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 KK's No Guarantees fiction- The Balance of Truth

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KuroKari
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Star Seed

Title : It is a Cold-Hearted and Merciless Caesar who will take you out to Crown Fruit Parlor!
Posts : 29
Join date : 2014-06-06
Age : 36

PostSubject: KK's No Guarantees fiction- The Balance of Truth   18th June 2014, 11:41 am

You thought that this would be written by someone good, but it was I, Dio Kuro!

A reminder, I write no-guarantees fiction- I don't guarantee anything fun, interesting, or creative. This is just a fic I will be working on to get out of my system, but I don't post things I'm uncomfortable with people responding to.

Part 1: A Vast and Lonely Place.
--------------------

The Moon has, since the oldest times, been a source of endless fascination and awe for those who have dwelled upon the Earth. there is no people who has not had some myth or divinity associated with the blue planet's silver twin. Speculation and poetry and song of all measure had been given over to it since time before memory- and it was the wildest and most fantastic of those thoughts which were the ones that spoke the most truth.

The Silver moon once had a silver queen, a beautiful creature that once ruled over a thousand years of peace. It bred love and genius and strength of both will and character, and this kingdom had also a princess, who was the image of her mother. And this princess had four retainers who were loyal until death, and beyond. However, as it has been, those on the Earth became jealous of those on the Moon, but for the most part, this was a mere flickering shadow, a trick of light and the wind.

It was this way until a devil settled its terrible presence on the Earth in secret. This creature had seethed with its anger in hidden places, far from the eyes of decent beings who would stake all to destroy it, if they had known its designs. It fed those jealousies and passions and hatreds with honeyed poison and hollow praise. It spoke of great triumphs, of exalted victory and the great treasures to be found above. And most of all, it spoke of how the full glory of the Moon could easily be theirs, if only they were to reach out and seize it with an iron hand. The flickering shadow became a looming darkness, a monument to the avarice and wrath that had overtaken the will of man.

And when the call to go to the Moon rose loud enough, this devil, Metalia, showed them the way.

When they came, it was with a lust for blood, and Metalia came with them- urging them on to burn and topple the luminous spires, to plunder and destroy- and to take everything that belonged to the people of the Moon, both their treasures and their lives alike. Metalia herself cast down a rain of fire, and those hollow-souled men who followed her shouted in joy at the screams and cries that echoed in the starlit night.

Serenity, the silver queen, robbed them of true, as she used her most sacred treasure to throw down Metalia and her followers, driving them into the darkest corner of the Earth, but the ruin was so complete that the Moon now belonged to no one. The only companion it had for most of that time was the light of the stars that kept silent watch over that ancient land, ten thousand distant candles burning their silent vigil over the death of peace.

New visitors were coming, however, as the tales of that Moon Kingdom had long spread far and to distant stars, and that memory lingered long after the close of that silver millennium. While most had disregarded such things as time wore on, as would could find this and a dozen times a dozen other legends told freely at any corner of the heavens, there were a few that had grown curious in their travels. Grasping on those loose threads in the tapestry of myth, they were guided only by those ancient songs and verses. Their slim white ship, fit for travel between the stars, slowed as it approached the moon, its six blue wings glittering the the unfiltered light of the sun. It took only a few minutes for the ship's own instruments to inform its crew that this was, indeed, the fabled place. Most of those aboard disembarked at once, and stood there at the lost city of the Moon, at the proverbial foot of Ozymandias.

All were proper and uniformed men, in uniform jackets and pants, black gloves, and boots. One of them, the figuratively flame-haired Tourmal, picked up a piece of shattered column. "You know, it figures we'd come all this way just to find a ruin. That'll teach us to use lyric verse as a pipeline for current events."

A hand belonging to Aquaris picked up the piece of column, setting it down and brushing the rock dust off of Tourmal's red jacket before that same hand straightened his own light blue heir. He looked about with eyes colored the same. "This place does belong to the dead, however, and they might not take too kindly if we disturb their things. Dealing with that once was enough, thank you."

