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Story Sailor Moon Aeons - Book 1: The Senshi of Dawn.

Kyouko Tsukino

Steampunker
Those who know me may have seen this coming once this section opened. Anyhow this is my main story, Sailor Moon Aeons, the one I've spent the most time with (five years and counting,) and while it's based on Sailor Moon, knowledge of the show (old and new) or the manga aren't needed - while I do tell events that happened in the anime and manga, I tell my own version of them.

The first book focuses in an ancient era, and its pacing may not be for everyone, as the plot can skip a decade, a century, or a few thousand years at a time. It's a sort of prologue (twenty-five chapters long prologue) to the main part of the story, which focuses on the canon characters.

Anyhow, I'll stop ranting now and leave you to enjoy this thing - I'll post more chapters as time allows it.

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 1: First era.
Episode 1: Origin.


By Razor Knight
Last update: October 8, 2009

-----​

Serenity could see the signs of her enemy's presence in the distance. An unnatural darkness seemed to creep slowly towards her, and was turning even the afternoon sky black in its wake. That creature's power, it had always seemed so impossibly high to her, so unreachable, so unsettling... So terrifying.

But not anymore. She now had a power to match that creature in a battle, and she had trained for years on how to use it. Still, for the people in this world, it was only a few minutes ago that she got her powers.

It had been quite a strange event. Those warriors from a distant future had been around for only a few minutes, but without them, she wouldn't have ever become what she was now. On the other hand, they had their powers only because she had obtained them from them in this era.

Some would call it irony, but she was quite aware that wasn't the right word for this. In any case, he was coming, the Dark One, as the Val'harrha called him, the Ender, the Walking Night. Too many names for something that only needed one: Cygale.

It was good her new powers let her see things others, even the Val (as she had nicknamed her mentor's race,) couldn't. She had found that strange sub-dimension, and her powers let her know in seconds what the purpose of that place was. From there, and with her powers, she could transport to any era she wanted, she could see the future, she could see all that would happen to mankind, at least the events linked to her home planet.

And the most important thing: Since she could return to Earth one second after the moment she entered that dimension (or one year before, if she so wished,) then it was as if time had stopped while she was there. She had used that knowledge in her favor, honing and training all of her skills, until she was able to hold her strongest form indefinitely. A form so powerful, she knew she would probably be able to destroy this or any other world in one shot if she wanted to.

The darkness was close, and she could now see the creature generating it. It was his bluff, his way to scare those he was about to destroy, it was almost a physical representation of his ego. He knew not the word 'stealth,' because he had never needed to hide, no, he wanted those he targeted to know he was coming for them.

Zen'ji, her mentor, had told her all his race knew about the Dark One. Someone whose goal was to bring chaos and destruction, a being who existed only to cause pain to others. A pitiful being, from her point of view. The Val had known about the creature, but had never seen a way to stop him. Then they came to this world, finding a race of primitive beings, beings they called 'humans.' She had asked Zen'ji about the meaning of that word once, but he had only said its meaning was unimportant.

Humans had something even the Val'harrha had never seen. An ability to manipulate a planet's very energy (known as Zhi'lesh to them) but only a few humans could master such ability. Most of those who had that skill, lived without knowing what they could do.

The Val had artifacts which let them see what was to come. She hadn't believed it at first, in fact she had never believed it, until that other Serenity appeared. Now she knew it was true, the Val could see the future, and they were fascinated by it. That was the one reason why they had chosen her, Serenity, a normal human woman, living a normal life in a primitive village, to be their warrior.

That was another difference between the Val and the humans. The Val were physically weak, but their minds were incredibly advanced. They weren't a race of warriors, they were a race of creatures who observed the Universe without daring to interfere. But even though it went against their beliefs, they knew Cygale had to be stopped, or he would continue to destroy planet after planet, until there was nothing left.

And that's why they had chosen a human, a member of a race who were rather violent at first sight. However, there was a balance in them, between warrior and creator. That's what made them the best race to choose, of all the races the Val had seen through the centuries they had been traveling around the universe.

-----​

Zen'ji looked at the girl in front of him. A part of his mind was cursing destiny, for what he was about to do was crucial for the existence of the line of warriors called Senshi, a race that would not only play a major role in this one system, but in many others throughout the whole galaxy. But at the same time, what he was about to do would seal the fate of the only human he considered a friend. And ultimately, it would leave a scar in this girl's mind, one he knew wasn't easy to heal.

But unless this girl was there, the Dark One could win. It was the curse of the Zen'ji, a curse he knew one line of Senshi would share in the future, to see not only one future, but all possible futures. The further forwards in time they looked, the least likely a dark future was, given all the 'right' choices had been made along the way.

And that was his only regret, that the 'right' choice in this battle would require a sacrifice. He knew Serenity had affected him more than he would like to admit, since he had never before seen the logic behind considering one life to be worth more than millions of lives. None of his kin ever saw the reasoning behind that idea. But now, he knew it wasn't about logic, but about what humans called friendship. Still, Serenity herself knew about the future, she knew what the result of this battle would be. He was sure of that. It wasn't Serenity he was worried about, but the girl in front of him now.

"You say I can have the same kind of power my mother has?"

"Yes, but you will need to train for a long time before you get to the level your mother has, Mana."

"Will I be able to help her?"

"To fight the Dark One? I don't know what help a kid like you could be," Zen'ji admitted. Truth was, he knew she would be of help, not so much for her mother, but for the future. Mana had inherited the one power her mother had since birth, and another one she still didn't know about, and wouldn't know about for the time being.

"Hmph. I can at least watch, right?"

"But don't get close to the fight. You could distract your mother."

"I understand. I'm ready to get that power now."

Zen'ji nodded and materialized a small crystal in front of him. It was an ability the Zen'ji always had, that of turning solid objects into pure magic energy. It couldn't be done with living beings, as far as he knew, at least not by their race.

Mana looked at the small crystal. "You mean this little thing..."

"It's a replica of the crystal used by your mother to gain her new powers. It will work mostly the same in you, and you will gain that level almost instantly, though you will not be able to control it at first, and the process is a painful one."

"So I'm going to be strong enough to help."

"I'm afraid it won't be simple. Your mother's already fighting that creature now, and to get to the level she has, you could spend months, maybe even years."

Mana reached forwards and touched the crystal. The change was both slow and painful, she felt like her body was being burnt from the inside, and she was unable to form any coherent thoughts for a few seconds. When she was able to think straight again, however, she wished she wasn't, since the pain was still there. But as the seconds ticked away, she felt the change, she could feel her own body rapidly adapting to the surge of power. She was no longer wearing her usual robe as she pulled her hand away from the crystal. The suit was similar to what the Val wore, an elastic fabric which covered most of her body, leaving only her head unprotected.

But then, another crystal, identical to the first, appeared right in front of her. She grabbed it, and again felt a surge of power, though it wasn't as painful this time. That, however, wasn't important when she still felt like she was being burnt, shocked and frozen at the same time.

Zen'ji winced as the girl screamed. This wasn't the way things should be. The crystal wasn't supposed to be able to replicate itself like that, so what... He closed his eyes, trying his best to ignore the girl's screams. Reaching out with his skill, he saw the immediate future shifting and changing. The distant future was still showing, relatively, the same paths as before, but it was the 'present' that worried him. Things could go very wrong if...

And there she was. This girl was wearing the same suit as her mother, if not for the slightly darker shade of yellow of her hair, one could hardly tell this was not Serenity. There was no mistake, this girl had reached her ultimate level, just like her mother, but unlike the visions he had, she had a crystal of her own. "Incredible..."

"I thought you had predicted all this," Mana noted.

"No skill is flawless, and our 'time sight' is no exception. There are things about this change I didn't foresee, things you will have to realize on your own."

Mana had fallen to one knee, her breathing ragged and forceful. "I feel like a stampede of Gn'arlok run over me."

"With your new powers, you should see a way to recover easily before aiding your mother. And you could also train there just like she did."

"Won't you come with me?"

"I'm sorry, but my species is not able to go there. Even if you took me there with you, I wouldn't be able to survive in that place for long."

"I... I understand." Mana stood up, looking around, and then smiled. "I guess I will leave now. I'll see you after this battle ends."

"If everything goes as I'm seeing it, then so it shall be," Zen'ji said, after the girl vanished.

-----​

The creature stood, apparently unfazed by the sudden obstacle in his path. It was an obstacle he had not detected before it stood in his path, possibly due to the barrier put around the planet's capital city. He could not fathom why a race as advanced (and dangerous) as the Val'harrha would ally with a race as primitive and hopeless as these pseudo-intelligent 'humans.' He did not know what 'human' meant in their own primitive language, and he couldn't care less about the word's meaning.

And yet, the power Cygale could feel in this woman, it was simply inconceivable. If his enemies had this kind of power, why not use it themselves? He knew the answer even before the question had formed. These 'humans' were potentially able to hold as much power inside as he was. Or maybe even more than he could ever dream of gathering. He could admit the woman in front of him was stronger than him. But no matter how much power she had, she couldn't have the centuries of experience he had using said powers.

"Cygale, I know of your intentions, and I will stop you, here and now."

Cygale looked at the woman for one more instant before he did something nobody thought him capable of. He laughed. Sure, he had been amused by things in the past, but the sheer stupidity of this woman was too much for him, he couldn't help but laugh, if only for this one time.

Serenity looked at her foe. The large, insect-like monster was easily thrice her size, and each of his arms ended in thin, sharp blades. His green eyes were big, taking up most of his head, with a small, fang-filled mouth being the only other feature in it.

The aura around him, the dark fog she had seen from a distance, was now gone, and she realized why. Her foe's 'aura' was a part of his power, a part he was letting out to intimidate his victims, but he couldn't afford to keep it up now. She was sure it was the first time this monster had been seen without his aura. It was the first time he faced someone who could defeat him.

"Little girl, aren't you afraid?"

"I would be frightened if I was still a normal human, but I'm not."

"Oh, so you aren't? And what might you be?"

"I am Serenity, the first Senshi."

Senshi? What a stupid name. Still, this woman was amusing him greatly. "That is a word I've never heard before, not that I ever cared about the language of all races I've destroyed."

"It's a title given to some hunters of my race, those trained to defend our cities from the outsiders."

Cygale let out a chuckle. "Then, since you are insane enough to stand in my way, you are the Senshi of your race. The first and last."

"The first, yes, but not the last. There will be others after me. Many others."

"How can you be so sure of that?"

"Because," Serenity said, reaching out her hand, in which a strange, key-shaped staff appeared, "I can look at the many threads of time, and act upon that knowledge to bring about the one I consider the best outcome for those I protect."

"So you learnt that from the..."

"No, my mentors had nothing to do with this. This is a power I've always held inside. A power that will defeat you."

"I think not, little human, you should not have come here to face a god!" Cygale snapped, the last few words came out as a snarl, as a massive wave of energy shot forth. The woman was gone, and, had he been overconfident and foolish, he would have assumed the attack simply tore her to atoms. But he was neither overconfident, nor foolish. He spun around in time to block the downwards swipe of his enemy's staff, then disappeared.

Serenity turned around, summoning a sword as she did, and stopping the enemy's scythes with it. As the two leaped away from each other, she looked around uneasily. "So he was right, she's already coming."

"My, my, are you little human implying that you've called for reinforcements?"

Serenity shot a glare at her foe. "I did not, but even if I had told her not to come here, I know she would still do it."

Cygale sensed something and looked up. For a second, he thought Serenity was trying to fool him, somehow. The human floating meters above (and behind) Serenity looked just like her, if younger, and was wearing an almost identical suit. "What is this? Who are you?"

"I am Mana, daughter of Serenity."

"I saw this, and yet..." Serenity started.

"Your friend said seeing the future isn't a flawless power," Mana explained.

"I am somewhat glad that's the case, then."

Cygale didn't just stand there waiting for them to finish their talk, and instead moved to attack. He went for what was, perhaps, the obvious target, but also the more vulnerable one. Or, at least, that was what Cygale thought, but Mana floated swiftly to the side as he appeared behind her, delivering a sideways kick to his midsection.

"I take it you found that place," Serenity noted with a smile. She didn't need to ask, there was no way her daughter would have learnt to fight so fast unless she had all the time she wanted to do it.

"Of course," Mana said as she floated down to where her mother was. "So, this is the Dark One? He doesn't look so invincible."

Serenity looked at Cygale, who was crawling out of the small crater his body had formed after being kicked down to the ground. "That's because he's playing with us."

"That may be correct, but I am done playing now," Cygale snarled, his body suddenly shining with energy. Before the two Senshi could react, the ground underneath them cracked, as a wave of energy shot from it, washing over them both. He saw no traces of the two humans as the light died out, and for a moment thought he had eliminated them. But then he sensed something, and turned around just in time to see the two women dashing straight at him, but saw no weapons in their hands.

The two women saw their target swing his arms, crossing them as he swung, and leaving a trail of energy behind which formed an 'x' in front of him. He then smiled as the energy shot forth, but the women simply corrected their course, coming from his sides. As he saw that, he pointed his arms to the side, charging as much energy as he could, as fast as he could.

But that wasn't enough. He managed to shoot twin beams of energy, one aimed at each woman, but they once again seemed to be one step ahead, diving forwards as the beams hissed by, barely missing their mark. Cygale realized finally what the two were up to, but the realization came too late, as they had both already fired their own energy beams at melee range.

Serenity fell to one knee after the attack. "Even with all this training, we can't keep this up for much longer."

Mana was still standing, but her breath was heavy. "It's good that we are almost done, then."

Cygale was, meanwhile, trying to stand up, and failing to do so. "This is impossible... Simply impossible! To think such primitive creatures would be able to stop me, when I've toppled entire civilizations!"

"Then it's a pity you didn't find us much earlier," Serenity mused. "I cannot destroy you, and I'll admit that much. However, I can still..."

"We can still seal your powers away," Mana noted.

"Mana, you're almost out of energy, if you help me, you could die."

"Mother," Mana said, her voice sounding far more annoyed than she meant to sound, "I've been to that place, and I share the same powers you have. I know what will happen if you alone seal this bastard."

"But your help wouldn't change a thing. In fact, you could die too."

"Is that what you still see?" Mana asked, noticing Cygale was still trying to stand up. She had to admit he was a lot stronger than she expected, since he had survived their combined power.

Serenity's eyes lost focus as she called upon the power that let her see what was to come. There were three different 'paths' now spawning from what they were about to do. Either of them could die in the next few minutes, or they could both be alive in the end. If one of them had to die, she only hoped it was her. "Right, then. Do you know how to do this?"

Mana smiled and summoned her crystal. "Of course, mother."

Cygale was now kneeling on the ground. He was out of energy, but these two girls were also tired. And while the damage he had sustained was almost enough to end him, he had always known his healing speed was incredibly fast. In the past it had been a moot point, for the 'champions' of other civilizations had been powerless against him, but right now, it was a good thing his healing powers were such. These two humans had only to keep on talking for one more minute, and he would be up and ready to destroy them.

Unfortunately for the Dark One, the two women were not going to wait any longer. They both stood in front of him, pointing their hands at him, as their crystals shone with energy. "It's time..."

"What are you doing, human? You cannot destroy me!"

"I know that," Serenity admitted, "our energy is too low for that. However, we can still seal you away so you can never come back to haunt this universe."

Cygale struggled to stand up, but his body was still not cured enough for that. He managed to glare at the two women as their crystals shone brighter and brighter. "Heed my words, humans. I will come back, I won't be sealed away forever. And once I come back, any 'Senshi' I find will die!"

"It's sad that you chose empty threats as the last words you'll ever say, Dark One," Mana noted. The energy from the crystals washed over her arms and she grimaced. "It's time for you to go. Cosmic Seal!"

"Galactic Seal!" Serenity shouted in unison with her daughter.

The planet's night was briefly bathed by a false daylight, and when the light died out, the two women were still there, looking at a small, black crystal. They fell to their knees, energy depleted. "we've done it," Mana said.

"Not yet, Mana." Serenity looked at the crystal and then picked it up, taking a moment to stare at the Dark One's eternal prison before crushing it, causing the crystal to split into several pieces. She then closed her eyes and the pieces floated away, vanishing in the distance. "That's the end of the Dark One... For now."

"And we are both still here."

Serenity smiled. "Even though I was ready to give up my life if that meant the defeat of Cygale, I can't say I'm upset that I still live."

Mana looked at the horizon, where the planet's only satellite was rising. "I wonder what will happen from now on..."

"You only have to 'look' forwards to know," Serenity said.

"Somehow, I'd rather not."

"I can't say I don't feel the same way. Now come, daughter, let's go back to our city."

As they walked back home, Mana remembered something. "Cygale called us Senshi. Is that his way of calling us?"

"No, I called myself that during the fight, and the name fits us well. We are now the protectors of this world."

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 1: First era.
Episode 2: Past and present.


By Razor Knight
Last update: August 14, 2010

-----​

The invincible Xilandri, the most powerful empire of the galaxy, could not be defeated by a handful of soldiers from a small, hopeless planet. That simply couldn't be. And yet, the three soldiers stood there, unfazed as countless ships approached their world. The Commander of the 24th Colonization Squad could only wonder what those creatures were thinking. Hundreds of ships against three creatures, three creatures who didn't seem to have any weapon or vehicle?

Still, that wasn't surprising. He had seen planets being defended with sticks and stones before. And they had all been conquered, they had all become a part of the Xilandri Empire. This world would be no different, this world would soon... He noticed a change in the natives. The females were holding two identical crystals, and the male was holding a sword which was apparently made of the same type of crystal. "Status?"

The officer in charge of scanning looked back at him in shock. "There's a massive power reading coming from the creatures, sir!"

"Raise the shields," the Commander said. Several seconds later, the two women shot twin beams from their crystals, beams almost as large as the Commander's ship. He didn't have time to issue any other orders before the beams popped through the ship's shields, obliterating it and any other ship on their path.

-----​

"Do you think they will take the hint this time around?"

Serenity looked up to the sky. At least, this time around, they had started retreating as soon as their capital ship was destroyed. "I don't know, they have been attacking us for two months now, Dragon."

The youngest of the warriors nodded. "Maybe we should take the fight to them."

"No," Serenity said, "we fight them when they come. If we took the fight to their home world, we could end up killing countless innocents. We would be no better than them."

"Understood. But mother, how come it was Mana the one who gave me this power, and not you?"

Serenity looked up again, to the now empty sky. "She was born with that skill. I wasn't. It's just that simple." And Dragon's own skill was something Serenity herself lacked, too. He could sense any threat to their world from a distance, as Zen'ji had explained, which was roughly three times the distance from their star to the "black planet," as he called it. It was Dragon who warned them about the first Xilandri attack, two months ago. Both her children had taken on the task of defending their world, in a way that would have made Aether proud.

-----​

Aether, Serenity's husband, had been one of the best warriors of the village. Serenity had known Aether for most of her life. They had been friends for as long as she could remember, and he had noticed something 'different' about her, even at such young age.

"But Serenity, why do you like sparring?" he asked her. They were both quite out of breath and taking a break from their usual friendly sparring. It was mostly her knocking him down to the ground, but he wouldn't admit that out loud.

The ten years old girl thought about his question for a minute, then shook her head. "I don't know, it's just... I want to be a Hashar, not just a villager."

"All women stay at the village."

"I know, but why? Some of them are strong enough to be Hashar too. I bet they would beat any warrior they sent against us."

Aether laughed at that. Hashar was the title given to the village's hunters and guards. Attacks from other villages were rare, but not unheard of, and so a Hashar's life was a dangerous one. "I've heard tales of other villages having female Hashar."

"Maybe I could be the first one of our village," Serenity said hopefully.

"I could ask one of the Mentors about it."

"I doubt they..."

He smiled. "My father's the head Mentor. If I can convince him of this, then I don't think the others will mind."

"And how will you convince him?"

"I'll tell him to come watch us fight. I won't hold back, and you know it."

"Won't he think you are holding back?"

"No, he would know if I did, he's been training Hashars for years."


She thought about it for a moment, but she knew it was worth a try. "Okay, I'll beat you up in front of your father, then." She saw Aether giving her a halfhearted glare, and smiled at him. "Thanks, Aether."

"Anything for a friend, Serenity."

-----
It took Aether a whole week to convince his father. But the man, Sagon, finally agreed. He didn't mind humoring his son, and after watching the girl get thrashed around by him, he'll tell her that she wasn't fit to be a Hashar. Unfortunately, rumors had spread, and the fight had far more witnesses than he would have expected. There was nothing he could do about that, though.

"Are you both ready?"

"Yes," the two fighters said in unison.

"This fight will last until either of you is knocked out, or gives up. Now fight!"

The two didn't move for half a minute, waiting for the other to attack first. It was Aether who did that, going for a kick to the girl's chest. The girl was ready for it, and blocked it, following up with a straight to the face, which was blocked by Aether easily.

Sagon grew more and more shocked as the fight progressed. Sure, he had faced female warriors from other villages, but it was the first time he saw one like this Serenity girl in his village. It wasn't the apparent ease with which she was keeping up with Aether's speed and skills that bothered him. It was that she wasn't just keeping up, she was
holding back.

Aether seemed to know this. He leaped back after blocking a high kick, and shook his head at her. "Serenity, I'm not here to play. If you don't show father what you can really do, then this will be useless."

Serenity sighed. "I just didn't want to show off."

"Let's fight for real," Aether said bluntly.

Sagon saw the girl's eyes change as she resumed her attack. True, she lacked training, but there was the spark of a true warrior there. Other parents would feel insulted if they saw their son being beaten around by a female, but he knew that was his fault alone. And how would he know? The training he had given Aether, when asked, was one that would let him get the upper hand on unskilled warriors. He hadn't thought his son would face a skilled opponent for years, not until the real training to become a Hashar began.

"Stop."

Serenity leaped back as she heard that, dodging Aether's last blow before turning to look at Sagon. "Huh? But neither of us has given up."

Sagon laughed at that. "I have already seen enough. It does not matter who wins or loses this fight."

"You have seen enough? What do you mean?" Aether asked.

"There has never been any female Hashar in this village, and I know many Mentors wish it to remain that way."

Serenity's eyes turned fierce. "But..."

Sagon held up a hand in a 'stop' motion. "Let me finish. There is a reason for this, and it's that none of the women we tested in the past has ever shown a warrior's spirit. But you are different."

Serenity was shocked. "That means I can become a Hashar?"

"When you're old enough, I will train you myself, Serenity."


-----​

Convincing Sagon had been easier than convincing her parents, but that was also done. She became the first female Hashar of her village, and eventually one of the best of her generation. She married Aether soon after they became Hashar, and soon after that, Mana was born, and later on Dragon.

Their lives had been relatively uneventful, and she grew used to it. She was never idle, however, and kept training to improve her skills.

"Mother, today is the day Zen'ji leaves, right?" Dragon asked, taking her out of her brooding.

Serenity nodded, looking out to the forest. "I have to go talk to him before that."

"Is what he says true? Can we teach other Hashar to use this power we have?"

"It's possible, but they won't be able to resist gaining the power we have now directly. They'll have to train for years to get where we are."

"They're lucky. I remember I felt like a volcano had exploded inside me when I became a Senshi."

She had to admit Dragon's description of that event was true for her too. "They'll have to go through years of training which may make our own awakening look mild."

Dragon thought about that for a few seconds then smiled humorlessly "then maybe we're the lucky ones."

Serenity walked away, and felt the tug of memories once again as she approached Zen'ji's home.

-----​

Serenity couldn't believe what was happening. Strange creatures had fallen from the sky, and in less than two hours, they had killed most of the Hashar their village had. These monsters had sticks which shot fire not like any fire she had seen before. A green fire which made anything it touched dissolve into a green, liquid substance which glowed in its own. And their stone axes and spears were but toys to the skin of these creatures. Or maybe it wasn't their skin, Serenity realized, since it was a different color than their heads. Clothes that could resist a stone weapon? It was quite shocking.

It was down to five of them now, against a horde of creatures. She looked back at the village and cringed. No, even if this was hopeless, they wouldn't give up. They were Hashar, they would stand their ground and protect their village.

Looking at Aether, she could see it in his eyes, he was thinking the same way. But there was something else there. His was a look of pure hatred, hatred directed to these creatures. She could understand his feelings, though. Sagon was one of the first to fall and Aether had seen his father dissolve right in front of his eyes. "Aether, stand your ground."

"There's no use," Aether said turning to her. The creatures weren't attacking anymore, and he knew why. These monsters were sure of their victory, so they were muttering amongst themselves, and some made noises which he could guess was laughter. "We lost, but... Let's make sure we kill as many of them as possible."

"You have a plan?" Terrak, one of the few elite Hashar left, asked.

"Yes. Aim for their heads," Aether said, and grabbed a sharpened rock, the most simple weapon they had. He then tossed it with all his might, and it caught one of the monsters right between the eyes. Everyone heard the sickly crack as the rock cracked its skull, and the monster fell, orange liquid (blood?) oozing out of its mouth.

The creatures were quite surprised at that, but then they all started shooting as one. The fire was all directed at Aether, but he was the best Serenity had ever seen when it came to dodging. That let the other four unchecked as the aliens tried to take down the only enemy who had managed to kill one of their kin. That was proven a mistake quite soon, as the other four, once aware of the monsters' weak spot, managed to kill dozens of their foes in but a minute.

But even that last desperate attack was useless. Serenity saw Terrak fall and realized the fight was lost. Only her and Aether remained.

One of the monsters snarled at them in his language, probably gloating about their power and telling them to give up. Aether only glared at it and clutched the axe he had used to crack many skulls open that night. "I wanted to be there when Mana became a Hashar. Guess that's not going to happen."

Serenity saw him rush at the one who had 'talked' to them, giving a battle cry as he run. He never reached his target. She looked at what was left of him once the barrage of beams ended, and could feel the tears forming in her eyes. She knew she was surrounded, one against more enemies than she could count up to, and any of their weapons could kill her instantly. "I wanted to be there, too," she said before raising her spear.

Things happened too fast in that moment for her to understand, but afterwards she had played it all in her mind once and again, so she knew what she had seen. She, like Aether, charged at her enemies wildly. And her enemies shot. But the fire never hit her, as something stopped them. No, whatever it was, it didn't just stop them, it made the fire bounce back, taking out many enemies. She stopped dead in her track, as confused as the creatures. Then the creatures looked up to the sky, frozen for many seconds. She looked up and saw it too. A large, floating... Thing.

It wasn't a living thing, she realized, but some sort of floating 'house.' And her foes weren't just confused about the house. They were backing away from it, and she could tell they feared it. The object slowly floated down to the ground, and by the time it landed, a day away from her village, the creatures had already broken into a mad dash away from it. Away from the village.

Before she could recover from the shock, a creature appeared in front of her. It wasn't like the ones that had attacked her, those big, orange-skinned, rat-like monsters. This one was slightly shorter than her, with blue, scaly skin and large insect eyes. And it had four arms, no matter how impossible that would seem to her.

Do not fear, I am not going to hurt you."

There were several things about that phrase that surprised her. She was expecting it to attack her. And if it didn't attack, she expected it to speak to her in a language she wouldn't understand. But this creature was speaking in her own language. How?

"I am Zen'ji, of the Val'harra race. We're here looking for the strongest warrior of your world," the creature said in a monotone, as if this was something he had practiced before.

The woman didn't answer, she had a lot of feelings in her mind, fighting for dominance. She tried to force the worst ones back, but that was another hopeless battle. The creature saw her walk to what had probably been the remains of one of her kin, and kneel in front of it.

Zen'ji saw her reach for the small puddle. "I wouldn't do that. The Garakian guns can dissolve living tissue, and even the residue left after disintegration could damage living tissue greatly."

Serenity looked at it. Was it male or female? She couldn't really tell. "I... I want to be alone. If you're looking for the strongest warrior as you said, you should go talk to him or her instead." But who could it be? All the Hashar were dead. All but...

"I am talking to her right now," Zen'ji said, confirming her guess.

Serenity looked down. "I understand, but I can't talk to you right now."

"I will leave, then," Zen'ji said. He wasn't sure why, but the female seemed quite upset. He was no psychic, but he could still feel she wasn't in the mood to talk. "I will be back after the next sunset."

Serenity didn't look at him (her?) but she knew the creature was gone. She was quite aware people was walking out of the village now. So much for being alone. She had known this day could come, but now that it had happened... She didn't really know what to tell her children, and what to tell Aether's mother. And the rest of the Hashar were gone, too.

"Mom, what happened? Where's dad?"

She looked up at her daughter, who noticed the tears in her mother's face and somewhat knew what was going on. "Mana, I'm sorry, but he..."

Mana fell to her knees and started crying, not needing to hear the rest of what her mother had been about to say.


-----​

Serenity's mind returned to the present as she walked into Zen'ji's 'house.' It was actually a very large spaceship, the only one at ground level. She had seen the images of the other ships, many of them, orbiting all the planets of her home system.

Every Val she passed by nodded at her, and some smiled. It was quite a change from the first time she had been on board of the ship. Back then, she was to them just a creature from a primitive race, someone that, in theory, could become the strongest being in the Galaxy. Now, she was... One could say their theories had been right. And even though Zen'ji was the only one who had ever called her a friend, she knew the others had a similar kind of respect for her.

She had to admit she had been scared the first time she visited that ship. It had been three days after that horrible battle, and being alone in a place full of aliens was not an easy thing for her. Still, the Val'harrha were the complete opposite of the Garakian, the beings who had attacked her village. The Val were a race of 'watchers,' they observed and learned what they could from other races. However, they never attacked another race, and she knew why during that battle: They had created a shield that could reflect anything back at the attacker.

Well, almost anything. She knew that was another reason the Val had to respect her.

And thanks to Zen'ji, she also knew that most 'spacer' civilizations (the Val had words for things Serenity had never thought possible) were violent. So it wasn't really strange that the Xilandri were the second race to attack them in the year she had been a Senshi. It was, he had explained, a consequence of races gaining the knowledge to build spaceships while they were still 'young.' The Val'harrha was one of the first races to appear in the Galaxy (and they knew that because they had explored most of it,) and had not reached space in their youth.

It was only possible to find a way out of the incredible gravity of the regions near the Core after centuries of research. And, by then, the Val'harrha's planet was one without borders, without 'villages.' From what Serenity had understood of his stories, his whole planet was a single village, or 'Citadel' as he called it.

But that world was long gone, its star having died out centuries earlier. Most of the Val could escape their planet's fate, thanks to being able to predict the event a thousand years before it happened. They had since been traveling and doing what they liked most: Exploring, discovering, learning. Watching.

And now, finally, she had found Zen'ji. He was checking a row of monitors, but stopped as he saw her approach. "It's good to see you, Serenity."

"I've been preparing myself for this day for a long time," Serenity said with a sad smile, "but it doesn't make it any easier for me."

"It isn't easy for me either, but... I must go wherever my race goes."

"I understand," Serenity looked at the monitors. She knew what most readings meant, and it was unnerving for her to know she could match, or even surpass, most of those energy readings. "Those warriors from the future, they said your race..."

Zen'ji shook his head at that. "Their legends talk of a race long gone, a race humans have not heard of for eons. It's only natural they think we became extinct, but... We just decided to go back to our role as Watchers."

"So, where are you going now?"

"Back to the Core. Contrary to our predictions, the Vacuum is far more densely populated than our home region. We will be observing the Galaxy from the inner regions."

"Will I ever see you again?"

"I don't think that will be possible, Serenity," Zen'ji admitted. He saw Serenity's eyes watering and smiled at her. "You know, I really envy you. It's not possible for me to cry, and I wish I could right now."

Serenity looked down. "I don't want to cry, to make this a sad memory for you."

"It's not sad to know you care about me enough to cry," Zen'ji said.

Another Val walked to them, and said something in their original language. She knew the language, so she understood the message. Everything was ready, they would be leaving in less than one hour.

"So this is goodbye, then," Serenity said in a whisper. "Wish I could go with you."

"You wouldn't adapt to space, and... You will live a very long life. I won't. I would rather have you remember me like your wise mentor, and not as an old, crazy alien."

Serenity couldn't help but laugh at that. "Thank you, Zen'ji, for all you've done for us."

"And I thank you, because our race learnt that we can do more than just watch if we really want to learn all there is to learn. We will continue searching for other World Seeds, now that we know what they are. If we activate all the dormant ones, we could help the Galaxy evolve."

The World Seeds. Serenity had seen one in one of the ship's monitors before, the shape was strange for her and not at all seed-like. However, it was a fitting name, since those artifacts could turn planets like the arid Mars or the impossibly hot Mercury into inhabitable planets. Her race could live in those worlds, once they gained the ability to travel through space (something she and her children had, but she couldn't transport a mass of people around.) The Val had said that gaining such ability at such a young age would be dangerous. Humans (as was the name given to them by the Val) could end up being just like the Garakians who had attacked her village.

"I suppose I'll go now," Serenity said, turning around to hide the tears that were forming once again in her face.

"Tell Mana and Dragon I'll miss them."

"I'm sure they'll miss you too, friend. Goodbye."

"Goodbye, Serenity," Zen'ji said as her friend vanished. He stood there, looking at the spot where she had been, for a minute, but then realized it was really the last time he would see her. "May your race aim for the brightest future."

-----​

She wondered about the future. She would find Senshi who could link to each of the planets, and then... What? True, her power allowed her to see all possible ramifications of the timelines, but she could only see what caused each if she focused in that particular one. And she knew a split second of difference in an action could cause a whole new ramification to appear, or one of those already 'waiting' to simply vanish. She was 'seeing' that now. Their quick (some would say 'cold') way of dealing with the Xilandri had scared them. They would not come back to attack Earth. She wasn't quite proud of killing thousands of aliens, but if the other option was to let thousands of her own people die... Yes, there was no other option, not for her.

Dragon looked at the fast-moving 'star' in the sky. It was easy to tell it wasn't a real star, for it was moving too fast... And the Sun was at its highest point in the sky. "The Val'harrha left. What will we do now, mother?"

"We will find the other Senshi."

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 1: First era.
Episode 3: And then there were many.


By Razor Knight
Last update: September 9, 2010

-----​

"Alastra, there are warriors from another village asking to see you."

The old woman looked at the messenger. "To see me? Do they think I am that stupid?"

"They have no weapons," the messenger said, "and they didn't defend against our attacks, either."

"They didn't?"

"Lady Alastra, I was there. Our spears and arrows hit them, but the three just stood there. The weapons didn't hurt them at all! And that's when they asked about you, and the leader told me to..."

"You're talking of the impossible, yet you don't seem to be lying. Your eyes aren't those of an insane person, either, I have seen those before. So the only other thing I can assume is that you're saying the truth, and invincible warriors from another village are here, and they're not here to fight, or would have done so already."

"What will we do?"

"Let them in."

-----​

Serenity smiled. "I assume we're free to enter now?"

The guard nodded nervously. "Yes, please go ahead, Lady Alastra is waiting for you."

"Their leader's a woman," Dragon noted in a low voice.

"That may explain why most of those warriors were female," Serenity admitted.

As they walked into the central hut of the village, they saw the leader was old. She seemed older than any of the elders in their own village. "I must admit," the woman said, "I have never heard of warriors approaching another village and not even trying to defend themselves."

"We didn't need to defend ourselves," Serenity said, "and we have not come here to fight, Lady Alastra."

Alastra smiled at that. "I see. If I were to call in all of my warriors and have them fight you, what would you do?"

Mana reached her hand out, and everyone could see a stone knife appear in it. "What will we do?" she asked just as she stabbed her own arm with the knife, which shattered as it hit, small shards falling to the ground. "We will wait until they all tire themselves, and then we'll ask you what we came here to ask. So let's skip the useless fighting and let us ask."

Alastra's face had changed. Before, she was still doubting the 'invincible' warriors. But now, after seeing what a weapon did to them (or rather, that it did nothing,) she saw no point in fighting them. "And what is it that you're here to ask?"

"You have one like us in your village," Serenity said, "a Senshi like us."

"Senshi?" Alastra asked.

"That's the name for our group. In our village it means 'Defender.'"

"Where did you learn to speak our language?" Alastra asked. In fact, this woman was speaking it flawlessly.

"It's one of our abilities," Serenity noted. Actually, it wasn't one of her abilities, but Zen'ji had given her one of the 'translators' his race used to understand other languages. But she didn't need to tell this woman that.

"You say there's one like you in my village. Assuming that's true, what would I gain if I let whoever that is go?"

"It's not what you would gain, but what you could lose. Those like us are normal people until they're awakened. I know how to awaken them, and I could do it without their permission, but... Their bodies would not be used to such power, and they would be scared and confused. They could turn your whole village into dust before I was able to control them."

Alastra couldn't believe this woman's words. Was she really saying a single person of her kind could destroy a whole village? And was she implying she would still awaken that person if she refused? "I now understand why you said you don't need to fight, you seem to have planned this thoroughly. I don't suppose you will tell me who this person is?"

"I will tell you, because I know you won't do anything to that person before I awaken her. I can do that before your order reaches the guard besides you. And, also, I know that person name is... Ashara."

Alastra's face paled and she muttered something Serenity didn't want to translate. "No, it can't be. Not her."

Mana nodded. "Yes, your granddaughter is one of us."

The woman looked at them, and then started pacing back and forth. "I still only see nothing to gain from this."

"We defend no village," Serenity noted, "we defend all of the planet. You would not see your granddaughter as often for a few years, but once Ashara completes her training, she can come back to live in this village if she wants to. I'm willing to let her come visit you if you wish to see her while her training is still not complete, though that may have some risks."

"But what if she never awakens?"

"There are threats out there," Serenity said, pointing up instead of pointing at the door, to make clear what she really meant, "that can't be fought with normal weapons. I think you realized that already. If you were attacked by one of those unknown threats, it could cause Ashara's powers to awaken. If they awaken that way, then I doubt it would be any easier to get to control them. She could end up destroying everything around her."

"You keep talking about your 'power' but I can't see how you could be strong enough to do something like that."

"Then please come outside," Serenity said, "we will show you."

-----​

Alastra followed the three outside, and saw many of her villagers were waiting. "Worry not, these strangers have no thoughts of harming us," she said out loud, though she wasn't all too sure about that yet. "They came looking for someone who, they say, is like them, and who has incredible powers."

"Your great leader has asked us to show her those powers, and we have agreed," Serenity said, shooting a glance at Alastra that told her to follow her lead. "We will need all the room we can get, so... Look outside."

Many of the villagers gasped as Serenity and her two children vanished, but one of the villagers understood what they meant, and looked in the direction of the clearing that was close to the village, to the south. And he was only half surprised to see the three were there, waiting. "They're there!"

The villagers all started moving towards the trio, the curiosity of the mass being strong enough to pull even those who didn't believe they would see anything out of the ordinary along. "Don't come any closer," Serenity warned, "we may not want to harm any of you, but while we're doing this little show, we may get a bit wild."

Mana looked at Dragon. "I think you should start."

Dragon nodded at her, and a sword appeared in his hand, a sword made of a strange, white crystal. "Hope you don't mind being a target."

Mana smiled at him. "Same to you."

And the villagers saw something they just weren't prepared to see. The young man muttered something and then jammed his sword into the ground, and a wall of flames shot from it, hitting the woman dead on. What was even more strange was that the woman stood through the attack, no burnt marks or injuries visible in her.

Serenity looked at the ground between the two siblings and shook her head. "What is it with you and fire, son?" She aimed her hand at the flames that were slowly spreading and closed her eyes, calling forth another element. Water.

By now, the villagers were pretty much aware of how... Impossible these warriors were. One of them had started a fire from his sword, and then this woman had created water, out of her bare hands and put the fire out in an instant.

But then, the younger of the two women decided to show what she could do. She rose her hand... And a lightning struck her. However, lightning bolts would only last for an instant, and they could split a tree in two. But this girl was being struck by a lightning bolt that didn't seem to end, and she stood there, smiling calmly. "Here!" She shot the lightning back at her brother, who simply reached his hand out, and a thick column of rock rose from the ground itself, stopping the lightning arc.

And before the crowd could recover, Serenity herself made all the other tricks look tame. She rose both hands, which lit up like the Sun, and everyone could see fire, ice, sand and even leaves circling her for a few moments. Then it was all back to normal, and she smiled as she looked straight at Alastra. "As you can see, our powers are not just for defense."

"And you say this person... Will be able to do all that?"

"Once she trains with us, yes."

Alastra turned to the left. "Ashara, come here."

"What do you need me for?"

Serenity looked at the girl. She was apparently younger than Dragon, but old enough for her body to resist the awakening. "It's good to finally meet you."

The girl took a few steps back as she realized what this meant. "You mean I am... I am like you?"

"I know you must be afraid," Dragon said, "but we aren't going to hurt you. We gave your grandmother our word."

"I don't want this!" the girl said, her voice turning into a snarl. She stopped, however, as she felt her hand warm up. She stared at it as a small flame appeared, hovering over it. "How..."

"Unfortunately, you will still have that power, even if you don't want to use it. And the longer you go without using it, without learning how to control it, the easier it will be for it to run wild."

Ashara looked at her hand. The fire wasn't there anymore, but it wasn't because she had willed it away. She didn't know how to. This woman was doing something that kept her from creating more fire. "What is this 'power'?"

Mana looked around. "I think we should talk about this in private. Lady Alastra can inform the rest of the village about it later."

"I agree," Alastra said. "Ashara, come with us."

The young girl was too confused right now to refuse, so she followed the others into the village's central hut.

-----​

Ashara looked at her hand again, at the flame calmly resting on it. She could feel the heat, but it didn't hurt her at all. After two months of training, she could now summon fire at will and keep it in check. "Why is it I can't use other elements?"

"Each Senshi is only meant to use one element," Serenity explained. She was glad things were working for them. In two months they had found the Senshi of Fire, Ice and Wind. She knew there were others to find, but she also needed to make sure those she found were ready to fight any enemies they may find.

Kian, the Senshi of Wind, frowned at that. "Yet you and your children..."

Serenity looked at the man. "I know. It's our curse."

"Curse?" the third Senshi, Tae, walked to her. "Being able to use all those powers... Isn't it more of a blessing?"

"We have to keep them controlled, too. And we only have full control over pure magic, with no elements. I will never be as good at using fire as Ashara could be with enough training. Same goes for wind and ice."

Mana walked in right then. "There's an alien vessel out there, in the fourth planet."

The fourth planet? It was still a cold desert, but Serenity knew humans would live there in a relatively close future. "What are they doing there?"

"Dragon doesn't know. Should we go check?"

Serenity looked at their three 'students.' "Take Ashara with you."

"Understood."

"Wait, why me?" Ashara asked.

"That planet's the one you're linked to. And I think you're ready for a real battle, if there is one."

"Right," Mana agreed, "we are going there as scouts. If they turn out to be hostile, however, we will defend ourselves."

Ashara was sure things wouldn't go as smoothly as her leader thought, but this was a chance to prove she was a warrior.

-----​

Going from one planet to another wasn't much different than the way the leaders had reached their village, or how they had brought her to their base. However... The air was different. "This planet stinks."

Mana smiled. "You should see the second planet, then. Once you're strong enough, because that atmosphere's lethal for humans. Don't worry, if you spend a few hours here, your nose will get used to the smell, and you won't notice it anymore."

"Hope you're right. Where are the aliens?" 'Alien' was a strange word. Her own language, Ashara realized, didn't have a word for that term, for something that came from the stars.

"Half an hour to the north, if we fly."

Ashara nodded. "Or if we run."

"Try not to get noticed."

"You'll be the one gliding towards them, so you shouldn't talk," Ashara noted.

"You can be a pest, you know?"

"And you can be quite dumb." Ashara smiled as she said that. Those little 'insult' wars had become a sort of ritual for them, even though they had quickly become friends.

"In any case..." Mana turned and flinched. "Never mind. We won't have to go to where they are. They detected us."

"Shak'le."

"Girl, watch your language."

The aliens had extremely fast vehicles, apparently, as it only took them a couple minutes to reach them. Thanks to the translator, the two women could understand what they said, though the first few words weren't all too kind.

"Where do you come from, intruders?" The alien was tall, looked like an insect, and its face, though strange, was one of someone who was sure of his own superiority. How not to be, when he had a squad of twenty soldiers, and was facing two apparently unarmed women?

"We come from the third planet."

"That's a lie. Where's your ship?"

"Ship?" Ashara asked.

"A vehicle to travel through the stars," Mana explained. To the alien, she said "we need no ship to get here."

The alien took a second to chew on that info and then growled. "You're lying. Fire!"

The soldiers who had walked out of the vehicle along with the one speaking obeyed at once, firing some kind of red beams at the two. "Hmm, this tickles," Ashara noted.

"It's a heat weapon," Mana guessed, noticing the aliens were muttering amongst each other.

"Maybe I should show them..."

"No," Mana looked at her, "sometimes fighting can only complicate things."

The alien who had first spoken to them approached them, and they both could see his body language had changed. "You... Said you come from the third planet?"

Mana nodded. "Yes. This world is empty right now, but we've got plans to expand into it in a near future."

"I understand. If that is so, then I apologize on behalf of our race. We shall continue on to the next system." He turned to leave, then added, "and I also apologize for attacking you."

"No harm done," Mana said. "Farewell."

-----​

Half an hour later, the two women were back in their base, and Mana was informing her mother about what had happened.

"... And Dragon told me they're already heading out of the system. I can guess we won't see them again."

Ashara was still confused, and decided to ask what she couldn't understand. "Why did they leave in such a hurry? I don't get it."

"I'll tell you what I think they saw. Two females from the third planet, who could travel through space and take on their weapons without even flinching. They obviously see no hopes of winning against a whole planet full of people like us."

"But most humans aren't like us."

"Of course. But they don't know that."

"You beat them without fighting? How boring," Tae noted.

Serenity shook her head. "We are protectors, Tae, not murderers. If there is a way to protect our world without killing anyone, then that's what we should always aim for."

"And in this case, us fighting them would have been pointless," Ashara admitted, "if those weapons were all they had, they wouldn't harm even me."

Kian let out a sigh. "I hope we have peace for a while."

"What's the point of training if we don't get to fight?" Tae asked.

"The point is to be ready if we do get to fight," Mana noted. "We'll need to find the other Senshi. Maybe you guys can help with that if you're bored."

-----​

"Lady Mana, good morning."

"I've told you to drop the title when we're in private, Laos."

The young man smiled. "If I do that, I may start forgetting to add it when we're in public."

Mana let out a sigh of defeat. Things really had changed in the last decade. The team was complete now (more than complete, considering there were two Senshi for some of the planets,) and while rather unstable, alliances had formed, and some villages had grown or 'fused' with others. The Senshi were still keeping their guards up for any external threat, but alien attacks had been growing less and less frequent.

Another thing that changed was that humans, thanks to a network of strange devices built by the Val, had been able to settle into other worlds with relative ease. "There's a report from Venus," Laos said, "they say a whole village's gone."

"A whole village?" Mana looked at the white-haired man in shock. "But Dragon would have detected it!"

"I know. I told Lady Serenity about this minutes ago."

"And what did she say?"

"She's already in Venus."

-----​

The landscape was quite strange in this world. No matter how many times she visited this planet, or the gas giants, she would never get used to how things looked from their surface. Thanks to the World Seeds, the planet's deadly atmosphere was mostly clean, the poisonous gases kept miles above ground level. With the thick layer of gases up there, anyone would think the planet was in eternal darkness, or at most in a dim light. But the lowest layer of clouds had a strange brightness, something she found no explanation for. She was sure if the Val were still around she could ask them, but...

Serenity shook her head and focused on the task at hand. She was standing in the center of what had once been a small village. All that was left of it now, was a circle of burnt land and ashes. What kind of weapon could do this? From the few corpses and skeletons she could see, it had caused a large explosion. And if Dragon couldn't sense the attacker, that meant the attack came from the outermost planets, or even from outside their system. She sent a mental message and, a few seconds later, Mana appeared right besides her. "What do you think?"

Mana looked around, then up to the 'sky.' "I think I have a good guess. But we would need to wait for a second attack... If there is one."

Serenity smiled at that. Mana had spent many years reading in the Library, so she had a far better understanding of the Universe than Serenity could ever have. "What do you think happened here?"

"A small planetoid, many times smaller than our Moon or the moons of other planets, may have crashed into the village. The chance for it to happen in a given planet is small, the chance for it to hit right in the middle of a settlement is... Not worth calculating. For it to be large enough to reach the surface and do this..."

"I heard Zen talk about it once," Serenity realized, "he called them 'asteroids' and 'comets.' But I thought they moved around the galaxy naturally?"

