Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ The Radiant Sailor Moon ❯ Act II: Sharp Dressed Man - Part 2 ( Chapter 6 )
DISCLAIMER: Sailor Moon is property of Naoko Takeuchi, Viz Media, Toei Animation. I’m just a fan.
NOTE: There are NO MAJOR OCs in this work! Any unfamiliar names that you encounter will be a version of a character from the manga/anime.
Act II: Sharp Dressed Mask
Part 2: Tuxedo Mask
Usagi felt weightless, as if she was floating on the breeze. She never felt the blow, but given how the battle was going, she was pretty sure that she had now transitioned into the next life. The faint sounds were fading away. She felt warm, like being in an embrace.
Suddenly, she felt her momentum stop.
“Huh?” Sailor Moon opened her eyes. The first thing that they fell on was a familiar mask…and a top hat. She looked around and noticed that she was now on top of the building overlooking the alley. As she looked down, she could see the dumpster, the victim, and the trio of Ghost Brides. The first one seemed to have a rose jammed into her forehead.
“Having a little trouble this evening?” his baritone asked from behind the decorated tribal mask. Nestled safely in her hero’s arms, the young senshi could only offer a weak smile. The masked figure looked down at the angry apparitions below. “Let me guess: those dresses aren’t for sale, but you wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer?”
“Well,” Sailor Moon started, “it’s a little more complicated than that.” The masked man let the skirted warrior down onto her feet as the Ghost Brides began to move directly underneath them. “Those mannequins are being used by the same evil that the stone at Osa-P was, and…” Her mind flashed back to his first appearance at the jewelry store. On that day he had just appeared out of nowhere, and clearly not to help her. In fact, he was looking for a certain “treasure.” She pushed him away. “Hey! Why are you here anyway?”
“To help you out of this trouble,” he answered. “And just in time, I believe. You look like you were losing. Badly.”
Sailor Moon harrumphed. Even making that sound hurt.
“What’s your strategy?”
The senshi looked confused. “Strategy?” She hesitated. “I…don’t really have one.”
The man rubbed his temple. “What have you learned about your opponent that you can use to your advantage?”
“They’re pretty fast, and pretty strong.” Sailor Moon thought for a couple of seconds. “That’s about it.”
“Indeed,” he answered. He looked down at the Ghost Brides again. “If they could fly, or at least leap or climb this wall, they probably would have done so already. Attacking from the air might be a good way to fight them.” He looked over to Sailor Moon. “They attacked you as a team, meaning that they’re a cohesive unit. They’ll need to be separated.” He straightened himself up and fixed his clothes. “And, if the articles are true, they’re looking for a man to take advantage of, so now we have a distraction for you to use.” He cocked his head to the side to beckon her. “Let’s come up with a plan.”
Sailor Moon stood in wonder. She had no idea why he wanted to help her, but she was completely appreciative of the fact that he did. While she had been a bit suspicious of him creeping around Osa-P, she had this lingering feeling that she could trust him. Cautiously, but excitedly, she walked to him.
Luna had been stealthily watching the entire ordeal from her hiding spot. She nervously watched the masked man and Sailor Moon move away from the ledge and out of sight. She did not know what this mysterious figure was up to and desperately wanted to move and follow them. Unfortunately, she knew that the safest play was for her to stay right where she was.
After a few agonizingly slow moments, she noticed a figure walking up from the opposite side of the alley. It looked like the same guy who was with her senshi just a moment ago. Why was he walking towards the enemies alone? Was he working with them? She saw the brides smile at each other before taking their positions: the first (after removing the rose from her forehead) went back to her original victim, the second moved towards the masked man, the third stood watch at Luna’s end of the alley. Remaining still and silent, Luna anxiously observed to see what would unfold.
“My darling, where have you been?” the second bride cooed as she moved towards the figure walking to her. Her eyes began to subtly flicker with a sinister red hue.
“I’ve been looking for you, of course,” came the confident reply. “Would you care to talk?”
The fierceness returned to the crimson stare. “Tell me that you love me!”
The masked man’s form went limp. Slowly he walked towards the bride until they stood face-to-mask. She lovingly stroked his chest and arms. “Tell me that you love me!”
“I do love you,” he said. The bride smiled. “But, I’m afraid that I owe you an apology.”
The bride’s look became quizzical. “For what?” she inquired.
In a flash, the man dashed to his left. As soon as the bride turned her head to look at him, a spiral of golden light passed directly through her neck. She looked disconsolate as her head teetered on the stump and finally fell off. The ghostly form surrounding the head of the mannequin faded into nothingness. A few seconds later, Sailor Moon landed on the pavement in front of the still standing body.
