The Beautiful Priestess
"Jadeite, I am growing greatly concerned with your lack of progress in gathering energy for our Great Ruler. Why is that?"
Jadeite bowed before Queen Beryl, fighting to suppress a shiver. He didn't have to guess that his life was close to being on the line. He had been sending the Dark Kingdom's best monsters and soldiers, yet Sailor Moon had been able to defeat them every single time with a stroke of luck.
"Forgive me, Queen Beryl," he said carefully, "Sailor Moon's interference has been disrupting my efforts time and again."
"And why is it that she is not dead yet?" Queen Beryl said coldly, "You have told me yourself that she is not a fully trained Sailor Scout. Yet some of my best servants have been killed while carrying out your orders."
"It seems that Sailor Moon has been gifted with a stroke of luck," Jadeite said, "It also does not help matter that she has Rose Caster at her side."
"Your excuses do not amuse me, Jadeite," Queen Beryl said sharply, "I do not believe that you fully grasp our situation. We are unable to gain ultimate power in the galaxy because of our Great Ruler's lack of energy. Since we are unable to find the legendary Imperium Crystal, we must give her human energy in order to replenish her strength. You took it upon yourself to carry out that task, yet you have failed to bring in energy after several attempts. Without her strength, our conquest for ultimate powered will be delayed even longer. And I am tired of waiting."
"I am not finished yet, Jadeite," Queen Beryl's eyes flashed, "There is also another concern. One I do wish to happen for it may spell our doom. If Sailor Moon or any other Sailor Scout find the Imperium Crystal before we do, we will be unable to defeat them. Powerful as I may be, my powers are nothing compared to that of our Great Ruler. The Dark Kingdom must be the ones who find it before we do. We are very close to achieving our goal. I will not have Sailor Moon or anyone else prevent us from doing so again. I will destroy anyone who tried to do so."
She gaze turned colder as she stared as Jadeite.
"I will give you a little more time, Jadeite. Consider it as a opportunity to redeem yourself. Collect the energy and destroy Sailor Moon. It would be best if you did this yourself instead of using one of my minions like a coward."
Anger coursed through Jadeite at the insult, but he held it down. Any protest or bad talk could lead to execution, so he kept his mouth shut.
"Be aware, Jadeite, that my patience is running thin. Remember this when you launch your next operation. Do not fail me again, or your head will be decorating my throne."
The threat had the desired effect. Jadeite blinked, but quickly recovered himself and bowed.
"As you wish, My Queen."
The time bomb crises in Washington DC had settled down and was all but forgotten in a few days. School had been canceled the day after the incident due to some of the streets being damaged and crews having to clear out all the many accidents.
Peggy had given Serena a ride home after spending the night sharing Amy's room. Thankfully, they found that Sammy was already home. He had skipped school with a friend and had stayed at his friend's house playing several different video games while the parents had been away. Keith had picked him up the next day, but hadn't punished him since everyone had been acting very strange.
However, Serena couldn't help but notice how strangely Peggy acted when she met her mother for the very first time. She saw a mixture of emotions run across her the instant Isabelle ran out and embraced her daughter in a relieved hug. At one point, Serena thought she was going to cry. But Peggy quickly smiled and accepted Isabelle's hug for her kindness and hospitality. In a few words, the two of them became instant friends and promised to get together some time later.
Serena smiled. Isabelle and Peggy were very much alike as mothers. They were both around the same age and cared very much for family. Isabelle had taken great pity with Peggy's case from having to raise her child by herself after her husband died and offered that she would be happy to help if needed. Peggy smiled and thanked her. It seemed strange that the two of them had never met before, but Serena was glad to see that they got along so well.
A few days later, soon after, Serena and Luna were walking quietly down the street, enjoying the nice and bright day. However, the serene peacefulness was quickly interrupted as a trio of police cars went flying past with sirens blaring.
"I wonder what's going on?" Serena said.
"I wish I knew," Luna said, her tone serious, "But this is the third time I've seen police cars going in that direction."
"The third time? That can't be good," then Serena saw a familiar girl standing at a bus stop just ahead, "Hey, Amy!"
Amy lifted her gaze from the book she was reading and smiled when she saw them.
"Hey, Serena!" she said as they ran over to her. She picked Luna up and petted her fondly.
Luna had never been really used to being treating like a normal cat with all the pets and purring, but she didn't mind.
