Journey Through 3

Journey Through 3 Rising on New Land

Disclaimer: I don't own Bishoujo Senshi SailorMoon nor I am connected to Toei Animation. All rights belong to them. The plot, the original characters, and places are fictitious that came solely from me. This story is fanfiction.

Chapter 01

Compared to Burglier, the trees seem greener. Air so fresh and the wind feels heavy, mysteriously brushing from nowhere. I cannot ascertain myself as to how I can be satisfied with this undertaking. But since I am the lord of the place I am entrusted by my heritage, I'll take this step not as a responsibility nor duty but because this is who I am.

The wheels ceased and the journal closed.

"Are you feeling fine, sir?" Marcus was across the lord of Burglier.

Both book and pen were slid into her long coat's inner pocket. "I appreciate your concern, Marcus." From the window, her now more mature eyes laid distant on the vast yellow field. Somehow, the features that rested on her face glowed subtly, more defined, and continued to be more attractive as the years passed by.

Never did she expect that she would reach their destination now after the long weeks of travel riding ships, trains, and coaches from Burglier to Asagawa, one of the places expected to lead the Industrial Age in Asia.

"Lord Alexandr of Burglier! Welcome!" The host of the mansion greeted the moment Alexandr stepped off the carriage. Her golden hair glistened with the coming noon. "I've been waiting for you! I welcome you to my humble home."

"My gratitude to you for your invitation, Mr. Shigure."

In his mid 40s, Mr. Shigure looked suave with his sharp eyes, a mustache and a line of gray hair at his sides.

A wide flight of stairs awaited before the entrance, stood gallantly preparing to a high-ceiling room. It was highly unusual to see such extravagant European-inspired structure in the East. The receiving area bore two long luxurious couches while upstairs was an array of rooms.

"Feels like home." She murmured to the indifferent Marcus.

This sight could certainly impress a person who was away from the comfort of her den for more than a month. To see only transient objects and glorify the constantly changing beauty of nature, a man yearn a home.

"I appreciate the courtesy as expected from your admirable race, Mr. Shigure. But despite the educational yet excruciating travel, I only discovered only a little doze of patience on my part." Alexandr sat dignified at the middle of the couch while Marcus remained at the sides.

"It would be cold of me not to understand your circumstances, Lord Alexandr. Besides, I, too, was a victim of this 'excruciating' travel that you speak." He waved at a servant who seemed to understand immediately his command. In a few minutes, the same girl brought cups of tea. "Was it ten years ago? Your brother was a fine man superbly admirable in handling business undertakings."

"I respect his memory and those days you came to visit in our estate for a number of years to share the grievances and bliss of the various ventures you and my brother had taken risk. If I may say that you two were really alike. You gamble for luxury and for life."

"And you played with women for luxury too, eh Alexandr?" He laughed hoping for the former courtier to be amused as well with the memories. "If I remembered correctly, you rather played well in that game."

"So it seemed." She remained stern. Who was laughing and who was not? "Lovely were the youthful days." Alexandr was there only for the sole purpose of concluding the agreement of the investment proposed to her through a telegram. It was hard to refuse a tempting offer not to mention from a man whom their family had strong business relations with eversince her brother managed the estate. And with the jolly fellow she once was, she extremely had benefited the luxury of such relation.

"The youthful days?" Mr. Shigure raised his brows as he used his palm in a whisper to the person across him. "Young or old, it doesn't matter, does it?"

She curved her lips finally in amusement to the man. Everybody knows that Mr. Shigure had mistresses. He had one named Ue back when he frequently visited Burglier to meet up with Alexandr's brother may it be for business or for vices. Then, one night, after a long card game in a tavern, another woman was caught by his pants. Phiné was her name and it was another year and a half of affair. For some reason, his wife, Sera, didn't left him. She was eight years younger than he was. But unlike him, she was patient, loving, kind-hearted and more mature. She seemed contented being the wife of a tycoon. Nobody knew the exact reason on why she couldn't leave the man. Surely, it wasn't for money as her blood came from a well-off pedigree; another obedient woman that fell victim to the pressures of society.

