AN: First off I am so sorry for my two week hiatus turning into something much more. Apparently when I came out of my forced break my muses decided they would rather spend three weeks rampaging the Pokemon fandom. They finally have seemed to calmed down about that and the story is in full swing. Chapter 20 is currently being worked on but is almost finished so I swear no two month break between chapters this time.
As always I want to thank some people. A friend who shall remain unnamed for being my sounding board on how to handle certain thing in the story. To June aka lesbiaaans for helping point me in the right direction on how to handle one of my plans that will kick in during the second arc. And to all the people at the NaNoWriMo write-ins who heard me talking about this story and let me ramble about it for God knows how long. You all are the best!
Fun factoid of the day this was originally going to be chapter 13 however I realize that 12 and13 would work much nicer reversed. Hence why you are getting this now and not next week.
Thank you time! To AzarathMetrionZ (hope you had a good birthday, sorry for missing it, consider this a belated birthday present), LoveInTheBattleField, Light-Sakura, Ladygoddess8 (I should hopefully have those photos to you by the time I publish this), Ash Devil Sadist (thank you so much for checking the story out! I love your fic, the New Order keep it up), Kaylen Cooper, sockprincess, and Lucyole for the reviews. To Elza Eldaniella 1, FlashDevil, Raikim4never, Zuzian, gohan8k, LiveandLearn2, Kaylen Cooper, Ash Devil Sadist, Shabondy, AnjuAddams, LazzzyCat, and Angel-Rias for the favorites. To sapientia stulti, Zuzian, aZnNeRd09, Chuggycat, Kuroppoi Kitsune, xSilversun, Angel-Rias, thebrute7, Jessem, Kaylen Cooper, RubyChimera, sockprincess, trish1573, ElvinaPotter, and Rebelgirl01 for the follows. To peachfarie and aliasmijak (I am aware of the problem, I am trying to work on it, muses aren't being the most cooperative though) on AO3 for the comments and the kudos! To Readera (hello there) for the bookmark also on AO3. And of course a thank you to my anon readers
Also it's hard to believe but we've now hit over 7,500 hits on and 3000 hits on AO3. You guys should have seen my face when I saw the hit count as I was writing up the AN for this chapter. Did I mention how much I love you guys and your outstanding patience for me? Because I do.
Also to my readers you all get cookies for coming back and reading the story while it was on hiatus. I love you guys for continuing to show love to the story. I keep writing because you all make my day.
As mentioned in my last AN. This last delay was caused by the wait for getting the chapter back. I am actually all the way up to Chapter 19. So how fast the chapters get to you right now completely depends on my beta, juliemarie12. Hopefully since school is out for the summer the turnaround time will start to normalize.
Anyways enough of my blathering. Please enjoy after a long awaited arrival, chapter 12!
Back to the Beach
I never thought in a million years I would go anywhere near the ocean again after the earthquake. However, when Michiru suggested a beach trip, it brought up more fond memories than bad ones, so I agreed to return to go with some reluctance. I thought maybe being around the ocean would help me with my fear, you know? Well, this trip turned out to have a lot more eventful than just visiting the ocean...
Usagi arrived at Naru's house in the late afternoon a few days after the incident at the mall, catching the tail end of a conversation between, she assumed, Michiru and Naru, "-and it is supposed to have its own private beach. Though, considering the price we have no idea how big the beach actually is."
"It sounds wonderful," she heard Naru respond.
Usagi frowned at the description, wondering why they were talking about the beach, as she cracked the door open to Naru's room and drew the other girls' attention. She forced the frown away, giving them a tentative smile and saying, "Hey, guys! What's going on?"
"We were thinking about heading down to the beach for the weekend to have some time off from all the craziness. We figured it would be a nice break from the normal, mundane life in Tokyo," Michiru explained.
"Really, the beach, huh?" Usagi asked, shifting a bit in nervousness. She had been avoiding the beach like it was some contagious disease ever since the earthquake. The sea only brought back bad memories nowadays.
"Yes. What do you think? Would you two like to come? We already rented a couple of rooms at one of the nearby pensions," Michiru said, giving her a bright smile.
"Well, I – uh," Usagi began, not really sure how to respond to the question. She would probably have to return to the beach at some point in her life, but was she really ready to now? She thought about it before answering, "I'll have to ask my parents first and then, if they say I may come, I'll come if I can stay on the beach."
