In and out of her conscious, Usagi could still hear Seiya's cries as he tried to search blindly for her from the ground but his hands wrapped around the air and nothing else. Tightening his fist, he struggled to keep himself from losing conscious. He wasn't ready to admit defeat, not even after all the pain and injuries he had suffered.
"Wait… Don't go! Don't take Usagi away! You bastard! Give her back! Give Usagi back to me!" Seiya snapped.
Lighting struck, brightening up the bleak sky. Once again, Seiya reached his hand out but there was nothing and no one there for him to grab onto. Soon, pellets of droplets began to fall from the sky, and besides the sound of the harsh rain hitting onto the dirty ground, his loud call was the only thing that could be heard echoing down the empty street.
Distance So Far
It had been more than a week since Taiki had received the last phone call from Haruka, informing him about the horrible news that involved Usagi and Seiya. It was only then did he begin to realize how terrible it felt to lose two of the most important people in his life, and the worse of it all, he couldn't do anything to prevent such tragedy despite predicting it in advance. All he could do was to prolong it, and that was what he had been working so hard on for the past ten years. But despite all his effort, he couldn't prevent losing Usagi to Satan in the end.
Taiki reached into his pocket and took out the little package that Usagi gave him a week ago. Today was his birthday, but unlike the past years, she wasn't there to spend this special day with him. She did, however, prepared him a gift as he looked at the wooden box in his hand for a final time before carefully removing the lid and stared at the red Omamori that was inside. Delicately, he held up the protective amulet that she had made for him, and stared at the prayers that was written on the cover of the cloth.
It said: "Blessing good health and luck to the holder, Taiki Kou."
Taiki smiled for the first time that week as he ran his finger down the Japanese letterings before deciding that he should hang it on his cellphone strap. It was a perfectly thoughtful gift, one that would make him feel blessed just by looking at it. Now, all he wanted to do was to stare at the Omamori, his eyes not leaving it until he sensed someone watching him from behind.
He turned around to face the blue-headed girl who was smiling gently at him, watching her as she shifted her attention over to the Omamori that he was holding onto. "Did she make that for you?"
Taiki nodded slowly, but kept quiet, turning back to stare at the amulet again.
"You really like her a lot…" Ami commented.
"I love her." Taiki corrected.
Ami stared at him, taken aback by his reply. The last thing she had expected was for Taiki to tell her something so personal. Sure, she had known him for many years now even though they appeared to be strangers on the surface. Their relationship had always revolved around getting restricted information from Satan and nothing more, making it the first time that he had displayed a softer image of himself to her.
"But she's a-…"
"I know…" Taiki cut in. "The officials of the World Government had sent me a copy of the recent data that you had stolen from Satan. But that alone won't be enough to buy me over to the government's side. What I want to know is how I can save Usagi, and not who she really is…"
"I'm sure you already knew how to, since that should be the only reason why you're willing to leave your home state and her behind to come to our government territory despite knowing that she might have to return to Satan if they come for her then. But you don't have a choice, do you?" Ami concluded before adding, "Her life as a doll is drawing to an end, and if you hadn't done what you did, you might just lose her for real…"
Taiki smirked, "It seems like you understand me pretty well, Ami-san. I really can't underestimate you, can I?"
"I should be the one telling you that, Taiki-san. You are the first person to learn about my other identity. Even the authority of Satan and father didn't realize that I'm working for the government until recently…" Ami smiled.
"Oh? So, they have finally discovered that their top spy is actually one of the government's Archangel? It sure took them quite some to realize something so critical. But I can't blame them. After all, you won't be called the mastermind of the Archangel team if you aren't that impressive. " He commented.
"You flattered me, Taiki-san. I'm actually nothing compared to someone like you who managed to crack the Lost Index of Great wisdom. Imagine what the world leaders' reaction will be like if they learn that you're its true holder." She giggled softly.
"The Lost Index of Great Wisdom was a legendary book that was believed to be created by god to protect the wisdom of the strongest. It was also said to have held 59,000 secret texts and hidden knowledge of the world, and only if one was proven supreme enough to find and break its code could he becomes its true holder.
Besides, the Lost Index of Great Wisdom, there were two other magical publication, the Sacred Index of Great Sorcery and the Last Index of Great Necromancy, each held by two of the four Emperors, Artemis and Luna, respectively." – Story information.
"I have yet to decode every hidden message behind the Lost Index, and those which I did weren't really helpful in providing me with clues to save Usagi." Taiki shook his head with a sigh.
"No matter how impossible it is, I'm sure you'll eventually find a way to…" She encouraged.
Taiki smiled slightly at her comment, but kept quiet. He didn't understand why he would always lose his confident in whatever matters that involved Usagi, yet everyone around him thought he could perform miracle. But in reality, he wasn't that amazing. The amazing person here was Seiya Kou. Just like ten years ago when he stood up and took the murder charges for Usagi, which almost caused him to get executed, this time, he chose to sacrifice his sight and power just for the attempt to protect her.
Though Taiki didn't want to admit it, he was once again defeated. He didn't know whether he would have done the same thing as Seiya did, but as much as he didn't like losing to him, he wouldn't allow such sacrifice to happen again.
