.moon by night

Silver and Steel by Nephthys Moon

previous  Darkness Falls
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Chapter 8 – Darkness Falls

Mamoru stared out his window, the absolute blackness an unwelcome surprise. In the brief moment before the lights in his room had extinguished entirely, he’d been certain that a brilliant flash had given the room an unnatural light for a millisecond before the entirety of his world had gone dark. Something was amiss – a very big something, and he felt useless against it, a feeling that he was beginning to loathe. The now-familiar tug was urging him to action, an action he knew he was incapable of.

The voice at his back came as a surprise; he’d entered the room so silently Mamoru had been unaware of his presence until the words drifted through the darkness.

“Master, my duty has always been to remain at your side.” Mamoru closed his eyes, wishing he could do the same to his ears. It felt wrong to have this friend, one he’d looked on as an equal for all these years, to consider him his master, yet he sensed there was something more Kunzite wanted to say, so he waited silently, allowing the other man to speak.

“I am torn,” he said. “If I were to do as my heart bids me, it would leave you alone and defenseless in a situation where being such could be deadly to you.”

“You want to go to Minako.” It wasn’t a question, and Mamoru didn’t bother to try to disguise it as such. “We would only be in the way, Kunzite-san.”

“Forgive me, Endymion-sama, but you would be in the way. I would not. I have no right to ask your forgiveness in this, but I must confess. We, your loyal Shitennou, have never been unaware of our past, nor our present duty,” Kunzite said quietly.

“What are you saying?” Mamoru demanded, finally turning from the window to face the direction from which the voice came. “You knew about this – about all of it – the whole time?”

“We did.” Another voice joined Kunzite’s. “It was our duty to spare you the knowledge until such time as it became necessary.” As he spoke, Mamoru recognized Nephrite’s voice and nodded, more out of encouragement than understanding, though he was aware the gesture would be as invisible to them as their faces were to him.

“The time has come, Master, for you to recollect who you were, both in this life and that which came before,” a third chimed in, and Mamoru immediately recognized Zoisite, more from the structure of the words than the actual sound.

“We had hoped to never wake you, Master. It was enough for us to stand by your side, equals and friends, but you once made us swear a vow to you, that should you ever, in any way, be unable to protect Princess Serenity, we would stand before her in your stead – our lives would be her shields. We failed you then. We will not fail you now.” This from Jadeite, and Mamoru had to wonder how and when they had all entered his room.

“By any means possible, you said then,” Kunzite continued. “We were to protect the Princess by any means at our disposal. We four stand with our swords at the ready to do this, but it is not our swords she wants to defend her. Our lives are not the shields she requires. As we are, she will not have us – not until you stand before her, her Prince, and we, your guards, beside you.”

“We believe we may have a way to awaken your memories,” he continued, “but Tsukino-san is right in this, if nothing else: it must be your choice. We will defend her to the last should you choose no. Should you choose yes, we will be your loyal Shitennou once more, as we were meant to be, and you may choose your own destiny. Princess Serenity was your love in the past, but she does not have to be in this life. The choice is, and has always been, yours. In all things.”

Mamoru stood in silence, weighing the truth of Kunzite’s words. It was logical, and rational. They spoke of loyalty and honor and things which this world seemed to have forgotten, and he respected his friends more than he could ever recall having done.

“I’m ready to remember,” he whispered.

A faint silver-gray light began to emanate, illuminating Kunzite’s face, though Mamoru could not see what he held in his hands. Pale spring green lit the harsh shadows of Zoisite’s form, followed by a shimmer of red from Nephrite and a whisper of blue from Jadeite. The lights grew brighter, and Mamoru’s eyes took in the gray uniforms his friends were wearing, dark piping trimming each high collar and running down the shoulders and across the chest where the jacket buttoned. The pants had the same piping down each leg, in the same dark shade of the light each man seemed to be glowing with. The room illuminated, and Mamoru could see that he was no longer in his apartment, though the vast stone chamber with its roughly-hewn wooden table seemed just as familiar.

An instant later, he was alone, surrounded by roses in a glowing temple of shining white marble. The temple seemed to light the surrounding area with an incandescent light and he could see that whatever darkness had fallen upon the Earth above had not yet reached this sacred place. He took an experimental step towards the temple and stared in amazement as the scene changed again.

He was in a dome, surrounded by beautiful flowers of kinds he could not recall having ever seen upon the Earth and he knew, instinctively, that these flowers had not, nor would ever grow in the soil of his home. A silver-clear, sweet voice was calling to him, and in the distance, upon a crystalline marble balcony, a faint figure seemed to be beconing him closer with each cry of his name.

