by Danny Lilithborne
Disclaimer: Characters are the creative property of Naoko Takeuchi; I am only using them in a non-profit fashion as a fan of "Sailor Moon". The song "Pale September" is from Fiona Apple's album "Tidal" and is (c) 1996 Epic Records. Reproduction of this story for profit is strictly forbidden. Publishing in websites or publication other than dotmoon, FanFiction, and The Circlet Project must be approved by the author.
Author's Note: This story was written as part of 2009's Fall Challenge for the Circlet Project; thanks to Jessica Pendragon for inspiring it.
The press was rather wild with excitement, and the flashes of photographic lenses wounded my eyes. Still, I faced them eagerly. I had announced a month ago the construction and development of a university in Japan, one unprecedented in scope that would guarantee a top-notch education in subjects of various importance to the world.
One who would not judge applicants by the scores on their entrance exams.
Since the name "Orikaza Hoshiko" had only just come into existence as a legal entity in Japan, I had absolutely no history in education, but I had a lot of money, and the educators who'd read my plan agreed that it made sense and it was only a matter of whether or not I could pull it off.
Of course, given the abilities I had over people's minds, it wasn't a huge surprise that I was allowed the territory and means to create my vision — the Ginkage daigaku, the Galaxy's Shadow University — but reporters were expected to have a lot of questions for me.
I answered them as best I could, knowing they would be back with more probing questions as the building got closer and closer to completion. Then I retired for the day, exhausted. Humans had powers to drain other beings' energies that they weren't even aware of.
Entering my office, I opened my drawers and took out some legal paperwork I'd need to look through, when the door was opened by one of my assistants, Nyanko Suzu.
"Suzu-san," I said as I shuffled through my papers. "What progress have we made today?"
"They tell me the construction work is nearly complete-nya," she said. "Would you like to visit the site, Galaxia-sama?"
I sighed and turned to my servant, flashing her a smile. "I told you before, Suzu-san. My name's Orikaza Hoshiko. While we live in this world, call me Orikaza. Use any honorific you want."
"Oh, I'm sorry-nya, Orikaza-sama," Suzu said, and bowed in embarassment. "Or... Orikaza-kouchou?"
"Whatever you wish," I replied, closing my eyes.
Suzu bowed. "Well... do you wish to visit, Orikaza-kouchou?"
I settled back in my chair a bit. "I'm still very tired from the day's events," I admitted. "I'll leave it to you, Suzu-san."
"Yes, Orikaza-kouchou." She walked out of the room. But before she was out the door, I thought of something important.
"Suzu-san?" I called.
"Nya?" she mewed, turning towards me.
I smiled again, facing her but with eyes closed. "Thank you for all your hard work," I said.
Even with my eyes closed, I sensed Suzu smiling, the bell on her brooch ringing. "Thank you, Galax... I mean, Orikaza-kouchou."
She closed the door behind her, and I opened my eyes slightly. I looked at my CD player. In this world, such a device was considered an antique, but I enjoyed having it. I hit "play" and listened to a particular song that I had been listening to repeatedly. It was in English, a language I had not yet entirely grasped, but in time I would learn it.
I thought of him...
I wore my time like a dress that year...
The autumn days swung soft around me
Like cotton on my skin...
There was much knowledge that humans had gained. They had used their powers of observation to build this base over many, many generations. As I read stories about medical, psychological and political theories, I found myself reminiscing over days past, when creatures from other planets had made their home on Earth.
History spoke nothing of these people, I found.
Still, I need to create classes based on the knowledge that humanity has collected, I sighed. Not on my own personal experiences and memories. And with any luck, if my hunch is right... we'll find them. The ones who understand the truth of this world... and fight for it...
"Galaxia-samaaaa!" another familiar voice called.
I sighed, feeling my heart flutter in my chest. "I know you are forgetful, Aya-san, but please remember... I'm Orikaza Hoshiko right now."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Aya apologized. "I've completed the medical curriculum as you've asked, Orikaza-sama. But I wanted to talk to you about something."