"I'll be heading back by tomorrow morning…" Taiki informed.
"But you're not done gathering the necessary sources that could help you decode the other hidden message of the Lost Index…"
"Yuki has volunteered to stay and search them out on my behalf. I can't possibly continue to remain here when my friend is suffering back at home."
"I understand. I heard from Michiru that Seiya Kou is in a terrible condition. Not only has he lost his sight, but his power got consumed by Saiga, and there isn't a single doctor who could treat him. Even the medical psychics from the White Magic Organization couldn't do anything for him. He must be going through a tough time now…" Ami commented sadly.
"He is. But it got nothing to do with losing his sight or power… That sort of thing doesn't matter to him. It's the lost of Usagi that he's troubled about." Taiki muttered.
Ami softened her eyes by a little as she watched Taiki looking away in distress. She knew very well that he was as worried over Usagi as Seiya was, or maybe even more. Mortified by the wave of agony drifting off her, Ami touched his shoulder to get his attention.
"And is there anything I can do to help…?"
Taiki looked back at her, slightly taken aback by her offer before smiling gently, "Why? I haven't even thank you enough for sending some of your government agents down and asking the White Organization's medical team to watch over Seiya. I can't possibly ask you for any more help, can I?"
Ami shook her head with a smile, "Back then, you did cooperate with me to put up a show to fool Satan. I'm just returning you a favor now. And, you don't have to worry. I won't say a thing to anyone on whatever we have discussed tonight."
"You're sure kind, aren't you?" Taiki smiled warmly, making Ami blushed slightly at his sudden comment.
She looked away embarrassedly in the attempt to hide her faint blush against the dark shade of the room. But despite her effort to keep it hidden, Taiki, as sharp as he was, had already noticed the redness on her cheeks as he continued to stare at her, waiting for her to turn back to him on her own accord.
He smiled when she finally did and placed his hand lightly on her head much to her surprise. "Now that Satan has found out that you're one of the government's Archangel, they won't let you off that easily. So, whatever you do, please be careful and keep yourself alive for me… I need you…"
Ami tensed up for a bit, her whole face burning a dark shade of crimson. For a second there, it sounded as though he had confessed to her. But after giving a quick thought through his sentence, she knew it was otherwise. He didn't lie to her. He did need her, but it was more of how a friend or comrade would need each other. Ultimately, it was just her strong feeling for him that made his words seemed misleading since he had always see her like his best friend.
Smiling to herself, Ami looked back up at him, "We, the Archangels, are like the Great Powers of Satan, only that we are on the government's side. So, you should have a little bit more faith in me. Unless I chose to, I won't die that easily."
Taiki nodded with a smile, satisfied by her reply, but when he was about to step away from her, Ami reached out and grabbed him by the wrist. She gaped shyly at his surprised expression for a second more before muttering, "The same goes to you. You mustn't sacrifice yourself and die for anything or anyone… I need you too…"
His eyes widened at hers by a little, taken aback by her words. Somehow it did remind him of the scene when an upset Usagi was yelling at him for the same reason a few weeks back.
"Stupid Taiki! You almost scare me to death! Sacrificing yourself and wanting us to go back without you! You think I'd agree to that?! You think I'd be happy?! I won't! So, don't ever do such stupid things again, you hear me? I'm not going to be nice and forgive you the next time you do something this stupid!"
He shook his head and smiled slightly at the thought of her angry expression which made Ami tilted her head to the side, a bit confused at this point.
"Don't worry. I won't, because she'll never forgive me if I did…" Taiki muttered lowly.
"It's always Usagi-san, isn't it?" Ami asked slowly, trying her best not to let her misery show.
Taiki softened his eyes and looked apologetically at her when he realized what his remark must have meant to her, "I'm sorry…"
Ami smiled faintly as she shook her head, "Don't be. I know how important she is to you, and there's no one in this world, no matter how hard they try, can replace her in your heart. That's how much you love her, isn't it? I already knew that much…"
Taiki chose to keep quiet. Unless he was able to return the feeling that she had for him, he didn't think anything he said now would make her feel any better. Besides, he didn't want to start acting like a hypocrite and lying to someone as kind and genuine as Ami was. Instead, he placed his hands onto her shoulders and gently pulled her into an embrace. Ami felt her cheeks heat up as she froze in his arms. For a moment, neither of them said anything, an awkward silence resting between them, until Taiki broke the stillness in a soft murmur.
Ami's eyes lit up in surprise before they softened ever so gently as she shook her head with a smile. It was strange how a simple gratitude from him could make her feel better. Even though she knew that she couldn't win his love over from Usagi, somehow, to be held and appreciated by him this way, did made her felt special.
"You can thank me again after I've given you your birthday gift…" She muttered, looking shyly up at him.
Taiki blinked in surprise before releasing her as she dug into her pouch and took out a hand-sized device, one that looked like a mini-laptop. She handed the tiny device out to him and for a moment, he just stared at it before his lips curved up into a tiny smirk as though he could already read what it contained.
"You sure you want to give something this crucial to me?"
Ami nodded, "Take it. You'll need it if you want to save Usagi-san from dying."
