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The Brightness of Stars

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Part One: Seiya

Every time Seiya closed her eyes, she saw her planet burning.

They’d had almost no warning before Galaxia struck, before she started ripping star seeds from every heart in sight; turning people into monsters and senshi into dust. She’d come down in a rain of fire that spread faster than the fear, and all she did was laugh at the ranks of senshi who lined up to fight her as darkness covered the sky, because they were placing exactly what she desired within her reach, and she didn’t hesitate to take it.

Those who didn’t fall in the first chaotic moments had looked to Kakyuu to save them, and Seiya could still see the betrayal, the hopelessness in their eyes, as they watched their princess flying away into the stars, leaving them to die on their ravaged planet. When Seiya too shot away, of course – of course Taiki and Yaten had followed her, because they trusted her that much, and would never let her tackle any mission alone.

But the names that had been hurled at them as they left still cut into Seiya’s mind like knives, and she constantly worried over whether she’d made the right choice or not. Her last sight of Kinmoku was of a barren rock devoid of life; there was nothing for them to go back to, and even if there was, they’d all be branded as cowards and traitors.

Perhaps they were. Perhaps it had been their destiny to die on their planet. Perhaps the arcane ways of the universe had deemed Kinmoku’s destruction necessary. Maybe they were defying the gods themselves by trying to do this, to fight back against the dark that was covering the galaxy, that would soon start reaching its long arm even towards this lush blue world teeming with life and sunlight in a forgotten star system.

When she’d entered this solar system, Seiya had seen the dead worlds that lay within the sun’s orbit, so she knew that even this quiet corner of the galaxy had suffered catastrophic disasters in the past. But the senshi of Earth seemed to have learned nothing from those difficult lessons; did not even seem to remember. They thought they could win this fight with idealism and pretty words. Their dreams weren’t haunted by all the accusing faces of those left behind to die. Their spirits had a lightness and a purity Seiya sometimes despised and sometimes envied. 

Some days, her and Taiki and Yaten could barely meet each other’s eyes because they didn’t want to see the reflection of the self-loathing, the doubts, the heaviness each felt at being forced to live on like this with no end in sight.

Phages came and went. Fallen senshi who’d betrayed their calling died miserable deaths at Galaxia’s hands, and when the end finally came it didn’t come in a firestorm as it had on Kinmoku, but in a deluge of rain and thunder and lightning, and it wasn’t until the senshi of Earth finally started dying that Seiya saw that look in their comrades’ eyes, the one she knew so well.

They understood now there was no winning this, and they were all going to die.

 

Part Two: Taiki

It was the quiet Taiki missed. The gentle way the flowers used to drift down from the trees in Kinmoku’s gardens and land with a whisper on the grass as she sat in some sunny nook and wrote her poetry in peace.

There was no peace here; even without the shadow of war slowly stretching across the land. Everywhere there was noise and crowds and pollution. There were fans and schedules and concerts to perform and Taiki poured so much of herself into their music she rarely had the energy to write these days, even on the rare occasions when she had the time.

But what could she write about now anyway? The faces of the dead at night that wouldn’t let her sleep? The screams of those left behind that still echoed in her head? How she’d been too much of a coward to turn and look into their eyes as she flew away?

She’d been well known for her poetry on Kinmoku. Famous even. Whilst neither Seiya nor Yaten had the slightest literary inclinations, Taiki had gotten used to sharing whatever she was working on with them; a tradition that had started long ago when the three of them had been temporarily stranded on a planet waiting for rescue with nothing to do and which had somehow become habit since then.

Taiki didn’t read to them anymore, though. When Seiya and Yaten asked, sometimes she lied and said she hadn’t written anything even if she had. Maybe that was another reason she’d stopped writing so much. She hated lying to them.

The soldiers of this world were so naive. Taiki hated them for that, but perhaps she envied them too. Perhaps she was jealous that they still had so much left to fight for hope didn’t seem misplaced. Seiya had been right, that time she punched her. They were never going to find their princess if they didn’t believe, but how could Taiki believe when their princess couldn’t hear and wouldn’t answer? Kakyuu was lost somewhere amongst the faceless throngs of this city, and every day Taiki had to sing her song of futile and unrequited love, her heart growing fainter with each new empty day that dawned.

 

Part Three: Yaten

The city stank. That was the thing that bothered Yaten the most. The air was foul and difficult to breathe, her skin was caked with gunk every time she went outside. The scent of Kinmoku…The scent of her princess…Yaten was almost reduced to tears, sometimes, with how badly she wanted to see her princess again. She knew Seiya and Taiki had nightmares about Kinmoku, about everyone they’d left behind, but all hers were of the princess. Kakyuu hurt. Kakyuu lost and unable to find them. Kakyuu being killed by Galaxia. Kakyuu being killed in a million and one ways. Everything depended on their princess. If they could recover their princess, they could restore their planet; they didn’t have to accept its loss and their own fate as intergalactic refugees.

She pitied the soldiers of this world, trying to protect a flaky and uncertain leader, one who barely knew her own powers. It both offended her and infuriated her that Seiya was so taken with this useless foreign princess; they had nothing to spare for anyone else when their own situation was so desperate.

Let these soldiers fight on their own – They had every advantage on their side, and if they still couldn’t win, it was down to their own incompetence.

When Galaxia came, Yaten felt all of them fall, one by one, the shine of their souls stolen by that twisted excuse of a senshi. It was exactly what she predicted, and it shouldn’t have hurt, she should have been hardened to loss by now, but she never would have thought those stupid girls would sacrifice themselves for her and her teammates.

What were they supposed to do with that? What did they have left to fight for, to live for? Why did they have to keep living, when living meant the pain of knowing everyone they loved was gone? Why did those soldiers have to die, leaving them with the overwhelming responsibility of trying to save Sailor Moon and what was left of the Earth?

But there was no running anymore.

Before Galaxia’s throne, it would be decided. For the homeworld they had lost, for their beloved princess who was taken from them, they would stand. The last of their kind in the galaxy, they would fight for the future. They wouldn’t give up, and they wouldn’t forsake it. Galaxia would know the burning brightness of stars before this battle was over.