Hello, everyone. I would apologize for the lack of updates but this story has been nothing but slow updates! I'm getting to the end of the story and hopefully can finish it off without too many mistakes. Looking over the previous chapters, there's a lot I wish I would have done differently but oh well. This was my first fanfic and hopefully entertained some of you! Enjoy! Standard Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon.
Chapter 15: Who Is That Cloaked Man?
Mama, what is the silver imperium crystal?" A young Princess Serenity asked, no older than seven years of age.
Queen Serenity smiled at her daughter while carefully placing the glowing crystal back on the pedestal. Her daughter revered the crystal with awe and small fingers itched to touch it.
Grasping one of the hands in her own, Queen Serenity pulled the princess away and started towards the door.
"My dear, the silver imperium crystal helps keep us safe by granting wishes. It is passed down mother to daughter within our family and must be protected by us at all times. One day it will be your turn to wield it." The queen said while enchanting the room from allowing any in it besides herself.
"Grants wishes? Like I could wish for a new pony and it would give one to me?" Princess Serenity asked with excitement in her voice.
"Not exactly, my sweet. We are entrusted by our people to only use the crystal for good and non-frivolous wishes. We must use it to defeat evil, not for new ponies." Queen Serenity said with a stern voice.
"Oh, I understand, mama. When it's my time, I'll use it for good and to protect my friends!" Princess Serenity said bringing a smile to her mother's face.
"Just remember, you're not the only one with a crystal. There are three more that were entrusted with other rulers of kingdoms."
"The Stars and Sun kingdoms! But who has the third one?" Princess Serenity asked interrupting her mother's lecture.
"It belongs to the Earth kingdom."
"But I thought they couldn't be trusted?" She asked puzzled.
"Back when this was first happening, the Earth kingdom was one of the more powerful kingdoms in the solar system. Then they became too power hungry and tried to take over the rest of the kingdoms. The rest of the solar system banded together and defeated the Earth kingdom. Now they are barely allowed in the alliance and are still winning back the trust of everyone." She waited till the young princess nodded in understanding before she continued.
"As I was saying, the silver imperium crystal is just one of the four but it is the most powerful which is why we were elected to lead the solar system and to keep peace within it. The silver imperium crystal is your legacy and without it we will fall." The queen stopped to sit on a bench in the royal gardens and motioned for her daughter to sit beside her.
A few minutes of silence went by which was rare since the princess loved to talk. Finally she broke the silence.
"Mama, what happens if all the crystals are brought together?"
Queen Serenity's eyes darkened at the thought and her mother's warning echoed in her mind.
"The crystals alone cannot do any damage, but if they are attached to a special mirror then the world is doomed. The crystals are the power source to the mirror of worlds. Once the mirror is activated then the person controlling it has access to any place they desire." A slight shudder went through the queen, startling the princess.
"Mama, I don't understand. How is that bad?" The princess asked starting to feel her mother's apprehension.
"There are worlds out there that you never want to go to, Serenity. Worlds filled with evil creatures that live off our fears. The mirror can bring all those creatures into our world. You must never let the crystals unite, promise me that." The queen said recalling her own promise to her mother.
"Of course, mother. I promise to never let that happen." The princess vowed.
"Now, let's go see what the cook is making! I'm sure I heard her say something about apple pie earlier." The queen said shaking off the solemn mood.
Clapping her hands together in joy, the princess rushed off to the kitchen with her mother laughing and following behind her.
Cosmos lifted herself off the cold rocks and pressed her hand to her head. The memory of her talk with her mother left a tight feeling in her stomach.
"Do you remember now, Serenity?" Her mother's voice called out to her.
Turning, she saw the hologram that represented the only life left of her mother. Near it was Serena's unconscious form, still in the princess outfit.
"I still don't understand, Mother." Cosmos said moving so she was sitting with Serena's head in her lap.
When she was settled, she continued, "If they are after the crystals, what is the purpose of the rainbow jewels?"
"Have you already forgotten how you retrieved the silver imperium crystal?" The question prompted the buried memory of when she first learned she was the missing moon princess and Darien was her prince. The silver imperium crystal had formed through her tear by uniting the rainbow crystals.
