In a time of peace . . .
In a time of war . . .
Two kingdoms lived side by side . . .
Two hearts cried out for one another . . .
And thus was a legend born.
IN ANOTHER LIFE:
She smiled gently as the snow spiraled down through the sky and clung to her golden hair and eyelashes.
"Snow . . ." she whispered, holding out a gloved hand for the white flakes to land on.
It's the start of winter vacation . . . When it's over, I'll be gone. She reached up a hand to wipe away the tears brimming in her blue eyes. This will no longer be my home. Good-bye, Tokyo . . . . She took a deep calming breath, then continued walking home.
A lithe shape stealthily followed.
I've found you at last . . .
The glint of two blue eyes in the shadows . . .
Sailor V . . .
The Birth of V . . .
C'mon Pretty Soldier!
Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan
The boys looked at each other and shook hands.
"I'm going to miss you, Zeph," Kenneth said solemnly, a dejected expression on his face.
"Yeah, who'll you beat up on?" Zephyr demanded.
"I'm sure I'll find someone . . ."
They laughed, then fell silent, sobering as the reality of the situation hit them.
"We may never see each other again," Zephyr noted quietly.
Kenneth grimaced. "Don't say that! We're best friends and we're gonna STAY that way! Someday . . . we're sure to meet again."
Zephyr smiled, his eyes bright with mischief. "You swear?"
"On the dreams?"
Kenneth paused, looking at his friend. Then he grasped his forearm and said, sounding more adult and commanding than any eleven year old ought to, "On those. I swear on the dreams. On that which bound us together in the beginning and will always bind us together . . . whether you like it or not!"
"Well then, Commander," - Zephyr grinned; it just felt right to say that, and followed suit - "I'll be seeing you."
"Flight 5426 to America now boarding. Flight 9543 to England now boarding."
The two boys exchanged matching grimaces and let go of each other's arms, grabbing their luggage.
"Time to go," Kenneth said.
"Meet up with you in a couple of years?" Zephyr raised an eyebrow questioningly. //There are no good-byes . . .//
Their eyes met, the shared thought making them agree as it always did. When they spoke to each other, not necessarily telepathically, but with that shared knowledge and purpose, they were always brought closer.
After a moment, Kenneth replied, "Yes."
"Hey, here's my new address. Write me!" The blonde boy thrust a scrap of paper into his friend's hand.
Kenneth looked down at the paper, then looked back up, confusion etched on his face. "What kind of handwriting is this?! I can't read a word!"
But Zephyr was gone.
His words echoed in the stillness. "There are no good-byes . . "
"Hmph." Kenneth smiled wryly, picking up his suitcase again. "No, no good-byes."
The little girl pressed her face against the glass, staring at the planes. "They're so big!" She pulled away and touched her hand to the glass, staring at two planes just about to take off. She smiled and whispered to herself, "Fly . . ."
Kenneth waved to the other plane, and though he couldn't see him, he knew Zephyr was waving back. But the other boy's plane was slated to leave first and as it took off, rapidly becoming no more than a speck in the sky, Kenneth turned away, settling back into his seat, melancholy falling over him.
Glancing out the window again, he noticed a little girl staring out one of the airport windows at his plane. "Kawaii," he noted, idly, changing the word to "cute" in his mind.
She turned away, her long blonde hair trailing behind her, the sunlight glinting off of it. Immediately he was assailed by one of his dream images . . . Feminine laughter rang in his ears and an image of a golden-haired woman running in front of him through a garden, her golden hair gleaming in the sunlight imposed itself upon him. He shook his head to clear it and the image faded.
No. It isn't possible.
//Fly . . .// A whispered thought filled his mind. It was not his own.
She can't be - !
He looked back out his window for the girl, but she was gone.
He unbuckled his seatbelt and sprang to his feet, heading for the exit. I can't lose her! I can't! Not now . . .
A stewardess tried to stop him but he pushed past her, desperation driving him on . . . .
It was then that his plane began to roll down the runaway.
He briefly entertained the notion of breaking open the door and leaping out . . . but reconsidered as the plane picked up speed. He shrugged off the stewardess's concerned hand on his shoulder and made his way back to his seat to buckle up for takeoff.
As he sat down and turned to stare out the window again, a brief image of the little girl's face filtered into his consciousness. Her blue eyes gazed at him intently. My dream princess.
As the plane took off, her pounded his fist into his open palm, his gaze far away and his mind working furiously.
I'll find you, he swore, and I'll get some answers! Someday, I'm coming back!
The little girl sneezed, then glanced out the window at a plane launching itself up into the sky. What a funny feeling-
"Minako!" her father called.
"Coming!" the eight year old replied, scampering down from the chair and running to her parents, the sensation forgotten.
