Final Movement


The battle was reaching its zenith. It had been a long battle, a long day, in which sides were chosen, sides were forced upon innocents, and ultimately, one side would come out victorious. Now, even now, there were doubts. For most of the soldiers, most of the players, were down.

Darkiter, Darkoon, Darkars and Darkenus, servants of Metaria, lay in Sakura Square, unconscious and unaware of what was happening. Their last memory was a flash of purple light, the sight of a moon sign…..and nothing else. They were beaten, and beaten good, by Sailor Luna.

Sailor Luna, on her part, was also on the ground, also unconscious. Her battle for the side of right ended as all the others had - at the hands of Sailor Darkury. Sailor Luna was strong, strong enough to defeat four other sailor soldiers simultaneously. Darkury, however, caught her in a moment of weakness and distraction, and she fell as well, reverting back to her plush cat form upon her defeat.

Sailor Luna’s battle with the dark soldier had not been completely fruitless, for the darkness inside the tainted soldiers, though not visibly so, was lifted from the souls of her companions. Also, with the shattering of the orb, the students of Juuban Junior High, succumbed to slumber through the power of darkness, were at their desks, slowly waking from their sleep.

“H-huh?” One student, half-awake, looked out the window. “Oh, I…..did I nap?”
“What the…..the sun’s setting!”
“We fell asleep? Weird…”
“The lights aren’t coming on!”
“It’s soooo hot…”
“I need to go to the bathroom.”
“….Huh?”

Naru looked up, and around, as she got up off the school hall floor.She confusedly looked around as the students quickly excused themselves from their classes, for it was 6:40 at night.

“U…..usagi-chan?”

Naru looked all over for Usagi, but found nothing save her schoolbag. She was confused, for she did not recall Usagi leaving the school, or the classroom for that matter during the blackout. However, when she still could not find Usagi, she gave up and decided to go home.

“Hmm…” Naru eventually hooked up with Komoko. “I wonder where Usagi went. She left her bag here.”

And so, everyone went home. No one knew what had happened; no one knew that the battle which had been waged to save them was still going on. There had been several players, and several battles waged, events concerning friends that had spanned for several months without their knowledge.

This time, however, only two fighters were left to battle each other. And there was no doubt that there would be only one left standing in the end.

--------------------------

Hurry…..

People were staring at her quizzically as sat on the bus, looking nervously over her shoulder. Mercury tried to ignore the stares she received, and the confused lip service she was being given.

“Look, mommy!” a little girl gasped. “A lady with blue hair!”
“Pay no mind.” The mother brought the girl’s face away. “It’s one of those ‘stylish’ teens trying to catch your attention. Such a perverted dress, too!”

Mercury looked nervously out the back; then, on a whim, she leaped up and pulled down the stop lever. The bus lurched to a stop at the corner, almost causing Mercury to fall on her face as she walked forward.

“Hey!” The bus driver glared at Mercury as she jumped off. “Next time, request the stop before you get to it, huh?!”

Mercury ignored the bus driver completely as she ran off. Her eye had caught the subway line at the last second; it had not been the one that she had gotten onto before. However, it still led into Juuban, and got off a block away from where she wanted to go.

Come on……come on…..!

“Ami-chan!”

Mercury did not stop at the sound of the voice, even as it echoed into the subway chamber. All she could do was run, to keep running, to make the train on time and hope that she did not catch up…..

“Coward!!”

Darkury was on the prowl. She could hear Mercury’s shoes clacking on the tiled floor of the station, through the roar of people who were coming in and out. She took out her ice sword and charged through the crowd, bringing the blade in front of her.

“AAAAAH!!!!”
“She’s got a weapon!”
“Call security! It’s a maniac come loose!”

Darkury did not hear the pitiful screams of the people she mowed down. She only saw one person in her sight. And Mercury was running down to the lower depot level, having thrown her ticket fare at the counter. The pray was getting away.

“FREEZE!”

Darkury gave a growl. There was a gun pressed to head, and the smell of cheap cologne was on her oppressor’s clothing. Promptly, Darkury threw her sword down.

“That’s good.” The subway security officer took a step back, his gun still fixed on the weapon-wielder. “Now, turn around, and put your hands up. Come on!”

Slowly, carefully, Darkury turned around, bringing her hands up. Her eyes were half-shut as she turned, but as soon as she was facing the officer, she slowly opened them, showing her bright red eyes, batting her long shiny eyelashes at him. Kunzite’s unwanted infatuation of her, and what Darkury figured had turned him on to her, were at play with the officer now.

“Oh…..I……”

The effect was devastating. The officer could not stop staring at Darkury’s alabaster face, her youthful cheeks still with a hint of baby fat, her shadowed eyes, her pale lips, her rosy pupils. Her legs, and her clothing, a dark blue, and her butteryfly bow. Her long arm, clothed in pure white gloves, reaching out, perhaps towards his face.

“Ah….AAAH!!!!”

Darkury’s hands grabbed the officer’s hand with a strong grip. The officer gave a loud scream as the dark energy coursed through him, and for a moment, he glowed bright purple.

“AUUUUUUGH!!!!!”
“Hmph.”

Darkury promptly let go of his wrist, and the offivcer stopped his screams. Instead, he looked at Darkury, his eyes dulled with the essence of darkness. He slowly put his gun away.

“Good.” Darkury gave a grin. “Now, get my sword.”

Without a word of complaint, the officer walked over to the sword, picked it up, and with a bow returned it to its rightful owner. With no hint of thanks, Darkury took the sword back from him, thought for a moment, then returned it back to him. Several people began to take notice at the strange scene and began to look.

“An officer of the dark now.” Darkury looked around at the people who were starting to stare. “Keep this for the moment. Handcuff me before the humans’ suspicions arise too greatly.”
“Yes, mistress.”

With a cool look towards everyone, Darkury brought her hands up. The cuffs slapped onto them, and the officer tightened them to fit her wrists. They were not too tight, however; the officer had no wish to truly hurt his new master.

“Lead me out.”

She had not made the subway - she could hear it leave the station - but Darkury had other ways of getting what she wanted. She would never be out of options so long as there was an enemy to destroy. She could not teleport out in front of so many people, but she could get others to do her bidding. True, her hold over the soldiers had been broken and her target also escaped, yes, but it was only a small setback to her.

“When we get to the parking lot,” Darkury looked at her charge, “we will be leaving.”
“Where to, mistress?”

Darkury looked up at the sky. The sun was no longer in the sky; the only remnants of its reign in the sky were pale oranges and purples, which were fading fast into hues of dark midnight blue.

“Juuban. And hurry.”

-----------------------

Gone…..

