Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ Silence ( Chapter 33 )

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


Chapter thirty-three. Rei doesn't want Mamoru dead. Those hateful thoughts were from Laodameia's mental instigations way back in some previous chapter.

Someone asked what martial arts I study. I study wing chun style kung fu, iaijutsu, and kenjutsu, both of the last two are tenshin shoden katori shinto ryu… which probably means nothing to most people here ^_^. Iaijutsu and kenjutsu are both sword arts, similar to iaido and kendo except that they deal with real fights with real swords (I use a katana and sometimes a wakizashi), rather than just to improve oneself and for sport using a shinai (split bamboo practice sword). I've been practicing martial arts since I was Chibi-Kirika, and I guess I'm quite decent at it. But I still look like a frail little schoolgirl. Damn it! -_-

I decided to be lazy on Good Friday and just stayed in bed nearly all day, and then went out for dinner at night. And then went back to bed again and ate ice cream. ^_^ Which is why this chapter is late. Plus fight scenes always take a couple of hours to write.


- Kirika


Chapter 33 - Silence

Sailor Mars darted to the left as an orb with a rubbery consistency tore through the air at her, and then quickly shouted out a warning to the Sailor Senshi behind her, not taking her eyes off the dozens of youma directly in front of her.


Mars launched a barrage of fire rings at a group of youma crawling up through the floor. The robed creatures scrambled madly to free themselves from the mud-like tiles, but only succeeded in flinging gooey marble all over the place. The halos crashed into the youma, searing the flesh from their bones and setting their robes ablaze. But Sailor Mars' attention was already elsewhere, dodging several more energy attacks from the enemy on the balconies.

The Fire Senshi glanced at Sailor Saturn as she twirled her Silence Glaive expertly in one hand, angling the pole weapon downwards. Suddenly, the Senshi of Death bolted forward, scraping the Glaive's curved blade along the floor behind her and causing sparks to shower in her wake.

"Stay in formation!" Sailor Mars heard Sailor Venus yell above the cacophony going on around her.

Saturn disregarded the Senshi of Love's order and ploughed into the youma ranks, bringing up her Silence Glaive in a devastating uppercut, ripping one creature asunder in her first strike. The Senshi of Death continued her assault, moving like a whirlwind of destruction, lashing out brutally and remorselessly at anything around her, as if she wished to 'bring down the silence' without using her powers. One robed youma gestured with its hands and a yellow transparent bubble appeared around its body. Sailor Saturn didn't hesitate however, and struck downwards with her weapon at the shielded figure. The bubble shield visibly bent inwards, under tremendous stress, and then abruptly popped, vanishing into thin air, the Silence Glaive too powerful an instrument for any youma's shield. The creature stood there, stunned, just before a curved blade caved in its skull in an explosion of gore. Saturn continued her rampage, her face expressionless as she tore through the enemy, causing the blood of the youma to rain freely to the floor.

Sailor Mars desperately tried to think of a plan to somehow increase the survivability rate of the situation as she evaded a myriad of attacks from all sides, returning the assaults with projectiles of her own, frying youma left, right, and centre. She saw the small demons, which had all once been statues, charge towards the Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen on all fours, drooling long trails of saliva behind them. They looked like evil feral apes with crimson skin and their hind legs were bent backwards at the knee. However, the demons' heads were protected by a mass of bone with a collection of large horns protruding all over the front. If one managed to ram into any of the senshi, the damage inflicted would be horrendous.

An intense white beam sliced across the hall from behind Sailor Mars, demolishing a line of youma shields and incinerating the unfortunate creatures inside to dust. The Fire Senshi turned around and saw that Sailor Uranus was shooting energy beams from her gem-encrusted sword, attempting to disintegrate as many youma as possible while she stood in front of Sailor Moon. Sailor Venus was also near Mars' princess, firing Crescent Beam after Crescent Beam from one pointed finger, some of the yellow rays burning holes through the robed adversaries, some merely deflecting off their shields. Meanwhile Tuxedo Kamen had taken it upon himself to engage the demon from the water pool. The enraged beast was already riddled with red roses, but they seemed to only anger it even more. The man was moving about non-stop, avoiding the demon's killer grasp. Sailor Moon was trying to help her prince by using the Spiral Heart Moon Rod, but couldn't seem to get the chance with the numerous blasts from the youma she was forced to dodge. One attack suddenly knocked the Moon Rod out of her hand, causing the weapon to spin along the floor and become lost in the jumble of bodies. The blonde let it go and used her tiara instead, throwing it at the airborne youma to cleave into their flesh.

Screw it, Mars decided, since no plan was forthcoming. She would just do what Saturn was doing and simply kill everything not human in sight.