"Half the fun of going to the beach is swimming," Michiru said, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, I guess I can give it a try but no guarantee," Usagi agreed somewhat reluctantly. The therapy had been helping so far and with the others there she might be able to handle going in the sea for the first time since everything had happened. Still, going in the sea was different than going in a simple pool, so it was hard to say.
That seemed to satisfy the other girls, but she noticed Naru's skeptical look. Naru, sensing that she was going to back out of it without asking her parents, said, "Make sure to ask your Mom when you get home. Remember the deal we made? Consider this me holding you responsible for your end of it."
It was quite a bit of a bus ride to get to the area where they would be spending the next few days. As they stepped out of the bus and took their first view of the beach and the surrounding ocean, Usagi had to admit that she had forgotten how beautiful the beach could be at times – even if the ocean made her feel incredibly nervous. While the others cooed over the view, she kept close to the bus shelter, choosing not to get a better look. Finally, Michiru pulled out a map of the way to the house.
The trip to their pension was mostly uneventful. They met a local girl who had been out picking various plants and who was more than happy to help them find the hotel. At first glance, the area seemed nice as they wandered out of the forest surrounding the nearby cliffs into a clearing.
Usagi froze in her steps when she saw the house. When she had agreed to come on this trip she had been under the impression that the house would be right next to the ocean, not perched on a cliff. She began backing away from it quickly, drawing the attention of the other girls.
"Usagi?" Naru asked, raising an eyebrow in concern.
"I think I may just go spend the night at the bus station," Usagi muttered, continuing to back up slowly.
"Usagi-" Michiru began, only to be interrupted.
"I don't do heights. I don't do water really either. A house on a cliff overhanging an ocean is not my idea of a good place to stay," Usagi said, eyeing the house warily.
"The house has been standing here for years on end without every receiving any damage. I can assure you that you will be perfectly fine," a new voice declared, causing Usagi to nearly jump five feet in the air. An older man walked out into the clearing and took the hand of the little girl who had led them there.
Usagi sighed and replied, "It's nothing against you personally, sir. I just have some underlying issues with heights. I'm sure your house is perfectly normal. However-"
"Usagi," Naru interjected.
"Yes, Naru," Usagi said, turning to her long time friend.
"Just try it once. Remember the other reason you came here? Consider it part of the challenge. Besides, I am not letting you back out of our deal this easily. I'm holding you to that part of the bargain," Naru replied, giving her friend a reassuring smile.
Usagi took another look at the house, thought about having to spend the night at the cold empty bus stop, and finally caved. She sighed, "All right, but I want a room on the first floor if at all possible."
"We do have a room available. I will make sure to give you that key," the old man agreed, giving her a smile. He led them into the house, Usagi reluctantly trailing the group. She knew she had to keep her promise to Naru; that didn't mean she had to like it.
The next morning the girls went down to the beach. It was a small beach, but at least it was private. Usagi had come down with some help from Haruka and Michiru. She had refused to talk about what had caused the issues of the previous night and was looking at the ocean with a sense of trepidation. While the older girls were already in the water enjoying the ocean, Usagi settled down on the beach, preferring to watch for the moment. She was considering going in later but was still nervous to enter the moving water. She was brought out of her thoughts by a yell.
"Come on in, Usagi! The water's great!" Haruka called.
Usagi stood at the water line, toying with it in thought. She didn't want to tell them everything but they had to know eventually, right? And if she wanted to get over it she would have to go back in eventually. She took a deep breath before taking a few steps in until a light wave hitting her feet made her freeze. Quickly backing up onto completely dry sand, she earned strange looks from the other girls.
"Give me a second," Usagi called to them. She took another deep breath before going up to her ankles in the water. However, once she got that far she couldn't convince herself to go any further in or turn back.
"Usagi?" Michiru asked, concerned.
"I'm okay. Just give me a few minutes, okay?" Usagi replied, trying to give them a reassuring grin.
"If you're sure," Michiru called back, exchanging a glance with Haruka who just shrugged her shoulders in confusion.
Usagi took yet another deep breath before attempting to walk a bit further. She made it to the water halfway up her shins before she stopped again. Admittedly, she had made it further in on this trip than she had ever imagined going back into the ocean after the quake. It seemed Sestuna's suggestions were actually working.
"Usagi?" she heard Naru call from behind, just now coming out to join them. Her face was a mixture of awe and shock, knowing just how big it was to see Usagi back in the ocean.