Taiki chuckled in disbelief before he shook his head at her, "Yes, I'll definitely need that, but what about you then? Your many years of effort to get into Satan's main base to steal their map analysis and database are all in there, isn't it? And you're planning to give it to me just like this? You should know very well that both the Satan and the World Government will come after you if they learn about it. The consequence is very serious. You might even get terminated from the Archangel team and get hunted down as a wanted criminal."
Ami smiled calmly, "I'm happy that you worry so much for me, but since I've already decided to give it to you, I'm prepared for whatever that will come next. Besides, now that I've given you the world most wanted information. You should be the one they'll be wanting more…"
"Looks like I may need a lot more help from you then…" Taiki smiled as he reached out his hand out for the device, but instead of taking it, he gently wrapped his fingers around her hand much to her surprise.
"Ami-san, will you agree to come with me and be part of the Aces?"
Haruka remained quiet, watching how Yaten widened his eyes at what Michiru had just informed them. Unlike Yaten, Haruka didn't look a bit surprise to be told that Ami, one of Satan's top spy and the government's Archangel, had agreed to join the Aces with her, Mirchiru, acting as her temporary assistant of the team.
Lately, he was able to predict many future events in his dream, and the one he was facing now was no exception. Indeed, he had grown quite a lot from where he had started out, and even though he couldn't choose what he desired to see in the future, he could do something that other high leveled prophet couldn't, and that was the ability to put others into sleep, making them engaged in a dream of their past. It had proven to be pretty useful especially at difficult times like these.
"So yes, this is what I'm asked to inform everyone…" Michiru finished off.
Yaten sighed before looking seriously at Michiru, "Listen, I'm only agreeing to this because it was Taiki's idea. But that doesn't mean I trust either you or that Ami person…"
"It's alright if you don't trust me, but please don't misunderstand Ami. She isn't like how you think she is…"
Yaten shrugged, "I don't see how someone who could side both Satan and the World Government at the same time while ultimately betraying them altogether can be any trustworthy."
"Like I've said, you have misunderstood Ami, Yaten-san. Ami was forced to work for Satan because of her father, Dr Mizuno, the man who said to possess the power to create God's Medicine. He had a death chip planted into Ami's brain since she was very young, and she'd die from it if she didn't follow through with his command. The government learning about this offered to have it removed for her only if she was willing to secretly work for them as one of their Archangels. So, you see, it really isn't her fault… she didn't have a choice back then…" Michiru finished softly.
"And how can I trust that you're not making all these up?" Yaten asked suspiciously.
Michiru smiled faintly, "You can ask Taiki-san if you don't believe me, he was the one who helped Ami with the removal of the death chip."
"He did?!" Haruka exclaimed in surprise.
"Why are you looking so shock for? I thought you already knew what was coming from this conversation?" Yaten asked, looking unenthusiastically at him.
"I didn't have the chance to finish listening to the entire conversation. You woke me up when she was about to get into the second part remember?" Haruka replied in a rather displeased tone.
"I did?" Yaten asked with a shrug. "I guess that couldn't be help since you are the only one here with the ability to calm Seiya down and put him into sleep."
"How's Seiya Kou?" Michiru interrupted shortly after Yaten had finished his sentence.
Both Yaten and Haruka turned to look at her but neither of them said anything, each waiting for the other to reply her. They found it hard to tell anyone about his sad condition, but lucky for them, they didn't have to. Minako shouted for them in that instant as the two boys immediately rushed up the stairs and over to her with Michiru following closely behind. Stepping into the room, they flinched at the scene of Seiya toppling off the bed and almost hitting the ground if it wasn't for Minako's quick reflection to catch him on time by the arm.
"Let go… I need to find Usagi… I need to find her…" Seiya breathed as he tried to shake Minako off.
Without a second to waste, both Yaten and Haruka hurried over to aid Seiya from falling over, while Michiru simply stared in disbelief at the scary amount of bandages that were wrapped all over his fragile body. She could hardly see any skin, and there was even a white strip of cloth tied across his eyes. The leader of Satan, Saigai, had cruelly disabled Seiya to the extent that he was nothing more than a handicapped person, and yet he wasn't showing a slightest bit of concern over his terrible condition. The only thing that was running through his head now was Usagi.
He needed to find her.
He needed to save her.
But no one seemed to be on his side.
"How are you going to look for Usagi when you can barely even stand? You'll only injure yourself further if you continue doing this…" Yaten stressed, holding him back.
"Let go of me… I can stand on my own…" Seiya muttered stubbornly.
But his friends kept him restrained, not budging an inch despite his attempt to break free. They knew perfectly well how upset and worried he was right now, but they couldn't allow him to go anywhere in his miserably weak condition. He would get hurt to an unknown degree, and he would definitely die this time if that was to happen. To lose an important friend like him was what exactly Haruka and Yaten feared.
Haruka sighed and reluctantly placed his hand over Seiya's forehead. He didn't want to use his newly developed power on him, but besides this, what else could he do to help him now?
"I'm sorry… But at least, you can see her in there…" Haruka murmured before he activated his power on Seiya, causing his mind to blank out and soon losing consciousness.
