.moon by night

My Love My Nemesis by Loki

previous  Double or Nothing
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Serenity paused to catch her breath. The Birchwood columns supporting the first, second and third floor balconies presented a most pleasing sight to the Moon Monarch and her retinue.

The structure possessed a rural grace, and yet hints of the founding civilization that now lay beneath the waves were clearly visible to the discerning observer.

Serenity had to admit the building was exquisite, for all its ancient charm blended with native sensibilities gave the palace the right balance of old world and new. The lacework cast in silver, the earthenware pots filled with jasmine and other fragrant blooms, arrested the senses. And, if that weren't enough, the polished stone verandas smothered in pictograms featuring ancient battle scenes, mythological tableaus depicting many Gods and heroes, enchanting lords and ladies, faery folk and other curious creatures made for a pleasurable ensemble.

Serenity gasped in awe, the dazzling display for a moment or two distracting her from the pain despite Mercury's ministrations.

Silver Millennium

Somewhere in Ancient Japan

Serenity focused on the calming, gurgling sound of the tumbling crystalline waters that fed the shallow pool within a nearby fountain, where a flautist, a girl looking part sea nymph, part senshi sat, the instrument resting upon the girl's lips as if at any second now she would begin to play.

The Lunarian monarch allowed herself to marvel at the silver flute in the girl's delicate hands of pink granite, imagining sitting opposite her and listening to her play, lost in the moment. She swore that she could hear faint music issuing from the shimmering curtain of water, and that the stone maiden was winking at her.

"Surely not?" she murmured. But shrugged, putting it down to the potion Mercury had given her before they took their leave of the Moon City and sought out the wisdom of the Terran healers. "She is so beautiful, is she not? A name comes to mind… I am not sure why, but Cerciana, yes, that's it. I don't know where I know this name, but that is definitely her!"

Luna smiled, taking her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. "Indeed Sere, she is a pretty thing. I know her too, but perhaps I had read of her, or my mother spoke of her when I was but a kitten."

"Whoever she is, or was," she had the uncanny feeling this figure was still alive somewhere, unsure as to why she knew this, but smiled, "I would like to meet her."

"As do I, Sere, now come along…"

So realistic, so beautiful was the statuette, Serenity almost forgot her discomfiture. She pulled her eyes with some reluctance from the fountain's guardian and breathed in the scent of the lavish gardens abounding, aware of the sights and sounds of the lush paradise. The sight of meat cooked over an open fire, its aromatic scent intoxicating made them hungry.

"I don't know about you Luna, and Arti, but I'm famished despite everything else, I'm much like my Bunny in that respect."

"Yes Lady, we know," Artemis chuckled, aware that humor was a healthy balm under the circumstances," You just hide it better than she does is all."


This royal enclave was a cacophony of sensory overload, but an onslaught Serenity welcomed whole-heartedly. The smell of fresh hay as they passed the stables blessed her nostrils with nostalgic fervor, as had the whinnying horses she wished she could ride, this making her sad. She feared she might not have the opportunity to mount her steed, Moonrise, or for that matter, any other such creature again if her affliction could not be healed.

She heaved a heavy sigh as she took in the imposing row of tall soldiers that made up her honor guard. All these men were now offering their unreserved admiration and salutation to the Moon Queen as she acknowledged each as they raised their crystal blades en masse, her smile hadn't reached her eyes, only the dull pain revealed itself.

One or two Shitennou looked to one another with concern as the monarch passed by. These were Shitennou of the House of Fire, under Lord Jadeite, whom was unable to attend this morning due to offshore commitments. In his stead, Lord Kunzite escorted Serenity and her company towards the beautiful three-tiered house with its ornate curled roofing that was skillfully crafted and most inviting. Its fluted dimensions impressed her.

Looking up once more, catching the morning sunlight as it caressed the tiny sculpted birds and other creatures dotting the charming royal palace, the Moon Queen took another deep breath and moved forward once again.

"Your palace is indeed beautiful. I look forward to speaking with the prince, Endymion, Lord Kunzite," she breathed, steeling herself for the effort it would require to climb the stairs before her.

