If I was perfectly honest with myself I was aware the exact moment I became disillusioned
Not unlike most of my kind I was conscripted into the Lunarian Defence Corps at a young age. It was tradition, moon rabbits serve the lunarians, it was common sense. Like everyone I just didn’t question it, it made sense. A moon rabbit wasn’t ruling the Lunar Capital, it was a lunarian. It wasn’t a moon rabbit leading the charge into battle, it was a lunarian. Anyone would laugh if you suggested keeping one as pet, were as it was common place for a moon rabbit to owned and controlled by their lunarian master. It made sense. Therefore, I was conscripted for training as soon as I could walk straight.
Training wasn’t awful. Having to sleep in the barracks with twenty other girls was uncomfortable and awkward at the best of times, since I didn’t know or get along with many of them. Training allowed me to avoid interacting with them in the name of efficient practice. Their parents had filled their heads with stories of grandeur and ancient wars, how the moon rabbits were always seen as legends and heroes. Sure, to a human all this would be impressive, but to most it was simple history, not legand. All this unearned ego went straight to there young dream filled heads. Though, I must admit, I did fall into this trap for a short while. My parents had made no attempt to convince me of any sort of importance to what I was; but hearing everyone around me talk the untold tales of their grandparent’s important role in changing the tide against the youkai army. How they manged to drive even the actually legendary Yukari Yakumo close to madness with just a flick of their eyes, it filled in a little bit of hope to me that I would be seen as more than a worthless cog in the machine.
That illusion lasted all of one week.
The Watatsuki sisters weren’t evil, just, harsh? I think that’s the polite word I would use to describe them. Toyohime less so, she was often kind enough to wait after training to help anyone who got hurt, even if she always seemed very aloof. Yorihime was a completely different beast. Her cold demeanour never helped matters, but when she would bring moon rabbits who were not much older than children to their knees in pain as she launched attack after attack at them, unflinching to how much pain she was causing.
Toyohime claimed her sister always did it with the best of intentions.
“Oh, don’t cry,” she’d say as pet a young girl on the head, her knees blooded and bruised from falling down over and over, her large red eyes spilling tears “she’s just getting you ready for the nasty humans, they won’t be as kind to just aim for the feet.”
Humans always baffled me to how they were portrayed. During the Lunar War, especially, the image would loop between either making them like uneducated lower beings who only just mastered space travel after thousands of years of evolution, or monstrosities who wouldn’t think twice about slaughtering every last one of us. I was more drawn into the first interpretation. It made the most sense. They didn’t even seem to aware of the attacks being launched at them, they were silly and superficial beings, that seemed to be more impressed they even made it to the moon at all. Not that they had caused a war to break out.
Apparently, I was a crack shot with a gun. I really didn’t see the difference, I just did the same drills as everyone else. Every day started with a wash, small breakfast and then a run around the camp three times. Then began the combat training, dogging exercises, a couple of hours based around education and a “anti- human hour” were we would sit and watch new footage of humans that had been collected. With Yorihime explaining in her mechanical tone everything wrong with their defence and where it was the best to strike. Then, my favourite hour, we got a chance in the firing range. I just did the same thing as everyone else. Sure, I rather enjoyed firing range, especially when the classes of how to use our "Lunatic Red Eyes" begun and we learnt to manipulate our power into a controlled shot out our hands. Being able to shoot a bullet twice as strong as any gun out of our bare hands was strangely intoxicating, knowing that no matter what the humans did, they would always be below us. They would never be able to do this. We would always have the upper hand in some way. This strange joy I got from practising didn’t go unnoticed, like said, I didn’t really believe I was much better then any of the other girls in my group, but The Watatsuki sisters seemed to think otherwise.
One of the best paths in life for a moon rabbit is to become a pet. While, as far as I’m aware, becoming a pet in human culture can be seen as rather deeming. Becoming a sort of slave to a master that only keeps you around for superficial reasons. But as a moon rabbit its one of the best options you can be presented with; you get a sort of sponsorship to become a body guard and overall servant to a high ranking lunarian, since only the rich can afford to get one. In return for this increased responsibility you get paid well enough to afford a nice life within the capital. While I had no intention of return to the capital before the war was won, to have the stability to get a home would be pleasant. I was offered such a position.
Toyohime had pulled me aside one day after training, her normal, kind of dopy, smile on her face. Enthusiastically she went on about how impressive my marksmanship was and how swimmingly well she thought my wave manipulation was coming along. I was flattered, to be complemented by someone held in such high regard was a very new and alien experience to me. Then she just slipped it in, like it was no big deal.
“Me and Yorihime have been chatting, we’ve been looking for a new pet, and,” eyes of bright amber shone off the light of the earth, her hands clasped neatly behind her back “we’d love you to take the position!”
