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 Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE

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Sailor Uranus
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PostSubject: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:57 pm

Quote :
Um… you know that idea bouncing around about switching the senshi with the shitennou? You know, where we follow the story of Mamoru as a super hero with the mysterious Sailor Moon who helps him defeat monsters that the nefariousness senshi summon in order to raise energy for the terrible Queen ((Beryl? Serenity? Nehelenia? … I haven’t decided)) to take over the Earth? And the whole time Mamoru is searching to find and protect the Prince of Earth and the Golden Crystal, gathering his shitennou to fight alongside him?



Well, here’s the start of my attempt! XD I hope my small tweaks to our beloved characters don’t rub people the wrong way. And this will probably grow as a side project ^^’ ANYWAY HERE WE GO WITH “CARDINAL KING” (leader of the Heavenly Kings. … with his special attack, Cardinal Rose ….something. but I laughed. … cause as tuxedo mask he throws roses. haaaaaaa okay here we go.) EXPECT UPDATES, YOU POOR POOR PEOPLE!

Chiba Mamoru, 17 years old, second year high school student at Azuba high school in Tokyo Japan, stood in line for the bus stop. In one hand was a textbook, opened easily in his palm for him to skim through his sunglasses; in the other hand was his schoolbag, hanging over his shoulder easily as he waited. Balancing the book’s spine on his middle finger, he used his thumb to turn the page in a practiced manner, barely noticing the effort. As the bus came down the street he thought he heard the tinkling of bells; finding the crisp, clean sound out-of-place in the bustling city, he looked up from the pages to glance around the street, and saw, for a split second, the strangest thing he had ever seen in his entire life: a winged white unicorn.

What the hell? He blinked, his brows furrowing as he wondered just what was going on, but there it was, still there. It was small, like the size of a cat, and floated five feet off the ground in a blue bubble: a white horse with wings and a tiny golden horn on its head. In a second the bus rolled further down the street, obstructing his view, but the in three-second timespan between seeing the oddity and losing it to the bus, he was fairly certain that it hadn’t been a figment of his imagination, but, beyond that, anything was possible.

He stepped onto the bus and swiped his student ID badge to use the school credit line, and quickly moved to the opposite side to look out the window to see the strange site again, but nothing was there. He visually swept through the entire area, from the flower shop to the bakery, moving to see behind things as far as he could, even sitting up a bit to see into the nearby gutter, but the blue bubble and it’s odd occupant were gone.

Deciding that from then on he would make sure to eat breakfast, Mamoru sat down and stared at his book, wondering what could have caused such vivid hallucinations.

---

Later that day, Chiba Mamoru left the locker room dressed in his school clothing, bag in hand yet again, and waved to other members of the soccer team as they broke for home. Practice had gone well, and the team was shaping up nicely; he felt strongly that they could win their next match, so long as the new goalie, Midori, continued to show up for practice. Mamoru had his reservations; the transfer student had long, wavy brown hair and a snarky attitude, and no matter what kind of skill the guy had with blocking the net, if he let that pride get the better of him the team was doomed to fail. … and the way he kept asking about the closest public school and the best place to find girls, Mamoru had an inkling that Midori’s pride and ego might rank higher than the good of the team.

When he got home he had a quick dinner, completed his homework, and read through the required readings for the day, writing down questions as he read and using the material to create an answer. When he finished it was nearly 22:00. He stretched, showered, brushed his teeth and put his pajamas on, then went about his small apartment turning off the lights. Leaving the curtains open to see the beautiful full moon, he climbed into bed, reached over, and shut off his bedroom light. As the lamplight faded suddenly and the moonlight overtook the apartment, Mamoru suddenly found himself face to face with a horse.

The noise he made was one that he had never made before. It was a mix of a scream, a shout, and a grunt, made as he jumped backwards into the wall and the windowsill bit into his spine. Arching in pain, he nevertheless didn’t miss an opportunity to grab the closest thing and toss it in the face of the strange intruder; as the horse stepped back and shook its head to free itself from the pillow, Mamoru tried to launch himself off of his bed and across the room, but was foiled by the sharp pain in his back, and merely stumbled off of his mattress and into his dresser. “Stay ba—“ the word froze in his throat as he spied the long, cruel-looking golden horn on the beast’s head, glinting threateningly in the silver light of the moon. Steadying himself, he grabbed his umbrella and positioned it before him like a sword, then he tried again, “Stay back, Horse, or I swear you’ll be glue by morning!”

The great beast turned to look at him with one red eye, and a voice suddenly invaded his thoughts. “Mighty threat, Umbrella-Man. ” The intonation was masculine and deadpan – clearly the creature was making fun of him, but Mamoru refused to stand down, tightening his grip on the handle. It tossed its mane in a way familiar to someone rolling their eyes, and then spoke again, “Listen, we don’t really have time for this, so put the umbrella down, Chiba Mamoru; people are in danger and you have to help them.”

He stood his ground. “How do you know my name?”

It’s not that hard, you leave your ID everywhere. And your name is on your homework on your desk. But really, we have absolutely no time—

“How did you get in here?”

The window. Now will you just—

“Why are you here?”

Well I had hoped to SAVE THE LIVES OF HELPLESS CITIZENS, but you’re making it rather DIFFICULT! ” Suddenly wide white wings unfurled from the back of the stallion, and it advanced at breakneck speed, pinning its horn in the wall just shy of Mamoru’s ear, his red eyes even with Mamoru’s. “Questions are for later, Heavenly King, now take this pendant –“ a golden pendant was suddenly in his hand, in place of the umbrella that had been knocked aside uselessly. “and yell “Pyrite Power Transform”

He was about to object and it was probably obvious, because the red eyes of the mythical beast whirled in his head. …and it was just then that Mamoru realized he was dreaming. He probably fell asleep as soon as he lied down on the bed. Clearly the hallucination from earlier had been prominent in his psyche and it manifested itself in a dream sequence. And in that case, it would be interesting to see what this imaginary unicorn/Pegasus thing had planned for him; he was actually rather glad it was a lucid dream, this could be another one for his journal. So instead of speaking out, he repeated the phrase.

“Pyrite Power, Transform!”

As the words left his lips he felt a warm sensation rush over him, and his pajamas were suddenly gone, replaced with a blue-gray suit. The long sleeved jacket was piped in golden material and fastened asymmetrically on his right using the pin the horse had given him, and had a high collar and lower hem, like a tunic from old European fashion. At his waist was a black belt that matched the material of his knee-high boots – flexible and non-reflective, topped with a folded layer of boot material to make a flat line. His vision was ringed in gold; he pulled away from the golden horn to glance in the mirror, suspicions of some sort of eye gear confirmed when he came face-to-face with himself wearing a golden-colored mask. “Not too subtle, is this?” he asked, looking back at the horse.

Shut up and follow me.

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:09 pm

I demand more. NOW. Very Happy this is so fantastic. I can't even.

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:30 pm

oh yes more please

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:54 am

XD Okay! Coming up! ^^

quick question first! do you think it should mirror Sailor Moon exactly, with Kunzite being the false Prince and already out fighting crime and stuff? Should Mamoru acquire Zoisite first, as Ami was Usagi’s first, and fight Mars first because Usagi fought Jadeite first (going through acquiring and fighting in the same senshi/shitennou pair opposite?) or should he fight Mercury first because she was Usagi’s first and acquire Jadeite first because he was the first shitennou introduced?

._. And whom should they fight? Beryl, who, with Metallia, decided to go to the moon to take over Earth for its Golden Crystal, or forget Beryl altogether because her name is made from a gemstone rather than planet (or throw her in as some sort of fairy/spiritual adviser to Kunzite, like Artemis was to Venus, to get him some sort of reason to activate his powers?) and go with the evil Queen being Nehelenia?

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:04 am

i think they should be fighting Queen Serenity who killed Queen Beryl and her advisor Metalia trying to capture the Silver Crystal of Earth.... just my own personal nuttiness, take it as you like. XD

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:05 am

I think it should be Queen Beryl still. She just kidnapped the senshi this time around rather than the Shitennou. I mean, Queen Beryl wasn't like the Shitennou's true queen gone evil (was she? o.o), she just brainwashed them into being her servants. That could happen this time around with the senshi. Sailor Moon just has to get her senshi back with the help of Mamoru! XD

And I think Mamoru should fight Sailor Mars first; paralleling the Shitennou rather than who Usagi found first. Kunzite also the false Prince and already out fighting crime anddd...sure, Mamoru could find the Shitennou parallel to the senshi in accordance to how Usagi found her senshi (with Ami being first, etc). Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:37 am

Excellent! So he'd be fighting Mars, then Jupiter, then Mercury, then Venus, then brainwashed Serenity.

He'd first fine Zoisite, then Jadeite, then Nephrite ((lol, he's already been introduced; it'll be funny when he's brought in second to last!)) and finally Kunzite joins the group.

A note on names:

Sailor Moon --> Cardinal King!
Sailor Senshi --> Heavenly Kings!
With Nephrite = West King
Zoisite = North King
Jadeite = South King
Kunzite = East King

Their civilian last names are the most popular shade of their given stone; I'll figure out first names eventually, but they'll refer to each other as their last names (as boys tend to do anyway).

I can't see Queen Serenity as evil, and with Endymion's parents out of the picture in the original story, so to then shall Queen Serenity be.


If I choose to keep it as Beryl, it'll be her ambition to win his heart that fuels this whole thing - she brainwashes the moon for their militial power, hoping to win the Earth by force and convince the Prince to marry her in exchange for the peace on the planet, taking a sick sense of justice by turning the Princess's guardians against them and killing the Princess before his eyes.

If Beryl is good, it's just a sad crush where in she is similar to a fairy in this lilfetime, who found and awakened Kunzite knowing full well who Endymion truly is (? Maybe. still deciding ,of course) and the evil queen will be Nehelenia, who wants teh power of the Golden Crystal for some reason or another.

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:59 am

I feel like maybe what would help is; do you want to parallel the classic season of Sailor Moon or do you want to parallel Sailor Moon, but in a different way, creating your own story for Mamoru and his Shitennou?

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:01 pm

Moon Kaleido Scope wrote:
I think it should be Queen Beryl still. She just kidnapped the senshi this time around rather than the Shitennou. I mean, Queen Beryl wasn't like the Shitennou's true queen gone evil (was she? o.o), she just brainwashed them into being her servants. That could happen this time around with the senshi. Sailor Moon just has to get her senshi back with the help of Mamoru! XD

And I think Mamoru should fight Sailor Mars first; paralleling the Shitennou rather than who Usagi found first. Kunzite also the false Prince and already out fighting crime anddd...sure, Mamoru could find the Shitennou parallel to the senshi in accordance to how Usagi found her senshi (with Ami being first, etc). Smile

I like this idea better also

Sailor Uranus wrote:
If choose to keep it as Beryl, it'll be her ambition to win his heart that fuels this whole thing - she brainwashes the moon for their militial power, hoping to win the Earth by force and convince the Prince to marry her in exchange for the peace on the planet, taking a sick sense of justice by turning the Princess's guardians against them and killing the Princess before his eyes.

I love this idea Very Happy it works really well

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:08 pm

!! I got another option in that what the Earthlings thought in the original was actually true!

Queen Serenity really was leading an army to overtake the moon to complete her Silver Millennium collection of planets! :O

lol

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:13 pm

Sailor Uranus wrote:
I can't see Queen Serenity as evil, and with Endymion's parents out of the picture in the original story, so to then shall Queen Serenity be.

Didn't you just say this? Razz XD

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:15 pm

yep, but then someone was like "HOW COOL WOULD IT BE IF THE EARTHLINGS'S SUSPICIONS HAD BEEN CORRECT?!" and I was like 'OH THAT COULD BE SO COOL!'

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:30 pm

Hey, it's your story Razz you'll make it awesome. Maybe, if you wanted to go that route (but couldn't see Queen Serenity as evil), you could make her feel like she is a good guy with only good intentions at heart (even though they obviously wouldn't be). Maybe?

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:35 pm

Chiba Mamoru, 17 years old, second year high school student at Azuba high school in Tokyo Japan, stood in line for the bus stop. In one hand was a textbook, opened easily in his palm for him to skim through his sunglasses; in the other hand was his schoolbag, hanging over his shoulder easily as he waited. Balancing the book’s spine on his middle finger, he used his thumb to turn the page in a practiced manner, barely noticing the effort. As the bus came down the street he thought he heard the tinkling of bells; finding the crisp, clean sound out-of-place in the bustling city, he looked up from the pages to glance around the street, and saw, for a split second, the strangest thing he had ever seen in his entire life: a winged white unicorn.

What the hell? He blinked, his brows furrowing as he wondered just what was going on, but there it was, still there. It was small, like the size of a cat, and floated five feet off the ground in a blue bubble: a white horse with wings and a tiny golden horn on its head. In a second the bus rolled further down the street, obstructing his view, but the in three-second timespan between seeing the oddity and losing it to the bus, he was fairly certain that it hadn’t been a figment of his imagination, but, beyond that, anything was possible.

He stepped onto the bus and swiped his student ID badge to use the school credit line, and quickly moved to the opposite side to look out the window to see the strange site again, but nothing was there. He visually swept through the entire area, from the flower shop to the bakery, moving to see behind things as far as he could, even sitting up a bit to see into the nearby gutter, but the blue bubble and it’s odd occupant were gone.

Deciding that from then on he would make sure to eat breakfast, Mamoru sat down and stared at his book, wondering what could have caused such vivid hallucinations.

---

Later that day, Chiba Mamoru left the locker room dressed in his school clothing, bag in hand yet again, and waved to other members of the soccer team as they broke for home. Practice had gone well, and the team was shaping up nicely; he felt strongly that they could win their next match, so long as the new goalie, Midori, continued to show up for practice. Mamoru had his reservations; the transfer student had long, wavy brown hair and a snarky attitude, and no matter what kind of skill the guy had with blocking the net, if he let that pride get the better of him the team was doomed to fail. … and the way he kept asking about the closest public school and the best place to find girls, Mamoru had an inkling that Midori’s pride and ego might rank higher than the good of the team.

When he got home he had a quick dinner, completed his homework, and read through the required readings for the day, writing down questions as he read and using the material to create an answer. When he finished it was nearly 22:00. He stretched, showered, brushed his teeth and put his pajamas on, then went about his small apartment turning off the lights. Leaving the curtains open to see the beautiful full moon, he climbed into bed, reached over, and shut off his bedroom light. As the lamplight faded suddenly and the moonlight overtook the apartment, Mamoru suddenly found himself face to face with a horse.

The noise he made was one that he had never made before. It was a mix of a scream, a shout, and a grunt, made as he jumped backwards into the wall and the windowsill bit into his spine. Arching in pain, he nevertheless didn’t miss an opportunity to grab the closest thing and toss it in the face of the strange intruder; as the horse stepped back and shook its head to free itself from the pillow, Mamoru tried to launch himself off of his bed and across the room, but was foiled by the sharp pain in his back, and merely stumbled off of his mattress and into his dresser. “Stay ba—“ the word froze in his throat as he spied the long, cruel-looking golden horn on the beast’s head, glinting threateningly in the silver light of the moon. Steadying himself, he grabbed his umbrella and positioned it before him like a sword, then he tried again, “Stay back, Horse, or I swear you’ll be glue by morning!”

The great beast turned to look at him with one red eye, and a voice suddenly invaded his thoughts. “Mighty threat, Umbrella-Man. ” The intonation was masculine and deadpan – clearly the creature was making fun of him, but Mamoru refused to stand down, tightening his grip on the handle. It tossed its mane in a way familiar to someone rolling their eyes, and then spoke again, “Listen, we don’t really have time for this, so put the umbrella down, Chiba Mamoru; people are in danger and you have to help them.”

He stood his ground. “How do you know my name?”

It’s not that hard, you leave your ID everywhere. And your name is on your homework on your desk. But really, we have absolutely no time—

“How did you get in here?”

The window. Now will you just—

“Why are you here?”

Well I had hoped to SAVE THE LIVES OF HELPLESS CITIZENS, but you’re making it rather DIFFICULT! ” Suddenly wide white wings unfurled from the back of the stallion, and it advanced at breakneck speed, pinning its horn in the wall just shy of Mamoru’s ear, his red eyes even with Mamoru’s. “Questions are for later, Heavenly King, now take this pendant –“ a golden pendant was suddenly in his hand, in place of the umbrella that had been knocked aside uselessly. “and yell “Pyrite Power Transform”

He was about to object and it was probably obvious, because the red eyes of the mythical beast whirled in his head. …and it was just then that Mamoru realized he was dreaming. He probably fell asleep as soon as he lied down on the bed. Clearly the hallucination from earlier had been prominent in his psyche and it manifested itself in a dream sequence. And in that case, it would be interesting to see what this imaginary unicorn/Pegasus thing had planned for him; he was actually rather glad it was a lucid dream, this could be another one for his journal. So instead of speaking out, he repeated the phrase.

“Pyrite Power, Transform!”

As the words left his lips he felt a warm sensation rush over him, and his pajamas were suddenly gone, replaced with a blue-gray suit. The long sleeved jacket was piped in golden material and fastened asymmetrically on his right using the pin the horse had given him, and had a high collar and lower hem, like a tunic from old European fashion. At his waist was a black belt that matched the material of his knee-high boots – flexible and non-reflective, topped with a folded layer of boot material to make a flat line. His vision was ringed in gold; he pulled away from the golden horn to glance in the mirror, suspicions of some sort of eye gear confirmed when he came face-to-face with himself wearing a golden-colored mask. “Not too subtle, is this?” he asked, looking back at the horse.

Shut up and follow me. ” The horse turned, shrinking in size as he did so, and nodded towards the window above his bed. It opened immediately, his sheer curtains wafting in the cool night air. Mamoru’s eyes widened as the horse, then no bigger than a house cat, jumped right out the window. He rushed to stick his head out into the night, peering over his short window sill to the dark streets below, but the Pegasus was nowhere in sight. He glanced up, wondering if it had flown higher, but above him was only the stars and the moon. “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

Mamoru started backwards, the white horse’s face suddenly right in front of him, his red eyes angry. Defensively, he replied, “Well it’s easier said than done!” He approached the window boldly, kneeling on his bed to face the beast eye-to-eye.

Just jump!”

Mamoru’s brow furrowed as he tried to figure out what it meant; “What, do I jump on your back or something?”

“No! Of course not! ” he sounded indignant, almost insulted, as his wings beat to move him farther away. “Just jump!”

“What, right now?”

“Would you prefer a formal invitation? YES NOW!”

He looked down, the ground nearly eight stories below. “You’re crazy!”

“Don’t be such a wuss! Jump! We’re running out of time!”

Frowning, he climbed up into the windowsill, holding the side of the window for balance as his boots scraped against the concrete. He couldn’t believe he was actually doing this. He stood shakily, looking down, reminding himself that it was only a dream.

“Any time now.”

“Just shut up!” he retorted, then took a deep breath, trying to ignore the white jerk flying just a few feet away, and jumped as if trying for the next roof top. He fell. As the wind rushed past him he felt a weight on his shoulders, but wasn’t as concerned with that as he was the concrete street rushing up to meet him. If this were real, he mused, I would easily break both legs. Probably in multiple places. Instead his feet hit the ground with no more force than if jumping off of a bench; no harm to him whatsoever, and very little discomfort. “Neat,” he mused, then took a moment to examine the long silver cape at his shoulders for a mere second before it disappeared.

“This way!” the horse called, flying off down the street. With a shrug, Mamoru ran off after him, following the stallion through a maze of streets and alleys until he found himself in a large shopping district. The horse flew up to a second story window and motioned him to follow, but he couldn’t see how. No fire escapes to climb or anything; but there was a bank of windows and a door that he could probably force his way through. He made towards it, only for the horse to balk, “Do you want to be seen? Jump up here and gain the advantage of a surprise attack!”

“Attack on what? And I can’t jump that high!”

“Try it! You won’t look any more like a doof than you do running straight into battle without a supreme advantage point. Now get up here!”

Frowning and wondering why he could be dreaming about such a crude character and, furthermore, why he was letting the dream horse goad him into doing something utterly ridiculous again, he nevertheless crouched and launched himself into the air, expecting to do something akin to a bunny hop, but instead flying impossibly high, his arms wheeling until he nearly crashed through the open window. He caught himself on the edges of the window, his feet scuffing on the small ledge, and gasped in pain as the rough concrete rubbed against his palm. The horse coughed smugly. Bracing himself with only one hand, he turned his left hand over and saw deep red scratches. He had been hurt, and felt it; was… was it not a dream? As his skin knitted together, healing itself in the odd way it somehow always had, he started seeing things in a new, real light. It was crazy; a white Pegasus with a golden horn that could change in side had burst into his apartment, transformed him into a form that could withstand long falls and allowed him to run faster and jump higher than should be physically impossible, and had led him to a store in the middle of the night. His stomach queasy, he turned back to the impossible figure with cautious eyes.

“Look; see all those people on the ground?” He glanced in and looked down; there were thirty, maybe forty people sprawled on the ground of the jewelry store, all in various prone poses on the ground, most face-down, “Their energy is being drained from them as we stand here. Much more, and they lose all of their life energy and this building is filled with dead people in the morning.”

He grew cold at first, examining the helpless people, but whatever hesitation he had before about his situation before quickly turned to determination to help these people, and, with any luck, to punish those responsible. “What do we do?” he asked quietly.

Do you see the creature in the background? The one that looks half spider, half snake?” the horse asked, nodding towards the shadows where, just as it had suggested, lurked a creepy looking monster, its pointed teeth sticking out from dry lips, its black saucer-eyes scanning the room proprietarily. He grimaced at its ugliness, and nodded to show that he had seen it. “You go fight that, I’ll figure out where the energy went.”

“What?” he hissed in a whisper; how could he fight something like that?!

“Go!”

A force pressed against his back, pushing him forward. Knocked off balance he started to fall, but in the last second took control of the situation by launching off with his feet so that he could land under his own control, closer to the creature he was to somehow do battle with. The cape appeared as soon as he left the ground, and disappeared when he touched down again, landing in a crouch. He straightened and extended an arm with a finger pointed to the monster. “Hey!” he challenged, “Let these people go!”

The creature smiled slowly, its dry lips cracking audibly as it set its dark eyes on him. For a moment it did not move, but simply observed him, its head turning slowly one way, than another, as if seeing him from different angles; he held his ground under her gaze, a frown set on his face as he dropped his arm to his side, watching her as closely as she watched him. He assessed what he could see of its faintly feminine body, noting that its great eyes would serve as an excellent place to attack, while he should avoid the wicked teeth and arched claws at the end of its hands. Through peripheral vision he searched for anything he could use for defense or offense, but unless he broke glass and used a piece of it as a weapon, he was completely—

Arms grabbed him from behind, pulling him down. He fought, stepping forward and thrusting his elbows backward, connecting with hard bone and knocking a body backwards as he unintentionally moved closer to the beast. Whirling to see what had attacked, the heels of his boots landed on fingers and he jumped back, finding himself suddenly surrounded by the very people he had hoped to save, their eyes white and staring, as though their eyeballs had rolled up into their heads. Their arms were up and seeking, grabbing for him.

“The creature!” the horse warned, and Mamoru turned just in time to see an arm stretching impossibly, long clawed fingers closing around his neck. He grabbed at the wrist and tugged, trying to wrench himself free, but three of the supposed victims jumped him, putting all their weight on his arms and dragging them down. He was surrounded by energy zombies, weighted down by their unseeing bodies as a freakish monster choked him to death. Each breath was a battle, and that battle was coming to an end as his vision faded…

Until suddenly a golden disk of light whirled past him and into the creature, whizzing straight through the arm that held him. It relinquished its grip in shock, and the bodies around him suddenly became limp and lifeless yet again. Coughing to restore the use of his throat, he turned his head to see the faint silhouette of a young woman, her hair in impossibly long pigtails topped with circular buns. The golden disk returned to her and she caught it, revealing that in truth it was a small golden tiara, which she put back on her head. The red jewel in the center shone in the darkness, and she stepped closer, into a beam of moonlight.

Her expression was fierce, blue eyes glaring at the creature hatefully, but her beautiful features were masked below her frightening gaze, hidden by a sheer silver veil that stretched from ear to ear, overtop the tip of her nose. She wore a sleeveless cocktail dress that reached just above her knees, the gown itself appeared black, but overtop it was a sheer layer of silvery-white material that glistened and flowed. The effect was strange and alluring, as though her dress were changing colors with every movement, turning from all black to partially black, to all white… reminding him subtly of the face of the moon going through its monthly phases. The dress was cinched at the waist with an ornate black belt with a pearl decoration. Her hands up to the middle of her forearm were covered by white dinner gloves; her feet, from mid-calf down, were encased in shining black boots ringed in pearls. At her throat was a bright red collar, almost like a gorget, lined with pearls on the outside and centered with a red gem. “I am Jewel Tiara! Gems and pretty things are supposed to fill girls with joy, not sap the energy out of them! Hurry and defeat her, before she regains control over their bodies!”

Recovered from the attack, he straightened and dropped to a ready position, wanting to do nothing more than what she suggested, but he didn’t see how.

“I found the energy! Hurry, attack! Call out “Cardinal Rose Sword” and fight it!”

Now it mentions he has a sword! If words could dress him up and give him some sort of crazy jumping abilities, they could summon a sword, too. “Cardinal Rose –“ a long stemmed red rose materialized in his hand, dew shining on the petals, and despite the urge to just stare at it for a moment, he continued, “Sword!” The rose grew and changed shape, morphing into a sword with a thorned hilt, the rosebud head at the pommel. As if he had been born with a sword in his hand, he rushed forward towards the monster with the sword at the ready, and brought the shining silver blade down in a sweeping arc, connecting with the trunk of the creature.

It backed up in time to avoid a deathly blow, but a sliver of black ooze shone in a diagonal: the sign of a sure hit. It screamed in challenge, its scissor-like teeth spreading as a snake’s tongue slithered out and towards him, but he wasn’t the type to wait when an opportunity shone. Cruelly and with finality, he held the sword horizontally at shoulder level, then rushed forward, sinking first the tip and then the rest of the blade as hard as he could through one of the large, black eyes.

Slightly horrified by what he had done he froze, the monster’s other black eye staring right at him as it dissolved into dust. His sword was suddenly free, but as his grip relaxed, it transformed back into a rose, and fell into the pile of ashes at his feet. He turned and saw the people stirring normally, awakening as if from a deep sleep. The girl, Jewel Tiara, had vanished into thin air, and the Pegasus waited for him in the window. He crouched and jumped, landing clumsily on the edge, and jumped again, down in the street. The horse flew before him and he ran alongside it, determined to get a few answers from it.

“What is going on?” he asked.

… we’re running away to avoid awkward questions.”

“Too bad it’s not working for you, huh?” he commented, “You know what I mean – who are you, what was that monster, who was that girl, why were those people suddenly without energy and what am I wearing?”

The Pegasus did an equivalent of a sigh, grumbling, yet answered his questions. “The monster was a creature from the Dark Kingdom, sent by one of the senshi to gather energy to awaken an ancient and evil force.”

His brows furrowed, “And just why do these ‘senshi’ believe that awakening an ancient and evil force by stealing energy from innocent people is a good thing?”

“They swore allegiance to the ancient and evil force; if it is allowed to reawaken, it will take over Earth and the senshi will be in positions of power.”

“Take over Earth?”

“That’s what I said.”

“And I guess I’m supposed to stop them?”

“Very astute assumption.”

“Thanks,” he replied sarcastically. “But if it’s just me against them, who was that girl?”

“I’m not sure; I wasn’t in the room at the time so I didn’t even get a good luck at her, only hearing her voice. But you will not be alone in this fight; there are four others.”

“Okay; and where are they? Why weren’t they here tonight?”

“Well… I haven’t exactly found them yet. You’re the first, called Cardinal King. When I discover the identities of the other four Heavenly Kings in this world, we will awaken them and they will help you.”

“And the five of us will defeat the senshi?”

“Eh… pretty much.” The horse replied as they reached his apartment. Far above them, his blinds wafted out the window of his apartment, and he had the crazy idea that he could jump off of the building beside his to get there. As the Pegasus flew by, pausing by the door to his building, Mamoru calculated the angles quickly, and, with a measured correctional step, he jumped. Propelling himself off of his building, he sprung to the building beside, and then back to his, landing clumsily on his bed and stumbling onto the floor. He smiled as the Pegasus joined him. “You’re a quick learner; that’s going to be useful. I’ll find you again when the senshi attack. It was nice to meet you, Cardinal King.”

“You too, I guess,” Mamoru replied hesitantly, “By the way, what should I call you? And who are you, anyway?”

“I am Helios; and for now you can think of me as a mentor, of sorts.”

