Nexus stood beside the scientist, hunched over at his desk once more, with his computer screen flickering and glasses perched on his crown. In his folded arms, Akio’s head laid buried. Nexus sighed at the sight; one all too familiar to she and her team. She gently tapped him on the shoulder to get him moving, and the man soon slowly arose with a groan and a long stretch of his upper limbs. Before his glasses could fall from his crown, Akio clamped his hand over them and brought the specs back to his face.
“Ah, I’m sorry about that,” he exhaled. “So many things have required my attention lately that this has been my bed for the past few days.”
The scientist turned in his chair, and stood when he saw Nexus.
“Is something wrong?”
“I am conflicted,” the alien girl responded bluntly, looking down. “We are so close to defeating our enemy, but the more I think on it, the more I am beginning to wonder whether or not this is the right thing for us to do. We are destroying her species, after all.”
“I thought you were on board with the entire idea,” Akio pointed out. The Ecorian girl before him shrugged.
“I know, but…” her voice trailed off.
Her mentor placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder and spoke with a grave tone.
“Nexus…sometimes these things have to be done,” he said. “We have no choice. You know Ehne’s motives, and you know that she will stop at absolutely nothing to achieve her goals. You’ve seen her relentlessness firsthand, have you not? She has left us with no choice—we have to do this.”
“I see.” Nexus closed her eyes for a moment as the man’s words sank in. Though she never wanted to see another species go through the same torment as she at the loss of hers, it appeared that choosing to let Ehne and her subspecies win would ultimately lead to the demolition of both the humans, and with time, perhaps even the parasitic race.
“Will you be alright?” Akio’s sudden question shook Nexus from her thoughts. The glowing-eyed Mew nodded and mustered a slight smile to reassure her comrade. Akio then looked down at his watch and sighed.
“You came ridiculously early, you know?”
“I apologize,” Nexus opened her eyes. “I was just plagued with these thoughts, so I could not rest for much longer.”
“As long as you’re ready for your mission,” Akio replied, bringing his hand down from the Alien girl’s shoulder. Nexus nodded in response to him.
“I am prepared for anything,” she answered sternly.
The two made their way toward the launch bay and waited for the rest of the girls to meet them at the time they all agreed on while their wounds healed from their last encounter. A plan came into place during this time to stop Ehne in her tracks by destroying her ship, as doing so would definitively ensure the Mews and the human race a victory that could lead to their taking the Earth back again from the parasitic race. The other four Mews soon joined the two by the ship, all alert and clearly eager to accomplish their mission. As the girls all gathered, three of the colony’s astronauts also gathered before them, one of which carried a mid-sized messenger-type bag over his shoulder. Akio walked over to the astronaut who carried the bag, opened it and pulled out a cylindrical metallic device—almost a sort of canister-looking contraption—and a remote device with a clamp on the side and a button in the middle. He held the remote with the clamp in his right hand and the cylindrical canister in his left, which he put forward to show the Mews.
“This is one of the explosives that you will be planting throughout Ehne’s ship,” He informed them, a stern expression plastered across his profile. “They aren’t very big, but they are powerful and have the capability to do immense amounts of damage across a fair range. In the bag this astronaut is carrying, there are nine more like it. I advise you to plant them far enough from each other in order to fully cover the area.”
Akio retracted his left hand and put forward the hand with the detonator.
“And this,” he went on to explain, “Is the remote detonator that will trigger the explosives. I will leave it to Mew Nebula to carry at all times. Once you plant the explosives, you need to get as far from Ehne’s vessel as you can. To set the explosives off, you must clasp down on this clamp here and press the button. As long as the clamp on the side is not pushed down, the button will not set anything off. Do you girls understand?”
“Yes,” the team responded in firm unison. Nexus, Hikari and Hotaru paid particular attention to Akio’s instruction, as it had been planned for them to go together to set off the explosives around Ehne’s ship while Chrysalis and Niji distracted the Ajran parasite.
“Akio,” Niji spoke up. “Why are these astronauts here?”
“They’ll be going with you,” her friend retorted. “Ehne is going to notice immediately when the ship lands, as she has in the past when astronauts have strayed too close for comfort. To be sure that she will not notice you, the Astronauts will come out first and act as though they are gathering supplies. I’ve predicted that she’ll follow them with her Chimera Anima, so she’ll most likely come out of her craft then. That will be the time to strike.
“While her attention is turned to them, you Mews will split up. Mew Spectral Galaxy and Mew Lunar Dream will closely follow the astronauts while staying hidden until the right moment. Mew Nebula’s team will keep watch for the moment Ehne rears her head and exits her vessel. You must enter it then without her noticing you, and you must be quick about it, because we don’t know whether or not she will close it off after exiting to pursue the astronauts.”
“What about them?” Chrysalis questioned, motioning to the astronauts. “When are me and Mew Spectral Galaxy supposed to come out and face Ehne if they’re around?”
“She will undoubtedly have Chimera Anima attack the Astronauts,” Akio explained. “You must destroy them before they are able to do so. When you make your appearance, the astronauts will run to safety. You will then be tasked with luring Ehne away from her ship so that the others have time to plant the explosives. They don’t know how big it is, nor the inner working of the vessel, so it is unclear how much time they will need. Because we don’t want our opposition to know anyone is there, you will most likely have to refrain from communicating with each other so that she doesn’t catch wind of our strategy. The only way you and Mew Spectral Galaxy will know that they have succeeded is when you see or hear the explosion.”
“What if something goes wrong?” Hikari proclaimed, raising her eyebrows with uncertainty. “What do we do?”
“We’ll fight!” Hotaru exclaimed with ferocity. “And we’ll keep fighting until we win!”
Akio chuckled, lightening his tensed mood.
“That’s the spirit,” he laughed. “Now then, do you all know what you have to do?”
“Yessir!” Hotaru shouted, playfully saluting her mentor. The others nodded in agreement.
“Then you should all get going,” the scientist said, putting the devices he was holding back into the messenger bag. The astronauts and all the Mews but Niji said nothing more before boarding their craft. The galactic Mew looked back at her team for a moment with a worried profile. Though she knew that she could trust her comrades, she worried what might happen in the case that they couldn’t succeed in their mission. Akio calmly placed his hand on her head and leaned in, taking the young woman by surprise. She whipped her head to face him with her eyes wide, and Akio gently smiled at her.
“You’ll be alright,” he promised. Niji looked down.
“If we fail, I’ll be the one to blame,” she mumbled. “I know we’re a strong team, but…I worry.”
“I’m the one who should be worrying!” Akio chuckled. He slid his hand down from the young galactic Mew’s head to her shoulder and smiled. “You’ll be okay, Niji. You’ve overcome many challenges and obstacles since the day you became a Mew. You’ve protected your team and allowed them to bring hope to the people living on these colonies that didn’t have it before. I know you can do this.”
When his friend didn’t respond, Akio tilted his head slightly and looked at her with admiration.
“I’m proud of you, Niji,” he cooed. “You’ve overcome failure before and you’ve learned so much from your time here. Even if you fail, we will still be here, and we can always try again.”
“But what if one of us dies?” The elder Mew shot back, perking her head up.
Akio lifted her chin and smiled.
“You won’t,” he assured her. “I know you. Nothing has stopped you before.”
“Aren’t you afraid of what might happen?”
Akio looked down and bit his lip, reminded of the loss of his friend Alexander and how he’d almost lost the mews to their last failed attempt at locating Ehne’s residence. His mind wandered back to seeing Niji so wounded, and he shut his eyes momentarily. Niji looked to her friend eagerly for a response after a prolonged silence, beginning to fret over his faintly pained expression. Akio quickly shook the thoughts from his head and mustered a calmed smile.
“I…well, I’m always worried about what might happen,” he admitted, opening his eyes. “But I don’t suppose that can be helped.”
From the opening of the ship, Hotaru began to wave and holler at her leader.
“Mew Spectral Galaxy!” She whined. “C’mooon! We have to get going!”
Niji hesitated for a moment, but soon inhaled deeply and turned to her comrade.
“I’ll be right there!” She called back, almost cheerfully, so as not to upset her friend’s own gaiety.
She turned back to Akio for a moment, eyes filled with uncertainty and question, to which her mentor calmly nodded, as if to answer her insecurity with reassurance and care. Niji mustered a smile for him before retreating into the ship with the rest of her group. Akio opened the hatch and saw the team off as they rode into the vast space before them. The Mews refrained from conversation with the astronauts present, though they each had their own burning questions to ask each other. Despite their show of confidence, each Mew bumbled in their mind the possibility of loss and failure as they’d underwent on their previous mission. The entire ride to Earth left a looming sense of dread, though Hotaru attempted to keep a cheery smile on her face and remain childishly elated, feeling the need to keep her teammates at bay and distract them from their troubled minds. She managed to make brief conversation with Chrysalis, who kept her arms and legs crossed and her eyes closed.
“Why’s the ship in Norway anyway?” Hotaru sighed. “Ehne said last time that she didn’t wanna move her ship and waste fuel, so I thought it would still be in Russia or whatever.”
Not really wanting to partake in the conversation, Chrysalis found it a chore to respond, but the others were now looking at her, having had their silent moment broken by Hotaru’s high voice. The lunar mew shrugged and sighed, knowing they all expected a response.