"How have you been, Luna?" Amy asked.
"Very well, thank you," Luna smiled.
"Where are you going, Amy?" said Serena.
"To Cram School."
"Cram School?" Serena was surprised, "Your mom found a new one?"
"Yes," Amy beamed, "She found it over the weekend. It's much better than the last one. There's no monster running it so you don't need to worry. I was to start going there on Monday but then that little crises happened so I didn't start going until yesterday."
"So you're taking the bus to go there instead of walking like you used to?"
"It's a little too far for a walk," Amy grinned, "If I had to, I would take a plane. Besides, now that I'm a Sailor Scout, I need to gain as much knowledge as possible so I can very useful and reliable on the battlefield."
"I'm glad to see you're taking the knowledgeable course," Luna said proudly, then gave Serena a teasing glance, "Unlike someone I know here."
"Ha ha ha," Serena wasn't amused, "But that's good to hear, Amy. Keep it up!"
Just then another police sped by, it's sirens also blaring.
"That's the forth one now," Serena stated.
"I know," Amy nodded, "Something really bad must have happened."
They turned to see Molly and one of their classmates, a cute Chinese girl named Jennie, walking over toward them.
"Hey, Molly," Serena smiled.
"Did you hear?" said Jennie, "There's a story behind this bus disappearance!"
"There is?" asked Amy.
"Yeah, I've been hearing that a bus that was carrying a lot of passenger, most of them schoolgirls, left from one of its bus stops shortly after six pm last night and suddenly disappeared."
"Really?" Serena's eyes widened, "Do they know what happened to it?"
"Apparently, they don't," said Molly, "It's been happening near Washington National Cathedral."
"Washington National Cathedral?" Amy echoed.
"That's not far from where I live," Serena stated.
"The bus left its last known bus stop in that area. From what I heard, it had around fifty passengers when it disappeared."
"The police think it most likely a mass kidnapping," said Jennie, "They kept secret about it for a while, but when families started searching for their missing daughters, the police announced the disappearance and started investigating, telling everyone to report to them if they find something."
"A bus disappearing at six o'clock."
"I hope those girls are all right," said Serena.
"I hope so too," Molly nodded.
"I hate to think of what terrible fate those poor girls go through," said Jennie.
All of them, including Luna, knew what she was thinking about, and prayed that wasn't the case. Yet as young they were, they had all heard one way or another of the illegal trade of kidnapped young girls who were sold as slaves for pleasure.
"I heard that the cathedral is selling special good luck charms for charity," said Serena, changing the subject, "You know, like cute crosses and such. I've been thinking about buying one."
"Me, too," Molly smiled, "I heard that the priestess working there is a bit of a physic and that her powers are actually good."
"I heard that their lucky charms really work too," said Jennie.
"Let's head over there and buy one," Serena declared.
"Serena, can you buy one for me too?" Amy asked.
"Sure. Why don't you come with us?"
"I can't," Amy frowned, "I have to go to cram school. And I have an important test coming up."
"Oh, yeah. I forgot," Serena grinned, "Well, don't worry. I'll get a special one and give it to you at school tomorrow."
Washington National Cathedral was famously known for having held three funerals for famous American presidents, including Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford. It's official name being The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the cathedral was an Episcopal Church located in Washington DC's northwestern area on Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues.
Originally built in 1907, the cathedral carried a very medieval Gothic design and had suffered from the 2011 Virginia earthquake, causing it to close down for two months so it could be repaired. It was decorated with architecture and art. Inside were many stain glass windows depicting Saints and Civil War generals while outside were many different gargoyles. There was even a grotesque of Darth Vader from Star Wars placed among the gargoyles.
Serena, Molly, and the Chinese girl, entered the cathedral ground and saw that there were a number a girls, mostly from different schools, already there collecting good luck charms the cathedral was selling for very low prices. Speaking to the girls was a tall man dressed in the black shirt and pants and the white collar of a Bishop.
He looked to be in his early sixties, but his physique and the way he stood made it suggest he was almost ten years younger. At his age, he was still surprisingly handsome. His splash of light brown hair was well combed and had only grayed in certain areas. His blue eyes were bright, touched with the sense that seemed like foreseeing. His smile was both friendly and charming. The girls laughed at his joke before they went on their way, giving him a friendly smile and a wave, which he returned.
