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 [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:57 am

o.o oh yeah...*edited*

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:10 pm

The room was massive, made of the same white stone as the rest of the palace and hosting extremely large windows that he could not see past. The people of the moon spread out on the dance floor to catch sight of them, their dress formal yet, like the Queen and Princess Serenity, none of the gowns were extremely voluminous. The men wore tuxedos (though none of them were caped – seeing an outfit without a cape was rather odd; they looked very underdressed) in unsaturated colors or black. There were a few white suits out there, as well.

As the applause began, Endymion stood a little straighter and cleared his throat, leading their procession to the top of the curving grand staircase. They paused at the top, he in the center with Kunzite to his immediate right, Zoisite beyond him, Nephrite to his immediate left, Jadeite finishing their line, an entrance they had practiced since their first party introduction. He took the first step and they fanned out to create an arrow behind him – Kunzite and Nephrite one stair behind, Zoisite and Jadeite, two. As they advanced, the crowd receded… all but the five girls he and his generals held in place with their gaze.

Princess Serenity looked magnificent. She had changed since dinner – her dress was long, strapless and white, billowing out from her petite frame in two layers and held in place with rings of gold and strands of pearls. On her forearms there was a decoration that appeared to be spherical shells – something he had never seen before. He had her attention – her eyes were looking back at him, a faint smile on her lips and the lightest of blushes creeping up her cheeks.

Peripherally, he saw that her guardians had changed, as well. Their dresses, too, were longer, darker, and much more formal. Each dress was floor-length and cut in different styles that flattered the girl greatly. … but none held is attention as Serenity did.

As soon as both feet touched the flat expanse of the dance floor, the musicians started to play.

He crossed the gap between them quickly, each stride bringing him closer to her. When in reach, he paused. This was it. He held out his hand, his eyes still caught up in hers… he felt her hand accept his and his heart started hammering against his chest. He drew her in, placing his hand on her waist as she placed her free hand upon his shoulder, and then spun her away.

His ears recognized the music –a waltz – and he corrected his form, moving his hand from waist to shoulder blade and, much as he didn’t want to, he turned his head away from her. The brush of her pigtail against his chest told him she had done the same. He wouldn’t be parted long from those eyes, he promised himself, planning as many moves as possible that called for eye contact. Feeling the music and the rush of her presence, he led her around the dance floor; their feet kept time with the music as they spun, dipped and whirled, weaving amongst the other dancing couples. Capes twirled, dresses fanned, at one point he had to dip and twirl the princess away from a leg-kicking pose Kunzite and Aphrodite pulled. He heard Demeter laughing above the sound of the strings.

The song was upbeat, not too fast, yet not to slow – a great way to start off the night. Endymion’s only complaint was that it was over far too soon.

As the last note played, he led her in one more twirl, spinning her out and pulling her back in. The room burst out in applause once again, not that he noticed much, his attention fully on the Princess curled gracefully in his arms. She, like he, was breathing heavily, but smiling in the exertion of the dance. He straightened her and pulled her hand to his lips, softly kissing her knuckles. “Thank you for the dance, Princess,” he said quietly.

Did he dare ask for another dance? Serenity looked pleasantly flustered – a good sign, he was sure – but her eyes turned from his to something just behind him. Someone cleared their throat softly and he turned to see Kunzite, who nodded his head to the other side of the dance floor where Jadeite and Zoisite were waiting with Queen Serenity and a few more people in uniforms. Duty? Now? Really? He turned back to Princess Serenity and smiled, “Save me a dance?”

Her smile, or the dance – he didn’t know what was making his heart still pound as it did. “Yes,” she replied, her jewel-like eyes shining. He started walking away backwards, loathe to give up her hand, but as it slipped away he turned, closing his fist to keep the memory of her warmth.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:21 pm

Okay, put it up on ffnet: http://www.fanfiction.net/~kyralih

It'll probably (always) update here first.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:48 pm

Awesome! I went and immediately add you to my favorites list.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:23 pm

((Very Happy Thanks!!))


They passed Nephrite on the walk over; Kunzite just grabbed him by his collar and tugged him along for a step or two before the brunette broke free and joined them, a small collection of girls giggling in his wake.

“What? Kunzite, they were just fighting over who would dance with me next, what is the matter with – oh,” Nephrite paused, looking ahead of them. “Business? Now?” He glanced behind him, “Really?”

“It probably won’t be long. Just a few more introductions, I’m sure.”

They had just cleared the floor as another dance began. Endymion stole a glance behind him and saw another man ask to dance with her. A twinge of jealousy wriggled its way into his chest, but he tried to dismiss it. The smile she had given him was much more genuine than the one she showed that guy. He probably couldn’t dance well, either.

“Prince Endymion, Kunzite, Nephrite” Queen Serenity’s voice called him back to the meeting at hand. “I would like to introduce you to Chancellor Gerrune, the head of Lunar University,” the man was tall, a little on the skinny side, and wore glasses. ‘Did all involved with education and learning end up looking like that?’ he wondered, drawing strong connections between Gerrune and his own teacher. “and Magistrate Leon of our justice system.” This man could easily take care of himself in a fight. Barrel-chested with brown hair and a keen eye, Endymion felt almost as if he was under much scrutiny right now – was this man truly a judge? He could easily pass as executioner.

“Nice to meet you!” Leon proclaimed, thrusting his hand forward for a handshake. Endymion grasped the man’s hand and almost wished there was a polite way to get out of the situation – the man’s grip was like an iron clasp. “Jadeite, here, was just telling me that you were quite the swordsman!” the man laughed – why did he laugh? – and continued, “Glad to hear it! I’m a fan of cold, hard steel myself.”

Endymion was finally able to reclaim his appendage. This man was loud. Very loud.

“I think everyone should be trained to fight with one weapon or another, no matter what their status or the probability they will actually be in battle! I’m glad the man in charge of your training back on Earth shares my opinion!”

“If there were to be a battle and my kingdom was in danger, I would fight alongside my people – future King or no,” Endymion stated, not liking what the man had implied.

“Oh sure, sure, I get you,” he brushed the comment off with a wave of one massive hand and continued, “But still, my Queen, I do think we should train Princess Serenity in some weapon, say a sword—“

The queen became quite cool, her voice suddenly authoritative, “My daughter shall not be trained to wield a weapon of war.”

“Y-Yes, but what about her protection? Surely she should learn how to protect herself, especially as you will not permit me to form a security unit for her—“

“The senshi can protect her far better than you or any of your men could ever hope to,” the queen stated in a tone that discouraged further talk on the subject.

“But they’re just girls!” the larger man protested.

Jadeite, shifting away from Leon as imperceptibly as possible, dropped his jaw slightly as his eyes grew in size. Endymion knew just how he felt – the ruler of the realm closed the subject, and this guy just kept going?! If this were like a number of the societies on Earth, he would be meeting his demise soon.

“Magistrate Leon, thank you for coming this evening. Good night.”

Did it get suddenly colder?

“Your majesty, I did not mean to suggest that women were inferior or incapable—“

“I should hope not. Good Night, Magistrate Leon.”

It looked like the large man was about to protest a second time when the other gentleman, Gerrune, took his elbow and led him away.

“Drat,” Zoisite commented as soon as they were out of earshot, “and I had a question of Chancellor Gerrune.”

Queen Serenity smiled, but her expression still held a hint of frost. “You can find him in the libraries on most days,” she offered, and the smile faded. “I regret that you witnessed that – the Magistrate has been attempting to ‘persuade’ me for months now,” she was looking off over the heads of the crowd and out the windows into the dark night sky. “But enough of that. I’ll try to keep all official meetings restricted to only a few minutes long and give you plenty of time to dance in between.” Glancing around the room, her smile became mischievous, “As for right now, I spy a group of young ladies that appear to waiting to catch your attention. Have fun!” She raised her hand in farewell and disappeared into the crowd.

Endymion turned with his friends to see who the Queen had been referring to, but didn’t have to look far. They were being converged on by a group of 6 or 7 young ladies, each having an intent look about her. Beside him, Zoisite sighed and took a step forward, offering his hand to the first girl to reach him. Nephrite went out smiling, “Might I have this dance?” Endymion heard him say before whisking one of them off. Kunzite reluctantly took a brunette onto the dance floor, Jadeite a red-head.

Endymion glanced around to see the Princess already partnered with someone for the song just beginning, so he offered his hand to the shyest of the young ladies in the group and led her in amongst the other couples, the music just beginning.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:24 pm

… As it turned out, that young lady was not shy in the slightest and had somehow managed to talk nonstop through the entire dance. As soon as the music ended Endymion thanked her for the dance and took his leave before she could hint she’d like another. Rude? Yes. But, sometimes, self-preservation precedes manners.

He was trying to find Princess Serenity, but before he reached her she was asked to dance by another. Looking around, he saw Kunzite had found Aphrodite again – he smiled at this; his eldest friend seldom left himself open for teasing – and Jadeite had partnered himself with a young lady but seemed to be looking around for someone else.

“Excuse me?” a voice said from behind him, “Might I have this dance?”

Endymion turned to find a girl with short black hair offering her hand to him. ‘So much for moon girls being less forward,’ he thought, taking her hand in his and preparing for the next song. She kept trying to get closer than the dance etiquette prescribed and Endymion soon found out that dipping this young woman was a mistake – she kept leaning up as if to try to kiss him. Once the dance had ended she had kept her hand in his, expectantly. He tried to release her hand, but she actually held on tighter. Glancing from her hand back to her, she smiled. “Next dance?” she suggested.

Endymion searched his head for an excuse – any excuse – but was derailed when he saw Princess Serenity leave with Aphrodite, Bellona, Demeter and Athena. Surely they weren’t leaving for the night?! His mind reeled and went blank. No, this wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Was there a way to call her back in? It had only been a little less than an hour –

“Prince Endymion?” the girl’s throaty voice called him back to the situation at hand. … speaking of, when did his hand get on her waist? Had she put it there?! Who was this girl?! She laughed, “The music’s started. Shouldn’t we be dancing?”

A couple nearly bumped into him from behind and she pulled him, knocking him off balance. He had to step forward twice to regain his balance and found that she had somehow timed it so that his feet hit in beat to the music. He would dance with her this one song, but that was absolutely it. She had crossed a line. He didn’t offer any embellishments during this song – no turns, no spins, nothing fancy whatsoever. Just movement in time to the beat. Her face fell into a pout and she had actually tried to start a spin herself, but he kept her in place. She smiled and tried to move closer to him; he pushed her back.

The song couldn’t end soon enough. Before the last note ended, Endymion let go of her hand and bowed a thanks, then stalked off in a direction at random. The nerve of that girl! Through a momentary break in the crowd he saw Zoisite sitting on a long bench before a window and made a beeline for him. When he got there he stepped over the bench and sat facing the window, seeing his reflection bright and clear on the glass panes. He looked flustered and angry. Was that lipstick on his collar?! When had she gotten that close?!

Growling, he sat up straighter and yanked his handkerchief from his pocket and started rubbing at the stain as best he could using his reflection.

“Well aren’t you the busy Prince?” Zoisite teased, readjusting himself on the bench so he was sitting facing the same direction.

“Ha ha, laugh it up. I was just attacked.”

Zoisite’s face turned concerned and he opened his mouth.

He saved him the trouble of asking, “by a girl. On the dance floor. She was all over me – trying to direct the dance, getting really close – I think she tried to kiss me, and look! She somehow got her lipstick all over my collar!” Now what would Serenity think? If she even came back. His mood was getting darker by the minute.

Instead of laughing, as he knew Jadeite or Nephrite would, Zoisite just got up and left.

Endymion froze, watching his friend’s reflection move along the glass and get lost in the crowd. Great, and now he’s snapped at one of his friends, probably pissing him off to no end. He took a deep breath and sighed out some of his frustration, his eyes closed.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:24 pm

“Hey there.”

His eyes snapped open, fearing the worst (that the purple-haired girl had returned) but just found Jadeite leaning over the bench.

“Did I scare you?” Jadeite asked, straddling the bench.

“I thought you were someone else.” Endymion mumbled, now searching the reflection for any sign of her.

“Who, that girl that was all over you?”

“You saw that?”

“Yep.”

Endymion turned to look his so-called friend in the eye, “And you didn’t cut in because…?”

“And risk gaining her attention? No, thanks,” Jadeite shrugged.

They both laughed.

“Do you know where Zoisite went?” Endymion asked, feeling a little guilty, “I kinda snapped at him and he left.”

“Why did you snap at him?”

“I didn’t mean to,” Endymion clarified, “she was just so aggravating. I was frustrated. Look – she somehow left a lipstick stain on my shirt.”

“Oh,” Jadeite winced, “You’re done for. It’s really noticeable, Endymion.”

He groaned and scrubbed at it with his handkerchief again. “Not that it matters much…” he mumbled, remembering again that the princess and her entourage had already left.

“When would having a smudged shirt not matter?” Zoisite admonished.

“Zoisite!” Endymion started – he hadn’t seen the blonde sneaking through the crowd, but he would apologize before anything else was said. “I’m sorry I barked at you. She was just so…” he gritted his teeth.

“Uncouth?” Zoisite helpfully filled in, “You’re in my seat,” he said to Jadeite, who just shrugged. Rolling his eyes, the green-eyed blond stepped around Endymion’s pooled cape and took a seat on his other side. “I spoke with Terran and he’s gone to fetch you another shirt. It shouldn’t take long.”

“Thank you.” The prince said gratefully.

“You’re welcome. Don’t want you looking shabby or… objectionable when Queen Serenity calls us over to meet other dignitaries.”

“Or Princess Serenity~,” Jadeite teased.

“If she hadn’t just left.”

“They’ll be back,” Zoisite corrected, “They sneak out every now and again to get a breather and refresh themselves.” Endymion looked over at him in astonishment. Just how did he know so much? His look must have said as much, as Zoisite explained, “Athena joined me for a while, just before they left. Whenever they’re out here they’re constantly getting asked to dance and some dancers aren’t as talented as they are enthusiastic. She had her foot stepped on three times,” Zoisite smiled, “she’s sweet.”

“Oh, really?” Jadeite’s expression was impish.

“Will you just go away?” Zoisite replied waspishly.

Jadeite put a hand to the side of his mouth, effectively covering it from view of the general crowd, and struck his tongue out at Zoisite. Zoisite retaliated by blocking his eye from view and pulling his eyelid down at him. Jadeite blocked and pig-nosed him. Zoisite scoffed.

“You guys know they can see you in the window, right?” Endymion asked, deadpan.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:34 pm

(( >.< lots of updates today. Sorry for practically spamming the 'Latest Topics' on the sidebar))

Not long after that Endymion left to change out of his soiled shirt, returning to immediately be summoned to another meeting with Queen Serenity. They met a famous artist, a poet, an author and the conductor of the night’s small orchestra (the musicians were taking a well-deserved break). This meeting went much better as a handful of their works had made it to Earth. They spoke for nearly half an hour as plates of hour devours and small glasses of wine were passed around to the celebrators, but wished each other a good night when the conductor returned to strike up the orchestra for another round of music.

They dispersed into the crowd, Endymion and Kunzite left to themselves as new couples formed for the opening piece for the second part of the evening.

“That was interesting; I never thought Bouyere would be so humorous,” Kunzite commented, referring to the poet, who often wrote somberly.

“It was really weird – I wonder how he would recite his –“ Endymion stopped mid-sentence as he caught sight of her, his purple-haired nightmare. She smiled at him from across the floor, winked, and waved coyly. “Shoot. Hide,” he instructed, ducking back into the throng of people, Kunzite on his tail, Endymion attempted to lose himself in the crowd. Feeling safe, away from windows and not too near the dance floor, the hour devour display, or the tables of drinks, he stopped.

“What was that all about? Do you know her?” Kunzite asked.

“Unfortunately.”

Endymion outlined his prior experience and Kunzite laughed, “That must be Adrestia; Aphrodite warned me about her. A little aggressive, eh?”

“Understatement.” Endymion declared, starting to get envious of his friends’ luck – Zoisite had spent time with Athena, Kunzite apparently had had a long conversation about crazed dancers with Aphrodite, and he had barely said five words to Princess Serenity all night. Had they returned yet?

“Don’t worry; if she bothers you anymore we’ll release Nephrite on her,” Kunzite laughed.

They returned to the dance floor, and though Endymion was still weary when they exited the crowd, he got a renewed burst of energy when he noticed Nephrite dancing with Demeter. If she were here, then…

“Hello again, Kunzite!” Aphrodite popped up at their shoulders. She was smiling brightly, but she didn’t seem entirely oblivious to the group of boys and men who followed her every move with their eyes. She followed his gaze and sighed, “They’re at it again. I’m just lucky this ball is in your honor,” she winked, “it gives me a great excuse to let them down easily. So, General Kunzite of Earth, could I claim the next dance with you?”

Kunzite smiled roguishly, “My pleasure.”

Aphrodite giggled, “Excellent. Well, then, I guess I’ll just have to finish off this dance with the Prince!” Before he knew what was happening, he was being pulled onto the dance floor by the Princess of Venus.

She smiled up at him and he couldn’t help but return the smile – she was so energetic it was almost infectious. They took their positions and jumped in at the next measure of music.

“So, Prince,” she said as they glided across the floor, “how are you enjoying the night?”

“Oh, it’s been alright,” he replied, twirling her out and bringing her back in, “Until I was attacked by your friend Adrestia.”

Aphrodite giggled, “Poor thing, she probably ate you alive!”

“I’m not as defenseless as I apparently look.”

“Luckily you’re a lot more talkative than you seemed at first,” she commented as they spun across the floor.

“Just have to get to know me,” he replied when they stopped, bending to dip her. “I try to stay quiet when I could make a fool of myself.”

“I know just how you feel,” she said, “Official duties and functions are always such a bore. Bell, Deme and I have worked out a system for snapping into- and out-of super-serious mode. Serenity has it a little tougher, however.”

“How so?” he asked, curious.

“While we’re just scrutinized in public, her every action can be torn to pieces and analyzed. Sometime last year she was accused of not taking her position serious enough and, despite what we and her mother have said, she puts on this fake mask whenever she’s outside the castle or in the presence of anyone not on palace staff.” He spun her out and back in again, “Sad, really – she’s so adorable! But I’m sure you know all about that.”

He froze for a split second, then continued in time.

“So you know…”

“That you like her? Obvious.”

The song was coming to an end.

Aphrodite smiled, “She likes you, too. Her favorite color is white, she loves cake, adores wildflowers and,” she spun him around, “I’m sure she’d love to dance with you.”

He was directly face-to-face with her – had Aphrodite planned this? Princess Serenity’s previous partner had spun her around similarly and was walking off in another direction; he would recognize that blonde head anywhere. So it was a set-up. As he offered his hand and she accepted, he mentally reminded himself to thank them later.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:28 pm

“Hello again, Princess Serenity,” he greeted, pulling her closer.

“Hello, Prince Endymion,” she replied with a smile, sliding her hand up to his shoulder. “I hear you like roses.”

He looked up, pretending to think about it as he spun them quickly, his cape tugging at his shoulders as her hair flew everywhere. He didn’t stop until she was giggling. “I feel like I’m going to fly away!” she laughed.

He slowed his spinning frenzy and promised, looking deep into her amazing eyes, “I would never let you go.”

She smiled, her eyes softening. The music sped into another time frame and he turned her on the spot, catching her right hand with his, her left with his left, and they waltzed, facing the same way with his mouth placed conveniently near her ear. “You were right about the roses,” he told her, “but please, call me Endymion.” Though the honorific sounded sweet when coming from her, he felt that it might cause some distance so long as she used it every time.

“Will you call me Serenity?” she countered.

“If you wish,” he replied, turning them back towards the center of the dance floor.

“Then it’s a deal!”

He released her right hand to spin with her left so that she faced him again, and they danced on. “So, Serenity, cake?”

He posed the question strangely, but she jumped onto the topic, “Aphrodite told you that, didn’t she? She’s always teasing me about it!”

“But, is it true?”

She glanced away and took a deep, dramatic breath, “Unfortunately so.”

“Unfortunately?” he repeated, dipping her down to catch her eyes again.

“Athena said it would be the end of me.”

“Surely not!” he teased, placing his hand on her hips and lifting her. Her hands were pressed against his shoulders to counterbalance the move, and she smiled greatly as he twirled her around, lowering her as he revolved a second time. She smelled wonderful.

He spun her out, “What’s your favorite type of cake?” he asked.

Her arm extended, she smiled again, “Vanilla!”

“Vanilla?” he replied, spinning her back in to him, “Surely you’re more creative than that!”

“Are you kidding me?” she posed, incredulity in her voice, “Vanilla goes with every flavor of icing! And you can enhance it in so many different ways – it’s like this great amazing base for flavor, and yet it’s so delicious all by itself!”

