Disclaimer: I, Sokai, do not claim ownership to the workings of W.I.T.C.H. - I leave that honor up to Elisabetta Gnone. Nor do I own one of Takeuchi Naoko's most beloved manga/anime/live action series, "Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon." However, I can and DO claim to own this story and its inspired ideas FROM said series, in addition to the original song, "Starlit Destiny," which may/may not be habitually featured later within future chapters.
Note: Wowwww, has it been a while with this one, huh? A year a few months, in fact . . . since its last update, anyway. A lot has changed in that time, too, that's for sure . . . namely, the recent loss of one of my two super duper extra cute kitties, LeeLee (something which had admittedly made writing Csilla's scenes and her natural feline-like mannerisms both painful as well as comforting for me). . . . So that's admittedly been keeping me in low spirits for a while, naturally.
But finally being able to get past my inactivation, at least where this story is concerned, and re-immersing myself within its usually adventurous world has actually helped cheer me up a bit, coupled by the really wonderful words of support and condolences a lot of you have left for me over on my dA page; each of you are truly a treasure, and I thank you, again for your care and concern.
So I hope that, in return, you'll be able to enjoy this present chapter as a small token of my ongoing appreciation. =)
This chapter was created/written in August 2010, and completed September 2011.
ℓ Act 5 ℓ
It had been several days since Sailors Meridian and Mars had located the next celestial member of their Guardian Soldiers, Sailorjupiter, at the same time that Elyon had met the evasive, yet still kind loner, Will Vandom . . . both of whom had turned out to be one in the same.
Naturally, it had been a bit of a shock for the petite blonde when she had first realized this, initially believing that the new-in-town redhead would have been a mere newfound, general comrade and nothing more, much within the way that Elyon had perceived the quite similar situation regarding Taranee upon their own shared meeting many weeks prior.
Regardless, the turn of events for both scenarios, and for both girls had been welcomed by Elyon, knowing that, despite now having to share a new world which was, at times, full of danger and trepidation lurking about nearly every corner, none of that would do much to dampen the newborn alliance the three soldiers would gradually share because of it.
At least, that was what Elyon had hoped, anyhow. . . .
So far, Taranee continually seemed to be making a conscious effort to incorporate Elyon within her steadily busy and studious life, and not simply for only when it involved their private Guardian Soldier duties. This act was something which always warmed Elyon's heart and made her truly appreciate, as while she still had so much to learn about the shy and brilliant young woman and, vice versa, she was well aware of how that very same timidity did seem to make things difficult at times for the two of them to proceed any further within their blossoming friendship.
Nonetheless, it was a start . . . which was more than what could be said about Will, who seemed to have vanished clear off the face of the Earth, an observation which only further aided within the at times quite consuming, worrisome nature Elyon had adopted since the very last time she had laid her eyes upon the girl. . . .
And it obviously did not help matters much that the final occasion either Elyon or Taranee had been with the extremely guarded teenager was during her simultaneous introduction into a new destiny (about which neither girl was honestly personally sure they could or ever would be fully accepting, themselves), in addition to a severe, emotional breakdown over a private hell the redhead had evidently been keeping bottled up deep within for years on end. . . .
It bothered Elyon greatly to think about (although try as she might not to do as such), to remember how wounded and infantile Will had appeared on that night, an absolutely far cry from the confident and brave stature she had previously exuded, since the pair's very first encounter with one another earlier that same week.
What an absolute downpour of raw emotion she had to have felt in that moment, having dealt with one heavy burden of her own, separate past for so long and barely coping with it, it seemed, only to have yet another burden to be placed upon her, perhaps just as great. . . .
All of this, suddenly finding myself one of many protectors to the entire planet -The leader of them, at that, according to Csilla - when we're all only children is still a bit much for me to deal with, even though it has become a lot better some, now that I'm no longer alone in it. But I don't think that I could imagine being within Will's shoes, having lived the tragic life that she's experienced up until now, and have to now fulfill a duty as a Guardian Soldier, as well . . . especially since people, and being around them in general, let alone looking after or saving them, seems to be pretty much the last thing she'd want to do. I can't blame her. . . . Elyon thought with great morose and an added sigh from where she presently sat, a bit lopsidedly next to a quietly speaking Taranee.
It was now currently a Friday afternoon, and the weekend was finally ahead of both girls to do with as they pleased, and so far, the kindhearted intellectual had chosen to spend some of it properly fulfilling her previously offered services as Elyon's private tutor.
The duo had met up with one another at what was increasingly becoming their favored hangout (much as it had always been between Elyon and Alchemy throughout the years, although obviously not within the newfound, still very much secret 'added perk' of sorts that the enchanted Csilla had taken steps to create for her charges), The Musical Star Café, where they would spend at least an hour's time upon their current lesson.
This agreement hadn't honestly bothered Elyon to come to, figuring that it would have been a rather smart idea to take advantage of getting as much of her weekend homework out of the way as she could, before she settled back into her bedroom sanctuary later on that day, and most probably sulked over what she was now privately referring to 'The Will Dilemma,' straight until the following Monday morning.
But now, she was finding herself feeling increasingly guilty over having decided to allow Taranee to assist her with her studies, given that not one word the academic genius had been speaking over what Elyon had, before zoning out, at least managed to catch to be 'Roots and Exponents,' was even remotely registering.
And given that the young girl had to leave straight after to make it to her tap and jazz session on time, as today was her another one of her dancing lessons days, this only served to further ferment Elyon's guilty conscience.
She was about to speak up and finally own up to her lack of concentration throughout the entire lesson, which, upon looking down at her yellow colored wristwatch wrapped securely around her right wrist in that moment, she then realized was now approaching the thirty minute mark, when Taranee suddenly beat her to it.
". . . . Is something the matter, Miss Brown? I only ask because, given that I do tutor many others besides yourself, I've gotten pretty used to the glazed over expressions some of them might possess during our sessions," she softly commented with an accompanying smile to indicate no hard feelings over the astute observation.
Feeling her milk and honeyed complexion growing warm within immediate abashment, Elyon quickly straightened her posture within her seat, at the same time that she flashed her new friend an apologetic simper of her own.
This had admittedly been the very first smile she had managed to for the remainder of that week, as the woeful concerns she'd continued to feel towards the missing Will were far too overpowering, otherwise. And this, as well, made her feel all the more upset and guilt-ridden, as she was quite positive the absence of her traditionally sunny disposition hadn't gone unnoticed by any of her other companions at school (all of whom, while seeming to have become affected by the foreign behavior, had chosen not to draw much attention to it, perhaps out of quiet respect, leaving Elyon to feel a bit grateful for, as she most likely would have started to cry over the matter if they had).
It certainly hadn't escaped Taranee's attention, the very moment she had laid eyes upon her earlier that afternoon, after days of being unable to since their last battle together as Guardian Soldiers. They had managed to squeeze in a little telephone time the previous evening, however, although it had only lasted for a few minutes and was spent discussing their tutorial plans for today.
Still, even through the decreased amount of time, and natural awkwardness that she, at least, had felt to have been sharing her premiere telephone conversation with the usually bubbly teenager (especially since it had been under the shy girl's own, fairly uncommon initiative, at that), Taranee had nonetheless managed to catch the distinct shift within Elyon's over conduct.
She had been rather tempted to have asked the blonde right then and there that evening if something was troubling her, but had decided against it in the end, mainly because she had heard the greatly strained effort the smaller girl had been making to sound as unaffected about anything at all on the other end of the telephone line.
But it didn't matter.
Taranee already had had a strong inkling of what could have been the matter with the young woman, much as she was even now, as the two continued to sit side by side and surrounded by their mathematical note and textbooks, upon one of the two, always comfortable and spacious couches within the Guardian Soldiers' secret headquarters.
Truth be told, that was the primary reason why Taranee had wanted to schedule a meeting between the two of them of the non-Entity-fighting variety, just in case there wouldn't be any such activity any time soon, and thus their individual weekends carried on without possibly ever seeing one another until the following week.
She didn't want to run the risk of Elyon carrying all of the turbulent emotions she clearly now held within her for that long, without anyone to talk to about it (except perhaps for Csilla, of course, although Taranee wasn't entirely certain yet if the usually knowledgeable feline was also personally aware of her premiere charge's change within behavior) . . . given its rather delicate and thus far rather concealed overall nature.
'Psychic' or no, Taranee had already foreseen that the abrupt and emotionally rattling fallout between the new girl, Will Vandom, Elyon, and herself as fellow Guardian Soldier teammates would undoubtedly rock the pigtailed blonde to her core.
True, she did not know her all too well quite yet, but Taranee already knew one thing for certain about the blue-eyed girl, something which increasingly made the talented teenager feel honestly fortunate to have someone like her within her life: Elyon cared, and she cared a lot, for just about everything and everyone. . . .
And because she did, and with such ferocity, Taranee felt an almost, inexplicable obligation, of sorts, to make sure that anything which could pose a potential threat to obscuring the other girl's naturally compassionate resolve be remedied as swiftly as possible.
Besides, it's the least I could do . . . I mean, given how kind and sweet she's always been with me, and even been concerned about me at times, as well, Taranee silently reflected with another miniscule smile gracing her full-pouted lips at the thought, before carefully placing her sharpened pencil upon the page she had been previously reading from within her thick, white colored textbook, and closed it.
Csilla, whose otherwise usually noticeable presence both girls had for a change admittedly forgotten about, once the trio had entered the magically cloaked predominantly black and white themed lounge area, suddenly appeared from behind Elyon as she gracefully jumped onto the arm of the white colored couch.
Her rich, green eyes seemed rather heavy, as well as watery, as though she had been asleep somewhere within the vast room throughout the entire half hour they all had been there, and the rather generous yawn she then allowed to escape past her furry, miniscule sized lips only added to the general assumption.
"Oh! Ex . . . cuse me, girls," the wise feline apologized in between her fatigued exhale, before gently digging the sharp claws of both her front, as well as hind paws into the arm of the couch where she continued to perch herself, and proceeded to raise her back high into the air as she arched her entire body, in order to give herself a nice, good stretch. "Mmmm. . . . Now, then. What was that I heard about something being wrong with Elyon? I have to admit that I have been wondering that, myself, during the last few days . . . although I might already have a strong understanding as to why. . . ."
Sighing heavily at this, Elyon lightly shook her sunlit colored head before abruptly rising to her feet, succeeding within startling both Taranee, and the mystical animal who'd been formerly on either side of her.
"It's just -! I mean . . . I haven't been able to stop thinking about Will. . . . I mean, everything about her . . . who she is, who she was . . . her past . . . and the fact that she's also now a member of our team. . . . Or, at least, how she was supposed to be," she lightly revealed, voice barely above a whisper and already beginning to crack with presently unshed tears, as she was at last able to voice what had been on her mind and within her heart for what felt like decades. "A-And the worst part of it all is that I don't even know where she lives, so that I could at least go to her house and try to console her! It's been absolute torture going back to school every day since our first battle together as Soldiers, and then never seeing her during lunchtime again. . . . I mean, w-what if . . . what if something happened to her, like another Entity got to her, and that's the real reason why she's stopped coming to school? How could we - How could I possess such so called 'great powers,' and yet still manage to feel so helpless over being unable to help out one of my friends?"
Just simply listening to Elyon finally let out every last one of her stressful concerns, and how much it was clearly tearing her apart, was enough to make Taranee begin to tear up, herself, which then made her silently thankful that the petite girl had thus far opted within keeping her back turned to her two companions, as the sight of the dishwater blonde's undoubtedly puckered up and reddened face so full of heartache would probably be enough to make her break, as well. . . .
Pausing for a moment, allowing for the dual chance for her primary ward to calm down, if only minutely, as well as for her own, extended opportunity to carry out her present thought as delicately as she could (for she was well aware that most definitely Elyon, if not also Taranee, would not at all be keen about it), Csilla softly cleared her throat, before just as gently presenting both girls with an ever present truth about their overall situation.
"I . . . I know that, clearly, what had transpired between all four of us that particular night had been rather . . . tumultuous and sideswiping, at best . . . and maybe one day, very soon, even, the three of us will be able to get through to her somehow and let her know that we can be her friends if only she'll let us be, but . . . the fact still remains that, Will is still a Guardian Soldier, and will be until the very end, regardless of whether or not any of us are successful within fully bridging the obvious gap set between us all at present. . . ." the tiny female cat spoke within a matter-of-fact, almost heartless capacity, although her emerald hued eyes effortlessly betrayed her to reveal the undeniable care she now possessed for her at times flaky and bothersome, but always loyal and true pupil, Elyon.
Despite seeing this for herself, as she currently had the advantage Elyon did not of being seated right next to the fluffy feline, Taranee was nonetheless feeling a bit taken aback by her newfound mentor's words, and knew for absolute certain that Elyon would be, as well.
Sure enough, the blue-eyed girl promptly whirled around within her spot, commonly messy pigtails slicing through the air and briefly slapping at her left cheek and right shoulder as she did so.
"W-What? How could you say such a thing, Csilla? Are you telling me that having Will be 'Sailorjupiter' is more important than having her be all right, a-and maybe . . . maybe even becoming an actual friend one day?" Elyon expressed with profound shock and admitted disgust, something she had never felt towards the mystical instructor before.
She then maneuvered herself around the elongated couch, suddenly feeling the great need to distance herself from Csilla, and headed towards the small kitchen bar area for something to drink, in hopes of calming her nerves.
"You know - Or should know, anyhow, that it is not like that at all, Elyon! Of course I, too, would enjoy it tremendously if things could be swiftly mended within Will's life - Everything. And if her becoming our, or even just your friend, alone, would help in that, then more blessings all around," Csilla began with a sharp exhale, as she and Taranee simultaneously turned within their seats to get a better view of the temporarily retreating Guardian Soldier, "but she still is who she is, as you, yourself, had put it just moments before. At the end of the day, she will still be a Guardian Soldier, and as much as you, and perhaps even she, herself, now, would very much like to have that altered, it cannot be. We have to somehow convince her to take up her responsibilities as Sailorjupiter, for there are no substitutes. . . ."
After having taken a generous sip of the cool and refreshing glass of water she had just then poured for herself from out of the miniature refrigerator, Elyon swiftly wiped at both her mouth and her eyes, in order to free them from the previously afflicting moisture, although each for naturally separate reasons.
"That is not what I meant when I said that Will 'is who she is,' and you know it, Csilla!" she barked within furthered upset, pointing the index finger of her right, free hand straight towards the bluish-gray cat from across the way, whose turn it now was to feel utter disbelief of her own, however over how uncharacteristically forceful the young blonde was currently being.
Throughout all of the already mounting squabbles the two had shared together since the very day they'd first met, none had ever come anywhere close to being as serious as this present disagreement was rapidly seeming to become.
It was certainly a little more than disconcerting, to say the least.
"Will's being a Guardian Soldier only now consumes what she is, just like it does for Taranee and me! But it will never be who she is - Who any of us truly are," Elyon chose to continue from her new place in front of the closed refrigerator, setting down the partially consumed, clear glass of water upon the white counter-top in front of her. She then took a step towards both Csilla, and the ever silent Taranee, watery blue eyes now alight with a fiery passion, a passion, period, which she had not felt in days. "All I wanted was to be Will's friend, well before the 'distinct feeling,' or sensing, or whatever you do whenever looking for the next Guardian Soldier happened about her, Csilla . . . and I still wanted to be the same kind of friend to her even after we'd all found out the truth, just like how I wanted that with you, Taranee. . . . But, even if her being Sailorjupiter and actively helping us to fight would mean the definitive difference between life or death, I . . . I-I still can't force her to join us. I won't, I'm sorry. . . ."
While Elyon's startling, although unmistakable standpoint upon the rather pressing matter had even barely begun to sink in for the two remaining females, she then suddenly moved back towards the twin couches where the pair continued to sit, however only to hurriedly gather up her belongings.
It was witnessing this act which finally jolted Taranee out of her muted daze.
"W-Wait, what are you doing, Miss Brown? Where are you going? We still have another twenty-three minutes left to study," she stammered out, a bit stupidly, against her contradicting, natural brilliance, before promptly choosing to amend herself as she this time carelessly tossed her math book aside in order to stand properly up. "I-If you don't wish to continue, which I can completely understand, given the recent turn of events, w-we can all just stay and try to relax for a little, too! I mean, we could read some more of the latest magazines set up over there, o-or pop some popcorn before listening to a few of Cornelia Hale's music tracks, instead! T-That's the beauty of Csilla's handiwork with this secret room, and the various devices she'd placed within: We can do virtually anything we wish!"
She knew she was admittedly laying it on a bit too thickly within her avid plea to have the emotionally wounded blonde stay, if only just long enough to effectively calm down, so that when she did eventually leave, Taranee, and perhaps Csilla, as well (although the feline, unlike her, had the better advantage of dwelling within the same abode as the girl in question during such times), wouldn't spend the remainder of that day, and maybe even the entire weekend going nearly mad with worry over her state of being.
And she figured that tactfully mentioning the girls' shared interest within the smaller teenager's absolute hero, Cornelia Hale, would be a good step within the right direction at the very least, as the famous singer never seemed to fail within brightening up Elyon's day.
At least, she never seemed to, until today. . . .
". . . . S-Sorry, Taranee . . . but I think I'd just like to head home and be alone for a little while, if you don't mind," Elyon listlessly responded with a small shake of her head, much to Taranee's, and evidently Csilla's demoralization, who then hung her small head low and slowly began to bend her normally pointed ears back within blatant affect. "I'm really sorry to cut our lesson short like this, honestly, and to leave . . . but my head's not honestly within the right place right now, so I couldn't honestly concentrate much anymore, or be the best company to you guys. . . ."
"W-Well . . . at least, would you like us to walk you out, or walk you home or something, instead, then?" Taranee offered her companionship within one last ditch effort to ease the pigtailed girl's ongoing suffering, watching with helpless eyes as she already made her way towards the golden hued elevators which would lead her back up to the café's public entrance and exit.
"No . . . no, I'll be fine. But thank you, though, Taranee, really. . . . I'll maybe call you later this weekend just to check in or something, but if not, have a good weekend, all right? . . . . Be safe. . . ." Elyon replied with a faint, shaky smile of mild reassurance after entering the elevator and turning to face her remaining comrade, while primarily thinking of her missing other upon uttering her final words, just as the metallic doors slid closed.
". . . . Well, that went well, didn't it?" Csilla whispered within saddened defeat, mainly to herself than to Taranee, once her first charge had gone. Taranee, her own resolve feeling rather broken, as well, slowly pulled her gaze away from the once again sealed elevator, and then settled it upon the forlorn cat within sympathy.
It was almost surreal, the last, mere minutes which had just passed, especially now, witnessing Csilla within all her shattered glory.
She was the one who was meant to always remain strong, to have all of the right answers, and to know just what to do. It was admittedly part of the comfort which aided Taranee within her own personal feelings over suddenly having become a savior to all.
And Csilla was also the one who, although with curious tact with the few words said about it, helped place her within the right direction towards her road to better understanding, and perhaps even accepting her natural (or, unnatural, as she always felt them to be) psychic abilities, to the point where she had already secretly begun incorporating meditative activities into her increasingly busy schedule.
Taranee wasn't honestly sure if her newfound efforts were at all helping, or even if it was a correct effort for her particular ability, but the very fact that she was setting out to even try at all spoke volumes for the amount of assistance and guidance Csilla had already provided to the young girl.
And so I'm going to help her, as well . . . as best that I can, anyway. And maybe in by doing so, it will help fix things between she and Miss Brown, thus helping Miss Brown, also. . . . But, how? Taranee thought within a mixture of determination and helplessness all at once, lightly tugging at the end of her habitually French-braided hair as she did so.
And then it hit her.
Without a word, she moved from her place before the still sulking Csilla, and towards the uniquely circular shaped computer, which had been set up near the couches upon the left-hand side of the vast room. Taking a seat at the black colored work desk which housed the ivory hued machine, Taranee immediately set about putting her newly formed idea into motion, a small, but growing smile spreading across her smooth visage.
". . . . T . . . Taranee? What are you doing?" she could then hear Csilla's tiny voice sound from behind her, over the fierce clicking sound effects of the astute girl's skilled typing.
"Well . . . remember a few days ago when you first informed me of your theories about how Sailor V might be our princess? And then how you and I then set about collecting as much research and information about her as we could, either here through the use of the computer, or when you personally had attempted to locate and then track her on foot?" Taranee began slowly, as she was already becoming too engrossed within the apparent investigation she was now conducting to speak within the normal, non-distracted pace she possessed.
Unsure of where her remaining pupil was going with her train of thought, Csilla nodded slowly from her place upon the couch, before swiftly jumping off of it and effortlessly closing the distance between the two of them, as she made her way over to her.
"Yes . . . Y-Yes, of course I do. . . . Are you attempting to resume our efforts? We have not even informed Elyon about it yet, although I had hoped we would have had the opportunity to today, but. . . . A-Anyway, I do wonder how far we may succeed this time, however, as our computer exploration has so far been more successful than my attempts to track her next whereabouts, as you'd mentioned . . . and our computer research hasn't been that much more beneficiary thus far, at that," she replied with a sigh, although she was beginning to sound much more like the traditionally knowledgeable, authoritative, yet benignant Csilla she had always conveyed to Taranee since day one.
And hearing the distinct change within her disposition already only furthered Taranee's growing confidence that she was on the right track with what she was currently planning.
Her warm brown eyes, from behind her dark framed and slender eyeglasses, continued to both scan, then absorb the various pieces of information being displayed upon the white colored computer, before she then spoke once more.
"True . . . our research hasn't exactly been the most fruitful so far, Csilla . . . but then, we are attempting to delve into something which is rather otherworldly, while using means which are . . . or at least, for the most part, anyhow," she remarked with another smile, turning her onyx colored head towards the individual in question, who had just then carefully jumped onto the desk at her right side, in order to get a better view of what the young woman was typing.