He nodded, “Alright, then, Helios. Thank you for helping me save those people.” Gently, his transformation faded away, and the golden-colored pin was back in his hand. The Pegasus nodded, and faded away as well, as if he had never been there. Wearily, the teenager climbed into his bed and quickly fell asleep.

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:06 pm

...i snickered through this entire story. it's really intresting. i would love to see Jewel Tiara's costume drawn out!^^...i'd offer to do it, but as my tablet is friggin dead....yeah..>.<...god i'm bored...

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:30 pm

^^!!! I'd love to see someone draw it! XD My skills.... they're not really good xD

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:00 pm

I like Helios' personality in this. XD

The only like tiny minor thing I saw was that you called Usagi "Jewel Tiara" and then later "Jewel Moon". Other than that, it's great Smile rather different, very creative.

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:19 pm

Seriously?? Gaaaah goign backto change it. She's Jewel Tiara.


And Helios's personality was seriously just inspired by Naoko's one description of him not liking to work XD ... and then he got kinda snippy, heh heh.

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:30 pm

It's funny! It sounds like something a mentor to a guy like Mamoru would be like Razz something refreshing for him.

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:05 pm

That next morning had been strange, trying to figure out whether anything that had ‘happened’ had actually occurred. Falling out of high windows and landing unharmed, jumping stories in a single bound, and fighting using a sword that sprouted from a rose all seemed like something from a crazed dream, but the proof was clear and physical in the form of the golden pendant he awoke to find on his bedside table. He had decided to wear it, slipping the thin silver chain around his neck and tucking it under the collar of his school uniform. If it were real, he reasoned, it meant that he might be needed at any moment to protect the citizens of Tokyo from the machinations of the senshi who wanted their energy.

Once he was ready to leave for school, he flicked on the television as he prepared a quick breakfast, needing a burst of energy himself after staying out most of the night. As the water boiled and he poured a portion into some instant porridge, the news came back from commercial, and at hearing the day’s current story he nearly drowned his breakfast entirely.

And in district news, nearly fifty unarmed citizens were found trapped this morning the OSA-P Jewelry Store. While none seemed to have sustained any injuries, the store itself was disheveled. The only clues to the night’s activities lie in a single rose that was left at the scene, and an eyewitness account by Night Janitor Iko Tasagura.” the screen flashed to a middle-aged man standing in front of another store in the shopping district, “When I looked out the window,” he said, “I saw the strangest thing: there was a caped young man wearing a mask accompanied by what appeared to be a white pegasus. He jumped from the second story window onto the street and then ran off!” the view returned to the news studio, “Who is this masked man? Why did he put people in OSA-P Jewelry store and then abandon them? Does Tokyo have a trickster on its hands? Police Chief Kage refuses to comment on the incident, but perhaps we will hear more about the mysterious man at a later date, along with whatever plan Chief Kage has to assure the safety of Tokyo citizens against such a threat.

He was able to save his breakfast, but the report had robbed him of his appetite. He sat at the counter with the television on mute as weather forecasts paraded across the screen and a discontented feeling moved through his chest. He had never minded before when good work of his had gone unnoticed – he wasn’t one to seek out praise, content with the knowledge he had done his best and that his best was appreciated by his mentors – but to have the spotlight shining on him for doing something terrible when he had in fact done the opposite, did not sit well with him. For a few minutes, as his oatmeal cooled to a pasty consistency, Mamoru considered various options for clearing his alternate persona: a press conference, a public-service message, a multitude of good deeds… but in the end, he decided to do nothing. It didn’t matter if people liked him or knew the full story; what mattered was that they were safe from those energy-stealing villains. He stood, grimaced at the congealed mass of glue in his cereal bowl, and put the offending meal in the sink to clean later. Taking his bag in hand, he left for school.



Two weeks after his first ‘transformation’, Mamoru started to wonder if the senshi had something even more sinister planned; he hadn’t transformed once since the night at the jewelry store, but if they were real, surely they would not give up after one failed attempt. He suspected they might be strategizing for a larger operation and Helios cautiously agreed. The “unisus” had appeared in his apartment nearly every night; at first it was nothing more than to report on the energy fields around the city and discuss briefly any strategy they might strike up before the next battle, but before the end of the first week Helios was staying to share dinner with Mamoru. The size of a cat, the white horse ate very little and only vegetarian, so Mamoru didn’t mind at all, and lately Helios had been leaving for wherever he usually went less and less, pretty much living at the apartment full-time.

The buzz about “Cardinal King” had died down considerably in the news, the anchors and editors writing him off as a one-time joker, but there were others that, for some reason or another, were certain he existed and wouldn’t let the idea go. One of these, unfortunately for Mamoru, was his own school paper’s editor-in-chief, Hanada. With all the random rumors about Cardinal King that Hanada aired in the school paper recently, Mamoru had stopped paying any attention whatsoever to the paper and was finding it harder and harder to take classmates seriously when he spied them in the possession of an editorial issue.

And whenever someone asked him about an article…

“Hey, Chiba! Have you read this?” Tairo asked, catching up with Mamoru as he left the soccer field for home and offering him the paper. The headline was titled “Cardinal King: Hiding in the Shadows?” and, this time, Mamoru couldn’t catch the groan before it escaped his throat. Tairo looked at him with some confusion.

“Sorry,” he apologized sincerely, not wanting to put his teammate off, “it just seems that this Cardinal King character is all that the new editor wants to talk about and there is no actual evidence for his existence; you’d think there would be more interesting topics more than two weeks after an initial ‘sighting’ of a masked man in the middle of the night.”

Tairo scoffed, smiling, “Oh, I didn’t mean to show you the headline – everyone knows Hanada’s just trying to get an edge over real papers by ghost-hunting. I just wondered if you saw this announcement about the science club’s upcoming Fighting Robot tournament next weekend!”

“Fighting Robot tournament?” he repeated, taking the paper from Tairo with amusement. Underneath the main article was a small picture of the senior physics teacher and a model of a popular robot style beside a title confirming Tairo’s announcement. “I thought Fighting Robots was beneath Yoshiro-sensei?”

“Apparently an old rival of his has started teaching at another high school in this area and he’s intent on crushing him in every way possible.”

Mamoru smiled, indicating the paper, “Well, this will be a good start.”

He tried to hand it back to his teammate, but Tairo put up his hand to block the pass. “You keep it; you’ll have the time in case you wanted to go.” He turned to walk in the opposite direction and they said their farewells.

Mamoru waited alone for the bus, scanning the newspaper below the fluff-story for the school’s real news which, apparently, had made some kind of comeback. The stories were anything but extraordinary, but it was interesting to read what other clubs and associations were up to: the debate society had another win under their belts, the biology club was working with a local university to observe medical techniques, the host club was holding another co-ed dance with a neighboring all-girls school –

Another article about you?” piped the voice of Helios. Mamoru nearly jumped, turning his head to see the white Pegasus floating just above his shoulder. Quickly he looked around – the street was nowhere near deserted! “It’s been quite a while – I wonder if –

“What are you doing?!” Mamoru interrupted, his voice as quiet as possible, “Anyone can see you!”

Pssh” the horse blew, “I know when people are looking at me.

“Tell that to Iko Tasagura!” Mamoru hissed back, trying to look around him inconspicuously as his hands moved up slowly towards the hovering hand-sized horse.

“[/i]Who?” Helios repeated with no small amount of confusion, eyeing the hand.

“The night janitor who reported us to the news!” Helios looked thoughtful, so Mamoru continued in hopes of making him disappear, “Did you feel him watching us then?”

“[i]That was entirely—
“ Helio’s voice froze midsentence, his entire body seeming to stop in time. Even his wings stopped mid-beat; had Mamoru’s hand not been near, he might not have caught his guardian before the tiny Pegasus body fell to the ground. As it was, he held Helios awkwardly, feeling a heartbeat through skin that was cooling quickly.

Growing worried, he was about to ask what was wrong when out of the corner of his eye he spied none other than Hanada, the school newspaper editor. The blonde young man appeared at his shoulder, looking as though he had been there for quite some time, when in reality he hadn’t been there just moments before. “Good evening, Chiba,” he greeted with a sly smile, eyeing the Pegasus in Mamoru’s hand.

He lowered it and tried to hold him less-awkwardly, only halfway succeeding. “Good evening, Hanada. What brings you around here?”he asked; it was well known that Hanada had a rather wealthy family who lived on the other side of the school from Mamoru, so it wasn’t entirely a strange or unexpected question.

“Oh, not much,” he replied. He wore an unbuttoned white collared shirt over a pale green top and jeans – all designer, from the shoes on his feet to the colored fashionable sunglasses and floppy hat on his head. His long wavy blonde hair was tied back in a ponytail but for the bangs; it was a wonder that the Principle didn’t make him cut it, but his parents were very influential on the school board and so it remained. Regardless, it appeared as though he were out on casual business, even though any sort of business Hanada was expected to casually attend to would be in the shopping district, not here. His green eyes fell upon Helios and a delicate eyebrow quirked, “Is that a toy?”

“Yeah,” Mamoru agreed easily, “I picked it up for one of the girls back home.”

The eyes turned on him, eyebrow still furrowed, “But aren’t you an orphan?”

Mamoru stared at him coolly; everyone knew of his background, so there was no real reason to bring it up, unless Hanada was trying to put himself on some higher ground. Mamoru didn’t enjoy such games, preferring to end them before they began. “I am; she is too. Even orphans like toys, Hanada.”

He shrugged. “It’s terribly lifelike…” he remarked, reaching a hand out as if to touch the Pegasus ‘toy’.

“Yeah, if a winged unicorn is something you consider to be realistic,” Mamoru countered with a light mocking tone, moving Helios slightly; he had noticed the horse twitching every now and again throughout the conversation, and would rather not have to figure out a way to explain why a toy felt real and reacted realistically. Luckily for him, the bus was pulling up beside them. Clutching his passenger lightly as he stepped aboard the bus, he swiped his card and nodded to his classmate, “See you tomorrow, Hanada.”

Hanada nodded in return, “Have a good night, Chiba.”

The second he took his seat, Helios disappeared, but as soon as Mamoru opened his apartment door the white horse was back in full force. He dove right into Mamoru’s face, hovering at eye-level with his long golden horn just inches away from his forehead. “There was definitely something strange about that guy!” Helios exclaimed, his bright red eyes even larger than usual, “I felt something in him – a strange energy!

Mamoru stepped aside to close his door, Helios moving to stay in place before him, “Hanada? What kind of strange energy?” he asked, kicking off his shoes and sliding into his slippers, respectfully keeping his gaze on his guardian.

I think he’s being controlled by the Senshi!

He froze, his bag dropping from his hand to the floor in a less-than-graceful manner. “You mean he could be working for them?”

Why else would he continue to run a dead story about you?” he questioned, “He’s trying to lure you out! To expose you! With you gone, the Dark Kingdom will be able to do as they please on their own time!”

It made sense enough, “So… what do we do?” he asked, “I can’t just waltz right up to him and---“

Helio’s neck craned around to stare suddenly out the window, his whole body tense, “An attack!” he warned, flying quickly to the living room’s expansive windows, “Energy – large amounts of energy is being collected to a single source! Hurry!”

“Where?” Mamoru asked, throwing his feet back into his shoes – he wouldn’t chance jumping out of his window before sunset.

“Near where we left our little friend.”



Standing on the roof of his building, Mamoru as Cardinal King examined the drop and the distance to the next roof, taking a deep breath. While it was comforting to know that if he landed on his feet everything would turn out okay, he still had no idea what would happen if he, say, jumped for a rooftop, hit the side of the building instead and fell without control to the concrete so many stories below.

Is it going to be like this every time?! Hurry up!” Helios urged, hovering above the rooftop he was aiming for.

“Just give me a minute!” Mamoru yelled back. They had decided rooftops would be the easiest and fastest method of travel and would allow them some form of privacy, but that didn’t mean he was recklessly fearless. One more deep breath and he started running, scenery rushing past him much faster than he was used to when running on the soccer field. He leapt, his black boots pushing off the corner of the rooftop and was suddenly airborne, a cape flying from his shoulders and giving him and extra push instead of causing him to drag. He landed at a run and kept going, following the anxious Helios as he flew to the next roof. The following jump was easier, and the one after even more so; while he never smiled, knowing what it was they were running towards, he couldn’t deny the feeling of exhilaration that accompanied each flying leap.

Soon Helios dove down between buildings and Cardinal King dropped down beside him, falling past fire escapes to land easily in a crouched position in the alleyway below. He sprung back up and kept running around the side of the building, keeping to the shadows, until Helios disappeared. He reappeared in a split-second, “Youma, just inside this building. Twenty-two down, but someone’s still moving. Twenty bucks says it’s Hanada in there pulling the strings.”

“Only one way to find out,” Mamoru replied, “What’s the plan? What’s it like in there?”

It’s on the bottom floor; no high entrances. You’ll just have to run in swinging. I’ll find the gathered energy and release it as soon as the youma’s down; wait for my signal, or it’ll be transported to their kingdom if things aren’t just right.

Mamoru nodded and Helios disappeared again, presumably to search out the gathered energy. He wondered momentarily if he should break the door down with his shoulder or kick it down, but first decided to try the handle. It was open. He slid in and closed the door quickly; finding himself in a long, bright hallway, he rushed down as quickly as possible, listening closely at each door along the way for signs of any kind of activity, not exactly expecting anything - unconscious people tend to stay quiet. So, instead, he planted his feet in a ready fashion, and called a challenge out to whatever monster was present. “Hey! I know you’re there!” he yelled, grimacing slightly at the weak phrasing, “Come out and fight, you cowardly monster!”

A door flew across the hallway explosively; Mamoru flinched, but only marginally. A beast as tall as the ceiling stepped out into the hall, its large head with sharp teeth and blood-red eyes stared at him from under a bush of dark brown hair. It was a mixture of gorilla and feudal-age demon, with horns poking out of its forehead and a strong, hairless chest supporting ham-sized biceps on floor-length arms. It growled menacingly, the noise like thunder. It was huge, stooping beneath the ceiling… and then was rushing him.

There was no way to escape the bull-rush, so Mamoru opened the door closest to him and stepped inside, letting the red-beast barrel past him down the hall with mere moments to spare. Wondering what exactly he was to do to keep the beast occupied until Helios was ready, Mamoru stepped back into the hallway and yelled again. It was nothing intelligible, just something to draw the beast’s attention again, but it was too late. The door at the end of the hall was gone, along with a good deal of the building around it: the youma had escaped. “Great,” Mamoru cursed, and quickly gave chase.

The beast was in the alleyway looking stunned beside a crumpled dumpster. He moved to cut off the beast’s escape route. “Cardinal Rose—“ he started, the rose summoned to his hand, but suddenly a cinderblock was flying towards his head, and he had to jump out of the way. The monster, roused and sinister looking, made as if to escape out into the street; Mamoru used what he had to stop him – he threw the rose.

Unlike any flora he had ever seen, the rose flew straight and true, slicing through the air like an arrow. It cut through the thick skin on the monster’s face, green blood oozing from the wound impossibly. The monster stopped and rounded to face him, his eyes focused on nothing else. Mamoru jumped over the beast’s head, landing in the doorway – if it were to chase him, he’d rather it go back inside the building.

“Watch out!” Helios warned as the beast charged, distracting Mamoru enough to make him fumble.

“Easier to do so without you warning me!” he yelled, reaching back to brace himself on the wall, but finding the surface his hand touched to be warm and cloth-covered. He jumped and whirled to find a camera in his face.

“Don’t mind the camera!” Hanada exclaimed, “Watch out! It’s coming back!”

“What are you doing?!” Mamoru cried, opening the door beside them and pushing his classmate through just as the beast barreled past. Hanada fell back two steps, but the camera continued to click, taking pictures. Helios suddenly appeared between them, his golden horn forcing Hanada back, but the smile remained on his face.

Who are you and what are you doing in this plane?!” Helios’s voice boomed.

“It talks?!” Hanada exclaimed, “This is excellent!” The door crashed in behind them, knocking Cardinal King to the side, against the wall. Helios teleported out of the way, and Hanada spun safely out of the path of the monster, giving it a kick in the rear as it passed to crash into the desk in the office. “Do the rose trick again!” he urged, camera to his eye yet again, focused on Cardinal King rather than the youma just feet away from him.

Wait… could it be…?” Helios mused, staring at their blonde “guest” as Mamoru rolled his shoulders to loosen them. “Take this,” the Pegasus offered with uncertainty, and suddenly a blue pendant was flying towards Hanada. He caught it, letting the camera drop around his neck, and looked at them with confusion. “Try yelling “Zoisite Power, Transform!””

Hanada stifled a laugh. Mamoru looked at Helios, wondering what the white horse was thinking, but suddenly he heard “Zoisite Power, Transform!” and a burst of light blue light shone in his periphery. Hanada had transformed. His attire was nearly identical to Mamoru’s, from the blue-gray suit to the black belt and boots, but rather than golden accents around the coat and lining the mask on his face, his was lined in light green. His blue pendant held his jacket in place.

King of the North,” Helios greeted smugly, “help Cardinal King keep this beast distracted while I unbind the energy. Good luck, North King.” He disappeared, leaving the two of them alone together.

Hanada – or, North King – looked at him with disbelief, his brows furrowing above his mask, “What?!” he yelled incredulously, bound blond hair shaking as his head moved from where Helios was to where Mamoru stood.

Mamoru grinned at him, “You heard him, North King, help me with the monster! You wanted to know what this was all about, right? Well, wish came true.” The beast twitched awake, looking over his shoulder at North King. “Watch out!” He leapt forward, summoning his weapon, “Cardinal Rose Sword!” and brandished it threateningly to draw the creature’s attention.

Hanada glanced behind him and quickly jumped out of the way, his motion carrying him higher than he apparently expected, clumsily landing in a chair off to the side. “The hell is going on?!”

It charged at Mamoru and he stepped out of the way, letting the creature bash into the wall beside him, waiting on Helio’s signal before he acted. Unlike the times before, however, the beast recovered immediately, throwing a hammy fist towards Mamoru’s head. He ducked and rolled, coming up behind the monster just as it whipped around and yelled. The sound was so loud Mamoru had to cover his ears, stepping back uncertainly, only managing to hold onto his sword with a strong force of will. Its arm raised above his head, but it was as though the wave emitting from his throat were paralyzing; he was stuck where he was.

Fortunately for him, North King wasn’t.

His blonde ally was suddenly on the monster’s back, a rope of some sort around the beast’s neck, pulling its head up and freeing Mamoru from sound-wave attack as the beast’s throat closed. Its red arms scrabbled at its neck and reached back to try to knock North King away, but he was too quick, his legs moving his body left and right like a skier on a snowy mountain. “Stab it!” he cried.

“We have to wait for Helios!” Mamoru replied, leveling his sword and preparing to charge.

“What?!” he yelled, “I’ve got it now! Kill it!”

“We can’t yet!” he replied, “If we kill it before Helios frees the energy, those people will die!”

North King growled, “Fine!” still surfing as the monster careened around, trying to grab him.

Got it!” Helios signaled, and Cardinal King rushed forward, throwing his sword into the beast’s chest up to the hilt. It was hard work, rushing through the packed muscle, but his momentum carried him forward. He released the sword as the beast fell to its knees, North King landing beside him holding a blue whip made of ice. The youma dissolved indo gray dust, the red rose buried in the pile. Helios appeared suddenly, hovering above the pile. “Time to go,” he declared, preceding them out the door and down the hall. Mamoru followed with North King in tow, Hanada looking confused. Once they were out in the alleyway, the sun setting somewhere in the metropolis beyond, the white Pegasus flew upward, and Mamoru jumped after it.

“Are you kidding me?!” Hanada yelled from below; Mamoru grasped the handrail of a fire escape level and paused, looking down at him.

“Just jump!” he plucked the corner of his cape, “The cape helps, somehow.” The eyes in the green mask looked disbelieving; Cardinal King shrugged, “Or you could run up the fire escape, whatever you want to do.” He turned and jumped across the alley to get some air, then ricocheted to the rooftop. “We’ll wait a few rooftops down for you; the cops might show soon!” he called down to his incredulous new ally, then turned and ran.

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:26 pm

Damn, Kyralih. This is really good! Can't wait for more! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:53 pm

He’s here,” Helios announced, appearing a few feet away and quickly growing to his full size.

Cardinal King stepped into the light of the setting sun, out of the shadows surrounding the stair house to see the King of the North land clumsily on the rooftop, arms pinwheeling to keep his balance as he came to a rough stop. “You fought really well back there,” Mamoru complimented as the blonde walked over with as much dignity he could muster. “I’m glad to have you working with me.”

“And what, exactly, does this ‘work’ entail?” his peer replied, standing nearly level with him. They were on one of the tallest roofs in the area, clearly out of sight of anyone in Tokyo. When he thought about it, their position was rather incredible; how often did people stand out on the rooftops and take a look around? The skies were beautiful around them, glowing orange and fading to purple as the moon rose overhead.

Helios approached, speaking easily. “Defeating the enemy and protecting the people of Earth. The two of you are Earth’s only defense against the Dark Kingdom and their senshi, who will stop at nothing to gather enough energy to summon a great and powerful evil force that would take the life of every being on the planet and enslave them.”

Hanada considered, his brows furrowed. Mamoru wondered what he thought about the revelation, the responsibilities just placed on his shoulders. Was he rebelling against the job he had never asked for? Did he regret being in that building today? But rather than ask questions about himself, North King instead inquired, “Just the two of us? What about the King of the East?”

“The King of the East?” Mamoru and Helios repeated as one, equally confused.

“Yeah,” North King replied, one hand on his hip, “He’s sometimes called the Morning Star. You haven’t heard of him? I’ve mentioned him once or twice in articles about Cardinal—er, you. He’s another mysterious figure running around Tokyo these days; I read about him in a few online forums. I thought the two of you were working together, but apparently not.” He shrugged.

The King of the East is one of the protectors – he is supposed to be your ally, but how did he awaken?” Helios wondered, obviously disturbed by the news.

“I wonder why we haven’t met? … do you think he could be why the past two weeks have been so quiet, or do you think things will always be quiet like that?” Mamoru asked aloud of no one in particular, hundreds of possibilities running through his mind, chief among them was this Morning Star character – who was he? Why hadn’t they found each other? Did he work with Jewel Tiara? … did she even exist? He hadn’t seen her since that night and Helios knew nothing about her... To North King, he commented, “I guess we’ll figure that out later.”

In a glow of blue light, North King faded away to leave Hanada standing there, holding the Zoisite pendant. He smiled, throwing the necklace up into the air and catching it, “Guess I’ve got a pretty good story, eh?”

Mamoru was about to power down as well, but froze, “You’re not seriously going to report on this, are you?”

Hanada shrugged, “Not in the way you probably think. If I’m going to play hero, I’m going to make sure everyone knows we’re heroes and not the cheap jokers other news sources have suggested.” He picked up the camera dangling on his neck, “I should have a little over 100 pictures on here, ranging from the attack on the cram school our big red buddy initiated, a few choice pictures of you, and then you fighting him. This with a good story should clear your name,” he paused, smiling slyly, “and get my name out there as an excellent journalist, editor, photographer and writer.”

Cardinal King shook his head, the transformation fading away to leave Mamoru Chiba standing across from his classmate. “Glad to give you a story, I guess.”

“Chiba,” Hanada offered his hand and Mamoru took it, shaking it firmly, “I thought it might’ve been you. Don’t ask me why, I just had this feeling.”

Mamoru nodded, figuring the declaration for a reporter’s boast. “I look forward to working with you, Hanada, especially if you pull more of that crazy stuff in the future – what made you think about jumping on its back and collaring it?” he asked with a smile, remembering the sight of his masked companion using the beast’s shoulder blades as skis.

Hanada shrugged, smiling, “I do what I must to get the job done. Speaking of, I’m going home now to start working on the story. See you around, Chiba,” he nodded his head, Mamoru nodded back. Hanada turned to Helios and nodded his head to him, as well, “Pegasus.”

Helios,” the mentor corrected, “I’ll be serving as a guardian and guide. Before you go, take this, ” from Helios’s horn shone a sudden burst of light that lanced to each of their wrists. When the light faded, both Mamoru and Hanada had handsome wristwatches, his accented with golden stones, Hanada’s with clear blue gems. “Communicator watches. When you want to send a message, turn the clock hands to 12; an alarm will go off on the other person’s watch. As soon as the other person sets their hands to 12, a communication channel will open and you can speak freely.”

Hanada nodded, “Okay. Well, have a good night.” He disappeared into the building through the stairwell door and was gone. Mamoru elected to stay for a few moments, watching the red door and considering his new ally, and the possibility of allies to come.



Mamoru checked the time, glancing down at his new ‘watch’ as he strode down the busy street in the Juuban shopping district, weaving in and out of foot traffic as he searched for the nearest bus stop. He wasn’t late just yet, he decided, but if he didn’t catch the next bus he would be. As he passed the storefront of the Osa-P Jewelry store he looked inside; it had been nearly a month since the attack and no traces were left within. Hanada had told him offhandedly about how he and other reporters had gathered at the store every night for a week to see if the mysterious caped figure would return, hoping to expand upon the breaking story without luck, and once the store opened again after repairs it had been swamped with customers; it had even come out with its own commemorative earrings: red roses with green stems. The articles were on an oversized poster behind one of the counters, still. He kept walking.

The crowds thinned and he spied the bus stop, but before he quite reached it a wadded-up piece of paper came flying towards him, bouncing off of his forehead with some force. “Hey!” he called as a reaction, but whomever the litterbug had been, they were lost in the crowd and the bus had just arrived. With the nearest trash receptacle closer to the storefronts, he held on to the paper as he stepped up onto the bus and made his way to the open seat in the back. As soon as he was seated the bus started, he heard a sharp gasp from the girl sitting beside him.

“Where did you get that?!” she cried with astonishment, her bright blue eyes wide as her hands covered her agape mouth.

Someone threw it at my head!” he replied, holding the paper just out of reach as her hands shot out to snatch it from him. “I take it that was you!”

“I didn’t throw it at you!” she disputed, squirming over him to try to grab it. Thrown by her too-familiar behavior, he let her take the paper and watched as she sat back down, her lips pursed in annoyance as she crumpled the paper into an even tighter ball and stuffed it into her school bag. Judging her uniform, he took her to be a local middle school student. And with that long blonde hair in pigtail buns, she made for a familiar local middle school student.

“So… another less-than-stellar grade there, odango?” he asked teasingly. He’d seen this girl before – he’d been hit by this girl before. Well, not physically – it had been another crumpled up test. And a shoe, before that. He was beginning to wonder if he should start carrying an umbrella whenever he ventured into that district, as it seemed that every time he was there, she was, too, and, inevitably, something was airborne and landing on him.

With her nose in the hair, she crossed her arms and looked away from him, “That’s none of your business, jerk!”

“It wouldn’t be if you didn’t hit me on the head with it so often. Why not pick up a book instead of pitching failing grades at innocent passersby?” He enjoyed getting her riled up – she was so strange, reacting so outwardly where everyone else tended to keep things private. Rather than yell back at him, she just “Humph!”d loudly, the eye he could see was closed. “I mean, really, whatever happened to keeping Tokyo clean? You alone are—“ his watch sounded an alarm, interrupting him and catching her attention. He glanced down, wondering what was happening on Hanada’s end – but not quite daring to answer the call with the girl right there, looking from him to his watch and back again.

“I didn’t know analogue watches could have alarms,” she commented curiously, all anger from before apparently gone. When he didn’t immediately answer, glancing outside to see how close the next stop was, she asked something else, “Where did you get it? It’s kinda cool! Do they come in pink?”

“It was a gift from a friend, so I’m not sure,” he commented offhandedly, standing as the bus slowed. He looked back to the girl, “Study harder, Odango!” he called, waving curtly as he made his way up the aisle and got off the bus. As it pulled away, he approached the fence and kept walking in the same direction as he moved the watch hands to noon. With another short beep, he heard static and the watch face popped up out of its casing and flipped around to display a screen, Hanada’s head against a blue-sky background stared back at him. “What’s up?” he asked.

“Where are you?” Hanada asked, “I thought you would catch a ride! You’ll never get here in time if you’re walking!”

“I was on the bus,” Mamoru replied, “I had to get off to answer you! Not everyone could use their parent’s chauffer to get around, you know.”

“Wait, what? !” the blonde cried, “You were on the bus?!”

“Yes, the bus,” he stated flatly.

“Heading towards the Hikawa Shrine?”

“Yes,” he replied forcefully – that was where Hanada has asked they meet, so why was he so startled? “Why?”

