Continuing Tales

Redeem Me

A Sailor Moon Story
by goldnheart

Part 2 of 6

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Redeem Me

"You'll need to find the first of the three artifacts. They have been scattered throughout the world over time, but they are waiting for you. The sword, the wall, circle. I can give you no more information. It is on the other senshi to help you with that, to retrieve information about this. It is their quest too. And my comrades are not barred from giving them help."

"So then I won't see you again unless I succeed." Minako asked, trying to deny how much the idea hurt her, after feeling what it was like to be really loved again, to have someone look at her like that.

"Not for help, Beloved" He smiled at her, that vulnerability she could never hide from him, as much as she hated it. "But I am here for you if you wish to see me. All you have to do is call me."

Minako nodded, comforted.

"Can you at least tell me where to start?"

"At the beginning. Of course. Where the shouting starts. Your next clue should follow from that. I'll be going now princess, unless you need something." He waited, with that infinite patience.

"Did you love me? Really?"

"Always. And forever."

"Say it, let me hear you say it. You never did say it, well, outside of bed. You had promised me once you would."

"I Love you. I love you no matter what name you bear, no matter what lifetime, no matter what distance, the stars or death. I love you, Minako, my Venus, my only one."

Minako smiled, tears flowing. "Now I have to go see if I can make myself believe it. Goodbye, Kunzite." He smiled back at her, gently.

"Goodbye, Minako."

In the beginning, where the shouting starts.

Minako took the hint, and followed her intuition as it took her to the temple. And sure enough, there was shouting.

She followed the trail of fleeing visitors and devotees to the inner fire room, where Rei spent most of her free time when not with the senshi. But she had never heard shouting like this coming out of Rei's sanctuary.

"No. No! Absolutely not. You? Never. I know what you are. How could I?"

And to Minako's discomfort, a male voice answered, "You always denied me Rei. You spent our past life denying what I was to you before everyone, with excuses of status, of propriety. Anything you could use to deny what we had. But you don't have to do that in this lifetime."

Minako's heart clenched at the memories of Rei's tirades whenever Jadeite's name was associated with hers, knowing the truth of what he said.

"My name is Rei. Mars was her name, and that is over. Then does not matter. What matters is that you betrayed me. I don't believe I loved you as much as you believe but now..."

"Stop. Just stop Rei. I loved you, and you loved me. You're blocking your memories. You need to face that. I need you to face that. Until you do, we'll never be able to move on. I need you to accept that what we had. You all have a mission ahead of you. You need to get ready."

"And why should I do this? Who benefits? Only you."

"Rei. You know you need to do this. You know your duty to the dead. I won't argue with you anymore about this, as lovely as you look when we do. Just know that none of the others can move forward unless you all do. While I would love it if you would just do this for us, it is enough if you remember because your sisters need you. Call me if you need me. You know how."

Then silence.

"Minako. You can come out now. I know you're there." Rei's voice called, weary and low.

Sheepishly, Minako turned the corner, perching on Rei's dresser top, only to the beautiful miko sitting at her black vanity, shaking slightly.

"Rei." Minako called softly, so afraid the girl would shatter if she spoke too loudly. Rei turned to look at her,

"What gives him the right to make demands of me? To think I would just whispers soft I love you to him, as if he'd died defending me!" She shook her head, the raven curtains falling in her eyes. "As if I'd ever loved him like that. Never." She added with cold control.

"Rei..."Minako began again, not one to back down from Rei at her worst. "Isn't it possible that you once..." She couldn't finish it in the face of the look of hate from Rei.

"No. It would never be possible. That I would love someone that weak." She spit the word out, "No. Never."

"But Rei" Minako twirled a bit of her hair between her fingers, thinking of how much she would miss it after this comment, "I remember many occasions of your names being mentioned together, although I never caught you sneaking off to see him like the other girls. But there was always reason in the rumors."

"Oh please! He bothered me all the time; people took his constant visits as some sort of romance. But there was none. I never loved him. He was a friend once, an ally. And he betrayed my trust, not my heart. And that-that was unforgivable."

"Rei, sweetie, how often do you confide in someone you don't love? You of all people know that." Minako prodded gently, aware her flowing locks were already on borrowed time.

"In this life, never. I learned." Rei answered coldly, standing up, "And you can leave."

"Rei, wait. Come on. I'm here to be honest with you. I need your help. I need you to help me remember something."

"Why, are you helping the enemy? Have you gone soft, Leader."? Minako felt the twinge of something dark and familiar.

"We've had this argument before." Minako said, bewildered.

