Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon. It was made by a genius and I'm not that smart, though I might wish otherwise.
Author's Note: Gomen for my very tardy updates. It took much longer than I expected. Believe me, I never in a million years intended for my hiatus to last for as long as it did. I never realized it would be this hard to write five love stories in one big story and make sure all made sense and won't drag the entirely of the story too much. Anyway, here is the edited and (hopefully) much-improved version. Now, all the SenGen stories are in but the main one is still SereEndy. Reviews are more than welcome and feel free to compare this version to the old. And for those who are reading this for the first time, hope you like it. Enjoy!
Chapter One: Heaven-Sent (Prologue)
August 4, 2:34 am
East Gardens, Gaia Palace Compound, Earth
He told his Generals that he would go for a walk to clear his head but in reality, he went out to escape from the crowded ballroom. Although the ball was to celebrate his twenty-fourth birthday and it was a breach of etiquette for the guest of honor to leave his own celebration, he had no choice, and even if someone pointed out that he had to be present throughout the entirety of the ball because he was the Crown Prince and Heir and being with his people in one of the more relaxed social obligations was just another duty he had to fulfill, he still would go outside every now and then.
Because the alternative was to go stark raving mad.
There was a time in his life when he enjoyed the attention, and even reveled in it, but as he grew, he had begun to feel as if he were a banquet of food during famine, a mere prop to be trotted out when the occasion demanded. He dreaded being in situations such as the one he had just escaped from. He scowled as he remembered the scene inside the ballroom, with all the women staring at him and watching and noting his every movement – simply because he was set to inherit the kingdom. He could practically hear the gold coins and jewels tinkle in their minds when they looked at him. Or rather, at the wealth, power, and prestige whomever he marries would have when married to the (future) King of the Golden Kingdom of Earth.
And if that was not bad enough, his people also considered him good looking, so much that he dreaded reading about himself in magazines or newspapers. He was not vain about his looks and would normally not even be aware of it, even if his men certainly never let him hear the end of it with their ribbing, but for some reason, articles about him always mention how "cute" he was, how "charming", how "drop-dead gorgeous", and how he was such a "prime hunk". While initially flattering, it soon quickly lost its appeal and as of late, he was sick and tired of it. Well, more so than usual.
His was just a face, after all. It covered the front of his head and enabled him to talk and show emotion and was that not all a face was good for? His jet black hair, slightly angular face, midnight blue eyes, and strong chin was practically a carbon copy of his father but everybody told him that the 'Prince Fever' was never as bad during his father's time.
Nobody cared whether his brain cells could function or not, all they cared about was his intense stare – which has been described as "piercing" and "seductive" so many times he occasionally wondered why women did not strip naked whenever he spared them a glance. Nobody cared that he was the best in his studies, both in statecraft and military, all they cared about was that his mannerism of running his fingers through his hair was "sexy". Nobody cared about what he had to say, all they cared about was that he'd show up and look pretty for the photographers. He had lost count of articles that spent so much time describing him, how he looked, and how he moved that the essence of what he had done was lost amidst all the adjectives used.
He could be a stuffed dummy for all the good it did him.
Point in fact: while the gala that he had just sneaked out of was to celebrate his birthday, it seemed that most, if not all, of the women in the kingdom used it as a chance to present themselves in the hopes that he would fall madly in love with them. He spent majority of the past few hours trying to politely dodge (if such a thing was possible) marriageable ladies and their determined parents.
As if he did not have enough duties as Heir already; not that he was busy all the time but his nights could be better spent than going to balls and dancing with inane women to fulfill his social obligations. Unfortunately, he could not say no because it was his duty to get to know and spend time with his people. Also, tradition decreed that unmarried members of the Royal Family of marriageable age, that is, fifteen onwards, were expected to show up for these things because that was how the aristocracy went about looking for a spouse in the Society they lived in.
And so he went.
Although the Season usually had a certain amount of balls, soirees, galas, parties, and intimate get-togethers (that usually had about 100 people in attendance) to keep everyone more or less busy, it was only in the past three to four years that there was at least one being held practically every night. It was generally agreed by the ton that it was high time the prince found himself a wife, though nobody seemed to care what he thought. Unfortunately it was hard to fancy women who tended to hyperventilate if he so much as glanced at them. The lack of oxygen often made him feel as if he were suffocating, so he always beat a hasty retreat. Other than his closest friends, who knew the truth, this has been misinterpreted; his panicked flight only improved his status in the women's eyes, who saw it as "reserved", "proper", and "mysterious", which only worsened his predicament.
It seemed he could do no wrong.
He once wore a ghastly pink satin tuxedo in the hopes of frightening everyone and doing something wrong but it backfired. Overnight, pink satin became scarce as men donned it, trying to follow the fashion trend the prince instigated. Women wore it to have something to say when next they saw him, even though it might be as insipid as "Do you like my dress? It would go so well with your pink tuxedo" with the unspoken "Will you marry me so we can go out and wear matching outfits?" tacked on.
