Thorny Roses

Chapter 15

Emerald had continued to watch the Ayakashi Sisters and Rubeus after Sapphire had left when Wiseman had appeared before her.

Wiseman was constantly shrouded in a blackish-purple robe that covered his face. A dark aura emanated from his seated, floating position. His eyes often gleamed like his crystal orb.

"Wiseman," Emerald greeted. "Can I help you with something?"

"Actually, my dear, I would like to help you with something," Wiseman replied. His voice sounded airy but deep.

"What do you mean?" Emerald suspiciously yet curiously questioned.

"I would like to help you in your conquest for Prince Diamond's heart. You do wish to destroy Sailor Moon, correct?"

"Yes! Yes, of course I do!" Emerald nodded her head vigorously. "How are we going to do it?"

"Just give this to the Ayakashi Sisters and Rubeus," Wiseman said, handing her the Dark Crystal shard. "It is a small piece but it is powerful."

"I'll give it to them immediately!" Emerald excitedly disappeared.

"Fool…" Wiseman muttered before disappearing as well.

The night was silent as the Senshi and Shitennou crouched in the forest around Hikawa Shrine. Tension ran high between Sailor Mars and Jadeite, causing them to sit as far from each other as possible.

"When do we attack?" Sailor Jupiter whispered.

"It can't be said," Sailor Moon answered in an equally quiet voice. "They have to attack first."

"They're probably thinking the same thing," Nephrite muttered.

On the other side of Hikawa Shrine, the Ayakashi Sisters and Rubeus also remained floating above the temple, waiting for the Senshi and Shitennou. They all knew it was only a matter of time before the Shitennou and Senshi came running.

They were all smart. It would only be a few more minutes until the Senshi and Shitennou showed up. The Ayakashi Sisters and Rubeus knew that in a few minutes, they would begin fighting. They knew that in a few minutes, they could possibly die.

Rubeus straightened and floated closer towards the shrine, preparing himself for his imminent death.

"Why, the atmosphere is so solemn for those who will defeat the Senshi and Shitennou."

The depressed group turned around to face Emerald.

A sneer of disgust came upon each of their faces, but Berthier and Rubeus were able to control their expressions, though mildly.

"What are you doing here, Emerald?" Petz glared.

"General Emerald. Let's not forget titles, regardless of how close we are," Emerald mocked.

"We are not close," Petz growled.

"Well, you should at least be grateful after what I'm about to do!" Emerald gleefully laughed.

"Which is…?" Calaveras impatiently prompted.

"I'm going to give you a little something to help you," Emerald responded, her eyes glinting with mischief. A black crystal shard flew from her hand, floating in front of Rubeus. They watched as it broke apart into five smaller pieces, settling on each of the crescent moons on their foreheads.

"They're shards of our Dark Crystal," Emerald explained nonchalantly. "They'll help you in battle since you're unevenly matched against the Senshi and Shitennou."

Koan tentatively touched the shard on her forehead before touching the one of Rubeus' forehead. "Thank you," she murmured.

"Why are you helping us?" Berthier questioned. "I don't see how our victory could be an advantage to you."

"I have my reasons," Emerald vaguely answered. All I know is that Wiseman asked me to give them to all of you. He only said that it would help remove Sailor Moon from the equation and anything that gets her out of the way is good...

"Why aren't they attacking?" Nephrite asked.

An explosion sounded on the other side of the temple.

"Great job, Nephrite!" Jadeite yelled as they all stood up from their positions and ran towards the sound. "You jinxed it!"

Sailor Mercury gasped. "What about Rei's grandfather?"

"Don't worry, he's off on vacation as usual," Sailor Mars answered.

They arrived at the scene of the explosion, coming upon the Ayakashi Sisters and Rubeus standing casually in front of the burning temple.

"How dare you?! Burning a temple is of the utmost sin! A place where people come to pray and young girls come for charms to help them with their loves cannot be harmed! I, Sailor Moon, and the Senshi and Shitennou cannot forgive you! In the name of the moon, we will punish you!" Sailor Moon yelled.

"Wow, it's been a while since I've heard that," Sailor Venus commented.

