Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon.
(A.N: sequel to 'Misstress of Moonlight' and 'Misstress of Midnight'.)
Misstress of Mephisto
By Silver Sailor Ganymede
To most the fear of a nightmare will soon subside after awaking; they know what they have seen is not real and never will be real. For Hino Rei it was different; what she saw were not figments of her imagination but fragments of the future, scenes from would could and most probably would come true at some point in time. I suppose that was why she was awake that night rather than attempting to sleep: not, of course, that she would have been able to get to sleep in such weather anyway; the cold did not agree with her at all, and it was only because of the fire she always kept burning that she was able to sleep at all.
She walked silently out of the church, leaving her younger sister, Hotaru, to sleep in peace. Rei had no desire to trouble the younger girl with news of these vision she had been having; Hotaru feared Rei's powers of foresight moreso than even her own healing powers, something that seemed to terrify her endlessly. Rei closed the chruch door behind her and leaned into the overgrown bushes and gnarled trees, letting her thoughts be swept away with the falling snow.
These visions, she knew, were beginning to sweep away her sanity, just as winter always swept away the last of the autumn leaves. Sanity was something bound to fall like shrivled leaves off a bowed branch; she had no reason to believe that this wasn't her time to descend into madness; she had always known that that day would come after a time… and yet she feared it perhaps as much as Hotaru feared their magic, their blessed skills; she couldn't leave Hotaru on her own while she slipped away to the edge of twilight and back.
She wished with all her heart that she had never come to this accursed church in the first place; perhaps even the fate of one accused of witchcraft would have been better than having mistakently taken up on a pact with the king of demons in such a way as she had… perhaps, perhaps, but she could not dwell on what might have been; after all, what did it help?
It was then that Rei heard a movement behind her and spun around. In all honesty she had thought that it was nothing more than her imagination acting up, but when she turned she found herself face to face with another. The girl in question was her age, perhaps a year or two younger, and slightly smaller than she herself was. Her hair and skin where as pale as Rei's were dark, and her eyes shone unnaturaly blue against the faded grey of the snow.
The young girl moved closer towards Rei and traced a lily-white finger along Rei's cheek, her claw-like nails scarring it and drawing blood. The girl giggled, a sound to utterly childlike for her even at the age she appeared then licked the blood from her hand, though she left the cut to bleed freely and stain Rei's face.
"Blood on snow," she whispered, reaching out to Rei again, though she pushed her away when she came close.
"Who are you?" Rei narrowed her eyes and the girl laughed again.
"I think you'll probably know me, so why the need for me to tell my name?" the girl replied, walking over to her again, then disappearing into thin air and reappearing again behind Rei, who was shocked by what happened but didn't show that much.
"Enough of the magic tricks, I'm not impressed," she hissed. "Now tell me who you are!"
The girl tutted, "Well don't say I didn't tell you already that you know me even though you probably don't recognise my face. My name is Aino. Aino Minako."
Aino Minako… Rei had indeed heard that name before, however she couldn't quite place where… and then it came to her and she felt bile rising into her throat. Aino Minako had been the only daughter of a wealthy family that practially ruled their town over a century ago. She had turned to witchcraft in order to attempt to escape and arranged marriage she had been dreading, and had had to flee for her life after discovery not only of the curses she had placed upon people but because of a love affair with a demon that had cursed the town many years before. She had been a beauty if nothing else and so used her looks to bewitch and lead away those that she chose to send to damnation, and it was this that made Rei shiver in terror no matter how hard she tried to repress her fears.
"Your blood is running cold," Minako whispered, once again running her fingers across the bleeding cut on Rei's cheek.
"What are you?" Rei hissed, grabbing the girl's hand and pulling it down away from her. "Because it seems to me you're exactly what the stories say you are."
"Ask a lot of questions, don't you?" Minako raised an eyebrow. "But as for what I am… well why do you want to know?"
"I know enough about spirits and time to know that you're no human; mortals don't live for hundreds of years, nor indeed do they have auras that are so… corrupt. You're tinged with death whatever you are."
