.moon by night

My Love My Nemesis by Loki

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21st century

The Glider appeared in geosynchronous orbit over Japan. Roxon knew the Silver Millennium was long gone, and it would fall to him, one of Mars’ best fighter pilots to fly regular missions over the city cloaked to intercept any Dark Kingdom warships or other such space born vessels that were a threat to the prince. Time travel was a breeze, especially with the temporal core engine of the fighter craft modified by Lord Janus himself. Roxon had a great deal of respect for the temporal mage and guardian of the Time Gate. He also was in awe of his Queen. She had chosen him and Shana for the mission over hundreds of other candidates within the Martian Court, proud and dedicated officers of which she had expressed her faith in each of them for this assignment. Pluto had known the Dark Kingdom would stop at nothing to destroy them all, and right now, the prince was vulnerable.

Serenity had won them a reprieve, but that was all. They had to act, and so they did. Who better to protect Endymion than himself. Shana, one of the red planet’s most promising young senshi would make sure the transition to 21st century life for the boy prince was as seamless as possible.

“We have the coordinates, Shana,” he said, as they passed into Earth’s atmosphere and glided towards Kyoto.

“The planet is teeming with life, both human and otherwise, it is so different to the Silver Millennium,” she breathed, gasping in awe at the landscape depicted within the onboard holo-imager.

“Yes, I agree, we’re going to have plenty of opportunities to investigate Shana. Oh, there’s the landing site. Standby…”

It was dark, a clear night, and both found the mountain air most invigorating as they listened to the creatures of the night: owls, crickets and the occasional bat fluttered overhead under the watchful gaze of a full moon. The glider was located a short distance from the cabin, as the ship was cloaked once more. The soldiers made their way on foot to the safe house nestled within a slight cleft between two wooded hills.

“Beautiful, Rox, just beautiful. I’m going to enjoy staying here a while before we go to Tokyo City.”

“Me too, and there’s Pluto!”

“Greetings Shana, Roxon, here is Mamoru,” Pluto said, her hand on the boy’s shoulder as the two warriors bowed respectfully. Mamoru looked first at the man, his shoulder-length black hair and tall build offered reassurance, and the pretty lady in the black body suit, her hair the same color as the man’s smiled a lovely smile. He liked them right away and looked at them with wide enthusiastic eyes.

“Mamoru, these are your parents, say hello.”

“Hello, my name is Mamoru. I am happy to meet you,” he said, his mind befuddled, but delighted. He would soon take to his new protectors and accept them as father and mother.

Shana liked the idea of living on Earth, and time travel definitely agreed with her. This, was one of the most exciting and unique missions she and her partner Roxon had ever performed. They had studied hard, learning all the nuances of Earth culture, and specifically, that of Tokyo Japan. Speaking the language fluently, they were getting well into the spirit of things.

“Son, let’s spend some time getting to know each other, mother wishes to read a story to you before you go to sleep, would you like that?” Roxon said, crouching before his stepson and ruffled his hair affectionately. Shana then picked him up and they entered the living room, Pluto, Uranus and Neptune close on their heels.

“I must go now,” Pluto said, smiling at the others. “Neptune, Uranus, you will be required here until Luna and Artemis report in. Venus will be the first senshi to be activated, in a land known as the United Kingdom, but Central Control will clue you in.”

“Got it,” Uranus said, offering the senshi-Shitennou salute as had them all.

“I have set up a port here, and at Crown Fruit Parlor and Arcade located in Juuban Prefecture in Tokyo. The data is in the crystal pod supplied with the other information you’ll need during your time on Earth. When the senshi are all-active, it shall fall to you to assist in seeking out the princess and coordinating the fight against the Dark Kingdom with the help of Luna and Artemis who will bring Venus back to Japan after her time in London is concluded.”

“I’m looking forward to meeting the Mauans, and hope to meet up with Mau again,” Shana said, smiling.

“She will seek you out soon enough. There is much to do and you know of the crystal portals, only use those designated and I don’t see that as a problem, and if you need to get to the gateway on Ukihiro, Sailor Teleport or use the Glider.”

“Got it, Pluto,” Rox said, nodding. “Is everything taken care of with Mamoru for the long term?”

“Yes, it’s all in the crystal pod; Mamoru’s financial needs, his education are all catered for in advance. We’ve left nothing to chance. Janus and Amydarainia will be here soon to help with an easy progression into the 21st century. I cannot stay as my other emanation will eventually visit the planet and I cannot be here when that happens. I must return to Pluto to meet Diamond and Serenity, be safe and good luck, especially you Mamoru.”

“Thank you Lady,” he said, burying his face into her robes as she smiled down on the lad. Kissing his head, she stepped out onto the veranda.

“Good luck, and I wish you an easy birth, Lady Pluto,” Shana said, and the group watched as the emerald haired senshi raised her staff and vanished in a blaze of garnet light.

