Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ Fate's Trap ( Chapter 32 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Absence - By Kirika


Chapter thirty-two. I'm on Easter holidays now. I have one whole week and a bit off from University. There might be a slight increase in chapter output rate. Maybe.

KD, the word you're searching for is iaijutsu. Well anyway, I nearly messed up the first kata but I recovered and passed. Third level dan, sandan rank now. Hurray! ^_^


- Kirika


Chapter 32 - Fate's Trap

Sailor Mars eyed the expansive estate surrounded by a high ivy-covered stonewall from across the street, where she hid in deep foliage with the other Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen. The mansion seemed quiet, and there didn't appear to be any guards… but, like her comrades, Mars smelt a trap.

"You all realise this has 'trap' written all over it," Sailor Venus commented to no one in particular, squinting her eyes as if trying to see into the mansion through one of its cloudy windows. She shouldn't have bothered; the Sailor Senshi was too far away.

"But there's no choice," Tuxedo Kamen said grimly. "Even if it is a trap, it's the only lead we have on Chibi-Usa. We can't ignore it." The prince glanced at Sailor Moon, the girl no doubt sharing his views. Mars noted that Sailor Moon had been awfully quiet ever since Ami had told them how she had learned of Chibi-Usa's whereabouts.

Ami had been at Minato General Hospital, guarding Makoto from any possible youma attacks when the message arrived. The blue-haired genius had left her post for a few minutes to get something to eat, and when she had returned the security guard assigned to Makoto's room had a slip of paper for her, addressed to any young girl who was friends with the wounded senshi. The guard had said a man dressed in an immaculate business suit and with a ponytail had left the paper with him. The messenger had obviously been a youma. Sailor Mars wondered why the monster hadn't simply killed the security guard and finished off Makoto. It made the whole situation stink even more like a trap. As a precaution, Ami had stayed behind at Minato General Hospital in case the youma attacked Makoto while the other senshi were investigating how valid the note's information was.

The message had the address of the estate the Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen were currently checking out, and said that was where Chibi-Usa was being held. The mansion was in a rich suburban area of Tokyo; how the youma had gotten a house in this district was beyond Sailor Mars. But, if a demon like Laodameia could convince people that there was no top floor in a luxury five-star hotel, it wasn't all that improbable. The estate the youma where apparently holding Chibi-Usa at was fairly big, and had a wide, quite old-looking two-storey mansion located at its centre. From the outside, everything looked peaceful and mundane, but Mars surmised that inside things were far from normal.

"We can't just stay here all night," Sailor Uranus grumbled, scratching underneath one of her numerous bandages covering the majority of her legs and arms. Sailor Mars hoped the Outer Senshi would be able to handle herself in her injured condition.

Sailor Saturn nodded, her dark hair waving slightly. "We have to go in," she said softly. "Chibi-Usa needs us."

Sailor Venus turned her head towards Sailor Moon, giving up on trying to peek inside the mansion. "Sailor Moon; what do you think we should do?" she asked, seeking guidance from their leader.

Sailor Moon was quiet for a moment and continued to watch the house, seeming deep in thought. "Chibi-Usa is in there; I just know it," she then whispered, not taking her eyes off the building. Sailor Mars was about to place a comforting hand on her princess's shoulder, but was surprised when a white-gloved hand beat her to it.

"Then we'll go," Tuxedo Kamen said firmly, giving Sailor Moon's shoulder a gentle squeeze.

Mars lowered her arm discreetly and looked away from the couple, back at the estate, swallowing down the jealousy ruthlessly. She didn't want those feelings to cause any interference in making decisions if a fight were to occur.

"Let's go," the Senshi of Fire ordered without emotion, moving out from behind a tree.

Sailor Mars took the point and stealthily crossed the street, not checking to see if the other senshi and Tuxedo Kamen were following her. She paused briefly at an iron gate that blocked the way into the estate, and then leapt onto it, quickly grappling up the black painted bars then dropping over on the other side, landing silently in a crouch. Another figure abruptly landed just as noiselessly beside her, his black cape floating gently to the ground.

"Wait for the rest of us," Tuxedo Kamen said quietly, a faint half-smile coming to his lips.

Sailor Mars ignored him and glanced behind her, making sure Sailor Moon was getting over the gate all right. She saw the other four Sailor Senshi clamber over the iron gate and jump to the ground nimbly.

