[FFML] [Sailormoon] Moonshadow, chapter 23 (draft)
mythrilmoth at sbcglobal.net
Thu Jan 27 10:22:14 PST 2011
This one's a little short. You know where to read previous chapters. C&C
Once again, he found himself in that place that was so hauntingly familiar,
staring at the silhouetted back of a girl whose name was dancing on the edge
"Help me, please. Only you can help me."
"What must I do? Who are you?"
"You know who I am. And who you are."
"Who...I am? No...I don't..."
"Find it. Find the Maboroshi no Ginzuishou. And then we will know one
another once again, as we did before..."
"As we did...before...?"
Mamoru's eyes snapped open. He sat bolt upright in bed, nightclothes soaked
in sweat. He scrubbed a clammy hand through short, damp hair. His heart
hammered in his chest.
Faintly, in the recesses of his subconscious, he heard the whispering of
zori as the last threads of the dream ebbed away.
Mythril Moth Presents
Adapted from "Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon" by Takeuchi Naoko.
23: (Thursday) Here's Why I Did Not Go To Work Today
"So, Endymion has been reincarnated as well," Jadeite mused. "Or so Artemis
says. Do we trust him?"
"He believed me at death's door," Nephrite said, shrugging. "Why bear false
witness unto a dying foe?"
"Particularly when the truth is ever so much more cruel, yes," Jadeite
added, nodding. "That *is* his style." He stood, stretching, and began to
pace. "So now, we just need to *find* His Highness--"
"Nay, the matter at hand is not finding Prince Endymion, but rather
Jadeite raised an eyebrow. "I would think, brother, we would need to find
"The dapper cad that purloins others' baubles in the still of night,"
Nephrite interrupted. "HE is our errant liege."
The blond Shitennou blinked. "That idiot thief from the gala? Surely you
"He seeks the Maboroshi no Ginzuishou," Nephrite said. "A treasure no human
of this age should know of. If indeed Prince Endymion has risen from the
dust of the Earth..."
"Then any young male human looking for the Ginzuishou..." Jadeite finished,
nodding. "I see. So, what do we do?"
"That, I am still pondering. I would discuss the matter with our Lord
Brother before setting forth a course of action."
"I agree. This must be handled delicately."
"I'm heading out."
"Wait, Ami-chan," Sayoko called out.
Ami paused in the middle of stepping into her shoes; Sayoko hurriedly
emerged from her bedroom, barely half-dressed. "Ami-chan, is...is there
something you need to talk to me about?"
Frowning, Ami shook her head. "Nothing I can particularly think of,
Her mother looked sad. "I see. But, if you think of something you...might
"Okaasan, please speak frankly."
Sayoko tensed slightly at the impatient bite in her daughter's voice. "Very
well. I know you're hiding something from me, and I want you to tell me."
Ami flinched almost imperceptibly. "I am not hiding anything of consequence,
"And that is the first time in your entire life you have lied to me," the
elder Mizuno replied, a warning note of anger creeping into her voice. She
crossed her arms.
Ami turned away, eyes downcast. "We are both running late--"
"Neither of us is going anywhere until you tell me everything," Sayoko
"And what precisely is it you believe I have to tell, Okaasan?" Ami asked,
facing her mother and tilting her head.
Sayoko sighed heavily. "I should have expected this much resistance, all
things considered." Shaking her head, she sat down on the sofa, absently
rearranging her clothes. "I found the uniform you tried to hide," she said.
"To be honest, I've been watching for warning signs of any...consequences
Ami stiffened, the colour draining from her face.
"And last night..." The doctor sized her daughter up, eyes almost pleading;
with a slight tremble in her voice, she continued, "you fell asleep right
here on the sofa. When I covered you up with a blanket, I saw that bracelet.
The blue one, with the symbol for Mercury on it. The one that's freezing
cold to the touch but doesn't seem to bother you at all." She raised an
eyebrow and fixed Ami with a steady, penetrating gaze. "You're the detective
otaku. You tell me what any good detective would deduce."
Ami looked down at her feet, remaining silent.
"That teacher molested you."
"You killed him."
"You're Sailor Mercury."
"And you suddenly have friends, so the only logical conclusion is these
friends are the other Senshi."
"You're reaching with that last one, Okaasan," Ami finally said quietly.
"So, no denials?"
Sighing, Ami stepped out of her shoes and began pacing the living room.
"Denying I was attacked would be futile. As to the rest...assuming I denied
it, you would not believe me. Your evidence is circumstantial at best, but
that would not deter you from continuing to pursue the matter until you
arrived at a satisfactory and irrefutable conclusion."
"Then spare us both that aggravation and answer me, directly," Sayoko
Ami stopped, and turned to face her mother, mouth a thin, grim line. After a
long, uncomfortable silence, she heaved a tired, defeated sigh.
"Mercury Power, Make-Up."
"Okay, everyone!" Haruna-sensei called out as she gathered her homeroom
students on the observation deck of Tokyo Tower. "I have good news! The
school is reopening on Monday!"
