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 Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!

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Sailor Uranus
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PostSubject: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   30th March 2014, 8:37 am



This thread serves as a place to showcase the amazing winning entries for the Writing & Roleplaying Guild sanctioned contests! Take a moment to appreciate the outstanding writing skills of our Guild members!

Perhaps someday you could count yourself among these marvelous shining stars of writing!



2014
March 2014: Neptune & Springtime (Sailor Neptune - Bubbles)
April 2014: Reunion & Neo Queen Serenity (Sailor Mercury - Aurae)
May 2014: Fairy Tale (Sailor Uranus - Kyra)
July 2014: Summer Vacation & Mercury (Hikari-chan)
August 2014: Other Reincarnations of Serenity and Endymion (Sailor Neptune - Bubbles)
November 2014: Holidays (Sailor Pluto - JupiterThunderCrash)
December 2014: Winter Holiday (Sailor Neptune - Bubbles)


2015
January 2015: Jack Frost (OuterHarmonie23)
March 2015: Luck 'O the Irish (Burning Mandala)
September 2015: Letting Go (Sailor Uranus - Kyra)
October 2015: Creatures of the Night (Sailor Uranus - Kyra)
November 2015: Reincarnation (PoetofMercury)


2016
February 2016: Future Incarnations (Sailor Pluto - JupiterThunderCrash)
February 2016: Future Incarnations [Writing Twins Category] (Sailor Uranus - Kyra)
May 2016: Mythical Creatures (Sailor Uranus - Kyra)


2017
September 2017: Introduction/Birth (Sailor Arkas)


2018
February 2018: Mystery Date Night (Sailor Arkas)
April 2018: Storyline Storytime (Sailor Moon: Sailor Uranus - Kyra, Other: Sailor Arkas)
June 2018: Fun in the Sun (Sailor Mercury - Aurae)
July 2018: Prompt Slot Machine (Sailor Arkas)
August 2018: Reverse It (Sailor Arkas)
September 2018: New Era (Sailor Uranus - Kyra)
October 2018: Ghost Stories (Sailor Uranus - Kyra)

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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 8:53 am


March 2014: Neptune & Springtime
Winner: Sailor Neptune (Bubbles)!


A Problem Michiru Couldn't Solve

Usagi and her friends didn’t often get the chance to visit the mansion where Haruka, Michiru, Setsuna, and Hotaru lived, so they always cherished the opportunity, especially if it involved a party. Spring had finally come, and Michiru had graciously invited the girls over for a little picnic and the promise of showing off her newly cultivated roses.

When the girls arrived, however, something strange started happening.

Every time someone asked Michiru to see the roses, an… incident tended to occur.

A distracting incident.

The first time Mako said politely, “Michiru-san, I’m excited to see your roses!” Michiru, the woman who always moved with poise and grace, who knew how to play a violin while simultaneously juggling a lemon, managed to somehow spill the contents of the teapot she’d been carrying to the table. Everyone immediately jumped over each other trying to help mop up the spill, and Mako’s remark was forgotten for a time.

Then, some minutes later, Usagi asked excitedly, “Michiru-san, so where are your roses? I want to bring one back to give to Mamo-chan once he returns from his trip!”

And Michiru’s response was: “Ah, Usagi-chan, before that, have you seen Hotaru’s latest drawings? They are simply amazing!” And then, seemingly out of nowhere, she whipped out a drawing book filled with impressive sketches the likes of which could rival Van Gogh. “Woooowwww!” Usagi gaped, now completely riveted by the book. Immediately, everyone gathered around it and showered the beaming Hotaru with praises.

The third time, it was Haruka who only managed to get out, “Michiru, I think you should show the girls your ro—unf!” because something mysterious had happened under the table. As a result of said mysterious incident, Haruka looked as if she was very… excited, or very embarrassed, or maybe she was in pain? Nobody at the table was quite sure. (They all knew enough not to ask. Or speak of it again. Ever.)

The whole time, Hotaru was her usual cheerful self, and Setsuna hid a smile that seemed to say she was the only one in on the joke. (But this was not telling much, because Setsuna.)

Usagi was always easily distracted, but after the three separate incidents, the other girls who knew better simply stopped asking. Ami tactfully chose to avoid the subject, and so did Rei. Chibiusa was too engrossed in Hotaru to notice anything amiss, and Minako—who obviously knew something was up and was dying to know what it was but too proud to ask outright again after the method had been foiled so many times—was the only one who kept mentioning roses but in the most outrageous or inappropriate ways possible (or both) and no one paid her any attention. (Because Minako.)

However, after the picnic was slowly winding down and everyone started cleaning up, Mako found Michiru standing alone around the side of the house, staring at a row of empty soil. She seemed to be concentrating really hard, as if willing something to sprout out by the strength of her determination alone.

“Michiru-san?”

Michiru, whom Mako had never seen caught off guard in her entire life, looked visibly startled as she whirled around. 

“Mako-chan?”

“What happened to your roses?” Mako asked without preamble, staring directly into the other girl’s eyes.

In the face of such a straightforward question, Michiru’s expression faltered a bit. Just a tiny slip of her mask. But it was enough for Mako to see that she was right.

“What do you mean? They’re… fine.”

“Are they invisible?” Mako asked with a hint of a smile.

Michiru blushed—ever so slightly—and turned away. “No. They’re just not ready for viewing after all. I apologize for prematurely inviting you all to see them.”

“They didn’t bloom, did they?”

This time Michiru didn’t bother hiding her surprise. However, she seemed unable to say anything.

“It’s okay, Michiru-san. Sometimes it happens.”

“Not to you, I’m sure.”

“Well…” Mako spent about three seconds contemplating to deny it, then admitted, “No. You’re right. But I’m sure I could help you figure out the problem.”

“Really? Because I followed the instructions to the letter. I did my research. I planned everything perfectly. I’m very precise about these sorts of things, and they always turn out the way I expect them to.”

Michiru looked frustrated—just barely, still with that ever-present control on her expression, but it made Mako smile all the same.

“What?” Michiru asked, wary of Mako’s look.

“You remind me so much of Ami, sometimes.”

“Really? Ami-chan?” Michiru seemed stunned.

“She can be very precise too.” Mako paused, then turned around to look at the afternoon sun. “I think this patch of soil isn’t getting enough sun.”

“But it faces the east, where the sun rises.”

“True, but the morning sun isn’t that bright. You’d be better off trying to plant them on the west side.”

Michiru seemed to consider this for a moment. “You’re sure?”

Mako grinned. “Trust me. They will bloom. Especially if you also let me give you some more tips on how to take care of them.” She paused, then added, “Gardening isn’t really exact science, Michiru-san. In fact, it’s a bit more like art. You understand art, right?”

“I do,” Michiru’s expression softened. Something within her shifted, and in an instant, it was like she saw Mako in a new light. She smiled—a genuine smile—and said simply, “Thank you, Mako-chan. Would you like to visit more often and do more gardening with me?”

Mako’s entire face brightened. “I would love nothing more.”

The two girls gave each other bright smiles, as the sounds of laughter surrounded them and the afternoon sun began to set in the distance.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 8:59 am


April 2014: Reunion & Neo Queen Serenity
Lone Entry: Sailor Mercury (Aurae)


Someone Didn't Read the Neo on the Neo Queen Serenity Theme

The woman smiled, glancing down through thick, pale lashes at the infant in her arms. She felt the warmth of the small body. Clear blue eyes stared up at her. Rosy cheeks punctuated the ends of a gleeful smile. The woman gently rocked the baby in her arms, and she cooed and giggled in response. On her forehead, below the curls of fair hair, a golden crescent moon gleamed gently.

Her mother looked down with tender eyes, and laid a soft kiss on the creamy skin.

"I'll call you... Serenity."

In the rubble of their once beautiful kingdom, she cradled the lifeless body in her arms. The wind whistled past in the darkness, ruffling figure's tattered white dress. Queen Serenity's blue eyes glistened with tears, but she refused to cry. Her grief was not something she could express. It burned inside her like ice, numbing and corrosive.

She could not rejoice at having expelled the evil forces. It had been at the expense of the one thing she loved.

So much tragedy. It felt as though it had always been a struggle. There were so many memories of warmth and happiness, but every fear and hardship she could remember with precision and accuracy. The queen devoted her life to providing a safe and loving environment, but that safety and security was always at such a cost. The brighter she intensified her light, the more shadows boiled at the edges.

"This was never what I intended for you," the low voice whispered, although she knew that the cold form she clutched could no longer hear her.

It was too cruel to have survived. The corpses around her were children. They deserved shining futures--so many chances and opportunities awaited them. Each had dreams, now forever unfulfilled. She tried to protect them. She failed.

What use was her power if she could not save them?

"Oh, Serenity... all I wanted was for you to be happy."

Silence was the only reply. She would never again hear that bright voice calling out to her. She would never see that sweet smile, so pure and full of love.

A glimmer of light caught her eye, and she felt the princess's body shift in her arms. Queen Serenity gasped as the figure began to dissolve, fading as sparkles glittered and then darkened. The queen fought to maintain her hold, but she could not halt the dispersion. In moments, only a faint pulse of light remained where the princess had once been, dimming like a cooling star. She clung to it, tearless sobs shaking her body.

Why did it have to end this way?

No.

The queen tightened her grip on the fading star. She looked upwards, sapphire eyes blazing. This was not the end. She would not accept it. Above her, the darkness of space seemed infinite, but Queen Serenity knew that there was one place that she must go.

The light felt uncharacteristically cold as she summoned the Silver Crystal once again. It could no longer reflect the warmth in her heart. She clutched what remained of her daughter to her chest, the tears burning in her eyes.

When she reached her destination, the glow of the light in her arms was barely visible. Only a hazy outline existed. Queen Serenity stepped forward, staring into the swirling abyss below her. One wish. She threw herself forward, down into the place where stars were born, and she made one wish. A wish not for herself. A wish for that dying star.

"Live... filled with love and light!"
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:03 am

May 2014: Fairy Tale
Winner: Sailor Uranus (Kyra)


Untitled

“Once upon a time—“

An explosion rocked the air, booming solidly in the distance. She held her daughter closer to her chest, covering the girl’s ears and rocking her back and forth, almost yelling over her fearful cries in an attempt to quiet her. “Once upon a time there was a beautiful queen who lived on the moon!” she projected, her voice barely carrying to the walls of their hiding place despite the volume. Her heart beat faster as she glimpsed the red glow of fire through the single soot-covered window; she stroked her daughter’s hair, her story flowing faster from her mouth as the distraction she had started for her daughter slowly became her own source of calm and strength. “She was beautiful, and she was strong, and she was fair, but she was lonely, as lonely as the moon amongst the stars. ‘Oh, I wish,’ the queen would say, ‘Oh, how I wish I had a daughter to share my life with! I would read with her, and laugh with her, and dance with her, and love her more than all the stars in the sky!’”
 
The cold floor beneath them shook as dust and rock fell from the concrete ceiling; she glanced up fearfully – would the shelter collapse?! – but she continued with her story, her daughter’s cries lessening. Feeling her eyes, she stared down at the tiny child in her lap and hugged her tighter, kissing her forehead tenderly yet fiercely, silently promising herself that they would not give up. “She wished this wish for years and years, praying on every star in the night sky. The moon moved around the earth and the earth around the sun, but still the queen did not have a daughter, and she was very sad, and very lonely.”
 
Her daughter’s breathing quieted, listening intently; the war beyond the windows momentarily forgotten. “But then one night, as she slept, she was visited by a tiny dream fairy. ‘I’ve heard your wish for a daughter,” the dream fairy said, ‘Is it true?’ ‘Oh, yes!’ the queen replied, ‘More than anything, I wish I had a daughter to share my life with!’ ‘If I gave you a daughter, would you love her?’ the dream fairy asked, and the queen promised, ‘More than all the stars in the sky.’ ‘Then from your heart I will give you a daughter for you to love and to be loved by you!’ and when the queen woke, she knew she would soon have the daughter she had always wanted, whom she loved with all her heart before she had even met her – “
 
The door burst open and she recoiled, clutching her daughter to her and turning away, fearing the worst. Instead a familiar voice called urgently to her, “Your Majesty, we must go!” Soft hands urged her up. She gently guided her child from her lap, the toddler’s tiny hand keeping hold of hers as her bright blue eyes followed her movements; once standing, she reached down for her little girl and carried her, keeping her close. Her little arms wrapped themselves around her neck and her little face nestled in the hollow of her throat as they followed her Sailor Senshi out of the bunker and into the violent night, moving quickly and silently through the maze of Crystal Tokyo.


The wagon trundled on, rocking back and forth on the dirt track as the horse carried them forward. She sat with her legs curled beneath her, her daughter perched before her; their years of exile had changed their attire drastically, but one thing would never change. “And when her daughter was finally born, the queen loved her even more,” she spoke, separating her little girl’s bright red hair into two sections, continuing to tell her favorite story as she brushed the tangled mess and pulled each side into high pigtails. “And they would read together and laugh together and dance together, and surely she loved her more than she loved the stars in the sky!” With a few deft twists and a handful of pins, the buns were complete. “But the night was dark, and sometimes dangerous, and so to keep her daughter safe the queen plucked four of the brightest stars from the night sky and asked for their protection. They became the Sailor Senshi, and loved her daughter nearly as much as she did. They would protect her.”

Finished, her girl turned around and watched her with those bright blue eyes; she reached forward and brushed the bright red hair from her face, making minute adjustments to her daughter’s odangos, and smiled softly. The wagon slowed to a stop, and her senshi poked her head through the canvas covering, telling them it was time to go.


 She smiled, pulling her teenage daughter to her feet and keeping her hands as she guided her into the open clearing, her smile nearly coaxing a similar expression from her sullen girl. “And so the six of them lived together in peace and prosperity, and they would read together, and laugh together – “ she pulled her daughter into a spin, their hands keeping them connected as their feet turned in tight circles, their long hair flying out behind them as they leaned back into the spin; in short accord, she had her daughter laughing as she spun and stared up at the trees above their heads and the waxing gibbous moon far above those. “—and dance together, and surely the queen loved her daughter more than the stars in the sky!”


“But not everything can last forever,” she repeated quietly to herself, watching as her young woman strode forward to address the fearful crowd. She wore her power on her sleeve, her Sailor Senshi uniform drawing eyes and demanding respect. Her awakening answered a question that had persisted for centuries; the reemergence of the Silver Crystal both proving their right to rule and condemning them once again to a life of hardship.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:07 am

July 2014: Summer Vacation & Mercury
Winner: Hikari-chan (formerly HikariDemand)


Untitled

Ami had been looking forward to summer vacation for the longest time. She would be spending the summer in Singapore. She had been accepted into a medical internship program. Ami was excited to be gaining experience working in a hospital, even if she was just doing paperwork. It was the experience that was most exciting to her. Ami checked her bags one last time before taking them to be sent to the place she would be living while on internship. She would be flying out a couple days later, but wanted to take care of all her loose ends before flying out.

Ami met up with the girls for a small get together they had planned to send her off. The girls each gave her little gifts; including a photo collage frame with lots of pictures from their times together. A leather bound journal for Ami to take notes, and jot down thoughts, a box of homemade cookies, Makoto was so thoughtful to include some of her delicious cookies, a stationery set, for Ami to write back home, and the girls had all chipped in and bought Ami a camera, to take pictures when she wasn’t busy studying or at her internship program.

Ami was so glad to have the friends she did, she would miss them this summer, but luckily it seemed they all had summer plans too. Her friends were supportive of her decision to take on the internship, encouraging her to pursue a dream she had for the longest time. Ami bid her friends farewell after spending a few hours with them.

As Ami was walking home, she couldn’t help but smile. She never dreamed she would be working toward her dream so early, but her hard work in her studies had paid off and now she had the opportunity of a lifetime. Interning at one of the most prestigious hospitals in Singapore and she hoped to learn a lot and maybe even practice some medical work. When Ami got home she showered and read a book before turning in for the night.

The next day Ami mostly did some light packing, she would be flying out the following day and needed to pack her carryon bag. She took a walk around the park one more time; it was a sunny day so Ami wanted to get some fresh air before she would be on a long flight. Once Ami returned home, she cooked dinner and read for a bit before turning in for the night. She wanted to be well rested for the following morning. She would have to wake early to get to the airport on time.

Ami woke early the following morning, and made it on time to the airport. She had to sit and wait until her flight, but that was okay, she used that time to read up on some of the doctors where she would be working and seeing if she could read up on any case studies that may be going. Time passed quickly and before she knew it, Ami was on her flight to Singapore.

A few hours later Ami was in Singapore. The hospital had arranged for someone to meet her to show her to her living quarters.  The correspondent from the hospital told Ami and the other interns they were to report to the hospital in three hours for orientation.  Ami unpacked a few things and introduced herself to her housemates; there were people from all over the world here, a couple of people from the US, someone from China, and a few students from various places in Europe. Ami was looking forward to this summer and hoped she would learn a lot and make a few friends in the process.

