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 [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon

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Sailor Neptune
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Sailor Neptune

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime27th September 2016, 2:55 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 OOPBN40

She accepted the offered tea cup and took a sip, wondering how long had it been since they had a relaxing day like this. She almost felt guilty that now it was Lady who had to carve out time out of her schedule to talk with her, when usually it was the other way around. She supposed this was why monarchs kept their position until they passed away. It was hard to leave what was known and familiar behind and to watch your children take up the mantle for you.

And Lady seemed so… sad. Or anxious. Serenity hadn’t been able to see the smiling, carefree princess of old for some time now, and she was terrified that she would leave Lady in this… state. What if she could never smile sincerely again? She made a mental prayer to the Silver Moon Crystal to hold on just a little bit more, at least until this situation with Helios was resolved.

Lady said there was nothing wrong, but even the most insensitive or oblivious person would be able to see that wasn’t true.

And then she attempted to elaborate, and seemed unable to finish any of her sentences. Finally, she ended it with another generic excuse, one that Serenity had heard a lot before, and one that she just knew wasn’t good enough. She was about to tell Lady that, when suddenly she saw her daughter’s eyes mist over. She looked so distressed and devastated that Serenity couldn’t hold it in any more.

She put down her cup and moved to Lady’s side, hugging her tightly and warmly. “Stop lying to yourself,” she chided softly. “Usa… tell me what’s wrong. Please,” she pleaded. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d spoken her daughter’s actual name, and that felt wrong. “Everything isn’t alright between you two, and ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away. Let me help you. I want to see you happy again, and this is breaking my heart.”

___________________________

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime27th September 2016, 4:55 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 WrGekha

It felt strange to wear civilian clothing, to not be addressed as "Mars" and instead be simply "Rei" again. She hadn't been just "Rei" for so long, she wasn't even certain who that woman was anymore.

Rei pulled at the sleeves covering her arm - she felt naked, exposed. She wore civilian clothing during her time meditating at Hikawa Shrine, but that was always in private, lost in her own thoughts. Clothing for a purpose. But that was the only exception. She was Sailor Mars, and she had embraced that fact and had rarely went out of her transformation throughout all of the years since Serenity's own coronation.

That was the past though, and now she had to try and adjust to her new life. Rei pulled at the shirt again. It was so flimsy, so foreign. Rei wanted to feel relieved about all of these changes, tried to convince herself to sleep and rest easy for the first time in so many years - it was no longer her job to worry and fret and make sure that the protections put in place were strong and sound.

But all she felt was off balanced, and wrong.

Rei breathed in deeply, and let it out slowly before entering the private room she had been called to. She didn't know what Ami wanted to talk to them all about - were these kinds of meetings even necessary anymore now that they had laid their duties to rest?

But as she took in the familiar faces of her friends - decidedly ignoring their attire - Rei felt a little better. She gave a half smile of acknowledgement, her eyes lingering on Minako, before finding herself a seat.

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Professor Tomoe

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime27th September 2016, 6:29 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 EMmE3xC

When she felt those familiar arms around her, the defenses she'd been trying so hard to hold up for so long finally wavered and broke down. She felt like a child again, bathed in that love and warmth, safe and secure. Like a soft breath towards a blooming white fluff of a dandelion, it scattered her resolve. The tears she had been fighting could no longer be held back. Her delicate hands reached for her mother, in this moment barely noticing the new frailty to the former queen's form as they wrapped around her. All of her fears and concerns and frustrations seemed to reach a boiling point. Her mother's shoulder muffled the sobs.

Lady cried until she couldn't; until there was nothing else left. The weeping that wracked her body eventually quieted... calmed. The breaths slowed and evened. Lady sat just upright enough to brush the residual tears from her eyes, now thoroughly red just like a rabbit's. She sighed, then relaxed back into the embrace.

"I haven't seen Helios in... a while," she said softly, every word feeling like a guilty confession. At least she didn't have to look up and see her mother's eyes this way. Mama and Papa... their relationship was perfectdestined, even. Would she understand...?

"I think... maybe he doesn't want to see me. I didn't want to bother him. He... So much time has passed, and so much has happened. Yet... he hasn't changed. But I... have."

Could she put her fears into words? She had been so young when they first met. So innocent and pure, filled with all the potential of a new bud. It was that girl—Chibi Usa—that he had sought out and befriended. She loved him because he was kind... because he listened to her. He valued her, even when she felt overlooked by so many others. He protected her because she had beautiful dreams... Did she still have those dreams, now? Helios seemed to have remained the same, but Chibi Usa had grown up. She had gone through so much as Sailor Chibi Moon and as a sailor soldier in her own right. As a princess learning to rule.  Was her maturity her undoing, something that had changed and marred the brightness that he had once cherished? Now she felt so adrift... did she have any dreams left?

She dipped her head lower, the wet lashes barely holding back another course of tears.

"Maybe... I'm not his maiden after all..."
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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime27th September 2016, 7:15 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 FaNHv96

Saturn was waiting outside Lady's study, leaning against the wall, seemingly lost in her own thoughts. As Ceres exited the room, she looked at the young guardian. "Well?"

Ceres shrugged and shook her head. "She seems alright, but... It is impossible to read her. Why don't you try, Hotaru-chan? She always opens up the most to you."

Her eyes drifted off to the floor. "I suppose so. Maybe later."

Ever since their conversation before the ceremony, she had been meaning to raise the subject again. She actually wasn't expecting anything when she inquired about Helios back then -- she knew they were not seeing each other that often recently, but she hadn't thought more of it. However, Chibiusa's hesitant response alarmed her.

And if he really did not attend her coronation... Then something was definitely up. Even if she was not exactly sure what. It was not like the priest of Elysion to act like this.

She wanted to talk to her again, but she wasn't sure how to go about it. For starters, she did not like constantly bringing her best friend down, digging through the subjects she was desperately trying to avoid... But that was a necessary evil, she supposed. She would have to face the truth, whatever that truth actually was. Denial would not fix things -- they would only come back to suffocate her at some point.

More importantly though, she simply did not know what to say. What kind of advice could she give to her? Saturn was far from a relationship expert. That was something she had never really bothered with -- after all, she knew that there would always be someone more important in her life.

"Let's just go for now," she told Ceres, letting out a sigh. "The others are waiting for us."

