Act 4: Masquerade -- Kamenbutoukai (Masked Ball)

First publication: Nakayoshi, 5/1992.
Published in tankoubon form by Kodansha; acquired by the webmistress in the summer of 1993. ( :

Luna is at the Crown Game Center, typing into a computer. One by one, she calls up profiles of Usagi, Ami, and Rei; for each girl, it displays their birthday, blood type, age, and school. Then she asks for information on Chiba Mamoru... His birthday: unknown. Blood type: unknown. Age: estimated to be 17 or 18. School: Moto Azabu Private High. Luna stares measuringly at the screen, wondering if this Mamoru was a friend or an enemy; he was certainly a suspicious character.

Usagi's mother takes a moment to admire the newspaper article about Sailormoon's heroics, then moves on. The next page proclaims that Princess D of the Jewel Kingdom was visiting Japan with her mystical treasure...

Suddenly, Usagi flies past, wailing that she's late. She grabs her lunch and hurries out the door, Luna running beside her. They get to class late, but Naru informs Usagi that she's lucked out; Haruda was late that day.

They talk about the inspections that are being carried out all over Tokyo. Apparently Princess D of the D Kingdom, the world's biggest jewel producer, was having a dinner ball at the D embassy that night. The embassy was just below Sendai Hill, and the girls burbled happily about how amazing it was, that a real princess would be so close by. Princess D was due to inherit the mystical treasure of the royal family of the D Kingdom that night; she was going to unveil it at the ball.

On Usagi's desk, Luna flips the newspaper open with her paws. The headline is clear: The mystery of the century will be unveiled tonight! First in line to the throne, Princess D is bringing the D Kingdom's greatest mystical tresaure to Japan.

Naru giggles, and rubs Luna's head. "Look, the cat is reading the newspaper! How cute!"

At the Crown Game Center, Ami and Rei turn to greet Usagi. "Hi, Usagi-chan!" Ami cries gladly.

"You're late," Rei reproves.

Usagi giggles, looking abashed. Luna sighs. "She failed another test and got detention. Ami-chan, help her study next time."

Rei tosses her hair. "Why did I have to be a soldier of justice?" she complained. "I'm very busy. Luna, about this princess - exactly what kingdom is she from? How will we know her?" She puts her hands on her hips. "Most importantly, Luna, where are you from? If you don't tell me who you truly are, I can't be a part of all this."

Luna looks down. "Even if I told you, you wouldn't believe me."

"But Luna," Ami protests, "we need more data. We don't know anything about our enemies, or about this ginzuishou."

"Not even I know who the enemies truly are," Luna admits.

"But, didn't we become senshi to defeat these enemies?" Ami asks reasonably.

"No!" Luna says with conviction. "You were made into senshi in order to protect the princess. The reason we can't find her, I think, is because she's sealed away. She holds the powerful ginzuishou, and we can't let it fall into the wrong hands." The cat looks measuringly at the girls. "You haven't fully awakened as senshi. When all of you are together and have regained your memories, the Princess' seal will be broken. That's all I know."

Rei and Ami are wide-eyed as they process this; Usagi, meanwhile, is engrossed in the Sailor V game. Luna sighs, reflecting that Usagi had to be the leader, but she was so undependable! The cat jumps on Usagi's head. "Pay attention!" she snaps.

"Just a minute," Usagi protests, concentrating on her game.

Motoki comes in, commenting on the many police outside. He pats Usagi on the head, complimenting her on her pretty friends. Then the conversation turns to the visit of Princess D, and the magnificent ball that was to be held that evening. "I want to go too!" Usagi says enthusiastically. "I want to see this treasure!"

"Wait a moment," Rei says, suddenly solemn. "I'm getting a bad feeling about this. Nothing good is going to happen there..."

A cold mist hovers around the stony pillars...

Nephrite reads a newspaper through the crystal ball. "The magnificent treasure of the D Kingdom, huh? I should check this out." He turns away, and moves to a glass coffin. He rests his hand on the glass near Jadeite's ruined face. "To bring you back to life, Jadeite," he murmurs. "For this, as well, I will get the ginzuishou!"

"That's right, Nephrite." Beryl smiles, showing her fangs. "The power of the ginzuishou will restore Jadeite, and even free our great ruler. The legendary ginzuishou... where could it possibly be?"