Mercury took in several deep breaths as she slumped into the grimy subway seat. She was fortunate to have been so lucky so far; Darkury did not seem to be on the train with her. This was a mere small comfort to her.

She’ll never stop…. She looked down at her cut-up arms. She will never stop hunting for me….not until…..not until I’m….

She couldn’t bring herself to think of the word. She didn’t want to think of it, to confront the reality of her own impending doom. Alas, she realized that she could not think of anything else, and what was worse, she was exhausted.

Usagi-chan…. She put her head in her hands. Rei-chan…..Mako-chan…..

“Shut up, faker. Don’t make me hurt you now.”
“We should execute her right now.”
“Don’t try to run. You’ll never escape us.”


What can I do? A sob came from her throat. All I can do……is fight Darkury. But…..she’s so strong…..


The sword came into contact with the concrete. The debris turned into hail, attacking Mercury.


I…..I have to find a way to….to beat her! Mercury mussed her hair up in anxiety. But how? What kind of weakness could I even look for?

Her mind went through everything she knew about Darkury. As the subway train rumbled on, the various thoughts and collected strings of information began to form together coherently, so that she could see them as clearly as if the words she thought were in front of her in reality. Alone once more, being allowed to collect her thoughts, she could think somewhat clearly.

*CHUGGACHUGGACHUGGACHUGGACHUGGA.-*

Sailor Darkury. Her mind named everything off to the rhythm of the chugging of the train. Soldier of darkness, the dark side of Mercury. Physically equivalent to me. Emotionally opposite. Powers include amplified powers related to planet Mercury’s water element. Weapons include long ice blade. Attacks seem to originate from sword, or…perhaps she channels her powers through it….

Slowly, a planj of attack began to form in Mercury’s mind on a possible defense. She knew Darkury would certainly not give the sword up, and considering Darkury’s power, the possibility of not being able to lodge the sword away from her would be a problem. Therefore, Mercury knew she could not simply rely on getting the sword away from her enemy; she would somehow have to bypass it.

I’ll have to try to fight…..hand to hand…..

After a pause, Mercury took out her star tambourine. She stared at the gold and pink weapon, fingering it thoughtfully.

My only true defense…

She looked out of the subway window and saw a light at the end. It was Juuban Station. All she could really hope for at the moment was that she had gotten a good head start over Dakury.

-------------------

“Turn here.”

The security car swerved onto a side street at Darkury’s word. The soldier sat in the front passenger’s seat, her face set with grim impatience. She was not one to endlessly berate her servants for failure and incompetence, especially when the servant was doing his best to fight Tokyo street fairways and the laws of rush hour traffic. She still wished he would hurry up, regardless.

“Are you sure she’s going there…”
“I know it for a fact.” The set face let forth a malevolent smirk. “She has nowhere else to go.”

The car zipped down the street, coming to a halt at a dead end. The two quickly got out, looking across the street with set eyes. In front of them, the Crown Karaoke sign flashed red and green in the night, for it had a back-up generator.

-----------------------

I’m here….

Mercury looked around the karaoke lounge area nervously. There were people who were looking at her as they talked and sang in the booths; she knew better than to simply untransform in public, especially at a time where throngs of people flocked to places with electricity. She only hoped she wasn’t caught by one person in particular and kicked out; she had nowhere else to really make a stand but down underneath this place, in the command center.

“Hey!”

Mercury’s head spun around. There he was, wearing Makoto’s green wool muffler around his neck as he walked towards her, a frown of disapproval on his face. What was worse for Mercury was that she did not have her passport with her to gain official access into the building. She shut her eyes, waiting for him to kick him out.

“Hmph!” To Mercury’s surprise, Motoki simply walked past her. “Kid! Kid! I’m sorry, but I’ll have to ask you to put that down.”

The little boy inside one of the booths gave a screech, banging the microphone on the sides and causing feedback, as Motoki went to pick him up.

“You shouldn’t do that!” Motoki warily chastised the boy, who kept screaming in his face. “Where’re your parents when I need them….what is it with all these people tonight?!”

Mercury seized the moment Motoki’s back was turned to her to bolt away from a potentially hazardous situation. She carefully navigated the maze of machines, speakers, booths and singers, coming at last to the end of the corridor. She took a deep breath and slowly opened the hidden door.

Let me be first……let me be first…..

She almost stumbled down the stairs in the dark, but grabbed herself before she could. Smartly, she reached for the lights, and switched them on. The command center lit up.

That way, I can see her shadow if she beats me here….<\

Mercury had no doubt in her mind Darkury would eventually find her. Perhaps it was all good, and it was an advantage to fight on home turf; perhaps it was what Mercury wanted deep down, on instinct, to face off with what was once her dark side - a part of her, yet simultaneously apart from her. She dove behind the bookshelf and waited, the sweat pouring down her brow. On a second thought, she took out the heaviest book on the shelf, and cradled it under her arm, holding her tambourine close to her.

I got here first. Mercury took in a deep breath. Come on. Darkury. Come on-

“She’s here.”

Mercury’s breath was sucked in. The door opened, and the sound of two pairs of feet coming down the stairs froze her chest. Darkury was not alone.

“She turned the lights on, if they were off.” Darkury’s voice turned towards her companion. “Regardless, Sailor Mercury is here. Find her now.”
“Yes, mistress.” A male voice came into earshot as the door into the command center was shut. “Don’t worry.”

Mercury cowered as close to the shadows as she could as she heard the thumping steps of the male coming towards the bookshelf. Then, she heard a metallic click.

Oh no…. Mercury could barely suppress a gasp. A gun. A policeman. She brought a policeman….

“Mercury!”

The sweat balls on Mercury’s brow became larger and more frequent as Darkury’s voice rang out again. Mercury’s eyes darted back and forth frantically, trying to keep the book from slipping out of her arm.

“Ami-chan.” She heard the gun load as the security officer clicked the barrel into place. “I’ll be lenient this one time. You may have a choice for how you want your execution. Either you can surrender and have my friend let you go out easily….or you can resist and die painfully.”

Mercury closed her eyes and shuddered. She knew what she wanted her choice to be. She was not sure, however, if Darkury was really sincere enough to even let her choose her fate. Either way, she did not like it.

“FREEZE!”

Either way, she suddenly was left with no choice. The hormones of fear that raged within most normal people who were fighting for their lives finally arose within Mercury. She gave a scream, and with all of her strength, she threw the star tambourine down, took the heavy book in both her hands and swung it around as hard as she could.

“AUGH!”

The security officer staggered back. With another blow, Mercury slammed the book into the man’s head. Whiplashed, the man fell to the floor unconscious.

“There you are….”

