Disclaimer: Sailor Moon does not belong to me. It belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, Kodansha, Toei Ltd., and tons of other people. Thank you very much for creating such a wonderful story and please don't sue me. ;;;
Hi! This is for all the people who've written me and encouraged me to keep writing since my last 'fic ended and everyone who wrote before. Renee, Mimin, Lianne-sama, Jay-chan, Sue Mei, Ninx, Sue, Razzz, Beverly, Zeena, Anastasia, Connie, Nicole, Sue Mei, Becky, Glenda, Chibi-isa, Jade, Michi Kenshi, Christy C., Alina, Elizabeth, La Chanda Fogle, Beverly, MJ, Andi, Sun Princess, Anonymous, Naru-chan, Pitzy-chan, Kelly, Hikari, and Moon-Star.
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:
THE LEGEND'S BEGINNING
"I was Usa Serena, age fourteen. I was an eighth grader at Juuban Junior High School. I was (and still am) friendly, outgoing, and cheerful. I was also a little clumsy, tended to oversleep, doze through class, overeat, beat up on my little brother, always be late, cry a lot . . . Well, that's enough about me . . ." Sweatdrop.
"This is my story . . . The story of an ordinary girl who got everything that she wished for . . . then wished that she hadn't. I don't regret it, though. I'll never regret the decision that I made that day. If I hadn't . . . Well, I'm getting ahead of myself. I should start at the beginning . . . what will pass as the beginning. The real beginning was the beginning of time, as Se- Ooops, getting ahead of myself again. Anyway, you don't want to hear my babble. For me, the beginning has always been that night . . . the night I made a wish . . . upon a star."
"Oh, look a shooting star!" the tiny child called out to her father.
"Yes, sweetie, now make a wish, and don't tell me what it is . . . or it won't come true."
Fourteen year old Usa Serena stared up from the balcony outside her room at the star that twinkled as it fell in the sky. A star . . . I'll make a wish. What'll I wish for?
The television blared from downstairs. "Be JUST like Sailor V! Have your own show, fight criminals, and have daring adventures! If you buy your own JUSTICE FIGHTER costume today, you're guaranteed to have the ADVENTURE of a lifetime! Just nineteen ninety-nine . . ."
Serena smiled in spite of herself. A justice fighter like Sailor V, huh? Yeah right. I wish. No, really, what'll I wish for?
She gazed up at the still falling star. I could wish for better grades . . . Nah. Molly and I had a fight, maybe . . . A sudden thought hit her and smiling, she closed her eyes tight. I wish . . . I wish that my friends and I will have long happy lives and stay friends forever . . . Smiling, she opened her eyes only to see a shower of meteors.
Oh, geez, all those wishes! What'll I do? Um . . . um . . . I wish that I were someone special. I wish that I could have daring adventures and fight evil and people would look up to me . . . Why should they? I'm just boring old Usa Serena. I wish . . . I WISH THAT I COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Just a little bit of a difference . . .
"SERENA!" a female voice shouted. "Time for bed! Lights off!"
"OKAY, MOM!" It's like prison . . . She looked back out at the still falling stars and closing her eyes once more, she thought to herself, P.S. I want a boyfriend!
From across the road, on the rooftop of another house, amber eyes glinted in the darkness. For just an instant, something gold seemed to shine on Serena's forehead. The amber eyes narrowed. I wonder . . .
Then Serena turned and went into her room, turning off the light.
The cat took one more look at the now dark house, then bounded off into the night. I wonder . . . .
Serena's Strange Week
Getting Up in the Morning is a Hassle
"AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! I'M LATE AGAAAAAIN!!!!!!! WHY DIDN'T SOMEBODY WAKE ME UP?!!!!!! I'M TOTALLY LATE FOR SCHOOL!!!" Fourteen year old Usa Serena bolted upright in bed, shoved back her covers, and, taking exactly three very precious seconds to glare at the alarm clock that was busily ringing, leapt out of bed. She yanked open her drawers and tossed clothes everywhere, mumbling, "Where's the uniform? Gotta find the uniform . . ." Finding the errant piece of clothing hanging in her closet, she proceeded to get dressed.