Momentarily returning the similar facial expression, Csilla could then feel it begin to fade the moment she'd turned her attention more properly onto the computer screen, to see that Taranee wasn't searching for anything even remotely related to Sailor V at all, but. . . .
". . . . Will? You are attempting to locate Will, instead?" the Russian Blue feline queried with an honest look of perplexity scrawled across her tiny face. "I . . . suppose that I can at least understand your intention, anyway . . . I mean, it had been your suggestion in the first place to try to find out more about Sailor V through the use of the computer and your . . . 'Inter . . . Net' as it's called, but do you really think it can help us locate Will in the meantime? After all, if anyone could find her, it'd be me, and I have not been able to properly sense her since the last time we had encountered one another. . . ."
At this, Taranee promptly stopped typing, and slightly turned within her swivel chair to look upon the bothered cat more properly.
"Wait . . . I thought that you could always sense where all of us are once we've been 'activated,' as it were? Or, at least have a pretty strong idea of who is the next Guardian Soldier, and who is not, if you're within the same vicinity as they are before they've awakened . . . you know, because the seven-pointed star mark upon your forehead also reacts, as well? Isn't that how it's happened for each of us thus far, anyway?" she asked with a small frown of confusion, before softly biting down onto her bottom lip as a new, much more pressing inquiry infiltrated her mind. "If . . . if you can't feel Miss Vandom's presence, then does that mean . . . that is . . . is she -"
"- No, I would definitely know that if . . . 'that' were the case, which it thankfully is not, Taranee," Csilla gently interrupted in order to promptly put the girl's mind at ease. "In fact, there will soon come a time when each of you as Guardian Soldiers, just as you will also be able to discern each of your specific whereabouts, as well, will even be able to sense such an event as that for one another, once you've all fully awakened and your connective bond matures . . . but hopefully none of you will ever need to feel such a morbid sensation as that, of course. . . . No. I believe that the reason I am unable to fully sense Will's current location is mainly due to the fact that, while she has awakened within the same manner as both you and Elyon, she is . . . perhaps managing to suppress it somehow. . . ."
"Suppress it? You mean . . . so it really is possible to stop being a Guardian Soldier, after all?" Taranee thought aloud, her mind already racing over what such a prospect could mean for each of them, and especially what it could mean to Elyon if it were so.
The blonde's new friend would be free to lead as happy a life as she could possibly make it, without having to concern herself with the seemingly never-ending threat to the planet . . . which is precisely all that Elyon wanted for the redhead now.
Possessing quite the strong inkling over where Taranee's current ruminations were currently heading, Csilla calmly then rested her left front paw upon the girl's right hand, which continued to rest casually upon the small computer mouse placed onto the desk, as well.
". . . . I know that all of this, this sudden, and admittedly frightening transition has not been easy for you, Taranee - For any of you. . . . And I imagine that once we've found the remaining Soldiers, it will most probably be quite the alarming eyeopener for the rest of them, as well. . . . I really did mean what I'd said to Elyon earlier about how if I had it within me to change things so that Will, and the rest of you did not have to endure what you have, and will within the near future, then I honestly would," she spoke softly with twinkling green eyes, feeling her tiny heart swelling to twice its size with the ardent attachment she'd already possessed for all three current Guardian Soldiers, in addition to the ones yet to be found. . . .
It was something she had tried so hard to deny at first (although primarily where it concerned the at times exasperating blonde, which, currently unbeknownst to Csilla, was a feeling which was quite mutual on the pigtailed girl's end), perhaps due to moments such as this, where she would have to remind her young proteges, as well as herself, of how their intended legacies could not be changed . . . no matter how much any of them might yearn for it.
Csilla cleared her throat and then lowered her gaze away from the clearly taken aback Taranee, the two of them now sharing the appropriate timidity over the premiere sentimental moment being shared between simply just the two of them.
And even though the bluish-gray feline did want to move on within the conversation, for that very reason, she pressed on in order to finish her final thought upon the matter, feeling it to be far too important to let slide.
". . . . U-Um, but anyhow, I cannot change things for any of you, I'm sorry. . . . I can only do what I can to help guide you within the best of my ability, in order to ensure that you all do your absolute best as the Guardian Soldiers you were each meant to be," she concluded that particular sentiment with a little less conviction than what she'd begun with, before raising her emerald tinted eyes to meet Taranee's brown, as she then returned to the more pressing situation at hand. "But, back to the matter concerning Will, specifically. . . . I believe that perhaps the reason she is capable of subduing her newfound powers and thus, effectively cloaking herself from me for the time being, is because that she, unlike you and Elyon . . . well, by comparison, anyhow, has avidly rejected her position as a Guardian Soldier . . . as Sailorjupiter. . . ."
Beginning to nod slowly within growing understanding, at least over this specific issue, if not the one momentarily discussed prior to, Taranee carefully removed her right hand away from the mouse and from Csilla, in order to interlock it with her left within a light clasp.
". . . . I think I understand your point, Csilla. . . . This is a behavior quite common within the studies of human psychology, for example. That is, if an individual has experienced something so horrific, or traumatizing, to where he or she would wish only to forget it had even occurred, then he or she would then proceed to block it out so excessively and repeatedly, to a point where it's quite honestly as though the incident really hadn't happened at all," she explained carefully, lest the small animal grew lost within her meaning, although she highly doubted it, given that Csilla was rather sagacious, herself, overall . . . even if a few earthly devices did seem to bewilder her at times, at least initially, such as the Internet. "I think that it's highly possible that this is precisely what Miss Vandom has done for herself about the recent change within events. But, perhaps because we are dealing with something rather supernatural, that mental and emotional denial she has placed upon herself for this has now also translated into a blockade for her Guardian Soldier powers. . . . I wonder, though, if this means that if she were to ever be attacked by another Entity from now, until the time we've successfully located her, that she wouldn't be able to transform again?"
I also wonder if her having become a Guardian Soldier hadn't jarred her trying past she'd shared with all of us to the surface as a result, and possibly undid any emotional restraining she may have done in regards to that, as well, Taranee thought a bit pensively, suddenly beginning to ponder over whether or not her trying to locate the troubled redhead was a good idea, after all, as she was now starting to feel just as torn as Elyon, over whether including Will into their enchanted team and trying to get her to actively participate within it was honestly wise, or even worth it.
It just really didn't seem all that fair to her within the long run. . . .
"I'm not honestly sure about that, Taranee, as Will's apparent ability to suppress her already activated powers is quite the impressive feat in and of itself, I will admit. . . . Her willpower truly is one to behold," Csilla allowed herself to openly marvel, already feeling quite impressed with the capabilities the red haired tomboy in question apparently possessed, which made her then begin to wonder just how capable she truly could be as a participating Guardian Soldier. If they ever found, and then successfully convinced her to be, that is. "This is precisely one of the reasons why she must be found, Taranee. That very strength of will she possesses is a key indicator of just how powerful she ultimately could become - How all of you could ultimately become. . . . However, without the proper guidance, I fear she will become a sitting duck for all the forces of evil out there, which are just eager to take advantage of the situation. . . ."
Hearing once more of how the strong possibility of Will becoming a potential target and victim for their vile opponents, yet again, could very well one day soon become an undeniable reality, Taranee decided for herself that helping to find her as soon as possible was what was, for now, their most important agenda.
And so, without another word, she turned back towards the temporarily forgotten computer in order to resume her search, feeling herself working twice as hard as a result.
Csilla, meanwhile, was still a bit curious as to how the young girl would be able to locate the missing teenager, even with her vast intellect on her side to use at her own disposal. And so, she'd then asked precisely that.
"Well . . . unlike the Sailor V search, where, for now, at least, we've mainly been combing through any and all related stock media concerning her, I'm currently attempting to simply locate Miss Vandom's home address, instead," Taranee began to explain upon having listened to Csilla's previous query.
This response, however, did little to squelch the female animal's quest for furthered understanding.
"But, how do you plan to do such a thing, Taranee? I'd imagine that if any of us had possessed Will's address in the first place, we would have established contact with her days ago," Csilla remarked with a tiny, perplexed scowl, tilting her head to one side and lightly swishing her long, slender tail back and forth behind her, as she continued to split her attention between the computer screen and the studious girl next to her.
"True, Csilla . . . but I have to admit that I believe I have heard Miss Vandom's name before," Taranee started, pausing within her search a moment in order to award the furry creature beside her a sheepish look within the corner of her eye. "That is . . . before our first, formal introduction, of course. But it honestly hadn't come to me until today, after the disagreement between you and Miss Brown. . . . So, what I'm trying to do now is to see if anything significant comes up about her - Or, at least her surname, anyway. Although, I have a strong feeling that perhaps her first name will, as well. . . ."
As Csilla silently began to wonder if this hunch of Taranee's wasn't merely due to her clairvoyant capabilities, which were now merely manifesting themselves and beginning to advance further along without her even realizing (which would not honestly be that much of a stretch, that, considering that the bright girl, herself, had already candidly revealed that she was more or less nowhere near close to beginning to understand those particular powers), she suddenly heard the young girl gasp within delight.
Clearly, she had found something valuable.
Turning her attention back onto the sphere shaped computer screen, Csilla could now see what had had Taranee so enraptured. For there, pulled up for the two of them to read, was a rather informative online news article, with the title informatively reading, 'Late Garrick Plaza Hotel Tycoon's Only Child Stands to Inherit Millions, at Only Thirteen-Years-Old' within bold, big, black letters.
But it wasn't that which had immediately caught both females' attention.
It had been the slightly more subtle, at least within size, subtitle which scrawled itself directly beneath its predecessor:
'Thomas Vandom's Young Daughter, 'W,' Now Becomes One of the Youngest CEOs in America, as His Sole Heiress to His Entire Empire.'
Slowly managing to tear their eyes away from the glowing, white computer screen, both Taranee and Csilla could only gaze upon one another with a knowing, yet at the same time taken aback sort of expression, before Taranee then volunteered to read the full article aloud.
"'Thomas Vandom, son of Thomas Vandom, Senior, the original founder of the Garrick Plaza Hotel empire, which extends clear across the United States, in addition to several parts of Canada, leaves behind more than just his family.
The notoriously headstrong, and savvy businessman also leaves behind his entire estate to his only offspring, his daughter, who happens to be only thirteen-years-old.
'W,' as several of her newly acquired attorneys have expressed that she simply be referred to as within the media, due to her young age and uniquely given circumstances, has been appointed her late father's former position within company, making her one of the youngest Chief Executive Officers, or CEOs, within the country.
The news of Mr. Vandom's decision had recently been revealed during a much anticipated press conference Thursday evening, concerning the fate of the Vandom Family's durably established domain, by his long time compatriot, Milorad Sorge.
'As a seasoned co-executive to the Garrick Plaza Hotel establishment, even now, after Mr. Vandom's unexpected passing six months prior, I do intend to remain as such, and to do the best that I can to assist his young daughter within her upcoming and ongoing transition, one which will undoubtedly be trying, to say the least,' he said, upon having been promptly asked what the revelation of both Mr. Vandom's sudden demise, as well as will and testament would mean for him, specifically, and for his own steady position within the company.
As for what it will mean for 'W,' herself, only time will tell. . . .'" Taranee finally finished within her reading without pausing to take a break, then after letting out a rather heavy exhale, while both she and Csilla allowed the newfound information to properly sink in.
Neither of them bothered to offer up any of their own personal thoughts or feelings upon the matter quite yet, although both were fairly certain that nothing honestly needed to be, as the article, itself, had spoken volumes.
It was now increasingly becoming more and more understandable as to why Will would currently be possibly attempting to suppress her newfound powers as Sailorjupiter.
First, there had always been the issue of trying to cope with a family history such as her own, with it evidently having been quite tumultuous, long before her father had abruptly passed away, and her mother willingly choosing to abandon her shortly thereafter.
Then, to suddenly having to grow up all more swiftly, due to the apparently added bonus of unavoidably becoming the frontrunner to a multi-million dollar company during an age where she should have been becoming expectantly more concerned about passing her next school exam, rather than worrying over such dilemmas as which of her thousands of sudden employees would have to be let go.
And now, because there was also the matter of having to face the fact that she suddenly held dominion over such an extraordinary, elemental power, power which was evidently meant to be used against creatures never before imagined, it was nearly an honest marvel that Will was still standing, with such a profoundly chaotic life as hers. . . .
Hesitating for a moment, Csilla was the first to speak again, honestly finding herself secretly wishing more and more that the fate of Will, as well as the rest of the Guardian Soldiers really didn't have to be what it was, and could be rewritten somehow, after all.
". . . . We . . . We had been informed by Will, herself, that the circumstances within her young life up to now had been one to behold, but . . . I had no idea that it extended even farther than what she had personally revealed. . . . I can see why she had chosen to withhold such information from us," she murmured softly with saddened eyes, as they began to re-read the one-year-old article still opened upon the computer screen. "That certainly seems to be a lot of responsibility thrust upon someone so young. . . ."
Csilla found herself trailing off as she realized the strong relativity within her words. It seemed as though nothing but great responsibilities were thrust upon many a youthful individual.
For the rest of the Guardian Soldiers.
Even for the Princess, which was one of the few things Csilla could manage to recall within her curiously, and at times flabbergasting limited memory, an overall fact which she discreetly chose to keep to herself. . . .
"I know. . . . The more we learn about her, the more I feel certain that I could not ever be able to handle any of what she has had to endure, myself," Taranee suddenly replied within agreement, breaking through her mentor's silent reverie and inner, carefully concealed affliction. She then reached out to click upon a link provided at the bottom of the completed article, which evidently led to another, although still relative article about the Vandom Family, and their overall legacy. ". . . . Hmm . . . this one seems to be repeating pretty much what the first article had stated, about how Mister Vandom had passed away and what it means for Miss Vandom, but also goes more into detail about the actual family, itself, more so than the business. . . . It says here that Mister Vandom, Senior, who had started with absolutely nothing and with a limited education, at that, had inevitably managed to create the very successful hotel empire it is known for being today. . . . He had evidently perished almost twenty years prior due to a stroke, thereafter leaving his entire estate to his only son, instead of to his wife, Margaret, Mister Vandom Junior's mother, who is by now also deceased. . . . It seems that Mister Vandom, Junior, had perhaps inherited that particular 'trait' of sorts from his father, as it goes on to state how, when he had left everything to Miss Vandom, he, too, had left nothing to her mother . . . although, I suppose that that's just as well, seeing as Misses Vandom had decidedly gone away. Even this article doesn't seem to know of her current whereabouts, or at least her whereabouts at the time this had been written one year ago, anyway. . . ."
"Indeed. . . . Then I suppose that this followup article definitely settles any lingering doubt either one of us might have had over whether the 'W' Vandom' they had been referring to and our Will are one in the same," Csilla said with small, disapproving shake of her head in regards to the redhead's estranged mother, yet another detail concerning the newly found Sailorjupiter's life which had been rather difficult for the young feline to grapple against. "At least now we know a bit more about her identity. . . . Good work, Taranee. . . ."
Taranee felt her mocha hued cheeks grow a bit flushed within slight embarrassment over the unexpected praise, especially over an otherwise discouraging issue, but she gave a small smile within appreciation towards the furry female next to her, nonetheless.
"Thank you, Csilla. . . . Now, all that's left to do is to make a list of all of the 'Garrick Plaza Hotels' within the area, and see if any one of their employees would possibly be willing to, at the very least, point us within the right direction in regards to where to find Miss Vandom, if they're at all allowed to," she responded with a brief nod of furthered acknowledgment, before returning her attention back onto the computer screen, in order to begin typing in a brand new search.
Csilla lightly frowned at the news.
"An admirable idea, Taranee, but do you not think that doing so will be like trying to look for a needle within a haystack, even if you do manage to pinpoint every last nearby hotel Will's family owns? I mean, it hadn't exactly been all too easy for me to finally locate Elyon when I had first come to this city searching for her, and even after I had managed to sense her presence and figure out where she lived, herself, it was still at times difficult to keep up with her," the magically blessed cat openly admitted within relevance, causing Taranee to promptly cease within her renewed typing.
She, too, then began to scowl in wonder, as Csilla's quite valid point quickly sank in.
"Hmm . . . I suppose you're right about that, Csilla. I mean, without you being able to actively sense Miss Vandom at the moment, and with her lawyers evidently having taken great steps to ensure her privacy and safety, I can't even attempt to properly locate her home address or anything close to that anymore, as originally planned," Taranee remarked within a defeated sort of air, now leaning back within her seat as she then gingerly began to rub at her temples with the both of her hands, after having taken off her glasses. "I'm afraid we're back to where we'd started. . . ."
The concerned pair then sat within returned silence for a few moments, feeling more and more helpless over their debacle as the seconds passed . . . that is, until something abruptly clicked inside of Csilla, it now being her turn at attempting to execute a hopeful plan upon the matter.
"Ah! I do not know why I hadn't thought of this much sooner! Days sooner, to be more precise! I must simply be losing my touch then, it seems!" she suddenly blurted out within excitement, causing Taranee to jump within her seat in surprise, and drop her spectacles onto the floor as a result.
"O-Oh! W-What's the matter, Csilla? What didn't you think of sooner?" the naturally reserved intellect asked within continued jitters, before bending over to retrieve her fallen corrective eyewear. As she did so, Csilla quickly jumped off of the computer work desk, before standing just a few feet away from her.
"How to finally locate Will! The solution had been right there in front of us - Well, in front of me all along!" she offered up as the only sort of explanation, which really hadn't been one at all, before she then curiously closed her eyes and began to seemingly concentrate.
Before Taranee could have ventured another inquiry about the increasingly befuddling turn of events, she then silently watched as the naturally lime green, seven-pointed star upon Csilla's forehead began to glow a more richer shade of olive, much within the way that it had prior to Will's premiere experience as Sailorjupiter.
And as Taranee had carefully replaced her eyeglasses back onto her face, a brief flash of light, the same hue as Csilla's currently glowing forehead occurred, causing the young human girl to turn her head away and shield her eyes within protection.
". . . . There! Now we can use this to aid us within our search for Will!" she could hear Csilla announce with profound eagerness, as well as admitted relief sounding within her small voice, just as Taranee reopened her brown eyes and returned her attention onto the talking feline.
Looking at her once more, she could see that the oddly shaped, and quite mystical birthmark had ceased within its former illumination, although the newfound smile upon the cat's face was currently coming close to rivaling its erstwhile intensity.
It was then that Taranee finally took notice of what looked to be a cellphone carefully placed upon the floor, in between the two females. In truth, it seemed to be yet another iPhone of Csilla's creation, to be more precise, or, 'gPhone' as she called the ones she'd bestowed onto both Elyon and Taranee as gifts not too long ago.
This one, as well, was rather unique within its outer shell, or casing, much within the way its predecessors had been, although being chartreuse in color and possessing various, white hot lightning streaks which intermingled with the soft pink tinted flower petals further decorating the back of it.
And within the very center of the beautiful, overall design, was the dark green, now increasingly familiar sign of the planet Jupiter. . . .
". . . . Miss Vandom's gPhone," Taranee whispered softly within a mixture of realization and awe, watching as Csilla carefully leaned forward to scoop it up into her mouth, before then just as carefully jumping onto her young pupil's lap to place it onto.
Upon doing so, the rather intelligent and gifted feline then nodded within continued happiness, before stating, "Precisely! If you'll forgive my delayed recovery within recalling one of my own creations, I'll explain myself further, now! You see, as I had already explained to both you and Elyon after first presenting your own gPhones to the two of you, they can be used to magically transform yourselves into whatever you see fit," she began within her usual, instructional air, before slowly climbing off of the brown-eyed girl's lap and back onto the black computer desk, leaving Will's presently unclaimed gPhone behind. "However, what I hadn't mentioned to you girls was how they were made from the same energy signature as each of your transformation items, as well. . . ."
At this, Taranee automatically looked down at the ring finger of her right hand, which now habitually possessed the silvery, enchanted band, with the dark red jewel containing her specific Guardian Soldier symbol of Mars.
She then gazed upon Will's gPhone, as she gingerly lifted it up with her left hand, and proceeded to look between it and her personally designated transformation ring, as though trying to piece together the still admittedly unclear puzzle Csilla had previously began to construct.
When nothing had yet seemed to register, Taranee said nothing, signaling for the bluish-gray feline to continue.
"What I am driving at is, because each of your transformation items and gPhones are comprised of essentially the same given energy as your innate powers as Guardian Soldiers, then -"
"- T-Then, in theory, you should be to focus your attention onto Miss Vandom's gPhone here, which would then perhaps resonate with her own Guardian ring, which should hopefully still be with her, wherever that might end up being! I get it, Csilla!" Taranee interjected without being able to stop herself, as her mind had just then latched onto her mentor's own train of thought. She then looked upon the missing Will's gPhone which was still clasped gently within her left hand with a small, relieved smile, as she finally felt all of the stressful concerns which had been brewing within her for what felt like the longest beginning to wane.
That is, until a new, or rather returned thought then fell upon her.
"Oh . . . wait a second. Far be it for me to even pretend to understand absolutely everything in regards to each of our powers, and what they can do, Csilla, but . . . if you've been unable to sense Miss Vandom's location, due to her apparently doing all that she can to keep her newfound powers bottled up inside, basically, then what good will having her gPhone and your new course of action do in the end? I mean, I imagine that having it now really might make your concentration upon her ring, and thus, her, a bit simpler . . . but isn't there a strong possibility that it will simply cease within working, altogether, as well?" Taranee asked within renewed worry, blindly lowering the contraption in question back onto her lap, as she looked upon the green-eyed animal expectantly.
