Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ All's Fair in Love and War ❯ Gone ( Chapter 21 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter 21Kino stepped down the ramp, annoyed, tired, cranky, still partially covered in dry blood, and ready to snap off anyone's head. Jupiter saw his friend and was almost afraid to come near him.
~ Gone ~
~ Gone ~
"You look like you could use a bath," he commented, receiving only a grunt as a reply. Jupiter led Kino to a room, and ordered hot water to be brought for the tub. Kino sat in one of the chairs, slumped over, his elbows resting on his knees. Jupiter sat down next to him. "Is it really that bad?"
Kino kept his stare fixed on the carpet. "I don't understand why father sent me. He could have sent any other messenger. He knows that I want to stay back and help fight. I was gone long enough when the war started."
Jupiter looked at his friend sadly. One of the maids came to announce the bath was ready. Jupiter led Kino to the tub. "We can talk once you clean up and calm down a bit." Kino nodded, and took off his shirt. Jupiter left him, closing the door softly behind him as he left. He knew that he wanted answers, ones he would not get from Kino at the moment. So he went to the next best information source which Kino brought along, Artemis.
Artemis was by himself freshening up when he came to his room. "My Lord, what an unexpected honour. I would have thought that you would be talking to Kinotsu."
Jupiter shrugged his shoulders as he closed the door behind him, and Artemis went to put a shirt on. "This is an informal visit," he said, allowing Artemis to relax a little. He then continued. "I wanted to talk to him, but he does not seem to be in a talking mood," he replied as Artemis started to button the shirt up.
"He's been like that since we left," Artemis commented. He motioned for Jupiter to take a seat, which Jupiter did. Artemis went to get some papers from one of the bags that he had with him.
"He seems upset that his father sent him here to talk to me as a messenger, since he wanted to stay back and help fight," Jupiter said.
Artemis nodded. "Yes, I know. Kinotsu is one of our best fighters, so he feels like he could be doing more good back home than here."
Jupiter inclined his head a little to the side. "So why did Lord Takahashi send Kino here instead of just you or some other messenger."
Artemis sat down and put some papers and envelopes on the table. "Lord Takahashi heard about what happened on Venus, and he is pretty sure that Queen Aminiha is behind it. He knows that Kinotsu is a much larger target for Queen Aminiha than Queen Aphrodite and Princess Venus were, so he wants to keep him moving around as much as possible, not staying in one place too long."
Jupiter nodded. "That is a good idea, although I'm pretty sure that Kino does not see it as such."
Artemis chuckled. "You're right, he doesn't see it like that. He thinks that if Queen Aminiha had wanted to strike out against him directly, she would have already done so. However, Lord Takahashi fears for his son's safety, so he sent him here."
Jupiter nodded. "That sounds reasonable. Besides, I wanted to send a messenger to you anyhow, to update on what is going on here. This way you can take the message back to your king."
Artemis nodded, and started to unfold some of the papers. "Yes. I also have brought along some reports as to how things were looking when we left." The two men then proceeded to pour over the papers that Artemis had brought out.
Kino soaked in the tub, letting the long journey in the cramped ship soak away from him. Getting to Jupiter had been difficult, since there were so many legions of Aminiha's soldiers all over the place. He leaned his head back, enjoying the feel of the warm water as it relaxed his weary muscles.
He wanted to go back, and help, as soon as possible. Every day that he spent away he felt was wasted, since he could be back home helping out. However, his father had been very stubborn about him going, and he couldn't really defy him since he was the cause of the war, more or less. Granted, it wasn't his fault that Aminiha had taken such drastic measures and over dramatized his refusal, but he could have accepted since he knew the results of his refusal.
It didn't matter now though. He brought his head back and looked at his hands. He brought them out of the water to the chain that hung around his neck. He had found it as soon as he had gotten home, and put his wedding band on it. It glistened as he ran his fingers along it, feeling the smoothness of the metal, like the smoothness of her skin. I wish I could go and see you since I'm here, but I have to get back. Please forgive me, he thought, and then slowly and reluctantly got out of the tub.
