It was the scandal of the century. (Well, perhaps only the second. Huge as it most certainly was, nothing could ever quite compete with the mere existence of Princess Rei.) People, both royal and of the masses, were wont to laugh at King Jove III and his ways. It was said that there were only three women of age upon Jupiter whom he had not slept with, and that one of them was his mother.
The number of illegitimate children he had was a source of much debate, for there were in fact very few children upon Jupiter who had his distinctive height, his keen eyes and his all-encompassing smile. Many claimed that he was their father, but he had never legally admitted paternity for any but the children of his wife – even if he did dote a little on those who worked within the palace, no one had ever been able to prove they were, in fact, of royal blood. Most people settled with an easily laughable number – King Jove III, the king with as many children as his planet had moons.
It had, by all accounts, been a sumptuous party. The food was glorious, the dancing was glorious, the company was glorious and (as was usual at any party hosted by Jove) the serving maids were beautiful. Many had laughed cruelly at the King once the party was over, for had he not hired outside the palace for the auspicious events, the girl might have been discovered with some subtlety, the matter a more private one than public.
But then again, the Jupiter crystal bestowed upon a Kings bastard? Perhaps that would have caused equally as much gossip no matter how it had been discovered. The poor girl had not even known of her parentage – had never been given the slightest hint from her mother, and had never seen the King before that night to know just how alike they were. They were almost two peas in a pod, this tall muscular girl and the King of Jupiter. She had his eyes, his height, his hair. She might even have his smile, but no one had seen her demonstrate it quite yet.
The sticking point of the matter was that she was the daughter of a scullery maid.
She had been working at the Kings party on the day her powers were discovered, and certain servants of varying honesty claim that, had Serenity not intervened, the girl might well have died that day.
The King was kind enough to her, but his Queen was a snake, and outraged that anyone but her own daughters should bear the crystal – this was, of course, the only reason any family of worth would wed their daughter to a man such as Jove, even if he were king. The sheer honour of being the family of a crystal carrier would ensure great status throughout the alliance for many hundreds of years to come.
Jove's Queen bared her true colours that day, her anger, her jealousy. Serenity's calm words talked her from murder, and Jove's dark looks cemented her downfall. King Jove may have had many sons and daughters and many faults to boot, but he would never stand to see any of his kin hurt, legitimate or not. A divorce on top of the rest! Or so the rumours went.
The scientists of Mercury tut-tutted and returned to their work, with only the Royal Council taking a moment to discuss the effect this would have upon the Alliance and upon their own research. They soon concluded, however, that there would be none, and returned to their work with barely a sigh.
The Venutians were always a romantic crowd. They laughed loudly and often about King Jove's womanising habits, but in secret or in smaller groups, they would fantasise about a life where they too, were pulled from their humdrum existence and bequeathed with power as great as this child of Jupiter now possessed.
Upon Mars, the newest members of the alliance were abuzz, wondering if (at long last) attention would wander away from their own, stunningly beautiful, princess.
The outer planets had never much bothered themselves with the politics of the alliance. The segregation between them and the others and their precarious position gave them more important things to worry about. Of course, they often had their own share of scandal, more often than not provided by their Sailor Warriors, the guardians Neptune and Uranus.
Saturn was a quiet girl, but her own scandal was not one people tended to gossip about – it was, in fact, the best kept royal secret of the Alliance, for who would allow a crystal carrier of ten years to go on if they knew she was a murderer?
And Pluto? No one knew much about Pluto, that desolate rock on the outskirts of the sol that no one, not even the refugees from Coronis, had dared to call home for many centuries. They said there had been life there once, even a guardian crystal, but that was an absurd proposition in these modern times.
Earth sat blissfully amidst the scandal, unaware and uncaring of the high politics and the drama that existed above and around them, so absorbed by their own day to day cares that they spent little time wondering about the moon and the remainder of the sol that surrounded them. This, as it transpired, would nearly be the end of them.
The matter closer to hand, however, concerned a nervous young lady sitting in a sumptuous bedroom in Io castle, the day after the dramatic revelation of her powers. Although a grand dress of green silk had been laid out before her, she had not taken it, had made no attempt to put it on. Instead, she sat on the ground still in the dress of a maid, staring at her hands.
