Title: Beautifully Terrifying
Disclaimer: I don't own anything about Sailor Moon
Authors Notes: Here it is, my newest story. I hope I haven't been keeping you guys waiting to long. For those of you who were waiting for Trials of Innocence. Don't worry, I'm still working on it. But you know how it is. You're writing a story, then you get this great idea for another one, so you write the outline. Then you can't get it out of your head, so you decide to take a quick breather from one story and finish another. I couldn't get this story out of my head, so here it is. Trials of Innocence will come next, and then after that Kingdom of Treason 2 (or whatever I call it), and I am still working on finishing Dark Deceiver.
This story, like my others, doesn't really have a time period. If some things don't make sense, don't worry about it so much and just go with the flow. If you have questions, please ask and I'll try to answer them all to the best of my ability. I'm sure things in my mind are much clearer than I've written them.
Please let me know what you think. It means so much to me when I get reviews.
Oh, and one other thing. This story is completely and utterly outside the Sailor Moon world. The only think that has anything to do with Sailor Moon, is the characters. Don't expect a princess or Sailor Scouts, they're not going to be present.
Serenity smiled into the warm sunshine that soaked into her skin, bronzing it with it's glimmering rays. The light of the day seeped into every corner of the valley, heating every inch until the air itself drifted by in a lazy daze. She sighed as a bird flew slowly past, getting to its destination in no great hurry. This was her idea of heaven on earth, a golden grassy field in the glimmering heat of the eternal sun.
"What do you think Onyx," she said looking at her horse casually eating grass a few feet away. He looked at her, flicking his ears lightly before bending back down to continue his lazily graze.
"That's just what I thought," she said with a giggle.
The day moved by slowly, as if everything had decided that today was simply too hot to do anything of immense importance. The animals walked slowly, sitting by the river and cooling themselves in the little bit of shade.
Serenity watched the world pass by, letting each minute soak into her without affecting her in the slightest as the sun chased away any darkness she might have every felt within her. She didn't move, half sleeping her way through the heat. In her mind, everything was warm and covered with light.
She sighed with complete content, and let the day waste away around her.
Shadows had started to snake out from the line of trees as the sun moved slowly to the edge of the sky, getting ready to go to sleep as it did every night. Serenity stretched her long limps, feeling rested and warm.
"I guess we should head back."
Onyx looked towards the sun, as if he had understood her very word and partly agreed with them. She just smiled as she pushed herself up and walked towards him, not bothering to climb onto his back, instead just walking slightly in front of him back towards home.
The village she lived in was beautiful. She couldn't help but love it more every time she returned after spending a day away. The small little homes cluttered together, ringed with farmland that everyone helped to work. Children laughed in the street, running around in constant game as their parents talked and worked in complete harmony. There was only one word that truly described her home. Peaceful. There was no hate, no worrying and no fear. Everyone knew everyone, and there were not real enemies to be seen anywhere.
"Serenity, where have you been?"
Serenity cringed as her thoughts were brought to a crashing halt at the shrill voice of her guardian Luna. The tall beautiful pale woman stood with her hands on her hips and her wavy black hair floating around her delicately.
She looked terrifying.
"You better explain yourself young lady."
Onyx flicked his tail at the voice and she stroked his neck to calm him.
"I was in the lower field."
Serenity gulped. It was clear she was in trouble right now, but she wasn't really sure why. It wasn't unusual that she wandered away from the village on the days she didn't have as much work to do. Sometimes Luna got annoyed about it, but she hadn't gotten angry about it for years.
"I was just…..sitting in the sun."
"There is sunlight here," Luna argued.
Serenity opened her mouth to say something, but closed it silently.
Luna sighed. "Serenity, why would you think wandering off on your own is still safe after last week?"
"Oh," Serenity said as realization hit her.
"Those monsters killed five men. Men! Serenity. What chance would you have of fighting them?"
"I'm sorry," she said softly. "I didn't think…"
"No, you didn't think. You never do," Luna said, her eyes worried. "Just promise me you'll be more careful, and stay close to home from now on. I know that you are a child of the sunlight Serenity, but you'll just have to make due with the sun up here."
Serenity nodded, feeling terrible for making Luna worry.
"I really didn't mean to put myself in danger," she said sadly.
All the anger in Luna melted away, and she smiled gently at her ward. "Come here," she said holding her arms out and then wrapping them around the young girl, holding her tightly. "I just don't want anything to happen to you."
"I know," Serenity said softly.
They just hugged each other, Luna with relief and Serenity with guilt.
"Oh good, you found her."
