I do not own Sailor Moon or the Zodiac Knights. ZK Chromedragozoid created the Zodiac Knights. Look to him if you want to use them for something. I'm only using them with his permission.
Planets and Zodiacs
By Ten-Faced Paladin
Chapter 5: New Friends and Faces
Hotaru opened the door into the house she shared with Haruka, Michiru and Setsuna. She snuck in quickly, removed her shoes, and quickly ran into her room, shouting out, "Tadaima," quickly to her adopted parents. Both Haruka and Michiru didn't even have time to say 'Okaeri' before she was gone. Michiru worriedly wondered what'd made Hotaru so jittery for some reason. She'd never rushed in like that before.
"You think there's anything wrong?" Michiru asked Haruka. She was worried about bullies bugging their 'daughter' again.
"Hey, she's a growing girl," replied Haruka. She was more used to growing children being secretive about their lives. "She'll tell us when she's ready."
"OK, if you're sure."
Inside her room, Hotaru removed the contract card she held in her hand. If what she understood was right, this card was her link to the Mirror Monster depicted in it. Maybe if she had it, she could talk to him anytime she wanted. With that thought in mind, she walked towards her mirror and called, "Um…Metalceros? Metalceros, are you there?" Things were silent for a moment before she heard a ringing sound entering her ears. Looking to her mirror, she saw Metalceros staring back at her from the reflection. She smiled. "So, you live in mirrors, like Setsuna-mama said." The rhinoceros Mirror Monster nodded.
Now, though Hotaru was glad to have made a friend out of Metalceros, she was still worried. The Knights fed their monsters the energy from defeated monsters. Wild monsters fed on humans, however. Now, how was Hotaru going to take care of Metalceros until she found the card's owner?
"Are you…hungry?" she asked and the monster shook its head. Hotaru sighed, relieved. "OK, well, if you are, let me know. Maybe there's something in the fridge I can get for you." The armored beast seemed delighted at the notion. He had never tasted human food before. Maybe it would be nice.
Hotaru had to keep the card safe, since it allowed her to see Metalceros and keep him under control. From what she'd witnessed, the monster had a lot of strength and if let loose would cause a lot of damage. Besides, if either her mamas or her papa found it, they would use it to destroy him, figuring him dangerous since a Zodiac Knight didn't have him.
She went to her desk and put the card inside one of the drawers for safe keeping. Her guardians respected her privacy and wouldn't go through her things so it would be safe. She turned towards the mirror to see Metalceros peeking its head out, curious as to what she was doing. The young girl went over and reached out to pet its horn and the creature let out what would be an equivalent to a purr. Hotaru jumped when she heard a knock at the door.
"Hotaru, it's dinner time!" That was Michiru.
"I'm coming!" She turned to see Metalceros already back in the mirror world and heading to the door of her reflected room. Sighing in relief, Hotaru exited her room. Her secret was safe for now.
The next day…
"I don't trust him," spoke Ichijyo at breakfast one day. The trio of Knights were seating at the table this time having some French toast, sausages, bacon and eggs for breakfast and cold juice to wash it all down. Takada didn't care what they had for breakfast as long as it tasted good and both Ryuki and Ichijyo were used to having western food like this for breakfast.
Ryuki sighed. "Ichijyo-san, we've talked about this. Tazuka-san is a good person. I can tell."
Ichijyo's eyes narrowed. "I just don't trust him. He's still a Knight and possibly an enemy just waiting for us to let our guard down before striking."
Takada rolled his eyes, "Ichijyo, you don't trust anybody. Plus, I'm supposed to be the paranoid one here."
"Regardless, I don't feel comfortable having him coming here," Ichijyo said, crossing his arms. There was a knock at the door. "Is it that Makoto girl again?"
"I'll get it," Ryuki volunteered as he stood up before walking towards the door. He opened it up and smiled pleasantly at the person standing outside the Knights' temporary abode. "Tazuka-san! Ohayo!" Ichijyo froze. What was he doing here?
"I just came to visit," said Tazuka. "Are you having breakfast?"
"We are. Why don't you join us?" Ryuki offered.
"I wouldn't want to intrude," Tazuka tried to protest but then smiled when he saw the look on Ryuki's face. "Alright. I'm in. I sure hope you have a lot of food."
"We have plenty for everyone," Ryuki said, beaming. Tazuka followed Ryuki inside before slipping off his shoes and then slipping on a pair of extra house slippers. Ichijyo made sure to but several extra pairs since they would have guests. Tazuka sat down next to Ichijyo who glared at him.
"You're awfully early," said Ichijyo.
"Well, I was in the area so I thought that I might as well drop by," said Tazuka. Ryuki found out that Tazuka also lived in the apartment complex, two floors down. It delighted him since it meant he could always visit. Tazuka took a bite off the toast. "Now this is good."
"Arigato," Ryuki smiled at the compliment.
"For a rich brat, he sure knows how to cook," said Takada. "Now, if only he could do the laundry right."
"Which is why you do it," Ichijyo reminded. He really didn't want another incident to occur which involved Ryuki and laundry. It took awhile to mop up the mess. Thankfully, Ryuki discovered the wonders of the Laundromat.
Tazuka smiled at the exchange of these younger Knights. Ryuki had accepted him and Takada didn't really care as long as he could fight, but Ichijyo…it would take a while to gain the trust of the Snake Knight.
"So, what's on the agenda today?" Tazuka asked before he took a bite of bacon. "Anything interesting you had planned today?"
"Just sitting in class and hoping not to get mobbed by girls," Ichijyo hissed. The girls seemed far too interested in him for his liking. The more he tried to drive them away, the more they kept coming onto him. His shoe locker ended up becoming full of notes that he had to dig through them for his indoor shoes.
"We will be sitting with Usagi-san, Makoto-san and Ami-san during lunch, though," Ryuki reminded. Ichijyo grimaced. Those girls were getting far too close for his taste.
"Is there a chance to just avoid them today?" Ichijyo questioned. He still remembered when Minako and Usagi had spied on him the other day. No doubt the others had spied on Ryuki and Takada too.
