Irina

The Outer Soldiers Saga

 

Part Seven. The Future and the Past.

 

 The woman was standing near the window of the Chronos Palace. Her long, greenishly black hair with a bun on the top of her head was falling down to her knees. White suite with a black sailor collar with a bow in front and black short skirt with a bow behind was tracing her figure. Her feet were provided with knee-length black boots. A black thin ribbon with a round garnet pendant wrapped her neck. Two garnet clips were put in her ears. In her hand she held a silver carved almost her height staff with the garnet orb on the top. The Guardian of Time. The woman smiled. Her deep garnet eyes were filled with infinite knowledge and infinite sadness.

 Several centuries already passed. During them she learned to do well her new duty. When the Time flowed again she suddenly realized that the Palace was lost because of the shock in the Times and Spaces of Universe and that she had to find her solar system and come back there. She finally discovered it but something was different. With some wonder she saw a beautiful Moon Kingdom with shining cities, happy subjects and the new Queen and the King and she realized that this was the perfect future they were supposed to have. They were happy because they didn’t remember their past, they were living in this paradise without even knowing about it. They just were not aware their life was incomplete, that they had lost their integral part.

 And as she was looking at this perfect world she suddenly knew that inevitably the day would come when it would be ruined because you can never have the future without the past. She knew that they would have to go back to another Time and Space that was lost for them, go back to their past that was supposed to be their future. And find each other there and become one team again. And that they would have to fight and struggle and win, deriving powers from each other. What happened before would happen again. During her long existence she came to realize that there was a payment both for the good that was bestowed and for the bad that was done. And she knew that only if they deserved it this perfect life would be granted to them.

 She befriended the new Queen Serenity and King Endymion. She met the inner soldiers. They accepted her with joy and respect, admiring her wisdom and knowledge and being glad they have found their fellow soldier. But none of them remembered either her or the inhabitants of the Chronos Palace. For them she was the sailor soldier whose duty was to guard the Time Gate and nobody knew that her fate was different. The new Moon inhabitants were enjoying their life as it was flowing. And she never distracted it deciding it was pointless.

 

 

 During all these centuries she never forgot about Prince Chronos. When she first fully realized the magnitude of her loss it almost broke her inside. She lost half of herself, her heart, her very soul. Only now she suddenly understood that all the time she was looking at the world around her through him. And now when he was gone, this world seemed strange and cold. This emptiness was swallowing her more and more. She never laughed now. Smiles she put on her face reminded of the well-made masks. No one ever saw tears appearing in her wise strict eyes. Her cold face was making others want to leave as soon as possible. And she was pleased because she didn’t want anybody. She wanted to be alone. And she used to it. She used to rely only on herself, used to live without anybody’s help, used to the emptiness inside her. But her heart wasn’t frozen. She still was willing to help if asked, she still was able to sympathize. But her pity and kindness were rarely granted making others think she wasn’t able to feel at all.

 But for a long-long time during the nights when reminiscences were coming uninvited, the hot endless tears were falling down her cheeks. She remembered when he first kissed her and then told her he loved her and asked her to marry him. She was a bit dizzy, unable to see anything except for his eyes, and could only nod to his questions. And he was looking at her and smiling. Then he saw her to her room, kissed her hand and left. She remembered how her heart beat when he was carrying her through the corridors of the Palace after their wedding. She thought it would jump out of her chest. But when he leaned and kissed her all her tension suddenly left her. She realized at that moment that the safest and most peaceful place was in his arms, that he was her home, something she was longing for deep inside.

 She remembered the day when she suddenly heard his voice in her head, the voice of the only person she ever let into her mind, the only person who ever really knew her at all. And she knew that this was the same with him. And she was surprised that he was actually as vulnerable as any other living creature though at first sight he seemed impenetrable and she never expected him to be that kind and gentle with her as he had been: now when she was his equal she understood that she was just a child beside him.

