"The rest of you too!" Artemis added. The five girls raised their wands.
"Moon prism power!"
They changed rapidly, amid colourful light displays, into the Sailor Scouts, defenders of Love And Justice.
"Come on girls!" urged Luna, as they began to run down the street. "We've got to stop them!"
"We're on it, Luna," said Sailor Mars, a bit exasperated. They ran into the park, Sailor Moon at the rear, kind of losing her breath. She stopped for a second to catch it, then ran to reach the Scouts.
Propta watched Sailor Moon through the bushes, trying to not make a sound, or move a muscle. This was her way out.
"Stop right there, Nega-trash!" yelled Sailor Moon. "I fight for Love, and Justice, I will triumph over evil, and that means YOU!"
Malachite laughed. "I don't think so," he said. He waved his hands. A whole army appeared out of the trees. "Even if with your luck you manage--ha ha ha--to defeat me, you will not defeat my army."
Sailor Moon gulped. She was petrified. She knew, that if they ran away from this fight, Malachite could use this ploy over and over again. He would win. Sailor Moon knew that the rest of the Scouts knew that too. She stood straighter. They would have to fight. Fight, and win.
And so it began. One of the most colossal fights Sailor Moon had ever put up. For every trooper of the Negaverse she took down, more than three took its place. She knew that the Scouts were having luck just as bad, or even worse, than hers. And to make everything even more worse, Malachite was still at full power. Just when Sailor Moon thought that they might have been making a difference, Malachite would come along, and nearly blast her to pieces.
Suddenly she heard a scream: Sailor Mercury's. As the least powerful of the Scouts, she was trying to take them out the only way she could: the hard way. Using physical means. A swift kick, a stomach punch...these all managed to put one or two out of commission, but it also meant that she had to be right in the thick of things to have any effect. She couldn't just pick them off at a distance, like the other Scouts. Which meant all the more chance for her to be surrounded.
"Amy!" screamed Sailor Moon. There was no answer. Enough was enough for Sailor Moon. She decided to go straight for the big guns.
Malachite, to his credit, had finally come up with a feasible plan. An extremely simple one, but a good one nonetheless. There was only one problem. Confidence, or more precisely, too much of it. He was cocky. So sure that he was going to win. So sure that he wasn't watching his back when Sailor Moon threw her Tiara.
He screamed as he fell, and provided the perfect opening.
Propta, watching from the sidelines, was a Teleporter. She was the means for Malachite to bring so many troops to this dimension. Which meant, of course, that she was the only way to bring them home.
She had to stay out of the fight. If she was injured, they were stranded. It also meant that she was given a bit of leeway in terms of departure time. If she decided that it was time for them to leave, then off they went.
She had watched patiently as the fight wore on. Every time the Scouts took a hit, a part of her died. They were her salvation. As Sailor Mercury fell, she was beginning to truly worry. If the Scouts lost, she was doomed to an eternity of slavery.
Just as she was losing hope, a door of opportunity opened.
Malachite was critically wounded.
He was her top priority. She smiled to herself. She stepped out into the open, pooling her power within herself. The energy glowed, creating sparkles and ripples in the air. She raised her arms. "Teleportation Activation!" she cried, letting loose all the energy. The entire army disappeared in a haze of sparkling light, leaving the Scouts to recover.
"Fool!" Malachite screamed. "Blasted fool--Why did you teleport back?" He slapped her across the face. She fell, staggered by the blow. It stung like a million wasps.
"You were wounded, excellence. You were my main concern." she said quietly, hoping not to provoke further wrath.
Malachite sneered. "Next time," he said, "You will obey only my commands...you will leave when I tell you so."
"Yes, Lord Malachite," she said, her head bowed. He turned, and left her.
Her mind whirled. Now she knew. She knew what she was going to do...she was going to defect. Turn traitor. Leave the Negaverse behind, and all that it stood for.
"I will leave," she said out loud, although under her breath.
They would never know, she thought to herself. Her plan was
Part Two: Defection
"How are you doing, Amy?" asked Lita as she put the tin of home-made cookies on the bedside table.
"I'm better," Amy said quietly. Serena sniffed, and took Amy's hand.
"We'll find Malachite and get him for this," she promised. Amy merely smiled a wan little smile. Then her mother came in.
"I think Amy needs her rest," she said worriedly. Lita and Serena nodded, and left quietly. Ms. Anderson sat next to her daughter. "Oh, Amy," she said. "I still can't believe you were mugged. In broad daylight, even. What is this city coming to?" She began to shake. Amy took her mother's hand.
"I'll be alright, Mother," she said. Her mother nodded, and then left Amy to get some sleep.
Propta listened as Malachite outlined his next plan. He had to tell her, timing was critical, and as the Teleporter, she needed to know all the details.
Which made making her plan all the much simpler.
