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 [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)

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psht, ur-an-ghost
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Outer Senshi Admin  Roleplay Director

Title : Oh, you mean you DON'T have an Elephabulous? Shame.
Posts : 13029
Join date : 2011-09-15
Age : 30
Location : NE Texas


PostSubject: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   12th July 2015, 3:12 pm


Background wrote:
Title:  Cardinal King, Arc 2
By: Kyralih
Rated: PG13
Fandom: Sailor Moon, AU
Pairing:   Mamoru/Usagi, light Senshi/Shitennou occasionally
Notes: See below
Story Summary: The second arc in the Cardinal King AU, paralleling the manga's second arc 
Comments allowed: Yes! XD o_o they keep me motivated

This thread is for Cardinal King's Second Arc: {{Name Not Found ^^'}}

If you are unfamiliar with Cardinal King (a reversed AU centering on Mamoru as Cardinal King and the shitennou as his Heavenly Kings who protect the world against the Evil Queen and her Senshi Warriors) click any one of these:

  • Tumblr - link to each chapter like halfway down that page
  • Fanfiction.net - the story with the alphabet series added to the end
  • AO3 - the full story; if you click on the Cardinal King collection, the alphabet shorts are found within the collection
  • Here on the forum

The order (chronologically) is Cardinal King: Chapters 1-20, the alphabet short "Z is for Zenith", and then Chapter 1-?? of this arc; all other Alphabet Shorts happen throughout Cardinal King or before it, and do not affect the main story (they just tell about a small part from another perspective). 


If you've read Cardinal King and want a super quick refresher, try "I is for Insurance", which looks into what Hanada was writing on the plane. ((you may have to scroll down using that link; the page loads images and pushes you farther up than you need to be ^^'))

I adore feedback - whether it's questions, reactions, comments, concerns, or corrections (hahaha.... I miss things ^^'), I love to hear from people when they read my stuff - it pushes me to write more XD. So if you have anything to say when reading or after reading, feel free to comment in this thread, or send me a PM or Skype message! ♥️


Without further ado, Chapter One:
They were being followed.
 
He had traveled a few blocks trying to shake him, but it seemed his pursuer was intent upon following them. At first Mamoru didn’t mind too terribly; it annoyed him a bit that the red-headed little kid was interested enough in Pegasus (acting stuffed on his shoulder) to leave whomever he was with to stalk them from his apartment building for who knew what reason, but it annoyed him more that the kid’s guardian hadn’t caught up and found him yet. Mamoru let out an irritated sigh as he crossed a street, hoping to lose the tail by discouraging the kid to follow before he was forced to turn around and escort the kid back to his building. The others were waiting for him as it was, and the quicker he could shake the kid the quicker he could hop onto a bus and put his bag down for a few minutes.
 
The light turned red and he had to dash the last few feet to the curb – he disliked acting so reckless, but the kid looked old enough to know not to cross the street with so little time left, so Mamoru and Helios could disappear into the crowd of the shopping district and the kid would give up on following them –
 
He crossed! Helios shouted a mental warning just before a series of horns blasted behind him. He whirled around to see the child half-standing, half-crouching in the middle of the road, his hands on his ears and his eyes wide in fright. Mamoru dropped his bags and uniform and quickly strode in front of the impatient cars and offered the boy a hand. The boy looked up at him, his hands still covering his ears, and Mamoru sighed again and scooped up the kid, Helios working carefully to stay on his shoulder and still appear inanimate. As soon as they cleared a waiting car it took off, eager to get where it was going without delay, and when they reached the curb Mamoru put the kid down and knelt to be closer to his level.
 
Always watch the crosswalk signals and countdowns!” he scolded, his brows furrowed in agitation, “You should know better than that! What would your guardian think if they saw what just happened?! You could have gotten hurt!”
 
The kid nodded, his red eyes still wide and frightened, and the angered irritation drained out of Mamoru like water through a sieve. Mamoru sighed and ruffled the kid’s short hair comfortingly, “Don’t worry people unnecessarily, okay?” He gathered his bags quickly, grabbing the head of his uniform hanger with his duffle in one hand, his school briefcase in the other and stood. “You know you way home, right?” he asked, looking across the way to see the time left to the traffic.
 
“Yes,” the boy replied quietly.
 
“Good,” Mamoru replied, glancing down to give him a quick smile before returning attention back to the clock, “Can you go there by yourself?”
 
“No,” the boy said, just as quietly.
 
His answer threw Mamoru, who was expecting the opposite. If he knew the way home and had followed him by himself, why…? He looked down again, really looking at the kid. His red eyes and expression were still frightened, his glance darting around nervously as though looking out for something. He wore a blue, white, and red elementary school uniform, and while he was holding himself strongly, Mamoru could easily feel the trepidation coming off the kid. And then he spotted  the bruises – several on his arms, one really big ugly one on his upper right arm just under the short sleeve shirt; he had several scrapes on his legs, too, around his knees and shins, but the arms worried him the most. He knelt down again, gently, and asked quietly, “Is home safe?”
 
The boy shook his head, refusing to meet Mamoru’s eyes, and Mamoru’s heart sunk. He had met a lot of kids like him in the children’s home – kids whose parents weren’t the best of caregivers. The children were often removed from their parents house for their own good, else sent to the home by their parents if they didn’t want to take care of them anymore; in either case, it was heartbreaking to bear witness to, and oftentimes the kids took years to recover.
 
Hanada and the others would just have to wait. He pushed his shoulder towards the kid, offering him a smile and Helios, knowing that Helios was what drew the kid’s attention in the first place. “Could you hold my pegasus for a minute?” he asked.
 
“Okay,” the child reached out and gingerly took Helios off his shoulder, “but he’s a unisus, not a pegasus.”
 
Mamoru smiled, carefully swapping his book bag to his other hand, adjusting his grip to attempt to hold all three items comfortably. “Is that so?” he invited.
 
“Yeah,” the boy replied, his tone bolder, almost accusing, “Don’t you see his horn? Pegasi don’t have horns – unicorns do. So when a horse has wings and a horn they’re called a unisus, or sometimes a pegacorn, but that just sounds weird.”
 
Well he told you, didn’t he? Helios prodded mischievously.
 
Mamoru’s smile grew. “That’s a great observation,” he complimented, “My name is Chiba Mamoru, what’s yours?”


“Mamoru,” the boy repeated, looking over Helios carefully.
 
“Yes, you can call me that,” Mamoru replied, raising a brow – it was a bold move, but then kids were bolder now more than ever. “What can I call you?”
 
“Mamoru,” the boy repeated.
 
Well this wasn’t frustrating at all.
 
“We can’t both go by Mamoru,” he patiently explained, “How about I keep going by my name since I’m older; what would you like to be called?”
 
“My name is Mamoru, I want to go by Mamoru,” the boy repeated, furrowing his brows as he looked closely into Helios’s eyes.
 
Swooping in for the rescue, Mamoru held his free hand out, “Alright, Mamoru it is, then. I can take him back now.” The kid reluctantly handed Helios over, and Mamoru felt him relax in his hand as he put him back on his shoulder and stood. He looked around, trying to remember where the nearest police station was, offered the child his free hand and asked, “Where can I take you, Mamoru?”
 
As soon as the kid took his hand a flood of images forced themselves into his mind, his psychometry unhindered by adrenaline and his mind unable to block them out: A hazy woman, illuminated by a great evil light, stands alone on the precipice of a great crystalline tower as explosions shake the world around her; A bright, menacing force looms over a foreign city as buildings catch fire and melt. People are screaming; He’s running, terrified, being chased. He calls for help, but no one is there to help him. The images faded and Mamoru stared at the kid, trying to process what he had seen, but a commotion parted the crowd before them and the child squeezed his hand in fright, and moved closer to hide behind him.
 
Watch out, Helios warned apprehensively, something’s not right about that person.
 
He could say that again. The woman who strode purposefully towards them was drastically out of place – blue-tinged skin combined with an outfit straight out of the American eighties drew the eye like a train wreck, and the great show she put on, reaching out both hands with an overly upset face, only made it worse.
 
Red!” she cried, striding forward on 5-inch stilettos, “Red, there you are! I’ve been worried sick! Why did you run away from me?” Her voice was high, and she drew out each word dramatically; something about her made Mamoru’s skin crawl.
 
The kid yanked at his hand, trying to pull him away. “We have to go!”
 
He was inclined to agree, but he needed to be sure. “Do you know her?”
 
“Please!” the kid replied, pulling harder.
 
Her eyes don’t have pupils – she’s not human!
 
Perfect. He couldn’t transform – not here, in front of the kid and the crowd – so he had only one option: run. He followed the kid’s pull, turned, and quickly took the lead, practically dragging the kid forward as they ran, snaking their way through the late afternoon crowd. Helios kept track of the creature that pursued them; as soon as it started gaining on them, breaking out into a run, Mamoru tossed his bags and uniform aside, aiming for the brick wall between storefronts, and crouched. “Get on my back!” he instructed, but the kid was ahead of him, his arms quickly locking as best they could in front of his neck, Helios held carefully around the midsection in one small hand. Mamoru grimaced – Helios would be much more useful overhead right now, but there was no way to covertly release the unisus without people possibly noticing, especially the kid. He lurched up, rebalancing, and took off, one arm behind his back to support the kid’s weight.
 
As they ran, he fumbled for his watch dial, his hands working awkwardly behind him. Finding it, he twisted the small knob, hoping that he was more lucky now than he had been and that the clock hands would wind up on twelve and call for backup; whether that actually happened or not, he skidded down a side street, running generally towards Hanada’s building. He felt a tiny stutter in the dial and felt relief; behind the wind rushing past his ears, he heard voices.
 
“Mamoru?” Hanada.
 
“Hey, lover-boy~” Midori.
 
“What are we seeing here?” Moegi.
 
“Mamoru, why are you running?!” Kobai.
 
He skidded around another corner, heading down a less populated street, again towards Hanada’s building; he hoped they were still there. He twisted his watchband as best he could – he wore it tightly, without give for jostling, so it burned his wrist a bit but he managed to show them something, for their voices changed immediately. He just hoped they understood someone was with him, so they wouldn’t say something they’d regret later.
 
“What is that?!” Moegi.
 
“Where is he?” Kobai, confident and commanding.
 
“I know where that is!” Hanada.
 
“We’ll be there!” Midori.
 
He fumbled with the dial again, ending the call, wondering if the kid would piece things together when the Kings came to their rescue, and hoping not. He turned his head away from the mass of red hair on his left shoulder and saw her advancing form; a large pale yellow boomerang-shaped head decoration was plastered to her forehead now, and her hair was loose, and near the same shade; she was losing her disguise. And with a small smile of dark blue lipstick, she teleported yards closer, continuing to run in her high heels.
 
She was playing with him. “Oh Red~” she called, as though specifically reinforcing his thoughts.
 
The boy tightened his grip, holding on to Mamoru as best he could. “You’ll be okay,” Mamoru promised between breaths, and the red head nodded into his shoulder.
 
The woman teleported directly in front of them, now completely different – her fluffy outfit now a sleek one-piece bathing-suit type thing, with shorter heels. “Boo!” she cried, her mouth opening to reveal sharp, pointed teeth in her feral smile. The woman’s appearance was startling – not a day before, he had fought through hordes of monsters and battled two or even three powerful women for the fate of the planet, but so far everything he had faced had been clearly human or clearly monster – this enemy was like a mixture of both, and the stark contrast between her human appearance and monstrous characteristics threw him, probably more than it should.
 
Mamoru glanced left, saw an alleyway, and skidded to turn sharply towards it. He barely managed, but he was able to complete the turn and keep the kid on his back, just in time to see the alley was a dead end. If he transformed he could jump to the rooftop, but then the kid would know about his identity, and with what he saw through his psychometry, he wasn’t sure he wanted that. His sneakers skidded again as he turned to face the woman, who now floated above the ground with a smug expression on her face.
 
She was about to say something when a flaming dagger lodged itself in her right arm. She snarled and whirled to face her attacker, and then West King was between them and her in the alleyway, his scimitar drawn. Though his cape hiding much of them from her view, Mamoru spotted North King coming at her from across the street, and a yell from above drew his attention to East King, launching himself off the roof towards the enemy, his stone-covered knuckles brought to bear; before he could execute his attack, the woman growled back towards Mamoru and the kid on his back, and promptly disappeared into thin air.
 
East adjusted his descent to land feet-first, a relief to Mamoru, who had seen first-hand the crater he would have made otherwise. He shook his long brown hair and started looking around; North was visually scanning the area above the alleyway; when South joined them, shrugging his shoulders, he stated, “I don’t see her,” and the others seemed to agree.
 
West turned to face them, his concerned expression changing to curiosity as his silver eyes glanced at the kid riding on Mamoru’s back, but he clearly understood the want of secrecy, as he voiced a quick command, “Kings!” and jumped up to the nearest roof. North and South followed him immediately, though he saw their curious eyes through their green and red masks.
 
East was the last to leave, offering them a bow. With playful bravado, he said, “Never fear, citizens! You’re safe so long as the Guardian Kings are around!” and launched himself skyward after the others. Mamoru rolled his eyes and knelt down, allowing the kid to dismount as he continued to catch his breath from the 5 block sprint.
 
“Do you know those guys?” the child asked hesitantly.
 
“Sure,” Mamoru replied, thinking quickly, “They’re the Guardian Kings – “ though he wasn’t quite sure when ‘guardian’ had been added on, it had a ring to it, “I think they were in the newspapers once or twice; they’re good guys.” He let that sink in for a moment before catching the kid’s eyes and asked, putting as much gravity into his words as possible, “Who was that, and why was she chasing you?”
 
The other-Mamoru quickly looked away, staring down at Helios in his hands, and mumbled, “I don’t know.”
 
“You can tell me,” Mamoru insisted quietly, “I might be able to help you if I know what’s going on.”
 
He wouldn’t meet his gaze, instead starting to pet Helios gently.
 
“Is she why you can’t go home alone?”
 
He hesitated, then nodded.
 
Footsteps sounded on the sidewalk just beyond the alley, and before he could ask anything else, Moegi’s voice rang through the short passageway. “Chiba?” he asked, almost honestly sounding surprised.
 
“Mamoru!” Midori called, his acting a little over the top. “What are you doing in an alley? And who’s your friend?”
 
Other-Mamoru, looking confused, turned away from him to see who was calling his – or their – name; Mamoru rose to both feet, wondering if he would’ve gotten a straight answer out of the kid even if they hadn’t been interrupted. He strode forward, the kid at his heels. The pair made way for them on the sidewalk – Kobai and Hanada were nowhere to be seen, probably observing from a distance, keeping an eye out for the enemy to return – and looked at him expectantly.
 
“This is Mamoru,” he introduced, motioning towards the short redhead. A teasing smile came over both of his friends’ faces, but he ignored them and continued, “Mamoru, this is Moegi Yuu and Midori Nero, friends of mine. I was taking Mamoru home when we ran into some bad company.”
 
“Well that’s unfortunate,” Moegi commented, “But it’s nice to meet you, Mamoru, despite the circumstances.”
 
Midori shrugged, “We’re not up to anything – want some company on your way home?”
 
“I think that’s a good idea,” Mamoru seconded, appreciating their tact, “What do you think?” he asked, directing the question downwards.
 
The kid was watching them closely, and nodded at the offer.
 
“Great!” Midori replied, “Where are we headed?”
 
“Do you know Tsukino Usagi?” the kid asked quietly, and a chill ran up Mamoru’s spine. How did he know Usako? The question paused Moegi and Midori, but the former recovered better than the latter.
 
“What do you want with –“ Midori began, but Moegi held up a covert hand to interrupt.
 
“We know Usagi-chan,” Moegi said, “She’s a friend of ours; is she a friend of yours?”
 
“She’s family,” the kid replied, his finger gently tapping Helios’s horn. “I thought I could maybe stay with her.”
 
With everything that had happened since meeting this kid, that was the last thing Mamoru would agree to. Visions of an apocalyptic event coupled with an enemy and a kid who, as of yet, would not answer questions completely? No way would he let him stay with Usako. Not after everything she went through. His distaste for the suggestion must have shown, for Moegi glanced at him and replied easily, “Usagi-chan’s sick at the moment, I’m afraid; she should be better in a few days, but, until then, why don’t you stay with Midori at his place?”
 
Midori shot Moegi a look, but replied regardless of his personal feelings, “Yeah, how about it? I live in a mansion – it’s pretty cool,” he enticed. Midori’s mansion was a good option – he’d be under Kobai and Midori’s watch; they could figure out his motives, and if Midori had wanted to get away from school for a week, this could give him a responsible reason.
 
Red eyes glanced up at Mamoru and back down at Helios, “Is he coming, too?”
 
Midori shrugged, “Yeah, probably; I’ve got the space.” Blue eyes quirked brown brows his way, and he shrugged in return. He’d rather stay at Hanada’s since it was closer to the hospital and school, but he could transform and run there quick enough if he wanted to. He didn’t answer for certain yet, though; he wanted to tell them what he had seen first.
 
“And Helios?” the kid asked, holding the unisus carefully.
 
“Sure, why not?” Midori returned, “The more the merrier. You ready to go, then?” he asked, “Do you have any bags or anything?”
 
The kid shook his head, but the question reminded Mamoru of the bags he had left back in the shopping district. He looked back that way, “You guys go ahead, I left my stuff back there; I’ll meet you at Midori’s place –“ as he turned to leave, however, a small hand grabbed his. He paused and turned back, and the kid let go nervously, his hand returning to Helios.
 
“Don’t go,” the kid mumbled.

“Hey, you’ll be fine,” Midori commented, “You’re in safe hands with us – don’t worry.”
 
“Mamoru!” Hanada called, and Mamoru turned to see him having just turned the corner with Kobai, his stuff split between them. “Are these yours?” he asked, lifting his duffel and school bag.
 
“Yeah,” Mamoru called back.
 
As they pair approached, Hanada asked with a mixture of curiosity and accusation for the kid’s sake, “Why were they piled between ‘Top City Top-Hats’ and the ‘Tuxedo Emporium’?” Midori snorted behind him. “Really, you shouldn’t be leaving your stuff around Tokyo like that – if Khalid and I hadn’t been passing when we were, who knows who might have run off with them.” Hanada neutralized his expression as the gap closed between them, and looked to the kid. “Who’s this?”
 
“Hanada Kaito, Kobai Khalid, this is Mamoru.” Kobai’s eyes narrowed slightly as Mamoru introduced them, looking the kid over carefully. “Mamoru, these are more friends of mine.”
 
“The kid’s going to be staying at the mansion with us, Khalid,” Midori stated heavily, then lightly added, “Isn’t that great? Someone else to school you at Tekken!” he laughed loudly, “Man, is anyone else hungry? I’m starving! Where’s the nearest payphone? My driver can’t be too far away.” He sauntered across the street, finding a payphone across the way, and, glancing back once, started to dial.
 
“So, Mamoru –“ Hanada started, getting both of their attentions. “Uh,” he pointed at the kid, “Chibi-Mamoru?”
 
The kid’s eyes turned into a glare as he stared boldly up at Hanada, “Please don’t call me that.”
 
“Is there anything else we can call you?” Hanada asked, eyebrow twitching, not knowing he was mirroring an earlier conversation. “It’ll be awkward if we call both of you ‘Mamoru’,” he said through his teeth.
 
“My name is Mamoru,” the kid replied, barely holding a temper, “And I want to be called Mamoru.” He stared down at Helios determinedly; Mamoru wondered if Helios needed an extraction, but figured he’d say so if he were overly uncomfortable.
 
Hanada’s green eyes narrowed into a glare, “Okay, Mamoru,” he stressed the name, and Mamoru had a feeling that would continue for a while, “Where are you from?”
 
“Around here,” the kid replied. They paused, waiting for elaboration.
 
None came.
 
Hanada’s brows were twitching, “Yeah?”
 
“Hey!” Midori called from across the street, covering the transmitter end of the telephone, “How many should they expect for dinner?”
 
Decisively, Hanada snapped back, “Six!” and returned directly to the conversation, “So where do you go to school?”
 
Without looking up, the kid replied, “You probably haven’t heard of it,” a touch of annoyance in his voice.
 
Hanada’s face was starting to turn red and Mamoru was starting to think he should step in before Kaito could do anything rash – if there were anything you shouldn’t accuse him of, it was ignorance about the city and the happenings in it, but the kid didn’t know that. Hanada took particular pride in that pocket of knowledge, and worked with it nearly every day with the investigative reporting he did in the school newspaper and the ambitions he had for his future. Hanada slowly folded his arms across his chest and leaned on one leg, glaring down at the kid, who was pointedly ignoring him. “Try me.” His green eyes were practically sparking with tension.
 
Yeah, this needed an intervention. Mamoru’s mind raced for another topic – any other topic – when Moegi piped in, “It’s Juuban Elementary, isn’t it?” he asked, a smile twitching at his lips as Hanada’s turned incredulous eyes on him.
 
Other-Mamoru hesitated a second, then replied a bit haltingly, though his voice was still strong as ever, “Yep,” he paused, “that’s the one.” It almost sounded to Mamoru like he was lying…
 
“My little sister goes there – do you know Moegi Kimiko? Fourth year?” Moegi was practically crowing to a passionately under-impressed Hanada.
 
“Don’t think so,” the kid replied hastily, still staring at Helios, though now it was obvious that he had nothing else to investigate about the ‘stuffed toy’ and was simply using it as an object to avoid having to look at them. Mamoru couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for him; he’d been through a lot, and throwing more strangers at him was not the best thing to do, especially if those visions had been about his past, or directly into their future… but that was the exact reason they had no other option at this point. The kid must be of some importance, and they couldn’t abandon him – they’d be directly responsible for anything that happened.
 
Luckily for him, Midori’s limo turned the corner, apparently having been close to their position. Midori hung up the phone and sauntered over just in time for the limo to come to a complete stop. They all waved familiarly at the driver – at this point, Mitsuri-san knew them all by name and address, and they knew a little bit about him – and Moegi motioned for him to keep his seat as Moegi grabbed the back door and opened it for all of them. Hanada, still miffed, slid in and around, followed by Midori, who asked after his mood – “What bit you?”  Mamoru motioned for Kobai, who shook his head, eyeing the kid, so Mamoru motioned for the kid, who just looked back at him, then at the opened door. With a quiet sigh, Mamoru slid in and sat on one of the side-facing seats, and was immediately joined by the kid, who sat half a seat away and proceeded to stare intently out the window beside him. Kobai and Moegi joined them, closed the door, and they were off.
 
It had been a long day for them – just earlier that morning they had landed in Tokyo, transformed, and dropped the civilian girls and Usako off at the hospital. Before that, they had fought monsters in a dimensional pocket a quarter-way around the world, faced off against a power-hungry past-life warmonger, endured the wrath of the old Moon Queen, and lived to tell the tale. He could sleep for weeks – he heard that the staff had a hard time waking them up when they landed, and as the sun sunk beneath the horizon, he had a hard time keeping himself awake.
 
His friends all yawned throughout their casual conversations, keeping things light for the kid’s benefit, though through their expressions they were dying to know more about what was going on. Honestly, so did he; for his part, the kid didn’t seem to be paying attention to any of them, his eyes intent on the window and the passing world beyond. Helios, still in his lap, was quiet in their minds. They were in the countryside, minutes before reaching Midori’s house, when Helios finally spoke.
 
In a thoughtful voice, edged with a serious weight, he stated, He shouldn’t have known my name.
 
Brows furrowed all over, and the sleepiness left Mamoru’s mind in an instant as he tried to mentally replay all of their conversations – he remembered that the kid had corrected his classification of Helios, but had he, Mamoru, ever mentioned Helios’s name? … No. He was pretty sure he hadn’t. Glancing at the others, who looked now to him, he shook his head negatively, agreeing with Helios.
 
The car pulled into the drive and stopped directly beside the expansive front doors to the mansion; immediately the double doors opened and a uniformed man stepped out, but Kobai had already opened the door and stepped out before the man could reach them. They exited, their casual conversation sounding much more forced this time around as they entered through the mansion doors, handing their things over into waiting arms; Mamoru didn’t particularly like to be waited on, but he appreciated not having to carry his bags around with him all night. He thanked the man and, the kid hot on his heels, followed Midori to the dining room.
 
Like all rooms in the Midori family mansion, the dining room was huge and elegant; six spots had been set up for them on one end of a long dining table; other-Mamoru grabbed the seat beside him, though the kid couldn’t see much above the table’s edge once seated; the butler came in with towels to elevate him to within easy reach of the food. Once settled, the kid put Helios on the table beside him, paused, and dug in to the soup with gusto.
 
Dinner was relatively quiet, and afterwards, as Kobai, Hanada and Moegi headed for one of the studies on the second floor, Midori and Mamoru showed Other-Mamoru to his room – it was on the same floor as theirs, but a few doors down to provide a buffer from potentially prying ears. Midori showed him around the room, pointing out the bathroom and the television remote. “Uh… I think that’s it?” Midori shrugged.
 
“I don’t have any pajamas,” the kid replied, standing in the middle of the large room, looking smaller than Mamoru had perceived. He couldn’t be older than six; his confidence had made him seem older, but now…
 
Midori pointed to one of the lower dressers, “Check the third drawer; they’re hand-me-downs, but I think they should work?”
 
The kid nodded, and tentatively asked, “Could Helios sleep in here with me?”
 
Mamoru hesitated; if Helios had been a stuffed animal, he would have definitely let the kid keep him for the night – he seemed to have made an attachment to Helios, and he felt like the kid could use more comfort – but the fact was that Helios was very much alive and probably needed to take care of some being-alive things, and join in on the conversation they’d be having in the study in a few minutes. He looked to Helios, and in his mind came Helios’s response.
 
I’ll stay with him; when he falls asleep I’ll teleport out, Helios offered, adding who knows, maybe he’ll talk to me and we can get some answers.
 
Mamoru nodded, the gesture meant for Helios but could work for the kid, too. “Sure, that’d be fine.”
 
The little redhead nodded appreciatively. “Good night, then.”
 
“G’night!” Midori returned cheerfully. Mamoru nodded his second, and they closed the door behind them.
 
“Think he’ll really talk to Helios?” Midori asked as they walked the carpeted hall towards the study.
 
Mamoru shrugged, “He might, who knows. I mean I hope he does – we have a lot of unanswered questions.”
 
Midori put his hands behind his head casually as he strode forward. They were approaching the study when he asked thoughtfully, “Think that monster escaped from Elysion?”
 
“I don’t think so,” Mamoru replied, having given it a lot of thought on the way back, “It didn’t fit with the others – it looked mostly human, whereas the Phases Diana worked up looked like anthromorphic animals.”
 
Midori nodded once, then reached for the study door. “So something new, then?”
 
“Could be,” Mamoru answered with a small sigh.
 
Midori looked back at him and chuckled, “No rest for the weary, eh?” He opened the door and the others stood from their chairs, questions coming from everyone at once, until Kobai cleared his throat, quieting them. “Tell us what happened,” he invited, sitting back down.
 
Mamoru took a seat in a plush armchair that had been dragged into a circle in the middle of the room, rested his elbows on his knees, and began.

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Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's




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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   13th July 2015, 5:49 am

Yay! You're on AO3 as well?! This is awesome! 

(As for this fic, Chibi-Mamoru bounces between freaking me out and making me want to hug him. Also, how exactly does Infinity work in here, for who are the Outers?)

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   19th July 2015, 8:38 pm

@mercury_viola_rhapsody wrote:
Yay! You're on AO3 as well?! This is awesome! 

(As for this fic, Chibi-Mamoru bounces between freaking me out and making me want to hug him. Also, how exactly does Infinity work in here, for who are the Outers?)
sorry this took a while to get back!!

Short answer: -\/- iunno. XD I don't know if I'll be touching the Infinity Arc as we know it - for this arc, I've kinda mushed favorite pieces of three arcs together in it's general "overall plan", so we'll see what happens together in the third arc XD

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Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's


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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   3rd August 2015, 8:56 pm

OMG YOU ARE DOING THIS AREN'T YOU???? *dies*

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   11th February 2016, 3:17 pm

Background wrote:
For reference, since I didn't use an easy method of remembering who is who (I went with gem-stone colors being their last name)
Super Hero NameCivilian NamePast-Life Identity 
Cardinal KingChiba MamoruPrince Endymion
North KingHanada KaitoZoisite
South KingMoegi YuuJadeite
East KingMidori NeroNephrite
West KingKobai KhalidKunzite

XD sorry it took so long! I got stuck and then work and whatevs. ^^' 
Mamoru spoke staring at his hands, recalling everything he could, every detail, from the moment he opened the stairway door in his apartment building and nearly bumped into the redheaded child up until he introduced them after they chased the creature away. His friends were quiet as he narrated, but once he finished and looked up, he could see that they all had questions. He knew just about as much as they did, but maybe by shooting ideas around they could reason this thing out. “I don’t think the creature was from Elysion,” he offered, returning to the question Midori had asked him before, “She was too normal; beyond the senshi, Diana didn’t use any minions that looked remotely humanoid.”
 
“Not to mention she was disguised when you first met her,” Hanada added, leaning back in his chair; his mind seemed to be elsewhere, “None of the others had done that.”
 
“Could she have been a higher minion?” Moegi asked, “Someone more on the senshi’s level that we maybe just didn’t run into before?”
 
“If she were, she did a terrible job of defending Diana when we attacked last night,” Kobai stated with some finality, “I think Mamoru is right; if she were allied with the old Moon Kingdom, it wouldn’t make sense for her to show herself now, just after they were defeated; she should’ve stored up her strength in Elysion, gathered the monsters together, and started strategizing a counter offensive – “
 
“Whoa,” Midori said, holding up his hands as he interrupted, “Who says she had to be allied to their cause? She could’ve been working under Diana without any loyalty towards her, and now that Diana’s gone she’s out in the world, causing mischief – kidnapping kids and whatnot.”
 
Kobai sighed, his silver eyes looking aside as he quickly thought and answered, “Even so, she should’ve known that we were located in Tokyo, and if she had any sort of intelligence – which today she’s shown she does – she would have taken her mischief-making elsewhere, rather than attempt something right beneath our noses. I don’t think she’s a remnant of Elysion.”
 
Helios popped into the room, signaling that the kid had fallen asleep. He shook himself thoroughly, from head to wings to tail, loosening muscles stiffened from his extended state posing as a stuffed toy. Mamoru got up and poured some water into a tea cup for him, which Helios drank from gratefully.
 
“What do you think, Helios?” Moegi asked, restating the question, “Was the enemy one of the Moon Kingdom’s, escaped from Elysion?”
 
“I doubt it,” Helios replied, “She didn’t seem the type; most of the Moon Kingdom’s monsters were cunning, but were very situational – that creature openly toyed with us, seeming to enjoy the chase. She knew little-Mamoru, and he seemed to know her, which means that he escaped from her once but she’s been tracking him, and then frightened him before honestly trying to capture him. That’s an entirely different type of intelligence, and I’m not sure Diana would have willingly created something like that to work under her.” He finished drinking, then added, “And with Beryl down there watching over things now, I’d like to think she’d send us a message if anything like that made it out after us.”
 
Midori sighed gustily, “Okay, then, where is she from?”
 
“And why does she want the kid?” Moegi added when it was clear no one had anything to answer to Midori’s question. Hanada still seemed to be thinking hard about something, and Kobai looked as strapped as the rest of them were for information, and didn’t seem too happy about it.
 
“Did he say anything to you when we left?” Mamoru asked Helios, hoping that the kid let something slip to the ‘stuffed animal’; he hoped to get information without having to drill the kid about it, but he would if they needed to. He wasn’t looking forward to it.
 
“He did”, Helios replied reflectively, “ He spoke to me like he knew I was more than I appeared. Before he somehow knew my name, and used it again and again after you two left, asking me what was wrong, why I wasn’t talking…” he trailed off almost sadly.
 
“Do you know him from anywhere?” Kobai asked, “Somewhere in the past, maybe? Could he be reborn from that time?”
 
Helios shook his head, his silver mane flying. “No; back then I appeared much different than I do today – he would have no reason to know me in this form, even if I had met him back then.” He paused, considering, “I can’t remember him at all – I don’t believe I have ever met him .” That Helios had once appeared different from the way he did now was interesting, but Mamoru let it go, keeping his attention on the problem at hand rather than curiosities of the past that had little bearing on their current issue.
 
“Maybe he’s heard of you?” Moegi offered, “And recognized you from those stories and put two and two together or something?”
 
“But what stories would have been written about him?” Kobai interjected, “I’ve done the research – everything from our past lives has been lost to history. There are myths and rumors about the sacking of Babylon that may coincide to when Elysion moved to the dimensional pocket, but, other than that and myths of Endymion and Serenity’s love, everything is gone. The existence of a horned Pegasus isn’t even in any myths – well any good ones, anyway.” At a look from Moegi, he added, “Assyrians used a horned Pegasus or bull to denote evil.”
 
“Well that’s morbid,” Midori commented flatly.
 
“Why’d you choose the form of a bringer of evil?” Moegi asked Helios, who immediately fluffed his feathers irritably.
 
“I did no such thing!” He protested, “ The Assyrians were an odd bunch who had it wrong,” he replied with finality, sounding annoyed.
 
“Okay then,” Midori continued, “next question would be why would the kid be interested in you? Mamoru said he was looking at you when he first saw the pair of you and decided to follow. Do you think he knows about the Assyrian thing? Or was it just a case of “ooh, pretty pony”?” He paused a moment, then continued on quickly, leaning forward, his long brown hair falling over his shoulders, his voice as strained with frustration as his body language, “And that still wouldn’t explain how he knew your name or expected you to talk back!”
 
Moegi shook his head, resting his elbows on the overstuffed arms of his chair, “We don’t have a lot to go on here…”
 
“What did the visions mean?!” Hanada practically exploded, standing up quickly and rounding to the back of his chair, where he leaned on the plush headpiece. Most of his blond hair had come loose from its low ponytail and now framed his face in loose curls, the softness at odds with his harsh expression, “Was it the past or the future?!” he growled looking away, “It has to be the future – we haven’t had anything like that within our time, but how does that work?! Is it set in stone? Can we change it? How can we change it?! How soon will it happen?!”
 