As they were leaving, Saturn caught a glimpse of the former queen deep down the corridor. Right. She was by far the most suitable person for such a conversation, she realized at that moment. Of course, she couldn't be sure if her visit to her daughter actually had anything to do with this, but she felt confident that this was not something her friend's mother would not notice. In fact, she had probably seen this long before Saturn.

___________________________

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 GBjQ73R [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 NFLwlk7 [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 TbtdX6E [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 1jF8Tdu [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 KN21eXC
[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 DAxXZC5 [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 PST6UD2 [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Adminm11 [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Stamp_rainbow_by_tsuki_no_kagayaki-d7gil3t [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 J9FkIOw [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 UE6R4jw [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 ZMIrfsf [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 HehHIQk
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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime27th September 2016, 11:42 pm

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 QTecmB9

Ami greeted Makoto back as she entered the room, and as the rest of her friends trickled in, she felt even worse about what she had to say. But this was what she and Venus had decided. They needed to know how much time they had left. And as for Endymion... Ami had no idea how she was going to talk about Helios to him. Lady had been so distant to the priest that she wasn't sure how their new Queen would react to the news. 

She waited for the rest of the people she expected to filter in, and then began her "presentation". Thinking of it like a project instead of a terminal diagnosis made her throat a little less tight as she spoke.

"I asked you all to be here today because... I had noticed something else when I was monitoring Serenity's health as of late," Ami said. The projector next to her flickered to life, and it showed a set of line charts.

"These are all the energy outputs of our star seeds, mapped out in graph form. The silver line is the Silver Crystal." The line was slowly but surely declining as it was drawn from left to right, a downward curve. "And the other colored lines are us."

A new set of lines, each one a different color, were added to the silver graph. As soon as the silver line began to plummet, the other lines copied it not long after, though at a slower rate. 

"Serenity isn't the only one that's slowing down. Maybe it's because of how connected well all are after so many times we've combined our forces, or maybe we as a court were always meant to end together, but... we don't have a lot of time left." Ami took her eyes off her own graph and looked at Endymion.

"But the Golden Crystal doesn't seem to be following this pattern. Instead, I've been... um... keeping track of Helios, and..." she paused, trying to describe it. "His star seed is fading as well..." He'd been around since the Silver Millennium, and with no reincarnation, it might have been his natural time to pass, but it just didn't seem fair to anyone.
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Sailor Neptune
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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime28th September 2016, 1:21 pm

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 11j0jQz

She watched the presentation impassively, already knowing what was about to be said. Instead, she looked at the faces of each of her friends, wondering what was going through their minds in the face of their own mortality, after being immortal for so long. Would they, too, feel relief that they would soon be following Serenity? That they did not have to linger long without her? But what about those who would be leaving their children motherless?

Minako’s attention snapped back to Ami when she said that the Golden Crystal appeared to be fine. Instantly, she felt torn; devastated for Endymion that he would have to continue on without Serenity, but also relief that the new queen would at least have one parent left.

However… one thing she did not expect was the fact that Helios of all people was fading. Her heart ached as she thought of Lady. Was she going to lose both her mother and the man she loved? They weren’t even married yet!

Was this why they weren’t married yet? Because Helios knew what was happening to him?

“Thank you, Ami. I urge the rest of you all to ask the questions you might have, and then, to take care of your affairs. I would like to do the latter, so excuse me.”

She stood up, then as she passed by Rei, she whispered, “Meet me in my room when you’re done. We need to talk.”

She quietly closed the door as she exited, her mind whirling as she made her way back to her room. Should she tell Serenity about this? No, what was the point? But probably about Helios, though… Then again, she had a sneaking suspicion Endymion might attempt something about that. Probably best to wait.

Minako opened the door to her room, and to her surprise, she found Artemis on her bed.

It seemed like it had been ages since the two of them were hanging out alone in her room without any pressing official business to attend to.

Minako wondered if the cats were fading, too. Ami hadn’t mentioned it, but they probably were. Artemis probably ought to know that he was going to be leaving his daughter soon.

Gods, he would be so heartbroken. And poor Diana…

Nonetheless, she couldn’t help but smile as she saw Artemis rolling around in the sun like an ordinary cat, seemingly without any care in the world. She could almost pretend he was just a regular white cat, a long time friend without all the complications.

“Hey, buddy,” she said lightly as she moved to her bed, and sat down on it with a force hard enough to bounce him. “Haven’t seen you lazing around like this in a while. Retirement is nice, huh?”

___________________________

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 4ttFPcD[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 E2wqfIi [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Mercurysig [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Ft6DXry[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Wedding1
[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 YgSg9XS [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 J9FkIOw [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 E92foQg [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 GGOnOmH [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 T6HQwOw [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 ZMIrfsf [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 4JvDpxl [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 EfXLP8m 
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Sailor Neptune

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime28th September 2016, 1:39 pm

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 OOPBN40

Serenity tried hard to be strong for her daughter, but she couldn’t help tearing up as she saw Lady cry. It was always heartbreaking to see your child cry, no matter the age of either party. At the same time, she was relieved that Lady was letting it all out instead of keeping it bottled inside like she had been for a long time now. In this moment, she could only hug her tight, and hope to the gods that she wasn’t forced to let go before all this was properly resolved.

She waited, patiently, until all the tears had come out, until her daughter calmed down enough to speak again, and caressed Lady’s hair with one hand while her other one rubbed her back comfortingly. It felt so nostalgic, like holding Small Lady when she was little all over again. Serenity still remembered, a millennia ago, when she was holding that tiny bundle of pink-haired baby, thinking how fragile she looked and how precious she was all at once. Again, the knowledge that soon she would have to let go broke her heart.

She listened when Lady spoke, trying to understand what was going on. Insecurity crept into Lady’s words, and Serenity found it achingly familiar.

“That is a very silly thought, Usa,” she chided gently, after Lady had finished. “But I completely understand why you’d think that way. Do you have any idea how many times I felt afraid of losing your father? How I was acutely aware of how coveted he was; how smart, handsome, and kind he is, while I was just a silly clumsy and crybaby girl who wasn’t even good at anything? I wondered every day if he was with me just because destiny said so, or if he really chose me. Every time I met a girl he knew, a more mature and capable woman who seemingly would make a better match for him, I felt afraid. Afraid that one day he would wake up and realize I wasn’t worth ‘forever’ after all.”

