A Fated Reunion

The chamber she was in was awash in light. Silver brocade, heavy with embroidery and beadwork hung from hooks and framed the tall windows, letting a little of the sunlight. It was enough. For the crystal walls reflected light along its shimmering surface, penetrating to the inside. It created shifting patterns, a gorgeous display of color and shine.

Through out the halls music drifted, alien, but pleasant all at the same time. Unexpected bells punctuated the beat and a sound of a flute created an unearthly element to the composition. Mage lights interrupted the endless lengths of the walls, each in their particular niches. It illuminated those parts that the sunlight could not reach. Soft breezes, one created with magic, danced around the whole castle, rustling the curtains and sometimes, with unexpected burst, mischievously lifting an inch or so the hemlines of the gowns worn by the imperial ladies.

Outside, the view was breath taking. A lake, large and vast skirted the left flank of the castle. It fell in the form of a stepped waterfall and eventually pooled into smaller man made ponds. Fountains of nymphs, also made with crystals, dotted the blue surface. White swans intermixed with their black cousins, swimming lazily amid the fountains delicate sprays and drifted past the lotus leaves and flowers that floated on the water's surface.

To the right was a large plaza that eventually led to a more compact grouping of houses and shops. This sector formed a semi circle on the eastern southern side of the palace. Mage lights were also activated here, but instead of placed on poles, they hung suspended on thin air, occasionally dancing in the breeze. Crystal paved roads snaked throughout the village.

Flowers of all colors skirted the perimeter of the infrastructures. They were planted on little plots of soil all throughout the entire kingdom. To those who would see Crystal Tokyo for the first time, it would be hard to make a comparison on what dazzled them the most: The shimmering crystal paved houses and roads or the vast abundance of gardens that dotted the sprawling metropolis.

Certainly, the Palace was with out competition in beauty.

Serenity, inside the chamber where she just woke up, took it all in and started trembling.

The beautiful woman did not remember coming to Earth. All she remembered was when her heart started clenching painfully a few nights ago, she forced the Light of Hope away from her, willing it to look for a new carrier. But the Light did not leave her at all, seeming to even dig deep within her being, refusing to be budge.

The goddess did not understood why this was so. Galaxia, she fully recalled, did the same thing when she chose to seal Chaos inside of her and let the Light leave her being. It traveled the universe, looking for another vessel. Then it found Tsukino Usagi.

The same girl, but changed now by the years and the trials of duty, stood on shaking limbs, her head held in her right hand. She tried to recollect if the Light left Galaxia at its own accord or if the great warrior willed it the way she tried to do herself. Hot tears came to her eyes, and she sniffled once, a sad image of the child she used to be.

'It makes no sense…' Serenity thought. 'Why would the Light refuse to leave me? I can feel Chaos already growing strong. Shouldn't the Light be repulsed by that?' The silver one swayed on her feet, too tired to stand and fell down to the floor with a cry.

She looked around, trying to make sense of her surroundings and her body stiffened as she realized just exactly where she was.

It was a thousand years ago since she was last in this room. The smell of old books, the paper emitting an acidic whiff, lingered in the air, perfuming the room. Something sweet was laced in it; the odor of the red wine that the owner of the chamber habitually drank.

On the south wall, a large desk made of ebony was situated. Its surface was without clutter, saved for a few paperwork tidily placed in one corner.

On the other three walls were floor to ceiling book cases filled with ancient manuscripts and forgotten tomes. Some books, newer than the others, were bounded in black leather and intricate clasps and placed at a child's height. Serenity did not need to look to know these books would have stories of fairy tales in them. She herself, in a forgotten time, placed it there for Rini's convenience.

It was the wall behind the desk that her gaze lingered on. She was crying as she did so.

The portrait of the Royal Family held place of honor on that wall. Bordered by heavy curtains, it was the focal point of the room.

The goddess turned her head just so, to gaze at each of the individuals in that painting. The look in her eyes was intent. She chose the child first, because her heart wanted to see what became of the half Lunarian princess.

Strawberry blonde hair curling in abundance and held by small barrettes framed a face closely resembling her own. The young girl in the portrait was holding a silvery white cat.

'Artemis!' thought Serenity, almost once again brought to tears at the mention of the name. But it could not be Artemis, for she made it that he was released his animal form in a forgotten past. She blinked them away and tried to stay in control.

The girl's smile was bright and beautifully captured on canvas. Rianna was tall, and gangly. Serenity smiled at this. Rini inherited her father's height, but she was blessed with her mother's fine bone structure.

