Title: All in the Blue Unclouded Weather
Author: Girl Who Writes
SMMFC Theme: Image - The Lady of Shalott.
Summary: A lazy summer day in the Silver Millennium.
Author's Notes: Every time I go to post this, something stops me. Another snippet from my unwritten Silver Millennium saga, written last October ^_^; Hopefully my unplanned hiatus is over. I also have a question to ask any of my readers, at the end of the fic. Any answers would be much appreciated!
Disclaimer: Sailor Moon belongs to Naoko Takeuchi. I'm just a humble fan and make no profit from this fan based venture.
The sound of laughter echoed throughtout the gardens, and two girls tore through the garden – the first in a long white dress that billowed out behind her, long ribbons of blond hair streaming behind her; the second could have been her sister, hair the same shade of gold and bright blue eyes, her golden dress more like a tutu than playclothes.
"She's chasing me, Luna!" Serenity flew down a flight of stone steps, along a path that wound around a lake.
"She started it, Luna!" Venus called back, speeding up. Both girls ignored skirts snagging on flower bushes, garden workers jumping out of the way, and staring courtiers.
As they followed the path around, they both stumbled to a stop at the sight of the irate Mau tutor. Hands on her hips, her blue-black hair streaming around her and her eyes narrowed, Luna was a force to be reckoned with when she was angry.
"Princess Serenity," she said in clipped tones, "Princess Venus, your lessons are waiting."
Both girls winced and nodded, heads ducked.
At the other end of the path, there was a summer house that opened out onto the river where Luna often held the girls' lessons during the fine weather. Princesses Mars, Jupiter and Mercury were already sitting around the table, books and paper spread out around them.
And sitting in the corner was the ever-present Lady Setsuna, embroidery in hand. As long as Serenity could remember, Lady Setsuna had always been there, as her mother's advisor, as an occasional tutor to her and her guardians and as an Ambassador for the Outer Planets; and in all that time, Lady Setsuna had remained unchanged; the same dark hair pinned up, the cream and crimson dress, the small smile and gentle voice.
"Geography today, Serenity, Venus," Mercury handed them books and paper. As was tradition, the four Guardians of Serenity were known only by their destined title. The Moon Princess had often wondered what it would be like to simply be known as 'Moon' or 'Princess Moon', and felt sad that her friends had willingly given up their names to be by her side.
Jupiter was beaming. "Luna's promised us we can have a botany lesson next week," she said, plucking a flower from where she had slipped it into her hair.
"Ugh, botany?" Venus picked up a pen and began to doodle hearts and flowers around the edge of her paper. "No Elemental Magic?"
"Not yet," Mercury said as she turned back to her work.
"Everyone was staring, Serenity," Mars said disapprovingly, looking up from her lessons. "You too, Venus. You should know better." Mars tapped her pen against her paper, not noticing the ink splattering across her neatly-written page.
"You need to relax more, Mars," Venus said, her Venusian accent still tinting her words. "You should come home to Venus with me; you'd learn how to have fun. Or you'd drop dead."
Mars' face was turning red.
"Girls." They all turned to look at the woman in the corner. Setsuna set aside her sewing. "Enough. Jupiter, the answer is Atlas and liquid mineral. Page three thirty five, half way down. Mercury, make an attempt on Variations in Planetary Meteorology, please."
The girls stared for a second before turning back to their papers.
"How did she know?" Venus was staring at Mercury's finished lesson, her eyes wide.
"She was right, too," Jupiter gestured to her book. "The highest mining exports in the last five years was from the moon Atlas, and was a combination of liquid mineral, coal and pearlescent shale."
"Mother once said something about Lady Setsuna being able to scry," Serenity whispered.
"Scry?" Venus looked in askance.
"A strict discipline that teaches how to look through time. Very difficult to master and expensive to undertake," Mercury said in a hushed voice.
"Back to work, girls. Luna should be back any moment, and she won't be pleased if you haven't anything to show," Setsuna interrupted. The girls sighed and got back to work, only the sound of turning of pages and the clink of pens dipped in ink wells disturbing the peace.
"Yoohoo!" The cry echoed out over the lake, and all the girls looked up, Serenity accidentally sending a bottle of indigo ink spinnning over the table. Floating on the lake was a bright blue boat carrying two passengers – one, a delicate looking girl in a white lace dress holding a parasol and a blonde figure in cut off slacks and a loose white shirt.