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, putting herself back into the shoes of her teenage years’ self. “So many enemies were always after him. Using him against me. Trying to take him from me. Every time he didn’t answer my call soon enough, or every time he stayed away a little bit too long, I worried. I thought… ‘This is it. This must be the time I lose him for good.’ But… the thing is, sweetheart, I was wrong. Every time.”

She opened her eyes and looked directly into Lady’s. “He never, not once, chose to walk away from me, no matter the situation. You can’t let your fears win. Unless he directly tells you he doesn’t want to be with you anymore—and sometimes not even then—you shouldn’t assume anything. You’ll only hurt yourself that way.”

She squeezed her daughter’s arms gently. “I believe Helios is as honorable as your father. He would not walk away from you for no reason. You have to talk to him. Find out what’s really going on. Force him, if you have to. These men… they like to suffer alone,” she shook her head with a small smile, remembering how Mamoru used to always keep his problems to himself in order not to worry her. “Tell him you want answers. Or you’ll be trapped forever in this uncertainty with only your own fears to accompany you.”

___________________________

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 4ttFPcD[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 E2wqfIi [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Mercurysig [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Ft6DXry[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Wedding1
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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime28th September 2016, 2:25 pm

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Fq6Xhqi

Artemis was close to dozing off when the door opened. He looked at the blonde girl with hazy eyes. "Oh! Hey Mina," he only managed to say before she plopped onto the bed, causing him to bounce up and down. That woke him up for good.

"Well, I can't complain," he grinned. "It's a nice change after all this time. And it's even better knowing that the job is on such capable paws. Have you just seen her?" His face was beaming with pride. "She's so devoted to her work, always running about, handling herself so professionally..." he trailed off.

"I hope she will be okay and not burn herself out, though. I always did have her mother by my side..." he said more thoughtfully, but then a sly smile returned to his face. "I can't wait for the day I meet her own important person. He'd better be worthy of her."

Leaving his little sunny spot, he jumped on Mina's lap. "What about you? What do you think of retirement so far?" he asked in return.

"So, what was that gathering about, anyway?" he casually inquired, bracing himself for her response. He was not particularly optimistic about it.

___________________________

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Sailor Neptune
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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime28th September 2016, 3:13 pm

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 11j0jQz

Minako’s heart sank as Artemis talked about Diana with such pride, and then about how he hoped she would find her own important person someday. How can I tell him he might never see that day…?

She bit her lip, trying not to cry. Avoiding eye contact was suddenly harder when he jumped onto her lap.

“Retirement is… nice, if a little boring,” she said, not lying exactly.

As he went ahead and asked about the meeting, she swallowed, strengthening her resolve. Then she looked him in the eye.

“Artemis… you know Serenity’s fading, right? Well… as her senshi… we are all tied to her crystal in more ways than one. Ami told us that we’re probably going to follow her soon after she’s gone.”

She turned to look out the window, to the bright sunshine that seemed offensive when she had such a difficult news to tell.

“I don’t know… it’s the end of an era. We have a new queen now. We can’t all live forever.”

As much as they would like to think so. “But… there is always reincarnation, right? We go back to the Cauldron only to be reborn again.”

She gritted her teeth and willed herself not to cry. “I’m going to miss you. I hope we’ll meet each other again in the next life.”

___________________________

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Hikari-chan
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Hikari-chan

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime28th September 2016, 4:46 pm

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Nqeh0j13

Makoto sat at the table absorbing the information Ami was telling her. She was already in pain at the thought of losing Serenity but when Ami said their own lifelines were ending, Makoto felt her heart sink. A part of her knew this may have been likely. She was so connected to Serenity. There was also a part of her though that selfishly wished she didn't have to die, she just got back her life, she was finally able to spend time with Motoki and thier children and now she was going to be leaving them.

How could she leave them behind? How could she even tell them?

Makoto stood, 

"Excuse me, I am going to tend to some things." 

She left the room and walked back to her own room, slowly. Ami's words played over and over again in her mind. She was going to die and soon.

She walked into her room and saw Motoki playing with their children. She sat down on the floor with her family with a smile on her face. She would tell Motoki later, but right now all Makoto wanted was to spend some time with her family and build some happy memories in her last days with them.

___________________________

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Light
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Light

Roleplaying Moderator

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime29th September 2016, 4:17 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Fq6Xhqi

Again, he had already figured out they hadn't gathered to enjoy tea and biscuits. But that kind of news still caught him by surprise. For a while he was simply staring at Mina, unsure of what to say.

It's not as if it didn't make sense. They were already surpassing the lifespan of the queen herself, the way they were. It was only logical that if she was approaching the finish line, so would those linked to her.

But even so, that did not make this revelation any less shocking. Reason was not something that tended to prevail under such circumstances.

He jumped on the windowsill, looking at the gardens outside. "You've already known this for a while, haven't you," he finally said with his gaze still averted, more as a statement than an actual question.

He wondered if it would be the same for Luna and himself. Their entire lives had been devoted to guiding the queen and the leader of the senshi, after all - with them gone, what purpose would they serve?

He didn't want to imagine a life without his best friend and partner, either way. He had no idea how Luna would cope with it. But he did hope they could hang around a little longer for Diana. Would she be okay?

After a somewhat long pause, he looked back at Mina and offered her a rather forced, but not entirely insincere, smile. "Of course we'll meet again, silly. What would you possibly do without me?"

"Well," he continued, jumping on her shoulder and then straight back onto her lap. "If you have to go... If we have to go... Let's make sure we have no regrets, right?" He offered his friend a knowing wink.

___________________________

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Sailor Saturn
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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime29th September 2016, 5:56 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 WrGekha

Rei went over the words again in her head. She sat there, back straight and eyes boring into whatever was in front of her. She didn't move even as Makoto left, and Minako whispered to her before doing the same. Rei wondered if she sat here long enough, she could simply ignore that Ami had said anything at all.

It wasn't her own death that bothered her - she had accepted death many times in the past, and would throw her life away in an instant if it would protect Serenity for just a little longer. But having to come to terms with the fact that nearly every single person that she loved would be gone soon... It felt as though she had failed them all.

No wonder the flames would no longer speak to her. There was literally nothing to show her.

Rei finally moved, letting her rigid muscles relax. She had to admit, there was a kind of relief hidden amongst all the anger - she knew that they had all worked so long, given everything they had for this planet. The promise of being able to finally rest, truly rest, was comforting.

