Sailor Q and the Nutcracker Prince
|Title:||Sailor Q and The Nutcracker Prince|
|Continuity||SSEU Earth 1337-A|
|Synopsis||Preparing for a role in the nutcracker, Matsumi finds herself also troubled by her relationship with her boyfriend Hideki. When she purchases a gift for him from a mysterious shop, she finds herself taken on a magical journey to save a kingdom from ruin.|
Sailor Q and The Nutcracker Prince
It’s the holidays and at Mugen Academy, preparations are being done for a huge performance, a collaboration between the Drama Club and a local ballet group on a production of The Nutcracker. Matsumi Shin is nervous as she’s playing Clara and though she is doing her best, she finds herself distracted and fumbling as she thinks about what to get Hideki for Christmas.
During one class, Matsumi falls asleep and gets scolded for it. Afterwards, walking with Masaki and Saki, Matsumi admits her worries and how hard it has been for her. Masaki bluntly asks Matsumi if she thinks Hideki will spent time with her during the holidays, which suddenly makes Matsumi worried. Saki tries to cheer Matsumi up but her attempts only end up irritating Masaki.
Back at rehearsals, Matsumi is trying her best, but her mind keeps going back to Hideki and everything that she has been worried about. She gets scolded by the director, one of her fellow students, for not paying attention, Matsumi attempting to double her efforts after that.
Heading out, Matsumi meets with Freya, who is worried about her. She feels she’s exhausting herself and that she needs to give herself some rest but Matsumi stubbornly tells Freya that the production needs her. Freya tells her that isn’t what she’s worried about and that while she understands, Matsumi is overthinking things again. She then reminds Matsumi that she promised Haruka and Michiru that she would help Hotaru with decorating the tree, which she hasn’t done due to her rehearsals. Matsumi ignores Freya, trying to think about a gift that she can get Hideki. As Freya tries to get Matsumi’s attention, the girl’s eye suddenly catches an old shop, one she swears that she had never seen before. Though Freya has a bad feeling about it, Matsumi enters the store anyway.
Inside the shop, they find it full of antique items, toys and the odd object here and there. Matsumi starts to find the entire thing just a bit creepy and regrets coming in, with Freya feeling the same way. As she back up a bit, she ended up bumping into an eyepatched dummy, only to be stunned when the man starts to talk to her! He introduces himself as a simple shop keeper and though still a bit scared and confused, Matsumi follows him as he shows her around, Freya at one point getting startled by one of the old clockwork toys. As he is giving the tour, he plies Matsumi for the reason that she came and she admits it was to find a present for her boyfriend. The shopkeeper smiles and leads her to a locked cupboard where he takes out an old nutcracker, which much to Matsumi’s awe, seems to bear a striking resemblance to Hideki! She thinks it’s perfect but admits she probably can’t afford it. The man smiles and insists she take it for free, stating that it will be the perfect gift not only for him but for her. Matsumi is unsure at first but then agrees once the shopkeeper insists. Collecting Freya, she exits the shop. As she does so, Freya looks back, only to see the shop itself has vanished.
It begins to snow and as Matsumi heads towards the bus stop to go home, she suddenly spots Hideki. Hiding the nutcracker quickly, she approaches him. A bit nervously, she greets him, Hideki asking how she is doing with the rehearsals. Matsumi admits she’s having trouble but is certain that she’ll be able to a good job on it and that she can’t wait for him to see her on stage. However, Hideki then tells her he might not make it, as he needs to help his aunt at the bakery with the Christmas orders, something which upsets Matsumi immensely, though she tries not to show it. As the bus arrives, he does tell her that he wants to do her best but she makes a quick excuse of not wanting to miss her ride home and gets on board the vehicle. As she tries to find a seat, she bumps into one of the passengers, the nutcracker falling from her arms and landing hard on the ground. Picking it up quickly, Matsumi is sadden to find it now has a crack in one of its arms and sitting down, she watches from the window as Hideki retreats from view in the falling snow.
Back home, Matsumi tries to trim the tree with Hotaru, but is too upset to properly focus on what’s she’s doing, which the other younger girl scolds her about. Matsumi apologizes, only for Haruka to find the nutcracker, which Matsumi has roughly fixed, sitting under the tree. Asking about it, Matsumi just says it was suppose to be a gift but now it’s just nothing. Haruka makes a word-play joke about the nutcracker only for Michiru to grab her by the ear and scold her for making a horrible joke, dragging her away to help her with the dinner, much to the amusement of Matsumi and Hotaru, though it is only temporary.
