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As the bevy of mews made their way into the docking bay, they found several astronauts walking about: some repairing ships and others busy with their noses in paperwork, checking up on things as they went along. It was then that they understood their dilemma.

“Well,” Chrysalis spoke up, crossing her arms. “Now what? How are we supposed to get out of here on our own without alerting anyone?”

The sunny-eyed mew shrugged without a straight answer to give her teammate.

“I figured we were just going to steal a ship,” she said, turning to her leader for assurance. “Isn’t that basically it?”

“Do we even know the location of this creature?” Nexus inquired. “In addition, someone is required from the inside to shut us in the launch bay so we may depart.”

“Yeah…Akio’s usually the one to do that, and I seriously doubt the Astronauts are going to let us go without his approval,” Chrysalis added, blowing some hair out of her eyes. “Speaking of which, there’s quite a few of them around here. There's no way we can do this discreetly .”

“I guess we coulda thought this through a little better…” Hotaru sighed, scratching her head. “This is a mess!”

“I made it a point to memorize the coordinates when I went up to the radar,” Niji answered, reassuring her teammates. “I know where to go, don’t worry. I can fly us there myself.”

“But what about the other thing Mew Nebula said?” Hikari mentioned. “She’s right, actually—we can’t get out of this ship without someone to let us, and if we alert the astronauts to this without Akio being here with us, someone’ll know something’s up and we might get caught and this mission would be over before it even begins!”

The Mews’ leader put a hand to her chin and thought for a moment, taking this fact into consideration.

“Well look,” she said, “we could always tell all these guys something to get ‘em away for a bit—maybe a little white lie just to clear the place up and buy us time. That way they’ll be gone long enough for us to at least make it out of here.”

“And what are we gonna do then? They’ll find out that we lied and Akio will know for sure that we took off without his say-so!” Hotaru mentioned, folding her arms. “Then we’d really be in trouble!”

“It’s not like anyone’s gonna come rushing to where we are with all those Chimera Anima around to pose such a huge threat,” Niji pointed out. “They’ll just have to worry, wait, and see whether we return.”

She knelt over to Hotaru and smiled.

“You’re fast, aren’t you?”

“Of course! I’m fast as lightning!” Hotaru beamed. She then frowned in confusion after thinking on her leader’s sudden question. “Why?”

“There’s a slight delay in the time that switch is pulled and the doors to the launch bay seal completely shut,” Niji explained, rising. “Do you think you could throw the switch and make your way into the launch bay before they close? You’d have to be really fast getting into the ship too, because the gates will open for it to leave at that point, and I don’t think you’ll wanna be around when  that happens.”

“Wait, wait, wait!” Chrysalis waved her arms in a crisscross motion and shook her head. “Are you seriously suggesting putting her out there and running the chance of her getting sucked out into space or something? Like, I know we’re all genetically complex and everything but we’re still pretty human!”

“That is horrendously risky!” Nexus added in agreement, putting a hand to her mouth in shock. “If she does not make it in time…”

“No, I can do it!” Hotaru eagerly promised, bouncing with excitement at a chance to put her skills to the test. “I know I can!”

“Woah woah, what about our radios?” Hikari began to worry.  “We can’t just do this on our own…can we? What if Akio needs to reach us or we need him?”

“We don’t need our radios anymore,” Niji shook her head. She exhaled, holding her wrist tightly as she prepared to explain her reasoning to the team, now staring at her with disbelief.

“I don’t want Akio to call us mid-battle and start reprimanding us for this. We have to carry out this mission regardless of what concerns anyone has about our safety. Didn’t we become Mews because we wanted things to change? Because we wanted to protect our people?  It’s because of them that we are who we are now, and we knew the risks that came with the job. This danger has been present since the beginning, and I see no reason why it’s so different now. We’ve put our lives on the line so many times before, and whatever the threat, it is up to us to destroy it. Sometimes accomplishing our mission means disobeying people we care about, but it’s all for their sake. ”

Hikari hung her head, and Niji put a hand on the sunny mew’s shoulder with care.

“I know it’s scary,” she said, “but this is what we do. It’s okay to worry and have second thoughts, Mew Radiant Sun. If you want to stay, I won’t be mad.”

“N…no!” Hikari stammered, clenching her fist. “I won’t leave this team behind just because of some stupid fear! I’m better than that!”

“So what are we waiting for?” Chrysalis called, grinning. “Come on, mews, we have a ship to catch!”

“Then we should go,” Nexus agreed. She took hold of Hikari’s hand and smiled at the young mew warmly, comforting her as the others had before. Niji nodded, and she looked on at the busy astronauts before her.

“Alright, what’s our plan to clear these guys out?” Hotaru questioned, putting her hands on her hips. “Want me to scare ‘em off or what?”

“That won’t be necessary,” Chrysalis shook her head and stepped forward. “These people are hard workers, but they’re quick to listen to authority.”

“As if you’re an authority figure on this ship,” Niji teased, causing her comrade to pout at her.

“Not me, stupid!” the lunar mew huffed. “Just stay here for a minute and I’ll talk to the head honcho, ‘kay?”

Chrysalis wandered off in search of the head astronaut, whom she discovered to be a well-built woman with a frighteningly domineering attitude. She made her way toward the woman, who looked busy with keeping tabs on the condition of her returned ships, and put on her sweetest smile so as to seem more convincing.

“Hi, uh—“

“Forget it,” the woman interjected without looking up from her work. She continued to walk past each parked ship and monitor its condition, with Chrysalis left to keep up with her. “I know what you mews are going to ask me, and the answer is no. Nobody’s allowed to leave right now, not even my men—Captain’s orders. We’ve already had all of our ships returned, though I don’t exactly know why.”

