I do not own Sailor Moon. The Zodiac Knights belong to ZK Chromedragozoid. He and I cooked up this idea for enjoyment. I hope you all enjoy it too.
Planets and Zodiacs
By Ten-Faced Paladin
Chapter 1: Beginnings
In every generation, every 1,000 years, there is a great battle. 26 warriors are chosen by the Greek and Chinese Zodiac to represent them in a great battle. They are called Zodiac Knights. Some are good and some are evil. Despite this, they all do battle in this war. They do battle for a wish for anything that they desire. The winner is the one who shall receive the wish. To this end, there can only be one.
This story tells a tale about four of these Knights.
Juuban was playing host to three new faces who had just arrived by the train. All three were boys who seemed to be at least in junior high, if not high school. They seemed to be friends, but to the casual observer, they looked like polar opposites.
The first boy wore a red jacket over a white t-shirt with jeans and his red hair was long and tied into a ponytail. He radiated warmth and friendliness. A number of the girls on the train found themselves attracted to his bright and sunny personality. His eyes were an emerald green and he seemed to be in very good shape. His name was Ryuki Leonard Hasuma. He was the son of a famous fashion designer, Emiko Narukawa Hasuma.
The second boy seemed dark and moody. He had shoulder length black hair and dark blue eyes behind a pair of horned rimmed glasses. He radiated an aura of 'stay back' and similar messages meant to keep people away from him. He was wearing dark clothes that seemed neatly pressed and respectable. His ensemble was made up of a dark buttoned up shirt with long sleeves, matching slacks, leather shoes and a purple tie around his neck. He also had on a pair of black gloves. His attitude showed that he was all business and no nonsense. His name was Ichijyo Desmond Asakuma. He was the heir of the multinational corporation, Smart Brain.
The last boy had spiked up brown hair and he seemed that one could tell that he was full of surprises He had an easy smile on his face while chatting away with a girl that he had been sitting next to. His name was Yoshiyuki Takada. He was a genius who was always working on something new. Unfortunately, it almost always involved Plutonium or something equally dangerous. How he kept getting it was anyone's guess. He was dressed in blue jeans, a blue denim jacket and black t-shirt.
"Ano," Ryuki mumbled as he looked at a travel map. "I think we're a little bit lost. I can't find where the train station we're at is on this map."
"Let me see," Ichijyo sighed as he took the map. He eyed it for a moment before his eyes narrowed as he sighed. "Leo, it's upside-down."
'Leo' was Ryuki's nickname, one that some of his friends had taken to calling him other than his given name. They still called him 'Ryuki' though. "Oh," Ryuki flinched before he bowed. "Gomen."
Ichijyo shook his head as he continued looking at the map of the district that they were in. After a couple of moments, he folded it back up and grabbed his suitcase. He remained silent before turning to Takada, who had just exchanged numbers with the girl he had been talking to.
"Are you coming or not, Mutt?" Ichijyo sighed. "Make it quick or else we're going to leave your furry behind."
"Alright, alright!" Takada sighed as he started walking to his friends. "I'm coming. Happy?"
"Not really," Ichijyo sighed as he began to lead his two friends to their destination. "I would be happier if we didn't have to be here in the first place."
"Oh, come on!" Takada sighed. "You still aren't blaming me for that incident are you?"
"Thanks to you a portion of our old school got blown up," Ichijyo commented coldly. "I think it's safe to say that, yes, I am still blaming you."
"But Ryuki was the one who made the explosion!" Takada whined, trying to get some of the heat off of him.
"Gomen," Ryuki sighed, remembering his role in the accident.
"Correction: Ryuki was protecting a number of people from the mutants you made when one of said mutant's burning body ran into your project," Ichijyo clarified.
"How was I supposed to know that my project's exhaust would make mollusks mutate into monsters like that?" asked Takada incredulously.
"Hmm," Ichijyo pondered. "I would think you would have learned by now. I thought that the plutonium-powered oven that made your sister's cake turn into a sentient being would have been enough of a clue."
"And the plutonium-powered telescope that made the fireflies caught in its sight change into monsters," Ryuki added.
"Hey, I fixed that this time!" Takada defended. "My plutonium-powered boat was completely safe for the environment...I just didn't consider mollusks coming close enough to make contact with the energy output."
"Well, they did and now a portion of our school was blown to kingdom come, again," Ichijyo sighed. "Now we have to go to this Juuban school while repairs are being done."
"Okaasan wanted me to get pictures of the Sailor Senshi while we're here," Ryuki commented, his eyes brightening as he remembered what his mother asked of him. "She says their outfits give her inspiration."
"Hey, those girls are here aren't they?" Takada grinned impishly. "Think any of them might be single?"
Ichijyo just started rubbing the bridge of his nose. He had forgotten that these so-called 'warriors of love and justice' constantly appeared in this district. He was not looking forward to meeting them. He didn't consider them really noteworthy with their poses and speeches of love and justice. He saw them more as an annoyance really.
"Why would the 'soldiers of love and justice' want a two-timing mutt like you?" Ichijyo sighed.
"Hey! That was a long time ago!" Takade growled indignantly.
"It was last week!" Ichijyo snapped back. "Those girls weren't happy when they found out, were they?"
"Shut up," Takada growled. He still had bruises from where they had found out.
"Don't fight, please," Ryuki pleaded to his friends, playing peacekeeper, "Don't fight. You know what that will lead to." Both Ichijyo and Takada nodded. Ryuki smiled, "Good, now let's go find where we're staying, okay?" Ryuki led the way but was pulled back by Ichijyo.
"I'll lead, you follow," Ichijyo said to the red haired boy.