The two boys caught the unconscious Seiya steadily in their arms as Minako quickly prepared the bed for them to settle him in. After they were done laying Seiya down, Haruka sighed quietly to himself and turned around, only to find Michiru staring at him in surprise.
"What did you do?" She asked.
"I've put him to dream about his past and experience it once more. Even though there maybe some sad memories, the many happy ones he has were spent together with Usagi." Haruka replied in a murmur as he looked over at Seiya. "At least, they can get to be together again in his dream... while it last… He should be happy now…"
"You can actually make others get engaged in a dream of their past?" Michiru uttered in disbelief.
Haruka nodded with a smile, "Do you want to try?"
"Taiki had told me about you, Michiru-san. You were forced to join Satan at a very young age and to ensure that you'd stay loyal to them, Satan had not only erased all the memories of your past but they had also targeted those whom were once close to you and make them forget about your existence." Haruka started to say as he looked straight into Michiru's big, startled eyes before adding, "The reason you sided Ami-san is because she promised to help you get back those memories that Satan had stolen, am I right, Michiru-san?"
Michiru looked honestly shock to hear that, but her wide eyes quickly shifted from shock to relief, "So, this is the other reason why she made me come over… But I don't understand… Why are you willing to help me?"
Haruka smiled faintly, "I owe this ability that I've now to Taiki. If he hadn't taught me the secret techniques to train it up, I wouldn't have advanced and discovered my hidden ability. So, I'm willing to do anything to repay him. But, even if he hadn't asked me to help you regain your memories, I'd have done the same myself…"
"You…" Michiru breathed in surprise, unable to complete her sentence.
"It's such a pity that I can't use my power on myself..." Haruka continued with a simple grin, "…because I'm sure that whatever memories that were taken away from me, you're inside most of them…"
Too overwhelmed by shock, all Michiru could do now was to gape speechlessly at Haruka as he extended his hand out for her. She didn't know what to say at this point. She had always wanted to remember her past, family and friends, and for so many years, she had been working so hard to find some way or someone who could help her regain what she had lost, but she never did until now. It didn't take much time for a surge of happiness to flood her body as she reached her hand out for his. She smiled a little, closing her eyes while he gently pulled her into his arms before everything around her gradually went blank.
In her dream, she could see many faces, people whom she didn't remember meeting before. They were her family, her friends, and a particular someone who stuck out to her in particular…
Michiru watched as the boy, probably at the age of 8, rushed forward, keeping himself in front of her and the bullies.
"Enough! Stop picking on Michiru! Can't you see that you're hurting her?" He yelled at them.
The group of bullies scowled at him before one of them retorted, "Why are you helping that witch, Haruka? She'll kill you one day!"
"Michiru is not a witch! And she won't kill me or anyone!" Little Haruka shouted back.
"My mother told me that she is evil! And we'll be killed if we continue to be her friends! You shouldn't get too close to her too!" The girl in the middle shrieked while the rest of the boys continued to throw tiny rocks at Michiru.
Michiru stood perfectly still as she observed how Haruka tried to shield her from getting hit by those sharp stones. She shook her head and immediately reached her hand out to grab onto him before activating her power to escape from the bullies.
Then, it all passed by like a blur for Haruka, and the next thing he knew, Michiru had already teleported him 80 meters away from their original location. He turned around and looked at her with bewildered eyes. But Michiru simply ignored that look as she continued to stare at the few little cuts on his arms, her face contorted with guilt.
"Are you okay?" Those were the first word that slipped out from her mouth.
"I'm fine. Just a few small cuts here and there… I get them pretty often…" Haruka smiled and hid his hands behind him to discourage her from looking at his injuries.
Michiru turned her head down sadly and breathed, "Why?"
"Why?" Haruka repeated, blinking at her out of confusion.
"Why are you still helping me? I'm different from you and everyone here. Don't you find me weird?" She asked softly.
"You are not weird, Michiru! I find it's really cool to be able to disappear and reappear in another place! You are just like a magician!"
"Magician?" She blinked at him.
Haruka nodded, "Magician does that too. And, you don't find them weird, do you?"
Little Michiru shook her head, "No, but I don't want to be a magician…"
"What do you want to be then?" Haruka asked, raising his brows at her.
"I just want to be like everyone else…" She muttered.
Haruka cocked his head at her, "But I like the way you are now…"
"You like the way I am?" Michiru repeated, her eyes widening with shock.
He nodded simply.
"But that will make you weird too!"
He smiled, "That will make us the same then…"
Michiru was quiet, digesting what he had just said, and before she knew it, she was already encircled into Haruka's arms. He held her there, and she could feel her cheeks burning crazily as he breathed into her ears, "This way, I can be together with you, and you'll never be alone."
Those were the last few words that she heard before her dream ended and Michiru awoke to find herself still being held by the familiar pair of arms. She smiled, recognizing who he was, and slid her hands behind him to hug him back.
Outside the guest's room, a pair of eyes watched the couple embracing on the bed. After carefully thinking that she should leave them alone, Minako shut the door as quietly as possible. She turned around and her jaw dropped when she found Yaten standing right behind her.
