Sailor Moon G: To Test Their Affection: The Trials of Ami and Debe
By Dyne

Singing Mountain (Chrono Trigger)

     Mizuno Ami pondered her choices, there were too few. Almost any move would be the end... of her. She carefully considered the number of options that were available. She did have all the time she needed, but unfortunately not enough choices. After thinking for several moments she finally noticed one way out of her predicament, as well as a complete turnaround.

     Ami made her move...

     "Checkmate." She said.

     Her opponent immediately developed a huge sweat drop. He had short brown hair and the greyest of grey eyes. He was dressed in a casual white T-shirt and a pair of jeans, but in his belt was an object that made him someone completely different.
     This is the third game in a row that Ami had done this and it didn't make him feel too confident, even though she had let him win a couple of times. But he laughed it off and said, "You're too good for me."
     Ami laughed as well, "No, I know you're letting me win."
     "Impossible. You're as good as everyone claims."
     Ami immediately developed a strong red color to her face. She couldn't help blushing anytime he complimented her.
     "One more game?" he asked, "There's time before your usual study hour."
     "Sure," she replied.
     "But this time I'm not holding back."
     "All right," Ami smirked, "I'm going to do the same, then."
     The game was over in only twelve moves.

     Ami's opponent sighed, he had been warned, but had never realized she was that good. She didn't want to hurt his feelings so she said "I must've gotten lucky on that one."
     "Admit it, Ami-chan. You're the best player around."
     "If you want to feel that way. But just remember that the only way to get better is to play people who can beat you." Ami didn't know why but she suddenly laughed at something that she had heard earlier, which had no reference to the current situation. Her opponent took it the wrong way.
     "So you like to laugh, huh?" he said, not out of anger, but he had an evil half-grin on his face. Ami knew what was going to happen, "Oh no you don't!" she started and began to get off of her chair.

     But it was too late.

     The next thing Ami knew was that she was being tickled from behind. Her laughter rang out across the apartment as he refused to stop. After a few minutes she finally managed to push him away. He'd found out how ticklish she was after brushing a leaf off of her shoulder and she made the mistake of flinching. So he decided to take advantage of it from then on, being that it only happened two days ago. When Ami finally managed to catch her breath she turned around to see him smiling at her and chuckling. When he stopped he said to her, "I'd better go. We've both got tests tomorrow." and headed for the door.
     "Good bye, Debe. See you tomorrow," Ami said.

     It had been over a week since that day when Sailor Mercury was tricked into believing that her friends had truly turned against her. She made the foolish decision to turn against them and she paid dearly. But at the same time it was revealed that her friend, Ohara Debe, was Guardian Mercury, the one sworn to protect Sailor Mercury when she needed the help. Guardians were only supposed to help in extreme cases since their planets didn't want the senshi to have their Guardian do all of the work. Sailor Mercury immediately figured it out, but none of the other senshi, with the exception of Sailor Moon, did. Shortly afterwards Ami and Debe began a secret relationship, always denying when someone asked if they were an item. This is since the two were to marry back in the time of the Silver Millennium. This same thing is said for the other senshi and Guardians as well, only the others haven't been found yet. Even though the two were going out they mostly spent their time in the library studying for tests and working their way ahead, Ami was 12 chapters ahead but Debe was content with staying with the class. This really annoyed Ami since the two would often tie their scores on tests. Ami was happy that she had found another guy who cared about her for who she was. The other had been Urawa Ryo, but he hadn't sent her a letter in two weeks and so Ami felt the he had forgotten about her since he found a girlfriend. Her relationship with Debe was on a standstill at the moment, only two nights ago they had stood under a tree in the park and delivered their first kiss in 1000 years to each other. Ami still blushed whenever thinking about it, yet for some reason, felt that she wasn't acting like her complete self in the present. Debe told her that their old selves were now occasionally emerging now that they were together again, they just didn't remember it.

     Her mother would be returning from a medical conference the next day and Ami couldn't wait to deliver the good news that had happened during the past two weeks, she was referring to all of her test grades, not her other life. But she pushed the thoughts behind her and focused on studying. It only lasted for a few minutes when the phone rang and broke her concentration.
     "Hello, Mizuno residence." She said and a few seconds later she replied, "No Usagi-chan, we were just playing a few games of chess. How did you know he left?"
     "We all know that you always study right now, Ami-chan." was Usagi's reply; "It's kind of obvious that you two had to be doing something alone."
     Ami's face became as red as her teachers' ink on corrected papers, "Usagi-chan! You know very well that neither one of us is like that!"
     "I didn't mean anything like that. I was just wondering what people like you who think alike do."
     "Now you know." Ami said calmly and looked at the time, "If you'll excuse me, Usagi-chan I need to get back to my studies. I suggest you do the same since tomorrow's test is very important."
     "Uh... I'll study on my way to school. Bye!" Usagi promptly hung up the phone. Ami chuckled; the best way to get Usagi off of your case was just to mention anything relating to schoolwork. She loved Usagi as a friend, but sometimes she pushed a little too hard.

     The next day was one of many autumn days in the city with several more to come. The leaves were slowly beginning to fall. Debe thought it was a perfect scene. He was walking to school, alone as usual, he would almost always be there at least ten minutes ahead of Ami and it would give him time to collect his thoughts. During the past two weeks he had celebrated his 16th birthday, the first time he could really celebrate a birthday in 1000 years. Since he was in possession of both of Mercury's royal treasures their powers had stopped his aging process. So he was 15 for 1000 and 3 years. He pushed the thoughts of the past aside and continued on to school. He'd get there early for the sole purpose of either reviewing homework assignments or to play his ocarina. Ever since he'd returned Mercury's Ocarina, one of two royal treasures of the planet Mercury, to Ami he had to buy another one since he knew she wouldn't be able to loan it to him whenever he felt like playing.
     "[Truly a beautiful beginning of the season]" he said to himself in English as he walked to the area behind the school where he would often sit and be alone. He would usually study outside while Ami would study in the school library, but every once in a while they would accommodate each other. Debe noticed that the air was extremely warm for autumn and decided that after school he'd take advantage of it because it would probably be his last chance to do what he wanted to do for months.

     A few class periods, as well as a late Usagi and an important math test, later four girls sat at their usual lunch table outside the building. Makoto and Minako were almost always together ever since Minako had been transferred to Juuban Jr. High and so life there for them was a lot better. The small group would eat at the same table every day so the rest of the students respected that, otherwise they'd be at the mercy of Mako's anger. But today Usagi brought up a subject that had never been touched before.
     "Hey, Ami-chan," she said with a mouth full of food, of course, "How come Debe-kun never eats with us?"
     "Yeah," Mako continued, "He's always away from the group at times like this."
     Ami's reply was simple, "I'm sure it's the crowds. He did mention that he's uncomfortable around them so he eats in open areas."
     "Not what he's doing now," observed Minako, "Look." she pointed to a tree where their subject was leaning against and playing his new ocarina. He'd obviously gathered an audience.
     "He reminds me of Ail," said Mako, "Their flutes sound a lot alike."
     "It's an ocarina, Mako-chan," corrected Ami, "The two are completely different."
     "Wait," said Usagi, "You studied all you could about ocarinas since he gave you yours, right?"
     "Uh huh," Ami answered. Usagi was wondering why she wasn't surprised.
     "Anyway," Ami continued, "I think he'd appreciate it if we didn't invade his privacy like that."
     "Considering you're the one who likes him," Minako said.
     Ami managed to hold off a blush as much as possible as she said, "We're just good friends who think a lot alike." All three girls said the same thing,

     "Ami-chan, a destined relationship cannot be avoided."

     "Do you always think that way?" Ami sighed.
     "Mm hm," Usagi and Minako nodded in confirmation.
     "I guess you put me between a rock and a hard place," Ami admitted. Usagi took her opportunity.
     "So when do you think he'll ask you out?" She asked.
     "Yeah, you two look like a really great couple," Makoto continued.
     "I don't know," Ami said, "I don't think he'd want to do that. Like me he's too involved with schoolwork."
     "Not as much as you think," Minako countered, "He runs about two or three kilometers every day, goes to the arcade or the library, and does a bunch of other stuff. He told Rei-chan that he doesn't want to push too hard on school, just do his best and not overdo it." Ami was about to speak, "But that's what he wants to do and I'm not saying anything about your habits, Ami-chan."
     "Thank you," she said.
     "I think if he does ask you out," Usagi started again, "That you two should see a movie. The theater's playing a really good movie that was translated from English that I'm sure both of you would love. The Princess Bride, it's soooo romantic, and the prince is incredibly handsome." Hearts appeared in Usagi's eyes.
     "Usagi-chan!" Mako said, "We really don't want to push either one too hard."
     "If I may say something, I think you girls should drop this subject entirely." Debe, who had stopped playing, heard the last line of their conversation, and walked over unnoticed, said.
     All four girls immediately started sweating.

     After school everyone had gone their separate ways: Usagi to the arcade, Makoto and Minako to the mall, and Ami to the library. Debe on the other hand decided to get his running in early today. His route took him directly next to the Hikawa Shrine and that's exactly where he needed to go right now. As he passed by he turned and sprinted up the stairs until he could see Rei sweeping the walk.
     "Debe-san," she said, "What brings you here?"
     "Rei..." he said while breathing hard, "Don't... talk to me... like I'm... more important than you..."
     "What's on your mind?"
     Debe quickly regained his breath; "Today at lunch I overheard Usagi, Mako, and Minako egging Ami-chan into trying to accept a request if I should ask her out. The problem is, how can I think of trying to pull through?"      Rei noticed his problem; "If you really want to do that you should let your heart decide. I can't give you much more advice than that." Debe sighed and Rei continued, "Why were they doing that anyway?"
     "I didn't hear the whole conversation, but Usagi's been after Ami-chan for half a week and wondering what we were doing every time we've been alone."
     "Which has been only to study a few times after school at the library."
     "Right, but last night she took me to her apartment and clobbered me at chess. Now Usagi thinks I should ask her to see a movie. What am I gonna do?"
     Rei thought for a moment, "I recommend that when you see an opportunity you should do your best to take it. It's your choice but if you really want to you could go for it. It may get easier with practice."
     "Yeah I guess." He began to feel himself cramping up, "Uh oh, better keep moving." Debe started down the stairs, "Bye Rei!" he called. Rei waved as she watched him go.

     A few minutes later, Debe approached his final destination, not his apartment building but something that would allow him to enjoy one of his favorite pastimes. Might as well take advantage of this heat wave before the autumn temperatures set in, he thought as he entered the sports center, took off his shoes and dove into the outdoor pool.

     Most of the time the library was a perfect haven for Ami, but today she found that she couldn't concentrate at all. The conversation that she and the other three had had during lunch still nagged at her. What would she do if Debe asked her out? The two had been in love with each other 1000 years ago and she knew that it had carried on into this time. But right now she didn't want to admit it to anyone, not even herself. Her feelings for him were unusual, she did get a warm feeling that enlightened her spirits when she was with him but she didn't show it except when he would tickle her. He's done it three times now, she thought, and I'm sure there will be plenty more. Ami realized that her thoughts had literally turned 180 degrees. She tried to focus on the book she was reading, but in vain. The thoughts of the past kept returning. Finally, Ami sighed, put the book she had found back on its shelf, and walked out. Outside she noticed that the summer heat was retaining itself very well. After a moment of thinking she decided to head home for the moment. It was then that she realized her mother's plane still wouldn't be in for at least two more hours. So her last resort would be to do something alone. After deliberation, Ami headed for home anyway, put on her favorite blue bathing suit under a T-shirt and a pair of shorts, grabbed a towel, and walked to the sports center.

     When Ami arrived, she noticed that the pool was completely empty, I guess most people would find it strange to go swimming outdoors at this time of year. She decided to take advantage of her opportunity, since swimming alone would give her time to be free of all of her troubles for an hour. She quickly stripped down to her suit and dove in. After swimming underwater for half the pool's length she could see that she wasn't alone.

     Debe exhaled some stored air and looked at his watch. He'd been floating under the water for one minute, 18 seconds. If he kept this up he'd reach a new record easily; his current was two minutes, seven. This was Debe's favorite pastime ever. He couldn't explain why but he felt truly free every time he stayed underwater. He only would open his eyes to check his time since he felt even more relaxed while just letting his mind go free. His thoughts all vanished as he became one with the flow of the water, every movement through his hair and between his fingers brought a feeling of calmness to him. Debe didn't know why he loved the water so much. He believed it had something to do with being born on Mercury. Debe didn't bother to open his eyes and see who had dove in when he heard the sound but they shot open when a hand grabbed his shoulder from the front. Must think I'm drowning, he thought and took a look at who caused him to lose half of his remaining air.

     It was Ami.

     Debe smiled and gestured towards the top of the water. Ami nodded. The two broke the surface, took in air, and he said,

     "We've really got to stop meeting like this."

     Ami simply smiled at the comment. During the course of the past two weeks the two had run into each other on several occasions. The first had been when Ami first heard him playing the ocarina outside the school building. The second was the next day at the park after a man named Rad and a monster that was with him had nearly kidnapped Ami. Ami had transformed but gotten her energy sucked out of her but Debe's instincts as Guardian Mercury killed the monster without Debe knowing he did it. This was before his memory was restored. After four hours of unconsciousness, Ami found Debe still in the park. He offered to take her home since she was afraid of being in the park alone at night. The next happened two days after their incident regarding Ami's mistrust. What happened was Debe was leaving the library with a stack of books while Ami was entering at the same time with a stack of her own. So the two ran into each other head on and the faces they made were definitely photographic moments.

     Ami continued their conversation; "Did you come here to enjoy what's left of the summer heat also?"
     "Yeah," Debe replied, "I like being underwater outdoors a lot more since the outdoor pools are usually not as crowded. I assume you came here to unwind?"
     "Yes but I can't stay for too long, my mother's coming back from the US in less than two hours so I only have 45 minutes here."
     "She attended the medical conference in Miami, Florida?"
     "You know, I'd like to meet your mom. After all, I have to thank her for giving birth to such a wonderful daughter."
     Ami blushed, of course, and decided to get even. She playfully splashed some water into his face. But he had expected the attack and reached over to the base of her neck and started tickling yet again. While Ami was at his mercy she decided to do something about it right away. She pushed Debe's head under the water, but he once again anticipated the movement so he put his plan into action. Ami couldn't see exactly where he disappeared to, but found out soon enough. She felt herself be grabbed around the ankles from behind and pulled under as well. Ami turned around to see Debe smiling with that sneaky half-grin of his. Ami didn't exactly know what happened next. She just had the sudden impulse to do something she'd never done in her life...

     She suddenly grabbed him behind the neck, drew him closer, and let loose with a long, passionate kiss that completely took Debe by surprise as well. I know that we Mercurians are unpredictable, he thought, but this is ridiculous!

Drawn by Alicia

     When Ami pulled back she noticed exactly how pale Debe looked as he swam up for air. She had absolutely no idea why she'd just done that, but it was most likely due to the way she felt whenever he smiled at her like that. She'd never be able to live it down if the other girls heard about it. When she had overcome the initial shock of what she'd just done Ami went up for air. After she brushed the strands of blue hair from her eyes she could see Debe blushing probably even deeper than she had ever in her life. He spoke,

     "Well... that was sudden."

