AN: Hi, I really don't know what to write here; I just figured I wanted to write something. :l

But anyways, this story is an inspiration I got from reading Bride of the Water God; although the beginning would hold the same concept, but it shall differ greatly after the first chapter! As it is mentioned from the summary, it will consist of a love triangle. The pairing in this story's going to be very tricky as both men are just so dashing despite their differences, in my opinion :)

However, I can't guarantee that this story will end up happily or in a tragedy. I think I'd like to decide that randomly near the end, although several of the chapters have been already planned out perfectly. This will be a short story, consisting up to fifteen chapters or less, I hope! In exchange, I shall try my best to make them long, detailed, and in-depth as I can. Which is not a difficult task since it will be told from mainly Usagi's perceptive.

And sorry to announce that in this chapter, she doesn't meet either male because this is more of an introductory chapter; but next chapter will be where this story really starts.
Enjoy, and I hope to receive comments and feedbacks!

Summary: Many beautiful women were offered to the Water God in order to please him so he would allow rain to fall from the sky. But when it was Tsukino Usagi's turn to be sacrificed, she discovered things get quite complicated when she falls in love with another.


The Sacrifice

Chapter l


A small village has been suffering from a prolonged drought for awhile now. It was to be estimated that it should have rained a week ago, but that was not the case. The people have always wondered if it was because they lived in a dry area, where rain hardly ever comes thus people die from the lack of food. But apparently, it was not the case: the majority of the population in the small village believed in a God who would supply them with water, the one named Endymion.

At first, Endymion was told as a myth from a traveling fortune teller. After a glance at the salty lake near the village, he claimed to have sensed abnormality: a God was looking over this village. At first, people were skeptical of his claim, but when the fortune teller suggested of sacrificing a young beautiful maiden to the lake, people's beliefs have been persuaded. Tales have been told for hundreds of years that when a young virginal maiden was sacrificed to Endymion, he would accept their offer and devour the sacrificed maiden. In return, he would allow rain to fall down from the sky, allowing grain in a field owned by all of the villagers to grow and to be harvested before it was distributed equally to each family.

So after each maiden has been sacrificed, rain was bestowed to the village from Endymion a day later. It has always been like that, thus the legend of Endymion came to be.

It was a possibility that her turn was coming up soon; Usagi have just turned the age of eighteen few days ago, which was considered to be a good age to be wed, or to be sacrificed to the God if they are a female. And it was possible that the next sacrifice was to be chosen soon. After two months of drought with very rare occasions of rain, the village council would hold a meeting to discuss what shall be done, and if they come to the conclusion to sacrifice a maiden, then it has to be approved by the family's head member who was often the father - the man who provides and protects the family. If that was not the case, then the responsibility shall bestowed upon the head son, and if a family did not consist of a leading man, then they would have no say in the matter: women did not have the power to decline the responsibility they are given to them, they are not equal to men.

The village councils hold their meetings at a different household every time, as they are cautious that they do not what their information and voices to be carried out through their village. And this time, it was held at the Tsukino residence.

The meeting was to take place in the family room, where she observed ten middle-aged men enter. Her mother served them tea and quickly evacuated the room once she did so; the men preferred to be alone, and one of those men happened to be her father, Tsukino Kenji. He's an intelligent man, but not only that, he's a kind and a loving father to his wife and to his children, her and my younger brother Shingo. As the man of the house, he's very protective of all of them - a trait which his wife and daughter teased him for, saying how they were perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.

Usagi was told to remain upstairs in her room, and to stay there until the men have left. It seemed like an easy task at first; she could just stay upstairs and just pray for Endymion to bestow them with rain, as any other members of the village would do so every night. But before she could even do that, her stomach betrayed her as it grumbled, demanding for some food.

"Shh, I'll feed you later," mumbled Usagi, feeling silly as she talked to her stomach.

But it ignored her as it grumbled even louder, and its sound vibrated against her stomach walls, making her realize how truly hungry she was. She pinched her stomach as a way to punish it. Usagi knew that it was futile, but she was desperate to ignore her hunger since she was ordered to stay upstairs until the village councils have left...

Her stomach continued to torture her, so she couldn't suppress her complaint. "Shh... I can't feed you right now although I'd love to get some rice and miso in you!"

