The Past Returns
An adaptation by Queen Serenity III
Night was a beautiful time, even in the city. Quiet replaced the loud noise of the day, enhancing the magnificence of the darkness. The chill of the daylight hours was long gone, and in its stead was a perfect, freezing cold that attacked anyone who dared to disturb this peaceful moment. To top it all off, a bright full moon glowed brightly in its rightful place in the sky, watching over the land below.
Still, the moon was not the only light in the area. In a store, the lights were on, even though it was well past closing time. Inside there were seven beings who challenged the night, five young women and two cats. They all stared at a portal of darkness at the intersection of a wall and the tiled floor, a darkness not natural like that of the night. This was the work of the Negaverse.
“So this is the place,” Artemis commented. “Central Control said we’d find a portal into the Negaverse here.” Neither he nor Luna told the others the truth about Central Control. In reality, the two cats had found it themselves by accident. Still, the cats kept up the pretense, knowing the Sailor Scouts would stay on their toes if they thought there was a higher power helping them.
“And it leads to Beryl’s palace?” Sailor Venus asked.
Sailor Mars was skeptical about this. “No way it’s that easy to get in, you guys.”
“Guess there’s only one way to find out,” Sailor Jupiter said, eager to enter the portal.
Luna was also ready to begin. “Let’s do it,” she signaled, jumping into the portal. The rest of them followed her into the portal, not knowing if there would be solid ground under their feet when they went through. Not to their surprise, there was a drop, but it was only a few feet and everyone landed with no problem.
It was clear they were no longer in the shop, and most likely nowhere in the sector. Instead, from what they could see their surroundings consisted of walls, floors, and ceilings made of bluish grey rock. The air was different, slightly damp without being humid. Although the air was cool, it was far from cold and felt quite comfortable. For a cave, it was much brighter than any of them expected, yet there was no external source of light. The Sailor Scouts only took a minimum of this information in as they ran down the tunnel in front of them. Luna and Artemis ran ahead of the Scouts, allowing the girls a few seconds of advanced warning. After a few minutes, the cats stopped, and the Scouts did the same. The tunnel that they had traveled down had ended.
A dozen more had begun.
Everyone stared in awe at the big and small tunnels that led in every direction. With so many possible directions, the entrance to Beryl’s base could be any of the openings before them. This was not going to easy.
“There are so many tunnels,” Artemis said. “We’d better split up.”
“You sure this is a good idea?” Luna questioned. She didn’t like leaving the Scouts to fend for themselves in unfamiliar territory.
“Relax, Luna. The Scouts will be fine.”
“Let’s check this one out, okay?” Venus suggested, pointing to one of the numerous tunnels. The Sailor Scouts entered a tunnel to the right. At the same time, Luna and Artemis stared at a small crevice big enough for them but not for any larger creatures. The narrowness of the tunnel made it seem all the more dark and dangerous.
“What a creepy place!” Luna complained, reluctant to enter the small tunnel.
Artemis was slightly surprised at Luna’s comment. Normally he was the one doing the whining. “You’re telling me? Let’s go.” The two of the entered the crevice, putting their fears behind them.
At the same time the Scouts had barely traveled a few feet in the tunnel they had entered when Venus -- who had taken the lead -- sensed something. “Hold it Scouts!” she warned. “Something’s in here. Something cold.”
From nowhere a bright, greenish light started to shine, accompanied by a strange wind. The Scouts stood their ground, covering their eyes from both the wind and the brightness. Then, as quickly as it had come, the wind stopped and all of the light seemed to collect in one spot, forming the outline of a person. Within seconds, the green light began to fade and the outline became more and more distinct, until it was no longer an outline at all but a person. It was a tall man in a gray uniform, his long white hair seeming to melt into the cape attached to his shoulders. The Sailor Scouts recognized his form all too easily.
It was Malachite.
“Welcome Sailor Scouts!” Malachite greeted. “So you’ve finally decided to surrender the Imperium Crystal? I’ll gladly take it off your hands.”
An antenna began to rise from Jupiter’s tiara as she initiated her attack. “Dream on, surfer boy! Jupiter Thunder Crash!” She released the electricity and hurled it at Malachite, but he easily teleported to avoid the energy. Malachite was tired of these encounters, and was going to make certain that this was their last.
“Hey, Sailor Moon!” he shouted. “Let’s make a deal. You hand over that Crystal, and I won’t toast your friends!”
Sailor Moon didn’t even consider the offer for a second. “No deals with double-crossing, bad bleach job, Negatrash like you!” She put the Crescent Moon Wand to her forehead, prepared to use it at a moment’s notice. “Get ready! The Negaverse is dust!”
Malachite ignored the insults and decided to try a different approach in their exchanges of words. “Empty threats, Sailor Moon. We wasted Queen Serenity and we’ll do the same to you.”
The mention of Serenity’s name caught Sailor Moon off guard. “How do you know about Queen Serenity, huh?”
His answer surprised her even more. “Because I was there on that glorious day when we trashed the Moon Kingdom, and let me tell you something, moon brat. You’ve got a lot to learn. You’re no Queen Serenity.”