Mercury bolted at the sound of Darkury’s voice. Her hand swiped the gun off of the still officer’s body and held it as tightly as she could. With a grunt, she pointed the gun at Darkury, who stood three feet away from her.

“….Are you so cold-hearted to shoot me now, Ami-chan?” Darkury threw her sword down with a mocking laugh. “You wouldn’t dare. But I guess we both can think alike, can’t we?”

Darkury went forward, but Mercury found the safety. She took it off and, as fast as she could, pulled the trigger.

*BOOOOOOOOOOM!!!*

Smoke came from the barrel as the recoil caused Mercury to fall down. She gave a cry, and the gun fumbled out of her hands. She barely missed hitting her head on the stage steps.

“…GAAAAAH!”

The next thing the slightly disoriented soldier knew, she was being roughly pulled up by her hair. The bullet had not missed Darkury, but it had not quite hit its mark. The bullet had whizzed through Darkury’s left arm, meeting its final resting place in the wall behind them.

“….You…..coward……”

Darkury’s teeth clenched into the snarl of the youma as her injured arm took up the gun. She was in some pain as the dark blood oozed, but it had made her even angrier, and more dangerous.

“You want to play this way?” Mercury’s eyes bugged out as the dark soldier pressed the gun to her head. “Then let’s play, right?”

Click.


Click. Click. Clickclickclick.

Darkury gave a roar. The officer, for all his obedience to her and to her opponent’s hateful luck, had only loaded one bullet in for the kill.

“HAAAAH!!!!”

In the moment, Mercury’s first fist connected to Darkury’s face; the other rapped its knuckles onto Darkury’s hands, forcing her to drop the gun. The two separated and regrouped; Darkury went for Mercury’s hair and neck; Mercury went down low and charged.


”You can’t let them win, no matter what!”


Mercury gave Darkury a headbutt to the stomach, driving her to the wall and slamming her head into a framed picture. In response, Darkury grabbed a tuft of Mercury’s dark neck hair and viciously ripped it out. As Mercury screamed, Darkury took her elbow and brought it down on Mercury’s spine. Instantly, Mercury crumbled to the floor.


”Let’s go and fight, Ami-chan!”


As Darkury’s knee went to connect with Mercury’s chin, Mercury recovered and rolled out of the way. She did a back flip, bringing her heel up into Darkury’s jaw. Darkury’s neck cracked, and dark blood mixed with saliva dripped onto the wall and down the evil girl’s chin.


”Don’t worry! You can do it…..I know you can.”


Just as Mercury straightened herself up, Darkury’s hands were on Mercury’s face, and her nails began to sink into her cheeks. Mercury screamed as blood seeped from the clawing marks, as her enemy’s fingers sunk deeper into her flesh. She kicked her, but it took several times for Darkury’s pain tolerance to lapse, and then she finally released Mercury. Mercury turned and began for her star tambourine.


”Ami-chan-“


Mercury’s thoughts were interrupted by another grab. Her head was suddenly slammed once, twice, three and four times, into the wall. Then, Darkury turned her around so she could see Darkury’s face, the flashing red eyes, the bloody, toothy leer. Then, the back of her head was slammed several times into the wall.

“This……serves…….you……right!!!!!!!!”

Mercury fell to the ground, unable to grasp, unable to react. The blood lurched up out of her mouth, almost in a drool fashion, and herhead was also bleeding onto the wall. She saw Darkury leave, blur out, and then come into focus in her sight, with the sword. There was a satisfied smile on Darkury’s face as she rushed forward, her sword raised.

get…….up……. Her body wouldn’t obey. up…….up……

Get up.

Get UP.

UpupupupupupupupupUP.

GET. UP

IDIOT.

IDIOT!

GET UP!!!!

UP!!!!!!!

It didn’t work. Mercury was spent, spent mentally, and Darkury was upon her. But her body refused to quit.

GET UP!!!! Her cheeks flushed. GET UP NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!![I]

The adrenaline kicked in. Mercury’s body scissored up spontaneously, not on mental command, but rather through the sheer power of her hormones, which had disembodied the brain, and now, only the body responded at the moment.

“ARRRGH!!!!”

The sword went into Mercury’s arm. The nerves responded, and the brain suddenly sprang back from the abyss. Mercury’s eyes opened, and she staggered to the side as the sword landed in the wall.

“Getting sloppy.”

Darkury’s hand came down onto Mercury’s wrist with a firm grip. Mercury’s eyes widened as the purple energy began to appear, ready to bring her back. The evil flashed in her mind, and the fear again took over.

“[i]NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Mercury struggled violently as she wrested her hand from Darkury’s grip. She scrambled over to the side of the reddened room, gasping as she held her arm.

“You won’t give up?” The sword was brought in Mercury’s direction once more. “You are a fool. You’d really rather not die peacefully, so I’ll slit your throat and decorate my sword with your insides.”
“You’ll…..” Mercury could only cower at the thought. “You….turned my friends against me, you’ll kill me.”
“Of course. I told you already.”

The sword lunged at Mercury once more. Mercury turned to dodge it went to the side of Darkury once more, but to no avail. The sword came down on her back, slicing open her sailor suit. With a scream, Mercury went down on her knees. Then, she was again lifted, and she flew again. There was a loud slam under her, and splinters of what was once the table were all around her, showering down like rain.

“Though our spirit was one, we are but two different people now.” Darkury, though clearly the victor, was also wiped out from the fight. She brought the sword up one more time. “And for one of us, there is nothing left…..”

Mercury looked up in desperation, trying to summon any alternative that could and could not be found. Her eye caught a glass-strewn object from the destroyed table. It was a framed photograph. In it were Ami, Makoto, Usagi and Rei.

“…..but death……”


Come on, Ami-chan! Sing for us!
Welcome back, Ami-chan!
Thank you, Ami-chan
I…..I won’t fight Ami-chan.

Ami-chan.
Ami-chan.
amichan….
……mi……

The sword came down.

Then a shout. Shouting…..Mercury…

Her hand had the leg.

The sword camedown…..

*CLANG*

The shattering of wood, all over Mercury, like hard blossom petals. But………
Darkury stagger….summon…..the last adrenaline…..

Open…..

AIM……..


Darkury looked at Mercury.
Mercury looked at Darkury.

The moment passed.


“YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!”

As Darkury swung back, after Mercury had dodged the blow and grabbed the table leg…

The table leg shattered into
A little dagger.

There was no time. No time to dodge, or to do anything else. With all of the strength left in her heart and her body, with all of the love she could muster for her friends that had not yet been tapped during the fight for her life and her soul, Mercury plunged the perfectly sharpened wood into the left side of Darkury’s stomach.

“…..No.”