"Look at me. I'm in the ocean," Usagi said, giving her a bright smile.
"I can see that. That's great!" Naru exclaimed, giving her a smile.
Naru noticed the older girls exchanging a confused glance but choosing not to say anything. She stepped into the ocean, coming up to Usagi's side before she turned to her and asked, "Do you want to lead me in a bit further?"
"I guess?" Usagi answered hesitantly, taking the extended hands of Naru who walked the blonde slightly further into the ocean until she could start feel the tingling of the waves hitting the bottom of her legs.
"How are you doing?" Naru asked.
"Okay. Just leave me here for now, okay? I'll come in further if I want to," Usagi said, giving her a smile.
Naru raised an eyebrow and said, "If you're sure?"
At Usagi's nod, she left her to stand there and headed deeper to Haruka and Michiru. Usagi stood there for a few minutes before returning to the shore and taking a seat on the beach towel she and the others had brought down. It was not long before she noticed that Michiru had left Naru and Haruka in the deep water and was approaching her. She gave the older girl a tentative smile. Michiru took a seat next to her before asking, "Are you all right? You have been on edge ever since we arrived last night."
"Yeah. I haven't actually been back to the ocean since the quake two years ago." Usagi admitted, pausing for a second before continuing, "It actually feels nice to be back in the water again. I forgot how much I missed it."
"You used to go swimming in the ocean?" Michiru asked.
"Before the quake, yes. Since then, not so much." Usagi muttered before changing the topic, "Anyway, don't let my deciding to stay on dry land keep you out of the water. I'll come back in if I feel like it."
Michiru raised an eyebrow before asking, "Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine," Usagi assured, waving the older girl off. Michiru gave her one last glance before standing up and returning to the water.
After a couple more hours of working with her fear of water, Usagi finally excused herself, saying she was headed back up to the pension. She thought her first day back at the beach had gone extremely well, all things considered.
Truth be told, she had enough of the ocean in one day to last her a year, but since they were supposed to remain until Monday morning and it was only Saturday afternoon she would probably end up at the beach again before the trip was over.
In spite of the difficulty she had faced reaching the beach, she managed to make it back to the pension without a problem. She waved politely at one of the workers as she began to make her way back to her room. Before she went elsewhere, she figured she probably needed to at least clean her legs of the salt water. However, she ended up sidetracked when she heard the voice of the old man and the young girl from yesterday.
"I know you are tired of it but, Sakiko, you really need to keep practicing so you can eventually learn to control your powers without my help," she heard him say.
"What difference does it make when they only are active when I'm in a trance? It's not like they are harmful for anyone unless you are putting me to sleep again. I've heard the servants talk about a strange specter. I'm not deaf, Dad," the little girl asked.
"One day your powers will be so great that they will activate with or without a trance. You need to learn so you are prepared for that day when it comes. And it will, it is just a matter of time," he explained.
"All right, Dad," she reluctantly complied. their voices diminish as they moved away from her. Though curious and suspicious in her own right, she decided not to chase after them for answers, but it did leave her wondering about strange abilities. She seriously wondered what kind of child would be so powerful that she would have to be trained from such a young age. Was it possible they were somehow connected to the Dark Kingdom? They seemed perfectly normal, but then again Luna was always warning them to be on their toes.
"Great, Luna's paranoia is rubbing off on me," Usagi muttered to herself.
"Usagi, what was going on today?" Michiru asked as they relaxed in the dining room, just having finished dinner.
"Today was my first time in the ocean since the earthquake. Up until today, I had been too terrified to go anywhere near the ocean, let alone in it. I probably wouldn't have even considered coming back to the ocean anytime soon if it hadn't been for my promise to Naru and you two," Usagi admitted to the others.
"So the quake caused you to have a fear of the ocean?" Haruka said after a second.
"It was more than that. For the past year and a half I couldn't even get in sitting water. In order to shower or get clean I either had to use a handheld shower head or be standing. Sestuna has been working on getting me over the fear slowly but surely, but this is the biggest jump I've taken so far," Usagi answered, taking a sip of the tea.
She paused for a second to think about the events that had occurred before continuing, "Before I started having the appointments with Setsuna, every time I went into the water brought the day of the earthquake rushing back. I know it sounds silly but the water, especially moving water, made me think of the tsunami. What had happened, losing Shingo, and nearly dying myself.
