Prologue: A Well-Meaning Curse

Kingdom of Light, the Moon

{Dark Kingdom Siege on Queen Serenity}

Silver Millennium

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The first vessel landed with an ominous hum and noisy thud on the beautiful surface of the Moon, marring its artificial beauty. As invading youma began to stream out, their terrifying visages holding the promise of death they had been created for, more pods of the Dark Kingdom landed. More and more youma stepped onto the Moon until the last ship landed, bringing a cloaking darkness along with it.

That darkness was Metallia, and inside the craft was the woman she loathed, championed, manipulated, and had made Queen of the Dark Kingdom. But Beryl, previously a Terran noblewoman who had once been considered suitable for the hand of the Prince Endymion before her betrayal, emerged victoriously, as if she had already won, ignorant to the darker and stronger queen's whims. She was here for one purpose, and one purpose only: to regain her rightful property and destroy the one who had stolen it from her.

It was really quite convenient that the Lunarian brat's air-headed, lavender-haired mother had planned a masked ball for that night. Trying to ignore the civil wars taking place all over Earth and trying to keep panic from spreading amongst her own people, Serenity had declared a night of dancing, intrigue, laughter, and flirtation for the Lunarian nobles. And so, the immeasurable hordes of youma crept stealthily towards the shining palace, with its crystal domes, pure fountains, and enchanting revelry, undiscovered and unnoticed. Overhead, the darkness followed, writhing and throbbing darkly. It chuckled malevolently, flanked by the Seven Shadow Warriors, waiting for the bloodshed to come. Although the youma had just arrived, there had been four of the Dark Kingdom who had already penetrated the nearly nonexistent security of the Moon Palace and were awaiting the arrival of their allies at the party. It had been so impossibly, wonderfully easy, Beryl thought to herself, smiling maliciously. After all, no one would be able to recognize them at the ball with their masks and many costumes...

~ * ~ * ~

Moon Palace

Serenity's Bedroom

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The masque was already in full swing, and the Princess Serenity could hear the nobles' idle chatter through the floor. Because everything was very informal, she could afford to be late. Also, she wasn't going to be presented like some doll upon a dais for everyone to look at. Sooner or later, however, her mother would send Luna or one of the girls for her, and she would be forced to don the silken mask she had chosen weeks ago, when everything had been perfect...

She forced back the tears courageously, then looked at her reflection in the mirror. Her silky golden hair was down from its customary meatballs and flowing freely in a way that made her caged spirit envious. She would be going as the goddess Artemis, patron of the Moon Kingdom. Her huntress- like tunic was pure white, with a dazzling silver belt and embroidery flashing at her hem and wrists. Resting over her forehead was a simple silver circlet, plain and unadorned. To further personify Artemis, Serenity had a light-weight, beautifully-carved wooden bow made of olive wood. The tree, or rather the branch, of which it came symbolized peace. A tear trailed down her exquisite face as the irony of it struck another blow to her soul. Earth was not at peace, the rest of the Solar System was preparing for war, and her guardians, her friends, and the four essential parts of her soul (besides her soulmate) were walking with one foot in life and one foot in death. A muted shout, telepathic broke through her desolation; the sweetest sound she had ever heard met her ears.

'Serenity! Serenity, are you up there?'

'Endymion!!' Her relief was almost palpable, and she ran to the door, crushing her fingers against the doorknob before she was able to turn it and peer out into the empty hallway. No one was there, for everyone else was already dancing. 'Endymion, where are you?'

Although she could tell his soul was as heavy as hers, he laughed softly and answered, 'Outside your window, love.'

Serenity ran back into her room, somehow remembering to close the door. She looked down, and a wonderful sight met her eyes. "How did you...get here? Is Earth–? Is everything–?"

'Hush, sweetheart. The guards could hear me any minute, and I don't have a mask. Earth has fallen, Serenity. It is no more.'

'Oh, Endymion...'

'There is nothing left for me except you, and I promised you that I'd live to dance another dance with you.' The Prince of Earth suddenly dove into the bushes, his movement hampered by his garments and sword.

