Welcome to chapter 9 :) I've appreciated the reviews from all of you guys and I hope the feedback keeps coming. It's good to know people are reading this and enjoying it. Again, thank you soooo much:D
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, with the exception of the Intangibles and the Rightful Goddesses.
No one spoke it, yet everyone felt it.
Days idly passed by in the Kinmoku palace.
Rei thrilled herself with the shrines and medicines of the ancient alien planet, as taught by Princess Kakyuu. In the mornings and evenings, Makoto saw to it that the gardens were well tended to and spent much of her care in the White Garden, now named the Moon Garden. Ami and Taiki wandered through the elegant castle, brooding mostly in the library, Taiki's pride. The light haired couple, Minako and Yaten spent many hours in the bursting bazaar of the main city at the feet of the Kinmoku palace. The mysterious Senshi of the Outer planets brooded to themselves; Haruka and Michiru walking the beach behind the castle, Hotaru entertaining herself with Setsuna. Acadia, Eisley, and Xandra played the occasional comic relief from time to time, when their hearts weren't too burdened with feelings of failure.
Seiya, however, spent much of his time in his wing of the palace. His bedroom was large and glowed in scarlets and other various shades of red. Candles softly illuminated his bedroom, red roses permeated the air. As beautiful as his bed chambers were, he spent much of his time on the balcony, watching the sea.
He liked the feeling of the ocean breeze in his hair; it reminded him of Usagi's small fingers. The scent of the sea filled his being; much like his own love's scent. He so often wished to cast his heart into the ocean in a desperate hope that it would carry it to her… so far from him... The man sang songs that only the sea heard, that only the wind recognized.
As time went by, beachgoers and Kinmokans became familiar with the lonely Fighter, heartbrokenly referring to him as the man who had married the sea.
One evening, as Seiya watched storm clouds gather at the horizon's hairline, he heard the door slide open as two someones stepped through.
Glancing over his sunken shoulder, Seiya recognized the two as Yaten and Taiki. He smiled wearily, looked back at the sky, and sighed. "Hey."
"Hey, Seiya," the two said in unison, meekly.
A silence struggled between the brothers, the best friends.
"You okay?" Yaten choked out.
Seiya's dark head barely moved. "I'm fine."
Taiki placed a firm hand on his shoulder. "You don't look fine."
Quietly, Seiya turned around, leaning against the balcony's banister, preparing a stronghold for himself. "If you guys came here to remind me that everything's going to be okay then you might as well just leave," he solemnly looked down. "I already know."
"Then why are you so sad, Seiya?" Yaten whispered, his emerald eyes swimming in tears.
Seiya sighed bitterly, walking from the banister and closer to his friends. "Oh, Yaten, I don't know… why don't you look at it from my point of view?"
"What do you mean?"
He scoffed. "I really hate to use this one against you, but I have no choice," he gazed evenly at Yaten. "Minako," the syllables to the goddess of love's name resounded threateningly and dangerously. "What if some maniac took her from you? The person you love… just gone. But by some miracle, you get Minako back and you couldn't be happier. Except she's pregnant with that same man's child. Then, you decide to return her to the very monster that tore her apart," Raging tears came steadily. "Did you think of that, Yaten?!" He leaned forward, heartbreak and hate and anger rising inside of him. "Usagi is my angel; I love her more than anything in this universe. She's innocent, beautiful, gentle… she's everything. And some man, this Prince Demando, comes into our happiness and takes her from us—from me!—and he rapes her and he takes everything from her…" His words were snarls and sobs. "He made her his."
Taiki and Yaten watched as the hollow Seiya erupted from the bottom and inside, his soul tearing through his suave façade. A blank and knowing look had befallen Taiki's stern features, and he took hold of his brother in his arms, holding him closer than he ever had before. Instead of rage, Seiya broke into sobs of pain and heartbreak. "Taiki, I love her… so much…"
"I know, Seiya," Taiki whispered. "You do," he pulled Seiya from him when the emotions had silenced themselves a little bit and he looked him in the eyes. "But this has to be done. It's painful, yes; but if Usagi were to stay here with that child, that negative energy and willpower would soon become a part of her. We all saw how detached and angry she was becoming. By sending her to Prince Demando for the time being, this will purge her of that… she can regain what she once lost to him," Taiki shook his head. "Usagi does not belong to anyone; not Demando, not the Senshi, not Mamoru, not even you, Seiya. She belongs to herself. And what happened to her when she was gone… doesn't change that."
Seiya's azure eyes fell to the ground as he reviewed the words Taiki spoke to him. His gaze flitted around in thought, never looking up. "I guess you're right…" he began quietly. With strength, his eyes touched Taiki's. "I guess you're right, Taiki. She is hers," Then his hope faltered. "But… can't she be mine?"
