"MOON SCEPTER ELIMINATION!" Rubeus watched in anger as yet another of
his beautiful droids was turned to dust by his most hated enemy, Sailor
With a growl of rage, he dismissed the image of the cheering scouts, picked up a nearby crystal, and threw it at the far wall where it shattered instantly.
"Damn it!" he fumed as he paced, "How can I possibly get the rabbit with those bloody Scouts in the way!? Every attempt to destroy them ends with them destroying perfectly good droids!"
He picked up another crystal and threw it with savage force, dooming it to the fate of its brother.
"Calm yourself Rubeus," a deep, eerie voice said from the darkness.
Rubeus spun around, quickly getting a grip on his anger, and bowed deeply.
"Wiseman," he greeted the darkly glowing, hooded man. "I take it you still haven’t managed to capture the little princess?"
Rubeus’s eyes darkened, as he replied, "No Wiseman. The Scouts have made it even more difficult since the sisters left. Especially that damn Sailor Moon! Nothing I throw at them works!"
He took a deep breath, forcing himself to calm down as he remembered whose presence he was in.
"Perhaps you need to try a new approach."
Something in his master’s voice caught his attention and he turned back to the evil lord, his curiosity rising.
"What do you do," the Wiseman continued, "when all your efforts to get what you want from the enemy fail?"
There was a short pause, then the Wiseman answered his own question, "You enlist the aid of an insider."
"What do you mean?" "Who better to bring the young princess to us than the very one who protects her the most?"
Rubeus thought about the question for a moment, then his eyes widened in realization.
"You mean? But Wiseman, how are we going to get Sailor Moon to willingly hand over the rabbit?"
The Wiseman took his hand from the glowing crystal ball that floated in front of him and made a gesture. In a flash of light, a tiny bottle appeared. Rubeus plucked it from the air and examined its contents. It was filled with some kind of liquid that pulsed with swirling colors. The colors themselves held and evil, almost hypnotic quality to them.
"What is it?" he asked in fascination.
"A potion similar to the one I used on the four sisters only stronger, and with a few special changes just for the moon girl," the Wiseman replied. "Have a droid inject her with it. Then, all you have to do is play along. It will mess with her memories, changing and erasing them. Within a day or so of injection, she will have forgotten Tuxedo Mask so there will be no chance of him keeping her from you. Within a week, she’ll do anything for your love and affection, including killing her own friends and giving us the little princess. This is your last chance Rubeus, don’t screw it up!"
A cruel smile slowly made its way across Rubeus’s lips as the Wiseman vanished. At last, the Scouts’ days were truly numbered.
Darien looked up from the book he was reading, startled and suddenly
very frightened. He had an extremely bad feeling of danger centered
around Serena. It wasn’t the usual feeling, the one that caused him to
rush to her aid in battle, however. It was more like a premonition, a
feeling that something bad was going to happen very soon. Wasting no
time, Darien tossed his book aside, grabbed his jacket and left for the
He found Raye where he thought he would, meditating in front of the Great Fire. He watched her for a moment, then called out in a softly, "Raye?"
Raye started and looked behind her, the fire in her eyes dying when she saw who it was.
"Darien! What are you doing here?" she asked as he entered the room.
"I need to ask a favor."
"Okay," she replied slowly, sensing something wrong, "What is it?"
Darien looked at her for a moment, as though choosing his words. Finally, he said, "I’d like you and the other Scouts to keep a closer eye on Serena for the next little while."
Darien hesitated, then replied, "I’ve just got a bad feeling and I’d feel better if you girls stuck extra close to her for a few days."
‘Wow,’ Raye thought as she looked in his eyes, ‘he’s really spooked.’ Out loud she said, "All right. I’ll tell the others and we’ll keep an extra close eye on her."
Darien smiled uneasily. "Thanks Raye. I knew I could count on you. I’d better get going before I’m late for work."
"Darien," Raye said when he reached the door. When he turned back, she added softly, "Whatever reasons you have for pretending not to love her anymore, you’d better resolve them fast. In the end, it may not be the Negaverse that destroys her."
For an instant, pain flashed through his eyes, and she knew she had hit a nerve. He looked like he was about to say something, then seemed to change his mind. Instead, he turned and silently left.
Raye moved to the door and watched him leave the temple grounds, then brought her communicator to her mouth to call the other Scouts.
"You guys should have seen his eyes," Raye said later on, "He was really
"I wonder what kind of trouble Rubeus is planning," Amy mussed.
"Whatever it is, it’s got to be pretty big if it’s got Darien paranoid," Lita put in.
Luna, who had been silently sitting next to Artemis, now spoke up, "If Darien thinks something bad is coming, then we should take his word for it. Perhaps one of us should be with her at all times, Rennie too."
The Scouts nodded in agreement as a voice from outside called, "Hello? Anyone here?"
"In here, Serena!" Mina called back.
A moment later, Serena entered, followed closely by Rennie and her Luna Ball.
"Hey guys," Serena greeted.
"Anyone interested in going to the mall with Rennie and me? There’s a really wicked sale this afternoon!"
Mina chuckled and replied, "I’m there. How ‘bout you guys?"
Lita and Amy nodded and Raye said, "Just let me get my purse."
They were only a few blocks from the temple when terrified screams reached their ears.
"I’ll give you two guesses as to who is causing all that," Raye said, looking at the others.
Serena turned to Rennie who quickly said, "I know, I know. I’ll meet you back at the temple."
As the little girl ran off for the temple, Serena turned to the others and said, "All right guys, let’s do it!"
They had been fighting for over two hours, and none had escaped injury.
Even Tuxedo Mask, who had shown up shortly after the battle had begun, had been badly injured in several places. The droid, whose name they had long since forgotten, was an excellent shot with a bow and arrow, which was evident from the blood that oozed from the wounds visible in his tattered uniform. On the plus side, the droid was no better off, having taken several severe hits from the Scouts. She knew her time was nearly up and, as the Scouts called to Sailor Moon to finish her, drew the special arrow soaked in the Wiseman’s potion.
"MOON," the droid took careful aim, "SCEPTER," drew the arrow back, "ELIMINATION!" And released it.
Moon’s eyes widened slightly and she let out a small gasp as the arrow pierced her left arm and vanished. She struggled not to loose her concentration as pain shot through her. She breathed a sigh of relief as the droid finally turned to dust and dismissed her scepter, clutching her arm and willing the pain to subside.
She was dimly aware of the Scouts cheering and Tuxedo Mask slipping away to nurse his wounds as she looked her arm over. She was surprised and awed at the sight of colors mixed in with the blood that flowed from the wound. ‘Wow,’ she thought hazily, ‘What pretty colors.’
"Sailor Moon?" She looked up and found Venus looking at her in concern.
"Sailor Moon, you don’t look so good. We’d better get you back to the temple and get you fixed up." Moon looked back at her arm. The colors were still there and, as she looked at them, she was suddenly filled with a sense of forbidding.
"Sailor Moon? Serena?" She looked back and nodded. "Yeah, all right. Let’s go." She had managed to take two steps before she crumpled to the ground and darkness embraced her.
"Serena, Serena, can you hear me?" Somewhere in the fog that clouded
her mind, a familiar voice reached her. "Come on Serena, time to wake
Serena moaned and muttered, "Go away and let me sleep."
"Serena please," a second voice-Lita?-said, "We need to make sure you’re all right."
"Here," came Raye’s voice, "Give her this." She felt someone lift her up and then a warmish liquid was flowing down her throat.
Somehow, it gave her the strength to open her eyes, and the concerned faces of her friends swam into view. She carefully looked around, noticing that several areas of her body had been bandaged up.
"What happened?" she murmured softly.
"You collapsed after the battle," Mina answered.
Confusion entered Serena’s eyes. "Battle?"
"You don’t remember?" Lita asked, "It was pretty intense. We were at it for over two hours."
Remembrance replaced the confusion. As the memories flowed back, she asked, "How long have I been out?"
"Nearly three hours," Amy replied. "You got the worst of it out of all of us."
"Yeah," Raye added, "That Nega-slime seemed to be targeting you more than any of us."
"Yeah, I noticed that," Serena responded. She readjusted her position and gasped as pain rushed through her.
"Try to lay still for a while," Ray advised, "Give that potion time to do its job."
Serena nodded slowly. Her gaze traveled down to her bandaged left arm and more memories came rushing back.
"Hey!" she exclaimed, "what happened to the colors?" The girls exchanged glances.
"Colors?" Lita asked.
"Yeah. After I dusted that droid, I noticed colors around the area where it shot me with that arrow." The girls exchanged more looks and, in a flash of blue light, Amy transformed into Sailor Mercury, her visor and computer out and running.
Luna and Artemis entered with a nervous Rennie close behind as Mercury said, "It doesn’t appear as though anything is wrong. I’d say the colors you saw were hallucinations caused by your injuries."
"Serena?" Rennie asked, her eyes filled with worry and fright, "are you going to be all right?"
"She’s going to be fine," Amy replied, de-transforming, "she just needs rest and time to heal."
At the mention of rest, Serena felt her eyes grow heavy. Luna notice immediately and said, "Come along everyone, lets let her sleep."
"We’ll be right outside if you need us," Lita said as she followed the others out. As sleep came to claim her, Serena was vaguely aware of a young voice whispering, "I’m glad you’re okay." Then all was dark, and the dreams came.
She awoke sometime later with a strange, urgent feeling. She sat up and looked around the darkened room, finding her friends sleeping on the floor around her. A tingling sensation drew her attention to her bandaged left arm. Slowly, she removed the bandages and looked calmly at the mysterious colors dancing on her arm. A powerful need to go for a walk overcame her as she watched. Tearing her eyes away, she stood and made her way out of the room, being careful not to wake her friends.
She eventually ended up in the park. Once she had gotten a good
distance from the temple, she had transformed and had been using the
energy boost to get around quicker. Now, she stood by the lake, staring
silently up at the full moon. A noise in the nearby bushes startled her
and she spun around, dropping to a fighting stance. "Who’s there?" she
There was a short pause, and then a tall figure stepped from the bushes.
Although her face remained impassive, her heart was pounding rapidly. The stranger was a young guy, with short, flaming red hair and a good build. "I’m sorry if I startled you," he said. "I saw you staring up at the moon and felt . . .drawn to you . . .to your beauty."
Moon blushed and relaxed her stance, feeling this guy was no threat to her. "Who are you?" she asked.
"I am Rubeus. And you?"