I'm coming . . .
Five years later . . .
Two Japanese schoolgirls walked down the street together on their way home. Classes had finally finished for the day and their winter vacation lay before like an unopened gift. One that they were more than ready to tear open and enjoy . . . or one which they would have been more than ready to enjoy had it been any other time, any other year. They shared a laugh before one of them sighed and looked down at her feet.
"Minako-chan, are you really leaving?!" Hikaru asked with a hangdog expression.
"It's not like I want to!" Minako retorted, sighing. "Dad's gonna be working over there, so what am I supposed to do? I don't even know English all that well!"
"But . . . England . . ." Hikaru said quietly. "It's so far away."
"Yeah, but we'll still write and keep in touch, right?" Minako said cheerily, swinging her schoolbag. "Or else you could just go in my place and I'll stay here with Hirashi-sempai!"
"Hey, no way!" Hikaru protested. "He's mine! I saw him first!"
"I don't think so!" Minako argued. "I saw him way back in the beginning of the year!"
"So did I!"
"Well, fine! I don't want him!" Minako declared. "You can have Hirashi-sempai and I'll just find some cute guy in England! Call it my gift to you."
"Gee, thanks," Hikaru muttered. "It's not like either of us has even talked to him before!"
"Well, you should be more brave and declare your undying love for him, Hikaru-chan!"
Hikaru colored. "That's enough, Minako-chan! What if someone hears?!"
"Hears what?" a voice drawled amusedly.
The two girls froze, then looked up, both of their faces beet-red.
"H . . . Hi . . . Hirashi-sempai!" Hikaru whispered, her eyes wide. I'm so embarrassed I could die!
"Good afternoon, ladies."
"G-Good afternoon!" they responded.
"And how are you today, Tomichi-san?" he asked Hikaru.
"Uh, I have to go now!" Hikaru suddenly cried. "There's something I forgot to do!" She turned and fled the scene.
"Tomichi-san is really cute, isn't she?" Hirashi Hiro said, looking after her.
"Y-Yes!" Minako stuttered. "Are you going to go after her, Hirashi-san?" she asked, curiosity getting the best of her.
"Think I should?" he asked with a smile.
"Yes! That is . . . I mean . . . if you want to."
"You're really cute too, Aino-san," he said with a laugh. "But, I think Tomichi-san and I are more suited to one another. I hope you enjoy England." He smiled, then walked past her.
Minako turned and looked as he began to jog easily after Hikaru. Oh, Hirashi-sempai . . . I hope Hikaru-chan and you will be happy. She blinked as she felt a tear form.
I'll miss you all.
"Is everything ready?" the dark-haired woman asked, sipping at her blood-red wine.
"Of course," a voice replied from the shadows. "Everything is as it should be. The plan can be begun at any time."
"Then begin," she said lazily, her eyes focused on the liquid in her glass. "Begin . . . and do not fail me."
"Andrew!" Minako called, waving to him as she entered Crown Game
"Minako-chan! Hi!" he said, walking over to her.
"You're busy today!" she marveled, looking about at all of the customers.
"Yeah. We'll have to get more help soon." He laughed. "So, I haven't seen you in a while. Where've you been?"
"Packing . . ." she said slowly.
"Packing?" He raised his left eyebrow.
"I'm gonna be moving to England soon!" She tried to inject as much enthusiasm in her voice as she could, but the effort she was putting in didn't seem to be enough. "England, huh? Well, we're going to miss you around here, Minako-chan. You're our most reliable customer!"
Minako smiled wanly. "Thanks."
"Hey, how 'bout I treat you to a game at one of the new machines?"
"Really?!" Minako asked, instantly brightening.
"Sure! Which one do you want to play?"
Minako's roving eye wandered around the room. "That one!" she declared, pointing at her favorite.
Soon Minako was engaged in a rousing game of Magical Girl Tenshi! At least . . . her hands and eyes were engaged. Her mind was elsewhere . . . .
Andrew . . . Memories of the past year that she had frequented the arcade in hopes of seeing her crush (yes, another one) flashed through her mind's eye. Andrew had always been so kind to her. She sighed, still unseeing, her hands automatically moving to rack up points.
Andrew wandered back over after a few moments and stared at her screen in disbelief. "Minako!"
Minako sighed again. She'd never hear him say her name again . . "Minako!"
She blinked. Was he saying her name?
"Huh?" She turned to look at him . . . her hands leaving the controls. Then her game character died . . . .
Andrew slapped his forehead. "Aw, man, Minako, I'm sorry!"
"For what?" Minako was still puzzled.
"For distracting you! Look, you were at ten million points . . ."