 She remembered him sitting with Hotaru near the fire-place for the whole night listening to her calm voice telling him about the nightmares she was so often seeing. Him, holding Haruka’s horse and telling her how to saddle; he was the only person who had the right to tell her what to do and whose seniority she accepted absolutely. She saw him following Michiru with a doomed look on his face because of all of them only he had the patience left to discuss for the hundredth time the present that was prepared for Haruka. It was all so perfect, just the way it should always have been. She realized now that he helped them to become the people they appeared to be, he made them the fighters they were, he taught them not to be afraid of their destiny and probably he was the only one who ever understood each one of them utterly. There were times when she wanted to curse all that she remembered so well, but then she knew that she wouldn’t ever agree to be deprived of the single moment of her past. Especially the memories of those last months they spent together. A strange state of normal insanity. During the days they were facing death and fighting for their lives and during the nights… even now though many centuries already passed she still felt heat rising in her sometimes when she allowed the pictures to fill her mind: it was sweeping off hurricane.

 She could not accept the fact of him being somewhere else and not by her side. Of him simply being no more, existing somewhere in this Universe where she could not reach him. She didn’t want to live with that, but she did because she promised him. Inside she was torn, but no one could see that behind the strict and silent face. But she was not ultimately broken, she even grew stronger. Deep inside her another Setsuna was born and she was the one everybody else witnessed. And when she was watching the night sky, silver stars shining in the darkness, she sometimes felt the warmth of his loving gaze and thought she could see the silver figure made of shining stars looking down at her. But may be it was just an illusion.

 

 Once her loneliness became so unbearable for her that she decided to see him, to go back to the past, to use her new powers. She chose the times when he lived alone, long before she or the girls were born. It was easier to reach as the number of living creatures there was relatively small so she could not distract the flow of Time that much. She found him sitting in the library in his favorite high-collared black shirt with silver embroideries and turning the pages of a big book in front of him. His head with silver-black curls was bent down, long silver cloak was thrown on the floor near the arm-chair. He was murmuring to himself as he always did when reading something interesting and important. She thought her heart would blow right there, the pain that shook her was so great her tanned skin turned white. This moment the man in the chair turned round. He couldn’t see clearly because of the candle light, but he saw a shaded picture of a woman with very long hair and beautiful figure. She was looking at him with her huge eyes and he felt her burning gaze penetrate into his very soul. In her hand he noticed the staff that so much reminded his own. As he was watching the strange vision began fading, finally disappearing completely. Prince of Time wasn’t frightened. His attitude to the ghosts was philosophical. Only later he would know the meaning of this woman in his life.

 She never did this again. After she saw him so close, could feel his presence, could talk to him, could put out her hand and touch him but had no right for any of these things she realized that another such attempt would probably destroy her and her life was very important for this solar system. She knew now what it was: to live for the duty.

 

 Setsuna was missing Haruka and Michiru. Though her husband’s death seemed to erase almost everything from her memory except for him in some time she understood that this loss was great too. She had no friends any more who understood her, who were willing to listen to her and to whom she was willing to tell her troubles. But she knew they would be reborn, she just had to wait. There were times when she envied them because even in death they had been together. Now she more clearly saw the strength of their bond, it was more than love: they completed each other. And as she was thinking about it she suddenly felt that they had their own world and even she couldn’t enter it.

 

                                                                                         *

 

 Then one day she was standing on the balcony of the Moon Palace in the long jade gown that so suited her greenishly black hair and garnet eyes. Her hands were put on the balustrade. The beautiful crystal city was lying in front of her, peaceful and happy. King Endymion was standing beside her with his back to the view. He was dressed as usual in his purple tuxedo and white shirt, at his back long purple cloak was floating. And as she was looking at his face with kind black eyes and short black hair another man, who had silver-black curls she so many times brushed her hands through and wounded around her fingers, a man who had stars in his black eyes, appeared before her. And this picture was so real, so alive, the gaze of his eyes was so loving as it always had been, that she even without understanding she was doing it put up her hand and stroked the cheek of the face in front of her. She felt the man taking her hand in his and pressing it to his lips.