The Tsukino house...

"I'm home!" Usagi announces. She sees her father, who is straightening his bowtie over his tuxedo. "Oh - dad! What's this? You're really dressed up."

"It's for the ball at the D embassy," her father grins. "I'm covering the event for my magazine."

"No fair," Usagi protests. "I want to go too!" Then she grins to herself. "Luna, let's check it out." She holds up the transformation pen. "Moon Power! Make me a princess!" She smiles beatifically as she appears in a lovely, flowing white dress.

Dressed formally, Ami and Rei wait to enter the embassy. Ami looks amused, but Rei looks a little miffed. "Why must I be here?" she complains. They go inside with Usagi, and they notice that everyone is wearing a mask over their eyes. Following Ami's suggestion, they split up to look for Princess D.

Usagi is quickly sidetracked, and stares around in awe. A woman bumps into her and spills a drink on Usagi's dress. "Oh, I'm sorry!" she cries. Usagi hurries off quickly, looking for a bathroom. A square of cloth flutters from her skirts as she passes by.

A man is standing by, leaning against a balcony. His long body is dressed impeccably in a tuxedo and a black top hat, and a white mask hides his eyes. Bending down, he picks up the cloth handkerchief, reading the print along the edges. "Grade 8, class 1. Tsukino Usagi."

Meanwhile, Usagi still could not locate the bathroom. Lost, alone, and bored, she keeps wandering around. Suddenly, a man sweeps her into his arms. "Pretty princess," he smiles. "Dance with me for one song."

She stares at him wide-eyed as they begin to dance. Tuxedo Kamen? she thought frantically. It can't be! It's like a dream...

She smiles shyly at him as they dance. "I was hoping to see you."

"So was I," he answers, gazing at her. She gasps.

"Usagi-chan!" Luna says suddenly.

Usagi turns. "Luna!" She turns back to her partner, but he has suddenly disappeared. "Tuxedo Kamen?" she says, looking around. She reflects that she feels warm and comfortable inside.

"Princess D is inside there," Luna says, calling her attention back to business.

"Anything interesting?" Usagi asks.

"Nothing," Luna sighs. "Guess it's not her after all. But what about this treasure?"

Princess D calls for her interpreter, and a woman who looks entirely too much like Nephrite saunters forward. "May I help you, Princess?" she smiles.

The Princess looks unsure of herself. "I'm not familiar around the embassy. Would you take me to the room? All anyone's talking about is the treasure. I wish I were prettier... as it is, I'm just an extra to the treasure."

The interpreter grins evilly at the back of Princess D's head. "Yes, that's right," she thinks. "Who cares about you? My concern is for this mysterious treasure!" She dissolves into a grinning shadow, and flies into Princess D's body.

Two men open the door. "Princess D?" one of them calls. "Are you ready?"

Princess D whirls and glares at them. A beam of light leaves her eyes and strikes the two men. Their gazes go blank and dead. The Princess seizes the box containing the treasure. "I've got it!" she shouts, and runs into the ballroom. "Everyone out of my way!"

The partygoers melt out of her way, gasping. "Is that Princess D?" ... "She's acting really strangely!" ... "She's gone insane!" The Princess shoves through them and makes for the balcony.

Usagi leaps to intercept her, grabbing her by the head. "Princess D! Wake up! You're in danger!"

The Princess snarls in maniacal fury. "Let go of me!" She throws Usagi over the balcony railing, and Usagi screams as she falls.

She stops falling with a jolt as a hand grabs hers. Tuxedo Kamen is leaning half-over the balcony, gripping Usagi's hand tightly. At that point, Usagi's wrist communicator beeps. "Usagi-chan?" Ami's voice asks.

Ami and Rei are in the ballroom, watching the cackling Princess D. "That look on her face!" Rei marvels. "She's being possessed by an evil spirit - no, by an enemy!"

Meanwhile, the Princess is gradually gaining control over everyone at the ball. "Become our slaves," she cackles. "Whoever opposes us will be a sacrifice for our great ruler!"

Tuxedo Kamen tries to hold on, but Usagi's weight pulls him over the balcony. Usagi gasps as they're suddenly falling.

"Usagi!" Luna cries from the balcony. "The pen!"

