Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ All's Fair in Love and War ❯ The Price of Love ( Chapter 37 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter 37
The Price of Love

"Would someone please tell me what is going on?" Despite her reserve to stay cool, calm, and collected, Selenity found herself already at a point where her blood was rushing through her veins and she felt antsy and nervous. Kino and Mars had just shrugged off their capes, and when the sound of the steel of their swords being drawn from their sheaths reached Selenity's ears, she panicked.

Kino would have answered her, but his attention was taken away when Mars lunged and slashed at him. Kino spun around in time to miss the blade, but now all of his attention had to be focused on his opponent, rather than his wife's questions.

Aminiha stood from the throne and slowly strolled over to the confused Queen of the Moon. "My dear," she drawled out, "you should be pleased that your husband is battling for your life as well as your daughters. He is very determined to have you set free."

"What!" Selenity cried out. "No!" A smirk took over Aminiha's features as she looked at the two combatants. Selenity couldn't help but follow the Dark Queen's gaze. She felt her hear pounding in her chest with unbelievable force, but she could not tear her gaze from Kino and Mars.

Kino watched Mars as the two of them circled the room, testing each other. Once in a while one of them would reach out with his sword tip and see how the other reacted, hoping that he would find some sort of flaw and move in for a strike. Kino wanted to look over to Selenity and Serenity and drink in the sight of them, but he couldn't afford to even cast a glance to them. He had to focus. There was a deadly glint in Mars' eyes that let Kino know that he was very serious and would kill.

Kino knew that Mars' patience was not limitless, and soon his waiting paid off when Mars lunged at him. Kino parried the move and swung out against Mars, only to have his own blade blocked. Mars' sword slid against Kino's, the sound of steel on steel filling the air. Mars suddenly slid his sword back up Kino's and aimed the tip at Kino's hand. Kino saw this and jerked his hand away, but he still managed to get a nick on his wrist. Blood welled out of the wound and Kino hissed in pain, but he didn't have time to think about it since Mars renewed his attacks right away.

Mars whipped his blade around and aimed for Kino's arm, hoping to seriously wound the appendage, thus taking away Kino's ability to fight. The Moon King did not allow this however, and dodged out of the way just in time, retaliating with his own thrust, one which Mars managed to block.

The tension in the room was sickening.

Malachite was keeping his eye on the Dark Princess who was standing next to the throne that her mother had occupied earlier, before she had gone to stand near Selenity. An evil aura seemed to radiate from the girl, a dark power that enveloped her and threatened anyone who dared try to touch her. Paris and Malachite exchanged looks every so often, and both of them knew they were thinking the same thing. The girl was filled with the powers of the Negaverse, and she was dangerous. Malachite watched as she stood there, unmoving, watching the battle before her. Her eyes held age that such a young girl should not have had, and that left him feeling very unsettled.

All of the men were uncomfortable with all of the soldiers in the room, as though Aminiha was expecting an ambush or planning one herself. Everything about the situation seemed odd, but no one could put their finger on what it was.

Selenity felt like she was going to have a heart attack at any moment. Kino, her Kino, the man she had not seen in weeks now and would give her life for, was in a very real battle against Mars, the very personification of war and battle skills, and he was fighting for her. Well, for her and Serenity, but nevertheless he was fighting against a man he had little chance of beating. That prospect did not make Selenity feel wonderfully comfortable. Each thrust, each slash, each parry from Mars made Selenity's heart leap into her throat, and soon found that it had taken permanent residence there. She really didn't like the fact that she could see red blood on both men now. Not much, but some. They were breathing hard, with sweat on their faces, and the sound of steel on steel was deafening.

The battle wore on. Kino and Mars were both panting and grunting as they struck at each other. Kino searched for an opportunity to bring the battle to an end without spilling unnecessary blood. He ducked to miss yet another swing from Mars, and was surprised to have another blow coming at him from up above. He brought his sword up to block the blade and yelped in pain as the clash of the swords sent a jarring shock down his arm to his shoulder. A grin formed on Mars' face as he realized he had discovered a weakness in his opponent. His next slash was one from above as well, as was the next one. Kino had to grit his teeth with every blow, each time finding it harder and harder to stop the sword. Every time the move was repeated, the blade came lower and lower towards him, and he feared if he couldn't get Mars to change his strategy, he would not last much longer. Thus, he began moving a bit faster, forcing Mars to increase his sideways slashes and blocks, and not rely as much on his downwards blows.

