The Great Matter by Cookirini

Summary:Usagi Tsukino has fought mad scientists, jealous queens, time terrorists and the force of Chaos itself. But now, a new crisis awaits: she will be tried for trumped up crimes and for who she is... by sailor soldiers around the universe. Complete.

Table of Contents


1: Basics
2: Number One
3: Tsukinousagi
4: The Hearing
5: Coocor
6: Gathering Evidence
7: A Day in Court
8: Sailor Zra
9: Sailor Dyka
10: Helping Out
11: Public Opinion
12: Setback
13: The Astramort
14: Argument
15: Humbuggers and Freys
16: Resurrection
17: Downfall
18: Yomokei
19: Brutus
20: Forbidden
21: No Rainbow
22: Decision
23: Loss
24: Mamochan
25: Kidnapped
26: Incognito
27: Epiphany
28: Sailor Kastalle
29: Ozwara
30: The Murderer
31: The Brooch
32: Interrogation
33: Crooked
34: A Revelation
35: The Truth
36: Sailor Kepe
37: Poenagorde
38: Smoking Gun
39: Battle
40: Faltering
41: Sailor Soldiers
42: Sailor Galaxia
43: In Closing
44: End

0: Introduction

Since as far back as people have remembered, there have always been sailor soldiers. They have been a part of civilized society since the very beginning. Always, they have defended the worlds. Always, their motto: Beauty in Birth, Dignity in Death.

Yet even sailor soldiers had a law. They had their own body of power, to control their actions and lives. They have always gone by the same rules, but two were most sacred. The first: no person shall use their power for resurrection. The second, and more precious rule: no one shall enter the place of birth for all stars. Those two rules have been the standard for all sailor soldiers through the span of time.

Those who disobeyed the first rule were given punishments. The first rule was seldom broken. Those who disobeyed the second rule were to be given an even greater punishment, on worse than death.

No one had ever disobeyed the second rule.…no one…..except for one person. The trial that followed has been a subject of close examination to the pros and cons of a system that was long considered inviolable.

The following is a testimonial to that case: Universal Seemarin vs. Tsukinousagi.

1: Basics

Guilty. Guilty, on all charges. Every single one. Thank the stars.

There was really, really no surprise to the verdict in the matter, really. Truly, how could there be any other outcome? I couldn't think of any other one then, and not even now can I fathom another ending.

Of course, to those who don't know of the Great Matter…..explaining is in order.

My name is Floritiuse. It means "child born in a hospital." Instead of that, however, you are all permitted to call me Themis. Sailor Themis, that is. Yes, a sailor soldier, a champion of justice. I come from a very distant planet, in the distant galaxy of Blusdlue, a place not even discovered by your kind, and possibly won't be for years to come.

Oh, yes…..speaking of i your /i kind. This really is all your fault, I'll have you know. If it hadn't been for you…..

-What? You suddenly ask. -What's out fault?

The Great Matter, of course. It wouldn't have been such a great matter if all you humans could figure out how to control yourselves. How to change yourselves. How to……

But I digress. I sometimes stray off of the subject spoken of, when I am caught in a flow of thought.

Then again, like thoughts, great matters sometimes take on lives of their own. Sometimes, they do so in ways no one would ever imagine.

Perhaps more of my life's story is in order before an explanation. I was born on Themis, raised on Themis, and live on Themis. And so, I am soldier of that planet. I was working - as all sailors do - as a defender of the planet, and guardian of my loved ones. Of course, that is the mission of a soldier, as set by our nature - and dictated in finite terms by the Seemarin, the Sailor Counsel.

The Seemarin is the oldest establishment in the universe, and the most respected. All galaxies have senators in it, and all sailors who are awakened abide by the rules for as long as they are sailors. From the first day a sailor soldier transforms, they are members until their death and rebirth in Galaxy Cauldron, because they may not awaken in their next life. Sometimes, a sailor may not re-awaken for hundreds of lives, while others have never had an incarnation where they lived with no soldier duties……but I digress.

The Seemarin is ruled by the three wisest soldiers in the universe. You can almost say they are the rulers of the universe. They're the Three Judges, and they control everything, and in some cases, they will try a soldier for transgressions, such as that which spawned the Great Matter.

I, Themis, was not a member of the Seemarin senate, though I always wished to be. My friend, Koogairu, the soldier of a planet several systems away from me, was….is…..the representative for our district in the Seemarin. She, of course, tried to make me see otherwise.

-Trust me, Themis, she told me after one fight. -You don't want to be in there. You would have to take responsibility and be answerable to the Three.

But of course I didn't care. I had no problem with it. To be elected a senator was the greatest honor one could be given in reward for services done for the bettering of the world….er, universe. One could always aspire to be a Judge, of course, but the judges were appointed for many millennia, so that hope was moot.

Anyways, the Seemarin has a motto: "Beauty in Birth, Dignity in Death". It applies to all sailors. A soldier must take death as a part of life, for it is in the natural cycle of a soldier to die so that she may be reborn. To die in battle was the greatest thing, for it meant immediate rebirth through the Galaxy Cauldron, considered the mother of all living things.

This, of course, gives birth to the most sacred rule to a soldier. No soldier, it was decreed, may resurrect or give the power of rebirth, under any circumstance. Though all soldiers had the power to do so, that privilege to use it is only afforded to the Cauldron.

I awakened as a sailor with I was about twenty. I had been a soldier for ten years before the Great Matter. I had fought many different monsters, and demons. It was almost fun to be a soldier, perhaps because many of the demons were not very difficult to defeat. Most of the time, my worst injuries were scratches and bruises.

My section was considered a model of peace and tranquility. As a result, I was afforded many different honors, including a knighthood from the Ydhh queen. Even though fighting took up a lot of my time, I managed to bring out a living as a teacher in Ydhh, the neighbor of Themis, another reward for my services. The students would always ask me so many questions about being a soldier.

-Is it hard? One might have asked. -Giving up your life for others?
-It is hard, I admitted. -But it is worth it.
-You are a very pretty woman.
-Can I see your medals?

And they would look at my metals with awe. I was always so proud of being a soldier. There was so much peace between myself and my sister soldiers.

Before the Great Matter, everything was perfect.

2: Number One

The faint rumors of events that would cumulate into the Great Matter were muted, and somewhat unbelievable. I first heard of it from another one of my sailor counterparts, the friend of a friend.

-Good morning.
-Good morning, Dyka.

Dyka was a soldier who came from the Cascassa galaxy, another delegate of the Counsel. She was passing through and asked me to pass some important news about legislation to Koogairu. She had been injured and could not attend the meeting.

-I'll take this and bring it to her, I promised.
-Thanks. Oh, hey. She had turned to me. -I heard something of interest that may intrigue Koo. There's an investigation of some kind going on.
-Really?
-Yeah. I overheard it. Don't tell anyone else but Koo, because I don't think we're supposed to know yet. But the Three talked to the Barrister - Kepe, she just came back from a Vika galaxy - and ordered an investigation on a possible Number One case.
-Number One?

That certainly got my attention. It surprised me that anyone would dare to break such a rule! But I kept my promise to keep it under wraps, only to tell Koogairu about it. And I did, as she nursed her wound.

-Hmm! She seemed surprised about the news. -Might have some action at last. It was probably one of the backwards ones, of course. Stupid hicks.
-Backwards?
-You know. There was a slight look of disgust in Koogairu's voice. -Those galaxies.

I got the point. There were several galaxies filled with undesirables. Many of the galaxies in the west of the universe, particularly, known to us as the Vika galaxies. They were very wild, very disorderly, and many did not have the capacity to even leave their own planet. Many of the planets were also uninhabited. Those galaxies were the home of pirates, murderers and other lowlifes. Of course, before the Great Matter, those galaxies were normally ignored.

-Unusual, of course, that the Three would care, she chuckled. -We generally just ignore those galaxies. Nothing good ever came from them.

I also gave a nod, laughing along with her. Nothing good ever had come from them. Those galaxies had nothing to offer even if there was any good or decency among their populaces. Such things were better left alone, left to the pirate fighters - such as Kepe. But I digress.

It had been about a year before the Great Matter really began to take a hold of the counsel, or anyone for that matter. At first, the matter was simply put under the rug, for no one heard anything else of it for a good amount of time. In fact, most people were liable to shrug it off as simply an open-and-shut case. I myself gave a shrug and let it slide; after all, with no more news on it, it was probably already taken care of.

Of course, that would not have been new at all. Though the laws were strict on Number Ones, there could be easy leeway. There were many, many instances where a sailor soldier had broken the rule and had, in the emotion of the moment, brought forth their sailor crystal and resurrected a dead partner as they lay on the ground after a hard battle. It was normally a one-time-only ordeal, an unfortunate and sad event, one that normally cumulated in a simple reprimand from the Three, an apology from the offender, and it was the end of it. For all sailors deserve a second chance; sailors have emotions as well.

So nothing was mentioned, not even a breath, for many months. The bombshell, of course, would hit all the harder when something was finally said.

-Probably nothing. Koogairu accepted the paper graciously. -So, sister, let's just forget about it for now, shall we?


Battles were fought, battles were won, and the year passed quickly. The rumors of the Number One in the distant Vika were all but forgotten by me. There were things to do, students to teach, and royal Ydhh and Themis functions to attend. I lived a busy life, or so I thought.

Then, I loved what I was. I accepted the way things were. Several nights, I would dream myself in the Seemarin senate, showing myself to be an upstanding citizen of the sailor world. So many people would look upon me as a model for the next generation, and when I was reborn, I would take what I could from my previous life and use it once more. My greatest desire was to help people, to risk myself and to die for them if I had to.

Of course, as the months went by, I also thought, if I could not become a senator, I could also become a pirate fighter. Pirate fighters were hardened sailor soldiers who fought in the Vika pirates and criminals who infested the barbarian worlds. There were many favorite fighters, many who were commercial successes. I had a large poster of one - a certain Sailor Kepe - on my wall before the Great Matter. But I digress.

After a year, stories began to come out of one particular Vika system. This one was one situated in the west somewhere, trillions of light years away from Ydhh. However, as the stories began to mount, people began to talk about it more and more. What was once a rumor became regular talk over the table.

-I hear, the Ydhh princess suddenly noted one day, -that there is to be a Number One trial sometime soon. Is this true, Themis?

-A Number One...trial?

-You have not heard? The Ydhh princess was genuinely surprised. -Some of the soldiers passing by recently have been speaking of it. I think it involves Kepe.

-Kepe…..

I consulted Koogairu on this that night. As she was our senator, she probably knew more on it. So I asked her.

-It's true, Koogairu replied. -Its starting to gain a lot of momentum. The Seemarin has approved of a crackdown in order to reign in the lawlessness of the heathen galaxies. Several people have already been rounded up for it in one of the Vika galaxies, and they'll be facing tribunals for multiple infractions. But I guess the worst is yet to come.

Twenty soldiers, rounded up for questioning, and then imprisoned, to put on trial. It was news instantly.

MONSTERS OF THE UNKNOWN! One headline glared, with their pictures strewn up on the front page for all to see. THE CRUSADE OF ALL TIME TO STAMP OUT LAWLESSNESS HAS BEGUN!

That was shocking enough, for the soldiers looked like us. They did not look evil or menacing at all, as people tended to think. They actually looked normal, almost sad, in their pictures. I would have almost pitied them, if I was not of the mind that they were traitors. They knew of the rules; they willingly broke them, and they had a greater price to pay than a simple slap on the hand.

But to think, that there was still one left, one more person we had yet to meet. That I had yet to meet. For those same twenty soldiers were somehow very willing, for many reasons, to give up much more tempting information to their interrogators. But I did not know of this. I knew nothing.

What I knew was that being a soldier was a privilege that was not to be taken lightly. All whom I met were colleagues and acquaintances, mainly the soldiers I met. I did not differentiate between my life as a soldier and my normal life because…..well, there was no reason to separate the two. After all, being a soldier was a part of my life, and many people knew I was a soldier, and accepted it. Some people's very future was dependent on the fact that they were a sailor soldier. Soldiers were to be the leaders of the community and of the galaxy, they were the upstanding heroes. Everyone knew who we were.

Never, however, had I questioned that there could be another way, because for me, there was no other way. All of those who defied the rules were barbarians, and deserved punishment for not following the rules.

But again, this was before the Great Matter. And, of course, this is before I met one young lady named Usagi.

3: Tsukinousagi

-Themis! THEMIS!

It was a day in the summer, during the eclipse of Seldigo, that the Great Matter began for me. I was asleep, having stayed up the entire night grading papers for my class in the morning. Currently, or at least then, I lived in the town of Bsyey, a small place on the other side of the Ydhh home world. I had only gotten an hour or so of sleep, and had just begun to dream when the violent rapping came onto my door.

-THEMIS! I was startled awake. -Themis, wake UP!

My eyes were blurry, and my heart was racing as I tried to wake myself up. The sun was shining into my room, and I had to blink several times to get myself adjusted to the glare.

-I……. I yawned. -I'm coming….

I staggered from my chair and almost didn't make it to the door. But I persevered, and made it; I opened the door. I knew it was Koogairu at the door, but I did not quite comprehend why Koogairu would be at my door so early in the morning. Then I realized it was not early at all; the sun was up too high as I opened the door.

-Koogairu?

-Themis! She suddenly grabbed my hand. -It's incredible. You're not going to believe what's going on.

-What? I was immediately awake. -What happened?

-Come with me. Koogairu dragged me out of my room. -You'll find out soon enough.

The next thing I knew, I was being brought into Bsyey Square, still in the clothing I had worn the previous day, and escorted into the church. I wondered why I was being brought into a church, as church was normally closed on non-worship days, and that day was not by any means a worship day.

-In here.

It was completely empty in the church, save for myself, Koogairu and several figures at the head of the church. At first, I did not recognize who was with us, for the figures in the front were cloaked; as we got closer, however, I recognized the vicar of Bsyey, and Sailor Dyka. The others seemed to be bodyguards.

-We're here, Dyka.

-Good. Dyka turned to the vicars and the bodyguards. -You can leave. We must be alone.

The vicar nodded and led the guards out, allowing my confusion to grow. It was in the middle of the day, and Dyka, who lived quite a ways away from Ydhh, was in the town, in the church. It dawned on me, however, that something important must have been happening for this to be possible.

-Sailor Dyka. I bowed. -I…..This is unexpected.

-Themis. I looked up as Dyka spoke. -A great matter is at hand, and I need your help.

I remember my confusion as I looked up into her eyes; I could sense, even more, a great importance of whatever was to be given to me, though I still, even then, could not fathom.

-What is it that you ask of me, senator?

-….Tell me, Themis. She turned away from me. -What experience have you had in court?

-Huh?

I was taken aback by this line of questioning. I answered, though my voice cracked.

-Well, I….. My mind went through it all so I could answer truthfully. -Well….I tried several robberies….and I had a murder, but they dropped the charge.

-And….what of treason? Have you served for that?

-….What?!

Now I was suspicious of her questions. Of all the things to ask! But only one possibility came up as to why. But was it possible? My lip quivered at the possibility.

-Dyka…?

-Themis. She turned back to me. -I need your help.

I stared at here. No, I thought. It was impossible. I couldn't be. Sailor she have done it?

-Dyka…. I quickly dropped down. -I will defend you if you ask, at any trials that may come before you, as your friend and as your follower-

-No, Themis….not me.

-......Oh. I gave a sigh of relief. -Then-

-Her.

My head swerved around. I stood before the pew that Dyka pointed at, my eyes scanning what was before me with surprise and some disdain.

-She's a Number One case.

-A.....

She wore a long black cape of the Bysey. A red hood covered her head, concealing her face. I knew full well it was a girl, and a sailor soldier, even though she was completely hidden under the cloak. Being a soldier for many years can allow you to see a sailor soldier, to sense a sailor soldier through any guise. However, I could not see what she looked like.

-You..... I caught my breath. -Th-this is a joke, right?

-No.

-Then.....

-See for yourself an accused traitor. Dyka turned to the cloaked figure. -Show her your face, girl.

There was a reluctant pause at this. Slowly, surely, a shaking, pale, thin appendage of an arm reached up for the hood.

Perhaps it is difficult for someone human to understand what I felt when I first saw that hand. Perhaps I should have mentioned that I am not....human.....nor am I human-looking. It would be hard to describe what exactly I look like to you humans, since I am not like a...human. In fact, I did not know the term 'human' until....well.....we called you jeukoochinegar in common, or if we were being kind, vikarna. But I digress.

-......Ah........

I stared, unbelieving, at the sight I beheld. Under this cloak was this.....thing? How could I describe it? I has never seen a creature so scrawny or naked in my life. Not naked in that it had no clothing, but naked as it was so plain and tiny. It was a pale whitish color, with dark golden hair, and large, bugged out eyes, staring right back at me. All over its face were scratches and red marks, and they stood out as its face became white upon looking around.

-You....I stammered. -B-but you're too young to be a.....a....you look.....weird....

I went to touch the creature in curiosity, on instinct, but instantly, it drew back from me, almost throwing itself onto the other side of the pew aisle. As this, I looked at Dyka reproachfully. I was almost certain it was a mistake, for she was young, whatever she or it was, a mere child in my mind. For that matter, she was a strange creature to begin with. What was worse, I figured out that she was somehow very scared of me.

-I thought you might want to see her before everything blew up. She was arrested two weeks ago and taken into custody, Dyka simply replied. -The Bysey managed to get her from her prison cell. She'll be going back soon, or maybe she'll go to another holding place. I don't know. She was acting like a baby when I brought her here; I had to smack her myself to stop her crying. I haven't a clue why. I can't find anything. The jailers claimed that she is a compulsive liar; those scars were self-inflicted.

-A child!

-She's being put on trial.

-But Dyka! I almost sounded condescending. Couldn't they wait?

-Themis. She looked me in the eye. -She broke a rule, no matter how young she is. From what I understand, the charge is much more grievous; the holders claimed she did something else, but they wouldn't go into what it was.

-Oh..... I bent my head down. -I apologize. That is true.

-That is all right. Dyka's eyes hardened. -But right now, the Number One charge is what we have. We'll know more at the hearing.

-Hearing? We?

My heart skipped a beat. For the moment, I forgot about the bruised girl next to me and thought of grander things. To be sure, if 'we' were going to the hearing, I knew in my heart what Dyka was asking.

-...Y..... I stammered. -I'd be honored.

-Hmm?

-You....but...I can't be on your team, can I? My heart suddenly sunk. -I'm not a part of the Seemarin....only representatives can be on a Number One trial....

-...No. Dyka's head turned towards the girl. -You are not. But you will be my partner on the case, nevertheless. It doesn't matter that you're not on the Seemarin. You seem to be dependable. Have a head on your shoulders. As much as I like Koogairu, you've never seen her lobby anything. She's a liability, doesn't have the stomach for this kind of case.

-Then-

-I petitioned the Seemarin. They approved. Dyka turned back to me. -You're on my team. Don't let me down.

-I.....

I looked at the creature. I looked back at Dyka. Then, I looked back at the creature. She was almost cowering on the other side of the aisle, frightened of our very presence. I almost felt offended by her actions, if I hadn't been repulsed by the simple appearance of her.

-Is....she from a.....Vika galaxy?

-She is. Dyka lowered her voice. Upon arrest, she identified herself not as a soldier, as per standard procedure, but "tsukinousagi". Her planet is the satellite of a planet called "earth" by its inhabitants from my basic notes, one called "moon".

-Satellite?

This made me sick even more. Not only a Vika, but not even from a real planet! Soldier of a mere sub-planet, a satellite! Satellite soldiers were not very strong at all, and sometimes planetary soldiers were exiled to satellites as punishment for improper conduct.

-This..... I almost turned green. -This must.....be a joke.

-Here. The next thing I knew, a giant black folder several feet thick was placed in my hands. -This is the file for our upcoming case. This is abruptly being put in our lap; its big. So I suggest you'd better read it; you have three days to get caught up and memorize it.

-But what do I tell-

-Your school has put you on leave to do this. But regardless, it is best not to mention anything to anyone else about it yet. Dyka turned away. -Remember, three days. You must be ready. Come, girl.

Slowly, with hesitation, the virtually hairless creature stood up. She looked around, and before she turned and followed Dyka out of the church with a scamper, she gave me a final, almost nervous glance.

-

It stayed with me for many days afterwards, that first meeting. Though it sometimes faded, the memory would always come back to me.

I had never seen such a file in my life. There was seven thousand pages of police reports; one half was dedicated to statistics, social profiles, prison dockets, and other papers regarding what was known about the criminal. Everyone wanted a piece of her, it almost seemed.

The other half of the file was the list of people whom she - whom was known in her soldier form as "Sailor Moon", for the satellite was called "Moon" - had resurrected in violation of the resurrection clause that was Number One. All of them were citizens of Earth, the star planet she supposedly resided on. There were approximately two billion names on the file I was presented. And this was the edited version.

There were about four billion others, but to conserve paper, the filers whom composed the report for me had to compromise. They wrote on the back of the last people list of this discrepancy, with the comment that I had no need to know the name of everyone resurrected. But I digress.

Tsukinousagi........Tsukinousagi.......

The look in the girl's eyes as she left was unlike anything I had ever seen before. There was something within them, something I could not quite identify. There was fear, yes, and sadness. There was a great deal of sadness in her tear-stained eyes. There were other things, things that I could not understand, that lay in them as well. It was as if there was some sort of strange depth, which I had not ever seen in any of my sisters before.

Hmm.......

The thought of ponderance vanished, however, when I delved deep enough into the file. I came to simply stare at each page that I read with incredulity. The charges seemed so ludicrous to me. I would turn a page, after reading an outrageous account of Tsukinousagi's crimes, only to find that the next page contained even more ludicrous charges. By the time I had gotten only halfway through the list of names, I could not read any more. I was too sick of what I'd absorbed to take any more.

For, according to what I was given, she had resurrected everyone on the star planet Earth - six billion creatures just like her. In this, she had violated Number One. But she had not violated it just once. No; she had not even violated it twice. She violated Number One five times in almost as many Earth years.

Thirty billion counts of violation? I could not believe my eyes. A small, pale, almost trembling girl, such as her, a skimp mutant. Thirty billion! And I am assured that they were probably rounding it down!

I rubbed my eyes in frustration. I could not think straight about who I was to defend in court to throw this in my lap like this, I almost cursed Dyka for choosing me. To defend such a person would never get me into the Seemarin. It was in reading the depressing material that I remembered that defenders who are chosen from the outside to help a criminal are ostracized forever after.

Yet the look in her eyes came back to me, and I cursed my luck. I cursed Tsukinousagi. I wished I had never met such a cowering contradiction.

4: The Hearing

The three days passed so quickly, like a blinking of my eyes. Each day that passed made me fear what I would face at the Seemarin Court of Justice, which is upon the distant planet called Asgerd. Word of such things spread quickly, and even my own planet published the rumors that a soldier of my system would defend a criminal barbarian. I felt trapped, trapped by a bald rat, into the biggest mistake of my life.

On the other hand, I would be on Asgerd, which is a world that no one could ever forget once they laid their eyes upon it. It is a magnificent place, its cities and streets and buildings always glittering a a light cerulean hue, just like a turquoise jewel. Even in the night, when Asgerd's ground sparkled like the water, for carved all upon its neon surface are the laws of the universe, permanently engraved in the languages recognized by the Tome of the Trillion Tongues. And the Court itself is as large as a city, for its main dome must sometimes hold up to one million soldiers alone, such as it did the day of the first hearing. But I digress.

-Are you ready?

-Y.....yes.

-Are you certain?

I looked at Dyka nervously. There were so many soldiers coming into the courtroom, so much talking. One could not hear oneself think. And we were at the bottom concourse of the great dome, ten thousand feet high. Yet the diameter of our space was a mere thirty feet for our desks. One barely had room to move, especially when you had two other soldiers; one a Dykan and the other a tiny, hairless kitten sans a tail, around you.

She still looked pitiful. they had given her the smallest dress they could find, but it still hung on her. It was of a pretty color, but it didn't look well on her still.

-I read through everything, I retorted almost haughtily, in an effort to conceal my fright. -Don't worry. I'm prepared.

-Let's hope.

Dyka gave me a look, an almost condescending look, as we sat. Mere second after all three of us had been led to the seats at the defense desk, Tsukinousagi was suddenly led away into the defendant's cage. That was situated near the judges podium, which is twenty feet high.

-Phew.

Most defendants needed no such precaution at their hearing, but our client was a special exception. The speculation was that there had been so many death threats - death threats! - against the client that we should be publicly seperated from her via a beam shield. And so she was given a space impenetrable by sailor magic, and as the pink light surrounded the platform she was forced to sit at, I gave a sigh of relief.

-You'd think they were doing her a service protecting her, I mumbled.

-Themis. Dyka growled. -Even if we hate her, let us be civilized. Don't go to her level.

-Barrister for the Defense, Sailor Dyka. A voice suddenly bellowed through the dome, snapping us to attention. -Lawyer for the Defense, Sailor Themis.

We were announced, and immediately, boos and catcalls were directed right towards us. We got the hint and quickly sat down, the booing still ringing in our ears even when the guards yelled for the soldiers to be quiet. I simply wanted to shrink away, so that no one would boo me. Now, everyone would know who worked with Sailor Dyka to defend the baby terrorist, and I just wished I could die. It didn't help that the little yellow fool simply sat down in her seat without a word in reply to the calling.

-Hey! Hey! the guards shouted. -Keep it down! Silence! Respect!

-Hmph. I shuddered. -I'd rather be dead.

-Themis!

-Barrister for the Prosecution, Sailor Kepe.

At that moment, the crowd became silent. It was as if the very name stunned them to silence. Or perhaps not; perhaps they felt she had afforded more respect than us. It certainly felt like it as I stood, embarrassed, waiting to receive the other side. But I digress.

The honorary senator Sailor Kepe, she who captured twenty sailors, and much more, was certainly a sight to look at as soon as she entered the room. Tall, thin, but full of real sinew, her black fur was almost mangled in her dark blue attire, which went to her waist, and then came down like a robe over her thigh-high blue boots. On her forehead was a great jeweled hat, with a large white feather in it. Her black eyes seemed to look back and fro, seemingly never missing what was in front of her, observing every inch of the courtroom.

And so, one of the most well-known sailor pirate fighters stepped into the limelight, and was immediately cheered on as she went towards her seat. Behind her - and I did not notice her until after Kepe had turned to sit down, for everyone's eyes were on Kepe - was a short, red-skinned, four-legged stout creature. She had two tiny gold horns on her head, which fastened on her head a thin black tiara. Her black lips seemed to be in a pout, and her red eyes were fastened on Kepe.

-Dyka? I motioned silently towards the smaller girl as the audience cheers drowned out my question. -Who's that?

-Aa-ah. Dyka looked at me with a whisper. -That would be Sailor Bora. Kepe's lap dog servant. She can't go anywhere without Bora, because Bora was saved by her, and now she doesn't let Kepe go.

-How....how nice.....

-Lawyer for the Prosecution, the voice suddenly bellowed. -Sailor Bora.

I looked at Bora, who also flashed a glance at me. When our eyes met, I could feel a bit of apprehensiveness on her part upon seeing me. I, on the other hand, was completely nervous, and so quickly dashed my eyes down. I flicked my eyes back up, and saw that Bora was still looking at me. Or perhaps she was looking at the girl in the cage; it slips my mind, for the voice spoke again.

-Enter the Three! the voice boomed. -Recite the pledge!

We all - and when I mean all, I mean everyone but Tsukinousagi - instantly stood up, as each of the judges entered. And so we recited:

-HAIL TO THE THREE! All-wise, all-knowing! Eternal queens of the Seemarin! Justice is done in your name! Your presence keeps out evil! May the Cauldron rebirth you as a true star! Beauty in Birth, DIGNITY IN DEATH!!!

This last part was emphasized very much, and it made me uncomfortable as I knew exactly why everyone emphasized it. But it was with this that the Three Judges came in.

Perhaps the Three should be explained. Naturally, they are called the Three Judges because there are three of them, and they are the ones who ultimately decide things. They are considered the oldest, the wisest, and the most powerful of all the known sailor soldiers. Some on your planet could liken them to the "Fates", or "Moirae", or whatever you call them, as their powers of sight is thought to encompass the length of thousands of years. But I digress

The first is Phainon. She is a soldier who wears a light blue robe. Her skin is a pale blue, and the best way I can describe her is to think of the face of a cat, but with no ears, very thin, short, light fur, and the whiskers are closer to the ears than to the nose. Also, her eyes are white, and shaped like triangles, and she has long light blue hair that shimmers like the seas.

The second is Savitri. Savitri wears a dark red robe. Imagine a tree, with leaves and shoots and stalks. That is the best way to describe Savitri. She is like a tree - hard and strong, and brown. She is very old, but it is said that she can actually lift an entire city right off of its base, with three fingers. And Savitri had eighty fingers on each hand.

The oldest is Allecto. Allecto wears black. She is always shrouded. She never shows her face, so I could not describe her as I can the others. However, she is tall, at least thirty feet tall. She is the tallest sailor of them all, and can pick any one of us up and fling us across the room in anger. She has done it more than once, I have heard. But I again digress.

And so, in the finality of everything, it was these three who actually decided Sailor Moon's ultimate fate. To be judged by the Three is daunting, especially if you are judged for crimes. And little did we know all of the crimes that our little friend would be charged with!

-SAILORS. Savitri, the spokesperson of the Three, spoke, and her voice boomed throughout the great dome. -This hearing is now commenced. The Barrister for the Prosecution shall start this hearing.

The sailors, at this, cheered. Kepe was a true hero, and she knew it as she walked up to the front. She smiled to the crowd, which cheered for several more minutes before the guards could settle everyone down.

-Sailor Kepe. Savitri looked down upon her. -Begin.

-....Sailor Allecto. Sailor Phainon. Sailor Savitri. Kepe's face became serious the instant the judge spoke. She quickly bowed low. -I come to you to plead the case of the Seemarin against Tsukinousagi, called "Sailor Moon".

-Proceed, good sailor.

-Indeed. Kepe stood up as staright as an arrow. She pointed at our charge. -I come to plead for the laws of the universe as we all know it. These laws, written as deep as the depth of a thousand rivers on this star Asgerd, those which all sailors must abide by, have been gravely violated, your highnesses. This heretic-sister of mine has violated the Law of Life itself - that only the Galaxy Cauldron may bring back the dead, for the duty lies only with the Cosmic Guardian.

Kepe took a deep breath. Bora, meanwhile, looked back and forth from everyone, and began to write things down on a notepad.

-She, who owes her life to the Cauldron, has betrayed it not once - not twice - but five times, serving the Earth population with her unorthodox use of power. As there are, to our estimate, 6 billion people on her planet, at this, Kepe bowed again, -I humbly request that your highnesses set a date for this traitor, so that she may be tried on thirty billion counts of resurrection of the first degree.

A great roar of approval came from the crowd.

-What say you, Dyka? Allecto turned to the defender. -Are you of-

-Your honors. Suddenly, Kepe bowed once more. -Forgive me for being out of line, but I was not finished.

The way which Kepe said that - so haughty, so assured - made me feel uneasy. However, the slight shaking of Kepe's body - which I noticed as she stood straight - assured me that she was certainly not egotistical. She could not be; she almost seemed frightened. She certainly knew her place, as we all did.

-What else have you to say?

-Your highnesses. Kepe stepped forward. -This heathen-baby has done more than simply the mere act of resurrecting. She has, and I can prove, on her own free will, directly trespassed into the very Galaxy Cauldron itself to undo its death cycle....

At the mere mention! I trembled violently. On top of what she had done, she broke another sacred rule! My mind whirled, I saw red at the mere thought! Who was this tiny child who had the audacity!

At this, the crowd was at a fever pitch by now. No one could hear themselves think, let alone scream. The entire group, calm and collected moments before, now stared at the young girl, who shut her eyes tightly, as if she could drown the hate out. But it was of no use. They wanted her. They wanted her blood for her sins!

-YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

The unrelenting screech from the judges, a pure noise of unbearable pain done in unison, shook the foundations of the hall. As the cavernous building rumbled, all were suddenly brought to silence. As everyone in the room began to sit back down, their desire to hate the girl muted by the power of the three judges, I looked at the girl reproachfully, wondering why I was feeling pity for someone who deserved none.

-......Sailor Kepe. Savitri spoke again. -Indeed, as we see in our papers, these are all of the charges. Defense, do you concur?

Concur?!

The recoil from shock turned into a flicker of confusion. What was there to confer? We had not known of the graver charges, and, looking back, there should have been no reason for us not to know in the report alongside the Number Ones. Nevertheless, we both stood up, though my body was shaking with fear.

-......Sovereign judges. Dyka managed to keep her voice level, even after the revelation. -....We concur with the charges.

The sailors murmured again, with hate and anger, but this time the volume was much lower. They did not dare incur the wrath of the judges again.

-We shall see the teams, immediately, for the date the trial shall begin. The three stood. -This court is adjourned for the day.

Instantly, the crowds were in an uproar once more. After the judges left, the crowd was in an even greater riot. Things were thrown at the cage which Tsukinousagi was inside of. Had the magic not been protecting her, she would have been cut to pieces. As it was, the guard were having a hard time keeping themselves out of the line of fire as they proceeded to usher her out of the concourse.

Oh....no..... My legs were jelly as I went to follow Dyka. Various objects flew over my head. It....just....had to be me....

It was a shame, looking back, to see all of the sailors being so angry and cruel. Truly, we were lucky in what happened. Surely, if the trial had been decided that very day, there was no doubt as to the verdict of each and every person in the room. They would all have given her the most feared punishment of all without a second thought.

All because of a charge that I had no clue was actually coming.

-Dyka..... We were led down the hall when I finally spoke. -Is it true.....Our client.....that thing.....is.....?

-I heard it, just as you did. Dyka's face was grim. She broke Number Two.

Number Two was the name of the law forbidding any soldier to trespass on the Galaxy Cauldron. The crime of Number One could be excused, but not Number Two. To break Number Two had a greater punishment.

-Will.... I felt sick. -Then, if she's guilty.....

-Yes. Dyka turned a corner. -She will be sent there.

The crime of the Number Two was, indeed, truly the worst a sailor could do. I had heard of the place where those who committed Number Two would be sent - that is, if anyone had broken the rule. No one had ever broken the rule, because everyone knew fully well the punishment - a fate worse than the most fiery death in hell.

For a soldier who was found guilty of trespassing Number Two was banished. Banished not to some foreign planet out of contact with her home. Not to some cold and silent prison of torture. No; a soldier who committed the worst act was sent to a place no person can bear - the Shade of Apollyon.

-.....Is it.....true.... I stammered as we climbed up the stairs to the judges' offices. -Is it true what they say of the shades?

-What?

-Are....they beyond the universe? I gulped. -Just knowing I'd have to defend this scum from that kind of fate is scaring me.

-It is the void. Dyka nodded. -I once glimpsed it during a battle.

-Really? My heart froze. -When? Where?

-Many years ago. The two of us came upon the top floor and paused. -Back during the Zatata war. Zatatee was a planet three hundred drescas away from an Edge. You could see the blackness from there.

-R-r-r-really?

-The Zatateeans told me themselves. Dyka paused grimly. -There is no escape from beyond. You are there forever, frozen in the shadows of the darkest shades of the abyss, even as you helplessly watch the universe crumble back into the specks from which it spawned.

-Apollyon.......

I became very scared, not for my client, but for myself. I sincerely hoped that defending a Number Two would not afford me the same fate; after all, I was now forever associated with someone who was sure to go there, having gone up in front of almost ever sailor senator in the civilized universe.

-W-w-well. I shivered. -I'm j-j-j-j-just happy y-you didn't get sucked up o-off of Z-z-z-zatatee....e...eh......

-Aaah, don't be such a coward.

Instantly, my head swerved around. Kepe smiled at me.

-Ah..... Dyka nodded. -Our rivals.

-Your friend seems flustered, Dyka. Kepe looked down at me. -What's she got to be so flustered about?

-I.....ah......baaauh......

I suddenly found myself unable to say anything. Here I was, in front of a famed pirate fighter, the person who was to put my client away to oblivion, and all I could come out with were grunts. I felt highly embarrassed, and wished I could trade places with Kepe's assistant, who stood right behind the grand prosecutor.

-Uh.....

-It's her first trial in the Seemarin, Dyka finally replied after giving me looks of disgust. -You'll have to forgive her....nervousness.

-Oh! Kepe, to my surprise, shook it off with a laugh. -Well, she is unlucky to have this as her first one. Ain't nothin' wrong with having the jitters, though. She doe'n't have to go up and talk anyways. I hafta, so I hafta soften up my accent. A wink. -Bet you can notice a difference, eh?

-Well. Dyka seemed aside herself at Kepe's sudden acceptance of my condition, which was really horribly veiled paranoia. -Yes, that is true, I suppose.....

This put me at ease with Kepe. She wasn't going to punish me for being scared and embarrassed. She almost seemed to respect what I was feeling. Her easy shoving aside of my emotional breakdown made me feel somewhat better. At least she wasn't going to completely crucify me for being the earth slime's lawyer.

-Well! Kepe stepped aside. -This is my lawyer, Bora. Don't mind her if she's cranky. She didn't get any sleep. Spent the entire night reviewing the case, but some of these softies just ain't used to the nights!

-Softies? Dyka gave a subtle growl.

-Aah, no offense! Kepe laughed unesily, seeing her slip-up. -I just mean the pool I got. Lotta people like hookin' up with me, but I keep a long schedl'. I go days and weeks, and no sleep for me. Can't when you're chasing hooligans.

-Oh.....Dyka nodded. I forgot you are a pirate fighter.

-.....Mmmmm. At this, Bora finally spoke. -Hi. I'm Bora. I'm with Sailor Kepe. Prosecution. Here's my card. Let me in......mummmmmmmm......

With a half-awake gesture, she took out a paper, only to let it drop on the floor with a roll of her eyes and a yawn. At this, none of us could help but laugh at the tired one.

-SAILORS!!!!!!!

We all tensed up. The voice of the officer echoed through our heads several times before he spoke again.

-The judges shall see you now.


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES

Three hundred drescas is, in Earth length, about three light years. One dresca, therefore, is .001 light year.

5: Coocor

After everything was done, I decided to do some research out of curiosity on your planet. According to some of your countries, all trials are done through the system of jury. In some places, what a "jury" is to you differs. To you, it may be a jury of one's peers, or a jury of a religious thought. To us, the jury is five soldiers and five ordinary people.

However, here in the Great Matter, there was no jury, save for three. The Three Judges deemed it too dangerous to hold a jury in the trial that was to be ahead.

-No mere soldier is worthy to sit on this trial as the judge of this one. Savitri, the speaker of the three, loomed over us as she spoke. -So it is to the thought of your superiors, that we shall jury this case.

-You.....jury this case? Kepe bowed. Forgive me, but that ain't procedure.

-The tribunal shall be closed to all on the outside. The soldier almost glared down at Kepe. -We saw the reactions. We shall not be interrupted like that again. Only twelve people shall be in this tribunal. You, your barrister, the two defenders, ourselves, and the four strongest guards in this galaxy. And....her.

Her. The person we would be defending. That night, we would be ushered into our suites on the Asgerd moon of Mehsheh. They were houses of the rich, of the greatest sailors, and we were given provisions as if we were queens. It was, perhaps, the only place that the trial encompassed that I really liked. But I digress.

-We have also decided, Savitri then looked down at Dyka and me, -in light of such grave Number Two charges, we shall drop the Number One charges.

-What!? I accidentally cried out. Lawyers were not permitted to speak. - You'll-

-THEMIS! Suddenly, I was thrown to the ground. -Show respect for your rank!

I looked at Dyka, very hurt. I had not known better! But by that time, she had turned back to Savitri.

-Why? Dyka asked. -Why are you dropping the Number One charges?

-Forgive, Judge! At this, Kepe interceded. -This is outside the courtroom, so mind my speech. But if I 'member correct, the Number One and Number Two charges interconnect. Can't have one without the other, especially in some of the cases my evidence shows.

-If only a few of the Number One cases are involved in the trespassing of the Galaxy Cauldron, the Judge replied, -then there is no problem to separate the rest of the cases from those, barrister. We will deal with the Number Ones, but only through sentencing which we shall see fit.

Kepe looked down to the floor. After a moment's silence, she gave a nod, and with that a part of my fright melted away. Thirty billion Number One counts, cut down just like that! I felt admiration for Savitri for cutting my workload down.

-We do not wish to drag the tribunal out for very long; it would be too dangerous. Savitri turned away from us. -The others are in agreement to end this as quickly as possible, without any permanent - and adverse -repercussions. That is final. You are dismissed.

Praise everything! I was all too happy not to have to worry about the Number Ones. I was frightened enough with the Number Two to want such a daunting number on my record.

So, we went to our suites, but Dyka did not say anything to me on the way there. She was still mad at me for speaking, and I could tell. I, for one, felt guilty for forgetting my place. It was an honest accident on my part.

-You could have kept silent, she finally said when we came to our home for the trial. -There was no need for such an outburst.

-I'm sorry.

-Don't do it again. She threw the door open. -You've been trouble already, and its not even the real trial yet! Grr!

-I'm really sorry! I whimpered. -I couldn't help it!

-What do you mean? She turned to me, reproaching. -You should have seen it coming!

-Huh?

-Do you think that the Seemarin would allow thirty billion counts of Number One violations to be tried when there is a Number Two case? She was angry. -Open your eyes. The judge was doing the prosecution a favor.

-How so? I asked. -I thought they were doing us a favor.

-They have less to prove.

That was a grave problem which we would encounter. For naturally, one count is much easier to prove than thirty billion. And we would learn, soon enough, the kind of things that Kepe had to make the Number Two charge irrevocably stick. But we had no clue then; we had not even begun getting our evidence into account.

-Then what do we have?

-What do you mean, what do we have? Dyka looked at me as we closed the door. -You are the lawyer. You're supposed to answer that, not me.

-.....Oh yeah.....

-Well, since its your first time, I forgive you for now. Dyka turned on the lights. -After all, I figured such things, you being a friend of Koogairu, and did my own provate researching.

Forgive me if this is a true digression, but I really must describe the house we were given. I couldn't stop staring at it, because it was no new and beautiful. The windows were double sided, so we could see what was outside, but no one could see us inside. The conversing room, our main first floor room, was very large and spacious. The most expensive, and most comfortable furniture was provided for us, and they glowed just as Asgerd did, but in purples and reds. The floor was also marked like Asgerd's grounds, but not quite as thick, and the information was first a "WELCOME" followed by the house specifications, the names of former owners, and so on and so forth. I simply stared.

-Themis? Dyka brought me back. -Listen to me. The information I'm about to tell you is very important. When you go outhunting tomorrow, you will need this to get the information we want. Understood?

-Um.....I was disappointed that Dyka would not let me bask in the luxury. -Yes, Dyka.

-All right. She sat me down. -According to this recently released document - and this is very reliable because it comes from an agency the Seemarin uses to investigate Vika galaxies - a full 86 percent of the sailors they interviewed did not know of the Seemarin or its laws. And on this same document, more than three fourths of pirate fighters are said to say that 9 out of 10 sailors that they fight are completely unaware of the fact that there is a body of law that governs the sailor soldiers!

-So..... I looked at Dyka. -We are going to defend Tsukinousagi on account of her ignorance?

-Yes. We are going to prove to the judges that she knew nothing of the Cauldron...... Dyka stood up. -.....And that this does not warrant the banishment.

I brightened up. After all, the vikarna seemed pretty ignorant to begin with. She also looked pitiful, and I opened my mouth to explain to Dyka that dessing her up more pitifully could help make the girl look more like the wimp she ought to have been and probably was.

That, of course, was before the knock.

BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM

Both of us were startled into jumping up. There was a doorbell, a nice charm, but apparently, whomever was at the door did not like that courtesy.

-Hmm! Dyka frowned as she went to the door. -Who is it?

-I'm hungry. Being what I was, I opened the food storage to see that one of my favorite candies - coocor - was plentily stored. -Yum!

As Dyka opened the door, I took as many as my appendages could take. I was about ready to bring it all to another room and eat it all when I heard Dyka's exclamation of surprise.

-What?

-Yes. I heard a very deep voice. -The Judges decided. You see why.

-But.....I......Dyka gave a sigh of recognition. -Very well.

I looked up from my coocor and almost threw it all up. For, standing in the doorway, her hair all mussed up, and her appearance looking as pitiful and as shabby as ever, was Tsukinousagi.

-WHAT-.... I spit my food out. -What is SHE doing here?!?!?

-Themis! Dyka threw her onto the couch. -She is staying with us.

I shuddered. I looked at her on the couch. She was still in her clothing from the morning, though there were now several holes and slits in it. She also had large, rusty cuffs on her wrists, and her hair was a matted mess. She looked away from us, down towards the floor, as she simply laid on the couch.

-Great. I looked at her with disdain. -So people can throw rocks at us here.

-Don't worry. Dyka looked at her. -We'll put her in the basement. No one will find her there.

-Well….. I paused. -Ok then….

-Ok. Dyka looked down. -Come on, girl.

The reaction was very swift when Dyka went to touch her. Instantly, she was off of the couch, and Dyka was staggering back, having been slapped away. Instantly, she ran, and before I could react, Tsukinousagi had run up the stairs. The entrance to the room nearest the stairs - my room - opened and closed almost instantly.

-Hey!!! I jumped up. -HEY!!!!

I ran up the stairs behind her and punched the open button for the door to no avail. She had locked the door on me! I pounded as hard as I could, but was unable to penetrate. Inside, I could hear gasps for air, as if she had almost drowned. I wasn't sure what she was doing, why she sounded like she was breathing hard and squeaky.

-BRAT!! I screeched. -GET OUT OF MY ROOM, YOU SCUM! LITTLE BEAST!

I was like that for a while, until Dyka had to personally drag me away. I was enraged by the audacity of our client. Coming to our house! Taking my bedroom when we had already agreed to set her up in the basement! I tried to free myself from Dyka.

-Th-that…!

-Floritiuse! Dyka's voice was sharp. -Just let it go. There's another room. Let her keep that room. It might not matter anyways.

-Why not? I growled indignantly. -Ignoramus, our client might fiddle with my stuff! I didn't take this job so she could destroy my things!

-Themis. At this, Dyka's voice lowered substantially. -You know what will happen when the judges find her guilty. Let her break your things. She probably doesn't know any better anyway.

A cry came from inside the room. It sounded like a wounded animal after having been gravely wounded. To us, of course, that was what our client was then - a scampering, greedy, yet wounded animal that would soon be put out of its pathetic misery. Though I still could not reconcile it with what they said she did, I myself thought she probably did it for a good time, especially after that.

-Hmph. I threw Dyka off of me and stomped off. -Probably hurt herself on something. Serves her right!


FLORITUSE FOOTNOTES

Coocor - perhaps the closest thing to chocolate one could get outside of Earth.

6: Gathering Evidence

It was a hard night for me, and looking back at it, I don't see why I had to be so callous. Then again, what did I know? My room had been stolen, and all I could think about was that girl breaking things just to spite me. I felt that Dyka should have been more sympathetic, and tried to have helped me.

But I digress. If I was annoyed by Tsukinousagi, then certainly, I was angered by what would happen next. I went to get witnesses - mainly pirate fighters, the experts on Vika ignorance of the Seemarin - from a long list of people whom had been sourced in the study, as well as evidence regarding other things as well. Fortunately, many of them came from my galaxy, so I had Koogairu accompany me from the star world Koogairu, in my system, to the many places I would end up having to go to in the next several days.

-Sooooooooooooooo........... Koogairu slapped me on the back gaily. -You are a celebrity law authority! I'm happy to be going with you to get what you need.

-Thanks.

-I feel like we're going on a quest, or a mission! We boarded onto a public transit to the planet Svata. -Like we're pirate fighters too. Who are we looking for?

-....Pirate fighters.

I really didn't want to go off to find evidence. The truth is, I was convinced of our client's guilt. I kept pondering what the point was having a defense when a trial for a Number Two violation is simply a delay in sending her to the void.

-So what are we doing?

-Collecting evidence. I took up a paper near my seat. -For our defense.

I opened the paper up and straightened it out. The front page had a response to my curiosity.

THE GREAT MATTER! It took up half the front page. DEMON INCARNATE ON TRIAL AT SEEMARIN! CIVILIZED SAILORS UP IN ARMS!

My stomach immediately turned at the sight of it. And there, three paragraphs down, with a holoimage of me talking to Dyka on the way into the Court of Justice, was my name: -Assistant to the Defense, Themis of Bludhsue-. I was almost inclined to just get off the transit and leap right out into outer space, therefore ending my life and future ridicule.

-Wow! Koogairu laughed. -Wow, Themis, this is you on the front page! They took a bad shot of you.

I was not blessed that day. We happened to be on a busy transit, so the shuttle was filled to its entirety, with sailors and citizens. Koogairu's voice, while not loud, carried too well. As soon as the words left her mouth, every person on the transit was looking at us a bit confusedly.

-Koo! I shrank back as far as I could towards the window. -You don't need to be loud.

-Hey, maybe you'll be in other papers too! Koogairu stood up. -I want to keep an album of this! This will be something to tell my grandchildren when I'm old….

I was thankful when the shuttle stopped at our planetary destination. The stares started to become more assured that Koogairu's banter pertained to me, and that I looked familiar. The soldiers, did they figure me out as I walked by? I was sure there would be people whispering about me. I wanted to shrink away. Stupid little gnat!

-

We went through many planets, many people that day. Hundreds of pirate fighters at their houses, at their places of frequent lodging. Everywhere.

-Hi. I remember the very first pirate fighter we went to. She opened the door, looking at us warily. -Sailor Hagu?

-Yeah. She looked at both of us. She was a tall lady, twice my size. -Yeah, I'm her.

-Hi. I went to hold my hand out. -I'm Sailor Themis, and this is my companion, Sailor Koogairu. We-

Suddenly, I was lifted off of the ground with incredible strength. Koogairu gave a gasp as I was thrust forth, bringing her to her eye level.

-Now look here. I know what you're here for. She glared at me angrily. -And I'm not talking to the likes of you. I've got more important things to do. So, good day to you.

With that, she roughly threw me to the ground, turned, and slammed her door in my face. I was insulted! Such violence! I had not even explained myself! It was so boggling to me.

-Oooh! Koogairu picked me up. -That was terrible! Are you hurt…..

-I'm fine. I pushed her off of me. -Wretch. Backwoods wretch! I hope pirate fighting didn't turn everyone else into rude ingrates!

-

We had some better luck - in a matter of speaking - with many of the others. It would take a very long time to detail each and every person we spoke to, each and every planet we visited. We visited many in the several days. We must have visited at least two hundred people. At least.

-I'm sorry. This was an often-heard response, in its most basic. -I'd love to help you. Really, I do.

I understand what kind of case you are trying to build. But….but…..I really can't. I'm just not comfortable talking about it, especially not with this…great matter going around.

Many had not heard of me. Some did, and promptly closed their doors on us. Others simply did not answer our summons. Many were rude, though not nearly as rude as the first sailor we approached. Over and over, we got the same reaction, and I could only think of one reason as to why.

That…..that Tsukinousagi! I turned red with anger whenever I thought of her. Curse her! Now my name is known as the defender of a maggot!

My anger became greater and greater as each person we spoke to, every avenue of hope, was barred from us by various means. I had great thoughts of killing Tsukinousagi, for certainly, she deserved it for putting me through the misery!

I was fortunate, however, that there were at least a tiny handful, those who was willing to listen to us and help. What circumstances drove them to do it, we did not know. But then, I thought that those few were boons to our case.

-Help you? One of them was a soldier named Jyanda. -You bet I will.

She lived on the planet Jyanda, which was halfway across the galaxy of Uhruop, a galaxy near the fringes of the Vikas. This planet was hot and dusty, known for its dealing in wars against Vika, and so many people there were very well-aware of Vika behavior. It was a dislikable planet, however, because giant pampeles - giant, snarling, furry beasts of burden when caught, violent, rampaging demons when free - roamed the streets, randomly choosing and eating people up. Therefore, there were constant states of curfews and laws prohibiting the public from even looking out a window at certain times. I was almost hit by a pampele even inside, and was bruised in the arm. But I digress.

-You be surprised, she commented as she stroked her pet - a tiny baby pampele that looked like a coughed-up furball. -There's ignorance like you wouldn't believe. Half the soldiers I've fought with and against, don't know which way is up half the time! Its almost like they have a planetary transit and they can't start the thing because they don't know which way to turn the starting gauge!

-Haha! I laughed. -Really?

-Oh yeah. Jyanda nodded. -Some of them have real issues. Think I'm just trying to be all superior when I tell them there's a Seemarin. I've got all kinds of writings from these worms. You know, they threatened me if I didn't stop talking about the Seemarin! Child's play, fantasies, they make up their own destinies, they say. Yes, like little kids with tantrums they do!

-Yes. I wiped my brow. -I've heard a lot of stories, but I think it would be great if you testified to the truth of those stories.

-Heh! Jyanda took a drink of some black concoction I had never seen before. -Honestly, I don't see what's so great about this great matter. Banishment isn't even a fit punishment at all for the likes of them! They don't know ANY better! I'd think throwing your new friend - that yellow little thing that calls itself a sailor - into a proper soldier's school would be good! And probably giving her a long bath would help, too. Vika soldiers smell bad, but they seem to like it. So the threat of proper sterilization is enough to make them slit their throats and end our miseries.

Koo and I both laughed as we concurred. Finally, finally, we had a witness.

Two others jumped to our aid after that. Sailor Baroo, a soldier from a planet that was filled to the brim with a guari population, and Sailor Tigo, a very grand old soldier, who has lived many more cycles and years than I care to remember, though she was in a retirement home for physical ailments. Guaris are tiny creatures which I can only describe as being akin to lizards on your world, only they are the size of a human infant. There was an old stuffed one presented as a gift to the Ydhh princess before I was a soldier, which is how I knew of the creature. But I digress.

-

-Well. I remember our last stop very well also. -One more place to go.

By then, we had three witnesses on our side. Only three. But there was one more place to stop.

On my notes, Dyka had noted a certain prominent sailor known as Michag. Though not as well known as Kepe now was, Michag could be considered the second-best known of the pirate fighters. Long ago, she had been considered the first of the modern pirate fighters, and endured much prejudice before her craft was accepted by the Seemarin as worthy of being looked into. Having been dead for a year, supposedly due to a battle against a very resilient Vika opponent - whose name, like many Vika soldiers, was never learned - Kepe's exploits quickly overtook that of the dead soldier's. Even then, however, her exploits were well known. She had been everywhere, seen everything, and had written it all down. Michag's great library of diaries - three hundred books strong, it was said - would be of great use if we could find what we needed from them.

-Can I knock?

-Sure. I sighed. -I don't want to.

We were visiting Michag's main residence after a particularly bad string of denied requests. By this time, everyone had heard of me, and told me quite frankly they did not want to be involved with me or my client. I realized I was in a bad situation; if I could not get witnesses, what would people think of me when our time came to defend the client? Not that it mattered, of course, for I already knew I was to be doomed the moment my name was known to be connected to the 'great matter', as that ordinary press had called it. It was a send that I had gotten even one witness, let alone three. My good name was poisoned by a rural fool.

-There! Koogairu knocked on the door. Ooooh, someone's coming.

I, too, could hear the slow, monotonous footsteps coming towards the door. I wondered what I would face now. Would my last visit be as bad as my first?

-Hello? Finally, the door opened. A male voice came forward. -What ye want?

I was taken aback. It was no a female at all! Fortunately, I looked down at my notes and saw that Michag had one living family member - a brother. I gave a sign of relief.

-Hello.....Grefand? I looked at the note, nodding to myself. -Is this Grefand?

-Ye. He opened the door completely. -What ye want?

-Is your sister the pirate fighter Sailor Michag?

-Ye, he eyed me suspiciously. -She is.

-Wonderful. I held up my card. -I'm Sailor Themis.

-E.....

He looked me up and down, a look of some disapproval on his face. He was relatively old, at least in his one hundred sixties, and he had an old cane with a knife at the end. I realized that, in the old days, people despised pirate fighters. However, those days were gone, with the advent of the pirate fighters' victories against the Vika sailors. This man was an antique.

-Ye..... He finally spoke after several minutes. -Ye be that g'rl from the trial. The so called great matt'r, eh?

-......Yeah.

I felt myself turn red at this. Everyone, even the old man, knew who I was! I instantly wished that I could take back everything I had promised to Dyka on Ydhh.

-That's me. I looked at him -May we come in?

-Weeell…….. To my letdown, he shook his head. -I know what ye be aft'r, but I can't giv'ta ye.

-…Huh?

I started to become angry. As I spoke, it took a lot to keep myself down.

-Look…….you do not understand. I growled. -I have gone through the past five days being berated by uncooperative people. Now, if its an issue of the sanctity of your sister's papers - as you are the sole surviving custodian of Michag's belongings - then I'll leave.

-Wait.

He quickly grabbed my arm. I turned to look at him, trying to cover my excitement. It was apparent he had something to tell me and I was almost begging to taste what he had.

-Yes?

-….T'ain't…..whatcha t'ink, lady. The old man shook his head. -No, t'ain't a matt'r of that.

-Huh?

-Ye she….. he hesitated. -Oth'rs cam 'r'und askin' a week aguh, but…..cain't. See……two weeks aguh…..me sis's 'chives……they was burned down.

I could almost imagine how much my face fell. My chest tightened at the words. I seemed so impossible. To have it just not be there, but be burned down!

-They're….I choked. -….gone?

-Ah, ye..... The old man looked somberly at me. -Her 'chive 'pertment burned down bad. Lost ev'rthing. Dunno who dun it but they say it beh fall pleh. I'd liken t 'gree.

-.......I see.....

I looked down, shaking my head. I was angry, very angry, but I could not let him know that. The loss to us was incalculable.

-Thanks, old man.

-No pr'lem. He turned and went back inside. No pr'lem……

A little bit after he had gone back in, I took a rock and threw it, screaming. Back where we were staying, I took my anger out on the chairs and sheets.

It was just so incredible, that we would have so little to share for our defense. I knew, I knew well, we were at a very grave disadvantage now; such conveniences were thrown in our way that it was impossible to get leeway. I was almost as if it were all laughably planned, and everything truly was against us. Tsukinousagi would be burned for her crimes.

Coming home from that last stop, my anger knew no bounds. I would have done anything to sedate my anger, and there was only one obvious, worthless object I could take it all out on that easily sprang to my mind.

But that is a tale best told a little later.

7: A Day in Court

Have you ever sat inside a room that is very cold? When I say cold, I mean colder than even the caps in the polar worlds of the universe. At least psycho...logically(?) speaking, it feels that way, because something in the air makes you shudder and wish for something warm to cover you with. Normally, some people interpret this as a prelude to doom.

Certainly, my feelings were similarly placed when I was escorted into the courtroom the first day, early so that there would not be so much to deal with in terms of the outside public and media. Not the hearings, but the actual trial itself. The trial itself took place three days after my hunt for evidence had finished. They had moved it up from the original date, which I can't recall, mainly because I pushed that date out of my head once we learned that the date had changed. But it didn't really matter what day it started. I felt that shudder.

-I want, I whispered to Dyka, -to get this over with.

-Mmm hmm.

Dyka was not speaking much to me. She was very angry - not at me, at least not anymore. She had initially been angry with me because she though Koogairu had scared everyone away. Koogairu, being what she is outside of the Seemarin, can scare many people away with her ceaseless, useless bantering if someone let her talk about whatever she wanted. Even I get annoyed by it. So, any time I did something with Koogairu and it failed, Dyka always originally blamed Koo. But I digress.

-Witless! She roared at me. -Nonsense! How could you possibly take her with you! Did she regale our witnesses with her pointless stories and anecdotes?!

-But she's a sister! I protested. -And she didn't regale anyone-

-I told you, I didn't WANT her on the team! Dyka was very angry. you just let her ruin our evidence.....

However, one of the witnesses called Dyka up at my feverish insistence and explained what had happened with the others. There had been a lot of discontent against Tsukinousagi, it was explained, and us going out there to talk to pirate fighters was actually riskier than it looked. The reason, she elaborated, was that many of the pirate fighters did not take kindly to people going into their affairs.

Fortunately, Dyka was appeased by this, at least towards me. But she was angered that she could not get as much evidence as she'd liked. She was angered even more by Michag's destroyed papers, for they would have helped us. At least, we thought they would have, but of course we would never be certain of it.

-Well, she had turned to me before going off to her bedroom. -I guess you have more sense than I just thought. My apologies.

I was embarrassed, still embarrassed, that my own boss had been so willing to dismiss me. I felt like a failure - not because I was failing to save our client, as it would be where you humans live, but it was the fact that I had done such an unacceptable job in getting people on our side. For us, getting three witnesses out of a potential pool of at least two hundred was not a disgrace. Getting three witnesses out of a potential pool of at least two hundred was the work of a completely incompetent laughingstock.

Fortunately, there was no booing or cheering of a crowd to sink my spirits lower than they already were. I was relieved that the Judges made the proceedings a private tribunal, rather than one that the public could attend with their scrutiny. Not that there would be nothing from the outside world, that was for certain. There was no way that anyone could ignore this.

-Are you ready? Dyka hissed in my ear as we entered the courtroom. -Here comes the onslaught.