"If you wanted to, you could manipulate one of them easily," Mana noted, "and with the proper artifacts, it could be done, without using magic."

"Find whoever did this, and take care of them," Serenity said, "I'm going to bring this village back."

Mana stared at Serenity for a few seconds before nodding. "Don't overdo it."

"I've also been training whenever I could, so I'm stronger than you may think."

-----​

Mana looked at the bracelet she always wore. It was one of the things she had found in the Library, one that let her search information from it without having to physically be there.

The Library was actually a large artifact, and one of the reasons the Val had taken a while to abandon their system. There was no way to know who had built it, or why it had been left where it was: Deep underneath the surface of the sun side of the first planet, Mercury. Even that, the names they used for the planets nowadays, were names taken from the Library itself.

It had been a shock for her, to know there might be a race older and wiser than even the Val'harrha, and that such a race would have existed in their system. The World Seeds were mentioned in the Library, and many of their functions explained there, but there was still no explanation for the link between Senshi and planets, or for the Ginzuishou, as Serenity's crystal (and her own) was called in the records, or the crystal swords (which were being called the Dragon Swords nowadays, after her brother.)

She focused in the task at hand. Upon reaching the eleventh planet, Nemesis, Mana had sensed something in the outer limits of the system, past the many small planetoids that the Sun somehow kept around it even at this incredible distance. A spaceship, a single one, which was (she could see it now that she was closing in on it) dragging a large asteroids along.

If she had doubted these aliens' intentions, all doubts would have been cleared as the ship started shooting at her. Energy beams, projectiles, and after the initial barrage failed to knock her down, some manned vehicles shot out of the ship's front. "I suppose they don't like me being here," Mana muttered to herself.

She had started gathering energy as soon as the first barrage hit her, and unleashed an energy wave many times larger than herself. The wave, however, was stopped by something. "They've got shields that strong? Guess I'll have to get serious."

-----​

Inside the ship, a group of creatures was looking at the single enemy outside. "What's the readings on that woman?"

"She's no threat to us, sir, not with the power readings we're getting from her."

"Good. However, she seems resistant to our attacks," the ship's captain said. "Use the Slingshot."

"Sir, I don't think wasting energy with the Slingshot to kill a single creature..."

"A single creature who can resist our ship's cannons," the captain noted. "Fire the Slingshot on my mark!"

The creature at the scanner paled. "Sir, there's been a change in the creature's readings..."

"That's unimportant," the captain said.

"But sir, her power's increased a hundred times!"

The captain didn't need to calculate to know what could happen if that creature shot. "Raise shields to maximum power!" Even that, however, was pointless when their enemy shot.

-----​

Mana stared at the exploding mess that had been a spaceship minutes earlier. It had been easy, almost too easy. In fact, the only real challenge she had faced since she became a Senshi was Cygale.

Laos appeared right besides her, and took a moment to watch the 'fireworks.' "Tae will be scowling about this for weeks."

"I can almost agree with him. There's nothing challenging out there. I didn't even use half my full power to do this," and she pointed at the now dying explosion near them as she said that last part.

"There's an old saying in my village, 'be careful what you wish for, because you will most certainly get it.'"

"I've heard a similar one once," Mana admitted, "and I know what you mean. But as long as the team is here, I don't think there's anything out there that can defeat us."

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 1: First era.
Episode 4: Generations.


By Razor Knight
Last update: January 14, 2011

-----​

Mana smiled as she watched her daughter play. Gala was the first of the third generation of Senshi (no Senshi was older than her, so Serenity was the only first generation Senshi,) and her power was potentially stronger than hers. This came as no surprise for her or her mother, since both could see how things would unfold in the future, and Gala would one day become the strongest Senshi in their universe.

She also knew what else she would have to go through, but knew it couldn't be stopped. Not if they wanted mankind to keep on existing. "It won't be long until her powers awaken."

Laos smiled as he walked into the room. Mana seemed to always know when he was around, and he was sure it wasn't her power letting her do that. "Let's enjoy her normality while it lasts, then."


It had been no surprise for the other Senshi that Mana and Laos had married, they had been living together for many years. He was the Senshi of Death, linked to the planet Saturn, so their daughter... In theory, she would inherit the powers of either of them, or both of them. But for reasons unknown even to her, who had spent countless hours reading the contents of the Library, their daughter's power would be that of the whole galaxy.

But Laos was right, they could enjoy their peace for the time being. What was going to happen in a few decades wouldn't change her love for her daughter.

-----​

It wasn't long before some of the other Senshi had children of their own. Mana's brother, Dragon, had two daughters with Hemera. One of them, Kama, was only able to use the power of Light. The other one was a bit like Gala. Mitra, the younger of Dragon's two children, had control over gravity, and nothing else. She was the first Sailor Sun. But, despite the source of her powers, her destiny was darker than anything Mana had seen in her visions.

Mitra's power was abnormally high. Not as high as Gala's, but still amazing. Fighting her wasn't easy, as controlling gravity allowed her to create a 'bubble' around her foes, causing them to fall down, unable to move.

She was right now training with the one who had never before been defeated by her powers. Mana smiled as she watched their battle. Maybe some of the other Senshi felt a bit of jealousy at these two, but she could only be proud of how powerful Gala had become since she turned ten and her powers awakened.

So strong, she could have possibly held her ground against Cygale. With a few more years of training, she would be technically, or even literally, unstoppable. It was good that she was on the side of light, at least for the time being.

"Solar Pull."

One other thing these two (and Kama) had, was the habit of giving their attacks names. A habit that would survive countless generations of Senshi, from what her visions told her.

Gala stood unmoving, but also unaffected by Mitra's gravity attack. "I've told you already it won't do a thing against me," she said, looking at her floating foe. "Philosopher's Rain."

The attack used by Gala was strong, but not strong enough to outright kill Mitra. All the elements combined in her palm, and she slammed it into the ground, causing (contrary to what the attack's name might imply,) an upwards stream of energy to shoot from directly under her foe. Having been at the receiving end of this attack, Mana knew that, while it would not kill Mitra, it would still hurt a lot.

Mitra fell to the ground and groaned. "It's not fair, you cheat."

Hemera walked to her daughter. "Any normal human would tell you that being able to float on your own or cause gravity to rise on a whim is also cheating."

Gala sighed. "I suppose I could use a weaker attack. But we're training to become stronger."

"And it's not her fault you can't dodge," Kama remarked.

Mitra stood up and glared at Kama for a few seconds. "Says the one who can't dodge my attacks."

-----​

Several years passed without any real emergency, but things were about to change. Both Mana and Laos had 'heard' the summoning, and had reached the meeting room at almost the same time as the other Senshi. "Mother, what's going on? It's been years since you last called us all this way."

"I called you all here because we are facing a real threat to our system," Serenity said. "An unknown entity's entering our system right now, and approaching Nemesis."

Erebos, the Dragon of Nemesis, nodded at that. "We've sensed it. A dark being is out there."

His sister Nyx looked around the room. "But if you called us all here, then..."

"As I said, it's a real threat. It's going to take all of us to fight this being, if what I'm sensing is true."

Mana reached out with her senses and flinched. "That thing's bigger than Jupiter!"

Gala wasn't the youngest Senshi in the room, but she was the strongest, even though she was one 'level' behind everyone else. "I suppose we should stop it before it reaches Nemesis, then."

Serenity nodded. "This will be the first time Gala, Kama and Mitra join us in a battle. But I'm sure they are more than ready for it."

"Let's not waste another moment," Mana said, "let's go!"

And as suddenly as it had been occupied, the room was empty again.

-----​

The creature was something none of them had ever seen, but something Mana had read about. The original name of these beings couldn't be spelled in any of the languages she knew, but the translation to her language was 'World Eater.' A fitting description for what the creature did.

It was, to put it simple, a dark mass of matter, with no visible 'mouth' or any appendage. From what she had read on it, these creatures fed by wrapping themselves around their target, and then dissolving it. She had read of massive weapons being created to fight them, and that most of them had been destroyed by the Ancients (which was the name given to the creators of the World Seed and the Library by humans.) It was probably the last of its species, but that wasn't going to stop the Senshi from eliminating it.

At Serenity's mental command, they all used their strongest attacks against the creature. They didn't damage it, as they all were deflected as soon as they hit the outer limits of the monster. It kept slowly floating towards Nemesis, completely unfazed by the sudden attacks.

Hemera cringed. "It's not possible. A magic shield that resists our strongest attacks?"

Mana looked at the monster. No shield was perfect, it was just a matter of finding its weak points. "Tae, see if you can find any spot in its surface."

"Sure." It took Tae a minute to finally speak up again. "I've found a weak spot, but from my calculations, even our combined power won't breach through it."

Gala thought about it for a few seconds and then smiled. "Maybe if we really combine our powers..."

"What do you mean?" Mana asked.

"A crazy idea I have. I've read about how some beam weapons have a way higher output by having several beams be focused by a catalyst. Maybe our powers could be enhanced that way."

"You mean shooting the attacks right through one of us?"

Gala smiled at Kama. "That's exactly what I mean."

Serenity considered it for a moment. "Whoever the catalyst is, they could be hurt, or worse, in the process."

"I'm willing to take the risk," Gala admitted.

"No, I won't let you do that."

Gala looked at Mana. "Mom, if any of us can be hit by that much power and survive, it's me."

"But still..." Mana looked at the creature, slowly but relentlessly approaching Nemesis. As much as she hated the idea of hurting her daughter, Gala was right. Gala was stronger than Serenity, and in cases like this, raw power meant a lot more than experience. "Fine, we'll follow your plan."

Gala moved towards the creature, then looked back at the others. "I suppose the trick will work much better if all of you hit me at the same time."

"I'll give them the signal," Serenity said, "whenever you're ready."

"Give me your best shot, then."

With Serenity's mental command, all of the Senshi shot their attacks as one, and all the attacks hit Gala at almost the same time. She let out a scream at first, but then fell silent, two large, multicolored energy balls forming in her hands as she smiled. She rose her hands, and the energy washed over her body. "Galactic Storm!"

The attack came from all of Gala's body, and grew as it traveled the distance between her and her foe, until it was many times her height. The beam itself was bright enough, but the creature, once hit, lit up like a second Sun, the explosion that followed was strong enough to send everyone sailing back a good distance.

Mana appeared right next to Gala, who was clutching her chest in pain. "Are you okay?"

"I'll live," Gala said with a small hiss of pain, "but I suppose I underestimated how much power you all have when combined."

"That name, though..."

"What? I also thought about something like 'Planet Attack', but this one didn't sound so silly."

"Your plan went really well, you know. I wonder if the Ancients had a Senshi like you?"

"That would be sad, I've always been proud of being the first Sailor Galaxia."

"Won't say I wasn't expecting you to choose such a name, Gala."

"Hey, it even fits my real name."

The other Senshi had all gathered around them by now. "Think that was the last of those creatures?" Hemera asked.

Mana had already pondered that, and had used her powers to search for an answer. "It will be the only one we'll see," she said.

"Let's return home," Serenity said, "and hope things stay calm for a while."

-----​

Things had remained relatively calm for many years after that. But while peace was a good thing for some of the Senshi, it was a bad thing for others. Amongst the strongest Senshi, there were those who had accepted peace and enjoyed it, but others didn't quite seem to feel at ease not having anything to fight against.

Sailor Galaxia and Sailor Sun, the strongest two, had been content with fighting each other when there were no enemies to fight against. Of course, their fights had been never to death, but given the raw power they had, they always fought in the area between planets. It was a bit unsettling to know that some of the Senshi's powers were more than capable of splitting a planet in half. It was even more unsettling to know these two could be hit by that kind of attacks and not suffer much damage from them.

"Solar Vortex!"

Galaxia struggled against the gravitational pull of the attack. She had seen what the attack could do, it had turned a large invasion fleet into a single, impossibly compressed cube of metal, plastic and organic materials. She could possibly resist the gravity at the center of that blast, but she wasn't taking chances.

"Nebula Drain."

It was one of the few defensive techniques Galaxia had, but it was also very effective. A thin, violet 'mist' seeped out of his skin, surrounding her and absorbed the energy of incoming attacks, turning it into raw magic energy. When the mist went back into her body, that energy was added to her own.

"Hmph, again with that," Sun noticed.

"See it as my way of admitting some of your attacks could really hurt me," Galaxia said, "as compared to before we reached this level."

Sun let a frown creep into her face for a few seconds, but she knew her friend was right. Galaxia's power was the highest she had ever seen, and was way out of her league for a long time. But when she reached Aeon level, the strongest level of power for them (as far as she knew,) the difference had been reduced drastically. Actually, most of the Senshi had reached that level in the last few years, through training and combat, and Serenity could defeat Galaxia in a fight.

Galaxia was about to attack, profiting from her friend's daydreaming, when she sensed the mental summon. "Serenity."

Sun nodded. She hadn't sensed it herself, but knew Serenity could call any of them (or all of them) without using any device. It was one of the ways in which Serenity was still superior to them. "Have fun."

"We'll call this a draw," Galaxia noted.

"Heh. Who's counting, anyways?"

-----​

Galaxia appeared in the main room of the fortress. It was a large city, built as the main base of the Senshi at first, but soon it had attracted nomads and people from nearby villages. It was nowadays considered the capital city of Earth.

Serenity looked at her. "Were you two trying to kill each other as usual?"

"Yeah," Galaxia said with a smile. It was a joke amongst Senshi, since their powers could be really destructive. In reality, those fights usually stopped at first blood, if not at first hit.

"I've called you here because I know you're not happy just to stay here and fight the odd invasion fleet that shows up every few years."

"That's not..." Gala started, but shook her head. No use in lying to her grandmother. "Yes, but there's nothing I can do about that."

"You know about the colonization project," Serenity said. It wasn't a question, all the Senshi knew about it. "Our objective is to colonize planets outside our system, and we have the means to do that, but the people going on those spaceships are normal humans. Even the ones trained for combat wouldn't be able to face some of the enemies we've seen here... And there might be stronger creatures out there."

Gala guessed what her grandmother was going to say next. "You want me to babysit those colonists, right?"

Serenity paused for a few seconds. "That's... One way to say it. Senshi are protectors, we're meant to protect mankind. You're the strongest of us all, and I have foreseen there will be enemies out there which would overpower most of us."

Gala smiled humorlessly. "It's not something I can give you an answer to just like that."

"I know, the ships aren't leaving for at least another year. I'm not asking you to answer to this request right away."

"I'll think about it, then," Gala said.

-----​

"So you're going to leave? For how long?"

"I haven't decided to leave yet," Gala said, "and I don't know how long it would take. Maybe a few years, maybe a few centuries."

"I could go with you."

Gala looked at Mitra and smiled. "I wouldn't mind the company."

"Serenity's right about it being boring around here."

"Maybe we can find another one of those planet-eating things."

"With our current power, I think we could kill one of those in a blink."

"Overconfidence is a flaw, Mitra."

Mitra almost jumped at Serenity's words. It was unnerving, how Serenity could waltz in undetected on anyone. Anyone but Gala's mother, actually.

Serenity smiled seeing Mitra's face. "Yes, I know what you were talking about. I don't know if letting two of the strongest Senshi go is a wise decision, but having you pouting at being left behind would be an even worse one."

Gala laughed as Mitra gave Serenity a halfhearted glare. "I can actually see that happening."

Serenity's smile hid what she was thinking. The dark path these two would be traveling, she had the power to change it, but she would not do it. Some would call it cowardice, to fear what would happen if she altered time, to be afraid of what an archive created by an unknown alien race theorized about time and space, and the consequences of 'breaking' the threads of time.

But changing the future on a whim, knowing what consequences the change may bring, wasn't bravery. There was a thin line between bravery and foolishness, and it was, at times, hard to see. Serenity would not cross it for this particular decision, no matter what.

-----​

Gala had, in the end, agreed to help the colonists. She had inherited some of her mother's curiosity, so wanting to see other worlds than the ones she had always been at was natural for her. Mitra's case had a lot more to do with boredom than curiosity, but she was as eager to defend them as Gala was.

And now the two of them were waiting for the last few hours to pass before the ships took off. Gala observed the ships with amusement. Each and every one of them was many times larger than her village. And they had to be, each was meant to take hundreds of humans across the galaxy, at speeds she knew no Senshi could match.

And yet, the closest star was several months away, even at such speeds. "I used to think Garuks were rather fast."

"I doubt Garuks can run faster than light."

Gala looked at Mitra. "We may not see this world again for centuries. Are you really okay with that?"

"Are you?" Mitra asked back.

"Not really. But I feel my place is with these 'colonists', that I will be needed to protect them."

"I've been having the same feeling," Mitra admitted, "maybe that's what Serenity means when she speaks of 'destiny.'"

"We'll see, won't we?"

-----​

Mitra shook her head as she walked into the ship's bridge. She had known farewells would be hard, but that had seemed to take forever. In any case, there she was now, aboard one of the ten ships en route to another system, and the ship was starting its final countdown before take-off.

"Everything okay in your side?" Gala asked through the ship's comm. She was in a different ship right now, but they both could 'jump' from ship to ship effortlessly.

"Engines will be starting in a minute," Mitra noted, "this will be the first critical point. If these things manage to take off, we've done half our job."

And the minute ticked away fast. Mitra watched the main screen as the ships left the Earth. Even though she had seen the 'blue planet' from orbit a few times in the past, looking down at it still felt overwhelming. And knowing they were not going to come back for a long time made her feel uneasy.

As she looked at the screen, she noticed something amiss. "Seven, what's your situation?"

"Engines shut down on their own," the ship's captain said, "I'm having my crew figure out the problem."

They were outside the Earth's gravity well now, which was both a good and a bad thing. They wouldn't be crashing down on the planet, but with no engine, they would be drifting through space for a while. "Let me see what I can do to fix it," she finally said after a few seconds.

She phased to the seventh ship and looked around. They were all identical ships, all based in Ancient technology recorded in the Library of Mercury. While she was admiring the scenery, the captain walked to her. "There was an energy leak as soon as we broke out of Earth's atmosphere. The mana cells are almost completely depleted."

Mitra looked at the woman. "Know the cause of the problem?"

"A problem with the cells themselves. From what I gather, we're lucky the ship didn't explode during take-off. The problem's fixed now, but we're still out of power."

"That won't be a problem," Mitra noted, "show me where the energy is stored."

The captain walked to one of the computers, pushing a few buttons until a map of the spaceship was shown in its screen. "There, all the way back, right above the engines."

"Good, I'll fix this in a minute," Mitra said and vanished, leaving a slightly confused captain to wonder what she had in mind.

She appeared right next to the energy cells, and the crew working on them looked at her surprised, but recognized her almost immediately. Mitra put a hand on one of the cells and smiled. They were all connected, which made her plan easier to complete. She concentrated, and those around her could see a thin white aura around her arm, as energy passed from her body to the ship's reserve.

"Amazing," the captain's voice said from a comm device in one of the walls, "energy's up to a hundred percent!"

Mitra appeared right next to the captain, who tried to look like she wasn't surprised (now Mitra could see why Serenity loved doing this.) "I just fed the cells with a bit of my own energy reserves."

"A bit?" the captain asked, "you don't look tired at all."

"I could refill all ten ships without much trouble," Mitra noticed. "I'll go back to Two, if you notice anything wrong during the Jump, let me know."

"Will do, Sailor Sun."

Mitra smiled as she reappeared in the second ship. It was quite amusing, how normal humans were told just how strong the Senshi were, yet they kept on being astounded by such simple things as them being able to recharge a spaceship's energy without breaking a sweat.

"Is Seven okay?" Gala asked through the comm.

"There was an energy leak, it's fixed now, but I warned the captain about keeping an eye on the readings."

"We should have all other ships run tests, just in case."

"Agreed. How long until we can make the jump?"

"A couple hours before we're far enough from Nemesis. After that, we have a couple years of boredom until we reach the nearest star."

"Does it have any inhabitable planets?" Mitra asked.

"We'll know when we get there."

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 1: First era.
Episode 5: Senshi of light, Senshi of darkness.


By Razor Knight
Last update: January 29, 2011

-----​

Their journey had been quite uneventful, or to say it in the words of Mitra, boring as khlan. But now they were finally there, making their final approach to Nue, as the closest star to their 'sun' had been labeled. The planet they were going to investigate had been named Nue Terra, the Earth of Nue. If everything went as planned, it would be the first of many worlds.

Both Gala and Mitra knew settling and terraforming the planet would take at least a decade. Serenity hadn't lied to them about that, they would be trading defending one planet for defending another, but in this case, they would be the only Senshi in the planet.

"I guess it wasn't just a trick of the eye."

Gala looked at the monitors, showing a view of the large, orange and blue planet. "I would make a guess either the ground is orange, or most of the local vegetation is responsible for that." The Earth's only satellite, after all, had silvery white trees and flowers, and even most of its animals were white.

"We've scanned the atmosphere," the captain noted, "and there's nothing there that could be harmful to humans. There's a bit more oxygen than there was on Earth, but the numbers vary from planet to planet."

Besides the distance, one deciding factor for choosing Nue Terra as their first colonization target was that the planet's atmosphere appeared to be close to Earth's own. "What about the planet's tint?" Mitra asked after looking at the screen for several seconds.

"Some sort of fungi, it's spread throughout all the planet. And as far as we can see, it's the only native life form."

"What about the oceans?"

"There's fungi in there too, but not enough to paint it orange. It's strange, the planet doesn't look young, but the only life form in it is a primitive one."

"There may be a reason for that," Mitra guessed. "I think it would be wise to scout the surface before we land."

"I'll gather a small group of soldiers and researchers," the captain noted.

"It should be just us two," Gala noted.

"But if something down there is harmful to humans, we will not know about it if it's just you two down there."

Mitra looked at Gala, who shrugged. "I guess you're right. We'll do our best to protect those men."

"That's all I'm asking," the captain admitted.

-----​

"This planet looks like a desert."

Galaxia had to agree to the soldier's words. The planet's temperature was slightly higher than that of Earth, if the current weather was any indication. She scanned the area around them with her eyes, and her mind. Her eyes only saw the orange 'sea' of fungi, but her mind was able to 'listen' to what the fungi were 'thinking.' She could see it was like one single organism formed by trillions of 'cells' and if what she was feeling from it could be translated, the only word it's 'mind' would be thinking about right now would be 'kill.'

Sun saw Galaxia's face. It wasn't often that she saw her friend worried, so she knew things were about to turn 'fun' for them. "Gala?"

"This fungus, this creature, isn't friendly," Galaxia explained. "In fact, it sees us as contamination. It wants us--"

"Dead," one of the soldiers said in a monotone. "Intruders. Dead. Leave."

Sun noticed the eyes of the soldier had an orange tint. "What the heck..."

"Planet. Ours," one of the scientists said, also in an emotionless voice.

"Gala, can you heal them?"

Galaxia reached out with her senses. "Yes, but if they stay here..."

"Take them back to One," Sun said.

"Wait, what are you..."

"Something stupid," Sun admitted. "That organism might kill them, but if they stay here, they will die for sure."

"Okay, I'll take them back to the ship then. Good luck."

Sun looked around. She could feel that... Thing, trying to sneak in. She could guess how it did it. Spores floating in the air, all around them, and once they got inside any living being, they would grow fast, taking over. They probably fed off the beings they took over, too, which would explain why there were no animals or trees anywhere.

Magic was protecting her from these spores, but normal humans were, as they had just seen, easily taken over by them. So mankind and this creature couldn't live peacefully in this world. They could leave and look for another suitable planet, but this one was good enough, if only they could get rid of the native, hostile life form.

"I don't know if the others would agree with this," she mused, then closed her eyes, calling forth a part of her powers she seldom used. Being a Senshi of the Sun, her control over gravity was second to none, but it also gave her control over another kind of energy, which had been called 'radiation' by the Ancients, and was one of the things that, in theory, created life. But too much radiation could also destroy life. She knelt down, placing both hands on the ground and opened her eyes, as a thin golden aura surrounded her.

She had no name for this technique, as she never thought she would use it. In a matter of seconds, a wave of radiation washed over the whole planet, which shone with an eerie golden glow.

"Mitra, what are you doing?"

Sun looked up to see Galaxia standing there. "Taking care of the problem."

Galaxia looked around, and went pale. "You killed it... All of it."

Sun stood up, radiation flooding back into her body as her attack ended. "We can live in this world now."

Galaxia shook her head, her face showing she was not happy about what her friend had done. "You say you took care of the problem? We are the problem!"

"We were sent to colonize a new world, weren't we?"

"So we'll just rush in and kill whatever is living in it first? How does that make us different to the invaders we've fought?"

Sun gave Galaxia a short glare, but then looked down. "Damn it all, you're right. I thought a primitive life form like that fungi was just wasting a good planet, but... We are quite primitive compared to some of the races that tried to invade our worlds."

Galaxia let out a long sigh. "What's done is done. It wasn't the right thing to do, and I would have definitely thought of another solution. Besides, you didn't eliminate all of it."

Sun's eyes widened. "What happened to the scout team?"

"They're okay, but since I couldn't kill the parasites without killing them, I simply phased the parasites out of their bodies, and put them in a safe container." Galaxia explained. "The humans seem to be recovering, but we'll only be sure after watching them for a couple days, at least."

"So we just put the fungus back in this planet and move on."

"We could do that. But one of the moons of the thirteenth planet of this system has everything these guys need to grow, and no oxygen."

"You mean they don't feed on living beings?"

"The... Creature, it remembers the last living being in this world dying 'many cycles ago' which I suppose refers to years. And this planet's orbit makes it take several of our years to make a full turn around its star."

"It couldn't have survived for that long, you say, without food?"

"Probably. It seems to feed on minerals and some gases."

"Then let's put it in that moon."

"You do that, I'll tell everyone the planet's safe."

Sun looked at the small, black box. "You want me to go release that thing..."

"Yes."

"What would stop me from also destroying it?"

"Your conscience," Galaxia said, then vanished.

Sun smiled at the spot where Galaxia had been standing. "I hate it when you're right."

-----​

The first few weeks were quite active. The group had been busy moving out from the ships, finding the materials to build a settlement, preparing the soil for farming. The two Senshi, meanwhile, had been busy exploring the surrounding worlds.

Nue Terra was the sixth planet as far as distance from Nue went. Galaxia and Sun were right now on the 'sun' side of the innermost planet. The heat was annoying to them, but not deadly. For normal humans, however, this world would be deadly. The ground itself was so hot it would melt their skin and flesh away in seconds.

But this was the last planet they had to check. And their search had been for naught. There were no World Seeds in any planet but Nue Terra. Mana had mentioned one theory to them, that the Seeds were directly linked to life, making it easier for life to form in any planet that had them.

"Quite different from our system, isn't it?"

"It sure is," Galaxia said, looking up at the sky, which was mostly occupied by Nue, "and speaking of our system, I suppose it's time to test something else."

Sun shook her head at that. "I don't know if it's wise, Gala."

"You can stay here, if you're scared."

"I'm not scared, I just said it wasn't wise."

Galaxia smiled and closed her eyes. "Ready?"

Sun closed her eyes as well. "Yes."

"Now!" Galaxia said, and both of them vanished.

-----​

Serenity was surprised by the sudden guests. "What are you two doing here?"

"Testing the limits of our teleportation skill. Or, should I say, the lack of limits."

Sun smiled at Galaxia. "You were right."

"Serenity, the colonization project's working as expected. It won't take more than a decade to have a stable colony there. And the planet's far larger than Earth, so we could have millions of humans there eventually."

"What about the wildlife?" Serenity asked.

Galaxia looked at Sun, then at Serenity. "There was none."

Serenity didn't say a thing, but she knew they were hiding something from her. "Stay there and protect the planet. If things work as expected, those born in that world could have a connection with planets of that system."

"You mean new Senshi could be born for Nue Terra?" Sun asked in surprise.

"I admit I forgot to warn you about that," Serenity noticed, "but I don't think anyone other than Mana and me knows about it."

"Any other thing you know that we should know about?"

Serenity looked at Galaxia for a few seconds before shaking her head. "That's all I have to warn you about." Or, rather, that was all she could warn them about.

-----​

"Are you sure this is a good idea?"

Galaxia smiled. "Mitra, we've been friends for too many years to count. I know I can trust you with Nue Terra while I'm gone."

Nue Terra was a proper world now. Several cities had been founded by the colonists, and there had been no alien attack in well over a decade. Two generations of children had been born in this new world, and Sun knew of at least five possible Senshi candidates. It was time to look for new worlds to colonize.

But indirect observation wasn't good enough. It had led them to a world populated by a strange organism, and it could lead them to something worse next time. And much despite herself, she knew Galaxia was right, if anyone could face whatever was out there, it would be her. But it still didn't make it easy for her.

"I will stay and keep this world safe until you come back, Gala."

"Good to know. And don't worry, I'll come visit often."

-----​

Mankind as a whole was bad at waiting. As soon as Galaxia's first report on the apparent emptiness of the surrounding systems was heard, preparations had started to send more ships out, and there were six more colonies around Terra Nue now.

Mitra watched a spaceship land close to the capital's main building. Trading between colonies had soon started, and it benefited them all. Terra Nue was short in firewood, but had plenty of minerals to trade for it. And this ship from Arcana, the fifth colony, was loaded with firewood, and would leave with the same volume of minerals once negotiations were done.

She sometimes regretted not following Gala, but she had promised to keep this world safe, and she would not break that promise.

"Lady Mitra, what's in your mind?"

She turned to Zaera, one of the newest Senshi, the Senshi of Nue Laren, the outermost planet of the Nue system. The Senshi in this system had a mostly different set of abilities, like control over poison, but Zaera had control over wind and air itself.

"I'm just thinking about how much things have changed."

"I can't even imagine what life would be like in Earth."

"Pretty much the same as here, but with much more water and volcanoes. In any case," she said smiling at the (much) younger woman, "I'm supposed to test your skills, not be daydreaming, so I apologize."

"There's no need to apologize, Lady Mitra."

"You can drop the 'Lady' part when no civilians are around," Mitra said, "after all, you're already one of us."

Zaera blinked at that. "I thought I wouldn't be an official Senshi until after this test?"

"The test is just a formality... Which doesn't mean I won't be fighting for real."

"So you won't hold back?"

Mitra smiled at that. "I haven't used my full power for many years, Zaera. If I fought all out against Sailor Daein, the oldest of this sytem's Senshi, I could defeat her with one single attack. Against someone of your level? I don't need to move."

Zaera's face went paler and paler with each of Mitra's words. She could feel it, the power being gradually released, until feeling it wasn't needed. She could see the magic aura around the elder Senshi. "That much power... It's impossible."

"Nothing's impossible for us Senshi," Mitra said, "but you shouldn't even dream of fighting me at full power unless you reach my level."

"I realize that now. But how can I hope to pass this test against someone so..." Zaera stopped as she felt Mitra's power weakening, and fast. "... That's amazing."

"If I walked around the planet showing off my full power, I'm sure a lot of people would start fearing me," she explained as she 'lowered' her power enough. It was still there, all of it, but she was only using a small fraction of it. A very small fraction. "This will be enough to test you," she added as she motioned the other woman to attack her.

-----

"As the Zles of Nue Terra, I would like to thank you for your many years of service, Lady Mitra."

Mitra nodded at the man. An old man, whom she had seen crawling around as a baby in the past. He was right, many years had passed, and to her they passed too fast. It had been several decades since Galaxia last visited them, but she could wait for her for as long as it took. Besides, she had found new friends in the Nue Senshi, and they all saw her as a mentor, and respected her.

As she walked out of the Zlesar, the central government building for Nue Terra, her senses warned her about something. Something evil, and insanely powerful. As that something landed right in front of her, she couldn't help but let out a gasp.

The being standing in front of her was a Senshi, her suit torn and dirty, her hair a mess, and her eyes lifeless. "Nice world you have here, hope you don't mind me destroying it," she said as she looked at Sailor Sun.

Apparently this being wasn't bothering with stealth, Sun realized as she sensed the other Senshi appearing all around her. "Guys, watch out. This one is above Aeon level."

Sailor Laren nodded. "Looks like a challenge."

The unknown Senshi laughed at that. "A challenge? Only three of you are close to my power, this will hardly be enough for me!"

Sun shook her head. "Close to your power? Damn rookie." She let out her real power, and smiled as the newcomer backed away. "Last warning, get out of this system or I'm going to beat you down, kid."

"Beat me down? That's cute, and I'd love to fight you, but let me take care of the bugs first." There really was no time for them to react. The new Senshi seemed to vanish, and the Nue Senshi all fell to the ground in only a couple seconds. "Hmph, that was hardly amusing," she said as she licked the blood off her hands.

Sun looked around in shock. All her team was down, each of them had a hole where their heart should have been, and was lying in a pool of blood. "Why..."

More laughter from the evil Senshi. "Why? Because I can. Because I enjoy it. Don't tell me you never felt the thrill of ending a life? It must have been a boring life for you."

Sun closed her eyes. No, giving in to rage would only get her killed, this one was close enough to her level to be able to do it. "What is your name, monster?"

"If you must know... I come from one of the innermost colonized planets, a world fittingly named Chaos. I've been destroying Senshi ever since my world was destroyed."

"What? Was your world destroyed by a Senshi?"

The woman's smile was almost mocking. "Of course it was. I did it."

"No... Senshi are warriors of good, they are meant to defend mankind, not destroy it. How could someone like you become one of us?"

"I am Sailor Chaos, but I'm not really human. I wasn't human at first, but I existed in Chaos way before your pitiful race started polluting the galaxy. This girl's power attracted me, and I realized I could use her, I could have fun thanks to her and her power."

"So you took over her body?"

"I did much more than that, little human. This girl's name was Eris, she had a family and friends, and all those things you inferior beings seem to value so much. Using her body and powers to destroy them, one by one, forcing her to watch me do it... It was the most fun I've had in centuries, I admit."

Sun growled at Chaos, who seemed to be sincerely amused by what she was telling her. "You are a monster, I will destroy you for all you've done!"

"Oh, but of course. You will destroy me and avenge your friends. I've heard that plenty of times."

"Don't bluff, creature. I can read your body language, and I know you're not so sure of your victory as you say. I'm not just another Senshi, I'm from the original world. One of the first, one of the strongest, and one of the eldest Senshi alive."

"You're saying those of your world are stronger than any other Senshi?" Chaos asked, in a tone that was almost gleeful. "Can't wait to go there!"

"You'll go nowhere, monster, because I'm going to defeat you here and now."

"See, you've got quite a handicap here, human. I've fought many of you before, and you're all fearful of unleashing your real power, because that could destroy your worlds. I, however, have no such fear."

Sun smiled at that. "You're saying that if I don't destroy you along with this world, you'll destroy it anyways, right?"

"Yes, that's right."

"Good," Sun said, her tone cold. "Solar Armageddon!"

A large wave of energy shot forth, hitting Chaos head-on. But there was no explosion, no devastation, no collateral damage done. Sun was far above any other Senshi, and just like Galaxia, she could focus her whole power in one target, without damaging anything else.

Chaos stood up and laughed, despite the blood pouring out of her mouth. "Yes! This is incredible! I never thought someone could have this much power, and this much control!"

"Don't praise me, monster. You're about to die."

"This body's pretty much done, I know," Chaos agreed, "so I'll just have to look for a new one. And I've found a perfect candidate."

Sun glared at her foe. "You'll never get me, monster!"

Chaos saw Sun preparing to attack again and laughed. "You're gonna finish this so soon? But we're having so much fun!"

"Solar Armageddon!"

Chaos was ready for it this time, and blocked the blast with a shield of her own, causing an explosion which literally vaporized the city around them. "Now, now, if you go all out, you'll start breaking my toys before I can play with them!"

If Sun's glare had been backed by magic, it could have punched a hole through Chaos' head. "You must be destroyed, monster. No matter what."

Chaos let a smirk slip into her face for a few seconds. "Even if you have to become a monster yourself?"

"No matter what," Sun repeated as she prepared another attack.

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 1: First era.
Episode 6: Journey's end.


By Razor Knight
Last update: February 21, 2011

-----​

The enemy in front of her was different to anything she had ever fought. She had clearly underestimated her, this evil Senshi wasn't something she would be able to defeat easily. In a way, she had always believed Senshi to be invincible, but in this case, whether or not that was true was a moot point. "Tell me, monster, how many worlds have you destroyed?"

Chaos saw her opponent was trying to buy some time, but she didn't mind. "I never found any group of Senshi as strong as the ones back home, so I just didn't bother. There's something to be said about a real challenge, no number of easy fights will amuse me as much as a single challenging battle."

"Can't say I don't agree with that," Sun admitted, "but that doesn't mean I will forgive you for what you've done."

Chaos smiled at that. "I know, and I am looking forwards to that. Know what made it easier to control this girl? It's quite simple. She was the weakest Senshi of the system, and she eventually grew to hate all other Senshi for it. Her hatred was like a beacon of darkness for me, I just couldn't ignore it. So hate me, Sailor Sun, hate me for all I've done to you!"

Sun shook her head. "No. My mentors always told me hatred and rage were a warrior's worst enemies in a battle. I will not let them control me."

"Good, I was afraid you would give up before I could have some fun," Chaos said. "Chaotic Ender."

Sun was knocked back by the attack, a large energy wave shooting out from Chaos' body in every direction. She stood up and saw the area around them was a scorched wasteland now. "What have you done to the city?"

"The city?" Chaos let out a chuckle. "Check again, Mitra."

Sun reached out with her senses, and her face went pale. "No. The whole planet is..."

"Returned to its purest form," Chaos said, "a lifeless rock."

"Damn you, monster!"

Chaos smiled mockingly as Sun rushed to her. "There, girl, now you're hating me for real. I was waiting for this."

Sun saw Chaos wasn't moving, and frowned, stopping meters away from her. "What... Are you giving up?"

"Destroy me, Sailor Sun. It is your fate to do so, it is what your heart and mind both desire, it is what I deserve. Destroy me. And then you will become me!"

Sun's movement was too fast for even Chaos to follow, and she was already clutching Chaos' throat, crushing it with her bare hand, before the monster finished her sentence. It only took her a few seconds, and the noise of breaking bones, along with the blood flowing out of Chaos' mouth, signaled Sailor Chaos' death. "I will never be like you, monster."

She turned to walk away, but something made her freeze. 'You will never be like me, you say? That's priceless. I can now see you nearly exterminated a whole species, and never felt any remorse about it.'

"That's not true, I could have finished them off when Gala..."

'You did not, out of fear of Gala. You've always feared what she would think of you if you stopped caring about her stupid rules and morals.'

"No! Get out of my mind, monster!"

'I'm afraid I can't do that. The darkness in you makes Sailor Chaos look like a weakling, I was quite aware from the moment we started fighting that I would lose. Or, rather, that Sailor Chaos would lose.'

"... It was all a trap?"

'Yes, and you fell for it the moment you let your rage take over.'

"Now if you excuse me, I have someone to visit. Someone you know." Sun's voice was different now, colder.

'What? No! I won't let you do this!'

"You will, Mitra. And you will have to watch me do it."

-----​

Mana appeared right next to Serenity, who wasn't surprised at all to see her arrive that way. "I suppose you sensed her too," the Queen said. It wasn't a question, as she knew Mana's senses were as keen as hers.

"We will do whatever it takes to defeat her."

"And so will I. But I fear the outcome of this battle is decided already."

"Doesn't mean we should just give up without trying," Mana noted, with a smile.

The Senshi all appeared near them, and they were all looking up at the sky. "The computers detected an entity approaching the system. It's stronger than anything we've ever faced before," Laos commented.

Serenity nodded. "It's Mitra... But it's not her anymore. You will understand when you see her."

And it took their foe only a minute to reach them. Sailor Sun looked around and nodded. "I see there's a few more Senshi around than last time I visited. That's good, maybe you will be a challenge."

Serenity stared at Sun. "You're not Mitra. Mitra's gone, and I will destroy the one who killed her."

"Mitra's gone? What does she mean?" One of the newest Senshi asked.

"That's not Sailor Sun," Laos, who could sense souls, or the lack of one, explained, "I can't see any traces of her left. Whatever this thing is, it's not Mitra."

"Aw, that spoils the fun a bit," Sun said with mock disappointment, "but that's enough yapping from you weaklings, let's get this party started."

-----​

Gala stared up to the sky and sighed. How many years had passed since the last time she visited Earth, or even Terra Nue? She wasn't sure. It was easily a decade since last time, maybe even a century. Time passed fast for immortals like her, and she had been alone all along, alone with her thoughts. In her exploration of the galaxy, she had found almost no sentient beings, and the few sentient ones were primitive species, unable to leave their home world, and sometimes unaware there was anything for them to explore beyond the limits of their sky. It would take them too long to reach the stars, and by then, mankind would be everywhere.

She had always thought the Galaxy would be like a valley, full of different civilizations. What she had found, however, was a desert, a desert of stars, and that was both depressing and encouraging. Mankind would have nearly no rivals in the race for the galaxy. Thanks to the Library, mankind had advances no other race had, and they also had Senshi.

She looked southwards. Yes, she still remembered it clearly, she knew where the original worlds were. And so, her next stop (and hopefully final, at least for the time being,) would be Terra Nue.

-----​

Sailor Galaxia had seen a lot, and had been surprised by nothing. But upon arriving on Terra Nue, what she found was something she had not expected. The planet was a wasteland, no living creature was anywhere to be found, no traces of any of the tall buildings that had been built through the centuries of human expansion. It was impossible, no space-faring race she had met had this kind of power, and she had explored most of the galaxy.

A thought formed in the back of her mind, but she silenced it quickly. She would have to ask Serenity about it, surely the Earth Senshi knew about this and would know what had happened to Mitra and the colonists. She was aware mankind had begun expanding on its own while she was exploring, so Terra Nue was just one of many worlds. But to her, this world was very important. "Where are you, Mitra?"

Galaxia didn't bother trying to make sense of things. She instead phased directly to Earth, right to where the ancient capital city... Should have been. Galaxia was too shocked to speak by now, too confused to be able to figure out what was going on. The Earth was in nearly the same state as Terra Nue. And reaching out with her senses, she could only detect one life form in the whole planet. A creature of pure evil and hatred.

And as the creature appeared near her, she realized the surprises weren't done yet. And this one was as unpleasant as any surprise she had in the last few minutes. "Mitra?"

"Gala, it sure took you long enough to come back. As you can see, I've been busy redecorating."

Galaxia stared at her friend. Her eyes were devoid of emotions, and her power... It rivaled hers. She could easily guess what had happened to these planets (for she was sensing none of the planets of the Solar System had life in it anymore,) but why would Mitra do it?

"If you had been there when I needed you, Gala, then none of this would have happened," Sun said, guessing her thoughts, "but no, you had to go and leave me behind. Such a friend you were."

"Mitra, I..."

"Shut up!"

Galaxia had grown stronger while exploring, and had kept training herself. But Sun... Sun's power was many times stronger than she remembered. And the gravity wave she was unleashing, it could be strong enough to destroy the Earth. "Damn!"

Sun saw Galaxia vanish and growled. "Running away, are you?" She looked up and smiled. "I won't let that happen."

Galaxia saw her friend appear in front of her and stared at her emotionlessly. She had already figured out what was wrong with Sun. "You're not Mitra."

Sun smiled in amusement. "I'm impressed, you're the second person to ever figure it out before I told them. First one was your grandmother. But I hope you're not as weak as she was."

Galaxia kept her cool. "What happened to Mitra?"

"I took over her body and erased her. Erased her 'soul' as your race calls the core of living beings. She put up quite a fight, though, you should be proud of your friend for that."

"I'm not like any of the others. Defeating me won't be so easy."

"Oh, I'm quite aware of that, dear Gala. I'm like you Senshi in a way, I love to fight enemies stronger than me, just for the challenge."

"A monster like you, who would destroy an entire system just for fun, comparing yourself to us? We will never be like you!"

"Then I'll defeat you, and move on until there's no other Senshi but me. And if I have to devastate half the galaxy to do it, then so be it."

"Your plan sounds good, except for one thing. You won't defeat me."

"That's what Serenity and Mana said, too. I'll make sure you beg for your life in the end, just like they did."

"Why you..."

'Gala, don't! If you let rage control you, Chaos will consume you.'

Galaxia looked around. That was Mitra's voice! "What was..."

"I guess some of that brat's soul still remains. Maybe watching me defeat you will make her give up for good."

"So you go around looking for stronger beings to take over, forever afraid of not being the strongest being ever? I pity you, Chaos. Do you even remember who you really are?"

"All you need to know is that I'm the one who killed everyone you ever cared about. And one way or another, I'll destroy you too, in the end."

"I'm sorry, but I'm not going to let anger control me."

"Is that so? Let's stop talking and start fighting, then."

"About time," Galaxia snapped back.

Sun rose her hand and pointed her open palm at Galaxia. A large ball of plasma shot from it, hitting Galaxia dead on... And causing no damage to her.

Galaxia smiled. "Sun may have trained while I was away, but so did I. Let me show you my real power."

Sun saw Galaxia vanish and frowned. "What, running away again?"

"I didn't teleport," Galaxia said, the voice coming from all around Sun.

"What kind of cheap trick is this?"

"It's no trick. I just move so fast, none of your senses will know where I am."

"That's impossible."

"Nothing's impossible for us. If you really were a Senshi, you would know."

Sun extended her arms to her side, and an explosion of energy shot in all directions. Still, she could feel it, none of it had hit Galaxia. How was that possible?

Before she could figure it out, however, she was knocked back by Galaxia. A split second later, another hit came from behind, and then from the side. In less than ten seconds, she lost count of the times Galaxia had hit her. "So strong, this is wonderful!"

Galaxia appared right in front of her, and started punching with all her force, each blow knocking her foe further back, and closer to the Sun itself. "Shut up, hearing you use her voice makes me sick."

Sun stared at her in shock as she realized her plan. "What are you trying to pull, Gala?"

"Ever been close to a star? I've been near one far smaller than our Sun, and it took me a great deal of effort to get away from it. Killing you for what you did would not be a dire enough punishment. I'll trap you forever inside the Sun instead."

Sun tried desperately to gather energy for a shot, but Galaxia was faster, much faster. It took her several more blows to drag her foe close enough to the star, but once she got to the right place, gravity did the rest... And not even a Senshi with control over gravity could fight against a star's power, apparently.

Galaxia grimaced as she saw her foe vanishing through the star's surface. Finally, Sun could rest in peace. But what would she do now? Everything she cared about was gone, thanks to that Chaos creature. No, she still had a duty to defend mankind, and... She focused and realized a terrible truth. She could detect no Senshi in this part of the galaxy.

'What can I say, Gala... I guess I did a thorough cleaning of that one pest.'

"What? Where are you?"

'I'll just say your mind looks like a nice place to take over, girl.'

"I defeated you, and I kept my anger in check. You should be trapped inside the Sun right now."

'Not showing it doesn't mean that you're not feeling it.'

It couldn't end like this, she wouldn't allow it. But still, while in the physical plane she was the strongest being ever, her mental skills weren't quite as good, and she could already feel Chaos clawing at her mind. "I won't let you harm anyone else," Galaxia snapped and vanished.

She appeared else where, in what she knew was an empty cluster of the galaxy, one closer to the 'edge' of it than the Earth. "There's things I've learnt through my journey, which you wouldn't understand. I won't let you use my power for evil, Chaos."

'There is nothing you can do to stop me. Soon your mind will be mine, and your soul will be gone.'

"You may be right about that last part, but I can do something to stop you." She closed her eyes, concentrating and calling upon an ability she never thought she would use. A risky one for her, but it didn't matter, the end result for Chaos would be bad. "My mission is to protect mankind, and I will do just that, even if I die." And as she said that last word, she vanished once again.

-----​

She was confused. One moment earlier she had been somewhere near the Sun, but now... No, she couldn't sense anything familiar about her surroundings. And it seemed her senses had dulled down, somehow. "What did she do?" Sailor Galaxia, or rather Chaos, asked to the emptiness around her.

To the side, she could see a triple star, but the system was one without planets. It didn't matter, it was just a matter of finding out which part of the galaxy she was in, and then see if there was anything out there still capable of stopping her.

As she rushed away from the trio of stars, she realized something else. She couldn't reach the same speed Galaxia had shown her during their fight. No, not even a fraction of that. And after a few minutes of testing, she knew that every aspect of Galaxia's powers had been greatly diminished. "So this is what she meant when she said she could stop me."

The feeling was impossible to describe. Chaos knew Galaxia's powers were, at their fullest, impossible to fight against. But what was left of Galaxia's power now, it was barely enough for her to be considered a Holy Senshi.