Mercury grit her teeth as the blood seeped onto the wood, crawling down her hand and onto her arm. With a pained scream, as the pain in her arm had returned, she sliced her opponent like a fruit, bringing the embedded object from the left side to her right side. The entire front of Darkury’s white soldier suit was now stained dark red as she fell to her knees.

“Huhh….huuuuuuuuh……”

The girl’s eyes widened as she saw dark blood -her blood - pour onto her enemy.
Unable to form words, for in its new pain her body suddenly forgot how to breathe, Darkury’s mouth formed into a perfect O as her thoughts - and her brief, violent life - flashed before her. She had underestimated her opponent, for in truth, even the good guys could be as ruthless as her. But, perhaps, it was a lesson learned too late.

“…..Good bye.”

Mercury watched as her dark side, now blue in the face, red as a pomegranate and wide-eyed as a doe, double over like a warrior before her head hit the floor. Her lips quivered, her strength waned and weariness was about to fall like a tidal wave, but yet she could not find herself able to truly mourn. For Darkury was a strong opponent.

“Good bye….”

Mercury - Ami - had never killed what one could consider a real person, not even with Usagi when the spirit of Darkury had presided within her. But she knew, she knew now, that perhaps worse things were to come, and that Darkury - renegade though she was - was only the beginning.

So….this is the end…

A look of determination came onto Mercury’s face. She could no longer hesitate to fight, even if it meant the end of her own life.

For my friends….

She turned around for a moment, closing her eyes. It was over.

It was all over.

“RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Suddenly, she was up again. Her bloodied hands were clenched around Mercury’s neck, even as her scream, her animal cry of sheer rage, echoed through the girl’s ears. There was no time to react.

*CRAAAAAAAAAAAASH*

Mercury flew. All around her, glass tinkled as she was thrown by an inhuman strength right onto the small side street. She rolled around three times, slamming into a garbage pail.

“FOOL.”

Mercury looked up. There she was, in all of her fury, and in all of her hellish power. Her hair whipped around her, and her eyes were a bright purple. The youma sign crackled with energy, as did her sword.

“QUEEN METARIA SHALL KNOW THAT A SAILOR HAS FALLEN UNDER THE HAND OF HER SISTER.” Darkury put her foot on Mercury’s chest, and raised the sword, which gleamed red and purple in the hazy moonlight. “DIE.”

Mercury cowered. She could not move, for she could not gather the strength quickly enough to throw Darkury off of her. Nor did she have anything to counterattack. She closed her eyes, and waited for the end.

*FLAAAAAAASH*

The end fell upon her quickly. The blood splattered again onto her, and she expected pain to accompany it. Yet to her surprise, there was none. There was no pain, no feeling. Simply a wind that fanned her face.

Then she opened her eyes.

“You first.”

Darkury’s eyes were bugged out, her body limper than before. The blood gushed again, from her stomach, but also from a new wound, from the chest, where her locket was. Protruding from the shattered brooch was a glowing steel sword.

“Uh…..”

The sword clattered from Darkury’s hands once more, hitting the floor with a loud, shattering bang. Upon contact with the street, the weapon cracked into several pieces.

“……hu…….”

Mercury’s eyes darted up as the sword exited Darkury’s body. The black-hearted soldier fell to her side, revealing a larger figure behind her, with her blood staining his weapon.

“…You.”

Mercury finally found her voice. Her body stiffened at the very sight of her unlikely savior.

“Yes….me.” With a smirk, Kunzite examined the blood on his sword. “She really was quite a pill. Backstabbing me like that…..she was quite unintelligent for someone of her…origin.”

Mercury began to shiver.violently. He sheathed his sword, and began to come towards her.

“Y…..” Mercury squeaked. “You did this, d-didn’t you…”
“Did I?” Kunzite looked amused. “No. I wish I could claim credit for Darkury’s return. Unfortunately, her story is true. Unfortunately for you. I was almost too late. No….not that time.”

He…..he….

For a moment, Mercury had forgotten about the past in the realization that the one whom she had thought to be her enemy had, in fact, saved her from death. This she could not completely reconcile with the heartless, power-hungry general that she had beheld in the Dark Kingdom. There was something else there, something that almost cared.

He had saved her.

“….NO!”

The moment was a fleeting one. He had begun to bend down, and she could see the hungry look glimmer in his eyes. It looked worse than before, more greedy than it had been in the Dark Kingdom, for now, there was again nothing to stand between them.

Not that time. But perhaps this time….

Kunzite’s eyes widened as Mercury screamed. He was close enough to have been in danger when Mercury found what she was looking for. The shard missed his chest by a mere wisp of air, mere molecules, even, as the two players jumped up.

“STAY BAAAAAAACK!!!!”

Mercury shook as she held the handle of the ice sword shard toward Kunzite’s throat. The adrenaline impossibly rose up again, and she gave a growl.

“I….” Kunzite’s voice was full of surprise, though only for a moment. “….I see.”
“St-stay back.” Mercury cried angrily. “Even if this wasn’t because of you. Even if you saved my life. You won’t touch me ever again. I won’t let you! We’re enemies now!”

There was a long, long silence at this, as the two warriors stared at each other, their weapons ready for war. Only the slightest shed of an unnamed reluctance kept them at bay from tearing each other’s throats out.

I’m….ot….. Mercury took in the air. ….Not…..afraid to die….

“…..Hahaha!”

Suddenly, Kunzite laughed. It was a harsh laugh, unlike anything Mercury had heard from him before. He thrust his sword into his scabbard.

“I’m turning into Nephrite! What a fool I am,” he almost roared. “Heh. There is no star bright enough to pierce the darkness anymore. Perhaps I should have just left you to her, rather than thinking….that I could bring you back to me.”
“Then….you made….a big mistake.”
“Indeed.” To Mercury’s surprise, he turned away. “Yes, I forgot. We are enemies now. I suppose killing you later may be more pleasurable than killing you now, anyhow.” He began to walk off. “I prefer my prey to be ready for me. Remember that, for next time my sword will not forget to strike you.”
“……Fine.”

Mercury wished she didn’t have to end with just that - she was exhausted and her head wasn’t straight enough to think up a more proper farewell to her enemy. However, she had no choice; there was a laugh, and with a throw of his cape the general was gone.

My path is clear. Mercury fell to her knees, dropping the ice shard as the last of the black petals faded away.. There is……no turning back.

Meanwhile, Darkury, friendless and helpless in death, flowed with a dark purple aura as she transformed back into Ami, but was no threat. For, as Mercury made her choice, Ami’s body became stiff and cold. Then, as if by some magical precedent, Ami’s body became ashen, became ash, and soon nothing more of Ami, not even the black wristband, or the sword, except for a pile of dust on the ground.


