A/N: Sorry for the long wait but at least here it is; a new chapter of this fic. Thanks to all of those who read and like my stories, but especially to those who drop a review. I hope you like this chapter.

As usual thanks to leebot-sensei for beta-ing the fic. Without his help this would be a mess.

Don't forget to review.


Disclaimer: Everything is property of their respective authors, mostly Sunrise. – bummer –

Into the Another World – Chapter 9

Shizuru opened her eyes lazily as she felt something soft and cold tenderly touch her face. She blinked a couple of times to focus. When she did, she noticed a couple of green eyes shining brightly at her; then she heard the sweetest sound she could ever hear: her Natsuki's voice saying her name tenderly.

- "Shizuru. Sorry, did I wake you up?"

Shizuru moved her head from side to side in a negative answer.

- "No Natsuki, you didn't wake me up. But may I know what my Natsuki is doing?"

- "I was just trying to cool you off a bit. You've been asleep for almost three green moons already. Youko told me it should be normal since you are recovering."

- "Thank you, Natsuki. You're very thoughtful." – she then glanced to the side and saw that on the night stand was a tray with food.

Natsuki saw where Shizuru was looking and said:

- "That's for whenever you feel hungry. Ers brought it per Youko's instructions. It has food that should be easy for you to eat; something edible as she put it. Would you like to eat something now?" – asked Natsuki, placing the cloth she'd been using to clean Shizuru's face in a bowl with fresh water.

- "Yes, I'm starting to feel a bit hungry." – said Shizuru, trying to get up from the bed.

Upon seeing her, Natsuki rushed to her side and helped her to sit on the bed with her back leaning against the bed frame.

Once Shizuru was placed in a comfortable position, Natsuki took the tray in her hands and held it in front of Shizuru while smiling so the brunette could pick something of her choice. Shizuru took what looked like a fruit and analyzed it for a moment. She'd never seen or eaten this fruit during her stay in Earl so she wondered what it tasted like. She gave a small bite to the fruit and immediately she closed her eyes due to its sour flavor.

- "What's this, Natsuki?" – asked Shizuru after she was finally able to swallow the piece of fruit she'd bitten off.

- "It's a piscus."

- "It's very sour." – said Shizuru, making a face.

- "I know, but it will make you feel better. It will give you energy." – replied Natsuki in an apologizing tone and while giving Shizuru a sheepish smile.

She knew better than anyone how sour the piscus was, but also she knew that indeed it gave you energy. Her mother used to give it to her after long days of practice and even during those rare occasions when she got sick. Shizuru saw tenderness in Natsuki's emerald eyes, which only meant that she remembered something important from her past. Shizuru smiled at Natsuki and continued eating the piscus. It was a bit difficult due to the sourness of the fruit, but some minutes after she finished eating it, she indeed felt more energetic than before.

Natsuki offered Shizuru something else to eat, but she politely declined, as she was feeling much better after eating the piscus. Shizuru was still seated on the bed with her back resting on the head-board when Natsuki took a seat on a chair by her side.

- "Are you feeling better?" – asked Natsuki caringly.

- "Yes Natsuki. Thanks to your care, I'm as good as new." – replied Shizuru sincerely.

Natsuki then took Shizuru's hand between her own hands and gave it a light squeeze. Shizuru met Natsuki's gaze, and she could see that Natsuki's eyes were showing some anxiousness. Something was bothering her beloved angel, and she was probably holding back for Shizuru's sake. However, Shizuru didn't like to see those kinds of emotions in Natsuki's precious eyes, so she asked.

- "What is it Natsuki? Is something bothering you?"

- "I…" – Natsuki averted her gaze, unable to articulate a word.

- "Tell me Natsuki, please."

- "I've wanted to ask you…but I should let you rest…" – said Natsuki trying to avoid the subject.

- "And I told you that I'm feeling much better now Natsuki. So, please? What is it that you want to ask me?"

Natsuki squeezed Shizuru's hand a bit tighter and, meeting her gaze, she said:

- "Why did you stop me, Shizuru?"

