Chari VonDillarizz
Chari VonDillarizz
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Chari VonDillarizz

Chapter 35: Botan’s Secret

 

*Michiko*

 

               Michiko had been drawn toward the front gate and as she approached it, she understood why. There she was, a keeper at their door step. The young princess debated on whether or not she should transform. She clutched her Sailor Senshi Star, but did not change into Sailor Starshine. Her instincts told her that she needed to hear this keeper out.

 

               She stopped at the gate, not opening it, and just stared at the keeper in front of her.  Her sapphire blue eyes bore into the one before her. Finally, the crimson eyed keeper broke the silence, “I am not here to kill you, child.”

 

               “I know that Hestia,” Michiko said but did not open the gate, “However, that doesn’t mean that I trust you. I know you aren’t here to kill me, but I don’t know why you’re here and I don’t like that.” There was a fierceness that was not characteristic of the princess of Estara. But she was would protect her family.

 

Hestia literally chuckles, “You are definitely a daughter of time. None of us like not knowing things.” She held up her hands, “I assure you that I mean no harm in coming here. Your aunt is here, correct?”

 

Automatically, Michiko felt her body tense in response and gave herself away, “Yes…. What do you want with her?” Michiko had spent a little time with her aunt since everything had settled and she felt a great deal of sympathy for her.

 

Looking past Michiko, “Why don’t I just explain it to you all at once.” Her brow pinched as she continued staring.

 

Turning slightly, not letting Hestia out of her sight completely Michiko saw them. She saw her Aunt Botan, her grandmother, and her papa all running to the gate. Michiko wondered if it had been her mother or her aunt who’d figured things out. It really didn’t matter, did it? She was glad that they’d gotten her mother to stay behind. She needed her rest.

 

The trio reached them and Botan narrowed her eyes at Hestia, “What in the name of Apollo are you doing here keeper?” Her voice was a hiss as she spoke the last word.

 

The fire haired keeper shook her head, “Of course…. You would never swear to Selene, unlike most of your compatriots.” Her gaze turned somber, “I am here for the same reason you are. Well, to help with it at any rate.”

 

The princess of Estara, the daughter of time, did not know what to say. She felt like this was something to be settled by Botan and Hestia. However, her papa didn’t seem to share her feelings. With clear hostility Seiya addressed Hestia, “Why in the hell should we believe you, you despicable keeper? You and your sister tried to kill my wife and child!”

 

Usagi placed a hand on Seiya’s shoulder, “Seiya, remember… Hestia wasn’t like her sister. She spoke up for them in the end. I think we should give her a chance.”

 

Seiya and Botan both looked at Usagi incredulously. Botan nearly shrieked, “You have got to be kidding Usagi! She is a KEEPER! Her entire existence is about destruction!” She turned back toward Hestia and saw nothing there.

 

Michiko pointed behind them and they all turned to see Hestia standing there. Michiko spoke, “The barrier wasn’t stopping you.” She looked over to her aunt, “Perhaps grandmother is right.” Michiko bit her lip, fearing both her papa and her aunt’s reactions.

 

Seiya and Botan looked at Michiko like she had just said something as ridiculous as the sky was falling. Botan’s eyes with filled with harsh judgment, which did not make sense to Michiko. Botan had been trapped in a living coffin for thousands of years because of her own mother’s poor judgment and assumptions. How could she be so narrow minded toward Hestia? Michiko swallowed hard, uncertain of what to say now.

 

Hestia nodded at Michiko and then turned her gaze back to Botan, “If you think that I am misleading you, see for yourself.” She slipped off her white glove and extended her hand toward Botan with a morose expression.

 

Botan just stared at the extend hand before her for a few seconds. Michiko stared at it as well. Then she watched as her aunt took the hand and closed her eyes. Her telepathy was not nearly as strong her Michiko’s mothers. But it was there nonetheless. Only a breath had passed when Botan’s eyes popped open and she nodded, turning to Usagi, “You’re right Usagi. This one, Hestia, means us no harm.” However, as she turned back to Hestia her tone changed, “However, if her sister shows up… Do not hesitate to defend your kingdom. She still holds a grudge.”

 

The keeper looked at the ground and whispered, “Yes, she does.” Hestia took a big gulp of air and then turned her crimson eyes back up to meets Botan’s own coal black ones, “Not to be forward, but there is not time to waste. We should take this inside, her daughters deserve to hear this too.” As Hestia said it, she waved a hand in the Queen Mother’s direction and slid her glove back on.

 

Botan nodded and began walking back to the Palace itself when Michiko’s stubborn papa interjected again, “What the hell Botan? You’ve been holding back something! We all knew it!” Her eyes flicked to Usagi’s and Michiko’s and then she went on, “But the way that you two are talking, it sounds like you’ve been holding back something BIG!” Michiko stayed silent. She knew that her frustration at being without all of the information did not come solely from her connection to the time stream.

 

Usagi looked from Seiya to Michiko and Michiko could see a conflict in her grandmother’s cobalt eyes. After a brief pause, Usagi spoke, “Seiya, you’re right to be upset. However, whatever it is that she’s waited to tell us, I am certain there’s a reason, isn’t there?” Her eyes shifted to Botan.

 

Botan sighed, “Of course there is Usagi. It needed to wait until the tether switched hands. But I swear that I will tell you, all of you, everything once we are inside. Hestia’s correct, your girls need to hear this too.”

 

Michiko could see a rebuttal forming on her papa’s lips and so she placed one hand on hers, “Papa, they said we need to hurry, so let’s get inside to mother. Please.” She saw her papa look into her eyes and Seiya sighed in resignation. That said, they all made their way into the Crystal Palace silently, all eyes on Hestia. It seemed everyone still had their guard up.

 

*Kiyoko*

 

               Kiyoko opened her eyes and looked at Serenity and Helios. It seemed Helios was starting to come around. She felt relief wash over her for an instant. Then she thought about the exchange she’d seen through Seiya’s eyes. Kiyoko whispered, “Serenity, Botan is ready to talk.”

 

               Serenity looked from her beloved husband to her precious sister, the irritation of Botan’s silence returning to the surface, “Well, it’s about time Kiyo-chan.”

 

               The doors swung open and in walked Kiyoko’s beloved Seiya, her Starshine Michiko, her mother, her aunt, and the keeper Hestia. Kiyoko and Seiya locked eyes and Kiyoko smiled, her eyes beginning to fill with tears. She did not know why, but her heart had already begun to ache. Seiya came and picked up Kiyoko so that she could sit her in her lap. Michiko walked silently to stand behind the two of them and Kiyoko felt her warm energy emanating from Michiko.

 

               Usagi sat down on the edge of the bed beside Kiyoko’s poor son. Endymion was still passed out. She would have to remember to scold him and thank him later. That left Botan and Hestia standing before them. Hestia was quiet and Botan shifted uncomfortably under everyone’s gaze.

 

               Kiyoko could see the conflict all over her aunt’s face. She looked up at her and spoke softly, “Whatever it is Aunt Botan. We can face it together. Just tell us.” She felt Seiya’s hand upon hers, showing her support. How had she allowed herself to jeopardize love like this? Kiyoko stopped that train of thought and reminded herself to focus.

 

               Botan looked from Kiyoko to Serenity and then to Usagi. She walked over and got down on one knee in front of the Queen Mother, “Usagi… Please forgive me for not telling you sooner….” Her voice trailed off.

 

               Usagi smiled at Botan, that smile Kiyoko knew so well. Her mother was so full of unconditional love. She replied, “Do not fear Botan. I will always forgive you. You are my sister.” She clasped her hands around Botan’s.

 

               Slowly Botan nodded and looked back at Hestia, who was silent and scarcely breathing. Then Kiyoko felt the anxiety rising in her aunt. She wondered what in the name of Selene was this secret, this information, Botan had been keeping from them.

 

               With a deep exhale and tears trickling down her cheeks, Botan spoke just above a whisper, “He’s alive Usagi…. Endym… Mamoru is alive.” Her eyes remained locked with Usagi’s and now there was scarcely any breathing in the chamber at all.

 

               Kiyoko could not believe her ears…. Her father… He was alive…. How could this be? How could he be alive and none of them know it? No! It couldn’t be! She looked into her wife’s midnight eyes to see a reflection of her own shock. That seemed to be the theme in the room with the exception of Hestia…. Hestia did not seem surprised at all.

 

               In her mind Kiyoko saw them again, those sapphire eyes that had appear when her magic had touched the Crystal of Apollo and his message… … The priest of Elysion will keep watch… Something about those words… Could her father really be alive and none of them know it?

 

               Something inside of Kiyoko snapped and she stood, screaming at Botan as tears streamed down her face dripping at the chin, “YOU ARE A LIAR! MYFATHER IS NOT ALIVE! I WOULD KNOW IF HE WERE! LIAR!” She felt a surge of energy and then everything went dark!

 

THE END

 

SEE YOU SOON!

 

Chari VonDillarizz

Chapter 34: The Sight of Sapphire

 

*Kiyoko*

 

               The large group had made it to the center of the enchanted field. They had all stopped when she stopped. Kiyoko exchanged a glance with Serenity and then she smiled at Helios who had come to stand with the two sisters. In his hands he held it, the Life Crystal of Apollo.

 

               Staring at it Kiyoko thought back to the conversation that had taken place in the temple earlier that day.

 

               …. Kiyoko stood there silently watching what she believed may be only the first or second fight Serenity and Helios had ever had. Serenity stood with her arms crossed, glaring at her husband, “Absolutely not! I will not take that risk!”

               Helios threw his hands into the air and groaned, “You will not be taking the risk Serenity! I have decided! Kiyoko and I discussed this days ago.” Kiyoko gulped, wishing her brother-in-law had not included her in this.

 

               Serenity’s eyes were almost flaming when they fell on Kiyoko. Kiyoko swallowed and reached for Serenity’s arm, “This is the best way. I understand your concerns Serenity. But I think that doing this any other way would endanger everything… You.” …

 

               Helios spoke loudly as Seiya, Usagi, and Botan formed a second close ring around them, “Thank you to everyone who has come into this sacred place in order to support us in this important ritual.” Yes, us was correct. Gentle and selfless Helios was taking a much more active role this time.