Briefly, the Keeper of Hope glanced at the face of the woman who was chosen as her replacement. After a cursory look, she eagerly continued her inspection, all attention now on the male at the very center of the portrait.

She looked longingly at the image of Endymion. 'He had not changed,' she thought but changed it after a few seconds. The artist, wanting to stay true, captured the stern lines of the king's mouth and dutifully painted it on the comely face of the king. There was grimness in his visage that was foreign to the moon child. The man she remembered was not this mocking stranger. His graveness was oppressive. It almost overwhelmed his daughter's laughing beauty.

She did not want to see anymore. She refused to believe that her decision was the one that destroyed the laughter in Endymion's blue eyes.

She turned around, her gossamer wings creating little ripples of air. Sparks flew about her, outlining her wings, and so intent was she in trying to cast the image of a sad Endymion from her memory that she did not notice her wings disappearing. When she willed herself to leave, to fly away back to her lunar home, it was only then that she realized she was wingless.

Frowning, she looked deep within her, and saw that she was in a weakened state. This made no sense to her. With her Crystal and her Light, she should have been able to transport effortlessly. This draining was new and terrifying. The fact that she awoke in the room without any recollection of how she got there was terrifying.

It was horrible, horrible, so horrible, this feeling of not knowing. A haze came over her, and somehow her younger self emerged, trembling with fear and uncertainty. The regal forgotten queen, the quiet, that strong courageous woman of battles past, was momentarily reduced to a frightened child.

'What caused this?' Serenity made an effort to pull herself together. It would not do to break down, now that Chaos was awakened. Something was different with her old nemesis. It was not the Chaos that Galaxia wielded. This Chaos was only a small part, the one that lived in her.

It should have been easy to beat. A child's laughter could break it.

But she sensed that there was another force now that merged itself with Chaos.

This force, Serenity knew, was the real enemy. If only she knew who or what it was. A clue was all she needed to destroy it. Her hands clenched involuntarily and a sword appeared in her hand.

'Is it me?' She thought quietly. 'Am I the new enemy? Have I turned into what Galaxia was?' Her silvery blonde hair shook as she made gestures of denial. 'No! I know myself. What I did, I gladly allowed. And this Chaos in me is but a little flame. It cannot control me.'

Her feet moved toward the large window of the chamber. The waiting was the worst part. Every minute seemed to stretch out intolerably and still the answer would not come. Serenity pooled what little power she had left and searched the universe for a new menace. There was none, no matter how deeply she searched. With a resolution in her eyes, she turned inward, searching deep in her soul, allowing herself to be judged by her own self.

'There', she thought, 'Chaos! But I am right, it is weak. As in every one who lives, there is Chaos. Is this why the Light of Hope has not left? Because nothing in me is cause for alarm?'

Dazed, the moon maiden staggered to a chaise that was at the farthest area of the chamber. She needed rest. Her mind told her she must look deeper and fast, lest the owner of this room walk in and see her.

Reclining, she forced her body and soul to open up its secret. There was no outside force. None that deserved her immediate attention. The enemy was in her, this was made clear. And what ever it was, the great shine of Hope was not afraid of it, nor distrustful. A contradiction that may cause the universe its death.

Her power probed deeper, and then…it was revealed.

A pulsing string, blood red, and weaving in and out of Chaos. It was similar to the thread that appeared from the golden strand that was in the Loom of Life. The red string was weaving itself to Chaos, caressing it. And it did not stop there. Serenity gasped as she saw her soul, her shining light, being held captive by this thin strand. She almost stopped in fear but she knew this was her responsibility. She must protect the people whose lives she held. With trepidation she followed the string that looped out of her soul and saw it was connected to someone else.

Crying, the goddess opened her eyes and stared at the opening of the chamber. The little red string was there, and it was connected to someone.

King Endymion stood proud and tall, his shadow falling upon the delicate woman on his daughter's favorite chaise.

'No,' she almost screamed out in fury. 'Don't look at me!' But she was too overcome to even speak, much less breathe.

"It has started, my dear sisters," whispered Lachesis. Her hands She placed back to Her sides, now that it was no longer needed to weave the Loom. "The judging has come upon the sinners."

Atropos wailed before She even heard the end of the sentence and for once Clothos did not rebuke Her. The Spinner patted the little one's back, trying to give comfort before She grimly asked a question to the Weaver. "Is there really nothing we could do? Break the curse by killing a few?"