"No, Mother, I remember. But if their rainbow jewels call forth their crystals then we are doomed. The enemy already has all of the crystals." A tear of frustration slipped out as she thought of the lifeless bodies of her friends.
"Fear not, my daughter. The enemy still does not have the silver crystal." The small figure of the queen smiled at her.
"And the enemy does not know that you are the real princess." The queen added glancing at the other princess in her lap.
"Who is she, mother?" Cosmos asked absently stroking the princess' golden strands.
"I think you already know the answer to that."
"But how is that possible?" Confusion clouded her eyes and she barely refrained from shaking the slumbering princess awake and demanding answers.
"When you wished upon the silver crystal to take you away after your fight with the Inners and Darien, the crystal took your wish literally. It took away all the traits of you that you considered faults and made this form of you. Then when you came back and started to remember who you used to be, she appeared."
"What am I supposed to do now, Mother? I'm so confused." Tears of frustration slipped down her cheeks as she angrily tried to wipe them away.
"I can't tell you what to do, my sweet. Just trust in your heart and listen to what it tells you to do." Queen Serenity said.
Travis cradled Linda in his arms, feeding her what little energy he had left. He could see Alex doing the same to Erika just a few feet over. Cosmos had disappeared with Princess Serenity leaving Darien and everyone else looking lost.
"That's interesting." The new girl murmured while eyeing the guy in the cloak.
"She will be back." He said disregarding the silent question. "But now we need to finish the rest of them off." Twirling the jewels in his hands, he started chanting something in a different language.
"Travis!" He heard Darien yell in warning as Star's body started to glow a bright purple.
Anxiously, he saw Sun's doing the same except in a golden color. Then with a final word, Star disappeared from his arms leaving him clutching at air.
"No!" The word left his throat in an anguished cry and he could hear Alex' own cry echoing after his.
"Rose?" Vaguely he heard Darien's question. Looking up he saw Star, Sun and now Sailor Earth hovering in front of the cloaked man.
"What's he doing with them? Star! Wake up, please!" Nathan yelled behind him and almost started to rush towards them, but Jupiter held him back.
Travis searched desperately for any sign of consciousness from Star or the others but they were still dead to the world. Suddenly the jewels glowed again and Star's eyes popped open.
"Go". The man whispered and the girls disappeared in a flash. He began laughing as Travis was pushed roughly out of the way by Uranus who parried Star's attack with her sword.
Confusion clouded his judgment and he pushed Uranus so her retaliation attack missed Star.
"What are you doing?" Uranus cried angrily at him as Star attacked an unsuspecting Neptune.
Looking at her stupidly, Uranus growled and spit out the last words he wanted to hear. "She's being controlled by him! She's the enemy until we can get her rainbow jewel back."
He clung to his denial even as Star's emotionless eyes watched as her attacks hit the people she used to call friends. Even her own brother was targeted and only survived thanks once again to Jupiter's quick thinking. Sun and Earth were also joining in, throwing attacks at anyone who dared to catch their attention. Even though they were only being attacked by three people, the rest of the group was suffering from not wanting to hurt their once friends.
"No. This can't be." Travis whispered as Star threw sharp stars at him.
Memories of their past life together flitted through his memory. How could they ever expect him to see his soul mate as his enemy?
"Dammit." He pulled up his sword at the last minute to deflect the projectiles aimed for his head. Stumbling at the force behind them, he missed the follow up kick and was thrown back a couple of feet.
Instantly he was forced to roll to his side as a fist hit the ground where he was just lying. From his roll, he jumped to his feet and blocked the next punch. Fighting hand to hand, he could now see Star's eyes were a pool of black, devoid of all emotion.
"Please, Star. Snap out of this. You're stronger than this!" He cried in between attacks and was rewarded when she stumbled for an instance.
"I know you're still in there. Please come back to me." He said dropping his hands and holding out his arms to her. He could see her fighting the control the man had over her. Gripping her hair, she started to cry out.
