Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ The Seneschal ❯ Age of Silver, Part 02 ( Chapter 9 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
It has been too long since I last updated this story. But I was re-reading it recently and I finally got an idea for where I wanted the plot to go. It only took almost 8 years, but I got the writing bug again. So here it is, in a seriously rough state (I am my own proofreader), the next chapter of The Seneschal. I hope the people that liked it originally are still around to read this new chapter. :-) For the record, it's a real rough draft. It might change, or it might stay the same. Who can say? Also, don't be surprised if there are spelling errors. Also grammar. I need to hit up my Strunk & White.

Standard disclaimers still apply: I don't own anything to do with Sailor Moon or its associated properties. But I own Yumiko. I made her. She's mine. :-D


Part 02: The Next Day

Sol System, 7998 FLP (Founding of Lunar Prime), 998th year of Queen Serenity XV, 19226 BCE

The entity that called itself Metallia hovered over the silvery moon that orbited the blue third planet. There was so much life begging to be absorbed on that third planet, but it was so far away. Metallia had exhausted herself just getting to this glowing satellite. But the life force on this moon was concentrated and strong. A small number of heart crystals below glowed as bright as the sun, and three of them burned like supernovas. Such strong life energy. Absorbing just one of those three would nearly restore Metallia to her former glory. So much energy.

Metallia recognized the very brightest of the heart crystals as the holder of the Silver Crystal. In fact, she recognized a number of bright lights below as being the planetary soul crystals of Sailor Senshi. In the deepest darkest depths of her twisted mind, she briefly recalled what it had been like to sail between the stars as a Sailor Senshi... then she crushed the memory to dust.

Metallia needed an agent. A being below to act as her emissary and get her close to these shining crystals. Someone easily corruptible and bent to Metallia's will. She scanned through the many heart crystals below...

There was a bright heart crystal that had a tiny sliver of darkness streaked across it. There were many heart crystals below that had some semblance of darkness, ranging from a black splinter to a completely darkened heart. But this heart crystal was special. It was innocent. Pure. But a dark seed had been sown in it. It just needed to be nurtured.

Metallia extended her dark tendrils down to the moon surface and sought out the mind of this one heart crystal...

There was a pounding echoing in his head. It was too slow to be one of those damned woodpeckers Lord Helios was fond of, and it was too fast to be the standard drumbeat that normally pounded in Kunzite's head after a night of drinking. He opened his eyes and immediatly regretted it as the light streaming in from the crystal window seared right into his vision leaving fiery blobs on the backs of his eyelids.

Kunzite sat up and several champagne flutes rolled off his body to shatter onto the moonstone floor. There were several champagne bottles already laying like fallen soldiers on a field of battle strewn across the floor as well. The pounding continued as he pulled himself to his feet and staggered to the door of the apartments.

"Gods curse your wretched eyes," Kunzite growled as he yanked the door open, "Enough of this accursed banging before I bang your head in!"

The young girl with the twin tails of flowing gold stood with her fist up in a mid-knocking motion. Her sapphire-like eyes widened as she stepped back from Kunzite in surprise.

Kunzite blinked several times before the girl's identity became clear.

"Princess Serena? To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?" Kunzite said, his bloodshot eyes focused on the girl.

"Um, p-please forgive me if I disturbed you, Lord Kunzite!" the princess exclaimed loudly, "But I was wondering-"

Kunzite held up one hand while the other went to his forehead. "Please dear girl, try to speak a bit more softly. My head is rather painful this morning."

Serena blinked. "Um, it's actually midday, Lord Kunzite."

Kunzite glanced at the wall chronometer. "So it is." He turned back to Serena. "What is it you want then?"

The Moon Princess blushed hotly and began to nervously fidget with her fingers.

"I was wondering if Prince Endymion was available to join me for some lunch."

Kunzite frowned.

"I'm not his secretary, girl," he growled, "Why don't you go and hammer on his door if it's his company you want?"

"He actually was not in his chambers," Serena said sheepishly.

"Then where the bloody hell..." Kunzite spun and walked over to his bedside table to grab his wrist communicator. He keyed it on.

