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Michael "TheZorch" Haney's
"UPON ETHEREAL WINGS"
" " Spoken dialog.
Chapter Eight – The Visitor Part 3
Sailor Moon was tired, her arms felt like lead weights, but a determination burned within her which would not admit failure or defeat. Despite being bone weary and on the verge of collapse she stayed on her feet to encourage the others not to give up. Those who didn't know her civilian identify would never have been able to mistake this valiant warrior of love and justice for that flighty, clumsy, perpetually whining blond eating machine. Yet, when in her alter ego persona, the Sailor suited warrior of the love and justice, Usagi Tsukino had started becoming a different person. Gone was the flighty behavior she was so well known for, gone was the clumsiness, gone was indecisiveness. She was the Princess of the Moon, daughter of Queen Serenity former sovereign ruler of the once great Silver Millennium Empire and the only hope for Earth's future. After facing so many enemies, nearly losing her friends and the man she loved as dearly as life itself the young resurrected Princess became a stronger person. She and her friends faced many dangerous and powerful foes before and survived, and she was determined to see that they lived through this encounter as well no matter the cost. Usagi Tsukino had drawn a line in the sand and Kami-sama help any who dared try and cross it.
Tuxedo Kamen stood at her side, he could see the pain in her face but knew that if he tried to reach out to her to help her stand it would dishearten the other Senshi. The rest of the team were all tired as well. They entered this battle like any other believing that they would be able to prevail as always very quickly. Their latest foe was an evil scientist from the Negaverse who called himself Dr. Z. He was a thin, gray haired old man with yellow eyes and wore a white lab coat. His left eye was artificial, a grotesque construct of science perverted by dark magic. His youma were hideous cybernetic monstrosities which he called Mecha-Youma. With each encounter Dr. Z had arrived with Mecha-Youma of ever increasing complexity, intelligence and power. In each encounter the Senshi were able to either outsmart the demonic cyborgs or overpower them. Today was different, these new Mecha-Youma worked in groups, formed complex attack strategies, possessed the ability to adapt to changes in their enemy's strategy very quickly, and had firepower which was substantially most powerful than before. The battlefield was a city park in the heart of Jubaan-ku where the cyber demons had been draining the energy from people and plants alike.
Essentially, the Sailor Senshi were losing this fight ... badly. To say they were getting their asses handed to them was an understatement.
"Dammit!" Mars yelped as she leapt clear of a series of energy beams being directed her way. The Mecha-Youma were splitting into groups, each trying to keep the Senshi separated from one another. The strategy unfortunately was working.
"Haven't you figured out a weakness to these things yet?!" Mars shouted over her shoulder to Mercury who was rapidly typing on the keyboard of her portable computer.
Mercury shook her head, "I still can't break through their scramblers. I can't get a reading!"
"This isn't good," Tuxedo Kamen said loud enough just for Sailor Moon to hear. A released a rose from his hand disabling the weapons on one Mecha-Youma.
"We ... can't give ... up," the blond leader of the Sailor Senshi stammered as she released another Moon Tiara attack. The magical weapon streaked in and hit one of the Mecha-Youma instantly killing it, but as soon as it fell another emerged from a portal to takes its place.
Uranus and Neptune managed to stay together but had been separated from Saturn during the fighting. They could see their child who they loved so much fighting with everything she had across the park which was their battlefield. The Mecha-Youma they were facing wouldn't let them pass to get to her.
"The princess is weakening, even though she doesn't want to admit it," Uranus said through clenched teeth as she and her soul mate ran to keep the monsters from drawing a deadly bead on them. They were both proud of their princess, no, their queen.
"SATURN!" Uranus whirled around when she heard Neptune scream out their beloved daughter's name. The Senshi of Healing and Destruction had taken a direct hit. Her Silence Wall was weakening and unable to hold back the powerful onslaught from these cybernetic demons. The two Senshi lovers could only watch with horror as the creatures circled the fallen Saturn preparing to finish her off.