Ichijyo shook his head and sighed. He still didn't think of Ryuki being much of anything but yet the other boy still saw his as a friend. Naiveté…Ryuki was just too naïve sometimes.
These three boys were not exactly normal, despite their appearance. There was something about them that not many people knew about and it would begin…Now!
The trio heard a ringing sound in their ear and quickly tensed up. The people around them didn't seem to have noticed but these three have. They quickly went somewhere to deposit their luggage safely and then ran towards the source of the strange ringing.
They went into an area that had no one around and looking left and right to check. They then dug into their pockets and drew out identical rectangular cases. Well, they were identical in shape but not in color. Takada's was dark blue with the emblem of a dog on it, Ichijyo's was purple with what looked like a cobra emblem on it and Ryuki's was red with a dragon emblem on it. Identical belts materialized around their waists with crystal in the buckle that matched the rectangular cases in their hands. They then called out;
Takada: "Zodiac Force! Dog!"
Ichijyo: "Zodiac Force! Snake!"
Ryuki: "Zodiac Force! Dragon!"
After the call, they snapped the cases to the right side of their belts and the crystals in their belt buckles flashed with energy. When the flash of energy dispersed, the three boys were replaced by three Knights in armor. From the symbols on the cases, it was easy to know who was who.
Takada was donned in a navy blue bodysuit that had black torso armor with a silver chestplate. His gauntlets and boots were black. Strapped to his hip was a sword which had a black hilt. On his back was a long black cape which had a high collar. His head was covered by a helmet that was similar to what a European knight would wear. The visor had several vertical black slits so he could see through. The edges of the visor stuck straight up to look like pointed ears. It would actually be easy to see a resemblance between this Knight and Batman. Takada's name in this form was Zodiac Knight Pluto.
Ichijyo become covered in a black bodysuit which had a purple chestplate which looked like it was folded over his shoulders. It had silver trim and the cobra emblem was displayed proudly on the front. His gauntlets and boots were a similar shade of purple with similar silver trim. Clutched in his hand was a purple scepter which had a cobra head on the top. His helmet bore a likeness to a cobra. The face was silver with a mouth guard that looked like it might have fangs on it. Three black slits were over each eye so he could see. Ichijyo had become Zodiac Knight Shadowcobra.
Ryuki was donned in a red bodysuit with red armor and a silver chestplate. A dragon symbol was placed on the front. He was wearing red and silver boots and gauntlets. On his left arm was an armguard that looked like a red dragon's head. His helmet was red which had a dragon symbol on the headpiece on top. The eyepieces were bright green. A silver mouth guard covered his mouth. Ryuki had become Zodiac Knight Draco.
Pluto strained to listen for a moment to the ringing tone that the three Knights had heard. After a moment he began to hear it change slightly. It was breaking apart into three different tones.
"There must be more than one," he reported. "It's breaking into three new tones."
Draco and Shadowcobra listened closely for a minute before they agreed to Pluto's guess. His senses were sharper because of his position as the Dog Knight. Shadowcobra immediately took charge of the situation and stepped toward a broken mirror which had been thrown out. There were several glass shards that were littered on the ground. Thankfully, there was a large portion of the mirror left that a person could fit themselves through if they had the ability to move through glass; an ability that the three Knights possessed.
"If there are that many then we'd better move quickly," Shadowcobra spoke before stepping forward and sliding through the glass. Pluto and Draco quickly nodded before following him. The three Knights instantly entered a long tunnel which looked like it was made of glass and other reflective surfaces. In front of them were three pod-like vehicles bearing a slight color scheme that matched their armor. These were their modes of transportation in this place. They were called Knightriders.
Pluto, Shadowcobra, and Draco quickly got inside and the safety attachments strapped them in. The roar of an engine echoed through the tunnel as the Knightriders came to life and raced towards their destination.
The Sailor Senshi were in trouble and they knew it.
It had begun simply enough for them. There had been a wave of disappearances lately. The authorities were baffled because there was no trace of the missing people who had simply vanished from their homes. It smelled strange to the girls so they decided to look into it. Rei had tried the sacred fires but the response was strange. What the fires had revaled to her were three symbols. They looked similar to a dragon, a dog, and a cobra. No one had any idea what it meant so they came to the decision to keep an eye out for these symbols. The only other lead that they had was a strange frequency that the Mercury Computer had picked up when the girls had passed by where one of the people had vanished. Ami had explained that the readings had shown that the frequency was impossible to hear and very hard to trace. They only way they could follow it was if they could catch the frequency being emitted.
The girls had just finished another meeting where ideas were exchanged before everything dissolved into gossip again. Usagi, Chibi-Usa, Ami, Rei, Makoto, and Minako had decided to go to the Crown Arcade to relax a little when the Mercury computer started beeping to alert them of something. Before Ami could actually respond to the computer's alerts, the girls suddenly found out what the Computer was trying to warn them about.
Three humanoid monsters had leaped from a large storefront window as if it was made of water. All of them had segmented armor which shone in the light. Their faces had large eyes and a pair of antennae waving on their heads. That was all they had in common though. The leader of the trio was yellow and was holding a bow. The one on the left was red and was holding a staff. The last on was a magenta color and was holding a sword. All three of them were making clicking noises and staring at the girls hungrily.
The girls didn't hesitate in transforming into the Sailor Senshi so to fight these new 'youma'. They had thought that with the odds in their favor they could win this battle. It was quickly proven that wherever these monsters had come from, they were no slouches when it came to fighting. All three of them were agile and light on their feet. Within seconds, they had engaged the Senshi in close range combat, thus robbing the Senshi of the chance of using their magical attacks which they had come to rely on.
