A shudder passed through Sailor Chibi Moon as she crept down the dark hallway. She glanced quickly around her, afraid that she was being watched. The shadows cast by the sparse light of the thinly spread candles did nothing to ease her mind. She continued onward cautiously, ready to attack at a moment's notice.
At the end of the hallway was a large door of dark-stained wood. On either side of the door the hallways branched to the right and left. Chibi Moon hesitated, unsure of which direction to take. Which way would lead her to Helios?
Chibi Moon huffed. "Where's a guide when you need one?"
As she considered her options, she heard something coming from her left. Concentrating, she realized that the sound was music. Such a pretty melody...
Her legs began moving without her permission, propelling her towards the sound. Her parents' warning of stealth were forgotten. All that mattered was finding the source of the music...
In a trance, she continued onward until she came out into a large, empty room, in the middle of which stood a lone figure. It was a little girl with silky blue-black hair. She wore a scarlet dress which hung to the floor. In her hands she held a crystal flute, which she was playing.
As Chibi Moon approached her, the girl suddenly disappeared, and the music stopped as well. The trance broken, Chibi Moon gasped and looked around wildly. "Where am I? How did I get here?" She spun in a circle and realized with horror that there was no exit.
Suddenly, Chibi Moon was not alone. Nehelenia stood regally in the center of the room, sneering at her adversary. "Welcome," she said coldly.
"You!" growled Chibi Moon. "Give Helios back!"
"Now why would I do that?" Nehelenia began to circle the pink-haired Senshi slowly. "I said that I would possess both him and the Golden Crystal, and I meant it. He belongs to me now."
"He'll never be yours!" Chibi Moon snapped. "I'm going to stop you right now!" In the blink of an eye, she summoned her weapon and launched her attack. Fueled by her anger, the attack plowed through Nehelenia, eliciting a scream from the evil queen. When the energy dissipated, she was gone.
Chibi Moon blinked and slowly approached the spot where Nehelenia had been standing. "Did...did I win?" she wondered aloud.
A chill ran up the young Senshi's spine as she heard a sinister laugh behind her. She whirled around only for a hand to clasp around her throat. She glared at the evil queen as she was lifted off her feet.
"You didn't actually believe it would be that easy, did you?" Nehelenia asked, a cold sneer on her face. She tightened her grip on Chibi Moon's throat, pleased by the strangled cry that escaped the girl.
"I...I'll still...beat you...!" rasped Chibi Moon, struggling to free herself from her adversary's grip. She was quickly beginning to feel the effects of the loss of air.
Nehelenia laughed in her beautiful yet ominous way. "Yes, go ahead and believe that you can defeat me. I look forward to destroying that hope and ending your life!" She threw Chibi Moon across the room, where she hit the wall hard and dropped to the floor.
Chibi Moon pushed herself up onto her hands and knees, coughing. When the coughing subsided, she rose to her feet. "Then why don't you just do it, if you think you can?"
"Oh, I know I can, but I won't yet; that wouldn't be any fun. I have something I want to show you first." The evil queen raised her arm to gesture at a spot next her, where a light suddenly appeared. The light cleared after a moment, and Chibi Moon gasped.
The Sailor Quartet stood looking at the fortress from the rock they had landed on, trying to decide how to proceed.
"It doesn't look like we'll be able to jump that far," reasoned Sailor Ceres, "and it doesn't look like the fortress connects to anywhere else."
"Well, we'll just make our own way!" said Sailor Vesta determinedly, raising her bow and taking aim at the fortress. She loosed her arrow, which stuck deep in the wall of the fortress, near the entrance. Attached to the end of the arrow, her sisters noticed a strong cord, the other end of which the red-haired Senshi pulled taut and tied to a large rock near the edge of the platform they stood on.
"Brilliant, Sister!" Ceres beamed, clapping her hands. Vesta responded by bowing with a flourish.
"Let's get going!" said Sailor Juno. An expert at tightrope walking, she jumped up, gracefully landing on the cord and making her way toward the fortress. When she was about halfway across, she saw something glint before her.
Ceres gasped. "Sailor Juno, come back! The cord..."
As she spoke eerie black flames appeared, racing along the cord towards Juno. She gave a cry of surprise, the turned and sprinted back toward her sisters. No sooner had she leaped off the cord and landed between Pallas and Vesta than the cord burned away into ash.
"Well, that's not going to work," Vesta said crossing her arms. "You okay, Juno?"
Sailor Juno nodded. She looked to her right to see Sailor Pallas staring off in the opposite direction. "What are you looking at?" she asked her.
"Sailor Pallas had this feeling," said the blue-haired Senshi. "She thinks we should go that way."
"Sister, the fortress is the other way!" argued Ceres. "There's nothing that way but rocks!"
"Please, sister, trust Sailor Pallas! She doesn't know how but she knows this is the way!"
Sailors Ceres, Juno, and Vesta looked between each other, unsure, then Vesta shrugged. "Can't hurt to try, right? It doesn't look like we can get in directly anyway." She waited a moment, looking between her sisters and, hearing no argument, headed off. Pallas hurried to catch up with her and gave her a big hug. Juno and Ceres looked at each other and laughed, then followed.
Hello everyone! So sorry for the wait! I know this chapter isn't particularly exciting, but the next one will hopefully be better (and sooner in coming!) Thanks again for sticking with the story, and to those of you who have reviewed! Ya'll are amazing! Thanks again, and God bless!