Unfortunately, Sailor Mars wouldn't be effective if she had to keep her love within view at all times. But she couldn't let Sailor Moon leave her sight either. What if the 'moment' Setsuna had warned her about was to occur tonight, some time during this battle? And it didn't even have to be the 'moment'; Sailor Moon could easily be badly hurt in this fight, maybe even crippled. Mars gritted her teeth in frustration as she ducked under a flying flaming skull, its jawbone open in a blood-curdling scream as it whizzed overhead. If she continued to fight defensively then there was a good chance everyone would be seriously wounded, or more likely, die. The Fire Senshi had to give the battle everything she had. It was a challenge, wasn't it? Fate was trying to do away with her. She just prayed that her adversary didn't have it in for Sailor Moon as well.

Putting her faith in her princess's combat skills and the other Sailors' ability to protect the blonde girl, Sailor Mars charged into the highest concentration of youma, letting her fireballs lead the way. She waded through Fate's soldiers, the activation words for her quickest attack, Fire Soul, repeatedly being roared from her mouth. One robed youma stood in front of Sailor Mars as she cast a volley of fireballs at it, the creature not bothering to avoid the attacks. The figure laughed as the fiery spheres crashed into its invisible shield, the fire dissipating harmlessly in the air before it. The youma's laughter waned then choked off altogether as Sailor Mars kept running towards it, easily passing through its fire resistant shield. The senshi smashed her fist into the creature's hooded face, hearing a satisfying crunch of bone. She darted quickly behind it as a bolt of raw pink energy rushed at her from behind, turning the stunned youma into a revolting mauve paste instead of the Fire Senshi.


Sailor Mars draw back her bow of flame and fired an arrow at the robed creature up in the right balcony that had been responsible for the pink energy attack. The fire arrow caught the youma in the face, turning its head into an inferno. It flailed its arms helplessly and then fell over the balcony railing, landing onto several other youma and setting them alight as well.

Sailor Mars nimbly rolled behind a pillar as one of the ape-demons ran at her, attempting to impale her on its horns. She then dived as far left as she could, no time to counterattack, just as an enormous blue fireball exploded on the stone pillar, blowing the structure apart and showering the nearby area with pebbles and dust. Mars curled into a roll and ended up on her feet, smoothly following the move with a kick to a short robed youma's chest, sending the creature sprawling. The Senshi of Fire raised her arm up to block as a golden-painted staff came down at her, the wood splintering in half on her forearm. The creature responsible for the strike froze for a second, obviously surprised that its weapon had broken. The senshi took advantage of the youma's hesitation and grabbed its staff, forcing the sharp splintered end directly into its chest. It howled with agony as the wood stabbed through its orange robes, causing a bloodstain to grow quickly around the wound. Mars ripped out the broken staff from the youma's chest, letting the screaming creature fall to the floor. She swivelled around, bludgeoning another youma in the back of the head with the staff as she did so, in time to see that the ape-demon was running at her again. The Fire Senshi waited until the very last moment, and then brought up the staff, spearing the beast through the throat on the pointed end, her hands becoming soaked with dark red fluid. The momentum of the demon's charge forced the senshi backwards, her feet sliding across the marble tiles as she tried to maintain her stance. Mars finally let go of the staff after a couple of short seconds and leapt to the side, letting the skewered creature collapse into its death throes.

Sailor Mars kept up her attack on the enemy, her heart beating a mile a minute, dodging aerial blasts and launching fireballs. She was aware of her body having been struck multiple times, and that blood was flowing freely from her many wounds. But there was no pain, the adrenaline in her veins and the sheer heat of combat blocking out the sensation. She heard her companions fighting furiously around the hall, beams of energy tearing holes in the ceiling and walls, causing masonry to rain down on youma and senshi alike. One creature near Sailor Mars was hit by a huge chunk, the head of the demon from the mural above painted on one side of the lethal stone. The youma's scream was hastily cut off as its body was turned into a bloody pulp. A loud boom sounded out to the far left of Mars, followed by another and another, and then to the senshi's shock, the entire left hand balcony collapsed in a torrent of rock, spilling startled youma to the marble floor and burying some underneath tonnes of stone. The noise in the hall was nearly deafening, the cries of the rescue group and the enemy plus all the attacks echoing around the hall. Thankfully for the Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen, the numbers of the youma were also a disadvantage to the enemy. Most of the creatures' attacks were long-ranged, which made the enemy hit each other instead of the senshi more often than not, causing massive in fighting as each youma violently retaliated to a comrade's awry blast.