"We should try to find a back entrance," Sailor Venus suggested. "I think just waltzing through the front door would be the wrong thing to do…"

The others were in agreement, and began to move towards the mansion, running as quietly as they could over the well cared for lawn. Sailor Mars tried to remain in as much cover as possible as she sneaked up to the house, using trees, bushes, statues, anything to hide her approach. The other Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen followed her example, and soon the group were gathered around a window on the ground floor. There were still no guards to be seen.

"I can't see anything," Sailor Uranus reported as she tried to peer through the window, her hands cupped around her eyes. "It's too dark."

"It'll do I guess," Venus said, shrugging her shoulders.

"How will we get in without making any noise?" Sailor Saturn asked as she brought her Silence Glaive to an upright position, stabbing the end of weapon on the grass.

"Leave that to me," Tuxedo Kamen grinned, producing a red rose from inside his jacket. He jammed the flower's sharp stem where the window would swing out and attempted to pry it open. After a few minutes of fiddling accompanied by a few muttered curses, the window finally snapped outwards, producing an alternate entrance for the rescue group.

"I still can't make anything out," Uranus said as she looked through the open window into darkness, her voice laced with bewilderment.

"Be careful, they could be waiting for us," Sailor Moon warned.

"Only one way to find out," Sailor Mars said confidently, smirking at her princess. Before the blonde odango atama could protest, the Fire Senshi leapt through the window and into the unknown.

Once Mars entered the mansion, it was like she had been transported to another world. She didn't know what it was, but her senses told her that something was 'off'. The senshi quickly surveyed her surroundings for an answer. She was at the end of a hallway that stretched off for several metres before turning to the left. The walls were decorated in a medieval motif: candelabras for light, antique ornaments, oil paintings of various unrecognisable locations, dust-covered tapestries, and an assortment of other items akin to Europe's dark ages. The candlelight cast a red and orange-tinged twilight over the hallway. There was thunder in the distance, and the beat of rain on glass. Rain? The night seemed pretty clear to Mars.

A confused Sailor Mars' evaluation of the mansion's interior was interrupted as another senshi appeared silently at her side, the candlelight reflecting off the curved blade of the weapon she carried.

"Nothing," Sailor Saturn said, taking stock of the surroundings.

"Yeah…" Mars replied uneasily, and then looked back to the window. She blinked in surprise as she saw a flash of lightning far off into the pitch black through the window frame. This was definitely weird.

Suddenly another Sailor Senshi fell out of the darkness, and stumbled forwards into Mars. The Fire Senshi grabbed the flailing figure, steadying her and preventing her from falling.

"You're always so graceful," Sailor Mars commented sarcastically to Sailor Moon, smiling down at the blonde girl in her arms.

Sailor Moon found her footing and looked up at her bodyguard. "I wish you wouldn't be so gung-ho," she said, ignoring the raven-haired girl's remark. "You shouldn't be so eager to rush into danger," Sailor Moon continued, and then turned her attention to Saturn. "And that includes you too." The Senshi of Death shuffled her feet a little, but instead of seeming chagrined, she seemed impatient to move on.

"So… you were worried about me, huh?" Sailor Mars asked impishly, cocking her head playfully to the side.

"Not really," Sailor Moon replied in an off-handed manner, waving one arm dismissively and turning her head away from Mars. "Saturn was with you. As long as you've got someone to baby-sit you, it's alright." The blonde peeked at her bodyguard out of the corner of her eye, obviously waiting for a response.

"Is that so…" the miko said levelly, hugging the girl in her arms closer. "Then I'd prefer you as the baby sitter."

At that moment, Tuxedo Kamen leapt out of the darkness, closely followed by the two other blonde senshi. Sailor Moon hastily broke her bodyguard's embrace and stepped away from the Fire Senshi. Mars sighed and looked at her newly arrived fellow Sailor Senshi with the prince. It appeared that no one had noticed how close she and her true love had been to one another. Even Sailor Saturn seemed oblivious, her attention focused on staring down the gloomy hallway intently.

"Whoa," Sailor Venus said as she saw the strange surroundings. "This is kinda freaky. I wonder who does their decorating..." She poked a hanging tapestry experimentally, causing dust clouds to form in the air.

"We should keep going," Saturn said emphatically, while constantly rearranging her grip on her Glaive.

"She's right; let's not waste time ogling the décor," Tuxedo Kamen said. "But try to stay quiet; we should attempt to keep the element of surprise on our side."