"So you can read me in the same way sailors can read the sea and skies, now tell me, how could a human do that? Unless of course you're no mortal either," she said, a smirk forming on her face and serving to further fill her feautres with a grim, unnatural beauty. "But as for me, I'll tell you; you're right in that I'm no mortal now, my dear child, but I was once. Now I'm a blood-drinker, a vampire if you will… just as you will soon be."
Rei went to move away from the girl, then found that she was petrified by forces far out of her own control. Minako had moved toward her and now had her in a tight embrace, her head resting on Rei's shoulder, her breath somehow cold on her neck.
"Get away from me," Rei hissed, trying with all her might to push the girl away from her but finding herself as if she were made of nothing more than stone.
"I'm afraid I can't do that," Minako whispered, turning her face up so that her eyes met Rei's own. "After all, The Misstress wouldn't be pleased if I did. Now hush, stop asking questions; you don't need to know anything more."
Rei opened her mouth to protest but choked when she did so, as the small blonde before her had pressed her lips to her own, then trailed them down the side of her neck and sank them into her cold flesh. Rei shivered as the blood was drawn out of her, then swooned and fell back, her concsiousness leaving her. Minako laughed slightly and then pulled the girl's prone form into her arms; she was not only far older than she seemed but far stronger as well, perhaps moreso than six men put together, and it was with great ease that she swept up the taller girl's body into her arms.
"You're coming with me now, Hino Rei; you have to, it's for your own good… to save your precious mortal life," she whispered to the girl she had made fall into a death-like state by the drawing of her blood. She turned away from the ruined church, a laugh escaping her lips, which had been turned from the white of lilies to the red of roses by the blood she had consumed. It was then that she walked into the snow-shadowed forest, disppearing from view, at least for a time.
There was blood on the snow, blood in the moonlight: she could see nothing but the blood and taste nothing but death in the air. She fought against these chains that bound her, fought away the darkness that wrapped itself around her throat… yet still the bound her, still it choked her, still it devoured her soul like maggots at a long-dead corpse.
Then her eyes snapped open and she saw the moonlight raining in through the shattered glass and the snow falling down from the skies like frozen spirits. The icy winds sung their mournful tune between the pews and howled like bitter demons trapped in the realms between heaven, earth and hell.
She heard saw light out of the corner of her eye, and when she turned saw that the doors had been opened and a woman was striding towards her. The woman in question was tall and slender, her skin pale even against the snow that surrounded her, making her ebony hair and amethyst eyes, which were strangely like Hotaru's own, even more dramatic than they usually would have been. She strode over to Hotaru and sat down next to the girl on the floor.
Most would have screamed at such a thing occurring, but Hotaru was not scared in the least, not after the dreams from which she had awoken; reality was never as terrifying as dream, no natter that reality was actually there and happening. Dreams were beyond anything humanity could understand… far, far beyond, and that was why the terrifyed her, but there could be an explanation for the appearance of this strange woman at her side – nothing was without reason after all.
"Who are you?" Hotaru asked, "And why are you here? I can tell you're not one of the townsfolk, they don't even know this place exists…"
The woman smiled slightly, showing pearl-white fangs beneath her colourless lips, and Hotaru felt her heart jump in horror; she had thought her a woman, but it was a demon that had met her in the ice-filled heart of the ruined church. At last she spoke, revealing her fang-like teeth to an even greater extent.
"So you don't remember," she whispered. "I expected as much."
"Remember what?" Hotaru tilted her head to one side. Then something hit her, "Where's Rei?" she asked.
"Your sister is safe," came the reply and that was when Hotaru felt the panic setting in. "Don't worry, child; she's fine. I have no reason to lie to you."
The blood… the blood in the snow… the maiden with the bloodied lips… the lifeless corpse… it all made sense and she knew the fear her sister felt when she dreamed. She jumped to her feet and fled past the woman, out into the snow. It was then that she saw the blood staining the snow, the shattered purity around her: she screamed and screamed, but her screams were soon silenced when the woman clasped a skeletal hand around her mouth.