“I dunno, maybe she thought someone might come and try to finish the job that she thinks we failed,” she guessed. “So she moved it just in case.”
“How far away is Earth again?”
Despite this, the journey was silent and left an impression of gravity on the Mews, and they found themselves so distracted with their looming thoughts that they didn’t notice when the ship came close to their destination. Akio ended up having to shake them back to, telling the team to get moving as soon as they landed, as Ehne most likely would notice their vessel soon.
“You need to be quick,” he mentioned. “Wait for the astronauts to get ahead of you before splitting up. Make sure you stay hidden until the time is right.”
“Here,” one of the astronauts spoke up. She’d taken the bag from her comrade and handed it to Nexus. The Mew took it without saying another word
“Will you three be okay?” Chrysalis asked the trio that would be heading into Ehne’s ship. “We’re not going to be able to keep in contact after we split up.”
“We’ll be alright,” Hikari assured her with a nod. “At least…I hope so.”
“You’ll do great,” Akio promised from the other line. “After all, you mews have the element of surprise.”
The girls looked at each other with concern, but soon nodded in agreement. In a situation like this, especially so close to victory, there was no room for doubt, fear or screw-ups. The ship finally landed at its destination in Norway, by a shore, facing a lake. Behind them, mountains could be seen, standing tall. The air was pleasant, and the sun shined down on the earthy terrain creating an enjoyable atmosphere. The local flora was surprisingly fresh, despite other places in the world that the Mews visited being in quite the opposite condition.
After the ship landed, the astronauts stepped out first while the Mews waited for the right moment to depart and split up. Akio spoke to his Mew team one last time before their mission commenced.
“You girls know what to do from here,” he told them. “I will be keeping an ear out for you, but from here on out, we must cease communication with each other until the time is right. For the group that is heading toward the ship, the signal is due north of your position.”
He went silent for a moment before continuing.
“Good luck, Mews.”
“Thanks, Akio,” Niji responded. “We’ll do you proud. We promise.”
Elsewhere, a crow Chimera Anima that caught sight of the craft descending into its territory earlier had flown up into the sky and headed to where its master resided. The creature landed in a crumbled old village, surrounded by hills and a mountainside, separated from the rest of the world, so it seemed. When it landed, the crow cawed so as to attract the attention of its mistress. Inside her vessel, Ehne, busy tending to the work of preparing her darling parasites to come to fruition soon, perked her head up once she heard the noise.
“Intruders…?” she mused, promptly halting her work and placing a hand to her chin. Curious, she stepped out of her laboratory and toward the front of her ship to initiate an optical feed of her surroundings. On a screen beside her, she saw nothing close to her ship but one of her faithful, darling Chimera Anima.
“There’s no one close by,” Ehne scoffed. “But you seem distressed, so I suppose I should go.”
The Mews quickly and quietly exited the vessel and parted ways. Chrysalis and Niji followed closely behind the astronauts, making sure to keep hidden behind rocks, trees or rubble to avoid being seen until the right moment. Hikari and Hotaru went north of the ship, following a large hillside toward a mountain. Nexus led the two, hauling the messenger bag with the explosives over her shoulder. She crept quietly alongside the hills, clinging to large stones and keeping an eye out for any sign of Chimera Anima who might be watching. Promptly, she held her hand up to signal the rest of her team to halt.
“I sense a presence nearby,” she whispered, covering her radio with a hand to avoid it picking up her voice.
Hotaru and Hikari stopped behind her and leaned in closely, watching for any sign of Ehne’s appearance. Much to their surprise, she came through. The Mews heard a metallic clang, a sound of something whirring and thumping on the ground. Nexus twitched her pointed ears in the sound’s direction, looking up at the hill before her to gather that the noise came from behind it. She slowly crept up the hill, keeping hunched over to prevent anything from spotting her. The two young Mews followed her movements immediately. What the trio caught sight of rendered them utterly flabbergasted.
A large open space with a demolished village lay before them. Perched on top of the rubble sat a large, white, metallic vessel, perhaps the magnitude of a sizable home—Ehne’s ship. The craft took a rectangular sort of form, with an angled nose and two sets of wings for more agile navigability. There existed no windows as far as the girls could see, aside from a wide, black-tinted one toward the front of the ship in an area that Nexus supposed to be the cockpit.
The girls could see no evident weaponry nor other accessories adorned on the vessel, but before they came to the conclusion that it was unarmed, they noticed some panels with slight gaps around their edges, and Hikari assumed that the ship was undoubtedly armed, but with its weapons hidden to avoid any damage while unused. She turned to Nexus for a moment, curious to hear her take on the great contraption. Nexus, however, said nothing. The technology appeared unfamiliar to her, but she applauded its stealth, size and resourcefulness. The beings from which this technology came clearly took great care to make sure nothing would harm it. The ships back on the planet Ecoria were not quite similar to these, but they did certainly hold up well for their purpose.
Under the supposed cockpit, the girls took notice of a large ramp that had extended from the ship and led toward the Earth’s surface below it. A crow Chimera Anima stood before the opening, as if waiting for something; its mistress, no doubt. Sure enough, from the ship’s entrance appeared the Ajran parasite, Ehne. She assumed her natural gelatinous form, walking calmly down the ramp with carelessness. Hotaru wondered why she would be so serene despite having discovered a potential intrusion on her self-proclaimed property before realizing that perhaps because she thought the Mews were dead, nothing else could possibly feel like anymore of a threat to her.
“Ah, I wonder who could be here!” Ehne cheerfully mused as she pet her darling Chimera Anima. “Most likely just some astronauts, searching for some of their stupid earthly supplies. Let’s go be rid of them, my child.”
The crow lowered its head so that its mistress could mount it. As she did so, the Mews slowly began to make their way toward the entrance of the ship, doing their best to avoid being seen. As the massive bird took off, the Mews ran inside the ship, whose ramp began to recede to seal the entrance with its owner now departed. Hikari, the last to enter, squeaked and jumped in alarm as the entrance slammed shut behind her. Nexus quietly raised a finger to her lips as if to remind her to be silent, and the sunny Mew blushed in embarrassment.
Hotaru looked around and examined her surroundings with awe. There were long, thin wires all along and hanging from the white walls and silver grated walkway, all metallic. A white light shone from below the Mews, providing a bright, but not overbearing, mean of illumination. Before the entrance of the great ship was a hallway, with closed doorways scattered on either side, and each door came without a handle. Above each doorway, a black bar was placed, and Nexus guessed they were sensors and that the metallic entryways opened automatically when approached. To the left of the entrance lay a spiral staircase, leading to an area above them where the Mews figured the cockpit existed.
Nexus then covered her radio device, and the others followed her, doing the same.
“We do not have much time to examine the inner workings of this vessel,” the regal alien girl reminded her team. She opened the messenger bag and pulled out six of the explosive devices. She handed the younger Mews three each, and they carefully took them in one arm.
“Does it matter where we plant them?” Hotaru inquired, trying to keep her voice down. Nexus shook her head.
“We only need to spread them out fairly,” she noted. “So that there will be good coverage. We must quickly examine our surroundings, but do not have time to tinker with or examine anything particular that we may find. Once you understand where everything is, plant the devices and meet back here when you are done. “
“Got it,” the other girls agreed. Charges in hand, the trio split up and went through the inner workings of the ship. Nexus followed the spiral staircase up to the cockpit, while the other girls crept through the hallway and entered the doors into other rooms. In the cockpit, Nexus was astounded. The view from the ship was a fairly interesting sight, and then the cockpit itself managed to blow her away—never before had she’d seen such technology. A large control panel with a smooth touch-based interface stood in front of the large window. Though the panel lacked complicated buttons and switches, there were plentiful amounts of glowing dots and lines of various sizes that Nexus dared not touch, fearing messing something up. To the right of the panel, on the wall, there was a mid-sized screen embedded into the wall, though Nexus couldn’t tell what it was for. The wall behind her was covered with wires and tubes that wound through each other and led to other parts of the foreign spacecraft.
Before curiosity could get the better of her, Nexus bent down and planted a charge in the middle of the cockpit, on the metallic grated floor. She figured the blast from the device would certainly be strong enough to destroy this area. She thought that perhaps, even if they failed to destroy the ship completely, a blast to the center of the ship’s control could undoubtedly immobilize the great vessel at least, or even keep it from concealing itself or exposing its weaponry.
Hotaru and Hikari stumbled across various rooms with unrecognizable technology. They discovered a storage room with weaponry, broken machines and wires, a room with several pods that looked as though they could fit only a phenomenally slender type of being, a room containing white tables littered with flasks and containers filled with unknown substances, and a room where some of the wires in the ship seemed to connect, joining together into various tall, white machines with flat surfaces and lit panels with glowing buttons and lines, which the girls did not understand nor try to. Nexus soon joined their exploration after planting a charge in the cockpit. Together, the Mews placed their charges in various rooms, and while Nexus exhausted her supply, the other two Mews held onto one last explosive device each, which they intended to save for wherever Ehne was keeping her parasitic entities. At the end of the hallway in the ship, the girls reached a tall, grand set of white metal doors, split down the middle with a zigzagged line. When they approached them, the entrance slowly opened with a hiss as the doors retracted into the walls.
