Sailor Moon G: The Dark Kingdom Has Returned! Guardian Jupiter Joins the BattleSealed Island (Seiken Densetsu 2)
Heavy breathing accompanied Ohara Debe as he sprinted through the streets of Tokyo. He was getting a lot of stares from the people whom he passed, since a young man in his school uniform running full speed through a crowded sidewalk in the cooling autumn temperatures was what very few people would consider normal.
I just can't believe it! He thought bitterly, I have to remember not to lose track of time like that! If I don't speed up, then I will be late.
Debe was the kind of person who would either show up early, on time, or not at all, as he had a very unusual fear of being late. Even though his legs were carrying him to his destination as fast as they could, he wasn't sweating very hard when he arrived. For during the past month he'd intensified his training and it was showing promising signs of paying off. Good thing, too, since he arrived at the fruit parlor right on the exact second he was supposed to be there. Inside was the usual crowd of people who often stopped by for an after school snack. After looking around for a few seconds, Debe smirked to himself, headed for a table, and sat across from the person who he'd asked to meet.
"Sorry I'm late," he said.
"You're not late," Ami answered and set her book down, "I just got here a couple of minutes ago myself."
Debe sighed and took a look at the menu.
"I've already ordered," she interrupted, "Were you out training again?"
"Yeah, the school gym is nice, but I still liked that temple."
Ami giggled, "You only say that because of what happened when you were there last month. Or is it because you didn't have to worry about your definition of being late for one of our-" she blushed reflexively, "dates?"
He smiled, "I just like the atmosphere there better." Another quick thought entered his mind, "Oh yeah, that reminds me, how does it feel to be out of your cast?"
"I feel great," she replied, "My upper body isn't so stiff all the time anymore and it doesn't hurt to twist or bend. But don't try and change the subject, what were you doing in your training?"
"Well, I've been working on this exercise at home, but..." Debe looked around to make sure no one was watching, "I've finally perfected this." Before Ami could ask what, he closed his eyes, concentrated, and a perfect rose in bloom made out of crystal clear ice formed in his hand.
"Here," he offered, "for you."
"It's beautiful, thank you." She took the gift and noticed something strange about it, "Debe, this is ice, isn't it?"
"They always turn out to be."
"But it's not cold at all. I doubt that it will even melt."
"You're right. I've perfected them so that only extreme heat will melt them. But it's still fragile like normal ice."
"I'll be careful," Ami turned her head to see someone coming, "Here comes our order." Which consisted of one large milkshake, with two straws.
At the other end of the parlor, within a booth in the corner, four pairs of eyes half-concentrated on the menu, even though they already had their orders, and half-concentrated on the couple who hadn't noticed them yet, or so they hoped. One with a very familiar, but odd-looking hairstyle spoke first.
"Oh wow!" Usagi whispered, "They're already sharing milkshakes!" No one said anything else as they continued to simply watch the two and attempt to listen until the last of the shake was gone.
"Oooohhh, that makes me so mad!" Makoto fumed, "They've been going out openly for over a month and there hasn't even been one sign of our Guardians!"
"Let's just hope they show up soon," Minako said, "I kind of tired of spying on only those two."
"Or do you want to know what it feels like so you can think you're important?" Rei asked.
Before Minako could retaliate...
"Down!" Usagi shouted in her whispering. The girls all covered their faces with their menus once they saw Ami starting to stand up.
"Thank you for the milkshake, Debe," they could hear her say, "I'm sorry that we couldn't talk for very long this time."
"I didn't plan for us to," he said, "I don't want to hold you back from school." The two waved to each other as Ami left the parlor, but Debe just continued to simply sit at the table, apparently deep in thought as he usually was.
"I don't think he's taken care of the check," Rei whispered.
"No," Minako said, "I saw him pay when Unazuki-chan took their shake to 'em."
"What is he waiting for, then?" Mako asked. They soon found out.
"That certainly went nicely," Debe said, apparently to himself as he finally stood up, "Wouldn't you girls agree?" he finished without turning his head.
The four girls all sweat dropped.
Debe chuckled a little before joining the four girls at their table. "I've know that you've been here waiting for us every single time I meet Ami-chan here," he said, "has this habit of spying on each other gone on long?"
"We're sorry, Debe-kun," Usagi muttered as she and the other three flushed red with embarrassment. "It's just that we've never seen Ami-chan this active and excited before," she continued, "not since you gave her that medical textbook she was looking for and then she gave you a k-" Her sentence was finished with muffled gibberish as Mako and Rei clamed their hands over her mouth. But he already know what Usagi meant.
"W-what we were trying to say," Mako stammered, "is that you've opened up a completely new side of her." But Debe was not convinced. The piercing look he gave them carried his message to them very well. They could see that he wasn't too happy about them spying on him and Ami all the time, especially when they had better things to do.
Debe only sighed, "I know this isn't your first time and definitely won't be your last." It didn't surprise him to see the four girls again flush red with embarrassment. "I guess it doesn't matter," he continued, "I know you girls well enough to not even try to stop you." Before they could reply to that one he spoke again.
"But that's not the full reason you've been watching us for the past few days. You're just waiting for me to ask her to the school dance, right?" Nobody got the chance to answer before Minako suddenly jumped up and slammed her hands against the table.
"All right!" she spoke, loud enough to draw attention, "How do you do it?! It's like you've been reading our minds ever since you walked in here today! I thought you could only sense what Ami-chan was thinking!"
Debe just smirked and remained calm, "It's really simple," he answered, "she warned me about you." Minako, seemingly satisfied with the response, sweatdropped and slumped back into her seat. The young man took this opportunity to escape and stood up.
"I don't want to detain you girls any longer," he said as he backed away, "but we all have homework to finish." He turned around in time to not see the 8 eyes glaring at him from the table. He only smiled to himself and started to walk towards the door... then promptly stopped and turned his head back around.
"Oh by the way," he said, giving his half-grin, "you don't have to watch and wait for us anymore because I asked Ami-chan to that dance over the phone last week. Bye for now." With that he left the fruit parlor and left the four girls sweatdropping in their booth.
Makoto was the first to recover.
"You know he's right?" She said, "It really isn't fair that we're spying on them all the time."
Minako, as usual, took it out of context and replied with, "Oh really? And just who are you going to the dance with, Mako-chan?"
Mako sweatdropped, but Rei came to her aid.
"Shouldn't you be asking that to yourself?" she asked, slightly taunting, "After all, Mako-chan knows a lot more of the boys at school. Most of them avoid her because of her reputation and size."
Makoto sighed and whispered to herself, "I'm afraid you're right, but that doesn't mean I won't give up." while Minako muttered to herself, "That's because nobody's bothered to introduce me to any of the boys."
Usagi, who had been quiet until now, decided to add her comments and said, "You two don't have to worry. It won't be long before somebody notices you and asks you to the dance."
Rei gave her a snide remark, "You're pretty relaxed, considering you already have a date."
Usagi grinned, "That's because I know that Mamo-chan will take me anywhere. He'll do-"
"Has he asked you yet?" Rei interrupted.
Usagi's face went blank.
"No... not yet, but I know he's going to any time now."
Rei sat back in her seat, "Or maybe Mamoru-san doesn't want to go to a junior high dance. Or he could even be starting to lose interest in you."
Usagi's face flared up with red anger until it looked like smoke was about to come out of her ears.
"Rei-chan!" she shouted, "You always say mean things just to annoy me like this!"
"It's simply because you deserve them," Rei returned and stuck her tongue out. Usagi only returned to expression more loudly. The war only lasted for a few seconds as Mako and Minako literally pried the two apart.
"Calm down!" Mako said sternly, "You're creating a scene! I haven't seen anything like this since Minako-chan got a lower score than Usagi-chan on the last English test!"
Minako gave her friend a glare for reminding her about that incident the week before. Once Usagi and Rei had both calmed down and the four sat back down, Minako sighed heavily.
"Minako-chan," Usagi asked, "what's wrong?"
"It's about my grades," Minako said, "They've been dropping ever since I was transferred to the Juuban Junior High. If they keep getting worse I'll be sent back to my old school. But I want to stay with you guys, it's more fun being able to talk to my best friends at lunch and not have to walk several blocks to meet up with you after school."
Mako put a reassuring hand on Minako's shoulder.
"You don't have to worry," she said comfortingly, "just ask Ami-chan to help you study and your grades will be back up in no time."
Minako slouched as the dreaded "s" word, but looked at Mako and smiled.
"Thanks Mako-chan, I'll do my best."
Usagi stood up from her seat and declared, "Minako-chan, if you can beat me on the exam tomorrow, I'll introduce you to the boy who'll be perfect for a date to the dance!"
Mako and Rei sighed and hung their heads.
I hope I wasn't too hard on them, Debe thought as he walked towards his apartment building. But I've got to set some sort of example for not only them, but for my friends if and when they appear. His thoughts then turned towards the events of the previous month and how he had helped defeat Rad, the man who betrayed the Mercurian army and sought the life of the princess. Debe could never forgive him for what he did to Ami on that day, nor could he forgive himself for not being there because he had listened to the words of his call of duty and not their true meaning.
"'You will always obey the words of the princess,'" he recited to himself, "'You will heed her call and you will stand by her no matter the cost and no matter the circumstance. That is the duty of the Guardian.'" He only shook his head and continued walking, but couldn't help to wonder if the person Rad was talking about, Lord Amethyst, was a real threat or something made up by Rad to scare him. He had worked hard to obtain all of the data on the Dark Kingdom that Luna and Artemis had compiled, but everything led to a dead end. It had seemed that once Princess Serenity destroyed Queen Metallia, all of the Dark Kingdom and the Youma vanished from the universe. Debe's train of thought was broken suddenly as his shoulder ran into a person walking in the opposite direction.
"Oh, excuse me," the person said and stopped, "I didn't see you come around that corner."
"No harm done," Debe said and looked at the young man. He was close to the same age as Debe, but was slightly shorter with both brown hair and brown eyes. Debe recognized him immediately.
"I haven't seen you for a while, Shinozaki," Debe greeted, "it's been what, a month?"
Shinozaki blinked and then remembered that he knew this guy.
"You're right," he said, "it has. I almost didn't remember you. I haven't seen you since we witnessed that accident. I heard from Mako-chan that Mizuno-san didn't take the news very well but everything worked out." Debe nodded.
"Mako's told me a lot about you, actually," he said, "her love of cooking often has her inviting me down for dinner and she likes to do most of the talking as well." Which suit him just fine as he was normally quiet unless the right subject was brought up. "But there's something I've been wanting to ask you," he continued, "what was it about Makoto that prompted you to be her guardian angel?"
"I really don't know," Shinozaki said somewhat thoughtfully, "at first it must have been pity simply because her parents were killed and the boy she cared about left her. But as we became better friends, I simply felt that it's been my duty to look after her." When the word "duty" entered Debe's ears, his eyes widened a little and something hit his mind.
"Will you excuse me?" he said, "There's something I have to do."
"All right," Shinozaki said, looking a little surprised, "Please tell Mako-chan 'hi' when you see her next."