He pointed at the screen flashing GAME OVER TOO BAD, LOSER!!!.
She gaped at the point total in the top right hand corner.
"NO WAY!!!" her astonished shriek rang out through the arcade.
Outside, a white tomcat winced.
A little while later - after valiantly trying to get as high a score as she had achieved before and failing miserably, that is - Minako decided that enough was enough and that it was time she went home . . . and packed the last of her things for her flight the next day.
"Bye, Andrew!" she said, standing by the doors.
He smiled at her. "Good luck, Minako! Come and visit, okay?!"
"Yes!" she said, smiling as best she could.
She stepped outside, tripped, and fell flat on her face.
"Minako!" Andrew shouted, rushing over. "Are you all right?"
"Ow . . ." she groaned, holding a hand to her head, her eyes swirling. "Who put that cat there?"
"Cat? What cat?" Andrew asked, looking about before he spotted the white lump at her feet.
The cat seemed even more out of it than Minako did, but as Andrew approached, he shook himself out of his daze and seemingly shooting a nasty look Minako's way, he scampered off. Andrew shook his head.
"I guess the cat's all right, anyway." He turned back to Minako and helped her up. She blushed. "Thanks, Andrew."
"Sure. Now, try not to be so clutzy in England, okay?"
"Yeah . . ." Her face fell. "I'll try not to. Bye, Andrew."
"Send me a postcard, will you, Minako-chan?"
"Yes!" She smiled. "Definitely."
Meanwhile, the cat was busy licking its sore body and muttering insults under its breath around the corner. As it saw the blonde girl leaving the arcade it reluctantly began to follow her yet again.
I ought to get paid for this . . .
That night . . .
Minako stepped into her bedroom after spending nearly fifteen minutes hugging one of the walls of her house and sobbing that she didn't want to leave. Her father had finally peeled her off of it and sent her to bed. The blonde girl pouted, stepping out onto her balcony in her flannel nightgown. Spotting a star, she rested her head on her hands and murmured,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish toni-"
Minako nearly tumbled off her balcony. "What the-?!"
Two blue eyes glinted at her from the bushes.
"Who are you?!" Minako demanded. "Show yourself!"
"MRRYEOW . . . Mew Mew MEOW!" A white cat poked its head out of a bush.
"You AGAIN?!" She glared at the offending feline. "Haven't you done enough today? Tripping me in front of all those people and ANDREW! How dare you show yourself again?!"
"Well, I-" But the cat's words were cut off as Minako stepped through into her room and slammed her balcony door.
The cat sweatdropped. This is going to be harder than I thought.
It sharpened its claws and scaled a nearby tree, making the leap from its branch to the balcony. Knocking at the glass doors it waited patiently for an answer.
Minako flung the doors open and the white cat went flying into a bush. "That's funny," she mused, "I could have sworn I heard something. Hmmm, maybe it's good we're moving . . . I could have a stalker!" She shut the doors and stepped back inside.
From far below . . .
"O . . . ow! I think she broke my back . . . Oow . . ."
The next morning . . .
Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan
Minako checked her bags, her passport, her tickets, and fretted. Her parents simply ignored their daughter as she searched through her carry-on bag for fifteen minutes to find the sunglasses that she was wearing on her head.
"There those silly things are!" She pulled them down over her eyes and asked her parents, "Well, how do I look? Do I look like a
Her mother rolled her eyes. "Yes, dear."
"So we're taking the ten o'clock flight, right?" Minako asked, ignoring her mother's . . . uh, special brand of enthusiasm.
"And how long is it going to take to get there?"
"Quite a while."
"Dad, what does the house look like?!" Minako wanted to know, turning to her other parent.
"Is it big or small?"
Minako looked from one unresponsive parent to the other and sighed. "Gee, this is going to be so much fun."
The white cat leapt down from the bus that he had hitched a ride on to the airport and dashed through the automatic doors before they
"Hey!" a security officer yelled. "A loose animal! Somebody stop that cat!"
As the cat lead a brigade of security officers around on a merry chase, Minako sat oblivious to it all. I wanna go home!
The white cat panted, exhausted from his romp around the airport. He had finally managed to shake his pursuit by pretending to exit through the doors again, and now he was resting comfortably underneath a bench, warily eyeing the bathroom that Minako had just entered. Would she hurry up, already?! A security officer was making his way towards him. Uh-oh, he's spotted me!
The cat dashed out from under the bench, heading towards the cover he had spotted.
As Minako exited the airport bathroom she caught a glimpse of what seemed like . . . a furry white flash of light?
"Great," she muttered to herself. "Now, I'm seeing things. That can't have possibly been that stupid white cat from the arcade . . ."