"I'm free to talk to you anytime you wish," I replied, turning to my servant. When she was Sailor Aluminum Seiren, I had treated her poorly, and caused her fear and pain. Even if her Star Seed wasn't with her at the same, her soul still remembered, I was sure. But when I'd revived my Animamates, they claimed they did not recall what they had done after I'd come to their planets.
In any case...
"Orikaza-sama, humanity's medical history is so very brutal," Aya explained. "I am not sure how I can create a class based on this. Especially those who wish to be surgeons. I do not understand how this can be considered healing."
"Aya-san," I said. "Humans have a great capacity for both nobility and cruelty. There were many in the past who sacrificed their own well-being so that humans could gain knowledge of the functions of the human body."
"But why?" Aya did not seem to understand. "It looks so painful."
I touched my hands together and closed my eyes. Truth be told, I didn't understand it either. There was much illness in this world that I'd been restored in. And through my eyes, it was — all of it — self-created. Surgery was tragically unnecessary.
"This is a world of limitations, Aya-san," I explained with a heavy-hearted sigh. "The most difficult thing to do with one's life is to heal. The body hides many mysteries and tragedies in even its cells. To enter that realm of uncertain futures and pain... we have to honor their choice, and teach as best we can."
Aya sighed. "I do not understand, Orikaza-sama," she said. "I will study until I find the answer, as you've told me to."
"Give your concerns to God," I suggested. "He'll always listen."
Aya brightened up a bit. "When you talk like that, I believe you," she said. "Sayonara, Galaxia-sama!"
I sighed as she left, even though it was a bemused sigh. 'Nuka ni kugi', was it? I returned to my music.
But as the embers of the summer
Lost their breath and disappeared
My heart went cold
And only hollow rhythms resounded from within
But then he rose, brilliant as the moon in full
And sank in the burrows of my keep...
The structure of my school had formed, and now the construction workers were building its frames and laying down the pipework and other things required for it to function. I watched them work and said a silent prayer to the humans who made this all possible. Each one of them would be contributing to the safety of the future of mankind, even if they only knew that they were building another school.
Now, one of the other Animamates approached me. Akane Karasuma was overseeing the construction, using the power of her intuition. I wasn't sure about it, but she reassured me that she understood and would do a great job.
"Things are going ahead of schedule," she said. "The main halls of Ginkage University should be done in a matter of months, Orikaza-sama."
"Thank you, Karasuma-san," I said. "It's nice when things go our way."
Karasuma had been the most difficult to recover. It was thought that her essence had been devoured by a Black Hole that Suzu had carelessly let free. I used much of my energy trying to pull her out of that place. Even walking was difficult for me right now. But it was okay. My recovery was going quicker than planned, too.
"Orikaza-sama, can I talk to you privately?"
"What is this regarding, Karasuma-san?" I asked.
"We are concerned for your health," Karasuma whispered.
I sighed quietly. If the Animamates were concerned, it could only be because I was concerned. Despite occasional bouts of insubordination that happened when I wasn't present, they had to obey my commands. Ultimately, they were subservient to my will, something I couldn't change when I recovered them after the final cycle of the Sailor Wars.
"Come with me," I said, and opened a portal that led to my inner chamber.
None of the workers noticed, of course; they were too busy with their jobs. If anyone were to see it, I would cause them not to remember. I had that kind of power.
Power ill gotten...
Within the Seal of Tiresias, where I continued to primarily reside, space and time were one. I still had my throne, and I walked towards it in my true form of Sailor Galaxia, my hair now vibrant as a flame of fire.
Akane Karasuma was in her true form too: Sailor Lead Crow. She had requested that her uniform remain leather-themed; after all, she wasn't a true Sailor Senshi, just a supporting player. Of course, it was through my will that she was allowed to perceive herself as having any personality at all.
Just who exactly do you think you are, anyway? was my thought. Ever since Eternal Sailor Moon restored my sanity, I had no choice but to wrestle with these questions, as even my immense powers were not ready at this point to confront the new nightmare.
"Galaxia-sama," Lead Crow bowed.
"Lead Crow, thank you for your concern," I said and smiled gently. "My blood flow is still very slow, but power is slowly returning to me."
"It's more than that, though," Lead Crow said, and lowered her eyes. "You're our Princess now, Galaxia-sama. And we all have noticed. You are very sorrowful. You seem to be forgetting something important."