It was at that moment hell rained from the sky. A streak of brilliant light descended from above like a bolt of lightning. It struck the spot where Saturn had fallen and from it rose a powerful shockwave that tore the Mecha-Youma to pieces instantly. When the dust cleared the ground all around the point of impact was charred save but for the spot were Saturn had fallen. The beautiful young Senshi was no longer on the ground. She blink-blinked with surprise to find herself in the gentle arms of possibly the handsomest young boy she'd ever seen. Saturn blushed brightly when he finally looked at her and smiled gently.
During his descent towards the Earth the instruments in Darius' frame detected the energy discharges of the battle blow. Homing in on the signal he came across the park where the Sailor Senshi were battling the Mecha-Youma. He had no idea what the things were, he knew they weren't Darklings yet they seemed to possess some attributes about them which were slightly similar. Recognizing the girls as the ones Kryton had detected earlier, the young Satari prince decided to help. The young girl he now held in his arms was a bit younger than he appeared, in truth he was well over one hundred years old, but she was also extremely cute.
"Are you alright?" he asked her softly. He had to admit this girl was really cute. She was a bit young though, he guessed she was maybe fourteen or so, but according the info he garnered from the Internet this world's Japan had similar laws to those back in his home universe. Therefore, she was legal. Darius couldn't afford to focus on that right now, he had these creatures to deal with first.
Saturn could only nod her head and said, "Uh huh." She was captivated by this boy, a boy who looked at her with adoring eyes rather than ridicule and hatred. He was handsome too and only a few young older than she was by the looks of him.
"Hold on tight, this might feel a little weird," Darius warned her. He focused on the site near where the other girls were starting to gather and called upon the special ability acquired from his Satari bloodline, line-of-sight teleportation. To Saturn's perspective the world seemed to stretch and elongate for a brief moment before she felt sudden but brief sensation of acceleration before the world came back into focus. She head the gasps of surprise from the rest of the Senshi who were now right next to her and the boy holder her in his arms.
"Who are you?" Sailor Moon asked as Darius sat Saturn gently on her feet. The young Senshi staggered a bit from the disorientation of the teleport but Darius caught her.
"A friend," he replied and guided Saturn over to her friends who took her into their caring arms. He immediately turned his attention on the cybernetic demons who were even now calculating a new strategy for this sudden change of events.
The Mecha-Youma opened fire again to no avail as Darius' shield suddenly sprang up and blocked the shots with little effort. Mercury's hand flew over the controls of the Mercury computer and when the data from its sensors appeared on the tiny screen her eyes went wide.
"That shield is several thousand magnitudes more powerful than Saturn's Silence Wall!" she exclaimed in shock. Neptune and Uranus took looked at her in surprise. The girls all regarded this strange boy with curious expressions. He said he was a friend, but who was he?
"These things don't seem all that bright," Darius said as the cybernetic demons continued to fired fruitlessly at his shield.
Mars growled, "They were totally kicking our butts a moment ago and you say that they aren't all that bright?! Are you suggesting we couldn't handle them?!" They'd been fighting these things with everything they had and were loosing until this boy shows up and one ups them like this.
"Their intelligence matrix looks like it was designed to deal with only certain classes of enemies," Darius clarified for her. "Namely the nine of you. I watched the fight some before getting involved and observed their attack patterns as well as your fighting strategies. These things appear to have been designed with the sole purpose of fighting the each of you and exploiting any weaknesses you have. When they encounter something outside of their programed parameters they loose their ability to adapt, like they appear to have done right now."
Mercury had hearts in her eyes. "He's right," she said. "They were methodically testing the limits of our powers and fighting abilities learning our patterns and exploiting any weaknesses or deficiencies we might have. We were loosing because they found our weaknesses and were exploiting them."
"So that means?" Sailor Moon asked, not really getting it at all.
Mars sighed heavily and explained, "They were learning how we fight and were figuring out ways to beat us." She was a bit surprised to see the light of understanding appear in the blonde's eyes.
"How do we beat these things then?" Uranus wondered out loud.
Darius replied, "Leave that to me." He lifted his hands towards the horde of creatures in a gesture that seemed almost casual and fired off a single energy blast. Mercury's eyes went wide when she saw the amount of power behind that one blast. The explosion that followed tore a massive hole in the ground and vaporized the whole of the Mecha-Youma forces.
When the dust cleared the monsters were completely gone. Not a single trace of existence was left. No new Mecha-Youma appeared again either.