Serena couldn't help but wonder what had persuaded this kind man to give his body and soul in service to God and Jesus Christ. With Luna cradled in her arms, she and her friends came up to him. She noticed that his eyes widened at the sight of her, but that most likely because of her unusual hair style.
"Welcome children," he smiled, "What can I do for you?"
"We heard that you were selling lucky charms," Serena said, "We like to buy some."
"Of course. Right this way please."
The Bishop lead to a make shift stand that was on the other side of the cathedral. Behind the stand was a young man dressed in a white priest robe. His blonde hair was so thick it covered his eyes. Somehow, Serena felt like she had seen him before but couldn't remember where. She racked her brain as her friends looked over the many charms on sale.
"That is an interesting hair style you have."
Serena blinked and turned her head to the Bishop, who was looking at her curiously.
"Your hair," he pointed, "It's interesting. I've never met or seen anyone wearing their hair like that or growing it that long."
"Oh," Serena blushed, "Thank you."
"What made you want to grow it that long and wear it like that?"
"Well..." Serena thought back and shrugged, "I'm not entirely sure, to be exact. I think it started when I was ten years old. I just suddenly had this desire to be totally different from other girls by growing my hair much longer than usual. My hair grew fast no matter how many times we trimmed it, so my parents pretty much gave up and let me take care of it since it we were just wasting money."
"As for the hair style itself, I don't what inspired me to wear it like this but it may because I wanted to be creative. Plus, my hair seemed to have stopped growing after it was this long. I've heard that it strongly resembles the odanga hair style some girls in Japan wear, but they would probably say mine is the most unique. Since then, I've changed my hairstyle even once. I even sleep in it when I go to bed."
The Bishop laughed, "I'm certain you do. It must be a hassle to have to do and undo your hair everyday."
"Not really," Serena grinned, "The doing can take some time, but it's not that hard. As for the undoing, all it takes is a few simple tugs."
"I see," the Bishop's gaze drifted down to Luna, cradled in Serena arms. His eyes widened a lot more, as if he was stunned to see the cat, but his smile widened as he leaned toward the cat, "And who's this charming little creature?"
"This is Luna," Serena lifted Luna a little, "I adopted her when I saved her from being to death by a bunch of kids."
"You have a kind soul," the Bishop scratched Luna's chin, which she returned with a pure, "And the name suits her. The white spot on her head kind of looks like a moon crescent. What's you name, child?"
"Serena," she said, wondering why he'd ask.
"Serena," the Bishop nodded as if he understood, "The name suits you as well. I can see that your kindness and compassion will accomplish great things and inspire many others around the world, and perhaps even beyond, in the future."
The declaration took her by surprise. She never thought a man like would say something like that. Then again, he was a man of God, so maybe he could tell the future...
Serena's friends had just purchased their lucky charms when they heard the voice. Together they turned towards the source. Serena's eyes widened and her breath, as she was certain her friends did as well. Standing before them was the most beautiful girl Serena had ever seen.
She stood a yard behind the Bishop, her grandfather, as she called him. Her dark hair was amazing long, reaching bellow her waist, showing garnet hints in the sunlight shining down on her. Her equally dark eyes seemed to shined also, narrowed as they were now. She wore the black knee length dress, stockings, and shoes of a priestess, but lacked the headdress usually seen on them. A little golden cross hung from her neck.
Yet her face was her finest feature. While it a very stern expression at the moment, the face was classically beautiful when gentle, yet it gave off the ability of of being cruel when harsh. The girl was an exact image of a gypsy beauty. Sweet and friendly when kind, violent and brutal when angry.
Serena realized that the girl was around the same age as her, which surprised her. The girl held an aura that was beyond her years. The stern expression, the way her arms were crossed, and the stiffness of her stance showed her that this girl was not someone to mess with.
The Bishop had cringed a little when he heard his granddaughter call him from behind, but he quickly recovered and turned.
"Raye!" he smiled, "Good to you out here enjoying the sun."
Raye? Serena looked at the girl. The name was rather unusual. Raye herself , however, wasn't amused.
"Stop hitting on girls already!" she said harshly.
"Raye!" the Bishop seemed shock that his granddaughter would even suggest such a thing, "You know I would never do that. I was merely welcoming these children to the Cathedral."