"I found you, Aluminum Seiren, Tin Nyanko and Iron Mouse," I said, counting on my fingers. "Those are all the Animamates that served me, right?"
"That's not what I meant," Lead Crow said. "You seem to be very sad and lonely. But when we try to stay with you for long periods of time, you say you need us to complete the university."
"It's not that I don't enjoy your company," I explained. "I can focus my power better when I'm alone. You know that we need all our powers when the new nightmare arrives."
"What can you tell us about the new nightmare?" Lead Crow asked.
"My memories are still muddled," I said with a sigh. I compulsively held my hand to my head, feeling dizzy.
"I'm sorry... I've exceeded my place, Galaxia-sama." Lead Crow then bowed. "I'll get back to work right away."
"Thank you, Lead Crow," I said, and then mustered a smile.
As she disappeared, I crossed my hands together. This would not have happened had you simply accepted the rule of God, Adam, I thought to myself. Instead, You chose the path of evil, and all of this happened. Now, I won't know how to fight the threats that confront the people of this world, until pain has already been inflicted. Pain that cannot be undone.
Even with my great power, I...
Now, with my earthly concerns my focus, I once again took my human form, and was sitting in my office. My compact disc player, still playing that same song, reminding me of my brief, blissful period with the man I had once called "husband".
All my armor falling down
In a pile at my feet
And my winter giving way to warm
As I'm singing him to sleep...
"Adam... I'm sorry. I was told that I would gain knowledge, but... but now I just..."
"You fool, Hawwa. You can't hide the truth from me! You wanted that knowledge that God has over us. I won't have you keep that from me!"
"Adam... wait! It's not like that! It wasn't like that. I just..."
I was powerless, though. He had taken the fruit and ate of it. And when God found us, I was without excuse.
"I will not accept this companion You created for me!" Adam shouted. "She has led me to ruin!"
"I apologize for him, Hawwa," God said to me as we were cast out. "Please forgive me... but I will bring to you far greater peace than Adam, who must be reborn again and again until he learns the truth that knowledge has stolen from him."
"Even if he forgets You?" I said, with a hint of sadness.
"He will, but you won't... that's the vow you made to Me, Hawwa."
And so it was that I was on the battlefield, the Sword of Sealing in my hand, a weapon forged by the power of God's angels. In a world that had forgotten its origins, I was forced to brandish my fangs against the civilization that my former husband had created.
"You are fools to oppose me!" I shouted. "Run back before it's too late!"
"We won't be swayed by your words!" my opponents shouted at me. "Come, men! She is only one woman!"
And in a matter of moments, their bloodied bodies were before me. They were weaklings before my knowledge and strength.
Unable to hold myself back, I laughed. The power to end life... worthless life that cursed God's Name. It was truly lovely! I was the strongest in this universe!
And as I laughed, with Death sealed within me, I wondered if I could ever find anyone to oppose me, who could return justice to this world.
"Galaxia... why have you forgotten Me?..."
I was awoken by the voice of Nezu Chuuko.
"Orikasa-sama, it's the beginning of another day."
I had fallen asleep in my chair again. I held my hand to my nose and took a deep breath. Sweat. I'd been having another nightmare, and ruined another business suit.
"Forgive me, Nezu-san," I said, getting up. "I'm going to need a shower."
"Before you do, there's something that needs your attention," Nezu said. "I've been going over applications to the university, and there's one in particular that..."
"I understand," I interrupted her, and sighed once more. "I'm sorry, Nezu-san, but I truly need some water over my head before I think about such things. I promise to see to it when I'm done, okay?"
"Yes, Orikaza-sama," Nezu said, bowing. "I'll leave you to it, then."
I walked away and gave the onetime Sailor Iron Mouse a smile. She blushed. I just closed my eyes and proceeded to the bathroom.
Water splashed over my human body.
At one point, I had lost my humanity. Back then, I did not need water to remain clean. I only had to emit a constant flow of energy, and the impurities of my body would be released. But now, things were different.
The bracelets on my body reminded me that I had no subconscious. I had to keep my body together by force of will. My nude body was beautiful to normal sight, but I was aware that they hid imperfections.
