BSSM: Salvation and Surrender - Chapter 2
Needless to say, Minerva was absolutely terrified.
She couldn’t move a muscle, but there was some small comfort in knowing that she didn’t have to. In her current state, all that was left to her was her alertness. She tried to pay attention as best she could to the route that the women took, but that was much more difficult than she’d initially believed. There were times when she would have given up everything just to crane her neck a few inches for the letters on the street signs.
They spoke in hushed tones, but all around them, people paused to stare, while others deliberately did everything to avoid them. Some people smiled, pretending that they were just your average school-girls, but those folks were few and far between.
“You know,” Said Mars, “we really should have thrown a hood over her head.”
“Stop it.” Said Venus.
“Fine.” She replied. “How the hell are we supposed to change?”
“We might as well tell her who we are,” Said Mercury. “Rei has a valid point, though; if she were a spy, she’d be in the perfect position for intelligence.”
“Thanks a lot, Ami!” Snapped Rei. “Seriously, we could have discussed that.”
Fortunately, their voices were low enough, and the pedestrians were far enough away, that it made no difference.
“Oh, my!” Replied Ami, who came into view just long enough to reach toward the bridge of her nose – for glasses that weren’t there. “Did I say your real name? It must have slipped.”
“You know, this is really off-putting.” Said Jupiter, her voice reduced to a whisper. “Everyone’s keeping their distance, but they’re all staring.”
“I knew we should have changed back in Tokyo Tower.” Said Moon.
"There were too many cameras, Usagi-chan. " Said Ami. “Why don’t we turn left at this next bend? I know a place.”
Her cheek had discovered a nesting spot against Sailor Moon’s kerchief, where the gloved woman easily kept it maintained. For all that they called the woman – Usagi? – a klutz, Minerva had never once feared that she would be dropped or mishandled, which was a small mitigation for having to be ‘handled’ in the first place. Usagi always kept her perched in exactly the same spot, hips above her belt and face atop her shoulder. It was more comfortable than the alternative – a fireman’s carry – but it made her uncomfortably childish.
Jupiter and Rei were talking amongst themselves, but she could hardly make out what was being said. When it became apparent that they were speaking about her, Sailor Moon pressed her gentle hand against Minerva’s ear and led her away.
“Then there’s no way we can let her escape.” Said Jupiter, finally close enough for Minerva to hear. “If the wrong people ever find out who we are…”
Sailor Mars began to approach her, and once again Minerva would have given up everything just to move her neck, this time to look away. She’d never felt half so worthless as when this woman touched her.
“They won’t, Mako-chan.” Said Rei. “So long as she stays with me, I’ll make sure of it.”
Minerva closed her eyes, no longer interested in street signs.
“This is the place, Usagi-chan.” Said Ami.
Finally, mercifully, Moon swatted her hand away and replaced it with her own. Her gloved hand began scratching behind her ears as if she was some kind of cat, and against her every desire, the youma began to moan. She was unused to being touched, and she wasn’t entirely sure how she felt about it, but the soft noises that she made seemed to prompt Usagi to continue.
They stepped inside of a vacant building in the midst of downtown Tokyo, and immediately Minerva took note of the wracks of laundry machines. Old washers, dryers, and hanger wracks were stacked adjacent one another or, in some circumstances, suspended from the ceilings. On another wall, dust and debris marked the installation of new wall sockets.
“Well, this is ironic…” Said Makoto.
Watching them dismiss the magical energies that sustained their incredible powers was a great deal more anticlimactic than Minerva would have believed. Everything just sort of… faded away, including the incredible energies. Afterward he felt a strange sense of déjà vu.
We’ve seen them before, said the amulet. They were in the restaurant with us.
I told you we should have killed them.
They would have had us.
They have us anyway. You’re weak, Minerva. The Shinigami will be displeased with you upon his return, and do you know what he does to servants who displease him?
“He’s gone,” she whispered. “He’s not coming back. Go away.”
Usagi’s hands gently reached up to pat Minerva’s back, and much to the youma’s surprise, she shushed her.