Thinking about what those hands could do. It was a strange thing, to have a destiny thrust upon you in such a rude and unwanted manner. She would have been quite content to live upon Jupiter, never knowing of her royal blood, never caring about a heritage she didn't want anyway. There was a timid knock upon the door, and a girl with mousy brown hair and eyes just like hers peered in.
"Highness," the girl said, scrambling to her feet and attempting a rushed curtsy.
"Don't be silly," the Princess Maeko grinned. "You're a Guardian Soldier now – you bow to no one."
"I… I am sorry," the girl stammered. Her hands balled around the fabric of her dress and the Princess saw, rushing across to take the shaking girl in her arms.
"You mustn't be sorry," she said very firmly. "I am so glad for you. You'll love life on the moon, I swear. I've only been the once, but it is the most beautiful place." She spoke with such earnestly, such a genuine warmth and need to reassure, that the girl in the dress of a maid could not help but smile a little nervously back.
"Now come on, let's get you into that dress," the princess said firmly. "You never told me your name, I think. If you did, I'm sorry, I'm awful at names."
"Makoto," the girl said shyly, "My name is Makoto."
"That's a beautiful name!" The princess exclaimed. "Makoto, Guardian Jupiter!" Makoto bent her head, cheeks bright red and allowed the princess' maid to fit her into the dress. Her dark green uniform was spirited away, and she was right in guessing that she would never see it again.
The dress was a perfect fit despite her stature and build, but Makoto felt incredibly self-conscious, aware that everyone would be staring at her the moment she left the room – knowing that the maid was looking very deliberately at her feet. But still… Makoto had never felt beautiful before.
It was a novel sensation, looking at herself in the mirror whilst other people busied themselves to prettify her. She watched as they dabbed powder on her face, smoothed creams into her arms and legs, coloured her lips and skin, and tied her hair back into elaborate braids and spirals. Of course, they avoided the new marks upon her neck and cheek that denoted her position among the court.
"You're so pretty," Maeko sighed when the maids had finally left. The princess tugged at a strand of her own hair, so much lighter than Makoto's loose waves. Makoto almost bit her lip and then thought better of it (who knew what she'd smudge?). "Oh well," the princess shook her head and grabbed Makoto's hand, pulling her towards the door.
Makoto resisted and Maeko turned, confused. There must have been some trace of apprehension in Makoto's face, or else fear in her eyes, for when the princess looked at her, she smiled. "Relax, you just have to survive dinner and then you'll leave with the delegation from the moon." She squeezed Makoto's hand and led her out into the wide corridor.
They passed wide windows giving them views Makoto could never have imagined. The castle was not actually on the planet, but instead orbited in and amongst the many moons and she could see the storms. Black clouds, lit by strikes of thunder, audible even from here. They were so much a part of her life, she had screened them out – while they were fainter on Io castle than on the planet proper, they were still astonishingly loud. From here, the storm was a wondrous thing to behold.
"It's amazing, isn't it?" Maeko said, moving to stand mere inches from the glass. "Sometimes I just look out the windows for ages – until one of my tutors finds me anyway," she said with a quick grin. "Come on, or we'll be late. I don't know about you, but I'm starving." Makoto had not eaten since lunch the previous day. She had been too busy before the party, and she'd felt sick almost constantly since. She wasn't quite sure how she would handle dinner.
What quiet conversation there was in the dining hall stopped when they entered. Makoto burned, feeling every eye upon her, and allowed Maeko to guide her down the table. "I can't sit with you I'm afraid," she whispered. "I have to go sit with my… with our father." Makoto nodded and slid into the empty seat Maeko had led her too. She took a few deep breaths and looked up.
She very nearly leapt back out of the seat. Only Serenity's calming hand upon her arm stopped her making a spectacle of herself. "Be calm, Guardian Jupiter," she said. Her voice was soft, musical, and totally unlike anything Makoto had ever heard before. She was stunning, Makoto could see it clearer now than she could last night. Her soft white hair fell in loose tails from the buns atop her head, and the silver chain upon her brow glinted in the candlelight, the crescent bringing out the silver in her white eyes.
"You are, I think, too nervous. Do not worry. On the rare occasions Warrior Uranus joins us upon the moon she manages to make far more of a spectacle of herself than you could if you were trying. Of course, I am quite sure she is trying half the time…" Her voice faded and she laughed quietly. Makoto smiled and Serenity smiled back encouragingly.
