Continuing Tales

Full Circle

A Sailor Moon Story
by Meara

Part 2 of 14

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Full Circle

The Ginzuishou was a contradiction in and of itself. It was supposed to be a secret, but many knew of it. It was supposed to be a weapon of the light, but the dark was forever seeking to control it. The power was cosmic and ethereal, but was controlled by a small and mortal woman. It was a delicate silver crystal whose size, like the woman who possessed it, was no measure of its true strength. The Ginzuishou was a mystic tool of unimaginable strength.

It was the power of the Ginzuishou that had allowed the relatively small Moon Kingdom to be the center of an empire called the Silver Millennium a thousand years ago. The Ginzuishou was a force that no one really knew the limits of. In the past, its greater magics could bring life to barren worlds. It could, in some cases, restore life to those who had recently died. For all its mystery, there was one fact about it that everyone agreed on. It was a primal force limited only by the woman who wielded it.

However, power great or small always comes at a price. In the past the price was the ruin of a kingdom. Because of the Dark Kingdom's lust for the power the Ginzuishou, hundreds of thousands of the Silver Millennium's people died. But because of the Queen of the Moon Kingdom had been willing to give her life, some of her people were sent into the future to be reborn. That queen died alone on a shattered world so that her daughter and her people might have a chance for life again.

Now a new Queen had arisen and an ancient empire was reborn. She had been known by many names over the short years of her life. She had been Tsukino Usagi, a clumsy, crybaby of a schoolgirl with a heart as big as the world. She had been the champion of justice, Sailor Moon. Now she was Serenity, Queen of the Moon Kingdom. She wielded the Ginzuishou and paid the price the power demanded of her.

A price she was still not fully aware of.

For once Makoto was happy to have drawn perimeter duty. The task was normally pretty dull and lonely, but tonight was going to be different. The computers in the war room of the palace had detected yet another small object shot at the Moon Kingdom. At first these small probes had caused great concern. That worry had turned to dark humor they almost invariable had turned out to be offers from one of Earth's giant corporations for various mineral/commercial/what-have-you rights. They were all desperate to be the first to get their corporate "foot" in the door. These offers had gotten nothing but better as of late, usually including some sort of inducement (read "bribe") attached. The unspoken rule was as long as it wasn't too elaborate, the Senshi on duty got to destroy the probe and keep the gift. To date, Makoto was the only one of the Senshi who had yet to be the recipient of what had been come to be known as, "the door prize".

Sailor Jupiter watched with glee as the small machine landed reasonably softly. It was roughly the size of a microwave oven and very brightly colored, fairly screaming - 'Hello, notice me!'. Still,

caution was necessary and she powered up her attack, just in case this didn't turn out as expected. After a series of clicks and whirrs, a pre-recorded message started up, complete with elevator style music.

"Greetings to our friends on the Moon," came a carefully modulated baritone voice, "from the Exton Energy Corporation! We have been meeting the energy needs of our customers since 1897 and would like to offer you a place in our family of companies."

Makoto could well imagine just where that "place" was - under their thumb, no doubt.

The soothing, if fatuous, baritone voice continued, "Our scientists say that there is an excellent chance that your lovely little Kingdom harbors a vast supply of natural gas. With our help, and your cooperation, I can guarantee a rich future for us all."

A small door popped open to reveal a gold-foiled wrapped bottle. At the same time a computer imbedded near the bottle came to life. Jupiter cautiously took the bottle and looked at it.

"Let's toast to an enduring partnership!"

Jupiter snorted derisively as she got a look at the label. "Not with this vintage we won't."

"Please use this computer to contact us at your earliest convenience."

Makoto put the bottle aside and went to the now active screen. Limbering up her fingers she set to work. The message she was typing appeared on the small computer.

"Dear Exton," Makoto said as she typed, "Please be advised that Pinot Noir, 1987 doesn't really travel well and you forgot the cheese to go with it. A Cotswold cheddar or Leirdahmer Swiss would have been quite nice. Oh, and the rightful Monarchs of the Silver Millennium will not tolerate trespass by any Earth Government or Corporation upon the sovereign territories of the Moon Kingdom. Stay out."

