[FFML] [fanfic][Sailormoon] Moonshadow, chapter 12 (first draft)

The Eternal Lost Lurker lurkerdrome at sbcglobal.net
Thu Nov 27 13:28:06 PST 2008



In the spirit of Thanksgiving...have another helping!

C&C welcome.

-----------------------------------------------------

FROM: Mizuno Ami

RE: Saturday evening

Please meet me on the Special

Observatory level thirty

minutes after roll call.

Do not be late.

Usagi blinked. *Uh-oh. I hope Ami-san isn't mad at me for that mess with the 
tuxedo creep...*

"Usagi! Hurry or you'll miss your train!"

"Ah...hai!"

=-------------=



Studio ELL Presents

MOONSHADOW

Adapted from "Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon" by Takeuchi Naoko.

12: What my eyes have found

=-------------=

Ami had disappeared into the elevators leading up to the higher levels of 
Tokyo Tower almost immediately after Haruna-sensei marked her present. Usagi 
considered following her directly, but decided to stick to the frosty girl's 
terms. Instead, she bought a ticket up to the Main Observatory five minutes 
later, and lost herself in the crowds while she waited for the time of her 
"appointment".

At 9:22, she purchased her ticket for the upper level and boarded the 
elevator. She scanned the less crowded Special Observatory, found her 
erstwhile comrade, and headed over. "Ohayou, Ami-san," she called.

Ami nodded curtly. "Tsukino-san."

Usagi shifted, digging her toe into the floor. "So, um...what's up?"

Ami wordlessly withdrew a sheet of paper from her bookbag and handed it 
over. "A list of potential targets," she explained, "of the jewel thief you 
encountered."

Usagi examined the printout, blinking. "Potential targets? Anou...I was only 
there by chance, you know," she pointed out. "It's not like I plan to make a 
career out of this idiot. Let the cops--"

"Tsukino-san," Ami interrupted. "Please examine the printout, and notice the 
common thread among the gems displayed there."

The long-haired girl frowned, studying the sheet thoughtfully. "Well, 
they're all pretty," she said. "And they're all about the same size, aren't 
they? And they're all..." She blinked. "They're all silver, or have a 
silvery lustre..." Her eyes widened. "Masaka..."

"I believe this...'Tuxedo Kamen'," Ami said with a distasteful grimace, "is 
searching for a gemstone which may or may not be the alleged 'Maboroshi no 
Ginzuishou' that is directly responsible for our...situation."

"The...but how? I mean, how could some weirdo jewel thief know about--?"

"I do not know. I had entertained the thought that he might be an agent of 
this Dark Kingdom, but...he does not seem to possess any unusual abilities, 
such as ours."

"No kidding. The second I cut loose on him, he ran away."

"Precisely." Ami pushed her glasses up, frowning. "It is possible I am 
reading too much into the incident, but...I have an uneasy feeling about 
it."

"Hey, if it's making you uneasy enough to actually talk to me, much less do 
this much work trying to figure it out, I'm willing to take a chance on you 
being right," Usagi replied. "Thanks for cluing me in on this."

"It is in my best interests," Ami replied. "If this thief is indeed 
targeting the Ginzuishou, and through pursuing him, we ourselves come to 
possess it, we can bring an expedient end to this Dark Kingdom business, and 
to the disruption it causes in our lives."

"Ah...hai."

"Incidentally, the jewel most likely to be in the possession of Director 
Kamekona's wife is called the Oasis Lament. Please begin your investigation 
with that."

"Right. Thanks." Usagi paused. "Anou...I should tell you, I..."

"Yes?"

"Well, I'm meeting 'Sailor V' this evening. That Artemis guy finally decided 
to let her meet me."

"I see."

"So, um...yeah. Just thought you might like to know, and if you wanted to--"

"It is not necessary for me to attend such a meeting, and I am otherwise 
occupied in any event. Good day, Tsukino-san."

"...yeah, see you later, Ami-san."

