"The what?" Usagi asked, "Luna who is this girl and what is a Celestial Guardian?"
Luna looked up at Usagi, "The Celestial Guardian is a very powerful warrior, capable of bending space itself to their whim if they wished it".
"That's an exaggeration actually" Ahri said, "We merely posses the ability to create minor fields around us that repel anything that could cause us harm. We cannot bend space or anything like that".
Luna continued, "Ahri here was the personal guard to your mother Usagi. During the Silver Millennium she protected Queen Serenity from countless threats, even an attempt on her life at one point".
"What?" Usagi said before looking to the girl in front of her.
Ahri clarified, "An agent of the Negaverse disguised himself as a member of the Queen's court and tried to assassinate her while she walked through her garden, let's just say he failed".
Artemis picked up from there, "That's not all she's done. The Guardians have always protected the moon kingdom even before Queen Serenity's time. Their abilities to see threats in the future have kept the kingdom in peace for countless years".
"We do not see into the future Artemis" Ahri said, "We perceive changes in the world's aura around us and meditate to understand them and the messages they bring us".
"Excuse me" Ami said, "What do you mean 'we'? Are there more of you?"
Ahri closed her eyes and shook her head, "Not anymore. I am the last. There were four of us, but two are long since dead and the third vanished. The first died when he misused his abilities and the other fell in love with another and soon died afterward. The other just vanished one day without a trace of any kind".
Artemis turned his head to the girls, "The Guardians are bound by a very strict code. They can only use their abilities to protect themselves or the moon kingdom; they cannot use them for any other reason".
"The Code of Restriction as many call it" Ahri began, "It keeps us from using our full power. We are not allowed to use our abilities unless we are in a life or death situation or defending Queen Serenity or her daughter".
"So what is your full power?" Makoto asked.
Ahri had a somewhat arrogant smile on her face, "At my full power I could take on Queen Beryl's entire army ten times over and still win".
"Wait" Rei said, "If you're that strong then why did the Moon kingdom fall? Shouldn't you have been able to defeat those negacreeps yourself?"
Ahri's smile faded slightly, "I wasn't able to reach my full power at the time. I…I had lost a great portion of my power before the attack came".
"What do you mean?" Rei asked.
Ahri looked up to the sky, just barely making out the moon in the daytime sky, "If a Guardian falls in love or misuse their abilities they slowly lose most of their powers, I…I misused my abilities to delay Queen Beryl's attack against the moon kingdom, but it wasn't by much. I blame myself for what happened, I foresaw the invasion and warned Queen Serenity".
Ahri felt a single tear running down the side of her face, "She heeded my warning, but I could tell the protectors of the moon kingdom wouldn't be ready by the time Beryl's forces arrived so I used my powers to delay their arrival. A moment of weakness turned into one of my greatest failures even against their delay they still won and the moon kingdom fell".
Ahri was silent for a few minutes, Usagi tried to talk to her, but Rei stopped her sensing the pain welling inside Ahri. After her moment of silence Ahri finally spoke, anyway I think I should get to the point, the entire reason I came to all of you".
She walked past them and a bright light started glowing from Usagi's crystal locket.
"What's going on?" Usagi asked after seeing the light from her locket.
The crystal wasn't just glowing; the light it was emanating was flowing right to Ahri's hand. Holding the light in her hand, Ahri closed her eyes and took a deep breath as she placed the ball of light against her chest and then raised it into the air. The ball of light began expanding rapidly and within a few seconds engulfed all of them before fading.
All of them were floating in an empty black void, the Sailor scouts, Luna and Artemis all gathered in a small huddle while Ahri stood alone with her back to them.
"What's going on here?" Minako yelled.
Ahri looked up and a small light pierced through the darkness allowing them to see more clearly.
"There's an enemy that will arrive in the near future" she began, "An enemy far more powerful than Queen Beryl and her minions".
The light erased part of the darkness and showed Ahri kneeling on one knee holding someone in her arms.
