Disclaimer: I own nothing save a few original characters and plot.
This story is dedicated to WolfchildBlazer. Wherever you are, know it was only with your doing that this story was able to be read.
"You have nothing left in that space."
"It is no longer a part of you. Come here. Try to smile again."-
"I will restore glory to what you casually label 'that space'. Only then will I answer your summons, Father."
"Do not linger. I will prepare for your arrival."
"As you wish."
"This is for the best."
"Do not speak hastily." Terminating the conversation, she turned and exited the room long ago designated as a means of communication with the only living relative left to her. Amusing that it should be a father she had thought dead. Her mind wandered as she walked down a corridor devoid of illumination. It was only years of strolling down the same paths that kept her from straying. She spared a glance to stare out the window that adorned the hall. Space stared back. Except…this was a dark, empty space greeting her. There existed no galaxies, let alone stars, to offer light. The space that once shone brightly was dead.
A soft murmur and the wall before her parted, revealing an empty room. She briefly looked away, forcing her eyes to adjust. In the middle of darkness, this was the only room that sustained any form of light. It was only here that Serenity could clearly be seen. Her silver hair, once a bright gold, had grown in length. Still held in heart shaped buns atop her head, it nevertheless trailed behind her, mixing lightly with the cape she wore. Her body appeared to remain the same. Slight, but strong enough to endure countless battles, it was clothed in a white bodice and a silver miniskirt. She had wondered, a few decades prior, of the reason for it being so short, but the thought had been discarded as a fight seemed imminent. If she had to defend it, she would claim it allowed her freedom of movement.
"Appear before me, Galaxy Cauldron," she commanded, stepping to the middle of the spacious room. Immediately, the white walls dissolved and the path she walked became a steep cliff. There was a miniscule pause in which the light vanished before returning in the form of a massive cauldron, strongly bursting with small lights, combining to form one bright, white shine. Once, it had never failed to awe her, to humble. Today, it was simply a companion she could sometimes talk to. Her right hand tightened around the staff she carried, the eight pointed star atop resonating to answer the call of the Cauldron. Coming to a stop at the edge of the cliff, she took a look down, the ribbon on her chest momentarily rustling as the powerful crystal it held sighed. Her free hand came to rest on the crystal that had merged with her soul. Already it could tell that the time of guarding was coming to an end.
"As thought, you have grown strong enough, old friend." A small smile tugged on her lips as the Cauldron rumbled in answer. Silver eyes carefully inspected the faithful companion who remembered a time when blue eyes had begged for some form of comfort. Had it really been centuries since they had shifted to the cool color of the blade? If Serenity was conscious of the question asked, she offered no response. Instead, she reached out and bade the Cauldron listen closely.
"We have been together up until this point solely to protect the second chance this dimension has at life. You know as well as I that true peace will never be attained. My one rival, Chaos, is as much alive as I am and has done more than necessary to stop us from achieving this goal. In his failure, he will most certainly retaliate in even more monstrous ways than he has shown thus far. I knew that would happen. It was because of that knowledge that I stripped you of your power, Cauldron. I could not let you give birth. It was not a proper time." Here, the Cauldron shuddered. Although it wished to cry out, it knew better. Of course the girl would understand how it felt to have the one chance needed to correct things ripped away just as it was placed within reach.
"I know it hurt you, Cauldron. You are a mother born to give birth to endless stars. I cannot keep that away from you forever. You are now capable of protecting yourself in ways you could never have imagined before. It has taken long, but finally I may return what rightfully belongs to you." She raised the staff and traced a circle in the air. A single orange blossom materialized before drifting to the middle of the Cauldron and melting. Serenity gave a tiny smirk before she turned her back and walked away. She had barely taken two steps out of the massive palace when the perpetual darkness shattered. Her cape fluttered in the strong gust of wind rushing from within the room holding the Galaxy Cauldron, absolute star of the universe. Billions upon billions of Star Seeds, precious crystals that allowed galaxies and the weakest of living beings the possibility of life, streaked across the vast emptiness of space, already designated to a certain place, a certain time in which to bloom.
"Thus," murmured the lone soldier, "we begin again."
Within seconds, even as the Star Seeds continued to flow from their mother, it was possible to make out the signs of creation. Serenity, better known as Sera Cosmos, wielder of the ultimate Lambda power, raised her head in the form of recognition. In that moment, the Seeds that had once been a source of power to the Sera Senshi, beautiful maidens destined to guard their respective planets, burst forth, stopping only to give a final nod to the last of their kind before rushing forward, leaving behind the shackles of the past. It was the final parting gift Sera Cosmos would give to this dimension that had seen her grow.
"As planned, I will take it all with me."
Had she allowed this beautiful birth to have taken place two millennia prior, the universe would have chained down the lives of many young girls. At that time, the universe would not have been able to continue without the existence of the Sera Senshi. By waiting, by dedicating herself to protecting this second chance, she had managed. Barely, but she had done it: the Sera Senshi would not be needed. With this, there would be no need of sacrifice. The power that would have been distributed to Senshi she had taken and carefully woven it to the Cauldron. In this manner, the holiest place would be able to protect itself from cursed villains the likes of Galaxia.
