Disclaimer: I don’t own Sailor Moon or any of the characters. If I did, we wouldn’t hear about Mamoru or the Generals ever. Ever. I promise, it would be awesome!
The chains jarred her arms as she felt the pull on the other length of her shackles. She quickly shuffled to the edge of her carriage, knowing better than resisting. There was no point. She was a slave and she could do nothing with her wrists and ankles shackled. She had lost her father, whom she now barely remembered. She had lost her best friend, for something she did not do. Her sweaty trader looked her over, making sure she was “presentable.” Her hair was unkempt and she was dirty. The woolen rags she was wearing could never be presentable. It was an ugly brown and almost too short for modesty. It itched and was a little tight, clinging to her developing feminine attributes.
“You had better behave this time,” he growled at her. He jerked the chain again to make sure she was paying attention. She had a distant look to her face as her violet eyes were set upon her new home. She pulled up her shackled hands to shift some of the short, dark hair out of her eyes. It was an immense castle with marble pillars and high stone walls.
‘I guess I will be serving royalty, again,’ she thought with a sigh. ‘I hope this turns out better than last time.’ She dropped to the ground somewhat less than gracefully, due to her restrained feet and landed on her knees and elbows.
“Up, you!” the trader yelled, while tugging on her chain. She weakly rose to her feet and he led her to the gate where a large gatekeeper asked him his reason for being here. “I got the requested slave here for Her Majesty the Queen.” He handed the burly soldier a letter with a wax seal on it and let him peruse it.
“Okay you may enter,” the gatekeeper turned and yelled up to the gate operator, “Open the gate!” The large, iron gate groaned as they opened inward. The young slave had no time to enjoy the beautiful fountain in the center of the paved courtyard. She quickly scanned the marble halls lavished with tapestries and expensive rugs.
They stopped in front of two large wooden double doors with a heart-shaped crest. The two imposing female guards crossed their halberds to impede entry. Her trader anxiously announced: “I’m bringing this slave to Her Majesty upon Queen Serenity’s behalf. Here is my letter.” The guard on the right scrutinized the letter before announcing them. The guards opened the doors and let them in.
The slave girl was even more in awe when she entered the throne room. The room was well lit and colored by numerous stained glass windows. The only clear window was circular and shone upon a throne embroidered with gold. No, actually it was the golden hair of the occupant of that throne. The woman sitting on the throne of Venus shone like the sun. She was the most beautiful woman the slave had ever seen. She was wearing a sky blue dress that accented her piercing sapphire eyes. She wore a contemplative look as the slave trader pulled her to a set distance from the throne and they both bowed deeply.
“This is the girl sent by Queen Serenity?” she asked simply, her voice cool.
“Yes, your majesty,” her slave handler replied in his most humble voice.
“Why was she dismissed from the Moon Palace?” the Queen with an inquisitive look. She had heard rumors and wanted to know the truth.
“The slave girl had an ‘unnatural interest’ in Her Majesty’s daughter,” he replied as sweat beaded his forehead.
‘He forgot to add in the part where she was just using me as kissing practice. Although, I would rather it be a girl, but I can’t let them know that...’ The slave girl thought to herself. Her heart ached at the loss of her dear friend who so kind to her. A tear rolled down her cheek. She didn’t think she would ever be fortunate enough to meet someone who she could trust that much ever again.
“Well, I don’t think I’ll have to worry about my daughter with her…” the Queen laughed lightly. “She is completely boy crazy.” The slave handler laughed cautiously as if she were a wild tiger who could decide that he would serve her better as a meal. A dour servant brought him his payment and he bowed his way out. The slave girl was left alone with the imposing monarch and frightened out of her wits. Somehow, she maintained a calm visage.
‘What if she wishes to “reeducate” me?’ One of the young scars on her back itched at the thought of whipped again. It had taken several days for her to be able to travel again after she was caught doing ‘forbidden things’ with Queen Serenity’s daughter. She watched the Queen descend from the throne to stand in front of her. The kneeling slave immediately lowered her head to the soft carpet.
“Stand and let me examine you.” The Queen ordered. She obeyed instantly, but meekly to show that she was no threat. The Queen lifted her chin and examined her face. “Such beautiful eyes…Lovely, but dirty and dressed terribly… What is your name, girl?”
Her voice came out in barely a whisper: “Hotaru, your majesty.”
“Hotaru…” the Queen let it roll off her tongue as if tasting it. She let a slight smile spread on her face, “or ‘firefly.’ My youngest will adore you, once you are clean and dressed properly.” Her smile faded into a much more serious look, one that could consciously send someone to the gallows, given proper motivation. “If you attempt anything ‘inappropriate’ with my daughter, like you did with Princess Serenity, you will regret it.” The smile returned as she beckoned a couple of servants to take her away.
The second Princess of Venus was sitting in her room pacing. She despised waiting. She was tired of waiting. ‘You should not have to wait for your present, especially not on your birthday,’ she thought to herself. Frustrated, she sat down and began to brush her long golden hair, a habit she used to calm herself. ‘At sixteen, I’ve came a long way from the freckled little girl I used to be. But Minako, you’ll never be your mother…’ She sighed and began to wonder what kind of present would take so long to arrive.
She had everything she could want: jewelry, a team of seamstresses who could make her the most beautiful dresses, and legions adoring admirers. Yet she didn’t have anyone she could call a friend. Well, every now and then another princess would come for a visit and they would have some fun, but those were temporary visits. She wanted someone she could trust with her secrets or babble on to about her latest crush. She used to enjoy being with her older sister, but now she was studying to be the next ruler of Venus and had no time for ‘such nonsense.’ She had begun to feel truly alone in the cold palace she was trapped in. She started as someone knocked on the door.