Raye placed her hands on her hips, "There are already rumors going around that you're only holding lucky charm charity thing just to flirt with everyone."
"Are they saying that?" the Bishop sighed heavily, "What is this world coming to? People are so suspicious these days. You can't even talk to them in a friendly conversation anymore."
Serena took pity on him, knowing how he felt. She had gone through this a few times herself when at school.
"You've just been appointed here," Raye stated, "It wouldn't be good if they started claiming that you were a blackguard.
Suddenly she stiffened, jerking her head left and right as if she was sensing some unseen danger closing in.
"I sense something!" she tensed defensively, her eyes darting in every direction, "An evil spirit!"
Everyone stared at her in amazement. Serena suddenly remembered that the daughter that worked at this cathedral was rumored to be a bit of a physique. Could this be her?
"You dare threaten the House of God!" Raye continued, more aggressively "I won't let you! Be gone, evil spirit!"
She took out another golden cross, much bigger than the one at her neck and thrust it forward. She wasn't watching her aim and ended up hitting Serena. Luna jumped out to the ground a n instant before the cross hit Serena in the face.
Serena didn't see it coming and went down, knocked unconscious by the metal cross.
"Serena!" her friends ran to her side.
"Oh, dear," Raye, embarrassed and upset at herself for overreacting and not being careful, knelt at Serena's other side, "That wasn't supposed to happen. I'm so sorry!"
"It was only an accident, my dear," said the Bishop, "I don't believe you hit her hard enough to do any real damage. Come, let's take to one of the bed rooms. She should awake in a few minutes with nothing more than a little headache."
Serena was taken inside the cathedral and placed onto a large comfortable bed. The Bishop came in and placed the bowel of water and towel Raye had requested on top of a table before taking his leave.
Serena's friends sat beside her as Raye placed the towel in the bowel and gently dabbed Serena's face. Luna sat quietly at the end of the bed. While she was concerned for Serena, her attention was fixed on Raye. She had taken note of everything Raye had done since she first saw here, along with her grandfather.
Soon, Serena moaned and came awake. When she tried to sit up abruptly, Raye slowed her down.
"Easy," she said, "You shouldn't move so fast."
"What happened?" said Serena, holding a hand to her head, feeling a little bump on it, right in the exact place she had smashed on the bus before. She winced a little as Raye continued to dab her head.
"I accidentally hit you," Raye explained, "I'm very sorry. Please be assured that I don't go around hitting people with a cross."
"I heard you were a bit of physique," said Molly, "Is that true?"
Raye shot her a sharp glance, but only shrugged, "It's true, much good as it doing me lately."
"Why's that?" said Jennie.
"My grandfather was appointed to this cathedral just over a month ago," Raye sighed, "It's a very honorable position since this cathedral is very famous, and he wants to make the best of it. But with the things recently going recently, his reputation may be in jeopardy. First the idiots spreading the rumors of him hitting on girls, and guys I'm afraid to say, next the disappearance of the bus happening near our cathedral, and now this," she met Serena gaze, "Now that I bashed you on the head, with a cross no less, people are going to think I'm taking my faith far too seriously."
"It's okay," Serena smiled, "I'm not really hurt."
"Thanks, but it's not going make things any easier."
"What kind of a physique are you?" Molly asked, "I mean, I don't mean to pry, but... are you capable of reading the future or something?"
Raye chuckled, "No, it's nothing like that. I have the ability to sense things that are not natural, like the evil spirit I thought I felt earlier. But now, I'm beginning to wonder if my sixth sense has gone haywire, because every time I tried to find this evil aura, it goes away the next instant."
The girls and Luna stared at Raye, astonishment.
"That's really cool," said Molly.
"How did you find out about your sixth sense?" said Jennie.
"By the time I was eight. I think it was mostly passed down by my ancestors. My great grandmother was a gypsy who went through both World Wars, the first when she was a child and the next when she was a young woman. She escape the German roundup of people sent to the holocaust and moved here to American, where she eventually married a good, honest businessman. She was said to have been gifted with the sense of feeling the aura of spirits. Some said she could also see the future, but it was never proven."
"Do you live here, with your grandpa?" asked Serena
"Yes," Raye smiled fondly, "My mother died when I was very young. I was brought to my grandfather soon after. I never knew who my father was."
"Oh, I'm so sorry."
"Don't be, it doesn't bother me."
