Ryuusenshi heaved a huge sigh of relief as she dropped down in her arm chair. Hakkinki followed her into the living room after locking the door to her apartment behind him. The instant he sat down on the couch across from her chair his cellphone went off. He made a face as he pulled it out of his pocket to check the call display.
His eyes widened as he recognized the name on the display. He flipped the phone open and got to his feet again. “This had better be important,” he said, barely keeping his irritation in check. He paused, and then turned to Ryuusenshi. “It’s for you,” he said, passing her the phone.
She took it. “Hello? Insei, you know my number. Why are you calling Hakkinki’s phone?” She paused. “Oh. Don’t I feel dumb. I turned it off earlier. I must have forgotten to turn it on again. So. Why’ve you been trying so hard to call?” She listened carefully to Insei’s frantic explanation. “Not you guys, too.” Yeah, I know exactly what you’re talking about. We had a similar encounter. Uh huh. A manticore? A fox woman? No, we saw a chimera and a bunny woman. What? Yeah, she had a lab coat. Odd. Did yours say anything about those crystals? No? I wonder what the deal with those is. At any rate, let’s jus hope that these incidents are isolated to Canada and Japan.” She paused. “I will. Say hi to everyone for us. Ok. Bye.” She hung up the phone and handed it back to Hakkinki.
“I got the gist of that conversation,” Hakkinki said with a sigh.
“I’d really hoped it was just us.”
“I bet Insei was hoping the same thing.”
“Now what?” Ryuusenshi leaned her head back. “Insei said that Tamashii was going to call Riley and Clover and Kinrei was calling Ginme.”
“Mizuumi is with Riley, Ikka-chan is with Clover, and Akimi is with Ginme, right?” Ryuu nodded. “Well, at least this is happening at a time when we’re all visiting each other.”
She glared at him. “I’d rather this not be happening at all!”
“As would I,” he said soothingly. “But since it is, it may as well happen under these circumstances.”
“I’m sorry, it’s just…when we beat Sailorhera, I thought it was over, that there would be no more fighting.”
“I understand. I felt the same way. We all did. The important thing now is to not get bogged down with feelings of depression. We need to figure out who this new enemy is, what they want, and how they plan on getting it.”
She smiled. “I’m glad I have you around. You’re much calmer than I am.”
“I only wish I’d found you sooner than I did. That’s my only regret in life.”
Ryuusenshi reached out and took his hand. “I wish you hadn’t had to fight alone for so long. I can’t imagine how lonely that must have been.”
“In that, I have common ground with Tamashii,” he chuckled. “I’m just glad that you had Sailormoon and the others.”
“I think that’s why Akimi and Ginme are doing so much traveling,” she said slowly. “So that Akimi’s senshi don’t wake up alone.”
“I admire what she’s doing, especially in light of this new crisis. We might need their help.”
“I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Hakkinki got up off the couch and knelt in front of Ryuusenshi, still holding her hand. “So do I, my princess. So do I.”
“I really think we should go back to Japan. If there’s a new enemy, we need to face it as a team.”
“I’m not so sure about that,” Akimi replied slowly. “We need to be united, but I think it’s best that we stay spread out for now. Think about it. Is the enemy hitting places where senshi are or was our presence at an attack simply a coincidence? This enemy is spreading its attacks out around the globe. As spread out as we are, none of us is alone. We’re in a better position to learn more this way. If it turns out they’re just hitting locations where senshi are, then it would be a good idea to be all in one place.”
Ginme pondered that. “It makes sense. I doubt we’d be able to get Kinrei away from his racing without a very good reason. We could get him to, but if it turned out to be nothing he’d be very upset, especially this close to the end of the racing season.”
Akimi smiled at him. “I’m so glad that I can reason with you. You’re not upset about this?”
“Not really. I do still want to see my brother, but this crisis is important. I’ll see him eventually.”
“Good.” She patted his thigh. “I’ll be on the phone for the next little while talking to my senshi. If we’re being targeted, then they need to know.”
He nodded. “I’ll get a hold of Hakkiki, see if he’s learned anything new.”
“Why don’t you do that first? That way we can pass on all that we know.”
“Good idea.” He grabbed a few sheets of paper and a pen. “I may need to take notes.”
Clover hung up the phone, a worried look on her face. She sat down on the couch beside Ikkakujuu. “I’m worried.”
“Who were you talking to?”
“The first call was from Tamashii. The second was from Ginme.”
Ikkakujuu looked at her, her face worried. “I don’t like the sound of that.”