Chrysalis scowled at this news, but also found herself impressed that Akio had sent word so quickly about the situation. She also realized that perhaps he wasn’t being as selfish as the Mews had thought, considering he kept the safety of the astronauts in mind as well as that of his own team. Still, she couldn’t help but feel upset, though she kept her cheery attitude up for the woman.

“Yeah, I already know,” she laughed. “I was actually sent here by the, uh, captain. He wanted to call all the astronauts up for a meeting about what’s going on right now.”

Did that sound believable? Oh man, she thought to herself, mentally rolling her eyes. However, the woman halted her walking and put a pen to her lips in contemplation.

“Well I would like to know why we’ve been called back to base,” she mused before promptly turning to the Mew. “But why does he need all of us at once? And couldn’t he just transmit this information to me like he usually does? I’m kind of busy.”

“Ah, it’s like this…” Chrysalis mumbled as she tried to think of a convincing response. “…The situation is kind of big right now and he needs everyone to hear about it in person.”

The woman thought to herself some more before finally agreeing.

”Alright, I’ll rally everyone up here in a little bit. Tell the captain we’ll be up soon.”

The lunar Mew sighed in relief before heading back to her teammates, who raised their brows at her.

“They seriously bought that?” Hikari inquired with surprise. Her comrade heaved a sigh.

“I don’t know what I would have done if they didn’t.”

Before they knew it, the bay had cleared out and the Mews were left alone for an unknown but limited amount of time, making them quick to move and make their escape as soon as possible. Niji commanded everyone aside from Hotaru, whom she pulled to the side, to get into the large craft and start making preparations to depart. Grabbing onto the metal cylinder of the hydraulics that aided in lowering the ship’s entrance ramp, Chrysalis looked back as she stopped herself from running inside and called out to her comrade,

“Hey,  uh…be careful, okay?”

     Although childishly eager to prove her worth to the team, Hotaru sensed the stress pushing onto her friends as they worried about whether she could pull such a dangerous task off. Everyone knew that if she wasted even a second, they’d lose her for good. The electric Mew grinned in some form of assurance at her comrade and gave a quick thumbs up.

“You can count on me!” She exclaimed with upmost pride. “Just make sure you don’t forget to let me back in!”

      Chrysalis attempted to hide her distress at the situation with a hearty laugh.

“Well don’t take too long, then!”

Niji flashed her a smile, as she understood the façade displayed for the child who seemed so unaware of the gravity of such a task, and Chrysalis nodded to her. She turned back and departed into the ship with the others as her leader bent over to Hotaru, hand on head, and smiled.

“We’ll be waiting for you, alright?” She ruffled the girl’s hair a little. “As long as you know what to do, everything will be fine.”

“Like I said, I can do this easy!” Hotaru beamed, crossing her arms with the feeling that it made her look more grown up. Niji smiled and stood up again, glancing over to the ship’s entrance, where Nexus now stood, looking on at her as if to ask whether she was coming.

“Good luck, okay?” The galactic Mew nodded at her youngest teammate and joined the rest inside of the open craft. When she turned again, Hotaru had already run to the switch with her hand on it at the ready. Nexus, still there with Niji, looked at her with distraught eyes, but her companion reassured the girl, putting a hand on her shoulder.

“She’ll be fine,” she promised. “All we have to do is wait for her here to pull her in before we have to close the ship. I know she’ll make it. The switch isn’t even that far from the doors.”

“But they close quickly,” Nexus quietly responded, a great graveness to her voice. “If she fails, I will not leave her behind.”

This remark took her leader aback, though such loyalty didn’t surprise her, and so she simply nodded. At that moment, seeing Hotaru in position, Chrysalis started the large craft and pulled it forward into the launch bay. The door still open, Nexus and Niji watched intently as Hotaru appeared to shrink the further from her they went. Though the switch didn’t seem so far from the doors from any other point of view, from here it appeared to them as though it were halfway across the room. Nexus gripped the hydraulic cylinder of the ship door tightly, and as soon as the ship thumped onto the floor of the launch bay, she and Niji felt their stomachs drop as though they’d reached the top of a hill on a roller coaster. Hotaru paused for a moment, and neither of the girls in the ship’s opening could see her, so they sat for a moment in silence. However, before long, they heard the clunk of the switch as the electric Mew set it off, and their pulses quickened as they heard their comrade’s rapid footsteps, only able to watch the thick, glass doors closing in front of them. When they were halfway closed, Niji began to panic. But before she or Nexus could step out of the ship, Hotaru appeared from the corner of their eyes, around the solid wall, and jumped through the slimming crack of space between the glass doors as they shut completely. She rolled over into the edge of the ship’s open door, and her teammates quickly pulled her in. Nexus jumped as she realized she’d forgotten to close the ship’s door and heard the mechanical whir of the launch bay’s main entrance door beginning to set off. Once Hotaru was safe with Niji, she turned to slam on the mechanism to close the doors, only to find Hikari already there. She nodded at the alien girl who sighed with relief as the hydraulics functioned and pulled up the doors to seal the Mews in before the grand entrance of the launch bay could open.

Niji set Hotaru, who breathed heavily at her running so hard, on the seating of the ship by a window and patted her on the back, grinning.

“You did it!” She congratulated, giving her a hug. “I’m so glad!”

Now gathering her wits, the child smirked and responded with pleasure at having greatly aided her comrades.

“I told you!”

----

Upon the success of the first part of their mission, the Mews breathed a little easier in the time they had between now and their landing on Earth for whatever grand thing awaited them. Nobody quite knew what to say about the situation, unsure of what may happen. Without contact with Akio or the promise of success considering the unknown details of Ehne’s grand plan, the group felt somewhat fearful of the possible outcome. They’d managed to overcome all of her challenges, but with the large signature that the radar picked up, none of the girls felt completely reassured. Niji sensed this tension amongst her friends, and she tried to calm them.