Newspapers and magazines had extolled on how well pink suited his coloring, how he was such a trendsetter for trying out something new, and how he was so secure in his masculinity that he dared to wear and look good wearing such a feminine color. From then on, in addition to the other soubriquets his people have given him, he now had a new one: Trendsetter (although after that one try, he had long since returned to the standard dignified tuxedo colors of black and white).
The horrifying visions of pink satin – and pink silk and pink velvet when all the pink satin in the kingdom was finally consumed – that only waned after months was enough to last him a lifetime. It did not help to know that it was his fault the damn annoying color became so popular. Even now, he still could not look at the color pink, or anything that closely resembled it, without shuddering in disgust.
As he walked in the gardens, he kept his eyes and ears alert for any female who might have noticed him slip outside and followed him. There was a time before when he thought he had left a ball unnoticed only to find three – three! – near-naked women standing near the entrance of his property. Three women whom he could have sworn were at the party he had just sneaked out of. Apparently they hoped he might be so overcome with lust when he saw them that he'd bed one, or all, of them. It never happened. What happened, instead, was him running away as if hell itself was yapping at his heels and yelling in panic for his knights to kick the women out. Unfortunately, it only increased his prestige when said women ran to the press with the story and the press, as is its wont, gushed that he was such a "noble and honorable" prince; the news accompanied his next day morning meal. He never figured out how the women reached the press so quickly when, only a few hours ago, they were bodily ejected from his estate. If his spies were half as good, the kingdom would be eternally safe.
He was presently in the Royal Palace, who was owned by whoever held the throne which, in this case, was his uncle, who had been the King since his parents died. While the death of his father automatically made Endymion the king, he had been far too young and grief-stricken to manage an entire kingdom at the age of eight.
Although he only vaguely remembered the proceedings after his parents died, Endymion remembered enough to recall that in his very first public speech, a few months after his parent's death, he announced to his people his decision that it would be best for the kingdom if his uncle would bear the crown and the responsibilities that went with it until he came of age. And so it was that his uncle, a confirmed bachelor with no living heirs, ran the kingdom while everyone waited for him to grow up – an Interim King, if you will. Endymion was supposed to have regained the throne when he had turned twenty-one but the ambitious members of the Royal Council voted against it, arguing that the people deserved some assurance of the continuance of the Royal Lineage since a civil war almost broke out over the crown when his father died and his uncle was named Interim King (not that he could remember). The Council decreed that the crown would pass to him on the day of his marriage to guarantee that he cared about the Crown and its responsibilities enough to marry and produce an heir.
That night, during a ball, every single daughter of every single member of the Council was in attendance in their flirtatious best – and it all became clear to the disgusted prince. After all, whoever would become his father-in-law would have more power, prestige, and money as compared to being a mere member of the Royal Council.
His uncle could not understand the public's fascination with his nephew and ward nor could he understand why the prince did not just choose a woman and be done with it. After all, a woman was a woman and they can all breed heirs, right? And surely there was one woman out there that would do well enough. But the prince resisted, not because he disliked or feared marriage like many of his contemporaries, but rather because he wanted more out of his marriage than it being a political act. His earliest memories were of the loving marriage of his mother and father and he wanted the same. At least his uncle – who was politically proficient yet a little vague on everything else – was a decent king so he was not pressured to obtain the Crown immediately. He could wait. He could afford to. In the meantime, the prince was steadfastly and deftly outmaneuvering the entire female population, staunchly keeping to his bachelor status. The only upside of this was that his phobia of the matrimonial state was doing the kingdom good; due to him and the popularity of balls, sewing and catering businesses were booming, as well as travel and hotel industries, for some women came from all corners of the globe just for a chance to catch his eye and, hopefully, become the future queen.
After scanning his surroundings, he leaned against an aged oak tree, savoring his solitude and one of the few women-free private moments in his life.
If only he could find a woman who treated him like a normal, ordinary human being and could look at him with no political or monetary strings attached, he'd happily marry that woman. Unfortunately, there seemed none such woman in the kingdom, at least none who attracted or interested him enough to exert the effort to know the girl beyond mere acquaintance.
His musings were abruptly interrupted by a loud crack, a falling branch that just barely missed his head, a couple more rapid staccato cracks, and a rain of twigs and leaves. These were his only warning before something white and heavy fell from the sky, passing noisily through the leafy thick branches of the sturdy tree he was leaning against and falling down on him. It was only his instincts that made him automatically attempt to catch the bundle before it fell to the ground. He caught it with a grunt, knees bending and arms straining, since he did not have enough time to anticipate the weight and brace himself. He only had time to notice that what he held was a human being before it rained some more leaves and heavier branches and he automatically covered the slight body with his own. When the deluge was done, he straightened, absently shook his head to dislodge some leaves and twigs stuck in his hair, then glanced up to make sure that all was clear before looking at what he held in his arms.
A beautiful woman.
Wearing a flowing white dress.
With impossibly long blond hair that reached the leaf-strewn ground.
She was covered with numerous cuts and bruises, with a particularly nasty one on the side of her head, which started from her temple, crossed her cheek, and reached her chin.
More importantly, in his arms, the beautiful woman wearing the flowing white dress with impossibly long blond hair that reached the leaf-strewn ground was unconscious.