Endymion chuckled, leading them around the dance floor yet again. She was so cute. He concentrated then on the music, thinking forward in the song for any fancy woodwind work.

“And I suppose you have a better flavor?” Serenity’s lips were pursed in challenge and Endymion laughed again.

“It has to be red velvet,” he replied.

“Red velvet?” her nose crinkled, “That’s just chocolate with red coloring in it!”

He pulled her in close and dipped her, “Do you have something against chocolate?” he asked, keeping her balanced on his right hand.

“No,” she replied quietly, waiting to be brought back up. But he didn’t. He left her there.

“What was that?” he asked, letting go of her hand to cup his ear with his left hand.

She craned her neck to look at him, then let her head fall back as she laughed shallowly, her eyes gazing at the floor, “Endymion!”

He loved it. The sound of his name coming from her, so familiar and said with such warmth, he felt like he could never get enough of it. Of her.

“Sorry, I didn’t hear you,” he played.

“Okay! Chocolate is just fine!” she said, her voice airy.

He took her hand and pulled her back to standing position. “I’ll let that answer slide, for now,” he responded with a smile. She returned the smile in kind, and he danced them off yet again.

“I really like the waltz,” Serenity commented.

“Um hmm,” Endymion hummed a response, steering them out of the way of an oncoming couple.

“The only problem is,” his full attention was on her – there was a problem? “it can get you so dizzy!”

Had he been turning too much? He’d been turning her too much. He mentally bashed himself and noted for later to watch how many times he spins someone. “We don’t have to spin anymore,” he offered, changing styles to the roaming version of the waltz.

She smiled, “Thanks. It’s not you, though! I’m having a lot of fun, but I’m kind of hungry.”

Endymion’s eyebrows furrowed, “but we just ate?”

She laughed, “it’s been hours since dinner! And it was so light! I’m seriously craving some—“

“Cake?” he interrupted slyly.

She stuck her tongue out at him, “Something savory, actually.”

The dance was coming to a close. “I could accompany you?” he suggested, hoping she’d say yes.

She thought a moment then shook her head ‘no’. “That’s alright – tonight’s your night. I’ll go find Demeter and we’ll sneak out to the kitchens.” The song ended and they stopped moving, “Another dance, later?” she posed.

“I’ll find you,” he promised.

She smiled. The smile faded as she looked behind him – “Oh no, Adrestia. Quick, her eyes are on you – find a partner!” She looked left and right and he stayed frozen in place, not wanting the other girl to even get the slightest impression he was looking for another dance partner. Serenity gasped, “Look! Bell’s right over there – your 10:00, do you see her?”

How cute was it that she used the numbers on the face of a clock for directions? It was just like training back home. He looked over and, sure enough, there was Bellona. “I see her.”

She dropped his left hand and pulled him along with his right, heading for her raven-haired friend. Once they passed through two sets of couples, she let go of his hand (much to Endymion’s disappointment) and smiled. “I think you’re safe, now. She doesn’t really like Bell. Farewell for now, Endymion.”

“Until I find you again, Serenity” he smiled as she disappeared into the crowds.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:57 pm

;_; I'm having such issues with writing the next dance. I'm like "Go play! Very Happy"

and Bellona's all "Grrr."

And Endymion's all "Very Happy Play?"

and she just stares at him.

They got through the trust thing about Serenity's happiness (Bell is such a good 'you better not make her cry!' kind of person), and then just started talking about Adrestia. Bellona was making suggestions about driving the other girl crazy, and I think that'd be fun for them and all, but I didn't want making Adrestia crazy be a focal point of the night or the story. A side thing? Sure. explicitly in the foreground? nokthx.

I might just need a longer break ;_; or skip forward a bit - describe a few dances just in passing and really only do 'play-by-plays' with Serenity. :/

Any thoughts?

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:15 pm

Author’s note: this has got to be the hardest chapter I’ve written so far. Bleeh.


As she walked away he felt the oddest feeling – like part of himself was going with her. ‘You dork,’ he thought, turning his attention to Bellona. He bowed a greeting and she returned a bit of a curtsey, but didn’t look all too happy about the situation. “Good evening, Bellona,” he tentatively greeted, curious about her apparent irritation but not really wanting to push her about it.

“And to you as well, Prince Endymion,” the raven-haired girl returned cooly, “How are you this evening?”

“Rather well,” he replied. They stood staring at each other for a moment as people milled about them. … well this wasn’t going as well as it could be… “Would you care to dance with me?” he asked, offering his hand as the music began. She gave him her hand and fell into place, but her analytical purple eyes did not leave his. He was starting to feel a little uncomfortable.

“It looks like you and our princess have really hit it off.” Her words were a statement, without any hint of a conversational tone. Endymion glanced away from her intense gaze – she was very straightforward. Was she expecting an answer? When she said nothing more he nodded, and, if it were even possible, her eyes became even less friendly. Bellona’s voice was barely above a whisper, yet contained much malice, “If you’re just playing with her, consider this your warning: change your intentions immediately, because if you hurt her I promise you that you will not escape this moon in one piece.”

A chill ran down his spine – she was serious. By Aphrodite’s reaction he had thought that all of Serenity’s guardians were okay with this, but Bellona obviously had her reservations. Not that he blamed her; now that he knew a little bit of Serenity, even if she didn’t care for him the way he was starting to care for her, he would do whatever he could to protect that smile. “Well, then it’s a good thing that I have no intention of hurting her.”

She considered him, as if to read whether or not he was being honest. This time he stared right back at her, willing her to believe him. She broke eye contact first. “I believe you.”

“Thanks.” …. Why did he say that? It didn’t really matter if she believed him or not – it was the truth.

She smiled, quirking an eyebrow at his weird response. Endymion smiled back – anything was better than that intense stare, even if he looked odd in the exchange. Though she had introduced herself as the senshi of fire, he was beginning to think that ice might be a better comparison to her personality. … unless the fire was that quiet intensity she just displayed. His train of thought was derailed as Bellona’s expression changed yet again, reverting back to a glare that could’ve frozen a person in their tracks. Luckily, he wasn’t the subject of this look – it was someone over his shoulder.

He was almost afraid to move and break her concentration… but it was a dance… he had them box-step for a few seconds. … then he got curious. Deftly he side-stepped and dipped her, her long black hair pooling on the floor.

Her expression didn’t change, her eyes moving to follow the target. He was a little disturbed, but the moment he saw the corners of her mouth twitch, fighting a smile, he felt a lot better. She was messing with someone. He pulled her back up and she glared for just a few seconds more, then her face transformed yet again, becoming a lot softer. She smiled and he stepped up the dancing technique.

“So that was…?” he invited, twirling her under his arm.

“Adrestia,” she answered with a smile, “she looked like she was working up the courage to try to step in – she’s really got her sight set on you tonight.”

“I had noticed,” he groaned.

“She wants to use you to give herself a leg up, or to make herself look better,” Bellona stated matter-of-factly. “She is a creature filled with ambition, and none of the good kind. She uses everyone to her advantage, adding whatever qualities they possess to her arsenal. She’s probably told anyone who would listen that you’ve promised her the last dance, or have already proposed to her or something.”

He couldn’t help furrowing his eyebrows, “Really?”

Bellona rolled her eyes, “more than likely. And the longer you hang out with us, especially our princess, the more she’ll want you. Greater bragging possibility – she’d be able to claim she stole you away from ‘the princess herself’ and treat it like a great victory, a testament to her charms or some such nonsense. She’d be more determined than ever to be seen with you.”

“I’m so thrilled. … but she won’t be.”

Bellona cocked her head to one side inquisitively.

“Kunzite was working out a plan with Nephrite and Jadeite to foil any further attempts she makes towards me.”

She smiled mischievously, “I think we senshi might be able to help them out.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you five are honored guests – you’re expected to dance with as many people as possible, so they can’t always be watching to cut in and take her out,” she explained, “besides, if she got to dance with your generals multiple times she’d start a rumor that you all were fighting over her. I’ll talk to Aphrodite and Athena after this and we’ll keep our eyes on her, stealing dances right out from under her nose if need be.” The senshi of war looked amused with the idea.

Endymion wondered if he dared to ask, and immediately found he did, “Couldn’t I just dance with Serenity the rest of the night?”

Bellona rolled her eyes, “you really don’t do subtle, do you?”

Guess that means it wasn’t an option. Endymion sighed.

The dance was ending. As the music slowed, Bellona added, “Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to dance with her. Look, right there, the girl with the shoulder-length red hair with the green bow. Her name is Naruna – she’s safe. Try her next.”

“Thanks for the tip,” he said, releasing her.

The next two dances went by without incident. Naruna really was a nice person, a little shy, very humble and unassuming… but she definitely had a starry look in her eyes that he had grown to be weary of. As that song ended he had already picked out his next partner and proceeded without too much difficulty.

He was planning on sitting out the next song, which should have been the last of the set, if his timing was right – it had been about three quarters of an hour since the musicians had had a break so one had to be coming on soon – but on his way across the floor towards the refreshment table he saw her coming right at him, her purple hair bobbing and long silver dress swooshing. Crud. He glanced around surreptitiously, acting like he hadn’t seen her as he searched for Nephrite, Jadeite, somebody. No such luck. She was gaining.

He’d just tell her he had no interest in dancing with her and stop this whole nonsense right now. Let her come. He had had his fair share of turning girls down… though he hated to see their expression. … and what was the chance that this Adrestia would give up so easily? Hadn’t Bellona say she’d try even harder? He would just have to be firm. Polite, but firm.

He had almost reached the drink table, Adrestia only feet away, when an elegant girl with short blue hair appeared right in front of him.

“Prince Endymion, might I trouble you for a dance?” It was Athena, “Aphrodite and Bellona tell me you are a wonderful dancer.”

“Oh! He is!” Adrestria had reached them, her voice dripping with something – pride? No, possessiveness. She was talking about him as if he was hers, bragging about his skills as if she held claim to them. Disgust and anger at her pretention welled up inside of Endymion, their levels only growing with her next boast. “I’ve had two dances with him so far and --” she started, slipping her hand around his arm and resting her head against his shoulder, hinting at a closeness that he by no means cared to share.

She didn’t get the privilege of finishing her comment. “And those two were two too many,” Endymion finished, putting a force behind his voice that betrayed his royal heritage. He stepped aside, taking her wrist to remove it from his person dropping it. Intentionally he not didn’t look down at the girl, his eyes fixed straight ahead as he bid her her leave, “You may leave, and do not trouble my generals, as they have no wish to be involved with your scheming, either. Goodnight, miss.”

Dropping the commanding tone, he offered his hand to a somewhat uncomfortable looking Athena, “Please, Athena, it would be my honor to dance with you.”

She took his proffered hand and he led her onto the dance floor. He felt relief at having rid himself of that pest, yet remorseful that he had to do it in such a manner. He had let his anger get the better of him – she was probably very hurt and he had no right to act that way, despite what others may believe of the rights of a Prince. The song began and they started to dance.

“Prince? If I may be so bold?” Athena queried.

Endymion’s heart dropped with the sensation that it was covered in some sort of disgusting ilk. The way she addressed him – it was as if she was afraid to say the wrong thing, like he might jump down her throat for being ‘out of line.’ She probably thought him to be an arrogant jerk, spoiled by position and power. “Please, Athena,” he said, his voice almost pleading, “don’t talk with me like that. Of course you may speak – you can do whatever you wish. My behavior back there was inexcusable, but I ask that you do not judge me by it.”

“Prince, what I was going to say was that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself.”

‘What?’ He looked at her for the first time since the music started. She looked at him openly, her expression compassionate, her blue eyes honest. He couldn’t help but repeat his mental question aloud, “What?”

She smiled, “You really shouldn’t beat yourself up like this over what just happened. Adrestia is a very willful girl, and anything less than what you just did would’ve made her even more intent upon you.”

“Still, it was not my place to speak so roughly with her. No lady should be spoken to in such a manner.” The syntax of his last sentence came straight from the mouth of his etiquette teacher. … he could’ve expressed the idea less textbookishly.

“But it was your place.” He was about to object – was she suggesting that it was alright to use his position to be uncouth with women? But she elaborated, “Maybe not for a normal man, but you are a Prince, and some young ladies are attracted to you by your status and your status alone. They can occasionally overstep the boundaries of common respect and courtesy and need to be reminded of such.”

The look on her face, the conviction in her words – Endymion couldn’t help but smile. “You almost remind me of Zoisite.”

Athena blushed and looked away. “Yes, well,” she said after her cheeks had faded almost to her usual tone, “it’s a lesson we’ve been trying to get through to Serenity, but she’s just too nice. Demeter and Bellona usually step in to help when things start getting a little too close for comfort.”

It was Endymion’s turn to blush. “You mean…”

“OH NO! Nothing like that!” Athena assured, shaking her head, her cheeks a blazing scarlet, “just when they linger for too long after a dance, or single her out. She doesn’t show much of her true self in public anymore, so it is almost always guaranteed they’re interested in her status, fancying themselves as future kings.” The blue-eyed girl explained, a hint of annoyance flavoring her final words.

“Does that happen often?”

“Thankfully, not too much anymore – it seems they’ve gotten the picture.”

They danced on, Endymion wondering what to say, if anything. As they spun closer to the standing audience he caught sight of Jadeite and wondered, “So, has Jadeite asked you more about Luna and Artemis, yet?”

Athena chuckled, “he was most insistent about the subject.”

Endymion waited, but she kept her mouth closed, her head swaying slightly with the music. “So, I’ll have to pry it out of him later? Unless he just up and shouts it from the rooftop,” he amended, imagining the blonde’s delight at figuring out a mystery. His studious friend had done that once before when he had had an eccentric hunch about a theory and was proven to be correct. Jadeite had claimed his ears bled that night.

“He wouldn’t have much to tell you,” Athena replied

“You didn’t tell him anything, did you?” Endymion wondered in awe. Athena just shrugged and smiled. “You poor girl – Adrestia will be nothing compared to what he’ll put you through. When Zoisite has a question he wants answered or a theory he wants validated, he really stops at nothing. One time he actually camped outside of a professor’s house while the professor was out of town, simply so he could demand an opinion from him the moment he returned.”

Athena laughed, “You’re not serious!”

“I’m afraid I am,” Endymion was having a good time – Athena seemed to be someone who could appreciate Zoisite’s interests. If he could get them talking together, Zoisite might just have a really great trip. … and have someone else to bounce his crazy ideas off of. Endymion smiled at the thought.

So the rest of his dance with Athena was filled with other anecdotes of Zoisite. … after he placed her under a vow of secrecy that she would never reveal her source of the tales.

When the dance ended, Endymion escorted Athena off of the floor and found his way to Kunzite, Jadeite, Zoisite and Nephrite. They were once again gathered around the Queen and her new companions, ready for introductions to begin.

“Prince Endymion, General Kunzite, General Nephrite, General Zoisite, and General Jadeite, this is Dignitary Leran, Dignitary Corvus, and Dignitary Cretair.”

The parties nodded in acknowledgement, Dignitary Corvus performing a quick curtsey.

“Good evening, Dignitary Corvus,” a sweet voice greeted and a pleasant chill ran up Endymion’s spine. Princess Serenity stepped up beside him, her face a cool, dignified mask. “How are the plans for next week coming along?”

“Wonderfully, Princess Serenity, and a happy evening to you as well!” Corvus replied enthusiastically, “I was hoping I found you before the night had come to an end. I would dearly like a meeting with you and Demeter sometime tomorrow – shall I arrange it?”

“Please do,” Serenity said with a bob of her head. It was as if her personality had deflated, the light about her fading to a fraction of what it was. She presented herself as… well, as a true lady of court. Soft-spoken, elegant, polite to a fault. Every movement seemed to be planned, every expression practiced to look just-so. If it wasn’t for his sense of her underlying current of energy, he might have thought this to be Serenity’s twin.

So this was her face in public.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:14 pm

That came out really, really good! You did a good job with the interaction between Bellona and our doofy prince.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:37 pm

XD

Poor Endymion!

"Doofy?" "Well, I suppose I am a bit of a dork."


Thank you for your kind words ^^

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:41 pm

She stayed quiet for the rest of the introductions. Each of the dignitaries told a little bit about what they did, their responsibilities, something or other about their families – truthfully, Endymion found it hard to concentrate on anything but the golden-haired girl beside him. Though his eyes followed the conversation, his attention was on the peripheral. Every nod, every subdued twitch of a smile, every hidden glance his way – he caught it all. … What he didn’t catch was the question thrown his way after the niceties of the greeting.

He suddenly found everyone’s faces turned to him, Leran’s voice ending in the upward inflection of an inquiry, and he had no clue what was going on.

“Yes, Endymion, it would be nice to hear your opinion on the Arc,” Kunzite prompted before the silence became lengthy. Snapping an answer together and mentally patting Kunzite on the back for the great save, Endymion jumped onto the topic, inviting Nephrite to share his opinions as the brunette was practically jumping at the bit to speak with its chief designer.

As soon as everyone was keeping up with Nephrite and Leran, Endymion subtly tapped Kunzite on the shoulder and mouthed ‘thanks.’ Kunzite smiled in response, then nodded his head back to the two talking: a silent reminder to keep his head in the game.

And he would have, too… if she weren’t so close. Tilting his head towards her, he whispered conspiratorially, “So, did you find something savory?”

Her eyes closed and she raised her hand to cover her mouth, as if she were yawning, but instead she whispered back, “Mini quiche – they were delicious.”

It was a clever ruse – if he hadn’t been standing so close he would’ve been completely fooled. What other tricks did she have up her sleeve? “Are you feeling better, then?” he whispered again, as Kunzite tucked his hair behind his ear – he knew what he was up to, but Endymion couldn’t really help himself.

This time, Serenity looked down at herself and brushed at the fabric of her dress. The fabric made a soft swooshing sound, and in it he almost lost her quiet reply, “Much.”

He smiled – she was good. He turned his head as if to examine the fastening of his cape, his hands straightening the material to cover where his eyes really were. Despite the little signs and messages she was sending him, her appearance was still one of utmost grace and nobility… until she caught him staring and winked. He barely contained a grin as he turned his attention back to the conversation at hand.

“Even sooner than six hours?!” Nephrite repeated, his hand marking the emphasis.

“But how is that even possible?” Zoisite added, his expression one of amazement. Jadeite looked appreciative – Endymion had missed something.

Dignitary Leran smiled appreciatively, nodding his head as if accepting highest compliments. “Yes, it is possible, but I’m afraid the technique is still under the strictest of testing environs and I cannot divulge anything else about it.” Nephrite and Zoisite looked crestfallen, and the man’s smile grew, “Unless, that is… you would like to swing by the test field?”

“When?!” Nephrite asked enthusiastically as Zoisite produced a small scroll and a writing utensil from his inner jacket, poised to scribe the directions.

Leran and Cretair laughed merrily at their eagerness, while he swore he heard Corvus mutter something about ‘boys’ and ‘toys’ as she leaned towards Princess Serenity, her eyes rolling.

“How about the day after tomorrow, around noontime? We’ll meet you in the Sea of Tranquility,” Leran decided, his mustached partner Cretair marking his agreement with a nod. “We might even be able to get you into one of the test-pods,” Cretair added.

Nephrite’s jaw dropped, “You mean… we could… I could...?”

Cretair nodded.

Nephrite turned, open mouthed, to Endymion. He had really missed something. He smiled back, not really knowing what he was supposed to be so excited about but not wanting to disappoint Nephrite by showing a lack of eagerness for whatever-it-was they were doing in a few days’ time. The brunette made a victorious hand motion, “Yes!”

“How long do you think it would take to learn the controls?” Zoisite asked as Nephrite’s enthusiastic whooping continued beside him.

“Oh, not too long, I would imagine. You’ve ridden horses, correct?” Leran answered, turning his attention away from the celebratory general. At Zoisite’s, Kunzite’s and Endymion’s nods (Jadeite was too caught up in evading Nephrite’s attempt at making him cheer), Leran explained, “then it shouldn’t take long at all – we modeled the steering mechanism after the reigns of a horse, and each of you would be in with a copilot so the technical mechanics would be taken care of for you.”

“Interesting…” Zoisite commented.

“Genius,” Kunzite complimented.

So we’re going to be piloting something? Endymion concluded. He started to piece together what he remembered… Leran and Cretair were technicians in charge of the Arc, the spaceship that brought them here. Nephrite was excited about something getting here in less than six hours – perhaps newer propulsion technology? … And they were going to let them TEST IT?! Excitement welled up like a geyser as the understanding hit him – They were going to be FLYING something REALLY FAST the day after tomorrow! PRACTICALLY ALONE! ONLY ONE COPILOT! If it only took the Arc six hours to traverse from Earth to Moon, it would be going…. He quickly calculated the speed, around 39,800 miles per hour – that’s 11 miles per second – that like taking one second to make it from the capital to the great temple – that usually takes at least half an hour on a galloping horse! … and this thing that they’re piloting goes FASTER THAN THAT!? He now easily saw why Nephrite was so excited. They would be going so fast! He wondered fleetingly if there were more than one so they could race, and wished he had been paying more attention earlier so he could be celebrating with Nephrite.