Grumble.

It was then she considered the possibility of sneaking downstairs to the kitchen to grab a bowl of rice and miso soup to satisfy her hunger. But as a major klutz, Usagi knew there was a possibility of her tripping over something and result into a big mess and get scolded by the village council, which consists of the most respectable men in the entire village. How embarrassing would that be? Very.

Usagi dismissed the possibility as she firmly decided that she should just remain upstairs and hope that her hunger will fade away gradually.

Grumble. Grumble.

Or not.

She bit her lip furiously as she considered her two options - to stay or not to stay. Usagi looked down at her stomach and let out a small whine as a sign of complaint. She knew, from eighteen years of experience, that her hunger would not go away unless it received some food. She did not know why, but somehow, she knew she was going to regret her decision.

Slipping out of her slippers, she tiptoed down the stairs, crossing her fingers the entire time as she did so. Usagi mentally prayed the stairs wouldn't give out under her weight because it usually made its loud creaking sound whenever she descended down from her bedroom. It seemed as if God was on her side since she was successful in doing so.

"Usagi! What do you think you're doing?" her younger brother's sudden outburst caused her to jump in fright before she glared at him and placed her index finger on her lips.

"Shh! What do you think you're doing down here, Shingo?"

One of Shingo's eyebrows rose as he crossed his arms and responded, "I could ask you the same thing. I bet you're getting food, aren't you?" when Usagi didn't reply, her younger brother rolled his eyes. "Well, I'm not surprised. You do eat like a pig, after all."

Usagi just merely 'hmph'ed as she ignored his claim, despite the fact that he spoke the truth about her huge appetite. She assumed her younger brother had either lost interest in provoking her today like he usually did until they end up in a argument, or he was being obedient since he walked past her and up towards the stairs towards his bedroom.

"Where are you going?" she quietly called out after him.

Shingo replied, "My room, where you're supposed to be, too. Just come up soon when you're done getting something to eat, okay?"

"Okay."

She soon walked over to where the hallway was, which was linked to the family room because on the other end of the hallway consisted the kitchen, her destination. She crept silently throughout the household, and so far, she was undetected. Feeling relieved, Usagi let out a sigh of relief, but it was quickly swallowed when she suddenly heard a fist came in contact loudly with the wooden table inside the family room. A loud outburst came along with it, as well.

"This drought has been going for far enough! We require a drastic action to be taken, or we have no other choice but to sacrifice a young female from our very own village again..." The voice she recognized belonged to Hino Takashi, a senior member of her village who contained the most respect in the village. It was told that it was his long-deceased relative who had stumbled upon the fortune teller many years ago.

His words intrigued Usagi to stay, since there is a possibility that whichever decision the councils conclude to would affect her as well, as a member of the village. She silently approached the door and crouched by it, which separated her from the circle of men behind it. From where she was, Usagi knew the men could not notice her; but the council members did not seem to be anxious of their surrounding because they were so absorbed with the topic they were discussing.

"What? Another sacrifice?" asked a member, whose voice was filled with dread and horror as he repeated his fellow member's suggestion. "Just how many more families will we have to bring misery when we ask them for their daughter? Just... how many more, Hino-san?"

There was no hint of remorse or hesitation when Takashi answered with a strict tone, "Unless there is another option to save our village, that is our only option - don't look at me with those eyes, Kumada-san. You know as well as I do that I am not pleased to resort to this option, nor have I been for several of years."

"Then why do we continue to do so every seven years?" It had been Tsukino Kenji, her father, who asked. His voice was easily recognizable because he spoke softly, which goes along with his face and personality. He went on, "I feel as if we, ourselves, are playing God with our village and the women we sacrifice. We strip away their freedom to reject our proposals of their lives, since everyone in our village acknowledges the fact that it is dishonorable to turn their heads away from us."

"It's for the good of people in this village, Tsukino-san." Another voice had input their opinion, merely scolding the man who had spoken before him. The man spoke with high authority in his voice, which demanded respect and it didn't fail to send frightening shivers down Usagi's arm. He continued on, "Something must be done, and it must be done immediately. Have you not heard? Eight people have died from hunger already because of this drought! This cannot continue, I say."

