Sorry for being over a day late with this chapter. Wednesday was such a long day that I felt too tire to post. Hopefully, this chapter was worth the delay. Also, thanks again for all the reviews and feedback. It really does keep me going
Now, onward to the chapter.
Chapter 6: Shadow of Chaos
The atmosphere on the ship was somber as Serenity looked at the passing stars. It was strange how space could be both empty, yet filled with life all at the same time. Each star she laid her eyes on had the potential to harbor and nurtured life. If she extended herself, she would be able to find some of that life. To see new worlds and cultures beyond those her own blue planet.
"What are you think about, Usako?" Endymion asked as he put his hand on her shoulder.
"Just thinking about how small we are in this universe," Serenity answered. "About how little we actually matter in the grand scheme of things."
Endymion chuckled. "When did you become so philosophical?"
"Don't tease," Serenity said with a bit of humor before she became somber again. "I guess I just find it funny that for nearly a thousand years I thought the rebels on that ship were dead. Instead, they did what I hoped they would do. They created a new society on their ideas and morals, but the planet they ended up on turned out be nearly unlivable."
"You blame yourself for them being on Nemesis," Endymion stated.
"How could I not?" Serenity asked as she lowered her eyes. "I sent them into space."
"We sent them into space," Endymion correctly. "We both, along with the senshi, agreed to banished the ones who refused to be cleanse. They didn't give us any choice."
Serenity frowned as she took in her husband's words. "I thought I made peace with this. Now, the shadows of the past have return."
"Maybe it's the universe way of given you and them a second chance," Endymion said.
"That's one way to look at it," Serenity said, getting back her usual cheer. "If this is a second chance, I'm going to do things right this time. I maybe couldn't help their ancestors, but I can give their offspring a better life."
"That's the little bunny I know and love," Endymion encouraged as he kissed his wife.
"How did you get so wise?" Serenity chuckled. "I'm supposed to be the all knowing goddess around here?"
Endymion turned her around and stared Serenity in her eyes. "You maybe a goddess to those on Earth, but to me you will always be my clumsy, whimsical, dumpling head."
Serenity giggled. "You say the sweeting things, Mamo-chan."
They both leaned in to kiss each other.
"Is this really the time for you two to do that?" someone suddenly asked.
They both turned around to see Mars staring at them with an amused look.
"You see, this is why the palace would have been filled with children if Serenity could have children at any time," Mars joked, chuckling when she saw both Endymion and Serenity turn red.
"You're so mean, Rei," Serenity huffed as she stuck her tough at the senshi of fire.
Mars smiled faded after a moment. "Besides, you should be more serious. We will be arriving on Nemesis tomorrow."
Serenity sighed. "I know that. Has there been any other contact with Uranus?"
Mars shook her head. "No, and I doubt there will be until we reach Nemesis. The Outers are trying to keep a low profile, especially with the people of Dark Moon watching them."
Serenity began to pace. "Oh, I'm so nervous. I can't help worrying about how they will receive us."
"Well, they didn't try to kill Uranus when she delivered your message, so that's a good first sign," Mars said. "From what Uranus told us, they're more curious then hostile. At least for the moment."
"I guess they would since the demon they've only heard about in stories is coming to see them," Serenity said humorlessly.
"From what Neptune has reported, they don't see you as a demon," Endymion said. "They see you as a goddess who is the sovereign of Earth."
"Triten saw me as a goddess too," Serenity reminded him.
Endymion nodded. "True, but Neptune seems to hint on something different besides fearful respect."
Serenity looked out the window again. "I guess we're know for sure tomorrow."
It was late afternoon Earth's time by the time the spaceship arrived on the dark planet known as Nemesis. Even without landing on the planet, Serenity could feel the choke of negative energy trying to assault her. She also quickly realized that she was having problems controlling the Silver Crystal. It was like the planet itself was trying to steal her power.