Kobai held up his hand placatingly, and Hanada closed his mouth on his next question, breathing though his nose. All eyes were on him, and the blond irritably looked away, restyling his hair. Mamoru had been trying to focus on things other than the visions, things that they could solve easier, things that maybe weren’t so subjective, but it made sense that Hanada would stick fastest to those hazy visions, as they showed the big picture, the possible path upon which they were now set. The creature, the kid’s motives and knowledge of Helios – and Usako – were pieces of the puzzle, but Hanada liked to know the big picture first when it was available, and what Mamoru saw when he held the kid’s hand were clues to what had happened, what could happen, or what would happen.
 
“Mamoru,” Helios asked inevitably, having not been there for the play-by-play, “what visions?”
 
“When I took his hand,” Mamoru repeated, closing his eyes to recall the images again, trying to pause them with his mind as they flashed across his memory, “I saw things – I saw a woman standing alone on top of a tower; there were explosions around her, and she was lit from the front by something really bright – it bleached out the colors of the image. And then I saw –“
 
“Wait,” Hanada instructed, his eyes closed, hands back on the chair, “Explain it again, but more detail – what did the woman look like? And the tower?”
 
He concentrated, “She has long hair; it’s streaming out behind her, like a really strong wind is coming from the light. I can’t tell much else – it’s too bright and hazy. The tower looks like it’s made of something reflective –“
 
“Windows?” Hanada asked.
 
“No, there aren’t any separators,” Mamoru concentrated further, but the more he concentrated the more he felt the image slipping away, “It’s like a solid reflective surface, like a window but it couldn’t be that big without supports.”
 
“The explosions?” Hanada prompted.
 
Mamoru grit his teeth, trying to keep the image in place, “They’re below her – on either side of the tower, but large enough to be seen in the frame with her. The tower shakes with them, and that’s all I’ve got from that image.”
 
He opened his eyes and Hanada didn’t look satisfied, but nodded. Moegi was watching Hanada, looking a little upset, while Kobai and Midori were both looking at him. Helios, his wings drawn in, kept his thoughts to himself.
 
“The next one? The city?” Hanada prompted.
 
Mamoru did his best to describe it all in one go, with as great a detail he could, closing his eyes to focus on the mental image again. “It’s not Tokyo,” he stated deliberately, “The buildings are too different – the style is off, like it’s using a different geometry. There used to be a lot of trees, but now there’s nothing but fire; even the buildings are on fire and melting. There was a lot of noise – sirens going off, people screaming – and there’s some sort of heavy feeling from above, like whatever’s causing it is coming from there.”
 
“Maybe that’s what the woman on the tower is fighting?” Moegi offered.
 
“Maybe,” Hanada agreed, without requesting for greater details. “And the last one? The one with the kid?”
 
“He was being chased,” Mamoru replied, “It didn’t look like he was part of the burning city – it was dark; nothing seemed to be on fire. He called for help, but no one came.”
 
Hanada’s fingers tapped on the back of the chair. “Two from the future, one from his past maybe?” he mused, “Have you ever gotten past and future visions in one go before?”
 
Mamoru shook his head, “I usually don’t get more than one image at a time,” he explained with a helpless shrug. He didn't often get visions of the future, either. 
 
No one spoke; they had more questions than answers, which seemed to have become a trend in Mamoru’s life ever since Helios had him stop that creature in the jewelry store. Unlike last time, however, they didn’t have a guide to lead them through and provide answers to at least some of their questions. All they had was one little boy who did not seem too eager to open up to them about anything.
 
“I’m going to bed,” Midori announced, standing after a few minutes of silence. “You guys should, too – it’s late and we’re dead tired. Thinking now is just wasting time,” he aimed the last at Hanada, who was still tapping his fingers on the back of a chair.
 
Moegi joined him, “Maybe things’ll be clearer in the morning when we’ve had some sleep.” He grunted, “I hope so, anyway – I have a debate Monday.”
 
“You’re seriously not thinking about going to school this week, are you?” Midori accused, walking towards the door.
 
“Not going would cause too many problems,” Moegi defended, “And there’s no way I’m losing that debate.”
 
They opened the door and, before it closed behind them, they heard Midori chastise, “You just helped save the planet! End of debate – you win!”
 
The door closed softly, and the silence moved in around them. A clock ticked the seconds past somewhere in the plush room, a sound both comforting and anxious. Half a minute passed quietly, but for Kaito’s insistent drumming as he stewed over the visions. “I don’t even know how you’re still awake,” Kobai said, his tone light and familiar, breaking the quiet as he leaned forward in his chair. Mamoru looked back at him, noting the darker regions beneath his friend’s eyes, too. Kobai regarded Mamoru for a moment before standing, “Let alone the answers to these questions. The others are right – we’re too exhausted to really contemplate the mysteries laid at our feet tonight. In the morning either things will be clearer, or they won’t be. All we can do is be prepared – keep our guard up against anything unusual until we can piece things together. Tonight, though, we should sleep.”
 
Mamoru nodded and stood, sleep sounding better and better by the moment. He started for the door and paused when Kobai didn’t join him, and turned to see him staring at Kaito, waiting patiently. “There are too many missing pieces,” he said quietly, “Get some rest.”
 
Hanada nodded and broke his single-minded stare at his chair cushions, and followed Mamoru and Khalid out of the room. Helios hopped up and flew after them, catching up and sticking to Mamoru as they split for their separate rooms, and then excused himself to return to the kid’s room for the night.
 
The moment Mamoru’s head hit the pillow, he fell asleep.
 

 
Judging by the shadows on the floor, it was nearly ten in the morning when he finally woke up, and he was still tired. He considered rolling over and going back to sleep, but, even as he moved to do so, he knew he’d never actually fall back asleep – the thought had already crossed his mind that falling asleep again meant his whole sleep schedule could be messed up, and he was officially, unchangeably awake. With a sigh he sat up and nearly groaned from the tightness of his stiffened muscles; he stood and stretched fully, grimacing through the pain – funny how the golden crystal could mend broken bones but did nothing to alleviate stiff muscles – and went through his morning routine. Once groomed and dressed for the day, he moved to the doorway, opened the door, and nearly tripped over the small body sitting in the doorframe.
 
The kid scrambled to his feet and turned around to face him, though he wouldn’t look Mamoru in the eye, probably, Mamoru suspected, because the kid’s eyes were bloodshot and puffy. The kid crossed his arms – awkwardly, as one still held Helios – and commented sourly, “Took you long enough to get up.”
 
“Good morning to you, too,” Mamoru drolled sarcastically, one brow twitching up in annoyance.
 
He was up most of the night,” Helios cut in mentally, canceling any thoughtless remark Mamoru might have made next, “It must have been nightmares – he spoke in his sleep, but he mumbled so I couldn’t make out any of the words. He was terrified, waking up all at once, sitting up straight in his bed.” Mamoru sighed, regarding the kid; rough nights didn’t fully excuse rudeness, but it did enough. “He didn’t say anything to me about it; I think he’s embarrassed.
 
“Had any breakfast yet?” he asked instead. The kid, still scowling and looking away, shook his head marginally, and Mamoru tilted his head towards the stairs at the end of the hall. “C’mon, I know where they keep the cereal.” He started leading the way, his hands in his pant pockets, and asked casually, hoping to get him to lighten up a bit, “Do you even like cereal?” The kid hmm’d noncommittally, and Mamoru tried again. “Midori’s got Cocoa-Puffs from the States – have you ever had any of those?” No answer. “They’re chocolate-flavored.” No answer. They started moving downstairs. “They turn the milk into chocolate milk.”
 
“Chocolate milk?” he finally replied, a little less grumpiness in his voice.
 
“Yep.”
 
“Chocolate milk isn’t for breakfast.” His sounded like he was being factual, but there was a waiver of interest in the dismissive tone.
 
“It is, here.”
 
“That’s weird.”
 
“You don’t have to have any,” Mamoru replied openly, turning the corner at the bottom of the stairs.
 
“No, I want some,” his feet padded on the last stair and turned the corner quickly behind him.
 
“Are you sure?” he trailed, pushing open the kitchen door to let him pass. Kobai, sitting at the dining room table behind them, straightened a newspaper loudly. Mamoru nodded towards him as the little redhead passed under his arm, “I don’t want to throw off your strict no-chocolate-milk-in-the-morning policy.”
 
“It’ll be okay.”
 
Within minutes they were seated at the table; the kid had cocoa-puffs and was again perched on pillows as he ate, Mamoru had toast and hot tea, at once starving and not hungry at all. Kobai turned the newspaper page and asked, reminiscent of a television father, “So, Mamoru, how did you sleep?”
 
The kid didn’t answer, barely acknowledging he had been asked a question. Mamoru cleared his throat, getting the kid’s attention, and nodded towards Khalid. Startled, as though just realizing what Khalid had said, he quickly replied that he had slept well – an obvious lie – before going back to his breakfast. Mamoru caught Khalid’s eye, his puzzled expression lost in his friend’s more serious gaze; both were probably thinking the same thing: ‘Mamoru’ hadn’t recognized his own name, which probably meant that Mamoru wasn’t his real name. Why would he lie about his name, and how did he choose that name out of millions? Was it intentional? If so, why use Mamoru’s name? Feeling uneasy, Mamoru finished his breakfast with one eye on the kid at all times.
 
After breakfast, Mamoru retrieved his school bag and took to one of the studies on the first floor, leaving the door open to catch sight of Midori, Moegi, or Hanada as he and Khalid got caught up on their schoolwork, the kid sitting in an overstuffed armchair near them looking bored to death. Occasionally Khalid would ask him a question about himself, but, despite how tired he was, the kid would find a way around it or would simply pretend he hadn’t heard it. They got nothing from him – not the names of his parents, the street he lived on, whether he had lived anywhere besides Tokyo, or even what his favorite color was. 
 
Khalid seemed to have given up by the time Midori walked by the room, stretching, well after noon. The brunet paused, did a double take, and swallowed his yawn to put a hand in the doorway and hang his head, “Really, guys? Studying on a Sunday? I’m so disappointed.”
 
“Do you know what time it is?” Kobai returned in their defense, but Midori took it easily, rolling back up and giving them both hopeless looks.
 
“Obviously time to go outside.”
 
Eager for something to do, Mamoru joined in rooting out both Moegi – who had holed himself up in his room to practice for his debate – and Hanada – who had been staring at a legal pad in obvious frustration – and pulling them out onto a field surrounding the manse. Midori ate a sandwich with one hand as he pulled a soccer goal from a shed with the other and grunted down any objections the others made about not wanting to play because they had other things to do. The teams were split “evenly”: Mamoru and Hanada on one team, as Hanada did not enjoy sports and Mamoru was on the starting lineup for their school, and Khalid and Moegi on the other, both having played the game but never on a school team; Midori served as goalie for both. The kid sat on the sidelines, looking grumpy but having volunteered to keep score for them as not to be left alone inside. Mamoru enjoyed the exercise and the comradery; he could almost convince himself that the unpleasantries of the past were finally behind them, but one look to the sidelines reminded him that more could be heading their way.
 
Exhausted, they left the field hours later with a close-scoring match - Midori might have been harder on Mamoru's shots than anybody else's - then showered and changed, and ate a well-deserved dinner.  As the sun was setting, Midori talked them into watching a new movie in the miniature movie theater on the east end of the house - that he had a movie theater in his house was bad enough, but having access to a film that had just recently left theaters seemed like an overkill on extravagance. Nevertheless, sitting down in a dark, quiet room with a bucket of popcorn and watching an action movie wasn't a bad way to end the day. Mamoru was just thinking about how nice it would be to do something like this with Usako when he felt an unexpected weight on his arm and looked down to see the kid had passed out on him, curled up awkwardly around his popcorn bucket in the plush movie seats, his chest now crushed up against the armrest between them in a way that looked anything but comfortable, but there was no mistaking the peaceful breathing of sleep. He hadn't gotten to see her today; he hadn't even called her, and the hospital visiting hours were long over. The kid had mentioned her by name; could she provide any answers? His heart beat faster thinking about an impromptu visit to the hospital later that night; visiting hours might be over, but she had a window...
 
When the movie was over, Moegi took the kid upstairs piggy-back, somehow not waking him up in the process, and Mamoru told them of his intention to visit Usagi and see if she knew anything about their visitor; they agreed it was a good idea, though it was clear they weren't considering letting him go alone. Hanada originally volunteered, but Kobai vetoed, and Midori stepped up; Mamoru thought the move had been odd, but shrugged it off, grudgingly content that he'd have just one escort rather than up to four.  They transformed outside and made off towards the city, running fast and easy. 
 
"So what's the plan?" East asked teasingly, "Scale the garden wall, climb the terrace and compare her to the sun?"
 
Mamoru rolled his eyes, "Do you want to be Mercutio?"
 
 
Nero paused, "... Is that the guy that dies?"
 
"You don't even know the characters?" Mamoru recoiled indignantly.
 
"Hey, I know the story and that's enough right? Leading lady Juliet and dashing rogue Romeo - "
 
"He wasn't a rogue," Mamoru corrected gustily as the outskirts of the city rose up to meet them.
 
"Prince? Trouble-maker? Whatever. They fall in love and live happily ever after, right?"
 
Mamoru shook his head disbelievingly, "You're so wrong I don't even know where to start."
 
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" Midori quoted.
 
"That's not even in the play." They jumped to rooftops, making for the hospital.
 
Midori laughed, "Whatever, all I need to know is the poetry anyway."
 
"Need to know?" Mamoru repeated, wondering if Midori had joined some sort of theatre troop while no one was looking; he had to admit, Nero could be theatrical enough for that.
 
They landed on the rooftop of the hospital, skirting around the helipad lights as Midori replied, "Girls love that stuff," and Mamoru groaned. They slowed as Mamoru leaned over the side of the building, counting out Usako's window. "But really, what's the plan? Isn't she sharing a room with the ex-senshi? Wouldn't just tapping on the window as we are be conspicuous or something? If she didn't want them to remember their pasts, going in all dolled up like this and talking to Usagi-chan might not be the best way to lead them to believe she's normal."
 
"We'll pretend we're late visitors," Mamoru offered simply. 
 
The actual operation wasn't that simple; they found an empty room to get in through, then detransformed and tried to look casual, yet invisible as they traveled the halls towards Usako's room, knowing full well that visitation had ended half an hour ago. It was a miracle they made it to the room without being escorted out - that or lack security for rooms with patients who were just there for observation. As they approached, Nero looking every-bit like the spy-hero of the action movie they just saw, Mamoru heard stifled laugher from Usako's room and hesitated; it sounded like they were getting along fine, past or no past; he liked that for her, and almost decided to call it off, to get answers tomorrow, but Nero reached over and knocked softly on the door before he could fully reconsider. His heart pounded pleasantly in his chest as the door opened, but rather than Usako, Venus stood in the cracked doorway, looking at them in a covert manner.
 
"Do you have the goods?" she asked covertly as Usako and another girl laughed in the background, not paying attention to the door.
 
Baffled, Mamoru replied, "What goods?" 
 
She leaned back from the door, "He doesn't have it."
 
 
"Who is it?" another asked.
 
"I don't know - some guy."
 
"And his friend," Midori added, fully standing, his hands casually in his pockets. 
 
Venus turned back to them, took in Midori, and leaned back to add in, "And his friend." Mamoru thought he saw her rolling her eyes. 
 
"Aren't visiting hours over?" a quiet voice asked.
 
A second set of footsteps approached the door and it was pulled open further to reveal Mars, who looked at them suspiciously. "Visiting hours are over; what do you want?"
 
Usako was sitting sprawled on a bed with the tall brunette - ex-Jupiter - but once Mars opened the door wider and she saw him, and he her, she rolled over and hopped up to dash to the door, her smile bright and welcoming and completely disarming. "Mamo-chan!" she welcomed, Mars and Venus making way for her in the doorway; she immediately reached out, took his hand, and pulled him in; Midori followed and closed the door behind him as Usako cleared her throat and motioned to him like he was the topic of a presentation. "Everyone, this is Chiba Mamoru, my boyfriend - " his heart thrilled at the term; she looked up at him, her whole countenance nothing but happiness, "Mamochan, this is Ami-chan, Makoto-chan, Minako-chan, and Rei." She motioned to each in turn - Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Mars - and he wondered momentarily in the dropped honorific for Rei, but Mars's - Rei's - frustrated but accepting expression hinted that she didn't mind all that much. He was happy for her; she had worried that they might not like her, and while he had known they couldn’t resist – who could resist her? – it was still comforting to see.
 
Midori cleared his throat unobtrusively and Usagi whirled around as if she had just noticed him, and, grinning, added, “And this is Midori-kun, one of Mamo-chan’s friends.”
 
“Sorry to barge in so late,” Midori commented, “We were in the neighbourhood and thought we’d drop by.”
 
“That’s thoughtful of you,” Makoto commented, her green eyes flashing to him and Usagi.
 
Minako looked at him almost devilishly before she tugged on Rei’s arm and sat down on one of the beds beside Ami, across from Makoto, “Midori-kun, was it? We’ve been out of it for a while; why not tell us what we missed and we could give them a moment alone?” Her intonation made him blush, and Usako stiffened nervously beside him – he didn’t think – he didn’t want them to get the wrong idea –
 
Midori chuckled and clapped him on the back as he crossed the room towards them, “Okay, how much have you missed?”
 
As Midori started running through various movie releases, Mamoru looked down at Usako as soon as he felt his face cool, “I need to ask you about something.” She led him across the room, opposite of where Midori was probably boring the girls with rundowns of this or that, and once they were both seated, he asked her quietly, “Do you know a young boy with bright red hair and eyes? Goes by ‘Mamoru’?”
 
Usagi thought for only a moment before shaking her head, “You’re the only ‘Mamoru’ I know, and I don’t think I know of any kids with that description. Why?”
 
Mamoru frowned; he had figured the kid had been lying about being related to Usako, but how did he even know her?  As much as he didn’t want to involve her in anything dangerous, leaving her out of the loop was out of the question, “Something… strange happened yesterday,” he began, stressing the word and glancing towards bed full of girls behind them to emphasize what he really meant. “And we met a young boy with that description who claimed to be related to you. We’re keeping an eye on him for now, but I thought I’d see if his claims were true.”
 
Usako look worried, “Maybe I am related to him?” she suggested, “I don’t know much about Ikuko-mama’s side of the family; maybe I have a secret cousin?” He wasn’t convinced.
 
The door to the room opened quickly and with a stern, disapproving look of concealed rage, a night nurse cleared her throat. “Visitation hours are over,” she announced, her voice quiet yet projecting just fine. Midori all but jumped up; Mamoru squeezed Usako’s hand before joining him at the door. “I’ll show you the door; maybe you’d like the pizza that was trying to be delivered to this room.”
 
Minako huffed, crossing her arms, looking rebellious.
 
“It was nice to meet you girls,” Midori excused himself with a smile, exiting smoothly.
 
“Good night,” Mamoru nodded, about to slip out after him when Usako called, “I’d like to meet him.” He turned, looking at her, not sure what to say. He figured she would, but they didn’t know anything about this kid beyond that he was secretive, he lied about the information he did offer, and something was after him. He nodded lightly; willing to talk to Kobai and the others about it later; as the nurse closed the door firmly in his face he heard one of the girls ask, ‘Meet who?’ before he and Midori were promptly kicked out of the hospital.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   11th February 2016, 3:33 pm

I cannot wait to see how this goes.  

(Sorry for not being here for a while... school and I might go on a hiatus again...)

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   11th February 2016, 4:42 pm

Ehehehe!!! Yaaaay! Kyra delivers another chapter. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   23rd November 2016, 9:22 am

School the next day wasn’t what he had expected.


He had wanted to get back to normal, to put the Dark Kingdom and everything that had come with it behind him, to enjoy his life with his friends and Usako and Helios and skate through school, maybe struggle with what he really wanted to be, and what university he should apply to; he wanted to have to concentrate on homework assignments and upcoming tests and performing well in the classroom and on the field, but instead he was looking at his watch every few minutes, half-expecting it to sound an alarm and reveal that the Juuban Elementary School had been attacked and Midori needed backup. He was on edge all day – had even checked in at lunch only to find nothing amiss, comforted only by everyone else’s interest in the kid’s wellbeing in that it didn’t mean it was just him who was paranoid.


“The kid’s at school,” Midori shrugged off, “I dropped him off and I’m hanging around to see if anything happens, but so far this is barely better than class.” He took an over-large bite of something deposited by a vending machine.


“With any luck, a parent will show up to claim him at the end of the day,” Hanada commented, adding darkly, “Then maybe we can get to the bottom of this.”


“That’d be awkward,” Midori laughed around his mouthful of food, “’Woops! Sorry for kidnapping your kid for two nights! In our defense he was almost taken-out by a monster and he refused to contact you, so it’s really on him.’” He paused, chewing thoughtfully, when it finally hit him and he swallowed, “Wait – what should I do if a parent does show up?”


“Follow them, I guess?” Moegi offered, his voice hushed, his face in the projected screen huddling low and covering the side of his mouth as though trying to hide that he was talking. “Make sure it’s actually a parent and not that creature again.”


“Stake out wherever they end up; later we’ll transform and explain the situation to the parent and see what they know.” Kobai stated with some finality. Mamoru nodded his agreement, but while he hoped otherwise, the vibe he had gotten from the kid was that something had happened to his parents, so no one would pick him up after school.


“Maybe try to catch his teacher if the parent doesn’t show,” Mamoru voiced thoughtfully, “They should know more about him and his home life. If something happened to his parents, this might be the only way we find out where they are if the kid continues to refuse to talk about it.”


Midori grimaced but didn’t refuse and the conversation ended shortly after, but it had done little shake the anxious feeling Mamoru had, and the rest of the school day trailed on at a snail’s pace. At around two, with just an hour and a half left of classes, Mamoru couldn’t focus on anything but his watch: the elementary school should be letting out, and he couldn’t stop wondering would Midori contact them right away, or would he wait for the high school day to end? As the minutes ticked by, he wondered if the kid was in any clubs – what grade was he in, anyway? When the bell finally rang at 3:30 and everyone started cleaning up, Mamoru did his cleaning assignment as quickly as possible and left, watching his wrist the entire time. Nothing had come through. As he stepped outside and felt the sun on his skin, he almost started to relax – no news was good news, right? … Unless Midori was in a situation where he couldn’t activate his communicator. Sighing, frustrated with himself, he gave in and called the others, somewhat wondering if there was a way they could reprogram the communicators to dial one person instead of everybody so his paranoia wouldn’t be broadcast at such a wide level, but that was the way of things, he guessed.


“Whasfup?” Midori replied around another mouthful of food.


“Any word on the kid’s parents?” Mamoru asked.


“Nah,” the brunet returned, glancing away from the screen, supposedly towards the school as he swallowed, “Haven’t even seen him yet. He must be part of a club or something.”


Hanada caught up to him on the sidewalk and redid his low ponytail as he listened; once he retightened the elastic to keep his blond curls in place, he said, “I checked online with missing persons, and so far nothing is in the system fitting the kid’s description, so either the police department handling the case hasn’t gone online with it yet or nothing has been reported.”


“I’ve checked with missing persons and got nothing,” Kobai voiced, and Mamoru slowed; he had been heading that way, but if Kobai had already checked there was no reason for him to do the same, so now where should he go? He could join Midori in waiting at the elementary school… or he could work on putting his apartment back together. Usako was checked out of the hospital earlier, but putting his apartment back together was the more responsible choice.


He stopped, having just gotten to a bus stop, and Hanada continued walking for a moment before doubling back. “Where are you going?” he asked.


“I’m stuck here, aren’t I?” Midori replied, misunderstanding, “I’m starving, I’ve just had vending machine stuff all day.”


“I wasn’t asking you,” Hanada corrected wryly, eyes rolling. “Besides, don’t you like that stuff?”


“Yeah, but I’m stuck with the cold-service options –“ Midori complained before being cut-off.


“I’ll grab a burger for you on the way over,” Kobai mollified, his grey eyes looking away from the communicator to scan the area around him. “I’m going to pick up a portable radio to keep an ear on breaking news reports, and then I’ll head to the elementary school. Any news from Helios yet?”


Hanada looked at him with a mixture of amusement and disbelief and Mamoru returned a smile just as the bus pulled up, answering, “Not yet, but then he said Beryl might need help with a few things so he could be a while.” He wasn’t worried about Helios – now that Elysion was reopened and the unisus could teleport there and back without too much trouble, he could easily escape from any troubling situations with relative ease. Glancing over to Hanada, he finally answered, “I’m heading back to my apartment to start putting things back together –“


Midori groaned, “You shouldn’t do that – it’s my fault, I should be the one to clean it up.”


Mamoru shrugged and shook his head, “It wasn’t your fault. It was Diana’s.”


“At least wait ‘til I could actually help out,” Midori appealed, “It’d make me feel better about it.”


“He probably won’t stop asking until you agree,” Hanada assured, a little too eager to back Midori up to Mamoru’s ears, “You two could work on it later this week – maybe Usagi-chan would help, as she helped wreck the place?” he suggested, and Mamoru couldn’t help but get the impression Hanada was bringing Usako into this in an attempt to persuade him to follow that plan, but why?


“Yeah! That’d be fun, right? A remodeling party or whatever,” Midori chimed in with a great smile, “We’ll all help out – right Hanada?” The smile had turned predatory at the last, and Mamoru started to clue in: Hanada didn’t seem too keen on physical labor. He resisted an eye-roll as the bus left their stop without them.


Sure thing,” Hanada forced through smiling teeth, staring daggers into the communicator screen.


“It’s decided then!” Midori cheered, taking the final bite of his cold sandwich. “If we wait ‘til Saturday we can pull Moegi in, too. So hey, on your way over here, could you pick something up for me?”


Mamoru looked at the screen incredulously, “Kobai’s already getting you a burger –“


Sure we’ll pick something up for you,” Hanada cut in with an overly-cheerful smile.


“Sweet, thanks!” Midori quipped in English before continuing, “There’s a –“


“We’ll message you later when we’re on the way over,” Hanada interrupted again, the smile still broad.


“Wait, what?” Midori paused, “You’re not coming?”


Hanada deactivated his own communicator and stood directly behind Mamoru to say, “Nah, we have to go invite Usagi-chan to a remodeling party, right Chiba? She was released from the hospital earlier, so we should try to catch her before her schedule fills up.”


“But –“


“No time, Midori – Usagi-chan is a very popular girl; if we don’t get to her first your remodeling party will be ruined.” Hanada cheerfully reached for Mamoru’s wristwatch, waving a farewell , “You’re lucky to have friends like us!”


Midori’s face was nothing but shock as Hanada deactivated the call, “But I’m so bored! –“


Mamoru raised his brows but was smiling at Hanada as the blond removed his hand from around the watch-face and put both of his hands on his hips, looking down the street. “If he can dish it, he can take it,” he remarked offhandedly before turning his green eyes back on Mamoru, “So, where can we find Usagi-chan?”




They really had to get her a communicator.


While Mamoru had felt certain that she would be at her house with her parents, when they arrived, awkwardly knocking on the door to see if she were home, Usako’s mother greeted them, invited them in for tea and snacks, and then told them that she had sent Usagi-chan to school to get all of her missing assignments. While Ikuko-san assured them Usagi-chan would be back soon and that they could wait for her there, Mamoru and Hanada got out of there as quickly and politely as they could. It wasn’t that Mamoru didn’t like Usako’s mother, but she was eager yet matter-of-fact about Mamoru being Usako’s boyfriend and way too informal way too quickly, having already pulled out a photo album before they could even thank her for the tea. He enjoyed her enthusiasm, but he’d rather face that storm of affection and rock-solid-certainty with Usako at his side.


They made their way to Usako’s middle school and asked around for her, only to find that they had just missed her; some of her classmates said she looked like she was heading to a library, but, as much as he loved her, he knew that would never be a willing stop. Thanking them anyway for their help, he and Hanada left the campus and went directly to the shopping district and the Crown Arcade: no question as to the first stop Usako would make. However, she wasn’t there, either. They asked around, finding Motoki, the arcade worker, who told them that she had already come and gone, leaving a stack of books behind. Mamoru claimed them for her, adding them to his bag, glad for another excuse to track her down at home later in case they struck out this afternoon, but as he was buckling the bag, Motoki caught him off guard and he froze, looking up at the blond sharply, Hanada with him.


“Yeah, that Usagi-chan’s sweet, but careless sometimes, you know? She came in with all this stuff and was playing the new side-scroller when this little kid came in, found her like he knew her, and suddenly they were both leaving –“


“Red hair and eyes?” Hanada asked, watching Mamoru as Mamoru watched Motoki.


“Yeah – do you know him, too? He looked lost –”


Mamoru finished buckling the bag and Hanada immediately peeled off, his right hand reaching for his left wrist as Mamoru, keeping the arcade-guy’s gaze, asked meaningfully, “Where did they go?” trying to sound as unconcerned as possible while still expressing that he needed an answer now, his every nerve on edge. His watch beeped an alarm.


“I’m not sure,” Motoki replied, catching on that something was wrong, “They went left – is everything okay?”


Holding his bag firmly, he lifted it from the counter and nodded once before leaving, brushing through the crowd to the street, and immediately headed left, his eyes scanning the crowd for a blonde pair of pigtailed buns. He kept tight control of himself, refusing to consider the consequences of their disappearance, pushing back and down the urge to panic, knowing he needed to be clear to figure this out. Hanada caught up to him and he turned the clock hands to noon to stop the alarm, but listened in on Hanada’s conversation rather than join in as he walked and searched, his heart beating painfully in his chest.


“What do you mean he was at the arcade?!” Midori repeated in confusion, “I’ve been here the whole time – the kid hasn’t left his school yet!”


“That’s not what this eye-witness reported,” Hanada replied coldly, “The kid found Usagi-chan at the arcade and left with her; we’re looking for them now.”


Was he able to teleport? Mamoru wondered, gritting his teeth. It would explain how he got away without Midori noticing; it wouldn’t be the first time they had encountered an enemy with that skill. Could he teleport with someone, though? If they made that assumption, a search would be useless – they could be anywhere – which didn’t help him now. Going forward under that assumption would only distract him from the search now, and if the kid could teleport, he could have teleported to Usako at any time, without needing to wait until after school to do so. Teleportation was out for now.


“We’re on our way,” Kobai replied succinctly, and the conversation ended as Mamoru put to rest the idea of instant movement, which made him feel a little more relieved emotionally. He knew next to nothing about the kid, but he didn’t think he was a villain. Suspicious, yes, but not corrupted.


“If Usagi-chan were in charge, where would she lead him?” Hanada asked quietly, “Assuming he told her he was lost or some similar story?”


He answered without needing to think, “The Fruit Parlor.” Problem was that the Fruit Parlor was to the right of the Arcade, not the left. What if the enemy had reappeared? What if they were in trouble, even now?


Hanada replied instantly, “Any other places?”


“The police? Her house?  I told her last night that he told us he was related to her, but she wasn’t sure – she said he could be related on her mother’s side, so she could’ve taken him there to check out his story – “ Thinking, and catching site of a bus map as they passed a stop, Mamoru got another idea. “There’s a park near here she likes to go to; she could’ve taken him there?” He didn’t know why she would, but the notion wouldn’t leave.


As they quickly passed an alleyway they were joined by Kobai and Midori; without questioning their sudden appearance, Hanada repeated quickly, yet calmly, “Police station, Tsukino House, Park.”


“Tsukino’s,” Midori repeated decisively and was gone, turning back the way he and Kobai had come.
Before any of them could claim it, he did. “Amishiro Park.”


“Police Station,” Hanada claimed, peeling away to find a crosswalk; Kobai moved up to walk beside Mamoru.
“The park?” He asked; Mamoru shrugged and shook his head. Last night he had told her about the kid, so she knew his description and would know he wasn’t lost. He had told her that they thought he was suspicious, hadn’t he? She wouldn’t know where to find them at this time of day, but she should’ve known they would have found her easier if she had stayed at crown - why, then, did she leave? Had he asked her to take him somewhere once they were out of the arcade? Had they been approached by that creature?


The telltale tunnel was ahead and he turned into the park and walked beneath it, keeping his eyes open for --there. His relief was palpable when he saw her at the swings, all in one piece in a casual pink-and-green outfit, smiling brightly and talking to the kid. The kid saw him first and the smile disappeared from his face immediately, and he slumped in his swing moodily. Usako seemed to question him for a moment before following his red gaze over to them, and waved brightly. She bounced over happily. While he was frustrated, and grouchy because of it, he didn’t lash out - it wasn’t her fault.


“Mamochan!” She greeted brightly, taking is hand. He let her, but kept his eyes on the kid. He wasn’t going to disappear again this time. “Hi Khalid-kun,” she added, “It’s great that the park isn’t that crowded right now, huh?”


So that was why. She knew there wouldn’t be a lot of people here.


“That is great,” Khalid echoed, “What are you up to this afternoon?”


“We need to get you a communicator,” Mamoru commented flatly, not playing along with their casual side-speaking.


Usako ignored him, answering Khalid instead as she pulled him forward, toward the swing set. “Nothing much, just hanging out with my new friend, Mamo-rin!” She said the last loudly and pulled them to a stop in front of the redhead. Mamo-rin? She had gotten him to go by a nickname? “Rin, Mamochan and Khalid-kun are here - isn’t that --” she broke off as the alarms went off on their watches, glancing back at them nervously, “great?”


The kid grunted, not looking at either of them.


Mamoru switched off his alarm as Khalid stepped away, trusting him to convey that they had found the pair and call off the search. “You left school early?”


He didn’t answer.


“After everything that happened on Saturday, you went out alone?” Mamoru continued crossly, only now that they were found really considering what might have happened if they hadn’t been. They didn’t know who he was or where he came from, or why that creature was chasing him, but he was a target, and he could have been taken without their even knowing of it. Not to mention that he had pulled Usako into it - if anything had happened to her --


“The Heavenly Kings would have protected me, right?” Rin repeated sullenly and sarcastically, and Mamoru released Usako’s hand, not wanting to inadvertently squeeze it. What did he think was going on here? What did he think they were trying to do?!