Pluto : Temple of Chronos

“Are you ready?” Lady Daphne said, as Pluto, Naru, Bunny and Diamond nodded. “I will be waiting for your signal. I must use the time key to bring back the Garnet Rod and all of you with it. Remember, there may be unforeseen consequences, but to do nothing would cause a rupture in the space-time continuum. And that, might mean the end of this galaxy, perhaps this universe and we cannot risk that. Good luck and I will see you in Crystal Tokyo after the birth of your babies!” Daphne said, passing out the keys.

“You’re coming to Crystal Tokyo, Lady Daphne?” Pluto asked, her voice near a whisper.

“Yes child, once I detect that the Garnet Rod is back in your possession, now prepare yourselves for the journey ahead.”

The ring of temporal force began to consolidate into a swirl of bejeweled light within the temple. Spinning and humming, a tone of sound so enticing to the senses it immediately put the group standing on the threshold at ease. Pluto knew this would be dangerous, but she was prepared for whatever awaited them on the other side.

Waves of force, much like those of the breakers of the Sea of Poseidea, broke over the group as they passed through the portal.

Neither Princess Pluto nor her companions had any idea what to expect. The future for most people lay unscripted until the sharp edge of that quill of fate saw fit too reveal it, but on this occasion, this protocol was obviated.

Crystal Tokyo

Despite the ice and the gentle falling snow that blessed Bunny’s hair, Diamond thought the crystal city that lay in the distance the perfect backdrop against which his princess’s beauty shone in superior contrast.

Pluto and Naru were nowhere to be seen, but he suspected that they weren’t too far behind them. He lifted his eyes to find the sky a pale blue dotted with snowflakes making their way to the ground, the sunlight pure and clean pushing its way past any resistance offered by the scattered cumulonimbus making everything shimmer.

Bunny couldn’t think of any other words to describe the snowy landscape and the sky that presided over it but beautiful. She was cold, but rugged up enough against the elements to feel snug. Pluto had said it would be a little on the chilly side, that, she thought was an understatement and brushed the snow from her clothing, glad for its warmth under these conditions. She was glad it hadn’t turned out to be an icy blizzard they had to trek through and counted her blessings.

“We’re here, Crystal Tokyo, isn’t it pretty?”

“Yes, it is most impressive Bunny, but you know, something is a little out of place,” he said, looking to the horizon where a flock of birds, or so he thought, began to move towards them at speed. Diamond revised his observation as he realized these weren’t birds but warships flying low and hugging the landscape like flattened metallic-blue turtles.

“Down!” He had little if any time to warn his love beyond the single word that had saved both their lives. He drew her down, cushioning her fall with his body and only hoped Pluto and young Naru were all right and wondered if they were close by, but there was no time to ponder as their very survival was on the line if discovered.

“Eep! What was-“ Bunny gasped, falling upon Diamond’s chest, his arms encircling her as they fell backwards to the soft ground, their fall broken by the snow. Bunny was looking up as the belly of the glider moved over them almost without a sound. She observed the difference in design, nothing like their own back in the Silver Millennium on the moon , as the last of these fighters raced overhead in a whoosh. Bunny was nonetheless impressed by these.

Pulse fire ripped a gash in the ground nearby, the exploding rock and other debris forcing the party to cover their eyes and ears as a small bunker a short distance away exploded in a collage of dust, snow, black smoke and garish yellow flames lighting up the hillside.

“That was too close, stay down Bunny!” he said, feeling the petite woman trembling above him, his woolen gloves caressing her cheek to calm her.

Diamond was relieved they weren’t the intended targets, but this was cold comfort, especially given their current situation.

“Diamond, hold me…” Bunny whimpered and he stroked her cheek.

“Where’s Pluto and Naru?” he said, kissing Bunny’s neck. “The Time Key must have caused us to drift apart. I hope they’re here with us and all right…”

“Me too,” she whispered.

Bunny, for her part, was aware she was scared half to death.

‘So much for being brave and mature…’

She could hear herself crying, though the sound was barely audible, she excused her fallibility and felt Diamond’s warm body lending her courage she so badly needed in that moment.

Diamond was very careful as he helped her up into a sitting position. Bunny was huge, and he chuckled as he slipped his arms around her waist, breathing in her scent and sighed in pleasure as she kissed him full on the lips.

“Did I tell you today that I loved you?” she breathed, and nuzzled his neck.

“You have now, my love, and I second that.”

They were alive and for the moment, safe. As she brushed her disheveled golden tresses out of her face, he was glad she allowed Naru to cut her hair so it fell to the small of her back and wouldn’t get in her way. Bunny looked nothing like the princess she was: decked out in a warm cloak, boots, and black body suit that was thankfully waterproof and could stretch to accommodate her pregnant disposition. She was comfortable and the hood of her cloak protected her ears from the cold. She was just a typical adolescent girl, albeit a pregnant one… and this, he reckoned, was to their advantage in this alien setting.

He visibly relaxed as a very pregnant emerald haired woman crawled out of a nearby bush, a wry smile on her face as Bunny and Diamond looked at each other and sighed with relief.

“Sorry for giving you all a start, I was only a few feet away, but I needed to go, you know,” she said, offering a wry grin and moved towards them. “I’m all right now, Naru is right behind me.”