"Amazing," Mercury said as she looked over the planet's surface at they flew to the capital of Nemesis. "The planet looks like it is made of crystal. Also, despite the energy of the sun being absorb there is still an amazing amount of light on this planet."
Serenity did find the surface of Nemesis to be hauntingly beautiful. The crystals that appeared to make up the planet glowed a light purple, given the entire planet an otherworldly appearance. It reminded her of those old impression paintings that Michiru used to paint.
"I sense something wrong on this planet," Mars whispered as she narrowed her eyes. "Like a dark voice is whispering across this world. I'm starting to wish we brought Venus and Jupiter with us."
"It couldn't be help," Endymion said, also feeling uneasy. "Someone had to stay behind and watch over Crystal Tokyo."
"If the worst happens, I can use the crystal to transport Venus and Jupiter to us," Serenity assured.
Mars gave her old friend a skeptical look. "You can reach that far with the Silver Crystal from this planet?"
Serenity nodded her head slowly. "It would take some effort since I'm also using the crystal to protect the baby and me."
Truthfully, she wasn't completely sure if she could summon the other senshi from Nemesis. The closer they got to the planet surface, the weaker she felt.
Mars narrowed her eyes. She knew Serenity wasn't being completely truthful.
"Let's hope it doesn't come to that," Endymion said. He also saw through his wife's half-truth.
"Yes, you do not want to strain yourself," Mercury added.
Serenity nodded her head.
Within a few minutes, the spaceship carrying the royal family of Crystal Tokyo landed on the only airspace on Nemesis. As they got out, they were greeted by hundreds of people. They didn't cheer, nor did they boo them. Instead, they stared curiously at each of them, especially Serenity. They began to mutter when they saw how Serenity seemed to glow in the darkness of the planet. They also pointed at her golden crescent moon.
The royal procession of Earth only had to walk a short way before the royal family of Nemesis greeted them. Serenity knew it was them since Uranus had informed them that anyone of high rank within the Dark Moon society had black crescent moons on their foreheads, strangely parallel to the royalty of the Moon Kingdom.
"Neo-Queen Serenity, King Endymion, I welcome you to Nemesis," a man with white hair and cold violet greeted. "I am Prince Demande, ruler of Nemesis and the Dark Moon Clan."
He was dressed in nearly all white and stood with a confidence befitting of a prince. He then turned towards the other man that stood beside him. He looked a little younger than Demande, but he also stood confidently as he looked over the royal family of Earth. He had dark blue hair and eyes that matched his jacket. "This is my younger brother, Saphir," Demande said.
Saphir gave a curt bow.
"It's a pleasure to finally meet you," Serenity said as she bowed graceful. She attempted to clear her mind as she began to wonder why felt she had met Demande and Saphir before.
"We have heard a bit about you from your senshi, Sailor Neptune and Sailor Saturn," Demande said. He then looked over Serenity more carefully, taken in her every curve. "You are more beautiful than I imagine."
Serenity blushed at his words, but alarm bells also sounded in her head. Something about this entire situation felt wrong.
"Come, there is no point in staying out here," Demande said as he led the group inside what Serenity assumed to be the palace. It was a giant crystal structure that looked like a dark parody of her own Crystal Palace.
Standing near the entrance of the black palace were Neptune and Saturn. Several soldiers were guarding them and both groups glared at each other, daring one another to do something.
"Neptune, Saturn!" Serenity called as she waved at her two friends.
Saturn turned towards her queen and smiled. "It has been a long time, Your Majesty."
That seemed to break the tension a little and everyone began to ease up.
After all the greetings were done, the visitors from Earth were given the grand tour of the palace. Mercury and Endymion asked most of the questions about how the people of the Dark Moon were able to harness energy from crystals and create the livable structures that they saw when they flew over the planet. Saphir answered most of their questions, although he was very careful with each of his answers.