"What?" Rei snapped, but less coldly, curiosity peaked.

"Us. We've had this argument before." Minako's eyes scanned back and forth, trying to remember the details. "Goddess, you challenged me over Kunzite, after I allowed him to help plan security for the prince on that last ball. The one they never made it to."

"The one they were banned from later, on the Queen's orders, when we knew something was wrong." Rei replied slowly, memory kicking in.

"And you and I fought over it. And I... I won." Minako's voice shook. "I drew blood, just a drop, but Senshi blood..."

"I took the sign of my disgrace, and sent it to Kunzite. My welcome for him." Rei smiled slightly even a millennia later. Then it fell, and she sighed with a lifetime of knowledge. "We never should have done it. Senshi blood spilt by another's cursed."

Minako's muscles tensed.

"The sword. Where it all began. Senshi blood. Oh Goddess, and you sent it to them." Minako got up, holding her head in her hands. "Oh Goddess, Rei! Rei we sent them a cursed sword. Do you remember what Senshi blood does!"

"What are you talking about, Minako? It kills all life where it falls, it is like salting the land, nothing will ever grow there again."

"No, there was something more. I know it. We need to find Luna and Artemis. Now. I don't feel all bright and happy about this."

The unhappy pair made the journey back to Minako's, to find the guardians lounging in a favorite sport, the large white chair that got afternoon sun.

Artemis popped open a weary eye as both sources of warmth left him. He looked up at his charge framed by sunbeam, petting Luna, who affectionately nuzzled her neck.

"What's with sneaking up like that?" He asked crankily.

"Question, cranky. What did you teach us about senshi blood?" The cat sat up, suddenly alert.

"Why would you need to know that?" Luna jumped down to join him, matching his disapproving gaze.

"Not this life, no worries." She patted her guardian lightly on the head. "It's just left over memories were trying to sort out. Nothing that big." Artemis frowned.

"Why do you need to know now?"

"Just remembered, the memories trickle in. It might be important later if I just got it back now. So, what's the deal?"

"It's cursed." Luna said simply. Rei smirked.

"Yes, we established that much." The raven beauty answered.

"Well..." Artemis started uncomfortably, "It causes dissent and discord."

"So, if it touches you, it will curse you. Understood, so what's the big deal with that? You just don't get touched by it."

"No, Rei, oh merciful Selene, if Ami were here...No." Luna answered sharply, " There is a reason I taught you never to shed blood. The repercussions are unending. An item touched by it will curse the keeper to strife and dissent in all their relationships. It was a last ditch effort tactic for the senshi, when they had no chance of winning, to shed one another's blood. Then fight the enemy with that weapon, knowing that the enemy would self-destruct after their deaths or that their army would fall apart, leaving the enemy defenseless against the other sisters. Only senshi were immune."

Rei stood perfectly still, hardly breathing.

"Oh my god." She looked at Minako, "No. It can't have, it can't..."

"What? What's going on?" Luna, looking from girl to girl.

Minako felt her hair stand on end.

"Luna, was there any way to reverse the curse? To remove it?"

Luna sat for a moment.

"There was. The two who set the curse most offer their own blood willingly, asking it to be lifted."

Minako looked at Rei.

"We've got a sword to find, Rei." Rei nodded not looking at her.

"A sword, what are you talking about? This is getting frustrating!" Artemis whined.

"Rei and I, in the Silver Millenium, we fought and I cut her. The object is cursed, we need to recover it, and reverse it."

Luna swallowed hard.

"I remember. In the last days. It was a dark omen. Love and strife at war." She looked at them sadly, "We would need to find it, because it can do too much harm if ever found, but it was probably destroyed on the moon."

"How will we recognize it?" Minako asked casually, "Just in case someone picked it up."

"Naturally, it would be a Venusian metal, since it was your sword, so it should have a white hot shine to it and should have your emblem on it. And it should call to you both."

"Um, Minako, I think that's enough 'what if's. We should go." Rei stood calmly. Minako followed her lead, wishing she could follow her thinking. "Bye you two, go back to working on sixteen hours of sleep."

The pair exited a little too quickly, leaving the bewildered guardians staring.

"Do you understand what that was all about?" Luna asked, still looking at the door.

"No clue." Her partner answered.

"Call Usagi."


"Rei! Where are we going?" Minako asked, jogging to keep up with the woman practically flying across the pavement.

"I think there is a place we had better look." Minako kept silent, trying to guess where she was headed. The shrine, the crystal tower, the arcade, any of the usual point of energy anomalies. She was confused, to say the least, when the purple head took a sharp right into the train station.