Ami and the others arrived at the hospital on time and were directed to an office. The director of the hospital explained the rules and expectations for the interns. The interns would mostly be doing paperwork/ chart work, some would assist in the ER, but there were a few who would be privileged enough to assist on case study research. After the orientation and tour of the hospital the interns were excused. There would be a social dinner later to allow the interns and hospital residents and attendees.

As Ami was walking out of the office, one of the doctors pulled her and another girl named Leah aside. The two had been selected to work with the head of neurology on a high profile case study. It was still in its beginning stages and the doctor, he said his name was Dr. Wong, and he was delighted to have the girls on his service. The girls accepted the offer; excited for the opportunity they had just been handed. Ami walked with Leah back to their apartment. Ami learned that Leah was from Italy. The two chatted about various things until returning to the apartment. One other person had been selected to do an internship, a boy named George from England. He would be on a cardiovascular case. All the interns were happy for Ami and the others.

The interns all went to the social dinner and Ami met a lot of doctors and learned more about the hospital she was working at. She learned it had been a central hospital during a bombing event that had occurred 10 years ago. The hospital was also famous for the case studies it took on. After the dinner Ami and her housemates all went out for a stroll on the town. Ami knew that this summer would be a good one. She had the opportunity to work on a high profile case study and she would be living with many other young hopeful doctors. Ami looked forward to tomorrow and the start of her journey as an intern. Ami went to bed that night feeling excited for what was in store the following morning
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:10 am

August 2014: Other Reincarnations of Serenity and Endymion
Winner: Sailor Neptune (Bubbles)


Untitled

The party was in full swing. Chandeliers reflected lights off the gleaming marble floors, champagne glasses tinkled softly amongst polite chatter, and the string quartet played slow classical music in the background. Selene’s white dress provided a stark contrast against her jet black hair as she made her way further into her room, her steps confident and certain.

Or at least that was what it looked like to the casual observer. Inside, anxiety twisted her stomach, but years of training had allowed her to maintain a façade that was entirely different. Picking up a glass from a passing tray, she barely tasted the liquid as her eyes scanned every face at the party carefully.

You’ll know him when you see him, her father kept assuring her. He’ll be the only one wearing a red rose with his suit.

Her father had proceeded to comment on the pompousness of such attire choice, but Selene had decided to reserve her judgment until she saw him herself.

“I don’t believe I know you, my lady,” a deep voice came from behind her, and she nearly dropped her glass in surprise. She was very glad her father wasn’t here to see her blunder. He would have never allowed her to live it down. Someone had caught her off guard; something that was never, ever supposed to happen.

She turned around with a composed smile that froze on her lips the moment she laid eyes on him.

Striking deep blue eyes. Jet black hair. A classically handsome face.

And an unmistakable red rose on his suit pocket.

She felt hot and cold at the same time. The metal hidden on her thigh suddenly felt heavier and harder than ever.

Edward Prince. The son of the founder of Global Alliance of Intelligence Accumulation—or better known as GAIA.

Her target. She was supposed to find him, lure him… and yet here he was, practically offering himself to her merely minutes after she arrived.

For a moment she wondered if he’d recognized her. Was her disguise not good enough? Was that why he’d picked her out of all the other beautiful women around them so quickly?

He was still looking at her with that questioning glance that was now tinged with suspicion, and she jumped to say her rehearsed line. “Belle Charmant,” she extended one white-gloved hand with a smile, mentioning the name on the credentials acquired for her. “I’m new to GAIA.”

“What a beautiful name. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Charmant. And allow me to formally welcome you to GAIA then,” he replied, kissing her proffered hand.

“I am truly honored, Mr. Prince,” she dipped her head demurely. “To have the best operative and the heir of GAIA herself welcome me… well, I never dreamed of such a thing.”

“Nonsense. It is my pleasure,” he repeated. “Would you care for a dance, Miss Charmant?” He asked as the musicians started up a new song.

She hesitated only briefly before nodding. “Of course.”

The two of them glided onto the dance floor, and the rest of the guests gave way. Selene put one hand on his shoulder and felt his arm settle on her waist as if it had always belonged there. She felt the strangest thing as they swayed along to the music; as if this was a dream, a very familiar one. She had not seen him before tonight, and yet…

What was this she felt? And what of her mission?

His eyes seemed to entrap her gaze and refused to let go. By the time the music ended, she didn’t even realize or protest when he gently guided her away from the other guests, toward a darkened side room.

She didn’t realize they were alone until he pushed her against the wall.

“I know who you really are,” he whispered even though there was no one else to hear them.

That finally jostled her out of her trance. Her heartbeat quickened as she looked at him through her father’s eyes, reminding herself who he was; a target. Someone she was meant to eliminate.

Her hand traveled slowly, instinctively, toward her thigh.

She reached the knife, but he caught her, trapping the weapon within her grasp.

“Selene, princess of the League of United Nations Assassins. Nice disguise, but I’d know that face anywhere. I’ve been wondering when you’ll show up. You are here to kill me, yes?”

She found it difficult to breathe, but for some reason she was not afraid.

“I knew your father wouldn’t get his own hands dirty. But to use his own daughter…” he shook his head. “Even I didn’t think he’d stoop that low. How old are you? Fourteen? Fifteen?”

Selene bristled. “Sixteen. That’s when agents of LUNA are sent out into the field for their first job.”

“So I’m to be your first kill,” he said, actually sounding flattered. “That’s… nice.” He looked down at her, and for a heartbeat she thought he might kill her right then and there.

But he surprised her by releasing her.

“Do you actually want to kill me? Or are you just a little obedient princess who’ll do everything your father tells you to?” he challenged, crossing his arms in front of his chest.

Selene was surprised. It was a question that no one had ever asked her. That had never even crossed her mind. Obeying the order had always seemed like the only choice.

But was it?

And what of the strange feeling she felt for him?

She felt so conflicted. Her body flushed hot and cold again, and suddenly the world that had always made sense to her ceased to exist.

This man… he had unraveled everything she thought she knew with just a few words.

How had he done it?

“Well?” he said, waiting.

She raised her hand slowly, taking off her disguise. Her own long blonde hair tumbled down her shoulders, glowing in the moonlight that shone through the window; the only source of light in the room.

She looked at the man that she had been led to believe was her enemy, the man she had come here to kill.

And she said, “I don’t think I want to kill you.”

He smiled. “Good. Because neither do I wish you harm.”

As she dropped her knife to the floor, she thought she should have felt that she’d just made the biggest mistake in her life.

And yet, everything about the moment felt right.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:14 am

November 2014: Holidays
Winner: Sailor Pluto (JupiterThunderCrash)


Untitled

Motoki Furuhata looked out the window of his apartment, fireworks blooming across the night sky. It was amazing how the lights from the pyrotechnics glinted off Crystal Tokyo's buildings at night. He couldn't believe that it was New Year's Eve already, but time felt harder to judge ever since Neo Queen Serenity took her throne. Behind him, sounds of glassware being shifted around in the kitchen emanated, accompanied by Makoto's voice as she figured out a new recipe. It would take time for him to get used to his now pregnant wife’s presence.

She had slipped back into Motoki's life just as easily as she had left it so many years ago. He could still remember the first time Usagi had dragged the lonely teenager into the Arcade Crown to play a game, and the obvious crush she had on him. At that time, he thought he had gotten used to junior high school girls blushing and whispering about him as he worked, but Makoto was the first one to ever volunteer to clean his old apartment and teach him to cook. After years of seeing her and the other girls on a near daily basis, they had suddenly disappeared sometime after high school. Motoki had assumed the girls were busy with jobs and higher education, but then the city and the entire world had changed overnight, and he was too preoccupied trying to resettle to wonder about Usagi’s gang for too long. Soon everything was back to a new normal, with senshi and magic included.

Motoki was owner of the Crown Arcade when he saw Makoto again. He was at the counter, as she walked in, like it hadn’t been years since she had last entered. She was somehow even taller than before, and the look in her green eyes was far older than he had expected, but it was definitely Makoto. After looking around some more, her gaze caught his, and her expression immediately brightened. The children sitting at the bar laughed and left to hide behind the game cabinets when she walked towards him, expecting something to happen.

Her first visit had started off awkward, Mako acting more distant and reserved compared to her younger self, but soon they relaxed and talked as they did before. As she sipped on a milkshake, she mentioned that she worked for the King and Queen in the palace now, along with the rest of her close friends. She couldn’t say anything too detailed for security reasons, but it did keep her very busy. And how could she complain about living in a castle? When Motoki had to close the arcade, Makoto promised to come see him more often. 

At least once every week after that, she returned. They didn’t say anything too deep, but he still looked forward to just seeing her each time. After their meetings had started to migrate into the cafe upstairs after game center hours, Unazuki had started teasing him over his “girlfriend”, though it didn’t seem to bother either of them. It did get Motoki thinking though...

As months passed, others started to populate the Arcade. Minako had shown up suddenly, said hello, and then played on the now technically retro Sailor V game. Right until Rei appeared to drag her back off to work. Ami also stopped by, first to apologize for her friends’ behavior, and then to ask how his family’s business was doing. It was nice to know they had the same kind of bond even as adults. After nearly a whole year of seeing one another, they seemed to be in a strange grey area between friendship and something else. Motoki didn’t want to push her into anything, and she was still hesitant to say much about herself. He had started to assume she was staying distant because of bad prior experiences with dating, but maybe it was more than that. 

As if she had similar thoughts, Makoto showed up at his apartment door a couple of weeks later, looking serious. 

“Motoki-kun, can you keep a secret?” she asked, after he had invited her into the kitchen. Her tea sat untouched on the table. Was she finally going to open up? 

“Sure,” he said. “Tell me whatever you want, okay?” She nodded, before standing and taking a few steps back. 

“I kind of have to show you…” Mako closed her eyes, and the room hummed with energy. He stared in amazement as she disappeared in a cloak of green spark, emerging in a sailor fuku. Whatever magic had kept him from making such a simple connection so many years ago suddenly shattered. She was Sailor Jupiter. She looked at him in silence, searching for a sign of approval or anger.

“Mako-chan…” he said. He walked over and pulled her into a hug, which she hesitantly returned, squeezing a little harder than normal as she fought the tears threatening to fall. The slowly building static electricity was getting uncomfortable, but Motoki didn’t let go until she did. “I’m sorry for not figuring it out sooner. All this time…”

“So you’re not mad at me for not telling you? I just...couldn’t decide if it was worth the risk.”

“No, not really. I’m just happy you wanted to trust me.” Motoki hesitated, and then leaned in to kiss her. She didn’t pull away. The electric wiring in his kitchen never quite worked the same after the power-surge it had received, but neither regretted it.

“They really outdid themselves this year,” Makoto said, now standing beside him at the window. The extra weight from the baby didn’t slow her down very much. She handed him a champagne glass, smiling. “You’ll have to drink for the both of us this time.” He laughed and accepted it. 

“I’ll try not to have too much fun without you.” Their hands laced together and they stood in silence, content with watching the show outside.

“...Motoki-kun?”

“Hm?” She touched her stomach. 

“I think it’s time.” 

“Wait, what!?”
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:20 am


December 2014: Winter Holiday
Winner: Sailor Neptune (Bubbles)


Untitled

It feels ironic, but the Time Gate knows no time.

Pluto stands alone beside the never-changing gate, watching the world around her move. Change. Evolve. 

Change is the only constant thing in the world, but in the middle of it all, at the core of it, it is still. The Time Gate is the eye of the time storm. And Pluto is its guardian.




It is the holidays in Silver Millennium, and the kingdom is even more festive than usual. Its silver lights grow even brighter, and laughter fills the air. Pluto watches as the little princess runs around the castle, her dress swishing with each step. Once, she steps on the hem of the skirt and tumbles.

Pluto reaches out as if to catch her, but of course, she isn’t really there. The princess falls and cries. Her loud wails call forth her guardians, who quickly try their best to cajole her and treat her inconsequential wound. At the promise of presents, little Serenity beams again, and it doesn’t take too long until she sits among the piles of gifts wrapped in silver and gold.

The queen joins them soon after, and her face when she sees her daughter’s smile is purely radiant. Pluto gazes at her queen wistfully, longing to see the same smile directed her way. Longing for the warmth that is permeating the room as everyone celebrates, their joy but an echo by the time they reach Pluto’s dimension of nowhere.

Still, being able to watch is better than nothing. Seeing everyone else’s smiles brings a tiny quirk to the corner of Pluto’s lips, too.




The Tsukino house is alive with festivities. 

Not only Usagi and her family is there—and they are already a loud bunch on their own—but Ami, Rei, Makoto, Minako, and even Mamoru are also present. There is an ever-present awkwardness and tension between Kenji and Mamoru every time they’re in the same room together, which amuses Pluto. She watches as Usagi diligently distracts her father’s attention with things to fix or getting the ornament on the highest part of the tree while she whisks her future prince into a safe distance.

Makoto and Ikuko are trying to wrestle for control in the kitchen, though after a little bit of tension, the two manage to work together harmoniously and produce delicious-looking Christmas cookies. By the end of the night they are exchanging recipes and tips and Usagi’s favorite dishes. 

Ami and Rei are on Minako duty, making sure she doesn’t introduce questionable things into the family-friendly scene. Finally, when the tree is trimmed and dinner is served, they all sit around the full dining table. 

Pluto observes them talk, laugh, chide, joke, and banter with each other. Each relationship between any two people are so different, and yet here they all are, somehow meshing perfectly well as one big happy family.

She wonders if she will ever have that.




“Setsuna-mama! It’s Christmas morning!” Little Hotaru’s voice in Setsuna’s ear jolts her awake. 

Groggily she turns, wondering what time it is. For a soldier of time, she seems to perpetually feel disoriented ever since she’s forced to live and follow only one linear timeline. After years of keeping track of all of time’s threads, she wonders if she will ever get used to shutting out the ghosts of the past and the future.

“Setsuna-mama! Come oooonnnnnn!” Hotaru bounces on her bed. “I want to open my presents!”

Setsuna, still completely not awake enough for this, has to beg for mercy. “Alright, alright, dear. I’m up!” 

Hotaru lets out an excited squeal and pulls her hand. Setsuna attempts to keep up, practically stumbling out of bed ungracefully and thanking the stars she doesn’t have to share a room with Michiru.

Downstairs in their huge mansion, Haruka and Michiru are already enjoying breakfast. They look at Setsuna in amusement, knowing perfectly well how she feels. Living with her long enough has told them she is not really a morning person.

“Everybody’s here! Can we open the presents now?” Hotaru asks hopefully.

Michiru laughs a little. “Give your poor Mama a chance to get some coffee first, sweetheart.”

Setsuna is already halfway to the coffee pot, smiling gratefully at Michiru, who no doubt was the one who’d brewed it as well. “Yes, this will just take five seconds.” She pours the content into her favorite mug and returns to Hotaru’s side, sipping the blissfully strong liquid on the way.

Hotaru practically skips to the Christmas tree, eyeing the pile of presents with her name in it. “I don’t know which to open first!” she complains, but then quickly grabs Haruka’s. “Ooh! Is this what I think it is?”

As excited squeals and yells of triumph erupt from Hotaru every time she discovers a new present—each one somehow better than the last—Setsuna settles onto an armchair, watching the scene in contentment.

Her body is still perpetually out of time, it feels, and she’s tired and bleary and wishes she could go back to bed, but suddenly she realizes she would not trade this for anything.

All those holidays she watched from the Gate of Time… she only ever had one wish every time that time of year rolls around. 

To have a family.

And now, against all odds, somehow that came true.

“Here’s one for you, Setsuna,” Michiru hands her a box wrapped in purple. 

Setsuna smiles. “Thank you. I love it.”

“But you haven’t seen it yet,” Michiru says, confused. “Did you use your superpowers to peek into the future?” she asks with a mock disapproving look.

“Of course not,” Setsuna laughs. “I just know that I will love it.”

Michiru does not push for more explanation, and Setsuna sips her coffee again, watching as the rest of her family continue to unearth treasures from under the tree.

The feeling that is building inside of her is so warm, so powerful, and so indescribable that a single tear leaks out from her eye, rolling silently down her cheek.

They say this time of year is the time to be grateful, but Setsuna does not know anyone who could possibly be more grateful than her.

Thank you, Serenity.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:23 am


January 2015: Jack Frost
Winner: OuterHarmonie23


Untitled

The storefront windows were hazy with condensation as Ami walked through the fading light of day. She had accompanied Minako to London for a visit with Katarina, an Interpol officer who had worked with Minako in her days as Sailor V. Ami had been grateful for the opportunity and free accommodations in Katarina’s flat, but had decided to take a walk this first evening to allow Minako and Katarina some time to catch up. Normally she would have sat with a book, but the desire to explore a foreign city gave her butterflies.