Csilla thankfully shook her head, however.
"Think of it . . . in terms of a sort of tracking device, like that . . . 'GPS' I'm always hearing Elyon's parents going on about," she began studiously, lightly draping her long tail around the bottom half of her body. "It seems to possess the same sort of principle as you Guardian Soldiers, as well as your transformation items. As I'd stated earlier, all of you will one day soon be able to know where your fellow comrades are, as your overall bond as Soldiers grows; however, until that time, being that each of your individual metamorphic tokens are essentially an extension of yourselves, we can use them as a backup locator, no matter if one of you, like Will, attempts to suppress her powers. At least, that is the belief, anyhow. Said powers are inborn, and, especially now that they have recently been awakened, she will be unable to shield herself even from these items, I'd wager. . . ."
"Hmm . . . all right, I suppose. . . . So, now what, exactly? Will you take Miss Vandom's gPhone, and just start concentrating until you finally feel wherever the matching energy signature of her transformation ring is?" Taranee pondered aloud, slowly rising to her feet with the magical device in question still in hand, as she then gave her body a small stretch.
Csilla nodded with a miniscule, yet confident smile.
"More or less, yes, Taranee, although I believe that I should probably head out to that park where we had each last seen her. It was the last place where we know for fact she had been and had used her powers, so I'm hoping that this knowledge will shorten my search time," she revealed calmly, before jumping off of the desk once again, and headed towards the golden elevator in the distance. She then suddenly stopped and turned back around to peer up at her Soldier of Fire a bit quizzically. "Taranee . . . about that park, I seem to recall that it was right across the street from a rather large, impressive looking building. I remember it, I'll admit, primarily due to the fact that it was all white within shade, unlike so many of the other, more beige or brown colored constructions I've seen thus far since arriving within this city. . . . A-Anyway, I'm not entirely certain, of course, but I could have sworn that on the very front was an equally large, golden sign, which I believe had read -"
"- 'The Garrick Plaza Hotel!' Of course! How could I have been so asinine?" Taranee gasped, posing the self-demeaning question more so to herself. "You're right, Csilla! That was 'The Garrick Plaza Hotel!' This state of Florida's riddled with them, just like every other state, I'm sure, but downtown Heatherfield would of course have one there, given that downtown is where a lot of various businesspeople gather for seminars, and such. There is the question of another, mirrored hotel not too far from that one, although it's actually around two hours away and within the next city over, so I don't believe that Miss Vandom had had any sort of business to attend to with that particular one on that day, given the distance. . . . No. If she had been within the middle of perhaps looking over the affairs which had been inherited from her late father, right before that Entity had attacked her, then she most likely would have been doing so with the Garrick Plaza Hotel right across the street from where we'd found her!"
Csilla promptly began to feverishly swish her now elevated tail back and forth through the air within excitement, before performing a small, elated sort of hop, through the use of the front half of her body.
"Indeed! And now, while I'm busy within the park with my findings, you can do a bit of investigating at the hotel in the meanwhile, and -!" the formerly eager feline then cut herself off as she realized what she was saying, curiously gazing up towards the star shaped clock hanging upon the wall directly above the elevator doors. "Oh. No, wait. Perhaps this will need to wait until tomorrow morning, instead, at least the looking after Will's hotel part, anyhow, as you've your dancing lesson at three o'clock today, correct?"
At this, Taranee let out a sharp gasp of alarm, before she too looked upon the silvery clock and saw that it now read a mere nine minutes to three within the afternoon.
"Oh, no! I'd honestly completely forgotten all about that!" she admitted with great shame, surprised with herself that she could have ever gotten so distracted as to temporarily blank out about one of her most cherished pursuits, not to mention the fact that it would have been the first time she would have ever been late to any of her scheduled appointments, period.
She quickly rushed back over to the white colored couch which still housed her now scattered belongings, and did her best to scoop up each one of them as hurriedly, yet neatly as she could.
"I'm so sorry about all of this, Taranee. I can see how much your dancing means to you; I shouldn't have gotten you this involved within the predicament over Will, having already previously been aware of where you needed to be, right after concluding your tutorial session with Elyon," Taranee could hear Csilla apologize from behind her, which immediately made her stop within her cleanup efforts.
A great surge of guilt then washed over the young girl's lithe body, as the female cat's words began to echo within her ears.
True, her dancing activities really did mean a great deal to Taranee, and she always looked forward to each lesson every week. And staying on schedule for her many other daily activities, and the efficiency maintained therein, had also become something she'd admittedly taken a bit of pride within over the years.
She had wanted to help her two new friends, Elyon and Csilla in any way that she could over this particular matter. Neither female had forced or even expected her to, it seemed like, after all.
And besides, wasn't this precisely what I'd always wanted for a long time now, anyway? To experience a little change of pace within my life, and to finally have actual friends who would be there for me, and me for them? Taranee reflectively thought to herself, almost within a reprimanding sort of manner. No. I can't just turn my back on everything now, not when things finally seem to be moving forward. . . .
"Taranee, are you all right? If you don't hurry now, you'll be -"
"- Late. I know, Csilla, and . . . it's all right," Taranee softly interrupted the talking cat with a shy smile, as she turned back around to face her. "After all, as both you and Miss Brown are aware, I attend Madame Isadora's dance classes three days each week, without ever missing even one day . . . well, not counting just recently, when her school had had to be temporarily closed within the aftermath of her Entity Possession. . . . Anyhow, I don't think missing just one class will hurt anything much. And besides . . . right now, this is much more important. . . ."
Csilla's green eyes then began to twinkle with esteemed pride, as she silently marveled at how much at least one of her pupils had already changed in such a short amount of time, whether or not it was yet realized to the young girl, herself.
When Elyon and I had first met her, it would have taken the collective force of nearly the entire city's occupants to get Taranee to actively emerge from out of her shell, or to simply remain within the same room as us, for longer than a few minutes, before promptly excusing herself, she mused with a growing smile upon her face. Now look at her. . . .
". . . . You know, you are a pretty amazing, Taranee, do you know that?" Csilla complimented with extreme sincerity, softly beginning to chuckle upon catching sight of the now taken aback girl's instantly inflamed cheeks. "Yes, it's true. All of the work you'd helped me to accomplish today, and your willingness to do so on behalf of Elyon, who is so beside herself with worry over Will and her present state of being. . . . You are truly a good friend. . . ."
Taranee was absolutely at a loss for words in that moment, which was saying quite a bit, given her naturally vast intellect.
"I-I . . . I. . . ." was all she could muster up by way of response, no longer able to hold the shared gaze between the ever smiling Csilla and herself, as she then looked away. The only thing she could think of then was how lucky it was that Elyon hadn't also been present for such a scene, otherwise she didn't honestly believe she would be able to survive the extreme superfluity she currently felt.
"You're welcome," the Russian Blue feline politely said with an amused nod of her tiny head, taking note that clearly the young teenager's ongoing abashment had presently rendered her mute. And so, until such a time inevitably expired, Csilla then began to walk towards the sealed elevator doors before stating, with an almost beckoning wave of her tail, "Now, then! Let's get a move on, shall we? You may be willing to miss your scheduled lesson for the sake of our team's overall goal, but I'm not willing to let you stay out too late, wandering the streets. Even as a Guardian Soldier, one must still always remain on her toes."
Taranee didn't think she'd ever felt this invigorated within her entire life before. Well, not quite like this, anyhow.
At least, now, she could better understand why so many of her fellow pupils would at times break the rules and choose to go about doing their own thing, on their own time.
It was quite riveting, in truth.
But then, as another truth, she technically wasn't violating any laws or other such extensive rule breaking.
This was for the sake of their slowly, but surely growing Guardian Soldier unit, after all . . . which was why she currently was within the middle of fooling the masses, by impersonating one of the random Garrick Plaza Hotel employees she had fleetingly taken a snapshot of, through the use of her enchanted, red-schemed gPhone.
Granted, it had been a male employee, but an employee, nonetheless, who had just then left the building several minutes prior, when Taranee had hurriedly taken his photograph as discreetly as she could from her place in front of the many parking meters strung along the busy, downtown street right near the entrance.
The young, twenty-something, blonde haired and green-eyed man was evidently on his way to an early dinner, given that Taranee had managed to overhear just a miniscule bit of the brief conversation he'd stopped to have with one of the two, elderly looking doormen, who currently manned the front entrance to the grand, important hotel.
And based upon what she had gathered, the youthful gentleman would not be gone for too long, so if she wanted to get inside of the hotel, collect whatever sort of information that she could about wherever Will possibly could be at the moment, and then get out before the man returned, and received the shock of his life over seeing an unexpected doppelganger to himself lurking about the lobby, she would have to move fast.
Csilla, meanwhile, had opted to stay behind, remaining across the way within the luscious park the large, white establishment continually oversaw.
"Splitting our efforts would be best, I'd wager. Besides, while I may have been able to 'glamourize' what those working at the 'Musical Star Café' had seen, a much smaller locale, I might add, I highly doubt that I could quite successfully accomplish the same with such a vast constitution as that," she had stated upon their arrival into downtown Heatherfield, around twenty minutes or so, after they had vacated the Guardian Soldiers' secret headquarters. "Just be sure to remember to use your gPhone - Discreetly, please - before entering the building, and you should be fine. I will be right here if you should need me, however. Good luck!"
'Good luck,' indeed. Having to actually lie to Gillespie about my dance class being canceled when he'd arrived to pick me up, before then asking him to drop me off here without much explanation as to why had been hard enough for me as it was, Taranee thought with growing nerves, now that the initial exhilaration of the current situation was beginning to wear off. So now, how in the world am I honestly meant to find out anything about Miss Vandom's present location, without raising too much attention to myself - Er, or to 'himself,' rather? I-I mean . . . oh, forget it! If I'd managed to fool those doorkeepers at the front entrance just now by buying the excuse that 'I'd' forgotten something inside, then I'm sure that I can do this! . . . . I hope. . . .
As the magically disguised Taranee walked further inside of the busy, monumental hotel, her newly turned green eyes widened within awe over the overall, interior design of the lobby. The entire room was schemed within the rich, earthy colors of either gold, tangerine or brown, with various pieces of rather expensive looking seating furniture adorning the main area.
Above, the rather high ceiling, uniquely arching at the sides, was painstakingly decorated with intricately designed renaissance, as well as motif-like crafts, while a pair of identically breathtaking chandeliers added a finishing touch with its resilient sparkle, almost resembling millions of twinkling stars within a clear night's sky.
If the lobby looks this gorgeous, imagine how each room must be like, Taranee mused impressively, as she blindly began to take a couple more steps forward towards no place in particular as of yet. Even though her own family was a little more than just slightly well off, themselves, and thus had had the luxury of staying within hotels just as lovely throughout the years whenever on vacation, the undeniable beauty each décor possessed still never ceased to amaze her, nor to ignite her humbled appreciation.
"H-Hey! Back so soon, Rick? Lost your appetite, or something? I sure hope Felicia understands, given that this is, what? Your third date you've missed out on, for some reason or another. Poor gal," Taranee suddenly heard an unfamiliar, deep and mirthful male voice sound from in front of her, which promptly caused her to lower her foreign eyes away from the awe-inspiring ceiling, and onto the brunet newcomer in question.
R-Rick? Is that what that guy's name is? Oh, gosh! What is his name, then, since the two seem to be companions? And 'Felicia?' Is that my - Er, Rick's girlfriend? Taranee frantically wondered to herself, clearly not expecting to be noticed by anyone inside so soon. All right, Taranee . . . you can do this! You take on much more challenging things than this, like fighting powerful, otherworldly creatures on a near day to day basis, for example! This should be no trouble. . . .
"I-I, er, um . . . y-yeah, sure!" the female-hopefully-temporarily-turned-male regrettably heard her newfound male sounding voice squeak out with profound lameness, making her want to almost slap herself within the face right then and there for it.
Well, this is going swimmingly, Taranee thought with a mental groan, especially upon catching the understandably perplexed expression now riddled upon 'her' fellow employee's face.
"Ummm . . . oookay? Are you feeling all right, buddy? You kept saying all morning how you couldn't wait for your date, even though it had to be squeezed in during your shift, and about because how busy both you and Felicia have been you haven't been able to spend much time together, since you've both been working so much lately," the unknown young man revealed to Taranee, or rather, reminded 'Rick' with a raised eyebrow, before carefully stuffing the both of his hands into the pants of the identical, dark gray colored uniform Taranee, herself, also magically adorned.
Taranee immediately nodded eagerly at this new piece of information, feeling thankful over how forthcoming the stranger was thus far being, making her job of winging it that much easier.
Of course, all of this would be one thousand times easier, if only I could use my rather irksome clairvoyant gifts on command, she thought with a small frown, before verbally responding to the still personally unidentified young man.
"Right! No, of course that's what I said . . . pal! It's just that I'd . . . forgotten my wallet! Of course! Nerves and all that, you know!" she'd somehow managed to force herself to lie yet again, the third time that day thus far, and three more occasions than she honestly had within a month's time, if at all. "Can't have dinner without money, right? So, I'm just going to go get my wallet then! See you!"
And before the 'other man' could have said another word, Taranee gave a quick wave of goodbye, before immediately maneuvering around him and headed further down the lobby, towards the small line of silver elevators, sandwiched in between what looked to be two hotel check-in desks, and one Concierge Station set across the room from one another.
'He must really be nervous over making it on time and not letting Felicia down again,' Taranee suddenly heard the young brunet's deep voice unexpectedly echo within her head as she continued on her way, which caused her to abruptly stop within her tracks and heave a tremendous sigh of aggravation.
". . . . Of course it decides to activate itself now, now that that unbelievably awkward conversation is over. . . ." she softly muttered to herself within mild vexation in reflection to her still, quite unpredictable psychic abilities. "Still . . . I suppose now is as good a time as any to practice consciously using them, though. It would speed things along. . . ."
And so, as much as it did still bother her some to have the thoughts of others within her mind, even if now she would attempt her hardest to control when and for how long this time, Taranee cautiously made her way towards the concierge area on the right hand side of the lobby.
She figured that if anyone would potentially know anything about any sort of goings on behind the scenes concerning Will's owned hotel, it would most probably be those particular caretakers.
But, first, I should probably drop this disguise, shouldn't I, since it's already garnered so much unwanted attention, the cloaked, studious young woman pondered within affliction, as she made her way closer to the fairly busy, gold marble front desk, where a presently lone, middle aged woman, who was tall, although also a bit portly looking, stood with stoic precision.
Her uniform was distinctly different from a few of the other, primarily grayish colored forms of attire Taranee had seen several of Will's busy hotel staff scurrying around within. Instead, it was entirely black, with the woman's torso carrying a smart blazer with gold buttons, which concealed the contrasting white colored dress shirt and canary tie underneath. And as she got a little bit closer, Taranee could also see that the clearly authoritative woman wore matching black dress pants, and that her auburn tinted hair was pulled straight back into a mercilessly tight bun.
Admittedly, seeing the female concierge's rather stern face made the undercover Guardian Soldier want to rethink her next course of action, and wondered how any of the establishment's guests, past or present, could have ever gone to this woman for various pieces of information.
Shaking her masculine, blonde colored head, as though to jimmy those hesitant thoughts away, Taranee then slowly reached into her uniform pant's pocket for her safeguarded gPhone, in order to take a new picture of another random individual, when the possible tyrant in question immediately spotted her.
"Evidently your little rendezvous was not as urgent as you had painted it to be earlier today, Mister Baker," the woman said, rather uninterestedly, in spite of the deeply hardened gaze she then awarded to the surprised, glamoured young woman which told otherwise. "Am I to assume, then, that I can count on you, after all, to assist within final preparations for tomorrow's environmental fundraiser, or would you like more time?"
I just had to pick an individual who seems to be quite the popular one around here, Taranee thought to herself with a nervous exhale, releasing her former hold upon her gPhone, just as the older woman in charge left her post from behind the currently relaxed desk area and approached her.
"Oh! U-Um, the fundraiser! I wish I could help, but . . . like I'd told you, I have that dinner date to get to! I'm only back for my wallet! Forgot it! N-Nice talking with you, ma'am!" Taranee stammered for the second time since her arrival to the rather prosperous hotel, before attempting to flee the scene, heading towards the lobby bathrooms she'd just then spotted within the not too far distance over the leering woman's head.
''Ma'am?' Since when is he one for respect? Usually, he just always refers to me as 'Carli,' instead of my full name, 'Carlita.' He could, at the very least, get that right, if he refuses to try calling me by my last name, as I do for him,' Taranee blinked in surprise as her telepathic abilities once again kicked in, this time making her privy to this particular individual's thoughts.
"Carli! Right, okay! See you later, Carli!" Taranee quickly attempted to amend herself, or 'Rick,' rather, as she whirled around to face the evidently boggled woman. She was beginning to feel increasingly sorry for the real Rick, once he'd returned to work and was undoubtedly met with the barrage of flabbergasted inquiries his co-workers would hurl his way regarding his bizarre behavior.
Sorry about that, Rick, the otherwise intellectual young girl silently apologized, fleetingly lamenting that her psychic, so called talents did not seem to be a two way street, so that the young man could hear her thoughts in that moment.
"W-Where are you going, Mister Baker? The employee lockers are within the basement area, or did you foolishly leave your wallet within the Men's Room, instead?" the woman unknowingly having revealed herself to be name Carlita heatedly asked, the confusion she felt over her co-worker's curious behavior clearly reflecting upon her lightly freckled face, as Taranee continually gazed back at her. "I've no time for this! Either go retrieve your belongings and return to your little outing, or remain here and help Miss Johnson and some of the other hotel managers complete their prepping of the hotel's courtyard for tomorrow's venue!"
With that, Carlita abruptly turned on her heel, a bit too unseemly, she must have felt, for she momentarily stopped herself, in order to smooth down the front of her ebony colored blazer and gently tuck at its sides, before resuming her now, slow paced walk back to her station.
. . . . That was close. . . . Hmm . . . but wait a moment. . . . She had earlier mentioned something about a fundraiser being held here tomorrow, and again just now. Surely, that should be something Miss Vandom, herself, might be personally involved within, Taranee began to mentally deduce, before hurriedly ducking behind a large, nearby pillar to the side of the Concierge's Station. But I don't think I'll take a chance at verbally inquiring about it, just in case, not unless I want the poor man I'm horribly impersonating to get fired. . . .
And so, with a fairly deep, concentrated inhale, then exhale, Taranee slowly closed her eyes as she then began to focus all of her mental attention onto the demanding and authoritative woman.
Almost immediately did a slew of foreign thoughts savagely bombard the young girl's mind, as she'd had a feeling might happen. It at least had upon the last two evenings she had attempted her newfound, self-appointed clairvoyant exercises, during which time she had attempted to focus solely upon the thoughts of her mother, but instead found herself effortlessly being infiltrated by the mental renderings of what sounded to be that of her next door neighbors.
When this had occurred not once, but twice, Taranee had admittedly thrown in the towel for the time being, feeling that perhaps she was simply way in over her head about her chosen methods. However, now, after quite the emotionally revealing afternoon she'd thus far experienced, she wasn't so sure she would be so willing to give in as easily . . . no matter how intimidating her telepathic abilities honestly were.
And so, with a deepening scowl, as she willed herself to push past the unwanted, miscellaneous thoughts of presumably all those presently around her, Taranee nearly gasped and broke her newly reinforced concentration the very moment she could hear nothing . . . nothing but one voice, that is.
'. . . . I certainly hope the nice weather expected for the weekend will keep, otherwise our 'Nature's One Hope Fundraiser' will be an absolute washout,' the serious woman unknowingly sounded within Taranee's head, evidently not being as serious where her thoughts were concerned, given her lightly humorous tone and obvious pun. '. . . . I do wonder if Miss Vandom will be attending, though. I do not believe that I have not seen her enter nor exit the hotel's premises for days now . . . at least, she hasn't seemed to leave her Junior Suite, anyway, based upon the sudden lack of housekeeping rotations being recorded for her room, according to Miss Johnson. . . . I wonder what's gotten into her so suddenly - Well, not that she had ever been quite the social butterfly ever since she'd first moved into the hotel, but still. . . .'
With a sharp gasp, this time allowing herself to do so, Taranee's temporarily green eyes flew straight open upon having finished her mental eavesdropping upon the unsuspecting, middle aged woman, and, without hesitation, immediately rushed towards the nearby restrooms in order to privately revert back to her God-given form.
So, she does make her presence known to this particular hotel, like Csilla and I had thought! Evidently, she even lives here, as well! the now thoroughly excited Taranee thought, feeling quite pleased with herself, both for having finally seemed to solve the mystery of Will's previously unknown whereabouts, in addition to achieving a milestone, where her clairvoyant abilities were concerned.
She was so enthralled with her personal triumph, in fact, that she hadn't honestly realized that she had chosen the thankfully empty Men's Room (which, technically speaking, given her present physical state, did make a bit of sense), until after she'd re-emerged from her chosen stall, upon returning back to normal after magically concentrating for a few moments in order to do so.
For it was right then that her returned brown eyes met with the utterly flabbergasted blue of the brunet, unnamed companion of the blonde haired man she had been pretending to be up until that point.
"O-Oh! Sorry about that! I-I –!" the French-braided girl promptly trailed off, as the dual realization set in that not only had she already seen this particular man before, but she was seeing him again within a setting she had absolutely no business ever being within.
Taranee immediately wished that she could rush back into the empty stall behind her and reactivate her former disguise to hide behind, or to simply hide within the stall, itself, altogether.
". . . . U-Um . . . this . . . is the Men's Room . . . right?" the brown haired hotel employee softly murmured, more so to himself than to the now absolutely mortified Taranee, who promptly nodded within agreement.