From downstairs, Usa Elaine sighed and stared at the newspaper in front of her, attempting to ignore the sounds of things crashing upstairs. She winced in pain at the migraine that she was getting. It was like this every morning, after all. By all rights, she should have become used to this by now.
Usa Sammy sleepily walked into the kitchen, rubbing at his eyes and staring at the ceiling. "What is she doing up there?" he asked, annoyed.
"I think she's getting ready for school, dear," Elaine replied, not even looking up from the paper. Aspirin, I need an aspirin. No, I've got to cut down.
They both winced as an extremely loud crash sounded from upstairs, followed by a deafening yell. "I'LL CLEAN IT UP LATER, MOM!!!!"
Elaine sighed, rubbing at her temples. "Do you want your lunch, dear?" she asked Sammy calmly, continuing to stare at the paper.
"Uh, yeah," Sammy said, lowering his hands from his ears. "I think I'd better be getting to school, Mom. It's not smart to be in Hurricane Serena's way!"
Still not looking up, Elaine reached over onto the counter and picked up a lunch bag. She handed it to Sammy and with a quick good-bye, he left.
A few seconds later Serena came downstairs, furiously brushing her teeth. "Why didn't you wake me up, Mom?!!"
"I did, dear," Elaine replied, wearily, "three times. And each time you said you were getting up right away!" She injected a note of strained cheerfulness into the last.
"And you believed me?" Serena asked, incredulous.
No, Elaine thought, of course not.
"Bye, I gotta get going!" Serena cried, running towards the door.
"Didn't you forget something?" Elaine asked, picking up Serena's lunch and for the first time the entire morning, looking away from her paper.
Serena dashed back and stuck her head in the doorway. Seeing the bento she mumbled, "Oh, oh yeah."
Grabbing her lunch, she grabbed her school bag and jammed on her shoes on the way out. Then, she sprinted through the doorway, running as fast as possible towards the school.
On the way, she scared off a group of kids tormenting a poor cat, and had a creepy encounter with the self-same cat after removing a band-aid from its crescent moon bald spot. Then, realizing that she was really late, Serena sped off twice as fast as before.
Of course, she didn't make it in time.
"Stupid bell! I can't believe I was one minute late! And I can't believe I failed that test! Mom's going to have my head on a pole!!!"
Molly looked at her friend sympathetically. "Serena, it can't be all that bad. It was only one test."
"That's three this week!" She buried her head in her hands. "I hate school! I hate English! I hate my life!"
Molly hid a frown. Well, you were able to figure out how many tests you failed. That means that you can count, at least.
Melvin walked up. "Hey, I didn't study either and I only got a ninety-five. How am I going to explain this to my parents?"
"Do we care?" Serena mumbled.
"You're such a dweeb, Melvin! What Serena needs is . . ." And that's when the idea hit her. Molly let out a gasp. Pure genius!
"Serena, let's go shopping!"
Serena brightened up immediately. "Oh, shopping! Yeah!"
Melvin interrupted at that instant, "But-"
After arguing the pros and cons of Studying versus Shopping with Melvin, Shopping won out and Melvin was left in their dust.
"That Serena. Beautiful, but a shop-aholic."
Serena was rather disappointed to find that she could afford nothing in Molly's mother's jewelry store. Rats! Couldn't she have had a sale or something? I can't afford anything! She internally debated shopping somewhere else, but decided against it. I'm late enough getting home as it is. If I'm any later, Mom'll roast my head while it's on that pole. Better go home and face the music.
She pulled out her test and stared at the evil thirty percent written in red marker. "Oh, how can I take this home?! How can I show her this thing?!!" She angrily balled up the test and tossed it behind her.
"Hey!" a voice called from behind her.
She turned and stared horrified at some older guy staring at her now uncrumpled test. "A thirty? Are you lazy or just plain stupid?"
"Give me that!" She grabbed the test, ignoring the twinge of recognition as their hands brushed. She stared at the ultra-cool guy in sunglasses. He's got such a big fat ego!
"The nerve!" she raged. "You're-you're really rude!" She stormed off, the test in her hand.
"What a weird guy!" she said, looking back at him over her shoulder. Still, he sure is cute!
"There's something about that girl," Mamo Darien said, removing his sunglasses. Something familiar that I can't quite put my finger on . . . .
Walking home, Serena again noticed the strange black cat following her and couldn't help but wonder . . .