Sailor Mars wiped blood and sweat out of her eyes, pausing in her assault for a brief instant, flicking the mess off her hand and then beginning her attack once again. She saw Sailor Saturn out of the corner of her eye, hacking and slashing with her Silence Glaive, amputating limbs and severing arteries as she thinned out the youma numbers greatly. Bodies of youma and demons were everywhere, making the tiles slick with blood. Mars herself was almost knee-deep in the dead, most charred beyond recognition, others merely flaming lumps of flesh, but all hampering her movements. And yet there was still plenty of robed youma alive, continuing to fire a variety of strange attacks at the Sailor Senshi.

Sailor Mars couldn't see any of her friends besides Sailor Saturn, and she prayed that her princess was all right. She spared a fleeting look upwards as a shining disc cut through a youma floating on a silver circular platform, splattering droplets of green on top of the battlefield, shortly followed by the creature itself. As Sailor Mars watched the spinning tiara return into a mass of figures, she felt relief well up inside her. Sailor Moon was still alive and able to use her tiara, which meant she couldn't be hurt too badly.

Sailor Mars gritted her teeth and proceeded to fight her way through the remaining crowds of youma with renewed vigour, scorching a path back to Sailor Moon's side, leaving blazing conflagrations behind her. Did Fate really think all this would be enough to stop her? The Senshi of Fire would let no adversary defeat her and would never fall in battle, as long as her true love was alive and needed her strength.


Kolkhis looked upwards towards the ceiling as he heard a rumbling sound, and sensed heavy magical activity. He shrugged his shoulders dismissively. The youma had heard that there were intruders in the mansion, but that wasn't his concern. Kolkhis had to guard the dimensional portal spell components. And there was no way he was letting them out of his sight, not after the length of time it took to prepare them all. The poor youma hadn't slept in ages.

Kolkhis put his hands on his hips and looked at the five small wooden crates the components were stored in, a pleased smile coming to his human face as he admired his handy work on the long worktable. Sure, the other four youma mages in the room had helped out, but it was Kolkhis who had coordinated all of the preparations. He deserved most of the credit. The creature would make sure Lord Thrinakie took note of that fact.

The youma whistled a tune he had picked up during his stay on the human plane as he strolled by the table's edge, looking at each crate in turn, making sure each one was tightly secured. Kolkhis kind of liked Earth. He just loved walking around the human city, Tokyo, taking in the sights and doing things humans did. The youma mage stayed in his human form most of the time now, and though it attracted odd looks from his peers, he didn't care. He was even considering staying on Earth after it had been conquered. Hopefully most of the culture would remain intact.

As the youma puttered about the room, looking at the crates and wondering whether he should get another human job in Tokyo like he used to have in Yokohama, he sensed a presence behind him. The other youma in the room also perked up, looking into the shadows around them. Kolkhis turned around as a figure swathed in black stepped into the candlelight. He blinked in recognition as he saw the unique mask the dark shape wore.

"Lazarus!" Kolkhis greeted cheerily, smiling at the assassin. "What brings the Night Haunter here? The intruders upstairs aren't *that* dangerous, are they?" he half-joked, holding out his arms in a welcoming gesture.

Kolkhis remembered Lazarus from the one time he had visited a Silent Blades encampment back in the Pandemonium plane. Their order was a secret one, but any youma could attempt to become a member. He heard the trials each potential candidate faced were pretty hard though. But the end reward was worth it; each youma in the Silent Blades had the gift of being able to travel short distances through shadows. The darker the shadow, the further they could travel. The only side effect was that their eyes were hyper sensitive to sunlight. And they also had black blood, but that wasn't really a disadvantage, Kolkhis supposed. Of the four demon commanders, Lord Makareus exclusively used the assassin order to take out troublesome foes.

Lazarus stood perfectly still for a moment, his tragic mask causing a sliver of fear to snake down Kolkhis' spine. The robed youma swallowed nervously, his smile wavering slightly.

"'The Silent Blade cuts best'," Lazarus whispered; yet somehow his low raspy voice reached every youma mages' ears.

There was a collective gasp from behind Kolkhis, and the robed youma himself spluttered in disbelief at the words, the words the Night Haunter said to all who were about to die. "N-No, it must b-be a mistake! L-Lord Makareus would never…! You can't!" he cried in protest, holding up his hands and backing away slowly.

There was a malevolent, maniacal, snigger that seemed to fill the room, and the Night Haunter's mask changed its appearance. The ebony mask's features seemed to reverse, the eye slits angling upwards, as well as the mouth, until a demonic, insane visage replaced the weeping one. Kolkhis felt his heart skip a beat as he saw the mad grin etched on the black mask, knowing that escape was impossible. Only victory could save his life. How could Lord Makareus have done this? Was it Lord Thrinakie's orders? Had Kolkhis somehow displeased his master? Or was the Night Haunter acting independently? Questions for another time… if Kolkhis survived.