"Y-Yes! Of course! Silly me! I . . . I g-guess it's time for a new prescription for me! W-Well, excuse me, sir!" she somehow managed to cover, smiling sheepishly as she reached up to tap at the newly returned eyeglasses upon her face in reference, before swiftly maneuvering around the taken aback young man and vacated the area.
Taranee let out a loud exhale, which was really more so a cross between a sigh, and a squeaking sort of scream upon exiting back into freedom, clutching her head with the both of her hands before shaking it back and forth within disbelief.
"Oh, my God . . . I don't think I'll ever be able to forget about this day for as long as I live," she whispered heatedly to herself, still remaining off to one side in front of the recently escaped Men's Room.
The only thing she could honestly count her blessings over, in regards to that nightmarish incident, was that there hadn't been any other males to come into or out of the restroom to also bear witness to her social travesty.
Lesson learned, and applied: I am never choosing another male as my glamouring disguise ever again, the Guardian Soldier of Mars dryly reflected silently as a final thought upon the unadventurous stunt, before slowly beginning to gather her composure, as she refocused upon the grander, far more important situation at hand. Now to find Miss Vandom's hotel room . . . which should most likely be at the very top of the hotel or close to, being a Junior Suite. I just hope that she'll be there, and willing to hear me out. . . .
It was certainly a good thing that Will had had enough presence of mind to have gone grocery shopping not too long ago, or else she probably would have starved by now. There was room service, naturally, but seeing as that would have involved having to directly interact with another human being, that was most definitely out of the question.
As far as she was concerned, if she never encountered another living person again, she would be just fine with that . . . and after the trying and further life-altering evening she had experienced just three days ago, she highly doubted she could be found at fault for that.
". . . . I never asked for any of this to happen to me . . . for this entire freaking life to happen to me," the brooding, admittedly cowering redhead muttered to herself from where she lay, flat upon her back within her dimly lit living room of her Junior Suite.
Will slowly raised her right, slender hand up to her face and stared, almost vacantly, upon it, before beginning to lightly trace a small circle upon the ring digit with her left index finger. Then, she carelessly dropped both appendages back at her sides before lethargically tilting her fiery red head to the right, where her presently glazed over brown eyes looked towards her computer desk across the way . . . or, more specifically, underneath her computer desk.
For there, resting crookedly off to one side from where it had landed days earlier was the illustrious, yet frightening silver ring, which had been inexplicably bestowed onto her by the equally inexplicably speaking Russian Blue feline . . . Csilla.
Elyon Brown's cat. . . .
Will's formerly neutral countenance then began to scrunch up, into an expression filled with a multitude of increasingly unchecked emotions over the specific evening she had been doing her absolute best to forget about altogether.
She felt afraid.
She felt angry.
But mostly, she felt confused.
Confused as to why it had to be her . . . why she had to have been chosen to be a . . . what had Csilla called it?
A 'Guardian Soldier.'
And now, she was just expected to take the helm as the one known as 'Sailorjupiter,' where she would then have to spend every waking moment, of every single day and for God only knew how long, protecting the innocent, and battling against more nightmarish creatures like the one she had barely survived against that night. . . .
"No, thank you," Will whispered harshly to herself with a small shiver, realizing just how much of a coward she both sounded and was acting like, the way she had just turned tail, run off from Elyon and her friend, before having decidedly begun to effectively camp out within her living quarters for days on end.
But, in all honesty, she didn't rightly care.
True, she had gone up against greater hardships, she supposed, and had somehow managed to make it out on the other end. And she had done it without minimal, to no complaint.
But this, this was a completely different ballpark, a supernatural ballpark, at that.
Now this was simply asking far too much of her.
Something had to give. . . .
As Will was about to roll onto her side, freeing herself from the enchanted ring's persistent glare, if only temporarily, there was a sudden knock upon her door, causing her to nearly fall off of her couch, altogether.
". . . . W-Who is it?" the redhead managed to croak out within inquiry, it being the very first time within days where she had bothered to raise her voice any higher than a soft, murmuring whisper.
Who could it be?
The last individual who had attempted to come bother her had been one of the revolving housekeeping employees around two days ago, before Will had then promptly exercised the use of her 'Do Not Disturb' sign to the fullest extent of her power, thereafter.
If she ever left her hotel room again, she would have to remember to leave a note at the front desk, explicitly requesting ceased hotel services of any kind, until she personally indicated, otherwise. . . .
Will was honestly about to search for a paper and pen to begin drafting up the letter right then and there, when a soft, unsure sounding and female voice permeated through the sealed, dual entrance and exit, and then wafted into the room before she could.
". . . . I-It's me . . . Taranee Cook. I am . . . uh . . . an associate of Miss Brown's? We'd met the other day in front of the 'Musical Star Café,' i-if you can recall," said the disembodied voice who'd then revealed herself, seemingly struggling, quite difficultly, to find the right words to say, as though afraid that anything less would possibly ensue a riot of sorts.
And with good reason.
Will just then remembered Elyon's friend's name.
". . . . I don't know how you found me, but I don't care! Just leave me alone! I'd already told all of you my position about . . . that," she hissed with a generous, resentful frown formulating upon her naturally tanned complexion.
She was about to let that be the end of the matter, when a sudden, new thought then occurred to her.
Turning away from the front door, Will quickly moved over to her computer desk, crouched down, and tentatively retrieved the Jupiter-symbolized ring.
She'd never again wanted to touch that piece of . . . cursed jewelry, and her deepened scowl and now wrinkled up nose effortlessly reflected that. But seeing as she was suddenly being presented with the presumably rare opportunity to be rid of both it and the individuals who wanted so desperately for her to hold onto it, then far be it for her to pass it up.
Will did her honest best to block out the eerie, yet oddly comforting sort of warm sensation the ring seemed to be bestowing onto her right hand, which was currently clenched firmly around it, as she made her way to the main door of her Junior Suite and quickly swung it open.
"Here! Take -!" the tall, red haired tomboy began hotly, before abruptly cutting herself off upon locking eyes with the understandably startled Taranee.
But it wasn't that sight which made Will stop herself.
It was the undeniable concern and . . . compassion shining forth from them.
Concern and compassion for her. . . .
She's just like Elyon. . . . Will thought within relative reflection, slowly lowering her clenched right appendage to her side, as she then also lowered her gaze away from the French-braided girl standing before her.
Hesitating a moment, Will softly cleared her throat before awkwardly stating, ". . . . You can come inside . . . for a little while, at least. . . ."
Maybe she was now allowing the still pretty unfamiliar girl entry into her domain because she felt a bit sorry for her, having come all that way to speak with her before having previously been turned away.
Or, the more likely reason (which she wasn't in any sort of rush to openly admit to herself), maybe it was because she merely wanted the sudden company.
Whatever the true reason, there Will now was, closing her abode's front door after the both of them, and preparing to entertain her very first guest since she'd moved into the suite . . . her first guest in quite a long time, period, actually. . . .
It doesn't matter. I'm just going to give her five minutes to say whatever it is she came here to say, then send her back on her way, with this stupid ring, she thought with a determined resolve, slowly unfurling her right hand to reveal the piece of jewelry in question, which still continued to queerly emit its tepid ambiance, as it rested upon her smooth palm.
". . . . Want something to drink?" Will suddenly heard herself ask within offering to the timid looking girl standing rather stiffly before her, surprising the both of them as a result.
What the hell is wrong with me? Now I'm suddenly willing to play proper hostess to this girl, too? I must really be losing it, she silently taunted herself, catching sight of the blatantly taken aback expression upon Taranee's face.
She, too, seemed to be silently grappling with her own thoughts and emotions just then, as she paused for a few moments, biting down onto her naturally pouted lip before finally responding.
"O-Oh, um . . . if you don't mind, then . . . t-thank you," the raven haired girl quietly replied with a faint smile of polite acceptance, awkwardly clasping her slender hands together in front of her as she patiently waited.
Seeing this, Will lightly gave a small scoff before she then couldn't help but to smirk momentarily.
"You don't have to just stand around like that the entire time, you know . . . you can go take a seat anywhere you want in the living room there behind you," she calmly instructed with a quick wave of her left, free hand within indication, before stepping around the now blushing Taranee in order to head into the adjacent kitchen.
"R-Right! Of course!" the blatantly shy girl said with a firm nod of compliance, before slowly moving further into the redhead's private domicile. "You . . . have a lovely home, by the way. . . ."
Will, who was then hunched over in front of the fully stocked, medium sized refrigerator, lightly stiffened a bit upon hearing the honest compliment.
". . . . Yeah . . . if you can even call it that," she muttered underneath her breath with a small, momentary frown, before reaching into the cool fridge to retrieve two chilled, unopened bottles of spring water, both at the same time with just her left hand, as she had yet to realize that she was still holding onto (and a bit possessively now, at that) her Guardian Soldier transformation ring with her right.
It wasn't until she'd had to close the refrigerator door with one of her bare feet that Will had at last taken notice of this, and let out a rather annoyed exhale as she did so.
". . . . D-Do you need some assistance, Miss Vandom?" Taranee tentatively asked upon hearing the other girl's struggle from behind, before then beginning to turn within her chosen, single seat which faced away from the kitchen.
"No, I don't need any assistance, Taranee . . . not for this, anyway," Will flatly responded, frowning deeply at the ring of Jupiter still within her hand, before she finally released it from her unintended, prolonged grasp, and once again carelessly tossed it aside, this time onto her kitchen counter.
Taranee, who did appear to observe the act, said nothing about it, as she instead turned back around within her seat and politely took the bottle of cold water Will had then extended out to her upon approaching.
"Thank you. . . ." she said quietly, before then simply cradling the bottle within her hands as she propped it gently upon the slate gray and plaid skirt of what appeared to be her school uniform. Will, meanwhile, promptly snapped open her own bottled beverage and took a healthy swig of the clear liquid, as she sat back down onto her couch.
She hadn't honestly realized just how thirsty she was until after she'd offered up the drink to Taranee in the first place, and if the girl hadn't come at all, Will didn't realistically believe that she would have realized any time soon, either.
Time sure does fly when you're busy thinking about how much your life truly sucks, the redhead thought with embittered sarcasm, upon taking another, long sip of her water, brown eyes silently observing the studious looking girl at her right side.
The two of them certainly seemed to resemble that of night and day right then, where appearances were concerned, at least. With Taranee's neatly done French Braid, elegant eyeglasses, smoothly ironed academic uniform and polished shoes to match, Will presently looked as though she belonged out onto the streets by comparison.
Since she hadn't bothered to return to her own school for the remainder of that week, not quite yet feeling anywhere close to ready to re-immersing herself within human society, Will hadn't seen any reason to actively groom herself, and, as a result, her at times unruly Bob-styled hair had become all the more unruly, her usually wrinkled frog decorated night shirt and shorts had become that much more wrinkly, and her normally sheltered feet were now becoming increasingly soiled underneath.
In summation, Will now looked every bit of a mess outside as she continually felt on the inside.
And now that she had stopped moving around long enough to be properly looked upon, Taranee seemed as though she was now thinking along the same lines, herself, as she then teetered between wanting to hold the redhead's gaze and also wanting to break it, as though afraid that her eyes would somehow betray her.
But they already had, from the very moment the young girl walked through Will's door. . . .
I don't know whether to laugh or scream at this girl's ongoing sympathy, the guarded teenager acridly thought, before setting down her already half empty bottle of water onto the coffee table before both girls. I don't need nor want her pity. . . .
"B-But I'm not trying to pity you!" Taranee unexpectedly blurted out before she could perhaps stop herself, causing both females to gasp within alarm at this and for her unopened beverage to fall onto the floor by her feet. "T-That is, I, er -"
"- What did you just say?" Will pressed within inquiry, brown eyes now watching the now stammering girl like a hawk, as they immediately drained themselves of their previous, deadened luster, and flooded with a mixture of anxiousness, as well as intrigue.
"I didn't say anything! W-Well, that is, I didn't say whatever it is you think I'd just said . . . because I really didn't!" Taranee attempted to lie within a fruitless effort, waving one hand into the air within dismissal, while blindly bending over to retrieve the temporarily discarded bottle with the other.
Evidently, misleading others did not seem to be the girl's strong suit.
Will shook her disheveled head, and frowned deeply.
"Nooo . . . don't give me that. I'm pretty positive you just said that you 'don't pity me,' like I'd just told you not to or something . . . which I did . . . but not aloud," she revealed within avid suspicion, placing great emphasis upon her final word.
This only seemed to unravel Taranee all the more, as she couldn't even seem to be able to place her bottle of water onto the coffee table, her hand was that shaky.
When she saw that the other girl wasn't in any sort of rush to respond, Will, swiftly reaching out to seize Taranee's fumbling hand with the both of her own in order to properly steady it, heatedly asked, "What is going on, Taranee? How did you know what I was just thinking? Is it . . . is it some sort of freakish side effect I'm now experiencing to having transformed into . . . 'Sailorjupiter' that night? Am I now unwittingly able to project my thoughts into the minds of others, or something? Because that is the last thing I need right now! Things are crazy enough in there for just myself to handle, let alone an entire city!"
Will was well aware of how foolish she sounded in that moment, and on any other given day, she would have deemed herself potentially certifiable to having said such a thing. But given that the new world she had recently been thrust into was rather certifiable, itself, it was quite acceptable now.
Plus, with the added bonus of now suddenly being able to send my thoughts to others, who could blame me? she mused before she could stop herself, before silently cursing at herself as she sheepishly gazed upon a still visibly shaken Taranee.
". . . . You didn't just hear that one, did you?" Will questioned aloud, slowly pulling her hands away from a greatly abashed Taranee, who thankfully shook her head in response. "Oh, thank God. . . . Well, wait . . . why is it that you could hear my first thought, but not the one I just had now? Ow, my freaking head. . . ."
Biting down onto her lip, apparently more so to muddle the small, but growing smile which then began to form onto her face, than within a few collective thoughts of her own, Taranee softly stated, "W-Well . . . I suppose it's because I've admittedly not yet mastered my . . . Clairvoyance?"
Will stared blankly at the shorter girl adjacent to her at this.
". . . . Your . . . Clairvoyance? Wait . . . your clairvoyance? As in, it isn't me who's suddenly the one who can do all sorts of mind-reading tricks?" she asked within momentary surprise, before promptly slouching back against the couch with a great sigh of relief. That is, until the other girl's previous words sunk in a bit more properly. "Hold on . . . you mean to tell me, then, that . . . you . . . that is . . . you're a Psychic?"
Taranee looked upon Will as though she had suddenly grown a second head, seeming to be unsure of precisely how to gauge her reaction to a normally uncommon and unbelievable truth . . . which, of course, the redhead probably would not have been willing to believe, even now, after all that she had recently been through, had it not been for the pair's brief mental connection just moments before.
". . . . Yes, Miss Vandom . . . although I don't believe I've ever honestly actively given myself that label before, personally, in all of the years that I've been aware of said ability," the raven haired girl timidly announced, softly ringing her slightly moist hands together within her lap.
Will raised an eyebrow within curiosity at this.
"'Years?' So . . . what, you're telling me that it wasn't some side effect to your being a . . . a Guardian Soldier, yourself?" she asked, her mind then beginning to visualize the shy girl's alter-ego of Sailormars, whom she had met only fleetingly the other night.
Tilting her neatly combed head to the side a moment, Taranee then slowly lowered her brown eyes within obvious discomfort.
". . . . Truth be told, I hadn't honestly intended upon sharing this with you once I'd arrived here . . . well, at least, not yet, perhaps," she began quietly, nervously shifting within her seat, "but no . . . it isn't a 'side effect' to having become a Guardian Soldier, although I can perfectly understand how or why you would think so, both aspects being quite the supernatural feats, after all. . . . Y-You see . . . for as long as I can recall, I've simply always been able to . . . I guess sort of sense things on and off. . . . You know, if something were about to happen, then I've just always been able to know about it before anyone else . . . just like I've also always been able to know what other people are thinking, as apologetically demonstrated to you just now, as well. . . . Between the two abilities, this one has always been the more troublesome one for me. . . ."
"Yeah . . . I'll bet," Will remarked within honest sincerity, her relaxing nature seeming to not have gone unnoticed by Taranee, whose own demeanor gradually became much more lax, as well. Her facial expression had also appeared to free itself from the emotional bonds of unsettling woe, most likely over whether or not the redhead would at least be receptive to her admission, if not fully accepting.
"Y-Yes. . . ." Taranee said with a small nod, willing herself to chance another, quick glance within Will's continually attentive direction, before returning her gaze back onto her now dry hands. "It isn't honestly all that simple, really . . . I mean, even though I've had this ability for the longest time now, it hasn't meant that I've been able to control, let alone fully understand it. . . . That's why I truly am sorry for intruding upon your thoughts like that, Miss Vandom . . . it just suddenly happened, much like it usually does, on its own. . . . But, at least now, it seems, with Csilla's guidance and support, I just might soon be able to -"
"- So then that ability of yours really does stem from being a Guardian Soldier," Will suddenly interrupted with a small frown and folding of her partially bare arms, the moment the mystical feline's name was mentioned.
At this, Taranee looked up within undeniable surprise, raising both of her smoothly waxed, dark eyebrows for a moment before speaking once more.
"Hmm? Oh, well . . . I suppose that that could be true . . . but then I suppose it couldn't be, as well," she partially revealed with a bit of cryptic unwillingness, which only served to further muddle Will's new train of thought.
"What does that even mean?" the redhead voiced within naturally confused inquiry, reaching up to lightly rub at her right temple.
Seeing this, as though the act was one she, herself, had done within relation to the same matter, Taranee softly smiled at the other girl within a mixture of ongoing shyness, as well as sympathy . . . for this regard, at least.
"I wholeheartedly understand how very perplexing all of this - And I do mean all of this is for you, Miss Vandom," she started with a nod of her French-braided head for added emphasis, "and I definitely don't pretend to fully grasp its true nature, myself, but . . . according to Csilla, my being Sailormars, and having these psychic abilities, isn't entirely that surprising to her to have learned after I'd had shared this information with both she and Miss Brown not too long ago. . . ."
Will couldn't help but to roll her eyes at this, aware of how increasingly rude her overall behavior was becoming.
"Right. And you bought into it?" she asked with an incredulous air, now leaning forward within her seat and taking on a hunched over position. "What I mean is, you're telling me that that cat said that to you, after you'd willingly revealed this unusual . . . talent, I guess, to her? She probably only said that just so you'd be all the more willing to be the Guardian Soldier all of you so desperately want me to be. . . ."
It was now Taranee's turn to scowl a bit, as she paused for a moment, as though silently wondering if perhaps Will's viewpoint did not bear any sort of validity to it.
". . . . I guess I can see your stance upon the matter . . . and if I were in your shoes I would probably attempt to deduce the same sort of logic . . . but I'm not you. . . . The fact of the matter is, this . . . gift of mine was something I was evidently born with, obviously long before both Csilla, and Miss Brown had come into my life, as well, and changed it forever by informing me of my role as a Guardian Soldier," she explained, a bit indignantly, clearly not having been expecting to have to defend the abilities which she, herself, openly admitted to not being all too confident, or even super fond of.
This made Will briefly wonder the sort of reaction Elyon had had once she had finished listening to the undoubtedly mirrored tale of the reserved girl. Judging by Taranee's current display, coupled by what the redhead relatively knew about the petite blonde, Elyon had most likely automatically accepted all of it, before then eagerly offering up her unwavering support.
. . . . Like she had tried to do for me, Will thought with a bit of filtered in guilt, before promptly mentally waving it away from her mind, lest it consume her, or, worse yet, Taranee telepathically caught wind of it.
She didn't seem to, however, as she then merely cleared her throat, before reaching out for her momentarily forgotten bottle of water and at last deciding to open it. As she did so, Will decided to then take it upon herself to resume the helm of the rather bizarre conversation.
"Look . . . I'm sorry if I've offended you, Taranee," she said lightly, sliding back her arms onto her slight, stubbly legs, which caused her face to grow a bit warm, as she then realized that she also hadn't bothered to shave within the last few days, either. "A-Anyway . . . all I was trying to say was that, maybe because you've evidently been so confused about how you've received your abilities and why, you might have been all too willing to receive anything as an actual explanation for it, including your having been chosen as a Guardian Soldier. . . ."
Slowly lowering the modestly drained water bottle away from her lips before recapping it, Taranee set it back down onto the coffee table as she spoke, "I . . . suppose that that's also a valid observation, as well. . . . And, in furthered truth, Csilla hadn't revealed anything more about it, the relation between my clairvoyant traits and being Sailormars, either, even after I had asked her to. . . . She hasn't honestly revealed all that much about anything related to us all and of our newfound roles as Guardian Soldiers, except that, besides having to protect the planet from a currently unknown evil, our true mission is to locate our lost princess, whom we are also meant to safeguard. . . ."
Upon listening to this, Will couldn't help but to immediately begin laughing, even though she knew that it would most likely come off as being rather insensitive within the eyes of the other girl. Surprisingly, however, Taranee softly began to chuckle, herself, evidently finding the topic to be rather comical, as well.
"Y-Yes, I guess it really does sound pretty far fetched, doesn't it? . . . . Did I also mention that we're currently in the middle of tracking down a treasured jewel of sorts, as well, called the 'Mystical Star of Threbe' - Which apparently belongs to the Princess - and is coveted by the very unidentifiable evil we are meant to thwart?" she further disclosed with a growing smile as she began to calm down, while Will, meanwhile, continued on within her own glee.
"'Mystical Star of Threbe?' A 'Lost Princess,' who evidently needs to be placed within the 'Witness Protection Program,' against some villainous person you, me, and Elyon are supposed to take down? That's definitely a lot to process," she said in between mocking giggles, although the sudden laughter was managing to make her feel a little better about the overall situation at the same time . . . even if it still seemed a bit too asinine for her liking.