"Damn that was boring," Darius muttered. "Didn't even put up a good fight at all. To think they had abilities similar to the Darkness. Yeah, right."
Everyone's eyes went wide when they heard that. They all knew about the Darkness after Pluto explained everything to them. Normally the Senshi of Time wasn't all that forthcoming with information, but on this subject she made certain that they knew everything that they needed to know. What they knew told them it was best to leave those things alone.
"You know about the Darkness?" Jupiter asked him. Getting a good look at his face she had to admit he did indeed look a lot like her old sempai.
Darius nodded, "Yeah, my dad taught me how to fight them. I lost count of how many I've killed over the centuries."
"Centuries?!" the inner Senshi and Saturn all yelled at once.
"You are a very long way from home," the new voice drew Darius attention towards another magical girl who apparently just showed up. She was older than the rest but still very beautiful. He hair was long and green. In her hands she carried a long staff which was topped with an ornament shaped like a key.
"No shit," Darius replied scratching the back of his head. "And you would be?"
"Sailor Pluto," Pluto introduced herself and offer the young man her hand. He shook it a gentle friendly manner.
"Thank you for helping my friends," Pluto said with a bow. The girls all gaped at her. They never saw Pluto act this way before, that and she wore that infuriating "I know something you don't know and I'm not telling" smile on her face.
Darius smiled, "No problem, killing the bad guys is something I do for my day job." Tuxedo Kamen wore a slight smirk, he was starting to like this kid. Saturn was on her feet now and came over to the boy.
"Thank you for saving me," she said with a demure, submissive bow with her hands clasped in front of her.
"I hate it when bad guys beat up on women, especially when they're really really cute." Darius replied. Saturn blushed a deep red. A "hot" boy just said she was "cute"! Hotaro was on cloud nine. She wondered if he had a girlfriend.
"What we have here is a playboy," Sailor Mars commented with a smirk and her arms folder across her chest. She wasn't so much put off by what the boy said as she was jealous that he was focusing so much attention on Saturn.
"Pluto, what do you mean by him being a very long way from home?" Venus asked the Senshi of Time. The others all looked at her than looked at Setsuna with questioning looks. It was obvious on the green haired Senshi's face that she knew something.
Darius looked at her with a smile and replied, "Oh that's easy to answer actually. I'm a half-alien from another universe."
"Nani?!" the Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen, with the exception of Pluto, cried out in shock.
"You mean alien, as in little green men, that kind of alien?!" Sailor Moon freaked out with eyes as wide as dinner plates.
"Cool!" Saturn cheered.
"Why are you here?" Neptune asked trying to be the calm one of the group.
Darius scratched the back of his head and explained, "Well, its a long story. The short of it is, there was an accident when I was fighting some Darklings and my ship got transported here to this universe. I'm stuck here for three months while it repairs itself."
Saturn asked, "So, is this what you really look like or is this just a fake body or something?" She had to ask, it was on everyone's mind except for Pluto's who knew a great deal more about Darius than she was willing to divulge at the moment.
"What I look like now is all me," he replied. "My dad was a Satari, he looks human but with a few minor differences, and my mom was a human from earth."
"Why are you telling us this so openly?" Tuxedo Kamen asked wondering why an alien would reveal his secret to them so easily.
The Satari prince shrugged, "You look like the types who deal with this sort of stuff on a daily basis."
"Ain't that the truth," Mars deadpanned and the rest of the inners all nodded in agreement. Uranus and Neptune also nodded in agreement.
Darius thumbed in the direction the Mecha-Youma had once been. "What exactly were those things?" he asked.
"They're called Mecha-Youma." Saturn explained to him again.
Darius nodded and said, "Where'd they come from and why are they here?"
"They obey the orders of an agent from the Negaverse known as Doctor Z," Pluto answered. "He appeared a few months ago with a small army of them, but at the time they weren't very intelligent and were easily beaten."
The Senshi of Time saw the light of understanding in the boy's eyes. "The Negaverse, you're having trouble with those weak losers?"
Tuxedo Kamen felt a sudden disturbance in the Force that was his girl friend and future wife. Sailor Moon stalked up to Darius angrily with her hands on her hips.