"I see you are still the same man as I know you to be."

"Of course! A man is a man! Everybody knows that. Your brother knew that."

Alexandr cleared her throat. His words awakened her horrid memories. Men! Bets! Women! She could almost curse herself for just even acknowledging her invitation for this investment and having to talk about such inhumane subjects. Yes, she was once part of their herd. Nobody knew she was a woman. Not even Mr. Shigure. She drank with them and made merry with nothing but earthly things.

She continued to appear proficient in the business dealing. "I fancy these memories, Mr. Shigure. But with the likes of me at this very moment is more inclined to the conclusion of what you had promised me in your telegram that you had sent." She sipped at her cup.

"My, my, you really have changed, Alexandr." He stared at him for awhile in all seriousness, penetrating to the insides of the woman's head. It could be possible that persons changed. But deep inside, one's original constitution remained. "I wonder…"

"A fifty percent interest for a twenty-five percent investment!"

He laughed. "Impressive! You reminded me of your brother."

"I am not like my brother!" She retorted violently that even beckoned Marcus' attention. If there was one thing that she despised the most was being likened to her brother. They might be of the same blood but surely they differ greatly in principles and character. If they weren't, why was there a tragedy? There was a huge heave of breath before she could continue the conversation lightly. "I presumed on such conditions written in the telegram. Such was the reason I've come to personally sign the contract. Are there misunderstandings?"

"None. Absolutely. I have the contract right here." Inside his coat's inner pocket was the parchment. "We can have the contract signing tomorrow and have it registered immediately after. For the meantime, do you want to see the project that you will be investing in?"

"I understand that it's a detergent factory. I had somebody to look upon it beforehand. I hear good things about it."

"I am relieved to hear that."

"Are there other things that I need to know about? I know my conscientiousness sometimes fail me to acknowledge the most relevant facts."

"It is nothing important. We can talk about it while touring the factory. Do you mind going to the factory now? Or would some other day be more preferable?"

"Now is perfect."

The three were about to stand, prepared to depart for the tour when a woman in all elegance entered into the room, suspending their agenda with just her presence. "I don't remember concluding our talk, Mr. Shigure."

Alexandr stooped frozen, laying straight to the eyes of the lady. Mr. Shigure's house might not be the last place that she expected to see of that woman. But right now, at that instance, was the least moment that Alexandr would blurt out that woman's name. "Michiru."

"My!" The woman had the most sophisticated face in all surprise. "I know of an investor for Mr. Shigure's factory but I never expected him to be Lord Alexandr."

"Ah Michiru!" Mr. Shigure held out his arms. "I presumed you know Burglier's love tiger!"

No matter how composed Alexandr was, the little traces of blushes on her cheeks could not be suppressed at the comment. Back in the days, she was once called the auspicious 'love tiger' as she, by fortunate events, would end up mugged by love-stricken women in taverns. Her reputation was intense as rarely women could resist Alex's charms. This was the very reason that even men got curious of the young courtier's tricks. But there were certainly no tricks. Their minds just lingered on the question on what this lad had that women undyingly craved for.

"Love tiger?" Everybody saw Michiru's amused and disbelieving simper. "That's odd… I don't remember him to be such."

"Please… Mr. Shigure." Alexandr prepared herself for the departure. "This is not really a good subject for conversation. I want to see now the factory."

"So, the 'love tiger' could not even give me a proper greeting." Michiru folded her arms. "Now, this is so like what I have remembered you, Lord Alexandr."

"My apologies, Lady Michiru." The lord went to pay respect to the woman. "It might be your presence that overwhelmed me. But my intentions are not to be rude. As a matter of fact, I am greatly overjoyed to meet a good old friend."

"No apologies, Sir. On the contrary, it is I who is pleased that such investor called me a good friend."