     He said the words quietly as Ami did her best to regain her composure, "I'm sorry," she said, "I had no idea what made me do that... I had this sudden impulse to do so and-"
     "Followed through," he finished.
     "I-I'm sorry if I made you feel bad about it."
     "No apology necessary. It was your old self acting up, it could've happened at any time."
     "Well, if you didn't mind, then I guess everything's all right?"
     "Sure. But right now I'm going to relax. What about you?"
     Ami thought for a moment, "I'll do a little diving off of the board. There's almost nothing like the feeling of free fall, if only for a second or two."
     Debe laughed; "Maybe you should try skydiving." he took a deep breath and headed back under the water. Ami smiled as she swam to the edge and climbed out.

     From his vantagepoint outside of the pool, Rad watched in utter disgust as he saw the girl who caused the downfall of his mentor and their company climb out of the water. Rad wanted only one thing against the Sailor Senshi and Mercury in particular, revenge! He knew the girl named Mizuno Ami couldn't possibly have her means of transforming when clad in only a one-piece bathing suit. And since he believed that she had to be alone, he decided to act now. Too bad he was so intent on killing her, because he thought that she didn't look half-bad dressed like that. Rad put a hand into his jacket and withdrew a test tube. This one'll be perfect, he thought as he tossed the tube poolside where it broke. Its substance began to take a form...

     Ami climbed out onto the walk surrounding the pool. She once again had to brush the hair that partially covered hers eyes and reminded herself to get a haircut. She began to walk over to the diving board when she heard the sound of breaking glass behind her. She quickly turned to see a puddle of brown ooze build up to take the form of some sort of creature. A capsule monster! Ami thought, Is he after me again? She knew that Rad had to be seeking revenge otherwise this wouldn't be happening. The brown substance quickly took the form of a humanoid but its feet were hooves, had the face of a rabid dog, and the horns of a goat. It wore a light chain mail and snarled evilly at Ami. She screamed in surprise, produced her transformation stick, and shouted...


     And Sailor Mercury appeared, ready to fight.

     Rad couldn't believe it! Where could she keep her stick? He thought, doesn't matter, really. That monster is immune to water elementals... He saw Sailor Mercury try in vain as she used one of her attacks. Rad smirked, but changed his expression after she landed a kick on the monster's chest, knocking it over. But just in case I'd better lend a hand. Rad waved his hand and produced a staff, jumped out of the bushes, and landed behind his capsule monster.

     Sailor Mercury expected her Ice Storm to have no effect on the monster since the last one she fought was also immune to her powers. Her backup plan worked as she found herself deliver a blow that managed to fall her opponent.

     It was then that Rad appeared.

     "Amusing," he said, "But not good enough."

     Sailor Mercury expected him to attack directly but she saw him produce a small object out of his jacket and throw it at her. Mercury did her best to move aside, but the second the object hit the ground; it exploded, forming a green gas...

     Surrounding her just as she took a breath to hold in.

     Sailor Mercury's body immediately became numb; she couldn't feel a thing. The numbness quickly took over and she collapsed. She was paralyzed in front of two things that wanted her dead. If she could have cried out she would've.

     Rad smirked again as he saw his target succumb to his nerve gas right away. Her collapse was a completely joyful sight to him.

     "All right, capsule monster Tralloc," he commanded, "Kill her!" The monster stood up and approached Sailor Mercury. At this time he heard two noises behind him, one was the sound of rushing water and the other, a voice.

     "Make one step towards her and you'll taste ice cold steel!"

     Rad turned and was completely shocked! Standing on a column of water inside the pool was a young man wearing light blue armor and a blue/white cape. In his left hand was a sword in which the blade had the bluish tint of ice. Rad recognized the fighter.

     "You're the crazy swordsman who attacked me the last time I went after this girl!" he shouted.
     "Ore no sekai no honshitsu wa michiru! Mizu to kori no kishi, Guardian Mercury! Anata no jigoku wa koru." the kid replied, leapt off of the column and in front of Sailor Mercury.

     Debe had sensed the attack while he was still enjoying the feel of being underwater. He knew he couldn't have had enough time to get out and transform, so he did the next best thing. He shouted his transformation phrase under the water and it had worked.

     After the transformation finished, Guardian Mercury used his only known power, to manipulate small amounts of water, to create the column and make a flashy entrance. He made his speech and jumped in front of the downed Sailor Mercury.
     "Are you all right? Can you hear me?" he asked her telepathically.
     "I'm fine but I can't move." Was her reply, "He used some sort of numbing gas on me, be careful."
     Guardian Mercury turned his attention back to the monster, "Man, you've got some nerve to attack someone when she's trying to take her mind off of her worries for a while. That's pure cowardice!"
     Rad's only response was an order to Tralloc, "Kill him first!"

     The capsule monster didn't run in to attack, but it merely shot a ball of fire directly at the Guardian. He didn't dare jump aside or the fire would hit Sailor Mercury. Debe threw his free arm up in defense and closed his eyes just as the fireball was about to make contact...

     Nothing hit him.

     Guardian Mercury opened his eyes and saw what had stopped the blast. On his right arm was a block of clear ice, resembling a shield, which had stopped the blast.
     "What did you do?!" Sailor Mercury asked him through their mental link.
     "I-I don't know." he replied, "All I did was focus on a way to block that ball and the next thing this barrier appeared."
     "Maybe it's another one of your powers."
     "Has to be," he experimented really quick by focusing his energy on an object to throw, his response was an ice dagger that looked like the symbol of Mercury with his sword through the top, "I can create small objects out of ice! Maybe more!"

     The monster quickly overcame the shock of it's strongest projectile blocked as if it were nothing. Tralloc immediately followed through with another fireball, but Debe had another card to play. He used his newly discovered skill to create another dagger and threw it at the capsule monster. The dagger destroyed the fireball and struck Tralloc in the chest before it melted. The monster began to ooze out a dark red type of blood before it melted down back into its original formula and dissolved.

     "Good work..." Sailor Mercury managed to say. It was apparent that the paralysis was beginning to wear off as Debe could see Mercury beginning to move. He bent down to help her up but she stopped him with a message,

     "Behind you!"

     "Huh?" he said and noticed Rad making a direct charge at him. Guardian Mercury's sword flashed into his hand to intercept the blow from Rad's staff. The two began a fight as Sailor Mercury's body began to regain its feeling.

     Rad quickly let loose with a barrage of swings, thrusts, and several other moves, but every one was blocked and countered. I know that technique, Rad thought, but can't remember where I've seen it. The two men continued their fight, neither one ever gaining a distinct advantage.

     Guardian Mercury was beginning to tire. He and Rad had been dueling for what seemed to be an eternity now. But what surprised him the most was that he never remembered being this skilled with a sword. During his life on Mercury his training was from some of the knights in the palace but his skill was only considered to be at a low level. How could he be doing high level attacks? The two simply kept at it for another seemingly long time when finally someone else was able to intervene.

     "SHABON SPRAY!!!"

     Debe used the distraction caused by Sailor Mercury to kick Rad in the stomach hard enough to knock him into the pool. The Guardian smiled at his victory, but it was short lived as a hand grabbed his wrist and pulled him out of the pool's area. He noticed that the hand didn't have the feel of a glove and he deduced that that was Ami's message to him telling him to revert, he promptly did.

     Ami never knew that she could move that quickly. The second she used her bubbles she knew Debe would have enough time to knock Rad out so she reverted, threw her shirt, shorts, and shoes back on, grabbed her Guardian, and ran out. The entire process had taken less than a minute while the fight lasted about 15. Even though Ami felt Debe's transformation reverse the two kept running until they were a good three blocks away from the center when they finally stopped in an alley to rest. Debe spoke first,

     "Damn him! Who would've thought that he'd pull a surprise attack on us like that?!"
     "I agree." Ami said, "But he's after me because I think he blames me for what happened to your father."
     Debe's mind recalled the battle the week before. His father was Blade, a rogue fighter from the Dark Kingdom who came to the earth and started a drug operation in the United States. But Debe somehow destroyed his main facility. This happened soon before Debe moved to Tokyo. A week-and-a-half ago Blade reappeared again, this time his only minion was Rad. Blade convinced Sailor Mercury that her friends used her for only her intellect and she went with him following her desire to be cared for. Blade brainwashed Sailor Mercury into fighting her own Guardian, but a song from Mercury's Ocarina quickly changed her back to normal. Guardian Mercury and Blade faced off in a final battle in which Debe won by hitting Blade's strongest attack back at him. Before his death, Blade gave Debe the memories of his young childhood in which Debe learned that Blade was his father. Now, Rad is seeking revenge against Sailor Mercury.
     "Anyway," Debe started, "At least we came out of it okay."
     "Yes, I owe you one." Ami said as she moved closer to him but he held out a hand motioning for her to stop.
     "You paid me back before it happened." he said. Ami realized he was talking about what happened while they were both underwater and, of course, blushed and smiled. Debe returned the smile and looked at his watch, "You may want to get home and change before going to the airport. Do you have a ride?"
     Ami noticed that her mother's plane would arrive in less than 45 minutes and nodded.
     "Usagi-chan's's boyfriend is driving me."
     "Mamoru-san, right?"
     "Uh huh, I'd better go if I want to be ready when he picks me up."
     "All right, I've got to go to the store anyhow. You're sure you'll be okay?"
     "I'll be fine, I'll have Tuxedo Kamen for backup if I get attacked again." She didn't know why, but she felt that he seemed to worry more about her than himself. The feeling left her appreciative. The two walked out of the alley and Ami turned left while Debe headed right and turned right again to enter the building the two had been next to.

     Rad sputtered as he climbed out of the pool. Dammit! I'm going to kill that kid! He thought as he sulked away. That's the second time he's interfered with my plans to get that girl. Next time he won't be so lucky! But where did he learn that sword technique? It looks almost exactly like the master's did before he died at the hands of the girl, Sailor Mercury. Rad didn't know that it was Guardian, not Sailor Mercury who had killed Blade in the attack against their mansion a week ago. Rad didn't know who he hated more, Sailor Mercury or her Guardian. If I can lure them into a trap that neither one could resist I'd be able to take care of my problem... that's it! Rad quickly formulated a plan: He knew that Mizuno Ami was Sailor Mercury and that a young man named Debe, he didn't know his last name, had to be her Guardian. Rad had known that Ami was Sailor Mercury and since he often saw those two together he deduced that fact easily. He also knew that Debe's weakness was most definitely seeing Sailor Mercury in trouble. He would kidnap Ami and then lure Debe... and the other Sailor senshi into a trap in which they would face a Capsule Monster that was immune to all of their elements. He'd have his revenge against all of them! He quickly walked to his car and drove away, working out how he would put his plan into action. The hardest part would be capturing Sailor Mercury when her Guardian wasn't nearby...

     Debe sighed to himself as he stepped into the building; he should've taken a towel to the pool. His original plan was to run himself dry, but he had never expected Ami to be there and definitely never expected to fight, either. He wondered exactly how his shoes got back on him when he reverted from Guardian Mercury since he took them off before swimming. Must be part of the transformation since I did have my boots on as Guardian Merc, he thought. Through pure coincidence Ami had taken them right next to his apartment building. So he decided to go home, take a quick shower, and then buy some food since his stock was beginning to get low. His mind quickly turned to thoughts of what his life would be like during the next few years. He knew that Ami could take care of herself when he wasn't there but he developed a feeling of impeding trouble shortly after they left. He had no idea what it was, but just passed it off as paranoia as he stepped into the elevator.

     Almost an hour later, Chiba Mamoru's car was cruising along the highway with three people. Usagi had insisted on coming along with the two since she just couldn't trust her Mamo-chan alone with another girl.
     "I still don't see why I have to sit in the back!" Usagi complained.
     "Relax, odango atama," Mamoru said, "Once we pick up Ami-chan's mother, those two will sit back there to catch up on things."
     "Hmph!" Usagi pouted, but changed the subject, "Hey Ami-chan, I tried to call you earlier but you weren't home. Where were you?"
     Ami turned to look back at her friend and smiled, "You don't have to worry, I just decided to go swimming for a little while."
     "Really? You should have told me since it would've been fun for just the two of us to have some fun together and- Hey, Ami-chan, why are you blushing?"
     Just the mention of what had happened at the pool was enough for the red tinge to return to Ami's cheeks. She quickly turned her head back. "Oh, no reason," she lied, "My mind must have strayed for some reason."
     "Let me guess, you were thinking about Debe-kun?" Usagi asked while leaning forward. The blue-haired girl blushed even more deeply.
     "Ah ha!" Usagi exclaimed, "He was there, wasn't he?"
     Ami slowly nodded, Usagi continued.
     "Were the two of you alone?"
     Turning an even deeper shade of red, she nodded again.
     "I'll bet one of you asked the other to go. Ooo... I wonder how he felt seeing you in a bathing suit!" Ami was beginning to get angry and made a vain attempt to hide her crimson face.
     "Enough, Usako," Mamoru interrupted, "Debe and I have spoken a few times and I know he isn't a pervert."
     "But still," the odango atama wouldn't let it faze her, "I remember the first time he looked at you, Ami-chan. I'll bet his first thought was of something along the lines of 'She's cute', or something like that."
     "Enough, please!" Ami didn't mean to raise her voice, Usagi looked at her with an expression of both surprise and shock.
     "I'm sorry Usagi-chan," She continued, "But please let me explain what happened." She proceeded to tell the two on how the two had run into each other by chance, their conversation, and the fight. She, of course, left out exactly what happened regarding the underwater incident.
     "Wow," Usagi said, "You were lucky that he was there, after all."
     "So Rad is looking for you again," Mamoru said, "You'll have to stay on your guard."
     "That's the problem," Ami said, "He knows my identity! He knew before Debe learned who he was! He even knows where I live!"
     "You don't have to worry," Mamoru again spoke, "He's not stupid enough to attack you right around your apartment where anyone could interfere. I have to admit, his idea to wait until you were alone was a good one."
     "Please, I don't want to think about it anymore." Ami turned to look out her window and continued to do so until they reached the airport.

     "I just can't believe I forgot to buy those spices!" Makoto muttered to herself while storming out of her apartment and down the hall. Trying out a new recipe and perfecting it at the same time definitely wasn't anything good. She walked to the elevator and nearly slammed the down button. Luckily for her, the door opened right away since the car was already approaching her floor. Mako had already turned around to impatiently watch the monitor to indicate the floor when she noticed something.

     "Hey, Makoto."

     She hadn't even noticed Debe when she walked in.
     "Hey, what are you doing here? Visiting someone?" She asked.
     Debe shook his head; "I live here."
     Makoto's eyes almost popped out when he said that, "REALLY?! SO DO I!" He developed a sweat drop at her expression.
     "Y-yeah," he said, a little nervously, "I was on my way to the 7-12 to do some grocery shopping. Gotta eat, you know."
     "You're not going to eat alone tonight. I'm on my way there too, and you can eat at my place tonight."
     Before Debe could say anything more, the elevator reached the bottom floor. Mako nearly dragged him outside the building and over to the store. Debe could have sworn his arm was almost dislocated.