Taiki shone a lonesome but hopeful smile at him. "She can only belong to someone else if she wants to."
× × × × × ×
While the Kinmoku sun rose and fell for the peaceful inhabitants, a grainy light from discarded stars and shattered moons stumbled across the desolate surface of the planet Nemesis. Darkness seemed to be a constant state for this planet, languidly stretching from plain to sea to city.
The people carried out their daily routines; a monotonous circle of waking, walking, breathing, and living. For the most part, people stayed inside their homes and shacks and stores, soaking up the ashes and dust. People loitered in loneliness, handed themselves over to hate, and sat immersed in isolation. However, despite all the depression and devastation, the citizens still regarded the ebony crystal castle at the rise of the mountains with an ominous and unfaltering hope.
Of course, this is where the Royal Black Moon Family resided. It was a truly remarkable castle, known for its labyrinth like hallways and architecture. At the bottom of the crystal palace was the dining area, ballroom, reading, and sitting rooms, and gradually rose up in order of important rooms; obviously, Prince Demando's was near the top, but its location was known only to a handful of trusted people.
Inside this dark, glowing palace was a small golden haired princess, weeping in a large white bed in a dark room.
Serenity was lying under the sheets of Prince Demando's bed, her bare back seized with sobs. Her small body was slipped delicately in place, yet she didn't feel delicate anymore.
Her stay on Nemesis didn't seem to divide into days or weeks or even hours. She assumed somewhere around a week, as that had been the number of times Prince Demando had come into their bed room and forced her to lie down and forced her to give herself to him.
After Demando rose and left Serenity, pangs of guilt bombarded her heart. While Serenity had thought she didn't enjoy it, that she hated and despised this man… she felt a stirring in her heart that she did enjoy it, that maybe… she did love Demando.
The thought of this frightened her to no end. She thought of every reason, every possible cause for this… she was close to the Black Crystal, she had a child of his, her mind was under the Black Crystal's control…
As Serenity wept to herself as the youngest prince stood in the doorway, blending in with the shadows. His heart ached for this woman; how could his brother do this to such a beautiful creature?
His lust for love and power.
Safir clenched his fists, glaring in at the princess. He had a job to do and he wasn't going to let his emotions get in the way of his duties.
Swinging the door open wider, Safir watched Serenity sit up in bed and hold the sheets close to her chest. He could see the curve of her waist and hips, the shape of her back. Frightened, she leaned away as he drew near.
The Blue Prince held his hand out to her. "Prince Demando has asked me to escort you to a bathing room."
Serenity swept a linen sheet up as she stood and followed Safir across the chamber. She wanted to draw close to him as her source of protection, but as much as she wanted to, she didn't.
Safir observed this hesitation and looked down at her. "How is the princess, Serenity?"
"Oh," Serenity choked out. "I'm… I'm fine."
"No," Safir said, looking at her stomach. "Not you."
A ruby flush dashed her cheeks. "A princess… how do you know?"
Safir looked ahead, avoiding her. "It's something I'm gifted with. How is your child?"
"Good, I suppose," Serenity murmured.
"What are the plans for her?" Safir apathetically asked.
Serenity wasn't used to the child being referred to as a 'she' or a 'her'. "I'm not certain. We haven't discussed it yet," she paused and decided to clarify, hoping to get Safir to open up to her more. "We, as in Prince Demando and me."
Safir nodded and looked down at her. "A bit of advice: Don't expect too much from him. I would hate to see you more heartbroken than you already are."
Serenity looked up at him, perplexed, which was reflected in Safir's own features. Why had he expressed concern for this woman? His insights into her life? Yet, while Safir anticipated the blow to shoot his effortless efforts down, Serenity smiled at him. "Thank you, Safir."
Clearing his throat and his blush, he smoothed his hair back with a gloved hand. "I will show you your way to the bathroom. There is a small wardrobe that the Goddesses have prepared for you; from now on, Serenity, think of them as your ladies-in-waiting. If you need them for any reason whatsoever, there is a small gold bell sitting on the vanity table. There is also a bell of blue; that is to summon me. Red for Rubeus, green for Esmeraude," he looked darkly at her. "And white is for your Prince."
"Safir," Serenity stopped him in their tracks, turning him to face her. A pleading hope swam in her ocean eyes. "Safir, you and Demando speak frequently, correct?"
His head tilted in confusion. "I suppose…"
"Then, Safir, please—could you have him send me home? Back to my family and friends?" She gripped the sheet closer to her, sadness welling inside her. "Please?"