"Rei, why are we..." Rei just smiled over her shoulder for just a second before stopping at the counter to buy two tickets. Minako stood at her shoulder as she called out,

"Two, please, for Atsuta-ku, Nagoya." She waited as the man printed the tickets and passed them on to Rei. "Thank you." Rei smiled brightly at Minako.

"We've got a shrine to visit."

"You don't seriously think this is the Kusanagi no Tsurugi." Minako asked incredulously. "And even if it was, no one has even confirmed the sword is at this shrine. And why would this sword have been my sword?"

"Undefeateable, beautiful, other worldly, around for a thousand years, and supposedly cursed. Responsible for the death of an emperor." Rei looked at her as though daring her to counter her logic, "Can you seriously think there is no chance this is yours?"

"Rei, do you know how many legendary swords there are out there? By your logic, my sword could be in any collector's case." She pulled closer to the priestess as an old woman shot her a dirty look.

"No, Minako. This is different. Do you know it's other name, it's older name? Or how it was found?"

"Well..."The English raised beauty frowned.

"Thought so. It's called Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi, sword of heaven's gathering clouds." She smiled softly at Minako. "Don't you remember your home?"

"Magellan." The blond formed the word lovingly. "The castle in the sky."

"The clouds would have been carved on your sword, as the emblem of your house. The crows were on mine."

"The emblem. Alright, it's possible." It got dark, as they passed through a tunnel.

"It's more than possible, it's uncanny." Rei said proudly. "And legend says the sword was recovered from the body of a monster. Does that not sound like one of the early monsters we encountered under Beryl? The ones made from objects?" Minako sighed. The light returned.

"Possible, Rei, I'll grant you it. But many say the shrine does not have the sword, that it was lost."

"I know, I know, at sea. But this is the best shot we have. At least we have to look. We should feel drawn to it, remember?"

Minako sat back in her tiny seat anxiously, looking at her companion. She nodded. Rei sat back too, a satisfied expression on her face. She jumped a bit as her leader put her head on her shoulder.

"Minako..." Her voice gentle, trying to keep the anxiety from it at this weak moment from the other girl.

"What if we did this to them? What if...if they could have fought Beryl and won if we had not sent the sword?" Rei was silent, and looked out the window at the gray world rushing past her.

"Then we have much to atone for to. This is the first step."

Neither spoke again.

They arrived in the station late, when all there was for light was the orange faint glow of street-lamps.

"'s so late. How are we supposed to go there now?" Rei's lips, deep red in the light, drew themselves into a sharp smile.

"Exactly, perfect cover. I am miko. I always have the right to seek shelter at a shrine. And they won't turn you away if you're with me. Especially if I name-drop my grandfather." Minako shook her head in awe.

"You had this planned the whole time?"

"Not really, but it helps now doesn't it?"

"So you were just going down here without a plan?"

"So you were just following me without one?"

"Fine." Minako brushed back her hair haughtily. "Let's just find this place."

Forty angry minutes later, they had arrived at the shrine and Rei had successful negotiated, whined, and lightly threatened their way into shelter for the night. Because the others were asleep for the night, the pair had not been housed with the other miko but with in small guest room near the fire room, since Rei had asked to be put where she could do service to the shrine with her gifts. That conveniently put them in a room close to the grounds for easy examination.

"Rei" Minako whispered, as they both dawned the loaned miko grab, "How are we supposed to find it? They don't show it to the public!"

"Oh Minako, where's your adventurous spirit? We just need to concentrate on the object. It should call to us, remember."

"I know, I know. But still."

"Come on, meditate with me, we need to get a feel for it. And we already know it is not in the treasures pavilion, which removes a big part of the property." Minako grumbled some more, but joined Rei to go to the sacred fire.

"We should probably take out our henshi. They are all we have of ourselves that was there then. And a little help from our planets can't hurt." Minako suggested removing hers as they knelt, adjusted their robes. Rei nodded, and pulled out hers as well.

"Venus Power." The orange glow surrounded them.

"Mars Power." The red glow joined the orange, and Rei started the prayer.

"...And guide us to sword, so we may undo our damage." Rei finished.

The fire flared and the girls shielded their eyes.

"Rei!" Minako cried, "My's"

"Mine too!" Rei called back as the wand began to spin in her hand. "Look, Minako! It's stopping and starting when I turn." The Miko stood and took a couple of tentative steps one way, and it began to spin violently. She stepped back and it began to slow down.

"Okay," Minako smiled, "Looks like we've got guides here. Come on, Mars, let's follow."