But at the same time, her entire being balked at the mere idea. It had been her job, her personal goal, to protect everyone, to make sure her friends and her Queen would live no matter what the cost. But what how could she possible fight against something like this?

A part of her wanted to refuse to believe it. But it had been Ami who told them, and it was impossible to think that Ami would be wrong in this. Rei had never doubted Ami before, and she wouldn't now either.

Rei looked over to Ami then, flashes of memories playing within her mind. Ami had been her first true friend. Before Minako, before Makoto and even before she had truly understood - or even liked - Usagi, there had been Ami. Sweet and unassuming, kind and soft but with her own strength that no one should ever underestimate. The two of them came from such polar opposite approaches to things, analytical science versus spiritual belief - but they worked together so well, filling out each other rather than butting heads.

"How are you doing?" Rei asked, scanning the other woman, half-expecting Ami to begin fading right before her eyes. "How long have you known?"

How long have you dealt with this by yourself?

___________________________

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Professor Tomoe
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Professor Tomoe

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime29th September 2016, 6:37 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 EMmE3xC

Mama always made it sound easy. Lady was listening, trying to absorb the life lessons, but it was just so hard to draw parallels between the miracle romance of her parents and her own floundering relationship. As Chibi Usa she remembered witnessing Usagi's jealousy when the pair was young, some of it even directed at her! But throughout all of it, even with Usagi's perception of the situation, at the time Chibi Usa understood exactly who Mamoru loved: Usagi. That was visible to everyone else like a beacon, regardless of the worries that sometimes clouded the eyes of the young woman who loved him.

In her case, in this era, to others Helios's affection was simply expected. It was different when she first met him, in the 20th century. When he called her "maiden" and appeared in her dreams, begging for help to save the beautiful crystal forests of his sacred land. He was one of the first people to truly listen to what she had to say; someone she came to trust and respect, relying on his input to navigate the confusing waters of growing up. At times, Chibi Usa had been more honest with the mysterious Pegasus than she had with anyone else... even as she kept some of her deepest fears locked in her heart. In time, even those were opened to him. She was so young and so accustomed to feeling lost and alone... but he made her feel important. Like she mattered.

That was so long ago. Their friendship rekindled into a budding romance when she established herself as a young woman in the 30th century... but there was something missing. Something lost in the years and time travel that surrounded it. She was too shy now to assume the familiarity they had known in that time, too self-conscious of her actions and self-critical of her feelings. He seemed... aloof. Their brief moments of passionate romance confused her; she couldn't ignore the feelings of guilt that sprang up immediately, wondering if the priest would think less of her for expressing her feelings in these ways. In every aspect of their relationship he never pressured her, which she appreciated, but he never took the lead. It felt like he was pulling away. Concerned that it was related to something on her part, she also took a step back, emotionally and physically. And then so did he. This began the regression that slowly stagnated at their current situation: Helios absent; Lady afraid to speak.

Even when Mamoru tried to pull away, he was drawn back to Usagi like a moth to a flame. They all were. Her brightness and warmth was undeniable and irresistible. And Usagi, too, would never have let him stay alone. She was always there to provide companionship and comfort to everyone, even those who did not realize how much they needed it. Somehow, Mama and Papa seemed to understand the depth of each other's emotion. The surface might ripple with concerns and momentary doubt, but the waters below were warm and soothing. Eternal.

Lady couldn't say that was true with Helios.

Still, she knew that one part of what her mother said was absolutely right. If she wanted to know—if she wanted to end this stalemate—she had to ask. She had tried before, but the fear of his answer—the fear of the end she felt so afraid that he must want—paralyzed her.

But was it worse living like this, without accepting it?

Lady took a deep breath, uncurling her clenched fingers. Her voice was barely a whisper, even though it was clear she was trying to gather her courage.

"You're right. I need to talk to him. I just... I don't know what I'll do if he says... we're over."
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Professor Tomoe
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Professor Tomoe

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime29th September 2016, 6:49 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 GfYeDYH

Busy. Diana had never been this busy in her entire life.

She had also never felt this fulfilled!

The lavender cat seemed like merely a blur as she zipped about the palace, her waking hours now fully consumed with royal duties. She had taken on alll of the things that her parents had done and somehow managed to add even more to her task list. The faint jingle of the bell on her collar always foretold her appearance; it was quickly becoming a sign that the castle staff and the Queen's guardians kept a close ear out for. They knew it heralded something important.

Diana's no-nonsense attitude and overwhelming politeness quickly endeared any who may have had reservations about handing the reigns of control over from the established pair of Luna and Artemis. Even those who remembered her as a tiny kitten could not deny that she was an accomplished adult feline now, perfectly suited for the tasks at hand. Her deep red eyes faithfully monitored the control room. Her high-pitched voice answered questions and broadcast requests both in person and across the system. The soft padding of her feet moved rapidly down every corridor, never slackening in their determined pace.

Today, as every day, there was much to be done. And she was so proud to do it—so proud to be assisting Small Lady in her new role as queen.

Diana embraced her work with a full heart, happy to have given her hardworking parents the opportunity to retire. They deserved it. They had served the court so well for so long, ever since Queen Serenity and the Moon Kingdom. She hoped they were enjoying their new leisure time, if they even knew what to do with it!
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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime30th September 2016, 3:36 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 11j0jQz

“Yes,” she answered without hesitation, even as guilt clawed inside her.

The implied conclusion hung in the air—that he and Luna, too, would probably go through the same thing. But she still couldn’t voice it out loud. It didn’t feel right somehow.

Minako waited tensely for a moment, wondering if Artemis would be angry with her for not mentioning it sooner—she had given herself more time to prepare for this than him, after all—but then he turned and smiled, albeit not quite happily. And the teasing words…

Tears blurred her eyes as she nodded, unable to say anything else.

As he returned to her lap, she smiled. “I’ll totally help you fulfill your bucket list. Tell me what naughty things you have always wanted to do and you know I’m there. I know everybody has some.”

Well, maybe not Luna. But that was why Artemis was her cat.

___________________________

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JupiterThunderCrash
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JupiterThunderCrash

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime30th September 2016, 9:57 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 QTecmB9

Ami was silent as Minako briefly took over to end the announcement, and then left the room. Knowing her, Minako was already almost done with organizing what needed doing once she was gone, but Ami didn't make a move to stop her.Watching Makoto stand up and leave was a little harder. She could see the pain in her friend's eyes, but there was nothing she could do about it...