It took her a long time to find out where she was, and she didn't like what she saw. Making it far enough from the galaxy to see it's shape must have taken her weeks, and before that, months passed without her knowing exactly where to go. But once she saw it, she knew Galaxia had won in more than one way. This galaxy was a shapeless, if slightly circular, cloud. Chaos knew Galaxia had managed to fly 'out' of the galaxy before, and the shape was that of a helix. Moving to the closest galaxy would take her... No, she didn't dare trying to estimate that. And, she realized, she couldn't see any galaxy around with a shape similar to what 'she' remembered.

Even though Sailor Galaxia wasn't able to defeat Chaos... It would be an eternity before she could go back 'home.' But did she really want to go back there? 'Her' memories showed her no challenges, no beings other than the Senshi were worth fighting against, and the Senshi were gone now. She had to find something else to fight, and become stronger and stronger until she became the strongest being in the universe.

Her purpose had been, at first, to cause pain and suffering, but after she tasted power like that of Sailor Sun, her priorities had changed. Still, if any civilization she found had no worthy opponents for her, she'd have to punish them all... As she had punished countless worlds in the past.

No, Galaxia had not won after all. Chaos was still alive, and would continue doing what she did best, until she found someone who could stop her. "If I ever find someone like that," Chaos said before flying back into the cloudy galaxy.

-----​

The small girl looked up to the sky and smiled. Sailor Galaxia was no more, at least not as a single entity. Gala could still sense that monster, out there, but it was too far away to be a threat to mankind. In her current form, despite still being powerful, Gala knew she could not protect mankind from all outside threats. Senshi would be needed in the future. And if Chaos returned, Senshi would need to be really strong, both in body and mind.

She had summoned all the Dragon Swords, artifacts which would, in the future, choose their new Senshi. She had hidden all the swords, sending each of them to its home planet, and only someone with the potential to become a Senshi would be able to find them. But for the time being, the Senshi were gone, and mankind would have to defend itself until a new generation of them appeared.

Gala was tired, very tired, but knew her journey had only started. She started floating away, looking down at the planet she had called home for one last time before she sped up, leaving the Solar System within minutes.

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 2: Forgotten worlds.
Episode 7: Golden Imperium.

By Razor Knight
Last update: March 8, 2011

-----​

The man walked in and saw something he had seen many times in the last few years. The faces of those around him were prime examples of skepticism. It was amusing to him to know most of these so-called men of science were so eager to discard any ideas that contradicted the recorded words of other so-called men of science, who had lived thousands of year before their time.

One of them rose from his seat and his face became neutral in a split second. "Scout Perdot, we've read your reports and we find some parts of them, to say it lightly, quite disturbing."

"Everything in those reports are things I observed while exploring the galaxy, Mental Ariane."

Another man stood up, visibly upset by the Scout's words. "Your theories have little solid base, as a quick glance through the Ancient Tomes will prove."

"And yet, if someone goes out there and sees things for themselves, then the solid base will present itself to them."

Ariane was an old man, and yet he had never seen such a Scout before. Scouts always respected the Tomes, and checked their observations against them. What this young man was doing by not following the unspoken rule, was to insult the ancestry of all mankind.

But still, Ariane knew the law. A Scout's report had to be analyzed in detail, and if any divergence from the Tomes was found, then other Scouts could be sent there to either confirm or reject the previous Scouting.

"We will do as you say, because that's the standard procedure in a case like this. But be aware that your report contradicts one of mankind's most accepted facts. Should it be found to be a false Scouting, then the consequences..."

"I am well aware of that, Mental Ariane," the Scout admitted, "and I would have kept silent about it if I wasn't truly convinced what I discovered is the truth, and that it will only benefit the Imperium to know about it."

"And if it really is, then it will be inscribed in the Tomes," Ariane said. He wasn't holding his breath for that happening, however. The last known edit of the Tomes had been five thousand years earlier.

-----​

Perdot walked through the streets of his home city and could feel something was strange. Maybe he was spending too much time away from it, because it didn't feel like 'home' to him anymore. It wasn't unheard of for Scouts to become detached from their home worlds, but he wasn't even twenty-five solar years old yet, so it wasn't supposed to happen to him yet.

However... He had spent the last three solar years away. His journey was meant to last for the regular two months, but after he found that, he couldn't return without knowing if it was true, or a very good practical joke from one of his fellow Scouts.

"Anris Perdot, is that you?"

He stopped dead and turned to the voice. "Shara?" Yes, it was her, even after all these years, she still looked the same. "How did you know I was back?"

"Because Ariane told me you had arrived," the woman said.

"Ariane... So you're the one assigned to my case."

Shara nodded, a slight frown forming in her face. "Truth is, I was hoping to spend some time with my family."

"I'm sorry," Perdot said sincerely.

"Don't be, it's Ariane's fault for choosing me when there's many other Scouts in Serine."

Perdot smiled. "You're that good, I suppose."

"No, I also don't get along too well with the Mentals."

"Don't they fear you would agree with me out of spite?"

"I suppose they know I won't be too eager to agree with your Scouting, since I'm already walking on thin ice, so to speak."

"Good thing I know you won't let personal issues cloud your judgement."

Shara smiled at that, "well, Anris, I don't know about that. You most likely had planned to run away again without telling your best friend you were home."

Perdot sighed, said "home..." and looked up to the sky.

-----​

He couldn't deny he had wondered what kind of Scout he would have to team up with, but now that he knew, a lot of his nervousness had worn off. And as the moment of leaving Serine drew closer, he felt incredibly calm. He knew what he had written in his Scouting reports was the truth, it was just a matter of convincing the Mentals about it.

He knew what the Tomes said, but also what it didn't say, what the common people chose to ignore. Yes, the Golden Imperium, the domains of mankind, had existed for an untold time. And all through its recorded history, there had been men in each and every one of its worlds. It was an accepted 'truth' that mankind was a mix of many all-too-similar species, somehow spread through most of the Galaxy.

"Your Scouting, if true, will change history from its roots," Shara commented.

"Now, miss Leor, I think you should wait until I show you what I've found, until you start discussing it. Such is the way of the Tomes."

Shara shook her head, "forget the Tomes, we're in the middle of nowhere right now, heading for the Borders, and I'm not about to spend several days in complete silence or wasting time in small talk."

"As you wish."

"Listen, you seem confident about what you saw. I want to know what it was."

"It's all there in the report."

"I don't think so. It speaks of archeological ruins and writings of unknown origin, all of which could be proven wrong. What is it that you saw, Anris, that made you so confident?"

"You read the report. You know I keep saying the accepted 'truth' is wrong, and that mankind itself is not a thousand similar races united as one, but one single race which spread through the galaxy and then forgot where it came from."

"Yes, I read the reports. No need to repeat all that."

"You're a smart woman, Shara. Tell me what could I have seen that made me trust these reports a hundred percent?"

Shara thought about it for a minute, as Perdot looked at her and the ship's console in turns. "As crazy as it sounds, I would say you found which one of all our worlds is the first."

"Yes and no. I found the First World, but I didn't see it with my own eyes, and it's also not a part of the Golden Imperium."

"But there's no records of the Imperium ever leaving a planet. How..."

"You will know when we get there. But before that, we need to go to Arkana."

"Arkana? That's supposed to be the outmost world."

"And the world we're looking for is even further outside."

"If it wasn't you, Anris, I would think you're insane. And to tell the truth, I'm starting to question your sanity."

"The once we get to the first stop in our journey, you'll start questioning yours as well," Perdot noted, his smile a sound away from a chuckle.

-----​

Arkana. A world of endless icy dunes and extreme cold. Most of its surface was a cold wasteland, and thus mankind had chosen to live underground, in large, artificial caves.

Shara looked around with a hint of disbelief. "This world's always spoken of as a barbaric place, but..."

"It's nothing like that. I suppose there's a reason for the myth of it being a hostile place. It doesn't really keep any diplomatic ties with any other planet, and it's part of the Imperium only because its local government doesn't care enough not to be part of it. While diplomacy isn't something they want to bother with, they still need to trade with other worlds."

"Thanks for the lecture, professor," Shara joked, "but mind telling me where we're heading?"

"To see Shu."

"Shu?"

"Her full name's Sage Shu of the House of Gaians," Perdot explained, "but that's a mouthful."

"Gaians?" Shara asked. It was a strange word for her.

"Patience, you'll know what it means soon. In fact, in a few minutes," he said as he stopped in front of a building. It looked rather antique, but was a single-story building, something strange to see in this area from what Shara had seen thus far. "That's Shu's place."

As they walked to the door, it opened itself. "She saw us coming?"

"I suppose," Perdot admitted, "she's said to have eyes all around this world."

"I'm said to have many things, but rumors about me are often overblown."

Shara turned to see an older woman waiting right besides the entrance. "You must be Sage Shu."

"Just Shu will do, child," the woman said. "Welcome back, Anris. I suppose you didn't visit Gaia yet."

"You suppose well," Perdot said. "I needed to go back to Serine, to inform my people about what I had heard from you. I didn't give any names or even told anyone about Gaia, just that there was supposed to be one single original world."

"Fair enough, Gaia's not a forbidden world because we chose to forbid it. It simply would not raise any interest from anyone if they went there without knowing about its past."

"Gaia?"

Shu looked at Shara. "I suppose she came here to learn about what you know?"

"Again, you suppose right. My leaders won't believe me, but they may trust her word."

"I shall tell her what I know, then. How old are you?"

Shara was surprised by that question. "Twenty-two solar years."

"Do you know what the term 'solar' means?"

And now she was lost. "No."

"Yet you use it without thinking about it. Ignorance is a bliss, some would say. Solar comes from 'Sol', the name of the star Gaia orbits. It's one of many things that are left from the First World, but too many others were lost."

"I'd like to know more about Gaia," Shara admitted.

"Well, then... Gaia was a world like many others, a world that could support life. Legends speak of Gaia as a world of small cities, called 'villages', which only housed a hundred or so humans each." Shu noticed Shara's skeptic looks and smiled. "You react just like Ansir. As I was saying, these first humans lived in incredibly small groups, and had no technology at all. Imagine humans hunting wild animals with but sticks and stones."

"Impossible."

"Not quite. It was one of these hunters, named Seren, who became the first Queen of that world."

"Seren? That sounds like..."

Shu nodded. "The capital of the Golden Imperium was named after her, but the name was deformed through the centuries into what we know as Serine. This Seren was at first the lone user of something called 'Mana' which let her do incredible things, like fly or create fire on a whim." Seeing Shara was silent, she continued. "But soon she taught this to others. One of them was her daughter, who became quite a strong warrior, but then Gaia was born. She was the strongest being in the galaxy, and some say she could have fought all of the Imperium's battleships on her own and won. She and other warriors like her defended their planet for centuries before..."

"Wait, centuries? Does it mean she lived that long?"

"Yes, another quality of this 'Mana' was that it gave its users longevity. With time, Gaia helped mankind expand, but then, something happen. A creature called Chaos started killing every warrior in the galaxy, and managed to kill even Seren herself. But then Gaia, who had been exploring the galaxy, returned and saw what this monster had done. Their battle was one so intense, it turned every planet in that particular solar system into a wasteland."

"So, did Gaia win?"

"Some say she did, and then left to search for any other evil like Chaos. Some say she didn't quite win, but she managed to eliminate Chaos before she died herself. And some say... She took Chaos into herself and went far away before she could harm mankind."

"You don't know which one's the truth?"

"All I know is nobody ever saw her again."

"How old is this legend you speak of?"

"At least five hundred centuries."

Shara frowned. "That's twice as far as the Tomes go. Still, a legend's not enough for our leaders. Where can I find tangible, physical proof of this 'Gaia' ever existing."

"Why, in Gaia, of course."

"Wait, why is the planet named after her?"

Shu smiled sadly. "For all the care our order took in keeping the legends of the First World alive, we were too late to keep it's original name alive."

"Where is Gaia?"

"We don't know, but we know the location of the Second World," Shu admitted, "Terra Mu."

"And what use is that to us?" Shara asked, slightly annoyed.

"Think about it, Shara. A primitive civilization with primitive spaceships... What system would they choose to colonize first?"

Shara only had to think about it for a second before her mood lightened. "The closest system, of course... Let's go to Terra Mu."

-----​

"Mental Excel Rokie, I bring an urgent message from one of the border worlds!"

The man was unfazed, as he was used to getting 'urgent' messages at least once a year. In theory, his position as Mental Excel made him the third-most important man in Serin, the third-most important man in the whole galaxy. In reality, without the Mentals, both the Imperium Shield, the army in charge of keeping peace, and the Imperium itself, would fall apart. That made him the most important man in the galaxy to those who mattered.

"Let's hear this important message, then," he said almost dismissively.

"An unknown spaceship was spotted ten days ago near Slishar, it begun attacking with no warning."

"Ten days ago? Why didn't the message get here sooner?" The Excel said, rising from his seat, his mood changing in a split second.

"Because there were no survivors, sir. I come from Xilho, which is being attacked right now, and without the Shield, it's a battle we cannot win."

The Excel frowned. A single spaceship with enough power to overcome a planet's defenses and leave no survivors? It sounded too powerful to be truth. Yet the man in front of him wasn't lying, he could see that. "I shall order the Shield to defend Xilho immediately. We will let whoever is in that spaceship know the Imperium is not an enemy to be taken lightly."

-----​

"We will be reaching Terra Mu shortly."

"Do you really think that woman was telling us the truth?"

Perdot looked at Shara. "Yes. I've always wondered about this. It's not just mankind. Every planet in the Imperium has the same wild life, the same animals and plants. There's only one way for that to be the case, no matter how much the Tomes and the Mentals may deny it."

"One single world's ecosystem brought over to other worlds to help colonizing it," Shara noted. "But what happened to the original lifeforms if that's the case?"

"Maybe our world's creatures were stronger, and the others died out. Or maybe mankind 'helped' a bit."

Shara looked at the monitor and smiled. "It's beautiful."

"What is?" He turned to the screen and nodded. "Yes, it is. It's a desert down there, but the temperature's not bad, only a few degrees above Serin's."

"Think we'll find anything there leading us to Gaia?"

"I'm already working on it. But we should scan the planet's surface and see if there's any ruins there we could explore."

"Always the adventurer."

"Many Scouts eventually forget that's the one thing all of us should be."

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn
Act 2: Forgotten worlds.
Episode 8: Gaia.

By Razor Knight
Last update: March 23, 2011

-----​

He was Arthus Larelain, Holder of the Shield, and a man who had seen many battles. But most of those battles were against inferior enemies, like rebels or worlds not affiliated with the Imperium. With its full force of ten thousand battleships, a battle against a single hostile ship should have been an easy win.

And yet, this ship was like nothing he had ever seen, in his many decades of service. It was a ship as large as a small planet, with literal millions of smaller attack ships pouring out of it and attacking anything daring coming too close to it. The ship itself didn't attack, and it also did not seem to stop attacks from the Shield, but this fleet Larelain had always been proud of was doing relatively no damage to it.

"Aurors five, ten and seventeen are gone."

The Holder looked at the screen. "It doesn't matter. We need to get close to their main ship, to search for any weakness it may have. We are the first and last defense line of the Imperium, and we will not fall."

-----​

"Fifty percent of the planet's surface scanned, still no signs of anything."

"And Gaia's star?"

"That's even harder a task. The computer has a map of all the explored galaxy, including systems nobody has ever felt like visiting. But both Mu and Gaia's system are outside those maps."

Shara nodded. "I understand. It has to search for a star located in an unknown sector, at an unknown distance and direction from our ship."

"It will take the ship a while to..." Perdot started, then stopped.

"What's wrong?"

He was madly typing commands now. "The computer's detected a single life form down there," he paused, "yes, it's confirmed. And it's human."

"What? That cannot be."

"It might someone from Shu's group," Perdot noted, "but I fail to see the point in stealth then. She would have told us to go speak with this person."

"Or maybe it's something else," Shara said pointing at the screen.

Perdot looked at it and muttered some choice profanities. The 'human' down there was, from the scans' results, a child. But a child who was emanating enough energy to power the ship they were in for a century.

"Somehow, the area of the planet around this creature has an atmosphere," Shara noted. "Should we go find out who it is?"

"Computer won't tell me anything else about it, so I suppose that's the only way we'll know what it is."

-----​

In all his years of service, the pilot had seen many so-called wars. But comparing the skirmishes he fought while being one of the Shield's top pilots to what was going on around him would be like comparing a grain of sand to the sandy plains of Elerion.

And the Shield's fleet itself was small compared to the cloud of ships all around them. These ships were small and fast, and while they lacked in shielding and weapons, they more than made up for it with sheer numbers.

"Squadron Eighteen's leader, what's your situation?"

"I've lost a dozen men to them," he said, "and I intend to make them pay for it."

"I have a mission for you."

That was Larelain's voice, no man in the Shield could not know how he sounded. "Let's hear it."

Larelain didn't mind his tone. The two of them had been friends through their youth, and that friendship didn't die out after they both joined the Shield. "We need to find a weakness in their main ship, or at least make them stop sending out the other ships. A small group of pilots will have a lot more chances of doing this than a large group. And the more skilled the pilot is, the higher their chances, too."

"I get it. Me and my men are going to find your big ships a place to shoot at. Just try to stay alive while I get there, Holder."

"Do your best, Eighteen."

-----​

Perdot wasn't sure what they would find when they went down. The atmosphere was good, if a bit denser than he was used to (and he was aware atmosphere wasn't quite a standard through all the Imperium worlds,) and temperature was only mildly above what he had expected.

What he had not expected, was to find the 'creature' really looked like a young human girl. She stared at him, as if to study him, and he felt uneasy. There was something about those eyes which made him feel like this 'young' girl had been around for much longer than he would have thought.

"Who are you?"

Perdot almost jumped. He had nearly forgotten Shara was there too.

"I am Gala. I already know who you are, so there's no need for introductions."

"Gala? That sounds close to the legendary Gaia."

Gala looked at Shara. "I know of those legends. They're getting many names wrong, but that's to be expected after so many centuries."

"So you're the same as that woman from the legends?"

"I am. My current body is a consequence of what happened back then. I only have a small fraction of what my power used to be."

"We were looking for that world, Gaia, because..."

"Earth," Gala said, interrupting Perdot.

"Excuse me?"

"The name of that world, the world you all forgot, the world that started it all. The planet's name was Earth, surrounding the Sun, often called Sol by some tribes back then."

"Solar years. Shu was right."

"We need our leaders to know about..."

"No."

Perdot blinked a few times. "Why?"

"Because the Imperium is fated to die."

Those words made the two Serinians feel like a building had fallen on them. And they both stood there, staring at Gala, for almost one minute.

Shara was the first to find her voice. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It's happening as we speak. An alien race known as the Kh'sun is attacking world after world. The Imperium won't be able to stop them, but fighting through it will weaken the Kh'sun greatly."

"What will happen to those worlds?"

"The cities will be destroyed, any survivor will be taken as slaves, and the worlds will be drained until they become lifeless rocks. Recovering from that takes a planet millions of years, if it ever recovers."

"You are the Gala of legends, aren't you?" Perdot asked, angrily. "Why don't you go and stop them?"

"As they are now, my power is not enough. But if the Imperium cripples them, I will be able to put an end to those parasites." She noticed the way the two were looking at her, and smiled. "Don't look at me like that. Yes, I'm ready to sacrifice most of mankind to stop these beings. But mankind's become stagnant, too sure of what they think they know, and too eager to remain as they are now. A civilization like that is going to fall sooner or later, even without any help from the outside."

"And this is your answer? Killing us all off?"

"To know what my answer is, you need to come with me."

-----​

"Guys, we're only ten units away from them. Stay focused, I know we can do this." While the enemy was far superior as far as numbers went, their pilots didn't seem to know what team tactics were. Thus, most of them were busy with the larger Auror class ships, the biggest ones in the Shield's forces. Ships like his, a Buckler, was mostly ignored until they attacked one of the aliens. That had been his guess, and it had been proven right so far. "Eight units now."

"They're coming from our right wings!"

He turned and saw it, a dozen alien ships heading their way. "I need five of you guys to take care of those pests."

As one, five of the Bucklers split from the main group. Their coordination was the result of many years and countless battles. They took care of the enemy ships in under one minute, but that seemed to alert other ships, which soon swarmed around them.

"All right, it's time to go help..."

"Stell, don't you dare helping us. Squad Eighteen needs to complete this mission."

The leader, Stell, sighed. "Okay, we'll meet you guys on our way back."

"We'll be waiting."

-----​

It had taken Perdot a full minute to realize they weren't in the same planet anymore. They were in a grassy plain, with a dense jungle in the distance, and mountains on the other side. "Where are we?"

Gala giggled. "This is Earth."

"How did you bring us all the way here?"

"My power is not only meant to destroy things," Gala said, "and you wanted to see Earth, didn't you?"

"I still want to know..."

"What my plan is? I've been bringing others like you here. Humans who believe in the legends, who dream of a place untouched by the Imperium. Men and women who don't fear evolving, creating new things. The Imperium is doomed and trust me, if I had a way to stop that from happening, I would. The best I can do now is allowing mankind to start over, and what better place there is to start from zero than the very world that saw us do that once in the past?"

"Are there still ancient cities in this planet?"

"When I returned here, after many thousands of years, I saw the planet had healed slightly. There were no cities at all, no. Chaos was very through in removing any signs that mankind had ever existed in this world."

"No cities, no technology, how will we survive?"

"As the first humans did, use what you can find around you. You can see what those I brought here have done if you head north," Gala said, pointing in that direction for effect.

"Won't you help us?"

"Even weakened, the Kh'sun are strong. I may have to use all of my remaining power to stop them. I may die, or be too weak to come back and help you."

"Why are you willing to sacrifice it all for people who don't remember you, and who may forget you again in a few centuries?"

"Because I was born a Senshi, and I will, if I must, die a Senshi."

"A Senshi?"

"We are... We were warriors, not different to other humans except for the powers we could use. We protected this world and mankind for many centuries, and when mankind started expanding, I took it as my duty to protect them."

"So you've been protecting us since then?"

"I've made mistakes. There was a time when I grew bored. I left others like me protecting mankind, and spent many centuries exploring the Galaxy, and even going out of it to see there's other galaxies out there. But while I was away, the creature known as Chaos attacked. I was too late to save this world, and many others. But not all worlds had Senshi, and Chaos had ignored those, since it wanted only to fight the strongest warriors, to become as strong as them."

"You're saying that if you had been around at the time, you would have stopped it?"

"Yes. As it stands, I could only send it away, to a very distant galaxy, and I sacrificed most of my power to do it. But sorry, we've talked enough. I'm going to go take a look at things. The war between the Imperium and the Kh'sun won't be over soon, if my predictions are right, but I'd rather be safe than sorry."

And without waiting for an answer, Gala vanished. Shara looked around and frowned. "We don't have to stay here."

Perdot let out a dry chuckle. "We have. Our spaceship is still back in that other planet."

"Hmph. Hope you're happy, you've got us both stuck in this place."

"I didn't force you to come with me."

Shara took a deep breath. "No, you didn't. Sorry."

"Don't worry, I'm not too happy about this either, but there isn't really anything we can do about it right now."

"Let's head north, as she said. We need somewhere to sleep, the so-called Sol is already close to the horizon."

-----​

Stell cursed loudly as he saw another icon in his screen fade away. He was down to only ten ships, counting his, but they had at least managed to get close to the main enemy ship. "I'm sensing a large energy reading in the exact center of that thing," he said. "That must be their main reactor."

"Why couldn't the guys back there see it?"

"There's a cloaking field around the ship," Stell noticed, "gotta admit these creatures are full of tricks."

"Okay, let's get out of here a--" Whatever the pilot was going to say next, was cut as his ship exploded.

"We have more hostiles coming from all directions," another pilot said, "it's going to be pretty hard to beat them all."

"Lue, try to get away from the cloaking field and tell the Holder where he should be shooting at."

"But..."

"It's an order. Your ship's the fastest of all the squad, and you're pretty good at dodging."

The woman seemed about to complain for a few seconds, but finally agreed. "Right. I'll see you guys out there when this is over."

"Sure thing," Stell said. Just like when he had left his other men behind, he knew it was a promise he would probably not be able to keep.

Lue took a different route out of the area than they had used to go in. Stealth and speed were the only things she could rely on to return to the Holder. So she took a route away from the battle, it would take her longer to get to her target that way, but there were no enemies anywhere around her.

As she looked to the side, she could see the battle was being lost by them. Several of the largest Shield ships were wrecked, and all others were being swarmed by enemy ships. She could have never imagined something like this. The Tomes said mankind was the only sentient species in the Universe, and the Tomes never lied.

But even though their enemies weren't showing themselves, their technology was far superior than theirs. There had been talks of a cloaking field before, but as far as she knew, there was no ship core capable of generating the energy needed for such a thing. Maybe the Tomes didn't lie, but those who had written them didn't know there were other species around. Being ignorant of the truth is not the same as lying.

"Squad Eighteen?"

"Lue reporting, sir. We found a weakness in their main ship."

"Where's the rest of your squad?"

"Still back there, sir. I was ordered to come here by Stell himself, since a single ship had a bigger chance of being ignored by the enemy."

"What's their weakness?"

"Their reactor's in the exact center of their ship. As long as we keep on attacking it from the sides, then they won't go down easily."

The Holder's voice was heard in the background. "Every surviving Auror, change your course to attack the enemy ship from above. Any squad still alive, do the same if you can. We cannot let them win this."

"Eighteen's Lue, you can return to the First Auror if you..."

"I have to decline that offer. I'm going to go shoot those monsters down, for my squad."

-----​

Those inside the enemy ship didn't fail to notice the sudden change in their foes' tactics. "Kh'rall, they are moving to hit our core."

"Instruct every Sk'ner to fire at the large ships. We need to resist until the rest of our fleet arrives." Like a large swarm of insects, all the small ships under his command stopped taking care of the enemy's fighters, and took on the larger ships. "Prepare the Prahxy, and locate their commanding ship. Once that's done, focus fire in it until it falls."

He had fought against many alien races in his years as a Kh'rall, but none had been as annoyingly resilient as this one. Still, their technology and tactics were brutish, outdated, and easy to read. There was no hope for such a primitive race, they could not defeat the power of the Kh'Sun.

-----​

Lue looked around in confusion. All of the smaller ships were heading for their Aurors, completely ignoring any fighter ship they crossed. It could only mean one thing. "Holder, the enemy saw through our strategy, they're going to attack the Aurors!"

The voice in the radio was calm. "They did not. By focusing in what they think is the real threat, they are forgetting about our best pilots and warriors."

She understood what he meant, but wasn't too happy about it. "Are you telling me you'll sacrifice the Aurors just to give us a chance to attack?"

"The Aurors would not have made it in time, even if only half the enemy ships were attacking us. You wanted a chance to shoot them down for your squad. This is it."

Lue closed her eyes and let out a long sigh. "Understood, Holder. I will not let you down."

"I know you won't," the Holder said. Although she didn't know it at the time, it would be the last time she heard his voice.

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 2: Forgotten worlds.
Episode 9: Imperium's End.


By Razor Knight
Last update: March 31, 2011

-----​

"Our attacks are not getting through, Leader."

Lue cursed under her breath. Of course, an Auror's weapons did little damage to the massive enemy ship's hull, so a fighter's weapons were almost useless. Even all the remaining fighters shooting at once did nothing. And yet... They were swarming the center of the ship, and the readings were true. The enemy's core was right in front of them, but an impassable wall protected it. "Be on the lookout for enemy ships, and keep on attacking. Perhaps one of the Aurors will make it through, but until that happens, we have to keep trying."

Their enemy was obviously ignoring them, no ship was attacking them, and if their target had any weapons at all, it wasn't using them against her makeshift squad. Her squad. It had been surprising how fast the other pilots had agreed on that, even though she had considered it herself. Since she was the last living pilot from Squadron Eighteen, she had been given command of what was left of the Hundred Squads, the main attack force of the Imperium. It was an honor, but in a situation like this, it was also a very heavy burden to carry.

She noticed something in her sensors and looked to the side. No, there was no mistake, three pieces of the ship had separated and were floating away from it, heading straight for the few remaining Aurors. And each of these 'smaller' ships was as large as the smallest moons she had seen while flying around the galaxy with her former squad. "They had ships that large and weren't using them?"

"Maybe they didn't feel the threat was enough for them to use them," one of the pilots noted.

"Skarn, you're the best scanner we have. I need to know if any section of the ship's wall is weaker than the rest."

It took the other pilot a minute to get the scanning done, but in the end the results were good. "Leader, there's one spot that's greatly weaker than the rest of the wall, if we focus fire in it, we may just be able to punch through and hit the core. I'm sending the coordinates to everyone right now."

Lue saw it appear on screen and smiled. "Everyone, shoot that area with everything you've got! Let's kick these bastards out of our galaxy!"

The barrage of beams and projectiles that followed was enough to blast a hole through the ship's wall, and Lue, who was relatively close to it, was able to see the shining yellow 'core' of the enemy ship. She could also see several of the ship's crew being sucked out of it. They were definitely not human, with four arms and a blue, scaly skin. They looked close to some reptiles she had seen in several human worlds.

"The core itself was not affected by our attacks," Skarn noted.

"We should just keep on attacking until..."

"No, we'd need to hit it with much more energy at once than our ships can generate."

Lue cursed under her breath. "Damn it, I was starting to think this would be actually possible."

"Think something really big hitting the core would destroy it?" Another pilot commented.

"Why do you ask?" Lue said, then saw what was heading their way. Auror six, one of the largest ships in the Shield, was heading straight for the core, though it was more of a fall than a charge, as the ship was almost completely burning under enemy fire. "Everyone, get away from the target as soon as you can, this is about to get hot!"

Her squad managed to get away before the two ships collided, and as she looked at the scene, she paled. It was quite likely everyone inside had already died before the impact, but it was still frightening to watch one of the Aurors, the pride of the Imperium, go down like that.

The explosion rocked her ship, and blinded her for a moment. And when she was able to see again, she almost cheered. The Auror's explosion had hit the enemy ship's core, and a chain reaction had started, the planet-sized enemy ship was now constantly rocked by explosions. The three smaller ships that had detached themselves only moments before the fatal blow were also hit, two of them were about to explode, and the third was already gone.

They had won, they had defeated this enemy, the Imperium would be safe and the Shield could be proud of this victory. No enemy was too strong for them, no enemy would ever...

It took her mind a few moments to register what her eyes were seeing, what her ship's instruments were confirming. An impossibly large shadow, looming over the exploding ships, advancing to them lazily.

"Leader, what is that?"

Lue looked at her console again and sighed. "Another ship. What we destroyed wasn't their main ship."

"Auror Two speaking," a new voice said through the ship's console. "Retreat is not an option. Let's do as much damage as we can, and hope for the best."

"I can help you with that."

Lue didn't know whose voice it was, but her scanner started beeping. Looking to the side, she could see it: A humanoid figure, floating towards the enemy ship, and it didn't seem to have any kind of protection. Human beings couldn't breathe in deep space without a suit, so what was this creature?

Almost as if the creature had heard her thoughts, it suddenly spoke. "I am Gala, last survivor of the Senshi, a group long forgotten by mankind. It is my duty to save mankind, but the Imperium... It's already doomed. However, if I let the Kh'sun get out of this battle as they are, then the whole galaxy will be destroyed by them."

Lue had scanned the 'creature' now. Her mind kept telling her it was impossible, but the creature was... A small human girl. Whose power couldn't be compared to anything she had seen before.

"I am the last Senshi, but I know there will be others like me, protecting what's left of mankind. I have seen it all. Those of you who want to live, return back to your home planets, and rebuild them as well as you can."

Another pilot's voice could be heard right then. "What the slarg? Running like cowards? What will the Imperator think of us?"

"The Imperator is dead. While your Shield and your Imperium was busy focusing on bringing down one single spaceship, the true enemy, that which you see here, has devastated countless Imperium worlds. But I will end their threat right here, right now."

Lue saw the girl's body shine, and the readings she was getting went up hundredfold. "What is that girl?"

The 'few' surviving Kh'sun fighters all converged on Gala as one, sending an onslaught of energy blasts at her, but the girl stood through it all, unmoving and unfazed. Once the attack was over, she unleashed her own. A thin, bubble-like energy net expanded from her body, catching each and every enemy ship and blowing them to atoms... Without harming any of the human ships.

"How did she do that?"

Lue cringed at the readings she was getting. "Let's get away from here."

"But Leader..."

"This is not an order, the Shield is done for. If you want to stay here, then do so, but that girl's power... It could destroy a planet. A very large one." Most pilots saw what she meant, and the former Shield's ships started flying away from the massive Kh'sun mothership, as fast as they could.

Gala looked at her target. The Kh'sun's technology was amazing, they had built a ship as big as a small star, without using any magic at all. And the ship was charging up to attack. They already knew how much power she had. They were afraid of letting her shoot first. Good, that meant she had a bigger chance of destroying them all than she thought at first.

Yes, she had seen the future, all possible futures, but the one Serenity had considered the 'best' future... Millions of humans dying, planets devastated, mankind enslaved by these Kh'sun monsters. No, she had to fight against that, even now she saw the future Serenity had seen was not too far off. The Imperium was gone, the surviving worlds would be better off on their own, and someday, they would expand again, in a way the Imperium couldn't even dream of.

She shot an energy beam at almost the same time as the ship did. Both beams collided, magic versus technology, the power of a core strong enough to power a whole planet against the power of the galaxy itself. While extremely weakened in this form, Gala was still Sailor Galaxia. She wouldn't lose, she would destroy them all, she...

The visions of the future she had seen suddenly changed. Without the Kh'sun periodically attacking the surviving human worlds, the expansion of mankind would not be stopped... But over the countless years that separated this era and the next, these men would evolve into something different. Human in the outside, but with a control of magic almost as great as a Senshi's. They would expand, and meet the humans of Earth, and exterminate them to claim the planet. That kind of 'mankind' would eventually crumble and die, and then... She saw nothing. An empty galaxy. And looking back, she could also see... No!

Gala's energy beam's power weakened slightly, enough for it to fall into a stalemate with the ship's one. If everything went as she expected, then the enemy would realize they could not win, they would see escape was their only option.

-----​

"H'ser, our reactor's overheating. The creature's attack has weakened, but by our estimates, our reactor will run out of energy before our enemy does."

"How many R'pah remain?"

"Three, sir."

"Send everyone you can into them. We'll hold that creature in a stalemate until they have all escaped safely."

"Are you going to board one of the R'pah, sir?"

"No. Escape is not an option for my ship, and I will not abandon it."

"Understood," the other creature said, and stood right besides his leader while shouting orders through his radio.

"I take it you will follow my lead, then?"

"I have never run from a battle, sir. I won't ruin that perfect record by running away now. Besides, our calculations could be wrong."

The H'ser smiled, even though he knew the other man was lying to himself. Their engineers were trained to never make any wrong calculations. It could cost them their lives.

-----​

As suddenly as the time ripple had formed, it vanished. Gala used her powers to check on the past and future, and smiled despite the strain her energy beam was putting on her body. "I failed my mother and my home planet, I failed my best friend, and now I almost destroy it all. No matter what happens to me now, it will be a fair price to pay for all those mistakes."

She saw the smaller (but large as planets) ships drift away from the main ship. Well, drifting wasn't the right word, as the ships had almost immediately breached the speed of light. It didn't matter, the Kh'sun had played their part, and would continue to do so for countless centuries. Gala closed her eyes and let herself loose, unleashed all of her power. Her beam blasted through the Kh'sun beam, hitting the large mothership. Instead of drilling through it, the beam split in countless, thin threads that washed all over the structure, making it shine like a small star for several seconds before it exploded, the shockwave sending the few smaller ships in the area sailing away at high speeds.

Gala smiled. It was done, the Kh'sun were weakened and scared, they would not disturb mankind for a long time. But she was also weak now, she had used most of her energy in that attack, and some of her life force as well. She could feel her mind slowly changing, and she knew it was something she could not fix on her own. But still, she would not die. She had to stay alive, to wait for the time when the one who had destroyed all she cared about returned.

But for the time being, she just wanted to sleep, as she drifted out of the system where, right now, a gigantic cloud of dust and smoke marked the place where the greatest enemy of this era's man had been vanquished.

-----​

Lue recovered her senses and looked around. The enemy ship was gone, and she was aware its explosion had knocked her out. Her ship's instruments were fried, but fortunately the engine and power core still worked at nearly their best capacity. She had no way to check for survivors right now, and she knew they would all be thinking the same. Auror Two was gone, too, she noticed, so she would have to find a way to reach the capital on her own. She took a look around, at the stars all around her. Even though it was rare to use this skill, pilots still learnt to 'read the stars' to know where they were even without their ship's computer.

"If my bearings are right, Serine should be there," she said out loud, even though there was nobody around to listen. It would be a long trip back there, but she had to see it for herself, to see if what that 'Senshi' had said was true.

And she would also have to go back home, to her own planet. Even if what that girl said was what really happened, some planets should have been left untouched. A part of her mind told her it was useless to go, that it would only cause her grief, but she ignored it. That girl was wrong. She had to be wrong.

-----​

"Shara, Anris, we welcome you to the city of Terra."

Perdot smiled at that. A city, they called it. To his eyes, it was just a small group of small houses. But it was still amazing, knowing that they had built them with only their hands and some rudimentary tools. In fact, he was too used to technology, and knew it would take him a while to get used to this new environment.

"What planet are you from?" Shara asked.

"We come from many planets, but we belong to Earth now."

"Don't you miss your old life?"

"The stagnation of the Imperium? No, none of us misses that. And in time, you will learn to love Earth."

"I'm always willing to learn new things," Shara said with a smile.

"Same here," Perdot admitted, "but I'm still a bit shocked by all that's happened to me lately."

"Don't worry, we all were the same as you at first. Give it time."

Perdot nodded at that. He would give it time, and not only because there was nothing else he could do, but because he really wanted to know if mankind could survive without the Imperium's eyes and technology to support it.

He liked challenges, and this would be the toughest challenge he had ever faced.

-----​

Lue was... No, there were no words in her language to describe how she was feeling right now. It was pointless. She had been now jumping for days, going from one world to the next, but there was nothing to be found in the inner circle of the Imperium. Her own planet was but a lifeless rock now, and the city she had been born in was a large, empty crater.

She was about to give up, when she saw something in the third 'border' world she visited. She couldn't remember the world's name, but that didn't matter. This world was still mostly untouched, even though there were craters were most major cities would have been. But the rural areas were still there, and she could see people coming out of hiding, looking at her ship curiously.

An elderly man walked to her as she leapt out of her vehicle. "It's strange, you're the first outsider we've seen for almost one week. What news do you bring?"

"Unfortunately, they're not good. Serine was destroyed, its cities ruined and there were no survivors. Every other planet I've been to looked just like that."

"We saw the ship," The man said, "as big as our star."

Lue nodded at that. "I was there when... The ship was destroyed."

"The Shield managed to defeat something that large?"

Lue looked up to the sky. "No, it was something else. Someone... She called herself a 'Senshi' and held her ground against that thing. She destroyed it, but I'm not sure she survived."

The elder smiled at that. "So the legends were true."

"What legends?"

The man laughed. "Tales of the distant past, stories that were still told in many worlds, despite the Imperium's constant struggles to make us all forget." Seeing that Lue was silent, he continued. "Those tales speak of a single world where all mankind originated. And these Senshi were the protectors of such world."

"I never heard about that."

"You were a woman of the Imperium. A warrior, even. We all knew better than speaking of Senshi and Gaia when the Imperium was watching."

"A few weeks ago, I would have considered your legends to be fake, but I've seen a Senshi. I've seen what they can do."

"You're a fortunate person, then. Now come, you look tired. We can give you somewhere to sleep, and food."

"Thanks, but I need to keep searching."

"Searching for what? All of the Imperium's worlds are silent now. Our own radios give us only static. Would you really keep looking for survivors that might not even be there?"

"I found you, didn't I?"

"And we're the only world that's not silent in this sector. How many more worlds do you think survived?"

Lue thought about it. What did she expect to find out there? Was it hope that had kept her searching for this long, or just her stubborn self? She couldn't trust that to keep her going forever, and here... This planet might have been hit hard by those creatures, but they were still alive. She had nowhere to go to now, the Imperium was gone, her own world destroyed. But she could help these people rebuild, and her ship would let her explore surrounding worlds if they ever needed something they couldn't get here.

"I think I will accept your offer," Lue said, "I hope you don't mind having one more mouth to feed."

"Welcome then, child, to our village."

"Lue, the name is Lue."

-----​

She observed the planet with a hint of sadness. It had, countless centuries ago, been her home, the first planet mankind ever called 'home.' But the humans now living there didn't remember ever leaving it, something she knew was to be expected after so many generations. She didn't mind, mankind seemed to have a knack for forgetting the past.

She... She had also changed, slowly. Her mind had weakened, and she knew soon she would also forget. But before that happened, there was one last thing to do. She closed her eyes, and several items appeared around her. The Dragon Swords, the weapons of the Senshi of the past. And the Ginzuishou, a crystal not even she had been able to understand fully. With a wave of her hand, the items turned into pure energy, and spread out, each landing in the world their powers were linked to.

She gave the Earth one last look before floating away. This wasn't her home anymore. This place belonged to mankind now, and to the Senshi that would, one day, carry the burden she had once carried herself. But she also knew this wouldn't be the last time she saw Earth. No, if the future happened as she had seen it, then she would have to return, someday.

But that day was not to come for millions of years. Normal humans could not even grasp how much time that was, but to an eternal being like Gala, it was simply a matter of patience.
 
Last edited:

Kyouko Tsukino

Steampunker
Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 3: Second era.
Episode 10: The sword in the rock.


By Razor Knight
Last update: April 8, 2011

-----​

Her life was dull, extremely dull. The Masters made sure that was the case for each and every human. Just like every cursed day since she had been old enough to work, she was heading for the mines. Was such a life the only thing she would have? She dismissed that thought as swiftly as it had appeared, it was pointless to think about it. Humans were weak creatures, a Master could easily break one of them in two without much effort (and she had seen that happen with her own eyes,) and they had weapons which could punch through flesh as easily as her drill dug through solid rock.

But still, there was a strange feeling in the back of her mind, it had been there for days now. There had to be a way to rebel against the Masters, to make this world a world of humans again. She had only heard legends, but the Earth was said to have been mankind's world, and mankind had once been ready to leave, to explore other worlds. But then the Masters came, taking over with their superior technology, and turning humans into mere slaves. That had been reality for many generations, the elders said.

She was already inside the mine when that feeling came back. She ignored it as she reached her assigned spot and turned her drill on, digging through rock for several minutes before something caught her eye. A metallic shine in the rock's surface, she had finally found a large piece of metal, after months of nothing but rocks. However, the smile that had been forming in her face faded as the drill started crackling with electricity after it tried to punch through that metal. She barely had time to jump away before the artifact exploded.

Checking on the drill's remains, she sighed. It was the first time she had heard of a drill breaking down. The Masters would surely be angry at her, and a Master's anger could mean pain, or even death, to humans. She looked at the metal. It wasn't an irregular shape, as she had expected. It almost looked like a blade, a metallic blade, unlike the energy blades Masters used. She reached for it and touched it, and it shone brightly for a second.

"You there, why did you stop?"

The day just kept getting worse. One of the guards walked to her, and once he noticed the drill was broken, started shouting at her, telling her how useless humans were and what big a mess she was in. She ignored him, though, as she looked at the blade. Of course, she would have normally cowered in fear at the mere thought of one of the Masters punishing her, but this blade was calling out to her, soothing her fears. She reached for it once again, and...

The guard took a step back as the girl's form was wrapped by light. When it faded, he could see the human was not wearing her miner's outfit anymore, but a strange, one-piece orange suit. "What's the meaning of this, human?"

The girl wasn't paying attention to the guard at all. What had just happened? She remembered touching the blade and then... She looked at it, and saw she was holding it now, she had somehow pulled it out of the rock wall. A long sword, its hilt was shaped like a strange reptilian creature, its wings serving as guards. She then looked at herself, the suit she was wearing now. Everything was strange and confusing, and yet, she felt a familiarity with both the sword and the suit, a feeling of security, of power.

"I'm talking to you, you stupid human!" the guard snarled and slapped the girl. Normally, such a strong slap would have sent any human's head flying away, and that had been exactly what the guard expected. Instead, the girl simply took a step back, surprised by the blow, and then finally looked at him, with a glare he had never seen in a human before. "What the... Do you really want to die, girl?"

"Lumina."

"Huh?"

"My name is Lumina!" the girl shouted, stabbing right through the guard's chest with her sword. A moment later, the sword lit up once again, and a large, white beam shot from it, completely vaporizing the guard before he could do or say anything else, and drilling several meters into the rock wall behind him.

Lumina tried to make sense of what was happening. She had reacted to the guard's attack, but how? What was that beam? Her mind was full of questions, and she didn't know if she would find any answers out there. But yes, for now all she could do was leave this place. She hoped whatever she had done with this guard could be repeated if she found any other guards on her way out.

-----​

"I'm getting a new signal."

"Another one?"

The first woman nodded. "It's in Venus."

"One per planet, just as you guessed."

"I know. I'll take care of this one."

"I will go tell the others about the new recruit."

-----​

Lumina didn't really know why, but she had made it through most of the mine without any guards blocking her path. That first guard had no time to call for backup, so it surely took them a while to know something was wrong.

However, there were at least twenty guards blocking the only tunnel out of the mine when she got there. They all carried guns, and, from what she knew, these particular guns were not for stunning. "Woman, change back into your uniform and go back to work."

The commanding tone of the guard would have sent shivers down any human's spine, but Lumina only stared at her for a few seconds, then laughed. "I'm sorry, but I can't do that. Now, would you kindly let me go, or will I have to force you to?"

It was the guards' turn to laugh. "That human is too dumb to live," one of them said, and walked to her, swinging his fist with all his might. The girl, however, simply caught his fist before it could strike, and he could feel the girl's hands pressing on his fist, and his bones protesting the pain. "What... What are you?"

Lumina smiled. "Wish I knew." Somehow, she knew exactly what to do. Her hand lit up, causing the guard to yelp in surprise, and then another beam shot out, but from her hand this time, turning the guard's arm (and the head of another guard) into atoms.

The first female guard was shocked, but her training made it so her surprise was short-lived. "Kill her!" The remaining guards complied, and a barrage of green energy blasts rained on the human murderer.

Lumina instinctively dove to the side, but several of the shots still hit her. However, while she expected to be in a world of pain as a result, she only felt a mild pain, as if she had scratched her skin with a rock. She stood up and saw the guards' shocked faces. No combat training could have prepared them for this, she realized, and their shock gave her enough time to consider her options. Was there another way to use that light beam?

She knew the answer to that, instinctively. Reaching out, she drew a circle of light in front of her (a thin line of light remained where her fingers had passed through) and she put both hands, palms facing the guards, in the exact center of that circle. Light started flooding out, filling up the circle, and she closed her hands once the circle was completely white, causing a large, deadly ray of light to shoot out, killing all the guards instantly, and making the already wide entry tunnel quite a bit wider.

-----​

There were only two guards at the mine's door, and both could easily agree on their job being a boring one. There would, once in a while, be some human trying to make a run out of the mines, but they were dealt with inside the mine most of the time. However, two things made this day interesting for them. First was the beam of light coming straight from inside the mine, and barely missing them both. Before they could recover from that, they saw a human female in a blue, form-fitting suit walking calmly to them.

"Stop there, human!" One of the guards said, too curious about what had happened inside the mine to have time to deal with some lost human girl.

"Make me," the woman replied with a cheerful, mocking smile.

Both guards reacted as one, reaching for their guns to shoot the human dead. However, their minds registered at once the fact the woman had vanished. And before either of them could even ponder where she was, they both fell to the ground, a deadly wound in their chests, and blue blood pouring out of it.

"Pitiful," the woman said as the ice spikes in her hands dissolved. Kh'sun were weak, unless there were a lot of them and only one of her group around.

"Who are you?"

She looked at the large entrance and saw a girl in an orange suit there. "You must be Venus' mage."

"What are you talking about?"

"Name's Cognisance," the woman said, "and I must admit I didn't expect you to make it out of there on your own. They surely sent all their guards at you, right?"

"Even the Kapt'n of the mine. I took care of them without even knowing what I was doing."

Cognisance smiled. "Guess I missed most of the fun, then."

"If you can call it fun," Lumina muttered. "Name's Lumina, by the way."

"Okay then, Lumina," Cognisance looked up to the sky, then at the other woman, "I told you who I am, but about what I meant by 'mage of Venus' you will have to come with me to find out."