"There had better be somebody on this channel that knows the location of the Crown Prince," he snarled.

The holographic display on his communicator came alive almost instantly. The face of one of his first lieutenants appeared.

"Lord Kunzite," the holographic simulcrum said, "The prince spent the morning at the palace training hall."

Kunzite gritted his teeth. Having the Crown Prince interact with the Moon Senseschal in any way filled Kunzite with extreme annoyance. He cut off the channel and turned back to the wide eyed Moon Princess.

"You want to see the Prince?" he growled, "Then let's go see him!"

"Deep elbow, and lift."

The voice of the Moon Seneschal drifted into the foreground of Bellona's mind. Beside her, the other three Inner Guardians were arrayed, and behind them were about a hundred of the elite Moon Guard. All of them were positioned upside down on their hands. Like one well oiled machine, the whole group bent their arms at the elbow and then shifted the balance to one hand while lifting the other off the ground. The isometric exercise put great stress on the elbow joint if done incorrectly, but when performed in meditation whilst filling oneself with inner ki, it served to strengthen.

In front of the group was Yumiko herself, performing the same deep exercise. Her form, as always, perfection. The graceful masterhood of her art form was a level that all her students aspired to achieve. Even training as many years as Bellona and the others had, it still seemed a long ways off.

"Now spread out your feelings. Sense the ones around you," Yumiko said, "Feel the ki that flows through them and harmonize with it."

Bellonna let her mind expand until she could see the presence of her fellow senshi in her mind's eye. The bright glow of their patron worlds eminated from their souls like colored beacons of light. Behind her, she sensed the steady glows of the other Moon Guard. From the Moon Seneschal herself, Bellonna sensed a dim and muted glow, while in the distance she could see the blinding bright star of Queen Serenity, the equally bright shine of Princess Serena... who seemed to be coming closer, and yet a third gloriously bright light from the back of the training hall.

Bellonna briefly wondered who that third light was before her attention was snapped back to the front of the hall.

"Resume standing position and stand down."

Bellonna resumed her feet and lowered her arms in the standing position. It had been a long and hard morning of drilling and training and her body was slightly sore. She glanced around at the rest of the troop. The Moon Guard was considered the elite of the elite. The Lunar Kingdom's standing army was a formidable force of fighting men and women. In itself it was divided into two major parts: the Outer Guard, and the Inner Guard. The Outer Guard was commanded and maintained by the Outer Senshi. From that Sailor Uranus pulled her elite Uranus Guard and many of the elite of the Inner Guard were recruited from there. The Inner Guard was further divided into the Royal Marines and the Moon Guard. It was the Moon Guard that most members of the armed forces dreamed of being called into. The men and women that stood around the training hall were Moon Guard elite. Considered masters of the Andromedan fighting arts, any one of them would be capable of taking on a whole platoon of the kingdom's enemies and walking away unscathed. But it was their teamwork that was considered legendary. Bell smiled wryly. It's been said before: The Moon Guard don't die in battle, they go to hell and regroup.

"As always," Yumiko was saying to the group, "Share what you learned with your teams. Fight at their side so that they may fight at yours. Be good leaders and listen. Tomorrow you could be ordering them to their deaths, just as tomorrow I could be ordering you to yours, and the Queen could be ordering me to mine." Yumiko stared hard at the faces of the Moon Guard. "Never forget the faces of those you serve with."

"Never forget!" The Moon Guard chanted.

Yumiko bowed and the group bowed back.


Bellonna relaxed and looked at her fellow Senshi.

"Shall we get lunch?" Ceres asked.

Hera's face split with a grin. "I'm with you on that. Where should we go?"

She glanced at Bellonna. "Bell? What are you thinking for lunch?"

Bellonna shifted her gaze to the back of the hall where Prince Endymion stood in training robes.

"Why do you suppose he's here?" Bell asked.

The other three Senshi followed her gaze.

"I don't know," Hera said, "But he does remind me of someone I dated before."

"Everyone reminds you of your previous conquests," Anya snorted.