“I just saved your ass – get to the shrine as soon as you can!” Hanada ended the call, and Mamoru’s watch face flipped around again to reveal the time – 5:55 pm.

He reached the shrine to see Hanada running in the opposite direction, farther down the street. “Hurry up!” he yelled over his shoulder, so Mamoru started running again, feeling foolish but catching a strange aura in the air that made his skin prickle as though on pins and needles. Something was wrong. At the next opportunity, when he passed between the covered bus station and a wooden fence, he transformed and caught up to Hanada in no time, and in a flash North King was running with him.

“What’s going on?” Cardinal King asked, his breath coming more easily after the transformation even while he was running much faster than before. Up ahead he saw the bus, a pair of familiar blonde buns prominent in the back window.

“It’s the Phantom Bus!” North King replied, his eyes flashing behind his light green mask. “Every day this week the bus that passes the Hikawa Shrine at 6:00 has disappeared and young people on the bus vanish into thin air; I think the Dark Kingdom is behind it, kidnapping the youth for their energy!”

Good thinking, North King! ” Helios replied, appearing beside them suddenly.

“Helios!” Mamoru exclaimed, “Did you find the King of the East?”

Not yet. Watch it! ” The Pegasus shot forward, his golden horn shining with the burst of speed, “It’s disappearing! Hurry! Don’t let it get away with those innocent people!”

Up ahead the front of the bus had disappeared into a swirling black vortex, like a funnel cloud to nowhere. In the back seat he saw the girl – Tsukino Usagi – look out of the window towards him, and then she was gone. Both he and his partner lunged and made it through before the world disappeared behind them.

For long moments there was nothing but darkness, but soon his eyes adjusted, finding a strange, dark silver light glancing off of the world around him. North, beside him, held up a hand as a sign for silence – not that he needed someone to tell him to keep quiet while in enemy territory –and pointed to a group of empty busses suspended in space above them, their doors wide open and an eerie blue light leaking from them.

Energy,” Helios identified silently, flying off to follow the streams to where they gathered, but paused as if struck, winging behind the nearest object. “SENSHI! ” he warned shrilly in their minds. “Be careful! It is Mars, the Senshi of Passion and War!”

Mamoru’s eyes searched the scene for the sinister warrior, the leaders of the Dark Kingdom’s forces, and was caught off-guard. Standing in the middle of the broken columns that littered this world, glaring down at an unconscious form heaped by her bright red high heels, was a strikingly beautiful girl. Long, pin-straight raven-colored hair reached nearly to her knees, her bangs framing amethyst eyes that glared curiously down at the figure at her feet; she appeared unthreatening, and he wondered if Helios had been right – this girl didn’t look like she would hurt anyone; she definitely wasn’t dressed for it. Red high heels would be difficult to maneuver in, short red skirt with white leotard, bedecked with bows and a sailor collar, seemed more decoration than war garb, and the white gloves that came up to her elbows looked to be more suited to attending a dinner party than leading an army of monsters bent on collecting energy. But then… she definitely seemed in charge of the situation. The heap at her feet was, at second inspection, a guy. A teenager, like him, with short dark blonde hair and wearing a high school uniform; he appeared to be unconscious.

Slowly, the girl uncrossed her arms and pointed with her right hand to Helios’s hiding spot, “I see you there, Earth Kingdom Scum.” Suddenly a jet of fire burst from her fingertip, lancing forward in a rush to where their guardian hid, and there was no more question as to her alignment. His eyes seared with pain at the sudden light, but he had little time to recover if he wanted to free Helios.

“Hey!” he yelled, running from cover to stand across from her in the clearing. She paid him no attention; so he called up his rose and threw it at her. It sailed true and glanced by her face, its thorns cutting a neat line in her cheek. He summoned another and held it threateningly, ready to throw it, too, but the jet of flame stopped as she turned to him. He kept his eyes on hers, waiting for her to address him, but she stayed silent. So he continued, hoping Helios had gone to find the energy store and release it. “Let these people go! They will have no part in your sinister plans!”

They are already a part; soon we will have enough energy and then this planet will get what it deserves.”

“Which is what? What did Earth do to you?” He asked, slowly circling around as he noticed North King covertly maneuvering behind her. On the floor by her feet, the civilian stirred; he had to get him away from her.

Something for which it will never be able to repent.” Without blinking, she turned and sent another lance of fire towards North King, whose icy whip sublimated in his hands to a wisp of water vapor. The flames then turned, surrounding him in a ring to keep the King of the North in place. But while she busied herself with him, Mamoru dashed forward, pushing her off balance as he grabbed hold of the unconscious figure’s hand and pulled him to his feet.

“Run!” he commanded of the confused young man, pushing him away just in time for Mars to reel around, her long hair flying as her fist connected solidly with his cheekbone. Stars swam in his vision as he stumbled back and fell, caught completely off guard by her attack. Glancing over at North King, his heart sunk – the fire ring hadn’t disappeared. His ally was still trapped, and their enemy was above him, her dark purple eyes reflecting the fire she had summoned. He kicked back, away from her, but his head swam with the effort and his elbow gave out, leaving him completely sprawled on his back with the fire senshi standing above him.

Die,” she commanded as her index finger extended towards him.

This was it; it wasn’t a game, it wasn’t a dream, and it had never been. It was only too real, and he was about to die in an alternate dimension, and he hadn’t saved anyone. Hanada might die, all of the people… Odango, too. In his hand another rose came, unbidden, but he didn’t get a chance to use it.

“Jadeite Power, Transform!” a burst of green light flooded the area, distracting the senshi’s gaze. Mamoru threw the rose and it stuck in her side, and a mere second later it was joined by a small throwing knife. She cried out, and suddenly the throwing knife burst into an all encompassing flame that surrounded her body.

“Wait!” a new voice called from behind, but the flames paid him no heed, and the inferno continued. North King, freed from his prison, rushed forward and helped Mamoru to his feet and the pair of them stepped back from the flames, ending up beside another King, this one’s uniform lined in red. With short dark blonde hair, Mamoru had little doubt it was the same person who Mars had as a personal captive. They looked at one another, the newcomer alarmed, North nodding to him, silently telling him he had done the right thing. Mamoru wasn’t as sure; the monsters had turned to dust upon their defeat; to him, that meant they were normal, weren’t natural, but this senshi… she looked like them. Sure, she was going to kill him and said as much herself, but this defeat wasn’t the same. He felt bad – he wanted to stop it, to put out the flames, to see if he could save her –

And then a blast of cool air rushed through them, their capes appearing to keep them in place as a figure jumped in from above. It was a girl wearing a short black-and-white cocktail dress, boots, and gloves, her long blonde hair in bunned pigtails atop her head. With a golden tiara and the bright red gorget around her neck, Mamoru knew at last that she was real: Jewel Tiara. She landed where their enemy had been and plucked from the air a red double-pyramidal gem that was lit from within; the only thing left of their opponent. She held it to her chest, looked over at them with shining bright blue eyes, and jumped off again, disappearing into the darkness, silver light glancing off of her receding form.

“Who was that?” North King asked.

“Jewel Tiara,” he replied, “She saved my life that first night.”

“So she’s on our side?” he continued.

Mamoru shrugged, “I don’t know; Helios didn’t know anything about her. Her tiara… Mars had one just like it.” He didn’t care for the comparison, but felt it needed to be said. As much as he wanted to trust her, he knew blind trust was something they couldn’t afford. Above them, the bus’ lights turned on, all at once, their headlights piercing the darkness. They were all tied together as one giant chain, all ready to leave.

It is done.” Helios stated, reappearing beside them. “As the last of the energy is released, another opening should appear that will lead us back to Tokyo. The citizens should fully recover without complications, though those who were taken that first day may need more sleep.”

Mamoru nodded, looking around for the suggested opening.

“So…” the new voice said, “What’s going on?”

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:12 pm

It took them a few minutes to explain the situation and their purpose, and by the time the portal began to open far above their heads, they had learned a bit about their new ally. Moegi, the King of the South, attended a local public high school – he was a second year, like them, was the student council president for his year, and was an accomplished member of the debate club at his school. Mamoru didn’t quite know how to take him, at first; Moegi exuded a calm, confident air that smacked of a cunning personality and his first impression upon speaking with him for a bit was that he didn’t want to trust the guy as far as he could throw him. Every word seemed to have been chosen for a particular purpose; what purpose, he didn’t quite know, but the practice probably came with the territory of being a political position.

But, still, even as Moegi spoke highly and strategically of his accomplishments and asked critical questions about their duties, Mamoru couldn’t help but remember the way the Southern King called to the flames he commanded, pleading with them to ‘wait’. He wondered which was the true representation of Moegi: the smooth-talking and confident class president, seemingly ruthless and uncaring, or the person who pleaded with flames to spare an enemy’s life? He supposed that, with time, he might find out.

Mamoru smiled sardonically at himself, watching as the portal opened wider and let in the dusky light of the Tokyo sunset; how odd it was, to get to know people through life-and-death situations. Already, after just two battles together, he felt he could really trust and rely on Hanada – he had to, with the situations they had survived together and would face before this was all over with. What got him the most about it all was that he was sure that he and Hanada would have never become friends any other way. And now, with Moegi – even if they didn’t become close friends, he still would have never made this connection without this odd string of fate that kept them all together. Or that random bunch of rocks that chose them, whichever.

“The buses are moving by themselves…” North King stated curiously. Mamoru followed his gaze to see the linked transports moving slowly forward, up impossibly towards the opening. “Wait,” Hanada corrected, looking from the leading bus over to him, “there’s a driver in the front seat; do you think it’s the girl?”

Mamoru focused his eyes and could barely make out the silvery-blonde hair and white dinner gloves against the darkness of her dress and within the bus, but there was no mistaking the match. “Yeah,” he replied, watching the first bus disappear though the portal opening. He turned to look at Helios, floating between himself and Moegi, and asked again, “Are you sure you don’t know who she is?” He didn’t quite know why it mattered to him so much, but he didn’t want to leave her affiliation as an unknown. She had saved his life once, but he wanted to know if he could really trust her or if she were a clever ruse sent out by the enemy to lay false tracks and create a bigger trap for them all in the end.

I’m pretty sure I don’t remember her at all,” Helios commented, staring up at the chain of buses curiously as each disappeared.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t plan on missing that last bus. We can talk about Chiba’s little mystery girl once we get out of this alternate dimension, wouldn’t you say?” North King’s eyes were mocking as he fluidly jumped, cape suddenly appearing as he launched up onto the top of the final bus in line. Mamoru scowled at the implication, but took some small joy from the way Hanada nearly lost his balance upon landing. He motioned to Moegi with a nod of his head as he sprung up afterwards, sticking his landing solidly and giving the long-haired blonde a smug shrug of his shoulders. The bus shook suddenly, causing both of them to throw their hands out to keep from falling. North King’s ice whip appeared suddenly, the blue eyes behind the mask growing hard in surprise as Mamoru tensed, fearing some sort of delayed counter attack, but as a hand appeared clinging to the roof near their feet he nearly laughed in relief.

Helpfully, he crouched and looked over the edge to see South King clinging to the side of the bus, looking dazed and chagrined. He offered a hand and Moegi took it gratefully; Hanada came over and did the same, and with a good tug their third was safely with them. He brushed himself off as he tried to look as nonchalant as possible, as though he hadn’t just faceplanted into a floating vehicle in an alternate dimension dressed as a caped phantom military man. Mamoru kept quiet to let the new guy have some shred of dignity, but Hanada looked like he was about to say something. Luckily for South King, when they exited through the dimensional tear it was to a scene of mild chaos and Hanada held his tongue. People were stepping out of the buses in a daze, asking questions and looking around – just down the street Mamoru saw a policeman turning the corner and signaled straight away for the three of them to disperse through the nearest alleyway, not wanting to risk jumping to a rooftop with a newbie in a potentially serious situation.

North and South saw what he motioned to and jumped off of the bus immediately, running much faster than any normal person could hope to run. Before he jumped, however, he glanced over the crowd, feeling nervous until he spied a familiar pair of blonde buns milling around near the first of the buses. Relieved, he smirked as the girl scratched her head curiously – Tsukino would be fine. Then he, too, was gone.



Nearly a quarter of a city later, the three of them took a breather on what happened to be his apartment building. They detransformed, reverting to casual clothing and school uniforms as Helios returned to them. “Everything has been set to rights,” the Pegasus confirmed, “Many were sent to the hospital for evaluations or an overnight observation period, but a good few were deemed healthy enough to walk away from the scene.

“Did any of them mention us?” Hanada asked pointedly, probably considering writing a story about the incident but needing at least hearsay to begin.

In fevered tones, yes, but I don’t think the police paid them any heed.”

“Perfect,” he trailed off, his hands pulling a small notebook and pencil out of his back pocket. He flipped to a blank page and started scribbling feverously; Mamoru expected a story about the occurrence in the morning’s paper.

“Helios, was it?” Moegi began, his confidence having returned after the first few high jumps made without faltering. After the final jump – from the neighboring rooftop below Mamoru’s apartment building onto this rooftop, he had been practically back to how he’d been when he started talking about all of his accomplishments before. Helios nodded encouragingly, and Moegi continued, “What did you mean before when you said you didn’t “remember” her?”

Hanada’s furious scribbling stopped mid-scribe; the question caught Mamoru off-guard, as well - he had never actually considered the statement, just let it slide by, like most of what Helios said nowadays. All eyes on him, the winged unicorn landed and grew in size until his eyes were at their level and folded his wings neatly. He regarded them uneasily, and Mamoru felt like he was judging them – but, then, hadn’t they already been judged and found worthy? Why else would the stones have chosen them to be the guardians of Earth’s citizens and face the threat of the Dark Kingdom? “What did you mean, Helios?” he asked evenly, reinforcing Moegi’s question.

Helios seemed to consider for a moment longer, his eyes catching each of theirs in turn, but then he began. “It is true that you are three of the four chosen to protect Earth’s citizens from the evils of the Dark Kingdom, but your story did not start here, in this place, and this time.” He emphasized the final words, and Mamoru’s brows furrowed, waiting for their mentor to continue. “Your stories actually started in a far-away place, a place deep within Earth itself and yet upon its surface, a Royal Kingdom that ruled over Earth in its entirety, Elysion, in a time several millennia long past. It was an era of timid peace, an era soon crowned by the birth of a Prince of Elysion gifted Earth’s own gift – the Golden Crystal, a gem with nearly limitless power of growth and healing and light. His birth was the beginning of a new Golden age, an age of expansion, of wealth, of understanding and true peace on our planet. Upon the full recognition of the Crystal’s presence, wars ceased, paths of communication opened and four guardians were sent from the major sub-kingdoms to serve as the young prince’s companions, confidants, and protectors; we called these four the Heavenly Kings.”

“You mean us?” Moegi asked, his expression one of someone trying to believe something he knew to be impossible – a state of mind Mamoru identified with only too well at that moment.

Helios nodded, “You served well, but shy of two decades into the Prince’s lifetime, there came an unexpected attack from an unlikely foe, and… I’m not certain of the chain of events, but suddenly Earth was at war with the Moon Kingdom. Their warriors were strong, their senshi stronger, and their Queen, wielding the Silver Crystal, was strongest of them all. After the unexpected death of their Princess during what would be the final battle, a great, enormous power overcame us all. I was put in a stasis and have been up until the senshi awoke in this time and started collecting energy. It is my belief that they gather the energy to awaken their Queen, so that their Queen could finish the war that they started so many years ago and use the power of her Silver Crystal to enslave or end all life here on Earth. It was by sheer luck that I was able to hone in on your distinct energy signals and awaken the three of you. With East King out there somewhere, it gives me hope: our Prince might have been reborn, as well, and with his power over the Golden Crystal, the Earth might just stand a chance.”

His words echoed Mamoru’s mind, the consequences weighing heavily. What if Helios wasn’t right? What if their prince hadn’t been reborn? What if it was just them, and their rebirth had been a fluke? What would become of Earth and its people then? “… We cannot let them gather any more energy.” He stated, his tone ominous even to his own ears. “Just in case. And if it was our duty to protect our Prince, what better way is there than to never let him reawaken and fight this battle?”

“If we defeat the senshi, their Queen would never awaken and the whole point would be moot, right?” Moegi seconded, looking determined, yet pale, possibly remembering his defeat of the previous senshi. The feeling resonated; he would prefer not to end someone’s life, even if they were on the side against innocence and the right to live, but if necessary he would do whatever he could to give everyone else a chance at life.

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Hanada nodded, his pencil and notepad tucked away as he regarded them.




Mamoru stretched, picked up his bag, and headed home, nodding goodbyes to other members of the team as he left campus, making sure to wave back to Midori, who had been making efforts to make it to practice on time to train for their upcoming matches. The tall guy had heart and drive, that much was certain, and as it happened that goalie talent hadn’t just been a fluke – time and time again, he expertly blocked the goal and sent the ball flying quite some distance down the field. At first Mamoru smiled along with everyone else when a teammate joked that Midori had been turned down one too many times and finally decided to get something to brag about before trying to get a girl, but the newfound effort made him think it was a personal challenge Midori was looking for, not an opportunity to show off. … Well, maybe some part of the latter. Some of his returns were a little extravagant. But useful, so to each his own.

The bus ride home was uneventful, if busy; he had nearly made it to his apartment before his watch went off. Pausing in the stairwell, he flipped the hands to 12 noon and kept walking, waiting to hear the other connection pull through before paying too much attention to the gadget; lately it had been going off at regular intervals – he had been trying to get them all together for some sort of practice, while Hanada tossed out some possible information gathered through mostly unreliable sources and Moegi complained about being too busy to do anything that wasn’t absolutely urgent. When the static cleared he lifted his wrist to see two faces looking back at him, and immediately Hanada started talking. Mamoru stepped onto his floor and got out his keys as he walked down the hallway.

“Glad to have caught you both,” Hanada stated, both a greeting and a soft poke at Moegi and his full schedule. Mamoru didn’t have to glance down to know Moegi was scowling; instead he turned his keys in the lock and entered his apartment, stepping out of his shoes to be greeted by a curious Helios, who took up his usual position over his shoulder as a fourth participant in their conversation. “My parents have been invited to another fundraiser-slash-social party and I thought this one might be of interest to us.”

Mamoru placed his schoolbag on the table and went into the kitchen, putting a kettle on for hot chocolate. “Yeah? How so?” he asked conversationally, not having any real interest in attending any sort of societal function in this lifetime, even if apparently he had been to a few previously. He didn’t like to dwell too much on the idea of having a previous life; Helios had mentioned something about recovering memories someday, but Mamoru would be fine if they were never returned. He was Chiba Mamoru, honor student and soccer player, looking towards a future in the hard sciences, either in medicine or physics; no matter what happened in a previous life, this is who he was; being the leader of the Prince of Earth’s guard would have little effect on his life once the current threat was defeated. With any luck, the prince he was to guard would never know of this troubling time and the guy could continue with his new life as (apparently) planned.

“Well, you might not believe it, but the party is at one of the local consulates to host a viewing of an extremely rare and recently discovered crystal owned by a notable family from another country,” Hanada replied.

“And?” Moegi prompted impatiently.

“And it happens to be an extremely rare gem the color of molten gold, that’s what!”

Helios was instantly at his shoulder again, “You don’t think--?”

“I was going to ask you, actually,” Hanada replied, with a small hint of smugness, “But if you think we should check it out, I can secure a few more invitations…”

When is it?”

“Well… tonight, actually.” Hanada replied with a hint of apology. Mamoru nearly dropped the mug he was pulling out of a cabinet – there went any plans of getting ahead on classwork.

“TONIGHT?! And you think I could just get away, did you?!” Moegi growled exasperatedly, “And, let me guess, it’s a formal attire affair? Not everyone’s made of money, Hanada! You can’t just expect us to have tuxedos hiding up our sleeves!”

“Hey, I don’t either,” Hanada shot back, but before he could escalate the situation any further, Mamoru asked,

“Moegi, can you get out tonight?”

The blonde glanced away from the communicator screen for a moment, then looked back with a somewhat sullen expression, “I don’t have anything scheduled tonight; I’d just have to clear it with my parents. But somehow I don’t think “I want to go to a ball!” is going to fly with them.”

“Make something up – say you’re seeing a math tutor or something. I’ll vouch for you.” Moegi scowled at the implication but nodded nonetheless. “Hanada, is there any way you could arrange for the proper clothing for Moegi and me?”

Hanada shrugged, “Sure, well, all but one thing, anyway. It’s a masquerade – I can get you guys into a pair of tuxedos from our tailor, but you’d be on your own for the masks.” Mamoru opened his mouth but Hanada beat him to the punch, “And don’t bother asking about using our uniform masks – they fade away with the transformation.”

Mamoru sighed at the inconvenience and went back to the table to grab his wallet, then to the doorway for his shoes. “I’ll go get masks, then. Who needs one?”

“I’ve got one,” both said as one. Hanada continued, “I’ll call ahead to the tailor to get a few tuxes out for altering. Think you could swing by in about an hour? I’ll pick the two of you up from there.”



He wove through the crowd as best he could, glancing into shops as he passed for any sign of costume work – where does one buy a mask, anyway? The shopping district was filled with people on their way home, which didn’t make his task any easier, but, as he spied the blonde girl peering through a storefront window with her hands around her eyes, the timing did make things interesting. He worked his way over to her and joined her at the window, using his hands to cancel the glare to see what she was looking at. It was a pet shop. Right in front, playing in a giant presentation case, was a litter of kittens. He couldn’t help the smile on his face – kittens were… Kittens were – well, kittens were kittens and he had a soft spot for the fuzzy, curious, playful little things with their tiny heads and big attitudes. Tearing his eyes away – his apartment complex didn’t look fondly on pets – he turned to Tsukino Usagi. “Is the Dumpling Head getting a pet?”

She jolted as if startled, turning to look at him with a surprised look on her face; but that expression quickly turned to something like indifference as she muttered, “Oh, it’s you,” and turned back to the glass.

“Don’t look so excited to see me; people might get the wrong idea,” he returned, a little hurt by her brush-off but not really expecting anything more; they were casual acquaintances, brought together through her perpetual clumsiness. He liked her energy, her general cheerfulness peppered with impassioned outbursts at his prods – and right now, looking through the glass so calmly, she seemed very un-Tsukino-like. After a beat, curiosity prodded him to ask, “Who did you think I was? Does everyone call you “Dumpling Head”?”

She glared over at him with a small scowl – that was more like her. “No,” she growled, “only you seem to be that cruel.”

“Glad to hear it,” he replied, with a small shrug, “But if it wasn’t another adoring fan of your hairstyle, who did you think I was?”

She considered him suspiciously, an eyebrow arching delicately over her blue eyes before she looked back to the petshop window, not leaning in as before but staring at the mix of interior and her reflection. “My dad,” she said in a smaller voice, “He sometimes comes home this way and I’ve been bugging him lately about getting a pet. He told me ‘no’ several times already because my little brother is allergic, but… I don’t know,” she looked back at him, her expression wistful and a little sad, “I’ve just always wanted a cat.”

Her voice waivered at the last and it was like he couldn’t breathe. He didn’t like seeing her this way – it was like the world was broken all of the sudden; Tsukino was happiness and over-the-top silliness and not - not this. She wasn’t sad. She shouldn’t be sad. Her eyes flickered from him nervously and she turned away and lifted her hand to her face, scrubbing momentarily with the sleeve of her school uniform. Turning back to him, a fake smile plastered on her face, she said, “Sorry, it’s dumb. I’ll see you—“

“Let’s go play with them,” he suggested, lightly taking her arm and pulling her along into the shop. Even as the bell was still echoing in the doorway, he had a kitten in her hands and a smile was growing on her lips. He wasn’t that great with cheering people up – it wasn’t exactly a skill he had acquired – but kittens… well, kittens could make anyone smile. As she held the little thing, it mewed and batted at her and she laughed and its head with a finger. He smiled and picked one up himself – a black and white kitten to her gray, and they stood there together for a few minutes, playing with kittens in the petshop window and exclaiming over their mischievous actions. When she seemed to have fully recovered, all traces of sadness erased, he stretched his kitten out and sat it on her head between her pigtails. She laughed, looking up through her bangs as the paws grabbed at her hair and started cleaning it, and handed him her kitten to pull his off, strands of hair coming with it.

“So, Chiba,” she asked, as if suddenly remembering whom she was with, “Do you often come out to play with kittens in petshops?”

The tease reminded him of what he was supposed to be doing. Holding the kitten securely, he twisted his wrist to look at his watch and scowled at the time – he had just under twenty minutes to find a mask and get to Hanada’s tailor in time.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

He looked back up to her, considering – who would know this shopping district better than a local girl? “Do you know where I could find a mask?”



Just over twenty five minutes later, Mamoru stepped though the door to the tailor’s store with a small smile on his face and a little bag in his hand, a simple white mask within. He had been right – Tsukino knew exactly where to go; it turned out her father, a reporter, had been invited to the ‘gala’ as well and she had gone with him to get his outfit. She was disappointed to find out Mamoru wasn’t going in a full-out costume, but Mamoru wasn’t exactly sure her idea of a masquerade and the visiting noble family’s idea of a masquerade were the same thing.

“You’re late,” Hanada greeted him, and Mamoru shook his head unbelievably.

“Where’s Moegi?” he asked instead, ignoring the comment as he dropped the bag on a small table in the plush little store.

“Back with Pierre. This is Jacques,” Hanada introduced as a short, well-dressed man appeared from behind a luxurious-looking green curtain, “He’ll be helping you with tonight’s attire.”

___________________________






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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:23 pm

A limousine. He was riding in a limousine, wearing a tuxedo, on the way to a masquerade ball. Mamoru Chiba fidgeted with his cuffs, wondering if anyone would be more out of place than he at that moment. Outside the window the landscape had changed from urban to suburban, both distance between houses and the sheer size of the mansions growing until, at last, farther up the road he saw a spacious estate lit up with a warm, welcoming glow. Out front, limousines and town cars paused for their patrons to exit before driving away; occasionally a valet would take the keys from a guest and drive their car away to be parked. The guests, even from this distance, were well-dressed and obviously well-to-do. “Well,” he said, turning to his companions within the car, “We’re here.”

Moegi, cocking a brow, leaned over to catch a glimpse of their destination, his arms still folded tightly across his chest as he surveyed the place. He looked impressed for a moment, but then shrugged indifferently. Sitting straight in his seat, he asked, “So, what’s the plan?”

Hanada smirked and shook his head at Moegi’s attempt at disinterest, then leaned forward into the small center aisle to speak conspiratorially, “Plan is to find that Golden Crystal the family is showing and see if Helios gets any feelings off of it. If he does, we see what we can find out about the family. Hopefully it’s just a false alarm and their Golden Crystal isn’t our Golden Crystal and our Prince hasn’t reawakened to find himself in the midst of a war. If it is, well…”

“We keep him safe until we deal with the senshi,” Mamoru finished matter-of-factly, leaning back into the seat to stare at the mansion. He was nervous, a little on-edge; while part of him wanted to meet this Prince from another lifetime, the Prince whose life changed the fate of Earth, part of him willed this excursion to be a false alarm. So much had happened already; he’d prefer to deal with this one giant complication rather than a slew of others that the Prince’s awakening might bring. Right now, the enemy was concerned only with gathering energy, and that took stealth and planning and he and the other Kings had been dealing with that alright; if the Dark Kingdom – the Moon Kingdom, he reminded himself as his eyes glanced involuntarily to the sky above – realized that the leader of their enemy had been reborn, he guessed subtly wouldn’t be an option anymore. It would be all-out war, and, if things transpired as they did in days of ancient Europe, the object of the attacks would turn to killing the Prince first and then collecting energy. He paused in his musing – if the Prince was reborn and reawakened and the Golden Crystal intact, would that mean that modern-day Earth would have a singular ruler? Would their Prince from the Golden Age take his place as King of Earth? If the crystal were reborn with him, Mamoru supposed the Prince might have the power and perhaps the birthright, but would he want to wade through the hassle of uniting the world? Would he settle for just one nation? … if he did intend to pursue a life of royalty, did he, Mamoru, want to help him? Would he be forced to out of honor and duty either way?

The limousine stopped and the door beside him opened. With a quick reminder from Hanada, Mamoru stepped out of the limousine placing the simple white mask on his face, and their night of investigation began.