"I have to tell my family about..."

"It would be best for you to know what's happening to you first," Cognisance noted, "and don't worry about that, these monsters care not about things like 'family' so they would not use our families as bait, or punish them."

Lumina sighed. If this woman said her family would be okay, then maybe she could trust her. And she was right about something else, too. What would she tell her mother? 'Hello mother, today was a good day at the mines, not counting how I was attacked by several guards. But don't worry, I wasn't hurt by them, because I found out I can shoot focused light beams off my bare hands!' Yeah, it wouldn't really be a good explanation. She was worried about how long it would take for her to know all she needed to, but there really was nothing she could do about that.

"Okay then, where's your base?"

"The Moon," Cognisance said.

"And how will we get there?" only Masters could travel from world to world. "For that matter, how did you get here? Did you steal a Master's ship?"

"I didn't, and call them Kh'sun. 'Master' makes them feel superior, and it makes you think about them as superior beings."

Lumina gave the other woman a small smile. "I used to think that, one hour ago."

"As for how we can get to the Moon, just close your eyes and let me take care of that."

Lumina closed her eyes. "What do you..."

-----​

"... Mean you'll take care of that?"

"Open your eyes."

Lumina did so, and blinked a few times, just to make sure she wasn't seeing things. They were inside some sort of room, its walls a pristine white, and a single, small light in the corner was enough to illuminate it all. "Where are we?"

"The Moon, five hundred meters below the surface. It's some sort of training facility, built by the long-lost Golden Imperium."

"So it's not a Kh'sun base?"

"No, and they can't see us here."

Another woman walked in. "Welcome back, Cognisance. Serenity wants to speak with the newcomer as soon as possible."

"I understand that, Aejin, but I would like to explain her what she is, what we all are."

"Yes, I supposed as much."

Lumina had been looking at the woman. She was wearing a violet suit, but other than the color, it looked just like hers. "I see a pattern."

Cognisance smiled. "Yes, we mages all use these suits. They protect us against weak energy blasts and physical hits, and also against extreme radiation and temperature."

"So these suits are the reason I can shoot light beams?"

"Light's your element," Cognisance said, hiding her surprise at her guess on that issue being wrong, "The sword you found awakened your powers, but those powers had always been within you."

"Huh? How do you know I have a sword?"

"Each mage has one."

"You keep using that word. What does it mean?"

"I needed a term to describe us, and what we can do. I've had little luck actually knowing what makes our special abilities possible, but there seems to be a form of energy, unlike any other, and it was described in the old empire's records as 'magic.' "

"Old empire?"

Cognisance walked to the only door in the room. It slid into the wall as she approached. "I'll explain you more on our way to see Serenity. While she's not a tyrant like the Kh'sun, I still don't like to keep her waiting."

"Do you... Fear her?"

"No, I respect her. She saved my life the day I became a mage."

-----​

The walk didn't take more than five minutes, and Lumina still had a lot of questions about her powers, but upon reaching the place Serenity was at, she momentarily forgot about them.

"Wow, this is larger than any cave I've ever seen."

There were several men and women there, though she noticed only women wore suits similar to the one she was wearing. Three women were fighting in the far end of the large room, but since nobody seemed worried, she assumed it to be training.

"It's not a cave, it's man-made," Cognisance said, taking her out of her musings.

"The old imperium?"

"Most likely."

As Cognisance said that, a woman approached them. She was tall, but looked younger than Lumina, with a slightly brighter shade of blond hair than she had, and her hairdo was, to say it mildly, strange. "You must be Serenity," the girl from Venus said, immediately realizing she wasn't sure how to address this woman correctly.

Serenity seemed to notice her insecurity, and smiled. "That's me. Welcome to our group."

"I never said I would join."

Serenity's smile didn't falter. "I know you're confused right now, but you just need time to think about it."

Lumina's attention turned to the fight for a moment. Each of the three women fighting seemed to have a different 'element' they could use. The one in the red suit used fire, the one in the green suit used electricity, and the third one, whose suit was gray, used dust and rocks. "How can they keep that up?"

"It's because they've been training for a while. You're almost the last one of our group, if Cognisance's guess was right."

"And each one of us has an 'element'?"

"Yes, but some of them are hard to catalog," Serenity said, a small ball of light appearing in her hand.

"You use light too?"

"No, my powers are based in raw magic. Magic energy tends to shine like this, but I do not control light directly."

"Controlling light..." Lumina thought about it for a few seconds, then smiled. "Like this?" Suddenly, all the lights in the room flared up and became blinding. Or, Lumina realized, they should have been bright enough to blind her, but she could see just fine.

"Whatever you're doing, stop doing it," a voice said from her side. Lumina complied, and was surprised to see a woman in a black suit right besides her. "I take it your power's the opposite of mine, right?"

Lumina guessed this woman's power was controlling darkness, or something similar. "I suppose."

The woman smiled. "Nice control, but let me show you what it's like when you know what you're doing." She pointed at Lumina, and even though the blonde felt nothing, she felt something behind her.

As she turned, she saw her own shadow looming over her. It wasn't stuck to the ground or a wall, but instead it seemed to 'float' behind her. "Wow, that's amazing."

"Using your enemy's shadows to kill them can be amusing... Or disturbing," the woman noted. "By the way, I'm Nela, from Nemesis."

"I'm Lumina, from Venus. So, who's missing?"

"If Cognisance's research can be trusted," Serenity said, though her tone made it clear there was no 'if' in her mind, "then we haven't found the Lilith mage yet."

"What are you planning to do?"

Serenity smiled, but it was a humorless smile. "We plan on returning this system to their rightful owners, the human race. I do not care if I have to kill a hundred or a million of the Kh'sun before they understand they are not welcome here."

Lumina thought about her life until today, about all the cruel things she had seen the Kh'sun do and had to endure herself, about how life was for everyone in Venus. She could fight for them now, she had seen her powers worked against the Kh'sun. And with a group of people like her working together, they could be driven out of the system... Or erased completely.

"I think I was given these powers for a reason," Lumina said, "and I've always hated the Kh'sun, deep inside. I see no reason not to join your group, Serenity."

"Good, now show us what you can do," Serenity said.

"Okay, how exactly do I do that?"

The three women who had been fighting before were now talking amongst themselves. The red-suited one walked to Lumina and nodded at her. "Welcome, I'm Aresa, from Mars."

"Uhm, hi." Everyone in this base was, to a certain degree, friendly, Lumina noticed.

"Since I'm one of the mages with the most combat experience here," Aresa said, "I'll test you. That is, unless Serenity herself wants to be testing you."

"No, I'm fine either way," Serenity said.

"If I may interrupt," Cognisance said, "I found her, so shouldn't I be the one to test her?"

"You're usually not one to ask for a fight," Aresa noted.

"I'd rather research than fight, yes," Cognisance noted, "but I think Lumina will be a good challenge for me. I know I should train more, too."

The one in the green suit walked to them. "You're the oldest mage around, Cognisance, yet you're the one with the least experience of us all. So I agree, it's better to make the two newbies fight."

"Claude, don't make me deep-freeze you again," Cognisance said with a wicked smile.

Claude laughed nervously. "Hey, it was just a joke."

Lumina sighed. "Okay, where do we do this?"

"There," Aresa noted, "that large white area, the one with the burnt marks and chipped ground," she smiled as she said that, "is where we train."

-----​

Lumina and Cognisance stood on opposite sides of the training area, and Lumina looked around. "Wait, what if one of our shots misses and keeps going?"

Cognisance didn't answer with words, instead she shot a large ice spike straight at Lumina's head. Lumina was surprised by the action, but reacted fast enough, jumping to the side. She then followed the ice spike with her eyes, and saw it hit an invisible obstacle and vanish. "What was that for?"

"You wanted to know what would happen if we miss, I wanted to know if your reflexes were good. We both got good answers out of this, didn't we?"

Lumina shook her head. "Whatever. So it's my turn now?"

Cognisance smiled. "Since you're new, let me tell you how we train. Each of us is limited to three techniques, after that we have to fight hand to hand, or with our swords if we can use them."

"Gotcha."

"Also," Cognisance said and vanished, appearing right behind Lumina, "it's always everyone's turn once you're inside the training zone."

Lumina turned in time to block Cognisance's ice spike-covered fist. It was clear this woman had fought before against other mages, unlike Lumina. However, "you've already used two 'techniques' but I haven't used a single one."

Cognisance smiled as she leapt away. "Good to know you understand the rules. I'm going easy on you because it's your first time, but don't expect others to waste attacks like that."

Lumina nodded, "of course. But don't underestimate me because I'm just a novice."

"I won't."

-----​

Serenity watched the fight with interest. She didn't get to see Cognisance fight often, and this new girl seemed to have some actual talent with her powers. Being able to intensify all the lights in the room was quite a proof of that.

Lumina attacked next, using a rather large light beam. It was a very good attack if the enemy couldn't react in time, but this wasn't the case. So she just got a kick to the head for her trouble, as Cognisance was not messing around anymore.

But the Venus mage wasn't done yet. She punched the ground as Cognisance landed, causing a column of light of the same width as her normal beam to shoot up from underneath her. It wasn't enough to knock Cognisance out, but Serenity could guess things were about to get interesting. And she knew Cognisance had a reason to hold onto her third technique.

-----​

Lumina tried to get into close range and started trying to punch her foe down, but Cognisance wasn't a rookie in that area either. The blue-haired woman ducked and kicked out with her leg, causing Lumina to fall down face-first. She then followed with an elbow drop to the back of her foe, which caused Lumina to yelp in pain.

"We can stop this if you want," she offered her foe.

Lumina slowly stood up. "I won't be able to in a real fight, will I?"

Cognisance chuckled at that, "of course you won't. You've just passed another test."

"Are all tests going to be as painful as that?"

"Who knows?" Cognisance said with a hint of sarcasm.

Lumina flinched. She could feel her body was at its limit now, she had used a lot of energy back at the mine, and Cognisance wasn't a soft hitter either. She had to finish this, and fast. "Hmph, let's see you dodge this."

Cognisance saw Lumina do something with her hand, and jumped to the side instinctively. However, no beams came, and instead she found herself surrounded by very small dots of light. "What is..."

The dots suddenly turned into thin light beams, striking Cognisance from all sides, and making dodging, or even blocking them all, virtually impossible. When the attack ended, Cognisance was in a much worse shape than Lumina. There was blood coming out of a wound in her left cheek, and her suit had burnt marks all around.

"We can..."

"Don't dare saying that," Cognisance snapped, "I must admit I never expected you to have something that powerful to throw at me, but it only means I can show you my best attack."

Lumina frowned at that. "As you please!" She charged at her foe, ready to punch her down.

Cognisance had been focusing her remaining energy since Lumina's attack ended, and knew she had enough for one more shoot. It was also the last technique she was allowed to use per fight, and she was in no shape to go melee, so she had to make it work. Even if Lumina was running, it only made it slightly more difficult to aim. Cognisance waited and calculated her foe's speed, shooting her attack at the last possible moment.

Lumina didn't really know what was going on, but she found herself encased in ice. She tried to speak, but couldn't move a muscle. And then, the ice became colder than it had already been. Much colder. She could feel her skin burning, even though her suit was supposed to protect her from extreme temperatures. Well, at least now she knew she hadn't been joking when she mentioned deep-freezing Claude.

Cognisance made her attack vanish, and saw the girl fall to her knees, panting weakly. "Give up, you must be barely conscious after that."

Lumina let out a snarl (or what could be passed as one in her weakened state,) and jumped up, lunging at Cognisance with her fist. However, Cognisance dodged her easily, and she fell to the ground, face-first.

"I suppose she passed another test," Cognisance muttered as she shook her head. "Aejin, check on her."

The pale woman was right besides her before she had finished calling for her. She looked at the fallen mage and frowned. "She should have stopped after your attack, but I don't think she's in any danger."

"Good," Cognisance said, "because she'll need to be strong enough to handle any attack thrown at her. We cannot underestimate the Kh'sun."

Serenity walked to them and smiled at that last bit. "That's true. We can easily take on them in small groups, but a large group will be troublesome. And for what I've planned, we'll need to fight many of them at once."

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 3: Second era.
Episode 11: Mages versus Aliens.


By Razor Knight
Last update: April 27, 2011

-----​

Lumina was knocked back by the wind blast, and knelt on the ground. "Guess you win this one, Nephel," she said with a wince.

The mage of Uranus smiled at her. "You're improving fast, Lumina."

She could only nod at that. It had been just a week (at least an Earth week,) since she was found, and she had been training as much as she could during that time. The training was, at times, extremely tough (specially when Serenity herself trained her,) but compared to her life at the mines, it was almost enjoyable.

Aejin walked to them. "Lumina, Cognisance just told me she's detected a mage in Lilith."

"She's going to recruit her?" It was a given it would be a woman, as all other mages were.

"Yes, and she's going to need help with that. Interested?"

"I suppose fighting against Kh'sun would be good training."

"The new mage's in the Ph'lax of Lilith."

Lumina's eyes widened. "And we're going to infiltrate that?"

"'Infiltrate' is one way to say it," Nephel mused, "if it's anything like when Aresa recruited me, then it will involve blowing a path to the center, rather than sneaking our way through the building."

Cognisance smiled at that. "Aresa was never too fond of taking an indirect path when you can just make a straight one instead."

"What kind of power will this one have?" Lumina asked.

"I've been researching the Library for months now, and even though I guessed wrong twice, the mage of Lilith should be either able to influence luck, or have the power of illusions."

"Luck?" Lumina muttered. "Sounds kinda silly."

Serenity appeared in the room just in time to hear that. "I wouldn't underestimate such power, Lumina. At least not if what Kali saw about the mage of Lilith is right."

Kali, the mage of Pluto, with control over time and space, could actually see the future, at least from what Lumina could understand of her power. But it was more like seeing many different things that could happen, not what was meant to happen.

"Who else is going?" Lumina asked.

"Nela, Aresa, Claude and me," Cognisance said. "We'll go there as soon as possible."

That was a given, if Lumina's own escape was any indication, then the Lilith mage would need help as soon as possible. "Okay, let's pick her up."

-----​

The Ph'lax were the Kh'sun central buildings, there was one on each world except for the Earth (where their mothership was,) and they loomed over the landscape like invincible giants, spreading fear over mankind. Only structure larger than the Ph'lax was the mothership itself, or at least that's what Lumina had heard.

However, looking at the Ph'lax from the outside, she couldn't imagine how any artificial construction could be bigger than this and not fall under its own weight.

"There's already some movement inside," Cognisance noted, "which means they know about the mage."

"Too bad, I wanted to go in and out unnoticed," Aresa joked.

"Sure you did," Cognisance said with a smile. "The entrance into the building's on the other side, so... Care making one for us?"

The five women walked to their target, and as they did, Aresa shot a wave of fire at it. A few seconds later, Cognisance added her own attack, freezing the wall solid even though it had been red with heat.

"My turn," Claude noted, and shot a blast of lightning at the wall, which broke down to small shards. "One entrance, done."

"Uh, why bother attacking it if Claude was going to..."

Aresa smiled at Lumina, "I tried punching my way into a Ph'lax. Had to get Aejin to fix my hand's bones afterwards."

"Being exposed to extreme heat and extreme cold so fast makes the wall's material weak as glass," Claude noted.

Cognisance looked around nervously. "Let's not waste time, we need to check on the new mage."

-----​

"Sir, the building has been breached!"

"What? Who is attacking us?"

"A group of humans, sir."

"Humans? How did they even manage to break in?"

"They somehow broke through a wall on the back of the building."

The creature shouted out something in his native language, something his subordinate didn't want to repeat. "Send every available soldier after them!"

"Sir?"

"I've heard rumors of humans attacking other places. Last week, a single human woman killed every guard in one of the largest mines of Venus."

"Sounds quite impossible to me."

"And to me too, but if these are the same kind of humans, I won't take any risks."

-----​

"Oh, I guess they know we're here already."

Aresa shook her head at Lumina's comment. Kh'sun soldiers were coming from both sides of the corridor, all shooting at them like one. Cognisance was using one of her techniques, creating walls of ice which bounced most of the energy blasts back.

Claude frowned. "We should take care of these pests fast. The other mage might be on her own against this many enemies, too."

Suddenly, one of the soldiers' weapons exploded as he was firing it. The explosion sent him flying back, along with three other soldiers, who were about to shoot their weapons, and accidentally hit the roof. A few seconds later, the roof caved in, burying several soldiers underneath.

"Okay, what the Kh'leg just happened?" Lumina asked.

"There she is," Cognisance simply said.

Looking down the corridor, Lumina could see a woman in a brown suit, her hands glowing with a bluish light. "That's the Lilith mage?"

The woman walked to them, as the soldiers tried to regroup. "If you meant to ask if I'm the one who did all that, then I am, apparently."

Aresa nodded. "Don't worry, we're on your side."

"So you were right, she controls luck."

The woman looked at Claude. "I guess I do. First guard who tried to stop me tripped and fell down a good thirty meters to her death."

"There's more guards incoming," Cognisance noted, "we may not be able to defeat them all."

"Maybe she can do something like she did before?"

The woman smiled at Lumina. "I could try. By the way, the name's Tyche."

As she said that, there was a rumble, and a large section of roof fell down, effectively blocking the corridor to one side. "Okay, that was, uhm, lucky."

"Their shots pierced through more than one floor," Cognisance noted. "Your powers are quite useful."

Tyche giggled. "And to think that one guard was shouting at me for being a useless human an hour ago."

"Come with us, we'll tell you what our group's about once we're in a safe place."

Tyche looked around. "Whatever it is, it can't be worse than cleaning the Kh'sun rooms day after day."

-----​

The Nh'Prowr was mildly upset by the news brought to him minutes ago. When he heard about some human rebels escaping the Moon's weapon factories, he had doubted things were that serious. It was just a matter of looking for the rebels and killing them all. However, in two months, there had been no way to find them. And soon enough, more incidents started happening in each world. He had made sure rumors were not reaching the human slaves, but he knew it was likely many humans were already aware of this group and its actions.

But this was different. It was the second time these humans attacked a Ph'lax, and just like every other time except for the first incident, the reports left him wondering. If they were able to enter a Ph'lax, why did they leave without freeing their fellow humans? There was only one slave reported as missing after the attack. Just like with each and every single incident before, except for the first one.

What were these humans up to? He did not know, and that made him angry. In the countless generations the Kh'sun had been moving from world to world, system to system, there had been not a single record of a rebel group like this. It was always a single slave trying to break free, or a small group, and they had always been killed on the spot.

So the Nh'Prowr had decided to browse the ship's archive. The Zy R'pah had been on Earth for many generations now, but the records went back to the first Kh'sun, those who lived in the legendary Ah'rxon. He wasn't one to bother with legends, but there might just be something there to help him understand these humans.

And his search did not go unrewarded. There was the journal of the last Nh'Prowr of the Ah'rxon. She spoke of the might of her spaceship (which was large enough to host several R'pah within,) and how it had destroyed world after world. He knew that, at first, the Kh'sun had been focused in eliminating other races, as they considered war to be the only way to conquer the Galaxy. But this journal explained why things had changed.

The Ah'rxon, the only home the Kh'sun had known since they drained their original planet out of resources, had fought against a race quite similar to the humans the current Nh'Prowr used as slaves. The journal described how the Ah'rxon drained world after world, and how the human fleet unknowingly focused their attention to one single R'pah, somehow managing to destroy it before the Ah'rxon showed up. The human fleet was hopeless against such a war machine, but something else was there to fight it.

The Nh'Prowr cursed under his breath. "That's impossible," he said as he kept reading. The last entries spoke of a human-looking female, who floated in space without any visible support, and was able to stay alive despite the complete lack of air and low temperature. She effortlessly matched the Ah'rxon's cannon, capable of splitting a medium-sized planet in half, with an energy beam of her own, yet she had no weapons.

No weapons. The few surviving soldiers from Neptune and Mars had mentioned women shooting fire, lightning or ice out of their hands, without using any weapon. Were these unknown rebels the same kind of warriors than the one who had destroyed the Ah'rxon? If that was the case, then his questions were still unanswered. Why not take all slaves out of the Ph'lax and destroy it? Why not just come to the R'pah itself? That thought remained with him for a long time. It was a given they would eventually attack his main fortress. And he would be prepared for them when the time came.

-----​

Cognisance leapt to the side as an ice beam shot through the spot she had been standing on a second earlier. "I'll say it again, your powers are quite strange, but useful."

Tyche smiled. "I don't have any beam or blast, but why bother using them when you can use your enemy's ones?"

Lumina was watching the training fight from a relatively safe distance, along with other mages. "Isn't that like, cheating?"

"Tell me, Lumina, does your power have a drawback?"

She looked at Serenity. "I guess. If I use it for too long, I tire down."

Serenity nodded at that. "Tyche's power doesn't drain her as quickly as others do, but to compensate..."

Right then, Tyche tried to leap out of the way of an ice spike, but somehow tripped and ended up flying right into it instead.

"... Her luck can, sometimes, turn against her."

Cognisance flinched. "Aejin, I think she needs your help."

Aejin appeared right besides Tyche. "I'm still not sure she keeps doing that because of her powers, or because she's clumsy."

"Shut up," Tyche snapped weakly. "And it's not like you to joke."

"Wasn't joking," Aejin said as she healed the Lilith mage.

"She seems to be ready for our next step," Serenity said to the others.

"And your next step is..."

"Striking several critical points of the Kh'sun's network. If we disable weapon factories, they won't have weapons to fight against us. If we destroy their mines, they won't have materials and fuel to repair their ships. If we destroy their teleporting network, they'll have a harder time mobilizing troops."

"So, which one will we attack first?"

"All of them," Serenity said, "I don't think we need more than three mages for each target. Just remember to get any humans out of there before you blow a building up."

"We can't transport many humans on our own," Aresa noted.

"I know, that's why we're not attacking yet. Cognisance and Sedna are working on a replica of the Kh'sun teleporters. Once that's ready, we will begin our war against the so-called Masters."

-----​

As weeks passed by, Lumina could feel a change in her. Her powers were growing, she didn't run out of energy as fast now as she did at first, and her control over light was better. Training had really helped her, and she had grown attached to the other mages, she considered them almost like family.

A skull hit her from the side and she was reminded of her current situation. "If you're going to stay there daydreaming when we fight the Kh'sun, you'll get hurt," Aejin scolded her.

Of course, sometimes her 'family' could be really annoying. "I know that, Aejin. But you shouldn't assume I was just daydreaming."

Aejin rolled to the side just in time as a column of light rose from under her. "Nice try."

Ki, the mage of Earth, appeared besides Lumina just as she was about to try another attack. "Leave this for later, Serenity's calling us all to the main room."

"About time," Aejin noted, her voice as emotionless as ever.

-----​

The main room was crowded, not only by mages but by other humans (she had spoken to some of them at times, but they always treated her like some kind of goddess, and that was unnerving for her.) Cognisance stood in the center of the room, and Lumina noticed the non-mages were all gathering in a corner.

"Good, now that we're all here, let me show you what we've done," Cognisance said. She closed her eyes, and the group of non-mages vanished, appearing near her. "As you see, we can transport a group of humans now."

"So, your version of the teleporters work as intended?"

"Better than I intended, thanks to some help from Kali," Cognisance admitted. "The Kh'sun 'planetary jump system', as they call it, depends on generators to work. In our case, the 'generator' used will be different from theirs."

"What kind of generator is it, then?"

"We'll power it ourselves."

Kali nodded, "the larger the group of humans we need to transport, and the longer the distance of the jump, the more energy we'll require. However, Aejin could transport a group of fifty humans from here to Nemesis, back and forth, five times before she starts feeling tired."

"That's impressive, considering my stamina's the lowest of the whole group," Aejin admitted.

"So unless you had more important things to do, I want us to start the attack today," Serenity said.

Cognisance explained the plan to the others. "There's four points we need to attack. The jump system facility, on Earth. The largest mine and weapon factory are both in Mars. And finally, the food factory of the Moon."

"A food factory?" Tyche asked.

"Kh'sun can't eat raw animals or plants. This isn't something they tell humans. It's not that they prefer to cook them and treat them with minerals, it's that their bodies won't be able to digest raw food. My guess is, they may even die from food poisoning if they try to eat raw meat."

"Don't they have food plants in every world?"

"Yes, but the one in this satellite is the largest one... And the one their Earth population gets their food from. Weapons, materials and means of transport are important, but there's no worse enemy in a war than an empty stomach."

"And after we're done with these targets, then what's next?"

Serenity smiled at Tyche's question. "When chaos erupts, we will attack the R'pah."

-----​

"The Kh'rsed are ready to go, sir."

"Are they working as planned?"

"We have no way of testing them against whatever weapons those rebels may have, but I tested shooting one of the cannons of the R'pah at them, and they weren't damaged by it at all. Also, they absorb energy thrown at them and convert it into energy they can use for their own weapons."

The Nh'Prowr was visibly pleased with the report. "Excellent. I expected nothing less from my lead scientist, Meth'lya."

The woman bowed and walked out of the room. Sure, she had been in charge of the project for only a few weeks, but she had to crawl through a lot of books and legends of those pathetic humans. She had been intrigued by the idea of beings capable of using the energy around them as weapons, to augment their skills many times by using it. There were legends that spoke of human mages who had lived for many generations, even by a Kh'sun's average lifespan. A particular legend spoke of a woman named Gaia, who supposedly saw a human empire of the past be born, grow and die, and was rumored to be alive even now.

She had started some experiments on the side, and while results weren't always good, she had learnt a lot about magic. The Nh'Prowr himself was still dismissing this magic as just another weapon, but Meth'lya knew those using it could be stronger than any soldier or machine. Strong enough to singlehandedly destroy a starship with enough power to reduce a planet to dust. The Kh'rsed were just a prototype for what she was planning. Machines were excellent test subjects, but what she really wanted was to create a way for soldiers to use magic directly, and to resist magic attacks. If the field testing of the Khr'sed went as planned, then soon the Kh'sun would be truly invincible, and the threat of the human mages would become a small footnote in the history of the eternal Kh'sun Empire.

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 3: Second era.
Episode 12: First strike.


By Razor Knight
Last update: May 4, 2011

-----​

Lumina had been chosen for the Earth group. Destroying the teleportation system would mean the Kh'sun army would have to use spaceships to move between planets, greatly undermining their ability to respond to attacks. But apparently the Kh'sun had been aware of what their important targets were, as the jump system's main building was surrounded by a large number of soldiers.

Serenity was in her group, too. She had faced Serenity a few times while training, and it had always been a one-sided fight. There were reasons for her being the leader, other than being the first mage to awaken. "How many of them are there?"

Cognisance, the third and last member of the group, looked at the crowd. "Three hundred and twenty-six soldiers."

Serenity nodded at that. "Not far from what I thought. Get ready to blow the building up, I'll take care of the soldiers."

"All of them?" Lumina asked, in awe.

Serenity's answer wasn't given through words, but actions. She reached out with her arms to her sides, then brought both arms to the front, palms pointed in the enemy's general direction. Next she brought her arms down, and an incredibly wide, white disc of energy shot forth, neatly slicing through most of the soldiers, and leaving a nice dent in the building's main wall.

One of the surviving soldiers fell to his knees, dropping his weapon, and glared at them. "What are you, you monsters, you... Sen'shi."

Lumina flinched. Sen'shi? She knew what that word meant, but it was rare to hear it from the Kh'sun. It was a term used for the worst kind of murderers, those who could kill many living beings and feel nothing about it.

"If being a Sen'shi is what I need to free my people from your race, then so be it," Serenity said. It was the last thing the soldier heard, as he was blasted through by a beam that also took care of the other survivors. "Let's go."

"Senshi." Lumina said with a sigh.

"I like how that word sounds, actually," Cognisance commented.

"You can't be serious."

"Why not? And it's not like the Kh'sun are better. You have seen the records, you know how many worlds the R'pah has drained. Think of how many millions of lives they ended in their own, sick way."

"You can talk about all that when we get back to the base," Serenity noted.

Lumina nodded nervously. "Of course, let's bring this place down."

-----​

Aejin turned as her targets fell to the ground, dead. "This is relatively easy."

"Your attacks look a bit... Unsettling."

The death mage looked at the fire mage. "You speak as if setting people aflame was nice."

"Point taken. So, where's the core?"

"A few hundred meters to the south," Sedna said. "If we overload it, the explosion would destroy the whole building. We just have to make sure we move everyone out before doing that."

"I'll take care of that," Aejin said, "You two keep blasting your way to the core."

Aresa sighed as the death mage vanished. "She's not a team player after all."

"You think? Taking care of both rescuing all humans and blowing up the place at the same time saves the whole team a lot of time."

Aresa blinked at that. "You're right. I hadn't thought about it."

"Let's get to the core before..." Sedna started, then growled as a rather large group of soldiers blocked their path. "... Too late."

-----​

The problem with attacking a place which run the teleporters of all the planets in the system, was that they could ask for reinforcements from all the planets in the system. Lumina had lost count of how many soldiers she had killed, and her two allies were doing as much, or maybe more, damage.

But they knew they had another task besides demolition and crowd control. "I suppose we won't be able to rescue anyone or to destroy this place if this keeps up," Cognisance noted.

"Go find all the humans you can," Serenity said.

Cognisance nodded. "Was about to suggest that. I'm the weakest of the three, and they will be focusing on stopping us from reaching their control room, so I will have a relatively easier fight."

Serenity smiled. "You're the brains of our team, so next time, don't wait for me to give an order before speaking up."

"Uh, sorry."

"Never mind, just go."

Lumina looked down the corridor and flinched. "What the... What are those things?"

The other two looked at the 'soldiers' that had appeared in front of them. They somehow resembled a Kh'sun, but their skin was completely metallic, and blue glowing crystals were where their eyes should have been. "Robots," Cognisance said.

"Rowhat?"

"It's a term I saw in a book, used to describe computers mounted in a mobile body."

"Sounds like a crazy idea."

"I'll guess these robots are programmed to fight us."

Lumina looked at the creatures. There were ten of them, and they all had very visible cannons where their hands should be. "I suppose we should fight, then," she said as she sent a light beam at one of the creatures.

The beam, however, was absorbed by the robot, and its arms lit up a second later. Twin light beams shot from its weapons, knocking Lumina back.

"Are you okay?"

Lumina stood up and nodded at Serenity. "I suppose our foe figured out how to reflect magic."

"Not unheard of, there were shields which could reflect..."

Serenity made a 'stop' motion with her hand. "I thought I told you to go look for humans."

"But these robots..."

"We'll take care of them."

"Let me help you."

"Please, Cognisance, do what I'm telling you to. We'll be fine."

Cognisance looked at her for a second then shook her head. "Right, I'll leave these to you. Good luck!"

Lumina had been looking at the 'robots' during the whole exchange. They weren't moving, and they didn't attack. "Oh, I get it, these little bastards have no power of their own."

"Using your foe's power against themselves is a good tactic," Serenity noted.

"Then I suppose we can't rely on our magic," Lumina said and charged at the robots. The one closest to her got a nice hole through its head, and as another one slowly approached her form the side, she kicked hard, sending its torso flying back and hitting a wall before exploding. But there were more enemies than she could handle, and they were fast. Extremely fast.

"Damn it," Serenity summoned her sword but then stopped. No, she wasn't that good in close combat, but what else could she do? These robots could just absorb her attacks and... No, these were just machines. If their attacks were not enough to overload them, then she just needed to be stronger. Her crystal appeared in front of her, even though she did not summon it. "What is..."

Yes, being stronger, that was the only way out of this. A blinding light surrounded her, and the robots stopped attacking Lumina as they detected a much bigger threat to the building in Serenity. They charged at her, but were repelled by the light.

Lumina stood up slowly, staring at the light. "That's... What is she doing?"

The light faded, and Serenity was still there. Her looks hadn't changed, but Lumina could feel how much stronger she had become. "What's going on, Serenity?"

"To defeat these creatures, we need to be stronger. If they attack elsewhere, I hope our friends do realize this in time." She looked at the creatures, which were all surrounding her. "Hmm, I suppose I did succeed in getting them off you."

One of the robots charged forwards, but it never reached its target. Or, rather, its target reached it first. And before that robot's body exploded, each and every one of them had been either cut in half, or was shining with light.

"That much power, it's impossible..." Lumina said.

"Nothing's impossible for us, Lumina," Serenity said as all the robots exploded as one. 'Cognisance, how are things over there?'

'Only one more human to transport,' Cognisance said.

'Good. I'm about ready to blow this place up.'

'But how, you're not even close to... Oh, that power spike I detected was you, wasn't it?'

'Yes, leave as soon as you're done with that.'

'Understood.'

She turned to look at Lumina. "I'm going to destroy this building's core now. You should leave."

"I'm not abandoning my leader."

"Nothing's going to happen to me, I'm too strong to..."

"What?" Lumina glared at Serenity. "Wasn't it you who told me 'overconfidence is a flaw'? Yes, you're quite strong in that form, but don't let power go to your head, Serenity. You're not like this."

Serenity seemed ready to argue, but then blinked and looked down. "I really did let it go to my head, didn't I?"

Cognisance walked to them. "You apparently did, from what little I heard."

"I thought I told you to leave."

"And I realized the same she did," Cognisance noted, "that you weren't quite... Being yourself." She then smiled. "Also, I wanted to see if you can really blast that core from here."

"Right, but be ready to teleport away. Unless you want to get an unnatural tan, that is."

"Yeah, I'll pass," Lumina said nervously.

Serenity looked in the direction she knew the core to be. She could feel its energy now, unlike before. As she closed her eyes, thin light beams seemed to appear in the air around her, all shooting straight at her open palms. They gathered in a large energy ball, and when Serenity opened her eyes, she punched it, causing a large magic beam to shoot forwards. It tore through wall after wall without stopping, and destroying any Kh'sun unlucky enough to be in its path.

Then it finally reached the core, surprising the engineers and scientist keeping an eye on it. The surprise, however, only lasted for a split second, which was the time it took for the energy to overload it and cause it to explode.

-----​

The trio of mages appeared half a mile away from the building, and they all stared at the explosion, much larger than any of them had imagined. They could even feel a strong wind picking up thanks to it. "It's done."

Cognisance checked a small artifact and smiled. "All missions went as planned. No casualties, so to speak. And the mine team three attacked was built right on top of a Kh'sun military base, so I guess that was a boon for us."

"Let's go back to the Moon. We need to plan our next move carefully."

-----​

Meth'lya had mixed feelings about her results. True, she had guessed correctly, and the Khr'sed had been able to fight the enemy at first. But the woman in the white suit, her power had doubled in only a few seconds. And from the reports of the other places they had attacked, she knew several other women had gone through the same 'upgrade.'

Was it because they were living beings using magic, or was there something else? She would have to ask permission from the Nh'Prowr for her next experiment, but she hoped he would understand what her goal was. No, he couldn't just dismiss magic, he had to know the threat it could become. The threat it had already became, if what she guessed of these women was right.

She could not waste a moment, these 'mages' had done a lot of damage to the Kh'sun already, and she didn't know how long it would be before they attacked the Ph'lax of every world. Or the R'pah itself.

-----​

"Aejin, Kali, Nela and Aresa," Serenity said. "It's strange that not all of us are getting stronger..."

Cognisance interrupted her. "Not really. You five, along with me, are the mages who have been around for longer. Maybe all the training left you close to that 'transformation', while I was busy researching so I lack training."

"That's a good theory," Sedna admitted, "but what about those creatures we fought?"

"The Kh'sun must have figured out how to deal with magic," Cognisance noted, "we should be careful about what our next move will be."

"Everyone should rest, we won't wait long to strike again."

"And what's the next target?"

"The R'pah."

"Are you sure we're ready?"

"Yes. The era of the Kh'sun is already over, we just need to deal the killing blow."

-----​

Serenity looked at the large monitor, to the image of Earth displayed in it. She knew someone had just entered the room, but she didn't speak up until the other person started walking to where she was. "That planet is where everything begun."

"Yes, and it's been always cursed, if the Library's records are right."

"Tell me, Aeijin, is what Sedna reported true?"

"Yes. We were attacked by those 'robots' and they were too strong for us. Sedna was killed by them, and that triggered our 'transformation' as Cognisance insists on calling it."

"She died. And you brought her back."

Aejin nodded. "I've always been able to sense the souls of living beings, but... Not when they're dead. After the change, I was able to see Sedna's soul, and somehow I knew how to bring her back to life."

"That's quite incredible."

"However, I also know I won't be able to bring her back again," Aejin said as she looked at the Earth again.

"The more I know about our powers, the more questions I have," Serenity mused, "but I won't worry about those questions until we take back what's ours."

"There's something I've wanted to ask you."

"Then ask, friend."

"What are we going to do after we're free?"

"We'll keep protecting mankind from any other threats that may show up. That's a Senshi's mission."

"Senshi. Cognisance said the ones from the past used the same word to refer to themselves."

"Considering one of them destroyed the largest spaceship they ever built, it's not unlikely they adopted that term and turned it into an insult."

"Then I'll agree with you and Cognisance, being called a Senshi is good. It means they fear us."

-----​

Meth'Lya's anger had been growing for the last few days. Her experiments had been failure after failure, and her leader had finally ordered her to stop. She could see his point of view, she had killed several soldiers with her experiments, and he had gained nothing at all from it. But she was close to the answer. She was sure she had found the problem, and correct it. She only needed one more test subject, but... The Nh'Prowr wouldn't allow her to get one. And no matter how sure she was of the results, disobeying the Nh'Prowr was something she couldn't even start considering.

Just as she was checking her data once again, the room shook. "No... They're already here!" she looked at the strange machine she had been using to try and infuse soldiers with magic. She was sure of it, this time it would work. She only needed to test it once more.

And if her leader didn't want to sacrifice any of his precious soldiers, then she would have to test it herself.

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 3: Second era.
Episode 13: The falling Kh'sun.


By Razor Knight
Last update: May 23, 2011

-----​

Lumina looked at the guard's head rolling down the corridor dismissively. She was used to killing those she used to call 'Masters.' And after today, if things went as planned, they would have a lot of killing to do.

Destroying this place didn't only meant killing their leader. The R'pah was the only Kh'sun spaceship large enough to carry all of them. Without it, they would be unable to leave, unable to escape their fate.

For this mission, Serenity had decided each Senshi would be going in from a different direction. The more the Kh'sun had to thin out their soldiers to fight them, the easier it would be for them to get to their leader.

An energy blast reminded her just how serious this mission was, and she saw a half dozen robots blocking her path. "I was expecting some of you showing up," she snapped at the robots, who didn't say anything, most likely because, Cognisance had guessed, there was no need for them to speak.

The robots all shot at her, but she dodged. That first blast had actually hurt, which meant whoever was building them had improved them. Last time Serenity had saved her, but this time she would have to show she wasn't just a weak mage. No, this time these robots would be the ones getting beaten up.

She felt the change in her, just as light surrounded her. She run to the robots, shooting a light beam which, rather than being absorbed, pierced a hole through its chest. As her remaining enemies shot at her, she stood there, looking at the downed robot, and mostly unaffected by their attacks. "I can see why Serenity was acting like that back then."

It took her less than a minute to eliminate her foes, but she didn't stay and celebrate. Her mission was, like all other mages, to get to the center of the R'pah, to destroy it's core. And the Nh'Prowr would try to stop them, as this spaceship was too important for the Kh'sun.

-----​

The R'pah was a massive spaceship, but words couldn't really describe just how big it was. Even while running at top speed and having little problem eliminating any guard or robot that crossed their path, it took the Senshi almost one hour to reach the core. As they gathered, Serenity noticed they had all reached their next 'stage' now. That was good, it would be easy to destroy the core if they attacked it.

However, before she could order the attack, someone appeared near them. She was expecting him, the Nh'Prowr, to show up. And he was using a strange black body armor, and holding a strange gun. "I knew you Senshi would get here sooner or later. I'm going to put an end to your little war."

Claude glared at him. "You're just one Kh'sun, we've already defeated thousands of your kin."

"I'm not just any Kh'sun, I'm the Nh'Prowr, the strongest of t--"

"Shut up already."

The Senshi all watched in awe as their foe was cut in half by an energy blade. The female Kh'sun stood there, looking at the corpse of her former leader, and then shot an energy blast at it, destroying it along with the floor around it.

"What? He would have died if he fought against you," the woman said, looking at the Senshi with a smile. "All Kh'sun are doomed, because they would never recognize the power of magic."

"You're a Kh'sun too," Nela noted.

"Of course I am, but I'm different. Not because of ranking, but because I," the woman said and shot an energy blast at Nela, knocking her through a wall, "am also a magician."

Serenity had been silently looking at the woman. She could sense her magic, and she knew that their foe was, as incredible as it sounded, stronger than any of them. "Everyone, don't underestimate this enemy."

"That's good advice, human. I'm far stronger than anything you expected to find here. You came to fight the leader of the Kh'sun, and I just earned that title."

"We'll still blow you up to the sky, along with the rest of this place," Nela snapped as she walked back to where the others were standing.

"Oh, aren't you brave? Let me show you what I can..." Meth'lya stopped as she was pushed down to the ground by an unseen force. "I see... Gravity control. Impressive."

Arinna took a step back as her target rose up. "Damn it, she's strong."

"You have no idea how right you are," Meth'lya said, then shot a wave of energy, which knocked all the Senshi back. "You weak, pathetic humans... Although I should thank you for showing me my real power, my real destiny. I was just a scientist a few hours ago, but now I, Metallia, am a goddess!"

"She's delusional," Lumina muttered.

"Power got to her head," Serenity noted. "I think it's time we show her what we can do. Attack!"

All the Senshi attacked as one, but Meth'lya didn't move, didn't seem to notice the barrage. "Hmph, keep that up and I'll stop playing with you," she said mockingly.

"Damn it, not even all of us together can beat her?"

Cognisance frowned. "Maybe all of us together can..."

"What are you babbling about now?" Nephel asked.

"There's this legend I read, about an attack used by the ancient Senshi... It's risky but it may be the only way to defeat her."

Meth'lya laughed at that. "Oh, the weaklings have hidden tricks? I'd love to see you try, humans!"

Serenity looked at Cognisance. "Okay, tell us what to do."

"Every Senshi shot their attacks at their strongest warrior, who focused them all in one single beam."

Meth'lya made some calculations and frowned. "It's still going to be the same output."

Serenity took a step forwards. "Let's do it."

"If it fails, you could die. It will still hurt you a lot even if it works."

"I'm willing to take the risk, and I trust you all."

"Okay then, give us the signal," Lumina said.

Serenity closed her eyes for a few seconds, then opened them, glaring at Meth'lya. "Now!" The Senshi shot their attacks as one, all aiming for Serenity. She fell to one knee as the energy rushed through her body, but then stood up, her palms open and aiming for her foe. "This battle ends now!"

The results were far more spectacular than Cognisance had guessed. The beam that shot from Serenity's hands was almost twice as tall as her, and just as wide. Its color pattern was strange, parts of it seemed to cycle through every possible color, while other parts remained white. But that wasn't the strangest thing. The power output was easily twenty times the combined power of all the Senshi.

Their enemy was destroyed before she could ever scream in pain, and the beam kept going, hitting the ship's core and causing it to overload. "Okay, time to leave," Lumina said, then noticed Serenity was kneeling on the ground. "I'll help her, you guys get as far as you can!"

-----​

The Senshi appeared several miles away from the ship, although their jumps had not been coordinated, so they all appeared at a different place. Lumina appeared near a forest, along with Serenity, who was still kneeling on the ground. "Are you --" Her question was cut as the R'pah's explosion roared, the shock wave knocking them both down, and light filled the area. "I suppose this mission is over."

Serenity stood up slowly, looking at the place where the Kh'sun's largest ship had been, and smiled despite the pain she was feeling. "Yes, we've already defeated the Kh'sun. All that's left now is clean up the remnants."

Aejin appeared near them and looked at Serenity. "Damn it, Serenity, Cognisance was right about the damage that attack could cause."

Serenity flinched as Aejin started healing her, and the rest of the Senshi appeared around them. "Yeah, it's... It's not an attack I would like to use often."

"The only thing stronger than that," Cognisance noted, "would be if a Senshi unleashed the full power of their planet, using all of the mana in it for one single attack. However, the only record of it happening didn't end well for the Senshi doing it. Her body was destroyed by the energy overload."

"Did that happen in this system?" Lumina asked.

"No, the Library has some records of 'alien' Senshi too. The first Empire apparently spread throughout most of the Galaxy."

"That's interesting, but right now I want to go back to the base and rest for a week," Serenity noted.

"Can't blame you for that," Cognisance admitted.

-----​

As Serenity had predicted, destroying the R'pah and the Kh'sun leaders had greatly lowered the morale of their race, and the Senshi had a relatively quick campaign against their former 'masters.'

Aresa now stood, alone, in front of the last remaining fortress of the Kh'sun. They had all gained another level during this campaign, so the Kh'sun weaponry had been rendered useless against them. And yet, she could see dozens of soldiers blocking her path to the fortress. She could see the fear in their faces, a fear that she had felt for them in the past, before becoming what she was now. She wouldn't deny it, it felt good to have helped turning the tables on these monsters.

But it would be pointless to drag this on any longer. She had no need for words now, these creatures knew just how hopeless their situation was. She closed her eyes and then crouched, touching the ground with her hands. A second later, she opened her eyes, and a large wave of flames shot forth, incinerating the soldiers, and their fortress, in a matter of seconds.

She checked for survivors, although she didn't need to. Her attack was too fast for anyone to escape, and the Kh'sun teleport system had been completely destroyed. That was it, they had won. Mankind could finally start rebuilding, and maybe one day they would spread out to the stars, as they had in the past. She took one last look at the scorched, burning crater where the last Kh'sun in the system had been, and smiled. It was strange that Serenity herself hadn't finished the job, but that showed how much she trusted all of them.

-----​

Serenity was, right now, quite upset. It had been the Senshi who had fought against the Kh'sun. Even when the Kh'sun were a handful of fearful soldiers, the Senshi had been the ones eliminating them. So what was this man speaking of? What right did this man have to speak such nonsense about her and her allies?

"... And I don't really see the change. We've gone from living under the shadow of lizards, to living under the shadow of supposedly human warriors. I say the people of my world should be free to decide who they want to be ruled by."

Serenity wasn't alone in the room, and even though there were easily fifty people in the 'other side' of this argument, she hadn't stopped smiling as the man spoke his piece. But now, she turned serious, and stood up, looking directly at him. "You speak of freedom, yet you didn't raise a finger to obtain it. You speak of not wanting to live under anyone's 'shadow' even though it's everything you've ever done. Your actions clash with your words, and your words have as much power in this room as a group of Kh'sun would have. No, maybe even less than that. So, next time some alien creatures come and take over our system, if you can actually do something other than cowering in a corner, then I will accept any of you," and she looked at all the other members of this 'rebel' group, "as having the right to rule yourselves however you may please. Until then, go back to your worlds and be happy we choose to answer to words with words. It could be worse. Much worse."

The man rose again to speak, but another, older man beat him to it. "I can agree with that last point. It's been one month since the Kh'sun were eliminated, and I personally haven't seen, or heard about, any hostility from your kin to humans."

Serenity looked at the second man, her face neutral. "I suppose it's too much to ask, but could your 'kin' stop talking about us as if we weren't human?"

"I didn't mean to imply that," the man said. He noticed some of his allies were looking at him, with either hostility or disbelief. "Please, gentlemen, let's not fight a war we would lose before we started. These women destroyed the R'pah, and each of them took on entire Kh'sun strongholds on their own afterwards. If we actually try to take control by force, it will not end well for us."

Cognisance decided to voice her thoughts on that matter. "That depends on what you consider a good ending. We don't need to fight you, we will just stand there until you're tired of shooting at us with whichever guns you can scavenge from the Kh'sun's rotting corpses."

Serenity looked around the room and her smile returned. "You may call me the new Nh'Prowr, a slaver, or whatever you want to call me. Time will show you the truth, even if you close your eyes and ears to it. This meeting is over."

And the Senshi left the room, not paying attention to the shouts and glares from most of their 'rivals.'

-----​

"The mines of Mars are operational again, and the teleport network is back online. New colonies were built in Europa and Io, and..."

Serenity wasn't really listening to her adviser. Things had changed in the last few years, she had gone from being a slave to aliens to being the Queen of the Moon and of the Solar System. 'Queen' was a term Cognisance found while reading old data from the Library. It was apparently used for the female rulers of the Golden Imperium, and it was a strange coincidence that back then, the strongest Queen was also linked to the Moon.