While all of the men were fit and quite in their prime, the green-clad and -haired one that came forth was more substantial in his height. Tsavori took a look around, and folded his arms. "Whatever the case, we had better be prepared to stick around. A place like this is practically made to put our lord in one of his moods."

A fourth nodded his assent to that, a shorter man with long, black hair and bright, yellow eyes. "Still, his divinations are entertaining as they are true. Let's see what song and dance he puts on for us this time."

They were interrupted by a voice as deep as a desert well and as smooth as polished steel. "I am glad that the day finds you in such good humor, Lignis." The one who addressed them was a bit on the taller side of things, with short, white hair that went no further than the base of his neck at its lowest, and fresh bandages of the same color wrapped both around his forehead and over his right eye, though those injuries were so long ago the dressings were more an affectation than anything. His remaining eye was a bright gold. Around the collar of his white, black-trimmed uniform jacket was a woven gold braid, and on his shoulders was a long, white coat, and around his neck was a pendant that carried a golden jewel shaped as a many-pointed star, which shone from within with an eternal light.

Lignis looked to the new speaker. "Lord Aurus, I thought you were mooring the ship."

Aurus waved his hand. "It was simple enough." He looked around the vast ruins, undisturbed by elements or visitors. "It seems we came too late. By how much, I don't know."

Tourmal shrugged. "Not like it's a place that begs for tourism. I guess we did find it, though. So... Now what?"

Aurus decided to act his answer. He placed each of his hands on one of the broken columns, and began to speak the words. They were old words, older then the men there, their families, and even their own venerable country. However, while everyone knew their meaning, Lord Aurus was one of the few who remembered their power as well. Translated, they might appear something like this:

Speak, O mighty stones, and tell me of the builders and the shapers
Speak, O great sky, and tell me of the singers and the teachers
Speak, O jeweled heavens, and tell me of the thinkers and the dreamers
Speak, O kind earth, and tell me of the lovers and the mourners.

And he stood there for a long while, his single eye closed. After a while, Tsavori sighed a bit. "See, he's in one of his moods."

Aquaris smiled. "Come on, it's not like our lord has ever fallen asleep in the middle of something like this. Not easy to sleep standing up."

After some more time, Aurus's eye slowly opened, and he looked around. "This place is drenched in pain and sorrow. It did not die a peaceful death." And with that, he was off, and his men followed.

Aurus ran towards a pile of rubble, and scrambled to the top of it. He took a look around him from his vantage, and then squatted down, placing his hand on one of the broken slabs. "This was once a watchtower. The ones who manned ti were vigilant and brave, however, the enemy came so swift and fierce that they did not know either the name or nature of their enemy before they were destroyed." After a moment, he climbed down, and was off again, dashing deeper into the ruined city.

By the time his men had caught up with him, Aurus was  in the middle of a vacant path. He slowly brushed away the thick dust, and eventually found one of the paving stones of the street underneath. He traced the edges of the stone with one of his fingers, before he stood up. There was a great rush to get out of the way of the enemy, and escape to some place of momentary safety. However, the press of their foes was too strong, and there were no feet made in this place that could escape the reaper's blade that day." Lord Aurus looked around for a moment, and moved on.

He ran up a pile by the side of the street. He knelt down on the crumbled stone, looking it over intently. He turned over one of the stones, and soon after placed it back the way he found it. "Not everyone had the time to flee. A mother could not bear to leave her youngest behind in this house, and so stayed her until the end. When this place began to collapse, she tried to shield her children with her body, but the stones were too many and too heavy, and none were spared."

Without saying another word, he ran off again, down the dusty streets. He only barely knew where his legs were taking him, and he didn't dare stop running where he was being taken by his mood. His men had only barely begun to catch up with him as Lord Aurus vaulted over a shattered fountain and ran up a set of step. Once he saw his men, he shouted so that they could hear him, as he gestured to the grand courtyard. "Here is where the most loyal of the Moon's Guardians made their stand! Almost alone they stood against the deadly hordes, and held fast, but not for long. The enemy was not alone, for it came with a deadly and formless terror that devoured hope, and soon, even those bright beacons were extinguished." 

