Moon Cats: Silver Millennium

Disclaimer: While I have returned, sadly, it's without the rights to Sailor Moon. Artemis lied to me.

Chapter Four

Hotaru flinched as the people in the spaceport shied away from her and her tiny entourage. Her hearing, stronger now that she had awakened, heard their whispers, and fears.

She nearly jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Only one person, even among those servants who were loyal enough to her to stay, still touched her willingly. "They're terrified of me."

Artemis squeezed the tiny girls shoulder lightly. He considered telling her they weren't, but it would have been a lie. "Yes, I'm afraid they are."

"Why? I would never hurt them."

"They fear you because of what you represent, your highness. Not what you are." Artemis explained, crouching down so he could meet the shorter girl's eyes. He saw the tears glittering in her purple orbs and wished he could make them go away. "They are afraid of what you were born to fight."

"But I don't even know what that is!"

"Nor do I, or they." Artemis agreed. "The quickest way to terrify someone is with the unknown."

"I wish I was the seventh Saturn. Or the twenty fourth." Hotaru sighed.

Artemis had to think for a moment. "The seventh, called the day we discovered the so called "Apocalypse planet" which was headed for a collision with Mars and the twenty fourth who was called when the Hephaestus battle planetoid began it's war with the kingdom. Yes, I suppose those girls had it easier." Artemis admitted. "Though unlike most of the Saturns, they didn't survive their battle. And the bulk of the rest are now well respected as heroes."

"Not all of them." The girl cursed with the power of Saturn observed, looking into Artemis eyes sadly."

"No. Not all of them." Artemis agreed with something akin to agony in his heart. But it was deep down, and not really his in any meaningful way. Not for a long time, now. "Come along, we can't miss the shuttle."

"They'll wait." Hotaru sighed, though she began walking again. "They would be to frightened not too."

"Hotaru…"

"You might shoot them down."

Her soft giggle, weak though it was, warmed Artemis's heart.

Serena glanced at Luna as she stepped into the gallery. Even high above the council chambers floor the argument was a loud, raging monster so she could only nod to her friend and teacher.

Luna sat next to her, looking over the railing.

Serenity sat at the head of the table, the King of Earth settled at the foot. Neither were speaking, they didn't have too. Both of them understood the significance of Saturn's appearance to well to bother yelling about it.

That didn't stop the other royal houses.

"I demand the girl be sent far from the kingdom!" Yelled the Queen of Uranus. Tall, unyielding, she'd been passed over by fate when her younger sister had been chosen as the Uranus of her generation and had become heir to the throne. The fact that her sister was killed only a few years later, returning the inheritance to her, had done nothing to mellow her. Nor had her daughters Awakening.

"And I demand she be brought to the moon immediately, for proper training by our greatest minds!" The king of Mars countered. "Think of what she could achieve if we don't duplicate the mistakes of the past!"

"And I insist she be trained as tradition dictates. Away from those who could be harmed." Insisted Bast, the chamberlain of the Mau and their representative. "Saturn's powers are too mighty to risk in the center of power, and far too important to squander by sending her away."

Mercury's Prime Minister and Neptune's Prince both nodded, while the Queen of Saturn scoffed. "With your peoples history, I would have assumed you'd side with Uranus. How many of Saturn's daughters have you tried to assassinate over the years?"

Bast was cold. "One hundred and twelve."

That shut the entire table up.

Serena, confused, looked at Luna, who was still visibly flinching. "What?" the princess whispered.

"It's… old history. It hasn't happened in many decades." Luna assured her quietly.

"What happened… and why?"

"Can we stop yelling at each other for a minute, and actually talk!" The Queen of Venus said, finally. "I think we can all agree that, regardless of her appearance, we need to figure out exactly why Sailor Saturn has awakened in the first place!"

"Saturn." Bast said, her tone making it clear the lack of "Sailor" before the name was a correction, not an identification. She ignored the Queen of Saturn's snarl. "But I agree with you. We should try to discern why. Queen Pluton?"

Sailor Pluto, now in a modified version of her uniform, longer and more formal, nodded. "I have spent hours at the gates… what is weeks for me when I am there… and I have narrowed it down to the most likely possibility. Metallia has found a strong enough follower to awaken."

"The demon queen?" Earths King growled. "How many Saturn's will fighting her cost us?"

"My thoughts exactly." Serenity agreed. "We should have been allowed to deal with her, decades ago." No one missed that she meant a royal We.

The table exploded into madness. No one could hear what was being said for all the yelling.

Then, with loud and echoing thuds, the King of Earth brought the table to order by the expedient of pounding the table with his fist.

"Queen Serenity… I can not count the number of times this has been brought up over the years." He said calmly once quiet returned. "And I sympathize with your desire to end her threat, but it can not be allowed."

"Yes! The line of Serenity is to important to risk." Mars agreed.

Mercury also stood. "We can't take the risk of loosing you."

"But my daughter can carry on the line, if the worst was to happen."

Serena gasped, causing Luna to put a comforting, and restraining, hand on her shoulder.

"That's not relevant." The King of Earth stated. "Nor, for me, is preserving your lineage, though it would be a shame for so clever an opponent should fall."

"Traitor." The Prince of Neptune hissed.

"You're thinking my many times great grandfather, boy. He's the one who seceded." The King said mildly. "But either way, the Silver Crystal cannot be weaponized. That would not only steal from the nobility of the artifact, and the Solar Systems reputation throughout space for justice, but violate over a hundred non-aggression treaties. At least twelve of those are with Star Powers strong enough to persecute total war on us. No, Serenity. You cannot fight her yourself.