"I'm afraid I must take you then; I see attempting to convince you to come with me freely is no longer an option."
The next thing she new she was being risen away from the ground and into the air. She fainted in fear against her captor. The Misstress smiled sadly; she had her daughter in her grasp once more… just not in the way she had intended.
And behind them in the darkness, the church slept on in moonlight and in silence, as if no one had ever been there at all.
She could see nothing… she could feel nothing… she was nothingness in her very existance… then she opened her eyes. The room around her was pitch black, even the Moon having hidden itself away behind a snowstorm that was brewing on the horizon. Hotaru would wished to have stayed inside too on any other day, but then she remembered what had happened and realised she had no idea where she was. She shook her head in despair but nevertheless got to her feet and walked over to the one window the room had and stared out of it, where she was nothing less than astounded that it was nowhere other than her own town below her.
It was then that the realisation of exactly where she was struck her: she was in the castle that perched on the edge of the cliff over their town like a vulture waiting for its prey. It had been a ruin since times far beyond the memory of any alive then, so it was more than a little chilling for her when she realised that she was indeed there and that the inside of the castle was somehow far more intact than many inhabited settlements in the town itself: it was, in a way, almost like magic, albeit magic of a dark kind, though she had expected no less from the one that had taken her, whomever she may actually have been.
Other than that, Hotaru knew nothing of where she was being held, but she knew for certain that she did not want to remain there. She had for the moment forgotten the danger that awaited her if she returned to her home, but she was not in any mind to stay where she was lest an even worse death than that of a witch was to befall her. She hoisted herself up onto the windowsill and, figuring that the drop was not too great for her to cope with, she threw herself from there and back out into the snow, taking no further notice of her surroundings than that.
Normally a faceful of powedery snow would have been enough to put Hotaru off the idea of even moving any further, let alone running, yet this was not a normal situation she was in: and besides there was no way she would return there, not to a castle inhabited by such demons. She ran as far from the castle as she could, out into the snow that had once again began to fall: a storm was brewing and there was nothing she could do to hold it off, no matter how much she wished that there was.
She soon found herself on the edge of the town, though she had no wish whatsoever to return there: perhaps she could risk a venture through there to get into the wood itself in order to escape far enough. She did not, however, have any idea of what was about to happen, as she would have chosen to stay within the confines of the castle prison if she had…
When Hotaru felt a hand on her shoulder she turned around, attempting to keep her cool as she did so, but failed to do so as soon as she saw whom it was that stood there. At first the sable hood of the person's cloak obscured their face but the hood soon fell from them and revealed the familiar dark skin and blood-like eyes of the demon she had seen before. Hotaru met the demon's gaze then found herself unable to move partially because of her own fright, partially because she was spellbound into petrification.
"Demon," the word that escaped her lips was tinged potently with venom and badly masked fear. "What are you doing here, why have you come for me?"
"Demon?" the woman before her raised a black-green eyebrow. "You are bright to perceive that much, little girl. What do you know of me… but wait, you are her sister, are you not?" The tone in her voice showed that this question was not asked for want of an answer but simply made as a statement in itself, which was lucky as Hotaru found herself unable to reply.
"Hino Hotaru… no, Tomoe Hotaru," she whispered. "You're coming with me, my dear; and resisting me is futile so I'd advise against trying, it will get you nowhere at all."
Hotaru didn't even try to move, she couldn't, but instead she simply asked, "And what is your name, demon? I would at least like to know the name of the one that wishes to take me to eternal Hell."
"My name," came the reply, "Is Setsuna… but as for taking you to Hell, it is not my wish; I am nothing more than a messanger than the king of demons, and it would be unwise to keep him waiting for much longer lest he get rather impatient."
Hotaru made no response; she simply let her take her away, leaving the world spiriling into a great expanse of nothingness behind her as she did so.
The next thing she knew, Hotaru saw around her not the endless whiteness of the snow-covered landscape she knew but felt a blazing heat that seemed to sap the life out of her and saw a landscape so red it was as if it were stained by the blood of sinner and the tortured souls of innocents, and so it was that she knew where she had been taken to; this was the fabled Hell, and it was indeed every part as horrific as they would claim.
