Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon and all of the characters that are encompassed within it’s universe are the intellectual property of Naoko Takeuchi. I do not own any of the characters described below, with the exception of Minerva, whom I have created for the purpose of this SL. Several places are also listed below, but they are most likely to be fictional. While I’ll gladly take credit for Avalon Station, every other location has either been portrayed in the anime, the manga, or artistically rendered from an actual place.
On a side note, while I generally stray from fan-fiction and usually find myself discouraged from it, I fear that as a writer, I am now at a disadvantage. This short story has its humble beginnings in an AOL IMRP session that I conducted with a friend, but it is not a log. The core ideas were taken from the role-playing session, and tweaked to fit my current setting.
I have a very verbose writing style, and I don’t really care to curb it. I’m a detail oriented person who often delves capriciously into the minds of the characters I portray. For my part, I’ve done everything I can to avoid slaughtering any one character’s core concept for the purpose of diapers, and I wholly intend to see that the SL revolves first and foremost around the characters portrayed herein. If you’re looking for cross-senshi smut, look elsewhere. I’ve done my best to keep everyone’s sexual orientation intact.
If you aren’t at least loosely familiar with Sailor Moon, the SL will probably lose some of it’s impact. I have a microsoft word file that includes pictures, and eventually I’d like to maybe post some supplemental material to help assist people who aren’t familiar with the genre. In the meanwhile, I suppose you’ll have to bear with me. I’ve tried to be as friendly as I can.
I also use the Japanese names for each of the characters, and I try to follow the format of the subtitled anime, rather than the dub. In order to help people familiarize themselves with these names, I have them posted below. Also, I have a few japanese terms and series inserts below the names, for those of you who need to be refreshed.
Alright! Enough jibber-jabber. Off I go!
Minako Aino tried to keep pace with the five of her friends, watching her avatar on the screen as she timed herself to the trigger pulling, button mashing madness. While she didn’t know Motoki quite so personally as some of her good friends, a part of her couldn’t help but feel a little guilty about spending money in another arcade center. As her alter ego, Sailor Venus, she had been an incredibly popular attraction over the course of several arcade installments, and while the Crown Game Center certainly hadn’t doled her out any royalties, it had been quick to collect anything with her name on it.
While she often fancied herself the most attractive of the Sailor Senshi (on a good day, anyhow), the truth of the matter was up for debate. In the right light, Minako and Usagi – also known as Sailor Moon, to a very select few – might have been sisters. Minako wore her hair long, allowing it to cascade liberally down to her waistline, where she curled it just enough to make it appealing. Her face was smooth and fair, with a complexion that some would describe as heart-shaped, but her best features were her in the smooth curves of her well-rounded hips.
Alas, the honey blonde, blue-eyed heroine more commonly known as “Sailor V” had all but fallen to the wayside in recent years, as her fan-base was rapidly falling under the persuasion of the ever more popular Sailor Moon. With the grand debut of Tokyo Tower’s latest and greatest attraction gathering the hopeless masses together to spend game points instead of quarters, this fact had been all but cemented.
Avalon Station had taken the Tower by storm, with games that scaled every generation in hopes of drawing in as many customers as possible. Within the walls of Avalon, one could find everything from Pac-Man to Halo, as well as a great deal in between. If this weren’t enough, the lower floor contained a conjoined restaurant, where fun food and sweet treats were offered up alongside a premium selection of choice meats; rumor had it that a full-service bar was not entirely out of the question.
As a part of its grand debut, Avalon had been released to the public in tandem with the first installment of a new Sailor Series, appropriately titled Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon. Available exclusively for arcade platforms, the first Sailor Moon installment included a variety of fascinating functions. Every player was given her own chair, and each of the surrounding control panels were customized exclusively to fit one of the five senshi. Minako couldn’t help but notice that Sailor Venus was offered a separate joystick to activate and control her “Lovely Chain,” (never mind that it was actually called “Love Me Chain”) but it had taken her a great deal of practice before she learned how to handle the intricacies of it’s operation.
As she watched herself swing impossibly across skyscrapers, she couldn’t help but feel as if someone in the programming department had paid her homage.
“Eat your lungs out, spider-man!” She giggled, heedless of the fact that she’d massacred an American expression.
In game, she was somersaulting across a busy intersection, hopping gracefully off of the heads and shoulders of civilians, and swinging over street lamps with equal panache.
The arcade platform was shaped like a five-pointed star, with Usagi Tsukino at the tip. It was no small irony that each of the girls had chosen to play their actual alter egos, and this amused them to no end. To her right, Ami Mizuno adroitly processed the information while her character perched atop a nearby building, studying the three-headed dog that growled, snarled, and (somehow) breathed fire through it’s nostrils.
“I’m looking for a weak spot.” Ami declared, adjusting her glasses and casually sweeping away a few strands of her chin-length hair. “It’s heart, by the way.”
As a statistical genius and champion of all things scientific, Ami Mizuno was a very conservative girl. Oddly enough, she died her hair an extreme shade of cerulean blue in spite of her quietly cheerful and intellectual demeanor. Minako couldn’t but think that it complimented her eyes, which were a much softer shade of the same color. She had a cute face, with sharp, tiny nose and a soft, round chin. Minako would have described her as petite, with slender features.
