~~~~((~~~((@ THE ROSE GARDEN @))~~~))~~~~
From the memoirs of Chiba Mamoru, as re-told to Pandora Diane MacMillan
"Mystery glows in the rose bed, the secret is hidden in the rose." --Farid ud-din Attar, 12th Century Persian poet.
CHAPTER 10: A Locket And A Handkerchief
Part 4: Tuxedo...Moon?
Juliet: By whose direction foundst thou out this place?
Romeo: By love, that did first prompt me to enquire,
He lent me counsel, and I lent him eyes.
I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore washed with the farthest sea,
I should adventure for such merchandise.
------------------Romeo And Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, William Shakespeare
It's a wonder Usagi's parents couldn't hear me scrambling up the wall of her house, because tonight, I was far more intent on speed than being silent. Yet, I had made it to her bedroom window sill without waking anyone up, not even the black furry duenna, who appeared to be having a cat nap at the foot of her mistress' flowered coverlet. I opened the casement window softly and gazed on Odango in lace-trimmed pyjamas, curled up on her side, deep in Dreamland.
The crescent moon shone brightly through the now open window onto its sleeping princess. God, she was beautiful like that. I bent to one knee to climb in and gently shake her awake, but a gust of wind hurled my cape into the air at that moment. The stealthy rustling sound was enough to arouse Usagi.
Her wide sky-blue eyes stared at me. "Tuxedo Kamen? This MUST be a dream!"
Quickly, I motioned to Usagi to follow me, then jumped down to her front garden gate, where I gestured urgently for her to come. Though looking a little stunned, Usagi scrambled out of bed and came running down the stairs and out into the garden after me, still in her pyjamas. I stole a look behind me to make sure she was still following, only to meet the indignant gaze of a black feline form, paws dangling from the window sill, and a baleful cat gaze, directed down at me. Yes, Luna, the evil Tuxedo Kamen is leading your innocent charge astray again. Ah, I see she's taken out her communicator to report this cat-astrophe to the others.
I ran down the back alleys, Usagi pounding after me.
Behind me, I heard her calling, "Tuxedo Kamen? What's wrong? Where are you taking me?"
After a while, the sheer absurdity of the situation dawned on me, of having Usagi chasing ME, still in her pyjamas. On the other hand, I thought, isn't it refreshing to have the White Rabbit being the one to chase the Mad Hatter, for a change? Though we couldn't really call it a Tea Party we were going to this time--more like a Dark Kingdom Wedding Reception [grin].
I heard Usagi puffing behind me and then, a high, plaintive wail, "Why won't you TALK to me?"
It was hard to keep silent then, but I'd made a resolve not to let her hear 'Mamoru's' voice, and I was sticking to it. So I kept weaving in and out, taking all the shortcuts I knew, till we got near the bridal shop.
I hardly needed to be told when we were getting closer to the haunted shop. An eerie luminous glow of energy surrounded the building, its epicentre brightest around Motoki and Makoto, who seemed locked in a strange unearthly embrace, as unmoving as mannequins themselves.
Usagi gasped as she saw them. "O-nii-san! Mako-chan! What's that light?"
The ghostly form of the bride mannequin stood smiling, just behind the motionless pair. "Yes, my pretty young ones, just a little more energy...just a little more, and you too, will become the perfect bride and groom, just as you've always dreamed you would be. In fact, you will celebrate your wedding forever...as store mannequins!" Her laughter floated down the alleyway, in eerie echoes.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Luna, with Usagi's friends Ami and Rei, bounding towards us. Usagi saw them too. "It's a youma, Luna! We've got to save Motoki and Mako-chan!"
Then I saw Usagi take out that crystal pen I'd seen her use before, when she somehow became an airline stewardess. There was a blinding flash of white light, so that I couldn't see anything at all for a moment. Then I saw...no, it couldn't be! Could it? There was Motoki, in a black tuxedo and white carnation, looking uncharacteristically pleased with himself to be so dressed up. Damn, he put me to shame, he looked so sharp.
The tuxedo clad figure suddenly raised a hand in the air, and dropped a pair of white gloves, almost looking as if he were throwing down the gauntlet in challenge to the spectre bride. He spoke then: "My bride--your groom is here! It's time to go to your wedding ceremony--in hell!"
Rivetted on "Sharp Dressed Motoki"as I was, it took me a while to realize that the two new "mannequins" hadn't moved from their place. So there were now, in fact, TWO Motokis, one of them still motionless, his hands on Makoto's cheeks, wearing the white shirt and dark pants he usually wore for his shift at the Crown Fruit Parlour.
The spectre looked startled at this invitation to an unholy wedding ceremony by the sharp dressed groom, but before she could recover from her surprise, I heard a different voice cry, "Moon Prism Power, make-up!" and the tuxedo clad figure disappeared, to be replaced by...Sailor Moon. Or should I call her, Tuxedo Moon? I shook my head in wonder. What stunt won't that girl pull next?
Sailor Moon stood with her legs wide apart in battle stance, her small hands curled into tight fists, her odangos flying, the picture of rage. "How DARE you assume the sacred from of a bride and use the whisperings of love for your evil deeds? I won't allow it! In the name of the moon I will punish you!"
