Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ The Radiant Sailor Moon ❯ Act I: Child of the Moon - Part 1 ( Chapter 2 )
DISCLAIMER: Sailor Moon is property of Naoko Takeuchi, Viz Media, Toei Animation. I’m just a fan.
Act I: Child of the Moon
Part 1: Usagi Tsukino
Slowly, strenuously, she opened her eyes. Her weary vision was blurry and double. As she struggled to lift her heavy head up, things came slowly back into focus. Her heart raced as she once again took in the horrifying spectacle…
…it was already 8:15 a.m.
“Oh no! I’m gonna be late again!” the young woman screamed as she kicked off her moon and rabbit decorated sheets. “Mom! Why didn’t you wake me up?” she howled as she jumped out of her bed. But before she could make a step towards the bathroom, the truth hit her. She exhaled sharply. “Eight years later and I’m STILL having late-for-middle-school flashbacks!” she grumbled to herself.
Calming herself, she glanced out of her window. The Tokyo Tower dominated the landscape over the Juban District. The streets we alive with people going to work and kids on their way to school. Many of them were heading to Juban Middle and High Schools, her alma maters. Even though she was not home anymore, her parents were still only a 15-minute walk away.
She opened the door to her room and walked out into the cramped hallway that connected her room to the rest of the apartment. On the dining area table was a note from her best friend and roommate.
“Ms. Tsukino, since you ate all of the yakisoba yesterday…and two days ago, feel free to buy some more and SHARE it this time! Love, Naru.”
The young woman hopped into the shower, musing about how her long-time friend liked to admonish her in the same way that Ms. Sakurada did once upon a time. While washing her face and fixing her hair in the mirror, she wondered how many times she would get mistaken for Caucasian today. It wasn’t common for Japanese people to have naturally blonde hair or blue eyes. The fact that she was unusually gifted with picking up spoken languages didn’t help either, but it certainly aided her at work. While she had a regular day job at a small café near Kamiyacho Station, it was her part-time evening job at a foreigner-friendly bar/restaurant in Roppongi that really made her smile. She won lots of fans with her relentlessly positive attitude, ability to lift people’s spirits, and her legendary eating contest victories. Of course, she lost some due to her klutziness and occasional butchering of an order. Still, it made her heart happy when she stepped in and her favorite customers all yelled, “Usagi!”
Showered, dressed, and with her odangos pinned tightly, Usagi headed out of her building and on her way to the café. She was feeling great, as she would be able to catch the metro and walk into work right on time. As she was closing in on the station, a flurry of activity caught her peripheral vision. She turned her head to see some young boys tormenting a small animal at the end of the alley. Her compassion kicked in. She ran at the boys.
“You little meanies! Leave that poor thing alone!” As she shooed the elementary schoolers away, she noticed that their victim was a small, black cat.
The boys ran away, taunting her. “We were just playing ‘Veterinarian!’”
Irritated, Usagi turned her attention to the cat. It was clearly flustered as well. “Aww,” she started, turning on her signature warmth, “what’s the matter kitty? Those mean little boys were picking on you?” She picked up the feline and nuzzled her. “Well, you’re okay now!”
The cat hissed and took a swipe at her.
“Hey! I’m trying to help you! Don’t get an attitude with…”
Usagi trailed off as she noticed something. The kids, during their “game”, had apparently placed bandages on the cat’s forehead. It seemed to be pawing and scratching, trying to remove them. “Oh, you want this taken off? Will you behave if I do?” The cat became very calm, looking directly into Usagi’s eyes. Usagi froze. The stare was deep and penetrating, as if the cat was searching for a way to communicate more than discomfort. The sensation creeped the young lady out. “O…kay.” She gently removed the bandages, only to be presented with another strange sight. Curious, she reached for it.
“What’s this mark on your fore…”
Before she could finish her question, the cat jumped onto her head and then on top of the wall at the end of the alley. The cat then resumed its stare. Usagi stared back, baffled not only by the feelings that this animal gave her, but with this strange, vaguely hypnotic, golden, crescent moon-shaped (bald?) spot on its forehead.
A familiar rumble shook Usagi’s concentration. “Oh no! My train! I’m gonna be late!” She turned and ran towards the station, her two long, golden ponytails flowing behind her.
The cat’s eyes widened.
- - - - -
“What a day!” Usagi sighed as she melted into the park bench. “How did we get three busloads of tourists AFTER the lunch rush?”
