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Well, it's done. No, actually, it's not. If you get to the end and want to kill me, just rest assured there's an epilogue to be soon forthcoming. And a happy ending will be had by all - honest!

"Sailor Moon" is the property of Takeuchi Naoko.

--Blood Moon--
"Pt 13- Final Strike"

"Holy SHIT!!" Mako, of course, got the first words in. Her curse was echoed by several from Jadeite, who clapped a hand to his pistol handle, though it was doubtful the weapon could do any damage to the powerful evil being looming over them.

"You shouldn't have come back, bitch!" Kunzite said, the hard anger of the words sounding strange spoken in Artemis's warm voice.

Metallia laughed wickedly, sure of herself and her strength in this new, evil body. "I could say the same thing to you!" she sneered, and unexpectedly shot lances of brilliant red power toward the pale man.

Swifter than thought, he raised the Star Sword, but the Night Saber was already there, and its black blade absorbed the evil magic. Usagi stood a little straighter, the weariness leaving her face, her slumped shoulders squaring. A fire burned in her eyes, as she fixed her gaze upon Metallia.

"Darkness in the hands of Light. Light in the hands of Darkness. Your time is up, and you shall be returned to Chaos." Usagi's voice was even harder than Kunzite's had been as she intoned these words, cold and deadly, making even her friends to shudder.

Metallia gazed down at the small girl, uncertainty and no small amount of fear flickering across her beautiful face. "That's what you think," she snarled, though there lacked any true force behind her words.

She struck again, and again. Bolt after bolt flew at the two before her, only to be absorbed by the Night Saber. With each bolt Usagi seemed to grow in strength, but she also grew more distant, as though she was far, far away, even though her body was standing right there.

"What's Metallia doing?" Jadeite muttered in frustration, squinting his eyes in the glare of the red bolts. "She must know she can't get through the blade--"

Then his question was answered. Without so much as a flicker of her burning eyes to warn them, Metallia suddenly tossed two bolts over Usagi and Kunzite's heads. There wasn't time to block them, hardly time to blink.

There was a loud scream as one of the bolts hit Luna square in the chest, blowing her tiny body backwards. But it was Mako who had voiced it, for Luna was dead before she hit the ground with a sickening, crunching thud. There came a second scream, so mingled with Mako's that they were nearly one, as Minako fell to the floor, her left thigh spouting blood, where the second bolt had struck her.

Metallia's mad laughter filled the air around them.

Mako threw herself toward Luna's body, even though it was clear from the lolling of her dark head, as well as the deep, fist-shaped hole burned through her cheery yellow dress and into the flesh of her chest, that there was no hope. Jadeite swore, standing over Minako and firing the pistol at Metallia, once, twice, three times.

Red wounds blossomed in the evil queen's chest and torso, but healed over in a second. Jadeite snarled and began summoning crackling power about his fingers, his bright blue eyes fixed on his foe.

"No, don't!" Usagi suddenly barked, startling him so that the power scattered. He blinked at her. Behind him, Ami, her face set, worked desperately to fashion a tourniquet from the shredded remains of Minako's pant leg, her gloves soaked with blood to the wrists, while Minako groaned in pain and grew steadily more pale. Further still, Mako cradled Luna's body, weeping bitterly.

"What the hell--" Jadeite snarled.

Usagi turned slightly to face him, and he stumbled back a pace, nearly falling over Ami, at the expression on her face. She tossed him the moon stick, then turned to face forward once more.

Before Jadeite could recover, before Metallia had stopped her hideous laughter, Usagi struck.

In a furious blur of golden hair and flashing black blade, Usagi was on the dais beside the evil queen. The Night Saber sang as it swung, and it was Metallia's turn to scream in anguish. The saber sliced deeply into her side, and this time the wound did not heal, but instead streamed bright blood. With a whimpering snarl, Metallia fled in a warp of swirling red and black. Usagi howled in anger, diving after her, but she was too late. Metallia was gone.

