* Chapter 18 – Nova
Minako took a side step to her right and then crossed her left foot over and then paused as Yaten followed her and landed his hand over her lower back. He moved her waist nearer to him as he guided her upper body to tilt and follow a half-circle path. His left hand clutching tightly her right, he pulled her straight up afterwards to a standing position.
The curtains closed while the couple was trying to catch their breaths. Both were still not moving from their last position and they can hear the crowd going wild with Minako's opening number: a steaming hot Contemporary Tango with her real life celebrity boyfriend.
They hurriedly walked offstage afterwards and as soon as Minako had reached the front of her mirror, an assistant was already pulling her Venus-cut silver mini-dress away from her while another was assisting her right foot into another costume.
Yaten on the other hand, took to the Three Lights' quarters. He wasn't as hurried as his girlfriend because their number is still after two 'sing and dance' performances by the main star. Although, when he opened their door, he saw that Seiya and Taiki were already wearing their customary suits. He grinned; he cannot believe they're doing this again. Anyway, everything for Minako, he reasoned as he stepped up in front of his mirror to also change to his suit. The crowd went wild again with applause and cheers and whistles; he took this as a sign that Minako had stepped up into the stage once more. He glanced at his wristwatch, two minutes sharp to change costumes and make-up, impressive, he thought.
Hotaru looked around, something doesn't feel right, she sensed. A huge poster of the Hino Group (indicating how much the director had pledged as a financial sponsor) was preventing her from actually looking at everyone at the far back, but she knows that something is amiss. There were several other advertisement posters also restricting her view and she cannot be more irritated with them than now.
Minako reentered the stage and an upbeat sound blared from the speakers. The pop star has a lapel around her that lets her voice be heard above the beat and the background music. The youngest senshi peered at the people sitting beside her; Usagi, Kaykyuu, Ami, Makoto, Mamoru, Motoki and Yuichiro were obviously enjoying themselves and were not sensing anything (not that she expected them to). She wished that any of her 'mama' or 'papa' was with her there to confirm her intuitions but Haruka and Michiru has a part in the concert also that they most probably are now at their allotted change rooms preparing. Setsuna-mama on the other hand, she thought, who could actually tell where that lady's keeping herself?
The show progressed smoothly until they reached the final act: the one where all the performers would gather and sing together. Haruka and Michiru opened the melody with their piano and violin, which were followed by Yaten and Taiki with the organ and the guitar; but then, everyone suddenly stopped.
Everyone inside the dome was stunned with the shield that sprung up so suddenly, and it was deflecting now the constant bombardment of a beam-like energy shooting at it.
"Please move away…" Sailor Saturn requested from Usagi and Kaykyuu who were looking up at her with shocked expressions still.
Kunzite and Nephrite were fast to react though; they disappeared from their post and then appeared inside Saturn's wall. They took each a hand of the princesses and then disappeared to take them behind the people onstage; they trust the outers to protect them.
Saturn jumped and made a flip backwards to evade the stream directed at her. It in turn made contact with a chair that exploded into millions of minute particles. This was all that was needed to set the audiences to panic. They scampered and fled to the exits, leaving only the senshis and the Kinmoukian army.
Transformation phrases were heard shouted simultaneously while the guardians of the earth shield them from incoming beams and balls of energy.
"Watch out for the beam! It's from a particle accelerator!" Star Maker warned as the other senshis jumped onstage also so that they could all face the enemy together.
"What? That's impossible!" Mercury shouted back at her as she dodged the onslaught of energy balls flying everywhere.
Sailor Kinmouku summoned a shield huge enough to block everything going their way. "It's not, Maker made it as a defense against invasions of Sailor Senshis like Galaxia's". She explained.
"Expect her to make something so destructive…" Star Fighter chided as she sent 'lasers' at incoming attacks.
Every senshi was sending blasts after blasts to counter the attacks, but no one among them was sending their powers straight at their mortal opponents.
Just as Sailor Kinmouku fell on her knees from exhaustion, the attacks stopped altogether; and they all focused at the group of people approaching them from the top of the theatre.
"Princess Kaykyuu, you may join us and we would still honor your throne." A well-built man stepped forward and he was wearing an all leather suit with a star insignia imprinted on his left thigh.
Star Healer helped Sailor Kinmouku stand as another man wearing the same outfit stepped up also. "Come with us Princess, Grand Rulers Fighter, Maker and Healer, and we will leave this planet intact." He urged while he patted the particle accelerator nearest him.
Moments of complete silence as both sides assess their opponent.
Sailor Mercury drew near Maker. "How do we destroy that thing?" she asked in a whisper.
"Impenetrable…" the leather clad senshi responded sadly. "It just absorbs any energy hurled at it…"
"Trust you to make foolproof weapons…" She said quietly with a sigh.