To make sure some points are known, since I researched your world's more prominent law systems. With your kind, there are opening arguments, and then the prosecution presents their case. Then the defense. Then come closing arguments, and then comes the decision. That is not how it really works with us.

Whereas you can only present evidence collected before a certain date, our people can collect evidence and show it all the way up until the day the verdict comes down. The prosecution gets the preference to show what they have first, but the defense can interrupt and show their own evidence in contrast to the evidence of the prosecution. Sometimes, this can amount to shouting matches between the barristers. But most people did not mind it, unless the three judges screeched for silence.

-Yeah, I'm ready.

I stood up as our client came in. I looked at her, not quite sure what to think. For on her forehead was a large cut, covered up by a bandage, and a bruise on her cheek. Her face went down, as if to try avoid the glances that the people in the room gave her. Behind her was her bodyguard, the person who had been appointed by the Bysey to escort her to and from the court. They called him Brutus, and he looked to be a brute indeed - he was a large, grey creature of muscle, almost twice my size. I could not believe how frightened I was of him even as he just entered the room.

-Wow. I began to get nervous. -They need that kind of get up for her?

-Well. Dyka sighed. -You don't need much brain to guard her. Just a lot of muscle. Once the press learns the trial has started, the entire galaxy will be here trying to rip her to shreds.

I gave a nod, as he gave me a very cold look. I froze, wondering why he dared to give me that look, but at the same time hoping I did not meet up with him alone ever. We sat down as the grunt put Tsukinousagi in her cage and stepped aside.

-Let us begin. The Judges, who had been silent, spoke, again with Savitri as their spokesperson. -Prosecution, do you have your first witness ready?

-We do, your Honors.

Kepe stood up, walking towards the great desk which the Three sat at. Sitting down, writing in her notebook, for she was not allowed to speak during the trial, as with me, was Bora. She looked at Kepe, and down at her notebook, and gave a sigh. I could tell she wanted to be more of a part of this, like me. I rubbed my face.

-We would like to present our first witness. Kepe turned towards the back of the room. -Sailor Hadro, enter the cage.

And so, Kepe's first witness stood up. She was relatively small, though not as small as Tsukinousagi, and she wore a bright green sailor suit. She seemed to give Tsukinousagi a strange look as she entered the witness cage. The witness cage was very similar to the defendant's cage, but in this case, not as secure and of a different color.

-Judges, Kepe bowed. -Sailor Hadro will testify to events on date 375, year 746251. Approximately eight months ago.

-Proceed.

-Thank you. Sailor Hadro. Kepe began to pace. -Tell me, briefly, your history, for the court.

There was a brief silence at this. Hadro took a deep breath.

-Yes. She finally spoke. -I live in the Caxu galaxy. I have been a sailor soldier for six years.

-And you are here for what reason?

-I am in prison. I was interrogated at Veldanis.

-For what?

-I was arrested by a group of pirate fighters for inciting a rebellion on the planet Gintax with two other sailors named Meito and Yomokai.

There was nothing seemingly exciting about such things. What did a rebellion have to do with Tsukinousagi? Granted, such things were not welcomed, yet Caxu was nowhere near the Vika galaxy where Tuskinousagi reportedly lived. But I simply gave a sigh. I would probably be proven wrong anyways.

-And how do you know the defendant? Kepe asked.

-How? Hadro looked at the defendant, who simply stared at her, then back at Kepe. -I met her.

-When?

-I believe....eight months ago.

-What happened then?

-She and I were in a bar called 'Goshen', where she ended up drinking quite a bit. Hadro pasued. -Then.....when she had gotten drunk enough...she started bragging.

-Bragging about what?

-She told me that she was the most powerful soldier in the universe. Hadro nodded. -And she told me she did something pretty good, and she asked me if I wanted to know what she did.

-Did you say yes?

-No. I said I didn't care. But she told me anyways. Hardo shook her head, adding, -I had never seen anyone so drunk before in my life as she was. She was getting very sick.

I looked at Tsukinousagi. Her face was completely reddened by this. My instant reaction was that this had actually happened, and I looked down, slightly irritated. What was she thinking!

-What did she tell you?

-She told me, Hadro sighed, -that she had done something no one else had done, and if there were more sailor soldiers around, she'd tell them too.

-And what did she do?

-She told me she had gone into the Galaxy Cauldron. Hadro looked at Tsukinousagi. -That she was the strongest and bravest soldier in the universe for showing herself to the Cauldron.

-And what happened after that?

-....She fainted.

-How did you feel about this?

-I......I was shocked. Hadro nodded. -Yes. I was shocked. Not about when she fainted, but what she told me.

-And you are a Vika soldier?

-Yes.

-A moment!

At this, Dyka stood up. She quickly strode towards Hadro, her hands clasped behind herself.

-You say that you met the defendant at a bar. Dyka turned towards Kepe before turning back towards Hadro. -Where was this bar?

-I.....it was..... Hadro paused. -Planet Goisue.

-Goisue? Dyka looked at her questioningly. -And this is eight months ago.

-Yes.

-....Very well. Dyka gave a smile. -So she was drunk?

-Yes.

-Which...is surprising..... Dyka went back to the desk and looked at her notes. -At lest to me. Goisue is in the Lasjhf galaxy. Do you know this?

-Yes. Hadro looked at Dyka warily. -I know this.

-Then you are aware that there is a prohibition of such drinks going on on Goisue?

-W...no. Hadro sat up. -But this was two years ago.

-And the prohibition has been going on for seventeen years. Dyka turned away. -So if you were drinking at such an establishment, should we not arrest you for such an illegal activity?

-No. Hadro's eyes widened. -I didn't know-

-Do you know what planet Tsukinousagi is from?

-......No.....

-Thank you. Dyka looked at Kepe. -Do you have any more questions for your witness?

-Nope. Kepe seemed unfazed about her witness. -I have no more.

I looked at Dyka, confused, as she came back to her seat. She looked smugly at Hadro, who left the witness box. Yet I was confused about what exactly made the prohibition such a big deal. They could have gone to an illegal establishment.

-Dyka-

-Shh. She quickly silenced me. -The next witness is coming up.

The next witness was not much of a big thing, not so much as the first witness, since the first witness would make the impression of how the trial would go. Almost every witness was from the prosecution. There was Hadro, of course, but there was also several experts on the stand as well. Two experts came onto the stand. Both times, I began to sense that Dyka was more aware of what was going on than I really was. She seemed ready for everything that was thrown at her.

-And so, Kepe turned to the second expert, a astragraphist. -So, according to 97 percent of the sailor soldiers you talked to, they were well aware of the legal consequences of what they were doing if they broke the laws of the Seemarin - particularly the laws respectively called Numbers One and Two?

-Yes. The man tapped his fingers together and nodded. -They know fully well they were not allowed to.

-And these were Vika soldiers?

-Yes.

-But! Suddenly, Dyka stood up. -You did not do these surveys in the Vika galaxy that Tsukinousagi resides in. Is this not correct?

-Permit me to ask a question, barriser, the expert looked at Dyka. -Which galaxy does she reside in?

-She resides in the Centissa galaxy.

-Then, no. He shook his head. -I have not.

-Very well. Dyka looked at Kepe. -I am finished with him. Keep going with him, if you wish.

-No. I am finished with him.

The reason this man was important was not so much because he himself was of importance. It is because, the minute he left the witness cage, there was a strange sound that filled our ears. We all immediately looked down to where it was coming from.

-What..... I suddenly felt sick. -Is she......

Tsukinousagi, who had already looked pitiful, had suddenly retched inside her cage. The spew was everywhere in her cage, a disgusting dark color with chunks in it, and she showed no signs of stopping. She was completely white as she came up, then went back down to repeat the action.

-GUARD! Savitri's voice boomed. -Escort her out of here.

Instantly, the big creature, Brutus, complied. He carried her out of the cage, even as her piles spilled all over his shoes. A sanitizer was instantly summoned to clean it up, and he promptly did by putting all of the large, holdable portions in a clear bag. He then washed and scrubbed inside the cage until it was as clean as it had been the day it was made.

Though he quickly packed up and left, never to be seen by me again, his story doesn't quite finish there. Three weeks later, I learned through a satellite program that there had been a fortune made by someone when one very rich citizen - actually, royalty of a planet I forget the name of - bought a large bag filled with -sailor moon evil sputum- to place around his house to ward off demons whose complete power was supposedly not so evil as the bodily fluid was. I was in no doubt where this prince got the -sputum- from. But I digress.

-My. Dyka looked at me as the Judges began to ready the rest of the proceedings. -She looked sick before, of course, what with those bruises she got herself.

I nodded in agreement. I did not dare to say to the contrary, and I would not have even if I had been allowed to speak.

-

We went back in silence to Mehsheh. It had been the first, somewhat uneventful day, and we were both tired.

-Go open the door for me. Dyka motioned to me. -I must be getting some things from the back of this transport.

-Right.

I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary coming up the stairs to the door. All that would be was that Tsukinousagi had taken my bedroom, for she had gotten home first. I was still annoyed about that, but could still do nothing about it. I went to the front door with the key.

And found myself staring at a note pinned to the door with a long, black handled sword. Run through by the sword was a piece of cloth, with a reddened crescent on it. The note was written in red blood, and a small yellow star was fixed under the words. The note in blood only had four words.

-WATCH YOURSELVES. WE'RE COMING.

8: Sailor Zra

I don't remember how frightened I was upon seeing all the blood, and the warning we had received. Maybe I fainted. Maybe I screamed. I don't remember. My reaction wasn't that important, maybe.

I do remember when Dyka threw me to the floor, shouted at me to calm down, and then called the security forces of the neighborhood. I remember because I hit my head on the side of one of the seats in the main lower level room. But that's all I remember up until the police came, and they sat us down at the table.

-Well, well. I was rubbing my head as the policeman - a robotic dwarf - looked the evidence over. -This is a pretty sight. The labs will figure out what's going on here when we connect with them. Whoever did this, they went all out, with blood and this.....rapier.

-Rape-er?

-A Vika sword.

Dyka said that. When she said it, her voice was low, and she seemed angry. Which, I thought, seemed to be what she always was, angry. But I digress.

-As I suspected. The policeman nodded as if he had been certain of it. -A threat, to be sure, from some backwards crazy type.

-Can you find out who?

-Once the lab connects, they'll be able to scan the sword. The policeman examined the bloodied crescent dangling from the sword hilt. -The results will come back instantaneously. The crime labs over on Portille have databases on 95 percent of the known universe, Vika galaxies included!

-Nice....

As I nodded and smiled at the policeman's boasting of the perfection of the system, I was shaking inside. Someone was threatening us. And it was only the first day. Someone knew we were hiding the spawn of mold in our house. As to who it was, I hoped they were brought to justice and thrown in prison forever, to make an example of them! I hated being frightened, and if they wished to kill someone, I would have gladly thrown Tsukinousagi right in their path as I ran.

-Hmm....... the policeman turned the blood-scribbled paper over and gave a gasp of delight. -Hmm! Well, look at this. You see this, sailor girls? Get over here!

We both went over to see what the policeman had found. As carefully as he could, he put on a pair of glasses, flipped open a tiny razor ripped open the paper by its seams.

While such a thing may seem impossible to humans - as sheets of paper are very thin - it is not at all impossible to do. In our galaxies, some people leave clues to crimes in holes and other places that are no thicker than a piece of paper. Therefore, our police have the know-how to cleanly slice objects as small as a molecule without doing enormous amounts of harm to even the basic structure of the evidence being brought forth.

-And....there we are!

As the threat paper split open, another piece of paper fell out of it. I quickly picked it up off the floor and recognized it as a newspaper holocard.

-Huh? I looked it over. It was an article, with a picture of a room. -Body Found In Hotel Identified....As Sailor.

-Let me see that!

The policeman quickly took the paper from me. He looked it over several times, and slapped his head.

-Ooooh! Of course! He looked at me, then at Dyka. -Sailor Zra!

-

Now, knowing that some of your kind will wonder, I shall explain who Sailor Zra is....or was.

Sailor Zra was a soldier from another civilized country, who was well-known for constantly being in and out of trouble with the law, both the Seemarin and civilian law. She was always constantly causing trouble, and was considered a rebel to the civilized worlds, even though she had been raised in a similar fashion as I had been. We had both been brought to a school to train is for our lives as sailors, taken from our parents when we were young so we could know and fulfill our duties in the future. But Zra had none of it. She had always been trouble. She was even exiled from her galaxy for some time for her conducts.

According to the article, however, which I read sometime after this, Zra had gone through a very strange change in the past year or so. After being chased off of her home planet, she had wandered around, perhaps in the Vika galaxies, and when she returned, she became very strange. She would walk on the streets, begging for money, dressed in black. She would wear a black hood, and wander the streets with a sign that said -Save the Messiah-. She seemed to babble to many people, her rantings of death and destruction ignored by most. Finally, however, her people simply grew tired of her pessimistic rantings, and finally did something about it.

-After the storm, there is no rainbow! She screamed when she was finally sent away. -After the storm, there is no rainbow! You fools! All of you are fools! The end of our ways is among us! We must save the messiah! You must not let them strike! They will strike! THEY WILL STRIKE! SHE IS COMING!

And so she was taken, and placed under perpetual observation for paranoid insanity. I heard some bits of what she did there. She drew pictures of figures of strange unknown figures, which she claimed were sailors. One figure, it was said, she kept re-drawing even with her own blood, after they took away what they could from her. And after she finished, she would smear more blood on it, and she would write under it -She will kill me.-

But it was not She, her phantom She, who killed her. She died by her own hand, it was decided, for she had poison in her body. They found her dead, drool still hanging over the floor.

-

-I'm not sure what message these people are trying to send. The policeman mused. -Zra was crazy! Why would they sent you an article about a psychopathic fool? Unless....

I gave a gulp. I didn't want to know.

-....Well, this certainly puts a new light on that fool's suicide..... At that moment, the policeman checked his wrist. -Ah! The lab link is up! Scanning the blood now.

The policeman pointed his wrist at the sword, and a chip hidden there opened to reveal a laser. The laser moved all over the sword, and the paper, and the blood. Normally, the procedure took no time, yet for some reason, it didn't go as quickly as we wanted.

-.......Hmmmmmmm........ The policeman frowned. -Let....let me try that again.

He repeated it again, this time for longer. I held myself, wondering what was taking them so long to identify and throw whomever did this to us in jail. When he finally stopped, however, I saw a look of confusion on his face. Or perhaps, it was worry, though it looked like confusion. But I digress.

-I..... He looked at us. -This is odd.

-What is?

-The....the files.... The policeman's voice cracked. -They....they show no matching identification!

There was an awkward silence at this as he deactivated the chip. It was not expected at all, and I for one began to fear even more.

-No....no match! I cried. -How is that possible!

-Well..... The policeman looked embarrassed as he picked up all of the criminal items. -I need to take this back to the office. We'll figure this all out there. Until this is concluded, and we can get definite results, have a good day to you, Seema-ships.

With that, he gave a bow and left. Not even the comfort of him bestowing a title - Seema-ship - upon me was enough to quell my fears.

-Dyka.... I was frightened. -What did that mean?

-.....Impossible. Dyka's face darkened. -I would have thought that....

-....that what?

-......Nothing. Before I could protest, Dyka waved me away. -Come. The girl will not come home tonight. You can have your room.

All thoughts of my fear were momentarily forgotten as I almost leaped with joy at this. Tsukinousagi was sick! I would have my own room! Zra's death was pushed aside, for the moment. Worry over who put the sword in was chased away. So quick was it gone that, only a small time later, as I lay in my bed for the first time, I thought it was probably just a cruel prank that would be exposed, and it would be laughed at and forgotten.

But I was wrong; that was really only the beginning. Never did anyone dream that the black hood of fear which Zra had pulled over her face to preach was the beginning of something far darker than anything that any of us has imagined. So desperate had Zra been, yet her cries were heard by no one she could see. And she must have died believing no one cared about what she had tried to say.

However, there were those who heard her, and it would not be the last time the black hood would be donned. There was a shadow of chaos now, small, but it would begin to unfold quickly, making even the day unsafe. That night, though, I had a sound sleep.

9: Sailor Dyka

After such a time, surely, with all my writings, I am sure your kind is really beginning to wonder about me. Why was I of such a low opinion of Tsukinousagi? Why did I dislike her so much?

That is easy to answer - because it was acceptable to be hateful. I was not in it for her. I did not care initially whether she was innocent or guilty, save if the sentence she got would be bestowed on me, or I if would be hounded by ridicule afterwards. We really didn't care.

I was really in it because of Dyka's good graces. Without Dyka having appointed me as her assistant and lawyer, I'd have nothing to tell you. Perhaps, then, I should take some time to explain Dyka.

Dyka is from the planet Dyka, naturally, in a system which was allied to ours, in the Cascassa galaxy. She was relatively old, at least in comparison to me, when it came down to it. She had been a sailor much longer than I had, and had been to many places around the universe. One could argue she was a pirate fighter, but much of her fighting was done in civilized worlds - she had not, to my knowledge, been to any Vika galaxies. On the other hand, there is much I have not learned about her, and she had always seemed very knowledgeable to me, even in Vika galaxies. But I digress.

Anyhow, she was allied with many sailors. She was also good friends with Koogairu, and could have chosen her as her partner, since she was in the Seemarin, and would have been more desirable, so to speak. But Dyka found her scatterbrained, and unfit. Or at least that is what she told me.

-You are an outsider. She told me bluntly. -They will not touch you unless you make a true fool of yourself.

I didn't understand what she had meant by they, at least not in the beginning. However, I learned quickly who they were - the people of the press. She did not mean they would not touch me literally, but that if I seemed to be uneasily intimidated by their presence, then I would not be picked apart by those people. But I digress.

Dyka, on the other hand, was one who was always put upon by the press. She was a very well-known soldier, and every day, she had recorders and holographers following her wherever she went. It was not, however, because she was barrister for the cursed defendant of the Great Matter. No, their obsession with her went further back, back when she was younger, and a newer soldier, newer than I was at least at the time of the Great Matter.

The story went back long ago, back during a very terrible battle on a desolate star called Melkweg. Its long gone now, unceremoniously destroyed by order of the Seemarin several years before the Great Matter, but I well remember what was told of it. Upon Melkweg was a powerful civilization in the far, far past of the universe, one which eventually destroyed itself through greed and anger. One could say it is like your world's Atlantis, but imagine Atlantis to be a planet, and far more advanced, and seemingly with the fairest people, having golden hair, strong limbs and quick minds, who were reported to never age or die. Yet, for all their seeming perfection, the planet became overpopulated and the nations killed themselves through petty, needless wars which could have been prevented with sailor soldier intervention. Thus, the star Melkweg has become a classic example that is presented forth to attest to the necessity of sailor soldiers on every civilized planet, as well as the presence of the Seemarin.

She had been fighting a strange, villainous attacker - she never went into more detail than that in all the years she was hounded - and, in the climax, just as Dyka was to finish off the monster once and for all, her opponent took out her weapon - the sharpest sword Dyka had ever known to hit her body - and then sliced deep into her leg. And as her cowardly opponent fled, Dyka was left to bleed to death on that desolate planet surface, far from any help and home. It would be many, many days before she was found, and by then, she was near death.

I often wondered to myself, whenever I heard the story, where her opponent went. After all, it seemed unfair that Dyka should be so injured when the battle was over. I suppose I am a victim of the happy endings which I had always seemed to have as a result of my battles. But I digress.

So Dyka lay on the planet's surface, and they found her, but almost lost her. She lay in a hospital for many days, hovering between life and death, not opening her eyes to the anguish of the many who knew her. Then, one day, she opened her eyes, and found herself with no leg where she had been injured. Her injury had festered so badly, that it supposedly reeked of mold and infection, and only the bravest doctor with the straightest tolerance could stand to cut it off. And for a year after, she had no heart to do anything, for without her leg, she was of no use as a soldier. She simply wandered, got into fights, not against proper villains but against petty hoodlums and bar patrons, as she hobbled, incomplete.

Fortunately, it was not always to be that way. The right help finally found her, and created for her a leg made of the strongest metal that could be fashioned with. It was a little short, so she always walked around with a slight limp. Nevertheless, she returned to fighting, and distinguished herself in battle in so many places, so many times over. She was quite well-known and famous for her exploits, which were more than sufficient to earn her her system's seat in the Seemarin.

Yet, for all of her fame, for all her victories, there was always that guilt that she was defeated by that one mysterious attacker. She was always angry whenever people pressed on whether or not she really knew the identity of her famed, yet unknown, opponent. It was, for her, like a stain on her life, and I knew that she never really got over it. She always strived to be the best, but for all she knew, the terrible blow had been given to her by a nameless, random shadow on the streets she walked upon. Day in and day out, the thought was always there, just lingering in the back of her mind, helped by some random reporter with a tip as to the attacker's identity that, in the end, always led to nothing. Such an indignity could never go away.

10: Helping Out

I will not admit to being the world's greatest assistant in such a case like this. Most certainly, Dyka could have picked someone who was better suited for such pressure. Nevertheless, I helped Dyka as much as I could, even when I didn't even realize I was doing it.

The truth of the matter is that the trial was much shorter than anyone really would have thought, even with some of the delays that we ended up having. One of the delays was due to Tsukinousagi's sickness, but after three days, she was ready to go once again.

-She will be fine, the doctors assured us. -Given her condition, she is doing much better.

We weren't sure quite what they meant by her condition; however, we came to conclude that it was because of her thin body and pale skin, compounded with her constantly changing planetary environments - she had been on ten different planets in less than three months, and her body was apparently not genetically disposed to rigorous space travel. In fact, we wrote that as being the official notarized cause of her taking ill. However, I had my suspicions, my own, strange, unfounded suspicions.

-She's thin and tiny, I commented to Dyka on the way to the Court of Justice the day the Three resumed the case. -She knows this. It seems oddly timed that she should take ill during her trial, don't you think?

-Perhaps. Dyka rubbed her brow. -Unless you are hinting at something else, Floritiuse.

-Well....... I shrugged, -She is a Vika soldier......

-You think she purposely made herself sick?

Dyka looked at me with a curious face. I gave a nod, as it made sense to me. She had already stolen my room, so what would make me think otherwise that she was simply getting attention for herself? The papers made quite a ruckus, and it made her seem more sympathetic when she was being seen as sick as a possible result of her speculated treatment in prison. But I digress; I will speak more on that interesting thought later.

-Well, let us keep those thoughts to ourselves. Dyka turned away from me as we approached the Hall of Justice. -It would be prudent lest it harm our already fragile case.

-.....Right, Dyka.

I gave a nod as the door to our transit opened. We both went out and strode towards the great building, waiting for the onslaught of reporters that would inevitably hound us all the way to the entrance. Recorders and writers never slept when it came to our story, it seemed. But I digress.

-Seema-ships! Instantly, they were on us. -Dyka! Themis! Seema-ships!

To elaborate, seema-ship is a title given to those who were in the Seemarin, and had official posts. I, of course, was not an official Seemarin senator, but I did work with Dyka. Through her grace, I recieved the title of seema-ship, and I was allowed to wear the personal badge of a seema-ship. It is a six point star made of the rock of Asgerd, and it glows bright blue in the dark. But I digress.

-Seema-ship! Suddenly, one recorder in particular came upon us. -Dyka, how does it feel to be among the most hated soldiers in the galaxy?

-Hmph. Dyka turned her head up. -I have nothing to say to you, Kastalle.

-Oooh, is this so? the recorder gave a smirk. -Well, don't worry, I'll fill something in for you instead.

I gulped, and hid behind Dyka, hoping that Kastalle wouldn't see me. Kastalle, you see, was no ordinary person of the press; she was a sailor soldier. She was the owner of her own newspaper, Sailor Sentinel, which had every piece of gossip and news on every sailor soldier that was making news. She was fervently a Tsukinousagi hater, and was always pressing for a comment, any negative comment from us, which she could put into her paper for her own devices. It was fair advice to simply not say anything around her.

-You do that, Sailor Kastalle. Dyka pressed forward. -And you shall regret it when I see the lies you put into your paper.

-Oh, I'm sure I will! Kastalle laughed as we went into the court, where her kind was forbidden to go. -Have fun, girls!

I really wanted to say something in rebuttal to her, but as I opened my mouth, the great doors of the Court closed behind us. My bold and snide remarks against the loathed recorder were, at the moment, little more than plots in my mind. In fact, I forgot what I was planning on saying to Kastalle some time ago, so even if I wished to write down what I thought of now, for your interest, I couldn't.

-You know, I do remember mulling about it, however. -If I had the chance, I'd give Kastalle a piece of my mind.

-That is a terrible idea. Dyka walked down the hall. -You're better off wasting that piece of mind on other things.

-Like what?

-Like keeping your mouth shut. I meekly followed her. -Kastalle is nothing more than an opportunistic grubber. Most press people are. Just ignore what she has to say.

-

The proceedings of that same day are somewhat important. For, in that day, we had another sailor witness whom Kepe called to the stand.

-With your leave, your Majesties, Kepe bowed. -We shall call another sailor soldier to the stand.

-Bring her forth, Sailor Kepe.

At once, a young girl came forth. She was dressed in green, and was tall, and looked formidable. Yet she was shaking, most ostensibly frightened from what I could see. I gave a sigh as she came upon the stand; again, Dyka seemed prepared for whatever Kepe had in store for her. I looked over at Kepe's assistant Sailor Bora, writing in her notebook, and wished that I had a notebook to entertain my mind.

-The Prosecution calls Sailor Mido to the stand. Kepe motioned. -Have a seat, girl.

Sailor Mido quickly complied. She seemed very scared to be there, and she kept skaking each time Kepe turned around.

-Mido. Kepe looked at the shaking sailor. -You are the soldier of the planet Mido, which lays in the galaxy of......Sailor Mido?

Sailor Mido was shaking slightly. She turned white as a sheet when Kepe looked at her.

-Sailor Mido.

-I........ she shook. -I can't.....I can't do this..........

-Sailor Mido, calm down. Sailor Kepe's voice became sharp. -Be calm, please.

-I c-c-c-c-c-c.......

Kepe gave a sigh as Mido suddenly burst into tears. Quickly, three guards came forth and escorted Mido out of the witness cage.

-I...apologize, your Excellencies. Kepe took a deep bow. -This witness....recently lost her mother.

-Is that all? Savitri chuckled. -Little to worry about. If you must, you can bring her back later.

-Yes, your Highnesses.

I shifted uncomfortably at how Savitri dismissed such an event. Though I did not myself know my mother very well from my childhood, it was, regardless, somewhat surprising that the Three dismissed something like that so easily.

-Do you have any other witnesses?

-Yes. Kepe quickly recovered. -I would like to call Sailor Tartes to the stand.

Another soldier, who one without an eye, came to the stand. Certainly, she would not quiver and cry on the stand; she seemed a bit too tough for that. In fact, she almost gave Dyka a cold glare as she was brought up onto the stand.

-Thank you, Sailor Kepe.

-Yes. Coming out of her bow, Kepe came to the stand. -State your name.

-Sailor Tartes. Her voice was low, choking. -I come from the planet Tartes, in the Rigan galaxy. Not far from Asgerd.

-I see. Kepe began to do her pacing. And how do you know Tsukinousagi?

-I met her.

-Is this so? Kepe looked up at Tartes. -Where did you meet her?

-I met her in Quadrant Eight, over near Zero Star Sagittarius, three years ago. Actually, she met me.

-What did you think of her when she first came to you?

-I was very suspicious of her. Tartes replied. -I didn't like the look in her eyes. She seemed to be very irritated.

-Do you know why?

-No.

A slight murmur came from the few people, the few observers allowed into the courtroom. I began to really pay attention at this point, mainly because I had decided that I had nothing better to do. Truly, it is frustrating when you really have nothing to interest you, and you find you are not interested in the conversation going on around you. At first, I was not interested at all, yet had no real choice. What I really wanted were some coocor, but they did not allow eating in the court.

-Well, the next thing I remember was some of Kepe's final questions. It had been a good amount of time after the questions had started. -So it is true that you met her near Zero Star Sagittarius? With these passport documents you made for her?

-Yes.

-And did she seem at all.......unusual to you?

-No. Tartes shook her head. -I did not find much to be concerned about. She seemed normal to me.

-And so we submit these papers for evidence, Kepe put in, -That Tartes created these papers to shield Sailor Moon's identity in the case of her being caught for her actions.

-Yeah.

-I have no more questions for the witness.

I gave a yawn as Dyka went to stand up. At first, it didn't quite register, since I hadn't listened to half of what was asked and answered. I learned later, because I hadn't paid attention during that day, that Tartes, also one of the twenty soldiers rounded up at Veldanis, claimed to have worked as an identity seller. She reportedly created false identity papers for Sailor Moon so, when she broke the rules, she would be able to slip by the law through an alias. A good amount of the testimony was showing how she made the false papers, but for some reason I cannot recall even seeing any of it, though Dyka kept insisting after we left that she really went into such a demonstration. I wish I had paid attention; it could have been interesting. But I digress.

Then, it kind of hit me. I had been suspiscious of her. I didn't find much to be concerned about. She was irritated, she was normal.

-Dyka!

I quickly grabbed Dyka's suit. She swung around and gave me a look. It was very similar to the look she gave me when I had returned from collecting evidence, having found barely any. But I dragged her back to me.

-What do you want? she growled.

-Dyka. I kept my voice as low as I could. -Dyka. Tartes contradicted herself.

-What?

-In the beginning. She said Tsukinousagi was irritated. I nodded. -But just now, she said she was normal.

Dyka blinked. Perhaps it was the fact that it had been such a long questioning session and demonstration, or perhaps even Dyka, like myself, had stopped paying attention at some point. Yet I saw the realization in her eyes when I spoke and she gave a nod.

-Sailor Dyka? Savitri's voice came to our ears. -Do you have any questions?

-.....Right. Dyka finally stood up. -Yes, I have several questions for the witness.

I realized. My heart leapt. I almost cried happily. I had helped!

I was so incredibly grateful that I had helped. Truly, I almost felt redeemed by the fact that I, not Dyka, had noticed that the witness had blundered in her testimony. Essentially, she had contradicted herself, and I had found it. I could not believe it. I know, I know I am repeating myself, but the joy I felt in doing something right, after all the wrong things had happened....! It was such a wonderful feeling. So wonderful that I didn't even hear how Dyka discredited the witness on the stand using my discovery. And to be honest, I didn't care.

-

We finished the day flushed. At least I did. For not only had we discredited an important witness of Kepe's but we also had something coming for our side of the case. Sailor Jyanda, one of our three witnesses, would be testifying within two days, and I for one looked forward to it.

-That was something.

I looked at Dyka as we began our walk out of the court. It had been a long day, with several other witnesses presented on the side of Kepe as to the evils that our client had committed. But the memory of Tartes was on my mind in particular, and when I looked at Dyka, I realized that it was on her mind as well.

-That was quite clever of her.

-Huh? I was confused. -What do you mean?

-She did a good job with Tartes. Dyka nodded. -She made the deliberation with her so long that when Sailor Tartes accidentally exposed herself as unreliable, I didn't notice. If it hadn't been for you, no one would have caught it.

-Caught what now?

We both stopped. We turned to see Kepe behind us, Bora in tow with her notebook. We all stared at one another for a moment.

-Kepe, Dyka said smoothly. -You really don't think you could deny what you did with Tartes to me, could you?

-Ya'll think I would? A twinkle came from Kepe's eyes. -I ain't never said all my witnesses was that completely reliable. But they all given me reason to think they'd known her, from their tesimonies from Ved'nis and all. Cert'ly, though, one of 'em out of 'em twenty convinced me pretty good 'yond a shadow 'a' , 'course.

-One?

Dyka looked at Kepe warily. I, of course, pondered what Kepe meant.

-How do you mean, Kepe. Dyka looked at Bora, then back at Kepe. -Your witnesses have, so far, not been very impressive to convince me.

-You'd be surprised. At this, Bora spoke. -Our last witness will be a surprise to you. She has some very reliable....very intimate information.

-...Last witness, eh? I gulped at this. -What, she slept with Tsukinousagi?

At this, the others suddenly laughed. I wasn't sure why they were laughing, since, after all, I wasn't joking. In fact, I was shaking a little when I said it because I believed such a possibility to be true. But I digress.

-Well, Kepe chuckles. -Let's just say that our last witness....may put some doubts 'bout yer girl to rest. That's really all I cin say now, ya'll.

-Well. Dyka smiled. -Don't worry. We have some people on our list as well.

-Well, I'll be ready for what ya'll gots, I hope. Dyka winked. -Well, ya'll have a good night. I'm tired!

With that, Dyka walked off, and Bora silently followed. I looked at Dyka, then looked back at the two vanishing sailors. I was secretly worried at what this supposed last witness of the prosecution could offer, especially in light of our own weak evidence. Of course, it was nothing we could worry about at the moment. All we could do was walk away, and open the doors to the outside, where the glaring lights and harsh voices of the media awaited us.

11: Public Opinion

It is well-timed for me, I think, to explain the importance of the press and how it swayed public opinion in the Great Matter. After all, we, as the people involved in the case, woke up to public scrutiny and went to bed at night with it. How did it affect us, and our case, and even our client? The answer, I have learned, is somewhat complicated.

What we did in court, though most of it was secret and was kept so by order of the Judges, did come out by tiny bits. Perhaps someone close to the case - an expert witness, or a guard - would hold a press conference, or would secretly confide to someone about the proceedings. Many times, the person they gave confidence to, if it was in secret, would manage to get a small, very small piece of information. Those small pieces, of course, usually even as little as three words, somehow became five pages of story the next day. How writers manage to spread a one sentence idea into millions of pages worth of news, I will never know. But I digress.

Anyways, it is very easy to say that many people were naturally against us, the defenders. There were plenty of newspapers that supported Kepe, for she was the current hero to the masses. Soon after the sailor soldiers took sides, naturally, civilians took their sides, and many took the side that Tsukinousagi was guilty.

-PUBLIC OPINION POLL, I remember reading in one civilian paper. -90 PERCENT OF OUR READERS SAY: GUILTY! 60 percent say she deserves punishment worse than death. All others say death is good enough for them!

-

There were many organizations which supported the general public opinion of Tsukinousagi's guilt. There is no innocent until proven guilty thought in the Seemarin; here, you're always guilty. It's when the case is presented, depending how bad the violation proves to be, which really matters. Depending how well your crimes are proven, you are punished insomuch as the Seemarin law allows you to be. It was natural for the guilty side, then, to be the more popular side.

Some of the more prominent outlets which supported Tsukinousagi's guilt included the Minute Minute, a civilian holonews program which updates every minute; Raiset Star News, a holopaper which was civilian owned; Galaxy Portal, a Seermarin-based paper network; and of course Sailor Kastalle's Sailor Sentinel. The prosecution was represented as model heroes to those who adhered to the status quo (a close to exact description) while Dyka and I were represented as vicious, evil beings who wanted nothing more than to unleash untold destruction and eat bull brains. Except I don't eat bull brains, and I don't really even know what a bull is, exactly. But I digress.

Sailor Kastalle's, of course, was among the most important of the publications. Unlike most of the others, which only civilians could - or would - use, and the Portal, which was really only handed out to select members of the Seemarin (I got some complimentary copies myself), the Sailor Sentinel reached both civilians and soldiers at a much higher rate than any other of the important ones. What was more, Kastalle was completely biased as to whether or not Tsukinousagi was guilty. There was no doubt in my mind what she thought when I opened her paper up the day after the fateful first hearing, where Kepe announced the charges. It is, after all, hard to ignore such an article titled SCUM OF THE UNIVERSE: Why You Should (not) Care About Sailor Moon's Supposed Innocence. Another one of her more fantastic editorials included The 100 Reasons Sailor Moon Should Not Be Found Innocent.

This particular editorial caused an uproar in respectable societies. Among many reasons, some seemingly plausible, some so strange I could never have thought of them, was this one: Sailor Moon is like the antithesis of what our kind stand for. Her actions show her to be anti-establishment, anti-society, and as such should be treated as the threat she truly is. And this one: Considering the adverse effects seen in children who are known to converse with Vika soldiers, including violent behavior, rebellious activity, and even permanent brain damage, one can consider the effect that this soldier in particular to have - even through the most indirect and subtle contact - to be highly negative and completely adverse.

This caused nothing that I have ever seen before in many people. Societies against Tsukinousagi's contamination of society sprang up from nowhere, including Parents Against Tsukinousagi - PAT - which was whole-heartedly endorsed by Kastalle. This particular organization - which claimed 400 million good parents from 32 different systems - was bent on the salvation of their children's souls from the pale and tiny demon whom sat silently in her cage during the trial. So, they threw their holograph projectors out, stopped buying papers that hinted to have news of the Great Matter (other than the Sentinel, of course), and even banished their childrens' friends from their homes, particularly those who dared even utter the cursed girl's name.

While I know that she hated Tsukinousagi with an obsessive passion, I seriously doubt Kastalle actually believed in what all these parents claimed, which was that no exposure to Tsukino Usagi was good exposure. I do not doubt that it had a good effect on the sale of her paper, since its circulation quadrupled in less than a month after that article.

Another, less strict organization Kastalle liked to advertise was BaTBi - Banish The Bitch. These people were both sailors and civilians, which was a dangerous combination. They packed themselves around the Court of Justice almost from the very day of its inception. All they screamed, all day long, was -BANISH THE BITCH!-. They'd scream it the moment Kepe went in until after everyone left. They would camp outside the court as well, however, at night.

Some of the BaTBi got creative. One woman took one of her daughter's dollies with her and fashioned it into a Sailor Moon doll with a noose around her neck. It was supposedly so well done that others began to do it as well. So began the BaTBi's main income. Soon, they were selling clothing, single page holopaper flyers and hats, as well as a full line of dolls based on the people involved in the Great Matter. I still have a copy of their Themis doll; it sits on my shelf. It is unusually flattering, considering I am in the Bad Person Doll series with Tsukinousagi, my doll has fangs and there is a tiny dagger through its heart. But I digress.

Certainly, not all the organizations were that violent. Some people were simply content with writing letters to me stating that Tsukinousagi was guilty no matter how hard we tried. Some of the letters were surprisingly courteous, and I can even name a few people who forgave me for my defending the girl, for being tricked into ruining my life. At the time, such letters gave me some comfort.

-

There is, of course, that other side of the ball, the side which sided with us. These people had a harder time organizing, but their groups turned out to be, later on, just as formidable as any organization which felt Tsukinousagi was guilty. Naturally, of course, they needed an initiative.

Their main initiative was based on the sparse leaks given out about the witnesses. If, these people asked, the witnesses presented by the prosecution could not be trusted to be reliable in terms of Tsukinousagi's character and past, why then was there a trial? These people believed that no matter what, Tsukinousagi was innocent because there was little to no concrete evidence besides heresay. Many of the people supported the argument Dyka was trying to present - that Tsukinousagi was an ignorant girl from an unknown planet who simply knew no better, and no harm done, no foul play.

There were plenty of publications for this as well. There was the District, which was sailor run. There was also the Savior Stories, which I'll get into in just a bit, by civilians. And there was Fact Tact, which was civilian-based. And then there was Red Blood, but I forget who published Red Blood. It was only available in select systems.

Anyways, Savior Stories was bent on showing Tsukinousagi not as just some ignorant girl, but as a godly figure who was sent from beyond to save the universe. That she went to the Galaxy Cauldron and survived, these people asserted, is a testimony to the fact that she is one whom even the Three must bow down to. Many older, respecting people shuddered at this horrendous line of thought, but it certainly worked wonders on younger people.

-I mean, I remember one holocast, with one young woman talking to the reporter. -She's like, our age. And, like, they're destroying her for, like nothing. Like, if she survived it, like she should be worshipped. It's discrimination, man. Like, it's wrong. The Seemarin is wrong. Sailor soldiers, like, can't follow some stupid set of rules when, like, their whole world is about to, like, blow up. I mean, like, would you just stand back and, like, not help your world?

Soon, though the pro-Sailor Moon groups had no set name, there began to circulate a shirt. It was white, and all it had on it was a sentence in silver: -I WAS RESURRECTED BY SAILOR MOON-. Soon, hundreds of people - mainly kids - began wearing these shirts as a sign of their beliefs. Soon, they wore it as a sign of defiance against what they saw as un unjust system.

-

Interestingly enough, there was an incident in particular which caused people to start siding with Tsukinousagi. It was sometime after the first hearing, sometime after the sword was found on our door. It was actually in between that death threat and our return to the Court, though I don't remember the exact date off my head.

I do remember, however, that I had gone shopping for coocor that day, for Tsukinousagi had, to my disgust, eaten all of the ones I had tried to hide. So when I came home, I found hundreds of black-shirted men surrounding the house we were residing in. I became pale with fear; the black-shirted men were a part of the Mehsheh Security Force , among the most fearful police forces in the civilized universe outside of the sailor soldiers. They were different from the regular policemen we had encountered before, because the policemen we had encountered before were paid by the civilians, and tend to be somewhat lax in their procedures. These men were specialists paid by the affluent to keep the neighborhoods safe at all costs.

-Hello?! I nearly threw my bags down as I ran to the house. What is going on!? I live here! What is happening?!?

I was almost barred from coming through to the house, but luckily, one of the guards recognized me, and quickly got me through. I saw white powder everywhere in the front; as I was quickly escorted through the door, several men in white suits passed me.

-Wh-wh-wh-what's happening?! I began to tremble. -What are all these men doing here?!

- Seema-ship. Suddenly, a man dressed in brown stood in front of me. -Are you Sailor Themis?

-Y-y-y-yes I am...... I gulped. -What happened?

-I am a detective for the Mohsheh Security Force. He showed me his badge. -There was a break-in in your house. Apparently, someone tried to blow the house up with your client, Tsukinousagi, with it, and anyone else he could. We found traces of hydrogen cells, and several neutron-powered powder explosions, but in particular there was a timed viral bomb-

-WHAT!?

-Be calm, seema-ship. The detective held up his hand as I began to panic. -We managed to capture the culprit before he did any damage. A neighbor caught him, and we detonated his devices out of orbit. You're safe, seema-ship.

It turned out, upon seeing his file - I forget his name - that he was a member of the BaTBi movement, one person who wrote in his confession that killing the root of all evil could instantly solve the problems civilized society was facing. Naturally, BaTBi denied inciting this person into trying to blow us all into pieces. Though he was immediately incarcerated and jailed, never to be seen by us again, it got out, and the situation became more complicated with the masses as to how to handle their beliefs. What side would one take? And if one took a side, which stance on each side would one take? Wait quietly, or take action?

Indeed, the situation was starting to get more complicated for us as well. Things became more unbelievable, and we began to lose crucial ground. When we lost crucial ground, ties between people became strained, to the point where I almost did something so horrible that I fear to write it down even now. And unfortunately, the situation would only get worse and worse until, finally, everything began to blow up all around us as if that bomb, though physically gone, still counted down to its time of destruction.

12: Setback

It is easy to see that the relationship between myself, Dyka and Tsukinousagi was not very good to begin with from the beginning. It was a very complex situation, as we - or at least I - saw Tsukinousagi as what she was portrayed as - a terrible weakling, yet somehow a criminal. It didn't seem logical at all.

So, in our defense, we decided to play upon Vika ignorance - and, in my opinion, Tsukinousagi seemed quite ignorant. Around me, all she ever did was really cry a lot, yet she wasn't hurt. It was very annoying, and every night, I would go to her - my - room and yell at her.

-HEY! I hated the sound she made when she cried. -Hey, you should be grateful! You get to keep my room! If it had been anyone else...

But it was of no avail. She never talked to me, she just cried, and when she wasn't crying, she would be eating my coocor. To me, it annoyed me. Sometimes, I'd tell her to shut up, and sometimes, this worked. However, sometimes, I became....physical, I suppose.

-Shut UP! This one time, I caught her with my coocor, and I smacked her in her face. -And STOP eating MY food! If you want food, make your OWN!

That time, she cried really hard. It was exasperating. All she ever did was either cry or eat. And that one time, I didn't even smack her that hard, and she just started crying. I'd smacked her harder before; the one time, when I returned from collecting evidence, among two or three other times. But I digress. That is not something to truly get into yet.

-

After our breaking of Tartes' flimsy testimony, Dyka and I were ecstatic - or at least I was - about our own upcoming witness. Sailor Jyanda was a fervent supporter of our theory that our Vika soldier was a tiny, ignorant fool of a sailor. In fact, she had called us on her way to Asgerd to testify.

-Yup! She ecstatically greeted me. -Lots of fun! This is going to be an interesting thing, indeed!

It would be an interesting thing indeed. We would have a witness whom would be able to help us with our rut. As it was, we only had three witnesses to present, and one of them was in an old-age home. Of the three, Dyka did not want to call her unless she really had to.

Speaking of that, I suspected, of course, that she was secretly looking more witnesses behind my back. Granted, I had gone to all of Dyka's suggested people, but I thought that she could be doing other things behind my back. I wasn't very happy to not be privy to this information because I was, after all, her assistant. I felt I had a right to know what my boss - as you would call her - was doing with what was supposed to be my duty.

Indeed, one night, I caught her talking on a telecommunicator down in our main area. I had been going to get something to drink, as I was quite thirsty, and I heard her do a slightly high-pitched yelp.

-What? She squeaked. -But you don't understand. This is very important to me. You know as well as I do that she would be VERY useful to the.....listen. Bingam, listen. LISTEN. You know as well as I do that she is dirty.

I paused, and quietly made my way down the stairs. I pondered what she was talking about, and as best as I could, hid behind one of the chairs.

-Don't play innocent! Dyka almost yelled into the com. -LISTEN! You need to HELP me. You and I know fully well she's dirty. We just have to find out HOW. We need to learn who is supplying her with all of these witnesses. She has an ally.....look, LOOK. I don't want to get in trouble with the.....what do the Three have to do with......what?......Stop it! HELP ME, damn you!

I listened in earnest. Who, I pondered, was Dyka talking about? As unfortunate as it sounds, I simply couldn't figure it out, no matter how hard I thought about it.

-....Look. Dyka's voice was annoyed. -Fine. You don't want to help me, just go and be worthless.

With that, she angrily gave a grunt, and threw the com onto one of the chairs. I silently moved my head over to see which chair it was on, since I could call that person back, and find out who it was. Why would Dyka do such a thing?

Unfortunately, as I leaned in, Dyka was turning towards my direction. Our eyes met, and I gave a start.

-Oh....oh dear!

At this, I lost my balance, and fell to my side. As I smarted from the fall, I looked up and saw Dyka standing over me.

-Do you need something?

-.....Well.......

I tried to think of what to say. But what could I say? I was eavesdropping. Not for entirely wrong reasons, I might add, but regardless, it was a conversation Dyka did not want me to hear.

-......You would do better minding your own business. Dyka's voice was low. -Rather than listening to my conversations, perhaps you would be better off doing your own work.

-......Yes, sister. I was feeble and powerless against Dyka. -I understand.

-Get up. The next thing I knew, Dyka was helping me up. -It is nothing. I shouldn't be so harsh.

-Thank you...

-But.... she suddenly turned me so I was looking at her again. -This moment will be forgotten. Do you understand, Floritiuse? I was not talking to anyone.

-F-forgotten? I slowly nodded. -Yes, its forgotten.

-Good.

With that, she let me go, and I hastily excused myself to get a drink. With the way that she looked at me, I was not sure if I wanted to know who she was talking to anymore.

-

It seemed insulting to me, afterwards, that Dyka should hide such things from me. I was her partner, the one she chose because, she said, she trusted me. I could not understand why, or how, she could possibly treat me as some stupid, hapless subordinate. As a soldier, as a sailor soldier, I was supposed to be her equal, like a sister, and should have been privy to all that she was doing for me, just as all I did was to be told to her. Yet it was as if I suddenly knew nothing that was going on, and no one was telling me anything. But I digress.

-Dyka, I asked the next day. -I was wondering-

-I thought it was forgotten, Themis.

-.....Yes, that's forgotten. I sheepishly smiled. -But I was wondering, when Jyanda sees Tsukinousagi, how do you think she'll react?

We were going to the transit to pick Jyanda up. We did not bring Tsukinousagi with us; we decided that she should be kept in the dark about Jyanda until the trial, and was left with Brainless Brutus, the grunt who was her escort to the Court of Justice. Besides which, we did not quite trust that she would not be ripped to shreds by the crowds. But what would she have known? All the child did was sit in her room and cry. She probably would have been too busy bawling, I figured, and everyone would laugh at her weakness and forget about her.

No, it was better to save us the embarrassment of such a figure in our car. We were portrayed badly by many as it was.

-If Jyanda is a good pirate fighter, she will not be so shocked. Dyka looked at me, amused. -Of course, sometimes, being small has its advantages in terms of looks.

-I don't think so. I shook my head. -Being big has a very great advantage. Look at Tsukinousagi; every time I pass by her room, she looks at me, frightened, as if I was going to attack her!

-Well, do you attack her?

-....Not all of the time, I admitted. -I mean, does it look like I attack her all the time?

-...No. Dyka was silent for a moment. -But be careful. We don't want people to get suspicious of us any more than they are.

I nodded in agreement; having the prisoner look like she had been in a bar fight would have not been looked on well by the Judges. They expected her to be at her best condition for her trial.

On the other hand, quite a few people wouldn't have minded if I beat her black and blue a couple of times. I admit, I already did once before then; I certainly wouldn't have minded doing it again. In fact, the unfortunate part was, while people sometimes condemned hurting her before her sentence was inevitably carried out, people had already figured out that I alone was, in fact, doing the public a favor they were dying to do themselves. Several newspapers even had ongoing bets as to how many times I was going to knock her unconscious. But I digress.

-Well, Dyka stopped the transport. -We are here.

We both stepped out of the transport, facing the Asgerd Transportation Center. It was where we had agreed to meet Jyanda, so that we could go to a private place afterwards to discuss what would be done in the cage. Most likely, what was to be focused on would be Jyanda's record in the Vika galaxies, and her personal experience with the rampant ignorance she encountered there regarding the Seemarin.

-Let's go before the press comes here. Dyka went behind me as I walked as quickly as I could into the building. -We don't need anything happening here.

-Ok....

I should have picked up that something odd was going on when, as soon as I entered the building, several people began to follow us. They seemed harmless enough as I looked back on them; they looked more like a pack of travelers, as they all had bags and cases on them that seemed normal. They were simply following us, keeping a slight distance. And the further along we got, the more that seemed to trickle into their group: a man here, a woman from a restaurant, a couple coming off of a transport.

-Hurry! Suddenly, Dyka breathed into my ear and pushed me. -Go faster!

I went to look at her reproachfully; I thought we were safe. Then I looked up behind her, and saw that the group of travelers had swelled into a pack of press people! I gave a gasp and started to make a run for it.

-THEMIS!

Suddenly, I felt someone take my shoulder. Instinct kicked in, and I swung one of my appendages at my attacker.

-Woah, WOAH! To my surprise, my attack was caught. -Woah, woah, what is this?! Hold on!

I growled at the person who was now holding me hostage. He was of a medium height, and of a dusty color. He was also of a race I was not familiar with. As a result, I kept struggling.

-Hey, HEY! He clasped my appendage tighter. -You are a wild one, dear! You should teach this girl manners, Dyka!

I instantly stopped at the mention of Dyka's name. I felt myself become clammy at the thought I was attacking someone who could have been a potential ally. I gave a gulp and smiled sheepishly; I wondered, was this the Bingam whom Dyka had spoken to?

-Themis! Dyka's voice was full of shock. -What are you doing?! This is the Jyandan civilian ambassador to Asgerd!

-..........Er...... At this, I laughed nervously. -S-so sorry, s-sir....I d-didn't know....

-Understood...... The man looked up, slightly annoyed. -...With this riff-raff.

I looked around. The pack was now around us, snapping holograms and taking all at once. With a flick of his hands, the Jyandan ambassador pushed open a passage through the throng.

-Out of my way! He shouted at everyone, and immediately, they fell back. -Go away! This is official business!

By this time, as the man was dragging my appendage - and with it, me - down the hall, I was becoming slightly.....per(?) - pre(?) - turbed. For one, I had not even known that there was a civilian ambassador from Jyanda. I went to give Dyka a glare from keeping this all from me.

However, as I went to give her a look, I saw that her expression was as confused as mine was annoyed. It immediately occurred to me that Dyka had not been expecting to meet him. In this, some of my faith in her was reestablished; at the least, she would have told me if we were meeting him as well. But it was now apparent he was not supposed to have been there.

-Come. We came to a black transport - a government-type cruiser. The ambassador opened the doors for us. -Get inside. The fools will not dare attack this car. Not as long as I have a say in it!

I was to learn later that the Jyandan ambassador had some control over the media, at least in terms of money for certain civilian outlets for the Seemarin. He could control whether or not people under his wing would be seen by the press. He sometimes held press conferences, and other things like that as well. We were in relatively safe hands.

Not only that, but he had coocor of the best kind in his transport. He immediately offered us refreshment, and I accepted graciously. It was the least I could do.

-Tint the windows, he barked to his driver. -We have some things to talk of to our guests.

-Yes sir.

-And drive. He turned to us as the windows darkened. -It is good I found you before the press could do much damage. You will need my help, at least for today, because of circumstances.

-Sir, Dyka finally spoke after a silence. -What is the meaning of this? Forgive me, but we were not supposed to meet you back there. We were to meet your sailor soldier, Sailor Jyanda. She had come in last night to Asgerd. Surely you know that?

-....Yes. The ambassador's face became grave. -I do know this. She informed me herself what she was doing in Asgerd last night.

There was a new silence at this. I had finished eating my fourth coocor, but by this time, I began to feel queasy. Not because of the candy, because I could eat hundreds of them in one sitting without sickness. But I digress.

It was because of the sudden tension that arose in the car. As I sat there, I could sense a fear, particularly from Dyka, who sat right next to me. I brought my appendages to my side, worried as to what the ambassador was to say. For, though Jyanda was free to come and testify, he was powerful enough to stop her. This is what I first thought; it certainly made sense given that they were of the same planet, and her testimony could reflect badly on him. Jyanda was honestly not very genteel when one gave further thought to it.

-Ambassador. Dyka's voice shook. -If you are not going to let her testify tomorrow, then that is your call, I suppose. But you do not understand; she is a very important witness an-

-Silence. He held up his hand and stopped her. -I understand your position, seema-ship. I respect your decision. But now, there is nothing I can do. Jyanda will not - cannot testify tomorrow.

-Why not?!

-Because she is dead.

-

A small digression, but I believe a thought must come here.

I had not ever lost any sailor soldier known to me under any circumstance before. I had not known Jyanda very long, but then. I felt a strange feeling in my -gut- as your kind would call it. It was not very pleasant at all.

How would I describe it? I was as if a knife had been taken, and thrust into me, deeply, in my -gut- and in my chest. But perhaps that is an understatement, since I have been stabbed, and it did not feel the way that this pain had felt. It felt like it was deeper than just a stab, deeper than my body, as if it had hit something deeper than what I could comprehend.

-

There is no way to describe how Dyka reacted. She gave an angry screech, while I, with my pain, simply stayed silent.

-WHAT?!?!?!? Her voice went to a high pitch I never thought could come from her. -H........how.....?!?

-...Murdered. His eyes looked at both of us. -She was bled out, and her blood was thrown on the wall. Death, it said. Death to the Order.

We fell silent. Our witness was gone. What was worse, murdered. Another blow was to our already dying case.

-........Who..... the strange pain had subsided enough for me to speak. -....Who did it?

The ambassador was silent for another moment. In my chest, the pain left, but yet it felt strange. It was as if all that was left in my body was the cold ashes of a doused fire.

-We have one group high on the list of suspects. The car rolled by, the neon blue lights of the world blurring into lines. -They call themselves the Astramort.


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES:

Perturbed.

13: The Astramort

You have a word for people who use illegal means to strike fear and paranoia: terrorist. This is a suitable name to describe what the Astramort were considered to be by the general populace.

The Astramort, really, had only been considered legend for a very long time before The Great Matter. Many legends were abound about them - how they were demons of chaos, spawned from slime, black blood, and from the breasts of old men. They had fangs as long as swords, and lidless eyes that knew no sleep, and above all thirsted for the blood of the innocent....and of sailor soldiers. Some said they wore black cloaks to give them respectable form, but uncloaked, they were as tall as buildings, and breathed black fire. The other names for them were the Blood Thirsters, and the World Crushers. Also, they were the Black Cloaks. That is why no one wears black cloaks in civilized galaxies. But I digress.

These legends went back to the very oldest of times. Stories were that when one heard the hissed whispers in the wind, one should run as fast as they could to safety. However, if they truly did exist, most people passed them off as being shadows of times before the soldiers became organized - before the Seemarin. But recently, in the time of the Great Matter, the most fantastic magazines began to bring out strange reports.

-EXTRA! EXTRA! One blared. -BLACK CLOAKS SEEN ON REGIN GALAXY FRINGE! SYSTEMS IN PANIC!

Of course, it was easy to shrug off those magazines; most of their reports were untrue anyways. However, it was the death of Sailor Jyanda which renewed some fears that, perhaps, the time had come, and from the shadows the Astramort had finally returned after the deep, dark slumber of the ages.

-There have been many reports. The Jyandan ambassador somemnly told us in the tinted transport. -Several verified reports have come to us, stating that a group resembling the images of the old monsters of old have been wandering across the galaxy recently. Though it may be seemingly foolhardy to dismiss them as old children tales, we believe that it is not that easy.
-The Blood Thirsters. Being of an older generation, Dyka seemed more troubled than I. -But how? The power of the Three, and of the solidarity of the soldiers, has it not been sufficient to at least keep such darkness out of the civilized worlds?
-Who knows? The Jyandan ambassador sighed. -This universe is a strange place. It is known in some of the old tales that the Astramort are spawned from many things - from the forces of chaos and fear, for one. Among other....unsavory places.
-Indeed.

I said nothing during the exchange. I simply stayed silent, and listened. Tales they may have been, stranger things had happened. Things such as my meeting Tsukinousagi. But I digress.

-You should know above others. The ambassador looked at me briefly. -Both of you. This so called Great Matter has divided civilized worlds like nothing before it. The Seemarin is dealing with a situation that is has never had to deal with - someone breaking long sacred rules. We believe, therefore, that her entrance into the Galaxy Cauldron was the starting point - the apex of the re-spawning of the Astramort.
-The apex? Dyka looked at him curiously. -Are you suggesting that her transgression is not the only reason?
-Dyka. The ambassador waved his hand. -Look around you. You know that the civilian masses are foolish when presented with such an outrage. One person, even one as marked as your client, is not alone capable of awakening old demons. Many overreacting people are to blame for this.

Dyka nodded. I, not being able to see another, more logical explanation, also nodded. It did make sense to me, as much as I secretly wanted it to just be our client's fault.

-How many, Dyka's voice cracked. -Does the Seemarin believe there to be?
-Several. He replied. -More than five were spotted on the star of Minyita.

Dyka gave a gasp. I, though not as inclined to know how truly powerful such monsters were, was beginning to shake. I knew enough to know that the Astramort - even just one of them - was very strong. I learned later, from reading a book of children stories (though I would not completely rely on this estimate) that would take as many soldiers as there were planets in one galaxy to even hope to match the strength of one World Crusher.

-Then, Dyka put her hands together, -ambassador, what can we do?
-One thing. The ambassador looked at each of us warily. -Nothing.
-What?
-Be on the defensive, of course. The ambassador nodded. -But I would suggest keeping your thoughts on your case. It would be better to do that than to simply worry about whether you'll be bled to death by ancient monsters.
-Oh yes. I finally managed a reply. -Yes, I suppose that is an idea.
-I mean it. The ambassador gave me a look. -Don't let it get to you. If you do, and these people turn out to be the real thin, they'll be after you. They live on fear.
-Right here, sir?
-Oh - yes. All of us turned to the driver. -Yes, right here.

I looked out the window and gave a start. We were on Mehsheh, in front of the house.

-What are we doing here?! I cried. -I thought-
-We are letting the lawyer out. My door was opened. -I apologize, Themis, but there are several things that I must talk to Dyka about alone. And the Three wish to see her only.
-The Three!
-Don't look at me. Dyka nudged me out. -Listen, Themis. I want you to lock down the house extra well, and keep your eye on the girl while I am gone.
-............All right............

I slowly turned away from the transport, and the minute the door closed, it went off. I felt loathed that, again, I was being kept from knowing things. As I walked to the door, I vowed that I should take it up with Dyka once she got home.

That changed, however, when I took a turn to the front door. I was treated to a sight I don't think I'll ever forget.

-Bruto-san. There she was, Tsukinousagi, outside, no restraints, deep in a warm embrace of the guard, Brutus. -Thank you. Thank you!

14: Argument

Brainless Brutus and Tsukinousagi. What a concept to the mind! She, whom everyone wished to wipe themselves on, with her guard in an embrace of intimacy!

Some people probably think that it took everything I had not to scream at them, or to lose my mind. Actually, it was not so difficult to do, looking back, since I was too shocked to actually react properly. In fact, I just let Tsukinousagi go into the house, and Brutus passed right by me as he left!

-What are YOU looking at? He gave me a look. -Seema-ship.

I was too shocked to reply. I simply let him walk past me, and I went into the house after several minutes of simply looking at the cursed spot where I had seen what had happened.

How could it have happened? How could our client betray us like that? And how could I tell Dyka?