 

               Kiyoko nodded and took the lead this time, “As you all know, we are here to change the source of the tether that keeps the precious planet Earth alive. Today we thank Queen Serenity and release her from the constrictions that her duty as holder of the tether for the last decade have placed upon her.” She smiled and bowed to her sister. As she rose, Kiyoko went on, “Earth’s gracious high priest and King has agreed to take on the holding of the Life Crystal of Apollo. In doing so, he accepts the possibility of enduring those constraints going forward should the crystal truly bond with his soul.”

 

               From around them, Kiyoko could hear many whispers. She had expected as much. They hadn’t told the other Senshi that this was a possibility. Kiyoko and Helios had discussed this at length and eventually come to the conclusion that this was their only choice. And as much as Serenity hated it, she had also been forced to concede to the logic of it. So she spoke up, her voice ringing that of the Queen of the Earth and not a small lady anymore, “Quiet! You all must maintain focus. Your King came to this decision on his own and I stand by him. Now, focus!” Every voice was silent and every person present looked to Serenity and Kiyoko.

 

               Taking a deep breath, Kiyoko went on, “As we move forward we need all of your energy and support to complete the arduous task ahead. Just as you many of you did a decade ago, please take your places and form a circle. Concentrate all of your power on the crystals we hold so that the tether may change hands without harm.”

 

               Her eyes locked on Serenity’s and though Kiyoko could not see the others, she could hear them and she could feel them. Their hearts all committed to this task and to their role in it. All of those gathered formed a great circle that spread wide with the addition of the Shitenou and the children of the Silver Millennium. Kiyoko thought back to how when she had done this before she thought of herself more as a daughter of Crystal Tokyo. So much had changed and her world had expanded in such a way that the confines of Crystal Tokyo were no longer adequate. Kiyoko and Serenity had spread the wings of their family across this galaxy alongside their mother, making it truly the second Silver Millennium. Her father, how Kiyoko wished her father could be with them to see this!

 

               Within the larger circle stood Kiyoko, Helios, and Serenity with Usagi, Botan, and Seiya around them for even greater support. Kiyoko was glad that the children had been made a part of the larger circle, it kept them all close enough to help, but far away enough to avoid the worst of the drain. The resolve in Serenity’s eyes told Kiyoko that it was time. She nodded at her sister and Serenity brought forth the Silver Crystal and started concentrating, drawing out its power.

 

               Now it was Kiyoko’s turn, she called out the Golden Crystal that now glowed with a hint of orange flame thanks to Kakyuu and her gift. Behind her, Kiyoko heard her mother call on the power of the Cosmos. Botan called upon her own power just as Seiya did, both lending their power to the cause. Around them she could feel the others beginning to lend their power as well.

 

               Helios did his part, lifting the Crystal of Apollo so that it stood between the Silver and Golden Crystals. Kiyoko began chanting just as she had done ten years ago. Again she could feel the tether resisting its release from the Silver Crystal as it had done with the Golden Crystal. Kiyoko could feel the Crystal of Apollo reacting, radiating white hot energy.

 

               As she was able to release the tether from the Silver Crystal, beginning to bind it to the Life Crystal of Apollo at last Kiyoko’s inner sight was blinded by a golden flash of light. It lasted but an instant and that is when she saw his eyes.

 

               In her mind’s eye Kiyoko could see a pair of warm and comforting Sapphire eyes, eyes that mirrored hers. However, she was certain these were not Endo’s eyes… They seemed older, wiser, they were her father’s eyes. Kiyoko had no doubt. What did this mean? She did not understand why the crystal would show her this. Then she heard a voice…

 

               …’All is not lost my sweet granddaughter. You will soon understand everything. Until then, the Priest of Elysion will keep watch. I have and will always watch over you and the rest of my family. Tell Botan I love her.’…

 

               Kiyoko could feel the tether fully take hold. At the same time, she felt herself becoming dizzy and she began falling backwards. Of course Seiya kept her promise, catching Kiyoko behind she could hit the ground. She could feel her mind trying to slip. Her body drained. Before she could lose herself, young Endymion was at her side. He took her hand and it was warm, “Here mother, it will be okay.” He was lending her his own strength so that she would not pass out this time. Unfortunately, Kiyoko still couldn’t speak so she couldn’t warn him of what it would do to him.

 

               The next thing she knew her mother was holding Endymion and his eyes were closed. Kiyoko tried to sit up and croaked out the words, “Endo… No….”

 

               Seiya put her finger on Kiyoko’s lips, “Shush, he will be okay and so will you, thank Selene.” She got up, managing to cradle Kiyoko in her arms, “Let’s get you three into the castle.” Kiyoko’s brow furrowed and Seiya tilted her head, “It seems to have taken a toll on Helios as well.”

 

               She felt her eyes widen and her breath quicken, yet she still could not speak aloud. Instead she spoke to Seiya through their bond… … ‘Seiya…. What did I do?’… Kiyoko had never expected Helios to suffer. Serenity hadn’t passed out when the tether had been passed to her.

 

               Sympathy in her beloved’s eyes as she responded the same way Kiyoko had communicated with her… … ‘He’ll be alright. Just remember my love, he did not already have a bond with the crystal. But you didn’t do anything wrong. I promise.’

 

               The group wasted no time in getting Kiyoko, Helios, and Endymion back to the Crystal Palace. Kiyoko had insisted that they be taken to the temple. She could not bear to leave either her son or Helios’ side. And so the group was taken to the temple and Kiyoko allowed herself to be enveloped by the scent of the hanging roses. When they had reached the innermost chamber, Seiya gently placed Kiyoko in a chair while Helios and Endo were both laid on the bed that had seen Usagi’s hundred-year sleep and Kiyoko’s recovery after the resurrection of the Shitenou.

 

               Kiyoko began to recover her voice and she called her mother and Botan to her. When they came over she looked up at them, “When I placed the tether… I saw something… I heard someone… It was Apollo I think.”

 

               The sisters, Usagi and Botan, looked at one another and then at Kiyoko and spoke in unison, “Apollo, our father?” If Kiyoko weren’t still so weak she might have laughed.

 

               As things stood, she just smiled, “He had a message.” She paused as she thought about how to phrase this, “He’s watching over all of us… And he loves you.” She could not bear to tell her mother that he’d only said he loved Botan. Kiyoko was sure he loved her mother, it was just the tragedy Botan had experienced. That was the only explanation that made sense.

 

               Botan locked eyes with Kiyoko, “You said that you saw something Kiyoko.” She reached out and touched Kiyoko’s had for the briefest of seconds. When she let go, Botan said, “I suppose it is time to tell you the other reason I came back.” Everyone looked at Botan and Kiyoko could scarcely breathe.

 

               Botan looked from Usagi to Kiyoko and then her eyes shifted and her jaw set, “I’m sorry, but there is a keeper here, at the front gate.” The way that she said that, clearly Botan was not fond of the keepers.

 

               Nevertheless, Kiyoko was worried as well. The last time she had encountered the keepers they were on a mission to kill her… And Michiko! She cringed, “Where is Michiko?” She closed her eyes and focused every ounce of power on finding Michiko. When she did her heart dropped. Michiko was heading straight for the front gate. What was her daughter thinking?

 

Chari VonDillarizz

Chapter 33: Are You Ready?

 

…Almost Week Later…

 

*Serenity*

 

               As she sat in the garden watching her daughter play with her nieces and nephew, Serenity couldn’t believe that only a week ago they’d all been facing down death and destruction. For a moment she grinned, thinking back to her time in the twentieth century. It seemed that she had done the same thing before so many times. A thought struck her, but she pushed it aside. Tomorrow evening at dusk her life would change yet again. She had spent just over a decade chained to the Earth. Serenity loved the Earth and its people, but she missed the freedom she had before Kiyoko left Earth the first time. Serenity was nervous and excited at the same time.

 

               Lost in her thoughts, Serenity didn’t notice Ceres approaching until she was standing directly in front of her. She bowed, “Serenity, as far as I can tell everything is ready for tomorrow and Lady Botan still hasn’t said much apparently.”

 

Serenity found this more than a bit frustrating. When her aunt returned to Earth she spoke of a long and weary journey and asked for refuge. Of course Serenity had granted her that, but she was worried. Her aunt was not being entirely forthcoming. Considering what had happened before, Serenity couldn’t help but worry. Her mother had not been happy about Serenity’s suspicion, having a few choice words with the Queen of Earth. Bringing herself back to the present, Serenity nodded, “Thank you Ceres. I appreciate your help in this matter.”

 

From not far away, Usa-chan shouted at Serenity, “Mother! Mother! May I borrow Luna P?” Her eyes were big and pleading.

 

Serenity laughed and grinned, she had nearly forgotten that she had that. Serenity had loved Luna P in her youth, though she didn’t know why Usa-chan wanted it. Regardless, the queen nodded, “Of course my sweet. It is in my chambers. Go on!” Serenity motioned toward the castle and watched as Usa-chan ran off.

 

Ceres excused herself and went back inside. Serenity did not know what she would do without her friends, the Sailor Asteroids. They understood her so well. They all shared the same shadows. The next one to approach Serenity was young Michiko. The niece that had defied the laws of time and space. Serenity still found herself a bit uncertain around the girl. Michiko sat down next to her and looked down at the ground, “Are you going to allow Usa-chan to keep Luna P?”

 

That seemed like such an odd question, Serenity paused before responding, “Yes, I don’t see any reason not to.” She tried to smile down at Michiko who seemed truly troubled by her statement. What was going on with her? Why did it matter?

 

“Of course Aunt Serenity, please excuse me,” Michiko said quietly and stood up, bowing before returning to her siblings. She whispered something in Ruka’s ear and then dashed off. Serenity couldn’t help but shake her head, so mysterious that one.