"Pen?" Usagi repeats, holding it up. It extends, and suddenly opens up into a lacy umbrella. It slows their fall, and Tuxedo Kamen and Usagi land lightly on the ground below.

"This time, you saved me," he smiles down at her. "I thank you." He turns and runs off, disappearing into the horizon.

Usagi gazes after him. "Tuxedo Kamen!" she whispers. "No - always, always, you're the one who rescues me..." She grips her brooch. "Moon prism power - make up!" she shouts, and transforms. Then she gasps. "Oh, no! I don't have my tiara!" She remembers that she'd left it behind, trapping Jadeite. Then she feels her body growing warm, just as when she'd held Tuxedo Kamen's hand... and a new tiara adorns her forehead. With renewed confidence, she leaps up onto the balcony.

Sailors Mercury and Mars are already there. "Usagi! You're late!" they say as she appears. A shadow with Nephrite's face is looming over the Princess; as she spreads a black smoke through the ballroom, people's faces become blank and they fall fainting to the ground.

Usagi sees her father falling to the ground. "Dad?!" she cries.

Nephrite's shadow laughs, stretching out a hand. "The treasure and these people will be sacrifices for our great ruler!"

Rei steps forward. "Evil spirit, begone!" she cries, blasting Nephrite's shadow. It laughs at her, untouched, and she falls back. "What? It didn't work?"

"Sailormoon!" Tuxedo Kamen calls from the balcony. Usagi whirls to face him. "To banish the darkness, you must have a powerful light!"

Luna nods in agreement. "Usagi-chan! Use your new tiara to reflect the moon's light at Princess D!"

Usagi puts her hand to her tiara. "How dare you possess this princess! I am Sailormoon, and by the light of the moon, I'll punish you!" She aims her tiara, and it glows brightly. "Moon Twilight Flash!" she cries.

The shadow tears apart. Back in the Dark Kingdom, Nephrite recoils from the crystal ball with a gasp. "She destroyed it!" He stares unbelievingly at the crystal ball. "That Sailormoon, she destroyed my shadow..."

Princess D moans as she gets up, and her glasses fall off her nose. The senshi stare at her beautiful young face.

"What happened?" she asks, feeling around for her glasses. She puts them back on. "My glasses - I need them to see."

The girls picture Umino, and wonder if he would be handsome too, without his glasses...

"Um," Ami says, "what if Umino, also..."

Usagi giggles nervously.

"S - Surely not," Rei says.

The partygoers have resumed festivities, relieved that the party has returned to normal. A man steps up onto a dais. "Attention, please!" he calls. "We now present the treasure of the D Kingdom!"

Princess D opens the chest, and holds up a statue of her. "A 2000-carat diamond," she smiles, "in the image of the first D Kingdom princess!"

Luna and Rei stare, realizing that this is not what they've been seeking. Ami looks around. "Where's Usagi-chan?"

Usagi is wandering around, complaining that she's tired out. She goes by a table with drinks on it. "Oh, juice," she smiles, and downs a glass. "This is great," she hiccups, and stumbles against a man wearing a tuxedo. "Oh, sorry," she mumbles, and slumps to the ground, murmuring sleepily. She dozes off at Tuxedo Kamen's feet.

He grins tolerantly, and carries her to the balcony. Arranging her comfortably on a pillow, he remembers their dance, and her words... I was hoping to see you...

He leans in close and brushes his lips against hers. Then he deepens the kiss, and she sighs sleepily. Oh... he thinks. This feeling... Such fond memories... Before... Someplace... So soft and warm... How many times... have those sweet lips...

"Get off of Usagi-chan!" Luna snaps, her expression horrified.

Tuxedo Kamen looks up. Usagi is still rather dazed.

"Who are you?" Luna demands. "Why do you always appear where we go?"

He caresses a lock of Usagi's hair. "Because I, too, am searching for the ginzuishou."

Luna takes a step forward. "Are you an enemy? Are you an ally?"

Tuxedo Kamen regards her, his eyes brilliant and calm. "Well, if we're looking for the same thing - perhaps I'm an enemy."

Rain falls over the city of Tokyo... Forked lightning spears down to the ground...

A girl is running through the rain, one hand held up to shield her eyes.

"The storm is coming..." she says to herself.

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