Yay! Another story! Though I should really stick with one, I wrote this and really liked where it was going so I decided to post it! Enjoy :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon!
Soft shuffling sounds pulled me from my sleep. Footsteps, most likely from the maids, poured into my chambers and moved all around me. A few of them moved in the direction of the washroom, and I soon heard the water running in the tub. One set moved next to the bed and then behind it, to where I knew the window was located. Not even a second later the curtains were pulled open, and bright sunlight rushed in, searing through my eyelids.
I nonchalantly pulled the thick, downy cover over my head to try and hide from the maids, hoping for a few more minutes of precious sleep. Maybe if I sound like I'm still sleeping, they'll all leave me alone…
No such luck.
"Lady Serenity?" A gentle voice, mere inches from where my head lay buried in blankets, called me.
I tensed, trying to keep my breathing deep and even.
The voice chuckled. "I know you are awake under there, my lady. Come now, we must prepare you for the day." She tugged at the covers and I made no move to stop her.
I had to blink a few times to adjust to the light, while the smiling face of Amana waited patiently for me to be ready. Amana was one of the older maids, with a round face full of smile lines that reminded me of a loving grandmother. Her completely silver-grey hair was pulled into a loose ponytail, framing her amber orange eyes, and she wore the standard maid's uniform; a pair of black pants and a white blouse.
With a heavy sigh I propped myself onto my elbows, letting the silky sheets fall from my bare shoulders and pool at my waist. A frown tugged at my lips as a sense of de já vu made my head spin.
I shook the feeling from my thoughts as Amana helped me out of bed and directed me to the washroom, where a bath was already waiting for me. My body went about the normal routine, slipping into the hot, sudsy water and allowing the various maids to wash my skin and hair. I had grown used to them tending to me to such detail; it was something I hadn't liked at first.
For a moment I tried to remember what it was like in the beginning, right after the wedding and the beginning of Crystal Tokyo, but nothing came to mind. It was as if the memories had happened so long ago that they only came back as an emotional haze – I could remember doing it, I just couldn't remember it.
But… it's not like the start of Crystal Tokyo was that long ago, was it? Only five or six years. Or… had it been longer? A decade? More? For some reason I couldn't remember. How long had I been here?
Hands tugged gently on my now clean hair, lifting the long mess out of the water so they could start the task of drying it. This part always took the longest, only because of the sheer length of my platinum locks. I dipped down an inch or two lower in the bath, inhaling the sweet scents that had been put in the water, and waited for the maids to finish.
"What's on the agenda today?" I asked, a hint of sleepiness still weighing down my voice.
Amana chuckled. "Nothing too stressful. You have a dress fitting after breakfast for the Summer Solstice Ball, and are scheduled for an appearance with your King just before supper."
I nodded, lost in thought. It felt as though all I ever did anymore was get fitted for dresses and make appearances. Was there nothing more in my life as a Queen?
For so long this simple life had been more than sufficient. It was carefree and easy, I was protected and loved. But suddenly everything had seemed so… thin. As though every step I took threatened to crack the ice beneath me. My world had never felt so forced, so fake.
A few weeks ago the feeling had first made itself known, starting as just a hazy, half-existent worry. But it soon plagued my dreamless sleep, forming nightmares unlike anything I had ever seen. I saw the same fights against powerful, magical enemies on a constant loop, with the same group of girls fighting and dying each time. The girls in my nightmares looked just like my friends, the senshi stationed around the palace.
I never breathed a word of the nightmares to anyone, not even my King. 'I can't burden them with such a petty issue,' I had convinced myself.
Though, in all actuality, that wasn't the reason I didn't tell anyone. I knew that if my King knew he would most likely ask Mercury for a cure, and she would give me one. The nightmares would be gone… and that was, for some reason, not what I wanted.
After having these nightmares for about a week, I found that I almost… enjoyed them. They were scary, yes, but each time I felt almost as though I was fighting right alongside my senshi, and the sense of teamwork was something I had been longing for years. The dreams filled me with a sense of warm, overpowering love, and of fierce determination and hope. I loved it.
Another sigh left my lips, and the movement caused ripples in the cooling bathwater.
"Lady Serenity, your hair is almost dry. You may step out of the tub now, if you wish." Amana said.
I did just that, and then stood in a daze for the next few minutes as I was dried and dressed for the day. They selected a strapless, pale blue dress with a golden beaded bodice and laced hem. My hair was styled in their usual buns and pigtails, which then fell to the ground and trailed behind me. A golden tiara, adorned with a collection of diamonds and other crystalline gemstones, was placed atop my head.
Amana and the others started bustling around me, perfecting every crease in the dress, every curl in my hair, before deciding that I looked absolutely perfect.
I stared at the girl in the mirror, the one with the practiced poise and stiff posture, covered from head to toe in an over the top glamorous and bejeweled get-up. She looked lost, drowning in the attention of the help and longing for time with those she held closest.