 When senses came back to her she saw King Endymion holding her hand and looking at her with kindness and sadness. She didn’t blush or pale, didn’t turn away - she didn’t move at all. She just heard her own calm voice. “I am sorry.” Black eyes were still looking with sympathy at her. King smiled and let go her hand. “I know.” He knew it wasn’t him she was longing for. He was very wise. King Endymion. Setsuna was still looking at him and suddenly the thought of them ever being more than friends, of them ever being lovers crossed her mind. When their gazes met she saw the same thought flicker in his eyes. He bowed to her and moved to leave. And as she was watching his back with the long purple cloak floating behind him she knew that it would never happen. Not because they were chaste and sinless. They still were people. But because of the great love King felt for his wife and who was deserving it. And because of the deep feeling that still lived in her. She knew that there wouldn’t ever be anyone to take her husband’s place neither in her heart nor beside her.

 She and the King remained good friends. Both wise and knowing, they were listening to each other’s advice and considering each other’s opinions, spent hours talking about the secrets of the Universe. But their eyes were never looking at each other for too long and when their hands met by chance no hot red waves were coming to their faces. They respected and understood one another.

 

 But still in this new world she met a person who brightened her life, who returned smile to her face, who filled some emptiness inside her. A little girl with huge garnet eyes that so much reminded her own and pink hair put in two short thick tails with knots on the tops. Small Lady, the daughter of Serenity and Endymion. Setsuna remembered when once she found her standing in the doorway of one of the Chronos Palace rooms and curiously watching around herself. The girl wasn’t scared at all when she saw the Guardian of Time standing with her staff in front of her. She just smiled and put out her hand. Setsuna smiled back and accepted the little hand. They became good friends. She called her “Puu” and she liked it. They played together and talked sitting in the beautiful Moon garden. Little girl shared her childish secrets and troubles with her and she appreciated it knowing how difficult it is to win a child’s trust.

 But one day when she was watching Small Lady running laughingly to her she suddenly saw little Hotaru sitting on the Chronos lap and playing with one of his shoulder clasps, her eyes shining as he was telling her something; she saw little Haruka and Michiru standing in front of her husband and trying to hide they were lying because, just a second ago when they were chasing each other around the Palace, they had broken another of his favorite vases; and she saw another little girl with huge garnet eyes and greenishly black hair down her waist running laughingly to the outstretched arms of the man with a night sky in his eyes. And she suddenly wanted to save this little girl from any misery she could ever face, shield her from any evil she could ever meet with, do everything in her power to make her happy and, at least, somehow protect this child dear to her, because she had failed to do that for any of those girls. And at that moment she realized that she grew to love her as a daughter she would never have. 

 

                                                                                   *     *     *

 

 Finally, the time had come: the new Moon Kingdom was endangered. And as she had supposed the past was to save them. She never interfered because she knew that she had no say in those events. She trusted that Fate knew better. The inner soldiers gave all their powers to save their Queen, King Endymion became just a shadow hiding from Prince Diamond. But Small Lady was sent to the past, to find the Silver Crystal and save her mother and the new Moon Kingdom. And the Guardian of Time was asked to help. She did it with readiness and presented the girl with a big cat’s head, Luna-P. She could talk through it and support the little Princess who was now all alone in the new world.

 And there, in the past, that was supposed to be their true future she finally found what she was looking for. She felt they all were reborn in this Time and Space. She just had to find them all and later join, for them again to become one team. She found a girl with two long yellow tails with knots on the tops and blue eyes filled with simplicity and love so much it seemed she was about to cry. Usagi Tsukino. The earthly incarnation of the Moon Princess. Clumsy and irresponsible cry-baby with enormous powers to love and save. She found the new incarnations of the inner soldiers. A girl with burning black eyes and waist-long purplishly black hair who so much liked sitting and watching the fire. Rei Hino. Always running around and laughing, her blue eyes shining Minako Aino. She found a blue-eyed and blue-haired girl who spent all her time in the library and was the best pupil in school. Ami Mizuno. And a girl with honest dark green eyes and long brown curly hair wishing to protect her friends from all the dangers. Makoto Kino. And a young man with black eyes and short black hair who was really fond of red roses. Mamoru Chiba.