=-------------=

When Mina arrived at school on Monday, she found Rei lingering by the gates, 
staring off in the direction of her temple home, an intent frown on her 
face.

"You okay, Rei?" she asked.

Rei shook herself, and focused her gaze on the blond; her eyes were somewhat 
sharper-edged than normal, but her expression became neutral after the 
briefest pause. "Ohayou, Mina-san," she greeted. "It is nothing."

"Come on, Rei. Something's bugging you." She gestured for the raven-haired 
girl to walk with her to the doors; after a moment, the two girls proceeded 
into the building.

"I sensed something yesterday afternoon, at the temple," Rei eventually 
admitted, softly. "A...presence. One I have felt, or one like it, a number 
of times in recent weeks."

"A presence?" Mina asked, tilting her head curiously.

"An evil aura," the miko clarified. "I am...sensitive to such things. I do 
not speak openly of it, as it is--"


"Yeah, I understand." Mina patted the other girl's shoulder consolingly. "So 
you've been feeling bad vibes around the shrine lately?"

"Hai. And yesterday, an especially strong aura of impurity invaded the 
grounds. Jijiue did not sense it, but..." She shuddered. "I spent most of 
the evening placing ofuda around the shrine."

Mina nodded. She didn't profess to know much, if anything, about Shinto 
lore, but her friend was clearly rattled, and that was all she needed to 
know. "Do you need me to help you with anything?" she asked. "I mean, I 
don't know much about this stuff, but I can try."

Rei smiled. "Thank you for the offer, Mina-san, but no. This is a matter I 
must face alone, if I am to become worthy of my role as miko."

The blond frowned dubiously, but nodded. "Well, okay. But try not to get too 
bent out of shape, okay? It's not healthy."

=-------------=

Mamoru excused himself from his Monday classes, citing fatigue. He hated to 
outright skip school, but he had more important affairs that required his 
attention.

Namely, the repair and replacement of his damaged gear--*again*--and the 
larger issue of coming up with an alternate plan of attack.

The Sailor Senshi had been an amusing novelty, even a welcome diversion, at 
first.

The fallout from Saturday night, however, had changed all that.

*It's going to be almost impossible to get anywhere NEAR the Oasis Lament 
now...if _that_ turns out to be the Maboroshi no Ginzuishou, I'm well and 
truly screwed. And the Senshi...it's a safe bet they're liable to show up 
every damned time I plan a heist from now on. How do I fight something like 
that? I can't even figure out what the hell they _are_!*

With an angry sigh, Mamoru ripped the lining from the torn opera cape and 
began unravelling it. *Got to salvage what I can out of this mess...I have a 
feeling my cash flow's about to run really, really dry...*

=-------------=

"The Oasis Lament?"

"Yeah. You ever heard of it?"

The novelty of Tokyo Tower's shops and attractions had worn off rather 
quickly for the students of Class 2-C, and so the new school week found most 
of them spread out in quiet groups on the roof of Foot Town, studying (or at 
least goofing off in a sedate manner). Gossip about the weekend's unusual 
events had risen to a fever pitch during the first hour of the day's study 
session, then died quietly away in the manner of all things that enter the 
targeting sights of a teenager's attention span.

Usagi was sitting with Osaka Naru, math texts open in front of them but 
little actual studying taking place. The redhead chewed on her pencil 
thoughtfully. "It sounds familiar..." she mused. "Oh! I know! I remember 
Mama saying that there was supposed to be one really, really rare gemstone 
in the collection that almost got stolen the other night. I think...yeah, 
I'm almost positive she said it was the Oasis Lament."

"Sou ka na," Usagi replied. "Do you know anything else about it, though?"

Naru shook her head. "Gomen, I don't know half as much about this stuff as 
Mama does. You could ask her, though, after school. I'm sure she'd love to 
tell you about it." She tilted her head curiously. "Why d'you ask, anyway?"

"Oh, just something I heard on the terebi," Usagi replied with a wave of her 
hand. "Someone said they thought that tuxedo-kamen guy was after the Oasis 
Lament, and that they'd heard the director's wife had it. I just figured if 
it was that great that he'd throw away millions of yen worth of jewels just 
because it wasn't there..."