"So you're people have been living on this planet for nearly a thousand years?" Serenity asked Demande, long given up at understanding half of the conversation between Endymion and Saphir.
"Yes," Demande answered politely. "Our people came here after they were banished from the Earth by your hand."
Serenity looked down sadly. "I didn't want to banished your ancestors, but they left me with little choice."
"Which is why you sent them to this hellhole?" Demande questioned.
"I didn't send them here," Serenity defended quickly. "I only sent them off-world with the hope that they would find a new place to call home." Her eyes then became downcast again. "It was a couple weeks after your ancestors were banished that the ship they were on disappeared. We searched everywhere, but we found no trace of them. We assumed that they were lost."
"And now you have found us," Demande humored. "The question is, now that you've found us what do you intend to do?"
"I hope to build a friendly relationship with you and the people of Nemesis," Serenity answered. "To finally put our differences in the past and start over."
Demande stared at her for a moment. "You would welcome back a group of criminals?"
Serenity shook her head. "You're just the descendant of criminals. In Crystal Tokyo, the sins of the parent do not carry over to the children. In my eyes, you're all guiltless of any crime."
Demande was taken off-guard by her answer.
"If I had known you were all here, I would had taken your ancestors off this planet," Serenity said. "From I have seen, this place is crueler than any prison cell," Serenity said.
"You're...you're not what I expected," Demande said slowly.
Serenity smiled at him, which melted the young prince's heart. "I'll take that as a compliment."
There was a slight pause.
"Prince Demande, why exactly are you just a prince," Serenity suddenly asked. "I mean, you are the ruler of Nemesis, so shouldn't you be a king?"
Demande chuckled. "I don't know how things works on Earth, but one only becomes a king on Nemesis through marriage. I maybe the active ruler, but I won't be crowned king until I take a wife."
Serenity looked at Demande in surprise. "You're not married? I would think a person of your status and looks would have little problems finding a wife."
She blushed the moment those words left her mouth. Did she just directly call Demande handsome? Well, he was good looking, but she hadn't really noticed another man's appearance in hundred of years.
Demande smiled, noticing Serenity discomfort. "Marriages are usually arrange, but my parents died before any plans could be made, so I'm free to chose any wife I want. No woman, however, within the Dark Moon Clan catches my eye."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Serenity said.
"I'm a man of fine taste," Demande said as he swiped his hair out of his eyes. "I won't just settle with any woman. I desire a woman of great beauty and power." He then stared at Serenity. "And I always get what I want."
Serenity suddenly felt uncomfortable.
Endymion sensed his wife discomfort and glared at Demande. He knew at that moment that Demande had to be closely watched.
The weeks on Nemesis passed slowly as Serenity and Endymion learned more about the conditions on the planet. They soon learned that Nemesis was even worst than what had been reported by the Outers.
During the day, the temperature was just above freezing and dropped drastically when the sun went down to the point where carbon dioxide snow would fall. Mercury once compared the temperature to being comparable to a nuclear winter.
The worst, however, was the rain. True to Uranus' word, the rain destroyed anything that was not protected by the crystal structure. The fumes that also came with the rain was nearly unbearable to the point that Serenity thought she was going to be sick the first time she smelt it. After a rainstorm, the entire planet smelt like a giant rotten egg.
After Mercury had observed the first rainstorm, she began to spend her time helping Saphir create a weather control system similar to the one they had in Crystal Tokyo. They may not be able to stop the rain, but they could at least give the people of Nemesis an early warning device.
When the weather permitted, Serenity left the palace of the Dark Moon to personally see the people. Mars always accompanied her during these trips and watched as Serenity performed miniature miracles for the people of Nemesis. She used the Silver Crystal to create stronger and bigger crystal compounds to protect the people against the carbon snow and acid rain. She was even able to grow 'fruit trees', at least that what the people of the Dark Moon called them. Mars wasn't sure if the fruits were even edible.