That night, Matsumi can’t sleep and getting up (in the process knocking Freya off her bed), heads downstairs. In the living room, Matsumi and Freya are surprised to find the tree still lit and Matsumi goes to check the nutcracker, still upset by Hideki and also the damage done to it. Suddenly, Matsumi thinks she hears a noise and Freya becomes tense as she’s certain that they aren’t alone in the room. Matsumi is certain that she seems dark shadows moving along the walls and backing up, nearly stumbles into the tree, which she suddenly realizes is much taller then it was before. Freya and Matsumi then find much to their shock that they are getting smaller, until they are no bigger than the nutcracker under the tree. They suddenly learn just what it is that they’re dealing with, when a whole army of rats suddenly come swarming in, lead by a monstrous three headed humanoid rat. After getting lead on a chase, Freya reminds Matsumi she can transform, which she does so. However, even as Eternal Sailor Quinox, she finds herself overwhelmed, Calling out for help, she is stunned by a voice answering her, only to see the nutcracker come to life! Rushing to help her, they manage to beat back the enemy rats into retreat. They then find themselves facing off the Rat King and while both try to fight it back, it is far stronger then the other rats, grabbing Quinox at one point and using her as a makeshift club against the Nutcracker, knocking him over onto his injured arm. Approaching the now collapsed nutcracker, the Rat King raise it’s sword to try and kill it’s foe, only for Eternal Sailor Quinox to kick the Rat King in the heads with such force, it flies across the room into a wall socket, shocking it to death. A bit astonished by this, Freya then reminds her about the injured nutcracker, Quinox rushing over to the nutcracker’s side. Certain that he is dead and feeling guilty about having damaged him before, begins to weep over him. Much to her shock, the Nutcracker glows and his wooden facade cracks and shatters, revealing the features of a prince underneath (who looks just like Hideki). Introducing himself as the Prince of the Toys and thanks for releasing him from the spell. He tells her he wishes to thank he for rescuing him and causes a sleigh to suddenly appear, asking her to come with him to his kingdom, so he may properly thank her for what she has done. In a bit of a daze and unsure on what else to do, she takes his hand and climbing on board the sleigh, is amazed as the walls open revealing a snowy forest, as it carefully glides through, Freya chasing after and jumping on board with them.
Unbeknownst to them, a figure watches them traveling through a crystal ball, seemingly displeased by the fact that the spell had been broken. Walking over to a shelve, the figure takes a small jar filled with some manner of swirling ice crystals and opens it, bading the contents to “bring him to me”.
Back in the sleigh, Quinox is unusually quiet, with the Prince being worried. When he asks her, she carefully starts to admit everything on her mind, even feeling uncomfortable by the fact that he looks so close to her boyfriend. He understands and gives her some advice that he is certain that the boy she cares about still loves her and that she should not doubt it. She is still uncertain, when suddenly a strange sound fills the air. The prince seems to recognize what is and tries to drive the sleigh faster, pulling out his sword in an effort to defend them from whatever it is, which Quinox soon discovers a group of women like snowflake creatures begin to swarm the area. Quinox and the prince try to fight them off, but the swarm overtakes them and turns over the sleigh, causing it to crash and Quinox to tumble into a tree. As her transformation fails, Matsumi can only watch as the Prince is carried off by the Snowflake Women.
Matsumi slowly comes to as she hears a familiar voice and opening her eyes, she sees Freya sitting on top of her chest, wondering if she’s alright. As her eyesight clears, she is astonished to see what looks like Hotaru dressed in a pink frilly gown with fairy wings on her back. She helps Matsumi up and reveals herself to be the Sugarplum fairy, much to Matsumi’s disbelief. When she asks Matsumi what happened, Matsumi checks on the sleigh only to find it destroyed. It is then that Matsumi reveals the entire story of the attack, much to the fairy’s distress. The fairy states it was the work of the Night Queen and tells Matsumi that she has to get as far away from this land as possible, which Freya reminds Matsumi that they were brought here by the Prince and don’t know the way home. Matsumi is more worried for his welfare and insists they rescue him, ignoring the fairy’s plea to leave this alone. Freya tells the fairy it’s no good as Matsumi is too stubborn when it comes to rescuing others. Giving up on changing her mind, the fairy reveals they’ll need some help in getting there.
Within a gigantic clockwork castle, the snowflake women drag the Prince towards a seated figure on a metal throne. The prince begs the figure to not do this, to remember but the figure haughty tells him that she remembers things all too well. The figure then demands to know about the other who was with him, only for the snowflake women to show in their silence that they failed in killing her. Enranged, the figure gestures and turns the snowflake women back into small particles, then calls out to a figure in the shadows to take care of the intruder.