Yes, they would have,” Usako replied evenly, though it felt the statement was more towards him than the kid. “You can trust them - they're here to help you and everyone else in trouble - they’re just that cool,” she said matter-of-factly, crossing her arms to look superior and confident. But she softened, “Are you in trouble, Rin? If you are, they might be able to help you --”


“They can’t help!” Rin exclaimed, cutting her off abruptly.


“Rin,” Usako called softly, “why? What is it?”


“Mamoru!” Khalid called sharply, drawing his and he kid’s attention, but Usako kept right on him. Khalid stood straight, looking at him, expecting him to come over, but the kid might have been about to reveal something useful -


“Rin, look at me, why --”


“Mamoru!” Khalid called again, insistently, and Mamoru sighed with frustration and went to join him, not wanting to miss what Rin had to say but knowing Usako would keep him in the loop if it were important.


“What?” He demanded when he was close enough for conversation, “We were about to get something out of-”


“There’s been an attack at Yuu’s school, at the debate - we need to go.”


He didn’t comprehend what Kobai was saying. “An attack? But-” but there were no more of Diana’s creatures outside of Elysium - surely Helios or Beryl would have told them if there had been a breech - they were there. And the creature Saturday was after the kid - it wasn't interested in people - what kind of attack was he talking about?


“The police don’t know much beyond the location, but Yuu isn’t answering his communicator. We have to go, now.


He nodded, still feeling disoriented by the sudden declaration, wondering what it could mean, but followed Kobai towards the tunnel; Moegi was in trouble ---- “Wait,” Mamoru said quietly, and immediately Kobai stopped to look at him. “What about Usako and the kid? We can’t leave them alone here - what if it’s a decoy?”


Khalid turned back to look at the pair at the swings and hesitated. “I - “ he started, but stopped again. Mamoru understood the dilemma - they don’t know what kind of attack was going on; it might need all of them, especially if their friend was in danger. On the other hand, if they were all across town it would leave Usako and Rin alone and open for attack. Kunzite wouldn’t want Mamoru to stay behind in case of attack, but wouldn’t want to stay behind himself in case the attack at Yuu’s school demanded more forces. He looked back at them, then at Mamoru sharply, “Can she still transform?” He asked, quickly.


“She hasn’t tried - her transformation item disappeared along with the belt when she resurrected the Senshi.”


Damn,” he replied, and Mamoru could see his jaw clenching. He then pulled up his wrist and activated the communicator, motioning Mamoru forward. There was still no sign of Moegi when the others answered - they were already transformed, the background a blur behind each of them. “East!” Kobai barked, “Reassignment! Come to Amishiro Park, get Usagi-chan and the kid to safety.”


“What?!” Midori balked, “I’m helping Yuu!” Behind his orange mask he looked worried, as well as hurt and a little confused. Mamoru didn’t blame him - Nero and Yuu were close, but they needed someone to do it and they’d need Hanada’s --


Before there was further commentary, Hanada jumped in, “I’ll get them!” And dropped the communication. Midori disappeared shortly after. Kobai didn’t look pleased, but accepted the swap without another word.


Mamoru turned to look at Usagi on the swings and waved to her as he and Kobai continued to move away from her at a quicker-than-casual pace; as soon as they disappeared through the tunnel, they transformed instantaneously and took to the rooftops, seeing North King heading back the way they had come. Without fear of something taking advantage of the situation, Mamoru ran alongside Kobai, heading directly for the public high school.
 


They landed amidst chaos. Hundreds of high school students from around the city were fleeing the school grounds as police tried to cordon off the area, and in the middle of it all, South King fought a humanoid enemy that had set most of the school yard ablaze. From the hole in the wall of the second story, Mamoru quickly guessed that the fight had started there. They approached, running at full speed, and saw South’s daggers bounce harmlessly off of their opponent as a conversation burst towards them riding on the wind.


“Don’t you want more for yourself than to simply be his lackey?” The being asked, throwing a jet of fire that made South leap to avoid being caught in the inferno, “You could do so much more, South King! You could lead the life you were meant to live, free from your responsibilities to the past - Renounce your ties and join us!”


Mamoru’s stomach dropped, fitting pieces together to assume what the enemy meant as they jumped from rooftop to rooftop, down towards the fray.


Moegi responded, “For the last time, I won’t!” and threw another trio of daggers. But these, too, were ineffective.
“Fine!” The enemy retuned with a sharp laugh, “Then serve us!” A tunnel of fire shot forward and engulfed South King, anticipating the way he would dodge, perfectly covering him in a torrent of raging fire.


“South!” Mamoru shouted, throwing a rose at the enemy before his feet even touched the ground. The rose struck, but the flames remained. East hit the ground, landing like a freight train, ran forward and punched the black-haired opponent in the face. The shockwave sent him flying, but still the flames remained. A bubble of panic and fear filled his chest - “Let him go!” He demanded, running for the flames as West ran for the fallen opponent, his scimitar flashing in the afternoon sun. The plasma was thick and bright - he couldn’t see through to Moegi -


“He’s already gone,” the enemy laughed, and fell suddenly silent. With his silence the flames disappeared, revealing that he had told the truth - Moegi Yuu, the King of the South, was gone. Mamoru froze, his mind blank, chest cold and empty as he stared at the spot where Moegi was supposed to be. He hadn’t even had the chance to heal him. He was just gone.


“South?!” East called, running over, “South! Where’d -?” He looked at Mamoru, and all Mamoru could do was look back, unable to explain, unable to process what had just happened. Moegi couldn’t - he wasn't -


“Come on!” West beckoned, “The police are here! We need to go!”


“But South - “ East started, but Kobai interrupted -


“He’s not here anymore, go!”


Mamoru was pushed from behind by Kobai urging him forward, and, numb, he obeyed, pulling East along automatically, whether as a straight reaction to Kobai’s orders or as a response to the rock of fear in his stomach that threatened that, somehow, if he didn’t move Midori along, he, too, would vanish.


“But South!” Midori cried out again, as though in disbelief that they were actually leaving, that Mamoru was going along with it, but there was nothing they could do here. There weren’t even ashes to collect, from either combatant.


“It’s not the end of it,” Mamoru stated, half-numb still, but needing to hear those words. They spurred him on, letting him move forward, stalling the thought process to let words give way to action. To jump away, follow Kobai, not dwell on the unforgivable notion that Yuu was gone, and he had been completely unable to stop it. 


Note:
 

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   18th February 2017, 9:41 pm

Usako and the kid were alright.

Mamoru was relieved, but the feeling was muted in the wake of what had happened. West slowed, his conversation with North continuing quietly; his mind unfocused and detached, Mamoru didn’t follow the discussion, his head still wrapped in what had happened back at the school – in what had happened to Yuu. How he had been caught perfectly, surrounded and engulfed entirely in flames. How nothing had been left behind. That meant something, right? They hadn’t seen his body – they hadn’t seen evidence of his body – that meant his body was not there anymore. That’s even what the enemy had said, right? That he wasn’t there anymore; that could mean death, but it didn’t have to. Moegi could still be alive somewhere. They could find him – they would find him – and rescue him.

West continued forward and Mamoru blindly followed.

That person had said something of serving; if they could find where the black-haired person was, they could find Yuu – supposedly he was taken to serve, as he wouldn’t join… Mamoru’s brows furrowed, recalling what the opponent had said, his thumb worrying his other fingers as the other’s speech rolled around in his head, the urging to renounce ties to him in order to live the life Yuu was meant to live… the guilt he felt over that phrase pulled at him, weighing him down. Was their connection to him holding them back? Wasn’t that something he himself had been afraid of, before he learned of whom he really was – that he and his life would be tied to the Prince of Earth and he would lose the dreams he had in order to honor responsibilities of a life long-since past? Nothing had changed – nothing but his own personal role. That they were friends and had been through so much together and shared the same path now did not negate the question of what would happen in the future. Were he in their shoes, he… he wouldn’t know what to think about his own future at this point. As of now he didn’t know what he wanted to happen – it had only been three days since they finally escaped from their past; they had barely had time to rest, let alone contemplate the future, and here they were thrown into another life-or-death scenario without any knowledge of what was going on except, apparently, that it was still very much tied to him and Yuu’s connection to him. Yuu had refused the offer to join the other so vehemently, but what if he hadn’t? Would they have taken him anyway?

West jumped down into an alley and detransformed; both he and East followed suit, the three of them emerging in civilian attire onto a street, and followed Kobai as he walked at a brisk pace.

If they had arrived sooner, it wouldn’t’ve happened – he was sure of that. They would’ve been able to stop it – working together, they would not have been so easily overpowered as one of them alone. Ten seconds sooner, and Moegi would still be here… and it was his fault they were late. If he hadn’t insisted someone stay with Usako and the kid, North might’ve been able to get there in time. If he hadn’t sent Midori to Usako’s house, East would’ve been there. If the kid had been where he was supposed to be, none of that would have happened.

He couldn’t blame the kid.

… He shouldn’t blame the kid.

The kid had no part in this – the enemy that fought Yuu was nothing like the beast-woman that had chased him. Strange things were happening in Tokyo, and while the kid may know something about one such occurrence, that did not mean he knew anything about the other. … but if he had been where he was supposed to be, Yuu would still be with them.

Kobai stopped, Mamoru and Midori with him, and turned his grey-eyed gaze at them. “Hanada’s going back to the high school to see what he can dig up with the reporters there; I’m going with him as backup. Wake up, get the kid, and head back to Midori’s place; it should be safe there. Helios should be back soon and we can see what he knows about this. Chiba is right – this is not the end of it.”

Hanada walked past them then, his green-eyed gaze hanging on Mamoru’s for a second before Kobai peeled off to join him and the blond turned his attention to the other, speaking quietly. Mamoru glanced over to Midori, but the brunet avoided his gaze; “I’ll call for a ride,” he said quietly, and Mamoru watched as he walked away, unsure of what to say, if anything. He wanted to call him back, to talk to him privately, to reassure Midori again, and by extension himself, that they’d get Yuu back, but hesitation stayed his voice and turned his attention back to Kobai’s instructions. Midori might not want any assurances out of him, he reasoned as he walked; it was his fault that Midori had been so far away – this was all on him, and no apology or reassurance would make that better.

“Mamochan!”

He looked up, but neither the sound of her voice nor her presence fully alleviated the weight on him. He offered her a weak smile in greeting, but her expression turned to concern despite his attempt. She dug her heels into the dirt, stopping her swing, and stood; as the kid tried to copy her she held up a hand and said something quietly to him and he stayed in his swing as she approached, taking Mamoru’s hands in hers gently. “What happened? Kaito said you were on your way, but – what’s wrong?”
He held her hands lightly, looking down at them rather than looking her in the eye. “Yuu is gone,” he replied quietly, not wanting the kid to overhear them.

She tensed. “Gone?” she repeated as a question; despite her body language betraying her original interpretation, he appreciated that she wouldn’t so easily accept the worst conclusion.

“He disappeared after being hit by an attack; there was nothing –“ he bit off the end of that thought, not wanting to suggest that there had been nothing left of him behind, the notion making him feel sick and worse, and he didn’t want any of that for her. There was hope, and he’d present that side of it to her. He reworded, “he wasn’t there; I think he was captured, but we don’t have anything to go off of.”

 She hugged him, her embrace warm and comforting in a way he didn’t quite feel he deserved given the circumstances of Yuu’s disappearance, and tried to reassure him. “You’ll find him; you found me, didn’t you?”

He returned her embrace but the gesture felt empty on his end; her example had fallen flat. Slowly he disengaged, his hands on her shoulders, still unable to directly look at her as he replied, “We knew where you were and what we were up against – at least we had an idea, anyway,” he amended. “We don’t even know who or what he was fighting – when West attacked him the enemy disappeared along with Yuu to who-knows-where. We have no leads, and if Helios doesn’t know anything I – “ he couldn’t say it.

Usako just smiled, placing one hand over his, “You’ll find another way to get him back. I believe in you.” He nodded, and she sighed lightly, glancing back. He followed her gaze to the young redheaded boy who sat dejectedly on the swing, one sneaker digging into the dirt, his small hands holding onto one chain of his swing. “Was the creature that attacked Yuu the same as the one that attacked Rin?”

Rin? From ‘Mamoru-only’ to a nickname to a nickname for that nickname – the kid definitely responded better to her than to any of the rest of them. He continued to look at the boy as he shook his head to her query, “Not as far as I could tell, but the creature after him looked human to start with, and that’s how Yuu’s attacker appeared – simply human; I didn’t get a really good look at him to see if anything was off about him. I wish I had – I can only hope that Kobai or Midori saw something I missed.”

“Where is Midori?” she asked, looking back the way he had come, and Mamoru turned; he had expected to see him sooner, but there was no sign of him. His stomach lurched uncomfortably, but then he spotted Midori’s wavy brown hair across and up the street; he nodded that way.

“He’s getting the car; we’re heading back to the mansion. Helios went to Elysion to check up on things; we’re hoping he knows something that can help us.” She nodded; behind her, the kid’s foot slipped and he spun a little, his hands grabbing tighter to the chain as he resituated himself. “Did you get anything out of him?” he asked, glancing down at her.

Her lips pursed and her brows tightened. “He’s scared,” she said uncomfortably, glancing periodically back at him, obviously worried. “He wouldn’t tell me why specifically – he’s hiding something, and he won’t answer questions directly, but he definitely doesn’t want to go home. He hasn’t told me about being attacked the other day, or how he met you or the others – he avoids the topic completely, but still he insists we’re related but he won’t tell me how.” She looked back up at him, and this time he didn’t avoid her. He squeezed her shoulders gently in support – he didn’t like that the kid was hiding things, either, especially when he was in this kind of trouble. “He wants to go home with me, Mamochan,” she finished.

“He can’t – “

“I know,” she replied quickly, offering a short smile and attempted a laugh, “What would my parents say?”

“And what if something happened?” he continued, knowing she had already thought this through but needing it to be voiced. Even just the thought of her alone against the creature from the other day made him anxious, and while she was willing to laugh off the potential hazards and chalk things up to parental consent, he couldn’t leave it at that. “You can’t transform – Usako, if anything happened to you…”

“I know,” she repeated, quietly interrupting. “I feel the same way about you.” She sighed, crossing her arms; he took his hands off of her, putting them instead in his pockets as she glanced back at the kid. “I don’t like being so powerless,” she commented, “I have the Silver Crystal, but I don’t know how to use it, or even if I should try.” She looked guilty – he opened his mouth to say something – they had spoken on the plane about how to handle the Crystal and the Senshi, and the consensus they reached was that, for now, it was better not to mess with anything. Usako wanted to keep the senshi out of things, and the Silver Crystal was a wild card they didn’t know how to handle or control and that wasn’t her fault or something she could so easily change; she seemed more than willing to hold on to the Crystal and keep it secret and safe then, the pair of them having witnessed the extent of its power not yet at full strength, but now that something dangerous was happening again, he understood her willingness to try it out but hoped she would not follow through with the notion, especially not alone, but she interrupted him. “The car is here,” she said; he turned to see the sleek black limousine pull to a stop by the curb. She left him, heading back towards the swing set and the kid.

He didn’t like to see her go. None of this should be happening. After everything they just went through, after the battle that finally put their past behind them, they deserved peace. She deserved to be happy, not to be faced with – with all of this. Yuu deserved more than what had happened. None of this was fair to any of them, but he couldn’t help but feel responsible for today. He’d make it better – he wouldn’t stop until Yuu was back with them, but, in the meantime… how could he face any of them openly? Hanada, Kobai, Midori…

Midori was leaning over, talking to the driver; Mamoru felt terrible, but he didn’t have much time to consider what he would say as Usako was back, offering him a smile and his book bag, which he accepted gratefully, having forgotten he had left it there when they took off for… Yuu’s school.  They approached the car and Midori beat them to the door, opening it for them. “Usagi-chan, want a ride home?” he asked, his voice cheerful, but hollow. He wouldn’t look at any of them. Mamoru appreciated that he was trying to be friendly for Usagi’s sake.

“Sure!” she replied, her cheerfulness not forced, and slid in first. ‘Mamorin’ slid in quickly after her, and then, as Mamoru looked to say something to him, Midori went in, sliding in to be as far away as possible. Mamoru ducked in after him and closed the door, the stone in his gut getting heavier.  There was no making up with Midori, but they had to work past this or they could make things worse by not being able to work in sync when it counted, but now was not the time to attempt to work it through and air everything out. Maybe later – maybe Hanada would find something that they had missed, maybe Helios knew something about this new enemy, something he had heard sometime before, something from their past that he knew how to handle. Maybe –

Usako gasped and he nearly jumped out of his skin, turning sharply to see her put her head in her hands, and his pulse skyrocketed. One hand shot out across Rin to touch her gently, his power ready to bear as he looked out the windows to catch whatever had happened – Midori was at the edge of his seat, whipping around to look through the front windows – only for Usako to groan, “Mama’s going to kill me.”

Mama? Confused, Mamoru looked to Midori, who looked back at him for the first time since the incident, and then to her.
“You might as well drop me off here,” Usako continued dismally.

“You okay, Usagi-chan?” Midori asked carefully.

“I left my books at the arcade,” she groaned, “If I get home without them she’s just going to lock me out again.”
Sighing in relief, Mamoru relaxed completely and reached for his bag. “I picked them up,” he replied, popping open the clasps to show her the bindings.

“Mamochan!” she exclaimed, completely reanimated, “You’re the best!” She held her arms open for him and he handed over the books dutifully; she placed them in the seat beside her, making a small stack of them; Mamoru glanced back to see Midori sinking back in his seat, rolling his eyes. He offered the other a knowing smile, which Midori returned, and then looked away again, as though remembering what had happened before. Mamoru closed his bag again, leaning back in his own seat and looking off.

“I’m missing so much work,” Usako continued, whining in a way that tight-roped the cute/annoying line. He shook his head, smiling softly. “It’s going to take forever to catch up on studying --- !” she gasped sharply again, sending Mamoru’s pulse racing again, but he knew better than to react quickly again. “I know!” she happily cheered, “I’ll ask Ami-chan!”
“One of your new friends?” Mamoru asked, looking over at her.

“Yes! She’s a certified Genius and is in my year at my school! She’s even farther behind than me because she’s been out for so long; we could study together!”

“You know that still means you’ll still have to study, right?” Midori quipped teasingly, still looking out the window.

She groaned, “Yes, but it’s bound to be better than trying to understand all this by myself.” She looked over at the pile of books in the seat with no small amount of disgust.

“I think it sounds like a great plan,” Mamoru commented, “Is she ou-“ he quickly changed course, not wanting to mention anything to Rin, “-available this week?”

“I think after tomorrow would be better for her schedule,” she replied thoughtfully. “I’ll call then – maybe everyone would want to study together, that’d make it a lot more fun!”

He smiled encouragingly, happy for her. Not long after, the car slowed to a stop in her neighbourhood and Usako gathered her things, he wondered if she knew how effective she had been in distracting them from what was going on; while he appreciated it, thinking back he felt almost guilty for temporarily putting aside his worry for Yuu. She waved off his attempts to take the books as she gathered them into her lap and hoisted them into her arms. The door opened for her and she turned, “Thank you for the ride, Nero-kun!”

“Anytime, Usagi-chan,” Midori replied, returning her wave without really looking up.

“I’ll see you later, Mamochan!” she said, sliding out of the car and turning to look back in, giving him a smile before turning her attention to the kid, her smile even wider. “Bye Rin! Be good, okay?”

Rin had scooted closer to the open door; Mamoru couldn’t see his face, but he heard clearly the hurt in his voice when he replied, “But I thought I was going to stay with you?”

Usagi’s smile drooped, her brows creasing in sympathy. “You can’t, remember?” she placated softly; he could tell it wasn’t easy for her to turn the kid down; not wanting it to be all on her, Mamoru thought of things to use to distract him, but she was already ahead of him. “And besides,” she went on with bravado, “Nero’s place is so much cooler than mine – he’s got that huge theater with fresh popcorn and everything!”

“Yeah,” Mamoru agreed, “We could watch another movie—“

“I don’t care!” Rin interrupted heatedly, completely ignoring him as he moved closer to the open door. “I don’t care about movie theaters or mansions – I want to stay with you!

“Rin – “ she started sympathetically, her blue eyes darting to look back at him for support. Mamoru set his teeth and moved to grab the back of Rin’s shirt to restrain him, her look for help dissolving any resolve to attempt to solve this peacefully, but the kid seemed to sense him and lurched forward, just out of his grasp -

“I want to stay with YOU!” Rin cried again, practically shouting as he closed the distance, his arms outstretched; Usako had stepped back out of the doorway, and rather than get hold of her, Rin was met with a barrier in Midori’s leg as the brunet slammed his foot against the back of the seat Usagi had vacated, effectively cutting off Rin’s escape route. As if on cue, the driver – Mitsuri – shut the door, and Mamoru caught the collar of Rin’s uniform on his second attempt. “NO! I want to stay with her!” Rin cried as he struggled against him, banging on the window and trying for the door handle until Mamoru adjusted his hold and pulled him away as the door clicked to lock and the car moved away from the curb. The kid choked back a sob, his face turned away from Mamoru to look out the back window, kneeling to see over the seat.

Mamoru’s frustration remained, but guilt ate at him when he saw the flush of the kid’s face and the fat tear on his cheek. He, too, looked back, feeling even worse to see Usako standing on her curb all alone, watching them go. Bad piling on worse. He took in a deep, silent breath, and faced forward as they turned out of sight, in time to see Midori slide backwards on the leather bench, putting his foot back on the ground as he settled in the backward-facing seat behind the driver. He crossed his arms and slumped in the seat, his gaze focused on the back of Rin’s red head.

Time passed in tense silence as they made their way out of Juuban and the city proper. Eventually Rin wiped his face and turned around, staring at his small hands clasped in his lap. He took in a breath that trembled only slightly before boldly stating, “I want to stay with Usagi.”

“Well you can’t,” Midori returned acidly. Mamoru emphasized with the clear frustration, but had not anticipated Midori’s response.

“Yes I can,” Rin replied stubbornly, staring at his hands fixedly. “Take me back to Usagi’s.”

“I’m not taking you back there!” Midori growled, his volume rising with his temper, “So drop it!” Mamoru had never seen this side of Midori – grievances usually rolled off of him; he was passionate, but he had never seen him this angry before, and against a kid – an annoying kid, a frustrating kid, a kid that apparently didn’t care if he put Usako in danger by staying with her, but still a kid. It was unexpected almost to the point of concerning.

Looking down at the kid, little red brows knitted and his cheeks pulsed as he grit his teeth, he took a breath, ready to combat whatever Rin said next before Midori could, but Midori jumped on him again before he could say anything.

“I said drop it!” he repeated loudly, “Nothing you say will turn this car around, so don’t waste your breath or my time!” Rin visibly swallowed, breathing harder in anger, but didn’t say anything; however, that didn’t stop Midori from continuing, “Speaking of wasting my time, you knew I was waiting for you after school, why did you sneak off like that?! Do you know how much trouble you caused?!” He sat up straighter, blue eyes baring into the kid as the car slowed, turning up the drive to his manse. “I said I’d watch out for you, but if you don’t care about your safety why should I?!”

“Midori!” Mamoru cautioned hastily as the car slowed to a stop. The doors unlocked automatically and Rin immediately bolted, throwing his small weight against the door so hard that he practically fell out of the car, staying upright only by having a tight grip on the handle. “Rin!” Mamoru called after him, but the kid righted himself and ran at full speed into the mansion’s waiting doors and disappeared from sight. Mamoru opened his own door and stepped out and sighed with frustration, thinking of all of the potential spots in the huge house for a young boy to hide in.

Midori stepped out of the limo on the other side, glaring at the house. “He’ll get over it,” he stated quietly, “just give him a few hours to sulk.” And with that, he stalked off, his hands deep in his pockets, heading for the back of the house.

“Where are you going?” Mamoru called after him incredulously, feeling the conversation had yet to begin, let alone end -

“To punch something,” Nero projected, without looking back.

Mamoru made to follow him, but stopped mid-step, frustration meeting guilt and immobilizing him.

Yuu.

Midori.

Usako.

Rin.

His hands turned to fists at his sides, then slackened, then formed fists again as various emotions rocked him in quick succession. What right did he have to be upset with Midori? He couldn’t blame him for being angry, with him or with Rin. He was worried for his friend, but, considering what had happened, he didn’t think he’d be much good in helping him right now. Him or the kid. Or Usako. Or Yuu. Or anyone. He didn’t have any answers, or any insight, and that frustrated him, too. Wishing he could also go punch something but not wanting to run into Midori, he closed the car door behind him and strode inside the mansion, found a quiet room, and stewed.


 
There you are,” Hanada’s voice rang out with a hint of annoyance as the room’s overhead light flicked on. Mamoru winced in the sudden change, blinking to ease the sharp pain in the back of his eyes; the sun had set, but he hadn’t felt like getting up. “This house is ridiculous – we shouldn’t need to use the communicators to get everyone in one spot. C’mon, Helios is back.”
Helios? Mamoru stood, stiff muscles protesting as he pushed himself forward, crossing the room in two strides and following Hanada out into the hall. “Did you find anything at the school?” he asked, the question winning out over his concern at Hanada and Kobai being back for any extended period of time without sharing their findings.

Hanada glanced back at him once; their eyes met, and from that one look told him everything he needed to know. Whatever Hanada had found, it hadn’t changed anything. “We’ll figure something out,” he stated. Mamoru nodded, trying to stay optimistic despite the sinking feeling in his stomach. Hanada was the cleverest person he knew – if he couldn’t come up with anything, and if Helios didn’t know anything about this new enemy…

They turned into the study they had brainstormed in on Saturday night and found Kobai and Midori were already there, the room growing quiet as they entered. Helios’s gaze was steady on Kobai, his wings still with shock – they must have just told him what had happened, which meant he didn’t have to waste time with catching him up. “Helios, do you know anything about this enemy?”

I –‘ Helios started to answer before composing himself. He shook his mane and turned to face Mamoru completely. ‘I would need to gather more information; however, on first description, I have no memory of any instance like this happening in the past.

He nodded, feeling like those last bridges connecting him to Yuu had fallen. How could they hope to find him now?

You have tried locating him through Psychometry?’ Helios prodded in a rhetorical fashion, and Mamoru’s brows furrowed in confusion at his phrase, and then his breath caught with the realization of what he meant. Psy-location – the technique he had tried to use to find Serenity when he first awoke as Endymion; he could use that same technique to find Yuu by searching for his Soul Gem. He hadn’t even thought of that, and he felt like an idiot for forgetting that he could do something like that after today. The blood left his face with the realization of just how far his oversight reached - how much time could he have saved with searching for Usako and the kid if he had just used psylocation to begin with?!

Frustrated and disgusted with himself, he knelt down, putting his hands flat on the carpet on either side of him. He closed his eyes, released the breath he had been holding and drew in another cold shot of air, taking hold of his power and gathering it in his hands… and then released it, sending it out in an ever-growing circle around him as lights popped up in his mind’s eye. The bright pink of Kobai’s Kunzite, the deep blue of Hanada’s Zoisite, the soft green of Midori’s Nephrite, Helio’s deep bronze-gold, various soft white lights that populated the mansion and the homes beyond; he pushed himself further, catching hundreds of lights more, then thousands, each one representing the soul of a citizen of Tokyo; he caught strong glows of red, blue, green and orange-yellow scattered throughout the city, one not too far from the cool, steady glow of silver; he caught various other colors, none shining as brightly but shining faintly. He pushed himself farther, and farther still, his minds’ eye crowded with lights… but none of them were what he was searching for.

Seeing white at the corner of his vision, he took in another breath and tried again, this time ignoring anything but the specific green of Jadeite, but still it was too much, too many, and too far; how had he done this before? How had he known that Serenity’s soul gem had not been on Earth when now he could barely check Tokyo alone?! Frustrated, he concentrated further, forcing his powers farther – until his shoulders shook under someone’s grasp, knocking him firmly out of the meditative state he had going. Eyes opening wide, annoyance burning in his chest, sound seemed to return suddenly –

“That’s enough for now,” Kobai stated, his voice calm yet firm as he released Mamoru’s shoulders and helped him to stand; feeling weak and dizzy for his efforts and his voice still lost to him, Mamoru could not refute him, and found himself being seated in one of the plush armchairs before Kobai stepped back to lean against one of the wooden tables and Hanada closed the distance.

The blonde handed over a wad of white tissues. “Your nose is bleeding,” he explained, a note of disbelief in his tone as Mamoru accepted the tissues and pressed them to his face, not exactly sure what Hanada was getting at. He had never had a bloody nose before – something he used to figure was a weird quirk but what had eventually been accredited to the Golden Crystal within him – but as he pulled the tissue back it was soaked in red blood. He dabbed at it again, looking, like the rest of them were, to Helios for some explanation.

Strain,’ Helios explained offhandedly, ‘He needs more practice with the skill; it’d be better if you practiced with it while transformed – your uniform is outfitted with energetic conduits; you’d get the best effect in your Royal Attire from the Golden Age. The Crystal’s efforts were directed to the task you set them to; in a moment the membrane should heal as the energy regathers in you.

He nodded, accepting fresh tissues from Hanada and applying them, feeling the warm tingling sensation slowly creep up on him just as Helios had suggested, but as his nosebleed stopped a headache gathered like a storm at the top of his skull.
“No sign of him then?” Midori asked quietly.

Without looking at him, he shook his head negatively, his guilt and shame at not thinking of this sooner keeping him from making eye-contact. “I could only get as far as the other side of Tokyo though,” he stated.

“Well, now we know they’re not keeping him there and that’s something,” Hanada tried, the forced optimism sounding strange coming from him. … it would have usually felt at home coming from Midori. He appreciated Hanada’s attempt, but felt it might’ve had the opposite reaction than what the blond had intended.

“What about the beast-woman?” Kobai cut in, changing the subject as he addressed Helios. “Did Beryl know anything? Had there been any other rifts opening between Elysion’s dimension and our own?”

Helios shook his head, ‘None that she was aware of; the description I gave her did not remind her of anything, either, but she promised to search the Archives to see what she could find of little-Mamoru’s stalker.

“You might want to update her about the attack earlier today and see if she could search for anything in that regard, too; I’ll give you what I can of the conversation between the enemy and South in case it’s useful.”

“…where is the kid, anyway?” Hanada asked.

“Beats me – he went off sulking when we got back,” Midori stated acidly, “I couldn’t keep an eye on him when he was at school so don’t trust me to keep an eye on him here –“

Midori!” Kobai cut the brunet off sharply.

“I’ll find him,” Mamoru stated, his head swimming uncomfortably with the change in pressure as he quickly stood and turned towards the door, tossing his handful of bloody tissues into a wastebasket as he left. His head pounded with every heartbeat and every step, his mood falling as his headache built. He should’ve found Rin earlier. He should’ve made sure the kid had had dinner, done his homework, had a bath and gone to bed on time – the kid’s needs should’ve come first, no matter how terrible he felt. He moved down the hallway towards Rin’s bedroom, sensing Hanada catching up to him.

“Kobai is talking to Midori – “ Hanada started, but stopped when Mamoru held up a hand, reaching for the doorknob. They’d take care of Rin first; once he was in bed for the night they could get into other things.

He opened the kid’s bedroom door. “Hey Rin?” he called, “What do you want for –“ he cut off his sentence, rushing inside and over to the open windows. The bed was a mess – the sheets pulled off, pillows everywhere – and one of the tall cabinets was open wide and folded covers scattered everywhere. One lone piece sheet was tied to one of the bed stands and led out of the window, tied to another at the sill, and another halfway down to the next story.

Rin was gone.

___________________________



Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's


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Title : Oh, you mean you DON'T have an Elephabulous? Shame.
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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   5th March 2017, 8:44 pm

an:
 
There was no doubt as to where the kid would’ve gone, just disbelief that he would’ve even attempted to make it there on his own. Usagi’s home was several kilometers away - that a child would consider walking that distance alone and in the dark made Helios question their confidence in his whereabouts, but with Midori backing him up about how desperate he was to stay with Usagi, they had no other options for where the kid would have willingly attempted to go. Mamoru’s earlier aggravation surfaced yet again – if he could use his powers to locate Mamorin there would be no questions, just a recovery operation; however, he did not know how to recognize the kid’s glow, even if his headache would let him try psylocation again. Helios went ahead, teleporting to Usagi’s to fly back to their location, keeping an eye and ear out for anything suspicious; as soon as he disappeared they transformed and, once outfitted in their dark grey Kings uniforms, they jumped out of the window, their capes slowing their descent where it mattered, and hit the ground running.

Midori was openly furious, but didn’t say anything as they ran; Mamoru was tempted to tell him to stay at the mansion as means of not scaring the kid when they found them as much as providing them someone at their base in case they were wrong and Rin was just hiding somewhere else, but Kobai’s silver eyes were staring through his blue mask at the brunet and Mamoru let it go, trusting Kobai to have done something differently if he thought Midori couldn’t handle himself.

They were past the mansion’s driveway and running down the mostly empty road back towards the city, searching the road ahead and shadows near the road for any sign of the missing child, and despite his annoyance at Rin for causing them such a problem again, he couldn’t help but worry about him.

“Why does he want to stay with Usagi-chan so badly?” Hanada asked as they ran, green eyes quizzical behind the green mask.
“I don’t know,” Mamoru answered honestly, his voice raised slightly to be heard over the wind. “He never explains – he just insists he wants to stay with her!”

“And she has no knowledge of a connection to him?” Kobai asked.

“None that she can recall,” Mamoru replied, looking back at him.

Kobai hummed thoughtfully at his response; “Maybe it has something to do with the Moon Kingdom?” he offered after a pause, “Something from Usagi’s past as Serenity that she might not remember yet? Maybe Diana and Elysion weren’t the only problems the Moon Kingdom had, but now that they’re out of the way –“

“They’re able to resurface and take center stage,” Hanada finished pointedly, turning his attention back to Mamoru. “Those visions of destruction – could they have been from the Moon Kingdom?”