Within they were shown through expansive foyers and living rooms and into a grand ballroom with marble floors and impressive chandeliers hanging overhead. Though the masked crowd was numerous and in good humor, Mamoru could still hear the sounds of a small orchestra playing classical waltzes across the room. Large glass doors swung outward into a garden showered in light, trees and furniture kissed with miniature bulbs that lent everything an ethereal feel. Despite his earlier trepidation, Mamoru couldn’t help but feel like he had been somewhere like this before; he had somewhere experienced a scene like this, with well-dressed people dancing in ornate rooms to music that flowed like wind and water... It was odd and disorienting, like his mind was trying to overwrite the scene or correct it in some way, trying to make everything match some memory that was just out of reach. The colors? No, the layout? … The people? His vision blurred lines as his head started to ache, fighting what he was seeing. But then someone was at his shoulder, and turning only slightly he addressed, “Zoic—“ …what was he saying? He shook his head, fighting to clear it from the heavy haze, and corrected himself. “Hanada, what’s up?”

Hanada’s expression behind the green mask was puzzled, but he handed something over to Mamoru without asking what the mixup had been. “Here; plan’s changed a bit.” A hand-sized Helios was suddenly on his palm as Hanada continued, “My parents are meeting the family so I’m going with them to see what I can learn. Moegi’s stuck – one of his teachers is here and intent upon questioning him.”

“Great,” Mamoru commented, glancing around to see their blonde teammate working hard to mask the look of general discomfort about him as an older gentlemen led him around, loudly introducing him to people. Mamoru smiled – finally, a downside to Moegi’s ‘success’. “Well,” he said, turning back to Hanada, “Message me if you find out anything interesting.”

“Same to you,” Hanada replied, then retreated into the crowd.

Mamoru’s eyes returned to the room, looking around for any pedestal or general viewing area where the family might have the gem on display, trying not to return the stare of people who looked from the unisus ‘toy’ in his hands to him. “Do I absolutely need to carry you around like this? I look really strange and it’s drawing people’s attention,” he whispered, trying to keep his lips still and gaze steady so they didn’t think he was talking to himself, too.

“Well, huh, I don’t know. Do you absolutely need to see if that Golden Crystal is the real thing?” Helios snarked back and Mamoru resisted the urge to drop him.


“Do you sense it in here? How close do you need to be to sense it?” Mamoru asked, again in the ventriloquist manner. Spying a stair that led to a balcony overlooking the event, he walked that way, thinking a bird’s eye view would better suit his purpose.

“It’s usually best if I can see it,” Helios commented.

“Can’t you just teleport to other parts of the house and scope things out without an escort?” Mamoru asked very quietly, skirting by a larger group of guests.

“Do you think I enjoy being paraded around as one might a child’s toy? I can only teleport places I have seen before, so no, I’m afraid I’m stuck with you for the time being.”

“What if I just get you out of sight – could you fly off then?”

“Yeah, Little Pegasus, could you fly then?”

Mamoru jumped, grabbing the railing just in time to save him from slipping down the stairs as the cheerful, teasing voice surprised him from behind. He turned on the listener and, when the burst of adrenaline faded, easily recognized the hairstyle and the smile beneath the red jeweled mask. “Dumpling Head,” he started, trying to sound casual despite his rapidly beating heart, “What are you doing here?”

She pouted, turning her head up and away and putting her hands on her hips as she quoted his earlier line back to him, “Don’t look so excited to see me; people might get the wrong idea.” He couldn’t help but smile, collecting himself to better interact with her. Her appearance was unexpected, but he was in-touch with himself enough to recognize that his quickened pulse wasn’t due solely to her abrupt scare. Blue eyes slid over through her bright red mask to land on him and she softened, the smile returning as she looked back to him. Grinning mischievously she admitted, “My dad felt so bad about the cat business that he got an extra ticket so I could come with him tonight,” and motioned to a crowd of people with notepads and cameras off to one side, mingling and waiting for something to happen. Quickly, remembering his duty, he looked around them for a door, hidden or otherwise, that might lead to the room holding the crystal; however, it seemed as though the room had only four exits – the garden, the main entrance, the doors Hanada had disappeared through, and the door at the top of this staircase. “So what’s with the Pegasus?” she invited, eyeing Helios curiously.

Thinking quickly, he improvised with the first thought that came to mind. “I thought I’d bring something just in case it was a masquerade like you had imagined.” She smiled, looking a little confused still. “You know,” he clarified, “Like a costume party.” Spying the tiny tiara tucked onto the crown on her head, he raised his brow at it to indicate the feigned similarities in their situation.

She glanced up as if she could see her crown if she tried hard enough, then furrowed her brow at Helios again, “Yeah, but… what is your costume? Mythical beast tamer?”

“HOW INSULTING!”

“I was thinking more like Bellerophon,” he improvised, wondering if she had noticed Helio’s affronted wing-twitch, or that his red eyes now glared over at her, but it looked like their secret was safe.

“Ballerophon?” she repeated, sounding as though the word had given her trouble. She looked back to Helios with interest, so he offered him to her. She took him and started examining it closely, petting the feathers on Helios’s wings delicately before poking the skin on his chest.

“Yeah, great idea there, “Bellerophon”, let’s submit your guardian to a thorough poking and prodding. It’s not like he feels it.” Helios was turned completely upside down as Tsukino prodded his hooves, “Or knows where you sleep.”

Ignoring Helios’s plight, Mamoru explained the reference. “He was a hero-prince of ancient Greece who killed the fire-breathing Chimera after gaining the trust of the white Pegasus,” he said, deciding not to go on as she had stopped listening already. He didn’t mind. Smiling, she offered Helios to him, but he had a better idea. Handling the unisus gently, he slung him over her shoulder, mimicking the way she had carried a kitten earlier that day. “There,” he said, as if admiring his handiwork, “He looks good on you.” Much better than on me, in any case.

She smiled, “He? I think it’s a she,” she stated cheerfully, glancing down at Helios almost fondly.

“Yeah?” he asked with some amusement, sensing Helios’s indignation even without words.

She smiled, “Yep; I think I’ll call her Luna.”

“Luna?” he repeated with a returned smile as the two of them started ascending the stairs together. He wondered if she knew where the name came from, and at the same time enjoyed the antithesis of the name – Helios, the male Sun, was renamed Luna, the female Moon.

“No one hears of this.” Helios growled.

And so Helios’s new nickname was solidified.

“It means the moon or something,” Tsukino explained sheepishly, her fingers brushing against each other in a cute manner. “I just like the sound of it,” she was blushing, clearly embarrassed though he didn’t know why. They had reached the top of the curved stair; the crowd was thicker near the railing as people watched the party from above, enjoying the music as it filled the room. A caterer brushed past, offering champagne and some sort of cracker; Mamoru took a moment to glance through the slightly ajar doors to see a lit room beyond, wondering if people were usually allowed to explore farther into the house or if it were off limits. “I’ll see you later” Tsukino said suddenly, turning to go down the stairs opposite those they had ascended together. “Thanks for letting me borrow your plushie!” she exclaimed, the familiar tone signaling her intention of running off in a moment.

To stop her, he reached out and took her hand gently, “Care for a dance before you leave?” he offered, not wanting her to go just yet. The world just seemed a little brighter when she was around, and being with someone a little more out of place than he was encouraging. But then… there was something about her that did belong, and it wasn’t the princess dress she wore. Who was this girl, this annoying yet adorable middle-schooler that plagued the shopping district with her clumsiness and loud protestations, and yet at times, like earlier that afternoon, seemed so lonely and lost? He wanted – he needed to know more about her, and that moment of confusion in her eyes was enough of an invitation for him. He used his hand on hers to pull her in closer, to spin her around once and settle back into the music, guiding her into a waltz. She was light on her feet in spite of her usual clumsiness – she seemed as bewildered by the fact as he – and in moments she was gliding through the waltz nearly as well as his school’s instructor had. “I didn’t know you danced,” he commented with a smile, leading them away from the crowded balcony.

“I didn’t, either,” she replied, tripping for the first time. He chuckled, adjusting so she didn’t fall completely, and managed to get them back on beat. Less than thirty seconds later she tripped again; he was able to recover them but she laughed and let go, “I’m jinxed now – I keep trying not to trip and it’s making me trip even more!”

“I don’t mind,” he replied, missing her hand in his.

She blushed a little and her eyes slid away from him. Her brows furrowed suddenly in curious fascination, “What do you think is back there?” she asked.

An idea sparking to life, Mamoru turned, hoping his hunch was correct, and found the ajar door right behind them. “Want to find out?”

“What are you doing?!” Helios exclaimed as Tsukino smiled mischievously and straightened, inching her way towards the door and, in the process, drawing more attention to herself in her attempt to be inconspicuous than Mamoru could have imagined. A caterer turned an inquisitive eye on her and Mamoru subtly mimed that Tsukino was sick. The man raised a brow and pointed subtly straight and then to the left; silent directions probably to the bathroom. He nodded in mock appreciation to the man and caught up to the girl just as she squeezed through the door. He opened the door and shut it behind them.

“Did they see us?” she asked, eyes wide with nervous excitement.

“I don’t think so,” he lied, hiding a smile. After gazing about the room and finding no sign of any golden crystal, he moved to the doorway to an adjacent room and tilted his head, “Shall we?”

Searching through the mansion for the whereabouts of the Golden Crystal with Tsukino was actually fun; it turned a routine search-and-go into somewhat of an adventure. As they peeked and peered into dark rooms she would exclaim or make the odd entertaining remarks – upon finding the library, for example, as his mind nearly shut down taking in the overwhelming volume of written works, Tsukino looked around for a moment, sighed, and turned on her heel muttering “waste of a good room.” He was able to ditch Helios once they were several rooms in; Tsukino paused to look at the large tapestries hanging about the room and put the ‘stuffed animal’ down to mimic the pose of a woman in one of the pieces. Mamoru urged Tsukino on and she forgot about the unisus. As he shut the door behind them, Helios shook his wings and took to the air, forming a second team to search for the crystal.

The term ‘mansion’ fit the estate perfectly; they must have been roaming the halls for well over half an hour without reaching the other end, or finding other guests. On several occasions they spotted a maid and snuck past; he took Tsukino’s hand to lead her through without notice, but in one case they were caught anyway and ended up racing down hallways, up another set of stairs and into a vacant room to escape. As they stood quietly in the dark, trying their hardest to be silent as they caught their breath and listened intently for the maid’s footfalls, Mamoru’s eyes met Tsukino’s and he had the strangest feeling that something like this had happened before. She smiled, still breathing heavily; he smiled back, trying unsuccessfully to shake déjà vu. She started to giggle and he put his fingers to his lips to remind her to be quiet, but that just made her laugh louder. Her hands shot to her mouth to quiet herself just as footsteps reached the top of the stairs and bustled towards their door. Eyes wide, Tsukino held her breath as Mamoru considered their options, and the footsteps continued past them. They waited tensely, but after a minute of silence he considered them safe. He reached for the door just as the lights flicked on. He turned suddenly, expecting to discover that the maid had another entrance into the room, but instead found Tsukino exploring the room curiously.

“I’ve never seen a bedroom so big!” she commented, spreading her arms wide to spin in a circle around the space. He nodded appreciatively; his entire apartment could fit inside the space with room to spare, and that wasn’t including whatever closets or bathrooms hid behind the closed doors spread throughout the room. The bed was large, at least King sized, and covered in plush red velvet, canopied in material that reached the floor; all of the furniture was made of dark wood and bedecked with golden knick-knacks, from mirrors to music boxes and figurines. A fireplace stood in one wall, a balcony extended through glass doors on another; above the mantle was a picture of a family with a familiar-looking young boy. As Mamoru tried to place him, an alarm went off on his watch. He grabbed it, hoping to stifle the electronic beeping, but Tsukino turned inquisitively.

“It’s an alarm,” he explained apologetically, “I’m supposed to be meeting some friends.” She nodded as his mind raced, wondering who had called and why – had Helios found the Golden Crystal? Did Hanada discover something interesting about the visiting family? He glanced back up at the painting and saw her waiting for him, her eyes thoughtful, her gloved hands hanging loosely by her sides, the jewels in her red mask shining like fire in the lamp light. Her dress, long and white and pink, looked no worse for wear, despite their running around and exploring. With the flush in her cheeks and the smile playing at her lips, she really was beautiful. For a moment he considered ignoring the summons and playing hooky with her for the rest of the night, but as the watch beeped again she walked past him, turning off the lights as she passed the switch, and opened the door.

Returning to the ballroom took considerably less time, despite getting turned around once or twice, but once they found the first room Mamoru hesitated, holding his arm out to stop Tsukino from continuing forward as he listened, a chill washing over him. He felt her eyes on him, but he had to concentrate – what was wrong? Then it hit him – it was too quiet. He could hear the ticking of the grandfather clock across the room, where before the orchestra and crowd noise was only mildly muffled by the double doors.

“It’s quiet,” Tsukino observed, a tense note in her voice that he had never heard before. She was looking at the door intently, her stance straighter, more grounded, and Mamoru realized that even with all the time they had spent together tonight, he was nowhere near understanding who she really was. Her eyes looked over at him and her demeanor changed again, her nose crinkling as a faint blush crept over her cheeks, “Do you think someone’s giving a speech?” she asked with distaste, back to her usual self.

He shrugged, but then went with it as his watch sounded for the fifth time since they left the third floor and he went with it. “More than likely; they were going to be presenting something tonight, so this could be the family’s introduction. Do you want to go see?” he asked, hoping he was right in assuming she wouldn’t.

She shook her head and he felt relieved. There might not be time enough to make up another excuse for her not to go in there. He had a bad feeling. “My dad can fill me in if it’s interesting,” she replied, edging backwards. She smiled, “I’ll see you later, Mamoru-kun,” and waved before leaving the room. He wondered briefly where she had gone, but as his watch sounded again he tried to put all thoughts of the blonde aside. Should he open the communication channel, or look inside the room? In any case, he turned to make sure she had really left and, seeing she had, grabbed his pendant and, just above a whisper, called, “Pyrite Power, Transform.”

Cardinal King hesitated only a moment more before making his decision; he needed to see what was going on, then he would answer the call. Stepping forward quietly, he inched open the door, finding it moved easily under his grasp, and peered into the room through his mask. The balcony was piled with bodies that barely breathed. The Moon Kingdom was here. He slipped through the door and fell into a crouch, trying to keep out of sight as he attempted to survey the area. Everything was quiet but for some commotion near the gardens; he crept forward to see if he could find out what was going on. The ballroom floor was a mess of bodies, people slumped over tables and on each other on the dance floor, the orchestra collapsed on their instruments or on the floor beside them. The doors to the garden stood open, though several of the glass panes had been smashed. A muffled swear sounded from outside. He crept carefully down the stairs, watching to keep his feet away from stray fingers as he fought for purchase.

As soon as his feet hit the floor he moved quickly to the garden entrance, but halfway there his watch sounded again, startlingly loud in silence of the ballroom. “You idiot!” someone yelled from outside as a giant shadowy form flew into the room and a white bolt of lightning flashed towards him. He jumped out of the way just in time, but the cloud with sinister green eyes followed his every move as he ducked and dodged his way outside, the lightning hot on his tail.

“Find a tree!” It was Moegi, and Mamoru was quick to take the suggestion. With a leap, he jumped into a tree and worked his way behind the trunk, hoping the advice was sound and tested. Sure enough, the cloud seemed to lay off. He looked around until he spotted South King, his back pressed to the trunk of a neighboring tree and looking remarkably unhappy. “Next time I call you, answer!”

“What is going on?” He returned, ignoring Moegi’s tone. He was right – Mamoru should have answered, but they could talk about that later. He looked around for Hanada but didn’t see him anywhere. Guilt and fear took him for a moment – had something happened because he wasn’t there? “Where’s North King?”

“Over here!”

He felt better, but that still didn’t solve anything. What were they facing? How could he hit a cloud of darkness with a rose or a sword? Would South’s fire work on it? Would Helios know? “Where’s Helios? Has he found the crowd’s energy?”

“Yeah, but he can’t take full control of it until this phantom disappears, and our best plan was having you surprise it and hope for the best and that’s out of the question now. So any thoughts, fearless leader?”

Moegi was being a jerk but he probably wasn’t used to being in any tight situations, Mamoru rationalized, his mind turning to strategy. Things didn’t look so good, but maybe the fire would work against the darkness. Regardless, trying nothing wouldn’t get them anywhere. “Look, have one of those knives ready, got it?” He shifted his weight and peered around the trunk to find the aberration. Spotting a darkness amongst the tiny lights in the trees across from him, he dropped and dashed out towards it, summoning a rose.

“You think we haven’t tried that?!” South King yelled just as the green eyes of the cloud found Mamoru. He should really learn to communicate before acting. A bolt of lightning shot towards him and he dodged just in time, but the cloud moved fast and his exit was cut off. Throwing knives whizzed through the air to land in the trees, travelling through the cloud harmlessly as Mamoru dodged another strike. “I told you it didn’t – MAMORU WATCH OUT!”

Mamoru groaned as a tight sensation jumped up his leg and seized his muscles. He fell, but as he fell he twisted to throw the rose up at the dark mass, certain that it wouldn’t have any effect but trying nonetheless, for spite if nothing else. He had been stupid in so many ways and now his mistakes might cost them everything. As another bolt struck him his lower half went numb, energy pulled right out of him and absorbed into the cloud, the angry green eyes bearing down on him maliciously. North King rolled out from behind a tree and advanced threateningly on the black mass, his whip raised, but there was nothing he or South could do. “Find Helios and go!” Mamoru yelled through his teeth, his jaw clenched tightly as he stared Hanada down, “Find some way to stop this! Save the Prince!” Hanada hesitated, but Mamoru still held the cloud’s attention. He had failed them, but he could at least afford them some time to escape. “Cardinal Rose,” he called, energy leaving him faster as the rose materialized in his hand. It was dumb – people were dying all around him, his teammates were down one and facing a threat they didn’t know how to defeat, and their Prince could be somewhere around here, his life energy being drained away by this evil presence sent by the Moon Kingdom – but the thought that came to his sluggish mind as he threw the rose was about dumpling head. About her stupid taunting faces and that sweet smile she gave him earlier that night when she said goodbye. It felt like something heavy was sitting on his chest and arms; all he wanted to do was sleep. As his vision blurred and the lights swam before him, he hoped he could see her again.

“TWILIGHT FLASH!”

___________________________






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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:57 pm

“I think he’s coming to,” a voice said as fingers snapped over his head. “Hey! Chiba!” the voice repeated loudly, “Hey! You awake?” His mind cleared groggily, but he could make out Hanada’s uncovered face, both North King mask and masquerade mask gone. His eyebrows were raised in concern as he repeated, “Chiba Mamoru, are you awake?” Mamoru nodded and Moegi yelled over his shoulder, “He’s fine!”

“What’s going on?” Mamoru asked, pulling himself up onto his elbow. His Cardinal King attire was gone, replaced by the tuxedo of the evening, the white shirt and black suit smudged with dirt and grime. Hanada and Moegi were dressed similarly; apparently the crisis was over.

“Paramedics have arrived. Everyone’s waking up – so far no major injuries, but they’re still checking everyone against the guest list to make sure no one is missing.” Hanada explained, rocking back on his heels. A faint smile played at his lips as he eyed the crowd, a story already writing itself. Mamoru shook his head, his hand reaching for his temple as the world swam a bit.

“The attack?” he inquired, looking around the garden to see broken benches and tables, tree trunks singed but otherwise okay. Workers were already sweeping the glass away from the broken doors and inside the ballroom a mess of activity found guests with blankets over their shoulders being checked over by paramedics as party officials buzzed around with warm drinks. Looking around he didn’t see her, but she was sure to be okay; she hadn’t even been near the ballroom. Tsukino was fine, probably with her father.

“Jewel Tiara appeared and used an ability that dissipated the cloud,” Hanada said. Mamoru was instantly back in the conversation, watching Hanada almost as closely as Hanada was watching him. There was something curious in his eyes, almost as if the blonde wanted answers but wondered if Mamoru would actually give them. Confused, Mamoru waited for the question, but Moegi spoke first.

“Just in time, too,” he commented, breaking their stare, “Your dumb-ass was done-for. Great job on communicating with your teammates, Chiba, so glad there was a collaborative effort.” His blue eyes were in a solid glare, irritation radiating off of him in waves. At first Mamoru’s pride riled against the accusation, gearing up with anger and a quick comment, but Hanada interrupted before he could express his distaste with the latest addition to their little group.

“Ha! He was worried about you,” Hanada snorted with a smirk.

The anger died down immediately, turning into mild annoyance in the pit of his stomach as his rational side won. Moegi’s irritation didn’t stem from being ignored, but from being afraid. It seemed Moegi, despite his outer appearance of disdain and annoyance at everything, was perhaps the most affected by the battles and their role as warrior-protectors; he had called out to stop the fire that consumed their enemy, Sailor Mars, and all the earlier outbursts were probably just nerves. Mamoru made a mental note to check the possibilities before biting off Moegi’s head. At least until there were a few more battles under South King’s belt. Instead he smiled teasingly, “Aww, Moegi, I didn’t know you cared!”

“Shut up,” Moegi growled halfheartedly, his eyes sliding back to the ballroom entrance for a moment before rounding on Mamoru again, “What would have happened, anyway?”

“What do you mean?” Mamoru asked, sitting up slowly, his head spinning only marginally now.

“He would’ve died,” Hanada answered, guessing Moegi’s meaning effortlessly. “If that being had disappeared and taken the energy back to the Dark Kingdom – “

“The Moon Kingdom,” Mamoru interjected. It was important that they know their enemy and not give them the luxury of hiding behind ominous monikers.

Hanada nodded to accept the correction and continued, “it would have been beyond us to recover. These people, Chiba included, would have died by morning.” Hanada’s statement, fierce yet matter-of-fact, was one that Mamoru tried to let slip past him without a second thought, but the words hung on stubbornly, fighting to get to him.

Or ended up in critical condition with just the slightest of chances of survival, ” Helios offered telepathically, his voice fading in as though joining them from a distance, “depending on how much energy was pulled.”

A feeling of general unease took hold of him and pulled, but before the conscious thought of his death could surface, as his mind tried to grab hold of anything to distract him, he felt the sudden urge to find her – Usagi Tsukino. Things would be okay, somehow, as long as he found her. Inexplicably yet assuredly okay. “Well, on that cheerful note,” he commented sarcastically as he pulled himself carefully to his feet, “I’m going to go check on something. I’ll see you guys later.” He left, walking towards the broken glass of the ballroom without looking back.

“Check on what?” Moegi scoffed as he stood and started to follow.

“He’s right! The prince – the family hadn’t presented their golden crystal yet.” Mamoru was outdistancing them but he could still hear Hanada’s reply and he felt marginally guilty for not correcting them, and guilty again for not joining them. The mission had to come first – everything hinged upon this secret war, everything, and he should be working nonstop to perform at his best. He paused just inside the doorway, his shoes crunching on the glass, and hesitated. But as his eyes slid over the crowd, the orchestra, the media, that uneasy feeling from before returned, his nerves catching fire uncomfortably, urging him to run or fight. He had to keep moving, no matter what option he chose – those thoughts were not pleasant company. Thoughts of darkness, of nonexistence –

Before he knew it he was halfway up the stairs, heart beating furiously in his chest as unsteady partygoers moved aside to let him through. This wasn’t a game. He reached the landing and turned, going through the doors as they opened to emit a caterer, the same from before. The blonde man stepped aside, holding the door for Mamoru to go through. He nodded automatically in thanks, his mind remembering the draining sensation and heaviness from before as it threatened again with the idea of what could have happened, what had almost happened, and –

“Mamoru-kun!” Her voice. His mind stopped, back-wheeling to return to the real world as Usagi Tsukino rushed towards him, the warmth about her somehow absolving him of his apprehensions. He drank in the sight of her as a castaway would solid land, feeling centered and strong again as the tiaraed girl, so vibrant and filled with life, reaffirmed that he was alive. Holding the long skirts of her dress as she rushed forward, her long hair bouncing behind her, she skidded to a stop just in front of him and paused to catch her breath. Her hands rose to her chest as she breathed, a guilty smile on her lips. “Hey,” she managed after a moment, straightening and wringing her hands together nervously. “I’m really sorry, but I just can’t find Luna anywhere. I went back through the rooms we went in and she’s just not anywhere – “

Mamoru interrupted her with the most forward thing he had ever done. In one step he closed the distance between them and pulled her close, at that moment needing to feel her. “I hoped I would run into you again,” he admitted softly. Why her? What was it about her that made him feel stronger all of the sudden? He felt now like he could turn around and fight again, as though his brush with death had been nothing, so long as she was safe. She knew nothing about his other life; she couldn’t relate to it in the slightest, so why and how could just being with her comfort him so much? What was it about her that made him need to reach for her?

“The same for me,” she replied quietly, a smile in her tone. He pulled back slowly, his mind racing with what their dialog implied and yet moved sluggishly as time seemed to stop. She tilted her face towards his and as her eyes found his he realized his answer. … it was just her. Everything about her, from her forward gestures and over-the-top reactions and their silly arguments to how well she seemed to click with him; whenever she was around he felt better – more complete – and while she threw him off guard he always went away feeling as though he knew himself better. She represented everything normal and good in his life, and everything they were fighting to save. And there was still so much about her he didn’t know or understand… His lips were inches from hers, her eyes closed softly…

“Usagi-chan!” the warning came seconds before the door behind them flew open. His eyes shot open, as did hers, but as the sound of the ballroom invaded their space, Usagi, on tiptoe, kissed him lightly before backing away. His heart thundered in his chest and his cheeks burned red as his hands instinctively reached out for her, wanting more; her touch had been like a tease and his mind spun as a feeling, warm and familiar and almost nostalgic, crept forward and instantly retreated again. But as her name was repeated, relief in the tone, he pulled himself back. “Usagi-chan! There you are!” She broke eye contact first as a tuxedoed man came forward to hug her firmly then push her backwards to look at her appraisingly, “Are you alright?” It was her father.

Usagi looked confused as she answered, “Yes… why?”

“Where have you been?!” the man, ignoring her question, asked, then turned suddenly on Mamoru, “And who is this young person?” he added, his tone distinctly suspicious and negative, as only a father’s could be.

“Kenji-papa, this is Chiba Mamoru, a friend of mine,” Usagi introduced, her body language hinting to him that he might want to go.

Not wanting to disappoint her, he nodded his head in greeting and in farewell, “It’s nice to meet you, Tsukino-san. I must be going now. Good night,” he smiled and was pleased to see Usagi blushing before he turned back towards the ballroom door, pretending he didn’t hear Kenji’s outburst of “A friend of yours?! Just how did you meet this ‘friend’?” As the door to the room closed behind him, Mamoru found himself nearly alone at the top of the stairs. Most of the party-goers had gone or were leaving, coats being claimed as workers strove to clean up the mess. The orchestra were packing their instruments, caterers putting their wares away; in the midst of it all stood Hanada and Moegi, looking around discontentedly. He descended the stairs and joined them.

“Anything?” Hanada asked with interest, though Moegi looked defeated.

He shook his head, “No, nothing.” … if the Golden Crystal were here, surely Helios would have sensed it during his search earlier? And if not, the shadow creature hadn’t found it, either. The night was a partial success in that regard, though they were no closer to discovering their missing Prince.

“Same here,” Hanada sighed. “They called off the showing due to the attack, so no luck at all.”

“If it hadn’t been for that creature, this would’ve been a waste of a good night,” Moegi complained as they walked towards the exit, the limousine incoming.

“Oh, lighten up, Moegi,” Mamoru commented, his opinion of the night vastly different. The limousine stopped for them and a valet rushed to open a door. Mamoru thanked him and slid in, making way to let the others though. “This was much more exciting than your original plans, admit it.”

“Hardly,” the blonde replied as he took a side-facing seat in the middle.

“Well you could take a cab home if you find this unsatisfactory,” Hanada commented nonchalantly as the door closed. Hanada raised his hand and the limo paused, awaiting instruction.

At first Moegi did nothing but look back at them, distinctly not amused, but Hanada held his ground. After a moment the door was reopened by the valet, who asked, “Is anything wrong?” Mamoru chuckled quietly at Moegi’s disbelieving face as Hanada waited, ignoring the man. Finally Moegi growled and answered, “No. Fine, this was better than my original plans. Can we go now?”

Hanada nodded, put his hand down, and turned to the valet, “Thank you anyway, but we’re fine.” The man nodded in return, closed the door, and the limousine pulled away, back towards Tokyo.


The late night on Thursday, combined with the events therein, made Friday’s soccer practice a little more difficult than usual. Mamoru’s attention was constantly fading in and out, switching from watching the ball and reacting to the game to thoughts of the close call last night and whether what had happened between Usagi and him had meant anything to her, and finally to general sleep-deprived disorientation and back again in random order. He was missing passes, shooting awkwardly, and nearly tripped over his own two feet once or twice before he took himself out of the scrimmage, apologizing to the team before sitting on the bench.