"Don't worry!" Debe called as he had already broken into a sprint back towards where he came from. It will be sooner than you think, my friend.
"Topaz reporting!" Said the blonde man as he stepped into a large chamber buried deep under the earth. The occupied chair had its back turned to him. "What would you like me to do, my lord?" He asked and bowed.
A deep, strong, yet gentle voice responded from the center of the chamber, "Come take a look at these monitors and tell me if you see the same unusual pattern." Topaz walked forward to stand next to his lord's chair and looked up to see the same monitor. Amethyst continued to speak, "This is a record of when Metallia was defeated by the Sailor Senshi, but do you notice anything unusual about what happened to the surviving Dark Kingdom youma?" Topaz took a close look at what he saw.
"It looks like that once Metallia was killed," he said, "the youma sealed off all of the entrances to the Dark Kingdom."
"Correct," Amethyst acknowledged, "I have a new task for you."
"Yes, my lord."
"I want you to postpone your original assignment of working with Garnet to redevelop the formula that Blade was working on before his demise, and find out if there are any gates left to the Dark Kingdom at all." A small vial materialized into his hand and he continued, "When you told me about Rad's transformation after drinking the fluid used to make a capsule monster and how his power increased ten fold, I began to toy with the notion on what would happen if an already powerful youma fused with a powerful capsule monster. Once the entrance is found, we will enter the Kingdom and find out."
"As you command, Lord Amethyst," Topaz bowed again and began to leave the chamber. I hope Garnet will be all right without me, he thought, she's a weapons expert, not a drug chemist. He was nearly at the door when...
"Oh, and Topaz," Amethyst called.
"Yes sir?" He responded.
"The second reason I have for sending you out on this assignment is because you and Garnet don't wait until after your duties to have your fun. I acknowledge the feelings you two have for each other, but we still work in a professional environment and you have plenty of time for that after your duties are fulfilled. Maybe a little separation will be good for the two of you."
Topaz sweatdropped and sighed, "Yes, sir, I'll be careful in the future."
"See that you do," Amethyst grinned and Topaz left to begin his search.
The four girls were leaving the fruit parlor when the sound of hurried footsteps caught Mako's ears and she turned around.
"Debe-kun?" she asked, "Did you leave something here?"
Debe finished his approach to the group of four, he'd sprinted the whole way back but hadn't even broken a sweat.
"Mako," he said, "I really need to talk to you."
"All right," she said, look a little concerned, "Come back to my place and we'll talk."
Usagi, Rei, and Minako jumped in between the two.
"Mako-chan!" Usagi said, "You know you shouldn't be inviting Debe-kun into your apartment alone! What if Ami-chan should find out? If he needs to talk to you, he can talk to us as well." Both Debe and Mako sighed.
"Ami-chan knows he's been in my apartment and she trusts both of us," Mako explained, but it didn't convince them. Debe saw the perfect opportunity out of the corner of his eye, walked around to Mako, and whispered, "That isn't going to work, but watch and learn." He pointed across the street and said loudly, "Hey look! A handsome man!" Usagi, Rei, and Minako took one look, saw that he wasn't lying, and left only a vapor trail where they stood a second ago.
"I blinked and missed it," Mako said and looked over at Debe, who was grinning his half-grin. "Another trick that Ami-chan taught you?"
"Yes," he replied, "It hasn't failed yet."
Mako only laughed.
Topaz had only emerged from the gateway leading to Amethyst's Realm when he had the distinct impression that he was being followed. As he walked down the sidewalk, he occasionally turned his head to make sure, but nobody was there... or whomever it was managed to hide every time. Topaz continued his walk and vigil until he passed by an information directory encased in glass. This will do, he thought, and pretended to read the info, but was in reality looking at the reflections of his pursuers, three girls. One had jet black hair all the way down to her waist and wore a grey school uniform. The other two were both blonde, one with an odango-atama hairstyle while the other wore hers down and had a red bow. Both of the blondes wore similar school uniforms that were blue and white. Just what I needed, Topaz thought bitterly, love-starved teenagers stalking me. I'll just humor them and get rid of them calmly, no need to attract attention.
"The proper method of introduction does not include spying on the person you wish to meet," he said loud enough for his pursuers to hear. He could see all three of them sweatdrop, but before he knew it, the black-haired one and the blonde with the bow each had one of his arms."
"We're sorry," the blonde said, "we're just shy."
Topaz blinked, this is the earth's definition of shy? "Can I at least know who you are?"
"Gladly," the blonde replied, "Aino Minako-chan, born October 22, blood type B. There's a dance going to be held at my school soon and I have tickets if you're interested."
Before Topaz could respond, the brunette pulled him over closer to herself and spoke, "Hino Rei-chan, born April 17, blood type AB, and I'm sure you'd rather take a walk in the park with me than go to any junior high dance."
"Uh... I..." was all Topaz could get out before Minako pulled him back over to her side. "Rei-chan!" she challenged, "I introduced myself first so he's my date!"
"But he's more interested in me!" Rei retaliated and pulled him back. The tug-of-war continued to several moments and his arms were beginning to ache horribly before he managed to break their grips.
"That's enough!" he said, "I have more important things to do right now so I need to be on my way!" and stormed off not looking back.
"Minako-chan," Rei said and gave her a cold stare, "Why did you scare him off like that?"
"ME?" Minako asked harshly, "I was only trying to be nice!"
Before any argument could erupt, Usagi pushed the two apart.
"Minako-chan," she said, "it's bad enough that Rei-chan always fights with me, so she doesn't need to be a constant enemy to you too." The two girls suddenly burst out laughing. Usagi looked confused until her two friends calmed down.
"Thanks, Usagi-chan," Minako said, smiling, "we needed that." She then looked at Rei and continued, "but I'm not going to give up on him."
"Right," Rei replied with a challenging smile, "may the best woman win." They shook hands.
Usagi dropped her head, "I'm glad I have Mamo-chan," she said to herself.
"Then why were you following him too, Usagi?" Rei said smugly. Another war was immediately declared.
This is so much easier to do with Mako-chan around, Minako thought as she tried to push them apart.
"You don't mind if I ask you a few questions?" Debe asked Makoto as they both entered her apartment.
"It depends on what they're about," Mako replied, and took a seat in her living room chair.
"You don't have to worry, it has nothing to do with your measurements." Mako laughed, but Debe looked slightly puzzled.
"I wasn't trying to be funny," he said, "I've overheard some of the guys at school wanting to find out that information."
"Oh," Mako said, still giggling a little, "I just never expected to hear anything like that from you."
"Ask Ami-chan, she'll agree with me that Mercurians are unpredictable. But that's not what I asked to talk to you about. How long have you known Shinozaki?"
"Shinozaki-kun? For almost 3 years now." She proceeded to tell Debe the story of how she had been dumped by her boyfriend on that dismal, rainy day, and how Shinozaki had shared his umbrella as a gesture of compassion. When she was finished, Debe asked, "Do you have any idea why he would have been there when he was?"
"I think it was coincidence," Mako answered.
"I have to disagree."
"I ran into him after leaving the fruit parlor and had a similar conversation on how he had felt when he first met you."
"Is that why you were in such a hurry to talk to me?"
"Yes. Mako, I think he's your Guardian. He told me personally that he felt a strong sense of duty to watch over you." Makoto only blinked and looked a little stunned. "Are you positive?" She asked, "I've never had the feeling that we'd ever met before when I met him that day and Luna hasn't said anything about him."
"But from what you told me about the time he was attacked by the Cardian you said that only you, Usagi, and Ami-chan were there," he retorted, "Luna has never met him."
"And come to think of it," Mako said thoughtfully, "I haven't seen him since you showed up. We've only talked on the phone."
"I have a suggestion that might confirm this idea, and it will save you some trouble this weekend."
"What do you mean?"
"Why not ask him to be your date to the dance?"
Mako's eyes brightened and she smiled, "That's a great idea Debe-kun. It's been forever since we've done anything together. And it's the perfect place to see if you're right or not."
"And now you don't have to worry about getting a date. I don't know if Minako will be so lucky. She only has three days left."
Mako laughed again, "I don't think we have to worry about Minako-chan. If she has to get a good score on tomorrow's test to get a date, she won't let anything stop her."
"I hope you're right," Debe said quietly.
"But Debe-kun," she said again, "if Shinozaki-kun is my Guardian, where are Jupiter's royal treasures?"
"That I can't answer," he replied, "I only hope that they weren't left on the planet. As you know, Jupiter is now devastated."
"Do you know what they are?"
"Yes. The Guardian's weapon is one of them, as I explained in the fruit parlor last month it is a bow with an unlimited supply of arrows."
"Is the other an instrument like Ami-chan's ocarina?"
"It is an instrument, but it's a violin. Made from the wood of the Holy Sanctuary of Jupiter's former forests."
"Oh..." Mako dropped her head a little.
"I guess you don't have any violins around here?"
"No. And I don't even know anybody who plays a violin."
"Well don't worry, once one of the treasures appears the other won't be far behind. They have the ability to resonate with each other very much like the Sailor Senshi and her Guardian. We'll find them."
The pony-tailed girl lifted her head back up and smiled.
"Thanks Debe-kun," she said, "You're right. We'll find them all before long."
Debe smiled back for a moment before his face returned to it's usual serious look. I hope you're right, he thought, because we just might need them sooner than we think.
Later that evening, trouble was brewing on the second floor of the Tsukino household.
"Mamo-chan!" Usagi shouted into the phone, "You're always forgetting me and not thinking about me when something exciting is happening!"
"Usa-ko?" Mamoru asked from the other end. He was clearly confused.
"I've been waiting and waiting to be asked as your date to my school's dance on Saturday night and you haven't done anything about it! And now I won't go with you even if you did ask me!" With that, she slammed down the phone. Luna, who had her ears covered, lifted her paws from her head and looked at the odangoed girl.
"Usagi-chan," she said, "weren't you a little hard on Mamoru-san?"
Usagi was sniffling, "This dance was announced a month ago. Why didn't he ask me on that day?"
Luna thought for a moment and quickly deduced a solution.
"Did you tell him about the dance?" the cat asked.
Usagi's eyes widened and she blinked a few times before producing the biggest sweatdrop of her life.
"The poor man," Luna said, shaking her head, "I don't know how he puts up with it."
Usagi only stuck her tongue out at the cat as she redialed Mamoru's number.
"Chiba residence," came the voice on the opposite end.
"Um, Mamo-chan" Usagi said laughing, "I'm sorry about yelling at you just now. But there's something I need to tell you about."
Luna only shook her head again.
Across the district, Artemis was having trouble sleeping.
"Mina," he said while yawning, "can't you turn off the light?"
Minako was sitting on her bed with her English book wide open and she was pouring over the pages. She didn't bother to look up.
"Artemis!" She said sternly, "when the love of a young woman is at stake, sleep means nothing. This is what I need to do in order to be united with the man of my dreams! The goddess of love and beauty has returned!" She laughed loud enough for the neighbors to hear. Artemis buried his head into one of Minako's stuffed animals and sighed. At least she's studying, he thought. It took him a long time to get to sleep.
In another corner of the area, Makoto was just finishing a phone call of her own.
