One Wrong Step [Ch11]

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One Wrong Step [Ch11]

Postby Slab Bulkhead » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:27 pm

FFN link to previous chapters

Chapter 11/? – Crystallized Fears.

With all the grace of an enraged pride of lions, the Saionji family burst into Minato-ku Municipal Hospital. “Where’s Rui?” Shouted Rui’s father, Kazuo Saionji. The attending doctor walked over to the family and sat them down in the waiting room.

“Are you Miss Saionji’s family?” He asked.

“Yes, I'm her father!” Replied Mr. Saionji.

“Your daughter is stable for now, but she’s still in critical condition.” The doctor replied. “We’ve got her on an IV drip for now to bring her glucose levels up. She appears to have one of the worst cases of Acute Somnolence Disorder we’ve encountered.”

“Will she be okay though?” Mr Saionji asked.

“It’s still too early to tell, but at the very least she’ll be lethargic for a few weeks, and it’ll take some time before her tennis skills are back to where they were. She was lucky to make it here in time thought.” Replied the doctor.

“What do you mean?” Asked Mr. Saionji.

“If Miss Osaka hadn’t gotten her here so quickly, she would have died. As it was, the fact that she was as healthy as she was because of her tennis playing meant that she was able to survive.”

Kazou Saionji sat in the empty waiting room, grateful to every deity above that Rui was still alive.

“Miss Osaka?” Naru turned to look at the two police officers who just walked into the hospital. “My name is Detective Wakagi, this is Inspector Sakurada. We wanted to ask you about the man you said ‘drained’ Miss Saionji at the tennis match.” Said the blond male detective while gesturing to both himself and the woman walking in next to him.

“Okay.” Replied Naru somberly. Naru wasn’t sure what was going on. First, Usagi had been acting so different, and then she didn’t even tag along with her to the Tennis match. And then this had happened.

“I have your deposition here that you gave to the officer. You saw a suspicious looking man around the court. Can you elaborate?” Asked Wakagi.

“He was walking around the courts during the match, but he seemed to only be paying attention to Rui. At first, I thought he was some kind of talent scout.” Naru recalled.

“Can you describe him?” Prodded the blond detective.

“He was tall, maybe 180 centimeters. He had shoulder-length medium brown hair, and he was wearing a lavender sports coat with white dress slacks.”

“Did you see him arrive in any kind of vehicle?” Asked Inspector Sakurada.

“I didn’t see him in a car, no. I did hear a very loud car pull up just before he got there, so that might have been him, but I’m not sure.” Said Naru.

“Okay, okay.” Replied the woman, jotting down information on her note pad. “You said that this man held out his hand and then Miss Saionji collapsed right there on the tennis court.”

“That’s right.” Replied Naru, getting slightly frustrated at having to go over all of this again.

“When he did that, did you suddenly feel tired?” The black-haired woman prodded.

“No.” Answered Naru. “I didn’t feel anything like what happened the other times it’s happened.”

“Other times?” Asked Wakagi.

“A few weeks ago, I was a part of the Cinderella Caravan contest, and I ended up suddenly getting tired and passing out.”

“I see.” Said Natsuna Sakurada. “Any other instances?”

“Well. I sent a letter in to Midnight Zero and got it read on the air.” Naru explained. “When I got the flower brooch as a price, it caused me to pass out.”

“Going back to what you said about this man holding out his hand and then Miss Saionji passing out. Do you see him give anything to her that she had on her at the match? Even something as simple as a good luck charm.” Asked Natsuna.

“Not that I could see.” Answered Naru. “He didn’t even enter the tennis court from what I could see.”

“And there when she passed away, and he walked away while everybody was trying to get a closer look at Miss Saionji after she passed out.” Said Wakagi.

Hikaru Sorano was waiting in the airport terminal anxiously. After all, how long had her friend been in England? As she saw a familiar blonde walk off the jetway next to a tall woman with dark greenish hair, Hikaru was little more of a blur as she leaped into her arms.

“Minako!” she yelled as she dashed across the terminal.

“Hikaru!” came the reply from the jetway, as everybody else in the terminal went slightly deaf from the two girl’s screams of joy.

“So, what made you come back to Tokyo so soon?” Hikaru asked. It had been a while since Minako had left so suddenly to study in England.

“I just felt like it was time to come home.” Minako half-lied. “Besides, who else is Amano going to annoy?”

The two long-time friends walked through the terminal to grab Artemis from the baggage claim. Minako was happy to see a familiar face, and after everything that had happened in England, she wanted nothing more than to hang it all up.

“Are you alright, Minako?” Hikaru asked, sensing the pain her friend was in.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Minako answered, fully lying to her friend.

“V-chan huh?” Hikaru asked as they walked outside the airport terminal.

Minako’s heart stopped. She couldn’t have known about that, could she?

“I mean you were right there when it happened, the same country.” Hikaru continued

“Hikaru, England’s a big place. I was in Manchester studying English, and Sailor V was in London. It’s like thinking that Yokohama and Kyoto are right next to each other.” Minako retorted, lying through her teeth now.

“Still though...” Hikaru said, losing her train of though.

Usagi was barely winded from climbing her way to the top of the Hikawa Shrine’s stairs. As she walked across the shrine’s grounds, she looked over to see Rei’s Grandfather was already there sweeping the shrine grounds.

“Hi Mr. Hino!” Said Usagi, greeting the older man.

“Usagi! Do you want me to get Rei for you?” He asked. “And please, call me Grandfather.”

“Oh, not yet.” Replied Usagi nervously. “I was actually hoping you could show me how to meditate.”

“Oh?” The old man asked. “Are you thinking of becoming a Miko like my granddaughter?”

“Well…” Usagi paused. “Not yet, but maybe.”