//Stranger things have happened . . .//
"What the-?!" Since when has my mental voice sounded like a guy?! "This move is WAY more stressful than you said it would be!!!" Minako shouted, stalking over to her parents.
"Um . . . Minako-chan," her mother said, looking nervously around, "we're in the airport and there are other people here . . . Do you think you could possibly keep it down?"
"It's not like it's the LIBRARY, Mom!"
The cat cursed from where he was hiding among a group of potted plants. Not only had she seen him, but she had also heard him. Now, that wasn't supposed to happen unless he wanted her to. Hmmm . . . now there was a thought. Maybe he did want her to hear him. It would beat skulking around the airport like some kind of . . . cat burglar.
He toyed with the idea of adopting his human form but since that took a great deal of effort and energy and he didn't have the money for a plane ticket . . . Nah.
He would just have to use the tried and true method of plane-riding.
Later . . .
As the feline held on with his claws for dear life on the wing of Minako's plane, he wondered whether it wouldn't have been easier to get a job and earn enough to pay for his fare. Luna makes it look so easy! Arrrrrgggghhhhh!!!!!
A little girl glanced out the window and giggled at the cat that was flapping in the breeze, barely keeping its hold on the wing. "Mommy, mommy! Look, there's a kitty outside!"
"Shush, dear!" her mother said irritably, pulling down the shade. "There are no kitties outside and Mommy's trying to sleep. Why don't you color?"
The girl happily turned to coloring in the picture she had drawn of the kitty.
Minako was fast asleep in the seat behind the girl, her earphones on and playing a steady drone of "Learning English in Your Sleep!" by Kunou, Inc. "I would date with you!" she murmured. "Uh-uh, no way am I saying "pig-tailed goddess" . . ."
Several hours later . . .
He stared out the window at the flashing light of a plane landing at the nearby airport.
"Something wrong?" his brunette dinner companion asked, pouting prettily from where she sat at the opposite side of the booth.
"Uh, no, nothing," he replied, turning back to her with a forced smile. She smiled back at him and continued her conversation.
He sighed mentally and turned back to his food, studying the texture of his lettuce. It wasn't that she wasn't attractive, it was just . . . he wished that his father would stop sending him dates. The two of them were barely on speaking terms and the old man felt that he had the right to meddle in his personal life? He stabbed savagely at a crouton and noticed that his "date" was staring at him.
"Uh, yes?" he asked, nervously. She had that look in her eyes. The kind sharks had after they smelled fresh blood . . .
"I just love a man who's forceful with his food . . ."
God! "Um, actually, there is something wrong. I just remembered a very important meeting I'm supposed to be at with the head of a very important company!"
"Is she prettier than me?" she asked dryly, sipping at her wine.
"Now, that would be impossible, wouldn't it?" he replied, flavoring the lie with a little dash of magic mixed liberally with his own considerable charm.
She smiled, looking coyly up at him. "I wish there were more like you. Are there any more at home?"
"No, sorry," he replied.
"Got any friends?"
"I don't get out much."
She pursed her lip a little. "Well, you pick up the tab and I'll tell your daddy that you had a good time."
"Will you?" he asked, a flood of relief overcoming him. Here was one of the reasonable ones.
"Of course," she murmured, "you're a cute kid. 'Sides, my father's got a million prospects lined up for me. I know how it is."
"Thanks." He didn't know what else to say.
"Are you sure that there's no more like you at home?"
"I've only got a sister."
"That's too bad . . . I could get to like you." She smiled again. "Good-bye.
"Good-bye." He grabbed his coat and made his way to the door. "Tell them it's on my tab," he said. She nodded.
Stepping outside, he glanced in the direction of the airport and, making a quick decision on the basis of the strength of his feeling, hailed a taxi. If she was coming, he wanted to be there to meet her . . . .
Inside, his date smiled out at the air. "He's gone, come on out."
"It's about time!" a male voice said, as a man with black hair but for a lock of white appeared from thin air seated in the seat across from her. Two others appeared to either side of him, a woman with classically beautiful features and blue hair and a man with green hair.
"Kya," the brunette said as she snapped her fingers, changing her brown hair to blue-green, "Ara's pickin' on me!"
"Hush now, dear," the blue-haired woman responded, "and Ara, darling," she chided the man, "leave Coy alone."
He humphed, then stared at the half-eaten dinner in front of him. Waving his hand, it vanished.
The other man glared at him. "Ara, we shouldn't use our powers so blatantly!"
"Oh, shut up, Toby!"
"Can't we all just get along?!" Coy demanded. "I scored us some free food, so everybody has to treat me well."
"Yes, but what took you so long to get rid of him?" Ara demanded.