Just to have something to do beyond stand there and watch anyone else's hearts break, she moved to her computer and started closing out the program she had used. She too had some things to take care of, now that things were officially more public. 

Ami had the foresight to handle all her job and research related concerns as soon as she realized what was going to happen. Her medical work would be publicly accessible for anyone who was interested,along with her other multitudes of projects in the form of digital books. The only thing that was left was approaching her family about this, though with Ryo, he might have seen this event coming by now. She smiled slightly to herself, her face hidden by the computer monitor.

He was always a step ahead of her thought process when she least expected it.

She looked up at Rei when she spoke, surprised that the room wasn't completely empty yet. 

"How am I doing? I'm...coping as well as I can," she answered, watching the computer shut down. She looked down again, recalling the first time she had stumbled upon the news.

"I knew since Serenity began to weaken. It wasn't long after I began monitoring her, but it took a while for me to be completely certain." Ami glanced up again after taking a a slow breath.

"I'm surprised you didn't follow Minako out."
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Sailor Uranus
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Sailor Uranus

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime1st October 2016, 9:01 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Zh90GLM
Graphs. Lines on charts depicting life. Endymion was used to reading such displays, but to suddenly be shown Serenity’s exact decline in a clear timeframe dulled his emotions considerably. His eyes traced the silver line slowly as Ami spoke, from the steady constant to the near-inverse quadratic that marked her decline. His eyes traced over every upward bump on the line – her good days – but it was obvious that the line would continue its downward descent towards…
 
But how long? If the trend continued, they could determine how long she had left, could plan out what was going to happen and when and figure the best way to approach it – was that the purpose of this meeting? He at once embraced and rejected the notion, though appreciated it all the same; there was power in knowing, even if it was something you did not want to know, and certainly knowing when… when it would happen, would ease their anxiety – or his at least. He did not want to know, and yet now the possibility of knowing was presented to him he could not help but wait expectantly for Ami to continue, to click forward and add at least the x-axis parameters to inform them whether they had years, or months, or… weeks. He leaned forward, his hands clasped on the table, his jaw set in preparation for the possibility the results would reveal they had but days left with her –
 
But that wasn’t what the meeting was about.
 
As other lines joined the first, his grip loosened, feeling blindsided by the abrupt turn in information. This wasn’t about a timeline for Serenity’s decline, but… red, orange, blue, and green lines appeared, their initial line lower than Serenity’s, but just as steady, until her decline; then they, too, dipped downward, losing their lifeforce along with hers, though their decline was not nearly as steep. The darker colors on the graph – turquoise and midnight blue – followed after another delay; he waited expectantly for the golden line to appear, for scientific fact to trump what he felt morning after morning, but when Ami turned her blue eyes to him, he knew what she would confirm before she spoke.
 
But the Golden Crystal doesn’t seem to be following this pattern. The statement was a death sentence in its own way; they would all be joining her in time, but he would not. This was where it ended, their miracle romance, with his life stretching on endlessly as she and her senshi moved on without him, away from his grasp until nature decided to take its course. The dull ache at the bottom of his heart flared, but he took solace in that he could be there for –  Helios?!
 
He had lost track of the conversation, but the mention of Helios brought him back in full force, his mind retracing words half heard to put the picture together. Helios was dying, instead of him?! Thousands of possible explanations raced through his mind, but each and every one of them were stopped by the anger that had been instantly rekindled in the wake of this new information, one phrase driving it forward, urging it to fruition: Did he know?
 
Endymion stood, barely able to nod, and left the room. He must have known. His long strides carried him purposefully through the crystalline hallways, his hands in fists, his gaze dead ahead towards his destination.  Serenity felt it, none of the others looked surprised by the news – they knew, so he must also know. He turned sharply, heading to the golden doors with leaf-like filigree, and pushed them open roughly. The guards on either side were startled, but they snapped to attention quickly, saying nothing as their former King ascended the platform and disappeared; his furious gaze had been enough to deter questions.

___________________________


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Sailor Uranus
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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime1st October 2016, 10:31 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Zh90GLM
He appeared in Elysion and knew where Helios was without having to activate his crystal; even the startling beauty of the paradise surrounding him did nothing to alleviate the fury as he strode through, the Maenads seeing his approach and quietly bowing and leaving the garden. In the distance a Pegasus called, and his target rose in response from a garden bed ahead, turned to see who was approaching, and as their eyes met, Helios dropped to the ground, kneeling with respect; the gesture did nothing for Endymion but reveal the pain the move had caused in Helios, fully convincing him that Helios knew he was dying in the same way Serenity was – but, still, he could not strike at a kneeling person, so he stopped abruptly before him, once again missing the finality of a cape in actions like that, and scowled down at the priest clad in white.
 
“Does she know?”
 
His words were cold and passionless, completely opposite of his feelings within, but he had always been good at that.
 
Helios looked up at him, feigning curiosity, but the act dropped immediately once their gazes met again. “No,” he replied simply, returning his gaze to the ground at Endymion’s feet.
 
The honesty should’ve helped the situation, but it didn’t. “When were you going to tell her?” he pressed, his voice still even, yet filled with distaste, a distaste that grew as moments stretched on without an answer from Helios. He let the silence grow, but the priest was even more patient than he. The answer evident, Endymion replied for him. “You weren’t going to tell her.”
 
“I thought it would be for the best,” Helios returned quietly, his words interrupting Endymion’s assertion, and Endymion interrupted him in turn –
 
You thought—“ He snarled, but caught himself, taking in a deep breath as he stared down at the priest, “Stand up,” he ordered, looking away, “I am no longer your King, and I would speak eye-to-eye with the man who intends to break my daughter’s heart.”
 
He saw Helios flinch in his periphery at the last, and took some understanding from it. The priest removed his fist from his breast and rose. “I will stand,” he replied softly, but as his turquoise eyes stared back at him, his voice grew stronger. “but you will always be my King.”
 
The sentiment did not miss home; Endymion and Helios had always been connected – while not close friends, their relationship had always been something else, something undefinable, almost as a mirror image – one on the outside world, one on the inside, but the power base and structure had always been one sided and each had been completely separate from the other; while he used to wonder if Serenity and Luna would have shared a similar relationship had the Moon Kingdom survived in an alternate form, he was sparing no such time for explanations and ruminations today. Helios had been quick and determined in his answer, yet had left out any mention of the subject matter and Endymion intended to push him on it. “Strong words, and yet you neglected to tell me, your ‘King’, of your crystal’s energy fading. When we learned what was happening to Serenity I was here, telling you, so you would know what to expect and you could be there for Usa when she needed it, and yet you told me nothing, and you told her nothing. How long have you known, Helios?! And what of breaking her heart?” he continued, his voice filled with an unspoken warning, “How long were you planning on stringing her along?! How much of her life had you intended to waste?! Did you enjoy standing her up at her coronation?!”
 