"This enemy, in the future ferocious and unlike anything the Sailor Senshi had faced before; their power was enough to defeat Jupiter".
The image became clearer and they all saw that the person Ahri was holding was Sailor Jupiter, she had a weak smile on her face and her eyes were slowly closing.
"The enemy found out where Princess Usagi was hiding and came in full force to capture her. Jupiter and I elected to hold them off for as long as possible while the rest of the Sailor Senshi escaped along with the princess, but their sheer numbers and power eventually overwhelmed us".
The image changed and showed both Ahri and Jupiter battling against seemingly endless numbers, Ahri had crossed her arms over her chest and created some kind of shield that blocked a large blast of energy while Jupiter focused her energy into her ultimate attack the Super Supreme Thunder Dragon.
While Jupiter charged her attack, Ahri used her own abilities to clear a direct path to the leader of the forces attacking them. Once a clear path was open, Jupiter unleashed her attack at their enemy.
They couldn't see the face of the person Ahri and Jupiter were fighting, but they watched in horror as the enemy merely laughed as he raised his hand and swatted the attack away.
After the attack failed more enemies appeared and Jupiter was left with only one option. She activated the lightning rod from her tiara again and used it to rechannel the thunder dragon attack back to her. Allowing the attack to merge with her body, Jupiter sprinted forward with blinding speed and struck the leader of the enemy causing a violent explosion that wiped out the rest of the enemies around them.
The light faded, Ahri had shielded herself from the explosion and quickly dropped the shield once the light faded. Looking up she saw the leader of the enemy holding Jupiter by the collar of her sailor outfit. The enemy's laugh was more of a shriek, its long cloak was destroyed from the attack and the enemy under it was finally revealed.
It appeared human, but had black feathers growing from its arms and parts of its legs, almost like a humanoid crow, but its face was scaly almost like a lizard's.
"A valiant attempt" the enemy laughed, "But in the end you failed".
The enemy tossed Jupiter to Ahri and laughed once more before it vanished from sight. Ahri hurried to Jupiter and lifted her fallen friend into her arms, "Jupiter, stay with me" she cried as she held her hand against the side of Jupiter's neck.
Jupiter smiled weakly at Ahri, "Guess I overdid it".
Ahri frantically placed her hand against Jupiter's chest and closed her eyes, "Just hang on".
Jupiter grabbed Ahri's hand and moved it away.
"What are you doing?" Ahri gasped as she pulled her hand free from Jupiter's and placed it against her chest again only to see Jupiter shake her head.
"It's alright Ahri; you don't need to waste your energy healing me. I don't think it would work anyway".
"Just be quiet and let me heal you!" Ahri cried.
Jupiter moved Ahri's hand again still smiling at her, "Go to Usagi and the others, its up to you guys now to protect her". Jupiter's eyes slowly began closing leaving Ahri yelling at her to stay awake for just a bit longer.
Ahri tried and tried to keep what little life Jupiter had left in her from fading, but she didn't have the strength she was too injured to heal herself and Jupiter at the same time.
"I didn't want to believe it" Ahri said without turning around, "I wanted to believe that I could still save her, but I knew such a wish wasn't going to come true. Jupiter had fallen and I was forced to return with several injuries and alone".
"So that's what that monster meant last night" Ami said, "The monster that attacked Usagi and me last night said something about how she killed a sailor scout".
Ahri clenched her fist, "It didn't stop there" she said, "Venus was gravely wounded in the next battle and was forced to escape along with Mercury and Princess Usagi leaving myself and Mars to continue fighting".
Once again the image above them changed now showing Ahri and Mars fighting off more enemies. Just like before their numbers began to overwhelm them until Ahri and Mars were completely surrounded.
The enemy began closing in ready to finish them both off, but Mars didn't plan on falling there, she placed her hands together and extended her thumbs and index fingers focusing her energy into a fireball, but Ahri stopped her.
"Don't!" she said grabbing Mars' hands and pushing them down, "I'll deal with them, you get ready to run".
"Run away!" Mars yelled, "You can't be serious".