The battle was reaching its zenith. It had been a long battle, a long day, in which sides were chosen, sides were forced upon innocents, and ultimately, one side would come out victorious. Now, even now, there were doubts. For most of the soldiers, most of the players, were down.

Darkiter, Darkoon, Darkars and Darkenus, servants of Metaria, lay in Sakura Square, unconscious and unaware of what was happening. Their last memory was a flash of purple light, the sight of a moon sign…..and nothing else. They were beaten, and beaten good, by Sailor Luna.

Sailor Luna, on her part, was also on the ground, also unconscious. Her battle for the side of right ended as all the others had - at the hands of Sailor Darkury. Sailor Luna was strong, strong enough to defeat four other sailor soldiers simultaneously. Darkury, however, caught her in a moment of weakness and distraction, and she fell as well, reverting back to her plush cat form upon her defeat.

Sailor Luna’s battle with the dark soldier had not been completely fruitless, for the darkness inside the tainted soldiers, though not visibly so, was lifted from the souls of her companions. Also, with the shattering of the orb, the students of Juuban Junior High, succumbed to slumber through the power of darkness, were at their desks, slowly waking from their sleep.

“H-huh?” One student, half-awake, looked out the window. “Oh, I…..did I nap?”
“What the…..the sun’s setting!”
“We fell asleep? Weird…”
“The lights aren’t coming on!”
“It’s soooo hot…”
“I need to go to the bathroom.”
“….Huh?”

Naru looked up, and around, as she got up off the school hall floor.She confusedly looked around as the students quickly excused themselves from their classes, for it was 6:40 at night.

“U…..usagi-chan?”

Naru looked all over for Usagi, but found nothing save her schoolbag. She was confused, for she did not recall Usagi leaving the school, or the classroom for that matter during the blackout. However, when she still could not find Usagi, she gave up and decided to go home.

“Hmm…” Naru eventually hooked up with Komoko. “I wonder where Usagi went. She left her bag here.”

And so, everyone went home. No one knew what had happened; no one knew that the battle which had been waged to save them was still going on. There had been several players, and several battles waged, events concerning friends that had spanned for several months without their knowledge.

This time, however, only two fighters were left to battle each other. And there was no doubt that there would be only one left standing in the end.

--------------------------

Hurry…..

People were staring at her quizzically as sat on the bus, looking nervously over her shoulder. Mercury tried to ignore the stares she received, and the confused lip service she was being given.

“Look, mommy!” a little girl gasped. “A lady with blue hair!”
“Pay no mind.” The mother brought the girl’s face away. “It’s one of those ‘stylish’ teens trying to catch your attention. Such a perverted dress, too!”

Mercury looked nervously out the back; then, on a whim, she leaped up and pulled down the stop lever. The bus lurched to a stop at the corner, almost causing Mercury to fall on her face as she walked forward.

“Hey!” The bus driver glared at Mercury as she jumped off. “Next time, request the stop before you get to it, huh?!”

Mercury ignored the bus driver completely as she ran off. Her eye had caught the subway line at the last second; it had not been the one that she had gotten onto before. However, it still led into Juuban, and got off a block away from where she wanted to go.

Come on……come on…..!

“Ami-chan!”

Mercury did not stop at the sound of the voice, even as it echoed into the subway chamber. All she could do was run, to keep running, to make the train on time and hope that she did not catch up…..

“Coward!!”

Darkury was on the prowl. She could hear Mercury’s shoes clacking on the tiled floor of the station, through the roar of people who were coming in and out. She took out her ice sword and charged through the crowd, bringing the blade in front of her.

“AAAAAH!!!!”
“She’s got a weapon!”
“Call security! It’s a maniac come loose!”

Darkury did not hear the pitiful screams of the people she mowed down. She only saw one person in her sight. And Mercury was running down to the lower depot level, having thrown her ticket fare at the counter. The pray was getting away.

“FREEZE!”

Darkury gave a growl. There was a gun pressed to head, and the smell of cheap cologne was on her oppressor’s clothing. Promptly, Darkury threw her sword down.

“That’s good.” The subway security officer took a step back, his gun still fixed on the weapon-wielder. “Now, turn around, and put your hands up. Come on!”

Slowly, carefully, Darkury turned around, bringing her hands up. Her eyes were half-shut as she turned, but as soon as she was facing the officer, she slowly opened them, showing her bright red eyes, batting her long shiny eyelashes at him. Kunzite’s unwanted infatuation of her, and what Darkury figured had turned him on to her, were at play with the officer now.

“Oh…..I……”

The effect was devastating. The officer could not stop staring at Darkury’s alabaster face, her youthful cheeks still with a hint of baby fat, her shadowed eyes, her pale lips, her rosy pupils. Her legs, and her clothing, a dark blue, and her butteryfly bow. Her long arm, clothed in pure white gloves, reaching out, perhaps towards his face.

“Ah….AAAH!!!!”

Darkury’s hands grabbed the officer’s hand with a strong grip. The officer gave a loud scream as the dark energy coursed through him, and for a moment, he glowed bright purple.

“AUUUUUUGH!!!!!”
“Hmph.”

Darkury promptly let go of his wrist, and the offivcer stopped his screams. Instead, he looked at Darkury, his eyes dulled with the essence of darkness. He slowly put his gun away.

“Good.” Darkury gave a grin. “Now, get my sword.”

Without a word of complaint, the officer walked over to the sword, picked it up, and with a bow returned it to its rightful owner. With no hint of thanks, Darkury took the sword back from him, thought for a moment, then returned it back to him. Several people began to take notice at the strange scene and began to look.

“An officer of the dark now.” Darkury looked around at the people who were starting to stare. “Keep this for the moment. Handcuff me before the humans’ suspicions arise too greatly.”
“Yes, mistress.”

With a cool look towards everyone, Darkury brought her hands up. The cuffs slapped onto them, and the officer tightened them to fit her wrists. They were not too tight, however; the officer had no wish to truly hurt his new master.

“Lead me out.”

She had not made the subway - she could hear it leave the station - but Darkury had other ways of getting what she wanted. She would never be out of options so long as there was an enemy to destroy. She could not teleport out in front of so many people, but she could get others to do her bidding. True, her hold over the soldiers had been broken and her target also escaped, yes, but it was only a small setback to her.

“When we get to the parking lot,” Darkury looked at her charge, “we will be leaving.”
“Where to, mistress?”

Darkury looked up at the sky. The sun was no longer in the sky; the only remnants of its reign in the sky were pale oranges and purples, which were fading fast into hues of dark midnight blue.

“Juuban. And hurry.”

-----------------------

Gone…..

