I recently checked my legacy stats and reviews for this story and found out who has been reviewing since Chapter 1! I'd like to dedicate this chapter to all of those who have stuck with me through all of the long waits and writer's block.

This is for you: RKF22

Thanks to all of my readers! I LOVE YOU!

Thorny Roses

Chapter 21

Emerald awaited Sapphire in her room, sitting on the bed with worry and fear curling in her stomach. She had wanted to go watch the battle but that required being in the same room as Diamond.

Before, she would have jumped at the chance to be around him. However, lately, she could barely stand the sight of him. Ever since he had destroyed Sapphire with the idea of replacing Petz, Emerald saw him in a different light.

He was no longer the Diamond that she fell in love with…

Emerald noticed Diamond staring at her during the ball. She only politely smiled in return for his gaze but always looked away. She was more concerned with her friends, the Ayakashi Sisters. Petz, who was like a sister to her, was courted by Prince Sapphire. Though she was close to Petz and Sapphire, she could not say the same about Diamond.

Emerald had never put too much effort into befriending him, even when they were children.

"Emerald, dear," her mother had called. "Come meet a friend of mine and your father's!"

She had hurried over to her parents to be introduced to a friend of theirs. The man happened to have a son around Emerald's age and he promptly asked her to dance.

In front of her parents, Emerald had no choice but to accept.

She personally hated dancing but dancing with a total stranger made things much worse. He had tried to keep up a conversation but she only offered him curt, indifferent answers.

A tap on Emerald's shoulder had stopped their dance.

It was Diamond.

"May I have this dance?" he asked the pair.

How could he refuse the Crown Prince? Emerald's partner handed her over to the Prince, where she reveled over the heat of his hands. Throughout the entire dance, as well as the next few dances, no words were exchanged. Diamond constantly stared at Emerald while Emerald focused on anything other than the prince.

By the end of the ball, he had asked to court her.

Taken aback, Emerald blushed from the embarrassment. "Unfortunately, I'm not interested. My deepest apologies," she had answered before briskly walking away…

This was not the end of Diamond's attention, however. At every possible moment, Diamond would attempt to speak to Emerald, constantly asking her out to dinner or dancing or activities of the like.

Very soon, the gifts came. When Emerald had discarded the outrageous gifts such as large dresses and extravagant jewelry, Diamond had learned to stick to flowers and small trinkets, such as a bracelet or a earrings.

While Emerald was flattered by his attentions, she could not deny that she felt a slight irritation towards the forward prince.

While strolling in the public park, Emerald admired the flowers while her parents walked further ahead of her. Suddenly, a large bouquet appeared before her. Surprised, she fell backwards, landing on her behind.

Embarrassed beyond relief, she scrambled to stand up, dusting herself off before facing Prince Diamond.

"Are you alright, Emerald? I brought you some flowers," Diamond smiled brightly.

"Can't you leave me alone?!" Emerald snapped, blushing at the snickers she was receiving from passersby. "Why are you always following me? I don't want you around, okay!"

She tried to remember that she was speaking to the prince of the Black Moon Clan as well as the brother of one of her closest friends. The smile on his pale face faltered and he smiled sadly.

"I see. I apologize if I have been too forward."

Emerald sighed in relief, glad that he had understood.

"But I guess I'll just have to try harder."

Emerald looked up in shock. "W-what?"

Diamond smirked. "I think I'm in love with you, Emerald. So, I won't stop at anything until you fall in love with me or I die trying." He handed her the bouquet before disappearing.

Little by little, Emerald began to fall for Diamond's constant presence. Eventually giving him a chance, he impressed her with his manners and charm, as well as his need to make her comfortable and happy. He was incredibly considerate.

Her parents were elated that she was being courted by the Prince of the Black Moon Clan and she had enough social standing to be deemed 'worthy' of the Prince. Things were perfect.

However, everything became difficult when their planet suffered a disaster. Droughts as well as tidal waves and earthquakes destroyed the planet and decimated the population. Prince Diamond was suddenly placed under a large amount of stress.

Emerald had visited him in his study one night.

"Diamond?" She tentatively opened the door.

"Em? What are you doing here so late?" Diamond looked stressed as he sat at his desk surrounded by papers.

"I thought you would be a little stressed by what's been going on…"

He sighed, smiling at her. "I was a little upset but seeing you makes me feel a lot better. I'm glad you visited," Diamond said, pulling her onto his lap.

Emerald hugged him, wanting to relieve him of his worries and doubts.

"Do you have any ideas for how to solve this problem?"

"I'm thinking we could find another place to live…" Diamond said, shuffling through his papers.

"But where?" Emerald asked. "It's difficult finding another planet that isn't inhabited but is still habitable."