"Yes, our well dried up a long time ago. We don't have water to drink, let alone farm with! We must offer a sacrifice to appease Endymion; somebody must be sacrificed to ensure the survival of our village! This is our family and friends' lives we are talking about!"

After the man had finished speaking, several of men murmured and whispered among themselves; they were possibly discussing the possibilities and hoping to achieve mutual agreements. Usagi couldn't hear them clearly, but it scared her when she had heard some of their words they have shared among themselves as they did consider sacrificing another young women from her village for the sake of the rest.

"Another ... sacrifice."

"No choice... shame..."

"... but maybe..."

"Which family..."

"Tragedy."

From the small distance between the two closed doors, she could make out Takashi and her father, and one other elder. After several minutes of murmuring, Takashi cleared his throat loudly to gain attention and when he had received it, he made an announcement. "I am sure that by now, everyone has come to some sort of a decision, have they not? I believe it is safe to mention that the majority of the voices I have heard throughout this room are in favor of sacrificing another maiden for another seven years of rain and food, for the good of our village. Correct me if I am wrong."

No sound was uttered, meaning what the elder had just said was correct: everyone could not think of any other methods to restore rain back to their village, so becoming desperate, a sacrifice is the only option they have left to choose from. After a minute of silence, Takashi spoke once again.

"Then if there are no objections, we shall now pick the young maiden then."

Panic gripped Usagi from his words as she dreaded to hear the name that the village council was going to choose which belonged to a female in their village, someone who she is acquainted with most presumably. There were not a lot of young girls in her village; there was just about less than twenty, who are the age of eighteen and under twenty five. In her village, it is to be believed that once a woman is over the age of twenty five and they are not wedded, they are viewed to be undesirable - an unfortunate tragedy, in most girls' cases. Although there are not a lot of girls in her village, Usagi was actually not that close to any of them except for one - her best friend, Osaka Naru.

Osaka Naru was the only individual who found Usagi's usual optimistic mood to be normal, not 'annoying' as other girls claimed it to be. And she remained to be her best friend from the age of three up till now. She crossed both of her fingers as she desperately hoped they weren't going to pick Naru - she was already devastated to see her chosen to be eaten alive by some God. What was she going to do without her best friend? Who was she going to grow old with? Other than a man in her life, of course.

She was panicking now, and she knew it. Plans quickly started to formulate in Usagi's head: after the village council's confirm that it is Naru, she's going to run over to her house as fast as her legs could carry her, and get her to understand and to remain calm about the situation although it would be hard to before helping her run away-

She lost her train of thought when she had heard her own name being called out from Hino Takashi's lips. Not Naru's - hers.

"Tsukino Usagi. She shall be the one chosen to be the sacrifice for Endymion for the sake of our village." he announced.

After hearing her name, she couldn't believe her ears. At first, she thought she heard wrong and tried to shake it off as she was lost for words. Her? Tsukino Usagi, the number one klutz in their village? She's the one who was going to be sacrificed for some legendary God? It was no surprise that she was shocked since the qualifications to be a sacrifice is that the girl must be pure, and she must be very pretty to appease him.

Usagi knew she was considered 'pure' since she did not lose her virginity nor did she ever sleep with a man, but she did not considered herself to be very pretty while Naru, on the other hand, had the boys flocking over to her with a wiggle of her finger! And not only was her best friend very attractive, she had the manners of a lady, while she lacked them in comparison.

Despite feeling shocked over her village head's announcement, she was feeling relieved that it was Naru that they had chosen, that it was her instead - Naru could live a happy life now since she would be past the age of twenty five when the village would need another sacrifice after the next seven years.

While Usagi was trying view the entire situation in a positive light, her father could not do the same. He had stood up abruptly from the floor, knocking over his tea which shattered into pieces when it came in contact with the floor, which he paid no mind to. He was too infuriated to even notice, care even. When he spoke, Usagi had never heard him talk like that; it was too out of character judging from her father's appearance and the usual tone he used.

"I'm sorry Hino-san, but maybe my ears have deceived me, but was it my daughter's name that came from your lips?"

Takashi shook his head before he solemnly replied, "No, your ears have not deceived you, Tsukino-san. Tsukino Usagi shall be sacrificed to Endymion, for the greater good of our village."