“Target the heart.” Said Minako, maneuvering her character accordingly. “Got it!”
“No, no, no!” Ami interrupted, her character leaping off of the building to provide backup support with a powerful attack that froze enemies in their place. In this case, the enemies were swarms of human-headed bats. “I was correcting you!”
“It’s a lost cause,” Offered the short-tempered psychic, better known as Rei Hino. Her character, Sailor Mars, was gifted with a great deal of power over fire, and she preferred to roast her enemies indiscriminately with area-effect attacks. In addition to being a champion of War and Passion, Rei doubled as a Shrine Maiden at her grandfather’s temple, the infamous Hikawa Jinja.
An American might say that Rei was the one with the most exotic appeal, but Minako would have described her features as ‘sophisticated.’ She had hair as fine as black silk, with dark eyes that caught the light in so many different ways it was hard to name their color. Long eyelashes, scarlet lipstick, and a height that was just tall enough so as to be considered tall were among her defining characteristics; like Ami Mizuno, she was slender, but unlike her, she was sexy.
“Ha!” Rei shouted triumphantly, her character rallying easily to their group. “Mako-chan, make your way up here, I’ll cover you.”
Across from Ami, the tallest of them all sat proudly at the controls, her face a mask of intense concentration. Next to their hapless leader, Makoto Kino had managed to knock off the vast majority of her character’s lives, but not for any lack of trying. Her soft, brown hair was pulled up and knotted into a stylish ponytail, and her dagger sharp, dragon green eyes made her appear much more intimidating than she truly was. She was tall and graceful, with a well-toned midriff and slender, hourglass hips.
After a close call with the three-headed dog’s fiery breath, the four girls had managed to rally everyone onto the back road, and Ami Mizuno was quick to take point. She guided them effortlessly across the back roads, up fire escapes and over the tops of buildings, where she hoped to close in on the monstrous dog.
“Can you make it to us, Usagi-chan?” Asked Minako.
“I’m TRYING!” Said their leader, who seemed to be putting in a half-hearted effort at best. “Okay, wait! I’m not dead, yet! Where is everyone?”
Usagi would have been just shorter than Rei, were it not for the exotic style of her hair. She wore a pair of ponytails that were knotted into tight, round buns that sat just above her ears. Minako would have said that her name was fitting; it meant rabbit, and her dumpling tails came dangling easily below her hips. Minako had unbraided them once; their similarities were frightening, but her height allowed for hips that were smooth and svelte, rather than round and curvey.
Together, they functioned as a flawless unit, and in minutes, Ami Mizuno had single-handedly guided their leader into position.
It was time.
They launched their attacks in sequence, with each character being granted a flowery solo scene, complete with bright bursts of color, music, and a great deal of pointless postures that amused them even after hours of gameplay.
Sailor Venus started them off, casting her ‘Lovely Chain’ carefully across the creature’s legs. With a hard yank on the joystick, watched the three-headed beast come crashing down into the buildings. It reared back, breathed fire…
And suffered the wrath of Sailor Mercury’s high-pressure water-jet attack. Makoto worked smoothly alongside of her, tossing a bowling ball sized globe of lightning directly into the ice cold pressure water, and a cheer went up around the group as the monster reeled back in agony.
Sailor Mars was next, and she didn’t disappoint. Her attack sent a series of fiery bands into the monster’s hide, battering it until it began to sizzle and smoke. As it rolled onto it’s back, Ami Mizuno made her announcement.
“It’s throat!” She declared. “That’s the weak spot! Go for it, Usagi-chan!”
::Gomen nu ne sunao ja nakute…::
An all too familiar ring tone sang out against the tension, and Usagi nearly fell out of her chair. “Sorry girls!” She cried. “Gotta take this!”
Exasperation rang out against the crowd, and soon enough a timer began to count down. Should Usagi have decided to simply press a button, the charade would have ended. Unfortunately, she was too busy fumbling through her purse. In her haste, her elbow bumped against the joystick, running her character off into the middle of an intersection. A loud SMACK sounded off against everyone’s audio, and Sailor Moon was out of lives.
“Mamo-chan!” Cried Usagi, delightfully oblivious to her situation.
“We can still take it.” Said Ami. “Minako, use your—”
Too late. The monster reared back, and in an instant, a wave of fire engulfed the screen.
“—Crescent beam.” She finished, half-heartedly.
GAME OVER. RESTART FROM BEGINNING?
“What?” Giggled Usagi. “Oh, no! I’m not busy at all!”
Fortunately for Minako, the restaurant was just as good as the entertainment.
“So!” Said their hapless leader, pinching a sugar dumpling in-between her chopsticks even as she chewed on another. “Who wants to go shopping?”
“Don’t talk with your mouth full.” Rei chided.
“You sure you’ll have the money to go shopping?” Asked Ami.
“Why wouldn’t I?” She asked after her next gulp.
“Because you’re picking up the tab.” Chuckled Minako.
“You mean she didn’t know?” Exclaimed Ami. “How awful!”
“That’s not fair!” Cried Usagi. “It was an accident!”