Luckily the brunette was sharing his brainwave. “Wait, wait,” he paused, looking at Cretair, “How many are there? Could we race them?”

“Unfortunately, there is only one,” Cretair admitted, his tone and body language suggesting that he thought Nephrite might be a little less excited.

Instead, his green eyes shot a challenge over to Endymion, “Time trials.” he stated.

Endymion returned the competitive stare, “You’re on.”

“Shall we make it interesting?” Jadeite cut in, an aggressive look about him, too. So he would be competing, eh?

“How so?” Nephrite returned, speaking to Jadeite while continuing to stare at Endymion. Out of the corner of the prince’s eyes, he found the little audience of dignitaries and the Queen looking quite amused.

“Winner chooses a collective punishment for the losers.”

“Agreed.” Endymion said in chorus with Nephrite. He’d have to think up something good…

“Boys,” Corvus sighed exasperatedly, “and here I thought a prince and his highest ranking officials would be more refined.” Their staring contest broken, both sets of his, Nephrite’s green and his blue, followed the commentary.

“Nothing’s wrong with a competitive spirit,” Leran defended.

“And what’s could fuel it more than a wager?” Cretair added.

The woman rolled her eyes and shrugged helplessly, looking over at Queen Serenity, then Princess Serenity, both of whom just smiled in response

He wondered if there would be a way for Princess Serenity to join them at the testing field… unbidden, a memory from a storybook flashed into his mind: the winner of the tournament always got a kiss from the land’s Princess… a blush crept into his cheeks before he could stop it; thankfully no one seemed to notice before he was able to push it away. It wouldn’t happen… but he found himself quietly asking anyway, “Do you think you would be able to join us?”

The princess yawned and stretched, or, rather, that was her cover. “We might be able to sneak out of lessons.”

“My, Princess, that is the second time you’ve yawned! Are you tired?” Corvus asked, concerned, interrupting Leran as he spoke about other advancements they were making.

Caught.

“Oh, no, it’s nothing,” Serenity waved off.

“Then again, I suppose it’s only natural! You’ve been up since such an early time this morning,” Corvus continued, ignoring the princess’s answer.

“Really, I’m not that tired, but thank you for your concern, Dignitary Corvus.” Serenity nodded her head appreciatively towards the tall red-haired woman.

Corvus shrugged as if not completely convinced, and Endymion thought it might be best to save further conversation for the dance floor, less the woman insist the princess consider retiring for the night.

The conversation continued to focus on the technological advancements made at the research base in the Sea of Tranquility, Corvus interrupting every now and again in an attempt to change the topic. She succeeded only when mentioning the competitive sports and games for the upcoming festival, and then was rather cryptic about it all, wanting to ‘keep them in suspense.’ The time passed rather quickly, yet as Serenity shifted, her arm brushing up against his hand, he found himself sincerely wishing that the musicians hurry up with their break.


Author's Note: Er, that race thing came out of nowhere. I was sitting there, writing something dull all the way up to them dancing, but was unsatisfied with it. I went back and tried again because I wanted Endymion to talk to Serenity secretly, and suddenly Nephrite was like OMG FASTER?! And I was like "Oh, yeah, I made whathisname the creator of the Arc. .. sure, they developed something faster, Nephrite..." and it just exploded from there. o_o

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:02 pm

Finally, the conductor returned to the stage and everyone turned to him and applauded. “Thank you all,” the tall man took a bow, and then led his orchestra through their commendations. The room echoed with the clapping of hundreds of hands offering their thanks for the entertainment of the evening. As they died down, he continued, “Thank you all for your warm reception. It was an honor for us to play tonight and welcome Prince Endymion and his right-hand quartet to our glorious Moon Kingdom.” He smiled at his own musical reference; Endymion heard Jadeite sigh exasperatedly somewhere to his right. “We would like to end the night with a few favorites; please enjoy the last hour of our performance.” He bowed again to applause, turned, and raised his baton.

“It was a pleasure to meet you all,” Endymion addressed the gathered dignitaries, “Lady Corvus, I am looking forward to the festival and the surprises you’ve hinted at,” the woman smiled and curtseyed, “And Masters Leran and Cretair, I cannot wait to test out your newest inventions on Monday morning.” The two smiled and bowed. He turned then, to the small blonde girl beside him. Her blue eyes were looking at him, but not expectantly – it was almost as if she was looking into a daydream. He’d see if he could provide more inspiration for them. “Princess Serenity, would you honor me with another dance?”

She smiled and carefully took his hand, walking lightly and evenly with him out onto the floor. The farther they got from the officials, the more she seemed to relax, to melt back into the girl he had danced with nearly an hour ago. Only when she had completely let go did he twirl her, his right hand passing hers into his left, the move finishing with her facing him in a dip, “Serenity.”

She beamed up at him, her face alight, “Endymion.” Again his heart swelled to hear her say his name. He pulled her back up to be closer then danced in place to the slower-paced song.

“I admire your expertise in covert communication,” he said with a smile.

She coyly grinned back at him, her eyes shifting guiltily as she bit her lip, “What can I say? I am good.”

He laughed and spun them. “The yawning was a work of art – “

“With occasional drawbacks,” she pointed out with a giggle, “One time Aphrodite and I held an entire conversation with yawns during a lesson. When Bellona and Demeter joined in, Professor Gerune thought that we were coming down with some sort of disease and sent us all to bed, without dinner.”

“Oh, how tragic,” he teased.

She stuck her tongue out at him, “the tragedy was that we had to leave Athena alone with him – she showed none of the symptoms, so he thought he’d continue the lesson just with her; the problem was that, until then, he never knew exactly how intelligent she is. She taught him on the subject and ever since he’s been asking her to present at the University and giving her all sorts of other projects. … not to mention she’s been charged with making sure I keep up with my studies.” She made an annoyed face, “as if she hadn’t insisted upon doing so before.”

He laughed, “and here I thought Athena was such a nice girl.”

“Oh, no! She is!” she quickly clarified, just as he thought she would. “I love Athena to death! … it’s those books I couldn’t care less for.”

He chuckled again, “Which subjects do you dislike so much?”

She sighed, “Pretty much all of them… and now I’m reminded of that huge stack of homework waiting for me in the library.” She looked back at him, “It’s a bit depressing.”

“Well, Serenity, what do you like?”

“Well, I like dancing,” she said and he twirled her out obligingly, letting go to keep her spinning in place as he twirled himself in beside her.

“I had noticed,” he murmured, catching her hands and kissing them softly before leading them to his shoulders. She grasped them behind his neck as his hands found her hips and they swayed in time to the song.

Blushing, her eyes took in his, “I like sweets.”

“So you’ve told me, cake-princess.” Slowly he started rotating them, keeping relatively in place as couples danced past and around them, unaware of the little world they had all to themselves.

“I like sunny days and gardens, laughing, spending time with my friends…” her voice was barely above a whisper.

“Mmhmm,” he hummed, leaning closer to her.

“and the Prince of Earth.”

His heart thundered softly in his chest. He wanted to kiss her, to hold her tight against him and loose himself in her. To take her in, just as she had completely captured him. It was more than a want, more than a strong feeling – the command his heart and body demanded was harder to fight than instinct… he leaned closer, her eyes closed and she tilted her face up to meet his…

But before his lips got any closer to hers his shoulder was tapped insistently. It was like a rude awakening from the most perfect dream he had ever had – his eyes opened and he halfway turned to see Kunzite behind him. Turning back to Serenity he saw a mirrored look of a dreamer awakened, her blue eyes looking over her shoulder at Aphrodite.

“A little too close there, Prince,” Kunzite addressed quietly, for his ears only. “Princess, might I cut in?” he asked in a louder voice.

Still looking a bit confused, Serenity hesitantly nodded. He released her and watched with an empty feeling as Kunzite danced away with her. He was so close, and his heart ached to be that close again. Before he could take a step in any direction, Aphrodite moved in, taking his empty hands and putting them into a dancing position.

“Sorry, Prince,” she said cheerfully with a wink, “You two were just getting a little too close for comfort.”

He smiled halfheartedly and started to dance.

“Did you know you had stopped dancing completely?” Aphrodite continued, “a little lost in the moment, were we?”

Her teasing tone was starting to lighten his mood, “Maybe.”

“’Maybe’? There was no ‘maybe’ there! I should know,” she winked, “I really hated breaking you two up, but Kunzite was right – a little too close for the public eye. We don’t want rumors flying about you two just yet – you’ve only just arrived!”

Ah, there it was. He should’ve thought of that before he let himself get carried away – she had her reputation to uphold, and so did he. Monarchs-to-be didn’t just kiss in the middle of the dance floor. … no matter how much they wanted to… He sighed, it was a good catch, no matter how much he didn’t want to be caught.

“Yeah, sorry,” he apologized.

“You are not,” her smile brightened with a tease, “but don’t be too upset with us, you might get other chances.”

“Oh, really?” he asked, playing along.

“Well, so long as you and your Generals don’t mind hanging out with us after lessons every day this week.”

He smiled, glancing around to find Nephrite happily dancing and chatting with Demeter and Zoisite dancing with an unknown young lady but glancing over at Athena. “You know, I don’t think we’ll mind too much.”

“Good! We wanted to go to the zoo tomorrow.” She nodded matter-of-factly, “You can take us and tell us more about the weird animals from Earth.”

He laughed, finding Serenity twirling under Kunzite’s hand on the other side of the room. Thinking back on their earlier conversation, he secretly hoped that the thought of meeting him afterwards would make her lessons even a bit more difficult, as he knew waiting for her to finish them would make his days stretch on forever.

Aphrodite followed his gaze, and sighed, “And, of course, you can always finish what you started after the dance is over.”

Endymion’s smile grew, still watching the blonde dancing with his silver-haired friend, and promised himself that he would.


AN: Am I mean? Twisted Evil I hope you think so.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:14 pm

The dance with Aphrodite ended and even before he could thank her another had offered his hand to dance with the blonde Princess of Venus. Endymion smiled inwardly at the boy's reaction – his offer was eager with a stutter of hesitation – it was probably the first time the young man had worked up the courage to ask the beautiful girl. Aphrodite, for her part, acted delighted and honored, practically leading him away. What a great sport – the lad could be no older than twelve and Aphrodite, he guess at fifteen or sixteen, was a good three to four inches taller than her new partner.

New partner… snap. People were pairing up all around him for the next set. He stood higher and tried to look over the heads of the audience to locate someone to dance with. Serenity was paired with Nephrite, Athena and Bellona had partners… He could go fishing in the crowd of unattached young ladies just off the dance floor. Surely there wouldn't be another repeat of Adrestria; they would've warned him if there were another girl like her, right? On his way over, politely excusing himself when he had to squeeze between waiting couples, his eyes fell upon Demeter, the only one of Serenity's friends with whom he had yet to dance. She was already paired, but as he passed her he paused, "Might I have the next dance, Demeter?"

"Sure thing, Prince!" she replied with a smile.

The dance was a bit uneventful, though the girl he had asked to dance was very curious about life on Earth. He found through her that the Moon's education system primarily focused on the sciences at upper levels – physics, engineering, natural sciences such as biology and astronomy, and chemistry – yet retained the love of music, art, and literature. Apparently there were different schools that the children of the moon could choose to attend that focused on areas of their interest and strengths, preparing them for a future in their career of choice or a seat at the Lunar University wherein they would further study the hard sciences. Her curiosity stemmed from a lack of studies about Earth; it was a big part of their literature, a smaller part of their history, and was mentioned only rarely in subjects other than biology.

As he answered her questions about daily life on Earth, Endymion felt like his Lunar education was rather lacking. They studied the moon briefly in history and political classes, but otherwise his education was filled to the brim with the goings-on on Earth. … Maybe he'd pick up a book on the history of the moon before heading back home.

The song ended and she thanked him for his information and walked off purposefully, even before he had thanked her in return. Wait – had he just been interviewed? Would his name suddenly pop up in a list of quotations in a scientific paper of some sort? Even as Endymion's head filled with notes of grandeur – he would be cited in someone's work – it sank with the sudden realization: he would be cited in someone's work. What had he said? He hadn't been paying much attention, just answering whatever came to mind – had he said anything bad about Earth or Elysian? Aw, man… Zoisite would kill him if he found out.

"Good evening, Prince!" Demeter tapped him on the shoulder to gain his attention.

He turned and offered a weary smile to the brunette, still thinking of being a poor representation of the populace of his home, "Good evening, Demeter. Thank you for the dance."

"No problem; I know that strangers can be a mixed bag when it comes to partners," her eyebrows raised in a forced smile, "You can ask my feet for further evidence, if you need it."

He laughed, "So far the actual dancing part has been just fine," Endymion offered as Demeter relaxed, "but I think I was just interviewed without warning."

"Stressing about being misquoted or quoted out of context?" Demeter guessed intuitively. He nodded, and she continued, "I wouldn't worry too much about it; Karina is just one of those people who like to record everything around them."

He nodded again in understanding, and the apprehension began to dissipate; an amateur historian really wasn't anything to bother with. As more of the instruments entered into the song, he spun Demeter out then brought her back in, spinning himself so that they ended up in opposite positions.

"Aha!" Demeter laughed, "Another fancy dancer. You guys should come to our celebrations more often!" Smiling at the compliment, Endymion dipped the Princess of Jupiter, who laughed again, "This is so much more fun!" he brought her up and they moved throughout the room, "Usually we're stuck dancing back and forth, like poor Bell over there," she nodded her pony-tailed head over at the raven-haired Bellona, who was moving in time to the music in a slow circle, her young partner looking at her in awe and nervousness.

Endymion chuckled, "at least her feet aren't being trod upon."

"True; but usually the guys who step on our feet are at least trying to be exiting," the green-eyed girl explained. "I usually prefer dancing with the older gentlemen as their experience livens things up, but it's really nice to dance with people my own age and enjoy it. There's only so much you can talk about with older guys, especially when you're supposed to be a great Senshi of the Moon Kingdom, you know?"

He smiled, "Have to stay in character the whole time, right?"

"Pretty much," she nodded as they spun.

For about a minute or two, Endymion concentrated fully on dancing, enjoying Demeter's laughs and sudden exclamations when he did something unexpected – she was a really fun partner to dance with.

"Prince Endymion, do you enjoy ice-skating?" Demeter asked.

Endymion considered; they had skated a few times when visiting Zoisite's kingdom and Nephrite's kingdom. He enjoyed the challenge of keeping balanced and the speed that one could achieve. He nodded, "Yeah."

"Have you ever figure-skated?" she continued with a smile.

Figure skating – that was like dancing on ice. He had participated in a few events, but he wasn't nearly as good at it as Zoisite and Nephrite were. "Yeah," he said again, with a growing suspicion as to where this was going.

"Great! I thought it'd be fun to bring you guys to the rink sometime, but Bell said you guys had probably never skated before; with all that ice all over Earth's northern hemisphere, I just knew you'd at least heard of it. Skating is the major sport around here, though they have been experimenting with this new one out beyond the artificial gravity bounds that I'd like to try sometime. I adore figure skating, and Serenity's rather talented. I think we'd have a great time."

Another chance to be close to Serenity? 'Sign me up' he thought, using a favorite phrase of Nephrite's. It would be interesting to see the princess completely in her element, expressing herself without a partner to guide her along. "I think it's a great idea," Endymion seconded.

"I'll arrange to reserve it for an afternoon sometime this week, then. Ah, the perks of power," she winked conspiratorially. The dance was starting to wind down. "Three songs down, right?" Demeter asked, glancing up at the orchestra's stage.

"Since the last break," Endymion verified.

Demeter smiled, "I thought so. The fourth song of the final set is the most like a fireworks finale – it's a very energetic partner-swapping dance. It's a little complicated but very fun. I don't know if you know it… but, if you wouldn't mind, I could teach you."

Partner-swapping, eh? He glanced around as they turned, seeing Serenity not too far away, dancing with Jadeite. If he ended the dance with her, it would be all too easy to snag the next song, as well. … but how could Demeter teach him so quickly? "How could you teach me an entire dance minutes before it starts?"

"Well, it repeats. I'll dance the first part with you; just let me lead a little and you just have to remember the steps. When partners swap, it pretty much starts all over again. And don't worry – I'll make it look like you're leading the whole time," she winked.

The idea was sound, if a little strange. "Alright," he agreed, "let's do it."

The song ended, and everything around them changed. Princess Jupiter led him over a bit to join in a loose grid-work of couples. Glancing around him he noticed that the crowd of waiting people had diminished to a tiny proportion – everyone, it seemed, had found someone for this dance. Even Queen Serenity was paired with a tall mustached gentleman. Suddenly the strings broke into a quick fall, which the woodwinds picked up and ran with. Demeter led him in a number of turns, then a move where their hands joined together before their faces, their other hands behind their backs, and they turned a half circle around each other, switched hands, did it again, held and he spun her (rather, she spun herself, but her skill at hiding who was actually in charge was commendable), there was some fancy footwork he had a few issues with, but before he knew it Demeter was whispering "pick me up in three." He counted the beats dutifully and lifted her in time with the other dancers. Honestly, he couldn't really recall what other moves were involved – half of his head was set upon robotically remembering the steps the graceful brunette was leading him through, the other half wondering at the new experience of being led rather than leading. It was rather odd – he had to be kept on his toes at all moments, prepared for any move Demeter suggested and reacting appropriately. Did girls go through this every time?

Suddenly they were hurtling to the next row, shuffling places with other couples, then separating and arching their hands to create a tunnel for couples to dash through to the end of the line. Though some ran quickly, others danced a quick jig – one man slid on his knees for some distance then popped up like nothing was out of the ordinary and rejoined the line. When his turn came about, he chose to do the easy thing and dash, especially as he had no idea how long this part would last. Feeling lost, he looked to Demeter, who smiled, whirled her finger around and threw her thumb out behind her. A turn then, and partner with the person in the line behind them?

Right. Okay. He turned and grasped hands with the woman a few steps behind him and they danced back the way he had come down the line. When the tunneling people ran out, the lines were suddenly reformed and the dance beginning anew.

Endymion continued through the dance, repeating with a touch of dexterity the moves Demeter had shown him with his new partner, a motherly figure who smiled and whispered "Your first time?" He nodded, reaching up to touch hands for the weird hand part. After that, if he faltered for even a moment she was quick to whisper helpful instructions. When they crossed down the archway of hands she smiled and complimented him on doing a good job.

He was actually starting to get the hang of this.

Three partners later and the song had ended. To his disappointment, Serenity had ended up just one line away from where he stood, but that still kept her in range for the next dance.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:16 pm

Everyone clapped when the music ended, most breathless but happy, and the floor cleared. Before she could get any farther, Endymion lightly touched Serenity's shoulder to gain her attention. She turned and a faint blush appeared in her cheeks, which inwardly made him smile. "Oh! Endymion," she exclaimed, still catching her breath, "I saw you dancing – I had wondered if that dance was from Earth or had made it there! I'm glad you knew it though, it's just so much fun, all that bouncing around."

"That was my first time, actually," he admitted, taking her hands for the next dance without formally asking. She didn't seem to mind. "Demeter was kind enough to teach me. She said it was like the fireworks finale?"

Serenity looked confused for a second, cocking her head to the side with a quizzical expression. "Oh! She meant that because all the other dances are slow ones to wind the night down," she explained with a lighthearted smile of comprehension.

Sure enough, the next song was slow and simple, like a solo with minimal embellishments. It wasn't a waltz at all. But if it weren't a waltz… Endymion slowly lowered his hand from its place on Serenity's shoulder blade to rest on her waist as her arm relaxed its stiff and structured position. Through her dress he could feel the warmth of her skin, and one look into her eyes told him that she, too, was reminded of their last dance together. She broke the gaze first, glancing around to the other couples on the floor, a reminder of their public presence.

"I hear we're going to the zoo tomorrow," he offered, hoping to bring her attention back on him and not on how she thought she should be behaving in public. When she was with him he wanted the real Serenity, not the polite and distant version that she had created for the public eye. "Whose idea was that?"

She looked back at him and replied, though she still felt a little tense. "Mine. Aphrodite liked it, too."

"So you like animals?" he asked, turning them so she faced the staircase, away from the crowd. "Which is your favorite?"

"Hmm?" Serenity was still glancing around. Time to be a little more direct.