Gradually, Kenji's face transformed. At first he was enraged that the higher member had confirmed that it was indeed his daughter he was going to lose. Then confusion as he tried to comprehend the reason why they had chosen her, his only daughter. Then misery swept over him when he realized that then he would never see Usagi ever again. A single tear escaped from his eye and after that, he attempted with great difficulty to not cry in front of the other men. But when he spoke, his voice lacked anger - desperation had filled its place.

"Is there truly no other way? Can we not import water from a nearby village? Can we just... it's my baby girl, Hino-san."

Hearing her father sounding so defeated conjured up feelings of sadness within her. Hell, if she could, she wanted to burst into the room to hug and comfort her dad as she would try to soothe him, telling him that things were going to be okay and he didn't have to worry. But if she did, would her father believe her words and try to be calmer about this situation? Or was she trying to make herself feel better? Usagi's fists clenched tightly at her sides at the thought, wondering how the other girls who had been sacrificed before her, had felt when they found that they were no longer going to live.

Misery? Sadness? Happiness?

Usagi couldn't determine whether it was misery or sadness for her.

"Tsukino-san, I truly do apologize. But Usagi is the perfect candidate; she is a pretty young lady, and surely you remember the words from the fortune teller that Endymion would not accept any less from the village. He would take it as if we are ungrateful of him for the rain he has provided us for hundreds of years." Takashi stated, turning away from her father in order to block the look of desperation written all over his face. Such a face is considered to be shameful when talking to one who holds a higher rank than one in the village, but Kenji could not care less at the moment.

Usagi wondered then if her father had accepted the decision of Hino Takashi, which is equal to the other members of the village council. Will he allow them to sacrifice her life to bring rain and food into the village, or will he fight for her life? If she were placed in his situation, she felt shameful to admit that she would have no other choice but to let the village council sacrifice her only daughter away. How would she able to, if she were in her father's place, reject them? Especially since all of them have worked so hard to keep their village in order, to make sure everyone is fed and to keep them from harm for many years.

How would she be able to turn her back to a group of men like that?

But her father insisted to fight for Usagi's life, since he said, "Then I shall take my family and move far away from this village! If we are no longer part of this village, then my daughter will not be sacrificed anymore - I can spare her life from this fate. Will that be possible, Hino-san?"

There was a moment of silence before Usagi's father received a reply. "Tsukino-san, you are not the only man who have proposed the idea to me as there have been several others before you -"

"What a traitorous thought, Tsukino-san! Accept the destiny that has landed upon your family like the man you are!" a member shouted angrily. "You simply cannot leave the village and believe that you've saved your daughter's life - if you do, then what about the rest of us? While you save her, you're going to kill us all? Not only are you a citizen of this village, you're a council member as well, Tsukino-san. So accept your responsibilities and save us all."

"So in the end, you still believe that my daughter is being sacrificed for the greater good, do you not?" there was a mocking tone in Kenji's reply, which the other members chose to ignore. They could empathize what he was feeling, how he was going to feel when Usagi will no longer live in the village. A silent chill passed through each men as they pictured themselves in Tsukino Kenji's place.

"It really is unfortunate how it comes to this, Tsukino-san. But please, accept your daughter's fate soon - the sooner the better," Takashi whispered solemnly, and his tone slightly implied that he no longer wanted to have this conversation with his fellow council member. "Instead of fretting over this matter, you should be spending time with your family."

There was a long moment of hushed silence before Kenji hardly whispered, "When is she..."

"Tomorrow afternoon; we need Endymion to bestow our village with water as soon as possible," replied the head council member. "People are dying from dehydration and starvation as we speak!"

"... I see." mumbled Kenji, his voice sounding small and weak. It was the end of the meeting as the circle of men slowly started to get up from the floor and made their way to the exit, where only the head of the Tsukino family remained.

Usagi was thankful that the members exited through the other door instead of the one she was leaning against. But she couldn't say the same about her situation; tonight was going to be the last night she was going to spend in the village, the place where she grew up in with her loving family. The idea did not settle with her stomach since she wasn't hungry anymore and she felt as if she was breaking and all she wanted to do was scream and cry out her frustration, which she couldn't do; she was separated from her father from a thin door, and she didn't want him to discover that she had overheard their conversation. The last thing she wanted to do was to bring her father more misery.

