*Title: Wind Runner and the Dragon Senshi
*Show: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Alternate Reality
*Multipart: yes, FINISHED!
*Couples: Usagi/Mamoru, Haruka/Michiru, Makoto/Nephlyte, Ami/Zoicite, Rei/Jadeite, Minako/Kunzite, Setsuna/Ailan(I love this pair!)
*Time: The time of horses, knights, kings, and palaces. Alternate reality, though, so it really doesn't matter. Haruka&Michiru are 27, Setsuna is mid-40's, Ailan is 42, Yuriko is 45, Hotaru is 7, Chibiusa is almost 3, Minako/Ami/Makoto are 21, Rei&Usagi are 20, Mamoru is 23, the generals are 25, Seiya/Taiki/Yaten are 23
*Summary: Two lovers separated by law and a group of senshi who can speak to Dragons upset the kingdoms of Lamirah, Maredan, and Kamiret.
*Disclaimer: The characters belong to Takeuchi Naoko, as does the senshi concept.
*Disclaimer 2: As with so many of my other fics, I own the world and non-Takeuchi characters. Please ask before use.
Chapter 25: Let Us Dance
Metallia sat on her throne, dark power cloaking her, red eyes boring into the Senshi as Haruka entered the chamber. Wind Runner wore her Space Sword on her side, her emerald eyes bright and strong once more. "I've come for you, Metallia."
"I killed you, Wind Runner."
"My Dragon returned me to this world. It is your turn to leave it for good, Metallia. Galaxia already broke your bond to your Dragon souls, so any power you have left is yours and yours alone. There are no dead Dragons for you to bind to this time, and you will certainly die."
Metallia stood as Haruka approached, raising her hand. "Guards!"
"They have been taken care of. There is no one left to stand between you and me, Metallia. It is our fight, and ours alone."
Metallia growled as she gathered power in her hands. "Then let us dance, you and I."
"WORLD SHAKING!" Haruka slammed her fist into the floor and watched as the dark queen evaded the attack that destroyed her throne. She paused a moment to let her strength build, eyes trained on Metallia.
"DARK TORNADO!" Metallia waved her hands above her head in a circle, pointing her sword at Wind Runner as her dark attack swirled forth. Haruka grunted as she barely evaded, pulling her sword free of its scabbard and holding it above her head.
"SPACE SWORD BLASTER!"
Metallia screamed and fell to her knees, Haruka standing over her with the Space Sword pointed at her throat. Metallia's power was broken. "Are you going to kill me now?"
"It's time for you to die," Haruka whispered, eyes filled with tears as her voice softened. "It's time for you to die and join the people who loved you. There is no one left here who will stand up for you, who will protect you, and it is time or you to be reborn as a nicer, less jaded person."
"I don't understand," Metallia whispered. "I thought you hated me."
"I hate what you've done, but Arihlai's death . . . she was ready to die and be reborn. I needed to lose her to understand how important Michiru is to me. For that, but not for this war and not for what you've done to the people and Dragons around you, I thank you. Are you ready to rejoin your family?"
Metallia reached up and grabbed Haruka's sword, wincing as a golden light enveloped her. The red drained from her eyes to leave the warm brown color she had been born with. She smiled as the Space Sword began to sing, cleansing her of the dark magic she had been using for so long. As her body faded, Haruka smiled, a warmth filling her that she had rarely experienced, Metallia's last words humming in her mind.
Haruka stood in the middle of the throne room, watching as the dark shadows began to fade, leaving the room to the light of the moons. Wind Runner smiled as she sheathed her sword, a sparkle from the floor catching her attention. Curious, she leaned down and picked up an old, golden crown covered in black opals with a garnet in the center. She sensed Metallia's power fading from it, and she turned the crown over, recognizing the simple crest on the back of the filigreed crown. It was the ancient crown of the Southern kingdom. Metallia had left it for her.
Wind Runner looked up as Artemis and five of his cat guards entered the throne room, changing back to their human forms. "The guards are all gone, the servants freed. The castle is empty, Wind Runner."
"Very well. Let's return to our wives."
Artemis stopped her, touching the crown. "What is this?"
"Metallia left it for me."
Artemis's eyes widened. "She left it? She gave it to you?"