Lord Aurus soon ran under some of the few remaining standing arches, and this time waited for his men to join him. His feet brought him to a spot where one fallen column lay resting against one that still stood straight up, and Lord Aurus stroked one of his gloved fingers trough a groove on the fallen column. "This is where the queen died. She was able to banish the monstrous terror, but by then, all had been lost. She used her power to send the spirits of her fallen people elsewhere, along with her last hope that they would be reborn into lives where fate would be more kind to them." He closed his eye, and took a long, deep breath to free his mind from what it had taken on.

Tourmal looked around. "This place is a total wreck, though. That could've happened a thousand years ago or more."

Aurus shook his head. "Perhaps, but the feelings that linger here are so powerful, for lack of a more accurate term, that it may have happened not long before we started to move towards this star." He turned his eye skyward. "Either way, I'm sure that the answers lie on that blue planet over there. Who did this, why, and whether the guilty still live."

Aquaris thought for a moment. "My lord, we will follow you wherever you go, but I think we might need to narrow it down a little."

Their lord nodded, and the golden crystal detached itself from his pendant. It floated before him and it grew ever brighter, Aurus reading its light. "We will find our answers in a tall city on an island that borders a vast sea. I will mark it for us." A great light sprang out of the crystal, and formed into a long, golden spear. "Go, as though you were haste itself." With that, the spear flew off into the distance at the speed of ill news.

Lignis nodded. "So, what are we going to do once we get there?"

Aurus thought for a moment. "We will search for any likely people who may know of the history of this moon. We will know what they know, ant what they know shall be taken by force, if necessary."

A hand raised, that no doubt belonged to Tsavori, as it was raised so high. "And what shall we do if the guilty still live?" He asked this, already knowing what answer his lord would give.

Aurus turned to look at Earth. "No matter how many there may be, and even if we have to punish that whole world, we shall do as we always have." The golden crystal floated back down, and reattached itself to his pendant. "We shall find them, and they shall die."

-------------------------

On Earth, the planet's strongest line of defense against the doom of all mankind was having some time to herself after school at Crown Fruit Parlor. And it really was to herself, as well, as her only company this time was Luna, who had little to say for a change. Usagi did eventually get company that was neither feline nor cake as she went through one of her books. "Hey there, Usagi, what's up?"

Usagi squeaked in surprise and fumbled her fork, and it was only the devil's own luck that kept Luna from receiving an unwanted ear piercing. Luna herself soon sought safety underneath the booth seat  in order to shield herself from the ambient hazards caused by Tokyo's most eminent practicing klutz. That didn't keep her from looking over to see the runner-up of her love life (not that he was much aware there was a competition in the first place). "Hey there, Motoki! On break?"

"If you can believe I even got one." He began to look around. "Hey, where are your friends? there are usually at least a couple."

She shrugged. "Yeah, everyone had something they had to take care of or something. That means it's just me, my books, and studying."

Motoki had a chuckle at that. "Studying? You really must be bored if you've started to hit those kinds of books."

She hmphed in response. "I'm really trying to be responsible this time, you know! The entrance exams are actually a big deal, and everyone else is going to get in for sure. Ami can get into any school she could ever want, Rei doesn't even have to take the exams, Makoto is a hard worker, and Minako has dreams she wants." She poked at her book. "I don't want to be left behind, and not just because mom would kill me."

He soon waved it off. "All right, all right, I get it, you're motivated.  Still, it's a bit strange to see you really serious about something, but things can change in a couple of years."

Usagi knew this far more than Motoki might have even begun to imagine. "Yeah, but I'm going to get in, no matter what. Sticking by friends is something I do."

The arcade jockey gave his smile. "All right, I guess you're not that different. Even though you used to cry a lot, not much ever really got you down for too long, rain or shine."