'The life of a queen…' I thought bitterly as the maids then escorted me to the dining hall, where breakfast was surely waiting for me.
We passed a familiar head of blonde hair on our way to the hall, and a small smile graced my lips. "Sailor Venus!" I greeted her.
Venus smiled back to me, bowing her head slightly. Her blue eyes, normally so full of enthusiasm, seemed unusually cold today. "Good morning, Queen. How are you?"
"I am fine, thank you." I struggled to keep my smile on my face. Why did she seem so strange? I looked over her again, wracking my brain for any differences between her now and how she was yesterday. Nothing seemed different, but at the same time everything did. "Amana said I have a dress fitting today… would you care to join me?"
Her smile, almost robotic, never faltered. "I am on duty today, my Queen." With that she turned and continued down the hall we had come from, and I was on my way as well.
Minako would have jumped at the opportunity to help me with my clothes. A vague memory of the two of us shopping, back when we were younger, flashed in my mind before being washed away with the tide. Where was the bubbly, eager girl I had come to call my best friend?
Or better yet, how long had she been gone?
Breakfast passed by with an unusual silence, and the entire time I wondered when I would see my King. It was unusual to not see him in the morning; perhaps he had some business to attend to.
Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Mars stood in the dining room with me, on duty. They refused to sit and eat with me when I offered, though that wasn't unusual anymore.
The waiters and chefs that bustled to and from the kitchen chattered on mechanically about the early preparations for the Solstice Ball that were already taking place. I couldn't bring myself to listen to the details of yet another lavish party. Didn't they ever get tired of this same routine? We hosted a ball nearly every week.
My food was bland and tasteless this morning, ruining the large appetite I normally had, though I did my best not to show it. The only highlight was the fruity pastries at the end which were filled with a gooey peach jelly and topped with icing.
Ahh, sweet sugar. It was the only thing that seemed normal and comforting today.
"Where is my King?" I asked suddenly, grabbing the attention of both Jupiter and Mars. They looked at me with matching expressions, as though I'd asked a question with an obvious answer.
'It's probably something the Queen should know.' I thought, mentally scolding myself for not knowing.
I offered an apologetic smile to the two senshi, hoping to cover up my foolishness. "It's just that… I'd expected him to have returned by now."
"The King is hard at work. He will be here later." Jupiter said, her response robotic and identical to the one she gave me yesterday, when I'd asked that same question.
My fists clenched under the table. "No. I would like to see him now." I insisted.
The two senshi exchanged an odd glance before Sailor Mars wordlessly left, hopefully to get him.
Something was not right. Something was not right at all.
A busboy came in to clear off the table, and I took the cue to leave. As I slowly made my way down the hallway to the front foyer Jupiter followed behind me, close enough to be escorting me but far enough away to make it awkward.
"Jupiter," I sighed, turning to face her. "Don't follow me. Walk with me." I pointed to the spot at my left.
She looked at my pointing hand for a moment before coming to stand stiffly next to me.
"What's wrong, Jupiter?" I whispered, tears springing to my eyes. "You're so different… what happened?"
She offered a hollow smile. "Nothing is different, my queen. Everything is fine."
Our eyes were locked, neither of us saying any more. Finally I shook my head. "No, it's not!" And with that I spun on my heels and dashed back towards my room, my long hair bouncing against my back with every step.
I burst into my room and fell onto my bed, already exhausted though the day had only just started. For a moment I didn't care about keeping the pristine image of royalty. For a moment I didn't care who was watching or what they would think. For a moment, all I wanted to do was cry.
So I did.
Tears poured down my face as I sobbed into the pillows, and I cursed the "beautiful" life of a queen I'd gotten myself into.
There were very few things I could still remember from my old life, and most of what I held onto were snippets of memories with my friends, such as shopping with Minako and studying with the girls at Rei's shrine. The time between this life and the life I lived now was cloudy at best, but this had never struck me as odd until recently.
"Serenity?" A familiar voice pulled me from my thoughts.
I lifted a tear-stained face to meet violet eyes, framed by long white hair. Something in my heart sank as I locked eyes with him, my King.
"What's troubling you, my love?" He asked, sitting down on the bed next to me.
"I don't know," I sobbed, pushing myself up so that I was sitting too. "Everything has been so weird lately!"
Diamond ran his fingers through my long pigtail. "What do you mean?"
I thought about how to explain the whole thing to him, but couldn't find the right words to fit my thoughts. "Everyone's acting strange." I finally answered. "They're so different now. I wish they weren't so serious about their job."
He chuckled. "You've never said anything about that before."
My mind drifted back to the scouts, and suddenly their behavior didn't seem so odd anymore. "Lately everything has been funny anyway." I murmured, only slightly aware that I was repeating myself.
"Are you sure?" Diamond placed a hand on my shoulder, but I barely noticed. Now that he was here, any thoughts that there was anything out of place seemed to wash away.
Everything was okay when he was here.