It had been a little over two months since he had seen her. He longed for her each day he was gone, especially when he went to catch a few precious hours of sleep in-between battles. His dreams were filled with her laughter, her soft feminine smell, the silkiness of her skin. He couldn't go there now though. It would be a while yet before he saw her, but there was nothing he could do about it. He felt an odd pang in his heart as he wrapped the towel around his waist. A strange sense of foreboding filled his heart. He shook his head to get rid of the feeling, and continued drying.
As soon as he had dried off and gotten dressed, he headed to Artemis' room. He knocked, and heard Artemis' voice calling to come in. He opened the door, and wasn't really surprised to see Artemis and Jupiter already pouring over papers on the table. Artemis stood up to bring another chair to the table. "I see you two have started without me," Kino commented with a small smile.
Jupiter nodded. "I didn't know how long you would be. We've only started going over these reports though, so you can still explain much of this to me."
Kino nodded and sat down in the chair Artemis had brought. "It seems as though Aminiha is holding back somewhat," Kino began as he slipped one of the papers to Jupiter, and started to point out some of the statistics. The men stayed in Artemis' room for some hours, long into the night.
"Ar e you sure that you want to leave so soon?" Jupiter asked as Kino prepared to board the ship.
Kino nodded. "I have to. Father said he wanted me moving around, so that's what I'm doing. It will take me three weeks to get back, so I'll be moving around a lot." It was two days after Kino had arrived on the planet, but already he was eager to get back. Jupiter couldn't stop him. Kino carried with him new reports to take back to his father, as well as a promise of some help from Jupiter.
Kino stared down at his friend. The sense of foreboding he had gotten the day he arrived refused to leave him, and he had been tempted to go to the moon to make sure that Selenity was alright. He didn't though.
"Very well then," Jupiter said. "I wish you a safe journey. Let me know if anything new happens." Kino nodded, and stepped on board. Jupiter watched as the ship rose, and didn't stop watching until it was well out of sight. He then returned to the palace to join Artemis, who had stayed behind. They would go over more plans and send some messages to Pluto and Neptune. This was going to be a long day.
The woman that was standing before them was no stranger. Mars couldn't help but shiver a little at the sight of her.
"My Lady, it is an honour to be in your presence," Ares said.
The lady smiled and inclined her head. "The honour is all mine, My Lord," she replied, her voice high and sweet. Mars inclined his head to her as well, and she returned the gesture. They were on one of the outlaying planets of the solar system, one that Ares had conquered many years before.
"Your messenger said that you wished to discuss terms of a truce, or alliance," Ares said, and gestured for the lady to take a seat. She did, and he pushed the chair in for her.
"Indeed, that is why I am here. You are a strong leader, Lord Ares, and a wise ruler. I do not ally myself with many, because I do not wish to depend upon anyone. However, I do believe that we could form a formidable alliance."
Ares sat down, as did Mars. "You flatter me my Lady, but I do not step into alliances easily, since I too do not wish to rely upon anyone either."
She smiled. "I do not wish for you to rely upon me, My Lord. I only wish to not have you as an enemy."
Ares nodded. "Nor I, my Lady, I assure you. However, with the war that is impending, I'm not sure it would be in the best interest of my planet to do so."
Aminiha smiled, a chilling smile. "I know that it would not be a popular move in regards to the other planets of your solar system. I am not asking for you to ally yourself with me against them. I only want a truce. I do not attack you, and you do not send out armies against me."
Mars decided now was the time to join in. "We are already strongly allied with some of the kingdoms in this solar system, My Lady, and they are alliances that we cannot break. If they were to be attacked, we would have no choice but to retaliate." Ares nodded his head in agreement.
Aminiha nodded. "I am well aware of your alliance with the Moon Kingdom, and so I know that it would be futile to propose a treaty with you if I intended on coming up against Queen Diana. However, that is part of the treaty that I propose. I will not set foot, or any of my army, on the Moon. I know of the upcoming marriage of Princess Selenity and you, Lord Mars, and I congratulate you on your choice of wife," she said, and Mars inclined his head in acceptance of the statement.
"Thank you, My Lady. I feel honoured that she is to be my wife, and I am greatly looking forward to the next few months in which she will become my wife," he replied. Aminiha nodded, the same chilling smile on her face.
