Another chapter for you :) This one took me a lot longer to write than most. Please enjoy :) xx
Today is the day – the day I take my leave of absence. After being on the Moon for two months, my time has arrived. I finally get to go home to Jupiter. I rise earlier than usual and dress myself eagerly. Everything about the Moon seems lovelier today, as though it is begging me not to leave. But nothing can prevent me from going home today.
"Princess Makoto?" Luna knocks at my door.
"Come in Luna," I say as I sit at my dresser and pull my curly hair back into a ponytail.
Luna enters and smiles at me. "Good morning, Princess. I trust you slept well."
"Your ship is set to leave in half an hour, so make sure that you are packed and ready to go by then."
"Thanks, Luna," I grin.
She leaves and I set about packing my bags. I don't really have that many clothes so I end up travelling fairly light. Besides, it's not like I'm gone for very long. I pack my training gear, and my emerald gown and some every day clothes – all of which takes about five minutes – then I head down the hallway to meet the Queen. Serenity waits for me at the entrance to the palace, looking as beautiful as usual. Her long silver hair is down, which is unusual for the Queen; and it cascades down her back like a shimmery curtain. At once, I am envious of that hair. If only my hair could look that perfect. But she is the Queen, so I guess it makes sense for her to look beautiful. It gives her another reason to be respected.
As I approach, she turns and gives me one of those radiant smiles that make her white teeth shine.
"Princess Makoto," she says softly. Her melodic voice envelops me in warmth. "I see you are all packed and ready?"
"Yes, your Majesty." I bow low in front of her. She places a hand on my shoulder and I look up to see a hint of sadness in her eyes.
"You are strong, Makoto, Princess of Jupiter."
"Thank you, my Lady." I rise and am pulled into an unexpected embrace. Serenity strokes my hair with a mother's touch – something I have not felt in a long time.
"Your ship is ready to leave. I will accompany you to the Departure Point."
She takes my hand and together we walk around the courtyard to the Departure Point. It is located behind the Training Arena, and is basically a wide, open expanse of a few hundred yards. In the centre is a large ship, in the shape of a crescent, which takes up most of the area. I marvel at it in awe. Moon vessels are the most magnificent of all ships in the Moon Kingdom – far more extravagant than the ones back home. As we walk, I wonder where Minako and the other Senshi are. I want to say goodbye to them before I leave. But there is no sign of them. Serenity leads me up to the entrance of the ship and then turns to face me.
"It is always a sad moment to say goodbye to one of my finest warriors," Serenity says as she cups my cheek and places a kiss on my forehead. "Even if it is only for a little while. Stay safe, Princess."
I nod my head and am about step onto to the ship when I hear my name being called. I turn around and see my Senshi running towards me.
"Makoto!" calls Ami.
"You didn't think you could leave without saying goodbye to us, now did you?" Rei laughs as she hugs me.
"Aw, you guys," I gush and pull all my friends into a tight hug. "I'm going to miss you."
"I'm going to miss you too," says Mina sadly as we break away. I realise that she is crying and I instantly punch her playfully in the arm.
"Oh, stop it you sook. I'm only going to be gone for a week. It's not forever."
Mina sniffs and wipes away her tears. "I know. I'm just going to miss you, that's all."
"We're all going to miss you, Mako," says Rei, patting my shoulder. "Especially seeing you stand up to Uranus!"
I laugh. "Don't let her get to you. She's not as strong as she thinks she is."
"Princess Makoto, it's time," says Serenity.
I nod and give my friends one last hug. Mina lingers the longest. She is my closest friend here and I am going to miss her terribly.
"Hold the fort for me, will you?"
"Of course," she assures me and kisses my cheek. I smile. It is a bittersweet moment. I am sad to leave my friends and the beautiful Palace, but I'm going home.
"Goodbye!" I wave back to the Senshi and the Queen as I step onto the ship. Minako's face is the last I see before the door closes and I am shut off from the outside world. I am ushered into my chambers by one of the Moon guards. Since Jupiter is beyond the Asteroid Belt, it will take at most, a day to arrive there. For the journey, I am supplied with my own room where I am able to do as I please. The room is enormous; as big as my room back on the Moon. A large, king sized bed sits against the back wall; covered in so many pillows it is a wonder that there will be room for me. The dresser is far too large to be necessary, but I don't even bother unpacking. I'll only be travelling for a night.
"I hope her Highness finds everything to her liking," says the guard as he bows before me and then leaves the room. I stand, stunned, for a moment, almost forgetting that it is me he was talking to. Being called by such a formal title is so unnatural. I am used to, "Princess," and "my Lady," but never have I been called, "your Highness." It makes me feel like the Moon Princess.
Now that I am left alone, I do the most natural thing a girl does when faced with a huge bed. I take a run up and leap in the air, falling softly onto the many pillows. Some of the collapse in on me and smother me, and I am left in hysterics as I spread my arms and legs out. One thing I must say about the Moon is that they are always extremely hospitable. I then roll over and flick a switch on the wall. Instantly, shutters covering my windows open and I see the magnificent darkness that is the universe. It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful it all is. We retreat further and further away from the moon and yet I can still see Earth – as beautiful and multicoloured as it always it. On the other side of my bedroom, I see the red planet, Mars. I sit up on my bed and watch the universe in fascination. The stars are still twinkling balls of light, but they seem bigger up here, and closer. I see the beautiful lights of planets and stars and then the complete darkness. Such a contrast I have never seen except here.