She flashed a triumphant smile. “One down, two to…AAUGH!” Sailor Moon screamed as her battle buddy lunged at her with his cane. She ducked to the side and was preparing to cuss him out, when she realized…the bride’s body was still fighting! The man had used his cane to push the freshly decapitated body away from the young senshi before it could inflict any more damage. The bride’s body came rushing back at them.
“This is CRAZY! How do you stop these things?” Sailor Moon shouted in frustration. Unfortunately, the commotion caught the attention of the two brides who had managed to keep their heads. They were now moving purposefully towards the ruckus. The headless bride tried to grab Sailor Moon by the throat. The senshi caught the bride’s wrist and grabbed the collar of the dress. The masked man caught the bride’s other arm and grabbed her by the collar as well.
“We are running out of time!” the man said. The both looked back to see the two other brides closing quickly. “We must make this a 2-on-2 battle!”
“How?” Sailor Moon whined. “We can’t hold her down and get to our weapons! We don’t even have anything to throw at…” They looked back at each other, looked at the bride’s struggling body, looked back at each other, and exchanged nods. With a quick and forceful motion, the pair used their grip and leverage to throw the headless bride at her counterparts. The brides dodged as lifeless wooden limbs bounced off of the pavement. Both Sailor Moon and the masked man held half of the ripped dress in their hands. They stared at the remaining cloth that they held.
“Was there anything special about these dresses?” he asked.
Sailor Moon blushed. “Well, they did have a little bit of a red glow. And my blood immediately evaporated when it came into contact.” She looked embarrassed. “That might have been important to mention?”
The man’s attention turned elsewhere. “Right now, we have two more problems to deal with. We’ll worry about situational awareness later.” The two remaining brides had recovered and were closing in, anger written on their faces. “I’ll take the one in the kimono.” He brandished his cane and pressed a concealed button on the shaft. A short blade unsheathed itself. The third bride’s expression changed to nervous. The masked man charged at her, forcing her into defense with blocks and parries.
Sailor Moon marveled at his bravery and preparation for a few seconds before a familiar sensation caught her attention. She dodged to the side just in time to avoid another devastating blow. This time, the young lady didn’t hesitate. Taking a page from her partner’s book, she immediately went on the offensive, punching and kicking while her opponent tried to repel the attack. Her fighting wasn’t very coordinated as it mostly consisted of a flailing of arms and legs hoping to reach a target. However, it was serving to keep the bride at bay for the time being.
The masked man was using a masterful mixture of movement, blows, and feints in order to create openings for him to slash at the dress of his opponent. His skill had forced the bride back towards the head of the alley. With the garment barely dangling off of her body, the bride, with weakly glowing eyes, feebly requested, “Tell me that you love me!”
“Sorry. I’m looking for something else.” He slashed the last of the threads holding the dress on. The cloth fell to the ground as the apparition screamed and faded from view. The mannequin fell to the ground.
The bloodcurdling scream distracted Sailor Moon as she wheeled around to look. The Ghost Bride used the hesitation to deliver a powerful straight punch to the midsection, sending Sailor Moon bouncing off of the wall and down face first on the pavement. As the senshi gathered herself on her hands and knees, she lifted her head, just in time to see the victim, sapped of his energy, looking directly into her face. She froze.
“Wh…who are you?” he faintly asked.
“Uh…uh…” the eloquent warrior stammered. “I…I’m Sailor Moon. The Ch-Champion of Justice!”
The man was still weakened. He collapsed to the ground. “That…woman. She was…hurting me. Why?”
“I don’t know,” came the whispered reply. Her fists clenched tightly. Her eyes narrowed. “But I WILL punish her!”
After temporarily disposing of Sailor Moon, the Ghost Bride sprinted full speed at the masked man, pinning him to the wall by his throat and wrist. His cane fell to the ground.
“I’m crazy about you!” she whispered, eyes returning to a strong red.
Struggling to breathe, the man replied, “I believe half of that statement.”
The Ghost Bride tightened her grip. “Tell me that you love me!” The glow now flew from her eyes as flames.
“Is there…something…that you want…to do?” the masked man choked out between gasps.
“Oh yes!” she sexily answered. “But first, you WILL…”
“SAILOR V KICK!”
With a vivid streak of light, Sailor Moon executed a perfect, diving, spiraling kick to the head of the Ghost Bride, knocking it clean off, and forcing the entity to relinquish its grip.
With unobstructed breathing, the man fixed his tie, looked to the Bride’s head, and replied: “I wasn’t speaking to you.”