"Missing the chance to sit with cute girls on purpose?" Takada asked, bewildered. "Why?"
"They were snooping around the other day, and I don't like it," Ichijyo said reasonably. "It's like they were looking for some of our skeletons that were hiding in our closet."
"We have skeletons in our closets?" Ryuki asked, unfamiliar with the expression.
"He means secrets, Ryuki-kun," Tazuka explained. Ichijyo frowned. Ryuki-kun?
"Arigatou, Tazuka-niisan," Ryuki thanked the older boy. Ichijyo quirked an eyebrow. Niisan? Ryuki finished his breakfast and went to put the dish in the sink. "We should be going now."
"I agree," Ichijyo nodded. "I do not want to end up with bucket duty like that blonde bun-head."
"Well, I should be off too," said Tazuka as he stood up with his empty plate. He went over to the kitchen sink and deposited it. "I'll wash up here for you."
"No need," Ichijyo said. He didn't feel that he could trust Tazuka with being alone in their apartment. "Just leave them. They can be cleaned when we get back."
"OK then," Tazuka nodded.
As soon as the trio of boys arrived at school, it began like a typical morning for them. First off, their shoe lockers were full of love letters. While Takada was ecstatic about being popular, Ichijyo was disgusted with all the attention and would most likely find a way to dispose of these letters. Ryuki on the other hand was pleased to have so many new friends in the school. Ichijyo wondered if Ryuki was being naïve on purpose or was just an idiot.
Classes ran smoothly, thankfully. Ichijyo was in the same class with Makoto and he'd become popular. Maybe it was the allure of being the strong and silent type or maybe it was because of the forbidden fruit concept? The girls wanted him because they knew they couldn't have him? He paid them no mind but his father had taught him to be gentleman so when some of his classmates, mostly girls, came to him asking for help with unfinished English homework, he helped out as best as he could. Even if he had to ignore the silly blushes and giggles they gave when he sat next to them.
For Takada and Ryuki, while the red haired boy excelled in Physical Education, Takada was doing pretty good with math and science. He was proving to be just as smart as Ami, much to her delight. She felt a little stressed at being called the smartest girl in school but now all the attention was on Takada, who ate it all up.
Later in Chemistry, Takada did make an impression, on the wall, when his experiment exploded and sent him flying into the wall. He was unharmed but was still taken to the nurse's office by Ryuki, Usagi and Ami.
They had cooking class that day too and Ami, Takada, Ryuki and Usagi were grouped together. As good as a scientist Takada was, he wasn't a good cook. The best he could do was pour hot water into instant meals. Ryuki and Ami worked well and Usagi watched as their meal was being prepared. It looked so good and she wanted to take a few bites too.
So far, before lunch, everything was going well for them.
Later, during lunch period…
Ryuki was lying on his back, watching the clouds roll by above him. He was on the roof of Juuban Junior High and it was lunch period. He reached over to his side and turned his bento over to see that it was empty, save for a few grains of rice. He sighed. His stomach growled. He was still hungry.
"Why didn't I pack anything extra? I should've known I was going to get hungry again," he spoke to his demon.
'Well, you should've thought of that earlier. Your fire powers do tend to burn off the food you eat. You need the energy,' replied Yaminekoryu.
"I know that, but we were going to be late for school and I didn't have time to make extra," Ryuki relayed. He sat up and rubbed his tummy. "Maybe the cafeteria has something I could get."
'By now, they must've run out of the good stuff.'
Ryuki groaned, knowing full well that his demonic tenant was right about this. It was already late. Sitting up, he stretched his arms. He got back to his feet and turned around. His eyes widened in surprise as he saw Makoto, his new neighbor. "Oh, Makoto-san! Konichiwa."
"Oh, hey, Leo," she replied, smiling. "So, what are you doing up here by yourself?"
He shrugged, "Not much, really." He picked up his bento. "Just having my lunch."
"Sometimes I like to be alone with my thoughts."
'Ain't that the truth,' spoke Yaminekoryu in his mind.
Ryuki's stomach growled and he laughed in embarrassment. Makoto blushed too. "So, are you here to have your lunch too?" Ryuki asked.
"Well, not exactly," Makoto admitted.
"Huh?" Ryuki tilted his head to the side.
"I was wondering if you'd like to share. I made so much and I couldn't finish it," Makoto told Ryuki. His eyes brightened at the notion of more food.
Originally, Makoto had planned to share her lunch with Ichijyo but as soon as the bell rang for lunch, Ichijyo had instantly vanished. Sure, he was cold to people and pretty much a jerk, but she knew that was not all he was. He could be nice, plus he was smart. That was why she admired him. She thought it was lucky for her to be sharing a class with him. However, he didn't speak with the others that much and focused more on the books. He was pretty much an anti-social person, which kind of irked Makoto. He wasn't all that bad looking so why didn't he try to act like he wanted to make friends?
"Arigato!" Ryuki bowed before he sat down. Makoto sat down across from him and handed him her bento. "Itadakimasu!" He opened it up and gazed into it. "Wow, this looks delicious!"
"Really?" Makoto blushed at the compliment. She watched as he shoveled the food into his mouth. "Um…Leo…"
"Hai?" he asked though his mouth was full.
"You said you practiced martial arts."
Ryuki swallowed, "That's right."
"So, you wanna maybe spar sometime. We can show each other our moves."
Ryuki thought about the answer and smiled.
"So, she got to your heart through your stomach," Takada commented. "Smart girl."
"And you said 'yes'?" Ichijyo said, earning a nod from Ryuki. It was between classes and the trio of Knights was talking in the hallways. Ichijyo placed his hand against his cheek, shaking his head. "Why?"
"She said she wanted to spar. We left an empty room for that, didn't we?" Ryuki replied.
"Yes, but you know why we can't have people coming over all the time. Our cover might be blown."
"Hey, give the kid a break," Takada defended. "And Mako-chan's cute. I say the kid should go for it."