I accepted instantly. There was one thing about becoming a pet that meant the most, more then any money I could be given. I got a name. Only lunarians are allowed to bestow names upon their pets, before that we are nameless. Within the training camp especially we were all referred to as ‘rabbit’, then followed by whatever number we were. By becoming a pet, I finally was blessed with a name. A name means everything in the capital, without it you are seen as nothing more than cannon fodder or free slaves for the lunarians. A mass of animals perfect to let loose onto unsuspecting humans.
Reisen. It was simple. I didn’t have a last name or any sort of title, but I had a name. Something to show me as having some sort of position of power. As to what Reisen meant I wasn’t sure. Toyohime joked that Yorihime had chosen the name to mock the invading humans, since can be said as zero-sen, meaning “Zero-Fighter”, which is apparently a piece of human weaponry. Therefore, it made it seem as if their own weapons were turning on them. I had politely laughed at the notion, I didn’t expect Yorihime to have any sort of humour inside her. Though I silently hoped my new name wasn’t just a badly disguised joke to annoy the humans.
After the change in position I was put in charge of small groups to start our first recon missions. I had to put aside my preconceived notions of my team mates, we had all grown since our first week here, I was a leader now. They had to place some degree of trust within me, as much as I didn’t feel I had earned it.
Recon was when the first cracks within this prefect image of lunarian superiority begun to show slightly. We were restricted to walking only, flight being strictly banded to prevent them seeing us, with communication also being restricted to ESP waves. It was almost, ironically so, maddening. But the worse thing, the most stupid and irritating thing about these excursions.
Was that they were pointless.
During our entire time patrolling the Near side of the Moon we never saw a single human, let alone one planning to attack the capital. They couldn’t even see thing without going into a fit of insanity, so why on earth would they be planning to attack it? Some of the girls had raised these questions in a more formal tone. Whenever they were brought up they would be shot down by Yorihime claiming that they were on the brink of breaking through any day now and that they were making constant weapons and bases on the moon that hadn’t yet been properly colonised. We all never brought it up again. It just made sense. Of course, the humans were building a moon base that was capable of taking out the capital. They were scheming monsters. But then the next day they were made fun of for being so uneducated that they only got into space through sheer dumb luck. Both reasonings made sense, of course they did that. They were beasts. They were idiots. They were humans.
It went on like this for about a year, weeks away from the capital searching for a threat that never seemed to be. I remember, on one of the few weeks I had off recon, sitting in the sisters’ tea room. Despite me being their pet for a considerable while now every trip I had to the palace was always jarring. Swapping from either the desolate dust covered landscape of moon or the cold, mechanical, harshness of the barracks, to a place of complete and utter decadence. Despite the capitals technological achievements that put us ahead anything that could be conceived by humans; the palace stood as a remainder of time gone. It has been modernised as time went on, the once wooden structure has been converted to that of a sliver light weight alloy, traditional sliding doors having their screens replaced with glass able to be fogged up with a simple tap. Yet the old splendour of the palace remained, lines of ancient pieces of art work and armour covered every wall. They seemed so desperate to hold onto their past, when the wars they thought were always that which would become legend. When everyone held the royalty in high regard with unflinching loyalty. When there seemed to be some point to anything we were doing.
We sat around a low square table made of a light birch type wood, even with the confines of the palace the sisters’ rooms held far more old sensibilities, with most of the furniture being made out of natural materials. Old paintings lined every wall that wasn’t covered with a door out to the main hall or out to the balcony, the doors of which were opened to a star filled sky, the earth looming over us. The paintings were mostly that of nature, some even of animals from earth, though they mostly depicted moon rabbits making mochi, a common subject matter among lunarian artists. The table was covered in everything needed for a tea, Toyohime had always been fond of tea sets styled after the more western part of the Earth. While Yorihime had always insisted on keeping traditional lunarian teas as the only thing that got severed within the castle. Meaning that we were drinking a light a fruity peach tea; made from fruit grown within the palace grounds. The taste was sweet and danced along my tongue. Like the palace itself, the tastes were so different from anything I was used to. I’ve had teas before, even peach tea when my mother felt like treating me and my father, but it was always store brought. Packaged and made to last for as long as possible. The tea here only lasted two weeks or so, due to the fresh nature of the ingredients, but the taste was far stronger than anything that could be brought. The food was similarly extravagant, even something as simple as a plate of sweet mochi was decorated with a pattern of fresh, edible, flowers around the borders and every small parcel was coated in a mixture of fine pink sugar and larger golden sugar crystals. Delicate line work across the entire treat to make it look like the face of the moon. Every bite filled my mouth with a sticky, yet at the same time, fluffy substance that was better than sort of ration that we were given.