Jupiter was having a slightly easier time since she was an experienced fighter, but these 'youma' were still very strong. They were using their weapons sparingly, but were still winning easily. Soon the Senshi were pushed back by sheer force and were watching as the three 'youma' were slowly walking towards them with the hungry look even more evident than ever.
"Uranus World Shaking!"
"Neptune Deep Submerge!"
The three 'youma' were caught off guard when the familiar attacks of Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune came crashing into them. The force of the blows sent them sailing several feet through the air before they landed on the stone surface of the ground. The Inner Senshi heaved a sigh of relief as Uranus and Neptune dashed over to them. Uranus had a somewhat smug look on her face.
"You guys are having trouble with them?" she asked. "I thought you were tougher than that."
"Hey!" Mars frowned. "These things are smarter than the usual youma we fight. They're actually working together!"
"She's right," Mercury nodded as she tried to scan the three 'youma.' "I can't even get a reading on them. It's like their bodies are reflecting the scans I make."
Uranus and Neptune both frowned at this. Apparently they now had to deal with a new enemy. They knew nothing about these new monsters, but it was a safe bet to assume that they were responsible for the number of disappearances that had been happening as of late.
"Well then," Uranus grinned as she cracked her knuckles. "I'd say it's time for some answers!"
The rest of the Senshi nodded before they turned to face the three 'youma' who had finally recovered from the blow and were facing them with their weapons ready. They were far from finished and were ready for more.
"Aqua Shine Illusion!"
"Venus Crescent Beam Smash!"
"Pink Sugar Heart Attack!"
"Mars Fireball Ignite!"
"Jupiter Thunderclap Zap!"
"Uranus World Shaking!"
"Neptune Deep Submerge!"
"Moon Heart Spiral Attack!"
The Senshi fired off their attacks one after another. They were positive that their magic would overcome these 'youma' and defeat them. The three 'youma' in question didn't seem too concerned about the incoming attack. They moved like they had been through this situation hundreds of times before. They moved into a triangle formation with their backs facing each other. They then started spinning at a pace that made them blur. To the complete amazement of the Senshi, their attacks were deflected by the speed which the three 'youma' were moving.
"No way!" Sailor Moon cried in shock.
"How can they do that?" asked Sailor Mars.
"This isn't possible!" Uranus growled behind clenched teeth.
The three 'youma' stopped spinning and broke their formation. All three of them faced the Sailor Senshi with chips and clicks, seemingly smug at their accomplishment. All three brought their weapons to bear before their personal energies ripped through them. The yellow one began firing energy bolts from his bow. The red one was stabbing his staff with streams of energy shooting out. The magenta one was slashing at the air with waves of energy flying at the Senshi. The shots weren't very accurate, but the explosions that resulted on impact gave enough force to send the Senshi flying.
The Senshi hit the ground, feeling a fair amount of pain from the explosions. Their fukus actually protected them from serious harm, but they were going to be sore after this battle. The three 'youma stopped shooting and started walking towards the girls. They could actually see the hunger oozing from their eyes. Things did not look good.
Sailor Mercury was struggling to get up along side her fellow Senshi when she heard the Mercury Computer beeping again. Reaching to it, she looked at the screen hoping that it had found a weak point to these 'youma.' Her eyes widened when she didn't see a notice about a weakness, but a notice that the frequency that accompanied these 'youma' was beginning to spike again.
"Everyone!" she cried urgently. "There's more of these youma coming!"
"What?!" Sailor Venus cried.
"Great," Sailor Mars grumbled.
Mercury watched her computer with growing dread as the frequency hit its highest point. The 'youma' seemed to hear it too and were becoming edgy, anticipating their foe who would try to come between them and their meal.
The Senshi had grouped into a circle with Chibi-Moon in the middle. The tiny Senshi was keeping an eye out for anything that could hint at whatever was coming. Her lookout paid off when she noticed a large pane of glass that was used as a display window started rippling like water.
"Look over there!" she cried, pointing to the window and catching the other Senshi's attention. They all prepared to fight again as they waited for the new opponent(s) to arrive. The 'youma' likewise prepared for a coming conflict.
The Senshi were surprised when they saw three large pod-like vehicles trimmed with either red, purple, or blue come speeding through the glass and skid to a stop near the battle. The Senshi held their breath as the vehicles began to open while the 'youma' seemed to get agitated. They obviously knew what was coming out of those vehicles. Whatever the Senshi had been expecting, they weren't expecting three armored warriors coming out of them. Judging by the way the armor was fitted to their bodies, they were obviously male. One looked like a European knight with a black cape, the second was styled after a cobra while the last was red with bright green eyes.
"Who are they?" asked Sailor Neptune.
"They're hunky!" Sailor Venus sighed with hearts in her eyes.
"This isn't the time!" Sailor Mars snapped. "They could be controlling those things!"
"I don't think so," Sailor Mercury spoke up. "The three monsters seem agitated and angry rather than subservient. I think it's safe to assume that they are enemies."
Over with the Knights, they were tense. They were eyeing down the Mirror Monsters, ready to fight.
"Trisects," Pluto grumbled as he drew his sword. "These things aren't fun."
"I know," Shadowcobra agreed. "They form a symbiotic group which allows them to share power. I heard they can deflect even a Final Vent when they're together."
"Ano," Draco commented. "Then shouldn't the easiest way to defeat them be to keep them apart?"
"A good guess for someone who hasn't faced them before," Shadowcobra acknowledged. "That's one of two ways to ensure beating them. It's probably the best since we have witnesses here. The other way is to overpower them with an incredible amount of force."