Ahri held her arms out and created a shield around them, keeping the enemy from reaching them. "I won't let you die Mars, I failed to protect Jupiter and I refuse to fail again. If I die then so be it, but at least you'll live to keep protecting Princess Usagi".
With a single yell, Ahri expelled her shield causing it to explode outward obliterating all of the enemies that surrounded her and Mars.
Completely exhausted Ahri fell to her knees breathing heavily. Mars kneeled next to her and helped her up, placing one of her arms over her shoulder.
"Nice job, now let's get out of here" Mars said before another enemy appeared right in front of them.
The cloaked enemy smirked as he pointed his hand at Mars' forehead.
Ahri pushed herself away from Mars and attacked the enemy in front of them, but he merely sidestepped her before knocking her away.
Ahri slowly crawled back to her feet to see Mars glaring at her, "Mars are you alright?" Ahri asked before a fireball flashed by her.
Ahri's eyes were frozen in fear as Mars began advancing toward her with an evil glare in her eyes.
"Mars stop!" Ahri yelled, "Don't do this he's controlling you!"
Mars scoffed before firing another fireball toward Ahri who quickly rolled to the side to dodge, but a second one hit her in the leg, burning her.
Ahri got back to her feet just as Mars attacked her again just as Mars attacked her again, but she created a small shield around her to block the attack.
"Fight him Mars! You're stronger than he his!"
Ahri continued to plead with Mars, but to no avail. Mars eventually advanced on her and continued to attack her until Ahri's exhaustion forced her to drop her shield.
Mars once again began charging an attack forcing Ahri to repel her. Ahri threw her right hand out sending a gust of force with it, making Mars fly back.
Mars quickly got back up, seemingly uninjured from the attack and began moving toward Ahri again.
"Don't make me do this" Ahri said, her voice breaking as if she were about to start crying. Mars grinned at her before channeling her energy into her ultimate attack. Seeing the massive fire bird forming above Mars, Ahri pleaded once more for Mars to stop, but her cries went unanswered.
Mars launched her attack toward Ahri who closed her eyes as the fire bird flew toward her.
The image above them became distorted and all they heard was Ahri's voice crying around them from all directions. Eventually the image became clear again and showed Ahri standing in front of Mars who was leaning against her with empty eyes and a small stream of blood running from her mouth.
Ahri had hit Mars so hard her chest shattered and caved in against her heart and lungs killing her instantly. Ahri was partly frozen by her actions, continuing to hold her open right palm against Mars' chest while her left arm was wrapped around her back while she cried into her shoulder.
"I'm sorry" she cried before a familiar voice began laughing.
"And so another one falls while you survive" the shrieking voice taunted.
Ahri looked up from Mars' shoulder to see the same enemy who had defeated Jupiter standing there laughing at her, "Only the strong survive right? You should be proud of yourself to have made it this far. The weak only have one purpose and that's to die at the hands of the strong".
The enemy summoned more minions around her, "Now it's your turn. You can take solace in the fact that you managed to kill one of us, but now you to shall die".
Ahri slowly placed Mars' body on the ground before standing up and looking at the enemy before her, "You're right" she said coldly, "Only the strong survive, which is why you're going to die".
Ahri raised her hand to the sky and violently closed her fist causing an extreme blast of energy around them blowing away most of the enemies, but her strength was already passed its limit and she fell to her knees once again.
The enemy laughed again after returning to its feet, "Still defiant even in your current state. I applaud your will to fight, but its time for you to join your friends".
The enemy swiftly jumped and appeared in front of Ahri, rearing back her clawed hand and driving it through Ahri's left shoulder before grabbing her by the throat and lifting her off the ground.
Ahri was so exhausted she could barely feel the pain as the monster's claws pierced through her shoulder and were pulled back out.
The monster began taunting her, "Tell me sage, what do you see in your future now? Do you still think we'll be defeated?"
Ahri slowly raised her right arm and grabbed the monster's wrist that held her throat, "I see…your death. Only the strong survive right? Then I'll go back, far back to a time long before you show up…and…I'll make sure they're ready for you…strong enough to make you regret ever showing up…strong enough to make you cower in fear".