"How annoying!" Calaveras sneered. "Let's just get this over with! I have better things to do."

Sailor Venus narrowed her eyes, not waiting a single minute. "Venus Beautiful Love!"

With that single attack, the Senshi, Shitennou, and Black Moon Clan split into their respective battles. The Senshi and Shitennou had expected an easy fight since they doubled their opponents' numbers. However, they were surprised to find that the enemy was stronger than earlier in the day.

Sailor Jupiter cried out as Petz sent a particularly strong blow at her. Crashing to the ground, Sailor Jupiter gritted her teeth in pain. Nephrite growled and ran towards Petz, only to have her send him flying back.

Sailor Mercury dodged Berthier's attacks, barely getting a second to breathe before another attack was thrown at her. Zoicite ran towards Berthier's back, his sword raised to strike her. In a flash, Berthier spun around, catching the sword in her hand. Though a slight trickle of blood ran down Berthier's arm, she was unfazed. She smirked at Zoicite before kicking the sword out of his hands and swiping a kick at his face. Zoicite was knocked over, falling to the ground in shock.

Jadeite also seemed to be struggling against Koan. He noticed that there was a strange change in her, as though she had lost all of her timidity from earlier and was only replaced with aggression and hate. The weak and innocent look from before was gone. Koan bowled him over with a fire attack and stalked towards him, preparing to hit him once again. In the last minute, Sailor Mars appeared and blocked the blow from Koan by serving up her own fire attack. Sailor Mars turned around and looked at Jadeite. He opened his mouth to thank her but was silenced by her cold glare. She walked towards the stunned Koan, preparing to attack.

Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask worked together to defeat Rubeus. However, they were evenly matched. No matter what Sailor Moon or Tuxedo Mask would do, Rubeus managed to escape their blows unscathed.

Sailor Moon was frightened by the look in Rubeus' eyes. They were normal before but now they had a certain evil in them that they had lacked before. Sailor Moon noticed that there was a black crystal piece on his forehead, covering his black crescent moon.

Rubeus used a combination of a physical attack and Dark energy to send Tuxedo Mask flying back into a tree. With a grunt, Tuxedo Mask slammed into the tree trunk, groaning as he fell to the ground. Sailor Moon cried out, immediately turning towards Rubeus and attacking him with an aggression that she had never before used.

Rubeus noticed the change in her mood and smirked. This only sent Sailor Moon farther into an angry state. Relax, Usagi, she thought. You have to remain calm. If you get angry, you'll become sloppy and Rubeus knows that.

She forced herself to calm down but kept the ferocity in her attacks. Rubeus felt himself being overcome and grimaced. He pulled in power from the Dark Crystal shard on his forehead and invaded her mind.

Sailor Moon looked around in shock as the world darkened around her. Everything was silent. She turned around, surprised to see Mamoru, not Tuxedo Mask, standing behind her.

"Mamoru…" Sailor Moon breathed.

He reached towards her silently and Sailor Moon automatically went towards him. Suddenly, a sword pierced through Mamoru's back, causing Sailor Moon to scream. The sword retracted, disappearing into the darkness as Mamoru fell down. Sailor Moon fell to the ground with him and cradled his head. As she was holding his cold body, more figures came to life around her: the Senshi and Shitennou were scattered around her, their bodies lifeless. What hurt the most was Chibiusa's small body, bruised and bloodied lying on the ground.

"This is what will come to be if you continue fighting," Rubeus said. However, it did not sound like Rubeus' voice. The voice speaking through Rubeus sounded more airy yet deep.

"No…you're lying…" Sailor Moon cried out.

"No, I am not. Just give me the Silver Crystal, and all of this will come to an end," Rubeus continued.

"No! I can't give it to you!" She yelled. "This is an illusion! This isn't real!"

"Not yet it isn't, but it will be, I assure you this!"

"No…no…NO!" Sailor Moon screamed, erupting into a bright white light. The illusion faded away and Rubeus flew back. He looked up and saw Princess Serenity. She raised her staff and, in a silent command, a white light flashed again. Each of the Ayakashi Sisters let out a gasp when the light faded away. The Dark Crystal shards had disintegrated, leaving each of the Black Moon Clan members on the ground, weak from the lack of energy.

