I awaken not unlike the last few weeks. A deep pain rushes through my chest faster than I had ever thought possible. Sheets stick to the sweat glistening across my body as I sit up and cringe at a wound that I know isn't there. Why am I seeing this every time I close my eyes? Normally I would just call these dreams, but everything I feel is so much more real than that. I felt the pain, the anguish and the brief moments of love. Are these memories?
"Lita, you awake?"
My attention turns to the knock at my door. I swing my legs out of bed and force myself to smile. "Yeah." I open the door to reveal Sailor Venus standing on the other side. "Is something wrong, Mina?"
She lets out a sigh. "You didn't show up to court. I… just wanted to make sure that you're alright. Neo-Queen Serenity was worried."
That's when it all hits me. I frantically look back to the clock. "Damn, I'm sorry."
I turn back. "Give the Queen my sincerest apologies. I'll be ready in a half hour."
Before I can take a step, I feel a hand catch my arm. "I thought you had your temper under control."
I shake my head. "You're so quick to put the blame on me aren't you?"
"I expect more from the Princess' personal guard."
"I am more than you will ever be."
The image plays out in my mind. I vaguely remember this encounter, but everything seems different. "Are you sure you're alright?"
I nod. "I'm… fine."
She reluctantly releases her grip. I step back into my chambers and close the door behind me. I know that Venus still watches the door. I could see the concern written on her face. I'm rarely late for anything. Regardless I make my way to the bathroom for a quick shower.
The water feels so foreign to my skin. It's as if it needs to be colder. When I step out the air seems to rush by me. My head is throbbing and I don't know why. "What is going on?" I wipe the mirror and look at the reflection staring back at me. My hand reaches up and touches the left side of my face. The absence of a scar leaves me to question my thoughts. I must be losing my mind. Still, there isn't any time to dwell on this. I'm late enough as it is.
I take a moment to get dressed before closing my eyes and summoning the power of the Jupiter Crystal within me. I feel the power in my veins tingle as I transform into a Soldier's uniform. Now I am Sailor Jupiter. My steps echo through the halls as I make my way to Neo-Queen Serenity. The Crystal palace is just as beautiful as ever.
I turn slightly and see Princess Rini running at full speed. Her steps are slightly off balance. The moment she staggers, I react by catching her before she hits the ground. "Watch out Princess, you could fall if you're not careful."
She looks up and smiles. "I'm not worried. Mama says that falling is part of life."
I smile back. Princess Rini is only seven and yet she's wiser than I think Serena ever was at her age. "I thought you would be with Saturn."
She shakes her head. "Nope. Hotaru said she had to meet with Mama and Papa."
I nod and stand up tall. Rini is so much smaller than I am. It's uncanny actually. She follows me all the way the throne room. "I'm sorry Princess, but I have to get to my duties."
She pouts. "Will you help me bake cookies later?"
I bow. "Sure."
She stands with her back straight and offers her right hand with her little finger extended. "Pinky promise?"
I kneel down. "Yeah, pinky promise."
She squeals and runs off down the hall while I turn back to the massive ebony doors. I can hear the voices inside. The moment I step in, tensions shift. All of the senshi sit in their respective seats with both the King and Queen at the head of the table.
I take my seat and watch as everyone's eyes turn from me back to the Queen. "I'm glad we're all here."
For the first time since I walked in, I notice Pluto sitting beside Neptune. Her eyes possess a neutrality that seems so familiar. This must be a fixed point in the time stream. At least, that is what my mind is telling me.
King Endymion sits forward. "We apologize for holding court over so long, but there is a matter that we need to discuss with all of you."
Neo Queen Serenity nods. "Yes, it involves the resurrection of the past Shitennou."
My mind turns itself over. The pain in my chest deepens. I try hard not to cringe as the images pass through my mind. Nephrite…
"Why would we want to resurrect enemies?" Mercury's question is a valid one.
Venus smiles. "Perhaps they deserve a second chance. With Beryl gone, there is no negative energy to influence them"
Uranus looks to the Queen. "Will it be safe though?"
Neo-Queen Serenity looks to Endymion. "I have spoken with Luna about this, and she believes that the Shitennou will be reborn as we had; without memories, just the knowledge of the past."
Mars turns. "If you think it is safe then I don't object, but if anything happens I will burn them to a crisp."
My hands start to shake. Anger is building within me. Neptune shrugs. "I suppose we could let them have their chance. This is a peaceful time, after all."
It is then that Endymion looks to me. "Jupiter, what do you think?"
What did I think? I don't know. I'm not even thinking of his question. "Jupiter?" Neo-Queen Serenity looks to me in concern.
I sit straight and close my eyes. "They have no right to be given a second chance." All eyes are on me now. "They betrayed us, and fought against this Kingdom. It will just happen again. I won't be able to be around people that I don't trust."
Mercury shuffles in her seat. "Lita, what are you talking about?"
Makoto… that was my name. I open my eyes. "I'm just opposed to the idea." Everyone looks at me as if I'm insane.
Neo-Queen Serenity speaks as if to lift the demeaning tone I had just left. "We don't have to make our decision now. Why don't we reconvene tomorrow to discuss this further?"
There may have been replies to her question, but I didn't hear them. I look down to my hands and feel as if they need to be washed clean of something. Pluto watches from the other side of the room. I finally come to my senses once the others start getting up from their seats. I don't want anyone asking me questions, so I hurry out of the room.
"By Jove, what have you done? We have all risked our lives for you and you go and do this!"
I stop once I reach the Crystal gardens.
"A world without Endymion is nothing to me."
My head throbs.
"You selfish brat. How dare you? We've bled for nothing!"
Sparks are surging up my arms.
The voice is much calmer than I could have ever imagined. I turn in time to face Pluto. "Sets… Trista."
She nods. "I never thought that any of you would come to remember."
Tears start to form in my eyes. "What's happening to me? These thoughts and these feelings…"
I turn away. "Can you make them stop?"
She steps forward. "Makoto-"
"That's not my name…" I let my hands fall. "…not anymore… is it?"
Before I know it she's at my side. "I'm sorry. Memories are the echoes of time-"
"And this is a fixed point isn't it?" Silence. "Is this happening to the others?"
"I don't know."
I step back and turn towards the palace. "Then if nothing can be done, then there's no use dwelling on it."
I smile. "You were always a good friend Setsuna. I remember that much." And with those words, I walk forward back to the duty that I had sworn to carry out so many years ago. Behind me, Pluto still stands in silence. I wonder what is going through her head.
The Jovian Senshi… that is how I was known back then. The storms on my planet were beautiful and restless. My name was Makoto, Queen of Jupiter and I was the last descendant of Jove himself. Who am I now? I wonder if I will ever learn the answer to that question. Lita Kino… that is my name, but somehow it just doesn't seem to fit anymore.
And there you go folks :) I hope you all have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it. If you have stuck with me from chapter one right until the end, then I thank you. Let me know what you thought. I always enjoying hearing a reader's opinion. Until next time (and yes I'm positive that there will be a next time).