Sailor Moon couldn’t believe these words. “Liar! She would not have sent crumbs like you to the future with us.” She lowered her wand and made the costly mistake Malachite was looking for. “You’re lying! And you’re not getting my Crystal!”
Before she even finished the sentence, Malachite fired a blast at pink energy at the five warriors. Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus stepped forward to take the brunt of the blast, but it was more powerful than they expected and knocked all five of them back. Instead of hitting the ground, they continued to fall as if there was no ground or wall to stop them, and the Scouts screamed in both shock and fear. The jolt knocked the Crescent Moon Wand out of Sailor Moon’s hand, sending it directly in Malachite’s direction.
“Oh no!” Sailor Moon cried as she helplessly watched the Wand and the Crystal float into the hands of the enemy.
Malachite had waited for this moment for a long time, and now it was finally here. “The Imperium Crystal will be mine!” Malachite stretched out his hand in anticipation, the Crescent Moon Wand just coming into his reach. In a way, he was a tad disappointed that it had been this easy to get the object he was trying to get for so long.
That faint feeling didn’t last long, for suddenly, the Crystal shined with a new intensity and the wand spun in mid air to strike Malachite’s hand. It then began to float away from him, a slight reminder of who its true master was. Instead of going directly back to Sailor Moon, though, it rotated several more times in mid air, which concerned Sailor Moon even more than Malachite's actions had.
“My wand!” she shouted.
Those words were all that Sailor Moon could make out before she and the other Sailor Scouts suddenly disappeared without a trace. The wand twirled a few more times in the air before vanishing as well.
The last thing they knew, the Sailor Scouts were in a cave. Now they were falling in a pitch black area. They descended in emptiness, not knowing where they were going or where they would headed. Their only company was the screams that originated in their throats and the fear of what lay at the bottom of whatever pit or hole they rapidly approached.
“Tell us what’s happening!” Sailor Moon demanded. “Where are we going?”
No response came to her words.
But the Crystal knew where it was taking them, and in the end that was all that mattered.
After an agonizing long descent, the Crescent Moon Wand landed, carrying along with it the Imperium Silver Crystal. Upon impact with the ground, the Crystal glowed, and the five girls appeared, unconscious. After a minute they started to awaken, feeling the rocky, uneven land underneath them.
Sailor Moon was the first to get to her feet. “What’s going on?” she asked no one in particular. “Where are we?” She looked around to see the others were with her and uninjured. After this she noticed her surroundings, and instantly she knew she was no longer in the cave. They were in an open area in which the night was unfettered by the artificial lights of civilization. Instead, the dark sky showed its true beauty, letting all of its stars shined upon the ground. By contrast, the land was scarred, torn, and in disarray. Broken pillars were scattered all over the place, most fallen but some still standing. The remains of once enormous buildings made up the scenery, and Sailor Moon was standing on a large piece of rubble. A large battle had taken place here, and from the looks of it, this was the losing side.
Sailor Moon studied the area and continued her query. “What is this place? It feels familiar...somehow.”
“That’s because it’s your home, Serena,” answered a mysterious voice. “It’s what’s left of the Moon Kingdom.”
“Huh?” Although Sailor Moon had wanted an answer, she certainly hadn’t expected one. “What’s going on here? How come you know my name?” She turned around to see a bright ball of light slowly descend from above. Sailor Moon could soon see that it wasn’t a ball of light after all, but a tiny woman with clear wings and a very bright aura. “Are you for real?”
The fairy-like spirit smiled at Sailor Moon’s reaction. “Oh, Serena, you haven’t changed at all. Still asking a million questions, just as curious as a kitten. But I’m not surprised you don’t remember me. That’s the way I arranged things. I’m your mother, Queen Serenity.”
“You?” Sailor Moon was taken aback in surprise. She had thought her mother would be a bit larger. Then she remembered what Luna had said about the Moon Kingdom, and looked at the surroundings. “You mean we’re actually back on the moon? It’s not some wongo dream or something?”
“No, Serena, it’s not a dream. This is definitely real.” Serenity then looked to see that the other Sailor Scouts were there as well. “And since you’ve all found your way here, it must be time you found out the truth. I’ll take you back to the final days of our kingdom.”
Serenity began her tale addressing all of the Scouts. “I’m sure Luna told you all about the Silver Millenium, when all the planets were at peace. The whole universe was a happy place, and our Moon Kingdom was the happiest place of all. There were fireworks and parties every night, and dancing and laughing...” Her words began to trigger memories in the others, and the sights and sounds of the festivities became real. Her voice helped Venus, Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter to remember on their own, but Sailor Moon was still having trouble accepting this. Serenity shifted the focus of the story, speaking directly to her daughter. “I raised you to follow in my footsteps and rule the Moon, but most of the time you spent staring at the Earth, for you had fallen in love with a young man from there.”
The five Sailor Scouts closed their eyes and let the past return, as Serenity told them the
tale of the Silver Millenium.
A figure in a white gown stood on the balcony of the palace, her big blue eyes fixed on the Earth. She had not seen her lover all day, and was worried something had happened to him. That changed when she heard his familiar voice call out to her from below.