"Those 'weak losers' decimated my mother's kingdom thousands of year ago killing her, me and all of my friends," she bitched him out angrily in a tone that made even Mars cringe in fear. "We were resurrected by my mother's magic in this time and have been fighting for our lives against the Negaverse ever since!"
Darius bowed, "I meant no offense, but about eight years ago they came to my earth and tried to cause trouble. Me and my friends sent them packing pretty quickly."
"If you're friends have energy levels that are anything close to what they are right now I can understand why." said Mercury who was looking at the display on the Mercury Computer with awe.
She looked at the others and said straight out, "He's more powerful than all of us ... in our Super Senshi forces and Sailor Moon in her Neo Queen Serenity form combined."
Saturn broke the momentary silence when she asked, "Is he even more powerful than me?"
"Very much so," Mercury replied to the surprise of the rest except for Pluto. They all looked at the seemingly young alien boy with awe.
"Don't worry," he told them with a smile. "I'm one of the good guys."
At that moment Kryton's voice sounded from his wrist com. "Lord Darius, long range sensors are now fully back online. I am detecting numerous unstable spacial nodes within Jubaan-ku and Nerima-ku. There is a larger one out near the orbit of the moon which shows quantum fluctuation signs of having been used as recently as two weeks ago."
Mercury came over to look at the device and wondered at it curiously. "Any evidence of Darkling technology?" Darius asked.
"Unfortunately yes," Kryton replied. "There is fading residue of Darkling energy around the node. I would guess from the rate of decay and the amount of energy it was a ship of some kind, however I detect no such vessels in or around this solar system."
"Who is that?" Sailor Moon asked him.
"My ship," Darius told her. "Kryton, as soon as you've restored more of your mobility I want you to hide yourself in a crater or a cave somewhere on the moon. It wouldn't be pleasant if you encountered a Darkling ship in your condition."
"Won't that block your ability to talk to him?" Mercury asked him.
Darius shook his head, "Nah, we use subspace com channels. Solid matter doesn't block that type of communication."
"I'll have most of my propulsion, defensive and offensive systems back online in a few days," Kryton explained. "At the moment I have minimal maneuvering thrusters and no weapons or shields. The FTL will still take three months."
Darius scratched his chin in thought and said, "Ok, at the sign of any trouble use whatever kind of mobility you have to hide yourself as best you can and let me know. I'll come up there in my frame and run interference for you if I have to."
"Understood milord," the ship replied.
"Sire ... milord," said Neptune. "You some kind of royalty or something?"
"I'm a prince actually," replied Darius. Saturn had stars in her eyes. He was a prince just like Tuxedo Kamen!
"You said that was your ship," Mars inquired. "Did you mean it was someone on your ship or what?"
"Kryton is the machine consciousness that runs the ships," Darius explained and Mercury's eyes lit up with intense curiosity.
"You mean an AI?" she asked in an intensely curious tone.
Pluto immediately interjected, "I think we've monopolized our new friend's time for long enough. If I am not wrong you have someplace you need to be right about now?" She turned to look at the young alien prince with a knowing smile which he saw quite clearly. He knew that she knew something, but didn't know exactly how she knew it.
"Actually yeah," he replied. "Sorry to kick ass and run but I really gotta go. I'll see you all later." He turned to leapt and fly off but at the last second stopped and turned towards Saturn. Completely on impulse he drew the young Senshi into his arms and kissed her gently on the lips. Uranus and Neptune both growled and stared lethally at him as he leapt into the air leaving a stunned Hotaro behind.
For a long time the young Senshi of Healing and Destruction was as immobile as a stone. Everyone nearly jumped out of their costumes when she finally screamed.
"I'M IN LOVE!!"
Jupiter then said, "He looked exactly like my old sempai."
"EVERY GUY LOOKS LIKE YOUR OLD SEMPAI!"
Ranma and Akane were still really sore all over. They were a pretty funny sight as they came down the stairs helping each other not to fall. In the wash room they undressed one another suppressing a sudden urge to fondle and cuddle and stumbled together into the furo. Painfully they washed one another and together climbed into the hot water of the tub which Kasumi had prepared for them with some of Lady Ambrosia's special restorative mineral bath salts.
