Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ All's Fair in Love and War ❯ Sacrifice ( Chapter 26 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter 26 ~ Sacrifice

Helen held the precious bundle in her arms as she stared out the window at the dark sky. The Dark Queen had decided to target the earth, her armies had been seen coming closer and closer. The small child in her arms stirred and gave out a small whine.

Helen focused her attention on her son and cooed softly to him. "There there, it's alright. Your daddy won't let anything happen to you."

The tiny prince calmed in his mothers arms and snuggled closer to his mothers chest.

Helen sighed as she looked back out at the stars. She was worried. She couldn’t help but be worried. The fact that the Dark Queen was coming meant that Diana had not been able to stop her, that her power had not been strong enough. What hope did they stand against Aminiha now?

Helen walked over to the rocking chair she had insisted upon being put into the room. She settled herself down and pressed the child against her chest, rubbing his back softly. His tiny hands grabbed fistfuls of her hair as she turned to give his head a kiss. His smell overpowered her, the smell that all babies have. Her heart throbbed at the thought that the Dark Queen might hurt him in some way. "Darien…" she whispered. It was his pet name, since Endymion was so formal. Paris had chosen the name, but they both used Darien.

Helen rocked back and forth as she brought her child around and held him in her arms. He fell asleep with the motion of the rocking chair, knowing he was safe in his mothers arms. She was glad that at least one person still felt safe.

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"I don't see anything," Selenity commented for the tenth time since the earth had come into view. There were no armies, no destruction, nothing. It was as though Aminiha had passed by the planet without so much as glancing at it.

Diana stood beside her daughter and gazed at the planet as well. It seemed odd to her that there was no sign of Aminiha anywhere. "This is very strange, but perhaps a good thing. I want to go closer and land, and see if everything is alright down on the earth."

Selenity nodded. Having seen that earth was safe, she was now eager to talk to Paris and Helen and see if they knew what was going on, why Aminiha had not attacked.

Kino walked up to the two women from behind. Diana turned her head and gave him a small smile. She had grown accustomed to the young prince being around all the time, and the idea of him being married to her daughter didn't bother her as much. She was still a little worried about Selenity confronting Mars with the issue, but once that was resolved, she would be happy.

Kino smiled back at her as he came to stand right behind the two women, placing a hand on Selenity's shoulder. She placed her hand over top of his, and leaned back slightly so her back was against his chest. Kino glanced at Diana, relieved that the queen seemed comfortable with the fact that they were so close together. She didn't seem to mind anymore, as long as there was no one else around. It didn't strike anyone as odd that he was always with them, since the news of his planets destruction was already well known. For that he was somewhat grateful, since he didn't have to stay away from his Tenshi.

"I need to go and talk to Artemis," Diana said as she gazed at the couple, a tender smile on her face. "I'll be back in a while."

Both Kino and Selenity nodded and watched the Queen leave.

As soon as the door shut behind her, Kino wrapped both of his arms around Selenity's waist.

She leaned into his embrace as he ran his lips across her neck. Her entire body shivered at the action. "Kino," she whispered with a sigh.

"Mmm-hmm?" he murmured against her skin. He received no answer. Selenity was content just to be held by the man she loved…for the time being.

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They landed on the earth a few hours later. The armies which had been following them had not yet caught up, and were still well behind them. Still, Diana wanted to get information as quickly as possible so that they could decided what to do next.

They were greeted by Paris and Helen. Paris looked very tired and serious as he led the entourage to the War Hall of earth. They had refused refreshments for the time being since they had enough while on the ship, and everyone was eager to share information and plans.

Paris motioned for everyone to take a seat. Helen sat next to him, along with a three men dressed as earths Generals, and a silvered haired man. Diana sat between Selenity and Yokiro, while Selenity was flanked by her mother and Kino. Artemis was present as well.

"It's good to see you all safe and sound," Paris said once they were all seated. "My Queen and I were in fear of your safety when we saw the approaching armies of Queen Aminiha."

Diana nodded her head. "Thank you for your concern, Lord Paris. That is the reason why we are here. As you can probably guess, the plan of attack did not go as expected, since you saw the Queen's armies coming here yourself. Our plan would have worked had she been near Pluto at the time of the attack, but she had moved the majority of her armies already. Only later did we hear that she was heading toward the earth."

Paris nodded. "She was heading here. Her armies even came within sight of earth, but eight hours ago they seemed to disappeared, as though they were never coming here in the first place."

Yokiro looked very puzzled. "It does not make sense that she would be coming this way and not attack anything. It is known that she has a truce with Lord Mars, and we have learned very recently that the alliance includes a deal that she will not attack the Moon. I don't understand why she would try and attack the earth."

One of the Generals nodded. "Well, she never did attack."