"I actually nearly had a panic attack when I fell in the water at the photo contest last month. If I hadn't already worked with Meioh-san then I can say that I would have had a panic attack, no ifs about it. Before Meioh-san came along, I never imagined getting back in the water again at all – forget going back into the ocean," Usagi explained.
"That's a fairly big improvement considering you have been only seeing her for a couple of weeks now," Michiru observed, raising an eyebrow in question.
"Yeah, that is true, but I kind of wish I didn't have this fear or that I had to face it," Usagi said after a moment of silence. She let the unsaid 'I wish I had never been involved in that earthquake at all' hang in the air.
"Maybe someday down the road it will no longer be much of a fear," Haruka helpfully suggested.
"Doubtful that will ever come into being, but it would be nice," Usagi said in response.
"You know that you don't have to come back down to the ocean tomorrow if you don't feel like it," Michiru stated after a few minutes of silence.
"I know, but I probably will anyway. I actually had forgotten how much I had liked going in the ocean before the quake. Today brought back some of my more positive memories of the ocean. I'm hoping another day at the water may bring some more and help with my fear," Usagi said, having thought about it already.
After a couple of minutes of silence, Usagi stood up and stretched some before saying, "Anyway, I am pretty tired from today. I'm going to go ahead and head to bed. I'll see you all in the morning."
Getting a chorus of good nights from behind her, she departed the living room and headed back to her temporary room.
The next day, the girls returned to the beach. Usagi was looking at the ocean with the same sense of trepidation that she had felt the day before.
"Usagi?" Michiru asked.
"Give me a second, okay? I'm not so sure if I want to go in the water quite yet," Usagi said nervously.
Haruka frowned and Michiru looked like she was about to say something but was stopped by a simple head shake from Naru. Both older girls exchanged a glance before Michiru spoke, "All right, if you need us, we'll stay within sight. Just wave."
"Will do," Usagi said, giving them a reassuring smile. Both girls headed back into the ocean, Naru gave her a questioning glance to which Usagi just gave a simple head shake to as well. Naru shrugged her shoulders before following the other girls into the water.
Usagi settled down on a beach towel to relax and watch the others. Maybe she would try getting into the ocean again later.
Meanwhile, out of earshot Naru was telling both girls not to push it, "Sestuna said that she will have good days and bad ones. I'm shocked that she let me bring her that much into the ocean yesterday. She just might not feel like going in today. If she does, just let her come in on her own."
"So today is one of her bad days?" Haruka asked.
"Looks like it. I wish she would take advantage of being around water again to go back into it further, but that's her decision," Naru admitted.
Back on the dry sand, Usagi was engrossed in a psychological debate. She had honestly realized how much she had missed the ocean when she had gone into it the day before, but she was not hundred percent sure if she could find the same bravery to repeat the performance today.
She sat on the beach for about 30 minutes, watching the others enjoy the ocean, before she stood up, taking a deep breath. If she could go in the water the day before, she could do it again. So, focused on marching to the water's edge, she never noticed that she had drawn her friends' attention again.
She walked about to the same depth she had made it with Naru before coming to a stop. Another deep breath and Usagi decided to take the plunge again. She remembered seeing somewhere that sometimes the best way to overcome a fear was direct immersion. Taking a couple of slow, deep breaths and reminding herself that her friends were only a few yards off shore, she sat down in the water, literally.
She lasted maybe five seconds before she shot back up to her feet. Well, that had gone a bit better than she had hoped, she admitted to herself. She now had the full attention of the other girls and it looked like Michiru was about to make her way back over. Usagi gave them a smile before saying, "I'm fine. Just trying something!"
Haruka and Naru exchanged glances but did not yell back. Usagi ignored Michiru, who was beginning to make her way back towards her, as she took several more deep breaths and attempted to sit again. This time she made it a full minute before her fear won out over her stubbornness.
By this point Michiru had made her way back and was eyeing her with some concern. Usagi gave her a reassuring smile before saying, "I really am fine. I just wanted to try something a bit more."
"Are you sure you are going about this the right way?" Michiru asked.
"Honestly?" Usagi said, giving her a look. "Not a clue. But I remember reading somewhere that sometime the best way to get over a fear it to expose someone to it. So I am hoping by exposing myself more and more to the ocean I will have mostly conquered the fear before the trip's end."