He spun her twice, her hair whipping about, then lowered her into a dip. He was the only thing in her view, besides the ceiling above, and he smiled down at her, "Come on, cake-princess, it's just me. Don't worry about them; they're not paying us the least amount of attention." He looked over and she followed his gaze, "see?" he confirmed, "they're handing out drinks, everyone's talking about the last dance. No one cares in the slightest about a guy in a tuxedo dancing with a beautiful girl in a white dress." She smiled slightly as she watched the people from her sideways vantage point, then looked back up at him and nodded with a more confident smile. Satisfied, he pulled her back up and cheerfully asked again, "So, which animal is your favorite?"

Her eyes looked up as she thought seriously, and he spun her. She was smiling brightly when she faced him again, "it's a tough question!"

"Tough? Nonsense. I like panthers," he growled playfully and she giggled, "not hard at all."

"But… there are so many! And they're all so adorable~" she protested.

"Ah, you like the cute ones," he said flatly, just to tease her, "who would have guessed?"

She stuck her tongue out at him.

"Okay, let's discount all of the baby animals and the pets. What is your favorite wild animal?"

"Well," she thought aloud, "at the zoo I always like watching the panda bears, but the giraffes are so huge! And the elephants, too! They're all just so large and strange and fun, I can't just choose one!"

"Elephants and giraffes, eh?" he confirmed, "I've seen them in their natural habitat before, you know."

"No way!" she exclaimed, surprised and interested.

"Yep. It was a little more than six years ago. Father and a small group went to visit a kingdom in Africa – that's the continent that looks like a fat seven, Miss I-don't-like-school – " she pursed her lips at the jab and he chuckled, "and he let Kunzite, Nephrite and I come along. The region's ruler let us go out exploring with one of his hunters as our guide. When we came over a rise, we saw them – a bunch of elephants, giraffes, zebra, and flamingos – a ton of animals, all gathered around a lake. We didn't get too close because they're really dangerous when they feel threatened, but we got close enough to really see them."

"Wow!"

He smiled, "it was a really fun trip. Hot, though."

"Where else have you been?" she asked curiously, and so he told her. Amidst turning around the dance floor, Endymion told the princess about a few of his adventures on trips throughout his kingdom, spinning her out and shooting her back in at exciting parts, such as when their caravan had been attacked by highwaymen and he, Zoisite, Kunzite and Nephrite had to jump into the brawl to save Jadeite, who had been knocked off of his horse and struck unconscious during the initial strike. As the music wore on he turned from stories of adventure and discovery to attempts at describing landscapes and seascapes, barely noticing during his narration that the song had stopped and another had started. They just continued to dance together, Serenity asking questions about different regions and experiences.

"Tell me again about the beaches by the Mediterranean Sea," she requested, her tone quiet and wondering.

"We were in a small boat, on our way from one side to another. It was dark out, but as the clouds moved aside the full moon broke through and brought everything into high relief. Every rock along the shoreline was two-toned, both silver-grey and deepest black, the shadows against the moonlight making every crevice stand out. While the greenery was the palest gray, it still shone as the leaves reflected the light back at us, wafting in the breezes of the high mountain ranges, their soft whisper lost completely in the strength of the wind out where we were. The beaches, while comparatively tiny with the high tide, were completely washed clean, looking soft and tranquil in comparison to the rocky waters, which rolled and dashed …." He continued his narration, ending with "And that's the Mediterranean Sea at night in the summer."

As if on cue, the music stopped. Serenity blinked as if coming out of a reverie, looking around she yawned.

"Sorry if I bored you," Endymion smirked.

"No, sorry! I just got so…" she yawned again, "relaxed." She blinked again, letting go of his hand to wipe her eyes. "I'm so tired."

He smiled, leading her off of the dance floor. "Would you like me to find Aphrodite or Athena for you?"

She shook her head sleepily, "They're probably still dancing," she looked up at him out of the corner of her eye, watching for his reaction, "Do you think you could walk me back to our hideout?"

'What – wait- who – me – Serenity – alone –whatseriously? ' "Yes," he blurted.

"I mean, sure. I can do that," he saved in a calmer tone, his mind still wheeling and his heart thumping anew. They walked back towards the pair of doors leading out of the ballroom, the same archway that he had spied her leaving through earlier. "What did you mean by hideout?"

She giggled sleepily, "It's just the foyer a couple hallways away. Close enough to get back quickly, far enough away that people can't find us easily."

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:17 pm

Together they exited the ballroom and turned left down the dark hallway, a soft glow providing all the light they needed to find their way. Serenity indicated different turns, still yawning occasionally. Finally he opened a door to find a room bathed in the strange light from outside, littered with soft-looking chairs, footstools and daybeds. Instead of walking to one, Serenity let go of his hand and approached the window, leaning up against the frame and looking up.

Curious, and wanting to be closer, Endymion approached and looked outside to see what had captured the princess's attention. The courtyard was bathed in a pale light, but, unlike earlier, and unlike anything he had seen at home, beyond the gardens and the expanse of the viewing pools the sky was completely, utterly black, stars clearly shining even at ground level. He looked around in wonder, never before seeing the stars appear so close. It really looked like he could touch them. Was this what she had been attracted by? He glanced over and saw her head tilted skyward; he followed her gaze…

It was Earth. Goosebumps ran the length of his arm as he realized what was giving off that soft glow – it was his home, a crescent-shaped wedge of blue and green and white, shining spectacularly in the light of the sun and reflecting back its glow. The light was cold, yet reassuring, and he soon found himself gazing at its surface, picking out continents and wondering what those people were doing now. It was sunrise for those along the borderline of light and darkness, those millions of people on that particular parallel were just awakening, stretching and stepping out of bed to start the day… hundreds of thousands of people in handfuls of different countries, different cities, all joined together inescapably through the sunrise.

"Isn't it beautiful?"

Serenity leaned against the wooden frame of the window, her body relaxed with her hands clasped loosely behind her back. Her dress cascaded down the length of her in white folds, outlining her shape elegantly as the golden circlets adorning the top caught bits of Earth's light and seemed to glitter beautifully, the pearls softly drawing attention to their flawless surface. Like those pearls, her soft, pale skin also shone in the cool light, each shadow a perfect line that made her appear to be a marble statue; he felt like he needed to touch her to make sure she was still there.

The look on her lovely face made his heart call out – she seemed so perfect, a vision that artists would sell their souls to capture and spend their entire lives in the pursuit of doing her justice, and yet, though he knew her to be otherwise, watching her now gave him the overwhelming feeling of incredible loneliness. She still stared at the earth in rapt fascination, the small blue crescent shape reflected perfectly in her jewel-like eyes, her lips parted ever so slightly with her upturned face…

"You're beautiful," he responded, feeling in awe of the otherworldly young woman before him. She broke her gaze and as soon as her wonderful blue eyes looked into his, there was no going back. He belonged to her as surely as the sun would rise every day. He leaned in, his heart thudding against his chest as he was irresistibly drawn to her, to hold her close and chase whatever loneliness he saw in her away. His lips yearned to touch hers, and as if it had been practiced before, or else it was an inevitable calling, Princess Serenity leaned forward. In the reflected light of Earth and Moon, they shared their first kiss.

Her lips were soft…

His hands reached to embrace her, pulling his cape forward to wrap around her when he found her shoulders cool to the touch. She melted against him; he stayed strong, supporting her as their lips moved against one another's, their eyes closed. He pulled away first, not wanting to get carried away. It was late, she was tired – he didn't want her to regret anything.

He stepped backward, the bottom of his cape dropping back into its proper position with a rustle of fabric. He put her hand to his mouth and pressed his lips against it, his eyes never leaving hers. "Goodnight, Princess."

He left, holding her hand as long as he could before gently letting go, turning to face the door and feeling her eyes on him until the door closed behind him. He took a deep breath, decompressing, his mind wondering how the heck he got through that and came out feeling 'cool'. He half expected he would break out in mindless chitchat, but instead he had kept his head. As he started walking through the palace, he started to wonder at the lack of nervousness he had felt through the whole thing – his body had reacted, but there wasn't any anxiety or jitteriness at all.

As he pondered the phenomena he passed Athena heading in the other direction, the blue-haired girl seemingly off in her own world. "Good night, Athena," he offered over his shoulder, not wanting to seem impolite.

"Good night, Prince Endymion," she replied in an offhand manner, and they continued in their separate ways. … for a moment, until Endymion heard the soft clicking of high heels stop. … He decided it might be in his best interests to just keep walking. Picking up his pace slightly, he half-turned, offered the Princess of Mercury a smile and a wave and he turned the corner down another hallway, her ocean-blue eyes following him with a question half-formed on her lips. Truthfully he was glad he had run into Athena over Bellona, whom probably would have demanded he stop and explain himself. As it was, Serenity would probably be answering a few questions.

A short time later the ballroom was in clear view, its light spilling into the hallway and mixing with the light from Earth. He recognized the small group of girls standing just outside the door and thought he could see the retreating form of Kunzite farther down the hallway.

As he passed by Aphrodite, Bellona and Demeter, he bade them goodnight. Demeter smiled and waved a return, Bellona looked with suspicion from him to the hallway he had emerged from, but offered a wave goodnight. Aphrodite winked at him, "Goodnight, Prince! We'll see you tomorrow."

"Looking forward to it," he replied a little lamely, noticing something a little different about Aphrodite's outfit, but wasn't able to put his finger on it until he compared her attire to her friends. Where was the dark yellow ribbon that had been tied around her neck? Demeter's green one and Bellona's red one were still in place – had she lost it somewhere? Momentarily he shrugged the question off; it wasn't exactly important.

Once clear of the sounds of the party, he called just loud enough for Kunzite to hear him, and his friend paused, allowing him to catch up. They walked together in comfortable silence back to their rooms, where they found Zoisite lounging in a chair by the fireplace with a small book open, while Jadeite and Nephrite were at the windows, looking up. All looked up at their entrance.

"Welcome back, Romeo," Nephrite teased, approaching to slap Endymion heartily on the back. "I saw you two on the dance floor; tell me, did you get a kiss? Zoisite and I have bet going - I said you went for it, he said you wouldn't dare kiss 'the princess of a foreign nation!'" he adopted a falsetto tone when he quoted their blonde friend, who cocked his eyebrow at the trio standing in the center of the room.

Wait. … wait. No. Crap. Even as he called her 'princess' he never really thought about what it would mean on a political level. He was only thinking of her as she was, not as the Prince of a planet should be thinking of Princess of another planet. – Planet! Even if she were just of another Nation he should have stopped and thought. Crap. Prince. Princess. Even as his mind reeled over his carelessness and the potential downsides of – of – well of whatever just happened, a little part in the very back of his mind slyly clicked together the pieces: he was the crowned prince of Earth, she the princess of the Moon Kingdom. If things went really well… well, he could potentially marry her. His heart thumped with the small idea, but then he quickly buried it. He wasn't even seventeen yet; it was just weird to think of that kind of thing.

"Hold on a second," Jadeite said from the window, drawing their attention. His mouth agape in a look of unbelieving wonder, the youngest of them pointed at Kunzite's right hand. "What's that?"

Nephrite jumped at the cue, sidestepping the Prince to grab Kunzite's hand and hold it aloft before the silver-haired general could hide whatever he held. Leaking from his balled fist was a long, thin, orange-yellow ribbon. "What is—" the brunette started to ask, but the realization hit him at about the same time it hit Endymion and Zoisite: "—APHRODITE'S CHOKER? Kunzite! You sly dog~"

Kunzite just smiled, pulling his hand from Nephrite's grasp.

"Oh come on, tell us what happened."

He shook his head, "I don't kiss and tell."

Endymion immediately adopted this view; a shield against prying questions should Nephrite turn his attention back on him.

"And yet you just admitted to kissing," Zoisite pointed out.

Kunzite wiped at his bottom lip, his white glove coming away with a faint pink tinge, "I thought that much might've been obvious." As Nephrite and Endymion laughed at the response, Endymion a little less comfortably as he wondered if there was anything on his face but not daring to look less he prove his guilt, the eldest of the friends joined Jadeite at the window. Endymion and Nephrite joined, him, Zoisite leaving his chair and book to be with them at the expansive outer display. All of them looked up into the night, admiring the dark splendor of space, and the startling yet soft glow of their home.

"It looks so small," Jadeite commented, "like I could hold it in the palm of my hand."

"And yet it shines so bright." Zoisite finished.

"Isn't it odd?" Kunzite posed, "Everything we have ever known, every person we have ever met, every road we have ever traveled, is right there, on that small, blue ball suspended in the darkness."

They stood together in the glow, each deep in their own thoughts until, one by one, they went off to bed, until it was only Kunzite and Endymion left.

As soon as the door to Zoisite's room closed, Kunzite quietly broke the silence. "You and Serenity – "

Endymion interrupted him softly, believing his friend about to tell him to stop things where they stood and wanting to point out the hypocrisy of such a statement. "You and Aphrodite."

Kunzite laughed softly, "Touché. I only meant to caution you, Prince. Aphrodite and I know that a relationship like ours, a relationship between worlds, cannot last." And yet even as he said such, Endymion heard the whisper of regret in his friend's voice as he peered down at the slight stretch of ribbon in his hand. "We both saw the potential between you, and I feel I must at least try to persuade you to hold back. You are the Prince of Earth, the crowned heir to the throne of Elysium, and she is the Princess of the Moon Kingdom. I hate to say it, prince, but your position may require you to forgo such dalliances in favor of a pairing on our own planet. There is some distrust in a few of the nobles towards the Moon, and even if one could twist this to look like a political pairing for the betterment of our kingdom, there will be some who will speak loudly against this." His lips twisted up into a faint half-smile, "You could say that any love between Earth and Moon is doomed."

The last statement was as much for Kunzite as for Endymion; and as he realized this, the black-haired prince put a hand on his tall friend's shoulder and smiled reassuringly, "The star-crossed love stories are always the best, in my opinion."

Kunzite returned the smile, accepting the veiled comforting words. "So I take it you're going to ignore everything I just said?"

Endymion shrugged noncommittally, "What can I say? Moon girls mess with your head."

His friend lifted the ribbon to eye level, looking at the light-orange strip in the Earth-light, and agreed just above a whisper. "That they do." He was silent for a few moments, then spoke a little louder, "We should turn in for the night; they were hinting at a bright and early morning at the zoo, remember?"

"You're right," Endymion agreed. "Good night, Kunzite," he wished as he returned to his room, Kunzite echoing the phrase before both of their doors closed. Endymion shrugged off the tuxedo, folding each bit and placing them neatly on the chest at the bottom of his bed before climbing into bed and falling asleep immediately.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:48 pm

AN: so... my first kissing scene. X.x Is super easy to tell, lol. An indicator that this particular entry might be edited in the future. ... lol, that makes it sound like I'll practice writing kissing scenes. Fail.

But if someone could give me any hints for quick fixes that stand out, please share!

… Side Note: I had originally wanted
the dance to end with the famous pairing picture, with Endymion kissing a
sleeping Serenity on the cheek (I wanted him to be all “darn. she’s
asleep. … I’mma kiss her anyway, she’s just too cute XD” or something, but
then I was like EARTH GLOW! Very Happy and they took it away. :/)

Part of me thinks that I need to redo these last few posts to make Endymion a little less serious about it - he's sixteen, just met the girl, and already he's so serious about it. It's a little beyond puppy-love and they for-serious just met like five minutes ago. But even as I'm like "er, this is out of character and going way too fast; that 'belong to her' thing shouldn't even come into play for quite some time" (Maybe leave that for after the festival?) I'm also like "Well, Maybe it is in character for him. He can be all 'for serious' really soon if he wants to."
But then it fit in so well with the scene, in my opinion. He'd always been entranced by her eyes, so seeing them in the light of the Earth alone I thought would be a good place for the thought to finally hit home, especially with that 'love at first sight' blip in the gardens. HOLY COW THAT WAS FOREVER AND EVER AGO. Lmao, nostalgia. I thought I was such a badass with my two whole chapters dedicated to the dinner, then completely KILLED IT with five or six about the dance. Holy crap. ... just holy crap, guys. lol


Ahem. So, any thoughts about the suddenness of Endymion's seriousness? Or Kunzite and Aphrodite, perhaps?

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:50 pm

Endymion awoke of his own accord, staring up at the canopied ceiling as his mind slowly rolled over the events of the previous day. He was on the moon. Hundreds of thousands of miles above Earth, orbiting at amazing speeds, he was sitting in a bed as if it were nothing. It was a strange feeling; as if just thinking about it he felt a force pulling him back towards home. How weird. He combed the bangs out of his face, stretched, and crossed his arms behind his head. The Moon. A smile crept across his face as a vision of yesterday came to mind – a dripping wet blonde sitting on the side of a fountain, that same girl scowling at him during a dance, then the look in her eyes as she gazed up at Earth... He was grinning like an idiot. Princess Serenity: elegant, beautiful, quirky and fun to provoke. … and he had kissed her.

A phrase played back through his mind, “I like sunny days and gardens, laughing, spending time with my friends…and the Prince of Earth.” Lucky.

‘We’re going to the zoo today,’ the thought idly, ‘I wonder who else is up? … and what time it is.’ Endymion swung his legs over the side of the bed, stood and dressed in a dressed-down version of his usual attire. Though he felt most comfortable with his armor on and sword strapped to his side, it probably wasn’t a good idea to go trouncing around a foreign nation in attire one could easily wear to war. So, instead, he put on the shirt, jacket and pants identical in style to what Kunzite, Nephrite, Zoisite and Jadeite wore, tucking his pants into his boots like all but Kunzite preferred to wear theirs. Clipping the cape into place, he opened the drapes to see a sunlit morning. Err, at least he thought it might’ve been morning.

He hastily made his bed and left the room, walking into their foyer to find Zoisite curled up with the little book again. “Good morning,” he greeted.

Not looking up from his book, Zoisite muttered “’Morning.”

An array of food was laid out on a table for them – fruits, light breads, cheeses – and Endymion grabbed a few articles for breakfast, idly wondering who else was awake. He took a seat across from his blonde friend. Curious, he turned his head to read the spine of the book, “’Exotic Animals and Their Habitats?’” he read aloud with a chuckle. “Are you brushing up for a trip to the zoo?”

Zoisite huffed irritably, turning so Endymion couldn’t read anything else about the book.

“I didn’t mean to make fun of you or anything,” Endymion quickly apologized, “I think it’s a good idea – that way we could point out to the staff if they have a misprint on any of their information.”

Zoisite immediately warmed, “That’s what Athena and I thought. She wanted to borrow this book to read herself to make preliminary corrections, but I only have the one copy so we agreed I should review it.”

“You could always let her borrow something else from your collection,” Endymion suggested.

“I did, actually. She’s borrowing a copy of a botany book of mine.” Zoisite replied matter-of-factly, “and she promised to trade me a copy of a Lunar History book.”

“Ah,” Endymion nodded as if swapping text books was a common practice. Remembering a thought he had last night, he ventured, “Do you think I could borrow the history book when you finish? I think it would be good to know a little more about the Moon Kingdom.”

Zoisite smiled, “Sure.” He returned to his reading.

Endymion finished breakfast and was wondering what else he could possibly do when Nephrite’s door opened and the Heavenly King of the West strolled into the room. “Good morning!” he called out with a smile, walking over behind Zoisite to ruffle his hair.

“Quit.” Zoisite commanded, using the book to hit Nephrite on the chest.

“In such a good mood, this morning,” Nephrite commented sarcastically, smiling broadly and leaving the blonde to his book. He grabbed a sweet roll from the pile of baked goods and plopped down in the chair next to Endymion’s. “The race is tomorrow, right?”

Race? … Endymion grinned, remembering now what Nephrite was referring to. “Yeah, it’s tomorrow,” he confirmed confidently.

“You look rather self-assured for someone who’s going to get his butt handed to him,” Nephrite commented slyly.

“And you sound rather cocky for someone speaking to the man who will be deciding the punishment for losing,” Endymion shot back.

“I believe that honor belongs to the winner,” Nephrite corrected with emphasis on the final word, “and that will be me.”

“You wish,” the prince replied, “You’d be lucky if you finished with twice my time. You’ll be eating my dust tomorrow as if it were powdered sugar.”

Nephrite snorted, “Powdered sugar?”

… why had he thought powdered sugar? Endymion wondered, but stuck to his affirmation, “the regolith is said to feel like fine powder.”

“Ah,” Nephrite smirked, “all the better for you, as you’ll have a softer landing when you fall to your knees and beg for mercy when I’m deciding your fate.”

Endymion couldn’t immediately think of a response. “Clever,” he acquiesced to the brunette, who took a huge bite of his pastry in victory.