Shizuru was a bit taken aback by the question since she didn't quite understand what the raven haired girl was talking about. Natsuki noticed it and asked the question once more, but this time with more detail.

- "Why did you stop my fight with Tomoe? Why, Shizuru?"

Natsuki was shaking now. Shizuru didn't know if it was out of anger or sadness, but she had to explain to Natsuki her reasons since she didn't want her angel to fall into some kind of depression or despair due to this situation; or even more, to hate her due to it. This time, Shizuru took Natsuki's hand between hers and began to say.

- "I did it to save you, Natsuki. I know how important it was for you to eliminate Tomoe since she has brought only sadness and suffering to you and your people. But I couldn't let you finish her in the state you were in." – when Shizuru said those words, Natsuki locked her emerald eyes with Shizuru's ruby ones, surprised by the answer. Shizuru continued – "If I had let you kill Tomoe that way, you would have acted just like her. And because of that you would have felt ashamed of yourself, and that's something I could never bear see. I want Natsuki to win fair and square. I want Natsuki to be herself when finishing that issue. I want you stand proud in front of your people and the kingdom of Aries as their benevolent, just and magnificent sovereign; because it's in your face that I see honor, truth and loyalty." – finished Shizuru with determination, yet also kindness, in her voice.

Natsuki was at loss of words. She never expected Shizuru to say just what she said. Those words were too similar to what her father had said to her once when she was little and they were sparring just for fun. He had wished for Natsuki to be a greater sovereign than he was. Tears began to form in Natsuki's emerald eyes. How could she have doubted – even for split a second – Shizuru's reasons for stopping the battle? For a slight moment she thought of her act as foolish, inspired only by an irrational thought or feeling, but now after hearing such a significant motive she felt embarrassed of her way of thinking. The tears now rolling down Natsuki's cheeks were a collection of diverse emotions: shame, gratefulness, happiness, melancholy, but also fondness and love.

Shizuru leaned a little and placed her arms around Natsuki, enveloping her in an amorous and protecting embrace. Natsuki hugged Shizuru back with equal tenderness, but a bit carefully, so she wouldn't hurt her precious girl. Shizuru caressed Natsuki's raven tresses with her hand and planted soft kisses on her head. As time went by and Natsuki's tears stopped flowing, she thought.

- "I still can't believe how fortunate I am for having this wonderful person with me, by my side, loving me just the way I am; nothing more, nothing less. I'll have to thank the deities properly for sending her to me."

When Natsuki felt more calmed, she got apart from Shizuru and kissed her softly but lovingly. Shizuru was about to reciprocate the kiss with more passion when Natsuki pulled back. She was about to pout and tease her raven-haired girl for it, but when she saw Natsuki's eyes, she was left speechless. The look that Natsuki was giving her now, it was simply indescribable. In all their time together Natsuki had not looked at her in such a way. It was beyond overwhelming. Natsuki had cupped her cheek and had her lips parted. Shizuru could tell that Natsuki wanted to tell her something but the words were not coming out. However they weren't necessary, so Shizuru placed her hand over Natsuki's and replied.

- "You don't need to say it. I understand, Natsuki."

Shizuru's smile was as bright as the sun and so was Natsuki's, happy that her lover got the message she was trying to convey. Now Shizuru understood the words of a certain poet she had read some time ago, back on Earth; he had written that 'The look is the language of the heart,' and how true he was! She had proven correct his words with the look Natsuki had given her.

They stared at each other for more minutes, their gazes professing unspoken words of love and trust.

And they could have stayed like that for the rest of the day had it not been that Natsuki remembered something. She gave Shizuru a kiss on her hand and then said.

- "I almost forgot. Midori wants to talk to us. I told her we would do it until you gained your strength back."

- "Thank you for your consideration Natsuki. And did Midori-san tell you what she wants to talk about?"

- "No. But I can imagine she wants an explanation regarding the past events."

- "Do you think it is safe to tell her more about you?"

- "They have already discovered it, so it's okay. Besides, Midori might be a freaky historian but she's very reliable. What I'm more concerned about right now is you."