 They had their hard times but now were good friends fighting by each other’s side sealed by friendship and love. But their memories were somehow incomplete, just like those of the inhabitants of the new Moon Kingdom. And her search for her friends was still continuing.

 

 The little girl with garnet eyes and two short thick pink tails at once felt affection for the young man who so much loved red roses and was almost unbearable with a girl whose hair-do so much reminded her mother’s. But the time passed and they discovered they would be a family. The Queen was saved by the girl from the past and her daughter from the future who finally discovered that the Silver Crystal was sealed in her little body. The perfect world was perfect again. Only little Princess wanted to go back and meet again with the girls and a young man who became her friends.

 

 And the Guardian of Time felt that very soon things would change again. And then one day new Queen Serenity asked her to the Moon Palace and there told her that Princesses of Uranus and Neptune were reborn and she could meet them. And when Setsuna turned around she saw Haruka and Michiru standing by each other’s side and holding hands just the way they always did. She was so happy to see them she thought she would cry. But strangely those tears she felt inside could not somehow melt the coldness of her gaze. Setsuna smiled at them and came closer. They smiled back at her. They were together again. Chronos Palace was again filled with people but the Pluto’s Princess was becoming sadder and sadder. She knew that now they would have to be awaken in that Time and Space she visited not long ago. She knew that she would have to do that. And that there she would have to be with them, with completely different people though they would be the incarnations of the outer soldiers. And after some time she asked them to move to the Moon Palace, to leave her alone. Because she knew that loving the six of them (as it wouldn’t be long for Hotaru to be reborn as well): in the future and in the past, was too much for her to bear. They obeyed without resentment feeling that it was right. She was always right: her blessing and her curse.

                               

 And once when the Pluto’s Princess was looking into the garnet orb she saw a girl with turquoise curlish hair till her shoulders and huge ocean-colored eyes. Michiru Kaioh. A famous student painter and a violinist. She was so beautiful and so lonely as if she’d lost something very important and was desperately searching for it, struggling to live a normal life. And she discovered someone else she was looking for. A girl with grey steel eyes and short blond hair, who so much wanted to chase the wind and was running from her destiny unable to find peace. Haruka Tenoh. A famous car-racer. Two celebrities. They were studying in one school but never met. The Guardian of Time smiled at the irony of fate. They would be needed very soon. But were they prepared to live a double-life, to bear in them two of the most powerful sailor soldiers, were they strong enough for the feeling that would appear between them. They would have to win many battles. But were they ready for it? Setsuna didn't know.

                                                                                             *

 

 The girl with aquamarine curlish hair till her shoulders, dressed in a blue dress with a wide dark-blue belt, was walking along the street. Without knowing why she did it, she stopped to look at the huge TV-screen, where the commentary from the racetrack was reporting.

 “And number one is Haruka Tenoh!” The girl watched as a person stepped out of the car and lifted hands to take off the helmet: determined lips, cold grey eyes and a bush of short blond hair. The look on the face was haughty and unpleasant, but behind the mask the girl on the street suddenly saw the loneliness that so much reminded her own. She was standing and watching the screen with greater and greater attention. “Even if eternities pass the moment I see you I will know you.” Her cheeks became crimson. In a moment her face turned almost red as realization of this person actually being a girl burnt in her mind. She shook her head, turned away from the screen and walked along the street, not knowing that a second ago she was standing face to face with her fate. Setsuna was smiling as she watched the two of them. “Michiru Kaioh and Haruka Tenoh, you can never run away from your destiny and you will discover it very soon.”