"Please….Travis….stop me!" She cried and glowed as the man enforced his control over her once again. Jumping back, she formed a triangle with Sailor Sun and Sailor Earth who looked to be fighting their own internal battles as well. With tears streaming from her eyes, Star looked at him with clear eyes before they glossed over again.
Alex appeared beside him and Darien on the other side. One by one, the rest of the scouts and guardians formed a group behind him.
"What do we do? We can't hurt them." Darien said.
"I wish Cosmos was here. She would know what to do." Travis said in frustration.
"Rainbow Kaleidoscope Encircle!" A band of colors wrapped around Star, Sun and Earth preventing them from moving. Sailor Rainbow appeared in front of Travis with Luna and Artemis beside her.
"Sorry for taking so long." Rainbow said focusing on keeping the girls trapped.
"Where's Cosmos?" She asked in afterthought.
"She disappeared with the moon princess. But right now we have bigger problems. That cloaked freak has the rainbow jewels!" Travis said with fury.
"This is getting boring. Can't we finish them off while waiting for that moon brat to reappear?" Momo asked with a whine to her voice.
The cloaked man nodded at Stellar who started to look uncertain.
"Do it." He said with a force behind his voice.
"Of course." Stellar said with certainty now. Vanishing she reappeared beside Rainbow whom she pushed back with a black orb, releasing the three scouts from her grasp.
Immediately the three begin to attack the scouts and guardians once again.
"Stellar?" Luna's quiet question stopped Stellar from releasing another orb of negative energy.
"I see you didn't need any help remembering me, Lunabean." Stellar smiled at her turning around so they were standing face to face a few feet apart.
"What are you doing, Stellar?" Luna asked. She could sense Artemis behind her ready to step in if Stellar tried attacking.
Throwing her hands up in exasperation, Stellar mimicked her question. "Geez, can't a girl have fun without having everyone questioning her actions?" Laughing as if a joke, Stellar continued, "Why do you care anyway? It's not like you wanted me around you. All you cared about was your stupid moon princess."
"That's not true, Stellar! You're my baby sister. I always want you around!" Luna said with tears flowing from her eyes. She took a step towards Stellar but was met with a shield.
"Lies! You never wanted me. You didn't even notice when I went missing!" With an angry scream, Stellar released her ability and watched with triumph as everyone around her fell to their knees as gravity pushed down on them.
"She's telling the truth, Stellar! Luna almost went mad with grief when we couldn't find you. She wouldn't eat or sleep until we had to force her." Artemis cried from his position by Luna.
"I don't even know why I bothered trying to listen to you. He told me you would try lying to me." As she said this, her eyes glowed a piercing red. Sun, Star, and Earth came to stand behind her, waiting to do her bidding.
"It's time to finish this and then destroy your precious moon princess when she returns!" Stellar said with a laugh.
"No, Stellar!" Luna cried as the gravity increased and they were forced to lie on the ground. It felt like her whole body was about to be flattened from all the pressure. Luna didn't know where she went wrong. She tried raising Stellar the best she could do once their parents were gone. She gave her everything she wanted and tried to instill good values in her.
When Stellar went missing during the silver millennium, she searched for days refusing to take care of her own body. She had felt like she failed as Stellar's guardian. Then miraculously Stellar had reappeared acting like nothing had happened. Luna was so happy that she was back she never noticed the darkness in Stellar that hadn't been there before until it was too late.
Then during this time line, Stellar had appeared after they had moved into their new home asking Luna to help her. Of course, Luna did only to find out later that Stellar had been using her to find out information about the moon princess. Luckily, by then Serena had taken on the role as Usagi and was testing out her new identity on Stellar.
"I'm sorry, Stellar. I failed you." Luna said before blacking out from the strain on her body.
"Luna?" Stellar asked, releasing the gravity instantly.
She could hear everyone taking in greedy gasps of breath, but all her concentration was on Luna's unmoving body.
"Lunabean?" She watched as Artemis crawled over to her sister and tried shaking her awake. When this didn't work, she saw his eyes widen in fright. Bending over, he listened for a heartbeat and then cried out.
"No, Luna!" Frightened, she started to run over to her but was held back by the arms of the manipulated scouts.