A gust of cold winter wind exploded through the streets. Ami watched as people covered their noses with scarves and hurried inside their destination a bit quicker. She did not mind the cold and pondered whether being the Senshi of Water had anything to do with it as she continued down the street.

A wheezing chuckle pulled her out of her thoughts once more.
“Better cover your frost or get inside, young lady. Else Jack Frost will nip at your nose!” cackled an old homeless man in a door frame.

“Jack Frost?” questioned Ami in English with a thick Japanese accent. But the old man just continued to laugh and shift around in his spot, causing Ami’s pace to quicken to put distance between her and the old man. After another block or so she looked back to where the old man had been sitting. He appeared to be gone, but the angle was bad and Ami couldn’t tell for sure. In any case, she was glad to be away from his disturbing laughter and strange warning. One detail that did strike her were light traces of ice across the windows, in beautiful geometric patterns. She walked closer to the nearest building to take a closer look.

Suddenly a cold breeze started up and blew the snowflakes around Ami’s head. The breeze escalated into a gale that seemed to only grow worse in speed and temperature. Ami put her forearm above her eyebrows, trying to make her way for a door or an alleyway. However the wind suddenly blew itself so hard that Ami was knocked off balance and fell face first into a snowdrift.

As she pushed herself up and dusted off her face, she swore she heard laughter though it may have just been a trick of the wind. Ami tried walking to what appeared to be a small pub but the wind picked up again, making it difficult to move in the direction she wanted. She settled for squeezing into an alleyway to at least block most of the wind.

There couldn’t be a monster of some kind here, she thought, but her experience as a Senshi left her with the feeling that something more than a snowstorm was happening, especially for how suddenly it began. The weather forecast was never usually this unpredictable. If I transform I could have even better resistance to the cold and use my Mercury visor to see, she mused to herself. I can also confirm if this storm has supernatural origin. If nothing else, I can use the enhanced speed to return to Katarina’s flat quickly. Ami reached into the interior pocket of her coat and felt the shape of her transformation rod. “Mercury Crystal Power, Make-Up!” she called out as best she could over the howling wind.

In a flash of blue light she transformed into Super Sailor Mercury. She instinctively activated her visor and materialized her super-computer. Peeking out around the corner of the alley, she could see through the snow once more, but her computer was in a bad positioning to scan for any strange disturbances. Determined to valid her intuition, Sailor Mercury scaled the building next to her, securing a good vantage point from the roof. Her computer began to pick up slight anomalies from the direction she had walked down the street. She jumped from rooftop to rooftop to better continue scanning.

When the signal seemed stronger, she carefully jumped down into the alley between buildings and began looking for anything strange. The signal was strongest in the direction of the main street, so she cautiously moved toward the front of the buildings.

“I warned you about Jack Frost,” said the old homeless man suddenly from behind her. Mercury jumped away in surprise, spinning into the wall. The old man chuckled menacingly as he slowly moved toward her, one hand behind his back. Sailor Mercury’s mind raced with panicked thoughts. How had he recognized her in her transformed state? She had made sure no one was around and the transformation caused a glamor effect to hide their identities. She acted without waiting a moment long.
“Mercury Aqua Rhapsody!” she shouted, directing a flood of the hottest water she could muster at the menacing man.

When her torrent stopped, the man was no more. In the exact spot he had been, lay a being that looked like a boy but was much too pale and not quite human in appearance. He coughed and sputtered, throwing the slushy remains of a melted snowball away from the hand that had been behind his back.

“What...what are you??” he sputtered. Then he began to cry. “You ruined my fun!!! I was only trying to play with you.”

“Play?!?” shouted Sailor Mercury. “You scared me half to death! I thought you were trying to kill me, or worse! I am the Pretty Guardian of Love and Justice, Sailor Mercury! And I am here to protect innocent people from being hurt or frightened by your menace. Douse yourself in hot water and repent.”

“I…I’m sorry,” he said, throwing himself at her feet. “I’m Jack Frost. I just like to nip peoples noses with the cold and make pictures in ice. But it’s been so long since anyone had stayed outside when I’ve made the weather so wild.”

Sailor Mercury softened a little at this but remained defiant on the outside. She sensed that he was a being quite older than he looked but still child-like in his own way. It occurred in the back of her mind that she wasn’t sure in which language they were communicating, but they seemed to understand each other nonetheless.

“Next time,” she said, “be a bit more direct and respectful when you want to play with someone. Games are wonderful but if the other players aren’t aware of what’s happening, they may think the danger is real.” In her head, she thought that a being with such control over the elements could probably unknowing cause dangerous situations. However, she decided to make the most of such an opportunity.

“Here I’ll help you up,” she said with one hand behind her back. He looked up and her and smiled through wet eyes. As he reached for her hand, she generated a snowball using her powers and flung it into his chest.

“Catch me if you can!” she cried, scaling back up to the rooftops. The wind picked up again and she knew he would appear again in a moment. She kept her visor on using it to scan for him. A small sound above made her look up, only to see snow dumping from the sky just above her head. Her scanner caught Jack’s form and she generated some snowballs and launched them in his direction, laughing brightly.

They spent the next several hours playing back and forth on the rooftops of London until Ami noticed the time in the corner of her visor. She let Jack Frost dump some snow onto her on the roof of Katarina’s building before calling to him to stop.

“I have to go back to where I’m staying and get some rest,” she said. “But I’ll be around for the next week or so. You should come visit sometime during the cold season in Japan.”

“Certainly! I go wherever the cold reaches,” he said. Jack Frost laughed a jolly laugh, thanked her for playing with him and flew off into the night sky with a swift breeze. Sailor Mercury made her way to the ground and transformed back into Ami Mizuno.

That night when she drew back the blinds to see if the weather had passed, there was a beautiful ice drawing of Mercury her home planet in a past life filling the window pane one the outside. She smiled and thanked her new friend.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:31 am


March 2015: Luck 'O the Irish
Winner: Burning Mandala


Untitled

A week long trip to Ireland. That’s what her mother had said. “It will be good for you to learn about another culture, and we have the opportunity, since we’re already in England for the year.”

After much argument, Minako convinced her parents that Artemis was coming along. They had no idea why Minako needed to bring her cat, but bring him she did- everywhere they went. Breakfast at the hotel? There was the white cat, sitting on Minako’s shoulder. Stonehenge? There was Artemis. St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin? Minako smuggled the cat in her purse. Her parents just didn’t understand her attachment to that cat. As for Minako; Artemis was her partner and she knew if anything were to happen in Ireland, she would need him by her side.

The first few days passed without incident, but on the fourth day of the trip, that changed. MInako and her parents were staying in a quaint old inn in Blarney- her mother had originally wanted to stay at a more commercial establishment in Cork, but the inn fit their budget better. “Besides, it’s more educational,” Minako pointed out facetiously, “We’re getting immersed in the culture of Ireland this way.”

Minako was sitting in a big chair by the fireplace in the lobby with a new novel, Summer Colored Sigh. Artemis had made himself comfortable on the arm of the chair. The Lobby was mostly empty. There was a desk clerk on duty and a few members of the wait-staff bustling about, but not really many guests. When Minako was the only guest left, she noticed one of the maids approach clerk, “Hey! Eamon! Have you heard about what’s been happening up at the castle?”

“You mean the hauntings?” Eamon asked.

Minako pretended to be engrossed in her book, but she zeroed her attention in on their conversation. As far as they knew, she wasn’t able to understand English, so they spoke freely.

“Oh so you have,” She said, sounding mildly disappointed.

“Only in passing. Is it anything outside the usual ghost stories?” He asked.

“They’re sayin’ a bean sidhe’s been appearing outside the castle and wailing at night.”

“A bean sidhe, now, is it?” Eamon responded, amused.

“There’s more though,” The maid persisted, “The next morning, there’s people on the castle grounds, lyin’ there completely drained of energy. It’s happened every night for the last week.”
“Eh, Katie, you know it’s probably tourists who can’t hold their whiskey,” Eamon respond.
Katie shook her head, “No, Eamon, it’s not just tourists. This morning, Michael was found.”

“The head waiter?” Eamon asked, surprised, “What was he even doing there?”

Minako and Artemis exchanged glances. Minako closed her book suddenly and stood up. Artemis stood on the arm of the chair and stretched before leaping to the ground. They both walked out of the lobby and into the street. They walked in silence until they were in a small deserted courtyard near the inn.

Minako looked down at her partner and Artemis returned the gaze.

“It sounds like a youma doesn’t it.” it was a statement, not a question.

Artemis nodded. “We should check it out tonight. The castle’s not far from here.”

“How do you think it’s draining their energy?” She asked.

The cat looked down. “I have no idea. They all seem to use a different method. Let me think about it for a while. It would be best to be on guard and prepared for anything.”

That night Minako waited until her parents were in their room for the night. Once she was certain she would be safe, she slipped outside. Once she was on the castle grounds she pulled out her Transformation Pen.

“Moon Power! Transform!” She shouted, holding the pen above her head. In a flash, she became Sailor V. “Be careful Mina,” Artemis said, “We don’t know when or where the youma will appear.”

“I know,” She answered.

Sailor V and Artemis walked quickly but cautiously toward the outer wall of the castle. She had her fist clench as she walked, holding something tightly. She began walking the perimeter when suddenly they heard a loud keen. She and Artemis made eye contact and nodded. Sailor V hesitated just a brief moment, preparing for battle, before she took off running in the direction of the noise.

Sailor V found herself in the castle gardens. She scanned the area through her red mask. Then suddenly, she spotted the youma, standing by the Witch’s Stone. The youma had the form of a woman in a long, grey, tattered dress. Her hair was loose, wild, and shockingly red, as were her eyes. Her fingernails were long talons. The youma spotted Sailor V and screamed, “BAN-SHEEE!!!!!”
Artemis’ ears flew back as he winced in pain. Sailor V was unfazed. She faced the Banshee youma and shouted, “Defiling a popular tourist attraction and draining the visitors’ energy is unforgivable. The Pretty Guardian of Love and Beauty, Sailor V, has arrived! In the name of the Moon, I will Punish you! Crescent Beam!”

She shot a ray of light at the youma, but it dodged. Suddenly the youma was eye to eye with Sailor V. She jumped back as the youma screamed once more, “BAN-SHEEE!!” But she was unaffected by the youma’s attack. “Sailor V Kick!” She yelled, as she kicked the Youma in the stomach. The Youma doubled over and groaned “ban… sheeeee….”

Sailor V produced her compact and yelled “Crescent Boomerang!”

The boomerang sliced the youma in half and then returned to Sailor V’s hand. Artemis bounded over to her. “Good work Mina!”

She did not respond. Artemis walked around to stand in front of the girl.

“Hey Artemis! Looks Like I managed to get rid of this one, pretty easily, huh?” She said. She was talking way too loud.

“Mina… I think it’s safe to take them out now,” Artemis said.

Sailor V looked confused. “What?” She shouted.

Artemis sighed in frustration. “Take them out Mina!” he yelled back.

“Hold on, Artemis, I’m gonna take out my earplugs!” Sailor V shouted.

She reached up and pulled the earplugs out of her ears. “Now what were you saying?”

Artemis looked down, “Nevermind, it wasn’t important.”

“You know, that was a really good idea,” She said, “What made you so sure that it was the youma’s voice that was draining the victims’ energy?”

“Ah, just call it the ‘Luck of the Irish,’ I guess,” Artemis responded.

The two companions shared a laugh as they headed back to the inn.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:34 am

September 2015: Letting Go
Winner: Sailor Uranus (Kyra)


Untitled

The world cracked and crumbled around her, a booming thunder in the stifling silence. Desperately she searched the sky, putting all of her attention on finding them again; her mistake had cost her, and now her failing heart beat ever faster. She was too weak to move, to reach out, to cry out her pain, but she could still search. She pressed back her panic and honed her focus by humming to herself, her voice nothing but an airy squeak at first, but growing with every hasty swallow – they were gone. She couldn’t find them. She pressed harder, forcing the slow tango melody through her nose until she could hear it in her ears, a hollow mockery of the dances they had hosted, the true memory haunting her relentlessly. She put more and more energy into it, forcing the song into her head, to work past the frantic worries of her heart as her eyes danced from star to star, looking for their particular shine. She forced back regrets, shielded herself against thoughts of their ruined future, built defenses out of her faulty reasoning, refusing to examine it – but she couldn’t find her. Her humming turned into a whine as a sob seized her chest; she swallowed it back and forced the song to continue. She was stronger than this. She knew the magic would work the way she wanted, she believed in it. It wouldn’t fail her now, not on something this important. The whine returned, her doubt breaking through defenses to control her; her bruised chest shook with sobs that she could not hold back. She had lost her.

She fought to breathe around her spasming lungs, her hands weakly gripping the rubble beneath her for support, tears further ruining her attempt at finding them again. Were they too far? Had they already been taken? Had she missed it? She blinked as quickly as she could, fighting the urge to give in and sleep. She had to find her; she had to make sure she was okay.

But she couldn’t even do that, could she? She could only give them a chance; she could not guarantee fate would smile upon it. She couldn’t assure her daughter’s happiness. She couldn’t ensure finding love, or marrying, or having children; she couldn’t even guarantee their safety when they arrived in their new lives, let alone happiness or fulfillment. She could barely breathe from panic accompanying the realization – what had she sent them to?!

A surge of power and energy welled up behind her, and she knew the end was coming. She took a ragged breath, and suddenly found them, just beyond the full moon, the sparkling trail of star-seeds shining in their wake. A calming wave washed over her; her daughter, her guardians, the citizens of Earth… she could not guarantee their futures, but she could give them a chance. She could not foresee what the destruction of the inner planets would bring, or if their guardians would survive the ordeal, but she could give them a chance to survive on their new home, on an Earth-like planet in a younger star system.

Their glow was lost in the sun’s reflection as the expansion closed in. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly with a prayer as planet Earth was destroyed, crumbled and absorbed along with the Moon into the Sun as it became a Red Giant and consumed the inner solar system.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:38 am


October 2015: Creatures of the Night
Winner: Sailor Uranus (Kyra)


Untitled

He was suddenly awake, his eyes opening fully to his dark bed chamber without cause. He stayed quiet and motionless, waiting for whatever had caused him to stir to repeat itself, expecting to hear a noise or cry of alarm to echo throughout the hall, but nothing happened. He blinked, his eyes moving to stare at his door, watching the heavy shadows of the moonlight, waiting for a sign that they could be under attack, but minutes passed and nothing changed. Finally he calmed, reasoning that it might have just been night noises, else maybe the bright moonlight through his open window had caused him to wake. He shut his eyes and attempted to sleep, but could barely do so for the feeling that someone was watching him. Finally he sat up in bed and looked around the room, but found nothing there.

One month later he was awake again in the dead of night, his eyes open and staring, finding nothing amiss but the strong light of the full moon, unable to return to sleep. He did his best to quell his beating heart and sleep, but with the same watched feeling, it was difficult to do so.

Two more months went by, and each night of the full moon was the same; on the fourth such month, Endymion had come to accept that he would wake far too early, and so stayed up late, studying and recording the face of the full moon, finding humour in that he was getting to know the source of his interrupted sleep, but when he awoke that night to the moonlight streaming, the feeling of paranoia was so high that the nerves on his back made his muscles arch. His eyes wide open, his ears straining to hear, he froze in terror as be sensed something behind him, breathing quietly, softly, cooly on his neck. Gathering courage, he flung himself around, whipping his elbow to strike at whatever was behind him, but found nothing but his empty bed. Breathing hard, adrenaline pumping, he tried to figure out if he had imagined it, but he could not prove to himself that the breath was real or dreamt. He did not sleep that night, but he dared not leave his bed til morning.

The fifth full moon had Endymion warring with himself. He stayed up late, sketching the face of the moon, resilient in his attempts not to let it become associated with his monthly night terrors. He fought the urge to sleep, he stayed up all night with his advisors, convinced them nothing was wrong. He was not afraid to sleep alone in his room. What he had not accounted for, however, was that this full moon had reached its completion between two days, and so the following evening, dead tired from a night awake, he was dreadened to find the full moon above the walls as he went to bed. So tired was be, and so stubborn, he went to sleep anyway, facing away from the window, thoughts of the breath on his neck quashed by exhaustion.