The door opened behind them and Kunzite stepped in, already dressed and apparently out and about the palace. ‘When did he wake up?’ The prince wondered incredulously. ‘More importantly, when does he sleep? First to rise, usually the last to bed… maybe being older had its perks?’

“Ready to go? The shuttle to the zoo should arrive in minutes,” Kunzite reported.

“Shuttle?” Nephrite repeated, “like the machine we rod in yesterday to get here?”

“That’s what they’re called,” Kunzite replied distractedly, “where is Jadeite?”

Zoisite, still curled in the chair and without taking his attention off of his book, calmly replied, “Still sleeping, I suppose.”

Without waiting, Kunzite stepped over and burst into Jadeite’s quarters. Nephrite looked to Endymion knowingly – it wasn’t exactly a pleasure to be awakened by the eldest of the prince’s generals. The white-haired man emerged moments later and casually grabbed some fruit and a slice of bread from the breakfast table.

“Good morning, Kunzite,” Endymion greeted, breaking the silence that was building.

“Good morning, Endymion. Did you sleep well?” he replied, leaning against a wall.

“I did. Did you?”

“I did as well.”

The door suddenly slammed open with a BANG and Jadeite dashed into the room, his uniform wrinkled but in place, his short hair askew and his pale face looking startled, his green eyes searching the room until they found Kunzite. He bowed formally to his superior officer. “I am ready to go,” he declared, still catching his breath.

“Then let’s go.”

Without another word, Kunzite strode out of the room. Zoisite stood, still reading the book, and followed, apparently watching Kunzite’s cape out of the corner of his eyes to keep his bearings as he read and walked. Nephrite clapped Jadeite on the back, wheeling the young man about and steering him out of the room. “It’s a great morning, isn’t it?” he asked conversationally.

Before leaving, Endymion took a few articles from the breakfast table for Jadeite, just in case they didn’t have anything to eat at the zoo that the blonde liked.



At the end of the wide walkway entrance to the palace awaited a sleek passenger-enabled vehicle, similar to a carriage, but did not require horses to run. It was quiet, was supported by wheels, and appeared to be the same ‘shuttle’ that picked them up yesterday, so it sat around 16 people and the operator.

The five of them climbed aboard and found their counterparts already there, Bellona sitting with Serenity, who looked up and blushed when she saw him, Demeter and Aphrodite sitting in the seat behind them, and Athena on the seat on the other side of the walkway from Demeter and Aphrodite. Serenity’s senshi were in their official uniforms – he wondered fleetingly if he should refer to them by their official titles or their names, but decided to wait and see how they addressed each other and just go with the flow.

Zoisite, still reading, sat gracefully down next to Athena/Sailor Mercury and finally put the book down, turning his eyes on the young woman as she asked a question about some sort of exotic plant. Nephrite immediately took a seat behind Demeter and Aphrodite (Jupiter and Venus?) and Kunzite sat behind Zoisite and Athena/Mercury – whatever. At least in the Prince’s mind, they’d be their casual names until he heard otherwise. Jadeite fell into the first available seat and yawned hugely. Endymion took the seat beside him… and across from Bellona and Serenity.

Serenity giggled, “Are you still sleepy, too, Jadeite?”

He nodded, raising one hand (a hand that still gripped the ‘fruit sandwich’ Endymion had made for him) in an attempt to cover his mouth. “What time is it, anyway?”

“Midmorning – Around ten o’clock,” Bellona replied, “Did you have problems sleeping?”

The shuttle started to move as Jadeite refuted the claim, “It takes me a while to wake up sometimes.”

‘Sometimes?’ Endymion thought, cocking an eyebrow. Unless thrown into a lake, Jadeite remained sleepy for most of the morning. … but Endymion much preferred the sleepy Jadeite to the irritated Zoisite, if he had to choose one to awaken. Snatches of Zoisite’s quiet conversation with Athena drifted forward with an exclamation about something that sounded suspiciously scientific, and the prince suddenly wondered if Zoisite was going to try to corner the girl later with his curiosities about the talking cats or the whole ‘princess of ’ questions. As much as he liked Zoisite, his blonde friend could be quite cunning when he wanted something. He glanced over his shoulder; Zoisite didn’t have that peculiar look of craftiness about him – he looked to be enjoying himself.

“How far away from the zoo are we?” Jadeite asked, taking a bite of his breakfast.

“Five minutes,” Serenity yawned as she spoke, only barely managing to cover her mouth.

He smiled. She was cute.

The ride ended rather sooner than he thought. When they arrived the senshi stood and exited, moving forward before the shuttle had even come to a complete stop and stepping out as soon as the operator opened the doors. Kunzite was right on their heels. Endymion stood and offered his hand to Serenity, who accepted it with a shy smile as she stood. She preceded him, and he was followed by Zoisite, Nephrite and Jadeite.

The entrance was more of an opening in the street, rimmed with greenery, a ticket counter standing in the center. The senshi were already inside the park, spreading out after Aphrodite motioned where they should go. Once finished, Sailor Venus motioned them in.

Serenity again wore a white dress, the style looking similar but ending just above her knees rather than past her feet and lacking the embellishments around the top, and on her feet were a pair of heeled short boots. Pearls were woven in her hair, fastening about the circular buns on either side of her head and dipping down to form a tiara of sorts across her forehead. She was very pretty, the white pearls across her forehead further accenting the dark blue of her eyes.

They passed the kiosk and into the zoo, the entire time Serenity walking tall and elegantly, probably in her ‘public eye’ mindset.

Aphrodite met them with a smile, “Great news – not many people in today, and nobody of note.”

And just like that, Princess Serenity deflated earnestly, grinning. “Oh, good!” she declared brightly. Endymion smiled at the immediate change as the princess leaned forward and took the orange senshi’s hand. “Where are we going first?”

“Jupiter, Mars and Mercury are checking on that as we speak,” Venus – they must refer to themselves in their positionary titles, Endymion deduced – declared with playful confidence as the two stepped forward together towards the very first exhibit in the park: a tall walk-in cage of butterflies and plants, an entirely enclosed ecosystem created solely for the flying insects.

Endymion followed, Kunzite beside him with Jadeite slightly behind. Glancing around, he found Zoisite and Nephrite approaching with a map unfurled in Zoisite’s hand, Nephrite pointing out something or other. Beyond them, the senshi were converging on the butterfly cage, as well, but the rest of the area had very few people.

They entered the cage and the temperature rose noticeably, “to keep the plants healthy,” Zoisite explained to no one in particular upon entering. They passed amongst the leaves, following the dirt path – Endymion bent to the ground and picked up the soil. From the feel and the smell, it was true dirt. As he examined it, Zoisite approached. “There was a note on the map about everything being imported from Earth for authenticity. This section is straight from the Amazon rainforest.”

“Interesting,” Endymion replied, letting the earth fall as he looked around, “the Amazon, eh? How did they deal with the natives there? Aren’t they supposed to be rather vicious?”

“Well, actually,” the soft voice of Mercury answered, appearing at Endymion’s side, “they just let us have anything – the history books say that the explorers landed in an early version of the Arc and the people there practically worshipped them, bringing them gifts. When it became clear that the team was interested in specimens, they were only too happy to catch the native fauna for us in exchange for some goods.”

“Intriguing,” Zoisite trailed off, looking around at the greenery as they walked.

When they cleared the brush, Endymion stopped short. Princess Serenity and Sailor Venus stood together in the little clearing, their forms bathed in leaf-dappled light, each reaching up to provide perches for the multicolored butterflies that wafted gently around them. Both of the blondes were smiling, moving slowly as to not disturb the fragile creatures that rested all over their clothing, wings fanning slowly to add bright splashes of color to the white of Serenity’s dress and the white-and-goldenrod of Venus’s uniform. Jadeite’s boot scuffed the ground as he joined them, alerting the girls to their presence. Venus waved happily at them and Serenity turned carefully, revealing a large butterfly hovering right on top of her head, standing balanced on a strand of pearls. Her blue eyes lit up and a butterfly suddenly landed on the tip of her nose.

Venus laughed, moving her hand slowly towards the princess’s nose to guide the black-and-purple insect away, but she was too slow – with a grimace, Serenity sneezed violently and every butterfly in the area took off in a panic, resulting in a typhoon of color from every imaginable place.

“Clutz!” Mars chided, laughing as Serenity covered her head while the butterflies made a hasty retreat.

Jupiter laughed, walking through the creatures without difficulty to stand by the Princess, “They’re not going to hurt you,” she said with a smile.

Serenity blushed, “I know… they just move so fast…”

Venus giggled, “Our poor princess, attacked by vicious butterflies.”

Serenity blushed even redder, sticking her tongue out at Venus saucily.

“WHAT THE--?!” Jadeite exploded from behind them, his hand raised away from his body at eye level crawling with butterflies. He shook his hand vigorously, but almost as soon as they left the insects returned. He was about to slap his leg to get some of them off when Mars, closest to him, snatched arm to make him stop before any could be crushed.

“They’re butterflies, not leeches! Hold on,” slowly Mars brushed them away, making her gloved hand a barrier between Jadeite and the interested insects, her voice cross. “What’s this purple stuff?”

“Blueberry juice,” Jadeite replied, looking nervous at having the raven-haired girl so close to him. Endymion smiled inwardly, putting a fist on his hip as he, and almost everyone else in their group, watched the pair.

“No wonder they’re after you,” without warning, Mars took up the sleeve of Jadeite’s coat and tugged the glove off inside-out, putting the neatly rolled accessory back in the blonde’s naked hand as she turned to look at the gathered group. “Well?”

Venus pranced forward and hooked elbows with Mars, leading her towards an alternative exit, “My hero, the champion of butterflies!” She stopped suddenly both Venus and Mars looking over their shoulders at the group, “Where are we going first?”

“I think we could just go around counter clockwise,” Jupiter offered, “there doesn’t appear to be many people in today, so crowd control will be minimal whatever path we choose.”

“Through the Amazon it is!” Venus announced, “C’mon, Serenity!”

The princess dashed past Endymion to join her friends, her long blonde pigtails flowing behind her, followed by Jupiter. He and his generals came after, Mercury and Zoisite lagging behind to examine a specimen.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:52 pm

They stepped out into the light to find Venus, Mars, Serenity and Jupiter almost to the first exhibit – some sort of insect/amphibian habitat house. Before they entered, Venus pulled them to a stop yet again. “Where ARE our manners, ladies?”

“Our manners?” Jupiter questioned, turning on her green heels to stare back at them, “more like their manners. Aren’t you boys supposed to escorting us?” She crossed her arms, the look of mischief in her eyes betraying the critical scowl on her lips.

Nephrite jumped to attention, Jadeite snapping up as well through force of habit. The brunette, however, was just playing along, “Yes ma’am, sorry ma’am!” he said seriously, dashing up and offering Jupiter his elbow to hold on to. She looked down at it and laughed, pushing him aside and leading him into the darkened exhibit hall.

The blonde looked around, bashfully dropping his arm and marching determinedly to catch up with Nephrite as Endymion and Kunzite followed at a less-dogged pace. As Jadeite threw open the door, Mars stalked forward to join him. “Someone has to make sure he doesn’t try killing anything else,” the black-haired girl stated, following him in.

“Sailor Venus,” Kunzite addressed with a shallow bow.

“General Kunzite,” Venus returned, nodding her head before betting behind him and pushing him forward, “Let’s go!” she said, taking his arm instead and leading him towards the dark interior, “there are some massive bugs in here!”

The door closed and Endymion was left with Serenity. He smiled at her, “Good morning, Princess.”

She smiled, “Good morning, Endymion.”

A pleasant chill went down his spine as his name left her lips. He wanted to hold her hand, to touch her in some way, but he wasn’t as casual about it as her friends seemed to be and felt like the time for ‘spontaneity’ had passed, so instead he reached up to hold his sword hilt, faltered when he realized it wasn’t there, and tried to save the miss by putting his hand in a fist on his hips. … smooth. “So… uh…” Great, now he was thrown off. “Bugs and reptiles of the Amazon?”

Her smile wavered.

“What’s wrong?” he asked quickly, dropping his hand and reaching toward her. What was wrong? His whole body seemed to stagger with the need to fix whatever had upset her.

“It’s nothing, really!” she corrected, her hands crossing in front of her body in the negative. “L-let’s go.”

He opened the door for her and she slowly crept inside. As the door closed behind them she jumped – his eyes hadn’t adjusted to the darkness, but he clearly felt it. “Serenity,” he addressed, getting a hunch as to what was really bothering her. “Are you afraid of the dark?”

“Heh heh heh… a little,” she said from somewhere to his left. “…and spiders… and snakes… bugs in general.”

As his eyes adjusted to the low light emitted from light sources within the small glass boxes the creatures were kept in, he spotted her white-clad form standing small in the darkness, right where she was when the door closed. He reached out for her hand and she took it gratefully, her fingers interlacing with his.

“Thanks,” she breathed, taking a small step forward.

“No problem,” he replied, inwardly excited to feel her cool fingers through his gloves. Why did he wear gloves today?

She started to relax after examining the first few displays, Endymion making a point to make fun of the insanely creepy inhabitants. Almost a third of the way through the house, the air was cut by a shrill scream. They both jumped and turned towards the sound, but at the following sound of Nephrite’s laughter both the prince and princess relaxed. They dashed forward around a bend in the circular structure as more voices joined in, finally falling upon Mars, Venus, Jadeite and Kunzite with varying degrees of amusement on their faces (Jadeite being the most amused) while, on the other side, Jupiter was wailing on Nephrite, who was bent double in laughter.

“You sure you’re not afraid of spiders, Jupiter?” Nephrite asked between laughing and being punched in the shoulder by an unhappy senshi.

“What happened?” Serenity asked Mars.

Mars turned, “He said that a spider was missing from its cage – one of the camouflaged ones – and as Jupiter was searching for it he crawled his fingers up her back.” Her face was stoic, but he could tell from the twitching muscles at the corner of her lips that the Senshi of War was fighting off a smile.




Zoisite and Mercury rejoined them as they exited the reptile house and, holding a map in front of him, Zoisite led them to the next, open-air exhibit. Once they got there they listened as Zoisite and Mercury became tour guides, telling them about the animal: its general makeup, its habitat, its family group and interesting behaviors, and they moved on.

This continued for several hours as they went from exhibit to exhibit, from South America to Asia to India. As they made their way to the small section for North America, Zoisite led the group over to the grizzly bear exhibit.

“What are they doing?” Jadeite asked curiously, watching zoo officials heading towards the pen. It was a rather large exhibit, set several meters below surface so that there were two areas for viewing: from atop the pen, looking down, and from a bottom level, seeing the mammoth bears at eye level.

“Oh,” Mercury said, turning, “it looks like lunch time.”

“And I was just getting hungry!” Serenity exclaimed with a smile, turning around and spotting a small vendor set up not too far away.

“Me, too!” Venus agreed, looking with pleading eyes at Jadeite.

“What?” the blonde replied, his eyebrow cocked. Her eyes flickered over to the vendor and Jadeite stomped his foot, “No way! I’m going to watch them feed the bears.” He turned abruptly and marched over to the high fence, leaning against it casually and pointedly watching the zoo keepers.

Venus smiled as he left, then turned her big eyes on Kunzite, Serenity’s finding Endymion’s eyes with a little less pleading.

Kunzite sighed, “Alright. What would you like?”



Minutes later, Kunzite and Endymion were standing at the vendor’s stand, ordering various lunches for the members of their party. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw Jadeite, Nephrite, Jupiter, Mars, Zoisite and Mercury watching the zoo keepers toss slabs of meat in for the bears’ lunch, Serenity standing farther away from them, her boots balancing a rung above the bottom pole of the metal fence, leaning over the rail to get a better look. … that wasn’t exactly safe…

“Here you are, Prince and General Kunzite!” the vendor addressed, and Endymion turned to help Kunzite take the assortment of goods. When he turned around again, one hand holding a sweet roll and decorative basket of crepes, the other holding a drink, Serenity was right where she was before. It was probably okay, then… he figured as he and Kunzite marched back towards their friends. He kept his eyes on her anyway, and so caught the single misstep…

She leaned forward even farther, a pigtail cascading over the side; the added weight pulling straight down seemed to knock her off balance. The flat of one boot slid off the rung and her hands flailed, trying to regain her balance, but Endymion could tell that she had been leaning over just a little too far – she wouldn’t be able to right herself. As the thought cross his mind, she flipped over the bar and started to fall into the bear’s pit.

“SERENITY!” Endymion yelled, dropping the food and dashing forward, pushed to extremes by adrenaline as he ran as hard as he could over to the enclosure. The bears were being fed – they’d be vicious and would maul her in seconds. He jumped as the fence came within range, having moved so quickly that the others were just turning and realizing what had happened. His foot hit the top ring and he rocketed himself over, falling headfirst down after the clumsy girl that made his heart beat faster.

“PRINCE!” he heard from Kunzite just before his head passed the first level.

She was still within reach. He grabbed her boot and pulled as hard as he could, pushing himself down as she was wrenched up. Somehow he got the force right, and he was able to grab ahold of her, cradling her head on his shoulder as he turned to land first.

They hit the ground hard, her body atop his and the breath knocked out of him.

“Endymion! Endymion I’m so sorry!” Serenity cried, hastily pushing herself off of him to kneel by his head. “Are you okay?!”

He managed a nod, waiting for his respiratory system to restart.

She suddenly jerked her head up, gasping.

He turned to see a huge bear staring at him from a distance, lumbering to its feet and leaving its meal and… and two cubs?! They were in a pit with an angry mother bear during feeding time?! Could things get any worse? Cool air flooded into his lungs and he rolled up to his knees, twisting around so that he was between the bear and Serenity and in the same motion pulling out his sword—‘Damn!’ he cursed, the familiar weight missing from his side. He stood, feeling an uncomfortable pulling from his right leg and ignored it, grabbing the corners of his cape and pulling them out to the fullest extent, making himself seem as large as possible.

Then a thousand things seemed to happen at once. As the bear started streaking forward to protect her children, he heard four distinct thuds around him, one directly behind him and to the left. He turned his head just in time to see Princess Serenity being swept off her feet by Sailor Jupiter, when suddenly he heard one of them yelling.

“SHABON SPRAY!”

The world was lost – he was suddenly surrounded in a cold deep gray mist, the trees that surrounded them now vague and hazy shadows through the thick fog.

“Prince!” Venus called for his attention, pulling on the end of his cape harshly. He turned and followed the sound of running feet, trusting his ears and other senses to guide him through the hazy maze of foliage. The mist ended suddenly, as if they had just walked through a wall, and his sight was returned.

Far ahead of them ran Jupiter, Serenity cradled in her arms as she dashed ahead, heading for a thick solid-looking door. Mars, Mercury and Venus were a little behind, running near him as they kept an eye out for any pursuit. Luckily for them, the keepers never fed the bears near their access point to the exhibit and it appeared they were safe.

Jupiter reached the door and kicked, but nothing happened. She kicked again, but the door was meant to withstand the force of an attacking grizzly and so did not budge. They caught up and formed a loose semicircle around the door, facing out.

“Prince, get behind us, please,” Venus directed, the ‘plea’ more of an order.

How could she expect him to agree? He stood his ground firmly, his eyes searching for any sign of movement in the trees.

“Endymion!” someone called from above. He glanced up to see Jadeite leaning over the railing, “they’re coming to unlock the door!”

He nodded, then turned his attention back on the foliage.

“There!” Mars cried, pointing to their left, where the mother bear had somehow managed in her rage to make her way through the fog.

“Mercury!” Jupiter called, putting Serenity down and rushing forward to meet the attack. Mercury stood protectively between Serenity and the encroaching danger, as Venus, too, broke away.

“Mars, backup!” she commanded as she dashed forward in her golden-colored shoes.

“What are they going to do?!” Jadeite exclaimed from above, Endymion’s own thoughts echoing the disbelief.

“FLOWER HURRICANE!” A bright pink tornado of flowers and –lightning?!—was hurled from Sailor Jupiter’s fist as she ran, knocking the angry bear off guard.

Venus, right behind her, kept running, “VENUS LOVE-ME CHAIN!” She removed the chain of red jewels from around her waist and flung them out; they grew, turning into a long chain of tiny interlocked golden hearts, which she used like a lasso to encircle the bear, pinning its massive arms to its side. She kept running, pulling on the chain as she passed the bear to swing herself around, and knock the bear off of its massive feet as she landed nimbly on its great back.

Behind him the door swung open. “Go!” Mars shouted, and he turned to see Serenity, looking sick with worry, being pushed through the barely-opened doors by Mercury, who followed after her. The door opened wider, emitting Kunzite and Nephrite, both without swords but, like him, wanting to do whatever they could to help.

“She’s safe!” Kunzite called, his deep voice booming across the distance.