"Oh no, what if this's an omen! I don't need any more bad luck! Uh, kitty, could you go home, please?" This is Japan and black cats are supposed to be GOOD luck . . . but what if it's an American black cat or something? Good thing I didn't take any chances.
The cat meowed, looked annoyed, then bounded off in another direction. Serena let out a sigh of relief, then realized that she was right in front of the Crown Video Arcade.
Well, I have enought time for quick game!
She ducked into the arcade.
In an alley across the street, the black cat glanced disapprovingly at the arcade and checked for any passersby. Seeing none, she sighed heavily and with a flash of light, the cat disappeared . . .
. . . and a beautiful sixteen year old girl stood in her place.
She looked down at her beautifully stylized silver watch in the shape of a moon inside of a star outline. She pushed a button on the side of the watch and it emitted a soft beep and the cover flipped open.
The girl smiled and bringing the watch close to her mouth, she whispered . . . "I think I've found one of them . . . finally."
"Good job," a tinny voice replied, sounding crystal clear.
"Any luck on your side?"
The voice chuckled. "Don't you watch the news? We're everywhere."
The girl's bright blue eyes narrowed. "You don't mean-"
"Yeah, V-chan and I have been working really hard, catching crooks and all."
"That's not in the job description!"
"Hey, somebody's got to keep the streets clean. 'Sides, we're not doing any harm."
"You're exposing her to the public eye! We're supposed to work in secret!"
"Hey, V-chan and I can't keep away from the spotlight."
"I'll just bet. You're just loving this, aren't you? Basking in the limelight."
"Smart aleck. So who's "V"?"
"Who d'you think? V is for Victory, y'know, but it's also for-"
"Yeah, I gotcha."
"Who do you have on your end?"
"I think it's Moon."
"That's funny . . . I don't remember her at all."
"I remember her . . . a little, I think."
"Does she know . . . yet?"
"No. I'm . . . I'm going to wait for the right time."
"I understand." The voice suddenly sounded serious and a little wistful. "Are you . . . all right?"
"I'm all right."
"Do you . . ."
"Yeah, I miss you. Don't worry. I miss you a lot."
"Good." The voice sounded both smug and relieved. "We'll be home soon."
The girl stared in disbelief at her watch. "I don't believe him!" she muttered. Then looking around the again, she snapped shut her watch and strode out of the alley and into the arcade.
"Hey, Serena. How's it going?"
"Fine, Andrew," Serena gritted out between her teeth as she furiously battled with the joystick and controls on the video game. "Come ON! Dodge that laser already!"
Andrew smiled in amusement as he turned away from the engrossed girl. It was then that the glass doors slid open and a beautiful girl strode in.
Andrew's grin widened a bit, then he quickly hid his expression. Rita would be by soon and things could get ugly if she saw him ogling another girl. He was almost relieved when the door slid open again and he saw his best friend casually saunter inside.
"Hey, Andrew, this place is a mess!" Darien said without preamble.
Andrew let his grin be replaced by a wry smile. Same old Darien. "Don't you ever have anything nice to say?"
"What fun would that be?" He looked around, noting the beautiful girl standing near an arcade machine watching someone else play, and finding nothing to interest him he started to turn away when . . .
"Hey, Odango Atama!" he called, causing a few heads to raise and look in his direction.
Serena jumped a foot into the air, whipped her head around and snarled, "Oh, it's YOU. Don't call me that!" A beeping noise caused her to turn back to her game, and the big flashing words announcing GAME OVER as her character was eaten by a small green image of a dinosaur/godzilla-look alike did nothing to lighten her mood.
She stalked over to where Darien stood with Andrew and cried, "You're SUCH a PAIN! Who are you, anyway?!"
Andrew heaved a sigh. "Serena, this is Darien. Darien, Serena."
"Charmed, I'm sure," Darien drawled sarcastically.
Serena looked as though she was about to explode when the "oohs" and "aahs" of the crowd that had gathered behind them caused them all to turn around.
The beautiful girl the boys had seen earlier was playing the video game that Serena had so recently vacated. That wasn't what had attracted all of the attention, though. What had made the crowd gather was the number of points she was racking up.