"My lady?" he said, offering his arm, which she gratefully took, for this was protocol and no concession to her weakened state.

She smiled; leaning over to inhale a rose, she loved the Terran blooms. Serenity winced a little, feeling the jab somewhere within her abdomen and paled slightly. The effort would tax her: that she knew and was prepared for, She could do nothing other than proceed. She straightened. Waving off an attendant, she pressed onward.

Kunzite knew she was out of sorts but hadn't shown it. She then continued unaided up the next flight of terraces that took the delegation onto the huge veranda above the first where tables were set with food and wine for their pleasure and refreshment.


After taking her fill, a girl showed her to an open sitting room and she helped Serenity into a comfortable seat. "Lady Serenity, what brings you to see our soothsayer when your own physicians can do a more thorough job of tending your needs than can we?" Amelia, a refugee from Myola entreated.

"I am growing weaker with each passing moment child. I need your magic to protect my people…and yours I'm afraid. Believe me, I don't take this journey or my decision lightly," she said, taking the girl's hands in her own.

The auburn haired young woman's eyes bulged out of their sockets. "But Lady, your alliance protects us, does it not?"

Serenity sighed, "If only if it were that simple," she muttered, picturing her daughter, knowing full well what had happened the very moment Bunny reached the final part of her pregnancy. The queen was bleeding to death; the Ginzuishou was losing power. At first, she thought it was due to her daughter's lies about her relationship with Diamond, but she relented and made a point of speaking to Solaris to explain the situation and spare his son a loveless marriage. Then she collapsed and Lady Luna had signed the betrothal documents in her absence. Then later came news of Solaris and Arjirea's tragic deaths, details were sketchy, but reports of Sailor Terra were reported, but not substantiated.

She smiled wishing the stories were true, but doubted it. Shortly thereafter, the ancient lands of Myola and Atlantari sinking beneath the ocean because of a cataclysm that she knew intuitively to be the handiwork of the Dark Kingdom had changed everything. It was one hell of a mess, but there may yet be a way out of the mire.

"Very well Lady Serenity, come with me," Amelia replied, with a slight bow and spun on her heel and led the way.


Beryl was rising to her full power, Metalia was delighted with the princess's progress and soon the Terran Kingdom and that of the Moon would be theirs. Metalia sensed the weakness of the queen of the Silver Alliance. She had no idea why, but she didn't care for what did it matter? Soon Endymion would sit by Beryl's side and rule two worlds, and the Dark Kingdom and its seven governors, formerly the Shadow Warriors who would retire into a life of political servitude, and do their bidding, replacing the Silver alliance would complete her first stage in a grand scheme for power, glory and vengeance.

Metalia, going over her plans in her twisted and contorted mind, liked these more and more as everything fell into place, just as she had foreseen. She began to laugh uncontrollably.

"Then the real task awaits me, and that is…," she glowered into the orb of dark red stone, "To challenge those who sent me into exile, they will pay, and pay dearly through my advocate, and that is where you, sweet Beryl, come in!"

Crystal Tokyo

"I dreamt of her again," Serenity said, brushing her cerise hair as Diana sighed, "Don't look at me like that Diana, I think it likely the dreams are portents, that this other young Diamond will save us. I know it."

"Perhaps, but how can you know and besides, your mother wouldn't approve of us scurrying about the countryside in these conditions, not to mention the very real risk of being captured, and by the ‘other' Diamond, you know, the evil one?"

"Relax, I'm an accomplished senshi, all of sixteen years old, and I can go toe to toe with that Nemesis creep and kick his pretentious butt, you know it!"

"Maybe, but he's got that Wiseman supporting his insurgency, remember?"

"Oh yeah… him," she sighed, "But we got to do something, I know there is more to the dreams than mere flights of fancy or amplification of my deepest fears. Can you at least take me to see Lady Pluto, or Amydarainia?"

"You kidding me? Those people are busy, and haven't the time to entertain your nocturnal intuitions, premonitions or whatever. Come on, do you really think-"

"Shit…what was that?" she gasped, as an explosion rocked the palace. "That was way too close."

