After yet another long absence, I return! Here's the next chapter.
With ten monarchs in a room, it would be easy to presume that at least one would to try to seize control. Yet they all simply looked at each other in an awkward, almost clumsy,d way. Finally, Pluto rose with some hesitation and looked at them. They all straightened and sat at attention. (I would have liked to say in a graceful fashion, but Serenity nearly slipped out of her chair and after some tittering, so did Saturn.)
"We are finished," she said.
"What do you mean?" asked Neptune.
Pluto smiled. "Simply that. Do any of you have anything else to add? Isn't this meeting simply to confirm that we all agree to what we're doing?"
Venus nodded. "But . . . ."
"Then what are we speaking for? I believe that the Silver Alliance has formed. And we're dismissed." Pluto stood. She wrapped her black shawl around herself and left the room. The remaining nine looked at each other before slowly gathering all of their things. Neptune left on Uranus's arm, receiving a few questioning looks from others to Serenity's surprise. Mercury straightened the crystal circlet on her head, grabbed her book, and walked out. Endymion met his guards at the door and left. The rest hung around to chat and catch up and perhaps even apologize for what had transcended in the case of Jupiter and Saturn. Serenity walked over to Mars.
"Hello!" she said cheerfully. Venus joined them.
Mars sighed slowly. "How do you do, Serenity? If you have nothing of importance to say, please don't speak to me."
"That's not nice," chided Venus.
The Martian smiled. "She knows I tease."
"I would be offended if I didn't," agreed Serenity. "But isn't it odd to not be thinking over what has happened?"
Mars smirked and asked, "Are you not?" to which the other replied, "Yes, amusing. But I mean, is it not odd to not have to decide what is most important to your kingdom? When you must fight and when to relent? I'm sure that even you must admit that not every battle that has taken place needed be."
Venus and Mars exchanged looks. Mars tossed her hair over her shoulder and proceeded to walk away with a brief nod in concession to Serenity. Venus beamed and took ahold of Serenity's arm.
"Well, that settles that. Why don't you come over for some tea?"
"Good morning, Serenity. I didn't see you after the meeting yesterday. How was it?" asked Luna. She sat down at the breakfast table, placing her hand on the light wood for support. She poured a glass of juice (which in shiny wine goblet seemed almost humorous) and smiled at the queen. Serenity hurriedly chewed the food in her mouth and beamed back. She took another bite before she was able to come up with an answer.
She shrugged. "Oh, it was alright, I suppose. No one has anything else they want and we just don't know what to do yet." She took a sip of water. "That must mean I'm not the least mature of the rulers. I have the I'm-fifteen-how-should-I-know-how-to-rule? excuse. Oh well. I suppose there's nothing much to do about it."
The two nodded and ate in silence until Artemis came down to join them. He sat next to Luna. Serenity closed her eyes and sighed, wondering why they weren't married yet. It honestly didn't make any sense.
"You know, the Alliance doesn't have to meet anymore. You could just go about running things as usual," suggested Luna.
Serenity said, "Oh. Well, that makes a lot of sense. We really should do that."
Artemis grinned. "And then you'll have time for all the stuff you've been missing out on while working on that."
Luna scowled. "I think," she said, "that Serenity should be using this extra time to work for the better of the kingdom. Such as . . . finding a king, for example."
Both Serenity and Artemis sighed.
"I told you, Luna: I don't need to marry yet. I'm only fifteen; no one else is married yet; it won't benefit the Moon exponentially unless I find someone pertinent enough; and more over, I don't want to get married yet!" With that as a final word, Serenity stuffed another bit of food into her mouth and ate. Upon seeing that Luna intended to speak, Serenity finished her drink with an air of insouciance. She rose from the table swiftly and calmly stepped out of the room, leaving the two advisors on their own. Artemis looked at Luna for a second. She turned back to her breakfast and ate in her mannered fashion.
Artemis said, "Why are you pressuring her, Luna?"
She didn't answer.
The Mauan scowled. "Don't call me that. . . . I received another letter from Mewla. It seems as if she fears that whatever is happening at home is coming here fast."
"Well . . . ," Artemis stuttered, trying to calm her down, "perhaps she's paranoid. After all, it hasn't Mau yet."
"We know that Sailor Mau is dead," replied Luna. "And I received that letter two months ago. I wrote back immediately. There's been no reply."
Artemis was silent. He tapped his foot on the checkered tile. "Should we awaken . . . ?"
"No. Not yet."
"Why are you pressuring her, though?" he asked eventually. He was relieved to find something else to speak about.
Luna smiled briefly before looking to the large window where she saw only stars. She moved her fork to the side and folded her hands while contemplating how to explain this. "If . . . if whatever is happening makes it here and we aren't able to train them in time . . . I want Serenity to have something happy to think about. When she has to be . . . ."
"She'll be happier if she marries for love."
"Marrying for love is preposterous."