"Oh," Draco nodded before he turned to see just who was watching. His eyes widened underneath his visor when he saw who was watching. "Sugoi! It's the Sailor Senshi!"
"Huh?" Pluto grunted, turning to see what Draco was seeing. His face underneath his helmet lit up when he saw them. "Hey, you're right. They look a whole lot better in person."
"Idiots," Shdowcobra grumbled. "We'll deal with them later. Can we deal with the Trisects now?"
"You bet!" Draco said excitedly.
"Let's go! I'll take the magenta one with the staff!" Shadowobra announced as his scepter extended into a full battle staff.
"I'll take the red one with the sword!" Pluto yelled as he dashed towards his chosen opponent, his cape flapping behind him.
"That leaves me with the yellow one then," Draco said as he rushed forward into battle.
Shadowcobra ducked under the Magenta Trisect's staff swing and jabbed it in the stomach with the head of his staff, causing it to double over. At that instant, Shadowcobra swung his leg up and kicked it in the face and sending it staggering back in pain. The purple cobra Knight then went into a reverse roundhouse but his opponent had blocked his attack with its staff. Of course Shadwocobra then leapt up and used his other foot to kick it in the chest before swinging his staff down on its head.
"Change of tactics," Shadowcobra hissed as he drew a card from the case attached to his belt. Depicted on it was yellow spiral saber with a jagged edge and purple basket hilt. He then slid it inside his staff. "Sword Vent: Snake Coil Sabre!" He retracted his staff back into a scepter and slipped it back into its holster on his belt before his new weapon, the sword depicted on the card, appeared in his hand, much to the Senshi's surprise. The Trisect clicked its mandibles and went on the attack, however…
"Now you see me," Shadowcobra said mockingly before he vanished, "Now you don't!" The Senshi gasped as they watched Shadowcobra vanish into thin air.
"Hey, where did he go?" Sailor Venus exclaimed in shock, watching where Shadowcobra had been.
The Trisect's swung its staff where Shadowcobra was but hit nothing but air. However, sparks soon ripped off its body as it was being attacked by an invisible foe.
"He turned invisible," Sailor Uranus said in surprise. To fight an opponent that one could not see was terrifying. It didn't bode well with her at all.
Pluto, meanwhile, was fighting sword to sword with the Red Trisect. The insectoid monster was a good monster and it was proving troublesome for Pluto who wanted to take it down. He wanted to do it as fast as possible because he wanted to impress the Sailor Senshi. He pulled back an arm and swung his fist straight at the monster. It raised its sword to block but then realized too late that it had been a fake move before Pluto executed a roundhouse kick into its midsection. He then stabbed his sword into its chest, sending it staggering back.
"You're good, but I have you outnumbered," Pluto said as he drew a card. It depicted five identical images of his helmet. He smirked under his helmet and slid it into his sword, "Trick Vent: Duplication!" As soon as he announced the card, 4 duplicates of himself appeared from behind him, shocking the Senshi again.
"How'd he do that?" Sailor Jupiter asked in surprise. Sailor Mercury was recording the whole battle and had seen Pluto use his card.
"He used a card," Sailor Mercury analyzed, "How intriguing."
The Trisect was confused as the 5 Plutos moves around in a circle. It charged and swung but it missed and was slashed several times when the 5 of its opponents began attacking it at once.
Draco ducked under an energy arrow and rolled under another one. They kept coming at him. He then jumped up and pointed a finger at the Yellow Trisect and then he fired a flaming arrow at it, sending it flying back as the shot exploded.
Sailor Moon shouted, "Mars, he's like you!"
Sailor Mars narrowed her eyes, watching the battle.
Draco then got close enough and went into a sweep kick, sending it falling to the ground he then stopped the creature from moving before using his telekinesis and sending it flying into a wall. He then did the same thing by pulling it back and slamming it against the wall repeatedly. He was getting really good with his telekinesis as Shadowcobra had observed. At the 5th slam, the Yellow Trisect sent another energy arrow at Draco but then the Knight vanished in a vortex of flames. Recovering from its previous humiliating assault, the Yellow Trisect looked around for its opponent, but then…
"Up here!" Draco shouted as he dropped down and smashed his elbow upon the Trisect's head. It staggered, disoriented but then got a fist in the face before Draco grabbed its head and gave it a crushing head butt. He then smashed his knee into the Trisect's face before sending it flying with a telekinetic blast.
"Let's finish this!" Shadowcobra called as he reappeared and then slammed his hand on the ground. Black chains erupted from the shadows under the Magenta Trisect's feet, restraining it. It struggled but could not move.
"Got it!" Pluto nodded as he drew a card and slid it into his sword, "Nasty Vent: Supersonic Screech!" After that announcement, he sent a sonic scream at the Red Trisect, disorienting it. The Senshi were forced to cover their ears.
"Eek!" Sailor Moon screamed. The other Senshi were screaming in pain as well.
"Hai!" Draco trapped the Yellow Trisect in a vortex of fire.
The three Knights then simultaneously drew out the cards they would need to end this battle in their favor: their Final Vent. Each one bore their respective symbol, gold in front of a shining background of their color. They then slid the card simultaneously into their respective card readers.
Mercury's computer began to act up again. She warned the others, "More of those youma are coming!" As she said this, the 'youma' in question had arrived.
A red dragon flew out of a window as it roared out loud followed by a large purple king cobra that was hissing menacingly. Finally, a large blue and three headed dog appeared and howled/growled/barked from all three heads. The Senshi tensed up. Were these monsters friends or foe?
They would soon get their answer as the Senshi witnessed the 3 Knights using their Final Vent attacks.