The princess at the window smothered a giggle, quickly smoothing her expression as a few guards passed under her window. They look just a bit on the tipsy side, which was lucky for them both, because the carefully cropped bushes did not conceal Endymion completely.

"Your highness? Is everything well? We thought we heard some suspicious noises."

She smiled down at them and replied, "No, everything is fine." She watched them leave, then hid a smile as her love clambered out of the shrubbery with a disgruntled expression on his face. 'Are you all right? Did those mean bushes hurt you?'

Endymion made a comical face at her before sighing and holding his hands out to her, a thoroughly foolish gesture but one expressing his need to hold her in his arms, to have her complete him. 'Come down and dance with me, love.'

'You'll get caught. It's too dangerous.'

'Just come down. Take the staircase all the way at the back of the ballroom; they've darkened the lights there, and no one will notice us.'

Despite her nervousness, she nodded and disappeared from the window, the cool night breeze ruffling the sheer white curtains...

~ * ~ * ~

Moon Palace

Imperial Ballroom

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Serenity descended majestically, her hair and silken clothes floating in an unseen wind. She did her curtsey as an afterthought, and the plain circlet on her forehead added an air of regal command to her. She looked like a dream, unattainable to any...until a man in domino mask, top hat, and tuxedo bowed low over her un-gloved hand She accepted, and they waltzed off together. They spoke no words, for none were needed. They were two halves of one soul, and for those few precious moments in time, it seemed as though they would be together forever.

~ * ~ * ~

The Venusian Princess glanced around the ballroom disconsolately, heading for the darkest corner. A wineglass was clutched in her left hand tightly, for the other hand was busy lifting the hem of her gown. She had gone as Aphrodite, goddess of love, who had risen out of the foam of the sea. She sincerely regretted her decision, for the dressmaker had been inspired to make her outfit extremely revealing, sensuous, and _long_. Slowly, so carefully and meticulously done that no fault could be found, the bottom of the golden skirt had become sea-green, and her heels had been chosen to match the hem of her gown rather than the low top, which wrapped around her curves and hugged them tightly. Mina cursed as the slippery, almost liquid-like cloth slipped a few inches lower out of her grasp. As she steadied herself against the wall, which was thankfully very close by, a deep voice chuckled huskily from the shadows beside her hand. She jolted backwards, and the wine sloshed over her fingers. A gray gaze focused on them, the glow of them increasing in intensity.

"I'm surprised, my lady, to find you so ungainly on such a night–or is elegance not required at a party such as this? And you have never been one to succumb to drink."

Her golden eyes narrowed as she tried to place his voice. "Who are you to speak to me this one?" No one had ever dared to usurp her authority...except...except...him. The person whose name she could no longer utter, even in the dark, suffocating silence of her mind.

"Oh, I dare, Princess of Venus. Just because you have an amazingly high tolerance for alcohol doesn't mean that you're free to indulge tonight. What would the others say?" Gloved fingers slipped out of the darkness, pulling insistently at the thin-stemmed glass until she let go.

"How do you know these things?" Mina hissed, eyes still searching, trying to make out his form. "The others wouldn't care, at any rate. They're drowning their sorrows in their own way." She hated to admit it, but he was right. She wasn't the least bit affected by the alcohol she had already consumed, but the others would still have been displeased.

"Of course they would care. But they're smarter than you, because they seem to be avoiding the drink tables. Dance with me," he commanded.

She sighed as she gave in and was instantly pulled into a tight, possessive grasp. The last time she had been held like that, she had felt comforted, safe, and secure. But now she was uncomfortably wary of this man she couldn't see but danced with. The only one who had held her this way, with this protective hold, was, well...Kunzite. And she had let him, because she had understood his need to act the way he did. But Kunzite, she reminded herself, was a traitor. He would never have let his hands roam over her body the way this stranger's hands were moving, and she was pathetically tired of struggling and merely glared at him. Noticing her glower, he laughed and kept his hands polite although tightly around her waist, and it made her nervous. It was as if he was testing her...but she wasn't sure exactly what the test was and if she had passed it or not.

They danced in silence and darkness for a while until Queen Serenity stepped up to the platform. "The hour has come," she declared, eyes shining happily, "for the unmasking to begin! Everyone, please unmask and surprise your partners!"