Rubeus smiled. If there had been more light and if she had been closer to him, she would have seen that the smile was cold and frightening.
"No, I mean your real name, not your warrior name." Moon looked at him, realizing how deep the question really went.
She straightened up to her full height and said with a hint of proudness in her voice, "I am princess Serena of the Moon Kingdom."
"I knew it. From the moment I saw you, I knew you had to be of royal blood." Moon blushed again and looked away.
"Would you care to go for a walk, fair princess?" Moon looked back, consideration in her bright, blue eyes.
After a moment, she nodded and smiled. "Sure. A short walk couldn’t hurt."
They walked in silence for a long moment, Rubeus contemplating how long their first encounter should last and Moon thinking about what a hunk this dark, mysterious guy was. After a while, they began talking, Moon telling him bits and pieces of her past life and Rubeus making up lies about his own past. Finally, after an hour, he decided they’d been together long enough to get the ball rolling.
Stopping, he turned to her and said, "Forgive me fair princess, but the hour is late and I must be going." He smiled secretly to himself as a look of disappointment that could have been mistaken for despair, flashed through her eyes. "Farewell." He turned to leave but stopped, the secret smile growing, as she called out, "Wait!"
He turned back and Moon said, almost hesitantly, "Will...will I ever see you again?"
He took her hand in his and bowed at the waist as he replied, "Fate brought us together this night, angel of the moon. I have no doubt it will bring us together again." He kissed her gloved hand, then turned and vanished into the shadows of the night.
From his hiding place, he watched the flicker of colored light pass through Moon’s eyes as she stared wonderingly in the direction he had left. ‘Excellent,’ he thought as she finally left, ‘this is starting out perfectly.’ He had been surprised when she hadn’t known who he was, but only slightly. One of the Wiseman’s potions was running through her veins after all. He wouldn’t be all that surprised if she had already forgotten Tuxedo Mask and was ready to hand over the Rabbit. ‘Got to go slow,’ he reminded himself, ‘let the potion change her at its own rate. It’s my head if I screw this up, and that’s something I don’t intend to loose.’
"Hey," Lita said, "where’s Serena?" Looking up, Raye discovered what the others already had, the empty cot Serena had been sleeping on. "You guys check outside, I’ll check the other rooms." She had checked two other rooms when she heard Mina calling that they’d found her.
"Serena, you really shouldn’t be up and about so soon," Lita was saying as Raye joined them.
"Yeah Meatball head. You’re gonna put strain on your injuries!" Raye finished. "I’m fine guys, really," Serena replied with a smile, ignoring Raye’s usual name calling. She looked at Raye and added, "That potion of yours really did wonders Raye. I feel great!" Raye narrowed her eyes and looked at the other girl, a tingling sensation traveling up and down her spine. Serena looked back with an innocent smile, then said, "Come on guys, I’m staving! Lets go back to my place and get some of my mom’s delicious homemade pancakes!" Mina chuckled as Serena started off in the direction of home and murmured, "Definitely back to normal." As the others started to follow, Raye pushed the feelings to the back of her mind, making a mental note to consult the fire later on. She began to follow the others, then glanced back and stopped. Rennie was standing on the temple steps, hugging her Luna Ball to her and staring after Serena with an odd expression.
"Rennie?" Raye asked, going back to her, "You all right?" Rennie looked up at her, the expression melting away. "Yeah, I’m fine," she replied evasively. She ran down the steps, calling over her shoulder, "Come on!
If we don’t hurry, Serena will eat all the pancakes!" Raye stared after the little girl for a moment, then shrugged and hurried to catch up.
That night, and the night after, Serena dreamed. On the third night, so did the Scouts. But while Serena’s dreams caused her to awaken and rush off to the arms of he who would be her destruction, the Scouts’ dreams were invaded by a surprise guest with a grim warning. Raye found herself dressed in her Scout uniform, standing among the ruins of the once magnificent Moon Kingdom. She looked around in surprise, wondering for all the world what she was doing there. A noise behind her caused her to spin around, dropping to a defensive position. She relaxed her stance when she saw who it was. "Mina!" "Raye?" "Guys?" The Pair spun around, exclaiming in unison, "Amy!" "Well," Lita said as she also emerged from the ruins, "this is a strange place to hold a party.
Wonder what we’re doing here?" "You are here, because I summoned you," a soft, elegant voice said from the darkness. The girls looked up, surprise entering their eyes as a soft white light appeared, slowly taking on the form of… "Queen Serenity!" they exclaimed in one voice.
"Listen carefully Sailor Scouts, I don’t have much time. Serena is in grave danger. The forces of the NegaMoon plot against her in a way I fear she will not be able to fight." "What do you mean?" Amy asked, "What are they planning?" "The red demon preys on her emotions of love and loyalty. He twists them, and her, so that she will serve him." "Wait a minute," Lita said, "Are you saying this ‘red demon’ has already started in on her?" At Serenity’s nod, she added, "But how and when?
We’ve been sticking close to her since that last battle. When would he get to her?" "In the deepest night, he calls and she goes to him, unaware of the threat he poses." Her image flickered and began to fade. She closed her eyes, appearing to struggle with an unknown force. Her form resolidified and she said, "Beware the colors of the rainbow. When you see them, know she is not the Serena you know, but an unpredictable warrior. The darker the colors become, the harder it will be to take her back." Her form began to fade again, a clear sign she was loosing the battle for time. "Promise me, Sailor Scouts, that you will not let her fall to the NegaMoon." "You can count on us, Serenity," Raye said. Serenity smiled and turned her gaze to Luna, who stood silently off to the side with Artemis. Before she faded completely, she whispered, "Awaken Luna…awaken…"
Luna awoke with a start and was just in time to catch the tail ends of a pair of pig tails disappearing out the bedroom window. "What?" She jumped up on the window sill and spotted Serena, dressed in full uniform, moving rapidly away from the house in the still, silent night. Wasting no time, Luna jumped to the nearby tree and hurried down to the street and after Serena. Unfortunately, due to the darkness and speed that Serena was moving, Luna soon lost her. After about an hour of wandering, she came to the park. It wasn’t long before she spotted Serena, wrapped in the arms of a guy she couldn’t make out, kissing.
‘Now who…?’ Luna’s thought trailed off as she moved in for a closer look, her fur standing on end as strong vibes penetrated her senses.
Before she could see anything important, however, the pair broke apart, whispered something to one another, then parted company. Luna watched Serena leave the park, then turned her attention to her charge’s ‘friend,’ but he was already gone. With a feeling of apprehension, Luna turned and quickly followed Serena back to the house, where the girl de-transformed and went back to bed, asleep before her head hit the pillow. Luna, nervous about the encounter she had witnessed, spent the remainder of the night, watching.
"…Then she went back to sleep and remained that way ‘till morning," Luna finished. "So that wasn’t just some bizarre dream?" Mina asked, looking at the others. The Scouts and the two cats were gathered at the temple, discussing the previous night’s events and trying to sort things out.
"Apparently not," Luna answered Mina’s question. "I wasn’t able to get a good look, but, judging from the vibes I was getting, it definitely wasn’t Darien. "If luck is with us, that was their first meeting and we’ll be able to keep them apart," Lita said in a voice filled with doubt. "It’s not," a small voice said from behind. Turning, they found Rennie staring up at them with uncertain eyes. "It’s been happening since the night of the battle," she continued, "I woke up and saw her sitting up and unwrapping the bandages on her arm. She just stared at it for a bit, then got up and left the room. I followed her outside where she transformed and took off. I figured it wouldn’t be a good idea to follow, so I went back inside and waited. It was over three hours before she finally came back. She’s been doing the same thing every night since." Mina knelt down in front of the girl and said gently, "Rennie, why didn’t you tell us?" "I was scared." She hesitated, then continued, "The other night, I woke up as she was leaving and watched her transform outside again. She…she saw me watching her. She just looked at me. There…were these weird colors in her eyes. It felt and looked like they were threatening me…saying that if I said anything, I’d…" her voice trailed off and her eyes filled with tears. "Oh honey, it’s okay," Mina said, pulling the child into arms and holding her. "Mabey the fire can tell us how far gone Serena is," Raye said, crossing the room to where the mystical fire burned. They others knelt before her as she knelt before it and closed her eyes. "Oh great fire," she said, "Tell us, how far has Serena fallen under the influence of the NegaMoon?" She opened her eyes and stared intently into the flames. After a moment, she frowned and said, "Strange.
According to the Fire, she totally normal." "Mabey the fire can’t detect it," Luna said, then added, "But whatever the case, until we sort this out, I don’t want her alone. At least two of you Scouts should be with her at all times, day and night. Especially night." The girls nodded and Lita said, "I think the first thing we need to do is find out who she’s meeting. Why don’t we have a sleepover and take turns keeping watch? That way, we can follow her when she decides to go for an early morning walk." "Good idea Lita," Luna agreed. "We can have it here," Raye added. "Have what here?" They all turned at the new voice and found Serena standing in the doorway. "Sleepover," Lita answered, noticing Rennie moving closer to Mina. "Great! When?" Serena asked with a bright smile. "Tonight," Amy said, moving over to her. "Why don’t we go catch a movie and then go to your place and get your things?" "All right, but we’d better move it if we want to get there in time." "Just let me get my purse," Raye said.
After the movie and a few afternoon activities, Serena was heading home to get her overnight things with Mina and Lita accompanying her. "So Serena," Lita said causally, "how have you been sleeping lately?" "Fine. Why?" "Just curious. Sometimes, when one gets injured in a battle like you did, they don’t sleep very well." "Actually, I’ve slept better in the past few days then I have in years," Serena said as they entered her house. After clearing the sleepover with her mother, the trio went up to Serena’s room to get her things. Mina sat on the bed, lost in her own thoughts while Serena and Lita chattered aimlessly. Her attention, however, refocused on them when the topic changed to guys.
She listened for a moment, then, on a hunch, said, "You know Serena, I ran into Darien the other day. He asked how you were feeling, that battle being pretty brutal and all." Serena looked up from where she was searching for a nightgown, and shot Mina a confused look. "What are you talking about Mina? I don’t know any Darien." Lita nearly fell over when she heard this. A look from Mina silenced anything she was going to say as Serena, who had gone back to looking for her nightgown, added, "You must be thinking of someone else." "Yeah," Mina agreed slowly, her gaze traveling to Lita, "I must be."
"Rubeus?" she whispered as she entered the change rooms section. Her face lit up when he stepped from a room and she rushed into his arms.