"Your grandpa must be a good man."
"He is. I'm not criticizing him for anything despite what I said earlier. I'm just trying to warn him of what's going on. If he does end up flirting with someone it's not on purpose. He's just trying to be both charming and friendly. It's part of his job as a Bishop."
"It's just that I don't want him to loose his position here. I'll be very honest. I love this cathedral. I've read so much about it when I was little, wondering what it would like to see it for the first time. I never dreamed though that I would actually be living in it one day. I feel like I've finally come home after a long journey. I even like the school I'm going to now."
"What school are you going to?" asked Molly.
"St. Albans School."
"St. Albans?" Serena eyes widened, "I know that school. My parents thought about sending me there but never did because it was little too expensive at the time. Isn't it..."
"Right down the street from here?" Raye finished for her and grinned, "It is. No more than a five minute walk. My grandpa is very protective of me so he wants to keep me as close as possible. His wife, my grandmother, died from influenza and then my mother soon after I was born. He doesn't speak much of my mother since she ran off with the man she loved when she was eighteen. Too painful for him, I suppose. He's an only child and his parents pretty much cast him out when he didn't turn into what they wanted. So you see, I'm the only family he has left."
"That's so sad," said Serena, her friends agreeing, "It must have been really hard for you over the years."
"We've had some hard times," Raye nodded, "but we've gotten through them without a lot of trouble."
"You're kind of like me in a sense," Serena stated.
"Pardon?" Raye frowned, but looked at her curiously.
"Not in a religious sense," Serena reprimanded, "But you prefer to keep things simple. You don't wants things to be too complicated because it'll effect you both."
"That's coming from a lot for a girl who's always late for school," teased the Chinese girl.
"Well," Serena face reddened and she glared at her, "I'm not saying everyone's perfect. We all have our faults. I'm just saying that I like to keep things simple. I enjoy living a simple life."
You have no idea how complicated your life is going to be in the next coming days, Luna said in her thoughts.
Raye chuckled, " 'In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight', Proverbs 3:6."
"Say again?" Serena blinked.
"Oh, sorry," Raye smiled, "I have a habit of speaking quotes from the Bible when people I talk with say or do certain things. It's pretty much my way of praising them."
"Well," Serena giggled, "Thank you."
"Your welcome," Raye smiled.
It was at that moment that Serena found a new friend. Raye may be cold and perhaps selfish at times, but there was kindness and wisdom there as well. The fact that she was a strong believer in faith didn't bother her at all. She actually admired her for that quality because she never fully understood the belief in God. Or perhaps she was started to; with every that had gone on lately-
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of determined footsteps outside in the hall. The girls glanced at the door as they neared. Raye was already staring at it, her eyes narrowed and her face stern as if she had been expecting it.
Then the door flew open and the doorway was filled by a middle-aged woman with a very angry look on her face. She scanned the room until her gaze fell on Raye. Her face turned even angrier.
"Where is the Bishop?" she snapped, stepping into the room.
"He's not here at the moment," Raye said calmly, "May I help you?"
"My daughter was supposed to come this afternoon and she didn't!" the woman stepped closer, staring at Raye more intently, "She went and bought some lucky charms from this cathedral. I hear that the Bishop is doing this a charity thing, but I'm beginning to wonder if that's really true! The fact that that bus disappeared around here seems most convenient, because my daughter was on it! Either the Bishop is innocent or he's a fake!"
Serena knew that the woman shouldn't have said that. The moment she did, Raye jumped to her feet, her eyes flaring with a fire a so intense Serena could have sworn she saw the flames.
"How dare you accuse the Bishop like that!" Raye yelled, "He is a man of God, not a kidnapper! Since we arrived we have done nothing but do God's work. I am sorry about your daughter. We'll help you in any way we can. A policeman was here earlier asking question. Perhaps you should report instead of coming here and making false accusations!"
The woman blinked at Raye's outburst, but quickly recovered, "You only defend him because he's your grandfather," she retorted.
"Yes I do," Raye nodded, "because he's all I have. Now, I suggest you leave before I do something foolish and ask for the Lord's forgiveness later. I am tired of dealing with all you suspicious morons."
"Why you-" the woman stopped and glared at Raye before whirling back to the door, "I'll remember this, young lady. You and your grandfather should be driven out of of town for your rudeness."