“Endymion!” He took another step and the vision shimmered again.

He was once more in the stone chamber with the wooden table, only he appeared to be mid-pace as his Shitennou sat around and stared at him expectantly. He could see their anger, their disappointment: he had done it again, he knew. Though he had been warned his whole life against contact with any creature from the Moon, once more his men had found him in the rose arbor with the Princess herself. Did he not think, they were asking him, that the possibility of a war with the overbearing dictators from the moon enough warning to stay away from the witch that had clearly ensnared him, but he knew they were wrong. The threat was not from the moon, but from something else entirely, and Serenity had never shown any powers that indicated she was as dangerous as they claimed. He continued his pacing and the scene changed once more.

He was back in the dome, though he knew now that it was the moon, and he had come with something important to tell Serenity – that his most trusted men had turned against him and there was an evil force headed for her home even as he waited for her to appear. She must not be hurt. She must listen to him, hear him out so she can tell her mother about the threat and warn their kingdom in time to save it. As her slender form appeared on the balcony, he leapt towards her, and once again found himself somewhere different.

It was still the moon, though how much difference an hour had made. Beryl’s forces, led by his own men, had decimated what was once a beautiful land, crumbling the fantastic stone palace to nothing more than rubble. Serenity’s guards lay fallen around her, dead by the hands of those who had once claimed to love them, and his beautiful Serenity leaned over him, her face dirty for the first time in his memory and tears streaming down her cheeks. He realized he was dying and he remembered what Usagi said had happened afterwards. There was nothing he wanted to see less than her suicide, so he closed his eyes to brace himself, and when they opened, he found himself in his bed in his first apartment, sweating and panting.

The princess had called to him again in his dreams and he couldn’t remember who she was. He wanted to shout that it was Usagi, but he couldn’t hear himself – he was there, inside his own body and somehow separate from it as well, and he suddenly realized that he was reliving the memories that had been stored away for so many years. As his past self swung his legs off the bed towards the floor, Mamoru felt himself transported again, and when he looked down, he realized exactly where he was.

He was Tuxedo Kamen, and the girl at his side was Sailor Moon. He was still reeling from the shock of discovering that the beautiful soldier who’d fought so valiantly alongside him all these many months was the same irritating girl that had gotten under his skin in a way he hadn’t imagined possible, and as he spun to save her, he realized that this is what he had always done and would always do: his life was her shield.

The scene changed and he was wearing armor, holding Sailor Moon by her neck in the dank misery of a cave, torturing this young girl he loved, in any guise, in any lifetime, and he couldn’t stop himself. Tears threatened to choke him even as he was choking her, but the horrible vision ended when his callous other self tossed the girl from him and he found himself back in the rose garden, standing next to the peaceful tranquility of the temple, terrified to move an inch lest he be thrown into the past again.

“You’re safe now,” a voice called, and Mamoru turned to face a stranger with oddly glowing golden eyes and silver hair. Mamoru felt the significance of this should not be unfamiliar to him, but he could not recall having seen the young man before. “It’s alright if you don’t remember me, Endymion-sama. You were never supposed to have. I am Helios, priest of Elysion, and I watch over the dreams of mortals while I wait for the one with the power to retrieve the Kinzuishou. I believe that man is you, Endymion-sama, great King of Earth, and so I pass it into your ownership, as my final duty here.”

“Where is here? What’s going on? Kinzuishou?” Mamoru felt he had a million questions.

“This is Elysion,” Heiios said in his softly soothing voice, “land of human dreams. The Kinzuishou is your birthright, a crystal of incredible power that has laid in wait for one of the great god Endymion’s line to wield it. As for what is going on, I would beg you allow me a few moments to explain before you speak again.” Mamoru nodded.

“Good. You are here because you are the Guardian of Earth, and Elysion is the heart of the Earth – your heart as well. It is here that you will always come when you require assistance, and it is here that your memories will always reside, even if your physical form no longer has access to them. It is your refuge and your solace.”

“So, this is where my memories went?” Mamoru asked with rising anger. “You’re the one that took them?”

“No, Endymion-sama. I did not take your memories from you. There is much we can discuss, but at a later time. As we tarry here, your Shitennou grow weak from sustaining your connection to this place, and your Princess is rushing towards a battle that she may not return from. You have all the knowledge you need now, and it is time you returned to your home.”

Mamoru closed his eyes in an effort to control his irritation and when he opened them again, he found himself staring into his bedroom, his four friends breathing heavily as though they had just run a great distance. As he looked closer to acertain that they were not hurt, he realized they were no longer glowing, but that the room had not grown dark.

