Sailor Moon demands to know how long Mamoru's been coughing up black blood. He answers that he doesn't know; it started around the time that his chest started to hurt. He doesn't mention to Sailor Moon that the doctor found a black shadow on his lungs. Sailor Chibi-Moon turns to Pegasus, certain that he will know if Mamoru's sickness is related to the enemies.
"It seems the time has come already," Pegasus says. In a burst of light and feathers, he turns into a young man with a golden horn on his forehead. He bows to Mamoru, Sailor Moon, and Chibi-Moon. He is really Priest Elios of Elysion. He describes Elysion as "the holy land that protects Earth." As its priest, Elios is to watch over the land, the Earth, and Prince Endymion. The spirits of Endymion, Elios, Earth, and Elysion are linked together: what happens to one happens to all. As Elios continues, a black rose appears in Mamoru's chest.
The black rose is the sign of a curse, a curse that is destroying Elysion and Elios and is threatening to destroy the Earth. The one who cast the curse can only be Queen Nehelenia of the Dead Moon. The Dead Moon has held a grudge against the Silver Millennium since the beginning of time. Now that the Moon Kingdom is no more, Nehelenia has turned her eyes to Earth, although she is not aware that Earth is where the Silver Millennium's descendant lives as Sailor Moon. Her Dead Moon Circus used the eclipse as the perfect opportunity to slip onto the Earth unnoticed. They easily conquered Elysion and imprisioned Elios in the body of a Pegasus, locking him in a golden cage. The body that Mamoru and the others are seeing right now is only an illusion.
Despretly, Elios explains that, if the nightmares currently plaquing Elysion grow any stronger, they will overrun the surface and the Earth will be Nehelenia's. He pleads for Sailor Moon to use her Ginzuishou to destroy the Dead Moon. She readily agrees--anything to save the Earth and Mamoru. "It's regrettable," Elios informs her, "but even if you defeat them with only the Ginzuishou, you cannot lift the curse on Elysion and the Prince." The key to lifting the curse is the Kinzuishou [Golden Crystal], which can only be unsealed by the chosen maiden.
Elios hunches over as if in pain. He begins to detransform back into a Pegasus. He begs Sailor Moon to find the chosen maiden (if she is not the one herself) and to find the Kinzuishou. He vanishes.
Mamoru coughs again, and Sailor Moon rushes towards him. He stops her from touching him, fearful that the curse is contagious. Secretly, Mamoru is ashamed that he's powerless to help her. Not to be deterred, Sailor Moon throws herself into his arms. "I will stay with you," she cries. "I'm going to make you get better! We'll get through this together!"
The next day, the Inners discuss the Dead Moon, the Kinzuishou, and Mamoru with Chibi-Usa. They swear to help Usagi and protect Mamoru. Ami suggests they work on a strategy, and Makoto wishes aloud that "those three" were with them. Minako balks a little when Makoto explains that the Outers gave the Senshi vitality. Rei agrees, recalling how she achieved her new henshin because she thought about the strength of the Outers. Ami too says that she thinks the new henshins are the Outers' way of telling them to keep fighting.
Minako slips away from the group and raises her arm into the air, calling out her henshin phrase. Nothing happens. "I didn't tell the others, but I can't transform. Only me."
At the Aino house, Artemis reminds Minako that everyone else has said that there was a time when they couldn't transform. This new henshin will surely happen soon, he assures her. Still not convinced, Minako goes to take a shower. She looks at herself critically and wishes she was more like the goddess Venus. Artemis peeks into the shower and has his tail bitten by an irate Luna.
Artemis wasn't the only one who was spying on Minako. Cere-Cere has been watching and listening through a magic mirror. The fact that Minako cannot transform is not lost on her; she passes the information over to Palla-Palla. Ves-Ves hears and suggests that the have some fun with her. Agreeing, Palla-Palla calls on Xenotime and Zeolite to take care of Minako.
Outside the circus tent, the Inners ponder what to do. Rei tries to use Michiru's mirror, which she borrowed from Chibi-Usa, but it doesn't work. Ami senses that the circus is sending out a force field over Juuban. Minako wonders to herself if that force field is preventing her from transforming, and asks Ami if she confirmed its presence using her computer. Ami says that she did--using a program designed by Setsuna before she left. At that moment, a helicopter passes overhead, reminding Makoto of Haruka.
Suddenly, Minako yells, "Five times!" The others look at her strangely. "Today since we met, those three's names have come up five times. I don't think there's any excuse for thinking about people who aren't here!" Ami and Makoto try to placate her, but Rei comments that she's acting very strange. "Of course I'm strange!" Minako retaliates. "Strange is fine! Cock-a-doodle-doo!"
Minako runs away, thinking that she failed as the Senshi's leader. She runs right into a man wearing a suit covered with stars and moons. He asks her if she'd like to audition to be an idol.
The others are shocked when Minako tells them her news. Ami thinks that it sounds suspicious and studies the talent scout's business card: Dead Moon Entertainment, Mr. Xenotime. The others think this sounds very fishy, but Minako insists on going by herself and storms off. Artemis follows her, but Minako tells him to leave her alone. To herself, she admits that the audition might be a Dead Moon plot, but this only makes her more determined to prove that she is a capable leader.
The audition is held in a brand new section of Juuban, completely populated by Dead Moon-owned buildings. Minako is certain that the Dead Moon Circus and the audition is just a cover for the invaders. She decides to go along with it in order to get more information. She and the other girls are ushered onto a soundstage set up like a jungle. Zeolite says that this is the survival part of the audition: the first girl to reach a group of frightened children on a scaffold will win fifty million yen, a role in a TV movie, a commercial, and a music contract. The girls rush towards the scaffold, each one becoming angry at the competition. Jun-Jun watches from above, relishing the fact the the mob's anger is being converted into energy for the Dead Moon.
Minako yells at the girls to stop, but they are too wrapped up in winning the idol role. She chases after them, still trying to warn them. Boulders start to fall in her direction, but Sailors Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars show up to save her. Lemures attack them, and they tell Minako to transform and help them. She calls out her henshin phrase, but nothing happens. Feeling like she let everyone down, Minako runs deeper into the jungle to save the children.
As Minako climbs the scaffold, knives rain down around her, tossed by Xenotime. On the ground, Zeolite threatens Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter. If they move, he promises that Minako will end up dead.
Minako makes it to the top at last, but all the children turn into lemures. Ves-Ves arrives to congratulate her on making it, but the new prize is to be attacked by the lemures. The lemures enter her body, possessing her. Artemis sees and claws at Minako's face, breaking the spell. Annoyed, Ves-Ves makes the floor wall out from under Minako. Minako holds on as hard as she can while Artemis tries to pull her up. Palla-Palla arrives and decides to end this audition. She conjures up a huge boulder and drops it on the white cat as Minako screams.
On to Exam 1
On to Act 39
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