This time when he woke, he was more angry than frightened. He was the prince, he needed his sleep! He threw off his covers and strode around his bed to his window and drew the curtains shut, an act of defiance now, rather than the act of fear he had perceived it before. Now the moon could not bother him. Now he could sleep without its bothersome light! He tugged on the thick curtains to be sure they would not spread when he left, feeling a sense of accomplishment masking the unease that tingled his bare back. He stood, breathing quietly, facing the curtains and calming his heart. Now he could sleep. He turned back to his bed. Now, he could --

A cool arm crossed his chest, gripping his shoulder firmly as it pushed him back and sideways, throwing him easily into his armoire, his head cushioned from the wood by a cool hand. Too shocked to yell or to fight back, his wide blue eyes stared down at the slight creature that had him pinned and his body froze in fear.

"Don't like the moonlight anymore?" The slight pale girl asked playfully, her throaty voice filled with mock dismay, unnaturally glowing blue eyes looking up at him coyly. She was beautiful, but no less terrifying in how easily she had overpowered him, how confidently she toyed with him now. With his full attention she straightened, sobering as she moved herself in front of him, the hand behind his head sliding through his hair to pause to cup his face, her thumb caressing his cheekbone. Her other arm traveled down his torso and back up in a far too familiar manner. "I missed you last night, Endymion," she said quietly, and terror overtook him. She made quieting sounds and led him back to his bed; he was powerless to resist her, his body uncooperative as she tugged his arm and pressed his chest gently to make him turn and sit on the edge of his mattress. She stood over him possessively, her pale blonde pigtailed hair trailing on his knees. She glowed slightly - it was her pale skin, emitting light like the full moon, illuminating his room faintly. She could not be human.

"I like you, Endymion," she said quietly, her voice barely above a whisper, "I think I've fallen in love with you, watching over you while you sleep," she smiled softly; he could have found her irresistible had it not been for his fear, but then her brows furrowed, and her mood shifted. "But I can't trust you anymore, Endymion, not after you kept me waiting last night. I can fix that, though, don't worry." She leaned in and kissed his forehead, her lips soft but ice cold. "Don't worry," she repeated in a whisper, as she lowered her lips to embrace his, kissing him softly. As she pulled away his body began to shut down, sleep overtaking him softly, aggressively. He couldn't keep his eyes open, couldn't fight her magic...

The next morning Prince Endymion was nowhere to be found.

Hundreds of miles away, shepherds reported seeing a shooting star landing in the cave-ridden hillsides, a star that looked like a woman holding the sleeping form of a man, but they were never able to find the cave the goddess had entered, and so never found her sleeping prince.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:40 am


November 2015: Reincarnation
Winner: PoetofMercury!


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A damp wavelet of blonde hair stuck to his forehead as he looked out over the city. It was raining. It always seemed to rain here, especially on these kinds of nights, when memories came to haunt him. He looked down at his hands, still somewhat surprised to find them flesh and blood. Though it was two weeks ago, he remembered every moment of the day when Endymion and the princess finally found a way to return them, an endeavor he still did not feel deserving of. But suddenly becoming tangible again brought a whole new set of problems. The Senshi, their joint history, the heartbreak, it all came crashing down upon them all.

At first he and the other men had kept apart, just trying to cope. And then each had adjusted in his own way. Every time it rained he thought of her, of her gentle voice and kind eyes. That was why he hated and loved the rain so much. Each drop was a bitter medicine and he found himself standing in the thick of it, soaked to his boots. Did she remember him? What was she thinking about right now? He remembered the good times but he also remembered those eyes full of shock, pain, and reproach. He breathed in sharply and squeezed his eyes closed, trying to block the unwanted memory, but it was there inside his head nonetheless. Gods did it hurt to remember those eyes. He trembled slightly, unsure if it was only the rain that moistened his cheeks.

Lightning arced across the sky and suddenly he could not stand it another moment. He needed to see her. He needed to see her eyes just once more, even if from a distance. Recklessly he ran out into gray rain soaked streets, letting his feet take him where he knew she was. His heart pounded in his chest as he found himself outside of her window. Over and over he willed himself to ring the doorbell. His feet refused to move. His body trembled and he cast his gaze upward, powerless to do more and paralyzed by fear. It was almost funny, one of the heavenly kings terrified by a doorbell. How far he had fallen.

Bleary eyes looked at the alarm clock. It was only twenty minutes later than the last time she had glanced at it. Sleep was a fleeting muse these days, fickle and begrudging ever since his return. Every time she thought about him, her mind went all disorganized. She could hardly follow the flood of thoughts and emotions. It was most untidy. She sat up, letting a sigh fall from her lips. Her mind was spinning into overdrive again. Mamoru had forgiven them, and Ami supposed she had too. Why then did she keep away from that whole part of town for fear that he might bump into her?

What was he doing right now? Did he think of her? Did she want him to think of her? The thought made her feel both terrified and excited. Ami rubbed her eyes, frustrated that she could not coax logic out of her sleepless mind. It was an impossible mess. Who am I kidding? He’s busy with his duties. There is no way he is spending any time thinking about me. I’m not even the same person I was then. It’s better this way…isn’t it?

Her face felt hot and flush. She was suffocating. Springing from her bed she cracked the window open and took a silent gulp of fresh night air. Her entire body became rigid as her eyes registered what they were seeing. She wanted to duck. She could still get away before he saw. But she was frozen, a blue haired cameo in the glass.

Like a mirage he saw her and his knees threatened to mutiny beneath him. I can’t do this! I need to get out of here! If she had not seen him, he could slip away and never come back, but their eyes met for a second and it was too late. He stood frozen, a deer in blue-eyed headlights. And then she came away from the window and his heart fell nearly to his feet. Dismissed, finally his limbs obeyed him and he sagged against the wall, reeling. At least…at least I know now. He had seen those eyes again, and they had passed judgment. Zoisite gathered himself, crushed but determined to bear it honorably. It was the least he could do. “I understand” he whispered and pushed off from the wall, ready to begin the long wet walk home.

A click from behind him made him turn. Standing outside, barefoot with tousled hair, stood a blue haired goddess in the rain. She still had the doorknob in her hand, and an uncertain look in her eyes as if she might disappear. “Wait…Don’t leave yet please.” Her quiet voice spoke clearly but softly. It was a simple request. There was no pleading in her voice. She took a few steps away from the door and Zoisite watched the rain begin to slick down her hair and glisten on her face.

He faced her, trying to speak but unable to find words, so many things needing to be said and he could not utter a sound. She too appeared to be at a loss, unsure of where to go with this new bold act in the rain. When they finally found speech it was in unison, one talking over the other.

They shared an awkward laugh, his blue haired mystery motioning for him to go first.

“I am so sorry. I never got to tell you that. Mercury, Ami, I am so sorry for hurting you. Words don’t even express it. Even if you can’t forgive me. I know I don’t deserve it…but I just had to see you. I’m sorry, I should not have disturbed you.” He fumbled for words, his voice shaking with the tempest of emotion that raged within.

She interrupted. “No I…I forgive you. I, I understand. Zoisite…” It felt strange to say that name. “You’re going to give yourself a migraine getting this upset…” Her eyes flashed with concern, though she could hardly remember where she knew that from.

“You remember that?” He chuckled lightly though it fell flat on the awkward tension. He swallowed, overcome by her concern for him.

“I remember a lot of things.”

“So do, maybe more than I want to.”

“I think I understand. What about our memories? Are they…a burden?”

How could he explain? Those memories were an exquisite pain, one he would never surrender for all the world. “Never” he said with conviction.

A thrill went through her. Could it really be that he still treasured their memory? But things were different now. “How are you, um, adjusting to everything?”

Zoisite called on the last shreds of his courage. She might have forgiven him, but was there even a shred of their former love left? He had to know. Gods how he longed to simply hold her. “That depends. A lot has changed. But the question is, where does it leave us now?”

He had read her mind and cut to the heart of all she had been trying to figure out these past two weeks. She was flustered and caught off guard, something she was sure would never have happened to the Mercury of old. She knew she was but a pale reflection of the legendary senshi that once was. Her inadequacies rose up before her. “I am not the same as before. I will probably never be like she was, or I was…reincarnation is confusing. But the point is I want to, I mean I’ve thought about it, but I could never fill her shoes.”

Zoisite thought about his own inadequacies, the sleepless nights when guilt and remorse kept him up, the fact that he had not fully figured out yet how to make a living in this world and was still reliant, like the others, on their princes’ kindness. Any confidence that he had in himself was overshadowed by that dark chapter. Who was he kidding? He wasn’t Zoisite the shittennou. He hadn’t earned that title back yet, at least not by his standards.

“What makes you think I can fill my own shoes?” he said with a wry smile. “I think we should just throw away the shoes and dance barefoot in the rain. That is, if the new Ami isn’t embarrassed to be seen dancing with me….?”

Ami could not help but smile. Leave it to Zoisite to say something poetic and spontaneous. That was just like him. And Ami knew if she said yes that he would do it too. It would be more than just dancing. It would be the opening of a new chapter in both of their lives. Well, she thought, she was already out of her shoes….
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:44 am


February 2016: Future Incarnations
Winner: Sailor Pluto (JupiterThunderCrash)


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Chaos swallowed the Moon Palace, and the silver orb that hung in Earth’s sky engulfed itself in flames and darkness. People screamed and shouted over the clashing of blades and collapsing buildings, and the air was filled with an inhuman, oppressive force as the being known as Queen Metallia grew closer to them.

Mercury stumbled out onto the streets, clutching her side in a useless attempt to cover her wound. Inside, the frostbitten body of a once loyal general lay still, weakly clutching a red stained crystal dagger. She was of no use to her princess in this condition, but she did not want to spend the rest of her time bleeding out alone in a corner. After seeing a flash of lightning in the sky, her glossed over eyes refocused, making up her mind. It was a chore to stay awake, but she had to see her at least one more time…

Minutes felt like hours in her pained haze, but she followed the crackling bolts of power in the distance until she was looking out at a once peaceful town square.

Mercury leaned against a broken column and watched as Jupiter ripped through another row of shambling soldiers. Hot white electricity filled the air with the sharp smell of ozone, mixing with the sicker scent of death as the poor soldiers disintegrated before her eyes.

Jupiter fell to one knee, already covered in cuts and slashes from the lucky swords that had gotten close enough to touch her. Her hair was, miraculously, still tied up in her ponytail, and a weak smile crossed Mercury’s face. Even in this state, she still saw Jupiter as beautiful. Mercury’s knees went weak from blood loss as Jupiter finished her battle with one last burst of flower petals, and she slid down into a sitting position, resting her back on the ruins.

“Mercury!” Sometime between blinks, Jupiter had crossed the yard to kneel next to her. “You’re hurt…” She felt her hand being moved from her side as her vision blurred, and and heard a curse. Mercury struggled to catch her breath enough to speak, determined to say what she’d been avoiding for years now.

“W-wait..”

“Shh, you don’t have to talk right now…” Jupiter picked her up with some difficulty, and Mercury felt like cursing too. Why was she so stubborn? But her annoyance faded quickly, along with most of her awareness as she started to drift off, distracted by how nice it felt to not have to move anymore. She could sleep for a moment, and then she’d confess….

“Mercury, you still there...?”


Ami Mizuno wasn’t that interested in ice skating, but her friends had managed to drag her into the indoor center anyway. She could never quite seem to say no to Usagi when she wanted to do something with her.

While Usagi did her best to not fall over on the ice, Ami watched from the sidelines. And that’s when she saw the other girl across the rink. The skater was at least a head taller than Ami, but she moved with enough skill to be mistaken for a professional. Ami’s eyes never left the girl in the green dress as she built up speed with a few powerful strides, and then did a spinning jump, landing perfectly balanced on one leg.

Yet she was alone.

“Who’s that?” Ami jumped as Usagi seemed to materialize out of nowhere to talk to her.

“U-um, I have no idea, I was just watching…” The girl turned into another tight spin, this time firmly planted on the ice.

“Well whoever she is, she’s really good!” Usagi said, clinging to the wall to stay upright. “You think she’d give us lessons if we asked?”

“No! I mean...she looks busy, I wouldn’t want to interrupt her…” Ami looked down and blushed, not entirely sure why the thought of approaching the stranger was so intimidating. She’d probably just disappoint her with her lack of skating ability anyway.

“Aw, I’m sure she’s nice, but if you think we’d be bothering her…” Usagi pouted and went back to practicing, though this time her constant falls had attracted a dark haired older boy to see if she was alright.

She wasn’t sure what drove her to do it, but every week after that, Ami showed up at the ice rink again. And every week, the brunette girl in green was there at the same time, skating by herself. Ami never approached her, her rented pair of skates sitting beside her on the bench. It was completely illogical, but she couldn’t help but be drawn back in just to watch one stranger.

It took at least two months before Ami finally worked up the nerve to even get on the ice. It was a waste of money to come and not at least attempt to skate, she reasoned, though she did her best to stay out of the other more accomplished people’s way.

About an hour’s worth of wobbling and clutching the wall for dear life, Ami was finally balancing well enough to push off into the middle of the rink. Until the blade of her skate caught a rough patch of ice, and she pitched forward with a yelp. Ami’s eyes squeezed shut as she braced herself for a hard landing, only for a hand to catch her by the elbow. It pulled her back in the other direction, and she ended up using another person’s chest as support. A pair of arms steadied her, and she slowly opened her eyes to see a familiar green dress.

Ami’s face reddened.

“That was a close one!” Her savior said. She looked up, and bright green eyes met her own. Her mouth went dry. “You okay?” Ami nodded quickly, and the other girl smiled and let her go, though they were still close enough for her to catch her again if needed.

“Good. I noticed you were having trouble earlier, so I kind of...was watching you to make sure you didn’t need help..” The other girl blushed too, but not as bad as Ami was now.

“...You saw all of that?” Well there went her plan of not embarrassing herself. Maybe she should just go home before this became any worse.

“No wait, it’s alright! If you want to, I can give you some tips or something.” Ami looked up again, unable to believe her ears. “I’m Makoto, sorry for not introducing myself first...”

“I’d...I’d like that, if it’s not any trouble. My name’s Ami.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m usually just here by myself, and that gets really boring. Skating is better with other people,” she said, though her eyes told a different, lonelier story. Ami just couldn’t wrap her head around why she didn’t seem to have any friends, but she certainly wouldn’t object to her company.

Makoto grabbed Ami’s hand to lead her to a more open area, and for the first time since lacing up her skates, she didn’t stumble on the ice.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:48 am


February 2016: Future Incarnations [Writing Twins Category]
Winner: Sailor Uranus (Kyra)


2062

Blood pounded against her skull and she took a long, shallow breath, but it was too late - discomfort had set in. Releasing her breath in a gusty, groaning sigh, she flipped over onto her stomach, the picture across from her going right-side-up just as it changed to the next landscape: a beautiful waterfall scene from some unknown lush forest, with beautiful blue skies and puffy white clouds. Wistfully, she scooted back on her bed and put her chin in the palm of her hands, watching dreamily as the water fell over the cliff edge and crashed upon the rocks below. Glimmers of multi-colored light flashed as a bird flitted from tree to leafy tree, and she reached for the remote to turn on the sound, only for her com to blip at her. She frowned, blue eyes on the device and back to the serene image, letting the device sound off for a few moments as she considered just letting it go and pretend she was doing something important, but then she saw the name of the caller flashing at her wrist and extended her arm to grab the earbud and fit it into place, pulling herself onto her knees so she could speak properly.
 
“Hi Raven!” she greeted cheerfully, lifting her finger over the earbud --
 
“You forgot, didn’t you?” the deadpan voice accused. 
 
She decided not to initiate a video convo. “Forgot? What do you mean?” she laughed nervously, flipping her wrist around to take a look at her watch again, tapping the screen to change functions to calendar and schedule and ‘important notes!’ and finding, in the latter category, pinned with a yellow star, a note that sent her flying off of her bed and towards her closet for her jacket and boots. 
 
“I mean you forgot, rockhead! You’re going to be late – don’t bother coming!”
 
Raven!!” she cried, kicking on her last boot as she flung her door open and ran up the stairs to the living pod, past her mother, who looked up from a botany experiment just as the front door slammed shut behind her. “Raven I’m almost there! Hahaha, see I was kidding!” she implored, taking heart that she hadn’t been hung up on yet as she dashed around a corner, past a neighbor with their arms filled with green goods, and down the long corridor, back towards the public spaces.
 
“Don’t lie to me!” Raven exclaimed, then quieted, her voice a whisper in her ear, “Listen, the doors close in five minutes – I’ve got to go. Don’t be late or I’ll stop covering for you in the morning.” The line went silent just after, so Raven never heard her pitiful whine of a response. 
 
She hated running - she hated the entire experience of running – and yet she was always running! Up a ramp and finally out of the “neighbourhood”, into the wider corridors of the various stores and shopping and a few of the citizen-scientist labs – the performance dome wasn’t that far, she might actually make it! With a fresh wave of determination, she flew around another corner, her long hair almost sailing out behind her with how sharp she took it, and ran straight into someone. Her nose hit something hard and she and her assailant jolted; hands wrapped around her shoulders in an attempt to stop both of them before they fell over backwards completely, both staggering, fighting for balance. Her wordless exclamation of something-like-“Oh!”-meets-something-like-“Ah!” was drowned by their – er, his – exclamation of “Hey!” but they managed to stop before it was too late. 
 