Before the three Mews, a huge laboratory was stationed. In the middle of the room stood a large panel, much like the girls had seen in other areas of the ship. Toward the back, there were tables with mechanisms attached to them, much like guns, but with long, thick, metal needles in place of the chassis and barrel. And, along the sides of the walls of this laboratory, there were large glass tanks that glowed, radiating a pale white color, filled with tiny jellyfish-like creatures all lined up in rows and bunched together on top of each other. Close to a bottom corner of the left tank, Nexus examined, there was a small crack, though she couldn’t fathom why it would be there. Scattered elsewhere stood other machinery, tall and thick with unrecogniizeable contraptions for unknown functions.
“This is…” Hotaru stood in awe at the sight of this laboratory, holding the explosive charge tightly in both her hands. She attempted to keep her voice down, despite her wonder. “It’s so…amazing….”
“Unfortunately, we have no time to waste messing about in it,” Nexus responded, muffling her radio device with caution. “Place your final charges. We must leave soon.”
“Right,” Hikari nodded, preparing to plant her device somewhere. Hotaru looked down at the one in her hand with uncertainty.
“This ship is kind of way, way bigger than we thought it would be,” she quietly stated. “Do you think these things will be enough?”
“We have no choice but to try,” Nexus responded, hushed. “We have already come so far. Even if it does not destroy everything, we will have gained a great advantage.”
“I hope you’re right,” Hotaru murmured, closing her eyes for a moment. After a brief silence, she and Hikari finally planted the devices in either corner of the laboratory, and the trio quickly made their way back to the entrance. By it was a small rectangular panel, similar to that of the control panels, embedded into the wall. Unsure on how to make the ramp go down, Nexus hesitantly touched the smooth surface, and it responded with a glow. The entrance opened, and a ramp descended down to the earth, revealing a passage for the Mews to exit from.
“We must get far from here and set the explosion off,” Nexus whispered. She took the detonator from the messenger bag and flung the empty sack onto the ground, no longer requiring it. The other girls nodded, and they followed their older comrade as she jogged away from the ship. When they departed it, the ramp receded, and the entrance to the vessel sealed.
While the trio headed north to do their deed, Chrysalis and Niji had kept cautiously behind the astronauts, waiting for Ehne to arrive with any Chimera Anima. The three astronauts did as told, foraging for supplies so as not to appear conspicuous to their opposition. Because the girls keeping watch over them couldn’t keep communications with the rest of their team by Ehne’s ship, they were left to wait, and while only for no greater than fifteen minutes, each second brought the girls anticipation and rising anxiety that left them almost unnerved. However, within a while, they heard the sound of a crow cawing in the distance. Hunching over to assure concealment, the two Mews watched closely as a crow Chimera Anima descended from the sky and landed, shockingly, right in front of them. The distance was so small between their hiding place and where the crow landed that Chrysalis held her breath, afraid that any sound could trigger their positions being given away.
Ehne hopped down from the crow and put a hand on her hip, exhaling loudly.
“Looks like it’s as I thought,” she spoke aloud glumly, facing in the direction of the Astronauts’ position. Though they were positioned a little further from her, she could still see them from where she stood. “Just a bunch of astronauts.”
Ehne turned to her Chimera Anima and patted its beak.
“Then again, who else might have I expected?” She sighed. “Well, I suppose we should dispose of them—they should know, after all, that there’s no more reason for them to come here!”
Niji scowled, knowing what she meant. Chrysalis turned to her companion with the mute question of whether they should reveal themselves or not, to which Niji replied with a silent nod. Ehne raised her arm and pointed in the direction of the trespassers, signaling her pet to attack them. However, before it could make a move, Chrysalis jumped out from her hiding place, summoned her weapon and fired at the creature with ferocity. Niji, too, surfaced from where she hid and drew her weapon, ready for Ehne’s next move. The alien girl stepped back with surprise at the sight, assuming her human form and widening her eyes at the Mews’ appearance. When the parasite emerged from the crow’s body, Niji struck it, and Chrysalis then pointed her bow toward Ehne with the intent to attack, though she held it tightly and waited until she had a reason to. The Ajran alien balled her fists when she took notice of the astronauts retreating—having heard the commotion, they took it as a sign to get away and back to their ship as planned prior to their journey here. Ehne quickly turned back to the two Mews, engaged in hostile stances with preparations to harm her there and then if necessary, and glowered.
“I thought I killed you,” she muttered furiously under her breath, narrowing her blue eyes.
“You thought wrong,” Niji shot back, almost with cockiness. “We’re still here!”
Ehne raised her chin in an almost snobbish way and scoffed.
“So where are the rest of your team, then?” she spat at them, un-balling her fists and attempting to regain a picture of false coolness, despite the burning, agonizing anger welling beneath her exterior. Chrysalis and Niji scowled at the parasitic entity, refusing to answer.
“By the looks on your faces, I’d say they might actually be dead,” Ehne inferred, unaware of her grave misinterpretation. “I can’t say I’m pleased. My aim was to eliminate such a ruthless threat to my children as a whole—not in parts. ”
She awaited a response, but received none.
“I assume the funny voice is guiding you?”
“Keep him out of this,” Niji scowled.
“It’s okay,” Akio’s voice responded, reassuring his friend. “I’m not afraid of her.”
“You should be...” Ehne replied. “Akio.”
Niji gritted her teeth.
“The Mews never feared you,” Akio replied bluntly. “So why should I?”
“Big talk from a man who never shows his face!” Ehne barked back, offended.
“And you’re one to talk when you hide behind your creatures in cowardice,” the geneticist hastily shot back. “Don’t test my patience, Ehne. I don’t have any for creatures like you.”
“At least we share that in common, funny voice,” Ehne calmly answered. “But unlike you, I am willing to risk stepping out onto the battlefield. I may not fight, but I have weapons, you see. You should just give up!”
“Talk all you want,” Akio said. “But I have no intentions of giving into your ploys.”
“So what is your intention then?” the alien demanded with hostility. “Do you expect to have these putrid pawns just kill me as if in some act of revenge?”
Ehne turned her attention back to the duo before her.
“Are you Mews here to play another game with me? Dance another dance? Because it’s far too late for that! Tomorrow, my children will surface after so long of my tending to them. You could try and stop their ranks, but I’m so SICK of you that I won’t even give you the opportunity to do so. It was fun for a while, but enough is enough! I’m so sick of you humans. I’m so sick of you trying to destroy all that I have worked for. This is all that is left for me, and you wanted nothing more than to stop me.”
Ehne picked her head up and grimaced at the Mews.
“Well this world is MINE now,” she growled. “And you have no place to try to stop me!”
“You’re wrong!” Chrysalis shouted back, not once moving her position nor lowering her bow. “This world was never yours, Ehne. You just took it away from those that it belonged to!”
“What you’ve done to our planet and everything that lived on it is wrong,” Niji added with a stern tone. “Look around you, Ehne! Everything is dying because of you. Our people, our fauna, even the planet itself! Your so-called children have done nothing but destroy EVERYTHING!”
“Do you think I care?!” Ehen shot back, balling her fists. “I didn’t take this stupid planet to keep it pretty! I’m trying to survive!”
“As are we,” Akio sternly responded, striking Ehne with a sense of uneasiness.
“Haven’t you seen our people out there? “ Chrysalis furiously added. “You’ve taken so many of our kind—you’ve seen their memories, haven’t you? Don’t you understand?!”
“I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR PEOPLE!” Ehne screamed, shutting her eyes in her fury. “I know under what conditions you’re living, but those humans are of no concern to me! I am of the Ajra! Our kind only knows how to survive and replicate! We don’t bear the burden of unnecessary emotions or bonds like your pathetic race!”
She opened her eyes wide, scowling at the Mews with utter hatred.
“Your race is as good as dead, Mews! I may not have killed all five of you successfully, but if you so much as show your faces on MY planet ever again, I will send every single one that I can to where you are just to finish the job!”
Oddly enough, she curved her lips into an ominous, satisfied grin. The entity tilted her head back and chuckled with content.
“And when you are gone…who can stop me?” Ehne happily sighed. “I’ll kill every last one of you if I have to! I won’t be so kind as to stop with YOU two after all this trouble your kind has caused me.”
Her profile reverted to a state void of emotion, and Ehne lowered her head.
“In fact…why take the chance?” She muttered solemnly. “I should just kill you now….Now that you’re before me.”
Without another word, Ehne threw her hand forward toward the Mews, and a horde of various Chimera Anima came charging in from around the girls. Chrysalis and Niji kept their backs together, holding their weapons tightly.
“Mew Spectral Galaxy, what should we do?” Chrysalis questioned, unsure whether the two of them could take on this many.
Niji frantically assessed the situation and attempted to gather her wits. Before she could give an order, a few of the creatures lunged forward to attack, and the girls found themselves separating to avoid the onslaught of aggression. The Mews lashed out against the offense while Ehne simply kept her head high, eyes void of evident emotion, merely watching them to see what they would do.
As the girls struggled, they found themselves outnumbered, with more Chimera Anima pouring down from the hills with the intent to finish them off.