Sailor Mars held back a wisecrack and once again took the point, walking down the hallway with cautious steps. Sailor Saturn joined her, the Senshi of Death almost completely silent, her low breathing the only sound coming from her. Silent as the grave. The thought came unbidden in Mars' mind, reminding her that Saturn was the most lethal and powerful of all the Sailor Senshi.

As the Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen proceeded down the hallway, the more and more Sailor Mars thought something was wrong. She couldn't shake the nagging feeling, though she didn't know what caused it either. It was like they had been walking down the same corridor for ages, never making any real progress. Mars found herself becoming edgy. Her palms were sweating inside her gloves and she was starting to eye every shadow warily. There was no way the hallway could be so long.

Sailor Mars' comrades behind her didn't say anything, but she could tell they were getting nervous too. The Fire Senshi glanced at Sailor Saturn. The young girl was still the same; sombre as ever. The eerie red and orange twilight made the Senshi of Death appear even more worthy of her title, the flickering glow creating sinister shadows to play across her impassive pale face.

Mars' eyes darted towards a murky shadow where she thought she saw a flash of movement. She could have sworn there had been something else in that dark patch, something even blacker than the shadow itself. The miko shook her head slightly. She was beginning to get paranoid. Mars idly mused that what she had thought she had seen had almost looked like fog. It had to merely be a trick of the light.

After what felt like a lifetime, a door greeted the group at the end of the corridor. There was a collective sigh of relief from behind Sailor Mars. The raven-haired girl let out a slow breath of her own. Maybe it had all been her imagination. She couldn't hear the thunder or rain anymore, and no youma had attacked the Sailor Senshi or Tuxedo Kamen. But her instincts still told her to run, to take Sailor Moon and flee as fast as she could. Mars swallowed nervously and wiped the sweat from her brow. She had to keep it together.

Sailor Mars walked up to the door. It was also in a medieval design, made out of solid wood with black metal hinges bolted across it. A simple iron ring had replaced the doorknob. Mars reached out with one hand, intending to grasp the ring and pull the door open. But instead she paused halfway in motion. The Fire Senshi's breathing had quickened, adrenaline pumping through her veins at a frenzied rate.

"Rei, what's the matter?" Sailor Moon asked, concerned etched in her voice.

Sailor Mars shook her head, trying to clear her mind. "It's… nothing. Just a feeling…" she murmured.

"Best be on our guard," Tuxedo Kamen suggested, pulling out his cane.

Mars took a deep breath, and then pulled the door open, revealing a rectangular hall devoid of any sign of life. It was huge, at least a hundred metres in length and half that in width. The floor was covered in marble tiles, the light from sconces mounted on the walls making them seem red. There were two balconies above the hall, one on the left hand side and one on the right, both supported by a row of arches below. In front of each pillar formed by the arches was a statue. Each statue was slightly different, and was chiselled into a grotesque beast Sailor Mars had never seen before. In the centre of the hall was a circular pool of water constructed out of stone. Mounted on a round base in the middle of the water was a huge statue of a demonic-like creature. It was vaguely humanoid, with four arms, the upper two with their hands replaced by gigantic pincers. The demon stood on two powerful legs and had a long thick tail. It's head was similar to a goat's, but with rows and rows of fangs in its wide open maw. Mars could clearly see in the statue's mouth, as it was modelled in a perpetual howl.

The Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen carefully entered the hall, their footsteps tapping almost noiselessly on the marble tiles. Sailor Mars looked upwards and saw that a gigantic mural filled the high ceiling to capacity. The mural was expertly painted but the subject matter left much to be desired. The painting showed some type of large demon being worshiped by a variety of hideous creatures, all involved in some example of debauchery. Sailor Mars hastily looked downwards again, her eyes feeling soiled by merely viewing the painting. She prayed that her princess wouldn't turn her gaze upwards. The Fire Senshi considered warning Sailor Moon, but was sure it would just make the blonde look up on reflex.

"Look, there's a door over there," Sailor Venus whispered, pointing at two tall wooden doors at the end of the hall.

Sailor Mars' eyes moved swiftly all over the place, acute her senses going off the scale. "There's something…" she said under her breath.

