Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ The Seneschal ❯ The Last Race, Part 2 ( Chapter 6 )
Yumiko held Haruka in her arms, softly singing some random tune that the little girl had always liked. It wasn't long before the small blonde fell back into a fitful sleep. Carefully tucking Haruka back in, Yumiko stood up and noticed her appearance in the bedroom mirror.
Did Haruka recognize me? She called me 'Mama'...
An ancient memory of an older girl arrayed in a training uniform briefly popped into Yumiko's mind...
"Concentrate," Yumiko said, "You can do this."
Haru picked herself up from the floor and assumed a ready position.
A steel ball emerged from the opposite wall and rocketed at the blonde teen. Haru moved her body to the left, swiftly avoiding the projectile. Another ball appeared flying directly for her head. She dodged again. A third ball fired from the wall behind her and hammered painfully into the backs of her legs, knocking them out from under her and sending her back down to the hard floor.
"End program." Yumiko smoothly padded over to her downed student.
"They just come too fast, Yumi-sensei!" Haru panted, "I can't dodge them all!"
Yumiko knelt down next to Haru and focused her disconcerting brown eyes on Haru's sea-grean orbs.
"Do you know why you are out of breath?" Yumiko asked.
Haru shook her head.
"Because your body is trying to compensate for your strenuous activity. This is a brute force attempt at moving yourself through your environment. You force your body through the air when you really should allow yourself to FLOW."
Haru hung her head. "Maybe I just can't do it that way."
Yumiko regarded the young girl for a moment.
"You must first regulate your breathing," Yumiko said, "This allows you to feel the flow of ki in your body. When you can feel that, you will also begin to feel the chi in the environment around you. Then you bring the two into balance with each other. This is true Nao-Ki T'kue-Chi."
"But I can't do it!" Haru yelled. Tears began to form at the edges of her eyes and she looked away.
Yumiko calmly reached out and cupped Haru's chin in her hand. Then she tilted the girl's head up. Gently, she wiped away Haru's tears.
"Haru," Yumiko said quietly, "If that is what you truly believe, then that will be the truth. But truth is subjective."
"I.. I.. don't understand," Haru whispered.
"It means that great accomplishments are made by people who believe they can do it. By making their own truths real."
"So if I believe strongly enough in something, it can become true?"
Yumiko nodded. "Yes, anything."
Haru's eyes overflowed with tears again.
"So why was my mother a person who would sell me to settle her debts? Why weren't you my mother instead?"
Yumiko blinked for a moment in brief surprise, then she gently caressed Haru's cheek, wiping away the girl's tears again.
"Then from today on, the woman who birthed you is in the past. I am your mother now."
Haru's eyes widened. "Really?" she whispered.
Yumiko nodded. She helped Haru back to her feet.
"And as your mother," Yumiko went on, "the truth that I believe is that you can do this."
Haru's eyes grew determined. She wiped away her tears with the sleeve of her uniform and slowly began to grin.
"I KNOW I can do this now!"
Yumiko cocked her head. "And why is that? Because of me?"
Haru shook her head. "No. Because it's now MY truth..." she glanced back at Yumiko, her grin still strong, "Mama!"
Yumiko remembered Haruka's ancient incarnation calling her that. And in truth, Yumiko had felt very much like a mother to all the Senshi back then. But that was only genetic fact with one of those girls...
She pushed the thought from her mind. It pained her heart when she realized that of all the Senshi auras she could sense, there was one that she still could not find.
Shaking her head, Yumiko softly closed the bedroom door behind herself and walked down the hall to her small office. She glanced at the clock before picking up her cordless phone. Then she dialed her manager's number.
There were few people in the world who even had even an inkling as to what Yumiko really was. When Yumiko began her musical career years before, Hitomi Akagi had become one of those few people. The reality was that Yumiko lived a triple life. On one hand, she was Yumi Toshinden, popular and talented guitarist from Japan with more than a few platinum records on the wall and at least two Grammy awards. On the other hand, she was Yumiko Takajima, head of the little known Takajima clan of Japan. The last aspect of herself was the one she kept tightest under wraps. That she was the former Seneschal of the Moon Kingdom.
For the last several thousand years, Yumiko had worked tirelessly in building up the clan Takajima's immense finances. Few people had heard of the Takajimas, and those few barely understood the tremendous wealth and political power behind the Takajima name. What nobody knew was that the entire clan registry consisted of only the names that Yumiko herself had put there. And those names were really nothing more than herself as she quietly descended down through the centuries.