She waited patiently until the she got a prompt from the computer saying that her message had been received on Earth. Stepping away from the machine, Jupiter called on her oldest attack. With a cry of "Supreme Thunder!", the probe was enveloped by energy that fried every circuit inside.

Makoto let the machine stop sparking and smoking before she approached it again. By Friday her "door prize" should have settled enough to go with the beef bourguignon she was planning for her latest date. Picking up the charred, pitted probe gingerly, Jupiter headed for home with a song in her heart and bottle of wine under her arm.

Mamoru knew with a sinking certainty what would be waiting for him as he returned to the bedroom where his beloved was taking a nap. There was a moment of apprehension as he opened the door, hoping that he was somehow wrong. But in the dim light of chamber Mamoru could see that it had happened yet again. He'd been gone less than ten minutes and his rival had somehow managed to get himself into bed with Usagi. Mamoru felt anger rise in his heart as he saw the helpless, prostrateform of his wife being kissed

The unwelcome male lay beside the beautiful woman with the silver gilt hair. He raised his head from placing warm, sweet kisses on Usagi's cheek. The look he gave Mamoru was one of utter contempt. As if he was challenging the new King of the Silver Millennium's claim on the Queen.

I like it here, the look plainly said, and I am not about to leave.

With a growl of annoyance, the dark haired hero crossed the room and grabbed his rival by the scruff of the neck. "The hell you aren't," Mamoru mumbled. "She is not now and is never going to be your mate. Deal with it and move on."

Usagi stirred at the sound of her husband's voice. One eye cracked open to see Mamoru holding a struggling rabbit with one hand. The six and a half pound, lop-eared bunny huffed with indignation at Mamoru, kicking at him with his back feet.

"Mamo-chan," she mumbled, "stop picking on Moochi."

"Damn, smug, little beast." The King did not sound happy as he walked across the room and opened the door. He put the rabbit down. With a barely audible grumble of, "and stay out!" firmly closed the door.

When he had gotten the tiny gray and white bit of fluff for Usagi as a present, Mamoru had been told that the rabbit would never be bigger than four pounds and was a female. "Moochi", as Usagi had named her pet, tuned out to be larger than advertised and, unfortunately, very

male. At the age of four months he'd started to court Usagi a potential mate. When the Queen didn't surcome to Moochi's fuzzy charms, the rabbit had taken to trying to impregnate stuffed animals,shoes, chair legs - just about anything that would stand still long enough for him to try. While being neutered had, happily, stopped that particular behavior, Moochi was still seemingly convinced he could woo the object of his deepest affections away from Mamoru.

"You're supposed to be taking a nap," Mamoru said to his wife. Tonight, for the first time in a month, Usagi would release the pieces of the Silver Millennium sealed inside fifty-three of the

Moon's newest citizens. That meant going into Balance with the Ginzuishou – something that always drained her physically and emotionally. The toll the Balance took on Usagi worried Mamoru more and more lately. "You shouldn't let Moochi get on the bed, Usako. It only encourages him," Mamoru said as he sat down on the bed next to Usagi. "And you shouldn't let him kiss you on the face like that. It's not healthy."

The lithe woman in the bed gave a long, languorous stretch. "I like being kissed." She reached up and stroked her husband's cheek. "Jealous?"

"You're trying to distract me and change the subject," Mamoru said with a twinkle in his eye.

"Is it working?"

That caused Mamoru to smile. He leaned over until he was just inches from her face, "So you like being kissed on the face?" he whispered. "Like this?"

Usagi's crystal blue eyes closed in bliss as Mamoru placed light, teasing butterfly kisses on her forehead. "Umm hmmm," she mumbled in agreement.

"And maybe like this?" He moved down onto her neck, stopping only to gently kiss her earlobe before moving on. "Is there anywhere else you like to be kissed?"

A knowing smile tugged at Usagi's lips, "Oh, I can think of a few other places." She gave a slow sigh as Mamoru worked his way onto her body, "I'll let you know when you get there."

Aino Minako had dreamed all of her life about times like these. Deep down inside, she'd always thought it a silly dream, really. To have a group of good looking young men all vying for her attention was something that just didn't happen in real life. But as if just to prove the idea that universe loves a dreamer, Mina was getting her wish.