-

I should have noticed, of course. We both should have noticed something unusual about Tsukinousagi's behavior, at least when it came to Brutus, since she was given to our care. But it had been unfortunate enough that we were both tied up in the witnesses, and Jyanda's death was going to be a very difficult thing to replace. Who would go on the stand for us?

Anyways, first, it was her slightly changed demeanor. It was something that I overheard from others, the next day in court, after Kepe's long-awaited witness was again denied release from prison until the next day. There had been a delay in getting a transport ready for her; she was supposedly violent. But, as the transport for Dyka and myself was not ready, I simply listened in to a conversation between three or four soldiers whom were observers in the trial.

-They've known each other for months, the voices would snicker. -They've been like this for some time, even before this trial.

You see, Brutus was entrusted to bring her to and from the Court of Justice every day. He was charged as her guard from the time she had exited Veldanis, the last prison where she had been held. But I digress. I think I already mentioned it.

Some of the court observers later told me that, as time went on, when she was released from the court to be escorted back to Mehsheh, she would almost run to him, and they would leave, laughing and talking. It was as if they had been soul mates since the beginning of their lives. Their private displays of emotion were supposedly sickening to see.

Not only that, but it was supposed that Tsukinousagi had been taken out for dates by the large creature. Whispers abounded that she would starve herself all day - and it wasn't too surprising to us, since she never seemed to eat anything we made other than my coocors - and then go out with Brutus and have a huge meal. Indeed, some people had started to notice that Tsukinousagi was actually getting bigger and rounder in her midsection since the trial had started, yet she never ate any of our food.

On the other hand, she was never like that with us. Hearing the descriptions of how she acted with the grunt, in comparison to how she was with us, annoyed me. It was an insult, also, that she should choose to eat his food over ours, and while she stuffed herself, we were secretly being humiliated for her spurning of us. But there were stranger things I was about to hear.

-....Good day, sisters! Deciding it would be worth it to report to Dyka, and perhaps get her to trust me more, I stepped in.-I'm sorry, but I couldn't help overhearing.

There was a brief moment after this where they stared at me. They apparently thought I was angry at them for talking about my client. But I simply smiled and laughed.

-Oh, don't worry! I laughed. -You can tell me what you're talking about. I hate her too.

-You...do? One of them was astounded. -But you're her defender.

-Hmph. I shrugged it off; putting her down made me feel good for the moment. Pish! Her. My client, I admit, is not exactly the most savory character. I saw her too, last night. Brainless Brutus, right?

-....Yeah! The women laughed. -Well, what a surprise! Are they coming out in public now?

-Who knows? I snickered. -But tell me. What does she do, Does she kiss that filthy mouth of his?

-Oh dear, no! Another one of them giggled. -Dear me, I think even she's smart enough - for a jeukoochinegar - not to kiss his mouth! Who knows where its been!

We all laughed at this. Such nasty, horrible things of gossip were common with observers; they were always ones to trump things up. Unfortunately, I was a fool to think that they were only on my side; they, like I, were always looking for way to ingratiate themselves to anyone with power. And I, like a fool, had no inkling that I was playing into a dangerous trap.

-Oh, one of them then snickered. -But speaking of dirty mouths, sisters. I wonder how her lover would react if he ever saw her with him.

-Oh, indeed! The other girls laughed. -That would be a scene!

-Yes, it-what? I looked at the others. -What....did you.....did you say lover?

-We most certainly did, Sailor Themis! One of them pinched me. -You seem surprised! Didn't Dyka tell you? You know, she's your boss?

I simply kept my mouth open as the soldiers laughed and walked away. It was obvious that I didn't know a single thing. And yet, Dyka had known.....

It was then I made up my mind. I had to speak to Dyka. I had to clear everything up, and tell her about Brutus and Tsukinousagi's love affair. Then, I would get her to tell me everything.

-

We were brought home in silence, Dyka and I. As the minutes went by, my anger towards her began to rise. How much was she hiding from me? How could she hide such things from me? How was I to know our client was carrying on recklessly with a fool?

Of course, when I learned that Tsukinousagi had a lover, thoughts began to arise as to who could ever possibly be a lover to her. Who, who in their right mind? I made up my mind, at that, to believe that Tsukinousagi's other lover had to be another Brutus. Perhaps his name, I thought, was Bumpkin. It had to be, for who, other than a hulking piece of muscle, could love her?

-Dyka.

-Hmm?

-We need to talk.

The transport stopped in front of our house. Slowly, we both got out, and walked to the front door.

-What?

-Its about Tsukinousagi. I took in a deep breath. -We need to stop her.

-...Stop her? Dyka became confused. -Stop her from what?

-From destroying our case, of course!

I then began explaining to her what I had learned from those soldiers whom had been talking. I told her everything, from what I had learned about Brutus, to her....lover. By the time I had finished, Dyka and I were both inside.

-......Hm.

-That is all the truth. I finished what was probably one of the longest discussions I had had with her in a very long time, perhaps ever. -We need to do something, something that will ensure this doesn't continue. How will it looks to the Three when the hear about this? They may declare us incompetent...or...or something of that sort.

-.....How do you propose to do this?

-Well, I..... I stopped. -I...figured you had some suggestions.

Dyka stopped, and looked at me. She started to laugh, which instantly chilled me.

-Themis...... She shook her head. -No, no. I will not deal with this matter. You shall.

-Tha......What?

-I already knew of...this lover of hers. Dyka snorted. -But this discovery will be yours to handle, this one of Brutus.

I looked at her, and I am quite sure my mouth was open quite wide when she finished. At that point, my simmering annoyance at her briefly lost control. The next thing I knew, I was screaming.

-SO YOU DID KNOW! I exploded. -YOU KNEW. And when I talked to those women, I looked like a complete fool!

-Quiet, you fool! Dyka looked at me, her laugh subsiding. -That is not completely my fault.

-How is it my fault!?

-You should know better than to talk to them. All they do is spread rumors.

-Well, those were rumors I just happened to not know about! I spat. -So, what else are you going to hide from me?

-I beg your pardon?

-You know what I'm talking about.

-THAT was none of your business. Dyka's voice changed at this. -I was talking to someone that you have no need to learn of.

-Is that SO?

-Yes. At this, Dyka's became such that I noticed the anger in it. -And if you know better, you'll mind your business.

-....Fine.

I gave a growl at this. I was really, really hating what Dyka was doing to me. I knew nothing. I was not allowed to know anymore than I did. And when I asked for more info, Dyka only got angry with me. I really had a mind to take it up with someone if it kept up. By this time, of course, everything Dyka said was angering me.

-I am the main defender of Tsukinousagi. And you will do what I tell you. Dyka started to walk off. -You will be the one to try to bring her back to us.

-Right. I nodded. -Because-

-Because we don't know what she may be telling him. I was immediately cut off from saying it was somewhat inappropriate. -Though I will admit....such a thing was not unexpected. I anticipated that we might have to do something to show her what we are doing, that it is us whom she must learn to trust. And if I can save her, most likely I can't, but she will learn to be grateful. You will be the one to show her we want her.

-How?

-By using this.

With that, Dyka turned back around and held up a card towards me. I slowly brought one of my appendages out and took it from her. On it was Dyka's scribbled, messy writing.

-Hu....... I squinted. -Hu....m....humbu......humbugger. Fr.....f.....frey.

-It took me time, but I found something that could make her stop her foolishness.

-What...... I looked confused. -What is Humbugger?

-It is a food, Dyka replied. -A delicacy from her world.

I looked at the card and frowned. There were things written that I did not understand.

-But....what is this?

-Its called a recipe. Dyka tossed her head back. - Make it for her tonight. We start this now.

-......What about you?

-I have to go down to one of the neighbors. Dyka gave me another warning look. -I was asked to attend a small gathering. I already told them you couldn't come either way.

-...I see.

I was very certain I was sulking as Dyka went to leave. Dyka was going to a party, and I was stuck with what your kind calls the dirty laundry. Of course, Tsukinousagi was not laundry. But I digress.

-Oh. Dyka went to leave. -One more thing, Floritiuse. Don't scare that girl. If we're going to get her to stop with Brutus, we can't go around hitting her anymore. Understood?

-Understood.

-Good. Dyka opened the door. -I'll be back. Have fun.

And with that, the door closed, and I was alone.

15: Humbuggers and Freys

I really must wonder why your kind must eat such disgusting food.

Don't take my words terribly - I understand you have....different tastes. Perhaps it was because I had little to work with? Your preferences are so strange. But I digress.

I daresay, however, that this......food was of great importance. To the relationship we had with Tsukinousagi, of course, because many things happened with that small plate of food. But, I also realized how difficult it was to prepare new foods when one does not understand another world's way of perparing things.

This was the recipe:

HUMBUGGER AND FREYS

Ingredients:

-beifpates

-humbuggerbuns

-batelkiship

-bahtelmisterd

-oneuneeyun

-tumadoz

-leeteesleev

-jarpikil

-wezchishirsaws (?)

-tooputatuh

-shediresheesh

-jarmeneees

Round pates until they are round.

Cut putatuhs up.

Cook buns in toosdur.

Broil pates for five minutes. Turn over.

Put oven to 350. Cook for ten-fifteen minutes.

Let cool.

Put on connymins.

Give to Tsukinousagi.

I believe it is due to Dyka's bad writing that the food came out the way it did. In fact, I almost didn't even cook the humbugger. The directions were so confusing, I had to read them several times to figure it out.

And this is how I figured it out. Apparently, I surmised, the pates were to be cooked and cooked and cooked. First broiled, then turned and ovened. I had no clue what ovening was, so I decided to go minute to minute with the situation. Meanwhile, the buns would be put into a toosdur - whatever that was - and served alongside the humbugger. The putatuhs were to be cut up and put on the pates after the pates were done, as was everything else that was on the list.

As I looked at all of the ingredients, I suddenly realized. Of course! I'm making a soup! It suddenly made the directions very easy. Connymins were to be used to make the broth, so I got a bowl to put all of them in there. I looked in the fridge for substitutes for the connymins; we had no batelkiship or anything of that sort. I found all kinds of various foods, which I won't completely comment on, since there were so many things I eventually put in as connymins, but I did put in rococi and some spicy mentilsun - native spices to Mehsheh - to flavor it.

Making the saucy broth was easy enough, for it simply required some heating. And the putatuhs I did not have to cook at all, just cut them up.

The pates, of course - which I substituted with balls of beast meat - were not so fortunate. I did as the instructions told me, at least as best as I could. I rolled them up, and stuck them in a bowl and also began to cook them. However, after five minutes, and I saw that the heating had had no effect.

-What....!

I huffed. I had to get the heat to work in a better way. So I turned the heat up to its highest setting and put the pates in there for thirty minutes. I was not the best cook, but I figured it would be more than enough time for it to be thoroughly cooked.

-There! I felt proud of myself. -This is going to turn out better than I thought!

So I waited. And as I waited, I picked up the local holopaper and began to read it.

ASTRAMORT THREAT GROWS. the headline read. SEVEN BLOOD THIRSTERS REPORTEDLY SPOTTED ON SHIP TO ASGERD.

I gave a sigh and read the paper. They had worn the black cloaks, the story went. They had been spotted by several people, who began to react violently. Before they could get the police involved, however, the Black Cloaks had disappeared, but fortunately, they found a torn black cloth, of an unknown rough texture. They concluded that it was Astramort, a poisoned cloak, and it was immediately sent to a lab for examination and for quarantine- as was everyone on the ship. It was learned, later, that the material had come from a certain galaxy - a certain planet, which, naturally, never heard of the Astramort, I am positive, too, they these people had never heard of us before this story. But I digress.

I was going to read more of the story, but then, a peculiar smell came into my sense. I took it in; whatever it was, it smelled quite bad. It was almost as if something was burning.

-............AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!

I jumped up and screamed. The entire room was filled with smoke! I ran into where the pates were cooking, and threw open the door. The next thing I knew, fire, smoke, and meat juice was all flying at me simultaneously.

-AAAAAAAAAAAAAH! OW! OWWWWWWWWWWWW! AUUUUUUGH!!!!

-

It took me ten minutes to put out the fire.

By the time I had fully finished stirring the humbugger and frey together, I was in a state of complete annoyance. My appendages were burnt, the food had dripped onto my clothing and my eyes still hurt from the smoke. The pates were black, while some of the ingredients were still cold. And worse, the cooking space was a mess from all of the ingredients.

This is good enough! I shook my head with a growl. Good enough for her. I put a lot into this even though it didn't turn out the best.

I shook my head with a growl.

With that, I almost stomped up the stairs as I brought the detested Earth food to its even more detested would-be eater. I grumbled to myself as I winced from the burns.

Dyka! This is terrible! Never again! I swore. I don't care who she is! She will appreciate what I went through!

I swore.

Finally, I approached the door. I paused for a moment, to try and check myself before going inside. I took several deep breaths in an attempt to calm myself.

-.........Hello. I knocked on the door, my voice as level as possible. -Let me in, Tsukinousagi.

There was a long moment of silence. Then, the door slid open. I entered, looking around before seeing her. She was on my bed, holding her midsection, when she saw me. She had not been crying; there was no stain on her face. It was certainly a first for me. I apparently caught her unawares.

-....What do you want. Her voice was low as she turned away. -Leave me alone.

-.....I have something for you.

I looked at her, and instantly regretted taking Dyka's idea. She sat there, looking so small and pitiful. How, how could she have been a soldier! It made no sense! Such a rudeness in her!

-I don't want it.

-Its just for you. My voice barely kept its calm tone. -From Dyka and I.

-I don't care. She turned away.-If you're not here to apologize for what you've done to me, you should go away.

-Why should....I apologize? I growled. -I have nothing to apologize for.

-I beg to differ.

-I have food for you. Her sudden shift of attitude was getting to me. -Look! I made you food from your world. Humbuggers and freys. Not that you deserve it.

I put the food tray on the bed. Immediately, she stood up and walked away from me.

-I told you. I'm not hungry.

-You're going to eat this. My annoyance was quickly tipping towards anger. -I spent a long time making this. Or are you waiting for Brutus to spoil you? Don't think I know he doesn't take you to his little shack to feed you.

She turned back to me, her mouth open indignantly. She was shocked, as if she had not expected me to know that.

-That's none of your business.

-Hmph! I decided to rub what I knew in. -Look at you, growing fat off of his food! What did you do to make him do your bidding?

-You...... Tsukinousagi's lip quivered angrily at this. -You wouldn't ever understand. He treats me better than you.

-Oh? Are you in love with him? I started growling. -Well, it figures. You liking him. He probably goes for small people like you, too. One that travels around.

-How dare you. I didn't notice the change in her voice. If I had, I would have stopped when I was ahead. -You don't know anything. He's a good person, more than what I can say about you.

-Hmph. I was angered at her superior attitude concerning the grunt as it was, and did not care to check my anger. -I'm the one defending you. Me! Me and Dyka. You'll show some mindless guard more respect than you will the people saving you! But I swear, you'll eat that food! When I come back, it had better all be gone! You'll appreciate what I've done for you!

I was talking to her as I had normally would have; it was not the first time I had confronted her. But I suppose I had kindled something, or re-awakened something in her, because she simply looked me at my face with such an expression I had never seen before. It was an expression of defiance. Though she was nothing more to me than a barbarian, for a moment, I inexplicably became frightened.

-I..... she spoke in the calmest, most definitive tone I had ever heard from her as she looked me in the eye. -I would rather be dead.

The moment she said that, the fright left, and I felt my rage well up in me. I had been angry at her before, but this time, I had no control at all. The nerve! The.....nerve! With a scream, I picked up my cooking, still hot and steaming, and flung the entire tray right into her face. Water, heat, meat, everything right into her face.

-YOU RAT!! As she screamed, I brought her up and wrapped my appendages around her neck. -FILTH!!!! WEAK BARBARIAN!!!! YOU WILL EAT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I started to shake her violently, watching almost with secret glee as she fought to breathe. I didn't care what Dyka said. I didn't. All my desire was at that moment was to show Tsukinousagi who she was to respect, because if she hadn't been caught, she would have been nothing more than nameless, faceless barbarian, whom no one cared for, because no one cared about her. She was nothing. She had nothing. And I could have killed her at that moment to show her who had the power.

Then, it happened. What I never thought would have happened, it started right there.

She fought back.

-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!

Though she had no arms to get to me, though she had been thrashing, I was suddenly thrown off by such a strength that when I hit the wall I went through into the next room over. I screamed as pain rippled through by entire body; I did not expect it. How could I have? But it brought me to more anger, and I started screaming louder.

-I......WILL....KI-AAAAAAAAAAAUGH!!!!!

Suddenly, a new kind of pain ran through me, but this one was different. My chest suddenly tightened, and my insides began to spasm and stiffen. I tried to get up, but each time I moved too much, it was as if some new force had taken over my body, and was forcing me back to the wall.

-What...... I struggled. -.......is..........this?!?!?

I screamed for air, and as I screamed, I looked down at Tsukinousagi. Never before, not even in my wildlest dreams, did I think to see something such as what was before me.

-Themis.

I looked up, hearing the quiet, frightened voice suddenly deepen into the softest, yet most resonating tone I had ever heard. I looked up at her, and suddenly became more frightened than I had ever been before in my entire life. For before me was something I had never seen before, something so shocking that I gave a cry at the very sight of it.

Tsukinousagi stood before me, her wheat-like hair flying wildly around her, yet the color was becoming a strange color I had never seen before. Indeed, right in front of me, as I gasped for air, the very presence of the quaking, tiny girl was changing into something that I could only describe as being both awesome and terrible at the same time. Her face was slowly wiped of her scars and signs of pain and sadness were replaced by a determined, almost fierce look. Around her, the whitest wings suddenly unfurled, with countless feathers, almost as countless as stars in the sky. They spread out, covering the room, and feathers were all around me.

But what scared me was the light. Her body, starting with a pounding light from her chest, was turning completely white, save for her clothing, which had almost seemed to melt away into wisps of many faint colors which came down to her bare feet. She almost seemed to be turning into a hot, bright light, and it was almost as if the force of her presence was creating a blast of wind that would have kept me pinned if my own body was not suddenly revolting against my mind.

-Why? She looked straight into my eyes, and as she did, a single, bright yellow spot began to shine upon her head. -We are soldiers. We are all lonely. This is the wrong way.

Then, she began to walk towards me, and the pain instantly increased. I gave another scream, for I realized that the light was causing my body to convulse badly. The more I struggled, or the closer she got, the worse it became, and my own insides felt like the heat would rip them apart. But the most horrifying thing for me was her eyes, when they stared into me. They almost sparked like stars, filled not with hate, but with sadness and other things I didn't understand, and when I saw them, I became even more scared.

What.....have......I.....done?

I began to panic. Never, never in my wildest dreams, could I have dreamt such a thing. But her presence was so powerful, I couldn't stand it.

-Let..................

One of my appendages, for one moment, became free. I managed to catch something in my hands through the winds. It felt sharp, very sharp.

-................me...................

I glared at her as she came towards me. I hated her. In that moment, I hated Tsukinousagi - this thing - more than I had ever hated anyone in my life, more than I ever thought I could hate. Yet in that moment, I did.

-....GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

She came in close enough for my appendage to reach. Mustering up all of my strength, I swung.

-DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE!!!!!!!!!!!!

-

I don't remember exactly what I had gotten her with. A shard of something, a plank. I don't know. I don't remember. I don't really care to remember.

All I remember was that I had swung hard, and it went into her skin very easily. I had hit her somewhere on her neck, what your kind calls it. And I knew when I had hit my mark, for instantly, her blood began to pour down my appendages.

And then, suddenly, everything stopped. The light disappeared, and all that was left was Tsukinousagi, the wings, which suddenly fell apart and deposited feathers everywhere, the destroyed room, and my appendage still wrapped around the object I had stabbed her with.

-UAAAAAH!!

I lifted myself up, took in welcome breaths, and looked again into her eyes. They were their normal color, and they were wide, still looking right at me.

-The....... Blood began to come out of her mouth. -............mis............

And then she fell to the ground, motionless, her eyes still wide open. The blood began to pour out onto the carpet. With that, I left go of my weapon, and looked down upon her.

I was glad. I was happy, and satisfied I had killed her. She deserved it, I convinced myself. She had attacked me, after all. I almost laughed at her still body on the floor.

My laughter was almost immediately replaced with more of my screams. For my inside, which had been flush with victory before, suddenly felt empty, and I looked at Tuskinousagi and realized.

I.....killed her.

Instead of seeing the hated Tsukinousagi on the floor, I saw something totally different. My eyes saw - and would almost forevermore see - a sailor soldier, wearing the garb of a true sailor soldier ready for battle, a small pair of wings on her back. And on her head, a strange yellow sign.

Suddenly, Tsukinousagi was not a weak barbarian. She was not a scrawny fool. She was a sailor soldier.

And I had killed her.

I stared at her for a moment, unable to believe why, why I suddenly saw her that way. Then, I held myself and started to cry. The feeling, that horrible feeling I had when Jyanda died was suddenly within me, returned, and it was so pronounced and horrible that it brought me down to my knees.

-N.......no!!!!!!! I cried. -No. Wake up.......wake up!!!!!!

It was pointless to scream. It was pointless to try. I had killed another sailor soldier. I cursed myself, cursed my existence, for such a thing was so terrible to do, no one could comprehend why I had done it. I did not know why I had done it. And I could not imagine what else could happen to make it worse.

-Themis....! I saw a light......!

Then Dyka came into the doorway.

16: Resurrection

I'm not quite sure how to describe Dyka's initial reaction to what had happened. It was a mixture of shock, and of anger, yes. But there was something else in her face which seemed more profoundly struck by the scene, something I could really not describe if I wrote pages on what it might have been.

That she was home so quickly was all the worse for me, for I had not expected her home from her engagement so soon. As far as I can assess, looking back, she must have seen the light that Tsukinousagi had brought forth when I had attacked her. It is the only possible explanation for her having returned.

She looked at me, then down on Tsukinousagi's body. Then she looked around the room, seeing many of the knocked over items shattered on the floor. She looked around, and saw the blood on my appendages. Then, the blood coursing out of Tsukinousagi. Then, back at me.

I began to quiver as everything began to sink in. I saw her expression turn deadly when she came back to me.

-...............................................I-

I should not have opened my mouth. For the next thing I knew, I was grabbed. I had never seen rage before in another person, and when I was thrust up and forced to look into Dyka's furious eyes, I realized just how dangerous it was for me now.

-YOU INFERIOR GNAT!!!

I struggled, but Dyka was too quick. Her way of fighting, and her skills, were far superior to mine. I was powerless as she threw me into the wall. I actually came out the other side into her room!

-You DON'T want to listen, do you?!? As soon as I hit the floor, she grabbed me by the collar. -YOU NEVER LISTEN!!!!

SLAM. I gave a gasp as she threw me against another wall. This time, however, I didn't go through. I could feel the blood coursing down me as she picked me up yet again - this time, by my hair.

-HOW...... With each word, she began to slam my head into the wall. -DO......YOU......LIKE.....THIS.......WORM!?!?!?!

She hit me to the wall several times. With each time, I swore that the next one would be my last. I could feel my body losing its will to live with each successive hit, I felt everything within me snapping violently. I was sure - no, I knew that she would kill me then and there. It had come to that, for I had killed a sailor soldier, even though it had been one so lowly as Tsukinousagi. I simply closed my eyes and waited for the end.

-.....AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!

Suddenly, I was thrown again, this time towards the stairs. I tumbled down several steps and I stiffened as I finally stopped. The blood dripped onto the floor, some of it cascading down onto the next step. I waited for her to finish me off. I waited for the inevitable end.

-YOU!!!!! I felt something warm fall upon my side. -YOU'RE NOT WORTH IT!

I simply lay on the stairs after that. She would not kill me. She could not kill me. There were reasons for her not to, though I would not know that for some time to come. But, I think that then, a change was starting to happen after that moment. It was not evident then, certainly not then, to me. But it was starting within me.

That night, though, I lay bleeding on the stairs. I was badly hurt; I had cuts all over my body from the material in the wall. Pain shot up through my body, a result from being thrown across the rooms and through walls. The strength of anger was very powerful indeed.

As I slowly fell into a state of unconsciousness, it was then I saw another light. I was scared again for a moment, for I thought Dyka would truly kill me, for it was indeed coming from Dyka. But it was only for a moment. The light was too far from me for it to have been intended to kill me. It was coming from one of the rooms.

It was then, in that moment before I fell into darkness, that I realized what she was doing.

Dyka. No. Not that! Leave her.......leave her dead.........

But my screams were for naught, because I was almost unconscious. Almost being unconscious was almost as bad as a nightmare, because it was the reverse of a nightmare. In a nightmare, right at the end of it, when you get to the part where the worst part is about to happen, such as falling off of a cliff. And then, you wake up. It is the opposite with falling unconscious, for instead of waking up, you are falling asleep just as the worst happens. But I digress.

I heard Dyka, now, now a fugitive, a criminal of the very law she had for years, cry out in pain as her power began to tax out. Then, I heard another, louder cry of a pain that was unnamable and unthinkable, a pain that no civilized soldier could have ever bore.

Then, just as she returned to life, I slipped off, and heard nothing more.

17: Downfall

It was long into the morning before I woke up again. The light of the star was shining where I lay, for I still lay on the stairs. My blood had dried, though I had stopped bleeding long before.

I had woken up with such a terrible headache, I teared up. Slowly, I began to move, trying to save my strength as I did. I started my way up the stairs, going one step at a time, until I got to the top.

The sight unnerved me. The walls were broken and cracked, furniture was smashed, the floors were ripped up. The windows were shattered, and blood was splattered on certain parts of the wall and floors. For a moment, I was numb; I did not know what had happened.

Then, it all came back to me.

-ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!

I screamed as loud as I could, remembering everything that had happened the previous night. All of the blood, all of the screams....and her. I could not forget her. The image of her was seared into my mind forever.

Sailor Themis.......why?

That was a good question. Why? Why did I do it? Surely, any minute now, I would be taken away and accused of murder and treason! They would come for me, and if they had already done a trial of me in my absence, I could be killed by the Seemarin that day!

I took several gasps to control my fright. I had to somehow make it up. There had to be a way to apologize to someone - anyone. With what I could, I ran - no, stumbled - down the stairs, almost killing myself on the way.

Yet, as I hit the door, a piece of paper suddenly fell to the floor in front of me. It was small, and yellow. The writing on it was shakiy and almost blurred, but I had no doubt to the writer as I read the message.

THIS WILL BE FORGOTTEN.

I gave a gulp, understanding, at least to an extent, the meaning of the note. Then, I stumbled through the door and into the open. I had to find a transport; I was late for the court.

-

I finally got there in three hours. It took me some time, for traffic to Asgerd has been unusually heavy that day. I did not know why; at first, I thought it had been because of the trial, given who was testifying that day. However, I later learned that there was a concert of some sort on the dark side of Asgerd; I don't even know what kind, but hundreds were lining up to get there. I heard it was a good show, though I know who it was that was n it. But I digress.

Perhaps, though, I should have simply gone home and stayed there. It was quite foolish of me to think - since Dyka had not bothered to wake me for the trial - that I would do something. But I wasn't thinking straight at all. I was still, as your kind says, shellshocked? Though I was not in a shell, which made no sense. On the other hand, when I learned the meaning of those words, it made sense. My mind was close to a catatanick(?) state.

The other reason was the press.

-Themis! Suddenly, recorders and lights were shoved in my face as I made my way towards the entrance of the Court of Justice. -What is the situation in the building right now...

-You're unusually late! Are rumors of a fallout between you and Dyka true?

-What is your thoughts on the honorable Sailor Kepe's star witness testifying today in court?

Star witness. I had almost forgotten! I dislodged myself from the pressmen and went to the doors. I had to get in. Dyka needed me, I was sure...

-Sailor Themis?

I paused at that. I didn't know where the voice came from, but I had no real choice.

-Yes....

Suddenly, for no reason, I suddenly felt a force on my chest. With considerable roughness, I was - to my shock and indignation - pushed back from the door.

-HUH!? I cried. -What is this?!

-We're sorry, seema-ship.....

Suddenly, without warning, two large guards stood in my way. They both had bright eyes, and they flashed as they spoke.

-You are not authorized to enter here.

-Wh......I felt myself shake. -Wh-what?

I looked at them nervously. They were both beefy, very big. They were of good competition to Brutus, and they looked very mean and very angry at me as I looked at them, waiting for an answer.

-We have an order. The guard didn't even seem to want to talk to me. -You have been barred from entering the Court of Justice by the Three Judges of the Seemarin until further notice.

-Wh-WHAT!?

I stared at the guards, unable to comprehend what they had said. It took a minute to sink, to really get through, to make me realize I was not dreaming.

I was barred. I wasn't allowed into the trial anymore. I had been forbidden from the proceedings!

-B-BUT! I suddenly shouted as the guards went to go back into the court. -What am I supposed to do?! I'm supposed to know what's going on! I'm Dyka's assistant!

One of the guards looked back at me, his eyes filled with obvious indifference to my problems. I tried giving him the best glare I could muster up, but he simply laughed at me.

-Go watch it on the news tonight, seema-ship.

And then, the door was slammed right in my face. The minute that happened, I could feel the bright lights of the press upon me.

-Themis! How does it feel...

-You have been barred from entering....what happened...

-What about rumors that Dyka is choosing Sailor Niete for her new assistant...

-What exactly was the circumstance over your retirement?

I shook my head, for my head was light, and I felt dizzy. Dizzy almost to where I fell. I could not believe it.

I was no longer a part of the Great Matter. I had been....disowned. I was disgraced.

I was done.

-

I could not tell you too much of those next few minutes. It is all a blur to me, for I was so horrified - so angry. I knew that my fall had been because of my doing, yet I refused, even then, to believe it could have been me. It was that light. It was the girl! Even then, I refused to question that.

All I could see and hear were the reporters, and beyond a point, the protestors. I had never seen the normal citizens clash over the Great Matter in person until then. There were signs everywhere. Signs, and angry shouts, and screams. The noises were overwhelming, and made me feel sick

-BANISH THE BITCH! One side cried out angrily. -BANISH THE BITCH! BANISH THE BITCH! BANISH THE BITCH!

-FREE USAGI!! The other side seemed to reply just as angrily. Large peace signs, and girls with blonde wigs in buns-and-pigtails and angel wings shrieked as they pointed at the other side. -FREE USAGI! MARTYR! MARTYR! VICTIM OF THE SYSTEM!

-Kooky Tsuki! I then heard the shouts of venders all around me. -Buy a Kooky Tsuki doll! Complete with the Wand of Resurrecting Doom! Hero Kepe wuth Kung-Fu Grip sold seperately!

-Postcards! Candy! Posters! Moon Rock! I Was Resurrected By Sailor Moon T-Shirt, Free!

I felt someone grab me. I pushed them away. Then, the hand got me again, tighter. I swung around, enraged that they had not figured it out the first time, and smacked him with one of my appendages. The reporter fell the ground, his equipment on him.

Then, the barrier broke; they were all too much. The entire crowd was on me, screaming and smacking at me, wanting my blood. I couldn't decipher who was there to rip my throat out for what I had done, or who was going to congratulate me, or what was going on. It all overwhelmed me, and I was certain, absolutely certain, that the shouts and the anger and the people would simply crush me.

I simply closed my eyes and waited for it to end. But it couldn't end. It wouldn't end. I cursed myself for what I was in. I truly wished, that one time, more genuinely than ever before, that I was never born.

-GET OFF OF HER!

Then, all at once, the crowd died down. The screams stopped, and everyone got off of me as if moved by something that I could not see. I gasped for air, for there had been heat with all the people, and I could feel cuts and scrapes everywhere. But everyone was off of me. It could not get worse than what I had gone through.

Then, I opened my eyes and saw Brutus, Brainless Brutus, standing over me like a giant shadow cast over the sky. I shook violently. I wanted back with the crowd on me.

-YOU! He grabbed me and pulled me up to my feet very roughly. -You're coming with me.


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES

(?)she means "catatonic" We never said she was the best speller, of course.

18: Yomokei

I hoped that the crowd would perhaps make a stand against Brutus, that someone would say something in defiance, but there was nothing. Brutus was far too imposing a person to challenge, even when I was the prey. He frightened everyone. Even people who were originally blocking his way out immediately moved aside with a look.

-Out of my way. I was dragged by the collar as he went through the crowd and verbally destroyed all resistance in his way. -Out of my WAY!

I was certain that I was crying hard as he brought me to the transit - his car that he shuffled Tsukinousagi around - and unapologetically threw me in the back of it. I really don't remember it. I probably blocked it out of my head. It would have been embarrassing to remember either way; it had been bad enough that I remembered everything else. But I digress. It is not the memory of actually crying hard which told me that I had been crying hard.

-Stop it! He growled at me as he blasted out of the crowds of the courtroom, as I probably sat on the back seat, screeching. -STOP crying, damn you!

My head instantly came up at that. The man was actually cursing. That brought me to attention. To a soldier, it was uncivilized to swear. Oddly, many of his curses translated relatively well into your languages. But I digress.

-Well! I managed to speak through my tears falling into my mouth. -Why sh-should I!

-Because I said so.

-What? I felt some indignance, and attempted to stand up for myself. -How d-dare you! You saw that-

-HA! He roared. I became frightened again. -You weren't that bad off! You weren't hurt! You don't know pain. So I won't let you cry. You are forbidden from crying in my presence. You don't deserve to cry.

I clenched my hands. I was about ready to smack him for the things he said. What a brute! I started planning my escape then and there, how I would throw him out of the transit, and I would get myself home and leave the grunt on his own, sorry he treated me ill. It was a highly illogical idea, as he had a complete physical and experience advantage over me. Brutus was specialized in neutralizing people; he subdued and killed plenty of people in his life. He had probably figured out all of my weaknesses long before this. But I digress.

-And, he continued. -If I had the power, I'd pat you the same way you pat her. And I'd do worse, because you deserve worse, seema-ship.

-Why.......what?

My plan went right down the drain. I felt my bravery drain away. I realized he knew.

-....Dyka! I croaked. -She told you....about last night?! Why would she.....

The minute I spoke, he started laughing at me. He had a very deep but hard laugh, one that put you at total unease, because when he laughed, it normally meant he knew something you either didn't know or you didn't want anyone else to know. That was what I came to realize.

-HA!HA!HA! He laughed as if it was a joke. -Dyka?! You think your boss told me the shit you were pulling? Your boss only knows the one bad incident. Come on, now. You're a schoolteacher, right? Do what you tell the little kiddies and think. Who else could it have been?

I began to feel cold inside at this. It was then I knew full well who had told Brutus what had happened.

-Yes, you got it! He mocked me. -Good. Good. Maybe we can talk a little bit. You sad you can't go into trial?

-.....That's none of your business.

-Oh, but you can't fool me! To my shock, Brutus suddenly stopped the car. -You're dying to know. You want it so you can taste it.

-.....I-

-I'll give it to you. He cut me off, to my surprise again. -I can give it to you. But you ain't gonna like it. Not unless I explain it to you in normal terms.

What he said, I have come to realize, is, sadly, true. Yet Brutus talked in such a way that took me aback. I did not expect a grunt to be so frank with me. I didn't expect a grunt to have the capacity to talk. Yet when he spoke, I felt like I had suddenly become a tiny little speck, or was back at the old school, where the headmistress frowned on me whenever I did something foolish and nonparsec. But....I digress.

-Hey - I'm no idiot, Seema-ship. The transport stopped in a side street. I began to get nervous. -And I bet half them in there are not stupid either. Usagi didn't even have to tall me. Don't you get it? You think us Bysey gave Usagi to you so you could treat her like filth?

-She-

-And don't you EVEN. He turned and gave me the coldest look. -You never worked with prisoners. You don't know nothing about the pirate fighters. Half the people I've seen in my years don't DESERVE to be there. But they're all rotting in prison. Yeah, yeah, I was like you, all pompous and such. But its different for you because you don't have to go in there. You don't have to know the stories.

He was silent. I became red, almost indignant that he should lecture me after such a terrible day. I was almost ready to get out of the transport and use public transportation. I would have rather risked ostrication than a lecture with him. Because I had a lurking fear that he was right, the same fear that had come over me the last time I had been on Tsukinousagi.

-You don't know of Yomokei.

-....Who?

-The One. Brutus slowly nodded. -Kepe's star. She's testifying today.

My head came up at this. The great witness! I had almost forgotten about it again! The one that Kepe had told us would put to rest doubt of Tsukinousagi's guilt. And I was disgraced, unable to see the proceedings....!

-

I was to learn of Yomokei later, of her origins and such, but I feel it sufficient to explain them here. She is a prime example of a sailor soldier, exemplary in her time, that turned almost completely traitor.

Yomokei, ironically, was from the planet Bucepha - from the same system which Bora came from. Yomokei was of the four-legged kind, but she certainly was much bigger than Bora - far stronger, far more feral as your kind would say. Not as tall as I was, but still big.

Much has been said of her since the resolution of the Great Matter. She had been a pirate fighter in her early days, for many years, though she was not of much prominence. Essentially, her job was to root out what was called the True Threat of the Vika galaxies; this threat was not something taken lightly.

The True Threat was the threat of uncontrolled sailor soldiers; warlords, if one prefers. Vika soldiers with great, great power who tortured, beat, and killed the people they had sworn to protect. Those who allowed the ignorant peasants to live in misery. This task was given only to those who were brave enough to face the True Threat, for it was said that, in battle, the most powerful of these evil soldiers eclipsed the combined power of many pirate fighters.

So pirate fighters had to be resourceful, fast, smart, and most of all steadfast in their loyalty to the Seemarin. After the display of power that was shown to me by Tsukinousagi, I am now not surprised if others of similar power had truly existed.

Unfortunately, pirate fighters could be led astray if their loyalty to the cause wavered. There were many things that could entice a pirate fighter. Far away from the structure and from the civilization they knew, they would desire things for themselves, things to remind them of home. The evil sailor soldiers knew this, and could offer them the comforts of their home - friends, a house, foods from their world. Sometimes, that was all it took; sometimes, they were offered that and so much more; things forbidden to soldiers that were too tempting to resist.

I don't know exactly what caused Yomokei to break, but break she truly did, and she became a very dangerous person. She grew to become unusually strong, in essence becoming like a warlord herself. She threatened many planets, before the was finally subdued by Kepe. Almost all of the infamous group of twenty captured and held in Veldanis was either Yomokei herself - which was obvious, but I digress - or those who had sworn allegiance to her.

This soldier, then - a golden, four-legged soldier - was the star witness. She had much knowledge of the Vika galaxies, being a turncoat. She especially had knowledge, she claimed, of one thing in particular - and in exchange for it, the Seemarin was willing to actually reduce her sentence - provided that there was a guilty verdict for Tsukinousagi.

Her interrogation for the trial took place in Veldanis, according to Kepe. In Kepe's version of the story, she confessed after several hours of straight interrogation.

-

-Nothing more than an ass.

Brutus seemed very angry as he finished talking about Yomokei. He actually almost hit several people along the way as he spoke. I simply covered my head and hoped for the best. But I digress.

-But Kepe needs her. Brutus shook his head. -Kepe needs her because of it. Without it, Kepe would really have no case, especially if people found out about the interrogations that were.....held at Veldanis.

-......It?

-The tape.

Suddenly, a small hologram screen came down before me. It flickered on and off, and finally started.

-You-

-have access to it for reasons you don't need to know. I stared. -Its a GCS tape, reportedly. Was supposedly found on Yomokei during the interrogations.

-GCS?

-Galaxy Cauldron Security.

-Oh.

I gave a half nod. GCS was a team of civilians and soldiers whom monitored the Cauldron always. Even if there was no one to see it personally, security cameras recorded every moment of the Cauldron's life. Even in that time, no one was too careful, so I thought.

-But what do the interrogations-

-Shut up and watch. I was subdued to silence. -And don't say anything until the movie's done. Then I'll explain.

So, I was simply reduced to watching a holotape. Granted, I was actually watching an illegal version of it, since only those inside the court was supposed to see this evidence. Then again, who said anyone ever necessarily had to know? But I digress.

Then the holotape flickered on. What I was to see was nothing short of, perhaps, horrifying.

I was slightly displeased, since, at first, the picture was hazy, very hazy. There was a lot of blacks, and some dullish grays on the bottom. In the middle, though, was something I had never seen before in my life. It was some kind of water, yet somehow it was the only thing that was giving off light in the area of the camera's scope. I wondered what it could have possibly been.

Suddenly, in amazement, I realized. It was the Galaxy Cauldron.

Even from just seeing it on camera, a sense of wonder of seeing the birthplace of everything overtook me. It was the Galaxy Cauldron, the center of the universe, a place to be worship as sacred. It looked like little more than a pond, a lake, but it was filled with the primal power of the universe's birth all the way down to its very core. The fuzzy image could not dull my admiration for it.

-Silver Moon Crystal Power!-

Suddenly, the picture flickered, and then I blinked. When I opened my eyes again, I gave a gasp, almost a scream.

It was Tsukinousagi.

-Crisis Power!!!-

It was her, as she had been the night before, in all of her power. In her hands was something bright - brighter than even the cauldron, for as the object grew brighter, the light of the Cauldron dulled. Then, she began to float, her wings taking her up.

-To........please...........give me strength!-

Then, with a fantastic leap, she threw herself, and her power, and her light, into the very center of the Cauldron. Then, white overtook the entire image, and it turned off. It was all on the tape, and it happened within a span of a mere five minutes.

......No..........way..............

I simply stared at what showing. It was Tsukinousagi, leaping into the Cauldron, shouting for power.. It was there. It was irreversible proof. How could Dyka - and whoever she decided would replace me - possibly refute such hard evidence?

Then, I found myself asking….why?

I shuddered as I remembered the power. It was so incredible; I was, in comparison, nothing. Was Tsukinousagi making an example? Why would she simply jump into the Galaxy Cauldron? What did she want to prove?

-I know what you're thinking. Brutus' voice hissed again.

I turned to him, ready to say something, but when I opened my mouth, again I had nothing. I simply gave a sigh and huffed.

-See? You're buying into that. Brutus smirked at me. -If you knew Yomokei, you'd be saying other things.

-How…?

-Yomokei is nothing more than a bully, and when she's called out, a wimp. Brutus crossed his arms. -Certain people have made her think herself better than she really is. Of course she'll think she's doing people a favor showing that video and getting rid of the public enemy, especially if it gets her out of jail faster. She knows nothing about the real truth behind the accusations..

-Huh? I looked back at the hologram. -What people?

-…..You really don't trust me. He laughed. -Just like a softie.

-....Hmph. I growled as the hologram turned off. -Of course not. But what about the interrogations?

-Wouldn't you like to know.

It was there that I again decided I wanted to leave. Telling me about Yomokei or not, or about the interrogations, or why I shouldn't believe the tapes, I hated Brutus. He talked down to me. I didn't like it at all.

-You know. My hand was on the door when he spoke again. -Just so you know, you ain't going to find the interrogation records on Veldanis. You can bitch and cry all you want until your white in the face. You'll never get something on something that never happened to begin with.

My hand went down. The last bit had me staring at him, though I don't remember how wide my eyes were looking at him. What did he say? What did he say?

-Like you care, though.

-What..... my voice croaked. -What.....did you say?!

-Oh, come on! He turned to me again. -Are you really that dense!

I stared at him, my mind unable to form any good answer in retort. He had completely blown any defense I had against my treatment out of my mind. I knew he knew, because he shook his head.

-Hopeless. He drove on. -You need a good beating yourself.

19: Brutus

Before my drive with Brutus, I had not assumed anything out of the ordinary about the prosecution's very successful eating away at any chance of convincing the Judges that our client was something resembling innocent. The only thing I saw was that I was being humiliated because of the evidence, or lack of, that I could get for Dyka, whom was pretty much the real intelligence of the defense, I will admit.

But a crucial piece of evidence not actually existing - an event that was a cornerstone having not ever actually happened - that simply shocked me into almost complete silence all the way back to Mehsheh. And the more I heard from Brutus, the more I could not believe it. Yet, at the same time, it made sense.

-Since you seem unable to form an actual legitimate thought on your own, Brutus growled to me in his prison guard manner, like I was a newcomer being shown the ropes. -You've been pretty badly indoctrinated by these fine newspapers these sailors make up. With all these fake stories about 'ass-mort', and this whole valor thing with pirate fighters. Hah. Your prosecutor friend Kepe isn't such a darling. You know that 'report' you got from your friend Dyka? You know, the required reading? I looked at it too. Kepe wrote that, you know. She left out a couple of really big details.

-......Oh? By that time, I was just numb. -...Like....

-Usagi's arrest. I could see Brutus' hold on the drive tighten. -Bitch. That's what I call her. All my years in law enforcing, and if people knew just the circumstances of Usagi's arrest, they'd be bombing Asgerd's buildings down. That's a crime in itself!

I haven't the heart to go into the complete, most graphic detail, which Brutus gave me - for he had managed to see the arrest history. He had to, being her guard after she was transferred from Veldanis to the Bysey care. He worked at Veldanis and Bysey, as well as other planetary prisons - being a guard at only one place does not pay well. But I digress.

It all happened something like this. After the interrogations - which, now, supposedly never happened - Kepe and five or six of her allies came into a tubaknee(?) which was inside a toe-keey-oar(?) and attacked it. (If there are any humans who can help me with this strange saying, I would love that.)(?) She was found, defending the people from the mysterious soldiers who suddenly attacked out of nowhere. The battle was fought to a draw, but Kepe supposedly went to Tsukinousagi's house in the night and looked for her. She was not found there, instead being with a lover at his house.

This in itself was a serious violation. Had Kepe pursued Tsukinousagi when she was in sailor form as Moon, this would have been acceptable, since they were engaged in battle. But in her civilian form, this is strictly forbidden since she was not fighting. In fact, she was in bed with her lover, supposedly the -male earth sailor-. They had been....fooping(?).

The result, therefore, was that Tsukinousagi was sent to prison with nothing on, and her lover was sent to a hospital, having been violently beaten by Kepe's followers. What was worse, they were prepared to arrest him at the hospital, but Kepe drew the line. He had not committed a real crime, she had been reported as saying.

Except for one.

I had thought that Usagi's violent acts of sickness several weeks ago had been a mere act to not have to show up in court. But I was set straight by Brutus; there had been other reasons for Usagi's violent abuse at the hands of several guards and other prisoners.

-You don't pay any attention to anything. Brutus was annoyed with me. -You're too busy in your own pathetic, non-existant misery to know Usagi's. I heard it come right from one of the guards - that the very idea that she was gestating was a joke to civilized people, and if he found the father he'd make a good example out of him too. That was before he tried to kick her in her stomach. I got him off of her before she was hurt.

-WHAT. If my mouth could have dropped lower, I am assured that it would have. -WHEN.....

-Not for some time, seema-ship. There was a tone of sadness, suddenly. -But I can tell. I have my own kids, with a wife, so I know when someone is to have a child. I see her outside of that disgusting, oversized dress you people gave her. And I've never had to see someone in that way be as miserable as her.

-I...

-I'm the only one that actually takes care of her. I'm the only one that actually gives any real feelings about her. He turned away from me. -Not that your kind would ever understand about what she's going through.

There was something in his voice, that seemed so lonely all of a sudden, devoid of compassion for my personal plight, only with concern of another. It seemed to be a tone of sorrow that I only had a faint grasp of. Or if I had had a grasp of it, I did not remember it very well until then.

-People like you....you sailors....will never understand.

-

When Brutus said that, many things came back to me, things I had almost forgotten. I'm afraid to write them. I don't want to suddenly seem weak, and digress terribly. Yet I feel I must.

When he spoke, I felt something within me well up from a distant past I had almost completely forgotten in the lifestyle of the battle and the privileges I had been given. I felt pain. But it was not a physical pain. It was again the strange feeling of emptiness that had come within me so suddenly those past few days.

If what Brutus said about not understanding what it was life to give life and be miserable was true, than the other way was true of him. To not be able to give life, but still be miserable, that he could not understand.

In our anatomy, Themisians have thirteen appendages by birth. Twelve are used for normal, practical usage - walking, grabbing something, swimming, slithering. One is used for...other purposes.

My nickname in the soldier school was Triple T. It meant Twelve Tentacle Twit. Everyone called me as such, not by my real name. It was because I missed that one appendage during school. But I had had all of them before I had been sent away.

My parents...I do not have much memory of them. The people that had taken me away had told me to forget them. For them to take what they had away from me...because they told me I was not good enough. I was very small compared to my brothers, and my father didn't want tiny grandchildren and said small Themisians were prone to be strays by virtue of their size on the corners....so.....he.....simply......rectified me. That is what he called it. I would never be a stray. I'd always be obedient and good and quiet.

My parents, then my schools, then even as a soldier....I was a good person.

-

I shut my eyes, stung, and almost felt as if my father had returned from the furthest corners of my memory to cut off another one of my tentacles. But then I opened my eyes, and the pain was gone. It had really been phantom.

-I'm sorry.

I looked at Brutus. He had stopped the transport. He was currently staring at me from the front seat, and actually looked worried.

-....Heh.....you called me daddy. He sighed. -If I scared you, I didn't mean to. I'm just an angry grunt, that's all.

He tried to have me laugh by forcing out some chuckles himself. I realized he was trying to cheer me up on the way home for offending me, and gave a chuckle in return to appease him.

But I could not get everything out of my head. It was not possible. Tsukinousagi arrested in violations of proper procedure. The Veldanis interrogations not being real. It seemed not right.

Then a very dreadful thought came to me: What if it really never happened? What if someone knew this? There would be much at stake, if the interrogations were found to be fake, for everyone involved with the prosecution. Even Kepe could be given banishment to Apollyon if found out and if the evidence showed a severe enough violation. Why would someone - anyone - risk it?

By this time, we were back on Mehsheh. We were parked in front of our facility, still slightly stained from last night.I didn't know how it got like that, and I still don't know.

-Wait. I stopped him. I gulped. -How....

-How what?

-......How do I know to trust your word on this....whole thing? I dreaded to ask, but I knew I had to. I was really in too deep not to. -That Yomokei and Kepe and...and others....with power....are really out to get Usagi?

He turned to me. His eyes stared into me, though they were not as cold as they had been before. They still seemed worried, even with a hint of fright. But he spoke still.

-Lots of reasons, but for starters?.....because I'm primary interrogator at Veldanis. He paused. -If they educated you right, you'd know that one of the laws that govern interrogating sailor soldiers in a prison setting is that the primary interrogator of the prison must be inolved and record all proceedings. That's how I know. And look. He gave a harsh laugh. -You don't see anyone putting me up there, huh?

With another harsh laugh, he got out of the transport and threw the door open for me.

I didn't realize it until later for several reasons, but it took Brainless Brutus to make me see what I had done. And once I saw it, there was really no turning back. I had to start truly caring for Tsukinousagi, whether I knew it or not.

And so I did.


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES

(?)"Tubaknee" is a bad corruption of "Juuban".

"Toe-keey-oar" is a corruption of "Tokyo".

Themis did not understand the concept of the Japanese district/ward system of neighborhoods and burroughs within the Japanese city called "ku". Technically, Juuban is a district in Minatoku, which is one of several of the main boroughs in the Tokyo-Yokohama supercity. Note that "Minatoku" or "Minato Ward" is not mentioned; chances are that this particular information was not known. This is somewhat important since there is no evidence of this kind of subdivisioning in cities in other galaxies, hence Themis' mistaking the whole thing for some kind of saying.

"Fooping" is a VERY bad corruption of an even worse word. There is little need for more explanation.

20: Forbidden

Have any of you ever been hit very hard on the head with a blunt object?

It is the kind of pain one likes to imagine on their worst enemies. There is a second of shock, that someone hit you, that someone came to you unexpectedly and just beat you. Then, incredible pain sets in, and you just want to scream, WHAT! Or WHY DID YOU DO THAT! when you get hit hard to the side of your head. However, you are normally unconscious when that happens, so you are normally unable to scream when you are down on the floor, bleeding (if one does bleed at all). But I digress.

That was the feeling I had when I was left to myself, to return home when Brutus had dropped me off. That someone had hit me with something very hard, and so my mind was still reeling from what was said.

You are so dense. You are a softie. People like you would never understand.

Those harsh words had a very terrible effect. For the first time, truly for the first time, I felt like I had made a very grave mistake. Simply everything had been a mistake, yet I found myself questioning like I never had before.

That tape..... I had to think. It clearly shows her. It is Tsukinousagi! Yet if the interrogations never happened at Veldanis, how was the information found?

I had to think.

For a moment, I entertained the idea that, perhaps, the soldiers had been questioned at another facility. But that, I realized, was impossible, for Brutus still would have known of it since he would have known if they had been transferred. And so I was left with the startling realization that something very strange was happening- a paradox. Tsukinousagi had to have committed the crime, but things were making no sense as to why.

But then, a thought came to me. Perhaps it was what Brutus wanted, and by showing the tapes, he had gotten the idea into my head. I realized what I had to do to at least get back in Dyka's graces, and perhaps even figure out what was going on with Sailor Kepe's evidence. Since I had gotten home before Dyka, I'd have time to prepare a heartfelt apology of some sort.

But that, I was about to learn, was easier said than done. For, I went to the door, threw it open, and was entertained to a not-so-wonderful surprise.

-............AAAAAH!

To my alarm, as I entered, a figure suddenly stood in front of my way. I immediately went on the defensive, for I did not know who could have been in the house. Dyka should not have been home yet, not for several minutes.

-.....Who?!!? I squeaked. -Who are you?!?

-...............h............. For some reason, I could not see clearly the form of the person in front of me. -he.................hel.................you.....................

-.....Huh?

I was confused, initially. It then occurred to me that, perhaps, it was the cleaner. He occasionally came into the house to clean for us, and wasn't the nicest person. He hated large messes, and always, if he was still there when we returned, yelled at us. He also didn't speak my language, which made it hard for me to tell him that I didn't want him to touch my coocor, which he always tried to take from my hiding place, because he loved them like I did. Of course, I didn't remember him being so short, or thin, or so hard to see. But I digress.

-...........lp.............

-Ack! I gulped. -Look. I know the place is a very terrible mess. But, um, simply don't mind it. Dyka and I had a bit of a fight.....and....well......we....I....I hurt someone......

I looked down at this, unable to suppress my guilt. Then, I remembered who I was talking to, and went to glare at him.

-But don't you go telling anyone! I brought my appendage up to shake it at him. -I know how you like rumors, and I bet by telling your ugly, fat, diseased friends, you'll make the situation.....ten.......times.....................worse?

My voice trailed off at this, for I had lost my ability to speak. For, somehow, as if he had not ever been there, I was not chastising the naughty cleaner. For, indeed, he was gone.

-Truer words were never spoken, Floritiuse.

There was another reason for my silence. For instead of the cleaner, I was instead pointing right at Sailor Dyka. I am quite sure my mouth had dropped somewhat, but I don't know how far it went down. It must have been a sight, though.

-Though I daresay, she glared at me, the tables should be turned.

-..........Eh.....uh........... I gasped. -I....I wasn't talking.....to you!!

-No?

-Th......the cleaner....... By this point, I was whimpering. -He.....h-he was right in f-f-front of me.....j-just now.....

My defense shattered to the ground at this. It was apparent that Dyka did not believe me. Yet I knew what I had seen, though I could not understand how he could have suddenly left without Dyka's seeing. Or, and I truly considered the possibility, that I was losing my sanity.

-Of course he was. Dyka's voice was low, and dangerous once more. -But at least he would be welcome here. What are you doing here?

-....I...

It was at this point that I noticed someone standing next to Dyka. She was short, though not as short as Tsukinousagi, and she was completely covered in metal armor. I realized she was a robot, and would resemble, with your kind, a red and white airplane with a sailor suit and a blue and tan face plate. She looked at me almost disdainfully upon looking into my eyes..

-Who's this....?

-My new partner. Dyka looked at her. -Sailor Varuna.

At this, she looked at me, and I immediately recognized her. For she had been one of the sailors who, only the previous day, I was talking to about Brutus and Tsukinousagi! I felt myself redden upon realizing who she was, for she was now my superior.

-You and Dyka had a fallout, and that was all she said before she excused herself from the room.

I looked at Dyka, angry and upset. I was unsure now of how to tell Dyka of my discovery. How could I, the way she was regarding me? I was never even informed of my ban from the court, save for the guards, and what was more, I had something on Dyka. For she had resurrected Tsukinousagi; she was a criminal, just like her. For that, she could be thrown off of the case, and in the same boat as I - miserable and disgraced.

Yet before I could set myself to leave and report Dyka to the Seemarin for a Number One violation, I remembered what Brutus had said. It stung how he accused me that I didn't care. So I went to open my mouth.

-Dyka-

-Don't talk to me. Dyka began to walk off. -I'm not in the mood to talk to you. You really destroyed yourself.

-But-

-Give me ONE good reason why I shouldn't kick you out and call the police on you! Dyka's voice became sharp. -Your behavior is inexcusable. I think I could trust Kepe more than I could trust you and she's on the other side. So go ahead. Try me. But don't be surprised if you're back on Ydhh by the end of tomorrow.

I took in a breath. I had to tell her what I knew, that much I knew. It was, of course, the beginning of my explanation that nearly clinched my permanent expulsion from Dyka's presence, and perhaps much worse.

-I....I suddenly blurted it out. -I know something you don't know!

There was an awkward silence at this, and I knew I had made a very silly mistake. I sounded like a child yelling at her mother, or bragging to a friend about something inconsequential. I gave a gulp.

-I'm supposed to be impressed?

-....No! I shook my head violently. -No....I didn't mean it that way.....

-There was a dead soldier in this house last night. Dyka's voice became angry. -There may yet be another one, and no one to save her from death, Floritiuse!

I could see what she meant very easily. She was starting to glow red, which was a sign that she was going to use an attack. I gave a scream, and shut my eyes.

-I......I....Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!

-

I....don't actually fully remember what happened at this moment.

I mean, I do not remember exactly how I told her. I do remember faintly that she was charging at me, screaming. What she said, I don't remember, but she was very angered by me, for obvious reasons.

Somehow, as she charged towards me, I managed to somehow stammer - or scream, or something - something about Brutus. At least, I think I did. Brutus sounds close in my language to other phrases - ones that translate into your words for murder, jellyfish and vanitinebey(?). For what reason there is for that, I do not know.

-

-DYKA!

I opened my eyes, for they were shut in fright. Varuna had entered the room, and was staring at Dyka.

-What....what are you doing?!

The aura of power around Dyka was gone. Her expression, though still angry, was no longer filled with a venomous desire to shatter my heart into thousands of pieces. In fact, she was simply staring at me, her mouth open.

-What...........did you say?

I was gulping in breaths again, almost relieved that Dyka did not do whatever she was going to do. Yet I knew I was not safe yet. So I spoke, but only with great fear as to what Dyka's next reaction would be.

-Put.......Brutus on the stand......... I paused nervously. -..........he was...........primary interrogator at Veldanis. Don't you think he'd.........have............known..........since........there wasn't..........a.......record?

Something passed over Dyka's face when I said this. I wasn't quite sure what it was that passed over her - fear or shock or anger - but when she spoke, her tone was very different.

-...Dyka? At this, Sailor Varuna looked at my former boss. -What....

-That's a thought. She turned, her voice low, though no longer dangerous. -Finally. Something of worth from you.

My heart almost leaped! I couldn't believe it. The feeling I had was not like anything I had felt before. And yet it was not what I had expected, either. For, I was expecting to feel better because Dyka had praised me, but this did not touch me as much as the fact that I had done something that......

I stopped. I remembered what Brutus said to me. I gave a pause.

-Can..... I gulped. -May I talk to....to her?

- What? To the girl? Dyka looked at me suspiciously. -Why?

-...I.....I....um.....

I suddenly found myself unable to really say what I wanted to say. To say I was sorry? I found myself silent under Varuna and Dyka's stares.

-My respect for you is higher again, somewhat. You may stay, for now. Dyka turned away with a huff, followed by Varuna, which left me without anything else to say. -But no. I will not allow you to see Tsukinousagi. Not until you decide to stop attacking her, or until she's banished forever. Whichever one somehow comes first!


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES

(?)Valentine's Day.

21: No Rainbow

I realize that all of these things which have been spoken have been very heavy-handed and sad. The revelations that had been taught, and the ones which were to come, were very difficult to handle. Somehow, I feel obliged to make you feel happier for me. Therefore, I am fortunate that fate smiled down on me the minute Dyka forbade me to see Tsukinousagi, for otherwise, I would have nothing but what you humans call a greieat tragedy(?).

I was filled with a great desire. I knew, I KNEW, that I had to make myself presentable to Tsukinousagi, whom, for some reason not yet known to me, was called just Usagi by Brutus. But I was not good with apologies, especially when I was not allowed to see the person in question. So, I realized I had to find other ways. Somehow, of course.

I slept on a makeshift bed on the main floor that night. Varuna took me old room, and though Tsukinousagi had been resurrected, her room was destroyed. She wasn't there, of course - she was in the hospital, being treated for a certain wound. But I digress.

I did not get sleep that night. I could not get anything off of my mind. Nothing of the past several days would leave me. It was simply as if my mind refused to let go of everything.

Scandal. Blood. Anger. Murder. Death. Life...Love?

Why was I feeling love? All of a sudden, I felt the feeling come up within me, as if some distant thing had touched my chest. As if I was loved by someone. But I didn't really deserve love. Not after what I had done, did I deserve sympathy?