“Guys, I’m out, too,” Midori, added, walking away from the net and shaking his head disappointedly. He joined Mamoru on the bench, yawning as he brought out his water bottle and took a swig. Mamoru paid him little attention, content on watching practice with a hazy mind until the coach dismissed them and he could go home, but Midori struck up a conversation. “Man, I’m just really out of it today. Had a late night last night; I thought I could handle it but I guess not.” Mamoru hummed a reply, not entirely interested in Midori’s conversation but offering some kind of reply nonetheless; their goalie’s new dedication to the team was important to their league ranking and he didn’t want to seem standoffish and risk making Midori feel alienated. Midori didn’t seem to mind a nonsyllabic answer, “Yeah, should’a gone to bed earlier, but it couldn’t be helped, you know?”

At that, Mamoru couldn’t help but chuckle, “I know the feeling.”

The practice ended not long after and they all parted ways. When Mamoru got back to his apartment he collapsed on his bed and slept for a few hours; when he awoke again he made himself dinner, did his homework, and fell back asleep, though something about earlier bothered him; when he awoke the next morning the realization hit him like an epiphany. He got up, dressed, and rummaged around for a copy of the school’s paper from the teams’ first win of the season to be sure. The black-and-white page was smudged from dried raindrops, but it was clear enough for his purpose; featured on the page was a team photo, blown up so each player was clearly recognizable. There, slightly to the right on the back row, was Midori. Mamoru studied the picture closely, then closed his eyes and brought to mind another picture, a painting found in a bedroom in the mansion they visited the other night… to him, the subjects appeared to be the same person. Midori… was it possible Midori was the child in the painting?

He turned the hands on his watch to noon and waited for Hanada to pick up – the newspaper did short biographies of transfer students, maybe there was something in there they could use to pick apart this stubborn theory… or support it. Because as of that moment, Mamoru was convinced that Midori, the overconfident goalie of the soccer team, could be their missing Prince. The connection was made and both Moegi and Hanada appeared on screen, Moegi wearing a school uniform while Hanada was dressed casually.

“What’s up?” Moegi asked in a hushed whisper, “Has there been an incident?”

Mamoru thought a moment but eventually replied, “Well, no, not really.”

“I’m in a debate; I’ll catch up later.” Moegi’s image disappeared abruptly.

“Well I’m glad we didn’t have to inconvenience him again,” Hanada commented with good-natured sarcasm, “So, what is up?”

“Hanada, do you have access to previous newspaper articles?” Mamoru asked, getting straight to business.

“Yeah; I keep them all on a server accessible to all newspaper staff. Why?”

“Could you look up Midori? He transferred in earlier this year and I wondered about his background.”

Hanada cocked a brow skeptically, but he disappeared from the holographic display. Mamoru took that time to pull out the team’s contact information and find Midori’s phone number; an address wasn’t listed, but maybe it didn’t have to be. Just as he grabbed a bowl for breakfast, Hanada’s voice returned, though his picture was still missing. “Midori Nero,” Hanada snickered, “transfer student from… Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada?!” Hanada read faster, mumbling some words until he got to the important parts, “soccer team… father native to Tokyo… mother -- Natasha Vitka?! Wait, that name… hold on.” Keys tapped as Hanada typed furiously. “No… Mamoru – you don’t…” He returned on screen, his face serious and careful at the same moment. “Natasha Vitka, heiress to the Vitka diamond mines, who recently hosted a party at her Tokyo estate on Thursday night.”

They stared at each other in silence, neither daring to speak first.



“So what prompted this outing?” Midori asked as he and Mamoru strode the street crowded with Saturday afternoon foot traffic.

‘An overprotective unicorn,’ was what Mamoru thought, but instead shrugged and replied, “Eh, I was bored and wanted to see how the other side lived.” The vendors were out in droves, trying to drum up some business from the random passerby. Overall it was a nice afternoon, present situation aside. After his conversation with Hanada and their approach on Helios, Mamoru had been given the task of watching Midori. He was supposed to be feeling him out – seeing what he was really like and if he gave off any weird kind of aura, maybe see if he had any hidden latent abilities like Mamoru’s healing, but overall it felt like he was babysitting and it threw him off. If Midori were the Prince, the Mamoru was just doing his job as Cardinal King by protecting him; but, then, the Dark Kingdom hadn’t found Midori yet, so was he jinxing it by hanging out with him? The situation felt off…

Midori laughed, “You mean we-who-are-not-geniuses? I’m afraid to say the lives of the little people aren’t all that entertaining, Mr. Top-Score Soccer-Star.”

… but that didn’t mean he didn’t like the guy. Midori was a whole lot happier than either Moegi or Hanada; he had a good-natured humor and let jabs just slide off him, never taking anything too seriously. There were times that Mamoru sensed brief flashes of anger or embarrassment, but then Midori would just laugh it off and the emotions would evaporate again. He liked the contrast from the too-serious Moegi and briefly wondered how the two would get along; he supposed, if their reasoning was correct, he would find out eventually.

“You see, rather than whittle away our time with such exciting pastimes as studying and practicing, we little folk occupy ourselves with food,” he held up the half-eaten vending-machine sandwich – while apparently loaded, the brunet seemed to have a thing for cheap staples -- “girls,” he turned and gave an over-obvious wink to a group of girls hanging around outside a little café called ‘Crown Fruit Parlor’; while the gesture was over-the-top, he did catch their attention. Two laughed, one rolled her eyes, another blushed, but they all waved in some form at him. Midori waved back and turned abruptly, stopping at the entrance to a store with animated posters plastered to the windows, “and video games.” Without seeing whether Mamoru wanted to play, Midori entered the “Crown Game Center”, trashing his sandwich on the way in. Shrugging, Mamoru followed – there were worse ways to spend the afternoon.

When they parted ways for the evening - “You’re not so bad, Chiba. We should hang out again sometime.” – Mamoru went straight from the shopping district to a meeting with Helios, Hanada and Moegi to tell them about everything that happened, which was, pretty much, nothing unusual. He hadn’t ‘felt an aura’ surrounding Midori, but then he hadn’t sensed anything had been off about Hanada or Moegi, either, and unless talent with fighting games or being a good goalie was a supernatural skill, Midori didn’t seem to have any extraordinary abilities, either. But then, too, it wasn’t like Mamoru ran around showing random people that he could heal scrapes in seconds; Midori could be hiding something spectacular and just be too humble to… well, never mind. Mamoru had the feeling that if Midori did have an extraordinary skill, he’d be showing it off left and right like he did his high score at the arcade. As Hanada mused aloud about protection possibilities, Mamoru wondered again if the “USAGI” that had the third highest score at the side-scrolling adventure game had been Tsukino Usagi, and, if it had, if she would realize the two new “CHIBA” scores below hers on that list were him.

At the end of the day, it was decided that Mamoru should keep a general eye on Midori, just in case, until Helios could study him properly and tell them for certain whether he was the Prince of Earth.



Midori apparently spent all day at home in bed on Sunday – or so the person who answered the phone told him -- so Mamoru had the day free to himself; however, he didn’t exactly have the greatest of excuses to hang around that arcade without one of its regulars showing him around, so he spent the day catching up on school work and preparing for the next week of lessons, losing himself in a book and a television special about the European dark ages. There wasn’t much activity, Moon Kingdom-wise, that they could detect, so it was a lazy day for him, too.

On the way to Monday afternoon’s soccer practice, Mamoru caught up to Midori and they walked together for most of the way, Midori making small talk about classes and teachers as Mamoru acted as his sound board, but as Mamoru turned for the locker room, Midori turned off in the other direction.

“Hey, Midori,” Mamoru paused, looking back at him with an eyebrow raised, “Practice?” surely he hadn’t forgotten – the schedule had been static for months.

“Yeah, sorry,” Midori shrugged, “Can’t today; my cousin’s getting married and she’s all creeped out by the bridal boutique she’s buying her dress from and wants me to go with her since her mother’s out of town.”

“Why is she creeped out? A sales associate?” Mamoru asked, brows tightening; he had a certain kind of distaste for lechers.

“Nah,” Midori negated, shrugging, “something about a ghost that steals bride’s youth. It’s ridiculous, but she’s really superstitious and swears there’s been news reports about people fainting there,” he rolled his eyes. “I’m to bring prayer beads. Anyway, have a good practice, Chiba.” He turned without waiting for a farewell and left the building, his bag swung over his shoulder in a familiar fashion.

“Hanada!” Mamoru hissed into the watch as soon as the blonde’s face appeared on screen. “Listen, could you look for any stories about haunted bridal boutiques?” he asked, trying to keep his voice down and stay unnoticed in the locker room as his teammates got ready for practice.

“Er… yeah, sure,” Hanada replied, then disappeared as keystrokes echoed through the communication system.

“What kind of club are you in?” Moegi inquired skeptically.

“The “Hey, Midori’s not coming to practice today because he’s checking out a bridal boutique that steals energy from brides!” club! Now what are you doing?”

In minutes, Hanada had a rough address and Moegi, being closest, was on his way, somehow forgetting to mutter and groan about his busy schedule being interrupted. At first, Mamoru just sat there in the locker room, looking down at his soccer cleats, trying to convince himself that it was all just some petty rumor made to either to drum up business for or steal business from that company. That the description was eerily similar to how the Moon Kingdom drained energy was simple coincidence. Or maybe even not – it could’ve been started by someone who had been through an attack and so was able to describe it with detail. In any case, the story was that the attacks only happened at night. And besides, Moegi was there. And, after all, they didn’t even know if Midori was actually the Prince – it was all just supposition. He laced his shoe and stood; he made to take off his watch, but in the end decided to keep it on. ”As paranoid as the horse,” he mumbled, pushing away from the bench and heading outside.

It was raining. Drizzling for now, but one look up hinted that the storm was just beginning. They were starting warm-ups in the field and Mamoru joined them, hoping the exercise would let him feel somewhat normal again; however, not half an hour into practice, his watch set off alarm after alarm, screaming at his wrist. Thunder rolled overhead and before Mamoru could make up an excuse to leave, the coach called practice for the storm. With barely a wave Mamoru was off the field and into their locker room, but rather than gather his things he went straight on through and out the side entrance. Once free of the building and prying ears, still walking towards the street, Mamoru dialed in the conversation.

South King appeared immediately, Hanada in a separate frame. “Attack at the bridal boutique!” South yelled before disappearing. Cutting the connection, Mamoru put on a burst of speed, his cleats drumming on the wet pavement as he reached the street, turned towards the shopping district, and kept running. When at last there was no one else around, the storm having driven everyone inside with its pouring rain and rumbling thunder, Mamoru ducked into a side alley and transformed. With the greater agility and speed of his guise as Cardinal King, Mamoru jumped from side to side up the walls of the alley and raced across rooftops the rest of the way. Streets were hard to keep up with from the different vantage point, but so much practice with it had tilted his perspective, and with a few key marks, he soon found himself across from the bridal boutique in question. The building was impressively tall, accented by a life-sized mannequin of a bride seeming to leap towards the second-story windows – just as Mamoru jumped, those windows exploded outward.

Cardinal King rolled out of the way just as a creature with the body of a silkworm and the legs of a centipede landed behind him, one of its short and stubby limbs pinning his cape to the ground as the creature hissed in challenge, spitting threads that clung to Mamoru’s cape and shirt. Spinning around, he kicked at the beast just as a whip cracked against its body. Recoiling from the blow, the monster unintentionally freed Mamoru and Cardinal King moved quickly to get away as his cape disappeared, momentarily locking eyes with North King in thanks. “Where is--?”

“Inside,” North replied without needing to hear the rest, “He’s safe.”

“It went after the girls,” South added, his daggers whizzing through the air to land on the beast as he joined them, burning its flesh despite the heavy rainfall; however, the daggers held for only a second before the monster’s body transformed, turning its outer skin into a carapace that South’s flaming daggers deflected off of easily. South growled. It turned and spat at them; North King sprang out of the way just as the sticky mess flew past, and South grabbed the back of Mamoru’s jacket to pull him out of the path. “The dresses in that rumor? Made by this thing. The fiber drains energy and sticks to your skin; Helios found the energy source, we just have to find a way to destroy it. Your sword, maybe?”

Mamoru summoned a rose and the three of them separated; as the rose transformed into a sword, Mamoru charged, wielding the blade in sweeping arcs at the beast’s head. Each blow bounced off harmlessly, and as the monster turned its fangs and sticky saliva towards him he had to retreat. Bouncing back to guard the front of the store, he held his weapon defensively, watching and waiting for just the right moment to strike. North King cracked his ice-whip, stealing the monster’s attention away time and time again, testing it’s maneuverability as Mamoru looked for any access point large enough for him to utilize. On a random turn, South threw a dagger and it stuck between pieces of the insect armor, burning away and causing the beast to squirm, showing Mamoru other weaknesses in its armor. As it thrashed Cardinal King rushed forward, blade at the ready, and stabbed it between two plates, his sword sheathing itself in the sticky flesh of the bug beneath. It squirmed and flung itself towards him, but Mamoru stood firm despite his revulsion, slicing deeper and deeper until, at last, the bug lay still.

“The energy is --- MAMORU WATCH OUT!”

While alarm fueled his actions, the rain had made his hands slick and as he turned to face whatever new threat had appeared, he did so without his sword.

___________________________






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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:48 pm

As he turned he caught only a glimpse of her, of a tall young woman with dark green eyes filled with hatred, her lips drawn in an angry scowl. Her long brown hair was pulled away from her face, bangs wet against her forehead, a green gem shining in the sudden lightning. A senshi, close enough that he knew it was too late. He flinched, sensing something coming towards him, but knew he would be too slow to stop it –

But then someone was there, inserting himself between Mamoru and the attacking senshi, his arm held out to stop the blow of the incoming kick that had been aimed at Mamoru’s head. Her boot connected solidly with his forearm, and with the thud of impact the man transformed. White dress-shirt turned into a blue-gray jacket rimmed with orange-yellow piping, curly brown hair flew freely, just wetting with rain. “Watch out, Sweetheart; you might hurt someone,” he teased, a threat in his deep voice.

Midori. Mamoru couldn’t believe what just happened; Midori had transformed without Helios’s help, without a stone pendant – he really was their lost Prince. … and it was Mamoru’s job to protect him.

“North! South!” he called as he pulled their Prince out of the way, blocking the senshi’s punch with his own forearm this time, standing guard against her flurry of mixed attacks that followed to give Midori time to escape. She was quick; she was angry. Her outfit matched her tiara – green. Green banding around her gloves, green ankle-boots – the lace-pattern of which might be permanently marked in his arm – green skirt, sailor collar and choker, pink bows. She didn’t seem to mind the rain and thunder, her attacks never faltering despite the downpour. But as she fought her expression changed; between dodging punches and blocking kicks, he saw her anger turn to broken desperation. He couldn’t be certain that the rivulets on her face were raindrops or tears.

A dagger came dangerously close to hitting her and she screamed in defiance, backing away from him to turn and – throw lightning?! A ball of electrostatic energy formed in the palm of her hand and she flung it outwards, towards South. Mamoru backed up, summoning his rose sword and glancing around to find Midori. He found him near Helios, North rushing away quietly – probably spotting a place to attack from. The hair on the back of Mamoru’s neck stood on end and he dropped just as another lightning ball flew over his head.

GIVE HER BACK!” the girl screamed, her voice breaking agonizingly.

She moved even faster, now clearly crying as she threw attack after attack at them, her teeth gritted together, lightning flying in all directions. Though confused, Mamoru couldn’t afford to stop, to ask questions – she was a destructive force in motion, intent on doing them harm. As he ducked out of the way of another ball she rushed him, elbow first as she charged. He just barely jumped out of the way in time only to find that she had rebounded off of the wall behind him and was flying after him again, hand drawn back to punch, lined to connect.

But then a frozen rope surrounded her midsection, pulling her aside roughly. Mamoru landed and spun on the balls of his feet to find the senshi picking herself up off the ground, her elbow and most of her right arm scraped and bleeding. North King stood his ground, his whip held threateningly at his side. For a moment, as the senshi held her ground and glared, Mamoru thought it could be over. Maybe this time they didn’t have to destroy the enemy – they could question her, learn more about the Moon Kingdom and what they wanted– but then she was up again, rushing North with lightning at her fingertips. Her punch sent Hanada flying into and through the glass display of the bridal shop. She made to follow him.

Mamoru ran forward to intercept her as throwing knives flew through the air, hitting the senshi dead-on and bursting into flame, but it seemed as just an annoyance to the green warrior. She brushed them away, turning her gaze on South as lightning sparked around her. As Mamoru reached the store window he realized he had moved the wrong way – suddenly the Prince was in the game, running quickly towards the senshi with his fist drawn back, something dull and stony at his knuckles. Distracted by South’s renewed dagger throws, she didn’t notice the Prince until it was too late, his fist rushing towards her unprotected midsection. When he connected he unleashed a shockwave of pressure that tore through the area, breaking the remaining windows around them… and destroying the green senshi.

Doubled over, the girl fell to her knees as she rapidly disappeared. The Prince’s cape appeared to counteract the violent energy erupting from her death, but before it obscured all of Mamoru’s vision, he saw the girl close her eyes, a word at her lips, and then she was gone. Just as before, all that was left was a levitating crystal, green hued, shining from within.

JUPITER!” Space seemed to tear around them as another senshi appeared, this one in blue. She ran towards the crystal floating in space, crying outright as she reached for where her teammate had been. Quickly behind her appeared another, this warrior blonde and beautiful, her uniform a mix of orange, yellow and blue. She grabbed the first’s hand fiercely and pulled her back, restraining her as they disappeared. The last that Mamoru saw were the orange senshi’s dark blue eyes, both sad and murderous as they found him.

As soon as they disappeared, in a flash of white and blonde Jewel Tiara swooped in, grabbed the crystal and cradled it to her chest as she ran through. “Hey!” Midori yelled after her, but Mamoru was more prepared. He launched off after her, determined to find out more about her. Whose side was she on? Why was she collecting those gems? If she were working for the enemy, why did she save him? What was the enemy’s plan? Puddles splashed beneath his feet as he gave chase; as the rain fell harder he nearly lost her, but he kept trying. In his mind, he heard Helios’s side of a conversation:

She was Sailor Jupiter, senshi of Protection; the others, Sailor Mercury, senshi of Wisdom, and Sailor Venus, senshi of Love and Beauty. … Long ago, the senshi served as guardians in the Moon Kingdom, their lives tied to the royal family as you three, Cardinal, North, and South, were tied to Midori. … Could they change? You mean could they turn to our side?” Mamoru continued to run, Helios’s voice fading with the distance between them. He had lost her again, but he slowed, turning to see an alleyway not far behind him now. The rain was beginning to lessen, the storm slowly passing. He went back. Helios’s voice was just a whisper as he concluded, “They would never betray their Queen.”

His hunch had been right. In the alleyway, standing with her back against the wall, was Jewel Tiara. Her gloved hands were close to her chest, holding tightly to the jewel she had taken. He approached slowly, not wanting to scare her off, but made sure to make some noise in the process so he wouldn’t startle her. She either took no notice of him or didn’t care he was there, her head bent as if staring at her hands. When he was close enough to speak comfortably he paused, wondering only then how he should question her. “Jewel Tiara,” he started, speaking softly, “Who are you?”

Her shoulders started visibly shaking and she fell, the wall guiding her slowly to the ground. Mamoru didn’t know what to do – she was crying, too. The senshi had cried, she was crying – was she really part of their team? Was it safe to approach her alone? While his mind yelled these and other warnings, he felt no threat from her. Looking at her now there was only sadness, only a desire to help her somehow. Taking a chance, he stepped forward and to the side and knelt down beside her, the puddles on the ground making him no more wet than the rain had. He reached out as though to put a comforting hand on her shoulder, but hesitated and drew back, deciding it would be more awkward than helpful. Instead he just waited, providing company until… well, until she wanted him to go. She had saved his life twice now; even if the situation were different and he didn’t want to stay, he owed her this much.

Holding her breath, she seemed to regain control of herself. Her eyes squeezed shut, she put her elbows on her knees, pressing her hands to her forehead, and said, “I don’t know.”

Mamoru was confused – maybe he wasn’t specific enough? He tried again, “Where are you from? Whose side are you on?”

She drew her knees closer to herself, as if flinching, and repeated, “I don’t know.”

Her voice had cracked but while Mamoru felt like she was being honest with him, he knew she had to know something. They had found their Prince; they needed all the information they could get in order to better protect him. He didn’t want to cause her distress, but he still had to try. Hoping that questions about her recent actions might lead to some sort of answer, he asked, “What are those gems you take, and why do you take them?”

She opened her hands suddenly, staring at the green-hued double-pyramidal crystal with the bright light inside. In her eyes the sight was mirrored, wavering as tears built up again. One hand grabbed at her bangs as the other held the crystal and she cried out, “I don’t know!” her eyes shutting tight against everything. Immediately he regretted asking; an apology was on his lips when she continued, her voice weak yet passionate. “I don’t know who I am or where I’m from! I don’t know whose side I’m on or if I even have a side! I don’t know why I collect these, or why it makes me so sad when I do! All I know is that I have to!” By the end her voice was strong and her eyes shot open to stare at him intensely, her pain and confusion bearing into him through them. Speechless, Mamoru remained silent, meeting her gaze but not challenging it. Finally she looked away, a sob creeping through her throat as she unclenched her gloved hand to stare again at the jewel. Quietly, she asked, “Who was she?”

“Her name was Sailor Jupiter,” he replied. Her silence prompted him to continue, and he was sorry he didn’t have anything else to tell her. “She was a senshi of the Moon Kingdom.”

Her free hand moved slowly to her belt and returned with the red gem. Despite the weeks since the death of the red warrior, the gem still glowed. “And her?” Jewel Tiara prompted.

“Sailor Mars,” he told her softly, watching her every move. He had wanted answers from her, to learn who she was and why she did what she did, but all along he knew more than she. Would he be just like her if Helios hadn’t found him? Lost and alone and confused, blindly following his instincts and hoping everything would work out in the end? But who told her where to go? How did she know where to find him? Why… “Why do you save me?” he asked.

She didn’t answer for a moment, just stared at the softly glowing jewels. Then she shrugged, “Because you saved them” she glanced over at him, “ – all those people.” She looked away again, “They hadn’t done anything wrong, and when they were in trouble you protected them… but no one was protecting you. So I did.” She had chosen to help him. That wasn’t instinct, but a conscious decision. She could have let him die, but she didn’t. She was good. She wasn’t part of the Moon Kingdom – she couldn’t be. “Why do they do it?” she asked, sudden to his thoughts.

“Well… we’re not that certain,” he began, believing she meant the senshi and deciding to be completely honest with her, “but we think they’re gathering energy to reawaken their Queen and take over the world.” Saying it aloud sounded crazy – he wouldn’t have believed it if his life hadn’t become part of the story – but she nodded in acceptance anyway.

Looking sideways at him, he sensed a small smile behind her veil as she said, “Then I guess I’m on your side.” She got to her feet; he joined her. Looking down at herself, she inserted the two jewels, red and green, into her belt; they fit snugly, one to either side of the ornate centerpiece. She looked up at him and nodded, backing into the street. “I’ll see you again, Cardinal King,” she said, and then she was gone.



Mamoru’s hunch was right; when he returned to the bridal shop the Kings were gone. In their place were police officers just arriving on the scene and a ring of people gawking at the destruction the battle had left behind. There were compression marks in the pavement and glass all over the street. Mannequins in white dresses hung out of the windows, disheveled and eerily posed. A line of wet silt ran from just in front of the store into the gutter in the street, a single red rose left in the place the monster had died. On the sidelines, sitting beside a girl with a blanket thrown across her shoulders, was Midori. Moegi stood behind him, catching Mamoru’s eye and nodding – everything was okay. Glancing around he found Hanada, a notebook in hand with pencil at the ready, pestering the cops for a statement to use in his newspaper. He wondered if Hanada was really that interested, or if he were acting in their interest and trying to ferret out information on what the cops knew about them so far.

When the paramedics dismissed Midori and his cousin, Moegi left with them, jumping into a town car and leaving. Mamoru casually left, Hanada meeting up with him as they walked back towards their own districts and they swapped information. Mamoru went first, since he had the least to say, telling Hanada what he found out about Jewel Tiara and her decision to fight with them. Hanada, in return, told him that Helios had filled Midori in about the basics – the basics being their past-life origin, whom they’re fighting and why, and Midori’s importance. “Even after all that, he still jumped in to help. Part of me commends him, the other half wants to throttle him.”

“By the way,” Mamoru interjected, remembering Hanada’s earlier trip through the window, “Are you okay?”

Hanada raised a brow and smirked, rolling up his sleeve to display a collection of scrapes, some with glass still in them. It was a little gruesome, but it wasn’t bleeding profusely. “I barely bled – maybe something to do with my powers over ice?” he seemed more fascinated than concerned.

“Hanada,” Mamoru stated disapprovingly – open wounds with glass? Was he trying to get infected? He took Hanada’s wrist and held it still with one hand as he hovered over the wounds with the other, exuding energy that slowly mended the tears in Hanada’s skin. Bits of glass fell like glitter, pressed out of the wound as his powers worked to heal it.

“That’s a neat trick; do you think your powers are over growth?” Hanada asked.

“What?” Mamoru replied, moving on to another area of the blonde’s arm.

“You summon a plant that turns into a sword – that’s kind of growing, right? And then you can heal things, which is accelerated re-growth.” Mamoru looked up to see Hanada staring at his arm curiously. Hanada continued, “I mean, I’ve got ice, Moegi’s fire, Midori has Earth – makes sense, right? I mean it looked more like stone and pressure, but close enough. Other ancient elements left would be nature, metal, light, and death and rebirth--- you could be death and rebirth!” Hanada looked up with excitement.

Mamoru cocked a brow, “If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not be.”

Hanada went on appealingly, “Oh, come on. It’s just like nature and growth and stuff – things can’t grow if things don’t die. You’re like a cycle person.”

“Hanada.”

“I wonder, if you concentrated hard enough, could you reverse heal? Like could you inflict wounds on someone rather than taking them away?”

“Want me to try?” Mamoru stated deadpan, pulling his energy out of Hanada’s wounds but keeping hold of his wrist. Hanada laughed it off, pulling his arm away. He started walking again and Mamoru took two steps to catch up. “So what do the police know?”

“Not a lot; they attributed the mess to vandals and the fainting women to anemia. But then that could just be their story for the press.” They traveled in silence for a time, walking the wet streets, both drenched head to toe. Mamoru still wore his soccer practice uniform, his cleats ringing against the pavement. Hanada, his long hair curling as it dried, wore casual clothes that stuck to him. When they reached their crossroads, Hanada paused. “So… what’s next?”

“I’m not sure,” Mamoru replied quietly. “It looks like our plan has changed. Midori is in on the fight, and he’s not the type to back down or step out so there’s little use in trying. We’ll have to be careful in battle – if Helios is right, the senshi want Midori for the Golden Crystal, and now that we’ve found him he’ll be a target.”

“I wouldn’t be too sure,” Hanada mused. Mamoru waited for the explanation. “Midori’s uniform looks exactly like ours. There isn’t any additional ornamentation or markings of his royalty; so far as the Moon Kingdom is concerned we just gained another member. If we could keep it that way they might be led to believe that East King is really our Prince. His uniform is rumored to be gray and his cape blue, and with the four of us nearly identical to one another the obvious reasoning would be that he is different, thus he is the Prince.”

“So we should now concentrate on finding him,” Mamoru stated, “For his safety and his help; if he’s survived this long alone, he’d be a valuable addition to the team.”

“I wonder how much he knows,” Hanada looked off, his gaze straying down the street towards their school. “Does he, too, have a guardian like Helios? How much does his guardian know about the Moon Kingdom?”

The mention of guardians brought Mamoru’s thoughts back to Jewel Tiara, alone and confused, crying in the rain for reasons she didn’t understand. He wouldn’t wish that on anyone. “We need to find him,” he stated simply. Hanada nodded in agreement, and they said their goodbyes.



Helios didn’t return that night, but Mamoru didn’t blame him. The horse had been working long hours, changing gears from looking for East King to verifying Midori, all the while keeping his senses open to new attacks. He was probably with Midori now, explaining things in greater detail, maybe even checking on the Golden Crystal to ensure its safety. In truth, it made Mamoru a little uneasy without Helios there; he had gotten used to him being around, even if they did fight a lot of the time. But then, their duty was to their Prince, to Midori, and it wasn’t like Mamoru could up and move in to keep an eye on him, so a teleporting Pegasus made for a better watchdog. And, he reasoned, looking down at his watch, it wasn’t as though he were completely cut-off. If something happened, he’d get an alarm.