Taranee said nothing to this, and merely continued to smile gently towards the chuckling redhead, as she instead allowed her to finish within doing so and eventually calm down. Will did manage to do precisely that within the next few moments, before allowing the sudden silence which followed thereafter to settle onto the pair.
Surprisingly, however, it had been one filled with an odd sort of comfort for the two of them, it seemed, as an undeniable feeling of mutual, unspoken understanding then began to creep into the atmosphere, as well.
". . . . You know, I'm honestly surprised that Csilla didn't come with you, although I guess that'd be sort of difficult, since the hotel doesn't allow pets . . . thankfully," Will, the first one to speak again, remarked with a faint smile several moments later, reaching up to run a hand through her short red hair, which proved to be a tad difficult in that moment, given the onslaught of tangled strands scattered about her head.
Taranee, whose shyness curiously seemed to then return upon listening to the girl's comment, bit down onto her lip before responding.
"Well, actually . . . Csilla did come along with me . . . although she's presumably still where I'd left her, across the street from here within that park where . . . well, you know," she tentatively revealed, obviously not wishing to actively bring up that particular night any more than Will wished to hear about it. "That's actually how we - I ended up finding you, you see. Well, one of many aided attempts, which I don't personally care to get into, if you don't mind. . . . But, suffice it to say that when Csilla realized that she was unable to sense your whereabouts, I suppose within the same way that she is able to for either Miss Brown or myself, we had all naturally begun to worry . . . although none more so than Miss Brown, I have to say. . . ."
Will, who had been busy looking down at her bare, and shamefully dirty feet up until that point, slowly looked up at the informative girl beside her within surprise.
At first, it had been in regards to the comment over Csilla's curious inability to locate her (which certainly now added better explanation as to why she hadn't been harassed by the enchanted being, or her apparent pupils days sooner), making her wonder if it was a feat Will, herself, was personally able to do consciously . . . which, of course, if it turned out to be the case, then it would be a new talent she would be utilizing on a daily basis from that moment on.
Then her mind shifted onto the second half of Taranee's spiel, about Elyon's evidently avid concern for her overall well being . . . which then, of course, also effortlessly caused her to unwillingly welcome back her unwanted sense of guilt as a result.
". . . . She's worried about me? Elyon, that is?" Will quietly asked, feeling herself gently beginning to blush once more.
Taranee nodded with a curiously saddened smile.
"She is, yes . . . and has been for days, as she'd just revealed to both Csilla and myself earlier this afternoon," she said slowly, as though wondering whether or not she should reveal something so personal. "She told us how it has been absolute agony, not knowing where you've been, and whether or not you're all right, both physically . . . as well as emotionally. . . ."
The French-braided, respectful girl paused a moment, apparently expecting Will to say something to this new piece of information; however, when it was clear that the redhead intended to do nothing of the sort, she then pressed on.
". . . . Evidently, you'd stopped going to the school you both attend, as well, which only served to add to Miss Brown's added woe," Taranee continued with a soft exhale, making it clear to the crimson haired teenager that she seemed to be just as concerned for Elyon, as Elyon evidently had been for Will. "And since you'd also never given her your home address or telephone number, at the very least, it's been all she could do to keep herself from losing it, entirely. . . ."
". . . . So, then . . . how were you able to find me, after all, with that being the case, coupled with Csilla's . . . I don't know . . . magical 'LoJack' having been on the fritz?" Will hesitantly inquired, almost afraid to learn the answer, as there was only one of two possibilities remaining . . . and unless Taranee had miraculously managed to seize better control over her own sensing abilities, as she'd openly expressed her desire over, then someone within the legal system was resentfully sleeping on the job. . . .
Seeming to have then taken notice of Will's abrupt shift within demeanor, Taranee did her best to then present her with as comforting a smile as she could manage.
"Well . . . after Miss Brown had decidedly gone home within honest defeat, much to our dismay, Csilla and I had then set about trying to figure out a way to effectively get in touch with you," she said, beginning to absentmindedly twiddle her slender fingers within her lap, as though her unfolding synopsis was making her feel uneasy (which was something Will could have honestly laughed at, once more, if she, too, wasn't currently feeling every bit as uncomfortable, herself). "Being that this is the 'Information Age,' where nearly any and all types of content is readily available at our fingertips, I'd suggested to Csilla that perhaps we should try to find your home address online . . . although I had mainly suggested this particular method of locating it because I . . . well, I had felt fairly certain that I had heard your last name somewhere before, well before you and I had met. . . ."
And there it was.
Will was honestly beginning to wonder when she would eventually meet someone within this new city, who would pose the question of whether or not she was by chance related to the same 'Vandoms' whose ancestor helped create the legacy both girls were now currently seated within.
She was admittedly surprised that so far the only sort of attention she'd seemed to be drawing to herself, by way of unwanted fame, was tied to her tragic past concerning Ophelia. . . .
". . . . I guess the rest of my 'dirty little secret' is out now, then," Will murmured within a vain attempt to present a comedic twist upon a topic which was normally anything but funny. "Both my father and grandfather had been quite the little business geniuses, resulting within the hotel you see before you . . . one of only about a trillion within the country, and other areas I don't honestly care to recall. And now, due to both men's passing, every last one of them now belongs to me, alongside an added array of other financial assets I couldn't care even less about. . . ."
No longer able to sit still, Will immediately rose to her feet and headed towards her vast living room window and balcony, suddenly feeling every bit as naked as she had during her unexpected breakdown the other evening.
She could only hope that she wouldn't experience yet another one within the next few moments, especially now that the focus had once again been returned onto her profoundly dysfunctional family. . . .
It seems as though no matter how hard I keep trying to outrun my past, I never can get any farther away from it, Will thought with a heavy sigh and deeply furrowed brow, now beginning to feel absolutely drained of energy.
". . . . I-It is a rather remarkable turn of events . . . everything, actually," she could hear Taranee quietly comment from behind her, seeming a bit unsure of her words. "I'm sure you don't honestly wish to discuss any of it once more, which is absolutely understandable, as I, myself, keep reflecting upon how if it were instead me to have lived such a life, I do not think I'd honestly be able to. . . . B-But . . . for what it's worth, and forgive me if it sounds rather presumptuous to say, but the more I've thought about it, the more it's made me realize how similar you and I are. . . ."
At this, Will slowly turned around with a raised eyebrow, wondering what the ebony haired girl was currently playing at, if at all.
". . . . Yeah? How so? Did your family ignore and then abandon you, altogether, especially after having caused the premature death of an innocent, young girl?" she asked within sarcastic bitterness, growing more so upset with herself than at Taranee's seemingly insensitive statement, now that she could then feel the familiar sting of unshed tears beginning to surface within her honey brown eyes.
Averting her own chocolate colored eyes away from the understandably defensive female standing before her, Taranee shamefully shook her head.
". . . . W-Well, no . . . I am both proud, yet strangely saddened to report that my family has always been fully supportive, as well as loving of me," she revealed breathlessly, a great pang of guilt slamming against her heart in that moment. "But . . . even with that love and support, I've never been able to bring myself to tell them about my clairvoyant gifts in all this time. . . . I suppose it's because, since I've personally never been able to fully grasp its nature, I've been . . . afraid that they couldn't, or wouldn't, either. . . . Worse yet, I've also been petrified that . . . that perhaps they'd might even stop loving me, altogether, if any of them ever found out. . . ."
It was Will's turn to feel emotionally moved as she heard this, and especially upon catching sight of the shimmering glisten of Taranee's own brimming tears.
". . . . It wasn't until after listening to your story about your entire family history, and your desire to have earned your father's love and attention that I finally realized t-that . . . perhaps part of the reason why I always work so hard within all that I pursue is so that, just in case my family ever did somehow learn of my gifts . . . it could be my remaining, redeemable quality," she confessed with a broken sigh, clearly doing her absolute best to keep it together, as she forcefully kept both her tears inside, and her eyes downcast. "B-But please do not fully misunderstand me, Miss Vandom . . . for I do lead an otherwise happy life . . . of sorts, I suppose. That is, sometimes . . . I have wished that I never had this ability, as it hasn't made keeping, or indeed, even making any friends all too easy for me. . . . Because it's been so hard for me to control it, it's made being around a lot of people, or even just one person, rather uncomfortable, as I can never be too sure of when next I'll suddenly find myself privy to their unwanted thoughts. . . . And so, couple that with the open observation that a lot of my schoolmates, in particular, have never been the most inviting towards me, due to their . . . well, resentment of my intellectual stamina, and I am, in effect, a natural born outcast. . . ."
Will didn't honestly know what to say to the blatantly emotional girl's heartfelt admission, except to simply marvel at how the shoe apparently was now on the other foot in terms of unexpected candidness. . . .
". . . . A-And now, there is the matter of having to cope with the fact that I'm suddenly meant to be 'Sailormars,' secretly helping to fight alongside Miss Brown's own alter-ego as 'Sailormeridian,' against a throng of evil beings, or 'Entities,' as Csilla has informed us they are properly named, which is honestly terrifying, to say the least," Taranee murmured, voice barely above a whisper, as she, too, now suddenly seemed to feel just as exhausted as the redhead before her. But then, just as abruptly as before, she curiously began to sound effortlessly rejuvenated as she continued on. "But . . . as strange as this may sound, even though this added responsibility should truly be viewed as an absolute burden of injustice, as I am sure that that is how you must personally feel about it, yourself, Miss Vandom . . . I honestly don't. . . . I don't believe I ever have - At least, not yet, anyhow. . . ."
". . . . And why is that?" Will finally found herself able to speak once more, as she slowly moved back over to her place upon the couch, adjacent to the still seated Taranee.
It was in that moment, as well, did the other girl seem to gain a bit more confidence, as she managed to lift her brown eyes up and rested them upon the cardinal haired teenager next to her.
". . . . Because of Miss Brown," she softly admitted with an equally soft smile, which admittedly partially warmed Will's heart to both hear and to see. "I mean . . . when she and I had first met several weeks ago, I was truthfully a bit wary of her, given her avid kindness which, to me, is, again, rather foreign and a bit inexplicable to experience on a day to day basis, where my fellow peers are concerned. . . . And even after it had been made known to me that I was now a part of her assembling team of Guardian Soldiers, that hesitance to trust her and to open up was still there, even though she has always been nothing but kindhearted and forthcoming, herself. . . . But, now . . . having gotten to know her ever so gradually, coupled with fighting alongside her and observing just how selfless and caring she can be, even towards complete strangers . . . it honestly makes me glad to have been chosen to be a Soldier. I sort of feel like I now have a greater meaning within my life . . . and that perhaps I finally am no longer alone . . . now that I perhaps have found a friend within her. . . ."
Will certainly didn't wish to admit it, but she could definitely, strongly relate to everything the apparent genius had just then finished sharing with her, after all, especially where it concerned the traditionally exuberant Elyon.
Well, why not admit it? You've been unusually open with both girls about pretty much everything else within your life thus far, she mused with a faint, but growing smile of her own, sliding back within her seat and nervously beginning to tap her right, bare foot upon the ground as she spoke.
". . . . It's definitely strange, isn't it, the almost sort of . . . 'healing effect' of sorts that that girl seems to have upon the people she interacts with - W-Well, with you, anyway, and for me, I will admit, as well," the redhead began with a small nod of her head within furthered reflection, over the presently absent blonde's generally positive nature. ". . . . And I guess I will also admit that you were right . . . I mean, about how you could possibly relate to how I feel . . . felt about my family. . . . I suppose we're even now with revealing deep, dark secrets about ourselves, then . . . although, within the spirit of keeping up with hard-to-reveal pieces of personal information, all of that stuff you were saying, about how difficult it's been for you to be around other people and feeling like an outcast . . . I know what you mean by that. Well, except, in my own case, I'm more of a self-forced loner, more than I am an 'outcast,' since . . . you know, like I'd already told you and Elyon the other night, I've honestly felt as though I'm meant to stay and to be alone. . . ."
". . . . But, you know . . . it doesn't necessarily have to be that way anymore," Taranee tentatively commented, her eyes seeming to have become far less glassy, as she also appeared to be much calmer. The two, otherwise admitted strangers seemed to be becoming increasingly more comfortable with one another, as their rather candid exchange tore down the walls of self-preservation each girl had effectively built around herself throughout the years, evidently for remarkably close causes.
Will sighed upon hearing the other girl's thoughtful suggestion, now knowing just how personally applicable it was to her, as well.
". . . . Maybe," she began with a small nod, still vigorously tapping her foot against the carpeted floor, "although I think that, for now . . . I'm going to try to take it one day at a time, and play everything by ear. . . ."
"Well, I hope that that will at least include contacting Miss Brown soon, and letting her know personally that you're safe," Taranee kindly remarked within understanding, before suddenly rising to her feet. "Until then, I will do my part within informing her, as well - Both she and Csilla. And, speaking of, I had better go and let her know that I am safe, as well, and have managed to find you, before heading home. . . ."
Will only nodded within comprehension of her own and standing up, as well. She then began to follow Taranee towards the Junior Suite's entrance way and exit, preparing to open the door for her, when the slightly shorter girl curiously stopped abruptly, in line with the kitchen counter to their right.
". . . . O-Oh . . . and one more thing you should know: While it would be an honest welcoming for everyone if you did decide to become an official part of our Guardian Soldier team, no one is going to force you . . . not even Csilla," she spoke without turning around to properly address the redhead, whose eyebrows were then raised within surprise at the unexpected news, especially where it concerned the magical creature.
Will then watched as Taranee's attention seemed to shift onto the kitchen counter, where the former girl's honestly forgotten Jupiter transformation ring had been dismissively tossed, before the dark haired teenager abruptly turned around finally, in order to lock eyes with her one last time before leaving.
". . . . We just want to be your friend, that's all," she said, a bit shakily, although with an unmistakable warmth within her voice, which almost seemed to rival, if not mimic that of Elyon's.
And before Will could have responded, although she wasn't quite sure what to say to that, anyhow, Taranee, with a faint, crooked smile of embarrassment in that moment, turned on her heel and proceeded to let herself out of the taller girl's essential home.
Will could only stand within her spot and marvel at all which had transpired within such a short amount of time, as she continued to stare, a bit vacantly, now, at the white colored door which had just released her former visitor from the premises, and was already sealing shut again through the aid of its automatic door closer.
Just a mere half hour ago, days ago, she had been feeling as though her life couldn't possibly get any worse, wracked with suffocating depression.
And now, as a result of having received the unexpected . . . pep talk of sorts, by a girl she had only met twice before, she was suddenly feeling quite . . . invigorated, something she hadn't honestly felt within a rather long time.
Funny, how life truly could be, after all. . . .
With a modest smile forming upon her tawny countenance upon reflection, a new thought suddenly occurred to Will within that moment, causing her to quickly rush towards the door in front of her and, for the first time in days, out into the thankfully rather secluded hotel hallway, given her disheveled appearance.
"H-Hey, Taranee!" the redhead eagerly called out to the slowly, but surely retreating girl within the fair distance, who then whirled around to face the other girl with surprise riddled all over her face.
"Y-Yes?" she answered timidly, her overall shyness seeming to have already returned within such a short amount of time.
". . . . If you're supposed to be our friend, then why do you keep calling Elyon and me 'Miss Brown' and 'Miss Vandom' for?" Will asked with a light smirk, hoping that her relevant inquiry would spark within Taranee the response she was looking for.
Pausing for a few moments, looking down at her polished, black school shoes within thought, Taranee then gazed back at Will, and with a soft smile, replied, ". . . . You know, I don't know?"
And with that, the French-braided young woman gave an honestly happy sort of wave to her new companion, before carrying on her way, while Will watched after her with a satisfied grin of her own. . . .
It was now rather late that Friday evening, with most of the seaside little city having winded down for the night, gearing up for a restful slumber after a long day of hard work.
But not everyone's work was done, and indeed no rest could thus follow, as one man in particular was currently fully immersed within his own devices . . . however devious they happened to be.
Indeed, the Dark General Deite had spent the better part of that remaining week splitting his focus between avidly searching for the next big payout, where collecting enough human energy for his Master was concerned, and regrettably licking his proverbial wounds over the failures each of his previously executed plans had experienced thus far.
He'd had it hard enough as it was, he thought, doing all that he could to maintain his general favor with his ruler (however slight it had always seemed to be, anyhow), and thus, continue on within the Land of the Living.
But now, Deite had the added competition of his fellow Dark General, Zoi, and his continually unwanted presence to contend with, which had caused the red haired man to be effectively diverted away from his former, dual responsibility of searching for the continually sought after Mystical Star of Threbe, in addition to his collection of human energy.
Things had already been quite vexing as it was, what with the meddlesome appearance of the Guardian Soldiers at every turn to thwart his past efforts, after all; he didn't need this, as well!
But, at least for now, none of that mattered, as Deite was absolutely positive that this time, for sure, his latest course of action was going to work . . . even though, granted, it had taken him a little while to happen upon it.
Oh, he supposed that it might have been a bit easier to have simply created another Entity, and let it run a muck throughout the city, collecting the energy of every last one of those wretched humans along the way.
After all, human energy was human energy, no matter the method used to gather it.
But Deite knew that that would have been a bit too risky, maybe even a tad foolhardy, he was willing to admit to himself, to have done, simply for the sake of readily appeasing his Master. The cornflower haired, malevolent sovereign seemed to prefer to keep the actions of his minions along the subtly side, thus far, so Deite was pretty certain that having decided to do things his own way might have promptly awarded him a one way ticket straight to Hell.
Not to mention the slightly more important fact that he would not give Zoi any excuse to revel within any of his furthered non-achievement.
"Misguided action is aimless action," as he had put it. . . .
Immediately the blood coursing through Deite's veins seemed to reach boiling capacity upon brief reflection over the fairly recent memory, feeling the profound hatred he harbored for the raven haired man begin to deepen, if it had been at all possible.
How dare that fool try to give me advice, like some pathetic little child! At least I've been trying to help serve our Master's grand vision, while he has yet to lift even a finger since his awakening. . . . But that just means that there will be more glory for me, once I've succeeded within this new plan of mine, the temperamental redhead mused with a growing smirk upon his previously scowling visage.
"Taking a bit of an evening siesta, are we? I wonder if our Master would appreciate such a thing. . . ."
Deite nearly shattered all of his teeth through the sheer force he had then placed upon them, the very moment he'd regrettably listened to the dark haired man in question suddenly speak from behind him. If he were not such an evil, strong willed being, he might have honestly felt a bit afraid just then, as well, given that their current surroundings was rather dark and secluded.
"I suppose, then, it would take one to know one, wouldn't it, Zoi? How is vacation life treating you thus far?" the crimson locked man promptly taunted with a furthered gritting of his teeth, before turning around to glare daggers at his personal nemesis.
Zoi, within his typical manner (an observation which only served to amplify Deite's absolute choler in regards to the man), merely gave a tiny shrug, before he then calmly approached.
"As a matter of fact, I was just within the middle of making final preparations for my premiere scouting venture for the Mystical Star of Threbe, when I had curiously sensed your energy signature nearby," he revealed within his usually relaxed nature, as he continued to direct his gaze towards his quite commonly contradicting comrade. He then inquisitively looked about their present surroundings with a small raise of his dark eyebrow, before looking back at the deeply frowning Deite. ". . . . Evidently great minds think alike, although I must say that this news rather surprises me, given the present company. . . ."
"And what is that supposed to mean, you blithering dolt?" Deite hissed within inquiry and a shake of his white gloved right hand, causing Zoi to let out a small, brief chuckle.
"I rest my case," he stated with a light sigh, before slowly maneuvering around the seething young man, his long, eggplant tinted cape dragging behind him as he did so. "At any rate, it is still quite interesting to see that you and I have selected the same location as our base of operation. Wouldn't you say so, my friend?"
"I am not your friend, and -! Wait . . . what do you mean 'the same location as our base of operation?' You don't mean to say that you've picked this place as your own? Think again!" Deite cried with absolute venom lacing his every last word as he whirled around, doing his best to then loom over the other man, an act which was a bit difficult considering that Zoi was a few inches taller by comparison.
The dark violet schemed, uniformed musician softly smirked at this, as per usual feeling quite undaunted by his associate's blowhard antics.
"Oh, come now, Deite; surely this planet is large enough for the two of us to share?" he queried with continued amusement, slowly folding his strong arms across his chest. "And besides, you and I have been charged with two, completely separate tasks, after all, so it isn't as though I will be impeding upon your so called 'territory.' No, I had merely done my research like you, and found this specific location to be promising as a potential yielding of the Mystical Star of Threbe. The taking of energy from those who will gather within this very spot in drones tomorrow is all yours; I'll even let you have at the Guardian Soldiers, with whatever Entity you use to assist you with your plan . . . that is, if they show up, of course."
"I'm relishing the strong possibility, in fact, Zoi . . . any chance to destroy those do-gooder twits is always welcomed by me," Deite remarked with another scowl, although his overall demeanor then seemed to relax a fairly good deal.
Perhaps it had been due to his tactical appeasing, if only for the sake of getting any work done, although Zoi was not certain. All that personally mattered to him was that the unbridled man did not continue to egg on the slight headache which was admittedly then beginning to form within his head.
"Well, confidence is key, I suppose," he commented with a small nod, lifting his own gloved hand to then lightly rub underneath his chin within furthered thought. "I will admit that I, myself, am rather anxious to see them, as well. After all, we have yet to be properly introduced. . . ."
"I thought you said that you weren't going to interfere any further than simply retrieving the Mystical Star of Threbe?" Deite suddenly snapped, almost resembling a child just then, the way he'd heatedly stomped his right foot onto the cooling ground beneath them both.