"Nothing. I rather liked him. He was good-looking, rich, and very nice. I could do well by him if he wasn't so hung up on some girl."
Toby gritted his teeth. "Coy . . ."
"Not that you're not still my favorite," she purred. He seemed satisfied.
"Can we order, already? I'm starving!" Ara demanded.
"We need menus . . ." Kya responded.
"Waitress!" Ara called.
As she came over, Kya asked, "What was his name?"
"Kenneth. Kenneth Knight. But there was something odd about him . . . A hint of magic, perhaps? He might have some power buried beneath his hunky surface." She smiled again. "Yes, I could have done well by him."
Toby silently fumed.
Kenneth arrived at the airport just in time to sense that she had gone. That, however, did not matter. For she had come and that was all that did matter. She was here . . . and he would find her.
Minako stepped out of the cab that she and her parents had called once they had gathered up their luggage. So, this was England. What's more, this was London. She stared at the townhouse that she would now be calling "home" and let out a first, tentative smile. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all . . . Now, if only she didn't have the urge to yell, "Date with me!" to every passerby.
Three days later . . .
Minako gazed at the street sign and tried desperately to read it. "G . . . Gry-fen Rane? No! Gryffin Lane," she corrected herself. "What an odd name." She had just been down the street at the bakery picking up some sweet buns and rolls for her mother. It was hard enough getting used to the English pound system much less actually reading English. For the umpteenth time she cursed having slept through English class almost every year.
She sighed, glad that the incessant rain had decided to take a break for once, even though everything was still wet and dripping . . . and foggy grey. That was something she missed about Japan. Sunshine. So much for a white Christmas . . . .
As she turned onto the street that her house was on - no, Gryffin Lane, she reminded herself, she stopped as she noticed the white cat sitting in the middle of the road. Everything suddenly gained a certain dream-like quality.
"You're that cat I saw before! In the street, outside my bedroom, at the AIRPORT!"
"Yes," the cat muttered. "Do you have any idea how hard it was to follow you all the way from Tokyo?! After I fell off the plane I had to hitch a ride on a milk truck for three hundred miles where I transferred to a chicken truck and let me tell you, those chickens weren't too happy and neither was I, and then-"
"You're a STALKER!" she yelled.
"Don't be ridiculous! I'm a cat! Why would I stalk you?!"
"You talk!" Minako responded, as though that was an answer all on its own. At least she didn't faint, Artemis thought wryly. "Come on, just because I'm a talking cat doesn't mean that I'm a stalker!" If this is her brand of logic I can see that I'm in trouble.
"Then what are you?" she asked cautiously. "A witch? I heard witches have familiars in the shape of cats."
"I heard all blondes were airheads," he responded, bristling.
"Hey! I am NOT an airhead!"
That's debatable. "Then what are you?"
"I'm Aino Minako," she replied.
"I didn't ask 'who are you?', I asked 'what are you?!'"
"I'm a girl. What else?"
"No. You're a Sailor Senshi."
The woman gazed at her minions huddled at the bottom of the dais upon which her throne stood. "Report."
"Everything is going well. The energy collection is proceeding without incident. There is no one to stop us."
"Good." She allowed herself a smile before asking her next question. "And the crystals?"
"There has been no sign of them."
"None?" She tapped her bottom lip with one long red-nailed finger. "And who did I place in charge of this mission?"
One of her servants swallowed and made his way through the crowd. "M-Me . . ."
"Please tell me you have a plan?"
"And what is this enterprising full-proof scheme of yours?"
"We are executing it as we speak! My agents have taken over several jewelry stores in the city and are attempting to locate the gems or someone with knowledge of them."
"Fool. They will not be as easily found as all that. However, proceed with your little enterprise. Drain the energy from your customers as well. The others have need of it."
"And here," she tossed him a dark crystal, "take this and test each person that passes through your store's doors . . . It will glow when it senses crystal energy. Then take that person. Alive."
She smiled once again. "Don't worry, if you fail me I will still have uses for you. My pets are hungry for blood." She let a little of her wine drip onto the floor for emphasis.
He stared at the blood-red liquid and gulped. "I will not disappoint you, Garnet-sama!"
Minako blinked. "A what?"
"A Sailor Senshi."
"Justice-fighter? Awesome! It's like the video games!"
Artemis face-faulted. Why me?
"Do I get superpowers?" she asked, smiling, her eyes sparkling.
"And a cool outfit?"
"And fame and fortune?"
"Well, I wouldn't go that far-"
"Then I won't do it!" she pouted, turning away.
"What do you mean you won't do it?!" Artemis cried, scampering after her.
"My dream is to be an idol singer. If I can't get lots of adoring fans out of this, then I'm not doing it!"
