So here we go again. This one is the sequel to The Daughter of Jupiter and is the third installment of this storyline so as always I encourage you to read the first two before this one, but it is not mandatory.
Enjoy what has been written and please remember that my stories are only for the enjoyment of readers such as yourself. Have fun!
It's cold out here. The rain falls without mercy and I stand beneath it waiting for the thunder to speak to me. I look on, drenched in the storm that I love so much, just to hear the whispers of Jove on the edge of the wind. My heart races and lightning strikes swiftly; this is what draws me to the conclusion that I really am home. Finally the thunder echoes through the sky. I smile and turn back to the door that leads to my father's old study.
"Empress." A guard bows and slides the door open for me.
I give a slight nod and continue through. "Thank you."
The warm air hits me as I step onto the stone ground. One of the servants hurry over and offer a towel which I gladly accept. A few seconds pass before I hand it back and offer my thanks. The palace is bright, but my attention is only on the room at the end of the hall. The energy rises as I walk closer. Behind that door is something more precious to me than anything else.
"Try not to panic, Anna. Your emotions influence your powers." Sapphire stands off to the side holding a charred punching bag.
My daughter stands panting with her hands rolled into fists. "I'm trying, but it's too hard."
I close the door behind me. "Nothing is too hard. It just takes practice."
She turns. "Mom."
I smile. "It took me years to master my powers. You're doing much better than I was."
Her lightning is black. I watch as she summons as much power as she can. She reminds me of Rini when she first came to the past. Jove knows that she looks just as young. After a couple of seconds her power dies out. "I can't hold it for very long."
Sapphire kneels down next to her. "It's like your mother said. It takes practice. One day you'll get it."
I lean against the wall. "Are you tired?"
She shakes her head. "No."
Sapphire looks to me and smiles. He recognizes her stubborn traits, and I'll admit that she probably didn't get them from him. "You don't want to push your body too far okay?"
She looks to me with wide eyes. It's like she is waiting for me to say something contrary to Sapphire's words. "Fine."
I push off the wall and walk towards her. "Come here."
She's so small compared to me. On Earth, back when we all aged normally, she'd probably be the size of a seven year old. I kneel down and pull her into a hug. No matter how displeased she was, it's gone now. Within seconds the three of us are laughing about something random and completely off-topic.
I nod. "Yeah."
She sighs. "Can I go with you?"
I look to Sapphire. "No, not this time. Don't worry I'll be back before you know it."
She looks to the ground. "But why can't I go?"
I smile. "Someone has to keep your father company."
She turns to Sapphire. "Daddy could come and then we'd all be going."
I shake my head. "Anna-"
Sapphire picks her up and sets her on his knee. "Not this time, honey. Besides you didn't forget that there was something we had to prepare for, right?"
The both of them stare at each other before recognition washes over her. "Oh… Yeah." The smile on her face raises my suspicions.
"What are you guys talking about?"
Anna shakes her head. "It's a secret."
I look to Sapphire, but he just shrugs his shoulders. "Sorry, love. Not this time."
I roll my eyes. "Well fine then."
Sapphire turns. "Anna, why don't you get cleaned up so you can help your mom with dinner?"
She looks to me. "What are we making tonight?"
I watch as she steps off her father's knee. "I don't know yet. We'll just have to pick some ingredients and see what we come up with."
The biggest smile appears on her face. "Okay."
And with that reply she hurries and disappears into the hall. Sapphire stands and places the charred bag against the wall. "She's getting so strong."
I nod. "Well, we knew that would happen."
He smiles. "Yeah, but I didn't think it would happen so fast."
I walk to his side. "So what is it that you two are planning?"
He puts an arm around my shoulder and whispers into my ear. "Mako, don't ruin a little girl's surprise for her mother."
I sigh. "You shouldn't be making plans. I don't even know when I'll be back. If it is as serious as I think it is-"
One kiss and I forget what I'm saying. He breaks our connection, but only for a moment. "I'll keep Jupiter safe. You just worry about Earth. I trust you."
In this moment I forget that I don't want to go back to the world I left even though I know it is the right thing to do. Metalia was coming. I knew this and yet my warnings were never heard. I could die. Sapphire knows this.
"If I'm not back in a month then-"
He silences me again. "You really should stop talking."
And for once in my life I do exactly as I'm told.
