I figured that someone would probably presume that the Serenity I'm writing about is Usagi's first mother. But, no, this is an alternate version of the Silver Millennium, and the queens are in fact the senshi you know.
Revised 2014-10-28: Quite a few things have been added or changed, most notably, the change of the queens' names to actual names from their planets. In order, this would be Khione, Philyra, Alala, Astrape, Keres, Oreithyia, Galene, and Moirae.
She descended the stairs gently, her bare feet barely making a sound on each step. The princess-queen, she corrected herself-had no desire to alert anyone of her presence. She carefully pulled the door to the courtyard open and slipped inside. The artificially grown vegetation wasn't as beautiful or as lush as that of the other kingdom's, but standing in the garden her mother had worked so hard to grow made the newly crowned queen feel a little closer to her. The snowy white hem of her gown brushed against the ground and out of habit, she raised it to keep from dirtying her clothing.
Serenity sighed. She envied the people on Earth who wore black to mourn. Yes, black, the deep blur of everything, completely tainted and overwhelmed. Serenity felt like wearing that at the moment. The contrast with the queen would be outstanding, and surely everyone would recognize how lost she felt, never mind that perhaps that was a slightly overkill way to show her emotions. Still, Serenity could not help but wish she was allowed to mourn in that way. She was to wear only white or silver, on a rare occasion blue or pink, soft gentle colors that showed the symbol of the moon—love. Not to be confused with Venusian love, Lunar love was love you gave to friends, family, and just about everybody. Compassion, not soul mate love. Those were the rules, she had been told from a young age. Serenity loved the idea. She still wanted to wear other colors though.
She looked down at the crumpled envelope in her hand. This was the reason she'd needed to go here. She simply could not think this through without her mother's help. Serenity knew it was impossible, but she thought that perhaps standing here, her mother could give her a little guidance. She raised the letter and read aloud.
"'Dear Queen Serenity the First,'" she murmured in a rather obnoxious Terran accent, but the girl had never claimed to be good at imitations. She laughed. Did the people of Earth really use names multiple times in the Royal Line? How very strange.
"'I am sorry to hear of Selene's passing and wish to offer condolences. Although I was at least 19 when my father passed, I understand the pain of losing a parent and needing to immediately take place as ruler. I can only assure you that it eases with time.
"'As much as it bothers me to mention this under the circumstance, I must remind you that a meeting to discuss the Alliance is approaching and you must attend. I would presume that Advisor Luna or Advisor Artemis has at least informed you of the wishes of the planets. Serenity, you must be in attendance.'" Serenity's voice cracked a little at the words. Her grip on the page tightened, crinkling the paper a little more, although it hardly mattered in its current condition. "Does he consider me a fool? No, he considers me a child. How . . . infuriating. 'I would allow you a longer period of mourning were it up to me, but the other queens do not yet understand the loss of a parent. I would hate that you be dismissed from the Alliance during such a delicate time.
"'Since I have already introduced the subject, I would like to discuss my wishes for inclusion. Your mother did not believe in my soldiers' strength, but I believe that you are an intuitive young—'" Serenity sighed. It was hard to believe that the boy who had teased her about her hair—but never in the company of Selene, who wore her tresses in the same manner, as did all members of the Lunish Court—when they were children was now complimenting her in hopes of achieving her support. "Did it just occur to him that we would rule in the same millennia?" she muttered. She crossed her arms and grimaced.
Serenity remembered the days when she was younger. Up until the other royal children reached the age of ten, they had been playmates. Venus and Endymion, of the same age, often held different opinions. Venus took charge of Mercury and Mars, both only slightly younger and somewhat willing to be led. Endymion took to the older Uranus and Neptune, more willing to get dirty than the others. Jupiter always seemed to babysit Saturn, youngest other than Serenity. Serenity herself was typically a tag-along. After all, the last time she remembered having all of them in the same room, Serenity couldn't have been more than a toddler.
How strange it was to think that as adults, those relationships would change so. As Luna had explained, or rather stressed the point, many would try to use her inexperience to achieve their goals and the others would be prejudiced by her age. To achieve anything during this key part of her reign, Serenity would need to work diligently to prove herself.
Serenity looked down at the candied sweet letter in her hand. This made her certain that King Endymion was most definitely of the former.
