Chapter 40

Wiseman fired another lightning bolt at Sailor Moon, the girl nimbly evading the blast and returning with one of her own.  "Moonbeam Strike!"

The needles of light shot towards Wiseman, slamming into a shield inches from his body.  He grunted with exertion as the force field wavered, losing ground to Moon's attack.  The two struggled, Sailor Moon slowly pushing forward, Wiseman slowly yielding ground.  Finally, in a surge of brightness, the moonbeams smashed through his shield and into Wiseman, the force sending him flying backwards.  Serena gave a quick victory gesture, then ran to the prone man.

"Give up, Wiseman."  Her self-assured voice echoed through the silent hall.  "Or should I say, Rubeus.  As usual, you can't win.  You have no more lackeys to help you, coward.  No longer will the earth be ruled by your evil!"  She stood menacing over him, sword inches from his chest.  "Now, tell me how I can get back to my own time!"

"No!  I will not accept defeat!"  With a great yell, a wave of energy radiated from his body, battering Sailor Moon to her knees.  He began to glow as energy rushed to him.  The glowing darkness whipped through the air, surrounding him and lifting him off the ground as the smoky substance absorbed into his body.  It solidified into pitch black robes adorned with a glowing inverted crescent moon.  A large, black sword appeared before him, and he clasped its hilt with both hands.  "This," he said, grinning, "is the Crystal Sword, the last and greatest of the Crystal Weapons.  You don't stand a chance."

With that he lunged at her, leaping across the room with a double-handed swing.  She barely stepped back and brought up her own word to parry the strike, and shuddered back from the force of the impact.  He advanced, raining blows on her, each one barely blocked and sending her staggering, until her back almost touched the wall of the chamber.

Wiseman swung horizontally, attempting to cleave her head off.  Sailor Moon shrieked as she saw the blade streak towards her and ducked, scampering forwards and away as she regained her balance and turned to face him.  She stood up, swinging around wildly with her sword in an arc Wiseman easily avoided.

"Your swordsmanship is hopeless," he commented, smiling.  He lunged forwards, the sword held one-handed in a stab that she barely avoided.  He once again took the offensive, forcing her back with no opportunity for her to retaliate.  Finally, he struck her sword out of her hands.

"Witness now the true power of the Dark Moon."  Wiseman, smiling, as he outstretched one hand.  Immediately tendrils of darkness whipped towards Sailor Moon, wrapping around her like a python.  Serena screamed with pain, the tentacles crushing her as well as burning her skin.

"I had considered giving you an easy death.  However, I think this way will be much more enjoyable."  He gave a twisted grin.  A twitch of his fingers summoned an onyx sphere, which hovered, then splintered, shooting towards Sailor Moon like darts.  She flinched at the glancing blows, as her white uniform bloomed red in an unnerving number of places.

"Don't toy with me, Rubeus.  Or are you too weak-- or too cowardly to finish me off?" Serena scowled defiantly.  She definitely didn't feel as confident as she sounded.  The tentacle things holding her seemed to be sapping her energy, in addition to her wounds...  And the others... she had an awful feeling about them...

"Never call me that!" Wiseman thundered.  The darkness binding Serena tightened sharply, crushing her ribs...  Her vision became cloudy... 

Just as suddenly as it began, the crush stopped.  "I almost forgot," Wiseman smirked, composure regained.  "Before I kill you, take a look at your friends."  With a sweep of his arm, an image of the antechamber appeared before them.  The room showed signs of battle as the view panned, finally landing on a bloody heap of bodies on the floor.

"No..."  Serena closed her eyes, unable to look, tears mingling with the blood on her face.

"Yes.  It seems they had a little run-in with one of my minions.  Sadly, Neue Ziel didn't make it, but it did its job."  A small sound behind him...  "Which is more than I can say about you..."  Darkness snaked behind him, engulfing the figure sneaking towards him to the breast.  "... sister."

Garnetia glowed with an inner light, dispelling Wiseman's darkness.  "You should know this won't work on me, dear brother."  Red energy lanced towards Sailor Moon, severing the darkness holding her.  "Are you so weak then that you must beat on children?" Garnetia scowled.  "Or do you just fight her because you know you can't defeat me."

"Don't interfere where you aren't wanted!" Wiseman yelled, snapping his fingers and teleporting her out of the room.

"You can't get rid of me this easily!" she replied, following back.  However, upon her return, a large force dome had been erected in the hall.  No matter how hard she tried, she could not penetrate it... but she knew Warrior Moon's screams of pain would be able to.  I've made enough of these in my own time... she thought, cursing herself.

All that time wasted being evil... now she had a chance to redeem herself, and she was locked out.  "Damn!" she swore, banging a fist against the dome.  It wavered slightly, but did not yield.  Ironic, the source giving her incredible power was the same that kept her from fighting Wiseman herself.  He always was better at channelling power...  Channelling... that was it!  Garnetia could help Sailor Moon after all!

/Sailor Moon!/

What?  Garnetia...  You're... in my head?

/There's no time to explain.  Look, Wiseman is channeling power from a planetary conjunction... it makes him much more powerful than he usually is.  I get this power too, but I can't get through the force dome to fight him.  If you open your mind, I can channel it to you./

A-alright.  Serena grimaced, dropping the defenses protecting her mind.  There was a brief period of intense pain as Wiseman attacked, then a red warm feeling as Garnetia's energy poured into her.

/Don't worry, Sailor Moon.  We'll make short work of him./  Serena could picture Garnetia's confident head toss punctuating the statement.  She closed her eyes, feeling more and more power fill her.  Rejuvenated, she felt her wounds heal as she began to glow, pushing the dark tentacles away from her body.

