Disclaimer: Sailor Moon and all characters contained within this work are the copyright of Naoko Takeuchi, Toei Animation, Kodansya and probably lots of other big people I'm forgetting. I am using them without permission, but suing me because of it would be futile as I have nothing. Feel free to distribute this work around (for no profit, of course; I'm not making any...), as long the included text is unmodified. If you publish or repost it somewhere, please let me know.

Comments, criticism, flames, etc. welcomed (and, in fact, requested) at Ultrace@aol.com.

Time Twister
A Sailor Moon fanfic by Mike Chenoweth [Ultrace@aol.com]

Part 3: Seasonal Eras

* * * * * * * *

Setsuna could feel it as soon she had cut the connection from the Luna Ball to Rini. Rini had not listened to her, and was trying to come back. Setsuna couldn't let her. Whether Queen Serenity lived or died all depended on Rini retrieving the Imperium Silver Moon Crystal--and only she could. Setsuna loved her almost as if Rini were her own daughter, but as the guardian of Time itself, one of the most painful things she'd had to learn was the sense of true perspective. The future of Crystal Tokyo had to be placed above a young girl's happiness.

Gripping her staff with both hands, Setsuna concentrated on blocking the Key. She wasn't sure if she could. All of her knowledge and then some had gone into its creation; it was made to resist just such attempts at stopping or perverting its use. The failsafe had been that without guidance from Setsuna, no one but Rini could ever use it.

Rini was pouring too much energy into the Key. If one of them didn't give up, it might overload or worse, and anything could happen. Setsuna released her staff and let the Key go into effect. She would have to allow Rini to return and hope for another way to get back the crystal.

Then she saw the images that told her the Key had already malfunctioned.

* * * * * * * *

Amy was sitting in the library, attempting to translate some sort of ancient text. It was the common writing form used by the inhabitants of the Negaverse. The samples she was working with had been taken over nine hundred years previous. When she found the samples, she welcomed them as a break from her current major project, which was to create a powerful device for Princess Rini.

It was no surprise that she hadn't come across them sooner. The library took up an entire floor of the palace, which was the smallest Amy would let Serenity and Darian make it when the place was built. She couldn't walk from one end to the other in less than five minutes.

"Amy," Setsuna said, from behind her, breaking the absolute silence. Amy jumped out of her chair, screaming. The pen in her hand scraped across one of her papers.

"I told you not to do that!" she yelled. One of the samples had been ripped, rendering a considerable portion of text unreadable. That angered her more than anything else.

"There is no time, Amy," Setsuna said. "Something is wrong with the Key."

"I'm not even done with it yet," Amy said.

"You will be. We must change our plans--the Key cannot be allowed to resist my own powers."

"That will require a much more complex system," Amy noted. "I'll have to find a way to identify your own powers to single them out from anyone else's. There'll have to be a safety system added to--"

"What's going on?" Lita yelled as she rushed in from one of the side doors. She'd been the only one close enough to hear Amy scream.

"It's okay Lita," Amy said. "Just Setsuna up to her old tricks."

"How quickly can you make these changes?" Setsuna asked Amy.

"It'll take at least a few hours of work," Amy said. "We can get to work right away in my shop if it's that urgent. Just let me put away these scripts..."

"We do not have time. Lita can take care of it for you."

"Who?" Amy asked.

Setsuna turned around. The two of them were alone. "Never mind. We need to hurry."

She knew that a few hours was going to take far too long, but they had to try.

* * * * * * * *

On the way to Amy's shop, Setsuna tried to explain how she hadn't been able stop Rini from using the Key.

"You decided to come here? Why not go back and physically take it before she could activate it?" Amy asked.

"It would not work. If Rini didn't activate the Key, there would be no reason for me to travel back to stop her. Another paradox."

"Won't this produce the same effect, then? If we alter the Key so no trouble occurs, there won't be any need for you to come back to here."

"I will sense when she tries to use the Key in the future. I will know that in order for me to be able to block her attempt, I have to come back here."

"If you say so," Amy told her.

They arrived at the shop. Setsuna felt uncharacteristic remorse for Amy, who had devoted most of her life to a pursuit of knowledge, and yet never had the experience of fully feeling the fundamental forces of the universe.