Even though the sisters claimed they chose me as a pet due to my skill as soldier, they always seemed to dance around the war. Never directly talking to me about it. Any time I brought it up, even in passing, they would quickly try to divert the conversation. Toyohime quickly changing the subject to that of the landscape that I had seen or how lovely the mochi was. Yorihime always remained silent, the only change that her fist would tighten around her tea cup to the point that I thought she would break it. However, that time I wouldn’t let the issue rest. So many girls had left the army by this point that we barely had any sort of infantry. The number of recon groups dropping from that of ten at the start of the war, to now only three. Many either leaving the war out right to seek jobs as pets, body guards or whatever. Others didn’t go that far, but instead claimed incompetence, with them getting moved to intercity defence. It had gotten to the point were new recruits, hearing the current state of the war from girls that had left, were asking to be put on intercity defence or even pretending to be worse than they were to get stationed there. During some terms of leave I would visit the old training grounds to see how the new recruits were doing. I watched the combat exams, girls deliberately moving their gun off to the side to miss targets, falling over seemingly nothing, miss swinging punches and all manner of things being done to avoid being put on the front lines. With the examiners having no real passion to stop them. It was pathetic in a way, yet I could hardly blame them.
I kept pushing the sisters, every attempt made to throw me off I ignored. My loyalty to the sisters was absolute, they had done so much for me that I had to be, but I had an equal loyalty to my troupe. They had made me its leader; therefore, I had a right to information pertaining to my group and what we were meant to be doing.
“Please, Reisen, dear,” Toyohime tried to be reassuring, she seemed to be pained by the sudden questions. I realised that this conversation was going to be difficult when I started it, but I wasn’t going to let drop until I got a solid answer “I understand you want answers, but please trust us when we say that everything you are doing is for a purpose.”
“What purpose?” I bluntly spoke, my tone growing harsher on ‘purpose’, “we have been walking around a wasteland for almost a year now and we have seen-“
I would have continued, but at that point Yorihime’s cup smashed under the pressure of her fist. Tea spilling down her front, but she didn’t seem worried by it. Instead her deep red eyes, the colour of drying blood, stared directly into mine. Unlike the red of mine and all moon rabbits’ eyes, which was bright and was often likened to that of rubies or warning lights, Yorihime’s was a deadly and deep red. There had been rumours that they were only red because she split so much blood during the youkai war, staining her eyes with the drying blood of her fallen opponents. I never believed those stories, it was nothing more than a silly fairy tale to emphasise the heroics of Yorihime. But, for nothing more than a split second, I truly believed it.
“Now, now,” Toyohime begun to dap at her sister with a napkin “let’s not have any more issues, Reisen please drop the matter,” she sighed a little to herself “and I think it would be best for you to head home for the night, a servant will see you out.”
As I walked out to the main exit, we went pass the main hall. I always thought there was always something off about a picture hung above a table that lay at the end of the hall, it was the first thing you saw as you entered after all. It was a stunning ink painting, the line work depicting a figure in robe, smiling at something off to the right. To the right was a hand holding that of the figures of the painting, following behind them. It seemed odd to me for the painting to be done in such a way. I intended to ask one of the sisters about it, but I worried that I might never be invited back after what just happened.
If I was perfectly honest with myself I was aware the exact moment I became disillusioned. I know when, right as I stepped out of that palace. For months they had been entertaining me, trying to keep my loyalty with treats and friendly talks. Being kind and pleasant to me, but also looking down on me. I wasn’t a loyal soldier, clever commander or even a friend to them, not really, I was a pet. A cute creature you can keep invested and devoted towards you purely by giving it treats and compliments. I thought I was above the mindless creatures of Earth, that I was more to them than that, however I had just played right into their hands. We were not equals, not in the slightest, and they knew I would follow them whatever. Just like an animal would. Because they fed me, because they looked after me, because they gave me a name they could call to get me to come whenever. Just like the food they ate and world they lived in, it was so sickly sweet and over the top that there was no way to remain in the fantasy long enough for it to truly skin in as every step I took I had to push myself back to reality in a fear that I would become consumed by it.
Everything just fell out from under me.
That was the thing, there was no point. No purpose. No reason. No sense, no anything, in the war. It was purely being to keep the minds off the problems off our own home and just push every problem onto someone else. It was the youkai before and now it’s the humans. The humans can’t do anything, yes, they may be stupid but they’re not evil. They most likely don’t know what’s even going on! Every attempt they have made at a moon base had already been destroyed by a unit before us and they had most likely given up by this point or weren’t going to come back for a long time. So, what was the point of always keeping this ‘war’ running if not to keep the people distracted.