“Your accident cost us hundreds of points.” Said Rei. “These game-cards aren’t cheap, you know?”
“She did pay her way in.” Argued Makoto.
“That’s right!” Said Usagi, happy to have someone in her corner. “You won’t make me pay will you, Mako-chan?”
“Don’t look at me!” Replied the tall woman. “I ordered water.”
Suddenly Rei’s eyes narrowed, her hand coming up in a request for silence. Usagi began to open her mouth, and then snapped it shut, grumpily attacking her bowl of noodles.
The Shrine Maiden stood up at their table, her eyes peering suspiciously over the residents. Out of curiosity, Minako turned around in her chair to get a look for herself. All around her, people were happily eating and talking at an array of different volumes. Nothing appeared to be out of place.
“Come with me.” Said Rei.
Without so much as a half-hearted explanation, the Shrine Maiden began to walk away. Minako and the others scrambled to follow.
Minerva tried to pace herself, breathing slowly and steadily as she sipped a cup of hot green tea, idly wondering if this would be the last time she fed. She could feel her nerves running, her stomach twisting, her heart thumping. She was sick, and her symptoms would only continue to accelerate until either the hunger had been satiated, or she was dead. She knew what she had to do – what she’d come here for – but the act was not without trepidation. Her conscience whittled away at her at the very thought of it, but her anxiety was tenfold as troublesome. She’d reached her tipping point.
A small frown crossed her face as she swept her eyes across the residents, casually plumbing through them as if looking for someone specific. In truth, she was checking for strange energy signatures. So far, she’d done a bang-up job of assiduously avoiding the Sailor Senshi, but that did not mean she was invisible to them. She saw them often enough on the news, widely regarded as highly esteemed heroes after their numerous triumphs over the forces of evil. More often than not, the news specials did not bother to waste footage on the enemy of the Senshi after he had been defeated. More often than not, there wasn’t ever anything left of their enemies to film.
Nothing but corpse dust, anyway.
As a youma, Minerva was gifted with an incredible sensitivity to the ebb and flow of human energy. Emotion, attraction, and fate were her breath and bread – quite literally. The catch was that all of her powers, strange and wondrous as they were, required some level of that energy in order to function. For this reason, she had chosen not to employ those powers unless lives were at stake.
Unfortunately, this alone did not exempt her from the feeding process.
In an animal, spiritual energy has only ever flowed outward, and throughout time it has always done so at a snail’s pace; they enter the world with a wellspring of quintessence and depart with nothing. An average human, on the other hand, will see her energy levels rise and fall dramatically throughout the course of her life. Love, loss, friendship, victory and defeat will all exhaust and rejuvenate her on a karmic level, while fate guarantees that these forces are all distributed according to its own arrangement.
In the event that the arrangement is disturbed, destiny adjusts.
Minerva had not been born with the self-sustaining system of the human soul. Her energy source would be exhausted all on its own, day after day, hour after hour, until finally there was no longer enough energy to sustain her existence. The only way to forestall this exhaustion was to harvest energy from other humans. Needless to say, she’d yet to meet a human who was willing to consent to the exchange.
“More tea?” Asked her waitress.
She snapped out of her reverie, looking up the woman with an absent smile.
“Please.” She said.
The woman nodded, returning her smile as he poured the steaming green liquid into her cup.
“Could you do me a favor?” She asked, half-heartedly digging through her purse.
“That couple over there,” She said, nodding in their direction. “I’d like to pick up their tab.”
“…Why?” Asked the waitress. “Do you know them?”
“Does it matter?” Replied Minerva. “They’re a cute couple, I have some extra money. It’ll clear my conscience.”
The girl gave her a strange look, but it was quickly replaced by a fake smile as she scampered off to continue her service trail.
Twenty-five years ago, a woman like Minerva would have gotten some fairly strange looks in Tokyo City by virtue of her appearance alone. Fortunately, times had changed. Teenagers, pressured by growing demands for achievement and conformity, were desperate to express themselves by any means necessary. Minerva was just another pale woman with a penchant for black leather and fishnet. Her stylish, chin-length hair was done up with honey blonde highlights that were, in her opinion, just a little less obnoxious than the black lipstick and heavy eyeliner she’d seen so many others wear.
She kept her true form concealed from the public eye. Minerva wasn’t that much different from most human beings, but the dissimilarities would draw attention to her all the same. After opening up her purse, she counted out several hundred yen from her wallet, until she was confident that she had retrieved more than enough to pay for everyone’s meal. When the waitress was gone, she placed her fingers around the amulet at her throat, opening herself to the surrounding energy.
It was beyond words.
The entire restaurant was aglow with a thin varnish of enthrallment, but every soul in the building had something else to offer: the man in the back was anxious to buy his wife something for the holidays; the small child three booths behind her was daydreaming so fiercely that her creativity was almost palpable; five girls in a table up ahead were giving off everything from bitter amusement and self-satisfying pity to sisterly compassion and hazy suspicion. The world was ablaze with the dizzying fires of excitement, anger, compassion and amazement, and every interpretation was expressed in its own way.
The surrounding energy sources were abundant, and none of them appeared to be out of place. She took a deep breath and cast her eyes toward a young adult couple seated two booths ahead of her. They were of college-going age, with charming faces and easy smiles. More importantly, they had a deep-seeded sense of compassion for one another.