"That's great," she said, smiling, "I'll be waiting for you Saturday night at 7. Bye." She didn't bother to hang up the receiver as she had another person to call.
Two floors up in that same building, Debe was on the phone as well.
"So sunspot activity had increased dramatically before the war with the Dark Kingdom was over?" he asked while looking at copies of newspaper articles covering the events.
"That's right," Ami replied from her end, "strange magnetic fields were also appearing in several places around the planet, especially the north pole area. They created some terrible natural disasters, but those same magnetic fields led us straight to D Point, which is where Metallia was going to enter the Earth from."
"I see. Where was the entrance into the Dark Kingdom that the Sailor Senshi used?"
"In the Crown arcade, but ever since we won the war, it's been sealed shut. I don't know of any entrance that could still be open. The only possibility would be back in the north pole area."
"All right. Thanks for your help Ami-chan. Good night."
"Good night Debe, see you at school tomorrow." The two phones clicked as they were hung up, but Debe barely had time to even start thinking before his rang again.
"Ohara Debe speaking," he said, trying to hide his irritation.
"Debe-kun," Makoto's voice said, "your plan is working so far. Shinozaki-kun agreed to go to the dance with me."
"That's great," he replied, "now we just have to make sure he's who we think he is."
"Right. And on the night of the dance, I'd like you and Ami-chan to be here when he picks me up."
"That's no problem. Do you want us there because we know what to look for?"
"No, silly, I'm going to make appetizers for beforehand."
Debe sweatdropped, "I should have known better. You just can't stop cooking, can you?"
"Never, I'd die first." He could tell that Mako was smiling.
"Well anyway, I have to get to bed. Good night Mako."
"Good night, Debe-kun, see you at school tomorrow." The two clicks were again heard. Debe was now finally alone to piece together some information. If the Dark Kingdom is still alive, he thought, then they must have access to the earth somewhere. Since Ami-chan has noted that all of the entrances in Tokyo are gone, the only one left has to be at the north pole. That might be why the youma haven't attacked since Metallia's defeat, they have no way of coming to Tokyo. I just hope Amethyst doesn't figure this out, or if he does, the youma don't believe him in his claim to be their original leader. Where did he come from anyway? These thoughts remained in Debe's head until he fell asleep at his desk.
"Kyaaaaaaaaaa!" Usagi shouted the next afternoon as she read the results of her class's English exam, "Minako-chan falls asleep during the middle of the test and she still beat me?!"
"She must have decided to study," Ami said, looking at the results also, even though her class didn't take the exam.
"Maybe a little too much," Makoto observed as the seemingly zombified Minako walked by, one slow step at a time. "She was up all night."
"That isn't healthy," Ami said, "her sleep routine will be irregular for a week."
Usagi and Mako were only half listening to their blue-headed friend because they were pointing Minako's eyes towards her score. Once she saw it, her eyes immediately regained all life and she jumped around as if she'd eaten a bowl of her own rice.
"I DID IT!" she exclaimed as she danced around, "I beat Usagi's test score this time!"
"By one point," Debe noted as he walked over to join the group. Minako glared at him, "Don't spoil my victory, Debe-kun, you always have the same situation when Ami-chan beats you by one point." He gave her a cold look but she had already turned to Usagi. "Tell me Usagi-chan," she said as she cornered the girl, "where is the handsome man who is lucky enough to be my escort tomorrow night?"
"All right," Usagi said nervously as she slowly backed away, "I'm doing this as a favor to a friend so you can't be disappointed with who you're getting."
"I'll take anybody who appreciates beauty!"
You're going to regret that, Minako-chan, Mako thought.
"I'll go get him," Usagi said and quickly left.
"It looks like everybody has a date now," Ami said, blushing a little, "Do you know who Usagi-chan's doing this favor for?"
"All I have to say to you Minako-chan," Mako said to answer Ami's question, "is don't hate Usagi-chan for this."
"What could be wrong with this guy?" Minako asked.
"Listen," Debe said, and they waited. Within a few seconds Usagi's voice, along with another familiar voice could be heard down the hallway.
"Usagi-san," the voice said, "even though Naru-chan is out of town for this weekend, I still feel like I'm betraying her."
"Naru-chan told you to have fun at this dance and she asked me to find you a date," Usagi said sternly, her voice sounded as if she was struggling to push something. She eventually brought Minako's date into view.
"U-Umino-kun..." Minako couldn't believe it, her eyes shrank and her face went pale. She would have fallen over if Mako hadn't caught her.
"Minako-chan?" Ami asked, snapping her fingers in front of Minako's face, "Minako-chan?" There was no response.
"A perfect case of complete shock," Debe said, "I've never seen one before."
"And you say that this magnetic disturbance is similar to the ones created by our Gates?" Amethyst asked the holographic image of Topaz.
"Yes, Amethyst-sama," Topaz responded, "The magnetic field at the section of the North Pole called D Point is exactly the same as the entrances to the Dark Kingdom."
"Very well, you may return to base and take a break. I will investigate D Point personally."
"As you wish," Topaz bowed and his image vanished. Amethyst stood up from his chair and waved his hand to produce a three dimensional, holographic globe of the earth.
"You called for me, Amethyst-sama?" came a woman's voice from the doorway.
"Yes Garnet," he said and turned around to see his top scientist. She was a beautiful woman who didn't look any older than 25. Her shoulder-length light brown hair matched her eyes perfectly. She wore a white lab coat over a white jumpsuit and also wore white shoes. "I need you to create a Gate leading to this point on the earth," he continued and the globe zoomed in on the coordinates that Topaz had given him.
"I can have it ready in an hour. Will you be going alone?"
"No, not this time. Topaz won't be back in time so I'll take Andesite and Rhyolite with me."
"Very well. I'll start on connecting the Gate right away."
"Thank you," Amethyst watched her leave. I couldn't ask for better friends than you four, he thought, you've stuck with me to the end. We only have to wait a little longer and we'll have what we came for.
The following night, the time to leave for the dance finally arrived and Makoto fit every word within the definition of the word "ready." She had chosen a dress that she reserved for only the most special of occasion. The sleeveless and velvet material fit her perfectly and the skirt fell halfway down her shins, allowing for movement. The summer-leaf green of the material helped to highlight her eyes and helped even more to distinguish her earrings.
As she held them in her palm before putting them on, Makoto thought, We've been through a lot together, and tonight will bring us another memory to share. She fondly remembered her parents as she attached them to her earlobes. The small roses had been with her since the day that they were taken from her life. They had been their good-bye present to her, but never expected what type of good-bye. Mako stood and double-checked her hair, make-up, and dress, and finished just as she heard a loud knock on the door. Maybe it's Artemis she thought jokingly, Debe-kun told me how unusually loud he is.
"It's open!" she called happily and turned to see Debe open the door for Ami and let the blue-haired girl in first. Ami, being Ami, was wearing the normal blue semi-formal dress and short yellow jacket that she reserved for these type of events, while the young man wore a simple pair of slacks with a white shirt and tie. His sword hilt occupied its usual place and looked more like an accessory for his belt than a weapon.
"Glad you two could make it," Makoto chimed, "Come in! Come in!"
"I'm glad you invited us over, Mako-chan," Ami smiled, "I learned it's best to go out with a group on first dates like this."
Mako suppressed a blush because she didn't want to really consider tonight with Shinozaki as a date. But she knew exactly what to say.
"Ami-chan, Debe-kun looks sharp, ne?"
While failing at her attempt to stifle the red, Ami looked down at the ground and nodded slightly while grinning.
"It's really nothing much," Debe said modestly, "just something my foster family gave me," and grinned evilly, "Ami-chan's the one who looks wonderful."
"Oh, Debe, stop it," she had to use her hands to hide her appreciate blush. Anyone could tell that she really liked it when he complimented her.
"You look good too, Mako," he continued, "you're really going to sweep him off his feet."
"Thanks, but that's not my only plan."
He smirked, "Of course." It was hard for Mako to tell if there had been any sarcasm in those two words, but she dropped it.
"Anyway, Shinozaki-kun shouldn't be here for another 15 minutes so let's go ahead, sit down, and chat. I also made some special fruit punch from the recipe you gave me, Debe-kun, but I was running late when making it so it's not very cold."
"Don't worry about it, Mako-chan," Ami said as the Mercurian couple sat, "that's a problem that can be solved easily." Makoto shrugged, entered the kitchen, and soon returned with a tray containing three large glasses filled with a ruby-red liquid. When she handed them to the two, Ami spoke up again and asked, "Debe, could you please?"
"Oui, mon ange bleue," he smiled as he replied. Mako noticed her friend's face redden yet again, and barely had time to think What does that mean? before she saw Debe give a quick flick of his wrist and several ice cubes appeared between his fingers. He simply placed them inside of Ami's glass and neither one of them had acted as if it wasn't strange.
"Debe-kun," she asked, "how did you do that?"
He and Ami looked over at her.
"You didn't know?" Debe responded.
Makoto shook her head.
"It's one of his abilities as a Guardian," Ami answered for him, "I still don't know exactly how it works but he's able to condense water molecules from the air and freeze them into a desired shape.
"So that crystal flower he gave you the other day was really-"
"Ice." Debe finished," But it was a special kind that doesn't feel cold and only melts in extreme heat. It's a lot harder to make though and can drain me if I'm not careful."
"Have you gained any new abilities other than that?"
He shook his head.
"What about that blizzard attack?"
He spoke his answer this time, "I've tried to execute the Ice Barrage many times since then, but for some reason it just doesn't work. The heavens alone know how many times I've tried."
"You were extremely angry when you used it," Ami mentioned, "could that have had something to do with it?" Even though she had been near-unconscious when he did use it, she remembered the power that exuded from him.
"Maybe, but there is another power I discovered that I can use after transforming. I just hope I don't have to use it anytime soon."
"I have one more question, Debe-kun," Makoto spoke up.
"Can I have some ice for my drink, too?"
The three all laughed just as they heard another knock on the door.
Earlier in that same day, at the North Pole.
"Lord Amethyst," a sharp female voice called from below the icy ridge where he stood, "I think I might have found something!"
"Good work!" he replied. "Do the energy readings match the ones Topaz gave us?"
"Yes! I'll never figure out how he found them in the first place because this point is very faint!"
"It's better than nothing! Stay where you are, I'll be right down!" Amethyst simply leapt off of the ridge and landed at the bottom of the ravine more than 20 meters below without a problem. When he touched down, a young, teenage-looking girl shrouded in a brown robe so that only the bangs of her red hair and red eyes could be seen awaited him.
"It's coming from this shallow niche," she pointed. Amethyst approached the crack and withdrew a small device that displayed the energy pattern's wavelength. After comparing it to the sample that Topaz had sent him, he nodded.
"No doubt about it," he confirmed, "this has got to be the last portal leading to the Dark Kingdom and it's about to close. Thank you, Rhyolite."
"I appreciate your gratitude," she acknowledged and bowed.
"Where's your brother?"