And then he made an even more confusing discovery: his friends might not have been glowing, but he was – shining with a brilliant golden light that seemed to inspire his friends into subservience, for each one dropped to one knee and pulled out a sword, crossing it over their hearts.

“Our lives for yours,” they said in unison.


Running. Running towards a battle. This she knew; it was all she knew. There was a great horrible force at work on this planet and she could not, would not allow it to take over the beautiful land she had grown to love. Her friends, her guardians, ran beside her and though she knew it was foolish, she wished for Mamoru’s presence as well. She cursed her own stubbornness that had rendered this impossible; had she simply revived him as she was asked he would be by her side.

So he could fall as well? a dark voice asked from the back of her mind. She ignored it. They would not fall. They had defeated Metalia and the Dark Kingdom and they would defeat this Dark Queen. They would. As she rounded the final corner, where darkness had fallen so thick as to be nearly inpenetrable, she stopped short, staring in horror at the vision before her.

A woman – no, not yet a woman, she realized – with long, flowing pitch hair to her ankles stood fighting two Senshi that Usagi had never seen before. Whoever they were, they were holding their own against the young woman…Usagi belatedly realized that she, too, was wearing the fuku of a Senshi, with purple and black accents, and a long staff with a sharp blade at the end of it. Who was ally and who was enemy, she wondered, and how was she supposed to know whom to help?

The other Senshi were frozen next to her, watching as a Senshi with short blonde hair shouted her attack and then begged the black-haired Senshi to stop what she was doing. The third Senshi, with aqua hair and eyes covered the black-haired Senshi in a tidal wave before speaking, her tone pleading.

“Please, Sailor Saturn, stop this!” Saturn, Usagi thought, suddenly flooded with memories. She must be contained at all times, that was the duty of Neptune and Uranus, and they had clearly failed. Saturn was free, and she was prepared to destroy the world for the darkness in it.

“Sailor Saturn, no!” Usagi cried out, drawing the attention of the beautiful woman-child before her.

“Princess?” Saturn asked, her tone reverent. Immediately she bowed before Usagi, the tip of her glaive resting mere centimeters from the ground. Three sharply indrawn breaths made her realize her mistake and she pulled the glaive and herself to an upright position. “These two,” she spat, pointing it instead at Neptune and Uranus, “would have kept me from your side forever, Princess, but I escaped and I am here to serve you.”

Usagi was confused. Sailor Saturn had always known that her duty was to remain on the outskirts of the system, protecting the Earth and the Moon from external threats, only coming to the moon in times of great need. What was wrong with the black-haired senshi before her?

“Sailor Moon, there is no time to explain!” Sailor Uranus shouted irritably! “We have to drive her off. Explanations can come later!”

Usagi nodded, her eyes meeting those of her fellow Senshi as they drew around her in a small circle, as each leant a small amount of power to her, she powered her tiara with it and hurled it towards the demonic Senshi across the small alleyway, wincing in pain, physical pain, as the young woman shrieked and vanished without a trace.

“She’ll be back,” Sailor Mars said darkly. The others nodded.

“Until then, let’s head back home. I can start analyzing the data from there and you guys,” Mercury said, fixing Neptune and Uranus with a deadly glare, “can start explaining just what is going on here.” Usagi smiled as the surprise in the two older Senshis’ eyes. A clatter of running footsteps halted them all, and Usagi was pleased and annoyed to see that her Senshi had spun to form a wall between her and the oncoming attack.

Five figures stood at the other end of the alleyway, an faint golden glow emanating from them all, put particularly from their central figure. In the gloom of the unnatural darkness that had swept over the land at Sailor Saturn’s arrival, it was impossible to tell who they were, but Usagi felt a small tug, almost impercitble, in the general area of her heart.

“Endymion?” she said, her words barely audible over the wind. The Senshi Wall in front of her seemed to dissolve and she found herself walking, with confident, measured footsteps, towards the central figure, who had taken four large steps away from his companions. She was close enough now to see his face, and she couldn’t stop the smile that broke out over her own. Though she shuddered at the sight of the black armor he wore, the red rose with the steel tip in one hand was enough to let her know, for sure, that this was indeed her Endymion, and not some false copy of him. When she was three paces from him, she stopped, suddenly uncertain. If his memories had returned, he might now reject her present form in favor of the Princess she had once been.

They stared at one another over the short distance between them before he reached out a hand and grasped hers within it. “By your side, always,” he whispered. A tear slipped down her cheek.

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