A Senshi For The Earth

Chapter 8

The sun had been set for hours when the King went in search of his immortal Queen. He found his beauty outside in the lunar rose garden, the hybrid albino rose in full bloom all around her (her own doing, he supposed). His wife was sitting on a bench, her eyes downcast as though she was in deep thought, a look her that crossed her fragile features more as of late.

He approached her silently, reaching out for her hand. She looked up, smiled, and rose from her place on the marble bench. He took her into his arms and gently guided her in a dance as the fireflies swirled around them, lighting the path beneath their feet.

She placed her head on his chest, listening to his heart pound a beat and smiled as she heard the music he created out of the symphonic sounds of nature – a hum from the fireflies, the wind through the leaves, a melody from the roses, a bird's song from a tree, his heartbeat setting the tempo. She smiled, accepting his invitation to take her burdens and transfer them to the path beneath their feet.

He looked her in the eye, a mischievous glint in his eyes as he transitioned the slow dance into a twenty-first century salsa (one of her favorite type of dances). He spun her out and took her back as the mood dictated. He smiled as her eyes danced with each twist and turn until he brought her back into his cape for one last measure of pure bliss.

She settled against him, allowing him to take her completely into his arms and guide her to the end of their short, private rendezvous. As the song ended, so did the peacefulness that had nestled in her soul, and her trepidation from before once again returned.

Endymion, sensing his wife's change in demeanor, whispered to her, "It really is sad that the music that was chosen for this party wasn't a bit more upbeat." He could sense her smile, but he knew the smile did not reach her eyes, and that worried him. It usually took quite a bit to get the queen upset about something to the point that the king couldn't pull her out of it, and when it happened, he knew to be concerned.

He held her away (albeit still in the safe circle of his arms) and made sure she was looking directly at him. "What is it, Love?"

"Really, Endymion," she said as she laughed sheepishly, "it's nothing."

"Forgive my persistence, then, Serenity, but I know that's a load of crap." Endymion sat on the marble bench and pulled his wife onto his lap. "Tell me what's going on in that meat-balled blonde head of yours."

She humphed playfully as she turned her head away from him. "If you're going to insult me, Endymion…"

The king turned her head back and planted a very passionate kiss on his wife's mouth. "I'm sorry, Serenity. I only meant to make you smile, but seriously, what's wrong?"

She sighed as she shrugged and looked down to her folded hands (my, how her hands were so dwarfed in his – so strong, so demanding, and yet, so gentle). "I'm worried about Misaki."

He raised his eyebrows. "Misaki?" When she nodded, he pressed further. "Whatever for?"

"She's seven years old!"

"Yes, and?"

"She's a Senshi."

"Again, and?"

"Endymion, our seven-year-old daughter is a Senshi!"

"So was Rini, Serenity. I don't see why this has you so upset. I thought you were excited for her."

Serenity stood and paced away from him. "I am. I mean, she'll be able to defend herself once she can control her powers; academically, I know this. However, aside from being her queen, I'm also her mother. As queen, I know she must do what she was destined to do in the timetable that is set before her, but as her mother, I wish it could've waited until she was at least a teenager! I would've preferred that Rini's first transformation wouldn't happen until she was teenager, but events needed to transpire in our pasts to get us to where we are today. Plus, Rini was never possessed by some ominous, dark harbinger; Rini never collapsed from the trauma from said possession; Rini…"

Endymion stood and took his wife's arms into his gentle hands. "Serenity, calm down. You're worrying about nothing! Misaki has her protectors; she has her sister, her aunts, uncles, and a whole horde of protectors in our own militia. She also has us – you and me – and we've beaten some very powerful beings in this galaxy. If anything happens to her…"

She looked at him with the indignant determination she used to wear as Sailor Moon. "Over my dead body…"

He silenced her with a finger to her lips. "If anything happens, it's because it's over both of our dead bodies. We each said the same thing when Rini became a Senshi, and even today, you and I would still die before allowing something to happen to her, and she's an accomplished Senshi now." He wrapped her in his cape as he held her close once again.

"So, basically you're saying that I'm being a worry-wart, and I should just let it be?"

Endymion chuckled slightly. "I think the two of us know that I know better than that." He let the embrace go slightly. "Telling you to stop worrying is like telling a river to stop being wet – it just isn't going to happen."

She smiled at him, some of her mirth returning. "Well, I'm glad that's clear."

He took her hand and began heading back toward the crystalline fortress. "However, Love, you should at least calm down about it. Take comfort in knowing she'll be trained, and whatever she lacks, she'll be protected by a slew of different warriors."

"She's also going to be very strong. That power could easily be turned evil. I don't want to be thinking this, but if that happens…" She stopped and turned to her husband. "…I don't think we'd be able to bring her back. What will we do if that happens? I can't kill my own child!"

Endymion took his cape off of his shoulders and wrapped it around his wife. "Let's cross that particular bridge if we come to it, Darling."

"Endymion, I need to know that bridge is there!" The desperation in her tone didn't escape the Patriarch.

