After introductions and a brief debate the girls had decided to go to the Crown Fruit Parlor for their talk. Both Michiru and Haruka's injuries were quickly fading and it wasn't long before Haruka was able to walk on her own. But even though the wounds were fast to heal, Ami warned them that their energy levels were still very low and that they should eat and rest as soon as possible.
"So what happened anyway?" asked Makoto, curious as to how the two powerful warriors were nearly defeated by such a stupid oni. "I mean, sure that thing had some pretty tough armor and was pretty strong, but you guys should have been able to beat it, no problem," she added throwing a sly glance in Haruka's direction when the other girl growled by way of reply.
Smiling at how easily her partner was baited, Michiru answered, "You're right. That thing was strong, but not too smart. Unfortunately it wasn't the only thing that made it through that portal. We had to destroy several youma like creatures and another oni before we move on to that one, and by the time we got to him we were pretty much spent. I'm glad you showed up when you did," she added.
Haruka, who had pretty much recovered physically by this point, snorted and said teasingly, "Oh come on, Michiru-chan. You know we would have beaten that last oni without any help!"
"I'm sure…" Rei started, but was interrupted by what sounded like an explosion a few blocks away.
"Not again," Minako groaned, despairingly.
"It came from near The Crown," called Ami who had her computer out taking readings. "It looks like a youma," she told her companions.
Minako sighed, "Come on. We better get there before too many people get hurt," she called as she ran to a nearby alley to transform. She was a bit surprised to find that the Outers had followed along with her friends and briefly hoped they were ready for another fight so soon after the last one.
Michiru having seen the worried look that crossed the blonde's face guessed what was bothering her and said, "We'll be fine, Venus. We're just going to watch your backs for you," she assured her.
Makoto grinned when her transformation was completed "Stupid youma won't even know what hit em," she told Haruka who look over at her with a matching grin.
'Great, two of them' Minako thought as a similar thought ran through Michiru's mind. With a shake of her head she jumped to a fourth story window catching the ledge with the toes of her shoes and jumped again from there to the roof heading towards the arcade. Rei, Ami, and Makoto were quick to follow and were in turned followed by the Outers.
Arriving at The Crown she saw that it was indeed the little hangout that was being attacked. Out front there were two overturned cars, several that looked as if they had been pushed aside, and quite a few bodies scattered amid glass from the shattered windows of the building. She also noticed a woman with blue hair and an upturned crescent watching from a safe distance whatever was happening inside the building.
"This is bad," Rei said to the others as she dropped to the street below…and froze as she looked into the devastated little shop. It wasn't the youma, although this one was a bit more ugly than normal, nor was it the fact that there was a Sailor Senshi already engaged in battle with the youma when all the known senshi had arrived with her. It wasn't even the fact that there looked to be survivors huddle in the corners or under tables that held her attention so. No, what had caused that deer in the headlights look on Rei's face was the incredible beauty of the Senshi. The girl was absolutely stunning. In fact, in Rei's mind the word stunning was far too mild for this fiery angel of vengeance locked in combat with a minor personification of evil.
'Gorgeous' Rei thought to as she watched the blonde almost teasingly step into the youma, deliver a quick left right combo, and step back in time to avoid its counter punch. It was obvious that girl was an athlete, she saw as her eyes roamed up the well-shaped and muscled legs that seemed to go on and on until covered by her senshi outfit. Her eyes continued upward to pass the girl's hardened abs, pass the well-proportioned breasts, the graceful neck and luscious lip. But it was when she looked into those blue eyes that Rei truly fell in love. Rei knew that if those eyes turned to meet her own that she would absolutely melt.
Abruptly Rei shook her head as if shaking off the enchantment she had been under. 'What am I doing?' She asked, just as the others joined her and suddenly all her thoughts faded as instinct took over causing her to dive to the side as the youma flew through the area where she'd just been standing.
Curious as to what was so horrible as to give Rei cause to stop the others joined her on the street just in time to have to jump aside again as what looked to be a youma came flying from the building toward them. Everyone having gotten out of the way in time, the youma crashed into one of the cars turned on its side with enough force to knock it onto its roof and send it skidding into the building across the street.