Diana thought better of giving up the ruse just yet, for she knew exactly what Sere was dreaming about as she too was sharing the same dreams. But she had to be sure this would work and was the right course of action. If things went wrong, she would take the blame, but she couldn't make the call, only Sere could do that so she held her tongue.

"I would say less than five miles west of here, Sere, let's get to the throne room and find out what gives," Diana said, assuming her senshi form, her blue-grey cat ears and tale twitching with excitement.


"I think this will do, I have asked the villagers to send for the midwife. Both yourself, Setsuna and..., Bunny, is it?" Sapphire asked, grinning at the girl with the funny name, but he had to agree, she did resemble a cute and very pregnant bunny-rabbit.

"Thank you," Sapphire," Setsuna said, as Naru went with the more pleasant of the Dark Moon Clan resistance leadership to seek the midwives, Bunny watching the man closely, her fingers twitching with nervous tension. Delivering two babies would require extra pairs of hands, that she accepted, but she could feel the unstable energy coming off this young man, and it was worse when his brother, Diamond's older doppelganger was around.

Naru placed a damp cloth upon Bunny's brow, she looked a little green around the gills so to speak and she smiled affectionately at her friend in gratitude.

Setsuna, now reveling in anonymity, sighed as her contractions kicked in with full-force, and Naru turned to help as best she could.

"Ow, that was bad, Naru!" the emerald haired woman gasped, gripping her hand.

Two young white haired girls, not much older than Naru had arrived and knelt beside each woman; hot water in terracotta bowls, washing salts, towels and remedial potions on stand-by.

"Thank the kamis you're here, ladies. Now, let's get to work, we got two new lives to bring into the world!" Naru said, wondering if this crazy world would welcome them or not, but there was nothing for it but to get cracking. She smiled at the metaphor; birth was like an egg cracking and releasing the fledgling. But these little sojourners would be senshi children, the symbols had to be kept hidden from Sapphire at all costs lest they forfeit their lives including the newborns.

The young midwives were citizens of the crystal city and weren't so much a problem, for they'd likely say nothing anyway, especially as they weren't marked with the dark crescent. Yet prudence was called for in this situation.

Although there was a lot of grunting, screaming and crying, and laughter, the two senshi had given birth to two beautiful babies. They need not have worried about the planetary signatures giving them all away, for the flashes denoting both Pluto and the Moon Kingdom flared to life for the briefest of moments and were gone; it was as if the planet seeds tethered to each child were well aware of the dangers in this future world.

"Eliza, that's the name I have given you, little one. Oh I wish you could meet your father," she began to cry, smiling for the new life in her arms now suckling at her breast, and for the man she left behind.

"Acura," Bunny whispered, her own tears flowing, but she was all smiles. Both women lanterns of love and fecundity, picture perfect mothers as their babies fed at their breasts.

Sapphire had not returned, likely he had fallen asleep, but it was all to the good. Finally, Naru and the midwives having curled up on a pile of animal skins had fallen asleep, as had the new mothers and their infants. It seemed that for the moment at least, they were all safe and secure.


"Remind me to read to you a list of good reasons why this was and is, a bad idea Sere!" Diana complained, her hood muffling her voice as her boots sank into the snow, both girls knee deep in the white icy substance.

"Quit whining Di, you'll be fine. At the very least, as a Mauan, your body is less vulnerable to the cold."

"Sere, shut up… you should have thought of that before you forced me to go on this trek!"

"You insisted," she retorted.

"Yeah, after you felt compelled to dress up and pack enough to feed a small army and take off like that, and traipse off into the wilderness!" Diana mumbled, heaving a heavy sigh and shook her head, sending a fine plume of powdery snow into the air making Serenity giggle. "The things… we… do for our friends, and charges! Mother and father are going to kill me for this you know, and you're not off the hook either Small Lady!" she snapped.

"Don't call me that, and besides, you were pining anyway!"

"What… pining for the fjords? Yeah right, I'm a Mauan, not a saber tooth tiger you know!" she stopped and sat in the snow, folding her arms over her chest as the rising snowflakes descended upon her black woolen cloak and hair, as her hood was drawn back. "We're going no further," she said, daring Serenity to challenge her resolve.