Safir gripped the girl's wrist. "Serenity, I have no power over your stay," he touched the crescent on her forehead. "And as long as that mark is on your forehead, I'm afraid that you belong to Demando," He pulled her along the hallway as she pulled her tears back into her eyes. "Come along. You can enjoy it here, Serenity."
The two walked down the halls and turns, and finally Safir opened a door to the bathing room. She stepped in and looked around. Safir stood patiently in the doorway, watching her. "You won't be trying to escape, will you?"
Serenity shook her head, defeated.
"Good," he closed the door, but opened it slightly as an after thought. "And, Princess? Remember: the people you love, they gave you to us."
And with that, he shut the door, punctuating his point with the click of a lock.
× × × × × ×
Again, the Senshi, Starlights, and Kakyuu sat assembled in what became known as the Meeting Room; a large sitting room with enough furniture and a pleasant and private atmosphere to suit the soldiers.
"We've threatened Demando that the consequences of him not returning Usagi will be disastrous," Xandra replayed casually. "But, Haruka: have you thought of a consequence for him yet?"
Haruka let out a sigh and leaned forward in her seat. "No," she admitted. "But there will have to be one, because I have a terrifying feeling he won't want to return her."
Seiya grimaced, but this wasn't something new to him; he had rolled this rough stone over and over in his mind's hands.
"I have that feeling, too," Rei chimed from her thoughtful world. Her black hair curtained her ivory skin. "This will be a battle; he is considered Zeus after all."
"And what of those Rightful Goddesses?" Ami asked. "Shouldn't we liberate them? Bring them back here?"
Kakyuu clasped her hands. "That would be wonderful…"
"What do we know of Nemesis? Is there a way there?" Taiki asked. He and his brothers had no knowledge of this planet or the Royal Family of Nemesis.
"There is," Setsuna began. "But it's complicated and the energy from the Black Crystal is so strong, it would drain us in no time."
A steady silence took a seat in the room, smiling at the Senshi.
"Setsuna, Senshi…" Eisley began quietly. The eyes fell on her; it was rare for the silent and thoughtful young woman to speak, even in the most unproductive conversations. "What of us? The Intangibles?"
Setsuna glanced at their friends. "What of you?"
"Well," Eisley began, rising to her feet. She quietly paced the floor, in thought. "The Intangibles—me, Xandra, and Acadia; Incentive Radio, Graphic Skin, and High Lonesome—we were sealed in power, set to recover. Right?" Setsuna's eyes told her to continue. "Setsuna, I… I feel something inside of me, this indestructible power, a spark, if you will…" She turned to her sisters. "Acadia, Xandra—do you know what I'm talking about?"
"Yes," Acadia swiftly said. "It's a power I have that I haven't unleashed yet."
Xandra nodded. "Almost an inner self."
Eisley looked at Setsuna. "Setsuna, see?"
"I do, Eisley," Setsuna said patiently, yet still perplexed. "But I don't see where this is going…"
Eisley clapped her hands in thought. Her emerald eyes glowed. "Setsuna, if the time comes, send my sisters and me to Nemesis to retrieve Serenity and her child!"
"What? No," Setsuna said, rising to meet Eisley's proposal. "Eisley, this power isn't intended to be inside of you, I don't know where this came from. But at any rate, you three simply don't stand a chance against Demando and the Black Moon Family. It isn't that I doubt you, but—"
Acadia stay sitting, but the tone in her voice flooded the room. "This time we've returned to being Senshi and returned to battles… it's been growing. I don't know where this power came from; Galaxia, perhaps, or some inner settlement. Setsuna, I do not know," she gripped her knees. "But what I do know that if we combined ourselves along with the Senshi present in this room—Prince Demando wouldn't stand a chance."
"The problem is," Makoto said, evaluating the situation. "Nemesis is impenetrable."
"How so?" Xandra asked.
"That Black Crystal is so powerful, it has created such a warped force field that it would take everything we've got to get in there," Makoto explained. "We still have to consider finding the palace, finding Serenity, and fighting for her—because Demando won't go down without a fight."
"Guys," Seiya said, his words harsh for the first time. "This is all hypothetical, all based on if Demando will return her or not," he made eye contact around the room. "But I think that you guys can do it. If the time comes, you can break the Nemesis force field and defeat the Black Moon Family."
For the first time since Usagi had left, a glimmer of hope illuminated Seiya's weary eyes. He glowed with a growing strength and pushed forward with everything he had to give.
All for the sake of love. Each of the Senshi thought with satisfaction and determination.
× × × × × ×
"Safir said the child was to be a princess."
Demando looked up from his desk, where he had been studying a letter sent from a correspondent of Nemesis. She was sitting in a large chair in his drab and elegant sitting room, gazing at her hands.