     After getting the car parked, Mamoru and the two girls made their way to the International terminal.
     "Which plane does your mother arrive on?" Mamoru asked.
     "I'm not exactly sure," Ami replied, "But I do know that it originally flew out from Miami and had a layover in California."
     "All right, lead the way."
     Three people would have gone all at the same time, if only Usagi hadn't seen the snack bar.
     "You can go ahead without us for a minute, Ami-chan," she said, "C'mon, Mamo-chan, I need some energy after that long walk."
     "B-but," he started.
     "You two go on," Ami said, smiling.
     Before any argument could be made, Usagi dashed into the place, dragging the poor guy behind her and leaving Ami alone. She decided to let those two find her at the gate and proceeded to find a flight directory. She found one after a couple of minutes and quickly looked it over, only to discover something that made her spirits plummet...

     The only flight from California at that time had been canceled.

     Ami knew that there had to be a good reason for the cancellation and sought the answer over at the information desk.
     "Excuse me," she said to the attendant, "Why is the flight from California canceled?"
     "Let me see," the attendant input some data into her computer. After a few seconds she said to Ami, "The original flight from Miami, Florida, was the one canceled due to a typhoon."
     "Typhoon?!" Ami said in disbelief.
     "I'm afraid so. According to this report, it cut a lot of power and the damage was pretty heavy. Fortunately, casualties were at an all time minimum with only two. But due to the damage, there won't be any flights out of there for almost a week."
     "Thank you for your help," Ami said quietly, bowed, and slowly made her way back to where the others had gone. She wanted to cry. She had been waiting for her mother to return for a long time. The hospital was going to give her the weekend off to get adjusted to the time zone difference and she had promised Ami that they would spend it together. She soon intercepted Usagi and Mamoru on their way to meet her. The poor guy was now staring into a near-empty wallet while Usagi held two ice cream cones.
     "Hey," Usagi said, "I insisted he buy some for you," and offered the second cone to her. Mamoru thought about how Usagi's "insistment" had been to twist his arm.
     "Thanks," Ami said quietly and accepted the gift. But she did a terrible job in hiding her disappointment and it obviously didn't go unnoticed.
     "What's wrong?" Mamoru asked, "The light in your eyes seems to have fizzled out. Did your mom not make it?"
     Ami nodded, "The flight was canceled due to a typhoon," she said.
     "Sorry, Ami-chan," Usagi comforted, "Tell you what, I get my allowance tomorrow. We'll spend the afternoon together, just the two of us."
     The light in Ami's eyes began to shine again, but she realized something.
     "Not tomorrow, Usagi-chan. I've got cram school."
     "Oh yeah," Usagi muttered, but realized something, "But since tomorrow's Friday, we can spend all of Saturday having fun. Okay?"
     "Sure!" Ami replied, her spirits rejuvenated.
     "But for now, I'd better get you two home," Mamoru said, "Other wise odango atama will oversleep again."
     Ami chuckled while Usagi gave him one of her cold stares.

     "Thanks for the meal, Mako," Debe said as her was leaving her apartment, "I'll have to return the favor."
     "Don't worry about it!" she called back to him.
     "Bye!" He returned and made his way back to the elevator. He and Makoto had been speaking for over three hours. She told him about all of the enemies in which the Sailor senshi had encountered in the past year and how many close calls they'd had: From her appearance during the battle against Queen Beryl, until the Black Moon Family. Including the story of the two aliens and the mysterious Maikaju. Debe also discovered something about his friend. During this conversation, an ad for an airline service came up on the radio, and Makoto seemed to reverse personalities. She seemed incredibly nervous and uncomfortable until Debe shut it off. He easily figured out her fear of airplanes from that and she told him the story of her parents' death in one.

     After arriving back at his own room and finishing his homework, Debe decided that the best way to pass the time until morning would be to go to bed right away. He hoped for good dreams...

     But he only got half of his wish.

     Something wasn't right about this dream. Debe knew that in a dream, it's near impossible to actually feel yourself standing in it, but now he could. He was once again wearing his usual clothes that he wore outside of school, a white T-shirt with jeans, and a belt to hold the sword hilt. He stood in a near-completely pitch-black space, not seeing or hearing a thing other than himself and his breathing. His steps gave off an echo that reverberated all through the empty space as his shoes contacted the floor of this space. He continued to walk for an estimated five minutes when he finally noticed someone, or something, else in here with him. By moving towards the now seen figure he noticed that it was Ami. She was wearing her school uniform and facing away from him, but looking at something else.
     "Hey, Ami-chan!" Debe called out, only to not receive an answer. He moved closer. After reaching the spot directly behind her, he said again, "Ami-chan?" This time she slowly began to turn to face him...

     And slapped him dead in the face.

     The suddenness of it was enough for Debe to fall back two steps. His cheek began to sting instantly. "Hey," he said, "what was that for?" It was then that Debe noticed exactly how she was looking at him. The look he received was the second one of this type, and it still made Debe's spine turn cold. Ami's eyes had lost their gentle sapphire blue and changed into a very icy steel blue. He still had nightmares about the first time he'd received that look. It was from when he had to fight her. Could she still be under a little of Blade's influence? He thought. He took a step towards her, but she quickly turned back around and said two phrases that Debe had never hoped to hear.

     "Go away! Please, just leave me alone!"

     Her voice was shaky; it sounded as though she was trying not to cry.
     "Ami-chan," he said again, "What's wrong? Please tell me, I can help you."
     His answer was something he didn't expect at all. Ami vanished and Debe could now see exactly what she had been looking at.

     A headstone, with a name he couldn't read.

     Oh my God! Debe thought, Was her mother killed? Or is it someone else? The headstone vanished and he suddenly saw himself facing a brick wall, one that the other girls were trying in vain to break down. What was going on? Debe's face turned to one of anger; he'd had enough of this. This definitely wasn't a dream, and not the same power that Ami's friend, Urawa Ryo, held. There was only one more possibility.

     "Sailor Pluto!" he called.

     He was right, the Guardian Soldier of Time appeared directly in front of him as everything else he was seeing vanished.
     "What is this?" Debe asked, "Why are you showing me these images?"
     "So that you can be prepared for your future," was her reply, "This dream is going to become a reality. But as you know, most dreams are forgotten when one awakens. You will not remember this but will remember what I'm about to tell you."
     Debe didn't understand that last statement, "What do you mean?"
     Sailor Pluto continued, "Your destiny was set long ago, but without the proper guidance you wouldn't have been ready. I saw your fight against Rad. And you were wondering why your skills had improved so much over what they were 1000 years ago."
     Debe nodded, "How could I have gotten better without very much training, I always thought I had a natural ability until you told me who I am."
     "I won't be able to explain it very well," she said, "This will help you fully understand why."
     Sailor Pluto raised her staff and the orb on top began to glow very brightly.

     The area began to fill quickly with this light and Debe suddenly found himself in a scene that was very familiar to him, back in front of the Door of Time. He was once again in the form of spiritual "eyes" that was focusing on four figures in front of the door, one was definitely Pluto, and the others were dressed in the Sailor senshi' uniforms as well. One had short, blonde hair and was even taller than Makoto! The second was a head shorter, and had medium-length aquamarine colored hair. The final figure looked like a girl who could only have been beginning her teenage years and had medium-length black hair, and carried a staff that Debe could only describe as looking like a can opener.
     "We failed," the tall one muttered, "How could we have not noticed the attack coming from the earth when we were focusing so hard on our mission to defend this solar system from outside attacks?"
     "What is fated to happen must come to be, Uranus," Sailor Pluto, "We wouldn't have been able to reach there in time and we would have been killed too. You, Neptune, and Saturn, aren't to blame."
     "Still," the shortest one, who Debe guessed to be Saturn, said, "We would have been able to be of a little help. With such a large-scale assault I don't think anyone could have survived." An orb of yellow light appearing in front of the four senshi, causing them to shield their eyes followed Saturn's words. Uranus and Neptune readied themselves for a fight.
     "Wait!" Pluto shouted, "It couldn't be an enemy."
     The light slowly began to take on a human shape and before and of the four could react; Guardian Mercury fell onto the ground. He wasn't moving, but his face was still tear-stained from the loss of his friends, especially Sailor Mercury. The four senshi approached the Guardian just as he began to stir.
     "What happened?" he muttered and suddenly remembered. He bolted up, "Who are you guys?" He was about the draw his sword again, but lowered his arm as he noticed whom he was with. "The four Sailor senshi of the Outer Solar System?" he asked, they nodded.
     "We didn't expect anyone to have survived that attack," Neptune said, "And yet you got out of it with hardly a scratch. How?"
     "I was just lucky," Debe replied, "I managed to take cover behind the only column that had managed to have only part of it standing after that final blast. But after seeing what it did I wish I had been taken with everyone else." As if it happened to remind him, Debe suddenly received a huge throb of pain in his right arm where the blood had soaked through his bandage. His hand shot up to hold it.
     "Wait," Sailor Saturn ordered, "I can help you more with this." She walked over next to him, closed her eyes, and focused her power on his wound. It was instantly healed!
     "Amazing!" Debe remarked and thought for a moment, "What will happen to you four?"
     "Sailors Neptune and Saturn and I will return to our planets to live the rest of our lives," Uranus started, "After which we too will be sent to Earth to be reborn when the rest are."
     "I'll stay here to guard the Time Gate as it is my duty," Pluto said, "What will you do?"
     "I was about to say that," Debe said, "Since I was entrusted with both Royal Treasures of Mercury, I'll have to wait until the others are reborn before I return to the Inners."
     "By not being reborn, you won't have the opportunity to train when you go to Earth," Saturn told him, "You will lose all of your memories of this life."
     "But we can help," Uranus said, "We'll train you here and now." Debe's eyes nearly doubled in size at that statement. But his spiritual form saw nothing more as the same light enveloped the area once more and he returned to his "dream".

     "And with the help of us Outer senshi," Sailor Pluto was saying, "Your skill increased tremendously. After only five years of training before the others returned to their worlds."
     "And what did I do afterwards," Debe asked, "Did I help you guard the Time Gate?"
     "Actually, yes. But after only another year, your impatience finally caught up and you asked me to send you ahead in time because you missed Sailor Mercury so much. Since that was impossible, you settled for suspended animation. Actual time travel is forbidden."
     "I understand fully now," Debe said, "Thanks for everything. If I ever run into the other three Outer senshi I'll make sure to tell them too."
     Sailor Pluto smiled at him, "That depends on if they know who they are by now. But now you have to wake up!" The area the two stood in quickly faded.

     Debe shot up on his bed, for some reason he was covered with sweat. Impossible, he thought, there wasn't anything in what she told me that could have made me do that. He made his way to the bathroom to wash his face. After getting adjusted to the light change he saw something that shocked him completely!

     As Debe looked into the mirror, he noticed a red hand mark on his cheek. It slowly began to sting.

     That Saturday at the Hikawa Shrine, Rei had "recruited" a little extra help for taking care of it since Yuuichirou was away for the weekend, probably visiting his parents. Mako and Minako once again took up the job of selling charms. And since Rei couldn't get Usagi and Ami, as they were out having their day of fun together, she found someone else to sweep the walk and stairs.
     "Are you sure you don't want to get a full-time job here?" She asked Debe who was doing a more efficient job, at least in her eyes.
     "Sorry, no," he said without looking up, "I wouldn't want to impose on anyone. And Rei," he lifted his head, this got her attention, "Don't even think of trying to steal me away from under Ami-chan's nose. You should already know perfectly well and exactly why."
     At this statement, Rei grimaced and produced yet another sweat drop. He'd figured out her plans!
     "Hey, speaking of which," Debe noticed, "Here she comes now with Usagi."
     Rei looked to see if he was right. Sure enough, the two who had been unreachable all day were making their way up the stairs to the shrine. She noticed that both of them carried shopping bags and they were both a little wet.
     "You two have fun?" Debe asked when they were within earshot. He stopped sweeping once they were next to him and Rei.
     "Oh we had a blast!" Usagi exclaimed, "First we spent all morning at the mall, had pizza for lunch, an hour at the arcade, and from then until now we went swimming."
     Rei and Debe's eyes widened, "And your allowance held on for that long?" they both asked. Usagi only smiled and nodded.
     "You surprise me, odango atama," Debe said.
     "I knew she'd do anything to get out of working," Rei put in, "In fact, we all know of how much of a slacker she is already."
     Here we go again, Ami thought.
     "Rei-chan! I was trying to bring Ami-chan out of her depression! She's had a lousy week!"
     "Even if you hadn't, you still would've find some way to get out of it."
     "I'll have you know that-" And off they went into one of their arguments. Ami and Debe just stood and watched in disgust. But the topic was soon changed.
     "Are you up for a rematch sometime soon?" Debe asked.
     "It's fine with me," Ami replied, "In fact, I was about to ask you the same thing."
     Debe raised his eyebrows. She must be getting used to this, he thought, when I asked her to play the first time she blushed like crazy.
     "Tell you what," she said, "Come on over in about half an hour. I need to wash the chlorine out of my hair."
     "Actually," he said, "I'm done here. Rei said I could leave when I finished, so I'll walk you home." He moved a little closer and whispered, "Don't forget that Rad is still targeting you."
     Ami nodded.
     Debe continued in his normal tone, "I have a couple of things to do at home. So I can take care of those while you have time to shower."
     "All right, but you'd better get out of that kimono first."
     Debe realized that she was right, he was about to leave with the shrine's clothes!
     "Oops..." He said quietly and made a mad dash back inside to get back into his normal clothes. It really would have felt weird to be seen walking out in the street like that. After a few minutes, Debe returned to where Ami was waiting. The two began their walk while Usagi and Rei continued arguing. They never noticed a thing that went on, not even Minako keeping time to check for a new record.

     In a supposedly abandoned mansion at the edge of the city, Rad sat at the main office's desk, reviewing several formulas for capsule monsters that were immune to certain elements. He was trying to discover a new formula to immunize one against the five Sailor senshi. While reading through them he scowled. Making mixed immunities made the monster several times harder to create. With the difficulty of it, he would probably have to reduce the immunities by one or two just so it would even be possible to create the thing.
     "Your blind revenge is going to be your undoing, Rad." Said a voice from behind him.
     Rad turned to see another man about his age suddenly standing directly behind him. He was an average height with short blonde hair and grass green eyes. To almost anyone, he could have looked like a model.
     "Why are you here?" Rad asked, gritting his teeth.
     "I've been watching you," he answered, "Lord Amethyst is most unhappy about Blade's death and your insolence and desertment. The only reason we let you live is that there's a rumor going around at HQ that you have a plan for getting rid of those Sailor senshi."
     "You don't have to worry. My plan is near fool-proof."
     "So you do mean to take that one you really hate, Mercury wasn't it, hostage, lure the others into a deathtrap and force her to watch them die before you kill her?"
     "How did you know that?!"
     "You really shouldn't talk to yourself all the time. For the past two days you've been muttering to yourself about how you would pull through with it."
     "Shut up and get out!" Rad shouted and jumped out of the chair, entering a fighting stance, "Tell Amethyst that I'll have no problem in getting rid of them!"
     "You'd better, or you'll be sorry." The man disappeared in a flash of light. Rad turned back to his work.
     "And by the way, Rad," the guy's voice said from out of nowhere, "I hope you never have to resolve to cheating in order to get a girlfriend!" The speech was followed by his own laughter, which slowly faded. Rad returned to his work, scowling and clenching his pencil. Just you wait, he thought, I'll pull this one off successfully. Then we'll see who has the last laugh! His hand soon lost all feeling, but he ignored it.