“No matter what happens down there,” she shook their thoughts, “We’re a team. We’ve come a great distance from when we first began as Mews. Everything that we’ve had to overcome and everything that we’ve been put through served only to make us stronger, not just individually, but together. Regardless of what’s waiting for us down there, we have to stay as strong as we’ve always been and stick together. Ehne hasn’t stopped us yet, and I refuse to let her now.”

   Somewhat assuaged by this, Hikari smiled at the galactic Mew. The girl rubbed her arm shyly and added,

“I’m really glad that I met all of you and had the opportunity to grow from everything. I never really expected anything to change, but….”

She trailed off, embarrassed. Nexus patted her on the back and smiled warmly to comfort her.

“It is okay,” she said. “We are all grateful to have had this opportunity.”

From the front of the ship, Chrysalis called to the others, jesting.

“You guys make it sound like we’re heading to our doom or something,” she poked. “Lighten up, we’ll get through it! We just gotta be tough.”

“Like you?” Hotaru inquired. Her lunar comrade laughed, but didn’t give a response.

      After a while longer, the girls found themselves face to face with their home planet, and they pressed against the windows as they watched it slowly grow larger the closer the ship got to it. None of them really wanted to leave the great vessel, but they knew their task needed to be completed before they could return to anyone. To fail now would leave them either in shame, or dead.

    As the large metal carrier guided its way toward the intended coordinates, the Mews found themselves in the midst of a canyon area, though none of them quite knew where in the world it was. Each of them had seen canyons in the places they were from, but these appeared to be saturated with reds and oranges, their color enhanced even further by the sun’s reflecting off of them. The grass around the area, now dried and withering, crunched beneath their feet as they stepped In it. Despite the desolation of the greenery around them, the girls marveled in the sight of the rocky area that managed to stay intact where other life failed.

    Upon adjusting to the brightness and grandness of their surroundings, the Mews noticed a large canyon wall almost facing away from them just up ahead, over a hill. It looked to house a sizeable pocket of boulders, alcoves, and rocky pathways, which they could catch glimpses of in areas of the canyon  that had cracked and exposed what it protected.Above that, they could see piles of stone and canyon rock leading up to some plateau, but could not quite see what was there because the wall was intact around the top and hid that particular area from their view. All they could see from above the wall was a cloud of red dust as the wind blew and stirred up sediment from the area.

“Woah, it’s like a jungle gym made of rocks!” Hotaru excitedly remarked as she saw the alcoves from the cracks of the wall, practically bouncing with eagerness. Hikari found herself astonished with such a grand terrain, and she questioned to Niji,

“Is that where we’re headed?”

“Pretty much,” her leader nodded, her stomach lightened with nervousness. Chrysalis smiled as she noticed her friend’s uneasiness, glad to know that she wasn’t the only one feeling it.

“Are we ready for this?” Nexus  spoke up, looking straight ahead at the battleground before her. “We may not get chance for regrets. I do not want anyone to be held back because they were not ready."

The girls all looked down at this remark in grave thought, but Hotaru broke their silence and peppily encouraged them.

“Come on, Mews, we've got this!” She assured her team. “We scared Ehne out of her wits by coming back from the dead, so what makes you think we can let up now?”

“We didn’t actually die, moron,” Chrysalis criticized, interjecting the young girl’s heartened speech. Hotaru pouted.

“You know what I mean,” she grumbled as Hikari patted her friend’s head in some attempt at comfort for her being shot down so easily.

“Well...,” Niji sighed, rubbing her neck. “If we’re ready, we should get going.”

“And be on your feet,” Chrysalis added. “We don’t know if Ehne’s waiting for us already.”

“Knowing her, she’s at least two steps ahead of us,” Hikari groaned. “But okay, let’s get this overwith.”

                With this, Niji led the Mews over the hill and toward the canyon wall where she’d read the signature. As they reached the peak of the hill, they found a series of alcoves dirtied with sediment that led underground in the direction of the large canyon wall far in front of them. Upon some inspection, Nexus concluded that these all connected into the area beyond the canyon wall, almost like some underground passageway. Eager to explore this underground tunnel of twisting  red rocks, Hotaru leapt ahead and began to explore, chaperoned by the team’s leader. Hikari grew nervous as the sunlight disappeared upon her entering the area, but Nexus and Chrysalis kept close to her for comfort.

                After a lengthy walk, the Mews reached the end of the tunnel, and when they emerged, they found themselves past the wall and in a series of peaks, valleys and more alcoves that stood below a large plateau, angled as though a chunk were cut off at the bottom, and extended at the top to where it touched other, more stable plateaus. They could see that in order to get up, they had to climb over piles of towering rocks.

“These look like trenches or something,” Hikari noted, passing her hand over the concavity of the alcove behind her. Hotaru, excited by such an excellent place to match her energy and exploration rush, grinned and ran around the area for a moment.

“It’s like a playground!” She remarked with glee. Chrysalis rolled her eyes at how she could enjoy herself so much when the reality of their mission was hard to ignore, but Nexus found it comforting that she was able to keep herself together in a stressful situation. Niji stood at the bottom of the plateau before her and gazed up at its wide, flat top protruding over the rocky jungle below it, casting a great shadow. She pointed up toward a series of stacked rubble and boulders.

“We should get up there,” she said. “Ehne will probably be waiting for us.”

“She should have been waiting for us down here!” Hotaru called, spinning around as she took in the jagged scenery.

“Maybe she didn’t really know about this area,” Hikari shrugged. “Which might be a good thing.” However, her electric companion persisted, still spinning around,

“But how was she supposed to expect us to get up there?”

“Maybe from the other side?” Chrysalis guessed.

Before she could get a response, the other Mews all halted as Niji started to grip the edges of some boulders to climb up the angled, rocky pathway leading to the surface of the plateau before them.