"I can't believe this..." she heard her father quietly grumble he had fisted the floor.

She then heard her father leave the family room, hearing him sniffle a little bit. And when she was sure that he was completely out of her ear shot, her knees completely gave out as she slumped onto the floor. Usagi couldn't stop the tears from cascading down her cheeks.

"I can't believe this either, father... it feels so surreal."

I can't believe some God is going to devour me alive.

oOo

For once in her life, Usagi couldn't sleep at all. Instead, she spent the entire night just staring out her window, gazing at the village below as she reminisced her past which consisted mainly her family and her best friend Osaka Naru while some tears have escaped from her eyes now and then. Just how could she leave her life behind? She asked herself that question the entire night.

How could she leave her overly optimistic mom with her butterfingers alone? She would have broken endless numbers of their plates and cups if she hadn't taken over kitchen duty! Usagi's klutziness had originated from her mother, except her case was much more severe. Whenever her mom neared a knife, the entire family would panic incase her grip would slip in which a disaster would usually occur... But other than that, her mom was the most supportive and caring person she had ever met - and she loved her whole-heartedly for it.

Her father, on the other hand, was a responsible man as he takes care of the entire family. Like her mother, her father contained a kind personality which complimented them both well. Although Usagi wasn't born as a male, which she would be considered as a disappointment to most fathers, Kenji never discarded any attention for her and gave her his all along with her younger brother Shingo.

In a way, Usagi regretted of not getting along well with Shingo because she would never see him mature gradually over the years (or perhaps he wouldn't mature - it's Shingo, for crying out loud). But she would miss her spunky sibling greatly; without his trouble-making ways, her life would have been a bit dull. And not only that, she knew that deep down, he really does care for her although he denies it every time it was brought up...

A loud shrill was heard downstairs; her father must have informed her mother of decision made at last night's council meeting because soon, sounds of glass plates being shattered while her father was desperately telling her mom to calm her temper followed after.

"Tsukino Kenji, how could you! That's my baby girl's life you men decided to throw away!"

"Ikuko, please! Calm down and we shall talk about this-"

More sounds of glass shattering could be heard before her mom hysterically replied, "Oh, so you want to talk about this? You're ridiculous, Kenji!"

"Ikuko...-"

Sighing, Usagi pulled up her bed covers over her head as an attempt to block out her parents' argument. She did not need this right now; she didn't want to see her parents bickering at each other's faces on her last day among the living. She wanted to leave in contentment - she wished her parents would fake their happiness and be proud that it was their daughter that was chosen out of all the girls in the village... and for Shingo to give her a big bear hug before she left.

Few moments later, there was a knock on her door before it was opened and her mother stepped into her noticed the odd box she was carrying in her arms, but before she got the opportunity to ask her mom what was inside of the box, she was suddenly pulled into her mother's arms as she embraced her deeply. When her mother spoke, her voice sounded a little shaky.

"Usagi, oh my baby..."

She mumbled against her mother's blue wavy hair as she patted her back reassuringly while being hold in a death grip. It was as if her mother wanted to be assured that she was real, that she wasn't going to be leaving her forever.

"It'll be okay, okaa-san," but her mom didn't seem convinced since she reluctantly released her and slowly turned her focus on the box which was lying beside her. "What's inside the box?"

Ikuko opened the box with hesitating fingers and placed it in front of Usagi to peer inside of it. There was a light pink colored kimono with patterns of rose petals with an extravagant obi along with a pair of zori. She had never laid her eyes on these pieces of extravagant clothing before so she wondered how her mom came across the beautiful silk kimono - this surely must have cost a fortune.

"Hino-san personally delivered the box for you, Usagi," her mother explained softly, equally admiring the kimono like her daughter. "He said you should wear the best when you are to be presenting yourself to Endymion at noon,"

"Oh, how nice of him to deliver something real fancy," was Usagi's bitter reply, resenting the idea of her sacrifice every growing second. Under her breath, she muttered, "only for it to get eaten by some ferocious God."

Ikuko blinked. "What was that, Usagi?"

"Nothing!" she squeaked in reply. Her mother brought the kimono out of the box and slowly ran her fingers down it, with a look of longing in her eyes. She seemed to snap out of her trance a moment later before giving her daughter a forced smile.