“What did she just say?” Asked Rei.
“She’s just rambling.” Said Usagi. “Probably frightened.”
It wasn’t until she felt the cold, hard chill of Hikawa Gate (or, more accurately, the energy of Hikawa Gate) that she’s snapped back into a more active state of consciousness. She could sense something powerful emanating from above, but all she could hear were the cawing of crows. Otherwise, the place was desolate.
“Oji-san is out of town for the weekend.” Said Rei. “Once we get settled, I’ll need to tend to the shrine. Are you still working with me, Minako-chan?”
“Of course.” Said Minako. “Wait, but if we’re both working in the shrine…?”
“I’ll be here.” Chimed in Makoto. “I have homework to do, anyway, it won’t be a problem.”
“I’m going to have to leave you in the care of my friends.” Said Sailor Moon, her voice soft and sympathetic. “Rei-chan will want to keep you under lock and key, but Minako-chan is genuinely concerned about you. She’ll be kind, and if you’re lucky, Mako-chan will cook for you.”
If she had it right, Minako was Sailor Venus. ‘Mako-chan,’ then, was Sailor Jupiter.
Rei jumped ahead, opening up the temple doors so that Usagi could carry her inside. The place smelled of incense, Sakura and cedar wood, but she couldn’t get much of a glimpse of the layout in her current position. She caught sight of a large hallway, but they didn’t turn toward it at all. Instead, Rei started ahead of the group to throw back a rice-paper door and lead them out into her backyard, past a small garden and a pair of cherry blossom trees, along an array of stepping stones and, finally, into a guesthouse.
Truth be told, the ‘guesthouse’ was more like a large hut, constructed almost entirely of wooden-slats and bright red shingles. Simple, plush rugs were thrown down across the floorboards in order to give it a more homely appeal, but the surrounding energies only served to make Minerva feel sick to her stomach.
“This is where you’ll be staying.” Said Rei, her voice flat.
“Let me turn down her sheets, at least.” Said Sailor Venus.
While the Sailor Senshi wore no masks, they had a powerful aura about them that distracted others from making any conclusions about their identity. The woman across from her had the same vibrant, honey blonde hair as Sailor Venus, but she was wearing funny clothes; a loose fitting, white tee-shirt over a form-fitting, long-sleeved red one, the words “Love Never Changer” printed in scarlet. They went well with her baggy khaki cargo pants and cherry red hair-bow, but the youma couldn’t help thinking that she looked more like she was attending a slumber party than a prisoner.
It wasn’t until Sailor Moon had laid her down on her back, head snuggled up against a goose down pillow, that she realized Usagi was also wearing casual clothes. Even in something as simple and common as a pink windbreaker and a tight black blouse, however, she saw a woman who looked more regal and majestic than her years would suggest.
If only she’d known how far off she really was.
“My name is Usagi.” She said, turning the blankets back up over the youma’s shoulders and tucking her in. “This is Minako. She’ll be watching out for you when I’m gone.”
“Where are you going?” Asked Minerva, her voice tense with fear.
“Ami-chan and I have a research project to complete.” She explained. “Of course, with all of these recent developments…”
“You’re not getting out of this, Usagi-chan.” Ami said sternly.
She sighed. “I’ll be back to check on you.”
“Thank you.” Minerva replied, mildly. “Could you… is there any way I could maybe have this thing taken off?”
“Small chance of that.” Said Rei.
“Rei!” Minako and Usagi shouted simultaneously.
“You really think we should let her roam freely around the temple?” She replied.
“We could tie her up.” Said Minako. “I’m no girl-scout, but I know a few things about ropes.”
The almond-eyed woman looked quizzically over Minerva before finally offering her approval. “There’s some rope in the garden shed that Oji-san never uses. You can try that.”
“I’ll get it.” Called Sailor Jupiter.
She lay there for a few minutes, but the room remained cloaked in relative silence.
“Tie her hands behind her back, for now.” Said Rei, as soon as Makoto returned with a coil of silk rope. “If you’re well-behaved, we’ll tie them in front of you.”
Can we kill her, now?