 

 The Guardian of Time realized the time had come to awaken them but remembering the stubborn temper of the Uranus Princess she decided to try her luck with another girl first. She knew it wouldn’t be easy. They didn’t remember a bit of their past lives, though inside they were longing for something they couldn’t even name. She appeared in her dreams once, telling her about her fate and her duty, but Michiru was scared. She was trying to forget this strange woman, so sad and so beautiful, with long greenishly black hair and a staff in her hand. The woman who was so familiar, though she never saw her before, she knew it for sure. Why was she supposed to save the world? Why was she supposed to sacrifice her dreams and her so well planned future for the sake of somebody else? Why it was her? All those questions were swirling in her mind driving her almost mad. But, on the other hand, if it all were true and if she had enough power to stop the Silence why not to sacrifice her dreams, her future, even her life, just one life in order to save millions. If this really was her duty she had no right to reject it. And after some time she accepted what Sailor Neptune was created by the Universe for. 

 

 “But why I should awaken Sailor Uranus and not you?” The garnet eyes smiled. “Because you are the only person she would open her heart to.” And she did her first task well - finding her partner, her second half but in reality finding much more: a person who filled emptiness inside her. Michiru felt strange near this girl she didn’t know at all and yet knew so well. The girl she was in love with before they even met. The girl who gradually was becoming everything for her. And now when she was spending more and more time by her side she suddenly realized she had no way back. Michiru was even prepared to put up with Haruka’s flirting though sometimes it was really hurting her. But she knew that the time hadn’t come yet for her to show her feelings.

 Haruka was distant and almost cold, thinking all the time about the mission they had to accomplish. But in some time she noticed something that suspiciously reminded jealousy, awakening in her more and more often when somebody but her was even talking to Michiru. But she would have never admitted it. Even if she was in love and Michiru would return her feelings, it didn’t matter. She did not deserve happiness and love because her hands were dirty. This feeling would be doomed without even given a chance to blossom. Their mission was more important than Michiru, more important than her, more important than love that could have been. But very deep inside the girl with steel eyes and determined face knew that all of that was false.

 And she was fighting with herself. Now she had found her predestination, she was saving the world. And she was prepared to make sacrifices. But why her heart was tearing apart that time when she left Sailor Neptune to the mercy of Kaorinite, why she could not bring herself to indifference, why she could not turn away? They promised each other that at least one should be left to carry out the mission and she was prepared to sacrifice her partner, putting aside all the friendship and affection she had for her. Because that was different. They were not friends any more, they were soldiers and here completely different rules applied. And Haruka could not see through the thick cold wall she surrounded herself by that Michiru wouldn’t be able to do the same. But not because she was weaker, no, but because she was more honest with herself than Haruka.

 And this strange girl with deep blue eyes was looking right in Haruka’s heart and was seeing the truth, the unpleasant frightening truth, and still was wishing to be by her side. Yes, Michiru too was ready to sacrifice others, but she still was questioning it, still was doubting. But Haruka never was and was trying to ensure her partner that they had the right to do it. Had they really? She didn’t know. Yes, she did. They had not. But the girl was pushing this thought away because she thought she had enough strength to fight her conscience, her sympathy, her heart. And she did. For both of them.

 

 Sailors Uranus and Neptune were fighting by each other’s side just the way they used to, the way they did not remember. Setsuna discovered they had lost nearly all their memories and partly their powers. They used their attacks well and were devoted to their mission but they didn’t remember their Princess and were not prepared to protect and obey this ridiculous girl for whom clumsiness seemed to be her second nature. The girl who was trying to penetrate right into their souls and bring out the love she knew they had inside. That was sometimes unbearable. They were not prepared to consider the inner soldiers as their equals. Their statements about how wrong it was to sacrifice the innocents only made them more determined, more wishing to complete their task and show these kids that they were right.