Mina turned accusingly to her partner, who was still holding her. "You first. My lord."

Quick as wink, his hands were at the ties of her mask, and even though he was wearing gloves, it slipped off easily. For a few moments, his hands were unsteady as their framed her face. Then he tensed, relaxed, and exhaled deeply. No more tricks. No more distractions. Letting go of both her face and her mask, he let the latter fall slowly to the floor. Time seemed to stop as he closed his eyes in concentration and let his mask fade away.

"I can't see you. Step into the light."

He smiled darkly and obliged her. "As you wish, my princess."

Her scream, coming from deep within the depths of a shattered soul, echoed piercingly throughout the ballroom. "KUNZITE!!!!!"

~ * ~ * ~

Rei sighed dismally, her fiery-red eyes following Mina's less-than- graceful movements from across the room. She felt like dying, as they all did, but did the queen respect their grief? No–instead, they had been ordered to attend. And she had been forced to dress as a _male_ god. Luckily, she had managed to alter the original plans of the tailor's...she had even re-designed it so she was garbed as a phoenix. But that had been before, when she had wanted to look eye-catching and dazzling for Jadeite. He wasn't worth her time or effort, and yet, her soul felt as if it had been ripped into pieces and stepped on. The Martian Princess's gaze narrowed as she watched Mina succumb her glass to a stranger she could not see and begin dancing. The golden-haired princess was in the light, but the other half of the partnership was masked in shadow. Before she could attempt to read the person's aura, a smooth voice interrupted her concentration.

"Your highness."

"My lord," she replied distractedly and automatically.

"A beautiful woman such as you shouldn't be sitting down looking so glum. Rise and dance with me, princess."

Her head snapped up quickly, but Rei ignored the pain in her neck. There had only been one man who had spoken so flamboyantly and flirtatiously to her without experiencing her rage, and it was impossible for Jadeite to be on the Moon. She hated life, hate, and this stranger for making the memories resurface again. Shaking out her long tresses, which flowed like a river of molten fire down her back, she turned her back on the memory of her love, daring her inner self to object as she said, "I'd love to."

Quietly, he murmured in her ear, sending delicious and unwanted tingles down her spine, "I've always heard that the Princess of Mars was a reluctant dancer. Why, then, if you are such a marvelous one?"

"It depends on my partner," she said demurely. As he spun her around carefully, she caught a glimpse of midnight-blue hair through the glass. There was only one person with hair like that...ah, Ami. She had always been the smartest. She wished she had been as intelligent to hide rather than be dancing with a man she couldn't see in the darkest part of the ballroom. They had begun in a relatively rowdy atmosphere, but while she had been lost in her moody thoughts, he had steered her into the section of the room where the lights were dimmed to give lovers their privacy. Rei hadn't even had time to note his hair color or his costume. "So what are you masquerading as?"

He smirked. "How about a normal, respectable human being?"

A laugh escaped through her lips before she shut them tightly. Her eyes blazed angrily at him, holding accusations any other person would not have understood.

He looked down at her and smiled wider. "The unmasking begins, Rei."

"How do you know my name?" The mask slipped away from her face. There was no reply from him except for the removal of his own disguise. When his bright blue eyes met hers, she felt the ground drop away from beneath her feet. Her whisper of his name was not as loud as Mina's, but the same notes of fury, betrayal, and disbelief were there. "Jadeite."

~ * ~ * ~

She leaned against a tree, the famous eyes that matched its leaves tightly shut. Mina and Rei, half of their team, had been the only two obedient enough to the queen's wishes–they had gone to the ball. Lita, Princess of Jupiter, had wanted to be alone. Well, she wasn't exactly alone. Nephrite was there beside her, reclining in his deceptively laid- back manner–but in her memories, which swept her along like waking dreams. It made no difference that she was dressed like a handmaiden to the god Zeus, his mighty thunderbolt embroidered several times on the fine, forest- green fabric of her clothing. At least it allowed more movement than Mina's costume. She walked through a time when love had made her strong rather than weak. When she had thought her soul to be complete.