“Is that safe?” Nexus questioned. However, Chrysalis and Hotaru had already begun to join their leader, and the alien Mew exhaled disapprovingly.

“We have to get up somehow,” Niji responded, focusing on where she placed her feet to climb.

Unable to disagree, everyone followed. Hikari, uneager to climb even on a ramp-like surface, went before Nexus who vowed to aid her should she have slipped. Though a fairly lengthy endeavor, the Mews managed to reach their destination without too much trouble, and as they adjusted to the sudden burst of sunlight that hit them as they emerged from the shaded alcoves below the plateau, they could see a huge flat plane of the plateau’s surface before them, surrounded in the distance by even larger canyons similar to the one they’d spotted concealing this area. And then, somewhere beside them, they spotted a horde of Chimera anima of various types, standing stationary, but now aware of the Mews’ presence. Before them stood a tall rock, and on it sat Ehne, facing away from the girls. She appeared to be looking on at the rocky valley before her, though still knew the Mews were there as her creatures did.

As they approached her, the Mews saw that she’d not yet assumed her human form and that she sat hunched with her blue hands in her lap. They waited for their leader to speak up, but Niji remained as silent as the gelatinous lifeform before her. When Ehne realized they were hesitant, she finally spoke in a weakened voice that somewhat surprised the group.

“I knew you’d be back,” she called. “I’ve been waiting here for quite some time to throw this party.”

“Let me ask you something, Ehne,” Niji responded, standing her ground. “Knowing that the creatures you have created are now finite, why bring them out here?”

“Sometimes sacrifices must be made for the greater good,” the bittered Ajran answered ,almost wincing at her admittance. “But…If I can kill you here, I won’t have to worry about ‘breaking a few eggs’, so to speak.”

“And who says you’re gonna?” Chrysalis shot back, putting her hands on her hips. “We’ve stopped you before, Ehne, and we’ll do it again!”

Ehne turned her head, reverting to her human form as she did so, and narrowed her eyes.

“Don’t get so cocky, worm,” she spat. “I have more in store for you than you care to realize.”

“What, did you mean to make this a surprise party?” Hotaru teased, raising a brow. “It’s not much of a surprise when we know what you’re up to! You made something big and we saw it on our radar!”

“Do you even know what it is?”  Ehne folded her arms and awaited an answer, but none of the Mews were able to provide her with what she sought. This pleased her, and the Ajran girl smirked.

“You Mews have been a thorn in my side for far too long,” she said, standing. “I thought I should return the favor.

She turned to face the Mews, and the horde of Chimera anima behind her lowered their heads and growled at them.

“You thought after our last encounter that I stood no more chance against you,” she went on. “And for a while, so did I. But it appears fate has provided me with one final opportunity to destroy you and preserve my kind for as long as I possibly can.  I have no intention of letting you leave this place—not alive. For what you’ve done to me and my own, you shall pay.”

The Mews summoned their weapons, preparing for the Chimera Anima to attack, but they instead were startled when the earth below them began to rumble and shake, its intensity growing with each second until finally it halted. The girls looked to each other and around them for the imminent threat, but saw nothing. However, before they could react further, a humongous figure leapt from behind the tall canyons far beyond them and crashed down into the rocky earth of the large plateau on which everyone stood. The sudden landing of the creature resulted in a shockwave that sent the Mews and even some of the other Chimera Anima toppling over.

When they leapt back up, the girls looked on at the monstrous thing with marvel at its impressive figure, watching as it ran toward them to meet its mistress. Its hardened footsteps shook the ground, less intensely than it had when it landed heavily, but still enough to cause an earthly ruckus. When the beast stood still behind its smirking mistress, the Mew team grew nervous. The animal that the parasite overtook resembled a bear, though it had grown so misshapen that one might not know what the animal was. It looked mangy and mangled, its rows of teeth bare with raw fury and its claws digging into the rock below in anticipation. It stood thrice as large as any other Chimera Anima, towering high over Ehne to the point that the Mews had to tilt their heads all the way up just to catch a glimpse at its face.  With Its fur in some disheveled state and eyes wild with rage, the Chimera Anima snarled at the girls below it.

Seeing the lack of response from her enemies, Ehne chuckled and crossed her arms.

“Isn’t it a beauty?” She remarked with pride. “I was afraid it wouldn’t work out, but it looks like my experiment was a success.”

“You call that a success?” Chrysalis shot back. “I can’t even tell what that is!”

“It doesn’t really matter what it is, does it?” Ehne responded calmly. “As long as it destroys you.”

“H…How did you manage to do this?” Nexus cried out with disdain. “We destroyed your ship!”

Ehne sneered.

“So you thought.” The Ajran entity uncrossed her arms and slid her hands over her hips. “Despite the damage you caused, I managed to salvage some of my work that hadn’t quite been decimated.” She grinned. “I guess you could say ‘You missed a spot’.”

None of the mews responded, eyes wide with fear—or was it anger? Either way, Ehne found it pleasurable to have such a remarkable trump card.

“And that may end up costing you more than you ever could have considered. I certainly hope you’re ready, Mews, because I won’t let you leave until you’re good and dead. This time, I’ll make sure of it.”

Ehne raised her arm and snapped her fingers, commanding the smaller Chimera Anima to attack the girls first in an attempt to weaken them. As the creatures rushed at their enemies, the Mews jumped aside to avoid their attacks and countered them with their weapons. Chrysalis flew up into the air in an attempt to shoot at the larger Chimera Anima, but it swiped at her. Within inches, she swiftly dodged it, though the air the swipe created interrupted her flight pattern and she tumbled down back onto the plateau, letting out a loud grunt.  Quickly regaining herself, She shot at a coyote creature that had attempted to take advantage of her being down, denying its advance.