If the real breadth of the Takajima's holdings from around the world were ever made public, the clan would be acknowledged as the richest family in the world. Of course that would never happen. The true extent of the Takajimas remained shrouded in mystery, and carefully protected behind scores of lawyers on retainer in almost every country.
Yumiko casually removed a painting from the wall revealing a elongated wall safe. She listened to her cordless handset, carefully balanced against her ear from her shoulder, waiting for Hitomi to answer as she opened the safe. Inside there were two curved sticks of pitch black and a flat rectangle shaped device. Yumiko allowed herself a small smile as she removed the two sticks. These were her Yoshihiro blades. Two finely crafted katanas made custom for her by Go Yoshihiro back in the year 1322. In the thousands of years that Yumiko had traveled the earth, she had never come across finer blades than these two. By all counts, they were priceless beyond imagining. Not that Yumiko would ever sell them. Yoshihiro had engraved her crescent rose emblem into the steel and even signed the tangs themselves, which was something he was not generally known to do.
The flat device was something else entirely... a remnant of Silver Millenium technology that Yumiko had carried for thousands of years. She considered it to be her most valuable posession. The wafer thin Moon Computer that contained her private journal.
Her journal. It consisted of her private thoughts and experiences since she first came to the Sol System thousands of years ago. To put it all into print, it would fill a warehouse to overflowing with text volumes.
Yumiko closed the safe door.
Should be time for an entry later...
"Hello??" Hitomi's groggy voice finally answered.
"Hitomi-san," Yumiko said, "I have a favor to ask of you..."
Summertime in Japan tended to be a bit on the humid side. Not that Yumiko minded in the least. Trivial things like weather really made no impact on her in general. She had maintained full control of her bodily functions for close to twenty thousand years, so she never got too hot or too cold. Now Yumiko could feel every molecule of moisture in the air as she moved through the night. Her chest burned in anger and grief causing her overall body temperature to rise and making her actually sweat a little.
Fuji Speedway was considered one of the most difficult F1 racetracks in the world, but Akira used to drive this track with ease. He used to joke that he could do it blindfolded. He had raced on this track dozens of times.
Yumiko leaped from the top of the street light and landed lightly on the balls of her feet in the parking lot. In her black leather she was simply another shadow in the night as she moved towards the pit garages, running at a speed that would be impossible for a normal human.
With Haruka safely in the care of Hitomi Akagi, Yumiko had first traveled over the rooftops to the Oyama Municpal Morgue. No one had noticed the black on black shadow that entered the building. There, Yumiko viewed the earthly remains of the second only man she had ever loved in the last twenty millennia.
Akira's charred body was covered in it. The blackened ooze of darkness, the lingering miasma of a youma.
The ancient Seneschal of the Moon wept silently over Akira Tenoh.
Now she stood in the empty pit garage of Team Tenoh. The shattered and burned remains of Akira's beloved T-1000P Formula One racecar lay piled in one corner with a tarp over it. Like its former driver, it was damaged beyond all recognition. And it too reeked of youma.
"So the mighty Moon Seneschal comes at last."
Yumiko's body was in motion before the sentence had even reached its mid point. She had sensed the youma's presence like a black and empty pit in her mind. Her two katanas with their plain black fittings were drawn and in her hands. The youma reacted with similar speed, just barely dodging her lightning like attack. Yumiko relentlessly pressed on. Instead of her usual calm and cool ki, her anger and rage flooded her two swords making them almost glow with a crimson light.
The youma jumped up into the air and floated above. Bolts of black energy emerged from its fists and tore up the concrete floor around the Moon Seneschal. With an empty face, Yumiko leaped into the air, spinning her body with her blades extended. The startled youma just barely ducked as her sword sliced effortlessly through a concrete support beam. It flew itself to the farthest corner of the cavernous garage.
"Hear me out, Seneschal!" a voice called out. A black globe floated towards the center of the garage with an image forming in the center.
Yumiko was silent, her body already moving towards the youma. Striving. Aching to deliver that final blow that would dissolve this abomination into empty dust.
"We spared your little girl, Seneschal," the voice from the globe said, "but that doesn't mean she's safe."
That made Yumiko stop. She turned towards the floating globe. "What did you say?"
"We can take your little girl any time we want," the image in the globe finished forming. It appeared to be a humanoid figure wrapped in a black cloak that obscured most of its features, "but I wanted to talk to you tonight."
Yumiko lowered her swords as the youma at the other end of the garage glared back at her warily.
"In exactly one minute," she said, "I am going to end this farce by cleaving your globe in half, and then cutting the head off that youma."
"I don't think so," the figure in the globe smirked, "do you know who I am?"