Maker glanced at her momentarily before returning her gaze at their enemy. "Is that a compliment or an admonition?"
Sailor Mercury smiled, despite their current situation. "Take it as how you want to take it; but I suppose you never thought that your invention could be used against you…"
"No…" she admitted and shook her head. "You were not there to point that out when I made it."
"Jay…" Sailor Mars called the general by his nickname that only SHE used to call him; and he was quick to respond.
"Yes, princess?" he asked, while hurrying to her side.
She looked at him in the eye. "Please… Please find Yuichiro and Motoki, take them home, and please keep them safe…" she pleaded.
"Please…" Sailor Jupiter begged of him also.
Jadeite looked at each of them and then nodded hesitantly before disappearing.
"Come on Healer… You know we could be happy. Come with me…" The second general urged again, talking directly at the Star Light beside Sailor Kinmouku.
Star Healer looked intently at Sailor Venus before answering. "And trust you to not hurt HER?" she asked simply.
"Yes, yes, just come with us…"
The three Star Lights nodded at each other and then Maker spoke "We would have believed you general, if only you didn't turn Polaris and Orion against their own mothers; or if only you didn't aim the particle accelerator at Princess Kaykyuu awhile ago."
The two standing at the very front changed expressions. "If I won't have you Maker, no one else would! Especially not a weakling senshi from a rural planet!" the first Kinmoukian general shouted.
"Orion, Polaris, now!" he ordered and the two called stepped up to the front and the swarms of youma flew towards the senshis altogether.
The ground shook and a fort made of earth rose between them opposing forces and served as a fortress for the senshis. This was the doing of the guardians of the earth, making the energy balls collide with rocks instead.
When the monsters flew overhead, vines shoot from the bare earth and wrapped themselves around the youmas. Electricity toasted the multitudes that got ensnared. Jupiter stared at her hands; she cannot believe she did such a thing! But her surprise was cut short because of the explosion of their fort sending thick smog into the air.
Just as when everyone was coughing and trying to see through the mist and dust, it began drizzling inside the dome. It cleared the smog altogether thus showing the current state of the theatre after receiving the brunt of attacks. It was Mercury, and she had her hands open at her sides; when she clasped them close, the drizzle stopped.
The dragon of fire rose once more and sent ablaze all the remaining youmas that were airborne that Jupiter had missed out.
Seeing that the senshis had somehow overcome their youmas, the Kinmoukian army began running at them with their armaments poised for attack.
A tidal wave came at them from Neptune and swept at the mortal soldiers, knocking them on the ground.
"Stop this!" Princess Kaykyuu transformed and shouted at the top of her voice while she floated somewhat above the ground; her crystal poised in between her outstretched arms. "No more bloodshed, no more wars, no more!" she was now commanding them as their princess and she was using her crystal as proof of her royalty.
"Who are you to command us? You left us during the destruction, and now you're standing on their side!" a soaking wet soldier answered with defiance while he struggled to get up.
"Maybe I am what you think I am; but haven't our planet suffered enough? There's only a handful left of us, we should unite and build together rather than wage war with other races." Kaykyuu answered him.
Another common soldier stepped up. "YOU caused the demise of our people, YOU were the one who should have defended us, and YOU don't have a right to build the planet that you helped destroy!"
His words seemed to revitalize the people around him and they all began picking up their fallen weapons once more.
A warm white glow emanated from beside the fiery red glow of Princess Kaykyuu. "Please… Enough fighting already…" Princess Serenity faced the soldiers and went near the other princess; the Ginzuishou poised like the Kinmoukian crystal in her hand.
The two auras mixed together and spread outwards touching the very hearts of the Kinmoukian populace that had travelled to Earth. Their senshis behind them reacted with their combined powers and transformed into their royal clothes.
This was the first time that the Earth Senshis saw the Star Lights dressed as such: a long flowing skirt with a palm-wide fabric colored according to their auras crisscrossed across their chest and it was held together by strings on their bare backs. Their earrings were gold as well as their gladiator like high heeled sandals. The stars on their foreheads were shining brightly while their hairs were let loose and were freely moving with the wind.
The Kinmoukian sub-princesses were a breathtaking view even for the goddess of love and beauty herself, "You are… You are so… beautiful…" she whispered to Healer. The silver-haired princess smiled, rely on Venus to appreciate beauty amidst a war, she thought.
The two generals looked around; they can see hesitation forming on the eyes of their army with the warm glow that were coming from the two princesses. "No!" the one beside a particle accelerator yelled and aimed the device at Sailor Mars, he turned it to full power and soon, a beam went straight at said senshi.