Mamoru considered, but shook his head, “I don’t know – it didn’t seem like it, but I’ve never been to the Moon Kingdom so I can’t know for sure.” He didn’t really know how to feel about the suggestion one way or another – there was still no way of knowing, but even the idea turned his stomach with worry over Usagi; if Rin were related to her and wanting to find her, was it for help from the Silver Crystal? Were the enemies chasing him after him for being Moon Royalty, and if they find Usako, would they change their target to her for being heir?

He wanted to contact her, to make sure she was okay, to see if Rin were there or if she had seen anything odd lately – again he cursed her lack of communicator, his nerves calmed only by the knowledge that Helios would get them if something had happened. … Assuming Helios could get back to them if something had happened –

“THERE!” Hanada pointed, the cry of alarm making hairs stand on the back of Mamoru’s neck; he skidded to follow the direction indicated by North King’s white glove, and in that change of direction Midori and Kobai quickly outpaced them, using their momentum to carry them forward and off the road, heading for the sleek flying form of the demon-woman they had faced on Saturday. Or, rather, a demon woman – this one was different from the blue-and-blonde version he had encountered the other day; while still covered in short fur and sporting some sort of feathered head-dress and collared ensemble, her colors were red and maroon, her long brown hair curly as opposed to the blonde’s straight locks.

Looks like playtime’s over, Little Red!” she teased, her wasp-like wings flitting to take her out of East and West King’s paths effortlessly. From a higher vantage point above the grocery store’s parking lot she raised one hand and a blood-hued orb formed and shot outward from her palm, streaking towards the cowering child cornered by the walls of the storefront –

At once the creature jerked, her ankle caught by the icy ends of a whip, and the red orb popped as a rose slid neatly through it. His boots slid on tiny pebbles as Cardinal King moved to cover the kid, his arms outstretched just in case the rose hadn’t worked, but as the bubble popped and the thorned flower burst into flames, he dug his heels in and stopped. Mamoru’s cape appeared at his shoulders, falling to the ground to effectively hide Mamorin from the creature’s sight, and he summoned another rose. “It’s going to be okay, Rin,” he stated boldly over his shoulder, the kid’s soft crying sounds barely audible over the sounds of the fight in front of him.

North’s whip had sublimated, but not before East had slugged the creature; she had hit the ground but recovered quickly, getting airborne again before Kobai could pin her with his scimitar. “Boys, boys, boys!” the red creature chided as she shot out of reach, “This isn’t necessary - just hand over the little redhead and I’ll be out of your hair – “ She grinned and flipped her hair only for bursts of flame to erupt from the motion, flames that she spread with a flick of her wrists, flames that writhed like snakes as they shot through the air towards them.

Mamoru turned and knelt to grab the kid, holding him tightly and trusting his cape to handle most of the damage; heat warmed the back of his head, flames licked his back, but it wasn’t so bad overall. The moment he felt it back off he tightened his hold to be supportive and took off with a jump, keeping Rin close as he moved for a more defendable position: the rooftop. Helios always preferred the high ground. They landed and he put Rin down, ready to turn and fire another rose or rush in with his sword to help, but as he stepped away, Rin took his gloved hand, the pressure so light that it would’ve been easy to brush away but so unexpected that Mamoru could not ignore it.

Blue eyes met red, his anxiety towards the unknown making every twitch of the young boy stand out, but the furrowed brows, wet cheeks, and quivering lips spoke only of fear, until a sudden flash of movement behind the kid sent his reflexes into overdrive. He tightened their connection, pulling Rin closer to him even as he threw himself backward off the edge of the roof. It was a stupid move, but he had just managed to hug the kid close as another of the demon women grazed overhead, her green hand just missing Rin’s school uniform.

Rats.

CARDINAL KING!” North shouted in alarm just as Mamoru landed flat on his back on the ground, bouncing uncomfortably, his head hitting the pavement twice in the process. Fresh pain screamed through his head to reinforce the already overwhelming migraine and his ears rung, muting the fight. To top things off, he had lost his breath – he couldn’t move, momentarily paralyzed from the two story drop, leaving them defenseless. Rin raised himself off of his chest – it looked like he said something, but Mamoru couldn’t make it out – and then quickly, tearfully, scrambled off of him, hesitantly huddling between him and the wall of the building.

The green one had turned and was sailing back, her dark hair streaming back behind her, one arm casually outstretched towards Rin – until she was struck from behind and thrown into the wall of the building just beyond them. As the wall cratered with the force of impact he was finally able to breathe, and as East pulled him to his feet he threw his own weight into it. Within the next breath, North and West had joined them, surrounding them defensively as Mamoru regained his breath fully, the rose in his hand snapping into the shape of a sword as the red one faced off ahead of them, near the hole the green one had created. She reached back towards her hair, a smile shining in the electric parking lot lights –

The green groaned, pulling herself out of the wall as rubble clattered to the ground behind her. “That sucked,” she said, rolling her shoulders, the thin transparent wings fluttering in the process. “Let’s go, Rosie – this doesn’t have to be this much work.” She stood on the ground, her legs shaky in the dark green heels, and suddenly shot skyward.

The red one smirked, “See you later, Red!” and waved goodbye as Rin flinched, and followed after the green.

Both Mamoru and Kobai continued to look skyward, staring through their masks to see if the pair would turn the apparent retreat into another attack, but a hand on his back finally took his attention. North’s blond brows were furrowed as he motioned to Mamoru’s nose; tentatively, releasing his grip on his sword in his other hand to return it to a simple rose as he did so, Mamoru touched his face to find fresh blood on his white gloves.

Are you okay?” Hanada asked quietly, green eyes insistent.

“Just a headache,” he muttered in response, wiping again at his face with the back of his sleeve, still somewhat alarmed to see that amount of blood coming from him.

“Don’t worry,” East commented, the levity in his tone sounding almost like bravado, “the blood cleans itself out.” The brunet smiled tauntingly, but there was something else in his face before he turned away, looking at the crater he had helped create and whistling lowly. “They are not going to like that.”

“We should go,” West announced, tearing his eyes away from the skies above them. “We’ll take the child back to the Midori household.” North looked taken aback by the announcement, but didn’t question it outright at that point. Kobai continued, glancing down in an attempt to meet Rin’s gaze, “Midori and his friends were worried about you, Mamoru. You should not have run off like that – especially with people like that after you.”

The kid mumbled something, but didn’t look up.

“What is it?” North asked, Hanada’s attempt at patience more genuine now than in past interactions with him.

“I want to stay with Tsukino Usagi.”

East strode off, his gloved hands in fists as he took better stock of the mess the battle had made, which, honestly, wasn’t much compared to other battlefields they had left behind. Mamoru watched him for a moment, but Hanada’s following question drew him back quickly: “Why do you want to stay with her?”

“I just… do.” Mamorin replied in a quiet voice.

Hanada crossed his arms, the patience fading.

“Mamorin,” Mamoru addressed calmly, hoping that his super hero form would have more sway over the kid than his untransformed self had. He knelt down and put his hands on the kid’s shoulders to hold his attention. “Those things that are following you are dangerous. They could have really hurt you just now if we hadn’t found you in time. They were able to find you tonight, and they have found you before; if you were to stay with Tsukino Usagi they could find you still, and then what would happen to you?” He didn’t want to scare him, honestly, but he had to stop him from putting Usagi in direct danger. The running away had to stop. “What if we didn’t know you were in trouble? What if we could not get there in time to help? You could get hurt, or Usagi could get hurt, or her family. Do you want that to happen?”

Rin didn’t look at him; Mamoru squeezed his shoulders gently, prompting again, “Do you?” and finally he shook his head. He let him go and stood.

“It’s important that you stay with Midori and his friends because they can contact us if you ever get into trouble,” Kobai added.
“Why are they after you, Mamoru?” Hanada asked, turning down another line of questioning, “What do they want with you?”
He shook his head and shrugged, his whole body tense.

“You can tell us,” North gently pressed. “We’re here to help, but we could help you better if you told us what was going on.”
They waited, breathing quietly as they watched Rin, but as he sniffled loudly and swiftly moved to wipe his face on his sleeve, it was clear they weren’t going to get anything more out of him. Mamoru gave Hanada a look that communicated that he appreciated the attempt and was just as frustrated that it hadn’t gone anywhere, but believed it needed to stop. Hanada met his gaze easily and nodded, agreeing.

“When you want to talk, you can tell our friends and they’ll tell us,” Kobai stated patiently, his gaze glancing skyward again. “Let’s get back before it gets too late.”

Once again Mamoru caught Hanada looking at Kobai with disbelief but said nothing; he wondered why, but if he wasn’t offering it willingly he had his reasons and Mamoru trusted he’d hear about it later, whatever the hesitation was. Mamorin nodded and reached out towards Mamoru, but was lifted up by West King instead. “North, make sure Cardinal King is alright. East, go ahead of us and tell Midori and his friends that we’re on our way.”

Without looking back, Midori took off running back towards the manse. Kobai started at a slower pace, Mamorin’s red eyes looking over his grey-caped shoulder back at the pair of them; Mamoru nodded to him, attempting to assure him that he was okay and everything would be okay, but Rin did not return the nod or even blink back at him.

Usagi-chan is fine.’

Mamoru had to resist the urge to snap his head up to see Helios, knowing that if he did Mamorin would surely follow his gaze and see him; Hanada grabbed his wrist as though to warn him, but he needn’t’ve worried. Mamoru waved once at Mamorin, keeping his attention level.

There was no sign of any enemies, or of the child – oh,’ Helios stammered, apparently catching sight of the kid and taking in the signs of battle around them. He seemed to understand their situation. ‘I’ll keep watch from above.

Kobai looked up as he had been doing and inclined his head in silent thanks, and, once they were out of hearing range, picked up speed, running smoothly with the kid balanced on one hip.

“Are you really okay?” Hanada immediately asked, moving forward to face him square on, his green gaze critical.
“I’m fine,” he replied, shrugging, aware that the other’s hand was still wrapped around his wrist, pinning his dark grey cuff to his skin. “Just a little banged up.”

“The headache?” he prodded, reaching up with familiarity to dab just beneath his nose – Mamoru brushed him off, stepping away and breaking from the hold the other had on his arm so he could dab at his own nose, wondering if it were still bleeding. It wasn’t.
“Still there,” he said, double checking for any new blood on his jacket cuff but finding nothing there.

“What do you think happened?” he asked, leaning in now to examine his eyes at an uncomfortably close distance.

He blinked, but tried to keep looking into Kaito’s eyes, knowing he was checking for signs of concussion. “I don’t know – exhaustion maybe? Overexertion from earlier?”

“But it hadn’t happened when you used your location powers,” he mused, apparently satisfied with what he saw in Mamoru’s eyes – satisfied enough, anyway, to walk back towards the crater the green one had made in the wall.

“It did,” Mamoru clarified, following him over. “The headache just got worse when I used my usual stuff.”

“Hmmm,” Kaito hummed thoughtfully, “Maybe… the power hadn’t built up enough?” His eyes scoured the dark crevasse.

Mamoru could do nothing but shrug, “Who knows.”

“I don’t like it,” Hanada stated as he reached in and took out a long strand of dark colored hair, which he wrapped around two fingers to gather, then put in the palm of his hand and peeled off the glove to create a small container for it, which he then stuck into his belt. “It’s never happened before, and with everything else going on… I just don’t like it.” He looked up, meeting his gaze again, his expression tense with worry. “We worked hard for peace, and this doesn’t feel like peace.”

He nodded in agreement and regretted the action immediately, wincing and scowling at the sudden burst of pain across the top of his skull. Kaito looked upset, but Mamoru waved him off, “I’ll be fine.”

“We should’ve had Helios take you home – “

“I’m not that bad off,” Mamoru growled a complaint, turning to start walking back towards Midori’s place. “Just – no jumping.”
His response was a hum of displeasure, but he caught up with him and took an easy pace. “Maybe Midori’ll think to come back with a car.”

“I doubt it,” Mamoru sighed, “he’s not exactly a fan after – “ His voice froze in his throat, unable to speak through it, to talk about it out loud so casually. “today,” he finally choked out.

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Hanada’s voice was calm and steady, insistent, but that didn’t mean Mamoru really believed him. It had been his call that had delayed them, his oversight that had put them in that predicament to begin with. If he had been more aware of himself and the situation, Moegi would still be with them. It was his fault he was missing.

…Missing, like Usagi had been. He remembered distinctly how easily Yuu had comforted Usagi’s brother when he had approached them about her disappearance, and now, he realized, Yuu’s parents would be doing the same thing. Would Kimiko be running around now asking after him? His stomach lurched – they hadn’t been able to tell the Tsukino’s anything about Usagi’s disappearance, but the attack on the High School was bound to have made the news, and with Yuu being the student council president and leader of the debate club that had been having a competition at the time, he would have been noted as missing after the incident. It made sense, but he had to ask, just to be sure – Kaito knew everything that went on, he’d know this. “Do the Moegi’s know?”

Hanada quieted, keeping the pace, as though considering what he would say in response. “When we arrived,” he began quietly, his words soft in the night, “the police and firefighters had taken control of the situation. Students were wrapped in blankets, being checked over for injuries and trauma – parents were arriving on the scene and reuniting. We split up – Kobai went to check to see what the students were saying while I pressed in with the Press, listening to official statements but standing close enough to the rest of the cops to overhear anything they weren’t officially announcing. Several teachers were speaking with the officers to one side, each holding a clipboard – I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I saw one of them mouth his name. Firefighters went back into the building to look for him. They would’ve informed his parents next.”

“… and when they don’t find his body?” he asked, the very words making him feel like he could be sick.

“I don’t know,” Hanada quietly lied.

They walked in silence, pavement passing beneath their feet as they strode closer to Midori’s mansion, the question of earlier actions prodding Mamoru out of fixating on Moegi’s disappearance and the weight that would have been too easy to settle into. “Why did you seem shocked earlier?”

“About what?”

“Going back to Nero’s.”

Hanada glanced up with suspicion, “The enemy could’ve been watching. They could easily follow us back, know exactly where Nero lives and, by extension, where you, Khalid, and the kid are staying – and me, at the moment – and Khalid was only too happy to lead them back. Assuming they weren’t so nearsighted as to actually leave, they could bide their time and attack whenever they pleased – an hour from now, five hours from now, a week from now – we would have to set up watches at all hours on all sectors of that huge place just to keep the threat of them at bay!” Frustration colored his tone, his speech growing louder and faster as he continued, “He didn’t even consider that, or think up taking the child back to a decoy house – something empty, to be sure – or anything. He just took him back to the Midori place easy as that.” He snapped his fingers. “It’s reckless – we just faced one of them in open battle with one man down and barely got out of it alive, and he’s gone and invited both of them to know where we are, which makes for a total of three possible combatants against our four, and we four aren’t exactly at the top of our game! This on top of figuring out who took Yuu and analyzing those visions of yours – it’s just piling more on unnecessarily and I –“

Mamoru gently took his friend by the arm, making him stop and take a breath before he became too worked up. He understood, but part of him believed that Khalid had some sort of plan in mind – surely he had thought his decision through, and Kaito stressing about it wouldn’t do anyone any good, least of all Kaito.

“I’m sorry,” Kaito sighed heavily, looking away from Mamoru’s gaze, “I just – we need more information. Neither Helios nor Beryl knew anything – I mean there’s a chance she’ll find something in the old libraries, but we need something else, something proactive rather than reactive. That Helios could sense where and when Diana’s Phases were stealing human energy had helped immensely – if he could sense these new enemies we’d have something.”

“Something like a scanner would be nice,” Mamoru agreed, “Like radar but for … well, whatever these enemies are.” He released his hold and they continued walking.

“I don’t even know if that kind of technology exists outside of science fiction.” Hanada replied, pausing, “I wouldn’t even know where to start construction on something like that. I don’t think we ever had anything of that kind in Elysion, either.”

“Not that I can recall, no; but back then we didn’t have to deal with anything like this, outside of the occasional monster that was reported to us.” They strode on, Hanada even slower and more thoughtful, until Mamoru couldn’t wait any longer. “What are you thinking?”

“I…” Kaito trailed off, then turned to look at him, “Do you think the Moon’s computers could do it?”

He considered. The Moon’s computers were apparently still up and running – or they were as of three days ago when they spoke to Luna in Elysion. Helios himself admitted that the Moon’s technology was much more advanced than their own, but could it monitor energy sources in the way they were wanting? Did it even have enough life and longevity left to be of use? Could they still contact Luna through Usagi’s belt to ask such questions, let alone figure out a way to utilize the information if the Moon Computer were able to gather it? It was worth a shot, in either case. “We can try to ask Luna,” he stated, turning abruptly to head back towards the city, “If we can contact her, she would know – “

Hanada’s hand stopped him. “You still have the headache,” he asserted without question – an assertion that Mamoru was willing to deny, but Kaito knew him better than to give him the chance, and immediately followed his assertion with “We could still be being followed; let’s not add Usagi-chan’s house to their list of targets.”

He stopped. … He had nothing to combat the statement with – he wasn’t even at full strength, judging by the pounding in his head, to be of any help if something did happen. Hanada was right. He turned back around, disappointed in not being able to do something proactive after failing miserably earlier, and, honestly, disappointed in not being able to see her; he didn’t deserve to feel any better, but that didn’t stop the urge to. “Tomorrow, then,” he acquiesced, and they kept walking.

 

Fifteen minutes later, lights appeared on the road ahead, heading towards them. They detransformed; unable to jump away, they both instinctively thought it’d be better to be seen as civilians rather than questionably useful superheroes, and moved to walk on the side, Hanada handing Mamoru another tissue for his nose. With a sigh of disbelief, Mamoru took it and pressed it to the slow and steady bleed, growling, “I don’t understand why it’s doing this.”

“You heard what Helios said – next time don’t push yourself so hard.”

“But it’s been over an hour!” he complained, “After bringing Midori back from the brink of death on Tokyo tower I searched half the world for the Silver Crystal’s glow and was fine – no headache, no nothing.”

“We were all worked up that night,” Kaito replied quietly, remembering. “Adrenaline might’ve drowned it out –“ as Mamoru pointed his thumb over his shoulder to indicate the battle – where his adrenaline was most certainly high – “OR,” Hanada pushed through before he could say anything, “maybe that was a result of you not fully using it in a long time – your battery was full, so to speak, so emptying it didn’t really wipe you out or anything. You used all of your power just three days ago, fully awakening the Golden Crystal or no, and then extended yourself beyond your reach just over an hour ago.” He finished, “Give yourself a break.”

The car slowed as it neared them and they both stepped farther off the road, Hanada’s hand shadowing his eyes in an attempt to make out the model, but the door was open before it rolled to a stop and Midori’s feet were on the ground the moment the ground stopped moving out from beneath him. Mamoru couldn’t make out his expression in the dark, but he saw enough of his body language in the low light to know that something changed between that first moment and the next. “Khalid thought you could use a ride.”

“Surprisingly thoughtful,” Hanada snipped as he strode forward angrily towards the opened door, stepping around Nero to get in, already starting to berate their unseen fourth – “Why did you lead them….” And trailed off.

“I didn’t say he was with me,” Midori shrugged as Hanada glared back at him before sliding into the passenger’s compartment, a slight smile on his face. Mamoru approached them, unsure of what to say, but Midori just stepped aside for him to enter without a word. He slid in beside Kaito and Nero slid in after him, tapping the frame of the car once before shutting the door and the car sped off. The barrier between back and front was closed, affording them privacy, but even with being able to speak freely, Mamoru didn’t know what to say.

“Does your head still hurt?” Midori asked, the first to break the silence as the limousine leisurely turned around to head back towards the manse.

Mamoru looked up to see Midori staring at the carpeted floor, or at his hands that he had clasped together, elbows resting on his knees. “It’s getting better,” he replied, the pounding in his skull somewhat lessened.

“Here,” Midori reached into a compartment and tossed him a water bottle, which he caught, and a small white bottle of pills. “Aspirin,” he explained, and handed another water bottle over to Hanada. “It helps with other headaches so it couldn’t hurt to try with this one.”
“Thanks,” Mamoru replied quietly, unscrewing the cap of the water bottle to take a sip before opening the other and shaking out two tablets. It was a thoughtful gesture, but if Midori was angry with him he didn’t have to offer it. Was he doing it just because he was Prince?

“Is Khalid on watch?” Hanada asked after taking a sip of his water, though it was clear by his tone that he knew the answer.

“Yeah,” Midori replied, returning to his previous pose, “He’s on the roof; Helios is sticking with the kid.”

“What’s his plan for tomorrow?” Hanada continued, crossing his arms.

“… We’re evacuating my house, just to be safe.” Midori replied without much emotion, “Most of the staff is local so they’ll just take a paid holiday; the ones that live with us are flying out tomorrow on holiday to meet with my dad in… Hawaii, I think? Anyway, they’ll be clear.”
Their base of operations. Midori’s home. Mamoru felt horrible. “What are you telling them?” he asked.

Midori shrugged, “That I’m staying at a friend’s for a while to study for finals,” he laughed dryly, “They thought it was very mature of me to remove myself from distractions.”

“My parents have no plans on leaving town – we can’t use my place as easily as we used yours,” Kaito mused, “I could maybe take one more person, but that’s it. Khalid’s, then?”

“It’s too small,” Nero replied, “and she’s got a business downstairs; it wouldn’t work. There’s no way around it,” he continued, eyeing Hanada with a slow smile, “we’ll just have to throw Mamoru’s apartment cleaning party earlier than expected. Aren’t you excited? I’m making arrangements for tomorrow afternoon.”

Hanada rolled his eyes and took another sip of water.

They wouldn’t all be able to stay in his apartment, Mamoru realized; it was too small for all of them and the kid. The reasonable course of action would be for Kaito to stay with his parents and Khalid with his mother, leaving Midori, Rin, and himself at his place. … which could get really awkward if they didn’t settle things out. … and agree on how to deal with the kid. For the rest of the ride he tried to hink of what to say to broach the subject, but he didn’t want to drag Hanada into it, so he kept to himself until they got back to the mansion and pooled out of the car.

“I’m going to check my forums,” Hanada declared, continuing his explanation in more of a mutter than an explanation, “see if anything’s popped up about the incident or if there’ve been any other sightings of those shapeshifters.”

“Good night,” Mamoru wished, and Hanada raised a hand up in a way to send the wishes back. Midori mirrored the farewell much to the same effect, and the pair of them, awkwardly, followed the blond inside. As Hanada’s form disappeared inside of one of the nearby studies, they were alone. Before Midori could excuse himself, too, Mamoru turned to him and quickly blurted, “Nero, I – “

“I’m sorry,” Nero interrupted, his voice low and his eyes anywhere but on Mamoru. “I’m sorry – I screwed up. I screwed up big time – I lost the kid, I didn’t obey West’s orders, and if I had done what was asked and didn’t mess up, Yuu’d still be here. I know, okay?”

Mamoru could barely believe what he was hearing.

“If I had just agreed to get to Usagi and the kid, North might’ve reached the school in time – if I hadn’t lost the kid in the first place none of that would’ve happened, and if I hadn’t yelled at him he probably wouldn’t’ve run away just now, either  – I’m sorry, and I know that doesn’t fix anything, but –“ he took a quick breath, releasing it through his nose in a frustrated way, “I won’t disappoint you again, okay? I wasn’t taking things seriously before but I am now, and – “

“You didn’t disappoint me – it wasn’t your fault,” Mamoru quickly cut in, dumbfounded in Nero’s choice of words, “It was mine – I had the ability to find the kid the entire time and just forgot about it like an idiot. It was my fault we had split up, and my fault we hadn’t gotten there in time. I failed Yuu, and I let you and everyone else down in the process.” Nero started to interrupt, but Mamoru held up his hand, asking for just another moment more, “but that’s not where I’m going to leave it.” He looked Midori straight in the eye, “We are going to find him and get him back.”

Nero’s expression changed, but as remorse became confidence, his eyes stayed on Mamoru’s. “And kick the ass of whatever took him to start with.” He smiled, and the tension that had been between them since earlier gradually fell away as Mamoru returned the smile and they both nodded in agreement. It seemed too grand a thing to promise, especially knowing as little as they did, but simply saying it out loud, of voicing their solidarity in the matter, helped push back the doubt that had threatened morale since the incident. Midori reached out and put his right hand on Mamoru’s shoulder and Mamoru did the same, mimicking the sign of a pact made back in their previous lives.

They do it – they’d find Moegi Yuu and return him to where he belonged, no matter what the cost.

___________________________



Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's


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Title : Oh, you mean you DON'T have an Elephabulous? Shame.
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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   29th May 2017, 4:18 pm

Morning came, and while his headache was gone he wasn’t exactly eager to push the envelope just yet. He dressed, pressing back the guilt of not attempting to find Yuu immediately by focusing on the plan to engage Luna and see what the Moon’s computers could do for them. As he got dressed he wished that the kid didn’t have such a monopoly over Helios; he missed being able to bounce ideas off of him – he even missed the snide remarks that typically peppered his morning preparations – but what Helios was doing was important, too: they had to keep an eye on Mamorin and see what they could glean from him about where he came from, what his motives were, how Usagi was involved in all of this. Why did those creatures want him so badly? What were those visions about, and how could they stop whatever that was from happening?

He tied his tie, combed his hair, and tossed his comb back into his duffle bag, tucking away the last of his things from his room at Midori’s. Over time he would have become more accustomed to the large rooms and even larger floorplans, but, circumstances aside, he was looking forward to returning home to his little apartment and the comfort it gave him. He checked the time on his communicator watch and gave one last look around the tidied room before he gathered his things and left, closing the door neatly behind him.

While he had expected to drop his stuff off downstairs and head back up to make sure the kid was ready for school – Yuu had done it the morning before, moving him from preparation to preparation yesterday morning with well-practiced ease, his younger sister Kimiko to thank for that, but after… but without him, Mamoru was the only one of them that had any experience dealing with kids and he had assumed he would be in charge of getting him ready; however, he found Rin dressed and having breakfast when he swung by the dining room after putting his things by the door, Khalid sitting across from him and keeping a general eye out.

“Morning,” he addressed, grey eyes glancing up from a newspaper. The kid turned around to look at him, his expression changing from interest to flat acceptance as he turned back to his porridge. Without missing a beat, Khalid cleared his throat, eyes sliding to the redhead.

Morning,” Rin said gloomily to his breakfast.

What had he done to – Usagi. Right. “Morning,” he replied, more than a little impressed by Khalid and his apparent control over the situation. Khalid had never told them about any younger siblings or cousins or any situation at all wherein he would’ve gotten practice with wrangling children, but then, he wasn’t one to bring stuff like that up unless there was a reason to, and there never had been up until now.

Morning,’ Helios’s voice echoed sleepily in his head. ‘More nightmares, but he didn’t say anything useful.’ He heard the unisus fight off a yawn, ‘I’m going to sleep during his classes; here’s hoping they stuff personal belongings in cupboards so I can stretch out.

He hadn’t even seen Helios; he looked around casually, but a short, swift tilt of Khalid’s head pointed to Rin, and sure enough, the “stuffed toy” Helios was stretched awkwardly across his lap, just the tip of his lavender colored tail visible beneath the table. He wanted to tease him about his snoring, but with Rin there he couldn’t even acknowledge he had heard anything.
“Mamoru,” Khalid addressed, his voice commanding attention despite the casual way he was looking at the newspaper; his brow perked curiously, Mamoru made to respond but Khalid continued without needing a response. “Did you pack your things and tidy your room as I had instructed?” …What? He didn’t even know how to respond, momentarily dumbfounded by the sudden change – until the kid pushed back his chair. Rin – he had meant Rin, not him. Letting out a low breath, he stepped aside as Rin hopped off his seat and made for the door, but the kid was stopped before he could leave with another steady set of instructions by Khalid, “Leave Helios here; you can have him again when you finish.”

Rin sighed moodily but obediently plopped Helios carefully on the edge of the table before leaving the room towards the kitchen and the set of stairs they had used Sunday morning. As soon as the door swung closed, Helios visibly relaxed and Mamoru cracked a smile at his silver-haired friend, asking, “What did you do?”

Khalid set down the paper, looking a little pleased with himself as he folded it neatly, “Nothing.”

“Nothing except intimidate the living daylights out of him,” Midori supplied, throwing open the door and marching in as though he had been waiting for the kid to leave. He sat down with his food.

“I didn’t intimidate him,” Khalid refuted, “I just set a standard that he needs to adhere to and will accept nothing less from him.”

Intimidation,” Midori repeated, pointing at Khalid with his fork as he dug in to some sort of filled breakfast pastry. Khalid rolled his eyes and Mamoru chuckled; whatever it was, it worked. “I hope he tells us where to drop him off soon,” Nero continued between bites, “We shouldn’t have to play parents.”

Mamoru left to quickly put together breakfast, his eyes on the clock, settling for something fast as he rejoined them in the adjoining dining area. “Helios,” he asked, sitting down near the stretching unisus, who looked to give him as much attention as a half-awake creature could, “I think we should get a communicator for Usagi – “

The unisus nodded his head, ‘I put one together already –‘ In a flourish of his golden horn, a sixth wristwatch communicator clunked down on the table, ‘Just in case whatever is after Rin has its eyes on the Silver Crystal.’

Mamoru thanked him, taking the communicator and slipping it into his pocket to give to her later. It looked practically identical to theirs, though it had silver flourishes rather than accent stones matching their power gems. All in all it looked really respectable, but rather masculine… which meant she wasn’t really going to like it all that much. Even if she appreciated it as it was, he was already making a list of jewelry stores to visit to see about replacing the band to make it something she’d enjoy. …maybe she’d want to go with him. Butterflies fluttered softly in his stomach at the idea, but with everything else going on that afternoon he put the notion on hold. “I’m going to talk to her later about contacting Luna; Kaito and I were thinking last night that we might see if the Lunar computers could hone in on energy signals and help warn us when something abnormal pops up.”

It’s a good plan,’ Helios replied thoughtfully.

“What is?” Hanada asked, entering with a bowl of something from the kitchen. He sat down and tucked in as he waited for an answer.

“Attempting to contact the Lunar computers.” Kobai explained, offering nothing else as Kaito nodded once in understanding. “Did you find anything useful on the internet?” he probed.

Kaito swallowed and shrugged, taking a sip of water irritably. “There was gossip about the attack on the school, but everyone’s wrapped up in UFO’s and the leading theory is that it was caused by a UFO,” he rolled his eyes and took another spoonful in agitation.

UFO’s?” Midori teased, snickering, “Like little green men UFO’s? What kind of sites are you part of, Kaito?”

“Forums that are usually on top of things,” he grumbled. “You know how close they got to figuring us out before – they’re just thrown off by some fuzzy images someone took with their camera of a “landing site” just outside the city. Some are even connecting it to Venus’s attacks, saying that those might’ve been the forward attack for an invasion or something,” he huffed gloomily.

Mamoru’s brows furrowed as he listened; he remembered how Kaito had to deliberately lead discussions astray on the Tokyo Underground site he frequented, pointing them to consider alternative avenues of thought to keep them from figuring out what was really going on. That they had turned into some science fiction fanbase was… …. Well it wasn’t too farfetched considering that was the site Kaito was using to track his movements as Cardinal King when he first started and Khalid’s exploits as the “Evening Star”, and, if he were being honest with himself, before he was personally involved in all that he thought people who were paying attention to the “Evening Star” nonsense were off-center, too. Still… UFO’s…

“Think it’ll blow over soon?” Khalid asked.

“I hope so,” Kaito replied, grumbling something like ‘Ridiculous’ as he finished his breakfast.
 


Things went… surprisingly smoothly, especially compared to the day before. He was even able to concentrate during his classes, secure in the notion that if anything went wrong, Helios would be there in an instant and able to warn him immediately. Midori and Hanada found him at lunch, as had been their custom in the prior weeks, and he and Kaito suffered through Nero’s loud complaints about the homework he had piled up from just missing one day of classes, glancing around nervously as he muttered afterwards about how there should be some sort of special circumstances excuse for people who were tired from saving the planet when it came to classwork.

When school ended the three of them made their way to Crown, as they had agreed earlier that morning, and waited for Khalid, Rin, and Helios to arrive and hoped to catch Usagi by chance. Nero immediately distracted himself with a fighting game as they waited, while he and Kaito chose to start on homework in the downtime; he had barely gotten his book open when he was lightly elbowed; he looked over just for Kaito to flip over a page, focused entirely on his work, and casually utter, “Your girlfriend’s here,” a bemused smile tipping up the corner of his mouth.

He looked towards the door and his heart skipped a beat – sure enough, Usako was there, taking an exaggerated breath of the arcade air as she held the door open for two of her new/old friends: Mercury and Jupiter, their civilian names escaping him for the moment. Mercury’s uniform matched Usako’s while Jupiter’s did not; he was glad they were still able to coordinate despite not being in the same school. He stood, hesitating for just long enough for the three of them to get in and get used to the lower light before he would approach, the guilt of taking up Usagi’s time when she was trying to make friends with them staying him for even a moment longer; however, Jupiter spotted him, her green eyes landing on him with a flash of recognition, and while he couldn’t hear what she said, the next moment Usako turned her bright smile to him, his heartrate rising as though to meet her as she rushed over and embraced him, calling out her nickname for him. Her arms around him, he felt stronger and weaker at once, both energized and invigorated to do what needed to be done and wanting nothing more than to stay there with her, to tell her about everything that had happened, everything that had gone on, and talk things out. … but there wasn’t time for the latter. Gently he put his hands on her shoulders and pushed her back, smiling down at her, unable to help the small circles he traced with his thumbs.

“Usako,” he greeted warmly, pleased at the blush across her cheeks, but reality pulled too strongly to let them linger. “Could I…” he trailed off, glancing back at her waiting friends, “talk to you for a minute?”

Her brows furrowed with worry, turning her head to find Hanada and then the other direction, looking for – his heart jerked when he realized what she was looking for, that she was checking roll. Her voice wavered as she replied, “Sure! Let me just tell Ami-chan and Mako-chan – I’ll be right back.” She backed away, turned, and rejoined her friends; he took his seat by Hanada again, closing his textbook as he watched her explain something, her voice bright and excited as she dragged her friends over to a row of arcade games, sat them both down, and popped in a few yen to get the game started. Nero ambled over, made a few jokes, and then both of them made their way back.