"Maybe we could find a planet willing to take us in," Diamond sighed. "Besides, what with our population a fifth of what it used to be, it's not like we'll be too much to take on."

Suddenly, a dark figure materialized in the room. Emerald stood up in shock while Diamond did the same, standing in front of Emerald and moving her behind his back.

A cloaked person, floating in a sitting position while holding a crystal ball, spoke.

"Prince Diamond of the Black Moon Clan," the person's voice resounded, deep yet airy.

"Yes…?" Diamond cautiously answered, still hiding Emerald behind him.

"I have come to aid you in your conquest."

Ever since then, Diamond became a power-hungry, sadistic tyrant. Many of the people of the Black Moon Clan left the planet on their own to search for a new home. Few of them were left. Things became even worse when Wiseman brought up Earth and Crystal Tokyo, particularly the King and Queen of Crystal Tokyo.

At the first sight of Neo-Queen Serenity, Diamond's eyes became black with lust and the potential power. It was the first time he had ever hurt Emerald. Diamond began to push everyone away, including Emerald, leaving her embittered. The entire situation destroyed Sapphire and Petz's relationship as well as Emerald and Diamond's. Diamond only regarded her as a tool. Even the Ayakashi Sisters were broken and Rubeus and Koan were struggling.

Emerald began to hate the Queen of Earth with a dark passion, longing to kill her for destroying their bonds with one another. Emerald knew that her hatred was irrational but it was the only way she could cope with her pain over Diamond.

Soon, she forgot what he used to be like and what she herself used to be like…

Emerald curled up into a ball and fell back onto her pillows. She allowed herself to cry, trying to keep her face impassive. The slight quivering of her bottom lip was the only indication that she was sobbing.

In the throne room, Diamond was once again furious as he watched his brother attacking his goddess. Then, on the verge of strangling Serenity to death, Sapphire had suddenly looked up and then the Dark Crystal shut off.

Sapphire had better be dead. Otherwise, Diamond would kill him himself.

Did you really just consider murdering your own brother? Diamond's conscience surprised him. He was taken aback by what he had just thought.

What have I become?

Sapphire appeared in the throne room, relinquishing Diamond's surprise and igniting his anger. In a flash, Diamond punched Sapphire, throwing him to the ground.

"How dare you attempt to kill her!" Diamond screamed. He continued hitting him, surprised and suspicious when Sapphire did not fight back.

After Sapphire seemed covered in bruises and blood while Diamond remained without a scratch, Diamond calmed down.

"Why did you do it? You're no ass, you knew I would be angry," Diamond seethed.

"I was temporarily enraged because she killed Petz," Sapphire answered in a monotone voice. "I have gotten over my anger and I apologize. I have also gotten over Petz as well as the Ayakashi Sisters and Rubeus. I am ready to serve you again."

Diamond was suspicious but pleased. "Leave my sight. You're lucky you're my brother."

Emerald gasped in surprise when Sapphire entered her room, bruised and bloody.

"What happened?!" She hurried off the bed, pulling Sapphire close and examining his wounds. "Did the Senshi do this?"

"No, it was Diamond," Sapphire answered.

"Why did he attack you?!" Emerald shrieked, running around her room grabbing clean rags and a bowl of water, bandages, and ointments.

"Because I tried to kill Sailor Moon."

Emerald froze in her steps. She was silent for a little while.

"So you didn't succeed?" She asked after a long silence.

"No, Emerald, I didn't. But I'm glad I didn't."

Emerald's eyes flashed in surprise, shock, and anger.

"She isn't what we thought, Emerald," Sapphire said. He lowered his voice, coming closer to her. "Serenity never killed the Ayakashi Sisters or Rubeus. She only made them human so that they could live on Earth peacefully."

The bowl nearly fell to the ground if Sapphire hadn't caught it after Emerald's grip began to loosen.

"…w-wha-what?" She stuttered, sitting down on the bed.

Sapphire nodded. "Yes, they're all alive. Sailor Moon and the Senshi are not who we thought they were. They're good people."

"Then that makes us the bad people," Emerald commented. Sapphire said nothing.

"I'm going to help them," Sapphire said.

"What?!" Emerald shrieked again, standing up. "You want to help her?!"

"They're the only ones who can free Diamond from Wiseman's grip."

Emerald fell silent once more.

"How are they going to help us?" Emerald whimpered. "How are we going to save him?"

Sapphire smiled confidently, pulling her in for a comforting hug. "Sailor Moon will find a way. For now, we must stay here with Diamond and act normal. That way, we can relay any information we find out back to the Senshi and Shitennou."

"Sapphire, we're putting a lot at risk…" Emerald gravely said.