Tuxedo Mask was able to see what was coming and was able to jump at Mars and push her to safety before being hit. The spot where she was standing exploded violently and the stage collapsed; sending Mars and Tuxedo Mask into the ruble.
The temporary distraction on the two princesses cleansing the minds of the Kinmoukian people was enough to break their hold. Sailor Uranus was fast to react and pulled them away before the beam hit them as the general was moving the device in a sweeping direction, unmindful of who he would hit.
"Mamoru!" Princess Serenity called, as him and her best friend got buried in the debris. Her heart was thumping; she cannot see any movement on the area where the two landed. "Rei! Mamoru!" she called out again.
It was at that moment that the other Kinmoukian general took to the other particle accelerator and turned it on and aimed it also at the direction of the Earth Senshis to obliterate them once and for all.
Several explosions sounded indicating that the beams had touched a surface or have connected to an object; but the sounds suddenly stilled while the beams steadied on where it had landed.
The silence confused the crowd of the still standing senshis; that is, until the haze from the explosions cleared and two pairs stood out.
"Oh my god…" Neptune uttered when she saw clearly.
"Go… Just go!" Star Healer yelled. "My star seed won't be able to hold me together much longer…" She urged Venus as she held the blonde away from the beam connecting with her back.
Venus was crying helplessly as her hands were clutching tightly the front of Healer's fuku. "No, no, no!"
"Listen, my soul will be doomed when you get hurt in this!" she answered very bluntly, trying to reason with the hysterical blonde.
"They sacrificed their bodies to absorb the energy and to stop the destruction…" Everyone turned towards Sailor Saturn who spoke, and she was watching the scene where the other beam connected.
"Noooo!" Sailor Jupiter cried out when she saw them, following through Saturn's line of vision; Maker's arms were widespread and it was obvious that she had blocked the beam for Mercury.
"You will live through this alright?" Maker asked not making eye contact with the woman in front of her.
Sailor Mercury nodded while her face was bathed with tears.
"And you will wait for me to be reborn, okay?"
Another nod from Mercury
"We were both wrong, it was I who caused Akoumi to be born after a thousand years…" Maker smiled, fondly remembering their conversation not so long ago.
"I… I don't care…" she sobbed.
"Don't worry, I will find you." Sailor Star Maker promised as she heaved in a deep breath.
Shrieks of agony resounded and everyone looked as Orion and Polaris dissolved out of existence. "What have I done?" The two Kinmoukian generals asked together and then looked at the two that had openly blocked the beams of energy.
They shouted, sounding as if it was the Star Lights' fault.
Healer smirked, despite the torture that she was in. "Because I'm in love…" and then she gave Venus a very warm smile.
"Yaten please, stay with me…" grief racked Venus's body and she almost tumbled if not for the sudden appearance of Kunzite behind her.
"Take her please, keep her safe…" she asked of the general; he nodded and then disappeared, dragging Sailor Venus with him to the sidelines.
"Please Zoi…" Star Maker pleaded as the general appeared behind Mercury to take her away also.
"I will…" he promised solemnly before taking Mercury by the waist and disappearing with her.
Princess Kaykyuu fell on her knees. "Maker… Healer…" she breathed out as tears fell from both of them Kinmoukians on that side.
A sudden flash of energy emanated from the two Star Lights, and it destroyed all light-weight materials on its path. The two rose a couple of meters above the earth, their bodies obviously convulsing from the inside.
Sailor Saturn swung her glaive high in her head like a majorette and then landed the staff straight against the earth. Violet tinted white light sprung from its tip and it spread outwards creating the biggest dome of protection that she had ever produced.
Maker's and Healer's bodies began to pulsate and radiate off scorching bluish light. Beams started to crack through their flesh and everything that is hit by the energy is turned into dust.
Princess Serenity saw this and began to understand what was happening. "Please Ginzuishou, help Saturn protect all life!" she shouted and her crystal responded by hovering above her chest once more; it directed a ray of energy at Saturn's glaive making the dome of protection a whole lot bigger. If one would look from outer space, they would have seen that a silvery-violet blanket starting from where the senshis were standing started to spread outwards around the globe.
"What on earth?!" Star Fighter howled as her energy was sucked away from her by her co-Star Lights. Beams of light were stripped away from Fighter further and those energies were absorbed by either Maker or Healer. She felt very weak and her transformation was unsteady as she fell on all fours on the ground. They're feeding off of her! Princess Kaykyuu was alarmed when she saw what was happening so summoned a shield around them two to keep at least one of her senshis alive.
Sailor Star Maker and Sailor Star Healer then exploded violently. The resulting release of energy expanded quickly and obliterated all non-life forms along its circular path which extends thousand of kilometers from where the explosions of the stars took place. Dust and gasses saturated the atmosphere; it clouded everything all throughout the planet plunging it into semi-darkness and chill.
