Blackberry, that is what the cat called himself
Had I known what would happen because I accepted his offer things might have been different
Had I refused then everything would have been different
Yet I really never had a choice
Blackberry knew that when he made the offer
He also knew I wouldn’t be able to stop
That I would continue to use the power that had been given to me
Even then I knew that once I accepted that it would be too late
Maybe I was tired of running from power and decided to finally accept it
Yet I didn’t know the true consequences of my action
The difficult choices I was going to have to make
The trials I would have to go through
Those I would have to hurt to succeed
Had I know maybe I would have fled
Maybe I would have let the Elder Darkness rampage
Maybe I would have died
Maybe it would have been better that way
Instead I became a magical girl
And put the entire world at risk
Chapter 2 - Before Twilight
“You said it was Blackberry, right?” Asked Luna as she finished listening to Blackberry’s explanation. Blackberry nodded. “I think I understand. I just need to find the Elder Darkness and skill it before anything bad happens.” They had been talking in the living room since she had finished transforming.
“Yes, tonight. Should the sun rise it will go into hiding and you will have to wait until tomorrow night to fight it again.” Said Blackberry. “It has already reached midnight so we should find it quickly before it is too late.”
Luna nodded and stood, walking across the room and into the entrance, pulling her baseball bat out of the umbrella stand. Blackberry eyed her quizzically. “You shouldn’t need a weapon like that. The power that has awakened inside of you will be more useful then that bat will be.”
Luna eyed the bat up and down, “Think of it as a precautionary measure, an eccentric act from a rookie magical girl.”
“If you insist. It isn’t like it will make a difference either way. Instead we need to concentrate on finding the Elder Shadow. I will be able to sense it better I was higher up like on top of a building.”
A few minutes later the elevator dinged and they stepped out onto the roof of the apartment complex. Blackberry ran across the roof to the edge and looked out over the city. Lights shown here and there along the streets and in some of the buildings. Blackberry turned his head back and forth looking across the city in different directions.
“What are you looking for?” Asked Luna.
“The Elder Darkness is going to be awake at this time of night. I am feeling for it which will help direct us toward it. They are strong and should be sensible, even with you messing up by senses.”
Luna looked down at Blackberry intensely. Blackberry tried to concentrate on feeling for the Elder Darkness but the sense of being stared at grew until he finally say, “You magical powers are very strong. Even before I awakened you I had trouble sensing anything but you in the city. That is one of the reasons it had to be you that defeats this Elder Darkness. Now that I have helped you transform it is easier for me to filter out your power and detect something else.”
Luna broke her gaze away from Blackberry, much to his relief. She looked out over the lights of the city. Seeing the city at night was not usual to her, she was often out with the rest of the gang long after dark, but tonight the city seemed hushed in anticipation. Or maybe it was just her.
“I found it.” Said Blackberry. He raised one of his paws in a pointing motion off across the city. “We need to go that way and quickly.”
Luna walked over to the edge of the building next to Blackberry and picked him up. She looked down at the street far below and held that look for a couple of long seconds. Then she looked out toward the roof of the building across from her. Her body told her that she could do it, yet her mind continued to scream in rejection of the impossible act which would certainly end in her death.
Then she jumped. It felt like flying for those few seconds that she sailed through the air toward the other building. She landed softly on the top of the neighboring building. At that speed it should have be a hard impact but gravity seemed to be on vacation and there didn’t seem to be any signs of the impact.
“What is wrong? We need to be hurrying.” Said Blackberry who Luna was still carrying. She realized that she had just been standing there holding Blackberry tightly. She loosened her grip and began running across the building. For a while she lost herself in the moment, running along the roofs of buildings and leaping between them.
That peaceful moment didn’t last very long though. Eventually Blackberry say, “Stop, down there. That is the building that the Elder Darkness is in.” Luna stopped and moved toward the edge of the roof.
Looking down she asked, “Are you sure? That is a shopping mall. It doesn’t seems like a sinister enough place for an evil creature to live.”
“I’m certain. If you concentrate then you should be able to sense it too.” Said Blackberry.
Luna squinted and tried to feel the Elder Darkness. There was nothing, only the streetlamp lit streets and the occasional glow of neon. “Nothing. Though I don’t really know what to feel for, or even how I should feel for it.” Luna jumped off the roof and landed on the sidewalk just across the street from the shopping mall. Blackberry jumped out of her arms and began walking across the street.
“Maybe that isn’t something you are good at. All magical girls are different and have different strengths and weaknesses. If you can’t sense it then you should keep wary so that it doesn’t surprise you. Your magic will offer you some measure of protection but it could still kill you. Be careful.”
Luna smirked as she followed Blackberry across the streets. “Don’t worry about me. I have been in plenty of fights before, I can handle myself just fine.”