Mercury took in several deep breaths as she slumped into the grimy subway seat. She was fortunate to have been so lucky so far; Darkury did not seem to be on the train with her. This was a mere small comfort to her.

She’ll never stop…. She looked down at her cut-up arms. She will never stop hunting for me….not until…..not until I’m….

She couldn’t bring herself to think of the word. She didn’t want to think of it, to confront the reality of her own impending doom. Alas, she realized that she could not think of anything else, and what was worse, she was exhausted.

Usagi-chan…. She put her head in her hands. Rei-chan…..Mako-chan…..

“Shut up, faker. Don’t make me hurt you now.”
“We should execute her right now.”
“Don’t try to run. You’ll never escape us.”


What can I do? A sob came from her throat. All I can do……is fight Darkury. But…..she’s so strong…..


The sword came into contact with the concrete. The debris turned into hail, attacking Mercury.


I…..I have to find a way to….to beat her! Mercury mussed her hair up in anxiety. But how? What kind of weakness could I even look for?

Her mind went through everything she knew about Darkury. As the subway train rumbled on, the various thoughts and collected strings of information began to form together coherently, so that she could see them as clearly as if the words she thought were in front of her in reality. Alone once more, being allowed to collect her thoughts, she could think somewhat clearly.

*CHUGGACHUGGACHUGGACHUGGACHUGGA.-*

Sailor Darkury. Her mind named everything off to the rhythm of the chugging of the train. Soldier of darkness, the dark side of Mercury. Physically equivalent to me. Emotionally opposite. Powers include amplified powers related to planet Mercury’s water element. Weapons include long ice blade. Attacks seem to originate from sword, or…perhaps she channels her powers through it….

Slowly, a planj of attack began to form in Mercury’s mind on a possible defense. She knew Darkury would certainly not give the sword up, and considering Darkury’s power, the possibility of not being able to lodge the sword away from her would be a problem. Therefore, Mercury knew she could not simply rely on getting the sword away from her enemy; she would somehow have to bypass it.

I’ll have to try to fight…..hand to hand…..

After a pause, Mercury took out her star tambourine. She stared at the gold and pink weapon, fingering it thoughtfully.

My only true defense…

She looked out of the subway window and saw a light at the end. It was Juuban Station. All she could really hope for at the moment was that she had gotten a good head start over Dakury.

-------------------

“Turn here.”

The security car swerved onto a side street at Darkury’s word. The soldier sat in the front passenger’s seat, her face set with grim impatience. She was not one to endlessly berate her servants for failure and incompetence, especially when the servant was doing his best to fight Tokyo street fairways and the laws of rush hour traffic. She still wished he would hurry up, regardless.

“Are you sure she’s going there…”
“I know it for a fact.” The set face let forth a malevolent smirk. “She has nowhere else to go.”

The car zipped down the street, coming to a halt at a dead end. The two quickly got out, looking across the street with set eyes. In front of them, the Crown Karaoke sign flashed red and green in the night, for it had a back-up generator.

-----------------------

I’m here….

Mercury looked around the karaoke lounge area nervously. There were people who were looking at her as they talked and sang in the booths; she knew better than to simply untransform in public, especially at a time where throngs of people flocked to places with electricity. She only hoped she wasn’t caught by one person in particular and kicked out; she had nowhere else to really make a stand but down underneath this place, in the command center.

“Hey!”

Mercury’s head spun around. There he was, wearing Makoto’s green wool muffler around his neck as he walked towards her, a frown of disapproval on his face. What was worse for Mercury was that she did not have her passport with her to gain official access into the building. She shut her eyes, waiting for him to kick him out.

“Hmph!” To Mercury’s surprise, Motoki simply walked past her. “Kid! Kid! I’m sorry, but I’ll have to ask you to put that down.”

The little boy inside one of the booths gave a screech, banging the microphone on the sides and causing feedback, as Motoki went to pick him up.

“You shouldn’t do that!” Motoki warily chastised the boy, who kept screaming in his face. “Where’re your parents when I need them….what is it with all these people tonight?!”

Mercury seized the moment Motoki’s back was turned to her to bolt away from a potentially hazardous situation. She carefully navigated the maze of machines, speakers, booths and singers, coming at last to the end of the corridor. She took a deep breath and slowly opened the hidden door.

Let me be first……let me be first…..

She almost stumbled down the stairs in the dark, but grabbed herself before she could. Smartly, she reached for the lights, and switched them on. The command center lit up.

That way, I can see her shadow if she beats me here….<\

Mercury had no doubt in her mind Darkury would eventually find her. Perhaps it was all good, and it was an advantage to fight on home turf; perhaps it was what Mercury wanted deep down, on instinct, to face off with what was once her dark side - a part of her, yet simultaneously apart from her. She dove behind the bookshelf and waited, the sweat pouring down her brow. On a second thought, she took out the heaviest book on the shelf, and cradled it under her arm, holding her tambourine close to her.

I got here first. Mercury took in a deep breath. Come on. Darkury. Come on-

“She’s here.”

Mercury’s breath was sucked in. The door opened, and the sound of two pairs of feet coming down the stairs froze her chest. Darkury was not alone.

“She turned the lights on, if they were off.” Darkury’s voice turned towards her companion. “Regardless, Sailor Mercury is here. Find her now.”
“Yes, mistress.” A male voice came into earshot as the door into the command center was shut. “Don’t worry.”

Mercury cowered as close to the shadows as she could as she heard the thumping steps of the male coming towards the bookshelf. Then, she heard a metallic click.

Oh no…. Mercury could barely suppress a gasp. A gun. A policeman. She brought a policeman….

“Mercury!”

The sweat balls on Mercury’s brow became larger and more frequent as Darkury’s voice rang out again. Mercury’s eyes darted back and forth frantically, trying to keep the book from slipping out of her arm.

“Ami-chan.” She heard the gun load as the security officer clicked the barrel into place. “I’ll be lenient this one time. You may have a choice for how you want your execution. Either you can surrender and have my friend let you go out easily….or you can resist and die painfully.”

Mercury closed her eyes and shuddered. She knew what she wanted her choice to be. She was not sure, however, if Darkury was really sincere enough to even let her choose her fate. Either way, she did not like it.

“FREEZE!”

Either way, she suddenly was left with no choice. The hormones of fear that raged within most normal people who were fighting for their lives finally arose within Mercury. She gave a scream, and with all of her strength, she threw the star tambourine down, took the heavy book in both her hands and swung it around as hard as she could.

“AUGH!”

The security officer staggered back. With another blow, Mercury slammed the book into the man’s head. Whiplashed, the man fell to the floor unconscious.

“There you are….”