Michael, the Kendo Master sent her a flower a day. Hitoshi the artist gave her a painting of Sailor Venus as the mythological goddess Venus. Andrew the medical student kept hinting very broadly that he would dearly love to play "doctor" with her. And Alberto, well Alberto managed to get notes - dozens of them all exclaiming her charms - to just about everywhere she was going. There were so many men actively pursuing her that it made Mina a little giddy sometimes.

Artemis tended to view the whole situation and sigh heavily. Then again, who was he to omplain, Mina thought? He and Luna had become closer than ever since returning home! From smug, satisfied expression he seemed to perpetually wear, the white cat was getting along very well indeed with the sometimes-thorny Luna.

Life for Aino Minako hadn't been easy. It still gave her an ache in her heart that had never quite healed to realize that her parents never loved her. She'd spent so many years feeling so alone as Aino Minako that she sometimes wondered how she'd survived it all.

But life as Minako, Sailor Venus, Leader of the Inner Senshi and Princess of Venus was better than she'd ever hoped for. Mina had friends who loved her and were her true family. She had a job that made her proud and handsome men courting her. Life was good.

Hot damn, but life was very good!

They kissed each other deeply, her restless arms running up and down his back. He moaned softly as they fell the floor, locked in a passionate embrace. Her hands, her wonderful hands were everywhere at once. They stroked and teased, encouraging him to be even bolder. He pulled at the corner of her silken kimono and buried his head in her...

"Are you two at it again?"

Rei and Yuuichirou looked up from the floor to see her Grandfather looming over them. It was hard to say which of the two young lovers blushed first or the reddest. There was a brief but painful silence, brokenly only by the sound of a cricket chirping somewhere nearby.

"For Kami's sake you two are worse than a couple of rabbits," the old man groused as he stood over them. "The wedding is in four weeks - give the boy a break Rei. At this rate you're going to burn him to a cinder long before then."

Grandpa!" Rei shrieked in protest.

"Oh, but what a way to go Sensei-sama," Yuuichirou said happily as Rei slapped him on the arm.

The elderly Shinto priest moved towards the back of the room. "Yuri, you can call me Grandpa, too. You are marrying into the family after all."

"I don't know if I can, sir." Yuri replied watching Rei pull her robe closed, "You are still my Sensei. I mean calling you 'Grandpa' doesn't sound proper."

The old man gave his student an amused look. "And tumbling with my granddaughter on the floor of a temple storeroom is proper?"

"Grandpa!" Rei shrieked again, this time getting to her feet.

He ignored her. "Found it. I knew it was back here. A new baby was born today. So I'll be at the hospital blessing the new family, then say this special prayer over the little one."

Although there were clerics from other religions on the Moon, the Shinto priest was still the most senior among them. He reveled in his status as "elder". Tucking the scroll into his robe he waved at the still blushing pair.

"I'll be gone about an hour. Do see if you can keep yourselves busy while I'm away, ne?"

Rei gave a final shriek of "Grandpa!" as he closed the door behind him. The old man hummed happily to himself. At least, he mused, the way Rei and Yuri were going at it, he should have a great-grandchild by this time next year.

The fringe political group known as "Pure Earth" has fallen from public favor after the fiasco at St. Jude's church a little over six months ago. The world had watched as a member of that group shot a Roman Catholic priest to death. The picture of Father Francis Sullivan lying dead on the stairs of the burning church had shocked a world that thought itself past that kind of barbarism.

But what really grabbed the world's attention was the sacrifice of Tsukino Usagi and Chiba Mamoru. She had used the power at her command to save the hundreds of people in the square that day from a propane gas explosion that would have killed them all. A picture of her, transcendent and shining with power had been on the front page of every major newspaper in the world. Tuxedo Kamen had refused to leave the woman he loved. He held her as the end came. A million women across the world sighed at the sight of him embracing her just before the fireball overtook them. They would have done just about anything for man like Chiba Mamoru.

After that, "Pure Earth" was about as welcome as a ham and cheese sandwich at a kosher picnic. They had disbanded, the members drifting into other groups that sprang up. A goodly number of them had been attracted to membership in a society called "Sons of The Golden Kingdom." It wasn't as publicly radical as "Pure Earth", though it held some of the same goals.

