Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon: Eternal
Act 02: Shi’iilnyen Wildrunner. Secret of the Star’s Light

“That’s just too weird!” Minako said after Usagi had finished telling the others what had happened in the park earlier that evening. They were all sitting around Rei’s room at the Hikawa Jinja. Ostensibly, they were there to study, but when Setsuna, Haruka, Michiru, and Hotaru had arrived at the same time as Usagi, Ami, Seiya, Taiki, and Yaten, all thoughts of studying went out the window.

“It’s really odd. They look like senshi, but their collars were wrong, like they were only half there. They also didn’t tack ‘Sailor’ to their names,” Ami added.

“What did they call themselves, anyways?” Michiru asked.

“The ones whose names came up were Starfire, Starlight, and SunArrow.”

“This is getting really weird,” Rei said. “Every time new senshi show up, something bad happens, especially when in conjunction with a new enemy like this. The sacred fire has been behaving strangely, flickering and flaring at completely random intervals, behaving unlike any fire I’ve ever seen.”

Haruka nodded. “Michiru’s mirror has been acting really weird, too.”

“It’s been showing animals and strange planets, as well as the symbols of the four elements of earth, fire, air, and water.” Michiru said. “Maybe they’re linked, somehow, to these new senshi or to the enemies”

Ami nodded thoughtfully. “Two of the senshi that attacked had attacks with words in them that could be their planets: ‘Taleer Dream Shield’ and ‘Nomaie Flaming Disk’.”

“And what about the animals?” Usagi wondered. “What animals did it show?”

“A panther, cheetah, lynx, there was a tiger at one point, and a black cat, but the others I couldn’t identify. They looked like nothing you’d see in a zoo.”

Yaten nodded. “The first three fit. We were attacked by people that looked like animals and called themselves Panther, Cheetah, and Lynx.”

“Life’s going to real interesting really soon,” Minako said, sighing. “So much for a social life!”

“Yeah right.” Yaten rolled his eyes. “You say that as if you had one in the first place!” Everyone laughed, even Minako who stuck out her tongue at Yaten.

“One things for sure, I hope that these senshi are on our side. Those things we fought don’t think too much about our powers,” Usagi said.

“I don’t suppose you can give us a little bit of a power up, could you, Luna?” Makoto asked, hopefully.

Luna shook her head. “Until I know just how powerful these beings are—or where they come from for that matter—there’s nothing I can do.” The senshi groaned.

“This probably isn’t the time to bring this up, but I have seen one of the senshi you described wandering around in the roof tops,” Hotaru said speaking up for the first time. “She’s really pretty.”

“This might be related to the strange dreams I’ve been having,” Setsuna said.

“Like what?” Rei asked.

“In one I was standing by a circle of swirling colors. There was a lot of wind. I was wearing my sailor fuku, using my time staff to stay standing up. There was a cloaked figure standing by the portal, saying something. From the person’s voice, I assume that she was an older woman. She was speaking, it sounded like a warning, but I couldn’t hear her because of the howling wind. When I tried to get closer, the dream ended.

“In another, there was a black cat, surrounded by the four elements. It tried to break free, but it couldn’t, no mater how hard it tried. The elements were shaped in vaguely human form. There was also a fifth one, but I’m not aware of a fifth element. A tiger appeared out of nowhere and destroyed the four elements surrounding the cat. The four didn’t resist. The cat took a globe that looked like a model of Earth out of somewhere and it turned black. The dream ended.”

“Those are strange dreams,” Rei commented. “What do you think they mean?”

“The cloaked woman sounds like she’s trying to warn you of something,” Michiru said thoughtfully. “This tiger seems to have the ability to help evil take over the world.”

“What do the elements represent, though?” Ami wondered.           

“Hmm. I’ll try and see what the fire has to say about these senshi,” Rei said, nodding. “There’s something strange going on.”

At school the next day, everyone was talking excitedly about the talent contest the Three Lights were putting on the following Saturday. Speculations regarding the prizes took up a large portion of discussions. The Three Lights themselves weren’t talking and wouldn’t even tell the other senshi what they were, which irritated them. As the six exchange students ate their lunch, the twins mentioned that they were considering entering it.

“Why shouldn’t we?” Skye said between bites of her sandwich. “I mean, really. It might even be fun! At the very least it would help us blend in some more around here if it looked like we were interested in local events.”

“True,” Serena said, nodding. “It could be.”

“We don’t want to do it alone, though. Would you guys help us?” Starr asked.

“You know lots more about stuff and are really good in front of crowds,” Skye added.

“Assuming we did agree to help you out, what would we do?”