She gave a big smile at that, and hopped right up on the booth, placing one foot on the table. "That's right, I'm always going to be me. In fact, nothing that falls from the sky can get me down!" She was about to have a good laugh, but it was that moment that fate answered her call, and a long, golden spear fell through the front of a car that was parked on the sidewalk by the window of the booth where Usagi was sitting. the impact shattered the front windows of the car, and the spear itself skewered the engine block as the point buried itself in the street, ensuring that the car was immobilized in at least two ways.

Motoki blinked. "That's... Different."

Usagi herself turned her head to look at the accident with all of the speed of an unenthusiastic snail, becoming fully aware of the fact that if it had landed not too far in a certain other direction, it may have brought a swift and ignominious end to her career as a pretty soldier of love and justice. "Ah.... Ah....." It was also at this point that Luna game out of hiding, and jumped up onto Usagi's shoulder to snap her out of it. She hopped down from her spot on the table, grabbed her things, and dashed off. "GottagomakesomecallsseeyoulaterMotokibye!"

Motoki looked out. "Huh. Normally she'd be bawling at something like that, but now... Is this kind of thing normal for her?"

It was then, and only then, that the car's alarm went off.

-------------------------

Ami was located, as she usually was, among stacks of books, though this time it was at least in an actual library. One of the librarians brought her more as she read, and looked to the bespectacled student. "Here's what you asked for, but some of this seems rather advanced for a student of your age."

Ami put down her copy of Gray's Anatomy. "Yes, but I'm not going to be this young forever, and I don't think it has ever hurt to plan ahead for this sort of thing."

The librarian shrugged, and walked off. It wasn't his place to argue with visitors, and arguing at all in a library was unwise from the beginning.

Ami was glad to have the quiet of the library, as her own circle of friends tended to have a number of rather dramatic personalities. She was, however, glad to know that being alone was now a choice in recent times, rather than a constant state of being. Of course, she was not left in that time of quiet study, as her so-called watch started buzzing. She quickly set up some tall books around her spot to hide herself, and flipped open her communicator. "Usagi? I told you I was at the library."

"Hey there, Ami! Listen, there's something I need to tell you. I neeeeed youuuuur braiiiins."

The genius whispered back. "I'm sorry, but I can't be your study partner today- there's just too much here that I don't have access to at home that I need to read."

"Sorry Ami, but this isn't study, this is business. Not school business, the other business. We'll meet at Hikawa Shrine, okay?"

Ami understood immediately. "All right, you can count on me." She closed up all of her books, stacking them up by subject and in proper shelving order before she got up to leave.

----------------

Rei had her own chores to do, mainly in the form of sweeping and other relatives of the groundskeeping family tree. Keeping the shrine clean was only a small part of the reqason for doing such things. While others might find such tasks tedious, for others it was a time of quiet contemplation, or at least not to be bothered by other persons. The fact that she was attended by a pair of ravens made sure that only those with the most pressing questions would ask them, as Phobos and Deimos were not the most friendly or alluring-looking birds in the animal kingdom.

The shrine had actually been getting better, by Rei's reckoning. Yuuichiro really was taking his Shinto training seriously, and this meant that her grandfather spent more time teaching him. This in turn meant that her grandfather spent far less time harassing teenage girls into becoming part-time shrine maidens, and so the shrine's reputation was slowly being rehabilitated- and the less she heard her home being called things like the "hentaiwa shrine", the better.

Any pause she may have had to reflect on the seasons, however, ended when her "watch" started beeping. She flipped it open. "Sorry Usagi, but I told you about my chores today."

"Don't be so sour, Rei, I'm not asking you to leave, I'm just telling you that the rest of us are coming over."

It was then that one of the veins in Rei's forehead began some extra exercise. "Usagi, I know that we hang out here a lot, but you can't just come by for my stuff whenever you feel like it!"

Usagi hmphed at the other end. "Well, why don't you tell that to the bad guys? Maybe they'll listen to you, and then we won't have to worry about anything."