Amy removed her prototype and some of her diagrams of the Time Key from a safe in the wall. All the tools she needed were already on her desk.

"You will need Rini, since the Key needs to be attuned to her," Setsuna said, walking over to a communication pad on the wall.

"What are you talking about?" Amy asked. "Who's Rini?"

"The person for whom we are making the Time Key. The Queen's daughter," Setsuna said. She knew what was happening--that Amy wouldn't have any idea what she was talking about.

"The Queen's--?" Amy started. "Are you alright, Setsuna? King Darian's never had a queen. The only one he would have taken was Serena, and she's been dead for a thousand years."

Setsuna realized that their time was up. "Tell me, then, Amy: Who created Crystal Tokyo?"

Amy thought for a few moments. As though a final tribute to her amazing mind, she pieced it together. "I see... Nobody did. Crystal Tokyo never existed." She looked around. "This is all wrong."

She was vanishing, slowly, before Setsuna's eyes, but there wasn't time for her disappearance to be watched.

"Goodbye, Amy," Setsuna said, and lifted up her staff, moving to another time just as the foundation of the Crystal Palace began to disintegrate.

* * * * * * * *

Serena was sitting in a field that stretched as far as she could see. It was full of flowers. Dozens of kinds and colors. Everything was beautiful and peaceful and quiet.

Just Serena and the flowers. There was no Sailor Moon. No Negaverse. No one who needed saving.

Only Serena and the flowers--and someone else. A woman. A cold woman, full of anger and sadness that Serena could feel.

"At last we are alone, Princess."

Serena picked up one of the daisies and smelled it, a wonderful fragrance flowing through her. Its petals looked especially beautiful in the sunlight.

Time was passing very, very slowly.

"I have waited so long for this moment, you miserable wretch. You will never even know it has happened, but I will remember it for the rest of my existence!"

She drew back her hand and swung, but was stopped short. She turned her head. "What?"

"That is not how you treat a princess," Setsuna told her, pushing Nephrenia's arm back with her staff.

Nephrenia swiped at Setsuna, but she was too slow. The staff caught her in the chest, knocking her back almost twenty feet.

"Princess!" Setsuna yelled, trying to shake her out of whatever trance she was in. There wasn't even the slightest response.

"That is futile. She will never recover--she does not want to. This is the ultimate fantasy for her, being relieved of all responsibility," Nephrenia said with a confident smile. "But how is it that you are here...?"

Nephrenia gestured with her hand and a large mirror appeared between the two of them. Inside the mirror was Setsuna, imprisoned.

"Release the Princess and the Sailor Warriors," Setsuna demanded, wielding the staff threateningly. It was worth a shot.

Nephrenia's response was a cold laugh. "You are nothing." She raised her hand and bolts of black energy leaped at Setsuna. She blocked them with her staff, but they still shocked her.

`So much for the easy way,' she thought.

"Dead Scream." Setsuna pointed the staff straight at Nephrenia. The huge ball of energy hit her straight on and evaporated with no effect, except for Nephrenia's renewed laughter.

"Here I am supreme!" she bellowed. "Reality is mine to sculpt. None will ever control me again."

Setsuna could not defeat her here, at least not directly. She should have known that from her own fate and that of the others.

"Reality is yours, but Time is mine to control," she said, gritting her teeth. This was going to be difficult. "Black Void Entrapment!"

The jewel atop her staff began to glow. Points of light appeared around Nephrenia's body, connecting themselves to each other by thin strands. They were slow at first but sped up exponentially.

It didn't take long for Nephrenia to discover what was happening. "No!"

She began lashing out with black energy, attempting to break her confinement. Each blast destroyed a dozen points and two dozen more sprung up to replace them.

In less than a minute, Nephrenia was almost completely cloaked, wrapped in the thread of Time itself.

`Just a few more seconds...' Setsuna thought. The last strands were connecting...

"NO!!!" Nephrenia yelled. Suddenly the entire cocoon-like structure shattered. "Why you--!" She clenched her fist. Another mirror, empty, appeared in front of her, speeding toward Setsuna, but when it reached her, she was no longer there.

Nephrenia looked around for a few seconds. Confident that they were indeed alone, she continued where she had left off with the Princess.

Serena died.


(July, 1996)

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return to Index / go to Chapter 4

The Nephrite and Naru Treasury