 

Serenity stood up and began walking toward the castle as well. Just after she had stepped inside, Serenity caught sight of Setsuna walking in her direction. Serenity smiled at her oldest friend, “Good afternoon Setsuna.”

 

“Good afternoon Serenity,” she responded a strange tone to her words. Setsuna placed a hand on the queen’s shoulder and asked, “Are you ready for tomorrow Chibi-Usa?”

 

Serenity chuckled, “Chibi-Usa?” But then Setsuna’s question truly struck her and Serenity grew serious, “I’m as prepared as possible until tomorrow. It’s been a decade Setsuna, the idea of being free had begun to fade from my mind.”

 

Setsuna inclined her head, nodding slightly, “Yes, but tomorrow brings so much more than freedom.” Her eyes almost sparkled, “So much more.”

 

“What do you mean Puu,” Serenity inquired of the Senshi of time. Something in Setsuna’s expression made Serenity very curious.

 

Laughing as she let her hand drop, Setsuna replied, “Nothing my queen, please excuse me. I have preparations that I must see to.” She bowed and walked away. Serenity again found herself frustrated and irritated by all of the odd behavior of those around her. Was it all simply because of the coming ritual? She couldn’t be certain.

 

*Kiyoko*

 

               The next morning Kiyoko found herself awoken by a trio of footsteps barging into her chambers and jumping onto her bed, landing on her and their Papa waking Seiya from a deep slumber with a groan. Kiyoko laughed, “And what are you three up to this morning?”

 

               She was filled with absolute delight as she thought back to the time, not so long ago, that she thought this would never happen again. Kiyoko was certain she would never have her family together like this. Endo looked at her with knowing eyes, “We wanted to say good morning mother.”

 

               Seiya groaned once more, “That required crushing me Endymion?” The look of fire in her eyes made Kiyoko laugh again. She turned toward Seiya and gave her a soft kiss. A grin spread across Seiya’s face, “Fine, fine. But seriously kids, at least make sure you don’t land on me next time.”

 

               Ruka chuckled and stuck her tongue out at Seiya, “Oh Papa! You know you love when we ambush you!” Chuckling again, the feisty blonde girl wiggled her way between Kiyoko and Seiya as she took both of their arms.

 

               Kiyoko snickered and kissed Ruka’s cheek, “She does, she simply can’t admit to it. Remember, your papa is a strong warrior. You’ll grow up to be like her one day.”

 

               Michiko, who had taken the empty spot next to Kiyoko sat up, looking much more somber than the others, “Mother, please tell us how we can help tonight. We want to be there. We want to help you.” Kiyoko was taken aback, though she shouldn’t have been. She nodded at her youngest and then looked to her other two children. They were so strong. She felt so blessed to have them. So she pulled Michiko close and began telling them about what would happen at dusk.

 

               They listened intently as their mother explained everything and Endo reached over his Papa and took her hand, absorbing the images as she spoke. His eyes grew wide, “Mother…. Are you certain…?”

 

               Kiyoko smiled at her son, his eyes a mirror of her own only filled with concern. She had seen this same expression on her father many times. Her smiled turned a bit sad as she told him, “It will be alright son. This time will be different. Your grandmother will be there. Your Aunt Botan has agreed to be there. The Shitenou will be there as well. On top of that, you three will be there along with Usa-chan I’m sure. That extra support will make a great difference, trust me sweetheart.”

 

               Placing her hand on top of theirs, Ruka interjected in her typical manner, “Right Endo! Everything will be okay! Stop worrying so much!” Then Ruka reached over and tickled her brother. This started a war that ended only when Seiya got involved, tickling them both into submission. Kiyoko and Michiko simply watched and giggled as the scene unfolded before them.

 

               When the excitement died down, Kiyoko looked at each of her children solemnly, “This is a very important evening. You all must be ready.” Her expression softened and she went on, “Now you need to go and get ready. The three of you and your cousin are supposed to meet your grandmother and Rei soon so that you can prepare. The Shitenou will be there as well. So be on your best behavior, or Kunzite will make certain to remind you of your manners.” Her eyes fell squarely on Ruka at her last sentence.

 

               A few minutes later the three of them were out the door, the same tornado that had come in as. Kiyoko rolled back onto her side facing Seiya, “Will you come to the temple with me to prepare?”

 

               “I would follow you to hell and back Kiyoko, I love you. I am with you, every step of the way,” Seiya responded just before pulling Kiyoko into a kiss that soon led to an awakening of the fiery passion the two of them had always shared. They would go to the temple and prepare to do their duty…. Soon enough…

 

…That Evening, as Dusk Fell Upon the Earth…

 

               Kiyoko had a sense of Deja-vu as everyone began making their way toward the field where the Soon and Moon Met, despite so many differences this time. She walked hand in hand with Serenity once again. However, behind them walked her mother and her aunt who also held hands. It seemed as though Usagi was overjoyed to have her sister back regardless of the secrets she was keeping and not knowing how long she would stay. That seemed to make her attachment to Botan stronger. Behind the two of them walked Helios and Seiya, side by side, respect for one another clear. It made Kiyoko’s heart happy to remember how Helios had always been accepting of her love. The two of them were follow by Usa-chan and Endo. The two of them held hands and Kiyoko could tell they were lending each other support through their bond. Ruka walked with Michiko, clutching her sister’s hand.

 

               The inner Senshi walked with their partners in the Shitenou and were follow by Uranus and Neptune, Pluto and Saturn, and then the Asteroid Senshi. Kiyoko knew that it irritated the young Senshi to be at the bottom of the pecking order here, yet that was just the way it was. A random thought crossed Kiyoko’s mind and she pushed it aside, she wished that Yaten and Taiki could be here. But someone had to be on Estara.

 

               Finally, they reached the spot, Kiyoko knew it instinctively, the same spot that they had stood upon just over a decade before when she had tethered Serenity to the Earth and its Solar System. She had never meant for it to be permanent and now she would correct that. Kiyoko would finally be able to set her sister free! Hopefully she was right when she had told her children not to worry. Last time she did this it had almost killed her. Was she truly ready to do this again?

 

               From behind her, Kiyoko felt Seiya’s breath on her ear, “You are stronger now. We are all stronger. No one will let you fall. I certainly won’t.” Kiyoko nodded feeling the flush in her face. She knew her beloved would never let her fall. Now it was time to focus, now it was time to begin.

Chari VonDillarizz

Chapter 32: Confusion

 

*Kiyoko*

 

               Standing on her mother’s left side, Kiyoko was proud that she finally felt as though she belonged there, with the Senshi rulers of the Silver Millennium. Then she watched as their foe disappeared, all of his power stripped away. Kiyoko was confident that he would not return to the Milky Way anytime soon. Her mind had just shifted to her beloved when the Fireball Queen appeared in front of her. She bowed to Kakyuu and spoke, “Thank you Kakyuu. Your gift, your aid, saved me and my sister.”

 

               There were gasps of astonishment from all around. The others had not known what Kiyoko had endured and how Kakyuu had been there and had given her the power she needed to break free from captivity. The translucent figure looked on Kiyoko with kindness, “No, Sailor Goldstar, you found that which lay deep within you all along. This has always been your destiny.”

 

               Kiyoko felt a flood of emotions from her beloved Seiya as she came to approach them. When she stood beside Kiyoko her voice quivered, “Queen Kakyuu, is that really you? Have you returned to us?” Inside of her, Kiyoko could feel the deep well of hope flowing from Seiya. Her own heart saddened at knowing that her wife would not get her wish.

 

               Compassion and sympathy in her eyes Kakyuu turned her gaze to Seiya, “It is, Starfighter. But I cannot stay. Though I want you to know that I am always watching over you.” Then she turned her gaze to Kiyoko’s mother and sister and it was hard, “Sailor Cosmos, it is good to see you. Sailor Moon, it is a pleasure to meet you. But I must get straight to my point. My time on this plane is limited. I implore you, all three of you, as the leaders of the Silver Millennium to work to unite this galaxy. You must unite as many planets as possible and find every Senshi you possibly can.”

 

               Serenity spoke up in response first, “Is something coming your majesty?” Kiyoko noticed the way her sister wrung her hands. The idea of a great threat made Serenity anxious, triggering those insecurities Kiyoko feared she would always struggle with.

 

               Kakyuu locked eyes with Serenity and replied with a grave tone, “Yes, Queen Serenity, something is coming. One day in the future, though I do not know when, Chaos will return and you must be ready.” Her eyes shifted to Kiyoko’s mother, “You must be ready.” Both nodded.

 

               It was as if some sort of understanding passed between her mother and Queen Kakyuu. Something about that understanding frightened Kiyoko to her core. Before she could say anymore, Kakyuu’s form faded away as red butterflies fluttered all around them. Kiyoko felt the grief building in Seiya and so she was not surprised when her distressed wife screamed, “Kakyuu!” into the void of space with tears falling down her face.

 

               Kiyoko took Seiya into her arms and held her close. As she did Seiya sank into her arms and then her eyes locked with Kiyoko, her midnight blue eyes perplexed. Inside of her mind, Kiyoko heard the question of her love… ….” What happened in there? It’s like there’s a piece of her in you.” …

 

               The only response Kiyoko felt as though she could give her wife was to show her how Kakyuu had given of herself, given her crystal, to meld with the Golden Crystal and help her reach the sleeping Senshi within. Seeing a sea of mourning and gratitude washing together in Seiya’s eyes, all that Kiyoko could do was tell her, “I am sorry.”

 

               Seiya shook her head, “No, Kiyo-chan, you have nothing to apologize for.” Then she placed one hand tenderly on Kiyoko’s cheek and kissed her sweetly, “I love you, always.”

 

               As Kiyoko broke the kiss she was tackled by her blonde daughter, Sailor Starbright. The two of them laughed and then Ruka grinned, “Can we go home now?”

 

               Nodding, Kiyoko looked from her daughter to her sister, “Yes, my Starbright, let’s go home. There is still work to be done.” Serenity returned the kindness in Kiyoko’s eyes. It was time to free her cherished sister from the ties that bound her.