"He went to search another area. I'll call him," placing her fingers to her lips, Rhyolite emitted a high-pitched whistle that could have easily been mistaken as the highest playable note on a piccolo. As the lord and his bodyguard waited for her brother, he recalled what had happened since Garnet prepared the Gate leading to the North Pole. As always, her Gate had deposited them at the exit coordinates that Topaz had provided: D Point. However, there were no detectable readings from the point of emergence, so they split up and searched on foot. The harsh weather of the icy plains didn't deter them at all. It had taken a full day of scouting, but they had finally found what they were looking for. Amethyst's train of thought broke when he heard a THUMP in the snow behind him and turned to find a robed figure very similar to Rhyolite standing up from his landing.
"Glad you could make it, onii-chan," Rhyolite grinned.
"Whatever," he said coldly, "have we finally found that damn portal?"
"Andesite!" Amethyst scolded, "Remember what the cost of impatience can be. It can lead to terrible consequences if you're not careful, especially in battle."
"Yes, sir," he muttered.
Amethyst continued, "But yes, this is the portal we've been looking for. I'm going to open it and I want the two of you ready for anything that could pop out of there."
"Understood!" they affirmed in unison.
Amethyst nodded and closed his eyes. Within seconds, a flaming black aura began to glow about his figure. He raised his hand, palm outward, and began to fill the portal's niche with dark energy. As the vortex's strength began to return, it first became visible, then bigger and bigger until it was finally wide enough to admit all three.
"It is done," Amethyst lowered his hand, "let's go." As he and his guards took their first steps toward the portal, they were immediately cut off by the blood-curdling sound of three howling voices. Andesite and Rhyolite jumped in front of their leader in order to defend him, but no fighting had to be done as three youma burst from the portal and took to the air.
"They've gone mad," Amethyst noted sadly as he watched them fly away towards the south. Even though in the North Pole, almost any direction can be south.
"How can you tell?" Andesite inquired.
"I created them. I know them."
"Shouldn't we destroy them then?" Rhyolite asked.
Amethyst turned back towards the portal, "Leave them. They will either die before long unless they absorb some energy, but that is unlikely because in their state of insanity I doubt they could focus enough to absorb any. Because of that they may return here out of instinct. A youma cannot survive outside of the Dark Kingdom without energy." He said nothing else as he stepped between his guards and into the void. If they've all become this way, then I will have to put them out of their misery.
"Thanks for the great food, Mako-chan," Shinozaki complimented as he, Makoto, Ami, and Debe walked through the streets on their way to the school, "you never cease to amaze me." He, like Debe, wore black slacks with white shirt and tie, but he also had a jacket. They had enjoyed a good half hour of friendly conversation before leaving. In the time it took them to walk to the dance, they figured they'd be fashionably late by 45 minutes, much to Ami and Debe's disagreement on that since they always liked to be early for things.
"Flatterer," Makoto said and playfully slapped his back, nearly sending him over, before looking up at the sky and noticing, "it's such a lovely night."
Yes it is, Debe thought and smiled at Ami, Reminds me of that one night.
His eyes widened as he heard Ami's mental agreement.
"Hey, I don't read your thoughts without permission," he teased.
"I didn't have to," she grinned, "your eyes gave it away."
Before he could retort to that, Ami spoke aloud, "The weather couldn't be more perfect. Good thing, too, since it's an outdoor festival." She couldn't have been more right. There wasn't a cloud in the sky.
"Hey, look," Shinozaki pointed up at some trails of light in the air, "three shooting stars."
"Wow," Mako gasped in awe, "they're bright."
"I didn't know there was a meteor shower tonight," Ami observed then noticed that Debe was looking at them with his eyes narrowed.
In America, shooting stars are a sign of good luck and that your desire will be granted if you with on one, he thought, but here they're often seen as bad omens. I'll stick with the Eastern idea on this one.
"Those aren't shooting stars," he stated sternly.
"Huh?" the others looked at him.
"They're too bright given the light pollution in Tokyo, moving too slowly, and lasting too long."
"Then what could they be?" Ami asked.
Her question was answered as one of the trails broke away from the other two and aimed itself straight for them!
The glare of its increased speed caused the four to shield their eyes. When it had subsided they looked out to see a scaly blue beast with large wings, the face and body of a woman barely covered in tattered rags, and scraggly black hair screeching at them.
Youma! Ami, Makoto, and Debe all shouted in their minds. The other people on the sidewalks and street began to cry "Monster!" "Call the Police!" and other panicky phrases as the entire area began to evacuate. The youma ripped a mailbox out of the ground and threw it at the four teens. Shinozaki dove in front of Makoto and covered his head.
But never felt an impact.
Shinozaki opened his eyes to see Debe standing between the three of them and the monster holding a sword with a glowing blue blade. The mailbox had been neatly sliced in two and each half lied to one of his two sides.
"Debe, what the-?" he began to ask.
Debe didn't look back as he crouched to prepare for another assault. "Shino," he interrupted and ordered, "I'm counting on you to get the girls to safety. I can handle this long enough for the Sailor Senshi to get here."
Shinozaki ignored the shortened version of his name, nodded, and without hesitating, grabbed the two girls' hands and nearly had to drag Makoto around the block behind the previous corner to safety. Where did he get that sword? he thought over the taller girl's protests that she should go back and help.
The youma snarled at the young human in front of it. As it looked around for something else to throw, the human took the pre-empitive and used a flurry of several slashes and thrusts to lead it into the nearby alley. It had no choice outside of death as it dodged and became cornered, but found what it needed.
"Foolish!" it wailed as it lifted a garbage dumpster and released it flying towards the attacker only to see it cut in half as well. The large metal bin had blocked the youma's sight of the human, but once it was split, it could see that the human had somehow donned some armor.
"It's only just beginning," Guardian Mercury grinned, his voice full of anger and hatred, "I have a lot to repay your race! DIE!!!"
He then leapt forward for a head-on attack, raising his sword over his head.
"Open!" the youma quickly swung its arm, allowing it to take the shape of a heavy club...
The blow sent the human flying back across the street and into the wall on the second story of the building that stood there.
"[Dammit!]" Guardian Mercury cursed in English, "[Faster than it looked!]" as his body peeled from the wall to fell back down onto the ground. His muscles didn't respond at his order to straighten out as he hit the sidewalk head first.
Blackness immediately overcame him.
A block away, Shinozaki was catching his breath and looking back around the corner to see if the battle was still visible. It wasn't for long as Debe drove the monster into an alley.
Why did he call me "Shino?" he realized and thought, He said it as if he'd known me for years. Maybe he it was because he didn't want to waste any split second. I do have a long name.
Meanwhile, a few meters away, Ami and Makoto had just contacted the other Senshi and then talked amongst themselves.
"Where did that youma come from?" Mako whispered.
"I know no idea," Ami replied, "my question is did it recognize us? It's possible. But did you see how randomly violent it was acting? I think it attacked us because it sensed our unusual energy sources."
"You may be right, Ami-chan."
"It's been two years since Metallia's defeat and the youma must be starting to go insane."
"It just sickens me that we can't transform with Shinozaki-kun here. Hopefully the others will get here soon."
Ami began to nod but stopped at the same time as a gigantic CRASH was heard from down the street around the corner. Her face went whiter than a glass of milk.
"Ami-chan?" Mako asked with concern.
"Debe... he's taken a hit."
Makoto growled and looked around, but too many people were in the area watching what was going on down the road to transform undetected.
"Looks like I have no choice!" she shouted, kicked off her shoes, and dashed back towards the battlefield.
"Mako-chan!" Ami called after her. Shinozaki heard this and turned around just in time to see Makoto whiz by him in a full sprint.
"Mako-chan?!" he didn't hesitate in dashing after her.
"Shinozaki-kun!" Ami called, but he was gone. Deciding she would be better off helping as Sailor Mercury, she immediately searched for a good hiding place to transform.
Makoto turned the corner in time to see Guardian Mercury fall from the indentation in the wall of the building and land head-first on the pavement.
"Mercury-sama!" she shouted as she increased her pace to the field of battle. It's really true, she thought, Ami-chan and Debe-kun can sense each other's feelings and know when the other is in trouble. When the youma, holding a large pipe, emerged from the alley, Mako stood there waiting and ready for action.
"You're not getting past me!" she challenged.
The youma only grinned as it responded with a single word, "Fail!"
"Not if I can help it," Makoto prepared to launch her offensive in martial arts but was cut off.
"Mako-chan!" Shinozaki cried as he arrived, "you'll get hurt!"
Mako only smiled a little but still fixed her angry gaze on the youma.
"I'll be fine, help Debe-kun!" then said nothing more short of several battle cries as she launched a volley of several punches and kicks. Ami-chan, I hope this buys you enough time to transform and get here. Where is everyone else? Her thoughts never distracted her at all.
The youma had no time to attempt to counter with its weapon as it found itself either blocking or dodging as it stayed on the defensive. But in the narrow space of the alley, it took an occasional hit.
In only a few seconds, Makoto had driven it back against the dead-end and a successful round-house to its stomach sent it fall back onto its rear.
"Not lose!" it shrieked as it threw the pipe like a javelin at Makoto's head. She only barely managed to move her head aside as she felt it zing her hair. She didn't bother to look back to see where it went, but a sudden RUMBLE caused her to turn her head.
The pipe was embedded in the same spot where Guardian Mercury had hit and had been thrown with such force that the wall began to crack in several places. It looked ready to break apart and collapse at any second.
And Shinozaki and Guardian Mercury were right under it.
"Shinozaki-kun!" she yelled, "Get out of there!"
But she was too late.
Before Makoto's cry of concern was over, several large chunks of the building fell onto the two boys leaving a pile a meter tall. Makoto only stood there with he mouth open.
"Dead!" the youma practically spat at her.
"My best friend..." she barely stopped herself from falling to her knees, but turned her anger back into the alley, "You! I'll never forgive you!" With that she produced her transformation pen, raised it high into the air, and shouted,
"Jupiter Star Power! Make-up!!!"
Back across the street, Shinozaki coughed the dust out of his lungs and throat. He was just barely able to grab Debe and dive into the inner doorframe as the rubble came crashing down from above. How did he get that armor? he thought, is he a superhero with a secret identity? The wound in on Debe's head didn't look like it was bleeding, but it had already formed a sizeable bump and bruise. Shinozaki stood up and looked back out at the spot he'd just come from. the rubble only covered the bottom half of the door, so escape wasn't impossible. In fact, he could still see the fight going on across the street.
Only he didn't expect to see what he saw.
As Shinozaki saw Makoto raise an object up high and shout something he couldn't quite hear, his eyes widened as her body took on the color of a yellowish-green and her clothes disappeared. The lightning that quickly surrounded her son converged to emit a blinding light. When it subsided, where Makoto had stood was someone who he had only heard about on TV or read in the newspapers.
"Mako-chan," he whispered, "Mako-chan is Sailor Jupiter?"
Shinozaki immediately felt a sharp twinge of pain in his head, causing him to grab his temples in pain. Images of a lush forest, beautiful palace with indescribably beautiful flower gardens, a gorgeous young woman in a flowing green dress, and a young man in a forest-green tunic wielding a longbow filled his mind. What are these things I'm seeing? he thought, I've never seen any of this before, and yet I feel that they're all in my memory. How is that possible? The images vanished as quickly as they appeared and Shinozaki regained his composure in time to witness a sight that sent bone-chilling shivers down his spine.