“Thank you.” Offered Minerva.
“Save it.” Said Rei.
Makoto and Rei turned her bed sheets back down and sat her up, while Minako began to collect her hands. Even if Minerva had been given a choice in the matter, she wouldn’t have resisted. As it stood, Makoto had to support her head to keep it from rolling haplessly around her shoulders while Usagi kept her arms in place. Rei offered to help, but they refused her, and when she walked off, Minerva felt as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
To make matters worse, it wasn’t enough for Minako to wrap, knot and cinch the ropes across her wrists. She kept going, wrapping the ropes across her breasts and under shoulders in some strange harness that she looped under her arms and around her waist. Every once in a while, Makoto would point something out about them, and Minako laugh and claim, “Of course I knew that!” before rewrapping the ropes entirely.
It was only after she’d finished that Minerva realized how snugly the ropes fit. Whatever her little harness had done, there was hardly any tension along her shoulder blades.
She would have thanked them, but she decided that perhaps silence and submission were better friends to her here.
It was Rei who plucked the Ofuda scroll from the nape of her neck, and immediately afterward a tingly sensation washed over her body. She took a few deep breaths and pumped her hands, but everything was a little numb, as if it had fallen asleep.
“Anything else?” Asked Rei, stepping back inside of the room and shrugging off her black denim jacket.
“No, thank you.” She winced as soon as she said the words, as if expecting an insult.
“Good.” She replied. “All the doors and windows have seals on them, so if you were thinking about sneaking off, save yourself the trouble. Mako-chan, you said you’d keep an eye on her?”
“Where would I go?” Asked Minerva, slightly insulted.
“She has a point.” Said Minako.
“Of course.” Said Makoto, presenting no argument.
Usagi said her goodbyes, hugging everyone in turn. Needless to say, Minerva was caught a little off guard when she reached out to wrap her arms around her. It gave her a warm, tingly feeling that she was entirely unused to.
“Everything’s going to be okay.” She said as she pulled back. Minerva didn’t realize she was smiling until long after.
“You look happy.” Said Makoto, when they were alone in the room.
“Sorry.” She said, straightening out.
“You don’t have to apologize.” She replied. “Just an observation.”
“Oh,” She said. “Sorry.”
For some reason, that made her chuckle even more. Afterward, there was a long silence.
“Are you any good with English?” Asked Makoto.
“I speak it.” Said Minerva. Along with five other languages that I’ll never use. “Do you need help with something?”
“How do you say 'Sakura?” She asked.
“Cherry blossom.” Replied Minerva. “Two words. C-h-e-r-r-y, and then b-l-o-s-s-o-m.”
“Is there anything I can do for you?” Asked Makoto, somewhat awkwardly. “Are you thirsty, do you want something to eat? You do eat, right?”
It was her turn to laugh.
“Yeah.” She said afterwards. “I’m almost a real-live girl. You didn’t happen to pick up my purse on the way out, did you?”
She smiled. “Afraid not.”
“Damn. I could have ordered us a pizza.”
At that, she burst into laughter. “That was good! You’re in luck, though. I happen to be an excellent cook.”
“So I’m told.” She confessed. “That’s very kind of you.”
“Is there anything else?”
“I… There is one thing.”
Makoto marked her book and closed it. “Name it.”
“Uh. Well, the thing is…” She paused, as if looking for words. “I need to use the bathroom.”
“Oh.” She said, as if taken completely off-guard. “Oh, wow. Okay. How long can you hold it?”
“As long as I have to.”
“Okay. Wait here, I’ll be right back!”
“She needs to do what?” Asked Rei, between customers.
“Can you blame her?” Asked Minako, also at the register, wearing the robes and pants of a Shrine Maiden.
“What are we supposed to do?” Asked Makoto.
The place was packed, and already a few of the customers appeared annoyed by their banter. Their conversation was stifled and paused unnaturally as they sold charm after charm, while Makoto felt as if she were entirely out of place. She was dressed all too casually, with a bright, colorful, loose-fitting hoodie over a snug yellow tank top and hip-hugging blue jeans.