Naru smirked as she looked over the pond. “Terrible when someone eats you out of house and home, isn’t it?”
Usagi rolled her eyes towards her friend. “Not gonna let this one go, are you?”
Naru brushed her auburn hair over her shoulder and smiled. Usagi couldn’t help but return it. They had been attached to each other since they could walk. They had lived, fought, loved, and teased like sisters for all 22 years that they had shared on Earth. Now, they were stepping out into the adult world together. Despite her family’s wealth, Naru sought to make her own way in life. Her skill with numbers and knowledge of business made her a valuable, young asset to her accounting firm in Shibuya. Usagi was proud to have Naru as a friend.
“Usagi,” Naru said, “you know what would make your day?”
Usagi brightened. “What?”
“Hey, you guys!”
The ladies gave each other matching, slightly dejected looks. This was obviously not what would have made their day. They turned to the bespectacled interloper approaching them and dryly greeted him in chorus, “Hi Umino.”
The short young man grinned widely. Gurio Umino had been an acquaintance since middle school, but the girls mostly just tolerated him. He was awkward, an otaku, and had an unrequited crush on Naru. Still, he was a nice guy, immensely smart and currently acing his college curriculum.
“So, what are you lovely ladies up to this evening?”
“Well,” Naru started, “I was just about to tell Usagi that my mom’s jewelry store is having a special event. A brand-new collection just came in. Since she’s got the new pieces, there should be some things on sale!”
“Ohh!” Usagi melted into the bench again. “Some new jewelry would be lovely! I can’t remember the last time that I got a new necklace…or earrings…” She popped up and squealed, “or a cool new choker!”
Naru sighed. “Yeah, I’m sure Mom’s got something nice.” She suddenly sat straight up. “But, there’s been a recent rash of robberies across the city lately! They’ve been targeting jewelers!” She frowned. “Oh, I hope mom will be okay tonight.”
“Never fear!” Umino boomed. “I’ve been tracking the crimes online and they’re starting to slow down. I’m sure that the drop can be attributed to Tokyo’s new crimefighter: Sailor V!”
The girls stared at him. “Sailor V?” Usagi asked. “The manga character with the video games?"
Naru chuckled. “You mean, your hero, Usagi?”
Usagi blushed. Though she wasn’t into manga and video games as much as she was as a kid, she was a bit of an otaku herself when it came to the barely two-years-old instant hit. Still, she had no idea that it was all based on a real life costumed crimefighter! “So, Sailor V is a real person?” she asked.
“Mm-hmm,” Umino answered, nodding. “She’s been fighting crime all over Europe for the past couple of years, and now she’s come to Tokyo! Her Reddit fan club says that she’s secretly working with the national police to catch the thieves! They’re trying to keep her involvement quiet, but the last two arrests had her fingerprints all over them…figuratively, of course.”
Usagi jumped up. “That’s good enough for me! The manga superhero has your mom covered, shiny new jewels await us, and we have to go!” She took Naru by the hand, heading for nearby Hiro-O Station. “See you later, Umino!” The girls ran off, leaving Umino in the park, looking a bit crestfallen. He sighed.
Unbeknown to Umino, a small, black cat joined him in watching the girls depart.
- - - - -
The two ladies exited the Azabu-Juban Station and walked a few winding blocks to the jewelry store, Osa-P (after the family name of Osaka). Despite having her own job, Naru liked the fact that the store was only a 10-minute walk from their apartment. As they entered through the sliding glass doors, a scene of bedlam greeted them. People were practically running around the store, picking up every ring, necklace, brooch, and earring that they could find. The workers were frantically trying to keep up with customer requests. Naru, who was used to the sound of price haggling, actually heard what sounded like bidding. “I knew that this was a special event, but this is out of control! Where’s my…”
“Naru!” A lovely woman in a classy black and yellow ensemble approached the girls and embraced Naru strong enough to lift her off of the ground.
Naru seemed a bit perturbed. “Mom, are you alright?”
“Oh, I’m doing wonderfully, dear!” she said while beaming. Her attention turned to Usagi. “And how is my favorite little blonde bombshell?"