The aliens living among normal humans can't be trusted, they told anyone who asked. They have to be found and segregated from a populace that has no defense against what they can do. What each government wants to do with these aliens is, of course, up to them. But it is inevitable that the aliens will move to subjugate humanity.

The lessons of evolution show that weaker are always overcome by the powerful. Unless mankind wants to find itself enslaved, the group preached, they had best wake up from the dream of "tolerance" espoused by some spineless bureaucrats.

This night they held a meeting in a small town in North Carolina in the United States of America. "The Sons" as, they were called by the media, had been started in Japan. The headquarters of the group was still there, but membership was slowly spreading across the globe.

Meiou Lorilei sat quietly in the back of the stuffy hall. She had met with one of the newly awakened children of the moon and her family again today. Carrie was sweet girl, Lorilei remembered, very mature for her sixteen years. Although the prospect of leaving everything she had ever known frightened her, Carrie knew that it had to be done. The girl was gifted with a strong faith in her Lord. She and her family accepted the startling revelation of her extra-terrestrial heritage as God's will. At least, Lorilei thought, that graceful angel will be safe on the moon within a day.

Discussion of this meeting had been all over the radio as Lorilei prepared to drive to the airport. Though why she was borrowing trouble by attending this meeting was beyond her. Between running around the US for the last month tracking down the lost children of the Moon (something that was increasingly difficult for the normally shy woman), and the news that had broken tonight, she had more than enough to take up her time. It had been verified that China had set up "camps" for people whose blood tests showed that they might be of lunar origin. There were rumors of more of these places in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Those reports sent a chill down Lorilei's spine.

On an impulse, she took the exit that had a "This way to The Sons meeting!" sign. Now she sat in the very back of the hall listening to some long winded, pompous ass of man speak in a fevered voice that was thick was a southern accent about the dangers of the "a-liens". More than anything else she tried to surreptitiously watch the people around her.

"Quite a show, isn't it?"

Lorilei jumped at the voice. Startled, she turned to tall, dark haired man beside her. He was handsome, she noted, with golden eyes that sparkled with amusement.

"Poor Henry does tend to go and on, I'm afraid," he said to her.

Lorilei shyly dropped her eyes as the man stared at her. "He's just a little hard for me to understand. English is not my first language."

The man beside her bowed slightly and replied to her in Japanese. "You are Japanese, no? I thought I heard its sweet tones in your accent." He laughed as she nodded, obviously surprised. "What are you doing so far from home?"

"I'm a concert pianist. Meiou Lorilei, from Tokyo," Lorilei said with a bow. "I just finished a series of concerts in the South and was on my way to the airport when I saw the sign. My flight was delayed and I had some time to kill. I must admit, I've been curious about this group. I hear so much about them at home."

The man gave her his most charming smile, "I'll be heading home to Tokyo too in a few days." He looked up towards the podium where the long-winded Henry was finally finishing his remarks. "I have to go now, but it's been very nice to meet you. I hope to see you at one of our local meetings when I get home Meiou-san."

Lorilei watched as he made his way to the front of the hall. Henry saw him and thundered out, "And now Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the founder of our 'Sons of The Golden Kingdom' movement, Mr. Kobushi Goruden!"

He spoke with little trace of an accent. Mr. Goruden was very eloquent, charming and witty - a mesmerizing orator. He spoke with just the proper shade of regret in his voice about the necessary but regrettable steps that mankind needed to take to defend itself. That regret turned to passion as he spoke of a world at peace. A world freed from the threat of alien influences. By the time he finished, the crowd was on its feet and erupted into cheering.

Lorilei got to her feet with everyone else so as not to attract attention, but her mind raced. She didn't need to have one of Setsuna's prophetic visions to know that this man was very dangerous. She had to let the Queen and King know about the threat these "Sons" presented. And Lorilei decided as she looked at the wildly cheering throng around her, she needed to do it as soon as possible.