The more time he spent with Midori, the more at ease he became. His first trepidations had been about duty of his past life taking over his present, that out of loyalty to a life that ended millennia ago he would be bound to protecting someone he had no real ties to, but he and Midori got along well. Midori’s attitude was usually upbeat and jovial, and while he did enjoy showing off and being the center of attention, he did so through making people laugh. Not that long after they started hanging out together, Mamoru knew that if Midori were in trouble, he, Mamoru, and not his past life alter-ego, would be stepping up to protect him. He would make that choice, and not have it dictated by a past life he barely remembered.

It was true that lately he had a few hazy memories come to mind – nothing Earth-shattering, just hazy images and voices and a general feeling of happiness. He occasionally wondered if this was what others remembered when thinking back on their earlier years; he couldn’t remember anything before he was age six, but he had read somewhere that memories from young childhood were often confused and muddled with time, so maybe it was the same.
After soccer practice he, Midori, and Hanada would hang out together; he made sure Midori did his homework to keep somewhere in the middle of class rank. When he had the chance Moegi would join them, his complaints about his busy schedule growing less and less frequent. Occasionally they would transform and train; Midori was somewhat of a natural – if there were any issues with his first practice, it was only in that he was putting too much force behind his jumps and constantly overshot the target landing spot. Midori’s weapons were stone knuckles that rumbled like thunder when he knocked them together; the harder he punched something, the more the thunderous noise turned into small shockwaves. While the brunet wanted to try jumping from the top of a building and landing fist-first into the ground to test the extent of the abilities (would he make a crater?!), Mamoru and the others were able to talk him out of trying it. In the city, at least; he returned one day with a smile on his face and a smug remark about trouble for his gardener.

And, sometimes, the four of them would spend some time in Game Center Crown. Midori and Hanada were great at the games – Hanada commented nonchalantly that he had a machine at his house that he used to play a lot when he was in middle school; Midori complained that his mother wouldn’t let him get one. Whenever they went, Mamoru kept an eye out for blonde odangos, hoping to find Usagi and regretting not knowing where else to find her or how to contact her. It had been a little over two weeks since the masquerade and he hadn’t seen her; he was starting to feel defeated, crazy ideas coming to mind – maybe she moved. Maybe she was sick. Maybe she saw his score under hers and thought he was a stalker; maybe she was avoiding him because she had changed her mind and didn’t want to face him, embarrassed or uncomfortable about kissing him. But when he finally spotted her through the Crown windows heading into a new video rental store, he took the chance to find out. With a quick goodbye to his friends, he left the arcade and followed her into the store.

As soon as he passed through the doors to the store he was struck with how weird the place felt, but with the fragrance of black licorice in the air and the thermostat turned to almost uncomfortably cool, he shrugged it off and wondered if it was some strange marketing strategy. Certainly the company had something going for it – the brand was popping up all over Tokyo: “Quicksilver Video”, with a website available for those with internet. A few of his schoolmates talked about it, raving about its selection and cheap prices, but Mamoru had never really been into movies so he hadn’t looked into it. If, however, a certain someone else had an interest in movies, he could give them a try.

He spotted her down one of the isles, her hands folded at her chest and a thoughtful expression on her face as she perused her choices. She looked well, if a bit tired; the little pout on her lips as she reached for one movie and then another made him smile – she was taking her decision very seriously, and it seemed to fit her perfectly. “Yo, Odango,” he greeted, butterflies in his stomach. How would she react?

She jumped, for starters, her hair whipping around as she turned to look at him. “Mamochan!” she squeaked in surprise, and a warmth spread through him. She had given him a nickname? “Er...” she blushed, shaking her head in negation, “Mamoru-kun. H-How are you?”

He shrugged, “I’m well, how are you?” … smooth, Chiba.

“I’m good,” she said with a smile, but then the smile faded into a look of shame. “That’s a lie. I’m grounded,” she mumbled. “Dad just let me out today to grab a movie so I’d stop bothering him.”

He couldn’t help but chuckle at her reaction; while he hadn’t been grounded personally, he knew the general concept and had heard a few stories about the experience from others. “Why are you grounded?” he asked, curious about what she could have possibly done to bother her parents.

“Well…” she said, looking at him guiltily.

He blinked in concern, “It wasn’t me, was it?”

“Well…” she repeated, all but confirming his suspicion. He felt remorseful – all this time he had wondered if she were evading him or if something had happened when she had been stuck at home and it was his fault. Before he could apologize, Usagi was shaking her head and hands in a ‘you’ve got it all wrong!’ manner, “No! Not that – I mean, partly that, but not just that.” Her hands clasped together and she started tapping her index fingers – he really liked how animated she always was; she wore her emotions on her sleeves and while she constantly kept him guessing about other things, when she was right in front of him he never need wonder if she were upset. “There were my grades… and detentions for being late… and sleeping in class…”

He chuckled, remembering the horrible grade she had thrown at his head all that time ago. She blushed in embarrassment and he let it go, wondering if she might be interested in getting a tutor. And then he blushed, realizing the possible implications of such a question, and decided it’d be best to change the subject. “So, what movie are you getting?”

She glanced back at the shelf, filled with anime, and took a title from the display with fondness, revealing another three copies behind it. “This one,” she said with a smile, showing him the cover. “Kiki’s Delivery Service” it read, with a picture of a girl in black riding a broom and a little black cat dangling off the broom stick. He smiled at seeing the cat, wondering if that was why it was a favorite.

“What’s it about?” he asked.

The movie dropped a few inches, “You haven’t seen it?” she asked incredulously.

He shook his head, “I don’t watch a lot of movies,” he excused.

She thrust the movie into his hands; he took it so it wouldn’t fall, and she grabbed another copy off the shelf. “You have to see it! It’s not all that new, but it’s really good! It’s about a witch who’s going out into the world to start her training!”

He half-smiled at her enthusiasm, “Who’s the cat?”

“His name is Jiji; come on! Let’s get it!” she walked past him on the way to the check-out counter, then turned to grab his arm and pull him along. He went willingly, but slowed just to mess with her. “Mamoru-kun! You’ll like it, I promise!” She plopped her copy on the counter and reached into her bunny backpack, but he put his down on top of it and pulled out his wallet before she could fish anything out of the plushie bag.

“If it’s that good, I’ll pay the fee for you.” He handed the payment over to the cashier, who bagged their movies and returned them in record time.

She smiled up at him, “Thanks! That means I can get ice-cream on the way home!”

When they left the shop he accompanied her to Crown Fruit Parlor, where he handed her a copy of the movie, and afterward, her ice cream cone in hand, he offered to walk her home. He wondered if he was being too bold, but after going so long without seeing her, he wanted to see her as much as possible before they had to part. She hesitated for only a second before shyly nodding. He tried to hide his smile, but it didn’t work too well. She lived in a nice neighborhood not too far away; on the way to her house she talked nonstop about whatever came to mind, but mostly about the movie he had to watch; eventually she declared that they would watch it together. He looked at her, surprised at her suggestion. She looked up at him with determination, “So call me when you put it on, okay? I’ll start mine when you start yours and we’ll watch it together!” She reached into her backpack and pulled out a starry pink pen, then put out her hand as if to accept something.

“I don’t have any paper,” he explained, and she took his hand, turned his arm to she could see his wrist, and wrote her phone number on his arm. While she kept her eyes determinedly fixed on his arm, he could still see the slight blush on her cheeks.

When she finished she looked up at him with determination and stammered, “Don’t lose it, okay?”

He shook his head no, his heart thumping loudly in his chest. “I won’t.”

She nodded, her lips twitching into a nervous smile. She tucked a long bang behind her ear nervously, glancing up at the house behind her. “Well, we’re here.” She glanced up at him and away shyly, “Thanks for walking me home, Mamoru-kun.”

“You can call me the other, if you want,” he offered, nervous about making the suggestion but wanting to offer anyway. He liked that she had given him a nickname; to him it meant… well, maybe he was looking too much into things.

“Okay,” she replied, a smile in her voice as she looked down at her feet and corrected, “Mamochan.” Suddenly she turned and ran, stopping before the door to turn and wave. “Don’t forget!” she yelled with a smile before opening the door and disappearing inside.

He waved once, then looked down at the numbers scrawled across his forearm. Then again, maybe he wasn’t overthinking things after all.

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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:00 pm

Mamoru paced his kitchen, his eyes going from the paused screen on his television to the phone sitting on his desk in the corner. His hands were clasped nervously behind his back as he moved, every step an attempt to ease his tension and raise his courage. He had thought he’d be fine – it wasn’t even a date, it was just a phone call, anyway – but then he started to think about what he would say and how out-of-the-loop he would sound, especially to a public middle school girl who didn’t seem to care much for academia. What if he said something awkward and she hung up? Or if he attempted to make a joke and she didn’t understand, or vice versa? What if this was just doomed to fail? He paused, considering the possibility, but quickly thrust the idea aside and strode purposefully towards the desk. He really liked her, and he’d be damned if something as stupid as nerves get in the way. He punched the numbers into the phone without glancing down at his arm and waited, forbidding his mind from making up any other stupid excuses… Like the time! What time was it?! Were they having dinner?! As the extension rang he quickly pulled down one strip of his blinds and glanced outside, relieved to find the city dark beyond his apartment; it was well past usual supper hours, so with any luck he wouldn’t be interrupting them.

The ringing ended with a woman’s voice, “Good evening! Tsukino residence, how can I help you?”

“Good evening,” Mamoru replied, physically bowing in his own apartment. He smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand for being ridiculous and forged ahead, “Is Tsukino Usagi available?”

“Hmm? Usagi-chan?” the woman sounded thoughtful, then muted as she called, “Usagi-chan! Telephone!”

“Telephone?! But she’s grounded!” a man’s voice cried in the background. It must’ve been her father.

“Remember, dear? We let her start using the phone again yesterday.”

“Yeah?! … Oh yeah. Who is it? Is it Naru-chan? She’s still not allowed company, remember!”

“No, it’s not Naru-chan, in fact, it sounds like a young man – “ the voice returned to the phone at full volume and Mamoru snapped to attention as her father yelled something in the background. “Whom might I say is calling?” the woman asked.

“Chiba Mamoru,” he replied.

“Chiba Mamoru,” the woman – Usagi’s mother? – repeated, again partially muted.

“Chiba Mamoru…” her father repeated, and then again, “CHIBA MAMORU?! BUT THAT’S THE—“

A new voice joined the line, “I’ve got it!” and drowned out the muted complaints of the father. It was Usagi. All at once Mamoru both relaxed and doubled in nervousness – the parental situation might be nearly over, but just her voice summoned butterflies to his stomach. “Hang up! I’ve got it!”

“No daughter of mine will be taking phone calls from boys at this time of night!” the echo from the first phone continued.

“Hang up!”

“Now, honey,” her mother appealed.

“In fact, she shouldn’t be taking phone calls from boys at any time!”

“I’ve got it! Hang up!” Usagi’s hand must have covered the receiver; she was muted, too.

“Who’s on the phone?” this voice, belonging to a younger boy, popped in clear on the phone – another line, perhaps?

“Shingo!” she returned, her voice much louder now and chastising, “Get off!”

“Nyeah-nyeah, make me!”

“You don’t want me to try!” she growled, then was muted again as she cried, “Mom! Shingo’s on the phone! Make him get off! And hang up!”

“You get off, young lady!” her father exclaimed.

“Oh, dear,” there was movement on the line as Usagi’s mother came back online and said, “Chiba Mamoru, was it?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Mamoru replied, wondering if this would be when he was politely asked to hang up and never call again. Over the other lines he heard some commotion going on, punctuated with a muffled “ow!” before a line clicked dead.

“Don’t worry about Mr. Tsukino, dear; he doesn’t want to admit his little girl is growing up,” her mother explained, making him feel a little uncomfortable. She continued, “I’ll take care of him for now, but you remember to come and introduce yourself to me when you pick her up for a date! Good night!” her voice sounded almost teasing as she hung up and Mamoru wondered of which of her parents he should be more wary.

“I’ve got it! Hang up!” Usagi called again, sounding a little out of breath. There was a pause for conversation and she replied, “Oh. Thanks, mom!” And then she was there, and it was just the two of them. “Hi,” she said; he could hear her smile in her voice and the butterflies in his stomach did backflips.

“Hi,” he returned.

“Sorry about my parents and the weasel,” she apologized off-handedly, additionally commenting, “I need to get my own line.”

He chuckled, “It’s okay.”

“So! Have you started it yet?”

“Uh,” he looked over to the couch, judged the phone line length, and grabbed the receiver before walking it over to the small table beside the closest part of the couch. “Not yet –“

“Good! Rewind it to the beginning! We have to synchronize so we watch it together!” she sounded like she meant business. He chuckled and rewound the tape to the very beginning. “Ready?” she asked, and he made an affirmative noise. “When your clock says 20:13, start!” He waited for the correct reading, and hit ‘play’. “Is it playing?”

“Yeah,” he replied, amused that she had really thought this through – with the phone delay, the person who said ‘go’ would be a few seconds ahead in the movie for the entire showing; by picking a time it practically eliminated the delay, so long as the clocks were in time.

“Good! I made popcorn – do you like popcorn?”

Their conversation was light; just getting-to-know-you questions generally focusing on snacks and topics brought about by the previews for future films (current? past? He really had no idea when this movie was released); he found out she liked her snacks sweet and as aesthetically cute as possible. She liked a lot of different shows and anime, and wasn’t afraid to admit some of them made her cry, though she preferred comedies. She liked to go out to movies sometimes, but only if she knew the movie wasn’t scary because she still screamed at scary parts.

When the movie started their conversation died down to comments and catches about the movie itself. “Did you see that?! They wear black because…” or “They’re so nice for letting her stay! I wish I could live above a bakery - it’d smell so good all the time!” Her comments were sweet or funny, sometimes yelling at the screen or making veiled threats towards characters. He paid more attention to her and her reactions than the movie itself; a little more than an hour into the movie he actually got up and started making hot chocolate, pleased to find that the phone cords stretched as far as his stove.

“What are you doing?” she asked after his spoon clinked against his mug.

“Making hot chocolate,” he replied, hoping she wouldn’t be disappointed that he had walked away from the screen.

“I like hot chocolate, too!” she didn’t sound upset; he appreciated that. “Oh!” she continued brightly, “But this next part is… wait. This… isn’t right…” her voice slowed, filling with confusion and concern, “What is… Mamochan?”

Something in her tone scared him to the core. “Usagi?” There was no answer. He dropped his spoon and pushed back towards the television, visually checking his connections, but the line was intact. “Usagi?!” he tried again.

“Golden… Crystal…” the connection died.

Dropping the phone, Mamoru turned on his heel to see the screen flickering with snow and black bands, the blue insignia of planet Mercury glowing in the foreground, pulsing in time with a low hiss in the speakers. Quickly he turned the television off, twisted the hands of his watch to noon, and reached for his pendant to transform.

A Sailor Senshi was attacking.



“Not in the Kanto District!”

“There are a lot of people out here – the jewelry stores are swamped. Midori! Where are you?!”

“Keeping out of sight, don’t get your panties in a knot,” Midori paused, “No track yet on where the energy is being gathered.”

“If it’s being gathered,” Cardinal King corrected, jumping to another rooftop to spy on the world below. There was a small crowd of people centered around a jewelry store, their chant audible even from his height – ‘Golden Crystal! Golden Crystal!’ “They don’t look like they’ve been drained at all – brainwashed is more like it.”

“It’d be harder to find where Mercury is hiding then; the Quicksilver in this district is clean.”

Mamoru jumped down a few stories, hanging onto a fire escape as he scanned the crowd for signs of Usagi. After he first transformed he had quickly ran to her house to see if she were there. A window was wide open on the second story; landing lightly beside it, he was able to peer within to find a girl’s room, popcorn strewn across the floor. The television screen bore the mark of Mercury – Usagi was gone. He had then traveled back to the main city, stopping to check for any crowds for a sign of her, or Sailor Mercury, but had found neither as of yet.

The longer he searched the more certain he became that he and Usagi could not be together. As much as he liked her and wanted to be with her, it wasn’t fair to her to involve her in dangerous situations such as these and, as much as he wished otherwise, he was firmly involved. This supernatural world of shadows, secret-identities, and energy-stealing villains was one in which Usagi did not belong. Maybe after everything was taken care of – once the Moon Kingdom was defeated and Midori made his decision about the future – maybe then he could have a chance with Usagi… then he wouldn’t have anything to hide from her. How could he pursue her if he had to keep a secret as big as being Cardinal King away from her? None of this was fair. He should let her go before she got hurt. As his foot slid and he nearly fell and he remembered the cold feeling of Sailor Jupiter’s thunder cloud and the claustrophobia that accompanied the close-call, he thought of another reason why he should end it; he wouldn’t want her to be sad if something should happen.

Usagi wasn’t there, and neither was Mercury; he moved on. Regular reports came in through their communicators about locations and statuses, Midori relaying Helios’s advice and ideas as he stayed generally out of the way. Mamoru moved as quickly as possible from place to place until, at last, he found her, recognizing her blonde hair in the familiar pigtail buns. She was outside a jewelry store in a crowd of other people, wearing pink pajamas with little stars and bunnies on them, pushing her way forward. “Usagi!” he called, landing outside the crowd and moving forward, careful not to step on the toes of the brainwashed citizens as he reached for her. He put a hand on her shoulder when he got close enough, hoping it would snap her out of whatever spell she was under, but she didn’t acknowledge the touch. He shook her shoulders and she tried to brush him off; not wanting to hurt her as much as he didn’t want her to hurt herself, he took her arm and turned her around and gently shook her again, trying not to notice the deadened look in her eye as he called her name. “Usagi! Usagi, wake up!” He shook her once more, yelling now, “Usagi!”

She blinked rapidly, consciousness returning; walking backwards and using his shoulders as a way to break through the mob of people, he led her out of the crowd as she looked around with confusion. “What’s going on…?”

“Listen,” Cardinal King addressed, staring at her in an attempt to convey the seriousness of the situation, “Usagi, go home. Run as quickly as you can; get back to your house and stay there!” She didn’t say anything, her blue eyes solely on him now, suspicion or something akin to it in her gaze; he wondered suddenly if she could see through his disguise and recognized the man behind the mask. Part of him wanted her to know, but he realized that that part was only his selfishness. He stepped away from her, turning his face away. “Go home, Usagi.” He jumped, aiming for the nearest rooftop.

“Wait!” she yelled after him, but he couldn’t stay to hear more. She was safe; no matter what happened now, Tsukino Usagi would return home to her family and he could concentrate on the senshi who acted as a marionette to these citizens. Hopefully before she tired of the Golden Crystal search and decided to drain the innocent people of their energy en masse.

“Mamochan, wait!” Usagi’s voice echoed up through the street. He slowed, apprehension rising as he looked down, hoping she was looking elsewhere, hoping she had perhaps realized what had happened and was now looking for Chiba Mamoru amongst the hoard of crystal-seekers. Hoping she hadn’t seen through his disguise. Four stories below, Tsukino Usagi stared up at him, her hands together in fists with the effort of her yell. She knew. Mamoru hesitated, debating whether he should stay and appeal to her again to leave, or if he should leave and hope she took his momentary hesitation as a misunderstanding. Before he could decide, she took something out of the pocket of her pajamas and disappeared in a soft light. A moment passed and in her place stood Jewel Tiara, staring up at him with the same look in her eyes.

Tsukino Usagi was Jewel Tiara.


The questions he had for both Jewel Tiara and Tsukino Usagi doubled in that instant, and as she made her way to the rooftop to join him, he fought to rank those questions to ask the most important first. She alighted beside him and he felt like an idiot for not seeing it before. All that time he spent with her at the masquerade ball, and earlier that day, and that meeting with Jewel Tiara when they defeated Sailor Jupiter; it was so clear now. He wondered when she had put his identity together - was that the semi-suspicious look he had gotten from her earlier that day?

She paused hesitantly a few feet from him, her high-heeled boots tapping lightly on the rooftop. She reached up to her veil as if to remove it, but her hand dropped, apparently rethinking the gesture. Her tiara was different, Mamoru noticed; it seemed to be the only thing to actually surface in his mind now that she was in front of him.

“I think I’ve found her,” Hanada – North King – announced, his voice barely above a whisper.

He gave an address and both Midori and Moegi checked in, “I’m on my way,” Mamoru replied as well, his eyes on Jewel Tiara. He let go of his watch and answered her unbidden question, “Another senshi – Sailor Mercury.” Her eyebrows knitted together, her eyes leaving his as one gloved hand reached, seemingly involuntarily, to the shining jewels at her waist. “You don’t have to come,” he told her.

Her hand lifted from the gems minutely, but as the sound of shattering glass reached them, her hand turned into a fist and fell to her side. Below them, the mob broke through the glass windows of the shop and were pushing themselves inside. “I want to help,” Usagi decided definitively, the resolve in her gaze mixed with reluctance.

Guessing at the cause, remembering her tears, he reassured her, “You don’t have to fight her. We’ll…” he paused, his heart fading with the realization of what he was suggesting. When had killing someone become so casual? “… we’ll take care of it.” When she nodded he started to run, jumping over alleyways to other rooftops, using the walls to give a boost, the sounds of her footsteps following him reassuring in the darkness, a sound to hold on to as his mind wandered. The senshi… had they been reborn, too? Were they just normal girls months ago, living their lives as best they could until the Moon Kingdom called upon them? Did they have families out there somewhere, families that were looking for them, never knowing that they weren’t coming back? Helios’s voice echoed eerily in his mind, “They would never betray their Queen…” That those girls would never be coming back? Had Mars and Jupiter been in high school, like him?

He slowed, staring at the rooftop beneath his feet as gravity seemed to double around him. Had they really been girls, like Usagi? Girls pulled in the wrong direction, onto the wrong side of the war for the planet based on a life they lived thousands of years ago?

“chibi!”

“NORTH!” Moegi’s voice yelled through the watch, an echo of those words bouncing through the real world towards him.

Adrenaline burst through Mamoru’s veins and he tore off again, leaving Jewel Tiara behind, thoughts of the senshi’s hypothetical pre-war lives thrust aside as the reality of the present fell in around him. No matter who or what those girls used to be, they were now capable of killing people, sacrificing lives to awaken a Queen that would destroy the planet. Each had threatened his life or the life of a friend without a second thought; there wasn’t a time that they had acted purely in self-defense, always instigating with their endgame clear. No matter whom they were before, now they were firmly enemies of the planet. Or at least, he thought as he came upon the battle scenes, enemies of his.

Though mist obscured the ground below him, he saw her clearly: Sailor Mercury, the so-called senshi of wisdom. She hovered in the air over an open expanse between buildings, the street several stories below her floating form. Held against her facing outward, supported by her forearm at his throat and her fist holding a dagger at his stomach, was North King. His gloved hands held onto her arm, trying to pry it away from his neck; his blue mask was askew, his face was turning red. Neither had spotted him yet, their attention on South King and Midori on a rooftop to his left.

The Golden Crystal, or he dies!” the senshi yelled fiercely.

He quickly summoned a rose and threw it, aiming to surprise her into dropping Hanada; with their cloaks, a fall from this distance wouldn’t kill him, but he had a feeling the capes didn’t work as well if they were unconscious. Or bleeding to death. The rose sailed true, but before hitting his mark it hit something and fell away harmlessly. Mercury turned to him, her arm tightening on Hanada’s neck, a dangerous look on her face.

Bring me the Golden Crystal! ” she repeated.

A dagger bounced harmlessly off her defenses; now that he was really looking, he could see a spherical ripple through the air. A bubble? He summoned other roses, throwing them in succession at a single point – could her bubble be broken? Was it kept by an outside force, or did it take from her energy to sustain itself? As South added his daggers to Mamoru’s roses, he wondered if they could break it in time.

Mercury whirled, trying to see them both at the same time, her features displeased. Her eyes jumped suddenly in surprise, glancing down at Hanada. “You think ice would work on me? she growled, the hand with the dagger moving viciously. Hanada yelled in surprise, maybe pain, and Mamoru froze in fear. Hanada. He couldn’t -- “You had your chance! The Crystal, now! Or he’s dead!”

What could they do?! It was Hanada up there, but the Golden Crystal was their key – if they gave it over, it would be handing over the world and all of its people. His teachers, his classmates, Usagi, everyone… or Hanada.

“Come now, Prince!” Mercury yelled louder, her voice echoing off the building surrounding her and being absorbed by the mist below. Mamoru started; had she figured them out? How could she know who their Prince was?! “You wouldn’t want your precious general dead, now would you?” Her eyes twitched over to him. Mamoru’s regained control – it was a bluff. If Midori stayed quiet and casual his secret could be kept safe. And if Mamoru timed a jump just right, he might be able to intercept Hanada if he fell. Maybe there was a way that this didn’t have to end badly. If they just stayed strong, maybe she could be convinced that they didn’t know where the Golden Crystal was hidden and she’d let Hanada go.

Hanada’s sharp intake of breath could be heard even from the distance between them. Mamoru tensed, fear like ice in his veins as the senshi’s wrist twitched inwards even farther. Midori stepped forward, “Wait!” he commanded.

“Don---“ Hanada choked, his voice mercilessly cut off by Mercury. His hands grabbed again for Mercury’s forearm, pulling at them with little effect as his legs kicked wildly around, trying to free himself. She was killing him.

The fear inside him for Hanada slowly began to change, helplessness turning to a stubborn refusal to yield, the willful belief that he could yet do something welling up within him, spreading outwards from his chest, collecting like a pool of white-hot energy in his hand. Mercury had to be stopped, and he would do it. He pulled a rose with his left hand and whipped it at her again, attracting her attention, then summoned another and transformed it into a sword. With energy collecting in his right hand and his Rose Sword ready in his left, Cardinal King took two steps backward, then charged forward –

But something small and quick flew in front of his face and he fumbled, concentration nearly lost with the instantaneous distraction. The collected energy dissipated; he barely hung on to his sword in his off-hand as the distraction disappeared to his left, but the commotion before him attracted all of his attention: a caped man was flying towards Sailor Mercury and North King, a long silver cape billowing behind him to control his trajectory. As the distance closed, the darker-skinned man with silver hair unsheathed a wicked-looking sword and, sword-first, went first through Mercury’s bubble and then straight through Mercury herself. She screamed, dropping Hanada as she disintegrated, leaving a shining blue jewel behind. Hanada fell, but Helios, the full size of a horse, rose out of the mists below to catch him gently, rising up with cargo safely centered.

“Helios, here!” Mamoru yelled, waving his arm and moving aside to make room for Helios to land; if she had cut into him, these next few moments were crucial. Helios seemed to hesitate for only a moment, then winged over and landed just as the new arrival did. Without being asked, East King moved to Mamoru’s side and helped to carefully pull Hanada off of Helios and gently lay him down. Hanada’s neck was bright red, but he was breathing. Blood colored his jacket, staining the blue-gray material a darker shade; again East King helped to undo the jacket and lay the jagged wound bare. Hastily Mamoru held both hands over the gash, then took a deep breath and concentrated, pulling from within himself to summon the energy needed to knit the flesh and heal the damage. He had never attempted to heal anything this bad before, but he could already sense some of the arteries mending, the muscle knitting together under the guidance of his power.

He was feeling lightheaded by the end of it, but when he finished all that was left was a thick scar, one that should lessen with time and rest. When finally his energy stopped pouring from his hands, it was like the world suddenly came back to life; he hadn’t realized before then that he had shut off most of his senses; even the sound of the quiet night air was a relief to his ears. Looking up he found East King still sitting across from him, his strange silver eyes looking to South King and Midori, who knelt near Hanada’s head. Already Mamoru could spot stark differences between East King’s outfit and theirs – for one, his cape still hung from his shoulders where theirs disappeared when it wasn’t needed, and for another, his uniform was silver-gray rather than blue-gray. His appearance in general was a contrast; he had a middle-eastern complexion, his face handsome if stern. Their plan to have East King pose as a false prince seemed incredibly believable now; East King had the bearing of a true King; Mamoru found part of himself actually wondering if Midori really were… but he brushed the thought aside roughly; of course they were right. Midori transformed without a pendant, and his family was in possession of the Golden Crystal. Midori was the Prince, and East King a convincing decoy. This would work; and, besides, they only had one more senshi to go.

Reminded of their enemy, he glanced between Midori and Moegi to the dark expanse between buildings, towards where Mercury had suspended herself, and saw, twinkling with its own light, the blue jewel was still there. Puzzled, he looked around for Jewel Tiara – why hadn’t she grabbed the gem yet? Had something – had Venus --?! He started to rise, but then a hand took his, blood and all, and he instantly relaxed. He felt a fool; he turned to her with an embarrassed smile and she squeezed his hand in return. She was kneeling beside him, her hair in pools to either side of her, one hand in his, the other holding tight to the hem of her dress. When he found her eyes again she was looking past him. Squeezing his hand once more, she stood, walked to be clear of everyone, then ran and launched off the side of the building. Mamoru found himself holding his breath as she sailed through the air, grabbed the crystal, holding it tight to her chest as she finished the jump and landed in a window well on the other side. Only when she made the landing did he exhale, but as she disappeared into the building he nearly jumped in surprise as a sharp voice exploded from somewhere near him.