- "You don't have to be Natsuki, I'm feeling better."

- "I was not referring to your health Shizuru. I have this feeling that she might also know WHO you are."

- "You mean that Midori-san already realized that I…?"

- "Yeah, most likely. But she has not told anyone about it, it seems."

- "Would it be wise of us to confirm her suspicions?" – asked Shizuru.

- "To tell you the truth…I don't know…" – replied Natsuki with sigh – "I don't want her to look at you as if you were some kind of fantastic creature out of a fairy tale. She can be too obsessive sometimes."

- "Is Natsuki jealous that Midori-san might give me too much of her attention? Natsuki shouldn't worry, she knows that I'm only hers." – said Shizuru winking at Natsuki.

- "I didn't mean that!" – yelled Natsuki with her face tinted in a deep hue of red. Then she mumbled – "and I already know that…"

- "Ara…"

- "So…" – Natsuki began to say in order to cast away the blush in her cheeks – "Do you think that you'll be well enough tomorrow to talk with Midori?"

- "Yes, I think so Natsuki. If I rest all day today, by tomorrow my strength will be back. That way, I won't have to eat another piscus."

- "So you didn't like it after all, huh? I don't blame you, it's normal the first time you eat it. But later you get used to it. And it's worth the taste for all the healing properties it has." – said Natsuki, smiling.

After that, they continued chatting in the privacy of their room and spent the rest of the day there in each other's company. They didn't need anything else.

The next day the couple woke up a bit early. They changed into their daily clothes and Natsuki assisted Shizuru with going down to the kitchen to have breakfast. Erstin was already there preparing it when the couple arrived. Upon noticing them Erstin said.

- "Good morning, Natsuki-sama, Shizuru-sama! It's good to see that you are out of bed! You must be feeling better."

- "Thanks for your concern Erstin-san. I'm feeling better now, thanks to Natsuki." – replied Shizuru.

This of course earned two blushes: one from Natsuki, and the other from Erstin, who simply turned around after mumbling something and continued making breakfast.

Natsuki sat by Shizuru's side at the table after telling her not to say embarrassing things in front of other people. To which Shizuru replied.

- "I'm only telling the truth, Natsuki." – then she placed a kiss on the cheek of the raven-haired girl.

The girl of course blushed again and complained, but internally she smiled; she liked it when Shizuru showed her that she was loved. And also she didn't mind – or not too much at least – that Shizuru did this in front of Erstin. The respect the blonde girl had for them was too great for her to ever say or do anything that may put them in an uncomfortable situation. However, Shizuru understood better: it was because she also admired them and was somewhat jealous of their relationship. Which could only mean that Erstin still couldn't make her special person be that way with her.

Natsuki and Shizuru chatted for a while, also including Erstin in their conversation as they waited for breakfast to be ready. Soon, the other members of the Abaharaki showed up at the kitchen and greeted Shizuru, happy to see that she was doing pretty well after the ordeal they had to go through to help Natsuki. Without her knowing, with that act Shizuru had earned more respect from this amazing crew, so much that they already considered her one of them, along with Natsuki of course. In no time Midori appeared and she was more than pleased to see both girls out of their quarters. She had been waiting patiently for them to show up and, more importantly, to have that talk with them. Youko saw the excited look on Midori's face; she was like a small kid presented with a mountain of candies. So, before she let the hyperactive woman formulate any question, she said.

- "Midori, what about we have breakfast first and then you can play interrogation with Natsuki-san?"

- "I can do it while having breakfast!" – pouted Midori, like a spoiled child.

Seeing that Midori was being stubborn, Youko decided to use Midori's weakness against her.

- "And I thought that you were a historian." – she then sighed, to add a more dramatic effect.

- "What are you saying, woman! I AM a historian!" – exclaimed Midori, placing her fist over her chest in a theatrical pose.

- "Seeing how impatient you are with this matter, I'm beginning to think otherwise. Haven't you said that the most distinctive attribute of a historian is their patience? Since without it they wouldn't be able to find the most amazing discoveries? You are proving me wrong now."