"Go for it?" Ryuki repeated in confusion. What did Takada mean by that? His friends knew Ryuki was a little naïve with relationships. His last one had been with Takada's sister, which had ended due to them being Zodiac Knights and it would be complicated. Therefore, Ryuki was still pretty much a novice when it came to dating.
"All I'm saying is that we shouldn't trust these girls," Ichijyo informed his two partners.
"Is this because Mina-chan and Usa-chan were tailing you the other day?" Takada asked.
"Among other things. They are up to something," Ichijyo said suspiciously.
"You're just being paranoid," mocked Takada.
Ichijyo hissed, "I'm being cautious, which is a difference."
"Whatever." Takada rolled his eyes.
"Plus, we still have to take care of that Mizuki fellow," Ichijyo added. "I don't trust him."
"You don't trust anybody, not even us," Takada pointed out.
Ichijyo pointed at Takada, "You've blown up the school on several occasions," before pointing at Ryuki, "And you still have little control over your own telekinetic abilities." Ryuki frowned at the truth.
"But, she is our neighbor and has been nothing but nice to us," Ryuki spoke. "It would be nice to invite her."
"What's the point of making friends when we'll be leaving anyway?" Ichijyo shot back. He checked his watch and sighed. "I better get to class. See you two later."
Later, at the Knights' apartment, Tazuka came to visit them again.
Tazuka watched on in amazed curiosity as Ryuki and Ichijyo worked together to build a house of cards. He had dropped by for another visit and watching in amusement. It wasn't because of how cute Ryuki looked while putting the house cards together, but because both Ichijyo and Ryuki were doing it telekinetically.
"It's weird how they do it," Takada said from the couch, watching as his two closest friends used their telekinetic abilities to do something as trivial as build a house of cards.
"But still amazing," Tazuka added as he watched too. The kitchen table had been cleared and the two telekinetic teens stood across from one another, carefully floating cards up in front of them and carefully placing it on the fragile structure. "So, why are they doing this?"
"Oh, awhile back snake-face here found out that the kid could use telekinesis so he decided to teach him how to control it," Takada explained and then winced at the memory. "He tried using a brick."
"I am guessing it didn't turn out so well," Tazuka commented.
"Are you kidding? The kid had a concussion from the brick hitting him in the head over and over again. His mom didn't appreciate it." She really didn't. She'd been ready to kill Ichijyo if Ryuki hadn't defended him. Let it be said that Emiko Narukawa Hasuma would be willing to kill for the sake of her children.
Makoto was currently baking some cookies in her kitchen. They weren't of the chocolate chip kind, fortunately, as Ichijyo had warned her that Ryuki was 'allergic' to chocolate. It was partly true since Ryuki's reaction to chocolate was violent…to those around him actually. It would make him go hyper and well…with his powers it would take a short time for him to level a place if left unattended.
The cookies Makoto were making were animal shaped. After talking to Ryuki on the roof that day, sharing her lunch with him, she found out he had a soft spot for cute animals. He wanted a pet but his mother would not let him.
Makoto smiled as she took out the tray from the over. She looked over her handiwork in satisfaction. There was enough for the three boys actually, though she'd made the cookies with Ryuki on mind.
When she'd asked about his family's martial arts school, he had given her a brief summary. The martial arts style practiced was a mixture of many styles brought in by the clan's masters. Overtime they amalgamated but new styles were still being added to the school. Of course, the Hasuma School of Fighting Arts had 3 main styles.
Confrontation Style: it relies on strength, power and speed to deal critical damage. The body can become a lethal weapon. Weapons are also utilized in this style.
Defensive Style: it relies on speed and an impenetrable defense as well as using the opponent's strength against them.
Stealth Style: it relies on stealth, silence, cunning and trickery. Hidden weapons are utilized as well as the ability to turn any item on hand into a weapon.
It fascinated her and when she asked what style Ryuki practiced he admitted that he practices the Confrontation Style of his school the most while supplementing it with Defensive and Stealth styles. As he was the heir of the school, he had to master all three styles.
As Makoto was sliding the cookies onto a plate, she suddenly dropped her tray when she heard a loud BOOM! She then realized that it was coming from next door!
Ichijyo had been reading quietly in his room when he heard the loud explosion. As he hadn't smelled any smoke nor had the fire alarms been activated, he suspected that Takada was up to something.
He stormed out of his room and towards Takada's. He knocked on the door loudly and the other boy in the room opened up. "Yes?" Takada asked.
"Are you playing that computer game again?" Ichijyo questioned.
"Well…" Takada began.
"Mutt, just answer the question."
"OK, well, I just got a new sound card and wanted to test it out, so…"
"Mutt, the last time you 'tested out' something, they evacuated the entire campus and our apartment," Ichijyo reminded. "We shouldn't be attracting too much attention."
"Oh, fine…" Takada rolled his eyes. "I'll lower the volume."
Ichijyo heard loud knocking at the door and went to see who it was. He opened it to see a frantic Makoto. "What happened!? I heard an explosion! Are you guys hurt!?"
"Ah, Mako-chan!" Takada suddenly appeared. "You came at last." He sniffed, "And you smell like cookies."
Ichijyo pushed Takada away and said to Makoto, "What you heard was only Takada playing one of his computer games, with the sound at full blast. It's nothing to be worried about."
"Well, if you're sure," Makoto said, relieved that nothing had happened to the trio of boys. "Where's Leo?"
Ryuki was in his room, sitting on the floor across from Tazuka. The two had been having a conversation when Ryuki discovered that Tazuka was a musician and could play a variety of instruments.
"Sugoi!" Ryuki said, amazed. "You should join our band!"
"A band, you say?" Tazuka smiled, interested. He saw the drum set in the corner of Ryuki's room.
"Hai," Ryuki nodded. "I play the drums, Takada-san plays bass and Ichijyo-san plays electric guitar."
"That is a tempting offer," Tazuka nodded. "I guess I can play keyboard."
"Great!" Ryuki beamed.
"Oh, and speaking of bands, I found this. Maybe you'll be interested," Tazuka said as he took out a folded sheet of paper and passed it to Ryuki. Ryuki unfolded it and saw that it was a flyer.