Usagi arched an eyebrow. Mrs. Osaka was always a very sweet woman, but she was never the cutesy, ultra-excitable type. Usagi could sense Naru’s growing concern. She tried to answer the proprietor, “Uhh…”
Before she could get a word out, Naru’s mother put her arms around them and led them through the pandemonium to the store’s center display case. “Girls, this is the most incredible day in the history of Osa-P!” She held her hand out, leading the girls’ vision to a large, dark red jewel, mounted on a silver pedestal. “Behold! The Yamana Ruby!” Both Usagi and Naru felt their jaws drop. The jewel was immense and beautifully structured. Its body was both reflective and translucent. It was truly transfixing. “Can you believe that this stone is uncut?”
Naru snapped out of her funk. “Uncut?! This thing was taken out of the ground just like that? That’s impossible! It looks like a crystal!”
Mrs. Osaka laughed heartily. “Amazing, isn’t it? The stone was unearthed just the way that it appears now. When the explorers dug deeper into the earth, they found thousands of jewels that looked like miniature versions of the Yamana Ruby. They excavated all that they could and turned it into beautiful jewelry! And we were the first store in the world that they asked to sell the collection!”
Usagi and Naru looked around. Due to all of the commotion, they had failed to notice that virtually every piece of jewelry that was being tried on, fought over, or purchased, featured a dazzling stone, identical in color and composition to the large ruby. Banners read: “From parts unknown…the Yamana Collection!” Usagi squinted at the banner. Partly because reading kanji wasn’t her strong suit, partly because she wanted an explanation. “’Parts Unknown?’” she inquired.
“The provider was very big on maintaining the mystery of the Yamana Ruby’s story.” Mrs. Osaka smiled. “I guess they want this jewel to be legendary one day.” She looked at Naru who was beginning to sweat ever so slightly. “Don’t worry. Everything is legal!”
Usagi took a good look Naru’s mother. She was fully decked out in the collection: silver ruby tennis bracelet, gold ruby choker, platinum ruby tiara pinkie ring, ruby teardrop earrings…
Usagi froze. A scene flashed in her mind: those earrings…they were being worn by another woman…an angry, powerful woman…was this déjà vu? Or a replay of a dream?
Neither Naru nor her mother noticed Usagi zone out. A bit of calamity rose up in the corner of the store. “Sorry girls, but I have to go! If you want anything, tell me soon! This collection won’t last long!” She bounced off to do her duty, leaving Usagi and Naru in the midst of the madness.
Usagi looked at her friend. It appeared that she was becoming ill. She walked over and held her hand. “Are you ok?”
Naru didn’t lift her eyes. “I’m worried about my mom. Something in here just doesn’t feel right.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Usagi said. As they headed for the door, Usagi looked back at the Yamana Ruby. It made her anxious. How could she feel like a jewel couldn’t be trusted? It didn’t make any sense. And yet…
- - - - -
Usagi collapsed into her sanctuary, her oh-so-comfortable bed. She had recently left her other sanctuary: the dinner table. She was relieved that Naru seemed to be feeling better, though she did just leave to go back to Osa-P and check on her mother. Naru said something about people wearing the new jewelry walking back in the direction of the store. Usagi assumed that since so many pieces had been sold that day, what Naru saw was just coincidental. Still, she didn’t want to fall asleep until Naru returned home.
Usagi closed her eyes and took deep breaths. She tried to think about all of the things that happened that day, but her thoughts came back to two things: the first was those earrings and that flash of déjà vu. It felt so familiar…but how could it be? The only angry, powerful woman she could think of was her mother when she brought home a 30% on a test. The second was that cat and that stare…it nagged at her. It just felt…strange.
She sighed and opened her eyes, tilting her head towards the open window. There, she saw something quite interesting: the very same black cat from the morning. Naturally, it was still wearing that stare.
“Hmm,” Usagi hummed. “I guess I have a cute, little stalker!” She sat up. “I still want to know how you got that little bald spot on your head.”
The cat harrumphed. “This is not a bald spot, young lady!”
Usagi leaned in for a closer look. “Well, since there’s no fur growing there, technically it is a b-b…” She stammered, before asking, “Why am I talking to a cat?”
The cat jumped down from the window ledge onto Usagi’s bed. “You’re talking to a cat because to ignore her would be quite rude.” The cat smiled. Usagi didn’t know that cats could do that either. “My name is Luna,” the feline continued, “and I have been searching for you for quite a long time, Usagi Tsukino.”