The next instant, the woman scrambled out the door as Raye charged at her, but the girl made no attempt to chase her. Instead, she stood at the doorway and screamed, "You're the one who's being rude with all of your accusing! Get out! If you ever come here again with that attitude, I'll have the Bishop banish you from this cathedral!"
She slammed the door, strode back to her chair, and sat down stiffly. She gave a huge frustrated growl before she lifted her gaze back to the girls, who were staring at her with wide eyes.
"I'm sorry about that," she sighed heavily, "but now you see what I've had to put up with since this morning."
"Are the rumors that bad?" Serena asked.
"I'm afraid so. I even overheard a few students at my school saying bad things about the Bishop. I had to stop myself from going over there and beating them senseless because of their ignorance. Not an easy thing to do when you have gypsy blood."
"I don't mean to sound rude," said Molly, being careful with her words, "But you don't really think your grandfather could be involved with the disappearance, do you?"
"No," Raye said automatically, "My grandfather is a great man and a strong believer in God, as am I. He went through many hardships in his life and I've shared several of him. Why would he stoop so low a person? Can you see him doing that, having met him yourself?"
There was a moment of silence.
"No," said Serena, "I honestly can't."
"Thank you," Raye smiled, "I glad to see that there's at least one person on our side."
"Don't mention it," Serena smiled and threw back the covers of the bed, "Well, we better get going."
"Are you sure?" Raye asked.
"I'm fine, don't worry," Serena assured as she got out of the bed.
"Alright then," Raye stood, "I'm sorry again for bashing you in the head earlier."
"No need, you didn't hurt me," Serena held out a hand, "It was nice to meet you Raye. I hope everything works out for you."
"Nice to meet you too, Serena," Raye shook her hand, "and thank you again. I can hope and pray that things will get better."
Raye escorted them out of the cathedral, feeling much better. She smiled and returned the wave Serena gave her as Serena and her friends walked away.
" 'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose', Romans 8:28."
Molly and Jennie took their leave after they were a block away from the cathedral. Serena waved goodbye and waited until they were out of sight before she turned to Luna. While had the cat had kept quiet the whole they'd been at the the cathedral, she hadn't missed the tension Luna was holding.
"What is it?" she knelt, keeping her voice low.
Luna looked up at her, eyes serious.
"Something is definitely not right," she said slowly, "And I don't believe that this disappearance earlier is a kidnapping. No, I believe the Dark Kingdom has everything to do with it."
"Positive," Luna gestured back to the cathedral, "Did you find something odd about that man running the lucky charm stand earlier?"
"You noticed it too?" Serena's eyes widened, "I did notice. I felt like I met him from somewhere before, but couldn't remember where."
"You ought to remember him," Luna stated, "He's the one who's been giving us all the trouble lately."
"You mean..." Serena blinked, "You think that man was actually Jadeite?"
"I'm certain of it. The strange energy I was sensing from him was unmistakable. Obviously he doesn't know how to disguise himself or his energy signature."
"Wouldn't he have recognized you?"
"I doubt it. With your friends occupying the stand and the Bishop talking to you while your were turned away, it's unlikely he would have seen me. Even if he did, he would have saw a normal cat. But enough of that now, call Amy and get her over here."
Serena blinked again. After the time bomb incident, Amy's mother had given her a cell phone so she could keep in contact with her. Serena had been given one as well for the same reasons.
"But she's at cram school-" she started to say.
"I don't care," Luna snapped, "Many people have disappeared and I have a strong feeling many more of them will disappear at any minute. School academics are the least of our concerns, so get her over her now!"
"Y-Yes, Ma'am," Serena fidgeted and took out her cell phone.
A half an hour later Amy came running down the street.
"Good to see you made it," said Luna, who seemed to growing more and more impatient.
"You almost got me in trouble," Amy gasped for breath, "The teacher nearly took my cell phone away."
"That doesn't matter right now," Luna said firmly, "Come with me, both of you."
Serena and Amy glanced at each other but fell in step behind her.
"Where are we going?" Serena asked.
"You'll see," said Luna.
A minute later they turned around the corner of the street.
"There they are," Luna stopped.
Down the street was a bus stop from where the bus had disappeared earlier. Standing at the bus stop was a large group of schoolgirls.
"Wow," Serena stared, "There's so many of them!"
"Indeed," Amy nodded, "Let's get a little closer."