Yet I somehow felt that someone out there felt the same sadness I did, and I could not understand who could want to do that.

I stood up, unable to sleep. Perhaps the solution lay in my coocor. At the moment, eating them seemed to be the only dependable solution. So I went to get myself my snacks, and I started to fish through my special hiding place.

Since it was my special hiding place, I wasn't expecting anything else hidden within it, since, after all, everything in there was mine. Yet, as I started fishing my goods out, I felt my appendages hit something hard near the bottom of the shelf.

Huh?

I said it aloud, as opposed to thinking it, since I couldn't recall putting anything other than my coocor in there. So, as quickly as I could, I managed to uncover the hard object.

When I finally took it out, I know that I must have given a frown. It was a book, and one of the older types at that - the kind which still had natural writing sleeves, and hard, scratchy, ugly covers. This particular cover was covered with strange tiny images, of little Tsukinousagi-like people with large heads and big eyes. It scared me a little, and I almost didn't look in it.

Yet, as I turned it over to put it back into the pile of coocors, I found a note attached to it. It was written somehwhat shakily, and in the faint light, it was hard read. But read it I did:

A FAVOR FOR A FAVOR. From a friend.

I only knew one person who had wanted a favor. I could only imagine that he knew about my secret hiding place from Dyka's (for she was no long mine) client. Which left me to wonder what kind of importance the book had for him to want me - of all people - to read it. Perhaps he felt that I could sway Dyka. Or maybe it was something else? But I digress.

So, a quietly as I could, I tiptoed down into the basement of the house. Our basement was two stairways down, and was an unlikable place - completely bare, and cold, and uncomfortable. But down there, I could put the lights on at their full power, and no one would have been awoken by it. Plus, to my luck, there was a table for me, old as it was, to sit at.

So, I quietly opened up the book and began to read it. It was of a strange language I had not encountered before, at least not physically. Fortunately, all sailors have the ability to learn and understand any language - since all soldiers are related, all soldiers have the languages of their sisters imbedded into them.

(Perhaps, in hindsight, I should have explained that that is how Tsukinousagi understood me, and Dyka, and just about everyone else. I'm sure that it has made no sense to anyone as to how she even knew how to speak our languages until now. But I digress.)

The first page composed of a rather simple drawing; there were two figures, similar to those on the cover. One was male, dressed in black; the other was dressed in white. On top, in the strange language, were the words -WEDDING PUNCH!-

Then, I turned the page to the words:

September 28.

It was a bit cool today, and it just started raining, but it doesn't matter. Today was the day! It was today!

It was beautiful. I wore a tiara that was becoming of my post for the first time. Of course, I had to attach it to my veil, which was a bit uncomfortable. And I was having trouble with my dress, because it didn't arrive with the right adjustments until almost the last minute. And Haruka-san's flowers were almost dead!

Of course, it didn't really matter. It went off wonderfully. Mamo-chan, he looked so beautiful today. He truly looked like a prince in his suit. Though he almost choked on the sake during the sansankudo, and a drop of it squirted out of his nose and onto the floor! I almost laughed - it was so funny! XD

We had a traditional wedding, with Rei and her grandfather (H!) presiding at the church. Everyone was there - Naru, Alex, even dad was there. He hasn't been doing well with the cancer, and I could tell that he lost a lot of weight since I had last seen him. But he was so happy to see me again, after the past couple of months - almost a year! - since the Chrysantheum was passed to us. Oh, before I forget - the official coronation has been set for December 31st. How traditional!

sake sansankudo

I stopped at this. I realized whose words I was reading. Could it have been? I looked at the book, horrified. Did I really have the right to read what I was reading? I knew that some people were very fiercely protective of their private recollections, and I pondered if Brutus was possibly breaking some kind of accord with her in doing this.

Yet, the book was so happy. The entry had intrigued me. Coronation? Marriage? Cancer? It was as if Tsukinousagi was some kind of noble? It mystified me.

I decided to read on, but I turned the page, as most of the rest of the entry was simply about the reception, and people throwing cake at each other or something of that sort. It didn't interest me.

I turned the page:

October 1.

My fifth day as a blissful bride. I haven't really been keeping up with this diary, though I really should!

Mamo-chan and I are really hoping that a certain little rabbit will soon come out of our wild escapades at night (teehee :p), since I felt her power on our wedding, but I have the feeling we are pressing a little bit close. I took a test this morning and it was negative. Even so, Luna and even Ami-chan says its common for a pregnant woman to have a negative one day, and then the next day have a positive. If its so, then I may be five days pregnant already! Ack! Come Christmas, my stomach will be like Santa's! Woah!

At this, I stopped momentarily. I looked at the passage, then back up, then back at the passage. I felt slightly sick. Her baby was in her stomach?

As I knew so little of your kind's bodies, forgive me when I say I felt slightly repulsed when I found that your babies grow in your stomachs(?). It just seems unseemly, given that my people have our thirteenth tentacle to grow our unborn in. And then, the piece that the unborn baby grows in detaches and then grows back for the next baby. I don't see your stomachs detaching from your bodies, I suppose, since I thought you needed those to live, though stranger things have happened. But I digress.

I kept reading:

But I'm a little worried. There's been talk of a strange group having appeared in the Chinese/Korean peninsula, and they seem to be coming this way. They are supposedly sailors in a dress that denotes aliens, but I thought we had already fought sailor soldiers from other worlds...

Sailor soldiers?

I then remembered Brutus' words - how Kepe's soldiers had practically appeared out of nowhere, causing battles and destruction. I realized that these entries were before they had confronted the pirate fighter.

Yet the planet of Earth did not seem at all like some kind of barbaric place, from what Tsukinousagi was describing. There were institutions, there were countries. There was the consummation of marriage. There seemed to be knowledge, to some extent, of soldiers from other worlds.

I feared to read on, for I knew what would happen after this. Yet I decided to read some more. What I read was a quick, systematic descent into madness as her diary entries almost abruptly stopped.

October 5.

I don't know what's going on. I've been taken. I don't know where. I don't know why. I'm just...here...I'm bleeding badly...I've been bound in spikes...but...Mamo-chan...they hurt Mamo-chan...he...They hurt him badly...

I'm really scared...I'm in a dark cell...there's no light...this is supposed to be a happy time...but people come to this place and they laugh...I don't know why...I'm so scared...

October 8.

I don't even know if...this is the right day...I'm...I'm bleeding all over my legs. They hit me with some kind of...of...weapon...they kept hitting me again and again...I...I'm scared. It hurt...I can only understand...they want me to talk...but I don't know of what...I don't know of what...I can't...I won't...

The days are different...they go by different.

My legs are full of welts. They took me again and bled my arms. They bled me until I fainted. They sent me someplace else, tougher people, to get what they want out of me. But I don't...know what they want...this is all I have left...all I could take...I look at the first two entries...Mamo-chan...what if you're dead...where is everyone...

Oh no. No. I'm pregnant. I can't be. I can't be.

They'll kill me...they'll kill me now...I don't deserve this...I'm lost...I'm gone...I keep hearing screams, and I wonder if they're mine...

After the storm there is no rainbow.

after the storm there is no rainbow. after the storm there is no rainbow. after the storm there is no rainbow.

And that was her last entry for a great many weeks. That was almost three months ago in Earth time, that last entry. Her most recent entry had been a mere couple of days ago - two days ago, before my confrontation with her.

I read it, dreading what more the tormented mind of the girl had to say. Fortunately, her mind had been calmed in some way, and the more I read the last entry, the more I became chilled.

January 4.

I was with Bruto-san today, after the trial. The soldiers don't get home before I do, since they have to talk to those giant figure judge things. He brought me to his place again, and fed me.

I don't know how I got through, how I'm getting through, without Bruto-san. They call him "brainless" but thats not true. He's like a father to me. He's the only person who even cares that I exist. I'm supposed to hate him, since he is my guard and has been since I was taken out of Veldanis. But I feel like he understands what I am going through, that in some ways he is bound to an existance similar to mine. I'm not sure what type of existance it is, but he never mistreated me, not for a moment, not even before he learned I was pregnant. He even lets me call him Bruto-san.

Today was a big day for me. I finally felt a movement! Brutus has been feeding me like an ox since I got out of Veldanis. His wife, or daughter, but the doctor who examined me on Veldanis, she is related to him, and he is the head guard of Veldanis. Once he heard of my treatment, he was supposedly enraged. Everyone is afraid of him, which is probably why he is protecting me. I was very undernourished, as was Chibi, so all I've been doing outside the courtroom is eating.

I think its finally paid off, and I almost cried, even though I felt her moving in the middle of the night. Kedamonoko (the brute one in the house that always hurts me) can't hear me in the night. I can hear her snore from the room. I was happy that Kedamonoko hasn't gotten me in the stomach yet, but I know it won't be long before she and Odosuko (the other one that does the talking) starts to figure out that there's more in my tum than food. :x

And that was what I wanted to talk to Bruto-san about. He seems very knowledgeable about the goings-on with this whole sailor government thing. I still can't get over it. Here, I have little right because I am not 'in' with these people. I know if I told my side, I would be reviled and cursed unless I could prove it. And I cannot.

But I talked to Bruto-san, and I am afraid, a little afraid now. Not as much as I was before, but I am getting there. I talked to him about Chibi, and I explained how I knew it was a girl even before his wife or daughter or whichever told me, and all of that.

"Hmm." That was all he said for a moment. Then, he said. "You have a very serious problem in your hand. I figured it would only be a manner of time before they found out."

I informed him that no one knew for dead certain, not even my two so-called guardians. I joked that Odosuko, if she knew, would be fighting with that Sailor Kepe over whether I had slept with my husband or him. He did not laugh at this. I realized he had more to say.

"I understand, you have problems with your counsel." He gave a pause. "This trial is no more than a mockery. Without the right evidence, you will never have a chance."

"What about my baby?" I asked. "I know the future I saw...what I told you, I know that may not be concrete. But the Crystal Palace has already been built, at least its foundations."

"And this future is somewhat validated by the fact that you now know your child is, in fact, a girl."

I became worried at the ensuing silence. We did not speak for some time. I simply finished my food, more and more worried about what he would say next.

"Yes, a girl." he finally told me. "Eat that, and I will tell you how it will go now, if nothing is done in the here and now."

I inhaled the rest of my food at this. He then took my things away, and looked me in the eyes.

"I will not be so...veiled in what I am telling you," he said. "Yes, they will inevitably learn you are gestating. Everyone will. One day, you will awaken and learn that this fact is becoming known throughout the civilized galaxies. They will make comments about the father, of course, and about you. The things they said in the prisons, and much more."

I looked down at this. I thought about my one dear wish for Chibi - that she could be born on Earth. I can see that dream, right now, slipping from me, just as I saw it slipping away then. Then Bruto-chan continued.

"And when they sentence you - as they inevitably will, because the prosecution would never let you testify, and your council wouldn't believe you, and for that matter you're not allowed to - they will not throw you into the void. No, they wouldn't do that because you might have a valuable asset to them inside your body. You child could be a sailor soldier."

I could feel the room become cold as he said this. For I KNEW that Chibi would grow up to be a soldier. I'd seen it myself. I looked at Bruto-san, wondering what things they could possibly do to me.

"So they wait, very patiently. They will confine you with one of their doctors, who will ceaselessly run tests on you and on your child. And they will inevitably learn whether or not your child possesses a sailor crystal. These tests do not stop, ever. Your increasingly large but fragile body will by hooked up with hooks and threads to thousands of monitors that will ensure you give birth and that the baby you birth will be healthy. Even when you protest by ceasing to eat, or sleep, they will run more tubes into you and your unborn baby. They will be sure that they will have what they want. And what can you do about it?"

I became scared, and I shook. But that wasn't the end. Bruto-san began to speak again.

"And then you finally have your child. But they will never let you see it. The only contact you will have had will be when she was inside of you. The moment it comes out of you, they will pick you up from your bed and immediately take you to the Edges, where you will be cast out forever. Your name will be left out of her records; a guilty verdict by Seemarin law to such extreme charges voids you from even being thought of as her true mother. It goes even for ordinary citizens who have sailors as children. For, to them, better that she not have a mother, than to have such a mother as you!

"And so, while you languish in Apollyon, she will be placed in a compulsory school for sailor soldiers. She will be raised from birth to obey and love the Seemarin, and to loathe and hate those who defy it. And there will come that day when she learns of you, ever unknowing that she is your child, and she will spit on your name and call you traitor. And that is all she will ever know you as."

I don't know how long I cried at that. It was too much for me to bear, it is too much knowing all of this will happen. He took me home after that, and I went into my room and I've been here ever since.

What did I ever do to deserve this? Why can't I be allowed to tell them what happened? But I know why. The real last hope I may have had to save myself died by the Cauldron. She won't be back to save me...not even my friends...I can only just wait for my doom...there is no rainbow...

Kedamonoko (Kedamonoko Odosuko Odosuko, sure

I almost dropped the book once I read that. Never did I know such things; I was almost unwilling to think them as being true. It seemed too horrible to be true. It was almost sadistic, how he described what would happen to her. I couldn't believe a civilized government such as the Seemarin to do that.

Yet as I closed my book, I realized it was real. I couldn't push those thoughts back into my head, and dismiss them as rubbish from some barbaric girl seething against the just, even if half of her book was simply nonsensical to read. Perhaps it was the way her shaky handwriting seemed to suggest fright and worry, not defiance at all. Perhaps it was the fact I had been on the other side of the tale - when I had been the one to be sent away to be a good sailor - and I got to see what it was like for a parent. And her child was not even out yet.

But maybe part of the real reason...was She.

Tsukinousagi, I figured, must have not written this for others to see. A diary was some kind of private book of thoughts, and writings, and I realized that no one was meant to read this. Yet I did, and by the fact that this was private, I realized that what was being said was no joke, but rather the only way she could speak truthfully - at all. I ashamedly realized that Brutus spoke the truth when he said we would not believe her; up until that moment, I never would have. But I digress.

But She. Mentioned in Zra's scribblings. But who was She? The way that Tsukinousagi described her, at least in talking about She saving her, She was a real person. She was with Tsukinousagi at the Cauldron, if this was the truth and not just some vague talk of some sort. But She was dead...but who was She? Perhaps...She was a...

It still seemed strange to me, though, that nothing in anything mentioned She at all. Such was what we still didn't know then. Such was what we would learn.

I wish, now, that I had been able to look into the book further - I had skipped a lot, and I had not really gotten into the more violent details of Usagi's imprisonment and brief madness. I was only starting become intrigued, because of She. Whoever She was.

But then I heard a noise. I heard it, and jumped up. For sure, I thought that Dyka had perhaps awoken, and that she saw the faint light in the basement. Was she coming down to reprimand me? But what if she saw whose writings I was reading!

I turned around as I heard the sound of a grunt behind me. I expected Dyka to be behind me, dressed in her nightgowns, frowning at me, her effects all down and mussed up. Surely, the first words out her mouth would be what are you doing!

But then I looked, and screamed.

...he...lp...

It was the cleaner! What was he doing? Why was he here? And why did it seem like I could look through him to the wall! I gave a scream.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?

He looked at me, not replying. Or was he looking at me? I couldn't be sure. But I saw his pale face, his ragged clothing, and the blood. He was bleeding from his head and his body.

I gave another scream, for I could only think of one thing that he could be. The cleaner was a ghost! He was dead! And he was haunting me!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH...

I remember feeling faint when I came to the realization that I was haunted. Yet, even as I felt faint, I felt ashamed. After all, what reason could there be that I should be haunted by spirits of the dead other than by virtue of the fact that they must know my crime from the night before?

To a sailor soldier, some do not simply vanish with death; some spirits live on even in death. Those who continue existence as ghosts try to haunt you as pale spectres of their former selves. And they do not stop until they have exacted their business from you.

I was so scared, so scared of the cleaner's ghost, and as soon as I felt faint everything went black. I knew nothing else.


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES

Themis is mixing up "Greek" and "great". Not that the two words are not interchangeable unto themselves, with the exception of "Andromache". But, as Themis would say, "we digress".

Themis still doesn't know human anatomy very well, as an unborn human baby grows in the uterus and into the abdominal cavity as opposed to simply in the stomach.

22: Decision

I really don't quite remember what time it was when I awoke from my swoon. It was some time in the morning, when the light of the day shined upon me, forcing me to wake. I was still in the basement, and the Tsukinousagi's book lay spread on the floor, its pages down to the ground.

I do remember that the house seemed eerily silent. This meant only one thing - that Dyka and her new partner, Varuna, must have gone to court for the day. I gave a sigh when I remembered that I was no longer wanted by Dyka at Asgerd; with that, where was I to go then?

I gave a sigh as I crawled up the stairs. I began to think about what I would do. At the moment, I could really only think of one thing - that I was to be sent home, if I didn't go on my home. Dyka's talk with me did not guarantee that I could stay there forever. Eventually, I was sure that Varuna could get me kicked out. Or perhaps Dyka would kick me out. Or something. So I decided, then and there, that I should leave before I somehow caused more trouble with my presence.

But first, before I did anything, I would have myself some coocor. I needed to calm down first before I left. That was the first thing.

I went up those stairs, thinking of the coocor. Ah, if I could describe them better, perhaps your kind could understand my infatuation with them. Coocor, the soft, dark, cool substance going down into my body! As they roll around my stomach, what a wonderful taste they leave! It keeps me begging for more!

It was this image that I had as I went up into the kitchen to sneak some coocor into me before I left Mehsheh for good. I went into the kitchen, and took a handful of coocor out of my hiding place.

And immediately dropped them all on the floor, with a cry.

Of all people I should have seen in the house, it was Tsukinousagi who was on my makeshift bed.

I almost gave another squeak of shock after my coocor scattered everywhere. After all, Tsukinousagi was supposed to be at the courthouse! Or at the hospital! Wasn't she at the hospital for her injury! The injury under the bandages still bled! What was she doing here!

I had every mind to call someone. Surely, she wasn't supposed to be here! Not then! Not while I was hungry for my coocor and about to leave without a trace! Not while she was supposed to be somewhere else!

I went to quickly hide from her, so that she would not see me. Unfortunately, I hit the wall with my tentacles as I went to run back downstairs, and I gave a curse as I did. I heard her gasp, and I turned to see her staring at me.

-Wh-what are you doing here?

I opened my mouth, hoping to have a good way to explain to her why I was here. I was simply getting something I forgot; I had to go back to retrieve something Dyka forgot. Anything to justify my presence to her!

-I...I...was...just...um, walking...and...

I looked down to the ground. I couldn't face her. How could I? Just two days ago, I had killed her. How could I look her in the eyes now, after seeing that power, after destroying her, after what I had done to make her lash out at me?

Slowly, I began to edge towards the stairs to the upper levels. Since Tsukinousagi was on the bed, and for that matter, near the door, I figured that the best course of action would be to run up the stairs, throw myself out of a window, and barring injuries that would leave me unable to walk, run to the nearest transport station, and ride back to Ydhh as fast as I could.

-Don't go.

I stopped at this. At first, I couldn't believe that she would have said it. I thought I was dreaming that she had said it, and I started up the stairs.

-Please. This time, I heard her loud and clear. -Stay.

I turned towards her, expecting an angry look from her, one of condemnation, one of hate. That she wanted me to stay, so that she could exact her revenge on me in retribution, and thus end my life. Yet when I looked, I saw no anger, if it was there, simply the sadness, and fear, that had been in her eyes the first day she was shown to me.

-...You... I stared at her. -...want...me...to stay?

I really couldn't describe what I felt as, slowly, I began to talk back towards her. It was so strange. I looked into her eyes and was drawn - I was compelled to stay, almost as if, secretly, deep down, I had wanted her to let me stay. I couldn't understand why. Maybe I still don't understand now.

-Please.

-But... I looked stunned. -...I...you...I...I killed you!

At this, I gave a growl. I was angry, not at her, but myself. I immediately stopped my advance towards her.

-Why do you want anything to do with me! I almost shouted. -I killed you! That thing you have on your neck? That was me! Did you forget? What is going on here with you!

There was a moment of silence at this. I daresay she was probably wondering that exact question during that silence, where all we did was simply stare at each other. I saw the sadness and the fear in her eyes; I could only wonder what she could have seen in mine. Probably fright, and maybe even hunger, for I was a little hungry. But I digress.

-You're sad. Finally, she turned away from me. -There is nothing wrong with being sad, or hurt, or angry. It's what you do with those emotions, which makes someone good, or bad, or even evil.

-But I...

-You're not evil.

If I had been stunned before, I was certainly speechless by then. For, it could only mean one thing - she didn't hate me.

But why? How? I had done such things to her! Why would she forgive me! And...what would I say to her? What could I say to her? I was not the greatest person with talking, especially in an awkward moment like this.

So I did what I did best in the situation. I stammered a little bit. Fortunately, I did find something to say after ten minutes of complete silence.

-Um..so………. I was trying to find a suitable conversation. -I, uh, I hear you're having a child?

-Huh? Suddenly, she looked at me with some apprehension. -How do you know that?

-Oh, well….. I felt myself turn red. -Rumors. My fellow sisters talk so incessantly about things…….eheh….they also told me you loved Brutus…..

At least it was a cover for having her personal writings. I wouldn't have liked to have known what she could have done to me if she knew that Brutus had given them to me, or even that I just had them. Probably kill the both of us. But I digress.

-Do you believe all that?

-Uuuuh……no, of course not! I tried to laugh the very idea I would believe them (the very idea! which was actually true!) and their silly rumors. -And besides, what would I know about having children? I can't have them anyways.

-Huh?

-Oh, its nothing big. I laughed nervously. -I mean, my father slashed up my thirteenth tentacle, so I couldn't have kids even if I wanted to have kids. Not that I would want them. Being a sailor soldier is so……so…….sooooo……

I realized at this point that she wasn't really looking at me. If anything, she was looking ready to cry.

-What a terrible father. She seemed to shake. -I miss my father…..

I had forgotten that her father was sick with something. When I remembered that, I became sad, because, though I never knew my father, I knew what it was like to lose someone close. Not a family person, but friends, through various events, such as leaving childhood friends to go to the sailor school. That had been a terrible moment for me.

-I... I thought. -I'm, uh, sorry.

-They must all be scared. She looked down. -They must all be worried about me. I just disappeared...and Mamo-chan...Mamo-chan must be making himself sick...!

-Your...

-...Husband. I nodded as Tsukinousagi finished my sentence. If I hadn't stopped myself, I surely would have said it myself, and she would have known of the book- He was badly hurt...!

As she spoke, as she was about to cry, I suddenly felt a sharp pain deep within me. It was quick, like someone had taken a knife, and quickly swiped at me. It was not a pain unfamiliar to me anymore, but I quickly was over myself.

-I... I gasped. -I'm...sorry.

As soon as I said that - and I was being truly sincere, even through my agony - the pain subsided. I quickly looked up at Tsukinousagi, half expecting her - as she had before - to be glowing with wings, and bright hair and colors. But to my (chargin? caghirn?)(?) she wasn't even looking in my direction.

-It's not your fault... She was still turned from me as she spoke. -I'm just worried...

-...I understand... I gave a sigh. -I...I'm not the best lawyer, which is why I-

-...I missed their birthdays!

This startled me to no end. One, since I did not know exactly what a birthday was (I learned that we give it a different name, which translates to coming out, or waking, or useigei), that was confusing. But what shocked me more was what she was actually thinking of.

-Meenuh-chan, Mawkho-chan, Setsoonei-san, Haucuh-san(?)... She began to sob. -Hotaru-chan...

I sat on the ground - as I had fallen off of my bed as the pain had overtaken me - staring at her. Was it even possible!

-You... I stared at her, unbelieving. -You are worried...about...other people!

-I missed my friends' birthdays...! She wiped her eyes. -Soon, it will be Mishiirue-san's birthday...and then...Rai-chan's...and then, my...my...(?)

-But... I slapped myself. -But you are on trial for your life! Why think of such frivolous things like...a...a birthday, whatever that may be!

She turned back to me. I daresay, if the girl could have looked sadder, I myself would have simply burst into fits of crying. She seemed crushed when I posed the question to her.

-Thoughts...are all I have left now. Tears began to come from her eyes. -Thoughts, and memories, and the hope that they can come to me, in my moment of need. My friends. My friends...they will come to me...

She stood up, clasping her hands to herself. She then looked towards the window, where the light of the day's stars shined in.

-Huh...?

-I can almost see them. She closed her eyes. -They are out there, looking. They would never rest until they find me. They are using their powers to see the glimmer of love I hold for them, hiding in the shadows from the monsters that plague these worlds, those hidden demons cloaked by...by things that should not let them live.

She took a deep breath at this. I gave a shudder at her final words, as if I could have agreed with her final sentiment about things hidden. Yet, I did not know why I agreed.

-They are doing it just to save me. She looked down. -But sometimes, I even doubt whether...whether I am truly worth saving...not even after...not even after what had happened to us before...

I was about to open my mouth to protest, as, for a moment, I thought she meant when I had attacked her. But something in her voice made me stop, and rethink my words. Something in her voice seemed distant, as if she were speaking of times before, before the Great Matter, before her imprisonment, before her capture, before all of that, when she was on her world, fighting as a sailor soldier. In the years before her name came to be known as a scourge to civilized worlds, where her very presence was a danger to everyone around her, and even to greater powers thought unbreakable, though that I could not fathom yet.

Then, within me, I felt words forming. It was as if, by instinct, my mind knew what to ask. Before I knew what I was doing, I was blurting out the question that I had somehow formulated, and yet not formulated.

-Tsukinousagi. I couldn't understand why I was saying it. I figured it would have been a bad idea to even think of asking. Yet there I was, and those were my words. -What happened at the Galaxy Cauldron?

She quickly turned towards me, her eyes bearing into me again. She opened her mouth, almost ready to form some kind of answer to my question. For a moment, for one single moment, it felt like we almost seemed to understand each other. And I realized, in that one moment, something was truly, truly wrong. An important fact was missing, that would make it all sensible, why someone like this girl would even think of the unthinkable to begin with.

-THEMIS!

But the moment passed. The noise of the door opening interrupted us, and the shared thought we almost seemed to have vanished. I gave a gasp, almost angry, because for some reason I was liking that feeling.

-D-dyka!

-...There you are. She was frowning at me. -We thought you may have left.

-...Er...

I looked at Tsukinousagi. In response, she turned back away from me, looking over at Dyka, confused.

-I thought...you were on Asgerd!

-...Today isn't a trial date. Dyka shook her head. -Floritiuse...

-I didn't know!

-...Anyways, I have some news.

I gave a gulp at this. I had a bad feeling about what was about to be said, though I could not understand why.

-Varuna and I have decided. We had a meeting today. Dyka finally said. -We went to Veldanis and discussed it, and it is official. As of now, Brutus mortar - Brutus - will testify in five days.

She looked at me, and then at Tsukinousagi. Then, without another word, she shook her head and went to get herself something to drink.

-Well! At this, Varuna, who had been silent the whole time, finally spoke cheerfully, though seemingly sarcastically. -At last, something good is happening!


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES

(?)Yes, it's cahgrin. Er, chagrin.

(?)Meenuh-chan, Mawkho-chan, Setsoonei-san, Haucuh-san - Mina, Mako, Setsuna, Haruka, Michiru and Rei, respectively. We are unsure of how Themis has "Hotaru" correct.

23: Loss

No one could really explain my secret joy in learning Brutus was testifying. I really couldn't; only some time before, I had probably been Tsukinousagi's greatest enemy.

I was not sure what had caused this. I was almost a little afraid, because the change had been so oddly abrupt, something I would never have expected for me. Yet the change was there, and slowly, or perhaps rapidly, in three days I began to find that I was liking Tsukinousagi more and more.

In fact, on the third night after Dyka told us that Brutus was testifying, I even almost gathered up the courage to ask her if she wanted some food. In the end, though, I was still afraid that she would somehow reject me for asking what had happened at the Galaxy Cauldron, on top of my attack on her. Surely, she couldn't be quickly forgiving like that?

I still contemplated on the question I had, of course, for it was always on my mind now. What could have driven her to commit such a crime! I couldn't understand it, couldn't reconcile it. It was if a piece of the puzzle was missing. And She. Who was She?

So I made the food, but I stopped myself from actually bringing it up. I fretted very much, for I vividly remembered what had happened before. So, I went for an alternative.

-Varuna?

For whatever reason, once Varuna came onto Dyka's team, her demeanor almost instantly changed, for almost no reason. She wasn't really all that rude to me, and she didn't seem as rumor-hungry as she had been when she had told me of the Tsukinousagi and Brutus affair. She was actually an agreeable person to a degree, and probably the most cheerful of the group. This was probably because she had not been a part of the initial tensions, nor was she aware that I had killed Tsukinousagi. It was also - and this is far more obvious - because she was ingratiating herself to Dyka.

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't know how Dyka managed to cover up what had happened between the Vika soldier and I from Varuna. Varuna didn't seem like someone who was that foolish not to be suspicious. Perhaps she suspected, but decided it was best not to ask. But I digress.

-Why do you want me to bring this up? Varuna was obviously amused. -You made it.

-Well... I gave a stammer. -I'm not feeling good, you see.

To make my point, I began to cough and hack, and I almost spit in the food by accident. With that, of course, Varuna quickly took the food from me, and with a disgusted look on her face, took it up to Tsukinousagi's room.

-

So, three days passed, and nothing had really happened. Everyone but myself went to Asgerd, leaving me all by myself with nothing much to do. So, I did what most people with nothing to do probably wouldn't do. I watched holograms and ate coocors in the main room. I was pretty lazy in those three days.

Then again, I started watching the news, and began to get some more insight into the Great Matter as it was being seen from the outside. I read almost everything I could get my hands on. Until those three days, I never realized how truly incensed people were.

According to statistics, the Great Matter was on the front page of 97 percent of papers all over the civilized countries; it was the main headline every day on 82 percent of those papers. I am not good with math, but that is more than half of the galaxies' outlets dedicating their space to the Great Matter.

This, however, only counts official publications. I learned, during those three days, that underground publishing was rampant now because of the Great Matter. Many people began writing what they felt on the issue, even those, such as civilians, who normally didn't care about the Seemarin, since in some cases it was illegal to slight the Seemarin.

THE TIME OF THE SEEMARIN IS OVER. I remember that was the news headline of one publication in particular. THE SEEMARIN IS FAILED! EMBRACE CHAOS!

After that outburst, that publication's presses were eventually smashed by Seemarin agents for subversive writings.

This was something that had never happened before in the history of the Seemarin. I must stress that, before, the soldiers and the civilians had lived in relative peace before the Great Matter. But, for whatever reason, reasons I never really quite grasped until later, many people slowly began to turn against the Seemarin. Even some sailor soldiers who had been faithful servants to the Seemarin were not insusceptible to the anger. The threat of Tsukinousagi being the demon to destroy civilization was indeed a self-fulfilling prophecy, yet it wasn't Tsukinousagi herself who was fulfilling it. Fear, panic, confusion, and hatred was increasing by the day.

Perhaps, perhaps it had been because the Seemarin, to them, was aloof. Or perhaps they thought the Seermarin truly failed this time, seeing how they were reacting to Tsukinousagi's trial, and about how tightlipped they were being to the outside world as to why the were going for a quick trial. Some trials took years to do in the Seemarin. Tsukinousagi's trial took less than an Earth year in time. This was a record.

And then there was the Astramort; why was the Seemarin not pursuing them? Surely the Great Matter could wait until the Blood Thirsters were purged from our worlds, as Blood Thirsters were more pressing? With a plausible threat like that, the Three should have postponed the trial until that problem - mockingly nicknamed by some people as the Not-So-Great Matter - was solved. Yet nothing was done.

Many things were simmering under the surface, which threatened to be very damaging and very potent, to the point where instability like no other would come and overtake even Asgerd itself. Many people still pointed the finger at Tsukinousagi. Yet, by that time, I could not believe that. What I had felt from Tsukinousagi was not that horrible shadow that was slowly killing my way of life. Surely, then, it was something else, another factor, which had not become known yet, that was causing the true threat which we had to face.

And what I would have given to learn what it was!

-

Of course, the next great shock to us was still yet to come, even with my newfound thoughts on what was going on.

Four days after Dyka had told us that Brutus was to testify, Varuna decided to take me out on a bonding experience. She was one who liked to do things like shopping, and she liked to go and spend money on useless things. Of course, I admit that I sometimes like to do such things myself as well, so off we went.

-Isn't this fun, Floritiuse? Varuna liked calling me by my civilian name. -I LOVE this lovely sailor top right here. It looks so much better than the one I have right now.

-Yes, it looks nice.

Unfortunately, most of the places we went were not those which I would have preferred. Most were very expensive shops in the most exclusive center on Mehsheh, where some people paid what your kind would put as an arm and a leg. Which is how some people actually paid, since they had more than one arm and leg to spare, so to speak. But I digress.

I admit that I paid a bit too much on things there that day. I bought myself a shirt, which was so delicate I thought it would rip at the slightest tug. However, there was something else I ended up buying as well.

-Hey! It was Varuna who spotted it. -Look at that!

We were at an exotic shop, which had imports from all over the universe on its shelves. They were also, in comparison to the other items in the other shops, very cheap. Most things there were things most people would buy as fake gifts, or what you would call gag gifts.

-Heh. Varuna pointed at it and laughed. -What an ugly little thing. I wonder what it is?

It was sitting on a shelf by itself. It was a single plant, in a jar, a strange thing indeed to see. It was green on the bottom, which was its stem, but on top, its bloom was a bright red.

-They call it a flower. Varuna scoffed. -Ha! That's nothing compared to the blooms on my planet. What kind of world would grow that...

I stared at it for a moment, before I touched it. The tope, the red part where the bloom was, was extremely soft, even though it showed signs of withering on certain parts of it, and the flower on a whole was drooping. However, parts of the flower were very sharp starting where the green met the read - I felt a stab and jerked my hand away. When I looked closer to see why I was hurt, I realized there were tiny blades of some sort on the stem.

-What a strange flower...

Somehow, for no reason I could understand, I took it with its jar at that moment, marched towards the counter, and paid for it. This, of course, left Varuna quite shocked.

-What an ugly flower! She commented as we left. -Its not worth what you paid. Its so plain!

Plain as it was, I had bought it. I almost didn't realize I had bought it until we were halfway down from that shop. When I realized what I had done, though, my thought was not to give it back to the owner (he wouldn't have taken it back anyways). My next thought was whom would get the flower.

-I don't know why, I said aloud. -But I think I'm going to give this to Tsukinousagi.

-Huh. Varuna just shook her head. -You are a fool.

Of course, then I was confused as to why I was even giving something to Tsukinousagi. Yet, as we sat to rest, I noticed that the strange flower seemed to almost brighten up. It was not drooping as it has been; in fact, it was almost straight, and the withered parts were almost all red once more. If I'd have thought the flower had a soul, I daresay I would have figured I had cheered it up somehow.

-

Some time after we sat to rest, we decided to go out and get something to eat. We went outside of the shops, and found a little eating place with newspapers.

-I could eat like a Bucephalian!

Varuna got the largest amount of food that they offered, and put it on the Seemarin's tab. She encouraged me to do the same. I wisely declined.

-I'm not really hungry.

-Suit yourself!Varuna picked out our table. -Here's a nice spot with lots of papers. I love reading. Don't you?

-Mmm hmm.

I looked at our table. Where we were, the eating place offered up to twenty different newspapers to choose from. Our table had all twenty papers - mainly the large newspapers, main civilian, but the official Seemarin paper was there too. Of course, being from Themis and Ydhh, I took the Themis Report and decided to read that one.

-Here you are! Almost as soon as we chose out newspapers, our food had arrived. -Enjoy your food and the news!

-Thanks...

I took a large bite of my newly arrived food - mesh cin dabe(?) - as I casually shifted through the paper. Naturally, the Great Matter was front page news - more specifically, the news of my dismissal. All specific details were left out, simply saying that while Dyka had a great respect for me, she realized that my employment in her service left her in a small disadvantage which she could not elaborate on, and hence, Varuna was appointed. There were other articles - civilian boy executed for murdering his sister, for one, shared some space on the front cover with my troubles.

-Hmm... Varuna made a sound in her chewing. -Mmmm!

-Huh?

-Hey, Foritiuse. Varuna gulped her food down. -Look at this headline!

I looked over, inquisitive. I was treated to a surprise.

FAKE SAILOR FOUND GUILTY OF SPREADING BASELESS PROPAGANDA! The headline read. CASTRAPO SENTENCED TO DEATH BY SEEMARIN!

The headline read.

I gave a start at this. I knew the name of Castrapo. She had been an honored guest of the Ydhh princess some years back. I had personally met her. She had seemed like a real sailor to me. Then again, my senses can be addled. But I digress.

-I guess she wrote something that was offensive in nature to the Seemarin. Varuna chuckled. -Well, a true sailor wouldn't do something so mean to our beloved institution! Right, Floritiuse?

-Right... I flipped the page. -Though, for a moment, I thought...I...

I was staring at the next page of Varuna's newspaper. For a moment, the words blurred on me, as though my mind refused to think of it. Unfortunately, my mind cleared up, and the words were clear to me as if I should have known it was inevitable all along.

SIBLING OF FAMOUS SAILOR FOUND DEAD! It was the special intergalactic section's main story. FIRST GENERATION PIRATE FIGHTER'S ONLY LIVING RELATIVE DIED OF APPARENT SELF-COMBUSTION!

It was the special intergalactic section's main story.

-No way...

-Floritiuse?

-...Michag's brother...!

I simply stared at the headline. It was quite dumbfounding. First Michag, now her brother! And her diaries destroyed as well It was as if bad coincidence had descended on the family.

Yet a piece of myself refused to believe in the coincidence. I don't know why, or at least I didn't know why. It seemed so convenient for Michag, one of the greatest pirate fighters to have lived, to suddenly have beheld such horrible fortune...perhaps too convenient.

-It's a shame.

-Yes, it is. I turned to look at Varuna. -And we were going to-

-Hello, Themis.

I heard the voice, this time from my right. Both Varuna - for it wasn't Varuna - and I looked to see who was speaking to us.

-Sailor Bora!

It was indeed Sailor Bora. She stood some bit away from us, holding a bag of food. She looked at me, then at Varuna.

-Heh. She smirked. -I didn't expect to see you here.

-Neither did we. Varuna returned a smile. -Out shopping for your master, Bora?

-Hmph. Bora's expression became a frown. -Kepe's not my master. I am merely her partner.

-Well, whichever.

In response, Bora walked over and looked at the paper. She gave the article on Michag's brother a look, nodding as if she had already known.

-Yes, very sad indeed. He was a good man.

-He was old. Varuna shrugged. -But well-known. He had the diaries, too, at least before they were destroyed.

-Hmm... Bora looked at the paper. -Yes, its odd, isn't it? How things like that happen to certain people? Very strange indeed.

-The Astramort's being blamed for it. Varuna looked up. -They've been killing people all over, you know.

-Hah. Bora snorted. -I don't believe in the Astramort. They're for children to fear.

-But they've been spotted.

-I still don't think they exist.

-I do. I finally spoke. -They killed Jyanda. And this man. And...Zra.

It was at this that Bora looked at me. She had a very strange expression on her face, and I couldn't exactly figure out what it meant - annoyance? Amusement? I wasn't sure.

-You really think so?

-Yeah. I nodded. -She was one of our witnesses, remember?

-Yes, yes...a pity. She kept staring at me. -Well, believe what you want. But I wouldn't be so eager to simply pin such things on some ghosts.

-Huh? I was confused. -What do you mean?

-Sometimes the threat is closer than you think. She took several steps back. -But that's the risk you take, I guess. I wouldn't be so ignorant, though.

It was then I noticed something strange in Bora's eyes. They almost seemed to flash, if that makes any sense. But they were looking at me, not at Varuna. Then, she saw the strange flower, and I almost thought she was sneering at me when she looked back up at me. What it meant, I don't know, but it caused me to shudder.

-Well, the expression changed to one of cheer. -I'll see you tomorrow in court, Varuna.

-Bye!

With that, she took her leave and left. With a shrug, Varuna went back to her food.

-Mmm, yeah. Varuna looked up at me. -Floritiuse, you stopped eating.

-Yeah...

The strange sneer stuck with me. So did the feeling of discomfort which had accompanied it. With a sigh, is pushed my plate away.

-I...I'm not hungry now.

-

The day of looking around and buying things was over in some hours. It was, of course, not I who had bought things, but rather, most of what was gotten was b Varuna. She had an entire load of clothing, in particular.

-I must look my best in court! She looked at me with some disapproval. -But I still don't get what possessed you to get that.

At that, I closed my hands protectively around the strange flower I had bought. I myself pondered why I had bought it still, though by now I was positive it had been the right thing to do, though I didn't know why I thought that.

-I already told you why.

-But how do you know she'll even like it? Varuna frowned. -It's just so...so...plain.

-Well, I looked away. -I'll just take my chances.

There was a pause at this. By this time, our transport was nearing the housing complex we lived in.

-You seem pretty keen on pleasing that girl, Floritiuse. Varuna rubbed her appendages together. -Did you have some problems with her?

-...We did not get along well in the past.

I ended it at that. What more did she need to know? Either way, it seemed foolish to reiterate. Dyka didn't tell her; therefore, I did not tell her.

And so, with that conversation ended, we went to our door. We were almost expecting Dyka to come to the door as we entered, with a frown on her face. We'd tell here where we had gone, and she'd frown still, since Varuna had used the Seemarin credit in such a bad fashion. Then she'd frown, look at my flower, sigh, and leave us to our devices. She wouldn't laugh at us, she wouldn't smile at us telling her that we saw Bora. I daresay that Dyka smiling in like a supernovae. But I digress.

So, we opened the door and went inside. Dyka was not at the door, though we were not surprised. But we were not expecting where we found Dyka instead.

She was there, but she had sat down on the couch in the main room, her face down towards the floor. In front of her was a strange man, wearing a white and black uniform with a red sash of some kind. His face was covered with soot and a small bit of blood, which made me shudder.

-...Thank you.

Dyka did not even look up at the man as he stood up and started walking off. It was obvious then that they had had some kind of conversation, and from what I could see, I realized it had to be serious. I gave a shudder as I felt the man pass me.

-...So you're that girl.

I heard him speaking, though I didn't look at him. I had seen enough to know who he was. The black and white colors were reserved for prison wardens. The red sash indicated a worker at Veldanis.

-Dyka...

A sob arose as soon as the door closed. With a cry, Dyka then stood, walked over to the wall, and punched a hole right through it!

-DYKA! Both Varuna and I started towards her. -What-
-Shut up.

She looked at us, her eyes glaring right at us. At first, I thought she was mad at me - what did I do now? Yet I realized that it made no sense when it pertained to the Veldanis guard being there. The more I thought, the more I began to dread.

-Just...shut up. Dyka was silent. -It's over.
-...Over?
-...It's over. Dyka turned away. -We have nothing left.
-What are you talking about?
-The trial.

She looked again at us. This time, I could see the strain in her face, her trying not to cry. If she did cry, they would be tears of defeat.

-Brutus is dead.

-

What shock that was! Brutus, dead! DEAD! But that it had happened in such a horribly ironic way...we would not have thought of it. It was unexpected.

The truth was, Brutus was thoughtlessly murdered, right in front of his men. There had been a riot at Veldanis that morning; several people had incited the entire place to riot.

One of the ringleaders - some would say THE ringleader - was Sailor Yomokei, the prosecution's star witness. No body knew how she did it, but within the hour of the first meal of the day, guards and prisoners were in such terrible skirmishes that they were calling people in from other prisons, people who weren't on duty. Brutus, who had been given leave to be Tsukinousagi's bodyguard, was even called up.

I've heard stories about it since the Great Matter has subsided. He spotted Yomokei at the gates, and challenged her head on. It must have been a fight to see. The two fought horrible, slashing each other to pieces. Brutus was given the advantage due to his sheer size, and was beating Yomokei back into the yard, where more men were waiting to rein her in and re-capture her.

But fate thought otherwise. For, as Brutus was bringing Yomokei down, several shots rang out. No one knew where they had come from. Bullets, the style like the type your kind has, but ones we rarely use anymore, hit Brutus. He wasn't dead, not then. Not until Yomokei took his weapon and rammed it through his chest.

It was in this bloody fashion, then, that Brutus died, and was tossed aside by Yomokei. She then ran through the gates, with guards pursuing her.

I wish I could say there was a type of justice for Brutus, and that this was not the absolute end of his story. But in some ways, it was. There was no trial to bring Yomokei to justice; after the next day, the entire affair had been forgotten, even by Kepe, who only made a comment the next day that the renegade was -out of their hands-. So Yomokei, the prosecution's witness, escaped from prison, and because no one cared, she has not been captured again to this day.

-

I was shocked. Brutus dead! For a moment, I could not believe it. There was no reaction I could muster. The one witness to help, dead!

Yet in another instant, those thoughts vanished. I could only think of one thing.

Tsukinousagi

There was no thought after that. The strange flower fell to the floor, as I hastened with all speed to Tsukinousagi's room. Panic and fear gripped me, for thoughts of what Tsukinousagi's reactions were on my mind. Would she rage? Would she rage, and then in her rage-

I stopped in front of her room.

-B...bruto-san...!

She was at the foot of her bed, her head buried in her appendages. I could hear her sobbing, shaking violently and crying long and hard.

Hmph. Probably hurt herself on something. Serves her right!

I closed my eyes as I remembered what I had said that first night. Now I realized, I knew she was hurt. But not through stupidity or foolishness. No, she was hurt by sadness and sorrow. I did not do not know what things Brutus did for her. I may never truly know. Perhaps, treating her better than I did, was that start ot what made Tsukinousagi love him, not as an affair, but as something else entirely different.

...How...how can she bear it?

For the first time, truly and honestly, I suddenly felt myself about to cry. All this time, I was not defending a Vika. I was not defending some girl. I was defending a sailor soldier. I was defending a true sister. Dignity in Death, the Seemarin said, and I realized that there was nothing more dignified than crying over a fallen comrade. I wanted to share that.

I wanted to share that with Tsukinousagi. I started to walk into the room.

...u...sa...gi...

I stopped. A strange word descended into my ears.

...u...sagi...

Usagi. What was an usagi?

...usagi...

I saw her head go up at this. I gave a start; usagi? It was not with Tsukino!

...U...sa...

My eyes widened, but not because of how Tsukinousagi's name was said without the Tsukino. No; a light suddenly appeared inside the room. Within it, a hazy figure that I could not see very well.

-...Ma...

I saw Tsukinousagi's face pale at the sight. She gave a cry.

-OH!
-Usa

The light disappeared, leaving only the figure. Now I could see him clearly. And I nearly felt sick to my stomach because of it.

It was the cleaner.

-Mamo-chan


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES

(?)On Earth it would be the equivalent of a BLT. Sort of.

Thanks to Ayden for pointing out a mistake in the original chapter upload. That has been fixed.

24: Mamochan

I was actually in the room when the spirit appeared to Tsukinousagi - or, Tsukino Usagi, as I should probably call her from now on, since by now, I have heard her name as two entities rather than one. Well, more like in the doorway, but still I saw it all. The following is all of what was said, because I remember it very clearly.

Speaking of the whole name thing, it can be confusing - a first and last name, as opposed to having just one name. Maybe in terms of creating a variety of names, your way may be better, since I'll admit, I'm am only one Floritiuse out of ten million on Themis alone. But I digress.

Truly, I was very frightened at first upon seeing the specter in the room appear almost out of nowhere, save a light. I had every thought of running downstairs and screaming for Dyka and Varuna. So they didn't believe me about the cleaner! Well, there he was, right in front of me, and in front of Tsukino Usagi, speaking!

That was what I planned to do. That is, until I remembered the name in Tsukino Usagi's writings. It had also been Mamo-chan. It could only really mean one thing - that the Mamo-chan of the diary, and the Mamo-chan ghost, and even the cleaner, were one and the same.

But how? And how could I mistake him...

Realizing that, where I was, the ghost could easily see me, I quickly hid myself in the closet. As Tsukino Usagi's attention was completely fixated on the strange figure, who was there but yet was seemingly transparent, she did not see me slide in, keeping the door open just enough so I could see what was happening.

-M-mamo-chan! I heard the quaking in Tsukino Usagi's voice as she slowly stood up. -Is...is it really you! You've come!

-Usa.

She went to go hug him. I could hear her gasp as she went through him, and I saw his head hang down as she did. I gave a gulp.

-Mamo-chan...!

-Usa... He turned to face her. -I am not truly here. I wish I was, but I can't be.

-Oh...

-This is only me, my spirit, projected as far as it could go to find you. I could see her somewhat baffled face. -Do you remember, back when we visited Crystal Tokyo, when we met King Endymion?

-...Yes... Tsukinousagi sadly nodded. -I remember. So you're just a vision...

-I am an astral projection. His face became worried. -I have tried to contact you for several days. I had woken up one morning, and I felt a terrible pain in my chest, almost as if you were being ripped away from the world. I feared the worst.

-I...

I saw her stop for a moment, and my own heart froze. Surely, with her lover, she would tell him everything that had happened - including what had happened with me!

-...I...She looked up at him, and I could be certain that he saw the mark on her neck. -I'm all right.

I gave a sigh as she sat down on the bed. Though he was like a ghost, somehow, he managed to sit next to her.

-I...I just lost a friend. She looked down. -Mamo-chan, I'm afraid. These people want to kill me. I've...I've lost my truest friend in this place!

-A friend...

-He was so kind to me... She covered her face. -No other person was so kind here. I'm so scared...

I watched as Tsukino Usagi began to bow down and cry. I realized that it was, perhaps, wrong for me to intrude on such a intimate moment. Now that I was where I was, though, I simply couldn't turn or leave, lest I miss something. For secretly, I hoped Tsukino Usagi would, perhaps, mention something of the Galaxy Cauldron. Something, anything, that I could tell Dyka, that could vindicate her.

-Usa.

-...I'm gone. Tsukino Usagi moaned. -They've put me on trial for...for...for going to Galaxy Cauldron! I'm lost here. And...and...

-Usa?

-...Not just me. I noticed her turn and put a hand on herself. -Mamo-chan...I...

From where I was, I couldn't see Mamo-chan's response. I'm sure, however, that he was completely and utterly surprised, or horrified. Surprised that his wife was having a child, maybe horrified that it was happening when his wife was about to inevitably be cast into oblivion. Not sure which path he chose, though surely, it must have been a treat to see his face. But I digress.

-...Oh no.

-Mamo-chan. She looked up at him, and I could see her tears. -Promise me. Mamo-chan. Now that I have you for these few moments, please, if you can, tell the others...tell them I'm sorry. About everything. I'm nothing now.

-Usa... Mamo-chan's voice lowered. -No. You have nothing to be sorry about.

-Mamo-chan...?

-These people, they have been trying to break you. They got closer. -I can see it in your eyes, how they've clouded with shame. They have done things to you, and because of it, you are giving in to them. But you must never give in to such thoughts. They're poison.

Then, to my surprise, his hand solidified, and touched Tsukino Usagi's face. It was at this point that he glowed really bright, and from him came forth the bright light. I had to shield my eyes from it, almost giving myself away.

For the light was like that of Tsukino Usagi's, only a different color. So I realized. That Mamo-chan was a sailor soldier too!

-You matter. Mamo-chan, now a solid figure of light, came in even closer to Tsukino Usagi. -You have always mattered to me.

What happened next, I really can't describe my feelings for it very well, for it was too awesome to truly describe properly. Mamo-chan bent down, drew her into his arms, and kissed Tsukino Usagi on her brow. As he did this, Tsukino Usagi closed her eyes, and she too began to glow. She, in return, took his head, bringing it down to her level, and kissed him as well. They both, by this time, were glowing - just as Tsukino Usagi had done before with me that horrible night.

But this time, it felt very different. It was like the feeling I had when I was in the sailor school, when I was very young. Me and several of my friends would, when the teachers weren't looking, sneak out at night, and run out into the fields outside of the school. Then, we would lay on the grass, and count the stars, and name them anything that our minds came up with. Then, we would watch the stars rise up for the day, with the sky lighting up into millions of different colors as it happened.

Such was that moment, just like day breaking, with warm colors dancing around the room. It was so beautiful. I never realized how wonderful something like that could be, for I was never in such a relationship. I was always taught to repress those feelings, which was not difficult as my lack of a thirteenth tentacle muted such desires anyways. But now, watching this happening, I was sad. I wondered, if what they had was like that, like the beginnings of dawn, what about me, and others who had simply rejected and forgotten that feeling of being truly happy even for one moment?

Certainly, though, I could see Tsukino Usagi smile. It was a peaceful smile, for, in her eyes, she must have been rejuvenated somehow. Indeed, I almost gasped aloud when I saw that the large wound on her neck had, in that one exchange, been reduced to little more than a thin red line.

-...Mamo-chan... she finally murmured. -...Thank you...

They separated, and the lights disappeared. Mamo-chan's form became like that of a ghost again, and he stood up.

-I... I noticed I couldn't see him as clearly now. -Usa, I have to...tell you something else...the senshi...

-Mamo-chan?

-The...senshi...are...

Mamo-chan's eyes widened, and for good reason. The kiss had drained his power. He was disappearing!

-MAMO-CHAN!

Tsukino Usagi jumped up and ran towards him, crying. But, by then, it was too late. I saw him glow faintly, frantically mouth out one more Usa, and by the time Tsukino Usagi reached him, he was completely gone.

-NO!

She collapsed on the floor, beating her hands on the ground. All she did was cry and cry, and a pool of water appeared under her from her tears.

-COME BACK...COME BACK! She screamed. -MAMO-CHAAAAAN!

I felt a sob rise in my throat, and I had to wipe my own eyes. Now, again, I saw her crumble, going back to what she had been, but only more miserable than ever now that her lover was gone.

-He...was my friend, she finally choked. -And...I couldn't save him...Bruto-san...Mamo-chan...come back...COME BACK!

I had already figured that she did not notice me where I was, in the closet. I knew, too, that it was better for her not to see me should she stop crying. So, I got out of the closet, and quietly slipped out of the room.

-

I left the house, soon after that. Not forever, but simply to take a walk for a little bit, to clear my mind - and to ponder.

I had heard Dyka talking to Varuna before I had left. She was planning on submitting a motion to drop the defense altogether. And why not? There was nothing left of the case. There was nothing

But, as your kind would say, if walls could talk...

But they would have never believed me about seeing Mamo-chan. Why would they? It was a leap of faith which had them believing about Brutus. Now Brutus was gone. Fate, it had seemed, deemed Tsukino Usagi should suffer the consequences of her actions. She would be sent to Apollyon. She would be forever banished.

But there was something else. There had to be. Before, perhaps I wouldn't have cared, but now, between Brutus, me killing Tsukino Usagi, the writings, and the ghost, it just seemed too strange that my former client's guilt could be so clear cut. The crux, of course, was proving that it wasn't. We had nothing to counter prove Yomokei's shocking security hologram.

There was really only one thing I knew was connected to this whole case that no one had bothered to mention. I knew of She. She was a key to unlocking the truth. The problem, of course, was convincing Tsukino Usagi that she could really trust us to tell us about it all.

But She had also appeared in Zra's crazed writings. Was she involved in that too? And if so, how? Could She be...

I gave a sigh. All the thoughts of the day were making me hungry. I figured, as I was quite a ways down from the house, and actually into a business district, that I would get myself something to eat. So, I took a turn onto a slightly darkened side street that I knew had a nice little restaurant at the end of it.

I instantly regretted it.

-...Themis...

-Yes?

The moment I turned my head to see who was calling my name, I was grabbed from behind. I gave a gasp, for the sudden grip upon me was unusually strong, unlike what I had known before. With a cry, I smacked them away as hard as I could.

-Uuuugh!

I didn't have time to face my attacker. Instantly, I was rushed by others. Though I couldn't see well in the alley, I knew that I was somehow surrounded by people who seemed to have come out of nowhere.

-Get her!

-...AAAH! HEELP!

I didn't want to use my sailor powers and damage property, though, in hindsight, it may have been a better idea. Instead, I began to ran out of the alley, but whomever was attacking my was too quick. I was immediately grabbed again from behind, and then, someone hit me in the midsection. Then, the face. Then, my midsection again.

-OW!

-UGH!

-Shut up!

I threw my hands up, hoping to get a good grip on whomever was grabbing me, but I was unable to. I was instead dragged back into the alley, where I fought as hard as I could to damage my attackers.

-In here!

I suddenly felt weak, for a cloth was placed over my mouth. I gave a gasp, but I inhaled no air. The cloth was covered with some kind of potion, which made me instantly drowsy, and I felt myself weaken every time I struggled.

-...help...

-...We've got her...

I tried to see who was holding me, but all I saw were black silhouettes like shadows. Surely, it must have been an effect of whatever they gave me, for soon, everything was black, and I knew no more.

25: Kidnapped

When I woke up, there was still a great darkness. It was almost as if I had not woken up, that all my eyes were not responding in the way they should have with the rest of my body. Or perhaps the feeling was vice versa. But I digress.

But I did hear voices. There were several of them, slightly raspy and always low, as if they gasped for air. Such voices were so foreboding to me! I was frightened that I would be killed then and there.

'She's awake.'

'She is not awake.'

'She is. One of her appendages is moving.'

'Then questioning is appropriate now.'

'Very well.'

'...I...'

I felt weak and numb, and when my lips opened, they felt like I had swallowed old money down with each movement. It took a great effort to speak.

'L...let...mego.' I fumbled with my tongue. -Whur...m...ai?

'Remove the blindfold?'

'Yes.' The raspiest voice came forth, grating on my sense. -Remove it so she may see us.

Instantly, the blackness turned into a tiny, one windowed room. I was still on Mehsheh; the faint blue light from the outside, which seemed to come from the stars, and not the other way, told me this. I was tied up to a chair, and tied well enough for consideration of my physique, so that I was rendered unable to move.

'Welcome.' The raspy voice came back. -Our guest.

I blinked several times to get my bearings, to get my vision back. I could see several figures in the shadows in front of me, but only in silhouette. I could see no detail then, and so could not recognize any of them, or if I even knew them.

'Wh...' I became nervous. -Where am I?

'You are with us,' one of the voices replied bluntly. -And you shall remain here until we are finished with you.

'What...!' My eyes widened at this. -You abducted me!

'That does not matter.' One of the figures, they with the raspy voice, came forward. -What matters is the fate of billions of peo-no, everyone. Especially you.

And so, the figures came out of the shadows, and my heart stopped at the sight. My captors wore cloaks as black as the void, which covered their features and anything else that confirmed an identity. They were all of different sizes to some degrees, but to me, that night, they all looked the same.

'...Killers...' I cried. -Y-you are Astramort, the Blood Thirsters!

There was a chorus of laughs at this. I was unsure whether they were laughing at my fear, or simply laughing at my stupidity as to not having figured them out already; for me, it is not difficult to figure out that they who wore black, even sailor soldiers, tended to be less than savory characters. Even to this day, I do not know why they laughed. But I digress.

'Blood Thirsters?' The one with the raspiest voice was amused. -Is that what they call us? How convenient, considering our calling.

'Calling?' I looked at the figure. -What 'calling'?

'We are working to save what we hold dear.' The raspy voice hissed. -Unlike others in this room.

The insult stung me. I became indignant. How dare they - to me!

'Saving things! Hmph! You are murderers.' I suddenly found my bravado. -And I can assume that you have come to murder me at your pleasure. Just as you thugs murdered Sailor Jyanda, and Sailor Zra, and Brutus at Veldanis when you freed your friend, Sailor Yomakei!

There was another round of chuckling at this, but it was different from the first. They seemed slightly more nervous.

'Hmm.' The raspy-voiced figure held its hand up. The others became silent. -You have much to learn. We are not killers, and we did not certainly murder any of them.

'One of you was seen fleeing the scene of Zra's murder.'

'Actually,' one of them suddenly spoke. -We were chasing the killer. I was checking to see if she could be resuscitated.

'A likely story.'

'For one such as you, perhaps, Sailor Themis.' Another figure spoke with contempt. -We know you very well from our observations. You seem more interested in saving yourself from needless embarrassment than in your real job in protecting the innocent.

I became angry at this. How dare they, low lifes insulting me! I went to open my mouth, only to find them putting a gag in.

'No!' I turned my head away. -I'll...I'll...I'll bite you...!

Another laugh came, mainly from the raspy-voiced one, and I felt extremely silly at my comment. What was my biting them going to do to them? Hurt them? They didn't care. They were surely heartless killers who did not mind the sight of blood, any blood, even their own, so long as it was flowing freely from a mortal wound.

'Ah!' Suddenly, my head was being held up, and I could not move. -Is this more convenient?

'Thank you'. Despite my pitiful attempts to move my mouth around, they got the gag in. -Let us begin our meeting.

I felt clammy as the figures began to circle me. They were like hawks looking down on a great carrion feast, walking around the chair as I sat there, bound and helpless. I tried to look into their hoods - to see if there was even the sign of a decent form within - but I could see nothing but blackness underneath the dark cloth. Not even a glint of an eye, or the faint sight of a mouth, to designate any other form than that of a robed phantom of the shadows.

'Naturally,' one of them hissed. -We must decide the fate of this weakling. She must know what is involved with what is going on, and what is at stake!

'We should.' Another nodded. -This is important to decide.

'I say put her down! Let us put this great fool out of her misery!' One of them growled. -She deserves death for her crimes!