On the floor, Jadeite had pressed the moon stick into Minako's fingers, his face carved into an expression of agonized worry and furious fear. Minako was white, her breath rasping, surrounded in a thick pool of her own blood. Ami had slowed the bleeding, but not before the damage had been done. However, the ginzuishou glowed gold, and the wound closed, Minako's gasps becoming easier. Jadeite cradled her against his chest, letting a few tears streak his cheeks. Ami sat, staring blankly at her bloody gloves. Mako had risen, Luna's limp body held tightly to her chest, her face pale but her eyes burning.

With a tiny cry, Ami stripped her gloves off, throwing them away as though they revolted her. She turned eyes too wide, too dark, to watch as Mako lowered Luna's body to lie near her. Then she fainted.

Usagi was quite visibly shaking as she stepped down from the dais, though whether it was from fury, grief, or something else entirely was unclear. Her knuckles were white and shiny as she gripped the handle of the Night Saber, and her jaw was clenched, her teeth gritted. Even Kunzite dared not approach her as she stalked stiffly to where Mako sobbed once more over Luna's corpse.

She didn't so much kneel as let her knees loosen to drop her body. Jadeite winced at the crack of bone against the stony floor, but Usagi didn't even flinch. She stared down at Luna's face, her thoughts impossible to divine as her face was set in a hard, blank expression. A dark trickle of blood ran from one of Luna's nostrils, but her features were peaceful.

Mako lifted her head and looked beseechingly at the frozen girl. "Usagi-chan...."

Usagi raised her burning eyes to Mako's. Mako flinched, but didn't lower her swimming gaze. Slowly Usagi shook her head, as though every movement cost her.

"There's nothing I can do. She's dead. And this time, dead is dead." The words were flat, but there was an undertone of complete and utter anguish that was unmistakable. Mako burst into harsh guttural sobs, more from sympathy for Usagi's pain than in reaction to what the girl had said, for she had already known in her heart that there was nothing anyone could do.

Kunzite knelt next to Ami's sprawled body, his uniform knees gaining spreading stains from Minako's blood. He gathered the small girl up and attempted to call her back to consciousness. Jadeite rested his cheek against Minako's head. She was weak, but still alive, and the longer she held the ginzuishou, the more she revived.

Usagi still had not shed a tear. The fury in her heart and the darkness of the Night Saber burned that ability from her. She stood, stiffly and awkwardly, as though her body had forgotten how to move.

"Here," Minako croaked, holding the moon stick up toward her in a hand that trembled like a leaf in a storm. Her whole arm and body shook with the strain, and Jadeite was about to voice a protest, when Usagi took the stick, her own hand steady, but her fingers cold and white. He glanced at her face, then winced and kept his mouth shut.

Usagi held the moon stick in her left hand, and as Ami revived and turned to watch, she stretched it out over Luna's prone corpse. Ami let out a strangled moan and struggled weakly in Kunzite's arms as Luna's body began to fade and dissolve into a soft pastel mist. This flowed upwards, and was embraced by the golden glow of the ginzuishou. Then Usagi slumped once more to her knees, the Night Saber ringing as it struck the floor beside her, the moon stick falling from her limp fingers.

As Usagi stared blankly, still not weeping, and Ami gave in to a fit of wild hysterics, Jadeite hesitantly picked up the moon stick and, after glancing at the catatonic Usagi, pressed it once more into Minako's hand. She accepted it willingly enough. Meanwhile, Mako quickly shook off the worst her own grief and numbness and moved to help Kunzite in attempting to calm Ami.

After about five minutes, Ami was once more in control of herself, though she was hoarse from screaming and crying, and her pinched face was white, her dark eyes more than a little glazed. Mako was recovered still more, for fierce anger was beginning to override her sorrow. Minako had healed enough that she was able to stand, although she avoided putting too much weight on her left leg and she leaned heavily on Jadeite's arm. Kunzite gave Ami over to Mako's care, and crossed to Usagi. On his way past Minako, the blonde handed him the ginzuishou. He nodded briefly, his face drawn into tight lines.

