CHAPTER SIX

Mina cradled Malachite's head in her lap, hating the pallor of his skin and the pain glazing his silver eyes. "Don't leave me, Mal, not when I've just found you!"

His hand weakly covered hers. "Never, love."

Amy knelt and examined the wound. She shook her head gently, not letting Malachite see the movement. There's nothing I can do. It's too deeply imbedded. Mina shut her eyes tightly, and a single tear rolled down her cheek. Grief aged her face by twenty years as she cried for the first time since her mother had died.

Raye knelt on one knee, touching her friend with a gentle hand. "There's still hope, Mina. Look carefully at his aura. What do you see?"

Mina shook her head, and more tears fell. "I can't see it, Raye."

Raye smiled. "I can. His was white before. It's gold now.

Mina's tears stopped, and her face shed the extra years. "Truly?" she gasped. Raye nodded and stepped away, pulling everyone else against the wall with her. They needed to give Mina as much room as possible to do what she had to.

From across the room, Mina had begun to glow. As her light filled the room, she whispered, "Mother, help me!" Her light soon grew too bright, and Raye had to shield her eyes. When the light faded, Raye saw Malachite sitting up gingerly. The knife, still deep in his chest, kept glowing. Abruptly that, too, faded, taking the knife with it. Mina threw her arms around his neck, sobbing.

"Don't cry, love," Malachite murmured, putting his arms around her as well.

"I don't understand," said a confused Jedeite.

Raye glared at him, knowing that she'd be doing a lot of explaining in the next few weeks. "Their souls joined, each becoming a physical part of the other. Her planet needs her to live for its own sake, and she could no more live without him than she could live without a heart. The planet stepped in and saved them both." She looked over to where Mina and Malachite still sat on the floor, wrapped in each other's arms.  "It's over now."

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Somewhere on earth, a bloodstained figure appeared before a sinister looking man. "Paorarite," Adonis gasped. "Help me…"

Paorarite smiled cruelly. "You've failed, Adonis. I can't let you fail again."

"Wait," yelled Adonis. "I know who and where the senshi are! I can help the queen!" He clutched at the wound in his stomach.

"All the more reason to kill you now.  I can't have you taking my place." Paorarite gestured, and Adonis disappeared in a puff of greasy smoke.

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Somewhere else in the universe, a planet finally stopped trembling. The people of Venus sighed in collective relief, knowing that their trial was finally over.

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Back on earth, a slender, blonde princess and her silver-eyed lover looked up at the sky and whispered in unison, "Now, it's over."