Selenity found that her own breathing was getting more and more laboured, especially when she saw the increased difficulty Kino was having in blocking Mars' blows. She heard Aminiha chuckle next to her, and this only fuelled her fear. Once a swing from Mars nearly got Kino on his shoulder, and Selenity let out a gasp, which made the Dark Queen chuckle again. "You should be worried," she heard the Dark Queen murmur, but before she could glance at her, a small whimper came from Serenity, and Selenity realized she had been squeezing her daughter too hard. She looked down at Serenity, and her blood ran cold as Serenity's eyes filled with tears.

"Hush, my little one," she quickly comforted her daughter, but it was to no avail. Serenity let out a piercing scream. Selenity wished with all her might that her daughter would stop crying, and pressed the child to her chest to muffle the noise. Please, she pleaded, don't cry! As she glanced up she found herself staring strait into Kino's eyes, and her heart skipped a beat. She tore her gaze from him quickly though and brought her attention back to Serenity. She felt an odd warmth on her chest followed by a momentary glow, and suddenly the child's crying stopped. Selenity looked down in time to see the glow dissipating from the crystal, but before she could consider what had happened, she heard a cry of pain.

Kino was dodging one strike after another, and every so often managed to lash out himself, but Mars always seemed to be one step ahead of him. Then he heard it, the cry of his daughter. Was she being hurt? Was she being taken away from Selenity by force? Was she scared? He didn't know, and he was determined to find out. With a quick twist he forced Mars to turn, and Kino quickly spared a glance toward Selenity and Serenity. He was relieved to see that Serenity was still in the safety of her mother's arms, and he felt a surge of exhilaration rush through him when Selenity brought her eyes up from the child she was trying to comfort. She glanced away though, and before Kino knew what was happening, a sharp burning sensation ran across his chest. He gave out a cry of pain.

Selenity's eyes shot back up. She saw Kino fall to one knee, clutching one arm across his chest. The white fabric of his sleeve was a deep crimson colour, with more blood soaking the shirt with each passing second. "Kino, no!" Her voice seemed distant to her, unreal. She wanted to dash out to him but she was stopped by the arms of the guards surrounding her. She was surprised to suddenly find herself detached from Luna and Yokiro, something which caused quite a stir up once Yokiro noticed this. He immediately started to force his way back to Selenity and Serenity, drawing his blade to show his was indeed serious. Unfortunately, three of the guards perished before he made his point clear, that he was not going to be separated from the two women he was sworn to protect. What surprised everyone was that Aminiha didn't even seem to notice the bloodshed, her attention focused on the battle before her.

Kino winced as he brought his blade up to block a blow from Mars. He clutched his shoulder and kept firm pressure with his arm on his wound. Selenity's voice reached his ears loud and clear, a plea for him to be careful and remain safe. A smile touched the corners of his lips as he stood and whipped his blade at the stunned Mars, and started up their dance of swords again. He could hear the sound of clashing swords behind him, in the direction of Selenity, but Yokiro's clear warnings not to try to separate him from Selenity again calmed Kino. He knew the General was keeping an eye on his lady and daughter.

Kino let go of his shoulder to allow himself greater mobility. The wound stung but he could feel that it wasn’t deep. He lashed out against Mars with a renewed strength, a great determination filling him. He had to win. He had to rescue Selenity and Serenity. With that thought in mind he parried, thrust, slashed and spun faster and with greater strength than before. Mars suddenly had a hard time keeping up with his moves, and both Kino and Mars knew at that moment Kino was going to win. He had a strong drive backing him up, one that Mars lacked.

Unfortunately, they were not the only ones who had noticed the change in dominance in their battle. The Dark Queen frowned at the combatants, and her frown turned into a glare as she watched Kino advancing. She gave the slightest wave of her hand, a gesture that was seen by all the guards in the room as well as her daughter. Everyone tensed all of a sudden. Mercury, Paris, Malachite, and Jupiter did not like the sudden change in the atmosphere of the room, but before they could say anything, the very distinct sound of steel clattering to the ground reached their ears.

Kino stood there, victorious. All he had to do now was take the final step and draw the life blood of his opponent. The tip of his sword was pointed at Mars' throat, only centimetres away from it. The blade didn't waver at all as they stood there. Mars finally snarled. "Kill me already, King Kinotsu, and be done with me once and for all. Show that you are the best."

Kino kept his cool gaze fixed on his former friend. A softness filtered across his features, but he did not drop or lower his blade. "You still don't get it, do you?" he asked quietly, earning himself a slightly puzzled look from Mars. "I don't want to kill you. I don't want to show I'm stronger or faster than you. I never have, and I never will. You just don't get that I'm not trying to be better than you!"