The monster immediately began laughing, "As if I'd let you do such a thing, you're powers may be great sage, but I'm sure you'll find it hard to time travel while dead!"
"Mars fire!" Ahri yelled, quickly pointing her index finger at the monster's eye and blasting her with a fireball.
The monster dropped Ahri and stumbled back frantically rubbing the fire that burned her face.
Ahri quickly limped away from her enemy and focused as much of her strength as possible to open a giant rift in front of her, much like the one the girls saw in the sky the day before.
Before stepping through the rift, Ahri looked back at Mars and closed her eyes to hold back her tears, "I'm sorry, I'll see to it that you and Jupiter are avenged".
Ahri stepped through the rift and slowly began falling from a clear blue sky gently landing in an empty alley and rested herself against the wall.
"That's where it started" Ahri said as the image vanished. She finally turned to face them, "I came here to help you fight against an enemy that will eventually come to Earth you must all become strong enough to defeat them, far stronger than you are now".
"I can understand all of that" Ami began, "But there's one thing I don't get. If you came to Earth the same day that rift opened then how did you transfer to our school, everyone seemed to already know about your arrival Ms. Haruna even said she didn't find out until afterschool, that rift didn't open until almost an hour after school ended".
Ahri turned back around and another image appeared, showing the injured Ahri after she defeated the monster that followed her through the rift.
The image showed her defeating the monster and then failing to erase Usagi, Ami's and Luna's memory of the battle before she fled. Ahri vanished into the shadows and limped through several alleys before meeting with herself in the street.
"Ahri!" she gasped to herself.
The Ahri in the street stopped when she saw herself injured and leaning against the wall.
"What?" Ahri muttered before realizing what was going on. "What happened?" she asked running over to her injured self.
The injured Ahri fell to her knees once again, "Great…danger…in the future. Find the Sailor Senshi and make them stronger. Far stronger than they are now…they'll need to be".
The injured Ahri collapsed into the other Ahri's arms, her breathing shallow. She looked up, "I can't hold on any longer it's up to you".
The injured Ahri closed her eyes and slowly began radiating a faint yellow light before turning transparent and disappearing entirely leaving the other Ahri alone.
The image vanished once again and Ahri turned to face them, "I already lived in this time period. I lived in Kyoto for fifteen years since being reborn after the fall of the moon kingdom and now I live in Tokyo".
The darkness around them started fading and was being replaced by a bright orange light.
"My future self traveled back to warn me so I could prevent what was going to happen in the future, so I sought you out and now here we are".
The darkness was finally gone and they were all back at Rei's shrine, the sun had already begun to set.
"We're home" Minako said after the darkness was completely gone.
Ahri dropped to her knees again, "Now you have to choose" she forced herself back up "Allow me to help and prepare you for what is to come, or choose to ignore what I've shown and told you".
Rei stepped forward, "Just tell me one thing. Luna said the Celestial Guardians are supposed to be extremely powerful, so why do you look so exhausted and beaten?"
Ahri looked over her shoulder at Rei, "As I said before, most of my powers have diminished so I'm unable to reach the full power you would have seen from another Guardian. I'm still quite capable of fighting and defending myself, but against so many…eventually I will become fatigued. As powerful as the Guardians are we can still die just like anyone else, we're not immortal".
Makoto stepped forward, "In those images we saw, we all look the same age as we are now, just how far in the future is that?"
Ahri turned to face them, "One year, in just over a year from now that enemy will be here so I need to prepare all of you for them".
"Only a year?" Ami muttered.
Ahri nodded, "It may seem like a short time to prepare for something so dangerous, but I have faith that you can overcome them".
Makoto looked at her friends to read their expressions, they all showed signs of hesitation. "Alright, I'm in" she said looking back at Ahri.
Both Rei and Usagi immediately voiced their concern on the matter, but Minako stepped forward as well and agreed with Makoto.