Without warning, three throwing knives were sent flying straight and true at Kolkhis' chest, the figure responsible a blur in the shadows. The youma mage quickly recalled a stone skin spell to his mind and blurted out the necessary phrases while moving his hands in the correct motions. His skin turned grey and began to harden to the consistency of rock, but somehow the knives were faster, partially lodging in the youma's chest. Kolkhis grunted in pain as the blades sunk in about half a centimetre, sending yellow blood to trickle down his rock skin. He hurriedly yanked out the weapons and threw them to the floor with a metallic clatter.

There was a cry behind Kolkhis and he turned slowly around, his stone skin spell hampering his movement. The youma blanched when he saw more members of the Silent Blades order engaging the other mages, swiftly penetrating their meagre defensives with a variety of weapons. Most of the mages were exhausted from preparing the spell components, and didn't have the mental energy to cast any shielding spells.

Kolkhis felt another knife hit him in the back, the sharp metal deflecting off his tough skin. The youma turned around again to see Lazarus running to the left in front of him. Kolkhis prepared an acid arrow spell in record time, ready to melt the traitorous assassin in one hit. However, just as he had the Night Haunter in his sights, something bashed into him from behind, causing him to stumble and misfire, sending the arrow careering off into the dark. Kolkhis cursed and glanced behind him, seeing the corpse of one of the youma mages lying near his feet.

When the robed mage turned back to Lazarus, he saw the assassin throw a single knife before diving back into the shadows, disappearing. Kolkhis smirked slightly confidently, after gauging the angle of the throw; his spell would protect him from harm. All of a sudden there was a massive 'boom' sound, almost like a mini-earthquake, which made the ceiling above shake and dust clouds form. Kolkhis ducked instinctively as the floor above shook… and then realised his mistake. The knife stabbed into his unprotected left eye with a horrible squelch, the blade partially piercing his brain. The youma fell to the floor, landing on his back, his right eye staring up at the trembling ceiling. He felt the cold metal in his head, the sensation very disturbing and unpleasant, but oddly he couldn't feel any pain. Kolkhis tried to raise one arm, wanting to pull the offending icy object from his eye, but the limb wouldn't respond. He desperately tried to think of another spell that could possibly save him, but his mind simply couldn't grasp any, the memories slipping away into nothingness. The robed youma blinked his one good eye as he saw a black face above, Death itself leering down at him. Luck… Lazarus was always lucky.

The Night Haunter brought his black booted foot upwards over Kolkhis' face, and then stomped on the throwing knife embedded in his eye, driving the blade ruthlessly through the mage's skull until its tip stuck into the floor. The doomed youma's body shuddered convulsively for a second, and then relaxed. Kolkhis would never visit the human world again.


Sailor Mars smashed her elbow into a youma's face, staggering the robed figure backwards. It tripped, falling over its countless dead comrades and landed on its backside.


A fireball flew out of Mars' fingertips and crashed into the youma's stomach, blowing it back into a mound of ape-demon corpses. The creature howled in agony as it was impaled on several of the dead demons' horns, the bony protrusions bursting through its body. It writhed in torment on the white spikes as it was burned alive, a race between death by blood loss, death by trauma, and death by fire. However, Mars had already left the creature for dead. There were still other enemies to face.

The Senshi of Fire saw the huge, four-armed demon bellowing loudly and stomping all over the hall, mushing fallen youma underfoot into grisly paste as it chased after Tuxedo Kamen. The youma who were only injured frantically tried to drag their broken forms out of the demon's path, forcing snapped, torched, limbs to work, moaning in agony all the while. The grey demon looked totally ticked off; there was nearly an entire flower shop's worth of red roses stuck all over the beast's leathery skin, plus numerous other wounds which looked like burn marks and cuts.

The prince was running as fast as he could from the demon, occasionally turning around to throw another flower projectile. Mars noted that the man had lost his hat somewhere in the battle. Not surprising, after all the carnage. The demon snapped with its pincers at Tuxedo Kamen's waving cape, ripping a shred of red and black cloth from it. Sailor Mars couldn't help one side of her mouth twitch upward in a half-smile of relief as she saw Sailor Moon trying to chase after the demon and her prince over the mountain of bodies and rubble, the girl seeming beat up, but not at all near Death's door. The Fire Senshi swiftly went to her princess's aid. She didn't want Sailor Moon to become hers by default due to Tuxedo Kamen's untimely demise. Mars wanted her only love to give her heart to her completely, with no reservations. Which wouldn't happen if the prince were to die now.