“Has your life ever been on the line before?” Blackberry turned his head as he asked Luna the question.
Luna stopped in the middle of the street, quiet for a time before finally answering, “Yes.” Then without another word she began walking again. Blackberry wanted to ask her another question but the brooding gloom surrounding Luna was more then he wanted to deal with.
The shopping mall has large glass double doors. Inside it was dark, there should have been some lights on inside, maybe for the security guard’s sake or from store lights that never got shut off. Instead the entire building was pitch black, only illuminated by the outside street lights.
Blackberry looked at the doors and up and Luna. Finally he broke the silence by asking, “Do you have a plan for getting inside?”
“The front door.” Said Luna as she hefted her baseball back and quickened her pace toward the doors.
“Just because you could break the glass doors doesn’t mean it is a good idea. If somebody sees you do it or calls the police then you might not have time to defeat the Elder Darkness and then escape”
Luna reached the doors and pulled on the handles. Silently the door opened and Luna looked over her shoulder saying, “You where saying?”
Blackberry lifted up a paw and give it a lick. “Nothing. Good idea checking the front door. It is a bit unusual that it is unlocked at this time of night.”
“No really. This shopping mall stays open until ten and since an Elder Darkness doesn’t awaken until sundown then it would have time to take over the mall before it closes for the evening.”
“Then the people that were inside…” Blackberry paused, leaving the sentence unspoken.
Luna didn’t speak, she just stepped through the door and held it open long enough for Blackberry to join her. It was better not to dwell on that sort of thing.
As Luna stepped farther into the darkness and out of the light from the street lights she noticed the white runes on her clothes begin to glow a faint white. It wasn’t much but it illuminated a couple of feet in front of her, allowing her to walk without problems. She walked father on into the mall until Blackberry’s voice came from behind her.
“Luna” Blackberry was standing on the very edge of the street light. “I won’t be able to help you against the Elder Darkness. It is more powerful then I am. Will you be able to do it? If you want to turn back now is your chance.”
“It is already too late for me to turn back.” She paused, “It was always too late for me to turn back. I just tried to delay it.”
Blackberry ran through the darkness until he was standing in Luna’s aura of light. He wanted to ask her questions, to discover what she meant by that. However while he had only known her for a short time he could already recognize that brooding look which meant that she didn’t want to talk about it.
They walked together through the darkness in the shopping mall for a while before Luna asked, “Do you know where it is?”
“Above us somewhere, probably on the second story somewhere. However it is not uncommon for an Elder Darkness to be guarded by the Lesser Darkness or by beings of its-own creation. If fact you had better hope that it does because those that don’t tend to be the most dangerous.”
Following Blackberry’s directions, Luna headed toward the stairs and began to head up them. As they reached the top of the first landing a still figure was illuminated by Luna’s glow.
“A mannequin?” Said Blackberry, “What is that doing outside the clothing store.”
Luna stepped closer to it and said, “It isn’t a mannequin, it is a person.” The man stood there, near perfectly still and gave no reaction, no movement at all, as Luna reached out and touched him. She drew her fingers back quickly, “He seems to still be alive.”
“It must be the work of the Elder Darkness. I normal human would be as weak before one of them as a kitten would be before a bulldog. If you can defeat the Elder Darkness then they should return to normal.”
“Look at this, he seems to be holding a sign. It is pointing up the stairs. Do you think it is inviting us up there?” Said Luna.
“Into a trap probably. It probably sensed us just like I sensed it. “ Said Blackberry
Luna looked up the stairs and then back at the perfectly still man. “Then we had better not keep it waiting.” She then began climbing the stairs again. When she reached the top of the stairs she pointed and said, “Look, a light. That must be where it is waiting for me.”
Blackberry followed her, keeping just at the edge of the light. It had been going too smoothly.
As they approached the light they could see that it was coming from inside one of the shops, a toy shop. Luna Star stepped inside the shop and was greeted by a cheery voice, “You made it. I was worried that you were going to be late. Please take a set, Mr. Bear is about to pour us some tea.”
The shelves had been pushed to the side and in the middle of the shop was a short circular table. Around the table were half a dozen equally short chairs. All but one of the chairs were occupied, the chair closest to Luna. The chairs were filled with children, perfectly frozen in motion and they were dressed in a variety of animal costumes. The one to Luna’s left was dress like a bear and in his hands was a small teapot.
Luna’s eyes were drawn to the speaker. Only one of the kids wasn’t wearing an animal costume, the one on the far side of the table. A beautiful young girl with pale white skin and a frilly red dress. Yet as Luna stepped closer she could tell that that was wrong. The girl didn’t have pale white skin, the girl had porcelain skin. The porcelain doll reached out with a teacup and with stiff movements the bear kid filled it with tea.
“What’s wrong, please have a seat so we can have tea.”