Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Neptune: Year One ❯ XIX ( Chapter 24 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

-Neptune: Year One-
Disclaimer: Sailor Moon is the property of Naoko Takeushi, Toei and Kodansha.
When she was just starting to run, Haruka ran the hurdles against three classmates. Five hurdles in, she heard an awful sounding crack behind her, followed by the coach's whistle stopping the race. She turned around to see that one of the girls had caught her foot on the hurdle, tripped, and fallen face first to the track. The girl's lip was split open and her nose was broken. Haruka watched, shaken, as the nurse was called out to attend to her, the girl lying completely motionless after having been knocked out. When she finally did come to, she began to cry uncontrollably in pain as she wept for her mama.
She hadn't thought of the event in a long time, the memory slowly fading over time. The sight in front of her, however, strangely reminded her a bit of that scene.
A security guard lay motionless on the ground next to his post outside the water treatment center. He was face down, and completely motionless, just as her classmate had been. Uranus' heart began to thump in her chest as she slowly stepped over and knelt down, putting a gloved hand to the guard's neck. She'd never actually seen a dead person up close before, and while she hoped that somehow she was wrong she had a sinking feeling that the witch had killed him.
Just as Sailor Uranus felt a pulse the guard let out a groan. The Senshi breathed out a sigh of relief as she carefully turned him over, revealing a scorch mark on the front of his uniform where his heart crystal had been extracted.
Neptune meanwhile had found a large hole in the chain link fence around the water plant, and a very familiar white car with black star decal parked outside the main facility. As she came closer to the fence, she sensed something was off. Picking up a nearby stick, she tossed it at the fence. The stick struck the fence, setting off sparks in the air before landing on the ground singed. She made a mental note of the fact that the fence was electrified as she turned and walked over to Uranus, placing a hand on the blonde's shoulder. “Ruka,” she whispered softly.
Sailor Uranus reached up and put her own hand over Neptune's. Their fingers intertwined as the blonde silently looked up. “How long will he last like this?”
Neptune knelt down next to her. “Four, maybe four and a half hours at the most.” She looked back over to the hole in the fence. Security lights shone down all around the plant's perimeter except for the area they now found themselves in, almost as a silent warning of what lay ahead. “Ruka, are you ready for this?”
Uranus stood up and nodded. Sailor Neptune led the way through the hole in the chain link fence. Once past the fence, they walked side by side towards the main facility. Both Senshi reached for the other's hand, seeking courage from each other.
The men and women of the Tokyo Water Treatment Center lay like logs of wood around her as she gathered the last of the crystals into her sack. Ash fell from the tip of the cigarette she held clenched between her lips as she checked her watch again. It was five minutes to midnight and the two bitches had yet to show up. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a bottle of whiskey. Opening it, she gulped the rest of its contents down.
“Guided by a new eon, Sailor Uranus acts with elegance.”
“Likewise, guided by a new eon, Sailor Neptune acts with grace.”
Zultan smiled gleefully as she tossed the whisky bottle over her shoulder, hearing it shatter behind her. The two Senshi stood in front of her, directly in front of one of the larger drums used in the filtration process. “I was wondering when you two were going to get here.”
“Where are the pods?” Sailor Neptune demanded.
“Pods?” Zultan asked with a chuckle, “What pods?”
“You know what pods!” Sailor Uranus growled, “The ones you threatened to infect Tokyo with!”
“Oh, those pods,” Zultan laughed. “Why, there all in here,” she said as she pointed to the side of her head, “You see, I made them all up.”
Neptune narrowed her eyes as she glared angrily at the witch. “You what?”
“I'm sorry,” Zultan cackled, “But do you have any idea how funny the two of you look when you get mad? You make it hard for me to keep a straight face?”
Neptune suddenly felt a storm surge within her being as Zultan continued to laugh. Uranus meanwhile had balled her hands up into fists. “If you think we're funny now,” she said in a low tone, “You're going to find what we do to you damn near hysterical.”
“Oh?” Zultan asked, “Thinking of using one of our attacks, are we? I shouldn't think so, not with all these water tanks and high pressure valves all around us. One badly aimed `deep submerge' and either we're inundated with twelve thousand gallons of water within ten seconds or we blow up the facility. And while the three of us may stand a small chance of getting out in time, I'm not so sure about them,” she said, indicating the men and women lying unconscious behind her.
Uranus gritted her teeth. “Damn.”
“Uranus, be careful,” Neptune warned, “I can sense she's hiding something.”
“But to get back on topic,” Zultan continued, “No, I don't have enough pods to contaminate all of Tokyo. I only have these two,” she said as she pulled two of the Professor's pods out of her jacket pockets. She began to juggle them as she fixed her eyes on Sailor Neptune. “You've been a thorn in my side for months now,” she hissed, a look of pure hatred replacing the witch's earlier bemusement. “It ends now, one way or another.” Before either Senshi had time to react, she stopped juggling and brought both pods up to her mouth.
Neptune's eyes widened in horror, “No!”