Enough to spare, anyway.
With one last, deep breath, she set her eyes on their table. The two of them were engaged in a private conversation, but she wasn’t concerned with what they had to say. She focused instead on the beautiful shades of red-violet and amber-gold that they were giving off, closing her eyes and pacing her breath. After a quick count to ten, it began.
Closer, she thought. Come closer.
Within moments, she could feel it pulsing and building. She tugged against it, and inch-by-inch she felt the shift begin. She opened herself up to two tiny skeins of energy, slowly and gently drawing them away from the man and woman in turn. She imagined the two skeins converging with one another, twisting and turning into a straw-thin current that drew ever closer to her fingertips.
The amulet became warm against her flesh. From under her sweater, the crystal’s smoky-quartz consistency began to blacken into a nebulous shade of coal. Ahead of her, she watched the amber-gold and red-violet grow vaguely dimmer.
It’s so comfortable, she thought. So sweet, so powerful.
We can take more, said the amulet. We can have it all for ourselves. Everything in this room can belong to us. Who can stop us? It was pushing, and for a moment she found herself in such a state of ecstasy that she couldn’t find a way to stop. Her thoughts had fallen into disorder and chaos, but she struggled at once to organize them. She imagined the currents working in reverse, attempted to bleed some of the energy back into the couple.
Stop it! Get out of my head.
What are you trying to do? It asked. What do you care about their pathetic relationship? Their lives mean nothing to the likes of you and I. We could drain them dry if we so desired… you’d like that, wouldn’t you? You could go for months without feeding, the way you use our powers.
We can’t set off any red flags, she thought frantically. If we run into the Senshi, we’ll surely die. You don’t want to die, do you?
Surely not, it declared. What if we were to kill them?
We wouldn’t be the first to try. We wouldn’t be the last.
When she opened her eyes, she saw that the woman had passed out. The energy was bleeding back out of the amulet, but too late. A commotion had stirred among the restaurant. She’d taken too much.
“What’s this about?” Asked Usagi, desperately tossing a stack of yen atop the table. “Where are we going?”
Rei Hino couldn’t afford to be sympathetic. She left her friend sniveling and grumbling as she traversed the aisles of the restaurant. The others followed her in the midst of the confusion while Usagi scrambled to keep up, always a step behind the litter. It wasn’t until she pushed open the emergency exit door that Minako realized the urgency of the issue. When she emerged, it was in a vacant hallway, with Usagi in tow.
“There’s a youma inside of that restaurant.” Rei explained. “We need to transform as soon as possible.”
“Are you sure?” Even as she asked, Minako realized her error. Rei was more than a Shrine Maiden; she was psychic. To her, an evil aura was as blatant as a blazing torch.
“Trust me!” She snapped.
Usagi came stumbling out into the hallway, her eyes dagger sharp.
The Shrine Maiden had already reached inside of her coat, her fingers tightly gripped around an ornate wand. Though small, the device was tipped with a solid gold star and enameled in scarlet with the astrological emblem of Mars. The other girls immediately recognized it for her henshin stick, and began to retrieve their own in turn.
“Way to DITCH me back there, REI!” Screamed Usagi. “Will SOMEBODY tell me what in GOD’s NAME is—”
“Mars Crystal Power…”
“You’ve got to be f—”
“MAKE UP!” Rei’s voice rang loud and clear across the vacant corridor, and in an eruption of dancing red fire, a soldier was born.
The sanguine light swallowed the psychic’s denim jacket and hip-hugger jeans, replacing them in an instant by the skin-tight white suit and svelte matching breastplate that she had come to know as intimately as a second skin. A red sailor’s kerchief served as her collar, complimented a bright, violet ribbon, and short, ridged sleeves. Her coal black hair was held in place by a golden tiara, crowned with a sparkling blood red ruby to match her stiletto heels and basque-line skirt. Crimson red dangling earrings in the shape of five-pointed stars completed her ensemble, juxtaposed by cherry-chased virgin white gloves.
Okay, so she was a really pretty soldier.
“—ing kidding me!” Finished Usagi.
The other women called out their own transformation sequences, each in turn.
“Mercury Star Power…” Shouted Ami.
“Venus Star Power…” Continued Minako.
“Jupiter Star Power…” Added Makoto.
And then, in perfect unison. “MAKE UP!”
A series of explosive colors and energies erupted in rapid succession; a booming clap of thunder and the crackle of sparkling green lightning were interrupted by a fine veil of swirling ocean mists, and those were succeeded in turn by an explosion of iridescent orange light. In the middle of the chaos and confusion, Minako, Makoto, and Ami had all but vanished. Three of the Sailor Senshi had replaced them, each with their own styles and similarities.
None of them could spare a moment for Sailor Moon. As usual, Usagi Tsukino was the last of them to speak the words. When she did, they were etched with confusion.
“Moon Crystal Power,” She exclaimed. “MAKE-UP!”