"What do you think you're doing?" Momo asked above her. Delighted at the turn of events, she turned to her twin Dede.
"What do you think she's doing, Momo?" Dede asked also happy that they could punish her.
"I think she's trying to betray us." Momo said.
"Leave me alone, you witches! I never meant for Luna to die! I just wanted her to hurt as bad as I did." Stellar said with tears flying from her eyes.
"Well you did kill her. You killed your precious sister." Momo said in an accusing voice.
"What a shame she was telling the truth the whole time." Dede said with fake compassion.
"What?" Stellar said looking up at the two.
"We manipulated your feelings and faked those videos. They really did try looking for you." Momo said with a laugh.
"Stupid girl. You were so easy to fool." Dede added.
"It was all a lie? I betrayed my kingdom for nothing?" The enormity of what she did tore through Stellar and she let out an anguished cry.
"Leave her alone!" Jupiter cried out distracting them.
"What did you say to us, you piece of trash?" Momo shrieked.
"She said, leave her alone. Or are you too old to hear that well anymore?" Mars asked with a smirk as she forced herself to her feet, the rest of the Inner scouts following behind her.
"You're going to pay for that!" Momo said giving them her full attention.
"Why?" Stellar asked in a whisper.
"We know how it is to be tricked by these two. What's done is done. All we can hope for now is the chance to make up for the mistakes we have made." Venus said with a smile full of compassion at her.
"Atone for our sins." Stellar whispered with a smile.
"Ugh this is making me sick. Momo, let's get rid of them!" Dede said and clasped her twin's hand.
"Yes, let's finish this off." Dede said.
"World Shaking!" The attack bounced off the shield around Momo and Dede.
"Don't forget that we are here too." Uranus said with a smirk as she pulled out her rapier.
Travis waited till he had Darien's attention and then nodded. Then he gave another nod to Uranus who proceeded to combine her attack with Neptune and launched it at the twins.
As the dust from the attack clouded the field, Travis pulled his sword out and attacked the cloaked man. He was met with a barrier as well, but attacked again with Darien and Alex attacking on the other side.
"So foolish to think you could take me on." The cloaked man said as he waved his hands.
Travis felt Star move behind him but then she vanished.
Looking back, he saw Nathan fighting her off from attacking him. Turning, he saw Zach and Keith fighting Sun and Jed fighting Earth.
Glancing at Darien and Alex, he mentally told them his plan. Then with perfect timing, all three threw all of their strength into the last attack against the cloaked man. Immediately, they were thrown back from the shield, but the distraction was just what Travis needed. Following up, Saturn hit the shield with her glaive, instantly disintegrating it and forcing the cloaked man to defend himself.
Travis, Darien and Alex were on their feet in a second and alternating in attacking the man. Down below them, the girls were fighting the evil twins, not giving them a chance to help out their leader.
Then with a combined attack from Saturn and Rainbow who helped join the fight, Travis saw his chance and slashed at the hand controlling the jewels. With an angry grunt, the man was forced to release them.
"Darien!" Travis yelled as he watched the jewels drop. He attempted to reach them himself but saw them land safely in Darien's hands. Glancing around anxiously, he saw Star, Sun and Earth drop to the ground with one of the guardian's catching them.
Turning back to the cloaked man, Travis let out an uneasy breath. The cloak had fallen off his face revealing a skeleton.
"I need more power." The skeletal face whispered and then the eyes started to glow a brilliant red.
"Momo!" Dede yelled as the skeletal figure appeared between them.
"Yours will do just nicely." It said and proceeded to make Momo stare into his glowing eyes.
"I'm sorry, Dede." Momo said before she disintegrated into a pile of dust.
"You bastard! You'll pay for this!" Dede screamed but before she could attack, she too was forced to stare into his eyes and her powers were drained from her.
In morbid fascination, the group watched as muscles, veins, and finally skin began to grow over the skeletal features. Long red hair was the last to grow as it flowed from the scalp down to ground.
"That's much better." The newly formed woman said as she shrugged off the cloak to reveal a black scout uniform.
"What just happened?" Jed's question made the woman smile seductively at him.