“Mew Lunar Dream, we can’t focus on that thing right now!” Niji called, striking another Coyote that had tried to sneak up behind her comrade. “We don’t have a plan just yet, so just keep to the smaller ones!”

“If we take that one out sooner we’ll be able to easily defeat these smaller ones!” her partner shot back, jumping to the side as a ram Chimera Anima tried to charge her. “Ehne’s counting on that thing and we can’t let her use it!”

                Running from the jaws of a snapping crocodile Chimera Anima, Hotaru panted and shouted back at the girls,

“Well it’s not like we have a whole lot of choice right now! In case you haven’t noticed, there’s lots of them and they’re running us like crazy!”

“She’s trying to tire us out!” Hikari cried, jumping up to dodge a swipe from the claws of some feline-type Chimera Anima and attacking it with her bell. “I don’t know what we need to do but we’re not going to be able to fight all of them. Maybe we should combine our powers again?”

Nexus was thrown to the ground by a snake Chimera-Anima, losing grip of her weapon.But before the creature could strike, she raised up her arms and expelled her own natural energy from her hands, creating a blast of air to push her attacker away. She quickly stood and grabbed her weapon, turning to destroy another chimera anima that had lunged toward her.

“We can only combine our powers so many times!” She reminded her teammates, grunting as she blocked incoming chimera anima. “If we do it too soon, we may drain ourselves of power far before the most important enemy has been eliminated!”

Casting her energetic  attack with her whip and eliminating three nearby creatures, Niji added,

“We’re strong enough now that we can afford to do it at least once!” She swiped at a monster behind her that had tried to sneak behind Hikari and pulled it away from her. “But if we do, we’ll have to play it smart. We have to decide which to attack—the smaller Chimera Anima, or that monster!”

“Do we really have the time for a group voting right now?” Chrysalis ducked backward just in time to avoid the tail of a scorpion, though she struggled to get up after arching her back so quickly. Hikari scorched the beast as it attempted to strike again, and she helped her teammate up.

“We gotta do what we gotta do, Mew Lunar Dream!” She reminded her. She went on to jump onto the back of a lion and aimed her weapon toward its head. “I say we get rid of the bigger one!”

Still trying to dodge a barrage of attacks from multiple Chimera Anima, Hotaru wailed,

“I’d really like to get rid of these here! This is harder than it looks, even for me!!!”

“Well, I said my piece already by attacking that thing first!” Chrysalis called, flying in to the air and launching an arrow into the ground, creating a fissure of ice that entrapped several of the legs of nearby enemies, whom Niji slashed at and defeated with her whip.

Ehne and her mighty beast stood there calmly, waiting and watching as the Mews attempted to survive the onslaught her creations brought upon them. Though her team was occupied with survival, Niji could see the alien’s smugness, and she began to want only to bring it to an end. She called out to Nexus, who had not yet decided,

“Mew Nebula, we’re half and half right now! It’s on you—should we go for the big one or stay small?!”

Blasting away a group of Chimera Anima, Nexus turned to face her fighting comrades and nodded.

“I am wary of using too much energy now,” she said, “But I can gather just a little more from what is around me. I will help attack the large Chimera Anima.”

Having collected her teammate’s opinions, Niji called for everyone to gather and aim their weapons up and toward Ehne’s creature. The alien girl smirked as they did so and stood with crossed arms and her head tilted up with confidence. The Mews stood each beside each other and began calling out their attacks.

“Ribbon Lightning STOMP!”

“Ribbon Spectral Divide!”

“Ribbon Flame Blast!”

“Ribbon Lunar—“

Before they could gather their power together, the Mews’ attack was interrupted by the claw of Ehne’s monstrous creation. It had swooped down and attempted to smash them, but Niji and Nexus managed to grab Hotaru and Hikari to jump to the side while Chrysalis flew into the air. Though they managed to avoid the attack, the aftershock knocked them all to their knees and, her flight pattern interrupted, the Lunar Mew to the ground. Ehne giggled as they tried to get up, and her mighty child swiped once more. Quickly, Nexus thrust a gust of wind at her friends and blew them far from the monster’s line of fire, intending to take the blow. However, in some burst of adrenaline, Niji threw her whip toward her teammate, grabbing her by the leg. Before the mangy Chimera Anima could slaughter its prey, Nexus found herself pulled away and saved.

“Are you okay?!” Niji cried, grabbing her friend by the shoulders. Nexus, panting heavily and heart pounding, simply nodded as her trembling eyes looked back at the claws that had almost killed her.

“That’s not going to work,” Chrysalis growled, rising and aiming her bow at another chimera anima that had begun to head toward the group. She shot it before it could pounce on her. “That thing won’t let us attack it!”

“It was standing still before!” Hikari cried, getting back into the fray as the horde of creatures continued their barrage. “This isn’t fair!”

“Ehne never plays fair!” Hotaru reminded her, striking a fox creature with lightning. “We’re gonna have to find another way or just keep fighting these things forever!”

Hearing this, The Ajran entity stood confidently, still grinning, and responded to her enemies, taunting them.

“Are you having some trouble?” She giggled. “What’s wrong? I thought you Mews wanted to show me what’s what!”

A plant-like creature struck Chrysalis as she attempted to fly upward to avoid a pack of hyena chimera anima that had surrounded her. She hit the ground several feet away, before the hind legs of a lion, and swiftly stood . She shot immediately  at the other enemies chasing behind her from where she’d tried to run. When she heard Ehne’s taunts, she yelled back at the alien girl,

“Shut your mouth! We’re going to win this fight and you know it!”

“I beg to differ,” Ehne slyly responded, raising her arm in the air in preparations to command her large child.