No, it was no coincidence. She was the only Senshi with a crystal, the Ginzuishou, and that crystal acted as an amplifier of sorts. But there were other things the crystal could do, if she believed Cognisance's words. And she saw no reason to not believe her.

Half a decade had passed since the battle against Meth'lya, or 'Metallia' as the name was simplified by civilians. In that time, they never saw any enemy fleet, or even a single entity, approach their system. And as far as she knew, there was no contact with any human world outside their small cluster of planets.

Cognisance had read about many things that could explain this. The Kh'sun themselves, legends said, had two more R'pah left. There was also Sailor Chaos, the evil Senshi, who had destroyed countless worlds. And there was a creature the Senshi of the past destroyed, a being who devoured worlds. Those were threats that, left unchecked, could have destroyed most human worlds, and maybe even most alien civilizations.

The adviser had noticed the Queen's silent brooding, and had left the room. However, Serenity noticed there was someone else in the room now. Kali, the Senshi of Time, she was supposedly the Queen of Pluto, but spent much of her time in Time Gates, as she had named the strange place outside time and space only the Time Senshi could visit.

"It's been a long time, Kali."

Kali smiled. "For me, it's been only a couple days. In any case, I am here to warn you about what lies ahead. Soon we will have to face a very strong being, and will be forced to make painful choices. I cannot tell you more, because any more knowledge of what's to happen could steer you off the best outcome."

Just then, Cognisance appeared in the room. "Serenity, there's..." She stopped as she noticed who else was in the room. "If you are here, then this is far worse than I thought."

"What's wrong?" Serenity asked.

"We lost contact with Lilith half an hour ago, and I decided to scan the planet before sending someone there... I detect a strange form of energy, and far too little life energy."

Serenity stared at Cognisance, then at Kali. "If things are as bad as you say, then I'll go there myself."

Aejin appeared just as Serenity said that, and she frowned. "There's no need for that, Serenity. I can only sense death in Lilith. I will go there, as I can control death itself, and see what I can do."

"I can't let you go alone."

"I'm not asking for permission, Queen Serenity. I am telling you what I'm going to do, in case things go wrong."

Serenity looked away and frowned. "I cannot sense Tyche. She may already be gone by now."

"Death is spreading," Saturn noted, noticing Kali had left the room already. "I don't think there will be any survivors if we stall any longer."

Serenity nodded. "I know, but still..." She turned to Cognisance. "Run every possible scan you can without having to go to the planet yourself. I want to know what we're facing."

"At once," Cognisance said, and vanished.

"Aejin, wait until Cognisance is done with those tests," Serenity said, "I don't want to lose another friend to whatever is attacking Lilith."

"I will wait, but I can't promise I won't go to Lilith even if things are really hopeless."

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 3: Second era.
Episode 14: Death walkers.


By Razor Knight
Last update: May 30, 2011

-----​

"There's a virus spreading through the planet," Cognisance said, "but it's not just a normal virus, it seems to be backed by magic."

"What happened to the people of Lilith?" Serenity asked, already dreading the worst.

"We've managed to get some images from the biggest city of the planet," Cognisance said, "but what we could see was... This."

An image appeared in the large screen behind them, and the Senshi looked at it in shock. People with blood on their clothes, some had an arm or an eye missing, but they didn't seem to notice their injuries. In fact, their eyes were lifeless and empty. "What's happening there?"

"The virus did that. I don't know how it works, since I cannot get any samples, but..."

Aejin was staring at one of the images. "They're all already dead, I can feel it even from here. What you're seeing are just corpses."

"What about Tyche?"

"We haven't located her," Cognisance admitted, "which may mean she could still be alive."

"We should all go and..."

"We don't know if our magic protection is strong enough to handle this virus," Cognisance noted, "or how the virus is transmitted."

"Then I'll go, alone," Aejin said.

"I can't let you do that," Serenity warned.

"I will not be stopped by words, even your own. I'm the only one in this group who could fix whatever happened up there."

"But what if you can't fix it?" Nela asked.

"If something prevents me from fixing what happened... Then I will do what I must. We cannot let any other world be infected by that thing."

"I guess there's no talking you out of it," Serenity said, sadness showing in her face for an instant. "Good luck, Aejin."

"Luck?" Aejin smiled at that, "Lilith is the planet of luck. I hope my luck is a different kind."

-----​

It only took her a second to go from the Moon to Lilith, and once she arrived, she saw things were worse than what she had guessed. She could only sense a tiny spark of life in this planet. And looking around, she saw the dead had noticed her, and were all crawling to where she was.

"They attack any living human," she said to herself, before leaping on top of the tallest building she could see. Once she landed, however, she saw there were several walking corpses up there. "Hmm, time for some field testing."

She focused in the closest corpse, trying to feel its soul. There was none, and that was surprising to her, even though she knew magic could do a lot of things she would have considered impossible years ago. "If there's no soul, there's no way to save them," she muttered, idly noticing the creatures were all quite close to her. "As if I would let you," she snapped, swinging her glaive around a few times, and cutting the creatures in half.

The torsos still kept crawling to her, and she guessed what the thing was. In a few more slashes, she had managed to behead all the crawling torsos, and they stopped moving. "Interesting."

She heard a scream and looked down to the ground. A woman was running from a pack of creatures, but before Aejin could leap down to help her, one of the creatures bit the woman's arm. The change was fast, as the skin around the wound turned a sickly, rotten color, and soon enough the woman was one more walking corpse. "So that's how it spreads," Aejin muttered.

'Serenity, I've seen the virus in action. These corpses have no soul left, so I can't heal them. And the virus spreads when one of them bites a victim.'

Serenity's reply was quick. 'Have you located Tyche?'

'Not yet, I'm heading for the Spire now.'

-----​

The Spire was the tallest building in Lilith, and the place where Tyche had spent most of her time for the past three years. Aejin had visited Lilith only once, while they were still fighting the Kh'sun, so she didn't know how the Spire was supposed to look when intact. Right now, there were creatures surrounding it, and smoke could be seen coming out from some of the building's many windows.

But Aejin wasn't losing hope. She could sense it, a rather bright beacon of life, inside that building. It had to be Tyche. She jumped up, as high as she could, and smashed through a closed window. Looking around, she could see several walkers (as she had decided to call them,) and she swiftly dealt with them. Tyche was only a few meters above her right now, and she decided to take the fastest route.

As she teleported, she saw Tyche was sitting on a chair, her face a mask of sadness. "Tyche? What are you doing, why didn't you escape?"

"It's pointless," Tyche said, reaching her arm out, "I can't run from it."

Aejin noticed the bite marks in the other woman's arm, and some of her skin had already started to rot, but the virus was spreading much slower than it would normally. "I... Let me try healing you."

Tyche sighed. "Right."

Aejin concentrated, but the wound would not heal, no matter how hard she tried. "Damn it, it's not working."

"So much for that. Just leave me here, then."

"No, let's go. Cognisance may find a cure for this."

Tyche stood up, shaking her head. "I... I guess it's worth a try. But I want to ask something of you."

"What is it?"

"If I start turning into one of those creatures, kill me. I don't want to be one of them."

Aejin looked at Tyche for a few seconds before nodding slowly. "If it comes to that, I will make it quick and painless."

"Thanks."

-----​

Cognisance was surprised to see Aejin back, but was more surprised to see Tyche. "You've been bitten."

Tyche nodded. "Aejin told me you needed a sample to work on a cure. Since I failed to protect my people, maybe I can still be of use to them this way."

"Don't speak as if you already died, Tyche."

"Shut up," Tyche snapped. "I had to watch Kelim turn into one of those things. He was the one who bit me, because I hesitated to attack him."

Aejin gasped at that. Kelim was someone Tyche had met while she was still a slave, and soon after the war, they had married. But what about...

"I suppose you're wondering about Nun. She's still lurking back home, somewhere... I couldn't..."

Nun was Tyche's young daughter. Aejin had only seen adult corpses crawling around the city, but now she realized... Just like Nun, there might have been thousands of dead children, walking aimlessly and looking for something to infect.

"I'm sorry to hear that," Cognisance said, "but once we find a cure, we'll be able to heal your daughter back to normal."

"If you find a cure."

"Let's not lose hope," Aejin said, "at the rate the virus is spreading in you, we've got many hours left."

-----​

"Some of the walkers entered Venus through the teleporting network. They've been dealt with, but we're closing the network until this crisis is over."

Serenity nodded at Aresa. "We want to save the people of Lilith, but we can't let the virus spread."

Aejin appeared in the room. "Cognisance detected an energy reading like that of the virus, but on Earth."

"Where exactly is it?" Serenity asked.

"The Reaper Crater," Aejin said. It was a strange coincidence, since the Reaper Crater was the name given to the place where the R'pah had once been.

"I'll tell the others, be ready to..."

"I won't go. I made a promise to Tyche, and I don't break my promises."

Serenity nodded, as Aejin had told her what that promise was. "I understand."

-----​

When the Senshi reached the Crater, they could see a somewhat familiar figure standing there, looking at them with a mix of hatred and superiority. "We destroyed you."

Meth'lya laughed at that. "Oh, you tried to, that's true." Her body was much thinner than before, and her skin was paler.

"I don't understand. That much magic energy should have killed you."

Meth'lya looked at Nela. "I know, and I don't understand it, either, but... Being so close to the core when it exploded did something to me, I was changed. I am no longer a Kh'sun."

"Yeah, we heard that the first time," Lumina noted.

"If you're behind what's happening in Lilith, then we will destroy you for sure this time," Serenity said.

"Oh, I sure am behind that. And I suppose those missing from your group are trying to find a cure. There is none, once the soul is erased, there's no turning back."

Serenity looked at the creature in shock. Aejin had mentioned the creatures having no soul, but... Erasing a soul? Was that possible? And this woman had created such an aberration, with what purpose? To kill all humans?

"I see your leader's fallen silent," Meth'lya mused, "maybe now she understands how it feels to know your whole race is doomed."

"Shut up."

Meth'lya looked at Serenity. "Hah! You dumb brat, I'm much stronger than before, and I won't let you use that attack again!"

"I told you to shut up!" Serenity said, her voice a low growl. The air around her started cracking with energy, and light blurred her form.

"What's going on?" Lumina asked.

"I guess that creep made her angry," Aresa commented.

-----​

Cognisance looked at the monitor and sighed. "I can cure you, but I'm not sure the cure will work on people who's already been taken over by the virus." She took a vial with a strange, purple liquid, and walked to her 'patient.' "Here, drink this."

Tyche felt the effect of the liquid (and it's horrible taste) almost instantly. The skin of her arm returned to normal in a matter of seconds, and she could feel it growing warm again. "It does work. Do you have any more of this?"

"I've made a few vials of it," Cognisance said. "Why?"

"I know Lilith better than any of us, and I want to save the people from that world. I'll go there and test this cure on an infected person."

Cognisance nodded. "As a matter of fact, that liquid will also make you immune to the virus, so I suppose you're the best choice right now."

"I'll be back once I test this," Tyche said and vanished.

A few seconds later, an alarm started beeping in the scanner room. Cognisance went there, and blinked in disbelief at what the readings told her. "That's Serenity? That much power could overload her." She frowned and vanished from the room, her mind set on what she would do next.

-----​

As soon as she got to her destination, she realized things were quite out of her control. Serenity's body was shining, and Cognisance's own visor (a part of the suit only she had,) was telling her Serenity should be dead from mana overload by now.

As the light faded, the others could see Serenity had changed much more than with her previous upgrades. She had white wings on her back, for starters. And they could see the white aura around her, which faded slowly as Serenity opened her eyes.

Meth'lya had taken a few steps back. "This can't be. You're just a human, you cannot be this strong!"

"You came here to fight a Senshi, and instead you found a goddess," Serenity said, mocking what Meth'lya had told her in their last battle.

"Die, human!"

The others were ready to shoot at the creature, but they noticed Serenity wasn't moving. She simply let the attack hit. "I was born to protect my race from creatures like you. I may have failed protecting the people of Lilith, but if we really can't bring them back, then I at least can make sure you don't bring the same fate to any other world."

Before anyone could notice, Serenity vanished. But there was no time for surprise to set in, as something unseen was hitting Meth'lya from all sides. No, Cognisance noticed it wasn't really unseen. It was Serenity, moving at an incredible speed, and she wasn't using any magic to hit Meth'lya. No, she was using her bare hands. It all took only a few seconds, and the evil woman was thrown out of the area by a rather nasty-looking uppercut.

"Serenity?" Cognisance noticed the woman had stopped.

Her leader was looking at the strange green box Meth'lya had been standing next to before they started fighting. "Deal with that box, I'll take care of her."

"Of course," Cognisance said, and Serenity vanished again.

Meth'lya staggered up, coughing up blood, and saw her foe was standing there, looking at her. But the woman's eyes had no hatred, no anger. No, it was much worse. "Don't give me that look!"

"I've just realized, dear Metallia," Serenity said, using the name humans had given the creature, "that you're not worth killing. You're just a scared, weak woman, messing with things you didn't understand turned you into a monster, and you're afraid of being the last one of your species. So I'll give you one last chance. Leave this system and never come back, and I'll let you go."

Meth'lya burst out laughing, despite the pain. "Oh, aren't you nice? I'm not going to give up, not when I have the means to destroy your whole race!"

An explosion was heard in the distance, and Serenity smiled. "Not anymore."

"There's still the infected humans of Lilith," Meth'lya snarled.

"We'll find a cure for them."

"There is no 'cure', idiot. There's no way science or magic can recover a soul that's been erased!"

Serenity's face changed. "I can't believe that, I won't give up on the people of..." She suddenly flinched. She couldn't see what had happened, but she could feel the massive ripple of mana shooting out in all directions. "No... What happened to..."

Meth'lya took her chance to attack, or at least tried to. Weak as she was, it wasn't hard for Serenity to block her punch. "You dumb human, don't look away from me!"

Serenity realized what had happened and her face changed. "You had your chance, but you just lost it."

And the last thing Meth'lya saw was the massive ball of energy Serenity had summoned in a split second, shooting straight to her.

-----​

Minutes earlier, Tyche was flying over the former city of Gamble, the capital of Lilith. The city had been a peaceful human settlement a dozen hours ago, now it was a city of walking corpses.

She reached her destination faster than she thought. The Spire was a large building, but she knew exactly where to go, she had left her daughter locked inside her bedroom, and that door was strong enough to handle a punch from her, so no human, dead or not, would be able to get through it.

And she was still there, clawing uselessly at the door. It pained Tyche to see her daughter like this, but at least she had a chance of bringing her back now. The little girl noticed her and started walking her way. "Don't worry, Nun, you'll be back to normal soon."

She hugged her daughter, who bit her arm as she was caught. Tyche sighed as she saw no signs of infection in the bite marks. She took out the small syringe Cognisance had given her, and injected the liquid into her daughter's body, then looked hopefully as the child's color slowly returned to normal.

But her hope was short-lived. Her daughter's body was normal, but she wasn't breathing, and her eyes were lifeless. "No, it was supposed to heal you, to bring you back...I'm sorry, Nun, I really..." She put her daughter's body down and then flew out of the Spire, right through the closed window. It was hopeless, they were all already dead, and there was nothing she could do...

Tyche landed in the center of a once busy commercial zone. There were hundreds of 'walkers' surrounding her, and they all started crawling her way as soon as they noticed her. She wiped the tears off her eyes and looked around. Her world was doomed, and she would have been one of these monsters too, if not for Aejin. However, she had to deal with this problem, she had to cleanse the planet, to stop the corruption from spreading.

But she wasn't doing it because of her duty as a Senshi. She wasn't doing it to give the tormented souls a rest, she now realized these creatures had lost their souls. She would do this because she had her life taken away from her, and she could never bring it back. "Hope Serenity forgives me for this," she said as she felt the surge of energy rushing through her body. She could feel her power increasing quickly, but also felt an indescribable pain. Still, she stood there, energy flaring around her, destroying any walker who came too close, for almost one minute. And then, she smiled humorlessly as she punched the ground.

-----​

Serenity had made sure nothing was left of Meth'lya this time. The explosion had left a large crater around her, but she didn't really mind that. She was far too worried about what she had felt, to care about causing a bit of a mess in this planet. Noticing the others were now around her, she turned to Cognisance. "Please tell me what I felt is not true."

Cognisance shook her head. "I'm surprised you could feel it, but I suppose that's a side-effect of..."

"I'm not in the mood for your lectures," Serenity said.

Cognisance nodded. "I understand. And I'm sorry, Serenity, but it's true. Lilith is gone."

"What? What do you mean 'gone'?" Nela almost shouted. "What happened to Tyche?"

"I felt a power spike before the explosion. A spike that was almost a thousand times stronger than Serenity's one a few minutes ago," Cognisance explained. "If I were to guess, something happened up there, something that let Tyche use all the planet's mana in one shot."

"But we could have healed that world, right?" Aresa asked.

Serenity shook her head. "No. That monster said the corpses up there had their souls erased by the virus."

Cognisance let out a gasp. "Then I can guess what happened. See, I cured the infection in her, and gave her a small dose of the 'cure' to test it on someone. I didn't realize what she meant at first, but I know she was going to test it in her daughter."

"A body without a soul is just an empty shell," Aejin said, "even if she healed Nun's body, she would still be nothing but a corpse."

Serenity let out a growl of frustration. "Damn that monster!"

"Seeing her daughter like that may have broken her," Cognisance said, "and I suppose she decided to stop the infection for good, even if she had to pay for it with her life."

"The war against the Kh'sun is finally over," Serenity noted, "but it cost us a world, and a friend. Let's make sure this doesn't happen again."

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 3: Second era.
Episode 15: Dying stars.


By Razor Knight
Last update: June 3, 2011

-----​

Serenity looked out the window of the Silver Palace. Several centuries had passed since the last time she had seen Tyche, but she still remembered her. The last one to join the group, and the first one to be lost. It had been Lumina who had guessed this, but it had been proven right later on. A Senshi of Lilith has control over fate itself, or 'luck' as humans normally called it, and could influence reality in a small area, making things happen that would often be blamed on luck in normal conditions.

However, and this was what Lumina figured out, it was a power that came with a price. Abusing it would mean fate itself could start acting against the Lilith Senshi. It had been proven right during a short yet bloody war against another alien empire. The second Senshi of Lilith, Moira, had been killed during that war, after a series of 'bad luck' events she chose to ignore.

It was because of this that her daughter, Shai, had trained hard to become an outstanding melee warrior. And she had been alive for two centuries now, which had proven Lumina's guess right.

Lilith itself, the planet, was still there, but in the form of an asteroid belt. Cognisance said under normal conditions, a planet's explosion should have sent asteroids flying in all directions, but since this was an explosion fueled by magic, then most of the fragments remained in orbit. Most of them. Two pieces of Lilith had drifted towards Mars, becoming Mars' two satellites, Phobos and Deimos. A few other fragments had drifted to Jupiter, and were probably floating around it along with that planet's dozens of satellites.

This was a peaceful era, and even though she was enjoying it, she knew others were bored. She couldn't lie to herself, she also missed fighting, but the fact she didn't have to fight meant mankind was safe.

There were already plans to send out spaceships, to colonize other worlds. If the ancient legends of the Library were right, there could be other humans out there, remnants of the Golden Imperium. But millions of years had passed since that era (a concept that was hard to grasp for Serenity, but being seven hundred years old, she probably had a far better concept of eternity than any normal human would,) and humans in those worlds would have been changed by their environment.

In fact, the last alien fleet they fought... Those creatures were disturbingly human-like, if not for their blue-tinted skin, white eyes and hairless bodies. They may have been descendants of the Imperium. They had been swiftly dealt with, and there had not been any other aliens visiting them for the last hundred years.

Serenity sighed at that. It wasn't just the peace, but also... Their power had increased thousandfold through the centuries. Serenity's own power, right now, was at a level in which she could destroy a planet if she really wanted to, without having to call upon all the mana of the Moon. Was there really nothing left out there to fight against? It would be nice to think they were the strongest beings in the Universe, but it also meant the few Senshi who were eager for a challenge would find none.

Cognisance appeared right in front of Serenity. They were used to it, so she wasn't startled. "What's wrong?"

"Aliens, again," Cognisance explained, "but it's different. It's a single, rather small ship, and the messages they're sending show they're a peaceful race."

"That's new. We should stay alert."

The other woman nodded. "Let's wait and see. I've directed them to land in this satellite."

"Good, I can't wait to meet our peaceful visitors."

-----​

Serenity had seen plenty of aliens. From the lizard-like Kh'sun to those last aliens who looked almost human, from two-legged creatures to aliens with ten arms. But what walked out of the silvery spaceship was something she wasn't expecting. These creatures looked exactly like cats, animals normally kept as pets by people of most worlds. Maybe they were cats, altered by the environment of the world they had been living in?

"I salute you, Queen Serenity," one of the two cats said politely.

"Welcome to our system," Serenity said, "I apologize in advance for any hostility you might find in here, but we're used to spaceships shooting at our worlds, not visiting us."

The second cat shook its head (it was hard to tell their gender,) "I can't say our world hasn't seen war-thirsty aliens before. We come in peace, and hope our people can remain friends."

Serenity smiled at that. She could sense no evil in these creatures, in fact they both looked scared to the bone. "I assume you can sense magic?"

"We... We can, yes."

Serenity closed her eyes for a second, cloaking most of her power. "Then I also apologize for not keeping my power down."

"There's a very important matter we need to discuss with you," the first cat said, "if you really are the ruler of the system."

"I am. And I'll hear what you have to say, people of..." she realized she didn't know what their world's name was, or their race's name.

"Our world was called Mau," the cat said.

Was called, Serenity noted. "I see. Come with me."

-----​

The two cats, Serenity had learned on the way to the meeting room, were called Ariadne and Mephisto. As the door opened, the two cats were surprised to see two more people in the room. "Are these your advisers?"

Serenity shook her head. "These are my friends, Cognisance of Mercury and Aejin of Saturn."

"I've searched the databases," Cognisance said, skipping the formalities, "and I've found records of a planet named Maw, colonized during the Imperium era."

Ariadne looked at Cognisance. "So you still keep records of that era?"

"I'm the only one who can access the Library, but I've been working on a system to make its contents open to everyone."

"Our race lived on Mau for countless generations, and legends spoke of a race of creatures who walked on two legs instead of four, had no tail and no fur, who once lived with us in that world, but a powerful evil erased them all. It's always been a warning for us to not trust other races, but now we don't have a choice."

"You said your planet was called Mau. Does that mean what I'm guessing?"

Mephisto nodded. "Yes, the few of us in that spaceship are the only ones left. A few astronomers predicted a great disaster coming, but nobody took them seriously. By the time our star started collapsing, there was no time to plan for an escape, so those who did believe the astronomers were the only ones who survived."

"Our star died, and its explosion erased our world, along with five more planets surrounding it... And what was left of the star afterwards was just a small, pitiful ball of light. We couldn't live in that system anymore, so we started looking for a new home.

"And we've been looking for it for many generations. We have a request, Queen Serenity of the Moon, a simple one. Our race needs a home, and our numbers aren't large."

"And what would we get in return?" Aejin asked.

Ariadne concentrated, and a wall of light appeared in front of Aejin. "Our help in your battles, perhaps?"

Aejin punched the 'wall' and saw it was tough enough to resist the blow. It was the first time in centuries she had punched something with all her might and it hadn't shattered to tiny shards. "That's nice, but there isn't a lot of fighting to be done... And civilians may not like the idea of sharing their worlds with another race."

Ariadne sighed. "There's only a few dozens of us left. However, I understand if you don't trust us, we have given you no reason to..."

"You may stay, and we will see what you can do for us in the future," Serenity said.

"Serenity?" Cognisance asked. "Do you trust them?"

"I can see things neither of you can," Serenity noted, "and if they had been lying, or had an ulterior motive to their words, I would have known. But I sense nothing like that. I don't think most of your race has offensive magic abilities."

Mephisto gasped at that. "You can see even that?"

"You've sensed my power, so you should know what I can do with it."

Ariadne smiled at that. "We don't, because we can't sense your power's limits."

"Let's just say," Cognisance explained, "that if Serenity wanted to, she could probably destroy the Moon, or any other world."

"That's quite unbelievable," Ariadne admitted, "but I guess I'll have to take your word for that."

-----​

The visitors had proven themselves quite useful. It was obvious that, for them to have survived in a world for 'countless' generations, they should have been able to utilize tools and modify their environment. Not all of them could, but a good number of them were able to move objects with their minds (a skill that wasn't fueled by magic, but still helped by it,) and other had much more physical power than could be expected from creatures that small. The third kind of them were like Ariadne and Mephisto, focused in offensive and defensive magic.

Serenity realized one thing as she saw Ariadne walk by. "I have a question, a silly one considering you've been here for one week now."

"What is the problem?"

"What's the name of your race?"

Ariadne stood there, staring at Serenity, for a few seconds. "Oh, I get it, that's what some of you mean by 'human.'"

"Yes. So what do you call yourselves?"

"There was no other sentient race but ours in our world, we even thought there was no other sentient race in the whole universe. So we saw no need to give ourselves a name."

"That sounds strange to me, but I guess I understand what you mean."

"Since I've seen one species of local animals which look a lot like us, and considering where we live now, I think you may call us Mooncats."

"Mooncats," Serenity repeated, "if that's what your people wants for a name, then we'll call you that from now on."

-----​

Months passed by without a problem. Serenity herself would be ready to protect her world if anything happened, but she knew she could also trust her two daughters, Ina and Soma.

And she was right now watching them train. Unlike Senshi of lower levels, they trained in space, because there was always the risk of destroying a few city blocks or turning a forest into a smoldering crater with their power level.

The two fighting were second only to her, and they knew it. They also were used to training, and would not let the fight escalate even at times when they had been angry at each other while training. But like her and the other Senshi, they were growing restless.

Ina and Soma shared the powers of the Moon, but they both used it in a different way. While Ina's powers focused in long range attacks and shielding, Soma used speed and melee. Watching them try to overpower each other was a show, even if she at times worried that they would really hurt each other badly.

Right now, Ina was muttering some words as she moved her hands. Serenity had never understood it, but some of the Senshi past the first generation liked to give their techniques names, and even shout out their attacks. Soma had said that 'death was scarier when you knew what shape it would take' but in reality, no enemy hit by an attack by these two would live to tell others what it did.

Soma had fought her sister countless times, so she knew better than standing still and waiting. Instead, she rushed forwards, her hand lighting up with energy. "Lunar Lance!"


A spear appeared in her hand, and she swung it at her sister. Her foe's form shimmered as it was struck, then vanished, and Soma knew what that meant. She dropped down just in time to avoid being hit by a wide energy beam. "Hey, get some new tricks already!"

"Says the one always relying on her Artifact," Ina mused from above.

Serenity smiled at that. Artifacts were created by Cognisance and Aejin, two persons that Serenity knew (and wasn't ashamed to admit) were far smarter than her. The Artifacts were magical, and much like the Ginzuishou, would replicate themselves for every new Senshi born from an Artifact-using one. However, unlike the Ginzuishou, these Artifacts' shape and function would change from user to user. For a close fighter like Soma, a spear was perfect. However, for someone like Ina, who liked fighting from a distance...

"Eclipse Ripple!"

Soma dodged as the attack came from the side, then looked at her sister. "Who's relying on her artifact now?"

Serenity smiled at that. Ina's artifact was one of the trickiest she had seen, a small orb which could disguise itself to remain undetected, and only Ina knew where it was. Its main function was to serve as a 'proxy' for her attacks, and she could shoot an enemy from behind while attacking them from the front.

Normally, these fights could go on for hours. Both sisters knew each other so well, it was rare to see either hit the other. They instead fought until they were out of energy.

However, Serenity realized as she sensed something, today's fight would have to be cut short. Since the two girls stopped and looked at her, she knew they were also able to sense it. "Yes, Kali's visiting us today. I guess we should go see what she wants."

She didn't wait for an answer, as her daughters were not known for ignoring potential trouble.

-----​

As the trio appeared, Kali smiled at them. "I see you haven't changed at all, girls."

"Of course," Soma said, "we're not getting any younger. Or older."

"With all due respect, you are not one to socialize, so what are we going to fight this time?"

"You speak like I'm a Harbringer of Doom," Kali mused, "but I'll admit it's a reputation I might have helped build. And today's no exception."

"I can't sense a thing," Serenity noted. Her daughters nodded in agreement.

"You can't see timelines, Serenity. There is an enemy out there, an enemy that will be our toughest battle yet, and we need all the time we can get to prepare for it."

"How long will it be until..."

"Five years."

"What?" Soma almost shouted. "What kind of alien fleet is it?"

"It's no fleet, but a single being. I know from Cognisance's many tales, and because I've seen it myself, that a similar being appeared once before, during the early days of the Imperium."

Serenity made the connection quickly, as she had also heard about it. "A World Eater?"

Kali shook her head. "No, this creature is as big as one of them, but it doesn't eat worlds. It eats stars."

Soma paled at that. "Does such a thing as a World Eater really exist? I always thought that was just a tale to scare little kids..."

"It's very effective for that, yes, but those beings did exist. I'm not sure if this Star Eater, as we could call it, is an evolved form of them, or a different species, but since you girls probably didn't hear the whole story, I'll give you a quick version. A World Eater appeared in the past and tried to eat the planet Nemesis. It took all the Senshi of that era, working together, to defeat it. But one of the names mentioned there is someone you may have heard about. Sailor Galaxia."

Ina shook her head. "That's unbelievable. It took Galaxia and many other Senshi to stop just one of those?"

Serenity sighed and walked away from the others, and stopped in front of the window, looking at the setting sun. "Those aren't just legends, it's history. A lot of our citizens don't believe we're the same Senshi who saved them from the Kh'sun a few centuries ago, so of course it'll be hard even for us to believe things that happened that long ago were true. Still... In the best case scenario, assuming this Star Eater is not stronger than a World Eater, then peace is over. We've been figuratively slacking off for centuries, but now we need to get stronger, and we only have five years left."

Kali sighed. "I will be training on my own, and will join your battle when the time comes. Next time you see me, you will know it's time to fight that creature."

Serenity saw Kali vanish and looked at her daughters. "I'll tell everyone about this. You two, fighting each other will not help you improve, so it's time you face a different foe."

"A different foe? But we're the strongest..."

Serenity smiled. "You are? Then, starting today, you will fight me."

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 3: Second era.
Episode 16: Guardians of Sol.


By Razor Knight
Last update: June 21, 2011

-----​

The small cat-like creature stood in front of the throne and waited patiently. Several seconds passed until a woman appeared near the throne, and she bowed (as well as a cat could) before walking to her. "Queen Serenity."

"I've told you too many times, Ariadne, that you don't need to be so formal with me in private."

"Uhm, sorry, old habits."

"In any case, I suppose you are wondering why I summoned you. You've been loyal to me for a long time, and you have, at times, told me you wished you could help us fight. I think I've found a way for that wish to be fulfilled."

Ariadne took a moment to answer. True, she had heard the Senshi catchphrase of 'nothing is impossible for us' but she had thought her being able to help in a fight to be beyond impossible. "How could my race help?"

"Our powers come from being attuned to one single planet, and drawing power from it along with the energy we gather from the air around us and our own life force. I know you've heard all this already, but bear with me. It's what makes us different from other magicians, and it's not something you can do unless it's in your genes, and in your very soul."

"I've seen some powerful mages," Ariadne noticed.

"I know, but they can't compare to the power a Senshi can have."

"I would be glad to get as much power as a human mage can, if that's possible. But our bodies are fragile, and our mana reserves aren't too impressive."

"You may be able to get beyond that, close to the power a Senshi has. But as I said, only if your genes and your soul are shaped in a certain way." Ariadne was too shocked to speak, so Serenity continued. "I know what you're wondering, and the answer is yes, I can do that."

"Will there be any risks?"

Serenity nodded. "The body of a Senshi evolves, so to speak, as they use their powers. It would be unlikely, for example, for a first level Senshi to get to the power level I have now. And even if they could unleash that kind of power, their bodies wouldn't be able to withstand the strain of it."

"So our bodies should adapt to it little by little," Ariadne guessed. "But still, some of the Senshi techniques I've seen are too, how to explain it? Somatic, we could say."

"That won't be an issue, either. If you let me try this in one of your fellow Mooncats, then..."

"Try it on me."

"But if something goes wrong, you could die."

"I trust you, Serenity, even though I've known you for relatively little time. Have confidence in your own power, because I've started really believing that 'there's nothing impossible for the Senshi,' much despite myself."

Serenity chuckled at that last bit. "Okay, if you're ready, I'll start."

Ariadne closed her eyes for a few seconds, then nodded as she opened them. "Go ahead."

"The process will be painful, but it can't be stopped once it's started, or you will surely die."

"Right, I'll endure it, don't stop until it's done."

Serenity had a small smile in her face. "I won't," she said, and then her crystal lit up.

-----​

Whenever Ina and Soma weren't training, they spent their days in their home planet, the Moon. They were indeed a rare case, if Mercury's archives, known commonly as 'The Library', were to be trusted. There had been no record of twins being born who shared the power of a planet. There were many cases of twin Senshi born, yes, but they either were born from two different Senshi, and each shared one of their parents' elements, or one of them was born a non-Senshi, capable of using magic, but not linked to any world.

In any case, they were taking a break right now, after spending two years training with their mother. Ina had always thought she knew how good a warrior Serenity was, but now she knew better. Against weak invasion fleets and random aliens, Serenity had never used her full power, she had never needed to. But while training them, she had showed them just what the limit of her power was. And Ina remembered that first training battle, she remembered how both she and her sister had been shaken by Serenity's display of power, and if the Queen had been going for the kill, well... They wouldn't have survived.

Serenity was right, they needed training, and they needed a lot of it. But she never forgot a warrior also needed to rest, training was pointless if you trained yourself to death. And that's what Ina was doing, watching the sunset as she enjoyed a Hursk steak. But her peaceful day was interrupted as she felt something from the Palace. A powerful energy, and it wasn't any of the other Senshi. She didn't waste a second thinking, and teleported straight to where that energy was.

-----​

When Ina arrived, she saw Serenity calmly talking to a woman. The woman had red hair, and her pupils were cat-like. Red hair, yellow eyes, she somehow felt like she knew her. "Who is this, mother?"

"Ariadne," Serenity said, calmly.

"Wha... You mean this woman is one of the mooncats?"

"It's a little project of mine, one that apparently works as intended."

"I apologize for surprising you," Ariadne said.

"I should be the one apologizing," Serenity admitted, "I forgot my two girls would be in this planet... But wait, where's Soma?"

"She is, uhm, occupied right now, from what I know."

"She's with Arthur?"

Ina nodded. Arthur was one of the Senshi of Earth, and even though he was several centuries younger than her, she knew they were deeply in love. Ina herself had not found a soul mate, but she hadn't searched for one, either.

In any case, this woman standing next to her was something else. "Ariadne, does this mean you're no longer a Mooncat now?"

Ariadne smiled at that, her form shimmering and changing into her original, catlike one. "Not at all. It just means I can help your group fight when the time comes."

"Don't use that level of power for too long without resting," Serenity warned, "your body isn't used to it, you will need to train to become as strong as us."

"I'm aware of that," Ariadne said. "I want to show it to Meph, though."

"As long as you don't go shooting attacks left and right, you can transform for a few minutes without risk."

Ina waited for Ariadne to leave, and looked at her mother. "The more I know about what that crystal can do, the more I wonder if its power has any limits."

"I don't think it does have any, Ina."

-----​

"Silver Slice!"

Ina saw Serenity jump to the side and smiled. "Got you. Lunatic Curtain!"

Serenity had seen both attacks before, enough to know what they did. First Soma would seemingly vanish, but in fact she was charging forwards at an amazing speed, using a small mana knife to try and cut her foe quickly and repeatedly. As Serenity dodged that, Ina had unleashed her own attack, which created a sphere of light around her target, making it hard for anyone inside to see what was going on.

But Serenity was used to it, and thus she didn't use her eyes. There, Soma was rushing at her, without calling her attack, just as expected.

"Goddess' Circle."

She had to admit, shouting out attacks did have a certain effect, in both her foes and herself. She knew Soma had dodged the light ring she had shot out from her body, but that's what she was planning, she could now...

And that's when she felt the sharp pain in her side. It was always the same, Ina would use ranged attacks, and Soma would move in to attack. These two had never tried switching their roles. And that's just why, right now, Ina had been able to stealthily move near her while Soma distracted her, and use a mana blade to stab her.

Serenity smiled. "Good, you really managed to blindside me, Ina. I suppose I have to yield."

Soma smiled as she heard that. It was the fifth time they managed to beat their mother. Five victories in well over a thousand fights, even though they were both at the same level as her, and they attacked as a team.

It had been hellish at first, Serenity had never held back, and she remembered being brought back from near death by Aejin or Shanti (Aejin's daughter,) several times. Serenity was still not holding back, but they had gained a lot of experience along the way, and could right now fight as equals. It was no longer Serenity training her daughters, now all three trained together to improve.

Ariadne appeared near them, in her Senshi form, and winced as she saw Serenity's wound. "That looks nasty."

"I wasn't quick enough," Serenity said. "But why are you...?" She stopped as her senses told her something. "Kali is back."

"Yes, and you know what that means."

Even if Serenity had forgotten Kali's words, her senses would have reminded her of why they had been training so hard for years now. "That thing, it's coming."

-----​

Kali looked around the room. "I see Serenity was busy while I was away."

Mephisto, who right now had the form of a tall, handsome human, smiled at that. "It's our duty to help those who let us live in this system."

Kali nodded. "I know. Your race will stay with us for a long time, I've already seen that."

Serenity appeared, along with her two daughters and Ariadne, and saw the rest of the Senshi (human or Mooncat) were there. "Is everyone ready for this?"

"Of course, I won't let that thing eat the Sun," Arinna said.

Cognisance nodded, "the Sun, or 'Sol' as the Ancients called it, isn't just another world, but I think everyone knows this already. This is a fight we cannot lose, if that thing reaches the Sun, then all of this system's life forms will be doomed."

"This is what Senshi are born to do," Serenity said, "let's protect our people, our races."

-----​

Sensing the creature was one thing, and Serenity was not someone to be easily intimidated. But this monster was nothing like she had imagined it. A shapeless mass of gas and energy, its body had an orange tint, and it didn't seem to be in any hurry to reach the Sun.

"It's not even sentient," Ina noticed.

"No it's just a parasite, acting only through instinct, its only goal is to stay alive."

Soma looked at Serenity. "Too bad it decided to come to our system to feed."

Serenity nodded at that. "Let me just try something... Goddess' Call!"

The large energy beam that shot from Serenity's hands hit the center of the creature, but the creature didn't show signs of slowing down, or even noticing the hit. "As expected," Cognisance noted. "I suppose all of our attacks hitting it should have a different outcome."

Counting the Mooncats, there were at least thirty Senshi facing the Star Eater. And they all shot their attacks at the monster, hoping to cause some damage. And indeed, damage was done, though it didn't seem like much. A part of the creature's 'skin' (the thin outer layer of gas,) had been breached, and gas poured out from the 'wound.'

It's not that the creature hadn't noticed the Senshi before, it just didn't consider them a threat to its survival. But now it did, and it was going to eliminate any threat by doing the one thing it always did. Even though the Senshi didn't know what the tendrils of energy that shot from the creature were for, they knew better than letting them hit. The tendrils, however, didn't just shoot straight ahead, they corrected their course and chased after their targets.

Lumina was one of the Senshi caught by the tendrils. Even though they were made out of gas and energy, they were incredibly powerful, and she had to use one of her least known tricks to get free. She caused her own energy to come out in an explosion of light, which destroyed a good portion of the tendril holding her. ":red:, what is that thing..." She then froze. Like many other Senshi, she had married and had children of her own. A daughter, who had become a Senshi of Venus just like her. And she had just sensed something she had never wished to sense. Yes, that creature was dragging the Senshi it caught in, and then it simply...

Serenity noticed Lumina's energy raising. She could understand her rage, however, as one of the creature's victims had been Luz, her daughter. "Lumina, wait!" However, Serenity felt several other Senshi also powering up.

"Arthur!"

Just as many of the Senshi shot their attacks at the creature again, Serenity heard her daughter's scream. She didn't need to turn to know what was going on. Arthur had been absorbed by the monster, and Soma's energy was raising at an alarming rate. "Soma, control yourself!"

Soma looked at Serenity. "I'm sorry, mother, but I'll have to ignore your words this time around."

Serenity wanted to stop her, but she also knew that, right now, Soma's power was many times greater than hers. And in this state, Soma could not be reasoned with. So all the Queen could do was watch her daughter charge towards the creature, the monster that was now 'bleeding' from several blows by other Senshi.

Aejin appeared near her. "Serenity, this is bad. Many Senshi fell, and also several Mooncats..."

"Conserve your energy to bring them back, then," Serenity said, her calm tone hiding her worry.

"I would, if I could bring them back. That monster absorbed both their bodies and souls, Serenity."

Serenity's face turned pale. No, it would be useless to shout at Soma to stop, it was already too late to stop her. She noticed Ina glaring at the creature and sighed. If Soma failed, then Ina would surely follow her lead. But she could try to stop that from happening, at least. She phased right besides Ina and saw the girl was focusing on the creature. "Ina, don't do anything rash, whatever happens..."

"I've always been the strategist, mother," Ina said, "but don't you see the power Soma's throwing right now? She could destroy that monster!"

"Yes, and she could die trying. Or die even if she does defeat this foe. I can understand her pain, but I cannot agree to her actions."

But Serenity turned, right then, as she felt another spike of energy. It was Soma, again, but this time... "Everyone, get away from the area!"

-----​

Serenity's warning had been timed perfectly, as most of the Senshi did manage to get away from the creature. A second after Serenity herself had appeared near the others, the creature was swallowed by an incredibly large explosion. It was like looking at a second Sun, and it remained there for several seconds. As it died out, however, Serenity could sense two things. One, the creature was gone. And two, Soma was still there, still alive.

Ina's face told her she had also sensed that. The two vanished, and appeared right next to Soma, without wasting time telling the others. However, when they got there, they could see Soma was curled up in a ball, and crying.

"Soma..."

"Shut up," Soma snapped. Ina backed away, her sister had never spoken to her with such a tone, she seemed to be beyond grief, beyond anger. "Yes I destroyed that thing, but why... Why am I still here? I thought using that much power would kill me as well. I hoped it would."

Serenity closed her eyes and sighed. There was nothing she could tell her daughter to make her feel better. Just like Tyche, she was too hurt to listen to reason right now. However... Serenity opened her eyes and looked around. "What is that..."

"Mother?"

The Queen ignored Ina. There was something, around her, something she couldn't identify. But then, she 'saw' something familiar. Athenea, one of the Mooncats. She could see her, but not with her eyes. Their souls were here, and yet... No, it was impossible to explain, but she could guess that's why Aejin couldn't sense them. She focused in her crystal, 'asking' it about these souls, and then 'listened' to its answer. It actually only took her a second, and she smiled at Soma. "I can bring them back. All of them."

Soma's whimpering stopped, and she turned to look at her mother. "How can you... No soul, no body..."

Serenity shook her head. "No body, yes, but their souls are still... I cannot explain it, but you'll have to trust me."

"You should know I always trust you, mom," Soma said.

Serenity closed her eyes again, and searched for all the 'targets' around her. There were many of them, and she knew there was a risk to what she was about to do, but... She was ready to face any consequences this could bring. "I'll need as much energy as you can give me for this."

"What's she doing?"

"She's trying to bring everyone back."

Serenity turned to look at Lumina, who was staring at her in shock. "That's right, but the energy required for this is more than I currently have. If I don't do this right, then..."

"You could die?" Nela guessed.

"I could die even if I do this right, but I want to at least make sure I don't fail."

The others said nothing, they all concentrated, and soon enough, a steady stream of energy was flowing from them and into Serenity's body. After what seemed like minutes, the Queen rose both arms and smiled, just before energy started shooting out of her in 'bubbles' which expanded for miles before dying out. The bubbles didn't harm anyone, but several spots in the emptiness around them started glowing. Those spots, with every new 'bubble,' started to shift, changing their shape. It wasn't long before everyone realized what this was.

"Luz!"

"Mom? But what happened, I thought that thing had..."

"It did, Serenity brought you back."

Serenity saw everyone hugging their loved ones, and smiled. "It's done."

Soma looked at her mother, smiling back at her, but then saw the woman's eyes close, and Serenity floated limply. "Mom!"

-----​

The Queen woke up and looked around in confusion. She was back home, that much was clear. "How..."

Ina appeared right next to her. "Aejin," she simply said.

"Oh, I get it."

Ina looked out the window. "That skill you used, you shouldn't use it again."

"It's not dangerous by itself, but there were too many to revive," Serenity explained, "but just like with Aejin or other Saturn Senshi, I can only do this once per person."

"Maybe you could bring back..."

Serenity looked at Ina, her smile gone. "Yes, I could."

"But you won't."

"It was his wish, I promised him. I won't break that promise just to see his face again."

Ina let out a frustrated cry and punched a wall. Despite it being magically reinforced, the wall still cracked. "Why, mother? It's so unfair!"

Serenity looked down. She had, like several other Senshi in the past, fallen in love with, and eventually married, a normal human. It wasn't common, but it happened, and the Senshi could, thanks to the Queen, make their partners as long-living as they were.

But Geos, he had never accepted it. He could not bear thinking about it, being an 'immortal' human, despite how much he loved her and his daughters, he could not think about it as anything but a curse. And he had made all three of them promise him that they would never give him that 'curse' unless he asked, and that, once he was gone, they would not bring him back.

Despite her reaction, Ina understood. She too, at times, saw this life of them as a curse. But it was a curse they couldn't change. It was, she had to admit, one of the reasons why Ina had never dared falling in love with anyone. If she let her heart choose and chose a normal human, would he be willing to live forever? If he wasn't then... No, she would not be forced to make that promise, ever again.

She wondered how many enemies they would have to face in the future. She knew she would have a long life ahead of her, and she would keep defending this system until the day she died. It was her destiny as a Senshi, and she would never turn away from it.

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 4: Silver Dusk.
Episode 17: The Librarians.


By Razor Knight
Last update: July 25, 2011

-----​

"Lady Kione, I'm sorry to interrupt your reading, but Lady Aqua wants to see you."

She looked at the man who had walked into her private library chambers, unannounced. Had it been a random soldier or even a high class Librarian, she could have had them arrested just for the breach of protocol. She could have this man arrested, too, if she so wished.

But High Librarian Kione, or Princess Kione as people often called her in other worlds, had never been one to bother with protocol. Most of it went against logic by turning simple matters into complicated puzzles, and as much as she liked puzzles, she wouldn't turn her whole life into one by following protocol. In any case, the man was waiting for an answer, so she gave the book ('Second Era' as it was called, written by 'Sterien Nequey') a short stare before turning to face him. "I will go to the throne room, then."

"Good, good," the elderly man said, looking at the book for a few seconds. "It's a good story, isn't it?"

"Is that how things really happened?"

"It's been archived in the Library for countless generations," the Librarian said, "and its source is quite trustworthy. It was written by the first Queen Serenity of Silver Millennium, although she used a fake name. We High Librarians are the only ones who know about this."

Kione switched the name around and smiled. "I see, so it was written by her."

They were both walking through the main corridor of the Library. The building itself was countless miles underground, and it was both the capital city of Mercury, and the largest archive of history in the system. Some said it was the largest in the Universe, but that was a claim they couldn't confirm.

The Library had been built underground, both to make it harder to detect from the outside, and as a security measure. Before the Ancients came, Mercury was a planet of molten rock and extreme heat. The Ancients and their World Seeds had changed this world more than any other, some argued, as it was now a world of water and ice. The large mana shield, visible from the ground as a dim, multicolored wall of light, prevented most of the heat and harmful radiation from reaching the surface, allowing for sea creatures to live unhindered.

As for humans, they lived underground, or underwater, but some spent a lot of time outside, in the ice layer of the planet's 'night' side. She liked reading, and thus had spent most of her life underground, but she had seen Mercury's night side's sky, and could agree it was a beautiful sight.

But her mind was still focused on what she had been reading before the old man's interruption. "What happened to Serenity, though?"

The Librarian smiled. "You love spoilers, don't you?"

Kione smiled back. "You know that well, Kelseus."

"Right, then I will tell you that the story does not end well. You would need to read it yourself, but let's just say the last few pages of the story are both written by Serenity, and not written by Serenity."