As they settled at the little booth, Nero across from Kaito, Usagi across from him, she leaned in, and in a quiet voice of concern, asked simply, “Khalid?”

He shook his head, but before he could answer Nero replied, “He’s fine – jeez, Mamoru, what did you tell her?”
He rolled his eyes, but was grateful for the other’s tone – Usagi relaxed instantly, but bit her lip, “Did Mamorin run away again? I haven’t seen him – “

“Nothing like that,” he shook his head to reassure her, “There was an incident last night, and with any luck he won’t be attempting to run away again.”

“Last night?” she repeated.

“Long story,” Kaito replied, looking at their surroundings pointedly, “And not exactly what we wanted to talk to you about today.” She straightened curiously, waiting for him to continue. “Do you still have that belt?” Kaito continued, his tone casual but his green gaze pointed, “The one with the moonstones?”

She blinked, confused, but nodded her head, “I do – do you need it?” She looked back at him and he could practically see the questions in her eyes, questions he wanted to answer but knew Kaito was right to remind them that they were very much in public. He nodded.

“We wanted to try something,” he weakly explained.

She kept eye contact with him, her worry and concern practically drowning him with guilt. He gently took the fist she had made of her hands on the table, silently promising he’d tell her everything the moment he could, and slowly her hands unclenched to hold his. She nodded. “I’ll go get it –“

He squeezed her hands gently as she stood and she paused by the head of the table. “You don’t have to go now,” he said quietly, glancing over to the brunette who towered over the shorter girl intent on the video game in front of them. “I can get it from you later tonight – it wouldn’t work before the moon rises anyway, right?”

She smiled, following his glance. “Okay,” she stated quietly, looking back to him, “Tonight then.”

He wouldn’t miss it –

“It’s probably going to be later tonight,” Nero stated, breaking their mood entirely, “We’re fixing up his apartment and it’s an absolute mess –“

“Oh!” she nearly jumped, looking down at him guiltily, “I should help with that!”

“Don’t worry about it,” he smiled –

“Yeah, Kaito’ll cover for you,” Nero grinned, reaching over to wrap his arm around Hanada’s shoulder, “Won’t you, Kaito-kun~?”
The blond was none-too-pleased by the sudden hug.

Her brows furrowed nervously; he stood with her. “Don’t worry about it, really. And as for your questions earlier, here,” He dug into his pocket, passing over the golden crystal to retrieve the watch, which he then presented. “I know it’s not really your style – I can go with you sometime to replace the band, at least –“

“I love it,” she interrupted, smiling sincerely and offering out her wrist.

He fastened it securely, trying to ignore how soft her skin was; once it was set, she turned her arm to look at it. “When an alarm goes off, turn the hands to noon to open the channel,” he explained; she nodded, glancing up at him. “If you need to contact us, do the same – hands at noon. Once the conversation is over, click the face back down and it will automatically reset to the correct time.”

“Got it,” she replied, catching his hand as he moved to pull away.

“And don’t try using it for lovey-dovey stuff,” Nero broke in casually, causing Mamoru to roll his eyes. “There are no private channels on that thing – if one of us hears it, we all hear it.”

She laughed, “Okay! Well then, I’ll call all of you later about the belt!” Abruptly, she pulled him down and kissed him on the cheek. “See you later,” she said quietly, then pushed away, offering them a wave before turning to join her friends.
We’re here,’ Helios’s voice called before Mamoru could sit down again – before, even, Nero could say anything about his red cheeks. Gathering his things into his satchel, he cut him off with a nonchalant “Yeah, yeah,” and made for the door.

Khalid and Rin had just entered when he, Kaito and Nero made it to the door; he had hoped the kid wouldn’t see Usako – it’d make things easier to leave and let her have time with Jupi—Mako-chan and Ami-chan – but no such luck.

“Usagi-chan!” Rin exclaimed almost immediately, reaching out as though to go to her, but then he paused, “Who’s with her?” he asked, turning to look up at Khalid.

“Friends,” Khalid replied. “Friends that she hasn’t seen in a very long time – we’ll let her be then, shall we?”

“Okay,” Rin replied agreeably, shocking Mamoru in how easily he was turned aside. Shocking him further, Rin’s small hand grabbed his, as easily and casually as anything, though his eyes were locked on the girls with Usako. “We’re going to clean your apartment, right?” he asked absently.

“That’s right,” Mamoru replied, glancing at Khalid, but his attention was still on the kid, grey eyes narrowing as he followed Rin’s gaze. Nero looked perplexed, which satisfied Mamoru’s own feelings. What had gotten into Rin?

“We should go then,” the kid declared, pulling him back outside, only breaking eye-contact with the girls once they were completely out of the arcade. “How dirty is it, anyway?” he asked, his face screwed up curiously.

 

“This is a disaster zone,” Rin declared matter-of-factly when they arrived, crossing his arms in the threshold. “What happened?”

“Gorilla,” Kaito said evenly, stepping through with his shoes on and passing immediately to the living room to stand staring at the space with his hands on his hips.

“Sewer monsters, I heard,” Nero corrected, stepping around the kid to plant himself in the kitchen, looking over the debris on the counters and the floor thoughtfully.

“C’mon, what was it?” Rin asked, staring up at Mamoru with his arms crossed.

Mamoru shrugged, “I don’t know, I wasn’t here when it happened.”

“Ghosts, then,” Khalid replied, pushing past both of them to stand where the table used to be. “What’s the plan?” he asked of Nero, who turned to look over the rooms.

“I’ve got people coming to take out anything broken, so I guess we just… pile everything broken on the floor in here. Replacement furniture will be arriving later.”

“Let’s hope the removal happens before the delivery, then,” Kaito remarked, his hands still on his hips.

Mamoru hoisted Rin up and carried him across the kitchen floor and over the upended table so the kid wouldn’t come into contact with any broken, sharp edges, and placed him beside Kaito. “You’re in charge of the objects to keep, okay? Arrange them nicely on this side of the room,” he motioned to the primarily untouched half by the window and his desk; that should keep him out of trouble. “We’ll hand stuff to Kaito, Kaito will hand stuff to you. Okay?”

Rin nodded, then moved closer to the window. “Okay.” Mamoru turned to get to work with the mess in the kitchen, but didn’t get far – “Is that blood on the couch?”

He glanced over just in time for Kaito to toss the cushion into the pile of broken things in the kitchen. “Might’ve been,” the blond replied, “Best to toss it, just to be safe. Looks like it’s time for a new couch.”

They got down to work; sorting things didn’t take too long. Beyond two mugs found miraculously intact beneath the upended table, most of what was on the floor and countertops was to be trashed; nothing that the fight touched seemed to have survived. He didn’t mind too much – it was just stuff – but it was weird to see it all go, having had most of those objects since he moved in years ago. As they were working, he heard Rin and Kaito giving each other instructions over tidying the living room. A few hours passed, Nero’s people coming in to clear out a few loads of broken objects as they continued checking on objects within his cabinets. He heard the TV click on not long after the third load was taken out and glanced over to see Kaito and the kid sitting on the couch together.

Bored, are they?” Nero commented quietly, picking up a chunk of wood and miming throwing it at Kaito’s head – Mamoru held up a hand to stop him, playing along –

“This is where you ran into Mamoru, wasn’t it?” Kaito asked conversationally, the kid glanced away from the screen and over to him, and Mamoru and Nero immediately got back to work, though more quietly than before. “Do you parents live around here?”
“No,” Rin replied, returning his attention to the television screen.

“What were you doing here, then? Were you meeting up with them?”

This is Ace Reporter Minami Koi, first on the scene at the attack on the school yesterday and the first at the attack on the ice-cream shop today –“

Everyone stopped working. Ice cream shop? Khalid immediately put down the cup he was holding and stepped over the broken chairs to see what was on screen; Mamoru and Nero followed. The news anchor continued, her perch comfortable in a chair across from a high-school aged young man with short-cut brown hair, who looked into the camera confidently when he wasn’t giving the hostess his attention.

Minami-san, how did you come by both incidents so quickly?

A good reporter never reveals his sources,” Minami quipped with a smile; the hostess smiled and waved her hand as though to wave him off. “Honestly, though, as with any breaking story, you just have to keep an eye and an ear out for action. I just got to the right place at the right time when action hit.

That’s incredible! Especially for someone your age. Is there any reporter you look up to?

There used to be,” Minami replied, looking thoughtful and a bit forlorn. “I used to admire him – he was always first with the scoop, and his analysis of breaking news stories was always top-notch; I wanted to improve so I could get on his level, compete with him professionally; he used to admit to wanting to run a newspaper,” he laughed sadly, “I wanted to help him with that dream, but I never seemed to have caught his attention. And now… even with so many odd things happening in Tokyo, he is silent. I wonder what happened to him…

Well, Minami-san, you are in luck! Surely if someone so into the news is still in Tokyo, they would be watching this program – we have the latest, from the source to your screens, after all! Maybe if you call out to him, he will supply you with an answer!

That is a great idea,” Minami replied, smiling gratefully. Mamoru wanted the segment to finish already – what attack on an ice cream shop? “I’ll do just that. So I’m calling out to you, Hanada Kaito. Kaito? “You, who inspired me so much, and have so let me down recently. You had such a promising future, and now, when the news is more important than ever, our streets are more dangerous than ever, you are nowhere to be seen. I want to get to the bottom of this story – if you are worth anything in the news business, you will meet me tonight for an interview at Chess Tower. If you do not show, I, and all of Tokyo, will be assured of your retirement from this fast-paced industry, and will no longer give you or your stories any credence. That’s seven o’clock, Chess Tower. Be there or be forever forgotten, Hanada Kaito.” And with that, Minami checked his watch, stood, and shook the anchor’s hand. With a smile and final wave to the camera, he left the stage, the anchor looking behind him questioningly.

We’ll get back with Chieko-san just after these messages!” an announcer proclaimed.

Idiot,” Kaito groaned halfway under his breath.

“That’s you, right?” Rin asked, muting the television.

“Yeah, that’s me,” the blond replied, checking his watch. “Of course he gives me half an hour to get there. Moron.” He stood and retied his hair, glancing around for a mirror to straighten his uniform. “No time to change or anything.”

“You’re going, then?” Khalid confirmed.

“Don’t really have a choice,” Kaito replied, “Not if I want to hold onto my reputation.” He finished looking himself over in the mirror, frowning slightly, and made for the kitchen. “I take four days off and they’re already calling me a has-been. I’ll show him. I’ll check in after I deal with this bottom-feeder.” He stopped by the door and waved.

“Going alone?” Khalid questioned, his tone a little heavier.

“Nothing to worry about. Except my sanity,” he opened the door but paused, glancing back, “Why don’t you guys go pick out Mamoru’s new furniture? Maybe pick up ice-cream on the way back?”

He meant for them to investigate the attack then. “Sounds like a plan to me,” Nero replied, stepping forward and cracking his knuckles.

“Great. Get some mint chocolate chip for me. Later.” He closed the door.

Turns out he didn’t have much for dinner for four, so they left soon after to find some food, the kid in tow, and then to make the rounds in furniture stores, hoping to hear more about which ice-cream place had been attacked so they could accidentally pick that one out, do some quick investigating, and then find an in-business store and get back to the apartment. The kid would never know what they were actually doing.

The plan went off pretty well; Nero talked them into getting something from his favorite hot dispensers, so they ate while walking towards the first furniture store. The third store they tried had the news on in the background; after ten minutes of wandering and “trying out couches”, they heard the name of the ice cream parlor that had been attacked; Mamoru “liked” the next couch they sat on and they immediately ordered it and got out, heading for a store called “Bob-Floy”. They had to catch a bus to get there, but Nero sold going there convincingly enough for Rin, despite saying he forgot what its name was.

The place was a disaster – there was practically nothing left, a though a natural disaster had hit in just this one spot. There was something weird in the air around it, too – like something was… missing, or something was present that shouldn’t be there. They wanted to investigate more; distracting Rin, Khalid was about to step over the police tape to take a look through the rubble when their watches went off.

7:15. Mamoru stepped away from Rin, motioning for him to stay put, halfway wondering how they were going to explain this away, and set the dial to noon, expecting to see Usako; it was getting late enough
.
Instead, North King’s right eye and mask took up most of the central view screen, the camera angled to see behind the pillar he had his back pressed against. Minami Koi was there, but he was different – his hair was spiked, tipped with white, his eyes glowing bright blue as he looked around the black and white room carefully, a table flipped over before him, two plush red chairs askew. “Trouble at Chess Tower,” North whispered.

Minami looked exactly at them, and the image went dark.

Kaito.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   18th March 2018, 6:36 am

i read all of your story cardinal king 1 and the alphabet. It's just super!! thank you for this and please continue i want more and more !!!!

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   18th March 2018, 8:28 am

;u; thank you!!! XD You made my morning! 

Have you read the chapter after this one? I may have forgotten to post it here ; I'm working on the one after that but it's slow going @-@ so many things are happening/going to happen that keeping it all straight and figuring out when to introduce what is giving me pause, and my schedule isn't open to a lot of on-point long-form writing lately x_x I'm sorry the updates have been slow, but thank you again for this comment!! Very Happy ♥️

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   21st March 2018, 2:53 am

Yes i have already read it... don't worry for the time ! you write very good so take your time, we wait ^^

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   22nd July 2018, 5:18 am

Chess Tower was clear across the city. Their lunging feet ate the distance quickly and rooftops disappeared beneath them, but still Cardinal and West King pushed themselves to move faster. Mamoru’s lungs ached as he breathed harder, pushing his jumps to be farther, to move faster; they hadn’t heard from North since the first contact; he was sure Kaito could hold his attacker back. He was sure. He had to be sure, but deep down fear tore at him, forced him to think about the fire they had lost Yuu in, forced him to consider losing Kaito, too.


Kaito.


He had been so stupid – of course it was a targeted attack, how could they have thought differently?! Naïve – he wasn’t thinking clearly. Last time, with the Moon Kingdom, there were days between large attacks – months at some point, but this wasn’t the Moon Kingdom. This would make the fifth in 4 days – first the kid, then Yuu, then last night, the ice cream parlour, and now Kaito. They were getting no quarter, no time to figure anything out. With Yuu they had been surprised, but he should’ve known better than to present an opportunity like this.


There!” West cried, directing him to the tall tower with the novelty battlements meant to resemble a Rook. Kicking off against the corner of a building, they launched themselves towards it, Khalid’s sword materializing in time to crack the glass before they hit it straight on. The sound would give them away immediately, despite the darkness of the room, but they’d give Kaito any chance he had at a distraction –


“Don’t pay them any attention,” Kaito called, his voice demanding attention, “You’re here to recruit me, remember? Of course, if I’m not worth even that much to you, you can leave with your offer right now.”


Mamoru got to his feet and looked around, trying to find him – the room was massive and open, but with stylistic columns and tables strewn throughout; ice coated several surfaces; Khalid tapped him and pointed with his sword, then started creeping around to be out of sight. Mamoru followed the direction, spotted Minami in a relatively ice-free zone, and followed suit, taking an alternative route forward. He hadn’t seen Kaito yet, but he’d find him – find him? He dropped to the floor, putting both hands flat on the marble surface, and took a steadying breath, concentrated, and shot out a short burst of power, searching out the familiar glow of blue Zoisite. There. He adjusted his path.


“‘Was only worried they’d distract you from this once in a lifetime opportunity,” Minami replied smoothly.


Hardly,” Kaito replied. “Tell me more about your organization – the Archons, was it?”


Leave it to Kaito to research the motives of an enemy when his life was on the line. He crept closer, keeping an eye on Minami even as he tried to spot Kaito ahead of him; West would be going to eliminate the threat, he was to secure North or provide a distraction – whatever was necessary.


Minami chuckled, glancing around as though trying to pinpoint their locations, “That’s right.”


“And just what would I be doing in your organization?”


“Saving your world,” Minami replied with confidence, no note of duplicity in his tone.


“I wasn’t aware it’s in trouble,” Kaito quipped. “Until you all came along.”


“Oh, it is,” Minami replied, then turned and shot a jet of ice near where he and Kobai had entered; the stream froze midair and fell with a clatter to the floor. He pouted. “Your future is clear – if we didn’t arrive to help, you and your entire world would be doomed to what it would bring. We are only here to help usher in the new age.”


“Doomed? Howso?” Kaito replied with a  note of concern; Mamoru heard it, trying to imagine what had prompted – the vision. The great fire, the burning buildings, was that vision of the future?


“Tyranny. Destruction. Uncertainty. If you join us, you can save your people from this fate – we can rewrite the future together, North King; join us, and you will be instrumental in this plan to save your world and will be rewarded for it. Everything you could ever dream will be yours.”


“Just what would I have to do?” Kaito asked; Mamoru could see him now. Creeping forward, with his back to a pillar, he motioned to him; Kaito, through his blue mask, shot him a look – stay put. He wasn’t done yet. Mamoru didn’t like it – he especially didn’t like the look of Kaito’s situation; his wrist was frozen to the pillar he had hidden behind to call them, which explained why they hadn’t been able to reestablish a connection. With him frozen in place like that, they couldn’t easily escape if they needed to get away quickly. Maybe he could cut through it with his sword?


“Give me your transformative energy. All of it. With its natural connection to this world it will accelerate our progress; we just need to channel it the right way to the right place. Here,” He couldn’t see what Minami was doing anymore; all he could do was follow Kaito’s eyes. “Focus entirely on this target, and ensure your planet is saved.”


“Where will you channel it?”


“I’ll tell you when you are one of us. Your energy, the target, now. This offer expires, Kaito; don’t let it pass you by.”
Kaito glanced at Mamoru, green eyes stark against the blue mask – a signal. “One more question,” Kaito called, and his whip materialized in his free hand. “Where’s South King?!


As the whip cracked Mamoru sprang forward, his Rose Sword in hand, and tore across the space between them. To his left, West King fought Minami, his sword hitting fast-forming ice as the “Archon” danced away. Mamoru reached North and, North stepping as far as he could from the pillar, he brought his sword down, severing the ice that held North in place. Kaito shook his wrist once, then turned and pushed Mamoru away. Taken aback, he was unable to regain his balance, hitting the floor hard just in time to see a waterspout form around Kaito and freeze into ice.


NO!” Mamoru screamed, scrabbling back to his feet to rush at the block of ice; striking it did little – the ice wasn’t breaking.


Poor choice,” Minami cooed. “Now, West King, what do you sa-“


His words cut off in a terrible gurgling sound that brought retribution rather than revulsion. In a moment West was with him, his scimitar flashing in the light from the street below, but when finally they broke open the ice… Kaito was not in it. He couldn’t feel the ice through his gloves as he leaned against it, staring into the empty block, looking for a sign, a piece of fabric, even his power gem, but after a few seconds he couldn’t see the ice anymore; its mass moved out from beneath him as it sublimated into fog. All around them, the ice left by Minami faded.


“Can you sense him?” Khalid asked as sirens resounded from the street below, the flashing of police lights bouncing around the marble interior surrounding them.


He dropped to the ground again, placing his hands firmly, and shot out another burst of energy, stronger this time. It was easier to do now than when he had been untransformed the night before, but as he searched, following wave after wave in concentric circles outward, the familiar headache creeped back in. He easily found and identified Kunzite and Nephrite, a bronze-ish glow that must have been Rin near the gold of Helios, and, farther out but moving in, the almost overwhelming cold glow of Usagi’s silver crystal… but there was no sign of the soft green of Jadeite, or the cool blue of Zoisite. He shook his head, both as indication of his findings and to clear his mind for another go, but Khalid took him by the arm and hauled him up. “We need to get out of here before they make it up to this floor.”




When they opened the door to his apartment, Mamoru felt dead inside, but he put on his best face despite wanting nothing more than to fall apart. Following Khalid in, he took off his shoes and answered greeting calls from Nero and Rin, both of whom were sitting on his new couch with bowls of ice cream, Nero looking decidedly less casual about it than Rin, but it was apparent he was trying. “Kaito coming? We got him his mint chocolate chip,” Nero called, his voice wavering slightly with hope. His chest squeezed tightly, his heart pulling heavily. The ice cream container sat open on his new kitchen table, waiting.


Khalid bluffed easily. “He’ll catch up with us later; we’ll just save it for him,” he replied, putting the cardboard container easily in the freezer. Nero put his spoon into his bowl, and his bowl onto the small table beside the couch, not looking at either of them. Rin turned his attention back to the screen, finding nothing amiss, and took another large mouthful of ice cream. “Ice cream, this close to bedtime?” Khalid commented, “That’s not going to keep you up all night, will it Rin? Because we won’t do this again if it does.”


“Nope.”


Rin. If Rin hadn’t been there then Nero could’ve gone with them. His stone knuckles could’ve easily broken through the ice – they could’ve gotten Kaito out before he disappeared. He could have still been here – snarky, prudish, catty Kaito could be sitting at the table right now, racking his brain over the clues he had cleaned from Minami. Instead he was gone, just like Yuu. His first real friend, confidant, co-conspirator, gone. His eyes burning, he turned and slipped his shoes back on.


“Mamoru?” Khalid asked.


“I’ve got to pick something up from Usagi,” he explained, “I’ll be fine; call me if anything happens.” He shut the door behind him, ascended to the roof, and transformed again. She had been moving when he has searched for Kaito; he used his powers again, his head throbbing now, and found her shine getting closer to his building; he went out to meet it, approximating it to a bus traveling about four blocks away. He landed in an alley, detransformed, and boarded it. She jumped when he sat beside her, asking him a handful of questions that were meant to be meaningful to him but bland to anyone eavesdropping; he couldn’t answer any of them, the burning behind his eyes traveling to his throat; he just took her hand and sat silently. She laced her fingers with his and sat with him, leaning her head on his shoulder, inviting him to do the same. They rode out the route, just holding hands and sitting quietly, her cool presence a balm.


At one of the stops she squeezed his hand, signaling him to get up; he did so, letting her lead them off the bus to the park she liked to visit. It was completely empty at this hour. She made for the swings, but he sat in the grass, his back against a tree; she walked over and offered her hand. “Swinging helps you think,” she commented quietly.
“I don’t want to think right now,” he replied, halfway smiling for her, but his smile broke too easily.


She knelt next to him, carefully trying to catch his gaze. He almost didn’t want to make eye contact – he was upset, and while she made him feel better, he didn’t want her to feel worse. She made it nearly impossible; he was unable to resist her intensity, though the worry in her expression only compounded the weight on him. “Kaito?” she asked softly, and while he didn’t say anything out loud, his expression must have been enough. She wrapped her arms around him, drawing him in, “Mamochan,” she said softly, the pain in her voice nearly unbearable. She hugged him tightly – he hesitated, but only until the shoulder of his shirt grew warm – she was crying? “I’m so sorry,” her voice broke, and he followed suit. Holding her tightly, he finally gave in.


He had failed him.


He had failed them both.


They had constantly put their own lives on the line for him and he couldn’t protect them. Even at the last, Kaito had thrown him out of the way, despite them all knowing that he wasn’t the target, and now he was gone. Not dead – they couldn’t be dead – he would know they were dead, he knew it. ... he had to believe it. They were captured, he just had to get them back and protect Nero and Khalid in the process. Without Kaito. Without Yuu. Without any idea where they were – with barely any information about why they were taken, who took them, and what their kidnappers wanted. That on top of trying to figure out Mamorin’s role in all this and puzzle out the visions and fight off the kid’s enemies; there were at least three of the shape changing women and now there were only three of them; if they were in league with the Archons how easy would it be to suddenly turn mid-fight, while they were trying to keep the kid safe, and capture Nero or Khalid? Was that the kid’s purpose? To keep them off guard until it was too late?


What had Kaito thought about all of this? What would his next step have been?


… Were the two of them together, Kaito and Yuu?


After a while, Usako pulled back, wiping her eyes on the back of her sleeve, he did the same, wishing he had his handkerchief to offer her. She took a deep breath and rocked back to sit on her knees. “I brought the belt,” she explained, unbuckling the familiar accessory from around her waist and offering it to him. “I... Once I heard the transmission, I tried to use it to transform but it didn’t work,” she explained hesitantly.


He took the belt, laying it across one of his legs as he took her hands, “It’s okay –“


“But you guys need help,” she interrupted insistently, “You guys are under attack, Rin is under attack, Tokyo is under attack - I heard about the ice cream store on the news earlier. You guys can’t be everywhere – “


“We’ll just have to try to be,” he interjected, softly but firmly. She couldn’t transform. They didn’t want to chance using the crystal or reawakening the senshi, even if such a thing could be done. She looked like she was going to object, but he couldn’t see any way around her predicament so instead he redirected the conversation by picking her belt up again. “We’re hoping this can help – Kaito came up with the idea.” He shifted his position, getting up to get out of the tree’s shadow and glancing skyward for the moon; finding a spot that looked like it could be lit by moonlight, he put the belt down, kneeling next to it. Usagi joined him, sitting across from him curiously. After a moment of nothing happening, he glanced over to her, “Could you try contacting Luna?”


She nodded, wiped the moonstone with her thumb as though to clear away dust, and called softly, “Luna?”


The belt lit up, the ports that had once held the soul gems of the sailor senshi shining with their respective colors, other, smaller gems glowing in the fabric like stars in the night sky; finally the moonstone itself lit up entirely and a beam of light shot forth in a cone until it settled into the form of a black cat with a crescent spot on its forehead. Princess,” the cat greeted warmly, “What can I do for you?


“Not for me this time,” she replied, looking over to him.


Luna reoriented herself and bobbed her head, “Prince,” she addressed cooly, and waited.


“Luna, is there any chance the Moon Kingdom’s computers could run a continuous scan over the city to hone in on abnormal energy bursts or signatures and relay a warning down to us when they occur?”


The cat considered, pausing before she replied. “It is possible, but without the proper relays we are limited to scans only while there is a direct line of sight between the Castle and your city.” Her tail flicked, “With time we could correct for the surveillance gap by hacking into existing satellites, but at the moment that is all the support we can offer.”


He nodded, relieved to hear the nonchalance in her voice at the thought of hacking satellites to increase visibility. Kaito had theorized that the Moon Kingdom’s technology was still ahead of theirs; he would’ve preened at being right. He pushed his thoughts back on track, taking the information and moving forward with it. Twelve hours was better than none. “Please do so; would there be any way that you could relay that information directly into our communication devices?” he asked, holding up his wrist to show her the watch; Usagi did the same.


Luna seemed to examine them, “Let me scan them; Elysion technology and Lunar technology are difficult to merge, but it could be possible…” she stood back as though to give them room, and he followed Usagi’s lead with sticking his wrist into the hologram. Luna continued to speak, but her voice changed. “I may be able to hack the system from here, but Sailor Mercury would be able to do so much faster –“ she cut herself off, bowing her head; he looked across to Usagi, who looked uncomfortable. He took her hand, understanding her reluctance and agreeing with her. Things may look dicey, but awakening the senshi… it was a risk. The Silver Crystal was Usagi’s now, and she had cleansed the senshi’s power gems with it, but if something went wrong and they had to fight against them again… it’d be too cruel, especially now that they were back to living their lives normally. “But once we get the scans up and running, I’ll make it our first priority.” The lights blinked, and they moved their joined hands out of Luna’s holographic space. “Until then, I’ll contact you through the Moonstone,” Luna addressed, sounding as though she would sign off shortly.


“Luna,” he quickly interjected to catch her attention before she could leave, “once the scans are set up and you’ve looked into linking to our communicators, could you also scan any files you have for information on a group calling themselves ‘The Archons’?”  he felt like this was a lot to ask, but right now they were their best resource. He’d send Helios to Beryl to do the same, but the more information they had access to, the better. It was a long shot, considering both of their resource bases had stopped updating thousands of years ago, but if anything came back, anything that could help him find Kaito and Yuu…


We’ll run a search of our archives,” Luna nodded.


Archives. There were so many questions they had – “Additionally, did Princess Serenity have any cousins?”


Usagi shot him a confused look, the look nearly perfectly mirrored in the holographic cat. “No,” she replied confidently, though with a questioning curiosity in her tone, “The Royal Family consisted only of Queen Serenity and Princess Serenity.


“Rin?” Usagi asked quietly. He nodded, almost disappointed in the information. If it had been their past lives it could at least explain where the kid came from and that connection he insisted existed between himself and Usagi. At least that possibility could be crossed off the list now.


If that is all,” Luna invited, “I will start processing these requests.”


“Thank you, Luna,” he replied, and the cat bowed its head.


“Bye, Luna,” Usagi added with a smile.


I’ll keep in touch, Usagi-chan,” Luna replied, and disappeared, the lights on the belt fading.


Lights fading… “This won’t tax their power systems too badly, will it?” he asked quietly; while important, he would feel guilty if the tasks he assigned to her wore out the Moon Kingdom Computer’s power supply, leading to Usagi losing Luna - but she shook her head, relieving the growing knot in his stomach over it.


“I think the computer is fine now,” she replied, glancing up at the gibbous moon overhead, “Once the Silver Crystal was freed, it restored the whole system. I think so long as it is safe, they will be, too.” She smiled at the sky, no doubt thinking of the holographic computer programs that kept the memory and personalities of her friends alive.


“Good,” he said, squeezing her hand gently.


They were quiet; he didn’t know how to say to her what he wanted to say – that he was both glad to have her by his side during this and regretted having to pull her into another mess – but before he could choose his words she took in a breath and, her hand still in his, picked up her belt, preparing herself to stand. “I should get back home,” she said, and he stood to help her stand, feeling foolish and selfish for not thinking about her or her family or their rules – how many times now had she disappeared on them? And with the cram school yesterday, the ice cream shop today, the chess tower that was undoubtedly all over the news now – they were probably worried sick.


“I wasn’t thinking,” he self-chastised, “I’m sorry; I’ll walk you home.”


She nodded, taking a moment to buckle the belt around her waist again and they left; it wasn’t too far from her neighbourhood, a ten minute walk, maybe, but they hadn’t left the park before her footsteps behind him slowed. “I wish it wasn’t like this,” she said quietly.


He stopped and turned back to find her looking out across the park, standing just out of a circle of artificial light, small and wistful and voicing exactly what he wanted to say. He wished it wasn’t like this. He wished his friends were still with him. He wished the kid hadn’t had any problems and he was back where the belonged. He wished Venus’s attack had been the last one to hit Tokyo. He wished the dream they shared Saturday morning of normal lives with normal schedules and normal problems had come true. He wished they could spend more time together. He wished he could confess everything he had ever felt about her – he wished he could put everything else aside and be with her. He wished they could go on a date – a real one. He wished they could stay up late and talk about anything that came to mind while watching the stars inch across the sky. He wished he could stop the world and just enjoy being in love with her.


But while he wished it wasn’t like this, it was anyway, and the only way to get through it was to keep moving forward. He offered her his hand in unspoken understanding and, when she took it, laced his fingers with hers. One day it wouldn’t be like this. One day, everything would be back to how it should have been - the type of future that Saturday morning had tempted them with, with everyone reunited and everything as it should be. It had to be. He’d make sure it happened. He squeezed her hand.


She squeezed back.


Together, they kept going.




The apartment was quiet when he made it back, but he wasn’t the only one awake. The television illuminated both Nero and Khalid, the former looking queasy, the latter stoic as the light changed and flashed across them. Both looked up when he entered; Khalid put a finger to his lips, nodding his head backwards to indicate that the kid was sleeping in his room. Mamoru took off his shoes, slid into slippers, and crossed the kitchen to join them.
Subtitles flashed across the silent screen as commentators pointed and made wide gestures towards Chess Tower as tickertape scrawled across the bottom of the screen:


Masked Vigilantes Wanted for Questioning; Reward Offered for Information on the whereabouts of Missing Persons Hanada Kaito and Minami Koi.


His stomach flipped, his hand inadvertently clutching the back of his new couch as he continued to scan the subtitles and the newsreel for the words to come up again, feeling in a lurch until he saw it again, clearly. They were wanted for questioning.


“There must have been cameras,” Khalid stated, his voice calm and quiet. “I should have foreseen that - ”


“It’s not your fault,” Mamoru replied quickly, reading as the reporters spoke of the break-in on a higher floor, recalling the earlier public challenge made to Hanada, and noting that both challenger and target were now missing.


“At least it’s just questioning,” Nero replied, shrugging his bare shoulders at Mamoru’s glance, brown eyes catching his. “If the tape showed everything, I doubt it’d just be “questioning” they’d want you for.”


There is no more tape.


Mamoru straightened in surprise as Helios popped into being before them, hovering before the couch and shaking his mane, golden horn flashing in the light. “I just destroyed both copies; whatever further study they wanted to do with them will have to be done by memory, nothing admissible anywhere. The unisus glided over to the new table, landing neatly and folding his wings; guessing what he needed before he had a chance to ask for it, Mamoru got him a cup of water. Helios bowed his head in thanks and started to drink, asking as he did, “Rin is sleeping. What happened in Chess Tower - was it the same as the high school?”


Khalid joined them in the kitchen, Nero not far behind; his darker-skinned friend crossed his arms and leaned up against the refrigerator as he replied, “More or less. Ice this time, instead of fire - they’re mirroring our elements, whomever they are. Kaito kept it talking until the end.”


Nero’s hands tightened on the chair back, wavy brown hair obscuring his face as he stared down at the table.  
“Like with Yuu, it was trying to recruit him, and after him he had tried to start on me.”


What did Kaito get out of him?” Helios asked.


Khalid looked at him to answer. Mamoru cleared his throat, thinking back, realizing that Khalid may have been too far to hear the entire conversation. “They call themselves the Archons,” he replied, keeping emotion from his tone as he replayed Kaito’s final - Kaito’s conversation with the enemy. “He wanted Kaito’s energy - the power from his gem; he was going to collect it in something, but I couldn’t see what it was. Something in his hand.”


Did he say what they wanted the energy for?” Helios asked, mental tone thoughtful, garnet eyes staring up at him.


Mamoru frowned, “Saving the world.”


Bullshit,” Nero declared in a quiet growl, turning away from the table.


From what?” Helios prompted.