"One million five hundred and sixty-three?!" Serena shrieked in disbelief as the score shot up higher. And she's only on the first level . . . Unbelievable.
Darien had pulled down his shades and was staring over top of them at the girl with a look of half-recognition in his eyes. I feel as though I know her . . . from somewhere. Could she tell me what I need to know?"The girl finished the level, and checking her watch, she let out a surprised cry. "My, I'm late!" She took the time to enter her initials in first place on the HIGH SCORES screen and then watched dispassionately, doing nothing, as her character was killed by monsters, The crowd let out a groan of disappointment as she turned to go.
As she passed the group of three watching her, she paused by Serena and said in a low voice, "You have potential. You just need training and a bit more experience, then I'm sure you'll be ready to take on the world." She glanced at Darien, her eyes cold, didn't spare Andrew a look, then turned away from all of them and made as though to leave.
"Wait!" two voices cried out simultaneously.
The girl turned around, a delicate eyebrow raised as she looked at Serena and Darien glaring at each other. "Yes?"
Serena opened her mouth, but no words emerged. She didn't know quite why she had stopped the girl in the first place. Her eyes fell on the girl's unusual timepiece. "Your watch-It's beautiful," Serena said hesitantly. "What brand is it?"
The girl raised her wrist. "Oh, this? This is a Lunar Pulsar."
"A "Lunar" Pulsar, I thought it was Solar-" Serena began again, puzzled, when Darien broke in.
"Who are you?"
"My name is my own business."
"What do you know?"
"I know a lot, but I'm afraid that I know nothing about you. So long."
Without a backward glance, she swept out the door. Darien turned away with a curse and exited after her. Andrew shrugged and moved back to checking on his customers, ignoring the whole strange incident, while Serena turned to look at the still-flashing HIGH SCORES screen. The initals the girl had entered were L. C..
"L. C." Serena murmured, then shaking off the uneasy feeling the encounter had given her, she went home.
And promptly got kicked out of the house by her mother for her bad
Once she had gained access to the house again, Serena trudged up the stairs to her room and collapsed on the bed. I need a nap. She fell asleep.
A black cat sprang up to her windowsill, stared at her inert form for a moment, sighed, then leapt to her bed and curled up next to her. Might as well get some sleep . . . .
That night . . .
There was an explosion of light as the seed pod crashed to Earth.
Two figures, green-skinned with long pointed ears and wildly colored hair emerged from the crash site.
"OW! Ailan, that hurt!"
"Shut up, Ann!"
"I SAID SHUT UP!!!" After Ann had quieted down, Ailan turned to survey the scene. "This isn't good. We've landed in a highly populated area. The miserable inhabitants will be here soon, no doubt. We have to get out of here. We can't let them find the Tree."
"Where'll we go, Ailan?" Ann asked in a meek voice.
"Where NO ONE will find us." He pointed. "There! That building looks abandoned . . . we'll stay there."
"I don't WANT to live in some dingy old abandoned building!"
"We have to make do with what we've got. Stop whining."
As Ann started to sniffle and look away, Ailan turned to her, turning up her face so that he could see her. "It'll be all right, my sweet. Once we have enough energy to sustain the Tree, we can make this place a regular paradise and live here happily ever after. We can have our happy ending at last, the wonderful life I promised you that we'd share so long ago."
"Ailan . . ."
"And until then, we can just make wherever we're staying pretty. Okay?"
Ailan smiled. "That's my girl."
"But Ailan-What about him?"
"We'll find him when it's time. Or he'll find us."Ann shuddered. "It had better be the former."
"Come, my love. It is time to leave this place."
They clasped hands and with a burst of blue and pink light the seed pod and they themselves disappeared from view.
Several blocks over, a flash of light the same as the first could be seen as the two aliens reappeared. The huge shape of the seed pod settled into an abandoned room in one of the apartments of the vacant building. Roots sprouted from it and burrowed into the ground (through several floors) and a tree began to grow.
Ailan and Ann smiled. Then Ann turned to Ailan and said, "All right! Now all we need is some pretty furniture!"
Serena awakened with a start, her eyes snapping open. Seeing that it was still dark, she turned bleary eyes to her clock. One in the morning? No way. I need sleep . . . She shut her eyes and tried to sleep but found that she couldn't.