"Yes. She chose to die, Artemis. She knew that it was time for her to leave. I thanked her for letting Arihlai die, because I would never have learned how much I love Michiru if I had not lost my Dragon. I think, at the last, she was sorry for what she had done, and I felt this warmth . . . I'm really not sure what happened. But she gave me this crown and I think she was telling me that she's not planning on coming back this time. She's finished. Why?"
"Because there are multiple prophecies concerning the end of the Southern Darkness, most of them involving a Dragon with no anger in her heart. One claims that only pure, selfless love can destroy the darkness. But the favorite version of the Great Cats of the Moon is that this avatar of light, this Dragon Princess, can only win if she can convince the Darkness to give up, if it willingly dies. And when it dies, the Crown of the Southern Kingdom, the only heirloom of the line of Mirfanter, will appear, gift to the Dragon Princess. And she will then be the Queen of the South."
"Me? Queen of the South?"
"That crown cannot be taken, Haruka-san. It cannot be stolen or touched by someone not of the Royal Line. It marks the queen and the even the few princes of the Mirfanter line could not wear it. It has to be willingly given, Haruka-san. She wanted you to have it or she would have taken it with her to her grave."
"I don't want to be queen. That is not my destiny."
The cat smiled, eyes narrowing to slits. "None of us know our destiny. I was the fifth son of a Royal Guard, a lowly position indeed. Father gave all of his children the duty of finding the Princess we knew had to be alive somewhere. Could I have ever imagined that I would fall in love with and marry the Queen of my people, fathering the next princess? Certainly not. Yet that was my destiny all along. You were birthed by a Dragon, Haruka-san, the Dragon Queen, no less. Your destiny has been written for you. Certainly there is no Dragon on this planet that will not honor and worship you, obeying your every command and doing everything in their power to protect you and your family. You have been the Dragon Princess since you were born; now you are a queen."
Haruka stared at the crown as Artemis placed a hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him and smiled at the cat, spinning the crown around her finger as she turned to follow the young king and his guards back into the courtyard.
Haruka emerged into the light of the brilliant night, emerald eyes meeting Michiru's dark sapphire ones. Her Sea Siren smiled as they met, wrapping her arms around the smaller woman, the crown in her free hand. "Metallia is no more," Wind Runner whispered, glancing at the gathered Senshi. "She . . . she is dead."
Arihlai rumbled overhead, leaning down and eyeing the crown. "Metallia gave it to you? She gave you her crown?"
"Yes. She . . . I told her that it was time for her to die and join the people who loved her. She smiled and touched my sword, and I watched the red drain out of her eyes. She thanked me as she vanished, and this crown is all that was left behind."
"What does that mean?"
"It means that the Dragon Princess Haruka is now Queen of the South," Artemis announced, his people arrayed behind him, Luna at his side. "It means that the Mirfanter Line is dead forever and this land is free from evil rule. What else could it mean?"
"It means that the Dragon Wars are over," Haruka countered, emerald eyes glowing. "It means that we will never again fear the evil from the South. It means that we can go home at last, that Beryl and Metallia are gone forever. I am not a queen."
"You are nothing less," Nehelenia argued, stepping forward with her family behind her. The other Lords and Ladies of the South were also nodding. "This is the Fourth Kingdom here in the South, though the North has never recognized it. We will not follow anyone but you, Haruka-sama. You are the greatest Senshi to ever live. Serenity Usagi might be the Queen of the North by Sailor Moon descent, but you are the Queen of the Senshi by Uranus descent. Sailor Uranus was born of the South, originally, from a minor branch of the Royal Line. Her descendants never returned because of the stigma of the Dragon Wars, but we know that she ever looked South and watched over us. The Dragon Queen adopted you knowing that you are the true descendant of the first Sailor Uranus, though your mother probably had no idea of her lineage. At some point two or so decades ago, Metallia realized that the woman who could destroy her line had been born, so she attacked a small village in Lamirah where the baby lived. She thought you dead. Arihlai then adopted you and Metallia began another campaign to save herself, never realizing that it was her actions that called Sailor Uranus out of you in the first place. By giving you her crown, she admitted to the world what she has only whispered to me, once, and then swore me to secrecy. 'Ten'ou Haruka, Sailor Uranus, Wind Runner, is truly a Southern Princess. If I ever die, she will be the only one with claim to my throne.' She only told me that as she headed to the final battle above the Lamirah palace where your Dragon was killed. I always wondered if she even knew she had said it."