This was, of course, met with mixed reactions.
"Yes, I know you're all looking forward to getting back to real education,"
the homeroom teacher quipped drily, "so make the most of these last two days
here at Tokyo Tower!"
"Back to the scene of the crime, eh?" Makoto joked quietly, so only Usagi
The shorter girl groaned. "Mou..." She frowned, looking around. "Mako-chan,
did you see Ami-san anywhere this morning?"
"Mizuno?" Makoto's brow furrowed. "Come to think of it..." She stood on
tiptoes and began scanning the observation deck. "I don't see her anywhere,"
"That's odd," Usagi mused quietly. "I'll call her in a few minutes and check
Suspecting it, contemplating it, and confronting her daughter about it had
been one thing.
The reality of it had been another matter entirely.
Sayoko pressed her back against the couch, eyes wide, face chalk-white,
gripping the seat cushion hard with both hands.
"Are you satisfied now, Okaasan?" the Senshi asked bitterly, arms folded.
And just like that, it was all so clear. This strange, impossible girl
before her truly was Mizuno Ami, her daughter. Her expression changed from
shock to curious wonder as she leaned slightly forward. "...Ami-chan? Then
"Exactly as you deduced, Okaasan."
Sayoko stood, circling the young Senshi, examining her from every direction.
The wonder in her face was open and honest, which made Mercury relax her
posture slightly. She also became someone self-conscious and began
At length, her mother stopped directly in front of her. She tensed, waiting,
wondering what would come next...
"What happened to your hair?" Sayoko asked.
Mercury nearly facefaulted. "That...was unexpected," she muttered.
"Sorry," her mother replied sheepishly. "It just...kind of popped out when I
opened my mouth." She ducked her head. "There's so many things I want to
ask, and so many things I'm afraid to..." She trailed off.
"I believe the first thing you're looking for is an explanation for this,"
"Alright, then--" She stopped short as her phone began ringing in her
bookbag. She grimaced. "A moment, please."
The doctor was treated to the almost comical spectacle of a Sailor Senshi
talking quietly into a cellphone and shooting furtive, awkward glances
across the room. She disconnected and placed the phone back in her bag.
"Tsukino-san," she said. "Checking on me because of my absence."
"Tsukino-san?" Sayoko asked. "One of your friends? One of...the others?"
"I will neither confirm nor deny that."
"I doubt you really need to," the elder Mizuno replied, shrugging. "And it's
irrelevant in any case. The only thing I'm concerned about is...is you,
Mercury ducked her head, suddenly uncomfortable. "Okaasan..."
"I believe you were going to explain all this, young lady?" Sayoko asked,
suddenly stern, arms folded, eyebrow raised.
Usagi stared at her phone, horrified.
Makoto walked over to her. "Na, Usagi, somethin' wrong? You look like you
just saw a ghost or somethin'."
The shorter girl looked up. "Ami-san's mother knows she's Mercury."
Makoto blinked. "How'd that happen?"
"She didn't say, she just said her mother figured it out, and that's why she
isn't here today. She's trying to explain everything." Usagi sighed.
"...crap. So...this is a bad thing then?"
"It's certainly not a good thing," the tea-haired girl replied. "It all
depends on how she reacts..."
Once Mercury fell silent, Sayoko simply sat staring at her for what seemed
like hours. After some time, she shook her head and sighed. "You know,
Ami-chan," she said, "you've been the most hassle-free child a parent could
ever ask for. In fact, there have been times when I've wished you *would*
get in some kind of trouble, just so I'd feel like I actually had to do some
parenting." She laughed shakily. "Well, you know what they say, be careful
what you wish for."
"I have never been one for half-measures," Mercury quipped wryly. A moment
later, she asked quietly, "Okaasan...are you...upset? Are you...angry?"
"Upset? Yes. Angry? I...well, I won't pretend I'm not a bit angry that
you've been keeping things from me." Sayoko ran her hands through her hair.
"This is a hell of a thing to have to take in," she admitted.
"I am well aware of this," Mercury replied. With a sigh, she changed back to
normal and sat down beside her mother. "I don't want anything to do with
this," she said. "I never did. But for now, I have no choice."
"And I suppose attempting to put a stop to this would be futile?"
"I owe Serenity a life debt. I pledged to continue fighting at her side
until this war is concluded. And...until this ends, nobody will be safe. As
much as I want to leave this to others..." She shook her head. "I have
fought this enemy. I cannot ignore the danger to humanity. Not when I am one
of the few who has been given the responsibility of protecting the Earth."
She laughed mirthlessly. "And now I am beginning to sound like one of those
Sayoko laughed weakly. "Ally of justice, Sailor Mercury!"
Ami stifled a groan. "You do realise the news media invented that 'Sailor'
Her mother blinked. "Eh?"
"We do not call ourselves that, and never will," Ami replied.
"Is that so..."
Rei noted, with an inward wry smile, that her British friend had begun
packing a bento, albeit mostly full of English food, and had adapted to the
regular use of chopsticks.