She sat up, frustrated. "What's wrong with me? I want to sleep!"
"I'm afraid you can't, Serena," a gentle voice called out.
The black cat from earlier in the day padded onto her bed. "My name is Luna. I've been searching for you for a very long time, Usa Serena."
"ACK! You're a demon, aren't you?" Serena cried, backing up on her bed and crossing her two index fingers. "Stay back!"
Luna sighed. "No, Serena. I am not a demon. If anything . . . I am your guardian angel."
"You made a wish . . . did you not, Usa Serena? To be someone special?"
"Well, you are someone special. You are Sailor Moon, fighter for love and justice, destined to protect the princess of the Moon."
"Oh, I get it! This is a dream!" Serena exclaimed. "Good night, Luna. I'm going back to sleep." She settled back down in bed, shut her eyes, covered her ears and went to sleep.
Luna could not rouse her again that night. Casting a sorrowful look at her charge, she leapt out the window and into the night.
The next morning . . .
"AAAAAAAAH!!!! I'M LAAAAATE AAAAAAAGAAAAAAAAIN!!!!!!!"
Elaine ate her aspirin without comment.
As Serena exited her house at a breakneck pace, she took two steps out of the door and fell on her face.
"Smooth move, loser!" Sammy shouted, blowing a rasberry at his sister as he hightailed it to school.
"Shut up, you little-" Serena began shouting when she noticed what she had tripped on. It was small . . . and furry.
"Oh no! I tripped on a cat! Are you okay, kitty? I didn't hurt you, did I?"
The cat meowed weakly as Serena gathered it into her arms. Seeing the crescent moon sigil on its forehead and the distinctive amber eyes, she said, "Oh, it's you, kitty. I didn't recognize you. Are you all right now?"
As if in an affirmative, the cat leapt out of her arms and stretched.
"I guess you're okay," Serena commented, relieved as she got to her feet. "You know, I had a really weird dream about you . . ."
Off in the distance first bell rang.
Hearing it, Serena screamed, "Oh NOOO!!! I'M SOOOO LATE!!!!!"
She ran off.
Behind her, Luna collapsed into a heap on the ground in exasperation. Good lungs on her, I don't think I'll be able to hear for a week.
The running schoolgirl paused several blocks away from her house to stare at the huge crater surrounded by police barricades and yellow tape.
An uneasy feeling came over her as she stared at it. A meteor? No . . . this is something different. Dangerous. Deadly. She shook off the odd feeling of recognition and continued running towards school.
Serena dashed into class only to find everyone gone. Huh? I can't be early!
Then Melvin poked his head in the door and exclaimed, "There you are, Serena! Haruna-sensei sent me to see if you'd gotten to school yet. We're all having an assembly in the gymnasium because there are some new special exchange students! Come on, we have to go or we'll miss the assembly."
"New stu-?" Serena said, bewildered, but was interrupted by Melvin before she could continue.
Haruna-sensei barely acknowleged the hasty entrance of Melvin and Serena as they got into their places in line. Instead, standing on the stage as she was, she motioned towards the two rather apprehensive-looking students. They stepped forward and bowed.
The teacher turned back to the assembled students. "As you may have heard, this year we've begun an exchange program with our sister school in England. The two exceptional students chosen to represent their school are Ann and Alan Galaxy. Ann is in grade 8 and her brother Alan is in grade 9. I'm sure all of you will be respectful and help them fit in here. "
"YES, SENSEI!!!" came the resounding chorus.
Haruna winced and staggered back a little from the volume.
As Ailan straightened from another bow, his eyes lit upon the beautiful face of a girl. Her cheeks were slightly flushed, as though she had been running, and her eyes sparkled from the exertion. She smiled happily at him and waved.
Ailan smiled back, but then he felt the sharp twinge of Ann's displeasure as her eyes bored into the back of his head. AILAN! He flushed, then turned to glare angrily at Ann.
She returned the look with an equally stony one, then the two of them marched off the stage, following Haruna-sensei.
As they passed Serena and Molly chatting in line, Ann shot Serena a venomous look. Serena backed away a little and shivered as the girl passed. Geez, what's her problem? She's creepy!
The rest of the day wasn't much better even though Alan and Ann demonstrated their so-called "English" and Alan played his flute.