"Cabin fever…, or is that palace?" she smirked. "Oh, I know, we've been walking since daybreak, and believe it or not, I'm capable of fatigue, despite all my bravado. Let's snack!" the princess said, licking her lips and sat, rather, fell that is, in a most unladylike collage of jean-clad limbs making Diana laugh .

"First sensible thing you've said all morning!" Diana quipped, giggled and mewed before unzipping her pack and pulling off her mittens to unwrap their energy bars.

"What are friends for, and besides, we're both senshi you know, or had you forgotten that?" Serenity said, winking at her friend and guardian.

"I'm never going to survive all this you know," she giggled once more, and bit into an apple.


Soon, the girls were once again on their way. Climbing over rocky barriers and walking on solid ground wherever possible through the snowdrifts and over packed icy rises, they made steady progress.

The sun was bright, and their shades protected their eyes from the glare, it was a real adventure, but it was hard going. Serenity realized they were moving at a slower pace, and then she looked up, so lost in her thoughts she had been.

At the sight of the twin extinct volcanoes, of which the second and newest crater lay directly overhead, she grinned.

Fuji 1 and Fuji 2 made tough work of it, but Serenity had always wanted to visit these, and now she could.

‘But why here?' she wondered, and shrugged, after all, this was fun and an adventure. ‘Beats art class this afternoon!'

As they reached the edge of the vast crater, she whistled. "I take back all my criticism of you, Di, you're brilliant!" she exclaimed, hugging her friend.

Diana arched an eyebrow and winked, pleased to see the look of awe upon the princess's face. Below lay the steamy well that like a thin skin over hot chocolate, concealed a secret world. They descended, and the further they went, the more the snow and ice disappeared, replaced by mosses and lichen, then the subtropical blooms and ferns sprang out from the rocky walls and the soft earth all around them.

Later, as they moved deeper, the girls encountered an assortment of trees, these much like island palms and exotic fruit trees that dotted this mysterious realm.

The crater was, Serenity imagined, half a mile wide and perhaps a little longer, it was beautiful. Soon they stopped by a rocky ledge that wound its way into the unknown, but Serenity could tell that Diana knew this place extremely well and her interest in how had piqued.

"When were you going to tell me about this place, Di?" she said, listening to her voice ricocheting off the granite walls making her laugh, the enchanting surroundings lifting her spirits. "Well then, let's make the most of this wonderland, Alice," Serenity said, grinning.

"Actually the name's Diana, but Alice suits in this place," she giggled. "All we need is a magical bunny-rabbit with a stop watch!"

She peeled off her snow gear, tossed it over her arm, and marched down the spiral incline as Diana led the way.

"Yeah, I asked you a question woman, why didn't you tell me of this place?"

"I'm telling you about it now, and besides, it is not my retreat, but Deimos and Phobos. They told me about it, just in case we needed a safe spot to hide in case the enemies of the Crystal Kingdom forced us out of the palace."

"Cool, I'm glad that isn't the reason we're here… All I can say is, wow!" she gushed, catching up with her friend and the two girls sat on a lip of granite that overlooked a pool of hot mud that reminded Sere of Makoto's chocolate mud cake and promptly, she unzipped the pack and produced said treats for both of them.

Silver Millennium: Ancient Japan

Terran Palace

Endymion entered the sitting room and smiled at the Moon Queen. "Hello Lady Serenity, it is good to see you, but I wish it were under more pleasant circumstances. I am still trying to understand all that has happened."

"I know, it hasn't been exactly easy for you dear. But Endy, I am so sorry about my daughter, she has gone missing. I wish I could tell you more, but-"

"Don't worry yourself, I will be fine. Oh, and by the by, Lady Zoe is here to see you now. I will be taking my leave of you now, but I shall see you at the evening meal. Until then, majesty."

"Thank you Endy," she said, smiling warmly at the young man she feared might never be her son in law as he left the room.


After Serenity had received her treatment, a golden light encased her as she slept.