"Hey, can I help it that I have an active social life?" Hera grinned, "You should try it some time, Anya. Sex. It's really awesome."

Anya blushed a deep crimson and glared at Hera. "I'll have you know that I've got an active social life too!"

Ceres interrupted the Mercury Senshi before things escalated. "You know it's really gauche to be standing out here and comparing sex lives. Let's do that after a bath and over some lunch, hmm?"

"Still," Bellonna said thoughtfully, looking at the Elysium prince, "I wonder what he's doing here?"

Ceres grinned. "We all saw him dancing with Serena last night." She giggled and focused her own blue gaze on the young prince. "I bet I know why he's here."

Endymion took a deep breath and clutched his training blade tighter in his hand. The sheer presence of the Moon Seneschal at the other end of the training hall was almost overwhelming.

Earlier that morning, Endymion was granted audience with the Queen and he had asked her permission to court the princess.

"So that's how you feel about our daughter after a single dance," Serenity had said with an amused tone to her voice, "Well, we don't have any issue with this. In fact, we believe this to be a good match."

Endymion quickly bowed, his face impassive, but his heart racing with joy.

"However," Serenity continued, causing Endymion to raise his head again, "You will need to convince our Seneschal of the benefits of such a match."

Endymion blinked.

"Your pardon, your Majesty?"

"You heard me," Serenity replied, dropping out of formal speech, "Gain Lady Yumiko's blessing, and you can court Serena."

Endymion stood up. He felt resolved and determined.

"Very well, Your Majesty," he said, "Where can I find Seneschal Yumiko this morning?"

Queen Serenity took a delicate sip of tea from a finely silvered teacup.

"You can find her in the main training hall." She put her teacup down. "If you go there, make sure to bring your training gear." Serenity winked. "You'll need it."

Most of the Lunar Guard had left the hall. The four planetary Senshi stood nearby and they were looking at Endymion with a mixture of curiousity and amusement. They seemed to giggle a bit amongst themselves, then they walked past Endymion to the training hall entrance. One of them winked at Endymion as she walked by.

"Did you need something, Lord Prince?"

Endymion started. The Moon Seneschal was standing right in front of him. He hadn't even heard her move and he only looked away for an instant. How did she move in front of him so fast?

"Umm, uh..." Endymion stammered for a moment, feeling taken aback. He could feel the cold brown eyes of Lady Yumiko boring through his face and seeing every secret thought.

Endymion mentally shook himself, then he straightened his posture and stared back into the Seneschal's eyes with his own stormy grey gaze.

"Pardon me, Lady Yumiko," Endymion said, "But I was told I should speak with you on the subject of courting the Princess Serena."

"I see," Yumiko said. She stared into Endymion's eyes for a moment longer. "And what is it you think I can tell you about courting the princess, Lord Prince?"

"Nothing. I simply require your blessing to court her."

Yumiko looked over Endymion up and down. He felt as if he were being weighed and measured and repressed a shiver.

"I see you came prepared to train a bit," Yumiko said. She gestured towards the center of the hall. "Shall we spar?"

Endymion stood in a ready position, his training blade in a guard position. His nerves were calm and his mind was clear. He carefully controlled his breathing and extended his senses to encompass the immediate area, just as Kunzite had drilled into him every morning for the last twelve years. Endymion felt confident and ready and focused like a laser upon his opponent.

Yumiko simply stood with a training blade in her hand. Her posture was deceptively benign, but every trained instinct in Endymion's body warned him that she was dangerous. Overwhelmingly dangerous.

"Kunzite trained you well in the sword arts," Yumiko commented, "You have a good solid stance, tucked elbows, and ready gaze. I can feel your expanded ki from here. Very good."

"Thank you," Endymion said, not taking his gaze off her.

"One thing really has me curious though," Yumiko went on, "What are you waiting for?"

Endymion blinked.

"Your pardon?"

"You have a good defensive stance. Where's your offense?"

Endymion blinked again. "You want me to attack you?"

"That's usually how combat works," Yumiko replied.

"Forgive me," Endymion said, "But I thought we were having a friendly spar."