"Oh Rubeus," she sighed happily, "I’m so glad to see you." She pulled back and looked up at him. Taking his hand, she started to walk out, saying, "Come on, my friends are right outside, you have to meet them." Rubeus quickly pulled her back and into one of the change rooms, saying, "No Serena. That would not be a good idea." Serena looked up at him in confusion. "Why? What do you mean?" Rubeus put on his best sincere look and said, "Serena I…I haven’t exactly been honest with you. I’ve known since that first night who you were. I’m from the future Serena." Serena’s eyes widened in surprise. "The future? You mean Reenie’s future?" Rubeus nodded. "Yes. I was sent back to protect you." "Protect me from who?" Rubeus hesitated for effect, then said, "The Sailor Scouts." Serena stared at him for a long moment, speechless. Finally, she managed to exclaim, "The Scouts! Rubeus that’s ridiculous! The Scouts are my friends, my protectors! They’d never harm me!" "They will and have. In the future, you will disappear, only to be found a few days later, the victim of a mysterious sleep. Many others had fallen victim to it before you, including Rennie’s mother.
After extensive research, it was discovered that only the Silver Crystal could awaken them. But it had disappeared. Somehow, Rennie was chosen to go back and find it while the Scouts took to running Crystal Tokyo.
It wasn’t long before me and a large group of others began to get suspicious. We began a secret investigation that soon revealed that the Scouts were the ones responsible for what was happening. Sailor Mercury, in fact, was the one responsible for the creation of the sleeping illness. We began to look back into the past, trying to pinpoint the exact time the Scouts began to change. Coincidentally, it turned out to be the time Rennie was sent back to. I was chosen to come here with orders to watch and protect the both of you, but especially you. I was ordered to also determine when the Scouts began their treachery and destroy them in order to protect you and the future. And that’s what I’ve been doing. Watching all of you, trying to figure this all out. But something happened in the course of my mission. I…fell in love with you." Serena looked up at him with soft, loving eyes and touched his cheek tenderly. "I love you too, Rubeus. But I…I find it difficult to believe the Scouts would betray me." "Why do you think they’ve been sticking so close to you lately? Wanting to know your every move? It’s already begun. Watch, when you come to meet me tonight, they will follow you. Or try to." He looked up sharply as Lita called, "Serena? Are you in here?" Looking back, he said in a rushed whisper, "I must go. They can’t be allowed to see me. I fear the future Scouts may have sent someone back to warn their younger selves of my presence.
I will see you tonight. Until then, pretend nothing happened and that everything is normal." Serena nodded, and he vanished, leaving her alone in the change room. "Serena?" Serena took a deep breath to compose herself, put on a smile and left the change room. "There you are," Mina said as she joined the pair, "We were starting to wonder." "Did you find anything?" Lita asked. Serena shook her head and replied, "Nah. Come on, lets get over to Raye’s."
Rubeus watched from the roof as the three girls left the store, a smile playing on his lips. Everything was going perfectly. Soon, the Scouts would be dead and he would be on his way back to the future with the Rabbit.
Later on that evening, while Serena was out of the room getting ready for bed, Mina and Lita quickly told the others about Serena’s claim of not knowing Darien. This news shocked and worried them even more.
"Hopefully tonight will give us the chance to find something out," Lita said. Serena came back and they all settled down into their sleeping bags. Serena was the first to fall asleep, allowing the girls to quickly choose first watch, then go to sleep themselves.
It finally happened on Lita’s watch. She was laying in her bedroll, staring at the roof when she noticed Serena sit up and look around, a strange glaze in her eyes. Lita waited until Serena had left the room, then quickly roused the others. Outside, they spotted Serena as Luna had, moving rapidly down the dark streets in her uniform. They followed but soon lost her. "Let’s try the park," Amy suggested, "That’s where Luna found her last night." The other three nodded in agreement, and the foursome hurried off in the direction of the park.
Rubeus put on a loving smile when Serena ran up to him in their usual meeting place. "Rubeus, you were right. They are following me." She looked behind her and when she looked back, doubt filled her eyes. "But they could be following me out of concern. They have been worried about me after all." ‘No!’ Rubeus thought. He put his hands on her shoulders and stared intently into her eyes, searching…searching…there is it was.
‘Yes!’ he cheered silently. It was strong, nearly at full capacity. A little kiss would be enough to bring it over the top and bring her into his complete control. Her eyes closed with his and he pulled her into a long deep kiss. He could feel the darkness surge forward and overtake her. He pulled away and smiled as she collapsed against him. He lowered her to the ground and whispered, "Sleep ‘till morning. When you awaken, you not know the darkness within you until you see me again." He looked up and spotted the Scouts wandering about the park, looking for Serena. Smiling, he stood, moved back, and silently vanished into the night just as one of the Scouts cried out, "Serena!"
"Uh, hey guys. What’s up?" she asked. "Serena! Thank goodness you’re awake!" Mina exclaimed in relief. Serena sat up. "Of course I’m awake, it is morning after all." She looked at them, then added, "Are you guys all right? You’ve been acting really bizarre lately." "Serena, do you remember what happened last night?" Amy asked. "Well, we spent a lot of time talking and then I went to sleep. What’s there to remember?" "The fact that you decided to take an early morning run as Sailor Moon," Lita replied. "I woke up and saw you leaving, so I got the others and we followed you, or tried to anyway. You were moving so fast, we lost you." "We eventually found you passed out in the park," Mina finished.
"Wow," Serena said with a thoughtful expression, "I don’t think I’ve ever sleepwalked before.
"What?" she asked at the looks her friends exchanged. "For someone who’s never sleepwalked before, you’ve sure been doing it a lot lately," Raye said. At Serena’s confused look, Lita added, "Luna saw you do it night before last." Serena was silent for a moment, then said, "I don’t know guys. Mabey that battle set something off. It’s probably only temporary." She paused, then added, "Look, I’m starved. Let’s go get some breakfast and then figure out what to do today." She turned to leave, greeting Luna and Artemis as they entered. "Well?" Luna asked instantly, "What happened?" Quickly, the girls related the events of the previous night. "I don’t like it," Artemis said when they finished. "Me either," Luna agreed, "She was putting out some very strong vibes just now." "Tell me about it," Raye said, "I barely got any sleep after we got her back here. I finally spent a few hours consulting the fire, which kept insisting she was fine. If the NegaMoon has gotten to her, they did a pretty damn good job of covering it up." Silence fell over the group, lasting until Serena came back and they left for breakfast.
"Hey Jupiter! How ‘bout we double team this creep?" Mars shouted.
Jupiter nodded, taking a stance and shouting, "Jupiter thunderclap…" "Mars celestial Fire…" "Zap!"
"Surround!" The droid screamed as the fire and lightening combined engulfed it, destroying it on the spot.
The pair exchanged surprised glances. "Wow, cheep droid," Jupiter said as the other three joined them. Laughter and clapping drew their attention to where the droid had stood moments ago.
Rubeus now stood there with a small smile. Moon looked at him, love filling her eyes.
"Rubeus!" Mars spat. "Take this you Nega-slime! Mars…" Moon stiffened as Mars called on her power, remembering what Rubeus had told her. ‘So it is true,’ she thought. Anger rushed through her. Before Mars could finish her attack, Moon turned and said sharply, "Mars stop! That’s and order!" The other three looked at Moon in shocked surprise. Mars managed to call off her attack and turned to look at Moon, chills going down her spine when she saw the cold, hard look in her friend’s eyes.
The vibes the other girl was emitting was nearly overwhelming. All Mars could do was stare, fear and dread combining to form a tight knot in her stomach. "Why did you tell her to stop, Sailor Moon?" Jupiter asked, "He’s the enemy!" Wordlessly, Moon walked over to Rubeus, who took her in his arms and kissed her deeply. When she turned back to the stunned Scouts, her eyes glowed with a red light that slowly turned icy blue and then a cold, deep green. "No Jupiter," she said in an even colder voice, "he’s not the enemy. You four are. I know all about your plans for betrayal." Venus, who had been unable to get past the colors in Moon’s eyes whispered, "Colors of the rainbow," while Jupiter growled, "The red demon." Electricity flowed through her body, waiting to be released the second Moon was out of the way. It’s chance never came. Rubeus slipped his arm around Moon’s waist and said, "Sorry we can’t stay and play, Scouts. But you know how it is. Places to go, missions to complete. See ya around." Then, to the Scouts’ dismay, the pair vanished. For a long moment, nobody said anything. Then, Venus cried out, "Oh god! Rennie! We’ve got to find her before Serena does!" "I’ll scan for her with my computer," Mercury said, her visor and computer out and running. Finally, after several long moments, she said, "I’ve got her. She’s in the park."
"Rennie!" Moon shouted as she ran through the deserted park toward the little girl. "Hey Serena, what’s up?" Rennie asked cautiously.
"Rennie, we’ve got big trouble. The Scouts have turned on me and I’m afraid they might go after you. We have to hurry." "But…where are we going?" Rennie asked, startled by Moon’s announcement. "I met a friend from your time. He’s here to help us. Come on, he’s waiting. "Rennie, no!" Looking up, they found the Scouts standing a few feet away.
Moon’s eyes darkened and she grabbed Rennie, pulling the girl to her protectively. "Back off traitors!" she snarled, "I’m not going to let you take her!" "Rennie," Jupiter said, "Serena doesn’t know what she’s doing. Somehow, Rubeus got control over her." "Rubeus does not have control over me! He’s here to protect me from you!" Rennie stiffened, then looked up at Moon and said, "Serena, your friend’s name is Rubeus?" "Yes, do you know him?" Rennie nodded. "Yes. Serena, I’m sorry, okay?"
Before Moon could ask why, Rennie kicked her ankle, shoved her over, and took off running.
"Find a safe place to hide, Rennie!" Venus shouted.
"You four are going to pay for that!" Moon growled as she stood. "Serena, please listen to us," Mercury said, "Rubeus has done something to you. He’s twisted you around, making you believe anything he tells you." "That’s not true. Rubeus was sent back from the future to protect me from you, to stop what you will do to the future. In the process, he fell in love with me and I with him. He would never lie to me, unlike you traitors!" As she was saying this, the colors in her eyes had flared up again, dark and sinister.
The girls were so transfixed by them and shocked by her statement that they failed to notice the energy gathering around her clenched fists.
In a voice filled with anger and hate, she shouted, "I am Sailor Moon. And on behalf of the Moon, my Kingdom, and the future, I will punish you!" Her hands flew up and the energy shot out. But the Scouts had been ready for something and just managed to dodge out of the way of the potentially deadly energy.
