There was a time – only minutes before, in fact – when Usagi’s biggest problems involved a low test score in English class. Oh, how she longed for so mild a struggle!
She sprinted down the hallway, driven by the flying beasts nipping at their heels. What were these things? And what did they want?
But there was no time for questions; not if she wanted to make it out in one piece!
Usagi jerked around a corner and vaulted down the stairwell. The part-bird, part-man, part-demon creatures broke away from the pursuit of her classmates, and concentrated their efforts on her.
Usagi cried. “I don’t want to be some bird-brain’s lunch meat!”
For every step she made they gained by two. Time was running short. Usagi wouldn’t even make the door!
The air cut with a violent ‘thwip!’ The monsters doubled back. Against her better judgement, Usagi turned back to where a rose sat embedded in the chest of their leader.
Her heart skipped, for between her and the monsters was a human barricade, dressed in black with a grand cape billowing behind him. The hero ran his fingers along the brim of his top hat, and lifted it to reveal the extent of his disguise.
Mamoru Chiba, in another life the Earth prince Endymion, and soulmate to the moon princess, Serenity! Theirs was a love that crossed time itself – from a bygone era, well into the modern day and beyond – and who by a name continued to be her protector.
How many times had he come for her in a pinch? Just the sight of him was a comfort, staving off alarm long enough to pull together. Usagi swooned, caught up in the grace of the dapper defender. How lucky she was to have him as a boyfriend!
“I’ll hold them off,” he said, and spun his cane in one hand.
He didn’t need to say so twice. Usagi bolted for the double doors and pressed into the yard. Sweet freedom! But it was not to last. The monsters blanketed the bruise colored sky, and swarmed en masse.
Usagi cried. Right, bad guys. Why did she have all the rotten luck?
She turned to the side entrance where three other girls raced to her side; Ami, Mina, and Mako – allies of justice, as well as best friends. Usagi collapsed into the collective arms, and sobbed for the momentary reprieve.
“They’re after me,” she whined.
Mako balled her fists. “They want a piece of you, Usagi? They’ll have to go through us!”
Thank the heavens for friends. If Usagi was ever strong it was because of them; their love, their bravery, pushing her to new heights. Even now, surrounded, her fears settled, though only by a little.
“It’s all for one, and all for love!” Mina chirped.
Ami frowned. “That’s not how the proverb goes.”
In a cacophony of screeching the monsters converged, lashing at them with beaks and claws. The girls fell over themselves, crawling to get away, with no room to transform. All they needed was one clean break to turn the tide.
Salvation came in a golden ribbon. It looped around the monsters, and wrenched them back with a mighty pull.
Usagi gasped, for at the other end of the rope was her teacher, Miss Prince, with glasses cracked and pantyhose slashed. She’d abandoned her high heels, but given her determination figured appearances were the least on her mind.
“Who’s that?” Ami asked.
Miss Prince abandoned her spectacles. With a single blow planted another monster into the dirt. She turned to the girls and instructed them, no longer with a song in her voice, but a battle cry.
“Usagi! Transform into Sailor Moon!”
The girl froze. How did Miss Prince know about Sailor Moon?
Usagi watched, stupefied, as the teacher twisted, turned, spun in all directions, while landing precise strikes on the converging throng. Miss Prince discarded her blazer and became a bright whirl. When she landed it was as someone else; more than a woman, adorned in a blazing red korsage and a blue, star spangled leather skirt.
“My-my-my teacher,” Usagi stammered. It wasn’t possible. What was she doing in Japan, let alone her school?
No matter how many times she blinked, the vision of the amazon remained. This, she realised, was real. Not a dream, but actual reality! The heroine stood before her, a veritable fairytale brought to life!
It couldn’t be… could it?
“Wonder Woman is my English teacher!”
The heroine snapped a monster down with a kick, and moved effortlessly into the next blow, like a woman who could fight the tide and win. Truly she was a wonder.
Every girl knew the story of Diana of Themyscira. Born on an island of immortal warrior women, sculpted from clay by Queen Hippolyta, and given life by the collective goddesses of Olympus. When they could no longer hide from the world outside, Diana won by trial the role of ambassador, and since that day proved herself to the world as a champion of truth and justice.
She was like a figure from a storybook, larger than life itself – a legend! Was this really the same woman who smiled at her in English class? Usagi was fascinated, her breathing shallow, as she caught the shimmering blue of Wonder Woman’s gaze. It really was her!
‘Miss Prince’ snapped. “Usagi!”
It was no time to be a fangirl. There was a job to do!
Usagi offered her broach to the sky, opening it to reveal the shining gem inside. She cried at the top of her lungs; “Moon Crystal Power… Make Up!”
Cascading waves in all colors of the rainbow showered her with power undreamed, stripping away her mortal identity and adorning her with the vestiges of a champion; a short navy skirt and a red bow on the front of her uniform, a moon tiara and bright gems on her blond buns. Gone was the girl named Usagi Tsukino, and in her place stood a hero.
