple hair behind her ear.
Usagi grimaced slightly. "Uh... I don't really think Star's food is edible," she finally said, "but I don't have the heart to tell her that."
The purple-haired girl laughed softly and shook her head with an amused smile. "Neither do I, to be honest," the Titan said with a chuckle. "In fact, I don't think any single one of us would do it." She paused for a while, then tentatively wandered out with a question, wary. "How are the papers going?"
Usagi's bright mood dimmed somewhat as the princess glanced down at her feet, small hands clasping at her gleaming brooch that was pinned to the front of her golden and rose blouse, shifting from foot to foot in her new pink and white sneakers. Finally, she let go of the delicate item, only to start picking at the hem of her ruffled white and golden skirt. "Mama and Shingo's certificates are with Papa," she finally said. "They're going home. Papa can't go anywhere with his job, but Haruka and Michiru have helped a lot by agreeing to be my legal guardians here in Jump."
Raven nodded somberly — death was always a mood-killing topic.
"But... on the bright side, I'm staying here," the soldier of the moon continued softly, chewing on her lower lip. "And I don't need to go to school anymore, so no more bad grades, since Haruka and Michiru are home-schooling me now." The slight slip of a girl sighed, her shoulders slumping as she reached for one of her long golden pigtails, twirling a long strand of the spun-gold around her finger. She bit down on her lower lip and walked closer towards the edge, sitting down and letting her legs dangle off the edge.
Raven followed suit, allowing her cloak to flow behind her as she gracefully lowered herself down to sit beside her sister. Her hand gently rested on Usagi's shoulder and the half-demon Titan gave her sister a light squeeze. "Hey," she murmured softly, "don't worry. It'll be alright in the end."
The blonde sniffed lightly, leaning on the taller girl as she stared out across Jump City. After a while, the blue-eyed girl finally spoke again. "Hey... Raven... what do you think is going to happen after all this?"
The sorceress paused. "Ah... the future... huh?" she mused softly. "I don't think I've ever thought of that one... well, not until the Titans showed up to offer us help." She managed a meagre chuckle. "But to know I can remain in this form... it's a future I want to welcome," the purple-haired girl finished with a faint smile.
"What do you think the future's going to be like?" Usagi asked again, swinging her legs from the edge of the tower. "I can see Crystal Tokyo... but at the same time, it's not."
Raven nodded — she understood that. "Maybe one day... if it can ever happen," she said with a sigh heavy with nostalgia, "I can show you my home... or rather... how it used to be. Azarath... in all its glory as the peaceful utopia that offered a safe haven to my mother." She shook her head. "But we shouldn't dwell on it. The past does not rewind, only the future awaits."
"That's... deep," Usagi commented absently. "Oh, do you see the warehouse over there?" she asked, tugging a little on Raven's black sleeve.
Raven's line of sight quickly swept over to the area she indicated, and the Titan smiled. "I do," she replied. "It's the place where the two of us fought the HIVE Five the other day."
Usagi gave a genuine little giggle. "The look on Gizmo's face when you threw Mammoth into him!" she exclaimed with a smile, blue eyes twinkling merrily in amusement.
Raven chuckled softly. "He didn't see what was coming... speaking of coming, Usagi, do you feel like more people will come after the crystal?" she asked, turning her serious purple gaze onto the blonde, who nodded and clasped her brooch.
"They always do." The princess' voice was solemn.
"And when they do, the Titans will ensure that they're defeated and carted off to jail where they belong," Robin cut in as he walked up behind them. "What's taking so long?"
"The party's waiting for its stars," another voice added, coming from Robin's communicator.
"Hello Saphir," Raven greeted smoothly, giving the communicator a nod, though it was obvious that the man couldn't see it.
Usagi leapt to her feet with much more grace and precision than she would have several weeks ago. It seemed like Robin's martial arts lessons and Michiru's help had paid off, with the blonde now much more balanced on her own two feet and agile enough to avoid major projectiles with ease. "Sorry," she apologised. "I'll be right down." She headed off towards the staircase, long blonde pigtails flowing out behind her.
"Raven?" Robin asked as he walked closer to her, holding a gloved hand out to help her up.
Raven gracefully took his hand, rising to her feet. "Yes, Richard?"
His gloved hands suddenly cupped her face and he pressed a kiss to her lips.
She gasped, but slowly returned the kiss before breaking free, a smile curling her lips. "Bold, Richard," she chastised, though her smile and the sparkle in her eyes said otherwise. "Now... shall we?"
"We shall," Robin replied, pressing a kiss to her knuckles with a smile and then taking her hand, leading her towards the staircase and back to the party.
Neo-Queen Serenity hummed as she glided into the dining room, seeing her beloved sister already at the table. "Raven," she cooed with a smile.
"Oh hush, Usagi," the white-cloaked woman said with a chuckle. "Come on, you're late for dinner."
"Mercury held me up with facts and figures," the queen whined, sliding into her seat with a laugh. "You know I hate Maths!"
Raven laughed. "The past was easy, wasn't it?" Her eyes gleamed. "But I wouldn't give up this future for anything."
Serenity smiled, hand reaching over to clasp Raven's pale one. "Me too, sister. Me too."