She disengaged, holding up both hands in a surrendering move as “Sorry!” burst from her lips, but with nose pounding she doubled over, putting her hand to her face to see if it was bleeding, unable to help herself, “What are you doing wearing an EXC indoors anyway?!”
 
“I – “ he sounded close, and flustered – had he bent over to see if she was okay? That was kinda sweet – “Me?! What are you doing tearing around corners?!” he shot back, much less sweet
 
“None of your business!” she snapped at him, pulling back and inspecting her hand. No blood. She straightened, her alarm finally going off on her watch – which meant Raven’s event was starting – and groaned. “I’m late!” she exclaimed, dancing out from in front of him, “Listen, buddy, no blood, no foul!” and kicked off again –
 
Only to hear heavy footfalls following her. “’Listen, Buddy’?!” he called, easily catching her, “’No blood, no foul’?! I didn’t hear an apology in any of that!”
 
They dashed up a short staircase, heading for the tunnel ahead, “You were the one walking on the wrong side of the hallway!” she returned heatedly, glancing over and immediately regretting it. He was cute. Too cute. Black-hair-and-blue-eyes-perfect-face cute. She immediately looked away, focusing on the path ahead. She would not let her resolve weaken! Her righteous indignation fueled her sprint! The doors were so close!
 
“You think this is my fault?!” he questioned incredulously, his deep voice lilting up in disbelief towards the end, “You’re running at break-neck speed around corners – what if I had been some poor old lady you knocked over, huh?”
 
“Then the old lady would’ve been on the wrong side of the hallway!” she insisted, her voice rising. She ignored the port-hole windows in favor of rushing to the entrance, skidding to a stop so she could pull open the large glass doors – to her surprise, he actually helped her – and then squeezed through and ran for the winding staircase. Her lungs burned, her legs ached, all of the weariness coming on at once as she jogged painfully up the stairs, whining as she went; she reached the landing she needed and loped to the door, huffing and puffing painfully towards the closed barrier. She was so close. So close. She leaned up against it and softly pounded, barely able to make her arms move; maybe they’d let her in. Maybe they weren’t as strict as Raven had led her to believe. Maybe –
 
The door beside her opened slightly and she could have cried with relief. Before they could change their mind she stuck the toe of her boot in the door and offered the girl a tired smile, “Sorry I’m late!” she wheezed. The girl – an usher? – put her finger to her lips and opened the door a little wider to let her in, then pointed to a string of empty seats on the far end near the back. She nodded and dragged herself over, the thought of a chair overpowering any notion of looking for a seat closer to the front or the aisle. With a sigh she settled into the plush audience chair, her eyes closing finally relaxing... until someone took the seat right next to her. She sat up straight, thinking it could be an organizer – or worse, a professor – there to chastise her, but instead it was him. She narrowed her gaze at him, then looked forward, crossing her arms as she slouched in the seat. “You didn’t have to follow me in,” she whispered.
 
He paid it no attention. “So what is this?” he whispered instead, looking forward curiously, far less winded than she was – which wasunfair, but then she had run farther and he looked like he was fresh out of some sort of training program or something that probably had him running for hours. No one else would wear an EXC suit this far in. She looked over again, wondering if it had any dirt still on it, and couldn’t help but notice the strong angle of his jaw, or his straight nose, high cheekbones, long fingers… No! He was definitely annoying and she was not attracted to that!
 
Talent show for the summer festival,” she replied anyway, despite herself. He surprised her then by looking over, but while his dark blue eyes looked to her at first, they were continually pulled behind her, through the thick glass between them and the pale-tinted ice-wall that separated them from the Martian landscape. The way his eyes moved, taking it all in, softened the stubborn line of her lips; his actions were so honest, and yet he attempted to cover them, like he wasn’t enthralled by what he saw. It was endearing. Well,almost endearing – she certainly wasn’t falling for it. Putting on her cheekiest expression, she asked, “You’re new, aren’t you?
 
He looked guilty, seeming to sink in his seat a little, and she almost regretted the tease. It wasn’t even a tease anyway, right? Just the truth, but he seemed self-conscious about it and it made her feel weird. He took a breath to speak when someone turned around andshh’d them loudly; she blushed, he seemed to bite his tongue, and they both huddled farther into their seats as a younger kid sat down to their cello and began to play. While they didn’t exchange a single word for the remainder of the show, she felt like she had gotten to know him a little, the way his breathing matched the measures of the music, his foot or fingers tapping out the beat to the up-tempo numbers; they both laughed at the same things when a would-be comedian tried out their material – even the less than mature punch-lines that had her in stiches seemed to get him, too. 
 
When Raven came on stage to sing, she was up on her feet cheering her on from the back row, and when she finished and took a bow, she made a point of yelling out, “That’s my friend Raven!! She wrote the lyrics and composed the music!!” loud enough to make Raven bow a second time with the fresh wave of applause (and a bit of laughter at the enthusiasm). The show didn’t have too much longer after that; a few more musical routines, another comedy act – this one wasn’t very good, but she laughed at the jokes to make the performer feel better – a dance routine or two, and finally all performers were brought on the stage to sing an anthem to call it a night. The audience stood and sang along to the old tune; her “friend” stood respectfully, but didn’t sing. As the song ended and everyone applauded again, she made to make her way to find Raven at the front of the auditorium before the rush of people, but found herself almost trapped, the EXC suit guy with those intense blue eyes was staring out the window again, blocking the quicker route down the row to the aisle. She looked over her shoulder and saw what he was staring at – the sunset. 
 
“Different from Earth’s, isn’t it?” she asked quietly as the crowd worked their way out, leaving the two of them isolated, like an island in the sea. She turned to look at it with him, seeing what he saw, but comparing it to the image window back in her room. “The colors are swapped, right? On Earth the sunset is red and orange, instead of blue…” she trailed off; ‘red and orange’ didn’t fit the description atall. Sunsets on Earth were filled with color and light, all pinks and oranges and yellows and reds, with dark purple or light orange clouds, fading out like a rainbow from the light blue sky; what she would give to see one of those in person – 
 
“It’s beautiful,” he said openly, and her reverie broke around those simple, heartfelt words. 
 
She looked at the sunset again, how the butterscotch sky faded to reddish-pink, then then blue around what was left of the sun, almost purple at the horizon today. Utopia Planatia’s red sand looked almost brown, the darker rocks were pockets of darkness spotting the otherwise calm sand-sea; it was pretty, sure, but it was also cold, whereas Earth’s sunset was like the embodiment of warmth. But then, through the blue glow, she saw two bright stars come shining out of the darkness, and smiled. One was bright yellow, the other deep blue: Earth was out tonight. If they waited for the sun to completely set, they might even be able to see Earth’s Moon.  She smiled at the thought, staring at the pale blue dot in space, imagining the planet’s surface, the sights, the sounds, the freedom of being able to walk on ground that didn’t always crunch under your feet, to be surrounded by air that wouldn’t suffocate you, to roam without an environmental suit. While she couldn’t be there, the idea of Earth was sometimes enough. “Yeah, I guess.”
 
“So I see you made it, Pandora,” a somewhat cocky voice teased. She turned and grinned when she saw Raven standing there, all sophisticated with her long black hair pinned stylishly into place, wearing a red and black performance dress that looked amazing on her – she was about to pose dramatically to accept the veiled praise when Raven’s purple eyes fell on – well, whoever he was – and her brows raised mischievously, “And you brought a date?”
 
She gasped, her jaw dropping, and immediately stepped away from the EXC-suit guy and exclaimed forcefully, “He is not my date!” barely resisting the urge to point at him when she said it! “He’s far too annoying to be my date!” she continued, feeling a little toouncomfortable with the notion, her heart beating quickly due only to the idea that she could be somehow connected to this guy in a romantic fashion – which would not, could not ever happen!
 
He snickered, “Your name is Pandora?”
 
Typical. “See?!” she exclaimed, crossing her arms, “Far too annoying.”
 
“Whatever you say,” Raven shrugged dismissively, and she knew she wasn’t going to live this down anytime soon. “So, Not-Pandora’s-Date, do you have a name along with that Excursion Suit?” She loved how Raven could be so bold so effortlessly, and come off so cool doing it. Her confidence was practically legendary – she could do anything she put her mind to and make it look easy; she admired her tremendously, even when she was making her life challenging
 
“Aurelius Triston,” he replied smoothly, barely ruffling at Raven’s prod. She couldn’t help the eye roll – Aurelius? How pretentious could you --- “Like Pandora is any better?” he stated flatly, calling her on thoughts and making her blush.
 
She crossed her arms and sniffed, “Conquered any nations recently?”
 
“Opened any boxes recently?” he quickly rebutted.
 
Both of your names are unfortunate, can we move on?” Raven cut in quickly, folding her arms impatiently. Pandora backed down, pouting her lips and looking away from Aurelius – really though? Aurelius? – and nodded. A silent beat passed before Raven asked, “Why are you wearing that, anyway?” motioning, she guessed, to the excursion suit. 
 
“I had just taken my first tour of the colony when I was nearly bowled over by this one; I hadn’t made it back to my quarters yet to change,” he explained, the ‘this one’ designation not lost on her. He apparently didn’t know that the EXC suits were typically stored in lockers near the main airlock.
 
“He was walking on the wrong side of the—“ she heatedly began in her defense, but Raven waved her off –
 
“That’s typical of her; listen, have you eaten?” She pouted further at the ‘typical’ part, but the mention of food kept her interest. A quick glance caught him shaking his head no, and Raven continued on, saying the best sentence: “Want to join us for dinner?” – not that part, the next part – “My name’s Raven and my parents had to go, but they left me their card; I was thinking of going to the Hall of Aries for some Italian.” She loved the Hall of Aries!! It was so much nicer than the cafeteria! They make your food to order instead of going off of the menu schedule – whatever you want, exactly when you wanted it – including desserts! It was usually reserved for birthdays and special occasions but Raven’s father was a bigwig in the colony so of course he could go whenever he wanted! What was she going to order?! Pasta? Oooh, a meatball sub?! Pizza?! Maybe they had breadsticks – oh and dessert! Ice cream or cake?!  Ice cream and cake?! There were so many options!!  But Aurelius hesitated – newbie mistake – and Raven added, “Think of it as repayment for whatever she just put you through and a welcome to the Colony; I’m sure you’ve got questions that we could answer?”
 
“… Sure, actually,” Aurelius agreed – really though? That name. “That sounds nice.”
 
Raven nodded crisply and led the way, “We’ll stop by your quarters first so you can get out of that suit and freshen up; I know it’s not as comfortable as some would lead you to believe.”


Half a bell later they were being seated at Aries and the menus were delivered and she was pouring over the options as Raven was giving Aurelius a quick history of the base, and if he had heard it before he was being really polite in letting her retell it. Pandora remained quiet, studying her options – not his interested expression – and was trying to decide between a side of rice or a side of macaroni and cheese, but was getting distracted by the little interested noises he was making. Oh-Really-us – just thinking his unusual name gave her a mental mouthful – he needed a nickname if he was going to continue hanging around. Lee, maybe? Lius? Auri? Maybe just his last name – that hadn’t sounded nearly as weird: Triston. Almost normal, really. … but then he was a weirdo and weirdos deserved weird names –
 
“Can I take your order?” a familiar voice asked, and she jumped but was ready with her answer!
 
“I’d like the cheesy-fries appetizer with a personal pepperoni pizza and a side of macaroni and cheese!” she declared with a big smile. She ignored Raven’s mixed look of repulsion and embarrassment – the waitress was an upperclassmen of theirs – and EXC-suit-guy’s (he wasn’t wearing his suit anymore, but anything was better than Aurelius until she could pick out a nickname) look of confused curiosity and just waited, sipping on her carbonated beverage – really though, Aries was great! – as they made their much more boringmeal choices and the waitress left. 
 
“So, what brings you to Aries Colony?” Raven asked, putting her elbows on the table and lacing her fingers together, resting her chin daintily as she watched him; menus out of hand and the possible mention of Earth coming up, Pandora payed attention, too, though not so obviously: she looked at the murals rather than at him as he responded, but his response did draw her attention back occasionally. 
 
For example, he didn’t answer immediately, which was weird – usually people came right out with ‘I was transferred’ if they were military, or ‘My application was accepted’ if they had actually wanted to come to Mars, like if they were a scientist, but he looked almost uncomfortable with the question… almost like he didn’t know how to answer it, unsure of what to say. “Transfer,” he finally said.
 
“Military or Scientist?” Raven prompted, poised and cool and confident, but not letting the subject drop.
 
“Both, I guess,” he replied uneasily.
 
“What’s your field?” Raven continued; Pandora was getting a little curious at this point, wondering if her wild theories were anything like Raven’s at this point. Maybe he was a spy, or maybe a replacement for somebody who didn’t know they were going to be replaced?
 
“Physics,” he said easily, “With some astrodynamics and aeronautics thrown in for good measure.”
 
Both she and Raven nodded absently, “Pilot?”
 
“Pilot,” he confirmed. 
 
“Here to test the new plane, I presume?” Raven leaned back in her seat, the mystery gone now; one of the colony’s primary experiments was designing a more efficient plane that could transfer not only cargo, but people, between colonies across Mars. They were finishing the first prototype now, and while they had a good number of pilots within the colony, a few more had been periodically trickling in as the project neared completion. He was just one of them – probably the youngest they’ve seen come through yet, but still, just a pilot –
 
“New plane?” he repeated, and just like that, they were interested again.
 
“What brought you to Mars, then?” Raven inquired, leaning forward. Pandora often wondered what Raven would choose to do with her future; part of her hoped she either became an investigative journalist or a detective with law enforcement – she’d be so good at it, and then maybe she would be reassigned to Earth and she’d take her best-friend/trusty side-kick with her and let her in on all of the secrets she was finding out while bringing her along on a whirlwind adventure across Earth’s seven continents – 
 
“I was transferred,” he answered, but it… didn’t seem that simple? She couldn’t pinpoint exactly why that struck her as a little off, but maybe how long he took with admitting that earlier versus how easily he admitted it now, or how his shoulders sunk a little, almost like a shrug, or how he wasn’t meeting their eyes but staring down that the complimentary bread – or what was left of it. Sadness tugged at her, looking at him.
 
“Was it your choice?” she asked quietly; he looked up, like he hadn’t expected her to say anything, and those startling blue eyes caught her for a moment, until he abruptly looked away without a word.
 
Raven’s voice was low, her body language changed drastically from interested to anything-but, looking at her red nails and brushing the polish absently, “Does it have anything to do with what’s going on on Earth?” 
 
She had no idea what Raven was talking about – what was happening on Earth? Why hadn’t Raven told her something was happening on Earth? Looking from Raven to EXC-Suit so quickly her pigtails hit the back of the plush booth with a thunk, she waited to see what he had to say before demanding answers from Raven, but he kept his mouth shut, looking away uncomfortably. 
 
“It is, isn’t it?” Raven prompted, but he didn’t say anything. She was about to say something when Raven finally got him to talk, asking, “How bad is it?”
 
At this point Pandora’s head was jumping from one terrible conclusion to the next. Another World War, maybe, or more of an environmental breakdown that was forcing people who could leave to leave – what if that was what drove the plane project? – more transportation to all the Mars Colonies that were to come because of some catastrophic event on Earth? Could they even support themselves without the fresh supplies from Earth? How long had they been keeping this a secret from everyone? Did Raven know because her dad knew? What other changes were coming? What about planet Earth itself? 
 
“It’s getting bad,” Aurelius replied softly, wrapping his hands around his coffee mug, catching her attention completely. As though he could feel their eyes on him, he eventually continued, “The attacks are becoming more frequent and more hostile all over the globe; their rhetoric is either catching on and spreading, or key people in power have been talked over to their side, or converted, or whatever they call it – either way, one day someone would be standing up against these people and the next they’re all for this change, spewing the same hate-filled stuff as the others. The confirmed monster sightings have increased – there’s a new one every day; sometimes it’s taken down, other times it escapes and pops up elsewhere in another mob of unconscious people. The original reports of the knock-outs being caused by some fast-acting super-virus spread by the creatures is still widely accepted, despite survivors having no such indicator in their blood; it’s saved more people, making them run at the first sight of these things, but still… it’s not enough. It’s like whatever is behind this is growing in power the more damage is caused, the more victims it takes. Local police and military have had some success, but the people doing the most good – the people who were actually responsible for survivors who completely recovered, are in hiding or keeping their identities a secret – it’s a smart move, but it’s hard to contact them because they refuse to take coms on the off-chance their locations could be tracked. I don’t blame them at all for keeping so quiet and off the grid, especially with how often people in power seem to flip-flop on the issues, but if they shared what they were doing, told the right people how they were defeating the enemy so quickly and effectively, this war could be going a very different way.”
 