“Serena!” The voice belonged to a young man in a suit of black armor. His hair was short and he had the face of a noble warrior. Only his blue eyes showed a softness in them, a softness he reserved for his one true love.
“Darien!” she exclaimed. “Oh, finally! You are here.” Before she could fully rejoice in his arrival, he spoke and her heart was again filled with worry.
“I have some bad news, princess.”
“You cannot come to the ball?”
He shook his head. “If it were only that, Serena. Terrible things are happening on Earth. An evil power is taking over there.” With those words, Serena knew she could not ask him to stay any longer. He had to get back to his planet, and every second counted.
“Then you must go.”
“Yes, but by the time I get back home, it may already be too late.” Serena could hear the pain in his voice as he told her about this threat. “This Queen Beryl appeared out of nowhere. No one knows where she came from and her warriors are amazingly strong, maybe even unbeatable.” Before he could say anything else, a group of palace guards spotted Darien.
“Stop him!” One of the guards shouted. “He could be a spy.”
Darien looked at the guards and quickly said to Serena, “Listen. I better go.” Immediately, he ran way, regretting his choice of words. He wanted to give her a proper good-bye, but he did not have enough time to form an eloquent speech.
“Darien,” she called, even though she knew he wouldn’t hear him. Soon, she caught a glimpse of the guards, and realized why they were chasing him. She had heard talk amongst the servants about an invasion on Earth, but until now she dismissed it as gossip, fearing that it could be true. Also, the recent anti-Terran shift caused many people in the Moon Kingdom to be wary of the people of the blue and green planet, which coupled with this invasion led to paranoia.
“Oh, they must suspect everyone from Earth,” Serena thought aloud, wishing everything would return to normal. The guard’s angry voice did nothing to calm her nerves, as he and the others relentlessly pursued their “spy”.
“Hurry!” the guard ordered. “After him!”
A millennium away, Luna and Artemis had been running for hours down the dark, rocky corridor. Both panted, weary from their journey, but they had to continue, even if it came to a dead end. One of these tunnels had to lead to Beryl’s palace. It was only a matter of time before they found what they needed.
“Is that light I see down there?” Luna asked Artemis making sure she wasn’t hallucinating.
Artemis confirmed what she was seeing. “Yeah, and about time, too. My paws are getting sore.” After a few more feet the two reached the end of the tunnel, but along with the light came an intense cold and a heavy snow swept up by the winds. The chill in the air was so deep and thorough that it pierced through the cats’ fur, and the blowing snow coupled with the cold made it nearly impossible to see. One thing was certain; they were a long way from home.
“What is this place?” Luna asked herself aloud. “It’s so cold and bleak.”
“It’s the perfect place for Beryl to launch her attack from,” Artemis said. The two of them continued into the arctic terrain.
Princess Serena descended the stairs leading to the ballroom floor, unmasked as custom dictated. She hadn’t wanted to come to this dance, not without her true love. But this ball like many of the other festivities in the Moon Kingdom was held in her honor and she had a duty to attend. As she prepared herself to make herself look as cheerful as possible, a gentleman in a mask and a tuxedo took her hand.
“Princess, may I have this dance?” he asked. She didn’t recognize him or his voice at first, until he spoke again. “It could be our last one.”
Serena then knew it was Darien and silently accepted. The two began to dance gracefully across the floor, with the other dancers watching with awe.
“I’m so happy you came back,” she said with both her mouth and her facial expression. She was so elated she momentarily dropped the proper speech she practiced without even being aware of it. He pulled her closer to him, all the while explaining what was happening.
“I couldn’t leave without having one last dance with you. I’m afraid all of this is going to change, Serena. This Beryl, she’s more dangerous than I thought. The whole universe is in danger.”
“Even the Moon?” The Moon had never been in a war to her knowledge. It had been spared the touches of suffering and chaos for several centuries.
“Especially the Moon. Beryl plans to take over the whole universe and to do that she must first conquer the Moon. You must prepare for the worst, Serena.” He pulled her near his chest, and she rested her hand on it, not knowing if she’d ever get the chance to do this again. “Your mother knows I’m not a spy. She’s asked me to stay and help defend her kingdom.”
Serena felt relieved that he would be able to stay with her a little longer, but almost immediately realized the dark lining to this silver cloud. Earth was now a lost cause. Otherwise, Darien would never have agreed to do this. After a few more minutes of dancing, Serena and Darien stepped outside to the balcony, their meeting place. Darien then took off his mask and let it fall to the ground.
“Oh Darien,” Serena said. “I cannot believe this is happening.”
“Queen Beryl’s relentless and she’ll destroy absolutely everything that’s in her way to get what she wants. I’ll fight as hard as I can, but you must know...” There was a slight hesitation, but he continued, taking her hand. “I might not come back. I just hope you know how much you mean to me.”
“You’re in my heart.”
“And you will always be in mine.” Serena eyes began to water as Darien drew her nearer to him once again. Then the two pressed their lips together ever so gently and closed their eyes, savoring the moment. At last Serena could hold back her sadness no more, and a stream of tears flowed out of the corner of her eye.