After a perfect landing behind her target, Sailor Moon bounced up with her tiara in hand. Setting it spinning rapidly around her finger, she swung the attack in a sweeping motion from the ground up. The tiara buzzsawed straight through the mannequin and the dress, bisecting the figure from the bottom to the top. The two halves fell to their respective sides as all traces of the ethereal image disappeared. Sailor Moon stood there, breathing heavily. Battered and bruised, but victorious.
Luna finally came out of hiding and quickly made her way to the victor’s side. “Sailor Moon, are you alright?”
The young senshi looked down at her mentor. “Yeah,” Sailor Moon answered unenthusiastically, “I’ll be fine.” Now that she was resting, she could feel her enhanced physiology healing at an accelerated pace. She lifted her gaze again to talk to the masked man, only to find that he wasn’t there.
“What?” she gasped. “Where did…”
“Once again, you’ve impressed me, Sailor Moon,” came a voice from high above. Luna and Sailor Moon craned their necks to see the mysterious stranger now standing on the roof. “I think that I could get used to these meetings.” He turned to leave.
“WAIT!” Usagi screamed. The man turned his face back towards her. “I need to know something about you! Anything! Where are you from? What’s this thing that you’re looking for? Why did you save me today?” She took a step forward. “What’s your name?”
“I told you before, I have no need for a name,” the man replied. “But, if you must, let’s go with something inspired by you.”
With a flick of his cape, an object came flying towards the young lady.
“Sailor Moon! Watch out!” Luna cautioned. But Sailor Moon didn’t move. Instead, she cupped her hands, allowing the object to gently settle: a beautiful red rose. She looked back to the figure on top of the building.
“You may call me…Tuxedo Mask.”
With that word, and a final flick of the cape, he disappeared out of sight. Sailor Moon stood there, staring longingly at the rooftop. “Tuxedo Mask,” she softly said to herself.
Luna was indignant. “Usagi, I don’t trust him! You need to be very careful!
Sailor Moon was still in awe. He couldn’t be bad. Could he? He had come to her rescue (and made her blush twice). Even still, he refused to give answers about what he was searching for. And he did seem to have a knack for just showing up whenever she transformed. It had only been two times! And he somehow came for both? Maybe Luna had a point.
“Sailor Moon! Look here!” The young senshi crouched down to where Luna was. The cat had pulled the two nearest dresses together and was looking at the tags. “These dresses were both made by the same designer.”
“Yeah,” Sailor Moon said, “all three of them were in the display together. Well, one was missing…”
“I think, perhaps, that this may be a clue as to who may be behind this,” Luna stated.
The warrior looked contemplative for a moment, then she gasped. “You mean…”
The sound of sirens interrupted her train of thought. “Time to go!” Luna ordered. Nodding in agreement, Sailor Moon gathered Luna in her arms and made it to the top of the building. Halfway across, the Champion of Justice stopped running. “Usagi! What are you doing?” Luna hissed.
Sailor Moon, in harried thought, looked back to the edge of the building. Suddenly, she put Luna down and ran back to where she was. Luna was hot on her heels. Glancing over, Sailor Moon could see that the police were on the scene. They had found the man, the mannequin parts, and the dresses. But, would they be able to put it all together? Plenty of men had been attacked before, but now there was a detail that might link them. Capable police they may be, but why chance that they might miss something?
“Officers!” Sailor Moon shouted. The police officers looked up. Before they could say anything, she continued: “That man was attacked by the Ghost Bride! Those dresses are the key! Look at the designer. Check the other attacks around the city, and I bet that you’ll find out that the stores near the attacks all carry this line.” She bowed. “Have a good night!”
With that, Sailor Moon backed away from the ledge, picked Luna back up and headed home.
* - - - -
Gingerly, Usagi let herself down onto her bed. Even though she was mostly healed up, she still had some leftover sore spots.
“Luna, seriously, what have I gotten into?” she asked.
Luna looked sad. “I’m very sorry, Usagi. I had no idea that things would be so difficult today. I had a hunch and I thought it best to follow through.” She sighed. “I didn’t know that this magic was so powerful.”
Usagi looked perplexed. “This is magic? Not just…some sort of…weird evil?”
“It’s both,” Luna replied. “Some magical source that feeds on people’s energy. But after the Yamana Ruby, I could never have known that the magic was strong enough to animate objects and project apparitions!” Luna gave Usagi a small smile. “But you did win tonight, Sailor Moon! You saved that man and probably hundreds more! You should be proud!”
“Luna! Those Ghost Brides were beating me bloody! I’ve NEVER felt pain like that before! I could barely move, super senshi or not! And that one punch that barely missed my head…” Tears began to fall. “I could have DIED tonight!” Usagi started to sob. “I didn’t sign up for this.”