In a brilliant burst of radiant silver light and a swirling sea of prismatic colors, Sailor Moon emerged. Red, gold, white and blue were her hallmark colors. High boots, kerchiefs, ribbons and gloves were her battle gear. While the vast majority of her costume was largely cosmetic, some of the simplest apparel had turned out to be the most useful. The brilliant red jewels that adorned her dumpling braids dramatically increased her sense of hearing, while the glittering tiara at her brow could be charged with highly destructive energy.
Sailor Mars led the charge, storming around the vacant hallway and into a series of corridors. After a series of winding turns, they emerged in the back of the restaurant kitchen, pushing hastily across the hard tile floors. Sailor Moon had no idea what they were charging at, but she walked with a sense of purpose all the same. Meanwhile, line cooks lost sight of their orders and gawked in their general direction as food servers made way. All around them, the hustle and bustle of activity came screeching to a halt. Two aisles back, a service tray fell to the floor, splashing soda pop and sending fried food toppling across the kitchen lobby with reckless abandon. Nobody noticed.
Just inside, a small gathering of concerned civilians surrounded a nearby table, where a woman had collapsed into the arms of someone who could only have been her boyfriend. He clutched her tightly, cradling her head against his chest even as he urged and pleaded for her to answer him.
Ahead, a younger woman in a black hooded sweatshirt began to slip away from the crowd.
“Is that her?” Asked Sailor Mercury?
“Who?” Replied Sailor Moon, as if the inquiry were directed at her.
“Hold it right there!” Called Sailor Mars.
The woman looked over her shoulder, and for a moment it appeared as if she would stand her ground. Outnumbered as she was, the restaurant was the only battlefield in which she could hope to gain an advantage, as the Senshi would be forced to make the civilians their top priority. Sailor Mars clasped her hands together, interlocking everything but her thumbs and forefingers and tapping into blistering energy of the red planet. Arms outstretched, she could feel the heat of an unborn fireball weighted against the tips of her fingernails, ready to be released at any moment. She took aim, her thumbs shifted…
She was too late. The culprit burst into a hard sprint, colliding with an unfortunate waitress who toppled over like a bowling pin. Her tray careened into the air, splashing beer and shattering pizza plates against a vacant booth. Strangely enough, the waitress soared through the air at a right angle and landed safely atop the plush carpet, only to be skipped over by the escaping youma.
“Sorry!” Cried the culprit.
“After her!” Called Venus, dashing forward in tandem with Sailor Mars.
In an instant, Mercury had summoned a sapphire tinted visor, which she adjusted easily against her golden tiara. With little more than the movement of her eyes and thoughts, she began to study a series of elaborate statistics and potential probabilities.
“I’ve calculated her escape route.” She declared. “I think we can cut her off!”
“Is the girl okay?” Asked Jupiter.
“I’ll stay back and make sure.” Said Sailor Moon, taking charge of the situation as if she had never been uninformed. “Good going, Mercury-san. Jupiter-san, you should go with her. And keep an eye out for other youma – this could be a trap!”
The rest of their words were lost on Sailor Venus, who had broken into a dead sprint in pursuit of the youma. Sailor Mars was giving chase as well, and she was quickly outpacing her companion.
“I can’t see her.” Called Venus.
“She’s trying to lose us in the crowd!” Replied Mars.
Sailor Venus couldn’t help but feel her stomach tighten inside of her. In a place as large as Tokyo Tower, the crowd was no small throng. The monster would have several thousand human shields to use as cover, concealment and bait.
There was a loud thud, and suddenly a pair of fire-exit doors swung open. Where the Senshi set foot, the masses fell away. Mars dashed ahead of Venus in spite of Sailor Moon’s warning, but that was just her way. Ever impulsive, she burst headlong through the double doors.
She felt a tingling in her ears, but Mars was the first to reply.
“Make it quick!” She said as they came around the first flight of stairs. Venus caught a glimpse of the youma about one flight below them, but she was moving too quickly for Mars to get off a shot.
“The girl’s okay.” Said Usagi, into her ear. “She must not have finished, but there’s something very strange about this.”
“I said quickly!” Cried Mars, bounding around the first flight of stairs as if her stiletto heels were a pair of high-tops. “She’s headed down the fire escape!”
“She paid for their meals, Rei. And she tipped her waitress over twenty-five hundred yen!”
“That sick freak!” Answered Mars, immediately assuming that she was some kind of veuyer.
“I’ve taken control of the elevators.” Said Ami. “We’ll all cut her off at the first floor.”
“Lookout!” Called Venus.
Just that moment, a three-headed dog came bounding up after them. It wasn’t quite so colossal as the six-headed dog they’d encountered in the video game, but it snapped and snarled all the same. Sailor Mars sprang back up the stairs, snatching the railing in order to reclaim her balance – but too late.
“Crescent… Beam!” Called Minako.
A white-hot shaft of light pierced the dog’s exposed gullet. Without warning, it exploded into a cloud of golden glitter.
“They’re just parlor tricks!” Said Venus, bounding ahead. “None of these creatures are real!”
Around them, bats with black human heads and snapping teeth reared and barked, swooping and diving after them. Try as she might, Mars couldn’t shake the feeling that they were very real. All the same, she didn’t bother shooting until another one of the three-headed dogs came bounding forward.
When it did, her voice rang loud and clear across the stairwell. “Fire… Soul!”