"Don't waste your breath, Michiru." Mr. Shigure added, grabbing the lord by her arms. All of a sudden, the host's mood changes in an abrupt defense. The host knew exactly Michiru's intentions. These were certainly not on the palatable side for him. "Friendship is not a factor."

"I'm sorry, Mr. Shigure. But am I missing something, Lady Michiru?"

The woman confidently smiled, standing firm in her blue flowered kimono. "I am going to be straight with you, Lord Alexandr."

"Michiru, let me remind you that this is not your place to speak." Mr. Shigure hindered.

"I know properly of my place, sir. I know that certainly this is not my home but since conversations here are of business, Lord Alexandr has the right to hear of my proposition. I cease only if Lord Alexandr wills."

"Let the woman speak." Alexandr became more intrigued of what this woman had called of a proposition. It had been more then two years if she could remember correctly that Michiru had tendered Alexandr's wounds from the gruesome fights with the bandits. Five long blunt weeks of just talking. During those days, there was the fact that seeing Michiru right infront of her eyes made her longed for her former lover, Michelle. To love someone so deeply, a heart bled only for such person yet only the traces of an illusion could be seen through Michiru's façade. But Michiru was different from Michelle. Michiru was stronger. She was a woman who stood firmly by her principles. She was not a damsel that need protecting. With those weeks, the lord was extremely grateful for Michiru for the aid and most especially for keeping the secret of her true gender. The sight of the woman's face did remind her of love but somehow, it did not rekindle the feeling.

The woman continued to explain. "I give you an option, Lord Alexandr, to invest in the detergent factory or to cultivate the arts of this country by investing in the Kaioh Theater."

"A theater?"

"Yes. It would be a wonderful and joyous place to host plays and music."

"I do remember that you play the violin very well."

"And I remember your proficiency on the piano keys."

Out of nowhere, Mr. Shigure just burst in laughter. "Do you hear that, Lord Alexandr? Arts? Is that really worth investing in?"

"I appreciate your offer, Lady Michiru. But right now, I want to the see the famous detergent factory of Mr. Shigure. I heard it to be a highly mechanized process."

Mr. Shigure had some disgusting glances over Michiru that could let any man wonder their meanings. "If you want, Michiru, you could come with us to the factory and let yourself be the judge on how worthless your theater is compared to my factory."

"It would be my pleasure to see how uncouth your factory is." Her tiny steps carried her to the carriage which was waiting for the men's departure.

As the footman helped Michiru inside, the 'men' followed meters behind. Alexandr was observing courtesy while Mr. Shigure grabbed the chance to win the lord's favor even just for the tiniest moment.

"It's a pity for a beautiful woman to be one stubborn lass." Mr. Shigure started.

"To speak negatively, I know only of one reason for that." Alexandr raised her brows. "You tried to win her to bed, didn't you? And you failed miserably!"

Alexandr seemed to hit on the target perfectly as Mr. Shigure was laughing hysterically. "You know me so well, Alexandr. It's a little embarrassing but I cannot lie to you, Alex. It reminds me back in the days. You know who we are. There were certainly times that women could be a little bit off my limits. However, Alexandr, I do know that women may refuse me but they can never refuse you." He got out a cigar and held it playfully in his mouth. "Oh how I envy you, Alex. I admit defeat on that field."

"Mr. Shigure, that was a long time ago, where love was only a myth."

"AH! You fell in love? Hmm… I did hear of that. So, it was true then. Was it the reason of the change of persona that you speak of?"

"I believe so."

The 'men' was about to enter the carriage when Mr. Shigure had held firmly unto Alexandr's arm. "Remember, Alex. A wolf which had eaten a sheep may temporarily cease to hunt but nevertheless, he will grow hungry again."

The blond stared angrily into his eyes before he unintentionally met Michiru's own. The carriage immediately moved as soon as the passengers were safely seated, facing each other. Marcus, as faithful as he was, remained to be at the lord's sides.

If there was more excruciating than the travel to Asagawa, then it would be traveling to the factory with Michiru and Mr. Shigure. Both continued to explain, putting a lot of efforts on persuasion to hope favor for their own projects. Listening to this kind of conversation was plain torture. Alexandr just couldn't wait to see the factory and finally reach an unbias decision, something all investors knew to make.