"We'll begin building that bridge in the morning. For now, it's nearly midnight, and we've all had a long day." He smiled his impish smile. "Let's go rescue Rini from the wiles and generic insanity that is our youngest, hmm?"

Rini sat on the sofa in the main gathering area of the Royal Chambers smiling at the giggling she heard upstairs. She knew her sister and friends should've been asleep by now, but after that ceremony and after-party, getting three best friends to settle down to go to sleep was a chore when their adrenaline wasn't pumping. Add in the hype of the evening, and Rini pretty much knew it was going to be impossible to get her sister and her sister's friends to bed at a decent hour.

As she turned the page, however, a thought crossed her mind, and she closed the book to look toward the door. Her mother was bothered by something when she left the after-party early, and it struck Rini as odd when Serenity hadn't shared anything with her. Secretly, however, she was glad it was her father that went to find his wayward wife and not her. She opted to take the sugar-high kids back to the Royal Chambers and attempt to get them to bed (not that Endymion didn't know what was going to happen). Her compromise was that Misaki and her friends had to stay in the room and quiet, until they fell asleep.

Rini stood and approached the front door, pressing her ear to it to see if she happened to hear anything outside. Not hearing anything, she opened the door and peeked down the hall. She smiled slightly and waved as she saw her parents approaching from the end of the hall. Her mother seemed to be in somewhat better spirits as she waved back, which put the pink-haired teen's mind at ease.

"Natives are restless, I take it," Endymion commented (yes, Rini noticed it was not a question) as he winked and entered their chambers.

"Yeah," Rini answered as she gently stopped her mother from entering (she wanted to talk to her for a few minutes outside.). "I told them they could stay awake as long as you were okay with it, but they had to stay in the room and quiet."

"I'll go and get them to bed." Endymion walked inside as he adopted an impish grin which made the young princess wonder what he was planning.

Wrapping her arm around her mother's tiny waist, she asked, "Wow, I haven't seen that look in a while."

Serenity giggled a bit as she returned her daughter's hug before leading the two of them into the common area. "Neither have I. I'll expect we'll be hearing the girls…" A scream came soaring down the stairs mere seconds before they saw the three girls running down the hallway and vaulting over the back of the couch, landing on the seat laughing. "Ah, right on time." Serenity shifted her attention for a moment. "Girls, please be careful!"

"Mama," Misaki said as she stood up and wrapped her tiny arms around her mother's legs, "you have to save us!"

"Sorry, 'Sailor Earth,' but this is your duty."

Misaki let her mother's legs go and ran over to where her father was creeping down the hallway. She stood with her hands on her hips. "How dare you scare a bunch of little girls? I am Sailor Earth, and I'll punish you!"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've heard it all before." Endymion came to his full height as he nonchalantly approached his daughter. "You're Sailor Earth, and you're going to punish me. Blah, blah, blah." In one swift move, he picked his daughter up and bent her over his shoulder, tickling her sides to make her squeal as he carried her back toward her room.

"Help! He's got me!" she squeaked between bursts of laughter.

"We'll save you!" Yori yelled as she and Amarante charged down the hall after their friend and the King. "Sailor Polaris and Sailor Solaris are coming!" And with that, the room was once again quiet, except for the giggles of the queen and crown princess.

"Where do they find it?" Rini asked her mother.

"Where do they find what?" Serenity countered.

"All that energy they've got. I would've thought they'd be dead on their feet!"

Serenity laughed as she began heading toward the kitchen. "My dear, you had that much energy, too, at that age. I said the exact same thing about you, Momo, and Hotaru. If the three of you were together, there was no living with you."

"Really?" Rini followed her mother into the kitchen.

"Really." She put a teapot on the burner and turned to a cabinet to retrieve two cups (one for her and one for her daughter). "Now, what is on your mind?"

That question caught Rini by surprise.

"What do you mean?"

"Darling, the look on your face when your father and I were walking down the main hall spoke volumes, and you stopped me from entering our chamber. What's wrong?"

Rini looked down at her hands as she leaned against one of the counters and the teapot went off. "I was just concerned about you, that's all."

"Concerned about me?" Serenity poured the two of them a cup of tea and they sat at the kitchen table (some western traditions are so nice…). "What did you have to be concerned about?"

"Well," Rini took a sip of her tea, "you left the party early and didn't say anything to me. You usually tell me when something's not right, and when you didn't, I got a little worried." She shrugged as her mother smiled. "Nothing huge, I guess."

"Honey, the first thing is that I'm your mother. It's my job to be concerned when you take off with no word as to what's bothering you, not the other way around. However, I do appreciate that you're concerned about me, but I'm fine."

"Mom, you didn't look fine. You were upset, and…"

"Rini, it truly is nothing…just some 'mom' stuff. You'll understand when you have kids of your own someday." She took her final sip of her tea and stood. "Now," she continued when she turned back to her older child, "it's very late, and as I can see your father's gotten your sister and her friends to bed, I believe you should be joining them." She leaned down to give her daughter a peck on the forehead. "Good night, Rini."

"Good night," Rini answered her mother as she, too, put her up in the sink and headed to bed.