Thoughts such as those were useless, and they made her weaker than Nephrite's betrayal. 'I can't even mourn for the man he was,' Lita thought, 'because I don't know if that was his true self. What if he was just a two- faced traitor? Was he brainwashed? Did he go willingly to Beryl's side? Why are there no answers...? I thought he really loved me. Was that all a lie, as well?'

"I was under the impression that the ball was indoors, my lady."

"It is," she answered hesitantly, looking up into an unfamiliar face. The voice was masculine, as was the stranger's form. His mask signified an eagle, and his hair was tied back so neatly that she couldn't see determine its color. Strange emotions ran through her, and just by looking at him, she knew he was exactly the same height as Nephrite. His muscular build was even similar to her former soulmates...or were soulmates forever? "Excuse me, but have we met?"

He seemed to smile, but she couldn't tell if it was genuine. There was a definite upward curve to his sensuous lips, but she couldn't see his eyes...if they were the same mysterious navy blue as Nephrite's, she would...well, not exactly die, but something close to it. there was something very tricky going on that night. "Perhaps."

Lita looked at him suspiciously and opened her mouth to reply, but a strange roar of sound filled her ears, a sudden urgency and adrenaline rushing through her body. "What was that?"

"Did you hear something?" His voice was smooth and cool as he added, "I heard nothing. Maybe it was just your imagination. They say young ladies have many dreams and fancies, you know...among those, love."

She felt as if a jolt of lightning had shot through her. Getting to her feet rather shakily, the Jovian Princess asked, "And do you believe in love?"

"That depends on your definition." His smile was cold and cynical now, and she felt duly frightened. "The unmasking is starting," he remarked, "won't you let me see your lovely face?"

"No." She shivered uncontrollably and wrapped her arms around herself. There had been a time when she had forgotten what all notion of "cold" was, kept safe in Nephrite's arms. "Who are you?!"

Quick as a wink, he snatched away her mask–and his.

"Nephrite?"

~ * ~ * ~

She sat alone and solitary, as usual. She was positive that Lita was somewhere in the gardens as well, but they had mutually preferred not to cross paths. Rei and Mina were indoors, pretending to enjoy themselves at the party. The Princess of Mercury sighed heavily and ran her sensitive fingertips along the edge of a granite wall, scattering dead leaves to the ground. She watched them drift slowly, slowly down, some pure green, some green-brown, and some already completely brown as the magic of life faded from them. "Is that how you were, Zoi? Were you totally evil from the start or only half evil? Could you have been completely good? Am _I_ completely good?" A shining teardrop fell from her eye, and it would have landed on her silken-clad lap, where a lyre rested among the soft, billowing fabric had not a finger caught it. The droplet balanced precariously on the fingertip for a few seconds before falling to the ground...and shattering. Ami looked up in surprise and saw a man she didn't know standing before her.

The lower half of his face was unconcealed; only his eyes, the top half of his nose, and his cheekbones were obscured by the domino mask. It was beginning to grow dark, and her eyes were dimmed from tears. She wasn't sure what color his hair was. Unsurely, she said politely, "Excuse me, sir..but the ball is in the palace."

"Yes." His voice was low and velvety smooth, and she was shocked to find that shivers were running up and down her spine. Before she knew what was happening, he raised her cold hand to his lips, and it dangled limply in his hold. When his lips met the alabaster skin of her hand, she started as familiar sensations started across her body.

Yanking her hand back, she stammered, "Y–you aren't interested in the party, then?"

"No." His tone was dismissive, his smirk sly. And yet, there was a tinge of sadness that drew her in. Otherwise, she would have left when he suggested a walk to the nearby shore of the Sea of Serenity, the Mare Serenitatis. "Am I right in saying that you are the Mercurian Princess?"

She nodded mutely, her palm once again in his possession, for she had had to place it in his hand when he offered it. All her senses were screaming, but she felt oddly...at a peace of sorts. Still, she felt the urge to ask, "How did you know...who I was?"

He smiled again, with the twisted edge. "Always have to know everything, don't you?" They walked in peace until his grin changed to a roguish one. "I don't mistake beautiful women when I've met then once."

"What?"