When the coachman announced their arrival, a group of workers awaited at the factory's entrance. They seemed to be trained at taking charge with the reception of Mr. Shigure and whoever guests the owner wished to bring with him.

Alexandr could never be more indifferent than what he was showing to the people around him. One reason might be the exhaustion from the trip and another might be the fact that primarily business wasn't her forté until she became the lord. She did know already her place and her duty, but sometimes, her body reacted to things in reflex.

Peering from above in Mr. Shigure's own office, the four people saw the huge wooden factory housing mechanized processes.

"How do you like that, Alexandr?" No doubt, Mr. Shigure was more than proud.

The place smelled foul from the chemicals being worked on and felt hot from the steams of the different kinds of machineries. The thumping sounds and screeching wheels irritated every normal ear there was. All workers clothed in all white looked busy with their jobs, sweating eternally.

"Impressive." Michiru fanned herself. "But the mere sight of improved technology is never conclusive."

"I am convinced." Without another word, Alexandr climbed down the staircase from where they stood. Five minutes was enough for her to make what the investors called the 'unbiased decision'.

"Is everything fine, sir?" Marcus continued to be at her side, only to notice her disconcerted face along with the sweatdrops that slid down her temple from the heat. "Exhaustion is a powerful enemy, sir."

"I know, Marcus. I just can't wait to leave and return to Burglier."

"A wonderful place such as Asagawa might relieve you of your weary."

"I look forward to that. However, I only feel more pressure now." They stopped near the carriage which was waiting for them.

Mr. Shigure and Michiru were able to catch up with the 'men' at the factory entrance. Here was fresher and serene.

"So, you are convinced, eh, Alexandr?" Mr. Shigure's eyes brightened, excitements were flashing from them.

The decision was clear on whose favor it would be and the vengeful-looking Michiru knew exactly what it was. Her smiles curved accepting defeat with dignity. Now, only the words were waited to be flown out from the lord's mouth.

"I talk nothing but business here. I understand that both of you understand my circumstance. Let me explain that I traveled to Asagawa based from a proposition given to me from a telegram. I seek in an investment that is worth my time and finance. Today, I saw a well-established business undertaking of Mr. Shigure. My lady Michiru, you spoke of a dream that is yet to be realized. I acknowledged its purity and the great opportunity. But it is only proper for me to accept what was proposed to me first."

"Well said from you, Alexandr." Mr. Shigure immediately took the blond's hand. "As expected from a good ol' comrade."

Michiru snared at the laughing man. No matter how she saw him, he was nothing but an awfully greedy and rude tycoon.

"That is your decision, lord Alexandr. I respect that." Michiru smiled. "You favored justice, I presumed. But such decision may not be the best there was for you have immediately decided without considering first ALL the relevant facts."

"What else are there to consider?"

As swift as the wind, two whirling ninja shurikens flew from the trees, barely missing a fraction of Haruka's hair, right to the coach's walls. Only her thumping chest served the proof of the moment.

"Let me tell you, lord Alexandr, what all people of this place know about the factory. Your decision, milord, is not of time nor finance. It is a gamble of your life."

TO BE CONTINUED

From the author:

Greetings to you all! How are you, my readers? It's been quite awhile, a year actually, since my last fic. I am bringing to you now, Journey Through 3: Rising on New Land. And yes, I do read reviews and they matter to me very much. A lot of the readers that followed the Journey Through stories asked for a JT3. To name a few – SilentKing, OxMiss PeachesXo, Thepillows93, etc. Well, I don't know if you are still here in . That was really a long time ago but I do hope you will still read this story. Here you go, gals and guys. JT may not be as popular as the recent fics but I hope this could take you to a good ride.

I am looking forward to meeting new readers along the way. JT3 has a more revolting theme than its JT predecessors. I hope you will continue to read this fic to the end. This is fanfiction.