He lowered his sword.

"Actually, why are we even sparring? I'm only asking for your blessing to court the princess. What are we doing here?"

Yumiko moved like a blur. The edge of her training blade suddenly was a hairsbreadth away from his throat.

"Never lower your guard in combat," Yumiko said, "Even a sparring session can end badly."

Endymion schooled his features to hide his shock. Yumiko backed away and resumed her position as he raised his training blade once more.

Yumiko narrowed her eyes at him. "The answer is no. I will not give you my blessing to court Serena. If you want it, earn it."

Endymion seethed on the inside. "How do you propose I earn your blessing, Seneschal?" he growled.

Yumiko glanced at the training blade in her hand, then she tossed it aside.

"I'll tell you what," she said, "If you can hit me once, I'll give you my blessing."

With a roar, Endymion flashed foward. His blade swung in near invisible arcs at the Moon Seneschal who just nimbly dodged his attacks.

"Faster," Yumiko urged, "you can move faster than that."

Endymion felt his body moving at blinding speeds as he focused all the skill he had built up over twelve years of training under a master swordsman like Kunzite, but it didn't seem to matter. It was like swinging his blade through a hologram. Every slash and thrust he performed, Yumiko simply wasn't there at the end of it.

"I think this is enough."

Yumiko's hand suddenly struck out at Endymion's left wrist, redirecting a slash. Her other hand caught under his arm and her foot swept his legs out from under him. The training blade flew from his grasp as she took him to the floor and locked his elbows in a painful hold.

"Do you yield?" Yumiko asked.

Endymion glared up at the Seneschal furiously.


Yumiko increased pressure on his elbows until they were screaming in agony.

"Do you yield?" Yumiko asked again.


Endymion's left elbow suddenly dislocated with a burst of fiery pain.

"Do you yield?"

"NO!" Endymion screamed into the Seneschal's face.

Yumiko gave him a small smile.

"Stubborn child."

His elbow relocated back into the socket and the pain died down. She released the joint lock and let him back up.

Endymion stood up warily. He flexed his left arm and realized there was no pain or evidence of injury.

"Nerve press," Yumiko said. She pointed at a spot near her own elbow. "Press on that nerve cluster hard enough and it feels like your elbow is dislocated."

Endymion stared at her for a moment before speaking.

"What was the point of this, Seneschal? You knew I would have no chance against you, yet you goaded me into a fight. Why do you not want me to court the princess?"

Yumiko rubbed the back of her neck for a moment.

"I owe you an apology, Lord Prince," she said after a moment, "Your teacher hurt me very badly a long time ago, and I fear I took some of my anger out on you." She looked past Endymion's shoulder. "Isn't that right, Lord Kunzite?"

Endymion turned around and saw Kunzite standing at the training hall entrance. His face was like solid granite and his eyes burned with barely concealed fury. Beside him, to Endymion's surprise, was Serena. She was staring wide-eyed at them both.

Yumiko put a hand to Endymion's cheek, surprising him with her gentleness.

"I also needed to know what kind of man you were, Lord Prince," she said softly, "If you were a man who would stand by his convictions no matter what."

She took her hand away.

"You have my blessing, on one condition."

"What's that?" Endymion asked.

"That you come here every morning and train with the Senshi and I." Yumiko gave him an appraising look. "You're strong, and I believe you can be so much more stronger than you even know."

Yumiko looked over Endymion's shoulder again. "Little rabbit," she called. There was an answering squeak by the door. "why don't you show Prince Endymion where the baths are? He smells."

Endymion picked up his training blade and looked at the Moon Seneschal with a new respect. "Thank you. But I will promise you this: We will spar again someday, and I will land a blow then."

Yumiko gave him a small smile. "I believe you just might."

Serena stared at the sweaty prince as he came over to her, a wide grin on his face.

"I'm so sorry, Lord Prince!" Serena exclaimed, "I'm sorry she hurt you!"