"Usagi, come. It's time."

She started, then raised her eyes to his. He looked back soberly, not frightened by the intensity they held, although the others were forced to glance away. She stretched out her left hand. He grasped it and raised her to her feet, then gave the moon stick into her ready fingers.

"Let's go wipe the bitch out," she said, her voice low, but finally throbbing with real emotion.


Metallia slumped to the hard seat of Beryl's throne. The throneroom was the center of the Dark Kingdom, and was thusly the place where Metallia had the most power.

She groaned as the wound in her side jolted fire through her body. It had been so very long since she had felt pain, real, physical pain. The awful slice was beginning to close, but was slow to heal, for the Night Saber had absorbed much of her own power, and held its own dark magic besides. She cursed the saber, its creator, the Presence that had allowed its release, and, most of all, its bearer. She now knew where the real danger lay. The former king was a nuisance, nothing more, and the rest of the little band less than that, but the girl.... That damned little bitch had the power and strength to truly destroy Metallia, and not only that, but she had the knowledge and the will.

Still, though they were not truly a threat, the others were a tool she could use. Both the kings were beyond her reach, corrupted by the goodness they had chosen to embrace. But when she could not come from within, she could strike from without, and the more of her friends and companions Usagi lost, the more weakened the little bitch would be.

Metallia did not know that the more of Usagi's loved ones she killed, the greater would burn Usagi's rage and the stronger would be her hatred, which in turn fueled the darkness of the saber. And so, as she sent a mass of hastily created, yet deadly constructs off to take care of the annoying mortals, she laughter wickedly and confidently.

"I still say we should risk warping," Jadeite said, his voice taut. His opinion was flavored more than a bit by the way Minako staggered next to him, her face drawn tight in lines of pain, her steps faltering.

"If you want to be crushed like a bug, or dragged inside out, be my guest," Kunzite snapped shortly, watching Usagi's stiff back closely as she led the group in striding across the dark plain. "You know the minute you open the star gate Metallia will know it, and will act against you!"

Jadeite snorted.

"I'm all right, dearheart," Minako assured him, her voice low and strained.

"Like hell," Mako muttered next to her, where she led Ami carefully along. The dark-haired senshi was still lost in a state of shock, but at least she was no longer hysterical.

"I--" Jadeite began, but just then Usagi shrieked and spun, her blade flashing. Mako cried out and fell to the floor in a dark smatter of blood, her fuku nearly raked from her back by the claws of the dark creature which had appeared without warning behind the group.

"Mako!" Ami cried. The tall girl lay limp. More of the creatures loomed from the darkness. They were bulky and misshapen, but fast, formed of the same stuff as the floor, with long black claws, sharp yellow fangs, and blazing orange eyes.

Jadeite swore and sheering claws swept through the air where his head had been as he ducked, knocking Minako to the floor. She cried out in pain, but was mostly unharmed. Summoning her power, she blasted the head off an approaching construct, then staggered back to her feet.

Now there were too many to count, and more appearing all the time. Soon the group was entirely surrounded. Jadeite used his bright blue-white power to blow them apart. The one which Minako had beheaded continued fighting on until she blasted it into bits. Usagi leapt into the fray, saber swinging. Wherever it struck, the constructs dissolved, sucked into the blade the same as Metallia's bolts had been. But there were more coming at them all the time.

Ami stood over Mako's limp form, her face drawn into a dreadful rictus of insane fury. Somehow she had managed to snatch the knife from Kunzite's waist, and she wielded it in hands that glowed with nearly blinding ki-power. It did not so much seem that the blade held her captive, as it had Usagi, but that she used its strength and knowledge to her own ends. Her eyes blazed with darkness, more than half mad. Blood ran freely down one side of her face, and her left arm hung limp, but still she fought on.