- "You must be mistaken then. My patience could beat that of the monks of Fortuna Fortress. And I can show you that right now, since I am without doubt the best historian in Earl."

With that said, Midori occupied herself with eating her food and not even glancing in the direction of Natsuki and Shizuru. Everyone at the table was either smirking or amazed. It was so like Youko to control Midori in a way that no one else could, and of course Midori would be oblivious to that fact. They were also very thankful; they also wanted to be present during the talk Midori would have with her highness, but first they wanted to have a peaceful mealtime. Ahn chatted with Shizuru along with Aoi, while Nao and Chie chatted with Natsuki. From time to time, the others joined the conversation and everyone was part of it. They mostly talked about how things were going in Palas now that the invading army was repealed away, among other matters.

When the meal was over Erstin and Aoi cleaned up the table. Midori retreated to her study, but not before letting Natsuki and Shizuru know that she would be waiting for them there.

She didn't have to wait too long. Just minutes after she sat on the comfortable chair where she spent many hours reading books and scrolls and doing some research, the door opened and the girls came in accompanied by the girls of the Abaharaki that knew of Natsuki's secret. There were other members of the crew that weren't informed of it per Midori's instructions. She might be a history freak, but she knew that her majesty didn't reveal her secret for a reason; so she assumed that somehow she still wanted to keep it from others if possible. Natsuki and Shizuru sat in front of Midori as the others each found themselves a spot comfortable enough to listen in on their talk, which they presumed would take quite some time.

Natsuki was the first one to speak.

- "Midori and members of the Abaharaki; first of all I apologize for hiding my true nature from you, who have been nothing but kind and polite to us."

What she said left everyone taken aback, since they never expected for her majesty to say those words. Natsuki continued.

- "But as you may understand, it was not something that could be spoken of carelessly, since you know how my kind was treated and how their lives were taken when exposed. Truth be told, it was never my intention to reveal this secret to you, but the circumstances made it impossible for me to keep. I should also tell you more of myself and what I know of the ancient land of Garderobe and its inhabitants the Otome. I trust you now and I know that you will keep this secret for yourselves from now on too. And that you won't use this information for wicked purposes. "

Midori laughed a powerful and friendly laugh.

- "I expected nothing less from her highness, the ruler of Aries! To word such an honorable speech." – Midori stood up and said – "I'm pleased and honored to know that we've gained your trust to the extent that you will disclose such significant information. I vow to you here, that none of it will leave this room. For my pride and honor you have my word, Natsuki-san."

After that Midori put her hand on her chest, over her heart and bowed her head. The other members of the Abaharaki did the same. Even Shizuru made the same gesture, which earned a smile from Natsuki.

Natsuki then began to talk about herself and all that she knew about her Otome origins and their ancient land. She answered everyone's questions as best as she could, assuming she knew the answer, of course. After all, what she knew was what she had learned from her mother when she was a small child and also from her own research on the matter.

Midori took note of every piece of information, though no one knew if what she was writing was new for her or if she just wanted to confirm data she already had. But everyone was certain of one thing: she was delighted by this. Natsuki had been able to answer all of her questions so far. Shizuru was glad to see that Natsuki didn't look bothered by this; though she noted that she omitted some details. She had knowledge of them since Natsuki had told her some of them even before meeting the Abaharaki and before the 'incident'. Shizuru was extremely happy that Natsuki had shared with her those details since they were very private and intimate. This made her comprehend and confirm once more how much Natsuki trusted her, and for Shizuru this was a sign of how deeply Natsuki loved her.

A few hours passed and finally it seemed that Midori had run out of questions, much to the pleasure of Nao, who had been sitting all the time and now had a numb and flat butt, or so she said. Ahn gladly offered to help her with that situation but Nao just slapped the hands away. Also, Chie said.