Her musings, however, were quickly cut short as nine bright spheres stopped before her. For a moment, her heart stopped beating.
"My friends…my family…."
She had hoped they would have simply passed her by. It would have made things easier. As if sensing impending separation, the spheres glowed stronger, beginning to take on small forms of human beings.
Sera Cosmos quickly put a stop to that.
"You will not stop this. The moment you arrive on Earth your memories will be forfeit just as your powers have already been. You've given enough."
They had died for her. She couldn't have that happen again. Not for her. Cosmos's eyes clouded over and in that instant, one of the Seeds broke apart and forced itself to accelerate. Before she could halt it safely, the body of a teenage girl formed. Moments later it was clothed in a similar fashion to Cosmos. Pitch black shoulder-length hair partly covered deep violet eyes. Her boots clicked loudly as she strolled forward, a deadly glaive, taller than the girl herself, was in her left hand, determination engraved on her face.
"You may be able to separate from them easily, Princess, but not from me."
"Sera Saturn…" Of course it would be the only one of opposite power to her that would revolt. Cosmos turned to face her fully, narrowing her eyes:"What do you plan to do?"
"What I was born to do. I will follow you."
"Foolish words, young one. The life you are promised would be best."
"The life you have prepared for us does not interest me."
"Am I to understand you would prefer war to peace?"
"I have the power to provide balance to your positive. If you should go by yourself, Chaos will only follow you that much sooner. With me, the balance can be kept for a longer period of time." Sera Saturn shook her head, a rueful grin appearing on her lips. "Four millennia have passed by, Princess. I have watched you grow while I recovered my strength. You have things meticulously planned. I am almost certain that my rebellion was already thought of."
"You failed to answer my question, Hotaru," Cosmos addressed. While it was true that she had taken into account the possibility of one of her Senshi resisting, Cosmos had hoped to be strong enough to force them to see reason. That she was not capable of doing so raised some fears.
"I am the Senshi of Destruction and Rebirth. War is in my blood as much as it is in yours, Child of the Stars."
"You will never see our friends again. Do you understand that?"
"If you can do it, I can do no less than try. I will miss them, but they are not suited for the task of following you."
"Then say your last goodbyes, Messiah of Silence."
Cosmos moved aside, Saturn taking her place to whisper final words of parting. When finished, the younger turned and moved to speak. She could not utter a word before the silver haired maiden made a brief gesture and the familiar Star Seeds were whisked away. Saturn made no noise, but Cosmos was certain that should she turn around, her opposite would have been wiping away a stray tear. It was better this way. Cosmos had made the decision to wordlessly part ways too long ago to change it on a whim now. Besides, within her core, tied directly to her heart, she still had one last link to each of the people she called family.
"From this point on, Sera Saturn, you must begin to rely on your own power. I can only offer so much before I begin to taint you."
"I know you will be distant to me," the Senshi favoring purple answered. "You do not need to offer me excuses. I am sure I will be able to become a support for you in time. When that happens, you will be glad I resisted. I will not leave you alone, Princess. My duty will always be to serve and protect you." Cosmos closed her eyes, tightening the grip on her staff. She would be lying if she spoke now and said she needed no company. It was a terrifying thought to be alone. She would never admit it. She would never admit to any emotion. Not now, after the nightmare she had gone through. Even though she kept her most selfish desire hidden away from the eyes of all, she would allow one thing to come to light:
"More than anything, Sera Saturn, I want you to live."
They had taken perhaps a bit longer than necessary in making preparations. As such, Cosmos was not surprised to see her father greet them with a frown at the edge of an estate. At her side, Saturn inclined her head, eyes curiously taking note of the man calling himself the past King of the Silver Alliance. Having been isolated during their first life, Saturn never properly laid eyes on the royal family. The one glimpse of them showed her the deaths of queen and child. Cosmos assured her that the king was as kind as the famed Lunar Queen Selenity, if only stricter.
After a brief and somewhat awkward introduction, they were shown to the place that would become their permanent residence. A tour was conducted in which Saturn was able to enjoy the nearby garden. Cosmos showed no interest. If asked, Saturn would admit to being a bit frightened by her Princess. Her face had shifted expressions but twice, from apathetic to icy patience. If the king noticed, he overlooked it, much more interested in making sure they knew this was their home in every sense of the word. Though she wished to say something, Saturn held her tongue. These family matters were always tricky and better left alone.
"Finally, these will be your rooms," the king spoke, gesturing to the open doors next to him. Cosmos stepped forward, briefly examining her quarters. In the room next door, Saturn took more liberty, touching and moving a few objects. While inspecting the location of a mirror, she noticed a small knob in the wall. Cautious, she reached out and pulled, revealing it to be a door connecting her room to Cosmos's. A very convenient set up, decided the soldier. This would make protecting her princess a bit easier. Cosmos, who had finished her examination, turned in Saturn's direction once the hidden door opened.