For as long as I could remember the one thing I wanted, more than anything else, was to marry young and have a big family. I would own a restaurant and a flower shop side by side right in the heart of whatever city I happened to live in. Those were my dreams ever since I was a child, but I'm not a child anymore.
Life is both cruel and kind to those that live. I understand that what I do is not for myself, but for those I would leave behind. Anna stands with Sapphire watching as I step onto a pad of light that I have hated since the time of the Silver Millennium. There are no tear-filled goodbyes or the exchange of keepsakes. In this moment we part with smiles of hope. I think that is the most precious thing that I could ever ask for.
"Empress." One of the guards hand me a small purple crystal that will take me home. I trace its ridges with my finger and click onto the chain around my neck.
"Thank you." I stand and summon the power of Jove. I have not worn my armor since the day I left Earth. Still, it feels so familiar to me, much like a second skin. I look to Anna. "You be good now."
She nods. "I will."
I feel it; the warm shift of molecules that I never liked. My surroundings fade until there is nothing, but the white light. Then there is silence. I expect to see the sun or even the moon hanging high in the sky, but I'm not outside. I pause and take a moment to look at my surroundings. The coordinates should have taken me to the courtyard outside the Crystal Palace. Well, that didn't work out like I wanted it to.
I take several steps towards what looks like the staircase to the main foyer. Maybe I am in the right place, and they expanded the palace.
"Hey, who the hell are you?" That voice. There's something familiar about it.
I feel a burst of energy heading towards me. I turn and jump to the side in time to dodge a green energy arrow. "You should stand down. I have business with Princess Rini."
A teenage girl steps out from the shadows. "What business do you have with the Princess?"
Recognition hits me. "JunJun?"
She hops onto the railing beside her. "I'm Sailor Juno. Now answer my question."
I straighten my back. "I will only speak with Rini."
She shakes her head. "Not if I can help it."
She lunges at me with fists ready to strike. I easily evade to the left and counter everyone of her blows. I can see the frustration welling up in her eyes. "Damn."
Her kicks are fast, but my reactions are better. My punch hits her square in the face. She staggers back and wipes the blood from her nose. I ready myself as she leaps from the rail to the wall on my right. I see her move and react accordingly. She throws a handful of energy, and I jump back and charge my own fists. "You're just going to get hurt-"
A roar erupts from behind me. I turn only to be hit with a wave of red energy that forces me to the ground. I'm taken back by the creature standing over me. "Did you need help Juno?"
"Get off me!" I strike the beast with a surge of lightning. It roars one last time before disappearing. I take this opportunity to get off my back. Juno jumps down and meets a second person who I recognize as another member of the Quartet.
"You didn't need to do that, Ceres. I had her."
"Sure ya did."
My patience is running quite thin. "I warn you two. Get out of my way."
Juno steps forward. "You have some nerve invading the palace."
They both move in perfect sync, Ceres on the left and Juno on the right. I draw the blades of Jove and feel the lightning of Jupiter surging in the palm of my hands. "You should be afraid of the storm."
Thunder echoes outside, but I know that these two girls can't hear it. They are focused only on me. Ceres summons another beast. This time, however, I attack it head on. My blades cut through the energy as if it isn't there. Juno's attack barely grazes the armor on my left shoulder.
I lunge forward and hit Ceres hard in the torso. She crumbles to the ground and I don't hesitate at placing a sword to her neck.
"Ceres!" But she halts her advance as I launch a bolt of lightning to the ground in front of her.
"This battle is pointless. Like I said before, you two will only get hurt."
Frantic steps echo over the balcony to the floor below us. The thunder echoes again. "Stop!" Princess Rini, followed by the remaining two member of the Quartet, jump over the balcony.
I spin away and sheath my swords. "Rini."
Her eyes meet mine. "Lita..."
Ceres brushes herself off. "Princess, it isn't safe here."
She shakes her head. "I'm fine. Jupiter isn't here to harm us."
Juno steps forward. "Jupiter? Isn't she the-"
"Thank you for coming. Excuse my body guards. They were just doing their job."
I nod. "I'm not offended. I suppose I could have sent an envoy beforehand."
The Princess bows. "No it's alright. I'm just grateful you came."