 Niji looked over her shoulder at the rest of her fighting team, taking note that they were beginning to run out of breath and struggle to regain stance after getting knocked back. At this rate, we’re going to lose for sure, she thought, wincing at the idea of failure. She didn’t want to admit it aloud, but with so many consistent attacks and a beast that could easily win the battle in one swipe if the Mews weren’t careful, Ehne had a greater advantage, and there was little chance for the girls to win at this point without having any time to recover. But to let down her people and give up just because she knew the chances were slim would be a betrayal to their efforts.

It was then that she caught sight of Ehne’s arm in the air, and she widened her eyes as it fell forward in silent command. The mangy beast behind her began running in the direction of the other Mews, preparing to attack them. So large as it was, the creature knocked over several of its relatives with the pounding of its heavy claws on the canyon rock of the plateau beneath its feet. Niji shouted at the Mews who then turned from their battles to gaze upon the charging monster. Having been distracted, their opponents struck their prey and knocked them in the path of the bear-like chimera anima’s claws. With a heavy gasp of air, Chrysalis jumped up and used her flight to gather the others who had fallen so that they wouldn’t be trampled or hit. She first dove for Hotaru, who was still trying to get off of her knees, and grabbed her by the fabric of her clothes from the back of the neck. Knowing that she could only fly for so long, the lunar Mew made it her mission to be quick. However, after Hotaru was collected, the gigantic menace storming toward them had already approached close enough that she would not have had time to save her friends by going around the beast to collect each individual. Instead, still clutching her lightning-esque partner, she zigzagged between the legs of Ehne’s monstrous pet and took hold of Hikari, who had just looked up in time to see the claws of a frightening creature coming down on her and began to scream. Unfortunately, she’d grabbed Hikari’s tail, and the sunny-eyed Mew  began to wail in pain in addition to her fear. Last was Nexus, though she knew she wouldn’t be able to grab her with her hands full. So instead, Chrysalis flew out from the side of the creature, sped up to where Nexus was barely rising to her feet, and rammed her hard to the side to knock her away from the path of danger. Finally, her wings gave out, and the team all collapsed in a pile. Hikari stood up and began rubbing the area where her tail connected with her body, groaning in pain.

“Ow, ow, ow….”

“Hey, sor—ry!” Her moon-like companion shot at her, attempting to rise. “I was just trying to save your life. Least you could do is say thanks.”

After gathering her wits again, Hotaru shot up and cried, holding her head in disbelief,

“We almost DIED!!!”

Nexus put a hand on the girl’s shoulder and sighed.

“Mew Onyx Storm,” she said calmly, “We almost always do.”

“Oh…yeah…”

Niji ran over to her teammates and looked at them with frightened eyes without saying a word, but the girls nodded at their leader in reassurance of their safety.  The team then screamed in unison as they caught sight of their enormous enemy, who had stopped charging and turned to face its prey, leaping into the air with claws exposed with the intent of crushing them. Luckily, its large size made it slower, and the Mews were able to hurriedly move out of the way and avoid being crushed. When the great creature landed, its impact on the ground caused all life near it to topple over from its mighty force, and shards and large chunks of canyon rock began flying in all directions. One of these large rocks manage to projectile toward Ehne, who, despite catching sight of it and attempting to run, was struck in the leg and fell over, crying out in pain. Much to Niji’s surprise, several Chimera Anima, including the giant before them, roared and bellowed. Though they did not appear to physically be In pain, they mimicked that of their mistress’ distress. It was then that the galactic Mew made the connection. In many times before, where they’d managed to physically harm Ehne, her creatures always rushed to protect her or displayed some form of reaction similar to hers even when they had no real need to.  Ehne’s voice resonated in her head from the first time they’d ever met,

You call them parasites, if I’m not mistaken. But they’re my children- a part of me, you see…”

“A….”

Hikari looked up at her leader as she stood motionless, mouth open and eyes trembling. She tugged at the galactic Mew’s arm with her gloved hand and stood before her so that she could see her face better.

“Mew Spectral Galaxy, is something wrong? Are you okay?”

The others had turned to face Niji as well by this point, intrigued. Niji shook her head slowly and picked her head up, speaking softly but with revelation in her voice,

“They’re…they’re connected. Ehne and her Chimera Anima…”

“We know that already!” Hotaru pointed out, crossing her arms. “She made them, if you forgot!”

“No, not like that!” Niji shook her head more quickly this time and dismissed Hotaru’s statement. “When we first met, Ehne said that her creatures were a part of her. Do you remember? And I attacked her then too—I took off her arm and it dissolved when It detached from her because she’s weak to our energy. Her Chimera Anima rushed to protect her then and it was as scared as she was. And now? She’s just been hit by that thing’s mistake, and even though none of the Chimera Anima were actually hit by the rocks, they still look like they’re in some kind of trouble--like they’re feeling what she does.”

“Well…yeah..that is kind of weird and all,” Hotaru mused, putting a hand to her chin. “But what’s it got to do with—“

Before she could finish, the girls were swiped at by the vine-like arms of a plant creature and dispersed to continue their fight with the other Chimera Anima, whom had gathered their wits as their mistress had. As they’d took the time to listen to Niji, Ehne had frustratingly absorbed the rock that had struck her and reconnected her leg with her gelatinous consistency. She heard every word Niji had said, and the thought of the Mews knowing something that could destroy her plans enraged her; She refused to let the galactic Mew explain herself. But  much to her annoyance, the girl would not stop talking, even when her children began to target her specifically so that she’d be kept busy.

“If Ehne used herself to create these creatures,” Niji called out between gasps as she attempted to avoid the barrage of attacks, “And she admitted to us that they are a part of her—“

Ehne scowled at the girl as she was knocked to the ground by a chameleon chimera anima. She couldn’t allow her to finish her sentence.

“Ribbon lightning STOMP!” Hotaru cried, attacking the monsters that had begun to surround her leader. Niji stood and nodded at her as if to thank the girl before jumping up and assaulting more enemies that began swarming in.

“Ribbon Spectral Divide!”