"I haven't felt this sore since me and Ryoga had that really big fight a few months back," Ranma groaned. Despite the discomfort of his battle battered body he still cuddled up close to his wife who also enjoyed the closeness of his body against her own pain wracked body. It was hard to imagine that only a few weeks ago she would have malloted him into oblivion for just looking at her naked.
"The one where you learned the Hiryu Shoten Ha?" Akane asked remember that to be the only really big fight she knew the two of them have had in the past few months before Prince Herb's arrival.
Ranma nodded. He really didn't want to be reminded of that incident. Happosai had sapped him of his strength with that moxibustion leaving him vulnerable to his rivals. Ryoga at first refused to fight him because he was too weak an opponent, but in classic Saotome style he goaded the boy into fighting with his all. Damn it hurt when the pig boy hit at full strength. There weren't many people in the world who could withstand a direct hit from the Eternally Lost Boy and survive to talk about it. In the end he figured out the secret of the move Cologne was trying to teach him and used it to finally defeat Happosai and get the chart back that was need to restore his strength.
"This bath feels so good," Akane sighed leaning into Ranma's shoulder.
Ranma smiled and said, "If I weren't so sore I'd make it feel a whole lot better." Akane blushed and lightly pounded on his chest.
"Hentai," she said with a smile.
"Only for you," he replied softly and kissed her gently. She didn't resist and returned the kiss with earnest. After letting the heat and medicinal additives work most of the soreness out of them they got out of the tub, and dressed for breakfast. There was no school today, something for which the two were thankful, thus it meant they'd be able to rest the entire day. Lady Ambrosia had even canceled their regular training sessions for today knowing the two wouldn't be in much condition for anything other than laying around the house for a day or so since that big fight at the school plus their most recent training session which resulted in their current condition.
"You two looked like death warmed over," Nabiki commented looking at their haggard appearance.
Shampoo nodded, "Aiya, look like Linn Linn and Lung Lung after Bakusai Tenketsu training." She cherished that memory of old homeland, a place she'd never be able to see ever again. The twins did learn the technique finally, they were the youngest to ever attempt the training, but it had taken its toll on them and put them both out of commission for a week.
"Actually, what they were learning was similar to that technique," Lady Ambrosia explained. "But with a Weaver twist. In the end, the technique they learned is far more powerful and effective than the Bakusai Tenketsu because it can be used on any substance instead of just rock."
"Anything?" Soun asked in surprise. The old Amazon reached over his her finger and lightly tapped his newspaper. It instantly burst into confetti.
Soun yelped, "Ah! My paper!" And prompted fell back away form the kotatsu table.
Lady Ambrosia gave him an amuse smirk, "Relax Tendo-san. Here, read mine, I'm done with it." She produced another newspaper out of thin air and handed it to him. Kasumi cheered at the show and clapped. Nabiki rolled her eyes at how easily entertained her older sister was. These demonstrations of impossible feats were become the norm around Tendo-ke. Nothing that went on here really surprised her anymore.
"You'll be sure to share with you're father how that techniques works, right boy?" Genma said with a smile. The things he could do with a technique like that. He imagined using it against his evil sensei. Finally, they'd be free of him.
Lady Ambrosia sighed, "Even if he did, which I doubt he would, you wouldn't be able to use it."
"And why is that?" Genma grouched at her angrily.
"'Cause its a Weaver technique and ya gotta be born with the gift to make it work, baka." said Ranma.
"Oh," the panda man frowned at the injustice of not being born with the same power as his ungrateful son. Well, at least he did finally join the schools.
"Shampoo jealous, wish she had powers like brother Ranma and sister Akane." the cyan haired ex-Amazon pouted in a manner that just made her look even cuter than she was already. Nobody noticed the knowing look on the old Amazon's face.
Nabiki spoke up and asked, "Speaking of that. Why can't you two use your powers to make yourselves all better?" She already knew Ranma has an incredible ability to recover from even the most serious of injuries quickly, so why was he suffering now. Come to think of it, she never knew her sister to suffer from injuries for long either.