Serenity also went around and healed the injured and sick. To the people of Nemesis, Serenity's abilities had confirmed in their minds that they were in the presences of a real goddess. Mars knew by the look in many of the people's eyes that they were only a few steps away from bowing to her and calling her a god.
Endymion spent his days talking to Demande about a possible alliance and even the chance of returning to Earth as citizens of Crystal Tokyo. Demande, however, wanted immediate integration.
"I do not understand why an alliance must be built before we are allowed to return to Earth," Demande said calmly, although he was clearly at his wits end.
"I have already told you, we can't just integrate your people right away. There are several cultural differences that must be address first, as well as getting the people of Crystal Tokyo behind the idea," Endymion said, trying to hide his own frustration.
"You are the king. You do not have to ask permission from those you rule," Demande stated in a matter-of-fact voice.
Endymion shook his head. "Serenity and I do not rule our country that way. Although we maybe the rulers of Crystal Tokyo, we never enforce laws or political decisions without first getting the blessing of the people."
"Are you suggesting that the people of Earth have something to fear from us?" Demande asked as he narrowed his eyes.
"In the eyes of my wife and me, you bear no sin. There are those in Crystal Tokyo, however, who won't see it that same way," Endymion said with a hint of regret. "Your ancestors have done many acts of atrocities against Crystal Tokyo and the world. Even though the victims of your ancestors' crimes are long dead, their families still carries the scars they left behind. To simply force them to accept your people back without considering their feelings is something that I cannot do in good consciousness."
"That's a weak excuse," Demande said coldly.
"Even so, an alliance is the best I can offer you at the moment," Endymion said patiently. "You will have food aid, medical care, and assistant like any citizen in Crystal Tokyo."
"So you throw us a bone and expect us to be happy," Demande said coldly. "How kind of you."
Endymion sighed in annoyance. They were going in circles. "We should break for today."
Demande stood up from his chair. "I will send a servant to take you back to your room." He then turned around and left Endymion alone in the conference room.
Endymion leaned back in his chair and stared absently at the ceiling. Why did Demande had to be so stubborn? Why couldn't he understand the position he was in? At the same time, he could understand some of Demande's feelings, especially since he did not tell Demande the full truth.
Within a few minutes, a servant came to take Endymion back to the room that he was sharing with Serenity. The room was fairly big with a small living room that led to the bedroom and a private bathroom. For a planet that did not have much, the royalty lived a comfortable lifestyle.
Serenity was already backed in the room and was resting on the sofa. She appeared to be asleep since her head was lying on Mars' lap. Sitting with them was Saturn who looked equally tired.
Apparently, Mercury was still out working with Saphir. Chances were they wouldn't be seeing her until well pass dinner again.
"How did the meeting go with Demande?" Serenity asked sleepily. She didn't even bother to open her eyes.
Constantly using the Silver Crystal over the last couple of weeks had really drained her on top of her pregnancy. She was slowly beginning to show with her belly beginning to protrude out. Endymion knew they would have to leave soon before anyone on Nemesis learned of the pregnancy.
"As well as any other time," Endymion answered as he took a seat next to his wife. He began to slowly massage her hand and will some of his power into his tire wife.
"That bad, huh?" Mars asked.
"He doesn't want an alliance," Endymion said. "He wants the people of Nemesis to immediately come to Earth."
Serenity sighed. "I can't blame him. Everyday I go out I see more people who are force to suffer on this planet through no fault of their own. It isn't fair for them to be punished for crimes they didn't committee."
"I know, but we've been through this," Endymion said gently. "We can't just carelessly bring these people back to Earth. Not just because of political reasons."
Mars nodded. "I wasn't completely sure when we got here, but I now know that there is something evil on this planet."
Serenity cracked her eyes opened as she looked at her childhood friend. "You mean the planet itself is evil?"
"I'm not sure if it's the planet itself, but there is a powerful evil that is pulsing from the very core of this place," Mars said.