Minako stood back to back with Jadeite, it being the most they could do to keep their attackers off themselves. Kunzite wielded the Star Sword, the white blade crackling with star power. It had almost the same effect as the Night Saber, except that the constructs he struck burst into dark powder. However, he was in a strange body, and this made him just awkward enough that his silvery-white uniform was now marred in several places with bloody crimson gashes. Still, none of the wounds were disabling. He struggled to reach Ami and the prone Mako, sensing that there was the most need, but there were too many of the beings.

Usagi was a mad whirlwind, and she was absorbing at least five constructs with each swing of her saber. The constructs finally stopped growing in number, then began rapidly to decrease.

Mako groaned and struggled up onto her elbows, her hair trailing in her eyes. Her back burned with fiery agony, but she ignored the pain as the sounds of a battle penetrated her senses.

She gasped in shock as she was finally able to focus her eyes.

The second to last construct fell to Kunzite's sword. The very last loomed over Ami.

"AMI!" Mako cried. The construct struck. There was a grisly crack, and Usagi leapt over Ami's collapsing form to cleave the last construct in two.

"NO!" Mako howled, flinging herself at the fallen senshi with a sickening sense of deja vu.

"Ma-Mako?" Ami coughed weakly as Mako gathered the smaller girl into her arms.

"Shush, Ami-chan, I'm here. It's going to be okay."

"No... not...."

Mako bit back a hot sob, knowing Ami was right. The life was already fading from her dark eyes. Even had the blow to her ribcage not collapsed her lungs, the crack her head had taken as she hit the floor would have been enough to do her in. Mako moaned deep in her throat.

"No, Ami, you can't die, you can't!"

"Go-gomen," Ami managed choke up, along with a gout of blood. Then she fell limp, her rattling breathing ceasing to shake her slim chest.

"NO!" Mako screamed, throwing her head back, then huddling around Ami's battered body, rocking it, too agonized to even weep.

Minako stood, leaning against Jadeite, her eyes wide and shock- filled. It was questionable whether she was even able to take in what had happened.

Kunzite knelt beside Mako, silent but sympathetic. Usagi stood where she had landed after destroying the last construct. Her eyes were burning blue holes in her white face. Her body was taut. The Night Saber flamed and flickered with the powerful emotions she dared not release, that the saber would not allow her to release. For if she were to let herself lose control, let herself weep, she would lose everything, and would be of no use to the blade or to the group. But she still felt the pain, couldn't block out the pain.

Kunzite was nearly reeling with the strength of her agony, but he forced himself to focus outward. She was shielding him, as much as she could, but still, he had to blink several times before he could make out Mako's shuddering form through the red haze that covered his sight.

"Mako-chan...." The warmth and affection in his voice reached the grieving girl as nothing else could have done. Releasing Ami's body, she let out a broken cry and flung herself into his ready arms. He embraced her tightly, as though the strength of his arms was necessary to keep her from flying apart. And it seemed to work. She was able to weep, and she sobbed bitterly against his shoulder as he held her and soothed her with softly spoken words.

Usagi used her moon stick to absorb Ami's body, as she had done Luna's. If any of the others wondered why she did that, none dared to ask her. She stood, proud, stern, untouchable, as cold as a statue made of white marble. But a statue could not bleed, and she felt as though her heart had been broken inside her body.

"Ku-Kunzite," Jadeite finally husked, his cheeks suspiciously damp. "Kunzite?"

The king looked over his shoulder, shaken from the semi-trance he and Mako seemed to have lulled one another into. "Ne?"

Jadeite cleared his throat and tightened his arms about Minako's waist. "We should-- I think I-- In my lab, there's--"

"Of course." Kunzite nodded, understanding. "Weapons. Explosives."

Mako raised her head, fire flickering into life in her green eyes. "Explosives?" she croaked.

Jadeite nodded soberly. "Guns, cannons, shells. It may not kill the bitch, but maybe we can put a dent in her hide."