Yokiro nodded. "Yes, but if she did attack earth, the Moon would come to aid earth right away, and then she would be breaking her treaty with Mars by going against the moon."

The silver haired man cleared his throat. "With all due respect, she would have known that the moon's armies, as well as a good portion of our own, were out by Pluto. The Earth would be an easy target for her, and since the Moon's armies are not near the earth to assist, she would not have to worry about attacking them. Therefore, her treaty with Mars would still be in tact."

Helen looked at the man. "You're right about that, but I don't think that she knew that all of the Moon's armies were out by Pluto. That was a well guarded secret, that there would be an attack on her."

The man bowed his head a little. "Begging your pardon your Majesty, but she has spies who could have found out for her."

Helen sighed and nodded her head. Paris looked apologetic all of a sudden as he looked from the man to Diana. "I beg your forgiveness, I did not introduce our new commander. You know our Generals, but Malachite here has only recently been promoted to a higher rank." The silver haired man stood and offered the visitors a bow.

Diana and Selenity inclined their head. "It is a pleasure to meet you Commander," Diana said.

"The pleasure is all mine, your Majesty," he replied before he sat.

Paris chuckled. "Malachite has shown many superb qualities in a short while. He is our youngest commander to date, only twenty-three. I believe he is looking to relieve one of our current Generals of their position."

The oldest General chuckled as well. "I would be happy to give my position soon. My bones can't handle the stress of the army much longer. Whoever said there cannot be four Generals though?"

Malachite bowed his head humbly. "I only strive to please my King and Queen," he said.

Paris nodded his head in acceptance of the statement, then turned his attention back to the table. "Now, with my mistake fixed, we need to return to the matter at hand," he looked at the map on the table. "I don't know where Aminiha disappeared to. Our scouts lost sight of her suddenly, and we have not been able to pick up her armies at all."

Diana frowned. "That is rather peculiar. The Dark Queen's armies are very large, and they could not just disappear from sight without a single trace."

Kino tapped the table with his finger as he stared at the map. "There's something that we're not thinking of, something obvious, but I can't put my finger on what it is…"

They were silent for a few moment. "Is it possible that it only seemed that she was coming to the earth, but was heading somewhere completely different?" one of the other Earth Generals asked.

It was Artemis who spoke this time. "No, we're certain that she was coming to the earth. Her course was far too specific."

"What I want to know is how she managed to disappear so effectively, and why," the third General said, sounding a little frustrated with the whole situation.

Selenity had been sitting silently the whole time, staring at the map. How and why, those were the two important questions.

It's just like out by the other planets, her armies would appear and disappear as she needed, Selenity thought. There's little chance that she transferred them unseen so fast. She has to have some sort of cloaking ability, or…wait! Selenity's head snapped up. "She has to have some sort of cloaking ability!" she exclaimed.

Everyone turned to look at her, the wheels in their heads visibly turning. Selenity stood a little and pointed to the map of the solar system as she spoke. "You see, she has been attacking the outer planets mainly, right? We know that Venus was attacked though, as well as Jupiter. For her to get any legions of soldiers from here, by Pluto, to here, by Venus, would be nearly impossible to do without being seen, since there are so many patrols going on," she paused as everyone stared at the map where she was pointing.

Malachite looked up. "That would explain why we have not been able to find her armies out around Pluto, and how it seemed that she always had just enough men present in battles to defeat the armies we sent. It would have meant that all of her armies were always there, but we just could not see them."

Artemis frowned. "It just seems to obvious of a solution. It still would not explain why she disappeared form sight now, since I'm fairly confident that she knows that she was seen approaching earth."

"She must be waiting for something," Malachite said, "but what? Now would be the opportune time to attack since most of our armies are not here."

No one was given the opportunity to reply. A sudden tremor caused everyone present to freeze mid-thought, as the sound of an explosion hit their ears. Everyone was up in an instant. Paris headed to a set of doors, and everyone followed. The doors led them out onto a large balcony. The sight that greeted them nearly caused their hearts to stop. Only a few kilometers from the palace a fire blazed in the forest, right next to the city, in a crater that had never been there before. More frightening though were the dark shapes hovering above the earth.

Those shapes were Aminiha's ships.

"What the hell is going on…" Paris whispered as Helen clung to his arm. Paris turned to look at his Generals. "Go and find out what is happening," he barked at them, an order which they followed without hesitation. Then Paris looked to the rest of the group. "I suggest we all get back inside, and not make ourselves easy targ-" he was cut off by another tremor, this one closer than that last.

"INSIDE NOW!" Paris barked. He could feel dread, a painful fear for his family, friends, and people. Everyone rushed inside, and as soon as the doors had shut behind them, another tremor shook the palace, this time nearly throwing everyone to the ground. Kino cradled Selenity in his arms to keep her form falling to the ground, and Artemis steadied the Moon Queen.