'Patience!' The others suddenly turned on this one. -Retribution shall come to all those who deserve penalty.

'...I think she does, my friends.'

This, of course, led to a hissing argument between the parties. To me, they sounded like snarling beasts, lashing out at one another. It made me sick to think that my final fate would be decided by this scum, by the antithesis of the sailor soldier. Astramort!

'I've had enough!'

Suddenly, one of them appear in front of me. It looked at me and gave a hiss. Though I could not see its expression, I could feel the anger which it had toward me.

'I don't care anymore. She is nothing more than a diseased piece of carrion who pollutes that which we love!' Suddenly, a large, hellish flame leaped from beneath its folds. -She needs no second chance! DIE, you PITIFUL worm!

I gave a scream of fear, at least as best as I could with the gag in my mouth. Surely, it was a flame which reduced Michag's family and home to nothing! Now, it was my fate! I shut my eyes, not wanting to see the flame hit me, not wanting to bear the pain which would be brought upon me!

'NO!'

I suddenly felt a strange rush of cool air flow in front of me, and I opened my eyes to find the flame extinguished. I gave a gulp as my attack faced the other hoods.

'YOU!' It screeched. -WE MUST GET RID OF HER!

'You damned fool!' Another one of them, the leader, hissed back. -This is not what others would wish for, and you know it!

'She doesn't deserve pity!'

'She doesn't deserve death.'

'YET.'

I thought, since the Astramort were now fighting over my fate, that perhaps I could escape while they weren't looking. Unfortunately, this was easier thought than done. In fact, so well I was bound that I could not even move anything other than my head. And bending down to eat through ropes was out of the questions, since I was tied in such a way that prevented me from bending myself low enough to do even that.

'SILENCE!'

The group became silent. It was not the leader whom spoke, but rather, a Blood Thirster who had retreated through the throng to the shadows of the room once more. It was this one whom I probably liked more than the rest at the moment.

'Killing will not solve what we have!' This one growled in a gurgled whisper. -She is not innocent, but there are more things to bring into consideration with this creature.

'What could she possibly be good alive for?' The one who tried to barbeeq(?) me snarled. -You know what she d-

'But she still has...her uses.' The figure began to walk towards the group. -She can be taught the error of her ways very readily. It would not be the first time one of her kind has been shown the truth, yes?

The group stopped at this. Suddenly, to my shock, they drew close together, and they began to whisper fiercely amongst themselves. I, of course, was truly flabbergasted. What kind of phantom evil was this that they has people who didn't want to kill me? What if they planned on cursing me some other way? It was strange that people born from men's breasts had any kind of notion of mercy whatsoever. But I digress.

This wary discussion wore on for many moments. I reckon it that a good amount of time passed before, finally, they turned back to me. Suddenly, my gag was again off.

'...You...' The leader looked down on me. -...Shall live.

I gave a cry. I couldn't believe it! Not because I was happy, but because, suddenly, it made no sense! They were letting me go?

This is madness...!

'Silence'. I immediately became quiet. -We will let you live, but you must do something for us in return.

'S-s-something?' I began to quake. -Wh...what does it involve?

As if to answer my question, one of them took out a piece of paper, and immediately stuffed it into my suit. I winced at this, as there seemed to be the sensation of a cold hand wallowing around in my chest as the phantom did this. But soon, it was done, and the hand withdrew.

'You shall follow the instructions on what we have given you.' The Astramort began to circle me. -You shall follow them, and we shall know if you don't follow them. But most importantly, tell no one we have spoken.

'I...'

'You shall follow them.' By now, the entire group stood over me, and all I could see were their formless shadows. -Are we all on agreement?

'She shall know the truth.' The shadows all seemed to converge into one. - This meeting is then hereby adjourned.

I gave a gasp, but before I could scream, a gust of a powerful wind overtook me. The force knocked my head into the wall, and again, I was left with nothing to remember after that once more.


'...na...lo...loooo...he...loooooooo...'

The next thing I knew, and I was sure I was dreaming, was someone staring right into my eyes from not even a breath away. I opened my eyes slowly, and found a pair of eyes staring right back at me.

'EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!'

I was instantly up, my appendages out in front of me, ready to fight. I expected Astramort at my feet, inside the darkness of the mysterious room which I was put in. Instead, I had Varuna suddenly tackle me to the ground, a frown on her face.

'HEY!' She growled. -You were almost run over by a transport. Is this the thanks I get?

'Huh?'

I looked around, confused. I was in the main room of our house. I had jumped off of my makeshift bed to face Varuna.

'Wh...'

'Floritiuse.'

At this, Dyka appeared behind me. She had been up the stairs. Her usual frown was on her face.

'You stumbled onto the street and fell. A transport almost knocked you over.'

'It...' I was genuinely confused. -It did?

As I spoke, however, I noticed that my mouth felt like there was an unpleasant taste in my mouth. I couldn't quite describe it, as I had never tasted anything like it before. I also noticed that my words were somewhat unintelligible. When I had said it did?, it came out eh deh?

'What...teh...'

'...Are you all right?' I noticed, to my surprise, a small flick of concern in Dyka's eyes. -Your voice...

'Ah...I dunt kno.' I swallowed. -Ah, uh...

I glanced over to each side of myself, trying to figure out how I had ended up back at the house. How would I explain it? Certainly, saying that I had met Blood Thirsters would convince those in the house that I was, without a doubt, crazy.

In fact, I was beginning to think I had dreamt the entire incident. The clock on the wall showed that I had only left the house five minutes ago in your time. Yet my encounter felt like it had taken at least an hour in your time.

So, it was settled. I was losing my mind!

'Eh...' I looked down. -Ah dun kno.

Dyka and Varuna both looked at me as if I had grown five more appendages instantaneously. Then, to my surprise, Varuna gave a soft laugh.

'Floritiuse, if you were beat up, just admit it!' Varuna nodded to Dyka. -I'll go get the bandages.

'Eh?'

'...Your face.' Dyka was suddenly up close to mine. -It's bruised. And right up here...

She suddenly touched me over my eye, and a sharp pain made me tear up. When she withdrew, I saw blood staining the skin that had bushed against mine.

'Whoever did this, got you pretty badly.' Dyka looked at me. -I'm going to call security. Stay here.

Which I did. Now, of course, I wasn't so sure I was really losing my mind anymore. For the Astramort had hit me in my face before I had fallen asleep the first time. I gave a gulp as I looked down at myself, and quietly reached into my sailor suit.

My appendage touched a piece of paper. It was situated near the beginnings of one of my other upper appendages.

'Ok.' I heard Dyka's voice echo into the room. -I called them on the hologram...

I quickly brought myself back to attention as she entered the room. Varuna also entered with a load of bandages.

'Ok.' She smiled as she took out a large bottle of umachol(?). -You'll just have to suck this up, Floritiuse.

As I winced from Varuna's approach, my eye strayed towards the cooking counter. It was here where I had eventually placed the strange flower, my repentance towards Tsukinousagi, which I had bought that day. It was not there.

'Varuna?'

'Hmm?'

'...Where...where is that flower?'

.'..I don't know.' The umachol stung badly. -Truthfully, I don't care.


The security force, unlike last time, made the report very quick and simple. They were there and they were done.

'Hm.' The man that came this time was much older than the detective we had met when we learned of Zra's death. -Well, gangs have been becomin' a problem in this sector of the galaxy. In th' shadow of the Seemarin too, right under their nose. Takin' their example from those tabloids, those Bloody Drinkers or whatever th're called. Hittin' and gettin' away, that's their game. It's no longer even about robbin' ya now.

'Can you find them?'

'Doubt it, seema-ship.' The man had frowned. -They strike so fast and hard, its hard to catch 'em afterwards. Methinks ya should be thankful that this was all the damage done. No hospital time, nothin' like that.

I was thankful, but not quite for that reason. I had managed to get away with claiming that I hadn't seen who my attackers were, though I knew full well who they were. I knew that everyone would think me crazy, as there was really no way I could prove it. That, and such news would spread such a panic in the galaxy that the Astramort were that close to Asgerd. Which they were...and if they learned that I had told of their presence...!

I waited until everyone had left, and until long after everyone had gone to bed, to retreat once more to the basement. I had, in the past several days, made it into my special place, since no one else went down there. Down there, among other things I was starting to collect, were newspapers I had managed to collect, Tsukino Usagi's writings, several shards of the damage from the fateful night, which I fashioned into a shelf for my things, the original report which I had gotten from Dyka before the trial, and another small stack of coocor.

Quietly, I took out the piece of paper from under my clothing, and unfolded it. Sure enough, it was of the same type of paper which had first been put on our door. The difference, of course, was that the message I now had was not written in red blood. It was written in black:

YOU WILL COME TO ASGERD TOMORROW. YOU WILL GO TO A STAND CALLED KASTAGATA ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE. YOU WILL REQUEST A HOLOPAPER RESERVED IN THE NAME OF I SEIGIKO /I . FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOU WILL BE IN IT. APPROPRIATE PAGES WILL BE MARKED. DO NOT BRING MONEY TO PAY FOR IT - THE PAPER HAS BEEN PAID FOR. YOU WILL COME ALONE. YOU WILL BE WATCHED THE ENTIRE TIME. DEVIANCE FROM THE INSTRUCTIONS WILL RESULT IN A NEGATIVE RESPONSE FROM US.

FROM YOUR NEW BEST FRIENDS

Perhaps death at their hands when they had me would have been the better option after all.


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES

(?)Barbeque.

(?)A special ointment made only in the Asgerd districts. The main ingredient is melted blue rock. Wounds affected by this ointment heal much faster.

For whatever reason, is not taking any of my "-" qoutation bracketson the first word for this chapter. Hence the singularquotations. Hopefully this is not a permanent thing since it's a bit annoying.

26: Incognito

I stayed up the entire night, fretting and worrying. Naturally, I had much to fear. For in a mere day, the one witness who could turn the tide of the Great Matter was dead, killed by another witness. And I, I was enslaved under the mastery of pure evil, with little choice in the matter lest I was killed.

What could I do? The Astamort were murderers. They were an ancient evil of the past, come back to take advantage of chaos. And as a part of the chaos, I was captured. Anything they wanted of me, they could have, because I was in their thrall from fear of what they could do to me.

Would I end up like Zra? Would I end up like Jyanda? Or perhaps Michag's brother, the old man? What was to become of me? I was very frightened...

It was very difficult for me to hide the fact that I was tired from Dyka and Varuna that morning. I had not gotten any sleep, and I simply drifted off while Dyka was talking to me.

(...and in the next three da...Themis. Her voice became sharp. -FLORITIUSE!

I awoke with a start. I had seen shadows, shadows of my new masters. For a moment, I almost forgot my discretion.

(...I...I don't k-k-know anything!

(...It would appear to be that way.

I looked at Dyka, and gave a nervous laugh. However, laughing too hard made my stomach hurt. Though I was still alive, the Blood Thirsters had not handled me delicately.

(...Sorry.

(...Anyways. Dyka looked at Varuna, who sat on the other side of the table. -At this rate, the motion to drop the defense and go to carrying out the order of banishment will take a week at the most. This also includes the time we'll have to spend filing a full report on our case for the Seemarin archive.

(For posterity, of course. Varuna ate her food. -Because no one knows enough about it.

(You're really going to drop the case, aren't you? I looked at Dyka. -You were being truthful.

(What choice do I have, Floritiuse? Dyka turned away from me. -Kepe's overwhelmed us. Our chance to redeem our case died with Brutus. Ignorance or no, or false whatevers, we're done. We'll be out of here.

There was an awkward silence at this. The way Dyka spoke of Kepe seemed telling in itself. Dyka, I could tell from her harsh tone, had no respect at all for the famed pirate fighter, now the victorious prosecutor.

(...You still think she's underha-

(What I think of Kepe is irrelevant. I was cut off. -Let's get going, Varuna, and get this cursed thing over with.

With that, they excused themselves from the table to fetch Tsukino Usagi - for there was no one to fetch her now from upstairs - and go to the court. I was to be left alone.

However, I knew I was not quite safe for some time to leave the house yet. Sometimes, Dyka or Varuna would come back, to get something they had forgotten.

(I'm going to take a nap.

(You just woke up.

(I'm very tired still.

So, as the group was leaving, I laid down in my makeshift bed, turning myself away from them so they couldn't se the fear in my eyes. I didn't bother to look at Tsukino Usagi; what reason would I have, as she would look into my eyes and see what I was hiding?

I heard the door slam, and the transport in front of the house leave. I waited. And waited. And then waited more. And waited, until finally, enough time had passed that assured me that they were surely gone. I remembered what times the transports to Mehsheh went; they went, by your time, every fifteen minutes. Granted, I did not know how long your thirty minutes were, but that was plenty of time to assure that I was safe to leave the house and go to Asgerd. And I had a way to get there undetected by the media.

I had a disguise.

It was an interesting disguise. A bit awkward, and very rudimentary. But, I thought it was sufficient. What I did was this - I took my bed sheets and wrapped them around my body to cover up my sailor suit. Also, last night, I had taken a bowl from the cabinet, and used this to cover up my head - my hair (as you would call it) was tugged under this. Then, over that, I put a pillow case over me like a shade, which covered the bowl and made it look like it was the natural shape of my head. It also covered my eyes. Finally, I tied as much string around my midsection as I could to make the impression of a belt.

To everyone else who saw me, I was another odd rich lady on the town, for that was the style I took for my ingenious disguise. But I was on a mission. I was going to find out what was in store for me at Kastagata in Asgerd.


I was on Asgerd very quickly after that. Finding Kastagata, however, was a veritable problem.

(Kastawhat? The information station at the transport depot merely looked at me. -Oh, that place. Yeah, its around somewhere...

So I ended up taking it upon myself to find it. It took me a long time as well; I feared that I wouldn't get back in time to at least make it look like I hadn't been gone all day. Certainly, Dyka would be asking questions about what I was doing wearing my bed sheets and would deem me a fool for certain!

But still, I was confident. No one approached and identified me as Sailor Themis. To the people I passed, I was merely an odd woman walking around Asgerd for a place to mingle. It think it worked well. Sometimes, though, I think it worked too well.

(Meme! I remember that one little boy screamed as he pointed at me. -That lady scares me! Look at her! Ewww! Aaah! Her head is weird!

(Stop staring! I watched as the mother spanked him in front of everyone. -It's impolite to point at people!

Some other people stared at me as well, though they were certainly not as vocal as that one boy. I simply gave a smile at all this, however. No one could have suspected my identity with what I was wearing!

As the day wore on, however, I began to worry about the time. Eventually, Dyka and Varuna would finish their motions, and they would return to Mehsheh. I was beginning to despair that I would never find Kastagata, despite my having circled the Court of Justice seven times. At that point, I was almost ready to admit defeat and return to the house.

(...OH!

I moaned. I had been circling the Court, not realizing that I had actually missed something that was right in front of me. It was a large newsstand on the main street behind the Court of Justice, and had a bright glowing sign that said, -KASTAGATA-. It was a sign that could have illuminated three houses.

Seven times, and I was almost completely blind to it!

Cursing my foolishness, I quickly walked over to the stand. Twenty people manned it; it was the largest newsstand in the shadow of the Court of Justice. As such, I managed to get someone to cater to me very quickly.

(Yes? The woman looked at me with a funny eye. -What pub?

(...Pub?

(...Paper. The woman looked amused. -What holopaper.

(...Um... I took in a breath. -I...

I quickly fumbled through my bed sheets for the paper. I had forgotten the name I was to use. I took it out as the woman watched me, and scanned the note.

(...Seigiko.

(Huh?

(Seigiko.

(...Lady. The woman frowned. -There's no such paper.

(No, I... I gulped. I have a paper under that name. Seigiko. I'm here to...get my pa...per...?

I didn't even finish my sentence before the woman disappeared on me. Before I panicked, though, she returned.

(Here. She flopped the paper in front of me. -Enjoy, lady.

I gave a smile and a nod, took the paper, and quickly excused myself from the stand. I found the darkest corner I could in the open reading area, and proceeded to open the newspaper. I wasn't sure what to expect. What paper could the Astramort possibly want me to read?

SAILOR MOON IS COMPLETELY INNOCENT. The heading took up the entire page, or would have if not for the picture of my former client on the bottom. CONFESSIONS OF A REFORMED WOMAN.

The heading took up the entire page, or would have if not for the picture of my former client on the bottom.

At first, I didn't realize exactly why the Astramort would show me this. Such a claim would seem ridiculous, almost impossible. What kind of respectable paper would print such a thing? Though, upon further thought, nothing was impossible for someone to print. But I digress.

As I looked over the page, however, I noticed something that made me look at the headline again. I nearly cried out when I saw it.

It was the Sailor Sentinel.

THE FOLLOWING REVELATIONS ARE WRITTEN BY THE BY THE REFORMED WOMAN HERSELF, SAILOR KASTALLE.

27: Epiphany

I am Sailor Kastalle, sister to sailors everywhere.

All those in the readership know that I am the faithful editor and owner of the Sailor Sentinel, and have been so since its inception by myself and three other sisters four years ago. The readership, they who have followed us through our forming periods, has helped to spread this publication to places all over the civilized universe. It is the fastest growing private syndicate written by a sailor soldier for both the soldier and civilian population. As such, we have taken great pains to find quality information, and have also prided ourselves in the truth as we have seen it.

However, today marks the beginning of a new era. The beginning of a new crusade. The beginning of the end to what the Sailor Sentinel shall call the galactic tyrant.

What, the readers may ask, may I be talking about? What type of tyranny could possibly spread around the entire galaxy? What thing could affect the lives of trillions of civilians and my sisters even as I write this?

I shall tell you. But first, I must speak of what I have learned, what I have kept inside me for some time now, to the point where I simply cannot contain it anymore.

As we all know, the Great Matter - the trial of the satanic sailor whom I have loathed to call a true sister to the cause of the soldier, she known as Tsukinousagi - has dominated our publication, and many other publications, for the time being. I, of course, have had a personal grievance towards this child. As a true sister and devoted follwer of the way of the soldier exemplified by the Seemarin, I was appalled and angry when word of her transgressions first reached me. Since that moment, I have vowed many times over to ensure that you, citizens and fellow sisters, would know her, to ensure that her name would be remembered for her sins, that she would be the first heathen to be destroyed in the new quest to bring eternal peace and civilization to the entire universe. It was a cause I would give my life for, and I know that many others would do so as well!

And so, I dedicated myself to this cause. It was I who first reported the case to the people. It is I who reported of Kepe's involvement with the prosecution, and of those who would defend the evil one. It is I who came from the first hearing with the information on the Number Two transgression. It is I who stood outside of the Court of Justice every day, getting information from everyone I could about witnesses, deliberations, as well as speculated rumors surrounding the case and others involved in it as well.

Such was my love for the cause that I cared for little else. Such was my fervent belief that, when one day, a package with a book inside it was delivered to my office, I could not believe what I would eventually read.

I did not know who sent me the book. The package was unmarked. But the book was unmistakable. It was a copy of a journal banned by the Seemarin for sailors to even associate themselves with.

Though most do not wish to acknowledge it, I do admit the name of this book - Ile tybalt seema, The Galactic Tyrant - was written by a true sailor by the name of Castrapo. The name should be familiar; she was yesterday sentenced to death for spreading false rumors on the great Seemarin, and condemned as a false soldier, a pretender.

But, my good friends, my readers, this struck a pain deep within me. I knew Castrapo; I had fought with her on Festri when I first became a sailor soldier, and I had kept some contact with her since. I was shocked when I learned that she was to be tried for such a crime. It seemed odd, for Castrapo was, herself, a leading member of the Seemarin!

Yet I was asked by the Seemarin official I spoke to not to let information of that particular trial be brought out until sentencing. Why?

-We wish for the population not to bother themselves with a trivial matter, the official, whose name I shall not reveal, told me that day. -There is no reason to be troubled over this affair; there are greater ones that you could report on.

Yet, when I pressed for his reasons, he simply shut his door on me, and I have not been able to contact this man ever since.

That affair made me suspiscious. I could not understand why the Seemarin seemed unwilling to give information out on the trial. So, when I received the book, for it was after I learned of sister Castrapo's trial, I read it, curious to see what my friend was saying.

What I learned...I will not...cannot write...specifically. It is too terrible to be totally honest right now. But it opened my eyes to a terrible realization: we are all in grave danger.

We are in danger of being destroyed. There is a threat so ominous, so horrible, that it can swallow up the entire civilized universe without us even realizing it. It is already happened. Look at the chaos and violence that sweeps through the streets of our worlds, how citizen is pitted against citizen, how sister is played off against sister!

And it is through the galactic tyrant that this is being allowed. Who, thought by now, you begin to realize who it is. Who is the galactic tyrant?

It is they who have ignored the Astramort, though admittingly, the Astramort is nothing. It is they who have imposed upon the civilized world a process of thought control which has made the many worlds bow to them without question. It is they who have caused the situation by shifting the topic of their incompetence to something that would entice the public to forget this institution's shortcomings.

Yes. It is they whom I speak of. For in their desperation to cover up the truth of the situation, they chose a misguided, ignorant child to make an example of. There is little speculation of what her sentence will be. She will be found guilty.

But she is only a small piece of the puzzle. There is far more to it, and if the Seemarin struck at where the true enemy was, the problem would have ceased long ago. But the Seemarin would rather us think that our worlds will be safe if we simply banish a backwards Vika off without an afterthought. That their problems will be solved.

But no. Their problem is great, so great that they can no longer control the consequences. And what is worse, they are hiding the truth from you, the people. From the people who deserve to know. You, the reader.

I admit my guilt in being a part of the thought control which has kept the reader from questioning what - who - is the real threat to society, and why the Seemarin so wishes not to acknowledge it. Why they are i really /i allowing a mockery of a Great Matter to fester. But no more.

Starting tomorrow, I will reveal the truth here in the Sailor Sentinel - the truth about the shadow which threatens us all, and the galactic tyrant that has us blind to the truth. No longer shall we print the news of Tsukinouusagi. Starting tomorrow, the pieces shall be brought into place, and the readers shall know. You shall all know this one terrible fact: that the Seemarin is little more than a despicable ruin of its former glory.

This I, Sailor Kastalle, do swear, and I shall stand by what I now say until the day I fall down dead!


Those are the exact words of her editorial, down to the letter.

One cannot read those words without feeling a great deal of shock. Naturally, it was far more shocking to us, as we were stepped in the events which transpired everything that was happening to the world we knew. But what made the shock resonate was the fact of who Sailor Kastalle had been, and what she had stood for.

As I had mentioned before, Kastalle was very anti-Tsukino Usagi. She was not only one who spoke ill against her, she was also a part of organizations that worked to spread hatred against her, and was an executive member of no less a group than BaTBi. She was a leading figure in the fight to get rid of Sailor Moon.

As such, the rammifications of such words that Kastalle wrote were staggering. To change one's mind in such a way - to change sides - was a dangerous game, especially in the public eye, where everyone would eventually know. To speak of such things against the Seemarin alone would get her into serious trouble with her fellow soldiers. A publication could face its complete demise in such a situation, and its leaders siphoned off to jail for many, many years.

My...oh...

I felt ill. I had to get up, and leave somehow. I had to get back to Mehsheh and think about what was happening. It was especially important because I could not understand the connection between the Astramort and Kastalle. An idea arose that they may have sent the book, but in terms of how they knew about the editorial, I did not fathom.

As I stood up, however, another piece of paper fell out of the Sentinel and fell on the table with a hard thud. Curious, I picked it up and read it.

BE AT THE SAILOR SENTINEL PUBLISHER BUILDING ON KASTALLE TONIGHT AT 2200.I felt something hard underneath the paper. USE THIS KEY TO ENTER INTO THE BUILDING. DO NOT DELAY. FROM YOUR NEW BEST FRIENDS.

I gave a gulp at this. Go to Kastalle?

HEY! HEEY!

I turned around, and gave a gasp. Sailor Bora was several tables to the left of me, with a civilian man. She had in her hands a copy of the Sailor Sentinel, which she was ripping to shreds. I was horrified, not in the least because I thought she was supposed to be in court.

G-GIVE THAT BACK! The man tried in vain to retrive it. -BITCH! I PAID GOOD MONEY FOR THAT!

You fools. Bora simply seemed to not care. -You shouldn't be reading such garbage. It's all untrue, what Kastalle is saying now.

STOP IT! SOMEONE! HELP!

Without pausing to think about why Bora would be doing it (other than the fact that she was not on the defense of Tsukino Usagi), I took my leave of the Kastagana newsstand at that point. With so many people, including the press, gathering to see what Bora was doing, it was the perfect time to make my escape.

28: Sailor Kastalle

I managed to get home before Dyka did. I was actually fortunate to do so, though I did not know yet why Dyka was late. After all, if Bora was out of the court, surely, Dyka should have been as well.

I didn't know that Dyka had been told to leave, but afterwards, she and Varuna were both called back to the courthouse by the Three for an important meeting. The substance of the meeting, I will not say yet. It will be touched upon later.

As I got home, of course, it did occur to me that something was going on. For, in the front of our door, there was a large man standing. He was Bysey; I began to worry as I approached the door.

(...What are you doing?

(H-huh!

The man quickly blocked my way in. My eyes widened, and I desperately looked for an answer. I could not believe it; my disguise was working too well once more!

(You can't go in.

(...I... It was a sure embarrassment to be caught wearing a bowl on one's head. -B-but I live here.

(Oh?

(Y-yes...

With that, I quickly uncovered myself, allowing my disguise to disappear, and for the true me to show through. The guard looked sincerely confused, and I expected such. After all, its not often one comes across such a good disguise as that.

(Um... He slowly stood aside. -I, uh...see...you can go in, seema-ship...

With a great sense of satisfaction, I proceeded into the main room. With a gesture of drama, I threw my disguise back on my bed, and smoothed out my regular clothing. As I did, of course, the key I had gained fell to the floor with a loud thump.

The key. I had almost forgotten in my excitement over the success of my disguise. I was to go to Kastalle that night, to meet Sailor Kastalle. Cursing my forgetfulness, I quickly picked the key up and put it in my clothing. I didn't want to lose it, and as such lose my life to the always watchful Astramort.

Hmmm... I paused. I'm going to have to tell the guard that I'm going out again. I won't use my disguise...I wonder why he's here, anyways.

In the end, of course, I merely concluded that he was there because of Brutus. It seemed logical, as Brutus had been the bodyguard. I did wonder, of course, why he wasn't at Asgerd protecting Tsukino Usagi? It didn't quite fit that she'd not be here. Then again, I didn't know if she was at the house or not. But I digress; that was the last thing on my mind as I left the house.

(Leaving so soon? The guard looked almost suspiscious as I left the house. -Where are you going now?

(Um... I lied. -I am going to go shopping.

(Huh. The guard rolled his eyes at this. -Figures. You Themisians are frivolous like that with money. Just don't spend too much, huh? Its on your Seemarin's budget.

Frivolous!

I really wanted to dignify his insult by smacking him with my appendages. He really was horrid and smelly on top of being rude! But I realized he'd probably kill me in retaliation. So I left, my anger having been roused from the comment with no remedy for it.


I managed to catch the next transport from Mehsheh to Asgerd; there, I caught the transit to Kastalle.

I have not really talked much about the planet which I was going to at this point, so I will take a moment for that. Kastalle is somewhat on the edge of Fruch system, a very prosperous, very powerful system. It is one of the most populous in the civilized universe, and its largest planet, Ginganter, has 583,000 times the population of your kind's planet. It is a very dense, very well civilized place, with many advancements in technology and the sciences. Some may say the Fruch system is even more technologically advanced than that of Asgerd's, and when they say it, it is not entirely untrue. Things in terms of people's private needs tend to be done better with better sciences.

Of course, I have my misgivings with the system. For example, Kastalle's world is the third largest in terms of population, but the second smallest in terms of size. Old Kastallian tradition is to have many many children, and of course Kastallians breed easily. Sailor Kastalle herself had three children in less than two years, though they were not what you would call multiples - they were individually brought out. But I digress.

The era of technology that came to Kastalle created a great problem for that world - it has become very overcrowded very quickly in recent years, even while the civilian government has tried to limit the growth and try to pass laws to keep people from senselessly breeding. Certain families are even forbidden to travel off planet, as some people use off-planet excursions as a way to have more children while they are away. But not one restriction has been of sufficient help. There is no room to breathe, it is said, on Kastalle. As a result of the population, the star has started to suffer. Even as I write, the condition of that planet starts to get worse and worse.

There is very little country on Kastalle as a result also - all that is on the planet are the behemoth apartments that try to give everyone some space and the metals that are constantly being used to build and build more. Giant towers to accommodate everyone have shot up even into orbit, where some of the busier transit stations are. There is even a special bridge that connects one of Kastalle's satellites to the planet - because there are so many people that go to work on the planet, special considerations had to be made for the large population of satellite dwellers.

It is to here that I would meet the famous editor of a notorious paper that did nothing but slander my name in the past. It didn't help that the transport I was on to Kastalle was packed with people. I could barely move, and I was in a seat!

(Bla bla bla. Many people were speaking all at once, so it was hard to differentiate discussions. -Broke my foot bla bla my food was moldy. Bla bla I have to see my mom bla bla the school sucks bla bla bla bla bla bla bla. Bla bla you are an ass bla bla what did you say to me?

Something that happened which would turn out to be very important in the long run - though I didn't know it - was that a fight broke out between two young Kastallian men on the transport. Naturally, as many arguments were founded in those days, it was about the Great Matter. One of them was a supporter of BatBi.

(QUIET! The transport had to stop, and the transport driver finally got involved. -Punks getting on my boat! Show some respect for others and take your little fight outside!

Finally, the pro-Tsukino Usagi supporter was forced off of the transport and escorted to the nearest planet to be dropped off, as it was conceded that he had started the fight by spitting on the BatBi boy. Several others who were involved in the fight were also dropped off, and this was good, because everyone got to have seats. Oddly enough, though, the BatBi boy wasn't kicked off the transport.

(Huh! I tensed up as he decided to sit next to me. -Punk, huh? I'll show him when this ride gets off. Doesn't that gall you, lady, how these flunkies treat their customers? Like slime, I tell you! Where does he get the right?

(...Yeah...eheh...

I tried to turn away from him, as I didn't want him knowing who I was. After all, in terms of the organization the boy was a part of, I was worthy of being disemboweled on sight. And I had no one to protect me if that was what the boy decided to do.

(You know. By amazing good fortune, the boy was so wrapped up in his complaining that he didn't even think to realize he was sitting next to a sworn enemy of his. -If I ruled this world, these jerkoffs would be so much nicer, yes sir. They'd know better than to treat passengers like the spit on their shoes!

It was at this point that I noticed something very interesting in front of me. I saw a red hood sitting in the seat right in front of me, seemingly facing towards the floor. Only one type of person wore a red hood, and that was a person of the Bysey race. I remembered them well from the first encounter I had had of Tsukino Usagi.

(And that guy should have to pay for a new shirt for me! The boy next to me was still talking. -After all, I'm a BatBi member! People should understand and respect that I'm doing society a favor by ridding it of an appalling figure and should pay for my shirt when they spit on it! I should have gotten the names of those scums...Oh, I despise Tsukinousagi huggers, they make me physically sick...!

At that, I myself was feeling physically sick because the boy smelled of vomit and dirt. But I digress.

(Uh...uh huh...

I couldn't keep myself from looking at the red robe. I somehow wondered if that particular Bysey knew Brutus, and it made me sad. I realized that, perhaps, Brutus would be wept for by many, if he wasn't already. He was a big and powerful man, a brute man who supposedly commanded a lot of respect from his homeworld and from his guards.

Would Tsukino Usagi have anyone to mourn for her when she was gone? I could not answer that question.

(Huh! It was a time before the transport stopped again. -About time! These people are so slow...

I did not bother to stay and hear the rest of the BatBi boy's complaints. I wanted to get out, and get done with what I had to do as soon as possible. Several hours had already been wasted, and surely Dyka would once again be wondering what happened to me. If I could get whatever the Astramort wanted over with in a timely manner, I reasoned that I could get back in time to confront Dyka on where I had been for the past half day. Perhaps the guard told her, of course, and she wasn't worrying at all about me. This, however, I could not be sure of.

So, I made my way out of the station and onto the street. From here, I was on my own.


I know, by now, many are questioning what exactly Kastalle would have known that the Astramort thought so important that I should be taught of it. It made no sense still to me, for Kastalle and the Astramort were of two different molds. Kastalle was a sailor soldier; the Astramort, personifications of darkness. The two could not be further apart from each other.

What, I was wondering, could have possibly brought the two together to contact me? And why me? Why not Dyka, or Varuna? I was no longer on the case!

Naturally, even then, even at that moment, there were several things that we did not know. It wasnot because we did not necessarily bother to look for it. It was because we had no reason to look where the answer lay. We did not even know that such an answer that lay before us actually existed. If we had, then in hindsight, we could have saved Tsukino Usagi from the humiliation she went through. But what could we know? The true answer was guarded by circumstances beyond our control, by people and things whom we did not fathom would do such things to us. But I digress.

Kastalle's capital city is called Shoppei. It is here that Kastalle's main press was located, and it was here that my particular transport stopped. And it is here that terrible things began to happen.

It was not a long walk to get to Kastalle's press. The directions from the station to get there were very easy, for it was only several minutes away. Nevertheless, it seemed to take an eternity, with every step leading me closer to something that I really unsure of how it would end. Indeed, how would such a meeting between myself and one who had reviled me turn out? I could not be sure.

What was more, I felt very scared. Not only because I was about to meet an enemy of mine. I had the feeling that I was being followed.

I kept having to turn around several times as I walked, looking behind be nervously as I did. The problem was that, with such overcrowding on Kastalle, faces blended in, and all I saw was a wave of civilians walking all around me. I turned away each time, my fear that someone was following not abated. In fact, I became more and more worried.

(Hey, yuuuuu! In front of a restaurant, several men stopped me. Smelling their breath, I knew they were intoxicated. -Yuuuuu wuuuk wiik thet guurly, Saaaeler Femus. Yuuu her?

(I... I became nervous as several of them surrounded me. -No.

(Aaaah falabwus! The stupored men laughed. -Guud. I haterer. She luuks wike aturdy.

I quickly excused myself from their presence and kept going. Such disgusting people, with such manners! I couldn't believe how horrible they were. How people could let themselves get to that point? It was quite disgusting.

Nevertheless, I carried myself to the appointed place. Kastalle's printing press was closed and shuttered; the Kastalle work day was over. Or, their work day was over. People were going to other places of work, but there was only me going into the Sailor Sentinel tower.

I looked behind me, to make sure one more time that no one was following me. Then, I entered the building, for the main lobby was still open.

The main lobby was very large, and almost as imposing as that of the Court of Justice. It was sheathed with a metallic stone that I was unfamiliar with at the time - i kastar /i , which in its normal form is a precious hard gem, but melted down came be made into a hard sheet. It shined, even in the dark, as I made my way through towards the transit boxes - what your kinds calls i alleviators /i (?).

I went toward the one furthest to the left. As I went to push the button to bring the box down to the lobby, however, I noticed something covering the button. A note.

WRONG BOX.

I instantly recognized the writing. So, I quickly went to the center box and found another note.

TRY AGAIN.

I stared, perplexed at the fact that the Bloos Thirsters could have predicted that I would take the wrong elevator not once, but twice! As I went to scatch my head, I went to the box furthest to the right. There, a note waited for me there.

PERFECT.

I began to get scared; were the Astramort planning to kill me then and there? After all, the lobby was dark, and it was not very easy for on to spot anything - anyone - that could be hiding behind a desk, or a chair, or a brush...

Then I saw something on the note. It was an arrow, pointing to the side of the buttons. There was a sign there, PRIVATE, and below it, a keylock.

I seized it. Quickly, I took the key from my clothing and jammed it into the lock. As I turned it, the door to the box opened. Stepping in, the awkward silence was supplanted by the eerily cheerful sound of music coming from nowhere.

I... Taking a guess, I pushed the button that had the highest level on it. ...suppose this is it...

It took some time for the box to get up tp that level. By that time, of course, I was annoyed by the music. It was quite grating on the mind, and very bland. But I dugress.

The doors on the box finally opened, and slowly, quietly, I stepped out. It was completely dark in the hallway. Papers and other printing articles were strewn about the place, testifying, for reasons that I was unsure of, something hasty having happened during the course of the day. All of the doors in the hall were open, for I could see the light of the Shoppei skyline shining faintly throughout the hallway. Glancing into one of the rooms, I entered.

The room I went into was one that was for correspondents - there were several desks and holo terminals in the room. At least, there were remains of those things. The room was violently ransacked. The windows were smashed, and everything was stolen or smashed and scattered on the floor. I began to wade reluctantly through the mess to survey everything.

As I did, I noticed several papers on one of the civilian reporter's desks. They were ripped up into shreds, but they were still readable. I quickly began to piece them together as best as I could:

Intelligence Data Rep. SEE Code 1, No 34874487

Entity G 46.271 draka of Cau. Signal of Entity S sited in sec. 462514243. J1 initiate Operation Equinox for apprehension of Entities. Specifics for Operation include draft covert, code 4534, involvement imperative. Entity G code 156376559, Level 1. Entity S code 6301978, Level 1. Completion Imperative, Failure not an option.

I gave a gasp. I didn't understand what some of the codenames meant, but the Code 1 heading was enough to make me worry. For, on top of illegal books, somehow, Kastalle's people obtained secret documents.

I should not have read any of them at all, for, as I learned later from reading a book on Seemarin security codes, a Code 1 data report was supposed to be totally classified. Not only that, but Code 1 reports were transmitted through the most secure networks, using a code called the Asgrate cipher. Only sailor soldiers with the highest security clearances could possibly use the networks and access them. No Code 1 data had ever been intercepted and decoded by any mere civilian or sailor soldier!

Which could only mean that a certain type of sailor soldier helped to decode the civilized universe's most secretive code. But who? It certainly could not have been Sailor Kastalle. It had to be someone who had the ability to hack into the network that the Judges themselves used to convey secret messages. Someone with a very special type of terminal to do it.

My mind began to wander at this. I began to ponder more about the Astramort, for surely, it had to be them. But what could Blood Thirsters know of such secrets? Had they penetrated so deeply through the system that one movement could end it all?

But it still made nose sense. What were the Astramort doing with me?

(AAAAAAH...

The strange sound broke through the silence, coming to my ears. It was just as I, in my curiosity, was putting as much of the ripped up paper into my clothing as I could. My head came up at it, for it sounded like a wounded animal. My entire body tensed up, waiting for the next sound.

(CRAAAASH)

(HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

There was no doubt that time. I knew whom the scream belonged to. As fast as I could, I ran out of the room, running to the end of the hall. As I did, however, I felt myself run into something large in the shadows.

(AAAAUGH!

I gave a curse as I stumbled, but I did not fall. Whatever I ran into, however, fell straight to the floor behind me, maing a strange sound as it did. But I paid no attention to it; I kept on going.

(KASTALLE!

I ran into a room completely destroyed by struggle. I began to be very afraid, for I knew that she was in that room. Not only that, but the wall I was touching had dark blood on it. I could feel my breath become strained, even as I desperately looked around the room for Kastalle.

(KASTALLE!

(...emis...

I turned as I came up to the desk and gave a scream. She was there, sitting in her chair, staring at me. She, the desk, and her chair, was completely covered in blood. Her blood.

(NO!

I tried to pull her up as best as I could, for I did not wish to get blood on me. But, to my shock, she grabbed my appendage and pushed me away. She sank back down into her seat, breathing heavily, sti. I knew she was dying; I could now see all of the places where she had been stabbed, including where her heart was.

(Who...

(...The...mis... She struggled to speak, her breath becoming halted. -The...astr...mort...not...

(Not-notwhat! Her hold on me became tighter. -Kastalle, why did you change!

(...themis... She took in one great breath. -Kepe is...is...

Her eyes widened, for her heart finally stopped. Her breath slowly came out of her mouth, and, with her bloodied face staring right at me with pleading eyes, for she must have wanted to finish her sentence, she became still and died. Her hand on my appendage became limp and cold, as if the light of her sailor crystal had been extinguished like a mere candle within her then and there.

(...RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! WHYYYY!

I gave a scream. With an angry heave, I threw Kastalle's hand off of me. It harmlessly bounced back, dangling at Kastalle's side.

Why? Why did it have to be like this? This was a moment that could have saved so much terror. Kastalle could have been the key to everything. But the fates seemed against us, always. First Jyanda, then Brutus, now Kastalle. Each chance, destroyed.

But then, Kepe...

I banged my head into my appendages. I was angry at the fate of the stars. How could I not be? What reason did anyone have to keep me from what I was seeking? Why did everything go against us? Nothing made SENSE.

Then I heard panting, and a shout in the hall.

(BING)

I gave a cry. I heard the box doors open. With a wild thrashing of my appendages, I managed to bring myself outside, and down the hall. Whatever I had hit on my way to Kastalle's room was not on the floor anymore.

(NOO!

I saw the figure dive into the box. I ran as fast as I could to reach the box, to get the killer. To get answers.

(BING)

The doors closed just as I got there.

(RAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

With an angry scream, I slammed my tentacles down into the doors, leaving very unseemly dents in them. I barely missed catching the murderer.

But I was enraged; I was not going to let it end there, even as Kastalle's body was becoming cold.

Four times, someone was violently killed. People whom had little of any kind of connection at first, yet, looking back, were sall omehow connected to the Great Matter, and to Tsukinousagi. All four times, they were violently murdered when no one thought to look. All four times, their murderers had escaped the justice of civilized people.

But it would be very different this time. Because now, I was mad. And I was ready to kill someone for it again.


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES

(?) Elevator.

29: Ozwara

It is quite angering when something that you have within your reach is lost to you completely. I knew that feeling very well when I found Sailor Kastalle murdered in her office, only to lose the person who murdered her within mere moments.

It should be well said, that Kastalle's last words were very prophetic indeed. Later, when I returned to Dyka on Mehsheh, she and I would ponder them, For, after all, it was of Kepe, and the idea that Kepe even knew anything, while not surprising that she would know something that we didn't, could prove advantageous if we could connect her to any wrongs she may have committed.

But those thoughts were not on my mind as I tore down the hallways, looking for another route to get down to the building lobby. I had to catch the murderer before they disappeared forever into the streets of Shoppei, rendering my search for them useless. I wanted revenge for being denied whatever Kastalle had to say to me!

Unfortunately, there were no stairs to get down. The only safe way to get up to Kastalle's floor was to use the key that had been given to me for the one box. Unfortunately, the murderer seemed to know this as well. So I was left with either waiting for the box to return, or to find another way to get down.

I look back on this choice and realize that when one is angry and wishes to kill, one does not care for realistic options. One will look for the one option that will get them to their prey as quickly as possible.

(HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGHHHHHHH!

I backed up to the wall, and gave myself a good start. As I neared the desk, I took the greatest leap I could, and, pushing off of the desk as leverage, threw all my strength at the window.

(BOOOOM)

It cracked, but I didn't got through. I staggered back, growled, and then repeated my attack.

(CRAAAAAAAAASH)

This time, I went through. The dim lights of the city lay spread out in front of me as I flew for that brief moment. It almost felt like I was floating, and upon my back were wings to keep me high above the ground.

But that feeling did not last, of course. I was soon falling down the side of the building. Fortunately, I am no fool. Themisians are built for climbing up and down walls with ease. So I simply grabbed onto the window was my longest tentacles, and used them to easily swing down each level on the side of the building without fear of falling. I had gotten very good at doing it over the years, and had done it on bigger buildings as well.

But I was going at it faster than I had ever gone before. I was willing my body to practically leap down several floors at a time as I climbed down the side, putting several of my appendages in front of me to keep my balance. I could feel my body's pain as it started to become tired from what I was forcing it to do. But I did not care. I made it go as fast as it could, like a spider on a wall.

I make the comparison to a spider because I can. I got to see a picture of a real spider after the Great Matter was resolved. Given that they look similar to a Themisian, I suppose I could compare some of my movements to that particular creature. Supposedly, there are many types of spiders on your world, but I only found on in the Seemarin records. The spider I saw was a tearentele(?). It was big and furry, with long legs, and also had long sharp fangs. They are fast and come in different colors and patterns. I even read that they were poisonous and could kill. I'm not poisonous, so I guess the comparison isn't completely accurate. But I digress.

I went down, faster and faster, almost losing my grip at one point. I fell two stories. But I caught myself before I could go further, and swore that I would not lose balance again.

So I didn't. I managed to reach the windows of the main lobby just as the murderer burst out of the box and onto the floor.

(HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

The lobby windows gave in easier than those that I had come out of on the top level. I leaped in, and sailed over the floor below. I saw the murderer give a shout as he - I realized it was a he from his silhouette - saw me, cut and bruised, flying towards him. He started to run.

(BOOOOOOOOOM)

But I didn't give him the chance. I lashed one of my longer appendages out at him as I got in range, and pulled him into me as we both then flew to the floor. I slid on my back, and crashed into the wall with my prey in tow. His weapon - a dagger - flew out of his hands and skid to the other side of the lobby.

(AUUUGH!

(...Uuuuuu...

I was dazed for a moment, and the murderer took that time to free himself of me, going for his weapon. However, his victory was short-lived. I recovered quickly, and brought myself upon him again.

(No...you...DON'T!

I slammed him into the wall, making sure that it was his head that felt the wall first. I did this several times, for my rage was so great that I could not contain myself. It was as I had been the night I attacked Tsukino Usagi, but this time, there was little at the moment that could stop me from having my way with the murderer until he was dead. I was, I admit with some disgust, actually enjoying it very much.

(HOW... I threw him against the wall again and again. -DO...YOU...LIKE...THIS?

His blood splashed everywhere as I threw him against the wall, again and again. He cried, he cried for me to stop. Soon, his cries became weak, and struggled, and I laughed at him.

(Now what! NOW WHAT? I threw him around so he faced me. -Look at me. LOOK AT ME, YOU SCUM!

He coughed blood upon me, and stared at me with shock. I was heaving, but I, too, was shocked. For as out eyes met, I knew who he was.

(YOU!


Lei Ozwara - Leio, as his name was on the streets - was a copy editor for Kastalle for three years. He was one of her most loyal workers during the Great Matter, for he was very much against Tsukino Usagi. He was also a member of BatBi.

The day that Kastalle announced her change on positions, Ozara became enraged with anger. He had given his all for the sailor soldier, only to be betrayed, in his mind. He raged in his office, quit his job, and then that same day went off planet and bought himself a dagger to which he could kill his new enemy.

And he the person who was sitting next to me on the transit passage to Kastalle, having gotten his weapon.

We stared at each other, each recognizing whom our opponent was. Certainly, we did not expect to ever see each other again, for it was not even a real acquaintance we had, or if it was, it was mostly him talking to me. Also, never did I think I would be in the middle of catching a murderer just as they had finished committing their crime.


(...HUAAAAA!

He caught me off-guard. He threw himself on the floor, out of my grip, and began to run off, though his escape was weak, for I had hurt him rather badly.

(UUH! I fell to the floor. -Come...COME BACK!

He did not come back. He kept running, running until he got to the door to the main lobby. He was close, very close to running away and escaping. He flung the doors open to the outside.

And immediately turned to ash.

It was really so quick I was almost positive, at first, that it had not truly happened. Such a thing was impossible, after all. Spontaneous combustion, like on your world, is considered an unlikely feat in our civilization.

Or at least I had considered it a foolish thing until then.

I can still see his face for that brief second. His eyes widened as he saw wat was in front of him, and he opened his mouth to scream. For what was in front of him was so horrifying, so terrible to behold, that it could destroy the resolve of the most iron-willed sailor soldier.

But it was not to be. He would never be able to scream, for he was then gone, nothing more than a pile of dust.

I gave a gasp, and forced myself up to the floor. The murderer was dead. He was dead. Again, justice was destroyed! I started towards where he had been, in front of the doors. But I myself never got there. I was stopped.

I was stopped by fire. It appeared out of nowhere, coming from nothing, so it seemed. It was a spark that suddenly exploded in the middle of the lobby, near where the murderer had fallen. It grew, and grew, until the flame reached the ceiling, burning black all it touched. It was a giant, yet somehow contained, inferno in front of me, one with such intense heat that, surely, I thought I would be engulfed in the bright flame.

But then, as I threw my tentacles up to defend myself, I saw an even more terrible sight in front of me. Inside the flames, I thought I saw a strange figure appear from within the fire as if cloaked, protected by its very essence. It had to be an illusion.

No. A second later, I was sure. There was someone in the flames. Controlling them, mastering them. They were the flames, and they were staring down at the pile of remains.

(Foolish brat...The dust disappeared, blown away and scattered around the room by the powerful wind that the flames generated. -One should not mess with a god's designs. But all shall be remedied soon.

If I had not been scared before, I was certainly terrified by now. For the figure was now staring and smiling right in my direction.

(Hello, Floritiuse. Two pupiless eyes opened. They bore into me so terribly that I knew I would soon be dead as well. -How wonderful it is to meet you once more!...


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES

(?)Tarantula.

30: The Murderer

I think, without any doubt in my mind, that I have been truly, truly scared only a handful of times in my life. One was when I had nearly died when I was a young child, almost run over by an errant transport in front of the sailor school I attended. Another was more recent to the Great Matter, when Dyka had nearly killed me the night I had killed Tsukino Usagi.

If I truly had to pick another time, the moment I met the demon of fire certainly was it. And that moment was far more frightening than any other moment, than anything that I had ever encountered before.

/...Get... My voice was cracked as I attempted to face what was surely my own end. -...G-get back!

One of my longer appendages reached for the bloodied knife. If I could reach it, at the least I would be able to somehow defend myself. But the fire demon was powerful, powerful and fast. A string of fire immediately whipped my reaching tentacle, leaving a deep, black scorch mark upon it.

/AAAAAAAAUGH!

/What is wrong, little Floritiuse? The figure smiled through the flames. -Are you hurt?

I grabbed my tentacle away with tears in my eyes. The mark was still smoking from the hit, and it was more painful than anything I had ever felt before. It was like the heat of the hottest star had struck me.

/...i...

/You look frightened, little Floritiuse. The lames leaped up. -Here. Let me take that fear away from you.

I saw the figure's mouth move, though I could hear what she said above the roar of the fire, but I knew what it meant. Two balls of energy came from the flame, flung right at me. I threw myself to the side, letting the attack crash through the wall. I gave a cry as I landed, for I realized something about my attacker from her offensive against me.

My attacker was a sailor soldier!

It had to be. Though she did not say the words out loud, the power was the same, the way the power was used. Yet this sailor soldier was far more powerful than anyone I had ever beheld before. She could, perhaps, use the very air around her to attack me if she so wished.

It cannot be a crime for me to admit that I had never seen a more powerful sailor soldier in my life.

/...Who...why?

I could only bring my words out in gaps. The heat was very dizzying, so it was very difficult for me to speak. But fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, the soldier seemed to read my mind, and knew what I would have asked, as if I had said it coherently.

/I have seen you very often lately... the monster started to step towards me. -You may not know me, not in this way, little Floritiuse. But I, I know you. I know your fears very well. I live upon that fear. The fear of being trash.

/Trash...?

/I have longed, all of my life, to see the death of those little children like you. The figure kept towards me. -The destruction of weak stars. The upheaval and chaos. The beautiful entropy of change. The death of people like you.

The fire died down, and with that, I saw the figure's form change. Before, it had been clothed only in its own flame. Now, though she was still aflame, the soldier's true form was much easier to see.

She was dressed in barely anything, save for a black sailor top that was made ragged by her power, a strange black plate that barely covered her breasts, black gloves that covered her claw-like hands, and black pants. Or I thought they were pants, until I looked closer, and saw that it was fur, and that she had gold hooves for feet. Other than that, she was most certainly a like a human, similar to Tsukino Usagi's stock, taller - but she was in flames. Her entire body was still like than of a bright ember, and even her hair was like an endless fire coming from her head.

/You are not the first... she held out her hand. -And even now, you shall not be the last.

I nodded up to see a ball came upon her hand. It was not one of energy, but was rather like a looking glass, with images inside it. When I looked up at it, I was suddenly moved in my own mind by the same images - only they were more graphic, more real.

I could not resist her powerful assault on my mind. Helpless, I watched as various images came into my mind and then vanished quickly, shifting within the blink of an eye. I couldn't get the scenes out of my mind, and I doubt I ever will, for they were so graphic that one could not forget.

Yet I saw enough. They passed through my sight. Sailor Jyanda. Sailor Zra. Brutus. Sailor Michag and her brother. Lei Ozwara. Many others I did not know, did not hear of. But they all eventually died, each death that was at this soldier's hands - for they were all at this soldier's hands, I now knew - more violent than the last.

/It was you...

/Yes, it was me. The orb disappeared. She was quite close to me now. -At least you now know. Your search for truth is at its end.

She suddenly burst into bright flames again. I was all the way up against the lobby wall by this time, surrounded by her flames. There was no way that I could possibly escape, not even if I tried to get to the sides of her, out to the hole she herself created. I would have been turned to ash either way.

/It is a pity. She held her hands out. -If you were not in alignment with such trash, perhaps I could have spared you this fate. You could have been great.

She created another large wall of flame in front of me, and allowed it to come towards me. I closed my eyes, and waited for the end. Now, it was only a matter of several moments, and my brief life would be over. It was going to be over so quickly.

It was almost laughable.

Almost.

/STOP!

The sudden scream echoed through the lobby. Through the oncoming flames, I could see my attacker's perplexed expression at the shout. I slowly turned my head towards the direction she was looking towards.

That was how I briefly saw the red cloak through the fire. It fell onto my attacker, briefly blinding her. I remembered, then and there, that the young boy from BatBi had not been the only person on the transport who had sat near me.

/AAAAARGH! The robe disintegrated in the flame. -What i-

/...ver Power KISS!

The flames in front of me suddenly disappeared. I saw my attacker stagger back from the power and cry out in angered shock, before being brought face to face with a great white light. It came from the side, growing bigger and brighter as it came towards us. I covered my eyes as it came over me, trying to shield myself from the attack.

Themis. Why?

I heard the voice faintly echo in my head. At this, I opened my eyes. I was within the attack, and the light that came from it was very bright and powerful. Yet, despite that I was inside it, I was unhurt.

We are soldiers. We are lonely.

I heard her scream come from in front of me. She was still there; my attacker was still alive. But she was being hurt by the attack. I could hear it in her voice.

/WHAT IS THIS! OW! AUUUUGH!

This is the wrong way.

The attack finally broke, having used its energy, and created a surge wave of energy which threw me back into the wall. Because I had not been far from the wall, and was still on the ground, my journey was short and relatively painless, though I was pinned up by the air for several seconds. But I digress.

The other sailor soldier, on the other hand, was thrown clear across the lobby into the shadows, her flame almost completely blown out by the blast. Thick smoke emanated from her now dull and pale body as she fell to the floor with a growl. The smoke began to fill the room, and it began to choke my breathing.

/Uuugh...

I kept myself down to avoid the smoke coming right at me. I took several great breaths of the cooled and clearer air - for it was not as stifling as the air above me - and I managed to re-compose myself in this way. It was a brief and welcome relief.

However, I then saw the silhouette of my attacker slowly start to rise. I tensed up, ready for the next assault, ready for when the flame rose again. For all of her groaning, she was not dead, nor did she even seem injured, as I would have liked her to be from such a powerful attack. I prepared myself.

Then I saw the strange flower strafe the ground in front of the figure as she started moving.

/DON'T MOVE! Through the smoke, I saw Sailor Moon's weapon - a large white staff - pointed at my attacker. -Let Themis go now, or I'll make sure you regret it!

There was a moment of silence at this. Certainly, I was silent, for I was shocked. Never did I imagine that Tsukino Usagi would come rescue me! How could she have gotten out of the house? Even with her disguise - which I cursed myself for not seeing through, as she had known Bysey such as Brutus who could have taught her such things? The guard would have known it was her!

Before I could wonder more about it, however, I heard another sound come from the sailor soldier in the shadows. It was a very hoarse, mocking laugh.

/Ohhoho. Ohohooo! The sailor soldier gasped. -OHOHOHOHOHOHOHO!

She forced herself up, and started towards my rescuer. This time, there were no flames to shield her true looks. She was of Tsukino Usagi's race, or looked it. Her skin was pale, almost white, save for a spot on her forehead, which had a strange red sign that was the shape of a distorted star upon it. It was not the only thing that was red upon her; her once pupiless eyes now had irises as red as blood. The bottoms of her long locks of hair were also of this color, yet closer to the top, the locks were a of a dark gold hue.

/Hooo... She stopped laughing, and her eyes sparkled as she started towards Sailor Moon. -Yes, wonderful. I commend you. That was an effective treat. I was certainly not expecting you, let alone the weakling one. But you should know, I am not one to be caught off guard again. And you WILL pay for this, my friend. Usagi-chan.

I looked over and saw that Sailor Moon was taken aback by the term which the sailor soldier had acknowledged her with. She seemed confused at first. As the moments went on, however, and as the other soldier approached her, her expression turned from one of confusion, to one of recognition, to one of shock and horror.

/It has been a while.

CRUNCH. Under the demon's foot was the flower, crushed to pieces, its petals scattered. I gave a cry at this.

/No!

/...the rose...

/Hasn't it?

Back and forth, from Sailor Moon to the stranger. Sailor Moon took a step back at the destruction of the flower.

/...Can it be...? I saw her face turn white. -No...Is it...is it you...it is...Sailor Galaxia!

31: The Brooch

...Galaxia?

I looked at Sailor Moon, her eyes filled with terror. I then looked at the attacker, her eyes filled with scorn. I could feel it. Yet, it seems so inconceivable.

Sailor Moon...Tsukino Usagi...to have her know the murderer of all those soldiers, and of her Brutus. Was it true?

There was another long silence after Sailor Moon's naming of my attacker, and the two stared at each other the entire time. The more they stared, the more I wondered why, if she knew this soldier, did Sailor Moon seem so shocked as to her condition.

Then again, to me, the very name of Galaxia caused an inexplicable shudder within me, as if the very name invoked some kind of unconscious thought of evil. Yet, at the same time, it felt like a grave fear that was always inherent within my spirit. I could not explain why.

Hmm. Finally, the one named Galaxia broke the silence. She fixed her eyes on me. -You are lucky, weakling, that I was interrupted this time. Why she would defend a fool such as you is beyond me, though I suppose it is no surprise.

/...Galaxia! To my surprise, Sailor Moon's returning voice became stern. -What are you doing? Why are you doing this?

/My reasons are my own, princess. The glare set again on my defender. She clenched her fists. -Though you are strong in battle you are still a fool to question me, Tsukino Usagi. Usagi-chan.

/Galaxia...

Tsukino...Princess...? My heart froze. She does...she knows this murderer...!

My heart froze.

/Enough.

Suddenly, it happened again. She exploded into flames, like a star, as if she were a star. One could feel the power emanating from her, even if they could not see it. Not that that was really a problem, since the flames shot up through the building and lit it up so brightly that observers all the way on the Kastalle moons could see it. But I digress.

/Galactica...NEUTRINO!

It was an attack unlike any I had ever seen. It was not fire-based, as one would have expected. It was much like Sailor Moon's attack, light and energy based. And it was coming right at me.

/THEMIS!

/Lanzastro... My tentacles came up. -...Streak!

My soldier attack is a good one, at least in my opinion. It's comprised of several streaks of color, which comes from my four tentacles. They all merge into one giant beam, like strings, and they streak into the heart of the enemy. It is a very pretty sight to see.

Unfortunately, such an attack was nothing against the soldier named Galaxia. Her power simply ripped through the beam like sand, and was about to incinerate me. I was sure of it, and I quickly braced myself for it.

BOOOOOOOOM

The walls around me shuddered, and parts of it crumbled, but it mostly stood. The floor was another matter; it ripped up all around me and cut me up. I fell once more to the floor, the roar of the blast in my ears.

But I was not hit by the blast itself. On her knees in front of me, holding up her staff to create a shield, was Sailor Moon. Despite her power, was clearly exhausted from the quick run to my aid. I had forgotten about her current condition, and now that she was in front of me, I could see that becoming a sailor soldier did not necessarily erase the problems she faced in her other form. She was breathing heavily.

/You seem to be having some problems, Usagi-chan. Two huge flames appeared in our enemy's hands. -Don't worry, though. It is not so painful or dishonorable to die.

/Just... I spoke at this. -...Like it's honorable...to kill another soldier?

This Galaxia gave me a strange look at my insult. I wasn't sure exactly what the expression was trying to say to me. If she knew of the rule of the Seemarin against the needless killing of other sailor soldiers, then she certainly didn't show it to me.

/I won't miss you, little Floritiuse. The flames went higher. -Galacti-

/STOP!

I saw this Galaxia look at Sailor Moon as she struggled to stand up. I, too, tried to stand, but my body was too hurt to comply. I then saw the fiery monster laugh, as the flames in her hands disappeared.

/St...stop...

/What is it, Usagi-chan? She gave a sneer. -What reason do I have to stop?

Slowly, however, Galaxia's face began to change expression. A light had appeared in front of Sailor Moon, and she held out her hands to receive it. With it, the creature's expression went from that of smug assurance to confused seething.

/What... She held her hand up to shield her face from the light as it briefly became brighter. -Wh-what are you doing!

/Galaxia...