Earth shined its fullest and brightest on this particular night, despite being a conquered planet. Its soft light brought a peace to the Moon, and the night had a serene air to it. That peace was shattered as the sky opened up, and a massive army poured onto the ground seemingly out of nowhere. With destruction and slaughter the only things on its mind, the swarm of troops swooped over the land. The carnage they would bring was unimaginable.
The Moon Kingdom wouldn’t stand a chance.
Once Princess Serena and her mysterious escort left the dance floor, the scene returned to normal. Couples were laughing and dancing, and the festivities had only begun. All that was interrupted by a pair of cats, running through the area. These were not ordinary cats, for they both wore the crescent moon on their forehead and had the ability to talk. They were Luna and Artemis, Queen Serenity’s advisors. They stayed at her side at almost all times, and for the two of them to appear by themselves meant that there was something serious going on.
“We’re under attack!” Luna yelled. “Under attack!” Her voice alone broke many embraces and pleasant daydreams.
“Get ready for battle!” Artemis shouted. “We need everyone we can get to fight. Hurry! To the armaments!”
Most of the couples separated and said their last good-byes. The men followed Artemis to the chambers storing the weapons and armor, while the women followed Luna outside to begin defending their homes and the palace. Within minutes, the ballroom was completely empty, filled only with the silence of death.
“Mercury Bubbles...” Princess Mercury shouted in her fighting uniform, concentrating her energy on the bubble in her hands. “Blast!” She released the energy from her body, and was a little drained from the experience.
At the same time Princess Mars, also in a fighting uniform, was charging up her attack. “Mars Fire...” She held her index fingers together and felt the powerful fire build up inside her. Finally she got enough energy to shoot the fireball. “Ignite!”
“Jupiter Thunder...” Lightning struck the Princess of Jupiter, but it did not harm her at all. Instead, she held it close to her body, waiting for it all to gather before she let it go. “Crash!”
Princess Venus was the last to attack, her technique requiring no time to charge. “Venus Crescent Beam Smash!” A thin ray of light came out of her index finger.
The four aimed their attacks at the giant shadow in the sky -- a being called the Negaforce -- and a powerful beam composed of electricity, light, fire and water struck the entity. It acted like power source of the invaders, and if they could destroy it, then there would be a chance to stop this war. Unfortunately for them, their attacks had no effect, and the Negaforce simply laughed at them.
“Pathetic humans!” it gloated. “I will vanquish you!”
The four warriors had no chance to return the insult as the Negaforce created a whirlpool of both wind and dark energy, sweeping them off the ground and into the vortex. They let out one final scream as their bodies were subjected to the agony the energy caused, then went limp as death released them from pain’s grasp.
Buildings which once stood tall and steady, toppled over like dominoes under the onslaught of the Negaverse. Roadways became blocked with all sorts of debris, trapping people both behind and beneath them. Yet the swarm of soldiers continued their carnage, unhindered by the destruction around them. Instead they fed off the death and turmoil and used it to fuel their
Queen Beryl watched with merriment as her soldiers slaughtered innocent after innocent. Her fiery red hair literally stood on end as it unnaturally floated upward. She let out a loud, confident laugh. “Very soon, the entire universe will be under my control. I will have Queen
Serenity begging for mercy.” She lifted her staff into the air, and pink lightning branched out from it. “No one can defeat the power of the Negaforce. The universe is no longer.” Then, in a wondrously terrible discharge of light, the crystal orb on top of the staff glowed emitting rays that decimated a colossal edifice. “Only the Negaverse will prevail.”
Not very far away, four generals in gray uniforms stood at the head of the invading army. They all stood proudly as buildings were leveled and their opponents fell dead before them. One general in took an added pleasure in all of this destruction, and laughed heartily at this humorless situation.
That general was Malachite.
Serena was watching all of the destruction from the balcony of the palace. Strangely enough, it was one of the only places that was left standing. The sky, once blue was now a swirl of unnatural pink, green and black. On the ground, bodies of men women and children lied scattered across the ruins, and the swarm of soldiers chased down the last few remaining survivors.
All of a sudden, a red light shined and the form of Beryl appeared before the princess’s eyes, standing on thin air. She was looking for any survivors in the palace, and had not expected there to be anyone alive. To her surprise, the Moon Princess stood right here, a few scant feet away. This was even better than finding Queen Serenity herself.
“Well, if it isn’t Little Miss Moon Princess,” Beryl remarked to her prey. “All dressed up and no place to go.” Beryl dived at the princess, eager to kill the young woman with her bare hands. “Except oblivion.”
As Beryl’s hand was at Serena’s throat, a single red rose was thrown between the two of them, knocking the evil queen away in a flash of bright red light. A young man in black armor stood with his arm outstretched, his cape flowing in the wind. “Who are you?” she asked, her hair momentarily falling to her shoulders.
The figure in the black armor answered, “I am Prince Darien, sworn to defend the Moon Kingdom against evil like you.”
Beryl’s hair flew up again as she rose into the air. “Prince Darien? From Earth? I’ve heard of you. You have great promise.” He instantly went over to Serena and stood in front of her to protect her, but Beryl did not attack. Instead, she continued her offer. “Well, I can see why she’d hang onto you, but you’re wasting your time with this twit. Why don’t you taste the joy of winning, Darien? We’ll rule the Negaverse together.”