At that moment, the only emotion that Yaten could read from her face was shock, and as usual, she didn't look very happy to see him. Minako averted his eyes and muttered something he could barely hear as she quickly turned to leave. Yaten nearly pounced on her when she did. He grabbed her by the shoulder, halting her exit.
Minako stopped in the middle of her step, unable to move at all. She didn't say anything as he turned her around. She kept her eyes downcast as he peered at her. He was sure she would have bolted if his hand wasn't restraining her.
"How long do you plan to keep avoiding me, Minako? Why won't you just talk to me?"
Minako glanced up to look at him, and as soon as she did, images of Yaten and Luna quickly filled her head. Some she had seen herself, while others were of her own creation, scenes of them kissing and intimating. But at that moment, she couldn't tell which was false or which was true anymore. She shook her head, wanting those images to go away, and he just stared quietly back at her, wondering why she was looking so upset.
He just wanted to make all her worries go away, but he couldn't figure out how. All he seemed to be doing was giving her more troubles. He reacted by releasing her, hoping that it would ease her for a bit since she didn't look very comfortable with him around.
"I'm sorry… I still need to learn how to really be in a relationship. You are my first and only love. So, I don't have any experience in this area. I don't know what I should do or say to make you happy… it's only reasonable that you won't want to talk to me…" He murmured.
Immediately, Minako's face shot up to his, taken aback from what he had just told her. His face, she noticed, held so much concern and now she felt bad for upsetting him so much. She reacted by tossing her arms around him and locking them around his neck. For a moment, Yaten just stood there wordlessly. He hadn't expected her to hug him out of her own accord, and was stunned silent.
"Is it true? Am I really your first and only love?" Minako whispered.
Yaten blinked, surprised by her question. He glanced at his girlfriend who was still clinching tightly onto him and stroke her hair reassuringly before replying, "Of course you are… I only have you in my heart, you know that…"
Minako was quiet for a second. His reply had given her enough courage to ask him what she had always wanted to. "What about Luna-sama?"
"Luna?" Yaten asked, not getting her question.
"D-Do you love her too?" Minako continued in a shaky voice.
As soon as he heard her question, his forehead creased with confusion. He instantly pulled back, unable to let her continue to have such misconception, as he placed his hands over her cheeks. "You are being silly, Minako. I only love you. There's no way I can have such feeling for her or any other girls…"
"B-but, she's the Empress… and you're one of the Emperors…" Minako muttered, not quite sure how she should continue with her statement.
"Wa-wait… You're avoiding me all this time because you thought that I'm one of the Yonkou, and that I have feeling for the Empress?" Yaten asked in a startled tone.
Minako turned quiet as she dropped her head to keep him from reading the response in her eyes as if he couldn't read her body movement. Yaten sighed, partially out of relief, and the rest out of exasperation. He was glad that she wasn't avoiding him because she didn't like him, but at the same time, he was annoyed by her lack of faith in him.
"Minako, how many times must I tell you that I won't fall for any other girls beside you? And it doesn't matter whether I am one of the Emperors or not, my feelings for you won't change. Why won't you just trust me on this?"
Minako flinched, shocked to hear him say that aloud. Her cheeks darkened a bit as she looked back down, breathing slowly for a few second before relaxing a bit, and faced him again. Minako didn't want to delay this. She could see how he was getting hurt by her silence and previous words.
"I've always trusted you, Yaten-sama…" Minako stressed, her eyes softening at his enlarged ones. "…Not just that, I've always idolized you as well… You are amazing, really… which is why they recognized you as the reincarnation of the Emperor of Necromancy. So for someone as amazing as you to like a Succubus like me is really unbelievable. And when I came to realize that it's real, I became afraid of losing you. I don't want that… Whether it's Luna-sama or any other girls, I don't want to lose ou to anyone! I'm that selfish! Yet I didn't want you to think that I'm just another one of your obsessive fan which you've always hated, so I pretended and acted as if I didn't really love you. But, I do love you, Yaten-sama! I do love you a lot!"
Minako finished and shut her eyes, trying to prepare herself for whatever he had to say. She took a deep breath and tried to look up at him, but she could only manage to stare at his shoulder. Minako couldn't make herself make eye contact with him. She couldn't, not when she didn't know whether he was going to break up with her or not after learning about her true nature and that she was only pretending to be good and innocent for all these years.
"I'm totally defeated by you, Minako…" Yaten laughed softly.
Minako stared at him, not believing his act of happiness, as if he wasn't upset by what she had just told him. She flinched when he moved forward to kiss her on the forehead before wrapping his arms around her. Minako froze in his arms, taken aback by his sudden action, but Yaten simply continued to hold her tightly, his face against her hair.
He smiled, but she couldn't see. Here in his arms was the girl he fell in love with, the silly one who used to keep smiling and chasing after him. It didn't matter where he turned or went, she'd always be here, and no matter how many times he had ignored or threw his tantrum at her, she'd still look so happy whenever she saw him. But little to his knowledge, Minako was having a lot of trouble keeping up with him. His relationship with her alone was enough of a grievance for her to stop smiling and acting like herself altogether. At least, he had understood that much to feel relief that she still loved him despite all the torture and hardship that she had to go through with him.
