Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Crystal Tokyo, California ❯ Chapter 5
"Do you think Emi isn't telling us the whole truth about her?" Haruka asked Setsuna quietly, walking beside the taller woman through the nearly silent halls of the Palace. It was very early, earlier than Haruka normally every woke up, but Setsuna had said it was necessary, and a request from her was good enough for Haruka.
"Probably," Setsuna answered her quietly, "I do think she lied about why she came here, but she'll tell us the truth when she's ready." She was dressed casually, her morning dress unadorned with any finery, but she still had a presence about her.
"It doesn't bother you having someone around here who's lying to you?" Haruka asked her, just a bit surprised. She reached down to adjust her gunbelts, carefully making sure each pistol rested comfortably on her slim hips.
"Serenity didn't tell me the whole truth when I first met her," Setsuna pointed out to Haruka gently, "I didn't learn about her having a daughter for weeks. Of course, at that point I much didn't care," she chuckled. More seriously, "Let's give the girl a chance, first."
"I guess so," Haruka sighed softly as they walked outside together. It was still dark out, the sun only just beginning to peek over the eastern hills. Makoto puffed as she heaved something up on to the waiting wagon.
"You want to give me a hand, please?" Makoto asked with a smile.
Haruka helped heave the other steel lockbox up on top of the wagon. She turned to Setsuna, gesturing to the box and one resting beside it, "So we need to make sure we meet this caravan bound back east, and deliver the two of these?"
"Yes," Setsuna nodded, "the money we'll get for the sale of them will keep the town afloat for another few months."
Ami walked out of the Palace, and then Makoto climbed up to take the reins in hand. She put a shotgun down beside her, "I'm your back up, Haruka."
"And if anyone is hurt," Ami said to Haruka calmly, "I'll be along to make sure we all make it back here all right."
"I suppose I can't talk you two out of this?" Haruka asked them.
"You could try to order us off, I suppose," Makoto said calmly, "but I bet we could get Setsuna to order us back on, again."
Haruka looked over at Setsuna, "I should have guessed." Setsuna just smiled over at her innocently and didn't say anything.
Michiru walled out of the Palace and up to Haruka. "Be careful, please," she said softly, looking up into Haruka's eyes.
"I always am," Haruka answered quietly. She bent down and gently brushed her lips across Michiru's, "I'll be back, I promise."
Michiru reluctantly let Haruka go, and she watched worriedly as Haruka climbed up with Makoto in the front and Ami on the wagon's bed, her doctor's bag resting there beside her.
"Do you think something's going to happen to them?" Usagi asked Setsuna softly.
"I hope not," Setsuna said, turning to smile at the younger girl. She noticed that Hotaru was hanging around again, and wondered how long she was going to have to pretend she didn't know the two of them were involved.
"They'll be fine," Hotaru reassured Usagi gently. The shorter blond looked up at the dark hared woman adoringly, and Setsuna had to hide a smile. She slipped away, leaving the two there to their romantic moment.
Emerald came downstairs, her hair messy from just getting out of bed. She smiled over at Setsuna, "Good morning, ma'am."
"Just call me Setsuna," she answered her with a smile. "How was your night, Emi?"
"I haven't had such a comfortable bed to rest in for months," Emerald admitted with a smile. "Do you want me to help Makoto with breakfast?" she asked.
"We're not opening the kitchen this morning," Setsuna sighed, "Makoto is helping Haruka guard the shipment today."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Emerald said. "Would you mind if I go back to my room to get ready for the day?" she asked with a smile. With that, she hurried up to her room, digging through her stuff until she found the hand mirror Diamond had given her.
With more than a twinge of guilt she leaned out her second floor window, reflecting the morning sunlight into the hills just outside of town. She delivered the coded signal, the sequence of flashes they had agreed on earlier, then she quickly ducked back into her room.
'I work for Diamond,' Emerald thought to herself grimly, 'No matter how much I may like these people, my duty is clear.'
Birdy trotted down into the rough encampment, her long braid of blue hair swinging behind her as she ran. She loudly declared, "There's finally been a signal from Emerald!"
"What did she say?" Prisma asked her quickly.
"Dash dash, dot, dash dash, long pause, and then..." Birdy trailed off under the combined glares of her sisters. More quietly, "She says the stagecoach is moving out, but she doesn't have a direction it's going in."
"Without giving us a direction to go it's not very useful information, is it?" Avery asked the others tentatively, tending their breakfast carefully.
"That's not necessarily so," Sapphire spoke up coolly. "There's only one really good pass they can take to reach the main caravan route," he calmly pointed out to them, "we can just try to intercept her there."
Catsy clasped her hands in front of her, large hearts appearing in her eyes as she said to him admiringly, "You're so smart, Sapphire!"
Sapphire sweatdropped a bit at that. "Break out the guns and let's go get the horses," he commanded, "we'll take a shot at stopping them at the pass."
Soon the odd looking gang rode off in pursuit of riches. Sapphire took the lead, and he could hear the girls talking together just behind him.
"You're riding too close!" "That's because you never learned to ride well!" "My butt hurts, can we take a break?" "We just started!" "But my horse has a bony back!" "Be quiet, I want to hear anything Sapphire says to us!"
Sapphire sighed softly to himself. He didn't know where Rubius had found those sisters, but it was times like this he wished he could just send them right back there. "Be quiet," he said over his shoulder to them, "I'm trying to think."