"Aren't you just a handsome thing?" Putting her hand on her hip, she smiled flirtatiously at him. Immediately, Mars moved to his side as he got a glazed look on his face.
"Leave him alone, hag." Mars said with menace in her voice snapping Jed awake.
"Awww you do care after all, Mars." Jed said happily giving her an adoring look.
"Oh whatever. I just didn't want you turning into some lovesick puppy over the enemy!" Mars said with a blush on her cheeks.
Fuming at the word hag, the woman sneered at them. Then in an instance, she had grabbed the jewels from Darien and had the three scouts under her control again.
"Once I have the moon jewel, I can open the portal to the Netherworld and make this planet my new home." She screamed at them and then with a flick of her wrist picked up Stellar with an invisible hand.
"As for you, you will be the first to die for trying to betray me." Smirking at the struggling Stellar and the cries from those around her, she formed a fist.
Gasping at her throat, Stellar tried to breathe but found something choking her. Her eyes landed on Luna's still unconscious body and she stopped struggling. Maybe she deserved this after betraying her sister.
"Fight, Stellar. Luna wouldn't want this!" Artemis screamed from below but she ignored him. Slowly the darkness started to edge in around her vision, tunneling her vision to the woman's still smirking face.
"Well this is no fun, if you're just going to accept it." The woman said with a pout and dropped Stellar to the ground. Gasping in breaths, Stellar felt Artemis' arms around her and his voice telling her to breathe in slowly.
"What to do, what to do." The woman said eyeing the group below her. The three princes were in one group, watching the three women behind her. Then the Outers and Inners were separated into different groups with the guardians in the middle. Artemis had Luna's body beside him with Stellar in his arms and Rainbow was standing uncertainly behind him.
"I take it that you must be Queen Fireheart." Cosmos' voice rang through the silence as she appeared behind the groups of scouts. Shouts of relief and joy followed as the built up tension left their shoulders. Hope had arrived.
"Ah, the famous Sailor Cosmos here to save the day. What have you done with the moon princess? Hidden her away so I can't find her?" Queen Fireheart started laughing and with a flick of her wrist had the three brainwashed scouts laughing with her.
"I've just brought her back to where she belongs." Cosmos said with a mischievous smile now standing at the front of the group.
"Now how about we do this the simple way? You give me the jewels therefore releasing my friends and return to whatever dark hole you crawled out of. Sound like a deal?" Cosmos said waving her hand through the air flippantly.
"Sure. Right after I kill you and all your other friends." The queen said and smiled as the three scouts behind her sprung forth to attack Cosmos.
"So be it." Cosmos said with a grim face.
In a flash, she appeared before Star and whispered, "I'm sorry." Then within seconds she had knocked all three to the ground and had her shield over them, effectively trapping them.
"Now it's just you and me." Cosmos said angling her head to Queen Fireheart.
"I wouldn't want it any other way." She replied. "But I can't have your friends trying to help you."
"Watch out!" Cosmos yelled but was too late as black inky hands came up from the ground, stretching up from the ground to grab her friends in vice grips.
Helplessly she watched as they tried to evade them but the hands were everywhere. No physical attacks hurt them and their combined powers couldn't overtake the hundreds of hands grabbing for them.
Finally in what seemed like seconds, all of her friends were trapped.
"Release them." Cosmos growled clutching her staff with a tight grip.
"No, I don't think I will. Instead I think they will make a delicious treat." Alarm spread through Cosmos and she barely had the time to ponder what she meant before the screaming began.
With horror, she watched as the black hands shown with a red light and a horrible sucking sound filled the air. Realization dawned on her as she saw the red light start flowing downward into the ground. Looking at Queen Fireheart again, she noticed the black hands encircling her feet and the red light going up her body.
Closing her eyes, Queen Fireheart purred with delight. "Just as I thought…delicious."
"You monster!" Cosmos screamed and rushed at her. She flew several feet back as her staff bounced off the shield and defensive electricity pounded through her.
"You can never win now. I feel more powerful than ever." Queen Fireheart said with red eyes. As the stolen power flooded her body, her body began to grow bigger and horns appeared at the top of her head. Her eyes became more cat like and the facial bones sharpened.