"Please my princess," Endymion replied, "I am unhurt and I'm in dire need of a bath." He focused his stormy gaze on the Moon Princess, feeling his cheeks grow warm. "Um, would you join me for lunch after? I have something I'd like to talk to you about."

Serena smiled broadly at the prince. "Of course! Let me show you where the baths are!"

Kunzite waited until the prince and princess had left. He glared at the Moon Seneschal, then closed the training room door behind him and locked it.

"You damned moon bitch," He snarled, "you godsdamned moon bitch. How dare you?"

Yumiko shrugged. "You have no idea what he was here to ask, do you?"

"I don't give a shit what he was here to ask."

Kunzite went over to the weapons rack and grabbed a training blade.

"You want a spar so badly," he growled, "then let's spar."

Yumiko picked up her own training blade from where she had tossed it and met the Shittenou leader in the center of the hall.

The speed of the attack and the power of the blow sent shockwaves through the air. Yumiko had barely parried the attack when the next swing came rocketing from the side just missing her head as she twisted out of the way. Kunzite hammered on Yumiko's defenses with a tightly controlled fury and seemingly limitless power. She could feel her arms getting numb with each parry and block. Finally a lightning like strike broke through and hammered her across her mouth and sent her flying sideways from her feet. Yumiko tucked her shoulder and rolled, coming back up. She rubbed her split lip and glanced at the blood on her finger. She could taste the metallic flavor of blood in her mouth from biting her tongue.

"Fine, Kunzite," Yumiko spat the blood out of her mouth, "If this is the kind of match you want, I'll stop holding back. Don't cry to me if you die."

The Moon Seneschal blurred forward and pounded on Kunzite's blade with gale force fury. Her foot flashed out and caught the Shittenou leader's knee sideways, causing him to buckle under the weight of her onslaught. He reached out and caught her next blinding kick in his big fist and pulled just as her elbow connected with his nose. They both fell to the ground, practice blades forgotten, kicking and punching each other.

Yumiko rolled off of Kunzite an hour later, gasping and sweaty. Naked. Kunzite glared up at her through his wet silvery bangs. His own sweat leaving his muscular and bruised body gleaming. His nose still hurt and his whole body ached.

"I still hate you, Moon bitch."

Yumiko hissed as she put her shirt back on over her bruised ribs. She turned to glare back at him.

"I still hate you too, dirt farmer."

Kunzite let his head fall back to the hard training room floor.

"How is it that this happens every time we see each other? We fight, we fuck, we hate each other still." Kunzite sat up and reached for his underclothes. "You're such a cold and unfeeling woman, and yet we still end up this way."

Yumiko shrugged, and winced at the pain she felt in her shoulder.

"You see, I think you still secretly love me, my lady Seneschal."

Yumiko arched an eyebrow at this.

"What makes you think of such wild fantasies, my lord Kunzite?" she asked.

Kunzite stopped dressing to look back at her again. "Because I'm still alive. I know you hold back when we fight. Why is that?"

"I should ask you that," Yumiko replied, "Why do you hold back as well?"

Kunzite threw back his head and laughed.

"Please, I only hold back a little. You hold back a lot." He stopped and gazed at Yumiko. "I've fought at your side many times. We're both intimately familiar with each other's style. If you truly let loose, you would be painting this floor with my blood. So don't insult me when I ask you why you hold back."

Yumiko sat quietly for a moment. "Kunzite, why didn't you want Juno?"

"Because she wasn't natural," Kunzite said, "and you're changing the subject."

"She was a product of your sperm and my egg. How she was gestated was irrelevant. She was your daughter."

"Yumiko," Kunzite responded, "We can go back and forth on this ridiculous circle of nonsense and the end result will be unchanged. You told me you couldn't have children, but you produced one in a machine without even asking me if it was something I wanted."

"I wanted to have your child," Yumiko said softly. She wrapped her arms around her legs and sat with her chin resting on her knees.

Kunzite stood up and slipped his shirt over his bruised and aching body. Then he leaned over the Moon Seneschal.

"I didn't want children. That's why I married YOU."

He turned to go.

"Your prince wants to court my princess."

Kunzite stopped. He turned to stare at Yumiko again. "What did you say?"