They stopped when they were a couple yards away from the schoolgirls.
"Do you notice anything unusual about them?" said Luna.
Both girls stared at them.
"None of them seem to be moving," Serena realized, "They're not even talking!"
"It's like all of them are in a state of trance," Amy stated.
"It appears so," Luna nodded, "The one thing you haven't noticed is that all of them have a lucky charm from the cathedral."
"You think the cathedral is behind this?" Amy sounded shocked.
"No," Luna shook her head.
"There was a man running the stand selling the charms who looked awfully familiar," Serena quickly told Amy about Jadeite and her encounter with him.
"So you think this Jadeite placed some kind of curse of those charms?" said Amy
"It's more than likely," said Luna, "Look at those girls. Can you think of any drug or drink that can do something like that? There may be some, but I can't imagine any of them having that kind of of effect. The energy I'm sensing from those charms are evil."
"So what do we do?" asked Serena.
"We wait here for the bus to come," Luna explained, "Then follow it as far as we dare."
"Shouldn't we try to wake them up?" suggested Amy, "I mean, get them out of that trance?"
"It wouldn't do any good," said Luna, "The curse has them completely under Jadeite's control. And besides, there's the danger of you becoming cursed yourselves if you touch them."
"So we're just going to leave them there like this?!" Serena's didn't like this at all.
"Do you have any better suggestions?" Luna eyes narrowed.
"Why don't get on the bus-" Serena started to say.
"No," Luna said in a tone that she was not to be argued.
But Serena did anyway, her eyes narrowing.
"Why?" she nearly screamed, "Ho could you be so cold and heartless right now? We should save those girls and instead of letting them get kidnapped! I thought that's what Sailor Scouts are supposed to do!"
"You think I don't want save those girls?" Luna returned firmly, "I want to save them as much as you do. And you're right when you say that it is a Sailor Scouts to protect and save the innocent from peril. But if we go onto that bus in the situation we're in now, who knows where we might end up and our energy may get completely drained out before either of you have a chance to transform. Then what will we accomplish?"
She dared Serena to argue against her reasoning. When she didn't, she continued with, "I don't like this any better than you do Serena, I'll be honest. If everything I've suspected is true, then we're the only hope those girls have. I appreciate your courage determination to save them Serena. But as I said before, don't make your make your decisions based on your emotions because you can get yourself foolishly killed. Don't make the same mistake as you did last time at the mall."
Serena had been clenching her fists. Slowly she unclenched them, calming herself down. As much as she hated it, Luna was right.
"Alright," she exhaled, "I just wish there was a better way."
"So do I, Serena," Luna sighed sadly, "So do I."
"Here it comes!" yelled Amy.
They turned to see an ordinary bus coming down the street. It came to a halt at the bus stop and the cursed schoolgirls walked in a single file line like robots. The bus doors closed and the bus continued on passed the girls and the cat.
"Alright," said Luna, "Let's follow it, but not-"
She stopped and all of them gasped.
The bus started to rise off the street while still moving forward, its image being distorted like an invisible wave was passing through it. The bus rose higher and higher until it was flying into the air. Then a black hole appear out of thin air in front of it. The bus continued on and disappeared into the whole, where it collapsed into nothingness.
"Did you see that?!" Serena thought she had been seeing things.
"I did," Amy felt the same way, "But I can't believe it!"
"This isn't good," Luna said coldly, "Those girls are being held by the Dark Kingdom against they're own will."
"What do we do now?!" Serena was fighting hysterics.
"There's nothing we can do," Luna shook her head, "We have to come back to this bus stop tomorrow and and get on to try and stop them. This will be a dangerous field we're going into girls. Be ready for it. Serena?"
"Let's go to the cathedral again tomorrow. I think it may that girl Raye may be able to help us."
Shortly after school, Raye Heinberg was back in her black in her priestess dress and was feeding a pair of white doves. The doves were her personal pets, but she never found the need to keep them in cages since they came and went. Besides, they never went too far from the cathedral.
However, her thoughts were elsewhere. The disappearance of another public bus had her greatly disturbed and people were now growing hostile in their suspicions towards the Bishop, her grandfather. If this kept up, they would surely be driven out of town if not arrested first.
On a side note, she kept thinking about the girl Serena she had met yesterday. The girl was different, she thought. She had kindness in a sense she hadn't expected, but there was something about her that made Raye want to met her again.