"A charity concert?" Ryuki read.
"A lot of local bands will be playing there for charity. I thought this might interest you."
"Certainly not," Ichijyo scowled, the flyer in the middle of the coffee table. "We are not entering."
"Why not?" Takada whined. "I mean this looks like a great gig."
"The last time we had a gig, we got mobbed by an army of screaming fangirls," Ichijyo replied, shuddering. "I do not want to experience that yet again."
"But it's for a good cause and it says here Puffy AmiYumi will be there too," Ryuki pointed.
"Just a gimmick," Ichijyo hissed. "And also why did you even invite the newbie into our band?"
"Tazuka-niisan is a great musician!" Ryuki defended.
"Oh? Have you heard him play?" Ichijyo asked.
Ryuki sheepishly admitted, "Well, no, not exactly, but I believe him."
Ichijyo scoffed. "Typical…" Thinking about the concert made Ichijyo think about a cute little purple haired girl whom he'd saved from becoming a spider's little fly, in other words next meal. He didn't know why he was so drawn to her. She was awfully young and all, younger than him and he wasn't very interested in having another romantic relationship, not since…
Then there was the issue of Metalceros. Hotaru now had the contract card in her possession and because of that Metalceros was bound to her now for as long as she held it. For now, Ichijyo would allow it. The monster would help protect Hotaru from bullies now and then but when it came to feeding it, Ichijyo would lend a hand as Shadowcobra.
Right now, Ichijyo was going to tune up his guitar. Since, one way or another, they would end up playing at this fundraiser anyway, he might as well get some practice done.
Hotaru was walking home from school, trying to keep a steady pace but make sure she didn't tire herself out. It was an old habit she picked up during her days of being victimized by bullies numerous times. It dropped since she was adopted by her 'parents' and even the bullies were scared when Ichijyo and Metalceros stopped them. Of course, a lot of kids were scared of being near her now, afraid that a creepy guy or a monster was going to pop out of nowhere.
'Speaking of which,' Hotaru gazed at the window to a store and smiled. There in the reflection was Metalceros. He had been following her all day, keeping an eye on her. Hotaru was certainly thankful for his company. He popped out at lunch and Hotaru tried to share some of her lunch with him. He ate it, but the disappointed grunts she received told her that it wasn't as filling as she hoped. That meant it would have to be humans or other monsters.
And she would never feed people to another, even if the other was her friend.
"But where am I going to find another Mirror Monster?" Hotaru frowned. She was pretty sure she could beat one. If Metalceros used his muscle and she used her magic, they could take down a monster on their own so he could eat. The problem was actually finding one.
As she began walking again, a ringing noise began to echo in her ears. Turing to Metalceros, she saw that the Mirror Monster had heard it too. Looking around, she tried to find out where it was coming from. Looking across the street, her eyes widened when she saw something following a mother pushing a stroller.
This monster looked reptile-like, but it was mostly red or gray. Its skin looked like red slime while the gray parts seemed like the metal that was holding it together. Even though it was in a reflection from across the street, Hotaru could still see the hunger that was in its eyes.
"Oh no!" she gasped in shock.
Looking around, she saw an empty alley she could go to. Ducking in quickly, she found that it had an old vanity table complete with a mirror sitting by some trash bags. Reaching into her bag, Hotaru brought out her transformation pen. Raising it into the air, she took a deep breath before calling out the words she needed.
"Saturn Planet Power! Make Up!"
Hotaru's body was surrounded by a purple energy before it shimmered away. She was now donned in a fuku that had a purple skirt and red bow. Clenched in her hand was a glaive that was as tall as she was. A gold tiara with a purple stone rested on her forehead. Hotaru Tomoe had become Sailor Saturn.
"Metalceros," the newly changed Senshi called. In the glass, the silver rhino Mirror Monster appeared at attention. "I need to get into the Mirror World. Can you help me?"
Metalceros snorted before he reached through the glass. Gently clasping Saturn's shoulders, he pulled her through the glass. At the same time, two young boys had heard the sound and were exchanging words before nodding to each other. They then went away, obviously planning something.
Saturn was drawn into the shining tunnel which connected the Mirror World to the Real World. Having been dragged by a wild Mirror Monster last time, Saturn could finally appreciate the beauty that the Mirror World had to offer.
"Hroo," Metalceros grunted as he hefted the small Sailor Senshi onto his shoulder.
"Right," Saturn nodded as she snapped to attention. "Let's go!"
Metalceros gave a nod before he began running down the tunnel. Saturn was amazed by the flashing lights and the crystals which seemed to grow around them. Metalceros was used to it by now and just kept running. Saturn just held on tightly, not wanting to fall off and get lost in this place.
Suddenly, Metalceros came to a stop in front of a particularly large piece of glass. He grunted to catch Saturn's attention. The small Sailor Scout nodded at the grunt and slid down from the Mirror Monster's back.
"This is it?" she asked. Metalceros snorted again, accompanied by a nod.
"Okay," Saturn nodded. Taking a breath, she prepared to move into the glass. "Here goes."
Stepping forward, Saturn found that the surface of the glass was like water. She slid through easily. The surface of the glass tingled on her skin, almost feeling like she was being coated with some strange substance.
When she finally emerged from the glass, Saturn was greeted with the view of her world devoid of people and in reverse. It was still a little strange to look at, but having seen it once already made the shock a little easier to deal with. Of course, that was nothing compared to the shock she received when she saw herself.
Her outfit had dramatically changed from before. It was still a fuku, but everything was different. The torso part had turned black, but the skirt and bow were gray. In fact, the skirt itself was metal plated. Her gloves were black with gray edges. Her boots were a metallic purple. The centre of her bow went from its normal solid centre into a gold crest which looked like a rhino's head. A purple visor covered her eyes, much like Ami's did when she activated the Mercury Computer. In her right hand, her glaive was still there, but it was a metallic purple and the blade was no longer shaped like a 'G', but a rhino's horn. On her left arm, a strange gauntlet adorned her wrist. It reminded her a lot of Metalceros' head, especially with the stubby horn sticking out of the front. On her waist, there was a loose belt that wrapped around her body with a gray case adorning the side. The case was also depicting the same rhino symbol that was on her chest.