“I am the guardian of love and justice!” she declared. “And in the name of the moon, I’ll punish you!”
There were those who thought Sailor Moon to be an urban myth, and who could blame them! A girl in a sailor suit, fighting evil in the night? Not even Usagi believed it, and that was her life! If someone were to ask, she’d say she was an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances, doing what she did because only she could.
Sailor Moon flew into the fray, diving at the beasts Wonder Woman was handling alone. They fell – two, three, more – to the strength of her kicks, knocking them one by one into the dirt.
She grinned at her friends. “Are you going to stand there, or are you going to join the party?”
Ami, Mina and Mako – Sailors Mercury, Venus and Jupiter, respectively – wasted no time transforming. For a thousand years they served under moon princess, and they would serve her for a thousand more.
“Mercury Prism Power… Make Up!”
“Venus Prism Power… Make Up!”
“Jupiter Prism Power… Make Up!”
They were the Sailor Guardians, protectors from across the solar system, with powers equal to Princess Serenity. Only the power of the Legendary Silver Crystal set them apart, but never did it shake their devotion.
They would die for her – Usagi knew that, and they had more than once. But despite their resurrections, the wound on her heart remained.
Sailor Moon blinked away the tears. There was no time to think about that. She put her trust in them, just as they trusted her.
With the powers of water, radiance and lightning, the three tore through the horde, thinning out their number until only a handful remained. It wouldn’t be long, however, before they replenished.
Wonder Woman smiled a determined smile – one that held pride and, though restrained, awe.
Usagi caught the flash of encouragement and swelled. To be noticed by an idol so grand was beyond her.
“Now, Sailor Moon!”
The young heroine produced a wand – the Moon Stick, conduit of the Legendary Silver Crystal – and channeled it toward the circling beasts. The crescent moon emblem blazed with power not of this world, casting them in soft, comforting, but still blinding light.
Like a river flowing from the heart, her love filled the wand, warming it in her hands. Sailor Moon turned into a pirouette and cast waves of energy. They fell like a blanket of stars, each filled to bursting; quantifying her feelings a million fold over the battlefield, connecting with every soul aching for freedom, and wiping away the darkness.
Her voice echoed to the heavens. “Moon Healing Escalation!”
A million points of light fell in an elegant display, destroying the monster and scattering their energy to the wind.
Though her attack did not end with the agents of evil. The Legendary Silver Crystal eased the fury of the sky, calling back the peaceful blue. As suddenly as it began, so did it end.
The young heroine exhaled. At last, it was over.
“What were those things?”
“Sailor Moon!” The Sailor Guardians huddled to make certain she was safe. They really were remarkable, each and every one. Who knows what Usagi would do without them?
She turned, and what she saw made Sailor Moon freeze in her tracks. There was Wonder Woman – wearing scrapes and scratches, but still radiant in a way few others were – sitting on bended knee with her head bowed.
Sailor Moon balked. Why would one of the greatest heroes in the world bow to her? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
She squirmed, searching her thoughts for the proper protocol. She had nothing, so she laughed. It was a weak laugh. Awkward!
“I apologize for the ruse,” Wonder Woman said effortlessly in Usagi’s native tongue. “I am Diana, princess of Themyscira, and I come to you in the spirit of peace and camaraderie.”
Sailor Moon reeled. There was no way to process this! She was her English teacher who believed in her, but she was also…
“You’re Wonder Woman! A-a-are you kidding? You don’t need to kneel before me!” The cocktail of confusion, flattery and a million other feelings ran rampant.
A tight smirk curled the corner of the warrior’s lips. “I kneel in loving and trusting submission,” she said, “to honor the bond forged between the amazons and Moon Kingdom a thousand years ago.”
Sailor Moon and her companions stopped. This had to be a dream, or something out of a doujin. It wasn’t every day their fate was tied to other heroes, but Wonder Woman? She was more famous than anyone!
I’d definitely read that manga, Usagi thought.
“You know about the Moon Kingdom?” asked Sailor Mercury.
Wonder Woman stood, and nodded. “A long time ago my mother, Queen Hippolyta, and Queen Serenity, stood as allies against a common foe; one that sought to pervert the power of the Legendary Silver Crystal to its own ends.”
Sailor Jupiter jumped and shook Sailor Moon’s shoulder. “She knows about the Legendary Silver Crystal!”
“Are we going to team up?” Sailor Venus gasped. “This is so cool! This is why you should always meet your heroes.”
Sailor Moon was still. Her mother and Diana’s were connected. Could it be true?
Usagi grasped the memories of her past life and weighed them against her heart. Once upon a time she was just a girl; being a princess was something she could only imagine – but this shared history with a heroine given life by the gods of myth? Between the awe and excitement she couldn’t contain herself.