Sailor Jupiter immediately launched her attack while the youma was still shocked at seeing her transform.
"SPARKLING WIDE PRESSURE!!!"
The ball of lightning honed in towards its target and the youma considered itself lucky to only take a scratch on its arm as it leapt aside.
"Destroyer!" it howled, "KILL YOU!!!"
Jupiter wasn't surprised that it recognized her as one of the five who defeated Queen Metallia, but she barely had time to even react as the youma bore a previously unseen set of fangs and, using its anger and adrenaline boost, sprung forward to wrap its hands around her neck and lift her off of the ground.
"Damn... you..." Sailor Jupiter swore as she could feel her air supply cut as she was being choked. She tried to use her long legs to counter attack with a kick to its face but soon felt a familiar sense of loss that ruined her chances of countering as the youma sapped her energy.
"Yes," it smiled, "fine meal. Torture. Then kill. Revenge!"
Jupiter could do nothing as her helplessness increased.
"Shinozaki-kun..." she wheezed, "I'm... sorry..."
The youma watched its prey fall limp as it drained nearly all of her life energy away. When the Destroyer was a hair short of death, it tossed her aside into the alley wall. The low moan from the girl told it that she could still feel pain.
"Exactly," it snarled. It had plans for this girl, a slow painful death as it broke all of her bones and skinned her alive. "Eyes," it snarled again, then raised its claws and reached back to thrust in and remove the girl's sight when-
"STOP RIGHT THERE!!!"
The youma turned its head to see a third human standing atop the rubble of the partially collapsed building wearing a strange tunic and holding a bow with an arrow already nocked. The string was pulled back and the arrow was ready to let loose, aimed between its eyes.
"You will not hurt her!" he shouted and let loose the weapon, "You will not!" His eyes were glowing green with a strange symbol.
The arrow came with such speed that if the youma hadn't drained so much energy, it would have gone right into its brain. Another scratch was torn across its arm.
"Humans," it shrieked, "why not all die?!"
Its question was answered only by a volley of several more arrows. All of them leaving bloody scratches as the youma could only dodge. None of them hit their mark until-
The alley filled with a cold, dense fog that immediately caused the youma to become both distracted and disoriented.
A final arrow made of lightning tore through the fog and embedded into the youma's head, sending painful jolts of electricity through it's body. The youma's last words were only a gurgle as it's body disintegrated.
Sailor Mercury heaved a sigh of relief as the youma was defeated. She felt that it had taken her much too long to find a good place to transform unnoticed then get back in time to help fight. When she arrived she attacked so quickly that she didn't bother to look at who delivered the final blow. When the fog from her Shabon Spray cleared she saw Sailor Jupiter slumped against the alley wall and Shinozaki collapsed on top of a pile of rubble on the other side of the street.
Both were unconscious.
"Jupiter-chan! Shinozaki-kun!" she gasped, not knowing which to check on first, "What happened to you?!"
"I saw it..." came a tired voice from her left, "I saw everything... He is Guardian Jupiter."
Mercury turned to see her own Guardian stumble over the pile of rubble. The enormous bruise she saw on his head caused the shock of his announcement to vanish.
"Guardian Mercury-sama," she asked, "are you okay?"
"I got careless," he hung his head, "but I'm not the one you should be worried about. Shino only fainted from overexertion, but Sailor Jupiter nearly got all of her life energy completely taken from her."
"Then we don't have any time to waste," Sailor Mercury looked around, saw that all the spectators had left, and ducked into the alley where she would be out of sight. Within seconds, Ami emerged.
"I'm calling an ambulance," she stated, "watch over Mako-chan."
Debe nodded. He too had reverted but didn't have to worry about people seeing him as much because his armor simply turned into water and fell off, leaving his clothes, which had always been there even after transforming. So violation of modesty wasn't an issue. As Ami ran to the corner phone, still intact, he approached Sailor Jupiter. While he took her pulse he noticed that the energy drain was so severe that her transformation reversed on its own. He took great care in looking away during the brief moment that she didn't have any clothes on.
"We're lucky to be alive," he said quietly.
Both Ami and Debe watched as the two ambulances drove away with both Makoto and Shinozaki in tow. Fortunately, someone who was witnessing the battle called the emergency number right as the youma appeared, but they got out of there quickly to avoid being questioned by the police. They had just barely gotten a block away when another voice called out from behind.
"Ami-chan! Debe-kun!" Sailor Moon greeted as she, Mars, Venus, and Tuxedo Kamen landed from wherever they had come from, "I'm really sorry that we took so long."
"It's not your fault," Debe said, "the whole thing only took a few minutes."
The two Mercurians answered with only one word.
The others' eyes all widened.
Amethyst and his bodyguards didn't encounter any more youma as they made their way to Metallia's chambers. Because of this, all three were surprised, but relieved.
"Are you sure you know what you're looking for?" Andesite asked gruffly.
"Yes," Amethyst replied calmly. He was used to his guard's impatience. "Metallia had Beryl seal several of our comrades into special crystals that left them suspended in time. I'm certain that most, if not all, of them were those who refused to obey her after she banished us."
"It looks like we're going to find out," Rhyolite studied a small device in her hand, "there are hundreds of readings of very faint energy signals right below us.
"Damn our luck that we don't know how to phase through walls," Andesite growled, "let's just take the short way and break through the floor."
"Onii-chan-" his older sister started, but Amethyst interrupted.
"It would be a faster way to get down there," he agreed, "but it's not worth the risk of damaging our allies."
Andesite "Hmphed" in reluctant agreement as the three sought after any means of making their way downstairs.
The walls of Metallia's domain had remained untouched since her defeat at the hands of Princess Serenity and the Sailor Senshi, though several aspects of it had changed: The dark, negative energy of Metallia's hatred and desire no longer flowed through the "veins" that wove in and out of the walls. The halls and chambers were no longer filled with the hustle and bustle of the thousands of youma about their daily business; most of which consisted of training their minds, bodies, and abilities in hopes of being deemed worthy and strong enough to serve as one of the underlings of Jadeite or Nephrite. But all that was gone and only the echoes of the footsteps of the three who traversed the lonely corridor were present.
A mere 10 minutes passed before Amethyst and his guards found the stairs leading to Beryl's so-called storage room. Even Amethyst, known for his ability to remain calm and under control in any situation, gasped in awe at the rows of hundreds, nay, thousands of floating crystals containing the inanimate forms of much of his army of youma.
I'm humbled that so many of you never betrayed me, he thought, and it will assist me much greater than I imagined. I never would have guessed that Beryl believed that any or all of them, trapped in these crystals of eternal nightmares, would turn over to her and Metallia's side. He looked out over the first row of crystals, noticing that the most recent stood on the very end of the uncompleted row. He approached the figure inside and once he saw who was in it, his mouth curved downward, then back up.
"Even you, Jadeite," he smirked, "even one of her generals displeased her once too often," raised his hand, emitted a strange energy, and both the crystal and person inside slowly dissolved into a fine powder, "but not even you deserve that fate. May you rest in peace."
"Amethyst-sama?" Rhyolite questioned, "Why didn't you free him and ask him to join us?"
He explained, "Because he was not involved, only controlled. Freeing his spirit is much more satisfying than enslaving his mind. Let him be with his friends and comrades in the afterlife."
That softness is going to cost you, one day, Andesite thought bitterly, if it wasn't for those damn customs of my people I'd have run out on you a long time ago.
"We have work to do," Amethyst produced a set of three magical staffs that were covered in runes and handed one to each of them, "Simply touch the crystal and chant the uncursing phrase to destroy the crystal and free the one inside. But before you start, I want you to wait here while I look for the one who I wish to speak with first. After I free him, Iíll leave it up to the two of you to start freeing everyone else."
The twins nodded in agreement as their leader vanished into the complex of crystals.
Amethyst had a good idea where to start looking, in the very back where the oldest crystals floated in midair. He grimaced as he saw the distorted faces of the youma inside who had been locked in a realm of plaguing nightmares for so long and cursed Beryl and Metallia for treating his people so. Only she deserved to be struck with this kind of curse, he thought as he approached the final row, to appear from nowhere, overtake my army through mind control, and attempt to banish me and my trustees is unforgivable. And- his concentration broke as, by pure luck, he stepped in front of the figure he'd been looking for.
"Excellent," he thought aloud, "this will save me a lot of time," and, raising his runic staff, touched that crystal. The runes began to glow and Amethyst spoke a phrase in a language that no one (at least on Earth) would have recognize.
"[I command that this curse be removed!]" he finished and, with a brilliant flash of light, the crystal was vacuumed into the staff, leaving a very stunned youma staring at him.
"My Lord Amethyst," she blinked, "is this just another dream?" As with most other youma, she had a humanoid body, but her pale green skin, and matching sun yellow eyes and hair said otherwise.
"No, General Ryoko," Amethyst smiled, "I've finally returned."
Ami stared at her feet and blushed heavily as the other girls continued to tease her. After the initial shock of hearing that a youma had appeared and the battle explained, everyone detransformed and Mamoru retrieved his car in order to drive everyone to the hospital. Usagi, of course, sat up front with her Mamo-chan, but there was only room for three people in the back seat. While Debe offered to take a cab, Minako proposed a brilliant plan that Ami sit in his lap and share the seat. Both of them felt a bit awkward at the idea, but in order to save time, didn't hesitate or have any objection to the idea, until they had pulled out into the street and the teasing started.
"You two are just so cute together!" Usagi chimed.
"That would be perfect for your engagement photos!" Minako smiled.
"They say they play chess, but maybe they cuddle like that too," Rei was the worst.
Debe probably would have also been red with embarrassment and asking the guilty teasing party to cease their actions had he not been so deep in thought.
"Debe?" Ami telepathed to him, "Why didn't you tell everyone that you saw Shinozaki-kun become Guardian Jupiter?"
"Because if I did, they wouldn't let him or Makoto recover fully before they started doing to them what they've been doing to us since I showed up. The last thing either of them need is added stress, especially since they've both been hospitalized."
The blue-haired girl mentally nodded. She loved her friends dearly and trusted them with her life, but with some things they did tend to not take seriously enough. They would be told when things had calmed down a bit and they would seriously listen. Her train of though hit the brakes as the teasing turned into an argument between Usagi and Rei when the raven-headed priestess said, "Usagi could never look half-as-cute as Ami-chan in a wedding dress."
Usagi reached over to throw her arms around Mamoru and wailed, "Mamo-chan! Rei-chan's being mean again!"
Ami silently prayed that when they did arrive at the hospital, it wouldn't be to check-in as the next patients.
Aside from his brief mental conversation with Ami, Debe's concentration never faltered. He felt bad for not telling the rest of the team about Guardian Jupiter's appearance, but he couldn't afford them telling him before his memories awakened fully, otherwise the shock probably would have been too much. He replayed the incident over and over again in his memory.