Naru giggled. "Yeah, everyone wants to know what that guy was really after. 
Hmm...yeah, we should ask Mama. She'd definitely know."

"How much do you reckon that Lament thing is *worth*, anyway?" Usagi 
wondered. "I mean, for him to--"

"He'd never be able to sell it," Naru said, shaking her head. "All the 
really rare jewels are too well-known. If it's special enough it has its own 
name, nobody's gonna touch it. So he had to have something else in mind, 
like keeping it for himself."

"Sou ka na..." Usagi frowned.

=-------------=

A uniformed police officer walked along the perimeter of Hikawa Jinja, hands 
clasped behind his back. Occasionally, he would reach out to brush a gloved 
finger along an ofuda attached to the boundary wall.

"Something I can help you with, officer?" the priest of the temple called, 
bucket and ladle in hand.


"Hm? Ah...no, no," the policeman replied, shaking his head. "I was just 
admiring the calligraphy. Your work?"

"My granddaughter," the priest replied with a hint of pride. "She is 
training to take over this temple when I retire."

The officer nodded. "She has excellent technique." He tipped his hat. "Good 
day." He descended the shrine steps, whistling tunelessly. The priest 
chuckled, and began washing the stones.

A block away, a voice muttered, "Excellent technique, my tail. I could rip 
through that barrier in my sleep."

The "policeman" chuckled. "Be nice. She's doing the best she can. For now." 
He sobered. "Besides, how often do you even *see* spirit wards that have any 
real power in them at all?"

"True. The girl is talented," Luna admitted grudgingly. "But will it be 
enough? I can't imagine what Lord Jadeite is planning, but..."

"Let me worry about Jadeite. Just make sure everything *else* works out 
according to plan."

"Yes, Master."

=-------------=

"Brethren, I greet thee."

The Shitennou exchanged ritual salutes before seating themselves at the 
corners of a table in the shape of a rhombus.

"Brother Nephrite, 'tis thou who calleth this conference; the floor is 
thine."

"By your leave, Lord Brother." Nephrite folded his white-gloved hands on the 
table before him. "It is meet that we should discuss now, at this most 
critical juncture of the task beset us since the Fall, an ill wind which 
flutters fey amid our standards risen high."

"Now I remember why I never talk to you," a soft voice interrupted. "I can 
never understand what the hell you're saying."

"Be thou silent, Brother Zoicite."

"My apologies, Lord Brother. Please continue, Brother Nephrite."

If Nephrite took offence at Zoicite's interruption, he gave no indication of 
it. "I speak of the return of our foes of the time before. I speak of the 
return of the champions of our jailor."

"Yes...the Senshi," Jadeite remarked, leaning forward. "One of my 
subordinates has already had a rather disastrous encounter with them."

"This I had heard," Nephrite nodded. "I offer remorse for your difficulty, 
Brother Jadeite."

Jadeite shrugged. "Amami was a weak, foolish creature. Her death is no 
loss."

"Our forces are not so numerous, Brother Jadeite, that we can afford 
needless sacrifice of even the weaker denizens of this realm," Kunzite 
admonished.

"Yes, of course, Lord Brother."

Nephrite coughed. "Our Lord Brother does, however, come upon the crux of my 
desire to convene on this day." He paused, surveying his fellow Shitennou 
with a calm gaze. "As I have reported unto Our Exalted Queen, I have borne 
witness unto the prowess of one of the returned Senshi."

"Ah, yes, the incident with the jewel thief, reported by the human news," 
Jadeite said, resting his chin on his gloved hands. "You were there, Brother 
Nephrite?"

"Indeed I was, Brother Jadeite. My post of duty upon the human world 
positioned me in such place as the Senshi did battle, and I did take her 
measure."

"Did that sound obscene to anyone else?"


"Be thou silent, Brother Zoicite."

"My apologies, Lord Brother."