Zoi couldn't help but to smile at the sight before it slowly faded away, as a fleeting, although still palpable feeling suddenly then washed over him within an odd, sort of familiarity . . . or was it perhaps a memory of some kind?
"Hello? Are you even listening to me, anymore?" he could hear Deite angrily interrupt his slightly perplexed thoughts, feeling almost relieved, yet disappointed that he had.
"Y-Yes . . . yes, of course," Zoi softly replied as his curious, momentary haze had been lifted, before clearing his throat within continuance. "Anyhow, I was merely stating that it would nice to meet the Guardian Soldiers, as well, as they seem to be rather formidable, given that they have continually bested you at every turn . . . and I find that to be most intriguing, indeed. . . ."
"I would have your head this very instant were it not for the Master's desire to keep you around!" Deite bellowed upon having listened to yet another one of the reserved man's digs at his expense, making a rough, snatching motion into the air with his hand, directly in front of his opponent's neutral, deeply tanned face. "Those Soldiers are hardly 'formidable,' as you put it, even with their latest increase within numbers! They have merely been a distracting nuisance, at best, and I will have them for it! Them, and anyone else who gets within my way!"
Zoi said nothing to this, merely choosing to gaze silently upon his ever seething cohort, as he understood fully of the man's threat being blatantly extended to him, alongside the recently formed Guardian Soldier trio.
And before he could have received any further tongue lashings, froth with pure ire, Zoi gave a small, sideways incline of his jet black colored head, before then vanishing from sight within his trademark wave of deep violet hued light, his mind admittedly becoming distracted with other matters once more. . . .
With the continued bane of existence at last gone, if only for the time being, Deite immediately began to calm down a bit, as he retrained his attention onto his soon to be executed vision in just a few hour's time.
". . . . Oh, yes, Guardian Soldiers . . . I really do hope you'll come to enjoy the festivities tomorrow . . . when I will finally end all of you," he spoke venomously through clenched teeth, surveying the once again secluded area one last time, before he, too, then magically exited, his cold heart currently full of ample content for what was next to come. . . .
Elyon had effortlessly awakened, bright and early the following morning, around eight o'clock, which was something not too common within a general capacity, let alone on a Saturday. But then, given that she had decidedly turned in several hours earlier than her usual bedtime the previous evening, it wasn't all that surprising.
She imagined that such a slightly uncharacteristic act most likely had caught the both of her parents, and even Csilla, off guard, especially having also foregone dinner that night, as well, but she didn't care . . . she didn't honestly feel like she could care for much of anything anymore, having spent the last several days doing so nonstop, to the point of permanent exhaustion.
Elyon just felt so utterly lost, unsure of what move to make next, where the continually missing Will was concerned. She had spent the remainder of her Friday afternoon locked within her bedroom at home, thankfully alone, and crying her eyes out over such anxiety, ignoring several of the phone calls she had received from her various school friends during that time.
Even when she saw that Taranee was surprisingly calling her once more, this time most likely to check up on her than to request another scheduled, tutorial lesson, she hadn't bothered to answer. It had made her feel even worse than she did already to have done so, to have done to all of her friends, but Elyon just simply had not been within the right state of mind for any sort of conversation with anyone.
And she still wasn't, truth be told.
Which was why the young blonde was rather thankful to have woken up to a still quiet sounding house, indicating to her that the both of her parents were most likely still fast asleep after a long, hard day of work the previous day. Even Csilla, she saw, had also been continuing to slumber, as well, curiously doing so upon the soft carpeted floor within the far corner of the girl's bedroom, rather than her usual spot at the foot of Elyon's bed.
But then again, given that the two did experience such the heated dispute yesterday, Elyon supposed that she could understand a little bit, although she did wonder whether Csilla had done so more so because she was afraid that her charge now currently resented her, or because the feline was upset over the fact that the girl had refused to see things her way, over how to properly handle things about Will's blatant refusal to join their Guardian Soldier assemblage.
Whatever the primary cause, it seemed to have motivated the furry animal to have stayed out late, as well, even after sunset, and after Elyon's mother and father had both returned home from work. And because she had gone to sleep early, she didn't see her again until the very moment she had woken up.
But at least she seems to be all right . . . I don't need to add another individual to the list of missing persons, Elyon silently reflected with a small yawn, as she was now currently within the middle of an early morning walk about her familiar neighborhood, without having bothered to eat any breakfast. Still, I'm glad that she wasn't awake yet . . . I can't handle any furthered talks of her trying to convince me and Taranee to force Will to be a part of our group . . . assuming Will's ever found, anyway. . . .
That final thought caused Elyon's to ache all over again, tears already beginning to form within her periwinkle colored eyes as she continued on within her slow paced walk.
No. She wasn't going to cry again, allowing herself to drown within her constant depression.
She had to be strong, if only for the sake of her own sanity. . . .
And that's when it hit her.
"Wait a sec . . . I'm a monster fighting, superpower infused girl now! If I can somehow manage to defeat those dangers, then surely I can manage to find one little person!" the dishwater blonde softly murmured to herself within slowly reforming hope, momentarily stopping within her walk. "I'll just head back to downtown Heatherfield, back to the mall and grocery stores Will and I had gone to together the other day, and see if I can't spot her around there!"
It's worth a shot, anyway, better than doing nothing and going out of my mind like this, she thought with added effect, also wondering why she hadn't honestly thought of doing so far sooner.
With a renewed kick in her step, Elyon then suddenly broke out into a feverish run, as she headed for the nearest bus stop, which would then take her to her anticipated destination.
Caleb let out a gruff, faintly fatigued exhale, wiping several beads of newly fallen sweat away from his forehead with the back of his hand, as he continued on within his early morning jog. It was an activity which he tried to partake in as regularly as he could, and quite enjoyed doing, as it helped to keep him in shape . . . which was something that his particular 'line of work' needed, especially given the fact that things had increasingly become rather active within where it was concerned.
That was another reason why he enjoyed his habitual jogs, as it also awarded him ample time to think. Well, a time to reorganize and prioritize his pretty repetitive thoughts, anyway, seeing as all he generally seemed to do was think on a fairly daily basis.
After all, there was a lot more pressure put upon him than most other eighteen-year-olds, even with the usual, generalized, and unanimous concerns of being accepted into a good college and then shaping their future within the best way possible.
Caleb was pretty positive that no one else around his age had to also contend with the knowledge that pure evil truly existed within the world, an evil which was currently attempting to destroy it.
Well, no one else, except for the magical newcomers, the Guardian Soldiers, that is, and the more seasoned Sailor V, perhaps.
Those females certainly had it far more easy than he, given that he, himself, had no magical ability to speak of, or a fully working memory, even. At least they seemed to know who each of them were, and were fighting for a definitive purpose.
Caleb, on the other hand, wasn't honestly sure why he continued to do the same a lot of the time, which only further loaned to his growing befuddlement to who he was as a individual, overall.
And all because of one, honestly haunting dream. . . .
The young brunet could recall, clear as day, the very first time he had experienced it, nearly one year ago, before then experiencing everyday since.
It was always the same . . . the same, white haze of an indiscernible location . . . the same, undeniable silhouette of a young, almost regal sort of female . . . and the same, cryptic, and pleading request she would lay onto to him throughout each repeated encounter:
"The Mystical Star of Threbe . . . find it . . . please. . . ."
It had almost become a backwards sort of comfort to Caleb, now, this mysterious dream, after so many nights of reliving it. And yet, it was greatly plaguing to him, as well, for he did not know what it honestly meant, or why it kept uncontrollably replaying within his mind.
And he certainly hadn't the slightest what this Mystical Star of Threbe actually was, or indeed where it could be located . . . but even with all of this stacked against him, he was still out there, risking his neck while scouring the entire city for it on nearly a daily basis.
Caleb supposed that perhaps it was mainly because of the way the dream, that girl made him feel after awakening from it each time. He would always feel such an odd sort of . . . connective obligation to her, to 'The Princess,' as he had decided to nickname her, and to her message, as though no one else within the world could possibly help her but him.
He couldn't deny that the possible recovering of the Mystical Star of Threbe might also mean finally figuring out exactly who he is as another part of his motivation, as well . . . that perhaps that was the entire point of those dreams in the first place.
Of course, then, if that turns out to be the case, then that means that that mysterious girl within it could also be personally significant to me somehow, Caleb silently contemplated as he continued on within his jog, carefully maneuvering around the influx of fellow pedestrians steadily filtering into the streets, as the early morning minutes pressed on. Maybe she could even be a relative of mine. . . .
This wasn't the first time the young man had wondered about it, although it was a thought not welcomed all too often, as he did not wish to raise his hopes up too high.
After all, he had spent the last eleven years experiencing orphanhood, crippled with severe amnesia, and the loss of his parents. That was about the only thing he could recall of his former childhood, that he indeed once possessed a family, before they were cruelly torn away from his young life, within a tragic car accident which had nearly claimed his own life, as well.
And on the day of his birthday, no less. . . .
It often afflicted Caleb with strong bouts of 'Survivor Guilt' to think about, how he had been the only one to make it out of the mangled wreckage alive, with no more than a few broken bones and bruised left eye for a little while thereafter.
And he would do his best to block the partial memory away from his mind, but to no avail, it ironically being the final experience of his youthful past that he could readily recall. It was just at times quite difficult for him to comprehend why neither parent could have been spared like him, as well, if not both, and how the only lasting scar left upon him as a result of the accident had been his damaged memory.
No. That wasn't honestly accurate.
The lasting scar left upon Caleb was his fractured memory, true, but also, and more importantly so, it was having been left alone within the world, without anyone to call 'family. . . .'
Oh, at first, he did believe, for a fairly long while, in fact, that someone, an aunt or uncle, perhaps, would one day come to retrieve him (especially since he did at least remember his date of birth, something which he had initially believed might have helped those within Social Services), from the group home he had unfortunately ended up becoming quite familiar with for a little over the last decade . . . but when no one had ever come, that dream of ever being reunited with any remaining kin finally died away, alongside his parents.
But Caleb refused to take pity upon himself, choosing instead to make himself strong, both physically as well as emotionally, in order to be able to properly look after himself as soon as he was at last legally able to leave the Children's Home, which he finally had earlier this past summer, upon having reached his eighteenth birthday, a specific day he had also long since ceased within celebrating.
Although, that had probably been the first time in years Caleb had actually felt happy that it was coming for a change, as his newfound freedom and independence would have also accompanied it. He'd now had his whole life ahead of him, to mold within his own design and carry out within the best way that he could.
He had managed to secure a rather nice apartment, even if it was a little cramped (although finally being able to possess a bedroom, a living quarter, period, which was solely for him was truly a welcomed blessing, no matter its overall size), and had even gotten accepted into the college of his choice with a full scholarship, courtesy of consistently good grades over the years, and a rather poignant essay dedicated to his late mother and father in memory. . . .
And, adding to the list the recently acquired job as a various deliveries driver (which wasn't the most riveting, but it was still something), Caleb wasn't doing too badly so far, within his fairly normal life.
That is, his life would have been somewhat close to normal, anyhow, were it not for those reoccurring dreams, and his mystery woman. . . .
He still wondered if that were so.
Maybe the dream was a lost memory of his mother, and her asking him to retrieve the 'Mystical Star of Threbe' was merely something she had spoken to him about right before the accident, like an intended birthday present?
Even though it was becoming nearly impossible for him to accurately recall any longer as time went on, and especially without any photographs to aid him, Caleb could at least remember that his mother had had long, slightly wavy black hair.
The female within his dream, as far as he could tell, at least, given she continually remained predominantly shrouded within shadow, possessed fair colored locks, almost sunlit in hue, perhaps. And it, while lengthy, as well, seemed to flow, like an endless river, freely behind her back and down to her feet.
And besides that, she did not seem to be any older than nineteen, or even twenty-years-old, as well, the more Caleb thought about it, so she couldn't possibly be of his relation within a motherly sense.
Maybe she could be a long lost sister, or cousin, perhaps, he mused even further, unable to stop himself, as the long since buried optimism over having his family back became gradually unearthed more and more.
He had to stop this.
Even though he had decided to finally take the repetitive dream more seriously, after having resisted for quite a while, before finally deciding to do something about it, he didn't want to go emotionally overboard, just in case he was never able to find what he was looking for.
Especially since it isn't as though I've gotten any closer to finding anything, either, Caleb thought with a pensive expression suffusing onto his glistening face, rounding a corner as he unknowingly continued to lead himself straight into downtown Heatherfield, a destination he hadn't originally intended upon seeking.
For one thing, again, he was still as much within the dark about what the Mystical Star of Threbe actually was, as he was about the identity of 'The Princess,' in addition to his own. But based upon its name, he did at least manage to hypothesize that perhaps it was a piece of jewelry of some sort, like a necklace or a brooch, which was why he'd been thus far spending a great deal of time combing through every last jewelry store, exhibit or auction that he could find.
And with a name like 'The Mystical Star of Threbe,' he'd figured that it had to be an item absolutely awesome within nature, and thus would just instantly know it once he was finally able to lay eyes upon it.
The overall task, though, getting into and out of traditionally well guarded areas, was originally difficult all on its own, as he was no natural born cat burglar. But now, with the Guardian Soldiers seeming to be after the object, as well, whatever their reason, in addition to bringing along various, vile creations with them, it was damned near impossible.
Even before their abrupt, dual arrival, in fact, Caleb still had had to dodge an ever present, ever bothersome obstacle for his objective, as well: Sailor V.
It seemed to be that everywhere he would turn, she was there, always stopping him at every turn, at any time he would manage to sneakily get his hands upon a few jewelry related items. The blonde, lone, crime-fighting machine certainly appeared to be taking her seemingly self-appointed position quite seriously, never discriminating against the big time lawbreakers of their city, or the small time, fairly inexperienced 'item-liberators' such as himself.
And she most definitely seemed to enjoy doing so, as well, given the way she would always flash the young man a rather confident smirk after every, single, vexing pas de deux that they'd share, her crisp blue eyes twinkling within taunting amusement from behind the large, lavender hued mask she'd always keep upon her fair visage.
Were it not for Sailor V's other goodhearted activities, indeed, Caleb would be easily swayed into believing that she was only out to get him, and no one else . . . although, thankfully, and curiously so, their once pretty frequent, direct encounters with one another had dwindled within the last several weeks or so.
Almost right around the time when Sailormeridian had first shown up, in fact. . . .
Now she was another piece to add to the disorienting puzzle which was Caleb's emotions.
He still hadn't the foggiest where she had suddenly come from or even why, much like the rest of her fellow Guardian Soldiers, but there was one thing he knew for certain, much to his admitted chagrin:
He'd felt positively drawn to her. . . .
That inexplicable pull was almost a bit similar to what Caleb felt within regards to 'The Princess,' although it was not quite the same. For one thing, the brunet didn't feel that Sailormeridian could be of his kin in some way, as he would often think of his dream woman . . . although, it was rather coincidental that the two seemed to desire the same item.
And if he were not so desperate to retrieve it for himself, Caleb might have enlisted the help of Sailormeridian and her companions to locate it.
"Tuxedo Kamen . . . are you also searching for the Mystical Star of Threbe? Who are you?" he could recall the enchanted, grayish feline, Csilla having asked him a few weeks ago, upon the occasion of his second, direct encounter with the Guardian Soldiers.
". . . . Don't know . . . but, so long as we both are looking for the same thing, then . . . I suppose I am also your enemy, as well," he'd then informed, with a bit of cold-hearted precision, to the trio of females who had been standing before him at the time, before having returned what he had previously believed to be the Star of Threbe to an undeniably astonished Sailormeridian, and had then taken his leave of them.
Even though he had only seen her expression for just a few moments before he had retreated, the young heroine's profoundly saddened, taken aback blue eyes had managed to affect him . . . far more greatly than he would have liked, or indeed expected it to in the first place.
Those eyes of hers . . . so full of untainted innocence and compassion. . . they would effortlessly weaken his resolve every time he'd gaze into them during their every encounter. . . . And he couldn't deny how rather becoming the owner of those haunting eyes was, herself, either, or how almost . . . pleased he'd be to see her again.
However, now, now that he had openly declared himself a rival to her general efforts, Caleb wasn't sure if he personally ever wanted to see Sailormeridian again, or, moreover, precisely how he would feel if he never did. . . .
. . . . But, I guess none of that honestly matters, bottom-line, he silently tried to convince himself, momentarily gazing down at the hardened concrete upon which he continued to run. So long as I can find the Mystical Star of Threbe and, with it, hopefully finally figure out who I am, and maybe even who 'The Princess' is within my dreams, then that's all that truly matters. . . .
As Caleb was just about to return his attention appropriately upward, he could then suddenly feel his half naked, decently muscular body abruptly meet with something rather hard, yet soft at the same time, before nearly falling backward onto the ground.
"W-What the -?" he uttered within great surprise, shaking his brown colored head to effectively snap himself out of his overall daze, before his naturally resilient green eyes then widened within added shock. "Y-You!"
It was her . . . yet again, doing what seemed to be her avid forté, as she bumped into him for what now felt like the umpteenth time.
Caleb didn't believe that there would ever be a time where he'd see the young, immature blonde, and not feel almost immediate irritation for it, much within the way he now was, already.
He watched with minimal interest as the small girl regathered her own senses (however few they might be, he surmised), before promptly flashing him a generous frown.
"Ugh! Excuse me, but you're the one who rammed into me, Caleb!" she snapped within response, sounding every bit as annoyed as he presently felt.
"Um, nooo . . . try again there, 'Piggy Tails,'" Caleb said within admittedly weak defense, given that he had taken his eyes off the path ahead, even if it had only been for a mere moment.
Elyon stomped a sneakered foot onto the increasingly busy street at this, although most likely more so in reference to the brunet's understandably unflattering nickname he had adopted for her since their premiere meeting. Sure enough, she then heatedly reached up with both hands to roughly seize at the ends of her dishwater blonde hair, which, Caleb had only then realized, were not within the usual, fairly messy pigtailed hairstyle he'd seen her don each time their paths would cross.
"The name is Elyon, for crying out loud, man! El – y – on! My hair's not even in pigtails today!" she hissed within full exasperation, which merely caused the young man before her to grin within amusement, a sight he was quite positive would only add further fuel to the blatantly boiling ire she'd possessed against him.
But then, Caleb could feel his smile slowly beginning to fade, as he focused more upon Elyon's free flowing, shoulder length locks. Although it did still seem to be upon the disheveled side, appearing to be a bit tangled within some spots, indicating that she clearly hadn't bothered to properly brush it before leaving the house that morning, he had to admit that she didn't look too unsightly.
That is, no more than usual, anyway.
"You should keep your hair like that more often," Caleb suddenly heard himself murmur aloud before he'd even realized what he was saying, which then immediately caused both he and Elyon to blindly take an uneasy step away from one another.
". . . . H-Huh?" was all she could muster as a response, clearly never having expected such a statement, an actual compliment of sorts, to be rendered from one who usually spent more time insulting her than anything else.
Caleb, attempting to play it cool while he inwardly tried to recover, slowly folded his bare arms across his equally bare, perspiring chest as calmly as he could before he spoke again.
". . . . I just mean that . . . if you want me to stop calling you 'Piggy Tails,' then it'd probably be a smart idea to find another hairstyle which doesn't get its name from a typically smelly animal," he said with as much nonchalance as he could manage, throwing in an added shrug for good measure.
Expecting Elyon to promptly fly off the handle once more upon listening to this, she curiously then began to actually . . . blush, but not perhaps within a personally offended sort of way. Confused, Caleb began to study her suddenly flushed face a moment, as he tried to figure out what could have been the true culprit behind her embarrassment.
That was when he realized that she was no longer looking directly at his face, but rather at another part of his body, causing him to follow her slightly downcast gaze onto his naked chest.
Oh, this is too rich, the college freshman mused upon having solved the mystery, feeling his previous smirk beginning to return as he couldn't help but to find this newfound development ripe with humor. He also couldn't help but to feel strangely . . . flattered, as well, although he quickly surmised that that was a mere byproduct to being a fairly typical teenager.
He hoped, anyway.
". . . . I take it that you like what you see, there, 'Piggy Tails,' or should I say, 'Elyon,' at least for today, anyway," Caleb remarked within jest, unable to stop himself, as the overall moment was too good to resist where teasing the continually abashed blonde was concerned. He then purposefully lowered his arms away from his chest, and blindly stuffed them into the empty pockets of the black colored jogging shorts he currently had on.
"N-No! Of course not!" Elyon stammered within weakened defense, before finally wrenching her blue eyes away from him and swiftly turned her head to the side, as though for added protection. "Anyway, I don't have time to deal with you right now - Or ever, really. I was in the middle of doing something pretty important."
With that, the young, teenaged girl then stepped around Caleb without another word, or another glance sent his way. He was going to let her go and to simply leave it at that, as he never found the conversations they'd share to be all that riveting, himself, but an odd sort of curiosity as to what her particular definition of 'important' could possibly be hit him just then.
And so, he followed after her.
"Oh, yeah? And what, exactly, was it? Trying to make it to a shoe sale on time, or something?" Caleb automatically teased upon having caught up to the formerly retreating girl, who now seemed to have fully recovered from her earlier superfluity.
He once again expected her to completely lose it, and sling a colorful slew of verbal abuse right back at him, or to at least scowl deeply within offense like always, but she did neither.
Instead, Elyon curiously hung her head a bit low, eyes downcast a bit, as her softly tanned countenance twisted into an expression of distressed reflection, which surprisingly made Caleb feel a tad worried, himself, in that his previous joke had actually managed to hurt her feelings, after all.
". . . . H-Hey. I was only messing with you; no need to get upset over it," he forced himself to apologize while the pair continued to walk side by side, just in case the usually sensitive girl grew all the more sensitive within the next several moments.