“Blech, these really do taste like shit.” Zultan groused as she swallowed down the last of the pods. The witch abruptly clutched her abdomen and let our an ear-splitting scream as she doubled over in pain. She began to shake uncontrollably, her mouth foaming up as she looked one last time at Sailor Neptune. “I'll see you in hell!” she shrieked as her back began to bulge, the sound of cracking and popping filling the air as blood-red tentacles pushed their way out of her back. They began to wave wildly in the air as the witch's eyes rolled back and two more tentacles slithered out of her mouth. Blood began oozing from her ears and nose as she sank to her knees, her arms outstretched. Her neck began to elongate and her chest and abdomen expanded until, with a final ripping sound, her neck severed and her chest burst. Like a moth emerging from its chrysalis, Zultan's former body was discarded and left behind as a tentacled daemon emerged, covered in the blood and gore of its former body and with a single beak-like mouth near the center.
Two of its tentacles shot outward towards Sailors Uranus and Neptune. Both Senshi managed to leap out of the way just in time, but the daemon did manage to grab hold of a wooden chair which it pulled back towards itself, biting it in half with its beak.
“What do we do?” Sailor Uranus asked, “We can't attack it here.”
Neptune nodded. “We need to lure it out of the building.”
Uranus looked around quickly as the thing began to move itself closer to them. She saw a clear area between two large tanks. “World shaking!” she yelled, sending her attack barreling between the tanks and into the brick wall behind it, leading to the outside. “You want us?” she yelled at the daemon as both she and Sailor Neptune raced for the opening, “Come and get us!”
The thing gave out a screech as it stretched out with its tentacles and grabbed onto any stationary objects it could find in order to pull itself forward. Slowly, one of its tentacles began to bulge at its tip, transforming itself into a primitive eye in order to see where it was going. Once outside the building, it saw its hated rival Neptune standing beneath a security light staring back at it, her arms crossed and her eyes defiant.
“Look at yourself, Zultan,” she said. “Look at what you've done.”
The daemon screeched once more as it continued to creep forward.
“Was it worth it, Zultan?” Neptune continued, “Has any of this been worth it?”
The thing answered by shooting out its tentacles at the Senshi. Sailor Neptune leaped backwards, doing a flip in the air before landing just out of reach. “Now Uranus!”
The daemon realized too late that it had been so focused on the hated green-haired bitch in front of it that it had forgotten completely about the other Senshi.
“World shaking!”
Sailor Uranus focused all she had on the attack. Searing pain shot through the daemon, causing it to let out a pained scream as it staggered from the attack.
Neptune saw her opening, “Deep submerge!”
The force of Sailor Neptune's attack sent it hurtling directly into the electrified fence. Both Senshi watched as her water attack combined with the electric fence, the daemon shaking uncontrollably as its tentacles became entangled in the fence's wire mesh. Smoke began to rise up from its body as the thing that had once been Zultan let out a final agonized cry before disintegrating before their eyes into a tar black puddle of goo. Two pods slowly rose up from the puddle, only to crack open and turn to dust.
Uranus, slightly shaken, turned to Michiru. “We have to go back in the plant.”
Neptune nodded. “Hai. We have to get the heart crystals, see if any of them were talismans, and return the rest to their owners.”
As they began to head back into the building, Uranus turned to Neptune. “Does it get easier?”
Neptune turned and looked into Uranus teal eyes. For the first time, they had actually been forced to take a life. This hadn't been an inanimate object brought to life like in the past. It had been a human being, an enemy maybe but still human. Sooner or later they would find the keepers of the talismans and would be forced to do so again.
“No,” Neptune finally answered, putting her arm around Uranus' shoulders. “But eventually you learn to live with it.”
From her Time Gate, Pluto watched the two weary Senshi enter back into the water treatment center. With a wave of her staff, the image faded. Police who would later arrive on the scene would stumble upon the ghastly remains of Zultan's body left behind after she transformed into a Daemon. They would note the stump where the witch had severed her own pinky and would chalk the whole thing up to an unusually grizzly yakuza hit.
Pluto had more pressing issues to deal with though. Earlier today a young fourteen year old blonde girl, considered clumsy and a crybaby by most of her peers, had encountered a talking cat and ushered in the new age. The same event had repeated itself across a hundred different timelines and alternate realities (viewing one of them from her Time Gate, Pluto saw a young South African girl who would one day become queen and ruler of Crystal Cape Town). The new eon that guided Uranus and Neptune had begun today, and nothing would ever be the same again.
Pluto was the Guardian of the Time Gate, a post Queen Serenity had ordered her not to leave or abandon and one which she had left several times these past few months. It was time for her to pull back from her old friends Neptune and Uranus once more. They had their mission, and she had hers. The future was always changing, and time was in a constant state of flux. If Crystal Tokyo was to become reality she would have to do what she could from here, once more behind the scenes.
Pluto had managed to find and awaken Sailor Neptune and, through Neptune, Sailor Uranus had awoken as well. She had kept her promise; the two were reunited in the present. A smile slowly teased Pluto's lips. Perhaps Serenity hadn't needed a third cat after all.
-To Be Continued-