"You heard him, be quiet!" "Why, I'm not the one being loud!" "Both of you shut up!" "Don't shout at me!" "My butt still hurts." And so on...
Sapphire sighed again, and tried to put a bit more distance between him and them. It was going to be a very long ride, he just knew it.
Haruka rested her hand on her holster, then she smoothly drew out her gun, checking on the bullets calmly as the wagon rattled along the dusty track. "Is there trouble on these trips very often?" she asked Makoto.
"Before Diamond came along, we only had the occasional bandit trying to make some trouble. But now, Diamond seems to be determined to stop any shipments he can," Makoto said grimly, holding the reins in one hand and the shotgun in another.
"Him and those crazy girls he has working for him and his gang," Ami said with a impish little smile on her face.
"Crazy girls?" Haruka echoed her encouragingly.
Makoto decided to explain, "There's four of them." She gave a little laugh, "Avery, Birdy, Catsy and Prisma, I think." She shrugged, "But they're so incompetent that they're more a threat to each other than they are to us."
"Hopefully, you won't get to meet them today," Ami said to Haruka optimistically. Makoto smiled slightly, but Haruka stayed serious.
Haruka really wanted to agree with her, but her gut was telling her something else. "Ami," Haruka asked her quietly, "do you carry a gun, too?"
"Do no harm," Ami said softly in reply, "is the doctor's oath, Haruka." She smiled, "So no, I don't carry a weapon."
"I can respect that," Haruka nodded. A pause, and, "If the shooting does start, make sure to hit the wagon bed and stay there, please."
"Both of us can concentrate on the fight that way," Makoto spoke up, as Ami was about to loudly protest that order.
Ami sighed softly, "All right."
They rode on, Haruka looking around her at the dusty hills, the land scoured clean by the regular winds. The earth was a rust brown, and if you tried to talk too much, you found yourself eating a mouthful of fine dust.
Haruka pulled her bandana up over her mouth, feeling mildly bandit like as she did so. "How close are we to the pass?" she asked Makoto.
"It's not far," Makoto replied softly, covering her own mouth. Ami had already done it, a few steps ahead of them both.
"Get the horses ready to run," was Haruka's soft answer, "if they're going to try and take the shipment, the pass is the place to do it."
Makoto made sure the shotgun was ready, "Got it."
They came around a bend, and saw Sapphire and the four ladies waiting for them, guns ready. "Now!" Haruka yelled, and Makoto slapped the reins against the horses backs.
Startled, the horses lurched forward, charging at breakneck speen towards the five people standing there in front of them. The four girls followed their reflexes and jumped aside, but Sapphire stood his ground just long enought to raise his pistol and get off a single shot.
Suddenly, Makoto jerked in her seat. She swayed, but stayed there with the quickly offered helping hand from Haruka.
"Makoto!" Ami cried out, climbing up from the wagon bed beside her. She breathed a soft sigh of relied, realizing it was only a flesh wound to the arm. Haruka sat calmly beside them, and Ami was struck with an irrational anger, "Why didn't you shoot back?"
Haruka didn't answer for a moment, grabbing the reins herself and slowing the horses down a bit. "I didn't have a good shot at them," she said coolly, "and I hate wasting bullets." She looked pointedly at Makoto, "She going to be all right?"
"Yes," Ami said, just a bit unnerved by Haruka's calm. She realized this was the gunfighter side of the young woman, a side of her the townspeople hadn't yet seen. "It's just a minor wound," Ami added quietly.
"Good," Haruka said, "then we'll finish the delivery." She threw a smile at Ami, "Then you can take Makoto home and bathe her in TLC."
Ami actually blushed a bit at that, "Right." She bandaged Makoto's arm, and then helped her back up to her seat by Haruka.
"Let me drive," Makoto said, "you need to be ready in case they come back." Haruka surrendered the reins with a greatful smile.
"Thanks," Haruka said with a calm smile. They reached the caravan route, the two boxes were unloaded, and Haruka's eyes nearly bugged out as the caravan began loading up the wagon. There were bags of seed, barrels of wine, lots of food, as well as a variety of supplies.
A second loaded wagon was soon brought up for them, and Ami climbed up to take the reigns of that one as they all headed out back towards town. They rode on for a while quietly, until Ami finally broke the silence.
"Do you think they'll attack us again?" Ami asked Haruka worriedly.
"No, I don't think so," Haruka said thoughtfully. "Once we made the delivery, it became pointless. They wanted what we were hauling, not what we got in return."
"What makes you think that?" Makoto asked her pointedly.
A little smile appeared on Haruka's face as she remembered back to one or two instances she had been a bandit herself, "If you're a criminal, you want to steal things that are easly stolen and then are easy for you to sell." Haruka smiled and shrugged before adding, "Our supplies don't really fit either of those categories, do they."
It appeared Haruka was right, as they made a quiet trip back into town. The people came out like a flood, unloading the two wagons and passing out the supplies. Haruka climbed down first, then she helped Ami get Makoto down.
As soon as they saw the wound the townspeople flocked around Makoto, almost carrying her and Ami inside the Palace. Haruka found herself alone, standing by the now empty wagon. Well, almost alone, as she heard a delicate clearing of the throat behind her.
"I'm glad you're all right," Michiru said gravely. Her face lit up with a smilke, and she wrapped her arms around Haruka's neck, pulling her into a kiss.
Emerald watched, and strangely a smile tugged at her lips. 'Well, I guess Sapphire failed,' she thought, but she wasn't terribly bothered by that somehow.