"You can't just refuse! This is your DESTINY!!!"
"Destiny?" She stopped short, and slowly turned to look at him. "What do you know of my destiny?" she demanded. "You're just a talking cat! My so-called destiny is to become an idol singer, meet the perfect man, get married, and live happily ever after. That is my destiny!"
His blue eyes glittered back at her with urgency. "Your destiny, Aino Minako, Code Name: Sailor V . . . is to fight."
The wind picked up, lashing her hair about and ruffling his fur.
They stared at each other for a long moment before the word fell from her lips.
"To defend the Earth . . . to protect the princess. That is the destiny of the Sailor Senshi. There is no escaping this duty."
Again the words fell into the silence like raindrops, echoing down the still London street.
Minako shut her eyes then opened them, bright with tears. Why do those words move me so? Those words . . . words from another lifetime . . . another life.
"Come with me, cat," she said abruptly. "Tell me more."
"The name," he interjected, leaping up onto her shoulder, "is Artemis."
Kenneth stared at the computer screen, rubbing at his tired eyes. So far he had run through the passenger lists of eighteen planes arriving three days ago. Nothing seemed to match up. His dream girl was still at large. Not only that, but the bill he had gotten from that meal had been large enough for five full-course dinners . . . Who would have thought that such a tiny girl could possibly eat so much?
Turning the computer monitor off, he stretched and got to his feet. "What I wouldn't give for a little of Zeph's expertise right about now . . ."
Of course, he could always call up the company and have them do the searching for him . . . but he dismissed that idea immediately. This was his quest. The last thing he wanted was for his father to become involved. She was his dream . . . and he would be the one to make that dream come true.
"So . . . Artemis," Minako said, the name feeling heavy and strange on her tongue as she shut and locked her bedroom door to prevent her parents from intruding, "you were going to tell me about my Destiny?"
"Yes," he replied looking into her eyes. "I made no mistake. You are the one, Sailor Venus."
"Venus? Why not Earth?"
"There is no Sailor Earth."
Minako sat down on the floor, her back against her bed. "And why not?"
"Surely you recall . . . from your past life?"
"I recall nothing. Nothing important anyway," she murmured, remembering the dream image that had reached out to her and had haunted her so many times in the past.
Artemis scrutinized her for a moment before turning away and leaping up onto her bed. "Then I shall tell you." He settled down and Minako suspected that it was a long story she was about to hear.
"Many millennia ago a beautiful kingdom existed on the moon. It was ruled over by Queen Serenity and was the capital of her empire, the Silver Millennium. Queen Serenity's daughter, Princess Serenity, was to inherit this empire one day. She was protected by the Sailor Senshi, her female guardians. One came from each planet in the Silver Millennium."
"And Earth wasn't in this empire?"
"Correct. You were one of the guardians, the Senshi, Sailor Venus. However, before the princess could ascend to the throne we were attacked by dark forces from both outside and within our own solar system . . . They completely destroyed the Silver Millennium. There were no survivors save two. You were reincarnated on this Earth, Minako, to fulfill the mission you left unfinished in your past life. To protect the princess. To defeat the enemy."
"And who are they?"
"I have no idea."
SWEATDROP. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE NO IDEA?!!!!!!"
He cringed back, his ears throbbing from the volume of her shout. "Um . . . I mean I'm still working on it! They haven't appeared yet so I can't tell you, uh, which enemy we're dealing with right now. They'll more than likely be after human energy, though, to power their operations for whatever goal they're after."
"Oh. Sounds reasonable, I guess." She smiled wickedly. "I guess that I still have time to become a model then!"
"A model? I thought you wanted to be an idol?!"
"Oh, well, that too!"
He sweatdropped. "Well, until you do, you might need this!" He did a backflip and a sparkling compact fell out of the air.
"Your henshin device . . . Just say "Moon Power, Transform" and you will become your Senshi self."
"Oh, cool! I get accessories, too?!"
He nodded. "Keep it safe, okay?"
"Sure thing! Hey, wanna go Christmas shopping?!"
"Shopping! You know, S-H-O-P-I-N-G."
"Uh, Minako, it has another "P" in it."
"It does? Darn this English! Hey, you wanna teach me?!"
"Are you going to study?"
He made a buzzer noise. "RRRR . . . wrong answer!"
She frowned. "Well, I'm going shopping!" Pocketing the compact, she made her way to her bedroom door. "You coming?"
He scampered off the bed to the door. "Oh, all right. We can be on the look out for the enemy." Or tuna.
"Yeah right! Enemy my flipper!"
"It's "foot", Minako. "Foot.""
"Oh, never mind!"
Minako couldn't help herself. The first jewelry store she saw attracted her to it like a flame did a rather susceptible moth. "Oooh, jewelry!"