The two turned and looked at the tall man who had just come around the corner. Serenity immediately smiled.
"Sorry Artemis, I didn't mean to scare anyone."
He smiled his beautiful smile and she knew he wasn't angry with her. "We were just worried. With things happening right now, it's best to stay together at all times. As soon as we separate, they will see our weaknesses."
"Well, now that everything is back to normal, I will leave you two ladies for the night and return to my own home," he said with a soft bow, smiling gently at Luna who blushed lightly and looked at her hands.
His eyes twinkled lightly at her reaction, and he gave Serenity a soft smile before turning to leave.
"Bye Artemis," Serenity waved lightly.
She watched him walk away, his tall lean frame moving gracefully back into the street and away from their house. His beautiful silky white hair drifted around him softly.
"He really is handsome," Serenity said, looking at Luna.
Luna just blushed and started towards the house. "I suppose he is."
"Serenity, we're not finished dealing with your punishment," she said softly.
"You can punish me all you want, but I know you think he's handsome."
"Artemis is a perfect gentleman," Luna said as she locked the door behind them. "I would not wish to disgrace him by speaking of him so plainly while he is not in our presence."
"Then I'll just call him back for dinner, and you can explain to him personally what you make of his appearance."
"Oh Serenity, stop. Go wash up for dinner."
"I'm just saying," Serenity smiled, shrugging lightly, "It wouldn't be a bad thing, if you did like him."
"Serenity, enough," Luna said crossing her arms. "Artemis is a friend."
Serenity sighed. "Alright, if you say so."
"Go and wash up. Andrew is putting Onyx back in the stable so you won't have to go out again."
"But I like taking care of Onyx," she said.
Luna just gave her a look and Serenity rolled her eyes.
Luna had all but adopted her pretty much at birth. Her mother, who had been Luna's best friend, had died giving birth. For a few days, it was too painful for Luna to care for the child, but she had realized quickly that her love for her friend transferred to her friends child without flaw, and she had never looked back. Luna was the only mother she had ever known, and although Luna made sure Serenity knew the identity of her real mother, she looked upon Serenity as her daughter.
Serenity went to her room and kicked off her shoes and letting them roll across the room and come to a half-hazard stop. She pulled her hair down from it's loose mess, and let it fall easily down her back in golden waves.
She heard the soft knocking on her window.
Serenity smiled, made sure her door was closed, and quickly opened it to reveal a handsome blond haired man with mischievous green eyes.
"Hey Andrew," she said coyly.
"Was she really mad?" He asked teasingly.
Serenity shrugged. "Just because I risked my safety, I can't blame her for that."
"It was a pretty stupid thing to do," he sad pinching her arm.
Serenity smacked him lightly. "I didn't mean to."
"You never do."
"Is this visit for a reason, or am I just being graced with her less than charming presence."
Andrew rolled his eyes, but his smile never faded. "Your so thoughtful with your compliments."
"I live for them," she said with a giggle.
"Actually, I wanted to tell you something. I heard that the reason Artemis was gone all last week was to go to town. Apparently, he needed to purchase something that he couldn't find here, and he wanted it to be extra special."
Serenity's eyes lit up. "What was it?"
"Nobody knows," Andrew said shrugging. "But I think it's for Luna."
Serenity couldn't hide her excitement. "You think it's a ring?"
"I think it might be."
"Oh my! I have to tell her."
"No!" He said grabbing her arm. "Serenity, you know you can't."
"But if she's caught of guard, she might say no."
"Why?" Andrew asked.
"Because," she said, her smile fading. "She…..well we…..she's afraid, because of what happened before."
"But it's been years since you guys left that guy."
"Yeah," Serenity said. "But that doesn't mean that the wounds are all healed. She loves Artemis, I know it. But her last husband was abusive, and when he turned on me Luna took me and ran away. Technically, she' still married. But if she has time to think about it, she might realize that Artemis is great and it doesn't matter."
Andrew furrowed his brow. "You think if he asks her she'll think of her first marriage and freeze?"
"Maybe," Serenity said.
Andrew sighed. "We don't even know if he got her a ring, so maybe we shouldn't say anything at all."
"Do you think he really loves her?"
"I have no doubt about it," Andrew said.
"Serenity?" Luna's voice drifted through the house.
"Go!" she said pushing Andrew away from her window. "Hurry. I'll see you tomorrow."
Andrew gave her a grin, winked at her, and then ran off just as Luna knocked on her door and came in.
"What are you doing?"
"Just looking at the trees," she said.
"Well come on, dinners ready."