Nephrite coughed once more, and there was a mild bite of annoyance to his 
voice when he continued. "The Senshi the humans call 'Sailor Moon' is 
unrefined in power and unsophisticated in skill, yet her potential as a 
threat is...troublesome. I would ill wish to afford these Senshi the 
opportunity to become honed as weapons, lest they grow into a fearsome 
obstacle to our task."

"What wouldst thou have us do, Brother Nephrite?" Kunzite asked. "Queen 
Beryl has forbidden direct engagements with the Senshi. Hast thou forgotten, 
she slew her own sister for such a breach of orders?"

"Indeed I recall the matter of Lady Morganite, Lord Brother. However, in 
audience to my report of the event I witnessed, Our Exalted Queen appeared 
favourable to an amendment of course."

"You have advised her to openly oppose the Senshi?" Jadeite asked sharply.

"I have taken no such presumption, Brother Jadeite," Nephrite replied. "You 
know well I would not proffer advice unto Our Exalted Queen without first 
canvassing the combined wisdom of you, my brethren."

"Of course. My apologies."

"So if we recommend going to war with the Senshi before they grow into a 
real threat," Zoicite put in, leaning forward, "Queen Beryl will likely 
consent?"

"Thus it would seem."

"There is an opportunity here," Jadeite said slowly, stroking his chin in 
thought. "We should grasp it."

"I concur," Nephrite replied.

"I'm up for a little fun," Zoicite put in.

Kunzite cleared his throat. "I agree that the Senshi must be dealt with. But 
I do not believe we should overplay our hand at this time. It would not 
be...honourable."


"Agreed."

"Brother Jadeite, Brother Nephrite. Both of thee operate presently in the 
human world. The course of battle against the Senshi is thine to determine." 
Kunzite stood. "Brethren, I bid thee farewell and favourable hunting." He 
saluted, then vanished from the conference room.

Zoicite stood lazily, stretching his back. "If you need a hand with the 
Senshi, I'll be around somewhere." With a flourish and a teasing grin, he 
disappeared in a shower of lotus petals.

"Well then, Brother Jadeite," Nephrite said, "Twould seem our cause is 
joined."

"For the glory of our liege, let us ride to victory," Jadeite replied. The 
two remaining Shitennou vanished with no fanfare, leaving the conference 
room still and silent as a grave.

=-------------=

Usagi followed Naru into Osa-P that afternoon. The redhead walked up to the 
counter and greeted her mother.

"Okaeri, Naru-chan. Ah, Usagi-chan! How are you today?"


"I'm fine, Osaka-san," Usagi replied, bowing. "Are things going okay here?"

"Yes, we've completely recovered from that...unpleasantness."

"Mama," Naru said, "Usagi was kind of wondering about something, and I 
thought she should ask you, since you'd know all about it."

"Oh?" the jeweler asked, raising an eyebrow.

Usagi fidgeted, ducking her head. "It's...I was wondering if you could tell 
me anything about the Oasis Lament."

The elder Osaka fixed her with a piercing stare. "Now why," she asked 
coolly, "would you be interested in *that*?"

"Anou..."

"It wouldn't have anything to do with jewel thieves, would it?"

The long-haired girl flushed, rubbing the back of her head in embarassment. 
"Eheh...ee."

Naru's mother sighed. "I thought so. I've been getting that all day long."

"Gomen nasai..."

"Oh, I'm not mad, Usagi-chan," the jeweler reassured with a wave of her 
hand. "And I don't mind, for one of Naru-chan's friends. It's just, I'd love 
to get my hands on the television idiot who set everyone off like that..." 
She trailed off. "Anyway, the Oasis Lament...

"Far to the west of Giza, long before the pyramids were built, there was a 
small desert oasis. A young peasant man and a beautiful merchant's daughter 
would often meet there in the dead of night, lovers who could not be 
together by day, for she was favoured for the hand of a prince.

"But she did not love the prince, and he came to know that she did not love 
him. He employed servants to follow her in the night, and learned of her 
secret lover.