Usagi flopped back down onto her bed. “Oh well. I tried to stay awake and wait for Naru, but obviously that didn’t work. Probably shouldn’t have eaten then gone right to laying down, it’s not good for the body. The brain plays funny tricks…”
A paw-slap in the middle of her forehead got Usagi’s attention. “Ow!”
“You are not dreaming!” Luna yelled. She took a deep breath and composed herself. “When you saved me from those mean kids, I knew who you were. Your smile, compassion, and that hair.” She smiled again. “It’s so good to see you.”
Usagi sat and listened, still dumbfounded at the current situation.
“It was very important that those bandages were removed from my head. When the mark is covered like that I lose many of my abilities, including speech. Since you helped me, I have regained access to my power. And now there is something special that I need to show you.”
Usagi’s wonderment continued to grow. How could things get even more special?
- - - - -
Naru nervously peered around the corner. The block that Osa-P was on was filled with shops, no places for food. So, after 8PM, it should have been dead. Instead, as she suspected, people were walking into the front door. As she entered with them, she noticed that the lights were dimmed. The people coming in, still wearing the ruby jewelry, all appeared to be in a trance. Their eyes were hazy, some seemed gaunt. The energy that had been displayed earlier was nowhere to be found. Naru looked to the center of the store. Goosebumps specked her skin. The Yamana Ruby was…pulsing? Glowing? With every beat from the huge gem, the jewelry bearing its name sparkled very slightly. The listless masses were kneeling around the ruby, silent and mostly motionless.
Frantic, but afraid to speak herself, Naru’s eyes darted around, searching for her mother. She finally saw a familiar form standing near the back of the store. She rushed over and whispered, “Mom? Mom? What’s going on here?” She grabbed her mother’s hand, only for her mother’s clammy digits to grasp her tightly. Trembling, Naru looked up into her mom’s face. She turned pale as she saw a faint red glow in her mother’s eyes.
“She needs our energy.”
“Wh-what?” Naru was terrified now. “Who?”
“She needs our energy,” her mother droned again, this time grabbing Naru by the wrist.
Panicked, Naru looked behind her and saw two women walking towards her, carrying some ruby jewelry in a manner suggesting that she was next to wear it. “She needs our energy,” the women said.
“She needs our energy. She needs our energy.” The chant went up throughout the store. The women were right next to Naru. Her mother’s face was cold and emotionless. She couldn’t reach her phone. If she called for help, would anyone hear? There was only one way to find out…
- - - - -
Luna tucked herself into a little ball. The crescent moon on her head began to glow with a brilliant light. Usagi watched in amazement as the cat performed a high jump and a lightning-quick backflip, landing perfectly on the bed. A split-second later, a jeweled object fell onto the bed between the two of them. Usagi looked down.
It was a golden brooch, decorated on the perimeter with four jewels, turquoise, red, green, and orange. There was a crescent moon inscribed on the front with a pink jewel opposite.
Usagi immediately became cheery. “Hey! I didn’t want any of that creepy Yamana jewelry anyway! Oh, I can match this to so many of my clothes! I can wear it at both of my jobs, going out shopping,” she sighed dreamily, “on a date…this is perfect!” She hopped up and went to her closet.
“Usagi!” Luna chirped. “That is not a regular piece of jewelry!” Usagi, with three outfits in her arms, turned her head to Luna. “That brooch is a tool. Its purpose is to aid you in fulfilling your destiny…” Luna locked eyes with Usagi, “…as a warrior.”
Usagi paused. “A warrior?” After a few seconds, she smiled and winked. “A warrior for fashion!” She went back to matching her outfits.
Luna, with apologies to her queen, wished that she had human hands at that moment. She sighed. “Usagi,” she said in a stern, motherly tone. The young lady stopped. “Put the clothes down, hold the brooch, and repeat after me.” Usagi, dropped her outfits on the bed, holding the brooch in her hand. She wasn’t sure about what would happen next, but something told her that life would never be the same after that moment.
Luna locked on to Usagi again. She spoke: “Moon Prism Power, Make-Up.”
Usagi stared at Luna, then looked at the brooch. With her heart beginning to flutter and her nerves starting to jangle, she decided that she would take this crazy day all the way to its natural finish: by following the orders of a talking cat.
She held the brooch aloft (if one is going to do something insane, one might as well be as dramatic as possible, right?), and shouted the words given to her:
“Moon Prism Power…Make…UP!”