 

… Three Days Later…

 

*Kiyoko*

 

               She sat in the temple, surrounded by the sweet smell of roses. Kiyoko often missed this smell. Most found it cloying, the amount of roses that hung in the temple made it strong. But to the Golden Queen, it was worth it. She sat there, ancient texts scattered around her. In that moment Kiyoko found herself thinking of and missing her father so very much. She considered going to visit his tomb, but recently she had come to question why…. His body was long since dust and even the spirits of the Shitenou no longer resided there. Her father’s star seed had returned to the Galaxy Cauldron after he had passed anyway. That place had been set up to honor him and give her sleeping mother refuge. It teemed with the magic of the temple as it was at its heart, yet no matter how much time she spent there it wouldn’t bring her father back. Kiyoko could finally accept that. She also had come to accept that it was unlikely that his seed would be reborn anytime soon, if ever. Her father was not Senshi, so it was different. But he had been no ordinary human being either. That fact had always given everyone a sense of hope.

 

               As these thoughts trailed from her mind, Kiyoko absentmindedly placed her hand on the brooch she now wore at all times: her Senshi Brooch. Her fingers traced along the gold and red heart. As her fingers touched the center of her brooch, Kiyoko saw a vision. She was not part of this in anyway. But in her mind’s eye she could see…. She could see her father. Yet, she knew this was not a memory. He was walking along a beach smiling. Her father wore a sleeveless blue shirt that matched his eyes, those were his eyes for sure, and a pair of long grey shorts. He was walking next to a young woman. She reminded Kiyoko of Michiru a bit, but her hair was lighter and had more wave to it. And she had the most beautiful violet eyes. She was smiling too and looked at Kiyoko’s father with admiration as the two of them talked, though Kiyoko couldn’t hear what they were saying. Then it was gone and Kiyoko was back in the temple, a hand shaking her by the shoulder.

 

               When Kiyoko looks up she meets the kind bronze eyes of her brother-in-law. She should have known that Helios would surface at some point. She was in the temple after all. He looked upon her tenderly, “What had you so distracted, Kiyo-chan?”

 

               How could she tell Helios that she’d seen her father, but something was different…. And then there was that woman…. She shook her head and just smiled back at him, “Missing my father, that’s all.” At least that was all she was willing to tell him.

 

               Helios sat down next to her and looked knowingly at Kiyoko, “I understand. With everything that has happened and what lies ahead, it’s only natural.” The Priestly King placed his hand on Kiyoko’s, “He was always so proud of you. I can only imagine how much he would love to see you now.”

 

               Kiyoko looked down at the hem of her dress, “Do you think he would genuinely be happy that I am a Senshi now?” She wanted to believe he would, but part of her wondered.

 

               Helios laughed and pulled Kiyoko’s chin up so that he could look her in her Earth Blue eyes, “Of course he would be happy for you Kiyo-chan. Your father would be ecstatic. You’ve made your own path and walked it bravely. As a father, one can’t hope for anything more for their child. I am just as proud of Usa-chan.” Yes, her brother would have a unique insight now that his own daughter had become Sailor Earth. Kiyoko felt such joy for her niece.

 

               Of course thinking of all of the young Senshi that had graced their family also brought Kakyuu’s warning back to mind. Chaos would return and the battles that they had seen would feel like mere child’s play in comparison. That sent a shiver down her spine. Kiyoko was already nervous about transferring the Earth’s tether from the Silver Crystal to the Crystal of Apollo. This train of thought wasn’t helping.

 

               The two exchanged a glance, but did not say anything. Then Kiyoko felt her presence and heard her footsteps. Looking away from Helios she saw her beloved wife. Helios got to his feet and tussled Kiyoko’s hair, “I believe that is my cue. But I am around if you need me.” She nodded and grinned at Helios, thankful.

 

               She watched as Helios and Seiya exchanged a nod of respect when passing each other and just like that Kiyoko found Seiya plopped down next to her, working her way around the books to lay her head in Kiyoko’s lap. Kiyoko chuckled, “Did you want my attention sweetheart?”

 

               Seiya grinned, “Of course.” Her face turned introspective and she went on, “Kiyo-chan…. I don’t think I have ever felt you as comfortable in your own skin as you are now. Do not doubt yourself or the faith that has been placed on you. You can do this.” She paused just a moment and the queried, “So, do you think that was really Mamoru? And who do you think the young woman in the blue shirt is?”

 

               With a sigh, Kiyoko replied, “I want to believe it was him. But I can’t imagine my mother would not know if his star seed had been reborn. And I have no clue who she is.” She sat there just staring into Seiya’s navy eyes. Kiyoko was certain that she could spend eternity in this moment. It seemed like ages ago when she had almost lost this heaven, her beloved. A pain of regret ran through her.

 

               Reaching up and stroking her cheek, Seiya responded to Kiyoko’s thoughts telepathically… …” You did what you thought was right and I am just thankful to have you back at my side. When I feared that I would lose you, either to death or to your own demons, it changed everything for me. I don’t care about all of the baggage of the past. All that I want is to spend the rest of our lives, no matter how long that is, loving you.” … … With that, Seiya pull her head up and Kiyoko’s down until their lips met and the two of them lost themselves in that kiss for a very long time.

 

               Eventually Kiyoko broke away, sensing someone approaching the castle. It took her a moment to determine who it was, but they were familiar. When she pieced the energy together, Kiyoko looked down at Seiya, blurting her thoughts even though she could see the surprise mirrored in her wife already, “Botan has returned! What in the name of Selene?” The two of them made haste toward where Kiyoko believed she would land. Her aunt had returned to a place that haunted her still, why?

Chari VonDillarizz

Chapter 31: Broken Contract

 

*Michiru*

 

               She had left the others in the kitchen with assurances that she would share whatever it was that she saw in her mirror. Now Michiru sat on her bed with her mirror face down in her hands. She stared at it bitterly. It seemed that as the years had passed it had become more cryptic in nature and what Michiru wanted in that moment was clarity. She wanted to know that everything would be fine and that the future was secure. Michiru had faced so much loss. Everyone always saw her as refined, elegant, and resigned to whatever her duty brought to her life. However, even she grew weary from time to time.

 

               It felt as though everything was falling into place until Kiyoko had sacrificed herself to save her sister. Serenity had been working to reunify the Senshi. Kiyoko and Seiya were mending their relationship. Soon her queen would be free from the tether that chained her and that Michiru knew tormented Serenity. Most of all, she and Haruka had finally made the pledge to live eternity as a married couple. Of course their life had already been like that. But it was something that the two of them had never discussed. Honestly, they had avoided it over the centuries. Their duties decided their lives. It was like a dream when she heard Haruka finally break those constraints and propose.

 

               Then it all fell apart, as Michiru should have expected. The royal family was in danger…. SHE was in danger…. There was no question of what would happen and what the risk was. Michiru loved Kiyoko so much. She’d watched her grow from this magical girl into a refined high priestess, and then into a passionate and brave queen. Michiru could not be more proud of Kiyoko!

 

Still, there would always be the part of Haruka’s heart that would belong to Kiyoko. Michiru had accepted it so long ago that she hadn’t even thought of herself as capable of feeling jealousy on the matter. But as she sat there… What Michiru longed for most was to see a future where Haruka was not running to Kiyoko’s side without a single thought of her or Haruka’s duties on Earth. Without realizing, Michiru found her cheeks wet. The warm tears though, they reminded her of what she had come back to her chambers to do.

 

That in mind, Michiru concentrated on the future and pleaded silently with her mirror to reveal the truth to her. Steeling herself, Michiru turned her mirror over. The image she saw was not what she had expected. Not what she had intended. But as she thought about it, no matter how confusing, it was what she had sought with her heart… A time where Haruka was not running to Kiyoko’s aid.

 

Attempting to make heads or tails of the scene her mirror had shown her, Michiru heard a knock at her door. She should out her teal locks and wiped her cheeks as she set the mirror on her nightstand. Michiru called out, “Come in.” The door opened slowly.

 

As the door closed behind her, Michiru saw the long forest green strands of Setsuna’s hair move slightly as the Senshi of time bowed her head against the door. She stated simply, “I know what you saw.”

 

Michiru huffed a bit, not surprised in the least that she knew. She rose and replied firmly, “Care to enlighten me then, Setsuna.”

 

“It is part of their journey. But it is not time to reveal it to the others,” was all that Setsuna said as opened the door and disappeared. It closed once more and Michiru was left with nothing but her own thoughts. Golden hair… And that must have been…. Eternal…. Part of their journey… Like before… It was as if her mind couldn’t form a complete thought because it was overwhelmed. How would everyone react, Serenity and Kiyoko were not like Usagi…. Not in this matter…

 

All Michiru could do was stand there and wait for the shock to wear off. Then she had to decide. She had always trusted Setsuna, but should she keep this to herself?

 

*Haruka*

 

               Still reeling from the poisonous energy Shinigami had shot through her, Haruka had not been able to find her voice. She’d been forced to silently watch as events unfolded, the piercing wail of the flaming demons not helping matters. Horror had overtaken her when Shinigami had attempted to attack the young prince. But when the light cleared her vision and she saw the sweet princess Chisana Usagi-Serenity standing strong as Sailor Earth Haruka had felt pride.

 

               However, it paled in comparison to the tremendous joy and honor that ran through Haruka when she beheld the sight of her Golden Queen, Kiyoko, adorning the power of a Senshi and of the Cosmos. Haruka did not even care that it was in the style of the damned Starlights! She was just overflowing with satisfaction that Kiyoko had finally awoken her sleeping Senshi.

 

               Then Haruka saw Kiyoko hold out an empty hand and shout, “Flaming Bomber!” As she did Haruka was delighted to see Kiyoko send out a more powerful version of the Smoking Bomber she had learned from her father, decimating a few more of the blue flaming demons that Shinigami had created.