Kione didn't need a lot of thought to know what it means. "Serenity the Second wrote the last bit then?"

"The Third," Kelseus corrected, "I know it's usual to call Millennium's first Serenity 'the First' but I know you've read the story of the Imperium too."

Kione nodded. "That I did. Hard to believe a Senshi could achieve such level of power."

Kelseus looked down. "Indeed it is. Our Queen's power doesn't come close to a thousandth fraction of Galaxia's full power, if I'm to trust those books. And I'm too old to stop trusting them now."

Kione gave that number some thought. No, she had never considered it, but she had always thought her era's Queen Serenity to be extremely powerful. To know Galaxia's power was that much greater was... The feeling that gave her wasn't easy to describe, a mixture of shock, disbelief and - if the book's warning about Chaos still being at large and with the power of Galaxia were true - fear.

"We're here," Kelseus said, and turned to leave.

"You're not joining us?"

Kelseus shook his head. "The Queen wants to see you in private."

-----​

Kione walked into the room, noticing Triton wasn't around. It didn't surprise her, however, since that Mooncat was seemingly more interested in reading than in being a guardian. "Good day, mother."

"Kione," her mother simply said with a smile, not rising from the throne.

"You wanted to see me?"

Aqua knew what the unasked question was. "Do I need a reason to see my daughter?"

"Not at all, but if you just wanted to socialize, you would have walked to where I was. You only allow yourself to be lazy when it's an official matter."

Aqua laughed at that. "You're too smart for your age, Kione. Anyhow, I wanted to give you this."

Kione looked at the small artifact her mother was holding, and couldn't help but smile. "That is a..."

"A transformation wand, as it's usually called. Yes, this means you're officially a Senshi in training now."

"Wait, isn't Neve the current Sailor Mercury?"

"And so am I, even tough I don't use that power much anymore."

"Right," Kione sighed, then took the wand and looked at it. "I'm ready."

"Go ahead."

"Mercury Planet Power!"

Kione could see water droplets circling her, and suddenly fusing into a large 'bubble' of water, which then shrank until it touched her. As the water vanished, she saw her suit had changed from her Librarian robes, to a Sailor Senshi suit, one with blue skirt and boots, and cyan bows.

"Been a while since I saw a first level Mercury suit," Aqua commented. "So, what can you do?"

Kione, or rather, Sailor Mercury, knew what Aqua wanted. And she was also quite aware that her attacks couldn't harm her mother. Not only because of the difference in power, but because of what she could 'see' in her mind about her weakest technique. "Mercury Shabon... Spray!"

The Queen saw her daughter spin a few times as water gathered over her head, then she reached her hands out, and the water shot out, not as a beam, but as a sort of mist, which covered all of the room. Even though the difference in power was high, the Queen still could not see her daughter. But the mist only clouded vision, so the Queen could still sense Kione moving around and walking behind the throne. "That's a nice attack, Kione," she said, then mentally summoned one of her most impressive attacks. 'Water lance.'

Mercury gasped as a thin beam of water shot from the ground, right in front of her. "How...?"

Aqua noticed the mist was vanishing, and looked at her daughter, standing right besides the throne. "I could not see you with my eyes, but I could 'see' you with my other senses. Remember that."

"I will."

"So, no attack techniques?"

"You know I'm not eager to be in the front line. I suppose powers are indeed related to our personalities."

"Of course. The powers of the current Senshi of Mars, Jupiter and Uranus are extremely damaging, and Jupiter's developed some impressive melee techniques."

"I've been practicing my magic for a few years now," Kione noted, "why didn't this happen earlier? Not that I'm complaining."

"Here's a secret we only tell those who are already Senshi. If you had been ready to be a Senshi on your own, you wouldn't need that wand."

"Huh? Has there ever been a case of..."

"The First Serenity, for example, and the first Senshi of this Millenium, none of them had wands, but the Dragon Swords helped their transformation. A few other Senshi through history have become Senshi without them."

"I suppose I'll have to begin training my powers now, right?"

"Yes, and you will meet the other Senshi of your generation, too. You already know most of them."

"Agni, Indra, Moment, Nanna..."

Aqua smiled at that one. "The Moon Princess is not a Senshi yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if she became a Senshi on her own before she turns fifteen. In any case, you're free to use the training grounds, we will assign an Elder Senshi to mentor you as soon as possible."

"Allow me to save you the chore of looking for one," a voice said from behind Kione.

Aqua looked at the newcomer. "Moment, what have I told you about eavesdropping?"

"With a power like mine, I don't even have to try eavesdropping to know what you're doing, High Librarian Aqua."

"I suppose I should say 'welcome to our city, Guardian Moment,' since it's a rare event seeing you outside the Gate."

Moment didn't bother denying that. "I'm here because I can see something. Kione will be involved in it, all the Senshi will. That's all I can tell you for the time being."

"I'm used to Pluto's way of doing things," Aqua admitted, "your older sister Shiva was like that, too."

"Then I'll say what I came to say: I want to start training Kione as soon as possible."

"If I can bring the book I'm reading along, I'll go right away."

Moment nodded. "It's a good read. Serenity really knew how to turn her emotions into words."

"Huh? I thought only Librarians..."

"I read it years ago. It's one of the benefits of having the Queen of Mercury as a friend."

Kione smiled at that. Apparently her mother wasn't too fond of protocol, either.

-----​

The Moon was considered by most as the true capital of the system, although there were some factions in every world who didn't agree with this statement. But it was almost natural, the Moon had always been home to the strongest Senshi of each generation, every Dragon or Sailor Moon in recorded history had shown a power beyond that of other Senshi.

She looked at her book hesitantly, but noticed Moment smiling at her. "May I ask you why we are using a spaceship?"

"I could bring us both to the Moon yesterday if I wanted to, but I know you want to finish that book. Will the trip from Mercury to the Moon be enough?"

Kione smiled at that. "We'll never know until I try, right?"

-----​

Ina had surprised herself, it was just as Lumina said, love was not something you could control. It was hopeless to try denying it, she had fallen in love, against all odds, with a normal human.

Senshi powers didn't always transfer to the next generation, and such was the case with Farren, Sailor Mercury's second son. He was smart, kind and she had to admit he wasn't bad to the eye, either, but she had seen plenty of men like him before, and she had never fallen for any of them. So why was Farren different? She couldn't tell.

But even though Farren seemed to like her, she wasn't sure what his reaction would be when she told him what she felt. It was somewhat amusing, for a woman many centuries old, to be this inexperienced and insecure about love.

Unfortunately, Farren was out exploring Mercury's surface when she reached the Library buildings. Cognisance was there, and kept staring at her as they spoke.

"You've been visiting Mercury a lot this last month, Ina."

Ina smiled nervously. "That's true."

"And you've been coming to the Library a lot more than you had for the last few centuries. I see nothing wrong in that, but I suspect you are not looking for knowledge here."

Ina knew she would have to eventually face this. Cognisance was as good at reading people as she was at reading books. "I... No, it's not that what I'm looking for. But I don't know if they think the same way about me as I do about them."

Cognisance laughed, but then noticed Ina looking at her in confusion. "Sorry, it's just that your doubts are pretty much pointless. That boy won't stop talking about how smart and nice you are. I'm pretty sure he's as shy about it as you are."

"I hope you're right."

"The only way for you to know for sure is to ask him."

"You have no problem with this?"

"As long as you both are aware of what the risks are..."

"I am, and I'm willing to take them."

"Then you have my blessing, Princess."

-----​

"Congratulations, Ina. I feared you would never find your soul mate."

Ina knew her mother's fears were justified, but she now knew why Serenity had married a normal human. Love was even more unpredictable than the crystal all three of them had, and in her case, it had led her through a path she thought she would never choose. "Mother, it's not like we've married."

"Not yet," the Queen noted with a wink.

Farren walked into the room, and noticed the two women. "I've always found it amusing, the three of you look so alike..."

"Well, I really hope you won't confuse them with me," Ina said.

"You don't have to worry about that. Love may be blind, but I only have eyes for you, Ina."

Ina blushed. "I know."

The Queen excused herself and left the two lovers alone. But a part of her wasn't happy about this situation, a part of her still wondered if Ina was truly ready to accept the consequences being with a 'mortal' could bring.

But all she could do was hope Ina was ready for them... Or that Farren would take their 'blessing', unlike her husband.

-----​

Many years had passed since they had met. Ina had been a loving wife, and a loving mother, for almost two decades. Farren was no longer the young man she had met back then, but she still loved him. She loved him too much, and it hurt her.

She thought she was ready, but she was wrong. Just like her father, Farren was not willing to accept immortality. "Why, Farren..."

"You can't understand how I feel. You were born already knowing you would live for an eternity, or at least for a very long time. I have lived all my life knowing I would eventually die, as does every other human out there except for your kin."

"My kin," Ina said with a frown.

"... Sorry if that sounds wrong, but it's just... I'm not ready to accept immortality. If you really love me, you will let this matter drop."

"You can't understand how I feel, either," Ina said, "You have at most seven or eight more decades to live. I'll have to live on, I'll be left alone again, after knowing love for... To me, a century's not enough."

"You'll still have our children... And they've received your gift at birth, unlike me."

"It's not enough!" Ina let her temper raise. "I love them, I would never stop loving them, but... It's not the same. I will never find anyone like you again. Please..."

"Maybe it's me who's lacking love, then," Farren said, "maybe I'm being selfish about this. All I know is, I can't see your immortality as a gift, Ina. I cannot accept your 'gift' because it looks like a curse to me. Maybe someday... But not now."

And with that, Farren left the room, leaving Ina alone with her thoughts, alone with her pain. Again, someone she loved would have to go, and there was nothing she could do.

-----​

She knew it now. Farren would never accept her offer. In a way she could agree with him, immortality was a curse, if you were forced to watch as your loved ones died. Farren was old, she knew it was now just a matter of time before he was gone for good.

Love was unpredictable. She had known that for several decades now, but only now did she truly understand what it meant. She loved him too much to just watch him die and be happy about it. No, he would not die. She had been given powers, powers to protect mankind, but those powers could also protect those she loved. She would not let him die. She could not let him die.

-----​

Kione looked up from the book. "Wait, how did Serenity knew about all this?"

Moment smiled. "Keep reading and you'll figure it out. Although you should know there's no happy ending to that story."

"I guessed as much," Kione said, looking out the window. Yes, there was still plenty of time before they reached the Moon.

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 4: Silver Dusk.
Episode 18: Book of the End.


By Razor Knight
Last update: July 26, 2011

-----​

Farren had looked at her in many ways since they had met, she could remember every kind of look he had given her. But just as he stormed into her room, she realized it was the first time she saw disappointment in his face.

His tone wasn't the same, either. He was angry, upset, and she knew just why. "What did you do to me, Ina?"

"Aren't you happy?"

"Happy, about what?" Farren looked at his own hands. Minutes earlier, they had been hands of an aged man, thin and bony. Now, they were back to their former glory. He had looked at his face in the mirror, and while he had been momentarily glad of being young again, he also dreaded the reason of this change. "What did you do to me?" He repeated.

"I used my powers on you," she said, knowing lying about it would not make things better at this point, only worse.

"I told you... I told you I wasn't ready for this. And you still did this?"

No, it was not disappointment anymore. She now could see fear in his eyes. He was afraid of immortality. He dreaded it. And she had cursed him with it. She had betrayed him.

Farren was trying to calm down. Yes, he was scared of this, and yes, she had done this without telling him. But he loved her, and he could see why she had done this. "It will take me a while to forgive you, and I'm really upset right now, but I still love you, Ina."

Ina looked down. "You may forgive me, but I don't think I can forgive myself for this. For what little it's worth, I'm sorry."

Farren saw her vanish, and paled. "Ina, what are you going to do?"

Serenity 'appeared' in the room. In fact, she had been there for a while, but with her power and experience, she could be anywhere she wanted, and people around her would not notice her. Even her own daughters were not immune to this passive skill she had mastered, which had allowed her to observe what had just happened in this particular house.

"Serenity?"

"I came here as soon as I sensed what she did. I thought you would not forgive her, so I was ready to jump in, but... You're really someone special, Farren."

"Do you know where Ina is?"

Serenity nodded. "Somewhere in the limits of the system. I will have to go there and make sure she doesn't do anything stupid... Again."

-----​

Ina was not sure why she had jumped all the way to here. There were several reasons she could think of. She had feared her powers would go wild in her confusion, that was one reason. Also, she didn't want Farren to see her cry, not when he should be the one to be sad and angry, not her. But above all else... She couldn't stand being near him, she didn't deserve his love.

But what could she do? She didn't know of a way to 'take' away immortality, and even if she did, she would not use it. She, the one known to be the thinker of the Twin Moons (as mankind had nicknamed her and her sister) had acted rashly and out of instinct, and now there was no way to make things go back to how they were before. Even worse, a part of her didn't want them to go back, even if Farren was miserable for the rest of their lives.

"Ina, are you okay?"

Ina turned to look at Serenity. "What..."

"I don't think you considered me not knowing what you did, even for a second."

Ina gave her mother a humorless smile. "Of course not."

"He loves you, Ina. He's upset at you, but he'll eventually forgive you. You should go back and..."

"As I told him, I can't forgive myself."

"You should have seen the way he looked as soon as you left. Are you going to punish him because of your own mistake?"

"The problem here is, I see it less and less as a mistake the more I think about it. Is there a way to fix what I did?"

Serenity turned to look in the direction the Earth was. "He's an 'immortal' now, but that word has always been misused. It's not that we immortals cannot die, but that we won't die by aging."

Ina paled as she understood what her mother meant. "So the only way for him to stop being like this is..."

"Someone would have to kill him."

Ina shook her head. "No, I can't do this. I can't even ask someone else to do it, because this is my mistake."

"I could solve that problem, even from here," Serenity noted, "but I won't, because I know the kind of grief you're going through. I spent many nights thinking about just bringing Geos back. I don't really know if it was bravery or cowardice, but I never dared following on that thought."

Ina looked to the 'outside', to the stars beyond Sol, as their system (and star) had been called by the Ancients. "Tell Farren I'm sorry, but I need time to think about all this... And he needs time to decide what he wants to do now. Tell him I'll understand if he never wants to speak to me again after what I'm about to do, but I cannot face him right now."

"Ina, wait!" Serenity said, knowing it was too late. She could have followed her after the initial jump, but Ina was too far out of her reach, after the fourth jump, to know where she had gone.

-----​

"How can you live like this?"

Cognisance looked at her son. He was back to how he looked when Ina met him now, but she knew he didn't welcome the change. "By focusing in what's important to me. My friends, my family, my duty."

"My friends are mostly dead now. My duty is as a husband, but my wife is somewhere out there, and I have no way of knowing when, if ever, she will be back. My family..." He looked at her. "I suppose I should check on my kids, see how they are. Are they aware of..."

"Yes, Serenity told them. Ifrit didn't take the news kindly, but he's calmed down. Or maybe he's saving his anger for when Ina does return. And Farren, I know she will be back."

"Hope you're right, Your Highness."

"Now go, visit your children, I'm sure they won't mind an old man like you showing up unannounced."

Farren looked at his hands. Old man, huh? Maybe, just maybe, this 'curse' had some good points.

-----​

She could not go back, couldn't forgive herself for what she had done. She didn't deserve to be with him anymore. She knew she could 'solve' it by killing him and then not reviving him. He was still pretty much a normal human, a single energy blast from her and it would all be over for good.

But she knew she couldn't do it. She couldn't force herself to kill him. And she knew she would not be able to resist bringing him back after that was done.

No, she had to keep searching, as she had for years, for a way to put an end to both their curses. A protector, that's what she had once believed herself to be, but yet she had failed protecting the one she loved the most from herself.

There had to be a way to cure him. And she would not rest until she found it.

-----​

A century can really pass by quickly, after you've lived through many of them. She had awaited Ina's return (as had Farren) for the first decade, but after a while, she started doubting she would be back. It was not that something out there would have killed her (unless, Serenity noticed, she did something stupid like jumping into a star or a black hole,) but maybe... Her words had been more true than she wanted to admit, and she was still not ready to forgive herself.

She saw Kali appear near her and was about to ask her the reason for her visit, but then she felt what it was. A powerful presence, full of hatred and evil, but the most disturbing thing about it, was that Serenity knew who this was. 'Soma, can you feel it?'

'Yes, mother. What happened to make Ina like this?'

'I don't know, but I intend to find out. Don't let any other Senshi go face her.'

'Understood.'

Mental 'speech' went faster than actual speaking, thus Kali only saw Serenity stand still for a second or two before turning to her. "My Queen..."

"I know. I will go and speak to her."

"If you go alone, this will be your last battle," Kali warned, "I've tried to see a future where this wasn't the case, but...

"You found none, because I'm going there. Alone. Unless you're saying we can beat her as a team?"

"No, if we all go there, we'll die. And in both cases... The outcome's the same for Ina. She sealed her fate when she left this system."

Serenity felt a tear roll down her cheek. "I understand. I want you go and to tell Soma this, after I leave: if I'm to die today, I don't want to be revived. I wouldn't want to live knowing I had to kill one of my own daughters. Tell her to use 'Serenity' as a title, to take my place as the ruler of this system. And Kali..."

Kali tried to look as emotionless as usual, but she was having a hard time not to show her sadness. "Yes, Serenity?"

"Tell everyone else to live on. My time's come, but that doesn't have to be the same for everyone else."

Kali saw Serenity vanish and looked down. "I already knew you would tell me all that," she said to the now empty room. Still, the threads of time were shifting. Perhaps the outcome of that encounter wasn't yet decided. And she knew she had to help destiniy this time aronud

-----​

Serenity looked at Ina. It was hard to recognize her anymore, her eyes were pitch black, her skin pale beyond corpse-like complexion, her limbs thin and skeletal. "I would say 'welcome back' but I know your intentions aren't good. Please, if you still love Farren..."

"That's why I came back," Ina said. Her voice was still the same, yes, but the tone was much colder than Serenity remembered. "I finally found a way to free him from his curse. To free everyone from it. It took me a long time, but I've tested it enough to know it works."

"Ina, he's happy with his new life. If there's one thing he regrets, is that you're not with him. You can return to him, and be happy, you don't need to do anything evil."

"Evil, good... They're all set in stone for you, aren't they? You will understand soon, mother. They all will."

"I won't let you go past this point," Serenity noted, "but I know you'll try anyways. Just tell me... What happened to you?"

"Father... He had some Saturn ancestors, didn't he?"

"His grandmother was from Saturn," Serenity admitted, "but what does this have to do with..."

"So that's how I could do this. Amusing, I do owe him, a powerless, normal human, my current power level."

Serenity could see it, Ina was drawing energy from both the Moon and Saturn. There was some other kind of energy in her, but Serenity couldn't quite place it.

Ina noticed her mother wasn't talking. "I suppose I could tell you what happened, before I do what I came here to do. I spent nearly a decade aimlessly searching for... I don't know what I was searching for back then, and I'll admit it. I was too ashamed of myself, of my weakness. I wandered through the galaxy with no destination in mind. At one point I think I was actually lost, I found myself near the Core..."

That part did surprise Serenity. The Core, the center of the galaxy, was supposed to be where the Ancients had come from, and many humans dreamed of being able to go there, to see if the Ancients were still watching over them.

Ina smiled. "I know what the Core means. The Ancients either hide themselves and their worlds well, or have been gone for a long time. But I did find a lot of planets which had primitive life forms. I usually didn't spend more than a day in each before moving on, but I was too exhausted to keep going, I decided to rest in one of those worlds."

"And the creatures weren't fond of strangers," Serenity guessed.

"Oh no, there were no creatures there, no plural. One single entity, with such weak life force I barely even noticed it was there. But when I was resting, it attacked."

"If it was such a weak creature, then..."

"Power comes in many forms. This creature was, I found, much stronger than I ever could have thought. It fed on souls, and it was trying to rip mine off my body. The memory of that still sends chills down my spine. But I realized I was instinctively resisting its attack, and that the creature seemed upset by this."

"Your Saturn powers awakened."

"Yes, it's amusing that it took me so many centuries, my own mistakes and a trip to the Core to discover I could manipulate life and death. That creature found itself in a reverse situation pretty fast, as I returned the attack. Soon it was but a corpse on the ground, but I had used no normal method for this. I had mimicked its attack, absorbed its soul, and its memories, its primitive, alien memories, were in my mind."

Serenity would not doubt her daughter's words. Her own powers had surprised her more than once in the past, there simply were no impossibles for the Senshi. But now she knew what that other 'energy' she felt was, or at least she could guess. "How many lives have you taken, Ina?"

"I didn't bother counting. At first I wanted to try and see if I could do that again, chose a planet with primitive creatures. I absorbed some souls, and could see things the way they did, as I looked into their memories. That made me curious about what would happen if I drained the soul of a sentient being."

Serenity frowned. "And you were always one who would seek answers to questions you could not answer by yourself."

"Indeed. See, after researching this power for a long time, I now know I can help Farren. I can stop his suffering for good. He would not exist anymore, except within me. I have no intention of doing anything else in this system, mother, I will not speak to anyone else, see anyone else, just him. Let me do what I came here to do, and I'll be gone forever."

Serenity glared at her daughter. "You're not my daughter anymore. I will not let you harm anyone in my system, as long as I'm alive."

"I simply came to fix what I broke."

"Didn't you listen to what I said, Ina? He's happy now, he's accepted his fate. He's just waiting for you to return, but... Not like this. Not to take away the gift you gave him, to first stop him from dying on a whim, just to come back and kill him on a whim. You cannot be even called a Senshi anymore."

"So you will be the final test subject before I complete my journey," Ina said, coldly. "I can live with that."

"I doubt you can. Stop this before you force me to hurt you, Ina."

"I'm not Ina anymore, you said it yourself, Senshi Queen," Ina snarled and rushed at her.

Serenity knew what Ina wanted, so she phased out of the way. "So I did. Goddess Call."

The massive energy beam washed over Ina, but it was as if nothing had hit her. At Serenity's shocked stare, the woman laughed. "You are powerful, mother, you always were, but you only have one soul. I have millions of souls within me, and their power is beyond your reach, beyond anyone's reach!"

"You're insane."

The new voice surprised both. Soma was there, glaring at her sister, and energy arcs could be seen running through her arms. "Oh, it's been a while," Ina said, rather casually.

"I told Kali..."

"You think she can stop me from coming here, mom?" Soma noted. "I'll help you stop her, there's no need for you to die."

"There's no need for anyone to die," Ina said, "but getting in my way makes you obstacles."

Soma couldn't react in time, of course, since Ina had vanished even as she finished that sentence. She heard her mother scream, and looked at Ina, standing there, holding her mother's arm.

But Serenity was gone. Soma knew it. And she could feel rage taking over. This wasn't Ina anymore, this was a monster, this creature had to be destroyed before... No, something was wrong. Ina was just standing there, staring at Serenity's body. And then Soma saw a tear fall down Ina's face. "Ina?"

"What have I done? She... Even at her last moments, she never stopped thinking of me as her daughter. She didn't want to kill me, didn't want to fight me. I just..."

Kali had explained Ina's power to Soma, so she knew what was going on. Ina had absorbed Serenity's memories along with her soul. And it had, at last, awakened her to the true nature of her powers, to its true horror.

"There's no way I'm going to forgive myself now," Ina said, and looked at her sister, "and I would not be surprised if you can't, either. I believed this would be a solution to Farren's 'problem' but now I understand. I would have his memories. I would have to see all of his pain and suffering. I already cursed him once, and I was going to do it again. Please, kill me."

"I won't attack you, Ina."

"What? Why?"

"You can see mom's memories. Much despite myself, I have to admit I cannot stop seeing you as my sister, my friend, my family."

Ina looked down, tears now freely running down her face. "Thank you. I can't repair the damage I've done, but at least I can leave mom's memories where they should be..." As she said that, a small crystal appeared in her hand, along with a thick plastic box. A book?

"What's that?"

"None of us knew, she never told us, but she had been writing a book about her life. And there were bits about our lives, too, in it. I think something like this deserves to be known by others, and I've just added a bit at the end of it... You can take a look at it, later, and decide if it should stay or you only want mom's words in that book."

"What are you going to do now, Ina?"

"I'm leaving. I will never come back. I cannot kill myself, but I hope to find something, out there, which can do that for me."

And before Soma could say a word, Ina was gone. It was the last time the sisters saw each other.

-----​

Soma knew why Ina had given her the crystal, even dull and lifeless as it was,. It was Serenity's Ginzuishou, and she knew what Ina wanted her to do with it. And if it was the only thing her sister could leave behind to somehow 'fix' her errors, then Soma had no problem doing what she had to do. She would lie, for both her sister and Farren's sakes.

It was not an easy lie to tell, but she did it. Farren was told that was Ina's crystal, and that it being dull like that meant its Senshi was gone. That part, at least, wasn't a lie. Soma had told him that Serenity and Ina had killed each other, in a way which made it impossible for them to be revived.

Farren wasn't happy about the news, but he at least was happy she could rest in peace. No, lying wasn't easy, and Soma had to use every bit of her will not to tell him what had really happened.

Second Era, the book by Serenity, was not released to the public for many years. Soma couldn't do it, for Farren would know what had really happened if he read it. Farren was still alive, yes, but he was one of the first persons to take part in a space program, and he said he was, like Ina, going to search for the answers out there.

The book's last scenes were mostly told from Ina's point of view, Soma could tell that, but from the Ina who had given her the book, not the insane monster she had been before.

"I ask the reader not for forgiveness, for I have probably not, if I'm still alive, forgiven myself. I just ask them to value what they have. I searched for happiness where I would find none, ignored the happiness I already had found, and only realized this once it was too late for me. If I'm already dead, know that I'm free of the curse I gave myself. If I'm not... I will carry this burden on my own, until I am finally allowed to let it go."

Soma closed the book and looked out to the night sky. She would not alter any part of the book, and she would let the future generations decide if Ina's story was a lesson worth learning.

But something bothered her. Farren... He could have stayed where he was. He had never before shown any interest in the outer space. Was he going out there on a whim, or had he seen through the lie, and was going to try finding his beloved?

Soma smiled. No matter what his real goal was, all she could do was hope he would find it, out there. As for her, she was now Serenity, Serenity the Second, and would rule until the day she either passed the torch to a new Serenity (one of her own daughters, perhaps?) or, if fate so chose, she found something she could not (or chose not to) defeat.

-----​

Kione closed the book and let out a long sigh. "That was... A very good story."

"It's much better because it's not just a story, Kione, but what actually happened."

"You're right about that," Kione admitted. "Oh, have we landed?"

"Yes, two minutes ago. Are you ready, Sailor Mercury?"

Kione nodded. "I've been reading about Senshi for years, and now I can finally be one. There's no need to ask me if I'm ready, Moment."

Moment smiled at that. "I guessed as much. Follow me."

And the two women headed out of the ship, and into the moon's clear blue sky.

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 4: Silver Dusk.
Episode 19: The case of the missing Princess.


By Razor Knight
Last update: September 6, 2011

-----​

Sailor Mercury couldn't complain about the changes her life had gone through lately. Her training wasn't easy, but she had already made some friends, like Agni, the Fire Priestess of Mars. A relatively hot-tempered girl, but that was to be expected of a Senshi of Fire. But underneath her sarcastic, harsh exterior was someone who really cared about those she considered her friends.

There was also Indra, of Jupiter, who was an almost complete opposite of Kione, but had been the first one to befriend her. Kione could not really understand Indra's fighting style as one that would not get someone killed in battle. Yet in the training battles she had seen and taken part in, Indra had managed to defeat other Senshi with more experience than her, even her own sister, Nube, the Elder Jupiter. Kione's mother had once told her there was more to battles than strategy, and she was starting to understand what that meant now.

They were all waiting for a real mission, but the most important issues were handled by the Elder Senshi, so it would surely be a very easy mission. Kione was recovering from her last training battle, when she saw Mazu, the Neptune Senshi, walking to her.

"Tired?"

"I'll admit I wasn't used to physical work before coming here."

Mazu smiled. "The 'lazy' Librarians, as the stereotype goes."

"Can't say I don't fit that, in a way," Kione admitted. "I was raised as a researcher, not a warrior."

"Yet you are quite capable of defeating any of us," Mazu noted. "Hey, I was wondering... You must know a lot about the Senshi of the past, right?"

"I'd like to think I do. Kali or Neve would know more than me, but they're not here."

"Right. So I was wondering... Why the skirts?"

Kione chuckled at that. "I remember I asked my mother that same question when I was eight, and saw her in a Senshi suit. Back in the past, Senshi wore a full battlesuit, although the fabric was the same used nowadays."

"Yes, so why leave arms and legs unprotected? Doesn't seem like a wise strategic move to me."

"The actual 'shield' isn't the suit itself, but a thin, strong magic field which surrounds all of our body," Kione explained. She was in her own battlefield now, as she had researched everything she wanted to know about Senshi, ancient and modern. "But it was thanks to one of the past Venus Senshi that the suit was turned into a more, uhm, pleasant to the eye version of itself."

"What happened to make them change their suits?"

"There was an alien race, their name is unimportant, but the strange thing about them is... Their warriors were all male, for some strange reason. And their physiology was very similar to us humans."

Mazu was now listening intently. It was just as they said, this Kione girl had a knack for making stories look better than they seemed.

"In any case, the Venus Senshi of that era, thought of a solution to defeat the invades with minimal casualties for both sides. The new suits were very distracting for those alien soldiers, and Senshi could take them down without killing them. Afterwards, the new suit design was used to celebrate the victory against those aliens, and with time, the old design was abandoned, as new generations of Senshi seemed to like the new one better."

"Well, it does work I guess, it's quite distracting."

Kione looked at Mazu quizzically for a moment, then nodded. "I suppose it could be. That's the reason you weren't quite effective in battle the first two times you fought, right?"

"Sorry, I was..."

"Don't worry, I'm not against it, it was just the first time a woman stared at me like that, so I couldn't really tell what you were doing."

"I'm more used to the suits now," Mazu noted. "They're still nice to stare at."

"If I'm guessing right, Fujin agrees with you."

"Fujin?" Mazu asked, surprised. The Uranus Senshi wasn't very talkative, and seemed to keep herself away from the others. Some said her social skills were bad, but Kione had a different theory. "I'll have to speak to her about that," the Neptune Senshi noted. "It's no reason to become isolated."

"Good luck with that," Kione noted, "she barely speaks to anyone at all, except for Kali."

Agni came walking to them. "There you are, Kione. We've got our first mission."

"We?"

"There's trouble in Venus, and Queen Aphrodite has requested help from other Senshi. See, the Princess was kidnapped last night, and her whereabouts are unknown."

"Princess Asteria? She's not a Senshi yet, is she?"

"And that's why they need someone to go looking for her. They aren't sending someone with a high magic level, in case the criminals have means of detecting magic."

"So who's going besides us two?"

"Nobody else. The smaller the group, the better the chances of not being detected. You are the smartest of our group, and if things get out of hand I can handle a few low-level mages without much trouble."

"Have you ever been to Venus?"

"Yes. And Asteria's a friend of mine. If those bastards touch her, I'm going to give them an unnatural tan, no questions asked."

-----​

"... You think they'll pay up?"

"If they don't send money soon, we'll send them this girl's arm as a reminder."

Asteria looked around. She had been careless, and these guys had knocked her out, and carried her... Wherever she was at now. It looked like an old storehouse, there were only boxes in the room, and the chair she was tied to. No, chained to. Still, it was just a matter of time, and she would be free.

"Let's give them a couple more hours."

But if a rescue party was coming, it had to come soon. She didn't want to hurt these men.

"Oh, she's awake."

Great, the morons had noticed her. They had kidnapped her, which meant they knew she wasn't still a Senshi, and was thus an easy target. That could make things interesting for her. And it could make them a lot more easier. But she would play along for the time being. "What's the big deal, you shle'sam?"

"Aww, the kid's got a dirty mouth. Cute. Listen up, Princess, you're going to be a nice kid now, and we may consider sending you back in one piece. It all depends on how much your mommy loves you. If she loves her money more, you're quite doomed."

"I'll be good, I promise," Asteria said, with fake fear. The more they thought they were in control, the harder the wake-up call would be for them.

She couldn't feel bad about them, she never understood some people's lust for money. And if they were willing to sink this low for it, then their fate would be a dire one.

-----​

Kione looked around. "So far, no clues on where she might be."

"And we're running out of time. Aphrodite sent a message to me minutes ago, the criminals said they were going to, and I quote, 'send the girl's arm as a reminder' if they didn't get their money in two hours."

"How much do we have left?"

"About thirty minutes, actually," Agni noted. "This doesn't look good."

Kione was staring straight to a nearby building. "If research doesn't work, scientists may use wild speculation, at times."

"In human language?"

"I have a guess on where she might be. If we're lucky, we might be able to rescue the Princess."

Agni looked in the direction Kione pointed. An old, abandoned warehouse. However, if it was just an abandoned building, then why were there two tall, shady men standing in front of the door?

-----​

"Okay little girl, your time's up."

Asteria looked defiantly at the man, who seemed intimidating with the huge cleaver he was holding. Or, at least, he would have seemed intimidating to her, if she had no way to fight back. "I don't think so. Your time, on the other hand, was up the moment you decided to target me."

The five men in the room laughed at that. "Aww, the princess still has some fight left in her. Let's see how much you have once I'm done here."

"You're already done. The only reason I've not dealt with you, is that I was trying to find the most painful way to do it."

The man turned serious. "Okay, this is getting stupid, kid. You're chained up to a chair, we're stronger than you, and you've got no magic tricks to help you."

Asteria chuckled at that. "That's funny. You've just proven yourself wrong, three times in a row, in a single sentence."

Before the man could say anything, Asteria was already out of the chair and next to him. Then he couldn't see a thing. Of course, he realized, the Venus Senshi were the Senshi of Light, and this girl had somehow blinded them all with a very bright flash. "Aaah! My eyes! You damn..."

He heard a chuckle behind him. "Your eyes will be the least of your worries in a second."

And then he felt something hit him, and everything went black.

-----​

Outside the warehouse, the two Senshi had been watching over the building from a safe spot, and noticed the light show inside. "I think your guess was right, Kione."

"She's a Senshi already?"

"I hadn't heard about it," Agni admitted.

The two guards had also noticed something happening inside, and thus turned their backs to the two Senshi. That was quickly proven to be a bad move.

"Soul Embers!"

The fire beam hit one of the guards, and bounced off him, hitting the other one. Kione looked at Agni and smiled. "I didn't know you could do that."

"Never had a fight against more than one opponent yet. Doesn't mean I shouldn't be prepared for it."

Kione nodded, just as she saw the door being kicked out of place (and slamming into a wall quite close to her.) A very angry Sailor Venus run out, saw the two guards were out cold, and frowned. "Okay, what the heck..."

"Calm down, girl. We thought you could need a bit of help."

Asteria looked at Agni and shrugged. "Not really. They weren't expecting me to go Senshi on them."

"We weren't informed you were one," Kione admitted.

"Even mom doesn't know. I actually found out about this last night, was going to tell her today."

"A lucky coincidence, then," Agni said. "In any case, I suppose this means our first mission was a... Success."

"The person we came to rescue pretty much beat each of her captors by herself," Kione noted.

"She's safe, we were here to get her back to the palace safe. Mission complete, as far as I'm concerned."

"So, you two have been Senshi for a while?"

"You could say that," Kione noted, "I'm rather new to this, actually."

"I knew you two could do it."

Agni turned to see Pluto standing there. "You could have helped."

"I didn't need to. Asteria's already a Senshi, this was a test to see if she could handle a fight, even one as easy as this."

"You knew she was going to be captured?"

"I wouldn't have let her be captured if she was in any real danger."

"Did mom know?"

"No," Pluto said, "which reminds me, I came here to bring you back, and we better go back fast before Aphrodite tells her army to tear down the city looking for you."

"Yeah, that sounds just like mom," Asteria admitted. "Let's go."

And the four Senshi vanished, just as the city's police arrived at the warehouse to investigate what the light show had been about.

-----​

One week later, the newest Senshi was already used to training. She was a bit on the young side, being twelve, but there had been some cases in the past of Senshi whose powers had awakened even earlier. Her strongest point was, however, her agility. She moved fast, even by Senshi standards.

"Crescent Beam!"

"Shabon Spray Freezing!"

Both attacks clashed, and Mercury used her attack's secondary effect to her advantage. She had already gained a second attack, this one let her not only cover the room with mist, but the mist could freeze normal humans in seconds, same as weak monsters, without killing them. It also affected Senshi, although to a lesser extent, depending on their level.

"Brr, I hate that one," Asteria said looking around. "Crescent Beam!"

Asteria had shot her beam after turning to her left, but realized it had not hit a thing. "Wrong direction. Shabon Spray Freezing!"

When the attack did hit a target, its effects were much stronger. Asteria cringed as her arm was encased in ice. "Ow!"

Kione put her palm on Asteria's forehead. "I won."

"Right," Asteria muttered. "You won."

"You need to learn how to sense magic, it's a pretty useful skill."

Kione looked at Indra who was walking up to them. "I'm surprised you know... Thought you liked melee, not fancy tricks."

"It's thanks to you. I could not defeat you at first, Kione, so I searched for a way to do it. Now your mist won't work on me so you better get a new trick if you want to defeat me."

"This is not a tournament, Indra."

The Jupiter Senshi smiled at that. "I know that, but if you don't work to become better at what you do, you never will."

Kione had to admit that Indra was a lot smarter than one could think at first. "I guess I will have to find a way to overcome the flaws in my attack."

"Or become a Twilight Senshi," Asteria noted.

"Yeah, you two are the only weaklings left."

"This weakling beat you five times in a row," Kione noted with a smile.

"I thought this was not a tournament?" Indra countered.

"It's not. But that doesn't change the fact I have only lost to you twice, Indra."

"I hate when you're right."

"Then you must hate a lot."

Asteria chuckled. "You two really get along."

-----​

They thought it was a good idea at first. The Queen of Earth, Rhea, was coming back home from a meeting with the Nine, and everything was, as usual, boring and calm. Their path split, and they could have either gone through the long, treacherous hills of Xanadu, or they could take a short trip through the forests of Arcadia.

For the soldier, right now, the hills looked like a far better place to be. It had all happened too fast, something had appeared from the forest, at first it was hard to see what was slaughtering his squad, but after one minute, he was the only one left, and he could see them.

Shadows. That was the only way he could describe them. Shapeless, eyeless shadows, but he knew their attention was on him. He was the only thing standing between the Queen and these monsters.

"Earth Planet Power!"

The soldier was relieved. True, the Earth army was proud and its warriors skilled, but even the most zealous soldier knew that no normal human could compare to a Senshi, even to a novice one... And in this case, Rhea was far from lacking experience.

He saw Sailor Earth jump out of the large, armored vehicle he had been guarding. In a matter of seconds, many of the shadows fell, as the ground itself swallowed them whole. But the surviving shadows did something he was not ready to see. They poured into his fallen comrades' bodies, and soon the dead rose, all turning to Sailor Earth with lifeless, unfocused eyes.

"Stone Needles."

A myriad of small, rocky spikes shot out from the ground, tearing the reanimated corpses to shreds. Earth smiled briefly, but saw the 'shadows' were still there. "I suppose I'll have to take them seriously."

"Queen Rhea, you must flee!"

Earth shook her head. "They're after me, they'll probably follow me all the way back to Camelot. I will destroy them here and now."

The shadows all started gathering, their form shimmering as they turned into one large, shapeless blob. The soldier stood there, unsure of what to do. "But you mustn't..."

"I am a Senshi, I must protect this world even if it costs me my life."

"Then I will help you."

"No. Go and warn the King about this. I will go back as soon as I can, but if I cannot, then someone has to tell them what happened here."

"Queen Rhea..."

"It's an order."

The soldier grimaced. Much like Queen Serenity of the Moon, Queen Rhea wasn't one known to give orders to others. That meant she was aware she could actually die fighting those creatures. But he was one of the Royal Guards, and any order from either the King or the Queen was absolute. And if it was the last request of the Queen herself, he could not ignore it. "I wish you luck, my Queen."

Rhea watched the vehicle speed away. The shadow hadn't moved, and she had no idea why that was the case. But it should have attacked her while it had the advantage. "Now that there's nothing I care about within the blast range, I can stop being nice. Gaia's Curse!"

As he drove away, the soldier could see the area where Sailor Earth was lighting up. Moments later, his vehicle shook as a strong wind blew from that direction.

He hoped the Queen had overcome that creature with her attack, and he was at the same time awed and shocked that Queen Rhea had been forced to use such a powerful attack.

But his awe only lasted for a few seconds. He heard an explosion, and looked back to see an even larger beam of light shooting up to the sky, and saw trees and rocks being flung to the sides by the shock wave. "Definitely should have chosen the mountain path," he muttered a second before the shock wave reached his vehicle.
 
Last edited:

Kyouko Tsukino

Steampunker
Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 4: Silver Dusk.
Episode 20: The wicked witch of the west.


By Razor Knight
Last update: October 21, 2011

-----​

There was a special bond between Senshi and those they cared about, one that went far beyond a human's normal senses. If someone important to them died, they could feel it, no matter how far apart they were. And Gea, the Younger Senshi of Earth, was right now, and for the first time, aware of how much of a curse that ability was.

Nadia, who was sparring with Gea, stopped as she realized the girl was looking down to the ground. "Hey, what's wrong?"

"Mother. Mother is... NO!"

Pluto appeared right next to Gea as the ground around the training facilities started shaking. "We will be back shortly," she said before she and Gea vanished.

Nadia was confused as to what had happened, but she knew of only one thing that could have caused Gea to lose control like that. "Oh damn..."

"The question is," Kione, who had been watching the training match from the side, noted, "what could there be out there strong enough to kill the second strongest Senshi in our system?"

Nadia nodded. "Good question."

"I suppose it's related to what Moment brought most of us here for. Whatever it was she was preparing us for, it has already begun."

-----​

Gea was furious, and her rage would not disappear anytime soon. But she had calmed down, taking her frustration out on Pluto would do her no good. It was a bit frightening to her to know that Sailor Pluto had been there, just taking Eternal level attacks from her without flinching, and talking to her to calm her down. Just how strong was Pluto?

If things were different, she would be quite proud of being the first Senshi of her generation to reach Eternal level. But the cause of her upgrade had been a most painful one, and she couldn't really care about her new powers right now.

"So, you know who it was."

"No. Whatever did that is shielding even from my power. It must be a very powerful being."

"I will go there and hunt down whoever did it myself."

"You will go and fight someone or something that killed your mother, who had far more power and experience than you? Don't be foolish, Gea."

"So what, should I just sit around and train like nothing happened?"

"I never said that. You will go and find out what happened to your mother. But you will go as a part of a team."

Gea looked at Pluto and noticed the woman wasn't giving her the emotionless stare she usually gave everyone. Moment and Rhea were close friends, and she could see the woman was also furious, but trying to keep her cool. "So, you think I've calmed down enough to go back?"

"Not yet," Pluto said, "I must go talk with Serenity about this matter now. I'll return when I see you're ready to leave."

"So I'm a prisoner here?"

"You can do whatever you want when I leave. This place won't be destroyed even by an Aeon Senshi's wrath. For example, you could try figuring out what new powers you've gained. I'm sure you will want to be ready when you finally find out who did this."

"Thought you were against me going on a vendetta."

"As I said, you will investigate this as a part of a team. But I won't stop you from killing whoever did this, if that's what fate has in stock for you."

And with that, Pluto was gone. Gea looked around at the ever-changing walls around her, and smiled as energy gathered around her fists. "They can't be destroyed, she says. Let's see if it's true."

-----​

Queen Serenity wasn't used to hearing news as terrible as these. Rhea was one of her closest friends, and she considered her and Gea part of her family. To think she was gone like that, it made her furious. But she was not one to show her fury to others. "And you say there's no way to..."

"Whoever or whatever did this, left no trace of a soul in her body. It's not a skill unheard of, but I had only read about it in legends."

"Legends are based in real things," Serenity said, "you said it was in Arcadia?"

"That kingdom is the weakest of the Nine," Pluto noticed, "so it's quite unlikely they would do something so daring."

"So there must be someone or something in there, in Queen Beryl's lands, and we must find out who it is."

"I'm getting a diplomatic team assembled for this. Princess Gea will be an important part of it, since she's currently the only Eternal Senshi of her generation."

"I'm not sure about how diplomatic that will be," Serenity joked.

"If anything goes wrong, I'll take care of the situation."

-----​

"So why are we using a spaceship?"

Kione smiled at Bisha's question. "It's an ancient pact between the Senshi and the Nine Kingdoms of Earth, we're not allowed to phase directly into lands not belonging to Camelot."

Bisha, the Nemesis Senshi, snorted at that. "And who's going to stop us if we do?"

"Queen Serenity herself," Moment noted.

"Oh," Bisha said, knowing well what that meant, and being aware that while usually a calm and kind person, Serenity's power was beyond anything she could hope to fight against.

"Hey, it's not like it's a bad thing," Asteria said, "normal humans don't get to take free trips on spaceships!"

"Normal humans can't just jump from planet to planet on a whim," Bisha countered.

"So, what is the name of the ship?" Kione asked.

Moment smiled. "The Leviathan. You should know about it."

Kione's eyes widened. "Leviathan? Xypher's main ship?"

"How diplomatic is it for a group of Senshi to arrive at an Earth Kingdom in the biggest battleship ever built?" Agni commented.

"Now excuse me, young lady, but the Leviathan is but a mere trading ship."

The group saw a man walking to them, and most of them knew who this was instantly. Xypher Hades, the creator and owner of the largest trading fleet in the whole system. "A trading ship armed with enough weapons to rival a third level Senshi," Kione noted.

"Princess, you hurt my feelings. There's pirates out there, so I have to be prepared to fight back."

"If you're done with small talk, let's continue on to the ship," Moment noticed.

"I see you're as cheerful as ever, Moment."

Moment looked at the man for a second before she resumed walking, her face emotionless. "And you're as good at wasting time as usual. One's to wonder how your trading company gets anywhere in time."

"My ships are fast enough to allow me to waste time," Xypher said dismissively as the group begun following Moment's lead.

-----​

"They are coming."

"I know."

"I hope you have something planned. The Senshi need to be dealt with."

"You haven't yet recovered from the ritual, and though bound to your power, I cannot hope to match Serenity's power right now. It's not time to attack yet."

At first sight, the room would appear to be only occupied by a woman. So hearing two voices would have made anyone think they were going crazy. Unless they saw the shapeless, black cloud hiding in the shadows of the room. That would confirm their fears.

But the cloud was as real as the woman. Queen Beryl of Arcadia, one of many Queendoms in the System, but the only Queendom on Earth. Her country was the weakest of the Nine (a stupid name for the alliance of countries Earth had formed centuries ago,) and thus she had always kept peace with the others, specially with Camelot. But a few weeks earlier, Beryl had made a discovery, one that would change her future for good.

-----​

Beryl had always enjoyed reading, and thus her father had made sure she had enough books to read for the rest of her life. But as time passed, Beryl took a liking on ancient legends. She learnt of the ancient Gaia, the strongest Senshi to ever exist, and also about others who had reached power levels too high to describe.

They were always Senshi. Senshi were born like that, you couldn't study to become one. And Beryl had always thought that was quite unfair. Why was that Rhea girl the Senshi of Earth? She was smarter, more ambitious than Rhea. She should be the one holding that power.

Another thing the Senshi always had, were enemies. Most of their names had been lost in time, but there was one... Meth'lya. Metallia. An alien mage who had challenged the Senshi and lost. But she had also infected a whole planet with a magic plague. Forced the Senshi to sacrifice a whole world in order to stop the plague. In a way, Metallia had been the strongest enemy a Senshi had ever fought.

And the now adult Beryl, the Queen of Arcadia, after her parents passed away, had researched enough to be sure of it. Metallia had fought her last battle in her lands. Maybe some of her power was left, somewhere, power Beryl could use to challenge the Senshi.

What was the alternative, after all? Spending a lifetime as a queen of a small, uneventful country? Marrying some prince from another country (or perhaps another world) in order to have a slight taste of what real power was?

No, she would not be happy with just that. She had always seen the Senshi as a goal, a target to overcome. A challenge. And she would always search for a way to surpass that challenge.

-----
It had taken her several years to prepare for what had to be done. Finding the place of the battle, and sensing the slight, lingering traces of power in it. Researching on methods to revive souls long gone, without the need of a body, and to steal their magic power.

She saw the black cloud appear in front of her and took a step back, genuinely frightened by the sheer power she was sensing. "Metallia..." It was more powerful than she had thought, she was sure her plan would fail if she tried to forcefully take it for herself.