The Senshi and Shitennou watched in awe and surprise as Princess Serenity stalked towards the Ayakashi Sisters and Rubeus who had unconsciously crawled towards each other. The backed up into each other as the Senshi and Shitennou surrounded them.

"You all must pay for your crimes," Princess Serenity said, raising her staff. She happened to point it at Koan first.

"No!" Rubeus leaped in front of Koan's frightened frame. "Not her, please!"

"Please, she's the youngest of us," Petz quietly said.

"Take me instead! I am their leader," Rubeus pleaded. "I take full responsibility. Just don't hurt her…"

Princess Serenity was shocked at their compassion but she did not show it. The Senshi and Shitennou were also shocked.

"I didn't know that they were capable of feelings," Nephrite said.

Calaveras scowled. "Just because we're your enemy doesn't mean we're emotionless robots."

"But something must be done," Tuxedo Mask said. He limped to Princess Serenity's side. "We cannot simply let you all go."

"Yes, something must be done," Princess Serenity nodded solemnly.

"But, Serenity—" Sailor Venus hesitantly said.

"Don't worry, Venus, I know what I'm doing," Serenity secretively smiled.

She pointed her staff at the Sisters and Rubeus. Each of them grasped hands with each other and closed their eyes in anticipation of Serenity's attack.

Princess Serenity closed her eyes. "Silver Moon…"

Silver Crystal, please listen to my heart. Don't hurt them. I don't want to hurt them. Instead, help me to heal them.

"Kiss!"

Silver light flashed once more, blinding everyone.

When the Senshi and Shitennou opened their eyes, they were shocked to see the Ayakashi Sisters and Rubeus in perfect condition.

"W-what? Why are we still alive?" Koan asked. She immediately grabbed Rubeus' face, examining him for any injuries. She gasped when she saw that the black crescent moon on his forehead was gone.

"It's gone!" Berthier exclaimed while pointing at Petz' forehead.

"So is yours!" Calaveras said.
"Why did you do this?" Petz asked Sailor Moon.

"Because you all deserve a second chance. I know you are not evil people. You all have goodness inside your hearts that need to be brought out," Sailor Moon said.

Rubeus bowed to her, the Ayakashi Sisters following suit. "Thank you very much Sailor Moon. We are forever in your debt."

"Please, I only did what was needed of me," Sailor Moon smiled.

Rubeus smiled and nodded his head. Grabbing Koan's hand and with a final look over his shoulder, they all departed, walking off into the distance.

The temple fire had been extinguished and the building repaired by Serenity's healing light.

Mamoru's uniform faded. He hugged Usagi close, kissing her temple. "That was amazing," he murmured.

"Yeah, really!" Kunzite exclaimed. "We should expect nothing less from our Leader."

Usagi smiled at him. "Let's go home for now, okay?" She looked pointedly at Rei and Jadeite. "I think we all need a little rest."

"But let me take a quick scan on everyone to survey the injuries," Ami said.

Zoicite smiled at her. "I think that can wait until later. Let me walk you home."

Ami blushed and nodded. They walked away together, Kunzite, Minako, Nephrite, and Makoto following suit.

Rei nodded her head at Mamoru and Usagi, ignoring Jadeite. She turned to walk away.

"Rei…" Jadeite called, pleading.

Rei stopped but did not turn around. She remained silent.

"Thanks."

Rei slightly twitched her head towards her shoulder, as though she would turn around to look at Jadeite. However, she stiffened her shoulders and continued walking into the temple.

Jadeite sighed, looking down.

"Don't worry," Usagi said. "She just needs a little time."

Jadeite nodded and walked away, his hands in his pockets.

"Do you think he'll be alright?" Usagi wondered.

Mamoru pouted. "Don't think about other guys when I'm standing right next to you."

Usagi rolled her eyes but smiled. "Yeah, yeah. Just take me home, baka."

Mamoru smiled, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. She leaned into his embrace, sighing as they walked towards her apartment.

The stars gleamed above them.

Sorry it took so long! We're not even halfway done :P I wanna see some reviews!

Pegasus'Horn