Helen looked into Paris' eyes. "Endymion…." she whispered. He nodded to her and shot a look at the guards just entering the doors.

"My Lord…" one of the men said, but was cut off by a sharp gesture from his King. "I want three of your men to escort the Queen to the Prince," he snapped. Three of the guards detached themselves from the others and came over to Helen. She left the room with them, and then Paris turned to the guard who had spoken. "Well?" he asked, his eyes glowing with anger.

Malachite entered the door. "My Lord," he said, "Queen Aminiha is attacking. There is no doubt it is her."

Paris looked angry, but spoke in a deadly calm voice. "We gathered as much when we saw her ships outside. I want to know what we can do-" he was cut off by another tremor, this time throwing them all to the ground. Kino held Selenity to his chest to cushion her fall.

All the men were on their feet in an instant. Kino helped Selenity up, and Artemis helped Diana to her feet. All eyes turned to Malachite, who looked helplessly at his King. "My Lord I-I don't know. The allied armies are still too far away to aid us, and the lord Generals are going to dispatch the men we have left as we speak. I don't think that will be enough though."

The smell of smoke wafted by everyone's noses. The last blast must have hit the palace itself. Paris rushed to the balcony again and ran out, followed by Malachite, some of the guards, and Kino. One of the far wings of the palace was burning, the black smoke billowing up to the sky. Aminiha was striking much too close for comfort, and all the men knew it. As they watched, they could see ships leaving the docks. Hope that they could at least hold the Dark Queen away until the Allied Armies arrived bubbled up in them.

Their hopes were shattered though. A beam of energy came crashing down on the ships, mercilessly killing all within them.

Paris rushed back into the War Hall. "We have to find a way for you to leave now," he said to Diana and Selenity, as he stated to usher them to the doors on the opposite side of the room.

Diana stopped dead in her tracks. "She is going to destroy everything," she murmured.

Paris looked at her, a pleading look in his eyes. "We were blind and sent out all of our armies. We could not have known she would come and attack us."

Diana turned to look at the balcony. "All hope is not lost," she said, as she ran to the balcony.

Selenity watched her mother, confused, then understood what the Queen was about to do. "Mama, NO!" she screamed as she ran after the Moon Queen. Everyone stood watching, then ran to follow. Judging from the Princess' behavior, something was obviously not right.

Diana stood in the center of the balcony, the Silver Crystal in the palms of her hands. Selenity reached her and wrapped her arms around her mother to keep her form using it's power. "Mama you cant! You haven't rested enough, it could kill you!"

Diana did not take her eyes off the ships above her. "It is a risk I have to take Selenity. Let go of me."

Selenity shook her head, tears in her eyes. "No, I can't let you. You'll die!"

Diana turned her head and looked down at her daughter. Another tremor hit the plant, and everyone fell to the floor. They started to pick themselves up again. "PARIS!" came a cry from inside as Helen came rushing into the hall, and out onto the balcony. In her arms she carried her son, their child. She stopped at her husbands side, fear streaking her face. "Half the palace is gone," she whispered. "And nearly all of the city."

Diana and Selenity were still on the ground. Selenity looked at her mother, terror on her face. Diana gave her daughter a soft smile. "Child, I have to do this," she whispered. "Otherwise we all die. This way I give you a chance to live. Besides," she kissed the frightened princess on the forehead, "I feel strong and rested. I'll be fine." The Moon Queen ran a gentle hand down her daughters face. "I love you," she whispered.

Selenity didn't know what to do. She stared at her mother, tears shining in her eyes. Diana stood slowly, and Selenity felt arms wrap around her and pick her up. Kino cradled her to him as he led her to the edge of the balcony to where everyone else was standing. Diana stood in the center of the balcony. Her arms didn't tremble at all as she held them out, and willed the crystal to levitate. It began to glow as the next tremor hit, but Diana didn't even flinch as the power of the crystal encircled her.

Selenity trembled in Kino's arms on the ground, forcing back tears that were building up in her eyes. She brought her head up and saw her mother start to glow, her entire body radiating with a white light. There was a bright flash and everyone was forced to close their eyes. They could feel the tingling of power in the air, as the crystal poured energy into the sky above.

The glow faded. There was nothing but silence. The only sound heard was the Queen collapsing, exhausted. Those on the balcony stood slowly and looked up to the sky above them. Only about a dozen ships remained, scattered over the sky. They seemed lost and confused as they regrouped, and flew away. No sound was heard except that of the crackling fires around them.

Selenity stared at her mother, too afraid to move to see if she was alright. Artemis rushed to Diana's side and placed a hand on her neck, seeking a pulse.

Everyone stared in anticipation.

Artemis looked up from where he was crouching, tears glistening in his eyes.

"The Queen is dead," he whispered, then looked at Selenity. "Long live the Queen."

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A/N: Please be kind, no death threats….