In less than a second, Venus ‘s golden chain disappeared, becoming her red-jeweled belt yet again as she somersaulted off of the gargantuan back, landing beside Jupiter as the two senshi dashed for the exit before the bear could recover. Nephrite pulled Endymion around and pushed him through the door after Mars, following closely after. They were soon joined by Jupiter and Venus, both breathing heavily but looking incredibly calm and determined, and finally Kunzite. The zoo keepers hastily closed the heavy doors behind them.

“Prince Endymion, you are a fool,” Venus stated, her chest still heaving to catch her breath. For a second his head reeled, but then the blonde leader of Serenity’s inner guard spoke again, a smile breaking through her serious continence, “a brave fool. Thank you.” She stuck out her hand and he shook it.

Jupiter and Mars also thanked him, Juptier’s green eyes sincere and kind, Mars’s purple eyes kind.

“Princess Serenity and Sailor Mercury are in the office,” a hesitant zoo keeper addressed, motioning to a door partway down the hallway.

As he spoke, Zoisite stepped out and marched over. “Prince!” he exclaimed heatedly, “Unarmed? Unplanned? Did you know that that fall could’ve broken your back?! Has anyone told you yet how idiotic you are?!”

“I did,” Venus declared, “just before I thanked him for ensuring the safety of our Princess.”

Zoisite stopped mid-tirade, crossing his arms in front of his chest, his green eyes flickering between angry and worried. The senshi walked off towards the open doorway, Endymion and his generals staying behind. “Bravery and chivalry aside… you could’ve been really hurt back there,” Zoisite said quietly.

Endymion smiled, “thanks for worrying, but I’m okay.”

“We just have to face it, Zoisite,” Nephrite said with mock seriousness, shrugging his shoulders, “the prince has a flare for stepping in to save someone, even at his own expense.” He grinned broadly, “isn’t that right, Endymion?” he slapped Endymion heartily on the back in a congratulatory manner.

The pain was incredible. Endymion buckled over, but found he leaned too hard on his left side and collapsed into a kneeling position, still bent over from the pulsating pain emanating from his back.

“C’mon, hero,” Kunzite said, crouching to throw Endymion’s arm around his neck and pulling him to his feet, supporting him as they walked towards the zoo-keeper’s office.

___________________________



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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:23 pm

“’Thanks for worrying, but I’m okay,’” Zoisite quoted, “Really? With a bruise extending your entire back and a pulled latoralis?”

Endymion sat on a table in the office, naked from the chest up as Zoisite looked over the damage done to his back. Kunzite had left moments ago to find something cold to press against the growing mark. The senshi were in an adjoining room, Serenity still clearly shaken – she was hugging Venus fiercely when they entered, tear streaks evident on her cheeks as Venus murmured something softly, hugging her in return.

Jadeite entered the room, cruised behind him like he had been invited, and whistled. “Impressive,” he remarked, reaching forward to touch it. Luckily for Endymion, who couldn’t reach back to defend himself without causing even more pain, Zoisite knocked the offending hand away before it got too close.

“Is it your goal in life to bother things?” Zoisite snapped.

“Is it yours to be anal?” Jadeite returned.

“Oooh!” Nephrite called, balancing a chair on its back legs at one of the other tables in the room.

Kunzite soon returned with a doctor of-sorts – a veterinarian, but whatever works, works. With Zoisite helping, the vet was able to concoct a brace out of bandages that would support the packs of freezing cold ice that littered his back. At first the ice made him want to cry out – every angle felt like it was cutting into the tender skin – but as time wore on, the aching lessened and faded away into cold numbness. They finished bandaging and Endymion slipped on his undershirt, then stood and Jadeite helped him with his jacket as Zoisite conversed with the medical practitioner.

“All set,” Endymion proclaimed.

“You should really put ice on that leg,” the vet said as he left the room, “icing it down now will reduce the pain later.”

Endymion waved, “Thank you for your help.”

“You heard him – we’ve got to ice down your leg,” Zoisite repeated.

“Nah,” Endymion shrugged, “it doesn’t even hurt that much anymore.” Actually it did. Putting weight on it was pretty teeth-grating, but it was better than looking like he had some sort of lumpy leg. Besides, how much of the zoo did they have left to do anyway? “Let’s keep going, they wanted to see the zoo.”

Zoisite sighed, supporting his head in one hand as Nephrite laughed, coming back down on four chair legs and standing to join him. The brunette passed him and threw open the door to the next room. “So, have you guys had enough of North America? I can promise you not all of our animals are so vicious.”

Endymion saw through the open door the four senshi sitting together at a table, Serenity quickly standing from her seat between Mercury and Jupiter to rush towards the door. She slowed as soon as the passed it, walking almost timidly through the loose corridor created between Kunzite, Jadeite, Zoisite and Nephrite. Still she approached, getting ever closer, her deep blue eyes focused solely on him. She appeared paler than usual, tear streaks evident on her cheeks as even now her eyes threatened to overfill.

She reached up carefully and put her arms around his neck, pulling him into a hug. Subtly shifting his weight to his good leg, he hugged her back.

Everything felt infinitely better.

“I’m sorry,” she said into the fabric of his shirt. “I’m so sorry, Endymion.” She held him for a few more moments, Endymion cherishing the feeling of her against him, the smell of her hair, even the hard pearls pressing against his chest. “Thank you for saving me,” she said at last, pulling away and kissing him on the cheek in gratitude.

“I think your senshi had you pretty well covered,” Nephrite commented from the doorway.

Serenity turned around with a smile, “My friends are truly amazing. I’d like to apologize, too, to all of you for putting your prince in danger.”

“That wasn’t your fault, Princess,” Jadeite said with a smile, “he did it to himself.”

She smiled faintly, “but it is my fault,” she said quietly, her voice wavering, “I didn’t pay enough attention to what I was doing; my fall could have killed Endymion,” her voice cracked as tears finally escaped, “and it put my friends in grave danger, and it all could have ended with two orphaned bear cubs. The mother was just trying to protect them,” She cried in earnest now and Endymion felt like the world had stopped spinning. She shouldn’t cry – watching her cry felt worse than the fall, worse than any accident he had ever been in. He tentatively reached forward, wanting to comfort the beautiful crying girl, but he saw from behind Nephrite that Venus was already at her feet and approaching.

The blonde senshi took Serenity in, stroking her hair and murmuring softly, “It’s okay, Serenity, we wouldn’t have killed the bear. I promise we wouldn’t’ve killed her.” She pulled her back and made eye contact, “See? We’re even going to make sure that nothing bad will happen to the bear because of this. Mars is going to go talk to the zoo administration right now, and we’ll make sure nothing bad happens. No one is going to die because you made a mistake, okay?” Venus pulled her in again, this time tears in both their eyes.

Mars quickly stood from the table behind them and left the room, presumably hearing what Venus said and acting on it.

She… Serenity wasn’t upset because she could have been hurt. She wasn’t in shock because of the fall, or her resulting danger. She very really could have died if they hadn’t stepped in – either upon landing if he hadn’t been there, or both of them could’ve been mauled if her guardians hadn’t jumped in; yet she was only upset that everyone else might have gotten hurt, including the animal that charged her. Could someone be that selfless?

Being lost in thought over the scene just over an arm span away, he didn’t notice as Jupiter approached with a big smile, “How about something sweet to eat?” she asked gently.

Serenity raised her head from the crook of Venus’s neck and the blonde senshi moved in response, her icy blue eyes looking momentarily into Endymion’s before she turned to face Jupiter, holding Serenity’s hand supportively.

“Yeah,” Nephrite broke in from behind them, “I bet that crepe stand still smells delicious.”

In the next room he spied Mercury typing quietly on a hand-held blue-grey computer.

Jadeite went to get the door as Princess Serenity smiled, wiping away her tears. He reached into his pocket and withdrew a handkerchief, offering the bit of cloth to Venus to pass to Serenity, who accepted it with a grateful smile.



Minutes later they sat together at picnic tables at another part of the park, the bear area now restricted. Each had something to eat, Serenity sharing a basket of crepes with her senshi, Endymion and his generals opting for something a little more savory than sweet. Mars rejoined them with news that the bear would not be harmed in any way, her attitude suggesting that she had much to do with steering the decision in that direction. Venus looked proudly at the senshi, Serenity smiling happily and thanking her black-haired guardian by offering her a cherry-centered snack.

The remainder of their time at the zoo was short; as they went through other North American exhibits, Nephrite making a point to tell them about how ‘safe’ or ‘cuddly’ the animals from his home continent were – “The majestic moose! Gorgeous and completely docile.”

“Docile?” Mercury had interjected, “Moose are incredibly dangerous when threatened, and their size and antlers are nothing to be made a trifle of!”

“Not to mention,” Jupiter added, “It’s kinda ugly.”

A bit deflated, Nephrite motioned to the enclosure again, “The majestic moose.”

– the zoo started to fill quickly with other citizens. To settle the matter, just as they exited North America and entered the African savanna region Sailor Mercury’s computer beeped loudly and the blue-haired senshi excused herself. About a minute later, as Zoisite was explaining what, exactly, was incorrect on the hippopotamus display, the senshi returned and whispered something in Venus’s ear. The blonde nodded, then subtly used her eyes to direct Mars and Jupiter whilst not alerting Serenity, allowing the curious princess to stare in awe at the grey animals as her guardians dispersed. The move did not go unnoticed by Endymion, who watched as the brunette stalked off in one direction and Mars closed her eyes in concentration. What she was concentrating on, Endymion would never know, but the amethyst-eyed girl shortly turned to Venus and nodded once.

“So they kill people?!” Serenity repeated, her mouth agape as she looked from the peaceful-looking hippo to Zoisite.

“They’re highly dangerous – their tusks are quite deadly and the animals are rather territorial,” Zoisite confirmed.

Mercury smiled and gently gained Serenity’s attention by putting a hand on the princess’s forearm. “Luna would like us to return to the palace.”

“Is it… because of earlier?” Serenity asked, her eyes flickering to Endymion for a split second as a guilty look stole across her features.

Mars stepped forward with a reassuring smile, “they would probably like a debriefing, that’s all.”

The princess nodded and turned to look at him, her eyes pausing to look at each of his friends in turn, “It looks like we have to go back. I’m sorry we didn’t make it all the way through the park with you.”

“Eh,” Nephrite shrugged, “no big deal, princess.”

“Yeah, it’s probably a good idea anyway – it’s getting crowded,” Zoisite seconded.

“And Zoisite’s voice will probably give out soon, with all the talking he’s been doing,” Jadeite sighed wistfully, “and wouldn’t it be a shame if that were to happen.”

Zoisite glared at him.

Endymion stepped forward and offered Serenity his arm. Once they were back at the royal household, he had no idea where they would be going or when next he would see her, so he planned to make the most of it while he could. She blushed and wrapped her arm in his. Trying his hardest to hide the slight limp he had developed, he and she followed after Mercury, who led the way out of the park. As the volume of people increased, Endymion found himself speaking more formally to Serenity, who was walking taller and taller, her visage fading from a carefree happiness to a cool, dignified mask as her heels clicked sophisticatedly beside him. It was only when he found himself slipping into speech-patterns that would have made his etiquette teacher clap her hands that he realized that her transformation had almost pulled him in, as well.

The closer they got to the park entrance, the more it felt like they were stars in a miniature parade. Not that he was unused to such a phenomena – the presence of the Prince of Earth and his Four Heavenly Kings often drew crowds in the less-traveled cities in his own kingdom – but it did make him think twice about any urge to drop the formality. Quickly he and Serenity were overtaken by Mars and Venus, who made sure the crowds did not approach any further as the Princess, Prince and his generals made to leave the park. As they walked, he caught snatches of conversation between the occupants:

“They’re so handsome!”

“Aren’t they?! I danced with General Nephrite last night – he was so light on his feet!”

“If only General Kunzite would have danced with me! I tried catching his attention all night long, but he was just so interested in Sailor Venus…” another pair gushed girlishly.

“Who can resist her?”

“The blonde one looks so cool!”

“So are they really from Earth?”

“What does he think he’s doing?”

The last voice caught his attention – the comment was filled with such disdain. Casually he scanned the crowd, easily finding the owner, a middle-aged man standing in a small crowd of his peers, all of whom were glaring scornfully at him, Endymion. Cooly the prince kept his eyes moving, but his ears were now tuned into their conversation as closely as he could over the other voices in the crowd.

“His hands on Our princess as though he is entitled to the privilege.”

“As a prince he probably believes himself to be so.”

“Being from Earth he probably believes himself to be so.”

Serenity squeezed his arm faintly. Quickly he turned his gaze to her, offering her worried expression a soft smile to ease her concern. She must have heard them, too, her large azure eyes untouched by her answering smile. Though uncomfortable in these surroundings, she still paid close attention to those around her and reacted in ways to reassure them. The Moon Princess was incredible.

Nevertheless, even as they passed by the knot of malcontents, Endymion still listened in to their comments for as long as possible.

“Queen Serenity has asked us to be open to our relationship with Earth, but I didn’t think she’d be inviting their teenagers to spend weekends up here as though we were a vacation spot.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with Earth-inhabitants being here.”

They were out of earshot now, and the senshi had caught up. They passed by the butterfly cage, the ticket kiosk, and through the gates; Endymion was glad to see the shuttle pull up just in time and Jupiter to exit, ushering them all onto the transport – his leg twinged unpleasantly and the ice packs on his back had melted to the point that the back of his jacket was soaked. If not for his cape it would have been an odd sight…

“You shouldn’t worry about what they said,” Serenity commented quietly, taking the seat beside him as his friends and hers dispersed themselves. She crossed her legs and her ankles, looking slightly up at him with her hands laced in her lap; she had chosen to sit next to him? “The talks between the Moon Kingdom and Earth happened not too long ago and they haven’t yet gotten used to the idea of communication between us. It was very sudden, and they’re still struggling to catch up,” the blonde princess explained, “Not everyone thinks that way, though – many like the idea of the alliance – but those that do oppose it are rather vocal…” A delicate finger reached up and twirled a blonde curl nervously, her blue eyes staring into her lap.

Not too long ago? It had been nearly one hundred years since the people of the moon had made contact with his great-grandfather; that either meant that certain familial groups were very close-minded and resisted change throughout generations… which was unlikely… or one hundred years was considered a short time ago because… “This might sound an odd question, but…” how could he phrase this? “what is the… average lifespan of a citizen of the Moon Kingdom?”

She cocked her head to the side and her hand dropped to the seat, just inches away from his own as she looked at him. Her expression was conflicted. “Well… a bit longer than those on Earth.”

“A bit?” he repeated, sensing this was a topic she had been asked not to discuss with him but not completely ready to drop it just yet.

She smiled uncomfortably, “a good bit,” she affirmed with an apologetic shrug.

“So, Prince Endymion!” Jupiter broke in, popping over the seat behind them so that the hair escaping her ponytail swung back and forth energetically between him and the princess. Her green eyes were alight as she asked, “did you enjoy the zoo? How is your back?”

Endymion leaned back at the unexpected intrusion, jolting his sore muscles so that he had to hold back a wince before he made himself more comfortable. He had the feeling that the shuttle had been very quiet before then – had they been listening in? “I did, and I think it’ll be fine in a few days.”

“I had fun – it was pretty exciting back there!” Jadeite interjected from across the aisle. The next few minutes focused on the zoo and each person’s favorite animal or other experience of the day, most carefully skirting the incident at the bear pen; before he knew it, the shuttle had come to a stop in front of the palace.

As they headed towards the large entrance door, the small form of a black feline awaiting them in the opened frame, Nephrite took the short time left to ask about further plans.

“What are your schedules like tomorrow?” he asked, catching up to stand beside Mars.

“Training in the early morning,” the raven-haired girl recited, ticking off their schedule on the fingers of her right hand, “lessons from mid-morning to mid-day, recess, then a return to studies followed by mid-afternoon training.”

Nephrite grimaced, “Even during the week ending in that festival thing? Don’t you get a break?”

Jupiter sighed, shrugging, “I asked the same thing.”

“Oh, come on!” Venus cheered, “duty never rests and neither shall we! We’ll still have plenty of time to treat our guests to the sights and sounds of our beautiful kingdom,” she winked, “just later in the day.”

“Speaking of, I was able to reserve the skating rink for us for Tuesday night,” Jupiter said with a smile.

“Ice-skating?” Nephrite confirmed, Zoisite looking on with interest as he caught up to hear the full details. Jupiter nodded cooly, an eyebrow arched. Nephrite met her imperious gaze with one of guarded competitiveness, “I take it you skate?”

She nodded.

Zoisite smirked, “Speed-skating or figure?”

“Both,” she replied, but whatever she said next went unheard by Endymion, for Serenity rushed forward at that moment.

The princess bent down and scooped up the waiting cat, snuggling it close to her. “Hello, Luna!”

“Hello, Princess!” the cat replied happily, enjoying the snuggle for a moment before placing both paws on Serenity’s chest and pushing back to look the girl in the eye, “are you alright? Did you have a fun time at the zoo?”

Serenity smiled, “I’m just fine,” she turned to gaze at the people gathered before the doors, looking at her senshi in turn, each of them involved in their own conversation with each other or his own friends, as she continued, “thanks to everyone.” Her gaze lingered on him for a second more than they had on everyone else, a fact he noticed pleasantly. “They were so great, Luna. And the zoo was amazing! I had strawberry crepes and Jadeite let me try some of his salty potato snacks, and the cloud leopards had a kitten! It was adorable, but you could barely see it through the trees; the bear had cubs, too, and so did the aardvark and the gazelles!” her smile was radiant, and Endymion found himself smiling with her.

“I’m glad you had such a good time!” Luna replied sincerely.

“Senshi!” a male voice called as the white cat stepped through the doors –Artemis. “Thanks for coming back so quickly; I’d like to speak with you privately in the—“

Venus bounded up the stairs and roughly picked the cat up, supporting him under his arms as she smiled brightly at him. “Where to, Captain Artemis?” she asked.

The cat looked disapprovingly at her, but as she continued to smile he hung his head in defeat, apparently having given up at any pretense at being formidable. “The usual place,” he sighed. Venus slung him over her shoulder and nodded the senshi to follow, stepping past Endymion and into the castle, followed shortly by Jupiter, Mars and Mercury.

“See you at dinner!” Jupiter called with a wave as the group disappeared through the doors and down an adjacent hallway. Serenity made to follow, but Luna jumped out of the girl’s arms.

“I’ll see you later, Princess,” the cat said, then turned back to the Earth Prince and his four generals, “Prince Endymion, the Queen would like to see you. Please come with me.”

___________________________



Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's


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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:31 pm

Called by the Queen
The Queen…?

Endymion nodded and stepped forward, his right leg burning with the motion, and followed the cat into the building. His friends walked close behind him, always at his back as a comforting shadow. They followed the main hallway, a large wall of windows before them looking out over the viewing pool and gardens beyond, beautiful in the late-afternoon light. Odd, how they were able to make the light feel different at different times of day, just like on Earth, when the sun was shining constantly down upon the moon at this time in the month.

As the black cat turned a corner off of the main stretch, she looked back at them, then turned and sat down beside a door. “Generals, you may wait in this room if you choose, or you could find your rooms if you continue down the main corridor and ascend the nearest stair, turning left at the landing.”

They weren’t coming with him?

“She would like to see him alone, then,” Kunzite echoed his thoughts, though the general’s comment was a statement rather than a question. “I will wait here.”

Nephrite nodded, his eyes on Endymion with a warning to take caution. Jadeite looked from Kunzite to Nephrite to him, a little confused, and nodded his head in agreement.

Facing the Queen alone wasn’t so bad, he thought, if it were unavoidable. Speaking to officials had never really bothered him once he got past the initial nervousness, and --

“I will accompany Prince Endymion.” Zoisite declared. All turned to the blonde man, whose green eyes switched from Endymion to Luna, fixing the cat with a look that suggested he should not be contradicted. “As the prince’s bodyguards, I believe one of us should accompany him at all times. You would not like your Princess to be left alone on a foreign planet, regardless of the duration; such is the case here. I shall accompany the prince.”

Luna stared at him, her blue cat-eyes never wavering. She nodded once, “you may come, but the rest of you will wait here.” Without a further word she turned and walked down the hall, towards another large window.

Endymion followed with Zoisite, glad to have a friend with him and rather impressed by Zosite’s nerve. He certainly knew what he was doing, and the confidence didn’t hurt, either. They turned down another hallway, this one lined with columns from floor to ceiling and ending in a large door – that must be the room for the meeting. The columns reminded him of Elysium, specifically of the temple; he wondered if there were some significance there – how old was this palace? Was there some chance that this manor was made around the same time as the great temple? The scroll work along the top of each vertical pillar seemed too similar to be coincidence…

“When we finish here,” Zoisite muttered quietly, “You will see a doctor for something to help your leg.”