"I don't care who you are."
"You should care. My name is Danburite, of the Dark Agency." the figured in the globe seemed to lean slightly in the direction of the youma in the garage. "Rax, show the Moon Seneschal where Xor is."
Rax held his taloned hands above his head, releasing dark murk in a large globular pattern. An image began to form in the murky cloud. An image of a bedroom.
A very familiar bedroom. With a very familiar looking little girl sleeping fitfully on the large bed.
Yumiko felt her stomach drop into her knees. "What is this?" she whispered.
"That is Xor, Rax's brother," Danburite said, "Rax and Xor are pretty much two halves of the same creature. What one sees, the other sees. They are connected at the mind. Right now Xor is standing in your bedroom. Isn't that right, Rax?"
The image bounced up and down as Rax nodded.
"Xor is waiting for the order to kill that child."
Yumiko stared at the image floating in the cloud. Her face was empty but her mind was in turmoil.
That can't be real... can it?
"By your silence I would venture to guess that you don't quite believe me," Danburite said, "but I'm prepared to prove it. Rax..."
The youma motioned with his black hand, forming a phone shape that he put to his head. Across the garage, the wall mounted phone duplicated the youma's action.
Yumiko could hear a number being dialed, then the phone rang until it was picked up.
"Hey Hitomi-chan," Rax said. His voice was a perfect rendition of Yumiko's soft contralto. "Would you mind just taking a quick peek at Haruka?"
There was a brief pause.
Many miles away, Hitomi Akagi flipped off the television and stood up. She glared at the inoffensive phone receiver in her hand as if it had just bitten her.
"Yumi," Hitomi said, feeling a little annoyed, "She's probably still sleeping." Just like I should have been! And what's with the 'chan'??
"I know," the voice on the phone said, "I just want you to have a quick look in on her. I was feeling a little worried, that's all."
Hitomi glanced at the receiver again.
Feeling a little worried?? Then COME HOME!!
"Fine, hang on."
Hitomi gently placed the cordless receiver on the table and then calmly padded down the short hallway to the bedroom. She opened the door just slightly wide enough for the hall light to cast a narrow band of illumination over the sleeping child's face. Other than a mild expression of discomfort, Haruka appeared to be still in the bed and still asleep. Hitomi closed the door and returned to the living room where she picked up the phone again.
"She's just fine, Yumi. Still sleeping."
Back in the pit garage, the youma responded with a triumphant smile. The image that Yumiko saw in the black cloud had showed everything she needed to believe that Haruka's life was in danger. She could almost sense the dark youma that hid in the shadows of the bedroom when Hitomi had opened the door.
"Thanks, Hitomi-chan," Rax said, still in Yumiko's voice, "I'll be home soon. Bye bye."
Yumiko fell to her knees on the concrete floor, her katanas laying next to her.
How?? How did I not see this?
The globe slowly descended to the floor.
"So you see," Danburite's dark image said, "we currently hold all the cards."
"What do you want?"
Danburite cocked his shadowy head. "You've been hunting our youma for thousands of years. We want you to stop."
Yumiko narrowed her eyes.
"I can't do that."
Laughter echoed from the glowing crystal orb.
"I didn't think you would simply say 'yes'," Danburite finally chuckled, "That's why I went this far just to convince you. Imagine, searching for a method to end the crusade of the Seneschal of the Moon herself! It was almost hopeless! Then I catch your stupid crescent rose emblem on this human's car on TV. How careless of you!"
Yumiko was silent. Her cold eyes focused Danburite's image.
"Consider the death of your man as a warning," Danburite went on, "by now, every youma on this planet will know the strong energy signature of your precious little girl. There will be no safe place on Earth for her to hide. Interfere with our work, and Haruka Tenoh will die."
Yumiko slowly got to her feet. She carefully sheathed her two katanas.
"I will make a counter-offer to your supposed 'deal'," she said softly, her eyes glittering with a cold fire.
"You're hardly in a position to-"
"Be silent Danburite or I will end these 'negotiations' right now."
There was a click from the floating globe, as if Danburite's teeth snapped together.
"If your current flunky, 'Xor', so much as touches a hair on that girl's head," Yumiko went on, "I will take this fight beyond anything you ever deemed possible. I will find you, Danburite. Do not presume to think that you could possibly hide from ME. I will scour this globe until you are located. Then I will kill you in the most painful manner imaginable."
Yumiko took a deep breath before continuing.
"I will back down for now," she said, "only because a day is coming where I will no longer be needed to hunt your kind."
"Then you will kill no more youma?" Danburite asked.