Surprisingly, however, Elyon only shook her soft blonde colored head at this, before letting out a gentle exhale.
"No . . . it isn't that . . . or even has anything to do with you," she said quietly, lifting her periwinkle tinted eyes once more, which curiously now looked to be a bit glassy.
God, I hope she's not gonna start crying or something. If so, then I'm definitely out of here, Caleb found himself thinking a bit heartlessly upon noticing this, although more so for his own protection, as he was sure to feel unbelievable discomfort if he hung around to watch her do so.
Seeing anyone cry usually made him feel that way, as he was never quite sure what to say by way of consolation during such times . . . and given that he couldn't recall the last time he had ever done so, himself, he was all the more at a loss over it.
Awkwardly clearing his throat, not having expected the overall tone of their meeting to have become so serious, Caleb then pressured himself to stick around for little while longer, at least long enough to ask the almost sort of social obligatory inquiry of, ". . . . What's the matter?"
At this, Elyon at last took a chance upon looking directly at him again, blinking a bit rapidly with slightly raised eyebrows of surprise, before looking away from him once more.
". . . . I'm not honestly sure why you care to know, or why I'm even bothering to tell you, especially given that it's none of your business, but . . . a friend of mine and I . . . sort of had a fight a few days ago, and I've been unable to find her since," she slowly explained as the two turned a new corner, making him finally fully aware of his current surroundings of downtown Heatherfield, now that he was completely free of his earlier ruminations.
"I . . . see. So why don't you just give her a call or something, then, if you can't find her - Although, given that you two evidently had this 'fight' of yours, I'm not really surprised that you can't," Caleb commented matter-of-factually, lightly shrugging as he pulled one hand out of his pockets to gently scratch underneath his faintly stubbly chin.
Elyon sighed heavily at this, before shaking her head.
"That's just it; I can't. I can't even go to her house," she revealed forlornly as they continued walking, making it Caleb's turn to then relatively lift his own eyebrows within surprised confusion.
"Uh . . . so then how are you two even fr -"
"- I don't know! Okay?" Elyon suddenly cried, stopping within her tracks as she interrupted the now profoundly taken aback young man. She then vigorously rubbed at her bang covered forehead within obvious frustration before continuing. "I mean, she and I are friends, or at least, I had hoped we could be, anyway. . . . We had only just met the other day on her first day at my school, after she had thankfully saved me from getting hit by an oncoming vehicle on our way there . . . and we'd seemed to sort of hit it off since then. . . . But then, like I said before, there was a rather heated . . . dispute, and by the end of it she pretty much told me - A-And two other friends of mine - that she wants nothing to do with us. . . ."
Caleb peculiarly then felt a mixture of an almost sort of an indebted relief that the mysterious girl in question had evidently saved Elyon's life, in addition to an odd disdain toward her, that she'd then chosen to discard their budding friendship so soon after having met her.
He said nothing as a result, doing his best to shun those contradicting, inexplicable sensations, his silence then allowing Elyon to be free to press on within her dreary tale.
"And so, now, because I'd barely gotten the chance to know her, I'm admittedly at a loss upon how to find her . . . but I was hoping that, by coming here and looking around downtown, where we'd last hung out together, I might be able to spot her somewhere," she concluded with a small smile, her former depression already exiting from both her voice and countenance, as an undeniable sense of hopefulness took its place.
Caleb couldn't help but to feel a mild sense of respect for the petite girl standing before him in that moment, as he also felt quite surprised by the tenacity he'd never before thought someone like her could possess.
". . . . So you're just going to wander around here all day, until you may or may not even bump into her?" he asked within vague disbelief, feeling unsure of whether or not he would have been willing to do the same, himself, and especially for someone who'd basically shunned him, as Elyon's absent and so called companion had done to her. "Why even bother, at that? You did say that you two aren't honestly friends, anyway."
Instead of faltering, Elyon's smile only began to strengthen then, as her eyes also seemed to brighten.
". . . . Because I still consider her to be my friend, even if she no longer feels the same way about me . . . and because I care a lot about her," she replied softly with an affirmative nod, her blue eyes then beginning to become effortlessly filtered with an unwavering compassion quite similar to that of . . . of. . . .
. . . . Sailormeridian, Caleb unexpectedly thought within silent connection, causing his heart to skip a beat and his dark brows to furrow within dissatisfaction.
There was no way someone like Elyon could ever be an individual like Sailormeridian . . . although, to be minutely fair, the brunet wasn't honestly all too personally familiar with either person to truly be certain.
Considering the . . . all right, he would finally admit it to himself, mild attraction he'd found himself experiencing for the pretty selfless superheroine, the absolutely last thing he wanted to do was taint those slowly forming feelings by beginning to associate her with the likes of the habitually overemotional Elyon.
Roughly shaking his head from side to side within vague disgust, Caleb reopened his mouth in order to conclude his overall conversation with the young girl, as he was then losing interest, while gaining renewed discomfort.
"Hmm. . . . Well, best of luck to you, then. Later," he said as disconnectedly as he could, momentarily catching the instant look of utter perplexity which then flashed upon the formerly smiling Elyon's face, before he then turned and promptly resumed his jog within his previous direction.
He was pretty sure that he would most likely never hear the end of it from her, over that admittedly impolite act, if their paths crossed again within the near future, about which he was becoming increasingly less doubtful.
However, that was for another time.
Right then, he didn't want to continue hanging around her, lest the melting pot of amalgamated emotions he was trying to keep at a low simmer suddenly erupted into a full boil.
All he wanted to do now was simply complete his no longer relaxing run, head back home, take a long, hot shower, and try to enjoy the rest of his Saturday without any further thoughts about Elyon, Sailormeridian, or even his dream woman disrupting anything for a change. . . .
This was not what Taranee had originally expected upon waking up this morning.
She had simply planned on taking another trip downtown upon the completion of breakfast, back to the Garrick Plaza Hotel, in order to attend the environmental fundraiser it was hosting and show some support.
All right, so in truth, Taranee had wanted to return to the hotel primarily to double check on the newly located Will, even though she truly did believe that raising money to help the earthly atmosphere was a worthy cause.
But her main motivation had been to see the redhead once more, especially since Elyon had yet to return the telephone call Taranee had placed to her yesterday, upon having parted ways with elusive tomboy. She did figure that Csilla would have most likely personally informed the blonde haired girl of their group's recent developments, as well, as she, herself had been from Taranee, once the two had been reunited back outside of the bustling hotel.
Still, she had wanted to make doubly certain that all of Elyon's anguished concerns over Will's previously unknown whereabouts would finally be able to be laid to rest.
Taranee would have honestly felt a bit worried, herself, over the fair haired girl's lack of communication with her as of yet, were it not for the belief that the sometimes easily distracted teenager had most likely already rushed over to the hotel, in order to finally see Will for herself, without having bothered to check back in with her.
And so, that was also another reason why the French-braided young woman had wanted to make the journey back to Will's place of stay, so that she could get back in touch with the both of them at the same time, before perhaps sticking around for a little while to observe the ongoing fundraiser, if she wouldn't immediately return back home.
It had all seemed simple enough, those objectives.
She hadn't honestly surmised that she'd suddenly find herself facing off against a rather troublesome Entity as Sailormars, and alone for a change, at that. . . .
It had suddenly appeared, within the hotel's rather packed courtyard, wherein the important fundraiser was evidently being held, and wherein she had been aimlessly wandering just minutes prior, alongside the platoon of various guests, sponsors and hotel staff alike.
And now, a good majority of those individuals were lying upon the cool ground, unconscious, and greatly debilitated from having already been successfully siphoned of their energy by the silver-faced, menacing Entity, while the remainder of would-be victims had managed to flee, with their overall good health still in tact.
Sailormars let out a frustrated grunt, as she once again barely dodged the onslaught of electrical based attacks the admittedly winning creature kept directing her way. Given that it presently had the appearance of what appeared be a stage microphone, most likely having been created from one of the many unaltered upon the green colored raised platform behind it, she was not entirely too surprised.
While its uniquely slender, black colored body sort of resembled that of what the astute girl knew to be referred to as a 'Dynamic Microphone,' its face, which was partially concealed by the white, hooded shawl secured upon its head, looked more like a 'Carbon Microphone,' instead.
Sailormars cringed a bit as she studied its undeniably disturbing countenance, the way it continued to peer at her threateningly with its pure white, cold eyes, and held a seemingly permanent glower upon its broad, sinister mouth.
Although its overall appearance was naturally daunting to the lone Guardian Soldier, what presently affected her the most was how none of her attempts at soundly wounding it seemed to be working thus far.
At any time she would cast one of her fire based attacks at it, while it would stagger back for a little bit, it never seemed to slow it down, nor run out of strength, as profoundly evident to her by its consistent counterattacks.
"I-It just has to have a weakness," Sailormars muttered gravely to herself upon diving out of the way once more, as she began to search within the vast recesses of her intellectual mind for the solution. "If I don't soon, I'll - Ahh!"
The Fire-imbued Guardian Soldier abruptly let out a harrowing scream, the very instant the brutalizing Entity had at last managed to make physical impact against her with another one of its sizzling attacks she'd tried to dodge once more, however this time in vain.
She immediately fell onto the ground, her lithe body overwhelmingly wracked with palpable agony, gingerly clutching at her red-clothed abdomen where she'd been hit, which was now partially bare, scorched and bleeding profusely.
Gasping within sharp, labored intervals, Sailormars wearily lifted her raven colored head to look back at her ever silent opponent, who had at last decided to cease within its barrage of attacks, although the both of its hands continued to be illuminated with the white hot crackling and sparks of merciless lightning.
Her brown eyes then immediately began to widen within immeasurable trepidation as she watched it slowly approach, raising its right arm towards her as it did so. She quickly turned her head away as she braced herself for what she was certain was going to be yet another painful blast, when an unexpected, although now quite familiar voice rang out from behind her. . . .
"No!" Will suddenly found herself shouting instinctively, practically at the top of her lungs, towards the silver and black tinted, diabolical creature standing before both she and a crumpled over, blatantly wounded Sailormars.
The redhead had only just excited from her Junior Suite several minutes prior, upon having at last decided to do so after so many days within captivity. While the long, rather revealing talk she had shared with the shy intellectual really had rejuvenated her spirits a tad, she was still feeling quite on the fence over what to do about her place as a potential Guardian Soldier.
She still felt pretty positive about wanting to permanently abstain from the position, except that now, as a direct result of her conversation with Taranee, the decision no longer seemed as clear cut as before.
It was making Will now feel repeatedly guilty, her desire to reserve her right at a relatively normal life, and honestly made her feel as though even wanting to do so was incredibly selfish and unfair, not only to both Elyon and Taranee, as they, themselves had already seemed to relinquish each of their own . . . but it actually now also seemed suddenly unjust to the people of the world, as well.
And because she suddenly felt this way, now more confused than ever, Will had decided that she could no longer stand being cooked up within her bedroom or living room anymore, and had headed down to the lobby, and then into the hotel's known courtyard, where she'd remembered that a fundraiser about the environment was going to be held.
She'd needed a good distraction, after all, and what better one than a function concerning a topic she was admittedly fond of?
But she hadn't expected it to be anything like this.
Will should have suspected something was up, anyhow, when the usually packed lobby area was curiously empty, although she had naturally assumed that it was merely as a result of the ongoing, important affair. But she should have paid better attention to the odd, sort of nagging she'd felt once she'd observed the vacant surroundings, before deciding to readily dismiss it and continue on her way.
Because now, there she was, once again face to face with another threat . . . another Entity, which now looked more than eager to tear into her, as it then seemed to forget all about the injured Taranee-turned-Sailormars.
". . . . G . . . Get out of here! Run!" the red-themed warrior groaned within unmistakable affliction, as she managed to weakly turn her onyx tinted head towards Will, who was now honestly frozen within her spot.
She was actually a bit surprised, in a way, that Sailormars had said that, as Will more so expected her to have instead made an understandably dire request that she transform immediately into Sailorjupiter, despite the basic consensus the pair had reached over her never wanting to do so again.
Will supposed, then, that she should have started to feel relieved that Sailormars did not wish to have her become directly involved . . . except that she didn't.
Not even within the slightest.
Perhaps, had it been yesterday morning, instead, right before the girls' extensive talk, or even the day before that, then she most probably would have felt that way, even if she had witnessed the very same scene as the one currently before her.
However, now . . . Will was actually beginning to feel much more thankful that she had remembered to bring her transformation ring with her.
She had only chosen to take along the displeasing piece of jewelry, finally retrieving it from off of the kitchen counter where it had remained for the rest of the previous day, because she honestly planned on disposing of it within one of the many trash receptacles readily located within the hotel.
The thought had crossed her mind to perhaps simply return it to Elyon, once the two saw one another again upon her decided return to school on Monday, although that particular act would not have been quite as prodigious by comparison.
But now, she was increasingly starting to believe that she would not ever be able to enact either scenario. . . .
Taking a shaky step backward, her adrenaline now pumping with a mixture of fear, as well as formerly absent bravery, Will let out a heavy, conclusive exhale, before promptly pulling out her designated Guardian Soldier ring from out of the left side of her jeans pocket.
Seeing this, Sailormars vigorously shook her head within obvious protest.
"N-No, don't! You don't have to do this!" she cried, before wincing within continued affliction, an act which only further strengthened Will's resolve to proceed with what she was about to do.
". . . . I know," was all she said within soft reply, before slowly replacing the silver, enchanted band onto her right ring finger, and fervidly shouted, "Jupiter Power, Make Up!"
Both Sailormeridian, and Csilla, were doing the very best that they could to make it to the latest cite of an Entity appearance, which this time turned out to be right across the street from the last one, the Garrick Plaza Hotel . . . which also turned out to be where Will had been all along.
Or, at least where she'd turned out to live, evidently.
That had certainly been quite the shock to have learned from the now conscious Csilla, who had suddenly appeared at the dishwater blonde's side only ten minutes or so from when the young girl had parted ways from the curiously brash Caleb.
In between catching her breath, the feline had then promptly begun to alert her of the renewed presence of danger, and how she could sense that Taranee, although already at the scene, seemed to be within great distress.
And so, without hesitation did Elyon transform into her alter-ego state, upon having entered a nearby, secluded alleyway, before immediately breaking out into a feverish sprint.
"I-I . . . I still can't believe that Will was a lot closer than we all thought!" she said in between tired breaths, after Csilla had finished completely filling her in upon everything that Taranee had informed her of yesterday about the once missing redhead. Both she and Csilla continued on within their urgent run, zigzagging in between other back streets upon the feline's suggestion, as doing so would diminish drawing any further attention to themselves, since it was still broad daylight out. "To think that all we had to do was look right across the street from that park where she'd been attacked!"
"Indeed, Sailormeridian!" the grayish-blue cat agreed with a speedy nod, continuing to lead the way within their rapidly approaching destination. "While I was at last beginning to make some much needed headway within breaking through her active, or subconscious block of her powers, courtesy of utilizing her gPhone in order to then locate wherever she'd last kept her transformation ring, it had been Taranee's own ability which had succeeded within finding Will, it seems. If only for that one moment, she was finally able to use her clairvoyant gifts upon command, and used them to figure out within which hotel room Will was residing. . . . I don't honestly believe that yesterday's excursion could have been effectively completed without Taranee's generous assistance. She has certainly come a long way already, indeed. . . ."
Sailormeridian could only nod, a growing, appreciative smile beginning to form upon her face as she silently marveled upon the generally timid girl's accomplishments within the last day. It was honestly surprising to have learned that Taranee had been the one to take the initiative in wanting to search for Will, rather than Csilla, given that the redhead was an absolute stranger to her.
Indeed, she was still a relative stranger to Sailormeridian, as well, but, between the two of them, at least she had actually spent some time with Will, beyond having fought together as fellow Guardian Soldiers.
And having also always been so reserved and reluctant to actively take the helm, at least when it came to social avenues, it seemed, it was all the more astonishing to the blonde that Taranee would have volunteered for such a situation.
She really is a good friend . . . both to me, and to Will, she thought with another smile, counting her blessings to know such a kindhearted individual, just as the Garrick Plaza Hotel had at last come into view within the rapidly decreasing distance. And now it's my turn to repay the favor . . . just hold on, Taranee. . . .
Sailormars couldn't believe what she had just witnessed.
Will had . . . volitionally chosen to become Sailorjupiter once again, after having spent the last several days, including yesterday, even after their insightful discussion shared with one another, of openly refusing the role.
Yet now, there she was, currently within the middle of doing her own best to do battle against the still unharmed Entity.
Sailormars, who had by then managed to make it back onto her feet, however shakily, was currently forced to hang back due to her continued injury which, although still hurting a great deal, had at least ceased within its excessive bleeding.
She was feeling profoundly guilty, just standing there, watching the newly transformed Will continue to duke it out with the similarly powered creature, while all three of them were continually being surrounded by the passed out heap of energy-crippled individuals.
She couldn't let Sailorjupiter face their common enemy alone like that, especially since the good majority of her own attacks, both magically as well as physically, even, were continually being executed rather poorly, as though feeling quite unsure of her capabilities.
And given the extremely trying week that she'd just experienced, Sailormars could not at all blame her.
Still, something had to be done and fast, or else they would both be done for.
If only we could just figure out how to break through whatever defenses this particular Entity seems to possess, she thought within extreme anxiousness, wincing slightly as she gently kept a white gloved hand over her searing wound, now partially blood soaked from having done so. I hope both Csilla and Sailormeridian are aware that Sailorjupiter and I desperately need assistance. . . .
As though on cue, and as if she had unknowingly projected her dire thought into their minds through the use of her clairvoyant abilities, perhaps, both Sailors Mars and Jupiter suddenly heard hurried footsteps from behind, as a familiar voice rang out into the atmosphere.
"Sailormars! S-Sailorjupiter! We're here!" the last remaining Guardian Soldier cried out within reassurance as both she and Csilla swiftly approached, before coming to a tired halt at Sailormars's side. The tone within the blonde's voice clearly indicated her utter surprise at seeing the green and pink themed heroine also present, as well, and especially so knee deep within battle. And then her face betrayed her, as well, growing even more flushed than it had been already from her evidently strenuous run, the moment her blue eyes rested upon the raven haired girl's physical condition. "Oh, my God! W-What happened to you, Sailormars? I'm so sorry that I wasn't here sooner!"
Sailormars then weakly smiled at her worrisome comrade, allowing her to gingerly reach out and graze her injured abdomen.
". . . . I'll . . . be all right, Sailormeridian, once this is all over with," she responded with a tiny nod, before turning it towards a still combating Sailorjupiter. "But right now, Sailorjupiter's the one who needs our help . . . although I'm not entirely sure how at the moment. None of my attacks seemed to phase this Entity at all prior to her arrival, and so far she hasn't seemed to be able to land a good hit of her own. . . ."
"Well, we'll just have to wing it as we go along, then!" Sailormeridian remarked with a growing frown of ample concern, before placing herself directly in front of the slightly weakened Sailormars. "I want you to stay here with Csilla, though, while I try to help Sailorjupiter and -"
"- Ahh!" Sailorjupiter suddenly cried out within obvious harm, all three of her companions behind her gasping sharply within alarm as they watched, in horror, as her body was violently thrown back by one of the microphone-based Entity's electrical attacks.
She landed with a harsh thud onto the ground a few feet away from it, and away from the two remaining Guardian Soldiers, leaving her squarely in between both sides.
"Sailorjupiter!" Sailors Meridian, Mars, as well as Csilla all exclaimed simultaneously, before immediately beginning to rush forward to help their comrade. However, as they did so, their continued opponent wasted no time within making yet another move, as it vigorously fired off another one of its ruthless rounds towards each one of them this time.
All three females screamed within avid alarm, as they each did their best to avoid getting hit, with Sailormars naturally having the most difficultly.
". . . . Get . . . get behind me," Sailorjupiter suddenly then muttered, a bit breathlessly, as she slowly rose back onto her feet. While she did seem to be a bit dazed, and with the wind understandably knocked out of her some, she curiously did not seem to be any worse for the wear, despite having received a direct hit from the Entity's electrically charged blows, much within the same way Sailormars had . . . which was precisely why her present realization had come to her within that moment.
"W-What? Why, Sailorjupiter? We can't just -"
"- Just do it! Now!" the redhead cried as she slightly turned her head to look behind her, hotly interrupting a greatly perplexed Sailormeridian, who only then felt that much more bewildered while she, Sailormars, and even Csilla nonetheless obediently did as they were told.
Having been its newfound, primary targets in those current moments, the girls had each led the Entity's powerful string of white hot energy straight towards Sailorjupiter, who merely braced herself as she firmly stood her ground, arms extended out on either side of her within furthered protection.
Her comrades, who now stood slightly cowered behind her just a couple of feet away, abruptly sucked in each of their own breaths as they watched in terror as the Entity's lightning frighteningly converged onto Sailorjupiter's entire body, effortlessly consuming her in the process.
"Sailorjupiter! No!" Sailormeridian instinctively cried, expecting to see the taller girl instantly crumble to the ground within agony, or worse . . . however she did nothing of the sort.
And based upon their lack of reaction, themselves, at least, not as profound as their blonde compatriot, both Csilla and Sailormars did not seem at all surprised by this, as though they were suddenly becoming aware of an unspeakable knowledge all, but Sailormeridian, were aware of.
About the only other individual who did seem to be actively affected by the current state of affairs was the Entity, its once continually collected, although poisonous demeanor now visibly becoming unglued, as it clearly had expected to see Sailorjupiter weaken like before, this time within defeat.
Brown eyes closed tightly, the Guardian Soldier of Jupiter continued to concentrate as avidly as she could, the vile creature's mimicking power steadily snapping and crackling all over her miraculously unharmed body . . . before they suddenly then flew straight open as she unexpectedly shouted, "Supreme . . . Thunder!"