"Come now, Usagi. I'll help you get changed into your outfit."

Usagi obeyed her mother's instructions as she changed into her new kimono and had her obi tied in darari-style. Once completed, she began to work on her hair as she grabbed a nearby brush. There was two small buns on the top of her head and the remaining length of hair flowed by her side - her signature hairstyle. It's what made her Usagi, it's what made her stand out from the other girls in the village.

Ikuko took a step back and gave her a bittersweet smile as she admired her work. She let out a wisful sigh."You know, Usagi, I've always wanted to see you wear a beautiful kimono for your wedding... but it's funny how life plays its events."

She forced herself to not break down and cry, especially not in front of her mother. Instead, Usagi diverted her eyes from the other woman and agreed with her. "Yes. And twisted, too, might I add."

There was a moment of awkward silence where neither women didn't know what words should be said. They wanted to talk to one another as they wished to make the best of the moment, but neither couldn't help themselves but to bring up the inevitable topic.

Her mother decided to speak first. She cleared her throat a few times before she gently told her daughter, "If you want to cry, you can cry Usagi."

Usagi shook her head vigorously. She didn't want to make the entire situation worse by shedding her tears, nor did she want to bring disgrace upon her family when she leaves for the lake with red puffy eyes where rest of the villagers awaited to bade their farewells.

"I don't want to look unpresentable for Endymion." she practically spat her answer, her voice laced with a bitter tone.

Her mother did not reply to her statement. Instead, she wrapped her arms tightly around Usagi's shoulders in order to comfort her. Slowly, Usagi's sadness began to fade away as she felt warm in her mother's embrace and felt the love she was surrounded with. They remained in that position until the door slammed open and Shingo came charging inside, looking furious.

"Is it true?" he demanded loudly, startling both women. Usagi had never seen her younger brother so infuriated in her life, but here he was, standing in front of them as he looked displeased. His eyes were blazing angrily while his lips were thin in displeasure.

Ikuko quietly answered, "Yes, Shingo. It's true,"

He let out a frustrated yell as he threw his hands up in the air. Shingo glared at his mother when he questioned, "Are you letting them take Usagi away, okaa-san?"

"What other choice does she have, Shingo?" it was Usagi who spoke this time. She couldn't stare at her sibling's eyes as she flatly stated, "If I don't go, then you, okaa-san, otou-san, and everybody else will die."

"Onee-san..."

Mustering up the biggest smile she could in her situation, Usagi flashed one for her brother. "I'll be okay, Shingo. Don't worry about me too much, alright? It's not healthy." she teased him at the end, sticking her tongue out.

Shingo didn't return her smile.

Soon, the chiming of bells could be heard throughout the village; it was calling for a meeting, or in this case, it was for announcing that the time has come. It was time for Usagi to be sacrificed as her presence was required at the salty lake.

"I guess it's time," Usagi announced lamely, playing with the sleeves of her kimono as she wrinkled them to calm the nerves which she felt swirling in the pit of her stomach.

"Mm," Shingo turned around and left the room first, with Ikuko and Usagi following behind him. They were greeted by Kenji who stood there as he looked terribly worn out and his eyes contained a faint shade of red - Usagi assumed he was trying his hardest not to cry, which he sort of failed.

She nodded her head in acknowledgment of his presence. "Otou-san,"

Her father let out a strangled cry then, expressing his difficulty of the ability to speak. "Usagi... I'm so sorry." He nearly choked on his words.

Usagi waved her hand off-handedly, silently telling her father that it's alright and that she had forgiven him. She didn't want to hold a grudge before she died; she wanted to say goodbye peacefully and for it to be filled with love.

She slipped into her pair of zori and turned around to face her family members. Usagi gave them a small twirl and shyly asked, "How do I look?"

"Beautiful," her father sighed.

Shingo asked in a small voice, "Honestly, onee-san, do you really care how you look for that God?"

Usagi shook her head before she lightly responded, "No, it's not for the God. I wanted you to remember me at my best since it's the last time I'll possibly see you guys, ne?"

