By Rosy the Cat
Disclaimer: I do not own Phantom of the Opera, Ranma 1/2, Hercules the Legendary Journeys, Xena Warrior Princess, or Sailor Moon. I, furthermore, do not own Master Koga of the Unseen Light. He belongs to Animeaddiction, a.k.a. Hung Nguyen, who is a really-really-really good writer, and I bow to his superior skills. Go read his stuff after you finish reading mine; I COMMAND YOU!
Silver Millennium, the Final Battle, the Moon
Thundara had longed for a true battle with which to test her skills since attaining her mastery as a War Mage, a step that few of her fellow Senshi ever bothered to take. But, though she was counted as one of the four Inners, and thus part of the Moon Princess' Honor Guard, she held to the traditions of her mother, and grandmother, and all of those who had come before her, back to the beginning with the Ten, founders of the planetary dynasties. She had been trained as befitting an Outer, lone bastions against encroaching darkness from without Sol and that star's planets. Only Sky, Sea, Time and Death had joined that path among the princesses, and a new Death or Time was rare, but both? It had not occurred in millennia, and many had claimed it as a sign of great change, or great doom.
Yet, in this moment, she would give almost anything to have peace back; the annoying society circles of balls, feasts and parades for, annoying as they were, they were far better than watching hundreds of Dark Monsters fall to her blade, magic, and fists, only to be replaced by more.
Her head snapped up, pointing unerringly towards the Moon Palace and the thickest part of the battle, over which hung in midair the traitorous Lady Beryl of Earth, cackling her transformed snakeish head off as-Dear Gaia-Princess Serenity lifted Love's sword, the Captain of the Guard's sword, struggling to position it for an unkind cut into her own belly, tears coursing down her face as she cried over the Earth Prince's still-warm corpse.
"NO!" Thundara screamed, hacking and punching and blasting at any Monsters who got in her way. Sweet goddess, where in the name of all that is good and holy are the other Inners? The palace guards? The queen? Had they so quickly forgotten their sacred vows to protect their sweet, dear princess?
Her heart lurched within her chest as she saw their bodies, which had been obscured by the hoards from her place on the field of battle. Was she to be the last?
"Serenity! Goddess, Sere, don't!"
Too late; the blade had been balanced, the belly pierced. Her friend collapsed to her knees, and then fell on her face in a way that was not amusing, and would never be. She reached the Moon Princess' side just in time to swing her sword in a wild arc to keep Beryl away. The traitor hissed, eyes narrow and dark aura building. Metalia was coming to play. Thundara merely narrowed her own eyes and growled in reply, lightning playing along the flat of her blade.
Before either could make any further moves, a familiar voice called out a spell and, with a flash of silver light, all of the bodies were sealed within bubbles of power, dark ones for the Monsters and Beryl. Thundara spun, her eyes widening upon seeing a beloved figure.
She ran to the silver-haired monarch, tripping over the last palace step as her strength finally failed her, her adrenaline high having burned away, the only words capable of passing her lips being "My lady, I..."
The Lunar queen raised a hand for silence, one hand clutched to a side and pain etched into that ageless face. Counselors Luna and Artemis scampered up as well, having survived by shifting to their animal forms to make smaller targets. Luna, scenting weakness that had little to do with battle wounds, collapsed on her furry little butt and looked up at her ruler with tears in her red eyes even as she started babbling that all would be well, and that they would find a healer to make it all right.
"Silence," came the soft yet steel-strong voice of Serenity. She looked into each of their eyes, and said, "I will send those who have fought and died this day, the Senshi and the Courts and the People, into the future, resting in wait. I will seal away Metalia and her foul minions away deep; should the seal be broken, the Senshi and the People will awaken and fight, and destroy the darkness, as I have not the strength to do now." She looked kindly to the Moon Cats. "Would you join them? Guide and counsel them as you have done me?"
The two nodded, tears streaming down Luna's night-dark furry cheeks even as the magic summoned stasis cylinders and placed them within. Before Serenity could say anything, Thundara said, "Please, my lady; surely there are some survivors, on Earth at least? I would ask that you let me remain a while, so that any Monsters missed might be destroyed, and any knowledge of our people hidden and preserved, kept for those who will awaken and from those who would use it for ill. I could not do less. I failed Sere...I was not at her side when she fell..."
Serenity pressed one hand to the Senshi's shoulder, looking hard into her eyes.
"Do not discount yourself so quickly, nor claim that which you know to be false. My daughter and heir would be pleased to know that you survived, and would in fact be upset if she thought so unkindly of her opinion. You would join your sisters in arms at rest upon the end of this life?"
The Lightning Princess nodded decisively, clutching her sword to her breast with one hand as she covered the queen's hand with her other one.
"So it shall be," Serenity said, lifting up the Crescent Moon Wand and casting one last spell, her body disappearing as the magic absorbed all of the energy within her physical form, memories spilling into the Silver Millennium Crystal before the faceted stone split into seven, each gaining a different color of the spectrum and shooting off towards Earth, the shield bubbles transforming into orbs of light and following after the crystals.