"Did he?" Demando asked, restraining his interest.
Serenity nodded. She quickly averted her eyes from his, as he stared straight into her. Since her dinner, she felt more at ease with him around; this was happening the longer she was on Nemesis. Smiling inside, she always dismissed it as her hunger being satisfied.
Yet Demando always sat Serenity on edge. When he reached out to touch her, when his cool voice spoke to her, when her eyes fell against his.
Demando turned back to his desk and took a suave sip of his wine. "Then the heir of Nemesis shall be a young princess."
"Do I not get to take her back with me?" Serenity asked, her voice sounding unfamiliar and distant to her.
"Would you?" the Prince asked, unmoving, his wine crystal balanced in his fingers. "I didn't suspect that you would want to take a part of me back home with you."
"She's my daughter, too, Demando," she indignantly pronounced.
"Our first agreement," he said, holding his wine to his lips as a chortle scattered across the glass. "That's remarkable."
Serenity sat still, watching Demando from the corner of her eyes. Her slender hands gripped the chair's arms as he gently glided the chair in her direction, watching her with a critical stare. Holding the glass to the corner of his lips, he studied her, unmoving. "Have you enjoyed your stay here, Serenity?"
In her head, she laughed and wept hysterically. Was he a fool? Or was he merely playing the fool? "I suppose." And while she meant it, she didn't quite have herself convinced. Why was she so weary all the sudden?
"Am I pleasing you?"
The princess, at first, felt sweat in her palms and heard a ringing in her ears. She carefully elected her words into her sentence. "You have been beside me."
"Serenity," Demando rose to his feet and strode over to her. Before she was aware of it, his face was level with hers, eclipsing her vision. Holding her neck in his hand, his voice sashaying into her throat. "You know that isn't what I meant."
"Demando…" her voice was frightened and warped.
"As long as you are in my home, you are mine."
"And what if I refuse?" Serenity said defiantly.
A cloud of shock shadowed his face, but when it had passed, a sinister smile had eerily grown across his pale lips. His thoughts were unreadable, his emotions masked. For the first time, Serenity felt as if her life were truly endangered. "If you refuse, Serenity," he began, his voice solid and straight. "Then I will tear you apart."
Serenity felt rage rising in her throat and through her mouth, the words known, yet lost to her. "You mean you haven't already?" She rose to her feet, standing in front of Demando, looking up at him. "You stole me, you took away the one thing I held dear, and you destroyed any hope I have!" Her head suddenly hurt and she gripped her hair, holding her head down. "What more do you want?!"
Demando backed from her, critically studying her hateful rage. Tilting his head, his hand on his chin, he let a small laugh out and strode towards her. He lifted her face in a kiss, and said, "Your obedience."
With that, Demando strode to his desk, sat down, and continued his studies, ignoring Serenity's radiating rage.
She couldn't bring herself to cry; the price of pouring her heart out in front of Demando was too high. Imitating Demando's stolid nature, she turned away from him and stormed out of the chamber, biting her anger and pain back.
As the wide double doors gently closed, Demando shook his head, laughing at his sick nature. His satisfaction was short lived, however, when he noticed his shadow of a brother shift into the room, replacing Serenity.
"Onii-chan?" His young voice resonated enchantingly.
Safir walked further into the chamber, silently closing the door the sliver it was open. He floated across the room, Demando's lavender eyes tracing him. He took a seat in his usual armchair, which was next to Demando, but facing him as opposed to facing the same direction.
Demando did not like the tension he felt reverberating between him and his brother. "Safir, is something amiss?"
Safir looked at his brother over his gloved fingers, rose in a steeple. A dark notion swam in his eyes. "I want you to be particularly careful."
The White Prince closed his eyes, attempted to soothe his impatience. "I'm going to ask you again, Safir: is something amiss?"
"The potions we've been slipping in her food and drink," Safir said, rolling the words from his mouth. "At this point in time, I'm not sure what… side effects you should anticipate, if any," He paused again. "I'm concerned about the child."
"Concerned?" A prick of sweat lifted on the nape of his neck.
Safir sighed, unmoving. "I don't want the potion to harm the child."
"Oh, Safir," Demando said, waving the anxiety off. "Don't be concerned, as you call it," He rose from his chair, smirking. "Serenity is fine."
Safir, sensing the eased mood, leaned back in his chair. "Do you intend on keeping the child?"
"Why wouldn't I?" Demando scoffed. A strange melody played in his voice, and Safir took notice of this. His dark eyebrows jolted in expectation. Demando tilted his head to the side, deviously devising his thoughts. "I also intend on keeping Serenity."
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