He declined to elaborate; she was afraid to question further, and they walked closer to the sea. Then at the edge of the shore, his grip became rough and painful. She pulled away from him in panic, but he was stronger and more muscular. Pushing her down to the sand, his hand firmly over her mouth to obscure the frantic sounds, he thrust her under the salty water. She couldn't breathe the water, only stay down longer than normal humans–he knew that. He watched her desperate struggle and the fear in her eyes calmly, relishing her total helplessness. When her eyelids began to close sluggishly, he pulled her out. He also removed his hand, and she was to weak to scream.

"Why?" she whispered, her mask loose and the lyre long abandoned. Her winged sandals, as part of her costume as Hermes, had also been lost along the shore. He smiled darkly and removed his mask. "Zoi–" His name was cut off as his lips descended upon hers, hot and passionate.

Tears glazed her eyes when he broke away, and he smiled savagely and held her under the water again. This time, when he resurfaced her, there was no life in her eyes, no pulse in her veins, and only the satisfaction and triumph that roared through him.

~ * ~ * ~

The ballroom was hushed as two men levitated above the crowd, each holding a scuffling princess against them...until the generals pressed silvery, shining knives to their throats. They went still instantly, and their captors were careful to hold their arms away from their subspace pockets. Jadeite was first to speak, his amicable joker's grin present on his face–as always. None of the ladies felt the swoon of delight they usually did at his smile...for there was a darkness that scared them. "As you can see, my good ladies and gentlemen–and you as well, Queen Serenity, we have the Princesses of Venus and Mars captive. Oh–and if my sources are correct (his tone indicated that they were _never_ wrong), the Princess of Jupiter has been stabbed multiple times and is currently letting out her last breath–yes–(a pause) and the Princess of Mercury has just been asphyxiated by her own element."

He smiled cheerfully as a wail rose from the people below, as Queen Serenity sought support from the banister, and as tears fled silently down Mina and Rei's cheeks. He brushed away the teardrops from his love's soft cheeks gently. "Don't worry," he told her softly, although everyone heard, "don't cry. You'll only be parted from them for so long." Pressing a kiss to her temple, this being unlike the Jadeite of this past, he slit her throat in one quick motion.

The Venusian Princess shut her eyes tightly, but the image of Rei's blood pouring down her white throat to stain her already crimson dress was embedded in her memory. Lita's pain and Ami's shock were also a part of her. Opening her eyes once more, she sagged against Kunzite and asked, "Why? Why are you doing this? What did she offer you?"

Although she couldn't see him, he had a thoughtful look in his uncanny gray eyes. "I suppose," he said slowly, readying his own sword, "that some things don't have prices."

"My love never did," she whispered.

"Ah, but that's not true," he replied, and sank his sword through her heart from the back. "I've always wanted to stab someone from behind. And yet, I never did it, because I wanted to take the credit for the kill. I wanted to see that look of horror in my victims' eyes. But you know who your murderer was anyway, don't you, lover of mine?" Kunzite's soliloquy was interrupted by a terrified shriek.

"MINA!!!!" Serenity had finally rushed in from the balcony, where she and Endymion had drifted to during their timeless dance. She stopped short, her frantic eyes taking in her defeated-looking mother, the two men she had thought she would never see again, and the blood-stained bodies of two of her four best friends...

The generals' eyes, one pair azure blue, the other murky gray, narrowed when they met those of their former liege. Kunzite bowed in midair, still clutching the Venusian Princess to him. After a minute, Jadeite followed suit, albeit reluctantly and holding Rei in the same manner. "Prince Endymion. A pleasure to see you again."

He was so overcome by the shock that neither his brain nor his voice box could deign to produce sound.

"What, Endy? No greeting for your old best friends? We're very hurt, you know, because we thought you would have missed us more. We wondered how you were faring without your Shittenou." Jadeite had a massive sneer on his face as the words poured forth from his mouth, and for once, his commander didn't bother to tell him to shut up.

Further commotion was caused when Nephrite and Zoisite appeared, each bearing a deceased princess. Lita was as blood-covered as Mina and Rei, but Ami merely had a deep bluish-purple hue to her skin and no mark upon her... When their eyes lit upon the sobbing crowd, Queen Serenity, Princess Serenity, and Prince Endymion, they too smiled triumphantly. Nephrite flicked his wavy brown hair out of his way disdainfully, disregarding the fact that his fingers were stained a dark, rusty scarlet, and asked in a low voice, "Is everything in place?"