Slowly, Luna walked over to her. She gently rubbed herself underneath Usagi’s arm before settling in her lap. “No, Usagi, you did not sign up for this,” she said solemnly, “this burden was assigned to you. It’s your birthright and your calling. As hard as it is, as tough as these last eight days have been, you will be called for something much greater.” She placed a paw on Usagi’s tear-soaked cheek. “Stay strong. I’m here. Naru is right down the hall. Your parents are close. Use the strength that surrounds you, and you will not fail.” Usagi lifted her head just enough to meet Luna’s gaze. “I believe in you, Usagi Tsukino!” Sniffing, Usagi rubbed Luna on the head, then fully embraced her.
Usagi turned her light off and finally laid down for bed. Luna curled up on the pillow next to her. A quick glance at the clock let her know that she only had about 5 hours of sleep coming. “Terrific!” she thought to herself. “After all this, I’m gonna be tired at work!”
She closed her eyes and let her thoughts change. She was still quite apprehensive about what more could be coming her way. Today was a harrowing experience. What horrors could tomorrow bring? At the same time, her efforts did result in people being kept safe: all of the victims of the Yamana Ruby, and hopefully, all victims of these Ghost Brides. Maybe this power, this obligation, wasn’t so bad. Dangerous, yes. But, perhaps with a strong purpose. After all, she believed in love and justice, and she was willing to fight for it. Why else did those words come to her mind when she was ready to battle?
Still, it would be nice to know that she had an ally. Someone other than Luna that she could trust with her secret. Someone strong, highly intelligent and capable who would fight beside her. Someone reliable and strategic who would be there when needed. Someone that she could talk to and find some understanding and common ground. Someone who would rescue her in his powerful arms…
“Tuxedo Mask…” Usagi mumbled as she drifted off to sleep.
Luna sighed. That “Tuxedo Mask” was a character alright. But Luna had seen her share of interesting characters getting close to people that she cared about only to hurt them later. This guy still had a lot to prove. Especially with what she witnessed today. How was he resistant to the mind control of the Ghost Brides? And he just happened to show up at the perfect time again? That couldn’t be a coincidence! But, she didn’t want to trouble Usagi too much until she had more evidence. The girl had been through enough in just these first few days.
“I’m sorry, Princess,” she lamented, “I put so much pressure on you in such a short time. But you can’t do this on your own.” She looked to the sky. “You need help.”
* - - - -
She loved quiet, contemplative walks down by the river, and this early morning was perfect for it: clear, mild, and the last quarter moon high enough over the horizon to throw its mirror-image on the water. She was enamored with her new country. On her way down to the waterside, she saw a dim light flickering from inside a nearby shrine. She smiled. Someone else also enjoyed using these quiet, alone times for reflection.
She finally found a comfortable spot on the bank. She stared at the moon against the calm water. She peered over to see if there was enough luminosity to reflect her tan face (there wasn’t). Still, fluid dynamics were so interesting! That the surface could appear so calm even though the river was continually flowing into the bay. As she combed through her short, curly, black hair (with its faint highlights of blue) with her fingers, her mind went over her favorite memories of her short trip thus far: learning to read and write hiragana and katakana on the plane ride over, teaching the patients some of her favorite chess strategies, talking with the local doctors about their community health concerns, seeing Orion in the sky instead of the Southern Cross, calculating the perfect train schedule to arrive at the cram school on time and tutor the young students, listening to beautiful classical music as she read up on international health policy, and, naturally, curling up at home with any of the good books that she could find.
As she relaxed, the moon slowly faded from view, replaced with a sparkling white castle. A twirl of turquoise fabric and cascading water now appeared. A gloved white hand wiped that vision away. It began caressing a ball of water, which then burst into snow, steam, and mist. The fog quickly evaporated, giving way to a picture of a rocky surface where the sun appeared huge in the sky. The view turned to focus on the blackness of space. Two turquoise eyes opened. A mirror? Suddenly, a blue-green flash above those eyes, morphing into a golden tiara with a turquoise jewel at the center. The scene was now accompanied by the sound of rippling water.
She shook herself, certain that she had just dozed off. When she looked at the water, there was now an abundance of waves disturbing the surface. She was pretty certain that this wasn’t the act of a stowaway yabby. Furthermore, they all seemed to be emanating from…exactly where she was sitting!
“Crikey!” she exclaimed. “That’s weird!”
- - - - -
NOTE: Due to lack of views on this site, this story will continue on FanFic.net and ArchiveOfOurOwn.org. The name of the story (“The Radiant Sailor Moon”) will remain the same. Please continue this adventure at one of those websites. Thanks for the support.