However, the energy collided with a nearby tree, and they were unable to avoid the shock of the blast, which knocked them violently to the ground. They had barely gotten to their feet when Moon was upon them, lashing out with brutal kicks, punches and short power blasts. After several minutes of fighting, all but Jupiter were on the ground, suffering from painful injuries.
Jupiter, being the most experienced fighter of the group, had managed to avoid the brunt of Moon’s attack and had thus received only minor injuries. Now, they circled each other. Jupiter trying to find and way to bring her friend down without hurting her and Moon trying to find a way to kill her foe as painfully as possible. Moving faster than Jupiter had expected, Moon rushed forward and hit Jupiter in the stomach with a sharp kick.
Jupiter gasped and stumbled back, clutching her stomach and struggling to get her breath. Moon chuckled, gathering energy for what would be an agonizingly painful blow. Before she could release it, however, a sharp voice rang out, "Sailor Moon, stop!" Surprised, Moon cut the energy off and looked up as Rubeus appeared next to her. He put his hand on her shoulder and said something the Scouts couldn’t hear. But they heard Moon say, "What about Rennie?" His response must have satisfied her, for she nodded and he slipped his arm around her waist. He shot the Scouts a chilling smile, then the pair vanished. "Everyone all right?" Artemis called as he and Luna ran out from where they had taken cover.
"I think so," Mars replied. "Oh man," Venus groaned, "When did she get so quick and so brutal?" "Part of it is the Negaverse influence," Luna explained, "The other half is the part of her warrior spirit that she keeps locked away, emerging." "Where’s Rennie?" Jupiter asked. "Right here," Rennie replied, running up to them. "I didn’t know where to go, so I hid in the trees." "Guys," Mercury said, "Darien’s place is just a few blocks from here. I think we should go there, fill him in on what’s going on, and then decide what to do." "Good idea," Mars replied, getting painfully to her feet and de-transforming. Venus de-transformed first, then attempted to get to her feet, crying out as pain stabbed at her side. "Mina? You all right?" Lita asked, kneeling down next to her in concern. "I think she broke a rib," Mina replied through gritted teeth. "Think you can walk if we get you to your feet?" Lita asked.
Mina nodded. "I’ll just have to walk slow." "Okay, Raye could you get on her other side?" "Okay," Lita said when Raye was in position, "On the count of three, we’re gonna pull you up. Brace yourself ‘cause its probably going to hurt." She looked at Raye, who nodded. "One…two…three!" Mina gasped and held back a cry as the pair pulled her up. Teas sprung to her eyes and she breathed deeply until the pain subsided. "Okay?" Raye asked. Mina nodded after a moment, then said, "Yeah. Come on, let’s go."
"Rub this stuff on any painful wounds you have," he said, taking out a small bottle of liquid and some cotton. He pulled out a second bottle. "Put this on all your wounds to prevent infection."
He out some bandages and went over to where Mina sat, trying to control the pain surging through her. "Okay, first I have to figure out if your ribs are cracked or actually broken and how many. Its going to hurt like hell so I’ll try to make it quick, okay?" At Mina’s nod, he continued. "All right, lie down and pull your shirt up a bit." Slowly, Mina did as she was asked. Darien took one look at the black bruise surrounding her rib area, then looked over at Rennie. He then checked to see which of the Scouts was the least injured. Lita was the obvious choice, but he figured he would probably need her. Amy was the next choice. "Amy, would you take Rennie down the street for some ice cream or something?" "Sure," Amy replied readily, having seen the mess around her friend’s rib area. "Come on Rennie." She took the girl’s hand and led her from the room. Darien waited until the door opened and closed, then turned back to Mina. Lita had figured out the reason Darien wanted Rennie gone and had moved to a position where she could act if needed.
And needed she was. Mina’s small cries of pain quickly turned to escalated screaming the more Darien probed. Lita had to hold her down while Raye tried to muffle the screams. "Its all right Mina," Darien coaxed, "I’m just about done. Just a few more seconds…there, all over." He sat back, giving her some time to recover. After a moment, he said, "Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is, they’re only cracked, so they’ll heal faster. The bad news is, there’s three of them. You’re gonna have to take it easy for a while. Raye, could you help her sit up?" After he had bandaged her up, he looked at her and said, "You could use a few hours of sleep. Here," he took her arm and helped her up, "You can use my room." He led her from the room and when he came back, noticed that Amy and Rennie had returned. "All right," he said, sitting down, "Now what happened?" He looked around the room, suddenly realizing someone was missing and added, "Where’s Serena?" "Serena is what happened," Raye replied, rubbing some of the liquid on her arm. Darien paled as he listened to the Scouts’ account of the events of the past few days. His stomach turned when Lita said, "Yesterday, Mina had some sort of hunch. She told Serena that you had asked about her because of how rough that battle was. Serena claimed she didn’t know you. Whatever Rubeus did to her, it seems to have wiped out all memories of you." "We need to find a safe place for Rennie," Raye added. "She definitely can’t go back to Serena’s and she can’t stay with one of us. Serena would find her in no time flat. Any ideas?" Darien blinked, then replied, "What about the four sisters?" "Good idea," Raye agreed. "When Mina wakes up, we’ll go see them.
Maybe they can help us with Serena too."
"You should be resting, my love," Rubeus said, coming up next to Serena, who was staring vacantly into one of the mirrors. "I know. I’m just worried about Rennie." "Don’t be. We’ll get her back safely and Scouts will get what they deserve. Now come on, you need rest before our next strike." They turned to leave, stopping when they noticed a dark light shimmering into existence. Serena stepped back a hooded man appeared within the light, drawing in a sharp, startled breath. "Its all right," Rubeus reassured her, "This is the Wiseman." "Greetings Princess. It is good to see you safe. I trust Rubeus has been doing his job?" "Yes," Serena replied, squeezing Rubeus’s hand lovingly, "He’s been doing an excellent job." There was a moment of silence, then Rubeus turned to Serena and said, "Go get some sleep, my love. Its been a long day for you." "Okay." Serena kissed his cheek, nodded to the Wiseman, and left the room. Rubeus waited until he was certain she was gone, then said, "Wiseman, how long to I have to keep up this sickening act?" "Until you succeed in the mission that brought you here!" the Wiseman snapped. "Now listen up. I have something for you to give your young love." There was a flash of light and a small sword appeared, hovering if front of Rubeus. Rubeus carefully took hold of it and looked it over. The blade was a dark silver that seemed to glow with evil light.
His eyes widened when he saw the hilt. A yellow Dragon eye stared at him with an unsettlingly lifelike quality. "The Dragon’s eye sword," he breathed. "I didn’t know it was still in this universe." The Wiseman chuckled. "It wasn’t. I picked it up a while back in a small dimension about three universes over. I’ve been saving it for just such an occasion. As long that sword remains in her possession, the darkness will reign supreme. Give it to her before her next fight." Rubeus nodded, and the Wiseman vanished.
"Wow, that’s some story," Birdie said with wide eyes. The Scouts, Darien and Rennie had arrived at the sisters’ place an hour earlier and had just finished telling them their story. Catsy had been listening with a thoughtful expression. After a moment of silence, she said, "You know, that sounds an awful lot like the potion the Wiseman used on us." "Only stronger and…different somehow," Prisma added. "We’d have to get a look at her and do a little probing to give you anything solid thought," Avery put in. Amy nodded, pulling something from her pocket. "I’ve got a spare communicator," she said, handing it to Catsy, "We’ll contact you when she shows up again." "We need to ask another favor," Raye spoke up. "We need to hide Rennie some place where Serena can’t find her." Birdie nodded. "Not a problem, we know just the place." Standing, she added, "Come on, follow us." The sisters led the group into the very back of the store and into a storage room. Birdie and Catsy moved some boxes out of the way, then Catsy started feeling around on the floor. After a moment, she found what she was looking for and lifted a section of the floor, revealing a trap door with stairs leading downward. "Watch yourselves, these steps are steep," Catsy warned as Prisma handed her a flashlight and the group descended into the darkness. "Where are we?" Raye asked when they reached the bottom. "Catacombs," Birdie answered from next to her. "We discovered them a few months ago and fixed a few of the chambers up. Like this one here." The group entered a small chamber dimly lit by candles and oil lamps. It was sparsely furnished with a couch, a few chairs, a table and some cots. "There are hundreds of these chambers down here," Avery said. "The tunnels run all over the city. We use this one the most.
The others we use for extra storage space or when one of us just wants to be alone for a while. We even got television. With a little magical help, we get better cable than up above," she finished with a grin.
"Rennie can stay here until the problem with Serena is cleared up," Catsy said. "You guys can stay with her if you want," she added.
"Thanks girls, this really means a lot," Darien said. Catsy smiled in reply, then turned her attention to Mina. "You know, you’re not going to be much use in a fight with those ribs. I can’t heal them completely, but I’ll be able to do enough that you’ll be able to fight if you have to." Mina looked at her in surprise. "How did you…" "The way you’re moving, plus the look in your eyes," Catsy explained. She moved over to her and added, "Come on, lift up your shirt." Mina looked at her, then carefully lifted up her shirt to reveal Darien’s careful handiwork. Catsy looked at it then gently placed her hand on the bandages, prompting a small gasp from Mina. "You’re going to feel a warm tingle, but no pain, okay?" At Mina’s nod, Catsy’s hand began to glow with a soft, reddish light. It lasted a few seconds, then vanished at she removed her hand. "You’re still gonna be moving a little stiffly and its still gonna be a little sore, but at least you’ll be able to fight if you have to." Mina nodded. "Thanks Catsy." "I think we should all go home and try to get some sleep. The next few days are probably going to be long and hard," Darien said. "He’s right," Lita agreed. She looked down at Rennie and said, "If you want, one of us can stay with you tonight." Rennie looked up at the sisters and smiled. "That’s okay, I’ll be all right." "Come on, I’ll show you guys out," Catsy said. The group said their goodnights to Rennie, then followed Catsy from the room and then from the catacombs.