“She’s obviously trying to trick us!” Said Rei, as soon as she could pause.
“I don’t think so.” Said Makoto. “I won’t go as far as to say that she’s not some kind of spy, but something tells me she’s honest about this.”
“How am I supposed to sneak her into this place?” Asked Rei. “Even if I could, do you really think I’d be stupid enough to untie her around all these innocent pe—Welcome! Would you be interested in one of our good-luck charms? The wooden horses are excellent for…”
As soon as she could breathe again, Rei looked toward Makoto.
“Go into my room and change.” Said Rei. “If you can cover me, I’ll handle it from there.”
“What?!” Snapped Minako. “You’re leaving us here?”
“What else am I supposed to do?” Asked Rei, who suddenly began to stare daggers at Minako. “You don’t trust me with her, do you?”
"She saved my life, Rei. From you!"
“That was an accident!” She snapped back, “and in case you’ve forgotten, I’ve pulled your ass out of the frying pan a few times, myself!”
“If anything happens to her…”
“Would you two just shut up, already?” Shouted Makoto. “I’ll deal with it!”
“You don’t have a clue what you’re getting yourself into!” Snapped Rei.
“Fill me in.” Makoto said flatly. “I learn fast.”
“All right, smarty-pants.” Said Rei, her tone suddenly sharp and cold. “Go into Oji-san’s room and take a look in the bottom drawer of his dresser.”
“That’s it?” Asked Makoto. “What else?”
“I’m sure you can figure it out from there.” She replied curtly. “You learn fast.”
The customers were all but swarming the registers, and so Makoto tried to hold herself back as much as possible. Instead of exploding on her friend, she crossed her arms over her breasts and quietly excused herself, snarling all that way down the hall. In fact, she was so furious that she walked right past the master bedroom door. It wasn’t until she’d reached the end of the hall that she’d realized her mistake, and by that time she was too flustered to care. After a deep breath, she turned around, hurriedly pushing it open and making a beeline for the dresser.
Rei, you idiot, she thought, kneeling down before the old wooden dresser, can’t you see that I’m one of the only people in your corner?
The last thing she expected to see was a drawer full of diapers.
They were disposables, and though she could only assume that they were intended for adults, they scarcely looked much larger than baby diapers. The only immediately noticeable difference was their width, but after taking one out of the drawer and puzzling over it, she noticed other characteristics. This particular brand was very plain, covered with a smooth, tough film that didn’t feel very breathable to the touch.
She didn’t realize she was holding one until she’d opened it up.
It was creased twice, with one section folded over the other, and the elastic leg-gathers, much like the tapes, were lined with turquoise. Otherwise, it was entirely without decoration. While this was not surprising in the least, the babysitter inside of her was still puzzling over the lack of cartoon prints. She almost put the thing down, but not before curiosity overtook her. After quickly checking the door to make sure that nobody was coming, she sniffed the inside of it.
“What the hell are these doing here?” She asked no one in particular, dropping the diaper atop the floor.
They were stacked up in perfect little piles, but they weren’t all that occupied the drawer. On the far left, a large box of wet wipes was snugly fitted against the corner, while a small plastic jar of petroleum jelly with a dark blue cap completed the presentation.
When she finally realized who would be wearing them, and more importantly, who would be changing them, she clenched her fists.
“Oh, great!” She exclaimed. “How did I get stuck with this job?”
She had half a mind to go marching right back out of the room so that she could tell Rei to do it her damn self, but after a minute, she realized that her friend would have expected that. After all, she was the one who’d initially volunteered! Minako would have pitched a hissy fit if she saw Rei go anywhere near their prisoner without someone else to watch her, but to send Minako would be to do Minerva no kindness. Nightmares of ‘Nurse Minako’ still plagued her to this day, and while she seemed to have only a little trouble tying all of those girl-scout knots, she could somehow see her friend struggling and straining to tie the diapers together in the same fashion.
Still, this was ludicrous. They were soldiers, not baby-sitters! (Well, there was that part-time gig last summer, but that was another matter entirely!)