Mako pulled out of Kunzite's arms and rose swiftly to her feet. "Yes!"

No one smiled. Jadeite reluctantly gave Minako into Kunzite's care, and he and Mako took off at a mad dash toward his laboratory. Minako bit back a protest and watched her love and one of her best friends disappear into the darkness with anxious eyes. They'd already lost two. The thought that she might, even possibly, never see one or both of them again was almost more than she could bear.

"It'll be all right," Kunzite assured her softly. She almost believed him.

Usagi stalked past them, the Night Saber flaring, her eyes bright and unholy with a dark light. Kunzite shuddered, wondering if she would ever recover from what the blade and the deaths were doing to her. He could only pray as he took Minako's arm and led her after the dangerously silent girl. For Usagi and for all of them.

Behind them, the knife lay, blade broken, gleaming pale and useless on the dark, blood-stained floor.

Metallia sat in shock, her side still throbbing angrily, her mind thrust into confusion. After all the constructs she had sent to wipe out the small group, the energy she had expended, only one more of the pitiful little band was dead. It was impossible! The casualties should have been higher than that!

And now, the group was split, two of the weak ones on their own, where she should be able to easily dispose of them, but she was too drained. The constructs had taken more out of her than she would have liked, and most of her power was tied up in mending the damage the Night Saber had done to her new body anyway.

She snarled and cursed, feeling the blade moving closer and closer to the throneroom, and unable to do anything to stop it. She was missing her last chance to fight back before it reached her, but there was nothing she could do but wait, her dread and fury growing with every passing second.

It worried the others a little that they encountered no more resistance as they made their way to the throneroom, but Usagi continued on confidently. The two groups met in the hallway outside the blocked doorway to the large room.

Minako threw her arms joyfully around Jadeite, so glad to see him still living and unharmed that she took no note of the walking arsenal he had become. He could only wrap one arm about her in return, for the other was supporting what was unmistakably a machine gun, but he held her tightly.

Mako carried a huge bazooka, loaded and ready to fire. It was so heavy she could barely heft it and walk at the same time, but her eyes gleamed with determination, and she wasn't about to release her prize.

Jadeite unslung the pack he bore and opened it. Usagi refused any weapon other than her saber, and Kunzite declined as well, but Minako took a second machine gun. She grimaced, for she preferred to fight with her crescent beam or a simple blade, but in this case necessity outweighed personal preference.

Jadeite shifted his gun into position and turned to look at the doorway, which Metallia had pragmatically blocked. He frowned. "Kunzite, how are we gonna--"

Usagi stepped up and touched the tip of her saber to the lumpy surface. There was an explosion, and when the dust cleared, they saw that the way was now open. Without a word or a glance, Usagi strode through.

"Shit!" Jadeite yelped, jumping after her. Mako was right at his heels, and Minako behind them, but Kunzite made it through before any of them, the Star Sword naked and cold in his hand.

The throneroom, now empty of the massed youma that had always before filled it, was wide, so wide that they could barely see the huge throne set across the way. They moved as quickly as they could, anxious to reach their goal before Metallia could throw anything else in their way.

It was a vain hope, of course. They hadn't gotten beyond twenty feet into the throneroom when the first of Metallia's defenses kicked in.

The large monster that rose suddenly from the stony floor might have looked like a dragon, had its hide been metallic scales, rather than scabby, peeling brown flesh, and its head had not resembled so closely that of a carrion crow. It opened its dark maw to scream at them, its tongue flickering pale. Mako blew off her bazooka straight into the wide mouth.

With a loud shriek it exploded, knocking them off their feet and spattering them with unspeakable gore. Mako, ignoring her badly bruised shoulder, swiftly reloaded her weapon with a shell from Jadeite's pack. Her back was bleeding sluggishly, she could feel the blood trickling hot, and she knew a second firing of the bazooka while she held it would probably break her collarbone, but she wasn't going to give up until she saw Metallia dead, and Ami and Luna were revenged.