Darien’s reply was a mixture of disgust and bravado. “Thanks, but no thanks, Beryl. Why would I want to join forces with a snake like you, so twisted and ugly, full of bitterness?”
Beryl couldn’t believe this human would have the nerve to insult her. She had never been refused before, and she would not tolerate this blatant act of disrespect. “No one ever speaks to Queen Beryl like that!”
The Negaforce responded by firing a dark green column of energy at the palace, breaking it to pieces which flew in a spiral upward. Still, part of the balcony remained, so the Negaforce narrowed the column, and directed it toward the couple. Darien was carried into the air by this energy, separated from his true love.
“Darien,” Serena asked, “what is happening?” All of this was occurring too fast for her mind to comprehend it all.
Darien was carried further and further away by this strange wind and told the princess, “Run Serena, just run!” There was no hope for him. Perhaps she might be able to escape the grasp of the Negaforce. But instead of running away, she ran toward him.
“No, Darien! I want to be with you.” She knew even if she ran she wouldn’t make it far. Her only desire now was to be alongside him when the end came.
“You can’t! Serena don’t! Serena!” His warnings were in vain, for Serena had jumped off the railing of the balcony. Instead of falling, she was also blown upward by the wind. The pair ascended ever so slowly, and the momentum from Serena’s jump propelled her closer to him. She extended her hand and reached out to him, hoping to grab his hand one last time. He also reached out to her, and by some miracle, the two were able to clasp hands. For that moment, time slowed down to a crawl, and in spite of everything that was occurring, the two of them were together. It was a moment that would last forever in their memories.
The Negaforce was bound to ruin this moment. It fired a ball of energy, striking them apart. The energy was so strong, it delivered a fatal blow to both the prince and the princess, but both had enough life in them to one last cry.
“Darien!” Serena screamed with her eyes shut.
“Serena!” His cry came at the same time as hers, and the two names sounded as if they were one. Then, their bodies could take the punishment no more and expelled the spirits inside of them. The wind stopped, but the two corpses floated in midair as a residual effect from the blast.
Once again tears flowed from Serena’s eyes, but this time there was no force behind them.
Queen Serenity, Luna, and Artemis ran as quickly as possible toward the remains of the palace. Everything around them was either dead or destroyed, and it looked as if the three of them were the only survivors of the attack Serenity had wanted to check on her daughter, to make sure that she had not suffered the same fate. They had heard screaming, and indication that someone was still alive, but weren’t sure for how long.
Suddenly, Serenity and her advisors stopped in their tracks. Their eyes beheld the worst possible sight imaginable. Serena and Darien floated side by side in the air. It was easy to see that the two of them had just died. In fact, it almost looked like the two were in a deep sleep. But none of the three allowed themselves to think that, for they had seen others like this, their lifeless carcasses floating in air.
Serena, Princess of the Moon, and Darien, Prince of Earth were dead.
Queen Serenity cried out in anguish. “Serena!” There was no reply from her daughter, and Serenity let the tears flow from her eyes unhindered. “No! She’s taken them both! She fell to the ground on her hands and knees, the sight of her daughter and Darien knocking her to the ground. Luna and Artemis were also overcome with shock and grief, and could do nothing but look at the two bodies and cry.
“No,” Luna lamented in between her tears. “Not the princess. No.”
Beryl’s maniacal laughter could be heard all over the dead moon. “Perfect!” she exclaimed. “The pretty twit and her prince are gone!” She laughed even louder, thinking how foolish Darien had been for refusing her offer. “And the ‘snake’ survives! They’ll never mess with me again.”
“No!” Serenity shouted again, defying Beryl’s triumph. “Serena!” Her daughter was the last thing she had left, and even though she knew her daughter was lost, part of her wished she could hear Serena’s voice one last time.
But there was no answer. None.
“No, it can’t be!” For several minutes she cried, her only child slaughtered before her eyes. She was robbed even the chance to be there for her daughter at the moment of her death. The only, chilling comfort Serenity felt was that her daughter was able to leave this existence with the one she truly loved.
Then, something snapped. It all happened in a fraction of a second, but to Serenity, this moment of true awareness lasted forever. Serenity’s daughter was not lost to her, at least not yet. Her death was still fresh, along with the others who had died. A plan was set in motion in the queen’s mind, a desperate plan that could change the universe as they knew it. If this worked, she would not be able to bring her daughter back, would be able to bring back the others too. Then she thought of the ramifications of this possible action. Nothing would ever be the same again. Would it really be worth it? Serenity asked herself. At last, she was able to come to a decision. Prompted by grief, fueled by anger, and driven by sadness, her resolve was strengthened to bring back her daughter. She knew what needed to be done. She pulled out the Imperium Silver Crystal and placed it on her Crescent Moon Wand. “Don’t worry, darling. I won’t let it end this way. I won’t let them take away your future.”
Luna and turned to her. “Queen Serenity, if you use the Imperium Silver Crystal you won’t have any strength left.”
