A young boy ran frantically through the palace. A mob had gathered outside, and judging by the howls of pain he could hear from the guardsmen, it wouldn't be long before they got inside. He skidded a corner, completely ignoring the ornate tapestries and beautiful jewels inlayed in the palace walls. Though he normally loved to gaze at the tapestries and the pictures of his family, now he had no time.
He could hear footsteps thudding behind him, and the unmistakable clank of swords. He could also sense magic in the air, powerful magic. Not as powerful as his father's- but still powerful. And it was seeking him.
"Where is he? Tell me where he is, demon scum!" a woman's voice shrieked.
"You'll pay for this attack on the royal family-" the loyal guard's defiant statement was abruptly cut off, and instead turned into a scream.
The boy's eyes widened. Trembling, he dared not look for the source of the scream. Instead, he ran even faster, sweat beading his brow. His hair flew out behind him in a white arc. Still, the boy didn't care. He had only one desire: to escape. There was only one place that could protect him, a secret place in the center of the Moon Kingdom Palace.
As he came around another corner, he ran right into the chest of a guard. The boy sighed in relief as he recognized his longtime bodyguard and friend:
"Uragiri! Come quickly! We must go and find Mama and Papa!" he yanked at the man's sleeve, "People are attacking the palace!"
The two guards next to Uragiri began to laugh raucously. Uragiri himself smirked, then bent down to the boy.
"Actually, those people will be VERY interested- and very happy -to know I've found you," Uragiri said smugly.
"What are you talking about?" the boy demanded, taking a step back. He stared at Uragiri, who had begun to unsheath a sword.
"Arrogant little shit, isn't he?" commented one of the guard's who flanked Uragiri.
"Mm," agreed the other, "Uragiri, I think we should just kill him ourselves. More fun that way. Plus we can tell the ladies we slew the demon prince. I'm sure we'll be very popular after that." He grinned madly.
"Gentlemen, I think that's an excellent plan," Uragiri said cheerfully, then turned cold eyes to the boy, "Sorry, Your Highness. But you've had this coming for a long time!" With that, he swung the sword at the boy, who jumped back with superhuman speed. Uragiri and the other guards angrily chased after him.
The boy ran around yet another bend, then hid behind a suit of armor. Remembering his fighting training with his father, he slowed his breath so it was indiscernible- and calmed himself down. Then his eyes flashed red. As the three men came barreling around the corner, the boy expertly tied them up in a distinctly thick, white, contraption.
The men swore in surprise and anger.
"Did he really just tie us up in this furry crap!"
"I thought it was a ceremonial stole! Just for decoration!"
"No," Uragiri sighed, "It's part of his body. But that means it can be wounded!"
Before the other two men could react, the boy slashed their bodies with his hands- now transformed into claws. The cuts flared a bright green, and the men began to cry out in pain. The boy quickly swiped the claws over their hearts, killing them before their ruckus would summon other soldiers.
Unfortunately, Uragiri took the opportunity to stab his bonds. The boy cried out in pain and immediately released him. Ignoring the blood dripping on the floor, the boy focused on his old friend.
"Uragiri," he said, "Why are you doing this!"
Uragiri eyed the blood on the floor, then grinned, "Because your kind isn't supposed to be here. And you stole what was rightfully ours!" He launched himself at the boy, sword held high.
"I didn't steal anything!" the boy protested, dodging Uragiri's blows. Instead of answering, Uragiri yelled something indiscernible and tried to behead the boy. The boy flipped over to Uragiri's other side, then slashed through his armor and cut the skin over his heart. Once again, the bright green light flared, and Uragiri slumped to the floor.
"You were my friend," the boy whispered, staring at Uragiri in shock.
"No man could ever be your friend," Uragiri sneered, "you filthy-" His insult was cut off as the poison took effect. His eyes rolled back in his head, and after one last gasp, it was obvious the man was dead.
Painfully aware that their argument would have alerted someone a fight was ongoing in this part of the palace, the boy ran from the scene. He tried as best he could to keep the blood dripping from his body off the marble floors, but was only moderately successful. Finally he gave up, and focused only on reaching the sole sanctuary available to him.