 

               Despite her continued feeling of weakness, Haruka willed her body to move and brought herself to be planted firmly on Kiyoko’s left flank, leaving the right one open for Seiya. A promise was a promise and Haruka could only hope that Seiya understood the gesture. She didn’t know what the parchment in Kiyoko’s hand could contain, but she knew it had the reaper petrified, at least for now. With every fiber of strength, she contained, Haruka summoned her space sword and pointed it at Shinigami, “It looks as if all you did by capturing her majesty was seal your own fate. You are surrounded by the most powerful Senshi in the galaxy. Give up now.”

 

               Unfortunately, Shinigami seemed to be snapped out of his frozen state by Haruka’s words and he spat back, “No matter what that says, I can still kill you!” And he sent another wave and dark energy toward her and Kiyoko.

 

 The Senshi of the Sky pushed Kiyoko behind her and braced for impact. But instead she her the quiet young Sailor Starshine yell, “Jikan no kabe!” And a faint blue shield encompassed the Sky King and the Golden Queen. Haruka had to admit internally, that she was starting to envy the powers of these young ones a bit, with the ability to create shields that weren’t their own bodies. The next thing she heard was Michiko shouting, “It won’t hold long!”

 

               From behind her, Haruka heard Kiyoko speak, “Thank you my sweet Starshine, but it doesn’t have to.” Then her hand was on Haruka’s shoulder and she felt Kiyoko’s energy, but it was different somehow, “It’s okay. I am here and everything will be alright.” Haruka was confused at how calm Kiyoko was. When Kiyoko stepped up next to her she saw some redness in her skin and was even more confused. Haruka missed their bond dearly in that moment. She watched as the Queen fixed her eyes squarely on Shinigami and unrolled the parchment, “Shinigami the Reaper I, Sailor Goldstar and daughter of the Silver Millennium, hereby charge you with breaking the contract that you made eons ago with the original Queen of the Silver Millennium when you attempted to take my life!”

 

               Haruka watched as the reapers eyes grew wide and she wanted to laugh at the once smug creature. But she did not. Haruka merely listened as Kiyoko went on, “As a condition of her aid in releasing you from Hades was your oath to NEVER attempt to destroy the lifeblood of the Silver Millennium. Therefore, you are in violation and you must submit the Black Death Crystal so that you may never make such a transgression again.”

 

               Shinigami looked from Kiyoko, to Usagi, and then to Serenity. His eyes lingered on Serenity, “So you know my secret, I cannot kill any descendants of the Silver Millennium.” Then his eyes left Serenity and locked with Kiyoko’s. Haruka began to worry as she felt Michiko’s force field weakening. His voice became slimy once more, “But I did not actually kill you Golden Queen… Or would you prefer Goldstar now?” His face twisted into a smirk and he bolted forward, but not at Kiyoko. His target was Seiya. Haruka assumed that since he couldn’t kill most of his opponents here, he’d take what he could. That meant her and Seiya, and Seiya wasn’t currently behind a force field.

 

               The reaper never made it to the Estaran though. Before Shinigami could reach Seiya, Usagi stepped in, with all of the glory of her new power. She held out her staff and her voice rang out into the void of space, “Cosmos Starlight Flash!” With those words a brightly scattered energy surge hit Shinigami directly, knocking him backward. Usagi moved toward the reaper with the great strength that she reserved for moments such as this, “You will not take another life reaper! You will give up that wretched crystal and you WILL leave this galaxy and NEVER return! Otherwise, you will face the power of the cosmos.”

 

               As she said that Haruka saw Kiyoko break free from the field and follow Serenity, each taking a place on either side of their mother. Haruka kept her face as hard as rock, but inside she thought about how she would not want to be on the opposing side of those three women. Usagi was no longer the crybaby of their youth. Serenity had come so far from being Chibi-Moon, the Senshi in training. And well, Kiyoko was certainly so much more than the magical girl who had scarred her had nearly two hundred years ago. What she saw now what the power of Selene incarnate and the lights that lit up the milky way, strong and brilliant light.

 

               Luckily for him, Shinigami knew he had been defeated. He watched as the three Goddesses of the Silver Millennium exchanged a glance before they all held out their hands and shattered the Black Death Crystal, acting as one. Shinigami disappeared, muttering about vengeance. It seemed to Haruka that all of their foes seemed obsessed with having the last word.

 

               Once he was gone, the sweet scent of incense filled the space around them and Haruka was stunned to see the apparition of the former queen of Estara appear before the rulers of the Silver Millennium. 

Chari VonDillarizz

Chapter 30: Glimpsing into the Past and Future

 

*Rei*

 

               Jadeite had insisted Rei get some food and water in her system after the incident with the fire and so the two of them found themselves in the castle kitchen. Rei had just finished the salad Jadeite had made her and a very tall glass of sparkling water. Now her beloved was shoving a basket of biscuits at her, insisting she get some carbohydrates into her. If she had not been so drained from her experience, Rei would have thrown the biscuits straight at Jadeite’s head. As it was, she glowered at him while taking a bite of one. She would comply, but not without some sort of protest.

 

               The gentle Shitenou simply smiled in return. He was thankful Rei hadn’t shoved a biscuit up his nose or something. His lovely Senshi had such a temper. Taking a drink of water himself, Jadeite heard footsteps and when he turned around he saw that Michiru had just entered the kitchen. Noticing her pinched expression, Jadeite inquired, “Lady Michiru,” something about the outer Senshi made him speak more formally to them, “is there anything I can do?” He assumed her worry was for her partner out on the rescue mission.

 

               Michiru looked up and smiled at Jadeite. The Shitenou were such noble men. Then she noticed Rei and her clearly distressed and drained state. Her face went stone, “What did you see Mars?”

 

               Rei’s eyes darkened, “Nothing related to their mission…. I don’t think anyway…” She set the biscuit down and looked at Jadeite. Thus far, even he hadn’t heard what Rei had seen. She cleared her throat and her eyes averted, focusing on the biscuit in front of her, “I saw Kiyo-chan… Or I believe it was her… But she was different, transformed. They were on a beach, but it was unfamiliar. I really couldn’t see who was with her. However, the sky grew dark and a disembodied voice seemed to be taunting her. It, he I believe, said that she couldn’t save someone no matter how many Senshi she gathered.” Rei took a deep breath and looked up at Michiru, “Honestly, even though I couldn’t see them well I believe the person with her was a Senshi. But, Michiru, it was not a Senshi I know. I am certain of it!”

 

               Michiru sighed and rubbed her temples, “There is nothing about what you saw that is comforting, nothing at all. Perhaps I need to take a look into my mirror and see if it tells me anything more.”

 

               Jadeite looked at Rei and then at Michiru, his jaw set, “You’re wrong Lady Michiru. There is one thing that gives me comfort. From the sounds of her vision, my mistress lives through this.”

 

               Rei was surprised to see the hardness in her gentle Shitenou. She nodded and reached out for his hand, an unusual kindness in the fire Senshi’s tone, “You’re right Jadeite. There is a comfort in that, if nothing else.” Then she looked down at the singed ends of her hair and frowned.

 

*Kiyoko*

 

               Everything about her was rigid as she stood there, staring at that parchment. Kiyoko could not believe what she had read. It completely contradicted Shinigami’s actions now. Her eyes laid on a small statue nearby of what appeared to be Chronos as fate would have it. A small chuckle broke into Kiyoko’s fuming. The golden Senshi grabbed the statue and strode back over to the glass case. She took it with full force and used it to smash the glass to smithereens. Fortunately, Kiyoko’s plan had worked and the parchment remained unharmed.  Setting down the statue, Kiyoko picked up the parchment and was enveloped in a vision of the past…

 

               …Kiyoko could see herself floating above a balcony of the old Moon Kingdom Castle. Yet the castle appeared to be teeming with life. As she moved her hand, Kiyoko noticed that it was translucent. As a matter of fact, her entire being was translucent. She heard voices and looked down. As she did, her eyes fell on her grandmother, Queen Serenity I, Shinigami of all people and a quiet woman with light blue hair who resembled Hakai. Unlike Hakai though, she wore a kind smile and her eyes sparkled.

 

               Willing herself a bit closer, Kiyoko began to understand what was being said. Much to her chagrin, Shinigami was begging for her grandmother’s aid. He was going on and on about how much he loved the woman with him, Maka was her name apparently, and how Hades would not let him be free to love and live his life with Maka.

 

               Kiyoko heard her grandmother respond with compassion, understanding what it is like to be forced to live without the love of one’s life. Kiyoko assumed this must have been after her Grandfather had left… After Botan….

 

               After a long discussion and much cajoling from Shinigami, Serenity I agreed to help the two of them. She disappeared for a moment and returned with a piece of parchment and a quill. Her grandmother looked intently at Shinigami and told him her concerns about freeing a being such as himself from the service of the gods and what her conditions for her aid would be.

 

               As she did so she wrote on the parchment, each stroke glowing silver as if it were casting a spell. Actually, Kiyoko was positive that was exactly what her grandmother was doing. Looking at Shinigami she could see him fidgeting uncomfortably and his eyes seemed to be darting everywhere. Kiyoko’s grandmother’s eyes hardened as she handed the quill to Shinigami. The reaper’s eyes narrowed as he read the parchment and he looked at the queen aghast. She simply smiled at him and told him, “If you want the life you claim then this is not a problem. You say you want a family with Maka and the freedom to protect that. I will protect mine as well.”

 

               His lips tightened and he signed the parchment, sealing their arrangement, Shinigami bowed to the queen and started to lead Maka away, jerking her by the hand. Just before they left the balcony, Serenity I took Maka’s free hand and placed the parchment in it urging the woman to take care. Just before everything faded, Kiyoko heard her grandmother whisper, “At least he cannot destroy my Kingdom… Though poor Maka, I am not so sure…. But this is the path she chose.” …

 

               Finding herself back in Shinigami’s library. Kiyoko gripped the parchment tightly as she rolled it up. The contract Shinigami had kept all of this time would be the very thing that would save her sister. An idle thought wandered through Kiyoko’s mind as she walked toward the door. She pondered whether or not this contract was the very reason Shinigami was so obsessed with Serenity.