She followed Luna into the kitchen where the wonderful smells of dinner wafted around their small place. Serenity smiled as she watched Luna set the food out, smiling to herself lightly. The thoughts of their past, only moments ago, didn't seem to matter anymore. Here they had friends around every corner, loving and caring. There was no one to hurt them or cast them away. Here they could be themselves, and grown and live together in complete happiness.
And Serenity thought that it was time Luna found happiness again.
They ate dinner together, as they always did, laughing like friends and respecting like family. They didn't pretend to be mother and daughter, but they had that bond. Luna believed in setting an example, and it had proved to work wonderfully as Serenity had grown up. She was still young, but she was kind and gentle, and trusting almost to a fault.
They cleaned up quickly, and then went into the sitting room together, comfortably settling in for a quiet evening.
Serenity sat in the armchair, looking out the window at the moon and stars shining brightly in the sky. She smiled at how peaceful they looked, calm and graceful in the waning light.
"It's quiet tonight," Serenity said softly.
Luna looked up from her book where she sat beside the small fire. Her eyes glittering as they took in the light.
"People have started locking their doors at night. It's only to be expected."
"Do you really think we're in danger?"
Luna sighed. "The village that was attacked is a few miles from here, but it's a short enough distance that we should be weary."
"I just don't understand it," she said sighing. "What could be out there that's cruel enough to kill people, mindlessly? Andrew said he thinks it's werewolves, from the stories. He says they were brought forth by the madness of the moon, and they can't help their animal instincts any more than we can help our compassion."
She looked at Luna, who was watching her with worry in her eyes.
"I've also heard that it's a cruel prank to punish us for something our ancestors did to this land."
"Come away from the window Serenity," Luna said gently.
Serenity looked at her confused. "Why?"
"Please, do as I ask," Luna said again.
Serenity didn't answer. She looked again at the moon quickly before standing up and pulling the shutters closed, and then walking over to Luna to sit on the floor in front of her. Luna gathered Serenity's long blond hair onto her lap, and started combing it softly.
"Your hair is getting so long again," she said, smiling affectionately.
Serenity nodded. "It seems every time we cut it, it just grows even longer again."
"Perhaps it doesn't want to be shorter."
"I could never just let it grow," she laughed lightly. "It would be down to my ankles in no time, and that would simply be to much. I would trip on it if I let it down, and if I tied it up, my head would fall off from the weight."
Luna laughed lightly. "But what a sight it would be. A waterfall of the most beautiful golden hair anyone has ever seen. Just like your mothers."
Serenity smiled at the mention of her mother. "Did you ever brush her hair as you always do mine?"
"Every night we spent together," Luna said. "I often stayed with her family after your father died, to give her what comfort I could. When she was upset, it soothed her."
"You say I look like her?" Serenity asked.
Luna nodded. "You are her exact image in almost every way."
"You have your fathers eyes," Luna gently tugged on her hair. "Blue, like the sky on the clearest summer day. You father was such a gentle man, and you could see every emotion he possessed in his eyes."
"It makes it hard to hide what I'm feeling," Serenity said.
"And it did for him as well. It is why your mother loved him."
Serenity wished she'd known her parents. Everything she heard about them said that they were the most wonderful people, but she didn't have a single memory of them. It saddened her, to know that they had died before being able to watch her grow, but she couldn't honestly wish to give up her time with Luna either.
"Let's go to bed Serenity. It's bound to be an early morning and you need your rest."
They said their good nights, and Serenity found herself once again in her bedroom, looking out towards the dark forest that lined their back yard. The darkness was an inky black, and the moon was loosing its strength.
Serenity shivered at the sudden chill in the air.
She heard Luna walking around, putting things away and locking the doors tightly. She heard the scrape of the bolt being locked, and the stillness of the house that came with the knowledge of being confined. It made it seems worse, thinking you had to lock your doors.
The night moved outside. She felt the short hairs rise on her neck and arms, and quickly pulled her window closed, locking it tightly. Usually she liked night, but something about tonight was off. It was like there wasn't enough air, and the danger was invisible. She pulled her covers up around her, and closed her eyes in the darkness.
Serenity opened her eyes, feeling groggy and heavy, as if she hadn't slept at all. She moaned and looked around. The darkness of the room startled her.
She sat up quickly.
The night still hung off the world stiffly, as if it had just settled. Her mind swirled around her, still trying to wake up and not used to the sudden jolt into the wakeful life. She was confused. What had awoken her?
Serenity jumped at the sound of the front door crashing open. Her heartbeat thudded in her chest and her limbs refused to move.