“You Mews need to start running!” Akio shouted from the other line. “There are too many for you to fight alone!”
Niji jumped back to avoid the claws of one Chimera Anima and lashed out at several others behind her.
“I know!” She anxiously responded. “But we won’t be able to so simply with all these things attacking us at once!”
Before a badger Chimera Anima could bite the galactic Mew, Chrysalis shot at it with her bow and froze the beast. From this, Niji’s ears perked up in alertness. A memory flashed before her of Hotaru’s first fight against the three Hyena Chimera Anima, in which she and Niji combined their powers to destroy them.
“That’s it!” The elder Mew exclaimed, almost relieved. She made her way to Chrysalis and pulled her out of the way of a wolf Chimera Anima’s attack. Stumbling back, the lunar Mew shook her head and looked at her partner in confusion.
“…What’s it?” She asked. Niji pointed her weapon up.
“Freeze as many of these things as we can and run before they come to!” She quickly explained, as other creatures were preparing to strike. Chrysalis nodded, understanding her motive, and launched an attack into the air.
“Ribbon Lunar Strike!”
“Ribbon Spectral Divide!”
The two Mews combined their attack—Ice and energy formed together to freeze many of the Chimera Anima. Unfortunately, since so many surrounded them, not all were affected. However, because they’d frozen those closest to them, absconding became easier to do. Ehne lowered her brows and scoffed at the ordeal, but she didn’t appear otherwise concerned. In her head, this battle had already been won the very minute the Mews showed their faces to her. She mounted a wolf Chimera Anima and began to chase after the girls, with those of the Chimera Anima left unfrozen following close behind.
“You know she’s going to chase after us!” Chrysalis shouted at her partner, panting as she ran.
“That’s what we planned on, isn’t it?!” Niji huffed. “We have to wait until the time is right!”
“UUUGH I don’t think I can take this for much longer!” Chrysalis groaned, trying to keep up with Niji, who, much to her dismay, ran faster than she.
The girls never stopped to look behind them, only supposing that Ehne followed closely. They ran until reaching a field, not largely impressive, but sizable enough to where a couple of small homes could reside. It was at this point the Mews found themselves unable to run further, but each girl figured the distance far enough to where their other team members might have more time to accomplish their deeds. Niji turned around with her galactic whip in hand, expecting fully to see Ehne and her Chimera Anima approaching. Surprisingly, however, she was not.
“Where did she go?” the galactic heroine mused, faltering her eyes and perking up her ears in search of any signs of the enemy.
“I don’t…know…” Chrysalis panted, bending down with her hands on her knees to catch her breath. Niji loosened the grip on her weapon for a moment and shook her head.
“Let’s not stay here long,” she warned. “I don’t like this—there’s no way Ehne couldn’t catch up.”
“Whatever,” Chrysalis sighed, rising. “I’d honestly rather fight than run. We have enough energy to freeze these things, I’m sure.”
“I doubt that we could keep it up,” Niji disagreed, folding her arms.
“It doesn’t matter!” her comrade responded. “We’ll be fine. We were only supposed to run and give the others time to—“
Niji and Chrysalis jumped when they heard Ehne’s voice behind them. The lunar Mew clamped a hand over her mouth with embarrassment at her almost revealing their true motives. Slowly, the two turned around to face Ehne, still on the wolf Chimera Anima, and plenty of her pets beside her. From what Niji could gather, the Ajran entity had come from behind a hill—perhaps sneaking around the Mews to catch up with them from the front. Chrysalis slowly lowered her hand, eyes wide with shock. Ehne leaned in and lowered her brows with a profile of suspicion.
“What…others?” She demanded, almost passive-aggressively. “What are you…?”
Niji took on a fighting stance, hoping to draw Ehne’s mind away from Chrysalis’ parapraxis.
“Stay away from us if you know what’s good for you!” she yelled, gripping her weapon and presenting it before Ehne as a threat. The Ajran girl inhaled deeply and raised her chin up, fixing her displeased gaze upon her enemies.
“So I was wrong,” she mused, ignoring Niji entirely. “They…are alive after all…aren’t they?”
Chrysalis looked away in shame for what she revealed.
“Where are they?” The alien asked. The question came from her so calmly, but the Mews trembled, sensing hostility in her voice. The accused remained silent, refraining from responding, and Ehne clenched her teeth together and screamed, tightly gripping the fur of the Chimera Anima she was on.
“WHERE ARE THEY?!”
The creatures accompanying the enemy bore their teeth, growled and assumed hostile stances toward the Mews as their mistress fumed unexpectedly. She raised her hand to signal her monsters to attack the enemy, but halted suddenly before she could swing it forward. Ehne’s eyes grew wide, and she appeared to freeze in place as if in fear, the duo could see.
“You….” The Ajran mustered speech. “…No...There’s no way you could…”
She suddenly switched from fear back to rage.
“ALL OF YOU!” She screamed at her children, almost with a tone of accusation. “FIND THE OTHERS, NOW!!”
Instead of attacking the two Mews before them, all of the Chimera Anima surrounding their mistress frantically ran past them, toward the direction Nexus, Hikari and Hotaru had gone. Ehne gave the Mews one final look of panicked anger before rushing off to her ship. Chrysalis and Niji exchanged worried glances.
“What do we do?” Chrysalis proclaimed with uncertainty. Niji turned and stared in the direction that Ehne had fled, thinking for a moment.
“Akio, which way do we head to reach the others?” She asked suddenly.
“Head west from where you’re facing,” her mentor answered. The girls nodded at each other and, while starting to head that way, anxiously tried to contact their teammates, now that their cover had been blown.
“Mews, where are you right now?” Niji called out, trying to keep her head. No response came for a moment, and the girls started to worry. However, after a brief pop of static, they received a response.
“Why are you contacting us?” a light voice called.
“Mew Radiant sun?” Chrysalis questioned.
The sunny Mew sounded out of breath as she spoke.
“What’s going on? Did something happen?”
“We’ve been found out,” Chrysalis explained, huffing. “Ehne is headed straight for you!”
“Have you girls managed to plant the devices?” Akio questioned.
“We have,” Nexus answered. She, too, sounded breathless.
“We’re running away from the ship so that we can detonate the explosive thingies!” Hotaru added.
“There’s no more time to waste,” Niji panted. “You need to set everything off now!”
“Multiple Chimera Anima are closing in around your area,” Akio told the Mew team of three. “You don’t have time to run anymore—if you don’t set the explosives off now, you might not get another chance!”
“But we’re not far away enough!” Hikari shouted. The roar of a Chimera Anima could be heard in the distance.
“You’re far away enough to where you won’t get hurt by the blast itself,” Akio reassured them. “You’ll feel a little bit of the force, but you won’t be hurt in your position as you are now!”
“Are you sure?” Hotaru inquired, panting.
“Just set it off!” Niji commanded. “We don’t have a choice right now!”
Nexus, clutching the detonator in hand, halted her steps, and her comrades did the same.
“I really hope this works,” Hikari sighed, holding her chest. Nexus nodded, but gave no further response.s She promptly clasped down the clamp handle on the side of the detonator with one hand, and took a deep breath before pressing the button with her other hand. In the distance, all five Mews heard the noise that followed. Despite what Akio said, the trio that had planted the explosives experienced no force, much to their disturbance. Ehne, just barely making it in time to her vessel, saw the ship’s desecration first hand. She looked on in horror at the sight while the Chimera Anima threw their selves forward to shield their mistress from the blast that sent small bits of debris flying her way.
The Mews wasted no time—the group that split prior quickly met up with each other. Together, the girls decided that they would make their way to the ship in order to verify that the mission had been accomplished. When they arrived, they found the great vessel beaten and broken, with some small flames lingering behind across the metallic surface of it. The cockpit and other areas of the vessel now contained small holes exposing its innards. The wings appeared to have taken some damage, and several broken wires dangled from the openings the explosion created, buzzing with electricity. Other than this, the Mews lacked the ability to tell just how much damage they caused on the inside.
There too stood Ehne, eyes burning with hatred, hands clenched into fists, surrounded by her Chimera Anima.
“You defeat my children…” she growled. “You refuse to die. And now? Now you have probably killed any chance I had of keeping my kind alive. How does it feel to play the villain?”
“The only villain here is you, Ehne,” Chrysalis shot back. “You made yourself one the day you decided to hurt our people and our world.”
“You’ve practically rendered my children extinct,” Ehne spat from between her teeth. “You humans are burdened with the capability to sympathize, aren’t you? So why can’t you understand what you’ve done to me?”
“Because you cannot grasp that what you have done to their kind for your sake is not right,” Nexus spoke calmly. “I know what it is like to lose everything you have and knew once—but I also know that violence, vengeance and the potential attack against another kind for the sake of your own is wrong.”
“It’s all I know how to do!!” Ehne shot back. “All I know is to expand, you stupid, stupid insolent beings! And you-you have gotten in my way for far too long! I cannot stand the SIGHT of you anymore!”
She thrust her arm forward and screamed with fury.
“KILL THEM! ALL OF YOU, COME AND KILL THEM!”