It was perhaps a blessing that the demon messanger, Setsuna, saw fit to shade her eyes from this torment and carry her along in darkness, for no human would have been able to leave Hell with their mind entact. On and on she strode in darkness, her mind still there but her fear increasing in intensity as she heard the screams of the damned souls that were captive around her. Then they stopped and Hotaru heard a set of doors open: the cloth was removed from round her eyes and she wished that she were still blind to everything around her.
The room in which they stood was a cavernous expanse of some strange black rock, which seemed to pulsate where it stood, almost as though it were in itself a living creature. These walls were ornately decorated with depections of crimes so heinous that it made her stomach churn just to look at them, and all seemed to move and scream in such a manner that she was inclined to believe that they were there not simply for decoration but as yet another punishment for those sinners condemned to remain in this place of destruction in which the Devil himself was master of souls and fate.
At the head of this accursed room stood a throne, on which a man sat… or at least something that had the form of a man to her eyes. His appearance was stunning, though whether it was this or his shadowed aura that stopped her in her tracks she could not tell. His hair was cut short and black as ebony, in contrast to shining midnight blue eyes that leered out at her, a smirk forming on his features as he did so. He rose from his throne and walked over to where she stood. It was only when he was right in front of her that she noticed that Setsuna and all other demons around the walls of this place had fallen onto the ground where they lay shivering as if terrified by the mere sight of him.
"So you are the one," he spoke at last. "You are the child she bore… Tomoe Hotaru, the last remaining heir of the dynasty of Mephistopheles, the child of Mephisto. You will probably have no idea of this, foolish mortal, but my name is now Mamoru; I chose it a few millennia back and found it to my liking.
"But on another note I suppose that I should greet you properly, child. It is a pleasure to finally meet you, my daughter," he bowed slightly and kissed the back of her hand; his lips were like ice; it was as though all life had long-since been sucked out of them. She shivered and pulled away.
"No, I am no child of the devil," spat she, her eyes narrowing into a leer quite similar to the one his own face had quickly taken on.
"I thought you would be hard to turn to the truth," he spat. "Setsuna, take her to the dungeons; I will not have any refusals, not even from my own heirs."
His sneering face was the last thing Hotaru saw before she descended into darkness.
Upon her awakening, Hino Rei had no idea where she was. This scared her somewhat: that was when she remembered the blonde demoness and fury replaced the fear. It was loathsome enough to her mind that she had got herself into such a mess, but the fact that she had welcomed it in a sense was infuriating. She stood up, getting out of the grand bed she had been lying in, and paced over to the door, which, to her surprise, was not locked. She paced silently out into the hall but soon stopped dead in her tracks after hearing raised voices. One she recognised as that of the girl that had seduced her and landed her there in the first place, the other was a little deeper, older perhaps, and more furious in its nature.
"You shouldn't have done that, Minako; you know as well as I do that taking that much blood could very well have killed her."
"I knew what I was doing," came the blonde girl's reply, "I didn't kill her, she's fine."
"She's comatose in one of the old guest-quarters, Minako, that isn't fine at all!"
"And what of your charge? She escaped a few days ago and still you have no word of her. Besides the elder girl is fine; in fact she's outside the door of this room right now, listening to every word that we say."
Upon hearing that, Rei froze entirely: what was she going to do if they knew that? How was she going to get out of there if they knew exactly where she was? She didn't have much time to dwell on that though, as the door opened and she found herself face to face with her captors. The blonde was the same as she had been on the first occasion, her form scantily covered in white silk, her lips shining like rubies on her pale face. The other too was pale, though far taller and with wonderously dark hair and eyes of amethyst: she wore dark fabrics in much the same way as her companion wore light, and it put into Rei's mind that they were perhaps the daughters of night and day, but of course that was absurd.
"I see you're awake, Hino Rei," the dark woman nodded to her, "Come in, take a seat."