"She need not know I intervened, Lady Zoe, the Kinzuishou has healed her affliction, and she is no longer anemic and her internal organs are restored."

"Thank you sire, but I hope it did not tax you," she said, touching his hand, concerned for the prince's welfare.

"Not at all, I am strong, and since I am the only Terran able to utilize its full power, it was no trouble and I have heaps in reserve."

"I hope all goes well for you in the difficult times ahead," she said, careful to keep her voice low as she drew the curtains around the four-poster bed and they left the chamber and Serenity to sleep and dream.


A commotion in the courtyard caught Endymion's attention, and he dropped his quill and rushed outside to find a soldier with something wrapped around his armor, his horse in a panic and rearing, kicking out at anyone or anything that came anywhere near it. The slimy leech-like creature, a youma the size of a small dog, Endy guessed, was throwing off a hideous red light. The terrified rider was cutting at it with his dagger, but to no avail. He was only making matters worse for himself as the thing dug its fang like teeth into his chest, puncturing his armor.

"That poor bastard," he muttered and summoned his power. Endymion then noticed the dark obsidian lance embedded in the man's right shoulder. "Not your day my friend, let's see what we can do about it shall we."

"Sire, she comes!" he managed, his garbled words barely a croak, but Endymion had understood him clearly enough.

"Who soldier, pray tell, out with it man…"

"That witch, sire! The one with the-" but he was unable to finish his sentence.

Endymion for the second time that day summoned the Kinzuishou and sent a wave of golden force over the rider, the foaming mouth of the man cleared, but he had lost consciousness. The creature, now bearing its teeth launched itself at the prince, but it was vaporized in an instant.

"You all right my prince?" Zoe said, breathless as she came running through the entrance to the palace gardens, took in the situation, and ran to the soldier who had fallen off his horse that had bolted for the stables in fright.

"He all right?" the bearded captain of the guard inquired, having just arrived on the scene.

"His arm, several ribs and his leg are broken yet your prince's magic is healing them exponentially, the wounds are sealed and venom out of his bloodstream. He's lost a lot of blood, but he will live," Zoe informed the relieved officer as she brushed her pearl-white hair out of her eyes and knelt back on her haunches, smiling up at Endymion. "Who do you suppose he was talking about, Endy?" Zoe asked, as Endymion looked down at the attractive soothsayer and returned her smile.

"He had specifically said, she… We've dealt with Beryl, or are dealing with her," he amended, offering a wry grin, knowing Beryl and her cohorts were still at large and dangerous. But he didn't think the redhead was responsible for all this. Darker magic was at work on this occasion, and that seemed out of Beryl's league, but he couldn't rule out the possibility either. "I honestly don't know, at least, not at the moment anyway. We need more time to find out but time is growing short I fear, let's talk in my study, Zoe."

She nodded and he helped her up, and they saw that the injured man was escorted to the clinic. Then they returned to the palace to talk over a goblet of fine dry red.

Crystal Kingdom

The girls swam naked in the pool fed by volcanic vents that lay deep within the heart of the Earth. Sere floated upon her back, luxuriating in the invigorating sensation as her body relaxed while Diana was doing laps.

She would stop every now and again and splash her friend. Soon the girls would engage in a water fight while laughing themselves silly.

"This is the life, Di! Who would have thought it possible :no study, no responsibility, and no strict training regimes in the pavilion of a morning. Hmmm, I could get used to this so easily, can't you?"

"You said it, Sere!" she said, sitting on the edge of the pool, tying her hair into a long braid while dangling her toes in the heated water.

"I love those berries, and the purple fruit, not to mention the fish. By the way, where do they come from anyway and how do they survive?" Serenity asked, her elbows on the edge of the pool as she looked up at her friend's thoughtful expression expectantly.

Diana's ears pricked and she pointed, "From that conduit, it is heated by a magma chamber far beneath the crust, creating the perfect environment for the fish to thrive. As for our heated pools, steam pushes its way up through the base of this crater and voila, instant hot springs and relaxing spa. But as for the fish, and how they ended up here? Well, a thousand years ago, they lived in a natural freshwater lake not far from here, now covered by rock that created an underwater sanctuary. I will show it to you one day."