Serenity frowned, but with a single nod accepted his point.

"We will continue as we always have, then." Serenity said, this time with the tone of command. She was a good leader, capable and eager to listen to advisors… or in the case of the King of Earth opponents… but she was still the leader. "Saturn shall be trained in the Asteroid Belt, once she has finished her pilgrimage. I trust Hecate is prepared to meet her?"

The Chamberlain of the Mau nodded. "She should be meeting her, even now."

"And what do we do if she doesn't survive." Mars growled.

"Pray." Serenity replied.

The shuttle bounced and rolled in the comet's trail. Hotaru gripped the arms of her seat, and couldn't help but notice the claw marks where she was grabbing.

She looked at Artemis, who didn't seem bothered by the ride at all. "You… Is this normal?"

"No idea." He replied, tapping on a computer held in his hand. "I've never been here before."

"What? Then why are you so calm?"

"You can change at will, and surround us in a sphere of atmosphere if you wish. Why would I worry?" Artemis observed.

Saturn screamed as the shuttle bounced and creaked around them.

"Because I won't form anything if we explode!"

"Meh." Artemis replied. The truth was, he wasn't totally sure if he wasn't HOPING to explode. "We're almost there."

He gestured towards the front of the shuttle, the Mau vehicle being open, so she could see through the front view screen. What she saw shocked her.

The surface of the comet, what would become known as Haley's Comet in a distant future, was almost perfectly smooth, not the pock marked wreck she expected from astronomy classes about comets and asteroids.

And resting in a bubble of calm, just barely coming into view, was a landing pad.

"What… What is it?"

"A secret, that you wouldn't have been taught about. And I'm sorry." Artemis replied, as they slid into the calm dome of energy, and landed. "I'm sorry, but you'll have to see for yourself."

They exited the shuttle, Artemis one step behind Hotaru, wearing his formal armor for the first time since Hotaru had met him. The symbol of the Moon covered both breasts, but he wore a circlet with the symbol of Saturn, which marked him as her guardian and teacher.

A dozen Mau, in humanoid form, stood surrounding the shuttle as they stepped off. They did not salute Hotaru as she passed, but each one covered their eyes as Artemis did. Hotaru was perplexed. This was a Mau tradition for mourning, not salute.

They descended in a lift, down into a long tunnel. Walking, more Mau, some guards in humanoid form, some feline and harder to identify, all watched them pass. No fear showed on their faces or in their eyes, but every one covered their eyes as Artemis passed.

"Why are they doing that?" She asked softly.

"Because I am your advisor." He replied, just as softly. He explained no further.

Finally they reached huge doors, the symbol of the Mau, Nine stars flying away from each other. It opened soundlessly onto a small throne room.

In the center sat the oldest, and some claimed wisest, moon cat in the Solar System.

"Enter, Cursed One. Let us see you."

Hotaru shivered. The cats voice was so cold. Slowly she walked into the throne room, trying not to squeak as the doors sealed behind them.

"Such a small thing. But then you always are, when you come to me." Hecate observed. "Do you know where you are?"

"The Heart Star Comet." Hotaru replied.

Hecate smirked… it wasn't friendly enough to be a smile. She turned her attention to Artemis. "You resisted the urge to tell her, my Ghost. I am impressed. Your reputation didn't suggest restraint."

Artemis frowned, surprising Hotaru. The Mau worshipped Hecate almost as much as they did Serenity. "I was tempted, My Queen, but I resisted. Better she hear the story from you."

"And if I judge her unworthy?"

"You won't."

"And if I do, Exile-Returned?"

Artemis didn't wince at the name. Though Hotaru had no idea what was happening, she thought that was important. "You don't have enough guards to deal with what happens then, Hecate."

The Queen of the Moon cats stared, while her guards gripped weapons more tightly. Hotaru really wished she knew what was going on.

"You'd threaten me, boy?"

"No." Artemis replied. He also didn't claim she misunderstood.

Hecate laughed then. "Did you ever truly return, Artemis, formerly known only as Temis?"

"Did you ever truly let me return… My queen?"

"Now… it seems I must." Hecate turned to Saturn once more. "You will receive a new trainer, one more educated in restraint. However, first you must be educated by me."

Hecate jumped from her seat, shifting into a humanoid form… though it was still more cat then woman. "This is not a comet you stand on, Senshi of Silence, cursed bringer of Destruction. What you are standing on is one of the Nine Continents of Mau. The homeworld of our people."

Hotaru gasped. "But your world was destroyed by some calamity."

"Yes, it was." Hecate replied. "Her name was Tironia. She was the seventeenth Senshi of Silence."

"What!" Hotaru took a step back, looking around wildly.

"Welcome to what your power has destroyed, 'Sailor' Saturn. And feel our despair."

AN: I'm back….

This chapter is based on two questions. One: If Usagi could destroy Metallia with the Silver Crystal and NO meaningful knowledge of its use, how could Serenity not when she presumably knew how to use it well? Politics seems the most likely answer. The same reason there was no Sailor Moon in the Silver Millennium.

The Second, why did the cats react so badly to Saturn? You'd think, with their training (swiss cheese brains or not) they'd be more detached from the myth and more aware of the potential benefits of Saturn. Especially since, presumably she was sent forward as well… Basically Hotaru WASN'T necessarily the Awakened Saturn, but just the Saturn from the past who probably already did her job. My answer… A shared pain and tragedy.

What do you think? And for those really wanting to ride me now, my twitter is Shadoe_Fox if you want to follow me. Thanks!