Drawing out her energy and locking her fingers into a gun, she squeezed her thumbs down and sent a fireball careening down the staircase. The energy exploded against the illusory dog, and in an instant it was gone, replaced instead with golden glitter.
“Please!” Called the girl, this time two flights down. “I don’t want to fight you!”
Ordinarily, Mars might have blinked and paused, but she had no intention of falling for another one of this monsters dirty tricks. Even this far out, she could feel the cold prickle of evil energies up against the base of her spine.
“Save your breath!” She called.
“We’ll lose her at this rate!” Said Venus, one staircase between them.
Suddenly, Mars had an idea. “Use your chain! I’ll cover you.”
“On it!” Said Venus.
Immediately, Venus made the call. “Love Me…”
Mars rounded the next stairwell, pausing at the bend instead of following the pair down the flight. Her hands came over her head in a circle, and once again her voice rang out against the concrete walls.
“Burning…” A pulsing red aura began to surround the raven-haired Shinto priestess, and the energy was quick to take shape. The stairwell began to rise rapidly in temperature, and the energy began to ripple and fold against itself. In moments, a wild jet of fire began to spiral around the warrior senshi and from that spiral, spheres were born, crackling and searing the surrounding air. The flaming spheres began to circle her figure at the behest of her hands, whipping around and around at increasingly accelerating speeds.
“Wait!!” Called the youma. “Please don’t shoot!”
The globes of fire folded against themselves until they were no longer spherical, but circular. Magnificent rings of streaming fire circled the senshi one final time.
“-Chain!” Said Venus, calling upon the Goddess of Love. At her command, an iridescent chain of heart-shaped crescents sprang into creation one link at a time, each of them writing and moving, seemingly at their own volition. Without hesitation, she flicked her wrist, and the chain whipped itself toward the staircase below her and wrapped tightly against the railing. With the other end in hand, she vaulted easily off of the edge.
“Mandala!” The fireballs launched, swooping and swerving across the room in an attempt to take out every dark shape, until the entire stairwell was coated in golden glitter. Wordlessly, Sailor Mars began to them back, ready to send them reeling once again. This time, Venus had no doubt that they would strike the girl.
Sailor Venus made her landing with cat-like precision, easily intercepting the culprit’s intended path. “End of the road, monster.”
“No!” Called the culprit, her arms moving up to shield her face. Her voice was fraught with cold fear. “Don’t do it! Please don’t shoot!!”
“Something’s not right!” Shouted Sailor Venus, her eyes studying the pale girl as she backed herself into the corner, begging when others would be taunting. “She should be blasting away at us, by now! Anyone else would be throwing dark energy around like Candy on Christmas Eve!”
“It’s Halloween,” Said Rei. “Now, hold her still!”
“WAIT!” Cried Sailor Venus, still somewhat confused, because she was certain that halloween had already passed.
Her words came far too late. The whirling bands of fire were already at the beck and call of Sailor Mars’ hypnotic hands. They spun sharply around her hips and took flight as she pointed toward the demon-girl, devoid of all mercy.
The youma let out a heart-wrenching, girlish howl, dashing right and then suddenly spinning left with the grace of a dancer. Minako pivoted, ignorant of the incoming assault as she lashed out with her chain. Fortunately for Minerva, she was too slow. The heart-shaped links whipped and snapped at thin air as a series of fire bands came bounding toward her.
“MARS!” Sailor Venus called out, her voice frantic as she tucked and rolled until her back slammed against the concrete wall.
“I’m trying!!” She replied, and she was, but she’d lost her hold on them. “Get out of there!!!”
At the last minute, a series of shadow-bats came screeching toward the fire-bands, nullifying the energy of the impulsive Senshi in an eerily astonishing act of self-sacrifice.
Needless to say, Sailor Venus was covered in glitter.
“What the…?” She sputtered, eyes wide and flustered as she caught sight of the youma, who lingered only long enough to see that she was still breathing before she vaulted down the stairwell.
“Stop her!” Called Mars, bounding after her.
They were too late. Their quarry was no longer bothering with staircases and stairwells; instead, she’d chosen to plunge headlong over the railing. She’d fall at least ten stories before she hit the ground.
Mars, determined not to lose the woman, lunged after her.
“You IDIOT!!” Called Venus, vaulting over the railing after them. If anyone was to have any hope of survival after such a stunt, it was Sailor V.
The floor raced up to meet them, but the youma had been the first to make the jump. She tucked and rolled across the floor as if she’d only jumped a single story, and suddenly Mars came to the realization that neither she, nor the youma, could fly.
Fortunately, Venus had come to her rescue, plummeting downward like a madwoman until she had hooked an arm around her friend’s hips. In the same, fluid motion, she whipped her chain around until it caught and wrapped against the railing of the third story. There was a sudden lurch, a hard yank as their inertia shifted, and a loud thump as the two of them came crashing into the wall of the second stairwell.
Miraculously, nothing was broken.
“She’s… getting away.” Said Mars, her voice weak, the two of them tangled together.
“What were you thinking?” Asked Venus, standing and pulling away.
“Are you alright?” Called a woman from below, her voice almost… hopeful.