All at once did every last bit of electricity repel itself away from Sailorjupiter's body, growing even brightly within intensity, as the addition of her own lightning based attack seemed to amplify it even more. All three Guardian Soldiers, in addition to Csilla, watched attentively as it sharply continued on within its trajectory, before violently making impact with the greatly taken aback Entity with bone shattering force.
While the rest of them had honestly expected for the lightning to have hit the evil being's black hued body, it had instead catapulted straight into and then through its silvery head, which was precisely where Sailorjupiter had intended for it to make its mark.
"All right, Sailormeridian! Finish it! Aim for its head, and now, while its weakened!" she quickly instructed as she lowered her formerly extended arms, before moving aside for the still astonished, dishwater blonde in order for her to take over.
". . . . R-Right! Right! Okay!" she replied with a slightly distracted nod of her head, before then immediately beginning to focus, as she blindly reached up to gently grasp onto her already glowing, silver tiara upon her forehead. Once again, like the times before this one, she could feel as it magically metamorphosed into its flat, circular boomerang-like state as she took it off, before she quickly then cried, "Meridian Tiara Boomerang!"
Each female, even including Sailormeridian, for a change, watched within ample confidence as her recently released, magical projectile sailed through the air at alarming speed, radiating with fervent volume as it made its intended mark, a direct hit within the greatly incapacitated, moaning and gurgling Entity's already eviscerated forehead.
Even though it was an overall blessed sight, given the victim's evil nature, Sailormeridian couldn't help but to cringe a little just then, as she and the rest of her comrades watched as her tiara-turned-boomerang effortlessly then sliced straight through the Entity's head, splitting it in half within permanent defeat.
The impact had occurred so quickly, that the loathsome creature had not even enough time to attempt getting out of the way, or even to scream, as Sailorjupiter's previous attack had rendered it completely stupefied, and Sailormeridian's final blow robbing it of its life.
"You did it, girls! Well done!" Csilla happily cried, the first one to speak after watching the momentarily horrific sight, observing with mounting relief, as the Entity's deceased body quickly then evaporated into thin air and completely out of sight.
She then watched as Sailormeridian waited patiently for her tiara to return to her, before then catching it with near expert precision when it did so a few moments later.
It appears as though Taranee isn't the only one to have grown some, as well, the fluffy feline mused with a growing smile full of esteemed pride, watching as her primary charge replaced the formerly glowing, enchanted item back onto her forehead.
"I didn't even really do a whole lot! It was mainly Sailormars and Sailorjupiter who -" Sailormeridian began with a sheepish grin as she turned around to face her companions gathered around her, before jumping within extraordinary surprise, the moment a new voice unexpectedly bellowed out into the atmosphere and abruptly cut her off.
"- Damn you, Guardian Soldiers! You will not get away this time! This time I will have your heads!"
Gasping within collective alarm, Csilla and all three of her current Guardian Soldiers immediately took a defensive stance the instant each of their eyes rested upon the familiar sight of the villainous, Dark General Deite, who was currently hovering within the air straight above their heads.
That is, familiar to all except Sailorjupiter, whose heart then lurched within her chest at the admittedly intimidating spectacle, however stood her ground, nonetheless.
"Deite! Of course you'd be actively behind all of this!" Sailormars was the first to speak, surprising her comrades as a result, especially with the amount of undeniable hatred filtering into her normally kindhearted voice.
Her formerly scowling face then twisted a pained grimace, as she lightly then clutched at her ever present wound, the applied force within her declarations perhaps having been too much for her to currently handle.
This act immediately forced Sailors Meridian and Jupiter to place themselves before the injured girl within ample safeguarding once more, while Deite, who had been continually fuming up until that moment, curiously relaxed his face a bit just then, as he peered down at his despised opponents.
It was quickly over as soon as it had occurred, and perhaps before any of the Soldiers could have taken notice, for a renewed glower swiftly replaced itself back onto his menacing countenance.
"Who is this guy . . . another Entity?" Sailorjupiter naturally asked with a scowl of her own, keeping herself firmly planted within her spot as she kept her guard up, while she and her fellow compatriots continually glared daggers at the floating man before them.
Before any remaining woman could have responded to correct her, or even Deite, himself, yet another new, disembodied voice then echoed within the air, before its apparent owner suddenly then materialized within a rippled, dark violet mist at the maroon-schemed General's side.
". . . . Indeed, he is not an Entity . . . although he may at times possess the mind of one, I will admit," said the unidentifiable, raven haired, similarly attired young man with a tiny smirk, as he effortlessly levitated within the air with as much ease as Deite, who in that moment seemed to be far less appreciative of the newcomer's presence, than he might have been over the obviously offensive zinger.
"I'd thought that we'd agreed that you would not interfere, Zoi! Or do I need to remind you of the hostile announcement I'd made the previous evening?" the crimson haired man snappily queried, giving the eggplant bedecked individual next to him a seething stare within the corner of his brown colored eyes, before returning his attention back onto the now admittedly perplexed Guardian Soldiers still below him.
". . . . C-Csilla, who is he?" Sailormeridian shakily whispered within inquiry, lightly tilting her head down towards the feline standing next to her as she did so, while keeping her gaze steadily fixated upon the sudden duo before her.
"Oh! Forgive my rudeness! I am Zoi, a fellow Dark General, such as Deite," the black haired former stranger suddenly said within reply to the blonde's question upon having evidently been eavesdropping, before tipping his head a bit within strangely polite greeting. "As I had just been discussing with my compatriot here, I have been awaiting the day when we would all meet with much anticipation . . . unfortunately, however, I'm afraid we will have to cut our premiere encounter short, as Deite and I have no choice but to concede this current victory to you. . . ."
"'N-No choice?' Are you mad? I will do nothing of the sort, especially not when one of their own has evidently been injured! It will make this an easy defeat!" Deite bristly hissed within infuriated disbelief towards the other man's words, shaking a newly clenched fist as he did so.
Zoi merely shook his head at this, before calmly responding.
"True as that may be, my friend, I must remind you that both you and I had had far more pressing matters to intend to," he began with a small nod, gesturing with his left, gloved hand towards the momentarily forgotten sea of formerly assaulted individuals surrounding them all throughout the hotel's courtyard, "and as you can see, those matters have clearly been foiled, as these humans are beginning to awaken, now that your Entity has been destroyed and their energy deplorably returning to each of them as a result. And even I had experienced quite a bit of bad luck, myself, as I was unable to locate the Mystical Star of Threbe amongst the several items the humans had gathered to be evidently auctioned off during their little charitable function here. . . . So, our business here has concluded, Deite; let us return to our Master and report our disheartening failure, and come back another time to better contend with our opponents. . . ."
"You go, Zoi! I'm not leaving until -"
"- W-Wait! The Mystical Star of Threbe? Wh -!"
Before either the boiling over Deite, or a greatly taken aback Csilla could properly conclude their simultaneously uttered sentences, she and her Guardian Soldiers watched as the redhead's far more serene counterpart quickly seized the young man's right arm, before abruptly spiriting the both of them away from the scene.
Feeling absolutely flabbergasted by the unexpected turn of events, Sailors Meridian, Mars and Jupiter were unable to speak, remaining planted within their spots, while the guests of the formerly running environmental fundraiser steadily became more awake all around them.
Seeing this, Csilla, who was also feeling quite befuddled, quickly turned around to face her three pupils and said, hurriedly, "We mustn't stick around any longer, ourselves, girls! Let us get out of here, tend to Sailormars's wound somewhere else, and discuss what's just happened later!"
The trio of Guardian Soldiers only nodded within unanimous consent at the same time Sailorjupiter and Sailormeridian gingerly wrapped an arm around Sailormars within aid, before then turning on each of their heels to swiftly vacate the now safe premises before being seen.
". . . . How does that feel? Is it too tight?" Elyon softly asked Taranee, worriedly gazing up at her while simultaneously continuing to secure the abdominal bandage she had retrieved from the First Aid kit Elyon's family always kept within their house, which was precisely where she and each of her civilian-returned companions now were, a near half an hour later.
It was a good stroke of luck that her parents were currently out running a few errands, based upon the brief note they had left for their daughter upon their kitchen counter, otherwise there would have been quite a few questions headed her way, most, if not all of them she would have likely been unable to answer.
It was also another good thing for the continually wounded Taranee, as heading up to Will's Junior Suite upon having fled the scene of former chaos within her hotel's courtyard had naturally been out of the question in that moment, in addition it had been to have gone to any hospital or to her own house, as the distance to either would have been a bit longer by comparison.
However, while understandable, a visit to the emergency room would have been unnecessary within the intellectual girl's special case, and she softly smiled within reassurance towards the bothered blonde as she could already begin to feel the reason why.
". . . . N-No, thank you. . . . I don't think I'll even need to keep this bandage on for very long at all, as I'm starting to feel a lot better now, already," Taranee revealed with a small blush, as she could then feel one of Elyon's slightly clammy hands briefly brush against the remainder of the girl's currently exposed torso.
Elyon blinked within fleeting curiosity, more so over the raven haired girl's statement than her sudden abashment, before she then caught on.
"O-Oh, right! I'd forgotten that we seem to be able to heal, like, freakishly fast and stuff, now that we're Guardian Solders! Thank goodness for that, huh?" she asked with a relieved giggle, before lowering her hands away from Taranee's still a bit tender stomach, upon having finished her work. She then rose to her feet from where the girl patiently stood, and turned to face the remainder of her present, first time guests within her family's otherwise quiet home. "And . . . speaking of now being Guardian Soldiers . . . um . . . does this mean. . . . That is, seeing as you were actually there and willingly helping Taranee fight before Csilla and I got there . . . er -"
"- Yes, Elyon. . . . Well, I mean . . . I'm still not honestly sure about everything's that's happened within the last few days, and . . . definitely not entirely certain that I'm completely all right with it, but . . . I do know that defending those who cannot do so for themselves is the right thing to do, no matter how I might personally feel about it," Will quietly interrupted within reply at her chosen place near the entrance to the Brown's bedroom hallway on just the outskirts of the cozy kitchen, awkwardly propping herself against the white colored wall with both of her hands stuffed into the pockets of her jeans.
She then looked away from each female's attentively focused eyes, suddenly feeling naked at the sudden and increasing attention being placed upon her.
At this, Elyon let out a rather loud squeal, quite blatantly excited over the redhead's evident decision to officially join their growing team once and for all. She then quickly rushed over to the unsuspecting girl before she could stop herself, and immediately enveloped Will within a literally breath-taking embrace.
"Ooooh, that makes me so happy to hear, Will! You don't even know!" she cried within ample jubilation, applying more and more pressure within her vice-like, physical claim upon the avidly taken aback tomboy, who then began to sputter and gasp desperately for much needed air.
"I-I . . . I-I think I . . . h-have a pretty good . . . i-idea, Elyon!" Will managed to squeak out in between labored breaths, her naturally tanned face increasingly growing red as a result, at the same time that Elyon's followed suit upon then realizing what she was doing.
She promptly let the taller girl go, backing away as she did so and giving her an abundant grin of apology.
"O-Oh! I'm sooo, so sorry, Will! I was just -"
"- I-I know, Elyon . . . I k-know," Will cut the blonde off with a weak smile of her own, before leaning forward a bit within her spot and beginning to cough a little bit while catching her breath. "And I thought I was strong. . . ."
At this, all four females began to chuckle within lighthearted amusement, before Elyon moved over to the refrigerator in order to serve her two guests a few beverages out of polite courtesy. As she did so, Csilla, who had been sitting next to it, then jumped onto the kitchen counter in order to get a better view of each of her pupils, before then decidedly seizing the reins of the general conversation.
"I . . . can imagine how profoundly . . . taxing all of this really must be for you, Will . . . and I truly am sorry for it . . . both for admittedly wanting to coerce you into joining us straightaway, and for not taking the time to properly understand your reluctance in doing so, as well," she said within sheepish apology, lightly bowing her tiny, furry head within furthered abashment. She then turned her attention onto her remaining Guardian Soldiers, and smiled faintly at the both of them. "And . . . I must also apologize to the two of you, as well, for having tried to essentially manipulate you into taking my side, at all costs, it seemed. . . . If we - If I were to continue acting within such a manner, then I would be no better than the very enemies we are each meant to unite against. . . ."
Elyon, who had just then finished distributing the glass bottles of cold apple juice she had retrieved from the refrigerator to her human friends, before then placing the small saucer of milk she had also prepared for her animal companion onto the counter for her, shook her blonde colored head before smiling warmly.
"No, Csilla . . . I'm sorry that I didn't at least try to understand your point of view about Will - About the Guardian Soldiers in general, and what it means to be one," she stated within returned acknowledgment, reaching out to gently stroke the bluish-gray feline's naturally soft fur as she did so. "It was just . . . hard, I guess, you know? Not knowing where you were, Will, and if you were safe. . . . The last thing I wanted to concern myself with was each of our shared, new duties as protectors of the planet . . . and of our unidentified princess. . . ."
"No . . . I know, Elyon . . . thanks to Taranee. I mean, I'd already had at least a small feeling that my not having shown up to school again, or making any sort of attempt to contact any of you again would have made you pretty worried, based upon what I'd already observed about you . . . I mean, about your generally caring nature," Will started with a brief nod, before beginning to blush gently over her compliment about the petite girl's goodhearted nature, of which the redhead was becoming increasingly thankful that it blatantly extended even to the likes of her. "But, like I said, thanks to Taranee and her coming to see me and filling me in about everything . . . and more, I now know for sure. . . . I'm sorry, though, for having put you - All of you within that position . . . I just couldn't handle anything anymore after that night had happened, and ended up just completely shutting down as a result. . . ."
"So we gathered, Will, seeing as I was unable, for the longest, to locate you through my connective sensing abilities I possess for each of you as Guardian Soldiers. . . . The shock of it all, and your desire to forget all about it must have been truly powerful, more so, even, than your own innate powers as Sailorjupiter, that you'd somehow managed to suppress them altogether, with or without having realized," Csilla commented once more upon the unexpected event with an understanding nod, causing the redhead to slowly raise her slender eyebrows within seemingly renewed curiosity over it, while Elyon then began to do the same, however over what the tall tomboy could have possibly meant when she had said "and more" a few moments ago.
She looked to the continually silent, recently mended Taranee, who had long since lowered the undershirt of her school uniform and carefully taken a seat at the Brown's kitchen table with her fruity beverage in hand, and then caught sight of the curious rouge now beginning to flood her caramel hued visage.
Whatever she'd said to Will to ultimately convince her to rejoin our group must have been pretty epic, Elyon thought with an appreciative simper, feeling all the more lucky to possess such a friend as she.
"I'm just glad to know that you're in one piece, more than anything else, Will . . . and that we're still friends - Er, or are friends again, however the case may be," she remarked with a growing smile, this time transferring it onto Will, who timidly returned the gesture, before both girls finally began to open up each of their containers of apple juice.
No one said a word after this, simply allowing the sudden outbreak of silence to comfortably claim them, as they each enjoyed both their much needed beverages, as well as their renewed safety. After having allowed a few more moments to pass, Csilla, who had already managed to down a good majority of her refreshing milk, quietly licked her furry lips clean before speaking once more.
". . . . Now, then. While it is a good thing that our enemies have yet to locate the Mystical Star of Threbe, neither have we . . . and with this latest addition of that Zoi character, I'm afraid we will have to double our efforts at retrieving it first, as well as finally finding our princess," she stated with a serious frown upon straightening up her posture once again, moving away a bit from her given dish.
At this, Taranee slowly nodded, as she carefully set down her chilled glass bottle back onto the kitchen table, before finally opening her mouth to speak, herself.
"True . . . but we still appear to outnumber them, three to two," she began with a studious air, reaching up to gently tuck a stray strand of her dark, French-braided hair behind her left ear, "so I'm sure that Will, Elyon and I will be able to effectively handle the task at hand. . . ."
Elyon promptly did a double take upon hearing this from her place in front of the refrigerator, although it had not been over the reserved girl's curious confidence in regards to the trio's capabilities as recently united Guardian Soldiers. . . .
"D-Did . . . did you just call me and Will by our first names, rather than referring to us as 'Miss Brown' and 'Miss Vandom' as you always have so far, Taranee?" she asked within understandable disbelief, although a rather generous grin then began to spread straight across her face.
She watched as Taranee, who apparently hadn't seemed to immediately realize this change for herself just yet, gasped softly within surprise, raising a hand up to her lips a moment, before shyly looking back at her.
"I-I . . . suppose I did," the now profusely blushing intellectual gently replied, before giving both Elyon, as well as an amused looking Will a light smile of her own.
Elyon looked from the raven haired girl, to the redhead, and back again within observation, before softly chuckling.
". . . . I guess that must have been some talk the two of you had. . . ."
- End of Act 5
(A.N. PRAISE JEEBUS! Sixty-three pages! Obviously nowhere near as long as the seventy-nine whopper of the previous chapter, which had admittedly incapacitated my resolve to continue writing this story for a while and thus, its long awaited update, but still! LoL
The break, for this story, anyway, seemed to have done me some good in terms of speed, at least, seeing as I'd managed to pop this baby out within two and a half days or so. Yayyyy... LoL AND it was a nice change of pace from the more seriousness of my book, which is sadly taking a bit longer than originally expected to complete, due to some early revisions and the recent Writer's Block where its concerned...bleh.
But at least, in the meanwhile, happiness can still be had all 'round, well, for those of you who actually read this particular tale, and rejoice over its update. Woo. LoL
ANYWAY! Um...what was I going to say? I always hate it whenever I end up forgetting the crap I might want to address at this point, once having completed a chapter to any of my ficcies... Ah, yes! I remember now!
I know that it might've been a bit, "Wait, wait...how come Taranee's all cool and junkola with Will moving in on her newfound territory where friendship is concerned with Elyon, but with Alchemy she seems to want to eat her face?" LoL I know. No worries, my lovelies! That whole tension gobbledygook shall at last be resolved and better understood, or even fully realized – At least, for Elyon and crap – within the next act, I promise. Time to move on, bitch! Taranee...not you guys...or even me. LoL
And I know that it also might've been a little "Wow...someone sure is more comfortable around Will than Elyon, there" with her too, when she'd had her little talk with Will. Yeah. LoL But that's probably cuz she, maybe even Will, who knows, kinda-sorta revers Elyon within a different, imitation pedestal sort of way, and couldn't possibly dream of burdening the poor dear with any of her woes like that...I don't know. Whatever. First, real friend excitement and all that, who cares. HeHe
Oh, and the hotel courtyard battle was pretty 'lucky' that no authorities or random guests actually staying at there and not simply attending that fundraiser didn't spill onto the scene to either witness Will transforming, or the overall fight, altogether, huh? LoL But then, how many times has the canon Sailor Senshi been in predicaments close to that, where you, while watching/reading the series, are like, "Are you serious? How DIDN'T they caught right then and there? BULLSH.T!" =p So just go with that one this one time. LoL
Oh, right! And about that a bit more, too. The actual fight, I mean. Seeing as that that particular Entity had been created from a randomly chosen microphone the hotel had set up for the fundraiser, that's why I'd chosen to make its primary form of attack to be electrical within relative nature of sorts. That's numbah one. And then, since I'd also made it a bit of a conglomeration of a Carbon Mic as its head, and a Dynamic Mic for its body, that's also why I'd made it a little more than a bit difficult for Taranee, at least, to have it be dented, initially, since D. Mics – Google Image 'em both, if ya gotta LoL – tend to be pretty good with the whole withstanding various forms of abuse. It's a good thing that an official 'Sailormercury' is absent from this tale, as well, or else they'd REALLY be screwed, since those mics are also pretty good at being water resistant, as well. LoL
And then, as for Will finally being able to smack the crap out of the creature, that I'd just done since they'd both possessed similar powers. And seeing as canon Sailorjupiter seems to spend a good deal of time being struck by lightning whenever conjuring up her attacks and she's just all, "...WHATEVER, man" about it, I figured why NOT have Will be/do the same and channel then redirect the dude's attack right back at 'em, coupled by her own added voltage. Yes, I know. Quite flippin' ATLA-esque, there. Mhmm. LoL
So yeah. After that and then smartly deciding to aim for the Entity's head rather than body, poof! The rest was history...and so was he. =p But my having made its head resemble a Carbon Mic – Again, Google Image that if need be HeHe – and that hoodie shawl thing had actually been inspired by a drawing I'd seen at random online, while dreaming up what type of Entity the girls would face next.
Kick ass drawing, it was. LoL
ANYWAY! Moving on! I WILL say, that possibly my most fave scene within this entire act was the one shared between Elyon and Caleb. Even though I'm NOT a particular fan of their canon coupling, or any fics on here – Which haven't been a lot, I've noticed LoL – which acknowledge it, even IF I were not an avid Will/Caleb supporter, instead, I did still enjoy "seeing" them together like that . . . even if all they did was the usual "I hate you!"/"Oh, yeah? Well, I hate you, too, bitch!" overall bantering they normally do whenever bumping into one another...literally. =) Plus, I'd wanted to give more "air time" to Caleb, and further reveal a bit more of his personal back-story...for this tale, anyway, so yeah.
Two birds, one stone.
NOW the only one left to join the mix, for now, anyway, is perhaps another certain blonde, I wonder?
ANYHOW! There ya have it! Act 5, with HOPEFULLY Act 6 to come soon..well, hopefully far sooner than this one, anyway. But, those who read my various stories are pretty used to it by now, how my personal schedule may or may not allow for prompt updates, sooo...yeah. Patience, as always, please, and thankies, also as always, for your continued support and interest within my writings at all; it continually means a lot. =) )