Luna stared at her queen. Not Queen Selene, no, her daughter, who only a few months ago was Princess Serenity. It was sad to think that a girl who'd just passed her fifteenth birthday was now in charge of the moon and supposed to jump into all the alliance agreements with the other planets? If only Selene had known... Maybe they could've prepared the girl for this. But she wasn't supposed to take the throne until she was twenty-one. Why prepare a fourteen-year-old?
"I'm scared, Luna," the queen confessed, her silver hair almost white in the staunch artificial light. Luna reached to comfort her but stopped herself. She could not baby this girl. Serenity needed to stand on her own. Luna was her advisor, but she was not her caretaker.
"Calm yourself, Serenity. You can take charge. Do you remember everything I told you about these recent meetings?"
Serenity stared at Luna for a moment, almost begging her for some form of assistance. A second longer and perhaps Luna would have relented, but the queen inhaled before she began to run through everything she had been taught. "Mercury won't share their technology unless they have Uranus and Neptune to protect them. Venus wants absolute control over the approval of marriages. Earth wants their soldiers to be trained as the rest of the planets' are."
She stopped and bit her lip in blatant confusion. Luna would need to train her on that. Queens weren't supposed to have emotions written all over their face, especially not young, easily manipulated queens. "Mars wants nothing to do with Saturn," she continued in a confident voice, for which her advisor was proud of. At least she didn't shy away after a mistake. "Jupiter is content with everything. Saturn is having difficulties with many of the planets because their queen can end the world. Uranus doesn't trust anyone except Neptune, and Neptune wants the planets to forgive all of their debts, which most won't do. Pluto won't state their decision until everyone else does because they already know what's going to happen and don't want to influence any decisions. And..."
Serenity paused and looked at Luna. She nodded for her queen to go on. Serenity swallowed, making time pass as slowly as possible. She was doing her best to make it. "And no one trusts the moon queen because she's at least 4 years younger than all of them."
Luna smiled. Queen Serenity surely could handle this. She was a strong girl.
Serenity pulled the corners of her mouth up and entered the room as gracefully as she could.
Luna sighed. But she was just a girl.
The rulers of all nine planets were arguing.
Queen Serenity knew no other way to describe it. She didn't want to intrude; after all, she wasn't a planetary ruler, and they already thought bad enough of her. But they wouldn't get any work done if they kept up like this. And Serenity couldn't stay in the doorway forever. She looked around and caught Queen Moirae's eye. It took everything in her not to grin. She had found a way to call attention to herself and still use manners.
"It is very nice to see you again, Serenity. I'm sorry for your loss and for the fact that such a position is being forced on someone your age," Moirae said. She sounded sincere enough, Serenity thought, but you could never be sure with Moirae.
Serenity gave a gracious nod. "Thank you for your condolences, Moirae, but, as I'm sure we all know, this is a diplomatic meeting. I would like to keep my mother's work going. She would want that."
Serenity couldn't help but be proud of her wording. Not only did it seem to stop the arguments, everyone seemed to be taking her more seriously. She tried to keep her beaming to a minimum. She was a professional.
Khione straightened. "I'm sure you've been debriefed on recent events, Serenity? We will begin as we do every time, order of planets, then the moon."
Serenity nodded. "That is fine. Let us begin, then, Khione."
The queen pushed a strand of her blue hair behind her ear. "First of all, my people still ask that we receive Uranian and Neptunian protection." She raised her cup of tea slowly and surely. Shy and quiet, Serenity decided, but determined to get her way. She could outsmart nearly anyone in this room, but she didn't, and for that, Serenity rewarded her with a smile. Khione merely gave a slightly condescending gaze back as she took a long sip.
"How do we know that your technology will work?" Queen Oreithyia demanded—stubborn, prejudiced, and slightly overprotective, but good-hearted, Serenity decided. Khione seemed slightly annoyed, and everyone in the room was alerted of this by the means of the teacups clattering against the marble.
"Are you implying that you do not trust us?" the calculating queen asked. Her voice betrayed none of irritation, but she did rise from her chair.
Galene stepped in. "Not at all. Uranus is simply insuring that all sides of the party will do as asked." Galene was graceful and careful with what she said, but she was not the type to dance around what she wanted. Serenity thought it suited her to provide the music which fueled the dance.
"We will," said Khione firmly and sat back down in her seat, making everyone know she was finished. Queen Philyra rose.