Mercury bolted at the sound of Darkury’s voice. Her hand swiped the gun off of the still officer’s body and held it as tightly as she could. With a grunt, she pointed the gun at Darkury, who stood three feet away from her.

“….Are you so cold-hearted to shoot me now, Ami-chan?” Darkury threw her sword down with a mocking laugh. “You wouldn’t dare. But I guess we both can think alike, can’t we?”

Darkury went forward, but Mercury found the safety. She took it off and, as fast as she could, pulled the trigger.

*BOOOOOOOOOOM!!!*

Smoke came from the barrel as the recoil caused Mercury to fall down. She gave a cry, and the gun fumbled out of her hands. She barely missed hitting her head on the stage steps.

“…GAAAAAH!”

The next thing the slightly disoriented soldier knew, she was being roughly pulled up by her hair. The bullet had not missed Darkury, but it had not quite hit its mark. The bullet had whizzed through Darkury’s left arm, meeting its final resting place in the wall behind them.

“….You…..coward……”

Darkury’s teeth clenched into the snarl of the youma as her injured arm took up the gun. She was in some pain as the dark blood oozed, but it had made her even angrier, and more dangerous.

“You want to play this way?” Mercury’s eyes bugged out as the dark soldier pressed the gun to her head. “Then let’s play, right?”

Click.


Click. Click. Clickclickclick.

Darkury gave a roar. The officer, for all his obedience to her and to her opponent’s hateful luck, had only loaded one bullet in for the kill.

“HAAAAH!!!!”

In the moment, Mercury’s first fist connected to Darkury’s face; the other rapped its knuckles onto Darkury’s hands, forcing her to drop the gun. The two separated and regrouped; Darkury went for Mercury’s hair and neck; Mercury went down low and charged.


”You can’t let them win, no matter what!”


Mercury gave Darkury a headbutt to the stomach, driving her to the wall and slamming her head into a framed picture. In response, Darkury grabbed a tuft of Mercury’s dark neck hair and viciously ripped it out. As Mercury screamed, Darkury took her elbow and brought it down on Mercury’s spine. Instantly, Mercury crumbled to the floor.


”Let’s go and fight, Ami-chan!”


As Darkury’s knee went to connect with Mercury’s chin, Mercury recovered and rolled out of the way. She did a back flip, bringing her heel up into Darkury’s jaw. Darkury’s neck cracked, and dark blood mixed with saliva dripped onto the wall and down the evil girl’s chin.


”Don’t worry! You can do it…..I know you can.”


Just as Mercury straightened herself up, Darkury’s hands were on Mercury’s face, and her nails began to sink into her cheeks. Mercury screamed as blood seeped from the clawing marks, as her enemy’s fingers sunk deeper into her flesh. She kicked her, but it took several times for Darkury’s pain tolerance to lapse, and then she finally released Mercury. Mercury turned and began for her star tambourine.


”Ami-chan-“


Mercury’s thoughts were interrupted by another grab. Her head was suddenly slammed once, twice, three and four times, into the wall. Then, Darkury turned her around so she could see Darkury’s face, the flashing red eyes, the bloody, toothy leer. Then, the back of her head was slammed several times into the wall.

“This……serves…….you……right!!!!!!!!”

Mercury fell to the ground, unable to grasp, unable to react. The blood lurched up out of her mouth, almost in a drool fashion, and herhead was also bleeding onto the wall. She saw Darkury leave, blur out, and then come into focus in her sight, with the sword. There was a satisfied smile on Darkury’s face as she rushed forward, her sword raised.

get…….up……. Her body wouldn’t obey. up…….up……

Get up.

Get UP.

UpupupupupupupupupUP.

GET. UP

IDIOT.

IDIOT!

GET UP!!!!

UP!!!!!!!

It didn’t work. Mercury was spent, spent mentally, and Darkury was upon her. But her body refused to quit.

GET UP!!!! Her cheeks flushed. GET UP NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!![I]

The adrenaline kicked in. Mercury’s body scissored up spontaneously, not on mental command, but rather through the sheer power of her hormones, which had disembodied the brain, and now, only the body responded at the moment.

“ARRRGH!!!!”

The sword went into Mercury’s arm. The nerves responded, and the brain suddenly sprang back from the abyss. Mercury’s eyes opened, and she staggered to the side as the sword landed in the wall.

“Getting sloppy.”

Darkury’s hand came down onto Mercury’s wrist with a firm grip. Mercury’s eyes widened as the purple energy began to appear, ready to bring her back. The evil flashed in her mind, and the fear again took over.

“[i]NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Mercury struggled violently as she wrested her hand from Darkury’s grip. She scrambled over to the side of the reddened room, gasping as she held her arm.

“You won’t give up?” The sword was brought in Mercury’s direction once more. “You are a fool. You’d really rather not die peacefully, so I’ll slit your throat and decorate my sword with your insides.”
“You’ll…..” Mercury could only cower at the thought. “You….turned my friends against me, you’ll kill me.”
“Of course. I told you already.”

The sword lunged at Mercury once more. Mercury turned to dodge it went to the side of Darkury once more, but to no avail. The sword came down on her back, slicing open her sailor suit. With a scream, Mercury went down on her knees. Then, she was again lifted, and she flew again. There was a loud slam under her, and splinters of what was once the table were all around her, showering down like rain.

“Though our spirit was one, we are but two different people now.” Darkury, though clearly the victor, was also wiped out from the fight. She brought the sword up one more time. “And for one of us, there is nothing left…..”

Mercury looked up in desperation, trying to summon any alternative that could and could not be found. Her eye caught a glass-strewn object from the destroyed table. It was a framed photograph. In it were Ami, Makoto, Usagi and Rei.

“…..but death……”


Come on, Ami-chan! Sing for us!
Welcome back, Ami-chan!
Thank you, Ami-chan
I…..I won’t fight Ami-chan.

Ami-chan.
Ami-chan.
amichan….
……mi……

The sword came down.

Then a shout. Shouting…..Mercury…

Her hand had the leg.

The sword camedown…..

*CLANG*

The shattering of wood, all over Mercury, like hard blossom petals. But………
Darkury stagger….summon…..the last adrenaline…..

Open…..

AIM……..


Darkury looked at Mercury.
Mercury looked at Darkury.

The moment passed.


“YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!”

As Darkury swung back, after Mercury had dodged the blow and grabbed the table leg…

The table leg shattered into
A little dagger.

There was no time. No time to dodge, or to do anything else. With all of the strength left in her heart and her body, with all of the love she could muster for her friends that had not yet been tapped during the fight for her life and her soul, Mercury plunged the perfectly sharpened wood into the left side of Darkury’s stomach.

“…..No.”