When the transformation was complete, she ran from the alley, stopped a respectable distance from the trio, and shouted, "Sailor Moon, stop!" Moon stopped in the middle of destroying a vending machine and turned around. "Well now, if it isn’t one of the traitors!" she snarled, "I was wondering if any of you would show up." "Sailor Moon please, you must believe me. We have not and never will betray you!" "Stop it Mercury!" Moon snapped, "Its not going to work. I won’t let you refill my head with lies and regain my trust so you can continue on with your schemes! Its-not-going-to-work!" With that, she lashed out, engaging Mercury in a fierce battle. "Serena," Mercury pleaded desperately as she worked to avoid Moon’s blows, "You have to see, its Rubeus who’s deceiving you, not us. Rubeus is with the NegaMoon. He was in command the four sisters when they first arrived, chasing Rennie. He…" "Lies!" Moon screamed, "Rubeus is not with the NegaMoon and he was not with the four sisters! The sisters showed up long before he did and they showed up alone!" She paused, then added, "Rubeus has opened up a whole new world for me, one that you four blocked from me. It’s a world where anything is possible and nothing is impossible. A world full of power I never knew I possessed." "That’s because you don’t Serena! The power you’re using isn’t natural. This new world is evil in disguise. Its consuming your soul, eating away all the good in you. Soon, there will be nothing left! Nothing but darkness. Tell me Serena…how can you fight for love and justice when darkness fills your heart and soul?" When Moon stopped her advance and just stared, Mercury knew she had hit something. "Fight it, Serena," she said quietly while silently praying for the others to get there. Moon’s eyes took on a look that might have been confusion or fear. She looked at Mercury and whispered, "Amy?" before squeezing her eyes shut and doubling over, clutching her head and letting out a muffled scream. Mercury was torn as to whether she should take the few steps that would put her within her friend’s reach or stay where she was and watch. In the end, she closed the distance. She cautiously reached out and put her hand on Moon’s shoulder.
"Serena?" she asked carefully. Moon’s struggles suddenly ceased, and she shot straight up, startling Mercury, who jumped back a step. Moon’s eyes were closed and her arms hung loosely at her sides. Mercury reached out, again jumping back when Moon’s eyes suddenly snapped open, glowing with an intense green fire. Moving faster than Mercury could follow, Moon Backhanded her sharply, sending her painfully to the ground. "Nice try Mercury," Moon growled from above her, "But I already told you, its not going to work." Mercury looked up from where she lay, and suddenly noticed something she hadn’t before. Moon’s uniform was changing. The blue had gone slight shade darker, as had the red. Her eyes traveled to the moons on the boots and found that they had, too had changed. A little bit of black was in each corner and it looked at though they were begging to rotate! Mercury caught the sudden energy flare around Moon’s hands and quickly rolled away as Moon released it, scrambling to her feet and shouting, "MERCURY BUBBLES BLAST!"
"Cute Mercury, real cute," Moon said as she tried to locate her adversary through the thick fog.
"Come on out and fight!" she shouted, "Or are you showing your true colors as a coward?"
"Over here Serena." Moon spun around to where the fog was clearing, and her brows shot up.
"Well, well, if it isn’t the rest of the traitors. Now we can really get this party started." As the fog cleared more, she noticed that the Scouts weren’t alone. "Oh, you even brought the sisters. Got them involved in your plans too huh? Figures. Don’t even try it Jupiter," she added when Jupiter started to speak, "I already went through it with it with Mercury and I don’t want to go through it again. Instead, I think its time for a little entertainment. Girls?" The two droids stepped from the shadows of an alley where they had been watching the confrontation between Moon and Mercury. Moon looked at them and said, "Do I really need to tell you what to do?"
"No mistress," the droids answered in unison. Moon smiled and vanished, reappearing in a sitting position at the top of a telephone pole. The droids looked at each other, then attacked. Prisma, Birdie and Avery joined in the fight while Catsy retreated to a safe place where she could probe Moon for the information they required. It didn’t take long to destroy the droids, for they were both weaker than they appeared. As the girls regrouped, Moon jumped down from her perch, landing gracefully several feet from them. "So much for the entertainment, huh?" she asked. The group watched her warily, each noticing the changes Mercury had and making a mental note to mention it later. Moon looked back at them with an amused expression. "Wondering what I’m going to do next? Well, I’ll tell you. I’m going to show you my new toy. Then, I’m going to hurt you, mabey kill you with it." She raised her hand to the sky and, in a flash of light, a sword appeared in her grasp. The sisters gasped and took a fearful step back when they saw it, raising the Scouts’ curiosity. Moon grinned. "Don’t worry, I’ll leave one of you alive. I have to find where you hid Rennie after all." Then she attacked. After several minutes of fighting, the Scouts were able to determine why the sisters were so fearful of the little sword. The power she released with it was twice as strong compared to when she didn’t have it. And the effect it had on Moon was even more frightening. Just moments into the fight, her eyes had taken on a murderous glint and whenever she made contact with the sword, it was brutal and without mercy.
‘Oh man,’ Venus thought, putting her hand to her injured ribs, ‘If this keeps up, I’ll have a lot
more to worry about than just my ribs.’ She struggled to her feet and hurried over to where
Mercury and Jupiter were. "If anyone has a plan, now would be a good time to speak up," she
said as she joined them. "The only thing I can suggest is hitting her with enough power to force
her into a retreat," Mercury replied. "At this point, I’m willing to try anything," Jupiter agreed.
She turned and shouted, "Mars, keep her busy for a minute!" "That won’t be much of a
problem!" Mars shouted back from where she was dodging one of Moon’s power strikes. "I’ll
help her," Prisma called as she ran by. Jupiter took a deep breath, then called on her power.
"VENUS LOVES CHAINS…"
"MERCURY ICE BUBBLES…"
Moon screamed as the combined attacks slammed into her, knocking her to the ground. She laid there for a few seconds, then pushed herself up to her knees, touched her cheek, and looked at the blood that stained her glove. "That wasn’t very nice now, was it?" she growled as she stood.
She retrieved her sword which lay at her feet and thrust it and her other hand into the air.
"Uh-oh," Jupiter muttered as a strong wind blew up and lightning flashed across the clear blue sky. "Mabey that wasn’t such a good idea." "Sailor Moon! Stop!" a new voice shouted as she prepared to strike. Startled, she called off her attack and spun around to find a young guy, dressed in a tuxedo, cape, top hat and white mask. "So who are you?" She noticed him stiffen slightly at her question. After a moment, he said, "Sailor Moon, its me, Tuxedo Mask." "Sorry pal. Never heard of ya," she replied, putting a hand on her hip and raising her brows. It was clear her interest had been captured however, for her stance was relaxed and her eyes were filled with curiosity. She had apparently forgotten the Scouts and the sisters, who had regrouped a short distance away and were watching the pair intently. Tuxedo took a step forward and said, "Yes you have, Serena.
You and I go back a long time. Centuries in fact." Moon blinked, taking her hand off her hip and staring at him in surprise. "How…how did you know my name?" "Like I said, we go back centuries…to the time of the Moon Kingdom. Can’t you remember? Before the Negaverse destroyed everything, you and prince Darien of Earth were to one day marry and unite the two worlds." ‘There’s that name again,’ she thought. She looked back at the Scouts. ‘What in the world is going on?’ She turned back and looked down at her sword. The eye suddenly flared with light and, as she watched, the darkness within retook control of her mind.
When she looked back at him, her eyes were once again aglow with the dark colors. "I see what’s going on. You’re allied with them aren’t you? Well, any ally of theirs is an enemy of mine!" That said, she rushed forward and attacked. The pair fought for several moments until Moon finally cornered him. She smiled chillingly. "Any last words?" Tuxedo looked back her calmly. "Just a request," he replied softly. He removed his mask. "Look at me Serena. It’s Darien. Look at me and try to remember the love we shared…the love we still share." Their eyes met and locked. Somewhere deep within Moon, something stirred. She blinked and her eyes hardened. "Sweet dreams," she whispered, then thrust the sword forward.
"What were you thinking?" Rubeus exclaimed in anger. "You had him, you had them all! You could have killed them easily!" "Forgive me, my love," Serena said from where she watched him pace. "He frightened and confused me. All I wanted to do was get back here to you, where it was safe." Rubeus stopped pacing and turned to her. "Well, we can’t have you frightened and confused now can we?" he said, taking her in his arms. He was silent for a moment, then said, "Serena, do you love me?" Serena looked up at him. "Of course! With all my heart." "Do you want to survive to create the future I am from and rule with me at your side?" At her nod, he continued, "Then remember that the next time he tries his tricks on you." She nodded and he kissed her forehead. "You fought hard today, my love. Go get some rest and then we’ll plan our next move." He stared after her as she left, wondering how wise manipulating this one really was.
"Guys, this is much more serious than you first thought," Catsy said half an hour later. "I mean, we’re talking catastrophic here!" The group was back in the chambers of the catacombs, taking care of their wounds and listening to Amy fill them in on what she had learned before their arrival. Catsy had mentally combined Amy’s information with what she herself had learned, and had been disturbed by the results. "So what did you learn?" Birdie asked. "Definitely a potion. The darkness was hard to read, but I was finally able to determine what it did and what its doing. In the beginning, it gave her dreams that messed with her memories. It blocked out everything with Darien in it and twisted her memories of us and Rubeus. It then got her up for those little late night walks you mentioned and led her straight to Rubeus, who twisted her even more. And the fact that she’s got that sword…" she trailed off and Lita asked, "I don’t get it. What’s the deal with this thing?" The sisters looked at each other, then Prisma replied, "Its called the Dragon’s eye sword. Its one of the most evil and oldest weapons ever created. And now that its in her possession, we don’t stand a chance of getting her back. Sure, she may break through every once in a while, but the sword will always pull her back, and that little bit of goodness that managed to break through will be consumed until eventually, nothing will be left but the darkness." "So, lets just get the sword away from her," Mina said. Catsy shook her head. "No good. Taking it away will just make the problem worse. It has to be destroyed. The nine of us combined don’t have enough power to that." "So how do we destroy it then?" Raye asked, "There’s gotta be a way." "There is," Avery answered, "But I wouldn’t get your hopes up." At their looks, she continued, "Shortly after the Dragon’s eye was made, another one known as the Star Sword was created to oppose it. Legend says it was powered by the stars themselves. Unfortunately, it was lost thousands of centuries ago. It could be in an entirely different universe for all we know." There was a moment of silence, and then Amy said, "Before you all arrived, I noticed that Serena’s uniform and the moons on her boots were changing." Catsy nodded. "That’s the potion and the sword working together. They’re bring her over to the NegaMoon. When her uniform is completely black and the moons have rotated to the sign of the NegaMoon…then all the good will be gone, and she’ll belong to the Negaverse forever." Once again, silence fell, broken when Mina asked, "Darien, are you all right?" Darien looked at her, then at the sisters. "Tell me, can the Wiseman give people dreams without potions?" "Sure," Catsy replied, "That’s his favorite way to get control over people. Why?" Darien didn’t answer. He looked as though he was piecing something together. As the girls watched, anger suddenly filled his eyes. "I can’t believe I fell for it!" he exclaimed, slamming his fist angrily on the arm of his chair. "For Goodness sake Darien, what?" Mina asked, looking toward the room Rennie was sleeping in. Darien refocused his attention on them and quickly explained about the dreams that had led to his breakup with Serena for her protection.