“It’s the only way, Luna.” Her voice carried a touch of sadness as she convinced the cats what she had already convinced herself. “I must sacrifice my kingdom if we are to regain our peace.” She stood up and raised the Crescent Moon Wand in the air. Serenity prepared herself for the drain that was about to come and concentrated her energy, hoping this would work. She took a deep breath and looked at the ruins of her kingdom for what could have been the last time. Finally, she uttered the words that would change history.
“Cosmic Moon Power!”
Pink light filled the Moon and all of the other planets in the solar system. It blinded Beryl, who had thought that all of the people of the Moon Kingdom were defeated.
“What is this?” she asked in surprise. Then, once her eyes got adjusted to the light, she saw what was happening. Serenity was using the power of the Crystal to send them back to the Negaverse.
“You can’t do this to me!” Beryl screamed as she felt herself slipping away from this plane.
At the same time, all of her troops were also disappearing from the Moon Kingdom, being driven back to where they had came. The Negaforce cried out in pain while being banished from the lunar sky by the power of the Crystal.
Beryl managed to get one last, prophetic shout before her body completely disappeared. “You haven’t seen the last of me!” With that the army of the Negaverse was sealed away, not to bother this universe for a long time to come.
Several more hours had passed since Luna and Artemis had discovered the frozen land which lay outside. The biting cold had long completed its initial attack on the cats and only an uncomfortable numbness remained as a semblance of feeling. Now, exhaustion picked up where the cold had left off, but unlike its predecessor, it only increased its offensive as time wore on. All that kept the two of them going now was each other, and each fed off the other’s strength to continue. At last, Artemis’ will could take no more of this combination of physical and mental punishment and collapsed. Luna hurriedly went to his side. “Come on, Artemis,” she urged. “You can’t quit now.”
“Luna, five more minutes, and we’re both going to be frozen cat-sickles.” His words carried a ring of truth to them. Their bodies could not stand much more of this weather, but Luna wasn’t about to let him quit so easily. He had to press on for her sake, as she had to press on for his.
“But Central said there were strong Nega-vibes out here. We’ve got to check it out.” Artemis hated it when she referred to him as “Central”. He couldn’t believe that Luna still hadn’t forgiven him for pretending to be Central Control. Still, she was right. He had picked up some strange vibrations earlier, and the two of them had to check it out, no matter how tired they were. He got back up and started walking again, giving Luna an incentive to continue, which in turn strengthened his own resolve.
They continued for a few more feet until both reached the edge of a steep drop-off. It was the edge of an enormous hole in the ground filled with dark power and black mist-like smoke rising into the sky. Luna and Artemis looked inside it, and at first could see nothing but darkness. But after peering further they could see what looked like thousands of creatures, all different shapes and sizes, preparing for an upcoming battle.
Luna couldn’t believe what she had seen. “Artemis! Look at that!”
“Worse than I thought, Luna. Queen Beryl’s already here and set up to attack the Earth. From the look of it they could attack at any time. Come on. We’ve got to get back”
“Yes, we’ve got to tell the Scouts.” They turned around, but found Malachite there, blocking their path.
“So,” he commented, “the little kittens are out without their mittens.”
Artemis screamed in both surprise and expectation of the thrashing in store for them.
Stars had returned from their hiding places and returned to the sky once the battle was over. Along with them came a sluggish wave of blue which pushed the other strange colors out of the sky. Peace was returning to the night.
The ground envied the sky for its fortune. Not one solid structure remained after Beryl’s attack on the moon, and all that remained of most of the ancient buildings were broken columns, and marble fragments of all irregular shapes and sizes. Both hard, smooth floors and soft, rich soil were completely obliterated, leaving a dead, rocky landscape filled with craters. The Queen of the Moon, like the lunar ground beneath her, was beaten and bruised mentally. Her body also had little strength left as she lied on of the fallen pillars, but it had enough vitality to complete the task she had in store.
Artemis and Luna had no idea of what she had planned. They were caught up with the joy of defeating the enemy. “Your Majesty!” Luna cheered. “You did it!”
Her male counterpart was no less jubilant. “They’re gone!” Artemis shouted in triumph. “You beat them!”
Queen Serenity couldn’t share in their happiness “I trapped them all, yes,” she explained, holding the Crystal in her right hand. “If I had destroyed them all I would have destroyed Serena and the others, too. Now they’re all inside the power of the Crystal. And now I must send them to a new future on Earth.” She tightened her grip on the Crystal and shook, trying to suppress the urge to cry.
Luna didn’t understand the reason behind the queen’s despair. “But you saved them. Why are you so sad?”
“Because none of them will remember anything about this time or this place. Nothing. And I’ll never see my sweet daughter again. Or you two either.”
Luna and Artemis realized what the last part meant and hid the disappointment from their faces. They had both long ago sworn to be at Queen Serenity’s side for the rest of their lives, and thought she was only sending those who died to Earth. It now seemed that they would be robbed of this final honor. They didn’t interrupt Serenity, and instead focused on her words. “But this is the only way for any of you to live on. I have enough power left to send everything you’ll need in the future to Earth.” She paused, for it was becoming more difficult for her to breathe. “Serena and her court will need your help the Negaverse ever breaks free.”
"Yes", the two cats assured immediately and simultaneously.