"What's going on here?" Haruka asked, looking to where the youma was struggling to pull itself from the dented wreck. She had at first thought the thing had been attacking them, but as the whole thing replayed in her mind she realized that the youma had had no control and had indeed been flying backwards as if it had been knocked from the building.
"Over there." Rei called, nodding to where the youma had come from.
"Wow, she's hot!" Minako said voicing Rei's thoughts.
Usagi charged and released a small energy bolt as she ran to intercept the youma before it could get to Naru. The bolt hit midway between the creature and Naru and brought the youma's attention toward her. Two more running steps and she was close enough to throw a hard right to its head. The youma crashed into the bar causing it to collapse, but was back on it's feet almost as soon as it hit the floor. Usagi was almost as surprised as the youma at the strength of her attack, but her surprise faded quickly as memories of the abilities of her senshi from the past surfaced in her mind.
"Senshi" the thing hissed angrily stepping from the debris of the bar. Even though thousands of years had passed since the time of the Moon Kingdom one thing all the youma remembered were the Sailor Senshi. It was said among their kind that by the time the Dark Kingdom had won that all youma had feared to even hear those words. And in these modern times where the Senshi had once again arisen the younger generations were beginning to see why. Without pause it raised both arms forward and launched a large sphere of black energy at the girl hoping to catch her by surprise and end this fight now. But even in the close confines of the building, Sailormoon was more than fast enough to move both herself and Naru out of the path of the youma's attack.
Laying Naru in a corner out of the way, Sailormoon moved quickly to close the distance to the youma and went on the offensive hitting the monster with a lightning fast punch kick combination that made it double over clutching its midsection. She then connected to its face with her knee followed by a hard kick to its chest. The youma went flying through the broken windows and crashed into one of the cars that had been wrecked when it first attacked.
As she was following it out to finish the job, Usagi hesitated a moment when she noticed six other girls dressed much like she was, scrambling to get out of awkward positions she assumed that they had gotten into in order to avoid being hit by the airborne youma. She had been so excited about her new power that she had let six people sneak up on her. 'I can't believe I let my training slip that badly' she thought as she let her eyes drift over each of them and her mind instinctively remembered faces, what each was wearing, and the strength and feel of the power each one radiated.
The youma finally cleared of the wreckage was totally enraged and the focus of that rage was Sailormoon. In fact it was so focused that it completely ignored the other senshi, much to some of their dismay Usagi noted with a smirk, as the creature came charging at her again. It was inhumanly fast, but for all it's speed it was like it was moving in slow motion to Usagi. It attacked with a flurry of kicks and punches moving so quickly that to observers it looked like nothing so much as a blur, but each punch was dodged, and every kick was blocked with an apparent ease that only infuriated the creature farther.
Rei, the first to get over the shock of unexpectedly finding a new senshi at the scene of this latest monster attack, decided that whomever this new girl was that she needed help. She had already taken the first steps toward the fight when she called to the others, "What are you waiting for? Let go help her"
But before she had gone another step someone had stepped in front of her. She had completely forgotten the woman who'd been watching the fight from slightly down the street until she stepped in front of her. With the suddenness only achieved by well-trained reflex, Rei executed a double back flip putting distance between her and this lady who for all she knew could end up being another enemy. It wouldn't be the first time the Senshi had gone up against other humans or human like enemies.
"You mustn't interfere," Luna told her, and let her eyes drift to include the others as well. "This is Sailormoon's first battle and she needs the experience." The other senshi moved over to join Mars in facing off against this newcomer. "If you feel the need to help you may want to get the survivors clear of the fighting."
"Sailormoon?" said Rei inquisitively as she filed the name of her angel away. The somewhat goofy smile that crossed her face and her suddenly glazed eyes got a few raised eyebrows but was set aside by the others for later.
"And just who are you?" Haruka asked turning back to the woman and taking a defensive fighting stance. She hated being ordered around, and more so when she didn't even know the person trying to order her around.
Seemingly unconcerned at the aggressive posture the senshi had taken Luna turned her head to look a Venus with a slight frown, "Where is that lazy bum, Artemis?" she asked her.