"I said that your Prince Endymion wishes to court my Princess Serena." Yumiko looked back up at the Shittenou leader. "That's why he was here. I gave him my blessing."

Kunzite's face hardened.

"I'm not entirely clear why my prince would even need your blessing for anything," Kunzite said, "but that aside, I would not consent to give your princess MY blessing."

Kunzite turned again and stalked to the door of the training hall.

"By the way," Yumiko called after him, "I think I know what my reason is."

Kunzite stopped again. "Reason for what?"

"For holding back. I think maybe I just don't want to kill someone I once loved."

Kunzite stood still for a moment, then unlocked the door and left the hall.

"Sometimes all it takes is one person to change the universe. To move the immovable. If you were that one person, wouldn't you want to make a difference?"

The kindly old man's blue eyes twinkled as he looked at the young red-headed girl that sat at the table.

The girl blinked. "But how, master? How can one person do such things?"

Councilor Hefex DuCharme stood up from the table. The weight of years seemed to rest heavily upon his weary shoulders as he paced the chamber. He stopped and gazed into the girl's golden eyes.

"It doesn't take much," he said, "an act of kindness, or an act of charity, or even for old politicians like myself, a simple vote on the right issue."

Hefex gently rested one gnarled hand upon the young girl's head.

"Someday you could go on to do great things, child. Amazing things. Save lives or change worlds," he winked at her, "That would mean that I moved the universe by giving it you."

Councilor Beryl DuCharme roused herself from the large oakwood desk in her stateroom. The side of her face felt a little warm and she could imagine the criss-cross pattern of her embedded keyboard in her cheek. Beryl stretched her arms out, banishing the muddy effects of sleep from her mind. Or at least trying to. She glanced at the wall chrono. It was well past midday, though it didn't immediately feel like it from the view through her window. She gazed for a moment at the big blue marble globe that hung in the dark sky above. Beryl sighed. It was going to be hard getting used to living on Lunar Prime.

It had been a long while since Beryl had last dreamed about her deceased guardian. But she still missed him every day. It was so easy for her to fall asleep as a child and living in his bright wooded manor, knowing his comforting presence was there. Like a warm and safe blanket upon her soul. Even when Beryl became an adult, Hefex DuCharme still had that same effect on her.

At nineteen years of age, Beryl DuCharme had the distinction of being the youngest Council member ever elected. And she only won the seat by a narrow margin.

A REALLY narrow margin.

Beryl only had fleeting memories of her real parents from before her adoption. Those memories seemed blank, empty, and distant. Like her parents were faceless figures that wore the labels 'Mother' and 'Father' respectively.

She stretched her back, then she reached out to pick up a simple wooden pendant shaped like a hawk from her desktop. It was the last artifact Beryl had of her parents existence. Hefex had told her years ago that her mother had given this pendant to her, but Beryl had no memory of that event. She put the pendant on and tucked the wooden hawk into her shirt. It served her as a reminder that her fate was her own. She would choose her destiny and make her own memories. And someday, she would bequeath this simple wooden hawk pendant to her own child.

Beryl thought about the night before, slowly going over the events and conversations she had, digesting the details and ordering things in her mind for later recall. It was a simple meditative exercise that Hefex had taught her that served politicians well in later debates. Then she remembered the prince dancing with the moon princess and she felt a painful twinge in her heart. She ruthlessly tried to crush the memory of the happiness on their faces. It was just a dance. It meant nothing. Prince Endymion was just having a good time, that's all.

Is that really all, child?

Beryl turned with a start. It was a rough, yet feminine voice that Beryl heard. She looked around the room, trying to determine the source.

"Is there someone here?" she said loudly. She didn't recall hearing her door open.

You DESIRE this boy, don't you?

Anger began to flush Beryl's cheeks. "This is not amusing in the slightest. Whomever is here, reveal yourself or I shall call the guard!"

Poor lonely child. You watched your prince grow up before your eyes. You figured there was only a few years difference between you... that when he came of age, you could reveal your love for him... your deep, dark, MOIST, love...