His voice immediately calmed her, but confused her even more. She quickly pulled on her robe and ran into the front room where Luna met her. Artemis stood there, his usually perfectly straight hair slightly messed, like he himself had just gotten out of bed, and his usually calm eyes worried and almost frantic.
"Hurry, we need to go."
"What's happening Artemis," Luna said with wide eyes.
"We're under attack, I need to get you out of here, now," he said grabbing Serenity's arm and pulling her to the door. Luna hurried behind, holding tightly to Artemis's other hand.
Serenity felt like she couldn't breath. She was thrust into the coolness of the night, her bare feet hitting the slightly damp earth and shooting adrenaline through her body so that her heart beat faster than she thought possible. She could feel the blood pumping through her body, pounding in her head. Before she could even think, Andrew was in front of her, and lifting her onto Onyx. He jumped up to sit on the great black horse behind her.
She was terrified.
Andrew reached around her, holding her tightly to his chest and holding the reigns in front of her, pushing the horse to a sudden run.
And then she saw the fire.
Serenity felt like the world had frozen.
The sounds of screaming completely circled her.
"Go Andrew, into the woods. Follow the lead," Artemis yelled.
Artemis never yelled. He never raised his voice.
"Luna?" Serenity found that her voice was hoarse, and she couldn't control it. Panic gripped her and she stiffened in Andrew's embrace.
He had to yell at her over the noise of the chaos around them. "Artemis as her."
She could hardly nod, hardly let him know that she had heard him at all.
Onyx jolted under her, taking a hard turn so suddenly that she nearly fell off him. If it hadn't been for Andrew holding her so tightly to him, she might have been thrown from the horse. But when Onyx reared, she instinctively grabbed hold of his mane, feeling his panic surge through her.
There was the most terrifying sound. A deathly scream, scorching the air. It sounded like metal screeching against metal, to loud and to inhuman to be something she had ever even imagined.
She couldn't look. She was frozen as the world around her spun in a blur of fire, people running, and ghostly shapes. She clutch Onyx tightly, and felt Andrew hold her to him with all his strength.
And then they were running.
The forest came at them as if she were falling, and they crashed into it in a frenzied panic. Branches whipped at them, cutting her face and scratching at her arms. But they kept running. The speed was break neck, and the ground raced under them as nothing more than a blur.
The screeching sound overwhelmed her sense, and the fear kept her body rigid.
And then another sound beside her. It had to be another horse. She closed her eyes and prayed that it was. Andrew yelled, and there was the sound of someone drawing a sword.
She screamed as something hit the side of the horse, jostling them back almost off the animal. Serenity clutched tightly to Onyx, willing herself to stay on the horse as he reared up in terror. As it landed, and she was jolted harshly once again, she opened her eyes.
A black blue of a giant creature screeched past them, and it howled into the night, shattering the air itself.
And then the darkness gave way to Artemis on his silky white horse.
For a moment all she could to was stare at him, holding Luna tightly behind him and gripping his bloodied sword at his side. His white hair glowed in the midnight darkness, and his eyes were almost wild. The usually calm, calculated Artemis.
And then they were running again.
"Hold on Serenity," Andrew yelled at her, hurting her ears.
She tried to force herself to breath.
The night circled them, making it impossible to see where they were going.
The sounds of those things, those animals, sounded again. This time, at a bit of a distance.
They road forever. The night was so dark, she couldn't tell even which direction they were headed.
She closed her eyes, willing this dream to be finished.
Suddenly, the stillness around her was frightening. As they lept through the trees making crashing noises that echoed through the forest.
And then there were other voices.
All around her she could hear them. Voices of children crying, of women sobbing. Voices she recognized but couldn't place. They were all running. They were all running for their lives.
Andrew slowed Onyx down a little, but the horse was too scared to stop running.
"Where are we going?" She whispered.
He didn't hear her. Nobody heard her.
So they just ran blindly.
The world rushed past them, disappearing as fast as it appeared.
Serenity couldn't focus.
She needed to stop. She needed to stop and catch her breath so she could grasp the situation, but she was afraid. If they stopped, what would happen?
For hours Onyx ran, unrelenting and unwilling to catch his own breath. The night loomed on, stretching in front of her like an unending tunnel leading to nothing. She felt like time had stopped completely. It wasn't possible that this night was never-ending. Reality seemed to sucked away, unwillingly.
Slowly, she began to weary.
Onyx started to slow.
The rhythm slowly became smooth.
When the fear had started to leave her, she felt her body go numb. She wasn't relaxed, not even close, but she felt almost as if she had lost control completely and she had no feeling whatsoever.