"That’s the Wiseman all over," Prisma said. "Can’t blame you for taking the action you did," Birdie added, "The Wiseman’s dreams can be pretty scary." There as short pause, then Amy spoke up quietly, "So what are we going to do? I mean, we can’t leave Rennie down here forever and we can’t let Serena go on as she is." "The only thing we can do," Darien replied in an even quieter voice, realization and pain mixing in his eyes. When he didn’t continue, Catsy, who already knew what he had figured out, said, "There is one other way to free her from the Sword’s influence and that’s to take her down…permanently." The Scouts stared at Catsy in shock. "You mean…?" Lita began, to be interrupted by Raye exclaiming, "Absolutely not! Scouts don’t kill those we protect!
Especially when the one being protected is Serena!" "Then she will surely kill all of you without hesitation, and the Wiseman will have won," Birdie replied. "You all know Serena just as well as I do," Darien said, the pain strong in his voice, "and you know she would rather die than live a life of darkness. I love her too much to deny her that." A long silence followed. The Scouts knew he was right and each were trying to deal with the situation in her own heart. Finally, Darien stood and silently left. Soon after, the others followed.
It wasn’t until Darien was back in his apartment and the door was closed and locked that the tears began flowing. Collapsing into a chair, Darien wept for a long time. Not just for time lost with his eternal love, but for time they would never have.
After the tears had run dry, Darien had gone to his bed and fallen into a deep, restless sleep. It wasn’t one of the many dreams that finally awoke him. A soft, out of place breeze and the feeling of another presence was what ultimately did the job. He sat up with a start, his eyes wide as he stared at the softly glowing woman standing at the foot of his bed. "Hello prince Darien," she said with a gentle smile.
"Queen…Serenity?" Darien stammered, stunned. "What…what are you doing here?" "I’m here to help. I am well aware of the situation with Serena and of what you are planning. I know how much it hurts you and am here to ease your pain." Darien looked away. "Nothing could ease this pain," he whispered. "Not even the fact that you do not have to kill her to free her?" Serenity asked. Darien looked at her sharply. "What do you mean? Is there another way?" "Of course. It’s the answer you already know. The Sword of the stars." "The Star Sword? But the sisters said it was lost centuries ago." Serenity smiled again. "The sword was never lost, just placed somewhere and forgotten." She held out her hand. "Come, I will take you to it." Darien quickly climbed out of bed, and touched her outstretched hand. There was a flash of light and he found himself standing on what appeared to be a rock surrounded by blackness. In front of them was a swirling, white light.
"Where are we?" "Outside the Crystal Caverns, a dimension long since forgotten. The few who still remember it’s existence are the ones who keep it’s magic alive. It houses some of the most powerful objects ever created. Objects of good and evil including the Sword you seek. All you need to do is enter and find it. Once you do, you will automatically be transported back here. No traps, no quizzes. The only test is that you follow the warning I give you now. Touch nothing but the Star Sword. Do you understand?" Darien nodded and, at her guesture, entered the light. He found himself in a cavern with several others branching off in different directions. The caverns were made entirely of crystals of different colors. Some were light and emitted a warm essence while others were dark and cold. He figured those were the evil ones and entered the caverns with the light, warm crystals. He went through several caverns filled with rubes, crystals, staffs and a variety of different swords and daggers before he finally found what he was looking for. It was hanging on a far wall next to some daggers and a shield. The blade was a silverish blue while the hilt was golden with a blue star in the center. It seemed to welcome as he approached, glowing softly. Warmth flooded though him as he grabbed the hilt and took it from the wall. He barely had time to look it over before there was another flash of light and he was standing before a smiling Serenity. "Excellent. You now have what you need to free Serena and take her back from the side of evil." Darien looked at the sword, then back at her. "Thank you Serenity. I’m not sure what I would have done without Serena. I love her so much." "I know. And deep down, where the good still lives, she loves you too." She began to glow, slowly intensifying until he was forced to shut his against the light. The brightness ended abruptly and he opened his eyes, finding himself staring up at the roof. He sat up in his bed, and looked around his darkened room. A dream, he realized dejectedly. He sighed and laid back down, not noticing the sword propped up in one corner of the room, glowing softly as it gently coaxed him back to sleep and filled him with peaceful dreams that led to a good night’s rest.
"I’ll help you," Lita said, following Birdie from the room.
Amy could feel eyes watching her as she slowly made her way towards the sisters’ place. Stopping, she carefully looked around. This early in the morning, there weren’t many people out and about, so it would be easy to spot whoever was watching her. However, she could find no one.
Shrugging, she started off once more, this time quickening her pace.
The feeling only intensified, driving her to reach inside her pocket and grip her transformation pen. As she passed an alley, a hand reached out and grabbed her, pulling her roughly inside. She didn’t even have time to cry out as she was thrown against a wall, her head striking the red brick. With a small moan, she sank to the ground and remained still.
Her attacker picked up the transformation pen she had dropped, then knelt down next to her and felt for a pulse. Serena smiled coldly when she found one. "Good," she said out loud, "You wouldn’t be any good to me dead right now." She put her hand on Amy’s arm, and the pair vanished.
"She should have been here by now," Lita said, checking he watch as she paced nervously. "I’ll try her on the communicator," Mina said. As she pulled it out, however, the small device beeped and Amy’s voice came over the line. "Guys…this is Amy. Do…do you read me?" "Amy, its Mina. You don’t sound so good. Are you all right?" "No…I’ve got a…problem." "What’s that?" Raye asked cautiously. "Me," an all to familiar voice answered. The girls looked at each other. "Uh-oh," Lita muttered. "Serena, is Amy all right?" Mina asked. "For the time being. She just woke up from a little nap, that’s why she sounds so strange and she has a nasty bump on her head, but other than that…" "What do you want us to do Serena?" Mina asked carefully, mentally dreading the answer. "Good question. How ‘bout you meet me in that part of the park no one ever goes in lets say…an hour. You bring Rennie, I’ll bring Amy and we’ll make a fair trade. If you choose not to, then Amy and I will leave and the next time you see her, it won’t be a pretty sight. But, I you follow my instructions, then I’ll release her to you so she has a chance to die fighting and with honor, if any of you still remember what that is and still have some." She paused, then added, "One hour. What will you choose? Bye." There was another small beep and the communicator went silent. "Now what?" Lita asked, "We can’t surrender Rennie." "Yes you can," a young voice replied. The group turned in surprise. Rennie had been so quiet, they had forgotten she was still in the room. "There’s no other choice," she added, her voice and eyes devoid of fear. ‘Where have I seen that look before?’ Mina silently wondered, then shook herself from her thoughts. "Rennie," she said gently, "We can’t surrender you. You know better than any of us what Rubeus would do if he got his hands on you." "You’re too important to the future," Raye added. "I don’t care," Rennie argued in the same calm, fearless voice. "I can’t let Amy die because of me and I can’t believe you’re even considering letting her!" The Scouts looked at one another. "Rennie," Raye said, "We’re not considering letting Amy die. We’re just saying that getting her back by giving you up is not an option." "It is if we put a little deception into it." They turned to Darien in a mixture of shock and curiosity. Darien was staring at the sword in a way that almost suggested they were communicating. Without a word, Darien picked it up and pointed it at Rennie. A light beam of energy shot out and engulfed her. The energy expanded and grew intensely bright. Then it stopped, allowing the group to open their eyes. They let out gasps of surprise when they saw an exact duplicate of Rennie standing next to the real one. "Darien! You made a clone!" Mina exclaimed for all of them. Darien shook his head. "No, she’s an extremely life like hologram. Go ahead Rennie, touch her." Rennie, who had been staring at her double in amazement, slowly reached out to touch her twin’s shoulder and her eyes widened when her hand when right through. "I can seem to control her with my mind," Darien said as the holo-Rennie raised her hand and then jumped up and down excitedly. "I’ll hide in the bushes and control her from there. Once Amy is back with you, I’ll get rid of the image and join you so we can start the fight to take her back." He looked at Rennie, once more putting her hand through the hologram and added, "As long as Serena doesn’t touch her before we get Amy back, we should be okay." "Sounds like a plan," Lita agreed and the others nodded. "Would you like us to join you?" Birdie asked. Darien nodded. "If you don’t mind. I’ve got the feeling we’re going to need all the help we can get."
An hour later, the Scouts, dressed in their uniforms, appeared at the designated meeting place by way of teleportation curtesy of the sisters. Birdie ran up to them, having teleported herself and Darien to some nearby bushes. Seconds later, the holo-Rennie appeared. "Okay," she said, "Call Serena out. Raye stepped forward, raised her eyes to the sky and shouted, "All right Serena! We’re here! Where are you?" There was a flash of teleportation light several feet in front of them, and Sailor Moon appeared with a droid holding a bound Amy. The Scouts gasped when they saw Moon. The blue and red on her uniform had turned yet an another shade darker. The moons on her boots had nearly completed their rotation and were half black. Even the white on her uniform looked sinister. "She’s changing rapidly," Prisma murmured, "This isn’t going to be easy." "Okay Sailor Moon, we brought Rennie.
Now let Amy go," Mars said, ignoring Amy’s horrified look. Moon shook her head. "Not that easy, Mars. How do I know one of you won’t take off with Rennie as soon as you get Amy? Let’s meet halfway on this." Turning, she grabbed Amy from the droid, who then vanished, and pulled her to within halfway of where the Scouts stood. ""Your turn," she called. The girls exchanged glances, then Mars moved forward, ‘Rennie’ walking next to her. They stopped just beyond Moon’s reach and the four stared at each other. "Well, how do you want to do this?" Mars asked quietly. "Rennie, come behind me," Moon instructed. ‘Rennie’ did as she was told, moving behind Moon but staying out of her reach. Moon produced a knife, which she used to cut Amy’s bonds and then shoved her forward. Mars reached out and quickly caught her. "Can you fight?" she whispered, as she made her friend start walking. A quick look in Mars’s eyes stopped any questions Amy was going to ask. "Yes," she whispered back. "Good. Get ready to transform right away. Amy nodded and pulled out her transformation pen, clutching it tightly in her fist. She jumped as Moon’s rage filled scream split the air. "Do it!" Mars shouted, jumping in front of her and taking the energy blast.