However, Ann continually teased Serena, shooting her dirty looks, and assailing her with insults. She also "accidentally" tripped her three times, knocked over her chair, bumped into her in the cafeteria, making her drop her lunch, which she then proceeded to step on. To everyone else she was perfectly sweet and no one noticed how much abuse Serena was suffering at her hands. When Serena tried to protest, Haruna-sensei sent her into the hall to hold two full buckets of water as punishment for slandering a new student - and an exchange student, at that!
By the end of the day, she had been crying so much that her voice was hoarse and her eyes were red. She was a mess.
When school let out, Serena ran to catch up with Molly, but seeing that she was walking home with Ann, she waited around until everyone else had departed, then made her way home, head down, sniffling and shuffling her feet as she went.
It was just as she was passing the arcade that the two glass doors slid open and someone came out and touched her hesitantly on the arm. "What's wrong?"
Serena was so upset by then that she failed to recognize the voice and sobbed out, "I've had the worst day of my life! The new girl wouldn't stop picking on me and everyone took her side! I never thought that anyone could be so mean . . ." She broke down and started sobbing again, unable to stop.
"Hey, c'mon, cheer up, Odango. Things can't be all that bad."
"YOU!!!" she cried, looking up with a start. I don't believe I've been just blubbering my heart out to . . . him.
Darien let a slight smile touch his lips. "Is that all you can say?" But his eyes were kind and concerned, shadowed with a hint of compassion.
"You don't understand! You couldn't! No one could." She turned away, but was stopped by his voice at her back.
"Oh, I understand all too well. No one could understand more fully than I."
She turned around. "Why are you so nice, today? Are you sick or something?"
Rather than look affronted as she half-suspected he might, he shrugged off her remark with a cocky smile. "Hey, everyone can have an off day. I'll be back to teasing you by tomorrow."
Serena let a wry smile cross her face. "Sorry I asked. Still, you can be a really nice guy when you try. Th . . . thanks, Darien."
"Sure thing, Odango Atama."
"DON'T CALL ME THAT!"
Leaving in a greatly improved state of mind, Serena continued her trek home. Maybe he's really not that bad after all. . . .
Behind her, Darien smiled. Even if you're an obnoxious brat, no one deserved to be that sad. Cheer up, Odango. Even I have to admit I'd rather have you smiling than not. Just for an instant, when she had smiled at him, her eyes clear and bright and beautiful, just for an instant he had almost felt . . . No. It was best to crush those feelings. He didn't need anyone . . . .
When Serena reached her house, she found the black cat waiting for her on the front step. It leapt into her arms as soon as she was within reach.
"Hello, Kitty. How are you?"
"I'm glad to see I didn't hurt you. You know, I used to pretend that I had a little black kitten when I was little. I named her Luna. Do you want to be my Luna, kitty?"
"Meow." Enough with this act! I know it's you, now.
Serena walked inside, shutting the door quietly behind her, Luna in her arms.
"Mom? Can I talk to you about keeping a cat?"
Luna officially became part of the family that night, despite Sammy's protests that cats were "creepy and stuff".
The week that followed was nothing special. Serena was still late and she was finding it harder and harder to get up in the mornings.
Ann continued to torment Serena, but Serena held her head high and valiantly tried to ignore her. She went home and cried to Luna, though, who "meowed" sympathetically.
The big plus was that Darien teased her less, even though they seemed to bump into each other more. Serena wondered about that, but quickly banished it from her mind. Flower scented poetry had also begun appearing on her desk in the morning. Serena strongly suspected that it was from Alan which would go a long way to explain why Ann was picking on her. She probably didn't think that Serena was good enough for her big brother. Serena shook her head. She probably wasn't, but that didn't matter because she wasn't really interested in Alan at all. Still, the notes he was sending meant more trouble from Ann.
It wasn't until late Saturday night when Serena was taking a shortcut through the park on her way home from an evening wasted at the arcade that the trouble really began . . . .
"Our tree, it needs sustenance. It cannot continue for much longer without energy, Ailan."
"Shall we begin taking energy tonight then?"
"Yes, my love. What cardian shall you choose?" He spread the charmed deck of cards in his hand and Ann smiled as she chose.
Ailan began playing his flute. "Cardian Bestial, COME FORTH!!!"