As he paused, her mind raced, trying to put together what he said and connect the dots to make a full picture, but what was standing out to her didn’t make sense. Monsters? Crowds of people unconscious without any sort of viral tracer? Was he speaking in some sort of colloquial? Were “Monsters” the new buzz word for terrorists? Were they using a biological weapon, and that was what was knocking people out? The people in power flip-flopping – being ‘converted’ – did that just mean they had been bought? Her heart pounded uncomfortably, squeezing in her chest, her mind processing what he had said even as it remembered that serene scene from her picture window with the birds and the waterfall. Earth was in trouble, but it would survive, right? It had made it through three world wars and an entire era of people not caring about protecting the environment – it could survive this. … but would people be around to admire it afterwards?
 
She wanted to help – she wanted nothing more than to help, to leave right then, go to Earth, and do something to stop whatever was going on, but what could she do? She was still in secondary school. She wasn’t making the best grades, she wasn’t particularly inclined to science or mathematics – she couldn’t help with figuring out what was going on, except, maybe, in a research assistant position, but there were bound to be thousands of people researching the same thing. What could she do that would actually help?
 
“I was transferred off planet because some friends in high places learned something and wanted me as far away as possible,” he stated sourly, then took a long drink. 
 
“What did they find?” Raven prompted.
 
“I don’t know. They were keeping quiet about it, and just as I was catching on that they were hiding something my transfer papers came in.” He put his drink down and sat back in his seat, his hands in his lap as he looked away, his face in profile to her. His friends must have been trying to look out for him; she liked that he didn’t seem to appreciate it. She glanced to Raven, a frown forming on her lips. She didn’t like it, either. 
 
“What about those other people,” Raven said, ignoring her look if she had even noticed it, “the ones that are actually making a difference – the ones with the survivors that won’t get in contact – who are they? What are they like? Who do they stand for?”
 
He shrugged again, almost dismissively, like talking about this was disheartening enough for him. “It’s strange – they’re strange. They wear costumes, like super heroes from old comic books, and while they have never been directly filmed doing so, some survivors from incents they were involved in say they can use magic. My guess is they’ve created some insane technology they should be sharing with others, but then again if it got into the wrong hands it’d be chaos.” He paused, and in a small movement, shook his head. “They call themselves “Sailor Guardians” and claim to fight for “Love and Justice.” In one account they vowed to protect the Earth; so far they’ve been doing that, I guess, but the other side is just wiping the floor with them with the sheer volume of independent attacks.”
 
“Sailor Guardians,” Raven repeated quietly, rolling the title around in her mouth. 
 
Sailor Guardians. Magic, costumes, fighting this uprising without help… maybe that’s what she could do on Earth – maybe she and Raven could go there and figure out who these people are, and try to convince them to share what they knew. EXC-Suit didn’t seem to enjoy his situation – maybe he could pilot them back there covertly. Maybe they could make a difference.
 
Maybe they could save Earth.
 
Their waitress returned with their food, breaking the tense atmosphere and forcing conversation back to less-clandestine topics, but she wouldn’t forget.

 
My name is Pandora Arcene, your average teenage girl. I was born on the Lunar Station of Mare Serenitatis on Earth’s Moon, but have lived here, in Aries Colony of the Utopia Planitia on Mars, my entire life. I go to school with Raven and other colonist kids, studying science and math, primarily. My father is a geologist and my mother is a botanist, but my dream is to return to Earth and see the world, or what’s left of it.
The day Raven and I met Aurelius was the first day of the rest of our lives; after that, everything changed. We soon came to find that the troubles on Earth had, for some reason, followed him to Mars, and we learned that the only way to stop it was for us to go to Earth and nip the problem in the bud. As it turned out, if we didn’t, no one else could, because we had been granted strange powers and abilities that could transform us into Sailor Guardians and the three other Guardians on Earth needed our help to defeat the Dark Kingdom threat. 
It’s going to be hard. Fighting is not something I really look forward to, but it’s something I have to do. We need to work together to protect our Earth.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:52 am


May 2016: Mythical Creatures
Winner: Sailor Uranus (Kyra)


Ningyo - Mood Music 

She pulled on the oars, her muscles screaming in protest, the sweat on her brow beading and rolling down her face. Her breath came in painful gasps, the sea air attacking her tongue and throat with every determined drag of air into her lungs. The clouds overhead gathered dark and heavy overhead, but she would not be deterred – she would not stop. She gritted her teeth and pulled on, the oars pushing the ocean back to propel her forward, towards her trap. She glanced behind her and adjusted her strides, eyeing the group of rocks that were only visible during low tide and aiming towards them. The shore beyond was growing farther away, the smoke from the fire she had set rose into the sky to be lost in the grey storm gathering, and her heart raced in fear barely contained by the power of her will alone. 
 
Catching a Ningyo will bring storms and misfortune.
 
She wasn’t so far from the shore; any storm that was summoned would push her back in, not take her out farther  – she could make it back, even if she didn’t know how to swim.
 
A ningyo washed up onto the shore is an omen for war or calamity – but which calls the other is unknown.
 
The ningyo wouldn’t wash up on shore – it would be taken on shore in her boat – but even if what she did counted, they were alreadyat war. If it caused calamity she’d be miles away by the time it struck. Miles away and alive and forever young, unable to be hurt or to die until she was too old to care anymore. She would eat its flesh and run away from the village she had escaped, run away from her prefecture, her emperor, this land
 
Those who eat the pleasant-tasting flesh of a ningyo will attain remarkable longevity.
 
The nose of her boat hit the rocks behind her and she released her oars, trusting they would stay in their lock, and fought to remain calm, taking deep, even breaths, staring back at the store and preparing herself for what she was about to do. What she needed to do.
 
Ningyos look half-human, half-fish, and have a monkey’s mouth with small teeth like a fish, shining golden scales, and a quiet voice like a skylark or a flute
 
It’s not human, she thought to herself, It’s ningyo, not human. She shuddered, still panting, her hands in fists on her legs, her eyes focusing on the back of the boat, not the waves, not the shore, and not the rope tied to the rock beside her that disappeared beneath the dark water. It’s not human. … and men are out there, wiping out clans. They’ll find me and kill me to make sure I don’t come back, no matter what I say. I have to run. Her deep blue eyes shifted nervously to the water beside her, beneath where the rope disappeared.And having the powers of the ningyo would guarantee I can survive. 
 
Thunder crashed overhead, jolting her into action, the sound too similar to the houses cracking beneath the fires. She grabbed the blade and put it on the seat across from her, ready to use to end its life, and then leaned over the side, first her right, then her left hand grabbing the rope. She pulled, the boat moving in response to sit above the spot as she hauled her catch upward, her heart being faster as she realized that she had caught something, and that it could be the answer to her need. She reached farther into the water and heaved mightily, pulling as the nose of her boat crashed into the rock again, keeping almost steady as she saw a flash of something golden in the water beneath her. Thunder crashed again, loud and frightening, a warning to let things be, to free the ningyo and leave, but she couldn’t – she was too afraid to leave without it, and fear of what had been overpowered what could be. Hand over hand the rope pulled the load closer, the golden scales of what must have been the tail shimmering as though through seaweed. Finally the top of her net crested the water, and she gripped the netting between her fingers and threw her weight backwards, hauling her catch into the boat with her eyes closed. As the weight of the slippery mass hit the interior of her boat, the waves rocking everything back and forth violently, she grabbed the hilt of her blade and struggled to free her legs from the mass, her chest hurting with the stress on her heart, every nerve of hers twitching with anticipation and fear as she scrambled and kicked herself free.
 
The noise that it made was terrifying at first, quiet and light but obviously startled and frightened; the sounds tugged at her emotions but she couldn’t let it go. It flailed as she finally freed herself from beneath it, huddling in the back of the boat, the blade in one hand, her eyes trying to find a place to strike to kill it – but as she looked for a vital spot she recognized so many similarities that the breath caught in her throat repeatedly, her chest heaving as she sobbed. Ningyo or not, it was half-human – what she had thought was seaweed was instead long hair, the color of the sea. As it cried out in fear it pushed parted the hair from its face so it could see, and it was not the monkey-mouth on a fishy-face she had been expecting, but instead a face so beautiful and so human that it nearly broke her heart with how perfect it was, and the sea-green eyes that looked at her in fear panic struck her to her soul. It was human. It had feelings. 
 
Her hand shook so terribly she dropped the knife, and in her failure to save even herself, she wrapped her arms about her chest, curled up pain, and gave in. “I’m sorry!” she screamed, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” she cried over and over, her words for the ningyo, for her family, for everyone she had left behind. Tears would not come, the dry sobs that wracked her body serving only to further her guilt rather than alleviate it. Frustrated at her inability to succeed even in crying, she stretched herself back out again, grabbed the knife one more time, and reached for the net holding the beautiful pale woman with the golden fish tail, and slashed through the rope, strand by strand, to create a hole. Sobs still escaping her, she tossed the knife into the back of her boat and reached beneath the sea creature and rolled her off the side, back to where she belonged, and then fell prone into the bottom of her boat as the rain began to fall. 
 
What would she do now? 
 
What could she do now?
 
She didn’t want to die, and she could not kill to save herself. She was a coward. She might as well follow the ningyo back into the sea and drown –
 
The boat rocked alarmingly and her eyes burst open, her hands and legs pushing against either side of the boat to steady herself as fear swelled again – she couldn’t swim, if her boat capsized she would drown – she didn’t want to die!
 
Water dripped into the boat from above, heavier than the rain, and she looked up to see the beautiful ningyo looking down at her, her arms crossed on the side of the boat to support herself. “You have freed me; what are your wishes?
 
Wishes?! “I don’t want to eat you anymore, Ningyo! Go back to the depths and be free,” she muttered, looking away.
 
“I am no ‘ningyo’,” she said calmly, her voice melodic as a flute, “I am Ceasg, maiden of the sea. You have freed me, so I will grant you three wishes. What do you wish for, daughter of the shore?”
 
She wasn’t even a ningyo. If she had gone through with it she would have killed her and eaten her for nothing. She was a failure. “I only wish to be free of the war on the shore,” she said, her voice empty. Something warm and wet touched her cheek and she started from the suddenness of the gesture, looking up to see the Caesg looking down at her, her eyes mesmerizing. The hand that caressed her cheek had webbed fingers, but was otherwise like hers, and the touch was so comforting and gentle and so like everything she craved, as the creature removed it, she sat up to follow it. Soon they were staring at each other over the tipping boat, and the hand moved back to her cheek, and then the other to the other side of her face as the boat tipped even farther over, her weight leaning farther over the side, mesmerized by the beautiful eyes of the Caesg, their faces getting closer together… At the critical moment, just as the boat finally gave in and started to flip, the caesg brought the young woman’s face to her own and kissed her lips as she dragged her beneath the waves.
 
And so her first wish was fulfilled.


A year later, two caesg swam side by side through the depths; one had long hair the color of the sea and a tail of deepest gold, the other’s hair was short and blonde with a tail of shining silver.  As they moved through the seaweed surrounding an underwater mountain of dark rocks and over the wreckage of a small boat, the blonde took the hand of the golden-tailed sea-maiden in her own, and kept swimming.


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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:57 am


September 2017: Introduction/Birth
Winner: Sailor Arkas!


The Most Sacred of Oaths

Pluto heard something in the mist. She spun her staff toward the sound, determined to stay stoic, to hide her shock. “Who goes? Travel here is forbidden, and if you continue, I will have to punish you.”

Blonde hair came from the thickest mist. Pluto lifted her staff. “Aino Minako. Sailor Venus. How can I help you?” It was odd, one of the senshi coming to the Space-Time Door. Since the queen had brought her entourage to meet Pluto months before, Pluto had been alone. As her job demanded.

“Neo-Queen Serenity has requested your presence at the palace. There is someone she wants you to know.” Aino grinned, which eased Pluto’s nerves. The leader of the senshi wouldn’t grin so easily if there was any trouble. “I am to watch the Space-Time Door while you are gone, and the queen told me to let you know she is in her chambers. Off you go!”

Pluto hesitated. The Space-Time Door was her responsibility, a duty assigned to her a millennia ago by her first queen. Pluto had fulfilled her duty from childhood. She had never abandoned her post.

Aino seemed to notice Pluto’s concern. “Go, go! I will make sure that nothing happens here, and the queen wants you.”

Glancing back, Pluto moved through the mist before opening the door and entering the palace. She had never entered the palace, but Pluto knew where to go. She had watched queen build the palace, and Pluto knew every hall and chamber. Pluto moved through the halls as if she lived in the palace, and she arrived at the queen’s door quickly.
Pluto knocked on the door, which opened to reveal Sailor Jupiter. “Hey, Pluto. Come on in.” Pluto entered, only to see Neo-Queen Serenity sitting in the bed.

“Sailor Pluto! Come here, there is someone for you to see.” Pluto approached the bed, eyes darting around the room. She wasn’t one of the queen’s personal guards, and she had no place in these chambers. Particularly while the queen was still abed.

Her discomfort was forgotten when she noticed the shape in the queen’s arms. Pink tufts of hair peeked through blankets, and Pluto stared. A baby. The queen had brought her here to meet her new princess.

“Sailor Pluto,” King Endymion addressed her, but he didn’t look away from the child, “Usako and I are proud to present our daughter, Princess Serenity Usagi.”

The queen broke the formality with a giggle. “I don’t think we need to use all that. It’s a lot of name, and she is such a small girl. For now, I am using Small Lady.” The queen held out the bundle. “Here, Pluto, get to know her a little.”

Pluto took the bundle slowly, terrified she would drop or harm the little one. As soon as the baby was cradled safely in her arms, she moved the bundle of warmth close to her chest, nestling her in the bow on Pluto’s uniform. Then she looked down.

Red eyes blinked slowly up at her. Pluto couldn’t look away. The baby was perfect. Slightly chubby, with big eyes and sporadic tufts of bubblegum hair, she captured Pluto’s attention completely.

Pluto had no idea how much time passed before she spoke. “She is amazing, your highnesses. Absolute perfection.” Her voice was dumbstruck; Pluto didn’t care.

Still staring at Small Lady, Pluto missed the broad grin the royal couple exchanged.

“Don’t bother with the your highness here, Pluto. The rest of the senshi use our names, and you should, too.” Neo-Queen Serenity’s voice stayed soft. “I expect we'll be seeing more of you. Small Lady is going to need all the support she can get if she is going to be our princess.”

Pluto didn’t ask what the queen meant. She didn’t need to know the queen specific concerns, not when Small Lady was wiggling in her arms while Pluto adjusted her grip to make sure Small Lady was comfortable. Regardless of what support the queen wanted for her daughter, Pluto’s answer would be the same.

“Small Lady,” Pluto spoke to the child, though she knew the king and queen were listening, “will never lack for anything I can provide.” Even as Pluto spoke, she knew it was more than a promise. It was the most sacred of oaths, more precious even than the oath Pluto had made to protect the Space-Time Door. More binding than the oath she had made to follow the laws of time. And more heartfelt than any pledge Pluto had every made.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   9th April 2018, 9:59 am


February 2018: Mystery Date Night
Winner: Sailor Arkas


Conversation
Prompt: “They’re my favorite”; Prison

Chibi-Usa looked around frantically.  Where was she?  It certainly wasn’t Tokyo - Tokyo never looked this barren.  There were always people everywhere.  This place, wherever it was, was long dead.  Chibi-Usa crossed her arms over her chest.

Then she noticed what she was wearing.  Pyjamas?  She glanced down, seeing that her observation was right.  The knowledge didn’t help the confusion.  Why would she be in this odd, desolate place, with nothing but her pyjamas?  Her breath caught with another realization.  She didn’t even have her crystal, since she didn’t wear it to bed.  

Chibi-Usa took a few steps forward.  Her eyes darted from place to place, trying to figure out what was going on.  Her eyes found something interesting: a cage standing amid the desolation.  She moved toward the cage, taking a deep breath.  Maybe she could find answers there.

The closer she got to the cage, the more she could see.  Eventually, she grew close enough to see a massive figure trapped in the cage.  When she did, a voice spoke.   “Hello, young maiden.”  Chibi-Usa had heard that voice before. It had asked her for help.  

“H-hello.  Who are you?”  She forced her head up high.  She was a princess, and she might as well act like it.  Even if she was alone in a strange place.

“A captive of your enemy.”  Chibi-Usa looked at the cage, thinking that it looked like an awfully depressing prison.

“But you’ve been outside,” Chibi-Usa moved closer to the cage, finally identifying the trapped figure as the pegasus that had spoken to her.