Her Chimera Anima responded immediately and with great hostility. The creatures lunged forward and attacked the Mews without hesitation in a raging frenzy. And not only did the team face the same horde previously encountered, but even more Chimera Anima that came in from every direction now to carry out their mistress’ order. As the Mews fought, Ehne merely watched with an angered glare. In the past, she found the struggles of the Mews to entertain her, and she’d always smile and grin at just how pathetic she’d found them. But now, the only thing left on her mind was revenge—vengeance upon the terrible beings that came and practically destroyed all she had left to cling to. To the Mews, she was no longer thinking rationally, her mind fuming with only one grim goal at this moment.
“We aren’t gonna get out of this one without combining our powers!” Hotaru cried, trying to avoid an oncoming assault of powerful jaws. She jumped backward, accidentally landing on the back of another Chimera Anima, and quickly attacked the one stalking her previously. Chrysalis flew into the air and repeatedly shot as many weighted arrows at the creatures as she could before being struck down by another Crow Chimera Anima. She pushed herself off of the ground immediately and furiously shot at the creature to bring it down.
“There’s way too many even for that, isn’t there?” She called back. “We’ve been able to wipe out maybe a few dozen or so with it before, but this is sort of ridiculous!”
“We’ll just have to try!” Hikari grunted as she jumped to the side to evade a set of claws.
“Whatever you do, do it quickly!” Akio’s voice worriedly exclaimed. “There is an alarming number of Chimera Anima swarming into the area!”
“She’s sending all of them here?” Niji gasped. “No, that’s not like her…she-“
“Ehne is furious at us!” Nexus interrupted. “With the task we have carried out, she may not be making thoughtful choices because of that fury!”
Niji pondered this for a moment as she fought, letting the thought sink in and allow her to come up with an idea in hopes that her team might get out of this plight safely. She quickly halted her fighting and called to her team.
“Let’s give it a shot!” She raised her weapon high into the air, the rest of the team following shortly after.
“Ribbon Spectral Divide!”
“Ribbon Nebula Squall!”
“Ribbon Lightning STOMP!”
“Ribbon Flame Blast!”
“Ribbon Lunar Strike!”
The attack soared, sending enormous bouts of energy coursing through the battlefield and eliminating many of the Chimera Anima. Ehne almost flinched as the attack neared her, but it did not strike with the creatures trying to shield their mistress from its severity, as she expected them to. They disappeared shortly after serving as bodyguards, and the more Chimera Anima the Ajran entity saw defeated before her, the angrier she became; however she refrained from physically exposing her anger further. Despite the fact that the Mews managed to create a near catastrophic dent in their enemies’ numbers, more Chimera Anima still arrived from around them—their attack carried enormous power, but Ehne hungered for their execution now more than ever, and with so many of the creatures still on Earth, she no doubt had plenty willing to aid her. The girls exhaled greatly after the attack, as it took much energy from them. The Mew team knew that this could not continue for much longer, and that should they resort to using the attack consistently, Ehne may overpower them. But to Niji, this particular situation provided a chance for her to talk some sense into their enemy, hopefully one to render the Mew able to get the hateful alien girl to call the beasts off.
As the team dispersed and each member fought their own solo battle, Niji cried out.
“Aren’t you tired of this, Ehne?!” She demanded with a booming voice. The Ajran parasite kept her gaze locked forward on no one particular in an almost aggressive stare, though Niji could tell that her voice managed to reach Ehne.
“No,” the entity spoke, almost solemnly so. “But you will be.”
“Mew Spectral Galaxy, what are you doing?” Hikari demanded with disturbance. “This isn’t the time to be talking, especially not with the enemy!”
The Mew team’s leader noticed that no Chimera Anima attacked her since she commanded an energetic assault. If Ehne was controlling the monsters, then perhaps she’d bid them not to attack Niji for the sake of humoring her and hearing what she might have left to say in these dire moments. Even though Ehne appeared to fume with hatred and eagerness to kill the girls, even after she’d lost everything and held no desire to deal with them anymore, the last living representative of the Ajran race still held on fast to her wily ways. Even in her anger, the alien found interest in those she thought beneath her, curious to know how they’d react and whether or not she may have brought them to their knees.
“You know we’ve practically won!” Niji boasted, ignoring the sunny Mew’s question. She found herself marching toward Ehne slowly, though she didn’t know exactly why—perhaps out of cockiness or in hopes of passing a convincing show of dominance, despite the fact that in her chest, she felt nothing but fear. Ehne widened her eyes.
“Don’t you DARE take another step!” She snapped, grinding her teeth. Niji ignored her.
“What on Earth is this girl doing?!” Chrysalis questioned her teammates, rolling to the side to evade the fangs of an adder Chimera Anima.
“I don’t even know!” Hotaru replied, attacking an elk Chimera Anima. “But we’re gonna have to trust her!”
Nexus took hold temporarily of two of the beast’s minds and had them assault their own in order to ease up on the ferocity this hoard exerted upon the Mews. She then turned and unleashed a barrage of attacks, both of wind and pure energy, fighting as hard as she could to protect her friends.
“We cannot take this much longer!” She cried. “Whatever you are doing, please, do it quickly, Mew Spectral Galaxy!”
Before she knew it, Niji had stepped directly before Ehne, standing face-to-face with the enemy. She found it odd that confidence would shroud her and allow this to happen when she normally would never do such a thing, but even stranger that Ehne didn’t even try to stop her from getting so close. Niji contemplated for a moment whether to strike and kill her, but found that she could not bring herself to, even knowing the trouble the alien girl had and would continue to cause.
Ehne scowled at the Mew.
“So what now—are you going to kill me here?” she sneered. Niji found herself pitying the girl, brought so low by what her team had done. She couldn’t help but feel a bit repentant, despite the fact that convincing Ehne to stop her parasitic tasks proved a fruitless endeavor and that more drastic measures had to be taken as a result. Ehne could have stopped, but she chose instead to meet her opponents with raw hostility, making it clear the severity of her threat. But even so, an air of sympathy overshadowed Niji’s objectives, almost shrouding her mind and manifesting itself as some cumbersome entity. Even the villains deserved pity sometimes, right?
“I…I won’t take your life,” she swore. The Mew tried to best to keep her calm and play a part of confidence. “Not unless you give me a reason to!”
“Why?!” Ehne shot back, almost offended. “What’s one life to the likes of you, anyway?! You’ve killed thousands of lifeforms—my children!”
“And you’ve killed thousands of our kind as well,” the galactic Mew calmly responded.
“Your kind is weak!” Ehne barked. “You couldn’t stop this from happening—you can’t even bring yourself to end my existence even when I stand before you!”
“You claim mercy as a sign of weakness, yet you yourself have not had your ‘children’ attack me.” Niji hastily pointed out. Yes, that was good. “Why is that?”
Ehne didn’t answer, but Niji could see that she’d become disturbed by the statement and unable to come back with a proper answer. Her eyes widened slightly in surprise at the Mew’s sly response, but she refused to let the woman get the better of her. Without even uttering a word, a Chimera Anima prepared to lunge at the Mew from behind while she stood before its mistress. Nexus took notice of the creature about to attack her leader, and she quickly leapt into action.
“Mew Spectral Galaxy, look out!” She cried, pushing through other monsters to reach her friend. Niji turned suddenly at the sound of her friend’s voice in time to see both she and the beast heading for her, but not with enough time to dodge. Nexus lunged at her comrade, pushing her out of the way before the Chimera Anima could successfully complete its assault.
“Are you okay?” She hastily questioned, standing and helping Niji up. However, the galactic Mew did not respond, intent on trying to get to Ehne in hopes of getting her team to depart safely without the burden of the Chimera Anima’s barrage of attacks.
“Y-you can’t just keep attacking us like this!” She cried out. Ehne scoffed and scowled.
“And why not?!” She demanded, balling her fists. “Your energy may be astoundingly great, but it will soon run out, and my children will be here to strike when it does!”
“But how many of them will you have sacrificed in your blind rage?” her opponent shot back. Nexus looked at her friend with confusion, unsure of her intent. However, an attack from an adder Chimera Anima led her to withhold her thoughts for a moment and continue to fight alongside the other Mews.
“If we’ve truly destroyed your ship,” Niji went on, “Then you now posses a finite number of your ‘children’!”
Ehne’s eyes widened.
“Are you really willing to endanger the rest of their kind now just to kill us?”
“I…I have plenty more!” Ehne hastily responded. “There are thousands and thousands left on your planet!”
“But they are precious to you, aren’t they?” Niji questioned. “You’ve displayed to us numerous times that you want nothing more than to conserve their kind, but now you’re so consumed by fury that you’ve already forgotten that!”
“S-Shut up!” Ehne shouted, holding her head. “I….”
“If you don’t want us to destroy any more of them, then you need to call your monsters off!”
“Don’t tell me what to do, human!” The Ajran entity shot back. However, she knew the Mew was right—the parasites were all she had left. She clenched her teeth and shut her eyes, and all the other Chimera Anima halted their struggles for one moment, causing the other Mews to whip their heads tward Ehne with utter surprise. The Mews kept their weapons close at hand, aiming at the creatures in the case that they would begin again, but they did not. Niji narrowed her eyes at her enemy, hoping inside of her that she would do just as hoped. Ehne refrained from speaking for a moment, clearly conflicted on what to do, but soon shook her head and exhaled, almost in a frustrated groan.
