Of Diamonds @))~~))~~~
A memoir of Chiba Mamoru, as re-told to Pandora Diane Waldron
"Mystery glows in the rose bed, the secret is hidden in the rose." --Farid ud-din Attar, 12th Century Persian poet.
EXCERPT FROM SAILOR MOON
MANGA, VOLUME 5 [translated by Alex Glover]:
Chibi Usa runs into the protective circle of Mamoru's arms. Minako asks her to tell them what is wrong, if the earring is scaring her. She asks if it has some secret.
Chibi Usa stares at the encased earring with tears in her eyes, stuttering that because of that stone her mama was. . . Minako questions her, asking what happened to her mom. Usagi asks if it had anything to do with the Black Moon, if she knows something. She demands that Chibi Usa tell her what is going on.
Chibi Usa cries out that she doesn't know and buries her head into Mamoru. He tells her that if it's too difficult they'll stop. Usagi is surprised and wonders what he is thinking of. She stares at both of them and says that she has to be sure that Chibi Usa is not an enemy. She tells Chibi Usa that she has to swear it. The little girl yells that she isn't an enemy, that it isn't true. Usagi looks, and then says that even if she isn't, if Chibi Usa won't cooperate, then she doesn't think she can work with her. Then Usagi turns and runs away.]
Queen Of Diamonds
She ran away. Why did she run away?
Usako. When will you ever understand me? What I feel for Chibi Usa....I can't explain it. Any more than I can explain my feelings for you. I can't remember looking at you...and not longing to touch you.
It's funny, but Chibi Usa reminds me somehow of you. She's very proud and stubborn like you are. But underneath it all, she's just a little girl, all alone. Her mother and father aren't there to look after her. And I feel, since she's come here, to us, that I'm responsible for her.
But it's more than that. I feel a special bond between us. I see how naturally Chibi Usa comes to me, she trusts me. And I can't let her down. I wonder why you can't understand. That doesn't mean I care about you any less. Oh my Usako, how I miss you. Please don't be angry with me because of Chibi Usa.
Now, why does Usako feel so threatened by a little girl? These feelings don't spring from nowhere. I wonder, does this mean, I've neglected her, somehow. Yes, perhaps I've been neglectful.
It is dark and still in my bedroom, in the wee hours of the morning. It seems, I've been tossing and turning for hours, before exhaustion finally took me. I thought of a million things to say to Usako. And everything I thought of to say to her, just didn't sound right. Maybe tomorrow I'll know...tomorrow.
"Tomorrow?" A voice answers me. "Tomorrow? There is no 'Tomorrow' for you...Endymion."
Endymion...a name from my past. Who calls me that? I look around, bleary-eyed, into the darkness. And there he is, up against my bedroom door. Lounging at his ease. Everything he wears is white, from his immaculately white shoes on up. He is tall and slim, and his jacket is elaborately embroidered, of a quality only seen....on royalty. Even his hair is so fair as to be white. Diamond-shaped earrings wink in the moonlight from my window.
He is leaning against my door, long legs crossed, casually twirling a brandy snifter. There is insolence in every line of his body, even in the way he said, "Endymion." As if we were long acquainted, he and I. The relationship is a very personal one, and definitely not friendly. He looks down at me lying in bed, out of half-closed eyes, and I feel myself stiffening, as if for a fight.
He smiles at me...the tiger baring his teeth.
"Let's put our cards on the table, Endymion."
And every time he says "Endymion," his voice dripping with sarcasm, it's all I can do to keep still. I want to grab him by the scruff of the neck, feelings I'm not used to feeling. But I need to know why he's here...I must control my anger.
There's a sound in the air, like the sound of shuffling of cards. And suddenly, there ARE cards on the table. And I am sitting at it. It is a game of solitaire, apparently, and I'm playing it. The man in white is watching me, smirking, his arms folded. Is this his idea of a card trick? Cripes. Now he's reading my mind, too.
"Oh, I know lots of card tricks, Endymion. You're pathetic, you know that, just pathetic. You've been playing Solitaire all your life, haven't you? Denied yourself all the other games you could have played. And why...because you were waiting...for her."
And at his words, I draw a card, and set it down on the table. It is the Queen of Hearts. My fingers rest on the card possessively, as if it were a thing alive. And at my touch, the face on the card changes.
First, it is my Princess, sad, yearning, in her shimmering white gown. Then, it is my Usako's face, looking at me as she did, just before she ran away, stabbing me to the heart with that accusation in her eyes...you don't love me. And every second, every minute, every hour, I see her face again. Well, Usako, far be it from me to argue with you, it's just not in my nature. If you think I don't love you, then I guess we will have to find a new word for this obsession, that I can't stop thinking about you.
Under my hand, the card is changing. It is still Usako's face, but somehow older. This would be Usako fully grown to womanhood, wearing a long white dress, that shows her figure to advantage, touched in places with a deep gold like the last fire of the setting sun, and she is wearing a matching deep gold tiara. Her fingers are interlaced, and her eyes are closed, as if in prayer. In prayer for what? Her eyes open, and she looks directly at me, this woman in the card. My Queen of Hearts. Her face changes again, a little younger....it is my Usako again, wearing this dress.