"Oh wow," Saturn gasped.
As she was admiring her new outfit, a wet slapping sound began to echo in the spookily quiet and empty streets. Looking around, Saturn heard the noises coming closer. It wasn't too hard to figure out where it was coming from. Looking down the street, she saw the slimy metallic creature that she had spied through the window still following the lady pushing a stroller along the sidewalk.
"Hold it!" Saturn cried out, causing the Mirror Monster to stop and look up at her. "I will not allow a being from another realm to harm a mother and her child!"
"Gaooooo?" the creature grumbled. This human didn't look like one of the contractors and she certainly wasn't one of the Doubles who wandered around. How odd.
"My name is Sailor Saturn!" Saturn continued. "A warrior of Love and Justice! And in the name of the Silent Planet, I will punish you!"
She finished while pointing her glaive at the Mirror Monster in front of her. The beast certainly didn't have a clue what the human was talking about, but it knew a challenge when it saw one. Reaching to its back, red goo began to bubble out of its back. The goo spread in four directions, looking like a huge shuriken. In a half-second, the goo hardened into red/gray steel. Growling slightly, the Mirror Monster brought its weapon to bear.
Saturn withheld the urge to gulp. She was really getting in deep, but she was determined not to get in over her head. Gripping her glaive tightly, Saturn and the Mirror Monster stared each other down.
Gurgling loudly, the Mirror Monster began its charge. Swinging the ridiculously large shuriken around, it charged at her with murderous intent. Saturn readied herself and gripped her glaive tightly.
"Gaoooo!" the Mirror Monster gurgled before swinging its shuriken with the intent to remove Saturn's head.
"Hah!" Saturn cried out as she raised her glaive to defend herself. A metallic clanging noise echoed through the air as the two weapons collided.
The two sides pressed against each other in a deadlock. Saturn was rather surprised to feel her limbs filled with an amazing amount of strength. She wasn't even feeling any kind of fatigue like she usually would. Something was enhancing her stamina to an incredible degree.
The Mirror Monster was likewise surprised. It hadn't suspected that one so small would have such strength in her limbs. It would have to reconsider its method of fighting if it wanted to feast on the little one's flesh.
Leaping back, the Mirror Monster gripped its weapon. Saturn took the moment to get her nerves back. She was so surprised to feel such strength. Still, she would have to get used to it very quickly if she wanted to stop this Mirror Monster.
'Little one,' a soft voice echoed from inside Saturn's mind.
Saturn gasped and looked around, trying to figure out where the voice had come from. Feeling a warmth coming from her chest, she gasped when the saw the insignia of the rhino glowing with a soft purple light.
"Who…who are you?" Saturn gasped.
'Do you forget me so quickly?' the voice chuckled. 'The one who is called Metalceros by the humans?"
"Metalceros?!" Saturn gasped. She could understand him? How was this happening?
'Your bond with me strengthened when you passed into my world,' Metalceros answered, seemingly reading her mind. 'Thus I can now speak to you when my power is infused into your magic. That can wait until later. Right now you are going to need assistance in my world."
"Assistance?" Saturn asked.
'Your connection with me seems to let your magic be used in my world, but it is greatly diminished,' Metalceros explained. 'If you wish to defeat this Slimamander, you will have to fight using my power.'
"How?" Saturn asked. The Mirror Monster who she guessed was a Slimamander hadn't moved yet. She wanted to know why, but wasn't about to question such good luck.
'The case on your side,' Metalceros' voice echoed. 'They reflect my abilities and can give you weapons or attacks. You can even summon me if you have the right card. The object on your wrist is what connects you to my power in my world. The case is the source of the connection. Don't break it or else I will be unable to help you and will be forced to feed myself.'
"I understand," Saturn nodded.
Not wanting to risk letting the Slimamander attack again, Saturn reached to the case on her side and found a slot. Gripping something inside, she pulled it out. She peered at the card and saw the contract card that she found.
A sliding sound caught her attention and saw that the snout of the gauntlet she held had opened to reveal a hidden chamber. Saturn easily caught what she needed to do and slipped the card into the chamber. The chamber then closed automatically with another sliding sound.
"Add Vent: Summoning Metalceros!" the reader announced.
A loud roar echoed through the area before loud crashing noise echoed from one of the alleys. Saturn and the Slimamander looked to a nearby alley as barrels and trashcans were hurled into the air. Racing out of the alley, the armored form of Metalceros could be seen through the clearing dust.
'You catch on quickly, Little One,' Metalceros spoke in approval. 'Just call me and I will come.'
"Thank you," Saturn smiled happily.
The Slimamander looked between the strange tiny one and the fellow Mirror Monster that was contracted to her. Things were definitely not in its favor, but it had plenty of tricks at its disposal to use for a win.
Off in a darkened corner of the immediate area, two figures hidden in shadow were watching the battle. Both had similar builds, but their armor showed differences between the two. One had a pointed visor while the other had a jagged visor.
"Who is that?" the pointed-visor figure asked.
"Doesn't look like a Zodiac Knight," the Knight with the jagged visor shrugged. "Looks real familiar though."
"Well, we should help her out," said the pointed-visor figure but the one with the jagged visor held him back. "Lion?"
"Hold on, Tiger," said Lion. "I want to see how well she can handle herself."
Tiger frowned under his helmet but obediently nodded as he returned to watch the fight.
Metalceros charged at the Slimamander who slipped out of the way of its charge only to be struck across the back by Saturn's glaive. It turned and spat some slime at her which hit her visor. She tried to claw the gunk of her visor and the Slimamander took this as its chance to attack with its large shuriken. However, it never got the chance as Metalceros rammed it in the side and sent it flying before going over to defend Saturn.
"Never have I seen a Mirror Monster so protective of its contractor," Lion observed. "Even one who isn't a Knight."
"You think she's holding another Knight's contract?" asked Tiger.
"I'm guessing so," said Lion. "Come on."