The Knights then joined their monsters. The red dragon flew around Draco as he got ready to execute his attack, going into a classic flying kick pose after flipping through the air. The dragon hovered behind its master before unleashing a stream of fire, sending Draco hurling towards the yellow Trisect.
Draco called, "DRAGON COMBUSTION KICK!"
Shadowcobra charged at his target, followed close behind by the giant purple snake. He then did a leap and did a back flip before being launched forward by a stream of acid and venom, spewed from the mouth of the cobra and performing a bicycle kick.
Shadowcobra called, "GENOCIDE CRUSH!"
Pluto leapt and landed on the three headed dog's back as it charged, engulfing its body in blue energy. A lance appeared in Pluto's hand and they both rushed at their target like a Knight in a jousting tournament.
Pluto called, "FROZEN HUNTER!"
Draco's kick collided with his Trisect, causing it to be launched back several feet in a haze of flames. Shadowcobra hit his Trisect, making it backpedal with every kick that was placed on it The last Trisect couldn't move in time to avoid Pluto and his dog. When the attacks collided with the monsters, they all exploded into a large blast of flames. The Senshi had to shield their eyes from the brightness. As the light died down, the all saw their rescuers standing alongside their monsters apparently waiting for something.
Sailor Mercury had been trying to scan them from the start but she was met with the same result as when she tried to scan the monsters. What she did find though, were three large sources of concentrated energy coming from the centre of the three explosions.
"Everyone!" she called. "The sources of power of those three monsters are still active!"
"What?!" Jupiter cried. "Shouldn't we try to find them then?"
"It might give us some answers," Uranus agreed. "Let's go."
The Senshi started racing towards the scene of the battle, hoping to get some kind of clue to where the 'youma' had come from. They kept the three centres of the explosions in sight, but before they could get close enough, Shadowcobra planted himself in front of them.
"That's close enough," the Snake Knight spoke as he held out his hand in front of them.
"Huh?" Sailor Moon blinked. "But there's something still there. We have to make sure that it can't hurt anyone."
"I know," Shadowcobra nodded. "It won't. We'll make sure of it."
The Senshi wanted to argue some more, but their attention was captured by three large orbs of energy that had been hovering in the air and rising from the flames.
"Get out of the way!" Uranus shouted. "We need those orbs!"
"Too bad," Shadowcobra sighed. "So do we. Genosnaker, feeding time!"
"Chow down, Cerberus!" Pluto called.
"It's all yours, Dragonzer," Draco nodded to his monster.
The three monsters all made their various sounds of delight as they dove for the spheres. The Senshi could only watch as the dragon, cobra, and dog swallowed their only lead to the monsters that had attacked them. The monsters made sounds of content before they all dove back into the glass that they had appeared out of. The three Knights were also heading back to their vehicles.
"Wait!" Sailor Moon cried, catching the Knight's attention. "Who are you guys?"
Shadowcobra spoke up first before Pluto or Draco could try to become friends with them. They didn't need the Senshi's help. It seemed like the Senshi would need their help more often than not.
"You don't need to know," the Snake Knight answered before turning back to his Knightrider.
A few of the Senshi felt a little insulted at how the purple Knight just shrugged them off. The other two Knights didn't seem to completely agree with their comrade's words and stepped forward.
"Don't worry about Scaleface here. My name's Pluto." the blue Knight spoke, introducing himself. The Sailor Senshi stared. His name was Pluto too? "I take it you are the Sailor Senshi?" The Sailor Senshi nodded.
"My name's Draco," the red Knight added. "Hajimemashite," he greeted politely before giving the Sailor Senshi a bow. The Senshi bowed awkwardly. "Our friend here is Shadowcobra."
The purple Knight now known as Shadowcobra heaved an annoyed sigh before turning back to his friends. It was times like this that he really questioned himself as to why he was friends with them in the first place, but that was before he recalled all that they had been through together and remembered that was why he was friends with them. Walking over to his fellow Knights, he grabbed them by the shoulders and began dragging them back to the Knightriders.
"We don't have time to make small talk," he sighed in agitation. "We have more important things to do."
"We do?" asked Pluto before looking back at the Senshi. "I think we have something pretty important to do right here."
"We do?" asked Draco, looking at Pluto. "What would that be?"
"Ignore the Mutt and his magical girl fantasies," Shadowcobra hissed as he deposited his fellow Knights by their means of transportation.
Knowing that he wasn't going to win this argument, Pluto heaved a sigh before getting into his Knigthrider. There would be other opportunities to try and get a date from at least one of the Senshi. He didn't want to risk his life at the moment against Shadowcobra's ire. Draco just shrugged and entered his own Knightrider. Shadowcobra did the same, happy to be leaving the Senshi behind. It wasn't enough that they were idealistic fools, but that Sailor Moon seemed to have an object that made every fiber in his body shiver.
The Inners tried to get the Knights to stop, but their calls were ignored as the pod vehicles came to life and drove through a pane of glass, vanishing again.
"Those guys are soooo hunky!" Sailor Venus giggled to herself.
"This isn't the time to be boy crazy!" Sailor Mars snapped before she and the rest of the Senshi resumed their civilian forms. The appearance of the monsters had caused all civilian life to vacate very quickly.
"Rei's right," Haruka nodded grimly. "Those guys might be the ones responsible for this entire mess. Did you see how they controlled those three large monsters?"
"But, they helped us," Usagi protested.
"But they also removed the only evidence of the new youma that we had: those orbs," Michiru countered. "We could have found out everything we needed to know from those spheres."
"How can guys that hunky be evil?" asked Minako.
"Yeah," Makoto agreed. "That red one reminded me of my old sempai. He was also very polite."