A tear goes down her cheek, glistening like a small pearl against the rosy blush of her complexion.
"Yes, she is a pearl," says the man in white. "She is a gem, this Serenity. But not yours for long. Oh, not for long. Look your last on your Queen. You see, I don't wait around like you, Endymion. What I want, I take. And Serenity, she is much too pretty a bauble for the likes of you. She needs a man who really appreciates her. Me."
I feel like I'm drawn into the card under my hand, so close I can almost touch Usako's cheek, a single tear glistening on it. Her eyes are filled with abject misery. "Mamo-chan!" I hear her whisper, "don't let him touch me!"
But there is a gust of wind, a swirling of dark forces in the room. And the card is wrenched from my grasp. And now the table has disappeared, and I am standing, and it is Chibi Usa I am holding in my arms, fast asleep.
"Good choice, Endymion, good choice. Protect the child, by all means, protect the child. Yes, protect the future. But forget the woman. Forget about the present. The woman comes with me. Of course...there's a fatal flaw in your reasoning, isn't there, Endymion? For without the present, there IS no future, is there?" He laughs, a vicious, hollow sound, and at his words, Chibi Usa dissolves in my arms into dust. I feel sick inside. What kind of monster is he?
"You see?" The man in white continues, as if this was a mere demonstration of his hypothesis, not a human being, a little girl, destroyed. "Now, watch me, Endymion. Observe, and learn the truth of your fate. In time, Serenity, your Queen, her heart, so warm and full for you, shall turn as hard and cold as stone. And then she'll turn to me. And once turned, she shall never desire another. Unlike you, I never neglect the women in my life. On that score, none of them complain about me. I never tire, though sometimes, they do. It will be quite a while until we know each other better, so let me introduce myself now. I am Prince Diamondo...Diamond. And they call me Diamond for good reason."
He is all but flaunting in my face what he intends to do with Usako. My rage builds to fever pitch, and in a moment, I have transformed to Tuxedo Kamen.
But Diamondo laughs at me derisively. "Parlour tricks, Endymion? How amusing. Is this what you wear in the 20th Century? But how interesting. Complete with top hat, too. Well, I can do magic tricks too, Endymion. Wouldn't you like to see one? Oh, you'll like this trick. You'll like it very much."
At his words, the card, the Queen of Hearts, reappears in his hand. Usako, so beautiful, in the white and gold dress...and just out of my reach. And in his hand, the picture changes again. She is now lying on a bed, seemingly in a trance. Diamondo sees where my eyes are fixed, and very deliberately lifts the card to his lips, and kisses it.
"My Queen, now. Mine. Want to see, Endymion? Of course you do. Of course you do. Now, for my next trick, I will need an object from a volunteer in the audience....YOU, Sir!" And he snatches the top hat from my head. "Now, what's a magician without a top hat? It just isn't done, is it? There, now. Look, nothing in the hat. Nothing up my sleeves," and he pulls up each sleeve, exposing slim white wrists, which yet show tensile strength in every sinew. "Oh, my, my, where did THIS come from?" The Queen of Hearts card, which had disappeared for a moment, re-appears in his hand.
"I'm afraid it's all over, Endymion. Your sweet little dream. All over. All torn to pieces. Like this card." And then he begins to tear the Queen of Hearts card, corner to corner.
"No!!" I cry out, and try to rush him.
"Now, now, now, none of that! No interference from the audience! Watch yourself, Endymion!" Then he snatches one of his diamond-shaped earrings, and throws it at my feet. There is a violent explosion, and black swirling energy blasts me backwards. I smash hard into the back wall of my bedroom. My head bleeding, throbbing, I lie helplessly watching him through blurred vision, the room swirling dizzily.
"Ahhh, that's better. Now, to continue this trick..." and he rips the Queen of Hearts card to shreds, and tosses it into my top hat. "Oh, my, my, where has it gone now?" He tips up the hat, and there's nothing in it, not even tiny fragments of the card. My God, what has he done with her?
But I'm too dizzy to move. Like all the worst nightmares, I'm rooted to the spot. I can't even stand up. I have to lie sprawled here, bleeding and in pain, and watch his damned perverted magic trick.
"Now...may I have a drum roll, please?" And of course, I do hear a drum roll and a clash of cymbals, though there's no one in the room but us two. And then Diamondo reaches into the top hat, and brings out a card.
This card also has Usako's face on it, wearing the white and gold dress. But it is different. She is different. Her eyes are dark, cold, glittering, spiteful. And the card is no longer the Queen of Hearts. It is the Queen of...Diamonds.
Diamondo is chortling. "What's the matter, Endymion? Don't you like my little card trick? I'm so sorry. Well, perhaps it's time to end this evening's entertainment. Would you return his property to him, my dear?"
The woman in the card materializes at his side, the white and gold dress shimmering iridescently in the moonlight. "Anything my Prince desires," this woman replies, who is not...who cannot be....Serenity. She takes the hat from Diamondo's grasp, and throws it at me, contemptuously. She throws it so hard, it spins across the room like one of her tiara throws, and hits me hard in the stomach. She smiles when she sees me wince in pain.