Soon we bypass Mars and continue towards the Asteroid Belt: the Belt that my ancestor created to stop the war between the outer planets and the inner planets. Only my father's soldiers can allow people to pass the belt. As we draw closer, I see them, the Ionian soldiers sworn to guard the belt, standing on their fort. Our ship draws closer and I hear the captain talking to one of the guards.
"We come from the Moon, with Princess Makoto to return her home to Jupiter. We ask for permission to pass through the Belt."
"Access granted," affirms the guard and our ship continues through the Belt. Only with permission will the guards move aside the Belt to allow a passage. Without permission, you must navigate through the Belt on your own, which is near impossible. I suppose that is why the Belt was made that way in the first place.
Once we are through the Belt, I see my beautiful home planet looming up ahead. Jupiter – in all its stormy glory. Oh, how I have missed it; missed the swirling storms of red and gold, missed the thunder and the lightning. Though it lacks in the calm, serenity of the Moon, Jupiter is by far the most beautiful planet in the universe.
"Your Highness?" knocks a man at my door. "We will be landing in about three hours. Feel free to get some rest."
"Thank you, I shall."
It occurs to me that I have been travelling for almost eight hours. And I am exhausted. I decide to follow the guard's advice and get some sleep for a few hours.
I am shaken awake by one of the Moon guards and informed that we have landed safely and to collect my bags, ready for departure. My bags are waiting, untouched, by the door of my room, and I quickly grab them and race out of the ship.
The first thing I notice is the rain. It pelts down and drenches my clothes. In a matter of seconds, I am soaked from head to toe. The next thing I notice is the flash of lightning across the sky and the familiar rumble of thunder that follows. I inhale in content. I am home. Two figures are approaching me, each holding an umbrella. As they come closer, I recognise my maid servant, Asami. Her long dark hair is pinned up in a bun on top of her head and she wears a simple orange dress under her black raincoat. But it is the person next to her that I am the most happy to see. How could I forget his dark brown eyes and that goofy smile of his? Not caring that there are hundreds of people gathered around to watch the Princess of Jupiter come home, I sprint down the platform and throw myself at him.
"Shinozaki!" I cry as I pull back to look at him. He grins at me and pulls me tight against him once more.
"Makoto! Welcome home!"
I feel safe in his arms. I always do. Being with Shinozaki reminds me of my childhood; of days playing hide-and-seek and mud fights and tree houses. But most of all, Shino reminds me of home.
"Welcome back, Princess," says Asami as she approaches me and curtsies. I pull away from Shino and laugh.
"Oh, come now, Asami!" I say, hugging her tightly. "It's Makoto, remember. None of this Princess nonsense."
Asami laughs and smiles at me. "As you wish, Makoto. Now come, get out of the rain. We can't have the Princess looking like she just stepped out of the shower."
Shino lends me his umbrella and three of us walk back to the chariot that awaits at the bottom of the platform. I take care to wave at as many people as I pass. Even though I hate all the attention, I have a duty as the Princess to act elegant and graceful – even if my skills are somewhat lacking.
"It's good to have you home," says Shino, taking my hand in his.
"It's good to be home," I agree, giving his hand a squeeze.
"Do you want to, you know, hit the rink?"
"Of course, I'd love –"
"No," Asami shakes her head. "Princess Makoto is far too busy. Her father returns soon and has requested a banquet be held in honour of his daughter's return."
My cheerful mood is once again put on hold. I give Shino an apologetic smile and slump back into my seat with my arms folded across my chest. Typical. Princess duties always get in the way of the things I want to do. Sometimes I wish I wasn't the Princess. At least then I wouldn't have so much responsibility.
As we arrive at the palace, I give Shino one last hug and whisper in his ear, "meet me in the courtyard."
He winks at me and then leaves. Asami takes my hand and drags me down to my chambers.
"Come, Princess. We have much to do before your father returns."
Almost as soon I we open my bedroom door, I am stripped naked and shoved in the bath. Asami then goes about washing my hair and scrubbing my body until I feel like a plucked chicken.
"Look what your father bought you," says Asami as she wraps a towel around my and takes me out to my bed. There, resting on the white bedspread, is a brand new gown. It is emerald green, my favourite colour, with a silk sash around the middle. I suppose it looks pretty, but I've never really been into pretty things.
"Isn't it beautiful?"
I nod my head and try to look enthusiastic. "Um, do I have to wear that tonight? I mean, I've already got a gown that's perfectly adequate."
Asami merely laughs and holds the new gown up against my body. "Of course you're wearing it tonight. That's why your father bought it for you. Consider it a 'welcome home' present."
I give a fake smile and mumble on about how grateful I am, but inside I am seething. My father knows me well enough to know that I hate dresses. Something strange is going on here but I don't know what.
Reluctantly, I allow Asami dress me. The gown is tight fitting and hugs my body like a glove, until it pools around my ankles like some sort of chemical infected lake. The sleeves are long and rest off my shoulders, leaving my neck bare and exposed. My feet are squeezed into silver pumps and my hair is pulled and teased until it curls around my neck and tumbles down my back. Lastly, Asami powders my face and paints my lips red before turning me to face the mirror.
"There," she says, satisfied. "What do you think?"
I frown. "I look... different."
"You look like a Princess, Makoto," she corrects me.
There is a knock on my door, and a Palace servant opens it.
"Miss Asami, My Lady," he bows at us. "The King as arrived."
I look at Asami and gulp a little nervously. It's time to find out about the Planet Earth.
What did you think? Please read and review :) By the way... does anyone know where I can find a good website to watch the Sailor Moon S season without it freezing up? That would help a lot! :D xx