They made it another ten feet or so before running across the next menace. There came an eerie, keening howl, then another, and another, and suddenly they were surrounded by a pack of... things. The creatures were low and lean, with disproportionately long bodies, and heads that were sleek and small, only large enough to hold their glowing slitted eyes, and wide jaws full of sharp white fangs. The creatures circled the group for a moment, their numbers swelling to well over three dozen, then, without warning, they attacked.

Minako and Jadeite's machine guns spat and twisted bodies fell to the floor, writhing in agony before dissolving into the stone. Mako used her ki attacks to fry the things, with the same results. Kunzite's blade flashed white, and Usagi's black saber fed once more.

However, as they fought, they slowly became separated . Usagi and Kunzite remained close, and Mako managed to stay with them, but Minako and Jadeite were herded apart. Finally, they ran out of bullets, and began using their powers to kill the creatures. But Minako was still weakened, and her crescent beams weren't as strong as they should have been. They had disposed of most the creatures attacking them, when she moaned and fell to her knees, totally spent. Jadeite spun, seeing the last, largest, most ferocious of the evil creatures leaping right for the girl, its fangs bared.

With a mad yell, he threw himself between his love and the beast. There was a bright flash of his power, killing the creature, but at the same moment its jaws closed. There was a spatter of bright blood, and Jadeite fell limp upon the remains of the dissolving creature.

Minako screamed, and grabbed at him, but it was too late. The blonde man's throat had been torn out, and he was already dead.

Minako didn't weep, she didn't shriek out the unbearable pain in her soul. She calmly laid Jadeite on his back, folded his hands over his crimson stained chest, brushed his bloody bangs from his forehead, kissed him gently, then reached and drew his pistol. If she had calculated right, there should be just one bullet left.

The others were in time to see her raise the gun to her temple, but were too far away to do anything to stop her. Mako screamed in horror, and there was a loud crack, then Minako slump over Jadeite's chest, almost seeming to embrace him one last time.

"No-No-No!" Mako started moaning, her whole body shaking. The bazooka shifted and almost fell from her hands, and this drew her out of herself before she could utterly lose control. Suddenly she snapped upright and shouldered the outsized weapon. She turned to Kunzite, who was weeping silently but openly, and Usagi, who looked even more distant than ever. There was very little sanity left in Mako's eyes, and even less in Usagi's.

"Come on!" Mako snapped, and she strode quickly toward the throne.

Kunzite hurried after her, but Usagi lingered a moment to use her ginzuishou once more. Then she moved swiftly after the other two, leaving behind her a pool of dark blood and a spent pistol on the cold floor.

Metallia was beyond belief, and utterly terrified. She didn't even see the two who approached her throne first. Her glazed red eyes were focused beyond them, on the blazing black blade, and the slim strip of white light that bore the darkness. Perhaps it had once been a girl, perhaps she had once been Sailor Moon, and before that had been named Tsukino Usagi, and before that Princess Selene. But there was none of that left now. Instead of being consumed by the Night Saber, she had become a force equaling it. She was bright with the white light of purity, of the heart of every star in the universe, while the saber pulsed with all the gathered darkness that opposed the light. There was a perfect balance there, and it struck more fear into the evil being that was Metallia than she had ever before felt in her long existence.

Mako reached the throne before the others, coming to stand firm and straight before the dais. She absently noted the fact that Beryl's dead body still lay to one side, but didn't spare her much thought. Beryl had been nothing compared to Metallia, she knew that now.

Kunzite was still quite a ways behind her, Usagi further behind him. Mako leveled her bazooka at the tall woman standing before the throne. She felt a little cheated that Metallia didn't even glance at her, but at least that way the bitch couldn't stop her.

She squeezed the trigger.

"SHI-NE!" she howled, staggered from the impact of the barrel against her shoulder. Her collar bone did indeed snap. She heard it more inside her head than with her ears, which were ringing with the blast of the bazooka.