"What? This is... How much time has passed?"

"Countless centuries, those you hate are gone, but there's new Senshi, and they control the system."

"I suppose you're the one who woke me up, since there's nobody else here."

Beryl's fright was now mostly gone. "Yes, that was me. I need your power to be able to destroy the Senshi."

Metallia's laughter echoed around the mountains. "Fool. I could destroy you where you stand, and then go destroy the Senshi."

Maybe there was a way for her to get those powers even without stealing them, the Queen realized that just now. "You failed doing that once alone, you will fail again. You need an army, Metallia, to fight an army."

The cloud fell silent. As upsetting as it was to her, she had to admit this pitiful human woman was right. She had failed, twice, when she thought she had the war won. She would not waste her unexpected third chance as she had before. "I need to cloak my power from Senshi," Metallia said, "if I'm to remain undetected. I will have to bind to you."

"Will that hurt?"

"I cannot start describing how much it will," Metallia said, "but you will have more magic power than you ever imagined."

"Then do it. Let's bring the Senshi down, together."

"What is your name, human?"

"Beryl."

"Be'rhyl," Metallia said, morphing the name to a similar one from her own tongue. "Amusing, that's the name of the wife of the First Kh'sun."

"The first captain of your race's mother ship, right?"

Metallia was surprised. "I see you've researched our race well. I'm surprised humans would keep records of us, however."

"There's a saying, 'know your enemy better than you know yourself.'"

Metallia chuckled. "Whoever said that was smart, for a human. But enough of that, let us begin."


-----​

And Metallia had been right. The binding hurt in ways that were impossible to describe with any human language. But once that was done, Beryl had gained more power than she ever imagined. Almost enough to take down the Senshi Queen herself.

But, she could not win against all the Senshi. She had to take care of them, but for that she needed an army. And thanks to a twist of fate, she had a small group of soldiers now. It had been nice of Rhea to try passing through her lands. Metallia had sensed that immediately, and had said she was strong enough to take on such a Senshi on her own.

Beryl had been skeptical at first, but then decided to risk it. Metallia had used a 'linked senses' magic, so Beryl could see everything that happened. Beryl had flinched when the first few soldiers were killed, but soon realized she would probably have to kill thousands of them to achieve her goal. By the time Rhea let the one single survivor escape, Beryl was actually enjoying the show.

When Sailor Earth powered up, however, she feared it would be Metallia's end. But while Metallia was greatly weakened by the large explosion, Sailor Earth was killed by it. She couldn't help but smile as she saw the corpse... But she could still see the woman's soul, that reminded her of another particular trait the Senshi had.

"Senshi can be revived, as long as their soul still exists," Metallia said through their link, knowing what her thoughts were. Beryl saw black tendrils reach out and wrap around the soul, and she thought she could hear Rhea's voice, screaming in pain for several seconds. Then, there was only silence, and the tendrils retreated, revealing the emptiness left where her enemy's soul had been moments earlier.

"What did you do?"

"I destroyed the soul," Metallia explained, "completely erased it and kept its magic power for myself."

"Taking out one of our strongest foes was good, but they will surely come here, ask one too many questions..."

"I was a scientist in the past, not a people person," Metallia mused. "And it was your choice, ultimately, to attack and kill Sailor Earth. So you will have to take care of whoever they send."

"I know, and I will. But you will have to help me fool them."

"Do I get to kill more of them?"

"Only if they are weak enough."

-----​

"I can say I'm surprised Lady Moment would be joining us in this trip."

"She needs to be around in case things get ugly."

Xypher nodded. "Yes, news on what happened on Earth reached me."

"But how? We've been told it's been kept a secret from the commoners."

"I'm no commoner. And having ears and eyes everywhere is also part of being a successful trader."

Kione looked at the man. "Shouldn't you be on the bridge?"

"I don't need to be there, just like Serenity does not need to lead every mission of your group, young lady."

"You trust your men, I see your point," Kione noted, "but stop calling us 'young ladies', you're not even a decade older than some of us."

"You may be eager to avoid protocol, High Librarian Kione, but I would rather not do that."

"It makes you sound like an old man, Hades," Agni joked.

Xypher frowned. These new generation Senshi were all too eager to ignore protocol. But they did have a point, he wasn't even in his thirties yet, so protocol was the only thing making him not call them by their names. He knew them all, as he had visited the palaces of every Queen of the Sol System time and again in the past.

Kione smiled. "You were born in Mercury, weren't you?"

xypher looked out at the stars. "I was. My mother was from Saturn, and my parents decided to settle there once I was old enough to travel."

"So as a native of Mercury, you should not ignore a direct request of a member of the High Librarian circle, one of the Senshi Librarians, even. Am I right about protocol thus far?"

Xypher nodded. "Indeed. 'Know your enemy and you'll have half the battle won', isn't that how the saying goes?"

Kione chuckled at that. "Of course. So if you insist on following protocol, I will then request that you stop using such formal titles around us, at least when nobody else is close. Would you accept such request?"

"I would gladly do so, Lady Kione, but only because protocol forces me to. No, don't ask me to drop the 'lady,' that will not happen."

"I guess it will have to suffice, then," Kione admitted.

Fujin had been mostly silent (as usual) but couldn't help laughing. As the others looked at her, she turned to Xypher. "You two argue like a married couple. Why the lingering hostility?"

Xypher turned to leave, but then looked back at the girls. "I have a story with her older sister, High Librarian Nube. I suppose Lady Kione is not forgiving this old man for his stupid mistakes yet. By the way, tell Nube I said hi."

"I will, I bet she will be happy," Kione said in an obviously sarcastic tone.

Sailor Pluto had appeared in the room by then, and heard the last few phrases said. "I knew if I left you two alone you would start with that."

Kione didn't mind Pluto's stern look. "I'm sorry, but he hurt my sister."

"And I apologized to her, and to you. More than once, in your case," Xypher said. "I've kept myself away from Mercury for months, to see if you would cool down."

"I'm sorry, I'm not as forgiving as she is."

"Sailor Mercury, I would appreciate it if you would leave your quarrels for after we're done with this," Pluto noted, her tone commanding. She saw the girl about to retort and summoned her staff for effect. "You should know I can see everything that's already happened, Kione. Your dislike for him is not unfounded, but I would expect you, of all the Younger Senshi, to be one to handle such a matter with much more maturity."

Kione never liked being scolded. Specially being scolded in public, like this, for something as stupid as... She looked at Pluto and nodded. "I understand," she then looked at Xypher. "I apologize for my behavior, Captain Hades."

Xypher smiled at the girl. "You not treating me like a criminal would be all the apology I would need, Kione."

Kione looked at the man leave the room and then at the others. "What?"

Agni shrugged. "That went better than I thought."

"How long before we reach Arcadia?" Nadia, the Nemesis Senshi, asked.

"About two lunar hours," Pluto said. "I'll be at my room, you girls try not to destroy the ship."

"Wouldn't you stop us?"

"I'm not sure, honestly I don't quite like Hades, myself."

"Now, that's not a nice thing to say about someone when they're not around," Hades' voice said from a nearby speaker.

"Eavesdropping isn't nice, captain."

"Says the master eavesdropper," Hades' voice retorted.

Pluto frowned. "On second thought, I'll go back to my post until we're closer to Earth. Otherwise, a part of this ship may accidentally end up elsewhere."

Agni saw Pluto vanish and chuckled. "This will be one fun trip, huh?"

Gea frowned at that. "It's not fun for me."

"Sorry."

"Don't worry. I'm just too eager to get there and find whoever, or whatever, killed my mother."

"If it killed her, then..."

"I'm at the same level as she was," Gea noted, "and for me, it's been a whole week since she died. I've been trained by Pluto since then."

"Well, then, let's wait and see what we find down there," Kione noted.

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 4: Silver Dusk.
Episode 21: Shadow of evil.


By Razor Knight
Last update: January 27, 2012

-----​

The throne room was much like others the Senshi had seen before. Each of them were princesses of their worlds, so they were used to royal displays as the one being shown in that particular room. Suits of armor, old tapestries, golden candelabra, the usual things to find in a throne room.

What wasn't usual was the fact there was only one throne. Apparently Queen Beryl had not bothered searching for a King to rule by her side, and the fact only one throne was in the room made it clear she was still not interested.

"Welcome, Senshi. I am honored by your visit, even though the cause of it is a most disturbing one."

Sailor Earth looked at the woman. "I apologize if you find it rude for me to skip formalities, but I didn't come here to socialize."

"That's perfectly understandable given the circumstances, Princess," Beryl said. "I know the pain of losing a mother, although not to a... Monster."

"Do you have any idea of who could have been behind the attack?"

"I do not," Beryl said, "however, I will grant your group freedom to search through my country. Perhaps the legendary magic abilities of the Senshi will be able to find what my court mages did not find."

"She doesn't seem to be lying to us," Sailor Mercury noted.

Earth noticed the tone in which Mercury said this, and nodded. "I suppose... We will take your offer, and will search this country thoroughly. Worry not, for we won't harm any civilians, unless we've got clear proof of their connection with the incident."

"Those are acceptable terms," Beryl admitted. "I wish you good luck."

As the Senshi left the room, a smile crept into Beryl's face. The young idiot. She was just like her brother, Endymion. They weren't fit to rule the whole planet, if they would take someone's words at face value as she just had.

'You're a very good actress, Beryl. I must admit even I thought you were being honestly helpful to them.'

Beryl chuckled as she 'heard' Metallia's words. "Are you ready to go along with my plan?"

'Of course. I will give them a nice show, make it tough for them... Maybe I'll kill another one of them before I'm defeated by them.'

Beryl nodded silently. Yes, it was all going as planned. These Senshi kids had no idea what was waiting for them, out there.

-----​

As they walked away from the castle, Gea finally spoke her mind. "She was lying to us."

Kione nodded. "Of course. Which means she knows something about what happened, but isn't telling us. The question here would be, is she hiding it because of personal interests, or is there something else we're not seeing?"

The others looked at her quizzically. "What else could there be?" Mazu asked.

"Mind control or possession. But you didn't detect any of that, right Moment?"

Pluto appeared right besides her, not surprised Kione knew she had been watching them from her post. "I didn't. But that may just mean the being we're dealing with is stronger than I thought, at least in one of those areas."

"She's not possessed, I would know if she had another soul within," Kisin, the Saturn Senshi, said. Kione was pretty sure it was the first time she had heard her speak ever since she arrived to the Moon base.

Pluto nodded at that. "You're more attuned to sensing souls than I could ever hope to be, just like your mother. So that only leaves two choices, she's either lying, or controlled by someone else."

Gea looked down for a few seconds, then turned to Pluto. "We'll go to the place where it happened. Maybe we will find a clue there."

"Or maybe the killer is still around," Kione noted.

"I hope that's the case," Gea said.

-----​

The Princess looked up to the sky and sighed. The Earth looked as peaceful as ever, but she knew there was something there, and she wished she could help the other princesses with that. But no, she wasn't an official Senshi yet, so she would have to wait.

Her mind returned to the past as she thought of someone else. Her first memories of him weren't too fond, to be honest, as the young Prince Endymion of the Earth Kingdom of Camelot (that was a mouthful, wasn't it?) had been quite eager to try and burn her pigtails, as he had found them ugly.

Their parents decided they would marry when they were old enough, and to the young Nanna, Endymion was quite unlikeable.

-----​

"Why do I have to marry such a rude boy?" the Princess muttered.

"It's not suitable for a lady to be muttering like that in public. Or pouting."

The Princess looked at her guardian Mooncat, Luna. "Can't help it. He'll be here any minute, that brat..."

"That brat will be your husband someday, Princess Serenity."

The Princess saw her mother walking to her and sighed. "I don't like being told what to do..."

"We have noticed," Luna interrupted.

"... Specially when it's about who I'm supposed to be with for my whole life."

The Queen shook her head. "You haven't seen him in four years, Nanna. People can change a lot, specially young ones, even in such a short time. Could you give the Prince another chance?"

The Princess looked out the window and saw a spaceship closing in to the lunar port. The Excalibur, one of the largest ships in the system, and Camelot's main spaceship. That meant the Prince was back. "I... I guess I'll try again, hope you're right about what you said, mother."


-----​

The Queen had been right. Prince Endymion had been kind and polite, not at all like the brat she remembered. They had spent quite a lot of time together during that particular visit, and she had started considering him a friend soon afterwards. And Nana had decided, a couple years ago, that she didn't hate the idea of marrying him anymore.

She didn't hate it, at all.

But the princess wasn't in a good mood right now. Sure, she understood why he had to leave...

"So, your sister is going to take care of that?"

The man nodded. "I wish I could help, but I'm no Senshi."

"I can't say I know how you must be feeling right now, because my father died when I was too young to remember him. But..."

"Don't worry, Serenity. I just need some time to think, and to mourn."

"I understand," Princess Serenity said, "but please, don't be so formal when nobody's around."

"I keep on forgetting that, right Nanna?"

The princess smiled. "That you do, Endymion. Now go home, I will be okay."


...But she didn't have to like it. She had decided to focus on training. To the outside world, even to most of the other Princesses, Nanna, usually addressed as Princess Serenity by the rest of the system, was not yet a Senshi, as her mother thought it best to reveal her awakening to the system after her fifteenth birthday.

"Moon... Prism Barrage!"

"You seem to be in a pretty bad mood today, Princess."

Nanna looked at the catlike creature, then at the practice targets. Or, rather, to the large holes in the ground where practice targets had once been standing. "I... Suppose I am."

"It's about the Prince, right?"

The Princess sighed and looked at the Mooncat. "No use in hiding that, you know me too well. I have a lot of things in my head right now. I don't want to be far away from him, but I also want to support him... And I feel angry at whoever did that, whoever dared killing someone close to my mother, to kill one of the strongest Senshi in this era. It needs to pay for that."

"You're a few levels too weak to help Gea."

"I know. It makes me feel useless."

"Just continue your training. You will eventually..."

"What if it's too late by then?"

The Mooncat thought about that for a few moments. "I'll have to speak with Moment about it."

"Thanks, Luna."

-----​

Kione walked to the others, scowling. "Nothing thus far. It's almost as if what attacked Rhea had vanished."

"Maybe... Who or what did it was killed by Rhea," Agni said.

"That's a possibility I've been considering," Gea admitted, "maybe there's nothing to take vengeance upon."

Kione shook her head. "Moment's not one to waste her own time, or others'. If she knew there was nothing here, she would not have brought us here to investigate."

"Where should we go next, though?"

"There's another village close to the area where the incident happened," Bisha, the Senshi of Lilith, noted. "Maybe we should try our luck there?"

"As good a place to visit as any," Gea noted. In fact, she had been surprised by this small country's people. She had seen no beggars in the streets, no shady businesses, nothing that could be found in other, larger countries, or the other planets. Almost as if, somehow, Beryl had found a way to keep crime at an absolute zero percent, or something quite close to it. It was yet another thing about Arcadia that didn't quite seem fitting.

But perhaps she was reading too much into it. She hadn't been out of Camelot much before she became a Senshi, so maybe some other places were like this, too.

-----​

"So, why are we here?" Princess Serenity asked, then looked around. "This place looks strange."

"It is as strange as I would expect a place like this to be."

"Was it hard to get permission from Moment?" Moment had agreed to this idea rather quickly, it was a bit strange for her.

"You're not the first Senshi to use this place to train without being a Pluto Senshi. And if I were to guess, Moment has a reason to agree with this idea, but she didn't tell me what it was."

"What's the difference, though? Training here won't help me that much."

"I think your mother never told you about one of the traits of this place. Time does not pass like it does in the outer world. Technically, while we're here, we're outside the normal flow of time, and can return to it at any given moment."

Nanna thought about it for a few seconds. "So we could go back home a second after we left?"

Luna smiled. "Or a day before. But that wouldn't be wise, the risks of altering the timelines would be... But never mind that, I think you now know the reason I brought you here."

"Training on my own will take too long."

"I know that, so you will be fighting me."

The Princess stood there, looking at the cat. "Fight you? Even with my current power I could..."

Luna smiled. "There's things you don't know about the Senshi. They're kept a secret from almost everyone. But I suppose this is a good time as any to reveal one of the best kept secrets of the Mooncats..."

The cat's body started glowing, and soon Nanna couldn't see a thing as a blinding light surrounded the creature. As the light dimmed, she could see Luna was not there, and there was a woman with blue hair, wearing a golden suit which was similar to a Senshi's suit. "What... Who are you?"

"Princess, I'm hurt. You don't recognize your guardian just because I changed my form?"

"Luna?"

"Of course. This skill is only to be used in special situations, emergencies and such. Thanks to a certain friend of mine, though, I'll be able to use it in here for as long as I need."

"Well, I don't really see the difference, your power is just like..."

"Oh, that. I think you already know about power cloaking, after all, you and your mother use it all the time, albeit for different reasons."

And then Nanna could sense it, the woman's power being unleashed. It was... "No way, you're close to mom's level!"

Luna smiled at that. "I know. And when we're done here, you'll be as strong, if not stronger, than me."

The Princess changed into her Senshi Suit in an instant, but then frowned. "Wait, what's the catch?"

"Other than this kind of training being potentially deadly, for both of us? No catch at all."

"Fair enough, I suppose. Let's start."

Nanna was a warrior at heart, just like her mother, and Luna had known this for quite some time. But now it was time to see if the Princess was really up to the challenge.

-----​

Kisin had sensed something strange as they approached the village, but she could now feel it clearly. "Be careful, everyone. I can sense death all around us."

"Sounds promising," Gea said calmly.

Yet as the village came into view, there was nothing visibly wrong with it. Civilians doing normal, everyday activities, and a few soldiers standing guard right outside the area. Same as every other village they had visited.

"Nothing seems out of place here," Bisha commented.

Kione was using her visor. "No, Kisin's right. There's some strange energy all around the area."

The villagers suddenly stopped, as if frozen by something. "That doesn't look normal," Mazu noted.

Agni frowned. "I can sense it. It's north of here."

"That's in the direction of..." Gea started. "But we already checked the place of the attack."

"Uh, girls..." Mazu said, "I don't think we're welcome here."

The villagers were now slowly crawling towards them. "They're possessed by something," Kione said.

"No, it's not just that," Kisin explained, "there's nothing left of the villagers' souls."

"But they were normal a moment ago, weren't they?"

The Saturn Senshi nodded. "Either this force acts fast, or my senses aren't good enough to detect it."

"What should we do?"

Kisin saw one of the villagers was quite close to Gea, but the girl wasn't moving to defend herself. The villager never got to attack, however, as Kisin's glaive cut him in half at waist height.

"Wait!" Agni shouted.

Sailor Saturn shook her head. "You didn't hear me the first time around, so I'll repeat it. There's nothing left of the villagers' souls. They cannot be saved anymore."

"That is..."

"Bisha, you don't need to kill them if you don't want to. Same goes for anyone," Kisin noted. "I'll take care of this myself if I have to." Even before she was done saying that, the villagers were all encased in stone. The group all looked at Gea.

"They're still in there, but they won't be moving anymore," Gea noted.

"Ha ha ha, that was quite a nice trick, dear Princess."

Gea looked to the side, and saw a strange, black mist floating there. "What is..."

"You don't need to know, because you're all going to die. This country will be mine, and then the whole planet will follow."

"We won't let you do that!"

"Amusing, a bunch of weak Senshi trying to fight me?" The shadow slowly morphed, turning into a humanoid creature. It was quite close to a human, in fact, if not for the scaly, light blue skin and red hair. Its green, reptilian eyes only made her figure stranger to those looking at her. "Oh my... It seems possessing so many humans had its toll on me. I'm becoming too much like one for my liking."

"What are you, monster?"

Metallia saw no use in hiding her identity. "The Senshi of the past knew me as Metallia, so you may call me that for the short time you'll live, Senshi."

Kione took a step back. "Metallia... No, that can't be!"

Agni was sure it was the first time she saw the Mercury Senshi scared. "Kione, what's wrong?"

Kisin was looking at Metallia coldly. "Metallia, the ancient leader of the Kh'sun, a very strong necromancer, and the cause for Lilith's destruction."

"I see some of your kin still remembers me. That's good. Maybe I'll let one of you live, just so you can tell others how strong I really am."

Kione's face had changed as Metallia spoke. She had calmed down enough to get a reading on the woman's power, and it was lower than she imagined. Much lower. "Gea, she's obviously bluffing, or can't get through your power cloaking. If you wanted a chance to destroy the monster who killed your mother, then she's all yours."

Metallia smiled at that. Foolish humans, she was also cloaking her power, because she had to act the weak demon. Besides, none of them was strong enough to... Wait, what was that? "No... Such a young human with that much power? Impossible!"

"Nothing is impossible for us Senshi," Gea said.

Kione frowned. "Girls, let's give her room to act."

Gea smiled as the others teleported away. "Any last words, monster?"

"This... This isn't over!"

"Oh, but it is," Gea growled, just as a barrage of large stone spears shot from underneath the evil woman. The spears did enough damage, but weren't the main attraction. As the first of the spears fell to the ground, a blast of energy shot from it to the woman, and each spear did the same as they fell.

Metallia was surprised. Yes, this girl's power wasn't enough to kill her, but just like her mother... No, she couldn't fight her, not after letting her take the first shot. But she would not make that mistake again. In any case, it was time for the 'final' act, and it wasn't too difficult to feign deadly pain when one was quite close to it. "Damn... I cannot... Be defeated by a Senshi again... Not..."

Gea sighed as the woman fell down to the ground, and then vanished. She looked around as the others phased back to where she was. "It's done." She banished the stones trapping the villagers, and cringed as the bodies all fell down. "Damn."

Kisin checked on some of the corpses. "It's no use. There's still no soul in them, that monster must have used it to become stronger."

"Something's strange," Kione noted as they walked away from the now deserted village, "Metallia was a powerful being in the past, said to hold her ground against a Holy Senshi. Against a Serenity, even. This creature..."

"Maybe she was weakened, since she was dead for countless centuries," Fujin noted.

"Or the creature was just using that name to try and scare us away," Mazu added.

"It could be that... But I have my doubts," Kione said. "In any case, let's inform Beryl about what happened here, and tell her her country's safe now."

"Think she knew something about it?"

"I'm sure of it, but let's see how far she's willing to take that lie."

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 4: Silver Dusk.
Episode 22: Unexpected visitor.


By Razor Knight
Last update: December 11, 2012.

-----​

"Those foolish girls really bought your act, Metallia."

'I hate to admit it, but it was made much easier by Younger Earth,' Metallia said, her mental 'voice' almost like a growl.

"The Queens are all as strong as her, if not stronger," Beryl noted, "which means we're not ready for them yet."

'We have to plan carefully. Defeating all the Senshi is by no means an easy task. The only time that happened...'

"I've read about it. Sailor Chaos. And even then, she didn't kill all Senshi, she was stopped by Sailor Galaxia."

'However, those young Senshi left our planet, and they may consider me gone. This will give us a slight advantage, enough time to gather an army and attack.'

Beryl smiled. As long as their enemies thought the threat was gone, then it would be easy to win through stealth. It was the only option they had right now. Metallia could not hope to win against so many strong foes, but Beryl could help her regain her power. Beryl would be the Queen of Earth soon. Very soon.

-----​

Serenity knew a visit by Moment was both rare, and usually not a good omen. And Moment's body language was one she had seen only a few, rare times before in her. Sailor Pluto seemed, for the first time ever, to be confused.

"My Queen, there's something I can only explain as 'strange' happening right now, something I think you should see for yourself."

Serenity didn't like her friends addressing her in such formal manner in private, but also noticed the tone Moment had used as she spoke. "What is it?"

"Princess Serenity visited me today. I think you should go see her."

"But Nanna is..."

"That Princess Serenity is still training inside the tunnel."

It didn't take more than a few seconds for Serenity to understand what Moment meant. "So the one you're speaking of is a different Nanna? But how?"

"Come with me, I think you will understand everything once you speak to her."

-----​

The woman standing in front of her was her daughter, she wouldn't doubt that. The Ginzuishou had powers which couldn't be explained in easy terms, and one of them was the ability to see a person's soul. True, this version of Nanna looked older, and grim, but it was still her. "Why are you here?"

"To warn you about what's going to happen soon. We didn't know what would happen, so it caught us all off-guard."

"If I understand what's going on here, you're from a version of our reality where we didn't win against our current foe," Serenity said.

"No, that's the point. We won one battle, but we're fighting a losing war."

"Now even I am lost," Moment admitted.

"Let me tell you what happened to us, maybe you will know what to do to make it different."

"We're listening."

"I know I'll be talking about things which haven't happened here yet, and that goes against Pluto's rules... But my version of Pluto is gone. It all started when Rhea was killed. Gea went to Arcadia and destroyed the one who had done it... Only she didn't. That being, Metallia, was quite a trickster. She had allied with Queen Beryl, and used stealth to take over the Earth, one kingdom at a time."

"Humans taken over by Metallia were changed, transforming into monsters she called 'youma.' Some only changed in the inside, and they seemed human, but with a power which could rival that of a high level Senshi, and loyal to Beryl and Metallia. The King of Earth was killed by these Generals, along with some of the Younger Senshi."

"Endymion had escaped to the Moon, came to warn us, but it was too late. Metallia and Beryl were already moving to attack, and we fought them. They destroyed our city and killed civilians without a second thought. It was a nightmare."

"But my mother was strong. Too strong. She just needed the right motivation. I was attacked by Beryl, but Endymion protected me, he gave his life to save me. The evil Queen tried to kill me, but my mother... I had never really known how strong a Senshi is. Not the true, unleashed power. I guess Metallia and Beryl didn't know either, but... The attack was swift, and Beryl and Metallia were both eliminated by it, but Queen Serenity had to pay a very high price for it."

Serenity flinched at that. "She used all of her life force along with the Moon's energy."

The Princess nodded. "Yes. It should have all ended there, but one of the so-called Generals of Beryl's army had been planning ahead, preparing for such an outcome. We didn't know it, but while the Generals were loyal to Beryl, they still retained some of the traits they had as humans. Princess Aurora had always wanted the same Beryl wanted, to reign over all the system. But she never had the means to achieve that goal. Not until Beryl turned her into a youma."

"Aurora, or Aurite as she called herself, had researched as much as Beryl, and thus knew how to bring Metallia back. But she did more than that, she absorbed Metallia's power, destroying her for good. And then she started a campaign much like Beryl's one."

"Was she stopped?"

"No, and that's the problem. I know you can sense how strong I am, because I can do that too," the Princess said. "And yet, I cannot defeat Aurite. She's as strong as I am, and... I'm the only Senshi still fighting her. The only Senshi still alive."

Serenity was having a hard time believing this. Was she telling them defeating Beryl and Metallia would bring forth the worst possible outcome?

"Don't make the same mistake she made," the Princess said, "My version of Pluto told me it could have ended differently if we had not won."

"So, you are telling us to let Beryl win?"

The Princess shook her head. "No. There are results other than winning or losing. It's just that we didn't realize that in time."

Pluto looked at the woman. "You do realize that we don't really know how much of a link our realities have, right? If this reality's future is changed, then your whole reality could stop existing."

"I've been fighting Aurite for ten years now, I've seen all my friends die, and I know I won't be able to go on for much longer. At this point, I would not see what you said as a bad thing, Moment."

"So what are you going to do now?"

"I cannot stay here. Just seeing you is painful." The Princess looked at Serenity and then looked away. "I'll go back home, I'll face Aurite with all my power, I'll destroy her and all the youma."

"Good luck."

The Princess gave her a humorless smile. "Luck's been against me all along. I don't rely on it anymore."

And with that, the Princess was gone. Moment stared at the spot where she had last been for a few seconds before turning to Serenity. "We've been given information which would have been impossible to gather on our own. We may have what we need to win."

"I won't act rashly," Serenity said, "if what she said is true, then a temporary victory against Beryl and Metallia would not be the best outcome."

"Then..."

"I want you to check all possible futures. Find the one that's best for mankind."

"It may not be one where you or the other Queens are alive."

"I'm willing to pay that price, Moment. I would think you knew that about me by now."

"I do," Moment admitted, "I will do as you ask."

-----​

Princess Aurora wasn't sure what the feeling was, but it was there. Something in the back of her mind, telling her of some sort of danger. She wondered what it could mean. Another group trying to abduct her to get money off the king? That would end just as badly as it had for the last men who tried that. She was not a Senshi princess, or a Demon Hunter, but her magic was rather high for a normal human mage.

The trick was not letting anyone you didn't trust know you were a mage. Few in Tir Na Nog knew, and only one person was aware of it outside the kingdom.

But her mind returned to the problem at hand. No, she could not sense anything wrong around her. Townsfolk were immerse in the same dull, boring routine as usual, and as she walked into the castle, she couldn't actively feel anything out of place. But the feeling was still there. Perhaps she could ask Orion, her Demon Hunter friend, about it.

The king walked up to her, and she could see he was worried about something. "Father?"

"Aurora, dear, I need to show you something our scouts found earlier today."

"What is it?"

"Just... Come with me."

Aurora nodded and followed her father. Maybe it was related to what she had felt? Only way to find out was to see it with her own eyes.

-----​

"Hunter Ares here. Nothing to report from Xanadu."

"Maybe we've finally killed the last demons."

Orion looked at Mira. In reality, none of the dozen Hunters he was talking to were with him in the room, but magic allowed for communication in ways normal humans could only dream of. "I doubt that's the case. The Senshi dealt with a rather powerful one three days ago, after all."

"I know the legends. It either wasn't the real Metallia, or the Younger are stronger than they look."

"Younger Earth is at Eternal level," Orion noted.

"Oh, I wasn't informed of that," Mira admitted. "Things look peaceful here in Tir Na Nog too, but... There's something amiss."

"What exactly are you sensing?"

"Nothing with any of the senses I can control," Mira said, "I think civilians would call it a 'hunch.'"

"We cannot leave anything unchecked," Orion said. "Hunter Mira, investigate Tir Na Nog and report as soon as you know what is happening, if anything."

"I will keep you informed, Prime Hunter Orion."

"Good. This meeting is dismissed."

-----​

Slorn was not a superstitious man, but even then, he had to wonder about the rumors surrounding this place, the Twilight Forest. It took its name from the dense foliage, which let little light in. But his men were the best soldiers Mu had, and they had Prince Kuras himself with them that day. It was strange for him to actually lead a mission, but this was, Slorn knew, an important one.

Kuras was looking around with mild interest. This part of the forest was within Queen Beryl's lands, but he wasn't worried about that. Beryl herself had given his father authorization to scout the whole forest, to find a group of necromancers which had been attacking villages close to its limits for several days. The Prince was a good strategist, as good as the best Librarians could be, and he knew this was the best course of action. A small squad, albeit the best Mu had to offer.

... And it was an offer Beryl was not going to refuse. Kuras smiled as his men were swiftly taken over by the shadows around them. Slorn, the commander, was the only one to notice what was happening, but that still didn't save him from the transformation.

"I think Beryl's intel was wrong," the Prince finally said, and his men looked at him. Yes, he could see it, they were changed, just like him. The kind of energy Metallia used could not be easily detected, and they would seem normal to anyone talking to them. He had, after all, been turned one week ago, and not even his parents were able to notice... And soon it would not matter, for they would also become Beryl's allies.

Slorn looked to the north. "I suppose we should go back home now."

"I agree. Let's go, Mu awaits." Kuras smiled again. The dream of any strategist was to win wars without fighting... And Beryl had found the way to do just that.

There would be fighting in a near future, however, and Kuras knew it. And he would be leading his forces against their common enemy when that happened. But he would not do so as Kuras, the Prince of Mu, but as Kunzite, one of the Six Generals of Arcadia.

-----​

"Everything's been calm lately. Too calm."

Kione nodded at Agni. "I agree. I can't believe Pluto would gather us all and train us for naught."

"I killed Metallia, that was something," Gea said.

"Of course, but still..."

"I thought you Librarians were all about facts."

Kione stared at Gea for a few seconds before smiling. "Not quite. Researching requires imagination, and if my life's taught me something, is that sometimes things are not really what they seem."

"So, you still think Metallia faked all that?"

"I'm quite sure you gave that creature quite a beating, Gea. And that may just be why it hasn't appeared again."

"An injured animal needs time to lick its wounds and recover," Indra commented.

"That's a good analogy," Kione admitted. "So, you may have killed her, or maybe you just damaged her enough to make her 'vanish' for a while."

Gea walked away from the others. "If she comes back, I will be waiting for her."

-----​

Moment watched over the two warriors with slight surprise. True, time was 'frozen' within the Gate, but the Princess had been learning faster than she thought. She would have to keep training for a while, however. That had been Serenity's plan, to get the Princess to Eternal level, and that's why Moment was so eager to let her train like this. In the version told by the other Princess Nanna, there was only one Serenity at Eternal level. But if the Princess managed to weaken Beryl and Metallia enough, then maybe there could be a complete victory for them.

It could work, she saw that with her power, but the enemy could not learn of Princess Serenity's power beforehand. That would mean keeping her in this place until...

"I'm not going to lie to her."

Moment looked to the side. "I forgot you could do that."

"I don't do it often. I don't have a reason to, most of the time, and the Elder Pluto wasn't okay with me 'invading' the Gates like this."

Moment nodded. "Sounds just like something mother would say. But are you sure about telling her the truth?"

"I never lied to her. I'm not about to start doing it now, of all times."

"She won't agree."

"I know that. A part of me is still not quite sure about making such a sacrifice, but..."

"I can show you the future I've seen, the future we're moving to right now," Moment offered.

"Don't. I trust you, and I know you will be there to watch over them."

"I would do it, even if you never asked me to."

Serenity nodded at that. "I'll go talk to her now."

-----​

Luna looked at Nanna. "Are you okay?"

"How can I be okay? What mother asks of me..."

Hecate, also known as Queen Serenity, had been quite blunt and honest when talking to her daughter, and Luna could understand Nanna's reaction. The Mooncat wasn't quite happy either, but from what Serenity had told them, there was no 'good' choice, just a 'right' one.

"Luna, let's keep on training."

"Are you sure..."

"I know my mother, Luna. I know she would not make such a decision if it wasn't the only choice. All I can do now is to make sure I'm ready for those demons, when they come."

"And I'll help you with that," Luna said. "I can tell you're still upset, and I understand, because I'm upset too. But anger is not a good weapon of choice for a battlefield, unless you can control it and use it."

"I suppose I should learn how to control it, then."

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 4: Silver Dusk.
Episode 23: Camelot.


By Razor Knight
Last update: January 28, 2013.

-----​

The invasion had been both silent, and swift. Most of the Earth was under Beryl's control now, but she knew Camelot would be a different matter. "We cannot attack yet."

'I would normally agree, had I not found something unexpected while inspecting our soldiers.'

"What do you mean?"

'There's a small group of our youma which have an incredible latent talent for magic. I will try to tap on that power and see what happens.'

"Could that give us away?"

'Even if the Senshi do detect these youma, they will not be able to track them back to us. Trust me, Beryl, this is worth waiting for, these seven creatures can become as strong as the Generals, if not stronger.'

Beryl thought about it for a moment, then smiled. "That does sound good. As soon as you're done with that, we'll attack Camelot."

'I can hardly wait,' Metallia said. The young Sailor Earth had attacked first last time they met, but Metallia wouldn't make the same mistake again.

-----​

When Pluto called all of the Younger Senshi to a meeting, Kione knew it most likely meant she would tell them what they were training for. But she had no way to know exactly what that was. And like most of the girls, she couldn't quite believe it.

"You're telling us we need to let Beryl win?"

Pluto looked at Gea. "I've already explained it all to you. We must wait for them in the Moon, and strike them when they show up. If we manage to weaken Beryl enough, then..."

Gea growled in frustration. "You tell me I have to let Camelot be destroyed? I already lost my mother, I will not--"

"The Earth's already lost, many have been turned into youma, and once Beryl stops hiding, then countless humans will die. But if everything works as planned, then we will win in the end."

"If what that second Nanna said is true, the alternative will still be as bad," Kione commented. Sure, she wasn't eager to let thousands die to win a war, but she could see Pluto's point.

"I don't care!" Gea shouted. "You girls stay up here and wait for Beryl if you want. I'm going to go defend my home. I always wanted to be a Senshi, but we're supposed to protect humans, not... Not let them die for naught."

Pluto frowned at that. "Right, let me tell you what else I saw, and then you can decide. I've seen a third alternative, one in which Beryl and all her Generals are killed, but mankind dies out in a relatively short time. Mankind is out of challenges, and will soon become stagnant, if it has not yet become so.

Kione remembered something she had read. "Sounds like what happened with the Golden Imperium."

"That's not just a legend, and yes, the Imperium was doomed even before the Kh'sun attacked. Gala made her choice, and it wasn't an easy one to make. Save the Imperium, and watch it wither away and die, or let countless worlds die just so mankind could start over and try again."

Gea shook her head. "That's a nice history lesson, and I do understand what you're saying. I'm still going to go back to Earth, and wait for Beryl there."

"I knew that," Pluto noted with a humorless smile, "or at least that was one of the outcomes of this meeting." She looked at all the girls in turns. "If anyone else agrees with Gea and thinks Camelot can still be saved, then I suggest you go with her."

"I thought you needed every Senshi here."

"I don't, and I would rather have everyone do what they think is best. Even if you can't stop Beryl, you may save many lives, and you may weaken her soldiers."

Fujin and Mazu stared at each other for a few seconds, then Mazu smiled at Gea. "We will help you protect Camelot."

Kisin seemed as emotionless as always, but behind that facade, she was worried of what would happen if Beryl wasn't stopped. "Won't Beryl attack the other worlds?"

Pluto shook her head. "She thinks eliminating the strongest Senshi first will make it easier to kill the others."

"Then I will stay, and protect Serenity."

"I'll go to Earth," Nadia said. "I can't believe Neir is gone for good."

"I'll defend Camelot too," Bisha said. "But wait, what about the Elders?"

"The Queens will all be coming to the Moon to congratulate Princess Nanna when she, officially, receives her powers."

"I find it hard to believe that we could lose, with all of them gathering here," Asteria commented.

"There will be other factions helping us," Pluto said, "the Demon Hunters have been warned about a possible attack on the Moon on that day, although I did not explain everything to them, and also..."

"Xypher will bring his 'trading' ships to the party," Kione guessed.

"Yes, and he's already told me he knew something fishy was happening in Arcadia. However, one thing you must remember, is that Beryl doesn't know we are aware of her plans, and it must remain that way. Don't speak to anyone outside our group about this, it could change things for the worst."

-----​

"Mira, Circe, Calisto, stay in Camelot. I'm sending you some of the best Hunters."

"But Prime Hunter-" Calisto started.

"I have a feeling the Senshi aren't telling us everything," Orion said, interrupting the woman. "Beryl would not attack the Moon before Camelot, an easier and closer target. I would hate to ignore this theory and be right, and if nothing happens before the suspected attack on Silver Millennium starts, you can still get there in minutes, at most."

"Understood. Good luck, Orion."

"Good luck to you too, I'm sure we'll all need it."

-----​

'As you can see, these creatures are far stronger than we expected. Each of them is up to par with an Eternal Senshi.'

Beryl looked at the seven creatures. It was amazing that youma, which were mere products of Metallia's meddling with human beings, could become that strong. And yet, she was sensing it, the cloaked power of these beings. "And what do you call them?"

'Rainbow Youma. I'm sure you'll understand why, but there's another thing. They can combine their power to become something else, a being stronger than even all the Generals combined.'

"Amazing. So, they're ready to go, I assume?"

'Just give the word,' Metallia's voice said, and the tone made clear she was eager to attack.

"Tomorrow is Princess Serenity's birthday. After the party, they will awaken her powers. Even untrained and inexperienced, a Moon Senshi is a Moon Senshi."

'I see what you're saying. We need to kill her before her powers awaken.'

"Yes. Tomorrow, we attack Camelot, and then we'll lead our army to the Moon and defeat the Senshi in one single blow."

-----​

Gea sat on the wall of the highest tower of Castle Camelot, watching the sunrise. True, it wasn't quite befitting a Princess to be up there, but she was as fond of protocol as all the other Princess, and also, it wasn't like a fall would kill her, or even harm her.

"Gea, what's the matter?"

She turned back and saw Endymion looking back at her. "I couldn't sleep."

"You've been acting strange for days, and it's not just because of..." Endymion trailed off, he knew he didn't need to say it.

"It's nothing." Nothing I can tell him, she thought with a mental frown.

"You're a bad liar."

Gea sighed. "It's a Senshi thing, I am not supposed to tell you."

Endymion turned to leave, but stopped right in front of the stairway. "Prince Kuras visited us the other day. You were in the Moon so you didn't see him."

The girl leapt from her makeshift seat, landing perfectly besides her brother. "What? What did he want?"

"It was just a diplomatic meeting," Endymion said, "but he was different. I've been friends with him for years, but he was not acting quite as I expected."

Kuras had already fallen under Beryl's control, and Gea knew this. Still, she couldn't say a thing about that. "I don't-"

"Gea, stop that."

"I told you, I can't say a thing!"

"So there is something going on, but you won't let me help you. Is that it?"

Gea shook her head. She knew it, in a few hours the youma would attack, and for what it was worth, she didn't want her brother to be mad at her right now. "Okay, I'll tell you. Beryl's taken over most of the Earth already. We didn't realize in time, and now we're preparing to stop her when she shows her true colors."

Endymion's face went from upset to surprise in seconds. "So Kuras was..."

"He's no longer Kuras. Beryl's using a strange, unknown magic, it turns humans into something else. They may act like they always do, and may look human on the outside, but they're Beryl's pawns."

"So that's what you were worried about, then."

"It's more than that. They'll attack Camelot too."

"Then we need to warn father, to prepare-"

"It's too late, they'll attack today," Gea explained.

"And if they win here..." Endymion looked up to the sky. "I'll help you stop the youma."

"No. You were planning on going to the Princess' birthday party. Go."

"I can't leave you here on your own..."

Gea smiled at that. "On my own? Several Senshi will help me, and I know of three Demon Hunters who are also aware of the threat."

"Sister... Just promise me you'll be alright."

The girl looked down. "I can't do that. You said it yourself, I'm a bad liar."

-----​

"We are ready, Queen Beryl."

"Good. We march to Camelot now, and after we're done there, the Moon awaits!"

Kunzite turned and stared at the army. Thousands of creatures, each stronger than any non-mage in the system. And there were more out there, in every other kingdom of Earth, waiting for the signal to be given.

"Tonight we end the Senshi's rule, and start our own. By tomorrow, the people of this system will not bow to Silver Millenium anymore, but to Arcadia!"

The assorted cheers and growls of the youma army could be heard from quite a distance, but there was no man left to hear them in the queendom of Arcadia.

-----​

Gea was still on the tower when she spotted them. It was like staring at a wave in the ocean, she had never seen so many beings charging as one. She heard the soldiers down there shouting warnings and orders, but she knew most of the damage to the incoming army would be done by her group.

"We're ready."

Gea turned and nodded at Uranus. "It's time." As she turned into her Senshi form, she turned to the side again, to the incoming horde. "Have the Demon Hunters arrived yet?"

An explosion rocked the area, and Neptune shrugged. "I suppose they did."

Earth smiled. "Time to show these youma what Senshi can do. Pluto's visions or not, I'm mot giving up on my world yet!"

-----​

"Magma Illusion!"

Lilith didn't bother checking, she knew youma were easily dealt with. Almost too easily. True, there were thousands of them, but she had been killing monsters for half an hour, and had yet to feel the strain. Maybe Pluto was wrong, maybe they could win this after all.

A large, humanoid youma floated calmly towards her. It had no legs, instead moving on a trail of smoke, as orange as its body was. Lilith could feel the power this creature had, and her hopes died down almost instantly. "What is..."

"I am one of the Rainbow Youma, Beryl's strongest. I was told I had to face one of the strongest warriors of the enemy army... But if that's you, then this army's doomed."

Lilith didn't bother following his game. "Tempest Illusion!"

The area around the youma turned into a thunderstorm, and lightning struck it several times, but the creature didn't seem to notice. "Amusing, you use illusions, just like me. But let me show you how it's done."

Lilith realized what the creature meant a split second too late. Everything around her became red with flames, and she screamed in pain. She knew it was an illusion, but for her mind it was all too real. No, she couldn't defeat this creature, she had to get some help.

The youma sighed as her target vanished. Apparently, the girl was smarter than he thought, and knew she couldn't win. But it was just a matter of finding her again.

-----​

Endymion walked into the throne room, and saw his father talking to one of the army's commanders.

"Father, we must leave."

"Leave? I won't abandon my people!"

Endymion saw the commander's eyes change, and reacted as quickly as the man acted. "They're not our people anymore," he said as the commander's head rolled away from them.

The king saw the man's corpse vanish. "What was that?"

"Monsters, led by Beryl. Gea warned me about them, but I was almost too late."

"We have to stay and..."

"No, we need to go to the Moon Kingdom. The Senshi are getting ready to stop Beryl."

"What about Gea?"

"She'll join us there," Endymion said. Unlike his sister, he could tell some pretty convincing lies when he had to.

-----​

Neptune and Uranus were actually enjoying the fight. They had quickly become friends, and more than that, and had trained enough to be able to cover up each other's weaknesses in battle. So, the youma had no chance against them. And if they were having an easy time, Neptune thought, then Gea should have killed as many youma as them both, if not more.

They both heard the growl, and both turned to see a large, lizard-like winged creature. "That's a new one," Uranus commented.

Neptune analyzed the monster. It was easily ten meters tall, its claws larger than a man, and its scales were a sickly violet color. "It's far stronger than the other youma."

"Then it will be a challenge," Uranus said before jumping straight at it.

-----​

Mira was rather disappointed at this enemy. Its numbers were impressive, but the individual power of each creature was downright negligible. She was leading a total of ten Hunters, but they were more than enough to keep the enemy at bay. "Orion was right, I suppose, but if this is Beryl's best, then--"

"Fortunately for us, it is not."

Mira looked at the newcomers. The one who had spoken was... No, it couldn't be! "Princess Aurora?"

"Aurora? That woman is no more. I am Aurite, one of Beryl's Generals."

Mira knew that woman alone was powerful, but the man standing besides her wasn't any weaker. Prince Jaden of Nirvana. "Hunters, forget about the youma, focus on these two!"

A barrage of attacks shot at the two, but they didn't as much as stagger back. "Boring. Is that really all the fabled Demon Hunters can do?"

Circe and Calisto looked at each other for a moment. Few Hunters could handle the strongest spells of their group, and they were amongst them. "Guess we can't play soft against these freaks," Circe said.

"Agreed!" Calisto shouted as they both leapt to their foes, swords drawn.

Mira had been about to attack, but smiled as she heard the two shouting "Demon Sword!" The area lit up with energy for several seconds, but as the light dimmed, Mira's smile faded.

"Huh? Dead already?" Aurite mocked. The remaining Hunters (except for Mira) attacked them, and she turned to her ally. "Jadeite, take care of them."

Mira saw Jadeite shoot some kind of dark beam, which split and hit all the Hunters. All but her. These two were aware she was stronger than the others. They were taunting her. And they had killed all her allies... Her two friends. She couldn't forgive them for that. She wouldn't forgive them.

She rose her hands, and her sword lit up. "Demon Sword... Chaos Edge!"

When the light dimmed (and it took it several more seconds this time around,) Aurite noticed two things. One, their last foe in the area was down. And two... She coughed up some blood and winced. "I suppose letting her attack first wasn't wise, in hindsight."

Jadeite was kneeling on the ground, trying to recover his breath. "I agree. Think the other pests will be hard to deal?"

"They're Senshi, that's a given. But we can beat them."

Aurite was, however, surprised at finding Senshi here, other than the Earth Senshi. Did that mean the enemy knew of their plans? No, if they knew, they would have gathered all their forces in Camelot, instead of gathering on the Moon. Most likely, the other Senshi and these Hunters were just passing by.

And yet, a part of her mind told her that things could become quite hectic if her first theory was true. She would have to tell Beryl about it.

-----​

Nemesis leaned on a wall, holding her arm. She could see Castle Camelot in the distance, burning. Was this really how things were meant to happen? She knew youma were surrounding her, but she had no energy left to fight. And the youma weren't the real threat to her. She looked at the man staring at her and felt her eyes watering. "Neir."

"I am no longer Neir, but Nephrite. I'm going to give you one last chance, Nadia. Join me, become one of us."

"Never."

"Then you must die. Sorry." Those were the last words Nemesis heard before a wave of dark energy washed over her.