Not even bothering to check if he had been followed, he pawed at the ornate mosaic before him. It depicted the very first royal family, the family whose example had been followed for centuries on the moon: a dark man, a white woman, and a child.
His voice shaking, he whispered, "I am a son of the Moon, I am a son of the Moon, I am the heir to the royal line of Tsukuyomi and Selene. Protect me in their names. I am a son of the Moon, I am a son of the Moon, I am the heir to the royal line of Tsukuyomi and Selene. Protect me in their names. I am a son-"
At last, the eyes in the figures swung to face him. Recognizing the moon sign on his forehead, they nodded, and the stones in the mosaic rumbled and rearranged themselves. A door appeared, and the boy turned the knob and opened the door.
Suddenly, he was picked up from behind by his hair. The boy let out a yelp of pain, and his assailant's sharp nails scraped his cheek, drawing blood.
"Little brat," the woman cackled, "did you think you could escape?" With a twist of her hand, she spun the boy around to face her. She took in his wide eyes.
"You worthless creature. Spawn of demons!" she spat in his face. The boy, for his part, wondered how such anger could come from the woman attacking him. She was beautiful, with long white hair common to the people of the Moon who had mixed blood. Her dark blue eyes- a human feature -were stormy with rage.
"You are not afraid," the woman said wonderingly. Then her eyes narrowed into cold slits, and she declared, "You deserve to die." The woman unsheathed a dagger shaped like a crescent moon.
"Let go of my son," a voice said calmly, but imperiously.
Both the woman and the boy looked up, she in shock, him in relief.
"You," the woman muttered.
"Mama!" the boy said happily. With all his might, he tried to run to her, but the woman kept a firm grip on him.
"Mama!" he cried out again, this time in genuine fear.
"Did you not hear me? I told you to let go of my son," the other woman, the owner of the imperious voice, said coldly. Her golden eyes gazed at the woman threatening her child with utter contempt, and her long white hair, styled in odango with two smaller ponytails in the front, stretched down behind her. She was regally dressed in various robes, the outermost one being a light purple and covered in fur. She wore a beautiful stone around her neck. Though her demeanor was icily calm, her purple moon insignia flared, indicating her anger.
"You are no one to command me!" the first woman said furiously, her blue eyes blazing, "You crown-stealer, you whore-"
The other woman raised one elegant white eyebrow, then said, "I am no whore, and lest you forgot, I am Queen Selenity VI Erinna, YOUR queen, and thus I am perfectly entitled to command you!" Her shape rippled, and her golden eyes flashed red. Wind picked up in the chamber. The stone on the queen's chest flashed.
"Before you go sending me off to hell, and transforming into your true form of a dirty dog, keep in mind that I have your whelp."
At the other woman's words, the bright red glow in the queen's eyes faded and the wind died away. For the first time, Selenity spared herself a glance at her small, wounded, weakened child. He was very brave, but seeing his mother stand down had scared him more than before. Like many children, he had believed his mother was invincible, and though under normal circumstances she would have defeated the woman, Selenity could not bring herself to put the life of her child at stake. The sight of his blood on the floor was already making her sick.
"What do you want?" the queen spat out the words. The woman smiled, and perversely began to stroke the boy's hair. Her blue eyes staring into the queen's golden ones, she said:
"I want- and I speak on the behalf of all Lunarians when I say this -you, your husband, and your stupid brat dead! You took the throne from us! And you should be punished! With your deaths, we will get our kingdom back!"
"Your kingdom?" Selenity said coldly, "Even if you kill us, it will NEVER be your kingdom. The kingdom can only pass to those in the royal line," she looked at the woman disdainfully, "which you are not. If you kill us, the Moon Kingdom has no rulers. The holy stone will shatter. The kingdom will perish."
"Your husband, that pathetic excuse for a king, is already fighting for his life!" the woman hissed, "Have you forgotten that you were never the true holder of the crystal anyway? You were the ill-advised replacement queen! And the people have rebelled against you for what you've done!"
Selenity snapped, "Have YOU forgotten your own Senate elected me to replace the human candidate? I underwent a ceremony to make me human! To adopt me as one of your own! In doing so, the stone passed to me!" her eyes flashed, "I am its rightful mistress, and the rightful queen!" As if in response, the jewel on her chest flickered.