When the area was temporarily clear, she continued. Ehne balled her hands into fists and clenched her teeth, but no matter how many of her children attacked the Mew leader, she would not stay quiet. No matter how tired she became, she persisted.

“The Chimera Anima are a part of Ehne!” Niji cried, jumping back to keep from being stung by a scorpion. “And they act in pain whenever she’s hurt, so maybe…Maybe if we want to defeat all of them, we have to go for the source!”

“We already did, and look where it’s gotten us!” Chrysalis shot back as she destroyed a group of enemies with her ice.  Nexus began to understand Niji’s statements, and she added,

“She is not talking about the laboratory that we had destroyed. If Ehne created these creatures, she is the source.”

Ehne screamed in frustration as her children failed to silence anyone who threatened to give the answer. The galactic Mew who saw this turned and looked away, explaining,

“If we want to destroy these monsters, we have to destroy Ehne.”

Niji closed her eyes for a moment, lowering her head, and felt her heart quiver. She’d been so conflicted on whether to actually kill the human race’s greatest enemy when the agony she’d endured in losing everything caused the Mew to pity her.  Even when she understood what had to be done, she didn’t want to believe it. Even when the words came straight out of her mouth, they felt foreign to her. However, no matter how much pity she had for the alien girl who’d lost everything, she knew that Ehne would never stop trying to win. Nothing could change her. Nothing could be done.

With heavy eyes, Niji picked her head up and gazed directly at her enemy, causing Ehne to become fearful in such a way she never wanted to feel again after the loss of her people and the means of keeping their kind alive. The other Mews looked to their leader as they all silently understood what she was going to say, but waited for her to anyway.

“Mews,” she called with a solemn voice, “Attack Ehne. She’s our target now.”

Sensing the rising distress of their mistress, a multitude of Ehne’s creatures gathered before her with the intent to shield her. The Mews could only catch a glimpse of the girl’s tightened, worried expression before it was buried behind rows of smaller chimera Anima and her larger creation.

“There’s no point in hiding, Ehne!” Niji called out, attempting to keep herself calm. “I didn’t want it to be like this either, but after everything you’ve done, you don’t have much of a choice!”

She lowered her head and muttered to herself.

“And neither do I.”

Ehne turned around, her back toward her children who had not yet moved, and bit her lip, darting her eyes from side to side. She couldn’t let them get to her, but she also couldn’t run anywhere. She wanted this to end—she was the one who set up this battle, and so there was no point in being so cowardly now. The Ajran girl scowled and reprimanded herself for even thinking for a second that it was okay to be afraid again. After all, she had a powerful weapon that the Mews couldn’t touch, so of course she would be safe. After assessing the situation, she turned again and called out to the Mews,

“Do whatever you like!” She balled her hands into fists. “I’m not going to be scared off by your pathetic attempt at threatening me when I have the upper hand. Do you really think that you can defeat me? You can’t even breathe anymore! You’re getting tired, and pretty soon, you won’t be able to fight me at all!”

“She’s right,” Hikari turned to her friends with concern in her eyes. “I’ve been able to keep up enough, but we struggled just trying to get up before that thing almost trampled us to death twice!”

“Don’t worry about that right now,” Niji told her, shaking her head. “Just concentrate on fighting. I know you’re all tired, but we’re here for a reason. We won’t be able to just get up and leave. I told you Mews before you agreed to come that we may not be returning to the colony at all. You knew then and still know now all of the risks of coming here. All we can do is fight.”

Nexus spoke up,

“If I can, I may be able to give you some extra energy, but I cannot promise it as there is mostly rock in this area. The few plants that are up here with us are not enough for me to rely on entirely, and I cannot take from you.”

“No, it’s okay…” Hikari shook her head. “Mew Nebula, keep what you can. You’re one of the few stronger Mews in our group—we could use you.”

“Guys,” Chrysalis called, clutching her bow and preparing to aim it. The other girls looked over to her and noticed that some of the Chimera Anima that had been stationary because of Ehne’s fear halting her rage were now preparing to attack. She was regaining her focus, and so the monsters had reverted back to their state of aggression.

“Don’t stop until you destroy them,” Ehne muttered under her breath. The Mews could not see her, but they knew she’d commanded the Chimera Anima, as they began to run toward the girls and attack.

“Bring it on!” Hotaru exclaimed with eagerness as she jumped out of the way of  a badger’s jaws. The other mews also scattered, firing their weapons and giving as much effort as they could to eliminate the oncoming creatures. One after another, these beasts paraded about, swiped, pounced, and lunged at the girls, but no matter how many times someone was knocked aback, they kept rising and fighting for their people.  They could see Ehne now, glaring at them intently with furious eyes from beneath the safety of her mammoth of a creation. It towered above her, also watching with bared teeth as it made sure none of the Mews made it anywhere near its mistress.

Though they fought with determined spirit, each of the girls could feel themselves getting progressively slower. Nexus offered to give some of her energy to the younger Mews, but they continuously refused. After dodging  the claws of several winged Chimera Anima, Hotaru stood up and decided that she wanted to move this along faster.

“Guys, let’s team up!” She shouted. “We don’t have to combine our powers all together as one team, but if we separate in smaller teams, we can still do a lot of damage without using too much energy!”

Ducking to dodge the swipe of an eagle from above,  Nexus shot back,

“That may be a good plan!”

“Alright, we’ll give it a try!” Niji chimed in, whipping a nearby cougar Chimera Anima before it could pounce at her. “Mew Nebula and I are better at amplifying attacks, so we’ll team up with one of you guys, but we still need to stay relatively close in case things go haywire! Mew Radiant Sun, you go with Nexus, and Mew Onyx Storm, you team up with me! Like when we fought the Hyenas on your first mission!”