"Good job, Nephrite. I must say I didn't think you would be able to do it."

"My duty to our Queen is all that matters to me now, Zoicite."

Zoicite shrugged. "In any case, we're almost done here. Two Senshi left to defeat, Metallia herself is making sure they will not survive."

"Good. Only the Moon is left."

-----​

Earth glared at the crowd surrounding her defiantly. She wasn't afraid of the normal youma, she had shown them she could take care of a hundred of them in seconds. The seven large youma were a different matter. Lilith had been hurt badly by one of them, and Earth knew Neptune and Uranus were...

"How amusing, I didn't think I would meet you again so soon."

She looked at the black cloud now floating above the seven youma. "Metallia."

"Surprised to see me?"

"Not at all. Beryl's horrible at lying, and you were too easily defeated."

"It's all pointless now, girl. You will die, your kingdom will burn, and the same will happen to every other world in this system."

"I may die, but I plan on taking some of your soldiers with me."

"I doubt it," Metallia said. "Rainbow Youma, destroy them!"

Earth rose her arms, and seven massive boulders appeared floating above her. "Just try," she said aiming her hands in the youma's general direction, and each boulder shot at one of them.

"Gravity... Illusion."

Earth winced at that. Lilith hadn't only used mana for that attack. "Bisha, why..."

The combined attack hit the seven creatures, and they didn't seem quite fit to fight anymore. Metallia growled at that. "Damn it, I'm going to..."

"Save your energy, you'll need it to heal your youma," Beryl said.

"What are you planning, Beryl?" Metallia asked.

"Look at her. She put a lot of energy in that stunt, and she knows all her allies are gone now. Generals!"

The Generals all appeared in front of Beryl. "At your command," Kunzite said.

"Kill Sailor Earth."

Earth frowned. "Don't think you've won yet."

Kunzite smiled coldly at her. "As far as you're concerned, we have."

Earth gave a battle cry and run to her foes, her hands lighting up with energy. She felt every muscle protesting as she run, and she knew she would probably die after attacking, but she was still going to get them. She had to kill at least the Generals, that way she... Earth stopped and looked down at the crystal blade coming out of her chest. "Damn it..."

Aurite smiled as the girl slumped down to the ground, unmoving. "It's done."

Beryl looked up to the sky. Even in daylight, the moon was still visible, taunting her. And she would be sitting upon the Moon's throne by the end of the day.

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Act 4: Silver Dusk.
Episode 24: End of the beginning.


By Razor Knight
Last update: January 30, 2013.

-----​

The king, the prince and a small group of soldiers were heading for Camelot's spaceport. The building was, fortunately, still untouched, but as they came close to it, they noticed a small group of youma guarding it. "Damn it, did they know..."

"Endymion, keep going."

"Father, I won't abandon you."

"Someone has to reach the Moon, to tell them Beryl has taken over Camelot."

Endymion was about to protest, but realized something. He could see what his father wasn't telling him, by looking at his eyes. The man knew, or at least guessed, what was going on. "I understand. Good luck, father."

"You will need it more than I will."

Endymion smiled at that, then looked at the youma. They had noticed them. "Guess I'll have to fight my way through."

"Then you will also need this more than I will."

Endymion looked at the sword his father was offering him. "That is-"

"The Sword of Earth, Excalibur," the man said. "I'm not as young and agile anymore, maybe it's time for you to use it instead."

Endymion nodded slowly and took the sword. "Goodbye, father."

The king could only feel pride as he saw Endymion take on the youma. In seconds he had cut three of them in half, and rushed past them without looking back. That left five other youma to deal with, but the king knew this was the only way.

"We will protect you, Your Highness."

He smiled at the soldier, calling forth a smaller sword than the one he had given his son. "I used to be a skilled warrior when I was young, and I think I can still fight. I'm not going to let you have all the fun."

-----​

"Think I'm ready?"

Luna looked up at the princess. "Yes, but remember, to the rest of the world you're not a Senshi yet, and we need to keep that facade for a few more hours."

"I know."

"And I understand you're worried about what's going to happen, but try to cheer up. Today's your birthday."

Nanna nodded at that. The place they were in was strange. Her birthday was, to the outside world, today, but to her, it had been several weeks ago. However, she had been too busy being kicked around by Luna to celebrate back then. "I'll try, Luna."

-----​

Queen Serenity knew guests would start arriving soon, but right now she had a guest she needed to talk to. "Is everything ready?"

"The attack on Camelot has begun, so it will not be long until they get here. Right now, we have the main Demon Hunter force guarding this palace. Xypher's largest ships are also 'coincidentally' heading for the Moon, and the Leviathan is already here."

"What about Nanna?"

As if on cue, the Princess walked in. "I'm ready."

Even though Nanna's cloaking was perfect thanks to Luna's training, the Queen could still see her daughter's real power, and was rather surprised. "Amazing."

"Almost had to call Kisin twice," Pluto commented, "but your daughter's a warrior at heart. She pulled through every test Luna gave her."

"Where's Luna, by the way?"

"She's talking to the other Mooncats about something, didn't want to tell me what."

Serenity looked at Pluto, who simply nodded.

"Wait... You two know what that's about."

"And we can't tell you," Serenity said, her tone neutral.

"Fine, I guess I'll go see if any of the other girls are around."

Pluto smiled at that. "They know about you."

"They do?" both Serenities asked in unison.

"I saw no harm in telling them," Pluto explained.

-----​

Princess Serenity wasn't good at many things, but everyone close to her knew she was very good at seeing what others really felt, some said she knew what others thought about her or about others. That kind of 'power' was, right now, letting her see through the cheerful attitude of the other Senshi.

She looked at Asteria. Being the youngest of the group, she was understandably very scared. Agni and Indra were slightly jealous of her 'quick' development as a Senshi, although they still respected her. Kione was... It was hard to tell, but Kione's mind was probably already working on a strategy to use against the youma.

But they kept on putting up that cheery facade, and Nanna couldn't take it any longer. "Girls, you don't need to keep your smiles on for me."

Agni was about to say something, but Asteria beat her to it. "We're not doing it for you. We're doing it for ourselves."

Indra sighed. "Should have known you would see right through us."

"It's okay to be upset, to be worried," Nanna said, then looked at Asteria and Kione, "to be scared. Just don't let those feelings control you."

Kione frowned at that, but then smiled. "I see you can read people as well as I read books."

Nanna chuckled. "Guess I do."

Luna walked to them. "The party's starting," she said, "but we can't start without the Princess."

"Okay, let's go have some fun," Nanna said. There was something in her mind that told her things were wrong, but she put that thought aside for the time being.

"Fun?" Asteria asked with a snort. "Royal parties are boring as shlerk."

Luna flinched. "Asteria, watch your language."

"I was actually giving my polite opinion of them," Asteria noted.

Luna shook her head at that. She could almost agree with Artemis about the Younger Venus being quite a handful.

-----​

"Prime Hunter Orion, fancy meeting you here."

Orion looked at the man and then smirked. "I would say I expected to see you here. You wouldn't miss the chance to test your 'trading' ships yourself, Mr. Hades."

"So my intel was correct."

"I've just been informed that I lost three of my best Hunters in Camelot. The city is gone. The enemy's next target is obvious, but I doubt they'll have it easy in here."

"I agree, all the Queens and Princesses are here tonight. I know their excuse, but it's obvious they knew."

"They sent four of the Younger down there. Gea was also..."

"I know. We'll give them hell for that."

"Why, a civilian trader should not be such a threat to an army," Orion joked.

Xypher decided to play along. "Oh, and I'm not. Unless I'm at Leviathan's bridge."

"Royal parties tend to be boring, but this one will be anything but that."

-----​

The princess found herself agreeing with Asteria after just a few minutes. She saw several men trying to flirt with the other Princesses (at least those who were old enough to be flirted with,) but she kept on being congratulated and talked to by old aristocrats and other nuisances. If this kept up, she would fall asleep.

"Excuse me, young lady, but you seem bored."

Nanna recognized the voice and turned to smile at the man. He looked rather dashing in a tuxedo, but she sensed a lot of things behind his smile. "Endymion, what's wrong?"

"It's been quite a rotten day thus far," he said.

The princess nodded. "I... Understand."

"So, you know what's going on, just like Gea?"

Nanna realized now what she had felt earlier. "Wait, where is she?"

"Gea, Bisha, Fujin, Mazu and Nadia," Endymion said, "they are all trying to stop the youma right now." A part of his mind told him they could already be gone, but he tried his best to ignore it. "All I can do now is hope your group does have a plan."

The princess didn't say anything for a minute. It was one thing to be told that they would be fighting a war they couldn't win, but actually knowing several of her friends could already be dead, it gave her a sense of dread quite different to the one she had felt before. When she finally spoke, her tone was different.

They had been walking and were right now in a balcony, and she noticed Endymion staring at the full Earth. "I suppose I can tell you now, and I'll understand if you're mad at me. We've known about Beryl for weeks. She's allied with a very strong demon, and we've also... Learnt that we cannot win this war. No, the right way to say it would be, winning this war, killing Beryl, would doom everyone."

"Gea knew about this too."

Nanna nodded, although she knew that had not been a question. "And I've been... Well, for you it's been just a week since we last saw each other. For me it's been months."

Endymion was one of the few non-Senshi who knew about the gates. "So, you've been preparing for this. But really, everyone in Camelot is either dead or turned into one of those monsters... And I suppose once the youma win here, the same will happen everywhere."

"The youma won't win."

"But you said-"

"If everything goes as we expect, then the youma will be gone."

"You will fight them."

"Yes, it would be wrong for the second strongest Senshi in the system to just watch."

Endymion's eyes widened, but he smiled. "I'll help, then."

"But the youma are-"

"It would be wrong for the king of Earth to just watch," the prince said, and summoned his new sword.

"Excalibur?" Nanna realized what his words meant and looked at him. "Endymion, I'm sorry..."

"Nanna, I'm not angry at you. But understand that I need to fight these monsters."

Shade came running from inside the palace. "Sorry to interrupt, but they're already here."

Nanna sighed. "Okay, I'm ready." She turned to look at the Earth again before walking in, and finally understood what Endymion had been staring at. There was a small beacon of light, clearly visible even though the Earth was fully illuminated by the Sun. She knew what that was. Fire. The city of Camelot was burning.

If she had any doubts about what she had to do before, they were gone as she realized how many had already died because of Beryl's ambition. She had to be stopped.

-----​

"Crescent Boomerang!"

Being the youngest Senshi meant she was most likely the least experienced, but most of the Senshi of her generation had never been in a battlefield before this day. Still, Younger Venus knew she had to take down as many youma as she could, and hope the others did their part.

A couple youma snuck up on her while she fought a third, and tried a sneak attack. They never got to hit her. A very wide beam of light turned them both, and a dozen other youma, into dust.

The attack distracted the youma Younger Venus was fighting against, and that earned it a light beam to the face. "Thanks for the help, mom."

"Always watch your back in battle," Queen Aphrodite noted. "Still, you're doing a very good job." Three youma walked at her from behind, and she was apparently unaware of them.

"Mom, watch--"

Columns of light shot from right underneath the would-be attackers, killing them instantly. Aphrodite smiled as she saw her daughter's surprised stare. "There are senses other than sight, youma just don't seem to know them."

-----​

With the Senshi Queens defending the palace and the city, youma were having a harder time than in Camelot. Beryl was quite aware of this, and knew they would have to be eliminated as soon as possible. "Should I send in the Generals?"

"No, not yet. My youma are ready, and they gathered quite a lot of energy in Camelot."

Beryl smiled at that. Youma didn't need to feed or sleep, but they could use life energy as a source of power, greatly increasing their abilities. And in the case of the Rainbow Youma, that would make them very hard to defeat. "Good, send them to deal with the queens. Don't mind Serenity yet, I want her to see everything she cares about be destroyed before we kill her."

"I like your style," Metallia commented.

Beryl turned to her generals. "Take care of the Demon Hunters, they're not as strong as the Senshi, but they must also be dealt with if we want to win."

Jadeite was about to say something, when he noticed a part of the battlefield darkening. "What in Darkness...?" He looked up along with the others, and saw at least a dozen massive spaceships looming over them. "That must be Hades."

-----​

Xypher Hades looked at the screen. "Those are the leaders, if we take them down, or at least rough them up a bit, it will make things easier for everyone."

"I think using all of our combat ships against them could be considered overkill," one of the officers in Leviathan's bridge commented.

"There's no kill like overkill, Hiara," Hades mused. "Fire everything we have at them! Even the silverware!"

Hiara was rumored to be Xypher's both left and right hands, and it was partially true. And she had known her boss for many years, so she was used to his particular (some would say terrible) sense of humor. "You heard the captain, fire at will!"

As one, all the ships fired upon their target. hundreds of energy beams, missiles, and magically charged kinetic projectiles all hit the creatures in a matter of seconds, or at least that would have been the result, if not for a black energy dome rising seconds before the impact. The resulting explosion blasted a few hundred youma to dust, but their leaders were unharmed.

And Xypher saw Queen Beryl was gathering energy to return the favor. From the ship's scanner's readings, it was enough energy to keep Leviathan going for a week. "Fire! Get her before she shoots!"

The order was too little too late, and a wave of energy hit all the ships, causing most of them to explode instantly.

-----​

"That was almost amusing," Beryl noted, "but let's focus on the real threats now."

"The fake threat's not gone yet," Metallia commented.

"Whoever is piloting that ship must be insane," Zoicite said.

"I didn't think Xypher Hades would be the suicidal kind," Beryl said, summoning an energy bubble just as Metallia did the same. Better safe than crushed by several thousand hileks of metal.

While not close enough to help, Prime Hunter Orion could see what had happened. And he also knew it wasn't like Xypher to use a suicidal attack. He smiled as his magically enhanced sight let him see a half dozen escape pods flying out of the falling spaceship. A few seconds later, the ship hit (or rather, judging by its speed, charged) the ground, causing an explosion. The shockwave was felt even from where Orion was standing, but he still smiled. "I'm sure that didn't take down Beryl, but I hope it at least gave her an unnatural tan."

-----​

Serenity's senses also let her feel the crash, and to feel Beryl was still alive. She also felt something else happening in the battlefield, but checked herself. No, she couldn't go out there yet, she had to make sure everything was ready.

"Are you sure you don't want us to help, Hecate?"

Serenity smiled. Luna was one of the few friends she had who still used her real name instead of her title whenever she could. "You will be helping, Luna."

Luna looked at the three small, white pods. "So this is it."

Serenity smiled sadly at the three Mooncats. There were other Mooncats, and they had all been given similar pods, but most of them weren't on Earth. And if things worked as they planned, these three would be the only ones... Serenity shook her head at that. No point in thinking about it now. "Next time you wake up, it will be time for the Senshi to appear again."

"Wish I could be out there, helping Aphrodite and Asteria," the white Mooncat, Artemis, said. Shade, the other Mooncat, didn't say a thing. She was aware younger Nemesis was gone, and her mother was right now fighting in the front lines.

"Farewell, Queen Serenity... Hecate."

Serenity smiled at Luna as the three pods closed. "Take care of Nanna for me, Luna."

-----​

Endymion couldn't believe how careless he had been. He and Nanna had been driven apart while fighting youma, and while he knew she wasn't in any immediate danger, he still wanted to find her, to be by her side before Beryl found her.

But he wasn't a Senshi, he couldn't just rush through a whole crowd of youma in seconds like they did. Still, he glared at the creatures blocking his way as he got ready to attack. "If you block my path, I'll just make a new one right through you!"

And he did just that.

-----​

Aphrodite knew she was running out of energy, but would not give up, not against such weak troops. Her daughter was also tired, but was either too pride or too stubborn to give up. The queen of Venus knew Asteria would not stop fighting even if she told her to, and that... Aphrodite's senses warned her of something, but she wasn't fast enough to react. The blast knocked her to the ground, and she winced in pain as she stood up.

"Mom, are you okay?"

Aphrodite was looking at the seven creatures which had appeared seconds earlier. Their power was just too much even for her to handle. "Asteria, run."

"No, mom, I won't-"

"Daughter, for once in your life, I'm giving you an order."

Venus looked at the way her mother was staring at her, and knew what she meant. "I'll get help."

"Just warn the others, these things are surely going to attack everyone else."

Venus nodded and took off running. A couple youma tried to stop her, but she blasted them through without even slowing down. She couldn't afford to slow down right now. She had to find one of the other queens, or one of the Elders. She had to help her mother.

Aphrodite sighed. "Okay, let's see if this old woman can take care of a few weaklings."

The seven didn't say a thing, just rushed at her from all sides.

-----​

Mars had lost count of how many creatures she had killed. Her suit was soaked in blood of several colors, and none of it was hers. She had not seen her mother since the attack started, but she knew if she had little trouble with these monsters, then her mother would be fine.

She noticed something with her senses, and turned to see Venus rushing in, killing several youma before stopping. "Asteria, what's..."

"There's some very strong youma and they're attacking mom, she told me to run and-"

Mars noticed her friend had stopped talking and was standing there, wide-eyed. And she knew exactly what could cause such a shock, for she had been there when it happened to Gea. "Asteria..."

The younger girl let out a scream, and a ring of light shot out of her body. Mars barely had time to leap over it, but as she landed, she noticed many youma had not been fast enough. Venus sank to the ground and started crying, and Agni could only guess what she was feeling right now.

"Come on, girl, stand up."

"Shut up."

The tone was cold, but Mars knew it was the grief talking. They couldn't just stand there, however, if there were youma strong enough to kill Aphrodite, then they had to warn-

Venus felt the energy spike, and looked up at her friend, her eyes red with tears. Yes, Agni had just burnt down countless youma, but she was just standing there, looking around as if nothing had happened. "Agni, what happened?"

"My mother is gone, I guess she was the next target." At Venus' quizzical look, she smiled sadly. "She once told me not everyone deals with grief the same way. Now let's go get them." She didn't need to ask, she knew Asteria was feeling the same. "Mars Guardian Power!"

"Venus Guardian Power!"

-----​

Mercury dashed through the city, ignoring the scenery. Youma had wrecked the buildings, and she was aware there were bodies scattered around. But she had no time to think about that. She had to get to the palace, she was sure Serenity would be strong enough to take care of those monsters.

"Kione?"

She stopped running as she heard the voice. "Xypher, I thought you had blown yourself up half an hour ago."

The man smiled at that. "The whole 'captain goes down with his ship' is fine for romantic stories, but I'm not brave, or stupid, enough to do it." He noticed Kione's body language and flinched. "Where are your mother and-"

"Dead. Neve took a hit for me, mother told me to run away. There's some monsters far stronger than the normal ones. Strong enough to kill the Queens."

Xypher fell on his knees. "Damn it, even Neve..." He looked up at Kione. "I still loved her, you know? I-"

"I know, and I'm sure she knew, too," Mercury said. "But please, stand up."

"Weird, you care about what happens to me?"

Mercury glared at him for a few seconds. "Of course I do! I'm done hating you, and even if I was still holding a grudge, this would be neither the time nor the place..."

Xypher nodded. "I understand, what I said was uncalled for and I apologize. But what can I possibly do? I'm out of ships to throw at Beryl."

"That's not like you, you always keep a spare one just in case. Go back to Earth, Xypher."

"Earth? Why not Mercury or-"

"Because I think I know what Serenity's planning, or at least I think I figured it out. And once she's done, the Earth will be the only safe place in the whole system."

"Why, youma will still be in the other worlds?"

Mercury shook her head. "There are things worse than youma, Xypher."

The man took a few seconds to think about it, and his face lost color. "I think I know what you mean."

"Neve would have wanted you to live," Mercury said, "I want you to live."

"I built my wealth from the ground up... Perhaps doing it again will keep me busy for the next few decades."

Mercury smiled at that. "Go, I can't go kill a few hundred youma if I have to babysit you."

Xypher chuckled. "I know. Have fun."

"Sure will," Mercury said as she looked to the north. There, those lightning bolts weren't natural.

-----​

"Orion, there's only a few of us left. We need to retreat and recover--"

Orion glared at the man. Sure, he was one of the best Hunters he had left, but he would still not accept a retreat. "Sigma, we will keep on fighting. We cannot lose the Moon to these monsters."

Sigma nodded, but then froze. He didn't need to turn to know what he was sensing. Such power, such evil intent. "I suppose we'll have a shot at their boss."

Orion was glaring at Beryl, who was leisurely floating towards his group, shrugging off every attack they shot. "Time to show the Youma Queen what a Demon Hunter can do." Despite himself, Orion knew how this could end. It took the evil queen less than two minutes to kill a dozen Hunters. Only himself and Sigma were left standing.

"I always wanted to fight strong demons," Sigma commented, "too bad the Demon Hunters will be no more."

Orion smiled at that. "Oh, don't be so sure of that. Mephisto is still alive down there, and so is Hera."

Sigma frowned at that. Yes, Mephisto and Hera were two of the strongest Hunters, but he was aware them being here would not have changed a thing. "Good to know, now if you excuse me..."

"Let's try to tag team that freak," Orion said.

Sigma and Orion run straight at the evil queen, who was seemingly amused by their 'futile' attack. Hopefully, Sigma thought, she would regret not shooting first. "Demon Sword, Chaos Edge!"

Orion's sword lit up with a light which rivaled the Sun as he also called upon his attack. An attack which was known only by a few, and which was not to be used except as a last resort. An attack which could, in theory (and some said it had been tested twice,) kill a Senshi, even a Guardian level one. An attack which would, in any case, kill the attacker for sure, but Orion knew that was a moot point now. "Demon Sword, Armageddon Slash!"

A second sun shone, on the Moon's surface, for a few seconds. However, as the light dimmed, Beryl was still there. She fell to one knee and gasped in shock, looking at the two dead humans. "Credit where credit's due, they managed to hurt me. I suppose that's a lesson I will remember if I ever meet another Demon Hunter."

However, she couldn't rest yet. No, the enemy's main force wasn't still defeated, and she knew at least one of them had enough power to defeat her, or even Metallia. They had to do this right, it would not do to come this far just to be defeated.

-----​

Several minutes later, Mercury found something she had expected to see. Four other Senshi, three she considered close friends. They were all up to Guardian level, just like her, which meant...

"We'll get those freaks back, for all of them," Mars said, answering Mercury's unasked question.

Several figures appeared near them. "Freaks, you say? Such language from a bunch of kids."

Saturn glared at the creatures, she was obviously too upset to keep her neutral body language. "I'm going to make you all regret what you did."

The Senshi all shot their attacks at the Rainbow Youma, but the monsters didn't seem to even notice. "So, is that it? Is that all the power of the Senshi?"

"Careful what you ask for!"

Mercury blinked, her mind trying to figure out what had just happened. The youma with a fish tail where her legs should be had gloated, and a wide light beam had blasted right through her. No, not light. "Nanna?"

Moon stood there, in an Eternal Senshi suit, and glared at the remaining six youma. "You monsters only defeated the Elders because you caught them off guard. I'm not going to fall for that." The large feline (whose body was crackling with electricity) tried to tackle the new target. But it never got to do it, as Moon summoned a sword out of thin air, cutting a large gash through the creature's head and chest.

"As expected from a Moon Senshi," Mars said with a smile.

"This is wrong," the bird-like youma said, "she wasn't supposed to be a Senshi, and for her to already be at that level?"

Kisin was, not counting Pluto, the eldest of the Younger. She had been in Guardian level for a long time, unlike the others. And in the last few minutes, she had been showing emotions she seldom acknowledged. She was furious, and she wasn't about to let those monsters hurt anyone else. "Your queen had thousands murdered, and turned normal humans into abominations such as you are. I cannot forgive that. Prepare to face death itself. Saturn Death Power!"

"Oh, she's going to kick their-"

Mars looked at Venus, who trailed off. "Just in case, let's be ready to help."

But Saturn didn't really need help. Even Moon realized that she didn't want the others to get in her way. "Kisin, be careful."

"For once, I won't." Hundreds of ghastly figures appeared around Saturn as she summoned her glaive, and she simply pointed at her enemies with it, causing all the ghosts to rush in and 'attack' her foes. There was no physical damage being done, no big explosions, but the attack was still quite a show. The ghosts drained energy off their targets, and in a matter of seconds, the remaining Rainbow Youma were gone.

Mercury heard the others cheer. Still, Nanna and Kisin didn't even smile, and Mercury knew just why. "The enemy's not finished yet."

Mars was the first to notice it. Seven weak light orbs, each a different color, were hovering where the seven monsters had been. The orbs suddenly gathered, becoming black. "That can't be good."

"Their power is increasing," Mercury said, though most of her friends could feel that. "Oh dlerg."

"Kione's cursing, this must be really bad," Venus commented.

The black orb expanded, changing its shape, and swiftly solidifying. The new creature facing the Senshi was the strangest yet, its skin and tail was scaly, like a reptile, but its head and face were human-like. Its arms and legs ended in claws like those of a lion, and the wings in its back were black and feathery.

It didn't waste time with gloating, instead attacking before his foes could act. The Senshi tried to dodge the black, disc-shaped blasts, but Indra, Asteria and Kisin were hit. "Pathetic kids. I only attack once and two of you are already down?"

Kisin flinched as she stood up. She was aware Venus and Jupiter were gone, but she was going to make this monster pay for it, even if she had to sacrifice herself to do it. "Die. Death Reborn... Revolution."

The youma saw Saturn swinging his blade at him, but stopped it with one hand, and laughed. "Amusing, but you won't touch me."

"I already did, fool," Saturn said. The youma realized what she meant, but it was too little, too late.

The explosion covered a few hundred meters, and knocked all the Senshi back. Moon was the first to stand up, and she could sense two things. One, that Kisin was gone, she had used all of her life energy in that attack. And two, that her target was still alive. Beaten up and weakened, but still alive. "No..."

"We'll get that monster, Nanna," Mars said.

"We have to make sure it won't hurt anyone else."

-----​

Serenity could sense things others couldn't, and she knew just what was happening, miles away from where she was. Her daughter was in danger, she had to help her, she couldn't waste time dealing with weak youma.

However, the ones facing her weren't weak. "Jaden, Neir, Zion, Aurora, Kuras, and Lume," se said as she looked at the Arcadian Generals. "I know you were once loyal to mankind, but I won't forgive what you've done today."

"Big words, Senshi Queen, but we will defeat you," Kunzite said.

Serenity was rather amused by their naivety. They couldn't sense her real power behind her cloaking. "You will?" She said as she left her full power flare.

"Darkness, that's impossible!" Zoicite exclaimed.

"Nothing is impossible for us. Begone!"

She hadn't killed them, but had sent them far enough that they would not bother her for the time being. Her mind returned to what she had been about to do, and as she searched the area, she realized things had taken a turn for the worse.

And even if it was all part of their plan, she wasn't about to let her daughter die alone.

-----​

Minutes earlier, the three other Senshi left in the battlefield were glaring at their foe. The demon was playing with them, it was mocking even Moon by not attacking her with its full power. "So girls, are you ready to die?"

Moon looked at the other two. "There's something you may not know about us. We're stronger when we stand together. You have nobody by your side, youma."

The demon's laughter echoed through the deserted streets. "Foolish kids, your energy is low and you have tried everything you had."

"No, not everything," Mercury said. She looked at the others and knew they were aware of what she meant. "Only three of us are left, but it's more than enough to take care of you. Starlight..."

Mars glared at the monster. "Stream..."

Moon could feel energy flowing from her friends, and into her body. She didn't tell the monster anything, she didn't need to. "... Storm!"

The demon's mocking smile faded as it felt the power of the beam Moon had shot, but it couldn't move out of the way before it hit. It let out a howl before vanishing, the black orb being the only thing left of it.

"It's done, we won!" Moon said, but as she turned to look at her friends, she gasped. "No, not you too..."

Mars and Mercury were lying on the ground, but they both smiled at her friend. "Nanna, keep fighting."

"Don't let our deaths be in vain."

Moon froze for a moment as she realized her friends were gone. She was alone now. No, not alone.

"Finally, I was worried I wouldn't find--" Endymion stopped as he studied the scene in front of him. Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn, all dead. "Sorry, I should have been here."

"For what? To get killed like everyone else?" Moon said, her voice cold.

"I know my father and my sister are dead too. But standing here won't bring them back."

"Nothing will."

"Then let's make those youma pay for it."

Laughter could be heard right then, and Moon didn't need to turn to know who it was. "Beryl."

"I must congratulate you, Princess, for I never thought any of your kin would be able to defeat Hissatsu."

"You... Monster!"

Beryl was expecting a wide energy beam, but instead, what the Moon Princess shot was a needle-thin ray of light. Beryl still sensed how much power it had, and rose a shield to block it, but the attack popped right through it, knocking her back several meters.

"What... How can she be that strong?" Beryl muttered. It didn't matter, it was clear that the princess was tired, she didn't need to fight her. "Generals!"

The six Generals appeared around Beryl. "Impressive," Kunzite said, "It's good that we saved her for last."

"You will never touch her!"

Beryl had ignored the prince, because he was just a human boy. However, now she realized what the boy had, and tried to shout a warning at her Generals. But it was too late. The Generals all shot at the prince, who simply swung his sword in front of him, blocking the blasts. No, not just blocking them, his sword lit up as it absorbed the energy.

"What in Darkness..." Nephrite started, but couldn't finish his phrase. The prince slammed his sword in front of them, knocking them all out, and causing Beryl to wince in pain.

Metallia appeared behind Beryl, but not as a cloud. Her form had changed yet again, now she looked almost human, if not for her scaly, purple skin. "I see my help is required to defeat these pests."

"Just try," Endymion said, standing between Moon and their enemies.

"Okay," Metallia simply said, and dark energy washed over the prince, who screamed in pain for several seconds. "That was almost entertaining."

Moon fell to her knees. Her friends, her city... Even Endymion had fallen before these monsters. What was the point, they couldn't defeat them, they couldn't win.

"I know what you're thinking, Nanna, but it's not hopeless. You have to fight, if you do, I promise that your future will be bright."

Moon hadn't realized her mother was there, but she slowly stood up as the woman spoke. "Mom, I..."

Beryl laughed. "This is just priceless. Give up, princess, you can't win."

Moon glared at her. "I have only three words to say, but they will prove you wrong."

Metallia took a step back. "No, this is..."

"Moon Holy Power!"

Serenity couldn't help but be proud of her daughter. She had surpassed even her. Maybe... No, she knew if the future had changed for the worst, Pluto would find a way to correct it.

Beryl looked at the Generals, who were already up, and looking quite frightened. "Don't just stand there, attack!"

Moon didn't give them a chance to attack, and neither did she give her attack a name, since she didn't need to. Waves of light shot from her body, hitting the Generals, Beryl and Metallia. The Generals were knocked out yet again by the first wave, and Beryl was kneeling on the ground only a few seconds later. Metallia still stood defiant, but it was clear the attack had hurt even her.

However, Moon staggered back as her attack ended, her suit reverting to her royal gown. "Mother, I'm sorry, I-"

Serenity saw her daughter fall and felt a tear run down her cheek. Knowing it was going to happen did not make it any easier to witness. And it was hard to stop herself from just unleashing all of her power right then and there, and erasing all the youma. But she knew better than letting rage control her. "Moon Holy Power."

"Again?" Beryl mused. "What are you going to do, Senshi Queen? Throw all your life in a suicidal attack, like your useless daughter did?"

"I don't need to, and there are fates worse than death. I will send you and your evil monsters away, so you never come back."

Metallia laughed at that. "Are you so lost in your pain that you don't see it? Stupid human Queen, your power is nothing to me!"

Serenity gave her a cold smile. "I thought you knew about magic cloaking." To demonstrate her point, she let her full power flare. "Let me into a little secret, Beryl. We knew about you. We knew you were allied with Metallia."

"Then why did you cower and let all your soldiers, heck, even your own daughter die? That's cold, what right do you have to call me evil?"

"We all did what we had to do to ensure you were defeated today. You were meant to lose from the moment you started your campaign."

"That's a lie."

Serenity ignored Beryl, instead focusing in Metallia. "A Serenity tried to destroy you, not once, but twice, and failed. I won't be as reckless, there is no need to destroy you."

"Hah! If you don't, I will be back and will destroy you instead!"

"No, you won't."

Beryl saw the large energy beam shoot from Serenity's hands, and knew she had to counter it. She felt a power spike, and saw a second dark beam shooting at the Moon Queen along with hers. Apparently, Metallia had also sensed the same.

"It's futile, little Queen! You cannot outpower us both!"

I could, Serenity thought, but I won't. Instead, she said. "Amusing for a being so ancient and so powerful, to understand so little about their own power, and about magic itself."

Metallia wondered what Serenity meant, but then felt it. The combined power of the three beams was... It was opening a sort of rift, and it was starting to pull them in. "Beryl, stop!"

Beryl didn't quite get what her ally meant, but she did as told, since it was the first time she had heard Metallia sound scared. She saw the rift and her already pale skin lost a few tones. "What in Darkness is that?"

Serenity had stopped her own attack as well, it was never meant to hit her foes. She watched as it dragged in every youma still alive, and even the Generals. She saw Beryl and Metallia trying to resist. No, she would not let them escape their fate. "You are stubborn, but your fate's already sealed. Begone!"

Beryl saw light washing over Metallia, and heard her screams. It only lasted a minute, and Metallia's form was encased by a large cocoon. "What did you do?"

"I cannot kill her, that's not my fate. But I know if I just send her there, she will return much earlier than planned."

"Planned? Are you telling me you planned for all this, even that... That thing?"

Serenity's smile was one sound effect away from a chuckle. "Isn't that clear enough? Begone!" The blast wasn't directed at Beryl, but at Metallia's cocoon. It was knocked into the rift, carrying a very surprised Beryl along. The Moon Queen looked at the rift, and her crystal shone a bright white as it slowly closed. She could feel her body and mind were almost drained, but she couldn't rest. She had to do a few more things, to make sure Metallia would never triumph. And to give the younger Senshi a second chance.

She searched through the battlefield, locating the spirits of those who would be needed in the future. She sent them to Earth, to be reborn in a very distant future. And also, she sent the three sleeping pods down there, they would remain buried for a long time, but would, one day, open, when the youma finally found a way back from their prison.

She was nearly done. The black orb of energy, the being known as Hissatsu, was now floating in front of her. With a mental command, she made the orb break into its seven original pieces, and then saw a second crystal appear. It was the Princess' Ginzuishou, and it would be needed in the future, but she needed it to imprison these monsters for the time being. In a blink, each of the creatures went into the crystal, which split into seven parts, each turning a different color.

As the crystals flew down to Earth, Serenity smiled, then fell to her knees. "No, not yet. I must do one more thing." And it would be the hardest thing to do for her, not only because of how tired she already was. There were youma hiding in Earth right now, and in all other planets. They would learn of Beryl's fall, and they would try to take over in her stead. But youma were only dangerous because of mana itself. Without mana, they would be nothing but monsters, slightly stronger than humans, and would pose no threat to a relatively small group of humans, should they try to attack any human settlement.

But to stop youma from using mana, Serenity had to do something which was only theorized about, and yet it was something she knew only a Moon Senshi could do. She would stop the flow of mana in all worlds, even the Earth. Without mana, youma would not last long, but every world except for the Earth would return to their original state. Each would become a different kind of hell for those living in them. Her choice was either to kill millions in a matter of hours, or to let nature run its course, but that would not be a future of mankind.

It was pointless to think about it now. Her mind had been set about it for weeks. It was, for a task so fundamentally impossible, still rather quick. She felt a change in all planets immediately, and she knew those living in them would also notice the change. But without mana, spaceships would not fly. There was no escape for those outside the Earth.

And there was, she realized, no escape for her, either. She was too weak to leave the Moon, and she didn't want to leave. She had lost everything she cared about, but at the same time, she had been able to give her daughter and her friends another chance. No, she was giving mankind itself another chance.

She sat on a rock (which had once been, she realized, a part of a tall building hours earlier,) and looked up at the Earth. "Pluto, keep the Earth in one piece while we're gone."

It was no surprise to Pluto to know Serenity had sensed her watching, and it was no surprise to Serenity when Pluto appeared besides her. "You don't need to ask, Your Highness."

"Would it kill you to drop the formalities for once? It's not like anyone will complain."

Pluto smiled knowingly. "I have no reason not to grant that request, Hecate. And don't worry, I'll make sure the Younger are okay in the future."

"You'll be one of them."

"Only in title, Hecate, I will be second in age only to Galaxia, and possibly Ina."

Serenity's smile didn't falter, although she felt her body was close to its limit. "Their stories had sad endings. Mine too... Please, make sure Nanna's story doesn't--"

Pluto saw Serenity was still leaning on what was left of a wall, but she knew she was gone. But she knew what the Queen had tried to say moments earlier. "Her story won't always be a happy one, but I'll do my best." She knelt in front of the dead Queen, and then stood up, looking at the Earth. "The second era of Mankind has ended, I hope I will not be around to see the third end as well."

And then Pluto was gone. It would be the last time in many centuries that she would visit the Moon, but she would visit the Earth often. She had seen it, watching over mankind would require her to, at times, stop watching and act. It would be a very long time before the Senshi were reborn, but she would not forget her promise, her duty. Senshi were, after all, protectors, and as the last living Senshi of the system, she would protect mankind from alien threats, and even from itself if it came to that.

Sailor Moon Aeons.
Book 1: The Senshi of dawn.
Epilogue: Eternal Search.


By Razor Knight
Last update: May 23, 2012.

-----​

I've been searching through this galaxy for too long to even bother measuring it. I don't think any human being who doesn't share my peculiar power would even understand what the numbers mean. But I've been searching, ever since I realized what my powers were. Since I realized I had become a monster, like those I was supposed to fight against. Since I failed everyone.

What have I been searching for? Redemption? Some would say I found it many centuries ago. I've been making up for what I did in my home system, by helping any planet I passed by which was being attacked by evil creatures. I've saved thousands of civilizations. And I've been thanked just as many times, but they... Those creatures, they didn't know about my past. I didn't stay too long in any planet.

Yes, I could have returned home, but a part of me still fears that option. If I'm alive, then those I hurt, those I care for, could still be alive, and I'm not sure they've forgiven me. Besides... Earth is no longer my home. I have no home, to be honest, I've spent far too much time just going from world to world, without ever feeling attached to any of them.

My power is my curse, for I won't die. I'm not even sure jumping into one of those super-dense black stars (if they could be called stars) I've seen near the galaxy's center would kill me. I've been to each and every part of this galaxy, and still... There's something out there, something which keeps on calling me. I don't know what it is, but I have all the time in the universe to find out.

-----​

It had been a lucky find, he had to admit. It had been, as the old saying went, 'like finding a klargh in a stack of lezins.' A galaxy-sized stack.

His search had been a pointless one, for many centuries... No, "centuries" wasn't even the right word to use anymore. He was ageless now, an eternal creature (although he could be killed, but had been surprisingly fortunate in avoiding danger.) But his search had finally taken a turn for, he hoped, the better.

The only means of finding what he wanted to find was the old magic scanner he got from Aleron-9, a world he had been to twice. Once when he managed to trade that scanner, and again when, after countless centuries, he returned to find no traces of civilization left in it. He had lived for longer than many civilizations out there. That was the curse and the blessing of eternal life, and it was something he had accepted ages ago.

Most of the worlds he visited didn't even know what Earth meant. Mankind was quick to forget things when they're not in contact with them for too long, and he... He wasn't sure most of the planets he had visited in the last few millennia could be called planets of mankind anymore. Most of these humans had been mutated, through countless generations, into something else. Into an amazingly diverse spectrum of "something elses," even.

Maybe even men from Earth were different now, but he had never thought about going back. No, what he wanted, what he needed was out there, somewhere. And he, for some reason, felt he was closer to it than ever.

-----​

"Sk'an Farren," the creature said in its language as it walked into the room. 'Sk'an' was, for what he understood, something similar to 'Lord' in his own language. Having a translator with him was a must now, as he had found nearly no planets speaking the language he was "born" speaking. He had been in this planet before, in fact he knew this creature's great-grandfather... Who had been just a toddler the first time he visited.

Farren looked at the speaker. Short, with bluish, scaly skin and big eyes. At least this one mutation had the 'right' number of arms and legs. "Friend Slaur, did you have any luck?"

The creature made a gesture which was its race's equivalent to a nod. "There is indeed one like you in here. It has been around for a couple years now, and it is... How to say it... Apathetic."

"How so?"

"At first we thought a creature with energy levels that high could be a threat, and we acted, I must admit, without giving it much thought."

Farren didn't have a hard time guessing what they had done. "You attacked first."

Slaur let out a noise very similar to a sigh. "Yes. The first round of attacks did nothing to it, and we obviously expected a counter-attack from it. But it did nothing. Absolutely nothing."

"Where is it? Is it male or female?"

"Unfortunately, Sk'an, I wasn't able to get that much information. I don't even think our scientists bothered checking. You should know the very concept of 'male' and 'female' is an alien one for us."

Farren smiled at that. "Of course. Do you think I could see the creature?"

Slaur looked at him. "I guessed that would be your next request, so all you have to do is speak to the Sk'Larian itself. The decision is one it must make."

"I understand that," Farren said and rose up from his chair. One-legged, tough and of a sickly blue color. Alien to him. Like everything he had seen since he left his home world.

"I should warn you this, friend Farren, since I know how long it's been since you were last here. The Sk'Larian Lamadi is nothing like Lamelein, its great-grandfather."

"That could be good. Lamelein was one of the reasons I left this world sooner than I thought I would."

Slaur blinked at that, with all its four eyelids. "I didn't know that."

"That's not a surprise. Thanks, Slaur, you've been a lot of help to me."

"I assume you expect to leave soon?"

"If this creature is who I think it is, then yes. And if it's not... I will continue my search."

"There's a saying we have, 'no search lasts forever.'"

"Your race doesn't live for as long as I have, friend, or you would think otherwise," Farren said and left the room, without waiting for an answer.

-----​

"So you say this creature might be someone you know?"

Farren nodded. "I cannot be sure until I see it."

"And if it's who you seek, then you will leave, and take it with you?"

"I will try to convince her... It of that, yes."

"What if it's not?"

"I'll make it clear, the only creature I know of with a power like you described, is her. I've explored, if my stellar maps are correct, at least eighty percent of the Galaxy. And never once did I find a being with as much power as her."

"Hard to believe, but who am I to be skeptical to an Eternal?"

"You're the ruler of this world, and as such you have a right to not believe me," Farren said, not sure if Lamadi was being sarcastic or not.

"And still, you've shown our people enough proof of both your immortality and your exploration. We would still think we're all alone out there if not for your visit and your recordings... And for your 'friend.'"

"So, where is she?"

"It... She is in the nearby city of Lamene'ren."

Typical, if Farren understood these creatures' language enough. A line of kings always had to name a city after one of them, or they just didn't feel impressive enough.

"I suppose you are going there right away?"

"Of course. Thanks for your cooperation, Sk'Larian."

-----​

The trip was uneventful, and with a document signed by Lamadi, those 'watching' over the creature were eager to let him past every barrier (physical or political) they had built to 'contain' the creature.

As he walked into the room where the creature was, he nearly went pale. Yes, it was her, but... Now he understood the words in that journal were true. She was much paler than he remembered, and he had learnt (thanks to one of the civilizations he had befriended) to sense magic in a rather short range. Her power was impossible to measure. "Ina."

She had sensed him. Probably knew he was there as soon as his spaceship touched this world's dirt. But as she turned to him, as he called her name, her face was one of shock and disbelief. "You are here. How is that possible? I..."

"You had Soma say a lie to fool me into thinking it was finally over," Farren said with a humorless smile, "but you may have forgotten one small detail about you and Soma. You're twins."

"You... You saw through the lie?"

"I did. And as powerful as Soma is, she still couldn't stop me from learning what I had to learn."

"And you left Earth."

"There was nothing there I wanted. Our children had already grown, and they... They understood, when I explained my plan to them."

"You're not truly immortal, though," Ina said, "how did you survive this long?"

Farren let out a chuckle. "I don't know. I must be gifted with the power of Luck, even though I am not of Lilithian blood."

Ina stared at Farren. "How I missed looking at you. How I hoped that, if the day ever came, you would be looking at me with those very eyes. Eyes that do not fear, do not hate, despite all I did."

Farren stared back at her, his face unreadable. "Answer me this: Have you continued doing what you did? Absorbing souls?"

Ina shook her head vigorously. "No, I saw the path I had taken, and I did what I could to take a different one. I do not know if all those races out there are 'mankind' anymore, but I will protect those worlds which are not rotten evil, against those which are."

"So you are the Guardian."

"Guardian?"

"A name I heard from one of the planets I've been to. They said a Guardian had saved them when they thought they were going to be taken over by evil aliens."

"Sounds like a hundred worlds I've visited, then," Ina said with a smile. "Farren... What now?"

"If you didn't want me by your side, you would have left already. I suppose you sensed me as soon as I landed."

"I sensed you from five solar systems away."

"Then I think we both want the same."

"This 'power' I gave you, is it not a curse?"

Farren walked close to her and took her hands. She didn't resist. "Only if I have to be away from you."

"I'm different from you, though. I cannot be killed."

"I was hoping you would protect this weak, old man."

"I can do much more than that, Farren," Ina said. "Do you trust me, even though you know what I did..."

"Millennia ago. I lost count of the millennia long ago, Ina. You're not that woman anymore, all I can see is the one I fell in love with. Stronger and more beautiful than ever."

Ina blushed. "And you're still the same charmer."

"So, why were you asking me that? If I'm here, if I haven't walked away, then you should know that I trust you."

"Yes, I realize that now," Ina said, and shot at him. The blast was strong enough to vaporize the building they were in, but Ina had already moved all the natives away from it while the two spoke.

Farren stood there, shocked that Ina would shoot at him like that. But before he could as much as ask, he realized something. Ina had used an attack which would have been more than enough to destroy his body completely. And yet there he was. He hadn't even felt the blast. "What did you..."

"Serenity once told me Senshi powers could not be just 'given', but if that was so, then how could I have those powers, myself? I had all the time in the universe to figure it out, and I did, as you can see."

"You gave me..."

Ina laughed softly. "Oh, no, not something as strong as my actual level. That would have fried your body on the spot. Just strong enough that nothing but me can harm you." She paused for a second, then looked at him. "And to be honest, right now I would have to use enough power to blast a small star to dust in order to kill you."

Farren looked at his hands, and they lit up. And he found it both strange and exciting. He could control these powers, he could... He had not been born a Senshi, and he had seen hundreds of worlds. Worlds he would have helped more if he could, but he could do little as a mere human. Now, he could go anywhere he wanted, help those who couldn't fight against evil.

But he didn't want to go anywhere. Not without her. "Ina... I guess I will have to tell you something I should have said when you... When you gave me your gift that time. Thank you."

"No need to thank me. I've been looking for something for far too long, and I never realized what that something was. A part of me knew you were out here, I suppose, and now I know that you were what I was looking for. I had almost given up when I found this world, but..."

Farren silenced her with a kiss. He then looked at her, with a smile. "No search lasts forever." And this one was worth every second it lasted, he thought as the two floated up.

"Feels good?"

"Better than I imagined. Where do you want to go now?"

Ina looked up to the sky, to the triple star this particular world circled. "Anywhere we want, Farren."

"Let's see... I know a world a few systems away from this one, and the weather's rather nice in it through all of the eight hundred and fifty two days its year lasts."

Ina smiled. "I think I know what planet you speak of. But isn't it an 'empty' world?"

"Yes. We wouldn't have to worry about any neighbours in there."

"Sounds perfect," Ina said, right before they both teleported away.

-----​

A/N: Ina's story didn't have a true closure, and for some reason that didn't sound right to me. Good thing that, for once, I'm the one writing the story, and not just a reader left to wonder 'just what happened to them?'

I started writing this 'epilogue' as a normal chapter, which would have been placed between two eras, but then I realized I could quite make it the last chapter of the book, since the events here take place after Silver Millennium's fall.

That's the end of the first book of Sailor Moon Aeons. The second book, Rebirth, will focus on the canon Senshi, along with "a few" original characters, both heroic and evil. Unlike this book, time won't pass in giant leaps, and most of the action will be happening in the city of Tokyo.
 
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Kyouko Tsukino

Steampunker
Hope it's worth the time you'll spend on it.

Opinions are welcome - this story is a remake of a remake of a remake, after all, and I do use criticism to improve, unless it's the "lol u sux go die" kind, of course.
 

Sonnette

Retinazer
Just finished this series, and can't wait to read the second! Thank you for writing/rewriting this!!
 
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