“What is she doing?! You said they would be mine, Kunzite!”

___________________________






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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:08 pm

“Who is she?! Hurry! After her! Kunzite, she cannot be allowed to handle the gems!”

Something small darted out to hover aggressively before East King’s face, its movement so quick and flitting Mamoru instantly drew the connection – it was the distraction, the thing that threw him off when he had moved to strike at the senshi before; but what it was… what was the Golden Age like that it held such unbelievable realities and creatures within it? People who could control the elements, a Prince with power over a crystal that could change the fate of the world, a Pegasus with a golden horn that could change size on a whim, and now a fairy? As she slowed to hover before East King with hands on her hips, she couldn’t be anything else – she was tiny, barely three-quarters the length of his hand in height, with large iridescent wings that beat quickly to keep her in flight. She had long black hair that fell in waves past her waist and wore a black gown accented with a white asymmetrical apron. On her tiny feet were brown sandals, but if she could fly he couldn’t imagine what use they had. In any case, her speech was constantly punctuated with expressive hand motions that almost seemed to overpower her tiny frame. After yelling at East King, who didn’t appear to be overly concerned, she turned to Midori and South King, pointing at them and then across the expanse, “After her! Quickly! She cannot take the gems!”

“Why not?” Mamoru challenged; if the fairy wanted them to hunt down Jewel Tiara she was in for a rude awakening. She quickly turned to him and twitched, like a jump, holding and then avoiding his gaze for the split second before Moegi cut in.

“You can’t order him around,” South King admonished skeptically, indicating Midori.

The fairy turned back to them, planting her fists back on her hips as she as she scowled, “Why not?” she asked, echoing Mamoru’s phrase.

“Because,” Hanada said, regaining consciousness. His voice was a scratchy whisper; he didn’t even try raising himself. “He’s our Prince.”

She retreated to East King’s shoulder, landing lightly there and holding some of his silvery hair to keep her balance on the clasp of his cape. Mamoru kept his eyes on her, waiting to see what she would do next, wondering who she was and what story she held. She obviously knew something about the gems; enough, at least, to actively want them, which suggested she knew at least more than Usagi. Maybe he could help Usagi out; he could learn from the fairy was the gems were, and they could work out her puzzle together. It was worth a shot, at least. They fairy’s eyes were dark, and a pendant was draped across her forehead, held in place with tiny silver strands. It was a stone of some sort, one that matched the earrings that dangled above her shoulders and the pendant at her throat – a pendant of stone… was she one of them? He watched her eyes, wishing to know her thoughts as her gaze turned from Hanada to Moegi to Midori, then briefly to him before looking at her feet. Who was she? She seemed almost familiar then, like the chorus of a song that he knew but just couldn’t remember the words to.

“Our prince?” East King repeated, bringing his hand to his chest and bowing his head in a salute, “I apologize, Prince, for not introducing myself sooner; I am East King, though in another life I was known by the name Kunzite, and guarded you as a representative of the Eastern Kingdoms.”

“I knew it,” Hanada smiled, raising his head to get a good look at East King before resting again. “From the very beginning, I knew you were one of us.” Mamoru shook his head at his friend; of course Hanada would take a moment for an I-told-you-so, even when in all rights he should still be unconscious.

Midori raised a hand as if to ward off East, “No apology necessary – it’s a good thing you were here, or North… well, thanks for coming when you did.”

“Why did you wait this long?” Moegi asked, his eyes sharp and expectant. Helios, standing behind Moegi’s shoulders, looked on curiously, his eyes focused on the fairy as well.

“Watch your tone!” the fairy admonished, nearly jumping off of her perch. She stopped when East raised a hand.

“It was a strategy we concocted – I would stand as a false prince to lead the Dark Kingdom astray; if they wanted the Prince or the Golden Crystal, they could chase me and the real prince would be safe. I stayed away from all of you but kept visible in their eyes, stopping their monsters before they ran amok or foiling their energy schemes; however, it seemed as though luck or fate was against our plans from the very beginning, and it was you four that repeatedly faced the senshi. I regret that I was not there to help you defeat them before now.”

“No worries,” Hanada replied, weakly waving his hand, “we’re alive, they’re not, it’s all water under the bridge. But,” he raised his head again to look East King in the eye, “if you could keep up that little charade, that’d be great.”

Moegi reached forward and used one finger to push Hanada’s head back down, “Do us all a favor and at least pretend to be asleep before you pass out again.”

Mamoru added on Hanada’s idea, engaging East King, “We’ll help you; we’ll act like you are the prince, pretend to protect you when really protecting Midori. If we could keep him safe long enough to defeat the last senshi, the Moon Kingdom’s plot will fail. Without the senshi collecting energy, they cannot awaken whatever evil force awaits. Are you willing to continue, Moring Star?” he inquired, using the moniker as an alternative to the ‘king’ title that connected East to the rest of them. As of now, the more separation and deference the better.

The man regarded him thoughtfully, a smile slowly spreading. He nodded, “I can do that.”

“Kunzite,” the fairy called, her voice low and anxious, “the gem? She’s getting away –“

“She’s long gone by now,” Mamoru stated, hoping he was telling the truth, “She’s quick; she can easily keep up with me so she’s probably halfway across the city by now.” Or she could still be in that building, crying for reasons she doesn’t understand over the glowing remains of an enemy of the planet. “What are those jewels, and why are they important to you?”

Instead of answering, the fairy and East King shared an uneasy glance. “You two have run together before?” East asked cautiously, as though carefully phrasing his words.

He nodded, seeing no reason to lie. Their attention made him feel slightly uneasy, as though they thought he had done something wrong. He pushed the uneasiness aside; nothing about Usagi was mistrustful.

“Do you know who she is?” East asked seriously, “Can you be sure where her allegiance lies?”

“She could be a senshi in disguise, sent from the Dark Kingdom to infiltrate us,” the fairy added, looking back to East King, “that would explain why she wants the gems.”

Mamoru sat back, placing his hands firmly on his legs as he regarded them darkly. New team members or no, they jumped too quickly to conclusions. They didn’t even know her and already they mistrusted her – what right had they to judge her?! Usagi was not a senshi, the suggestion was insane! But he had no proof, and he certainly wasn’t going to divulge her civilian information to try to placate them—

I’ve never sensed anything from her,” Helios commented, unexpectedly defending her. Mamoru’s anger cooled as he looked thankfully towards the Pegasus. With Helios’s support it was two verses two and he wouldn’t sound so gullible.

“And so far, she’s stayed pretty much out of the way, not helping either side,” Midori added thoughtfully, “In fact, she only appears to carry away the shining crystal at the end of a senshi battle.”

“Not entirely true,” South commented, “at the masquerade ball she appeared and defeated the being that had been stealing energy; she saved Cardinal King’s life that night, and there wasn’t a senshi anywhere near there.”

“That means she saved my life, too,” Midori mused contemplatively. Mamoru felt more secure then – there was no way the new pair could continue to think Jewel Tiara an enemy. “I think we should trust her, for now at least. I mean, maybe not with everything, but we shouldn’t treat her like an enemy.”

“I agree,” Mamoru seconded immediately, deciding to add, “When I confronted her after Jupiter’s demise—“ he tried to ignore the fairy’s look of shock as he spoke, “--she said she was on our side. She’s against what the Moon Kingdom is doing and wants to help us.”

“You confronted her alone?” the fairy repeated incredulously, a hint of fear in her voice. “Listen, even if we are going to trust her for now, I don’t think meeting with her alone is the best of ideas. What if she’s –“

“She’s not.” Mamoru defended darkly, tired of the little creature’s bias against Usagi. “She’s an ally. End of story.”

“I can see where she’s coming from,” Hanada commented, keeping his eyes closed and thus making Mamoru’s glare ineffectual. “If she were a spy or an agent for them, we shouldn’t let her be so close to our Prince.”

“So we’ll make a compromise,” South decided matter-of-factly, his political side surfacing in his tone. “Midori, you’re not to be alone with Jewel Tiara. Okay?”

Midori shrugged, “Okay.”

“Done deal.” Moegi stated, crossing his arms. Hanada, eyes still closed, nodded once with a hint of a smile on his face as though he had planned the Moegi’s reaction. For all Mamoru knew, he did; in any case Midori’s agreement seemed to have taken the fire out of the fairy’s eyes, but she and East still seemed uncomfortable about the situation, so something told Mamoru that he hadn’t heard the end of it. Moegi continued, “Now what are those crystals she’s been taking?”

The fairy sighed, glancing again at Mamoru before fixing her gaze on Moegi. She sounded resigned as she said, “I’m not really sure.”

She didn’t know either?! All that fuss about how Jewel Tiara couldn’t have the crystals and she didn’t have any concrete reasons why not?! He was about to stand and walk away – he had had just about enough of this new team – but she hurried forward, jumping into the air and taking flight for their attention, hinting then that his reaction wasn’t the only negative one she had received. “But if I had to guess those crystals are the senshi’s Soul Gems!” She hovered above Hanada, looking at Moegi and Midori as though the information should have made them recoil. Mamoru looked to East King, but he didn’t seem to know what the fairy was talking about either.

“Alright,” Hanada said, one eye peeking open. His voice was stronger, but still sounded hoarse as he continued, “I’ll bite. What exactly is a ‘soul gem’, besides the obvious interpretation of the name, and why would you want them?”

She crossed her arms, “It’s less that I want them and more that I don’t want the enemy to have them. The gems are why Helios can sense when a senshi is near and why a senshi can control her element – they are a source of immense power and energy, and if the enemy were to get their hands on those crystals and knew how to tap into them...” she trailed off, but her meaning was clear: the crystals would be used to awaken the Moon Kingdom’s leader, and the war would really begin.

They were in silence for nearly a minute, each contemplating the threat; Mamoru wondered how best to return to the Jewel Tiara topic and place it in a better light. If she were guarding the senshi’s “soul gems” and those “soul gems” could be used as keys to the enemy’s awakening, he would prefer she work with them directly and not be stuck out by herself. If Venus knew that the crystals could be used that way, it would make Jewel Tiara, Usagi, a target; if she were with them she’d be easier to protect. He knew he’d be better able to keep his head in the game if he could see her and know she were safe. But how could he go about making that suggestion when it was clear that, if none else, East and the fairy were against anyone even conversing with her? He’d have to phrase it just right – he couldn’t be the only one that was thinking about Jewel Tiara after the reveal; maybe one of them would give him an opening?

“Shouldn’t they be called “Power Gems” or something then?” Midori asked skeptically. Mamoru dropped his head a bit, hoping he hadn’t just lost his opening due to semantics. “I mean, are their souls actually in them?”

“What?” the fairy looked a little thrown off by the question; she shook her head as if to clear it. “Their souls? We can’t really prove that their souls are in there, but that is what old mystics used to say.”

“Do only senshi have them?” Midori continued, “Soul gems, I mean?”

Helios answered in place of the fairy, “In the classical sense, every person that has a soul has a soul gem, but only those with great powers have physical soul gems. The gems are said to link the person to their power source; I suspect the senshi are connected to the very planets they represent, as are you, Prince.” Mamoru’s attention turned from Helios to Midori, watching the look of confusion on his friend’s face turn to thoughtfulness; Mamoru didn’t envy him. It seemed like a lot of pressure to be under for one person, but then Midori wasn’t alone. And even as he didn’t envy the guy, Mamoru knew he’d be there in a heartbeat to help whatever way he could, even if it were just trying to find ways to keep the thought of having a personal connection to Earth out of mind. “Everyone here, in fact, has a soul gem within them that should manifest in physical form.” The thought entertained Mamoru for a moment as he wondered what his would look like, but glancing down to see the pyrite pendant on his chest cleared the question up pretty quickly. He half-smiled – his ‘soul gem’ was fool’s gold.

“Well, almost everyone,” the fairy objected; her tone sounded playful, but forced. She returned to East King’s shoulder and stood there again, her hands folding across her chest. “So you see now why that thief can’t have the gems: if they fell into the wrong hands – which could be hers for all we know – the Earth is doomed.”

“Then we should keep her close,” Mamoru challenged, not willing to let this opening go. “That way we can keep an eye on her and protect the gems at the same time.” He paused to let the option sink in before continuing to fight his point, “She has shown no ill-will towards us and she can fight. She doesn’t know Midori is our Prince and we’ll keep it that way; just like with the Moon Kingdom, we’ll make it seem like East is the reborn Prince of Earth. Besides,” he added finally, “wouldn’t you want to know if anything happened to her and the three gems she carries?”

“Three…” East King echoed thoughtfully.

“And how do you know she hasn’t phased back to the Dark Kingdom and returned the blue crystal by now?” the fairy contested.

He felt the flush in his cheeks – she was wrong! How could she be so confident?! – but without revealing her secret to parties who clearly didn’t like her, he had nothing to defend Usagi with. A beat passed without his response.

“You see? This is just too big to bring random strangers into the mix. The stakes are too high for this. It’s up to us and us alone.” The fairy finished, crossing her arms pragmatically, keeping her eyes anywhere but on him.

He was tired of her and her inability to look at him – if she had to constantly shoot him down, she should own up to it and look him in the eye! “Who are you, anyway?” he challenged.

The fairy froze up, like she had been hit with something. As her head bent forward, long hair concealing her features, she slowly relaxed. She clasped her hands together in front of her and he began to regret his words. The probability was high that she was someone from their past, with that green-stone pendant she might have even worked with them to protect the Prince. It wasn’t her fault that he didn’t remember. … but that didn’t change that she was being rude and accusatory of an innocent party.

Don’t mind him; his thick skull should be put on display one day to be marveled at the world over.” Helios cut in. While Mamoru didn’t appreciate the remark, he did appreciate the gesture to bridge the gap. The Pegasus, still in his full-sized form, tilted his head to the side questioningly, bright red eyes intent upon the little fairy. “I think I know you. You are Beryl, are you not?

She perked up a little bit, unclasping her hands to take a more casual stance. “I could be.”

“You are! But how did you survive the attack?! No one else…” Helios trailed off, his voice halting.

The little fairy – Beryl – stood even taller. She brushed her hair behind her shoulder and, looking a little smug, commented, “No one else was me. I knew a spell and I used it at the last moment, just as the light was exploding outward. I survived. In a new form,” she fluttered her wings, rising off of East King’s shoulder before alighting there again, “but I survived.”

Your magic did that?!” Helios asked incredulously. She nodded once, looking as pleased with herself as Helios looked taken aback. “And that’s how you…” he nodded his head forward, “I knew I saw true talent in you! You should have been inducted into the Maenads –“

“And where would I be if I had?” Beryl replied snippily. “Besides,” she amended, her voice full but with faint discolorations of bitterness in her tone, “Who said I would have accepted? I didn’t want to live in the Gardens of Elysion anyway.” She launched up into the air far above their heads, and hovered there for a moment before zipping back down towards them. “It’s close to 4:00,” she reported to East King.

He nodded his head, “North, how are you feeling?”

Hanada cleared his throat, sounding much better than before. “Like I was just stabbed in the stomach and almost choked to death,” he pushed himself up to a sitting position, grimacing, and looked to East King. He shrugged, “You know, pretty good.”

His jest seemed to fall on deaf ears. The silver eyes fell on Mamoru, “Could you help him home?” Mamoru nodded, then he and East helped Hanada to his feet. While he still felt light-headed from earlier, Mamoru supported Hanada as best he could. East looked to Helios and Midori, “we’ll escort the Prince home,” he said, including the fairy, Beryl, in their party.

Moegi stood and went to Hanada’s other side, taking Hanada’s other arm over his shoulder. “I’ll help Mamoru; I’m heading in that direction anyway.”

East nodded, and their team split in two, with East, Beryl, Midori and Helios turning to jump over rooftops towards the outskirts of town, and Mamoru, Hanada and Moegi remaining on the rooftop.

“So,” Moegi said questioningly, “Do we try rooftops or jump down and walk?”



In the end they had jumped off the building and chose to walk – it would put less strain on Hanada’s new ‘stitches’. Holding tightly to either side of Hanada, the three had jumped together and landed almost softly on the ground, barely jarring North’s injuries. There they powered down – police sirens could be heard all around them, probably in response to the ‘raids’ of the jewelry stores – and started the long walk home. When he felt strong enough to, Mamoru threw more healing energy into Hanada; by the time they reached his parents’ expensive apartment building, Hanada barely needed any help. He said goodnight as he walked through the building’s doors alone, greeting the confused doorman casually as he disappeared into the lobby.

Mamoru and Moegi parted there, their homes in opposing directions. With a quick transformation the rest of his trip took mere minutes, and by 5:30 Mamoru was in his apartment. He turned off the television after removing the video tape and breaking it in two, and as he gathered the phone cord and put the phone back in its place by his desk, his mind finally matched his body in exhaustion. He was asleep soon after.



He woke up the next morning to the phone ringing. He checked his watch first, just to make sure it wasn’t a message from the Kings, but the clock was acting normally. It was 11:45 am. He rolled out of bed and stood shakily; the healing from last night was still taking its toll. Stumbling into the main room, he picked up the phone and greeted, “Hello, Chiba Mamoru speaking.”

“Mamo-chan!”

His heart skipped a beat. “Usagi, good morning –“

She interrupted him, her voice in a whisper, “I can’t talk for long – they thought I snuck out last night and I’m grounded again. I just wanted to see if you were okay – are you okay?”

“Yeah,” he remarked, “I’m fine.” It felt good to have someone checking up on him.

“Really? You looked like you were going to faint last night – I can’t believe you can heal people! That’s so cool!”

He smiled, “I’m fine, really; just hungry. I could probably eat a horse –“ he turned to face his kitchen and almost choked on his words. Standing on the kitchen table, reading the morning paper, was Helios. The white Pegasus flicked his tail casually, then used his horn to turn the next page. Red eyes flashed up at him and if horses could raise their eyebrows, Helios was definitely raising his.

“And your friend?” she prompted.

“Uh,” he stammered, turning away from Helios but keeping his eyes on him, “Hanada? He’s fine, too. Good as new.” He paused, then corrected, “Well, he’ll have a scar for a while, but that should be just about it.”

“Oh, good!” she exclaimed as if releasing her breath. Then her voice dropped even quieter. “I think I hear Shingo. I’ll try calling again later!” she paused, and he hung on the pause just as he hung on her words. “Talk to you later, Mamo-chan.”

“Talk to you later, Usagi,” he replied, deciding that it would be too forward to admit how much he’d be looking forward to the call.

When they hung up he turned around. “So you’re back?” Mamoru said by way of greeting as he walked to the kitchen, dumping the hot chocolate from the night before and starting a new kettle for a quick lunch. As his stomach grumbled loudly, he added a few saucepans to the stove as well.

“Eh, for a while at least,” the unisus replied with bored tones. “East has moved into Midori’s house under the guise of an exchange student and Beryl went with him, so I thought I’d stay here with you instead.”

Mamoru caught the hint of distaste in Helio’s mental tone at Beryl’s name and he chuckled, “Well, thanks for liking me more than the fairy.”

“Don’t feel too special; it’s not exactly hard to do.”
Helios returned. He looked up from the paper, as though considering something seriously. Finally he turned to Mamoru and added, “Rock and a hard place, really.”

“Shut up,” Mamoru rolled his eyes and threw the dish towel at him. In truth Mamoru was glad to see Helios back with him, even if it was ‘just for a while’. As Helios used his golden horn to toss the towel to the ground, Mamoru asked, “You hungry?”

___________________________






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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:26 pm

((!! I haven't been keeping up with updates here! Sorry. x_x !! == ALSO! I'm super lazy and don't want to put in the italics. x__X sorry sorry I'm terrible I know. If you want to read them with the italics, it's available at http://fanfiction.net/~kyralih and at http://kyralih.tumblr.com/fanfiction Smile ))

Mamoru glanced at his watch and put the paper down, folding it neatly and tucking it inside his school bag. He stood and walked into the kitchen, placing the bag in a chair as he refilled the kettle and put his dried dishes away. He turned and picked up the bag again, walking to the door and pausing to put his shoes on. “Are you coming?” he asked over his shoulder of the white Pegasus standing on his table.

“I’ll meet you there later,” he replied without concern.

As Mamoru left the building, bag in hand, and was quickly joined by a stranger. While he had never seen the guy before, the familiarity of his presence was overwhelming. They walked together for over a block before either of them spoke. Mamoru didn’t know how to start; he didn’t actually know the guy, but his affiliation with the annoying little fairy didn’t create any warm feelings between them. Detransformed he seemed very similar to his alter ego; the silver-colored hair was the same, which was surprising, but useful, he supposed, if they went through with the charade. How many high-school-aged guys had silver shoulder-length hair? If Venus was looking, she wouldn’t have to look very hard to find their supposed Prince. With thoughts of the discussion from the other night and what he had heard from Helios in mind, he finally asked, “Shouldn’t you be with Midori?”

The man shrugged, “We thought it would work better this way.”

Mamoru raised a brow, looking at him sideways as they walked. “Yeah?” he asked. Had Midori tired of this guy already and passed him off?

“Yeah,” he replied, “If I’m supposed to be the Prince, then shouldn’t I be sticking around the Prince’s primary protector?”

Primary protector? Rather than ask, he considered the phrase, thinking through what he knew, and almost immediately the reasoning surfaced: their names. East King, North King, South King – he was Cardinal King. The centerpiece of the directions. It wasn’t entirely unreasonable to believe that his title was honorary based upon a leadership position. He paused, wondering if he had been slacking in that department lately; should he have been personally escorting Midori around? … No, he finally decided. They had been taking turns, and Helios had been with Midori when he or the others couldn’t have been. Nothing had happened, so their previous protective duty seemed adequate enough.

He shrugged as a response and they continued walking.

“Midori is with Moegi,” East offered.

Mamoru nodded. That would’ve been his guess; Moegi’s parents were thrilled with his friendship with the influential Midori family, so his mother drove him out to the mansion whenever he requested. Midori usually preferred to walk into town and had his chauffer drop him off near Moegi’s neighborhood since it was within walking distance to the districts he liked to visit and was closest to his manse.

“I’m Kobai,” the man said, half a block later.

“Chiba.” Mamoru replied. They continued walking.

Half an hour later they paused to speak to the doorman and waited for Hanada to okay them before entering the apartment’s lobby and boarding an elevator. They got off on his floor and Hanada greeted them at the door; only then did Mamoru and Kobai actually form a conversation. Entering Hanada’s house they found Midori and Moegi spread out on a table, their homework before them. Mamoru took out the morning paper and for the next half hour they poured over various news sources so see if there were any connections drawn to them, and to get a general feel for the city’s thoughts about the mysterious happenings around the city. By far Hanada had the most sources, taking his online forums and websites into the discussion as he broke apart every story and discussed the subtleties in the writing, even going so far as making suggestions as to how much the police department had been asked to keep confidential.

The jewelry store robberies were attributed to mob mentality, and while many citizens had been arrested on Friday night, the majority of them had been released, starting with the children and teenagers. The papers reported that no commonalities had been found between the people, but if the cops hadn’t made the connection they would shortly.

They strategized their activities; Midori and Kobai wouldn’t be left alone any time in the near future: until Venus showed herself, they had to prepare for any possibility. Kobai’s school was a good distance away from theirs, but he said he could lay low until connecting with one of them, specifically Mamoru. Mamoru objected at first, citing Kobai’s experience and expertise with his weapon as reason for him to be with Midori, but Midori flat-out refused, using Kobai’s earlier reasoning to cement the decision. If they had to split, Kobai would go with Mamoru, Moegi and Hanada with Midori. Beryl would keep completely out of sight – much to Mamoru’s relief – and Helios’s decision to return to Mamoru’s apartment.

The plan was clear; now they just had to wait.



Over the next couple of weeks, Mamoru saw more of Kobai than he ever could have imagined; the foreigner had a strong sense of duty – that much was for sure – and was consistently punctual and stubborn about keeping close from the time that school ended until they retired for the day. Eventually, though Mamoru’s was the absolute smallest of all of their homes, the guys started having dinner there and hanging out with Helios before calling it a night. Though it was annoying at times – especially with Midori’s habit of lounging over absolutely everything and leaving a mess wherever he went – Mamoru enjoyed the feeling of his place when they were around; their companionship, even with the occasional bickering or not-so-subtle ribs, reminded him of families on television, and made him feel a strangely nostalgic.

Calls with Usagi were like clockwork; every night around eight she would call from her ‘unforgiving prison’ and whine about her day or enthuse him about the latest video games and sweet treats she was missing out on and would have to catch up on when she was released. She could have talked about anything, really; he was happy just hearing her voice. It was odd, but with her he felt both relaxed and on-edge, and on occasion he would just wonder when she would realize how boring he was and hang up. It was always a little fear of his, a fear that she would make him completely forget while they were talking, but would hit him little by little when they said goodnight. But, while he had become generally comfortable speaking with her over the phone, when her punishment finally ended he was nervous all over again when faced with the possibility of actually seeing her.

… especially with Kobai and crew in tow.

“Hey,” Mamoru attempted, pausing before entering the arcade, “I’ll catch you guys later; I’ve got something to do.” It was a rare day without soccer practice, a day usually used to catch up on homework and get ahead in class, but he felt confident enough in his studies to do without a day of classwork; and maybe… well, he felt confident that he might be able to sit down and have an actual face-to-face conversation with Usagi. Treat her to one of the sundaes she had mentioned a couple times over the phone, or do something else she enjoyed.

They all paused, Kobai, Midori, everyone. Midori raised a brow, “What do you have to do?” he asked, skeptical disbelief in his tone.

“Something,” he replied immediately, a little flustered; he had hoped they would just shrug and let it go, as they usually did when Moegi had to go for a debate team meet or Hanada left to work on his newspaper. He hadn’t exactly worked up a solid reason, and now his mind raced for a reasonable excuse.

“Well that’s specific,” Hanada replied, rolling his eyes as he pushed past Kobai to go through the door Mamoru held open for them. “See you later, Chiba.”

Mamoru felt some relief at Hanada’s easy acceptance and the weird look Hanada was giving the others, but while Moegi was making a move forward, the others seemed unaffected. … which meant that they were all right there and in full view when a cheerful voice cried from behind him, “Mamo-chan!” and Usagi Tsukino came up next to him, a dazzling smile on her face. Her bright blue eyes caught his with a look of utter happiness and excitement. She slid to a stop beside him, her winter school uniform looking a little unkempt, it was clear she had come straight from school, without detention: in one hand was her schoolbag, the other held a crumpled-up piece of paper. He couldn’t help the slight smile on his face, but he wiped it away quickly and looked over at his friends, just waiting for their reaction. She followed his gaze and he could see her mind working as she surveyed at the four of them, Hanada now hanging out in the doorway, and glanced back at him. She had put it together. “Oh, sorry. Am I interrupting something?” she asked hesitantly.

As he could have expected, Midori had a sly grin on his face, a look echoed by Moegi behind him. “Not at all. So, Mamo-chan, who is this lovely young woman?” Midori asked, his voice changed to the ‘charming’ tone he used around girls. He stepped forward and offered her his hand.

She looked at the offered hand with some confusion, and started to reach forward when Mamoru spoke to stop the inane ploy Midori was attempting. He’d seen the brunet use it before – rather than a handshake, Midori would kiss the back of the girl’s hand and say something about how nice it was to meet them. It worked on some girls (Mamoru personally liked it better when the girl rejected him outright), but he didn’t relish the idea of Midori trying that particular trick on Usagi. “This is Tsukino-san,” he stated as a matter of fact, looking from the hand to Midori until he dropped it.

Unfortunately, while Midori had dropped the hand, he apparently wasn’t ready to drop the conversation. He smiled brightly, “Tsuki-san, eh? How would you like to join us for a milkshake? My treat.”

Mamoru prepared a refusal, but Usagi’s quick, “Okay!” made him swallow it immediately. Instead he settled for a glare as Midori made a grand sweeping gesture to the Crown Fruit Parlor near the arcade and followed along. Hanada kept with him as they walked; Usagi walked between Midori and Moegi, laughing as one of them made a joke. He liked seeing her laugh, though part of him wished that he had caused it rather than they.

“So, Tsukino-san?” Hanada asked unobtrusively, the words an invitation for a better explanation than one he had offered the others.

Mamoru shrugged, “She used to throw her bad grades at me.”