The light dissipated. In her hands appeared a great golden jewel of many colors. It was crossed, with different colors at each end as well as sharp edges, and a large red gem in the center. It looked like it had a similar purpose as that of Tsukino Usagi's jewel - for transforming into a sailor soldier.

/Galaxia... Sailor Moon took several steps forward. -...Don't you remember?

The gem floated out of her hands. I watched warily as the jewel went over to in front of the flamed monster. She held out her own hands to receive it, staring with some surprise at it as she did so.

/At the edge of our oblivion... Sailor Moon's eyes seemed to be filled with a strange clarity of the situation as she spoke. -You said, when I could not, that there could be another future for the galaxy even if the Cauldron had been destroyed to stop Chaos. That a new Cauldron could be reborn, that it wouldn't be easy, but saving everything, it could be done. You said it. You must have that within you. Don't you?

The soldier said nothing as she kept staring at the jewel in her hands. With as much as I could, I ordered my body to stand up, and it did so with great difficulty. I was burned by the attacks, but hitting the wall had done most of the damage.

/You gave me the strength to save the galaxy. You realized that the words of hope were still inside you. That is the true Galaxia, the one that spoke the truth. That true Galaxia must have been reborn too! Please, come back, Galaxia. Please. Don't let your hate consume you again!

There was a great silence at this. How long it lasted, I could not tell, for I merely held myself during this time, trying to nurse my injuries, and so I did not pay attention. I could imagine, though, that perhaps Galaxia turned the jewel in her hands, contemplating its full meaning to her.

/...Please...

It did not take very long after that last plea for Galaxia to make her decision. It was probably not a very difficult one at all, because it had probably been on her mind the whole time, that perhaps Sailor Moon would give her a choice between her current mission - whatever it was - and, perhaps, surrender and a peaceful resolution.

But when she made her decision, she made it very clear. There was no doubt in either of our minds what she chose.

/SHUUUUNK/

The jewel flew right next to my head like a deadly projectile. One of the sharper ends of it dug into the wall right next to me. I gave a scream when I thought it would hit me, for certainly, it was that close to slicing my eye out. Or perhaps it was closer to stabbing my brain. But I digress.

/That little thing...is the tinker toy...of a dead woman. I shook as I stared at the jewel next to my head. -A woman I no longer am. You are a good spin doctor, Usagi-chan

Sailor Moon gave a cry at this. It was the cry of someone who had been wounded, even though neither myself, nor she, had been hit by the jewel or any other attack. I looked and saw the pain in her eyes, and wondered what could possibly make her so upset, yet not so angry, over this woman's evil acts, especially since she had been Brutus's killer. I was not so much upset as I was very angry - who wouldn't be? - but I was certainly not strong enough to challenge the murderer for it.

/...Ga...Galaxia... The staff glowed again. -...why? You have forgotten...you have forgotten what happened already, haven't you? Why...

/Heh. I have not forgotten, Usagi-chan. I gave a start when I saw my attacker's eyes glisten with satisfaction. -That is why I am doing it.

/W...what? But...you know it's wrong! At this, Sailor Moon cried out angrily. -They are our people. They are sailor soldiers. You killed them! Yet you remember what you said...

/It is all folly, sailor. Suddenly, the soldier's body dissipated. -It is about the power of oneself. Chaos is no longer my master. No one is my master!

/Galaxia!

/No, like a sleeping giant, the revolution shall start...

/Galaxia!

/...the slave shall soon become the master...

/GALAXIA!

Sailor Moon rushed forward, but I knew, as my heart sunk, that she was too late. She gave a moan and fell to the ground, gaping at the spot where our opponent had been. Galaxia, as I now knew the killer was called, was gone, and so the flames vanished from view. At least, they were gone from us until the next time we would meet. I had no doubt that, unfortunately, meeting her again was not an impossibility.

/This is soon the end for you, Tsukino Usagi, not for me, words suddenly echoed into our heads.. -While she still lives, Sailor Themis, you may still be protected. But it will not be long. Not, not for long...

And it was with a final laugh, her voice was gone, and so she truly left us. I felt my stomach turn with that laugh, for it was almost like the knell of my doom. It was all starting to somehow make sense to me, though the puzzle, even then, was still sketchy at best. There was still one very big piece missing.

The attacker was after me, because I was trying to solve the murders in my spare time. The murders were connected, somehow, to the case. Even the first one. To Sailor Moon. They were all connected to her. It was her, whatever happened to her and the killer, that seemed to somehow be the driving force

The killer knows Sailor Moon. The know each other. The killer, then...Galaxia...what does it all mean...?

I turned reproachfully. She still stood there, her rod pointed at where Galaxia had stood. Her eyes seemed distant, as if she had been slapped in the face. The flower she had found, the strange flower I had bought. A rose. Now, it was dead, just like all those people were, all under Galaxia's instigation.

/Sailor Moon. I finally managed to speak up. -Come, Tsukino...Usagi. We have to go.

I looked at the wall, and with a good pull, took the jewel out and put it in my sailor suit. Then, I slowly put several of my tentacles around her and helped her up. She looked back at me, confused, but I just sighed. It was the least I could do for the person who didn't have to save me, but did so anyways at her own risk.

I felt quite beside myself. No matter what, selflessness was a quality I was always taught to admire. Sailor Moon practically saved my life, twice in less than five minutes. Though she seemed to be more than a match for the Galaxia soldier, She really didn't have to. She could have harbored feelings of hate towards me, for I did kill her in a fit. Yet she didn't. This really made me wonder why she did it. It was almost as if she couldn't leave me for dead. But I digress.

So we made our way, slowly, out of the wreckage of the lobby to the outside. And were instantly bombarded by lights.

/FREEZE! The Shoppei Metropolitan Forces were all around us, aiming their weapons at us. -YOU ARE BOTH UNDER ARREST!

32: Interrogation

I had never been arrested before in my life. And after my sole experience of being under the custody of the authorities for what they called malicious intent, I don't think I really wish to be arrested ever again.

&THROUGH HERE! We were pushed and shoved rather roughly through doorways as we entered the incarceration department of the Shoppei Metropolitan Force. -Keep going! MOVE IT!

Both Tsukino Usagi and I were forced to de-transform for our quick incarceration. In civilian law, arrests were made using civilian names, not sailor soldier names. Though they could not - or were not supposed to - hold us for more than a specified amount of time, for it is forbidden, unfortunately, they could do whatever they wished with us.

So they did. At least I thought so at points.

&Strip!

&W...what? I stared, unbelieving. -How dare you! You already searched us!

&I know. The officer looked at me. -Now, strip down to your under drawers so we can search you more, lady.

&You...! How could you!

I brought my tentacle up to smack the officer away from me. It was an insult. It was unacceptable. They were stripping me!

&Auagh! The officer looked frightened. -M-m-ma'am, you don't want to do this!

&You would strip me! I growled. -You little-

&Themis.

I turned and gave a gasp. Tsukino Usagi was stripped. She did not look too pleased with it, but she had stripped. Most of her clothing were all in a pile next to her.

&It's ok.

I stared at her for a moment, unbelieving. She was quite pale, and she turned away from me as she threw her last item, a sock, onto the pile.

Of course, it was not enough that she was pale. Her entire body was dotted with dark marks, bruises, scars, and the remnants of burns all over it, ranging from red to purple to colors I couldn't describe. The sheer amount - I daresay that at least one fifth of her body had these marks - and the size of some of them made what I did to Tsukino Usagi look like a pinprick at best. But I digress.

&You...you should undress. She didn't bother looking back at me after this. In fact, she seemed quite upset for some reason. -Its ok. This is standard. They can't do anything like that to you. They'll be confined if they do.

I did not know until later - for I had never been arrested before - that a body strip was actually standard procedure for all arrests on many planets in the galaxy. It was because they were looking for certain explosives and weapons that could be easily hidden underneath the clothing, some so small or thin that a regular search for unusual bulges on the body could not detect it. Also, the detectors they used to scan the clothing didn't work well with body heat.

&Oook...good. Somehow relieved that one of us was compliant, the officer clicked a remote towards her clothing. A blinking red light came up. -Ok, you're good to go. Re-dress.

Tsukino Usagi gave a nod, and began to redress herself. When she was done, she finally looked back at me, and motioned her head towards my clothing. Feeling somewhat stupid, I undressed myself.


&Hold your tentacles out, please. Just like that...

I reluctantly put out two appendages to the next man, after we were ushered into the next room after the search. I wasn't quite sure what they were going to do next. The officer who was talking to me seemed nice enough.

&Good.

Without another word, he suddenly took out three long, thick needles and jammed them into my body. Only one of them actually went into my offered appendage. One went into the to of my back and another went into my hand.

&WH-OOOOOOOOOW!

It was very painful. I wanted to get the needles out, as they were drawing my blood, but when I moved, it caused even more pain. So I kept still. How much they drew, I could not say. But after it was done, I felt somewhat dizzy and unsteady. What was more, they didn't even cover my wounds with any bandage, so the places where I has been stuck were left to bleed profusely.

&Good. The officer turned to Tsukino Usagi with a smile. -You next, sweetheart.

I saw her close her eyes as they gave her the same needles that they had given me. I learned later that the blood they took was used to formally identify us and log us into the criminal blood bank. If we were ever arrested again, or if we were repeat offenders, they could see our whole file.

&Thaaaat's right. Perfect. The officer's voice was no longer comforting as it lowered into a whisper to Tsukino Usagi's ear. But I could still hear. -Your friend here seems to be pretty jittery about this. If she thinks this is bad, I wonder how she'll take what's going to happen next.

I saw Tsukino Usagi shudder at this. I looked at the officer as he looked back at me and laughed.

&Now, now, don't you worry your pretty little head there, sailor! He pointed to me as if I were a dense child. -We're not going to hurt you. If we were serious, you'd be dead by now.

With that, he gave a laugh and walked off, leaving us by ourselves. We were alone for that moment.

&...Ts...tsk-k-kino? My voice was very unsteady as my body was at that instant. -What...w-w-what did he m-m-mean?

I knew my fear were founded when she did not answer me. She simply looked back at me with a frightened expression.


Interrogation was next.

It is probably the worst thing that the law has come up with, ever. It is heinous the way they do it in our parts. It is nothing more than torture. What is worse, they bring such violent means in our worlds even to the most mundane of crimes - taking an illegal turn on a street, for example, can be interrogated using the full force of authority the law has.

The most common form of interrogation - torture - that is used on Kastalle and on many other planets is something that is akin to your kind's electrolysis. But it is far worse than that.

&Strap them in.

Interrogation in our parts are for one purpose only: to extract confessions. I don't know how it works with your kind, but as I said, the law over here uses every means possible to get a confession from their people. It is disgusting.

&Floritiuse. My name was called, and I began to shudder as they stuck more clamps on my tentacles and head. -Sailor class. Planet Themis. First-time offender.

The standard interrogation goes by five levels of torture: pain, bad pain, really bad pain, extreme pain, and completely unbearable pain. To have the highest setting placed upon you is to let the authorities take you near death. Many people do not live past the fifth stage if they receive it.

&This one shouldn't take long. I was trembling as Tsukino Usagi was strapped next to me. The guards fastening us up were talking. -The first-time offenders always take the least time. Its the repeat criminals you have to be really careful with.

&You don't say?

&They like to take their secrets to the grave.

&I'd admire their resolve, the one tightened mine, -if they weren't the scum of the galaxy.

&CLEAR ROOM.

I gave a gulp as the room was cleared of all of the officers. After they were gone, a window to another room popped open, showing two more men. These ones were in masks. It was procedure for the interrogators to wear masks, so if prisoners accused them of being too harsh, they couldn't identify the officers who were responsible as easily. It was a dirty, sneaky tactic, but it was effective to silence the opposition against the civilian law.

&READY. A voice came through on the intercom, controlled by one of the men in the window. -BEGIN.

I suddenly felt a strange pain in my body. It was some kind of electric shock, applied to the points of my body that were clamped. My tentacles were shivering from the shocks, and my head was tingling.

&FLORITIUSE. The speaker echoed in my ears. -YOU WERE IN THE SAILOR SENTINEL BUILDING WHEN THE REPORTED FIRE SPARK APPEARED. HOW DID IT HAPPEN? WERE YOU THERE WHEN IT HAPPENED?

&...i...i...

I shut my eyes. I couldn't concentrate very well with the jolts going through my body.

&y...yes...

&GOOD. GOOD. The voices seemed agreeable to my reply. -GOOD. JUST ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS AND THIS WILL BE OVER SHORTLY.

I was quite scared. I didn't know what to expect. For all I knew, they were going to bump up my levels just to be mean. After all, there was some resentment to sailor soldiers from civilians.

&NOW. There was a pause. -DID YOU START THE FIRE?

&...n...no.

&DID YOU START THE FIRE?

&YaaaAAA!

I gasped as another, stronger jolt shook me. I was on the next level of interrogation, I realized. It was definitely pain, and it was not exactly the most tolerable for me, either. My appendages are quite sensitive. But I digress.

&NO! I screamed. -N-NO!

&Ok. They turned away from the room, but I could still hear them. -You think she's lying?

&Doubt it. She's having trouble as it is.

&Ok.

I gasped, trying to overcome the pain. My head wasn't so bad, but, again, my tentacles felt as if they were burning.

&NOW. The voice came back again. -FLORITIUSE, DID YOU KILL SAILOR KASTALLE?

&NO!

&DID YOU...

This time, it was bumped up to the next level. I was screaming; the pain in my tentacles felt like it was shooting up through my body now, melting it.

&NOOOOOOO! I screamed. -I didn't! Stop! STOOOOOOOOOOP!

&STOP LEVEL.

The jolts suddenly stopped, and I collapsed in the chair. I was winded by the experience; I could barely breathe, and could barely keep my eyes open. It hurt more now that it was over, than it had when it was going on.

&Hmm... In my throes, I heard a fearful whisper in the intercom. -What about the other one? Look at her file...!

&We'll just do it.

&Are you sure? I mean, she is-

&Don't question me. READY.

&...Tsu...ki...

&BEGIN.

&...no...

My eyes widened as I saw Tsukino Usagi's eyes widen for a moment. Her body gave a jolt as the procedure was begun on her. She closed her eyes, relaxing her body as best as she could.

&TELL US. The voice boomed. -WHAT WERE YOU DOING AT THE SAILOR SENTINEL?

There was no reply from her. I was recovering much more by this time, and I noticed that, after the initial jolt, she did not seem to respond at all to what was being done to her body. She was very quiet.

&TELL US WHAT YOU...It's not working. Go to the next level.

There was another, longer shudder from her at this, but again, there was the same response. At first a jolt, but eventually, Tsukino Usagi managed to ignore the pain, or was not affected by it. I'm not sure which.

&TELL US WHAT HAPPENED. The voice boomed again. -DID YOU OR FLORITIUSE SET THE FIRE? DID EITHER OF YOU KILL KASTALLE?

There was still no response. If she was in pain, she wasn't showing it. Tsukino Usagi was doing a much better job than I. It was apparent, for I could hear annoyance from our captors.

&Still no response.

&Interesting. Looks like we've got a cocky little girl here. A chuckle. -Next level.

The third level, and this time, there was a response. She started to quiver slightly, trying to keep control of herself. She grit her teeth slightly, and her eyes closed tighter. Yet, even so, she said nothing.

&I SHALL REPEAT MYSELF. The voice sounded slightly worried. -WE DO NOT WISH TO HARM YOU IN ANY WAY. IF YOU COOPERATE WITH US, WE WILL STOP THE PROCEDURE AT ONCE. IF NOT...

But I saw her resist in front of my eyes. Whatever meekness she may have possessed before during the strip search was, at the moment, gone from her. An unusual resolve seemed to come over her as she endured the shocks.

So, in response to their offer, she shook her head defiantly, and opened her eyes briefly, giving a glare towards our captors. It was a similar facial expression to the one which she had given me that one fateful night that I had confronted her.

&Look at her giving you...!

&Damnit, she wants to get it, doesn't she?

&Be careful-!

The police bumped it up to the next level. At this, Tsukino Usagi gave a violent spasm, and a cry. But she would still not repent her behavior or confess any crime. She clamped down even tighter, and was starting to shake rather profusely. From her mouth, I could see blood and froth begin to seep out and line her lips as she kept shaking her head.

&NNNNNNNnnnnnnnnnnNNNNNNN!

&She's crazy! I heard the astonished cries of the interrogators. -She is crazy! CRAZY!

&She's a barbarian. I heard the seriousness in the other officer's voice, and began to tremble at the implications. -Barbarians deserve what they ask for.

I saw the policeman reach for the knob that switched the levels. I tried to give a cry to protest, but I had no voice to protest. My wind had not yet returned. I wanted to help, but I could not. I had no power there.

&She wants trouble...

I looked frantically back and forth from Tsukino Usagi to the interrogators at this. A single line of blood was tricking down from her mouth, onto the neck of her clothing. She was fighting, fighting hard, but I feared she would lose.

&...she'll get trouble!

No, I knew she would lose. For those hooligans, it wouldn't have been too much of a loss if she, a weakling, nameless Vika soldier, even one as infamous as she, died under their watch. In her condition, it was all too possible that Tsukino Usagi would go fast if they put it up to the final level.

&So... I saw him turn the knob. -FINAL LEVEL.

There was a great spark from Tsukino Usagi's chair as the next level was applied. She gave a great scream, and her body arched up abruptly as the jolts surged through her body. For two moments, she simply heaved up and down, screaming.

&Come on! I heard the angry shouts from the captors. -Why the hell isn't she confessing! This is CRAZY!

&Turn down the level NOW! She's going into shock!

&NO! Not until we GET SOMETHING!

There was this bickering, there was fighting going on. All while they were killing her.

Then she screamed one final time.

&STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP!

/FOOOOOOOM/

It was again like that night I had attacked Tsukino Usagi. There was a hum, a bright light, and a blast of energy. This blast of energy, however, was much more powerful than the one that had hit me before.

/CRAAAAAAAAAAASH/

&AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

I saw laser-proof glass shatter everywhere, and the straps holding us in out seats disintegrated into dust. Even the walls bent as it was slammed by the energy that came from her, and I could hear the foundations of the room moan under the attack.

&AAAAAAH! OH NO!

Then, to my shock, I saw a flame erupt inside the box that the captors were in. The sailor soldier's energy had caused the machine that controlled the interrogation levels of electric jolts to short, malfunction, and finally explode.

&...You.

I finally got my voice back. It was really all I could say to her. She had slumped back into her seat, clearly exhausted. She, like me, was winded and could not speak. She almost seemed dead, and I would have thought her so if I had not also heard her shallow breathing.

&STUPID BITCH! There was anger inside the control box as our captors left the room. -YOU LITTLE FOOL! We'll kill you for this!

They then stormed into the room and grabbed us out of our seats. I gave a cry wen I saw the look in their eyes. They wanted to kill us for what had just happened. I was sure of it.

&You will be punished well for this. They took Tsukino Usagi by her hair as they dragged her out in front of me. -You WILL be punished!


A/N: If you have not noticed, I've been having fun (har)with the "-" and ""- or rather, the lack of, as does not like them at the beginning of lines anymore. While adding these signals makes the story lok...well, unprofessional, on the other hand, I don't neccessarily want to replace all of them with normal quotations, as it defeats the purpose I had forTGM-the storybeing in an "alien" POV. I think I've decided on which symbol I'll actually use in replacement of the "-" for the line beginnings - and it won't be "&'s" like in this chapter.

I apologize for the oddity of it.

33: Crooked

/CLANG/

And with that, the door shut behind us.

I am still not sure whether fortune or fate was on our side that night, but instead of being immediately brought to harsher interrogation, they simply threw us both into a holding cell while they decided what type of punishment was sufficient for us. Their threats to kill us immediately were emptier than I thought, for, as I mentioned, they could do everything short of murder without getting in some kind of trouble.

Personally, however, I think they were really afraid of us, especially of Tsukino Usagi. They had never seen such a power before from a sailor soldier. Their tactics would only serve to create the conduit to activate her power, and who knew? It could only have been a fraction of her true power that she had shown to them. The light was stronger than it had been when I had been its victim, and it destroyed one of their more efficient machines of torture. Thus, looking back, it was not in the Kastalle police's best interest to continue further in their original line of corporal offense.

/...Uuuuh...

I still felt quite weak from the exchange that had happened before. I certainly wasn't looking forward to anything else that was to happen to us in the dreadful place we were in, any time soon. At the moment, all I wanted was to go home and eat coocor. I felt that I had deserved it. What I would have given!

Still, our holding cell was better than the interrogation room we had just been in. Granted, it wasn't very comfortable. It was small, only about my height one way and half that the other. It only had one bench for both of us to sit on. We were surrounded by a hard stone wall. There were no windows, and the door itself had no opening to let outside light in. The light inside the cell was so dim that everything just looked gray.

But it was still better than being poked and prodded.

/...Stupid jerks!

I wobbled my way over to the bench and half-heartedly sat down on it. It was hard and cold, and I ached as I settled in.

As I tried to get comfortable, I examined the wounds on my body. The places where they had stuck the needles in had stopped bleeding, replaced by mounded scabs of dried blood. Those did not hurt. The small burn patches on the tips of my tentacles from where the electric currents had entered were still painful, as was my forehead.

/Wait until I get out of here. They'll be sorry! I was very angry. -Electrocution! Needles! Threats of death! How can these stupid Kastallian people let such things happen! This is a disgrace and uncivilized! I'll have Koogairu know about this and she'll help me get a case up! These civilians don't know wh-

/They don't care.

I turned my head around in surprise at these words. Tsukino Usagi was sitting next to me, and her head was down, almost in shame.

/...What?

/...We deserve it.

/What!

/They...don't really care about us. The tone of Tsukino Usagi's voice was slightly bitter. -They won't stop the Astramort. They wouldn't help either one of us if it made them look bad. They'll just ignore us. That's all they care about, how good they look. Not about the bad things. But the civilians know the truth.

/WHAT!

/That Seemarin...those judges...they're just overglorified bullies.

/WHAT! I started to get angry at this. -What gives you the right...to...

I stopped myself. I saw the look in her eyes, that strange spark of clearness that had been within them when I confronted her, when she had tried to talk to the murderer, Galaxia. I never would have admitted it at all, as I was a part of the system she decried, and I certainly had not seen the bad things in the ways that she had seen them. But the moment I saw the look in her eyes, I knew - knew - she was speaking the truth. I hung my head down in shame.

/...I'm...sorry.

We were both silent for some time. The only sounds that could be heard were the very faint screams of others who were subjected to interrogation. It appeared that they had fixed the controls, or had brought in new ones. I knew it could only be a matter of time before it was our turn again.

/...No. Tsukino Usagi finally spoke. -I'm not mad at you for the Seemarin. You are not the Seemarin. You are not like those judges.

/What? I was certainly shocked by her response. -But I-

/You're just a sailor soldier, the same as I am, with strength...and...weakness. Nothing more than that. Tsukino Usagi looked down. -That's not a crime. That shouldn't be a real crime.

Several more screams came through. I gave a shudder at the sound.

/Fighting the only way you know how to fight...that shouldn't be a crime. With that, she gave a sigh. -These are disgraceful looking things...

/...Eh?

I looked down to what she was looking at. The object of consternation were her hands, what she called her hands. She was looking at them with sadness in her eyes, and she drew in a deep breath.

/...What is disgraceful?

/My nails. She shook her head. -I...They're crooked.

/Crooked?

I was confused. After all, Themisians don't have hands, or nails, or fingers. I suppose she sensed my confusion on the topic, since she pointed to the top of her fingers, where, it occurred, the so-called nails were. She was right. They were not very long at all - they only barely came out of the little white ridge thing(?) that, according to Tsukino Usagi, is where the nail originates. Also according to her, the bottom of the nails were supposed to be light pink, and at a certain point, the nail turns white.

Tsukino Usagi's nails, however, were little dark pink things, pushing onto the skin of the fingers. This was causing the tip of the fingernail look slightly bloated and a little redder than the rest of the skin. The little white ridge, also, was not white, but rather a darker brown color that went all along that shape ridge of where the rest of the nail would have been.

/Wh... I was curious. I shouldn't have been, but I was. -Why are they like that?

/...They aren't growing back in right. She kept staring at her nails. -They're just starting to grow back, so right now I'm thankful that I have nails at all. My fingertips keep getting inflamed and infected, though.

/Oh? I stared. -You lost your fingernails?

/Yes.

They fell out?

/No. A long pause before a slightly shaky voice returned. -They were ripped out in front of my eyes.

At this, she suddenly burst into tears. I gave a gulp at this, because I wasn't quite sure what to do. I didn't know if she'd turn on me and blast me with her power, as she had blasted the machine during the interrogation. So, I simply sat and said nothing.

/Oh...oh... she wiped her eyes. -It's ok. I'm fine with crying. I cry a lot more now than I used to.

/Yes. You do seem to do it a lot.

/I can't help it right now. She kept wiping her eyes. -I...I am just in a lot of pain.

/Pain? I became worried. -What kind of pain?

/...Sadness.

Sadness?

/...That's not pain. I paused. -Pain is what happened to us just now. Right?

/...Sadness can be pain. She looked away from me. -Sadness when you think about terrible things. When you think of all the times that you've been hurt. When you think of when others have been hurt. When you think of that, and...you know you are powerless to stop it from happening. That your friends are powerless as well. That you will never see your friends again That is true pain, pain from sadness.

There was another pause at this. I saw her bring her fingers up once more, to look at her nails. This time, they were in better light, and they looked much more disgusting than before. I also noticed the pale scars

/Physical pain hurts, she slowly spoke again. This time, she seemed more dazed, her voice a squeak above a whisper -But...physical pain doesn't last forever. Physical pain fades from memory as time goes by. No matter what they do. Whether they...they rip your nails out...or put out their smokes on your heels and on your nipples...stick pins into your palms...whip you until the flesh on your back is gone...rip out the hair on your neck and claw at your face...punch you in the stomach and chest until you're all black and blue...to make you wonder why the day is not night, and why the prisons are so gray and dark that you begin to think that monsters had drained the color out of the world-

The new screams from the interrogation room, faint as they were, still brought her out of her trance. She looked at me, somewhat embarrassed. I myself was quite stunned at what I had just heard.

/I...It's my turn to be sorry. She turned away. -I got carried away.

For one to survive something like that, one had to have something so strong within them that nothing could touch it. An inner strength that was more powerful than any force in the civilized universe. She had almost been broken by us, but not quite. Something had kept her intact, at least to a degree.

I didn't know what it was that let Tsukino Usagi forgive me. I didn't know what had allowed her to survive such brutality. But there was one thing I could draw from all of it, from what she had told me, from what I had seen, even from the things I could not grasp about her.

So I decided then and there that Tsukino Usagi was the bravest person I'd ever met.

/ON YOUR FEET!

They came in so quickly that we weren't even expecting it. We both jumped to our feet, tensing up as three officers - one obviously the leader, two following to be the ones to carry us - came in, lining up in front of us.

/Floritiuse, planet Themis. The voice of the officer who spoke echoed through the cell. -Tsukinousagi, planet Earth.

We looked at one another, aware of what was to come next. To my surprise, again - I shouldn't have been surprised by now of this girl, for she was full of them, but I digress - she grabbed one of my appendages, wound it around her arm, and held onto it very tightly. I could tell she was afraid; I certainly can't say that I wasn't. I held my breath for what they would say.

/...There has been a misunderstanding. He suddenly took out two pieces of paper. -An analysis of the Sailor Sentinel found the murder weapon belonging to a Lei Ozwara.

My chest tightened at this. I hoped that what he was to say next would be what I was now hoping to hear.

/I have the papers done for your release. He held the papers out to us. -You have been cleared of murder, arson and malicious intent, and we are currently looking for our new suspect. Your are both free to go.

Both of us let out our breaths at the same time. Free! We were free! Never mind that they would never find him, as he had been burned to nothing! We were vindicated!

/And...we got a call from a Sailor Dyka. Before we could celebrate, the officer suddenly spoke again.-She was informed of your confinement and has arranged a shuttle to being you back to Mehsheh immediately.

This, of course, was not such comforting news.


It was very cold by the time we finally got to leave. It was practically the middle of the night, when I would have normally been asleep. But I could not sleep. I was wide awake. The thoughts of all that I had seen would not let me rest even if I wished to, so I sat down at one of the tables inside the shuttle's lounge and had some coocor.

/Opening throttles. The pilot of the private shuttle opened up his communications. -We have both of them. Leaving Kastalle now.

The initial upward thrust made my head spin, as I was not use to a completely vertical takeoff into space. However, that feeling was temporary.

/We'll be back on Mehsheh in a few hours. The pilot turned and winked at me. -Get sleep now. You won't get any when Dyka gets her hands on you, that's for sure, huh?

I ignored the pilot. At the moment, I could care less what the pilot was saying, or what Dyka would do to me.

All that I really cared about then was Tsukino Usagi. She was leaning on me, her eyes closed, and a warm blanket was draped upon her. She was still shaking in her sleep, though, as the ship was freezing.

/...mmmmmmmmb...mamo...chan...

I winced as a line of saliva dripped onto my appendage. It was the same one that she had wrapped around her arm. It was still wound that way. We had not separated. She had almost refused to unwrap me from her when we were boarding the ship.

What, I wondered, was she thinking of? Was she thinking of her lover? She surely missed him.

/...noooooo...

She gave another shudder, and a moan. The blanket began to fall off of her. She started to shiver harder. I didn't even think twice with what I did next.

You're just a sailor soldier, the same as I am.

As best as I could so I wouldn't wake her up, I wrapped several of my appendages around her and pulled her close to me. I then used my appendages to cover the parts of her body that were not covered by the blanket. Her head was resting on my chest, and her hair was draped over my body. I felt almost like I was a mother nesting with a child, even though I knew that such a role was physically impossible for me.

Yet, having her like that, for some reason, let my body relax. I started to feel my eyes slowly droop as all of the exhaustion of the past several days finally caught up with me. Soon, still cradling Tsukino Usagi, I too was dreaming within the soundest sleep I'd possibly ever had.


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES

(?)Cuticles.

34: A Revelation

I was quite worried about Dyka's reaction to our night on Kastalle. I had good reason for it. Imagine, me, in the midst of a crime scene with a supposed criminal. Such a thing would be streaked on the pages of every holopaper in the galaxy. There would be an uproar. I would surely be thought to have helped her to escape, as would be commonly believed, and I would be arrested and jailed for it, left to languish into nothing.

How would she have found out? How would she react to our return? I was truly afraid.

It turned out that Dyka and Varuna had learned of Tsukino Usagi's escape when she had returned home. Varuna had brought up her food for her, but when she found that the charge was gone, she alerted Dyka, who became enraged. She questioned the guard, who said he had only seen me leave the house. It was apparent then to Dyka that Tsukino Usagi could have only escaped by covert means. Indeed, she had gotten out without the guard noticing by climbing out of her window and escaping through the back.

It was a given that Tsukino Usagi would certainly be found at some point. Who could not help but recognize such a celebrity? So Dyka kept close watch on the news, and utilized her own channels (for, as I had already learned and still would learn, she had her ways) to find Tsukino Usagi. I was not of much consequence to her. But it was imperative to find the renegade defendant before she was destroyed by angry mobs...or she destroyed them.

She finally did find us on Kastalle, learning of the arrest and confinement. However, she then learned that I was with Tsukino Usagi. I could not be sure of her reaction to me. She certainly would not have been happy with me. But she would have been far angrier with Tsukino Usagi. The guard asserted to Dyka that I had left alone and that he had no reason to think I was in cooperation with the girl.

I did not, of course, know this chain of events until later. Nevertheless, I was not fond of meeting Dyka once more. I had good reason to fear what she would do with Tsukino Usagi. She did not take anything that she considered foolishness lightly.


So Dyka awaited our arrival in front of the house complex. She stood in front of the doors of the shuttle as it opened, and she watched silently as the pilot, Tsukino Usagi and I got out.

/H….. I attempted conversation as I came up to her. -…Hello, Dyka.
-Hello.

Her voice was low. My insides turned cold at this, for I knew she was enraged, and very dangerously so. She stared at the two of us, but mainly Tsukino Usagi, with a silent, stony expression of disgust upon her face.

/Well, they're back, seema-ship! The pilot, not noticing the subtle tension, looked cheerfully at Dyka. -At least they aren't dead. That would have complicated your life, huh?

Dyka said nothing in reply to the pilot. She simply looked at us. I could see the anger in her eyes, and I understood that Dyka was merely restraining herself in respect to the pilot. Without a single word, she motioned to us to follow her, turned away and marched right back into the house.

/….Well! The pilot smiled. -I'll just leave you ladies to straighten out whatever needs to be straightened. My work is done. Bye!

With that, the pilot ran back into the shuttle and took off. I wasn't quite sure what to say to Tsukino Usagi at the moment; perhaps a warning that Dyka was angry would have sufficed. But I realized it was useless to speak to her when I saw that Tsukino Usagi was already on her way into the house.

Oh dear... I shivered. Oh dear...oh dear...

I shivered.

My feet carried me so slowly. I did not wish to see Dyka's reaction to our adventure. I did not want to see what she would say about our arrest. I was frightened, and I did not want to know what would be done to us.

As I got closer to the door, however, I realized that I had little choice. I had made a choice and had to suffer whatever consequences I had to suffer.

And, if I could, I knew I had to protect Tsukino Usagi. I had to because I knew of Galaxia, that murderous creature of evil that had nearly taken my own life. She was connected to all of this, and I had to let Tsukino Usagi tell us how. It was no use to torture and hurt her; if she wouldn't talk on Kastalle, or on Veldanis, she wouldn't speak under duress by Dyka. Only genuine kindness could move her.

I had to get her to talk. It was the only way. I could only think that Galaxia was connected to what happened at the Galaxy Cauldron. How else would they have known each other.

And Kepe. I almost forgot about Kepe. Kastalle's last words.

/...FOOLISH!

I entered the house and was met with a screaming match. Varuna and Dyka were yelling at each other, to my complete surprise.

/Listen! Varuna was waving her hands. -We don't even know why she left! Maybe she just didn't know any better because we were gone-

/She was a fool! Dyka was pointing dangerously towards Tsukino Usagi. -I don't like worthless fools. Worthless fools don't deserve my sympathy.

/I-

/Shut up.

Dyka's face turned towards Tsukino Usagi as she tried to speak. I couldn't see Tsukino Usagi's face from where I was, but I could see that she was slightly trembling at Dyka's presence.

/Like I said. Dyka stepped towards her. -I do not like worthless fools. I hate worthless fools. And I think you are the greatest, and most worthless fool I have ever come across, girl.

/...You know...

I saw Tsukino Usagi relax and, to my shock, stand up. I began to wonder where I had seen this before; the scenario seemed very familiar to me.

/I'll just take that as a compliment. Her voice was calm and low. -Dyka.

I had two different feelings towards Tsukino Usagi at this exchange. One of them was exhilaration, for standing up to Dyka directly. It took a lot of courage to face her, since I knew Dyka's wrath firsthand. Few ever stood up to her like that.

But then there was the other feeling. This one was one of fright. Tsukino Usagi was putting herself in grave danger.

For I had seen this happen before. I was violent, and I could be very dangerous if made to be that way, but Dyka could be far more so. She was the calmer, more powerful one of us. And when her temper was gone, a price would be paid.

/...You...

I saw Dyka's fist raise up. I could see the rage in her eyes at the thought of being talked down to by a Vika - a Vika! - and having her insult being thrown back at her. It was that terrible night, all over again. Only this time, I was watching it as an observer.

/...YOU...

Varuna looked too scared to do anything. She was always very timid. Tsukino Usagi wasn't moving out of the way, even as Dyka was visibly and rapidly losing her self-control. I don't think anyone of the three saw me. But I was scared.

So I began to move. I willed myself. I felt my chest heat up at the thought that I had to save Tsukino Usagi from Dyka.

/YOOOOOOU!

But never in my thoughts did I think I would do what I did.

/WHAM/

I could feel her hit directly upon my outstretched tentacles. It was quite horrible, and my whole body shook under the weight. I could hear Tsukino Usagi's cry as I staggered back in pain under Dyka's attack, and I may have almost stepped on the shocked soldier. Indeed, I prepared myself again for Dyka, who looked even angrier at my resistance than she did at Tsukino Usagi's comment.

/...YOU! She opened up her other hand. -STAY OUT OF THIS!

/Dyka! Don't!

I heard Varuna's feeble protest, and I knew she was getting ready to attack me with her power. But that was perfect for me. For then, I merely wrapped my tentacles around Dyka's other hand while she concentrated and brought her down to the ground. I didn't do it as hard as I thought I could, but it didn't matter. I simply overpowered Dyka and dropped her on her back.

/THEMIS!

/...Floritiuse...

/Stop.

Dyka stared at me from the floor, her rage turning into shock. She obviously didn't expect me to do what I did. I admittedly did not expect to do it either, at least not at first. Yet, somehow, in the end, I couldn't bring myself to hurt Dyka, at least not intentionally.

/We... My voice was shaking as I spoke. -We...can't...do this.

/Let me go.

I let go of Dyka. I was angry, but it was not an anger I had felt before. It was almost as if my anger correlated to the strange feeling of heat within my body, for as I spoke, I felt an overwhelming amount of heat inside me. Yet I wasn't sweating, and I didn't feel ill. But I digress; I can't describe it well.

/We...can't...DO THIS! I spoke again, more forcefully than before. -I...Dyka, look at us!

/I am loo-

/No! LOOK AT US!

There was a moment of silence. I took several deep breaths and started speaking again. This time, I was louder.

/LOOK! I was almost screaming. -Look at us FIGHTING! What are we doing? This is WRONG! We can't DO this anymore! Why are we doing this to ourselves!

/I-

/SHUT UP!

Dyka was startled by my sudden force of voice. I, too, was startled, but it felt good. And once it started, I found I was unable to stop.

/It's my turn. I felt the heat turn up within me. -All you've done is talk down to me. But now it's my turn. You don't know anything. ANYTHING! You know NOTHING of what we suffered tonight! I have seen something so terrible...my voice cracked. -Kastalle is dead. Jyanda is dead. Zra is dead, Brutus is dead, millions and billions of others are dead...all because of the same person.

/...what...

/I saw her. We saw her. The woman who was with Tsukino Usagi at Galaxy Cauldron.

/...what...

/And she has been operating under our noses. I turned and pointed to Tsukino Usagi. -She's not the enemy! She SAVED me! But all she has gotten in return is our hatred. How can we save the galaxy if all we do is hurt each other and ignore the REAL threat!

With this, I turned and took out from my sailor suit the brooch that Galaxia had left. I dropped it right on Dyka's chest.

/Here's the proof. I backed off at this. -That was her seal. Her name is Galaxia.

/...Galaxia.

I had certainly expected a reaction from Dyka; after all, this was a monumental moment, when the truth would be shown to Dyka, and to Varuna, and perhaps to the whole universe. The reaction I got, however, was not what I had expected.

/...This... Dyka was staring at it, yet her eyes seemed distant and cold. -Where...did you get this.

/I-

/Where did you get this.

/From...Galaxia.

There was a silence in the room as Dyka slowly stood up. She looked at me, then at the brooch. Then she looked down at her uneven leg, before looking back up at the brooch. She began to shake, and her fist clenched tightly over the gold jewel.

/This... She held it so tightly that her fist began to bleed. -This is...that...that...bitch.

I gave a gasp at Dyka's curse. She paid no mind to me.

/So... Dyka looked at Sailor Moon with some scorn. -She is alive. After all this time…I guess you do have a use….

At first, I was unsure what in the universe I had stumbled upon. I was not expecting what I was getting from Dyka, since I had no clue what she was talking of. However, as I saw her look down at her leg - the sign of her imperfection - it suddenly hit me.

/Melkweg! I cried.

35: The Truth

Dyka's stare at Sailor Moon was beginning to scare me. She had anger within, the realization that the adversary that left her for death to take was still alive. What was worse, Sailor Moon knew of it.

/...You...knew.

Dyka threw the jewel onto the floor of the room. She began to advance towards Sailor Moon with more anger than before.

/Why... she roared. -Did...you NOT...TELL ME!

Sailor Moon's eyes widened at this. She knew nothing of Dyla's past, and I could see that she did not quite understand what she could have hidden from Dyka. She didn't know of it!

/Wh-what are you talking about?

/Don't LIE! Dyka's hands became filled with her power once more. -I have spent years trying to find her. I have tapped the resources I knew to get to her. And for you, I risked my own arrest to find out everything I could of you!

/Sources!

I remembered the night I spotted Dyka talking to the mysterious caller, and I nodded. Indeed, I knew Tsukino Usagi was not the only one who had to explain some things that night.

/I risked my life and tried to uncover Seemarin operations through code breaking! Illegal moves! Dyka was almost screaming again. To prove your innocence! And you hide THIS from me!

/I didn't know!

/LYING GNAT!

/STOP!

I grabbed Dyka again, and this time, Varuna actually helped me, rather than do nothing. We managed to restrain her from going any further towards our client.

/Stop it!

/Get out of my way! Dyka glared at me. -She must tell me the truth!

/Not in this wasy! I pulled. -Don't you see that she's scared of us!

/She should be!

/No she doesn't!

/Floritiuse... Varuna was giving me such a strange look. -Why would she be frightened of us? We are her protectors!

/You...call...this...protecting?

I'm not sure what my words did to Dyka, especially after all of the trouble she had given to me (and I to her). Yet, finally, suddenly, she stopped and gave me a look of shock.

/...no.

At this, the heat within my chest began to die down. I let Dyka go, and she did not do anything towards Tsukino Usagi. All she did was straighten herself and give a sniff.

/...I suppose...she can take her time.

The turnaround wasn't surprising to me. I didn't know why. While Dyka calmed down, however, the heat in my chest completely gave way, and my insides became cold again.

/Dyka... I motioned to Varuna. -Listen...I will talk to Tsukino Usagi, and you leave with Varuna. Give us a few minutes.

/Why do you-

/Dyka. I replied in a low voice. -I saw Galaxia with my own eyes. We fought her together tonight. I think I can sympathize a little better than you here.

Dyka went to respond to this, perhaps perceiving it as an insult. But then she stopped, and backed down. I believe to this day that she finally saw it my way, though perhaps she didn't.

/Very well. She turned to leave. -You get the information.

She and Varuna started to leave the room, leaving myself and Tsukino Usagi alone in the room. At the last moment, however, Dyka turned back to me, a confused look on her face.

/...Isn't it... She frowned. -Tsukinousagi?

/...I don't know, I admitted. -But...

/But.

/...It sounds more correct.

/Fine.

With that, Dyka and Varuna were gone, having gone outside. There was, again, silence in the room.

/...Thank you.

At this, a light developed Sailor Moon, and her clothing changed to that of Tsukino Usagi's. She fell to the floor on her knees, but she did not cry. She simply looked down at the floor and said nothing else.

/...Here.

I picked up Galaxia's brooch and threw it onto a table. I took up a holopaper, and some writing utensils. I put them down in front of her, and stood back from her.

/Take your time. I turned away. -I won't bother you for it. You have time now to think and remember.

So I left her to write her testimony. And went straight to my hidden coocor piles.


Certainly, it would have been far more difficult for her to have spoken the truth. I probably would have completely forgotten the words she had said, to the truth of the situation that lay before us. It was obvious that she was trying to be eloquent, even though her spelling was terrible and her writing was difficult to read, and it had to be rectified in official copies.

But she wrote down everything she could put down. The paper is still there today, though the original disappeared into the depths of the Seemarin, a forbidden fruit for anyone who wanted to dig deeper than desired. But I managed to keep a copy for myself- for everyone.

"My name is Tsukino Usagi.

"I am a 21 year old human female from Tokyo, Japan, a small island on the planet Earth. I don't know where it is in the universe from this place I am in currently. I am recently married.

"But also, I am the named 'pretty soldier', called Sailor Moon. I have been a sailor soldier for almost eight years, since I was 14. I have used my powers only for the good of the people I live amongst, and never thought that my powers or actions would be considered heinous in any way. However, the events which transpired my current incarceration and label as a 'menace to civilized society' transpired four years ago, when I was 17.

"At that time, shooting stars flashed across the sky of my world almost every night. We did not know what it was, or why it was happening. Then, soon after, the attacks began to happen. My friends were fighting enemies they would have never concieved of before. For they were dressed as sailor soldiers, bound to a woman by the name of Galaxia.

"Sailor Galaxia was a ruthless killer. She had the ability to destroy entire worlds with a wave of her hand. She could turn someone into ash with the blink of an eye. She could even turn ordinary people into sailor soldiers by using golden bracelets that put them under her complete control. She was the strongest enemy my fellow soldiers and I had ever encountered.

I "was aided by all of my sailor soldier, even by soldiers from other worlds. Yet their power was nothing compared to Galaxia's. They were almost all killed. My dearest friends were hunted down and murdered like cattle. My own lover was brought down right before my eyes. To this, I learned that Galaxia's aim was to destroy the universe, and create it in her own image. For this, she needed my sailor crystal, feared which she claimed was the strongest in the universe.

"Against Galaxia's servants, I fought several times; against Galaxia, only twice. The first was when she almost destroyed my world. The second, was at the edge of the Galaxy Cauldron.

"I knew nothing of the Galaxy Cauldron, nothing of its existance, until Galaxia herself told me in my dreams that she had taken control of it and would, in her own words, use it to destroy reality and create a new universe that she would rule. She had even created her own citadel upon the edge of the Cauldron - her castle where she would rule.

"I had little choice, for she controlled the situation, and made the rules of our duels, but to fight her there, and fight whatever she put before me. She sent her strongest servants out to confront me and kill me before I reached her fortress. She destroyed all of my remaining friends and allies who braved their fears with me. She even resurrected my dearest friends and my lover as her puppets and forced them to fight me. On and on the terrible battles went, never ending, my hope of returning home with my friends, back to the life I shared with them, growing less and less with each passing moment.

"But what could I do? I could not falter, I could not let them win, even when I wished to simply give up and go home - and I pondered it many times. Yet to allow her, and her allies, to gain control of such a place that gave life and death to the whole universe was an unthinkable option. So I went ahead, and I fought like I had never fought before.

"When I finally confronted Galaxia, we both fought each other long and hard. We seemed to be evenly matched. Neither of us could win. And then Sailor Galaxia threw all of the sailor crystals she had gathered - for she had killed hundreds of thousands of sailor soldiers and had stolen their sources of power - into the Cauldron. I became enraged, but before I could parry, the demon Chaos appeared from the star pool, attacked Galaxia, and addressed me directly.

"Most of what she said to me, I cannot write down ever, for it is of a personal and secretive nature - she said some very terrible things to me. But in the end, she told me that I was to die, and she would control the universe. Galaxia, as well, was to die, and she did, in my arms. I kept her brooch, all that had remained of her, upon me every day, to remind me of what corruption can come upon me if I am not careful.

"And with Chaos' words in my mind, I decided to stop it, draw it out of the Cauldron, and destroy it. As my power arose to fight him, I saw the lights of all of the sailor soldiers trapped within the Cauldron come to me and join the battle. And we banished Chaos deep into the heart of the Cauldron, so tiny it became that it was too small even for the Cauldron to find. All who had been killed had been brought back to resume their duties.

"And that is what happened. I did not come bent on conquering the universe. I did not come to soil sacred ground. I came to save everything that was dear to me and dear to others. It is for this act that I am being punished. Yet now, to this day, Galaxia returns to haunt me still, and what for her crimes? She is free upon the streets to murder and destroy at her pleasure. She will not stop with her conquest until the day she dies - and I doubt that she can ever truly die. For a sailor soldier is reborn easily through flesh as sand sifts through one's hands.

"So I beg the Universal Seemarin, the Three Judges, anyone who can help me, to hear my story and to know the truth. There are many who know of my story where I am, and I only wish that this truth be known. I swear all I have written is true, and that by fate I should die as I finish this testimony, never to see my friends and family again, never to see my husband, never to give birth to my little girl, if I am lying.

"SIGNED

TSUKINO USAGI"

36: Sailor Kepe

After Tsukino Usagi slowly handed me the paper she had written and departed for her rooms, I felt inclined to read it. I ended up reading it several times, unbelieving at first, but when my memories returned of what had happened already that night, I realized that what she was saying was very much the truth. But there was no end to the revelations, not yet.

I waited until she was gone before I decided it was time for Dyka to see what she had written. I opened the door and let Dyka and Varuna in.

/Well. Dyka took the note from me with some derision. -You took your time.

And so Dyka read what Tsukino Usagi had written. She gave several starts at some of what was written, and I'm sure some of it was from the last parts. But she was mostly silent until she had finished reading.

/So. Dyka's voice was flat. -This is her claim...

/Yes.

/No reference to Kepe, I see.

/Huh?

I looked at Dyka at this. I didn't quite know what Kepe had to do with it, at least for a moment. Then I remembered Kastalle.

Kepe is...

/...Dyka... I gulped. -What about Sailor Kepe?

/She was the one who arrested Tsukino Usagi.

/Well...yeah, but...why would that be important?

/That's...not it.

/Then what is it?

I began to suspect what Dyka meant at this. I knew Dyka did not like Kepe. She turned away from me, and said nothing in reply to my question..

/Dyka?

/Floritiuse? At this, Varuna looked at me with a surprised look. -You mean Dyka didn't tell you about it?

Immediately, Dyka turned her head towards Varuna with large eyes. She began to advance towards Varuna.

/Be quiet.

/Tell me what? I glared at Dyka. -Tell me, Varuna.

/Huh. Varuna couldn't help but smirk. -So she didn't tell you? Huh.

/Tell me what?

/I said be quiet! Dyka growled. -You fool!

/Pfft. Varuna snorted. -Make me.

/What!

/It's nothing to concern yourself about! Dyka was trying desperately to get me off the subject. -You're no longer on the case, and so it-

/Dyka's been keeping a big secret from you.

/...Oh? I shook my head in anger. -I'm surprised.

/Heh. Varuna looked at me. -I guess you would be.

/For how long?

/It's none of your-

/Since she-

/VARUNA!

/...came onto the case. Before then. She hates her-

/DAMN YOU!

With an angry snarl, Dyka grabbed Varuna and began to choke her. I gave a shout at this, and separated them. Varuna fell to the floor, sputtering.

/WHAT! I was shouting. -Stop it!

/And YOU! Dyka turned to me. -Leave me alone.

/Are you hiding something from me!

/No-

/I was your LAWYER. I was getting very angry. -WHAT were you hiding from me?

/It's none of your business!

/Kepe murdered Sailor Michag.

All of us stopped talking at Varuna's words. I was taken aback by this; I couldn't have expected such a fact. Every day, more fact, more revelations. Kepe a murderer!

Yet it made sense.

/...That was to be forgotten. Dyka was very angry. -You gave me your word on it.

/Someone had to say it, Varuna looked at Dyka, who glared angrily but could do nothing as long as I could arbitrate. -You weren't going to. And she wasn't going to leave it alone - you should know that by now!

I realized so many things at that moment. Everything was beginning to fall into place. Michag's murder. Kepe's prominence. The murders. Kepe being the prosecutor. Kastalle's last words before Galaxia appeared.

Kepe and Galaxia were aligned with each other.

/HOW COULD YOU?

I just screamed; I didn't attack Dyka. I was too angry to. I felt very betrayed.

/You...bitch!

Yes, I used a terrible word against her. But that was how I felt about her. I felt satisfied to say it, and Dyka's shock to my accusation made me feel better.

/How... She stammered, trying for the first time to rebut me. -How dare you!

/No! You... I was shaking. -It was never about saving Tsukino Usagi. You...you just wanted to get Kepe. You're just waiting for Tsukino Usagi to be convicted for you to make your case against Kepe...and then... her!

/I... I had cornered her very well. Dyka could not even find words. -I...

/That was what you were talking to what-his-name about on the phone! I shouted. -You were trying to get Kepe. You heartless sister! Where's your pride, your...your sense of shame! This is shameful! If you know about Kepe's killing Michag, then surely, you knew that Galaxia and Kepe were connected!

Dyka's eyes widened with shock at this. She trembled slightly and gave an angry cry at this. She knew she was wrong, just as I knew she was wrong, in what she did. I began to move in.

/You knew...

/Themis.

/I'm speaking!

/Wait.

At this, Varuna took the initiative from Dyka and stood in front of her. Dyka, the truth now out, made no sound as she spoke.

/It's not...what you think it is.

/Oh?

/...Well... Varuna shrugged. -In a way, no.

/She doesn't care about Tsukino Usagi.

/I guess not. It's no secret. Varuna spoke plainly. -And she does hate Kepe. But...this Galaxia?

/They're connected. She knows! She knew of Galaxia before! She knew of the connection now!

/I didn't! Dyka managed a squeak in reply. -I didn't!

/You did!

/She couldn't have. Varuna shook her head violently. -She never said anything about her to me.

/That doesn't mean she didn't know!

/Themis.

Varuna took me by one of my appendages and looked at me. She quickly led me away from Dyka, who simply stared at the wall, saying nothing, and led me down into the basement.

I became worried at this, as all of my materials concerning what I had learned were all down in the basement, in a corner with a small table. But Varuna seemed not to care about looking for such things. She began to speak to me, not paying attention to anything else in the room.

/Listen to me. Varuna spoke. -I can swear to you that she didn't know.

/Why should I believe you? I scoffed. -All you want is to ingratiate yourself to Dyka.

/That's not…..true!

/Then why should I trust your words?

/Because I... Varuna gulped in a slightly nervous way. -I went through all of her things.

/What!

/Shhhhhhhh! Varuna quickly covered my face. -Shhhhhhhhhh! Don't say that loud!

/You...I wouldn't have done that... I paused. -Though I guess I should have.

/Dyka has many sources of intelligence who report to her. Varuna shifted her eyes about. -Some of them are used by most of the Seemarin senators for news updates and such. But a lot of them are...very terrible people. Cartel infiltration. Underground espionage. Certainly, though, she's not the only one, but...

/Not the only one?

/Well... Varuna nervously chuckled. -Everyone has them. A lot of money and intrigue involved. Bribery, lobbying for preferential treatment, intriguing against other senators, things like that. That's how almost all Seemarin senators do their business. It's just that no one says anything about it.

/Because it's totally against the laws the Three Judges themselves put in? I remember Tsukino Usagi's bitter words about the Seemarin. -That's terrible!

/Yeah, I guess. I could figure from her words Varuna herself was not innocent of such things. -If people found out, Dyka and anyone else who was suspected would be jailed or even executed to keep it quiet. So I'd…..uh, Dyka would rather, you know, not have people know...

/Hah.

I turned and went upstairs. I had to speak to Dyka again, despite my not wishing to ever see her face again. But something came into my mind at that moment, something I wished to do.

/You knew...I walked to her and stared at her. -...of Galaxia.

/I knew. Dyka still did not face me even now. -I knew she existed. She was my enemy upon Melkweg. The same fallen sailor of that planet.

/Oh, you certainly have my sympathy for that, I scoffed.

/I was never able to find anything about her. Dyka's eyes narrowed. -I looked for her. It was my passion to have revenge for the wrongs done to me. But it was as if she never existed in the Seemarin files - didn't exist at all. And I never dreamed that this girl and my hated opponent were connected in any way. That is the truth.

/Then what of Kepe? You knew she killed Michag. Kastalle's last words were Kepe is... Galaxia claimed responsibility for Michag's death. And Kepe killed Michag

/...I knew she killed Michag. That is all.

/Is that all? Then why were you keeping it secret?

/I had no evidence.

/No evidence. I actually laughed at this. -Is Kepe so powerful that he covered everything up?

/You should know the answer.

/But you didn't care about Tsukino Usagi.

/Stop assuming things. Dyka glared at me in the very corner of her eyes. -You really know nothing!

/Yet it's ok that you've assumed so much about me.

/...Fine. Dyka's face darkened. -I was not so caring as you are. I did not believe in her innocence.

/Then...what about her side of the story about the Galaxy Cauldron? I looked down. -I think...she must be telling the truth. We can argue that Tsukino Usagi was trying to save the galaxy because Galaxia had been tampering with the Cauldron. For, surely, Sailor Moon was trying to save the universe from her, and that's not a crime...I can feel it. I...

/What?

/Maybe we can put Tsukino Usagi as a witness?

/Ha. And you think they'll fall for it? Dyka replied slowly -Remember. If Kepe is involved, she will be certain to figure out loopholes to get around anything we throw at the girl.

/Well...I...I...

I looked at Dyka. She understood what I wanted, for she turned to directly face me.

/...Oh. You'd take the stand? Finally, a chuckle came from Dyka, for now she acted as if the exchange that had happened before never happened. -And how do you intend to prove it, Floritiuse?

/Well... I paused. -Well, I will read Tsukino Usagi's testimony.

/That holo paper could have been doctored.

/...Well...then...the tape. I remembered. -Surely, Yomokei's video was doctored to not show Galaxia. That has to be.

/And how will you prove that the tape was doctored?

/...Well, you call the GCS up and-

/It's not so easy as calling them. They will only turn over tapes at the inquest of the prosecution.

/What!

I shook my head. It was looking more and more impossible by the moment to do anything, even when we had a chance.

/Wh-what about your...you know...to find people that know Tsukino Usagi?

/I can't utilize those people without knowing who I am looking for...if the tapes were even doctored. If we can even find anyone. Dyka turned back to me. -I suppose that I do not doubt the story. I have always had my own suspicions of Tsukinousagi's true guilt, if you will ever believe me on that. But what if you are wrong about your theory, and the tape is not doctored?

/How could it not be doctored?

/It could be that that is how the camera from the GCS is angled, and that there was only camera to catch anything, and it caught her jumping into the Cauldron.

/...There has to be more than one camera! I couldn't believe that. -Dyka, it seems far too convenient that there is only one camera to catch things at the camera if it is the most sacred ground that our civilization knows of! I may be ignorant, but I'd still guard the place with all that I have if I were the Seemarin! I'd have fifty million cameras around that place!

As I talked, I slowly began to realize that Dyka was right. There was little that Kepe needed to disprove anything Tsukino Usagi - or myself - said on the stand. I looked despairingly at Dyka.

And saw something moving at the window behind her.

/...Hey!

Dyka turned and saw it too. Instantly, the window slammed down, and a blurry hand flew by.

/HEY!

I was first, followed by my boss. I burst put the door, and gave a shout, just as I saw the tip of a golden flame disappear into the bushes. I know

/STOP! I quickly began to follow. -GALAXIA! COWARD!

I ran and ran, but by the end of the drive, I knew I was beat. The killer was gone, though her drive to kill us again stunted. This time, however, I knew who she was. And unfortunately, she would not return for the night. I just somehow knew she wouldn't be foolish enough to attack again and get caught.

/Drat it all...

I stumbled back to Dyka, who for some reason had not followed me. However, the look on her face was somehow freshly surprised. I did not notice that there was something in her hand, for her hand was in the shadows.

/Dyka... I gasped. -It was her.

/I know. Dyka gave a pause and a look of determination on her face. -Themis, could you and Varuna watch over the girl tonight...without me?

/Huh?

I just thought of something...that I need to do. Dyka nodded. -Trust me, I have to go right now. I'll be back as soon as I can.

/...Ok...

I just sighed as Dyka walked off. I wondered what had transpired in Dyka's mind in the two minutes it had taken for me to lose what was really the key to saving Tsukino Usagi.

37: Poenagorde

Such a night as I had had - from Galaxia to Kastalle to Kepe to Dyka to Tsukino Usagi - I instantly fell into a very deep sleep as soon as I went to bed. I felt like I could have slept forever, for I was exhausted; both my mind and body had become completely filled with such horrible things.

The very idea that I was nothing more than some kind of ignorant fool when it came to the affairs of the universe really did bother me. As a sailor soldier, we were supposed to be considered the greatest kind of person; we were taught that we were above all others, and had to uphold a great standard and ethic that civilians could only dream of striving towards.

Was it a lie? What was the truth about the Seemarin? What more would happen to me? I wanted it to be over; yet, I wanted to save Sailor Moon. She was innocent!


/Floritiuse! Floritiuse!

I was awoken early on that next fateful day by Varuna. I wasn't supposed to be awake at that time; I was not a part of the defense anymore.

/...Muh. Yet I was looking at Varuna through hazy eyes. -Whu.

/Get up. I was suddenly on the ground. -You were supposed to get up before Dyka left.

/Wh...what? I looked at Varuna, annoyed. -I don't know what you're talking about.

/You have to go to the Court of Justice!

I was awake at this. I stood up to my full height and looked at Varuna. I'm sure I looked surprised.

/What! I sputtered. -But...I'm not a part of the defense!

/You're not. Varuna threw clothing at me. -But you're going to the Court of Justice with me right now.

I could not comprehend why I was being brought to the Court of Justice now. Even as I was being pushed down the stairs and out into a waiting transport, I was not completely awake to understand what was going on. In fact, I didn't really care; I simply went back to sleep in the back of the transport as it raced across Mehsheh.

But, of course, I would eventually be woken up.


Have you ever been in a situation where nothing you'd expect to happen, happened? I have to say that everything that had happened in the Great Matter had not happened in the way that I could have ever expected. What should have been a simple case of convicting and banishing one renegade sailor to Apollyon turned into the truth about how another renegade sailor was involved in trying to destroy the universe - and was still trying.

What else could happen that no one would expect? I could not know.