"Yes...it's run like clockwork–and Endymion is just one of the springs. Give the signal, Kunzite," Zoisite said lazily.

The silver-haired man looked frozen for a minute before he shook himself and nodded. Power the same intense color as his hair shot forth from his fingertips to envelop the entire ballroom, and the crowd screamed in fear as one. Endymion and Serenity struggled to make their way over to the latter's mother, and the generals took no notice of them. All of a sudden, an ominous rumbling filled the air, and thousands upon thousands of youma poured over the walls. More cries and shrieks were heard from the crowd, as well as yells from the men. Despite their blatant finery, they picked up anything that could be used as a weapon–some women followed suit. The ones who had introduced the scene watched avidly but dispassionately, as if the entire thing was something marginally entertaining but not really touching them. the mass slaughter went on, and on, and on as the youma knocked aside the nobles' paltry weapons and killed without a second thought.

Queen Serenity sank to her knees, her silken dress pooling around her as the advisors originally from Mau, Luna and Artemis, ran up to them. As the roof was blasted away, somehow completely unaffecting the "fight" raging below, she let the tears fall into her lap. "Everything's gone, Serenity. We've failed. How?"

"It was the generals," her daughter whispered. "But Mother...the crystal? Couldn't you use it to defeat the dark?"

She gestured faintly at the Seven Shadow Warriors swooped down upon her people and at the black mass that was Metallia above. "It's too late. I'm so sorry."

~ * ~ * ~

Someone tapped Kunzite on the shoulder, and he spun around to meet sapphire blue eyes. "Have you come to challenge us then, Endymion?"

He nodded mutely, sword drawn and ready. His generals weren't the only ones who managed to levitate and keep that spell going while they fought. In fact, Jadeite and Nephrite had been the ones to refine Endymion's technique, concentrating on how he could conserve more energy and let the levitation be instinctive. His heart ached at the thought of fighting them, but they had hurt him, Serenity, and the senshi–and they had had the gall to return...like this. "Which of you shall fight me?"

"Neither. There is an offer I'd like to make." Beryl descended from above, two little, pointy incisors shining from her lips. "Join our side, Endymion, and you will be the Prince of the Dark Kingdom, and your generals will become your friends once more."

He was both disgusted and horrified by the change that had come over the pathetically lovesick but essentially good-natured woman that had once chased after him determinedly. "No."

Her eyes flared dangerously, and she demanded, "Why?"

"I'd rather die fighting you, and even them, my soul-brothers."

"Why?!"

"And if I die," Endymion continued rather dreamily, "my heart shall stay behind still to protect my true love."

His former generals were nauseated by this display of affection and loyalty; even Beryl looked repulsed.

Before she could try to win him to her side again, a voice hissed, "Very well then. Let him remain on the side of the Moon Kingdom!" At Metallia's words, the Seven Shadows centered in on Endymion, and Beryl and Serenity watched with fear alike in both of their faces, despite the fact that one was now spitefully dark and the other still gleaming white.

~ * ~ * ~

Her wide, crystal blue eyes watched him fall slowly to the floor, resting upon the carnage at last. She couldn't scream, couldn't make any sound, merely rushed over to him and let her tears fall. Serenity looked at her anguished mother, the bodies of her friends (still in the clutches of their executioners), and the four men watching impersonally from above. "You...it was all your fault! They–they _loved_ you: Mina, Rei, Lita, Ami, and Endymion...how could you do this to them? You were their soulmates." They still failed to respond, and she lifted her head high as yet another tear trickled down her cheek. Endymion's head was upon her lap, his sword a few feet away from him, but she seemed to be alone in the world. "For the evil you have done here tonight and in the pure hearts that never deserved their pain, I curse you. I curse you for as long as the stream of time flows, as long as there exists good and evil in this world, and for–for all eternity to be alone without love, since you have rejected that of your soulmates and the only ones who can make you truly happy. They will never love you again." Before her words could sink in, she reached for Endymion's sword and plunged it into her own breast.