“Yes?” Minako called. A familiar female servant peeked in and politely bowed.
“The Queen has summoned you, highness,” she said with her head held low. Minako was used to Martha’s visits. She had taken care of her for almost five years now and wasn’t that much older than Minako herself. She had always kept distant, even when Minako tried to be friendly. She could have been a decent friend, if she wasn’t afraid of her mother. “Princess Minako?” Minako shook her head and scolded herself for spacing out. A delay like that might get Martha in trouble. She quickly followed the servant down the hall to the throne room as her thoughts now turned to the present awaiting her.
Hotaru had been bathed, or scrubbed, and was now being dressed in a modest black dress that the rest of the staff wore. She rubbed her wrists glad to be out of her shackles and collar. She glanced at her right wrist that now had a silver bracelet on it attached by a chain to a ring on her third finger. Both ring and bracelet were adorned with the heart-shaped symbol of Venusian royalty. Hotaru was familiar with these bracelets. Although somewhat attractive, they were an indicator to everyone that she was a slave and who she belonged to.
It didn’t bother her much. She didn’t care about who owned her as long as she was fed and had a place to sleep, and not abused. She had long ago resigned herself to her life as a slave. Butterflies danced in her stomach. She was nervous to meet her new mistress. She hoped that she was not going to be a cruel mistress. One of the maids placed a silver choker adorned with a pink heart around her neck. Hotaru turned to the maid, unfamiliar with this accessory.
“What is the necklace for?” she asked as politely as she could.
The serious, gray-haired servant snorted and looked her straight in the eye: “It’s a way to tell the other servants that you’re the Princess’s new pet.” Hotaru wasn’t surprised at the need for special identification. At her previous location, she wore a special necklace with a crescent moon.
“So what is the Princess like?” she continued trying to focus on the important questions. The aging maid thought for a minute and looked around to see if anyone could hear. Convinced no one was close enough to hear, she leaned closer to Hotaru as she led her out of the room and down the hall.
“She’s kind of an airhead and she’s rather flighty when it comes to boys. But she’s really kind at heart. Just be nice and she’ll love you.” She whispered in Hotaru’s ear as they walked toward the throne room again.
“Now Minako, dear,” the Queen said in her rarely-used “mother” voice, “you’re a young woman now and I believe that you need some responsibility…” Her jaw clenched as she noticed her daughter was spacing out. “Minako!” Her mother’s uncharacteristic outburst jerked Minako back to reality.
“Yes, mother, responsibility,” Minako stated casually. Her mother shifted uneasily in her throne, trying to relax.
‘Was she paying attention, or did she just pick up on that last word?’ the Queen pondered. Maybe her daughter wasn’t such a total airhead…
“Is it a puppy! Or a kitty! Or a fish!” Minako started rambling to herself excitedly, while making animal faces.
‘Okay… at least I didn’t get her fireworks,’ the royal mother’s train of thought was interrupted by a hesitant knock on the door. “Ah, it has arrived.” Her daughter let out a cute squeal of glee reminiscent of girls half her age. She clasped her hands over her heart as the doors slowly opened. A middle-aged servant walked in and stepped aside revealing a short, dark-haired girl who couldn’t be much younger than herself. She looked at her mother questioningly, receiving a nod that meant, ‘yes, she’s yours.’
She let out another childish squeal and ran to her present, frightening an already nervous Hotaru, who kept her eyes glued to the floor. Minako caught the girl in a bear hug, giggling as Hotaru tried to breath. Minako let go and said: “Thank you, mother! She’s absolutely adorable!” Her mother smiled and Minako began to dance with Hotaru like they were playing ‘ring around the rosy.’
Hotaru never saw the first crushing hug coming. She heard a squeal issue from the blonde girl and clamped her eyes shut as she lowered her head. The next thing she knew she was caught in a rib-cracking embrace. It wasn’t as if she didn’t appreciate the sign of approval, she just liked breathing. The girl let go and she inhaled deeply. The princess turned to her mother and curtsied: “Thank you, mother! She’s absolutely adorable!” Hotaru felt a blush arrive on her cheeks.
‘At least she thinks I’m cute…’ Hotaru had worried if she was going to be up to her ‘royal standards.’ Her eyes widened as the princess grabbed her hands and began to dance around with her. As they twirled, Minako’s long golden hair caught light from the stained glass. It was like a rainbow was wrapping itself around her. Hotaru noticed that her new owner was vibrant and lovely. She blushed again and scolded herself as she fought off vertigo, or something else.
Minako’s dance ended when she finally saw the frightened look in the other girl’s violet eyes. Minako was drawn in the sorrow and beauty she saw. She didn’t know if she could look away. She heard her mother use a polite cough to interrupt her daze. Minako temporarily let go of her embarrassed ‘present’ and curtsied again to her mother.
“You are now responsible for this girl’s well-being,” the Queen stated regally, “She’s not just a present; she’s also a test.” Minako’s smile shrunk a little at the word ‘test.’ “If you can take care of her properly, I might put you in charge something in the palace. Since your sister Aria will be the next Queen, you must find a purpose for your life of privilege.” Minako nodded solemnly. “But don’t forget to enjoy today and get ready for tonight.” The Queen let a smile show on her face and let her daughter be excused.
Minako smiled and boldly declared: “I feel like the cow that ate the canary!” Her mother rolled her eyes and kept her smile as a sweat drop formed on her brow. Minako said “thank you” at least a dozen times as she grabbed her present by the arm and practically skipped out the door.
End of Chapter One
That’s my beginning. I hope you stick around for the rest of it.
Read and Review, please. Most of the storyline has been plotted, but I will gladly hear suggestions.