“Grade Eight you say?” Moegi repeated loudly, looking back at Mamoru and raising his eyebrows and smirking as Midori held the door and Usagi disappeared inside, her eyes catching his and smiling again before walking up the short set of stairs. Mamoru just glared, shoving his hands in the pockets of his uniform. It wasn’t that strange, right? She was 14, he was 17; the difference was just three years. That wasn’t creepy.

When he and Hanada made it upstairs after them, they had already claimed a six person round table; Usagi waved at him and motioned to the empty seat beside her. He did, and tried to ignore the thrill he got when her hand accidently brushed him. Hanging out with Usagi and the guys was a lot less stressful and embarrassing than Mamoru would have originally thought; no one even asked about the specifics of their relationship, instead they mostly asked Usagi questions about herself and used her answers to launch into amusing stories or to tease someone else about a similarity. Usagi laughed a lot – they all did, really – and he learned new things about nearly everyone there.

“So, Tsukino-san –“

“You can call me Usagi-chan!” Usagi assured them happily, taking another spoonful of her second chocolate sundae.

Kobai smiled, “Usagi-chan, then; what do you want to be when you grow up?”

She sputtered, then swallowed the mouthful of ice cream, her cheeks flushing. Finally, she put her spoon down and looked up, away from them all, crossed her arms and declared, “I haven’t decided yet.” Moegi snickered and she turned the question on him, “What do you want to be, Moegi-kun?”

The blonde shrugged, then straightened in his seat. “Prime Minister.”

“Big surprise there,” Midori commented. Usagi looked to him and he stretched, putting his hands behind his head as he answered, “My future’s already set – I’ve got a business to run. Or oodles of money to spend; either really.”

“How terrible for you,” Mamoru commented flatly, smiling so they knew he didn’t mean anything by the statement. The group chuckled appreciatively as Midori made a big show of sighing.

“It’s tiring being me,” he complained good-naturedly.

“What would you do if you didn’t have to run your family’s business?” Usagi asked.

Midori looked thoughtful before answering, “I don’t know. Travel, maybe. Or run an arcade.”

“And by ‘run’ he really means ‘loaf around in’,” Hanada commented, “And I’d have someone cover the story in one of the lesser news columns – ‘Local Millionaire Squanders Fortune on Video Games.’”

“Hey!”

“Kobai? What about you?” Hanada continued without giving Midori any attention.

“I’d like to be an archaeologist,” Kobai replied, “with a concentrations in the Middle Eastern region centering on ancient Mesopotamia, specifically Babylonia.”

Mamoru’s eyebrows raised; it was an impressive goal, one that he hadn’t really considered for Kobai. With his general demeanor and serious nature, he had him pegged for a business position. Beside him, Usagi’s mouth hung open a bit, her wide-eyed expression one of awed disbelief. “Like Indiana Jones?!”

Everyone laughed at her outburst; Kobai actually cracked a smile, “I guess so.”

“Do you think you’ll take a university position?” Hanada inquired.

Kobai nodded, “I would try; teaching at a university is the surest way of securing funding for digs and provides a good launch point for scientific papers.”

“And an unending supply of graduate students to do the grunt work,” Moegi added with a wry smile.

The tanned man shrugged, “True.”

“So what do you want to be, Mamo-chan?” Usagi asked, turning to him.

“A doctor,” he replied easily. While physics was his favorite subject in school and he had an interest in astronomy, he had wanted to be a doctor in the medical profession for as long as he could remember. Saving lives, helping those who needed it; it was a calling that he couldn’t ignore. And with certain natural gifts, he believed he could do rather well.

They were quiet for a moment; Usagi had a soft smile on her face that he found curious – why had his profession caused such a reaction? It wasn’t nearly as outlandish or exciting as an archaeologist; in fact, nowadays there was a great number of people who wanted to be doctors, so why then the pensive mood? “I could see that,” Hanada commented at last; and finally he made the connection.

“Me, too,” Midori added with a smile.

They had probably been thinking about the that night, when Sailor Mercury had really hurt Hanada, and how he stepped forward and took care of things. He had looked back on that time on occasion, and was proud of his reaction – he had been quick and he had known what to do. It was true that in the future he wouldn’t be so able to openly display his healing abilities, but that he had reacted calmly and kept his head despite the intensity of the situation made him feel as though he could handle any medical emergency he was up against and stay cool and confident enough to lead the team as a doctor should.

The revelation of his healing abilities to the team at large had gone well; it was treated as he had hoped it would be – with more of a “Huh, well that’s cool,” as opposed to reacting as though he was an anomaly in a bad way, as some of the children in the children’s home had done. Moegi had crossly asked why he hadn’t told them about it before, but, honestly, he just didn’t think about it until it was necessary. … just as he hadn’t really considered that it had been the reason for their reactions until it became obvious.

The conversation changed topic from there, but as the sun started setting some time later Usagi slid her chair back and stood. “Thank you for the sundaes!” she bowed slightly to Midori.

Midori leaned forward, the front two legs of his chair hitting the floor loudly as he replied, “Anytime, Usagi-chan. It was nice to meet you.”

Kobai, Hanada and Moegi repeated the sentiment and she smiled, “It was nice meeting all of you, too! But I have to get home before I get grounded again.” She reached down and picked up her book bag, then turned to Mamoru with a sweet smile, “Mamo-chan, could you walk me home?”

He stood up immediately, “Sure,” he replied, glad for the excuse to spend some time alone with her. Picking up his own school bag he turned to the table of guys, “See you later.”

“Bye Mamo-chan,” Moegi replied with a wave. They turned to leave as Midori echoed and Hanada and Kobai resisted the urge. As they walked away he thought he heard them talking about whether or not it’d be strange to go back to his place anyway and bug Helios for a while; Mamoru was pretty confident that they would be there when he got back and they wouldn’t just be bothering Helios.

Walking home with Usagi was nice; he was a little nervous, and so, it seemed, was she. But as they started talking and she started laughing they both relaxed. They talked about school at first, and then she spun around a bit, excited to be ‘free at last!’ and how she would never again be caught leaving the house when grounded, which brought the conversation to their other lives. She checked her earlier assumption, “So, your friends, Midori and Moegi and them, they’re the other Kings, aren’t they?” He nodded, and she paused, “Did they know about me?”

“Do they know you’re Jewel Tiara?” he clarified; she didn’t look bothered either way, and he answered, “No; that’s your secret. And remember that new ally we have? She still doesn’t trust you with the senshi’s soul gems, so I thought it best to keep my knowledge of you in any capacity a secret.”

She nodded, looking thoughtful, then changed the subject to more normal things for the rest of the walk. When they reached her house they said goodnight and Mamoru walked home. At one point as he left Usagi’s neighborhood he felt as though he were being followed, but as he paused, looked and listened, nothing presented itself as extraordinary so he continued on. When finally he reached his apartment, he found his guess had been right; they were all there, ready and waiting with embarrassing questions or assumptions about his relationship with Usagi. He weathered it all well, letting all the ribbing slide off his shoulders and only answering any question that seemed like an actual question, which pretty much meant he only responded to Kobai and Hanada.

It continued that way for the next couple of days – between practices and meets and homework, when they were just hanging around Crown Arcade or Fruit Parlor, Usagi would occasionally join them. He thought that the nervous excitement he felt whenever he saw her would fade away, but, for the first week at least, it only intensified. Whenever she was around all he wanted to do was be close and closer to her, to make her smile or tease her until she exploded in an energetic display of frustration. Still, no matter how nuts he drove her, if she stayed with them until after dark he would walk her home.

On one such occasion, after saying goodnight, as he was walking back from her house alone the lights around him suddenly went out. Not just the street lights, but the lights in the surrounding houses, as well; both up and down the street not a single light was on, and an eerie feeling crept through Mamoru. Gripping his bag he walked a little faster, needing to get to a cross street and see if the impossible were true; as he stood in the middle of the street, he saw it clearly: from skyscrapers to car headlights, all of Tokyo was dark. A regular blackout wouldn’t go that far.

His watch’s alarm went off and he quickly answered the summons. Immediately Hanada appeared on screen. “We need all of you back here! The top of Tokyo Tower is glowing – it’s Venus!”

Sailor Venus was showing her face at last; after so long she was finally playing her cards. “I’m on my way,” he replied, cancelling the transmission. He took two steps forward and paused, wondering if he should go back. Usagi was on their side; as Jewel Tiara she had powers and abilities that could help them, and when facing Sailor Venus there was something for her in this battle. This was the last senshi; this was the last soul gem. After this, maybe she would know why she was collecting them, why they had such an emotional connection with her. But… he couldn’t help remember the danger Hanada was in in the fight against Sailor Mercury, and the last thing he wanted was to put her in that danger. If anything happened to her…

Footsteps on the road beside him made him turn; in a split second he had grabbed his pendant and transformed, a rose held threateningly in his hand as he glared into the darkness. “Hold it, ‘King,” Kobai’s voice cautioned from the darkness. As his eyes adjusted to the faint moonlight he saw them –both East King and Midori transformed, approaching quickly.

“What are you two doing here?!” Mamoru demanded in a shout, not knowing what he was angrier about: that they had followed him to Usagi’s house (and who knew how many other times they had done so!) or that they were both there! If Venus had found them the Prince charade would have been for nothing and they both could have died!

“Let’s go; she’s probably got something huge in store,” Kobai replied, completely ignoring his question as he and Midori moved past him, striding forward purposefully, if watchfully, both of their heads moving left and right as they scanned their surroundings. Filled with frustration, he followed, frowning but keeping watchful, too. Later he would berate them; if he really were the leader of the Kings and it was his job to make sure Midori was safe, there had to be some form of punishment for their disobeying the agreed-upon arrangements and placing them both in danger.

They started to run then, keeping together in a loose ‘v’ formation as they increased their speed, then jumped onto lower buildings and up onto rooftops as they sped through the city, the Tokyo Tower a glowing beacon before them.

---------------
Dear Readers,

Thank you for following Cardinal King! Very Happy Your reviews have kept me going and I’m so excited to get to the really juicy parts~ But I wanted to explain a few things before we continue:
Up until now, things have kept pretty close to the manga story line, just reversed and with a few little extras peppered in; I’d say the first major change was Nephrite being believed to be the Prince based on his modern-day background (hahaha I couldn’t help it. Originally Nephrite was still going to transform unexpectedly without the help of Helios and would have been the false-prince either way, but I thought it be fun to throw even more fuel into that fire with the fake golden crystal), but I’m afraid that isn’t the only major change to this story – others are coming.
It will start with Mamoru’s awakening, and continue from there. There is one major change that will influence the rest of the story, a change I felt was absolutely necessary to keep this reversal possible and feasible given what we know about Naoko’s world (and what you will find out about what I’m doing!). I’m considering making an alternative timeline for this story where the change doesn’t happen and it’s an exact mirror, but I want to play with my intended version first! So excited!

Thank you again for your continued interest and I hope you can stick with me the whole way!

Love and cupcakes,
--Kyralih

P.S. IMPORTANT NOTE! Kunzite/Kobai/East King/Morning Star will now be known as West King and Evening Star based primarily on tumblr user Sailor Scribbles’s research on the kings and relating them to the directional animals/beasts!
Using the map given in Sailor Moon, Another Story for the locations of the Shitennou’s ancient homes, we can pretty much place the Golden Kingdom as centered on Babylonia in ancient Mesopotamia. If that indeed was the Capitol of the Ancient World / Golden Kingdom, why would the map and directions be based in Europe? So therefore Kunzite of the Middle East would actually be west of Babylonia, and Nephrite of North America is east of Babylonia. Jadeite’s Tibetan area is still South and Zoisite’s northern Europe is still North, so the only swap in the story so far would be changing Kunzite’s King name (which isn’t that hard and he can still be a moniker for planet Venus ^.~ ) ((…and now they match their paired senshi exactly which makes me super excited XD))
SO YES.
When I get my internet connection back on Thursday I’ll go back and edit previous chapters to reflect this change; so in the next chapter if Midori is referred to as ‘East King’, don’t get confused!!

This has been an extremely long post script.


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PostSubject: Re: Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE   Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:26 pm

They met with South, North, and Helios and paused, waiting in the shadow of a building, a shadow cast by the immense glow emanating from the top of Tokyo Tower. They were caught up in moments; Venus was indeed there, but other than creating a spectacular light show with or without the city’s electricity, she was idle. “She’s waiting for you,” Beryl affirmed, hovering beside East King, returning from surveillance. She looked at Mamoru, “You don’t have to go! She’s ready and she’s confident – I don’t think fighting her at this time is the right move; we should wait for her to be a little less prepared!”

“And do what in the meantime?” Mamoru asked skeptically, “Hope she doesn’t try draining everyone’s energy and feeding it to their Queen?” he looked around at the rest of them and continued, though in their expressions he could clearly see they were with him. “When have we ever caught a senshi off guard? They are the attackers, we are the defenders, and like it or not we’re fighting on her terms no matter when we face her.” He glanced around the building and glanced up at the bright yellow glow emanating from the tower; he couldn’t look at it straight on – it was too bright – but he could take a guess at how high it was. Part of him wondered if she were actually on the tower or was somehow floating above it; the possibility that she could fly had discouraged him, but looking up now he was fairly certain that she was on the structure. They just needed to find a way to climb up there without her knowing.

He ducked back behind the building before she could spot him and waited for his eyes to adjust again; Beryl’s eyes adjusted automatically and he wished their masks did the same to filter out the excess light Venus emitted. For a moment he eyed Helios and paused, wondering if the Pegasus could fly with one of them on his back… they could fight Venus or distract her using Helios’s three dimensional movement… but it would be putting Helios in undue danger. They didn’t know what Venus’s attacks were like, and if they were ranged they might be creating more of a sitting duck situation than a distraction. Maybe surrounding her would work better; if they could come from all four sides of the tower… jump as one, weapons drawn and ready… could they surprise her?

“Listen,” he started, calling their attention, “I think surprising her is our only chance. Helios, you stay here with Midori; if anything happens, get him out of here.” Helios nodded, his red eyes turning to Midori and East. Midori didn’t look like he quite enjoyed this plan, but he would just have to deal with that; he had put himself in enough danger that night by running around alone with the decoy Prince. “Everyone else, let’s take a side of the tower and jump as one – she wouldn’t expect an attack from all sides at once, and if our weapons are drawn and attacks ready, we might be able to get her off her guard long enough to… well, to take care of her.” He was still uncomfortable with what they were actually doing; he didn’t like to admit aloud that they were killing these girls. Enemies or not, death was not something he enjoyed having on his conscience.

“Great plan and all,” Midori commented, “But I think I should go with you.” He put up a hand before Mamoru or anyone else could object. “Listen, she knows there are five of us, and as you so eloquently pointed out earlier, she thinks East is the Prince. Now don’t you think she’d find it suspicious if only four of us went into battle, and one of those four was the Prince you’ve been sworn to protect? I think she’d connect the dots and make him for a decoy, then quit the scene and come right after us. If, however, I went with you, she’d still think East was the Prince and was just a stubborn ass about being protected.”

“Like you are so intent on being?” Moegi stated.

Midori shrugged, “Yeah.”

North sighed, looking generally unhappy as he sided with Midori, “I hate to say it, but that’s the best option we’ve got.”

Mamoru folded, knowing that if Hanada backed it, it really was their best option. “Fine. Stay with East –“ he directed, but was interrupted by Kobai.

“I think he should stay with you, instead.” East offered. “As you were so keen on pointing out earlier, if I’m the false Prince, the real Prince shouldn’t be anywhere near me. With your sword you’d be best able to keep a good defense on him. Besides,” he added, “you are his primary protector.”

“Okay, okay,” Mamoru granted, turning to Midori, “Stay close. If things get dicey fall back, got it?”

Midori smiled, “Sure.”

His cockiness would get them all killed. They decided to take the side associated with their title; representing the West, Mamoru and Midori stayed where they were as the other slunk away, Moegi to the right, Kobai and Hanada to the left. They waited for the signal, Mamoru running over any possible situation he could think of and whispering to Midori what he needed to do if any one of the imagined scenarios took place, from which way he should dodge to how he would drop and fall. For once Midori seemed to be paying attention; but it could partly be due to Helios’s presence near them. Beryl had returned to aerial surveillance, the only good thing he could think of when from out of the corner of his eye he saw Jewel Tiara rushing towards them. He tried to signal her away, tried to motion her to stay back and out of sight, but she shook her head and joined them, the gems in her belt glowing brightly in the shadow in their building.

“You shouldn’t be here!” Mamoru declared, taking her arms gently to keep her in place, trying to convey the seriousness of this situation to her. His hands thrilled at the touch of her skin, but the fear he felt for her completely overpowered any joy he might have felt with such a touch before. This enemy was unusual; the others were different – Mars and Mercury had been running energy stealing operations when they fought them. Jupiter had fought them out of revenge for Mars, or so they believed, but Venus? Venus sought them out. Venus was prepared for them, so prepared that she was casually waiting for them to arrive to fight her. Mercury had almost killed Hanada; Venus… Venus was their leader, stronger than the others; she might succeed. This could be their last battle together, and he didn’t was Usagi to risk her life in this!

“I told you before!” Usagi declared, her veil twitching over her mouth as her voice matched his for urgency and righteousness. Her eyebrows unknitted themselves, her expression softening as she continued, “I want to help you.”

“You’re Jewel Tiara,” Midori stated.

She stood back and nodded to him, pulling out of Mamoru’s grasp. “Listen,” Mamoru tried again, pulling at her attention and reaching for her. She evaded his grasp but looked at him guardedly. “Listen, I’ll get the gem for you. I’ll keep it safe and give it to you when the battle is over, just, please, stay back.”

“I’m in place,” East said, his voice coming in over the communicator watches.

“Ready,” South and North said together.

“What’s going on?” Jewel Tiara asked, her eyes leaving him to find Midori.

“We’re surrounding her; we’re going to catch her off guard—“ Midori stupidly answered.

“We’ve got her – go home, it’s too dangerous!” Mamoru pleaded, hearing the weakness in his voice and not caring. He couldn’t risk her.

“You’ll need a distraction.” The words were out of her mouth and before his mind could wrap around what she had said, she stepped forward, ripping the veil from her face, and kissed him. The kiss was brief and hurried, but the feeling of her lips on his was warm and soft and sweet, eliciting a feeling that was both wonderful and frightening to him; frightening only because it felt like a goodbye. He couldn’t react fast enough; just as he realized what she was about to do she was gone, running out into the bright glow and pulling off her tiara, aiming for the bright light at the top of the tower.

“WAIT! USAKO!” Mamoru cried after her, dashing out from behind the building to follow.

“NOW! GO NOW!” he heard Midori yelling from behind him, and while he knew he should tell them to stop, that there was a new plan, that going now would be ineffective, all he could concentrate on was the retreating figure ahead of him, her black boots striking the pavement in time with the pounding of his heart. As the spinning golden circlet left her hand and flew upwards, he leaped toward her, feeling the cape form at his shoulders to propel him forward. He collided with her just in time, throwing them both forward as a laser of yellow light streaked through the air and burned a hole in the rooftop behind them. Cradling her as they fell, he managed to put his shoulder down first to break her fall, then rolled over to deposit her on the ground and jump back to his feet, summoning his Rose Sword just as the beautiful warrior Venus descended upon them.

He braced himself as she met his sword with a golden chain pulled tight between her gloved fists, her gaze murderous and her mouth in a tight frown as she bore down upon him, blonde hair cascading over her shoulder as the force of her blow made his feet slide backwards. He was terrified; as tight as they were, he knew she was just toying with him. If she wanted, another of her laser attacks could kill him easily, and then Usagi would be alone.

“Usagi-chan!” Midori’s voice called, “Over here, stay behind me! He can’t attack if you’re there!”

Stupid-ass Midori! Mamoru cursed, hearing Jewel Tiara pick herself up off the ground and hesitate a moment before running to Midori’s side. Now the two people he needed and wanted to protect were in one convenient location – his Prince and his dumpling head, standing together like ducks at a shooting range. Midori’s stone knuckles would do nothing against Venus’s –

Venus suddenly threw more force into her chain, breaking their stalemate. His sword fell to one side, his left hand keeping hold of it and his right going up in a defensive gesture, summoning another rose, but Venus’s advance stopped there. She stood before him, her gaze turned on the two important people, one hand firmly on her hip, the other held the chain of golden hearts in a fist. “Is your love so fickle, Prince?” she asked, her voice a dangerous threat just above a whisper. Mamoru prepared to stop her advance on Midori, but then her icy blue eyes slid over to stare squarely at him.

He met her gaze with confusion – with all the safeguards they had in place with East King, and with the real Prince in front of her, she had somehow gotten the notion that he was the Prince. At first he decided to take the assumption and run with it, to protect Midori with the ruse until the others could join and make it a fair fight, but then her empty hand raised, a single finger pointing towards Usagi. “I should kill you,” Venus declared, her eyes bearing into his. “For what you have done, you do not deserve a second life,” her voice caught in the sentence, choking as if with emotion before she carried on with a stronger voice, “but we need the Golden Crystal and only you know where it is. So here is the deal, Prince: the crystal for her life.”

His sword fell an inch, his entire body weakening as his heart slowed to a crawl, falling to the pit of his stomach as his body chilled over with fear. What should he do…? She couldn’t have the Golden Crystal – it would spell doom for the world… and he didn’t have it, anyway. But he couldn’t say that he didn’t have it, or else she would know he wasn’t the real Prince and she could turn on Midori. Maybe he could stall her? “It’s not here,” he said, but had to repeat, his voice dry and cracking. He wet his lips and cleared his throat before trying again, “It’s not here. I don’t keep it with me. If you give me time I can go get it and return.”

She smirked, “You fool no one, Prince Endymion.” A light burned at the end of her finger, the threat obvious, “This is your last chance. The Golden Crystal for her life.” She waited for him, but he had run out of ideas. He glanced over to them, to Midori and Usagi, and could barely breathe. He didn’t know what to do. “Don’t make me kill her,” Venus prompted, the glow at her fingertips intensifying.

Suddenly she phased away as a flaming knife shot through the air where she had been. Moegi. Relief went through him like a shockwave; he dropped his sword as he fell to his knees, his mind reeling from the close escape. It was completely dark then, the electricity still off and the glow of Sailor Venus disappeared, but as the moonlight gave him sight, he yelled a warning, “USAKO!” for in the moonlight he saw her, floating ethereally with one finger extended, pointing at Jewel Tiara. As his yell echoed across the rooftop she let loose a beam of light that tore through the sky towards the slight figure in the little white dress…

But instead hit a King.

Midori moved quickly, stepping in front of the laser to block Usagi from the blow. It tore through him and knocked him back; he fell on Usagi and hit the ground hard, the movement of his body telling Mamoru that he was already unconscious. Mamoru launched forward, throwing himself towards his downed friend, already calling his healing powers and praying that they would be of some use. Usagi was holding him as best she could, tears streaming down her face, her gloved hands both holding him and attempting to apply pressure to the one-inch-diameter hole in Midori’s chest. “You idiot!” Mamoru yelled, putting his hands beneath Usagi’s, “You stupid moron!” he yelled again, “Wake up!” He threw his power at into the wound, yelling at his downed friend so he wouldn’t so acutely feel the terrifyingly weak heartbeat beneath his palms. “Wake up, idiot! You can’t die!”

Usagi was crying harder now, “Please, don’t die,” she whispered, “Please, Midori-kun!”

The idiot! He knew he was important – he knew that he couldn’t die! But he did it anyway, just to save someone – why was he like that?! Why did he have to be like that?! “You idiot,” he repeated. Power surged from him, pouring into Midori, but already he knew he didn’t have enough to save him. He needed more power – he had to have more power! He gave all he could, forcing the healing energy in, making it knit the wound close, to mend arteries and veins, regrow muscle and bone. He was growing lightheaded, feeling the pulsing of his heart in his skull and the rushing of blood of his ears, but he needed more! He couldn’t let this happen!

Not again!

The burning sensation started in his chest as a comfortable warmth that spread through his torso and down his arms to this hands, giving him the much-desired power he needed. More power, and more, flooding through him, radiating outward. In his sight his hands glowed brightly, shining golden, a warmer hue than the yellow Venus had expelled, a glow that comforted him and made him feel invincible. Suddenly healing Midori wasn’t impossible, suddenly it seemed within his grasp. With this power under his guidance, he could do it. Gentler now, the energy flowed through him steadily, and soon Midori was breathing strongly, his skin healed beneath Mamoru’s fingers. His eyes flew open, blinking rapidly as they spun around, looking at everything around him.

“I’m alive?” Midori asked with disbelief, coughing.

Usagi laughed, her laughter nervous and filled with relief.

“Yeah, no thanks to…” Mamoru trailed off, his attention transferring quickly from the recovered Midori to his own still-glowing hands, “you.” The glow wasn’t fading; if anything it was intensifying, spreading up his hands and arms, changing the color of his jacket as it moved, pulling power from him rather than supplying him with energy. ‘’Not again’? What had he meant with that thought?’ His body filled with pins and needles and his heart started to burn uncomfortably; ‘That extra burst of power…’ he wondered, gritting his teeth as the fiery sensation grew to encompass nearly all of him, ‘was it an exchange? My life for his?’ His head was so hot; pressure building unbearably in his mind. He put his hands to the side of his head, pressing it together, trying to keep a hold on himself. He took deep breaths, trying to take in cool air and expel some of the heat. Figures moved ahead of him, but it took a lot of concentration to make them out, even knowing that they should be Midori and Usagi; Midori’s image kept fading in and out, yet stayed generally the same; it was disorienting, confusing – first he was there in his King uniform, grey-blue and lined in orange, and then he wore something similar, familiar yet entirely different, the blue-grey jacket now a white coat decorated with golden thread. In either vision, Midori was clearly upset, yelling something and reaching towards him. Despite the pain and the overwhelming feeling of pressure that bore down on him, Mamoru still knew that if that were the case, if he had sacrificed himself to save Nephrite, he didn’t regret it.

The pain intensified, something Mamoru didn’t think was possible until it happened. ‘Nephrite?’ He doubled over, his elbows touching his bent knees, ‘Where did that name come from?!’ Looking up he saw him again and the name stayed – Midori? The word was quickly losing its meaning. The person in front of him was Nephrite, King of the West*, one of his guardians. And he… he was…

Endymion. Prince of Earth.

The pressure and heat burst forth from him, expanding until it felt as though his chest were being torn open. Floating before him, shining with the light of the sun, was the Golden Crystal. As he watched it slowly spin pieces suddenly fell into place, memories returning hazily: a white castle crested in gold, gardens filled with roses, a country, green and overflowing with life, passing him by as he rode over hills and through cities bustling with people, flanked on either side by his Heavenly Kings. Zoisite of the North, Jadeite from the South, Kunzite from the East* and Nephrite from the West*, friends and guardians who had been with him since childhood, prominent figures in his life, men he trusted for their thoughts as much as with his life. … and his secrets. Rushing back with the bright days came the soft nights, with moonlight on petals and bouncing off of soft silver curls… his heart constricted to a single point as one word came to mind, one desperate word: Serenity.

His eyes shot open and the golden glow faded completely as his hands shot out to the concrete on either side of him, pressing palms to the surface and sending out an echo of power. His energy shot through the steel of the building, bouncing through to the ground and beyond, traveling along and through the surface looking for the familiar feel of her soul. Already, recognized pinpricks of power were located, all within his immediate area: the light green glow of Nephrite, darker green of Jadeite, deep blue of Zoisite, soft pink of Kunzite, the yellow shine of her guardian, Sailor Venus, and the muted glows of Mercury, Jupiter and Mars… but there was nothing else. He shot out another pulse, and another, feeling, looking for the moonlit silver shine of her, but there was nothing. His fingers curled into his fist, skin tearing and healing as his head fell, eyes staring blankly at his black pants and the deadened crystal resting in his lap. Nothing. His vision blurred as tears fell, reality setting in.

He had failed.

Serenity had not been saved.

There was a flash of light before him as Venus renewed her attack and Kunzite slid in to meet her, his voice carrying commands to the other Kings as he kept her at bay. Endymion was hauled to his feet, the crystal thrust into his hands as they pulled him towards the edge of the building, Zoisite speaking quickly to the other two as they went. They reached the darkened area and Helios met them in his full form, charging forward and pausing long enough for Endymion to mount. There was a huge commotion, voices shouting and Helios taking off in a flurry of feathers and wings as energy attacks shot through the air. Endymion turned, knowing something was wrong, and a split-second before he and Helios vanished, transporting away to safety, a scream of pain and defiance ripped from his chest.

Sailor Venus had Usagi.

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Kyralih AU (Roles Reversed) fanfic: Cardinal King COMPLETE

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