"I'm afraid I was unable to explain precisely what I meant at the last meeting," the blonde said with a sweet smile. "The reason we Venusians want all control over marriage is simply because we know what matches are right for each other. This way, there will be no woman—or as cases may be, man or whatever the person identifies as—scorned. This system will be easily regulated."
Everyone seemed to be considering it. Serenity was desperate to make her place in this conversation, as she had already determined Philyra was too kind and generous. She probably needed the help.
"But, Philyra, will you have time to do this for the whole solar system? There are a lot of people coming of age right now," said Serenity.
Alala frowned and coughed, her hand clad in a vinaceous glove covering her lips. "Like you." The Lunishwoman did not frown, and no matter how appealing it seemed, nor did she stick out her tongue. Brash and fiery Alala had always rubbed her the wrong way.
"I propose that you regulate all inter-planetary marriages, simply because this could prevent wars from happening. I'm sure everyone is able to handle disputes between their own citizens."
Everyone stared. Serenity wondered if she'd said something wrong.
"Serenity has a point. I support her proposal," Astrape, the most just queen in the room, said. After a few moments, Oreithyia and Galene agreed. Eyes focused on shy Keres and Khione. They nodded their consent.
"I like the idea," Philyra interjected along with her agreements. As always when the majority was reached, Moirae put in her vote. Only Endymion and Alala were left. They shrugged it off, for their votes would have no effect.
"Venus has no more requirements. We are ready to join the Silver Alliance. Endymion?" she urged.
The king stood. "I'm sure you're all aware of what we want."
Moirae looked exasperated, a feat considering her easy temper and knowledge of future events. "Endymion, as you know, we cannot allow regular mortals to train with any senshi. It is simply not wise."
"But surely we could allow to train with non-magical soldiers?" Serenity said. All eyes were immediately on her. Serenity seriously considered darting out of the room right then, with the condescending looks she was receiving.
"Serenity, Earth is the only planet with non-magical soldiers," Galene explained carefully. Serenity flushed, lips trembling. She resisted the urge to flee from the room.
Endymion sat down, slightly defeated. Now Alala's turn, she looked pointedly at the wall.
"Get Saturn out of this and we're good to go."
Queen Philyra nudged her as if to scold her behavior.
"We have made it very clear that that is not an option, Alala," Astrape said coldly. Serenity now raised her eyes to sneak a peek at the Jovian. She seemed calm and in control, but she was slowly leaning to Keres as if to hide her. It made Serenity smile a little. It seemed nice to have someone so willing to protect another.
"But it is my stipulation," countered the Martian, tossing her dark hair over her shoulder and focusing her eyes past Astrape to the queen of Saturn.
"It is a stipulation that we will not grant," interjected Endymion. Serenity was surprised to hear him speak for this.
Alala huffed. She looked around the table and asked, "How many of us truly wish for Keres to be here?"
Astrape and Endymion voiced their opinions immediately. Serenity chirped, "I do!" in her sweet, cheerful tone, that also seemed to derive derision from her companions.
"It is in bad taste to leave out one when all others are included," said Khione softly.
It was silent. Then Alala said, "I'm done. I've told you what I want, and if you will not grant it, I have nothing else to say." She then looked to Astrape, who nodded on to Keres, who nodded on to Oreithyia and Galene.
"I believe we've given our opinion once already," said Galene calmly. Murmurs floated around the table as they tried to decide a next topic of business.
"Until we agree, we will accomplish nothing," said Serenity.
"We are all aware," said Alala.
Serenity clenched her teeth. "What I was saying was that without reaching an agreement, there is little else we can accomplish in terms of this alliance."
"Serenity is right." Moirae rose. "This meeting is adjourned." The sovereigns quickly began to gather their things and file out the room, some at ease and some rather discomfited. Serenity looked around for a moment before pressing her hands to the table to lift herself awkwardly and turning towards the door.
"Wait, Serenity!" Said girl turned to see the Venusian queen waving her over. Serenity walked to the blonde warily. "I was wondering if you planned to continue our private alliance. Your mother was intending for it to remain separate from the Silver," Venus said pointedly. She flashed a brighter smile than earlier to enforce her words.
Serenity gave her most diplomatic smile. "I'm afraid that since I've been in mourning, my advisor hasn't quite been able to tell me about that. We will oversee that soon though." The moon queen turned to leave and met up with her advisor in the hall.
