Forgotten Future, Forbidden Past

by Lady Ice (ILadyIce@aol.com)

-------------------------------------- Forgotten Future, Forbidden Past Chapter Four [insert standard Sailormoon disclaimers here] -------------------------------------- The sky had turned dark the next day, rain threatening to pour down upon Crystal Tokyo at any moment. In the garden of the palace, a young man put the finishing touches on his foliage statue of the Neo-Queen, and after staring at it with a slightly wistful glance, he continued on his way to secure the saplings and other easily breakable plants. He did it almost absentmindedly, as he had been the gardner of the palace as long as he could remember, and the motions of the work were almost mechanical now, but his thoughts were elsewhere. The Lady Faustine... Makoto... and his blurred memories of the past... "It's good to see you again, Shinju." A figure stepped out from the shadows, black cloak rustling, just as drops of rain began to fall, the first one hitting the figure on the head. "Rain.. I hate rain." The voice was unmistakably feminine, and the young man had a fleeting, hopeful thought that this woman was Makoto. It was not so, as the hood was pulled back, revealing a dark-skinned woman with green-black hair. Shinju was taken aback. This woman was familiar... "I'm sorry, do I know you?" he asked politely. "Are you sure you haven't gotten me confused with someone else?" He had noticed the crescent moon stitched on the side of her cloak, a sign of royalty. Surely, another of the palace officials wouldn't come to visit him, would they? She laughed lightly, although its undercurrents ran with bitterness. "No, you -are- who I'm looking for." She gestured to him to come to her. "This is complicated. I'll tell you what you want to know if you come with me." He hesitated. "I'm sorry, Miss..?" She frowned impatiently. "That's a little complicated as well. Like I said, Nep-- Shinju." She tugged at her hair, frown getting deeper. "Are you going to come with me already?" He nodded relunctantly, and walked over to her. She halted him with her hand, and knit her brows as if listening for something. After a few moments she smiled somewhat cheerily, and the two of them disappeared behind the castle wall. ----------------------------------- Minako Aino waited next to Neo-Moon's living quarters patiently, her eyes taking on that same vacant expression that so many of those in the crystal palace had. Her blonde hair was tied neatly in a bun, the sigil of Venus emblazoned somewhat dimly on her forehead. Anyone that passed her would get the customary nod, the polite smile, while inside her mind was screaming at her. Yet this day, she quite deftly ignored it. "Minako?" Neo-Moon halted as she came around the corner, catching sight of the Elder Venus. She had a slightly surprised expression on her face, but recovered quickly, and looked around for anyone who might have heard her. "I.. greet you, Elder Venus." Minako shrugged, her eyes suddenly coming back into focus. "There's no one around. I checked." She glanced at Neo-Moon. "Daburu, I have something to show you." Neo-Moon pushed her light-blue bangs away from her face, gray eyes troubled. "My mother?" Minako nodded slightly, her eyes closed. "Change out of your fuku. You won't be recognized as easily." Daburu tugged on the back of her clothes, and the fuku of Neo-Moon evaporated, replaced with a silvery-colored silk dress. The necklace she wore at all times now clearly visible, Minako was surprised to see a sapphire gem etched in the sigil of Mercury hanging from it. "She gave it to me before... everything," Daburu said, noticing Minako's gaze. "Well... tuck the pendant into your dress. It'll attract attention," Minako stated briskly. "Come on." She cocked her head in the direction of the northern hall, and began walking in the direction of the stairs. Daburu followed after a few moments. This was always the ritual, ever since they had been getting suspicious looks from the servants, Minako walking far ahead, while Daburu lagged behind. She hadn't cared, had actually been somewhat indigant at first, until Minako explained that inbetween the servants dwelled the spies. It wouldn't be good for her to get reported to Lady Hino, she was already on rocky ground as it was. Minako paused at the foot of the large staircase, permitting Daburu to catch up. She put her hands on Daburu's shoulders, her expression one mixed with sorrow and... something else. "Listen, Daburu. This is going to be... painful for you, god knows it was painful for me," she whispered, letting her hands drop, although her gaze remained intense. "You mustn't let anyone know what you see..." she trailed off. "What happens, happens, I suppose." She seemed to be talking to herself, and Daburu fidgeted uncomfortably. "Let's go then." Minako gestured towards the stairs, and Daburu ascended first. "Minako?" She looked over her shoulder for directions, and bowled into a large gut. "Oof! What the hell..." She blinked, and stepped back when she saw who it was. "Tudor. Hi." She rubbed the side of her face that had hit the High Senshi's chest, as Minako calmly appeared next to her. "Are you barring our way, High Senshi Tudor?" she demanded, still in a calm and cool manner. "Oh.. Elder Senshi Venus.." He seemed flustered. "I didn't see you there. I was just playing a joke... um, of course you can pass, Mistresses." He shuffled out of the way, his face crimson. "Sorry, Daburu," he whispered as she passed. She scowled at him, but her eyes were forgiving. 'He's such a big oaf...' "You know him?" Minako said when they were out of earshot. Daburu nodded. "Yeah. We met at a ceremony for the coronation of General Mars. He's an odd fellow, but he's not too bad." She was silent for a few moments. "He won't tell anyone anything, if that's what you're wondering." She looked over at the Elder Venus. Minako shrugged, face unreadable. "Mm-hm," she murmured. "Here we are." She stopped abruptly and grabbed Daburu by the front of her dress. "Guards," she muttered at the other woman's sour expression. Loud footsteps could be heard from down the hall, followed by raucous laughter. "Hey Chira! Did you hear the one about the Elder Venus?" The other woman snorted. "Yeah, I've heard all of -those- ones before. They're getting old. Have you heard the one about the palace gardner and the Elder Jupiter?" Minako seethed, as Daburu gave her an annoyed glance. 