Thundara staggered to her feet, taking a shuddering breath even as she noted signs of the ages-old life-support spells starting to fade, the atmosphere thinning already. In an exhausted stupor she managed to make her way to a teleport pad, not trusting her own powers in her current condition to make her way safely down to the planet surface. Locking in the coordinates for the peninsula closest to the Mother City, Atlantis, she took one last look at the dying remnants of the greatest human civilization, noticing a glamour already starting to cover the ruins like a tidal wave of desolation.
She would not forget it as long as she lived.
Kino Makoto's apartment, Juuban District, Tokyo, Japan, Earth
After the Vanquishing of Beryl and Metalia at Point D
Makoto snapped bolt-upright in bed, gasping into the darkness surrounding her.
This was promptly followed by an agonized moan of pain as she flopped back onto her futon. She felt like she'd been stampeded by a herd of rampaging wildebeests that were being chased by a mama T-Rex and her two almost-grown spawn. Gah. It hurt so bad she could not bring herself to start cursing in any of the three languages she knew. She hadn't even been able to get past "Meh!" for a good old "merde" that would have gotten her mouth washed out with soap by her beloved mama, if the ever-so-ladylike French woman were not dead and two years cold in the ground alongside Papa-san. For that matter, Grandma O'Brian-Kino would have done the same, if she didn't live in a nursing home on the other side of the district.
See, now she must be delirious! Lord, make the bad pain go away; she promised to go to church every Sunday, except when there was a youma attack, of course, because naturally God would want her to save innocents and the like.
All right, what had happened? The last thing she remembered was the youma coming at her with a blade to deliver the killing blow, and a sharp pain over her eyes, and then feeling oddly insubstantial as she fed her power to Princess Serenity so she could Moon Magic that snaky skanky Queen of Darkness Beryl into dusty goodness.
Obviously death wasn't nearly as permanent for her as it had been for her parents. Let's hear it for that Senshi Get Up and Get 'Em attitude!
Speaking of Senshi, she probably should call the girls and check to see if they were all right. Reaching into her sub-space pocket, Makoto hit the correct button to call Moon from memory and by feel, waiting for the little screen to light up on the calculator-shaped communicator and dreading the feel of light hitting her still-hurting eyes.
Wait a minute; that was the "On" noise, but there wasn't any light. Weird. Maybe the visual wasn't working? Hoping that the built-in mic was working, she said, "Hey, Usagi-chan, it's Makoto; pick up, okay? The monitor on my communicator isn't working."
Wait. Listen. Early morning noises coming through from the other end, so it was definitely working.
"Usagi-chan, what's going on? Why aren't you answering?" Makoto was confused, but shrugged it off as her princess being either asleep or in the bathroom, and thus unable to hear. She repeated the process with each of the other Inners, growing more and more concerned with each try, completely terrified when she tried Mars last. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Rei always answered!
Her fear leaped even higher when she made her way to the bedroom door, flipping the light switches for both the room and the kitchen/living room to on. Nothing. No light. Groping her way across the room, she made it to the refrigerator, sighing with relief at the familiar hum that said it was working, along with the calming cool.
"Relax, Makoto," the martial artist Senshi of Jupiter murmured to herself. "The light bulbs just burned out...In every room and appliance in the apartment. Kami-sama, what's happened to me!"
Scrambling franticly around the room for the phone, accidentally slamming herself into the tile-covered countertop several times before locating the cordless, Makoto clutched the edge with a white-knuckled hand as she sank to the cool linoleum floor, her other hand shaking violently as it dialed what was hopefully the correct number by touch. As her bottom hit the floor, she noted an odd stiffness to her clothes that had not caught her attention before now, as well as the faint scent of dried blood. Whatever had happened at Point D, she obviously had not recovered completely, or much at all, really.
At the other end of the phone line, someone picked up.
"Japanese Emergency Hotline (), how may we help you?"
Nervously swallowing back bile that had started to threaten to rise in her throat, Makoto took a careful, calming breath that did not quite work, and said, "My name is Kino Makoto, and I think I've gone blind."
(): I have no idea what Japan's equivalent of 911 is, so I just made this up as spur of the moment. If anyone knows what it really is, please e-mail me so I can correct it. Thanks.
Author's Note: I'd like to thank Andrew Lloyd Webber, Joel Schumacher, and Sony Music for the kick-ass musical movie and soundtrack for The Phantom of the Opera. It gives me the shivers just to listen to the music. Go team you! If not for all of you people, I'd have never gotten this monster of an idea in my head, where it's been building up steam for almost a week. Okay, more than a week. And this first chapter was done in, like, (eek!) 2.5 to 3 hours. And I've got more, dangit! Boy howdy, do I have more. Just wait for it, and we'll eventually get to Phantom-y goodness.
God, just let my muse keep going until the end of this story, with breaks for homework and papers...
Thanks also go to my ever-so-lovely sensei, Rhonda, whose comment on feeling sorry for the Phantom fanned my interest in PotO from a curious spark to a consuming flame. Bless you, Rhonda, and your crazy teddy bears too!
And for you readers, please e-mail or hit review or whatever and let me know what you think. I'd really appreciate it.
- Rosy the Cat