"We're Sailor Senshi right?" Minako asked them "It's our duty to protect Usagi and if the Negaverse comes here we'll just fight them and win like always right?"
Ami stepped forward as well, "I'm with you. I'll fight and protect the Earth with my life I am Sailor Mercury after all".
Rei still had her suspicions about Ahri, but she could sense her intentions were true, even though she was lying about something she wanted to protect them. Rei looked to Usagi and smiled, "Well?"
"Well what?" Usagi asked "Why are you looking at me?"
Rei continued to smile at her, "We're outvoted looks like we don't have a choice". Rei walked over to the others and stood next to Minako before turning back to Usagi.
Usagi looked at her friends and slumped, "I just know I'm going to regret this" she moaned as she slowly walked over to them.
Once Usagi joined them, Ahri turned away from them "And so it begins. Today you saw what it is you'll be facing. Tomorrow when I'm healed we'll begin". Ahri looked back at the sky, the glow from the setting sun was warm and she actually smiled, "Get some rest; I'll give you an hour after school to prepare. We'll meet here when its time".
"Alright well I'll see you guys tomorrow" Makoto said taking her leave with Minako right behind her.
Ami left as well, "We spent so much time watching those images that I'm way behind on my studies and I've got a lot to catch up on, see you tomorrow".
"Wait for me Ami" Usagi called, "Let's grab some sundaes on the way home".
Ami looked at her friend while they walked away from the shrine, "Usagi don't you think it's a little late for those? Besides you haven't even eaten dinner yet".
"Oh what's so bad about having some desert before dinner once in a while?" Usagi asked.
Eventually their voices faded away and the only ones left were Ahri and Rei. Looking over to Rei, Ahri saw the distrust in her eyes, "You don't trust me do you?"
"I believe what you're telling us is true" Rei began "About the enemy we'll have to fight, but you're lying about something else. I'm sure you can understand how hard it would be to trust someone when you know they're lying to you".
Ahri lowered her eyes away from Rei, "I admit part of what I told you isn't true. It's of little importance however".
"I'll be the judge of that" Rei fired back, "And while you're at it why don't you explain how you used my power in those images we saw".
Ahri's eyes returned to Rei, "The Guardians are capable of using the same power as all of the Senshi; since we're so closely attuned to the stars and other celestial bodies we can command the same energy as you or the others".
"And the part you were lying about?" Rei asked her, crossing her arms over her stomach.
Ahri once more moved looked away from her and at the ground, "…It's something I'd rather not talk about".
Rei remained adamant, "I can't trust you if you don't tell me".
Ahri still refused to look at her, "I lied about how I lost my powers. I didn't misuse them…I…" Ahri stopped and looked up at the sky once more; the moon was starting to become visible in the horizon.
"Well?" Rei asked her again before she noticed a tear running down the side of Ahri's face "What are you crying for?" she asked her, dropping her harsh tone.
"Sorry" Ahri said before turning around, "I…I don't want to talk about it, another time maybe, but for now…I'll see you tomorrow".
Ahri quickly walked away leaving Rei alone, she could sense that Ahri was lying. "She lied about how she lost her powers" she muttered to herself, "If she won't tell me then I know a way to find out".
Entering the shrine, Rei sat in front of a lit fire pit and closed her eyes for a few moments before placing her hands together in a meditation style.
"Oh great spirit of fire, come to me and show me what it is Ahri is hiding. What is she trying to keep secret?"
Inside the fire an image slowly became visible, Rei watched patiently as the image became clearer and eventually showed an image of a courtyard, it looked like one in the moon kingdom before it was attacked. Sitting on a bench, looking up at the planet Mars was Rei and Ahri.
"What is this?" she muttered before the image showed Ahri lean toward Rei and rest her head on Rei's shoulder, Ahri was smiling she seemed really happy in the image.
"What is this?" she muttered again "Were we friends back then?"
In the image, Rei wrapped her arm around Ahri's shoulder and held her close to her as she leaned her head against Ahri's, both of them were smiling as they closed their eyes.