"Let's go say hello."
The Slimamander then spun around and around before tossing its weapon through the air. The shuriken sliced through the air, flying directly towards Saturn and Metalceros. Concerned over the little girl over its own welfare, Metalceros shielded Hotaru's body with his own, grabbing her within a protective embrace and tucking in its head to brace against the impact.
"Metalceros!" she cried, still blinded by the gunk on her visor. She didn't want to lose her new friend so quickly.
Suddenly, there was a loud sound of two objects colliding with each other, sending sparks flying. Hotaru dared to look and gasped when she saw two Zodiac Knights in similar armor deflecting the shuriken with their axes. One was wearing black armor over a red bodysuit. His shoulders were shaped like lion paws and his visor was red with jagged edges. The other one contrasted him in terms of color, clad in white armor with blue stripes over a blue bodysuit. His visor had black stripes on it, one coming down and three running across.
"Hey, little girl, are you okay?" the white and blue Knight asked. He was armed with a battle axe. Saturn nodded silently.
"Who are you?" she asked.
"I'm Tiger, and my partner here is Lion," Tiger pointed to himself than to Lion who was armed with a double edged axe.
"Spare the pleasantries for later, Tiger," commanded Lion. "We have a monster to kill."
"Sure," Tiger saluted. "Let's do this!"
Both Zodiac Knights roared and then rushed at the Slimamander before attacking it in tandem and brutally. The Slimamander wasn't shown any mercy since it possessed none thus deserved none. Sparks flew as the axes hacked away at its body. Saturn managed to wipe the rest of the gunk away to watch the fight as Metalceros continued to protect her. Metalceros had little trust for Knights outside the group its master belonged too.
"Strike Vent!" the two Knights called after sliding their cards into their axes. Their weapons vanished and then gauntlets with long and sharp bladelike claws appeared over their forearms. With them they resumed their attack, hacking and slashing away at the Slimamander.
"Sugoi," Saturn whispered.
The Slimamander was feeling overwhelmed. Even its weapon lay useless on the ground after the relentless assault.
"Now!" commanded Lion. Tiger nodded and ran up towards Lion from behind. He leapt up and landed on Lion's shoulders before vaulting upwards. Lion then charged for the Slimamander with his claws enveloped in flames. At the same time, Tiger was coming down with frost energy surrounding his own claws.
Tiger landed on one knee with his arms spread to the side as Lion stood beside him, claws crossed in front of his chest. The Slimamander stood like a statue before exploding into a fiery blaze. The two Knights watched in satisfaction as their quarry was defeated.
They turned their attention back towards Saturn and Metalceros. The Rhino Mirror Monster remained vigilant as it watched the two Knights approaching them. Neither of them looked like they had wanted to fight, but in Saturn's line of work one couldn't be too sure about the looks of some people, even if Minako and Makoto would forget about that in the face of a hot guy now and then.
"Well, now that the monster has been dealt with," Tiger spoke up. "Who the heck are you?"
"My exact question," Lion nodded. "You definitely aren't a Zodiac Knight. How'd you get a contract?"
"Don't you recognize me?" Saturn asked in confusion. She then looked down at herself before realizing she didn't look like she usually did. "Oh, right. Of course you wouldn't. My costume is different. Well, I'm Sailor Saturn."
"No way!" Tiger cried. He stepped closer to the young Senshi, but Metalceros growled warningly. "Seriously?! Wow! I've heard all about you and the other Senshi!"
"But how did you get here in the Mirror World?" asked Lion. "Where did you get your contract?"
Saturn began to answer, but then remembered something. Setsuna had told them all that the Zodiac Knights were split into two groups. One was a group who fought for the betterment of all humanity and wished to help others rather than themselves. The others fought for selfish reasons, wanting power or other such things. How could she tell which side these two are on?
"Which side are you guys on?" she asked suspiciously.
"Huh?" asked Tiger. "What-?"
"She knows about the war," Lion interrupted. Sighing, he looked at Saturn. "We are on the side of good. Our wish is our business, but it is for someone else rather than ourselves."
Saturn knew that he might be lying. Still, she needed to trust somebody. Having more good Zodiac Knights around would certainly help with the Mirror Monsters who were running around the area. The four that were here already were good, but more of them around would always be good.
"Metalceros brought me here when I asked him," Saturn answered. "I got the contract when a Zodiac Knight dropped it while saving me."
"A Knight dropped his contract?" asked Tiger. "Wow. He must some kind of goof if he did that. He'll be a sitting duck."
"Use your head, Tiger," Lion sighed. "All of our initial contracts are like our zodiac signs. A rhino isn't one of them."
"So it's a secondary contract?" asked Tiger.
"It seems so," Lion nodded. He then looked back to Saturn. "I am a little surprised to see that it is compatible with other people."
Before the three could continue talking, a gurgling sound resounded behind them. Turning around, they saw the orb from the Slimamander becoming covered with red goo.
"Crap!" Lion cursed. "Tiger, didn't you get the core?"
"No!" Tiger shouted. "I thought you did!"
"What's going on?" Saturn questioned.
"That damn thing is regenerating!" shouted Tiger.
"It's what happens when a core isn't absorbed," explained Lion. "The monster will come back and most of the time it evolves."
Lion wasn't wrong in this case. The red goo and pieces of metal combined over the core and molded into a large four-legged beast. It looked somewhat more like a salamander, but it appeared like it was mixed with a dinosaur.
"Slimasaurus," Tiger gulped. "Just our luck."
"Well, we know what we need to do," Lion frowned. He pulled out his axe and grabbed one of his cards. A chamber in the axe opened before Lion slipped the card inside before shutting it.
"Add Vent: Summoning Savageleon!"
"Sounds good to me!" Tiger nodded as he lipped a card inside of his similarly designed axe.
"Add Vent: Summoning Destwilder!"
Two loud roars echoed from nearby before two large cat-like humanoids leaped down from the top of buildings. One had black and red armor with a mane coming down its back while the other was white with blue stripes, indicating that it was a tiger.
"Let's go!" Lion called as he and Savageleon dashed forward.