Endymion chuckled, “Sure.”

The doors swung open as Luna approached. They followed her in, pausing in the entrance as the great stone doors closed snugly behind them. The large square room was furnished sparsely and, unlike most other rooms in the palace, the windows here were smaller and higher, creating drafts of sunlight that streaked across the large expanse and caused the room to have a soft glow about it; a cold, soft glow. Queen Serenity was near the back of the room, gazing up at a large map of what appeared to be the solar system. Endymion looked to Zoisite and nodded in the direction of the map, hoping his friend saw what he had – this depiction showed planets beyond Saturn. Such strangeness was right up Zosite’s alley.

“Queen Serenity,” Luna called, walking quickly to stand beside the Queen, “The Prince and General Zoisite are here.”

Serenity nodded her silver head, turning away from the tapestry of stone and approaching them. Rather than stopping at the usual speaking distance, the woman continued forward until she was not five feet from the pair, her silver eyes staring into Endymion’s. “Prince Endymion,” she addressed, “thank you for saving my daughter.” She bowed her head, “you put yourself in danger to see to her safety, and for that I owe you a great deal.”

“Please, Queen Serenity,” Endymion addressed, uncomfortable with praise for doing what he knew to be right, “you owe me nothing. Your daughter…” how could he describe her? “Your daughter is an amazing young woman, and I would never forgive myself if she were hurt when it was in my power to prevent it.”

Queen Serenity regarded him. After a few moments, she spoke. “I believe you, Prince of Earth. Yet you speak of protecting someone you only met yesterday at the risk of your own life as if it were natural, and I’m afraid to tell you that it is not. This quality is lacking in so many, and I would still like to thank you for possessing it. Is there anything I can do to repay you?”

Endymion shook his head, not wanting this woman to feel indebted to him and yet unable to think of anything – he hoped she would just forget about it, or… or perhaps think on it when he requests another visit…

“Your majesty,” Zoisite politely interjected with a bow, his hand on his heart in a sigh of respect. “The Prince incurred some injuries during the incident. Would it be possible for him to see your personal physicians?”

He looked to Zoisite sharply – requesting to see her own doctors? The move was very bold. Endymion thought that the Queen would have offered him their services regardless, but to come right out and request them?

“You are hurt?” the Queen asked with concern.

“It’s nothing, really,” Endymion negated with a shake of his head, “just a few bruises.”

She smiled, “then it will take only a minute.”

Without further warning, Queen Serenity closed the space between them and put her slim hand on his shoulder. “Don’t be alarmed; you’re going to feel like your body is on pins and needles for a moment. Have you ever felt that particular sensation?” she asked conversationally.

He nodded, wondering at her eccentricity.

She smiled, “Curious, isn’t it? This will only take a moment.” The Queen closed her eyes and Endymion glanced at Jadeite for a split second, enough time to see his friend’s eyes widen in surprise and a hand raised in a questioning gesture, but then something incredibly odd happened. Just as the queen had warned, from the tips of her fingers and her palm spread the feeling of pins and needles, almost as if prickly goosebumps were forming all over in a wave as the feeling spread out from his shoulder. As it crossed over the top of his bruise the area burned pleasantly, the warmth reaching with the sensation of needles. Soon his entire back was covered, then his legs, the injured one warm, the other just on pins and needles. When it reached his feet it pulsated throughout his body, her hand lifted and the sensations stopped altogether.

“How do you feel?”

Endymion opened his eyes, still feeling as if all the hair on his head was standing on end, and blinked at her. He was about to say something, but noticed then that the pain from the bruise, and the pain in his leg, had vanished. Experimentally he rolled his shoulders, shifted his weight around, and, as a final test, reached around to touch his back. Nothing – no pain. In fact, he felt so relaxed it was as if he had just stepped out of a hot spring, or else had just gotten a massage. “It’s gone,” he simply stated, “All of the pain is gone.” He was about to ask how she had done it, but thought better of it. “Thank you,” he said instead.

She nodded, “you’re welcome.”

There was a faint knocking at the door behind them. Luna stepped forward, “Your next appointment, Queen Serenity.”

“I trust I will see you both at dinner?” she asked as a dismissal.

Endymion and Zoisite nodded, each bowing before turning and exiting the room.

Not halfway down the hall, Zoisite pulled him to a stop, directing him to stand out of the main hallway by a pillar. His sharp green eyes bearing into Endymion’s, the King of the North scrutinized him. “Are you okay?”

“Just fine,” Endymion answered, smiling to ease his friend’s worry. “It was just as she said – as if my whole body felt pins and needles, and now I don’t feel any pain anymore,” he shrugged, “I’m healed.”

Suspiciously, Zoisite looked at him for a moment more before taking off down the hallway once again. Rolling his eyes, Endymion caught up. With the set pace being a quick one, they reached the small waiting room rather quickly. They stepped inside and Kunzite, Nephrite and Jadeite stood.

“What did she want?” Nephrite asked.

“Just to thank me for the bear thing,” Endymion replied casually, plucking an unknown piece of fruit from a waiting bowl and taking an experimental bite. It tasted alright.

Jadeite cocked an eyebrow, “And we couldn’t come with you to receive a note of thanks?”

“She offered to give him a gift,” Zoisite cut in, his arms crossed tightly before his chest, “And when he refused, I asked for him to see her doctors.”

“And?” Kunzite prompted when Zoisite offered nothing more.

“She put her hand on his shoulder, started to glow, and he was healed.”

The three looked at them questioningly, Endymion and Zoisite returning their gaze stoically. Jadeite ran his fingers through his short hair and laughed nervously, “haha, great joke, but I’m not falling for it.”

Zoisite stared specifically at Jadeite, his face never changing.

The laughter died, “but you’ve got to be kidding. You’re wrapped up in your fictional stories and are just letting them run away with you,” Jadeite insisted weakly.

The silence deepened, Zoisite’s gaze dropping to a glare at the implication that he was unable to separate fiction from reality.

“Were you being serious when you said she glowed?” Nephrite asked, a question that Zoisite took a shine too.

“As if emitting moonlight,” he reported.

“And your bruises are gone?” Kunzite questioned, looking to Endymion.

The black-haired prince nodded as he shrugged his shoulders once, “I can’t vouch for their complete disappearance, but I don’t feel pain any more, from either my back or my leg.”

“You two are hilarious,” Jadeite commented, stepping closer quickly, “If your bruises are really gone, then why did you JUST YELL!?” As the level of Jadeite’s voice increased, he launched forward and whipped his arm around to hit Endymion smartly on his back. The victorious look on the blonde general’s face quietly subsided as his sneak attack returned, not a howl of pain, but a glare of distaste from the Prince. “You can’t be serious… she actually healed you with magic?”

“It could not have been anything else,” Zoisite confirmed with a nod of his head.

“Weird…” Nephrite commented. The word hung in the air as each man considered the implications of what they have so far seen: not only were those of the Moon Kingdom holders of greater, more powerful technology, but theirs was also home to a race of talking cats and their Queen could heal people and glowed when she did so; there were hints at life on other planets, planets out beyond the orbit of Saturn, and Serenity hinted that their lifespans were much longer than those of his own people.

“So what do you guys want to do now?” Nephrite continued, his tone changed to completely casual.

“Well, we could visit their libraries and see what we can discover about some of these strange occurrences—“ Zoisite started offering in all seriousness, but Nephrite cut him off immediately.

“We’re on vacation! Live and let live, Zoisite – there’ll be plenty of time to wonder about it all later. We’re on the moon! Now c’mon, think. What do we want to do before dinner?”



As the evening meal was not too far in the future, the group decided to explore the castle in greater detail, looking for any form of entertainment to keep themselves busy during the next few days. Endymion took time to outline his earlier suspicions about the architecture, Nephrite pointed out some particularly difficult cross-breeding the palace had implemented with their flowers. Farther into the infrastructure they traveled, deeper and deeper down corridors probably not meant for guests. Jadeite suggested going back and playing cards, but as they turned Zoisite pointed out a strange vein of crystalline material weaving through the stone walls. Eagerly he stated he would follow it, no doubt thinking it would lead somewhere spectacular, and with shrugs of indifference, the five of them kept going.

The vein of crystal grew and grew, taking up more wall space the farther they followed. In the distance the corridor was swallowed in the soft light, suggesting that the stone walls were completely overtaken by clear crystal… but what was the purpose?

Out of a branching corridor stepped the white talking cat, who nearly jumped at the sight of them. “Gentlemen!” Artemis exclaimed, “I didn’t expect to see you way out here. I was just leaving for dinner – would you care to accompany me? It should be starting soon.”

They left with him, each surreptitiously glancing back at the pathway of light. At Zoisite’s questioning, Artemis identified it as holy ground, but elaborated no further on the matter.

Dinner that night was much like the night before – outwardly, the girls were calm and distinguished, but at the privacy of the table they giggled and teased, having fun as any normal teenage girl would. This time, fueled by the trip to the zoo, Princess Serenity joined in, excitedly telling her mother about the different animals and what they had learned from Zoisite about them. Endymion found her magnetic – he couldn’t keep his attention off of her, each smile raising his spirits higher and higher.

No one mentioned the lunchtime incident – there was no need. They had all been there, and apparently the Queen knew well of what had happened. Endymion was glad it did not come up; he didn’t want anyone to remind Serenity of what happened in case it made her feel sad again.

After dinner, the two groups went their separate ways for the night, with no mention of joining up later. Endymion, Kunzite, Nephrite, Jadeite and Zoisite returned to their suite, turning lights on in the room as they found ways to occupy themselves until they tired. Zoisite immediately went for a bath as everyone else played a few hands of poker, Jadeite swearing up and down that he would win the next round, even as he lost bet after bet. Zoisite returned later with a book, curling up by the fire and pointedly ignoring the game.

“Looks like my victory tomorrow is assured,” Nephrite commented, stretching as he presented a full house, Queen high.

“Not quite,” Endymion corrected, laying down a full house, as well, but King high.

“Well said, Endymion,” Kunzite added, trumping them all with a straight flush.

“HOW THE HELL ARE YOU GUYS DOING THIS?!” Jadeite demanded, throwing his cards into the air as Kunzite calmly stood and stretched.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:33 pm

I haven't finished reading it quite yet, but I think I just realized what there official titles could be, wouldn't there fathers and mothers be considered the lord's and lady's of the north south east and west??? So wouldn't they be the 'masters' or the north south east and west???


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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:00 am

Probably ^^' I was attempting to keep with the 'shitennou' namesakes in the manga, so I was like "Oh! Ceremonial titles for being Endymion's honorary bodyguards/BFFs."

lmao. Bromancers. XD


^-^ Thanks for reading!! If you have any other suggestions, please share, Sailor Sun!

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:27 am

o_o I put this on Tumblr and I didn't add this on here. SO NOW I AM!


Yeah, I edited that pic. Feeling kinda awesome about my MSPaint skills
Now for why I created this picture edit XD

The time has come for that race I’ve been talking about for forever in Jewels of the Moon Kingdom. Prince Endymion and the four generals will be vying for the best time in the new pod created by the ministry of technology and made a bet: the man with the best time decides on a collective punishment the losers must adhere to. They have already chosen the punishment of choice, which are as follows:

Note: Kunzite thought a punishment determined by Aphrodite/Venus would be much more entertaining than one he could think up, so he passed the rights to deciding the punishment (should he win) to her. Her choice is listed below.

Quote :
Kunzite à Venus = Losers suffer a makeover at the hands of the senshi and have to keep their new look throughout one night, regardless of what comes up.

Jadeite = The four must form a band and create a song about him, serenading his greatness. The song is to be performed in public.
  • Example: “Jadeite, Oh Jadeite, Wonderful King of the East, of all of us from Earth, you suck the very least! Your charm is everlasting, your wit? It has no end! Atop the ranks of greatness, you will inevitably ascend!”

Nephrite = At every mention of their own name, they have to interrupt the speaker and tell them that they’re from Earth, whether the speaker already knows that or not.
    Example:
  • Curious Moon Citizen: “So, General Kunzite, what do—“
  • Kunzite: “I’m from Earth.”
  • Curious Moon Citizen: “Oh, um… of course…”

Zoisite = Every time Zoisite says “Really?” the losers must balance on one leg until he says “Well, then.” If they must move before he says the completing word, they have to hop on one leg to get them anywhere.

Endymion = …?
As you see, Endymion’s is still blank. Does anyone have a suggestion for what Endymion’s choice of punishment might be?

ALSO, I haven’t chosen who would win yet! Reply with your favorite to win; the man with the most votes gets it!


So far I have a vote for Kunzite (because she'd love to see the punishment carried out) or Jadeite ('cause the poor guy never wins anything XD)

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:44 am

The interactions between the senshi and the shittenou at the zoo are priceless.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:52 am

^-^!! Thank you V-babe!!! *glomp*

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:10 pm

((*dusts off this thread guiltily* I thought of an ending, so I have to get there!))

The Morning of the Race

Midmorning the next day found Endymion and Zoisite in the library, the latter pouring over a scientific guide with interest, the former… well, the prince sat staring uncomprehendingly at a book of Lunar history, spacing out. The information would have been interesting if he could understand it, but the dialect was really odd, the script difficult to discern, and, honestly, he had other intentions for coming to the library so early. With every sound, from a soft whisper to a thudding footfall, Endymion glanced up, his eyes instantly finding the door. He was having no luck in this department, either, but the later in the morning it got, the better his chances became, he figured. Mars said yesterday that they studied from mid-morning through lunch, and he swore he remembered Serenity say that she had a pile of homework in the library waiting for her. So far as he knew, this library was the only one in the castle – and with a library this size, there was really no excuse to have another one.

A slight creek – Endymion sat up straight as the doors opened, wondering if the fist he was leaning on had left a red mark on the side of his face, but, this, too, had been a false alarm. Disappointed, he leaned back in his chair and took another look at the book as a maid wheeled a trolley of tea into the room.

'The Senshi of Theia, expectant, alighted

Upon the barren sphere of rock-snow,

And with a wish, three magical words,

the orb of her staff did glow;

Under her feet the regolith shifted,

bending to the will of her power,

And up shot a crystalline obelisk of prayer

as our world overflowed with flowers.

The Lotus was the sacred bud,

and a crystal emerged from its bloom;

It rose and combined with the orb of her staff,

and so came the Kingdom of the Moon.'

"Would you care for some tea, your grace?"

Endymion looked up and nodded appreciatively. He thanked her as he took the china cup and saucer from her, sipping the hot breakfast brew cautiously before placing them down on the table beside him. He had reread this passage a handful of times already, and all that he remembered was that there were flowers that spat out crystals. Why would such imaginative poetry like that be included in their history, anyway? He stretched, leaning back in the chair with his arms over his head, enjoying the feeling of sunlight on his hands.

Queen Serenity was supposedly in this an ancient tomb… for the longest time he simply assumed that the title "Queen Serenity" was passed down from mother to daughter, so that, in effect, "Queen Serenity" had been queen for well over 500 years – a whole, unbroken chain of Queen Serenitys in power for a long time. But after the princess's answer yesterday, he wasn't too sure anymore. How long lived were the people of the moon? He turned around looking out upon a stretch of the gardens, clearing his mind as he took in the flora. Perhaps he should be searching instead for a royal registrar…

"YOU!"

The door to the library slammed open. Endymion whipped around, ready to face any challenge the intruder dared pose, but relaxed immediately as Jadeite and Nephrite powerfully strode through the open library doors. Their expressions were murderous, but it was all a ploy. … probably. He put a smirk on his face and crossed his arms, playing along, as Jadeite marched straight up to his table and slammed his fist down on its surface. He kept his fist in place, bending low to glare at Endymion at eye-level while Nephrite stood imposingly behind him, looking cocky.

"You thought you'd get away with it, didn't you?" Jadeite growled.

"And just what do you mean by that?" he returned raising an eyebrow coolly.

"Oh, I think you know exactly what I mean, Prince," he hissed, standing tall as he made his way slowly around the table, one gloved hand trailing on its surface as he walked. Endymion kept an eye on both of them, his gaze flickering between the two to keep them in check. "You thought you'd squirrel yourself away in here, with Zoisite, playing the 'interested alien' card –"

"Reading histories, you said." Nephrite added.

"Yes, histories." Jadeite echoed, his shadow now stretching across the table sinisterly. "But we saw through your little ruse, didn't we, Nephrite?"

"Like a pane of glass, Jadeite."

Endymion placed his hands on the table, looking from one to the other slowly, noting Kunzite's quiet entrance in the background and Zoisite's keen eye on the situation from across the room. "Just what am I being accused of, gentlemen?" he asked calmly, mentally preparing for anything.

…but their game was well planned. Jadeite jumped forward to grab the book on the table, his hands quick as lightning – Endymion shot his arm out to intercept and managed to connect before the blonde general reached the book. Unfortunately for the prince, however, Jadeite was only a decoy, and Nephrite stood victoriously, the Lunar history in hand.

"Aha!" Jadeite crowed victoriously as Nephrite thumbed his way through the pages, "Reading Lunar histories, eh? We knew you were studying topography maps of the Sea of Tranquility! Anything to win our little bet, right? And you thought you'd get away with it, too! Probably figured you'd determine the sanest place for a base, then memorize the surrounding landscape to best plan your course during the race!"

Endymion shook his head negatively, fighting to keep a smile from his face and managing beautifully.

Jadeite relaxed in his victory, leaning one arm on the table, "Oh come on, Endymion, the proof is in Nephrite's hands – there's no use in denying it anymore. Is there, Nephrite?"

They looked over at the brunet. He had been fanning pages as he quickly scanned them, but stopped what he was doing to slowly shrug.

Jadeite shrugged back, his face filled with an incredulous expression, "What do you mean by—?" he shrugged again.

"There aren't any maps in this book," Nephrite replied quietly.

"What?"

"No maps," Nephrite repeated, louder.

"Oh… well…" Jadeite cleared his throat, standing tall and holding his wrists behind his back. "I apologize, Prince…" he slowly walked away, lazily scanning the shelves, "for accrediting you for such a brilliant plan!" He broke and ran for the bookcases, glancing up at the subject headings as he started a frenzied search to be the first to find an atlas. Hurriedly, Nephrite tossed the book back on the table and headed off in the exact opposite direction, leaving Endymion on the wrong side of the table for this contest. He briefly toyed with the idea of simply leapfrogging over the table, but somehow his gaze was pulled to Kunzite, and one look there told him that it was a very bad idea.

So calmly he stood, tucking in his chair and taking one more sip of his tea before he casually walked around the table towards Zoisite who, at this very moment, looked a little too at ease. As Kunzite stalked off after the more energetic duo, Endymion sidled in next to Zoisite. "Hey Zoisite," he greeted calmly, "what have you been reading?"

"Oh, nothing of consequence," Zoisite replied smoothly. "How was the history?"

"Not too great, to be honest. The language was a barrier," he admitted as Kunzite grabbed Jadeite by the collar. "What have you got there?"

"Hmm?" Zoisite feigned innocence.

"That book in your arms, the one you're holding just a little too close," Endymion explained, "that's an atlas containing the topography of the Sea of Tranquility, isn't it?"

Zoisite shifted minutely, "That's a possibility…"

"So…" Nephrite shiftily appeared on the other side of Zoisite, giving Endymion a slick smile of camaraderie, "Share?"

Zoisite cocked an eyebrow, "And just why should I do that?"

"Because you know we'll get it whether you agree or not," Nephrite smiled innocently, gently taking the book from Zoisite's defeated grasp. "Thank you, good sir, for your noble contribution to my cause." Endymion gave him an exasperated look, but his brown-haired friend just shrugged, "I would say our cause, but, really now, you know I'm going to win."

"You're hysterical," Endymion commented without a hint of humor. "Drop it on the table."

For the next half hour, maybe more, the five of them studied the large maps stretched out, noting possible short cuts around miniature ridges and the like. In truth, the Sea of Tranquility was rather flat, having been formed by multiple meteor crashes hundreds of thousands of years ago, so their race would depend more on skill with new technology than steering or figuring routes. As they pointed out the various pitfalls and areas that rose or sank unusually, the prince always kept an ear out for the entrance of the princess and her retinue, but even as the time came for them to leave, there had been no sight of the fair-haired girl or her friends.

A shuttle awaited them out front; on the ride over the five were relatively quiet. They drove through the streets of the capital, watching as the buildings shrank and spread the farther they went, eventually ending in crops as far as the eye could see…. But soon, those, too, ended. Endymion picked out what shoots and plants he could identify, but was utterly baffled on the identity of several of the fields. 'They must be from other continents,' he mused, wondering where such a strange stalk could originate, but his thoughts were soon interrupted.