"Furious that he had been spurned for a peasant, the prince acted in anger. 
He slew the merchant's daughter and her lover at the water's edge, and threw 
their bodies into the oasis.

"By the next full moon, the oasis had dried up and vanished. Before the bed 
of empty sand was reclaimed by the desert, a traveller discovered a 
beautiful, shimmering silver jewel embedded in the sand, wrapped in the 
blood-stained dress of the merchant's daughter.

"The truth of the murder of the beautiful maiden then came to light, and the 
prince was exiled in disgrace. The merchant was allowed to hold the jewel, 
as a memento of his beloved daughter, taken from him before her time.

"This jewel came to be known as the Oasis Lament."

The two teenagers sniffled. "That's...that's really sad," Naru said.

"Un," Usagi replied.

The jeweler smiled. "It's just a silly legend, girls. People make up all 
sorts of ridiculous fairy tales about big, shiny rocks. They think it makes 
them more interesting." She stretched out a kink in her back. "So, is that 
what you wanted to know?"

"Un," Usagi replied. "Arigatou. Ah, but...one thing. That jewel...is it 
really--"

"Does Kamekona-shachou's wife really have it? Oh yes," Naru's mother 
replied. "So that's probably what that thief was after. And he knew the one 
in the case was a fake, so he must know his jewels."

"Sou ka na..." Usagi frowned thoughtfully. "Eep! I've gotta run. Thank you 
again...mata ne!" With a quick bow, she raced out of the shop, ponytails 
flailing.

=-------------=

As Rei crested the steps of Hikawa Jinja, she frowned. "Jijiue?" she called 
out.

"Ah, Rei-chan! How was school?" the elder priest called from the omamori 
counter.

"Fine, Jijiue..." Rei looked around, frown deepening. "Have you altered or 
removed any of my ofuda?"

"Of course not, child," the priest said, tone mildly offended. "Why in the 
world would I do such a thing?"

"Forgive me, Jijiue," Rei replied absently. She set her bookbag on the 
ground, walking over to the perimeter wall, where she traced one of the 
ricepaper wards with a slender finger. Her frown deepened further.

"Rei-chan? What's troubling you?" the elder Hino asked, coming to stand 
behind her.

"Something has tampered with my barrier," she replied.

"Really?" the priest asked, tilting his head. "I haven't noticed anything 
amiss."

Rei shook her head. "No...the wards are precisely as I placed them. But..." 
Her brow furrowed. "I sense a touch of power upon this barrier...it has not 
been weakened, per se, but..." She was hesitant for a long moment. "A strong 
aura has come into contact with this barrier. And I was meant to know this. 
This is deliberate." She scowled, then turned on her heel and stalked into 
the shrine, not even retrieving her school bag.

Her grandfather gazed after her for a moment, then returned his attention to 
the ofuda. After a moment, he shrugged to himself and walked back to the 
omamori counter.

=-------------=

"Now THAT is truly most interesting."

"And not unworthy of concern. Are you certain this is the most desirable 
location to broker an engagement with our enemies?"

"Truthfully? No. But I lack sufficient time to prepare an alternative site, 
and the reward balances the risk. Besides, from what we've just seen, it's 
probably best if we kill this priestess. If she allied herself with the 
Senshi, it would be...irksome."

"Agreed."

=-------------=

Usagi walked onto the vacant playground, looking around warily. The sun was 
beginning to dip below the horizon, casting red-orange hues on the disused 
swings and jungle gyms.

The lone other occupant of the playground was a girl her age, a gaijin, 
standing with her back to a large shade tree. She wore an unfamiliar uniform 
consisting of a magenta blazer and a green plaid skirt, and the faint breeze 
played with strands of her long blond hair.

The girl noticed Usagi and straightened, smoothing her skirt. "Tsukino 
Usagi?" she asked. At her nod, the gaijin smiled and bowed.

"Aino Minako," she introduced herself. "But sometimes they call me Sailor 
V."

=-------------=

to be continued

=-------------=



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