Anyone else would have throught they were a lady and a servant, or maybe a boy with his long-suffering bethrothed. However, to the girls gathered around the table, they were two infrequent visitors to the Lunar Court – Lady Andromeda and Lady Rhea.
"What are you doing with your noses stuck in books on such a gorgeous day?" Rhea's Outer accent gave her words a drawled-quality that, when Rhea was inclined, made the simplist comment bring blushes to the cheeks of young ladies everywhere.
"Studying, Rhea," Setsuna stood, arms crossed over her chest. "Andromeda, it's good to see you."
"You too, Setsuna," Andromeda called, twirling her parasol.
"Rhea, can you take me out in the boat?" Venus had left her seat and was standing at the end of the pier. "Please?" The golden princess were already taking off her shoes.
"Me too, Rhea!" Serenity was scrambling after Venus.
"Rhea still, huh?" The boat bobbed along to one side of the pier, Rhea looked up at Setsuna.
"I can only advise," Setsuna said calmly. "It is up to the Queen what she does with what she knows." To the girls on the pier, she frowned. "No sailing today."
"Please, Rhea," Venus clasped her hands. "Don't make me finish Geography!"
"Inanna, your lessons." Setsuna's voice was sharp. Everyone's gaze swung to her.
"You know my name?" Venus was curious now.
"Do you know mine?" Jupiter leant forward, offering Rhea a tempting view; at least, until Andromeda poked Rhea with her parasol.
"Our names haven't been spoken since we arrived here," Mercury said softly.
"You don't remember?" Setsuna looked surprised and then a flicker of sadness crossed her face. "No, of course not."
"Setsuna's psychic," Rhea supplied.
"Wow," Serenity looked up at her. "Can you tell us our fortunes?"
"No," Setsuna said simply. "Venus, Serenity, please return to your work."
"Why not?" Serenity asked, bordering on a whine.
"Setsuna only gives bad news," Rhea chuckled. "She told Andromeda her fortune once."
"Really?" Venus was gaping.
"Said I would fall in love and my heart would be broken," Andromeda stood up in the boat, the colour of the lake almost identical to her hair.
"How'd that go?" Rhea offered her a sidelong-gaze.
"My heart hasn't broken yet," Andromeda said sweetly.
"Excellent. Well now, Inanna, I shall give you that boat ride around the lake," Rhea turned to the girls on the pier.
Before she could reach out for Venus' hand, a wave from the lake rocked against the boat, sending Rhea in head first and Andromeda stayed in the boat, one eyebrow raised at Rhea's spluttering figure surfacing.
"That was entirely uncalled for," Rhea leant her arms against the side of the boat.
"I don't think it was," Andromeda flipped her teal hair over one shoulder. Rhea glowered at her for a moment before grinning evilly.
A gust of wind came over and hit the side of the boat, sending Andromeda into the water with a splash.
The girls in the summer house were giggling now, Setsuna rolling her eyes. Before anyone could say anything, Venus had leapt into the water as well, grabbing Serenity's wrist and dragging her in too.
"Serenity! Venus!" Setsuna sighed and threw her hands up. "Oh, I give up. You're a terrible influence, Rhea."
"I know. Isn't it awesome?" Rhea and Andromeda were treading water, whilst Serenity and Venus were splashing each other.
It didn't take long for Jupiter and Mercury to join Serenity and Venus; even Mars jumped in, even after she tried to stay and study, to do what she was expected to.
"Come on, Setsuna! Join the fun!" Rhea dunked Jupiter.
"I'm fine out here," Setsuna called back.
"Fine, stay on the sidelines," Rhea disappeared under the water, and didn't hear Setsuna's response.
"It's what I do."
Author's Notes: I'm not entirely happy with Venus' Silver Millennium name, so if anyone has any suggestions that haven't been used a dozen times, I'd be very grateful. Now, onto my question :) I really hate doing this in a fic, but I suppose if you've made it this far, you might be interested in reading more of my stuff? I've got four long chapter fics in planning stage and I'm curious to see which one you'd prefer to read. The options are a present-day story revolving around a new enemy and Setsuna's role in the Silver Millennium; a PGSM-inspired version of R and S; an AU-Supers, where Hotaru's mother lived that explores Saturn's link to the Grail; or a Silver Millennium fic about Saturn's life before the fall.
All thoughts or comments are always gladly recieved ^_^ Thank you for taking the time to read!