The woman tightened her grip on the boy, then brought the dagger close to his throat. The woman eyed Selenity:
"And how far are you willing to go to save your whelp's life?" The boy's eyes widened as the knife edged closer. He frantically began to kick and paw at the woman, to no avail. He was too weak to transform his hands into claws now, and he was fast running out of options. Eventually, he tried to bite her, and the woman shrieked in pain.
"You filthy dog! I'll kill you!" she screeched. The woman pulled the boy's head back, exposing his throat.
At that, the queen's determination faltered, and her eyes filled with fear. She reached one hand out.
"Stop! Immediately!" she cried, "I will negotiate with you!"
The woman abruptly stopped, then turned to face Selenity with a dark smile, "Very well." She yanked the boy closer to her, all the while keeping the dagger in his line of vision.
"In exchange for your son's life, I want you and the brat to leave the kingdom and never come back. Any demons who survive are to go with you. The moon should be free of you and purified of your evil influence!"
Selenity struggled with the decision to give up the kingdom, but ultimately, she cared more about her child than she did about any crown. Sighing, she closed her eyes, then nodded in resignation.
"You must give us- and my husband -safe passage out of the kingdom. We will tell any surviving demons to leave with us. They will obey our command."
"Your husband wasn't part of the bargain."
"He is part of the dynasty. If you want the kingdom to be passed to you, he must be alive to take part in the transfer. Both of us are co-rulers. Neither of us can bequeath it alone."
The woman didn't like this condition, but she reluctantly accepted it, "Fine. If he's still alive-"
"I have no doubt he will be. My husband is a fearsome warrior."
"-then you three will have safe passage."
"Very well. Give me my son," Selenity pressed, eager to take her child and leave this wretched place where the people had turned on them so suddenly and so guiltlessly. She only wanted to flee- somewhere- anywhere- where she could give him a safe life.
"Not so fast," the woman's eyes became slits, and she tightened her grip on the boy, "I'm not done negotiating with you. In addition, I want the crystal. And I want the throne to pass to me!"
Selenity pursed her lips, "The Meido Stone cannot pass to you. The crystal was cut from the Holy Moon Crystal, but it was made for me. Such would it have been for your prince. He would have had his own gem when he came of age."
"This brat," the woman spat, "is NOT my prince!" She made as if to slice his throat.
"However," the queen said hastily, "I will leave written orders, and I will personally speak to the rulers of Andromeda to inform them of the change of monarch. I will tell them that as such, a new crystal befitting the new queen is necessary."
The woman smiled, and her dark blue eyes lit up with triumph. Just as quickly, they narrowed in suspicion, "How can I be certain you will keep your word?"
Selenity said, "I swear on my son's life that I will speak to the emperor and write an official declaration of abdication- my husband will sign it as well -proclaiming you as the new queen of the Moon Kingdom!"
"Fine," the woman smiled, and this time her pleased expression remained, "but I will still hang onto your son until the papers are signed. When that occurs, I will hand him over to you. And I want you out of the galaxy!"
Selenity could not believe the woman was still going to keep her son hostage. She was petrified that the woman would murder him anyway after she ascended the throne. As a queen, none of the citizens would stop her.
"I give you my word that my son and I will leave the galaxy. However, how can I be sure that you will keep your word?" Selenity queried warily.
The woman shrugged, "We're women of honor, are we not? Besides, if you still don't trust me after I'm crowned- and I want you off the Moon before my coronation, which will take place tomorrow; so you'll need to leave tonight -you can always remember that I'm a neat woman. I won't want blood on the floor of my new palace," she smiled sweetly. Selenity fought the urge to kill her. The queen had to remember her son...he was more important than this cruel woman.
"On condition of my son's safety, and my husband's, my son's, and my safe passage out of the Moon Kingdom, I accept your terms," Selenity said. She gazed directly into the woman's dark blue eyes, "When I sign the papers, what regnal name should I use for you?"
The woman smiled, "Serenity I, for it was I who brought peace to the Moon Kingdom by banishing the demons."