“I’ll kill you!” Shouted Mars.
She’s hoping for mercy, Venus realized. She hasn’t even tried to fight us, and when we corner her, she begs and pleads.
“Good enough for me.” Said the youma, suddenly finding courage.
Venus watched as the woman tried the door only to realize that someone had locked them. She sprang back, extended her hand, and suddenly the Senshi were deaf.
The thunderous cackle of energy resounded against the fire exit with the force of a shotgun, and the double doors responded in turn, flying off of their hinges and tumbling across the street.
Unfortunately for the youma, when the doors fell, three more Senshi remained.
Without hesitation, Sailor Mercury crossed her arms, extending them outward in one fluid, sweeping motion. “Shabbon Spray!”
A thick veil of cold fog wrapped its icy fingers around the base of the fire escape, effectively cutting off Minerva’s sight and filling her with an even deeper sense of dread. The Sailor Senshi were entirely unaffected by the enchantment.
“You should be ashamed of yourself!” Cried Sailor Moon, her silhouette visible only to the rest of the Senshi. Given a different set of circumstances, Sailor Venus might have found it comical that she still preened and pointed. “Stealing the energy from that romantic couple as if they were nothing more than your playthings! Did you really think you could get away unpunished?”
“It’s over.” Said Mars, her voice ragged. “In the name of Mars, I will chastise you!”
“Show stealer.” Remarked Sailor Moon, under her breath.
Once Venus could hear again, she started after her impulsive companion.
“That’s ENOUGH!” Cried Venus, her hands quickly reaching for Sailor Mars and taking hold of her before she could do anything else. Fiery red anger surged in Rei’s eyes, but died quickly. She pulled herself free.
Everyone else’s attention turned toward the youma, who looked more like a frightened young girl than an evil, energy sucking monster.
“Please…” Said the pale woman, nearly out of breath. “I can’t take much more of this. Please, no more. I only meant to take a little bit.”
“We can’t let you go.” Said Jupiter, her eyes narrowed.
“But we don’t have to kill her!” Snapped Venus.
“Are you kidding me?” Asked Mars. “She’s admitting it!”
“She saved my life back there.” Answered Venus. “I have to give her a chance, whatever she’s done.”
The young woman looked around hopelessly before raising her hands slowly into the air. As they closed in around her, Minako couldn’t help but think that she was hardly any older than they were.
“I give up!” Cried the youma, her voice reduced to a whimper. One leg at a time, she went to her knees. “Please, don’t shoot at me again. My hands are up, and it’s cold, and I paid them for their meal, and I even tipped the waitress! I’ve never killed anyone and… and…”
“This woman is evil.” Growled Sailor Mars. “I know it, just as surely as I know that red blood pumps in my veins. Has it occurred to you that she might be some kind of spy? As far as you know, she’ll be ready to strike the moment you drop your guard.”
“What if you’re wrong?” Snapped Minako. “What if she isn’t a spy, and you end up killing an innocent girl? How would you feel, then?”
For once, Rei shut her mouth.
“Who are you working for?” Asked Jupiter. “What’s your game this time?”
“Nobody, I swear!” Exclaimed the girl, her voice broken with fear. “I’ll admit, I stole that woman’s energy, but I never meant to take so much! I never take that much; it was an accident. I tried to give most of it back, but everything was such a mess afterward…”
“If you aren’t working for anyone, then why collect energy in the first place?” Asked Sailor Mercury.
“I need it.” Said the girl. “If I don’t get it, I get sick… and there’s no getting better. I’ll just get worse and worse, until… until…”
“What’s your name?” Asked Sailor Moon, but it was Usagi’s voice that Minako was hearing. Sailor Moon was ruthless, but Usagi was kind-hearted and quick to forgive.
“Minerva.” The girl said, her voice weary and cracking.
Sailor Moon made her way toward the girl, squatting down to the haunches of her legs. While Usagi would be able to see Minerva as if it were a clear and sunny day, the girl would be lucky to make out a silhouette from where her captor stood.
She reached out to the girl, her hand gently stroking Minerva’s soft black hair and tracing a line down across her face. “Are you telling the truth, Minerva?”
“Yes.” She said, her voice meek as a mouse.
Her fingers reached up again, this time for the other side of her face, running down her scalp and along the bones of her cheek. It was a light, gentle touch, but at once Minako realized that the act was completely foreign to Minerva. While it came as no great surprise, it was still difficult for her to imagine. Small wonder that the girl looked as if she were ready to burst into tears at any moment.
“Are you sincerely sorry for what you did?” Asked Usagi, her finger reaching just under the woman’s chin. “Are you willing to change?”
Minerva took in a sharp, ragged breath. It was the sort of breath that a woman takes when she’s desperately trying not to cry, but can’t hold it in any longer. She tried to stammer out a ‘yes,’ but all that came were choked, incomprehensible sobs. Expressions of gratitude and apology were all that Minako could decipher, but Usagi, ever merciful, appeared to understand them. She reached up toward the youma’s wrists; gently pulled them down in front of her, and tenderly wrapped her arms around the young girl. Within moments, Minerva had collapsed, burying her face into Usagi’s shoulder while she held her close and stroked her hair.