As Sailor Mars vaulted over bits of rock and dead creatures, she heard small skirmishes behind her, the other three Sailor Senshi no doubt mopping up the youma dregs. At least, she hoped it was *three* Sailor Senshi. Some of the robed youma had been routed after the massacre, most using their teleporting abilities while others simply ran for the door leading into the long hallway. It didn't matter if they fled; it just meant that the other youma remaining had less chance of survival.


Sailor Mars shot a fire arrow into the demon's grey leathery back, the bolt exploding in a burst of hot flames. The beast roared and broke off its pursuit of Tuxedo Kamen, turning around to face the source of its pain. The creature's glowing red eyes were full of animalistic fury, no real sentience behind their demonic gaze, just pure hatred to all innocent life; a malevolent instrument of destruction. The Shinto priestess side of Mars rebelled against the thing's very existence.

The demon charged forward directly at the Senshi of Fire, pounding chunks of rock into powder as it went. There was no time for the miko to prepare an ofuda, even if the ward could work against such a beast.


The fireball scorched the demon's chest and added to its extensive list of wounds, but did nothing to slow its berserker rush. Mars took a few steps backwards, racking her brain for a plan as the thing beared down on her. Suddenly, the demon shrieked in pain and stumbled, starting to topple forwards. Sailor Mars dived out of the way as the beast fell to the floor, its massive frame crushing all beneath it. She looked back to the demon and saw that Sailor Saturn was there, her Silence Glaive as well as her herself splattered with different colours of blood. The demon howled and rolled about on the floor, reaching down to its injured leg. Saturn had hamstringed the beast. The young girl nimbly dodged past the creature's flailing limbs and slashed open its jugular with one deft stroke of her Glaive, effectively ending its life. The Senshi of Death's face was expressionless. The demon struggled for a few seconds, but eventually its movements weakened, and then finally, it was still.

Sailor Mars clambered to her feet and walked over to where the others were gathering beside the shattered stone pool, its water having leaked out all over the floor. The entire hall was more or less silent, the youma and demons all having met with death, fled, or been mortally wounded. As the Fire Senshi surveyed the room, she saw that the once fairly neat area had been totally destroyed. The number of decaying casualties littering the floor and the damage to the surroundings was staggering. Many youma still moved about pathetically, whimpering softly, slowly dying from their injuries. Mars ignored them; they would die in a short time. There were many holes in the walls, revealing pitch darkness. The miko wondered if they led back outside to the estate's garden, or if really nothing existed beyond the blackness.

The other Sailor Senshi looked like they had gone to Hell and back, but they were standing and Mars imagined that most of the blood on their fuku's was the enemy's. She idly wondered how horrible she herself looked. If it was anything like the others, then she needed a bath and a rest. Badly. Sailor Saturn looked somewhat disturbing with her blood soaked uniform and equally drenched Silence Glaive, the trickles of multi-coloured fluid running off the blade and down the metal shaft over the girl's fingers. Mars didn't like that the young Sailor didn't appear affected by the gory scenes around her, or by the carnage she had dished out herself. She truly was the Senshi of Death. But then, Sailor Mars didn't mind the nightmarish displays around the place either. She wondered if the other Sailor Senshi were uncomfortable or sickened by the destruction.

"That wasn't so hard," Sailor Uranus said, waveringly a little on her feet.

"Speak for yourself," Venus replied, trying to gingerly pick what looked like guts off of the blue bow on her chest.

"I'm so glad you're alright!" Sailor Moon wailed, scrambling over the dead and dying youma to join her fellow senshi, "I thought that monster had you for sure!"

Sailor Mars smirked at her princess, ready to dispense with a suitable wisecrack for the situation, but the words died on her lips. Sailor Moon ran to Tuxedo Kamen and threw her arms around the prince, hugging him tight. The caped man winced slightly but returned her embrace tentatively, probably making sure not to disturb any injuries she had sustained.

Mars simply stood there, looking at the couple. Her mind was numb for a brief instant, and then somehow kick started again. Her first instinct was to scream and shout, to yell at Tuxedo Kamen to get his filthy hands off Sailor Moon. And then to yell at her princess for deceiving her once again. However, Sailor Mars quickly clamped down on those feelings, her mind desperately trying to rationalise what she was witnessing. Sailor Moon was most likely just hugging Tuxedo Kamen to keep up appearances. It would be weird if she were to hug her 'best friend' first before her boyfriend when both had experienced the same danger. Yes, that was it. She was just doing this to not make Tuxedo Kamen suspicious of them. Or Sailor Uranus and Sailor Saturn. Yes, that was the reason… the gods damn it, it wasn't fair! After all the fighting she had done just now, didn't she deserve the princess fawning over her? She had slain more youma tonight than anybody, even Saturn; she was sure of it! And all for Sailor Moon, in her name! Sailor Mars had faced Fate's challenge and had crushed the enemy; victory was hers!! Didn't that mean she got the princess?! It just wasn't fair!!