The Sugerplum Fairy brings Matsumi and Freya to a gingerbread inn named Mother Ginger’s, which Matsumi finds much to her surprise to be filled with all manner of fantastic magical beings. Matsumi still can’t belive what’s going on and tries to wake herself, much to Freya’s bemusement. They are brought back to reality when Mother Ginger herself appears, looking exactly like Haruka, much to Matsumi’s confusion. However, at first assuming her to be the person they’re looking for, The Sugarplum Fairy instead requests to talk to her partner, who appears not long after and looks like Michiru dressed up as a toy soldier. The Sugarplum Fairy explains everything that happened and that she knows only the Oracle knows where the Night Queen’s castle is, someone the two know very well. However, both are unsure, since they know what happened last time. However, Matsumi manages to convince them both to help her, though only after Freya inadavieratly angers one of the patrons, forcing the group to flee.
As the group makes it ways through the snowfields, Matsumi finds herself lost in thought again about Hideki. Freya asks if Matsumi is doing this because of the prince or because he looks like Hideki. Matsumi is not so sure herself and wonders if what the prince did say about Hideki was true. After all if he did love him, he would come to see her, wouldn’t he? She’s snapped out of it as Mother Ginger tells her she’s going the wrong way and she scrambles to keep up with the others. Walking through the forest, the Soldier tells them to stop as she senses something wrong. The Sugarplum fairy feels the same way and though Mother Ginger says she doesn’t feel anything wrong, Matsumi suddenly realizes that she can smell coffee. The landscape around them starts to shimmer and as they watch, it transforms into a sort of desert. As they watch, a woman slowly appears, dancing a strange dance. Matsumi and the rest of the group find themselves strangely transfixed by the sight, especially Mother Ginger who begins to approach the woman. Matsumi struggles to fight it and looking down, suddenly becomes aware of the snake like features of the figure’s body. Matsumi transforms into Sailor Quinox and manages to tackle Mother Ginger before the snake woman attacks them. The Soldier attacks the snake woman, knocking her over, while Quinox fires an attack, defeating the creature and much to Quinox’s shock turning her into a toy. After berating Mother Ginger, the group keeps moving, just in time to see the distant lights of a tent hidden in the trees, which the Soldier proclaims to be the home of the Oracle. Entering the tent, Quinox finds herself staring at the Oracle in front of her, who looks exactly like Setsuna. After some tense words between Mother Ginger, Soldier and Oracle, Quinox finally asks her to find the way to the Night Queen’s Castle. The Oracle warns her to face her will certainly be dangerous but Quinox is not deterred by this. Giving into her wish, Oracle tells her the route by which she can take to get there. Before they leave, Quinox asks why they’re all so frightened by the Night Queen and what she wants with the prince. The Oracle tells them that such knowledge will only bring heartbreak and that it is best that she not know but warns her that she should look into her heart and not fall into the same despair or risk becoming like the Night Queen herself. Quinox does not understand but Freya reminds her that they need to save the prince still. Quinox agrees and leaves with the rest of the group, the Oracle bidding them good luck.
After a journey taking them across forests of candy canes, mountains of ginger bread and water falls filled with tea, Quinox sees the Night Queen’s castle in the distance, it’s doors wide open. Freya is certain that there must be some sort of security for the building as no matter how quiet it looks it cannot be that easy. Approaching the building, they pass by a line of seemingly statues of tin soldiers, Quinox walking up to one of them to get a better look. It then suddenly comes to life, as does all the statues, which forces the group to flee towards the castle. As they do so, they see it’s doors start to close up. Mother Ginger grabs each of them and tosses them into the building, diving in just as it closes shut. Trying to catch their breaths, Quinox has just enough time to say that they had made it when floor around then begins to rotate and rise about them as the gear workings suddenly can be seen, sepearting the group on platforms. To make matters worse, as they watch, mechnical flower ballerinas lower themselves down and begin to attack the group, forcing them on the offensive. Just as each of them are about to be defeated, the Sugarplum Fairy uses her magic to encase each of the ballerinas in a cases of sugar, falling down into the gears themselves and jamming it’s workings. Quinox compliments the Fairy on a job well done and asks her why she didn’t fight before, the fairy admitting she was too frightened to do so. Mother Ginger points out that the platforms have stopped, allowing the girls to keep moving.