- "Not that much was lost anyway…"

This of course earned laughs and giggles from everyone in the room as Nao gave Chie a deadly glare and promised to make her days miserable for the rest of her life. When Aoi saw that her girlfriend was about to taunt Nao more with another smart remark, she stopped her by elbowing in her stomach and giving Chie a menacing glare which was more effective than Nao's, at least for Chie.

After that, everyone left the room to continue with their respective responsibilities, leaving Midori, Natsuki and Shizuru alone. The caravan had left Palas two moons ago now, to continue on with their journey of escorting her majesty back to Aries, but not after assisting the citizens one last time.

Each one of the members of the Abaharaki that had been present were left impressed by all the information that they've heard from Natsuki. It was so surreal that it sounded as if it was taken from a children's bed-time story. But they knew better than anyone that it was true, since the words were spoken by the living proof herself. After this talk they didn't think of Natsuki as a menace due to her otome origins, like most people probably would have if they were to discover it. They really didn't think that the otome were cursed beings who only brought misfortune. And because of that Natsuki was very grateful. She had noticed that the girls of the Abaharaki had not treated her any differently from before; they were not afraid or uncomfortable with her presence in the room or when they came across her inside Gakutenou. Natsuki had, for a moment, feared that it may have happened since the fear of the otome was very unfathomable even if it was unproven. Gladly that was not the case with these girls, and she was content with that because it would have been very unpleasant for her to leave with Shizuru in bad terms with this people that she had come to care about in such a way.

When the Abaharaki girls left, Midori was still taking some last notes by her desk as she noticed that Natsuki and Shizuru had stayed behind. She couldn't figure out a reason as to why the girls were still there so she asked them.

- "Yes your majesty? Is there something I can do for you?"

- "Well Midori," – Natsuki began to say – "There's something else we want to talk to you about."

- "Alright. What is it?"

- "Would you mind if I close the door first? It's extremely confidential." – said Natsuki.

At this, Midori couldn't suppress some anxiousness and even some excitement from her eyes and posture – with this kind of secrecy it was without doubt quite important. So she just nodded her head, and Natsuki closed the door and even locked it. Then she went back to the seat she had occupied earlier, but this time Shizuru was sitting by her side. Midori encouraged the raven-haired girl to proceed.

- "Midori, what I'm about to tell you is of high importance. I relay this information to you since I know you are trustworthy and that you will keep this for you. I do this mainly so that if there is ever a time of need for your knowledge in regards of this matter, you would be more than able to help us with it."

- "Your highness, I'm quite flattered to know that you trust me this much. But I'm rather intrigued as well as to what matter could be of this high importance for you to reveal it only to me."

- "It's about Shizuru."

- "What about her?"

- "She…"

- "I think it's best if I tell her myself, Natsuki." – said Shizuru, interrupting her beloved.

Natsuki looked at her for a second and then nodded. Midori turned her attention to Shizuru with questioning eyes. When Shizuru noted that she had the leader's full attention, she said.

- "I'm not from Earl, Midori-san. I'm from the Earth; what you call the 'Guiding Star'."

Midori's eyes snapped open as big as plates. And her lips were parted, ready to formulate tons of questions, and the first one to come out was.

- "For real? How is this possible?"

- "Not even Natsuki or I are quite sure how it happened. But I assure you Midori-san that I'm not making this up. Even Natsuki has gone to the Guiding Star with me, if only for a short time."

Midori stared at her just a moment and then turned to Natsuki as if confirm what the brunette had said, which was confirmed by a nod from Natsuki. Then Midori simply smiled broadly and let out a laugh. She stood up from her spot and walked to one of her shelves piled with books to support herself.

- "For Shinso-sama! This is remarkable! I never imagined, not even in my wildest dreams that I would ever meet two beings that have hundreds of legends made out of them and their lands! More even, that the two would be in front of me at the same time!" – turning to her incredible guests she said – "You have to tell me everything about the Guiding Star."

- "Ara, that might take a while." – said Shizuru – "What if you ask me what you want to know the most?"

- "I think that's fair enough." – replied Midori with a smile.