And that was all it took for Minako to make the connection. "You're a cat!" she called out excited, "That moon shape on your head, it's just like Artemis' when he changes."
Luna smiled at Venus and gave her a small nod, "I am Luna. I advise the princess in the same way Artemis is supposed to be here advising the leader of the Senshi" she told the blonde. "Just where is that cad, anyway?" she asked once again, "And why hasn't he restored your memories?"
Meanwhile Usagi, tired of dodging and blocking snapped forward a kick that staggered the youma back a few steps. Before the creature could close with her again she shot at it with an energy blast that the youma was unsuccessful in completely evading as it was caught in the side. Holding its side the angry youma threw a series of black energy bolts at Sailormoon catching her by surprise. She took a hit by the first and was knocked back but managed to stay on her feet and jump out of the way of others. She found that even without shielding herself that the blast that had hit her had done very little damage.
Finally running low on energy and injured the youma was forced to stop its attack and Sailormoon used its exhausted state to go for the kill. Cupping both hands facing forward she let the energy build for a several seconds until she could see a yellowish, white glow all around her and could feel a tingling sensation all over her body, and then with a slight mental push she unleashed her attack. The results were completely unexpected. White light so bright as to cause even the sunlight to fade, heat so blistering that the very concrete under their feet began to melt, and a force so strong it knocked Usagi onto her butt even with her enhance strength. To say that the attack was overkill would be a major understatement as the large hole in the building behind where the youma had been standing attested. The only reason the next building was in one piece was because the blast had had enough of an uphill angle to just miss its roof by a few feet. Even still, there wasn't a single window on the side of the building the blast had come from remained unbroken.
Thinking the worse was over Usagi got to her feet, blinking wildly trying to restore her eyesight. Just as she was beginning to be able to see shapes again there was a flash of light from the sky not quiet as bright as the first, but this one was shortly followed by a shockwave that knocked Usagi and most of the recovering senshi back to the ground.
This time upon recovering Usagi noticed that the city around her was unusually quiet. When she looked around she saw that the Senshi and Luna were all staring at her with varying looks of surprise and awe tempered by a just a bit of fear.
Seeing that it would be up to her to break the ice she put her vast conversational skills to use, "Oops?"
Darkness. That was the first thing she was able to see with her eyes as she woke for the first time in millennia. How did she know millennia had passed during her long imprisonment if she had been asleep? Because while the enemy had been able to capture her and force her into this stasis crystal they had decided that for someone like her the ultimate humiliation would be to be aware of the universe around her, but to be unable to do anything about it. And they had been right. She had been forced to do nothing but watch as Beryl having removed both Pluto and Saturn from the war made her bid to capture the moon and Queen Serenity.
In those early days of her captivity, she had been nearly mad with grief and rage at her own impotence. The Queen and her fellow senshi all thought her lost in the same battle in which Sailor Saturn had been killed so there was little chance if any of rescue. She had laughed insanely as she watched Beryl's forces throw themselves in waves against the combined might of the remaining Senshi only to be turned back time and again as surly as the land turns back the waves of the sea. She had taken calm satisfaction in the growing frustration of evil queen as she learned that even after she had removed Pluto and her ability to see into the future and Saturn and her terrible and awesome power that the remaining Senshi were still too powerful for her to destroy. But had Setsuna still been connected to the Gates of Time and been able to see into the future she wouldn't have been nearly so satisfied in her enemy's failures.
Her army slowly depleting itself while gaining little ground if any, Beryl had taken a desperate gamble. She had left her army to continue the siege upon the Moon Kingdom as she returned to Atlantis and made arrangements to meet with the King of Earth. She had somehow found out that Queen Serenity was negotiating a marriage between her daughter and the King's son in hopes of joining forces against Beryl and Metallia. Such an alliance would be a crippling blow to Beryl as Earth, which had remained neutral was the planet on which she was based and from which she drew the majority of her resources.