 

               When she touched the door and released the seal, Kiyoko sensed them…. Her family… They had come. She could feel Seiya strongest of all. Her precious wife was a cauldron of anger, anxiety, and awe. It was incredibly perplexing. What had happened that made Seiya feel this way? A moment later an image entered Kiyoko’s mind and she understood. She was thankful that her son was unharmed and amazed at what she saw.

 

               Nonetheless, she could tell that there was no time to lose. Shinigami was far from finished and now that Kiyoko knew what she did, she had to get to her sister. Without hesitation or regard for the pain of her burns, Kiyoko burst through the doors and ran. Only this time, instead of running from Shinigami Kiyoko was running right to him. She would not let him break the contract he had signed and if she could get to her family, the reaper wouldn’t be able to!

 

*Michiko*

 

               She could finally see once more and what she saw as she looked upon her siblings and cousin astonished her. However, it was not surprise in the way of what had happened but that it had happened here and now. Michiko had foreseen this sight. It had been one of the reasons she had been standing at the Time Gate when Setsuna had found her.

 

               Standing in front of her brother Endymion was her sweet cousin Chisana Usagi, but she was no longer simply Usa-chan. There stood the young princess bathed in pink energy and adorning a Senshi Fuku of Magenta and a Sandy brown. It had a layered skirt that sandwiched the sandy brown between the magenta along with sand colored bows and magenta boots. Upon her chest was a pink brooch with golden wings. Her gloved arms were crossed and held a matching Rod that resembled the Cutie Moon Rod her grandmother had once used. On her back were white wings like the ones of Eternal Sailor Moon.

 

               The princess had been willing to sacrifice herself and found her inner Senshi. A field of dark pink energy encased Usa-chan and Endo. This made Michiko pale slightly. It meant that the time she saw was closer than she or Setsuna had thought. She only spared an instant for the sorrow this caused her. Everything would change and what would happen after that remained a mystery to Sailor Starshine. She would miss so much when it all came to pass, of that Michiko was certain.

 

               Focusing back on the present, Michiko heard her usually timid cousin speak with a sense of purpose and determination, resounding over the wailing of the blue flaming creatures, “You will not harm him! I am… I am Sailor Earth! And in the name of Earth and the Silver Millennium I will punish you!” The tiniest part of Michiko found herself amused and smiling at how much her cousin sounded like her aunt and grandmother. Then she watched as her cousin held her rod high and large ball of pink energy formed from the top of it. Usa-chan leaned forward and swung the rod, releasing the energy ball and shouting Earth Shaking as she did!

 

               Michiko wanted to help her in whatever way she could. Swiftly she lifted one hand from her ear and pointed it at Usa-chan’s attack, whispering Kōsoku forwad. As she did the attacks speed accelerated along with the flow of time. This kept their foes from having time to react and Michiko saw her cousin’s attack make a direct hit! Two of the blue flaming creatures disappeared into nothing but the tiniest flames which quickly went out completely.

 

               The reduction in wailing made it possible for Michiko to think a bit more clearly. Looking from the space where the creatures once stood to Shinigami, Michiko saw the rage overwhelming him. His eyes were glowing intensely and his hands were covered in flame. She did not know what to do.

 

               Luckily her Papa did. She watched as her Papa clutched her Star Yell and called on her Cosmic Serious Laser attack, taking out another wailing flame. Then she turned her eyes on their true enemy, “You will not harm my wife, my children, or any of my family! This twinkling star will do whatever it takes to protect everything precious to me!”

 

               Shinigami just laughed and held out his staff. Michiko prepared to launch her rewinding defense again. But she did not need to. From the darkness behind them appeared a golden light. From it appeared her mother. Michiko was so overjoyed to see her mother and in a Cosmic Starlight Fuku at that! It seemed everyone was finding the Senshi within on this journey.

 

               Hearing her mother’s voice was like a breath of fresh air to the child of time. Michiko heard Kiyoko say, “You will not harm anyone else Shinigami. And you will most definitely not harm my sister. You cannot, not according to the contract you made with my grandmother.” Michiko watched as Kiyoko waved a rolled up piece of parchment at the reaper. When the being went even more pale than she thought possible, Michiko wondered what in the name of Selene could be on that parchment. What kind of contract would a slimy fiend such as him have made with her great grandmother?

 

 

 

Chari VonDillarizz

Chapter 29: Maki Modoshi

 

Author’s Note: Anyone interested in beta reading for this series and future works please PM me. Thanks!

 

*Shinigami*

 

               He couldn’t wait to get his hands on that Golden Queen… Golden Senshi… either way he would suck the very life force out of her until she was nothing but a wraith remaining. He was following the trail of her energy when he felt them. There were intruders at the force field! Wait, SHE was with them! His prize, Queen Serenity was there. She had come practically to his doorstep. Shinigami couldn’t resist the opportunity and so he took off the other way, practically salivating as he thought of the lovely Serenity, his future mate.

 

               It did not take long before he reached the edge of his fortress, hidden in a dark nebula just on the other side of Pluto and his detection field. As he made his way closer, he could hear faint voices. The first he heard was the mother of the Cosmos and she was rejoicing at the idea that her golden child was still alive. Shinigami smirked, thinking about how he’d correct that oversight very soon.

 

               He closed his eyes and summoned his navy blue reaper blade, even stronger than Kori’s bone blade, and his Black Death crystal mounted at the top of his dark staff. Shinigami would not hold back. He would have all that he desired!

 

               Shrouding himself in the blackness of space, Shinigami began moving in on the unaware team who were still examining the field. The first one he saw that he could get a good strike on was that golden haired Senshi. The one who secretly, though it was poorly kept, loved the Golden Queen. Seeing his opening, Shinigami struck out! He extended his dark staff and released a blast of poisonous energy and laughed as he watched it make a direct hit.

 

               His eyes brimmed with joy as he watched her hunch over and cry out in pain. Of course, that would be the only surprise hit he would truly get. There was no point in hiding. Sailor Cosmos or Sailor Moon would surely find him soon enough anyway. So, Shinigami stepped out of the shadows and called out, “Give me what I want or the next one to die will be the Golden Witch!” He kept his face a mask of stone. They would not know the truth.

 

*Seiya*

 

               She couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw Haruka hunch over, dark energy electrifying her all over. Despite the fact that she had been the last person Seiya wanted here, she knew it’d break Kiyoko’s heart if anything happened to her.

 

               Then Seiya caught sight of that madman, that evil creature, Shinigami. And when he threatened her wife, the light in the darkness of space, Seiya reacted without thinking. She clutched her twinkle yell and called out Cosmic Serious Laser, similar to her previous laser attack, and saw it shoot out at their foe. Seiya could feel its force increased through the power cosmos that they had all been gifted with. Unfortunately, her rashness had not taken the defensive capabilities of his cloak into account and therefore the attack ended up deflecting and veering off into space.

 

               The demented reaper just shook his head, “Now that was a poor choice twinkling star!” Before Seiya could blink an eye, Shinigami stood directly in front of her with his sword about to pierce her abdomen. Seiya’s eyes widened, knowing she could not stop what was about to happen. Then, without warning, everything was distorted and Shinigami was thrust backward.

 

               Behind her, Seiya heard her daughter’s voice just above a breath, “Maki modoshi.” So her little Senshi had some tricks up her sleeve. No wonder Chronos had been so concerned. Seiya couldn’t help but smile when she saw the shock on Shinigami’s face. Even better, their arrogant enemy did not know everything after all!

 

               Seiya couldn’t look behind her, but she hoped that young Michiko would know how proud she was of her. 0ff to the side Seiya could see Sailor Cosmos, Usagi, gripping her new Cosmic Tiare firmly. She knew what her old friend wanted to do. However, it was Serenity who spoke or rather Sailor Moon. That would take some time to adjust to. She called out to Shinigami, “You want me, is that right? If I go willingly, will you let my sister go unharmed?”

 

               She couldn’t believe her ears, Seiya knew Serenity wasn’t that naïve. Everyone here knew that Shinigami wouldn’t stop with Serenity. Not even close! He would come after Earth and the Life Crystal of Apollo. Hell, he would likely come after Usagi’s Cosmos Crystal as well as Kiyoko’s Golden Crystal too. Serenity and the Silver Crystal wouldn’t satisfy a creature such as Shinigami.

 

               Seeing Serenity’s eyes flash in Haruka’s direction, Seiya began to see what her sister-in-law was doing. Haruka still writhed in pain, unable to do anything else. When Shinigami didn’t respond, Serenity spoke again, “If it is me you want, I will come willingly once my sister is returned safe and sound.”

 

               Finally Seiya heard Shinigami’s slimy voice utter a response, “Oh my precious queen, I will have you either way. And I will not release my hold on the Senshi of the Sky either. She has committed great sins in her life and must atone for those crimes. She betrayed you, did she not?”

 

               Watching Serenity out of her periphery, Seiya saw the queen bite her lip. It was something the two sisters had in common. Her reaction left Seiya with a conflict. She was glad that Serenity had NOT let Haruka off the hook. At the same time, Kiyoko would be so broken hearted if Haruka died… especially if she were trying to save her when she did.

 

               Haruka cried out once more as Shinigami closed and twisted his fist. She panted and breathed the words, “Never give in… Chibi-Usa… Never…”

 

               This seemed to infuriate Shinigami to no end. He wanted to break everyone and everything. That much was clear. Serenity, Sailor Moon, gripped her staff and called out Pink Moon Smash, sending the beam at Shinigami’s outstretched hand. As it struck the reaper was now the one screaming in pain, swearing as he narrowed his eyes at Serenity.

 

               The black electricity left Haruka, for the moment anyway. Seiya was sure that Shinigami wasn’t about to give up. He was too stubborn and too delusional for that. After a moment, Seiya’s suspicions were confirmed. Holding up a blackened crystal, the reaper began chanting. Seiya had no clue what he was saying, but the negativity in the void of space only thickened as he did.