"Yes!" cried Atropos, scampering away from Clothos and flinging Herself to Lachesis. Her shears She held before Her eagerly, ready to kill, ready to end a mortal life. Anything, just as long as it could buy more time for Serenity. "A few souls delivered to Hades, surely would not be considered amiss. What if they were those that the Keres needed? Perh-"

"Perhaps you desire too much your own deathbed." The rebuke came from Lachesis, and Atropos cowered away from Her sister's angry face. The Fates never quarreled before; this was the first time They ever clashed about a matter. Her next words she said woodenly. "Our hands are tied, you know this true. There is nothing that the Fata can do."

Clothos bowed her and started spinning again. Her sister was right. What was about to happen was out of Their hands. "Love," she murmured, her hands touching the soul strands caressingly. "is the enemy of fairest Serenity. It does not answer, after all, to the call of Destiny." She thought of the soul bound love that spanned three lifetimes. The same love that defied death's final say, over and over again. The same love that even in forget remembered what was no longer supposed to exist.

It binds Serenity to Endymion still. Not even the Light of Hope could destroy it.

Atropos sniffed, reverting to the body of a six year old, and unlike Her two sisters who were once again doing Their allotted jobs, She instead lay down on the cold ground and began sucking Her thumb. The Other two let Her, for They too felt like doing the same thing but knew one of them in despair was enough. Eventually, the Cutter would collect Herself and start with Her work.

For now, They allowed Her this respite.

The prophecy of the Morgae, was coming to life.

Hope's Destiny

"You still will not speak…" Endymion's voice was soft. The warmth of his breath on the shell of her ear caused her to shiver.

The woman before the King gave him her silent supplication, those silvery blue eyes of the goddess filling with tears. With a shake of her head, she turned aside and moved away. She kneeled with her back to the dungeon wall, her pale beauty in striking contrast against the desolate and stinking atmosphere of the dank hallways.

The King was amazed at the sadness and pain that the prisoner's action brought him. She was jailed at the lower basement of the palace, in the place where enemies who possessed magic were kept. It could not be helped. The place was not the best feature of the Crystal Kingdom, but it served its purpose well. Ancient wards and spells made this area the perfect place to put captives in.

Almost without his volition, he took a cautious step towards the silent woman.

::Take care, precious King…Lest she destroys you…::

For a moment, Endymion knew confusion. The words were whispered seemingly by mind speech. It was as if an entity decided to converse with his soul. And Endymion, High King of the Terra, was a man of great empathy. Taking a moment to comport himself to this 'intruder' he found it to be a friend.

His eyes filled with sadness. ::Explain, Silent One. Who is she? And what harm can she bring me?::

::What harm has she not brought is more the apt question. This prisoner has damage you, with out your knowing, oh, Noble One. Do not trust her. For she has the power to break your soul.::

Serenity lifted her head and stared at the man whom she loved ten thousand years ago. Her eyes were blank of emotions, but her hands, hidden in the folds of her garments, were shaking.

When Endymion found her in the office chamber, she was too weak to even run away. Instead, she cried silently, as her lost lover came to her and his eyes told her he knew her as a stranger. It hurt so bad…

When she did not responded to his questionings, but merely trembled, his arms went around her and soothed her by slowly stroking her flushed face with his gentle touch. She raised tear filled eyes and stared at his own, wanting to see if the man she knew was truly gone.

With a shock, she saw, despite the portrait's claim, that he was still the same.

For his eyes were not cold, nor condemning. He did question her fears, but did his best to drive the confusion away. The lies and the years fell back, until she was once again a mere schoolgirl, unsure of her life, and he, the young man who became her rock.

She fell asleep with his arms embracing her. And when she woke up, she was in the dungeons.

A woman, her face that of an old friend, was casting spells on her. The look in the priestess's eyes was grim, refusing to see the confusion on Serenity's ageless face. She wore a robe filled with runes and illustrations of fire. The black hair was left unadorned, as fitting a priestess. It fell down all the way below her waist.

Another one, an acolyte, but with Adept training was assisting the purple-eyed spell caster. The acolyte's black hair was cut short and her young face bore great sadness as if she found what she was doing distasteful.

They tried to probe through Serenity's shields, but even in her weakened state, she was able to bear their onslaught. By the third day, suspicions and rumors abounded the palace, and soon the whole village knew of the pale woman who continuously defied the probing of the priestess Rheiya.

It was an unthinkable task, for the Adept was an accomplished magician and oracle. There never was a case of anyone strong enough to thwart her truth spells. Until now. Until Serenity.