“Not really.  I have merely communicated.  Even now, we are in your dreams.”  The voice paused, then it continued, “and I am sorry to shift your dreamscape to this.”

Chibi-Usa waved a dismissive hand, but the Pegasus tossed his head, adding, “Your dreams are usually filled with life and color.  I should feel guilty for replacing them with this.”  He glared around the cage.  Chibi-Usa refused to looked at their surroundings.

Instead, she focused on the Pegasus.  “You can see other people’s dreams?”  The creature nodded.  Curious, she continued, “And you like mine?”  Another nod, and she smiled.  For some reason, she felt like she was getting the best compliment of her life.

A faint chuckle filled the air.  “They’re my favourite,” the voice admitted.  Chibi-Usa’s smile grew, and she leaned forward on her toes, resting one cheek on her fist.  If they were in her dreams, it should be safe to talk to the Pegasus for a while.  Chibi-Usa could use some more friends, even captive ones.  And maybe she could find some things about him that would be her favorite, too.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   11th May 2018, 8:45 am


April 2018: Storyline Storytime
Sailor Moon Category Winner: Sailor Uranus


Runaways

Setting: Tokyo City (AU), end of Stars, 90's Anime version
Major Conflict: Haruka and Michiru were dead. The last of her friends were dead. Mamoru... was dead. She had never been one to run from a fight, but when Seiya suggested it, when Sailor Star Fighter started to pull her away, when Star Healer and Star Maker agreed it was the right thing to do - that they could live to fight another day, to come up with a better strategy, that they could still figure out how to win and get everyone back - she believed them. Whether it was shock or not, she went with them, and the five of them - Eternal Sailor Moon, the Sailor Starlights, and Sailor Chibichibi - escaped Earth minutes before Sailor Galaxia destroyed it.
They had just left the Solar System when the immense pain overwhelmed her, when she curled up in a ball mid-flight, her wings wrapping around her, attempting to calm and soothe the overwhelming anguish in her heart as the cries of so many people who had depended on her echoed through her soul. The Starlights protected her, whispered words of comfort, their own shame somewhat lessened in sharing how they had dealt with that pain when they had left their world giving chase to their own Princess.
It will fade, they lie, knowing it only faded when it was out of mind. It will get better, they mislead, knowing it only got better when there was a clear purpose before them. They had focused on finding Kakyuu; now, their focus was... what? 
They took shelter on a wandering world, a planet without a star, caught in the gravitational pull of the galaxy without any light or energy from a guardian star. They recuperated and rested, they dressed their wounds, sustaining themselves on their planetary energy. The Earth was destroyed, not the Moon. Planet Kinmoku destroyed, not their empty, guardian worlds. They were still Senshi and were afforded the life energy of their celestial body. Guilt wracked Sailor Moon, but the Starlights were there for their new Princess, the Hope of the Galaxy, and once they were fully rested, they did what they knew best: they kept running. 
Planet to planet, they ran, always one step ahead of Galaxia, who still sought out the Silver Crystal, not knowing where they would go or what they would do when they got there. They didn't know how to win, and with every planet she destroyed, Galaxia was slowly rebuilding her army of Sailor Animates.
Finally (down the line of the rp) either ChibiChibi steps up and tells them about the Galaxy Cauldron, or ChibiChibi doesn't say anything about it, and the quintet travel until they are cornered, and face the final battle one more time.
Minor Conflict(s): 
• Moon and Fighter - Usagi's feelings for Seiya teeter on the edge of romance, but with Mamoru's death hanging heavily over her, can she actually embrace them?
• Healer, Maker, and ChibiChibi - something is off about this kid. They still don't know who she is and what she's there for; they won't do anything to her, but she's a constant source of suspicion, especially after she makes a comment that isn't just "chibichibi."
Goal: 
• (All versions): Run away! Live on different worlds, experience some world building, some angst, and then run to the next one! What new Sailor Animates will rise to face them? How many will they have to kill or attempt to heal before it's all over? Will Moon become less sensitive to the idea of fighting a fellow Senshi? 
• (Ending Option A): Get Chibi Chibi talking, go to the Galaxy Cauldron, and live out the manga ending MWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA
• (Ending Option B): Get cornered on a world by Galaxia and her new crew and either die wonderfullyyyy OR go through with the original anime ending on this far-out planet!
• (End end?) Will Earth be restored? Or will it be a big reset for the entire Galaxy? Will ChibiChibi disappear at some point because the timelines differ so much now? dundundun
Genre/Type: Internal/Mental/Emotional struggle


Other Category Winner: Sailor Arkas


Non-Alchemical Warfare on a Small Scale

Setting: Amestris and Creta
Major Conflict: Ed and Al have gone in opposite directions to learn more about alchemy and the countries around them, leaving Winry at home.  But they don’t realize that alchemists might not be popular all over the world, and Ed meets some enemies in Creta. Without his alchemy, he is going to have to depend on his wits and his physical strength to get out of things, while Al and Winry try to help him from Amestris - depending on letters and news to keep track of him.  
Minor Conflict(s): Ed and Winry feel a little strained - after all, they are both worried and Winry can’t up but feel that if he hadn’t left, he wouldn’t be in this trouble.  Not to mention that Al feels guilty because Ed gave up his most powerful weapon (his alchemy) to help Al. Add to those fact that Ed don’t feel the need to listen to any advice and insists that he can get in and out of trouble on his own, and the trio (plus the allies they manage to find) are going to struggles as much to work together as to keep Ed from getting killed.
Goal: Edward is freed and returns safely to Risembool, armed with more knowledge about Creta (which he will hopefully share with people in Central).  Al might come back to visit, but he will return to his studies in Xing, confident that Ed is fine.
Genre/Type:  Adventure, with a lot of dark elements.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   11th July 2018, 5:23 am


June 2018: Fun in the Sun
Winner: Sailor Mercury (Aurae)


Fun in the Sun

"How could anyone want to do something when it's this hot outside," Ves complained. The red-haired girl lay draped across the patio chair on the small deck outside the "historic" Tsukino home, now used as a hideout. The air felt eerily still, thick with the muggy summer weather. The open sliding door provided no additional flow. Ves's two sisters and their princess seemed to have taken a page from her book, listless and vacant-eyed as they tried to do anything but focus on the oppressive heat.

The teenagers didn't even move when the front door slammed shut and footsteps pounded their way over.

"Everyone! Nana and Ruru won tickets to a huuuuuge festival! Palla wants to go!" the blue-haired girl announced enthusiastically.

Jun barely lifted her head. "It's too hot."

The pink-haired girl crumpled on the floor, her pose almost mimicking an area rug, nodded wearily. Even the yellow bows in Cere's hair seemed to sag. "Can't move," agreed a muffled voice.

Palla covered her mouth coyly, the sly expression on her face distorting her features to nearly qualify for a new horror film.

"What a shame," she yawned. "Palla will go to Crystal Tokyo Large Sight alllll by myself and enjoy that air conditioning without you."

The youngest (in how she acted, at least) of the sisters pranced back towards the front door. Cere sat up violently, narrowly-avoiding knocking her head into a low-positioned lamp. Chibi Usa shrugged, but decided it sounded better than their other options. The bait Palla had selected seemed perfectly suited to the companions she fished for.

It only took a few more minutes for the group to board a bus and head on their way.



"Girls!" cried the voices of Nana and Ruru, their chipper voices in unison as they ran over. The teenagers they greeted didn't seem quite as spirited, but they hardly looked as despondent as they had at the house. Even the brief time in the air conditioned interior of the bus seemed to have provided some level of restoration.

"We were so afraid you wouldn't be interested!" the pair sniffled dramatically, clutching hands.

Chibi Usa offered a smile, covering up for the others: "Palla made it sound very nice."

Behind her, Jun released a small sigh of relief. Cere nodded eagerly at the explanation. Ves crossed her arms over her chest, biting her tongue to hold back a comment asking why they weren't meeting inside the convention hall.

"Who wouldn't want to attend the Dermatological Technology Expo!" piped up a familiar voice, followed immediately by the glasses-dominated face of Umino. He had been standing behind the twins, both girls taller than him by a few inches.

Ves slowly turned her head back to face Umino, the first of the group to break their intense stare-down of the giggling Palla.

"Yes, let's go inside. There's so much to see," she replied through gritted teeth. Anything had to be better than standing out here where the harsh summer sun beat down on them, boiling them inside their own skins.



"It's not all that bad," Chibi Usa tried, thanking Jun with a nod of her head as the brunette brought back ice cream from the nearby "Crystal Sixteen Ice" vending machine. The taller girl took her seat opposite the temporarily-incognito princess, unwrapping her own ice cream cone without a comment. Ves declined the offer of frozen treats, lounging in one of the chairs and attempting to maintain a look of blasé disinterest. Cere took a large bite of her own popsicle, wincing at the sudden brain freeze, before protesting.

"Yeah, it is cooler in here, but it's also super boring!" she whined. Chibi Usa attempted to shush her, blushing brightly as heads turned their way and other patrons whispered.

"Is... is Palla still in there?" Jun asked, looking around.

Ves shrugged. They had politely followed their hosts for a few aisles of booths, but although she might have been entertained by a comic book festival, this didn't quite fit her usual criteria. Palla seemed content to stay with the pair—Umino certainly seemed to be enjoying himself—so they let her know where she could meet them.

"Palla found a thing!" called a familiar voice. Doctors and other medical professionals furrowed their eyebrows, a few of them narrowly avoiding collision with the running girl. Palla skidded to a halt just in time to stop herself from crashing into the table, but she reached out for Chibi Usa's hand and almost yanked the pink-haired girl right across the surface. "Follow Palla! It's so cool!"



Ves raised an eyebrow. "What... what is this?"

The young woman in the stylish yellow nurse's uniform gave a small smile and gestured to the device.

"It's called Violetta," she explained. "It detects UV damage to skin. We hope to introduce it to more clinics to use during routine screening for skin cancers."

Cere nudged Jun. "It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie! Like that 'Cryogenic Monsters from Beyond Mars' one we watched the other week!" The other girl nodded; she couldn't deny the similarity.

"We're offering free trials to show off its capabilities. Perhaps the clinics that you work for would be interested in installing one. Would you like to try it?" the saleswoman offered.

"I don't know..." Chibi Usa trailed off, eyeing the metal box suspiciously. It looked large enough to fit a car!

"UV imaging can be used to help prevent aging—" the woman began, but before the sentence was finished, another voice cut her off.

"Oh yes! Our clinics would love to learn more! Let's go!" cheerleaded Cere, grabbing the arms of her friends and practically dragging them with her. Those magenta eyes burned with the fire of a thousand updated beauty regiments. Her captives rolled their eyes, but played along—Palla absolutely gleeful.

The inside of the machine looked as metallic and sterile as the medical facilities it was intended for. The girls huddled together, Nana, Ruru, and Umino occupied elsewhere in the expo. The woman peeked her head in, made a few small requests, and then slid the white curtain across. They could hear her typing on some kind of keypad outside, and then the thing whirred to life, lights suddenly visible as they illuminated to near-blinding.

"Cere, what have you—" Jun started to protest, but as the white light surrounded the quintet, her words were cut off as her eyes rolled back into her head and her body slumped to the floor.

"Wait, look out—" Ves gasped, falling prone.

"What's going on?" Palla wailed, staring at her fallen friends as the tears gathered in her eyes.

"There's something evil!" Chibi Usa gasped, dodging to the side as she sensed something charge at her. Ruby eyes locked on a strange mechanical-looking creature, in concept vaguely familiar, exuding enough evil energy to make it completely clear what she grappled against. "Quick, transform!" she called, hoping the others could hear her.

"Ceres Power, Make Up!"

"Pallas Power, Make Up!"

It was too bright for Chibi Usa to see any elements of their transformations, even the usual flashes of light.

"Frozen Spear!"

The icy projectile whipped past, narrowly avoiding swiping Chibi Usa in the face, but she didn't have a moment to critique her teammate. The creature had released its hold on her, recoiling for a moment, and she called out her own transformation phrase.

"Moon Crystal Power, Make Up!"

It screamed—she realized that the monster had been buffeted by another attack. Sailor Moon didn't see it, but she could still sense it was near. She stepped backwards, bumping up against Sailor Ceres. Ceres heard a noise and spun around, sending a blast of petals out at the monster that raced towards them.

"Sailor Moon!" Pallas called. "Here!"

"Moon Princess Splendor!" she cried.

Beautiful pink energy surrounded the thing, hearts and petals everywhere. Thankfully, her aim was true. The beast dissolved, and as it did so the light that had filled the machine faded.

Sailor Moon knelt down near her fallen friends, thankful to find that the two were easy to rouse. When the group of five exited the machine, providing support for Jun and Ves, they were not terribly surprised to see that the woman from before had disappeared. The booth looked deserted.

"Palla, what were you thinking?" hissed Cere. The blue-haired girl's eyes filled with tears.

"Palla just wanted to..."

She paused, midway through her sentence. "Why is Cere so red?"

"What?" cried the girl, fumbling for her mirror. She was red—crimson.

"Usa, too!"

"Palla... Your face..."

Even Jun and Ves shared the same look—as though they'd collectively fallen asleep on the beach, without a smear of sunscreen between the five.

"Detects UV damage, huh?" Chibi Usa sighed. "Let's go. Maybe Mercury has aloe. Gallons of it."
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   7th September 2018, 6:45 am


July 2018: Prompt Slot Machine
Winner: Sailor Arkas


Prompt Slot Machine

Prompts:

  • A1. A cure
  • B5. A magic potion
  • C2.  Traveling up and down a ladder

Sailor Moon looked up at the strange creature perched on the roof. It was vaguely reminiscent of an octopus, except for the soda-can torso. Stuck in its center was a face, or something like a face. The creature gripped a glass bottle while it leered at the citizens below.

“So much lovely energy,” the creature purred.

That was enough; Sailor Moon called, “Moon Crisis, Make Up!” She shook her head at the weight of her hairpieces and took a few steps forward. All her blonde hair and white clothes made her stand out, and the creature stared. “How can you possibly justify this?” she asked. “Taking energy from all these people? I can't forgive you!”

The creature laughed – at least, Sailor Moon thought it was a laugh. Still chortling, it shook the bottle. “I'm not going to do anything, little girl. This will take care of everything we need; all I have to do is spread it around.” The creature pushed itself from the building, vaulting across the road. Sailor Moon followed, though she had to sprint across on the ground.

She needed to get up. She glanced over the buildings until she found one where someone was working on an awning. Leaning against the wall was a ladder, and Sailor Moon grinned. She leaped up to grab the bottom rung and scramble up, the creature's laugh echoing in her ears. Reaching around the ladder, she activated her communicator.

“Attack in the park. Some kind of creature – I don't know what.” Distracted, Sailor Moon missed a rung of the ladder, slipping down. She grabbed frantically for the metal and scrambled back up.

Sailor Mercury's voice rang back, though Sailor Moon carefully kept her eyes on where she was going. “We're on our way,” Sailor Moon heard.

At the top of the ladder, Sailor Moon jumped across awnings and grabbed the edge of the roof to flip herself onto the rooftop. She glanced down to see the moving people below. None of the other senshi had arrived, but that wasn't a surprise.

She looked back over to the creature, who lurched over the roof toward her. It pulled back a tentacle, aiming the bottle toward Sailor Moon's head, and Sailor Moon looked at the glass shape . She wasn't sure what was in there, but she was pretty sure she didn't want to get covered in it.

“Moon Crisis Meditation!” She aimed at the creature's center, hoping that would stop it. The creature dodged, grinning at her and laughing while it moved slightly. The energy she had used slammed into the glass bottle, shattering it and dumping the liquid over the crowd below.

Sailor Moon stared at the creature as it laughed uproariously. “Well look there, little girl. I didn't have to do anything after all, and my mistress can harness all the energy she wants. Good work.” The face smirked at Sailor Moon, who glared at it.

“What's happening?” she demanded. The creature shrugged with it's front four tentacles and launched itself off the side of the building. Sailor Moon rushed to the edge of the roof to check on the people below, but she froze at the voice that powered through the air.

“Jupiter Coconut Cyclone!” Sailor Moon kept her eyes on the creature for long enough to know that it had dropped its weight and dodged the attack.

Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus balanced on the edge of the next building. Sailor Venus offered a jaunty wave to Sailor Moon, who nodded and grinned back. Sailor Venus jumped down.

Sailor Moon bounced over the building's ledge, using the awning and ladder to get back to the ground..

“What happened?” Sailor Mercury muttered. Sailor Moon didn't know if she was supposed to answer, so she just offered an answer.

“Some kind of liquid fell on everyone.”

The creature's voice floated down from above them, “I will tell my mistress about our new friends, and she will take care of you.”