"I am already looking forward to it, and this place, words can't begin to express how much I love it," she gushed.

Diana nodded, slipping into the water once more and swam another lap. "I'll race you, Sere!"

"You're on!"


"Your father is relocating some of the fish into preserves to repopulate the planet once the Big Freeze is over; it won't be long now."

"I'm impressed!" Serenity said, playing with her crystal pendent and chewing her bottom lip, lost in thought.

The two girls lay on their backs, allowing the warm air to dry their tired bodies, and fell into a deep restful sleep. Upon waking, it was nighttime, but it wasn't dark, there was a faint orange glow rising from the depths of a nearby mud pool within an alcove carved into the side of the massive crater.

"Do you think mother will kill me?" Serenity said much later, looking a little guilty.

"Don't worry, I left a note, it will be fine."

"Di, you kidding me? They will freak out and send out a search party for us, putting the lives of others at risk. We should go back."

"Normally I'd agree, but I have a beacon, a tracer in my pack. They know we're here and are all right, and have a patrol in this area each night, as there is an outpost nearby: pulse cannons…" she trailed off, and closed her eyes, her chest rising and falling in sync with her deep breaths, her smoky blue hair splayed around her petite body, her tail wound around her legs. Serenity just sighed, then resigned herself to her guardian's wisdom in this matter.

As the moon became visible through the luminescent blue mist that looked quite pretty this time of night, Sere sat up and reached for her shorts, panties and tee shirt, and slipped into a pair of sandals she found in her pack.

She sighed, "I hope they're not mad, they must think us stupid."

"Perhaps, or brave. I told them I was going to rescue those people I had seen in my dreams," she looked at Sere with a wide grin. "The very same dreams you've been having, girlfriend. Mother was having the same dreams as both of us, so it's not only you and I dreaming this stuff, you know."

"Di, you're joking aren't you, please tell me this is a prank?"

"Chill Sere. That's why she allowed us to go."

"Is there anything else I need to know? You've gone this far, you may as well tell me everything," she said, sighing and looking skyward for strength.

Diana snickered. "Actually, the dreams are visions, and Mars let Phobos and Deimos look out for us as well, it's fine, silly," she said, squeezing her hand.

"I should have known…," sighing once more, Serenity nodded and began to relax and count stars and play word games with her mischievous guardian.


Diamond woke in a cold sweat, feeling a little sick, he left the bombed out cottage and was sick at the end of what had once been the garden. He drank from a flask, washed out his mouth and drank deep of the container feeling a little better.

"Must have been the food I ate last night," he whispered to himself, then he heard something.

Creeping towards the sound of angry whispers, he happened upon Diamond, and a woman, one he had never seen before. She was a senshi, but in a black fuku. She had a blaze of red hair and the ebony symbol of Terra upon her brow. She was a little younger than he was, perhaps she was sixteen, give or take, but those red eyes scared him. He was careful not to give away his position and listened while the barelegged warrior argued with his dark counterpart.

"What do you think I'm going to do? I don't care about your puny ice planet, or Nemesis, you can have those, I want Endy, and you can have the queen, I would prefer the younger man but I must make do, and besides, Endymion is still a hunk." She licked her lips. "And I took care of Rubeus for you, fancy, being afraid of your own flesh and blood. But you're right, family will betray you before a stranger any day. Trust me," she laughed, "I know!"

"Then you'll help me claim Usagi?" he gasped, obviously surprised by the ebony suited soldier's news. The dark clad warrior was beautiful, yes, but deadly. He didn't need to be told that. In her obsidian heels, she was sex on legs, his opposite number was wavering, and the way his counterpart leered at her was a dead giveaway. He shuddered as the conversation continued, "But there must be a catch…"

She sidled up to the older Diamond and purred, "But of course, I get you when that whore is not available. I like hedging my bets, especially when it comes to men. I was once known as a little puppet by the name of Beryl. But now, I am Dark Terra, remember that. I am back, as they say… in black, isn't that wicked cool?"

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