 

               In the blink of an eye, Seiya and the others found themselves surrounded by ten flaming blue creatures, each one wailing so much that it pierced the ears and clouded the mind. It was so intense that Seiya couldn’t help but cover her ears and she saw the others doing the same. Looking over her shoulder, she could see that even Michiko was affected by the sound.

 

               Faintly, Seiya could hear Shinigami’s slimy tone chuckling, “This is the power of Black Death. There is no escaping it and no denying it.” The wailing intensified and Seiya felt dizzy and wetness on her glove. When she looked at it she saw the smallest amount of blood. This really was the power of death. She did not want to die, but she couldn’t concentrate enough to do anything.

 

               Seiya started to think she were hallucinating. She could swear she heard her son’s voice. In spite of the excruciating pain that came with movement, Seiya turned. She wasn’t hearing things! Not too far from the circle that enclosed them were Endymion, Ruka or Sailor Starbright, and Princess Chisana-Usagi! She wondered what in the name of Selene they were doing here! They shouldn’t be here! What could she do?

 

               She watched as her twins exchanged a glance and then in awe as Ruka formed a bow of flaming energy, pointing an arrow with a star at the end right at Shinigami. She called out Star Fire Strike and released the arrow. It struck the exposed part of their foes arm. Next to her, Endymion spoke, “We are the successors to the Silver Millennium and we want the Golden Queen back!”

 

               Such passion in her typically reserved son’s face warmed Seiya’s heart. However, Shinigami did not share that sentiment, “So you want to live a short life, boy prince! Then so be it!”

 

               He held up his navy sword and the Black Death Crystal’s energy consumed it. Without delay, Shinigami sent the dark energy in the form of a blade at young Endymion. It was so quick that no one could have stopped it, not even her Starshine Michiko.

 

               Seiya’s mouth opened in horror. But then her eyes grew wide as she saw Usa-chan stand in front of her son. In that instant an all-consuming magenta light filled Seiya’s vision, temporarily blinding her. Its energy was so warm, like Usagi and Serenity’s warmth. However, she could not see anything and all that she could hear was the wailing of Shinigami’s creatures. What had happened? Was Endymion alright? Was Usa-chan alright? And what was that warm magenta light that had blinded her? It wasn’t Usagi or Serenity, they were both too far from the children.

 

               She swore under her breath and tried to clear the spots from her eyes. When she finally did, all that Seiya could do was gape.

 

Chari VonDillarizz

Chapter 28: Discovery and Impossibilities

 

*Kiyoko*

 

               Somehow she had managed to get away from her foe, but she was not unscathed. Kiyoko found that the magic in his flames was slowing her normally swift healing process and so she winced in pain as she tripped and slammed in the stone wall. It was so painful that Kiyoko wanted to scream, but she knew that would give her away. She had to make as little noise as possible, but Kiyoko also had to keep moving. So she did.

 

               As fast as her feet would carry her, Kiyoko ran through this maze of a castle, fear of the flames would not allow her the time she needed to slow down and concentrate to get the lay of the land as it were using her magic. Kiyoko could feel a sense of panic rising in her. Stopping to catch her breath, she leaned against a set of large wooden doors and clutched her brooch. As she did, Kiyoko was struck by a vision…

 

               … As Kiyoko looked around her she saw that she was in a small town, but it was not one she had ever been to before. It was so odd. She started walking and then she noticed her reflection in a storefront window. Kiyoko looked at herself and noticed a few things: Her odangos were not there. Her dress was a beautiful garnet and black combination and she wore the brooch she was currently clutching in the real world. Just then, Kiyoko looked up and saw the words in an unfamiliar language. Yet she knew that they meant “clinic” regardless. While looking at the sign, trying to make heads or tails of it Kiyoko felt a hand on her shoulder and a surge of energy. Then she heard a gasp and turned to see a young girl with blue hair in the same style as Setsuna’s with one hand over her mouth and her eyes widely staring at the other. Kiyoko was about to ask the girl what was going on when the vision was gone….

 

               In the blink of an eye, Kiyoko was returned to reality with her head pounding severely. She wondered what in the name of Selene that vision meant. Then she heard footsteps and the booming voice of Shinigami. Kiyoko had no time to concentrate on that vision. It would not matter if she didn’t survive. No other choice, Kiyoko slipped into the room she had stumbled upon and closed the door. Sealing it behind her.

 

               Taking in her surroundings, Kiyoko saw that she was in a library of sorts. So, Shinigami read. For whatever reason, Kiyoko found that surprising. On a table by the window was glass case with what appeared to be parchment in it. Drawn to it, Kiyoko walked over without delay. Written in a language nearly dead to the modern world, Kiyoko’s studies in ancient magic gave her a rough understanding of it. As she read it, her eyes grew wide. This was not possible.

 

*Usa-chan*

 

               She was sitting with Ruka, both of them trying to pass the time with a game of cards. Usa-chan was winning, and actually getting bored. She could see Ruka getting bored too. Trying to keep her poor cousin occupied after all of the mess in the throne room not too long ago, Usa-chan smiled sweetly at Ruka, “Perhaps you would like to go and practice archery? It is not my forte, but I would love to see your skill. Aunt Haruka speaks very highly of it.” She bit her lip, seeing Ruka’s expression harden.

 

               A moment later though, her fun loving demeanor had returned, “Perhaps that is a fine idea. I have spent so much time working on my swordsmanship since my talisman is a sword that I have been neglecting my bow.” She grabbed Usa-chan’s hand and stood up. As the two of them made their way to the door they were surprised to see it open. Then they caught sight of Endo. Instantly Usa-chan sensed something was wrong.

 

               When she locked eyes with her cousin and best friend, she knew, “They know where Aunt Kiyoko is, don’t they?” For a moment all she could do is stare into Endo’s Earth Blue eyes and wait for his answer.

 

               Swallowing hard, Endo replied softly, “Yes. They’re on their way to rescue her now.” His eyes darted to Ruka’s and then back to Usa-chan.

 

               Usa-chan was about to say something, but was unsurprisingly cut off by her outspoken golden haired cousin, “Wait! They’re going to rescue her without us! That is so NOT right!” Part of Usa-chan always wanted to giggle when Ruka spoke so bluntly and without that refinement she’d been drilled with her entirely life. Considering how often that happened, Usa-chan found herself wanting to giggle quite often.

 

               Endo had already softened his face as he looked at his twin sister, “Ruka, you know that they would not have made that decision lightly.” He saw the fire in Ruka’s eyes just as Usa-chan did and so he took her hand, “I spoke to Setsuna. She said that this is not our fight. She asked us to stay out of it.”

 

               Usa-chan listened as Endo tried to reassure his sister. However, she could sense the turmoil inside of him. Then she saw a flash of an image of Michiko in her Fuku. Hesitantly, Usa-chan asked, “Where is Princess Michiko, Endymion?”

 

               Ruka looked at Usa-chan and then at her brother, yanking her hand away and crossed her arms, “Yes, Endymion, where is our dear sister?” Usa-chan saw her eyes narrow and Endo began to squirm as only Ruka could make him do.

 

               Defeat clearly written in his face, Endymion looked at both of them, “She’s gone with them. I don’t know why, but she’s with them.”

 

               Even if she didn’t have the connection that she did to Endo, Usa-chan could’ve predicted Ruka’s next statement. Ruka’s hands went from her chest to her hips and her voice reached an octave Usa-chan had not heard from her, “This is not happening. We’re going!”

 

               No hesitation in her heart, Ruka grabbed her transformation star and in a flash of light she became Sailor Starbright and smiled slyly, “I am going to save my mother.”

 

               Endo sighed and looked at Usa-chan, “I can’t let her go alone. We’ll be okay.” He reached forward and hugged Usa-chan for a moment. Then he pulled back and opened his mouth.

 

               Usa-chan shook her head and smiled at him, “There is no way I am letting the two of you go without me. I may not be a Senshi or as powerful as you Endo, nonetheless I’m not staying behind.” She set her expression firm and as she did she saw something that she had never seen before. Usa-chan saw faint colors around Endo and Ruka. Around Endo she saw flickering of royal blue, gold, and emerald green. Ruka was teeming with silver, indigo, orange, and garnet red. Her nose crinkled as she attempted to discern what this meant.

 

               Laughing briefly, Endo looked at Usa-chan, “I suppose there is no stopping you, especially now. What you’re seeing cousin, those are called auras. It’s another step in your powers. My mother and I both sense things about people, but seeing the colors themselves is something different and more powerful in some ways.” Usa-chan was still perplexed and her cousin obviously knew it. He continued, “When this is all over, we’ll study them together.”

 

               Usa-chan replied, “Yes we will. But now, now we have to go and break the rules.” She felt a bit guilty, yet deep down she felt this was the correct path. The three of them set off as stealthily as they could for the landing pad. They’d use light travel, but starting at the same point as the others, Endo was certain he could follow their trail with his powers.

 

*Seiya*

 

               They had made it to the edge of Earth’s solar system. Usagi, Sailor Cosmos, was leading the way. For some reason though, she had stopped in her tracks. They caught up to her and Seiya spoke, her voice echoing into the void of space, “What’s wrong Odango?”

 

               Not looking back, Usagi responded, “There’s something here. I don’t know how Kiyoko and I missed it before. But I’m sure it was here when we returned from Estara.”

 

               Serenity, Sailor Moon now, came to stand or float next to her mother and narrowed her eyes, “You’re right. It’s… It’s some kind of…. Field….”

 

               Mulling over what they were saying, Seiya interjected, “He was waiting. That bastard was waiting so that he would know when you returned.”

 

               Much to Seiya’s irritation, Haruka put in her two cents, “I think it was bigger than that. I think he was monitoring anyone coming in or out of the system. That way, he would always know what kind of offensive to take, and when to strike.”

 

               Seiya could not help but retort, “If he was looking for an opening of attack, wouldn’t it make more sense to do it when Usagi and Kiyoko weren’t here?”