No one found her light humor to be enjoyable since they didn't even smile. Sighing, Usagi's shoulders slumped before she placed her hand on the door handle and twisted it open, taking a step outside of her house with her family members behind her. They all walked in an awkward silence towards the great lake, where everyone was awaiting for she walked closer towards the lake, she could hear people whispering among the crowd; they were talking about her and her situation.

"... only eighteen, so young. Poor thing..."

"It is good luck that she is not our daughter..."

"... just unlucky; after all, somebody had to be sacrificed."

"If it's not me, then it doesn't matter who it is..."

Hino Takashi emerged from the crowd and decided to give some sort of a grand announcement as the whispering around her ceased. He gave Usagi a small smile despite the grim situation, but it was for her bravery as most girls would have been crying their eyes out by now. But unlike most girls, she remained calm - stoic, even, since she already dried her eyes the entire night.

"Tsukino Usagi, you are one brave young lady. Many young ladies before you have come and begged for us to save their lives, but you... not even once have you begged neither Endymion nor us to spare your life. You truly are one courageous young lady, and you will be surely missed. We all appreciate you for allowing yourself to be sacrificed for the village, for rain will be bestowed upon us and we shall continue to live as our crops will flourish."

He made it sound as if he was giving a eulogy, and the thought did not sit well with Usagi one bit. She politely gave him a small nod and shook his hand when it was offered to her. After that, it was the time for her to say her final goodbyes to her life and the people she was leaving behind.

Her mother was the first as she hugged her for the third time of the day, but she released all her feelings out in one hug. At first, she was saying how she much she loved her profusely before she listed all the things she had done for the family, and how much she will be missed in the village and in the household.

Her father just hugged her tightly and simply said, "I love you, Usagi. And again, I really am sorry for allowing this to happen to you."

Shingo wasn't able to move an inch, so Usagi had to go up to him and give him a tight hug. When he didn't say anything, she lightly teased him. "I guess you won't have anyone to pick on anymore, isn't that right, Shingo?"

He cracked a smile as he returned her hug. "You were the only one who was worth picking on, onee-san."

Laughter bubbled from the blonde as she released her younger brother. She tousled his sandy-colored hair for the last time as she confessed, "I'm going to miss you, squirt."

"Me too,"

Usagi then turned to where her best friend stood and gave her a small bittersweet smile. "Are you going to miss me, Naru-chan?"

Naru sniffled a several times before she replied, "Of course, Usagi-chan!" she ran over to her best friend and enveloped her into a big hug as their fifteen years of friendship was coming to an end. "I'm going to miss you so much..."

"Me too,"

Her best friend then leaned over to her ear and whispered, "I just wanted you to be the first one to know; Umino-san had just proposed to me last night! We're getting married soon."

"Congratulations!" Usagi beamed at her friend as she was going end up with the love of her life, a dream which she had always wanted to make happen ever since she was a little girl; to find someone who would love her with all of them and she returned their feelings as well.

"Thanks, Usagi-chan," said Naru, giving her best friend a small smile while her eyes became glossy as tears threatened to spill from her eyes. "May you find happiness as well."

She decided not to elaborate more on her life as she gave her a small smile and politely thanked her. Usagi wasn't sure how this whole sacrificing procedure worked, but she slowly took small steps towards the lake while she was facing the villagers as she did so. Everyone was waving their arms goodbye, but she wasn't paying attention to them - her eyes only saw her family and Naru.

Her right feet landed on a wet surface; Usagi knew she was one step into the lake now. Before she took her other feet into the water, she gave them her biggest smile as she tried to look cheerful. "Goodbye, everyone!" and when both of her feet were in the water, everything happened in a blur.

The village near the salty lake lost a young woman called Tsukino Usagi as the villagers observed her being swallowed up in the shallow water, only to disappear from the face of Earth.


AN: I hope you enjoyed the beginning, although not much action went on..

But it was important since it explained how the Endymion is viewed in the village, and how he 'originated' I guess. And it just shows what kind of life Usagi came from, I guess. And how everything is going to change for her...

It's kind of ironic how on one day, Usagi finds out she's going to be sacrificed while Naru got proposed. Oh life works funny.

And oh Gods, after completing this chapter, I really do admire other authors out there who write over ten-thousand words per chapter. I haven't ever tried, but I don't think I'm going to attempt it :l This much took a lot out of me already! :(

Thanks for reading and review please!