Metallia's eyes flickered, and she raised a hand. Mako swore.

Kunzite watched in silent horror as the shell from the bazooka rebounded off the shield Metallia had raised, and flew back at Mako. The young girl stood tall and proud, and the shell impacted. Kunzite was flung to the floor hard enough to bruise by the rush of hot air, and when it cleared, there was merely a darkened crater where Mako had stood, and nothing left of the last senshi to even mourn over.

Kunzite moaned, shaken by sobs. Usagi came up, and stood over him, her body as stiff as stone, her face a blank mask. Kunzite was afraid. There was nothing left of the Usagi he knew. There was nothing in his mind but a hot white fire, a deep, passionate hatred, combined with a strong sense of justice.

She slowly lowered her head to look at him, her eyes blazing. She didn't even look human anymore.

Kunzite knew, finally, what was needed, what he had to do. Shaking off his grief over Mako's death, he rose. He stood before Usagi, his back to Metallia, but he was not afraid. There was nothing the evil bitch could do to him now.

He held Usagi's burning gaze with his own, and slowly raised his sword hand.

Metallia watched with a sense of doom, knowing she witnessed the last action in her enemy's movements against her, but unable to interfere, unable to do anything but look on with fear in her mind.

The traitor king in his borrowed body stood, his back to her, and lifted the Star Sword. The blade sparked with cold white fire. If it had not been eclipsed by the girl and her saber, the power of the sword in the man's hands would have been enough alone to shake Metallia.

The king moved his white blade to rest against the black of the Night Saber. The ruby set in the center of the black blade suddenly flared, burning Metallia's eyes. She looked away, missing the great blast of raw power that would have struck her blind in an instant.

When she looked back at her enemy, her heart froze within her.

Where before had stood a man and a girl, each holding a elemental blade of opposing powers, there now burned a single figure, rising from the burned, blackened hole the shell had ripped before the throne.

It was the girl, yet not the girl. She stood tall, almost as tall as Metallia. Her naked body burned with an inner fire, the white flesh looking like nothing more than the thinnest of veils drawn over the brilliance of the cosmos. Her hair streamed golden over her shoulders and back, each strand gleaming as though a beam of clear sunlight had been captured within it. Her face was cold and beautiful, her eyes deep and blue, as bright and endless as a summer sky. Her hands were empty, and springing from her shoulderblades, arching above her, were wings of the purest black. It was as though the night and all its power had been captured in the glossy feathers. And set within her pale breast, burning with golden radiance, was the ginzuishou, now a part of the powerful being facing the evil queen.

Metallia choked. Her mind reeled.

The girl raised blazing eyes to Metallia's, pity and understanding in their liquid depths. She held out a thin white hand, the fingers spreading. "Come," she said, her voice soft and gentle at the same time as the word rang like a gong. "Come back to the Whole. Back to where you belong."

Metallia took a step, down off the dais, before she could help herself. There was a compulsion in that voice, and it filled her with a bitter longing. But she wasn't ready to give up yet what she had worked so hard to gain.

"No!" she croaked, her voice sounding harsh and broken.

A hard, yet mournful look crossed the lovely white face. "Come, daughter. You were never meant to have form, hold the power that you hold. You are a part of us."

Metallia took another step, almost within reach, but she still struggled. "No!"

The hand was withdrawn. "Oh, daughter...."

Metallia took another step, bringing her face to face with the Power.

Suddenly she slashed out with a sharp blade of red magic.

At the same moment, a white hand darted forward.

The blade struck the gem set in the slim white chest.

The fingers brushed the evil queen's brow.

The ginzuishou shattered.

Queen Metallia howled as she was dissolved from within, returned to the chaos which had spawned her, utterly consumed, returned to the darkness of the universe.

Usagi sighed softly as she fled back into herself and died.

The Dark Kingdom collapsed within itself, and became no more.

: : Epilogue: Healing : :

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