Rei dropped her broom. "Wait, bad guys? What bad guys? What's going on?"

"I knew that'd get your attention. Anyway, we'll be seeing you soon!" Click.

"Usagi. Usagi! NNNNNRRRGH!" Faced with another potentially relaxing day down the drain, Rei continued her spiritual work with clenched teeth, and in a decidedly non-harmonious way.

----------------

Makoto Kino, once known in certain delinquent circles as "The ogre of Juuban", was practicing one of her lesser-known skills- cooking. It was not often attributed to her, as she was generally known for fighting and the fact that, even though she was still in junior high, she was taller than most fully-grown women. Her closer friends knew, however, that delicious treats flowed from her stove and oven like manna from heaven, and they might even argue that heaven would have to step up its game to stay afloat.

She was not always able to share such things with friends, as she had none for what seemed like the longest time. That is, until one stumbled out of the bushes while she was off having lunch by herself. Whatever Usagi's flaws might have been in those days, at least she had the virtue of only being afraid of monsters. However, today she had marked off time for managing her cooking practice absent any distractions. Not that it kept any from finding her anyway, as her communicator started beeping on the counter. She quickly turned down the heat on the range, and opened up the device. "Hello? Have we got bad news?"

Usagi was on the other end. "Yeah, I wouldn't be using this if it wasn't. We're all on our way to Hikawa shrine- there is some real incoming weird, I'm sure."

Mako nodded- there was no objection from her. "All right, I'll be right there!"

"Oh, and Mako?"

Makoto was just about to close the communicator. "Yeah?"

"Could you bring whatever you're cooking? See you there!"

Mako sighed a bit. She had undertaken a pretty big project that afternoon. She would have no problem carrying it all, but getting it all on the bus? that would take planning.

----------------

"Okay Minako, that's enough for now."

Minako took a big drink of water from the bottle she kept handy. She had been subjecting herself to rigorous voice coaching. Hitting the notes was actually the easy part of being a vocal performer, but doing that on the stage, under hot lights, the pressure of a demanding audience, and the fact that being a live idol required working more than just one's vocal cords meant a whole lot of hard, tough work in order to even attempt the dream, much less live it. There was still only so much practice she could take in one day.

Of course, Minako was already the idol of millions, just not as herself. She was known worldwide as Sailor V a fair while before any of her comrades were ever awakened to the selves that they were so long ago, and she had sacrificed a great deal to keep her secret. Now, however, she wanted to be famous for being her.

Of course, a reminder of her other duty came along in the form of her white cat after she left the practice office. Artemis tossed her the communicator that he had been holding in his mouth. "Mina, this has been ringing off the hook! There must be something serious."

Mina caught the watch herself, and opened it up quickly. "Usagi! Is there an attack going on or something?"

"Not yet, but there could be- everyone's going to the shrine anyways, and it's not going to be complete without Sailor V!"

Mina hushed. "Careful with that, we're in public! I'll be right there anyways." She closed the watch.

Artemis looked up at her. "Could be? That doesn't sound very conclusive. Think she might just be looking for an excuse to hang out?"

Mina leaned over to pick him up. "Maybe, but I don't think it's something we can afford to blow off if she isn't making it up."

--------------------

Minako was the last to arrive at Rei's room at the shrine. She didn't need to guess why Rei was grumpy, but the first sign that something was off was that Usagi herself looked like she had a case of the grumps despite the fact that Makoto's seasoned rice balls were not only available but also in easy reach- in fact, Usagi wasn't even stuffing her face with them, which meant things actually had a chance of being serious. Artemis hopped up on the Kotatsu. "Usagi, what's this all about? Were you attacked?"

Usagi sat back. "Not completely sure, but when a golden spear falls out of nowhere and impales a car, that can make you suspect something's up, you know?"

Before anyone could ask anything, Luna jumped up on the table. "And before anyone asks, she's not making this up, I saw it myself. There's definitely someone else who's thinking of getting involved down here, and they're probably not friendly."