It was in the fourth day, when their frustration due to Serenity's silence and defiance made the King come personally to witness the questioning.

Soon, controlling spells were being bombarded on her weak body, making her gasps in pain. At the sound, the King Endymion halted Rheiya's incantations, and ordered the acolyte Hotaro to see to the silver haired woman.

The girl's movement were fast and happy. For the past days, since laying her eyes on the new prisoner, she was uneasy and begun to dream of a girl with golden hair and a warm, brilliant shine. A part of her resented her mistress and teacher for the pain that was being inflicted on the mysterious woman. Her heart felt leaden, burdened by the knowledge that she could not be of assistance to the prisoner in any way.

With soft hands, she raised a cup of clear water to the woman's lips, urging her to drink.

The woman stared at her, and a half smile formed on the pale lips. Despite the grimy appearance, and the tangles on the long hair, the woman's beauty was obvious. And Hotaro was a child who believed great beauty to be a source of wonder.

"Mistress," the acolyte said, her voice breaking the silent. "You are…fair." She blushed as her words left her.

Serenity's eyes grew luminous. A tear escaped, and the half smile became dazzling.

The mage Rheiya felt a flicker of annoyance at her young charge, and almost reprimanded the girl, but her senses took note of a power surge to her right and to this she locked into, apprehensive at what caused the change.

What greeted her, no words could describe.

The king's face was twisted into a cruel parody of his handsome visage. Yet he also looked very sad. His hands clenched his scabbard until the knuckles were white. And from him, from the very bottom of his soul, came the greatest of hate.

In surprise, the mage raised her hands in protection. Unconsciously, she cast against the power of the King.

Hotaru saw and felt the instant hate emanating from His Majesty. Like Rheiya, she called a warding spell, both to protect herself and the frail woman besides her. It almost wasn't enough for the King emitted a power blast that shook the very foundation of the palace and almost flayed the skin form her bones.

Rheiya, nearest the attack, fell down, her body battered and bleeding. All her powers, all the shields she placed on herself was stripped by that explosion; all of the Adept's energy was now focused to simply staying alive.

Hotaru, still young to have created such a ward fainted. A few wounds and some bruising was all that she had on her young form. But her mind and body was exhausted by what happened.

Endymion, shocked to the very core of his being, raised haggard eyes. He could not explain the hate and despair that he felt when he saw the prisoner's smile. He could not understand, for since at first sight, he felt a tender feeling for her, a need to protect the woman with the pale eyes and the pale hair.

He watched, aghast, as she moved slowly under the acolyte's weight. Despite her weakened state, despite the control spells and coercive spells that was weaved on her, she remained, unscratched.

With a snarl, he went to Serenity, unmindful of the dying body of the high priestess and the unconscious form of young Hotaru. His fingers were digging in the soft flesh of her arm; he took note of the weariness and the exhaustion of the prisoner and decided he did not care.

"Who are you?" Endymion shouted to her face. "What mischief do you bring to my kingdom?"

When the woman did not answer, he shook her, refusing to submit to her silence. His heart he guarded. He refused also to feel anything. He was afraid to feel. Why, he did not know.

"I will ask you again, and you have better answer," Endymion spat to her face. His voice was menacing. "What is your name?"

Serenity closed her eyes, knowing she lost. Hate was now in Endymion's heart. She could feel it, sense it. The red string that binds them was slowly feeding the Chaos inside her, and feeding the Chaos in his. The love they shared was now tainted. It was an enemy to which she was powerless.

Opening her eyes, she looked at the King. "My name, King of Terra, is Serenity. And I – I am dead, as surely as my love must now be dead to me…"

With those words, she collapsed in tears, her sobbing filling the tombs, and disrupting the silence of the dungeons.

Endymion, a man incapable of feeling, felt he was dying, too, as the sound of her crying overcame him. His grip on her arm tightened, causing Serenity to cry out in pain, before he threw her away from him in disgust, and left without a backward glance. He did not even bother to help Rheiya or Hotaro.

He simply needed to get away from the woman.

Hope's Destiny

"It's not the bloody adepts I'm afraid of," she confided in a chatty voice. "It's the spiders. This stupid dungeon is crawlin' with 'em. Snakes, too. Ah, 'ell…I wish I hadn't remembered that!"

She shivered dramatically, her thin arms hugging her slight body. Anne Meina Eliezier peered at the surrounding gloom, hoping to see the woman's reaction to her words.