“He said it was doomed,” Mamoru replied, brows tightening as he remembered, “That it would fall unless they saved it, and having energy - your energy,” he said, looking to Nero and Khalid, “would usher salvation along faster. He offered him rewards.”


“Like we’d accept them,” Nero replied dourly. “We just saved the world - if there was anything it needed to be saved from we’d know. They’re out of their minds if they think we’d join them - they’ve destroyed buildings, hurt people, kidnapped our friends - “ he cracked his knuckles, quietly fuming. “First sight I get I’m pounding their faces in so hard they’ll only be able to see the past.”


“It’s clear we’re being hunted,” Khalid stated, eyes shifting from Nero to Mamoru, “No one goes anywhere alone. If its energy they’re after, would the Princess and senshi be targets?” he asked, turning his attention back to Helios.
As Helios gathered his mental breath for a response, Mamoru interrupted. “No,” he stated confidently, “He mentioned about a connection to this world. Their power bases are elsewhere.”


Khalid nodded, then moved forward. “We need a way to figure out where they’re hitting - we can’t afford to be the last to know again,” he stated, “If they’re stealing energy we have to stop them before they gather enough to succeed in whatever they’re trying. Helios - “


I’ll keep my senses as open as I can but I can’t make any promises,” Helios replied, sounding upset with himself, “I only had such a good handle on when the Phases were striking because they originated from Elysion so their energy signatures were easy to pick up on, as was the free-standing energy they collected. If these Archons are collecting energy, they are not doing so the same way.


“Let’s pull Beryl from Elysion,” Khalid stated calculatingly, “She may know another way.”


Helios fluffed his wing feathers irritably at the insinuation, but nodded his head nonetheless.


“The Lunar computers will be scanning, too,” Mamoru stated, drawing their attention, “Only in twelve-hour increments for now, but so long as the moon is somewhere in our sky they’ll be watching for abnormal energy signatures or attacks in progress and will contact Usagi if anything happens. In addition,” he continued, “They’ll be scanning their archives for mention of the Archons.”


“We should do the same,” Khalid replied, looking again to Helios, “References to the creatures we’re running into might be hard to pinpoint, but a title goes a long way. Split resources - while the moon is in the sky you and Beryl can search Elysion’s libraries for mention of them, then return here when the moon sets.”


Helios nodded and stretched his wings. “We’ve got a few hours then.” He jumped and caught himself, hovering above the table. “I’ll be back before Rin wakes so he doesn’t suspect anything.” Without waiting for an answer, he disappeared.


Mamoru watched the empty spot for a moment until Khalid spoke again. “I’ll sleep on the floor in the bedroom - if the child says anything in his sleep I’ll hear it.” He pushed himself off of the fridge, the appliance barely moving. “Get some rest,” he stated as he glided across the floor and disappeared into the living room, the bedroom door clicking shut behind him.


“Rock paper scissors for the couch?” Nero asked after a few quiet moments; Mamoru gave him an appreciative half-smile for the attempt.



When he woke, hours later, it was to a familiar presence as dawn slid through the blinds covering his windows. Grogginess slowly drained as he blinked away sleep, sitting up from his makeshift bed on the floor to find Helios, the unisus’s garnet eyes flashing uneasily.

Beryl’s missing.

___________________________



Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's


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Title : Oh, you mean you DON'T have an Elephabulous? Shame.
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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   22nd July 2018, 5:18 am

Who’s missing?” Nero’s groggy voice was sharp with half-awake concern as the brunet jolted up from lying on the couch, his hands rubbing his face as he made to stand, throwing off his blanket and reaching for the nephrite pendant that hung around his neck even as hit feet hit the floor.


Mamoru held out a hand to keep him in place - they didn’t know anything about the situation, or even if they could do anything to help, so jumping up and transforming wasn’t a good use of their energy, especially as Beryl hadn’t been… here. He caught Helios’s gaze - she had been in Elysion. If the Archons had found a way into Elysion - his stomach knotted. “Are they still there?” Were they now, too, using the seat of the Golden Kingdom as their base of operations, as Diana had? Were they attempting to siphon its energy, as they had attempted to bargain for Kaito’s and, supposedly, Yuu’s?


Helios shook his head, at a loss as he replied, “No, and I’m fairly certain they never have been.


Nero glanced at him and he returned the quick look, waiting for Helios to continue as Kobai quietly joined them, shutting the bedroom door securely behind him as he worked to tie back his silver hair.


I never sensed - the barrier never faltered. Nothing entered or exited Elysion by any means. The dimensional pocket still exists, uninterrupted. They would be wholly unable to enter the sacred ground without an immense amount of power and exact knowledge of its whereabouts or…” he shook his mane.


“Our stones,” Khalid finished for him, the thought falling with finality in the quiet room. “Would you have sensed if either Jadeite or Zoisite had entered Elysion, through their own will or otherwise?” That they could have made it on their own, escaped and somehow used their powers to make it safely to Elysion… Mamoru wanted to believe the possibility, but it didn’t add up. They would’ve come back with Helios. Khalid’s second option drew darker connections that he couldn’t shake --


No,” Helios stated assuredly, “I would have felt it. Moving Elysion and its Temple to that plane has tied that place to me like nothing else - it’s connected to my mind as closely as it’s connected to the Golden Crystal’s heart. When I say that nothing has entered or left, I mean nothing.


The Golden Crystal’s heart?


“Beryl,” Khalid returned, a reminder more than a challenge. “You seemed surprised the first time you met her - obviously she didn’t register as something that had left Elysion. She could have escaped your notice again. Is it possible that the Jadeite or Zoisite stone have done something similar?”


No.” Helios replied with some force. “Beryl is different - she doesn’t have a soul crystal; I can’t register her comings and goings, but the inherent power of the Jadeite and Zoisite gems would be unignorable. Even Diana’s Phases registered. The Archons have not entered Elysion; they shouldn’t even be able to find it, I double checked when we thought the shapeshifters after Rin may have been through there.” He twitched his wings irritably, landing on the coffee table that had been pushed to the wall beside the television, staring down Khalid as though waiting for another challenge, but the other just nodded in acceptance. “Nothing is damaged, besides,” He continued in a softer, more disturbed tone. “Books left wide open from where she had been searching; I looked for her but to no avail - even where she’s taken to sleeping was empty. I read the passages she had the books open to, but there were no clues therein - some notes on shapeshifters and ancient cities that had fallen, but nothing that would indicate where she had gone.


“And no way to find her,” Mamoru added after a beat, realizing that any attempt he could have put forth with his psy-location would have been useless without Beryl having a power gem he could hone in on.


“Then we just… wait for her to come back?” Nero supplied, rubbing his eyes as he leaned forward, supporting his elbows on his spread knees.


No one replied. Beryl wasn’t the type to just up and leave without telling anyone… was she? … Then again, just Saturday she disappeared completely to find the senshi’s gems without telling anyone, so it wasn’t completely out of her wheelhouse. Mamoru looked to Khalid, the West King having had the most experience with her, but he seemed as ill-at-ease with the suggestion as Mamoru initially felt; however, the other pushed forward. “It seems we have to. In the books - what cities had she found? What shapeshifters? Did you get a chance to search for mention of Archons?”


Atlantis, mostly,” Helios replied, “Multiple mentions, but no artwork or plans to work off of to match to what Mamoru saw; the shapeshifters were of the normal variety - if shapeshifters could ever be considered ‘normal’. Werebeasts, mountain spirits; nothing with descriptions like the creatures chasing after Rin.” He paused, thinking back, “And I must have searched… upwards of fifty references while waiting for her to return. There were no mention of Archons thusfar, but that’s one small piece of our libraries. I left a message, should she return; it may take several nights to sift through everything, weeks if I am more thorough…


“Maybe the Lunar computers will come up with something,” Mamoru replied, hoping they would if, for nothing else, relieving Helios just a little. He had thrown a lot at his guardian and his limits were showing - a few nights without much sleep and teleporting to and from Elysion a handful of times, always missing the fight and so relying on descriptions rather than being able to pick things up himself and yet trying to work through it anyway, and now finding that the one person that could have helped him has mysteriously disappeared - he wished he could tell him to take a break… but the moon would be setting soon, and Rin would be waking up. What Helios did was something only Helios could do. “Thank you, Helios. If there’s--”


Their watch alarms sounded, sharp and loud and repetitive, breaking in and mounting the tension higher. Nero was the first to answer, calling out as he stood up, even as Mamoru’s dials turned up to 12. “Where?!” he called in lieu of greeting, slight panic in his tone putting ideas in Mamoru’s head. He had immediately thought of Usagi and danger, but Nero’s phrasing reminded him that Kaito or Yuu might --


A sharp intake of breath met Nero’s question, but the brunet changed, softening; Mamoru knew who it was before her image materialized above his own watch face. Usagi recovered from the surprise and replied quickly - “Energy spike at --” she paused uncomfortably, looking away, chewing at her lip - “I think it’s the new cake shop! Maxi-5!”


“A cake shop?” Khalid repeated dubiously, energy rippling around him as he transformed into West King, “This early in the morning?”


Mamoru offered Usagi a nod, encouraging her, just in case she took Khalid’s tone as a knock against her rather than the enemy’s choice in target. East transformed and Mamoru stood to follow suit, activating the Pyrite pendant to become Cardinal King. Khalid was right - choosing a cake shop at this hour was strange; the only targets would be any bakers who came in early. It could be a trap to catch Khalid or Nero, but they couldn’t let it pass. “I’ll go -” he stated quickly.


“And we’ll go with you,” Nero replied, blue eyes challenging through his orange mask. “No one goes anywhere alone, right?”



---


It had been a false alarm.


When they arrived they had found nothing out of the ordinary - just workers getting ready for the day. The lights were on, faint music was playing as bakers baked and the owner went about putting finishing touches on the interior. The most interesting thing to happen was when the young woman stepped outside to put the menu board proudly proclaiming the store’s Grand Opening on the sidewalk. No explosions. No chaos. No dark energy.


When the sun was fully above the horizon and its light streamed down the streets, they retreated. The Moon had set; if the Lunar computers had picked up anything else Usagi would have told them, but it seemed like either something tripped the sensors or the attack was called off before it began.


The four of them retreated to the apartment and got ready for school, running Rin through the motions.


Part of him didn’t want to go today. They had to figure out what was going on. They needed to. But at the same time, what would they do? How could they even attempt to figure this out? They could only react to attacks, and that was recent development, if it even worked. They had a super-computer working for them to find out anything they could on the “Archons” and mentions of cities destroyed by… whatever Rin had shown him. Rin wasn’t talking, so they couldn’t even figure out where he came from. If they stayed home from school the tension and stress over their current situation would just rise and continue to rise.


For now, they could do nothing but wait. And as much as that bothered him, he had to accept it and let it go. School was the perfect distraction for doing that.


… and when an insistent voice broke loudly into their thoughts at the end of the day they were in a generally localized position from which to spring into action.


The Cake Shop!’ Helios called, popping into existence so far above the soccer field so no one would spot him before he disappeared. Immediately he and Nero excused themselves, leaving the pitch at a jog and not even bothering to remove their cleats before they were out of sight, transformed, jumped to the roof and were gone, racing over the streets of Tokyo towards the attack.


As they ran he dialed in on the communicator; Khalid would have been similarly visited by Helios, but Usagi maybe not. His heart raced as the watch hands hit noon, first willing her to answer and not prove the others wrong. He didn’t like doing this one bit, but they were all backed into a corner. The moment her face appeared he all but blurted, “You okay?!”


“We’re fine,” she smiled, “We’re at the arcade. Is there trouble?” Her smile faltered, but she pushed it back into place.


“At the cake shop,” he replied, “The one Luna pointed out.” He followed Nero’s lead, trusting him to get them to the right place while he spoke with Usagi.


She just nodded, keeping the smile in place, “Don’t worry - we’ll stay put. It’s crowded. Minako-chan and Ami-chan are here, too.” She had probably meant that to comfort him, but it wasn’t comforting at all. If she were attacked, would her senshi from their prior lives suddenly remember everything and transform to protect her? Was Diana’s control truly out of them? What if they never remembered and -- “Don’t worry about us,” Usagi’s voice firmly cut in, “We’ll be okay - take care of them, and - and keep me updated.”


He nodded and they ended the call; East glanced back at him, “They haven’t tried splitting our attention yet; let’s just kick their asses quickly and not give them the opportunity to try this time, either.”


They dropped onto the street in front of the shop that had been so ordinary just hours ago, the lack of conversational street noise eerie, the bodies strewn about on the street eerier still. He stopped quickly by one of them but felt a pulse - they weren’t dead, just unconscious. Carinal King set his jaw and stood, shaking his head at East’s probing glance, and the pair of them entered the restaurant, the little bell jingling over their heads the loudest thing in the area. Soft music played to a room filled with unconscious people, their bodies collapsed in their chairs or on the ground towards a dessert bar; the hostess lay collapsed on a greeter’s lectern; it looked eerily similar to a Senshi attack, but the slimy quality to the air was something new. He met Nero’s glance and the pair of them split up, working their way around the room to find the source of the energy drain. “West?” he called out cautiously as he summoned a rose, fully expecting his voice to drum up the creature responsible for the attack -


In here,” Khalid answered from the kitchen, and both he and East were quick to respond, moving swiftly to back him up --


Only to find him completely in control of the situation. Some creature was pinned to the wall by his scimitar, it’s form turned to stone around the blade that had run it through. West was not standing down, however; instead he held out an arm warningly, silently telling them to keep their distance from the odd purple-black crystal that jutted out of the floor in the corner of the room.


Just looking at it made him feel strange, like the air was filled with some sort of sludge that mentally repulsed him even as it made him want to move closer.


“It may be responsible for the blast,” West stated.


“The ice-cream shop, too, then?” Cardinal King replied, carefully walking a perimeter.


“Could be,” West replied, “But there wasn’t a miasma like this there.”


“In time it should dissipate then,” he surmised, studying it.


Helios appeared overhead, ‘First responders are nearly here,’ he reported, their sirens growing louder. The unisus studied the crystal, garnet-eyes practically swirling as he moved in close, then stopped, jerking back. ‘This is bad.


“Do you know what it is?” West asked quickly.


It’s not healthy, I know that much,’ Helios replied.


“We should go,” East stated, glancing back into the restaurant and the approaching sirens. It was true that they weren’t needed here any longer, but if this crystal wasn’t healthy, he wasn’t just going to leave it.


Frowning in concentration, he threw some energy into the rose and snapped his wrist to send it flying into the black crystal. It stuck, a crack forming in the crystalline surface. The miasma all but dissipated nearly immediately, but the crystal itself remained. He readied another, “If this is what they’re using we should take some back and study it,” he stated as he threw one more, intending to knock off a piece, but even as the rose struck and a crack formed where he had intended, the crystalline piece did not dislodge. The sirens were loud and close - the emergency vehicles stopping. They had no time.


West grabbed his sword and pulled it out of the wall; the golem fell to the floor and became dust. “East!” Khalid called, even as he hooked his arm around Mamoru’s bicep and pulled him along towards the back of the kitchen and the emergency exit that was slightly ajar there. Nero joined them, and as they exited, Helios disappearing after one last look at the crystal, Mamoru concentrated and sent out a burst of healing energy from the Golden Crystal, hoping to stabilize anyone who had been critical from the blast. A dull pain pounded in his head in response, but he did not regret it.


He felt sick as they jumped away. They had known. They had been warned, and still this happened. It was his fault for ignoring Luna’s alarm, for dismissing it with the others when nothing had immediately happened. They should have searched more thoroughly. They should have done something -


“We know now,” West calmly stated, as though reading his thoughts. “This won’t repeat--”


Helios cut him off, ‘Another blast!’ The unisus paused to pinpoint the location and the three of them skidded to a halt.


“So soon?!” East exclaimed, looking to Helios.


There!” Helios shot off and they followed, ignoring the question that none of them could answer but worried them all. This enemy - the Archons - was nothing like Diana had been. Five attacks on Tokyo in three days, not even counting the three against Rin, suggested immense resources or an attack a long time in the making. How long had they been plotting this?! Why these places?! What did they really want with his friends?!


He and West landed hard in front of a cram school - Eisai Juku the placard read - but East kicked off against the roof across the street and, stone knuckles first, crashed through the glass doors at an angle. Cardinal King raced forward through the hole Nero had made and followed his friend as he rolled up from the impact and used the momentum to keep running, seeming not to care about the glass caught in his hair or stuck in his grey uniform or cape, even as it rained down when the latter disappeared. The air was thick with the same oily miasma the crystal at the cake shop had produced, and the receptionist behind the desk was slumped over on her side. East paused as Cardinal King placed his hand on her to check her vitals and immediately felt a feedback shock fly up his arm and he recoiled, shaking his arm as foreign emotions creep into mind. You're not smart enough for this. You'll never be able to figure this out. Just give up -


“Cardinal King?” West probed, and he shook his head to clear it before answering.


“Alive - the miasma may be responsible for the energy drain. We should split up and find the crystal -"


No,” East stated firmly, shaking the glass chunks out of his long curly hair with annoyance, “We stay together - that was the deal.”


They were in the same building, they were prepared, and the people here may not have time for them to search together, but... Mamoru nodded. He wasn't going to give the Archons any upper hand if he could help it, especially with this miasma slowly draining them, the sluggishness of his muscles clear enough on that point.


“Together, then,” West strode past them into the first room, then broke into an easy jog towards the connecting hallway, Cardinal and East following behind, Helios branching off to search elsewhere. As a quick pace they glanced into each classroom, computer lab, and down hallways, each filled with the purple-hued miasma, each with bodies coating the floors or slumped across desks, until finally they found themselves in the private tutor offices -


West crossed his arms in front of his chest and braced, calling out a warning as a gust of energy threw him back into a wall. East’s hand yanked back on the collar of his shirt, and Cardinal King was pulled to a stop before a second gust of energy buffetted into Khalid. He and Nero fell to the floor in a pile but quickly scrambled up, East’s hands forming fists that were quickly covered in energy that coalesced into stone knuckles, and he launched himself forward and around the corner the moment the wind stopped. As he roared a challenge and reverberations of his attack shook the floor, Mamoru reached into the hole in the wall and, once West’s hand clasped his, pulled back to free his friend. Judging by the lack of sweet talking going on, he surmised that the enemy in the other room was not a recruiter, but that was no indication that one was not coming. One like the guy Kaito had known online, or the other student at the debate Yuu was attending. Khalid masked his heavy breathing well, but it, and the fatigue it hinted at, didn’t escape Mamoru’s notice. They had to finish this quickly, lest backup arrived and tried to take someone else from him.


With a thought and an effort of power, Cardinal King summoned a rose and deftly spun it in his hand, the thorned flower erupted into the length of his sword as he purposefully strode forward around the corner and through the door, the Rose Sword ready. The enemy was a slight creature dressed in light green whisps of material, but its base body appeared as dried mud, and as he met Nero’s eyes his friend adjusted his postion, rushed foward, and punched the creature towards his waiting sword. The momentum sent the animated puppet full through, skewering it onto the length of his blade, and as it stiffened and lost signs of life, Cardinal King shoved it aside, the body falling to the floor and cracking in half.


“Another golem,” West stated, joining them, one hand holding the opposite shoulder supportively.


“A ridiculously easy thing to destroy, too,” East replied suspiciously, blue eyes searching the room through his orange mask.


“We need to find that crystal,” Cardinal King stated, reaching back to lay a hand on Khalid’s shoulder, sending a pulse of golden crystal power through to him to ease his hurt, pushing back against the stab of pain through his forehead. They could wonder about the strength of the protector later, the more important thing was to destroy the crystal else leave it as ineffective as they had made the last one, to stop the miasma’s energy draining before it was too late for these people. East nodded and left through a connecting door, called out that he had found it, and a half second later the sound of stone on crystal rang out and the miasma surrounding them lessened and disappeared.


Khalid nodded at him gratefully, dropping his hold on his arm, and leaned across the office to hand him a tissue without a word. With a quiet sigh, Mamoru pressed it to his face to soak up the blood that oozed from his nose. “Can you break it completely?” Khalid asked, moving then to see what East had done. While he no longer held his shoulder, it was clear that the drain of both places had taken a good amount from him. Mamoru frowned in concern as he followed --


Another!’ Helios cried, cracking into the air above their heads, eyes whirling.


East turned, fixing Helios with an incredulous stare as he again punched the tall, hazy purple crystal that broke through the floor at his feet. The crystal shook but did not break, the original crack Nero’s stone knuckles had caused the only flaw on its surface, “Now?!”


Now! Somewhere across town!


Mamoru looked from the unisus to Khalid, even as West King turned towards the exit, his cape rustling as he pushed past Mamoru. “West!” Mamoru called after him, tossing the bloody tissue into a nearby trashcan as the three of them moved through the cram school. Around them, some of the prone forms started to stir. “Are you sure you can do this?”


They left the building and West lead the jump, following after Helios, “So long as you’re fighting, I’m fighting,” Khalid returned with a calm smile, “Don’t worry about me, I can handle it.” East caught his gaze and, with West in the lead, nodded to each other; they’d protect him. In the state he was in he’d make for an easy target otherwise.


Helios led them a similar distance and stopped, hovering above another storefront, this one called Misanga Mansion, a collectibles store. The purple miasma was evident even before they hit the ground, the ilk seeming even thicker here than it had been at the cram school, making Mamoru feel sluggish the moment his feet struck the ground. He pushed back against it, and followed as East rushed this store front, too, but went for the door rather than crashing through. East entered, Cardinal King followed, but before West could make it through a rock wall sprung up behind them.


Both Mamoru and Nero turned with a cry and attacked the stone that separated them from Khalid, the ease with which their friend had been split terrifying. “Helios!” Mamoru called, their attacks seeming worthless against the granite-colored rock; if they couldn’t get through, Helios needed to get Khalid as far away as possible, before he could be --


“He can’t hear you,” a masculine voice called with amusement, and he and East turned, a unease creeping from his toes up to his head.


The shop was strewn with a handful of unconscious customers, but towards the center wall there was a bank of old arcade towers set up across from each other, as though to allow competitors to look at each other as they fought for the high score. A young man in green stood by one, leaning casually on its surface, the purple-black crystal just beyond him pulsing with malefic energy. He smiled and inclined his head, “Midori Nero, nice to meet you. I’m Iao, and I’m here to share with you the opportunity of --”


Nero shot forward, arm cocked back, stone knuckles forming as his momentum carried him clear across the room and towards the enemy’s face. He punched forward at just the right moment, but Iao dodged the attack adroitly, punching upward with blinding speed to catch Nero’s stomach as he flew past. Nero hit the ceiling and Mamoru dashed forward, Rose Sword called to his hand again, his stomach flipping with worry even as he closed in to fight this Iao before he could do anything else. It wasn’t Khalid they were after, it was Nero - but this time, he was here. He could help - he wouldn’t let Nero be taken!


His advance was met with boredom on Iao’s face as he easily evaded his slashing attacks, so Mamoru switched it up and hit him instead with a blast of Golden Crystal energy, the accompanying stab of pain in his head nothing in the face of what could happen here. Iao’s smile fell from his face and he crossed his arms before him as he skidded back across the floor, crashing into a handful of objects as Nero plummeted from the ceiling, missing Iao by inches, the floor beneath him crumpling into a crater. They recovered and Mamoru prepared another blast as East made to break the crystal and stop the oozing of power out of them, but all of the sudden the floor beneath Mamoru’s feet erupted as rock rose unexpectedly and the ceiling above his head cracked as another flat stone lowered to meet it. He instintively dropped and dashed to escape the trap, only for the acceleration of the blocks to increase dramatically and snap shut on his cape. He was pulled backwards, his back and head hitting the stone solidly, the cape’s power working to slow his head down so it didn’t hit so hard, saving him from what would have otherwise knocked him out for sure. The cape dismissed itself in a whiff of energy, dropping him to the ground, but before he could move anywhere another stone wall shot forward, pinning him in place from his neck down.


a lifetime.” Iao continued firmly, wiping pink blood from the corner of his mouth as he stepped forward out of the mess of random odds and ends the store sold.


“Run!” Mamoru shouted, even as the stone crept forward as the air left his lungs. He took a deep breath against it, fighting back against the encroaching rock. East suddenly appeared on top of the stone that pinned him, his fist raised to smash down on it, and the rock pushed in even closer, driving the air from his lungs.


“Try it and I’ll just smash him, kid,” Iao stated calmly. “Come on now, have a chat and I’ll let him breathe a little.”


Their eyes met - his and Nero’s - and he shook his head minutely, but Nero just swallowed hard and stood, jumping down from his perch. “What do you want?”


True to his word, the stone inched back to give him room to take a breath. “Your assitance in saving the world, but, judging from how things went with Saboth and Elaios, I’m guessing your answer will be no, too. So let’s try this another way. I want you to beat me in Tekken.” He stood back and positioned himself in front of one of the machines in the middle of the room.


Cautiously, suspiciously, Midori Nero, the King of the East, inched forward. “And what happens if I do?”


Iao threw in a couple of quarters and punched a button on the machine and the music changed, “I’ll let him live and I’ll let you both go.”


“And if I lose?” East replied, just as cautiously, even as he stepped in front of the other machine.


“You give me your energy - all of it.” He shrugged, pressing a few buttons and messing with the joystick, “and he dies. I don’t think they need him alive for the ceremony anyway, and if they do, oops.”


East paused, eyes twitching back towards Mamoru. Cardinal King, pinned, shook his head, but Nero asked anyway, “And what if I don’t play?”


In response, the rock raced in so quickly Mamoru was forced to cough, blood landing on the stone in front of him. Nero’s eyes doubled in size and he put the quarters resting on the machine into the slots, and the stone crept back. He coughed again, and spat out more blood, and, in frustration, used golden energy to heal himself and push back against the stones, but the headache that reacted against him was too intense; breathing heavily, he tried again, only for the stabbing pain to intensify further. The miasma must have pulled more than he had thought, and, if Kaito’s ‘battery’ theory was the right of it, he was frustratingly out of energy. Useless, when his friend needed him.


“Too bad for you, I’ve got the top score at this game at every arcade I’ve ever been in,” East stated confidently, “Get ready to crawl away in defeat, moron.” He hit a few buttons, eyes intent on the screen in front of him.


Iao tsked, “If only you knew, kid, what this planet was in for if we hadn’t come along.” He hit a button, and “Game Start!” resounded through the store. “You’d be begging for our help.”


“Yeah?” Nero replied, a smirk on his lips as the game began in ernest.


“I’m telling you, you guys have the wrong idea of us. We’re just here to help, and with you on our side we can make the transition faster and save more lives.”


“Find it hard to believe you’re here to help, given recent events,” East shrugged his shoulders to indicate the fallen people around them. The game sounded in his favor, “Tell you what, let’s sweeten the deal. If you win, I’ll tell you where the redhead kid is, and if I win, you give Yuu and Kaito back.”


“Can’t do that,” Iao replied easily, “We need their energy to summon Demiurge, just as we need yours and the West King’s.” Demiurge? “Tell you what, though, give up now and I’ll take you to them. I’ll call off the bet, set your leader over there free, and we’ll go together, sound good?”


“Don’t!” Mamoru called; there was no guarantee this guy would hold to his word in any case, let alone in one that meant that much. If they needed all of them to summon this Demiurge, then under no circumstances should Nero or Khalid go with them.


“Pay him no attention,” Iao stated easily, the game sounding hits over and over again, though this time Nero was not looking as confident as his hands flew across the controls. “He’s just upset that our future has no place for him - selfish leaders tend to respond this way when we save the worlds out from under them. There’s still hope for your planet, Nero; you don’t have to give up your future to serve him and his evil whims. Come with me, and serve as a king in your own right. Help us reshape your planet the way you believe it should be, free form the tyranny of the Planetary Crystal’s reign. Live out your own dream instead of following him into the nightmare he will inevitably create. We have seen the future of this world, Nero, and we only wish to save the lives of these innocents. Join us!”


What was he talking about?! He couldn’t really see the future, could he? And what did he mean, evil whims?!


“Mamoru isn’t any of those things and will never be,” Nero replied, a fire in his tone meant to silence Iao’s claims. His stalwart support buoyed Mamoru’s thoughts, but the way he said them gave him just enough warning to pay attention as East King released the controls and threw himself across the surface with his stone knuckles encasing the leading edge of his fist. East King screamed out as he punched Iao, but Iao had expected the move and as the punch landed, the game machines launched upward and the ceiling down, intending to catch Nero in a vice the same way he had earlier attempted to catch Mamoru. Nero, however, had been in mid-air, completely unable to get away before the slabs slammed together.


Iao was gone, the punch having sent him flying, slamming into the far wall, impaling himself on a horizontal flag display with a pointed metallic tip. The man turned to stone and disintegrated, and, with him, the stone work around the room. As the slabs disappeared from around him, Mamoru stumbled forward, pushing himself to where Nero should have been released only to fall on his knees in the mess of game machines, completely alone.

Nero was gone, just as Kaito had been. Just like Yuu.

___________________________



Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's


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Title : Oh, you mean you DON'T have an Elephabulous? Shame.
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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   22nd July 2018, 5:19 am

He kept replaying the scene, trying to figure out what he could have done to change what had happened, but he just drew blanks. His head pounding, his body sluggish and sleepy, he knelt there in the debris and stared at the place where Nero should have been, feeling empty and useless in the sudden silence. The Archons had one more of his friends, and if all they needed were the Kings, then it was only West left before they could do whatever it was they were intending. He struggled to his feet, stumbling as he lost his balance, and staggered towards the crystal that oozed the miasma that had sapped them of their strength. Without it, would Nero have been able to defeat Iao without repercussions? Would his attack have done more? A rose came to his hand; he twirled it, forced in energy that nearly blinded him with pain, and stabbed the Rose Sword into the Archon’s gemstone. Cracks spread across its surface and the purple mist dissipated, and Mamoru turned back towards the entrance, only to be met by West King and Helios.


Neither said a word. West put a comforting hand on his shoulder, and Cardinal King put his hand atop it, keeping it in place. West wasn’t going anywhere - he wouldn’t let that happen. “Helios,” he called, and the unisus glided down to the level of his eyes, white wings beating carefully. “Something is wrong with my powers; I know I can do more than I am doing, but something is in the way, choking off what I know I can do. We need to figure out what is blocking it and remove that block as quickly as we can. Are there further attacks?”


Not at this time.’ Helios replied, sounding exhausted, ‘I’ll keep my senses open and consider the problem with your powers; the moon will be rising soon, and once that happens I can research any potential causes in Elysion once Rin has gone to sleep; I’ll go to him now to keep an eye out for --


“You sound awful,” Mamoru cut in, trying to drum up a sense of levity that had not been with them in days. The statement shocked Helios into silence, so he continued with the half a smile he could force, “That Archon - Iao - seemed to have been behind the attacks today, and, thanks to Nero, he won’t be back again. When was the last time you slept? Last week? Go home, get some rest; you’ll think clearer with some sleep. We’ll handle the rest of it from here.”


The unisus drooped, ‘I did not mean to disappoint you -


“Who said you did?” he interrupted again, quick to discount any issue on Helios’s part. “You’ve done more than any of us have, worked harder than anyone here. You deserve a full night’s rest. I need you at your best, Priest of Elysion,” he said, the last like a tease. “Take a nap, we’ll wake you when we get home.”


Helios nodded, but added before he disappeared, ‘Don’t let me sleep past midnight; there’s more I need to do before dawn.’ With an affirmative nod, he disappeared, and it was just him and West.


As the shop’s patrons stirred, they walked towards the door and detransformed; he was too exhausted to go jumping around the city, and apparently Khalid agreed. His cleats made a drumming sound as they walked, his practice clothes colder as dusk surrounded them, but he was too tired and numb to care about the discomfort beyond the notion that Nero had been wearing the same thing. They walked in silence to the nearest bus stop, boarded, and headed towards the arcade to collect Rin. “It wasn’t your fault,” Khalid stated quietly, and Mamoru nodded, though Iao’s words about saving Earth’s future from him never quite left the back of his mind. “I should have been there,” he continued, and Mamoru shook his head.


“If you were, you may have been crushed or taken with him,” he stated firmly. “They need you and your energy to summon something they called Demiurge; I don’t know what these crystals have to do with anything, but that Archon, Iao, made it clear that you and the others were necessary for their plan, but I was not.” He paused, swallowing, and did not meet Khalid’s eyes as he continued. “He used me against Nero, Khalid. You can’t let them do that to you; if this future they see is all that bad, then fight to save it, with or without me, okay? Don’t let yourself get caught.”


Khalid said nothing, but nodded. Mamoru didn’t quite know if he believed the motion, but wondered if he could talk Khalid into disappearing into Elysion until they figured out what to do, just in case. He had fought alone in the beginning, and he’d rather fight that way in the end by choice, rather than through loss. He didn’t think Khalid would agree, but maybe he could get Helios to agree and work with him to convince Kobai that it had to be done.


The bus rolled up to their stop and paused to let them off; they walked the short distance to Crown Arcade with its interior lighting spilling out onto the street as the sun finally fell below the horizon. He spotted her immediately, her blonde buns and pigtails easy to find even if she hadn’t been bouncing up and down behind a driver’s seat for a racing game. They entered to an electronic beep and she turned to the sound in a way that suggested she had been doing that for a while, and a smile broke across her face upon seeing him. His chest warmed against the bleakness it had been filled with as she hurried over and bounced into him, her arms wrapping around his neck as she held him close. He returned her embrace, eyes closing for a moment as he let her warm weight settle on him, the familiar feel of her easing the loneliness inside him in an almost unfair way. When he let her go enough for her feet so slide to the floor, she turned to look at Khalid and he released his grasp completely. She looked to his other side and her demeanor changed for a second as the realization hit her, but she did not ask the question to be sure, probably for his benefit.


“How was it?” he asked.


She took his hand and led him over to the racing game, “He’s pretty good, you know? Almost caught up to your score, Mamo-chan!” she said, though the cheerfulness of her tone was forced. She kept hold of his hand as she leaned over to smile at the kid in the driver’s seat, “We had a good afternoon, didn’t we, Rin?”


The young redhead grinned up at her, then turned his gaze to Mamoru and the smiled faded and he returned to the game.