“You shouldn’t. Kinrei’s race in Canada was attacked. Ginme and Akimi fought another creature in Korea. Hakkinki and Ryuusenshi dealt with yet another creature in Tokyo.”
“What about Riley and Mizuumi?”
“No one’s heard from them yet.”
“Well, that’s good then. It means they haven’t been attacked. Right?”
“That’s what Kinrei and Insei think, but Tamashii hasn’t been able to reach them at their hotel or on their cell phones.”
“They were supposed to be heading home by now.”
“It could just mean that they’ve checked out, but she also called the airport. Neither one has checked in yet. The flight they were supposed to be on hadn’t left yet, so they were able to check the plane and there was no sign of them.”
“I don’t like the sound of that.” Ikka frowned. “Could they jus be late? Bad traffic? This is England we’re talking about after all.”
“This is also Riley. She would have planned for something like that and left the hotel earlier than they needed to.” Clover shook her head, her sectioned hair style flopping around. “I really think that something’s wrong.”
Ikka sighed. “I think you’re just being paranoid, but these are your teammates we’re talking about.”
“They’re your teammates, too, Ikkakujuu.”
“In the sense that we’re al senshi of the constellations, yes, but you, Riley, and Mizuumi are a team on your own: the Summer Triangle. You have a special connection to them.” She shrugged. “Maybe that connection is telling you something. Or maybe you’re being paranoid. I don’t know.”
Just then, Clover’s father came into the living room and turned on the news like he did every day at that time. Clover started to get up and leave the room with Ikkakujuu when the TV changed from showing a news anchor to some footage.
“Oh no,” Ikka breathed.
The footage, clearly made with a camcorder, showed a hotel lobby. There was a creature attacking some people while a man and a woman wearing lab coats stood calmly off to one side. They seemed to be talking to someone off camera. Then colored beams of light began flashing around. The creature and the two lab coats vanished. The scene changed back to the news anchor.
Clover listened intently for a while and then dragged Ikkakujuu off to her bedroom. “I was right. Something bad happened.”
“Those light flashes looked like ‘Razor Fury’ and ‘Light Prism Shatter’.”
“That’s what they were. That’s not what I’m concerned about.”
“The news anchor said that there was a teenaged girl hurt in the attack: Riley Petersen. She was rushed to the hospital as were the other survivors. They didn’t release any names as they want to contact their families first.”
“If Mizuumi was there, that could be a problem. She has no family to contact except us.”
“She was traveling with Riley, so that should be fine. It’s likely why Riley’s name was released. If Mizuumi is fine, she might have thought that was a good way to let us know what happened.”
“That’s a good idea,” Ikka mused. “We have to get a hold of them and find out exactly what happened.
“Tamashii stands a better chance of that. I’ll give her a call.”
Seeing a Greek area code pop up on the call display, Tamashii picked up the phone. “Clover?” She listened. “We haven’t seen any international news, but the attack on the track has been all over the Canadian news channels.” She lowered the phone. “Kinrei! Turn on the BBC.”
Kinrei obliged, changing the station and turning the volume up. It was right in the middle of the footage Clover had just seen. “Oh no,” was all he said.
“There doesn’t appear to be any more information on this than what you told me,” Tamashii said into the phone. “I’ll call Riley’s parents. If they don’t already know, they need to be told. I’ll let you know if I learn anything new. “ Pause. “Ok. Bye.”
Tamahsii hung up the phone and then dialed Riley’s home, a number long since engraved in her memory. It was an hour before she hung up the phone and sat down.
“What?” Insei asked. Her English skills weren’t very good. Neither were Kinrei’s but his had been improving due to his relationship with Tamashii. One glance at her cousin told her that she’d missed most of the conversation.
“Riley’s mom says that she knows about the hospitalization. She also says that she’ll call the hospital and let them know that we’re allowed to visit her there.”
“Mizuumi is with her, yes?”
“Yes, but there’s someone else there as well, a girl who says her name is Hiryuu.” She looked between Insei and Kinrei. “The name doesn’t mean anything to me, either. She was one of the other survivors. Mizuumi seems to trust her from all accounts.”
“And we all know what she’s like,” Kinrei put in. “So, when are you leaving, Tamashii?”
“When are you leaving for England?”
“What makes you think I’m going?”
“Come on, now. Riley’s your best friend. You should go see her. Besides, we need to know what happened. There’s no way she’d tell her parents about senshi stuff.”
Tamahsii smiled and gave Kinrei a hug. “You really are the best boyfriend.”
Kinrei looked smug. “I know.”