It's beautiful out here. There is no other place in the galaxy where the stars shine just as bright as the sun. So much time has past and yet I feel as if it were just yesterday that I was gazing up at this very sky with my parents at my side. It is Jovian blood that pumps through my veins, but there is no denying the influence that my time on Earth has brought me. I always thought I would regret leaving the life of a senshi behind, but it felt more right than I ever thought it would be.
"I love you."
Those three words have always haunted me one moment and eluded me the next. I used to grow up seeing the face of a boy thinking that he was a man. In this life I was naive and afraid of what those three words meant. In the past I knew whole heartedly that love was not something that I was meant to keep. Now I am left wondering if those three words taunt me now.
I feel the crunch that my steps make on Jupiter's surface. The once luscious green fields have been replaced by tan dust. It's a desert now, but I don't mind. It is still my planet just the same. My mind keeps telling me that the Silver Millennium was only yesterday, but I know better. It's been two centuries since I had left Earth and the senshi behind. Now there is only this place and these people.
I smile and look at the man beside me. "I love you too."
Sapphire takes my hand. "Well, I do hope so."
Love. It has come to me many times, but it has never stayed for longer than a few years. It has been two centuries since I had even set foot on Earth. Perhaps this was worth waiting for.
The people wave as we walk through the city streets. The ancient technology from Nemesis has brought back the technological advances, long lost since the Silver Millennium. I will admit that this planet looks a little more like Mercury than Jupiter, but that's alright; I am the only one that can even compare what the two looked like all those centuries ago.
I pause and look up at the giant structure standing alone away from the city. "The transportation bridge is almost finished, isn't it?"
Sapphire nods. "Yeah. When I'm done we can expand the Empire and travel to other planets without using Nemesis' dark energy core. Just think of it, Mako. We could go beyond Neptune or Pluto."
I smile. "I don't need that. I am content with this planet as it is. We've rebuilt it from nothing."
He turns. "We'll need to expand soon though, and colonize so everyone can live comfortably. I only built it so that the people could settle on a planet that doesn't belong to any of-"
"I know. Thank you."
We kiss right there without worrying about who's watching and when we part he just holds me. I look to the Jovian Palace; it is the jewel of this planet and of the people. "Shall we head back?"
"No, let's just wait a little longer."
He doesn't protest nor does he move. After all it is moments like these that we both treasure the most.
"Empress Makoto, you have visitors." The guard greets us only moments after we step inside.
I sigh. "Can it wait? We are tired."
He shakes his head. "Forgive me. They did not request the Emperor's presence. They claim to be an envoy."
Sapphire looks at me. "I can send them away if you want. We can deal with them in the morning."
I shrug. "It's fine. I'll meet you upstairs."
"Are you sure?"
I nod. "Yeah. Believe me I don't want this to be a long conversation." He kisses my cheek then turns to the grand staircase. My attention returns to the guard. "Where are they?"
He bows. "The throne room."
I waste no time in walking through the main hall to the grand chamber. The large oak doors open with the mere wave of my hand. I don't know what I am expecting to see, but it certainly isn't who is waiting for me.
There they stand. The advisors to both Queen and Neo-Queen Serenity. Both of them bow in my presence. "Lita."
I dismiss the guards. "How the hell did you get here?"
Artemis steps forward. "We don't mean to harm you."
Thunder echoes outside. "Just answer the question."
Luna steps past her husband. "We opened a portal with the power of the golden crystal."
I turn away. "You should never have walked through."
"Lita, wait. Something has happened."
I nod. "That's life; things happen. Crystal Tokyo, no... Earth is not my concern anymore. I am the exiled senshi."
Artemis clenches his fists. "You don't understand. Serenity-"
"Has no right to ask me for help."
Luna sighs. "She didn't. We've come on our own accord."
I roll my eyes and start walking towards the door. "And why would you come here knowing that I would never return to a place that cast me out after everything that I did for its people? That is what you want, right? For me to return? I am where I should be. This discussion is over. Please leave."
"We understand your anger but-
Artemis raises his voice. "Damn it, Lita! They're missing!"
The sudden outburst does little to gain my attention. There is a moment when I have every intention of walking out that door, but I don't. "What?"
Luna seems to relax a little. "The senshi and the Queen are missing; all of them."
I force the curiosity from my mind. "I told you, it's not my concern."
Never has silence felt heavier than this very moment. Luna faces Artemis and mouths something that I can't hear. He looks more than a little perturbed. I know their play. They intend to guilt me into an obligation that was stripped from me a long time ago, but I am not one to forget easily.
I clear my throat. "Don't get me wrong. It is not that I don't care about them." They both look at me now. "It is merely because it is not my place. Too many things have changed and I will never forgive Serenity."
Luna bows her head. "It was Rini that sent us."
My eyes widen. "What are you talking about?"
Artemis looks away. "The Princess has proven to be a handful over the centuries. When you left Earth she changed. I don't think you realize just how much she looked up to you. It is the Princess that asks for your help. Endymion is... not capable of handling this himself."
Luna puts a hand on her husband's shoulder. "She just needs to talk to somebody and figure out what she can do to get them back."
I turn away. "It's not that simple."
"Of course it is-"
"No, it isn't. I have responsibilities..." I stop only because I hear the door creek open.
A little girl peeks into the throne room with a stuffed bear held tightly against her chest. "Mommy?"