Throughout the line of anger-fueled questioning, Helios’s gaze remained firm, as though embracing the fallout of his own decisions and accepting the accompanying guilt with grace.
 
And there he saw the faintest hints of himself from a life long past. Simply laying the accusations out in the open had exhausted most of his ire, seeing Helios’s reaction as non-inflammatory left only the honest questions behind. Taking a quiet breath to calm himself, Endymion pressed, “Tell me, Helios; I need to know.” To explain it to her. To help her make sense of this. To condemn you properly, else help you mend this before it is too late.
 
Helios seemed to understand, as he always had with Endymion, that now was the most effective time to reply. “I had intended to fade away,” he replied, his gaze moving finally to a group of pink roses that bloomed near them, “to become no more than the dream she once believed me to be. I had realized years ago that continuing to chase what we could have had was cruel to her – holding her to promises we made a thousand years ago, while she was still a child, was wrong, despite any feelings I may have had; she has her entire life ahead of her, and a bright future to look forward to, a people to lead towards that beautiful horizon she has envisioned; I am a relic of an age twice past, I have no place beside her, and was cruel to even attempt to rekindle the spark we once had. That my power and life-force is waning is just further proof that we were not meant to be – a dream best left in the past, where it belonged.
 

“It is my belief that if I continue to pull away, and continue to give her reasons to doubt me, she could forget about me sooner, and my passing will have little effect on her.” He turned his gaze back to Endymion, who watched him closely. “When you told me of Serenity’s decline, I did not wish to burden you with mine as well; your life will long outlive both of ours, Endymion; Elysion’s power – your power – is still strong and vibrant as ever; as long as there is life on Earth, the Golden Crystal will not wane. Losing Serenity, the love of your life,” he turned aside, back to the pink roses, “and knowing that you will long outlive her… that would be painful enough without the complications of an old priest.”

___________________________


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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime1st October 2016, 11:15 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 OOPBN40

“He wouldn’t say that,” Serenity assured her daughter. “Well… at least, not without a good explanation. And I don’t think there’s any plausible explanation for that.” She frowned, hoping she was right. Even after all these years, she never really got to know Helios as a person that well. Although he’d once asked for her and Chibiusa’s help, Chibiusa had been the one who really bonded with him.

“In any case, do talk first. We’ll figure out the rest from there.” She nodded decisively. If she appeared sure enough, perhaps Usa would believe her.

Her gaze softened. “Now, I think I’ll leave you to your work. I shouldn’t keep you away from them for too long.” Serenity smiled and brushed Lady’s hair aside gently. “Everything is going to be okay, whatever happens. You’re a strong young lady and you will be able to overcome any challenges you face. We all believe in you.”

Serenity leaned forward to kiss her daughter’s forehead and squeeze her hand reassuringly, then stood up to leave. She made it as far as outside the door, before suddenly everything within her just crumbled.

Darkness took her, and she collapsed to the ground, unconscious.

___________________________

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime1st October 2016, 11:33 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Zh90GLM
Helios had handled the situation poorly, but he had done something similar when he was younger. He may refer to himself as an old priest, but Helios’s lack experience with other people made Endymion the older of the two, despite being physically over a thousand years his junior. He had been trying to protect Small Lady in his own way, misguided though those ways were; and despite any doubts he had had before, the sight of the pink roses and the regret in his voice as he spoke of Endymion’s own situation – surely a foil to Helios’s own – was enough to prove without a doubt in Endymion’s mind that Helios still loved his daughter, and that, though their time may be short, making up now and figuring all of this out between them would be undoubtedly better than what Helios had in mind.
 
And, perhaps… Helios would not need to be in that situation for long. An idea churned at the back of his mind, and as his subconscious worked it through, he reached out, putting a hand on Helios’s shoulder, and shook his head, “You need to talk to her. Simply disappearing won’t make her forget about you; think of it from her point of view – her mother is dying, and the man she loves is slowly abandoning her. She’s ascended the throne alone, and having her wonder if what you had was all in her head will just make things harder on her later.” He subtly moved so his hand was on Helios’s back, propelling the shorter man forward slowly, and walking by his side. “Speak with her, Helios. Tell her how you –“
 

Endymion’s eyes flew open as something within him cracked painfully and the world fell out from beneath his feet. He stumbled, falling to his knees, his chest heaving breath to breath as his heart convulsed in pain, an immeasurable loss teasing at his soul. Serenity. Gasping painfully, he forced air to his lungs as he threw himself forward, struggling to his feet in a dead run back towards the teleportation pad.

___________________________


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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime1st October 2016, 11:48 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Fq6Xhqi

Artemis briefly grinned at Mina's comment about naughty desires, though his grin was shortly replaced by a blush. "I-- I would very much appreciate if you were not there, Mina!"

Brushing those thoughts aside, he smiled again at her. "But yeah. Same goes to you. Despite your link to Serenity, you are still your own person, Mina. You are more than just a guardian. Never forget that."

"Thanks for telling me," he finished. "It's good to know. Though worrying about what will happen won't do anything either way, so... I guess I might as well enjoy being a lazy cat for a bit," he said with a sheepish smile. Leaving her lap, he returned to his comfortable spot and resumed playfully rolling in the sun.

___________________________

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime1st October 2016, 1:52 pm

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 FaNHv96

Saturn was walking a little behind the Quartet, rather absent-mindedly. She was still wondering if the former queen was paying her daughter a casual visit, or if she was about to have a long overdue conversation with her.

Someone had to.

Well, she supposed she would have to pry that out of her friend later. She had to know too -- she couldn't just keep watching her friend bottle up her feelings like that and do nothing.

At the very least she would have to give her sorry excuse of a boyfriend a piece of her mind.

Anyway, for now, she should focus on the task at hand. Not that anything was out of the ordinary, either way. It was only a routine inspection. So she simply kept walking along, a little quicker now to catch up to the other girls' pace.