     There's almost nothing that a nice hot shower doesn't cure, Ami thought after exiting the bathroom. She walked into her living room in order to set up the chessboard and noticed that there was a new message on the answering machine. She obviously hadn't heard the phone ring while in the shower. Not being one to procrastinate, Ami immediately played it as she set up the game.
     "Hi, honey," the voice nearly cause Ami to drop the board and pieces. Mom?! She thought with great relief.
     "I'm very sorry that I wasn't able to call sooner," Dr. Mizuno's message continued, "But as you may have already found out, a typhoon hit and took out a lot of phone lines. I know you would have already investigated it. But I have good news; the hospital isn't counting this as my time off. I hope to return this Thursday and still won't be going into work until the week after. So we can still spend some much-needed quality time. I love you." With that, the message ended. Ami listened to it one more time before returning to setting the game up. She couldn't describe how relieved she felt that her mom was okay. After finishing the setup she immediately marked the calendar for the new arrival date. As soon as Ami finished with this, there was a knock at the door. She knew who it was, of course.

     "Did something happen?" Debe asked, "I was in the elevator when I suddenly sensed an extreme feeling of relief from you."
     "I'm fine," Ami said, "Can I get you a drink for while we play?"
     "Sure, thanks. Do you want to be black or white?"
     "I'll be black this time," she called from the kitchen and soon returned with two sodas, but paused on the way long enough to turn the radio on to a classical music station.
     "All right," he said, accepted the drink, and the two took their seats.

     In the heat of the competition, this game lasted for almost an hour...

     "Checkmate," Debe finally said.
     Ami almost couldn't believe it! "Have you been practicing?" she asked.
     "Truthfully yes," he answered with one of his half-grins, "After school yesterday I spent most of the evening at the Chess Tower." He then laughed and said, "The owner noticed how hard I was playing against someone and immediately figured out that I was trying to beat you."
     The two shared a moment of laughter before Ami asked, "Want to play another game? It's not even 4:00."
     "Really? I thought it was much later. Sure."
     The two proceeded to set up for a second match, but something stopped them. A new piece of music began to play on the radio. The sound of it for some reason caused Debe to drop a bishop onto the middle of the board.
     "What's wrong?" Ami asked, "Debe, what's the matter?" His grey eyes seemed to cloud over, as if he'd been enchanted by something.
     "This music..." he said very quietly, almost sounding far away, "Listen..."
     As Ami turned her thoughts to the sounds emanating from the stereo, she too became enticed with them.
     "This melody..." she said, "It's just like back then..."

     With this, memories of a time one thousand years past once again resurfaced.

     Princess Mercury sat at a table in the corner and sighed, hoping no one would ask her to dance. The Mariner Castle ballroom was nearly filled to capacity with citizens and noblemen. Even though she was nearing fifteen, she was still very uncomfortable at important events. This dance was part of a planet-wide celebration of the victory in a war against some kind of aliens that attempted to break up the Silver Millennium, starting with Mercury. A brave, unknown man was able to kill their leader, but was never heard from again. Everybody believed he was fatally wounded. This happened exactly fifteen years ago today. But unfortunately for the princess, the corner was not a good enough spot to hide from the party.
     "Princess, may I take the pleasure in having this dance?" a young nobleman, about six or seven years older than she, offered. He was tall with short red hair and light blue eyes.
     "I'm sorry, no," was her reply, "I'm waiting for someone."
     "So be it what the princess wishes," he said with a bow and left to find a partner. Princess Mercury sighed again. She hated formalities. Where is he? She thought, he should have been here quite a while ago.
     As if on cue, a very familiar and expected voice said, "One as beautiful as you shouldn't hide in the shadows. A flower in bloom deserves to be seen."
     She couldn't help but to blush. He was the only one who could make her do so.
     "May I have this dance, Princess?" Debe asked and offered his hand.
     "Dispense with the formalities, please," she said, "Even though we're in public I'd like you to call me by name." She took his hand and they walked onto the dance floor. There he slipped his free arm around her waist as she placed her hand near his shoulder. The two immediately fell into perfect step with the music.      "Forgive me, Ami," Debe said, "I've been spending too much time around noblemen."
     "Is that what delayed you?" Ami asked.
     He shook his head and sighed, "No, the Knight Captain is requiring me to train for several extra hours. I finished about ten minutes ago, got cleaned up, and arrived here just now."
     "I feel bad for you. I can order the Captain not to overwork you."
     "Please don't. He says I need this extra training since my experience level still isn't very high. If I don't improve, I won't be worthy enough to hold the title of Guardian. The other three have been helping me when they can, but they can't very often due to their own schedules."
     "I'm sorry Debe, I had no idea. But I know you can improve greatly. I believe in you."
     Just the sound of her words seemed to put a great amount of reassurance into Debe's eyes. He opened his mouth to say something when the music promptly ended and the dancing couples dispersed.
     "It looks like the orchestra is going to rest for a few minutes," Ami said, "While they do, please walk out to the balcony with me."
     Debe nodded and she led him by the hand up some stairs at the rear end of the ballroom and through the window/door to Ami's favorite spot within the castle. Little did they know that jealous eyes followed.

     Out on the balcony, Debe and Ami stood with his arms around her gazing out over the city where almost all of the homes were showing signs of activity.
     "Believe me when I say you look ravishing tonight," Debe whispered.
     As she soon turned to gaze into his eyes, he rested his hand on her cheek. He looks so handsome when the light from Earth's moon reflects off of his eyes, Ami thought. As she did, a few stray thoughts entered on their own. Moonlight? The moon? I almost forgot! This caused her to gasp.
     "Is something wrong?" Debe asked.
     "Something almost slipped my mind," she said, "I must attend a celebration on the moon next week. And Queen Serenity would like to meet the four Guardians. So you will be my escort."
     "I'd be honored. I've always dreamed for an opportunity to escort you to the moon."
     The two smiled at one another as a new piece began to play inside the ballroom.
     "Shall we return inside?" Debe offered.
     "No," she said, "Let's dance out here. It's a beautiful night." He nodded in affirmation.

Drawn by Chizi

     No more words were exchanged during this time as they once again fell into step with the rhythm. The two moved closer until cheek-to-cheek. After a moment, their lips drew close to one another. And then...

     The phone in Ami's apartment rang...

     Debe had no idea what had happened! One minute he was setting up the board for their next game. The next, he and Ami were standing in the middle of the living room, holding each other as if they were dancing, and about a quarter-inch away from connection for a kiss. They very(!) quickly released each other from their grips and right away turned shades of deep red.
     "I'd... uh... better answer the phone," Ami said a little nervously.
     Debe sat down back at the table and realized that he'd hardly touched his drink. He right away began to remedy that.
     "Hello, Mizuno Residence," Ami said from the other end of the room. A moment later, a much happier Ami said, "Ryo-kun! It's really nice to hear from you!"

     She didn't notice Debe choke on his soda and spit it back into the can.

     "Can you come over?" Ami continued, "There's someone I'd like you to meet."
     From his seat, Debe couldn't hear what the reply was.
     "Forty-five minutes? Sounds great! I'll see you soon." With that, she hung up.
     "Just a day where everything's fallen into place for you, huh?" Debe said, smiling at her as she returned, but didn't do a good job of holding back his coughing.
     "Almost," she said, "Are you okay?"
     "Fine," he said, wheezing slightly.
     "Liar," she teased and sat back down, "You're a little nervous. I don't need to be able to sense how you're feeling to see that."
     "Sorry, I heard your half of the conversation."
     "It would've been pretty hard not to." She smiled at him again, "Come on, let's try and finish this quickly."
     Debe nodded and proceeded to emerge victorious again. But to his dismay, it wasn't long before the "Checkmate" was emitted from Ami's mouth. It was then that Debe knew she had gone easy on him before. But she still had to be surprised about his improvement, didn't she?
     "Now it's been a perfect day," Ami said, smiling.
     Debe looked a little smug, "So you're in good humor now, eh?" he retorted.
     Ami knew what was going to happen. She immediately stood up in an attempt to prevent it. But by the time she was up, he'd already beaten her to the punch and Ami was caught right away in a fit of laughing.

     This time, though, she had an immediate plan.

     Intent on a little revenge, she whipped around behind him and knocked the back of his knees, causing him to lose his balance for a second. Using that short time to her advantage, Ami then pushed him down onto the floor and Debe immediately found himself pinned.
     "I'm sorry if I hurt you," she said, with a mildly evil smile, "But it's time I find out how ticklish you are!"
     Debe began to sweat as Ami ran her fingers up his sides. How embarrassing! he thought, Sailor Uranus would have made me do three extra hours of training for that one! He managed to hold out for a few seconds when she found his weak spot on the sides of his ribs. The worse thing about it though, was that Ami's smooth fingers didn't help him at all. She smiled evilly again, as she looked at his expressions in the vain attempt to contain his laughter. They didn't last long as Ami's revenge got off onto a successful start, only she refused to make it short.
     "Do you surrender?" She asked, still going strong.
     "N-n-never!" He answered between the fits of laughter.
     "So be it."
     Not only did Ami not let up; she moved her fingers faster! Debe was laughing too hard to think of any kind of plan. He could have easily reversed the pin at first, but decided to let Ami have her way, which was his mistake. After another few minutes or so, she finally stopped, but was still on top of the still-laughing Debe.
     "Have you had enough?" She asked again.
     "All right, all right," he replied a little hoarsely, "You win."
     "Don't forget about this the next time," Ami smiled and finally let him up.

     Her timing was perfect, for right after she and Debe stood up there was a knock at the door.

     Ami answered it, but was surprised to see no one there! At least at eye level.
     "Artemis?" she said, "What brings you here?"
     And how can a cat knock so loudly, Debe wondered.
     "Luna and I want Debe to talk to everyone about something," the cat answered, "They asked to meet at the fruit parlor. We also need to give him a communicator, I've been looking everywhere."
     "Well if you need me that bad," he said, "I'll go along." Neither of the other two noticed him breathe a small sigh of relief. He'd been looking for an excuse to get away since that phone call.
     "Will I be needed too?" Ami asked, "I'm expecting some company in just a few minutes."
     "Not really," Artemis answered, "It's about the other three Guardians."
     "Have fun catching up," Debe said as the white cat jumped onto his shoulder and the two left the apartment, they immediately headed for the elevator. Fortunately or Ami, right after the door to their car closed, the one adjacent to it opened and Urawa stepped out.

     "Exactly what is this meeting for?" Debe said as Artemis lead him to the designated fruit parlor. He noticed that it had the same name as the arcade, Crown. As the two walked inside, Debe saw the four girls with Luna at a booth in the corner. He joined them.
     "It's sort of a briefing," Artemis said.
     "We've recently been talking about finding the other three Guardians," Minako began, "And since you know more about them than we do, we're asking you what they're like."
     "That way," Rei continued, "We'll know when we see them, That is if they don't match up with their right Senshi."
     "There's a minor problem though," Debe said, shaking his head, "I don't know exactly what they look like in this life, but I do remember their powers. Unlike you senshi, the Guardians all have different uniforms after transformations and we have nicknames as well."
     The girls and cats seemed to see images appear behind Debe as he began his explanation.
     "I am Guardian Mercury, the Knight. My armor is full-body yet light to allow for quick movement when it is needed. My sword bears the powers of Ice. The next is Guardian Jupiter, the Archer; his bow wields the power of Lightning. He bears loose clothes for movement and no armor. He is our support in an attack. Guardian Venus, the Lancer, holds the spear that contains the direct power of Venus. Being the bearer of the heaviest armor, he is strong, but slow. Finally, Guardian Mars, the Healer, bears a whip of Fire. He is clad in a light plate mail to once again allow for movement. Not only were our missions to protect the princess of our respective planets, but to defend the planet in case of an attack from outside of our solar system."
     As he named the four Guardians, the girls and cats seemed to see clearly their descriptions except for the faces of the final three.
     "Amazing," Luna said.
     "So Luna, Artemis, and we will get a feeling of familiarity when we're around the person," Mako summarized, "Like Ami-chan did with you?"
     Debe nodded.
     "Hey," Usagi put in, "Speaking of Ami, where is she?"
     "She's... uh... speaking with an old friend," Debe answered with a tone of nervousness. The girls immediately knew whom.
     "You don't have to be jealous," Rei said, "If it's destiny, then you've got nothing to worry about."
     Considering you were the one who was trying to break it earlier, Rei, Debe thought.
     "Is there anything else you need to ask me?" He said.
     "No, that's all," Artemis replied, "Luna and I will try and get you a communicator made as soon as possible."
     "All right then. Good luck with your guys' search. I'll do my part as well, but right now there's a joggers' path at the park with my name on it."
     After the brief exchange of good-byes, Debe once again headed for home. After a few minutes, he left the building clad in blue running shorts and a white tank top. The weather was still warm enough for light clothing. But he noticed something that brought about a little disappointment.
     Rats, he thought, can't run through crowded sidewalks without being suspected of anything.
     Debe frowned as he started along the sidewalk down towards the park. He'd only walked a couple of blocks when a voice called, "Hey Ohara-kun! Wait up!"

     He turned around to see the absolute last person he'd expected.

     "Hey Urawa," he said, "Is something going on?"
     He knew that the young man in front of him obviously had to be Ami's friend. Who else would have known his name like that? But what troubled Debe was that it had only been slightly less than half an hour since he left Ami's place. He'd thought that they would be talking for hours.
     "I'm afraid so," Urawa answered.
     Debe began to worry, Could Rad've attacked her!?
     "I'm sure Ami-san told you about my ability to foresee future events."
     "Yeah, she did."
     "I recently had two visions," Urawa started, "I didn't tell Ami-san about these. The first involved you and her. You two were separated by a huge chasm. You attempted to leap the gorge and managed to grab the edge of the other side. You called out to Ami-san to help you up, but she refused to listen and walked away!"      Debe's mind began to stir, he could somehow remember something similar to that, and yet, couldn't recall it completely.
     "What was the second vision?" He asked.
     "Nothing," was the answer.
     "Nothing? Are you sure it was a vision?"
     "I'm positive. It certainly felt like one, but all I saw was pitch-blackness. The place seemed to feel cold, dark, and... Lonely is the only way to describe the final portion. The thing that scares me is, my visions have always been straightforward, not riddles."
     "I kind of feel sorry for you. This power must destroy all of your hope for the future."
     "It used to. But Ami-san was the one who set me straight on building your own."
     "She told me about that incident."
     "Yeah, she's a wonderful girl. But I soon realized after we went out that I wasn't the right one for her. Right after that, I saw you appear in a vision. I immediately wrote a letter to her saying that I'd found someone else and that she should wait for someone who would be there shortly. I never received a reply and decided to talk to her about it as soon as I could make it here."
     "I do owe you," Debe said, "If it hadn't been for you and your power, Ami-chan would have been killed by that girder. Not only that, but you helped her to not run away from her feelings."
     "Actually, she taught me that." Urawa corrected, "But there was one more thing I have to tell you."
     "What's that?"
     "Your first search is nearly complete. And I have a request for you: Take care of Ami-san, she truly is a wonderful person. I had my time but I can't interfere with fate. I know you love her and by the sparkle in her eyes I know that she loves you in return."
     Debe thought about those words. The first statement was fairly obvious; another Guardian was going to appear soon. But the second... he couldn't describe what he felt.
     "Thanks for listening to all of this," Urawa said again, "I may never see either one of you again. Good luck."