Yumiko glared over at Rax, her eyes showing uncharacteristic hatred.
"One of these monsters killed Akira," Yumiko said softly, "I will reserve the right of killing it for someone else."
"Then you don't mind if Rax takes a token of your good faith with him," Danburite said.
The youma in question drifted over to the shattered race car under the tarp where it sank through the canvas like a ghost. There was a loud crunching of metal, then suddenly the tarp flew from the car. An engine roared in the dark confines of the pit garage. Yumiko stared at the magically restored T-1000P car as it smoked its rear tires and sped past her through the garage door, quickly blending into the night.
"You bastards," Yumiko whispered.
"Xor should be leaving your residence right now," Danburite said in a smug voice, "these negotiations are finished. Perhaps someday we can meet for real."
Yumiko's katana flashed like blurred light, slicing cleanly through the floating crystal globe. The two halves of the black ball fell to the ground, quickly disintegrating.
"Meeting me would be the last thing you would ever do, Danburite," Yumiko replied.
She turned and sped from the darkened pit garage, vanishing into the night like a shadow.
She ran with all her might, her legs pumping the bellows of her lungs as if fueling a forge. The five great moons cast their dull light down through the meta-city's plex-steel dome, giving the night and almost ethereal quality as she moved. Her heart beat a quick staccato rhythm in her chest and the very air she breathed felt like fire. But she couldn't stop. She didn't DARE stop.
It was in her panic-driven haste that she failed to see the dark clad figure step in front of her. She slammed into it dead on. It was like running head first into granite. She bounced off and landed on her rear in the dirty alley.
"I've finally found you, Haru," the figure's voice was calm, feminine, and soft, like the gentle caress of wind across Haru's cheek. She felt strangely calmed by the voice. "Great things lie in your future, Princess."
"There she is, boys! Let's have a party!" The voices came from the alleyway's entrance. Fear suddenly clenched at Haru's heart.
"Please!" Haru begged on her knees, "We must run! Those men..."
"Are after you, are they?" the cloaked woman murmured. She placed a black-gloved hand on Haru's head. "Their desires mean nothing to me. They simply shall not have you."
The cloaked woman seemed to flow gracefully around Haru, placing herself between Haru and the five burly looking men that gathered in the mouth of the alley.
"I will warn you once," the woman said in a commanding voice, "Leave now and I will spare your lives. This girl is under my protection."
The men sauntered forward, their leader looking the most smug as they approached.
"Well what do we got here, hmm?" he grinned a great gap-toothed smile, "Sounds like a more grown up bit of fluff, hey boys?" He crossed his arms and looked down at the smaller figure. "That little girl owes me her ass. I bought her fair and square from her mother and I intend on breaking that ass in tonight."
"The queen does not recognize such barbaric contracts."
The big man leaned forward and leered. "Well the queen ain't down here in the real world. Now get outta my way, or I'll have your ass as well."
The cloaked woman bowed her head slightly, calmly removing her black gloves.
"You are correct. The queen is not here. But I am."
Her cloak suddenly billowed out and she blurred forward becoming almost invisible.
The men's leader choked as his whole body was upended with a lightning-like knife-hand to his throat and foot that swept the backs of his feet out from under him. His windpipe was crushed and he gagged clutching at his throat as he lay thrashing on his back in the filthy alley. The other men blinked, then surged forwards to their doom.
Haru's eyes widened as she watched the cloaked woman tear through the men like a scythe through wheat. Bare-handed. A graceful dance of death that she could not look away from. Within seconds the fight was over. The woman's cloak fluttered about her form again as she turned and approached Haru. She knelt down before the stunned girl.
"I've come a long way looking for you, young one." She gently lifted her hood and revealed the calm and beautiful visage of a young woman with flowing brown hair tied into a neat braid. Her empty brown eyes seemed to reflect the ambient moonlight that filtered gently down upon them from the night sky and a silver crescent moon faintly glowed from her forehead.
"You have an important destiny, Princess," the woman said, "to become one of the mightiest of the Sailor Senshi. Sailor Uranus."
Haruka jolted upright with a gasp. Her wide eyes scanned the bedroom. Then she felt it. The lingering darkness.
The monster had been there. But it was now gone.
Haruka let her head fall back onto the pillow, her small form trembling. Then she remembered her dream and felt her body relax.
That woman with the glowing crescent. It was Mama.
Haruka couldn't tell how she knew that, but it felt like the truth.
Because I believe it's true.
A gentle smile formed on Haruka's face as she slowly drifted back to sleep. Then one word skittered across her awareness.
Uranus... What does that mean?