Beryl grabbed the lamp from her desk and smashed it against the far wall.

"WHO ARE YOU?" she screamed.

When you feel the most alone in the night, you slide your fingers down your stomach into your throbbing sex, and you pleasure yourself while imagining your royal Prince thrusting himself inside you...

There was a knock at the door. Beryl stormed over to the entry way and threw open the door revealing a surprised Elysium guardsman.

"Uh, is there a problem Madam Councilor?" the guard asked, "We heard shouting."

"Yes," Beryl seethed, "There is some sort of hidden speaker in my room that has been mocking me to no end. Find it and find who's responsible!"

The guard shrugged and entered the room. He pulled out his data slate and did a quick scan of the room, going from corner to corner.

"There's nothing here that's receiving or transmitting anything unauthorized."

Beryl stared at him. "Nothing? Nothing at all?"

"Madam," the guard said, "We did a standard bug sweep of these staterooms just last night. This section of the palace is technically Elysium territory, so we know there have been no non-Earthers in or out of these rooms for the last 24 standard hours. There's nothing in here, illicit or otherwise."

Beryl stared at the guardsman. He shifted his feet uneasily.

"Was there anything else, Madam Councilor?" he asked.


The guard scratched his neck. "Well, if you see something suspicious, please call us immediately."

He paused at the door, then looked back at Beryl. "Would you like us to get you set up in a different stateroom, Madam?"

Beryl shook her head. "I don't think that will be necessary. Thank you."

Beryl stood silently in the center of the room after the guard left.

Am I going crazy? Is this some sort of Lunar madness?

Dear child, you aren't losing your sanity. I am simply here. I am connected to your mind.

"Who are you? What do you want? Why are you tormenting me?"

Questions, questions. I'll answer your questions in due time. First thing though... the voice paused for a moment, Go to the mirror, child. Let us speak face to face.

Beryl entered her large bathroom and gazed into the mirror above the sink. She thought she could make out a faint outline of a person, featureless and nebulous. A faint shadow that was like a hint of darkness given form, standing next to her. It sent a chill down her spine.

My name is Metallia, child. Many millennia ago, I was wronged by the people of this world.

"What does that have to do with me," Beryl asked, "Are you a ghost? A spirit?"

I am simply me. But back to you. This boy, this Prince you fantasize about. You love him, don't you?


And last night, you saw him with someone... a girl. A princess of the Moon.

"I did, but I doubt it meant very much to him. It was just a dance."

Yet you felt pain. Just a little twinge. A small taste of pain to come. In your precious, innocent little heart, you became JEALOUS of that moon bitch.

Beryl shook her head. "No! I was just... no! I wasn't jealous!"

Faint hands seemed to touch Beryl's cheeks in the mirror making her recoil from the cold.

You will never be seen as more than a friend in your prince's eyes. He is destined to rule a kingdom. Your destiny is to sit in subcommittees and barely be heard since the very Council you sit upon will ignore your voice.

Beryl's face in the mirror began to age. Wrinkles grew around her eyes and frown lines surrounded her mouth. Her luscious red hair changed to gray and then white and her body began to stoop.

Look carefully, child. This is your future. You will age and you will die, and your prince will barely remember you.

Beryl covered her eyes as the tears began to flow. "No! I don't want to see that!"

Now look again, Metallia whispered, Look once more into the mirror.

Beryl slowly raised her face to look at her reflection. This time she looked young again, but with a long cloak of royal blue. Gold glittered at her throat and her ears and upon her head was a great golden crown. Her face shined like a star. The image of a queen. She gasped.

That is what I can give you, child, Metallia whispered again, Eternal youth, a kingdom to rule, and with the prince at your side...

Endymion appeared next to Beryl's reflection, tall and regal and beautiful, crowned king. King of Elysium, nay king of all Earth, of Lunar Prime, of the entire Lunar Republic.

Beryl gazed at the image until it faded back into her normal face and she mourned its passing.

"What must I do?" Beryl asked softly. The faint image in the mirror that was Metallia suddenly seemed a little sharper.