"There are a few modifications to make, but otherwise I am content," Saturn answered. The king, still by the door, nodded to her answer, welcoming her to make whatever change she saw fit. "What of yours?"
"I have no complaints," Cosmos responded evenly. Her father moved inside, walking to the windows.
"The bookshelves are lined with books you might find entertaining in your spare time," he informed. "As asked, I made sure to have the curtains made of thick fabric. I do not know the reason behind it, but I imagine it has to do with your prior living environment."
"It really is nothing for you to wonder about, Father," Cosmos mused, sitting down on the bed. Saturn would have winced a bit at the manner in which her princess cut off inquiries; however, she had grown accustomed to it after spending time together. She had already created a hypothesis from data she gathered, but was still testing it.
"I think I have a right to know in order to better help in the future." He moved to open the curtains.
"If you do that now, Father, I'm afraid you will only cause harm."
"You've been without natural light. I thought you would welcome the rising sun."
"The Cauldron is a sort of natural light," Saturn disagreed.
Cosmos motioned for her to remain quiet. "It would be best to show you instead. Saturn, release your transformation."
Saturn raised an eyebrow in confusion, but did as told. The ensemble and glaive disappeared in a flurry of violet ribbons. Immediately, the once king detected a change in temperature. He hadn't noticed the difference before, something he attributed to his daughter's interference. Regardless, he associated the cooler temperature with Sera Saturn. With the power of Death and Rebirth dormant, Hotaru, dressed in modest black clothing, waited for further instructions.
"Open the curtains now, Father," Cosmos directed. To Hotaru: "This will hurt a little."
Before Hotaru could properly prepare, the curtains were thrown open and the morning sunlight flooded the room. Hotaru let out a shriek of pain, turning away from the windows and covering her eyes. Before she could tear up, the dainty hand of Cosmos took rest on her shoulder. The pain became bearable and she looked up. Cosmos was motioning for something. Seconds later, sunglasses were passed to her; Hotaru eagerly took them. Once she had them covering her eyes, Cosmos withdrew her hand. The pain returned, but Hotaru forced herself to remain in control.
"Hotaru and I will have a bit of difficulty for a few days in regards to sunlight. Stars were just beginning to form when we made the journey here. The Cauldron's light, although natural, was not nearly as bright as this," Cosmos explained, already looking for another pair of sunglasses.
"In short, you are far too used to darkness to handle light," her father summarized. Cosmos hummed in accord, putting on the sunglasses she found. Bright, white feathers briefly mingled with silver ribbons as she dismissed her power. Serenity winced, the corners of her mouth threatening to turn into a frown. She waved off a concerned Hotaru, straightening up. Truthfully, she had thought the adjustment to be far more painful. After all, she had been in darkness far longer than Hotaru, who had barely been subject to it. Then again, she countered, part of her dominion was in healing. Perhaps her crystal had helped. She turned to face her father and was subject to his sorrowful gaze.
"Is something wrong?" Hotaru ventured, taking a second look at her princess. Hotaru knew, as a mere Sera Senshi, that there would be no changes to her physical appearance whether in Senshi or normal form. Serenity was different. As the Child of the Stars, it was only obvious that she be protected. Despite the small changes, Serenity's hair had shifted to a gold shade, a strand of silver occasionally showing. When she fixed the sunglasses, Hotaru was able to see her eyes had turned blue, specks of silver continuously being pushed back. It was just not possible to fully keep the Lambda power hidden.
"Nothing, Hotaru," the king answered. "It was just a passing thought." He took another moment to compose himself before clearing his throat. "I will make arrangements to provide you with better protection against the sun. Until then," he closed the curtains, "I will ask that you remain within the house."
Serenity nodded, turning her head slightly as she heard the sound of footsteps. Hotaru had already moved, visibly glad the sunlight had been cut off. A tall man knocked on the open door, waiting for permission to speak. Once given, the servant turned to Serenity's father.
"Master Crawford," the name would always sound weird to the once king, seeing as he had been used to hearing the nickname Pegasus, "your guests have arrived and have been sent to the main waiting room."
"Thank you, Croquet," Mr. Crawford nodded, stepping forward. He turned to his daughter, reaching out to lightly pat her shoulder. "Just a few things to correct before the world needs to meet you both," he assured as she asked the reason for guests. Accepting the answer, she ushered for Hotaru to come closer, already formulating an idea.
Closing the door, he was able to make out the nervous look on his faithful butler. He questioned for the cause of such nervousness as they walked down a spiral staircase. Croquet hesitantly answered.
"It has been long since you have used your given name, sir. Those young ladies suddenly appeared and everything has changed yet again."
"Change is not always bad, Croquet."
Maximillian J. Crawford, creator of the popular Duel Monsters game and president of gaming company Industrial Illusions, offered one last parting smile before greeting his guests, already amused by the thought of their shocked faces.
Make your limit the stars