"I felt it too when I first came here," Saturn confirmed. "Even more, I hear a voice whispering through the planet."
"Can you understand this voice?" Endymion questioned in deep worry.
Saturn shook her head. "I can hear certain words like revenge, death, and power, but nothing else. Whoever owns that voice is undoubtedly evil. I haven't sense a malevolent force like this since Chaos."
"Chaos," Serenity repeating, getting a trouble look on her face. "Do…do you think that voice is Chaos itself?"
Saturn shook her head. "Doubtful. It isn't powerful enough to be Chaos in its pure form. However, it could be an aspect of chaos much like Pharaoh 90."
Mars looked at Saturn in concern. "You could sense all of that?"
Saturn nodded. "Because I was once possessed by an aspect of chaos, I have become sensitive to Chaos' presence and all its forms. Also, being the Senshi of Death makes more attuned with darkness."
Serenity slowly sat up from the sofa. "This is terrible news. If this planet does have an aspect of chaos sealed within it, then the people on this planet are in danger. We have to move them."
"We can't," Saturn said firmly. "The people of this world have already been affected."
"Impossible," Serenity said. "I touch and felt the people of this world. I sensed no evil within them."
"That's because you're being affected by Nemesis' atmosphere," Saturn said calmly. "You're abilities to sense evil is being overwhelm by the negative energy on this planet. That's also why Mars cannot pinpoint the source of evil on this world."
"So, if we take them back to Earth, they will be carrying not only negative energy within them, but also an aspect of chaos," Endymion concluded.
"Exactly. That negative energy is also the source of the supernatural power that flows through veins of the Dark Moon Clan," Saturn said. "Demande and Saphir have by far the highest contamination levels, which is also why they're the strongest warriors on Nemesis."
Mars crossed her arms. "It sounds like whatever evil that is on this planet is purposely making certain members of the Black Moon Family stronger."
"And given that this evil had several generations of people to contaminate the members of the Black Moon Clan could all be aspects of chaos," Endymion said morbidly.
"But they're not," Serenity said firmly. "Beings such as Metalia and Pharaoh 90 were creatures that were pure evil. They didn't have a bit of a soul left in them and wanted to destroy everything just for the sake of doing so. Demande, Saphir, and the other people on this planet are not like that. Even if they are filled with dark energy they are not beyond saving."
"So, what are you thinking about doing?" Mars asked.
Serenity put her hand on her chest. "I can purify them with the Silver Crystal. I can heal them of the negative influence."
"That could work," Saturn said slowly after a moment of thought. "I don't think the evil within them have reached a point where you have to cleanse them."
"The problem is, however, will Demande and the people of the Dark Moon know the different between a purification and cleansing," Endymion said.
"What do you mean?" Serenity asked.
"Remember, the rebels were banished because they refused to be cleanse by the Silver Crystal," Endymion stated.
"But this isn't a cleansing, it's a purification," Serenity said. "I will just be freeing them from any outside negative influence."
"We know that, but they may not buy the different," Mars said. "To them, a purification and a cleansing could be one in the same. If you suggest them to go through a purification now, it could undue all the work you have done."
"Then, we just have to educate them," Serenity insisted. "We have to do something."
Endymion put his hand on her shoulder. "Calm down, Usako. We have to take this one step at a time. First, we have to get the people of Nemesis to trust us. Then, we can move to persuade them to go through a purification."
"That seems to be the best option. We can't afford to move carelessly," Mars said.
Serenity slumped into the sofa. "I know you're right, but I can't help but to worry. If this is an aspect of chaos, not only are the people of Nemesis in danger, but so it the Earth."
"We're get through this," Endymion said as he squeezed her hand. "If the thing on this planet is Chaos itself, we're beat it back just like before."
Serenity looked at her husband and smiled. Although she couldn't take complete comfort in his words.
What is this evil on Nemesis and is it a aspect of chaos?
Until next time.