24 Hours to Life
by Moon Momma

5:00 pm, Tokyo
Usagi, Senshi

* * * * * * * *

Usagi sat on the curb, breathing hard after the latest battle. This had been going on almost non-stop for nearly three hours, and she was exhausted, but still the monsters kept coming. Would they ever stop? Or would this keep up for as long as there was any kind of connection between the reality where the Dark Kingdom had happened and the reality she had created with her wish? She wondered if Nephrite had thought about what they would do if his plan succeeded too well; he had been so desperate to get back to the other reality that he probably hadn't thought about the consequences of his plan beyond his immediate goals.

Oh well, she hadn't thought beyond her immediate desires either, when she had made the wish that had split Earth's reality into two different tracks. So she supposed this was no more than she deserved.

Sailor Mars came and sat down beside her, also breathing hard and displaying a large number of assorted cuts and burns. "I don't think it's ever going to let up," she said.

"It serves me right, for making such a selfish wish," Usagi said. "I shouldn't have messed with reality."

"If you hadn't made that wish, we would have stayed dead, and there wouldn't have been anyone to protect the Earth from those other villains who were trying to destroy it or take over it," Rei pointed out.

"Yeah, there is that," Usagi said. "But I didn't know my wish would cause so much trouble later on."

Sailor Jupiter joined them. "This isn't your fault, Usagi-chan. You made the wish, but it was the crystal that decided how to fulfill it. All of this must be for a reason, even if we don't know what the reason is right now."

Sailor Mercury also came over. "There's a theory that every decision made by every person splits reality into two different branches, so that there are billions of parallel realities existing side-by side. The trouble only comes when you try to merge two of them again. Every choice, every decision leads to countless unseen consequences. But my projections have shown that these two realities were intended to eventually merge again in a few hundred years. We just made it happen faster than it would have naturally, and maybe that was supposed to happen. Like Sailor Jupiter said, right now we can't see the purpose for all this, but I'm sure that someday it will become clear."

"But what about these stupid monsters?" Usagi wailed. "I can't keep fighting them!"

"My calculations show that they should begin to run out by the end of the day. After all, there is only a finite number of things that happened in the last three years in this reality that didn't happen in the other one, and things that happened in the other reality that didn't happen in this one. Those ghosts will soon run out, and then we can be back to normal."

"Or as normal was we ever get," Sailor Venus chimed in with a big smile.

"Besides," Sailor Mars pointed out, "as soon as the Generals - I mean the Guardians - are done with what they're doing, they can help us."

"I hope it doesn't take them too much longer," Sailor Moon sighed.

"So do I," Sailor Mercury said. Symbols and flashing lights crawled across her visor. "Three blocks west. Let's go!"

They stood up and teleported with Tuxedo Mask to the scene of the next monster attack.

* * * * * * * *

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The Nephrite and Naru Treasury