A creature that seemed to be a cross between everything with fangs and claws in the world emerged from the card. It snickered.
"Bring us some human energy for the Doom Tree!" Ann commanded.
The cardian quickly nodded in assent. "Yes." Then it disappeared.
Serena looked up just in time to see the hideous form of the fanged cardian emerge from the air. She screamed . . . just before it leapt on her with a snarl. She fell with a sharp spike of pain stabbing through her body as she thudded to the ground, and was immediately knocked senseless. The creature began draining her of her energy.
In his room, where he was studying for a physics exam, Darien felt a sharp pain lance through him. He fell to his knees in anguish.
"This pain . . . what is it? Danger . . . I sense . . . danger."
Not to me . . . To someone else?
Then the darkness overcame him and he recalled nothing after that moment.
From a viewpoint outside of his apartment, one would have seen a brilliant flare of multi-colored light, then an explosion of glass as Darien's windows shattered outward. A mysterious masked figure, clothed in a black tuxedo and cape with red lining, leapt from the balcony of the twentieth floor apartment and into the city beyond.
Luna's ears perked up as she sensed the scream. "Oh no! Serena! Why did I wait? I may already be too late!" She dashed out of Serena's bedroom window and scampered to the ground, at a dead run as soon as her feet touched the ground. Hang on, Serena! Just a little longer. Please . . .
The cardian was still feasting upon Serena's energy. She lay unconscious, stretched out along the ground. Suddenly, a figure from above struck the cardian and knocked him off balance. He sprawled upon the ground, unmoving for the moment.
The mysterious man knelt over Serena and tenderly brushed a hand along her face. "Awake. The time has come when the world has need of us . . . both. Awake, my love. Awake once more."
Serena struggled to open her eyes. Sitting up, she focused them wearily on the man before her, who was gazing at her so raptly that her breath caught in her throat. She didn't know why but she felt a rush of emotion welling up in her and overwhelming her to the point that she felt dizzy. "Who . . . Who are you?"
He took her hand in his gloved ones and kissed it. "A friend."
Releasing it, he turned away and disappeared into the night. Serena stared wistfully after him.
It was then that the cardian choose to get to its feet and attack.
Serena noticed it an instant before it shot its arms out to an alarming length and attempted to pin her to the ground. Diving and rolling out of the way, she missed being killed by less than an inch.
For a wonder, she ended up on her feet, and noticed out of the corner of her eyes that Luna was running up to her.
"Luna, get out of here!"
The cardian lunged but Serena stepped aside at the last possible instant. It crashed into a tree and seemed to be temporarily stunned.
Luna did a back flip and dimly Serena wondered who had taught her that trick. A sparkling locket with a crescent moon on the outside fell to the ground.
"Hurry, Serena!" Luna shouted. "Take the locket and shout, 'Moon Prism Power Make-Up!'"
"WHAT?! You can TALK? I thought that was a dream!"
"Serena, there's no time for this! Take the locket and say the words!!!" Luna commanded.
Before she realized what she was doing, Serena bent and picked up the locket. She stared at it for an instant. Somehow its weight in her hand felt familiar.
"Whatever you say, Luna." Serena held the locket aloft and gathering her breath, she shouted, "Moon Prism Power Make-Up!"
Luna sighed. She was supposed to put it on.
Nevertheless, the locket was performing its magic. Energy flowed from it and wrapped around Serena, bathing her in iridescent pink light. Silver light interlaced with the pink and together they solidified and formed ribbons that burst apart in an explosion of light and white feathers. Then Serena was gone and in her stead stood a girl-warrior dressed in an a sailor outfit that invoked the image of the uniforms of schoolgirls, red boots topped with yellow crescent moons, white glooves, yellow crescent moon earrings, a tiara, and two red jewels set in the buns atop her head from which trailed two long rivers of golden hair.
"Are you ready, Sailor Moon?"
Sailor Moon nodded. "It's my destiny, right?"
Luna nodded. "That it is."
The cardian struggled to its feet with a howl of pain and rage only to be faced with the sight of a girl
"I am the pretty sailor-suited fighter for love and justice, Sailor Moon! You have committed a great crime by disturbing the right of young girls to walk home late at night without the benefit of a chaperone. I won't let you steal energy from innocent schoolgirls! On behalf of the moon, I will punish you!"