 

                                                                                            *

 

 Of course, the Plutonian Princess knew that they were the carriers of the Talismans. But she was waiting, she wanted them to learn to fight, to learn to be together and may be she was hoping that in some time they would become friends with the inner soldiers.

 Setsuna knew they had to joint their powers. They needed her help. And as usual she would go and save them, take them out of trouble, appear in the right time and in the right place. But there wouldn’t be anyone to do this for her. She was doomed to absolute loneliness, to being forever alone in her heart. There wouldn’t be anyone to relieve her burden, she would live with it and struggle alone. For eternities. But she knew that that was the payment for the infinite knowledge and mysterious powers the Universe had granted her and she was prepared to face her destiny. But now when she had found those she lost so long ago, those that used to be her family, those she loved she thought that may be she would be happy again.

 

 And one day when she was looking into the garnet orb she saw a beautiful young woman with long greenishly black hair with a bun on the top of her head and serious garnet eyes sitting in front of the computer screen. Setsuna Meiou. She wanted to be a fashion designer and simply could not imagine her life without shopping. The Pluto’s Princess was watching with interest her own earthly incarnation and realized that Universe took pity on her creating another body she could exist in. She knew she would leave the Chronos Palace for a long time only if it would be absolutely necessary. But now when there were two of her she would manage her duties that were twice as hard as those of the other soldiers. The guardian of Time smiled at the thought of awakening herself.

 

 She met the earthly incarnations of the Sailors Uranus and Neptune. She told them who they used to be and who they would be but never mentioned the Saturnian Princess and her own past. They too thought her to be the one who guarded the Time since the moment of her creation. The Holy Grail appeared and they gave it to Sailor Moon because none of them had the right to use it. Besides, Setsuna knew it belonged to the Moon Queen: she saw it in one of the Palace rooms. So they simply gave it to the person who had most rights to have it but still they did not believe this clumsy fighter for love and justice to be the Messiah.

 

 And then one day they found a girl with huge purple eyes and short dark purple hair. Hotaru Tomoe. A little girl whose fragile body was again the battlefield for the good and the evil. Setsuna saw that Sailor Saturn was still sleeping and she didn’t have the power and the wish to awaken her. The last of the outer soldiers would do that without anybody’s help. And it would happen very soon. The Guardian of Time was waiting for Princess Hotaru to be reborn but it never happened and she realized that something was wrong. Finally they found out that girl to be the soldier of silence. And Setsuna realized they had to destroy her because otherwise she would ruin everything. The Pluto’s Princess was even prepared to risk her friendship with Small Lady but was determined to fulfill her duty. The danger was too real and the threat was too obvious. She told Haruka and Michiru that Sailor Saturn was the soldier of destruction and that their new mission was to prevent her awakening. Because afterwards they would have no chance.

 

 She was not aware that very soon she would be prepared to stake everything she possessed as a guardian of Time, would be ready to break one of the rules of the Universe, to do what she knew to be the impermissible: stop the Time simply to save her friends. But there are moments when the impermissible bows to courage and self-denial, when Fate is drawing back her sharp blade admiring those who dare to question its inevitability. And Universe would forgive her because of the elimination of Pharaoh Ninety and the ultimate kindness of the Moon Princess to the soldier of destruction whose powers would again turn to good. And because Sailor Pluto’s sacrifice would be made voluntarily, for the sake of friendship, and such sacrifices are never in vain. And she would be reborn, out of the unfathomable darkness of Universe, to stand again at the Time Gate: the enigmatic soldier whose mystery even she herself could not perceive.

 

                                                                                         *

 

 Haruka and Michiru completed the mission: they found the Talismans and the Holy Grail and finally the Messiah. But they still were the defeated ones because they lost all the other battles. Battles that were infinitely harder than those with the demons.