     Debe opened his mouth to say something. But before any words were able to leave, Urawa had already turned around and melted into the crowd.

     Debe continued on his way to the park, deep in thought. Luckily for him, he did his best thinking while running. But he didn't expect his agenda to change the way it was about to as he stepped onto the crosswalk.

     Rad hated what he had had to settle for in his monster. He had to leave out the water immunity; otherwise the monster would have been completely unstable during creation. It actually wouldn't have been a problem for him if there was no a Guardian Mercury. He was now driving around town collecting the ingredients since almost all of them weren't available at the mansion. He was lucky that every one of them could be found at several stores and chemistry labs. As Rad approached an intersection, he saw something that made his only resort for a capsule monster not seem so bad after all.

     The accelerator quickly met the floor.

     Debe heard tires screech around his area. He turned to see a blood-red car headed straight for him! I have just enough time; Debe thought and prepared to jump away at a time when this person wouldn't weave to hit him. His plan was immediately shattered as he felt himself be tackled from behind. Both he and the person were now safe on the other side of the road. Debe had been unable to make out who the driver was, but had a good idea.
     "I can't believe the way some people think they own the road," said the person who'd saved Debe's life, a boy, "Are you okay?"
     With just a couple of scrapes from the road, he answered, ""I'm all right, thanks."
     He'd now taken a good look at the person. He was about Debe's age with slightly medium-length dark brown hair and eyes to match.
     "My name's Matsumoto Shinozaki," he said, "I saw that car heading straight for you and... Just had to get you out of it for some reason."
     "I'm Debe. Did you get a look at the driver?"
     "Yeah," Shinozaki answered, "But all I really saw was his red hair that nearly matched the car."
     Red hair? Debe thought. His suspicions were correct! It was him! Maybe I can...
     "Sorry, but I've got no time to talk," Debe sprung up onto his feet and sprinted down the sidewalk in the direction of the car, nearly at the same speed. He could see where the car had gone by a set of tire tracks turning to the right. Debe rounded the corner and beheld a scene of several people crowded in the street looking at something. Several cars had stopped to prevent anything else from happening.
     Damn him! He thought as he scowled. What a coward!
     Debe put his usual fear of crowds aside and pushed through the group of people and made his way to the center of the scene.

     He nearly lost his lunch as soon as he saw Urawa lying in a bloody heap...


     "Oh Ami-chan," Debe whispered to himself, "I'm so sorry." Now he knew what Urawa was talking about in his second vision. He'd predicted his own death!
     "Is he a friend of yours?" Asked Shinozaki, who had suddenly appeared next to him, out of breath.
     "A friend's friend, really," Debe answered, "The two went out once. I feel so sorry for Ami-chan."
     "Mizuno Ami, you mean?"
     "You know her?"
     "About as much as you knew him. She's the friend of a friend."
     "How am I going to tell her this?"
     "I'm sorry, Debe. Maybe you shouldn't beat around the bush."
     "You're right, she never liked not getting to the point."
     "Would you mind if I helped you tell her?"
     "Sorry, but yes. I think I should do it alone."
     "It's your choice," Shinozaki said, "But if you need any help, don't be afraid to ask for any." He quickly wrote a number on a small card and handed it to Debe before walking away.

     Debe wondered why Shinozaki had offered to help him so spontaneously. He began the long walk to Ami's apartment just as the ambulance pulled up to the scene.

     Shinozaki was feeling the same way.
     Why did I offer to help him like that? He thought, I just met him. But I feel like we're old friends for some reason.
     He quickly made his way to a phone booth, inserted the money, and a few seconds later he said, "Hey, Mako-chan?"

     Ami smiled to herself as the breeze through the window ruffled through her hair. Her spirits had been enlightened so many times today; she didn't want it to end. The quiet knock at the door quickly made her feel relieved, after all, she was in her happiest mood in a long time. But this person was someone who she hadn't expected again today.
     "Hi Debe," she said cheerfully, "Are you in the middle of a run?"
     Debe only nodded slowly, but she could barely notice it as his head was mostly facing the floor the whole time.
     Ami did notice the minor injuries the covered his arms, however, "You're hurt! Why didn't you take care of it, or did you not even notice? Sit down and I'll be right back." She set him down on a chair and left the room. He continued to keep his head down the whole time.
     Ami soon returned with bandages and peroxide. She immediately knelt next to him and began to clean and dress the wounds, but wouldn't let one thing slip by.
     "Why are you so quiet? If there's something wrong, you can tell me. Don't be afraid."
     The quiet tone of her voice seemed to refresh him very slightly. He looked into her eyes and smiled slightly before dropping his head again and finally speaking.

     "Your friend, Urawa Ryo," he said, very quietly, "Is dead. Hit by a car and killed instantly."

     Ami refused to believe those words! Her mouth fell open in order to gasp, by her throat had tightened so much that nothing came out. She used her free hand to cover her shocked expression, but it certainly wasn't enough to prevent the tears from forming.
     "I'm very sorry, Ami-chan," Debe continued, looking at the pain on her face seemed to give him the same, "I hate to tell you this, but Rad was the one who hit him. He tried to hit me in his car, but missed, turned a corner, and hit him while speeding away."
     Ami couldn't begin to describe what her mind was going through as it began to fill with several emotions: Anger, sadness, fear, and several others. Only one was able to emerge, directed at the one other person in the room.

     Debe himself wanted to cry as he saw the tears well up in Ami's face. How he hated to see her hurt! She continued to stay next to him for a few minutes before finally removing her hand from her mouth. He then saw her face change from that of shock... to anger...

     She raised that hand and promptly slapped him with full force!

     "YOU!" She shouted, with that tone which made him shiver, "It's your fault!"
     Debe fell into his own state of shock as Ami said those words. Only it didn't seem to be enough for her. He found himself under a barrage of several punches to the chest, none of which he bothered to block, as Ami continued, "It's your fault! He'd still be alive if you had never come! I hate you! I hate you, Debe-baka! You can leave! Just leave me alone from now on!"
     Before he knew it, Debe had found himself literally pushed out into the hall and a closed door met his face when he turned back around.
     "Am-," he started, but shook his head, deciding not to waste his breath.
     I have to do what my Princess commands, no matter what it is; he thought and started back for home.

     Tears stained the carpet in the hall.

     "WHAT?!" Usagi yelled, "Ami-chan threw Debe-kun out of her life?!"
     Makoto only nodded. Everyone but the two mentioned were at the Hikawa Shrine.
     "I found out last night right after he got home," she said, Shinozaki-kun called and asked if I knew Debe-kun. When I said yes, he told me that he might have something going on. As luck would have it, I'd baked him an apple pie and found out when I delivered it."
     The other three girls and the two cats gave Mako a strange look. She immediately sweat dropped.
     "I-it's nothing like that," she stuttered, "I had enough extra ingredients to make a second and decided to give it to him."
     The others really didn't look very convinced.
     "But how did you learn about what happened?" Minako asked, still with a look of doubt.
     "When I got to his apartment, he let me in but I could see right away that something was wrong. His eyes looked so... empty and I could definitely see a ton of pain on his face. I asked him what was wrong. He wouldn't say so at first, but I gave him some incentive."
     Everyone else sweat dropped, they all knew very well what Mako's incentives were. They hoped that Debe's arms were still in once piece.
     "So he told me what happened," Makoto finished, "and that's it."
     "It also explains why Ami-chan had a huge mood swing without warning yesterday," Rei said, "I was talking to her on the phone and I asked who won in their latest chess match. Her voice suddenly turned gruff and she asked me not to mention Debe-kun or anything to do with him."
     "This is really starting to worry me," Luna put in, "if Ami-chan is going to continue to blame Debe-kun for the accident, she may come to hate him as much as she likes to study."
     "Oh gods!" Minako shouted, "We have to get those two back together!"
     "I'm way ahead of you on that one," Makoto said, "I called Mamoru-san and asked him to try and talk Debe-kun into just trying to talk to Ami-chan. I think they're at the arcade now."
     Usagi leaned up to her friend, "And why did you call Mamo-chan and not someone else?" She asked sternly.
     "This really isn't the time for that, Usagi-chan, "Luna scolded, "A destined relationship is on the brink of ruins."
     "You should really be the one to know how he feels the most," Artemis added, "After all, you were really bummed out when Mamoru-san broke up with you."
     "He did not break up with me!" Usagi shouted, "He just had to avoid me thanks to those crazy dreams his future self sent to him."
     "But this time there are no dreams," Minako said, "this could be permanent."
     "Fine..." Usagi muttered, "We'll go talk to Ami-chan and get her to fix things up."
     "She's probable at the library," Mako said, "She did mention a test sometime this week."
     Leaving the two cats, the four girls set out on their quest.

     "You can't just give up on her," Mamoru was saying to Debe. The two men were playing a cooperative shooting game in order to improve their reflexes.
     "I still think it'd be a good idea to wait for her to calm down some," was Debe's reply, he wouldn't let anything cause his concentration to fail.
     "So you and the others can just relax," he continued.

     "I'm..." His shots covered the entire screen as a line of enemies fell.

     "Not..." More enemies fell as he unloaded round after round.

     "Worried..." Mamoru didn't even have to fire.

     "What-" His shooting and reloading continued to increase.

     "So-" More and more enemies fell as he moved even faster!

     "Ever!" After a few more shots, the level ended and Debe smirked.

     Mamoru sweat dropped when he saw the 100% accuracy score on Debe's side of the screen.

     "Hi guys, did you come here to study as well?" Ami asked the girls once she had noticed them enter the library. Her voice was at its usual cheerful tone. Everyone could see that she was the only patron at the moment, that was definitely beneficial to their plan.
     "It's only half of the reason," Rei smirked, "Even though we nearly had to lure odango atama in here with a doughnut."
     Usagi's mood right away flew into "volcano" setting. She began to shout several different accusations at Rei, only none of them were understandable thanks to Mako's hand, which clamped over Usagi's mouth not a split-second too soon. Good thing, too, they really didn't want to know exactly what she was shouting.
     After Usagi's spaz attack had ended, and after Makoto wiped the spit off of her hand, she said, "We came to talk to you about something."
     Ami set her book down so that it nearly slammed. "If it has anything to do with Debe, please don't even try," she said, "Anything else I'll gladly talk about."
     "Well..." Usagi quietly started, "It's about Debe-kun." Rei, Minako, and Makoto slapped their foreheads.
     "Excuse me, then," Ami said, her voice turning cold, and she began to stand up. She didn't get very far as both Rei and Makoto pushed he back onto the chair and held her there. Their combined strength was more than enough to keep her down.
     "Before you say anything," Mako said angrily, "You listen to us!"
     Ami nodded a little nervously and the two released their grip on her shoulders.
     "Do you even know what you've done it him?" Mako asked, "He believed so strongly in your destiny that he's taking this turnaround unbelievably hard."
     "And the way you've been acting about it is really making us worry," Minako put in, "Why do you blame him?"
     Ami's eyes began to tear up again.
     "It was because of him that Urawa-kun was hit!" She cried, "Rad tried to run Debe down! After he missed, he sped away without caring about anything else!"
     "You still can't blame him," Rei said, "Do you even know what could have happened if he'd never showed up? You, yes you, might still be brainwashed and fighting us."
     "And you're not the only one who's had a loved one die in an accident," Makoto remorsed, "I may not like airplanes or flying, but I don't blame the pilot for the accident."
     "You have to move on, Ami-chan," Usagi put her hand on Ami's shoulder, "What's fated to happen has to happen and there's nothing we can do to change that. But if you keep acting like this towards him, you'll eventually feel the same way towards us and soon live you're entire life in hatred. We want you to know that you're with us."
     Everyone was speechless, never before had Usagi said anything like that. She was just full of surprises.
     "I-I don't what I should do," Ami said, "This is something very new for me and I'm clueless as to how to handle it."
     "We're going to let you decide," Rei said, "But before we do, I just want to let you know that he cares about you so much that he's willing to hurt himself just to help you. And we all can tell that it's not because of his mission."
     "Think about it for a while and we'll be at the shrine if you need us. 'Kay?" Usagi assured.
     Ami slowly nodded.
     "All right then. You take care of him." The odango atama led the other girls outside.

     Ami continued to think as she sat at the table after her friends left. Their words slowly began to enter and soften her heart. Why did I do such a horrible thing to him after what he's done for me? She thought, I really should apologize... No, I will apologize! I'll go home and call him right now! Also making a mental note to carry enough change for a phone booth at all times, Ami nearly dashed out into the streets where the sky was still a bright blue from the noon sun. She practically ran all the way home, waited impatiently for the elevator to arrive and take her to her floor, stepped into the hall where a janitor was vacuuming the carpets, and finally reached her door. What will he say! Ami thought again, Will he even speak to me? She finally managed to get the door open and, not even making sure the door closed all the way, walked into her room. She reached over to pick up the receiver...

     But her hand didn't make it...

     Ami tried to scream as some force pinned her right arm behind her, but her mouth had already been gagged by some sort of damp cloth. Chloroform? She thought, then there isn't much time. She moved her left arm as best she could next to her right hand and managed to push the "Emergency Signal" button on her communicator.
     "Oh no you don't!" A familiar voice shouted. The figure let go of her right arm and ripped the communicator from her wrist before throwing it onto the ground and crushing it with his heel. Ami's eyes widened as she realized who it was, but she could no longer hold what little air she had managed to store and had no choice but to inhale the fumes.

     She immediately lost consciousness.

     After he and Mamoru had beaten the game, Debe really didn't feel like sticking around the arcade. He was now less than a block away from home. His movement came to an immediate halt as some kind of message flashed through his mind.
     What the...? He thought and clutched his head, What's going on?
     He couldn't really tell exactly what he was feeling. His instincts were telling him to do something, but he didn't know what! Before he could figure out exactly what is was, the feeling vanished as suddenly as it had appeared...
     Debe simply shrugged the feeling away and stepped through the doors. He only failed to notice the tall figure whose purple eyes were focused on him.