I was again rudely awoken by Varuna after what only seemed like a few moments later. In reality, I had slept for several hours. But I did not know this at first.

/Floritiuse! I heard Varuna hiss in my ears as she pulled me off of the seat. -You sleep through everything, you fool!

I gave a growl as she thrust me out of the transport. I kept my eyes closed for a moment as I staggered on the ground, hoping she would leave me alone and give me some peace. Then, I could go back to bed and rest.

/Themis!

/Themis!

/A question!

The glaring light of the press woke me up immediately. I was in front of the Court of Justice, and hundreds of press people were pressed around me, shouting questions. I covered my eyes to shield from the glare of the Asgersian ground.

/Are you returning as a defender?

/What are your thoughts on Dyka's announcement?

/Are you returning to the court?

/What about the rumors of the Astramort on Asgerd at this very moment!

/How will this affect the trial!

/OUT! A guard suddenly appeared. -Out of her way!

I was quickly led to the doors of the Court of Justice, flanked by Varuna, the guards, and the desperate press who tried to get answers out of me. The doormen, who had before blocked my way, now unquestioningly opened the doors for me.

/Here you are, seema-ships.

I stared down the great hall as the doors slammed behind me. All sounds from the outside were immediately silenced. I was once more on the inside.

/...Varuna? I looked at her, confused. -Wh-what's going on?

/Be silent. She took my by my head and led me along. -You'll see soon enough.

/Varuna...

/...Dyka wanted you here today, Varuna finally said. -I don't know why. So be silent.

It was then I remembered last night, all of it, and great thoughts sprang up in my mind. Of course! What a fool I was! Dyka must have brought me back in for the defense. Not as the lawyer, but as a witness! I was to testify! It had to be so!

/Sit.

But in one moment, my hopes were dashed. The doors opened, and the courtroom which I had once been a part of was in front of me. I saw everything that had been there when I was inside was almost exactly the same. Even Tsukino Usagi's place inside of the witness barrier had not changed. The difference was that there was no seat for me in the council area.

/...Where...?

/Up there.

Varuna pointed up over the defense's table. I looked and saw that, in the second row of the audience, was an empty seat with a sign on it next to an unbelievably fat old woman. It was written in shaky handwriting, but I figured what it said from the distance.

VISITOR.

/Oh...well...

I knew the truth of what had happened on Kastalle. I knew of Galaxia. I knew of the Shadow Galactica. My words could change the course of the trial. Yet there I was, sitting in the audience, merely a watcher of events. I was not to testify. Dyka had no use for me other than that.

I could not understand, then; if I was not the witness, then who was?

/Um... As I sat down, I was very uncomfortable around the incredibly obese woman who was sitting next to me. She was taking up some of my seat as well as her own. -Can you...can you move?

/Hmmm?

The woman turned towards me and frowned, and this alone frightened me to silence. Again, she was enormous, huge, like a giant, flabby rock. Her face was a pale pink, a skin tone I had not ever encountered; for she was some kind of animal I had never seen before. But her face was flabby, and wrinkled, and unpleasant to look at, save the eyes, which were dark, yet seemed kind enough.

The rest of her body was much like her face, flabby and disgusting. It did not help that she wore gaudy clothes that could make a beggar look like a millionaire. She wore a bright pink shawl over a dark blue straw hat that had holes in it. On her body was a white and green dress suit, made of a rough material that bore the mark of constant use and abuse. She looked absolutely hideous in it.

/You said something? She squinted, which was also a fright to see. -You said something?

/...I... I turned away, feeling embarrassed. -...Never mind.

I did not want to see the woman again. For sure, I had never seen her before in my life. She was certainly an outsider, not a sailor soldier at all; no respectable sailor soldier would have ever looked that way, especially in front of the eyes of the Three Judges. Such a thing was taken as disrespect. Indeed, I could feel all of the eyes in the court upon her, for she was a very curious, very revolting figure to behold.

/Themis!

I then thought I heard someone call my name from the back; I looked but saw no one. It was quite exasperating; I thought for sure that my mind was playing tricks on me. For the voice sounded like Sailor Koogairu's, yet I did not see Koogairu in the throng of people. It didn't help that the fat lady's fat head was obstructing my full view of the audience.

/Stand!

The ringing voice from below brought me to my feet. All who were in the court also stood in response to the voice. The Three Judges had arrived.

/HAIL TO THE THREE! All-wise, all-knowing! Eternal queens of the Seemarin! Justice is done in your name! Your presence keeps out evil! May the Cauldron rebirth you as a true star! Beauty in Birth, DIGNITY IN DEATH!

After the pledge, we all sat down in our seats. As I sat, I felt the fat woman's skin again press against my arm. I winced, but did not dare say anything. Instead, I merely shrank in my seat, hoping that her flesh would not touch mine again.

/Good day. The voice of Savitri rang out. -We have business to day. Dyka, Varuna. Stand, sisters.

/Your Majesties.

Dyka and Varuna stood up once more. I stared at Dyka and Kepe for a moment, not quite believing my eyes. For I could see their faces very well from where I was sitting. For the first time since the Great Matter began, Dyka was smiling.

/Your honors. Dyka's voice rang out loud and clear in the room. -I have a witness which I wish to present immediately to the court.

/A witness. Kepe spoke as she suddenly stood. -Good judges, just the day before, my sister here told you she wished for the sentence to be carried out, for she saw no hope in her defending the heathen sailor!

I gave a huff at this. If I were up there, I knew that I could say a few things about Kepe and Dyka and end the entire trial with the shout of my voice. But I kept myself. Who would believe me anyways?

/Your Graces. Dyka bowed. -I understand my….sister's questioning of my changing my mind. Indeed, up until last night, I was to submit my resignation. However, something occurred last night, which allowed me to rescind it.

A whisper came from the people around me. I simply did nothing. A thought occurred to me, however. Would Tsukino Usagi testify? I looked down at her, and at that moment, she looked up and saw me.

I could see some surprise in her face when she saw me. She certainly didn't expect me, just as I did not expect to be in the Court of Justice that day. She looked down and somehow smiled at me.

/What could have possibly caused you to rescind it? Kepe looked at Dyka with a very condescending face. -Forgive me, your Graces, but if I may interject that my sister here spent three hours in your chambers crying about the….what was it? The hopelessness of the entire situation.

I knew Dyka was not happy with such a retort from her mortal enemy. I couldn't help but chuckle at the predicament. This got me a stare from the fat woman, as well as a few others around me. I quickly restrained myself, lest I caused a great commotion.

/That was yesterday, Dyka replied. -But yesterday is yesterday, today is today. They are still two different days-

/...For each new day brings new circumstances. Kepe finished Dyka's sentence. -Yes, an old Dykan maxim.

The foolish fighting went on for some time, with Kepe and Dyka trading words. Most of what they said I forgot up to that point until intervention came in. So my mind, and my eyes, wandered once more, looking down upon the court room and surveying what was going on. I saw Dyka and Kepe, then Varuna, who sat quietly with her head down - no doubt ignoring the proceedings, perhaps sleeping. Tsukino Usagi I had already seen, though I looked again and she was watching Dyka and Kepe argue.

Then I noticed Sailor Bora. I caught her just as she turned her face away from me. So intent I was to see everything else, that I didn't know that she had been looking up and staring at me. Though I knew then that she was staring at me, I didn't know how long she had been staring at me. I also didn't know why she was staring at me, unless she had been surprised to see me after I had been banished. Or perhaps she was looking at the disgusting woman next to me, since everyone else was looking at her as well. But I digress.

I also noticed something else about Bora that day, something which seemed to be insignificant. That was that Bora did not have her regular notebook that day, but rather loose leaf papers scattered around her. Being as I was that morning - simply a visitor - I simply shrugged that thought off. After all, it had been such a dragged out affair, and being that she always had written in it, or almost always seen writing in it, she had probably filled it up already. So I ignored her missing notebook.

/Children.

My attention came back to what was going on when all three of the Judges suddenly stood up in their seats. They came up to their full heights, looking down upon the tiny forms of Dyka and Kepe. Instantly, both soldiers, who had probably been arguing for almost a half hour, were quickly silent.

/Let us proceed. Savitri spoke as the other two Judges sat a moment later. -Good sister Dyka. You say you have something to show us.

/...Yes. Dyka found herself again. I do. -Then proceed. -Last night, I was...given a clue...of sorts. Dyka replied. -I intend to prove that Tsukinousagi's reason for violating the ground of the Galaxy Cauldron was...purely defensive in nature.

And how, I thought, as my face turned red. Does she plan to do it without me? Will you steal the credit for everything? You would, wouldn't you!

I thought, as my face turned red.

/And how do you plan to prove it? Kepe retorted. -So far, your defense has been nothing.

/I will prove it, and my witness will be presented. Dyka said, her voice getting louder, -for she knows of the truth...through you.

I saw Kepe freeze for a moment at this, her eyes filled with confusion. I also saw Tsukino Usagi look at Dyka, equally baffled. I was certainly baffled. I think I like the word baffled now. It sums up the feeling of the moment. But I digress.

/...Well. Even the Three seemed somewhat startled by Dyka's words. -Proceed, then, good soldier.

/Thank you. Your honors. Dyka turned and suddenly pointed up towards the audience. -I would like to call to the stand...

My chest began to thump. She was pointing in my direction. It was me.

/...Poenagorde.

I felt my enthusiasm drop as I heard another's name called. I felt angry, very angry, for, again, Dyka was ignoring. I could not help but wonder who in the world would make a better witness than I!

/...Present, seema-ship!

I felt fat move on my side. There was a grunt, then a squeak. She rose, like some terrible monster arising from the water, taking deep breaths. For the witness, the one whom Dyka had spent countless hours looking for, had been sitting right next to me.

/Here I am! She clapped her hands together and squeezed her way through the aisle - thankfully, in the other direction. -Excuse me! Pardon me! Sorry...

If my reaction was one of revulsion, then I can safely say that Dyka and Bora's reactions were ones of pure terror. Kepe's face had never looked so ashen and shocked, while Bora's face had never looked so dark. Bora even swore under her breath, as far as I could tell, as Porenagorde passed the prosecution's tables.

I took the moment to search for Koogairu, for my mind still wondered if she was really there. I did not see her, however, and after a while I decided that it had to have been just a cat call. I went back to what was going on below.

/Heheh. Poenagorde grinned as she stood in front of the Three. She even had the audacity to curtsey, which showed her enormous - and bare - haunches of legs to the most elite of sailors soldiers in all known civilization. -Hello! Nice to meet you, madams!

/Poenagorde... Dyka spoke again. -...Sit at the witness box.

/Of course. I'm very sorry. Pardon me. With another quick curtsey, Poenagorde quickly obliged. -I'm just a very polite person by nature. Can't be helped. But I felt I should make a good impression in front of such people as the Three Judges! It's an honor to be here to begin with.

/...Sit, madam.

With that, Poenagorde sat in her box. She placed her hat in her lap and calmly folded her hands. On the other side of that, Kepe slumped into her seat, breathing hard, her eyes wide. I could understand a little bit of why she was so upset - Poenagorde was not a witness one would expect, and her legs were quite hideous. But I digress.

/Poenagorde... Dyka came up to the witness box. -Miss Poenagorde...

/Poena.

/Hmm?

/I wish to be addressed as just Poena, please. The woman gave a flighty chuckle. -Everyone calls me that. Gorde was an add-on after my burgeoning ritual into adulthood - I don't like all that much. Just very anal.

/...I...very well. Dyka nodded, though I could see she was getting impatient. -Poena...


I must take a brief moment to explain Poena's world. Poena. I learned, was of the Maggai race. They are scattered throughout the universe, but they are centered in one system called the Dawa. They are easy to spot, for they are huge, which is their most obvious characteristic. Most Maggai are a light red, white, or grey. They have slimy bodies, and also come from eggs.

They are an interesting breed, for they are raised communally with no acknowledged parents or siblings until they reach a certain age. Then they experience burgeoning, in which the outcome determines what clan they will belong to for the rest of their life. Of course, this burgeoning involves them suddenly getting a craving to eat everything. They are eating always and are just filling themselves up so that they get nice and big for the clan they will join. So, they simply get bigger and bigger and fatter and fatter as they go on. The biggest Maggai become the most respected.

While this transforms the Maggai into the fattest and most disgusting civilians that one could dream of seeing, the strange positive of this burgeoning is that, afterwards, they never need to eat again for the rest of their lives. Which, in my thought, is a pity because one can eat so many coocor in a lifetime. But I digress.


/...I belong to the Maggai.

/All right. Dyka looked at the Three. -And what is your occupation, currently?

/I am a cook, Poena replied cheerfully. -I cook for a nice man named Teiuo on the planet Feriovia.

/All right. Dyka looked back at Poena. -And...do you have any other jobs?

/Well, not at the moment.

/How about a year ago?

/...Well... Poena looked down and smoothed out her skirt. There was a pause before she answered. -I worked for the Seemarin.

A murmur came from the crowd.

/I was a part-time director of security specialists for one of the Seemarin's divisions.

/Which one?

I worked for the Galaxy Cauldron Security firm.

/HANG ON A MINUTE! Suddenly, Kepe was up from her seat. She glared at Poena, then at Dyka. -How do we know that this civilian's claim is authentic? No civilian is supposed to be working at GCS!

/Actually, Kepe. Dyka smugly stepped in. -GCS regularly employs civilians on a contract and needs basis. Good Judges, if my sister needs to see proof, I am certain that Poenago...Poena...has what she needs. In fact, I submit her working papers, her ID badge, her letter of employment and her resignation notice from GCS as evidence to the court.

With that, Dyka immediately took up a pile of papers from off her table. She set it down in front of the Three with a bow.

/You will see that the official Seemarin seal is on these documents, and can be verified in the laboratory if need be.

/Very well. The Judges slowly nodded. -Continue.

/Thank you. Dyka gave a glance towards Kepe before she started again. -Poena, what happened a year and a half ago, approximately the fifth day of the fourth eclipse, if I'm not mistaken?

/Well, Poena closed her eyes in thought. -I was working my managerial shift. I was in charge of the Sector 5 detail, which covers the Galaxy Cauldron. It was pretty late, so I was pretty much by myself for the remainder of my stay.

/Pretty much alone?

/Well, there were three other guards with me. Poena giggled. -Normally there are ten people, and I always worked late, so I know that. But that time there were just four of us. They were on my detail, working late too.

/So, you weren't the only one?

/No, seema-ship. Not at all!

/So……Dyka began to pace. -What happened?

/Well….Poena tapped her chins. -We were getting some details on a small disturbace near the entrance to the Alpha Star Sagitarrius. There was a small rebellion of some sorts which we had to make sure didn't get near the Cauldron. We watched for some time...so we didn't notice that anyone had used our entrances.

/Used your entrances?

/They managed to get into our building somehow. Poena's face squinted. -We never realized they were there. Since there was only four of us in our office, no one could tell us about any intruders from the outside. Not only that, but we would have had a warning if they had entered illegally.

/So they had a security clearance to enter? Dyka paced. -Anyways, continue.

/Well, we were overwhelmed very quickly. Our attackers were very well prepared. Poena started getting into her story. They were all short, and I guess thats why they had us all on our knees. For a good hour they yelled at us: Keep quiet mother fucker! Your lives mean nothing! On your hands and knees! Beg for your life! And they told me to get my fat ass down out of their face! Poena laughed. -Ooooh, but if they could see my people, they'd change their minds about me very quickly!

I had forgotten another point about Maggai: their primary emotion is that of happiness. Even when they are scared to death, they act as if the person trying to kill them just invited them to a dinner party, because that is how their exterior nature works. Judging by how Poenagorde was telling her story, she must have been, deep down, terrified. But I digress.

/...Yes... Dyka huffed. -So, they took you hostage.

/Indeed they did!

/Did they demand anything?

/Oh yes! Poena acted as if the entire affair of her life being threatened was equivalent to being given a lifetime supply of coocor. -They demanded our security tapes.

Another murmur came from the crowd at this, somewhat louder than before. Even I was surprised, for it seemed quite astonishing. Such a tale could not have been true!

/They asked you for tapes. Dyka glanced at Kepe. -So...what kind of tapes?

/Well, security tapes, of course!

/I mean... Dyka 's face twitched. -Did they ask for specific tapes?

/Yes they did! Poena nodded affirmatively. -Well, they only asked for two. Camera four, Code numbered 374894568.LLL, and also camera two.

/That tape? Dyka stopped pacing. -Why did they ask for those two?

/Well! Poena recollected her thoughts with a pause. -Camera four was an overhead of the Galaxy Cauldron. Camera two was a panning camera angle from the south.

/And so you fulfilled their demands? They got both of these tapes?

/Nope! Poena shook her head violently. -Absolutely not! They only managed to get one of them. They got mad at me for not giving them both of the tapes they wanted, and they beat me unconscious. Not before I got in a few hits myself. I pelted one good on her leg. At this, Poena looked at the Three and waved her hand, speaking a little louder. -They were all girls, by the way, in case you wanted to know, your Graces.

/Really?

/Yes!

/What happened to the other tape?

/I hid it!

With that, Poena suddenly turned her hat inside out. A black disc fell out onto her lap.

A collective gasp came from the audience - including from me. And I saw Dyka's face turn deathly white at the sight of it.

/Is that... Even Dyka was surprised. -Then...

/I shoved it in the fat under my skin! Poena proudly held the disc up. -So that they wouldn't get it! I had to have if surgically removed three weeks ago, though, since my skin healed over it. But I've kept it since, and cleaned it up, and I was ready to return it to GSC once I completely recovered. I resigned over the break-in, but I certainly wouldn't have kept it from them - they were like my family, those dear people. I'd never just keep something this important to spite them!

Instantly, a guard took it, and handed it over to the Three. The Three looked at the disc and looked at one another with silence.

/Well, I... Dyka looked at the disc, somewhat sickened. -I submit this as evidence. I also request that it be played. If that is...the, um, wish of the Three.

/...We will allow it. Savitri handed the disc over to the guard. -Play this so we may see.

/Yes, your Graces.

It seemed to be an awkward tone that the reply from Savitri was in. It almost seemed to be shaking for some reason; why, I did not ascertain then. Of course, the fact of where the disc was hidden the entire time was in itself a rather uneasy thought to swallow.

/Begin.

The room darkened, and all around us was a hologram. The GCS logo came on, fading away after a moment.

/...is a lie

I watched, shocked, as two strange figures appeared next to the Galaxy Cauldron, standing on a rocky edge. At first, they were hazy and dark, and I could not pick them out. Then, I saw a hint of gold on one of them.

/This is the Galaxy Cauldron, Sailor Moon.

A bright light suddenly appeared over the figures. It was Galaxia, and she finally came into focus. She was dressed very differently - from head to toe in gold - but her voice was almost exactly as it had been when I had seen her. But even though it was only a video, I could still feel it was her. There was no doubt in my mind.

/Galaxy Cauldron...!

Then Sailor Moon came into view, running, as did two other younger sailors. One of them had pink hair, the other darker red hair. The other figure, cloaked in black, with gold armlets on their hands, I still did not recognize. Whoever it was, they stood silently next to Galaxia.

/Yes, Sailor Moon. Galaxia waved her hand - also with a golden armlet on it - over the sacred site. -This is where I drew you to. The birthplace of everything. Great stars, trash, planets, sailor soldiers, everything. This is where these sailor crystals came from. Even you. And this is where you shall meet your death.

A gasp came from the crowd at these words, but an even greater gasp still was to come. For the bright light suddenly began to float towards the Cauldron and the snap of Galaxia's fingers.

/Here, everything is born.

/...No!

Even I cried out. For the bright light was actually a giant, glowing crystal. What was making the crystal glow was the shine of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of sailor crystals!

/And here, everything will die.

The gasp within the crowd around me turned into a great cry as well For then, Galaxia took all of those thousands of sailor crystals - no doubt, she had killed the owners to get them herself - and with a great heave, threw them all into the Cauldron. There was a great bubbling, and light shot from the Cauldron. Then, all was still.

/The Cauldron...

/That woman just...she just...

/By the stars!

/All those sailors!

Many great screams arose, for in their hearts, they felt the coldness of the act which they had seen. Yet true to what Galaxia had shown me on Kastalle, there was no remorse in her feelings, even then. Even as Sailor Moon screamed and fell to her kneww.

/NOOOOO!

/Heheh! The evil vikarna - for what she had done was most barbaric - just laughed at her pain. -What a wonderful feeling! The light of those stars, all that trash dying out without so much as a whimper. What a lovely feeling, isn't it, Sailor Moon!

/You won't get away with this!

Sailor Moon attacked, but the attack missed. Then, with another laugh, Galaxia grabbed the figure next to her. Now I recognized him. It was Mamo-chan.

/Yes, yes, anger! Yet Mamo-chan, for whatever reason that I still don't know to this day, did nothing to help Sailor Moon. -Let the anger well up inside you, let Chaos sense it!

Another great cry came from around me as they heard the name of Chaos. The great evil which had spawned the Astramort, and everything dark of the universe, who could not be mentioned. For it was fearful. Yet it was in Galaxia's plan.

/For when he comes, your powers will explode within you, killing each other off! And then I shall rule the Cauldron, this strongest star - and with it, everything in this universe shall be mine!

/I'll stop you!

/Then stop me.

Then, she threw Mamo-chan in. The light was not as bright as it had been when the thousands of others had been thrown in, but it was still upsetting to see. Sailor Moon's screams, and then one of the sailors with her simple disappeared. I do not know why this happened, even today. No one explained it to me. But I don't really care to know.

Them, everything started to become dark. Then, a great roaring sound came, and by this time, the audience was in a panic.

/Yes! YES! COME! Chaos, I bring you Sailor Moon! The most po-

/STOP THE TAPE!

The great scream from the Three drowned out everything else that Galaxia was saying, but it didn't matter at the moment. Order had to be restored. The entire room was in such a panic that sailors were trampling upon each other to run away from the possible sight of the great and terrible form of Chaos.

Instantly, the video stopped. The lights came back on. And slowly, but surely, the panic turned into a complete and dazed silence.

38: Smoking Gun

/...We...have seen enough.

It was Dyka who finally spoke. Her voice was shaky, and it was obvious that she had not seen the tape beforehand either. All others were silent.

/...So... Dyka tried to find herself. -This...this is what the robbers failed to get.

/That is correct!

Poena's expression had not changed. She simply smiled, her hat in her hands.

/So... Dyka looked down. -Poenag...Poena.

/Yes?

/Do your superiors have any idea who may have stolen...the other tape?

I looked down at the scene below. I saw Kepe shaking nervously, and behind her, Bora. I could tell that Bora was angry, as opposed to being frightened.

/Well... Poena sighed. -My superiors believed that it was a sailor soldier with the proper clearance.

/A sailor soldier?

/Yes. Poena cheerfully took out a large file of paper. -Actually, there were several sailor soldiers. This is the entire file on the case that my office drew up.

She put it in front of Dyka, who took it up and read through it. The soldier gave a nod.

/I see. Dyka smiled. -So, a sailor soldier in the Seemarin was believed to have taken it?

Another gasp came from the crowd. Slowly, very slowly, thoughts began to form in my mind as to the possibilities. Of course, Dyka was hateful of Kepe. Perhaps this was to be Kepe's humiliation, and Dyka's triumph, more so if the possibilities I was thinking of were true...

/Yes, miss! Poena nodded. -They had to have had cards of clearance. Anyone who is a part of the Seemarin has a clearance cards. To use that card is the only possible way to not trigger the alarm. Otherwise, we would have not had the situation to begin with!

(I never got one of these cards. Though I was Dyka's lawyer, I did not have a clearance card, since I was not a true seema-ship, just an honorary one for the Great Matter. But I digress.)

/One moment! Kepe suddenly stood up again in a burst of desperate bravado. Her face was white. -How is this so, Miss Poena?

/Because that is the only way.

/Do you know if that's the only way? What if you are just lying about this entire affair! Kepe glared. -How can we be sure that you are not in this for some materialistic reason - perhaps my fair sister here paid you to do this!

/ABSOLUTELY NOT!

For the first - and perhaps last - time in my life, I saw a very angry Maggai, whose happy expression never changed. Her face became so dark that it was almost black. Maggai, I suppose, are very defensive when they are accused of lying, especially when they had nothing to hide. It certainly seemed that way when I saw it.

/Without any doubt, seema-ship! Poena looked at Kepe with a flash o. -There is no doubt in my mind and there was no doubt that...say...wait a minute...

Suddenly, Poena's face changed again, and the blackness disappeared. The eyes squinted right at Kepe's, as if her stare could shoot into her and blow her apart. Kepe's stand, for that matter, fell apart at the sight of it.

/Why...! Poena finally gave a cry! -I know your voice!

/Wh-what! Kepe's voice squeaked. -I...have never...

/Your voice! Poena's face lit up with complete realization, in such a way that it was impossible that she could have lied or known what to say beforehand. -You're the one who told me to put my fat ass on the ground!

The crowd, which had been silent, all gave cries, and soon the entire place was in an uproar. Everyone but myself - and Tsukino Usagi and Dyka and the Three - were screaming. Tsukino Usagi just looked at Kepe with an expression of surprise. I couldn't see Dyka's face, but I'm sure she was quite satisfied with what had been revealed - even if she didn't know of all of it.

/RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

The Three, on their part, brought the observers to order with a single cry. Yet, though order was restored, everyone was looking at Kepe. Sailor Kepe, the hero of the Seemarin, whom everyone had been cheering when she had appeared at the first hearing of the Great Matter. Now, everyone was silent, and they looked at her with shock and betrayal. The very idea that she could do such a thing to them...!

/...Thank you, Poena. Dyka nodded. -You can leave now.

With a nod, Poena stood up and left the podium. I saw Kepe shake violently, frightened, as Dyka turned to her.

/Sailor Kepe.

/...I... Kepe's voice trembled pitifully. -I didn't! It's a liiiie!

/I call Sailor Kepe up.

/I didn't do it!

/Please get in the witness box.

/I DIDN'T DO it!

/Get in the witness box.

/I'm innocent! Everyone is lying!

/Sailor Kepe! Sailor Savitri's voice suddenly boomed. -Soldier, you shall testify.

Everyone suddenly laughed at the soldier as she was forced by guards into the box. The golden girl of the Seemarin, Sailor Kepe. She who had been the most famous name in the galaxy, a champion of justice, was reduced to a laughingstock, well on her way to a pariah now, because of a fat old bag who had the evidence that would save Sailor Moon...in her coccyx.

I couldn't have thought the Great Matter would end end like it seemed to be ending. Yet then, I saw that that was how it would end. Sailor Kepe bowing down to Dyka, Dyka having her selfish victory, Kepe banished from civilization in disgrace - only one other soldier known had that punishment in history - and Tsukino Usagi free, hopefully, to return to Earth to live her life out in some sort of obscurity with everyone she cared about. And I, I would return to what I had known before. For it was the end of it all; the Great Matter was over.


Of course, what I had known before was that Tsukino Usagi was guilty. What I had known before was that Brutus and Tsukino Usagi were most assuredly lovers. What I had known before was that the World Crushers were surely going to kill me and eat my appendages while doing so.

What I had known before will never apply to the Great Matter. One thing I see, looking back, was that truly vital events only happened when violence of some sort happened to occur. Somehow, with all I had learned, only an utter fool like me could think it would end so peacefully.

/Sailor Kepe.

Dyka looked into her eyes, or so it seemed from where I sat. I looked at Kepe's reaction, which was one of desperation. Then I saw Bora's expression, which was full of anger, and no doubt her mind was full of dark thoughts. I couldn't help but silently laugh at Bora; all of her strange cryptics seemed to hollow at that moment.

/You showed us that tape of Sailor Moon, which came directly from GCS, some time ago. Dyka was pacing again, this time more excitedly. -Yet, this other tape was stolen a year and a half ago, as my witness just told us. If this is so, then how did you come into possession of this tape? You must have stolen it, correct? For you have been identified postiviely as a robber of that tape.

There was a long, long silence. I could see the fear in Kepe's eyes, and the flaming hatred in Bora's as the silence stretched out. The prosecution were cornered, with nowhere to go. The seeds of suspiscion had been sown, and not only that, I knew full well that the Judges could see something as well - that there was more to the story.

/Sailor Kepe?

/...I... Kepe turned away. -Yom...yomokei...

/Sailor Kepe. Dyka repeated her name. -I didn't hear you. How did you get this tape? Did you steal it? And if you did, what else is on there that we weren't shown? And if it wasn't you, who stole this tape for you?

The silence became more glaring. I was fixed on Dyka, everyone was. No one, including myself, noticed Sailor Bora standing up from her chair.

/I...

Kepe turned, her eyes wide. She squealed like a child, with little sign of the cool and confident soldier of before.

Suddenly, she pointed. Her court etiquette forgotten, her accent came through

/I...didn't...She MADE us do't!!

/Who?

/I-

Suddenly, Sailor Moon gave a scream. Everyone in the room quickly looked at her, as her face paled and she leaped up from her seat. She was pointing, pointing to the prosecutor's seat, but none of us got it through our heads why she was pointing.

That was, not until the shots rang out.

/BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM/

I gave a scream as Dyka shuddered. Blood began to pour from holes in her shoulder and her chest as she fell to the ground. The other three shots went into Kepe, and she slumped in her seat.

/BORA! To our shock, it was Allecto who roared out the name of the traitor. -YOU!

Bora didn't even look at the Three Judges as she brought the strange gun down. I knew it to be a gun of some sort, later, from what I would read about the Vika galaxies, what kind. It was a small and silver, or at least it looked like it was from the angle I was at. The reason I know is because the type of gun it was is banned from the civilized galaxies. But I digress again.

Instead, she jumped onto the table of the defense, flipped onto the floor, and with a mighty punch, shattered the glass surrounding Tsukino Usagi and took her by the hair. I gave a shout, and went to jump down for her, but she was lifted up off of the ground and thrown over Bora's shoulder.

/USAGI!

I do not know why I thought to say her name that way. It simply came to me as I went for her. But I tripped. I screamed as I fell on the table.

And yet as Sailor Bora leaped up and jumped out of the window, I still did not connect it all. Not until Bora's appearance changed, and she glowed like a kindled golden ember as she changed. So I saw her as she fell through the window with her hostage in hand. The woman who had attacked me in the alley, whom Sailor Moon called Galaxia.

/STOP HER! The judges stood up in their full fury and power. -This traitor, this evil! We see now what has happened; our eyes have been fully uncovered. THEMIS!

I froze with some fear as I heard my name. I knew what they wanted of me, and at first, I did not want to go. I did not want to obey. But then I remembered Usagi's words to me.

It was always for my friends.

It was in that moment I understood why she had done it. For no matter what I wanted, no matter what I wished, Usagi was my friend. I would go, not because I had been told to by the Three, but because of the simple fact that, perhaps, Usagi had been right. The Seemarin was wrong.

It was for friends that a soldier fought; not for titles, or for fame, or for wealth or security. Sometimes, not even for one's own world mattered, for worlds could be rebuilt; the cycles of civilizations could allow for it, and people repopulate themselves. Life, the status quo of duty that I had been bred to cherish more, that could return, and go on as if no great thing had happened. That was easy to defend.

Friends are not so easy, not for a sailor soldier, for memories and feelings were - are - destroyed forever when a soldier is reborn. Even if a reborn soldier regained her former life, it would not truly be them, but an unbearable shadow. To ignore a friend, to buy into such an idea that a friend's death is nothing, was against what a sailor soldier truly was.

Usagi resurrected them not because she had to prove a point, but without those that she loved - there was no point. I saw her sorrow when she had been all alone, and what did she think of? The sorrow of her friends. It was for that. And it was for that, then, that Galaxia would gladly have seen her disappear for, then to let any others be impacted by such a truth, for that truth was Galaxia's downfall - and perhaps, all of ours, too. So we thought. Such a feeling of closeness that Usagi must have felt for those she considered her friends...

I suddenly felt my chest almost EXPLODE with heat. Never had I felt my sailor crystal react the way it had. In that moment, I felt as if the very thought made me stronger, better than I was. I stood up and began my way.

/...Th...themis...! Dyka gasped as she held her wounds. She was bleeding profusely. -...Go...!

So I went. Towards Kepe. I was there, anyways. Before I could save Usagi, I had one other duty to perform..

/You.

She was dying; whatever had been shot at her would ensure her death. But I would not let her off so easily. I carefully picked the pirate fighter up by her collar so I could have her look me in the eye.

/You knew the truth. I glared at her. -You i knew.

/I...

Kepe did not even look directly at me in those last moments; I knew why. She didn't dare face me. Yet still I could see the light fading from her eyes as she opened her mouth to answer.

/She...gave me... She croaked. -she...

/What!

/...ev...r...y...th...ng...

She slumped in my hands. Kepe, who owed everything she had been in life given to her assistant, became limp, her soul reaping the final benefit of Bora's gifts to her. As always, she had gotten it easy.

39: Battle

Do you despise headlines?

The press in civilization make such news out of such small things sometimes. It's quite amusing to read headlines where small events are turned into world-shattering headlines. They are always fun to read.

GIANT MAGRADABOSIAN RAMPAGE! Magradabosians are toothless gnats. TWO PEOPLE LOSE TOENAIL! GALACTIC PUBLIC IN PANICKED CRISIS!

Magradabosians are toothless gnats.

This is because there is very rarely a real story for our press. The Great Matter was a story, but it is the only good story the press has really had in a very long time. War is nothing, for some reason, since, perhaps, its expected to have an obvious resolution - someone wins.

Yet at the end of the Great Matter came a headline that showed the unpredictability of the Great Matter. I think it really fits the mood - for I was there and many were not. Of course, to most people who were actually not on Asgerd that particular fateful day (as there are many in the Great Matter), such a headline was quite terrible, and in fact that outlet which had the headline suffered its worse day of sales in its history - due to its uninteresting, ambiguous, and uninspiring headline.

ASGERD THE SCENE OF TERRIBLE STORY TWIST! CAN IT BE STOPPED?


After I threw the carcass of Sailor Kepe down, I didn't really stop running until I had gotten to the doors to the outside. I didn't bother to see how Sailor Dyka was doing; there was no time to do so, and at that point, I disliked her enough to not really care. I didn't bother to look at everyone else, who was also running around me on the order of the Three.

/STOP THE TRAITOR! STOP THE DARK ONE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!

I kept having to push people out of my way. They weren't going fast enough for me. I had to save Sailor Moon; what would these other sailors do to her? Surely, many must have figured she had a degree of innocence, but they could not have instantly gained any respect for her. Indeed, I feared some of the soldiers would kill her anyway for starting it all.

And what did the Three mean? Why did they say that their eyes were open? I didn't know if they meant that they saw Galaxia or if there was some other meaning to it. But I digress.

/THEMIS!

I stopped and turned as I went through the great doors to the outside. I gave a cry, for - of all people - Sailor Koogairu was running to me.

/K-koogairu!

/Floritiuse! She grabbed my arm. -There you are! Didn't you see me calling you!

/No, I...I didn't... I tried to free myself. -Look, Koogairu...

/I called you twice! Koogairu pouted. -You didn't even bother to look the second time. I came just to see you, because I hadn't seen you for so long. Did you even hear me? Oooh, Floritiuse-

/Koogairu! SHUT UP!

She was immediately silent. She stared at me with large, shocked eyes, her mouth open, as if she had never expected anyone to say such a thing to her.

/I have to save... I started to walk, thought I ended up dragging Koogairu on the ground with me. -I have to save...Usagi.

/...Ooooh...sakee?

/Sailor Moon. From Galaxia.

/...Oh! Koogairu's dumb look ceased. -Well, can I help you?

/I...don't know...

I grunted as I tried to shake her off. But she clung fast to me.

/Come on, Themis! Like old times! She kept clinging. -I want to fight with you!

/Koogairu...

I looked down. I realized that she would not leave me, even if I told her to. On the other hand, I realized that she was probably the first person I could turn to for help in any situation. And I knew, that to stop Galaxia at all, I would certainly need help.

Better then, to die with the help of a friend if I had to.

/...Ok. I finally relented. -You can come with me. But...don't ask what this is all about. I dare not explain it.

/That's fine with me. Koogairu was instantly her cheerful self -All I need to know is, that faker, Sailor Bora, was really an enemy. And enemies must always be defeated!

/Eheh. Yeah, that sounds right.

I smiled. If only it were that simple anymore. If only I had seen the column of smoke in the distance.

/Now we just have to find her.

/That shouldn't be too hard, I replied uneasily. -I can assume - well, judging from what I know - they should be battling right n-

/BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM/

The wind blew into our faces as a great pillar of file appeared in the sky. Glowing blue rock scattered across the sky line as a second pillar appeared. Then, a third and a fourth column sprang forth, as well as several smaller explosions that started to dot the landscape as well. The glowing blue light of Asgerd began to darken from the smoke that came from the flames.

/There! Koogairu pointed out with a gasp. -That must be it! Surely!

In response, a great white dome suddenly appeared within the one of the fire pillars - the light of Sailor Moon's power, I realized. There was another great explosion, but this time, the pillar was white, and it completely engulfed the flame. Within seconds, the fire pillar was gone as if it had never been there.

/What...what power... Koogairu stared in shock. -Oh, Floritiuse, what kind of enemy is this!

/Come on. Without bothering to explain anything - since I had told her I wouldn't - I grabbed her and began to run. -We must go at once!

At first, as we ran, there was no sign of damage to the buildings or to the people of Asgerd. Though they panicked and ran as we rushed past them, and other sailors rushed past us, the places that surrounded the Court of Justice were not even touched by the battle that was going on. But they could see smoke, and they could see the flames, and so they ran. I suppose I cannot blame them, but then again, that would be a digression. So I digress.

As we pressed on, however, signs of battle began to show. An injured civilian here, a few pieces off a building there, and once in a while, a tiny fire.

/It's a war! I heard a woman cry out.-Oh, dear, don't go any further! They're killing everyone!

/What!

/The sailors are injuring and killing everyone in their path!

/No! I heard screams. -Those traitors!

/How can they do this to us!

/No good sailor soldiers!

/Always knew they had airs, now they want us all dead!

/Oooh! I then saw one man with a large spot of blood on his neck wailing. -Oooh, by the stars! I've been hurt! My wife is in there! The sailors are all are curses on our souls!

Then he saw us, and threw a large piece of blue rock at us. We were missed, but we knew better than to try and help him - or for that matter,. to stay in a place where everyone was beginning to hate us.


We ran on. Soon, the tiny fires became larger, and more frequent. Buildings had no tops, and some buildings had walls missing. The air became hazy, and ashen, to the point where we were starting to breath it in.

/Huh huh kuh! Koogairu gasped. -It's getting hard to see! The smoke is dimming the blue light!

/We have to keep going! I gasped. -We have to stop Galaxia!

I stopped after a moment of continued walking. I turned and saw Koogairu's wide eyes. She opened her mouth to speak.

/g...did you say...Galaxia?

/HEEEEELP!

Our heads snapped around to the cry. A loud crack then echoed through the air. Through the mist I looked into the direction of the sounds. There was falling debris; under the closing space, several figures.

/HANG ON! I forced my body into action. -Lanzastro Streak!

/BOOOM/

The rocks disintegrated neatly into a harmless ashen downpour. Koogairu and I ran towards the figures whom I had saved just then. Both were male.

/Are you all right! Koogairu reached out for one of them. -Are you hu-

/BITCH! Her hand was smacked away. -YOU BITCHES! You're the cause of this!

/Wh-what...! Koogairu cried out. -B-but my friend just-

/GO TO HELL!

/STOP it! The other man pushed him away. -I'm sorry. I saw what you did. You're not like the other sailors, right?

/O... I stared at him dumbfoundedly. -Other sailors?

/Yeah! The civilian coughed. -They came here not too long ago. Huge group, after the fires started around here. They've been hacking up everyone they've touched!

/What!

Koogairu and I stared at the man, unbelieving.

/But... I stammered. -Wh-why would sailors do that.

/AT ALL COSTS!

/Huh!

/I heard 'em. The other man spat. -They said at all costs! Get her at all costs! So when did your kind decide to be baby-killers, huh?

/Thrite! The other man turned, obviously embarrassed. -I'm...really sorry. I know you all aren't like that. My second cousin's one. Nice girl, she is, but lively as a shovel. Also, a couple others came by to clean up that huge group's mess.

/No... My voice went low. -That's ok. It's no problem. You've actually been a lot of help to us. You guys should get checked out.

With that, I turned to Koogairu. I'm sure my face was very angry, for Koogairu's face became quite frightened.

/We've got to go.


/You knew!

I turned to Koogairu, my eyes wide. Some time had collapsed, and were were in a very smoky atmosphere. We had been silent to conserve our breath, so that we would limit how much ash we got into our bodies. It was now almost completely dark, and there was hardly a building left without serious damage to it where we were.

/Of course I knew! Koogairu gasped as we stopped. -Almost every sailor in the Seemarin knows of Galaxia! She was a traitor in times of the Seemarin's beginnings!

/I didn't.

/She goes under another name, though she's called Number 4. She was also Sailor Melkweg.

/Ha.

/But... Koogairu looked at me. -Galaxia was killed thousands of years ago! Her star seed was sent to Apollyon!

/If that's so, then why is she back?

/Maybe...Maybe she's an impostor?

/I doubt it, I grunted. -Given the incompetence the Seemarin showed in finding discs, I doubt now that they could finish the job of ridding the universe of a terrible threat effectively. Sailor Bora is Galaxia. And Sailor Galaxia wants Sailor Moon dead.

Koogairu fiddled with herself nervously at my words. I gave a sigh as the sweat began to roll down. In the distance was another explosion.

/The entire trial is a sham, Koogairu. I turned to her. -The Great Matter was just...someone's idea of punishing another person for doing the right thing. I mean, Koogairu, aren't we trained to do the right thing? Isn't that supposed to be a part of what a sailor soldier is?

/Yeah...

/But...I guess...sometimes we have to do the things we're not supposed to do to do the right thing. Because it can't always be for glory, or being a part of the Seemarin. Can it?

/But...isn't it against the rules to go to the Cauldron?

/Forget the rules, Koogairu. I turned to her. -I'm being serious. Think about it. That maniac, Galaxia. Look at all the people she killed - Sailor Moon lost everyone, and watched other die right in front of her. And look at what Galaxia's doing now. Do you really want her to control the Galaxy Cauldron? Just because you're going there would break the rules?

/Well, I... Koogairu stopped. -No, I guess I really wouldn't. I'd stop her, too.

/...Then...I think...that's the real Great Matter, Koogairu. I paused. -I'm sure of it.

Yet another explosion filled our heads. This time, it was closer.

/Floritiuse...

/Come on. I took her hand again. -We have to stop this.

/Floritiuse! She pulled me back. -Do you think...

/What?

/Do you think the other sailors are going to kill Galaxia?

/...I don't know if she's the one they're after, I replied truthfully. -Even if she is, she's very powerful. She almost killed me once.

/Huh?

/I don't know...I don't! I ran again. -If it's Sailor Moon, if it's Galaxia. They're after one of them. It makes sense now.

/Why! Koogairu followed. -Why would it matter? They're both wanted, right?

/It would matter which one they killed, Koogairu! I threw aside a rock. -Galaxia, they'll just throw back into the pond. The Three'll do that. I don't know why, but she's not a threat to them.

/And Sailor Moon is? Because she went to the Cauldron? Koogairu was confused. -But...but...Galaxia was there too, right?

I stopped and turned to Koogairu again. Partially, it was because I was exhausted, but the other part was that it was really all clear to me by then. I swear, when I was with Koogairu, I think things seemed to fall into place. But I digress.

/It's power.

/Power?

/Power. I hated to think of it that way, that that was the only way. -Koogairu, that white light we saw extinguish the flames. The True Threat is power. That was Sailor Moon.

/Her power?

Sailor Moon saved the Galaxy Cauldron. She had to have. I pointed in whatever direction was opposite of us, since I had no sense in the smoke. -Can the Three claim that? If people outside of the Seemarin knew the truth, that the Three Judges combined didn't lift a finger save the Galaxy Cauldron, but some backwoods sailor nobody - who did beat Galaxia - did it without a second thought? If they knew that the Three allowed some psychotic to flourish for who knows how long and murder people while they turned the other way?

/By the...Koogairu trembled. -I think...I think I see what you're getting at. And I'm not good with figuring out hints like that, you know, but I think I got it. You need to tell me the story someday.

/If we live through this. But right now, we are going to save Sailor Moon. I took Koogairu. -Are you with me? If you help me, you may risk being banished, and so do I, if its Sailor Moon they want. If it's Galaxia, its no matter, since we'll probably both die anyways. What do you say?

/...Yes! Of course! She clasped my tentacles. -I can't turn my back on you! You're...you're the only real friend I've got!

I was stunned by this late revelation. Looking back on it, though, it was not a surprise; she really was probably the only person I could really have counted on that I knew before the Great Matter. Meanwhile, everyone thought Koogairu was a fool. The Seemarin being the place it was - I was betrayed, and I wasn't even officially in the Seemarin - I guess now, I can really only imagine what Koogairu went through day in and day out with her reputation as a seeming idiot. Yet looking back now, I wish I hadn't simply neglected her when I was with Dyka. But I digress again.

/Ok then. I smiled. -Let's go.

/FLORITIUSE!

We both turned and gasped. I saw the figure of Sailor Varuna come forth from the smoke, smiling. Several other sailors, no doubt from the Seemarin, were with her.

/What are you two doing here?

The more calculating monster that Varuna had always been before she was appointed had returned as she came towards us, as if it had never left. Without Dyka or anyone else's presence to school her, she really was little more than a bully.

/You know, you should get out of our way. We have a sailor to defeat. She's coming right here, and she's one of the strongest known.

/What are you saying? I looked at the group behind her. -We know who she is.

/You do? Varuna mocked surprise. -I guess your friend told you about her, then? How she destroyed worlds in the beginning? How she can destroy the weaker soldiers without even calling on her power?

/...Are you trying to frighten us? I looked at Koogairu out of the side of my eye, and saw her slightly trembling. -You seem to be rushing quite quickly to fight her for so horrible a foe.

/Well...we don't want you to be scared, Floritiuse. Varuna smirked. -Besides, you're not fighting her anyways.

/Because you can't, came another soldier in the group. - Because we won't let you.

/Hey! Koogairu shouted. -W-we're sailors too!

/Maybe so. Varuna stepped forward. -But unlike you, we're the heroes.

With that, Varuna smacked Koogairu hard in the face; then, she kicked me in my loins. We both doubled over and fell to the ground with groans.

/HA! Some of the sailors laughed along with Varuna. -See, sisters? Themis isn't as tough as she looks. She just pretends.

/Hmph. I coughed as I glared at her. -And I guess killing babies makes you tough? Wonder how many of those babies would have been sailor soldiers.

/They're just civilians, Themis. And this is war. Varuna shrugged, for she was among those who was responsible for that crime. -We can't bother with specifics and separate between who's who in times like these, dear Floritiuse.

/And you're just a bleeding idiot.

I'd always wanted to say that. To be honest, I got a couple of kicks in the head for it, and I was nearly rendered unconscious. To be sure, someone did attack me with their sailor attack, which almost turned one of my appendages completely black. And yes, blood started coming from my eyes - fortunately, my eyes can regenerate if they get knocked out, though it still hurts when they bleed. But it still felt so good that that was the last thing she heard from me. Besides, it was better than trying to kill her and her friends, since I was injured and outnumbered.

/Worthless. She led her soldiers away. -Worthless!

/Varuna!

I struggled towards the wall, and dragged Koogairu with me, as the soldiers quickly filed out. We both sat against it, tending to ourselves.

/I'm sorry...

/Nah. I shook my head. -Varuna is horrid. She kills babies.

/Well, at least...

/You truly expected her to be pleasant?

/...That one didn't have to use their sailor powers!

/It doesn't matter. My voice was toneless. -They'll get theirs.

I sometimes wonder now if I was that kind of prophet to know, deep down, that their end would come. Of course, if I knew it somewhere within me, I did not ever expect it to have come so soon.

/Let's g-VARUNA!

/Frigai! What is it!

/It's here! She's he-

/BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM/

Both of us were shoved forward to the ground by a great force, though not so badly as the posse of soldiers behind us, who were doubtless thrown everywhere. There were screams around us, and the few people who were left ran by us.

/Ow.

/Are you all right?

/I...

I looked down at the ground next to us and froze. Bright flames fanned over the ashes and the rubble. I heard the shouts of the sailors ahead of us, and the laughter. That evil laughter.

/Sailors! I heard Varuna cry. -Battle! TO BATTLE!

/Oh! Koogairu -That's-

/koogairu! I regained movement and grabbed her towards me. -no.

/But everyone else is fighting her...

/we can't. I looked at Koogairu. -we're bound to easily die when she spots us. let them get their throats ripped out.

/...O...ok, floritiuse.

With that, I slowly turned myself around so I could see what was happening. Though my view was partially obsteeructed(?) by the wall, I could still see what was going on. And I saw much.

It was indeed her. She glowed like a spark ready to ignite, small fires lighting around her. The soldiers in Varuna's group quickly went into an attack formation, forming a circle around her, readying themselves for the fight.

/Well... I could hear Galaxia's insolent voice. -I thought I would find Sailor Moon with such a concentration of power such as this. But it seems I found a poor waste of my time instead.

/A waste! And angry cry came from the posse. -How dare you!.

/Demon enemy of the Three! Varuna pointed towards Galaxia. -Your name is known to us, as are your evil acts against the Three during the beginning. But your curse will end tonight.

/Shall it, now? Galaxia's fiery aura grew. -I would be interested to know how you all will do it.

/We will do it together. Varuna pointed. -And soon, you will be no more.

/We will destroy you!

/You will die tonight!

/Glory shall be ours!

/Aahahahahaaa! Her laughter echoed through the air. -Aaah, such bravery! How admirable is the glory of the Seemarin, as always! But come, children. She laughed again, and flames came out of her nostrils with a huff. -There is no need to rush. You shall all have your glorious chance to face me.

If I had to say something good about Sailor Galaxia, it was that she was an incredible fighter. I doubt any sailor in the universe could match her in that she could take on many, many soldiers at once.

/HUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

She was barely even using her powers, yet her flame became as bright as ever. She kicked Sailor Gritat, who had come at her with her staff, into the sky, never to return. Then, she threw the next sailor behind Gritat - at first I thought it was Nefitoy, but looking back I don't actually know who she was - at those who were behind her, sending them all to the ground. Another sailor soldier, Pokuucpoop, threw herself onto Galaxia's neck, but this she was easily dispatched into the side of a building.

/This cretin! I then saw Sailor Varuna. -We must use our powers better! Varuna Aurure Strike!

/Gritat Color Beam!

/themis! Koogairu's fearful whisper came into my ears. -shouldn't we help them? what's going on?

/they're attacking. it won't affect her, though.

/then we-

/they don't want our help. and we must live. I looked down. -koogairu.

/but then they...i thought we were supposed to...

Koogairu stopped when she saw my face, and she turned away with a sigh. I honestly didn't want to let them die that terribly; I'm not cold like that, and I did not like the idea of such a mass killing as what Galaxia would do. It would have been nice to prove to Varuna and all of those soldiers that I was truly worthy.

However, no matter what I could do, how would showing myself to Galaxia help them? I would die needlessly. I knew I was no match for Galaxia. But if Koogairu and I could live, even just long enough to find Sailor Moon through the smoke and flames, then maybe, perhaps, we had a chance.

/...you are very cruel.

/i'm...sorry, koogairu. there's no other way.

/...i forgive you. Koogairu's voice was very small as she pat me. -i really do...

/UUUUUGH!

There came the sound of crushed bodies, the cries of pain, the rumble of falling stones. Several cracking sounds echoed from the wall that shielded us. Koogairu gave a gasp as stronger flames whipped around and began to singe her sailor suit.

/no! I quickly covered her mouth. -she'll be gone soon.

/...mmmph...

I used my good appendages - as one was burnt - to put out the fires on Koogairu. It stung, but it was really nothing in terms of pain, for I had certainly felt worse before. Still, I hoped that the battle would soon end, so we could find Sailor Moon, and also so that Galaxia would leave us to escape.

/Re...repeat!

/Re...peat!(?)

Then I heard Galaxia's laugh over the pained moans of the soldiers, and I turned fearfully to see what was happening. All the soldiers were repeating their attacks against Galaxia, and they were all coming towards her.

/On other days, I would not be so merciful and give you your deaths so quickly... Sailor Galaxia's red eyes seemed to glitter. -But I have a foe that is far worthier of my attention than you maggots. I must hurry before she escapes me. FIRE!

A suddenly burst of flames surrounded Galaxia, and almost all of the attacks were deflected back at the sailors. Those that did not reflect merely disappeared before they touched Galaxia.

/AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

At they hit, the flames suddenly charged at them as well. Because they had been hit, there was no way they could possibly avoid the attack that would be the end of the battle for them.

/WA-THOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM/

I quickly turned, ducked and put Koogairu under my appendages as I saw the explosions coming. Unfortunately, the warning of the flame was of little help to anyone else who was there. The shock wave from the blast decimated the entire neighborhood around us. Somehow, however, the wall we were behind managed to hold. Flames and the bodies of soldiers flew past us.

/OOOOOOOOOOH!

Koogairu cried as she buried her head in me. The carcasses of some of the foolish soldiers fell before us, covered in ash and blood. Many of them - I believe there were five that landed in front of us - were almost completely unrecognizable.

/Oh, Floritiuse!

I admit that I wanted to mourn for the soldiers, in some small way, for having their deaths at the hands of Galaxia. But I couldn't. I knew I could not, for there was another thing that had to be done. It was something far more important than the lives of those soldiers at that moment.

I saw the light in the distance, even through the smoke and flames. It was the light of the sailor soldier. Up in the sky above us was the flames of Galaxia.

/Koogairu. I slowly lifted her off me. -I have to go.

/Go? Koogairu's eyes widened. -Go? To fight that...thing?

/...If I have to.

I managed to get myself up, despite the burnt appendage. I looked at the light in the distance. I remembered it from all the times I had seen it. I remembered my first time, how I was filled with terror and I attacked Usagi. I remembered when she had saved me from Galaxia with that same power. And then, how then, she was extinguishing the fires that now raged across Asgerd.

I looked upon the light, and I suddenly had the feeling that I had when I had been in the Court of Justice. That feeling of power flowed within me once more, only it was even stronger than before.

And so I, too, was that great light, as if it was a life in itself, and it had come to me to give me that wondrous power.


I can't recall how much time had passed with that; perhaps it was only a mere thought later. But Koogairu watched me (for she told me later) become as bright as a star, illuminating the area as if it were a clear day, even lifting off the ground towards the atmosphere. I certainly do not remember feeling like I was floating in the sky; I only remember feeling like I did when I was sleeping in my bed after having coocor, and strange but beautiful dreams would come to me and I'd never want to wake up.

Indeed, I saw so many things within my dream. I saw the school that I had attended as a child, but it was not as I remembered it. It was a cheerful-looking castle that stood in the middle of a field full of all flowers of all kinds - some from my native world, but others from worlds I have never known or seen, even to this day. There was a wind upon me, a cool breeze that relaxed me.

/Teacher! Teacher!

Then I saw the children in my class, running towards me, laughing and rolling as they came towards me. I gave a cry of delight, for it felt like I had not seen them in such a while.

/Teacher! Teacher! They threw themselves at me, and we tumbled in the field together. -Where have you been?

/Oh... I felt so happy to see them, I think I began to cry. -Oh! You guys! My children!

/Did you get a lot of bad guys! The students were so happy to see me. -Did you get any medals!

/No...no medals this time.

/Aww! The students' happiness did not seem to abate. -But you're still such a cool teacher!

/You're the best teacher ever!

/Floritiuse.

The students and I stopped our frolicking at the sound of the deep voice. I remembered full well who it belonged to. Yet, for some time, I could only stare at the person who said it.

/Ms. Themis? The students looked questioningly at him. -Who is that, teacher?

/...you...

Staring at my father, and my mother, I felt like a child again. I stood up, my students surrounding me, confused. They did not know of my father, or of my mother, or what had happened to me as a child.

/Floritiuse.

/...f... I managed to get it out, though I felt detested saying it. -...father.

He seemed fuzzy, static, as if he were not completely there. And yet, he was there at the same time and I could see him as if he were really there, and he did not look like the man I knew when I was a child. He seemed very old, and very thin, and very sad.

And there was my mother, whom I barely remembered, and yet she stood there and her image was as clear as if I had only seen her the day before. I had dreamed of my parents many, many times over the years, but it never felt so real as it did at that moment.

/It has been many years. My mother, a small, timid woman for a Themisian, stood silently next to him as he spoke. -Floritiuse. No word from you since you were six.

/What... I held the hands of one of my students. -What are you doing here now?

/I know, you said...to get out of your life. He didn't quite look me in the eyes. -I honestly don't know why I am here. I was...I was where I have been since you were taken.

/Who is he? One of my students spoke again, for they had not heard my calling him my father. He looks old.

/Where you belong. I turned away. -I'm sorry, children. You shouldn't be seeing this. You shouldn't be seeing him…

/I see your name often in the holopapers they bring to my place. Sailor Dad, that's what they call me now.

/That's your dad? What a weird name he has! Another student looked at him and waved. -Hello, Sailor Dad.

/I… I noticed him smile a brief moment. -Hello.

/It's better than what I would call you. I still did not look at him. -At least you could have a child to maim as you pleased.

/No, Florituse. I…had a dream.

/A dream.

I looked up at him and gave a start. My brothers now stood with my parents, looking as solemn as they did. I had not seen them in years as well, had never even written to them, for they too had been scattered. I had almost forgotten their names completely. They were much older as well.

/...Ni... I stammered. -Ninuse. Dosteiuse...Hanajiuse...Zoiruse. This isn't real.

/Your mother came to me in the dream, just like now. My father continued. -She said I should see you. I told her she was crazy, that she was a ghost. She died in another facility some time ago. But then, your brothers came in the dream, whom I knew were alive. And then...

I looked down, hoping to squeeze the hand of one of my students once more. But I felt nothing. I looked and saw they were gone.

/No...

/...they came.

I blinked. And everything changed.

Thousands - no, millions - now stood behind my family. They were all shapes and sizes, from all different walks of life - so many I knew what species they were of, yet so many more I did not. They teemed all over the field, and they stood in a cold silence, looking at me intently.

For a moment, I could not understand whom all of these people were. Then I saw a hint of glittering light in the front row, the glitter of a sailor soldier. And that glitter belonged to Sailor Kastalle.

/Sailor Themis. They were the dead. -Hello.

/You... I looked at the seemingly endless field of people in front of me. -The dead souls...

/They all say that they were killed by a common enemy. I knew my father's gaze was still on me. -One you are fighting, though the name escapes me.

/...Galaxia.

/That sounds like the name they gave.

/What do they want?

/We want you to stop her. Another voice came up. It was a civilian. -We want the deaths of our peoples avenged today.

/...Do you want me to... I gulped. -Kill her?

/If it can be done.

/But it can't be done! I am powerless against her! I protested. -Surely you do not ask me to do it alone! Not even ten Sailor Themises could defeat her. Only Sailor Moon can do it alone.

A murmur came from the crowd. I did not know why this caused such a reaction.

/We dead know of her. My mother finally spoke. -We do not expect you to match her power and fight Galaxia alone. Her power is matchless.

/But you asked me...

/You have more power than you think, Floritiuse. My father's head went down. -Certainly more than us, or me.

/...Is she in danger?

I looked worriedly at the crowd, expecting an answer. But they had become silent once more.

/I think...she may be.

/Then I must help her! My head went down. -Even if I'm alone.

/You make me proud.

My heart stood still as, suddenly, my father and all of my family were in front of me, and only they were in the field with me. His sad eyes were on me, and for the first time, I looked at him.

/I can never forgive you for what you did. I stated this as frankly as I could, for it was the truth. -No matter who you are or how long it has been.

/I don't expect it. I thought I saw a tear come from his eye. -I just...wanted to tell you that you make me happy, and your mother, even as I made you miserable. That is all...I wanted to say...no matter what happens in this battle. You are always a sailor, but you're never alone.

I do not know how to describe my feelings about what my father said. I could not forgive him for hurting me as he did, and yet his words were truly sincere. I think my feelings were mixed, since I could not love him as a daughter loved a father, and yet I somehow knew it would be the last time I would ever see him or my mother - for any reason, not necessarily death.

/Good luck, sister. Suddenly, my brothers were in front of me. -When I wake up, I hope to hear good news of you.

/Get a blow in for me.

/Come find me on Themis if you come out of this all right.

/We hope to see you again.

And then they were all gone, and the light consumed me once more. Yet, before I returned to life, I saw one more vision of people.

I could not see them clearly; they were merely shadows that seemed to be looking down on me. The shadows did not seem so foreboding, for they were in the light with me, and the light itself was a pure light. Yet there were nine of them, like the number of the Astramort. Why I thought of the Astramort at that last moment, I did not know why.


/Themis!

The first thing I heard was the cry of Koogairu. Suddenly, the light receded, and I was back on Asgerd. I did not know what had happened; I felt dazed from all I had seen.

/I... I looked at Koogairu. -...Astramort...I saw...my family...

/Themis. Koogairu's voice cracked. -You're changed.