"Do eat, you must be starving – I am told you did not eat this morning." That her eating habits would be of interest to Queen Serenity almost made Makoto choke on her first mouthful of bread. Serenity did not speak as she recovered, taking the chance to eat some of the soup. And some of the bread, thickly spread with margarine.
In fact, now that Makoto was looking, Serenity's soup bowl was just a little bigger than the rest of them, her bread plate a little fuller. "It is the silver crystal," she explained, seeing Makoto looking. "It takes a lot out of me, so I get very hungry very fast. It is," she said conspiratorially, "the single best diet plan I have ever seen." Makoto laughed, feeling herself relax slightly.
"I'm sorry my daughter isn't here to keep you company," Serenity said at a normal volume once more. "She is afraid of the storms, you know." Makoto didn't know. In fact, she suspected that there were very few people within the alliance privy to this particular titbit of information regarding their Princess and, almost certainly, one day High Queen.
It soon turned out that Makoto wasn't expected to do all that much talking. The Queen filled the silence with easy banter, small jokes about life on the moon, hints at her daughter – the Princess Serenity. These were of particular interest to Makoto.
She had heard all of the rumours about the fair and kind Princess of the moon, but nothing more than that. From everything she knew Princess Serenity was an ideal, a perfect role model, not really a person at all. However, with her mother filling little details about her life, her personality, her fears, likes and dislikes, Makoto began to get a sense of the person behind the rumours. Maybe life on the moon would be quite nice after all.
Her eyes dropped to the green marks that extended across the back of her right hand – vines that appeared inked onto the skin that stretched, although the long sleeve of her dress hid it, up the length of her arm and across her chest. One vine even had the audacity to creep up the side of her neck and curl upon her cheek.
It was this that had given her away at the party the previous night. She had been carrying two trays of wine glasses, and moving slowly through the crowd as the full glasses were taken and replaced with empty ones. She had noticed nothing, felt nothing, but when she came to serve the Queen of Jupiter, the woman had spared the maid's face a single glance.
Her drink had fallen to the floor, red wine spilling everywhere. People had leapt back with exclamations of shock, dismay, consternation… but they had all fallen silent when they too had seen the mark upon the maid's face.
The silence had spread across the room, sweeping like some great plague. When finally no one spoke, no one even seemed to breath, the Queen had been the first to react. She had leapt at Makoto, sending the trays and glasses flying. More wine, more spills, more cries – this time of horror – from the guests.
King Jove himself had pulled his wife from his illegitimate daughter, and Queen Serenity had been on hand to talk to her, to calm her down. Still, most people were staring at the poor serving girl, who still had no idea why she was suddenly the centre of attention, nor why the Queen would have attacked her.
Finally, someone had taken her from the ballroom and to a sumptuously decorated bedchamber. Makoto had looked in the mirror, and cried upon the sight that met her. The life of a Guardian was a long one, marked only by fighting and by war.
Planetary Guardians became immortal, but never invulnerable. It was their fate to always know that one day, maybe hundreds or thousands of years in the future, a violent and bloody end awaited them.
Makoto was brought very suddenly back to the present when someone moved the now empty bowl from in front of her and replaced it with a spindly glass of ice cream. She looked up to thank the maid and her breath caught in her throat.
It was Akane, a friend who had come with her to work at the palace during the duration of the stay of the moon delegation. Her eyes flickered to the mark upon Makoto's cheek, to her eyes, and then back again, before she hurried away without a word.
Once again Makoto felt the brief pressure of Serenity's hand upon her arm, and turned to see a reassuring smile. "Eat," Serenity said, almost sadly, "and we can be off." Makoto nodded, a lump forming in her throat. She couldn't finish her ice cream, but Queen Serenity polished it off for her.
The journey to the moon was, quite literally, magical. Makoto had never travelled past the castle before, and the past couple of days had been her first time there. After dinner, she was permitted a moment alone to say goodbye to her teary mother and was then rushed out of the castle and into the hustle and bustle of the entire delegation, crowded together.
A tall woman with purple hair spotted her and darted through the crowd, lithe and quick to spot a gap, reaching her in no time. "I'm Luna," she said with a smile. "Stay with me and when we get to the moon I'll introduce you to Princess Serenity." Makoto nodded, not trusting herself to speak without bursting into tears.
She would probably never see her mother again, and she had finally found her father only to know that she couldn't ever truly know him. Luna took her hand, but it wasn't a reassuring gesture as it might be from Queen Serenity. Makoto frowned for a moment – she wasn't a baby – but then someone took her other hand and she realised the delegation were forming a circle.