“I’m glad you’re here, I am scared. I know, I am a fine example of a terrified princess… but-“

“Keep it down ladies, I hear something,” Diamond raised his hand for silence, cocking his head to one side. He heard something in the distance that sounded like coughing, crying, and voices.

Placing a finger over Bunny’s lips, her eyes wide, he crouched low, Pluto sat next to the princess of the Moon Kingdom alongside Naru who was also afraid, and they listened in silence.

“Bunny love, be right back, don’t move!” he whispered in a husky voice.

“As if I’m in any condition to scurry across the countryside,” she mumbled.

He kissed the top of her head. “That’s my girl,” and he moved off towards the bunker.

“Pluto, I don’t understand,” she sighed, hugging herself. “What is this place, and why is there fighting here?” Naru asked, looking at an equally perplexed Bunny.

“I didn’t expect that welcoming committee either, Naru. I’m sorry, I thought things would be peaceful, you know, that old utopian mythology thing, seems I got it wrong.”

“Maybe, and Daphne did say there would be… um, consequences, but at least we’re still alive, and so are they…” Bunny trailed off, as she continued to watch the soldiers moving up the hill as others clambered out of the rubble left by the aerial bombardment.

“Down,” Pluto whispered.

“Sorry,” Bunny whispered back as they watched from their cover in the foliage as the men and women carried the dead and wounded out of what remained of the beleaguered structure at the foot of the rise.

Diamond soon rejoined them.

“We got to help them,” Bunny whispered, who was assessing the situation and froze, they all did. “It can’t be, it is you… but your, or his brow, a black crescent…but how!”

“We lost, we lost it all I’m afraid, for what else could this mean. Stay down, they can’t see us!” he hissed, angered by this turn in events. There he was, a young prince of the light, looking at his dark counterpart, and those ships, were obviously from the future city. Diamond knew that things had changed for the worse, but how. “I’ve got to get you ladies to safety. Pluto… don’t look at me like that, you’re almost to term as well as Bunny. Come on, we must backtrack.”

“All right, but we need to get to the capital and fast,” Pluto gasped, feeling a stab of pain in her abdomen and closed her eyes, tears forcing their way through her lashes as she gasped for breath. But it was too late; they’d been seen.

“And, what do we have here!” Rubeus said, a cruel but strange light in his eyes.

Diamond’s counterpart punched the other man in the ribcage and shoved him aside. “Fool, these are visitors, what, brother,” he said, looking at the other man now beside him.

Sapphire looked so child-like, although he was a grown man, he was in a state of shock and perplexity that gave him a boyish demeanor. “Am I seeing things Diamond?”

“No Saph, your eyes aren’t fooling you. I always wanted a twin brother, maybe I can use you,” he grinned, offering the two women he didn’t recognize a hand for they weren’t in uniform but were instead, in costume of some kind. He looked at Bunny, and his smile faltered.

“We need your help,” Bunny squeaked, protectively holding her abdomen. "Please, this is not our home, or world. We don’t know how we got here, we had stepped through a gateway in a ruined place and… here we are!”

Diamond could have kissed her then for the strange doppelganger regarded her words thoughtfully and nodded.

“Welcome strangers, but as for my mirror image, this is a weird twist of fate… Wiseman has been busy messing with my plans; this proves it. He’s manipulating the time-line, experimenting, bringing people from only the kamis know where to this ice planet…” he frowned and looked at Sapphire, “And brother, it seems I owe you an apology. I should not have dismissed your council out of hand and listened to you. Last night, I was hell bent on trusting that creature. But now, I think we might have an advantage.” He looked at the younger version of himself.” You are me, much younger, but in another space, time or… dimension?”

“I don’t know, sire,” he said, knowing that part of this man’s ego would be a little like his own and warm to praise and status. Although he was fond of recognition, of perhaps sharing the thrown of the moon with Sere one day, he knew that evil would amplify this predisposition to bask in glory and power to devastating proportions, and this man standing before him was living proof of that. Diamond looked to the south and he saw the unmistakable countenance of Nemesis orbiting Terra, but didn’t let his surprise show to his counterpart.

“Those ships you saw are Serenity’s, the monarch of this ice block, so, if you wish to live, follow us to our safe house. You see,” he offered the others a wry grin, “I’m your main man, seems the expression is lost on you people. Let me put it this way: I know the terrain rather well and there is food, warmth and a dry set of clothes waiting for you guys, come!”

Bunny and Pluto looked at each other and shrugged. Naru nodded, and the group followed the rebels to their lair.

“May as well, there’s nowhere else to go right now and those warships might return,” Bunny said, but Pluto, though a little unreadable, nodded her ascent and they were on their way.

Bunny felt a pair of eyes boring into her back, and chancing a brief look, a woman with a red fan, she remembered the other Diamond introducing this woman as Esmeralda, and this woman was staring at her with something akin to hatred in her eyes, but why. Bunny shuddered, but kept moving through the snow, and gripped Diamond’s hand tight.

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