She continued, her voice filled with the sense of urgency of the dying. “All of you will be reborn on Earth, with no memory of the Moon Kingdom whatsoever. But if evil forces should try to repeat what happens here you two will know what to do.” Luna and Artemis wondered how they would be able to help if all of their memories were erased, but then again this was not the most opportune time to ask. “Now farewell, all of you. And good luck.” She opened her hand and let the Crystal float into the air. “Good-bye Serena. You are in my heart, always.”
The sky turned pink once again, but this pink was a soft, gentle light full of peaceful intention. Bubbles started to rise from the ground, each sphere carrying a soul. Soon the number of spheres was greater than those of the stars. As they went into the air, the multitude of became a sparkling pink stream of light, headed for the planet Earth.
With her last ounce of vitality, Serenity bestowed a benediction on the souls. “Be happy. On behalf of the Moon, you will be free again.” Her body had no more strength to give, and she shut her eyes in exhaustion. “Perhaps we’ll meet again.” On saying those last words she dropped the Crescent Moon Wand, which slowly slipped out of her limp hand and floated slowly to the ground.
"Queen Serenity!" cried Artemis and Luna. Their shouts came too late, for Serenity closed her eyes, never to open them again. Despite all of the death they had seen within the past few days, to see the life ebb out of Serenity surprised the two cats. She was more than just their queen. She was a mentor to both of them, a true friend despite her high social and physical stature. To see her spririt leave her was to see a piece of their souls die as well.
Yet they were given no time to grieve or reflect on what happened. The Crescent Moon Wand stopped, and in a flash, it disappeared, and encased them in two glass capsules, putting the two of them to sleep. Unlike the souls Serenity sent to the future, they would make the journey whole, mind and body. They would need vessels to carry them through both the vacuum of space and the expanse of time. The pair of containers rose in the sky alongside the others, adding their own tiny glint to the multitude of specks of light.
The Crescent Moon Wand materialized out of thin air and hit the ground. As before, the five Sailor Scouts emerged from a wonderful blast of light, back in their rightful time, the present. They had been returned to the cave, in the exact spot they were at when they had disappeared.
“We’re back!” Venus exclaimed.
Mars couldn’t believe it. “Look! The cave!”
Moon was happy to be back, but the memories she had just regained were the first thing on her mind. She has experienced not only her former life, but her death and rebirth as well. “She saved all of us,” she said softly, referring to Queen Serenity.
Jupiter was also overcome by emotion upon reflecting on what she had seen. “She sure did.”
The somber mood spread to Venus. “She’s the reason we’re here.”
“Yeah,” Mars said. “And what about Beryl? That sleaze queen. She’s definitely going down.”
“Right,” Mercury agreed.
“We’ve gotta be strong,” Moon told herself as she cradled the Crescent Moon Wand.
Without warning, a loud, tortured sound met the ears of the Scouts. Soon the five girls saw the source. It was Luna and Artemis, both barely able to stand while sporting numerous cuts and bruises. The cause of their injuries was not far behind, and Malachite had not yet finished dishing out punishment.
“Your guardian days are over, furballs,” Malachite declared. He fired a pink blade of energy at the cats, causing them to cry out in pain again.
“No! Luna!” Moon shouted.
“Artemis!” Venus cried. “We’ll save you!
Neither of the two cats wanted them to place themselves in danger, as both had just experienced his power firsthand. “No...” Artemis warned. “just run...”
Moon couldn’t believe Malachite would beat up Luna and Artemis. Although both of them were experienced fighters, they were still cats -- small and vulnerable to attack. “This is low, even for a slime like you.”
Malachite didn’t let the comment bother him but chose to respond anyway. “You can’t blame me, brat. They’re the ones who trained you to be as annoying as you are.”
Jupiter could stand no more of Malachite and his actions. “Let’s show this jerk what Luna and Artemis really taught us!”
“Excellent idea, Jupiter,” Venus said in full support of her teammate. “Hasta la vista, pretty boy!”
Mercury stepped forward, ready to attack. “Yeah, you’re finished!
Mars also went out in front of the others. “Majorly toasted, blondie.”
Malachite took an attack stance. “Cut to the chase, girls,” he growled impatiently. “You going to stand there or are you going to fight?”
Sailor Moon stepped in front of all of the Scouts. “I’m warning you, Malachite. You’re not winning this one, and you’re never getting my Crystal!”
“Didn’t your mother teach you, ‘Never say never?’” First he produced a dark mist which seemed to drain the light from the area. Then from his hands a pink energy crackled until it formed into two blades. He threw the blades at Sailor Moon, and they sliced her skin and her uniform. She fell back but Sailor Venus caught her before she hit the ground.
“Sailor Moon!” Venus called. The leader of the scouts was unconscious, though, and could not hear her voice.
“This guy just gets stronger every time we see him,” Mercury noted.
Mars was more concerned about the condition of Sailor Moon. Without her, the Crystal would be an easy and open target. “We’ve gotta to protect the Crystal.”
Malachite inwardly laughed at their efforts. “Ha! You can sure go ahead and try, but nothing stands in the way of the great, mighty Negaforce.” With that he threw another pair of energy blades in his hands at the Sailor Scouts, slicing both Mercury and Mars. The two recovered quickly, but instead of disappearing like the blades before it these blades remained in the air and circled the group.