As Guardian Mercury was just recovering from his brief bout with unconsciousness, he was truly awakened when the sound of Sailor Jupiter's attack made a huge crashing noise when it hit a wall, although the pain in his head caused him to be too dizzy to stand. He managed to turn his head and focus his vision enough to see Shinozaki in what looked like pain, but he knew what it was; Shinozaki's true self was beginning to awaken. Debe slightly cursed himself as he managed to stand, leaning against the wall, and saw how much damage Sailor Jupiter had taken when she was thrown against the wall. If he'd had a clear head, he would have been able to throw an ice dagger across the street and cut the youma's wrists, causing it to drop the Sailor Senshi before throwing her away like a rag doll. But during that brief moment, he had a feeling that there had been a voice in his head that told him there was no other way than a traumatic experience that will awaken a Guardian's memory. Shinozaki proved that feeling when he yelled Makoto's name at the same time she slammed against the bricks. He then saw what looked like a tear fly out of the younger man's eyes, but the light from that "tear" soon illuminated the entire area. When the light died, a beautifully crafted bow floated in front of him. Made from both the strongest and lightest wood, it was capable of firing accurately for over a kilometer. Debe didn't have to tell Shinozaki to take it, he doubted that he would have heard him anyway. The younger man looked mesmerized as he reached for the weapon. As Debe watched when he touched it, his body became enveloped in a holy green light, and where it died, Guardian Jupiter stood.
Debe knew that it was Shinozaki's ancient incarnation surfacing rather than the memories becoming merged with his present body. The same thing happened to him twice before his memories were actually restored, but only once did he transform. Thus, he wasn't surprised when Shinozaki's transformation reverted by itself when the youma was destroyed and Sailor Jupiter was out of danger.
Debe hated the youma. Just the thought of one of those monsters made his blood want to boil. He hated them for destroying the Silver Millenium and taking the girl he loved away from him for 1,000 years. He hated Metallia for the very same reason, only more so because she was the leader of the attack through Beryl. He hated Rad for how he killed Ami's friend Urawa Ryo when trying to kill him and also for nearly killing Sailor Mercury in front of him. But most of all, he hated Amethyst. He had never met him but he hated him because he was responsible for the entire mess. He was the one who sent the youma to Mercury for an unknown reason when he was an infant. This attack resulted in the death of his mother and the enslavement of his father's mind. He must have been responsible for the latest youma attack that nearly killed Makoto. And Debe knew that he would be responsible for more chaos, more destruction, and more killing in the future. What tore him apart was that he didn't know anything about Amethyst other than his name and his position. Why was he here? What was he trying to obtain? What was his purpose? The bitter thoughts and questions filled his mind until Mamoru pulled up into the hospital parking lot. During the whole time, he'd failed to sense the strong feelings of worry that emanated towards him from Ami's heart.
"Ne, Minako-chan," Usagi asked as the group of four girls made their way through the hospital towards Makoto's room, "why didn't you ever show up at the dance?" Debe and Mamoru had gone ahead to Shinozaki's room first and were granted permission (thanks to Ami and her mother) to wait for him to wake up and sign him out since his parents were on vacation up in Kansai. The girls could only stay until visiting hours ended, though.
"That Umino is unbelievable," Minako retorted loudly, seemingly both out of agitation and a hint of respect, "I waited for over half an hour after the time he was supposed to pick me up. So I called his house and his mom said he'd locked himself in his room and wasn't coming out until Naru came home." Usagi and Ami couldn't hold back their laughter while Rei, who wasn't as familiar with Umino's character, stared wide-eyed at the blonde. Minako just grimaced. The laughter continued until they saw Makoto and the condition she was in.
"Are you sure he's the one?" Mamoru asked as he and Debe stood over Shinozaki. The boy was simply exhausted and, in his opinion, he thought that a good night's sleep would have been more necessary than a hospital stay. Debe nodded in affirmation and spoke.
"That's why I asked you to come with me," he gripped his hilt, "I'm sorry for not telling the girls but they have Mako to worry about right now. It's up to us to bring his memories back."
"What's your plan on how to do that?"
He just shook his head, "I only wish I knew."
She was hooked up to a life support system with vital signs only remaining above stable. The oxygen mask on Makoto's face clouded with every shallow breath, but other than that, there were no physical signs that she was alive. The tall girl didn't stir at all and none of them could even see her chest rising and falling. The medical staff had removed her earrings and undone her hair. The accessories were simply laid on the table next to her bed. The last time any of them had seen this was when Nanami's mother was drained protecting her baby, but Rei and Minako hadn't seen that. Rei felt helpless as Usagi glomped her and started bawling.
"First Ami-chan and now Mako-chan!" she sobbed, "Why does another enemy show up right after we beat up the last one?"
The other three girls spoke in unison. Rei could tell that Ami and Minako felt the same way she did; They had become an incredibly strong and effective team where one member strengthened another's weakness, and seeing one of them hurt like this was more painful than any kind of torture that she could imagine. It was small wonder that many of their enemies tried to break their will by forcing them to watch each other get hurt, and it almost worked every time, but would always backfire because of their strong bond. After the battle against Rad the previous month, Ami told them she had calculated that the adrenaline boost she got from watching the other girls being hurt and used to break ropes that had her tied to a chair was enough so that she could have easily lifted and thrown a car. Even Mamoru's eyes were as big as dinner plates after she mentioned that.
Rei had called Usagi a coward for discarding her weapon after Fiore captured them, but deep down, she thought Usagi was the bravest and strongest member of the team. It reminded her of an old saying that Debe mentioned after his memories returned, "You have true Courage. Many people believe that Courage is throwing your life away, but it's really the power to protect the ones you love."
Not me, Debe-san, she thought as she hugged her friend, not me...
The three girls continued to offer words of support to Usagi and Makoto as they failed to realize that in a room nearby, another life-changing event was occurring.
Shinozaki didn't know if he was falling or floating. There was no sense of gravity in this pitch black void he found himself in.
"Am I dead?" he questioned the emptiness, only to be answered by his own echo. He didn't notice right away that his clothes had disappeared but after searching for a moment, he did see a hint of light off in the distance and began to hear a faint voice calling his name. He began to "swim" towards the glimmer as he asked, "Who's there? Mako-chan?"
As he neared his destination, he could see her, see her standing in the middle of a small forest clearing. He blushed exceedingly when he noticed that she, as well as he was stark naked. She showed no sign of embarrassment as she beckoned him closer.
"Mako-chan? Is that you? I've never seen you with your hair down. Where are we?"
Makoto's figure simply smiled as she took his hand and led him down a path of glass towards a door of crystal.
"Where are we going? You want us to enter Heaven together?"
As the door opened and the light from inside consumed them, he found that his answer would be mostly related to the place he had named, but the rest would be the opposite of that place.
What do I see? Shinozaki thought to himself as his Edenic body stood next to Makoto's, holding her hand. Both were standing out on a balcony, staring out at the largest forest he'd ever seen in his life. In every direction it spread to and beyond the horizon. What caught his attention most was only a couple of meters away. A little girl with long brown hair and a green dress flowing down to her ankles was leaning on the edge of the railing and humming a tune. The song was a perfect reflection of the bright attitude of the forest and the sound of it made his spirits lighten considerably. He couldn't see her face until a noise from the entrance caused her to turn around. Shinozaki again felt embarrassed by his lack of clothing, but the girl obviously didn't see him or Makoto. However, it was her forest green eyes that clued him in as to who that little girl was.
"Mako-chan?!" he turned to her older figure, which only nodded.
The little Makoto gasped happily and ran towards Shinozaki's image, then straight through, convincing him that she didn't know about their presence. She ran up to and nearly tackled a slightly older, but shorter little boy. The two friends shared a laugh at the brief but happy reunion then ran into the castle to play.
"Was that me? It looked like me," Makoto nodded again, But it's impossible. I never met Mako-chan until we were teenagers.
He could ask nothing else as the scene vanished.
They had come into the forest in front of a large lake. The trees were covered with their green leaves and the sun was shining, but the water was frozen. Shinozaki saw the two children from before, only now they looked much older, by nearly 10 years, skating together as partners on the lake.
She's so graceful. Seeing her on the ice would cause anyone to forget that Mako-chan could ever act like a tomboy sometimes. But me on the other hand... Rather than argue with this strange vision, he readily accepted that the young man was indeed him.
His fears came to pass as he attempted to lift his parter high into the air, but his arms were tired and sore so they were unable to hold her up for the duration of the entire routine, causing both to tumble onto the ice.
"Makoto-hime-sama," he said with his voice full of concern for her, "I'm so sorry!"
She didn't seem to care that she was on top of him and just laughed.
"Stop calling me that," she chided as she caught her breath, "you're still me best friend from when we were kids, ever since our parents introduced us, and I still like you calling me 'Mako-chan.' But you, Shino-chan, are you okay?"
He only nodded, "I'm sorry, my arms gave out."
"Well with how hard you've been training, they have to be sore."
"Yes. They're not used to firing 500 extra arrows in one session each week, so they're really getting tired."
"What are you up to now? 4,000 in one session?"
"4,500," he corrected, "and if I miss the target once, I have to start over."
Makoto stood and offered her hand to pull him up. After they stepped off of the lake she smiled and said, "You'll get better. You'll be the best Guardian this planet's ever seen.
"Yes, I want you to be my Guardian," the child Makoto said to him, "I don't want anyone but my best friend to protect me."
"Mako-chan..." the younger Shinozaki looked a little stunned, "do you really think I can do it?"
"There's no way you couldn't do it," she reassured and squeezed his hands. For all people within earshot of it, they could hear several cracking noises, but the little boy showed no expression of discomfort as he was used to it.
"You're really strong, Mako-chan," he joked, "maybe you should be my Guardian."
She just laughed and shook her head.
The present Shinozaki began to piece the puzzle together.
"Mako-chan," he looked over at her, "is this from a past life?"
"And these two children are the two of us?"
"Where is this?"
Another shift would answer his question.
"Do you swear to honor the sacred vows and obligations placed upon you alongside this title?" a large, bearded, and regal man asked. Shinozaki guessed him to be Makoto's father.
"Yes, your highness," a 12-year old Shinozaki affirmed, kneeling.
"Then arise and take hold of the sacred bow to ensure that you are worthy. If the planet accepts you as Guardian of the Princess of Jupiter, it will respond."
The young man nodded as he reached for the weapon/treasure floating in front of him.
Jupiter? This was Jupiter at one time? I thought it was uninhabitable. But that bow... that's the same one I grabbed before I lost consciousness...
As the younger Shinozaki took ahold of the ornately crafted weapon, a brilliant flash caused the present Shinozaki's figure to cover his eyes. Makoto's presence did not move at all.
"You were more than qualified and the spirit of the planet didn't hesitate in showing its approval," she finally spoke. When the light died, Shinozaki could see that both versions of him were clothed the same: an archer's green tunic with brown leggings, leather gloves and boots. They felt both light and comfortable and he didn't feel any restrictions in his mobility at all. He also saw that Makoto's body was no longer naked either. She also wore the same flowing green dress that the younger her wore, only is was larger to fit her current size, and her hair remained freely hanging down past her shoulders. He ignored the celebration that immediately struck up when the orchestra, with the little Makoto at the first chair of the violins, playing a much more beautiful instrument than all the others combined, began to play an extended version of the song she had been humming earlier.