Midori went back to her comfortable chair and began to ask Shizuru all she could think about the Guiding Star. She mostly tried to confirm legends or myths that were created about the time the Otome had left Garderobe; since it was said that Garderobe was located on the Guiding Star. However it seemed that this fact would remain a mystery, as neither Natsuki nor Shizuru could confirm it. That only meant that she would have to continue searching with hopes to finally have an answer to that question.

Hours passed until Midori once more was satisfied with all the data she'd gathered. It would last her for the next few lunar years, or so she hoped. She even asked Shizuru if she could ask her more in the future, to which Shizuru replied with a friendly tone that it would be fine as long as they were alone and with Natsuki present, of course. Midori agreed and shook hands with the brunette. Both girls stood up from their seats and went to the door. Opening it, they exited the room, leaving a hyper Midori behind. The confident leader rested her head back on her chair and meditated a little at everything that had transpired in that room. She still was unable to believe that she was giving shelter to these extraordinary – in many ways – girls. Also, she now understood Natsuki's words, the reason that they had given her this information. She smiled at how thoughtful the young ruler could be about the future. She was more than certain that Natsuki would become one of the best rulers Aries had ever had. Not a second after, she was up and searching in her bookshelves for books and scrolls like she usually did when getting a new piece of information.

Natsuki and Shizuru had walked back to their room and when they arrived, they closed the door, locked it, and dropped themselves onto the bed. Both girls were facing the wooden ceiling and their hands were intertwined. Shizuru heard Natsuki give a soft sigh. Turning her head to the side so she could see the features of her beloved angel, she asked.

- "What is it, Natsuki?"

- "That sure was tiring."

- "Yes, it was." – replied Shizuru with a soft giggle.

Contemplating Natsuki's face for a moment, she couldn't help but articulate a question that was bothering her, even though she had already discussed it with her angel before.

- "Natsuki, are you okay with Midori-san knowing about me?"

Natsuki turned her head to gaze directly at Shizuru's bewitching ruby eyes, then, smiling, she answered.

- "Yes. Are you not comfortable with it?"

- "I really don't mind as long as she keeps silent about it."

- "Then, is something else troubling you?"

- "Well…I just wanted to know the reason as to why Natsuki decided to let Midori-san know about me."

- "Ehm…that…." – Natsuki began to mumble, averting her gaze and blushing.

- "Yes, Natsuki?" – pushed Shizuru.

- "As I told her, I thought it would be important that she knew about you. Just in case we needed her. I mean, there's so much I don't know about the Guiding Star, and I wouldn't know what to do if you were in a pinch because of it. I don't want anything bad to happen to you because of my ignorance."

- "Natsuki…"

Shizuru leaned in and gave Natsuki's lips a soft, chaste kiss. When she pulled apart, she locked her eyes with Natsuki's and began to say.

- "I feel the same about you Natsuki. I know just a few things about you that you have told me, but still there's so much for me to know and to discover. It was thanks to what you have told me in the time that we have been together that I was able to help you before when your life was in danger, that I was able to relate Duran's connection to you. Now that I think about it, if it weren't for that, I would not have been able to assist you my beloved Natsuki; and just thinking about it makes me shiver." – tears started to form in Shizuru's eyes – "To think that I could have lost you due to my lack of knowledge, because I don't know you. It's something I don't want to experience again, Natsuki."

Natsuki was left speechless at Shizuru's statement. She had never thought about this before, how Shizuru had felt that time. It wasn't until now that she truly comprehended Shizuru's fears and insecurities, since were the same as hers, however none of them had voiced them out loud. But that had to change, so Natsuki cupped Shizuru's cheek and said.

- "I'm very sorry, Shizuru. I promise you that I won't let it happen again. I promise I will be more open with you from now on, and I want you to do the same with me okay? No secrets between us."

- "I will, Natsuki. I promise you." – replied Shizuru, leaning in once more to kiss Natsuki on the lips.

Before the kiss become deeper, Natsuki got apart and stared at Shizuru's ruby eyes. She was feeling a bit anxious after their talk with Midori, and, since she promised she wouldn't be hiding anything from Shizuru, she decided to speak her mind about a certain topic that made her a bit nervous.