Diamondo also smiles, and slides an arm around her in a slow, lingering caress.
"You really hate me, don't you, Endymion?" he remarks, as he pulls the woman tightly against his side. [I will not believe, I cannot believe that she is, or ever was, Serenity-she was never my Usako!] "And that's a pity," he continues, "when we have so much in common. Both of us, with an eye for knowing a good thing when we see it." And he places his hand on her hip.
I cannot move. But I can answer him, and I do, though the sound of my own voice frightens me. "Don't you DARE compare yourself to me! I don't take what I want! Love isn't love unless it is given freely."
"Freedom, Endymion? Interesting choice of words, coming from you. Freedom is something you and your kind here on Earth have always enjoyed. We have no such word as freedom on Nemesis. We live here in darkness, in exile, never knowing the beauty, the freedom of Earth, never knowing your beautiful planet, Earth Prince. I'll give you another good word. Serenity. Do you know what it means? Yes, it is her name. But it also means peace, tranquillity, bliss. All the things you looked for, Endymion, in all your lonely years, playing Solitaire. All the things I longed for, when I lived in the darkness of Nemesis. I am not going back there, Endymion. I am never going back there. I will die here, first, before I go back to Nemesis, that place of emptiness. She will bring me all those things I long for...she will be MY Serenity."
"And I leave you with this thought, Endymion. I couldn't have taken her, except ...you gave her to me!"
This last gibe somehow has me on my feet, the adrenaline of utter fury pumping in my veins, and I get ready to hurl a steel-tipped rose. Then she looks at me. The woman who is so beautiful, but is no longer Serenity. And the cold contempt in her glance freezes my blood. She does not believe in me any more. She loathes me.
I cannot deny what is happening any more. My hand is shaking. The rose falls from my hand, and it fades, it melts away. She looks down at the rose, and then up at me, with the bitterest, bitterest smile. Then she turns on her heel, takes Diamondo's arm, and they disappear.
"Mamo-chan? Mamo-chan?" I hear someone calling me and my heart beats painfully. Has she come back to me? Was it all just a terrible nightmare?
Then it dawns on me. It is a child's voice. It has the same inflections as my Usako, she says my name in the same way, but it is in a high, childish treble. I open my eyes. There's only one person this could be. Chibi Usa.
There she is, standing next to the couch, wearing my shirt, so long on her it drags on the ground. Wide-eyed, a small child awakened from sleep, and frightened.
"I heard you calling, Mamo-chan, and you woke me up," Chibi Usa says. "You kept crying, 'No No No No!!' You were screaming. Are you O.K.?"
I gather the little girl into my arms. "Yes. I'm fine. Now. Thank you for coming to check on me. I won't disturb you again, I promise." I hug her tight for a long moment. "Now go back to sleep. I'll be fine here on the couch. Come on, I'll go tuck you back in." And taking her by the hand, I lead her back to my bed, and tuck her in.
She looks up at me, puzzled. "Are you crying, Mamo-chan?" [I guess I must have been, if it's noticeable to her. But I mustn't let on-she's been frightened enough tonight.] "If I was, you made me all better," I smile at her.
"Nightmares are nasty, aren't they?" Chibi Usa remarks. "My daddy gets them a lot." [And if they're like mine, your daddy has my sympathy, I think to myself.]
"Don't worry about it any more, Chibi Usa. If you don't sleep now, you'll be very tired in the morning. Too tired to eat the pancakes I'm gonna make you."
Her eyes are big as saucers. "You're gonna make me pancakes? Oh, thank you, Mamo-chan! I'll go to sleep right now!" She scrunches her eyes shut so tight there are little wrinkles on her eyelids. Wow-that must hurt, I grin to myself. I better get out of here, so she REALLY goes to sleep.
I pull the blanket back over me on the couch, but now I am wide awake. I don't know what it was I just had...was it a nightmare, a premonition, what? And then my inner voice speaks to me. That, Mamoru, was a warning. Either you express your love to Usagi, right here, right now, or you may lose her.
O.K., O.K., I got that message, loud and clear. The question is...how? I'm too tired to think clearly now, anyway. But I will find a way. Count on it. I will find a way.
If you've read the rest of the Manga, Volume 5, you'll know that Mamoru soon does find a way to do just that...in a certain notorious scene which never made the anime. I intend to write that part too, but this is my lead-in. I did feel it was a shame that Mamoru and Prince Diamondo, that wonderful character, never really had the opportunity for a one-on-one discussion..so I gave them one. Please let me know if you enjoyed this as much as I did writing it.
I have only read this so far to fellow SM Otaku Kate [I wrote it at her house, and it was the least I could do, for her sharing her early Sailor Stars videos with us, the Nephrenia mirror shards episodes-ooooh those were good!] and to daughter Myrna, who asked for a bedtime story..it seems to have given them both goose-bumps, which I take as a good sign.
Looking forward to your comments! [Now if I can just get the first Mars and Jupiter episodes written, and the Yumeni episode...I can get my Chapter 9 done..this one is way ahead of that chapter, chronologically, but I felt I just had to share it now-I like it a lot.]