"I might be able to help you with a few different tricks than just sitting on the floor, if you are willing to try," Michiru offered.
"Yeah, sure. I guess," Usagi agreed.
"Would you be willing to try and floating on the water?" Michiru asked.
"I-I guess," Usagi said after a second of hesitation. It could not hurt to try at least, right?
"All right, just follow my instructions and we'll see what we can do," Michiru said, giving her a reassuring smile.
"Did you guys hear the ghost last night?" Naru asked the evening after Usagi and Michiru's swimming adventure.
"No, I was flat out asleep as soon as I hit the bed, and you three know I went to bed pretty early last night," Usagi admitted, wondering what her friend was referring to. She turned to the other girls, asking, "What about you?"
"We were too busy with other activities to notice anything strange–" Haruka began.
"So what is this about a ghost?" Michiru said, cutting off any chance to question Haruka on the meaning behind the words.
"Well, I heard this loud crash last night and when I went to see what was going on there was this weird floating figure that was freaking out the workers. I would have gotten you guys but it disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared," Naru admitted.
"You don't think the Dark Kingdom decided to target here of all places?" Usagi questioned. It seemed highly unlikely but she was starting to learn to expect the unexpected with the Dark Kingdom's minions. And that odd conversation she had overheard was still recent enough that she wondered if they had anything to do with this or the Dark Kingdom.
Luna was the first to speak, "It does not sound like anything I have ever heard of the Dark Kingdom doing before, admittedly, but they are capable of doing things I do not fully grasp myself. So, it could be them, but it is unlikely. This is out of their usual range of attack."
"Maybe we should stay up and see if it appears again," Michiru suggested, ignoring Haruka's grumbling.
"Sounds like a good idea," Luna said nodding her head in agreement.
A few hours later, the group gathered on the steps of the foyer again. Usagi was the sleepiest of the entire group, attempting to fight off the urge to go to bed. Today had been extremely exhausting for a day where she hadn't done much other than sit and float in the water. Maybe she was more mentally exhausted than physically? She couldn't honestly tell as she started dozing on someone's shoulder.
She was brought out of her half-asleep state by Naru's yelp, "There it is!"
Usagi sat up straight while Haruka and Michiru shot to their feet immediately. Sure enough, there in the middle of the room was some sort of strange purple colored specter floating around, causing other objects to float as it went. She turned to Luna and said, "Uh, Luna, does that give off any indication of belonging to the Dark Kingdom?"
"No. Which means it is something else entirely." Luna said with a frown.
"Great. What do we do now?" Usagi drawled sarcastically. What the hell was it then? And, better yet, how were they supposed to get rid of it? They were no exorcists and she doubted the house had any or else the specter probably would not be appearing.
"Transform now, we will figure out how to get rid of it after that," Luna commanded the girls.
Usagi went first, hoping that none of the house's occupants were watching, and said, "Moon Prism Power Make Up!"
Haruka and Michiru followed suit shortly after. As the power faded, she noticed that the ghost was still attempting to wreak destruction simply by of moving around the room in a circular pattern.
Haruka was the first to power up her attack, aiming the ball at the current location at the ghost as she said, "Spiral Buster!"
The ball just passed right through the specter. Great, just great. If the Haruka's energy based attacks could not do anything to the ghost, she doubted Michiru's or her tiara would either. Turning to the cat as she dodged the specter as it swooped in again she said, "Lunaaa, do something!"
"I will, just give me a minute," the cat's responded as she observed the specter.
"Well, make it quick. I would rather not find out what happens if it hits us," she replied.
"I may have a solution but-" Luna began only to be interrupted by Haruka saying, "Just do it."
"If you are so insistent then fine; Naru, find a hiding place until otherwise told. Uranus, Neptune, I want you two to look for the possible source of the energy. Look for a faintly glowing object or person. Depending on which it is either destroy it or bring them to me. Moon, we are going to try a couple of tricks to either get rid of it ourselves or distract it until Uranus and Neptune can find the source. Understood?" Luna instructed.
As the girls scattered on Luna's command, Usagi asked, "So how exactly am I supposed to pull this off? My tiara does nothing and I seriously doubt I can keep it distracted for very long with a weapon that passes straight through it."
Luna's only response was to do a familiar back flip. This time a compact mirror came out. It looked like an everyday compact mirror but the design on the top resembled the one on her locket.
"Technically you aren't supposed to receive this until you have had further training but I feel the situation calls for it," Luna explained, placing the mirror at her feet.