Mizuno took off her glasses. "I don't really think it takes much more than pattern recognition to figure out that any new visitors will be going around Tokyo, but do we really know anything else? It might just be a piece of debris from something that doesn't even involve Earth or us, and given how objects in motion can travel unimpeded in space for thousands of years, it might even be from a battle that happened well before there was ever civilization on Earth. Granted that such a thing landing from that is quite improbable."

Makoto had herself a stretch- she had been sitting there for quite some time, plus she had to carry the food all the way to the shrine and up the long steps. "Yeah, but on the other hand, they might have actually been aiming for Usagi, and if they were attacking from space, that would've been a really close call."

Something caught in Usagi's throat- she didn't like being reminded of that close shave. "Erk... Well, I just want all of you to keep an eye out for other strange things, because it feels like we get caught by surprise by every bunch of jerks that wants to use Earth as their own soccer ball, and I'm not even counting the time we lost our memories, either. I want to deal with these people fast, so that nobody dies this time, nobody gets mind-controlled, and we definitely aren't going to drop back down to Earth on a rock!" Usagi hmphed, and crossed her arms.

Rei blinked. "Yeah, about that... Just who was responsible for us losing our memories that time? 'cause I think I was dead when it happened. In fact, the only one who probably wasn't was-"

Usagi slammed her hand on the table. "That's not the point! The point is that  these people keep on getting in the way of us having fun, and me from seeing Mamo-chan except when he shows up as Tuxedo Mask. It's so unbearable it almost makes me cry."

"Um.. If I may?" Ami raised her hand a bit. "There's an astronomer named Kakeru Ozora- he's seen as a bit of a crackpot due to pushing his Moon Kingdom hypothesis for years without any empirical proof, but he's so good at actually studying the movement of stellar objects that observatories overlook that, and continue to hire him, even if it's discreetly. If the enemy is attacking from space, he may have noticed something that others haven't."

Luna blushed a bit. "If... You wouldn't mind, I'd like to go with you?"

Ami couldn't quite parse this, but Makoto was able to strike down the silence that followed. "I think more of us should go, too- if we've been looking at them, they might have noticed it, and they probably wouldn't like it.."

It was Ami's turn to blush next. "That's not really-"

Mina stepped up next. "Yeah, if we don't keep Ami on target, she might get swept up the the advances of some dashing rogue with a doctorate, who enchants her by whispering sweet science into her ear." It was at this point that Ami turned roughly tomato-colored, and felt on the verge of regret for telling them that her ideal man would be like Albert Einstein. Teasing was a two-way street in this circle of five, however.

Usagi had other words in mind. "And that leaves me here,t o make sure Rei doe her job and uses that fire-seeing thing to see who the new guys actually are."

Rei grumped. "You've never had to worry about me holding up my end, but I'm not sure that the spiritual vision of Earthly vision is going to see into outer space. Whenever I've had visions, it's because the enemy was already here. Wouldn't hurt to check."

The princess had a deep breath. "Thank you... I know I asked maybe too much by having you all come here so fast, but I'm glad I can count on you to help when this kind of thing happens." Usagi recollected herself soon enough. "Now, let's see about these rice balls..."

There was, at least an intervention by Rei. "You'd better leave some for the rest of us this time!"

-----------------------

Lignis was, indeed on the Earth, and distant worlds were not so different. He had canvassed the media for any reporting that might help him, and some helpful news had reached his ears, once the linguistics had been decoded. He took a look up at the hill that Mitaka Observatory sat on. "I don't think that this Kakeru could call it a mere hypothesis anymore." He grabbed on of his legs. "Nngh, stiff- I'll need to get my planet legs back before I try anything."

He took a quick look around, before taking an eight-faceted black crystal that carried its own light. "And thanks to the Typhoon stone our lord has granted me, there will be nothing to stop me. We will soon know all that you know."
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KK's No Guarantees fiction- The Balance of Truth

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