My heart was not beating at a normal human rate, since I had to constantly pump it myself, with my own mind. It would develop into a habit with time, but until then, I would have to feel my blood pressure drop low before I remembered it was time to beat my heart.
Other organs were not functioning at maximum capacity. My lungs were not flexible enough yet to support a full-scale combat mission. My brain had not yet developed long-term memory capacity. My kidneys were not filtering my blood at the level I would like. It would have to do, though.
The water, however, that washed over my skin gave me a feeling of renewal, and faith that my body would soon heal to an adequate condition for what I must do.
I stared at the shampoo bottle. Having to use a whole bottle a day was a pain, but my hair being as long as it was, I had little choice. It's not like I could cut it...
As I scrubbed the solution into my hair, I paid attention to the song that was still playing on the CD player that I had brought with me to the bathroom, still playing my favorite song as I flew through this September.
He goes along just as a water lily
Gentle on the surface of his thoughts,
his body floats...
When I was dressed and returned to my office, Nezu and Aya were waiting for me.
"So, what's this about an applicant that merits my attention?" I asked.
"Well, one applicant named Mizuno Ami is quite exceptional," Nezu said. "Near-perfect grades throughout her school career, scored one of the top grades on her entrance exams, goes to many cram schools. But when Aya-san saw her photograph, she said something looked familiar."
"I can't put my finger on it," Aya said. "But I've seen this girl before."
The photograph betrayed her secret to me very well, though, and I knew that Aluminum Seiren and Iron Mouse could see it, too. This young woman was Sailor Mercury, without a doubt. But I chose not to verbalize this knowledge just yet.
"She's applying to the medical program, yes?" I asked.
"That's right," Aya replied.
"We have to take measures to ensure that she'll come to this university," I went on. "I believe that she may have the potential to be what we've been searching for. Nezu-san, scout other universities in Tokyo to see what their databases contain."
"Yes, ma'am," Nezu said.
"Aya-san, notify Karasuma-san. I need her to hack into databases on the Internet to search for this Mizuno Ami, as well."
"As you wish," Aya said.
"If that will be all, I need some time alone," I went on. "I have to collect more information on this world."
Aya and Nezu bowed and disappeared. I'd purchased some books and, while I did plan on reading them, my mind was occupied with the song. I would not learn English simply by listening to it over and over again, but the sounds of the singer's voice gave me comfort.
by passion or intensity
Yet unaware of the depths
upon which he coasts...
"Stop this! Why? We're friends."
"Friends, huh?" The rougher voice.
A laugh. "I'll take your Star Seed before you feel any pain." The more mature voice.
The two traitors laughed together.
"Just because we're friends, though."
"I believe in you, Uranus and Neptune."
"Is that so?"
"Wait." I'd had enough of this children's show.
My laughter was bitter and derisive as I hid familiar tears. "Are you an idiot? You say you believe in them, even now? You watched them defeat and kill your allies with your own eyes! This is reality!"
I cast my eyes on Eternal Sailor Moon. Help me.
But then Chaos asserted control over me. "Could it be... you still believe this star can be saved?"
Her answer was unyielding in its resolve. "I do!"
My laughter couldn't be held back anymore. Princess Serenity hadn't grown at all. She was still the same child who thought sacrificing her life for other people's happiness would help anything.
"Take their Star Seeds later, Uranus, Neptune. Right now, these people need a reality check."
Don't make me laugh, I muttered as I walked away. Friendship was truly a weak illusion after all.
"If you killed him, you'd never be happy... even in the next life..."
"Tokyo daigaku", I whispered aloud. I was studying other schools in the area and their application process. It was well known that Japanese students went through an excruciating process as they were pushed into higher and higher degrees of excellence, and those without the mental stability to keep up would have no place in their society. My school hoped to alleviate that.
Remember, finding those people is not the only reason why you've returned to this planet, I reminded myself. I have a huge debt to the people of this world, more than I could ever repay. But I will not be able to live with myself if I do not try.
"Animamates," I called aloud, as my office transformed itself into the throne room of my true self, the immortal guardian Sailor Galaxia.