Rei obeyed; it was much easier to as she was commanded than to refuse and perhaps put her life at risk. As soon as she sat down by the fire Minako grasped her hand and leaned in against her, though Rei pushed her away from her neck; she could not do with losing any more of her precious blood.
"Leave her, Minako," the older woman snapped and Minako, sulking, pulled away from Rei and instead turned her attention to a spot on the wall that seemed to have suddenly become of interest to her. "Hino Rei," she nodded, "I see that you are well: I apologise for Minako's prior behaviour; she is indeed nearly as bad as the legends would claim." At this the blonde looked back over to her companion and sneered, but the other woman shrugged it off and rolled her eyes.
"Who are you?" Rei asked.
"I am Ottavia Tomoe," came the reply. "Although you may better know me as The Misstress."
It was then that Rei concluded that she was indeed in the clutches of demons; The Misstress was one of the most feared shades to haunt their region, though she struck far less often and with less ferocity than she once had.
The sound of silence became deafening in the castle for a moment, then it happened that both Minako and The Misstress jumped to their feet with their eyes fixed on the shadows of the room.
"Who's there?" The Misstress snarled, "I know you're here, fool, now show yourself."
"You're too easy to find," someone laughed out and a figure appeared in the shadows, and as soon as Rei caught sight of who it was she felt the blood drain from her face.
"You," she gasped.
"Me," the woman in question replied, her blood-coloured eyes gleaming as she spoke. "Setsuna. But don't worry; I'm not here to kill you; just here to tell you that you served yourselves well; he has her now."
This time it was The Misstress who seemed aghast, "He has her?"
"Yes, my dear Misstress of Mephisto, and I have been sent here to tell you to meet him in three nights time by the lake; after all, you would do anything to have back her soul, would you not? Even if the cost for it were your own: that is the crux of the matter, is it not?" she hissed, reaching over and pulling an onxy crucifix into vew from around The Misstress' neck. Minako's eyes narrowed; she had only seen that crucifix once before in all her time with The Misstress, no matter how long that had been by then, and wondered what importance it held.
With that Setsuna disappeared once again, leaving them all in a state of shock.
"So in escaping she delivered herself into the hands of he from whom we tried to protect her," Minako spat. "But dare I ask what significance the crucifix has in this matter, what binding spell was placed upon it?"
"He took my soul when he turned me and he is the only one that can ever restore it: this he gave to me if only as a reminder of that fact," The Misstress replied, fingering the crucifix and turning it over and over again in her hands.
"So in effect he bound you to him," Rei whispered.
"Yes, but if I kill him I may be able to regain my soul," came the reply.
"We have three nights," Minako muttered, "Three nights until judgement day comes for us."
"We shall use that time to plan: and don't worry, young Rei; we shall not harm you, for what is the profit in alienaiting allies when enemies rule with iron fists?"
Humans were blind, he mused as he walked through the forest; they were blind where they wished to be; that was why they never saw him as he was, why they never saw the truth behind his plans. It humans could have seen, after all, they would have seen the army of demons he had amassed: but then again they never would anyway so long as the spell he had placed remained entact.
He looked beside him and saw that Hotaru was still there, her small hand clutching the edge of his sabel cloak. Her eyes were still glazed over; the curse he had cast on her was working, she had no idea of who she truly was nor what had happened in her past; it was something that he had had to do.
He gazed further into the shaodws that veiled the edges of the forest and saw that they had finally come. Three women, one the mortal sister of his daughter, one a beauty entered into a pact with darkness for years, and the third and final of the trio the one whom he had known for many eons, the misstress of midnight, the child of the moonlight, Misstress Ottavia Tomoe.
"You came," he stated.
"We did," The Misstress replied.
Rei's expression had turned to one of anger upon seeing Hotaru in such a state, but Minako's hand on her shoulder held her back.
"What have you done to her?" Rei screamed, fear rising in her heart after seeing the look on her sister's face.
"I have simply had to condition her to what I wished from her," came Mamoru's reply.
"Why have you called us here, Mephisto?" The Misstress snarled.