Sailor Mars felt a comforting yet restraining hand on her shoulder, and turned her blurring vision away from the prince and princess to the Senshi of Love. Venus smiled at the raven-haired girl, making caked blood crack and fall off her pretty face.

"She loves you," she assured Mars in a low voice, so only she could hear.

"Then why is she doing this to me?" Sailor Mars replied just as quietly while trying to keep the hurt from her voice. She failed.

Sailor Venus glanced over to Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen, and then back to the Fire Senshi. She shrugged unknowingly. "'You always hurt the one you love,'" she said unhelpfully.

"We have to search this place," Saturn said, her soft voice catching everyone's attention. "Chibi-Usa… Chibi-Usa is still alive." She said the last few words as if by believing them, the pink-haired girl would be okay.

"I'm sure she is," Uranus said comfortingly, smiling faintly at the child. "Let's go and find her."

"She is alive," Sailor Moon added firmly, gripping onto her prince's arm tightly. "That old geezer didn't know what he was talking about."

All heads turned to the double doors at the other end of the hall, the wooden structures somehow having escaped being blown into toothpicks in the earlier battle.

"All we can do is go forward," Tuxedo Kamen said.

After Sailor Moon had retrieved her Spiral Heart Moon Rod from under a mound of rocks and youma corpses where it had been torn from her grasp in the intense fight, the Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen proceeded to the double doors. The rescue group pushed open the doors and stepped inside some sort of high-ceilinged library, which appeared to have been partially converted into a strange laboratory. There were absolutely no electronic or modern devices of any kind in the large room. Instead, there were many differently coloured bubbling vials, connected to one another with a variety of curled glass tubes on several wooden tables. The only light was from candelabras, but Sailor Mars was used to the flickering twilight by now. Strapped to other long tables were alien-like creatures in partial stages of dissection, revealing their internal organs. Latched on to one table's surface was a young pink-haired girl with a white cloth tied over her mouth, effectively gagging her. She wriggled in her bonds defiantly, but the fear was easily seen in her red eyes. At least she looked unharmed. Standing over Chibi-Usa, with his back to the double doors, was the old man who had appeared before the Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen before the huge battle.

"Chibi-Usa!!" Sailor Saturn shouted, her emotionless mask finally cracking. The restrained pink-haired girl ceased her struggles and looked at the Senshi of Rebirth with wide, hopeful, pleading eyes.

The old robed man turned around from the table and blinked at the would-be rescuers. He seemed confused for a second as he stared at the group. "You're all… still here?" he wheezed in irritation and bafflement. "I didn't… call for you!"

The rescuers glanced at each other, and then returned their attention to the man. Was the old bat nuts?

"Your lackeys couldn't stop us!" Tuxedo Kamen declared, stabbing his black cane in the man's direction.

The old man sighed as if the Sailor Senshi and the prince were annoying little children, hell-bent on interrupting his work. "Fine. I will… deal… with you… myself," he said wearily.

The old robed man thrust his gnarled staff in the air and spat out a guttural phrase in an unknown tongue. A gigantic purple cloud rose up at an alarming rate around the man, completely hiding his form from the senshi and Tuxedo Kamen. The mist was then abruptly sucked into a pinpoint at the cloud's centre, disappearing and revealing the man's true self. He was huge, as big as Khairephon had been, with gigantic grey-feathered wings. The creature looked like a wrinkled, pale, humanoid vulture with a long crooked neck and a bald buzzard head. The demon's body was still swathed in his dark purple robes and burgundy cloak, the clothing somehow growing to match his new form. The demon's staff had grown and lengthened as well in proportion to the creature's colossal vulture body, but now appeared metal and more ornate, decorated with sinister screaming faces along the shaft and with a large, bloodshot, open eye mounted on the top. The giant bird gripped its new staff in two taloned, bony, long-fingered hands.

The demon opened his huge beak and let out an ear-piercing shriek. "You are NOTHING!!" he squawked in rage.

The giant vulture spread his wings and then brought them together with extreme force, causing a powerful gust of wind. Sailor Mars cried out in surprise as she was propelled backwards with her companions, out the open doors and into the destroyed hall. She skidded along the floor, rolling over rocks and deceased youma, and then came to a halt as she collided painfully into the rocky remains of the water pool. Mars quickly staggered to her feet, and looked for her fellow senshi, relieved to see that they were all slowly getting to their feet as well. No, wait. She couldn't see Sailor Saturn anywhere. Sailor Mars' thoughts were disturbed as the vulture demon lumbered through the double doors and into the hall.