"Now, Propta, don't forget: Teleport us only when I say." Malachite ordered. Propta nodded. On the outside, she was all subservience, on the inside, joyful jubilation. As Malachite strode away, cape whirling, she formulated her plan. It was simple, and easy to execute. The easier it was, the less chance of mistakes. Foolproof.
It was evening when she put her plan into motion. Everyone was either off duty, or asleep, but at any rate, not paying attention to one simple slave girl.
Propta found a deserted corridor. It was in a barely used part of the palace, and besides, no one was around for miles. She stood quietly, gathering her power. She felt that small thrill she got when she used her power, but only a small smile showed it on her face. Quietly, slowly, she raised her arms. The energy was at its peak: it was now or never.
"Teleportation Activation!" she whispered. The sparkles lit up, and then, she was gone.
She had teleported back to the park. In reality, she had no idea where the Scouts were, but she knew that Malachite was planning a small attack for tonight, just three troopers, so as to wear down Sailor Moon's defense, and so that she wouldn't be in peak fighting condition for the battle tomorrow. Propta hurried to the crime scene, a small bakery. As she drew near, she recognised the sounds of fighting. She watched from behind a garbage can.
"In the Name of the Moon, I will triumph over evil, and that means you!"
"Sailor Moon, watch out!"
"Venus Crescent Beam Smash!"
"Jupiter Thunder Crash!"
"Behind you, Sailor Venus!"
"Don't worry, I got it--Mars Fire Ignite!!"
"I'll take it from here, Sailor Scouts! Moon Tiara...Magic!"
And then it was over. Propta was amazed at how quickly it took, how easily the Negaverse was defeated.
She was so stunned, she nearly let them get away, but at the last moment, she ran out after them.
"Wait, Sailor Moon, stop!" she cried. They all turned, alarmed.
"There's more!" exclaimed Sailor Venus.
"No, please, wait!" Propta cried. "I'm not--well, I am--but I don't want to be!"
Sailor Mars glared at her. "Are you...?"
Propta nodded. "I am asking for political asylum," she said.
"Political what?" said Sailor Moon.
"She wants to leave the Negaverse," explained Luna.
"What's your name?" asked Artemis.
"Propta, I'm one of Malachite's servants, a Teleporter. Please, I want to be free." she said quietly.
"Well, we'll do everything--" began Jupiter, but Mars interrupted her.
"What? We're going to just believe her? She may be a Negaverse spy, or worse," she yelled.
"We have to help her," Luna said.
"If it will help prove me to you, I can tell you of Malachite's plans." Propta offered. She had planned to, anyway, but had not counted on Mars's interference.
Mars snorted. "How do you we know you aren't just setting us up?"
"You have to believe me," Propta begged. "I can help you prepare to fight Malachite, I can even fight myself! Just promise you won't let them take me back!" She was on the verge of tears.
"We promise," said Jupiter, putting a hand on her shoulder, and ignoring Mars's glare. "Please, come with us. We can get you something to eat--"
"No." Propta shook her head. "I have to get back. That's part of my plan. Just tell me you'll protect me."
"We promise. What's the plan, before you go?" asked Venus. Propta filled them in. They used the basic framework, but added details, and talked amongst themselves. Finally Sailor Moon came back.
"Go back." she said. "We'll be waiting for you tomorrow."
Propta was up bright and early the next morning. Had Malachite bothered to notice her mood, her probably would have thought it just excitement about the battle. Propta, to him, wasn't even worth bothering about.
"Troops," he began, shortly before they were to leave, "Today will be a day long remembered by the Negaverse."
Propta smiled. She raised her arms, waiting for Malachite to signal. He did, and she let loose her power.
They had staged the battle for the same park. As they appeared, Malachite was startled by someone standing in front of them, silhouetted by the risen moon.
"No, it can't be--!" he said. There was no speech this time, no "In the name of," etc. Only a yell "Moon Tiara Magic!"
The tiara caught Malachite totally unprepared. He screamed as he fell. His troops stared in confusion.
"Mercury Bubble...Blast!" The area was blanketed in thick fog. Now the troops began to panic. Malachite waited for the familiar feel of the Teleport, but none came. Then he realised--he hadn't ordered it. He tried to call, but he couldn't speak. Suddenly, he was aware of someone standing over him. He looked up into Propta's eyes. She was smiling, laughing at him. As she gestured, he realised how Sailor Moon knew where to find him. He had been betrayed.
Propta laughed, she was so happy she couldn't contain it. She was free.
"I am free!" she yelled, dancing. The other Scouts came up to
her, grinning. Even Sailor Mercury looked happy, although she was
a bit wobbly, showing how much recovery she had left to do. Even
Sailor Mars looked happy. It was actually more of a relieved:
Propta had proved herself.