She picked up two of the diapers and the box of wipes. She didn’t bother trying to sniff the contents of the box, partially because she was still trying to figure out why she’d sniffed the diaper in the first place, but also because it wasn’t something she was liable to find in the baby aisle. As she stood, she nudged the dresser closed with her foot, and for the sake of grandpa’s privacy as well as her own, she wrapped the diapers in a terrycloth towel.
With another sigh of exasperation, she folded the contents into the towel and tucked them under her arm, leaving the room as quickly and quietly as she could manage. As she traversed the hall, a part of her felt a pang of sympathy for Rei’s grandfather. If her friend had done any previous care taking, it might explain her complete lack of reluctance to tend to Minerva, but she really didn’t want to explore that vein of thought any further than she just did.
She wants to humiliate her, thought Makoto. But what can I do? I saw the way that girl blew those doors away… do I really want to untie her in a temple full of people?
Minako was calling after her, but she couldn’t have said what the other woman was asking. Rei was preoccupied with customers, so she seized the opportunity to escape while she could. The last thing she needed was one of those cocky, triumphant smiles. She shut the rice-paper door behind her, just hard enough to let the other girls know she was angry, before striding across the garden and into the guesthouse.
Minerva was waiting. She sat straight up on the bed, her eyes downcast, with her back against the headboard. When she looked up at Minerva, her expression was one of compassionate understanding.
If she’s acting, she’s damn good.
“They won’t untie me with all of those people out there.” She said.
“Sumi masen.” Said Makoto, placing the bundle atop the bed.
“And there’s no bathroom in here, is there?” She asked, looking up.
“Afraid not.” Said Makoto, finally looking up. “Could you scoot up here for me?”
“I think I can hold it.” Said Minerva.
“Listen,” Said Makoto. “I don’t want to do this anymore than you do, but right now, I think you should shut up and lay down.”
“…I don’t feel comfortable with this.”
“Don’t be foolish,” She replied. “Do you really want to take your chances with Rei?”
“What does she have against me?” Asked Minerva, trying to change the subject.
“Let’s see.” She said, her lips drawn into a tight frown as she arranged the diapers and spread the towel across the bed. “She’s a Catholic school girl who slays monsters and sells gifts at her grandfather’s Shinto-shrine.”
“You,” She continued, reaching over the mattress to snatch Minerva by her bonds and drag her into position. The woman began to squirm and struggle, but when she tried to interrupt, Makoto spoke over her, “on the other hand, are some kind of psychic vampire who feeds on human energy in order to live – hold still!”
Minerva gave her a look of frustrated resentment as she was positioned wrong-way-around on the bed, her hips struggling and fidgeting against the towel. With one hand gently but firmly planted against Minerva’s breasts, Makoto reached over her, just to snatch a pillow.
“And now, instead of dropping dead like you should have – lift up your head? There – you’re sitting pretty in her ex-boyfriends old room,” She fussed with Minerva’s pants, unbuttoning and unzipping them in short order.
“With our secret,” She tugged at the other girl’s jeans, sliding them halfway down in a single pull. “Identities,” the youma gave a girlish shriek as her pants came down to her calves. “In your pocket!” She finished the words with a little more emphasis than she would have liked, loosing the girl’s trousers from her feet and tossing them across the room.
With Minerva nearly naked in front of her and trying desperately to scoot away, Makoto found herself becoming increasingly uncomfortable. As she reached toward Minerva’s cotton panties, the youma closed her legs reflexively. After a deep breath, Makoto snatched her by the calves and dragged her back in, pushing her legs apart as if it was second nature.
“Don’t make this anymore awkward than it has to be!” She snapped, reaching for her waistline and giving her panties a tug. Instead of wrestling them all the way off, however, she used them as leverage, bringing them down to the woman’s ankles and twisting them over. After clamping them tight with her left hand, she used them to guide her prisoner’s knees carefully toward her stomach.