I looked down at myself slowly at her shocked words. Never did I expect sich a change, for indeed, I had changed. I was bright like a star should be, and it was as if the heat of the crystal within me had turned my skin a glowing pale green, almost white. My sailor suit, at least what I could see of it, had turned into a light yellow. My injuries from the my fight with Varuna, even my burnt appendage, were all healed, as if they had never been.

Nor was it that I merely looked different; I also felt very different as well. The feeling I had experienced when I was in the Court of Justice that day was back, yet it was far stronger now than it had been. And I felt lighter, as if I could fly into the sky. I gave a cry of happiness at this.

That was when I realized that I really could fly into the sky, for I hit myself in the face with one of my wings as cried out.

/OW!

I covered my face and cursed myself for such foolishness. Surely, a hero could not be such an idiot as I was.

/Themis...Floritiuse... Koogairu again got my attention. -Look!

I looked over to where Koogairu pointed, and gasped. The great light of Sailor Moon, and the fire of Galaxia, had collided. It must have happened whenn I had been engulfed, for I had not felt any explosion from it. Yet it had happened, and two lights - one white, and one red - were falling from the sky.

/I have to go! I began to beat my newfound wings. -I have to save Sailor Moon!

/Floritiuse!

I felt Koogairu grab my appendage. I stopped and looked at her.

/Koogairu...I can't take you. I became saddened. -I know you'd be of help, but...

/I know...Just be careful. Koogairu hugged my appendage tightly. -Please don't get killed.

/...I won't.

I felt strange as I said it. How I said it made it like I seemed so certain that I would live. Yet I had little time to ponder why I sounded so confident. I raised myself up with my great wings, and as fast as the crystal within me had awakened, I was in the sky.

Yes, there was smoke and ash all around me, for the fires raged all around me and should have hurt me. Yet like a firebird, I had been awoken from the remains of my old self and felt no pain.

The battle I was to fight was coming.


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES:

(?)Obstructed.

(?)An interesting note on these sailor soldiers: A sailor soldier need only say "repeat" to re-activate a power that that have recently attacked with. Whether or not this method works for all sailors is not known.

40: Faltering

I had never seen any place in the condition Asgerd was when I flew over the city. Fires burned all over, covering the world with a blinding smoke. Buildings that had stood since the beginning of time were crumbling to nothing. Innocent people, families, entire bloodlines that had existed when sailor soldiers had first come to be were hurt, dying and dead.

So much destruction and chaos, and all for the evil of one person. It was as if the end of life had finally come to us, in the fire and pure hatred of Sailor Galaxia. But I refused to believe it, not as I still had power in me to stop it. For at that moment I had more power than I could remember ever having.

It was really all because of Sailor Moon. Usagi. Something in that light allowed me to awaken my true powers. I knew it was my own great power because my chest felt like a star - hot, yet not so hot that it hurt me. It was as if Sailor Moon's true power awakened my own true power - the energy that I always had, yet I was somehow incapable of realizing it.

How was that? And then, I thought as I flew, where was the Three? I was fighting, Seemarin soldiers were fighting, civilians were even fighting, I was sure. Yet the glorious power of the Three, I could not sense near where I had seen either Sailor Galaxia or Sailor Moon fall. Surely, the Three would be the first to act against Galaxia? So then, why did they send us, and not join the battle themselves as they had in legendary battles past?

But those were questions that I had little time to ponder deeply. I had get to Galaxia or Sailor Moon. If I found Galaxia first, there was really only one thing I could do.

And I wasn't totally looking forward to doing that alone.

/Aaah!

I saw her first. There were fires all around her body, which was at the bottom of a large, smoking crater. The ends of her hair were still aflame, but the rest of her body was a pale gray. She looked unmoving, lifeless.

There she is.

Slowly, I began to fly down towards her. There were some scratches all over her body, no doubt from her fight with Sailor Moon. She had rips in her sailor suit as well. The fight had obviously been vicious; I only feared how Sailor Moon could have fared.

I ventured in closer. I came within tentacles' reach of her. If I felt like it, I could have reached out and hit her.

Then I saw her eye twitch.

/YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

She was amazingly fast with her recovery, and even faster with her attack. Her leg got me in the face, sending me down into the crater. Before I landed, before I could even recover, she had her fist in my chest.

/HELLO!

I flew with such force that I crashed through several walls before I finally stopped dead on the ground. I don't know how long I flew; there was no way I could gauge myself. I simply held myself, coughing up ash, the first scream still ringing in my ears. My newfound powers hadn't saved me that time.

But the next time, I was ready for her. She came at me like a madwoman, her flame trailing behind her like a shooting star. Her mouth was open and out of it came a feral hiss. She was very fast; but this time I was faster and I rolled under and away from her. She flew through the wall of the building and didn't stop until she had nearly gone through another wall.

Indeed, it was a shock than I was in a building. Most of the other buildings where I was then had been completely destroyed. Yet this building stood, intact save for some holes in its foundation made by us. Perhaps it was made of a stronger material. But I digress.

/HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Then she came flying back. I got up and braced myself for her. She must have expected me to duck again, for she started going towards my midsection. But I was prepared for her.

/Lanzastro...Spear!

Again, as it had before, there was no effect on her. It merely dissipated in front of her. She kept coming towards me, this time, with a great smile on her face.

/Aaaaaaaah! She laughed. -I thought you looked familiar! Sailor Themis, I see! Poor child, fighting me! MAHAHAHAHAHA!

I closed my eyes angrily, consulting myself, trying to find out if there was a way to even touch her. As I did, I felt the heat in my body rise again. I felt a strange sensation in my head - a voice, soft and low in the back of my head, not there, yet it was. It spoke a language I had never heard, yet I knew it right away. It was as if my star power was reacting to my frustration, and it was telling me what to do.

So I listened. And the new power flowed through me.

/...Themis... My tentacles came together. -Spiral Shock...

In front of my tentacles came a great ball of energy. I was surprised how easily the power came to me, how great the energy was that I held. It spiraled around my tentacles until a great star was shaped around me. I waited until Galaxia was close to me, so I could see the contempt in her eyes, her smile mocking me, for she expected it to fail, just as all the others had.

/LASER!

The moment it left my hands, I knew it would hit. It was just too powerful not to, and Galaxia was too close to dodge. Her scream suddenly filled the room, and the glow of my attack surrounded her as she fell to the floor. Her flame went out, though not as it had when Sailor Moon had attacked, and she rolled on the floor.

/I'm not as weak as you thought, I slowly spoke. -You should never underestimate any enemy. They taught that at the school.

/...ugh...

I watched as she rolled over to look at me with flashing eyes. I could see that I had hit her pretty badly. Even through the smoke, I could see the traces of blood on her upper body - which had come from my attack.

/……..Ah...ah. So you have awakened to your true powers. Galaxia slowly stood up, her flame faded. I could still see the blood bleeding from her forehead onto her face. -Impressive. Far more impressive than those girls down there who dared to call themselves sailor soldiers.

She suddenly leaped over me. I threw up one of my appendages to grab her as I had before, but this was a foolish thing to do. She burst into flames again, laughing, and my appendage burned. I screamed and retracted it.

/You…!

I turned to where she had landed, but she was too fast for me. I managed to avoid most of the attack she had sent me at that moment, but I could not avoid i her /i . Immediately after the flames had passed me, her arm smacked me right in the face, bringing sparks of bright color into my eyes. I fell to the floor, holding my face.

/But you still are not like me. It is sad that no one else has the power I have. Galaxia's form loomed over me. -At least, no one here. Not even the old ones can compare.

/Old….ones…..?

/Perhaps one who is awakened like you can now understand the truth.

With a quick grab, I was being crushed in her arms. Her arms were wrapped around me in such a way that left me unable to attack or even to move. So I struggled to get free, but to no avail.

/Power is all we have. Her heated breath blew onto me as she hissed. -No matter how many times we are reborn, no matter how times change. No matter what the fools tell you. Power is our greatest asset. As sailor soldiers, we are the ones who carry the strength of the stars. Why should we not use what we have been given by fate, therefore, to rule them all?

/Be….cause…….. I gasped. -A sailor's…….duty……

/Duty. She laughed. -Aah, yes. The duty of a soldier, to protect those worlds and those sisters we hold dear. To uphold the fair and just ways of the Three, for they are the greatest, and the Seemarin is theirs to govern. Beauty in birth, dignity in death, yes? I was in a school too, long, long ago. How things haven't changed since then.

I had forgotten that Galaxia had existed for such a long time, that she had been an enemy of the Seemarin. I tried again to escape, but her hold simply got tighter.

/A noble sailor, always wanting the truth. She turned my head to her. -The truth is, now that you have awakened to your greater powers, there is no turning back for you. Once they learn, they will banish you just as they banished me.

/Wh….

/The Three.

I was fearful at this. I turned to see Galaxia's eyes mocking me again. I could not believe the very idea that the great Three - the Three whom I had pledged my life to, whom took care of me and gave me a civilian job, whom I would have given my life for - that they would simply banish me for something that felt so wonderful.

/I can still remember the day they turned me out of the Seemarin. The heat became intolerable; it was a sign of her anger. -I had fought World Crushers for them on my own world and on so many others. I watched all of the innocent people fall to them as rain falls from the sky. Pointless death, pointless violence, all in a never-ending cycle that no one was stopping. Then my planet was completely destroyed. And in my anger at seeing all of it, I awoke to my powers. I saved the universe from Chaos with my powers, and destroyed those enemies! As the dust settled, everyone knew that it was me who had saved them, not the Three.

The flames suddenly shot up. I cried in pain, and I feared that her power would consume me, just as it had consumed so many others before me.

/And what was my reward in return from the Seemarin? Was I exalted for my bravery, was I congratulated for what I had done? No, they stood me in front of the Seemarin and destroyed my life! The fire seemed to roar as she did. -A traitor! A worker of evil! A threat to the universe! No soldier should access that kind of power! The blamed me - ME - for the destruction of my planet! And I was turned away, like all the others who had truly awakened. They couldn't outright kill me, of course; it would be far too obvious that they had something to hide. But they ordered that my name be reviled in every publication, that the truth be distorted to show how I had helped the World Crushers and how my people had become arrogant with the dark powers and were killed after they tried to usurp Chaos. Then they imprisoned those who disagreed or knew the truth. Because of what happened, I was destroyed for becoming what I was supposed to be - a being of power! How is that FAIR and JUST?

I screamed as the fires went down again. My whole body burned now; the heat had drained much of my energy, and my head was pounding.

/They don't care about the universe. Galaxia's voice became soft. -They only care for themselves. That their power should preserved, so that no one questions them. They knew about the Galaxy Cauldron; when that happened, they became frightened like babies. That's all they are, ancient hags with the mentality of infants. And they must have said, look! TWO soldiers! Sailor Moon! Not just the soldier we cast away, but also a crystal that carries the power of the universe! What fear they must have felt when they felt the power rumble and course through their rotted chests.

I stared at her, my eyes widened at what she said. I thought I couldn't believe what Galaxia was saying. It had to be so terrible and shocking, and inconceivable that the Three would know, and do nothing. No sailor could know that truth and believe it.

I was shocked. Yes, that small part of me that had always seemed to be in doubt, what I had known with what had happened during the Great Matter, was what kept me from completely denying what she said to be true. But everything Galaxia said was upsetting, angering. For the very idea that the Three knew of the injustice...always knew of it yet always, always did nothing to stop it...

This made me furious.

/…….They knew.

/They know everything. Galaxia's face rubbed onto mine. -Don't they, Floritiuse? That's your civilian name, right? They know all that was, and all that is. They knew the truth about what happened at the Galaxy Cauldron. But if they had taken me in with Sailor Moon after what had happened at the Cauldron, how would they look? If they let the universe know what happened - how close we - they - had been to destroying everything - what would have happened to them? They would lose their little fairy tale kingdom. They would have faced revolt. They couldn't let that happen, could they?

/I...

I turned away from Galaxia's face, staring at the hole in the wall. Everything outside looked bleak, covered in the ash and soot. Asgerd was being destroyed, people were dying, the Judges, the ones whom I had put my faith in - my naïve faith - they did nothing. They watched life die from the court, or from their citadel, or from wherever they lived when they weren't masquerading as keepers of peace and love. It had all been a lie; the slogans, the schools, the senate, the promises of a better universe. The knowledge that we were better than the Vika galaxies because we followed the Three. They were all lies.

No soldier, no matter where they were in the universe, would allow that to happen. But the Three did.

/Can you imagine the anger I felt when they threw me out? But forget me now. Sailor Galaxia's voice lowered. -You, you believed in them all your life. No matter my feelings. I can't imagine the anger you feel towards them...I cannot imagine the scope of it. You risked yourself and all you had in defending Sailor Moon, because it was surely the right thing to do. And what was your reward for the obedience you gave them your whole life? The Three kicked you out too, when they listened to Sailor Dyka. Of course they'd believe someone that danced to their commands without much question.

I closed my eyes when I heard this. It was all true, no matter how hard I tried to deny it. I was nothing to the Three. They didn't care about me, or about anyone else, but themselves and whomever was the most obedient. All the anger and hatred between the civilians and soldiers didn't matter just as Usagi's life didn't matter, just as my life didn't matter. The rage I held inside me began to grow.

/They don't care about you. Her voice was barely above a whisper. -They never cared about you. They...never...will...care. All the judges care about is balancing the universe to their liking! They have you all as their lapdogs. You fear them so much, you forget about your true powers. Ha! Leave them, Floritiuse! Don't bother yourself with their work and their problems. This isn't your battle; its theirs. Be an individual, and let your mind be freed from their silly problems and pettiness. There are others who care more about you than they could ever care for you in ten lives; you just... At this, she ran a finger down the side of my face. -...have to look for them outside of your normal circles.

I gave a small shudder at this. For even in my fury I realized that I had a very horrible choice before me.

/You may think...I'm just a murderer and a liar. I was sure Galaxia was smiling as she spoke. -If I am a murderer, and a liar, then they are the same thing, and far worse. I went and did what I did because it was the right thing to do. The universe must be changed. The balance of power must be upset. I'm sure you see that now, and know what must be done to change it. Too many people have been destroyed because of them. Don't let them destroy you.

All life that could be had seemed dead when she spoke those words. What could I do? The Three were now evil and Sailor Galaxia was certainly evil. I could trust neither of them with the safety of my life, and I did not think that either would have cared if I died.

I had grown up with the Three all of my life, and being outside of that rule seemed daunting. On the other hand, Galaxia's words were very well put, and she knew what to say with me. She knew how she could persuade me to join her. A person who had lived as long as her knew how the soldiers of the Seemarin worked, knew that integrity was their weakness. She had done the same to many before me.

The fate of the universe surely must have rested in my hands at that moment. If it didn't, at the very least, my own fate rested in my hands. And I had to make a decision.

/Themis...

Then I remembered her. She had looked so beautiful that night, even as I was about to kill her. Her eyes had something in them - sadness, but wisdom and hope as well. It was a wisdom that no one could fathom. It was a hope I'd never seen in anyone that was in such a hopeless situation. That perhaps she could be destroyed, but she would always be there. No one could rid themselves of her presence, of her spirit.

Of her kindness, that she would forgive me for what I did to her. It had to have been hard for her to trust me. In return for that trust in me, I remembered why I was fighting. Why I had even gone to Galaxia in the first place.

She was my friend.

/HUAAAAAAAAAAH!

Suddenly, I grabbed Galaxia by the neck with my tentacles. As her power had been lowered purposely in her attempt to persuade me, I had no worry of being burned. I was amazed at my own strength at the moment, for I nearly threw her out of the hole. As it was, she hit the ground very hard.

/AAAAGH! I back away as her flame exploded around her. -YOU FOOL! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

/What I'm supposed to do.

I took a deep breath, I knew I would probably die, but not before I said a few things first. Maybe not a few things, just one thing. But I digress.

/I guess I can't trust the Three, if they let you off with your life. Not when you are a threat to them. What they did was unforgivable. I looked up. -But you...you...are still a monster. You killed all those people!

I could feel her angry glare at me as I spoke. I could feel the air grow hot with the inferno, with the essence of her anger. But I simply sighed.

/So...I'm working for myself.

I don't exactly remember how hard she hit me. It hurt a lot, and my face smoked from the blow. I fell to the ground, still looking up towards the ceiling, hoping that as I died, I wouldn't scream like a coward, change my mind and beg for my life. I closed my eyes.

/Monster! She stood above me. -You still don't know anything. You should be regarding me as your savior. I'm doing all of you weak children a favor! I was doing you a favor! And you threw it back at my face!

/You...killed...you killed all those people.

/What does it matter to you now? She spat on me. -They are acceptable losses to me. I briefly bought into Sailor Moon's illusions, yes, the ones you harbor now - that life was special, that good things could come. But what do you know? Your life was planned out for you. You never lived my life. She never lived my life. But I had time to think about my priorities after I met her, after the battle, and I realized - this is my priority. The life I was living, that was all I had. So I will fulfill that destiny I almost abandoned.

/So...destroying the galaxies...is a priority?

/Destruction in order to change everything! She laughed. -Sailor Moon and I are much more similar than you think. We both have great power; our powers are feared by the judges.

She laughed as she formed the fall of energy in her hands. The wind that accompanied it blew my tentacles around.

/Aren't you frightened of me? She smiled at me. -You should be. I could see the fear in your eyes...when you had them opened. Heheh. GALACTICA...

I felt the heat rise, and I could feel steam coming off the ground. At that moment, my life suddenly came to the forefront of my mind, and I saw everything.

The battles I fought. The people I knew, and the people I know. The good things, the bad things. My childhood. My school. My parents. My family. The children in my school. The princess of Ydhh. Koogairu. Dyka. Kepe. Brutus. Galaxia. Usagi.

Me.

I surely thought I would have been dead by the time the story of my life had finished playing in my mind. That was, until I opened my eyes and saw the big purple circle.

It's the only way I can describe it. It was a giant purple circle, it was filled with a very great power, and it was coming right towards Galaxia. Yet occupied that she was with gloating over me, she didn't even realize it was about to hit her until it hit her.

/HUAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIEIEEEEEEEEEEE!

As she violently writhed and screamed in utmost agony, I used the opportunity to do the thing I saw fit for me to do. I ran away.

/COME……..BACK…….. Galaxia gasped. -HEEEEERRRRRRE……

I went to go down the stairs, which would have been my safest bet to escape. Unfortunately, my safest bet was blocked by rubble that had accumulated during our fight. Nor did I have the time to clear the rubble out before the attack - whatever the attack was - had worn off of my enemy.

So I ran up the stairs. At least I would have some time to regroup my thoughts and my energy before I died.

But I showed her! I proved I was myself! I didn't cower and take the easy way out. At least I'd have some comfort in that for the rest of my life - however long that might have been.

41: Sailor Soldiers

I was happy that I was alive at that moment; I realized that I had won one part of the terrible battle that I was fighting, a battle that was determining more in the universe than I really cared to know. I still don't care to know just how much was decided by the fight. But I digress.

The building I was in was one that had somehow managed to withstand the powers of both Sailor Galaxia and Sailor Moon. During their battle, they had destroyed all the others they had touched. I realized that if Sailor Moon came here. this one would be next. Not only that, but Galaxia seemed to have an endless amount of strength, even when she was hit as she had been when I found her.

How could she be beaten? I certainly could not beat her. Ten soldiers couldn't beat her. The only person who had the ability to match Galaxia was Sailor Moon, but she could not - or, because of the past, would not? - kill her. It was not the best situation at all.

We would need help, and we would need it desperately. I could not know if there was anyone else who could match the enemy - any soldier, or any group who could stir fear within that chamber that would have held Galaxia's heart if she had one.

Of course, even then, I should have known better. Even near the end, I should have reminded myself that if all the past events in The Great Matter had taught me anything, it was that nothing was impossible anymore.

But I kept forgetting that. Nothing but escape and finding Sailor Moon was on my mind.


I was gasping for air by the time I got up to the top of the building. I consider myself a strong soldier, but I am no means someone who could scale the heights I scaled without being winded. I took in as much air as I could, cursing myself for having forgot the I had new wings and could have easily flown without exhausting myself.

/Uuugh... I threw myself onto the ground. -Floritiuse, you are a total fool. Total, total fool. Yes, you are...you...are...

I looked up and stopped panting. My exhaustion was forgotten, and I was up off the ground, staring at what was in front of me. I was unable to speak for a moment.

/...Sailor Moon.

She fell to her knees, gasping. I became worried as I looked upon her; her condition was very haggard at best. Her clothing was well torn, and she had many bruises. On her head was a large cut, which was still bleeding.

/Sailor Moon! I was horrified at her state. -What happened! Are you all right!

/I...I...

She looked up, seemingly at me. She had been crying, perhaps from all the pain she was in. It would be impossible not to be so in her condition. Yet to my complete disbelief, she was also smiling. Her face was happier than I'd ever seen it, even with her Mamo-chan.

/...What? I thought she was going crazy. -Why are you smiling, you idiot! You could have been killed! I almost was!

She didn't seem to hear me. In fact, she kept looking up, with a big smile on her face, and the tears still came to her. I was quite flabigested(?) by it. Why would she be so happy about nearly dying against such a foe? I quickly became frustrated with her smiling and crying, and so I looked up to see what was giving her such unwarranted amusement.

There was a shooting star in the sky, and it was piercing through the smoke. It was followed by a second star. Then another. Then another.

/...What...?

And more. Slowly, the sky began to clear, gradually dispelling the smoke and brightening the sky of Asgerd.

/...they're here...

As it no doubt had during the battle, light began to come once more from Sailor Moon. Her shape seemed to change, transforming into pure light.

/I can't believe it...they're HERE!

Stripes of light soon shot across the sky, with little sign of blackness left. The light from Sailor Moon brightened, and she opened her eyes and spread her arms out.

/SAILOR MOON! What... I stopped. -Oh...no...

I then remembered what Mamo-chan had said and realized.

/BOOMboombooMBooMOBOoombOoMbOOmBoOmBOOBOOBOOBOOOBOOOOM/

That is how it all was to me, for I then understood what was going on. Asgerd was under attack - by sailor soldiers! Thousands of them, as far as I could see, crashing onto the surface of the planet in a blaze of lights. Those who had survived the first part of the battle - myself a part of this group - had never seen or felt such a feenominun(?) before!

/They're here! Sailor Moon slowly stood once more, her chest glowing with her terrible power. -All this power...this familiarity...they've finally come! They've come to save me! My friends!

I never realized how many friends a person could have until the new (to me) sailor soldiers came. There were so many. I really wished at that moment that I had as many good friends as she did, if only because I wouldn't want to be caught in the same situation that Usagi had been brought into without some considerable help. But I digress.

/They... I looked up to the sky. -Sailor Moon, tell them to stop!
-...Floritiuse. Sailor Moon turned back towards me. She had a very strange smile on her face. -Don't you see? They're here to help me! They've finally come to give me their powers!
-But they're destroying Asgerd!
-Let them!

She suddenly stood before us, laughing in such a way that chilled my body. She was not paying much attention to me, however. Her attention was on Sailor Moon, and on the incoming soldiers. The moment Sailor Moon's eyes came on Galaxia, the power from her chest faded away, and she took several steps back..

/Galaxia...!
-They will come towards this place, princess. Galaxia wiped whatever blood was left on her face off. -They know your power. The Vika soldiers have been gathering on the edges of the Seemarin's claimed territory, awaiting the time they were powerful enough to strike.
-What!
-They cannot sense my power. Again, Galaxia ignored me. -They only answer to you, Sailor Moon.
-...WHAT?
-What a surprise it would be when they see me standing upon your body, striking you down as they all watch in despair! Galaxia cackled. -What a sight it shall be! What chaos it shall cause!
-...WAIT! I finally screamed. -You...you knew!
-Fool! This did catch her attention. -How could the Vika soldiers not come to the rescue of their messiah? They have come here in full force! But naturally, the old ones that you placed your faith with ignored the threat. Because we all know, she walked towards me. -The Vika are backward hicks. All weaklings. No threat at all.

I took several steps back at these words. I remembered the way I thought of Vika soldiers, which was the way of soldiers in the civilized universe. That they were backwards, that they had no powers - everything Galaxia was saying.

/How could you think your simpler kind could be stronger than the Vika? Galaxia turned and gestured her arms in a circle. -Now that they are all here, what civilized sailor would dare fight a heathen? And what could stop them if they knew everything all that had happened? Behold them, Floritiuse! We are on the brink of chaos!

/...Themis...

I saw Sailor Moon looking at me. She had her weapon in her hand, and she pointed towards Galaxia. I didn't quite understand what she wanted of me, other than to attack. But when I went to do so, she violently shook her head.

What? I looked around desperately. What is it? What do you want me to do?

I looked around desperately.

Soon, the shooting lights died down to nothing. The smoke was mostly gone, so we could see the city - the planet - around us much clearer. Asgerd was still filled with ruin and death; buildings were still destroyed and left for dust. Fires still raged, though not as terrible and bleak as before, and that was the only difference in the landscape - at least, in terms of what was native to the world.

But there were now countless sailor soldiers that were starting to fill the empty spaces. Soldiers of different colors, different shapes and sizes. Like insects, their numbers seemed to grow indefinitely on the horizon. They were all walking slowly, silently, all towards the building we stood upon.

/Eheheheheh! I saw Galaxia raise her hands and hold her head up. -SAILOR SOLDIERS OF THE VIKA! YOU HAVE FINALLY COME!

Galaxia's voice suddenly gained such a power that allowed her voice to sound as if it came from the sky, and indeed, it shook the building with its resonance. The endless group suddenly stopped at this outburst, as if a secret command within the words had ordered them to. I, too, was stopped by its power, as was Sailor Moon.

/I COMMEND YOU FOR YOUR UNWAVERING LOYALTY TO YOUR CHOSEN LEADER! Galaxia's voice was filled with contempt. -SURELY, IF EVER THERE WAS A CULT OF PERSONALITY, SAILOR MOON HAS CERTAINLY ACHIEVED THE ZENITH WITH HERS! SHE HAS CERTAINLY CONVINCED YOUR KIND OF HER WORTH!

A small sound came from the crowd at this. I am not one who is good with reading the reaction of a large group of people, but I began to quake with fear as I heard the noises coming from below.

/I WONDER WHAT YOU WILL SAY, WHEN I TELL YOU THE TRAVESTIES SHE HAS ENDURED UNDER THE RULERS OF THIS WORLDLY SYSTEM, HMM? The flames leaped up at this. -THAT SHE HAS BEEN BEATEN, TORTURED, AND TREATED AS LITTLE MORE THAN DUST! AND BY SAILOR SOLDIERS OF THESE WORLDS, WHOM YOU HAVE UNDOUBTEDLY HAD TO RESIST TO GET HERE!

Huh?

The crowd's murmurs began to become loud talk. The soldiers began to look at one another - at least, as far as I could see - and began to become vivid in their expressions and their gestures. I was surprised at Galaxia's words; what was she doing?

/THEY FEAR YOUR PRECIOUS SAILOR MOON! AND WHY? WHY? She calmed down. -For saving the universe. They became JEALOUS of your leader for DOING the RIGHT thing!

The crowd became louder, and people began to shout. Soldiers were pointing up towards Galaxia, shouting; others were crying.

Suddenly, I understood. She was doing what she had tried with me. She was turning the crowd against the Three!

/AND NOW! NOW THEY WILL KILL YOUR PRINCESS! Galaxia went back to shouting. -WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW? WHAT IS THERE LEFT TO DO BUT TO FIGHT THOSE WHO HAVE CAUSED THIS? THOSE WHO HAVE TAKEN YOU ALL FROM YOUR HOMES, FOR THE LIFE OF ONE SOLDIER! A SOLDIER WHO IS DEAD!

The crowd was becoming furious; they would be let loose to strike fellow sisters at any minute! I tried desperately to speak, but Galaxia seemed to take the energy of the sailor soldiers and use it to strengthen herself, for she held me incapable. Either that, or she had always been capable of doing it the entire time, for she did have a great deal of power to begin with.

Regardless of her power, however, regardless of everything, Galaxia had still made a very terrible mistake. For the dead woman whom had been so wrongly hurt could match Galaxia in any way, and Sailor Moon did just that.

/SAILORS! Her voice came out as a scream, a desperate scream. -PLEASE! DON'T BELIEVE WHAT SHE IS SAYING TO YOU! I'M ALIVE! DON'T BE FOOLED BY SAILOR GALAXIA AGAIN!

Yet, after the silence this brought, there still came a great shout of war from the soldiers. I could see Sailor Moon's sorrowful face as she heard the cry. She looked wounded, almost as she had looked when I had killed her. She had failed to break the spell.

/BOOOMBOOOMBOOOOOM/

The building violently rocked without warning. Both Sailor Moon and I were thrown to the ground. Galaxia, meanwhile, had been thrown, but had caught herself and ascended into the air.

/Huh? I gasped as I lay on the floor. Then, I cried with joy, for I knew what it meant. -Sailor Moon, they're attacking the building! THEY'RE ATTACKING THE BUILDING!

/THOWWWWWWWWN/

Then there was a great blast of light. It slowly dimmed, but it enclosed the building in a great column that reached up to the sky. Thousands of sailor soldiers were suddenly thrown back, and the landscape became littered with them.

A barrier. I realized. She has created a barrier to keep the soldiers out!

Despite this, however, the army did not give up. As soon as they recovered, they began to converge around the building once more. The light of their attacks shined all around us, and they shot out towards the barrier.

/BOOOOM! BOOOOOOOOM/

/Ahahahaha! Sailor Galaxia laughed. -Fools! You cannot get through! You are all fools!

/Themis…..

It was here that I decided to act. Galaxia did not see me as I charged towards her. I held up my appendages and formed my attack.

/Spiral Shock LASER!

I thought it would hit for a moment; I was wrong. She turned towards me with a smile as she held her hand up. My attack disappeared in front of it.

/What! I cried. -But it worked bef-

I didn't get to finish what I was saying. I didn't get to finish anything, for I was suddenly pinned to the ground by two great rings of fire.

/HEY! I struggled. -You...!

/Heheh. Galaxia's eyes glittered. -Stay out of this.

/Let her go!

/No. Galaxia slowly turned towards Sailor Moon. -You'll have to kill me first.

/...I...

/BOOOOOOOOM/

Another assault came upon the barrier, but it held still. There was a long, long silence between the two as they stood in front of one another, looking at each other. In Galaxia's eyes was a great hatred for an enemy, while in Usagi's eyes was a sadness for one she had considered an ally and a friend.

/...I...see.

With this, Sailor Moon took in a deep, deep breath. On her face was that look of calm, that look of knowing as the light surrounded her again. Soon, she was clothed as she had been the night I had killed her - all in white light, and even her staff had elongated and brightened to reflect this form's power.

/Galaxia.

That was the last thing she did before she threw herself at the evil soldier. She went faster than I had ever seen anyone go before.

/BANG/

Much to my chagrin, Sailor Galaxia was just as fast. She crossed her arms and took the hit away from her body. When the staff hit her, light shot out in all directions. One beam almost got me in the head.

/ARGH!

Even in my bondage, I managed to move myself and avoid injury from it. This, of course, annoyed me to no end, and my annoyance at being shackled began to turn into anger. I wanted to break free from my restraints!

/That was nice. I heard Galaxia's curt voice. -Now it's my turn. Usagi-chan.

/BAAAAANG/

From there, the next fight followed. They were like two streaks of color smashing into each other, with each explosion a drum roll to music that I couldn't hear. They were both so fast, and they went up so high even though the barrier kept them constrained. It was something to see, especially from where I was. The battle between two contenders, to the death!

Had I paid far more attention to the fight itself, there would have been more for me to say. For my escape soon consumed me. I became angrier and angrier as I burnt myself, tried to no avail to take off the instruments that were keeping me chained to the ground. It was to the point where I started to yell at the chains as if they were real.

/YOU! I cursed. -LET ME GO! LET...ME...

/BAAAM/

A powerful rumble, followed by a shower of rubble. One piece landed on one of my confined appendages, shattering it completely. I gave a cry of savage happiness, and with all my strength I began to pull on the other one.

/...now you will die, and I will escape. Tell me. Was it worth it?

/FAAAAASH/

I looked up just as the last chain that held me to see a sight that brought me to the edge of my control. Sailor Moon lay in a pile of stones, her body not moving, and blood streaming on the ground as the light that surrounded her died out. Galaxia stood above her, victorious.

How had it happened? I don't know. I only knew that they had been fighting, and Galaxia had hurt Sailor Moon badly. What was worse, she had prevented me from helping.

And I was angry beyond imagining.

/YOU BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITCH!

I had never sworn in my life before that moment. But at the moment, I didn't care. I wanted her blood.

/HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

She didn't expect me to attack her. I think she conveniently forgot I i WAS /i there because, to her, I was nothing. Not at that moment, however, and she was about to regret forgetting me!

Before she had time to respond, I had buried four of my appendages into her hair. With my matchless strength, I wrapped two around her neck, and the rest around her arms.

/Wh…… I saw a great fear in her eyes. -No…..

That was the last she would say for several minutes. With all of my strength, I lifted her high up into the air and gave out a great scream of rage.

/WHAM/

Then, with much satisfaction, I slammed her body into the ground. I completely ignored her scream of pain, paid no attention to her great spasming as she landed. I could have cared less as to how I hurt her. She was no sailor soldier; she was far worse than the foulest barbarian to me. I delighted in what I was doing.

/HAHAHAHAHAHA! I spat in her face. -HOW DO YOU LIKE THIS! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

My physical attack upon the monster lasted for...I'm not sure how long it lasted. But it lasted for some time, and I had a wonderful time with it. I do not hide the fact that I wished I could have killed Galaxia at that moment, and I know I would have killed her without any guilt.

Unfortunately, my anger and my strength poured out too quickly, and I went to switch appendages to attack the monstrous sister. It was enough time for Galaxia.

/DAMN YOU!

I took a hit right into my center. Flames surrounded me as I flew across the building, finally landing on the energy barrier. I screamed as the pain seared through me like never before. The power that charged the barrier was nothing of flames; it was the pure power of the stars, and the power of the stars was so great that it nearly ripped me to pieces.

/HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

/BOOOOOOOOOOOOM/

The next assault by the soldiers below upon the building shook the barrier as well, and I was wrested off of the barrier. I could not move, and I could not see anything, for the smoke coming off of my body was thick.

/...uh...uhhhhhhh...

I looked up, and through the mist saw Galaxia over me. Slowly, she picked me up and brought me face to face with her. Her face was covered in rubble, and was filled with cuts; even though she tried to conceal her injuries with her fire power, I could still see what I had done to her, for what I had done was extensive.

But it made no difference. I still lost the battle. I knew then, as her eyes stared into mine, as the sneer spread across her face, that I would lose my life as well. I simply closed my eyes and waited.

/Goodbye, Floritiuse.

/STOP!

Suddenly, we were surrounded by voices and shadows. There was black all around us. Galaxia gave an angry cry and threw me to the ground, glaring at everything around us. I was on the ground, too scared to look and either way unable to look for several moments. I also had no reason to look, either way; I knew who it was.

/You... I saw Galaxia look all around her. -What are...the cloaked ones again!

FLASH. Then I saw Sailor Moon's wand light up again, even as she wavered in her stance, even as she bled. I turned to see her looking at the cloaked figures of the Astramort, confused and apprehensive at the same time. I gave a groan, pulling painfully myself towards her.

/U-usagi.

/Themis-chan! She bent down, almost collapsing again from her injuries. I'd never heard her call me that before. -Oh, are you all right?

I felt happy that she called me that. After all, she had called Mamo-chan with chan, since it seemed to denote close familiarity. I took in deep breaths before my response.

/Winded, I gasped. -Buised. Beaten. My appendages are...cracked. But...other than that...good. Alive.

/But...the cloaked figures...they are...

We looked up. The cloaked figures encircled us. There were nine of them this time, instead of the four that had held me, and they stepped in closer and closer, lessening any chance of escape.

/Hmph. Galaxia scoffed. -The so-called Blood Thirsters of the fairy tales. My vengence was interfered with by you more than once. But this will be the last time!

They came closer. Their cloaks seemed darker than ever. Yet, suddenly, for no reason, I was relieved that they were there. At least, if I were to die, I had a chance to be avenged, if they - of all those who could have possibly been there - were in some way trying to stop Galaxia.

/Yes, Galaxia. Finally, one of the figures rasped. -This will be the last time. But you are mistaken as to who will be the victor. We show our full strength!

/Fools. Galaxia shook her head. -You think wearing a black robe will frighten me? If so, you do not know who I am, if you think you can best me. I have bested death and entire galaxies have kissed my feet. One thousand of these weak sailor soldiers could not stop me! For with a flick of my fingers, she held her hand up, -I will destroy this world, and all of you, if you do not let me finish this battle!

/Then destroy it!

/BOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOM/

Suddenly, as the barrier faltered from the outside soldiers who were attacking it one of the World Crushers stepped forward. It was the tallest of the cloaked figures, towering even over Galaxia. With a quick motion, the figure's hand went to its chest, and with in an almost excitable frenzy, as if it had been waiting for the moment, threw the cloth off of itself.

/Behold, Galaxia! My eyes widened as the exposed figure spoke. -For now you have reason to be frightened!

There was a moment of slience as we all looked, unable to comprehend what we were seeing. Then, Sailor Moon gave a cry as the figure flung its cover aside. Her wand dropped to the ground, and she staggered backwards.

/Y...you... she stammered.

I was quite flabbergasted myself. And certainly, Galaxia looked frightened. For it was not anything I had expected. I had expected a great monster, with fangs like swords, and tentacles with barbs, as it was how they were in legend..

But it was not. It was no legendary monster that was in front of me. It was another human sailor soldier.

She was taller than Usagi, but wearing a dark blue sailor suit similar to hers, and with hair of a darker gold hue. And she looked extremely angry.

/You have messed with us for far too long. It may have been tolerated by others before us. A sword appeared in her hand. -But now, doing this to our beloved princess is unforgivable! In the name of Uranus, a wind of change has come, and it is against you now, demon!

Pr…..princess?

I looked at Sailor Moon, for I remembered her story. I couldn't believe it. After all of this time, after all of the bad things and fear that the Astramort generated, to think that they were connected to Usagi in a good way was mind blowing to me!

The other figures then threw their hoods and cloaks off, and the Sailor Soldiers of the distant astrosystem which Usagi called her home appeared in their places. Usagi's friends had come to her rescue!

It was an incredible moment. If I wasn't so shocked, I would have cheered, for I really wanted to, for I knew we were saved. But I digress.

/BOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOM/

/You... Galaxia almost cowered as the building shook again. -You...you dare come here! You are all hated!

/You would think that. The others took out their weapons -But you didn't expect us to thwart your escape from justice, did you? That was your undoing, to think that no one would suspect.

Galaxia glared at each face. They were of different sizes and faces, but each had an angry and determined expression on their face. All nine were ready to strike, and ready to defend, and ready to kill as the fires raged throughout Asgerd.

/Themis?

I felt Sailor Moon's hand slip into one of my appendages, and she helped me up. I looked over at Galaxia, and I waved my arms all around, readying myself. With one of them, I picked up Sailor Moon's wand, and handed it back to her.

/Thank you... she smiled. -...My friend-

/GALACTIC NEUTRINO!

Our vision was suddenly lit up by energy and light. Both of us were knocked off our feet from the initial blast, and I was sent flying once again.

/Aaaaaaaaaah!

I almost went over the side of the building. Fortunately, even in gestation, Sailor Moon's recovery was faster than the gravity on Asgerd, and she pulled me back with all of her strength before I could hit the barrier again.

/Th-

/No.

By this time, the attack had been done. Actually, it had been halted, for not a shield surrounded Galaxia. One of the soldiers, who held a staff, had waved it at her; now, Galaxia could not attack.

/You will not. Her black hair was to her shoulders. -In the name of Saturn and with the power of the Glaive, never again! Sailor Saturn!

/Sailor Mars! Another black haired girl, taller. -You will perish in flames!

/Sailor Venus! Yet another golden-haired one, this time, with a red string in her hair. -You have offended this goddess of love through your crimes of hate!

/Sailor Neptune! A weed-haired girl, with a mirror. -The sea shall cleanse this world of you.

/Sailor Jupiter! A dark-haired girl, whose color I am unsure of. -With a thunderous power, and the strength to crush you!

/Sailor Mercury! - A blue-haired girl. -I'll douse your filth in the purest water!

/Sailor Pluto. A darker weed-haired girl, with a staff. -Your reign of terror has ended for all time!

/And me! A short sailor, with a strange hair color(?), but a style similar to Sailor Moon's that gave me a strange feeling. -Sailor Chibi-Moon! You're dead now, in the name of the Crystal Palace!

I understood what was to happen.

/Em...there's no one else here, is there? I suddenly thought, and was nervous as I spoke. -No one in the building, I mean?

/I hope not.

I gave a gulp. That was never a good answer, but I had no choice but to watch.

/Jupiter Oak Evolution!

/Mercury Aqua Rhapsody!

They each fired off their attacks, one by one. Each attack hit Galaxia, then fell to the roof, causing explosions all around me. I shut my eyes, but could not get the booming sounds of each eruption of power out of my hearing, for they were too loud and I was too close.

/Chronos Typho-

/BOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOM/

/BOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOOM/

/BOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOM/

Finally, the barrier gave, and with a flicker disappeared.. The building shook the roof so violently, that after all of the damage it had taken, it could no longer support us, and everyone of us - everyone - were suddenly falling through the floors. It was not a particularly high building, so there was little time to prepare for hitting the ground after falling through each floor. However, while everyone else braced themselves for the final impact, I did the next logical thing as I smashed through each floor.

I simply screamed.

/AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

I could feel the nothingness, and the floors, under me, and I was scared, scared that our moment of triumph against such a monster would instead turn into our moment of death. I could hear the screams, the angry screams, of the soldiers as they swarmed the collapsing building and began to gather below as one great horde, but I did not want to look. I kept my eyes shut as I screamed like a child, not wanting to know what I just fell through, or how many floors were left.

Then, with a -BAMF-, I was relieved to find that I truly did know no more.


FLORITIUSE FOOTNOTES:

(?)Flabbergasted.

(?)Phenomenon.

(?)Pink hair.

42: Sailor Galaxia

There are some things that are known for certain. Many things that I know are from looking back, for, as you humans say, hindsight is twenty-twenty. It means that looking back on the past gives one total clarity on a situation.

Looking back, my recooperation, therefore, is in most ways unimportant to what happened, at least in the final weaving of the complex web which binds me to Sailor Moon. I spent several days in an Asgerd hospital, and I had a bump and cut on my forehead, the bump causing a nagging ache that never truly went away afterwards. The other soldiers were also injured as well, with cuts and bruises (though one broke an arm), and all were out of the hospital in a week. That is really all that needs to be known of our hospital stay.

Though we all managed to recover with few serious injuries, we were not at all completely satisfied. For, with all that had happened, justice had been evaded one last time. Sailor Bora, who was known as Galaxia, and before that Sailor Melkweg, had still somehow managed to escape, just as she had promised. Not without her injuries - she was reported as being bloody, badly cut, seriously injured by the groups who saw her disappear right in front of their eyes. But still, she had lived, and she had gotten away.

The true scale of Galaxia's dealings became very clear after this. Galaxia was no mere renegade sailor desperate to cover her tracks; she was, indeed, a very, very powerful sailor soldier whom practically ran an underworld empire, the Shadow Galactica. It conspired to take over the known universe, and it was an organization that had such a sheer size and influence that few could rival them. Its only true competition was the Seemarin, which she desired to supplant.

Though it was accepted that she was almost definitely the soldier of Melkweg at one time, the cursed planet which Dyka had fought Galaxia on, extensive research never yielded Galaxia's true origins. Just where had she come from? It turned out that she was no Melkwegian by birth. Was Galaxia her true given name as a civilian, or simply a new name she had egotistically bestowed upon herself? No one was sure.

All she had ever said to me was that she had come from a planet of trash; she never said where, in what galaxy or system. Survivors from several decimated planets immediately claimed her as their famous but destructive citizen' these claims were immediately proven false. There was, of course, no doubt that Galaxia had probably destroyed her planet of birth, considering it below her concerns; most likely, with her resources, she also conveniently erased all traces of that planet from everyone's knowledge.

There were some things we knew, particularly after she ascended to being Melkweg's guardian - when she supposedly destroyed real Astramort, along with the planet, while fighting Chaos - and when she was banished from the Seemarin. She had begun wandering, amassing some power - people and otherwise - to her will, for her ultimate goal: to make the universe her own. To do it, she felt that she had to amass an army great and powerful enough to challenge the one great entity that supposedly stood in her way. The Seemarin, which she blamed for being closed-minded and elitist to one with such power such as she, was to be destroyed, and after that nothing would stop her. The best place to find warriors: the Vika galaxies, neglected by the Seemarin as being hopelessly lost to Chaos, the malicious spirit whose pale shadows, thought defeated, roamed the desolate worlds for reasons no one yet knew.

A surprising revelation (well, to many others, but not to me) that also came out was the fact that she may have been a senator of the Seemarin, many, many years before. She was obviously not known as Galaxia back then, but several older soldiers faintly remembered her red eyes, her hair as gold as the shine of a sailor crystal, her tall, lithe figure. A young, wild upstart whose known name just escaped their mind. She was one whom was banished from the sight of the three judges, a rare feat since one had to truly offend the Seemarin to warrant such a punishment.

Also, briefly, Galaxia aligned with Chaos during her long period of acquisition; her world-shattering power was, for a time, bound to the creature's will and partially made its own. Her strong mind was not completely restrained, however, and so she continued her quest in the Vika galaxies as she had done before - destroying planets that were not suitable for her throne of power, killing all those who resisted, and enslaving anyone with a hint of sympathy to her. Many people she tempted with Chaos' power, but many she had no need to. Sailors, sailor pirate fighters, and ordinary mortals by the thousands, tired of the Seemarin's neglect, or of the constant wars and strife on their worlds, joined Galaxia, believing a lot under her was far better than what they had before.

As a result, Galaxia ran a giant, albeit secret, multi-galaxy empire, filled with sailor soldiers, drones, generals, armies and spies. From her throne at the edge of the Galaxy Cauldron - a place forbidden to all, it seemed, but her and the best of her people - Galaxia reigned supreme for years. For decades, centuries, millennia even, thousands of people were dispatched to a variety of quests, from spying on other Seemarin to instigating interplanetary wars to assassinating the unfaithful. Those who were successful in their missions were given power and the wealth of plunder; those who failed were killed without a second thought. Slowly, Galaxia was changing the structure of the universe, and a great darkness began to spread throughout her lands. Chaos was winning in the barren worlds she had conquered. She was destroying everything, and nothing could stop her.

And she did it fully knowing that the three judges were always watching her.

Why? I would ask myself this many times. Why?

I would ask myself this many times.

I realize that there is no justification for it, nor can I find an good explanation. Had the three, in their seeming knowledge of all they could sense, simply turn a blind eye because they could find no better alternative for the Vika? Or was there more to it? Did they decide that Galaxia was really no threat, so long as she kept her little revolution outside of civilized galaxies?

For, naturally, being a despot of such a large empire was very soon not enough for Galaxia's ambitions, if she was to defeat the Seemarin. Nor was her seemingly watertight pact what Chaos or her great sailor power enough to ensure that her stronghold over the Vika galaxies - or that of any domination of the entire universe - would last forever. For she learned of a potentially dangerous rival.


I simply look at Usagi as she sits down in her chair inside the courtroom. She is in her human form, and she looks solemn and silent. I try not to stare too long, of course, because even though she is no longer some foreign beast to me, many reasons for being impolite are very different. Before, she had been a very small, almost pitiful thing, but now her midsection almost takes up the whole seat, which, in her defense, is not sized for someone of her current size anyways.

The truth is that this date was originally much later, but Usagi's soldiers managed to get it today; they want to be back on the earth for good so that Usagi's child can have a chance to be born on its home world with the father present. Getting back there once would be hard enough, and more preferable, rather than shuffling back and forth several times with numberless obstacles in the way. I also pushed for it, so to speak, for Dyka could not be in attendance. Speaking of pushing, one of the soldiers made a joke that I didn't get about that - that Usagi had actually not pushed for the court change because she would soon have enough pushing to do without that. As a result, I have decided that I hate jokes from your world.

But I digress.

/Are you all right?

/Yes.

She gives a nod, and says nothing more. Though she looks extremely uncomfortable with her body, she is actually more tired than uncomfortable, because her eyes are starting to close. My own insides are tied in knots, for today, the verdict and sentence for the Universal Seemarin vs. Tsukinousagi/Sailor Moon will be pronounced.

I close my eyes, and think. Sailor Moon had never asked to be dragged into such a thing, yet she was. She had been a mere pawn in a power struggled that perhaps was still beyond her understanding. It is still beyond mine.

Chaos had sensed Sailor Moon's incredible powers from one of the last Vika galaxies yet to be conquered, and for several years had sent weaker copies of itself to confront what it feared could be a grave danger to its own agenda - to cover the universe with its black wings. And, as Chaos feared, she was a fabled sailor soldier - one whose sailor crystal had enough power to challenge and vanquish it.

And so it implored Galaxia to destroy her, and to destroy everything in her path to fulfill that one duty it asked of her in return for her empire. Throw all the soldiers of that galaxy into the Cauldron, and when Sailor Moon saw her friends die, her power would explode, bathing Galaxia with so much energy that no sailor soldier would ever be able to touch her again. And then, Galaxia would rule the universe from the Galaxy Cauldron, shaped to her liking.

And, with some hidden agendas of her own, Galaxia obeyed with pleasure, with devastating results. Eighty to ninety percent of that one galaxy's population was killed. Thousands of sailor soldiers disappeared. Untold destruction of planets caused irreversible damage to many astrosystems, the galaxy's economy, and the very existence of the galaxy itself was almost erased permanently.

Of course, Galaxia's blood thirst for the strongest soldier's power and the Cauldron's power proved to be her undoing with Chaos. For, in her pride, she decided to double cross it. So when Sailor Moon, her friends killed by Galaxia, was finally brought to Galaxy Cauldron to face her match, Chaos cruelly struck Galaxia down.

In those death throes, Galaxia understood that she was betrayed by Chaos, and silently wished she had not been saved by Sailor Moon, even as she professed that she admired Sailor Moon's courage. For the embers of hate and desire do not burn out easily; indeed, Galaxia, in that first death, merely feigned reformation and repentance. She knew she would be back, and if Chaos could not be dealt with next time, she was well aware of her next target for revenge. She crumbled into dust reaching for Sailor Moon at the edge of the Galaxy Cauldron, as if she tried in vain to get her before the first chance slipped from her.

But she did come back, of course. Sailor Moon's victory against Chaos restored all of the soldiers who had died, including Galaxia. And Galaxia's empire, though not as strong without Chaos, was by no means weak. In fact, from initial response from Galaxia's captured servants, Shadow Galactica actually became more united under their queen's new cause: the destruction of Sailor Moon, and the revenge against the Seemarin that she had so longed for.

I can almost imagine it: The twenty sailors, letting themselves be captured by sailor pirates under Galaxia's pay. Then, through fake torture and nonexistent interrogation, they pretend to give Sailor Moon up to the Seemarin, and to the scandal-hungry people of the civilized galaxies. And in a grand gesture, in a mockery of real justice, Sailor Moon is brought to the dark, dank prison in Veldanis, far from friends and family, and tortured endlessly. Though uneducated to what the Seemarin is, she instinctively refuses to give them what they want - any sign which indicates her violations of protocol. But that is no problem; once her crimes were learned, she would be guilty, with or without a confession.

Meanwhile, the three judges - Allecto, Phainon, Savitri - they who now sit down before us did nothing to stop the abuse. They allowed a mockery of a trial to come to Asgerd, and allowed Galaxia, under the guise of Sailor Bora, to nearly destroy whatever she could during the trial. Anyone who agreed with Sailor Moon was snuffed out discreetly. Information that shed light on the truth was suppressed or altered, and if neither could be done, then better that the evidence never existed.

Fortunately, one of the turns of events which had ultimately aided us - one I did not learn of until this morning - was that Dyka had been ready to submit something that Galaxia herself had dropped when we inadvertently chased her away the night before Galaxia was unveiled. It was most definitely not an intentional thing on her part, but Bora's notebook, left the night before Dyka began her surprising counteroffensive against the prosecution, was left in the hedges of our rental. Dyka, realizing whose it was, and sensing the real connection, silently picked it up and read through it.

For someone who had taken so much care to destroy evidence, perhaps it was Galaxia's arrogant pride in seeing her rival being destroyed that ultimately caused her to keep the notebook and all of the nasty things she said. Many things were in there, many implicative things. Names of people, and the dates of the entries corresponding the days they died. One - Kastalle - even had a picture with her head impaled - dated one week before her actual death. It was also how Dyka learned of Poenagorde, from whom the GCS security videos were stolen from. Poena was then called a fat little fag with fangs by Bora - which sounds very nasty.

Poena wasn't the only one, either. There were some rude jabs about me and Dyka - me, about my the usage of my tentacles, and Dyka, and how her name sounded like dyke, an Earth word that Usagi seemed quite insulted to see. She even had an image of the two of us in very terrible positions.

And Usagi...Usagi was badly written of. Many things Galaxia called her, I couldn't even think of writing down, even for the sake of you vulgar-happy humans. It was all out of spite, some of those things. There were graphic images Galaxia drew of Usagi that made her drawings of myself and Dyka look respectable in comparison. And the images still roil my blood, especially now since someone still unknown to us stole a copy of the notebook, published it and sent me an autographed copy. I have no doubt who it may have been.

I look over at the other sailor soldiers who accompany Sailor Moon. They were those she had fought with, her closest comrades, the nine sailor soldiers of her system. They are each giving each other looks - some of them whispering to one another. Indeed, though, they are not the only Vika in the audience - almost half of the attending sailors are from the Vika galaxies.

It was a blessing that they had come when they did, that they had arrived with But surely, one had to wonder

There should be no doubt, either, what the verdict will be today. But all we can do right now is wait, wait for the Three to speak.

43: In Closing

/Sisters. It has finally begun. Savitri speaks. -We are here to correct a very terrible wrong that has occurred. Some time ago, we brought into our midst a soldier of questioned reputation and of disputed morality. It was shown that she had broken two of the most sacred rules that all soldiers. It was for this that she was brought to trial for her life.

There is silence after this. Silence, save for someone's hacking in the background.

/The sacred rules were, to not resurrect fellow soldiers and others, but more strict was to never violate the Galaxy Cauldron. The judge continues. -And yet in spite of these rules, this soldier had violated both rules with ease. It was only logical to bring her in, regardless of the consequences.

/There was a great uproar against this individual. A great uproar that the soldiers of this universe brought up. It cried in anger for this soldier's death. And we were willing to give our sisters that benefit. We were willing to be caught up in this terrible affair - without knowing the facts first hand. This is regrettable.

/We now know of the demon sister Galaxia, who tricked this soldier into coming to the Cauldron, the birthplace of the stars. We know of Galaxia's machinations with the dark one itself, Chaos, who destroyed the star of Earth and all of its lives in its battle against this soldier. We know of the deep-rooted origins of how this tragedy came about that cost the lives of some of our own sisters. We realize...this was caused by a long-standing problem that Galaxia had started, which this ostracized soldier was eventually drawn into. This is regrettable.

/We therefore declare, after consideration of all the charges brought against her, that Sailor Galaxia is guilty. We declare her guilty of treason We declare her guilty of conspiring to destroy society. We declare her guilty of the deaths of those whom we know of - and those whose names we do not know. And we declare her, beyond doubt, guilty of trespassing the Galaxy Cauldron with the intention of violating the sanctity of our birthplace. Savitri pauses. -When Sailor Galaxia is captured, finally justice shall be served. The decayed corpse that once held an honorable soldier shall be tossed into Apollyon, where it will fester in its rightful place - within the darkness, beyond the reach of light.

Guilty. Guilty, on all charges. Every single one. Thank the stars.

There is really, really no surprise to the verdict in the matter, really. Truly, how could there be any other outcome? The court could only have concluded in that way after all that has happened - vindication for the right, and condemnation for the wrong. And yet I feel….after a moment, surprisingly empty. Such words that the Three speak feel hollow now.

With me, the entire hall is silent. There is no outburst of emotion or external reaction. It is all silent. Hollow, perhaps, like my feelings.

/And through our reconsideration of this matter, we know now of the long-standing record of the noble, yet wronged sister that stands before us, that she is considered a high-standing soldier who has saved countless lives. That her friends risked their souls and nearly broke themselves to bring up an army to challenge us was unacceptable, but their services to the overall cause of the sailor soldier - for we are all sisters - allowed us to look into our souls, to wonder about the cause of justice. For what justice is there for these brave soldiers if they have no representation in the Seemarin, the institution of soldiers? For this, too, is a great matter, to show that we should have no cause for ignorance, that we must extend peace and tolerance towards those who were wronged by the centuries of darkness...by Galaxia. In this rare exception that has been brought to us, the rules must be bent to keep the balance of civilization in check.

At this, the Three suddenly turn to me and Usagi. I stiffen at their look - I don't feel the awe and shock I had felt the first time I was in the Court of Justice. Rather, I feel a strange apprehension as to what they could say next.

/And so, today, in front of our people, Savitri finally speaks again. -We hearby absolve Tsukinousagi, Sailor Moon, of any guilt regarding the case against her, and the accusations shall be dropped and not ever touched upon again. We extend our deepest sadness for our fellow sister, whose powers saved our way of life. We wish to accord upon her, in return for her service, the greatest thing which can be brought to her, for she is the great representative of the distant galaxies which she has dedicated her life to defending. Let her come to the Seemarin not as an enemy, but a senator for life. No longer shall she be reviled and outcast for any crimes; she shall instead rise above the dark moments of her life and join the chorus of light that is now in front of her, to have the power and glory of the Vika spark and resonate throughout the galaxies. We offer this - the universe offers this - to the honorable child, the seema-ship, of the satellite of Earth.

There is silence. Nothing but silence. I wait for Usagi to speak. I wait for myself to speak. I am currently her representative. Dyka isn't here because she is in prison, for being in contempt in regards to Sailor Michag's murder. Varuna is dead. I am all that's left. There's no one on the prosecution - why would there be? Few people can claim to be affiliated with them anymore without any shame.

Yet I am speechless. So what will Usagi say? I don't know, honestly. I do not know. This is her moment to say whatever she has wanted to say. Whatever statement she can make, she can make now. Nothing holds her back now, to unleash all the feelings she could have had against the Judges, the system, all those that had done everything in their power to destroy her.

And yet something like what the Three is offering is a very great thing. It is a rare honor to be called out by the Judges for a senatorship in any case. Even the staunchest opponents of the Seemarin have been placated with a place of honor in the senate.

And it is here I realize why the Judges are doing what they are doing at this moment. And my heart grows cold as Usagi slowly stands up. She is completely silent for another moment as she balances herself by her chair, standing as straight as she can. She is looking at the Judges the entire time, and so I cannot discern her true mood from her face.

And so, she finally speaks, after many moments of waiting. Only five words in response to the honor that others would have immediately accepted without a single thought or care.

/...I...want to go...home.

There is dead silence now. No one speaks, not even Savitri, who, for a Judge, seems stunned to silence. There is no movement in the room; even the air seems to stop at her words. No one can dare to speak after that; it seems that no one wants to. I can't; I am far too surprised myself, but I should have known that this would have been the response...

Then, in unison, her soldiers stand up. Quietly, they come down to the table and take her by the arms. There is nothing I can say to them; I simply look at each of their faces as they turn away from me. I wish to remember what they look like, to know who they are. To know that each of them have their own lives, and their own dreams. That they are tied to Usagi, as I am now, but far closer than I can ever be.

The last face I see is that of Usagi. She stops and turns to me. Our eyes meet for one last moment, and for the first time, I see a new expression in her eyes. It is such a calm look, that I cannot think it is for me. But it is for me. And I understand what it means.

Before I can thank her, however, she and her soldiers have made their way towards the exit of the great Court, and just as it had begun with the greatest rancor and noise, the Great Matter ended with the utmost silence.

44: End

What can I do now?

It will never leave me. The final look she gave me can never leave anyone who has seen it. It refreshes, it inspires. It commands.

I know what I must do. I have been charged with a mission. That look in her eyes when she left told me one thing. I realize at this moment that is what she wants.

Fight.

I am not what I used to be; I am no longer a follower of the old ways. I am a convert. I am a disciple working in the strange new lands, the one who must show everyone the light, the true way of the chosen one.

So I must begin my crusade. The war must begin. It may not start in my life. My life may end soon enough if I am seen as an enemy by the old order. But it will come. It must come. The tremors have already started. The foundations have already been shaken, and they tremble further with each passing day.

One day, the foundations will fall, and the spirit of war which has whimpered like a child for its next moment for thousands of years, will become a roaring beast that will sweep over the worlds and destroy everything that tied the people to their ignorance. The people know what is happening in their blood; they just need to see it with their own eyes, and their anger shall be vindicated. And the war will begin.

And fate knows I will be on the right side. If I do not die, I will be there, and I will be ready. But if I do die I will not fear death. It will only be the first stage when I die, for the spirit of a soldier is eternal. So if I will die, let my enemies fear me, for I will return stronger than ever.

This is the end of the old way. The new era has dawned. And as I throw the doors to the Court of Justice open, and re-enter the world, and the press converge over me, I wear only one thing on my body. I wear my testament.

I WAS RESURRECTED BY SAILOR MOON.

end.


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