Shaking off the attack, Cosmos glared at her opponent. "Losing is not an option."
"You don't have a choice." Queen Fireheart said with a smile and stretched forth her hand.
Cosmos braced herself but was still flung backward into the pit of black hands that held her now still friends. Landing hard on her back, she pulled herself to her feet only to find herself surrounded by everyone.
"Guys?" She said as she found herself slowly being enclosed. Glancing fearfully around, she saw that the black hands actually belonged to shadow being. With evil smiles, they went inside the bodies of her friends who jolted from the invasion.
"Cosmos, I'm sorry." She heard before she fell to the ground on her knees from a kick in the back.
Scrambling around, she saw the tears flowing from Travis' eyes as he set his foot back down.
"Travis?" Cosmos cried feeling trapped as her friends pushed in from all sides around her. She didn't even have enough room to launch herself in the air to fly.
A chain of hearts wrapped itself around her wrist and pulled her forward. At the other end, Venus held on tightly with tears flowing down her cheeks. "I'm sorry. I can't make myself stop."
Cutting off a scream, Cosmos arched her head back as Mars grabbed her hair. Uranus grabbed her other arm and then the attacks began. One by one, each of her friends began to kick and punch her until she could barely see from all the blood pouring down her face.
"Stop!" She heard through the haze and saw through the blood pouring down her eyes, Darien fighting against the shadow being in him. With a burst of light, he broke free and rushed over to her, covering her body with his as the attacks continued.
Her face buried deep into his shoulder, Cosmos heard his grunts of pain.
"Darien! Darien, stop! You need to let me go." Crying as he continued to hold on over her, Cosmos screamed. "Save yourself. Don't worry about me. I'll be fine!"
Turning his face so he could look down at her, Darien smiled, "I'll never leave you. I don't know why but I just can't let you get hurt."
Crying, Cosmos felt hope rise in her. Even though he didn't know she was really Serena, he was protecting her. Maybe all this time he really did like her for her and not for being his long lost love the moon princess.
Suddenly the attacks stopped and Darien was hauled away by Travis and Alex. Uranus appeared before her and called forth her attack. Next came Neptune, then Rainbow, and suddenly everyone was taking their shots at her.
"How does it feel to know that your friends are the ones hurting you?" Fireheart asked from above. Without waiting for a reply, she continued. "Friends are just enemies waiting for a chance to strike when your defenses are down. I'm helping you realize that you cannot rely on anyone but yourself. Friendships are for fools who are weak."
"You're wrong." Cosmos said in a whisper coughing up blood afterward.
"What did you say?" Fireheart asked, amusement in her voice.
"I said you're wrong." Cosmos exclaimed louder. Forcing her head up to look at her, Cosmos continued.
"I used to be like you. I was betrayed by my friends but then I realized that people make mistakes. No one is perfect and nothing is worth losing a true friend over. You have to learn to forgive and overcome these things in order to see that a true friend is worth fighting for." Cosmos said and realized that even though she was talking to Queen Fireheart that this was for herself as well.
Looking back in front of her, she strained to look at Venus, Mars, Mercury and Jupiter each in the eyes before saying what she knew in her heart to be true. "I forgive you." Even though she said it during her test, she felt better by actually telling them.
Sensing their confusion, she added, "I forgive you for saying those hurtful things. And I'm sorry for leaving without trying to work through it. I ran away and I'm sorry for all the years I missed spending with you." With the last of energy she had, she willed away at the illusion that prevented them from really seeing who she was.
She heard their gasps as they cried even harder at the realization she was the missing moon princess and once again, they were hurting her.
"Serena?" Darien's strangled cry forced her to meet his eyes. Then his eyes grew determined and with a burst of strength, he shrugged off his captors. In an instant, he had her out of the scout's clutches and held her tight to his chest.
"I'm so sorry." He cried into her hair as he held her. "Me too." Cosmos whispered hugging him just as fiercely. Slowly, she raised her blue eyes to his and felt complete. Without any uncertainty, her lips met his and finally she could breathe again.