As they ate together, the miko quietly asked, "Mina-san, there is something
I have been wondering since the other night."
Mina looked up from her lunch. "Hm?"
"During that incident...you performed an unfamiliar technique."
The blonde blinked. "Eh?" She paused, chopsticks raised halfway to her
mouth; inwardly, Rei found the image somewhat comical. "Oh! I think I know
what you mean." She shrugged. "I figured out how to charge up my regular
attack into something that's actually useful." Frowning, she added, "The
only problem is, it takes time to charge, and my aim sucks. If Usagi hadn't
dropped that guy so we could all hit him..."
Rei nodded. "I see." She picked at her rice for a moment, then added, "If I
may ask...exactly how did you discover the ability to power up your attack?"
Mina coughed, nearly choking on a mouthful of sausage, and turned red.
Looking around to make sure she was alone and unseen, Mina transformed into
Venus, then leapt to the roof of an abandoned apartment building.
Sunset was the perfect backdrop for her special training, she mused, as she
closed her eyes and focused on what she wanted to try...
Of course, with the horizon painted brilliantly red and orange, nobody
noticed the giant glowing golden heart shooting off into the sky.
Back in the alley, a paused game of Maverick Hunter X merrily chewed away at
the battery life of Mina's PSP, which she had forgotten to turn off...
"So, Prince Endymion indeed lives."
"Yes, Lord Brother. And he has been identified."
"Then thou shouldst...invite him here, to reunite with his court
"It will be done."
Mother and daughter had spent the day together, talking and eating lunch, in
a rare session of pure family bonding.
A short while after lunch, Sayoko frowned as she sipped a glass of ice
water. "Ami-chan," she began, "when you were telling me about
everything...I'm still trying to make sense of a lot of it, but you said
something about being attacked by dead people, right?"
"Correct," Ami replied as she dried dishes. "According to our primary source
of information, our enemy is capable of reanimating the dead and converting
them into powerful minions."
Sayoko frowned, chewing on an ice cube. "I see..."
Ami waited patiently, knowing her mother had more to say. After a few
moments, the doctor added, "It's just..."
Sighing, Sayoko stood and began wringing the hem of her blouse. "There's
something..." She paused. "I'm not trying to encourage this Senshi thing,
but if things are as you explained them..."
"Then..." Ami's mother sighed, and faced her directly. "There's something
you need to know..."
When Usagi stepped off the train at the station nearest her home, she was
surprised to find Mizuno Ami waiting for her. "Ami-san?"
"We must speak in private," Ami said tersely. "It is imperative."
Ami gave Usagi's room a cursory visual scan, noting that it was almost
exactly as she expected it to be.
Usagi sat heavily on her bed, and gestured to the small chair at her desk.
Ami pulled it out, turned it around, and sat. She leaned close to Usagi and
said, quietly, "I learned something from Okaasan today that
The tea-haired girl frowned. "About that--"
"Her awareness of my dual identity is irrelevant for the moment," Ami
interrupted. "In fact, in light of certain new information, this was a
Usagi raised an eyebrow. "Alright. So what's going on?"
Ami adjusted her glasses. "It's like this..."
"The police and the hospital administrators have been very careful to keep
the media and the general public ignorant of this," Sayoko said, "and
they've had to go to incredible lengths to prevent leaks." Beginning to
pace, she explained, "Bodies have been vanishing from every morgue in Tokyo
for the past two weeks. Accident victims, apparent suicides, homeless people
whose deaths remain unsolved. Nobody has been able to explain it. The only
common factor is that all of the missing decedents suffered some form of
Ami frowned. "Necrocites are formed by imbuing corpses with dark magic at
the instant of death." After a pause, she asked, "How many corpses have
Sayoko sighed, scrubbing a hand through her hair. "I'm not sure of the exact
"And that's the situation," Ami finished.
Usagi stared at her in horror. "Unbelievable..."
"At literally any given moment, we may find ourselves facing an army of at
least three hundred Necrocites."
The tea-haired girl paled.
Immediately upon returning home, Mamoru sensed something was amiss. A
presence dangled on the edge of his perception...
"Good evening, Chiba-kun...or rather, Tuxedo Kamen-san."
He tensed, recognising the voice. "Sanjouin Masato-san, was it not?" he
asked. "We met at the Yamagoto Gala."
"Indeed, and yet indeed not," the voice replied. Mamoru turned on the
lights, and saw the dark-haired, vaguely Egyptian man leaning against his
kitchen counter, regarding him with narrowed eyes.
And wearing a familiar grey uniform.
Mamoru scowled. "I know that uniform. The Sailor Senshi killed one of your
"I am surprised you are making no attempt to feign ignorance or refute my
acknowledgement of your nighttime persona."
"Obviously, it would be a waste of time. You wouldn't be here if you didn't
know damn well who I am."
The oily-haired man laughed richly. "How amusing and ironic, that
statement," he said. "To business, then?"
"What the hell do you want?" Mamoru spat.
"Why...you, dear boy."
Everything went black.
to be continued
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