But suddenly, a momentary feeling of dread overwhelmed her. It was gone as soon as it came, but it caused Saturn to stop in her tracks.

Chibiusa-chan!

For an instant, she thought that something could have happened to her. But the Quartet did not seem alarmed at all -- Saturn was sure that they, too, would have sensed something if that were the case.

However, Saturn had learnt not to ignore her intuition.

"I need to head back to the palace to check on something. You go on ahead," she addressed her fellow guardians as she began making her way back, slow at first, then faster and faster as she was out of their sight.

___________________________

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime3rd October 2016, 6:20 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 EMmE3xC

She had moved towards her desk, ready to do as her mother suggested and return to her work. Lady had a lot to think about, and a quite a few things to do—both for her kingdom and herself. These thoughts were on her mind as her mother kissed her forehead and left, Lady already wondering how she could manage to meet Helios, both dreading the future encounter and acknowledging the necessity of such a thing. It was definitely time to speak the unspoken words and learn the truth, whatever it might be. So lost in her own thoughts, she didn't watch her mother exit the room, only heard the sound of the door opening and then closing.

Until a bolt of panic shot through her heart. Lady staggered with the sensation, her ruby eyes wide and body trembling.

Mama...!

She spun on her heel so fast that she nearly snapped her ankle, but it felt so slow. Every step forward seemed to take ages and bring her no closer to the door. The door! It was not a massive office. Her desk was not so far back from visitors. She had crossed this threshold and found herself in the center of it so easily this morning. So why was it now, when she absolutely had to get out, that it felt like an eternity?

Her hands fumbled to open the door, the panic in her chest rising with every passing second. An invisible clock ticked loudly in her mind, tracking the time and amplifying her sense of horror. When she wrenched it open and spilled out into the hallway, a froth of pink chiffon and disheveled rosy hair, what she saw immediately dropped her to her knees.

"Mama!" she cried, voice shrill. She was a little girl again, the exhausted collapse too familiar, too much like the body that had laid encased in crystal all those years ago. "Oh no, Mama!"
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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime3rd October 2016, 6:31 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 GfYeDYH

She rounded the corner, humming happily to herself. A hard day's work was truly agreeing with Diana. This was exactly the sort of thing she could get used to. A routine she could settle into and not feel bored or lazy. This was the general feeling in her spirit as she made her way towards the new queen's study, important information and some normal updates to be delivered. She preferred to do this part in person, to make sure she was checking in.

The lithe feline had turned down another corridor when she felt a sudden sense of unease. It was a strange shiver down her spine, extremely unpleasant. Her whiskers vibrated and her ears twitched, searching for the source. She couldn't quite pin down the details...

And then she heard a scream from a familiar voice.

Small Lady...!

Diana broke into a run, sliding slightly but catching herself expertly as she darted towards the study. She could tell that the queen was there, somehow. She could always find Small Lady. They were closer than friends or even sisters. They were sympathetic souls.

Her own sense of worry mounted spectacularly when she saw the young woman crouched down in the hallway. Only as she approached the end of her sprint did she see why... the Queen! Or... the former Queen! So that was what she had felt the shadow of only moments ago. With this basic information about the situation, Diana shifted gears, ready for action. She immediately activated the channel that broadcast to all of the communicators, even though she knew that it was likely the others felt what she felt—and much stronger.

"Emergency alert! Serenity has collapsed!" The former-kitten's voice was high and almost musical, but also serious and focused. She only hoped they could get here... fast.
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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime3rd October 2016, 6:49 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 11j0jQz

She giggled as Artemis looked flustered, and smiled fondly at her oldest friend. Her gateway to the magical girl world. The person who had changed her future forever. At this point in her life, it was hard to think about herself as just a girl again. She had been a guardian for a thousand years, after all. And at some point in her life, she had discovered that being with Serenity was something she chose. In the end Minako hadn’t decided to pursue her dream to be an idol after all, but she still occasionally sang for palace performances, where she could entertain those who mattered most to her. And she did find love. That was one thing she had done for herself.

Her thought returned to Rei, wondering what was taking her so long. She hoped this revelation wasn’t too big of a shock for her. Would she be angry at Minako? Really angry, not just regular angry that was sometimes her default state?

Seeing Artemis behave like a cat always made her laugh. It was so at contrast with the serious young man she knew as his other form. She supposed once a cat, always a cat, no matter what new form he could take.

And then a sharp sensation jolted her out of the peaceful feeling. Something within her—her Sailor Crystal—was reacting to something. Badly. Minako winced and stood up, her heart cold. Serenity!

A second later, her communicator blared a message that turned that cold fear into an almost paralyzing dread. No!

Was it the time already?

“Artemis,” she nodded at the cat, knowing he would have heard it too. She didn’t say much more and dashed out of the room, following the invisible tether between her and Serenity to guide her way. It was so dim now—she could barely feel the connection—which made her feel even more alarmed.

Not yet. Serenity, please.

She rounded the corner to the new queen’s study and skidded to a halt when she saw the prone body of Serenity, with Lady and Diana beside her.

“Serenity!” Minako ran to her and lifted her queen’s head onto her lap. Her skin was cooling, but her pulse was still beating, even if weak. “We need to get her to her bedroom, now,” she said, the authoritative tone still there, an old habit hard to break.

“Where’s Endymion?!”

___________________________

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime3rd October 2016, 8:15 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 EMmE3xC

She first heard Minako through a daze, barely recognizing the blonde calling out her mother's name. Barely realizing that Diana was there beside her now. But she saw the red ribbon in her peripheral vision and something clear and cool cut through her confusion and terror. Minako knelt near her, over the wasted figure, gently moving the regal head from the smooth crystal floor onto her lap. She seemed to know what to do, like the leader of her mother's guardians always seemed to know, and this gave Lady something to cling to in the moment.

She shook her head, pigtails fluttering, at the question about her father. She hadn't seen him today. He had seemed... withdrawn lately. Lady thought it was because of this, because of Mama's health... but he never would have left her alone like this. He was always by her side. Always. She carried a pure and devoted faith that he would be here any moment.

"I haven't seen him, but Papa has to be here soon," she choked out, unaware that there were a few scattered tears on her cheeks.