Entering a darken room, Freya tells them to be on guard, only for a bright light to suddenly appear, nearly blinding them. As it dims, they find themselves in a strange ornate theater. A screen appears, as shadow puppets appear on it’s surface. As Quinox watches, a play is put on, of a gentle princess who was in love with a dashing prince. As a great festival was going to occur, she decided to show her love that she would get him an amazing gift, a jewel with unlimited magic power. However, when the day came, the prince was no where to be seen and though she had done her best to get the gem, she now knew his love for her was false and took the jewel for herself, creating a great kingdom in her name. When the prince dared to try and stop her, speaking of excuses, she cursed him into a toy, along with all his subjects. Quinox looks to the others, who look away shamefully. A cruel voice asks Quinox if she understands now and as she turns, she sees the screen vanish, replaced by the Night Queen on her throne. She mocks the senshi for coming and bringing cowards with her. Quinox demands to know where the prince is, only for her to say that he is already her’s and with a gestures, reveals a shelf full of toys and near the top, the nutcracker. This sight shocks the others, who in their anger charge forward to try and attack the Queen. However, she simply mocks them and holding out her hand, the gem on her chest glowing, transforms them back into the dolls that they once were. Horrified Quinox calls the Night Queen a monster, only for the Queen to try and send the same attack to Quinox. Freya dives in front of the attack and gets hit, turning her into a plush cat toy. Quinox cries out in horror, telling her why she’s doing this and demanding that she stop. The Night Queen tells her that she can ask her friends to do the same then and with a wave of her hand, causes the toy versions of her companions to grow to full size and attack Quinox. The senshi manages to avoid the attacks but suddenly ropes made up of candy wrap themselves around her, holding her still, the toys trying to tackle her. The Queen tells her that if she does wish to become part of her collection, then she can simply die. Quinox starts to feel herself going unconscious, unable to fight back without daring to harm them. Just as she’s about to black out, she flashes back to Hideki and all the times they were together. She realizes that even if Hideki couldn’t make it, that would not mean that he didn’t love her, that their bond was stronger then that. As this realization comes to her, the jewel in the middle of her broach glows brightly, as does the gem on her tiara. The bright light pushes back the toys, breaking apart the candy ropes and her Sailor Fuku transforms into the dress of a princess as she becomes Princess Quinox. The Night Queen is furious and tries to fire another spell at Quinox but she simply deflects it with a barrel of her own. She proclaims to the Night Queen that she only lost the prince through her own lack of trust and that if she was not truly willing to ask him, then she did not truly love him, only wished to possess him. The Night Queen roars in anger at Quinox to shut up and starts to fire her most powerful attack but Quinox summons her rhapsody spear and using it, channels her own powers, working to push back the attack. While at first they seem evenly matched, soon Quinox’s own strength begins to overpower the Night Queen’s and finally consumes her, shattering the magical gem.
Light showers down from the sky and as each touches the toys, transforms them back into the people they once were. Quinox looks towards the Night Queen, only to find her replaced by the princess she once was, sobbing and crying at her loss. Quinox is about to approach, only to see the prince move ahead of her, helping the princess up. He explains to the princess that he could not make the festival, as he had to fight against their enemies but that he had always truly loved her and with these words, embraces the princess. Quinox smiles at this and is about to leave, only for her companions to stop her and force her and Freya towards the prince and princess. The two thank her for saving them, one from the pain of the other and proclaim her to be a true hero of their kingdom. As the crowd of restored inhabitants of the kingdom cheer her on, Quinox smiles to herself and waves to them. Taking a step forward, Quinox slips slightly and finds herself falling.
Matsumi wakes up as she hits the floor, falling out of bed. Matsumi winces and then looks around, finding herself in her own bedroom. Confused, she’s about to ask Freya about what happened, only to find the cat still sleeping soundly. Sighing, Matsumi goes to get back into bed, but pauses for a moment and heads back downstairs. Looking around, she finds the nutcracker, still under the tree but finds to her surprise, that the arm is now fully repaired. She carefully puts it back under and creeps back up the stairs.
The night of the performance, Matsumi is nervously standing in the wings of the theater, listening as the director gives a last minute pep talk. She keeps glancing out towards the audience, unsure about herself and watching as people go in. The director scolds Matsumi for not paying attention to her but before she can apologize, they get the signal to go on the stage. Each of them whisper good luck to themselves as the scene begins. As the music plays, Matsumi goes out on her first dance and looking out into the audience, is happy to see everyone she knows there, watching her (the outers, the inner girls, her classmates). Her eyes search out across the audience and to her astonishment, sees Hideki, watching in the crowd. Smiling to herself, she continues her dance, smiling, the spotlights illuminating her.
With the performance finished and everyone having gone home, Matsumi exits the theater. She stops as she sees Hideki waiting under a lamppost. She approaches him and is happy to see that he made it. He tells her that he just finished but even if he hadn’t made it, he knew that her dance would have been beautiful. Matsumi blushes and then offers him his gift, which Hideki takes and then offers her a small box. Matsumi takes it and opens it, finding a small cake with roses on it, made by Hideki himself. Matsumi smiles and looking to Hideki, embraces him under the lamplight.
In an old antique shop, the shopkeeper closes a book, placing it back on a shelf. Turning back to two small figures of a nutcracker and a princess, he carefully takes them and places them together inside a cupboard closing it and locking it tight.