"What is that?" Jadeite asked in a yell, pointing out of the operator's window to a most unsettling sight.

The fields suddenly ended on either side of the pathway, going from soft brown earth to stark white sand in a perfect line that extended on either side as far as he could see. Beyond was the startling expanse of what they associated with the Moon – desolation. As they looked the operator clicked a button and the windows tinted completely "to cut the glare once we're out of the bubble," the middle-aged man explained.

"'The Bubble'?" Nephrite repeated, moving to sit behind the driver, "So this is the end of the Moon Kingdom?"

"Well, of our main city, yes," the operator supplied helpfully, "The fertility and life sustaining system ends right here; however, we have created artificial areas beyond the capital for research and development."

"Why do they call it a bubble?" Zoisite asked, but Endymion, looking out the sides and now the back of the vehicle, his eyes on the dividing line, already knew the answer. He called the blonde's attention to the view behind them and the slowly disappearing city and fields, the air above which shone translucently. Zoisite modified his question, "If neither glass nor electricity hems in the air supply, what keeps the gas collected about the capital like that?"

The operator chuckled, "I'm afraid I can't say; it's rather technical and, honestly, I don't think I'd be able to explain it to you even if it wasn't top secret!"

Nephrite nodded knowingly and they dropped into silence again, not knowing how long it would take to reach the research and development base, and how long after that before they could test out those new machines. Endymion leaned back in his seat, staring out across the sea of white to the faintly-curving horizon. He knew he should be thinking up a really good punishment for the losers to go through once he won the timetrial, but his mind continued to wander back to one solitary idea: Serenity. He couldn't help but think of her; in the scenery he saw her dress from the ball, in the bright stars shining in the black sky, he saw the glimmer of light off of her eyes, and his lips twitched up into a smile, thinking of her grinning face. What was she doing now? Were they at lunch, or were they still studying?

His mood soured a bit – why had Mars lied to him about where they would be? She had said they would be studying in the morning, and he really thought he remembered hearing Serenity talk about the library, and yet he hadn't seen them at all that morning. Had something occurred that kept them from their studies? Before he could even entertain the idea, he brushed it away; certainly, if something of consequence had arisen he would've been informed. But then, why? He had wanted to see her – even if they couldn't speak, just seeing her would've made his morning. The shuttle moved on, and despite his attempts at redirecting his mind towards the upcoming contest, he was getting nowhere.

"Do any of you think it's strange that Sailor Mars said they would be in the library with their studies all morning and yet we were there and they didn't show?" Endymion finally asked, tearing his eyes from the window to look at his friends scattered throughout the space. Nephrite and Jadeite looked over at him – they were probably talking about something, but now he had their attention. And not exactly in the way the prince had been hoping.

Nephrite grinned, "You mean your scholarly intentions were not pure?"

Endymion gave him a look, mentally wondering why he had even bothered with these guys. Would the teasing be worth it? Probably not.

"He's almost as flustered as that new Beryl girl back home," Jadeite chuckled mischievously.

That comment came out of nowhere. What was he talking about? "What?" Endymion asked, thoroughly confused.

"She was waiting around after one of the council meetings while we were running through some blade practice outside, and after a while she came over to us to inquire as to your whereabouts, seemingly disappointed in your absence," Zoisite supplied, glancing back at Kunzite, who didn't seem too worried about it.

Endymion considered – a new girl at court waiting around to catch a glimpse of him, bothering his friends when he wasn't around? "Well that's just creepy," he commented, crossing his arms and leaning back in the seat, uncomfortable with the idea of a silent stalker.

"And you're being…?" Jadeite led.

"What?" he shot forward emphatically, "– No, that's not – I'm just – I'm just concerned is all. I mean how can we see these future allies as trustworthy if they aren't where they said they would be?" he lied uselessly, knowing his face was turning a shade of embarrassed red. He wasn't doing the same thing that she was, right? He wanted to say good morning to her and see how she was doing. It wasn't the same.

"Sure, Endymion," Nephrite shrugged, "I believe you."

He growled and sat back in a huff, returning his gaze to the moonscape grumpily, regretting again that he even brought it up. He heard someone sit down in the seat behind him, but did nothing to acknowledge their presence, still looking moodily outside.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" Kunzite spoke quietly; Endymion hummed a response to be polite. Kunzite hadn't said a thing back there, so he couldn't hold anything against him, after all. The next was a non-sequiter, "Did you know the palace has two major libraries? One for the populace at large, and one for the royal family and their protectors?" Kunzite stood and moved away as his words sunk in and took off, taking his foul mood along with it. Endymion sat up straighter and followed his chief advisor with his eyes.

"Kunzite," he addressed as the silver-haired man sat back down. He glanced back and their eyes met, "Thank you." Endymion nodded in gratitude, already feeling a little better. Mars might not have lied – they might be studying in the royals' section of the palace and didn't elaborate because she didn't know he'd try to catch them before dinner. That must have been it.

"Well, I hope you guys are ready to suffer horrible defeat at my hands," Nephrite announced, looking up through the operator's window, "Because the countdown to your humiliation has begun!"

A huge square building rose out of the distance, growing larger and larger with their approach. The Tranquility Base and Research Center – they were there at last. There was no bubble surrounding the structure; instead, the shuttle drove straight into the building itself through a large set of doors that started closing as soon as they passed through. "It'll be just a minute," the operator provided, "They just have to pressurize the room." Sure enough, as soon as the door closed a hissing sound gradually reached them as a red light on one side of the room turned green. The door of the shuttle opened just as an inner door receded into the ceiling to emit Leran and Cretair into the bay.

___________________________



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Title : Oh, you mean you DON'T have an Elephabulous? Shame.
Posts : 13039
Join date : 2011-09-15
Age : 30
Location : NE Texas


PostSubject: Re: [Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom   Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:21 am

The Race

The ensuing tour of the base was like something out of one of Zoisite’s novels. From the hallways to the experiment labs to the viewing rooms, the décor was eerily similar to the Arc that brought them from Earth and seemed completely surreal. Several of the rooms contained experiments that Endymion could only get the gist of, while Nephrite was chatting away with Cretair and Zoisite was keeping up with all conversations at once, seeming to understand and be part of everything at once. He stuck with Jadeite throughout, the both of them conversing quietly about inconsequentials as the tour progressed. Several research bays were dedicated to transportation, but others seemed medically or biologically inclined, while others still had people working with wiring and screens and devices he hadn’t seen before outside of the Arc.

Hours passed pleasantly while curiosities were presented. Occasionally, they were allowed to test the nearly completed projects, one of which was a device wherein a “user” could use a series of buttons with symbols on them to enter data into a database that could be accessed elsewhere. Zoisite was able to key in a phrase, which was returned shortly by another researcher using a prototype at the castle itself, several leagues away from them. It was amazing – it could bring so many people so much closer! It would allow for the single greatest sharing of ideas since the printing press. Leran explained that in this initial stage, their goal was to store their research data and some of the Lunar histories; eventually they wanted to “program” the machine to fit the Queen’s specifications and allow her a unique accessibility. It was all very interesting, and Endymion found himself wondering if he could somehow convince his father to set up some sort of exchange with Levan and his Research Base.

Midway through the afternoon, it was time. They entered a room with a long window on the opposite side, though which they saw a sleek dark gray vehicle and a handful of suited pilots and what were probably technicians.

“Well, here we are at last,” Levan introduced, “The Cruiser. A mere thirty feet long, it sits two and houses our most powerful engine yet, travelling at an expected top speed of eleven miles per second.”

“So,” Cretair asked, twitching his moustache appreciatively, “Who wants to go first?”

Endymion raised his hand quickly, but so did everyone else. Before an sly argument could start, Nephrite stepped forward to stand beside Cretair. He was joined quickly by Jadeite, who probably thought the brunet was trying to sneak into first try, but with a quirked eyebrow Nephrite pushed the blonde back with everyone else. “Hold on, I just want to set some ground rules. As I started this thing, I figured I should set the ground rules.”

Endymion scoffed; with a smile, he shrugged, “So long as it’s fair.”

Nephrite shrugged in return, “Winning any other way wouldn’t be as sweet. So, here’s what I’m thinking: no one gets to see the route before they start. All bets are laid out now, before anyone takes the run, and we all agree to the consequences beforehand. No backing out when things go sour. Agreed?”

They all nodded, “Agreed.”

“I’ll start then.” He smirked cruelly, “If I win, every time you are addressed by name, you have to interrupt the speaker with the statement “I’m from Earth.”

“Oh, come on, really?” Jadeite scoffed. “Neprhite, that’s just—“

“I’m from Earth.”

“What?”

“See how awkward that is?” he grinned, “Better get used to it.”

Zoisite rolled his eyes.

“And what do you have planned, Zoisite?” Nephrite inquired.

“Trigger words. When I say “Really?” any one of you within earshot will balance on one foot until I say “Well, then.” If you lose your balance or move before I utter the final phrase, your punishment will be that you will have to hop on one foot until I let you go.”

“Uuug,” Jadeite groaned, not all that great with his balance when he had to think about it.

“And yours is?” Zoisite prompted, looking smug, as though his punishment was thought up specifically for the other blonde.

Jadeite’s eyes hardened to a glare, his mouth turning up in a malicious sneer as he revealed, “When I win, you four will serenade me as the brightest and most amazing of us all!” His hands shot back dramatically, “Instruments and rehearsals required! And an original piece, like –“ and then, he broke out into song:
“Jadeite, oh Jadeite, Wonderful King of the East,
Of all of us from Earth, you suck the very least!
Your charm is everlasting, your wit? It has no end!
Atop the ranks of greatness, you will inevitably ascend!”

It wasn’t the most terrible song he had ever heard, but then this wasn’t the first time Jadeite had tried his hand at composition. Endymion groaned with the rest of them as Jadeite struck a pose and he glanced over at Nephrite. As one they quirked an eyebrow, silently agreeing that Jadeite would not be allowed to win. Endymion was fairly certain now that anything he came up with wouldn’t be as out-there as Jadeite’s, but he was also certain that he couldn’t make up anything more embarrassing. Maybe something in the middle of the road, then? How much time did he have before he had to choose something?

“I’m letting Venus choose the punishment if I win,” Kunzite declared, forcing Jadeite out of his pose.

The blonde crossed his arms. “That’s not fair.”

Kunzite shrugged, “There was no rule stating otherwise.”

“I still say it’s not fair. I don’t want to agree to something that a girl makes up!”

“That’s fine – you don’t have to participate,” Zoisite stated coolly.

“What?!” Jadeite turned to Nephrite, “You have to agree this is against the rules.”

Nephrite shrugged, unbothered, “No guts, no glory. Whatever she comes up with can’t be worse than a boy band.” Jadeite groaned, muttering “fine.”

And suddenly it was his turn. What should he have them do? What would Venus make them do? They were looking at him now; he opened his mouth and just let out whatever came to mind, “If I win, you all will have to go on a snipe hunt when we get back home.” Where did that come from? Their looks were incredulous, but in a good way in this case. A smile crept onto his face when he imagined the four of them hunting through forests for a nonexistent beast, sneaking throughout towns and recruiting help from villagers who knew better… and he decided he quite liked the idea. “Besides acting fervently as though the snipe truly exists and is a real threat to the kingdom, you must also recruit volunteers to help you with the hunt. The person who recruits the most volunteers doesn’t actually have to go.” He smiled and crossed his arms, waiting for a reaction beyond the shocked expressions he got now.

Kunzite was the first to break. “Alright then,” he nodded, his body language telling Endymion that the silver-haired commander had thought of a loophole.

“Yes,” Zoisite trailed, his thumb and forefinger to his face in a thoughtful expression, “Okay.”

“You’re not serious,” Jadeite stated.

“Afraid I am,” he held his palms up, as though he had no choice in the matter anymore, fighting a smile as he imagined Jadeite crawling through the underbrush calling “[i]Snipe! Snipe-Sniiiipe! [i]” . It was a tough battle to win, but he managed.

“Then could we at least do it away from the capital?” Jadeite bargained; Endymion didn’t see the harm, so he shrugged his acquiescence. But Jadeite wasn’t thinking things through – the capital people knew them; if something like this happened, they would figure out it was a dare or a bet gone wrong and wouldn’t think anything of it. A smaller outlying town, however, would go away with the idea they were nuts. It just kept getting sweeter and sweeter.

“Are we agreed on the terms, then?” Nephrite called officially and, still feeling proud of that marvelous bout of inspiration, Endymion nodded with the rest of them. “Alright then!”

They drew straws to determine the order, then everyone stepped out of the observation chamber as the first contestant, Zoisite, met with the pilot and left for the timetrial. To keep things fair, they decided that no one could see any part of the operation of the ship until it was their turn; that way, no one would have a leg up on any of the others. Once their trial was over they could watch from the observation room, but until then they were in the dark on every aspect of the operation. Endymion had pulled to go fourth, but as Kunzite and then Jadeite exited for their turns, he wasn’t feeling nervous at all. He and Nephrite, wearing strange one-piece suits and holding onto full-head helmets, taunted each other when they were the only two remaining, making bets about the current winner and passing time with good-natured trash-talking.

Zoisite opened the door and Endymion waved back at Nephrite, whispering loudly to Zoisite, “Poor guy still thinks he has a chance.” He glanced back to see the brunet making a face and shot one back before the door closed completely. Wiping the rude expression from his face he turned and offered his hand to whom he guessed was the pilot. He shook it, mentioned his name, and then led him from the room via a door beside the glass. Endymion followed him, walking down the metal staircase to the floor of the bay and over to another short stair up to the cockpit of the strange ship. If anything, it reminded him of a bird with outstretched wings, and they were climbing into a glass-encased area that would have been the bird’s back. Within he found two low seats, one behind the other, and a mesh of strange panels and switches around the interior of the small room. His eyes roamed the area, trying to take in everything, though he knew he had no hopes of understanding it all.

The pilot sat in the back seat and asked Endymion to watch how the restraints worked. When Endymion stepped in and sat down, his legs almost straight out in front of him and stretching underneath the panels, he did as he saw and was soon strapped in. He fit comfortably into the padded seat, and once a technician popped in to check to make sure he was strapped in correctly, which he was, his helmet was locked into place on his head and the staircase was removed. With the flip of a switch from the pilot behind him, the glass encasing closed about them and locked into place, and two black arms extended from the panel just in front of him.

“Those arms are the steering apparatus,” the pilot explained, “I have a second set back here in case we get into any trouble, I but the steering is very similar to directing a horse. To turn left, you pull back on the left stick and push forward on the right; to go right, you do the opposite. It only differs in the vertical region – to go up, you pull like you’re trying to stop the horse, to go down, you push forward.”

“Okay,” Endymion nodded, wrapping his hands into the steering device, feeling the soft material meld to fit his hands. “And how do I slow down or stop, then?” he asked curiously, glancing over the numerous buttons and switches.

“On the arms, right by your thumbs, are your thrusters. Flick the switches away from you to go, and flip them back towards you to slow down, or start heading in the opposite direction. I’ll handle the rest.” Endymion nodded in comprehension, mentally reviewing the controls again. “It’s a pretty simple circuit today,” the pilot continued, “Just once around the surface travelling the 0 latitude line.”

“Once around… we’re going to go once around the moon?” Endymion asked incredulously, facing forward as the bay doors opened ahead of him.

“Yep. Now we’re facing the right way, so you just want to lift her up a bit to get her off the floor, then forward thrusters and punch it.”

“But they weren’t gone for that long – “

“Eh, our shortest time is around 12 minutes in the bird for a circuit; your friends haven’t quite reached that, but there’s still hope for you. Just remember the steering directions; I won’t mess with you too much. Ready then, Prince Endymion?” He took a deep breath and just went for it. He pulled back slightly and felt the “bird” lift, then flipped the switches by his thumb to face away from him, and immediately the ship kicked forward.

It was a thrill like no other. His blood raced through his veins, his mood skyrocketing as the bird swooped over the white landscape, over craters and around small ridges left by impacts thousands of years ago. They moved clockwise around the surface, travelling towards the sun’s light, and oftentimes the pilot would direct him to either keep him on course or to go through obstacles made up for their specific timetrial, such as once around a good-sized crater, several miles above a ridge and down into a dive to nearly kiss the surface. It was absolutely exhilarating – if anything, Endymion could only crave the wind in his hair. Moving in a straight line over a nearly-unmarked region, he felt the bird nearly reach top speeds, the ground whisking out beneath him before he could focus on a single spot. He yelled in elation, and the pilot joined him, laughing. Before long they were around to the far side of the moon, the mysterious face that he had never seen before. The part that caught the sun’s rays was desolate, nearly undisturbed, and lacked the characteristic craters of the Earth-facing side, but it was nonetheless fascinating.

As was the line between day and night.

One moment, he was chasing his shadow, the next, the ground seemed to almost fall away beneath him before artificial light shot out infront of the bird to light his path. “Eerie, isn’t it?” the pilot asked rhetorically; Endymion nodded, but kept his eyes on the river of light before the nose of the bird, keeping himself on track and ready to dodge any obstacles along their way. Only once did he manage to tear his eyes from the surface to look up at the sky, expecting, for some reason, to find it different here than anywhere else. However, the stars were familiar, if not a little brighter in the darkness, so he returned his gaze to the lunar surface.

Before he knew it, the pilot asked him to put the thrusters in reverse, and he flipped the thumb switches back towards himself to oblige. They slowed quickly, but before the speed had decreased too much, the pilot instructed him to pull back as far as he could on the arms. Wondering why, Endymion did it nevertheless, and his stomach felt like it did backflips as a result. The ship tore skyward, then turned right around, as if he were flying upside down, then turned back again. “Woah,” he commented, the only thing he could manage as his insides righted themselves.

The pilot laughed, “Isn’t that neat?! Just a flip to keep things interesting before she slows down too much. Here now, level back out, turn her a little to the left – there you go, great job – and keep her straight.” Barely seconds passed, the bird going slower and slower, before the pilot said “There’s the base. You see it?” Endymion nodded as the tiny square in the distance approached; by the time they reached the open bay, the bird was crawling to a halt. The pilot took over from there, setting it down where it needed to be and engaging some landing gears.

The ride was over. The glass enclosure lifted and a technician offered him a hand out of the seat, which he took gratefully, and led him down the staircase. His helmet was removed and he stepped out of the suit, then turned to give the pilot an enthusiastic handshake, “That was amazing!” he applauded, the smile on his face genuine, “And you get to do that every day?!”

“Nearly so,” the pilot laughed, “I’m glad you enjoyed it. Your time, from leaving the hatch to returning, was 16 minutes, 14 seconds.”

He nodded and gave the man’s hand a final shake before following him back up the stair to the observation deck once again, where he stood over with Kunzite and the others while Nephrite made his way down into the bay. It had been so fantastic! As soon as Nephrite left the room and he could talk about it, Jadeite and Zoisite were just as enthusiastic as he to discuss it – even Kunzite spoke about the experience with excitement. Twenty minutes later, Nephrite vaulted into the room and crashed into him, his hands on Endymion’s shoulders as he exclaimed about how amazing it was.

The contest was all but forgotten as the five of them relived their experiences again; once they had control of themselves, Leran and Cretair, in high spirits, led them back to the shuttle and wished them a good evening, Endymion and his generals thanking them again for the tour and the opportunity to test the prototype rocket. Before the shuttle pulled away, Leran handed a folded slip of paper to Kunzite and smiled, then waved as he and Cretair disappeared into the complex and the shuttle sealed itself for the trip back to the capital.

It was nearly impossible to keep composure over dinner that night. The sight of the high table would be remembered later, as everyone dressed semi-formally, yet the visitors of Earth seemed to be having problems keeping their voices at a quiet, dinner-time level. Endymion couldn’t help himself; he was so enthused by the visit he had to insert his own views of certain areas here and there, and when it finally came time to talk about the time trials… well, they all seemed to lose themselves in this other world. For their part, their hosts were gracious and stimulated the conversation, actively participating when they could, asking questions and looking for further explanations, a retelling of stories when someone seemed particularly taken with an idea; he guessed that they themselves had been there before, but they smiled and reacted as though it were a new experience for everyone.

Serenity was radiant. He couldn’t help but smile after what he’d been through that afternoon, and her continued interest, her quiet questions, and the look of amazement and shared excitement in her eyes kept him in high spirits throughout the meal. Her laugh, her smiles, the look of fright in her eyes when Jadeite regaled them again with his story of nearly losing control in the dive – she was adorable, beautiful, kind and interesting, and he wanted to keep sharing things with her. He wanted to know everything there was to know about her.

So when dinner ended and Venus invited them to the gardens for a while to socialize, it was all he could do to nod gracefully and not follow them straight out of the room.

___________________________



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[Story] The Jewel of the Moon Kingdom

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