The air was thick with the lush scent of green, growing things. Though the night was humid and warm, the sky was fairly clear. The hotel was far enough away from city lights to give Goruden Kobushi a good look at the star filled sky. This tour of America had gone well, Kobushi knew as he stood on the balcony of the hotel room he was staying at. Literally hundreds of people had pledged to join in the crusade to save the planet for humanity. There were even one or two hopefuls for the inner sanctum of The Sons - intelligent, committed men who would do what was necessary for the greater good.

That devotion would be needed in the days to come. Goruden and handful of other leaders in the movement knew the whole truth about the Moon Kingdom. It had been called the Silver Millennium so long ago and it had been responsible for the fall of the greatest kingdom this world had ever known. Mankind was sundered after the fall of the Golden Kingdom, any hope of peace and unity shattered forever by the Moon Kingdom's evil magic. The knowledge had been passed down through the generations, father to son in an unbroken line that spanned a thousand years. Though the secrets were written down, Goruden Kobushi knew them all by heart.

His gaze was drawn to the Moon. Rainbow light cast a halo around the small astral body. It was a sure sign that the devils stone, the Ginzuishou, was being used once again. Righteous anger filled the soul of Kobushi as he watched it arc and flare.

Some of the warning signs set forth in the book of the Golden Kingdom were occurring. All the elders agreed that it was time. Now that the Moon Kingdom's evil power had arisen again, the lost the Golden Crystal should reappear. Goruden Kobushi was a one of the linear descendants of the Princes of the Golden Kingdom. Once they had found that sacred stone, the Book said that "the one who would be King" would use its holy power to restored Earth to the paradise it had been. The Golden Kingdom would rise once more. The Moon Kingdom, its people and that cursed stone, the Ginzuishou, would be crushed for all time.

"Enjoy your power while you have it Witch Queen of the Moon," he whispered as he continued to watch the light show. "Your day of reckoning is near. You will pay the price for what was done to my people."

It felt so good, so incredibly good. There was no distinction between where she ended and where the power began. It filled Usagi, touching every part of her. Within the power there was no passing of time. Each moment was the same, filled with pleasure of such intensity that it both delighted and burned at once.


Usagi knew the mystic inferno would sear her to an enraptured ash, but she didn't care. There would be pain if she left this place. But here it couldn't reach while she was in Balance, nothing bad could reach her here. There was no fear or worry, nothing but the incredible sensations that totally consumed her. It was so wonderful. She wanted to be like this forever.

Usako, you must hear me...

The voice was insistent. It called to Usagi in a way she couldn't ignore. For an instant it was louder than the song of ecstasy the power sang to her. That brief instant was long enough for her to remember why she had come here. With memory came the need to control the eldritch fires that burned so brightly in her. She was more than just a part of the power. She had a body too, and became aware of it again, every nerve suddenly afire. Strong arms caught Usagi when her knees buckled, lowering her gently to the floor.

"It's all right. I've got you."

"Mamo-chan..." she tried to whisper his name. The Ginzuishou, suspended above its resting place within the chamber, stopped pulsing so brightly before her. What little strength Usagi has left seemed to flow out of her as the light faded from the sacred stone.

A mug of a warm liquid was pressed to her lips, and she let it flow into her mouth. Usagi's mind registered it as the restorative concoction that Ami and her mother had come up with. The chocolate flavor didn't completely disguise the very bitter taste of it and she grimaced.

"This stuff is disgusting," she managed to say as the warm liquid soothed her parched throat.

The man who held her gave a soft chuckle, "That's how you know it's good for you. Now come on, you have to finish it all."

Usagi's hands shook badly as she tried to comply. Mamoru's hands came up over hers, steadying the mug. She downed the contents mumbling, "oh yuck," each time she took a breath between gulps. Mamoru took the now empty mug from Usagi.

The raven-haired man reached behind him for the robe that lay nearby and gently helped her into it. For a reason no one really understood, going into Balance with Ginzuishou invariably caused the clothes Usagi was wearing to vaporize. Sometimes they reappeared when she returned to herself, sometimes not. Rather than see her irreplaceable wardrobe slowly turn to stardust, Usagi had taken the precaution of disrobing the last two times she went into the Balance. All in all, it was just as well that tradition dictated that only a few people were allowed inside this chamber. The room housing the slowly growing crystal column of prayer and the Ginzuishou was considered a sacred place by the citizens of the Moon Kingdom. Only the Queen as well as a select few was permitted to enter it.