"Well done, Kinotsu," Aminiha said, bringing everyone's attention to her. The tone of her voice caused the hairs on the back of Selenity's neck to stand. "However," the Dark Queen continued, "I suggest that you consider your next step wisely. If you kill my ally, I kill your wife. If you draw his blood, I draw the blood of your daughter as well." The guards suddenly sprang into action, cutting Selenity off from Yokiro once more, and dragging the Moon General away from her, causing him to drop his sword. All the men in the room went to dash for Selenity and Serenity to try and help them, but suddenly they were unable to move. Malachite glanced over to Beryl, and shivered when he saw a glow of darkness around her. The dark powers swirled around the room, immobilizing him as well as Paris, Jupiter, Mercury, Luna, and Yokiro.

"What the hell is going on!" Paris cried out. A bit of ruckus ensued as all the captives tried to move, but all their efforts were to no avail.

Selenity suddenly found herself dragged to the centre of the room by two guards, holding her daughter still, and they stopped only a few feet from Kino and Mars. "If you make a move towards her, I will kill you and her, Kinotsu. The choice is now up to you. Do you shed his blood or allow him to shed yours?" Aminiha's words rolled off her tongue smoothly and slowly, making her message clear.

"Kino, don't-" Selenity cried out, but her words were cut short when she was roughly nudged by one of the guards.

Kino watched as Selenity was dragged to the centre of the room. So close, yet so far…he brought his gaze back to Mars, and without hesitation dropped his sword, allowing his arm to fall to his side. "Seize him, my Lord," Aminiha commanded, and Kino could only watch as Mars drew a dagger from a hidden sheath, turned him around, twisted his arm behind his back, and lay the blade over his throat to prevent any escape.

Aminiha walked back over to the throne, motioning her daughter to step away. The Dark Princess stepped down the stairs leading to the elaborate chair, and waited.

"Aminiha," Jupiter barked out. "This is not a fair fight."

Aminiha smirked. "Whoever said I was going to play fair? I certainly never did."

"The terms were set out clearly," Mercury protested. "Whoever won the fight between Kino and Mars would win Selenity and the child. Kino won."

"Ahh, you are mistaken my Lord," Aminiha replied coyly. "As far as I can see, Lord Mars has won the battle. Is not Kinotsu at his mercy right now?" A chuckle came from her lips. "I believe he is, although my Lord Mars, I ask that you do not kill him, at least not yet."

"No, you can't kill him!" Selenity pleaded. "Please!"

Aminiha turned her attention to Selenity, her smirk replaced by a scowl. "It is your fault that he is in such a situation right now."

Selenity looked genuinely perplexed. "What do you mean?"

"Don't look so innocent and naïve, my dear," Aminiha snapped. "You took what rightfully belonged to me, and now I expect you as well as your husband to pay the consequences of your actions."

"What are you talking about?" Kino asked, but with Mars adding pressure onto the blade on his throat, he stopped speaking.

"My bargain with your father, my Lord," Aminiha replied, allowing the last word to drip with sarcasm. "You and I were to marry, but instead you went after your little princess here. I warned you of the consequences if you broke that bargain, and you broke it anyway. No woman shall have you in the end except for me. That was what the first war was about. This second war is for revenge, both for you rejecting me as well as for the defeat I suffered at the hands of the former Moon Queen."

"You are not playing by any rules though, my Lady," Kino snapped. "You are using trickery, lies, and deceit. What did you tell Mars to make him join up with you? I doubt it was by telling the truth. You are not being fair in the least."

Aminiha waved her hand through the air. "My dear Kinotsu, you must never forget that all's fair in love and war."

Kino felt a bolt of ice go down his back at that statement. "What happens now then?" he asked hoarsely, afraid of what the answer was going to be.

Aminiha chuckled. "I suppose the ball is in my court now, is it not? Well then, what shall we do?" her voice was too cheerful and filled with sarcasm. She turned and looked at Selenity and Serenity. "Since you are what is keeping me from getting what I want," she paused as she closed her eyes, bringing her hands to her chest where they began to glow with dark energy, "I will simply have to take you away from him."

"She's using Beryl as a channel for the dark powers!" Malachite gasped out, but the dark energy holding him in place tightened its grip on him, preventing him from saying anything else.

"Aminiha!" Mars barked out, "You promised me that Selenity and the child would not be hurt!" Kino felt his entire body shudder. If the Dark Queen was turning back on her promises to Mars, even on his planet, then that meant she was very confident of her strength and powers, and that meant trouble for them all.