'Why doesn't she reprimand them?' When the laughter had died away, Minako pushed Daburu away from her, and peered out into the hall. Daburu cut her off before she could say anything. "Minako! Why didn't you say something to those.. those.. idiots." She fumed, arm thrown out in the direction the guards had taken. "We don't want them to know we're here, now do we?" Minako answered patiently. "But..." Daburu sighed. "Yes, I suppose we don't." She paused for a moment longer, as Minako leaned against the wall, looking around them cautiously. "Minako? Why did you choose to bring me up here now?" Minako shrugged nonchalantly, her eyes flashing. "No reason..." "Did the Neo-Queen's speech have something to do with it?" Minako flinched as if she'd been hit. "...Perhaps. Ask me about it later, alright? Now...." She walked down the hall quickly, and paused in front of a pair of double doors, Daburu following behind her. "Put your hand there." She gestured to a DNA scanning board mounted on the wall next to them. Daburu did as she was told, and a metallic voice rang out, "Greetings, Sailor Neo- Moon. Please proceed." The doors slowly creaked aside, as Daburu wondered about the nagging feeling in the back of her head. As soon as Minako and Daburu had entered the sanctum, the doors closed swiftly behind them. Daburu blinked until her eyes got accustomed to the dimmer light, then gasped in amazement. The room was nearly five times the size of her living quarters, the sides adorned with paintings, and long metal tubes with wires winding around them, while beneath the chaos were shelves upon shelves of books. On the wall directly in front of them was a large, blank screen, flashing buttons, and a multi-colored keyboard under it, two chairs whisked back as if inviting someone to sit on them. "What is this place?" Daburu questioned, still awestruck. A panel to the left of her shimmered, and emitted a screeching noise, before answering her question. "AI Mainframe, Palace Library, upper-level thirtytwo. Welcome." Minako gripped Daburu arm, and led her over to the large computer. "So? What do you want me to see?" Daburu whispered to Minako, somewhat impatient. Minako said nothing. She looked straight at the computer, and called out, "Open side door 70MA. Clearance Level VenusAM8Y7." A resounding click wafted through the air, and a door whooshed open to the left of the super computer. "Complied, Aino Minako. Proceed to your left." An array of red arrows appeared on the floor guiding them through the door. Daburu rubbed her arms against the chill, suddenly feeling nervous. 'Why has she brought me here?' The new room, which was encased completely in darkness, had an odd smell to it, and Daburu's mind churned, trying to place it. After a few moments of coming up empty-handed, her eyes finally got used to the lack of light. "There she is." Minako whispered. It was a long, thin, glass tube, the top and bottom secured stoically in the ceiling and floor, surrounded by steel arcs. Clear pipes encircled the container, and were dug into the floor, all of them pushing either a red or transparent liquid through them. And inside the glass tube... ".....no, I....." Daburu held onto Minako for support, hardly able to keep from screaming. Inside the glass tube floated Ami Mizuno. She wore a thin blue shift, which wavered gently in the liquid she was floating in, her arms crossed over her chest. Her eyes were closed, her face holding no expression. And protruding from her head... protruding from her head were three long wires, the first a silver one extending to the ceiling, the second and third were of clear glass, one extracting the red liquid from her body, the other pushing in the transparent liquid which originated from a tank in the far corner. "....oh, god... oh, god, how did this happen?" a strangled cry forced from her throat, and she looked at Minako with horror-filled eyes. "How could you let this happen?" "Please restate the question." The metallic voice seemed louder now, in this room, and unmistakably feminine. "I'm sorry, I... couldn't stop it." Minako looked away from Daburu's accusing eyes, shame-faced. "I couldn't stop it..." she whispered again, dropping Daburu's arm. "No, I'm afraid I couldn't allow her to," a cold voice remarked from behind them. Minako froze, while Daburu turned, almost in slow-motion, to see who this new voice belonged to. It was the Lady Faustine. ----------------------------------- "What do you want me to do?" "We need to gather everyone.. the original Senshi..." "Neptune and Mars..." "Forget about them. For now..." Emmeline had wandered out to her ledge again, feeling restless after Serenity's speech, and after a few minutes had, unfortunately, begun to doze. Voices drifted to her half-unconscious mind, and even in her sleep she strained to hear them better. "The other Neo-Senshi?" "..Moon is with us... and.. ask the others yourself." "The child?" "It was explained in the prophecy." "You'll tell the Elder Jupiter in the morning?" "...Yes." "And the eavesdropper?" "Take her." Emmeline was quite suddenly wide-awake, but before she could even let out a squeak, hands were clamped over her mouth, and she once again drifted off into slumber... ----------------------------------- Author's Notes: Yes, Ami is just one big computer now... uh, was that revelation surprising to anyone? ;) And, oh, no! Faustine caught Minako and Daburu looking at her little experiment.. tsk, tsk. Wonder what she's going to ::gasp:: do to them? ;) Who's that woman that took Shinju, and who is he exactly? And has Neo-Jupiter been kidnapped?! ;) Ah well.... on to writing the next chapter...