Sailor Moon glanced toward the others when she heard Sailor Venus call, “Venus Love and Beauty Shock!”

The creature dropped to the earth in a flurry of golden light, and as soon as it landed, Sailor Jupiter tried again, “Jupiter Coconut Cyclone!”

The creature sank slowly into a pool of ooze, and Sailor Moon cringed. The thick ooze slid over the concrete. Sailor Moon turned away from the remains with a grimace toward Sailor Mercury.

“Well, it looks like there won't be any reports to any Mistresses, at least,” Sailor Mercury offered. She turned back to the civilians that littered the street. “Sailor Moon, you are normally a healer. I wonder if we can't re-purpose that skill,” her voice trailed off, and she hummed a little under her breath.

Sailor Moon stared at the people unconscious on the street for a moment. “I don't get it,” she admitted.

“You normally heal people who've been filled with negative energy, like with the rainbow crystals, but maybe you can heal other problems as well. This liquid is acting like a drain on people's energy, and that is your area of expertise. It is worth a try, at least.”

“People's energy?”

“I think so. The point is, this isn't physical, like what Tuxedo Mask heals. It stands to reason that it might be your area. Either way, you won't hurt anyone by trying.”

Sailor Moon stared at the body of a young woman, watching her breathe. “Umm..okay.”

Slowly, she reached out to summon her Rod and wrap her fingers around it. She pulled the Rod in front of her. With a soft voice, she called, “Moon Healing Escalation!”

Light spilled from the Rod, bathing the ground around her in pink light before it spread. Sailor Moon watched it reach the first prone body. A boy with his face turned toward Sailor Moon fell under the pink lights, and she could see his eyelids flutter.

As soon as his eyes opened, Sailor Moon grinned. She turned her attention back to her task and held the power steady, forcing it to continue to each victim until everyone woke.

Sailor Moon released her hold on the power and saw Sailor Venus smiling at her. “Good work, Sailor Moon. Though you could have jumped up and down instead of wasting time with the ladder.”

Sailor Moon scrunched up her face a little. “It gave me time to call for help”

“Right,” Sailor Venus drawled, smirking. Sailor Moon just rolled her eyes.

“It's true!” she insisted. Sailor Venus laughed and threw an arm around Sailor Moon before steering her down the street.

“Whatever you say. Come on, let's get out of here before the police come around.”

Sailor Moon reached out to snag Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Mercury, who were having a conversation. “Come on, you two! I want milkshakes!”
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   7th September 2018, 6:50 am


August 2018: Reverse It
Winner: Sailor Arkas


Reverse It

The lights of Tokyo left long shadows and the sun sank, and Usagi shivered a little. She imagined that she could hear the clacking of jaws and crashing of massive feet. Feeling a chill, she moved a little closer to Mamoru's warmth.

“Hey, Mamo-chan?” Usagi muttered. She nuzzled into his ribs, and he shifted his arm to make it easier for her.

“What?”

“Do you think we can leave a light on tonight?” Usagi fidgeted a little, but she stilled when she felt Mamoru chuckle.

“Sure, Usako.” His arm tightened around her shoulders, and she hummed a little under her breath.

“Thanks.”


“What the heck are these?” yelled Sailor Jupiter. She spun around to avoid a snapping jaw, and they could all hear the clang of jaws hitting each other.

“According to my computer, they are made of shadows.” Sailor Mercury ran a few steps forward to avoid being stepped on by a massive foot.”

“You mean, those weird shapes he was making are actually attacking us?” asked Sailor Mars. She wasn't dodging, instead pulling her flaming bow to shoot the shapes from where she stood on top of a nearby building. Her flames seemed to work well on the attackers.

“I think that is exactly what is happening,” agreed Sailor Mercury.

“We're being beaten up by shadow puppets,” wailed Sailor Moon.

“Then stop whining and start beating them back,” tossed back Sailor Mars. She tracked one of the shadows, which was trying to corner Sailor Venus with massive butterfly wings. “Mars Flame Sniper!” she shot one of the wings.

Sailor Venus followed up with “Venus Love Me Chain!” The attack forced the creature to give her space to roll out of the corner.

“I don't know what to do!” cried Sailor Moon, rushing out of the way of the wolfish creature that was pursuing Sailor Jupiter.

A beautiful woman leaned against the eave of a close by building, giggling. She pouted a little and run a finger down the deep blue dress. In the shadows under the eave, the dress looked as dark as the shadows. “Oh,” she simpered. “Do the senshi not like Adowshay's little pets? But they are having so much fun playing with their new friends.”

The little speech dragged Sailor Mercury's attention to the woman. “Mars, Adowshay summoned the creatures, if we get rid of her, they might disappear to!”

“On it. The rest of you take care of these things?” Mars shifted around on the roof.

Sailor Jupiter was the one who volunteered, “We've got them!” She raised her hands and shouted, “Jupiter Coconut Cyclone!”

“Sailor Moon, help Sailor Mars!” Venus didn't even look away from the butterfly creature she was fighting. But Sailor Moon heard, and that was enough.

She ran over to meet Mars, who landed firmly on the ground. “Mars Flame Sniper,” Mars called again. Sailor Moon let the attack hit before she started her own.

“Rainbow Moon Heartache!”

Light concentrated around Adowshay, and she screamed. The light shattered around the shape of the woman-creature, and Sailor Jupiter called out, “Finally!”

Bright light shone across the street, and the shadows shrank into nothing. Sailor Mars looked around one final time before she sighed and relaxed. With a series of nods, the group moved down the street to find somewhere private to transform.


“I'll only be gone for a day or two,” Mamoru muttered, looking down at the top of Usagi's head.

Usagi shook her head a couple of times and bit her lip. “I know that,” she argued. “And we'll be awesome. Go have a good conference.” Despite her words, she clung to his shirt.

“I can't go far if you won't let go,” he pointed out.

“Well, maybe I'm not finished talking yet.” Usagi scrunched up her nose, and Mamoru rolled his eyes.

“Then what do you have left to say?”

Usagi froze. She didn't need to say anything. Mamoru was going to present a paper he had been working on for one of his classes, and she didn't really understand what he was going to talk about. Ami had discussed it with him a lot, and Usagi had been happy to let the pair have their fun with it. She shrugged.

“I'll see you as soon as you get back,” she decided with a sharp nod.

“I'll see you then. Try to get to school on time, yeah?” Mamoru smirked, and Usagi shook her head.

“Not your business,” she claimed. Mamoru just chuckled. He glanced at his watch before gently pulling Usagi's hands away from his shirt.

“I'm going to be late.” He gripped her hands for a breath. “I'll see you tomorrow or the day after.” With a final kiss, he turned around and walked toward customs. Usagi stared toward him until he disappeared into the growing twilight shadows of the door.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   6th November 2018, 8:36 am


September 2018: New Era
Sailor Moon Category Winner: Sailor Uranus


New Era

Never again.

“My Queen?” Hermes asked, his whisper matching the breaking of her voice.

Never again,” she avowed, pressing the regolith into place above where her daughter’s heart would have been, feeling the cool sand beneath her hands, driving home that those hands would never comfort Pandia, her sweet, bright, beautiful Pandia, ever again. “Mark my words, Hermes, and make it holy law: A citizen of the Moon is never to know a denizen of the Earth. Cut all ties, cease all visits; the time of Earth-Moon relations are at an end. We will continue to protect them, but from afar, as silent guardians and nothing more, so that Pandia’s fate will never repeat itself.”

The white cat nodded and departed, his paws soft on the white sand; she trusted he would do his duty, and in moments felt a power on the wind that would spread her message to all of her subjects. She took comfort in that; it would never happen again. Never again.

Ersa sobbed, and, her heart aching like fire, Selene grabbed across the grave to pull her surviving daughter to her breast, the two of them making an arch over Pandia’s final place of rest. She stroked her girl’s silver hair with one hand, the other holding her close as her daughter’s tears soaked her chiton, and while she knew that neither of the pair of lovers were to blame, she was certain she was making the right choice. Ersa would never know the life of Earth as Pandia had; she would never walk in its streams, never feel its breeze tease her hair, never hear the waves crashing against its shores or smell its greenery on a warm summer’s eve. She would never know the joys of colorful sunrises or the warmth of beautiful sunsets; she would never meet the myriad of lifeforms Earth had to offer, never interact with the humans of its kingdoms, but she would be safe from this fate. As her mother, she would do her best to bring elements of Earth up to their Kingdom for Ersa to know, would install means to view everything she was being denied, sew magic into their city to synthesize experiences native to their star, but fate could not be tempted again. Her daughters were too beautiful, too magnificent, too magnetic and powerful, just as all of her descendants were bound to be, and while they had the ability to be infinitely happy they had in equal amounts the ability to end just as Pandia had in the darkest of tragedies, and Love always found a way bring that crossroads to the forefront. Of all humans on Earth, Musaeus with his many gifts was the most worthy of Pandia, and yet their love had not been enough to save them.

“It is done, my lady,” a deeper voice called, and Selene pulled back from her daughter to look upon Hecate just as smoke overcame her humanoid form and the Mau returned to her true shape. The black cat stared at her with eyes that would be unnerving to so many, but all Selene could see there was the compassion alongside the anger, the loss with the pride of justice served, and in them knew the ally she had depended upon so often to guide their ideas to fruition. “The Terrans are back where they belong, their memories erased; their ships have been destroyed, their records demolished - they will no longer know of your great kingdom or what purpose it serves.”

“And the other?” she asked, the question catching in her throat. She did not need to name the woman she spoke of - she would never think that name again, never allow it to be spoken, for repeating such a name would give it more attention and life than it deserved.

“The murderess has departed for Hades’ realm,” Hecate replied steadily, and door closed in Selene’s heart. She would not mourn the one responsible for this, and while it may be morally grey to do so, she did not fault Hecate taking this action without consultation.

Ersa’s breath caught in her throat again and Selene reached out for her daughter once more, this time drawing her to her feet. She lead her girl’s delicate steps around the grave of her departed sister and the pair of them, with Hecate keeping pace, passed by the grave of Musaeus. Wrapping her arm around her daughter’s shoulders, she escorted her new heir to their palace, noting that the white marble facade seemed emptier than before without Pandia’s light and warmth. “Have you investigated the crystal?” she asked, stepping up the stairs only too recently cleaned of blood.

“Not in great depth,” Hecate replied, “but already I sense enormous power emanating from it, power with the potential for great good or great evil, a power as brilliant as your light and as cold. It is as though it is your power that it holds - the power of a Goddess, a Deity of this celestial body. Never before has a Goddess’s tear crystallized so there is much to study, but I feel like this Silver Crystal is fated to be of great import, to yourself and your descendants.”

“My descendants?” she stated, requesting clarification as she looked upon Ersa’s crown, still holding her daughter close as they walked.

“Though it is of your making, I feel your daughter may be able to harness its powers as her own, with training.”

She swallowed, nodding. Her powers were great and marvelous; they could create illusions, act with force, heal the wounded… though not bring back those who were dead. If Pandia had had access to her skills… but she could not allow herself to travel that path. Ersa would have access. Ersa’s daughters would have access. They could protect themselves and this Kingdom she left them; eventually, that meant she, Selene, could finally rest. She could fade away, joining her parents, her siblings, the First Ones who had released their hold and forsook their claim on the mortal realm, and not worry after her daughter’s fate. “Look into it,” she stated, swallowing hard. “Make it your top priority. I want to know everything you can find out about that crystal and its use.” She paused, considering too the emotional loss Ersa faced in the death of her only sibling, “Search, too, as to whether there are others like it and who their bearers may be.”

“Yes, my Queen,” Hecate replied, and disappeared in a rush of smoke.

Ersa paused, suddenly like marble in her arms, and Selene followed her gaze to the single rose on the floor, its bud smashed and tread upon, petals strewn about its broken form. Her heart stuttered. Pandia.

Roses would never be grown on the Moon.

Never again would one of her daughters know the Earth and its dangers.

Never again.
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PostSubject: Re: Writing Guild Writing Contest Winners Thread!   6th November 2018, 8:39 am


October 2018: Ghost Stories
Sailor Moon Category Winner: Sailor Uranus (Kyra)


Ghost Stories

Years and years and years ago, there was a terrible war between the Moon and Earth. Some say it started with jealousy, some say mistrust, others blame the start was misplaced love, but everyone agrees that its end was nothing less than tragic. Both sides suffered heavy casualties; both sides lost rulers that day...

They say she haunts the castle,” the girl whispered, her hand covering her mouth to hide the story. “They say, to this day, if you listen carefully, you can hear her sobbing in the night. Her sighs are the wind that fills the castle walkways, her tears constantly drip down walls in the courtyard, her agony calling thunderstorms up without warning to interrupt romantic rendezvous. They say that if you so much as meet with your lover on the anniversary of the day it happened, she will curse you to be separated from them forever, just as she was from her Earth Prince.

They curled together in the rose-covered alcove, leaning in to hear more of the cautionary tale about their new home. She didn’t know where she ended and the others girls began, the urge for closeness and support as the story creeped through their skin and caused shivers in their spine made the touching of skin to skin only natural as they waited with bated breath for the new leader of their group to continue, their hearts bonding now in fear and worry and caution.

But it’s not only lovers that she curses, I heard,” the young girl continued, finger to her lips like she shared a closely-guarded secret, “They say the parties are freezing cold in her presence, that only the Queen can start them off or else she will seep the energy right out of your body and leave you cold and numb and hopeless, like you will never feel happy again. They say that there used to be ice skating in the capital, but the rink was permanently closed because of her. And that flower garden on the east side?

What flower garden?” asked a quiet, trembling voice.

Exactly. They say the eastern gardens were once the most beautiful in the entire Moon Kingdom, but even after they rebuilt after the war, flowers have never grown there again. They say that she won’t let them grow, that the memories she had with her friends make the gravity there too strong for flowers to come out of the soil, so it sits, desolate and dead, just like them.”

Her friends?

What happened to them?

They were killed,” she sadly explained, pausing as they quietly gasped, “Each and every one of them, in the war. They died trying to protect her and our Kingdom and were murdered to the last for it. They say that if you even mention their names in her haunting presence, your heart will be turned to stone.

No!

Yes!” she said, nodding, leaning in, her voice dropping further, “And should you ever see her corporeal form as she slowly walks her old footsteps in this castle, unless you pray for forgiveness to the Crystal Tower in the Chamber of Prayer, you will be be driven insane by her grief and eventually take your life just as she --” her breath caught, eyes widening impossibly, and the trio of girls quickly turned to see what she saw and screamed, pushing up from the ground and scrambling to their feet even as they ran to the Chamber of Prayer, visions of Princess Serenity standing beneath the covered path through the garden burned into their minds’ eye.


But it wasn’t Princess Serenity.

As the last of the girls disappeared through a courtyard door, a tall female form stood frozen, her hand curled around a small object that she pressed to her breast above her heart. As the shock wore off, her crystal blue eyes softened and filled with tears that shone in the Earthlight brighter than her silver hair or the linked golden circles that adorned the line of her shift dress. Tall and elegant and cold, she did not well resemble the old Princess of the Moon Kingdom, and it had been long since she was mistaken for her. She was Queen Serenity II, sole ruler of her world, sole survivor of a terrible assault on her kingdom, and she was alive, despite how much she had wished otherwise in the days following the burial of her friends, her family, and her only love. That that part of her had finally gotten its wish and lived on so vividly in the minds of those children as a heartbroken, malicious spirit made her feel like a crossroads stretched out before her: she could either choose to continue embracing the ghost of her past and forever mourn the loved ones she had lost, or lay the ghost to rest and open herself up to the hearts of these new arrivals.

Luna turned a corner and paused, bowing her head slightly, “Your Majesty.”

Hope was the one thing she had been good at, and yet now it seemed like the most terrifying prospect. “Luna,” she greeted, slowly easing her grip around the object clutched in her hand.

“I apologize, but have you seen them?”

“It has been a long time since you have had to keep up with children,” Queen Serenity II replied, her tone thawing. She turned slightly, looking upon her old friend and really seeing her for the first time in a very long time. A smile, foreign to her for so long, tried to shape upon her lips, “Don’t be hard on yourself. Venus was just telling them a story in the garden; I’m afraid I must have scared them. I think you’ll find them in the Chamber of Prayer.”

Luna stared at her with shock, though of a vastly different type than the children had. She nodded and continued on the path, crossing in front of her towards the most direct route to the Crystal Tower.

“Would you mind redirecting them to the solar?” she asked, and Luna paused, turning as though she did not quite believe what she heard. Serenity did not blame her, though that long-lost smile fought harder to appear. “I’d like to play a game with them.”

“A game?” Luna replied, almost choking on the suggestion.

Her heart growing warm, she slipped the trinket into a pocket and nodded, her smile finally arriving. “I’d like to take them ghost hunting.”
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