"Right!" Tiger nodded before he and Destwilder followed their ally.
"Us too!" Saturn called as she and Metalceros followed the two Knights.
The six fighters charged at the dinosaur-like monster. The two cat monsters slashed at two of the legs while Lion and Tiger hacked at one leg together. Metalceros and Saturn went at the final leg.
"GAROOOOOO!" the Slimasaurus bellowed as it began shooting huge globs of red ooze at them.
"Look out!" Tiger called out.
All six fighters went in all directions to avoid the car-sized glob. It splattered onto the ground with a loud splat. Saturn looked to see the result and her eyes widened as she saw the red ooze actually melting the road where it had hit.
"Woah," she gulped.
"Yeah, not like the Youma and such you fight, is it?" asked Tiger.
"Only the really bad guys have attacks like this," Saturn gulped.
"Well, we have to deal with this all the time," Lion grunted as he got to his feet. "Better keep up!"
"GAROOOOOOO!!" the Slimasaurus roared before firing off more globs of acidic ooze.
"Scatter!" Tiger cried, signaling the fighters to run for cover.
Saturn gripped the case on her hip and pulled out one of the cards. Opening her reader, she slipped the card inside.
"Guard Vent: Ironback Shield!"
A large shield appeared in her hand. It was shaped like Metalceros' back and looked just as tough. It was surprisingly light which Saturn immediately used. It was in perfect timing since a red glob was coming at her. The acidic substance collided with the shield, splattering onto the ground, but missing Saturn and Metalceros. Still, there was a sizzling noise and Saturn had to drop the shield before watching it melt into the ooze.
"Darn," Saturn frowned.
"Less standing and more moving!" Tiger called.
Saturn moved quickly at the call. Checking her surroundings, she saw that the two Zodiac Knights and their contracts were trying to attack the Slimasaurus' legs. Following, Saturn and Metalceros charged for one of the unoccupied legs that looked like it needed a good beating. Swinging her glaive, she let it dig into the gooey flesh while Metalceros pounded away with his considerable strength.
The giant Mirror Monster roared in pain and spun in a single direction, aiming to hit all the nuisances with its tail. The collected warriors dashed for the sides to avoid getting hit, which they just barely managed to do. When the tail was not swinging, Saturn made a charge for underneath the beast. She just got inspired for a plan of attack. She just hoped that it worked!
"Wait!" Lion cried out. "You'll get crushed!"
Saturn didn't listen as she continued running. Metalceros was right behind her as the pair managed to get underneath the slimy reptile a second time. This time Saturn knew what she had to do if she wanted a chance to bring down the creature.
"Here goes," she muttered as she raised her glaive. "Saturn Silence Glaive Surprise!"
The energies collected into the glaive and Saturn felt the attack charge up. Readying herself, she took aim at the joint on one of the front legs. Finally feeling the attack was ready, she launched it with all the force she could muster. The magical attack seemed to be a little smaller than usual, but it still flew. The purple sphere of power collided with the joint in a loud explosion which made the creature screech in pain. It stumbled onto its side before slipping on its own slimy skin and falling onto its back.
"Well I'll be," Tiger laughed. "The little girl actually did it."
"Think she can finish it though?" asked Lion.
"We're about to see."
Saturn didn't let herself get distracted. Running to the front of the monster, she gave herself some space. She would have to destroy it now or else it was just going to get back up again and be REALLY mad!
"Here we go," she spoke softly to herself. Slipping a card out of the case, she slipped it into the gauntlet.
Metalceros bellowed and charged around behind Saturn. Stomping its feet, it then began to run directly towards the Slimasaurus and at Saturn. The changed Sailor Scout seemed to anticipate the oncoming Mirror Monster as she leaped into the air. As Metalceros charged underneath her, she landed on his shoulders in a comfortable sitting position. Metalceros continued its charge as it dashed even faster towards the downed monster.
"Hyaaaa!" Saturn cried as she held out her glaive as a lance. Metalceros seconded the call as it charged straight into the maw of the giant Mirror Monster. The weapon cleaved through the flesh like a hot knife through butter before the beast exploded in a huge ball of fire. Lion and Tiger had to cover their eyes to avoid being blinded by the flash of light. As it died down, they looked to see Saturn getting off Metalceros' back as he reached for the glowing core. The rhino-like monster gave of a happy cry before it began chowing down on the source of food.
"I admit it," Tiger laughed. "You did pretty well; for a rookie to this side of the tracks anyway."
"Could be better," Lion shrugged. "But you're only a rookie at fighting Mirror Monsters so I can be lenient."
Saturn huffed slightly at the critique of her skills. She had been dealing with youma and other monsters for a while and these guys called her a rookie? Well, true she was not used to fighting Mirror Monsters, but she was getting better! She just needed a little bit of experience.
She wanted to try and say something more, but she started to notice something odd. It seemed like a haze of…something was coming off of her. Confused, she looked over at Lion and Tiger. Sure enough, there was some of the same stuff coming off of them too.
"Uh-oh," Tiger frowned behind his helmet as he witnessed the dissolving himself. "Time's up. We gotta go."
"Right," Lion nodded. He waved to Saturn before turning to leave with his partner. "See ya."
"Hey! What's going on?" Saturn asked loudly. She felt so out of the loop it wasn't even funny.
"We can only spend so much time here," Tiger answered. "Spend too long and you dissolve. Find a mirror fast or else you're a goner."
"R-right!" Saturn nodded. Looking around, she spotted a large pane of glass which made up a store window. With time seemingly so short, she dashed for the reflective surface. She left Metalceros, Lion, and Tiger behind as she dove at the glass. She passed through it like liquid as Lion and Tiger vanished through their exit point.
Ichijyo had been passing through the town in hopes of finding a café. With the pressures of fangirls, Tazuka, Takada's stupid upgrades, and more of Usagi and her friends eyeing him, he just needed a release. Someplace quiet was all he asked for.