"I know, but it's a risk that we're going to have to take."

Diamond sat in his throne room once more, brooding on his throne. With the flick of a finger, he summoned a Yuma. It was tall and skinny, with no distinct form. It was black and transparent, as though it were a shadow.

It bowed before Diamond.

"Don't return until you have brought me the Rabbit," he said. The Yuma nodded and disappeared.

"Wise decision," Wiseman said, appearing beside the King.

"We must act now. I can wait no longer for my queen," Diamond replied, going back to his rooms.

Wiseman chuckled after him, gleeful that his plans were quickly coming to their goal.

Luna and Artemis lay beside Chibiusa's sleeping figure. Usagi had stopped by her parents' house to check on Chibiusa after the battle last night.

Usagi had spoken to Luna privately after her visit.

"Make sure you keep an eye on her, okay Luna?" Usagi had said. "I don't want anything to happen to her."

Luna had nodded and done exactly that. In a few days, school would be starting up again after their winter break. Thankfully, Mrs. Tsukino wanted Chibiusa to stay at home more often to settle back into her previous routine.

Luna sighed, turning to look at Artemis sitting by the window. The light of the full moon basked him in an ethereal glow, making him seem like an angel in the form of a cat.

Luna saw his troubled expression of his reflection in the window. "What's wrong, Artemis?" Luna asked.

Artemis turned to her, his blue eyes glinting in the light. "I just have a bad feeling."

Luna stood up, lightly walking towards him. She watched his tail flicking back and forth in agitation. "What do you mean? Do you sense another Yuma?"

"I'm not sure…Something just doesn't feel right," Artemis replied. "I think we should contact Usagi."

Suddenly, Chibiusa began to squirm in her sleep, whining softly.

Luna hurried over to her sleeping form, placing a paw on her. Luna gently shook the pink-haired girl.

"Chibiusa! Chibiusa!" Luna called.

"No…mommy…daddy…" Chibiusa began to cry, her eyes still closed.

"Chibiusa!" Luna yelled.

"NO!"

The room was enveloped by a bright, white light, emitting from the crescent moon on Chibiusa's forehead.

Luna turned around when she heard Artemis yell along with a crash. A transparent, black Yuma had burst through the window. Though it was transparent, it easily knocked Artemis to the side followed by Luna.

Luna hit the wall, feeling unconsciousness taking over her mind. She weakly lifted her head to see the Yuma picking up Chibiusa before the world turned black.

The Senshi and Shitennou sat in Usagi's living room, once again.

"Luna and I discussed some possible courses of action that we could take," Usagi said. "We believe that Chibiusa may have taken something or was given something important from the future and she may have lost it. The problem is that the Black Moon Clan is looking for it, too."

"That explains why they're after her," Ami nodded thoughtfully. "They're not after her, but after something she has."

"But what is it?" Kunzite said. "What did Chibiusa lose?"

"Yeah, she won't talk to us," Nephrite frowned.

"What is she afraid of?" Jadeite asked.

"She's afraid we'll hate her because she lost this thing," Usagi replied.

"Aw, that's so sad," Minako pouted. "She should have more faith in us."

"She's just a kid, Minako," Makoto commented. "She doesn't know any better."

"But we still need to get her to talk. The quicker she talks, the earlier we can help her," Rei said.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.

Usagi's brows furrowed in confusion. It was almost 2 in the morning and everyone that needed to be here was already here.

"Who could that be?" Usagi murmured, standing up. Mamoru stood up, as well, following her to the door.

Usagi opened the door, revealing the Ayakashi Sisters and Rubeus holding a panting Luna and Artemis. Both cats had a slight bump on their heads.

"What are you guys doing here?" Mamoru asked in surprise.

"Usagi, Mamoru, before we tell you this, you need to remain calm," Rubeus said.

Usagi felt the blood drain from her body.

"What is it? Tell me now."

"Usagi—" Calaveras pleaded gently.

"Tell me!" Usagi all but screamed. Mamoru held her in his arms while the rest of the Shitennou and Senshi appeared behind them.

"Usagi, it's Chibiusa," Koan said.

"She's…well, she has…" Berthier stalled.

"Please, tell me," Usagi cried. She clutched her hands to her heart, trying to stop its erratic beating.

"Usagi," Petz quietly said. "They've got Chibiusa."

Usagi would have fallen to her knees if Mamoru hadn't been holding her.

"That's not the worst of it," Artemis said.

"They've disappeared into the future," Luna completed.

DUN DUN DUUUUNNNNN! What is going to happen now?! Better stay tuned to find out! (Though it's probably predictable if you watched the anime/read the manga). Please look forward to the next chapter, coming up soon!

Love,

Pegasus'Horn