“Leave them be.”
Much to everyone’s surprise, the Chimera Anima began to retreat, and Ehne solemnly turned her back to the Mews without so much as a final glance.
“Get out of here,” She muttered. “Don’t come back.”
Hikari and Hotaru exchanged worried glances, and Chrysalis looked to her leader for an answer. Niji, still in shock that she’d won this game, hesitated for a moment before nodding to her team.
“L…let’s go,” she said. Promptly, the Mews took off in the direction of their ship. On their journey, no outside force bothered them, and not a single Chimera Anima could be seen.
“Why would she do that?” Hikari inquired, flabbergasted. “I thought she wanted to get rid of us!”
“The one thing she cares about is the survival of her kind,” Nexus gathered, having now understood Niji’s motives. Rage blinded her after our deed was done.”
“So she wasn’t thinking rationally,” Akio gathered.
“I’m just glad we got out of there,” Chrysalis exhaled. “We’ve never had to deal with so many of those things before!”
“That’s what happens when you mess with the enemy,” Hotaru shrugged.
“H…Have you managed to destroy Ehne’s vessel, then?” Akio questioned calmly from the Mews’ radio devices. Niji could tell he’d been working to suppress his anxious bouts, knowing he’d worried immensely about their safety after realizing just how many Chimera Anima were coming to attack the girls. “You did see the ship, right?”
“Yes. It was built more strongly than we expected,” Nexus noted. “And we may have underestimated its size. It is unclear, but there is a chance we may have succeeded.”
“We weren’t able to go inside to check, though,” Niji added. “But the thing did look pretty busted. A lot of its major functions may have been affected for sure.”
“From what we saw before Ehne attacked us…” Hikari spoke up. “…I do think this thing is out of commission.”
A heavy sigh of relief came from Akio’s end, but he didn’t say anything more in response to the condition of the craft.
“You Mews did a great job,” he commended, almost joyfully. “Hurry up and get back here before Ehne changes her mind.”
Without another word, the Mew team boarded their vessel and made their way back home. The journey back ended up being just as silent as the ride to Earth, with each Mew wondering what would happen next now that their main objective had been completed. Akio greeted the Mew team as they departed their ship, quick to check that they were all in one piece. Though exhausted and with the exception of a few scratches, the girls appeared fine otherwise.
“Are you girls all okay?” He asked, double checking. Hotaru nodded and grinned.
“Absolutely fine!” she giggled, raising her arms in a joyous gesture. “We did it, right?”
“I…guess so!” Chrysalis hesitated, but soon found herself laughing with relief. “And we got out of there in one piece thanks to Mew Spectral Galaxy here!”
She put a hand on Niji’s shoulder and grinned, but her friend didn’t seem to return the same emotion. She simply curved one side of her lips slightly as if attempting a smile, but otherwise did not respond. Akio took note of this gesture, though he refrained from addressing it in front of the others, not wanting to spoil anyone’s mood or single her out.
“I didn’t think Ehne was capable of admitting defeat,” Hikari mused, crossing her arms. “I don’t know if she’ll keep away for long—she’s always crafty that way.”
“She knows that we have to return to Earth and remove those creatures, does she not?” Nexus added. “But none of the less—“
“Nonetheless,” Chrysalis corrected, trying to be polite. Nexus nodded.
“Nonetheless, now that this task is complete, our work will be easier, yes?”
“I certainly hope so,” Akio exhaled. “Even if things didn’t go as planned, as long as you girls are safe, things will be okay. We can always try again.”
“Yeah!” Hotaru energetically replied, pumping her fist into the air. “We’re the Galaxy Mews—we can do anything!”
“Hey, don’t get all cocky now!” Chrysalis laughed, lightly nudging her young friend on the shoulder. “Or you’ll start acting like me!”
Hikari and Nexus giggled, and the Mews’ mentor smiled at how happy the girls were now that their biggest opponent had been outmatched and brought down to a level that they could easily beat.
“Are you girls sure you don’t need any fix-ups?” Akio inquired. “I’d be happy to take a look and make sure you’re not injured.”
Hikari shook her head.
“No, we’re feeling alright, I think!” She responded, smiling. “Thanks, for checking.”
“Of course,” the geneticist said, ruffling the sunny Mew’s hair a bit. “Now why don’t you girls go relax—you’ve done a wonderful job and deserve some rest.”
“Thanks, Akio,” Chrysalis answered, patting her mentor on the back as she began to walk off. “We’ll see you soon, then.”
“I’ll keep in touch,” the man smiled.
Nexus, who had followed the girl along with the other Mews, stopped promptly and turned to face Niji, who remained in the same spot without budging.
“Mew spectral Galaxy, are you alright?” she asked, concerned. Akio, too, turned to Niji, curious for her answer. The elder Mew dropped her gaze to the floor and shook her head.
“I’m fine,” she promised. “I just have a lot on my mind.”
“Well, you know what’s best for a troubled mind?”
Nexus looked at Niji, who shrugged at her mentor.
“Work,” he finally answered. “Why don’t you come help me in the storage rooms? There’s something I need from there, but there’s a lot of heavy tech lying around, so I’ll need some help to look for it if I don’t want to take the rest of the day—I have other things to do too, after all.”
Before Niji could answer, Akio turned to Nexus and smiled.
“You can join us too, if you like.”
Nexus exchanged a confused glance with Niji, but she agreed, and so the girls followed a whistling, oddly cheery Akio to a supply room, much like the one the Mews entered to communicate with Nexus, though this one was far more sizable and much more messy, with broken machinery, spare parts, rusted pipes, wires, carts and other apparatuses clogging the area, leaving hardly any space to move around without bumping into something. On some tilted old shelves sat piles of papers and binders with unknown contents, with nothing marked or orderly. Along the walls, Nexus could see some metal lockers, though she almost missed them completely due to their being buried under and covered by more junk. Without a word, Akio began to dig around on one side of the room and instructed the girls to search on the other. Nexus kept close to Niji, but found her in no apparent mood to strike a conversation. As Akio fumbled around on the other side, muttering to himself on occasion, the Ecorian girl tried to talk to her leader and friend.
“If something is troubling you,” she began, bending to grab an armful of wires and tossing them aside to make more room for herself, “you know we are here to listen, do you not?”
“Thanks, Nexus,” Niji sighed, pushing a cart whose wheels had become stuck out of the way. “But I promise—I’m fine.”
“You have not spoken since our fight,” Nexus observed. “Since you faced Ehne. Why did you not kill her when you had the chance?”
Niji widened her eyes and halted her progress in pushing aside a metal cabinet full of chemistry equipment.
“Did you feel bad for her?”
“I…” Niji exhaled with growing distress. “I don’t know…I just…”
“She is your enemy,” the Ecorian girl reminded her teammate. “You had all made It your mission to destroy her as she tried to do the same to you and your kind.”
“I know…” Niji solemnly responded. “It’s just….when I came face to face with her….I saw fear. I saw past the anger and hatred for us inside of her and recognized a despair that all of us have faced—the same that you did when your home was lost.”
“You could not bring yourself to do it because you pitied her,” Nexus concluded. She smiled. “Even to your greatest enemies, you still show mercy. That is a valuable trait.”
“But the weird thing is…so did she,” Niji noted, holding a hand to her temples. “That’s not the Ehne we know. It’s like she’s taken that human form for so long that she’s starting to act like one. Or maybe she assumed a face to get us to sympathize with her more.”
“And it’s working.”
Nexus took Niji’s hands in hers and smiled.
“Everything will be okay,” she promised. “We will work through this—you have both I and your team to aid you. We will always be behind you, Niji.”
“But what if it gets to be too much and I have no choice but to kill her?” The galactic Mew questioned anxiously. “What if I get close to her again and I can’t bring myself to eliminate her after all?”
“My friend, you are a warrior!” Nexus reminded her. “There is always a way to avoid unnecessary deaths and violence, but it is up to you to decide what is truly right. Ehne has destroyed many of your people without mercy, and she does not intend to stop. You may decide to end her life or even just to destroy her creatures and leave her alive but alone—but that is a choice you must make on your own.”
She put a hand on her comrade’s shoulder when she saw her look down with dismay.
“Regret will always exist, my friend,” Nexus said. “It is natural to regret your decisions, but it is important never to let that change you.”
She closed her eyes.
“I know hand first.”
Niji chuckled, cheering up a bit.
“Firsthand,” she corrected with a giggle. Nexus smiled at her, and Niji returned her gesture with a grateful grin.
“Thanks, Nexus,” she spoke. “Hey, let’s get back to looking for-“
She stopped herself.
“Hey, Akio, what are we looking f-“
Niij had turned behind her as s he spoke, but stopped and jumped in alarm when she saw Akio standing behind she and Nexus, hands in his pockets and a smile on his face.
“Akio, you scared me!” She laughed, scratching her head. Nexus turned to look at her mentor with a question plastered upon her profile.
“What exactly were you looking for, anyway?” Niji inquired. “You never told us.”
“I think you’ve already found it,” Akio responded with a sly smile, and Nexus raised her brows with amusement.