There were two more flashes of light in quick succession, and I saw Sailor Moon was now flanked on either side, by Sailor Mars and Sailor Mercury.
"How dare you toy with these people," cried Sailor Mercury. "I will punish you! With the power of Mercury, I'll put the ICING on your wedding cake!"
"You're deceiving these girls," came the coldly angry voice of Sailor Mars. "With the power of Mars, I'll show you the flames of anger. With my red high heels, I will punish you!"
I saw Makoto shake her head as if to shake the cobwebs out, and heard her murmur, half-stunned, still, "Treat us like toys? I was being deceived? Then Motoki wasn't really in love with me.... I was deceived...." Something fierce then settled deep into the green eyes of the tall girl, and I saw a greenish glow around her, very different from the spectre's luminescence.
A planetary sigil of Jupiter appeared on her forehead, then she rushed at the spectre bride, grabbing her in two strong hands, and lifting her over her head. "How dare you trample the innocence of girls?" Makoto's angry voice seemed to echo for some distance as she hurled the bride mannequin to the ground, seemingly effortlessly.
Luna came running to Makoto at that moment with a crystal pen in her mouth, very similar to the one Sailor Moon had used. As soon as Makoto touched it, the greenish light became blindingly bright, and I saw that she, too, had become a Sailor Senshi, clad in emerald green and rose pink
As the mannequin touched the ground, there was a second's blink of light, then the spectre itself disappeared, leaving behind its bridal gown.
The sound of mocking laughter came from a distance. It was the Dark Kingdom General Nephrite, standing with his arms folded, gazing at us all. "Well done, Amazon woman! But you've only destroyed my shadow, not me! Incidentally, girls, wasn't I a lovely bride?" He laughed even harder at their startled faces.
Makoto alone wasn't fazed by this turn of events. Waving her hands at Nephrite, she shouted, "Flower Hurricane!"
A flurry of petals swept Nephrite into a vortex. "Stop!! You're blinding me!" he cried.
"I call on the protection of Jupiter, " intoned the new Sailor Jupiter."I summon a thunderstorm. Bring lightning!" At her words, a bolt of lightning struck an antenna which had suddenly raised itself on her tiara. The lightning bolt shot at Nephrite, instantly electrocuting him. I watched in awe as Nephrite's charred body fell to the ground.
Jupiter fell to her knees then, her energy spent, and Sailor Moon rushed to embrace her. I saw a single tear fall from Makoto's eyes. "I really liked you, Motoki...and you just broke my heart."
Usagi hugged her and whispered that Motoki didn't mean to hurt her, that he was under the spell of the Dark Kingdom, after all.
Motoki slowly pulled himself to his feet, dazed. "Where am I? What am I doing here?"
Makoto still looked weary and very sad. "Things are just as painful as at my old school. Guys, they always let me down.... But maybe there are more important things for me than to fall in love right now. Maybe I'll just stay at this new school, and make friends here."
Rei patted her on the back and nodded encouragingly, "That's right. Don't waste your time, crying over boys."
"What you say makes sense, Rei," Makoto agreed solemnly. "And didn't you say that we are Sailor Soldiers, with a mission to accomplish? Then let's do it!"
"Meet our new ally, girls, Sailor Jupiter!" Luna announced.
There was a clunk as Luna dropped something on the ground at Sailor Moon's feet. It appeared to be a long rod with a crescent moon shape at its tip."Sailor Moon," Luna continued, "Now the four soldiers are together, and you are their leader. Now is the time to defend the Illusion Silver Crystal, and the Moon Princess."
The Moon Princess? That confused me. Surely Sailor Moon, Usagi with the flying odangos, was the Moon Princess? I looked at Luna and she stared right back at me, still obviously wary, and just as confused by my own actions this night. The girls were all gathering round Sailor Jupiter, chattering excitedly, and I took the opportunity to slip away into the night, watched only by Luna.
For the first time, I wished it weren't so easy for Tuxedo Kamen to slip away unnoticed. I wished a pair of sky blue eyes were still following me, but Usagi was far away in thought, gazing at her new moon rod and looking a bit overwhelmed by it all.
"When will there ever be a time for us?" I wondered.
TO BE CONTINUED....
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Sailor Moon, the manga and TV series are copyright of Naoko Takeuchi/Kodansha, TOEI Animation and its English language TV adaptation is copyright of DiC Entertainment. However, the title,"The Rose Garden" in relation to Sailor Moon, and the fan fiction of this title, is legally copyright of Pandora Diane MacMillan. If you wish to quote from it, use the title for a Sailor Moon-related web page, post the fanfic on your web site, or otherwise publish it, please first ask permission of the author, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you copy the fanfic onto a website without the author's permission, that constitutes copyright infringement. While this fan fiction is freely published on the Internet, and I receive no profits from it, nevertheless, it remains legally, the intellectual property of its author, and I retain the rights to where it may be published.
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Pandora-sama--------------------------August 7, 2000
A Virtual Goddess, Setsuna of the Sailor Moon Net World, ageless and gorgeous, transported to this time line, hence the -sama. Please bow very low as you leave.