"NOOOOOOOO!" Venus and Mercury shouted as they gazed upwards at the cocoon of spinning gas and dust that was left of their loved ones; sparks and flashes were all that was testament to the explosions that happened earlier. Tears were pouring from them as their respective guardians of the earth hold them close to prevent them from collapsing.
But something was happening; they felt a tug within their souls; and then, tiny balls of light started to escape from them, like when their star seeds were stolen. They looked at their hands, they were disintegrating!
"No! Not Again! Minako! Ami!" Serenity shouted and began to run to where the two were standing. She was panicking; as of the moment, she has no idea if Rei and Mamoru are still alive; and now Minako and Ami are fading away? She cannot let this happen! She thought, there must be a way to save them! She was about to come nearer when she suddenly stopped, because she saw something descending upon the two.
The two senshis both suddenly felt very warm, as some of the released energy entered Saturn's sphere of protection and settled around them and spun around them two very slowly. It turned and turned, all the while shrinking while it spins faster until it looked like a hot white cinder; and then it was absorbed by their bodies. Venus and Mercury fell on their knees as they felt the energy swirl even faster inside of them, making them feel like their innards were on fire.
The small balls of energy stopped escaping altogether, but the area on the bodies of the senshis where the white hot cinders entered was glowing.
"What's happening?" Kunzite asked no one in particular and he shouted the question at everybody as his anxiety over Venus grew.
But the power of Saturn began to take effect already; everyone around the globe was growing weary and sleepy by the minute; soon, even the senshis and the generals of both planets fell to the power of Eternal Sailor Saturn. They swayed on their feets and slowly fell to the ground asleep. All except for Kaykyuu and Fighter, the two who had sheltered behind their own shield.
"What is happening? Are they…?" she trailed off, unwilling the question.
Star Fighter forced vigor on her legs and bravely took some steps and approached Princess Serenity; she bent down and placed two of her fingers on her neck. "They're alive…" She shouted back to her worried princess. "They're just asleep…" She realized as she gazed up at the power of Saturn blanketing the whole planet.
"Fighter, what shall we do?" The redhead princess asked anxiously when she peered around and saw the destruction that was caused by their race on the planet.
The sudden crunching of small rocks against shoe soles made both of them turn. "You will rebuild while the Earth heals itself…" Sailor Pluto answered her while she stooped down to pick-up a sleeping baby on the ground.
The two Kinmoukians were wide-eyed at the baby that Sailor Pluto was now carrying. "Is that…?" Kaykyuu hesitantly asked, deducing the identity due to where the baby was found.
"Hotaru Tomoe? Sailor Saturn? Yes… Look around" she ordered, as she motioned towards the blanket of protection surrounding the Earth. "She sacrificed herself once more for this planet… And yet people are scared of her…" she looked downwards at the baby that nuzzled closer to her in her sleep. "A chance to grow up with your friends perhaps?" she asked fondly the little one as she took a step away from the Kinmoukians.
"Wait!" Star Fighter shouted. "What happens to everyone now?" she asked.
Sailor Pluto answered without turning or even glancing at them. "That's for you to find out…"
"Please…" She heard Princess Kaykyuu beg. "At least tell me what to do!" she was desperate, she had just lost two of her dearest friends and she had to bring up also to their planet those that attacked. After all, they're still HER citizenry. The job seemed daunting and nearly impossible with only the two of them left.
The guardian of time spun around very slowly and then gazed upwards. "For starters, you should wait a few more hours; and then leave and watch from afar the Earth heal itself."
The Kinmoukians were confused, but they let their eyes follow where Sailor Pluto's eyes were resting.
The gases and dusts that had cocooned the area where Maker and Healer exploded were now spinning way faster than they had noticed before. Sparks and flashes were more abundant and upon closer inspection, they can see a revolving shiny object right in the middle of it.
The Kinmoukian blossom mark on Kaykyuu's forehead flared. "Their Star Seeds!" she was filled with hope as she stared at the two floating Star Seeds amidst the spinning clouds. She looked inquisitively at Pluto.
"Yes, their cores didn't collapse. So instead of a black hole, they turned into white dwarves." She explained. "I really have to go." She added as she sliced the air with her rod and stepped inside the time hallway; taking the baby Saturn with her.
Fighter was ecstatic, her friends are not dead! "Yaten is now a white dwarf…" she mumbled, paused and then laughed after a while.
"Yes… They both are…" Princess Kaykyuu was shedding tears of joy.
"YATEN IS A WHITE DWARF!" she shouted happily and even though everything looked gloomy around her, her spirit soared with the renewed hope she was feeling. They can accomplish this and they can rise from this; because the four of them are to be together again.
Please review, because I haven't started writing Chapter19 yet..