“How about a circus act?” Tyler suggested calmly, picking a grape out of the plastic bag and looking at it half heartedly before putting it back in with the other grapes.

“Wolf, be nice,” Brett warned.     

Tyler scowled in Brett’s direction. “I was. If one thinks about it, life is like a circus act, just no one realizes it.” She selected a cracker instead and popped it into her mouth and munched thoughtfully. “Take us, for example. We look normal enough, but these faces are just gaudy clown makeup, our physical bodies, oversized, ill fitting, and ridiculous-looking clown costumes. And who is the ringmaster, you may ask? That despicable black cat!”

Serena sighed and shook her head. “This is sounding all too familiar, Tyler. It’s only temporary; you know that, don’t you? It’s not so bad once you get used to it.”

Tyler stood up and walked over to a tree and she slammed her fist into the tree. Her silver eyes flashed in the noon sun. “No! I refuse to ‘get used to it’! I never wanted to come here in the first place!”

“Calm down, Tyler. It’s not like we can do anything about it,” Starr said, fiddling with the ends of her long blue hair.

Tyler smiled grimly at the younger of the two Walker twins. “Now, there’s the irony. We can’t, can we.” She turned and walked away. She headed for a secluded grove of trees.

A girl screamed nearby and Tyler ducked behind a tree. Cautiously, she peered around it and stared in shock. Lynx and Quartzite. I should’ve known! Well, this I can do something about. “Earth Cosmic Power, Make Up!” Tyler said, holding her arms up above her head. Tyler spun around arms above her head. The Earth beneath her feet rose up and swirled around her. Two snake-shaped beams emerged from the top of the wand and wrapped around her forming her top and partial sailor collar. One wrapped around her waist becoming her shorts. The other wrapped around her hair tying it into a ponytail. The Earth above her surrounded her hands, becoming her gloves. The Earth beneath her feet covered her legs, forming her boots.

Transformation complete, Starlight walked out, but quickly ducked back behind the tree. It was that girl again, the one from before, the blond with the fake wings and weird-looking sailor fuku. The others from before were there, too, as well as other senshi she’d never seen before. It felt odd to see senshi with such similar fukus. The different ones, the ones in the black leather fukus, the ones that gave her that weird feeling, were also there. The senshi were being severely throttled by Leafy—the yahrai that was the result of Quartzite’s attack—and Lynx. Starlight shook her head and jumped out from behind the tree.

“Earth Healing Light!” she shouted, sending a beam of blue light at the yahrai, returning it to human form. Pointing at Quartzite and Lynx, she yelled, “Double Snake Twist!” The twisted beam of red and blue serpents shot out from her crossed wrists.

Quartzite screamed in pain as the blue snake hit her. Lynx managed to dodge, but his tail was singed as the silver snake passed by.

She looked at Quartzite, her silver eyes shards of ice.  “You’d better have a good explanation for this, Quartzite.”

“Starlight? How are you these days?” Quartzite said, her voice sickeningly sweet.

“Traitor!” Lynx howled, launching himself towards the silver-hared senshi.

“Nice to see you, too, Lynx.” Starlight grabbed his wrists and sent him flying towards the sky.

Sailormoon turned. “Thank you, SailorStarlight!”

“Sailor?” She bristled at the word. “Sailormoon. I’ll forgive your slip of the tongue this time, but if you ever address me or one of my friends as ‘sailor’ ever again, I may forget that it’s generally frowned on to kill other senshi.”

“Sorry about that. Thank you, Starlight.”

“Better. Look out!” she yelled turning around. “Ha’ven Motion Pause!” The attack was aimed at Quartzite who’d begun to sneak up on the senshi, but she dogged it easily, laughing.

“Blue Poison!” the tall, blue haired warrior said calmly, grinning, pointing at Starlight. The green and silver haired senshi fell to her knees, clutching her throat in pain.

“Star Sensitive Inferno!” Sailorstarhealer yelled. Quartzite shrieked as the beam hit her shoulder.

“Venus Love and Beauty Shock!”

“Jupiter Oak Evolution!”

Both attacks were aimed at Lynx who had appeared behind Starlight, shaking from the effects of Quartzite’s poisonous attack. One of the leaves from Jupiter’s attack hit Starlight on her right cheek. A thin red line appeared, followed by a thin trickle of blood, dying the stray strands of hair light red.

“I’ll be back for you!” Lynx called as he and Quartzite vanished.

Sailorvenus pulled a handkerchief out from under the bodice of her fuku and held it to Starlight’s cheek. “Are you sure you’re going to be ok?”