"Yo-You are not mad at me?" Minako asked anxiously.
"Don't be silly… why should I be angry at you when you've suffered so much for me? You got yourself hurt, captured, locked up and almost killed. I should actually thank you for willing to love me back after going through all these because of me…" Yaten whispered.
"Y-Yaten…" she stuttered, not sure of what to make of this.
She had no idea how happy he felt after hearing from her that she loved him. It gave him more confident to stay in this relationship with her after all those rumors saying that he, as the Emperor of Necromancy, would eventually get back together with Luna. Though he didn't believe that he was his reincarnation, he was still bothered by it mainly because of Minako.
He didn't want to put her into any danger yet he couldn't possibly let her go if that was true. He smiled a little when he felt Minako locking her arms around his waist as she hugged him back, quietly letting him know that she felt the same.
Seiya regained conscious in the middle of the night, and once again, he found himself surrounded by darkness. For a moment there, he wished that he was still asleep. At least, he could be with Usagi in his dreams. As soon as the thought of Usagi flashed past his mind, Seiya tried forcing himself up but his body wasn't listening to his command to move. A groan escaped his lips. He had to find Usagi. Who knew what kinds of thing were being done to her.
Ignoring the pain that was acting on his body, Seiya forced himself to sit up, freezing at that spot when he heard gentle footsteps coming his way. Strange, he didn't remember hearing anyone come in. The darkness before him kept Seiya from seeing the face of the intruder, but that familiarly sweet scent that she was carrying had been burned into his memory long enough for him to recognize who she was.
"Usagi… Usagi? Is it you?" Seiya called out.
To his dismay, he heard her backing away from him as soon as he turned to face the direction where he believed she was standing in.
"Wait! Don't go! Usagi!"
He practically flung himself out of the bed, disregarding the condition of his physically powerless body. His legs, as frail as his upper body was, couldn't support him to catch up with her, forcing him to fall onto the cold ground. He heard a soft gasp escaped from her lips as he collapsed. She took a step towards him but for some reason, she hesitated to get any closer to help him up.
He breathed her name once more and began to panic when he felt her moving further away from him.
Seiya yelled as he struggled to get back up with no success. His breathing sped up with frustration and anxiety as he lifted his head up to face her helplessly. He extended his hand out towards her, and he could have sworn that he heard her whispered an apology, but it had suddenly turned too quiet for him to differentiate it from his imagination and reality.
Seiya bit his lips until he could taste blood and called out to her once more, begging her not to go. But there was no reply. She was gone. The door of his room swept open a minute later as Minako switched on the lights, startled to find Seiya on the ground. She, along with Haruka and Yaten, immediately rushed over to help him up.
"I have to go after her…" Seiya breathed, ignoring his friends as they tried to calm him down.
"Her?" They asked together.
"Usagi… she was here…" He stated, making his friends widened his eyes in surprise.
Yaten shook his head at him, "She couldn't have been. We would have known if she did."
"She was here a minute ago! She really was! Why didn't anyone stop her?! Why…? Why did she have to go? Why couldn't I stop her from leaving…?"
Frustrated by himself, Seiya turned quiet, dropping his head to face the ground in shame. In the meantime, Taiki stood outside the room with Ami standing next to him, watching as his three friends gradually joined Seiya into a deep silence.
"You are not going in to see him?" Ami asked.
"Before that, there's someone I need to talk." Taiki replied as he turned to head for the stairs.
Ami smiled faintly, "I understand. I'll be waiting for you here then."
"Thank you. It won't take long." He smiled warmly back at her before disappearing down the stairs.
Once at the bottom, Taiki went ahead for the front door and opened it without hesitation. He took a few steps out into the open and glanced around in the attempt to find that person even though there was clearly no one in sight.
"I know you haven't left yet. Won't you come out to see me?"
A minute went by without a single sound and movement before his eyes caught sight of a dark female figure leaning against the huge Sakura tree, a short distance before him. The darkness of the corner she was standing in kept her face a secret, but Taiki knew perfectly well who she was.
Stepping out from the shade, Yuumei walked up to Taiki, smiling brightly.
"I know you'd come on Usagi's behalf. How is she? Is she alright?" Taiki asked impatiently.
"Hmmm… How should I put this?" Yuumei pondered, thinking hard before she continued casually. "Like how our father had planned it to be, the shock was too much for her and she has lost herself as Usagi. She won't be able to recognize anyone of you anymore, and as Akatsuki, she won't care what she's doing or who she kills. So, on behalf of the Usagi you knew, I've come to advice the Aces to stay away from Akatsuki and Satan…"
Taiki shook his head sadly, "I'm sorry. Even if that was her final wish, I won't be able to grant it for her."
"Eh?! Why not? I thought you like her." Yuumei frowned and cocked her head innocently at him.
He grinned at her remark, "Yes, I do, yet when she was around, I have never once told her how much I love her. And, now that she's gone, I realize that there are so many things I want to say to her, to tell her. I'll never have the chance to do that if I'm to give up on her now. Besides, I've confident in Usagi. She isn't someone who would make empty promises…"
"Promises eh?" Yuumei muttered, smiling faintly to herself. "I wonder if we are able to fulfill ours…"
"But if there's Akatsuki, won't Yuumei always be there?" Taiki smiled.