With Sailor Moon out, Venus knew she had to take charge. “Come on, Scouts!” she shouted. “We’ve gotta rally here. We fight him as one! We can shut him down. Venus Power!” She and the others lifted their transformation pens in the air, gathering all of their energy.
Once their energy was focused, a white forcefield made of cascading energy appeared around the group, generated by the will of the four Scouts. The four of them formed a protective shield around Sailor Moon with their bodies in addition to this, in case the shield failed.
Malachite was not deterred by this display of teamwork and only increased his attacks, producing two more energy blades. The blades cut through the forcefield and nicked the Sailor Scouts. The quartet tried to keep the human shield up, but with each slice the blades sapped away a portion of their strength. Although the forcefield remained, the four Scouts began to feel weak and were no longer able to stand. Sailor Moon began to wake up, and watched the scene unfold with horror.
“My friends!” she shouted while getting to her feet. They had tried their best to protect her but once again ended upon the losing side. History was repeating itself, but this time, Sailor Moon wasn’t gong to let their sacrifice be in vain.
This time, Sailor Moon was going to fight.
She stepped out of forcefield and walked toward Malachite, all of her anger focused on him. “I am Sailor Moon, the champion of justice, princess of the Moon Kingdom, and your worst nightmare. On behalf of the moon I will right all wrongs, and triumph over evil, and you’re the worst kind of evil!” She held up the Crescent Moon Wand over her head, gathering all her strength like her mother before her. “Cosmic Moon Power!” White light flowed out of the Crystal as Sailor Moon held up the Wand, brightening the cavern with a power greater than that of the sun. She herself sparkled with the energy from the Crystal as she sent her own energy through it.
Malachite pulled his cape over his eyes, as he couldn’t stand the power of the Crystal. “No!” he vowed. “I’m not letting this moon child defeat me! She’s no match for the Nega-power.” He had produced one final blade, but instead of throwing it at an angle as he as done the others, the threw it straight at Sailor Moon. He didn’t care about getting the Crystal any longer, or what his punishment would be for failing to get it. The light was too much for him, and he had to get rid of the one who brought it.
For a second Malachite thought Sailor Moon would simply stand there as the energy approached her, without even an attempt at dodging the almost certain death coming upon her. She swung the Wand at the last possible second, knocking the energy back at Malachite, who cursed himself for being so foolish. In trying to get rid of Sailor Moon, not only had he let himself be blinded by desperation and thrown the blade wrong, he left himself open to attack. He had been weakened by the Crystal to the point that he couldn’t teleport. Malachite pulled his cape in front of him, hoping that it would stop the projectile heading straight for him.
The blade embedded itself in Malachite’s shoulder, and although the blow was not a fatal wound, the energy the blade absorbed ensured that these next few seconds would be his last. “I’m...losing strength.” There was no hope for him now. The blade was embedded too deep in his body and even if he had the strength to pull it out, he had lost so much energy that he couldn’t recover. “Zoycite, it’s me. I’ll be coming to join you real soon, Zoycite. Do you hear me?” After that, his death scream became an unintelligible growl which slowly grew lower and softer. As he reached up to the heavens his body turned into a stream of white bubbles and disappeared.
At last the Crystal stopped shining and Sailor Moon lowered the Crescent Moon Wand. She started at the scene in astonishment and guilt. She hadn’t meant to kill the general; she only wanted to weaken him enough to incapacitate him so that they could escape. Now Malachite was dead, clearly by her hand, and despite all of the monsters she had vanquished, she couldn’t help but feel a twinge of regret for what she had done, no matter how evil Malachite was. At least now he was with Zoycite, his true love, and his quest for vengeance was over.
“Way to go, Sailor Moon,” Luna complimented. “You wasted Malachite.”
“Yeah,” Artemis agreed. “Just like your mother.” Sailor Moon silently accepted the compliment and broke herself away from this pensive mood. She reminded herself that all of her friends were safe -- although they were a little worse for wear -- and that was what mattered the most.
Sailor Moon ran over to the two cats and picked Luna up. “Luna. Artemis. What were you thinking going up against him?”
“It wasn’t really our choice,” Luna explained. “He surprised us when we were coming back to tell you guys...” She paused for a minute, wondering how they would take the news. “We think we found a Negaverse base set up in the northern latitudes.”
“And from the looks of it,” Artemis added. “Beryl’s about to stage her first attack. We’re going to have to put her away for good.”
“I think we’ve all had enough of that sleaze queen,” Sailor Moon stated, echoing the sentiments of those left in the cavern. She looked over her shoulder to her teammates. “So what do you say Sailor Scouts?”
Their vote was automatic and unanimous. “Trash her!”
“Beryl is about to meet her match.” Sailor Moon’s voice was full of determination, and for once, this was a fight she would be looking forward to. She laid Luna back on the ground and stood up, joining her fellow Sailor Scouts. The five young warriors stood side by side, united as a team and ready for the trials coming up ahead. They all gave off one cry, full of courage and victory, that echoed all throughout the cavern.