"Serenity! NO!!!!!"

Luna, already pale from the meaning of her princess's words, collapsed against Artemis, who was doing double-duty, as he was already supporting the queen. 'No, Serenity...anything but that...how could you? You loved them as well as they did, no matter how evil...and now you're gone, just like all of the others. Why? Why?!' Her thoughts came to a thundering halt when the Imperium Silver Crystal appeared in her queen's outstretched hand.

~ * ~ * ~

The queen sank back against the slab of stone, part of the remains of the fine marble staircase. Everything in her world was gone: her daughter, her home, and her people. At least she would be following them into death...at least some of them. The Dark Kingdom, Beryl, and Metallia were sealed safely away. Away from the new life she hoped to create for her daughter. The generals would need some work, but she trusted that Setsuna would take care of things. If only she would have enough time and strength left... Her eyes filled with tears once more when she noted the ruin of the entire system. None of the planets shone as brightly as they had before, in all their radiant magnificence, and Venus was the only one that looked remotely as it had been. The gush of dark power that had radiated forth had already poisoned everything on the other planets...

Suddenly, a small, dark-haired girl appeared before her. Behind her was a couple, one woman with platinum-blond hair and another with aquamarine tresses. Further off in the distance was a fourth one in a fuku, with dark olive green hair and sad garnet eyes. "My queen."

"Hotaru...would you please?"

The Messiah knew what she was asking and nodded slowly. "Yes, my queen."

"Thank you. Haruka, Michiru, don't judge them too harshly. Setsuna–you'll take care of the Shittenou, won't you?" When they all replied alike, her eyes began drifting shut. "Don't...don't forget about Luna and Artemis."

When she saw that all was ready and that the queen had breathed her last, Hotaru raised her glaive almost reverently, tears slipping down her face as well. "Death Reborn Revolution." And with three simple words, all other life on the nine planets was destroyed. At last the Outer Senshi, excepting Pluto, became nothing but glowing balls that signified souls themselves. The souls of the Moon Princess and her court floated over to the last survivor, who caught them expertly and disappeared to the Time Stream to do her duty...and due to the love of five individuals, the darkness and jealousy in another two persons' hearts, and the results that came of it, the Silver Millennium was so ended. It was the Moon Princess Serenity's destiny to rebuild her kingdom when the time came, to restore it to vitality with the legacy and the crystal...and to keep the new life and world she had been given safe. Second chances were priceless.

~ * ~ * ~

AN: As you can see, this wasn't an end of the Silver Millennium story. Those irk me: just starting with all the prophecies of doom and "you betrayed me!!" We're going to the future, minna! :) I liked the idea of Endymion going to dance with Serenity, and I thought it would be interesting for the gens and the senshi to share one last dance. Well, except for Makoto and Ami, but... I also thought it'd be an interesting perspective to have the senshi killed outright...and then the youma begin scaling the walls :).

Have you noticed, that for some strange reason, I have this preoccupation with Minako and alcohol? I have no clue why, but it always pops up. I decided to have the generals not remember anything at all...don't you hate them now? Maybe not ^^;. The reason things are still a little fuzzy is because, of course, this is merely the beginning.

Serenity curses the generals because I'm tired of her always being the one to say, "Ooh, it's okay, Endy and all the senshi really hate you now, but everything will be okay." It just annoys the heck out of me...so now she's going to be the unforgiving one. ^^ Wait till you see the plot twist I've developed...(hint: please keep reading, because I'd be sad otherwise).

Zoicite, the way I usually spell his name, is going to be "Zoisite," because yes, I have known for almost forever that the latter spelling is the correct one, but I hold the opinion that Zoisite looks extremely girly and that Zoicite is definitely more masculine. But I'll follow the rules this time. ^.~ If I forget...uh...sorry ^^;;.

I like taking negative views of Queen Serenity. It's very interesting, and I can make at least one character imperfect then. I tend to make them _very_ perfect, which annoys me. *sigh* It got sappier at the end than I intended, but oh well. Hoe the prologue was LONG enough and interesting enough. ^^

~Ice