Sailors Lead Crow, Aluminum Seiren, Tin Nyanko and Iron Mouse appeared before me. Their eyes were blank, their hearts completely receptive. Whatever I had done to them to give them the powers of Sailor Soldiers had altered their consciousness. I deeply disliked molding their minds, but when I rescued them, this was the state they were in, and they had sworn fealty to me.
To deprive them of that now...
"The knowledge that the people of Earth have obtained is massive, far more than we could catch up on ourselves," I said. "To that end, to achieve our mission, we need specialists with the desire to educate, who are open-minded and open-hearted. We need strong humans with a high level of spirituality, and a deep well of knowledge. Such people will be difficult to find."
"I have recognized people who may qualify," Iron Mouse said. "But there is a language barrier. Japanese is not an easy language to learn."
"We learned the language, along with the other travellers to Earth from the world of darkness," I replied.
"Yes, but we were not brought up in the culture of Earth," Lead Crow responded. "The humans are creatures of habit. When confronted with something they do not believe, they can easily convince themselves that it was their imagination."
"I fail to see how this interferes with our plans," I muttered, my patience wearing thin.
"I-I apologize for Lead Crow, Galaxia-sama!" Aluminum Seiren gasped. "I..."
I quickly regained my temper. "No, it is I who should apologize. I am still suffering from the effects that Chaos had on my body. It is... it is difficult to keep my perspective."
"You're tired, Galaxia-sama," Tin Nyanko said, hands crossed. "Perhaps we should discuss this tomorrow. We are ahead of schedule, after all."
"I don't want to put this off," I sighed. "The new nightmare might come at us at any time, and we won't be prepared. I cannot have any more harm come to this star."
But it was a foregone conclusion. I was done for the day, and my comrades could see it.
"Galaxia-sama, you've blessed us with new lives, even after we betrayed you," Iron Mouse said.
"When did you do that?" My voice was weary as I covered my face. "I'm the one who is being shown grace. For you all to pledge your allegiance to me after what I did to you..."
"That's all in the past, Galaxia-sama," Aluminum Seiren said, ever cheerful. "We can do more for you as living souls than as mere memories, right?"
Like me, the Animamates had no Star Seeds. To live upon the planet Earth, the blue star, they had to, like me, wear soul-sealing bracelets to prevent their forms from dissipating. The power that Eternal Sailor Moon had let me borrow allowed me to revive them after the Final Sailor Wars.
"Why do you serve me?" I used the last amount of my energy for the day to ask them this question. "Knowing what I was trying to accomplish... could I not be manipulating you even now?"
"We didn't choose to be Sailor Soldiers to gain power," Lead Crow said.
"We did it out of a desire to help all of life," Aluminum Seiren went on.
"The four of us were poor, desperate mortals in the past, but you gave us a path to glory that we could not find on our own," Iron Mouse added.
"And as the Sailor Soldiers of our planets showed us forgiveness after the wars... how could we do any less for you?" Tin Nyanko completed the thought.
I closed my eyes as my consciousness swam and my body could handle no more input. "Thank you. You may go."
"Yes, Galaxia-sama," the four said and vanished simulanteously.
And as I dreamt, the song went on and on...
And he finds a home in me
For what misfortune he sows
He knows my touch will reap...
"Thank you, Sailor Moon. You've saved this galaxy from chaos with your gentle, shining light. But... where do you think Chaos went?"
"I think it returned to where it belongs."
"Where it belongs?"
"Yes... back within everyone's hearts."
"Then, will it happen again?"
"Let's believe in them. The ones that love their world. Don't worry! The Light of Hope is within everyone's hearts as well!"
"You're very strong. But what I did cannot be repaired."
"There's still a chance for you to make amends. Now, guide the Star Seeds home so they don't get lost!"
"Thank you, Sailor Moon..."
Yes, it was a massive job to return all the Star Seeds to where they belonged. But first, I had a very important task.
To return the shines that resided on the blue star. To restore the golden shine...
To create a miracle.
This was the task now in my hands. Who would have ever thought the Sailor Soldier of Destruction capable of such a thing? But now, I must do so, to repay my debt to the star who saved me...
Author's Note: This story is preparing for future stories, but I'm not certain when I'll begin the project. So take this as a standalone for the time being. ~dl~