“Where are your friends?” Khalid asked conversationally, looking casually around the arcade for signs of the “retired” sailor senshi.


Usagi replied, “They had to go; Ami-chan had some studying to do and Minako-chan complained that her mother would ground her for life if she wasn’t home before sunset. It’s been just Rin and me since then!”


“Thanks for watching him,” Khalid replied, “Has he told you where he lives or where we can find his parents yet?”


“Rin?” Usagi prompted, “You can tell me, you know. It’ll be okay - we can help you if something bad is happening, alright? You can count on us.”


Rin kept playing the game, until he suddenly, deliberately, crashed the racecar into a digital guardrail. “It’s time to go back to Mamoru’s place now, isn’t it?” he asked flatly, turning to take hold of Usagi’s hand as he hopped down out of the driver’s seat. He looked up at her, “I’d like to play with Minako-chan and Ami-chan again,” he said, “Can we do that tomorrow?”


Usagi smiled wide, “Sure! I’d like that, too.” She straightened, still holding his hand, and walked towards the exit. Rin grabbed his little backpack and slid it into place as they all walked through the door to another electronic beep. “Can I pick you up from school again tomorrow?” she asked, swinging his arm playfully. He appreciated that she made the offer, but now that it was just him and Khalid, the reason why she had to offer made him feel almost sick to his stomach.


The kid beamed up at her, “Okay!”


“See you tomorrow then!” Usagi enthused, releasing his hand at the corner. Rin looked up at her, then grabbed the straps of his backpack and waited to cross the street, Khalid stepping up to stand nearer to him. Usagi took a few steps back, towards her bus stop, and caught his hand in hers, the warmth spreading from her into him. She squeezed, he squeezed back. They didn’t speak - they didn’t need to. He didn’t want to talk about it and she didn’t need him to, but as her eyes filled with tears he held her. “I’m sorry,” she whispered into him. He knew what she meant.


I’ll get them back,” he said, his whispered voice cracking before he could stifle the emotion.


“I know you will,” she said, then pushed back from him, brushing the back of her hand across her cheek. She cleared her throat and stepped back, “I’ll tell you if Luna finds anything,” she said, glancing towards the eastern horizon for moonrise.


“Thanks,” he replied, adding, “If ‘Archons’ did not return anything, have her search for ‘Demiurge’ - their goal is to summon it, whatever it is.” She nodded, worry etched in her features, and he looked up as a bus rumbled towards them. Kissing her on the top of her head, he whispered, “You’ll miss your bus. I love you, stay safe.”


She pulled on his jersey to kiss his mouth, the movement quick but sweet. “I love you, too. Take care, and tell me if anything happens, okay?” He nodded, and she picked up her school bag, turned, and hurried for the bus stop before the bus left her behind.


He turned back towards Khalid and Rin, just in time for the Shapeshifter to wheel out of the air towards them, insect-like wings beating, barbed elbow bared to strike. “KHALID!” he shouted, heart in his throat, adrenaline throwing him into motion. Khalid never hesitated; he bent down, scooped up the kid, and dashed off towards the park, away from the direction of his apartment, the weaponized body part of the pink-skinned enemy skimming just above where his head had been.


Oh Little Red~” the sing-song voice of the shapeshifter called, her voice ringing above the street traffic as she swung up and followed them from above.


His head pulsed even before he called on his power to transform, the pyrite pendant shining briefly as the change overcame him, but as his feet hit the pavement in boots rather than cleats, his headache tripled in its discomfort. His run wobbled, but he pushed through the pain to follow after. He had to help them - he would help them, pain or no! He wasn’t going to let them get Khalid or Rin, and he wasn’t going to let himself black out trying! He covered the distance quickly, the powers of his transformation propelling him to run faster than he ever could hope to untransformed, and he caught up with Khalid and the kid quickly. He summoned a rose and threw it on the go, aiming for the monster that coasted easily above them; she dodged it, but he used that time to take the kid from Khalid and run ahead, allowing Khalid to transform without revealing who he was. They disappeared into the park, the pink creature still on them - or so he thought; his vision was filled with black and white spots, images that he tried to force away but was having less and less luck doing so.


West King caught up to them, his cape streaming out behind him as he ran. Tired as he may be, he jumped up, kicked off the trunk of a tree, and was airborne, his scimitar flashing as he yelled out a battle cry. Taking advantage of the surprise attack, Cardinal King stopped by one of the large construction tubes that kids liked to crawl through and deposited Rin into one, sure that the creature that stalked them would be too distracted to see. “Stay here!” he ordered as frightened red eyes stared out at him from the darkness within the tunnel, and he dashed off, heading for the playground to mask a more convincing hiding place. Panting, he turned in place, sending playground wood chips flying into the plastic playset behind him, and summoned another rose as West King fell from the sky, just barely missing another strike from the creature. He sent the projectile flying as he turned, trying to pinpoint any other movement - any sign of backup for their enemy. He now knew there were at least four of them - but, for the moment, it seemed the pink one was alone.


West King appeared at his side, breathing heavier than he normally would, scimitar still drawn, a red line of blood across the blade. Good. They bled. “Leave now,” Khalid called up in challenge, his shoulders rising and falling hard with the effort, “And you’ll leave with your life.”


He readied another rose to make the point, backing West’s attempt to scare it off.


“Same to you!” the voice called back, the pink skinned female figure in the revealing outfit floating above them. She shrugged exaggeratedly so they could see it from the distance between them, “I couldn’t care less about you - hand over the redhead and I won’t have to kill you, simple as that!”


“Why do you want him?!” Mamoru yelled up, making the effort to breathe evenly, concentrating on the notion of pulling energy from the planet beneath his feet, just as he had less than a week ago, but it still felt like he was pulling on a string rather than letting the energy flood into him. The world spun dizzyingly, his head felt like something cold and sharp was pushing through it, and his muscles ached with exhaustion. They weren’t prepared for this fight; they couldn’t afford this fight, but if they could keep her talking they could attempt to use the time to reenergize themselves and attempt to piece more of this together.


“Listen, I get that you guys are “superheroes”, but he doesn’t even belong here - we’re just trying to get him back to where he belongs!” she called back, using her fingers to make quotation marks obvious.


“Then where does he belong?!” West called up.


“With us,” she yelled down, rolling her eyes. “I’ll give you to the count of five. Just walk away. I’ll find him and we’ll never have to see each other again.” With a flourish, metallic blades appeared in either hand, catching the light from the streetlamps around them.


“Not the best answer,” Khalid dryly muttered, “If we were in better shape I’d suggest catching her for information.”


“No kidding,” Mamoru agreed, his answer airier than he had intended. He kept an eye on her as she slowly counted down, watching to make sure she didn’t launch herself at them early.


One~


“We’re not letting her get him,” West stated, and he nodded, though the movement threatened to knock him over. West seemed to notice. “Think you could get away with him?”


“Not in this condition,” he replied, glancing quickly to him in an attempt to evaluate his fitness. “You?”


Two~


“I couldn’t get far, not after earlier,” West replied honestly. “That leaves just one option then.”


Cardinal King took another deep breath and held it, keeping himself oriented, prepared to break the moment Khalid did.


Three~


West King rolled his wrist to ready his scimitar, his eyes skyward too.


Four!


West dashed to one side to ricochet off of the tall playground slide to gain some air; Cardinal King threw a rose to keep the shapeshifter off balance, her surprised call of “Hey! Not fair!” showing enough that it worked. Dizzily he called forth another rose, his head swimming and fire shooting up his arm as the flower materialized in his hand. A warning blazed through his addled mind and he barely turned the instrument into a sword and blocked before the pink enemy was upon him, her blades meeting his and forcing him back, though the effort needed to accomplish that was much less than it should otherwise have been. It took everything he had to keep his sword between himself and her and off his chest. She grinned down at him, her demonic smile alarming as her long, wavy light brown hair fell in the short space between them like a veil. She leaned in and blew on his face, his hair fanning away from her as she knocked his mask askew, and he could do nothing to stop her. “Silly Prince~ This could have been avoided, you know.” She pressed in closer and his muscles screamed; all he could do was glare, every ounce of strength he could muster fully involved in not letting the blades pierce his skin.


“Illusionary Silver Crystal, hear my prayer! Let me save him - help me fight to protect this world and its people as a Sailor Senshi!”


Usako?


“Moon Princess Power!” she called, her voice ringing in the night, echoing from a place near the park’s entrance, “Make Up!


Light flashed beyond the curls of the enemy; she turned her face aside with a perplexed expression, and he turned to see what was going on, equally as hopeful as afraid for her. If it worked… but what if it didn’t? What if the power were too great?! He closed his eyes against the bright light just in time, the shapeshifter tensing and releasing a slight hiss to reveal she had not been so lucky, and as he blinked in the aftermath his spirit surged. Usako was gone, but in her place stood a Sailor Senshi - one unlike the others in color scheme and accessories - one that was clearly her. Her front bow was pink, the back made of lace and longer than any of the other senshi, her skirt and collar a shade of blue darker than Mercury’s, her skirt underlaid with some sort of lace petticoat that similarly puffed at her sleeves. Her white elbow length gloves and knee-height boots were lined in pink ribbons and pearls, her tiara made of yet more pearls surrounding a red stone reminiscent of her Jewel Tiara days. In her hair, done in the familiar odango style, were the pearl accessories from her past life and new pink hued gems in front of the double buns. She was beautiful, but the determined, almost murderous look in her eyes made him nervous -


“I’m the Pretty Guardian of Love and Justice, Princess Sailor Moon! In the name of the Moon, I’ll punish you!” Her blue eyes burning, she held out her hand and her Crescent Wand appeared, the Silver Crystal itself sitting couched within the tool. Was she still Usagi? She held it high above her head and changed her stance, her body moving like a dancer’s as she focused on the creature that pressed into him. “Moon,” she called out, summoning palpable power around her. “Princess,


What is this?!” The pink creature remarked, pressing down on him to sit up straighter. He groaned, her added weight on his hands finally enough to overcome his strength. Her twin daggers cut into him, piercing his flesh on either side of his chest. Something cracked. The pain on top of everything else finally overwhelmed him.


Halation!


The last thing he saw was glittering light slicing through the creature that straddled him.


----


He awoke in a haze of pain, his head swimming as notions of where he was and what he was doing slowly tried to take hold of him; the moment they did, his eyes shot open and he called out, twisting to stand and fight, only to be entangled in sheets and blankets tucked in tight. He was in his room?! Light angled through his bedroom window, tracing across his bed, and for half a moment he wondered if it had been all some sort of horrible dream, but as Helios teleported in just above him, the concerned and haggard look about him was evidence enough that the events of the past few days had been real.


How are you feeling?’ the unisus asked, voice choked with concern. ‘You had us all worried, Mamoru - take it easy.


He pulled his hand out from beneath the tightly-pulled bedding and rubbed at his head in an attempt to ease the residual pain there, noticing as he did so that his chest was bound with gauze, faint red stains coloring the white fabric in near center of each side of his upper body. The light through the window disconcerted him - how long had he been out? They couldn’t afford this - he had to get up and transform and figure everything out before it was too late. Carefully, he turned to look at the time on the clock on his bedside table - 11:50 am - only to catch on something. His heartbeat slowed to a crawl, beating painfully as he reached out for the Pyrite Pendant that lay on the table beside him, the fool’s gold cracked completely through its center. As his hands touched it, one hemisphere of the crystal twitched out of the facing entirely. His transformation item… he turned to look at Helios, the realization heavy and frightening. Did this mean he couldn’t…?


Helios landed at the edge of his bed, offering no explanation or words of comfort. ‘You nearly died last night. If it hadn’t been for Usagi’s transformation, both you and Khalid could have…’ he trailed off, but Mamorus’s full attention was still on the broken pendant now cradled in the palm of his hand. His transformation item; did this mean that he couldn’t be Cardinal King anymore? But if he couldn’t be Cardinal King, what would happen to Kaito, Nero and Yuu?


He swallowed, “I couldn’t call up my powers. Something was fighting me - it’s been fighting me. Helios, what… what does this mean?” he said, motioning to the pendant. “Is it symbolic? Am I not supposed to be fighting as Cardinal King? Will I not be able to fight with everyone anymore?”


Mamoru…’ Helios trailed off, and Mamoru met his gaze, the regret he found there making his gut clench. He wouldn’t let that happen - he’d fight, he’d keep fighting, transformation or no - ‘I figured it out,’ Helios continued, slowing his train of thought as he waited to see what his advisor had in store - had he already found a way around it? ‘Just… too late to be of any assistance to you. I should have seen it earlier - figured it out sooner. If I had…’ he trailed off, breaking eye contact to shake his head in shame. ‘I should have realized when your nose bled back at the Midori manor. It’s been holding you back, Mamoru. I’ve been holding you back - that pendant has been restraining your abilities.’


He waited for Helios to continue.


I’m sorry,’ Helios continued. ‘When I made the Pyrite Pendant for you, I didn’t know who you were - the transformation was not intended to handle or wield the amount of power you are now able to draw upon, and when you awakened, your transformation into your Princely attire covered the mistake I made as it had no restraints placed upon it. Cardinal King was never meant to handle the amount of power you are now used to - there were inherent restraints in place within that transformation to stop you from burning through your life force, restraints meant to protect your life - the lives of all of the Heavenly Kings - that you have now grown beyond. Your inability to wield the strength you needed was because you were trying to direct a river through a kitchen funnel.’ He nodded towards the pendant. ‘And it very nearly killed you yesterday. It’s why you have been getting headaches - the block in place made you strain far harder than you ever needed to. Yesterday night, as you started to bleed out, the Golden Crystal reacted by breaking the pendant in order to channel the energy needed to save you.’


His brows furrowed, remembering how he had transformed into his previous life’s form for the first time when he needed the Golden Crystal to heal Nero; how he had only used that much energy again successfully when they were all in Elysion and he was once more garbed in the wear of his past self. He always recognized that the Golden Crystal was easier to use as Prince Endymion, but he had never realized it was because Cardinal King was inherently limited. He closed his palm around the pendant that had, for so long, been a lifeline, and slowly deposited it back on his nightstand. “Am I still able to transform and fight?”


Helios flipped his mane in the unisus equivalent to a shrug, ‘You should be able to, but… unleashing your power as Prince Endymion regularly - in this world and this age - without the full practice in wielding the Golden Crystal’s power, you could very easily do damage you never intend to do, and without a safeguard in place you could go beyond the limits and use your life energy in its place.’ He paused, ‘I may be able to figure something else out; but for the immediate future -


“Helios, I have to be able to fight. The Archons won’t stop just because my transformation is undergoing technical difficulties,” he stated and pulled back the covers to swing his legs over the side of the bed. Mention of the organization brought them to the forefront after the knowledge that he was alive and could transform to fight them - even if he needed to be careful in doing so. As Prince Endymion, able to wield as much power as Helios suggested, he may be able to stop them in their tracks. He stood, intending to get dressed and plan their next move, only to stumble in lightheadedness. He reached out, steadying himself on his dresser before he could fall over, and turned to Helios, who had jumped up off his perch to follow after him in concern.


You’re still healing,’ Helios explained quietly. ‘You strained yourself and need more time to recover -


“They won’t give us that time!” he growled, pushing back, “And since when have I needed this much time? It’s been over twelve hours, Helios - we can’t afford to wait for this; it’s just me and Khalid now. People will be in danger and we have to help them. If they summon this Demiurge thing there’s no telling what will happen to everyone.” Still bracing himself on the dresser, he reached and opened his door, intending to find Khalid and figure out their next move, only to be greeted with a surprised -


“Mamochan!”


- that kept him in place as Usagi sprung across the living room from the kitchen. She wore her school uniform and a cheerful look that fell to concern as she looked him over, stopping before she could jump on him, blue eyes trailing to the gauze on his chest, lingering on the red stains on either side. He glanced down, glad to see pajama pants on, and readjusted to hold on to the door frame. “Usako - what are you…?”


“Doing here?” she finished helpfully, glancing back towards the kitchen sneakily before stepping closer. “Keeping watch. I - look,” she said, motioning down to the bow of her school uniform, in the middle of which a new brooch was clasped. In the shape of a heart, it was decorated with stones of red, blue, green and orange surrounding a pink gem. She unclipped it and flipped it over to reveal the moonstone that had made up the feature point of her Jewel Tiara belt, the same gem that allowed her to communicate with the Moon Kingdom. “It holds the Silver Crystal,” she stated, opening it with a deft twist of her thumb to reveal the silver gem sitting cushioned within its center cavity, “and with it I can transform - I tried it again last night after the first attempt. Mamochan, I was so scared, but now - now I can help you. Really help you. I can fight with you guys, just like I used to, but this time I can do more than just sneaky sideline things!” She caught his free hand in hers, smiling up at him in earnest, “I can fight alongside you to keep our world safe, whether from those Doom and Bloom girls or the Archons or anything else thrown at us.”


“Doom and Bloom girls?” he repeated, grasping her hand comfortably, his stomach squeezing with discomfort with the thought of Usagi putting herself in danger, even as his mind recalled that glittery blast that had taken the enemy off of him last night.


“The shapeshifters,” she explained, “That’s what she called herself before she left - something like “You’ll never defeat the Doom and Bloom Girls!” I… at least that’s what I think she said. I was - you’re okay, right?” she said, the excitement that had filled her as she shared with him her new item fading to be replaced with concern.


He nodded, “I will be.”


“You should get back to bed; Rin and I will make you something to eat -”


“Rin knows?” he reflexively asked, eyes darting past her to the kitchen, the table barely visible from that angle.


“Not about me,” she said quickly, her voice shushing him as she paused, looking up at him, before pushing on with the answer, “but he was there when you lost your transformation. He knows who you are, and about Khalid.” Mamoru’s brows furrowed; with all of Rin’s secrets it had been a given that they would hide their identities from him until they figured out where he came from and what he was after. He hoped now more than ever that they had been correct in trying to protect the kid, and that it wouldn’t come back to bite them. “He was really worried about you; he didn’t want to leave you to go to school, and Khalid hadn’t wanted to leave you alone, so he called to ask me to take him.” He nodded his understanding; if their positions had been reversed and Khalid was hurt, with everything else going on there was no way he’d leave him alone, anywhere, and with Usagi’s recent transformation abilities it seemed safe enough to ask that she escort the kid to school so they could get some work done. “Only, on my way over…” she paused nervously, glancing to the window over his desk, “there was another attack, this one at Rin’s elementary school. I guess it went off earlier than intended - hardly anyone was there. The news reported that the site was dangerous and the officials called off school all over the city - they’re citing gas leaks.”


He wavered in place, suddenly feeling weak, despite what he wanted to do. While he had been layed out, people were getting hurt, their energy drained, that same energy building to help the Archons with Demiurge - they couldn’t let it continue - “The elementary school - have they pulled people free of the miasma? Do we know anything about the crystal in --” he paused, dread rising in him as he realized that, if their positions were reversed, the only way he would leave a healing Khalid was if there had been -- “Where’s Khalid?!” His heart raced and, immediately this time, he clumsily fell to the ground, startling Usagi back a step as he placed his hands on either side of him and focused on the pink glow of Khalid’s Kunzite soul stone, prepared a burst of power, and sent it out --


Only for the door of his apartment to open. “What are you making?” Khalid’s voice called softly to Rin, the pink of his gem pinging brightly in Mamoru’s mind. He nearly fell over in relief.


“Rice balls,” Rin returned as Usagi reached out her hand to help him up. He took it, though also held onto the door frame to inch his way back to standing, only for Helios to appear in the crook of his arm, wedging his neck beneath his arm and growing in size until Mamoru was standing again. He held on to his mane to regain his balance, shooting the unisus an incredulous look, but the moment he steadied the unisus shrunk back down to his typical house-cat size, flew over, and landed smartly on the couch in front of the television.


“Are they edible?” Khalid asked, the question only halfway teasing.


An indignant reply met his query, “Yes.


I don’t know, He could almost hear Nero needle, I’ve eaten some questionable things and even I’m having second thoughts about eating this. What do you think, Yuu?


I think it’s risky, Yuu would say, We’d better make sure he eats the first one, just to be sure.


What flavor are they, anyway? Kaito would wonder, that note of light derision glancing off his tone.


“Then may I have one?” Khalid said instead, and Mamoru waited another moment in the doorway to his bedroom before walking across the living room with Usagi to join them.

He missed them.

___________________________



Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's


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Title : Oh, you mean you DON'T have an Elephabulous? Shame.
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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   6th October 2018, 10:38 pm

The moment he and Usagi appeared in the kitchen doorway, Khalid put down his riceball and, while his stoic expression did not change much, Mamoru knew him well enough to spot the softening of his features that showed he was relieved. He had a plastic bag in one hand, something thin and rectangular sticking out of the top; he wore casual clothes, and while Mamoru looked hard for signs of fatigue, it seemed Khalid was nearly completely recovered from the trials of the previous day, quite unlike himself, which was a relief. He offered him a shrug by way of greeting and apology for not looking better, to which Khalid returned an inclination of his head, acknowledging his condition without any blame. Rin noticed Khalid’s change and turned to see what he was looking at, then quickly stepped down off of the new kitchen chair and away from the counter with its lunch construction, hesitating as he approached.


His red eyes were focused on his little slippers that Nero and he must have picked out when they picked up the ice cream the other day, probably studying the little pink bunny rabbit stitched into the toe of the white slip-on. With hands held behind his back, he quietly said, “I’m sorry.”


He knew about what; it didn’t have to be mentioned, especially with the amount of shame the little kid was exuding. “It wasn’t your fault, Rin,” he replied softly. He was just a kid -


Yes, it was,” Rin assured, the words barely above a whisper, hardly heard above the low volume of the news program on behind him.


Mamoru made no sudden movements, his eyes darting to pin Khalid in place, too. What did he mean, it was his fault? Carefully, full attention returning to the little red-headed stranger, he inquired, “What do you mean, Rin?”


The kid’s head shook, red hair shifting messily.


“You didn’t mean for that to happen, did you, Rin?” he pressed softly, repeatedly using the nickname Usagi had given him specifically to remind the kid that they were supposedly friends. When he was at the children’s home, that tactic seemed to work the best on kids around Rin’s age when the adults were trying to get an honest answer out of them.


His head shook again, this time accompanied with a little “No.


“How was it your fault, Rin?” he repeated, already planning what actions they would take if it turned out Rin did work for the Archons.


They were after me,” Rin finally said, his hands wringing behind his back, the admission releasing the tension that had been building in everyone else. He looked up and quickly away, but not before Mamoru saw the tears there. “But they got you and you got hurt and -”


“That wasn’t your fault,” Mamoru reassured, glad, at least, that they hadn’t be harbouring one of the enemy after all. Or… at least, if they were, Rin didn’t seem to be actively working against them. He reached down and quickly ruffled the messy red hair. “I told you I’d protect you from them, didn’t I?”


Rin’s head nodded, and he reached forward and took Mamoru’s hand -


He was running in the dark, as hard and as fast as he could. All around him the city was empty and eerily quiet, except for the voices that echoed off the tall storefronts -

“Oh Little Red~”

“C’mon, Red~ Slow down!”

“We just want to play with you~”

“Don’t you want to play, Little Red? You’re lonely, aren’t you?”

He covered his ears, trying to stay as quiet as he could be, but then directly ahead of him she appeared, smiling a creepy, demon smile at him. “Found you.”


Immediately four others appeared behind him, each female form covered in a different color of short hair - red, purple, blue, pink, and green - each of them wearing modified swimsuits with stiff collars, each of them with the wings of a wasp. Each one’s pure black eyes staring at him as they smiled. “Game over~”


“I’m sorry you were hurt, though,” Rin said.


Mamoru blinked, the vision fading away. If nothing else, he was fairly certain now that Rin wasn’t in league with his chasers. He hadn’t recognized the storefronts, or the language that the signs were in - which ruled out Japan and anywhere that spoke or wrote in English, Korean, or Chinese. Where then, that Rin was able to appear in Tokyo? How long had he been pursued by these things, and why? And how were they connected to the Archons? Realizing he had hesitated, he closed his hand around the kid’s and reassured him, hoping he could keep him talking. “Thank you, Rin. I’ll be okay, but could you tell us a little bit more? We want to keep helping you, but if we knew more about what was going on we could help you out better, and maybe not get hurt like this again.”


Rin seemed to think it over. Usagi moved from his side back over to the counter, where she gathered the lunch they had been putting together and moved it over to his new circular kitchen table. It was larger than his last by half, now comfortably able to sit four - six if you really crammed everyone in - as opposed to the square table he had had before. It was the largest that could comfortably fit in his small kitchen, and while only four chairs were set up currently, another two collapsable chairs stood waiting in the closet behind the door, a promise that he intended to keep. Khalid sat down at the chair closest to the refrigerator, Usagi beside him, and he slowly walked Rin towards the other two chairs.


Rin took a deep breath, keeping up with slightly shuffling feet, and finally replied, “Okay.”


They were getting somewhere. Mamoru pulled back a chair and Rin hopped up into it, looking to Usagi as she put some… interestingly shaped rice balls, sliced vegetables, and little hot dogs shaped like… octopus? And bunny rabbits, maybe? on his plate. Mamoru sat beside Rin, getting similar treatment from a beaming Usagi. He adored her, but was glad the lunch was pretty much things you couldn’t burn or overseason without some sort of visual cue. … but he was going to be careful biting into the center of the rice ball, just in case. The eagerness he felt for finding out even just one piece of the puzzle was enough to make him feel ten times better than he had upon waking.


“How about you start at the beginning, Rin,” Khalid suggested in a casual tone, obviously not wanting to rock the boat, his serious, silver gaze inspecting the sliced hot dog he had speared with a fork, the image one that Mamoru thought he may never forget.


“I…” Rin hesitated, apparently uncomfortable with the suggestion.


Usagi quickly stepped in, “Or what if you told us about the people who are chasing you,” she suggested instead, and Rin looked at her once and nodded.


“Okay, but can we wait for Helios and everyone else?” he asked, picking up a piece of cucumber and munching on it quietly, completely oblivious to their reactions to the request. Helios, finally releasing their attempt at a charade, glided in from the living room and landed on the table beside Mamoru, stretching his wings once before tucking them in closely. Rin looked up from his vegetables with a low sigh, watching as Helios landed, and mumbled, “I knew you were alive; you didn’t have to pretend.”


Helios shook his mane.


“I know you can talk, too,” he said, finishing his cucumber.


I’d like to know how you knew, but if you wanted to answer Usagi-chan’s question first…?


The kid smirked as if proven right and picked up a carrot, “Where’s Ne--Nero,” had he corrected himself, or just tripped over Midori’s name? “And Kaito and Yuu?”


They won’t be coming for lunch,” Helios replied, and Mamoru swallowed, stiffly reaching for one of the rice balls on his plate.


“Can I wait for them?” Rin asked, looking up at them, lips twitching, “I promise I’ll tell, I just… I like it when everyone is here.”


So did he.


It’d be better if you just told us, Rin,” Helios tried, “They won’t be by today, and what you say could be very important -


Helios stopped talking when Rin’s eyes widened, his hand stopped halfway to his mouth, and looked from Mamoru to Khalid to the news program in the other room, expression one of a frightened rabbit. “Oh, no.”


“Rin?” Usagi prodded gently.


Oh, no,” he repeated, putting hands on either side of his head, eyes moving back and forth quickly as he thought something through. His eyes settled on Khalid for a long moment, before he pushed back from the table, jumped down from the chair, and promptly ran from the room, taking whatever answers he had with him.


“Rin!” Usagi called after him, springing up quickly to follow. Mamoru attempted but the strain made him lightheaded so he stayed as she left, trusting her to coax him back out; Rin always responded to her better anyway. His hands flexed. Rin must have figured it out, but that he had had to figure it out meant he may not have the answers they needed to get everyone back. He may not even have any answers that would be useful to --


Helios jerked and stood still, his eyes widening as his head and horn involuntarily turned towards the living room. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t need to.


“Where?” Mamoru asked, determinedly eating the food on his plate. He’d need the energy. What happened at the Elementary school couldn’t be allowed to happen again; he’d just have to trust in his powers to help him do it alone.


I’d have to take you,” Helios replied quietly. “Are you sure you want to do this?


“There is no other option,” he answered, and a gentle flash drew his attention across the table where Khalid now sat as West King, his silver gaze even and determined through his mask as he stood back from the table. “Khalid,” Mamoru began; he thought they had come to an understanding yesterday - Khalid needed to stay out of the fight - but before he could put together a phrase asking him to hide out in Elysion, West King cut him off as he strode out of the kitchen and into the living room. For a moment Mamoru almost hoped that he was going to say he’d stay put, but Khalid called out of the living room,


“I swore an oath to protect you, Mamoru. Do not ask me to forsake that.”


“Even if it costs us the world?” Mamoru challenged. Before Khalid could reply, he closed his eyes and concentrated on the golden crystal, urging it to act on his need, and in a rush of warmth and energy his pajamas bottoms and the blood-stained gauze wrapping his chest were replaced with the armor of his past life. For the first time in what felt like days he breathed easily, the wounds in his chest from the night before finally fully knitting closed, the energy to do so coming easily from the earth beneath him. The headache was gone, though the weariness remained. He stood, the movement no longer painful, and waited for Khalid, ready to face him down, show him that he could do it alone, that his friend didn’t need to risk himself and the planet on a promise made millennia ago. Helios regarded him with worry in his garnet eyes, but he couldn’t reassure him that he’d be careful just yet - not until Khalid agreed to keep out of it.


Khalid reentered the room and paused as he took him in, “Endymion,” and then, definitively, he removed the silver mask from his face and tossed it to the kitchen floor, strongly calling up images of Kunzite rather than West King. Without an ounce of jest, he continued, “Protecting you is protecting the world.” He moved towards the door, pausing to add, before Mamoru could say anything else, “I will not stay; arguing the point can only cost us time.”


Mamoru as Endymion sighed but strode forward to join him; once his mind was made up, it was easier to move mountains than change it.


“He’s locked himself in the bathroom and won't open the door -" Usagi said as she came around the corner, catching her words as she saw them. She met his gaze and for a moment it was like looking back thousands of years, his heart catching in his chest. Serenity. Usagi. She moved to him, her slight hands glancing his forearms to hold onto his cape and she studied his chest. “You're healed?” she asked quietly.


He nodded, tilting her chin up to face him. “I'll come back,” he replied, understanding what she meant.


Her deep blue eyes shifted from his face to West King and slowly back to him again, understanding. “You want me to stay here,” she stated, but she wouldn’t meet his gaze.


She sounded hurt and he disliked the veiled implication in her explanation; it wasn’t that he didn’t want her with them, just that it was necessary. And possibly safer, if he was being completely honest. Already he had lost Kaito, Yuu, and Nero, and Khalid danced with that same danger without having to do anything to start with; risking her, too, felt like too much. Her staying here with Rin meant Rin would be safe, and that there was no reason to believe that the enemy knew where he lived - else they would have been here already - was a benefit that could end at any moment. He swallowed, dropping his curled fingers from beneath her chin to put his hands on her shoulders. “Rin knows more than he’s letting on; you could get it out of him. And if those shapeshifters come looking for him here, we know that you and your powers can defeat them; Khalid and I don’t have that same record with them,” he said, nodding back toward West King, “We’re going to go destroy those crystals and put a stop to this chaos they’re causing, and then we’ll come back.”


She didn’t react at first, but then she released his cape to put both of her hands over his. “And if you don’t, I’m coming to get you,” she said, her eyes, finally meeting his, were filled with determination.


He smiled at her, quickly kissed her forehead, and turned to leave, Helios jumping from the table to join him at the door. The weight of the extra armor felt like nothing new; he only noticed the minute changes in his balance to compensate for the metallic shoulderguards and fauld. In moments they were on the rooftop, and from there racing across the city towards the most recent attack; once they stopped that they would go back to the elementary school and break the crystal there and anywhere else they had been planted.


They cleared across the city, following Helios’s instructions, and darted down to enter the doors to an animal shelter called Animal Kingdom. The storefront was eerily silent and Mamoru’s stomach rolled at what that meant. Pets. They weren’t just going after humans, but why would they attack such innocent creatures? The energy they had was much less than that of a human. A receptionist lay unconscious at the desk, a cat stretched out across the floor unnaturally - it had been trying to reach something; following the line of its path he found kittens, five of them, barely breathing beneath the level of the dark miasma. Mouth in a hard line, he strode over, bent, and scooped up the little bed they were crowded in an placed them, and their mother, on the counter above the sickly purple mist. West King, scimitar unsheathed, kept close, his eyes sharp and darting for any hint of motion, waiting for him to finish before the pair of them went further into the shelter, past the offices and examination rooms and into the kennels in the back.


Somewhere along the way he had unsheathed his sword. Sometime before he kicked open the door to the silent kennels he had a rose in his hand, a rose that pulsed with the power he funnelled into it. As the door clashed into the cage wall behind it he sent the projectile flying, sight focused only on the glowing mass of crystal jutting out of the concrete wall at the back of the enclosure. A creature - large, hulking, some mix of beast and man - darted away from the attack as though dodging it and dashed down the hall to meet them, but Mamoru struck true to his target - the crystal cracked and the mist started to dissipate. Khalid shoved him out of the way and brought his naked blade to meet the rushing creature, ducking to dodge the thick arm of the beast and neatly stabbing upward. The creature shuddered once before simply collapsing, the form melting into a puddle on the floor before becoming dust. A golem.


Animals around them started to stir and the pair of them made their exit, glad that this instance had been so easy to handle. As they made the series of leaps up the sides of buildings towards the roofs, they both turned towards the Primary School to stop the crystalline growth there only for Helios to call them back. “There’s another!


Of course there was.


“Usagi-chan,” Khalid called into the wristwatch communicators as they followed Helios, “Add Animal Kingdom to the list; the map is set up - “


“I’ve got it mapped out!” Usagi replied, and Mamoru held up the watch to see what she meant; the thin rectangular package Khalid had brought in before must have been a map and ruler, as it was unfolded over his coffee table. He couldn’t make out much in the tiny image, but he understood Khalid’s intent just from looking, feeling foolish for not thinking of the same thing - he was looking for a pattern. “I’ll look for shapes or see if I can find any other connection!” Usagi replied, glancing over her shoulder to the color-coded diagram of streets and prefectures.


