Collapsing to his knees, Helios clutched at his chest, feeling a sharp ache coming from within. His Maenads rushed to his side, alarmed.
“Helios-sama, what’s wrong?” Eos asked.
“It’s nothing. I‘m fine,” he lied before being overcome by a violent coughing fit.
In truth, he had been experiencing such “attacks” for several days, although none quite as strong as this. Whatever the cause, it was steadily growing more powerful. Helios wondered if it was related to the strange vision he had received during his last prayer session.
“No, you’re not!” Aurora said, horrified when Helios pulled his hand away from his mouth to reveal that it was covered in black liquid. “Is that blood? Eos, help me get him into bed.”
Too weak to protest, Helios allowed the Maenads to take him to his bedroom and put him to bed. He fell asleep almost immediately, but his rest was far from peaceful. Haunted by nightmares of a dark queen and a creepy circus, he awoke less than an hour later to the faint smell of roses perfuming the air.
“This fragrance… It seems nostalgic somehow,” he murmured. Helios stumbled out of bed and followed the scent to the rose garden that surrounded the temple.
The roses, once vibrant red, had turned sickly black, giving off an odor so foul, Helios could barely breathe. Yet the enchanting fragrance somehow lingered as the dream-like figure of a man appeared in the center of the garden.
The apparition didn’t seem to hear him, collapsing in pain as Helios had done earlier. Helios ran over and gasped when he saw a black rose glowing within the translucent figure’s chest.
“No, it can’t be,” he whispered. “This rose…”
But seeing the prince, he suddenly realized what had happened. A curse had fallen upon Elysion.
DISCLAIMER: Sailor Moon is the property of Naoko Takeuchi.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Any comments or criticisms can be sent to me at ElysionDream@aol.com. Third place winner of the “Sing Me A Story” challenge at the “sailormoonland” community at Livejournal.