"They are to a certain unconscious extent," Lady Ambrosia explained. "The two of them extended themselves to the limit in that battle at the school. I wouldn't normally have allowed them to push themselves that hard but we were in a life or death battle at the time and there was no other choice. The Weaving has a powerful effect on the mind and body, one must prepare for the stresses the power puts on you in order to focus it properly."
She then added, "That battle told me one thing, the barrier between this world and the one where the Darkness had been sealed away is starting to crumble. In my fear that the breach might become too great to deal with I accelerated their training perhaps a bit too soon. Their current condition is my fault."
"No its not," Akane retorted.
"Hell, this ain't nothing til you been through one of oyagi's crazy training exercises." said Ranma. His words filled the panda man with pride until he realized exactly what the boy had said, and then he just fumed angrily.
Lady Ambrosia sipped her tea and replied, "True enough, but the matter still remains. The breach has widened enough so that more than one of them were able to get through. Its only a matter of time before it shatters altogether."
"What will happen then?" Kasumi asked worriedly.
The Amazon Weaver looked at her sadly and said, "The Apocalypse will come."
Ranma snorted derisively, "And when they come me and Akane will be there to kick their asses back to where they came from." Akane swooned at his words, to hear him say "me 'and Akane'", actually acknowledging her fighting ability warmed her heart. He'd been doing that a lot lately. She liked it.
"Perhaps, but you two still have a long way to go before you are ready to face them on that level." Lady Ambrosia warned them.
Nabiki had been wanting to ask this question ever since the battle at the school and finally decided to voice it. "What exactly are Darklings?" she asked. The fathers and Kasumi looked at one another. They'd heard Lady Ambrosia mention them several times but they really didn't fully understand exactly what the things were.
"I already explained some of this to Ranma and Akane," the old Weaver replied. "But I guess its time I revealed everything I know of them. There is no further need to hide the full truth any longer."
"The Darkness is a race of creatures which exist in a rather unusual relationship with the Etherium," she explained.
"That stuff that gives us our Weaving powers?" Ranma inquired in surprise.
She shook her head, "It doesn't give you your powers, no, but it does allow your power to manipulate it and in doing so change reality. You see the Darkness was created by the Elo'Quin." The young couple gasped in shock while the others looked at her dumbfoundedly.
"It was the alien race know as the Elo'Quin which imparted the knowledge of the Weaving to me," Lady Ambrosia told them. "They also explained the true nature of the Darkness. You see, the Elo'Quin who taught me how to control my powers were refugees from their home universe. The Darkness had scattered their kind across countless realities and countless light-years after their civilization fell. They warned me of the great danger that came from learning the Weaving, the danger of believing oneself to be a god."
Seeing that she had everyone's attention now and no further questions were forthcoming she continued, "After the start of what the Elo'Quin called their Golden Age when they discovered the Etherium and the power to control it, they began to expand their empire across countless galaxies and even into other realities. They were a benevolent people, kind, gentle and caring. In their exploration they encountered many different races, most of them far less technologically developed than they were. Many of these alien races came to see them as gods and a religion soon sprang up surrounding them. Over several millennia the Elo'Quin civilization grew increasingly more powerful and technologically advanced due to their ever increasing understanding of the Etherium and how to control it. At first they tried to convince the other races that they weren't gods, but as the power of the Elo'Quin grew their growing so did their arrogance. Eventually they begin to believe that perhaps they had indeed become gods. Soon, the very ruling council of the Elo'Quin supported the notion that their people had ascended to become gods and encouraged the other races to worship them and build temples in their name."