The woman in the shadows did not seem to hear her and with a huff, Meina decided enough was enough. The two of them were the only ones in this floor of the dungeons and she'd gone to great lengths just to be there. The least that the mysterious prisoner could do was acknowledge her existence. Grinning wildly, Meina promised herself that by the end of the day the woman would be happily chatting with her. 'Or I,' thought Meina, 'would die trying.'

"Psst! Hey, luv…You aren't deaf or nothin' , right?" Meina called out loudly.

There was no reply.

"Well. Uhm…What do you say 'bout our accommodations, huh? At least they don't have us shackled," Meina continued. "But them spells…You gotta admit, them spells pack an awful lot o' wallop. Pow! Just like that." She paused, hoping this new topic would interest her silent company.

When the silence continued, Meina frowned, trying to think of ways to make the woman talk. Incredible, but she was already at her most bubbly self and it was still not enough to strike a conversation. In despair at last, she skipped to the front of her cell, hoping being nearer the woman would help her get a closer look.

Meina was not aware that Serenity's eyes were on her. The Light of Hope was studying the new comer in quiet, hoping that by not answering the woman, Meina would finally cease trying to befriend her. But Serenity knew that would not happen. Two thousand years passed, and the young woman who used to be Sailor Venus in a forgotten time still have the refreshing attitude of a person who believed good things were always coming.

It was an attitude that Serenity herself used to share with the woman. An attitude she still posses. But unlike Meina, Serenity's view was not because of blind faith. Serenity knew good things would always happen because she was the one who made sure nothing would destroy the peace of the Universe. A responsibility that now weighed heavily on her more so than before.

The two stared at each other. Meina wanted so badly to talk to the woman before her, Serenity merely wanted a chance to hold her once friend. In her heart, she wanted forgiveness for what she knew Minako claimed to took unjustly.

It was the more bubbly of the women who talked first after a long span of silence. "When I 'eard of you…I felt the need to see you, you know? It's weird. Had to go an' do a whole lot of mess. But here I am, an' there you are. An' you aren't talkin'." Meina said in a light tone. Her freckled nose was squelched in the spaces of the bars.

Serenity decided to let go of her reserve at last. Meina's last comment caused her to be curious enough to want to know. "What did you do to get here then?"

It was spoken so softly, so quietly, that Meina almost believed it to be a figment of her imagination. Looking hard at the woman, she saw no change in the position of the body. Nothing to indicate that the woman was finally talking to her. Still, Meina felt a giddy sense of accomplishment.

"Been whorin' for quite some time now, is what. Have me a mage gift. Nothin' big, but I make good use of it, luv. Modified myself, you know, to be more sexually attractive like. For my trade." She confided happily. Serenity found it surprising how proud the woman sounded of her accomplishment.

The once queen licked her dry lips. "But you did not answer what I asked…"

Meina blinked owlishly at the other prisoner. What was she talking about? Then it dawned on her and her eyes grew wide. "Sorry, luv. Bit of a scatter brain, is what I am. Well, thin' is, I'm awful curious 'bout things. So when I hear 'bout this new prisoner in the mage dungeons…Figured I'd a go seein' who it is. Just curious like, you know?"

Serenity nodded indicating she understood. The truth of the matter was, she really didn't.

Meina, peering at the darkness saw Serenity nodding and continued. "Well, I sort of seduced some high official. But I made sure the stupid cow who calls her his wife saw us." She sighed sadly, theatrically, even if her eyes were shining. She so loved it when she was telling a great story. She liked it more because she was playing center stage in the tale. "So there we were, a humpin' away, and wouldn't you know it, we got caught! Before I figure what happened, been dumped here like a sack of last month's turnips." She gave a throaty giggle. "Just like I planned, really! Sometimes, those stuck up windbags are too easy."

"You…sound very happy to be in here." Serenity commented.

"Ah, luv, we got to talkin', right?" Meina said happily. "This was what I was after, when I planned to get caught."

Serenity shook her head, amused despite herself. 'The minx seem to be enjoying herself,' the goddess thought. "That made no sense. To go to that trouble just so you could talk to a stranger."

Meina snorted her agreement. "Don't I know it! But, well, somethin' in me just said I just gotta, you know?" Her hands fluffed her blonde hair, making sure that the beautiful red ribbon was intact on her coiffed head. "There are rumors 'bout you, you know. In the village, in the harbour. Everywhere, in fact."

"Are you happy?"

Meina stared at the woman. 'Well, that was unexpected.' she thought. "Why ask that?"

"Are you?"

