“I don’t know why I let you talk me into this, Riley,” the woman with the blue-green hair said to her companion. She supposed that the word ‘friend’ could be used, but since the women weren’t exactly close, she was reluctant to do so.
Riley, on the other hand, had no such difficulty. “Admit it, Mizuumi; you’re as bored as I’ve been these last few months.”
“Bored? That’s not what I hear.”
“What would that be?”
Mizuumi gave Riley a sly smile. “I hear that Akimi and Ginme paid you a visit two months ago on their search for those missing Zodiac senshi. I also hear that they found one of those senshi not three blocks from where you live. He’s quite cute, or so I’m told.”
“Oh please!” Riley rolled her eyes. “Keaton Beckett is hardly what I’d call ‘cute’. He’s annoying and nerdy. I would know. Our parents are friends and we’ve gone to school together since Preschool. His mom thinks we’d make a cute couple. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Mizuumi shook her head. “Classic denial.”
“Really? What do you think of the Japanese boy they found? What was his name again? Denshouno Daichi?”
The other woman was silent. “I won’t bring Keaton up again if you swear to do likewise regarding Daichi.”
Riley laughed. “Deal.”
“Good. Let’s pay our bill and get outside. I’m sure there’s a cab available to take us to the airport.”
“Let’s just hope there’s a decent movie playing this time. I don’t know if I can read for the entire flight again.”
“I’ll just sleep again. Air travel always makes me drowsy.”
“You’ve been on a lot of airplanes?”
“Several; mostly looking for the Dragon Child, before Ryuusenshi brought me back.”
It was an unsubtle reminder that Hakuchouno Mizuumi had once been an enemy, working under the direct command of KnightHercules, Sailorhera’s general. But then, that was Mizuumi in a nutshell: unsubtle and unimaginative.
They picked up their suitcases and left their hotel room, heading for the elevator. “I don’t know about you, but I had fun,” Riley commented on the way down to the lobby.
“I did, too, but clearly not as much as you did.”
“It’s hard being stuck at home while my best friend is off with her boyfriend, going around the world on the racing circuit with him.”
“I can imagine. The only one of us I really feel close to is Ginme and that’s only because we were both working for the enemy at one point. You and Clover are my teammates; therefore, I should be closer to you than the others, but that just didn’t happen.”
“So that’s why you went to Greece and then let me talk you into taking a trip to England with me.”
She shrugged. “Pretty much.”
When the elevator doors opened on the lobby level, they revealed screams and chaos. There was blood everywhere. A monster made of mismatched animal parts was tearing people to shreds while a person who looked to be more wolf than human was walking around, collecting some crystals that lay beside the mutilated corpses.
Riley hit the door close button. “This can’t be happening. Hera was defeated.”
“It is happening, but unless the Olympiads have their own version of ‘An American werewolf in London’, I think this is someone else.”
“So…we transform I guess.”
“Right. Cygnus Spirit Power.”
“Aquila Spirit Power.”
The elevator doors opened again. The wolf man was waiting for them. “I’d wondered who was hiding in the elevator.” Beside him was a normal-looking woman in a white lab coat.
“And you are?” Aquila asked, puzzled at the conversation attempt.
“I beg your pardon. I’m Director Lupus. This is my assistant Saggita. That creature over there is under her control, so I suggest that you not upset or attack either one of us or it will kill you.”
“Your turn,” Saggita said.
“Sailorcygnus and Sailoraquila.”
“Interesting,” Lupus muttered. “Two birds. If I were to throw one stone, would it kill you both?”
Cygnus looked puzzled while Aquila tried not to laugh. There was no sense in giving him the satisfaction.
“Why don’t we test that theory?” Saggita suggested.
“An excellent suggestion, my dear. We are, after all, scientists.” Lupus looked around. “Unfortunately, we seem to be out of stones.”
“Enough of this!” Cygnus brandished her sword. “You’ve caused enough trouble for one day.”
Aquila held up her weapons as well. “Killing is unforgivable.”
“Then you won’t forgive me for killing the both of you. Regrettable.” The two scientists moved away as the creature ran towards the senshi.
“Light Prism Shatter!” Cygnus shouted.
The young girl in the azure, purple, and silver sailor fuku winced as the Kaiju raked its claws down the left thigh of the senshi whose hair was pinned up in a loop. She clutched her weapon tightly, wanting to help but not wanting to risk capture.
I’m not strong enough. Yoarashi was right about that. I can’t even help myself, never mind my friends. I don’t even know where they are. If I can’t help them, then I certainly can’t help these two.
She watched the fight rage on until it became obvious that the senshi were loosing. She bit her lip. Maybe if I just… She closed her eyes and whispered a short phrase.
A blast of energy hit Cygnus and Aquila, one that didn’t come from the creature. It wrapped them in an azure glow, protecting them. Lupus looked surprised and Saggita began frantically searching the lobby.
“This is odd,” Cygnus commented.
Aquila was more interested in watching the scientists. “What do you suppose she’s looking for?”
“If I had to guess? Whatever caused this glow.”
Cygnus turned to Aquila. Her eyes widened in surprise. “What’s with the wings?”
“What wings?” Aquila faced her teammate. “You’re one to talk.”
Their fukus had completely changed. Both had small, fluffy wings, sleeveless shirts, pants, and boots with tops that vanished under the pant legs. Aquila had a short skirt around her waist as well. Even their hair styles had changed.
They turned to the creature. “Imperial Eagle Shatter!” Aquila shouted.
“Imperial Swan Freezing!” The two attacks collided and hit the creature, destroying it. The azure glow faded, returning them to their previous fukus.
Lupus called Saggita over to him. “You have given us much to think about, sailor senshi. You will not survive our next encounter.” They vanished, taking the crystals and the creature’s remains with them.
“Somehow, I think he’s right,” Cygnus said, sinking to the floor.
“We need to get to a hospital,” Aquila said, looking down at her leg. “This looks really bad.”
A small girl walked out from behind a door. There was something disturbingly familiar about her appearance. “Hello,” she said timidly.
“Hello,” Aquila replied, eyeing her fuku.” “You helped us.”
“I only wish I could have done more.”
“We stayed alive because of you. It was enough.”
The girl blushed. Her fuku vanished leaving behind a girl with pale green hair wearing a pair of light blue jeans and long sleeved blue shirt. “I’m Hiryuu.”
Aquila and Cygnus returned to their civilian forms. “Mizuumi and Riley.”
Several people burst into the hotel then and started to check on the bodies. “Hey!” Hiryuu shouted. “These two are alive over here!”
The paramedics got them up on stretchers and got them to the hospital. It was only once the doctors were patching her up that Riley realized what was so familiar about Hiryuu. It was her last thought before the drugs kicked in and she slipped into unconsciousness.