Mercury grit her teeth as the blood seeped onto the wood, crawling down her hand and onto her arm. With a pained scream, as the pain in her arm had returned, she sliced her opponent like a fruit, bringing the embedded object from the left side to her right side. The entire front of Darkury’s white soldier suit was now stained dark red as she fell to her knees.

“Huhh….huuuuuuuuh……”

The girl’s eyes widened as she saw dark blood -her blood - pour onto her enemy.
Unable to form words, for in its new pain her body suddenly forgot how to breathe, Darkury’s mouth formed into a perfect O as her thoughts - and her brief, violent life - flashed before her. She had underestimated her opponent, for in truth, even the good guys could be as ruthless as her. But, perhaps, it was a lesson learned too late.

“…..Good bye.”

Mercury watched as her dark side, now blue in the face, red as a pomegranate and wide-eyed as a doe, double over like a warrior before her head hit the floor. Her lips quivered, her strength waned and weariness was about to fall like a tidal wave, but yet she could not find herself able to truly mourn. For Darkury was a strong opponent.

“Good bye….”

Mercury - Ami - had never killed what one could consider a real person, not even with Usagi when the spirit of Darkury had presided within her. But she knew, she knew now, that perhaps worse things were to come, and that Darkury - renegade though she was - was only the beginning.

So….this is the end…

A look of determination came onto Mercury’s face. She could no longer hesitate to fight, even if it meant the end of her own life.

For my friends….

She turned around for a moment, closing her eyes. It was over.

It was all over.

“RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Suddenly, she was up again. Her bloodied hands were clenched around Mercury’s neck, even as her scream, her animal cry of sheer rage, echoed through the girl’s ears. There was no time to react.

*CRAAAAAAAAAAAASH*

Mercury flew. All around her, glass tinkled as she was thrown by an inhuman strength right onto the small side street. She rolled around three times, slamming into a garbage pail.

“FOOL.”

Mercury looked up. There she was, in all of her fury, and in all of her hellish power. Her hair whipped around her, and her eyes were a bright purple. The youma sign crackled with energy, as did her sword.

“QUEEN METARIA SHALL KNOW THAT A SAILOR HAS FALLEN UNDER THE HAND OF HER SISTER.” Darkury put her foot on Mercury’s chest, and raised the sword, which gleamed red and purple in the hazy moonlight. “DIE.”

Mercury cowered. She could not move, for she could not gather the strength quickly enough to throw Darkury off of her. Nor did she have anything to counterattack. She closed her eyes, and waited for the end.

*FLAAAAAAASH*

The end fell upon her quickly. The blood splattered again onto her, and she expected pain to accompany it. Yet to her surprise, there was none. There was no pain, no feeling. Simply a wind that fanned her face.

Then she opened her eyes.

“You first.”

Darkury’s eyes were bugged out, her body limper than before. The blood gushed again, from her stomach, but also from a new wound, from the chest, where her locket was. Protruding from the shattered brooch was a glowing steel sword.

“Uh…..”

The sword clattered from Darkury’s hands once more, hitting the floor with a loud, shattering bang. Upon contact with the street, the weapon cracked into several pieces.

“……hu…….”

Mercury’s eyes darted up as the sword exited Darkury’s body. The black-hearted soldier fell to her side, revealing a larger figure behind her, with her blood staining his weapon.

“…You.”

Mercury finally found her voice. Her body stiffened at the very sight of her unlikely savior.

“Yes….me.” With a smirk, Kunzite examined the blood on his sword. “She really was quite a pill. Backstabbing me like that…..she was quite unintelligent for someone of her…origin.”

Mercury began to shiver.violently. He sheathed his sword, and began to come towards her.

“Y…..” Mercury squeaked. “You did this, d-didn’t you…”
“Did I?” Kunzite looked amused. “No. I wish I could claim credit for Darkury’s return. Unfortunately, her story is true. Unfortunately for you. I was almost too late. No….not that time.”

He…..he….

For a moment, Mercury had forgotten about the past in the realization that the one whom she had thought to be her enemy had, in fact, saved her from death. This she could not completely reconcile with the heartless, power-hungry general that she had beheld in the Dark Kingdom. There was something else there, something that almost cared.

He had saved her.

“….NO!”

The moment was a fleeting one. He had begun to bend down, and she could see the hungry look glimmer in his eyes. It looked worse than before, more greedy than it had been in the Dark Kingdom, for now, there was again nothing to stand between them.

Not that time. But perhaps this time….

Kunzite’s eyes widened as Mercury screamed. He was close enough to have been in danger when Mercury found what she was looking for. The shard missed his chest by a mere wisp of air, mere molecules, even, as the two players jumped up.

“STAY BAAAAAAACK!!!!”

Mercury shook as she held the handle of the ice sword shard toward Kunzite’s throat. The adrenaline impossibly rose up again, and she gave a growl.

“I….” Kunzite’s voice was full of surprise, though only for a moment. “….I see.”
“St-stay back.” Mercury cried angrily. “Even if this wasn’t because of you. Even if you saved my life. You won’t touch me ever again. I won’t let you! We’re enemies now!”

There was a long, long silence at this, as the two warriors stared at each other, their weapons ready for war. Only the slightest shed of an unnamed reluctance kept them at bay from tearing each other’s throats out.

I’m….ot….. Mercury took in the air. ….Not…..afraid to die….

“…..Hahaha!”

Suddenly, Kunzite laughed. It was a harsh laugh, unlike anything Mercury had heard from him before. He thrust his sword into his scabbard.

“I’m turning into Nephrite! What a fool I am,” he almost roared. “Heh. There is no star bright enough to pierce the darkness anymore. Perhaps I should have just left you to her, rather than thinking….that I could bring you back to me.”
“Then….you made….a big mistake.”
“Indeed.” To Mercury’s surprise, he turned away. “Yes, I forgot. We are enemies now. I suppose killing you later may be more pleasurable than killing you now, anyhow.” He began to walk off. “I prefer my prey to be ready for me. Remember that, for next time my sword will not forget to strike you.”
“……Fine.”

Mercury wished she didn’t have to end with just that - she was exhausted and her head wasn’t straight enough to think up a more proper farewell to her enemy. However, she had no choice; there was a laugh, and with a throw of his cape the general was gone.

My path is clear. Mercury fell to her knees, dropping the ice shard as the last of the black petals faded away.. There is……no turning back.

Meanwhile, Darkury, friendless and helpless in death, flowed with a dark purple aura as she transformed back into Ami, but was no threat. For, as Mercury made her choice, Ami’s body became stiff and cold. Then, as if by some magical precedent, Ami’s body became ashen, became ash, and soon nothing more of Ami, not even the black wristband, or the sword, except for a pile of dust on the ground.

contince to the end