“Now,” She said, grabbing the diaper that she’d previously unfolded and flicking it with her wrist until it came all the way undone, “we’re all stuck here looking after you in her temple, even though we have school tomorrow. She’s stuck out there, worried sick that you’re going to break loose and destroy everything, and somehow—”
She huffed, lining up the diaper and leaning the woman’s upraised rear-end into the disposable’s interior and carefully fluffing it up, between her legs, which she gently released and repositioned on the bed, panties aside.
“I’m the one who has to deal with your potty problems!”
Makoto carefully fussed over the six turquoise lined tapes until they had been firmly fastened into place. Her prisoner was quiet, but when given the opportunity, she scooted back and drew her legs against her chest.
Silence reigned over them.
“Are you hungry?” Asked Makoto, somewhat awkwardly.
“No, thank you.” Said Minerva.
“Do you want to lay back down for a while?” She asked, her voice much softer.
“I… don’t think I could sleep.”
Makoto placed a gentle hand in the girl’s dark hair, gently stroking it and ushering her to lay back down. She took the girls panties and slipped them over her ankles, one foot at a time, and for once, the youma didn’t struggle. When it was over, Makoto helped her up and took a seat at the edge of the bed.
“I’m afraid.” She confessed.
“Don’t be.” Said Makoto, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “We’ll figure this out. If what you’re saying is true, we’ll do everything we can to help you. Just… Minerva, if you’re lying…”
She didn’t need to finish her sentence. Makoto could tell that Minerva understood precisely what she meant to imply, but for some reason she regretted it almost immediately. In spite of her monstrous nature, Minerva possessed a child-like innocence that was undeniable. At the moment, she looked frightened, helpless, and worst of all, depressed. If her hands were untied, she might have tried to hug herself. Instead, she sank her head down, and in a surprising display of affection, Makoto scooted back up so that she could draw the girl’s head into her lap.
“There, now.” She said softly, her hands rubbing and scratching the younger girl’s head. “Just relax.”
“You don’t believe me, do you?” Minerva’s question was spoken as if she already knew the answer.
“I want to.” Said Makoto, her hands never giving pause. “Is there anything else we should know about you? If you were holding back, well, it hasn’t been all that long…”
There was a kinder implication there, and she could feel the girl begin to relax into her lap. She began to work her hands downward, around her neck and shoulders, and back up again. All the while, her hands and her words urged the woman to open herself up. Makoto didn’t take notice, but her diaper was growing damp. Little by little, the disposably began to bunch up, growing soggier as she spoke.
“There is something.” Said Minerva, tentatively. “I… I have some kind of problem.”
“Tell me.” Said Makoto.
“I wear an amulet around my neck.” She continued. “When I feed, it gets dark, and sometimes… Sometimes it talks to me.”
“What do you mean?”
There was a long pause, and Minerva desperately scrambled for the right words.
“I can hear it, in my mind.” Said Minerva. “It tells me things, like where to find energy, and sometimes it shows me how to use my… powers, I guess you could call them. It talks about us as if we’re one person, and it’s always telling me to do things, but when I don’t do them, it gets angry—”
“Angry?” Asked Makoto. “In what way…?”
“If I disobey too long,” the girl stammered, “or too often. I mean, if I…”
She stopped, but Makoto didn’t press her. Instead, she continued to run her fingers through the girl’s hair. Her touch was tender, and for a moment, it made Makoto feel warm. As frightened and helpless as the girl was, she needed someone to touch her.
“It tries to get back at me.” She said at last, somewhat more slowly. “It gives me nightmares, and I get start to get sick, and if I go without feeding for too long, sometimes it tries to possess me. Just like with that girl in the restaurant.”
“I see.” In spite of her surprise, her hands never stopped soothing. “Is that why you took so much of her energy?”
“I think so… I’m not sure. I was hungry, but I should have had more self-control than that. Lately, I feel like I’m slipping.”
“What happens when you take it off?” She asked. “Have you tried?”
“Once.” She said.
Makoto couldn’t be sure, but she could almost feel the girl in her lap begin to tremble. She drew in a shuddering breath, and her hands carefully danced between the rope harness, working down her back and spine wherever she could reach.