Yuumei threw Taiki a surprise look, not expecting him to state her promise with Usagi out loud. But her wide eyes quickly shifted over from shock to disappointment, "You are right. When there's Akatsuki, there will always be Yuumei. And if Akatsuki dies, Yuumei will disappear as well…"
"No, no one needs to die or disappear. Not you, not Usagi…" Taiki stated stubbornly.
Yuumei smiled faintly at his remark, "I'm sure you have heard about the legendary doll-maker, Nori Mai, who was said to be able to create dolls that looked like a real human being. She was the only one in Satan, no probably the whole world, to have the ability to do something so amazing. But, she isn't god. No matter how human-like they all appeared to be like, a doll is still a doll. It won't move or have a life. So, with the support from Satan, she did something unforgivable twenty years ago. They kidnapped children, using them as experiment or test subjects to try and transfer their souls over to the doll bodies. And, of course, there were many failures…"
"Yuumei… You-…" Taiki stuttered, predicting what she was about to say next.
She nodded with a calm smile, "Yes, I'm one of the experimental failures… Or should I say the duplicate of their first successful doll, a perfect psychic weapon, which they later named Akatsuki…"
Taiki stood there as he let the news sunk in. Even though he had somehow knew the story behind Usagi's dark past, to hear it coming from her other half, made everything sounded even more unacceptable than it already was. He clenched his jaw together to keep himself from letting his expression of frustration and disgust showed. He didn't want Yuumei to notice his discomfort and stop here. He needed as much information as he could get to help Usagi.
"Our family…" Taiki muttered reluctantly. "…was the one who killed your 'Mother', wasn't it?"
Yuumei smiled calmly at him, "It's true that the Kou family did become famous and well-respected because of that. But you don't have to feel bad about it. After all, whatever Mother did was against the governmental law. Even if your family hadn't accepted the mission, the world government would have sent some other groups down to kill Mother."
"But that still doesn't change the fact that it was our family who shortened Usagi's lifespan. She won't be able to live past 20, and that's all because the only one who could prolong her life was murdered by our family!" Taiki stated aloud as he threw his fist against the door, finally losing his cool.
The loud bang which he created had been heard throughout the house, catching the attention of his friends from a bedroom two floor above him. They blinked and exchanged curious gaze with one another before turning to face the door only to find Ami standing by the entrance. She shook her head at them, silently telling them not to interfere with whatever Taiki was doing.
Seiya, on the other hand, remained extremely quiet, taking no concern over what was going around him anymore. All this while, he had only been thinking of one thing, and that was to save Usagi. But given the frail condition that he was in, there was nothing he could do on his own, not even a simple task like getting out of bed. It was his first time feeling this worthless, yet the thought of giving up had never once crossed his mind.
He clutched his hands together, determined to become stronger than before, and he knew exactly how he could achieve that even though it would have to cost him his life.
In one corner of a dark, unknown alley, a middle-aged man was seen running desperately, his eyes darting around from side to side looking as if there was a monster chasing after him. He had been running for a least a day now, not even stopping for a rest as he knew that he would be killed the moment he did. Lucky for him, his ability to sprint continuously without stopping had helped him to escape from getting killed by the Great Powers. But his other comrades weren't that lucky. After learning that Satan's top leading spy, Ami Mizuno, was actually one of the Government's Archangels, the leader of Satan had ordered the Great Powers to investigate and eradicate the rest of the undercover agents who were working for the World Government.
"Found the last one…"
The man flinched when he heard a soft, female voice coming from the direction he was facing. He hadn't notice that he had ran into a dead end. There was a tall wall blocking his path, and seated high above it was what looked like a silhouette of a girl hugging onto a soft toy bunny which appeared to have a pair of dim red eyes that glowed in the dark. Though the darkness of the corner had kept her face a secret, the man could somehow tell that she was smiling down at him.
"Usagi-chan has found the last one…" She giggled while patting her toy rabbit on the head.
Her eerie laughter had forced the man to take a few steps back, and just when he was about to turn, two young men suddenly appeared behind him as they individually placed their hands on his shoulders, refraining him from going anywhere.
"Our last prey sure can run." The brother on the right whistled.
"But this is the furthest you can go." The other one on his left added.
The man swallowed nervously upon realizing that the Demon brothers of the Great Powers, Viper and Verge, were the ones standing behind him. Instantly, he froze on the spot, his wide eyes trailed a luminous, red butterfly as it flew past him and landed on the tip of his nose. As more crimson butterflies began to surround him, their creator, Len walked out from behind him, followed by a shorter boy, called Kidd, and a little girl holding onto a violin case and an umbrella.
Overjoyed to see their idol seated on top of the wall, both Len and Hotaru disregarded their target and hurried over to her side excitedly, eager to be reunited with her. Kidd sighed at their childish behaviour, deciding that it was best to ignore them as he turned to face their target, only to find him pleading anxiously for his life.