“Did you bring us in here to talk?” She lightly accused, leaning forward. Akio rolled his eyes up to avoid Nexus’ gaze and grinned.
“Maybe, maybe not” he said. “Like I said, a little work can ease a troubled mind sometimes.”
“You sneaky little dork!” Niji frivolously exclaimed, lightly punching Ako’s arm. She brushed aside a strand of hair and smiled warmly. “Thanks, though. It did help.”
Nexus beamed at her friend returning to a cheerful mood.
“Why don’t you go join the others, now?” Akio suggested. “I’m sure they’re wondering where you are by now.”
“Yeah, I guess we will,” Niji agreed. She took hold of her friend’s arm and grinned. “But you should come with us. The girls don’t see a lot of you unless it’s for business reasons!”
“Well..I…have a lot to do…” he exhaled nervously. However, the young man took notice of the girls giving him a smile, and he shook his head. “…I suppose a little time couldn’t hurt.”
“Yeah, come relax a bit!” She waved her arm forward, gesturing at her friend. “C’mon, Nexus. The Mews could do with a bit of down time with their sciency friend.”
“Sounds good,” Nexus nodded in agreement. The trio headed off back to their cabin, and Akio exhaled with relief, glad that his friends were back in sorts.
A worried Ehne, reverted to her gelatinous form, scoured throughout the battered vessel, examining its inner workings to see what had been damaged and if anything could be fixed. She knelt down in what was once her ship’s cockpit, scavenging for anything of use or that could be rebuilt or repaired. While some things, she saw, could be fixed, the more important functions and workings were completely devastated and impossible to repair in their condition. A few Chimera Anima sat surrounding the craft, worrying about their mistress, but unable to do much to aid her.
“It’s all broken…all broken…” she sighed with dismay, taking hold of snapped wires and examining them with solemnity. Ehne took notice of an unfamiliar canister-type object lying battered among the wreckage, picking it up to examine the foreign thing. As she took note of the object’s battered exterior, she discovered it to be a detonation device of sorts. Furious, she thrust it aside and screamed, switching uncontrollably back and forth between her human and natural form as she did so before returning back to her own self.
“WHY did I let them go?!” She shouted, holding her head in anger. “I could have KILLED them, but I…I…”
She grunted in frustration.
“That putrid Mew girl had a point,” she grumbled, slamming her fist down on a broken panel and hoisting herself up. Ehne slowly walked down the broken spiral steps back to the front of her ship and made her way down the hallway past broken doors, revealing the interior of their rooms, many of which had large holes in them. Some contained damaged equipment and broken wires, and others had been completely obliterated.
“They’ll only come back” she sighed deeply, panic rising. “I made a grave mistake in letting that stupid girl live…”
“Oh, what am I going to do when they do come back?! They’ll keep on returning to destroy my precious children, and I have to stop them—no, I cant risk anymore of their lives! I know, maybe if I trap them! Wait—no! No…no…oh, why has this happened to me?!”
The Ajran girl slammed her fist against a wall as she passed another beaten-up room, finding herself suddenly standing before the large entrance to her laboratory.The white metal doors, dented and bent, refused to open on their own. Anxiety growing, Ehne furiously pounded her fists on them and tried to pry the entrance open with her fingers, desperate to make her way inside. With all of her strength, Ehne ripped one of the metal doors off and flung it behind her. Panting, she stepped inside to discover that many of the machines had been devastated in the explosion. Some were barely functioning, but threatened to break if not properly handled. Panels had been melted in the heat of the flames created by the explosion, with only some of its lights still flickering with life. Lastly, Ehne turned wearily to where she’d kept her growing specimens, only to find the glass smashed and many of her children motionless and lifeless. One tank’s previously glowing interior that served as an incubator did so no longer, diminishing the lives of all that grew within it. However, much to Ehne’s surprise and relief, the other tank’s incubation process, while corrupted, resulting in the loss of many more specimens, still went on, and Ehne ran inside of the large containment unit to scavenge for any of her children that may have survived.
She found several tens of them—weakened and threatening to expire, but still alive and incubated in what little had not been destroyed by the blast. Ehne, overcome with relief, beamed greatly. Though the Mews succeeded in terminating her vessel’s main components, the lives of most of her creations and many of the things she used to raise them, their explosives proved ineffective at eliminating everything. Their suspicions were correct after all—the ship’s size had been greatly underestimated. Ehne took notice of and collected two canisters similar to that of the one she discovered in the cockpit and grinned: had they planted a third in her laboratory, perhaps they truly could have won. However, she scoffed, coming to a sudden, unnerving realization. Dropping the canisters back onto the floor, she realized that even though she had a few of her children left with the possibility of them to actually coming to fruition successfully, in the state her laboratory was in, the mechanisms required to undergo such process were so damaged that they may not last after one more use. Frustrated, Ehne kicked the canisters by her feet with force and pounded a fist on a broken panel, understanding that even if she gave these remaining parasites life, it would not make a difference—the Galaxy Mews would still come and eventually slaughter them all.
Ehne looked at the mechanisms that still, but barely, worked She considered a possibility that she both never tested before or even thought could work with so little time to do it and at such a late incubatory stage. At first, the Ajran entity shook her head, thinking it impossible. But after a brief moment of consideration of the inevitable, while examining the creatures trying to thrive in what remained of the incubation tanks, Ehne decided that she had absolutely nothing to lose, wanting nothing more at this point other than to keep what little she had left alive and to see the Mews finally die—for good this time. Yes, she though, straightening her posture and getting to work on reconnaissance to identify what resources still functioned for her to use.
I have no other choice.
It took the girl much time, but she soon prepared a delicate process, knowing all too well that she only had one shot to do it, as the machinery would most likely break and cease to function once the process ended. Though the incubation period had almost finished entirely, Ehne made up her mind to attempt to combine the lifeforms that still lived into a sort of mega-parasite, one that would infect a host and transform it into something perhaps thrice as large and powerful as any of the other creatures her children took hold of—something that even the Mews could not beat with ease.
The alien parasite worked relentlessly for hours, handling the machinery with delicacy to avoid breaking it. She rearranged the makeup of each of her little darlings, having to take some of it away in order to morph them together properly and without complication. Within hours and hours of work, with her Chimera Anima outside the ship eagerly pacing about and worrying for their mistress, Ehne managed to successfully create the megaparasite—however, with almost no time to further incubate it properly without the machine totally breaking down, she wound up with no choice but to make the being undergo a rushed and forcible incubation that left the creature physically mutated, but still alive. She prodded at its genetic makeup and physical being, sacrificing some of her own, even, if only just to keep her last resort for destroying the Mews and rescuing her children alive.
The large, deformed jellyfish-like creature aimlessly bobbed and floated about around its mother upon its upbringing, and Ehne, after watching her laboratory’s machinery finally break down, found herself chortling relentlessly, both with relief and satisfaction. Not only had she created a more advanced version of her lifeforms, but she also created an entity that may very well destroy her enemies once and for all. Despite the Mews’ best efforts, they had not won the war—but Ehne intended to.
She took hold of her creation in her hands, bringing it closer to her face, and giggled.
“Let’s give you a test run, mm?”
Niji examined her hand, promptly grinning with glee as she caught sight of a rather favorable combination of cards.
“Full House!” She boasted with triumph, throwing her cards down.
“Oh come ooon!” Hotaru whined, kicking her feet a little. She puffed her cheeks and pouted with annoyance at having been beaten. “Fold! You’re already ahead of us just because you know how to play!”
“Yeah, seriously, I don’t get any of this!” Hikari agreed, putting her cards down. “I fold!”
Niji chuckled, but didn’t respond. She put her head in her hand and tilted it with amusement.
“It takes some practice,” Chrysalis told her friends, leaning forward. She closed her eyes and stuck up her nose with elitism. “You might actually get it after a while.”
“But you’ve never played either!” Hikari accused, frowning. “You probably don’t even have good cards!”
“I do too!” the stubborn girl shot back, holding her cards close to her chest so the young girl couldn’t peek. “But I’m sure not gonna show you! Besides, I’m just a faster learner than you guys—but it’s okay, everyone takes a different amount of time. Right, Akio? You’re probably ace at this too, aren’t you?”
“Actually…” their mentor chortled a bit, scratching his head, “…I’ve never really played Poker before. Never much had the time, to be honest.”
“Well aren’t you glad you took some away from your work to learn?” Niji teased, flashing him a smug look. Akio blushed.
“I suppose there’s a first time for everything. At the very least I’d say I’m not doing so badly.”
“It is no more difficult than our battles,” Nexus told her friends. She turned to Niji and smirked. “Besides, the round is not over just yet, Niji. I have what you might call a…Royal Flush?”
She slowly laid her cards down and watched with amusement as Niji, Chrysalis and Akio widened their eyes. They immediately groaned with defeat and dropped out, and Nexus leaned over to greedily grab all of the silver beads from the middle of the table that had been used as a central pot. Deciding the game to have come to an end, Niji gathered all of the worn cards that once belonged to James and put them back in their box, laying it down on the table in front of her. Chrysalis rose and stretched, popping a few of her joints as she did so.