"I still go by Mamoru," came the demon king's reply. "But you know very well why I've called you here; to bargin for your soul."
"So first you take my daughter and now you want me also," The Misstress sighed; she had expected as much.
"Exactly, but I have more right to her now than you do; it was on my command that her soul was reborn, after all."
The Misstress frowned, "And why did you command that it be so?"
"Because even demons need dynasties and heirs," came the reply, "Many are foolish, and prone to idiotic mistakes, and indeed more are cunning and prone to trachery: I would expect you to know that by now."
"So you've taken her in order to ensure your own place at the helm of Hell: why is that no surprise to me in the end?"
"Perhaps because it's you, Ottavia, and you knew exactly how I thought after I turned you," he replied.
"Then why the demons if this is all you've come to tell us?" The Misstress asked.
"I suppose because I knew you would refuse to come with me immedeatly, and I doubt that you will come with me even after I attempted to convince you
to do so… but what if there is nowhere else for you to go? What choice have you then?"
"What do you mean?" The Misstress asked and it was then that she caught sight of the first tongues of fire singing out into the blackened night as the castle began to blaze. "What have you done, Mamoru?"
"I have simply destroyed you wretched castle," he replied. "After all, what was the point in letting a ruin remain as an eyesore for so long like you did? Now come with me."
"No. No one is going through anywhere," a voice whispered and they turned to see that Hotaru's gaze had returned to its normal sharpness. "This destruction, Mephisto, is stupidity; you've burnt away everything that linked you to the mortal world and in doing so you have condemned youself. Demons are not vampires, and when the place they have bound themselves too is destroyed they become mortal when on mortal soil."
What she said must have been true, as Mamoru's features momentarily flickered with fear, and even a moment is enough to know someone's true feelings in such situations. It was then that The Misstress acted, for if she didn't act then she knew that she never would. She tore the crucifix from her neck and, knowing that this was the last thing binding Mamoru to the mortal world and sustaining him there she crushed it beneath the heel of her boot. The demon king screamed as the light spilled into him and his body, as well as the shades he had risen to the world with him, disappered into nothingness.
There was silence for a while as the wind blew away the ashes of the demon and then The Misstress stepped away from the glade and turne dto the sky to face the Moon, who had poked her shining face through the trees.
"So I'm… free," she spoke at long last, her voice almost inaudible even in the still night. "I'm free and everything has been destroyed… We can find new ground now, Minako… but where are you to go, my child?"
She turned to Hotaru, who smiled slightly, "Anywhere away from here so long as I'm not separated from Rei; we arent going to be separated again, and besides we should really go where you go, for where else could we travel to?"
"You can come with us on one condition," Minako spoke up, "You'll have to be turned as we were: vampires see humans as toys and prey, nothing more, but perhaps we may have alliances to other vampires, no?"
"We will," Rei replied, "What awaits us now if we remain as humans?"
And so it was that their journey on the path that led into eternity was begun.
Everything had changed. Immortality was indeed the new lease of life that they had wished for and Rei knew that they had made the right choice in being turned unto eternal night. The lust for blood was something they soon got used to – after all to a vampire the taking of human life is the same as the taking of animal life to a human.
Upon her awakening, Rei had been terrified; awakening beneath six-feet of earth, ice and snow, so much like being burried alive, was enough to strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest after all. After a few days however she found herself used to the heightened senses and surficing only at night; it was, after all, not a whole lot different to what she had priorly been used to.
That night they had gathered outside the church in which they had once again hidden. They were all wondering what The Misstress had called them there then at last she spoke.
"We're leaving," said she, a wistful look forming on her face as she gazed up at the stars. "There is no need for us to remain here any more."
"And where are we to go?" Hotaru asked.
"To places unknown," cane the reply. "We are not bound here any longer… and we have all of eternity ahead of us now."
Thus it was that they came to an agreement and left that town that they had been bound to for countless years. Eternity awaited them and another path lay ahead, albeit that no matter what path they took it would be stained with innocent blood.
(A.N: A prequel, Sanguine Starlight, will hopefully be up sometime soon.)