     Rad grinned to himself as the girl collapsed. Even though he'd missed hitting her boyfriend in the car, he was still able to throw the transmitting bug onto the street where it had been programmed to attach itself to Debe's shirt. The result of that certainly didn't hinder Rad's plan at all, it could still be carried out as planned. He had "borrowed" a janitor's outfit and waited for Ami to return. Now that the plan was in effect, he'd have to act quickly. Even though the two were inside the apartment, he'd still be seen taking her outside. That had already been anticipated. Rad knew that she would be out cold for at least an hour, he wasn't going to take any chances. He promptly tied Ami's wrists and ankles before putting her in a sack. He was suspected by no one as it looked like a janitor was carrying a bag full of garbage out to the dumpster.

     "So what do you guys think she's going to do?" Usagi asked the girls. They were all back at the Hikawa Shrine, waiting for something to happen.
     "I think something good will come out of all this," Minako put in, "That little talk seemed to really open her eyes on what happened."
     "Knowing her, she's probably going to apologize right away," Makoto said, "But have you guys noticed that-"
     Her sentence was interrupted by an incoming message for all of them. Minako acted first.
     "What's the trouble, Luna?" She asked.
     "Emergency!" The cat shouted, "We received a distress signal from Ami-chan not a few seconds ago! But it was cut off right away!"
     Rei grabbed Minako's wrist, and ignoring the yelp of pain as her arm was pulled back the wrong way, asked, "Where was it from?"
     "Directly from inside her apartment!"
     The four girls all gasped.
     "He must've been waiting for her!" Mako exclaimed. No one had to define whom she was talking about.
     "Transform and get over there!" Luna ordered, "Artemis is already out looking for Debe-kun."
     "Right!" The girls said in unison.
     "Let's go you guys!" Usagi said, "MOON CRYSTAL POWER! MAKE-UP!!!"
     "We aren't going to let him get away with it!" Mako shouted, "JUPITER STAR POWER! MAKE-UP!!!"
     "He'd better leave us alone after we're done with him!" Rei added, "MARS STAR POWER! MAKE-UP!!!"
     "We'll make him wish he'd never messed with us!" Minako commented, "VENUS STAR POWER! MAKE-UP!!!"
     After the senshi' transformations had completed, they set out for the scene of the attack: Ami's apartment.

     Ami's eyes slowly began to open, only to find her vision meet something that blocked it completely. She tried to raise her hand to remove it, but soon found out she couldn't even move her whole arm! Now that she was fully awake, it didn't take long for her to realize that she'd been tied to a chair. There might be a loose area somewhere, she thought. Ignoring the blindfold, she tested to see if any part of her had been left unbound. From what she could tell, her arms were secure against her sides, but her wrists were tied behind the chair. Trying her legs, she easily felt them bound together and, in turn, to the front legs of her wooden prison. After a minute or so of trying to break out, she gave up. I can't get out of here on my own, Ami thought again, but maybe if I transform, the power should set me free. Her pen right away materialized into a small free space in her hand.


     That's as far as she got before the pen was ripped from her grasp.

     "Surprise!" Rad's voice said as she heard him place her pen onto some sort of metal object, possibly a table. She could then feel him remove her blindfold, giving her a view of where they were. He'd once again brought her into a room that she'd hoped to never see again. The electrode machine was directly in front of her.
     "Happy to see me, Princess?" Rad said.
     Ami's eyes widened.

     "What are we going to do if they're still there?" Sailor Moon asked.
     The four senshi were making good time on their path to where the signal had originated.
     "I don't think they will be," Venus said, "But we might be able to find out what happened to Ami-chan from there."
     "You've got to think ahead of the enemy!" Mars said and then added quietly, "For once..." Causing Moon to turn back and stick her tongue out.

     Debe leaned against the railing on his balcony and sighed. What happened? He thought, That quick feeling I got, I've never felt anything like it before. What was it? His train of thought was derailed by a white streak that flashed in front of his eyes.
     "Artemis?!" Debe said, "How'd you get up here?"
     The white cat was now sitting on the railing in front of the boy, "Believe me, it wasn't easy," he complained, "These floors are too darn far apart!"
     "What's up?"
     "I came to get you. Ami's been attacked and maybe kidnapped."
     Debe immediately straightened up, "Really?! Then let's..." His voice lost all volume and he fell back into the chair behind him, "No... I can't..."
     "WHAT?!" Artemis' jaw nearly hit the concrete, "But why?! You're her Guardian! Why aren't you going to help her when she needs you the most?!"
     "I just can't right now..." he said quietly, "I have to obey her order for me to leave her alone. She has to be the one to undo it."
     The cat opened his mouth to say something.
     "And you can't override the order," Debe interrupted, "You don't have any authority over me, Artemis, if you were an advisor to the king of Mercury instead. But you don't understand the situation I'm in. The others can handle this one." He promptly stood up.
     "But-" Before Artemis could continue, Debe walked inside and shut the door.

     "Ami-chan!" Sailor Moon shouted as the four burst into the apartment through the still-open door. It was a miracle that no one hadn't walked in and taken anything.
     "As bad as we thought," Sailor Jupiter scowled, "She's gone."
     "And here's her communicator," Mars said as she picked up the crushed device, "We'd better take a look around. There could be some clues as to where they've gone."
     "But first we'd better close the door," Venus said, "Before people get any wrong ideas." Good thing she did, or they probably would've never seen the note taped to the back of it.
     "What's it say?" The other three asked all at once.
     "'Sailor senshi," Sailor Venus read, "'I have Ami back at Blade's mansion. Come for her if you think she's worth it.' That's all."
     "Who does this guy think he is?" Sailor Moon fumed, "Of course we're going back there! I'm not going to let him torment Ami-chan anymore! Trap or not, I'm going!"
     She immediately set out to follow through with her words and left the apartment. After looking at each other and nodding in agreement, Sailors Mars, Jupiter, and Venus moved behind their leader.

     Debe ignored the taps on his patio door. I still can't understand how a cat can knock so loudly, he thought. He had his own unexplainable reasons for why he wasn't sprinting to the fight. But now, the sun wasn't reaching his living room for some reason. He flipped on the light...

     And noticed a human's shadow cast onto the wall.

     Spinning around to see exactly what was going on, Debe came face to face with a person who was very familiar to him. Yet here, this person looked different, maybe because she was dressed in regular clothes.
     "Sailor Pluto?!" Debe exclaimed, "What are you doing in my living room?"
     "On this plane, my name is Setsuna," she said, "but that isn't what's important."
     "Why are you here?"
     "I came to tell you what will happen if you continue on this path of isolation," she began, "With every step forward at this point in time, your future will change. Normally it is forbidden to reveal the outcome of battle, but there is no other way right now. As it is, there won't even be a future for the earth. Your past will be repeated," Setsuna lowered her eyebrows, "Five times over."
     Debe's eyes doubled in size, "I'm going to lose Ami-chan again?! And the others will die as well?"
     "You comprehend very easily. I won't even try to force you into going, but I wish that you follow through with what you believe is right."
     Debe turned around and thought to himself.

     After a minute he made his decision.

     What kind of idiot am I?! He thought, I turn my back when I'm needed most and the whole earth could feel the effects all because of me. I'm not going to back out! I have to do it! To save the earth... and her...
     "I'm going-" Debe's voice fell short as he turned around only to find himself once again alone in the apartment.

     "Why are you doing this?" Ami asked.
     "Did you really think I had brought you here just to get revenge on only you?" Rad said to her, "I could kill you here and now, but I have to wait for your friends first."
     "What drove you to this madness."
     "You obviously forgot what happened back at that time. The night of that dance, you passed up an opportunity for a dance with one of the strongest knights in the field. My father and your father were best friends, but you wanted to spend all of your time with a low-class soldier, an orphan to boot! I should have been chosen as Guardian Mercury, but no!"
     Ami couldn't believe what she was hearing, he sounded like a little kid!
     "It is much more than rank and social position that determines the qualities for the Guardian," she said, "Debe was chosen for his pure heart and potential. He's the only son of the planet's hero, even though he was turned and forced to fight for your side. But why did you side with the enemy?"
     Her question was answered with a quick backhand to the face.
     "Shut up! It's none of your business!" He shouted, "But when your friends arrive, at any moment now, I'm going to give you the viewing pleasure of my invincible monster making a late lunch of them. And after that, you'll be reacquainted with your old friend right here." Rad patted the electrode machine, "Come to think of it, I've never had this thing at full power before."
     Ami's eyes became filled with fear. Her friends were going to be killed in front of her before she would be tortured to death!
     "I'll need to talk to them, but I don't want you to tell them about my little trap." Rad's laughter rang through the room as he tied the cloth used as the blindfold around Ami's mouth.

     "Well," Sailor Jupiter said, cracking her knuckles, as the four approached the familiar mansion, "here we go again."
     "Talk about a lazy guy," Mars noticed, "He never got the door repaired from the last time. Not only that but look how it's falling apart. This place is going to be condemned in no time."
     The other three saw that she was right, the wooden door to the mansion was still hanging in mere splinters from when Sailor Jupiter's attack had destroyed it nearly two weeks ago.
     "This might not be so hard after all," Moon said, "Let's go, you guys!" She proceeded towards the open archway.
     "Sailor Moon! Wait!" Mars shouted. She, Jupiter, and Venus immediately ran after their impulsive leader. Their decision certainly wasn't foolish, for once Sailor Moon stepped through the arch, a steel door fell from the frame. With a great effort, the rear three just barely managed to leap into the building with the door less than half an inch from closing onto the tip of Sailor Venus' foot.
     "When are you going to stop rushing in and nearly getting us killed?!" Mars shouted.
     "Don't start!" Venus ordered, "Don't forget that we're here to-" Her sentence was cut off by a loudspeaker turning on. The noise caused them to cover their ears.
     "Welcome back, Sailor senshi," Rad's voice emanated from the walls, "I'd give your friend, Sailor Mercury, back, but I'm afraid she's a little tied up right now."
     All four senshi grimaced at the bad joke.
     "Go ahead and talk to her if you want," the voice continued, "Only she won't be able to answer. But if you should decide that you want her back, follow the hall and come get her on your own."
     After that sentence, several other steel doors fell over every other archway except one. The door leading through the west wing into the mansion's largest room.
     "We're not giving up!" Sailor Moon shouted as they ran down the hall. "Hold on, Ami-chan, we're coming!"

     "They're pretty pathetic," Rad said to his prisoner after shutting off the speaker system, "Just watch as my masterpiece makes quick work of them."
     Ami had no choice but to let him turn her so she faced a wall of surveillance screens, every single one from one of four cameras that projected into the room where Debe had healed her the last time.
     You guys, she thought, don't go in there! It's a trap!
     Her eyes began to tear up as her friends came into view on the wall of screens.

     "Is this some kind of sick joke?" Sailor Mars asked after the door closed behind them, "It's nothing but a dead end!"
     "Just be on your guard, everyone," Venus said, "We may run into something besides closing doors."

     She was right.

     A loud roar that shook the entire room came from a sidewall. The four turned to see a secret door open. Out of it flew some sort of creature with the body of a lion, wings of a gargoyle, arms of a human, and head of a bull. It's "skin", which looked like armor, continually changed color from yellow, to red, to green, and to orange before returning to yellow and repeating the cycle.
     "Only one?" Sailor Jupiter smirked, "Who does he think we are?"
     "He looks tough," Sailor Moon said shakily, "Don't take it so easy."
     "We know what we're doing," Mars said, "You don't have to chicken out."
     "We'll make quick work of it," Jupiter added, "These dweebs all take only one good hit. Let's go!"      They really didn't notice that the monster hadn't moved an inch since it landed. Sailors Jupiter and Mars attacked first.



     The two attacks both hit the monster dead on! Resulting in a huge explosion.

     "You got him!" Moon shouted.
     "Wanna bet?!" Rad's voice came once again over the loudspeaker.
     "Sure!" Jupiter yelled, "We didn't even break a sweat and... oh crap!"
     As the dust from the blowout settled, all four senshi' eyes widened as they noticed how the attacks hadn't even fazed the thing! Not only that, but it seemed to look bigger!
     "Let me try," Venus said and got ready.


     The bolts of light sought their target with perfect accuracy and proceeded to hit it rapidly. Only Sailor Venus' jaw dropped when each shot caused the thing to grow even more!
     "Stop! Stop!" Everyone shouted.
     "How're we going to beat this thing?" Venus asked, in shock, as she halted her onslaught.
     "Sailor Moon!" Mars yelled, "Try your rod!"
     "Okay!" She replied and the rod once again materialized into her hand.


     The burst of energy's aim was true as its power collided with the creature. The resulting flash of light was enough to cause the four soldiers to cover their eyes. Once it finally died down, all looks of hope vanished when they saw the creature now three times its original size!
     "Go ahead," Rad's voice said to the monster, "Your turn."

     The monster closed in...

     Ami did her best not to watch as the monster repeatedly knocked the Sailor senshi all over the room as several of the blow that landed them against a wall that often left cracks. No matter how hard she tried to turn her head away, Rad just held it in place.
     "Look how pitiful they are," he said, "They can't even rely on physical strength to get the job done. It shows just how pathetic Queen Beryl was to lose to them. And not only all of them, but you as well. I can't believe they would work with you."
     Ami wasn't listening, the images on those screens had burned into her mind, causing fire in her eyes to ignite.
     I'm not going to let him do this to my friends! She thought. With an incredible burst of strength resulting from her anger, she snapped the ropes that had held her bound and tore the gag from her mouth.
     "What the..." Was all Rad managed to say before he had the wind knocked out of him after Ami elbowed him in the stomach with the rest of that surge of power.
     "You can never win as long as we believe in each other," she said, "Your overconfidence was your weakness."
     With those words, she grabbed her pen from the nearby table and dashed out, transforming while moving through the hallway.

     Sailor Jupiter was the only one of the four left standing, but just barely. Everyone had taken more than her fair share of hits and was down, but somehow still conscious. The monster had scattered them to the four walls of the room and was once again playing a waiting game.
     "Come on you guys," she said, "hold on!"
     Upon hearing Jupiter's voice, the monster chose her for its next attack. Jupiter decided to use her own power for the problem.

     But her surprise was clearly shown when a blast of water was able to knock the monster away when it was only a half-meter away from her!

     "Mercury?" She didn't know which Mercury it was, "You can hurt this thing?"
     Sailor Mercury suddenly stood next to her partner, "That monster is immune to all of our powers but mine. Rad didn't expect me to break free."
     The three senshi who were downed shared Jupiter's look of shock.
     "Glad you're here then," she said, "It's up to you to destroy this thing!"
     "You mean Debe didn't come?"
     "I don't think he even knows," Jupiter then noticed something, "Uh oh, that thing's getting back up! Do it now!"
     "Right!" Sailor Mercury stood ready.


     The monster's ugly face became one of fear as it found itself encased within a wall of ice.
     "Okay Jupiter," she said, "Finish it off!"
     "You got it!" With renewed energy, Sailor Jupiter ran towards the statue. Within a few feet she leaped into the air and delivered a flying kick, taking her through the statue, shattering it and the monster with it.
     "We did it!" Jupiter said, "Now we take care of Rad!"
     Sailor Mercury had other plans.
     "We'll do that in a minute," she replied, "First let's help our friends."
     Jupiter nodded and the two easily managed to get the other three back on their feet.
     "That was really cool you guys," Sailor Venus said, while leaning on Jupiter.
     "You surprise me all the time, Mercury," Moon, who was sharing support with Mars, added, "You really care about us to break free from whatever he had you in."
     "I just couldn't stand this guy setting you up for a trap because of me," Mercury sighed, "This is actually all my fault."
     "We forgive you," Sailor Moon comforted her friend and straightened up, "Now come on, let's go get Rad so we can finish this once and for all!"
     "Right!" The four senshi said in unison.