“Well, I guess it’s good we didn’t play for, like, money or anything,” she sighed. “Although I can’t believe people play that game competitively—I can’t imagine any fun coming out of sitting down for hours. It was probably even worse for those who had to watch the players with nothing to do!”
“I don’t think it’s so bad,” Akio shook his head, also rising. “But it’s certainly not my type of game.”
“Not a gambler, huh? To each his own,” Niji shrugged, also rising. “It’s more fun with friends, though. I used to play it with mine before I was a Mew. It made the days a little less tedious, you know?”
“At least you have the experience,” Hikari mused. “I don’t understand any of this!”
“And I don’t think I want to!” Hotaru exclaimed, utterly flabbergasted. “Poker is so weird.”
At that moment, the girls heard a rapid knocking sound coming from their cabin’s door. Niji went to open it, only to discover an astronaut standing there, a worried expression plastered across his face.
“We have a problem.”
Niji lowered her brows with grave consideration, and the other Mews perked up with alertness, curious as to what he meant. Akio, immediately changing tone and returning from his lighthearted demeanor back to a more professional one, nodded at the astronaut, signaling that he understood his words. He then waved his hand at the mews, motioning for them follow him back to the labs. Without mention nor protest, they all quickly did so, letting their mentor lead them through the ship into the laboratories. There, Akio stood behind a chair, which the astronaut settled in, stationed before the radar used to watch for the signatures of Chimera Anima. The Mews gathered around the man and leaned in with concentration as the astronaut filled them in on the situation. The man fiddled with the controls to divert all focus onto a particular spot, then pointed to it and shook his head.
“I picked this signature up not too long ago,” he explained. “It’s the same as that of the other Chimera Anima, but I’m not sure exactly if that’s even what it is.”
“There’s no way it’s one of those things!” Hotaru refused to believe it, and she crossed her arms. “They get kinda big but not like that!”
“But if the signature is that of a Chimera Anima…“ Akio looked down and held his hand to his chin in thought. “…Is that possible? How could it have even come to be?”
“Well, maybe it was something that Ehne kept underground?” Niji suggested, putting a hand on the Astronaut’s chair to steady herself as she leaned in to examine the signature better. “You’ve lost sight of Chimera Anima underground before, like when we were in that Maze and you didn’t see those moles coming.”
“Yes but…” Akio shook his head. “Something that massive couldn’t possibly escape any radar! The signal is extremely hard to ignore—we would have seen it regardless of where it was.”
“But it couldn’t be a recent creation, could it? I mean, we totally destroyed that ship, right?” Hikari questioned with worry. “I mean, I had my doubts but it looked pretty wrecked.”
“And even id we didn’t destroy it, Ehne would have just created more parasites until we came and tried again, right?” Chrysalis added with a nod. “This doesn’t make any sense!”
Nexus pointed back to the screen while the others shot distressed words at each other, and they all promptly looked to where she’d motioned. On the screen, there were multiple icons moving toward the larger one that Akio had identified as the newly discovered, large ‘Chimera Anima.’
“It looks like they’re all gathering in one central area,” Hikari noted. “I don’t like this…Something’s definitely up!”
“Well, in any case, we need to get down there and get rid of it,” Niji said, pushing off from where she leaned, and turning to go. The other Mews nodded, and prepared to walk with her when Akio suddenly spoke.
“No,” he tersely commanded. The girls all turned in confusion at their mentor’s order, and Niji stormed forward toward him and tilted her head, her brows low with accusation and annoyance, the others could see.
“What do you mean no?” She demanded, motioning to her friends. “Isn’t it our job to do this stuff? That’s why you took us into your team, right?”
“I said no,” Akio firmly responded. He turned and faced the girls, and they could see he was being serious.
“Why not?” Nexus questioned with curiosity, her concern growing. The younger Mews found themselves too afraid of their friend’s sudden gravity to respond, but Chrysalis added to her teammate’s question and spoke up without hesitation.
“Yeah, I mean…We’ve been doing this stuff for a while and this is kind of something we’d consider worth investigating, I think. It could be seriously dangerous!”
“Which is precisely why I don’t want you girls going there,” Akio replied. Though he appeared calm, the girls sensed a great tension in his voice. “We don’t know what this is—not only is there an unusual signature of what we can only assume is a Chimera Anima, but there are also hordes of their kind pouring into that one area. While you may have swayed Ehne to let you go once, I doubt she will be so primarily eager to do it again!”
“So what do you want us to do, then?!” Niji shot back. “Just wait here and do nothing? The only way we’re going to learn just what this thing is is to go down there and find out ourselves! Didn’t you say to me before our last mission that we were strong? That we could overcome anything? We’ve struggled and survived through so much of Ehne’s challenges before, so why would this be any different?”
“You’ll just have to wait,” Akio responded bitterly. “I know you girls are strong, and I know what I said, but take a look at the radar! There’s this unidentifiable, rather size able Chimera Anima there among what may very well be hundreds of others just waiting for you to arrive so that they can surround and kill you! It was bad enough for you to have dealt with that horde on your last mission, but this is even worse! I’m only doing this in regards to your safety, Mews—I don’t want you going down there until we can—“
“Until we can what? Send innocents down there to their deaths just to find out what this is?!” The Mew leader shouted, balling her fists. “We’ve taken risks before, Akio; we know what we can and can’t handle!”
“I said NO, Mew Spectral Galaxy!” Akio snapped. “I can’t afford to almost lose you again because of something like Ehne’s wiles! That signature is monstrous: who knows how much damage that thing can do to you? This is probably that girl’s doing—she’s just trying to lure you out there with the intent of eliminating your entire team in some ultimatum! Look, maybe I’ll send you down soon, but I don’t want you going down there unprepared, don’t you understand?”
“Akio, please, just listen to me! If we wait too long, what do you think Ehne will do?” Niji pleaded. “She’s not one to just give up! I know this is going to be considerably dangerous, but that’s a risk we as mews have been taking every day now! It’s risky to go down there without a plan, but If we give her too much time and don’t bother showing up back on Earth at all, she may very well decide to come here, and then it won’t just be our problem! We’ll have endangered the entire colony and very well possibly the entire human race!”
“That’s not going to happen!” the geneticist fumed, shaking his head. “Look, my word is final—you are not to go anywhere outside this colony until we figure out a tactical strategy for this. Am I clear?”
Niji looked away, refusing to speak out of frustration. The other Mews exchanged worried glances, and Chrysalis prepared to speak up, but Akio simply treaded out of the room before anyone could protest. After a moment of silence, Niji walked to the radar beside the astronaut and examined the screen for a lengthy amount of time before quickly turning away and beginning to storm off.
“Mew Spectral Galaxy, where are you going?” Nexus called, chasing after her. The other Mews followed.
“I’m going to Earth,” their leader muttered in reply. “I don’t care what Akio says—we need to finish this before Ehne decides to act. He was right about one thing: she probably won’t let us get away so easily this time…”
“…But that’s a risk I’ll have to take.”
“You’re not seriously going alone, are you?” Hikari pleaded with a feverishly worried tone in her voice. “You won’t make it that way!”
“Then I’ll at least be able to give word as to what’s down there that way you can come up with a battle plan in time,” Niji responded. She stopped walking for a moment and turned to her team. “You don’t have to come with me if you’re afraid, you know.”
Her team didn’t respond, and Niji heaved a heavy sigh.
“That’s alright,” she told her friends. “I know this might be a bit sudden, but it has to be done, even if I’ll be alone.”
“I’m glad to have been your leader.”
As the galactic Mew turned to depart, Chrysalis called out to her.
“W-wait!” she cried, catching the galactic entity’s attention. The lunar Mew looked to the three by her side, and they nodded with confidence. Chrysalis turned to Niji and repeated their gesture to her.
“We’ll go with you. I mean, there’s really no reason for you to have to do this alone, you know? We’ll stay right by you—whether you want us to or not!”
Niji raised her brows with surprise. “But…are you sure? This is a big deal. I mean…There’s a lot of Chimera Anima out there—more than I think we’ve ever really seen in one place! If you go with me now, you’d be taking a huge risk. We might not come back.”
“We will not leave you alone,” Nexus assured her comrade. “Especially not for something as risky as this. You would be taking an even greater risk if you went by yourself, after all.”
“Yeah!” Hotaru cheered. “We’ll fight until our last breath if we have to, and we’ll be right behind you every step of the way!”
“So please…don’t go by yourself. We’re your teammates and your friends, Mew Spectral Galaxy,” Hikari gave a slight smile. “We wouldn’t leave you behind for anything in t he world, just like we know you’d never do to us.”
Niji laughed with endearment, her face brimming with joy and gratification. The other Mews smiled at her, filled with a sort of gladness for being able to aid their friend as she’d done for them in many instances before during their time together as Mews. While they knew this mission could prove fatal if they were not vigilant, the girls intended to stick together and fight as long as they could for the sake of protecting humanity, as was their original purpose. With the matter settled, Niji looked behind her in the direction Akio had walked off, almost as if contemplating something. However, she quickly shook her head and turned focus back to the other mews, returning to her usual, gathered, leaderly self with confidence. She gave a nod at the mews and spoke.
“We should get going.”
With that, the team took off with their leader toward the docking bay.
Created by AnnikaDoll