Sailor Venus fired a yellow energy bolt at the demon, straight at his chest. Before the beam could strike the creature, a spectral kite shield materialised in front of the robed giant, deflecting the attack away from his body and into the ruined ceiling. The demon chuckled at the Senshi of Love's meagre effort.

"Let's see if you laugh now," Mars snarled. "MARS FLAME SNIPER!"

Sailor Mars released a flaming arrow at the demon, aiming at the creature's baldhead. The giant buzzard spoke a few words under his breath as the projectile flew towards him, and then held out one hand. The Fire Senshi's eyes widened as the he plucked the arrow from its flight path and smoothly threw it back at her. Mars dived behind a small mound of stones as her own attack exploded in a ball of searing flame where she had once stood.


Sailor Uranus launched a blinding stream of white light at the winged demon, only to have the attack lose its intensity and peter out before it even reached the creature. The shorthaired blonde cursed loudly and leaned against one of the intact balcony pillars. Her old injuries plus the earlier fight had taken a lot out of her.

"Leave it to me!" Sailor Moon commanded as she raised her Spiral Heart Moon Rod above her head. "MOON SPIRAL HEART ATTACK!"

The creature twirled his ornate staff around then slammed the bottom into the floor in a vertical position, sending bits of blood-covered marble tile flying. As a large red heart formed in front of the creature, a black arrow shot out of the staff's single open eye, piercing the pure heart. As Mars watched, a vile darkness spread all over the heart, causing it to wither and crumble into nothing. Sailor Moon gasped and lowered her Moon Rod uncertainly, looking disappointedly at the failed weapon.

"Your magic… is weak," the demon sneered through its beak. He turned his attention to Sailor Uranus, leering at her. "I… *know*… you…" he said with special emphasis on the word 'know'. "Haruka Ten'ou…" Uranus paled as the demon said her name.

The vulture took out a lock of blonde hair from his robe, the strands looking minute in the creature's gigantic grasp. He muttered a few words and the hair ignited in a green flame, burning away. The demon continued to mutter, and Mars thought she heard Uranus' real name being spoken. A ghostly skeletal hand suddenly appeared above the buzzard's head, and pointed one bony finger at Sailor Uranus. The blonde in question took a step back as the Finger of Death marked her. Suddenly, an over-sized spectral scythe blade materialised threateningly above Uranus.

"Look out!" Sailor Venus cried in warning to the Outer Senshi.

Uranus desperately tried to run out of the way, but there was no escape from the Reaper's strike. The ghostly scythe slashed at the fleeing senshi, impaling her through the chest and then fading away, leaving no visible damage. Sailor Uranus took a couple of steps forward and then stood still for a moment, staring blankly into space. Sailor Moon screamed as the Outer Senshi fell limply to her knees and then toppled to her side on the floor, unmoving. It was as if the life had simply been leached out of her.

"You bastard!!" Tuxedo Kamen roared out, throwing a volley of roses at the murdering demon.

The huge vulture laughed as the flowers melted into green and red mush before they even came close to his body. "Ever pathetic… ever fools," the bird sighed, shaking his bald buzzard head in disappointment.

Sailor Mars saw Sailor Moon run to Uranus' side, falling to her knees and quickly searching for a pulse. "Sh-She's not breathing!" she called out, her voice wavering noticeably. Sailor Venus swiftly joined Sailor Moon as she heard the Moon Princess's words.

Sailor Mars turned her gaze determinedly to the winged-demon. He had struck down one of the senshi, and had kidnapped her princess's future daughter. And he was causing her true love pain due to his evil actions. The demon was going to burn. The Senshi of Fire pulled out an ofuda.

"Rin, pyou, tou, sha, kai, jin, retsu, sai, zen. Akuryou taisan!"

She ran towards the demon and threw the ward at one of his large grey wings. The vulture looked dispassionately at the piece of paper and tapped it with the eye on its staff. The ofuda abruptly tore into ribbons, dispelled.

"Useless…" the old buzzard sighed. "It is time… to end this… farce!"


Sailor Mars fired a host of fire rings at the vulture, refusing to give up. But it was no use. The rings froze in mid-air, held by some unknown force, and then fell to the floor, setting the robes of several rotting youma corpses alight. The Senshi of Fire spat out some colourful expletives.