"So what does it do, exactly?" Usagi asked, using another dodge as a chance to pick up the mirror.
"Essentially it is a more powerful healing item than your tiara. However, unlike your tiara – which can both destroy and heal depending on the situation – the crescent mirror is for only healing. Normally you wouldn't even consider using this until you have almost mastered the tiara, but as I said before the situation calls for other methods," Luna explained.
"Okay, enough lecturing about how I am technically not ready to use this. How do I use it?" Usagi asked, turning to face the specter.
"Open it, point it at the specter, and say 'Moon Healing Escalation'," Luna said.
Flipping open the top like asked, she attempted to point the small mirror at the specter as she said, "Moon Healing Escalation!"
She blinked in surprise at the golden light that admitted from mirror and began shining on the specter. It proceeded to do nothing to it as the light eventually faded while the specter remained in position, appearing no worse for wear than before the attack. In fact, the only thing it appeared to have done is draw its attention to the two.
"Uh, Luna? What now?" Usagi asked, looking at the specter.
"Just alternate between your tiara and the mirror for now until Uranus and Neptune find the source. Consider it target practice," Luna replied.
"Great, I'm basically the distraction then," Usagi grumbled slightly as she removed her tiara, none the less tossing it at the specter. She was about to try the mirror again when the specter came swooping in, causing her to drop it in her hurry to dodge.
She was seriously considering finding where Naru was hiding and joining her, Luna's order be damned, when Haruka and Michiru finally returned with the family that owned the pension in tow.
"Please tell me you have a solution because Luna's suggestion didn't work," Usagi said, turning toward the two hopefully.
"Well, kind of. The kid here was under hypnosis via dear old dad here and conjured the specter by accident. According to them it should have dissipated the minute the trance broke," Haruka answered.
"Well that's just great. Now what?" Usagi asked.
Luna turned to the little girl, frowning slightly and inquiring, "Are you saying you conjure this up by accident?"
It wasn't the girl but rather her father who said, "Our family tends to contain some powerful psychics. Sakiko was born with the potential to become one of the most powerful psychics ever seen in our family. I have been attempting to teach her to control her abilities that are slowly beginning to awaken. However, we do run into some trouble with them in spite of them mostly being dormant at the moment. This happens to be one of them. Though, it has always dissipated when she is snapped out of her training trances before. I am not sure why it still remains."
"Is it possible she is still projecting something strong enough that the specter continues to remain here?" Luna questioned.
"It is certainly possible but it would be a first," he admitted as the group as a whole ducked again as the specter swooped in. Having gotten bored with throwing random objects around the room and circling it, it had unfortunately focused its attention back on them.
"Luna, please tell me you know how to deal with psychic projections because I am not in the mood to be practicing dance moves," Usagi said, ducking yet again as the specter came back around.
"Unfortunately not in this case; this is something she must work out on her own. Only once she's sorted out her emotions and figured out what is causing the specter to appear will it disappear," Luna replied, much to the others' annoyance.
"Well, that's just wonderful," Usagi heard Haruka mutter to herself. Obviously they were also getting tired of this troublesome situation.
"Isn't there something you can do?" Usagi asked the cat.
Luna frowned in concentration. After a few seconds she spoke addressed Sakiko directly, "What is the emotion you usually feel the most when entering the trances and whom is it usually directed at?"
Sakiko's response was too low for any human ears to hear it, but Luna apparently was able to still hear before asking, "Well, then what is the emotion you usually associate with the opposite of it?"
There was a second of silence before Sakiko responded with, "Happiness?"
"Seems good," Luna said bobbing her head in response before continuing, "I want you to focus solely on that emotion and try to push out all the other emotions you are feeling right now. Just focus on trying to project that. Understood, Sakiko?"
"I guess," she said after a second.
"Good girl. Moon, Uranus, Neptune, your job right now is to distract the projection as much as possible while Sakiko tries to take care of it," Luna said, turning her attention to the three senshi who had pretty much been left alone to this point.
"Not sure how much we can actually do," Usagi heard Haruka mutter as she began powering up another Spiral Buster and Neptune powered up her own attack, along with Usagi nevertheless. The attacks didn't really do anything to the psychic projection but, as Usagi had discovered earlier with the tiara and mirror, apparently provided great distractions.
