Halo – I –
by Dreams in Pink
I – Origin –
“Usagi! Wake up!” From the depths of sleep, the girl felt a delicate prodding to her side. She groaned, turning over in an attempt to crush the perpetual force that was slowly nagging her to wake. “Usagi! There are innocent lives at stake!” As the words registered in her drowsy mind, she submitted, allowing her eyes to flit open.
“What’s going on, Luna?” She asked words groggy with sleep.
“Transform!” The feline guardian demanded, knowing that time was of the essence.
Without question, Usagi nodded as her hand blindly searched the nightstand for her broach. Feeling its cool crystal against her palm, she grabbed it, thrusting her arm into the air.
“Moon Prism Power, Make Up!” Instantly the once ordinary girl was engulfed in a radiant light. Power surged through her body, the magic of her transformation replacing the tattered nightgown with a sailor-collared bodice, skirt and boots to match. White gloves ran like ribbons up the length of her arms, a jewelled tiara crossed her forehead, and her hair became pinned into her signature hairstyle – two buns with soft streams of gold. Within seconds, the terrified cries of those in need rang through her ears, and without a moment’s hesitation she leapt from her window onto the soft grass below, allowing instinct to guide her. The pleas for help grew louder and she found herself in front of a convenience store.
A large demon, or ‘youma’ as her guardian referred to them as, grasped a young man between its gnarled fingers. The man struggled at first, but the monster persisted, strengthening its hold and drawing the man’s energy into its vile mouth. The girl surveyed the scene, noticing a collection of seemingly lifeless forms lying discarded at the youma’s cracked, hoofed feet.
“Stop!” Sailor Moon screamed, her heart pounding with adrenaline and anxiety. The monster ignored her request and continued on its mission to gather human energy. She ran towards the creature, leaping into the air and sending herself heels first into its side. Her attack was quickly blocked as a powerful electric wave flew from the monster’s empty claws. Her body was sent reeling backwards, and she landed on the ground, the impact making her stomach jump.
Cautiously, she rose to her feet, readying herself for another assault. She took a running start, lunging into the youma with her elbow, momentarily knocking it out of concentration. Irritated, it sent another jolt of electricity towards Sailor Moon, crippling her to her knees. As she released a panged cry, her mind froze and waves of self-doubt coursed through her. She wasn’t cut out for this.
“Sailor Moon! Get up!” Luna hissed from behind her. With laboured breaths, the warrior stood shakily to her feet, her body still tingling with the aftermath of the electric shock. She watched in horror as the youma finished its task, allowing the man in its grasp to slip carelessly from its clutches. It turned, focusing on its next victim who sat cowering beside a payphone. “These people need you!” Luna reminded her, frustrated by her charge’s rattled state.
The girl nodded as Luna’s word echoed in her mind. ‘I have to save them,’ she thought, a renewed sense of courage rushing into her veins. “That’s enough!” She yelled, her voice stronger, demanding attention. The youma stopped, turning its focus to Sailor Moon. Its breathing slowed, and its amber eyes flashed red with rage.
“You dare interrupt me?” The monster challenged, its raspy voice seeping eerily through its chapped lips.
“Oh I’ll dare to do a lot more than that,” Sailor Moon promised, cheering internally at her reply. She raised two slender fingers to her tiara, “Moon Twilight Flash!” She chanted, the delicate accessory shifting forms and turning into a brilliant ball of silver energy, which she sent flying towards to the monster. Although it was prepared for the attack, the blinding light caused the creature to recoil. Defences down, Sailor Moon’s weapon cut through its flesh, releasing the collected energy and causing the monster’s body to crumble into ash. The girl sighed in relief, the innocent bystanders rising one by one with their energy restored. Knowing that they were all safe, Sailor Moon followed suit and vanished from the scene, but not before taking notice of the masked figure standing amongst the trees.
As Sailor Moon returned to her room, her eyes fell on the idol littered calendar that hung against the light pink walls. It had been three weeks. Three weeks since her life and the sole purpose of her existence had been completely turned upside down. Three weeks since her first battle, and consequently the first time she had been so close to death. She shuddered as three weeks’ worth of memories clouded her mind – she was Sailor Moon. The champion of love and justice. The heroine destined to protect the world. Along with the heavy responsibility that had been dropped onto her unsuspecting shoulders, she was also Usagi Tsukino, a sixteen-year-old high school student.
The blonde allowed her guise to fade, and fell exhausted onto her bed. She could feel the words on Luna’s lips, hanging there, unsaid. Usagi’s gaze turned towards the window, and warm tears welled in her eyes.
“Usagi…” Luna started, her tone serious as she sat rigid at the foot of the girl’s moon patterned bed.
“Please, not tonight,” she begged wearily, willing back the tears with a sniffle.
“You’ve said that for the past five nights.”
Usagi remained silent, clenching her jaw. She had never asked for the burden, and while she was proud to help those that needed her, deep down she knew that she was never meant to be a warrior. She lacked the intelligence. The confidence. The strength. The courage. And most of all, the stomach for it.
“I never asked for this,” she whispered, lying completely motionless. “I can’t do this.”
“It will get easier,” Luna replied, moving closer to rest a reassuring paw on the girl’s arm. Shining crystal eyes turned to meet the cat’s determined glare.
“No, Luna. You’re not listening, I cannot do this,” the girl repeated fervently, shaking her head.
“You can, and you will,” she stated firmly.
“What if I don’t want to?” Usagi challenged, asking the one question that had been plaguing her mind from the start; no one had ever asked her to accept this role.
“Then you’re not the girl I thought you were,” Luna bit, playing heavily on Usagi’s guilt.
“I can’t stop them from hurting people,” Usagi confessed, images of injured bodies and lifeless forms creeping into her mind. She cringed at the memories, knowing full well she would never become accustomed to seeing burnt flesh, or smelling blood.
“But you did,” her guardian reminded her.
“Barely,” the girl muttered, feeling as if the universe was playing a cosmic joke on her. In what dimension could she – Tsukino Usagi – ever live up to the expectations of a “champion of justice”? She just had too many shortcomings.
“You still did, and your power will continue to grow and to improve. You need to believe in yourself as much as I do… and as much as the people you’ve saved do. You are Sailor Moon,” the feline lectured, hoping that the encouraging words would alleviate the girl’s misconception of her deficiencies. Once again, Usagi fell into silence, allowing her thoughts to run rampant as she finally let herself begin to digest what she had become and what she had already been through. This was her fate.
“Luna… who is he?” She asked suddenly. He had been there from the start, always shrouded by shadows and observing from the background. He had never spoken, and never intervened. He merely watched.
Luna looked away, unwilling to answer the question. “Go to sleep Usagi, you have school in a few hours,” she said gently, “tomorrow is a new day.”