"How did it go, Serenity?"
"Good, I think," the fifteen-year-old replied cheerfully. "I got Philyra to agree, so there are now four of us that are ready! Maybe it will work out soon!"
Luna, unable to resist, patted her queen's head fondly. "That's wonderful. Now, we better get home."
Queen Serenity was not a morning person. She had not been as a princess, and no one expected that to change It was no surprise to Luna when she stumbled into the dining room near noon, still slightly disoriented. "Guh…"—yawn—"good morning, Luna…" The dark-haired woman smiled at her queen.
"Good morning, Serenity." Luna placed a roll on a plate and poured a glass of juice, pushing both to Serenity's seat at the table. Serenity smiled, accepting the food eagerly.
"You know, yesterday, Philyra asked me about a separate alliance. What did she mean?" Serenity stuffed the roll in her mouth, chewing quickly before taking a sip of juice.
Luna paused, setting her work down on the table. "I have no idea. In fact, Queen Selene wasn't on very good terms with Philyra." Luna frowned. No...
"But… she said…" Serenity stuttered.
Luna inhaled sharply and lowered her head. "Philyra tricked you. I have to admit, that girl is a master at strategy. Everyone else perceives her as a dimwit who will go along with anything. She made it look like your mother forced her into an alliance that wasn't agreed upon with the rest of them and that you were going to continue the ill treatment. She's playing the victim. But why? …Serenity, did you do anything to upset her yesterday? At all? Think!"
"Well… I did suggest she change her requirements to only interplanetary marriages… But she agreed upon it!" Serenity defended.
Luna sighed. "Only because she's not supposed to be the type to stand her ground. You've incurred her wrath. So soon too. Now, you'll do best to work around Philyra and her closer allies."
Serenity looked sheepish.
"Neither Khione nor Alala will have any sort of faith in you. Astrape is somewhat close to Philyra, but she'd be willing to give you a chance. From my experience, she has a good sense of judgment." Serenity made a face. "Oh, Serenity, stop that! You're fifteen-years-old, and you're a—"
"Queen, Luna," supplied Serenity. "And I don't suppose you would have spoken to my mother than way, would you?" Her bright blue eyes dared her to defy her. Perhaps Serenity enjoyed her arguments a little too much. Luna reminded herself to scold Artemis for indulging her in this pastime.
Luna let out a long breath. "As I was saying, Astrape is a very fair ruler, and she always judges people by their own merits. She excludes no one, which is why she is so close to Keres. Now, Neptune and Uranus… Selene only agreed to forgive part of the debt. I think we can manage without it though, so I suggest make an impression on the queens that way, although I cannot guarantee that will completely salvage their image of you. Keres will be happy to have you, but you will make some people mad. You can't do much about Moirae. You need to work your way in more before. Your best bet would be to try Endymion, but if you can't convince him, the moon might lose its place in the Silver Alliance."
Serenity pursed her lips and thought about it. Endymion. Endymion, Endymion, her childhood torturer. "Oh, Luna, surely Endymion knows to trust his closest neighbor," she said innocently. "I think I'll be fine!" Thus, the queen grabbed another roll and stuffed in her mouth before running off.
Luna closed her eyes, crossed her fingers, and hoped for the best.
I like the way this piece turned out. I've had this idea in my head for the longest time. What could be more interesting than a girl thrown into the world of politics where everyone is older than her and no one truly believe in her abilities? Then I remembered, in some ways, Usagi is like that.
Now I don't want you to think I favor any senshi by the way I wrote them. For the record, Minako is one of my favorite senshi, but I think this is something she would do. I can imagine Makoto being fairly trusting with the outer rulers, and Rei fairly suspicious. I like the way the senshi turned out though. Also, I may need to explain ages. As you all should know, Serenity is barely fifteen. Saturn, the next, is four years older at nineteen. Jupiter is a year older than her, and Mars and Mercury are about the same age—twenty. Venus is the same age as Endymion. Endymion mentions that he has passed his nineteenth birthday and he states this in a way that tells you it wasn't too recent. He is currently twenty-two. Uranus and Neptune are twenty-five, and Pluto is the Guardian of Time so revealing that would be rather pointless.
Are there any senshi that weren't included enough though? I want to make it as even as possible because Usagi kind of loves everybody evenly (expect for her prince!). I'll fix it by the time I write the next chapter if that's true.