In a burst of golden red brilliance, she was free, energy blowing her hair and clothes.  Warrior Moon was solemn, slowly moving her hand to a level position.  The Moon Sword returned to it, gaining a golden red glow.  "You killed my friends, ruined the earth, changed the future and the past... committed more sins than I can list.  And for that, in the name of the moon, I will punish you, if its the last thing I do."  With this, golden red light beamed from the blade, slamming into Wiseman and destroying the force dome.

Staggering backwards, he returned with volley of energy spheres, buffeting her on the blasts.  With a feral snarl, Wiseman closed in with his sword.



Wiseman fell, his sword clattering out of his reach.  Cursing, he struggled to his feet to see Sailor Moon standing over him.

"It ends now.  MOON SOUL CLEANSING...!"  Light brighter than the sun formed around Warrior Moon, shooting through her blade and engulfing Wiseman.  He gave a shriek of pain as the pure light illuminated the darkness of his soul, evil bubbling from his body into the air.  The darkness finally dispelled, Wiseman flopped to the ground.

Spent from the Cleansing, Sailor Moon sagged, making her way to Wiseman's prone form not without difficulty.  "Well?  Aren't you going to finish me off?" he asked, giving a shallow cough.

She shook her head.  "I can't kill you...  I'd rather you repent, and work for good.  Even though you did such awful things, it wouldn't be right to do anything else," she said softly.

Wiseman hmphed.  "Foolish, but it doesn't matter... I'm dying anyway."  He cracked a pained smile at her horrified look.  "Don't be so surprised.  Your 'Soul Cleansing' is a neat trick, but when you've been evil for as long as I have... there's not much left."  His expression changed to a grimace as shudders wracked his bony frame.

"But...  Can't you use the power from before?" Serena asked frantically.  "Can't you--"

"No," Wiseman said decisively.  "I'm... finished.  It's too late for me..."  He trailed off, eyes heavy.  "Garnetia..." he reached for the woman, who clutched his outstretched hand.  "Take care of Rubeus, sister," he wheezed.  "Don't let him turn out like me..."  Wiseman struggled for a few last breaths and was still, cradled in Garnetia's arms.

Wordlessly, she gazed at the others as Wiseman's body disintegrated, fading into thin air.  After a heavy pause, Sailor Earth broke the silence.  "The Time Key..."

Sailor Time held out her hands, head bowed.  "I'm sorry... it's gone...  Serena, I'm so, so sorry..."

"Gone?"  Serena's lip trembled as she struggled to maintain control.  "What.. what happened to it?"

"I don't know.  Time gulped. "I..I'm not sure... I think it was hit by that Neue Ziel thing we were fighting before...  And now it's gone.  What do we do?"

Serena was quiet for a long moment.  Slowly she spoke.  "Sailor Time, you have to go back and fix the time stream....."  She continued with difficulty.  "Only you can protect the others.  I... I'll stay here."

Sailor Time looked up, eyes tearful.  "But.. I can't leave you here!  Once I leave, I dont' know if I can return to this time!"

"She won't be alone." Garnetia put her arm around the shoulder of Warrior Moon.  "I'd like to make amends for my behavior... If I could, I'd like to help this world rebuild."

"We'll stay with her too." Celeste approached, carrying Sailor Little Moon in her arms.  "Look what I found," she said, smiling.  "She's weak, but alive.  Thank you."

"See, Rini?" Sailor Moon smiled sadly.  I'll be fine here.  Now, you go and save the others.  You need to stop Rubeus from using the Time Key in the first place.  That's all you need to do."

Time cried out, feeling herself being pulled again, just like when she had first appeared in the future.  "I'm sorry, it seems I have to go now.  Goodbye everyone...Serena..."  Shimmering softly, she faded away.

* * * * *

"Who's hiding, Sailor Scrubs?  I'm right above you."  The Scouts looked up to see Rubeus balanced on the chandelier.

"Aah!  I am Sailor Moon!  I will right wrongs and triumph over evil!  And in case you weren't paying attention, that means YOU!"

"Where are the sisters?" Mars asked.

"Sorry to disappoint you, but they had to step out for a bit.  Hopefully I can entertain you in their place."

"Ooh... come down and fight like a Sailor Scout, you scumbucket!" Venus challenged.

"Again I apologize..."  He pulled out an incredibly adorned golden rod and clicked three parts together.  "...but you really must go.  It wasn't nice knowing you, Scouts, but it'll be great knowing you've never existed.

"What are you babbling about?  'Never existed'?" asked Mercury.

"It's only a matter of time.  Excuse the pun."  Rubeus pointed the Time Key at the Scouts.

A burst of light startled him, and he shielded his eyes.  The scouts looked up at its source.  Above them, a swirling portal had formed.  Through it, a figure barely could be seen.

Sailor Time shot out of the portal, trails of energy streaming behind her as she sped towards Rubeus.  "TIME'S ARROW!"  Before he could react, the purple energy had destroyed the Time Key.

Furious, Rubeus leapt towards her, only to meet with another arrow.  He dropped to the ground, wounded.  Cursing, he gestured sharply.  "Vitra!  Come forth!"

From the ceiling melded a youma.  "I'll take care of these for you, Lord Rubeus."  Turning to the Scouts, she snarled.  "VIBRATION..."

They'll be alright, now, Time thought, And now, it's time for me to go.

"Wait-- who are you?" Sailor Moon asked as she turned around to face the Sailor Scouts.

"Sailor Time," she replied simply.  All around her, the world seemed to become unreal, unraveling itself.  "Farewell," she said, a single tear trailing down her face.

There was a brief shimmer, then nothing but darkness.

Chapter 40 was submitted by Tina and Jinas.

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