He leaned towards me and placed a soft kiss on my cheek. Almost instantly a drowsy sensation fluttered at the edges of my mind, and I couldn't help a yawn escape.
"Are you tired, my Queen?" Diamond smiled, getting up to let me lie down again.
I only nodded as I pulled the blankets over me, ignoring the fact that I still had my frilly dress on and my hair done up.
As my eyes fluttered shut, I was only half aware of the way King Diamond seemed to fade from the room, as though he was never there to begin with.
Prince Diamond sat stiffly in his throne, staring down at the young woman in front of him. His elaborate golden throne had been built at the top of a short staircase and in front of a tall crystalline structure, beautiful in its simplicity. The throne room itself, lined with blue crystal pillars and large windows, still held a certain dark aura despite the natural light spilling in. The windows were framed with dark blue drapes, and through them one could see crystal buildings far in the distance. An intricate blue and gold pattern had been tiled onto the floor, adding a sense of light to the otherwise cold room.
The Prince, a glass of expensive red wine in hand, was adorned with more golden trinkets than the entire room. His violet cape, contrasting sharply with his white royal attire, hung over the side of his throne. A deep scowl found its way onto Diamond's face, and he glared with certain distaste at the nurse before him.
The nurse held her gaze at the floor, both hands clasped tightly behind her back. Her pale lavender hair was tied with black ribbon in two high pigtails, so her hair wouldn't fall past her shoulders. Long bangs fell over her left eye, further shielding her from the Prince's deadly stare. She sported a uniform similar to the other nurses: a high-collared grey blouse with poufy sleeves and a black bodice, black slacks and short black gloves.
Diamond cleared his throat, a sound that never sounded more threatening to the girl. After a moment's hesitation her large ruby eyes raised to meet his.
"Nurse Korina." He greeted her.
"Yes, Prince Diamond?" Her voice answered, giving away her tense state of mind.
"What is the meaning of this?"
"I… I'm afraid I don't know what you mean." Korina said evenly, though she knew very well what he was referring to.
"You know damn well what I mean!" He hissed, slamming his fist against the arm of the throne. "Why is the Princess becoming aware of her dream? She should be sedated well beyond any ability of that!"
Korina flinched at his outburst, but held her tongue before she could say anything that would jeopardize her life. "I'm sorry Prince, but sometimes a person's body… adapts to the drugs they are given. She may simply need a larger dose…"
"Then give it to her!" Diamond interrupted, raising his voice yet again. "I don't care how much more you need to give her, as long as she doesn't wake up!"
"But, sir… if Serenity is on these drugs for too long…" The nurse started to explain, but stopped short when the Prince rose from his seat.
He slowly made his way down the stairs, and then walked to the closest window to look out at the city, covered by nightfall. "Princess Serenity… no, Neo Queen Serenity…" His voice held a tone of affection as he spoke of the Princess, "Is a very strong woman. She will need to stay as sedated as possible until the amnesiac drugs finish their job. Until then, I'm sure her body can handle a little bit more."
"Of course, Prince." She whispered. 'Better just to agree with him…' Her thoughts reasoned.
Prince Diamond paused for a moment before continuing. "Do you see this city? These people? They have been without their rightful queen for far too long. It has taken them years to forget the bloodshed of the sailor senshi's final battle, and even longer to succumb to my rule. However, when Neo-Queen Serenity rises again, they will finally unite under our rule as Crystal Tokyo."
Korina's eyes stayed fixed on the Prince as he turned and walked back towards her.
"I have worked for years to perfect the Crystal Tokyo that is Princess Serenity's dream. She will awaken to believe that I am her destined Prince, and we will rule this kingdom together." He gestured to the golden diamond tiara, displayed proudly on a pedestal off to the side, waiting to crown the Princess. "It is crucial that you and your team keep her body asleep, so her mind can accustom to the life she will wake up to."
He stood in front of Korina, eye level with her, and the menacing scowl returned to his face. With every inch he leaned forward she leaned back, intent on keeping the distance between them.
"I don't care how young you are." He snarled. "You were qualified for this position and you will not ruin the effort I have put into making her my Queen. Consider this your warning."
Eyes widened in shock at his sudden change in tone, Korina quickly nodded.
"I'm glad we understand each other." Diamond smirked, turning to his throne once again. "You are dismissed."
Doing her best to keep her composure, Korina spun on her heels and tried to walk normally out of the throne room, her heart pounding in her chest with each step. As soon as she heard the doors click shut behind her she stopped in her tracks, letting out a long breath of air.
Every muscle seemed to relax when she did so. "That was close." She breathed, her hand closing over the scarlet and grey broach pinned to her belt for comfort.
With a quick glance around her to confirm that she was still alone, Korina brushed her stray lavender locks behind her ears, folded her hands neatly in front of her, and walked back to the Princess's quarters to continue with a mission of her own.
'Soon, my Princess. Soon you will be free again.'
So, let me know what you think, and if I should keep going or not. Note that this isn't a UsagixDiamond fic. Thanks for reading! :)