Neither Artemis or Luna say anything as I walk towards my daughter. I smile and kneel down to her level. "What is it?"
She instantly wraps her arms around me. "Nothing."
I look down at her small frame. "Really? Just nothing?"
She nods. "Daddy said that you had visitors..."
I hold her close. "You know I never forget to come and say goodnight."
Sapphire appears at the doorway. We both give the other a silent nod as he joins us. "Anna?"
She looks to her father. "Can't I stay up a little longer?"
I smile. "How about I let your father tuck you in tonight and when I'm done here I'll come up and tell you a story?"
Her eyes widen. "Promise?"
I kiss her on the cheek. "I promise."
She gives me one last hug before letting Sapphire pick her up. He looks back at Luna and Artemis one last time before walking out.
I turn back. "Like I said. My life has changed."
Luna smiles. "I am happy for you."
Artemis nods. "You named her Anna? That isn't a Jovian name."
I sigh. "It's short for Anastasia. It was my grandmother's name in this life. I haven't forgotten that I was once human." The room goes silent again. "Look, I don't want any part of this. There are things that I need to think about. You tell Rini that I can't just leave. Not even for her."
I turn. "That's all I have to say. I trust that you can find your own way back."
There is no answer, only footsteps. They leave the room and suddenly I am left to ponder on events that I haven't thought of in such a long time.
"You can go if you want to. I can handle running things for a while." Sapphire stands leaning outside of our daughter's room.
I clench my fists. "That isn't the point."
He nods. "I know."
I close my eyes. "Damn it."
He wraps his arms around me. "It's okay. I understand."
"You shouldn't have to."
If anyone had said to me that this is what the future would look like, I would never have believed them. I realize now that the storm has always been my guide. Sapphire understands that time is not a thread that can be altered. This was meant to happen.
"Anna?" I slowly open the door.
My daughter smiles and sits up against the headboard. Her bright green eyes match my own. "Do you think... You could tell me about Sailor Moon?"
I take a seat at the edge of the bed. "You've been talking to your father haven't you?"
She nervously tugs on her covers. "He said that you knew her better."
The world is not a pretty place. I have learned that fact over the many centuries of this life. I would be wrong to let my daughter believe that every story has a happy ending. "It doesn't end well."
She nods. "But you're in the story, right?"
She pushes her covers aside and gives me a hug. "Then that's the one I want to hear."
I run my fingers through her hair; its colour is just as dark as Sapphire's. She doesn't protest as I tuck her back in. I can hear the thunder echoing outside. "Life on Earth is a little different from Jupiter." I stand and open the window. "The storms are milder and it's much closer to the sun." She watches as I touch the rain. "Back then I was a different person. I was young, short-tempered, and arrogant. But I still had Jove on my side."
Anna pulls the covers closer.
"I was a senshi bound by duty to protect the daughter of Queen Serenity. We were all friends facing the greatest evil together." Years of memories flood through my mind as I look to my daughter. "On Earth my name was Lita Kino."
"Can we go there?"
I shake my head. "To Earth? No."
I let sparks dance around my fingers. "Because I'm not allowed to be there anymore."
For a long moment there are no more words. I watch as Anna continues to smile. I wish I could be that innocent again. She doesn't know the pain of heartbreak or injury and I pray to Jove that she never has to experience the game of war. This Empire is a place of peace and I will do everything in my power to keep it that way. I look up only when she puts her hand on mine. Jove's lightning passes between the two of us.
There is a whisper in the wind; a call that I had heard only once before many years ago when I last saw Neo-Queen Serenity. It is faint, but very real. Still, is it possible that such a message could transgress space? The Silver Crystal sings, there is no mistaking its summons.
I smile and plant a kiss on her cheek. "Why don't you let me tell you about all the senshi?"
Her eyes widen with joy and I know that the previous tone I had used is being replaced by pure curiosity. After all there were good times amongst the bad as well.
"Why are you being so stubborn?" Light steps echo behind me. Sapphire walks to my side and looks out at the storm. "You know that you want to go."
I shake my head. "That's not the point."
He places a hand on my shoulder. "Then what is?"
I turn. "I will just get stabbed in the back again."
He touches his forehead to mine. "You will feel guilty if you don't go. That's just the kind of person you are, because amongst those that wronged you are people that you still care about."
The thought of Mina in trouble has crossed my mind numerous times. "Jove help me."
And in that moment I say a silent prayer to the one god that has known me since the end and now the beginning. An Empire rises and now a Kingdom feels like it's falling, but is it my place to stop it? Am I supposed to just walk back and help like nothing has happened? I am Makoto, Empress of Jupiter, but I am also Lita Kino as well. Does she not still have an obligation? I don't know anymore. Why would I trade the life I always wanted for one that I have come to hate? It is like asking someone to leave paradise for a moment in hell. Still I know exactly what my mother, both of them, would tell me to do. I just don't want to admit that going back is the right thing to do. For now I am content with this moment. Perhaps tomorrow I will be ready to look back on what I left behind.
And that is the end of part 2. Yes... as I was coming up with the plot I realized early on that I was probably going to write a third story in this timeline. So yes there will be more coming at a later time. Until then I hope you all enjoyed this one. I had fun writing it so I hope you all had fun reading it. If you have stuck with me through both stories then I thank you for reading and/or leaving all the wonderful comments/critiques.
Until next time :)