The huge buzzard raised his unholy staff above his head, no doubt preparing to kill them all with some devastating attack. Sailor Mars glanced to where Sailor Moon was preforming CPR on Sailor Uranus with Sailor Venus assisting, neither stopping in their attempt to revive their friend despite the presence of the very hostile demon. Sailor Moon must have paid attention to Sailor Mercury's ministrations on the Senshi of Love that last time, back at the Rihga Royal Hotel, after the… incident. However, both blonde Inner Senshi watched the winged-demon with fear-filled eyes, knowing the end had come. Mars turned her head to the right, meeting Tuxedo Kamen's eyes through his white mask. The prince looked just like she felt. Useless. What could they do? Their powers couldn't even reach the thing. Was this how it was supposed to end? She, *they*, had fought there way through a seemingly unstoppable youma onslaught only to be killed by the big granddaddy of them all? The Senshi of Fire wanted to rage and scream at the universe for doing this. After all she had suffered through, was *this* how it turned out?! Where they *all* meant to die?! Well, by the gods, if she were going to go down, she would take Fate's murdering tool with her!!

Just as Sailor Mars was about to suicidally charge the great winged-demon, she saw Sailor Saturn and Chibi-Usa run out of the library and into the hall, the pink-haired girl holding onto her friend's arm for support. The Senshi of Death and Rebirth halted abruptly as she saw Sailor Moon and Sailor Venus preforming CPR on Sailor Uranus.

"Haruka-papa!!" Saturn cried out agonisingly, her pale, blood-covered face the image of torment. "YOU!" Saturn screamed, pointing accusingly at the demon. "You kidnapped by best friend and you hurt Haruka-papa!! YOU WILL PAY!!"

The vulture demon lowered his staff, looking amused at the young dark-haired girl's antics, and peered down at her small form in fascination, as if she were some sort of insect in a glass jar. Sailor Saturn shook off Chibi-Usa and ran nearer the murdering creature, stopping a few feet in front of it. She thrust her Silence Glaive high into the air, causing blood drops to fly off the blade. Time appeared to slow down to a crawl.


Sailor Mars breath caught as Sailor Saturn screamed the word, and she snapped her head in Sailor Moon's direction. The blonde's eyes threatened to pop out of her skull in shock and terror, but to her credit she never stopped her efforts to revive Sailor Uranus. Sailor Venus stood up, calling for the Senshi of Death and Rebirth to stop. No… Saturn wouldn't go through with it. She couldn't. What about Chibi-Usa? Her best friend? What about Sailor Mars and the others?!


Chibi-Usa was shouting something to her friend, scrambling over rocks and fallen youma alike, attempting to reach the girl. Tuxedo Kamen yelled something, and bolted at the pink-haired child, his steps seeming incredibly slow in Mars' eyes. The vulture's amusement faded and his beady eyes grew large, as if sensing the power forming around Sailor Saturn. He raised his own staff above his head and started to bellow his own attack. Sailor Mars had to do something, anything! Not just stand there and witness her and her princess's demise. But there was no time for her to stop the Senshi of Death and Rebirth. No time. There was no time!!


The colour bled out of Sailor Mars' vision as Sailor Saturn finished her command words, making the Fire Senshi totally colour blind, as if she was watching a black and white movie. Mars watched with disbelieving eyes as Saturn rammed her Silence Glaive towards the floor, the whole event seeming in slow motion. Sailor Mars had to act. She had to act now!! Mars ran away from Sailor Saturn, her footsteps taking an eternity to fall, running as if everything that ever mattered to her depended on it. But, in truth, it did. There was no time to think, only time for one act, for one action. She saw the scenes around her. Her princess sitting over Uranus, beginning to drag the Outer Senshi up with all her might. Venus, turning away from the Senshi of Death and Rebirth, her long hair floating in the air. Chibi-Usa, still running across the battlefield. Tuxedo Kamen, running at his future daughter, his tattered cape rippling slowly behind him. The demon, desperately blurting out arcane words and gesturing wildly with one hand. Piles of rock everywhere. Holes in the walls. Rotting youma decorating the marble tiles. And Sailor Saturn, the harbinger of destruction, of death, plunging her Glaive towards the floor, wishing to bring about the Silence.

Sailor Mars made a choice and acted, praying to every benevolent god in the universe to help her. There was a bright light, blinding her, searing her eyes. Her mouth was open in a scream, but nothing could be heard, white noise ripping through her mind. Her senses left her, and pain erupted in every cell of her body. And then there was silence.


to be continued…

Author's ramblings:

That was long. Fighting chapters are always long though; it takes bucket loads of words just to describe one fight. I hope there wasn't many mistakes; I hate checking long chapters.

Happy Easter everyone! Don't eat too many eggs!! ^_^