Once again I am a stranger on this planet. I can feel the stares of the Quartet looking at me, ready to strike if I make so much as one false move. I close my eyes and revert back to the casual gown I was wearing before. The disappearance of my armor seems to relieve some tension. Rini follows and detransforms. Her gown looks like one that could have been worn in the Silver Millennium. The six of us walk through deserted halls to the other side of the palace. This is nothing like I remembered.
"Princess I heard that there was an intruder are you al-" A man stands in front of a pair of large wooden doors. His eyes meet mine and his words cease.
I do a double take. "Jadeite?"
He bows. "Makoto."
The smell of tea fills the small study. Rini sits across from me with a saucer in one hand and her teacup in the other. It's strange to see just how much she has grown. Has that much time really passed? I keep seeing that same pink haired little girl in my mind, but that's only a memory.
"Where's Endymion?" My question does little to break the silence.
Rini shifts slightly. "I don't know."
I set my cup and saucer down on the table. "What does that mean?"
She sighs. "My father and I have not gotten along in some time. He just up and left when mom disappeared."
"Are you telling me that you've been taking care of everything…"
She nods. "Yeah… and it hasn't been easy, but Jadeite and Helios have helped me a lot."
Helios? So he's here too. "How is Jadeite?"
"Terrible. I watched him be so devoted to Mina. Without her he's…" Her tone changes.
"It's okay. I understand."
The silence drifts between us once more. I can tell that she's having a hard time talking about all this. I stand and walk towards the window. The planet is still as bright as ever. Crystal Tokyo looks just as alive as it did before Nemesis came. "The people don't even know that they're all gone."
I turn. "Maybe that means that the time of senshi is over."
She smiles. "I had been thinking something similar to that. You know, nothing was the same when you and Sapphire left. The senshi were more divided than ever. The inner guardians practically disbanded."
I put my hand on the wall. "You're going to have to tell me everything that has happened since then."
"You want to understand."
I shake my head. "It's not a matter of wanting to understand. It's that I need to so that I can figure out what happened, why it happened, and how to fight the enemy with circumstances being as they are."
She sets her tea down. "I wish I could think like you. You would probably do a better job here than I am."
I turn. "Don't think like that. You're doing pretty damn well right now."
A light knock echoes through the door. Rini turns to meet it. "Yes?"
Jadeite opens the door and bows. "I'm sorry if I am interrupting."
Rini shakes her head. "No, it's alright. What is it?"
"Master Helios has returned."
She turns to me. "Lita, if you would excuse me."
I nod. "It's not a problem."
She hurries out of the room, leaving both Jadeite and I to look at each other in silence. He looks to the ground as if searching for something to say. I merely look back to the window. "You look like you've seen a ghost."
He looks up. "Not a ghost, a memory."
I turn. "I want you to tell me what happened."
"The Princess would be better at-"
I shake my head. "No. You would tell me what's happened objectively. She can't do that. She's so emotionally invested in this. I need to know every detail without-"
"J…Jadeite?" The voice of a little girl comes from the doorway.
She's small, no older than three. I watch as he turns and kneels down to her level. Tears fall down her face. "Hey… don't cry. What's wrong?"
"It's mommy… she's sad." She latches onto him.
I just look on in wonder. "Jadeite? Who is she?"
He sighs. "Daria, Raye's daughter."
In that moment the girl turns to me then buries her face in Jadeite's chest. I walk over slowly and kneel down to her level. "Daria? That's a pretty name."
She barely looks up. I offer a hand, but she' hesitant. Jadeite looks to me. "Her father left with Endymion. All of them did."
I go to speak, but stop as she takes my hand. So many images pass through my mind. The shadows grow along with the silence until I see Mars standing over someone with tears streaming down her cheeks. Her eyes seem empty as she collapses to her knees. "…the fire…breaks… against the storm…"
I pull my hand back and the vision disappears. Daria continues to hide behind Jadeite and I stand and turn towards the window. My hands start to shake. I was feeling her fear. Why was she afraid?
But I don't look back to Jadeite. Instead I walk out onto the balcony and stare at the beauty of this planet. I reach out but there is no rain for me to touch. "By Jove what is happening?"
Rini comes back into the room with Helios at her side. When I face them I realize that Jadeite has excused himself and disappeared into the hall with Raye's daughter.
"No more interruptions. Tell me everything."
Both Rini and Helios nod in agreement. "Of course."