     "You don't have to go anywhere for that!"

     All five Sailors turned to see their target standing in the door where Sailor Mercury had entered.
     "You five aren't going to leave here alive!" Rad's eyes clearly showed bloodlust. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a near-empty test tube.
     "This is the substance that gives my capsule monsters their strength," he said, "Do you know what would happen if a human had that power?"

     Before any of the girls could say anything, Rad downed the contents of the tube.

     None of the girls noticed any physical change other than his eyes tuning red. But they could tell that he certainly was stronger!
     "This power is amazing!" Rad shouted, "I can feel it coursing through my blood! I know exactly what to do with this!"
     A glow of power formed in his hands. It slowly began to increase in size and power. The resulting currents of energy prevented the senshi from getting close to him.
     "Look out!" Sailor Moon shouted, allowing the rest to scatter.
     "It won't do any good!" Rad shouted again, the energy was now the size of a large playground ball.
     "Now!" He let loose with a blast of extremely powerful energy...

     Aimed straight for Sailor Mercury!

     Time utterly seemed to stop as the flash of light blinded her before the impact...

     "NO!" Shouted four, no, five? other voices before everything went black.

     After an immeasurable amount of time passed, something began to happen.
     "What happened just now?" Sailor Mercury asked. She was lying on the ground completely unhurt! She stood up and turned her head to see Rad bending over from exhausting his power. Her friends were all staring at a hole in a wall, no, not one, three walls!
     "G-G-G-Guardian Mercury," Sailor Mars stuttered, still in shock, "He pushed you aside and took it."
     "What?!" Mercury couldn't believe it! He had given his life! Oh Debe, she thought, you came to help me even after what I did to you. Tears began to well up again.
     "Wait!" Venus said, "I think something's moving in there."
     "Hey," Jupiter noticed, "you're right."
     The five girls watched hopefully as a shadowy figure seemed to limp a little while climbing through the holes in the walls. All of the Sailor senshi immediately cheered up when Debe reentered the room, looking almost completely unhurt himself! They could only see a small cut on his cheek and a bruise on his forehead.
     "Three walls and not a dent," he muttered under his breath, "God, I love this!" He then saw the five senshi. "Are you girls okay?" He asked.
     "We should be saying that to you," Sailor Mars told him as the five ran over to see if he was truly all right.
     "How could you be standing after that?" Moon wondered.
     "My armor's stronger than the walls here and took me through," he answered, "But that's not important. That blast took everything he had, which will kill him eventually."
     "All right," Sailor Jupiter said, "Let's get out of here."
     Guardian Mercury took the lead walking out, but Sailor Mercury stood behind. Debe stopped and turned to face her while the rest continued on. She could now at last see the pain in his eyes that was her responsibility. That look of pain drilled straight into her heart.
     "Debe, I-" She started, but didn't get to finish as Rad suddenly stood up, appeared behind her...

     And wrapped his arm around her neck!

     Sailor Mercury tried in vain to pull it away.
     "You've ruined my life, Debe!" He yelled, "Now I'm going to ruin yours!" He tightened his grip, causing Sailor Mercury's face to turn purple!
     "What will happen first," he smirked, "her neck snaps or her lungs explode?"
     "Let her go, Radcliffe!" Debe shouted.
     "Don't call me that!"
     "That's right," he grinned with his evil half-grin, "I forgot that you hated your full name which your father insisted on calling you. But why are you trying to kill our own princess!?"
     Sailors Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Venus all stared at the two in shock.
     "I wanted her back then," Rad answered, "But ever since she killed Sir Blade, I felt that she deserved to share his fate!" He squeezed even harder!
     Debe had no choice but to admit the truth, "She didn't kill my father, I did! Now let her go!"
     Rad's eyebrows raised, he fell into enough shock to loosen his grip, allowing Sailor Mercury to get some air. He then glared at Debe, "As you wish... 'Guardian' Mercury'!" He placed his free hand on Ami's chest and fired an energy blast at point blank range!

     The burst of power carried Sailor Mercury across the room, hitting her hard against the steel door. A clear dent was visible after she slid down the door and came to rest on the ground. Her face showed tears of pain as her uniform and skin had been burned away in several places, causing blood to spill. the four Sailors who were still conscious immediately ran over to support her. Mars and Jupiter held her head up and did their best to clean the injuries while Moon and Venus stood to watch for another attack.

     No fire in history raged as hard as the blaze within Debe's eyes. The symbols of Mercury once again shone forth from his pupils and his anger rose to an immeasurable level!
     "You bastard!" He shouted, "Jealous of destiny and unwilling to accept it! You were always pathetic! I'll never forget the time you nearly cut your own hand off with a sword! You were a spoiled nobleman's son who would always get his own way, or else! Now that you've attempted to kill our own princess, you are guilty of treason and cowardice. No honor is my definition of a fate worse than death!"
     "I know what I am and what I was," Rad snickered, "But after that night, Lord Amethyst taught me which way I should go."
     "Lord Amethyst?"
     "The true leader of the Dark Kingdom, overthrown by Queen Beryl."
     Debe couldn't believe this! He actually enjoyed this! His anger soon reached his peak!
     "Have someone tell this Amethyst guy that he's going to be short one henchman! To protect the one I care about most, I sentence you to death! Your eternity in Hell will be enough punishment. And as for your leader, he'll get his once we're all together again!"
     Guardian Mercury drew his sword and transferred its power into his own. A blue glow emanated from Debe's right fist. Rad couldn't move as the surge of power caused him to freeze in fear. After a few more seconds of powering it, Guardian Mercury threw his hand out, unleashing his new power.

     "ICE BARRAGE!!!"

     A huge gust of wind arose within the room, followed by a blizzard. The storm intensified to include great chunks of hail, all aimed at his rival. Cries of agony from Rad filled the room as the power of the storm overcame his own. With a dying yell, he too melted into a brownish liquid, which soon dissolved completely from the air. The speed of the wind lowered with Guardian Mercury's hand. All evidence of a storm within the room simply vanished a moment later.
     "So that stuff turned himself into one of his own monsters, yet keeping his human memories," Debe crossed his arms in front of his chest, "Hmph! What irony! You never learned my saying, Rad, 'Meet with what you can, or your power is nothing.'"
     His victory was again short-lived as he was summoned by another voice.

     "Debe-kun!" Sailor Jupiter called, "She's getting worse!"

     Before anyone could blink, Guardian Mercury was kneeling next to Sailor Mercury, only her transformation had reversed by now and her breathing was growing shallow.
     "Sailor Venus is phoning the ambulance right now," Moon said quietly.
     Debe wasn't paying attention. He too undid his transformation. His armor and cape fell from him as water and soon disappeared. Without saying a thing, he took one of Ami's hands into his own, closed his eyes, and began to concentrate, focusing all of his power into hers. If she has it with her, he thought, this will work...
     "I see what he's doing," Sailor Mars whispered, "He's linking their life forces so he can keep her alive long enough so the paramedics can get here."
     "We'd better change back, ourselves," Sailor Moon told Mars and Jupiter, the promptly did so. A few minutes later, Minako returned from whatever room she had been in that had a phone saying the ambulance was on its way.
     The four girls watched in awe as Ami's entire body began to glow the same blue as Debe's hands. The open wounds on her skin slowly sealed themselves at an incredibly faster rate than if left alone. After they had all been sealed, most of Ami's body soon lost the glow of the healing power. During this whole time, neither Debe nor Ami had moved an inch. The only sign of life between them was the blue glow emanating from his hands, his belt, and her pocket.

     A few minutes later, though it seemed a lot longer, the ambulance finally arrived. Usagi and Rei managed to wake Debe and have him break the link before Makoto and Minako brought the paramedics into the room.
     "It looks like she may have a few cracked or broken ribs," the first man said, "and she'll need oxygen right away."
     The two workers carefully lifted Ami onto a stretcher and fitted her with an oxygen mask.
     "We'll take her to the Tenth Street Hospital," the second man said, "What's her name?"
     "Ami," Debe answered quietly, "Mizuno Ami."
     "Doctor Mizuno's daughter?" the same man muttered, "I don't know if it's a good or bad thing that she's not here to see this."
     After everything had been taken care of and the ambulance left, Debe said to the girls, "She'll be out of it for quite a while. Her energy was all used to heal those wounds. I just gave her a boost."
     Usagi placed a hand on his shoulder and said, "We'll visit her as soon as we can."
     But Debe had fallen too deep in thought to listen. This happened because I didn't get here in time. I guess my training still isn't complete. I need to power up more!
     "Excuse me," he finally said, "there's something I have to take care of at home. I'll see you girls later."
     No more words were exchanged as the five fighters left the mansion to it's self-rotting and on into their separate ways. Debe noticed that it still wasn't even 3 o'clock. Good, he thought as he walked head down and hands in his pockets, I have plenty of time to get ready. I just have to do one more thing.

     "Mizuno-san?" The receptionist confirmed, "Room 110, straight down the hall and on your right."
     "Thank you," Debe answered and proceeded to take his quick journey though the building. But only he now felt that a few yards now seemed like thousands of miles, maybe it was because of the sports bag that he held over his shoulder. He finally entered the room to see Ami still unconscious and monitored by a nurse. Her normal clothes were folded neatly on a chair and she wore a typical hospital gown.
     "Would you like to speak with her?" The nurse asked.
     He only nodded.
     "She won't be able to hear you. We hope that she'll be awake soon. Why don't you come back tomorrow?"
     "I'm afraid I don't have time."
     "That's all right then, I'll leave you two alone." She told him and left.
     Debe took the few steps that carried him to the side of the bed and set his bag onto the floor.
     "I... I really don't know what I should say right now..." He said with tears building up, "But it really tears my heart apart to pieces to see you like this."
     He knelt down and took her limp hand into both of his.
     "I have to leave you for a while," he continued, "but this time I know that I'll have a reason to return."
     Debe reached into his bag and pulled out a small bouquet of morning glories, Ami's favorite flower, and stood up. After wiping the tears from his face he set the flowers onto the table next to the bed.
     "I hope these don't wilt before you wake up. I'm sure a doctor or nurse will find something to put them in. And before I leave, I want to play for you again."
     As soon as he said this, his ocarina was in his hands. The song was exactly what the two used to dance to at the parties back on Mercury. Everyone within earshot of the music could tell that the sound was being playing from the heart. After several minutes of play, Debe looked at his watch and said, "I have to go now, the train leaves in thirty minutes."
     As an act of farewell, he planted a small kiss on Ami's forehead before taking his leave.

     Had he turned back, Debe would have seen the tears running down her cheeks.

     The next day at school, Usagi, Minako, and Makoto were all once again sitting at their usual spot during lunch.
     "Do you guys know if Debe-kun's sick?" Minako asked, "He wasn't in class today."
     "I didn't see him either," Usagi added.
     "I tried calling him last night but didn't get an answer," Mako said, "I think he's too depressed about what happened to talk to anyone."
     "Should we go and check on him after we visit Ami-chan today?" Usagi asked.
     "I think we'd better," Makoto noted, "I think that he would want to be there if Ami-chan should wake up."
     "He may have already seen her," Minako said, "Who else could've taken those flowers we saw last night?"
     "We'll go see Ami-chan right after school since visiting hours are a lot shorter today," Usagi decided, "And then try to get Debe-kun to cheer up."
     The conversation eventually turned to other matters before the bell rang and the three returned to class.

     Where am I? Ami thought, her eyes refused to focus as they slowly opened. Her head felt like it was literally spinning and full of rocks. She tried to sit up but an incredible pain and stiffness in her chest prevented her from lifting anything below her head other than her arms.
     "You're in the hospital, Mizuno-san," said a nurse who had been in the room. It was then Ami realized that she had spoken her thoughts.
     "What happened?" Ami asked, her mind starting to clear.
     "You were brought in yesterday," the nurse explained, "Completely unconscious with tissue damage. Plus two cracked ribs and one broken, all on your left side. The doctor would like you to rest as much as possible while the bones set and your injuries heal. If all goes well, you'll be back on your feet either tomorrow or Wednesday."

     A horrible thought came to Ami's mind.

     "I can't miss any school!" She said, "I have tests to study for! Plus I must be out of here by Thursday. I don't want my mom to see me like this!"
     "You don't have to worry about a thing," came a cheerful voice from the doorway. Ami turned her head to see Usagi, Rei, Minako, and Makoto all standing there. Usagi was holding all of her books, as well as some kind of package. The weight certainly wasn't helping her any.
     "I took care of getting your homework," Usagi said, "It's super to see that you're awake."
     "Thank you, Usagi-chan," Ami answered.
     "Well," the nurse said, "If you're going to chat, I'd better sit you up. This may hurt for a few seconds." She reached down to the foot of the bed and flipped a switch. Ami's mattress soon arranged itself into the correct position.
     "Much better, thanks," Ami said.
     "If you need anything, don't be afraid to ask," the nurse said before leaving. Ami's four friends surrounded the bed and Usagi, to her back's relief, placed the books on the table adjacent to the bed. Ami noticed something as she did.
     "Hey, you guys," she said, "where did those beautiful flowers come from?"
     "We really don't know," Mako said, "They were here when we came last night. We think Debe-kun brought them but we haven't seen him to ask him about it. We were going to check up on him after we leave here."
     "Oh..." Ami said in subtle disappointment.
     "Hey, cheer up," Minako said, "We brought you some cool things to help you get well."
     "You're right, Minako-chan," Ami smiled, "Things will turn out all right."
     "Great!" Usagi exclaimed and held out a package, "Open mine first!" Everyone else around the bed sweat dropped.
     A good time was shared between the five friends as Ami opened each of their gifts. Their long talking and carrying on lasted for the duration of visiting hours, which ended an hour later.

     The walls seemed to vibrate due to the force of how hard Makoto was knocking on the door. The four girls were now standing outside Debe's apartment and had been knocking for nearly five minutes now.
     "Maybe he's just not home," Rei said.
     "I don't think so," Mako said and knocked again, "He can't ignore us forever." She turned her head to the door, "Come on, Debe-kun! You're going to open this door or we'll do it for you!"
     After another minute, Mako finally gave up and leaned her hand on the doorknob.
     "You're probably right," she muttered, "he's not he-aaaahhhh!!!" Makoto's shout came from when she accidentally turned the knob and fell over.
     "That's the last time I put all my weight on my arm like that," she grumbled to herself and got up.
     "Why would leave the door unlocked?" Usagi asked.
     "I don't know," Rei answered for everyone, "But I'm going in to see if he's in there." Before anyone could object, she stepped into his living room and saw something on the coffee table.
     "Hey!" Rei called, "He left us a note!"
     "Read it," Usagi said as she and the other two girls walked in.
     "'Dear girls:'" Rei started, "'I'm afraid that the last battle made me realize how unprepared I really am. I have left on a train, which will be the start of my mission of training. I will return when I am ready. Please don't tell Ami-chan about this, I already have. PS: Please lock the door when you leave. And Usagi, there is no food in the fridge for you, I'll need it.' I've gotta hand it to him, he's always prepared."
     Usagi sweat dropped as her friends laughed at the statement in the letter.