Part Three: Detection
Propta looked at herself in front of the mirror. She did a little pirouette, and Serena clapped.
"You look great in those," said Lita.
"Yeah," agreed Mina. Raye nodded.
"Thank you--for everything that you've done," Propta said.
"It's no problem. And you're welcome to stay here as long as you want, Grandpa loves having another priestess to train." Raye said, smiling. After the battle, she had come to trust Propta, and found that they got along very well. Propta was an excellent worker, so Raye invited her to stay at the temple.
"I still can't believe I'm free," she said, with a slight sniffle. The Scouts just grinned.
A month later, things had become normal for Propta. She was a sort of civilian liaison with the Scouts: she was always ready after a battle with bandages, that sort of thing.
Queen Beryl was defeated: when that happened, Propta managed to get into a bar (no one was sure exactly how old she was, not even Propta herself, but she easily passed for twenty) and got so drunk partying that Serena had to disguise herself and carry her out.
After that day, she got a rather strange headache. Everyone assumed that it was a hangover, but when it lasted more that two days, they began to get worried.
"Maybe we should get you to a doctor," suggested Lita.
"No!" cried Propta. She shuddered. "No doctors."
"I'm sure that they aren't like the ones in the Negaverse," Amy assured her. Propta shook her head, wincing.
"I'll be okay," she said. "I just need some, what are they called? Aspirin."
The headache gradually left, but in its place were the worst nightmares that Propta had ever had. She often woke up screaming, tearing at the bed clothes.
It was always the same dream: she would watch as a Negaverse monster dismembered the Scouts. Malachite would be in the background, laughing, and yelling "No one leaves alone!"
The disturbing part was that the dream was from Propta's perspective. She was the one hurting the Scouts. Always, she tried to stop, but she was not in control of her body. As time wore on, she got less and less sleep, and what little sleep she got was restless. She lost her appetite, and lost weight. Huge bags developed under her eyes.
"We've got to do something," Lita said. "We can't let her go on like this."
"I know. Not only is she doing herself harm, none of us can sleep either. The screams keep us awake," Raye explained.
"What can we do? She refuses to see any doctors. Not even Amy's mom," said Mina.
"Maybe.." said Luna, thoughtfully, "Maybe Moon Healing would work."
"That's a good idea!" said Serena. "I'll go get the wand."
They assembled in the courtyard of Raye's Temple. Serena, Amy, Mina and the cats waited as Lita and Raye brought Propta out.
The girls were shocked at her appearance. She looked worn, and exhausted. She had an almost paranoid look in her eyes, they kept flitting back and forth.
"Stand here," said Serena. Raye positioned Propta, who wobbled. She didn't look strong enough to support her own meagre weight.
"Moon...Healing..Activation!" yelled Serena.
Propta smiled as the healing energy washed over her, bathing her in light. Suddenly, she felt a tug, from deep inside her. Another one, more violent. A sharp pulling, and a strange feeling, almost as if she was going to throw up. But the sensation came not from her stomach, but from the bottom of her soul. She looked over to her friends, to see horror on their faces. She didn't understand, until it made contact with her mind. Then everything came into sharp focus.
Serena watched helplessly as Propta screamed. She through her head back, as the black negaverse monster oozed out of her. It was like a shadow, black and hideous. Propta dropped like a puppet with its strings cut.
"Serena, transform!" cried Luna. Serena shook her head. She didn't need to. She raised the Moon Wand.
"Cosmic Moon Power!" she yelled. The Wand shot out beams of energy, dousing the creature. It screamed in fury and pain, and lashed out.
The dream and its meaning was all so clear to Propta. The monster was what Malachite meant by "You do not leave alone". She had been carrying the monster in her, as a parasite. That's why she dreamt of her killing the Scouts. It was through her eyes, because she was the host. She assumed that the drinking at the party had woken it, and started the dreams and the strange headache. When Serena used the moon wand, it had angered it enough that it decided to take matters into its own hands. So it had activated itself, and freed itself from its carrier.
Propta was so weak, she could barely breathe. As she watched the creature rip into Raye, she despaired so much that she gave up.
It's all my fault, was her last thought.
"Raye!" the girls screamed. The creature had her by the throat. Serena gathered her energy for one more blast.
"Cosmic...Moon...POWER!!!!" she yelled at the top of her lungs. The last effort was enough, and the monster vanished, its ashes blowing away with the wind.
"Are you alright?" asked Lita. Raye nodded. She pointed to Propta, gasping. Mina ran over. She put two fingers to Propta's neck.
"Is she--?" asked Amy. Mina nodded. She stood up slowly, and looked at her friends with tears in her eyes.
The funeral was simple, likewise the tombstone. They had buried her in a shallow grave in the corner of the Temple garden. Chad had helped, and he and Grandpa had fashioned the tombstone. It was a simple marker:
"High was the price of Freedom"