"Well, what's not to be happy' bout?" Meina said, still curious about the random question. Her blue eyes held no secrets as she tried to answer. "Can't complain, you know? I do me best to look at the bright side, luv, coz I figure it aint so grand being in the dark side of things."

The two stayed silent after that. Meina knew that her answer was being weighed heavily by the young woman in the other cell. A part of her wanted to relate the hardship that her life had taken at an early age, how she was raped by her stepfather and later by her step brothers, and how one night she had driven a knife in the bastards' hearts. Meina almost shuddered, but reminded herself they were dead now. She run away from home right after that and started pimping herself in one of the more lavish houses of pleasures at the outskirts of the city.

Due to her mage gift, she lived a long life. Long enough to start saving a good amount of money. Money that in time gave her the chance to live in splendour without the benefit of a dandy to dole out a monthly allowances. Come this year, Meina would now be a thousand and seven hundred eighty years old.

Because she was one of the veterans of the many lady of pleasures in the city, her patrons dubbed her as The Lady of Love. It was a title that Meina was very proud of. For it was always said with reverence now a days, due to the legends of her exploits. She didn't mind. Better to be loved by many than enslaved by one had always been her motto. And really, there was something about the title that just tickled her fancy. Fit her, she always thought.

It wasn't the most ideal, but Meina wasn't lying when she said she didn't mind. She had freedom that most of the female in the kingdom did not have. She wanted none of the stilted protocol that ruled the public, the respectable life that everyone strived to perfect. It would choke her.

Make her a prisoner even when she was free.

At least as a courtesan, which was what the nobility labeled her, she had access to the palace grounds with out needing to simper and blush and act like an innocent when all she really wanted was to have a good time. And as a whore, which the more righteous called her, Meina had the option of saying they could stick their protocols and lady like behavior up their asses.

The best of both worlds, as far was the woman was concerned.

It irritated her that the woman might judge her and when she spoke again, it sounded defensive. "What 'bout you, luv? Are you happy?"

Serenity almost started laughing at the ridiculousness of the question. Yet she was also humbled by her friend's resilience. Sensing the other's hurt, she answered quickly the young woman. "I wasn't very happy before. But because of you, I think I just might smile, even if for a while."

The courtesan grinned, glad at the answer. "That's the spirit, luv. Now I know why I needed to come here. It's so you can have a friend."

"And so we are now."


Serenity quietly stood up and came nearer the other prisoner. Her white gown was now grey, and her silver hair was covered in soot and dust. She has stayed in the castle for nearly two months now, and no food was given save for an occasional scrap. Her body, used to no nourishment, was nevertheless starved. The energy she used to take from the Silver Crystal was cut off from her by Chaos, and the Light was weakened now a days.

But despite her skeletal frame, there was no denying that Serenity was still a beautiful woman. And Meina, a woman who relied on her beauty to earn a living was awestruck by her new friend's face.

"By the goddess, you're a bloody queen!" she exclaimed at the sight of Serenity.

The goddess shook her head sadly, and gave Meina a tentative smile. "I am afraid I am not a queen. For if I was, I wouldn't be here." She shrugged, wanting to show a light-hearted façade. "My name, by the way, is Serenity."

Meina nodded, still awestruck. "You look like a Serenity. You are awfully quiet, luv. I almost believed you to be deaf."

Serenity laughed. But it was cut off abruptly, for laughing caused her to hold her a sudden bout of headache. She sat down on the floor. A memory of Mina and her running in the streets of Japan, late for school, both with a toast in their mouths came to her. Still in pain, but with lightness in her heart that she had not felt for a while, she gave Meina a soft smile full of regret. "I am very glad you are here…."

These memories were now hers alone. When the Tria Fata erased them from the Great Loom, Serenity made sure they would never be summoned again. No more remembering, no more taking chances of waking up memories that was best left unlived.

Softly, because she could not help it, Serenity repeated her last words. "I am truly glad you are here..." '…Minako…' her heart added.

And Meina, pleased that the young woman now trusted her, offered her name as well. "I am Meina," she said, her voice full of friendship. "And worry not, luv, coz I promise you we will get out of this stinking spider infested stink hole." With those words, she gave a saucy wink, earning her another happy smile from Serenity.

The two women spent the rest of the day grinning from ear to ear and slowly getting to know each other. Serenity kept her answers vague and short, but her new friend did not mind so much. The courtesan knew a time shall come when Serenity would tell her past willingly.

Something about her, thought Meina, made her want to protect the woman from any more harm.