Setsuna could only watch in horror and know that it was a corruption of the time stream now that she was unable to protect it, as Beryl made frequent visits to the Earth Palace and ever so slowly began to corrupt and twist the young prince to her needs steadily cultivating in him a thirst for power while delaying the King's negotiations as much as possible. As for his protectors, she didn't bother to manipulate them. She just overwhelmed their free will with the dark energy granted her by Metallia.
Eventually Beryl could delay the negotiations no longer and on the princess's fourteenth birthday she was engaged to Prince Endymion of Earth. Shortly after the engagement was established she arranged an accident for the king as he had made it clear that Earth would not ally with Atlantis. Endymion seemingly grieved for his father's death just as Beryl and he had planned beforehand, afterwhich he immediately requested permission to go to Luna and meet his future wife in person.
Although she could no longer see into the future, Setsuna had seen enough of it to know that this was not the way things were supposed to go. She was helpless as the young Endymion in his lust for power betrayed the Moon Kingdom to Beryl and Metallia. He got into the Moon Palace, and played the part of the enraptured prince to the younger Serenity. He spent a great deal of his visit trying to drive a wedge between the princess and her protectors hoping that they hadn't bonded as tightly as Queen Serenity had with her protectors just yet. But nothing he tried worked, not even when he ordered his own protector to court the young ladies.
Finally on the night of a Royal Dance to celebrate his visit he received the signal from Beryl that she was in place. Feigning a need to return to his room for a moment Endymion and his protectors killed the guards who protected the crystal that generated the shield around the moon and destroyed it. The shield had been one of the main reasons that Beryl had been unable to take the Luna for her own. Next, his generals went from watch post to watch and killed each of the sentries while he shut down the detection devices inside the palace. So when Beryl's attack came there was no warning at all. The army of discontents and youma took out the years of frustration the war had caused on the people of the moon by slaughtering everyone and destroying everything in sight.
Somehow the older Senshi and the royal guards managed to hold off an army that outnumbered them a hundred to one while Queen Serenity did the only thing that she could. Using the incredible power inherited by those of her line, she sent the souls of her daughter and her daughter's court to be reborn into the future. Not suspecting prince Endymion, she arranged for his soul to go forward as well should he die, but handling so much power without practice was too much for her body and her heart gave out as the spell was completed. And all Setsuna could do from her prison was weep for her fallen queen.
When Beryl causally killed Endymion upon meeting him in the ruined palace, Setsuna took it as a small if petty victory. She would learn to take what she could get as more time passed. She took found peace in the irony of the young prince expecting great rewards for his deeds instead being betrayed by the very ones he had aided. And she laughed in pure joy as after it was all over and done with Beryl betrayed Metallia leaving her sealed in her prison in subspace as Beryl took over the rule of Earth at a time when refugees from the other planets of the system slowly began to trickle to the only planet that the roving bands of wild youma she had turn loose would not attack. Without Queen Serenity and the senshi to protect them the people turned to the only one left who could, just as Beryl had planned. Eventually she would rule every living creature left in the solar system and there had been nothing Setsuna could do to stop the madwoman…
But now, thanks to her princess reborn, she was free or soon would be. The extra energy of the attack the princess had used in destroying the youma hadn't gone to waste. It had instead traveled into space and detonated. The energy borne by the shockwave had been just enough to shut down the stasis field of the crystal without damaging the crystal itself leaving Setsuna to awaken in the inert crystal. And it would take a hell of a lot more than an inert crystal to hold Meiou Setsuna. Even now she could feel the power of Pluto, cut off from her so very long ago, starting to flow throughout her body again, although she could still sense nothing from the Time Gates and that was the one place where the stasis of the crystal had never allowed her to look.
'I'll worry about that later' she thought, 'I just want out of this thing' Concentrating she reached with her mind for the power she hadn't touched for far to long. The transformation into Sailor Pluto came far more easily than she remembered. She flexed the power and shattered the crystal that had been her unwanted home she since she had been locked into it all those years ago. For a moment she just floated there flexing both her muscles and her power, exalting in being free.
'And now to check the Time Gates' she thought and teleported. And fell to her knees at the sight before her. 'No wonder I couldn't feel it' she despaired, for the Time Gates lay smashed beyond her ability to fix, a last standing testament from Beryl to her defeat of Sailor Pluto.