After a sip of tea to clear her dry throat Lady Ambrosia continued her tale, "Millions of years passed and the power of the Elo'Quin grew greater still. Yet, despite their accomplishments the Elo'Quin were not satisfied. The power they possessed, as it is with Ranma and Akane, is draining on the body and mind. It was the one thing they never learned how to get around. They could create technology which manipulated the Etherium easily, but they wanted to be able to do it themselves without tiring like the machines were able to do. So, the ruling council gave their greatest minds the task of finally finding a way to make it possible to use the Weaving without the tiring effects on the user. There were many failed attempts. Then, in a remote universe on the outskirts of the Elo'Quin's vast empire a team of researchers stumbled upon something they believed could be the answer to their problem. It was a seemingly innocuous little creature, resembling a cross between a worm and a slug, found on a swampy planet in the back end of nowhere. Yet, this seemingly harmless little creature had a miraculous property. The creature channeled the energies of the Etherium. It could not manipulate it, but it did channel its energy in a manner which was very different from the Elo'Quin. The researchers began working on captured samples, re-sequencing their DNA, manipulating them to transform the creatures into living implants which would give the Elo'Quin the ability to effortlessly channel the energies of the Etherium. In their haste to find an answer to a problem which has plagued them for countless centuries the Elo'Quin scientists committed the ultimate sin. They failed to perform even the most basic scientific research into the true nature of the creatures they had discovered. They believed the creatures to be scavengers who fed on dead pants or dead animals, but they were wrong. Those small, seemingly harmless little creatures were in truth the dominant predators on their planet."
Kasumi gasped and put her hand on her lips. Ranma and Akane didn't react, they were too intently listening to the tale to really be concerned with reactions. Nabiki and the fathers stayed silent too, intently listening. Lady Ambrosia went on, "They possessed no sensory organs whatsoever. Normally such creatures would have died out, natural selection would have deemed them unsuitable for survival and their species would have gone extinct. However, that did not happen. The creatures evolved a way to sense the world around them through the Etherium. Channeling its energy allowed them to feel the world around them and to detect the presence of prey. When a wandering creature came by they'd climb to someplace where they could drop onto their unsuspecting prey and latch on. Slowly, the creatures would drain the animal they were attached to of its life essence until it died. The Elo'Quin knew nothing of the horror they were about to unleash against all life in their universe and countless other realities beyond. Little is known of what happened next. All that is known is that the Elo'Quin lost contact with the colony the researches established on that planet. Two million lives were simply missing without a trace. It was a mystery which continued for another million years until the Elo'Quin encountered the Darkness for the first time. Since then the creatures, now combined with Elo'Quin DNA and the DNA of countless other alien races were a completely different species from the one created in the labs on that colony. There creatures had the ability to assimilate the cells of their host and to shape shift. Their veracious appetite for life essence knew no limits, the hunger drove them to scourge vast reaches of space to find worlds with life, and when they found such worlds they consumed them. An encounter with the Darkness meant certain and absolute destruction, and with each new race encountered they added their DNA to the gene pool further expanding their abilities and attributes. Billions upon billions of worlds, many with sentient life, were consumed by the Darkness. By the time they came back into contact with the race which had created them their empire had grown vast and powerful."
Nabiki asked, "But, if these Elo'Quin were so powerful why weren't they able to fight back?"
The old Weaver replied, "But they did, and though the Elo'Quin possessed superior technology to the Darkness, they did not possess superior numbers. The Darklings outnumbered them a million to one. The Weaving had expanded their lifespans to near infinity, and thus fewer and fewer children were being born as their kind lived longer and longer lives. The Darkness fell upon the Elo'Quin like a raging ocean of malevolent waters which burst from a dam. There was no stopping them, no matter how hard they fought the Elo'Quin were no match for the immensity of their forces. It was during the later half of the war that the secret of the Darkness was revealed and the Elo'Quin learned that their own kind had been the architects of their doom. Worse still, the Darkness still channeled the energies of the Etherium, and in the presence of the Weaving the natural metabolic rhythm of their life force was severely disturbed. What that means is the Weaving disrupted the natural workings of their bodies, when the Etherium was disturbed by the Weaving they felt pain and discomfort and their ability to absorb life essence was hindered. Thus, the Darkness sought to eradicate any who knew of the Weaving forever and embarked on a holy crusade of genocide against the Elo'Quin."
"So, they lost the war, their civilization fell and the survivors all ran away and went into hiding." said Nabiki. It was a sad story, but they bring it on themselves.
"Yes," Lady Ambrosia nodded. "However, the Elo'Quin did not loose the war." Everyone looked at her in surprise at this news and waited for to explain.