Andrew leaned against her, speaking into her ear, into her hair.
"It's going to be alright," he said in his gentle voice. "I won't let you get hurt."
His arms stayed around her, protecting her.
"We'll get through this."
She drifted away at his words, feeling her body simply give into exhaustion. She didn't sleep, she could hardly sleep, she just drifted. She drifted into the darkness, unable to find the will to pull herself away from it. It surrounded her until it was all she could feel or see.
In a strange way, it was peaceful.
Serenity was jolted awake when Onyx finally stopped.
The day was gray. The night had finally given way to very early morning.
"Where are we?"
Serenity looked over at Luna who sat behind Artemis on his own shimmering white horse. She felt immensely relieved to see her. Looking around, they were not alone. A few horses stood around, holding families and children. Some were wounded, and some were perhaps dead. People stood around, and she wondered how they had kept up with the sprinting horses. There were so few of them. Maybe thirty all together.
Had the rest died? Were the lost in the forest somewhere?
"I didn't know this place existed," someone said from behind her.
Serenity turned to look, but Andrew blocked her. He was so close to her, smiling down at her, looking so tired. His beautiful green eyes weary, and his blond hair wind swept and wild. Her back against his chest was warm, and she felt safe, if only for this moment.
In front of her there were gates. Huge, iron, black gates that loomed above them, unrelenting. Through the gates, and hidden in the darkness of this part of the forest, was the biggest house she had ever seen.
It was completely black.
"I have never even imagined a place as evil as this." Someone said.
"Do you think someone lives here?"
Nobody answered. The truth was, nobody could imagine anyone living in such a dark place. Surely the sun couldn't even penetrate the canvas of the trees. The earth was almost black with mud, and all the life that grew in the forest seemed menacing.
"Nobody could live all the way out here," Andrew said. His voice rumbled through her, vibrating through his chest.
A man she knew from the house a few down from hers stepped forward, pushing on the gates. They didn't budge. Another man grabbed a stick, and banged on them, trying to get the attention of anyone who might be inside.
"If it's abandoned, it might be a good place to stay until we get our bearings," Artemis said.
"How will we get in? This gate surrounds it?" Someone asked.
Serenity felt very small right now. Her bare feet touched Onyx, and she could feel how hot he was from his over exertion. She hoped that he would be alright and that he hadn't gone to far. Fear could be a deadly thing, and it would break her heart if he was hurt because of it.
They tried to get in, they really did. Some tried to climb the gate, but it was too high. Some tried to look for a way through, but there was none. As the day somehow moved on, never becoming lighter than the dim gray that it had been when it arrived, they started to talk about moving on.
When Andrew got of the horse, Serenity immediately missed his warmth. He gently reached up and grabbed her, pulling her quickly back into his embrace and off of Onyx.
She clung to him, unable to stand on her own.
"Are you alright?" He asked her in a soothing voice.
She could only nod. Her voice had left her, gone with the frantic chaos of what had happened. She wished she wasn't as terrified as she was, but she could not stop her eyes from staying wide as she watched everyone try and get through the gate.
She looked back into the trees behind them, and couldn't see where they had come from. She shivered, feeling as if eyes were on her, watching her. It wasn't safe here. If those things were still out there, it would be easy for them to follow their scent. Andrew kept her pulled tightly to him, and she could feel his breath in her hair. His strong chest and stomach was pressed firmly against her, and his arms wrapped around her. But still, she couldn't feel safe so out in the open.
They circled the place, looking for a way in. There was none.
They tried to get the attention of anyone in the house, but nothing moved. There was no light on, and no life at all. There was nothing.
When the world started getting dark again, Serenity looked around in fear. She had thought it was still morning.
"The trees are to dense to let the sun through," Andrew said, following her gaze. "We traveled through most of the day."
"Set up camp," Artemis said in his smooth calm voice. "We can't travel through the night again, it isn't safe."
There was a murmur of fear around, and Serenity couldn't help the whimper escape her through. She didn't like the idea of standing still. They should be on the run. Whatever was out there was still out there, and it might not be satisfied with the people it had already killed.
She felt tears start to fall down her face, and she couldn't stop them. She didn't make a sound, but she couldn't stop them. Andrew kissed her forehead gently and pulled her to him tightly, but his comfort wasn't enough. Even when she saw Artemis hold Luna's hand tightly, she couldn't find any happiness at all. Last night she had gone to bed feeling happy and content, with those she loved around her. And today……..it was like another life.
End of Chapter One!!!
Please Review!!! I truly want to know what you think about the first chapter.