The old priest led Usagi to one of the shrine’s rooms.

Usagi sat on one of the futons that Rei’s grandfather had laid out in one of the shrine’s rooms. As she sat there, illuminated by the shrine’s candles and surrounded by the smell of incense, Usagi dutifully followed Rei’s grandfathers instructions on meditation.

Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

Soon, Usagi had slipped into a meditative trance, letting the hundred and three years worth of memories of her past life flow through her mind.

Princess Serenity stood next to her mother in one of the private chambers within the palace, flinching slightly as the palace rocked and shook from the Terran army’s siege. Every few seconds, the room seemed to shake and rumble from another impact, and tiny bits of plaster dust would sprinkle down from the ceiling.

“Venus, How did they make it this far?” Asked a weary Queen Serenity.

“It was an insider.” Replied Venus. “They had Youma possess citizens, lie dormant, and then at the right time, the Youma would take control and let the Terran army in.”

“And you’re certain these citizens were under possession?” Asked the Queen, sighing heavily as she sat down on one of the couches, with her daughter sitting down next to her to cheer her up.

“One of them managed to break control of the Youma for a short time. He begged Mercury to mercy-kill him so that monster wouldn’t take control again.” Explained Venus.

“Goddesses help us.” Queen Serenity said. “It’s times like this I wish I was the kind of master planner and manipulator people seem ready to believe I am.”

“Can we use the Crystal to bring them back to normal?” Asked Princess Serenity.

“Too dangerous.” Said Venus, objecting to that idea. “My duty is to keep you two safe. I can’t do that if you’re walking around the battlefield to heal people.”

“It does give me an idea though.” Said Queen Serenity as she pulled out her scepter.

The room glowed bright as daylight as the queen poured her magic into the scepter and crystal. Queen Serenity chanted in a language long-forgotten while moving the scepter in an intricate pattern. As the light died down, Princess Serenity looked down to see seven rainbow colored crystals floating above the scepter.

“What are they?” Asked Venus as the room shook against another hit.

“Sealing Crystals.” Replied Queen Serenity. “I’ve placed a portion of the Argentum Crystal’s power into them. Give them to your soldiers to use against the infiltrators, it’s won’t be a permanent fix, but it can at least buy us some time until after the battle when we can turn them back properly.

“Thank you, Your Majesty.” Said Venus, placing the rainbow colored crystals onto a serving tray and taking them to the rest of the sailor senshi.ʼ

Usagi opened her eyes as she looked at Rei’s grandfather, recognizing what the Youma possession she had sensed was.

“Grandfather.” Usagi asked. “I can sense a darkness in your aura.”

“I wasn’t always a shrine priest, Miss Tsukino.” He explained. “When I was a young man, I was so full of passion about serving my country, that I could barely wait to join the Army. By the time the war was over, I found it… difficult… to be proud of what had happened. I came back home to the family’s shrine and took up my duties to atone for it in my own way.”

Usagi reached out to hug him. “Thank you for sharing that with me, Grandfather. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to talk about.”

“But then, not all of us are who they appear to be, Miss Tsukino.” Said Rei’s grandfather.

“I… I’m not sure what you mean.” Replied Usagi.

“It doesn’t take an expert to see.” He explained. “Your aura is like the noon day sun, along with your friends and my granddaughter. I won’t pry into it, but know that you’ll always be welcome here.”

“Thank you.” Said Usagi, summoning the Moon Stick. “But like I said, I do see the darkness in your aura that you’ve been fighting against. I want to help you, grandfather.”

The old man smiled at her. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try.”

Usagi smiled, stood up and held the Moon Stick in front of her.

“Moon! Healing! Escalation!” Shouted Usagi as she channeled as much energy as she could through the wand.

The waves of healing energy hit Rei’s grandfather at full force, and Usagi watches as a shadow seemed to leap out of him before dissolving into the air with a scream.

As Rei’s grandfather fell back down to the floor, a small indigo crystal seemed to fall onto the ground out of nowhere. Usagi helped Rei’s grandfather to his feet and then bent back down to pick up the small crystal that had fallen on the ground.

“What’s that?” He asked.

“It’s a sealing crystal.” Usagi explained. “In you previous life, you had been possessed by a Youma to destroy your home. Fortunately, you had that sealing crystal placed on you to temporary stop the possession until you could be properly healed. Unfortunately, that sealing crystal wasn’t meant to be used for so long or across lifetimes like that, so the seal was starting to break down.”

“I… see…” Said Rei’s grandfather, even though he didn’t really understand Usagi had just said. “Maybe you’d better start from the beginning.”

Ami had always liked coming to this park to read. Mr. Kunitachi had always considered it his pride and joy and it had always been her favorite place to sit on nice days like today.

Today though, she hadn’t come here to read, but to think.

Usagi had changed so much recently. Sure, she was more mature than the clumsy crybaby she had seen around her school for the past two years, and known closely for the past few weeks, but Ami couldn’t help but feel that Usagi had almost been entirely supplanted by this new Princess persona.

Maybe she could ask Mr. Kunitachi for advice. It wasn’t like she wasn’t used to asking her honorary uncle. It had seemed like so many times that her mom would be working late at the hospital, and her dad would be off somewhere painting and wouldn’t be back for days.

Walking over to the groundskeeper hut, Ami politely knocked on the door.

Nobody answered.

Opening up the door slightly, Ami saw Mr. Kunitachi collapsed on the ground and holding his chest.

Abandoning her bookbag on the ground, Ami raced over to where Mr. Kunitachi was laying and immediately began to do basic first air to check his vitals.

Placing her fingers on his neck to check for a pulse and looking closely at his chest to see if it was racing and falling, Ami quickly realized that she was too late.

Mr. Kunitachi was dead.
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