Luna face-faulted. She's been watching too much "magical girl" anime on television.
The cardian howled and leapt towards Sailor Moon.
"Watch out!" Luna shouted.
The newly made warrior easily avoided the cardian and leapt out of the way. Unfortunately, she tripped and fell immediately afterwards.
"Why me?" Luna asked.
"WAAAAAAAHHHHH!!! Luna, that hurt! I don't want to fight anymore! I don't want to be a warrior! Someone else can fight!"
"Get up, Sailor Moon!" Luna screamed in frustration.
"I can't Luna . . . I can't. I'm scared. What if I mess up again?"
"You won't. Now, get up before he EATS you!"
"AAAAAAH!" Sailor Moon screamed, leaping to her feet.
I thought that would work.
The cardian was coming around for another try at destroying its pathetic excuse for an enemy.
"Luna, how do I defeat it?!"
"Touch your fingers to your tiara. Shout 'Moon Tiara Action' and throw it!"
"What's that going to do?!"
"Just hurry up and throw it!"
"Oh, fine." She touched her fingers to her tiara and magically it changed into a discus of magical energy. "Moon Tiara ACTION!" She threw the tiara and watched it fly into the cardian and slash through it. All that remained was a smoldering card of a badly drawn animal.
Sailor Moon sunk to her knees. "Thank goodness."
Luna strode over to her. "That was a job well done."
She smiled surprised and happy. "Thanks, Luna." Then heaving a huge sigh, she got to her feet. "This has been one strange week, what with new exchange students, a talking cat, the huge crater, monsters, and finding out that I'm actually a . . . superhero . . . ."
Serena stared at herself, the truth finally sinking in. "No way."
"I'm . . . and I . . . Uh, this is too much for me to handle. Let's go home, Luna."
There was a bright flash of light and the beautiful girl from the arcade stood where Luna had an instant before.
"Yes, Serena. I am Luna, Guardian cat, advisor to the Moon Princess and her Sailor Senshi. You are their leader and together we must find the other Senshi and-Serena?"
Luna frowned. Now, what did I say wrong?
"No!" Ann uttered a choice curse as she felt her link to the cardian fade. "Bestial's dead. He was one of our best cardians. Now what do we do? The Tree still needs energy to survive."
Ailan spread out the deck of cards again. "What else, my sweet? Pick again. There's only one pesky enemy that we need to rid ourselves of, as far as we know. I saw the images that Bestial transmitted as well. Besides, Bestial may have had a lot of power, but he was even stupider than the humans living on this world. He's no great loss."
"That's true," Ann admitted. "Still, I'm worried-"
"Shhh, my love. You worry too much. Everything will be fine. Now, Ann, it's time for your choice of players for the next little game that we're going to play. Pick a card . . . any card."
Ann smiled as she rested her fingers on a card in the deck. "I pick . . . this one."
Darien got up from where he had collapsed on the ground and stared at the shattered remains of his windows. "What happened to me? I don't remember anything. Oh God, I don't remember anything since I blacked out . . . Don't let it be happening again. Please, don't let it be happening again."
After waking up for the second time that night, Serena suggested that Luna go home ahead of her and she would follow shortly. Shooting her an odd look, Luna transformed back into a cat and bounded off.
Serena stood for a quiet moment, gazing up at the moon. Her hand was held to the side of her face, her heart thudded madly in her chest. His hand, brushing my face . . . made my heart beat faster. I feel as though I'm in a dream, but dreams are never this wonderful . . . never this real. He seemed so familiar. Seeing him, hearing his voice, it was as though I knew him . . . Did I know you once, my handsome knight, in another life?
To be continued . . .
Well, any good? It'll get better, I promise!
Usa Serena/Tsukino Usagi
Mamo Darien/Chiba Mamoru
Motto Andrew/Furuhata Motoki
Baker Molly/Osaka Naru
Minnow Melvin/Umino Gurio
Haruna Patricia/Sakurada Haruna
Usa Elaine/Tsukino Ikuko
Usa Sammy/Tsukino Shingo
A(i)lan Galaxy/Ail Ginga
Ann Galaxy/Ann Ginga
Odango Atama - Dumpling head