She fell into place and saw that Queen Serenity was standing alone in the centre, eyes closed and face full of concentration. When the circle was complete and no one was moving, she opened her eyes and they shone with silver brilliance.
The Silver Crystal, Makoto knew. It's warm light filled the entirety of the hall in which they had gathered and she felt it caress her skin. For some reason it felt stronger where her new markings had appeared, as though it were a greeting, a moment of recognition. She blinked, and when she looked again Jupiter had gone, and she knew she was on the moon.
Luna and the man to her left let go of her and she stumbled, finding herself suddenly quite light. Luna caught her and set her on her feet. "It's just the gravity difference," she explained. "Jupiter has far higher gravity than we do here. It often takes us a few hours to get accustomed to it – you'll have a couple of days before anyone expects you to do any training."
Makoto simply nodded, her mind reeling as she looked around, taking in every aspect of the palace in which they now stood. It was quiet, she decided, despite all the activity. People were everywhere, talking about this, that and the other, but still it seemed quite.
The storm, she thought. For the first time in her life, she could not hear the storm. "Come, I'll take you to the princess. If we can find her that is. She isn't the best behaved pupil for certain, although I am sure you will come to know her and appreciate her as much as the rest of us do." Makoto nodded and straightened. She could walk, it was just slightly odd. She felt far lighter than she ever had on Jupiter or Io, almost as though she might go flying from the surface.
It was even worse when they moved outside. She tripped a few times, and sent an ornate plant pot flying. "Don't worry," Luna said with a smile. "Queen Serenity has broken more than a few ornaments in her time, and Princess Serenity even more. They won't miss that." Makoto nodded, looking down at her feet. "You shouldn't hide your face," Luna said, her voice softer than before. "You've been bestowed with a great gift and honour – remind people of this, and they're less likely to remember where you came from."
With a concentrated effort, Makoto lifted her head and nodded again. "That's better," Luna said firmly. "Serenity?" she shouted, turning to survey the great green garden. "Serenity where are you?" She paused a second and sighed. "You don't have any lessons today, but there's someone I want you to meet."
There was a moment of silence, and then something tumbled out of a nearby hedge. "There you are Serenity," Luna sighed. "Come here. What have you been doing, your dress is absolutely ruined."
"Why worry, I've got plenty more," Serenity said with a shrug.
"But they're not free Serenity," Luna clucked. "You really must stop all this hiding in bushes." When Serenity didn't answer, Luna ploughed on. "This, highness, is Makoto Kino."
"Makoto…" Serenity had scrunched up her face in thought, as though desperately trying to dredge a thought up from somewhere buried deep. "But you've been on Jupiter, I thought the Jupiter princess was called Maeko? Oh well, similar enough I guess," she laughed. Her laugh was easy, loud and infectious. Despite herself a little, Makoto found herself grinning. "Ooh!" Serenity had looked properly at Makoto's face. "You're Guardian Jupiter, aren't you?" The smile faded.
Luna growled – actually growled! – and seized Serenity by the arm, dragging her a short distance away and hissing a hurried stream of words in her ear. Makoto couldn't hear them, but she could certainly guess what they were about. When she was done, Luna straightened and sighed, brushing some of the dirt from Serenity's shoulder before turning and heading back to the palace.
Serenity moved over to Makoto, still smiling although perhaps not as widely as before. "We have two days without lessons," she said, her eyes sparkling. "Where do you want to start?"
Makoto couldn't know if it was life on the moon or simply the life of the privileged, but there was such opulence to everything she saw that during the time she spent with Serenity she constantly found herself staring at something purely because it was beautiful to look at. Serenity would always giggle and drag her away – Makoto soon learned that Serenity the younger was just like the Queen. They even looked almost identical; though Princess Serenity was a little less full in figure and younger in face, their hair and eyes were like nothing Makoto had ever seen on Jupiter. They both spoke with the same soft tones and gentle kindness and neither of them were particularly graceful, as Makoto had always thought such powerful and beautiful people must be, but she could hardly talk. The gravity of the moon was something that it was going to take her more than a little while to get used to.
On the afternoon of the second day, Princess Serenity came up with an idea. "I know!" she had exclaimed, whirling around and charging back the way she had come. She did this more often than most people, and Makoto had already been bowled over by her more than a few times. "We can go ice skating!"