Michiru giggled while Haruka sighed. Those two were so boy crazy it was scary sometimes. Both Outers knew that there was at least one source of information that they could turn to. It would be their fellow housemate and Senshi, Sailor Pluto. If she didn't have any information on this new enemy then there really was something to worry about.
While the other girls were talking and/or contemplating, Rei was recalling her fire reading. What she had seen were symbols for a dragon, a snake, and a dog. It didn't take a genius to see that those symbols represented the warriors they had just met. Especially after seeing them control the large dragon, the giant cobra, and the three-headed dog. Whatever was coming, those three were going to be a large part of it.
Within her own private area where the Gates of Time were kept, Sailor Pluto had witnessed the entire battle. She was surprised the see the Mirror Monsters appear like they had. She was even more surprised to see three Zodiac Knights arrive to fight them. A lot of questions were going through her mind and she would have to confer with her future self to get a number of details that she would need soon. Before she could actually do this operation, someone interrupted her concentration.
"How are you, Se-chan?" a masculine voice spoke out.
Sailor Pluto quickly turned around to be faced with a figure donned in armor that seemed golden in some parts and crimson in others. A cape hung down his shoulders. His features were all hidden by his helmet and on his hand was a staff which had a dragon, a phoenix, a turtle, and a tiger on the head. This person was the guardian of all the Zodiac Knights and someone who many powerful people feared and respected. His name was Zodiac Knight Libra.
"Hello, Libra-sama," Sailor Pluto bowed respectfully. Anyone who saw her do this would be rather surprised. She would only bow for her former queen and the princess.
"Now, Se-chan," Libra chuckled. "I thought we were on more comfortable terms than that."
Heaving an amused sigh, Sailor Pluto allowed herself a smile, "I suppose we are. To answer your question, I am well. I was just looking over a confrontation between Zodiac Knights and some Mirror Monsters. The Senshi were almost their dinner I regret to admit."
"Nothing to be ashamed about," Libra replied, stepping forward to see the images being played. "Mirror Monsters vary in strength and it was their bad luck to be facing some of the more powerful ones."
"That is not what worries me," Sailor Pluto frowned. "The Mirror Monsters haven't come to Juuban before. They even arrived before any Zodiac Knights came. Why are they acting up now?"
"It could be for any number of reasons," Libra replied as he continued to watch the fight. Inside, he was proud of his son and his friends for fighting to protect people. He was also hoping that his son would catch the eye of one of the Senshi and finally get a girlfriend. Ryuki needed some female company for a change. "The Mirror Monsters might not have known about this area until now, or the growing amount of magic might have attracted some..."
"What is it?" asked Sailor Pluto, noticing one of her few friends growing quiet.
"...or someone planted bait to attract them," Libra finally answered. "It could be any number of reasons. It's hard to tell at this point."
"What?" Sailor Pluto gasped. "Are you sure? Why would anyone do that?"
"Yoshido's men are not known for their sanity," Libra sighed. "Even if there is some evil purpose behind the Mirror Monsters' appearance."
"If it is then you have to let me tell the other Senshi!" Sailor Pluto cried. "If it is evil, then most likely it is a Black Zodiac Knight! I need to warn the Senshi about them."
"Hmm," Libra pondered. "You have a valid point. The Black Knights are not a force to take lightly. If you truly wish to tell the Senshi then you will have to ask Fuji. I may be the judge, but he is the one who made a good portion of the rules."
"I see," Sailor Pluto sighed before trying to brighten her looks to change the subject. "So, how is Emiko?"
"Very well," Libra replied fondly. "I still miss her but I am thankful that I am able to see her when I can. Even if my children believe I am dead."
"It could not be helped," Sailor Pluto spoke. "You are the impartial judge after all."
"Maybe," Libra nodded before gazing at Sailor Pluto. "By the way, congratulations on defeating Pharaoh 90. He was a heavy hitter on Yoshido's side. It isn't easy defeating a god, is it?"
"No," Sailor Pluto sighed tiredly. "It isn't. I am just thankful that Hotaru wasn't the Messiah of Silence after all. Sailor Saturn will be a valuable ally in the days to come."
"Just remember that she is still a child," Libra reminded her. "Let her enjoy her childhood whenever she can."
"We of all people should know that lesson," Sailor Pluto agreed. "Can I assume that you are here to tell me what I can and cannot tell the other Senshi?"
"Among other things," Libra nodded. "The secret of the Zodiac Knights must be kept. If the Knights decide to tell the Senshi then feel free to add what you know. Everything else must be kept a secret at all costs."
"I understand," Sailor Pluto nodded. "What of these 'other things' that you mentioned?"
"Well, I am the guardian of the Zodiac Knights," Libra shrugged. "The others are keeping low for the time being. I can tell that these three here are going to be in something big soon. Besides, it allows me to catch up with an old friend."
Sailor Pluto allowed herself a fleeting smile. As lonely as she got sometimes, a little company was very much appreciated.
Ichijyo was walking ahead of both Ryuki and Takada. The Snake Knight of Invisibility was wearing a look of annoyance on his face. It could be a lot of reasons but a lot of things annoyed Ichijyo.
"Ichijyo," Ryuki began as he walked up ahead so that he was walking beside his friend, "I still think that we could've greeted the Senshi better."
Takada hopped over so that he was walking alongside his friend as well, "Kid's right. Besides, those girls were awfully cute." He then added in his mind, 'And those skirts show a lot of leg! Sexy!'