"Why should I rule this kingdom? The palace is deserted, the servants fled, the peasants weary and broken? Am I to be a queen with no army, no duchesses, no lords and ladies? There is no Dragon colony here, and this land is sterile and dead. Why should I accept this crown, Nehelenia?"
Nehelenia grabbed Haruka's arm and stepped closer, her dark eyes glowing fiercely. "You have a wife, Haruka, and three daughters, any of whom could succeed you. You have three sisters from your human life, all of us to follow you as your Lords and Ladies, and you have Arihlai. Any Dragon would be honored to live in a colony here, under you and your Dragon, and the land is dead because of Metallia. Surely one of these gathered Senshi should be able to breathe life into the ground again. You have allies in the Queen of Lamirah, the Queen of Kamiret, and the King of Maredan. You must accept your destiny as Queen of the South. Queen of Haliria."
Haruka stared at the crown, glancing at her wife and daughters before turning to her Dragon. She marveled for a moment at the thrum of life pulsing in the back of her mind, the calm and power that Arihlai projected. "Should I? I've never ruled before."
"You rule the Wind Runners," Michiru pointed out. "Your people, that band you cobbled together from the poor and destitute destroyed by Beryl's rule will come here, will help you build your kingdom. Dragons will come, our daughters will come, and perhaps Setsuna and Ailan will return from exile and make a home with us, leaving their daughter to rule as she will. I think that we need our own kingdom. We no longer belong as Senshi in the Lamirah Court as we did when Ailan and Setsuna ruled. Now that place belongs to Ami, Makoto, and Rei. I think that you deserve this reward for all you've done. It's in your blood."
"My blood," Haruka whispered. She lifted the crown and stared into the garnet in the center, turning it and placing the golden band on her head. "Then I guess . . . that I'm Queen Haruka of Haliria."
The Lords and Ladies of the South began to cheer as Arihlai raised her head to trumpet. From the surrounding peaks, Dragons joined her cry, pledging themselves to the new Queen of the South, their power and voice bringing life back to the desert lands of the South. Luna and Artemis called their people as plants and trees sprang to life across the courtyard, the new green flowing down the hill to the peasants living below, brightening their fields and filling their streams with clear water. Peasants emerged from their homes, leaving their fields to announce their loyalty to their new Queen, overjoyed that the Dragons had returned, shocked at the presence of huge cats on the hill, knowing that the Senshi had returned to their lands at last. After so many years of war and strife, the time of plenty was upon them.
Haruka stood on her balcony, looking out across her lands, watching Arihlai herding her new litter. It had been a year since she took over the South, and the land had prospered under her kind rule. Sadaine was also a mother again, her babies climbing the walls of the castle to get enough height to practice flying. Kazeko was married to Seiya, and Haruka often asked her if she missed her childhood. The girl had replied that she shared a common childhood with her dragon friends, and Haruka had been content with that. Her sisters, though no longer related to her in power or species now that she was more dragon than human, still followed her, taking a place in her court that she had occupied in Ailan's. The former queen and her wife lived in the South, perfectly content to keep an eye on their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren from afar.
After returning to her throne, Usagi gave birth to twins, a boy and girl, who took their place with Chibiusa as the royal children of Lamirah. She had told her people that she and Mamoru married secretly before Chibiusa's birth, but she had to send her daughter away to protect her from Beryl. After suffering her aunt's ravages for so long, the people were ready to accept her explanation and embraced Chibiusa as the heir apparent of Lamirah and Maredan. There had been a huge coronation ceremony for the child, and Haruka's coronation ceremony followed soon after. She had named Kazeko and Shousha as her joint heirs after Hotaru declared that she had no use for her mother's throne. Since then, with Ailan and Setsuna helping, Michiru and Haruka had conceived another pair of twins, two tiny baby girls who had been born that morning. They had named their girls Kotori and Kaichou, one to commemorate Michiru's water nature and one for Haruka's air, just as the first twins had been.
"Yes, my love?"
"Are you happy?"
The queen grinned and returned to her wife's side, glancing at their tiny twins in the crib by her side. The servants had left for a moment, and the senshi were alone. Only in private and only to Michiru could Haruka admit the truth.
"Yes, I am."