"I-I will tell you everything I know! Pl-please don't kill me!"
Kidd shrugged, "Why do they all say the same thing when they're about to die?"
The man let out a low groan of pain when an orange-haired boy appeared out of nowhere and punched him in the gut, and would have collapsed from the attack if it wasn't for Viper and Verge who were holding him back by the shoulders.
"Shut up, weakling! You make us chase after you for a whole damn day and you expect us to spare you?! Go rot in hell!" Kyo snapped as he continued to use the man as a punching bag to let out his frustration.
"What should we do with him, boss?" Kidd asked, smiling up at their leader, Zero, who had mysteriously appeared at the top of the same wall where the girl was seated on.
Stopping right next to her, Zero glanced down at the man who was still suffering from Kyo's punches, obviously uninterested in him. Still, he didn't think it was worthwhile to just kill him after spending a day to hunt him down. At least, he had to get something out of him to compensate for the time he had wasted looking for him.
"Let him talk." Zero instructed in a solemn sounding voice.
Kyo let out a breath of frustration before he reluctantly moved aside, leaving the poor man to cough in pain. With much effort, the man looked up after catching his breath, his eyes widening at the couple above him. The full moon that was situated behind them had provided enough light to brighten up the dark alley that they were in. He could clearly see their faces now. Zero Von Mammon, the leader of the Great Powers, and Usagi Tsukino from the Aces, why were they together? Taking a deep breath, he cleared his mind of all the possible reasons and focused on trying to get out alive.
"I'll tell you everything that you want to know. I beg you to let me go."
"We will let you run again…" Verge began.
"…If you can tell us how we can get our hands on the Archangels." Viper finished.
"Especially Ami Mizuno and Kunizite, our two best spies, who stole a very crucial part of our database and sold it to the World Government… They have given us quite a big headache yet none of your useless friends could provide us with any valuable information about them. I'm hoping you can because I don't wish to see you die like the way they did." Kidd added, smiling sarcastically.
The man swallowed nervously at his remarks as he struggled to speak, "I-I know where Ami Mizuno is… Sh-She isn't part of the Archangels anymore…"
"She isn't?" Viper and Verge exclaimed together.
"So, where is she now?" Kidd asked almost immediately.
"Wi-with the Aces…"
His reply caused everyone including Zero to turn and look at Usagi as though they were expecting a big reaction from her. But Usagi remained quiet as she continued patting her soft toy rabbit on its head, looking unconcerned by his words.
"I see. That explains why the world government would actually allow her to leave. After all, with the Counsel of Kings drawing near, no one would want to offend the Emperor of Necromancy. We were advised by Luna-sama to avoid making enemies with the Aces as well." Len commented while looking at the red butterfly which had just landed on his fingertip.
"This is getting so darn troublesome! How are we going to get our hands on Ami Mizuno if we can't touch the Aces then?!" Kyo snapped.
Kidd shrugged, "We'll just have to wait for Luna-sama to get Yaten Kou over to our side before we can make the next move. With the Emperor gone, dealing with the Aces shouldn't be a problem."
"True, since Seiya Kou is now physically handicapped, the Aces would be too easy for us." Kyo commented thoughtlessly.
Len, Kidd, Viper and Verge coughed together and glowered at Kyo, silently reminding him that he shouldn't mention the name, Seiya Kou, in front of Usagi. Kyo replied with a scowl before he turned around to face Usagi, deciding to apologize to her.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to criticise the Aces or Seiya Kou." He stated awkwardly.
She smiled at his apology before replying, "Seiya who?"
There was a brief moment of silence as the rest of the Great Powers eyed quietly at one another, unsure of how they should answer her. Awkwardness lingered in the air. None of them said anything for a minute till Zero decided to break the silence, turning everyone's attention back to their original target.
"The Lost Index of Great Wisdom, do you know anything about it?" He asked in a mono-tone.
"W-We have no clue where it is or whether it even existed… T-the government is still looking for it…" The man replied timidly.
"This means you are of no use to us now." Zero muttered before gesturing Viper and Verge to release him.
The brothers nodded together as they gladly lifted their hands off his shoulders. And, as soon as they did, the man desperately ran and disappeared into the distance. After he was out of sight for a whole five minutes, Usagi turned to face Zero with a big smile.
"Will we get to see more fireworks today?" She asked excitedly.
Zero nodded slowly, a small smile that was barely noticeable crossed his face for a split second as he replied in a murmur, "He should have climbed high enough now…"
He snapped his fingers as soon as he finished his sentence, and bizarrely enough, something or rather someone was seen shooting up into the sky like a skyrocket before his body exploded, decorating the night sky and ending the scene with a variety of colored fireworks.
A/N: I hope you've enjoyed this chapter even though I didn't really like it myself. I'll be expecting the reviews to hit 500, at least, before I start working on the next chapter. This story is coming to a close, with around 5 to 6 chapters, left :). Please do leave a review if you like to read more, because I'll only take some time out of my tight schedule to update it when there are requests. Sadly, I'm getting very busy lately, a bit too busy, and won't be able to update for quite some time. So, do remind me to and thank you all for reading :).
Also, our site has been updated!!