The advisors stared at each other. Artemis frowned and stormed out of the room much like the queen. "I'm sorry you feel that way."
Luna ate breakfast alone.
Serenity hummed, rocking back and forth in her seat on the way to see a friend.
"I'm going to visit Sa-turn, Sa-turn, Sa-turn. I'm going to visit Sa-turn, la di da di da!" she sang. Finally, the ship came to a stop. The queen cheerfully skipped off to the entrance. She stopped the first servant she saw and greeted them. The woman, pale, dark-haired, and dark-eyed, was unaccustomed to speaking with royalty.
"Your . . . your Majesty, Queen Serenity."
"Yes," said the queen. "May I ask where Queen Saturn is? I had the spontaneous idea to visit. It will be so nice to see her again."
"F-five rooms down, your Majesty," said the servant.
Serenity grinned. "Thank you!"
She walked down the hall, full of dull pastels and dreary neutrals before finally finding the room she had been pointed to. She opened the door and sure enough Queen Saturn was kneeling on the floor, paying careful attention to what she was doing. Then she rose. After a few seconds, she glanced behind her, saw Serenity, and gasped.
Because Serenity had seen Saturn pick the Silence Glaive. She had seen Saturn drop the weapon. She then saw the queen catch just before it hit the floor and detonated. Serenity had seen Saturn take a chance on the whole universe for an unknown, probably inane, reason.
Serenity stepped back and screamed.
"Serenity, wait!" cried Saturn.
She screeched and ran and ran until she couldn't hear any footsteps behind her. Serenity froze and looked around. She grabbed another servant. "Wh-where's the nearest exit?"
With that, Serenity left the planet.
Mars didn't know why Serenity was on her planet and she didn't know how she got there. In fact, she didn't know what Serenity was saying through the sobs. She ran a hand through her friend's hair (which was mysteriously falling out of its typical style, noted Mars) and down her back, trying to calm her down.
"What happened, Serenity?" demanded Mars.
Serenity stopped crying. She sat up and took a few breaths. She wiped her cheeks, licked her lips, calmed herself. "I saw Saturn drop the Silence Glaive," she said meticulously. She didn't let emotion into her tone.
Mars frowned. "We should be dead then."
"She caught it," continued the queen, "but just barely."
The two sat in silence (which made Serenity twitch nervously until Mars moved to comfort her again). Mars closed her violet eyes and took everything into consideration. She checked what she had heard.
"Saturn nearly destroyed the universe."
Mars pursed her lips and rose. "This is grave. I will not remain in an alliance with her. . . . I knew something like this was going to happen. No one listened to me." She cursed. "I should have listened to myself. This is . . . . Go home, Serenity. I need to be alone right now. This changes my whole argument." Mars stared at Serenity until she rose and left the room.
Standing just outside the door, Serenity realized that Saturn was going to be put to sleep.
Curled up in her bed after an un-restful night, Serenity squirmed away when Ariana put a hand on her shoulder.
"I apologize, my queen, but you must rise."
Serenity mumbled and pulled the blankets tighter.
Ariana sighed. "At least tell me what you want for breakfast."
Finally, a soft, "What day is it?" came from the blankets. The handmaiden answered. "Oh. Well, whatever food we normally have."
Ariana frowned. "Just the food?"
"Are you sure?"
Serenity pulled the blankets up back around her head, hoping to sleep for a little while more else she be forced to rise and face the day, which meant facing what she had told Mars yesterday. Even the thought suddenly made her wide awake. With a sigh, Serenity sat up and waited for Ariana to return and dress her.
Once she was prepared for the day, the queen hurried down the stairs to the dining room which was already set for breakfast and filled with food. Serenity took her seat quietly and waited for her the rest of the company to join her. (Although that was proper, it was something Serenity rarely did; after all, she woke up hungry.)
Luna sat down next to her queen for a change. She looked at everything on the table and quirked a smile. "Is there a reason there's no liquid on the table, dear?"
"I believe I told Ariana to tell the cook to serve only food," muttered the silver-haired girl.
Luna frowned. She asked, "Is something wrong, Serenity?"
". . . Of all people, why Mars?" she cried suddenly. "I should have gone to . . . Venus. She thinks things through more than people realize; I mean, look at what she did to me. Or Mercury. I can't imagine someone who could think of things more logically. Or Jupiter. Jupiter knows her well!" Or Endymion, added Serenity-in-love, but Serenity-in-charge ignored her.
"I'm afraid I don't know what you're going on about," said Luna. "Serenity, can you—?"
Serenity stood up. "No! I cannot do anything to do. Cancel everything. I . . . I need to think about some things." She walked out. After a second, she stuck her head back in. "Please send breakfast to my room. With a glass of juice."
I'm sorry it's short again, but it's drama-filled and fun. I'll try to update soon. There are less than ten chapters left so it's no big deal.
On another note, have any of you heard "Stars" by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals? Isn't it the perfect Jupiter/Nephrite song?