Of course, that was when the tone started up. Sighing, he prepared to draw his case when he saw a store window ripple. Fearing that this monster would be a gazelle-type or one with similar speed, Ichijyo prepared to go as fast as he could. However, he was pleasantly proven wrong when he saw a Sailor Senshi in a purple and white outfit fall out of the rippling glass and onto the street.
Normally Ichijyo didn't care too much for the Sailor Senshi, but Saturn was a different case. He was sure of her identity now since he had seen her exit from the Mirror World. Of them all, Ichijyo felt he could at least get along with Saturn. Even if he didn't know who she was, she being the Senshi of Destruction and Rebirth meant they had at least a common wavelength in terms of abilities.
Saturn sat up and shook her head. Ichijyo could tell that the transportation method between worlds was not for those with weak stomachs. It still surprised him that she had managed to enter the Mirror World, but Metalceros probably had a role in that trip. With people starting to circle around her, Saturn roof hopped away from them and took flight.
"Better see if she's okay," Ichijyo sighed. He was getting soft from hanging out with Ryuki. Taking his case, he slipped into an alley and went for a reflective surface.
Saturn panted as she landed on an empty rooftop. That had been a rush. Once the effects of the adrenaline wore off, she fell to her knees. What she'd experience had been incredible. Traveling into the mirror world, fighting a monster, and then using the Zodiac Knights' power had been incredible.
"I can't wait to tell everyone," she murmured.
"That's not a good idea." Saturn spun around in panic, gripping her Glaive which she aimed at the direction of the voice. She gasped when she saw the violet clad Knight standing before her with his arms crossed in front of his chest.
"Shadowcobra!" she exclaimed and stood up. Unfortunately, she stumbled but luckily for her Shadowcobra was there to help her steady her feet. "Thank you." She blushed a little as he held her shoulders.
He pulled his hands away and spoke, "I saw what happened. You went into the Mirror World, didn't you?"
"Yes," Saturn nodded. She then remembered the card and took it out. She presented it to her. "Here, this belongs to you."
Shadowcobra eyed the card momentarily. "No," he declined the offer, surprising her.
"What?" Saturn blinked in confusion. Didn't he want it back? "Why don't you want it back?"
"Because I can see it's in good hands," Shadowcobra explained, "And I believe Metalceros doesn't want to leave you yet, does he?"
"No, I don't think so," Saturn recalled. Metalceros had protected and aided her in the battle. "Is it because of this card?"
"Well, once a Knight makes a contract with a Mirror Monster, the monster pledges obedience to the Knight in exchange for food," Shadowcobra said. "Failure to do so on the Knight's end can end badly." Saturn gulped. "However, there are exceptions." He took out his Genosnaker card and the monster on the card jumped out of it. The cards, when mirrors or reflective surfaces weren't available, could be used as doorways for the monsters. Saturn gawked at the gigantic purple cobra. It bent down to stare and hiss at her. Shadowcobra reached under his monster's chin and scratched a spot that made Genosnaker release an affectionate hiss. "If you treat your monster well, even if the contract is broken, they will not attack you." He patted Genosnaker's head. "The monsters are not tools or weapons. They are your partners in battle." While he was a loner, he did enjoy Genosnaker's company.
"Really?" Saturn realized as she stared at the card. Metalceros' image stared back at her and she could hear it grunt. She smiled.
"Really," nodded Shadowcobra.
"Ano…Shadowcobra-san," Saturn asked politely. "Why do you fight?"
Shadowcobra averted his eyes from her gaze as he clenched his fists. Genosnaker noted its master's discomfort and nuzzled him. "I have my reasons," Shadowcobra murmured.
"Oh," Saturn nodded. She could tell that it was something that he didn't want to talk about. It was probably something painful for him. Saturn had used the same tone of voice when she didn't want to talk about the bullies who had bothered her in the past. "Sorry."
"It's not your fault," Shadowcobra replied softly. "Anyway, I believe Metalceros is happier with you at the moment. Besides, you girls could use the help when it comes to Mirror Monsters in my opinion."
"Mnnn," Saturn mumbled. She didn't want to agree, but she had heard how some of the Mirror Monsters had been really tough to beat. "Well, it can't hurt."
"No, it certainly can't. Just keep him fed and there shouldn't be any real problems," Shadowcobra explain. "I would keep him away from your Outers if I were you. I understand they have a problem with shooting first and asking questions never."
"Yeah," Saturn nodded. Haruka-papa and Michiru-mama did tend to talk with their attacks when it came to an enemy. "If I ever need help, how can I find you?"
"Just call my name," said Shadowcobra.
With that, Shadowcobra stepped away and slipped through a puddle that had remained on the roof. Saturn watched him go with a fondness in her eyes and a blush on her cheeks. She sighed softly and turned back in the direction of her home. Images of Shadowcobra being such a gentleman remained in her mind. It was like out of a manga!
Saturn would remain on that emotional high for the rest of the day.
Setsuna watched the conversation between Senshi and Knight with a smile on her face. She knew that Hotaru now had a Mirror Monster contract, but feeding it wouldn't be a problem. She was in good hands. It was probably better that they keep Metalceros secret for a while though. Haruka and Michiru could go into snap judgments when it came to their little one. On the bight side, Shadowcobra proved himself a friend to at least Sailor Saturn.
Now all that remained was to confirm that with the other three confirmed Knights.
Though Ichjyo admitted to having no trust or faith in the Senshi, he felt that he and Saturn had a connection. Also, he now knew her identity if anything confirmed it like his contract ending up in her hands. Still, he had to watch her. Having a contract like that on her could definitely make her a target.
As Ichijyo opened the door to his apartment, he was suddenly flung backwards by a blast of sound which tilted his glasses and messed up his hair. Grumbling and hissing in annoyance, Ichijyo went inside to check out what was going on. Much to his chagrin, he saw that Takada had two 8 foot tall speakers and had connected his bass guitar to it. "What in the world are those?" Ichijyo demanded.
"Oh, just something I bought online," said Takada.
A/N: Well, here's an update. Me and Zk finally decided this needed an addition. Hotaru now has a new friend and two new Zodiac Knights have appeared. Are they really good guys though?