"I remember her well. She is a beautiful creature, very kind and thoughtful. She seems to be loved by many," Aminiha said. Mars, of course, did not know about the double meaning in her words, loved by many.
Ares pondered her words for a while. "Please allow us time to think this over. You will have our answer by dinner tonight."
Aminiha inclined her head. "Very well, I will be content to wait until then." They all stood then. Mars wasn't sure what to make of the whole situation. He didn't want to ally with Aminiha, but the prospect that it would mean the moon not getting attacked was very tempting. It was the ticket for Selenity's safety, and that was something that he did not want to pass up. I would give anything for her not to have to go through the troubles of war. It's nothing but pain, and she is too innocent to be put through that. Besides, I can't be with her always to protect her yet, so until I can be, this is the best thing to do for her.
His father was thinking along the same lines. Therefore, the announcement was made that night, at a banquet in honour of Aminiha, that Ares and Aminiha had entered a truce.
After dinner, the Queen and King sat in one of the small parlours. They drank wine together, and discussed their alliance. The papers had been signed directly after dinner, so it was official.
No one knew the real story of what happened that night in the parlour except for Aminiha and Ares. However, Ares did not live to tell the tale. The guards heard a scream and came rushing in, to find Aminiha weeping on the floor beside Ares. After many tears, she managed to say they had been drinking when he had started choking, wheezing, and had been at a loss for air.
One of the maids she had brought along consoled her Queen as a doctor was brought in and the room swarmed with guards.
"I-I don't know what happened, one moment he was laughing, and th-the next…." the Queen broke down into sobs yet again.
The doctor looked up, and held the goblet Ares had been drinking from in his hand. He put a drop of the liquid still in the bottom of the goblet on his tongue, and then spit it out. "Poison," he said. "The King has been poisoned." At those words, Queen Aminiha fell to the floor in a faint. Mars, who was kneeling next to the corpse of his father, ordered for her to be taken to her room and properly taken care of. He shed no tears, although his face told the tale of immense pain and grief.
Father…who could have done this? I will not rest until I find out, and avenge you.
Soon after she was brought to her room, left alone with only her maid and daughter, Aminiha awoke. She dismissed the maid, and then looked at her daughter. Beryl came over to her, and in her hand, held out a small vial. Aminiha took the empty container, and in a wisp of dark energy, it disappeared. "You made sure that no one saw you?" she asked.
Beryl nodded. "No one at all mama. I was disguised as a maid."
"Good girl," Aminiha murmured as she pulled her daughter in for a hug. The young Prince Mars will be easy enough to manipulate now, she thought, and then I can have my revenge on that Moon Princess. She smiled. After all, now that her precious Kino and all that is his is gone, she will be easy to break.
Four weeks have passed since Kino left, Jupiter thought, his hands shaking as he read the letter again, the letter being from one of Lord Takahashi's allies. The messenger had arrived only minutes before, bloody and near death himself.
My Lord Jupiter,
It is with great difficulty and haste that I write this letter. Lord Takahashi has been defeated, his entire planet is gone. The Dark Queen has acquired some sort of evil power, and managed to destroy the entire planet in one blow. It was unexpected, and no one could have survived. My people searched as best they could without being attacked, but there were not survivors.
Those of us still holding out are desperately in need of help. Although it seems like the Dark Queen has eased off somewhat, we cannot be sure if she will not attack us with renewed vigor. We therefore humbly ask for your help, be it in the form of military aid or the offer of sanctuary for our people. We know that your own solar system is being attacked, but as far as we know not all the planets are in danger. Please send a response. We grieve with you for the loss of a close ally and friend.
Jupiter shook his head sadly. Lord Takahashi had been unable to hold off Queen Aminiha. The entire planet, all of its armies, and all the inhabitants, was gone, nothing more now than stardust. No one had survived. The attack had been so unexpected, no one had survived. No one at all.
Four weeks have passed since Kino left, Jupiter thought again. To get to his planet takes three.
He sank down into the closest chair, the letter falling to the ground. That would explain why Aminiha has officially declared war on our planets, he thought. He placed his face in his hands. But now, who is going to tell Selenity?