The marked down price tags attracted her even more.
"You're going to buy your mother jewelry?" Artemis hazarded a guess.
"Well . . . me first!" she said, running inside and nearly hitting her head on the dark crystal that hung from a chain above the door. It glowed as she sped past.
Artemis would have followed but for the "No Pets Allowed" sign posted on the door. Stupid animal control laws!
Minako stared at all of the jewels in the displays and practically drooled. So beautiful . . .
"May I help you?" a male voice asked.
She looked up to see the young, good-looking salesman addressing her. Hot!!! "Oh, I'm just looking!"
"Just looking? But surely a woman as beautiful as yourself would be looking to buy some jewelry that will show off your loveliness to the full extent. Perhaps some crystals?"
"Oh, no. I really can't afford-" She looked down and away, blushing fiercely. She had only fifteen pounds in her wallet, not enough to buy anything in the store. It was then that she noticed the feet sticking out from behind the counter. What in the world? Moving towards the counter despite the salesman's protests, she glanced over it and saw several unconscious bodies heaped up behind it. "Kami-sama," she breathed.
Glancing over at the rest of the store she noticed a middle-aged woman, the only other customer in the store, slumping over into the waiting arms of the saleswoman. A bright glow began to surround the woman and transfer itself to the saleswoman.
'They'll more than likely be after human energy, though, to power their operations for whatever goal they're after.'
"Stay away from me!" Minako shouted, backing away from the advancing salesman. "You're not going to take my energy!"
"Ah, so you know what we're up to," he said, his eyes glowing. "Dangerous . . . for you!" The man's face seemed to melt and he reached up a hand to wipe the goop away. Behind the liquid a smooth, metallic face was revealed. He leered at her and lurched forward.
She stumbled back, uncertain as to what was going on. A long tendril of gooey glop shot out of his hand and attached itself to the ground to the left of her. Another one quickly followed to the right. He swung himself forward and drawing back the tendrils, he spoke. "Come to me, my lovely."
"NO!!!" she shouted, fear paralyzing her. "Stay away from me!"
"Your energy will be mine . . ." Another tendril shot out from his form and brushed against her. It burned like acid against her flesh . . .
"No, wait!" the other salesperson called, noticing the glow of the dark crystal above the door. "Look at the crystal! Take her alive!"
The pain overwhelming her, Minako screamed, the sigil of Venus glowing on her brow.
Kenneth bent over as a flash of pain coursed through his body. His fist clenched shut and when he opened it again he noticed that it was gloved. He was also clothed in some type of armor with a long cape . . . and a white mask covered his eyes. Another burst of pain struck him and with it came a wave of his own rising exultation completely at odds with the initial mixture of fear and grim determination he had sensed.
She needs me! was his first coherent thought. Now was not the time to wonder about who "she" was or why she needed him . . . only, where she was and how to get to her as quickly as possible. He concentrated on the flow of her emotions within him and drew his direction from that. Rushing off, he paused only to touch the hilt of his sword . . . and gather some slight reassurance in the knowledge that he had not lost it since however long it had been since he had last used it.
"ARTEMIS!!!" she screamed. Kami-sama . . . the pain!
"Quick, Minako, transform!" he responded, running into the shop.
"What?!" she asked, looking about her frantically. "Artemis, what am I supposed to do?!!"
"The compact!" he shouted.
Her hand quickly found it and she shouted, "Moon Power Transform!!!"
Tears shimmered at the corners of her eyes as yellow and gold sparkles of light flew to the hand that held the compact. They revolved around her fingers for an instant before moving up her wrist and arms and swirling about her whole body. Her hair gleamed as gold seemed to suffuse it, the sparkles turning into golden ribbons of light as they spread across her body. They embraced her and her form was outlined for an instant in gold before her eyes opened, shining blue, and the light faded to reveal . . .
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor V!
Outfitted in a red, white and blue uniform with armored shoulder pads and a mask, V took a good long look at herself before swinging into action. Her high heels impacted against the enemy, driving him back as the tendrils anchored to the floor supporting him snapped. He crashed to the ground in a mess of liquid putty and shining metal. The saleswoman had meanwhile also shed her human from and was striking at V with her tendrils.
"Sailor Senshi!" it hissed. "You must die!"
"Oh boy," Sailor V quipped, dodging, "I'm famous already!"
"Watch out!" Artemis shouted and V dove and rolled out of the way just as the enemy behind her struggled up and shot out a tendril. The other one had done so at the same time so the two tendrils hit one another and stuck together.
"Damn sticky, that stuff," V observed as her enemies glared at her.
"V-chan! Use an attack!" Artemis ordered.