     The soothing sound of a waterfall was the only audible noise. It could have been relaxing to anyone, until the sound of chattering teeth broke the atmosphere. I've got to keep going, Debe thought and gritted his teeth, no matter how cold.
     He was standing barefoot under the waterfall. He had decided to come to a remote mountain temple to train and improve his power. The only thing wrong with it was the resort hotel a couple of kilometers away. He was wearing the standard white martial arts gi with a brown belt tied around his waist. This exercise was a traditional test of endurance, willpower, and spirit. But the cool mountain air plus the cooling temperatures mixed with the water eventually caused him to leap out of the falls and onto dry ground. He still continued to shiver for a few moments.
     "Tremendous ability for the first time," a voice from behind him said, "Or is it not your first time?"
     "Huh?" Debe turned to see the temple's head priest standing just a few feet behind. He had very dark brown eyes and was completely bald. He also wore the white martial arts gi, but his was a black belt.
     "Oh, Kakusui-san," Debe said, "I didn't notice your approach."
     "It took all of your energy and concentration to stay in the water," he noted, "I must admit that the training is much more difficult in this season."
     "I have to train under these heavy burdens. I don't seek fame, but I want to build my strength for a personal reason, which I'd rather not say what it is."
     "Everyone has had different reasons for coming here. But do not become obsessed or you will soon lose your original goal. I believe that sometimes it is important to relax. Come, the training for today is finished." Kakusui turned around and proceeded to walk back to the temple. Debe looked towards the west and could hardly believe that the sun was already dipping below the horizon.

     Later that evening, after a meal of fish and rice, Debe only had one thought in his mind before he drifted off.


     Back in Tokyo, Ami was having a very difficult time trying to get to sleep. Her chest cast was very uncomfortable while lying down, plus she wasn't used to sleeping on her back. Since her friends left, she had been reading her texts until the nurse brought her dinner and soon afterwards told her that she needed to rest and heal. The odds of Ami being released the next day seemed to increase with the latest report on her condition. If all went well, she would be able to greet her mother on Thursday. Three days away, she thought. With those thoughts opening her mind, she picked up on a one-word message.


     The sound of the message caused Ami to sit up in surprise, but resulted in pain from her injuries, causing her to lie back again. She recognized the sound of the "voice" behind it.
     "Debe," she thought and attempted to try and send it to him, "Where are you?"

     There was no reply.

     Ami tried several times to see if he would answer, but with no luck.
     I'm trying too hard, she thought.
     She closed her eyes and let her thoughts drift, but stayed focused on Debe's presence, wherever he was. She soon received a sensation; it felt very far away, but she knew it was him. If only I can tell where it's coming from, Ami thought and concentrated harder. He was... north? Yes, north of here. With a little more effort, she found his exact location.
     Why would he be up in the mountains? Ami concluded.

     Two days of intense training passed relatively quickly for Debe, who would always lose track of time during the workouts. Those same two days were much slower for Ami. By 4:00 on Tuesday, she was released from the hospital and Mamoru, along with Usagi of course, took her home. Her itinerary, however, wasn't complete. Ami calculated that the distance to where Debe was would only be about a half-hour by train. If she took the one right after school tomorrow...

     Late Wednesday afternoon, Debe had just completed his first session of running around the mountain path fifty times! He was used to long distances, but that was his longest yet, and he loved it. He was standing on a wooden dock over a lake, which was part of the source of the waterfalls used for training. A river flowed into a small valley that eventually filled to become the lake. A smaller stream flowed over a wall of rocks and over the small cliffs. Kakusui had asked why Debe would always come up here after the training and his answer was, "I feel like I belong wherever the water is," which was the truth. The cool breeze from the lake would make most people shiver, but it didn't faze him at all. In fact, he thoroughly enjoyed it. But something, some kind of noise was caught in his ears and broke his concentration. He turned around to see who or what had caused it, but saw nothing. Debe was sure he'd heard something scuff up the dirt, but passed it off as either his imagination or an animal. He was about to turn back around, but he suddenly felt something very thin brush against his face. Assuming that it was a hair of his own, he brushed it off. It caught between his fingers and he could see that it certainly wasn't one of his... after noticing the bluish tint of the strand.

     He turned again and, as if it were supposed to happen, the breeze stopped as his eyes rested upon Ami who now stood on the other end of the dock.

     She slowly began to walk to him. Debe's heart nearly got lodged into his throat. What am I going to say? He thought, So much has happened. Before he could think anything else, she stopped right in front of him. He could see the reflection of the water in her eyes. He didn't know how much time passed before either one said or did a thing...

     But another slap was the absolute last thing that he'd expected!

     Ami surprised him yet again as she embraced him and began to cry into his shoulder. Debe could feel the results of her injuries pressed against him. He held no choice but to hold her in return and comfort her.
     "You idiot!" She said between sobs, "Why did you do such a thing?!"
     Anyone could have guessed that she was referring to his leaving, but somehow, Debe knew she was talking about his taking the blast during the battle.
     Because of my feelings for you, he thought, the only words that came to mind.
     After several more minutes, Ami's sobs finally began to decrease as her tears soaked Debe's gi. She lifted her head to look at him again.
     "I am so sorry," she whispered, "My anger brought you here. I know that I was wrong in what I did, and yet, you still came to my aid. Thank you, Debe, thank you so very much."
     Debe was speechless, he showed no resistance as she reached over to the back of his head and pulled him closer to join their lips.

Okay, I know he's not wearing the right clothes in this picture, it took long enough to edit as it was!

     For the first time in this life, the gesture of love was exchanged between Mizuno Ami and Ohara Debe. Both believed that they could hear the soft tune of their song carried in the wind, which at that time chose once again to resume its eternal course.

     After a little more time passed, Debe pulled himself back from the embrace and asked, "Do you feel better?"
     "Much," Ami answered as she released him from her grip.
     "I'd just like to say one thing," Debe said again, "If you ever need another shoulder to cry on, I've got one more. If you should need another punching bag, I'll be here, but not as your target. Anyway, no matter what happens, I'll be here for you."
     Ami returned the message with a quick hug. "I know," she said, "I know."
     After letting him go again she asked, "Will you come back with me?"
     "Of course," he replied, "I can return here for training outside of school. I'll just get my stuff together, meet you at the bus stop, and we'll take the next train back. The temple workers don't mind how long anyone stays."
     "The next bus isn't for about an hour, and the next train about 45 minutes after. According to my estimates, we'll be home before 7:30. But before we leave, there's one thing I'd like to do while we're here."
     "What is it?"
     Ami giggled and said, "You'll find out." Before pushing him off the dock and into the lake.

     Debe broke the surface and shouted, "D-d-d-do you have any idea how cold this water is?"
     Ami looked down to him and was smiling with her own evil grin, "But it is invigorating, isn't it? I'd join you but the doctor said no swimming until the cast is off."
     Debe swam to the shore and was thinking about how much Ami had changed. She was still very shy around most other people, but during the past two weeks since he'd appeared, she had opened herself completely to him, revealing a slightly mischievous side. Or would she only show it to him? When he climbed onto the ground, Ami was already waiting for him, holding a towel. Debe sweat dropped at her planning.

     Almost twelve straight hours of flight be enough for most people to become very cranky by the end, but Dr. Mizuno Ayumi was used to long hours without any type of decent rest. She stepped out into the airport's terminal and scanned the crowd.
     "There she is!" Said a voice from near the back of the crowd and a few seconds later, Ami had nearly run over to her and gave her a large welcome hug.
     "Welcome home, mom," she said.
     "It's nice to be here with you," Ayumi answered, but felt something hard against Ami.
     "Honey?" She asked, "Did you get into an accident? You've got a cast on your chest."
     "It was an accident," Ami said, "I was very well taken care of."
     "I'm sorry that I couldn't help you. But I'm home and hope to be for quite a while. Could you hail a cab while I get my luggage?"
     "Oh, there's no need for that. Usagi-chan and her friend, Mamoru-san, offered us a ride."
     Dr. Mizuno turned to where Ami gestured and saw Usagi, whom she recognized, and the man with her obviously was Mamoru.
     "And I have a surprise," Ami said, a red tinge began to appear as she turned around and spoke again, "You can come over here now."
     A tall young man stood up from a chair and joined the two women. He had light brown hair and an almost enticing shade of grey eyes.
     "Mom," Ami said, still blushing, "This is Ohara Debe. He's one of my best friends."
     Ayumi knew that Ami was trying not to admit that this young man was her boyfriend.
     "This was her idea," he said, "Ami-chan thought that she couldn't hide a secret such as this one."
     "That's not what you told me," Ami smiled at him and turned back to her, "If it's all right with you, mom, may we invite him over for dinner on Sunday?"
     Dr. Mizuno was speechless.

     Within a chamber in a completely unknown place to humans, maybe Earth or another world, the same man who had spoken to Rad the week before entered the room.
     "Give your report, Lieutenant Topaz," said a deep, booming voice that echoed throughout the chamber.
bowed and said, "We have had no contact with Rad for over five days. We now assume he is dead."
     "He was expendable. But we can't give up on our original plan, which Blade had begun. I want you to continue his work. Do not forget to work cautiously so that you don't attract the attention of the Sailor senshi. They had the power to destroy Queen Beryl and they may be able to defeat us if we aren't prepared."
     "Yes, Lord Amethyst. I will not make the same mistake that Blade did."
     "You forget that it wasn't a mistake, he was a rebel of our army who is credited for killing me over 1000 years ago. He intentionally awoke Guardian Mercury, and if the rest are found, we may have trouble. So we must work quickly."
     "Yes, Lord," Topaz bowed again, turned, and left the chamber. Amethyst turned his chair around. He had very long, silvery hair, and a dark brownish gleam in his eyes. His armor matched the purple of the earth's sky at dawn.
     "The preparations are almost complete," he said, "I will soon return to my rightful position."

     "So how did it go with Ami-chan and her mom yesterday?" Usagi asked Debe as she, he, Makoto, and Minako headed out of school the following Monday. Ami said that she would join them and they'd head for the arcade after she returned some books to the school library.
     "Well," he said, "I think her mom was pretty impressed with me on how I manage to stay on her level."
     Both Usagi and Minako leaned closer to him, causing him to sweat drop.
     "So are you going to ask her to that movie?" Usagi asked.
     "Now that everyone knows the truth about you two," Minako added, "You have to go and see a romantic movie."
     Mako pushed the "twins" away from the cornered boy.
     "Come off it, you guys," she said, "You know these two aren't the types to see those movies and... Debe-kun, you're blushing."
     Usagi saw that her tall friend was right, he had a very dark red color on his face.
     "Well..." He said quietly, "I haven't really been able to speak my feelings to her, so I left her a note explaining what she means to me, plus an invitation to the movie."
     Usagi was about to congratulate him, but her voice was cut short by a very, very loud scream that caused everyone within the schoolyard to fall over.
     After everyone was able to get up, Usagi could see Ami storm out of the school towards the group. Her face was covered with several red dots other than the deep crimson that covered the rest of her face.
     "Hey, Ami-chan," Makoto asked, "What happened?"
     "I suddenly broke out in hives," the blue-haired girl replied, "Have you guys seen Debe? I'd like to talk to him about something."
     "Why do you ask?" Usagi said, "Debe-kun's right-" She noticed that only air now filled the space where he had stood, "here...? That's funny, he was here a second ago."
     "Exactly what do you need to talk to him about?" Minako asked.
     Ami held out a single piece of paper. "This," she said, her face turning a deeper red, if it were even possible.
     Usagi was the first to take it form her friend's hand. Makoto and Minako looked it over and all three produced very confused looks. The letter read, "Mon ange bleue, Ami. Est-ce que tu voudrais aller au cinéma avec moi?"
     "Is this some kind of encoded English?" Usagi asked, being the most confused, "It says: 'Men angle blah, Ami. Ess see kay to vowdras alley ow cinema avoce moai?' What does it mean?"
     "It's in French," Ami corrected, "I don't know exactly what it means, but I know it's a love letter." She quietly took the paper out of Usagi's hands, "I'm going to the library to translate it."
     "But," Mako started, "How do you know Debe-kun wrote it?"
     "He's the only one I know here who speaks it." She intentionally left out the fact that he also started calling her "Blue Angel."
     The other three girls all sweat dropped.
     "Well if you see him," Ami concluded, "Please let me know." She continued down the walk and went off to search for him.
     "I wonder what's going to happen when she finds him," Makoto said.
     "Hey," Minako noticed a shadow on the ground, "He's right here." The three girls walked over to a nearby tree in which the young man had been hiding behind.
     "Oops..." Was all he said.

The End... Until the next part that is.

Author's Notes:
     Most sports centers that I've been to have both an indoor and outdoor pool, so it's just an assumption for the center that the two went to.
     If you've read the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, you may have gotten the reference to one of the monsters in those books.
     Guardian Mercury's introduction phrase at the pool translates to, "My world's essence is full! Water and ice's knight, Guardian Mercuy! Your hell will freeze." (Thanks to for translating it from English).
     A bag from the store, 7-12, can actually be seen in the (English titled) episode "Too Many Girlfriends".
     In several Japanese episodes, Usagi always has second thoughts of leaving Mamoru alone with one of the other girls. Especially Rei, since the two used to date. (The episode regarding that is hilarious; can you imagine Usagi dressed up as a ninja?)
     I call the castle on Mercury "Mariner Castle" since it fits perfectly.
     I've always wondered exactly what the Dark Kingdom might have been like before Queen Beryl's reign, so I put it in.
     In every serious fic I write I try to have a major plot twist, but try not to make it into a soap opera.
     Why did I do that flashback? I wanted to give an example of their romance during their past lives. That's going to happen for all four.
     I wrote the end of the flashback in an attempt that if you, the reader, were an Anime character, you would do a one-frame collapse. Did you feel that way?
     I deliberately left out writing the conversation between Ami and Ryo while the others were at the fruit parlor. I left that up to you to figure out.
     There are times when Usagi surprises me in later episodes, I guess it's her future self, beginning to take over.
     Have you ever noticed that practically all of the regular monsters in the series were female?
     Please forgive me for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 movie reference, but the part where Shredder drank the ooze was my favorite.
     Something similar to GM's Ice Barrage is the Level 3 Ice Spell on Dragon View for SNES.
     Expect more third season references throughout this series. The only thing I'm leaving out is the high school entrance exams.
     I have no idea what Ami's mom's first name is, so I just picked one at random.
     I'm not that good at French, so a couple mistakes may be in there.
     Tell me the translation of the love letter and I'll give you a sneak preview of the next story in this series.
     This music is the one described in the story, it's an unreleased theme form Chrono Trigger (yes I love that game, that's why I use the music so often).

Guardian Jupiter is next!
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