Finally, though, the specter did start to fade out, much to everyone's relief, until it popped out of existence. The only evidence that it had been there were the items tossed about the room and the transformed senshi. After a brief period of silence the father spoke, "Thank you for your help. I am not sure what we would have done if you hadn't been here."
"Yes, about that. Sir, with all due respect, your training is not doing the trick. You need someone who specializes in training young, powerful psychics. Your intentions are good but you will never be able to pull it off," Luna addressed him with a slight frown.
"What do you suggest we do? I'm assuming you're not a psychic or some spirit trapped in a cat body if you are not offering to help us," he said, frowning also.
"This is not my area of expertise. Besides, it has been years since I worked with someone Sakiko's age in any sort of training. I am not the best person to help your daughter, but there are those out there that can. You just need to seek them out," Luna reprimanded.
"I understand. It is just a bit hard when your only source of income is an old, rundown house like this that rarely gets used by the people coming to visit the ocean," he said, scratching his head.
He left out the unspoken part of the obvious: lack of communication with the outside world. While the girls had their cell phones, the reception was far from great. Usagi hadn't seen much in the way of high-tech gadgets when exploring the house the day before either. However, that may have had something to do with Sakiko's volatile powers.
"So no more being hypnotized?" Sakiko asked hopefully.
Her father chuckled slightly before replying, "No. No more hypnotization for now."
"Yay!" Sakiko shouted happily at that announcement, earning some chuckled amusement from the room's other occupants.
After the hypnotizing ended, until her father could find her a proper trainer, things calmed down for the most part. The rest of the trip was pretty normal and quiet. Sakiko hung out with us some on the beach the day after the incident with her projection. She is a sweet if shy girl. I hope her father can find her someone to teach her how to use her abilities in a way better than his method.
I did go back into the ocean for a couple of hours on our last day here before we left. I still am nervous around water but am definitely improving. It was interesting. I think if someone told me two months ago that I would be going anywhere near the ocean again, I would probably have laughed my head off. But look at me now; thanks to Sestuna and partly due to a cat – of all things – I am not only doing better but am feeling the happiest I have in a long time.
It was a fun distraction from school while it lasted, but finals are only a few weeks away and my future with it. I'm beginning to get nervous about it and what lies with it as the clock counts down to March.
Your big sister,
End Chapter 12
AN: So that's a wrap for chapter 12. All near 6,000 words of it! Hope you enjoyed it and thought it was worth the break. Here's a preview for chapter 13:
After the conversation of the day before, it was no surprise when Luna showed up the following afternoon carrying an envelope in her mouth, making Naru start laughing. Usagi threw a half-hearted glare at her long time friend while Haruka and Michiru watched the exchange with half-amused, half-confused expressions.
Luna paid no mind to Naru, dropping the envelope straight into Usagi's lap. The cat settled down onto her usual pillow as Usagi pulled out the contents that confirmed her suspicion. She turned to the cat, a mix of exasperated and impressed, and said, "Do I even want to know how you managed to pull this one off?"
"Inose-sama," Luna responded.
"That makes sense. I-wait! You're saying he actually knows our real identities?" Usagi said as the implication of the documentation and Luna's answer caught up with her.
"He knows all of yours," Luna admitted after a brief pause.
"WHAT – Whoa, hold on – You can't be serious," the three different responses overlapped.
Luna winced slightly at the volume, but once they had stopped she spoke again, "Look, it was a necessity, mainly for reasons like these. Inose-sama said and I had to agree that, for certain reasons, it was best that the higher ups be aware of your identities. This may or may not be the last time you have to infiltrate something that you would normally not have clearance for. With him being aware of the identities, he can create the proper paperwork and documentation for you to get in to certain areas that you, as normal teenage girls, would be not allowed into."
"But what if we need something where our real life identities are not the best to go with?" Michiru questioned with a frown.
"We have discussed that some and we will get to those crossroads if need be," Luna answered. When that didn't seem to calm the girl's nerves anymore she continued, "If it makes you three feel any better, only Inose-sama and Abe-sama are currently aware of your true identities."
"I still feel like this might come back and bite us," Haruka spoke up, "I mean, with the Dark Kingdom possessing humans and everything, what if one of them gets possessed? Or, better yet, what happens if someone who works at either of their offices finds some paperwork associated with the senshi and decides to talk to the press? Then our real life identities will be all over the news."
See you next week with Chapter 13: Diamond Princesses!