 They didn’t want to realize that they could not find peace because they still were running: running from themselves, refusing to accept the obvious. Love. Only that would have brought peace to their hearts. But they did not want to believe in love because then they would have to believe in that foolish girl who was the incarnation of it, then they would have to obey completely different laws. And you can never love without believing.

 And Haruka did not understand that what she was running from was not her destiny and what she was chasing was not the wind but the purest feeling of all, feeling that was rejected by her mind and accepted by her heart. And this continuous battle inside her denied her any peace. She picked the transformation wand not because of Michiru. At that time she didn’t mean anything to her. She picked it because she thought that may be it would bring her peace, that may be it was something she was longing for all her life. But even after she became Sailor Uranus she was still struggling, again running, sometimes being ready to kill those girls, angry with all the world. And Michiru, who was the one to explain Haruka their mission and who showed her that sacrifices were necessary, now was accepting her partner’s decisions even if they were pitiless. They were ready to sacrifice the girl who was their good friend and whom they knew to be the most innocent and harmless creature and Haruka was not aware that the purest heart she held in her hand would be the one so save the world.     

 They just didn’t want to accept the difference between the sacrifice that was forced and the sacrifice that was done at the free wish. The former could never save the world and only the latter could do that. Because the first one had no place for kindness and love but only for pain, cruelty and coldness.

 

 And because of all that they utterly lost.

 They lost to those four young girls whose pure hearts they held in their gloved hands. To the sailor soldiers who were ready to risk their lives just to protect the innocent little girl. And who were ready to do that afterwards when they knew her to be the soldier of destruction. To the inner soldiers whose destiny was to always sacrifice themselves for the sake of friendship.

 And they lost to that so simple and so strong girl who put the whole world and the life of one person on the scales of Universe and won because the life of the little girl was more precious than the world that was not able to be kind and loving. And at that moment they witnessed the power different from theirs. It was not the power of sharp mind and rigid rules. It was the omnipotent power of love, power that had no boundaries. And they learned that the good and the evil were sometimes one and only if you had enough faith you would see the true meaning of things. But they did not want to accept it. Because if they did their hardest battle would be lost forever. And they attacked her trying to destroy what they were most afraid of: overwhelming love that broke all the rules. But finally they bowed to it like any creature in Universe. And at that moment they lost to themselves. In their hearts they were not rejecting the wrongness of their actions any more, were prepared to fight for their Princess, were ready to become different people.

 And they allowed something they thought they were undeserving of, something they were refusing to accept, something that lived in them without ever asking a permission, shut in the farthest corners of their souls, to finally show itself. And the moment their lips touched they found the peace they were longing for. They never remembered they loved each other and were lovers. And the strong feeling that slowly grew between them was not due to their destiny. Their love was beyond destiny because one day they would defy destiny, would reject what they were born for, would refuse to protect their Princess and fulfill their duty by making a crucial choice. Choice that would mean treason and death, infinite sufferings and infinite love. The only choice they could have made on this road they doomed themselves to. Doomed with ultimate understanding and without regrets. But in this terrible battle with themselves the love they had chosen gave them the strength to defeat the darkness and allowed them to stay pure in their hearts.

 

                                                                                  *     *     *

 

 The guardian of Time was standing among the rose bushes of the Moon garden and silently looking at the silver stars shining in the dark sky. She could spend nights like that but nobody dared to question her. And as she was watching the soft silver light she heard the steps and felt somebody else’s presence behind her. On turning her head she saw Haruka and Michiru standing beside her and smiling. It looked like they knew something she did not. In a moment she was almost swept off her feet by a little girl with short dark purple hair and huge purple eyes. “Setsuna! I’m back!” The Pluto’s Princess sighed with gladness and relief and put her arms around Hotaru. She felt her little hands wrap tightly around her neck and squeeze her with all the strength the reborn soldier of destruction had in her power. Setsuna laughed and hugged the girl back. Now the four of them were together again and she would take care for it to last for as long as possible. They needed her as much as she needed them. She wouldn’t be lonely any more.

 

 

The End