“It let all of my energy out at the same time. I’ve never been in so much pain in all my life.” She said at last. “I… I blacked out, and when I woke up, there were people lying all around me. They were still alive – I stayed back and checked, I even called an ambulance! – but it told me that if I ever tried to take it off again, things would be different.”
“What does it want?”
“I don’t know.” She said. “It keeps talking about ‘The Shinigami’ and ‘The Seven’ and the ‘Dakuzuishou.’ I think the Shinigami is some kind of monster.”
Makoto closed her eyes, and for a while, there was a profound silence that settled between them. Her hands finally stopped, but they rested gently on Minerva’s head, and she could tell that the girl was sore afraid.
“…I’m very sorry.” Her apology was offered from clenched teeth and teary eyes, but it was softly spoken and from what Makoto could tell, it was sincere. She was struggling to compose herself, but like the child she so closely resembled, she was largely unable to do so. “I know I should have said something about this… but… I was so frightened.”
“Minerva…” Began Makoto, but when she couldn’t find the right words, she turned the girl around, cradling her in her arms and drawing her snugly against her breasts. She squeezed her tightly, but the more she shushed her, the harder her tears came. In the end, it was all she could do to rock her gently, back and forth, until the crying was done.
“How did we do?”
“Avalon Station has proven to be a most agreeable investment, your grace. Our last report reads out our accumulated earnings at just over 4.5 million yen.”
“This is most acceptable. What of the files? Have they been decrypted?”
“Project Eden continues to operate without incident, your grace. There was, however, a development that you should have been made aware of. If you’ll turn your attention to the screen?”
“Interesting. Who are these women?”
“They are the factor that we spoke about, earlier, and the reason that we were unable to make contact with subject three.”
“These are the women responsible for the destruction of the Dark Henge?”
“And the Wiseman.”
“Most intriguing. Is the red one always so reckless?”
“Sailor Mars is persistent and often impulsive, but she is deadly dangerous. Do you see how quickly she adapts? Even after her accident nearly cost Sailor Venus her life, she remained undaunted, ever-ready to eliminate the eminent threat.”
“There is a certain synergy about them… but subject three was most disappointing. She is a byproduct of the Phantom Pearl, is she not?”
“We have a theory about that…”
“Do not waste my time with theory, Ketsubou. Have you established contact with the others?”
“We have successfully secured subject seven and subject four, both of whom were quite eager to enter our service.”
“What of subject six?”
“A small setback, nothing more.”
“Subject six has refused us, your grace.”
“How was it that he was permitted to escape us?”
“He wasn’t! I… I fear that he was vastly underestimated. We sent in one of our Shikome, and he… he ate him, your grace.”
“Subject six has discovered a way to feed on his own kind. According to our most recent reports, he has developed a… taste… for the energy of the Shikome. It is quite possible that this extends to the other subjects, as well.”
“With all due respect, your grace, I have already dispatched subject four.”
“And what have you done about these women?”
“We are sending in two of our finest Shikome—”
“—To draw them out, your grace. Subject one will accompany them for a field analysis, at which point we will convene again and determine appropriate action.”
“Do as you will, Ketsubou, but do not presume to waste valuable resources without consequence. Obtain your results if you must, but see to it that these women do not interfere with our operation.”
“Yes, your grace.”
“Yes, your grace?”
“Remember, I am an impatient man.”
Glossary of Terms
Oji-san - Refers to Rei’s grandfather, although the technical meaning of the word is more like “Elder family member.” At least, I think… I’m not really sure, it’s early. I’ll clarify later.
Shikome - Throughout the anime, the footsoldiers of the enemy have been called Youma, Cardians, Droids, Daimohn, and a host of other names. I use Youma to describe these creatures more broadly, and because it was the first term that was introduced. The word “Shikome” literally translates to “Hobgoblin,” but it is used as differentiation. In this story, “Shikome” describes your average footsoldier. The “subjects” would be described more broadly, as youma. Technically, “Shikome” also fall under the more broad category of “Youma.” I may decide to flesh this out further as the story progresses.
Youma - See “Shikome.”