"Mako-chan, no," he corrected himself as his mind's eye finished opening, "Princess Jupiter..."
"Yes," she turned to look him in the eyes, "you called me that once, and as you have figured, I am reborn as Kino Makoto, who is now still alive thanks to you. I am the essence of her past life. Her memory of me is still hazy, which is why I have come to you before she awakens, so that you may help Prince Endymion and Guardian Mercury slay the final two youma."
"Guardian Mercury..." the name awakened in him, Debe! Debe is Guardian Mercury. And the youma... why did they attack?"
Princess Jupiter's essence opened her mouth.
The stood side-by-side watching as the Battle of the Moon raged on before them. He saw the four Sailor Senshi fighting as one team and the four Guardians in another. He remembered that as teams, they largest and strongest potentials could be realized. They two groups, along with the remaining soldiers tried to group closer together as their defense of the palace began to falter. But it all failed as he saw the youma army continue to overpower the soldiers and advance farther towards the palace. Only some of the elite officers and the Guardians still stood. The Sailor Senshi had been stunned by a direct attack by Metallia on them. The ones who still stood looked like they were to be overrun in seconds! But everyone stood their ground and gasped in awe as the youma began to retreat suddenly. Then they could feel it coming; an enormous last desperate attack of united energy was being pooled together.
"We've got to stop them from letting that thing go!" Guardian Mercury ordered.
"I've got it!" Jupiter responded and fired arrow after arrow as he was the only one who could shoot that far. He dropped target after target but reinforcements always immediately filled the gaps."
"It's no good! Incoming!" Mars shouted as the final blast was unleashed. Jupiter stood mesmerized like a frog caught in a snake's hypnotic gaze as the black light approached. His body refused to leave it's position he stood in after firing a shot.
"Mako-chan..." were his last words.
The void, no longer was the void. He and Princess Jupiter stood in the realm that had previously been blackness where they'd first met in the depths of his recently uncovered memory. It was now a replica of the palace's flower garden as the memories became as sharp and real as that garden had once been.
"Were there any survivors?" he asked.
"Yes," she assured, "Guardian Mercury was the only one who survived the blast that continued to live afterwards. Queen Serenity, Luna, and Artemis were the only ones who were protected enough to remain unhurt. The Queen used the last bit of her power to banish Metallia and the youma and send everyone to Earth to be reborn in times of peace. She entrusted Luna and Artemis to seek out the Sailor Senshi if the Dark Kingdom should rise again. After many battles it became necessary for the Guardians to awaken as well. Only there was one slight problem, because Guardian Mercury was not dead, he was sent to train with the Outer Senshi until it was time for him to be recalled. He looks like he is 16, but he's really 1,023 years old, most of that time he was in suspended animation, but he spent 8 years holding the royal treasures of Mercury combined, thus freezing his aging."
"I understand, and I am Guardian Jupiter, the Archer, and now it's my time to awaken and aid the Sailor Senshi in this war."
"You have experienced much in your new life, but it was inevitable that you would meet Makoto."
He nodded, "I remember it well..."
As his mind turned the memory, his presence began to relive the moment.
Matsumoto Shinozaki sighed as he walked home from school. It had been a particularly bad day: he forgot his lunch, was late, and did much worse on a test than he'd expected. He felt that the kami were all united against him that day as it began to rain heavily the moment he stepped out of the school building. Luckily, he always carried his umbrella in his satchel. He opened it up and began the long walk home.
Shinozaki was accustomed to always walking through the park as a shortcut and today it was readily accepted. He had only just arrived at one of the childrenís' playgrounds when he could hear the sound of an arguing couple over the falling rain. As he drew near, he saw a young man turn his back on the girl he had been arguing with and ran. The girl, tall and quite attractive, stood in the middle of the shower in shock at their breakup. He tears were clearly distinguishable from the rain that had long since soaked her body.
She'll catch cold if she stays out here, he thought as he slowly approached her from behind and held his umbrella over her. The young woman, no longer feeling the rain, turned and looked into his eyes. He could see in hers only pain and rejection. For some reason, seeing her like that made him feel that he was sharing her sorrow. He broke eye contact to avoid that pain and looked up, but didn't move.
"It's all right," he said, "there's no need to cry." The situation was awkward, that was certain.
"T-thank you," she nearly blubbered.
"You'll get sick if you stay out like this. May I walk you home?"
The girl, feeling no fear, smiled, nodded, and said, "I'd like that."
As they walked and conversed, she introduced herself as Kino Makoto. The two of them continued to speak long after they arrived at the lobby of her apartment building. When he was sure that she had cheered up, they exchanged numbers and parted ways for the remainder of that day. As Shinozaki made his way home, he felt that the smile she had given him when he offered to take her home alone made the entire day worthwhile.
"It began with that day," Princess Jupiter told his essence, still in the uniform of the Guardian, "but it didn't begin with that day at the same time."
"I understand," he replied.
"Your memories have returned and your body is recovered. It is now time for you to awaken and fulfill your destiny."
"I will go," he stated boldly, "I've never been very strong physically but I'll protect Mako-chan with my life."
Those were his last words as the dream-like world faded around him. As the conscious state returned to his body, he swore that he heard her voice say, "I know you will."
"Mamoru-san," Debe said suddenly as his the reason for his vigil began to stir, "I think he's waking up."
It had been three hours since they first arrived. Mamoru, who had been watching the news for any report that could have been related to the other two youma, quietly turned back around to ensure that the younger boy was right. He was.
"Where am I...?" Shinozaki asked as he opened his eyes and saw the other two men.
"In the hospital," Debe answered, "you exhausted yourself."
"Yeah," he said, "I remember. Transforming unconsciously can really drain a person. Right, Guardian Mercury? Prince Endymion?"
If anything important had come on the TV at that moment, Debe and Mamoru would have been too shocked to catch it.
Back in the Dark Kingdom, Andesite and Rhyolite had spent the previous hours freeing all of the imprisoned youma while Amethyst and Ryoko gathered them all together. Every single one of them was ecstatic to find out that he had finally returned. As everybody celebrated, the twin guards were sent out of Metallia's castle to scout around and gather information. When they returned, what they had to say was less than expected.
"It turns out that once Metallia was defeated, things really began to fall apart," Rhyolite reported, "first there was a civil war over who the new leader was to become, but both of the leaders of the armies were killed in the same battle. The war ended and everyone left to live with their families and friends in their own settlements. In the recent months, another leader has arisen to gather all of them together in another attempt to break out of the Dark Kingdom and take over the earth. The resisting side had been content with a life of peace, free from the tyranny of Beryl and Metallia. These arguments resulted in the ongoing second civil war that's still happening right now."
Amethyst pondered for a moment, "This isn't going to be as simple as I planned, but we need as many as possible for our army." After thinking for several more minutes, he stood up and used his powers to amplify his voice and speak to the multitude.
"My people!" he announced, "I have returned for the sole purpose of taking all of us back to our original home from whence we were exiled!"
"But that cannot happen until our original objective in this, the Sol System, is complete! Even all of us combined don't have the power to create a Gate leading back to our home system! So we must all unite with each other to retrieve what we came here for!"
The cheering heightened.
"So I ask for your help in order that we may return home and received what rightfully belongs to us! Will you help us?"
The cheering became utterly deafening. Amethyst already began forming a plan.
"So there are two more out there," Mamoru confirmed after Debe and Shinozaki told him the details of their battle with the first youma.
"Right," they affirmed. The three had returned to Debe's apartment, it being the closest, to plan. Once Shinozaki had woken, he was immediately released from the custody of the hospital. The girls had long since left and hopefully gone to bed since Shinozaki woke up and even now, it was past midnight. Most of the time since leaving was spent with Shinozaki's story of his past life on Jupiter and how his memory came to return (making sure to leave out the detail of his and Makoto's nakedness during the first half of it). Because Makoto was in a coma, he didn't want the Sailor Senshi involved in this battle, so he asked only Debe and Mamoru to help him destroy the last two of the three insane youma. They didn't hesitate in agreeing, Debe because he wanted to make amends for his carelessness, and Mamoru because it was his duty as the Prince of the Earth. However, they still had no idea as where to look.
"Well," Debe proposed, "without any leads or ways to track them down, we'll have to do it the hard way and look."
The other two nodded, knowing that it definitely wouldn't be easy.
Several hours of cruising around the town in Mamoru's car looking for any signs of unusual destruction or battle yielded zero results.
"They could be anywhere in all of Tokyo by now," Mamoru sighed, "or anywhere in Japan." They had also tuned the radio to listen for any news, but that had been as equally as helpful as their patrol.
"We've got to keep looking," Shinozaki yawned but still looked wide awake, "I can't let them do to anyone what that first did to Mako-chan." He promised himself he wouldn't sleep until they were defeated and he could rest easy, avoiding nightmares.
Debe, sitting in the back, could have easily been mistaken as being asleep, but was in deep concentration and meditation. His purpose was because he remembered the first youma's energy pattern, he could try to sense something similar from the others. But his inexperience in the matter only brought failure to the idea. He also had to be extremely careful because his open state of mind would have been easily picked up by Ami with almost no effort on her part if she wasn't asleep.
"Not just Japan," he broke out of his concentration to say, "maybe anywhere in the whole world..." then bolted his eyes open as he realized something, "Augh! I'm a stupid cow for not thinking of this sooner!"
"What's wrong?" they both turned and asked.
"Mamoru-san," he replied quickly, "you're the Prince of the Earth. Surely you'd be able to sense a disturbance in this planet's energy flow much more easily than I could.
"Mamoru's eyes rose a little because he'd never even thought of that, "I've never done anything like that before, but that doesn't mean I'm not about to try." He quickly pulled over into a parking lot.
"Okay, Debe instructed, "close your eyes and concentrate on the planet's life force."
Mamoru nodded and obeyed. Several breathless seconds passed before anyone moved or spoke. Neither Debe nor Shinozaki had time to ask what he had sensed when his eyes shot open and the screeching of the car's tires as they carried them back onto the main road.
"They're hiding in Juuban Cemetery," he answered angrily before they could ask.
"All right," Shinozaki exclaimed, "let's destroy them before they can hurt anyone else!"
What kind of cowards would hide in and possibly desecrate a cemetery? Debe asked in thought, And I haven't seen the bow since it disappeared when he reverted earlier. How is he going to transform?
The trip to the cemetery didn't take too much longer. When they did arrive, all three were grateful for the city lights in the surrounding area. Otherwise, it would have been pitch black. Mamoru lead the way deep into the graveyard, pinpointing a precise location as to where their prey were hiding. They didn't have to search for much longer as an attempted surprise attack from above caused the three to scatter in different directions.
"Misssssed," hissed a voice.
"Pathetic," echoed a second voice. The humans didn't know who that word was aimed at.
When he stood up, Shinozaki saw that both Tuxedo Kamen and Guardian Mercury beat him to the punch in transforming. He couldn't see the youma's faces in the dark because of their black hoods, but both of their figures looked reptilish.