Starlight stood, still a little dizzy. “It’s just a scratch. It’s the effects of the poison attack that I need to worry about, but the dose I got was very small so it should wear off soon. Thank you, Sailorvenus. I’ll return this the next time I see you.” Starlight leaped up to the school roof and vanished out of sight. The senshi watched her go.

“Well, once again that was interesting,” Sailormercury said after the strangely dressed senshi disappeared. “How did she know their names?”

“Why did Lynx call her a traitor?” Sailorjupiter wondered.

“Clearly, they know each other from somewhere?”

“That’s the impression we got the last time we saw them,” Sailormoon said.

“They seem to be on our side, though,” Sailorvenus said cautiously.

“‘Seems’ is the right word, Sailormoon,” Sailorstarmaker warned. “We can’t be sure that we can trust her. It’s likely that we just have a common enemy.”

“As I recall, Neptune, Pluto and Uranus said the same thing about trusting you three last year,” Jupiter pointed out.

“At any rate, we can’t stay here and debate the issue. We’ll have to discuss it after school. Let’s go,” StarHealer said. The bell rang, signaling the end of lunch hour.

Tyler was late getting back to class. She stood silently while Sensei gave her a lecture on punctuality before allowing her to go back to her desk. As she slid into her seat, Makoto noticed a very thin line on her right cheek. “Where’d you get that? I haven’t seen it before. Are you ok.”

“Oh this?” Tyler asked, fingering the scratch on her face. “It’s kind of dumb, but I got hit in the face by a low hanging tree branch. It started bleeding, so I went to clean it up as the bell went,” she explained.

“So why didn’t you tell Sensei?”

Tyler glowered at her. “It’s embarrassing. Would you want to say anything?”

“No, I suppose not.” Makoto nodded, accepting it as truth and turned her attention to the lesson.

Well, at least the last part is true. It’s incredibly easy to pull one over on humans!  I’m really starting to wonder why we’re even here in the first place. None of this makes any sense. Why are they here? These people don’t even acknowledge that senshi exist. She shook her head. It makes little difference. We won’t be here long in any case.

 “Wolf, what happened to you? You’ve been quiet ever since lunch ended,” Jen asked, using her friend’s preferred nickname, getting off the bus near the apartment the five girls shared.

“Do the words ‘traitor’ and ‘Blue Poison’ mean anything to you?” she asked coldly, grey eyes flashing in the late afternoon sun, making her look like the feral animal that had given her the nickname.

Shocked, Jen stopped in her tracks, a sudden chill running down her spine. “You confronted them without us?”

Tyler turned around, walking backwards. “What choice did I have?” she snarled. “These senshi don’t have a chance against An’ei’s forces, Jen. Stars, the yahrai alone could’ve taken them all out. I saw the battle and transformed. There was no time to think.”

“Oh.” Jen hurried to catch up with her tiny friend. While Tyler was the shortest of Jen’s friends, she could move fast when she wanted to. “So, what’s with the scratch? Making an excuse to be late for class? You’re lucky that Sensei bought it.”

Wolf laughed. “Actually, it’s real,” she said, showing Jen the cloth that Sailorvenus had used to stop the bleeding. “A senshi by the name of Sailorjupiter kindly provided that. How did it go again? Jupiter Oak Evolution?”

“How kind of her,” Jen said dryly. She shook her head, sending ripples of red-black hair flying. “I still don’t trust these senshi any further than Andalrien could throw them.”

Tyler froze temporarily, then, regaining her composure continued and shrugged. “It could be worse. You might want to look behind us, Jen,” she said casually.

“Why?” Jen asked, turning anyway then rolled her eyes and kept walking. “Those three give me the creeps! I sit beside the black- hared one, Seiya, I think his name is.” She shuddered. “Even Serena thinks they’re weird.” They kept walking.

“What is with you lately, Seiya?” Yaten said rolling his eyes.

“First Usagi, now a foreign exchange student,” Taiki added.

“There’s an aura around her and her friends. It’s driving me crazy. That and she’s... cute.”

Yaten rolled his eyes again. “Here we go again. Seiya, just talk to her and get it over with and spare us this time, ok?”

“You’re no help,” Seiya said, offended. “I really don’t need to be involved with another girl who might just have a boyfriend overseas.”

“So stop acting like a love-sick puppy dog. Don’t talk about her, don’t even think about her,” Taiki said, impatiently.

If only it were that simple.  Seiya thought glumly, looking across the street at Jen and Wolf as they looked back at them talking quietly. All I see are her eyes, her endless, black eyes. Jen McCormick. Who are you?