The fog lifted, but the crying did not stop for a long while. Minako could not speak for the others, but for her part, she believed the girl.
“What are we going to do with her?” Asked Makoto. “Where will we take her?”
“We’re going to help her.” Answered Usagi, still clutching her tight. “But before we can do that, she has to earn our trust.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Asked Rei.
“It means that until we can sort this out, we’re taking her prisoner.” Declared Minako. “Is that right?”
“Mhm.” Said Sailor Moon, her gloved fingers running gently up the woman’s spine. “Minerva, listen to me. I want you to completely relax yourself; nobody’s going to hurt you. Deep breath’s, that’s it. Good, now relax…”
After the better part of a minute, Usagi looked up to Rei. “Do you have those Ofuda scrolls?”
Sailor Mars curled her lips into a cruel smirk.
“Why, certainly!” She said, producing a scroll no larger than the size of her hand. It wasn’t until she began counting to ten that Minerva began to grow frightened. She tried to turn around and look back, but Usagi held her tight, refusing to allow her any room to squirm or struggle. Her fits and starts had turned to frantic whimpers by the time Rei had reached the end of her count, but by that time it was too late.
“Akuryo Taisan!” The Shrine Maiden declared, pressing the Ofuda scroll against the nape of Minerva’s neck. Ordinarily, her muscles would have locked in place, but even Sailor Mars was not that cruel; the scroll fixed itself to the youma woman’s skin, and her muscles went completely limp.
“That’s what you wanted, right?” Asked Rei.
Sailor Moon reached under the seat of Minerva’s jeans, gently drawing her up against her hip and keeping her head against her shoulder so that it appeared as if she were nothing more than a small child. “This works.”
“Kawaii.” Said Rei, her voice dripping with condescension.
“Stop it.” Said Minako.
“Where are we taking her?” Asked Ami. “You can’t exactly bring her to your mother’s house, you know?”
Usagi hadn’t exactly thought of that. “Uh… well.”
“I could take care of her.” Offered Minako. “I have my own apartment, after all. Remember when I took care of you guys?”
“How could we forget?” Said Makoto. “She’s safer with Rei.”
“That’s not fair!” Cried Minako.
“Yuuichiru’s old room is open.” Said Rei, as if that settled the matter. " Believe whatever you want to believe about her, but don’t ever forget what she is. Personally, I think she’s working us over, but if our fearless leader believes she deserves a chance, I’ll give her one. What I won’t give her is a chance to escape. Once she’s in Hikawa Shrine, I can seal her in and bind her powers."
“She has a point.” Said Ami. “According to my calculations, there’s a ninety-eight percent chance that she’ll be rendered completely inert.”
“How long have you been waiting to use that word in a sentence?” Asked Rei.
Ami Mizuno blushed at her friends’ laughter, but when it was all said and done, it was the Sailor Senshi who made their way out of Tokyo Tower. Cameras danced around them as they walked, and in spite of the cheerful applause that they received from the passing civilians, Minako could not help but feel as if they had embarked irreversibly upon a path that was all at once as grand and terrible as the road to Delta Pointe.
Japanese / English Character Names
Ami Mizuno - Amy, also known as Sailor Mercury.
Makoto Kino - Leena, also known as Sailor Jupiter.
Minako Aino - Meena, also known as Sailor Venus.
Rei Hino - Ray, also known as Sailor Mars.
Usagi Tsukino - Serena, also known as Sailor Moon.
Mamouru - Darion, also known as “Tuxedo Mask” (or, in Japanese “Tuxedo-Kamen-Sama.”) He often steps into a battle, throws a rose that can somehow destroy ANYTHING in its path, says a few words of confidence, and then dips out. As the series progresses, he becomes a major character.
Motoki - Andrew, the operator of an arcade known as “Crown Game
Center.” I forget what it’s called in the dub, but it’s a very popular among the characters for the majority of the first season.
Yuuichiru - Chad. In the anime, he begins working for Hikawa Jinja in order to get closer to Rei, and sort of endears himself to her grandfather as time passes. He comes and goes.
Glossary of Japanese Terms
Akuryo Taisan! - In the aninme, “Demons, be gone!” One of Rei’s spiritual techniques, performed by charging a prayer script with ki and placing it against the monster’s skin, resulting in all of it’s muscles locking up at once. Usually, this is done to hold them still long enough for Sailor Moon to destroy them. In this instance, however, she makes it so that all of her muscles go loose and limp. As with the anime, the monsters can still talk, breathe, and feel pain, but can’t really move.
Bishoujo - Pretty Girl.
Delta Pointe - In the season finale of Sailor Moon (first season), the senshi all die in this place.
Gomen nu ne sunao ja nakute… - “I’m sorry I’m not straight-forward.” In the Japanese run, these are the first words of the opening theme song.
Kawaii - Cute
Ofuda - In Shinto temples, many people write prayers of good fortune on little strips of paper, which they attach to the shrine in order to bring them good luck. In Japanese, “Ujikofuda” refers to these charms, but the scripts that Rei uses for her attacks are often shortened to “Ofuda.”
Senshi - Soldier or Warrior, a better word than “Scout” (in my opinion)
Youma - Apparition, demon, monster