“Then in the spirit of peace and camaraderie, I welcome you, Diana of Femme-Mascara,” she said, trying her utmost to sound regal. “So, uh, what brings you to this part of town? Not just to see me, I hope!”
Even in her imagination she could sense Rei rolling her eyes. Smooth, Usagi.
Before the princess had an opportunity to answer, a solid man in a baseball cap came sprinting at them across the yard. A friend of Wonder Woman? He had to be; she eased as he approached.
Sailor Jupiter barked. “You’re that creep who was hanging outside the school!”
He growled something in another language, prompting a chuckle from Diana. He was not amused.
“What’d he say?”
“He asked that someone explain that he’s a soldier, not a creep,” Sailor Mercury said.
Wonder Woman reigned her amusement. “This is my friend, Colonel Steve Trevor, US Air Force,” she explained. “He’s – how should I put it – a fellow envoy, and a dear, dear friend. He’s not as scary as he looks.”
Sailor Jupiter folded her arms. “He’s not that scary.” The others laughed.
Colonel Trevor, however, had no time for jokes. He pulled Diana to one side and explained the situation, though most could not understand. Wonder Woman furrowed her brow. Sailor Mercury deflated.
Sailor Moon took Mercury’s arm. “Ami, what’s he saying?”
“There’s more of those monsters,” she said. “They’re scattered all over the city. But after we transformed, they… they broke off their attack. Now they’re coming here!”
“We need to brace ourselves,” Wonder Woman said. “Sailor Moon, Sailor Guardians; an age old enemy approaches. I will fight it until my last breath. Can I count on your help?”
If there was a higher calling, Usagi couldn’t imagine it. To fight alongside the ambassador of peace, princess of the amazons, the Wonder Woman? Nobody would refuse! No matter the danger, it promised to be the adventure of a lifetime!
“Always,” she said, and steeled herself for the battle ahead.
“Good. Because what I have to ask of you is the most difficult task for any warrior.”
“Whatever it takes,” Sailor Moon said. “If Wonder Woman asks, I know we’ll succeed!”
Wonder Woman frowned. “In that case, Sailor Moon, I beseech you, in the name of our lands and for all of the Earth, please do not continue to fight.”
Usagi blinked, and so did her friends. That had to be a mistranslation.
Sailor Mercury was the first to find her words. “Princess Diana, that can’t be right. Even now the enemy approaches, and you want us to do nothing?”
The hero nodded.
What joy had filled Usagi’s chest ran cold. It wasn’t just the opportunity to stand with greatness that was denied – that was the least of it – but having the power to act, and allowing evil to run rampant?
“You don’t know what you’re asking!” Sailor Jupiter barked.
Diana tensed. The girls stiffened. Had they done something to anger her? And their first team-up was going so well…
She cast her eyes in shame, and fought to still herself.
“I know better than you can imagine,” Wonder Woman said. “It’s against the nature of a guardian to be stagnant, even when their actions might make a situation worse. I’m sorry, Sailor Moon. I don’t make this request lightly.”
Usagi blinked. She couldn’t believe her ears. Stand down? This enemy had brought the fight to her, and here was this woman, perhaps the greatest of all heroes, asking her to back away.
A surge of panic gripped her chest. No, this was wrong. She’d asked friends to fight on her behalf, and seen them fall. The air in her lungs froze. Only by miracles did her friends return to her. Could she take the chance of a third time?
No. Losing them again was too much; not if she couldn’t fight by their side!
She looked to Wonder Woman, and words fell short. There was something sobering about her grimace, which was not one of disapproval, but pleading. This is the way it has to be, she didn’t say, and Usagi believed her. For what was Wonder Woman if not an agent of unyielding truth, no matter how uncomfortable?
There was little time to consider her words before the sky darkened in a shade more furious than before. Planet X loomed, projecting ill vibrations upon all crossing its orbit. What a terrifying body it was, that flooded the world with loathing.
The heroines planted their feet, bracing for the worst.
From the distance the war birds screeched, and nearer a body struck the earth. It rose from smoke and dust.
Wonder Woman, Sailor Moon and their companions shielded their eyes, and once the debris settled, looked upon the approaching abomination.
It had the antlers of a bull, but the muzzle of a lion; hair of snakes and an eagle’s wings. It was human only in the loosest sense, standing on two feet and flailing arms as wide as trees. The thing roared and screeched and hissed in disharmony, grating on all who heard it.
What manner of monster was this, with all the menace of nature distilled into one form. All who laid eyes on it knew on a primordial level – the Sailor Guardians included – that this was a thing to be feared, to be hated. Its bite, fearsome as it was, was equal to its bark.
“I’ve come for Sailor Moon!” she declared.
Usagi inched behind the other Sailor Guardians. This was supposed to be her enemy? She was suddenly glad Diana asked her to step back.
Where she faltered, Wonder Woman advanced. If the amazon knew fear she didn’t show it. With lasso in hand she prepared for battle, daring the thing approach.
“You’ll have to go through me first!”