All of a sudden there was a flash of green light, and an old grey-bearded man appeared in front of the stone pool out of thin air. The man looked human, but Mars would bet everything she owned that he was not. He was dressed in dark purple robes with some strange designs decorating them, and also wore a burgundy cloak with a high collar. The old man gripped a long knobbly wooden staff in one hand.

"Such gall, " the man wheezed out. "Such… arrogance…"

"You! Where's Chibi-Usa?!" Sailor Saturn demanded with cold fury, pointing fiercely at the old man with her Silence Glaive.

"Who…?" the man questioned, raising a grey eyebrow.

"The child you kidnapped!" Tuxedo Kamen snarled angrily, his fists clenching around his black cane.

"Oh… her. She's… dead," the man said casually. Sailor Mars heard Sailor Saturn gasp and stagger to the right of her.

Sailor Mars' stomach reeled at the robed figure's words and her head snapped to her princess. Sailor Moon's eyes were wide with horror as she stared at the evil creature, her mouth opening and closing several times.

"You're LYING!!" she finally screamed out, her tortured cry echoing in the large hall.

"She might… be alive… I forget things… nowadays…" the man choked out, scratching the side of his grey-haired head with a withered free hand. "Especially with… subjects… for my… experiments…"

"You monster!" Sailor Venus cried out, her hands balled tightly by her sides.

Sailor Moon took several quick deep breaths, nearly hyperventilating, with her head down, her blonde bangs hiding her eyes. She than lifted her head and stared at the old man determinedly.

"For love and justice, I'm the pretty senshi Sailor Moon! In place of the moon, I'll punish you!!" she cried, pointing challengingly at the bearded man.

The old man shook his head in irritation. "Did you… really think… you could come into… *my* domain… uninvited?" he sneered. "Your worthless lives… END HERE!!"

The man disappeared in a bolt of green energy. Suddenly, dozens of robed youma started to materialise out of nowhere all over the hall, on the floor and up in the balconies. A few youma even floated in the air on hovering discs; some didn't even seem to need any support. The robed creatures teleported into the hall in a variety of ways. Some appeared in an oval of electrical energy, simply just being *there* in a flash of bright light. Others stepped out of what looked like a rip in the air, a different room entirely being seen through the tear. More even crawled out of the floor tiles, dragging their bodies out of the marble as if it were mud.

"This is not good," Sailor Uranus commented anxiously, the understatement of the century, and moved so her back was to her fellow Sailor Senshi.

There was a loud 'gong' from somewhere in the hall, and as Sailor Mars watched in disbelief, the statues started to move. The demonic creatures moved jerkily as their stone prisons cracked and fell to the floor in chunks, freeing their bodies.

"Oh, god, look!" Venus panicked, gesturing wildly to the fearsome beast in the centre of the water pool.

The demon awoke from its petrified slumber, its gaping maw widening even more to let out a earth shaking bellow, causing bits of rock that had once encased it to splash into the pool. The creature flexed its muscles, breaking apart more stone easily and revealing its dark grey, hairless, leathery skin. Blood red eyes focused on the would-be rescuers with unrestrained animal malice burning in each one.

The Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen formed a loose circle with their backs to one another's. As Sailor Mars saw the numbers of the enemy, and the sheer calibre of the youma they were facing, she felt a worm of fear burrow deep in her gut. The Senshi of Fire didn't care about herself, but she was terrified for her princess's safety. There was no way she could keep all these creatures away from Sailor Moon. It would take a miracle to merely survive the fight. They were but six, and the enemy were many. Escape would be impossible; even if they somehow made it back to the incredibly long hallway and attempted to bottleneck the coming onslaught, there was no guarantee that the robed youma wouldn't use their abilities to teleport behind them, crushing the Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen in a confined space from both sides. Sailor Mars really wished she had followed her instincts earlier and fled this place with Sailor Moon. Perhaps this was Fate's way of ending her meddling with destiny; to simply annihilate all the players involved. Or maybe only Mars and the three other Sailor Senshi would meet their ends, leaving the prince to comfort the grieving princess in her bodyguard's absence.

"Like hell," Sailor Mars swore under her breath, banishing the thoughts. "You'll have to do better than this," she growled defiantly, glaring challengingly at the enemy, her mind imagining the youma as Fate's soldiers.

And as the first attack flew her way, Mars vowed that she would be granted victory against her enemy's forces… or die in the process.


to be continued…

Author's ramblings:

So there was no action in this chapter, even though I said there would be. I promise in the next chapter there will be violence galore! ^_^