The pair raced into the courtyard, following the direction of the spin. It lead them around the treasure pavilion, and through the main courtyard, back to the back part of the shrine. They reached an unkempt part of the grounds. Then abruptly the spinning stopped and the henshi shined.

"I think," Minako called, looking up at the old tree in front of them, "We're here."

"But where?" Re answered. The pair walked the circumference of the tree, walking head first into one another. They both swore, slapping at the other. But the wands did not move. Minako frowned.

"Maybe..." She tenuously raised the object up, and the glow faded. She gulped. Slowly, she moved the wand back down, lowering it to the ground. The glow grew and pulsed as she set her hensin on the ground. She looked at Rei. "We dig?"

"With what?" Rei asked incredulously.

"Our hands?" Minako asked sweetly.

"There has got to be a better way." Rei replied, "That'll take years. And they'll all be up by then. Dawn is soon." She pointed to the purpling horizon.

"I don't know. I wish we had Ami." Minako kicked at the ground. "Should we try her on the communicator?"

"If she hasn't seen Zoicite yet...probably not a good idea. And knowing her, she'll have wanted to sleep on the idea." Rei sighed, "Maybe you could try calling it like the crystal sword."

Minako thought for a moment. "Worth a shot." She stuck out her hand and casually called out, "Sword of my house, return to me. I claim you." She held out her hand for a few moments and nothing.

"Oh well." Minako shrugged, "I tried, I guess we need a shovel."

Then the ground started to shake.


"Oh damn." Was all the girl could say as erupting out of the ground came a blazing white sword. It hurled itself toward her as she watched in horror. She dropped to the ground, shaking, as it stuck itself in the ground at her feet. Rei stood stock still in shock.

"Oh my god! Minako! Sweet Goddess!" She knelt next to her. "I thought for a second."

"Oh, me too, Rei. Me too." They both sat there for a few moments. "We need to lift the curse on this thing so we can move it."

"Agreed. You had better call the crystal sword, unless you carry a knife with you." Minako ignored the snark and called for her sword.

"I don't know if I'm doing this right or not..." Minako replied nicking her palm on the crystal sword. She hissed as it cut into her flesh. She held the bleeding limb over cursed sword and called out softly but firmly "This blood I give freely, in honor of my love for my sister senshi, may we never be parted. And may the blood we shed on this in anger be removed by blood shed for love." The blood hissed as it hit the white hot metal. Rei repeated the gesture.

Then the light on the sword faded, and an inscription began to from where the blood had left a trail down the blade. It read only,

"All fails since to me you came. Love strife, strife sends you. Now my brothers, I know them not." Rei reached out to stroke the words.

"I know this hand. Jadeite's script, as in all the letters. All the trees sacrificed so he could tell me he loved me, many times a day. He wrote this inscription."

"But why would he have had it. I thought you sent it to Kunzite." Rei's eyes filled with tears.

"I did! But Jadeite was the weapon's master. It would have been in his care. And a gift from me, to the earth, he would have kept it in his possession."

"Oh Rei." Minako wrapped an arm around the girl who tried to shake her off violently for several moments before at last the miko let herself be held. "Come on, we need to get out of here." She began frantically packing the dirt back down with her feet before giving up on the effort and just grabbing the sword, putting it and the crystal sword back in her space pocket. She grabbed the two henshi and hustled Rei off back to the room where they packed up quickly, left a note of thanks, and fled back to the train station. They boarded the train at dawn.

The huddle together, exhausted, in the tiny seats.

"Another earthquake last night." A young business man commented to the older man next to him in the row in front of them. "Except the epicenter wasn't on any known fault. They're still looking it to it."

"Strange." The older man commented. The girls looked at one another nervously, looking at dried blood on their palms. Rei snuggled closer to Minako.

"He was thinking of me even at the end, as it all fell apart. 'Love strife', he was wondering why I had done this to him. What I had done to make it all go wrong. Yet he loved me," Minako felt the tears seeping through her sweater. "Minako, he did love me. How he loved me! How could I have forgotten his letters? And I, I loved to him too. Goddess help me, I loved him, and I cursed him." Minako held her tighter, the whispered words of agony cutting her own heart.

"I did it too, we all did, for allowing them to come between us, for making love something we fought about."

"I really did love him, and you Kunzite, and the others."

"Yes...It seems we did. And they we were equally culpable in the fall. Goddess help us. We need to find the others. Ami is closest."

Redeem Me

A Sailor Moon Story
by goldnheart

Part 2 of 6

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