- "Shizuru…"

- "Yes Natsuki?"

- "Well, now that we let Midori know about you, I couldn't help but think that certainly she will be coming to you again to question you about the Guiding Star. I've been thinking that since she's awfully obsessive with her investigation, she might ask you more about how you were able to come here and even try to reach the Guiding Star someday just as we did. And…"

Natsuki paused for a moment to gain some courage so she could say what was worrying her at this point.

– "And?" – said Shizuru, squeezing Natsuki's hand, prompting her to continue.

Natsuki bit her lip, and, with her voice shivering a bit, she continued.

- "If she tries to do so, she might find a way for you to go back… and I'm afraid that it might be done unwillingly. That you go back to the Guiding Star out of the blue. Moreover that then we won't know a way to bring you back." – said Natsuki with unshed tears building up in her eyes – "I don't want that to happen! I want to be with you forever, Shizuru!"

It was now Shizuru's turn to be surprised by Natsuki's declaration. She never thought of the possibility of going back to Earth even if given the chance. And now she pondered for a second that they had indeed been very lucky to go back and forth that time – when they were in the cave after Tomoe's first attack to them and in the stone garden back in Earth – since they had no idea how to do it or how it happened. Also now, there was a slight chance that they might go back again without their knowing. Thus now with Midori investigating more about this, there was a higher probability that it could occur. This also made her feel anxious, but then Haruka's words came to her mind.

- "I have to keep my dream alive. And I won't let anything keep me away from it!" – thought Shizuru with resolve.

Shizuru placed her fingers on Natsuki's chin and tilted it up so she could stare directly at the emerald orbs. Pouring all the heart and confidence into her voice, Shizuru said.

- "There's nothing to fear, my Natsuki. I certainly don't know how I was able to come here in the first place, or how we were able to go to the Earth and come back here. But I'm sure of one thing, Natsuki." – she cupped Natsuki's cheek – "Here is where I want to be. I want to be by Natsuki's side too. So there's nothing to be afraid of, my Natsuki. My dream and wish is to be with you forevermore. Nothing will tear us apart." – she then proceeded to seal that promise with a kiss.

Natsuki smiled into the kiss as tears stopped forming in her eyes. Shizuru got just a bit apart, and, still cupping Natsuki's cheek, she said.

- "If Natsuki wishes, we can ask Midori-san not to venture in that kind of research, so you will be at ease."

- "Yeah, I'd like to do that."

- "Then we'll let Midori-san know after supper today, okay?"

- "Okay. Thanks, Shizuru."

- "There's nothing to thank me for, Natsuki."

They stayed in a comfortable silence for some minutes until Shizuru spoke again.

- "Natsuki…"

- "Yes?"

- "Would you mind singing the lullaby of Garderobe for me?"

Natsuki saw how Shizuru's eyes were shining with her plea, and she looked very much like a child asking for sweets. Unable to contain herself at the image displayed before her, she hugged Shizuru affectionately so the brunette's head was resting on her chest.

- "My mother used to name it 'Sora'."

- "Sora…" – whispered Shizuru.

Then Natsuki began to sing in a low voice so only Shizuru could hear that lovely melody that the girl held dear now in her heart.

Hearing Natsuki's melodic and sweet voice, Shizuru began to drift off to sleep. Soon after, she was asleep in the arms of her angel.

Natsuki watched Shizuru sleep peacefully in her arms and wished for that moment to repeat many times in the future. She would make sure of it, with all her might.

Natsuki noted that they weren't far from Aries now; maybe in a couple of days they would be reaching the kingdom.

She couldn't wait to arrive to Aries and present Shizuru as her partner and companion, and even more, as the future queen. She couldn't suppress the smile that formed on her lips at the thought.

She definitely couldn't wait to arrive.


Wai! Wai! Another chapter done. Hope you liked it.

As you see they are closer to Aries now. What will await for them there? You will have to wait to find out.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to review.

See you around.

Shezaei neko