"What's that?" Makoto had asked, with some apprehension.
"You'll see," Serenity had replied, with an almost wicked grin.
The glade was well lit, the sunlight pouring through the gaps in the trees, alighting upon green grass and flowers of so many different colours it was almost hard to believe they could all exist so close together. This was one of Beryl's favourite retreats, and she often came her of an evening, just as the sun was setting, to think back over the day. Today, as with most days, her thoughts turned to one thing.
Endymion. Brave, handsome, noble Endymion, whom she knew she would marry one day. How could she not? She was the sole daughter of the most influential family on the planet, save for Endymion's own of course. She had always been told she would marry him, had grown up knowing that one day he would be hers.
And every night she knew that she was one day closer to being there, to holding him, to knowing that they loved each other. "Endymion," she whispered, smiling as she lay back amongst the flowers, her red hair spread as a pillow beneath her head, a blue blanket covering her feet. "Endymion."
"Tell me of whom you speak?" a voice said. Beryl jumped – no one had ever joined her here in the six or seven years she had been coming.
"Who's there?" she asked, her voice shaking.
"No one who hasn't been here before, brave girl," the voice said, soothingly, "Do not worry, my Beryl. I have been watching you for so many years."
"Who are you?" Beryl had stood, clutching the blanket to her chest as though it might provide some sort of respite.
"I am only an old woman," the voice said, clearer now, tinged with age. The woman moved from the darkness and eased herself down upon a tree stump, her movements slow with pain. "Tell me, of this man you speak of. It has been many years since I met any young men, and many more years still since I left this forest."
"You… you do not know of Endymion?" Beryl asked. She had though everyone knew about Endymion.
"Is there a particular reason I should? Pray, Beryl, do tell me what I am missing?"
"Endymion is the prince," Beryl said quickly. "The Prince Endymion of Earth."
"And you know this prince?"
"Oh I do!" Beryl exclaimed. This woman didn't seem to be any harm, she decided. She was old and slow, easy to outrun, even over power if it truly came to it. But Beryl didn't think it would. "I'm going to marry him!" she said firmly.
"He has said as much? Is he handsome, this love of yours?"
"Well… he hasn't said so. But everyone else has. And he is handsome, and strong, and kind."
"He sounds rather perfect, my dearest Beryl," the woman remarked with a sad smile.
"Oh but he is! Well," Beryl scowled, "He is almost perfect. I dislike his friends – those Shitennou. They're always making fun of me because I'm a girl, or because I can't hold a sword, or because I'm useless with the bow and arrows."
"But those are not past times for a lady such as yourself!" The old woman said, her brow furrowed and her voice puzzled. "Why would they wish for you to partake in such things? It is the province of men to protect the gentle woman, surely that has not changed?"
"It hasn't, but these four are imbeciles of the first order." She slumped to the ground, tugging the blanket about her shoulders to ward off the evening's chill. "Nephrite is so pious and above it all, Jadeite is a fool, and Zoisite is always fawning over Endymion or Kunzite. It's just ridiculous!"
"Surely they are not with him all the time though? It should be easy for a girl as beautiful as yourself to speak with him." Beryl could feel herself blushing. She was often called beautiful, but she loved it all the same.
"They are his guard," she said with a sigh. "He is never without at the very least two of them, more often three and not uncommonly all four."
"Well that is a stroke of bad luck." There was silence in the glade for a moment, and the old woman turned to look at the sky. "It is a full moon," she said with a sigh. "What do you know of the moon, Beryl?"
"I know that it is there at night," she replied with some uncertainty. "I know that it is pretty, and gives us light during the dark times."
"The light of the moon is but a pale reflection," the woman sighed, easing herself to her feet. "It is a faint glimmer of starlight that wishes to be the sun, a cold place of calculating magic."
"What do you know of the moon?" Beryl asked curiously.
"I know stories," the woman replied. "Stories that would make your skin crawl."
Hello :D Due to what happened with Crystal Tokyo (see my profile for details :( ), I'm starting on this earlier than I planned.
Basically, I wasn't too pleased with the final result for "A Glorious Past". I wanted it to be darker, so I'm not going to try so hard to mesh this with canon. The characters will still be the same, but I'm taking it in my own direction on character history as you'll probably see pretty much straight away. Reviews are, as always, appreciated :D Enjoy x