As though her prayers were just answered, she heard running footsteps and was surprised when she saw Serena running to her, her cat at her feet.
"Serena?" she waited as Serena stopped to catch her breath, "What's the matter?"
"I saw it!" Serena exclaimed, "The six o'clock bus disappeared like the other one did yesterday."
Raye's expression turned cold, anger coursing through as she clenched her fists.
"So," she said through gritted teeth, "You came here to tell me that you think my grandpa is behind it."
Serena blinked, stepping back defensively as if she was expecting to be struck.
"The police came here yesterday evening and this morning asking the same questions!" Raye screamed, fighting back tears, "I am sick and tired of it!"
"No, I'm not accusing your grandpa of anything," Serena held up a hand, "I'm just telling what I saw and that maybe you could help."
"I know nothing about it!" Raye shot back.
"I-I'm sorry," Serena stepped back, "I'm just trying to show you that I'm on your side. I don't believe any of the rumors being said about you."
"Just leave!" Raye snapped and turned away, not wanting Serena to see how she felt.
Serena must have gotten the message and turned around.
"Well," she hesitated, "I'll be going then. Hope everything works out for you."
Raye turned around as Serena ran off in the direction she had come from, not noticing that the cat had cast one last glance at her.
"Unbelievable!" she spat.
What a fool she was in thinking that Serena was different from everyone. Letting out a disgusted snort, she turned to walk back inside the cathedral when she caught something shining on the ground out of the corner of her eye. Frowning, she stepped forward and bent, picking up the metal object the size of her palm.
"Did she drop this?" she thought about catching up to Serena, but shook her head. She was no mood to speak to her. She looked at the brooch again.
It was strange looking for a brooch. It was golden, shaped like a flower with it's petals designed to resembled flames. A ruby as red as blood was placed in the center, a golden planetary symbol of Mars etched inside. Somehow, she felt that the brooch was emitting some kind of strange power.
"Hello, can we have some lucky charms?"
"Absolutely. What color would you like?"
Raye turned her gaze from the brooch to the makeshift stand and the man selling the charms behind it. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously.
Come to think of it, she thought, ever since he came here, we've been selling more charms than usual, she looked at the two schoolgirls standing at the stand, Not to mention we've been getting more and more visitors lately. I wonder...
She stared at the activity at the stand for a moment longer, then turned away. Tucking the brooch into her dress pocket, she went inside the cathedral. She went straight up to the altar. Crossing herself before the crucifixion before kneeling, she placed her hands together and quieted her mind.
Lord, my God, she prayed, Why are these buses disappearing? Where are those who have disappeared with them?
She suddenly remembered when the man running the stand first came and how much he'd frightened her. Something about him wasn't right. His blue eyes were like ice that sent a shiver through every time he glanced at her direction.
Does that man have something to do with it? What is going on? Who is responsible? Please, help me God!
She concentrated harder, hoping her powers would prevail. Then an image appeared in her mind. It was the young man running the stand!
Gasping, she stood and whirled around, running to the thick doors of the cathedral. She ran outside to the stand, but found it was already closed. But she knew where he was. Her grandfather had put him into a boarding house near the cathedral.
Taking care to cross the street carefully, she kept on running until she reached the little house. She threw the door and saw the man turned. He seemed unsurprised by the interruption.
"So," Raye caught her breath and stepped in, "You're the one responsible for everything going on!"
"What are you talking about?" the man said calmly, in a voice that was just as cold as his eyes.
"Don't play games with me! I trust my faith in God and he answered. You're an evil spirit in a human body. Who are you! Where are you hiding those girls?!"
"So you found out," the man chuckled cruelly, "I wonder if you were a true physique. You've truly been gifted by Avon."
Raye blinked. How did he know about her special powers? And who was this Avon? Before she could speak, Jadeite lifted his hand and the space behind him began to become distorted as if a wave was passing through it. Then she gasped as a black hole appeared.
"You want to find out where those girls are," he smiled evilly, "Well then, why don't you join them? You'll be going with them to Hell soon enough."
Raye cursed at herself for not realizing the danger she had put herself into. And what she seeing right now shouldn't be happening! She turned around to run but found herself being pulled by the black hole as if it was a vacuum.
The last thing she heard was the man laughing as she was sucked into blackness.