"MERCURY STAR POWER!"
Mercury spun around and quickly helped Mars up as the others joined them. "You betrayed me again!" Moon screamed. "I give you the chance to regain some of the honor you lost and you betrayed me again!" "They didn’t need to regain any honor because they didn’t loose any." Moon spun around toward the voice and started, backing up a step when she saw Tuxedo. "You again," she said in a soft, yet threatening voice. A tense silence followed. Moon seemed to be in an intense internal debate while Tuxedo watched and prepared himself for the battle, the sword waiting in a pocket dimension. Behind Moon, the Scouts and the sisters were filling Mercury in on what was going on while also preparing for the battle that would decide everything. Suddenly, Moon’s hand shot skyward and the sword appeared. She rushed forward and Tuxedo fell into a defensive stance to meet her attack. She surprised him, however, when she jumped into the air and flipped over him. He spun around, clutching his left arm where she had raked him on the way over, gritting his teeth against the hot pain. She grinned and said, "I figured it would be better to keep you all where I could see you. After all, it wouldn’t do to have you all attacking me from behind now would it?" "You all right?" Mercury asked as they joined him. He nodded silently, staring intently at Moon, watching for her next move. He didn’t have to wait long. A few seconds later, she directed a short blast as the Scouts, and the fight was on. Something told Tuxedo that it wasn’t time for him and Moon to fight, so he moved off to the side to watch. A hard act to do. At one point during the fight, he had to admit he was impressed.
Never before had she been able to handle eight opponents at once and on her own. In a way, he hoped that these new skills brought about by all this stayed when they got her back to normal. Over an hour passed.
Every time Tuxedo tried to enter the fight, something would hold him back. He hurried over to where Catsy had been thrown into a tree, and helped her to her feet. "You all right?" he asked. Catsy nodded and pointed at Moon. "Look," she said, "The moons on her boots have competed their rotation and are nearly all black." Looking over, he found she was right. The moons on her boots had completed their changed to the signs of the NegaMoon and only a small part were still yellow.
Her uniform had changed more too. The blue was almost black and the red was the color of dark blood. At the moment, Moon was facing off with Mars while the other tried to recover from a particularly brutal energy blast. Tuxedo and Catsy watched as the pair traded blows for a moment, then Moon lashed out with a blast that left Mars on the ground, stunned. Moon smiled coldly as she stood above the other girl, sword raised above her head. "Casualty number one, coming up," she snarled.
The force holding Tuxedo suddenly released him and he charged forward.
The sword appeared in his hand and he intercepted the fatal blow just in time. Moon looked up at him in surprise as Jupiter hurried over and pulled a still dazed Mars away to safety. "Well, if it isn’t prince Tuxedo or whatever it is you call yourself. Finally decided to join the party did ya?" They began circling each other, Tuxedo waiting for her to make the first move, which she did. It came fast and hard. But, being more experienced with a sword, he was easily able to block. The two had only been fighting a moment when an energy blast smashed into Tuxedo, sending him flying back several feet. Moon looked around in surprise, her eyes lighting up when Rubeus appeared next to her, concern in his eyes. "That sword he has," he whispered urgently, "I don’t know how he got it, but it could destroy everything we’re trying to accomplish. You must destroy it." Moon nodded. "It will be done, my love." Rubeus nodded and moved off to fight with the Scouts and sisters while Moon turned back to Tuxedo. Once more, Tuxedo tried to convince her that he and the Scouts weren’t her enemies but, remembering Rubeus’s words, this made her angrier and even more determined to kill him and the others. However, when her sword connected with his leg and a powerful blast threw him into a tree, Mars shouted, "Darien!" and Moon stiffened. ‘Why do I feel so strange every time I hear that name?’ she thought as Mars and one of the sisters hurried over to help Tuxedo. She looked down at the sword and something rose within her. For a brief instant, she wondered if the Scouts really had betrayed her. If the deception and betrayal had actually come from someone entirely different. Then, the sword began glowing and the darkness surged forward, harder and faster than before. Her eyes glowed darkly. It was time to finish this once and for all. Rubeus had abruptly disappeared, so the others had all joined Tuxedo at the tree in an attempt to regroup. They watched her warily as she raised her hand to the sky and a beam of dark energy shot from the sword to the heavens. "I don’t think I’m going to like where this goes," Venus said as a fierce wind up. The group watched as strange, supernatural clouds began to form rapidly, quickly consuming what was left of the daylight. "What’s happening?" Jupiter shouted over the roar of the wind and the crash of thunder. "It is the darkness of the Negaverse!" Catsy shouted back.
"Serena and her power has always been the one being that stood in the way of the Negaverse conquering this world! With Serena in their power, the Negaverse is having no trouble entering this world full force! The sword is calling them through her, which is exactly where most of it is going to go! Look!" The group looked, and gasped. The blue on her uniform was now completely black and the red was the darkest any of them had ever seen. The moons on her boots were not completely black as was the one on her forehead where her Tiara had vanished. Up in the sky, a hole had appeared in the swirling, black clouds and a beam of energy shout down. Moon’s head snapped back and the energy entered the moon on her forehead. "Time’s up!" Prisma shouted, "That sword must be destroyed now or everything is finished!" Already knowing what to do, Tuxedo took a few steps forward, closing his eyes and concentrating as he crossed his arms over his chest. He concentrated on Serena, on their love and how much it meant and prayed with his heart to the stars. The star in the center of the hilt began glowing, drawing on the strength and determination to save his love from eternal darkness. The glowing grew to an intense brightness, creating a supernatural aura of its own.
Moving with lightning quick speed, Tuxedo uncrossed his arms, grasped the hilt in both hands and raised in over his head where it was struck by silverish lightning. Then, with a long, loud yell, he threw the crackling sword. It soared end over end until it hit it’s target: the Dragon’s eyes in the hilt of the Sword of darkness. A horrible scream echoed all around, chilling them all to the bone. The energy entering Moon’s forehead stopped, and then reversed. Moon’s screams mixed with the other screams which continued even as the explosion occured.
Everyone was knocked to the ground by the force, shielding their eyes from the overwhelming light. When it subsided, Tuxedo looked up, finding the sword back at his side. Looking over at Moon, he found he sitting up, looking around in a daze. Her uniform was still dark, as was the moon on her forehead, but he noticed instantly that they weren’t as frightening as they had been. There was a flash and Rubeus was at her side, helping her up and saying something to her. Tuxedo watch with growing anger as Rubeus kissed her and the colors flared in her eyes.
He jumped as Catsy whispered to him, "You can take her back. The sword no longer holds power over her. You can reach her with your love." Tuxedo nodded and got painfully to his feet. Rubeus moved off to the side to watch what he hoped would be the destruction of Tuxedo Mask and the Scouts even without the Sword in her possession. Moon watched Tuxedo approach, energy swirling around her hands. Moving quickly, she aimed and released, but he had seen what she had planned and was able to dodge easily. "It’s over Serena!" he called out calmly, "It’s time to come back to us…to come back to me." "The only place I’m going is with Rubeus. And you…well say hi to the angel of death for me!" she released another blast, nearly catching him in the shoulder. "Look at yourself Serena!" he shouted, dodging another blast, "You’re fighting for the NegaMoon! Look at the moons on your boots, the moon on his forehead!
They’re the signs of the NegaMoon!" Moon stopped and looked at him.
She spared a quick glance at Rubeus, then turned her attention back to him. "I see no moon. You’re just trying to delay the inevitable. Give it up. I’m tired and I want to go to bed." Tuxedo was silent for a moment. Then, much to the surprise of the sisters and Scouts said, "All right Serena. If you really feel you have to kill me then," a flash of light surrounded him and he stood in his civilian clothes, "I’m not going to stop you. I love you Serena. Always have, always will. All I ask is that you look in your heart and listen to what it has to say." Moon froze at his words. Their eyes met and locked… Deep in my soul
As before, something within her stirred. Stronger this time, as was the fear and confusion.
Love so strong
It takes control
"What’s going on?" she whispered, "You’re the enemy, allied with the Scouts, also my enemies."
Now we both know
Darien shook his head. "No," he replied softly, "I’m not the enemy and neither are the Scouts. Deep down, you know that." He took a step toward her and her hands shot up, crackling with energy. "Stay back," she warned in a shaky voice.
The secrets bared
Darien stopped. "Search your memories Serena." The feelings show
"Find the memories stolen from you and take them back. Find the memories of us."
Driven far apart
I’ll make a wish
on a shooting star
Moon’s eyes never left his, but he could tell she was searching.
There will come a day
somewhere far away
in your arms I’ll stay
my only love
A flash in her memory brought her to the time of the Moon kingdom. She was walking downstairs to mingle with the ball goers. A hand touched her. "May I have this dance?" a handsome boys in a tuxedo and mask asks. She smiles and nods. As they dance, he tells her that her mother knows she is not a spy and that he will help her fight the force that threatens her kingdom. Moon soldiers spot him and he is forced to leave her company so they will not catch him. Another flash and she was back, staring at Darien.
Even though you’re gone
love will still live on
The black moon on her forehead lightened, as did her uniform.
The feeling is so strong
my only love
Another flash brought her to a balcony. She and the boy in the tuxedo were sharing a tender kiss. Suddenly, the Negaverse was attacking and the boy was in armor, hurrying off to fight for what would one day be their kingdom. "Darien! Come back to me!" she shouts…death. Everyone is gone, including the boy she loves with all her heart. With a scream of grief, she runs and joins him…
There will come a day
somewhere far away
in your arms I’ll stay
my only love
More memories assaulted her, bringing tears that spilled from her eyes and ran down her cheeks. "What are you doing?" Rubeus screamed from where he stood, "Finish him! He must be killed if you are to survive!" "I…I can’t," Moon whispered as the memories continued to flow. She stopped the energy flow and sank to her knees, looking as though she was anywhere but the present. "Then I will!" Rubeus shouted, his own sword appearing in his hand. Darien barely had time to re-transform before Rubeus was upon him. Moon barely noticed, still trying to sort through her confusion. "No," Catsy said, stopping Lita as she started toward Moon, "The rest is up to her now." What had stirred deep within Moon began to rapidly climb to the surface as Tuxedo’s words and the rush of memories ran amuck through her mind, until it hit her, leaving her stunned.