“There’s another,” Khalid added, just as Helios paused in the empty air above another street. Mamoru looked down just as Khalid did and read the store’s name just as his friend called it out, “‘Lucky Charms House’.” As a reply of “Got it!” echoed out of their devices, West King closed the watch face and jumped down, his cape fluttering in the air behind him, and Mamoru followed suit. The storefront was silent and dark and Mamoru made sure to keep close to Khalid as they approached, the similarity to the events of yesterday enough to make his heart beat faster.


The glass doors opened smoothly at their touch, a little bell shaking as they entered into the store together. The door closed, and suddenly the light spilling in from outside went out. Breath catching in his throat he turned sharply, but West King was still there with him, his slightly taller friend as stoic and determined as ever. “Let’s find the crystal,” he said smoothly, though Mamoru noted the scimitar in his hand already. He nodded and faced forward, though kept close as they moved down the main aisle of the store. It looked like an oddities shop, filled with eccentric jewelry and occult instruments meant for fortune telling, or so the signs read; but so far there was no sign of the crystal. Helios, horn glowing slightly, kept just ahead and above them in an attempt to minimize the long shadows that could hide what they were after -


“So we meet at last, Kobai Khalid,” a voice called, and they whirled, searching for its source, instinctively going back-to-back to search for the danger in the half-light. The voice, seemingly bodiless, continued, “Good reactions, as expected from someone with your skill level. I, unlike my colleagues, will not be so stupid as to show myself quite so easily. I trust you’ll listen to my proposition and respond appropriately?”


West was silent. Mamoru looked to Helios, who nodded, and carefully flew as high as he could to spread out the light. On edge, he summoned a rose and prepared to throw it at the slightest hint of movement or indication by Helios.


“My name is Astaphaios, and through my work with Adonaios and Horaios I serve the great Demiurge. As he prepares to make his journey to this planet I would like to offer you a place in the new world order; we could use a man of your talents and affinity.”


East’s reply was cold in the ensuing silence, letting the beat drag on almost uncomfortably long. “You claim to be smarter than your colleagues, and yet you ask anyway. You know as well as I that I will refuse your offer; why make it?”


The voice, Astaphaios, replied almost dejectedly, “I am the wisest of them, and I believed you would be a kindred spirit, Khalid. Yes, I knew what the answer in your heart would be, just as you knew I would make that offer anyway. My hope was that you would realize the futility in refusing and make the wiser choice; you know as well as I that even in the defeat of Saboth, Elaios, and Iao, we got our new recruits anyway. Should you refuse you will still join us as they have. If nothing else, take heart in that and join us to rejoin them - surely you care for them enough to make that choice? Else, you care enough for Earth to make this choice. Has he told you what he has heard about what we have seen in this planet’s future should he take charge?” Astaphaios asked, pausing, “I was witness to their final conversations - Elaios and Iao’s. That “prince” of yours knows what he will do to this world. Has he shared that information with you, Khalid? You, who should be his closest confidant…”


He hadn’t. There hadn’t been time - it had all happened so quickly, and after the loss he hadn’t been able to talk about the details.


“He didn’t, did he. He wouldn’t - it’s not flattering, and he knows he needs you to make any of his dark dreams come true.” Astaphaios sounded almost disappointed, and Mamoru swallowed, turning slightly in an attempt to catch Khalid’s eye, but his silver-haired friend was staring ahead of him. “He has not been as close with you in this life as your last; is this loyalty you show him entirely deserved, King of the West? Come with me, with eyes wide open, and help us guide the future of this planet towards where it should be, rather than the doomed path it is on.”


Khalid’s reply was made with finality: “You speak in lies, and I will never serve a false cause.”


A sigh whispered through the air and Mamoru tensed, waiting for the attack. “A pity. You could’ve been so much more useful.”


Bright light flooded the space around them and Mamoru whirled just in time to see Khalid’s body illuminated in a column of pure white light. He reached for his friend, heart hammering in his chest, but he was too late - his bare hand passed right through Khalid as though he were a ghost. Immediately he dropped to the ground, his hand slamming into the surface with a burst of power to find the pink glow of Kunzite with psylocation; he got a faint trace of a reading just as Helios called out above him and raced towards a corner of the building - Mamoru stood, hand glowing with Golden Crystal Energy, and fired in the direction Helios indicated.


The burst of power hit something and flung it backwards into a display of crystal balls, the glass cracking and falling to the ground all around a form that only then became entirely opaque; Astaphaios glittered for a moment, looking down at himself as he took a heaving breath. Mamoru strode closer, his hand glowing again with the power that came only too easily to his beck and call. He knelt and roughly pulled on the shirt of his enemy; he called healing energy, preparing to keep him alive to demand answers; the dark skinned man with eyes as old as time looked at him with nothing short of hatred.


“Where are they?!” Mamoru demanded, but Astaphaios released his breath and simply burst into shards of glittering light before fading away, the early afternoon light returning to the store the moment the last glimmering mote disappeared.


Mamoru as Endymion remained where he was, clutching at air on a floor littered with shards of crystal balls, unable to help wondering if his future was just as broken.




Helios let him be for a few moments more, but then landed carefully on the now-empty shelves and fixed him with a garnet gaze. “There was nothing you could have done. I felt the energy pulse - do you know where they are?


Mamoru nodded and stood, calmly walking from the stoor with the unisus flying at his shoulder. “I got a read just as he was teleported, but it doesn’t do me any good.” Leaving the store, he stopped and looked straight up, clenching his jaw and glaring as though he could see through the atmosphere at the monsters responsible for this. Helios joined him, looking up curiously before snapping back to attention.


Space?!” He replied incredulously.


“Kunzite’s glow went up before disappearing,” Mamoru confirmed and let Helios run with the explanation.


That’s… that’s why you weren’t able to track them before - you couldn’t even if your powers hadn’t been constrained; they were off the planet’s surface and your psylocation is limited to objects touching the Earth. And Hanada’s…


“His website’s leads were correct. U.F.O’s. It has to be them - the Archons. They’re up there - Kaito, Khalid, Nero and Yuu. They said that they needed all four of their energies to summon or call this Demiurge. Now they have all of them and there is no way for me to get to them.” He paused, looking to Helios for clarification, “Is there?”


He had remembered a good many memories of his past life, but a lot of the time knowledge about his powers were just known rather than remembered. However, while he had no problem recalling and using powers like psylocation, psychometry, and healing through psychokinesis, he had no idea if he had rarer abilities that he simply didn’t know he had. Something like true psychokinesis or teleportation would be helpful right about now.


Not that I know of…” Helios replied morosely.


They stood in silence for a moment, the magnitude of what he was about to face without them too large to move past for the moment. All of them… How could he do it alone? He had to try; there was no other option. Whatever the true intention of these Archons and this Demiurge was, it was not what they claimed, and he couldn’t just hand the Earth over to them. He would fight them - it’s what his friends would want him to do, just as…


Just as he wanted them to do.


Whatever mess they were in right now, he knew they were alive. He didn’t know their situation, but he knew they were up there, they were together, and he knew that they could figure out a way to come home, or else make sure that the Earth was safe after all this was over. He believed in them. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on them, on their faces, their voices, their mannerisms - Kaito’s furious scribbling on his pocket-sized memo pad and his critical eye rolling, Nero lounging, stretching, loudly laughing at whatever came his way, Khalid’s steadfast determination alongside that softer side he rarely let show, and Yuu’s arm-crossing, driven and pushy exterior masking the inner idealist. He focused on them and their power gem’s glow - Kaito’s Zoisite, Nero’s Nephrite, Khalid’s Kunzite, and Yuu’s Jadeite - and sent out Golden Crystal energy, not knowing if it could even reach them. Fight them! Come back!


Helios looked at him sharply, “What was…?


“A reminder,” he replied, looking up to this advisor, “I’m fighting this until the end; I believe they are, too. If anyone could figure out how to come back, it’s them.”


Helios nodded, and just as the clerk opened the door to the shopfront behind them, Mamoru lept skyward, landing on the roof to run towards the elementary school to shut down its crystal. As he ran, the communicator went off and he answered, looking to the watch face, heart lighter at hearing her voice.


“Okay, I’m not exactly sure, but I think it’s two concentric circles - “ Usagi explained without greeting, the watch pointed to the ceiling as she obviously examined the map she had been working on for Khalid, “See?” she said, and the angle flipped around awkwardly until the map, tiny and barely legible, appeared. “I don’t know if I can predict the next attack or anything from it, but maybe their base is in the center.” The viewpoint changed back to the ceiling, “It could be where they’re holding everyone - should we check it out?”


He approached the school but it was no good - emergency services were all over the place. There was no way he could get in and handle the crystal without being spotted and identified. He looked around for a less conspicuous way of entering -


“Mamoru?” her voice called softly, and he looked back to the communicator to see her worried expression. “Is Khalid…?”


He nodded, looking back at the school, “He’s with everyone else. The person responsible for today’s attacks is out of service, but with West King, the Archons now have all the energy they claimed to need. Unless they were somehow able to resist, Demiurge is coming.” He calculated the jump and landed within the shadow of the rooftop access closet and quickly entered, leaving the door open behind him. The air was thick with the crystal’s miasma, and on the fourth floor of a building that didn’t bode well for the lower floors, one of which most likely held the dark crystal itself. Helios beside him, they ventured through the empty halls.


“I’m coming to meet you -” Usagi started, but he quickly cut her off, looking into the watch face with an easy expression.


“I’ll be finished by the time you get here,” he said, actively having to fuel energy from the Earth to keep moving forward as they reached the first stairwell, the air losing its transparency. In an overly casual fashion, he reached out with his free arm to give Helios somewhere to rest, continuing to maintain eye contact with Usagi. “I’ll be back at the apartment after this, barring another attack. If anything else happens I’ll call you, okay?”


Her gaze was critical as she stared back at him, but then something flashed softly, illuminating her face from below, and she broke eye contact to look down herself. “That’s new,” she said softly, and then looked back at him, “Okay. I’ll see you in a bit then.”


“See you then, Usako.”


She blushed, grinning, and terminated the call. He let out the rest of his breath, the mist making him lightheaded, and covered his mouth with the corner of his cape, moving Helios to straddle his shoulder like he often did in “plushie mode”, and they descended deeper into the depths of the Juuban Municipal Primary School.

___________________________



Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's


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Title : Oh, you mean you DON'T have an Elephabulous? Shame.
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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)   13th October 2018, 11:13 pm

After all that time trying to fool Rin, I never thought I’d be happy to act like a stuffed animal again,” Helios stated flatly as they descended further into the depths of the Juuban Municipal Primary School’s stairwell.


Mamoru, dressed in his Endymion form, snickered, cape pressed firmly around his nose and mouth in an attempt to minimize his intake of the dark crystal’s miasma, which permeated the air in such great quantities that he could barely see the landing of the stairwell ahead of him. He felt the energy being pulled out of him, sucked as though from leeches as the purple mist clung to his clothing; he was constantly pulling in the Earth’s energy through his Golden Crystal just to move forward; without it, he was sure he would be passed out back on the third floor landing; even now it was slow going as he slogged through the thick mist as though it were a swamp. He didn’t know how Helios was still conscious, but the unisus had turned down his offer to let him stay up on the fourth floor so maybe there was something about the magic of his assumed form that let his mind stay active even when his little winged-horse body draped across his shoulder like a ragdoll. “It suits you, you know,” he teased, trying to keep things light rather than focusing on what a creature seeped in this mess would be like after hours of marinating it in.


Haha, haha,” Helios sarcastically replied, “Keep your eyes peeled, Chuckles. We’re probably heading to the basement or some deep dark closet and I’d rather not get blindsided before we get there.


“Sure thing, Advisor,” he stated, turning to descend the last set of stairs, wondering whether his Cardinal King mask would’ve been able to see through this mess. “So,” he continued lightly, “We save the world from one set of “aliens” and immediately get attacked by another; did this happen a lot in the Golden Age, or am I just lucky?”


Just lucky, I guess,” Helios replied as Mamoru left the stairwell and moved to the main hall of the campus, looking left then right. “Left, I think?” Helios offered, and he turned down that path. “In the annals of history, the birth of a child holding the Golden Crystal always heralded a new age of expansion - it was during your predecessor’s lifetime that Earth came under one flag - but never, to my knowledge, have we faced any threat from outside the planet itself. Yes, there were a few attacks from dark forces handled by those with the power to fight them, but the scale of an attack such as this simply did not happen.


“Think the Moon Kingdom had anything to do with that?” he asked, unsheathing his sword as the mist grew colder around him.


Hmm… perhaps? Usagi-chan mentioned something about the Moon Kingdom having once protected the Earth; that could be what she meant?


He considered his next statement and mustered the energy to speak, but a desk flew out of the deep purple mist ahead of him. He barely got his forearms arms crossed to block it before it hit him square-on, the force of impact sending him sliding backwards across the linoleum floor. He pressed his toes against his boots to skid to a stop, pushing the desk away from him with one arm and stabilizing Helios with the other, using the momentum of the push to brace himself against one side of the hallway to get out of the direct path of whatever creature was guarding the crystal. He hastily pulled his cape to his mouth to take one deep breath through the fabric before dropping it to draw his sword in one hand and a rose in the other, and carefully crept closer to his invisible enemy.


Good recovery,” Helios commented, his voice hushed despite being nonvocal, “I’ll warn you when I can about - Incoming!


Mamoru flattened to the wall as a kid’s chair hurled down the length of the hall, the legs barely missing him. Once it passed, he kept moving.


The floor shook, the reverberations echoing as whatever apparently enormous creature ahead walked into a classroom to rearm itself and return. The process repeated itself - at least assuring Mamoru that the creature was not of Astaphios or Elaios’s or any of the others’ level - until Mamoru could just barely make it out in the mist ahead. He ducked into a classroom to minimize the chance that the great, hulking golem could see him, and carefully helped Helios onto the cubby shelves just inside the door before placing his back to the opening and peering out to see the creature hurl another desk and lumber back into the classroom across the hall. The Crystal could be in that classroom or somewhere behind it; chances were it was closely guarding the source, so sneaking around it probably wasn’t a good idea --


The creature sniffed the air, and a pair of red pinprick eyes shone at him from the mist.


He dove away from the door to draw fire away from Helios, careful of his blade as he rolled across the hallway and came to his knees just as he threw his rose at the massive beast, continuously drawing energy from the Earth through his Crystal as he did so. The rose actually shattered the wooden desk as it flew at him, creating shrapnel that, thankfully, neither hit him nor passed through the door Helios was hiding behind; he hadn’t expected such a reaction, and such surprise meant he was off guard when the creature that bent beneath the ceiling of the school shuffle-rushed towards him, bellowing with a roar so deep it made his chest shudder. A massive fist struck him and sent him flying, hitting the ceiling before falling to the floor and bouncing. He couldn’t help the cry of surprise the latter enticed from him, but with the Earth’s energy flowing freely into him he was healed and up before it could make it’s mad dash towards him.


Sword at the ready, he rolled and slashed at it’s great hairy thigh, putting all the effort he could into his efforts in an attempt to slow its motion, but even as it cried out in pain it batted him out of the way and he was skidding on his cape back beyond Helios’s hiding spot.


Graceful,” Helios quipped sarcastically, earning him a reproachful look as Mamoru scrambled out of the way when the hulking thing hobbled back towards him at full speed. It passed him, and he was suddenly reminded of the way Kaito had so effortlessly jumped onto the back of another enormous creature and strangled it with his ice whip during the first fight they ever faced together. He looked around, but he had no such rope to utilize. He jumped back as it whirled around with both arms wide, knocking through drywall as it carved out it’s own personal bubble, and roared again.


Behind it, gleaming in the half-light, was the dark crystal.


Mamoru passed his sword to his left as he summoned and threw another rose with his right, the stem and thorns grazing the creature’s cheek. It flinched and he rushed forward, taking advantage of the momentary weakness as Khalid often had of Diana’s Phases and thrust his sword towards the exposed chest. Just as it bit he was slapped away, hitting the wall hard enough to crack the drywall behind him; he drew in more energy, healing himself as he dropped to the floor on both feet, kicked off from the wall before him, and took a second stab.


This time the creature screamed in pain, maw opening wide as it turned to stone and crumbled to dust, the sudden release sending him staggering. He drew his cape over his mouth to breathe and mustered more strength to slog the rest of the way through to the crystal, then stabbed it with the sword. His blade barely made an indent, but the crystal did crack and the humming energy suddenly silenced, the mist already starting to settle out, making it easier to see and marginally easier to move around.


Not terrible,” Helios mocked lightly as Mamoru reclaimed him and draped him over his shoulder guard again, rolling his eyes, “but it got the job done.


“Yeah, yeah,” Mamoru replied, slugging through the hallway. He found the stairwell and started the upward climb; again it was difficult, but as he went up in stories and the mist lessened, it somehow felt harder and harder to move. When they exited through the door they had left propped there was barely any mist at all - he should have been fine, yet he panted, doubling over with his hands braced on his knees to catch his breath. Helios, who had become livelier around the second floor, had hopped off before the fourth floor and hovered now beside him, garnet eyes looking at him critically. “I know, I know,” Mamoru panted, waving him off, “I’m out of shape, ha ha.”


Mamoru,” the unisus replied, his tone anything but playful, “You need to detransform, now. That fight took more energy than anticipated -


“What?” Mamoru exasperatedly interrupted, turning his head to fix his guardian with an incredulous look, “I’ve got more energy than I know what to do with,” he paused to breathe, “I don’t even feel tired right now - this is probably from breathing that stuff in or something - “


Mamoru!” Helios’s tone was sharp - the first time he had sounded so sharp in what felt like weeks, “Release the transformation! Earth may yet have energy but your body cannot handle channeling it anymore!” he continued muttering even as he grew in size before him, “This is exactly what I was afraid of - You feel fine because your Endymion form is the best conduit for the Golden Crystal to pull Earth’s energy but in it you’ve lost any gauge on how your physical body is fairing.” The full size of a horse, Helios raised his wings high glanced over his shoulder at him, barely missing him with the pointed golden horn, adding in annoyance, “Get on and hold on tight before you release it in case you pass out!


If he hadn’t sounded so cross, Mamoru may have fought the point, but considering that and that the only other time Helios had offered him a ride had been just after he had awakened to his past life, the gravity of the offer outweighed any assurances on his part that he felt fine. He somewhat awkwardly hopped up onto Helios’s back, past life memories assisting in the general process, and as soon as he was on he followed the somewhat overbearing instructions to lean over and link his fingers around Helios’s neck before detransforming, and finally released the transformation…


And felt absolutely horrible.


Every part of him burned - not just ached, but actively burned from within, like he had been working out constantly for days or struck by lightning or something in between. Every panting breath felt like his lungs were on fire, every part of him felt heavy, and as Helios jumped up from the school’s rooftop the sudden acceleration put him out of his misery and he passed out.





He woke up just as Helios landed on his apartment building, his body, thankfully, feeling like lead as opposed to running with fire in place of blood. Helios shrunk beneath him to help him dismount, and just as he tiredly pulled his leg back over to one side, Usagi called his name. She was worried; he wished he had the energy to reassure her that he was fine, but tried for a smile for her anyway. She ducked under one arm and held his wrist in one hand and wrapped her other arm around his back, and with Helios on the other side they got to the stairs, managed to get down to his floor and into his apartment. He unceremoniously fell onto the couch and thanked Usagi for the water and food she had thoughtfully prepared, and passed out again.





When next he woke it was in a cold sweat. He jerked up, reaching for -- ? Something…? But immediately Usako was there, taking his hand in hers, expression worried. He shook his head, whatever dream he had been dreaming gone now, though with the occurances of the past few hours, let alone days, he was fairly sure what it had been about. He opened his mouth to speak but she quickly answered his question without having to be asked -


“No further attacks,” she assured, “from the Doom and Bloom Girls or the Archons, and it’s only been two hours. Rin hasn’t talked to me yet, but… it’s good that you’re awake.”


He nodded in thanks and she stepped back, letting him swing his legs over the edge of the couch to sit up properly. The TV was muted but on his coffee table was Usako’s transformation brooch. Helios came in, coasting to land on the armrest beside Mamoru and gave him another critical look. “We need to figure out another way to let you transform - taking on your Endymion form for anything less than dire is irresponsible -” Mamoru gave him his attention, silently reminding him that they did not have the luxury for such things. Helios quieted. “I’m glad you’re okay.


“Thanks for keeping an eye on me.”


I wish I could do more,” Helios replied, looking down for a moment before brushing back up and winging towards the coffee table to stand beside Usagi’s transformation brooch. “I’ve heard this already, but honestly I could listen a hundred times more. Luna came through for us, in this at least.


Mamoru looked from him to Usagi, who nodded. “The pearl just started softly glowing, and when I touched it - well, here.” She turned off the television and quickly closed the blinds against the late afternoon light, then crouched across from him on the other side of the coffee table and gently wiped her thumb across the pearlescent back of the pink heart brooch, and it lit up, Luna appearing in holographic form.


The Archives have returned a hit on your recent searches that cannot wait. Recent energy readings have shown that this event is quickly on its way, and with our outer system outposts retired it may well be up to Endymion’s Heavenly Kings to right this before it’s too late.” Outer system outposts? The notion caught his attention but was buried beneath the onslaught of anxiety that Luna’s bleak tone brought. “The Archons and Demiurge are bad news; there were rumors of their presence in other systems in the time of the Silver Millennium, but they would never dare approach us back then. The Archons are a cult following for Demiurge, a great and powerful being that exists by draining dry the life energy of a planet hosting abundant life and lifeforms, like Earth.


The holographic cat shifted as though shuffling paperwork and continued, her voice a little stronger after the break. “Archons scout the planet, judging it to be the most ready when it has an active Sailor Guardian, and perform the necessary tasks to summon Demiurge. These tasks include finding places of power - present or future - and corrupting key energy points to resonate in such a way that they would attract Demiurge, which, as consequence, has the effect of draining life energy from the creatures surrounding it. Search for and protect these points at all cost! By moonset tomorrow Artemis promises he can find these locations for you - do not let them corrupt any of the points with their negative crystals! In addition, be wary of them - Archons have been known to recruit members of the targeted planet to join them, using their planet-reliant energy to further feed the beacon for Demiurge, often promising them to change the future from something dark and desperate to something idyllic. It is said that there is a dream prophet among them that aids in that process immensely, oftentimes baiting targets with their dreams or greatest nightmares. Be careful, Endymion, as your Shitennou may well be targeted. The Senshi should be safe - they have no intimate connections to Earth or its power source and would be ignored as their own homeworlds lack life.” He appreciated the warning, despite it’s late timing, and was reassured, at least, that their earlier suppositions about the senshi were correct. “In addition, they will not attempt to corrupt you, Prince, as the bearer of Earth’s Golden Crystal is needed by Demiurge.


She continued, bright blue eyes intent in the holographic image, “When their ceremony is complete, Demiurge will be summoned to this world from the void of chaos that was the last that it had drained. Upon arrival it will immediately begin feeding on Earth’s energy until this planet, too, is a lifeless husk. The process can take months or years, during which Demiurge will use some of the energy it eats to reshape that world, restructuring societies and cultures to worship itself and placing its Archons in positions of great power and authority, repaying them for their service in finding a suitable world and calling it there.


The information sat heavily, a great deal of answers suddenly there, laid out before him plainly; information they could have used a week ago. Information that would have saved his friends; information it would have been impossible to key into until that exact point. As the pieces finally settled, he reflected, one off point standing out starkly.


Luna continued, “There is a limit to the data we can send in this method and our time runs short. We will find the energy points that you must protect - stay sharp, be careful. And Princess -” Luna choked up, head down as she continued in a rush, “I’m sorry we could not stop this, that we are useless in this fight. You were given a second chance and now - with Demiurge -” she shook her head, “Were Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto still alive, were their talismans still active, we would have a reset that we could use to ensure Earth’s fate was not to be consumed by some evil parasite but all that is lost to us now! The outer senshi were not reborn and Saturn remains locked away without their items. It us unfair - it is a lot to put on your shoulders - but the fate of the Earth depends on your success against them! Be strong, Usagi-chan!


Her voice seemed to echo in the silence. Mamoru sat with his hands folded together, elbows leaning on his knees as he looked to the map Khalid and Usagi had made of the energy points the Archons were trying to corrupt, the sources that Luna warned needed to be protected. So far they had broken the crystals at all of the points - … unless there were a few in uninhabited places that had yet to make themselves known, or were planted before Helios could recognize them for what they were. Two concentric circles could mean any of a thousand positions… He gently spun the map to look at it from another angle, digesting the rest of the information Luna had divulged as he tried to put  the more active regions of his head to better use, still chewing on the other question.


“They’re aliens then,” Usako stated, breaking the silence.


He nodded, “I felt them earlier; when they took Khalid I felt his Kunzite crystal’s glow go straight up; they’re holding them in some sort of spaceship above Earth’s atmosphere. Kaito had read sightings of U.F.O.’s earlier this week but we had dismissed them.”


“If they’re in space…” Usagi trailed off, her voice upset.


Gently he reached over and squeezed her hand, “We can’t get to them, but they’ll find a way back to us, I’m sure of it.”


She nodded, taking a deep breath and letting it out. “What do you think, then, is at the center of the circles?”


Demiurge’s Bullseye,” Helios replied without hesitation. “If they are charging energy points around the circles to draw him in, he will either be aimed directly at that place -” he paused, reading, “‘Infinity Park’, else will appear there, should this summoning be magical in nature.


“Our first priority would be to make sure they don’t take the remaining points, but with a circle that seems impossible to predict where next they would strike. We just need to be ready, then,” he said, stating the obvious in an attempt to get things moving. As if on queue, Helios’s head jerked in a specific way.


There was another attack.


With all of the Shitennou in place for them it only made sense that they would press their advantage. He stood, Endymion armor falling over him effortlessly, and Usagi stood with him. He stepped over the coffee table and drew her into an embrace, feeling her against him, the blonde buns of her hair pressing against his cheek as he just breathed a silent moment with her. He wasn’t going to let them have Earth. Not when they had found each other again. “I’ll be back,” he promised, and leaned down -


“Then don’t kiss me goodbye, okay?” she said, her voice quiet. He paused, swallowed, and nodded guiltily. “Keep me updated about the location,” she said, holding onto his cape again, keeping close as she spoke into his chest, forehead pressed against the filigree of his collar. “I’ll contact you if I hear anything, alright?”


He nodded, agreeing. “Alright.”


She stepped back, smiling bravely, “Then go get ‘em! I’ll watch Rin and be waiting for you when you come back.”


He nodded, then turned and left the living room, strode through the kitchen, and opened the door, pausing once to look back at her. She stood, her hand raised in a wave, that same smile on her face. Helios flew out beside him and he closed the door. He would protect her.





Minutes later he called in to report the target - Juuban Supermarket, and heard Usagi reply “Got it,” before he closed the communication channel and jumped down to land on the exposed 3D lettering of the building, quietly kicked in a window, and entered with a birds eye view of the situation, just as Helios preferred. The store was a mess, produce all over the place. People lay strewn in aisles, else helping each other to the exit; the miasma was just starting to crawl over the floor from… the frozen food section. He jumped down, landing carefully atop the rows of food and jumped towards that section staying as careful and as quiet as he could so as to catch the golem off guard. A riotous clamour made him pause as a full shopping cart flew through the air and clamoured into a display.


The distraction was a good one. Helios’s “Watch out!” came a split second too late, and he was struck so hard he fell off of his perch and into the aisle below him as the human-looking golem grinned and fell back to the ground on the other side. Well, great. He picked himself up off of the pile of broken spaghetti noodles only for them to deteriorate beneath him into some sort of ill-smelling sludge; pushing up, he summoned a rose only to have an avocado land near him and start hissing like a lit bomb. He ran up and kicked it away, the pineapple exploding just as it cleared the aisle. Fantastic.


The being launched itself over the aisle and threw a small white fruit at him and he threw his rose, cutting the projectile neatly in half and deactivating whatever it had been, but the golem kept coming, a naked blade in its hand. He had yet to unsheathe his sword. He jumped back, and immediately the creature fell in the other direction, something hard having struck it and bounced away. A pearlescent disk?


“Hold it right there!” a strong voice called from behind him, and he took the distraction to draw his sword before glancing back to see -- Usagi?! Transformed, she stood on an elevated manager’s office, Rin ducked behind her. “The supermarket is the people’s breadbasket of health! You’ve angered the fresh highland vegetables and melt-in-your-mouth shabu-shabu beef!” She posed, “I’m the Pretty Guardian that fights for Love and Justice, Princess Sailor Moon! In the name of the Moon, I’ll punish you!”


The golem puzzled over her and he pressed the advantage, moving to cut her down even as the golem raised its own blade to block him. They fought, Sailor Moon’s distraction having been just enough to throw the enemy’s concentration; he managed to kick it back, knocking it off balance, and the moment he separated from it Sailor Moon cried out, “Moon Princess Halation!” and the creature was bathed in sparkling moonlight before disintegrating before him. He looked over his shoulder up at her and she winked at him from her perch. Backup was nice, and so long as she kept out of the direct fighting it’d be… okay. Maybe. In any case, he had to destroy that crystal. He waved at her to show she didn’t have to come down and quickly made it to frozen foods, where he found the dark mass of crystal and threw a rose into it, causing a crack along its surface and the low hum of energy to cease. Job complete, he jumped atop the refrigerator isle and started making his way back over to Usagi to speak with her, Helios coasting beside him, when suddenly -


Not so fast now~” a sing-song voice called, and a purple-haired effeminate man appeared directly in front of him. Mamoru put on the breaks, only to have to jump backwards to the top of the shelving behind him to keep from falling, something his pale opponent seemed to be pleased with. He dared not look to Usagi and Rin, keeping his eyes tight on this new threat so it wouldn’t know they were there. “You did such a good job defeating my little toy, but I’d like to enjoy this,” the Archon continued, crossing his arms over his thin white shirt, “It’s not every planet that I get to come out and play with the locals. The name’s Horaios, second in command of the Archons “active” division.” He floated backwards, crossing his legs midair as he made a tsking sound, “And you, my little planetary guardian, have made someone very upset with you! Astaphiaos and Iaos had been with us for an extremely long time and Adonaios is most displeased that they are gone - they always came up with such good ideas for the reformation phase, you see. True,” he said, placing a finger dramatically on his cheek as he made a show of thinking, “We do have four new recruits to take their place, but Adonaios is not as favorable towards change as I am. Oh well~


The man - Horaios - disappeared, suddenly appearing in the space above him, floating upside down, “I hope you aren’t as disappointed by change as he is - one more point and your planet is about to see a big one. See you soon~


Horaios disappeared and immediately Helios followed suit; Mamoru hesitated, just to be sure the being was truly gone, before racing over to join Sailor Moon, Helios and Rin on their makeshift elevated platform. He grabbed onto the edge when he jumped and pulled himself up, crawling a step to be with them as Usagi quickly unfolded the map, uncapped a pen, and made a thick dot over the Supermarket. They scoured diagram, “Maybe here?” Sailor Moon indicated, pointing to a general area, “It’s emptiest.”


The inner circle has five points but the outer circle has only four now; if it had a fifth it would be in that area,” Helios seconded. “But where?


Anxiety strained all their voices; Mamoru furrowed his brow, wondering if they should just skip finding the last point and make it to Infinity Park before Demiurge appeared, but what would their plan be then? Fighting it? With the very energy it was attempting to take? Stopping the summoning may be the only way to --


“Hikawa Shrine,” Rin shakily stated. “It’s Hikawa Shrine.” He shuffled over, got down on his knees and pointed to the Shrine’s location, right around where they assumed the missing energy point would be. “It’s a five pointed star, not two circles,” Rin explained, not meeting their gaze. “The last Crystal Star Point is there.”


“Rin, are you sure?” Mamoru asked, demanding truth as he stared at that point on the map. It was where those buses had gone missing - where he had met Yuu. Usagi handed him the pen and he made the points connect as a star, each mark hitting precisely where it should have been to make the geometric arrangement.


“Yes,” Rin replied, and Mamoru stood, leaving the map where it was. He lifted Rin up and the kid wrapped his hands around his neck, tucking his head neatly in beside his collar as though it were instinctive, his legs, supported by Mamoru’s arm, doing their best to lock around Mamoru’s back; nodding to Sailor Moon, he followed her and Helios back out into the city, using their standard rooftop transportation route for as long as they could, though it seemed as though Usagi’s transformation did not aide in making long jumps as his cape had. He took her hand for those, propelling them both over the larger gaps to keep up their speed. As they left the larger buildings they soon landed among the trees of the Hikawa Shrine; he protected Rin’s head as they fell, tucking and rolling so he wouldn’t be hurt, and then hoisted him up into a tree to hide as he and Princess Sailor Moon inched closer, eyes and ears open for Horaios’s appearance.


Just how did Rin know this was the place, though? How did he know that it was a star? And the name - Crystal Star Points - it was as though he were well acquainted with them. Was he with the Archons or wasn’t he?! He wanted nothing more than to question him, to figure out his motives, his background; he had his suspicions, suspicions that bloomed as Luna explained the Demiurge and Archon methods, but there were still big pieces missing. If Rin was, as he suspected, the survivor of a planet already destroyed by Demiurge, how did he know so much about Usagi? Had he been one of those people of power the Archons had corrupted over to their side on that last world - the world he had seen Rin running through, the one he had seen destroyed when he had first held Rin’s hand? Was Rin an Archon, one that had escaped when they reached Earth, supposedly after learning of these Crystal Star Points? Were the Doom and Bloom Girls golems made by Horaios or Adoniaos that were trying to get him back before Rin could tell them of their plans? But what bothered him was that if that were true, if the pieces of Rin’s piece of the puzzle fit like that, why was he so attracted to Usagi? She had no energetic connection to the Earth - she would have no part in the Archon’s plans. Why, then, did Rin care? He wanted answers, but what he needed was to stop Horaios --


There he was.

___________________________



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[Story] Cardinal King (Arc Two)

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