After that I drew more and more apathetic towards the war, no one in my unit had much enthusiasm beforehand, but now there was virtually no motivation. I had tried to keep it up due to my loyalties towards the sisters and my group. Yet, now, I was dry. I just wanted to leave. We were stationed one night on the edge of a space set up for human spacecrafts to land, with our instructions being to stake it out in case of human reinforcements arriving. One of the few gifts that the sisters had given me was a Lunar Veil, a piece of lunarian technology that allowed the user to fly. They had given it to me with the intention of using it to fly higher than I usually would be able to and at a faster rate in case I need to scout out human camps. I, of course, have never had a reason to use it, until now. I knew the sisters would be unaware of my location for a long while, they had been instructed to move to the Sage's Sea permanently until further notice. Meaning they would be away, at least for a while, from the communications of the Luna Capital. Since they would only be arriving today. Meaning they would be unaware if I was to disappear, even if just for a day, which would be enough for me to get away.
I was aware I was acting rashly. That every logical part of my brain was telling me to just stay and try to wait it out until the war was over. But who knows when that may be? Sure, the lifespan of a moon rabbit is far longer than a human, but a lunarian is able to live forever. The war could last just as long as my life span, and if I was to leave the war I would be labelled a coward, like many before me, and it was almost certain I would stop being a pet of the sisters. I didn’t want to be a pet, yet I wouldn’t be able to continue without it. As selfish as it may sound, after having the taste of a life of being a pet, I wanted it still. Even to gain the same rights as a human, I had to give up my own free will to live as someone’s pet. I just wanted to be treated like a human, as stupid as that may sound. Even though we’ve always been told to look down on humans, seeing what we did of their lives, I was rather jealous. They were free to do as they wish, to have simple things like name without being completely owned by someone, to be able make their own role in the world without having the destiny decided at birth.
I just couldn’t live like this anymore.
Therefore, that night, when everyone was asleep, I took the Lunar Veil and left. It was simple enough to use, so I silently and without incident begun the long flight down to earth. It would take a day, at least, but I didn’t care anymore. I would be labelled a traitor and would be unable to return to moon without being shot on sight, but I didn’t care. I could very well be shot and killed on earth, with them thinking I was a spy or even an invasion from the moon, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be gone.
However, a contingency I didn’t plan for arose, I begun to black out. I hadn’t felt ill or anything along those lines, yet within an hour of taking off I had almost completely loss conscious. I begun to float through space, unable to control my movement before I went into a deep sleep.
When I awoke I thought I had been captured and brought back to the capital. The level of technology seemed to be on the same level and due to my drowsiness, I thought for sure I had been captured. Though, as it begun to skin in, I realised something clearly. There was moon in the sky. So, was I on the earth then? Yet that couldn’t be right, everything about the humans we knew wouldn’t able to make place like this. Not to mention, I thought my appearance would be rather strange to most people, seeing how it clashed with a look of an average human. Yet, instead, no one payed me much of a second thought. Trying to gain answers, I asked the first person that looked friendly enough to talk to where I was.
“Terminus,” they could tell I looked rather distressed and seemed to be trying to calm me down “are you new here dear?”
While being called dear by anyone but Toyohime caused me to flinch slightly I tried to remain composed “yes, are beings showing up unannounced common place here?”
The old woman chuckled softly “more than you would expect, come on all new arrivals have to go and register.”
She brought me to a sort of city hall and left me to get sorted out. They provided me with an apartment, which was kind of them, and made me fill out a form to inform them of any major information. Including parts about my abilities, trying to explain the manipulation of waves was a challenge, since I had never had to do it before, it was common knowledge on the moon. I also quickly came to realise that I was nothing special here, there was all manner of strange beings here. Which in way comforted me to know that I wouldn’t be the only oddity here.
Like I said, the apartment was free, yet I would have to pay the rent or face being kicked out. So, I looked for a job. While there were openings for military positions, which would be the clear option for someone of my skill set, I ran away to avoid fighting in any more wars. I truly needed a break of the military life, I might re-join the future, but for now I needed to clear my head. But that faced me with the dilemma of what I would do for work, I had no real skills beyond combat. It was after all what I had been trained in my entire life and while I didn’t wish to go into the army, I did wish to use the only skill set I had for some good. So, I looked into similar jobs that were open to that of the army. There was one called a police officer, which, as far as I could grasp, was a similar enough job to that of the intercity defence that I wouldn’t be completely lost. I signed up and got the job, though only as a trainee for the foreseeable future, which to me was better than no job at all.
My new life on Terminus is a strange one to say the least. But I've yet to regret my decision to desert my post. In fact, it may of been the first meaningful decision I've made in my entire life.