You’ve reached the deepest part
of the secret in my heart
I’ve known it from the start
my only love
Her uniform returned to normal and the black moon flickered and died, to be replaced by her true moon symbol. She looked around, the focus returning to her eyes and spotted Rubeus and Tuxedo Mask in a heated battle. "Darien?" she whispered. She watched as Rubeus struck him hard, ramming him into and winding him too much to avoid the fatal blow Rubeus had planned. "Nooo!" she screamed, leaping to her feet and running.
There will come a day
somewhere far away
Rubeus drew the sword back
In your arm I’ll stay
He thrust forward…
My only love
Moon ran in front and blocked Tuxedo, her eyes widening in shock as the blade entered her chest. Surprise flashed through Rubeus’s eyes, followed by a cruel smile crossing his lips.
My only love
"Serena!" Tuxedo exclaimed in horror as she slumped against him and he lowered her to the ground. "Serena! Serena!" he shouted frantically as the girls joined him. Mercury looked at the blood oozing from the wound and said, "We’ve got to stop the flow of blood before she looses too much!" "Quick!" Mars said, "Put pressure on it." Jupiter was already in the process, putting both hands over the wound and applying firm pressure. Moon moaned as the pressure sent waves of pain crashing through her and her eyes opened. "Serena!" Tuxedo exclaimed as she looked at him. "Darien," she whispered, "I’m so sorry." "Shh, don’t be. You were under the influence of one of the Wiseman’s potions." Moon coughed and drew in a sharp breath. She then refocused her attention on him and his words floated back to her. "I…I though you didn’t love my anymore," she whispered. Tuxedo shook his head. "No, I do love you. More than anything. I only said I didn’t because I was trying to protect you." "What…do you mean?" He gave her a quick summery of what the Wiseman had done. "I never stopped loving you, and I never will!" he finished fiercely. Moon smiled slightly. "I love you too, Darien. You, and only you." Laughter reminded them of Rubeus.
They looked up as he said, "How touching! Anyone care to try and avenge her?" Tuxedo stared at him, rage burning in his eyes. He looked back at Moon, who had slipped into unconsciousness. "You all go," Birdie said, "I’ll stay with her." Tuxedo nodded and gently kissed Moon’s lips before standing and joining the Scouts in a face off with Rubeus. The battle erupted quick and fierce with the Scouts skipping up to their most powerful attacks. The sisters’ attacks were less powerful, but still quite effective while Tuxedo fought with the power the Star Sword had left in him. The battle grew quite loud, penetrating Moon’s senses and causing her to stir. Her eyes fluttered open and focused on Birdie, kneeling above her, trying to keep pressure on her wound and protect her from the fury of the battle at the same time. Moon slowly turned her head to look at the fight and, in the process, her eyes fell upon the Star Sword. Tuxedo had dropped it when Rubeus had rammed him into the tree and he had apparently forgotten it in his rage. Once more moving slowly, she reached out and grasped the hilt. Instantly, power flowed through her, easing her pain to the point where it vanished completely and filled her with strength. Much to Birdie’s surprise, she stood and made her way out from beneath the tree to the area of the fight.
Moon’s eyes fixed on Rubeus and she shouted, "Hold it right there Nega-sleaze!" The battle stopped and everyone turned to look at her in surprise. "Well now," Rubeus said with a smile, "up and about all ready are we? That’s something we’ll just have to fix." "I am Sailor Moon!" Moon shouted, wasting no time with idle chit-chat, "For preying on my emotions of love and loyalty and for majorly pissing me off, I will punish you!" "We’ll see about that!" Rubeus shouted back. He raised his sword, pointed it at her, and energy shot out. Moon raised her own sword and shouted,
"MOON STAR POWER!"
The energy beams collided and a battle of wills began. For a while, Moon seemed to be wining. But Rubeus quickly turned the tables. As the energy was forced back toward her, Rubeus laughed and said, "Ready to meet your destiny Sailor Moon?" "Yes, but not the destiny you have in mind Nega-trash!" Moon responded through gritted teeth. She closed her eyes and shouted, "Stars of the universe, hear me! I call upon those who gave their power to create this sword! Unite, with the power of the Moon and VANQUISH-THIS-EVIL!" From the sky, several beams of colored energy shot down, entering the star in the sword. As the energy rushing from the sword grew thicker and stronger, the Moon on her forehead flared and her beam joined with the sword’s energy. Rubeus’s eyes widened and he began to struggle to keep the energy away from him. With a yell, Moon forced the energy forward and Rubeus screamed as the united power of the moon and the stars consumed him. Then, all at once, the energy stopped and all was still. Rubeus was on where to be found. Their attention was drawn skyward as an explosion ripped through the air. "Rubeus’s ship," Catsy said softly. "He’ll be a threat no more," Avery added.
"Serena!" Tuxedo shouted. Moon had dropped the sword and, as the star energy left her, crumpled to the ground. "Serena! Serena!" Tuxedo called as he fell to his knees next to her. Moon’s eyes fluttered and she de-transformed as she opened them. "Darien," she whispered, reaching up and touching his cheek. Tuxedo took her hand and squeezed gently. "Its over Serena. You’re going to be all right. Everything is going to be fine." She looked at him with sad, yet kind eyes.
"Would…would you do me a favor?" she asked softly. "What?" he replied.
"Would you…look after Rennie for me?" Tuxedo’s smile faded at the question and alarm began to grow within. "We’re loosing her," Mercury announced as she looked at her computer readouts. "No. Serena, you’re going to be all right, "Tuxedo said in a shaky voice, "We’ll get you to a hospital or something, but you’re going to be all right." Serena shook her head. "I can feel myself slipping away. Please Darien…promise me you’ll look after Rennie. I get the feeling she’s more important to the future than we know…please." Tuxedo was about to argue more, but the look in her eyes deterred him. "All…all right," he whispered, "I promise." She smiled thankfully, then looked up at the Scouts, all of who had tears running down their cheeks. "Don’t cry guys. At least you won’t have Rubeus to deal with anymore." "Its not worth loosing you over," Venus managed to say. "Serena," Tuxedo said, his voice almost desperate, "Please don’t go. I don’t think I could go on without you." "You can you will," Serena replied with as much force as she could muster. "The future of our Kingdom depends on it." She put her hand over his heart and added, "I’ll always be…right here…to love and guide you." Her eyes closed and her hand went limp in his as she became still. "I love you Serena," Tuxedo whispered, bowing his head and pressing her hand to his cheek as the tears flowed. "No!" a small voice shouted. Rennie pushed through the group and fell to her knees next to Serena’s body. "No, mommy, no!" she sobbed, burring her hand into Serena’s neck. Jupiter sniffed and said, "Did…she just call her ‘mommy?’" "That is correct Jupiter," a soft voice said. The group looked up to find Queen Serenity standing before them. "Rennie is Serena and Darien’s future daughter." "But Serena is…"Venus began.
Unable to say it, she gestured and said, "How can Rennie still be here?" "Because Serena is not truly gone." Rennie looked up and said, "Please Grandmother, bring her back." "I cannot. She is the place that exists between this world and the next. Only the six of you can bring her back." "But…how?" Jupiter asked. "I will transport you there. But we must hurry. I sense she is at the river. If she crosses it, then she will be gone. Now join hands." When the group had done so, Serenity said, "I must warn you, do not cross the river yourselves, or you, too will be taken to the other side." They nodded in understanding and she raised a hand and pointed at them. There was a flash, and they were standing in the middle of a rocky plain. Tuxedo pointed to where a forest started and said, "That looks like the best place to find a river." The group ran through the forest with Tuxedo carrying Rennie so she wouldn’t fall behind. "There she is!" Mars shouted when they came to a clearing. Serena stood at the edge of a calm river, staring into the fog on the other side. "Serena!" they shouted in one voice as she stepped off the bank and into the water.
Apparently, she hadn’t heard them, for she kept going. Tuxedo ran to the edge and shouted her name again. This time, she stopped and slowly turned. She looked at them with confusion. "You shouldn’t be here," she said softly. "Serena," Mercury said, "We’ve come to take you back." "Back?" Serena asked. She looked at the opposite bank, then back at them and added, "I can’t go back. My mother is calling to be to join her. I want to be with her." "Serena, whoever you’re seeing, it’s not your mother," Venus said.
"She’s the one who sent us here to bring you back." For a moment, Serena looked as though she was about to go to them. However, she looked back at the fog, and they could see she wasn’t going to. "I’m sorry," she said, "I have to go." "Serena, wait!" Tuxedo shouted, grabbing Rennie and pulling her in front of him. When she turned back, he said, "Serena, do you know who this child is?" Serena looked at him strangely, then replied, "Yes, its Rennie." "Look closer Serena. She’s more than just a child named Rennie. Serena…she’s our daughter." That caught Serena’s attention. She stared hard at Rennie as Tuxedo continued, "If you go to the other side, Rennie will fade away. She will never exist. Can you do that to her? To our future daughter?" The fog forgotten, Serena slowly started her way back, her eyes never leaving Rennie. When she reached the bank, she knelt down before Rennie and continued to stare. She slowly reached up and touched the girl’s cheek. Rennie cried out and threw herself into Serena’s arms. As Serena held the sobbing girl, light surrounded them…
A few hours later, Serena awoke to a darkened room. For a moment, she was confused as to where she was and what had happened. Then she looked down and found Rennie asleep in her arms and it all came rushing back.
Her daughter. Who knew the annoying, pink haired little spore would actually turn out to be her daughter? A hand covered hers and she looked up to find Darien, sitting next to her and watching with love filled eyes. She saw the question in them and said softly, "Now that Rubeus is gone, I was just wondering if she would go back now." "I know how to find that out," Rennie said, sitting up. Luna Ball came floating over and she picked it up, pressing a button on its nose. "Yes small lady?" a voice came over the line. "Puu, I found my mommy and daddy in the past. Mommy defeated Rubeus. Do I get to go home now?" "Not yet, small lady, but soon. The tide of battle changes here. The Wiseman had taken to last resorts. For a little while longer, it will be better for you to remain there. Your Mother and Father’s younger selves will be able to care for you. Enjoy them and the peace." The transmission ended and Rennie looked up at Serena and Darien. "In a way," she said, "I’m glad I’m not going home yet." "So am I," Serena whispered. Rennie smiled and snuggled back down into Serena’s arms. Darien moved to a position where he could hold his eternal love and their future daughter, joy spreading through him. Outside, high in the clear, night sky, the Moon, together with the stars, shone brightly.