Here's my newest story that I've spent the last year writing (seriously!) It's gone through many stages but now is approaching its final form. This is the prologue, a little teaser/taste of what is to come. The first chapter will be posted tonight/tomorrow and then weekly after that. Reviews are greatly appreciated as I've never written anything quite like this before P

Undeniably, I must thank Elianthos and Amethyst-Heart for their wonderful replies as I posted the raw versions on my LJ. And of course, my best friend and beta-reader/grammar nazi/content slasher... who has yet to decide on a penname for So, until she does (watch out, it'll probably be "baby eater" XD) she'll just remain anonymous.

One last note: at the end of this story there will be a bloopers chapter. For those who read what was posted in LJ, a lot has changed. Therefore, if there were scenes I particularly enjoyed but were deleted and/or my beta's commentary was hilarious (there are a few where she just ripped it up in a funny way) then that's where they go. It's kind of like the extras on a DVD. Deleted scenes and Bloopers. Anyway, on with the story.

- Lillie Bell


Absolution:
Prologue

Queen Serenity stood calmly amidst the carnage about her. The fallen bodies of the senshi lay before her. Her black eyes danced with mirth as she thrust her pale hand forward, sending a second wave of black ribbons racing toward the trembling form of Tsukino Usagi. It was the only signal the youma at her side needed.

The blonde, however, was transfixed on the broken sword still gripped in Venus' hand. Her blood coated the hilt red, giving the leather a pungent odor. The other senshi laid lifeless around her, a halo of guardians no longer a part of her world. She had watched as each had fallen. Mercury had collapsed first. Her body in this life was frail, known as the timid genius Mizuno Ami. However, her awakening had changed her personality completely—introvert had become extrovert, the memories and power of the past infusing her with uncharacteristic confidence. In a single day, she became known as the ice queen, prepared to fix anyone with a chilling glare were they to enter into Usagi's vicinity. Nothing was left of that fierce stare, save the glazed ice-blue eyes staring into the fathomless night sky.

Mars fell next. Though years of meditation lent her a greater mental strength, her body couldn't hold together under the onslaught of power. The easily angered priestess of the shrine, with her exotic features and perfumed skin, fell to the ground. What beauty was left after she was filled with the vengeance of a past life the multitude of lacerations had destroyed. She gripped onto her preordained life, leaving behind her aging grandfather who needed her, and training for the moment when she could enact her revenge. The fierce warrior who was ruled by the need to reclaim the honor she had lost a thousand years ago was gone. The sight sickened the younger teen. There was nothing honorable about being dead.

Jupiter's tall frame lifted the dirt around her as she fell. A great rumble traced through the sky as the power of the thunder senshi returned to the heavens. Usagi could still remember that first meeting with Kino Makoto, the spark that jumped between them when the tall teen sat beside her after transferring schools. Even tough Makoto changed dramatically upon her awakening. One day she was talking about flower arranging and baking goodies, and the next she was giving the same frowns to anyone willing to come near Usagi. So quickly Mako-chan had given up her dreams to right a past injustice. No manner of cookies could sweeten the sadness that blossomed from the deaths of Usagi's greatest friends.

The newest edition, having spent nearly three weeks in Tokyo before she was completely winked out of existence, held the complete sword as her fellow senshi fell from her side. When the last of Venus' energy was spent and she had channeled her soul into the sword, as the others had, she thrust it deep into the heart of Queen Serenity. Upon impact with the malicious queen, however, the blade ruptured. Tiny flecks of stone flew everywhere, littering the ground with the last vestiges of hope. A simple swipe of that cruel hand and the lead senshi was sent flying through the air. Aino Minako's body was torn into pieces mirroring the damage done to the sword of legend. The body that had been idolized in Europe, attention that Usagi knew her friend adored tremendously, lay irreparable on the cold Japanese soil. There was nothing left to love about the broken bodies strewn across the ground. There was nothing left to love in avenging past transgressions. There was nothing left to love by giving up on their dreams.

The present was given so that we could live. A single tear fell from Usagi's quivering eyelashes before a streak of black ribbon whipped across her cheek and shoulder, down to her hip and across her thigh. Her body flew through the air in a cruel mimicry of her friends not moments before. Youma rushed her as she rolled across the course ground. Pebbles and sticks pierced her unblemished skin before her momentum stopped and the pain caught up to her. A welt nearly five centimeters thick licked from her thigh to her face. Her cheek puffed with blood, threatening to shut her left eye as the skin swelled. She could not move, the intense pain making her forget the world around her.

"Usagi!" Luna screamed over the roar of the youma trying to get to the prone princess. "Sailor Moon!" The cat nudged at the knotted blonde hair upon the ground. Her blue eyes quickly moved to check on her mentor, but Artemis seemed to keep the youma at bay. Any other time and the feline would have taken the opportunity to watch the cat's human form in action, but this was not the moment. Her furry paws continued to press into the teen's uninjured temple, hoping to drive Usagi from her daze. Unlike her elder, the Mauian had not quite mastered her shape-shifting skills. Just as a youma had breached Artemis' defense, wounding the white-haired man and leaving him as prey to the others following behind it, a bright white light erupted from the fallen princess.

Tsukino Usagi, the last princess of the Moon Kingdom that had died nearly one thousand years ago, stood to fight against the evil threatening her world. The only difference between her and the fallen senshi was she had not given up on the life she had now. She was fighting for her dreams, not without them, and because she needed to live to fulfill them she would succeed against the greatest evil in the world.

When the light cleared, showing the shining ivory gown of Princess Serenity holding the Moon Wand with the faceted ginzuishou at its apex, it was the eyes of a 14-year old girl from Juuban who stared at the calm visage of Queen Serenity.

"Changing clothes will not help you," the queen smiled sweetly, the evil within animating those gentle gestures.

"There are people—beings—that are beyond forgiveness in this world," the crystal flashed as her soul grew in strength. "There is no punishment for your transgressions but death."

This was her moment to show them that she could protect them. Even if it didn't matter; even though they were dead. Maybe she didn't know how to use the ginzuishou but she would show them that this life, with its hopes and dreams, was worth protecting.