Ichijyo stopped in his steps and turned around to regard his two colleagues and said, "The Senshi would only get in the way if we allied with them and would be more of a liability rather than an asset. Did you see how weak they were against those Mirror Monsters? Face it; it would be us helping them instead of the other way around!" He turned on his heels and walked away with them following him again.
"Only because they didn't know what they were dealing with, Ichijyo," Ryuki defended, "The monsters they fought before were not like the ones we fight now."
"That's their problem, not ours. I still can't believe that the fate of the Earth is in the hands of girls in sailor suits and mini-skirts!" Ichijyo said heatedly.
"Well, they have protected this part of Tokyo longer than us. We're still pretty much new," Takada said.
"Takada, let me remind you that we've been Knights for awhile now and fought the first band of Yoshido's Black Knights Guild. Face it, if those Senshi were to face one of the Black Knights, they'd be dead and we'd end up having to save them."
Ryuki and Takada sighed.
Ichijyo, meanwhile, was thinking, 'That girl with the buns and ponytails in her hair was causing my senses to go haywire. I didn't like it.'
Ryuki noticed the speculative look on his friend's face. Pondering whether or not he should ask if something was the matter, the Dragon Knight's kind personality won out. "Ichijyo? Is something wrong?" Ryuki asked in concern
"Yeah," Takada agreed. "You're looking a little creeped out. Usually you're the one creeping everyone else out."
"It's nothing," Ichijyo replied, quickening his pace. "Come on. We have to get our things to our apartment."
Ryuki and Takada watched him go for a moment before shrugging and racing to catch up with him. Sometimes it was better not to ask.
The girls had reconvened at the temple which they had left a minute ago. This was not something that could wait to be discussed another day. Those three warriors that had saved their butts had dominated those monsters. What was creepier was that they had bigger monsters of their own at their beck and call.
"I don't like them," Haruka stated plainly. "They are able to move through glass like you told us those monsters can and they can also control monsters. There are too many common factors between them."
"We should corner them and ask them what the monsters did with the missing people," Michiru nodded. "They would probably know."
"They way they fought was something else," Makoto mentioned. "Each of them seemed to have their own powers. Like the purple one making chains come out of the shadows to trap one of the monsters and then turning invisible."
"The red one could use fire like Rei can," Usagi pondered. "He was also moving that monster without even touching it. How did he do that?"
"Telekinesis," Ami answered while typing away at her computer, "The power to move things just with the power of the mind. It's an incredible ability that people often say can't be done. Yet, he did it and made it look easy at the same time."
"Why were they using cards though?" asked Minako. "I mean, they just popped one into their weapons and POW they get a weapon, a new power or make one of those really big monsters come out of nowhere!"
"Do you have any idea what was going on with that, Ami?" asked Rei.
"Hmm," Ami pondered as she continued typing. "Well, those warriors were hard to scan. Their armor had the same characteristics as the monsters' bodies, but I was able to get something."
"Really?" asked Chibi-Usa. "What did you find?"
"Well," Ami began. "It seems that the source of these warriors' power is tied to their belts. The cases that we saw where they drew their cards from seem to complete a circuit that allows them to fully use their abilities. The rest of their armor deflected my scans. Sorry."
"So if we destroy those cases then we cut off their power," Haruka nodded. "Good to know."
"But we aren't sure if they're enemies yet!" Usagi cried.
"I'm just staying on the side of caution," Haruka shrugged. "Why should we trust them if we can't see their faces?"
"But lots of heroes wear masks!" Minako argued. "Maybe these guys have enemies that would take advantage of their identities if they knew them!"
"Then we wouldn't want to deal with them," Michiru countered. "We're better off avoiding them if they have enemies like that. We have enough of our own."
"It wouldn't matter anyway," said a new voice, "The enemies those three Knights have would come anyway and would not let anything stop them." The girls turned to face the oldest Senshi, Setsuna Meioh
The Senshi greeted Setsuna who sat down with the others.
"What do you mean 'Knights'?" Michiru questioned, "You know who they are?"
"Of course," Setsuna nodded, "I am the Guardian of the Gates of Time, aren't I? I see all."
"So, who are they?" Haruka asked.
"And do they look cute under those helmets?" Minako asked eagerly, earning strange stares from her friends. "What? It's a good question. It's not like you all weren't thinking the same thing."
"To answer your question, Haruka," Setsuna said with a serious frown, "I cannot tell you who they really are." Minako groaned while Haruka bristled.
"Why not?" Haruka asked in an agitated tone but Michiru coaxed her to calm down.
"Because, Haruka, the Zodiac Knights are not under my jurisdiction," Setsuna replied.
"Zodiac…Knights?" Chibi-Usa repeated.
"Yes, Zodiac Knights," Setsuna confirmed, "That is what they are called. But, I can tell you that the three Knights who assisted you are not evil."
"See, I told you!" Minako gloated at Michiru and Haruka.
"Minako, I'm not finished yet," Setsuna told the blonde girl and she calmed down. After talking to Libra, and Fuji later on, Setsuna was allowed to tell the collective Senshi about the Zodiac Knights, minus their secret identities. This would be both informative and confusing to the girls. "Before I begin, you must all swear what we will talk about will remain a sealed secret. You can never tell this to anyone unless a Knight or myself tells you otherwise. Do you all swear?"
It took a moment for the gathered young women to adjust to the severity of Setsuna's words. After a moment, they all nodded. If it was this serious for Setsuna to swear them to secrecy, then it was something that they needed to hear.
"Good," Setsuna nodded. "Now remember that some of my information is ancient even compared to myself and the Time Gates. This happened before the Gates were even created so please pay attention and try to keep an open mind."
"Wait," Michiru gasped. "Older than the Time Gates?"