Lady immediately agreed with Minako's statement. Not here. Not on the floor, in the hall, like a beautiful glass figurine knocked from a display shelf. Somewhere warm. Somewhere comfortable and comforting. She deserved the best, whatever could be offered to her now and always. Lady did her best to help Minako with the limp figure, trying not to focus on the details that struck her with the looming sense of loss. This was all she could do, right now.
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Sailor Saturn
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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime3rd October 2016, 10:43 am

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 WrGekha

Rei pondered Ami's words - it would make sense to have followed Minako. Of all the things left in her life, it was inly her relationship with Minako that remained. Gone was her grandfather and her duties to the shrine, and she no longer had her duties as a senshi either. Now, she was left to just live her days with her friends, and her lover.

"We'll talk in a little bit," Rei answered. "I think she wanted to talk to someone else right now, anyway."

She paused, wanting to continue the conversation, to simply enjoy the company of her friend. But the lure of Minako called to her - after everything that had happened, everything that had been revealed, Rei knew Minako had known because of course Minako knew. She wasn't sure how to feel about it. Angry? Betrayed? Sad? It was perhaps a mix of all of those and more. All she knew was that, if she truly had little time to spend on this world, she wanted to spend it with her. They had a lot to talk about.

It was strange to think of having so little time when eternity used to stretch out forever in front of her.

Rei stood up. "I think I will go find her, actually." A sense of urgency pulled at her now.

But barely two steps past the exit, and she felt an intense pain, striking her straight through the chest. Rei stopped, eyes wide. It only took a moment for her to realize what it must mean.

No. Not yet. Not already.

She had only just begun to accept this as a reality, an inevitability that she could not possibly fight against. But then, when had this world ever been particularly fair to any of them?

From her communicator came Diana's voice, but she didn't need to hear the words to know the message.

Rei ran, heart racing. She forced herself to go faster and faster and even faster still. If she'd just get there in time, she could do something. Inevitable or not, she couldn't lose Serenity. She wouldn't let this happen! She could find something - anything - to do that would stop this.

She rounded the corner and found the new Queen and Minako and - Serenity.

Rei was beside them in an instant, eyes only focusing on the fallen figure. With shaking hands, she reached out to touch Serenity's face, willing her to open her eyes, to smile like she always did. Rei recoiled as her fingers touched cool skin - far too cold.

Blinking back her own tears, Rei said nothing as she helped the other two lift Serenity from the ground.

All while her mind screamed at her to find a solution. She had to stop this. She'd give up her own warmth, her own life, if only she could figure out how.

We can't lose her.

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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime3rd October 2016, 4:00 pm

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Zh90GLM
The heels of his dress shoes struck a staccato beat as he raced through the Crystal Palace, eyes wide, heart hammering, drawn irresistibly to her like a moth to a flame. Led purely by instinct, his mind quieted by shock, the Golden Crystal acted as a detector that pushed him towards the faint shine of her silver light, propelling him through choices on hallways and stairways. He would catch himself once - twice - before taking the wrong way, but he would always right himself, Helios following just behind the entire way. When after years of searching he finally came across the sight of figures gathered outside royal offices, his heart stopped at the sight of the slight form with silver hair between them. He slowed momentarily, disbelief retreating in the face of truth, before pushing himself to keep moving forward at a run.

Heavy breathing as he caught his breath only added to his disheveled appearance as, eyes wide, he slowed yet again before Minako and Rei, one hand raising shakily to cup the cheek of the figure held between them, nearly afraid to touch the skin of the woman he loved for fear of finding no warmth beneath his hand, for fear that she was gone, and he had not been there with her when she left. That he had ultimately failed her. His hand hesitating a hairsbreadth from her, his eyes glanced nervously to Minako for confirmation one way or another, all of his stress and emotion balancing on the edge of a knife in the split second it took to ask that wordless question. Her nod, signifying that Serenity was still alive, unleashed a torrent that washed away any hesitation. Smoothly his skin touched hers, and, now a matter of second nature, his energy washed into her; he never knew whether it helped or not, but he had never stopped in the off chance it was doing some good. Her cheek was ice-cold beneath his palm, the warmth only changing by natural means, rather than by regenerating within. 

Easily, and without asking permission, he took her from them, bending to sweep her into his arms in a cheap shadow of the princess carry she so enjoyed. Her hands were limp in her lap instead of around his neck, her body too still, and yet he hugged her to him fiercely, his eyes just for her as he followed the others through the palace to their bedroom, the small part of him that was not absorbed completely in her grateful that Helios had come along; he would be needed.

___________________________


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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime3rd October 2016, 4:12 pm

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 QTecmB9

It felt like her insides had cracked in half, and as she reeled from the shock, she knew exactly what had happened. Diana's communicator call only confirmed it for her. After steadying herself on a nearby table, Ami summoned her Mercury Computer and ran after Rei. This shouldn't have happened so quickly, her charts had said that Serenity's time wasn't quite up yet... Her mind moved at twice the speed she was physically moving, re-scanning all the readings she had collected. How? Why?

They couldn't give her an answer, and that made her worry even more. 

She arrived at the door of Queen Lady Serenity's study, and was just in time to see Minako and Rei lifting Serenity's limp body off the tiled floor. She could tell by their behavior that Serenity wasn't gone yet, but for her to collapse so suddenly...

As much as she wanted to be as close to Serenity as possible, she kept her distance and allowed Endymion to sweep her up and carry her off. He could potentially stabilize her as she was moved, which was more important than sentiment. Ami felt even worse when she saw Helios trailing after him. Endymion gone off to Elysion because of her, and nearly wasn't here for Serenity. Her throat was tight, but she followed the others to Serenity's bedroom like a shadow.

"This...this wasn't supposed to happen so soon..." she said, almost in a whisper.
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[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon    [HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 I_icon_minitime3rd October 2016, 4:51 pm

[HC Event] The Lunar Chronicles: Phase V - Waning Moon  - Page 5 Nqeh0j13

Makoto hadn't been with her family long. She had been thinking of how she would tell Motoki her time was running out. She was pulled out of her thoughts when she felt an intense pain in her chest. 

It couldn't possibly be..... could it? She thought as she rose and left her family. She broke into a fast run down the palace halls. She didn't stop until she reached the royal quarters. She gripped the door jam as she took in the scene.  She felt her heart shatter against her chest. How could she be so selfish? She only thought of the damage her death would cause and now here she was looking at Serenity's apparent lifeless form.

Her eyes filled with tears as she moved closer to the others. 

She spoke softly, "sorry I am so late, I...I'm not too late am I?" she asked as she reached for Serenity.

___________________________

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