The essence of death, he thought, maybe that's why they chose this place to hide. But I won't be able to help out in this form. Eyes turned to face him as he instinctively summoned the bow from seemingly out of nowhere and shouted in a phrase that only he and Makoto would have been able to understand.
Green leaves swirled around Shinozaki's body until it was completely covered and hidden by the foliage. They immediately took the form of a great tree and changed from leaf to wood. The wood exploded and vanished, leaving Guardian Jupiter.
"I'm ready!" he shouted, already holding an arrow nocked and pulled back at the ready. Every arrow he would ever pull out of his quiver bore the symbol of Jupiter on its head.
Guardian Mercury grinned to himself. Having another ally would make this battle quick and easy. He could see Tuxedo Kamen at the ready with a flurry of his roses along with Jupiter's aimed shot, while he stood ready with a number of his ice throwing daggers. He had changed the look of them to match his sword a little better. Now they looked like a miniature version of his weapon with, only the symbol of Mercury was embedded where the sapphire was laid. Creating an actual blade on the daggers made them much more effective than a large symbol of his planet with his sword inside the loop since the point of piercing was the symbol, not the sword.
"Outnumbered," the first youma snarled.
"No worriesssss, fussse and become five timesss ssstrong."
"Yesss, fussse," wasting no time, the two threw back their hoods, revealing that they were twin males, both definitely representing some kind of reptile, but no other details were visible. The joined hands and a surge of power emanated from them.
"Don't let them finish!" All three humans shouted as they unleashed a barrage of their long-range attacks.
But they were too slow.
The sphere of power produced from the transformation easily knocked all of the weapons aside. The now-fused youma grew into three times the size of what the two had previously been combined. The aura it emitted produced enough light to show that it was heavily armored with thick, purple skin and large crystal horns protruded from its back. A large scythe appeared in its hands and its tail grew to over twice its previous length.
"We are Taurasssk!" it shrieked in a dual-layered voice and immediately began to its assault by spinning its body low along the ground with its weapon on one end and its tail at the other. The three humans could only dodge as one second they could have been cleaved or clubbed, and the next second would have been the other. No matter how they tried or how quickly they moved, they could not find any openings.
Back across the district, Makoto continue to lay unconscious in her hospital bed, but her subconscious was wide awake and she was lost inside of it. Inside, she was dressed in her school uniform and running. Running towards the sound of battle.
"Hold on, everyone," she called out ahead of her, "I'm coming!" and reached for her transformation pen...
Only to find it missing...
"No! NO!" She cried and fell onto her hands and knees to search for it.
"Is this what you're looking for?" A gentle, but strong voice asked.
Mako looked up to see her pen in this person's hand, "Yes, thank you! I-" her eyes fell on who helped her and she stopped in shock.
"What's wrong, Makoto-chan?" Princess Jupiter asked.
"Y-you are...?" she couldn't finish, seeing the mirror image of herself caused all rational thinking to leave her mind.
"I am you. You are me. And we are needed. The sound of battle is calling for our assistance."
Mako recovered from her shock and put on her serious smile.
"Nothing's going to stop us," she took her other self's hand holding the pen and with another brilliant flash of light, the two spirits merged into one body. The spot in which they had stood was now empty as Sailor Jupiter continued her sprint.
When the doctor on the night shift was making his rounds and opened the door to Kino Makoto's room, he found the bed empty. Only the wrinkled sheets and green beaded hair tie on the stand showed any evidence that anyone had been inside of there.
Out in the street, Sailor Jupiter ran as fast her long legs would carry her as she put her earrings on at the same time. These are the only possessions that I can never leave behind, she thought, I am a Sailor Senshi, but I will never abandon the memory of my parents. Her long hair flew freely behind her as she continued her dash.
"THUNDER ARROW!!!" Guardian Jupiter fired his lightning shot as he side-jumped away from the tail for the who knows how many-th time. As it had in every attempt beforehand, it merely bounced off of the youma's thick skin. He was no longer surprised that it didn't work, but there had to be something that could pierce its hide. His answer came from a source that he'd never expected, nor even heard of for that matter.
The mysterious voice had announced the attack in a quiet, almost haunting shout. Guardian Jupiter watched as the shot that almost looked like a black hole zeroed in on its target: one of the crystal horns on the youma's back. The hit was successful and the horn shattered. As the creature howled in pain, he turned to see one of the Sailor Senshi standing behind him, but this one didn't look at all familiar from the times he saw them on the news. Her uniform was a dark-green shade nearing black and white, with her long hair only being a few shades of green lighter.
"Sailor Pluto!" Guardian Mercury and Tuxedo Kamen both exclaimed as they took the time of the youma's distraction to regroup.
"This is my battle now," she said calmly, "I have learned that the origin of these monsters covers my duty to protect this Solar System from outside invasions."
"Glad you're here," Mercury grinned.
"It's horns are its power sources," she didn't beat around the bush, "but I'm afraid that my attack will not be able to shatter the other, stronger horn. We need something with a much more powerful force."
"Not a problem," Mercury said as he ran behind the recovering youma, "I should have enough time to use this now! Just keep it distracted!"
The others were glad to oblige and Tuxedo Kamen started by using his extending cane to jab it in one of its eyes. With its tail being shortened to its previous length after the power loss, it could no longer sweep along the ground so it could only focus on whoever hit it last.
During this time, Guardian Mercury stood at the edge of the battle radius and held his sword up in front of him With his eyes closed he focused his powers into the blade. Both it and the jewel emitted a much stronger, although much more eerie blue glow as he chanted, "Before a cliff diver enters the sea, to prevent injury he must first act by PARTING THE WATER!!!" With the final three words, he opened his eyes and slashed vertically towards the ground. When the blade and the earth met, a shock wave that was as blue as the deepest ocean traveled along the ground, leaving several "ripples" of the water-like energy as it traveled. At the last instant, it leapt off of the ground and slammed into the youma's other crystal horn with the force of a tsunami and shattered it easily.
"Humansss not sstrong!" it wailed as the power source supporting it's weapon and it's weapon vanished, "but cannot pierce sssskin!" The four fighting against it all prepared to renew their assault, ignoring its supposed bluff on not being able to hurt it when a fifth voice shouted from the darkness.
Everyone turned to see a fully re-energized Sailor Jupiter holding a softball-sized ball of lightning in her hand. They didn't have time to call out her name as she began her own assault.
"SPARKLING WIDE PRESSURE!!!" she increased the power of the ball and threw it...
Straight up into the air?
"Shinozaki-kun!" she yelled, "Fire an arrow through it!"
Rather than taking precious time to wonder how she recovered so quickly, he nocked another arrow and channeled his power into it.
The arrow turned lightning bolt traveled right through Sailor Jupiter's Sparkling Wide Pressure and emerged, forming the former ball of lightning into a "sonic boom" of electricity. The projectile and it's conic escort pierced that tough skin of the youma and the force carried it through its heart and out its back where it returned to a normal arrow and stuck into the ground. The youma's body conducted the electricity through its veins, causing it to disintegrate without a cry of death.
"Lord Amethyst," Andesite spoke in his usual angry tone, "all is ready."
"Excellent, well done," he stood up from Queen Beryl's former throne and gazed out at the few thousand youma comprising his army before him. His hope was to increase that number by ten-fold.
"Let this our campaign begin!" he declared, again amplifying his voice with his powers, "we will begin our march to the west! Remember, always raise a flag of truce and only fight if you are attacked first! Our goal is to negotiate the complete reunion of this people so that we may return home! Try not to take any lives! Now let us march forward and begin our first step towards our goal that will give us the power we need: The four royal instruments of the Inner Sol System!"
The cheering that ensued as Amethyst stepped down and through the multitude to take lead of his troops easily caused the entire castle to shake heavily.
"The Arrow Shock Wave," Guardian Jupiter said quietly as he saw the youma's remains blow away in the wind, "I never knew it would be that powerful," then nearly jumped as he felt a strong hand clasp his shoulder. He turned around and had to tilt his head upwards very slightly to look into Makoto's eyes. She smiled, winked at him, and gave him a thumbs up before saying "Good job."
Again instinctively, he reverted from his transformed state. His Guardian's uniform crumpled away like dead leaves and left him in the same clothes that he had worn for the dance.
"Mako-chan..." Shinozaki started before she caught him up in a bear hug and started sobbing as she could no longer hold back her emotions.
"I thought you were dead!" she bawled.
His mind again remembered the first words he'd ever spoken to her and he heard his mouth speak them as his vocal chords produced, "It's all right, there's no need to cry."
"I'm not sad this time," she answered, sniffling a little but calming down, "I just can't think of any other way to tell you how happy I am." As her last tear fell from her cheek, it began to glow with the light of the approaching dawn, but with a much greater intensity. Once the brilliant flash subsided, a violin of master craftsmanship floated in the air between them.
"You're exhausted," Topaz supported Garnet with his arm, "you've been working on this since Amethyst-sama left. Get some rest."
The scientist only shook her head, "But I'm so close to perfecting this formula. The formula that Blade had started, so addictive that it's impossible to break free from and will eventually turn the human into a capsule monster so that they will be able to fuse with a youma with my other formula."
"You'll only make a mistake if you succumb to your fatigue."
"I know, but this is just the way I am," she gave him a tired smile, "I'll just need a couple of test subjects."
Topaz grinned as he recalled an unpleasant experience from the other day.
"That's not a concern," he said with anger behind his words, "I know of two girls who would be more than perfect for the part."
As Makoto and Shinozaki shared their happy reunion, Debe, Mamoru, and Setsuna paid their respects to those people whose graves and rest they may have disturbed during the battle. It felt like the right thing to do. When they had finished they gathered back into their small group.
"Thank you for your help, Setsuna-san," Debe said with a bow.
"No, I must thank you," she smiled, "I've been watching how you're working and it was your information that gave me the lead I needed to find out that our enemy is not of this system, or even galaxy."
"So Amethyst is an outside invader. Do you know from exactly where?"
The older woman shook her head, "What I just told you is all I know."
"Setsuna-san," Mamoru interjected to ask, "are you the only Sailor Senshi in this system from a planet beyond Jupiter?"
Her answer consisted of three words, "Yes and no."
"I understand." The three all turned to watch Mako and Shinozaki continue their hug as the violin and the bow lay on the ground beside them.
There are two left, Debe thought, But where? And who are they? His worries soon faded as in the light of the early morning, the grounds associated with death became the point of resurrection for the third reunited 1,000 year-old bond. He just hoped that the other four girls wouldn't send him back here once he explained what they had missed.
End of Sailor Moon G 3
Man I can't tell all of you how good it feels to have this part finished. I promise that none of the future parts will ever take 2 1/2 years to write. I still plan on finishing this series so expect to hear me talk about progress on Part 4 before long.
Nothing really much to note in this Part. The best way to visualize Guardian Jupiter's uniform is to think of Legolas or Link (without the hat).
As following with the tradition of the series, think of the song that little Princess Jupiter was humming as an extended version of the Minuet of Forest from Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
If you have any questions, email them to me.