"Yes, now would you listen?" Setsuna frowned slightly. When Michiru nodded, she began to tell her story. "I assume that you are all familiar with the Chinese and Greek Zodiacs? Well, a long time ago, the celestial deities who represent those sign all went into a great battle to determine who would be where. Twenty-six powerful, immortal beings fought in this war."
"Twenty-six?" asked Rei. "Shouldn't be there twenty-four? There are only twelve signs each."
"Normally true," Setsuna nodded. "But there are reasons for this. Gemini is two beings. It represents twins if you recall. The other reason is that a celestial deity representing the cat fought as well."
"Hey, I know that story!" Usagi smiled brightly. "The cat got tricked by the rat and wasn't chosen to be part of the zodiac because he wasn't there!"
"To my knowledge, the cat was there," Setsuna replied. "Perhaps the rat was the one to defeat it, but the fact remains that the cat is not part of the zodiac so I assume that something happened to cause this. As I was saying, these deities did battle for placement on the zodiac."
"What does this have to do with those Knights?" asked Makoto curiously.
"I was getting to that. Be patient," Setsuna answered. "About 1,000 years after this war, the deities wished to do battle again to see which sign was strongest yet again. However, they had hit somewhat of a snag."
"Snag?" asked Haruka.
"The last battle they had created a massive explosion which is still known today," Setsuna replied. "I believe we call it the Big Bang."
"What?!" Ami gasped in shock. "Their battle created the universe as we know it?"
"Yes," Setsuna nodded. "So to avoid something like this from happening again, two gods agreed to oversee a tournament. One was good personified while the other was evil."
"So what were the rules to this tournament?" asked Raye.
"Twenty-six beings were chosen to represent the signs," Setsuna explained. "They would be given decks of cards which supplied them with their weapons and other abilities. They would do battle with each other until only one was left."
"That's harsh," Michiru gasped in slight shock.
"There are a few more rules though," Setsuna continued. "To properly activate the power of these cards, the Knights all had to make a contract with a beast from another realm."
"Another realm?" asked Chibi-Usa.
"The realm that these monsters come from is called the Mirror Dimension, or Mirror World," Setsuna continued. "They are called Mirror Monsters. The Knights were to choose one and make a contract with it. Like those three Knights had the snake, dragon, and dog with them. The monsters unlock their own various abilities. They also add their own level to the tournament."
"What kind?" asked Ami.
"These monsters must be properly cared for or else they will break the contract and attack their Knights," Setsuna answered. The Senshi all shivered. "The monsters all feed in two ways. One way is when they are contracted to a Knight and a monster is destroyed. The orbs you saw are the core power of the Mirror Monsters. They can eat one of those and stay fed and happy."
"What's the other way?" asked Minako.
Setsuna seemed to look glum at the moment. This was what she was hoping to avoid, but it seemed that there was no real way around it. She knew that the other Senshi were not going to like it, especially the Inners. Bracing herself, Setsuna answered their question.
"The second way that Mirror Monsters feed...is to come to our world and grab a human," she spoke.
All remained silent at that answer. The shock of the answer really hit hard as all the connections were made by the Senshi. Usagi showed the first reactions when she started tearing up. Minako, Ami, and Chibi-Usa were close behind. Michiru leaned onto Haruka and grabbed her hand tightly. Rei and Makoto were both silent at the declaration.
"All those people," Usagi sniffled. "All those lives lost. Why?"
"They're bait," Setsuna sighed. "When the Monsters come to this world, they give off a tone which only a Zodiac Knight can hear. It calls the Zodiac Knights to the monster. It allows them to meet each other to fight while fighting the monster as well. The bright side though is that the Mirror World is only accessible when the tournament is going on. After that, it's sealed again until the next tournament. The monsters apparently love the taste of human or else they wouldn't keep jumping into our world whenever they get the chance."
"What's the point of all this?" demanded Haruka. "Why are the people chosen to fight do this? What's in it for them?"
"Everything," Setsuna stated simply.
"Excuse me?" Michiru asked, now confused.
"The people who are chosen to fight don't do it for free," Setsuna spoke. "There is a grand prize in it for them. The Knight who is the last one standing gets a wish. One that can be anything he wants."
"Really?" asked Rei. "Twenty-five Knights lose their lives, not to mention how many people become snack food for the monsters, and they get the one wish? How can one wish cost that much?"
"When you can wish for anything in the universe, no price is too steep," Setsuna sighed. "Luckily, there are several Knights who fight to protect people from the Mirror Monsters. That is one of the stipulations of the contest. Half of the Knights have to be good people. People who will protect others or wish for something that will help rather than harm. Unfortunately, the other thirteen Knights are evil and greedy, prepared to do anything to make sure that they are the ones who win the tournament."
The Senshi were silent again at hearing this. So much pain for a single wish that may be able to take it all away. Was it really worth it?
Elsewhere in Juuban, there was a young man who was sitting behind a crate where he held a coin tied to a string. It was hoisted over a drawing of the three symbols of the Zodiac Knights of the dragon, snake, and dog. The young man seemed to look most like a high school student with black hair. What was odd was that his eyes were glowing in the shadow he was sitting in.
"The trio has arrived in the domain of the princesses," he murmured to himself. "I can't see whether it is for good or for ill."
His eyes stopped glowing as he heaved a sigh. Turning to his side, he gazed at another drawing he had made while he was in another trance. This one had the symbol of the snake next to the symbol of Saturn. It was being held down by a rectangular case that was blue with a gold symbol of Pisces imprinted on it.
"But I will in time," the young man sighed before placing his things in his pocket and getting up. "Tomorrow is another day full of possibilities."
To Be Continued…