"In their original home universe the Elo'Quin completed a weapon which they hoped would defeated the Darkness," she said. "They called it Galiea, a giant sphere world as large as the orbit of the Earth around the sun with a livable surface on the inside that equaled the landmass of millions of Earths. The sphere world had immensely powerful defenses which used the Etherium, possessed sentient intelligence yet had no life essence for the Darkness to drain away. The remainder of the surviving Elo'Quin scattered across multiple realities and countless light-years leaving a small force behind to deliver the coup de gras to the Darkness. Their vast horde came in such numbers it was said all of space around the sphere world was filled with them. The first of their kind, their leader called the Dark One lead the charge. It was at that moment the Elo'Quin sprang their trap and unleashed the might of Galiea. In the end the Elo'Quin manning the sphere world were killed but the Darkness suffered unimaginable casualties and their leader the Dark One had been destroyed. The defenses of the sphere world went to automatic and the Darklings had no choice but to flee or be completely eradicated. Elo'Quin civilization had indeed fallen, but they won the conflict and severely damaged the Darkness in the process."
"If that is so, then how is it they are a threat to us right now?" Soun asked.
Lady Ambrosia thought it was a legitimate question and answered it. "Because they came here looking for the Elo'Quin and encountered a world where the Weaving was known," she explained. "The small horde did not expect to find a village of primitive warrior women possessing the knowledge of the Weaving and were caught off guard. We beat them and sealed them away into a pocket universe of our own creation. However, we knew it wouldn't hold for long and so I've been working towards preparing for the day they would come back. Unfortunately, time has not been kind to my efforts and my people grew complacent and arrogant. Now, we are not prepared to face what is about to be released and the world may pay dearly for the sins of my kin."
"Ara," Kasumi whispered softly.
"Before they left the Elo'Quin told me of a prophesy," Lady Ambrosia said. "One of their kind possessed the ability through the Weaving to see the future. They told me that their kind would one day return to Galiea and once again inhabit its lush interior. From these people would be born a man of extraordinary ability and a command of the Weaving which was greater than any of their kind throughout history. This man would reunite their kin and lead the galaxy in a war against the Darkness which would drive them back from that universe forever. According to the tale told to me that time should have already come to pass. If only there were some way to reach them, to contact this Galiea and ask for their help. But, I do not know how to even attempt to do such a thing with the Weaving, thus we must do what we must ourselves. For in each universe, there is one born like that man with unrivaled power in the Weaving. In our universe that person is Akane, thus we have hope. A small hope, but some nonetheless." There were no questions after that and the family continued their breakfast in silence. The need for words was over, and saying any wouldn't change the situation one bit. Ranma and Akane in that moment made a silence pledge to give their lives to end this nightmare one way or the other.
Darius walked away from Tendo-ke enshrouded in a subspace cloaking field. Upon his face was an expression of absolute shock. These people knew about Galiea, but most of all his people, his father's people ... they "were" Elo'Quin or at least of some relation to them. He'd suspected it for a long time, but never expected such information to be confirmed. The revelation about the Darkness was also painful to hear as well. If what the old woman had said was true then his ancestors were responsible for all of the death and destroyed he witnessed over the centuries caused by the Darkness. The death of his biological mother was "their" fault! Hundreds of trillions of lives were snuffed out because of their greed for more power.
He walked over to the koi pond and sat upon one of the rocks and tried to make sense of all of this. So deep was he in his musings that he didn't see nor sense the attack that came. Something very hard hit the side of his head sending him flying. His years of training allowed body to instinctively right itself as he went flying and alighted to the ground some distance away. Standing next to where he'd been sitting was the old women. His cloak was still up and active yet she was looking right-at-him.
"Did you truly believe you could hide from me so easily?" she demanded. One of the smaller rocks by the pond lifted into the air and changed shape forming into a long cursed sword.
"Reveal yourself!" she cried falling into a fighting stand.
Darius shrugged. Now was as good a time as any to say hello. He dropped the cloak revealing himself to everyone. Nabiki immediately noticed now good looking this person was, but was leery of him at the moment until she knew more about him. The old woman seemed taken aback for moment that the intruder appears to be human in appearance, but she remembered the Darkness could take on any shape or form and prepared herself for a possible fight.
"Who are you?" Lady Ambrosia demanded.
Her mouth fell open in shock and gasps came from the residence of Tendo-ke when the young man answered.
"I am Darius Quintarin, Crown Prince of Galiea."
To be continued...