Aminiha glanced at Mars. "I never said this was going to hurt," she said smoothly. "Kinotsu, watch as your wife and daughter disappear forever!" With those words uttered, Aminiha raised her hands.

At that moment, an understanding passed between Kino and Mars, one which had not occurred in years. That understanding was called fear. There was Kino's wife….and Kino's daughter. Mars could feel how tense Kino was, and he knew the Moon king was going to blot to try and save his wife and daughter, no matter what the cost was to his own personal welfare. He knew there was a blade against his throat that would slice through his skin if he tried to escape, but Mars knew Kino did not care. As Mars stared at Serenity, cradled safely in her mothers arms, he thought of Rei…he would do anything for Rei to make sure she was safe. He knew that that was what Kino was about to do. The King of War watched the woman he cared for deeply shaking with fear, not knowing if she was going to be able to protect her daughter. Mars suddenly understood how Aminiha had used him, and that she was about to kill Selenity and Serenity. He could not allow that. He was afraid for their lives, as was Kino, and that was what their understanding was.

Aminiha chuckled. "Selenity, no!" Kino cried out as Aminiha unleashed a strange beam of energy, sending it strait at Selenity and Serenity.

At that moment, Mars loosened his grip on Kino. "Go," he whispered, and he knew Kino had heard him, for right away he bolted and ran for his family.

Everyone could only watch in horror as the dark beam hurtled towards Selenity. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around her child, hoping, praying, that by some miracle she would be able to protect her. "Kino," she cried out, and was surprised when he responded by calling her name back. Suddenly, everything went quiet, and Selenity's eyes snapped open. She opened them just in time to see Kino wrap his arms around her and their daughter in an attempt to shield them from the oncoming energy.

Then he was gone.

Just like that, he was gone.

"The fool," Selentiy heard Aminiha snap, but then heard her chuckle. "No matter I suppose-"

Anything further the Dark Queen had to say was cut off by the sound of a child's wail.

Selenity stood there, trembling. He was gone. Dead. No more.

That's when everything clicked inside her. Kino, the only man whom she had loved, the only man who had loved her with a pure love and with his whole heart, had been her reason for living. He had given her Serenity. He was her air, the sustenance she needed to stay alive and be happy, and he was gone. He had saved them, but now was gone. Gone.

A bright glow pulsated from the crystal at her chest. Everything went silent as Serenity stopped screaming. Tears streamed down Selenity's face as the Imperium Silver Crystal began to hover before her, awakened from its dormant sleep. Selenity watched as fear filtered across the Dark Queen's features, and then a beam of brilliant white light shot from the crystal.

"You will pay," was all Selenity said, quietly and gently, as the light made contact with the Dark Queen, not even giving her the opportunity to utter a sound. As the beam hit Aminiha, all the guards in the room disintegrated into nothing, and Mercury, Jupiter, Paris, Malachite, and Yokiro found that they were able to move again. Another scream pierced the air, this time the sound of a child who had lost her mother. Beryl screamed and would not stop, until Malachite had run up to her and forced her wrists behind her back.

Selenity stood in the middle of the room, still holding Serenity, the crystal floating in the air before her. It cast a bright light through the room, and everything was silent again, save for the sobs of the Dark Princess. The light slowly faded, and as Selenity dropped to her knees, the crystal came back and nestled itself in the brooch it had occupied before.

"You will pay for this," Beryl screamed. "You and your daughter will pay for killing my mother!" Her final words rolled off her tongue with such venom that Malachite shivered, and then he felt the girl go limp in his arms as she fainted. They would take her with them. Now, though, he stared at Selenity. That was all everyone could do. No one moved.

Selenity, Queen of the Moon, wife of King Kinotsu and mother of Princess Serenity, kneeled in the centre of the room, holding her daughter to her chest. Tears streamed down her alabaster skin and all of her muscles quivered with fatigue, grief, and disbelief. He was gone. He was no more. It wasn’t possible, yet it was true. He had made the ultimate sacrifice and laid his life down to save all that was precious to him. Selenity knew that. Kino, why? Don't leave me, please, come back! Tell me it's not true! I need you! Oh gods…

Her tears continued to fall until a cold darkness enveloped her, and she passed out.

He was gone. That was the only thought haunting her. Gone.

Such was the price of love that day, a price no one could have payer but the loving father and husband who took a death sentence upon himself to save the ones he loved.

With his need to protect came the sacrifice, a price he had been willing to, and did, pay.

He was gone.