Mamoru held Usagi quietly as they waited for the worst of her tremors to stop. As best as Doctor Mizuno could figure, Usagi went into a kind of neural overload when she was in the Balance. The shaking afterwards was symptomatic of the strain on her body as it channeled the immense power of the Ginzuishou. Usagi liked to say that coming out of the Balance made her feel as if someone had been beating her with a baseball bat.

The chocolate flavored remedy Usagi just drank wasn't working this time, it seemed to Mamoru. At first simply replacing the lost electrolytes, adding a dose of B-12 vitamins along with an analgesic for the inevitable aches and pains seemed to mitigate the worst effects. That combined with a day or two of taking it easy and Usagi was back to her old self. But, Mamoru remembered uneasily, the last time Usagi had gone into the Balance, she'd slept deeply for almost two days. They'd dismissed it as the stress of the last few months catching up with her. But now...

His wife of just six months still shook against his arms, her breath coming in soft, weary gasps. Mamoru gently put a hand under Usagi's chin and tipped her face up. Her pallor was ashen, never a good sign. Giving Usagi a warm and confident smile that belied the worry blossoming inside him, Mamoru looked into his wife's eyes. They were glassy, the pupils widely dilated he noted with growing alarm, as if she wasn't truly seeing him. Sliding a hand onto Usagi's cheek Mamoru could feel that her skin was cool and clammy to the touch.

The doctor in him recognized the symptoms. Oh no, Mamoru thought, she's going into shock! All the measures to counter shock flashed through his mind. Staying where they were was no longer an option, he knew. Usagi needed to be somewhere warm and quiet as quickly as possible.

"I bet you'd be more comfortable in bed," said Mamoru in a soft voice. "Put your arms around my neck." She didn't seem to hear Mamoru at first, and he brought his face closer to Usagi's to get her attention. "Usako, listen to me, love. I want you to hold on to me."

With a slow sigh, the Queen of the Moon Kingdom slipped her arms around her husband's strong shoulders. Lifting Usagi in his arms, Mamoru started for the door.

See the lengths I go to just to have you hold me, Mamo-chan," Usagi finally said in a distant voice. She laid her head on his shoulder, patting his arm, "Home, tuxedo chauffer-sama."

"Anything you say, your majesty," Mamoru replied, trying to hide the concern in his voice. "We must keep the Queen happy, after all."

Rei, Mina and Ami were waiting on the other side of the heavy door. Mamoru caught Ami's eye and mouthed, 'Get-your-mother!' at her. Ami nodded, heading away quickly but quietly.

"Really? Okay, I want a pony. And I want a pound of Godiva chocolate. No, no...two pounds of Godiva chocolate. The ones with soft centers - no nuts," Usagi mumbled in a disjointed fashion as Mamoru wound his way towards the bedchamber they shared. She was vaguely aware that Rei and Mina were walking behind she and Mamoru now.

Rei and Mina silently opened the door for Mamoru, and then went to pull back the covers on the large bed. The King of the Silver Millennium laid his Queen on the bed and helped her out of the robe. Rei tucked the covers up under Usagi's chin, while Mamoru elevated her feet by stuffing a couple of pillows under them. Usagi gave her friend a wan smile of thanks.

"Baka, what are you grinning at?" Rei said, her soft voice taking the sting out of the words.

Mina moved to shut the large glass double doors that led to a private garden. She reached for the heavy drapes and started to close them when Usagi's slurred voice stopped her.

"No, please. I want to look at the Earth."

The Queen of the Moon Kingdom's eyes was fixed on the blue and white planet that dominated the night sky. She searched for the islands that made up the nation of Japan, but clouds obscured them today. A storm was brewing in the pacific and a big one at that, from the pattern of the cloud formations. Even still, it was so pleasant to look at, like a dream of home.

Mamoru's voice calling her name competed for Usagi's attention with a roaring in her ears. The sound reminded her of the ocean crashing against the shore. In fact, her entire body felt as if it were floating in the water. With a final glance at Earth and a sigh, Usagi let herself drift away.

Full Circle

A Sailor Moon Story
by Meara

Part 2 of 14

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