"A magical attack! You MUST know some! Destroy them both at once!"
"Okay," she whispered, "this is it. It's up to me now." Then, it was time to panic, as she racked her brains and couldn't remember any attacks. I can't do it! I can't!
//Minako, believe in yourself!//
And then the knowledge was hers as it had been once before, in another life.
"Crescent-" Her eyes grew harder, more determined.
The golden beam shot forth from her finger and stabbed right through the two metallic-gloppy monsters, spreading forth from the point of impact and unleashing a bright wave of energy. The light was too bright for her to look at . . . Then they turned to dust and disintegrated . . . falling into two heaps of ashes on the ground.
"All right!" Sailor V called. "Got him!"
She grabbed Artemis and they began to dance a little jig in excitement.
He stared at her from the shadows, disbelieving. It's you . . .
His dream came back to him, her cheerful voice teasingly scolding him. 'Don't be silly, Kunzite . . . I would never leave you!'
//Venus . . .//
Sailor V stiffened. For a moment . . . she could have sworn . . . had someone called her? It was strange - a voice in her head? And it sure wasn't Artemis this time. But nevertheless, it was a voice that she recognized . . . from somewhere. With difficulty she pushed the thought aside. Now was not the time to start hallucinating. You are not Joan of Art, she reminded herself firmly. Michelango is not going to appear to you in a vision and tell you how to paint!
"V, are you all right?" Artemis asked, hopping up onto her shoulder from a nearby counter.
She shook her head, staring at the healed burns on her arm. "F- Fine."
"How are the other customers?"
At that moment they all began to stir, moaning and groaning.
"I think they'll be all right."
The sound of sirens reached their ears.
"What are the cops doing here?!"
"Well, you put on quite a light show."
She smiled. "Come on, Artemis, it's time to go!" She paused at the door to snatch the dark crystal.
As Artemis eyed her bemusedly she shrugged. "It's not like I want it! But they said something about the crystal and then they wanted me alive. I think we ought to figure out exactly why they want this thing and what it does, don't you?"
"Well done, V-chan," Artemis said, smiling at her. Maybe she'll work out yet.
As the sirens grew louder they took that as their cue to leave and vanished from the scene.
When they were a good block and a half away, Minako detransformed and the girl and her cat made their way home. Only to be stopped by a girl waiting at the Gryffin Lane sign.
"Hello, Mina," the girl said shyly. "I've been looking for you."
Minako backed away. I've had enough weird stuff happen to me!
"W . . . Wait!" the girl called. "Please don't go! I'm . . . I'm Peggy Jones, a local artist, and I want you to model for me!"
"What?!!" Minako asked, shocked.
"I want you to model for me. I want to sketch you . . ." Peggy repeated slowly in Japanese, lowering her eyes.
The blonde's eyes, still wide, softened a little. Confused, she asked, "Why?"
"Because . . . I've seen you before in a dream . . . Sailor V."
To be continued . . .
Minako-chan in England? London will never be the same! As for this series . . . I realize that I'm not done "IAL: TLB" or "C&K" yet, but I'll get there . . . I was just inspired to start this one and inspiration is hard to find! Besides, I always planned to do a series on Minako . . . and I couldn't find a better time to start! - So "In Another Life" will currently be six seasons long . . . Yup. You heard me right. I've already partially plotted out SIX seasons. With the amount of time it's taking me to finish just ONE .
. . don't ask me for an accurate estimate on when I'll be done with all six! (But I'm having lots of fun writing about the characters of five and six . . . I know - Finish "TLB" first! I just can't help myself! ;;;) Watch for new episodes of "IAL:GB," "IAL:TLB," "C&K," and hopefully "Serenity," "Bara, Nobara," and a 'fic that's been in the works for far too long soon! Check my webpage or for updates, UNZIPPED 'fics, my Christmas fanfic, and you can even look at the complete episode list for this series if you want! - ("Soon" is a relative term . . . especially with me! GOMEN NASAI, MINNA! Domo arigato gozaimasu for your patience! )
Notes: Um . . . It's "Joan of Arc" and Minako's getting mixed up with Saint Michael and Michelangelo . . . ;
Narita International Airport is a real airport.
Seeing as this series takes place in England I'm going to be putting the English names in first name-last name order.
Aino Minako/Aino Minako
Peggy Jones/Yumeno Yumemi
Motto Andrew/Furuhata Motoki
Tomichi Hikaru/Tomichi Hikaru
Hirashi Hiro/ORIGINAL CHARACTER
Uh . . . I have no idea as to the names of Minako's parents? ;;;;
Bishoujo - Pretty
Kami-sama - God
Otou-san - Father
Sempai - Upperclassman
Senshi - Soldier