 

               All of this time young Michiko, Sailor Starshine had been quiet. Seiya still was not entirely sure it was a good idea to have her youngest daughter here, but Michiko had insisted and Usagi had allowed it. She was the Queen-Mother and now mother to the entire Cosmos. Once she’d decided, there was no argument to be had. Michiko spoke now, her voice quiet and refined as always, “Unless, he detected the new power they brought back with them Papa. The Life Crystal of Apollo may have been worth the gamble to him.”

 

               Seiya swore under her breath. Michiko was probably right. If this Shinigami wanted Serenity already. The crystal may have made it worth the risk. She was about to say as much when she felt it, or her. Seiya felt Kiyoko, she was sure it was her. Yet, something about her energy was different. It actually reminded Seiya of her lost Queen, Kakyuu. Thinking aloud, Seiya said, “That can’t be. It doesn’t make sense.”

 

               Usagi turned to her and inquired, “What is it Starfighter? Can you feel something?” Her eyes desperate with hope.

 

               Nodding, Seiya swallowed, “It’s her… She is alive… But something has changed… I don’t know how to explain… But something is different in her energy.” How could she tell Usagi that she sensed her dead queen’s energy mingling with her wife’s own? Kakyuu had been gone a decade. Butterfly or no, it was impossible.

 

Chari VonDillarizz

Chapter 27: Trust and Uncertainty

 

*Endo*

 

               He was walking down the corridors so engrossed in his thoughts that Endo did not even notice the person standing directly in his path until he bumped into her. As he did he fell backward, landing on the floor. Looking up, Endo saw Setsuna’s gloved hand extended toward him, “Are you alright Prince Endymion?”

 

               Reaching up to grasp her hand, Endymion replied, “I am fine Setsuna...” He stopped mid-sentence as his hand touched hers and he glimpsed into her mind without thinking. When he did he saw his youngest sister transforming and taking off from the Time Gate. Endo got to his feet and spoke very directly, “Excuse my boldness but, what was Michiko doing at the Time Gate and why did she transform?”

 

               Setsuna pursed her lips and looked kindly upon young Endo, “She was thinking about things, that is why she was at the Gate. And she transformed to go and assist in your mother’s rescue.” She knew that she could not keep things from Endo, not entirely.

 

               Endo let go of Setsuna’s hand and brushed his clothing off. He knew there was more to what the Senshi of Time that he admired so dearly was saying, particularly about why Michiko was at the Time Gate. He also knew that she was not going to tell him. Then his thoughts shifted to the second part of what she had said, “Wait, they’ve figured out where my mother is! I have to go!” He tried to make his way around Setsuna, but was stopped by her outstretched arm. Her arm that held her Garnet Rod.

 

               Looking down upon the prince who was so utterly filled with determination, Setsuna took a deep breath, “No, Prince Endymion, you cannot go. This is not your battle. Everyone who is meant to go is going. I am sorry, but you must stay here.”

 

               Unable to believe his ears, Endo could not help but question, “What do you mean? Why can’t I go and help save my mother? She gave me a piece of her crystal. I have to get it back to her!”

 

               Her garnet eyes grew thoughtful and Setsuna tried smile at Endo, “I understand your desire Prince Endymion. However, I ask that you trust me. Trust me in telling you that your place is here. And trust me in telling you that your mother entrusted that crystal to you for a reason and now it is yours.”

 

               There was something in Setsuna’s eyes that made Endymion want to trust her. He looked down at the medallion his grandmother had given him, helping him secure the crystal piece in it. She had said something similar to him. With sad resignation, Endo looked back at Setsuna, “I trust you Setsuna. I simply wish to help my mother.”

 

               Setsuna nodded, “You have the heart of a warrior. It runs through your blood. I know that only girls become Senshi, nonetheless your grandfather was both compassionate and a warrior. You are so much like him, your mother as well. It did not matter that she hadn’t awakened the Senshi that I know lies within her. She became a strong warrior and protector of everything she believed in.” She took a breath and then continued, knowing that it was time to begin planting the seeds, “You have done great things for one your age, Endymion, and even greater things lay down the path of fate for you. So, let this fight be one you hold back from. There are many more to come.”

 

               There was something about her words, they were reassuring, exciting, and terrifying at the same time. Endo nodded in return, “Alright, Setsuna, but is there anything that I can do?”

 

               “Of course, Prince Endymion, you can go and keep your sister and cousin company. They need your strength, and Ruka will need someone to keep her from running off as well. This isn’t their fight either,” Setsuna told the Prince with a smile and bowed graciously to the Prince of Estara, son of the Silver Millennium. Endo had been dear to her heart from the moment she had met him and she knew that he always would be.

 

*Minako*

 

               She understood the reasons that only the four of them were going on this mission. Honestly, she did. However, that didn’t change that Minako was incredibly frustrated at the idea of staying behind and waiting. What if something happened to Usagi or Serenity? She would never forgive herself, and Minako was certain she was not the only one who felt this way.

 

               Pulling Minako from her thoughts were Kunzite’s hands resting squarely on her shoulders, “You’ll wear a hole in the floor Minako if you do not stop pacing.” His eyes were so kind, a great contrast to the normally hard eyes he showed to others.

 

               In spite of wanting nothing more than to melt into those eyes for eternity, Minako’s frustration won and she snapped, “I don’t care about the damned floor right now! My queens… The line I was sworn to protect… More importantly, my family is out there risking their lives and I am here. I am the leader of the Inner Senshi! I should be with them!”

 

               He hadn’t removed his hands from Minako’s shoulders. Kunzite tightened his grip, “Don’t you think that I feel the same way Minako! My mistress, whom myself and the Shitenou have sworn to serve is in danger and I am here. I want nothing more than to go with them as well, particularly now that the power cosmos has increased what we can do! Nevertheless, we have to trust the Queen Mother and Queen Serenity’s judgement.” He sighed in exasperation.

 

               Minako felt guilty, not taking Kunzite’s feelings into account. He was right. She knew that he wanted to be part of that rescue party as much as she did and here she was acting as if it was no big deal to him. Her eyes fell to the floor, “I am very sorry. I can be so dense.”

 

               Those hands went from her shoulders to encircling her in an instant, “No need to apologize Minako. We are all worried about them. We are all worried about Kiyoko. This is the time that we much lean on each other for strength.” He rested his head on top of hers and whispered, “I would appreciate an answer to my question though.”

 

               This froze Minako in her tracks once more. She knew what he was referring to. Minako had no idea why it was she had not answered him. More than almost anything in this universe, Minako wanted to marry Kunzite and have a family with him. There was no doubt in her mind about that. Regardless, when put on the spot about it she couldn’t make the words come out of her mouth! What was going on with her? She curled herself more tightly into Kunzite’s embrace, feeling her eyes brim with tears.

 

               Kunzite responded by tightened his arms around her and kissing the top of her head, “I love you Minako and I believe I know what is in your heart. But I need you to say the words aloud to make them real. I am a concrete person, you know that.”

 

               Again, he was right. Minako knew how concrete, how black and white, her beloved could be. She knew how serious Kunzite was, on and off the battlefield. She loved that about him, how his nature contrasted and yet complimented hers. Minako was a fearless leader on the battlefield. But off of it, she was as flighty and carefree as she had ever been. She was the Goddess of love and beauty after all. Taking a deep breath, she shifted herself so that she could look into her lover’s eyes, “I know who you are Kunzite, and I love everything about you.”

 

               Kunzite smiled one of his rare smiles and brought his lips to Minako’s. He chuckled when the two of them finally broke the kiss. It was not often he saw his Goddess blush like that, “And I know who you are, my beautiful goddess, and love everything about you as well.”

 

               Minako did not know what, but something in that kiss had erased all of that hesitation to voice her feelings. Or maybe it was the sweet sentiment from her serious lover. Either way, Minako finally found her voice, “Thank you. Thank you for your love and for your patience. I know that sometimes I can be a bit much. Still, if you will have me… I would love nothing more than to be your wife from now until eternity… No matter how many times we are reborn.”

 

               She saw the astonishment on Kunzite’s face. It appeared that somewhere deep down he had not been sure that Minako would accept his proposal. Nonetheless, he leaned in once more and began to pull her into a kiss. This kiss, in contrast to their last, was filled with passion and unfathomable desire. Minako decided that they should be allowed this moment, since they could only wait anyway, and found herself not only allowing this kiss but meeting his desire with a ferocious level of desire of her own. This was what they had both wanted since the original Silver Millennium and finally the Gods had granted them their wish.

 

*Rei*

 

               Unable to find comfort in anything else, Rei went to the Fire Room. She would look for anything about how this all would turn out in the fire. It was her place of peace. Ever at her side to support her, Jadeite sat silently a few feet behind Rei. She had insisted he stay close to the doors. Sitting with her legs crossed and eyes closed, Rei continued chanting and moving her fingers in the way she always did when seeking the fire’s guidance. Unfortunately, she had been at this for quite a long time now and had not seen anything.

 

               Rei was just about ready to give up when she felt it, the fire was ready. In her mind Rei saw Kiyoko, or at least it looked like Kiyoko. She was certain it was Kiyoko, but it did not make sense. Kiyoko was adorning the Fuku of a Senshi, a Starlight even. Tears streamed down her face as she stood on a beach with her arms wrapped around herself. A gloved hand touched her shoulder as great gust of wind blew. Rei could see locks of Teal hair, lighter than Michiru’s, even more wavy perhaps. Without warning dark clouds covered the sky and Rei saw the sea ablaze with deep blue flames and heard an unfamiliar voice say, “No matter how many Senshi you gather…. You cannot save him…. Just like you couldn’t save him before… Nothing can save him!”

 

               Then it was gone and the flames in the Fire Room grew and licked out at Rei, singing her raven hair! In a blink, Rei found herself in Jadeite’s arms and outside. She looked at Jadeite, who wore a graver expression than she had seen since his days serving Beryl. He asked her, “Are you okay? What was that? You had a vision, didn’t you?” So confused by her vision and the fire’s reaction, all she could do was nod at poor Jadeite.