“Okey dokey!” Hotaru agreed, running and jumping over the back of an ape to meet with her leader. Chrysalis, who shot at an elk, called back,

“And what am I supposed to do, then?”

“Fly into the air and start shooting ice around us,” Niji commanded, pointing upward. “We need some extra barriers so that these things don’t interrupt our attacks. And when we do our thing and you see those parasites come out of the Chimera Anima we destroy, shoot at them with your arrows. Can you do that?”

“Aye, I’ll get on it!”

As Chrysalis flew up on her leader’s whims, Hikari ducked and ran in fright between the enormous legs of an elephant Chimera Anima so that she could reach Nexus, who had blasted away a pack of approaching enemies to make room for the ice coming her way. Once the girls were gathered, as instructed, Chrysalis shot around her friends to create barriers behind them, but still left enough room for them to attack the nearby Chimera Anima. However, she only managed to cover Niji and Hotaru before being grabbed by a crow and thrown to the ground.  Before she could get back up, it landed on top of her and pinned her down on her back.

Despite her setback, Chrysalis kicked upward into the Crow’s chest, and when it stepped backward in pain, she grabbed her bow, which she’d dropped in the scuffle, and shot close to Nexus and Hotaru before more Chimera Anima could pile into their area. Having completed the task, she laid her back on the ground for a moment and, when the crow returned to its wits again and prepared to claw her, aimed her bow at it and shot an arrow into its heart, obliterating the menacing creature.

“Alright, let’s do this,” Niji prompted her electric companion who nodded in agreement. Together ,the duo raised their weapons into the air and each thrust their own channeled abilities through them. Hotaru’s lightning rose up, and as it was joined by Niji’s wave of spectral energy, it amplified as it had the first time Hotaru ever went out to Earth as a Mew, creating an electric storm that engulfed several nearby Chimera Anima. As instructed, Chrysalis shot at the jellyfish-like creatures that emerged from the defeated group, though she had to quickly move about in order to avoid being hit by the airborne creatures that were now trying to stop her.

After Niji and Hotaru had attacked, more of their enemies began to come by them and try to destroy the ice, though Nexus and Hikari began to do the same as their other comrades and lifted their weapons into the air. Hikari’s fire somewhat melted the top of the nearby ice surrounding her and Nexus, but she remained focused on channeling her energy and power as Nexus did the same. As their elements combined, they too created an elemental storm. Fire blasted across the area and obliterated a group of Chimera Anima, including the ones that had begun surrounding Niji and Hotaru. However, the ice had melted, and the girls were susceptible to another onslaught of attacks.

Having used their powers together, the Mews managed to clear up quite a bit of the monsters In addition to what they’d already fought each on their own, and the path to Ehne was easier to get through. The Chimera Anima that remained still tried to keep the Mews from advancing, but because their numbers were dwindling, they stood less of a chance. The Ajran entity would only have to wait for more of her children to arrive from other parts of the canyon Area and beyond in order to keep tiring the girls out. So, she decided that enough was enough, and that it was time to unleash her monstrous creation once more. The smaller Chimera Anima gathered around their mistress to enclose her while the large beast prepared to lunge at the approaching mews when they got too close.

“That thing’s gonna charge us again soon!” Hikari panted. “We have to find some way to defeat it before we can even touch Ehne!”

“We won’t be given the chance to combine our attacks so easily if it’s going to be going after us!” Chrysalis added. “The others couldn’t get through my ice so easily because they were smaller, but even I can’t pin that thing down, and its claws would tear right through the stuff like it was paper-thin glass!”

“Well the bigger they are, the harder they fall, right?” Hotaru suggested, taking rapid breaths. “Do you think we could trip it? Maybe if you wrap your whip around its legs--”

“I can probably spread my whip in front of it, but there’s no way I could wrap it around its legs! That’s not going to be enough!” Niji shook her head.

“What about my ice?”

“That won’t work—he’ll just crash right through it!”

Nexus stopped the girls from running as she pondered the idea. She spoke to them quickly, and the group had to fight against several Chimera Anima that attempted to interrupt them as they began exchanging ideas. Desiring some time to spare, Nexus concentrated on a nearby Bear creature and took hold of its mind with her energy, along with that of a wolf behind it. Having been put under the spell of alien influence, the possessed creatures attacked their own and protected the Mews as they spoke.

“Mew Lunar Dream can freeze the ground,” the Ecorian lifeform explained quickly. “Also,  I can move some of the larger, heavier rocks the creature created before when it crashed into the ground with my wind, so that Mew Spectral Galaxy may grab it with her whip. He will slip and trip over, leaving us with a chance to combine our powers and destroy the Chimera Anima that shield Ehne.”

“…And once she’s exposed we can…!!!” Hikari gasped with revelation. Nexus Nodded.

“That’s gonna require getting really close to that thing, you know!” Chrysalis moaned. “You saw what it did to the ground—Imagine what it could do to us if it catches us!!”

“We’ll have to move quickly then,” Niji noted. She gazed up at the hideous face of the grotesque, mangy monster and tightened the grip on her weapon. “He’ll be able to dodge us if he sees what we’re trying to do. We’ll have to keep him busy and blind.”

“Mew Radiant Sun and I can do it!” Hotaru chimed in, raising her hand. The sunny-eyed mew looked at her with a horrendously shocked face.

“How do you suggest we do that?!” She cried, almost pouting.

“We can get on its back, duh!” Hotaru put her hands on her hips and grinned. “And then when it tries to turn its head, everyone else can do their thing!”

“That’s ridiculous!” Chrysalis shot back, crossing her arms. “This is insane! Do you really think it’ll work?”

“We have to try something,” Niji responded, reprimanding the Lunar Mew. “We won’t be able to defeat that thing, but if we work together and play smart, we can keep it away from Ehne so we can get to her. And I know using our powerful attack now since we’re already tired  is risky, but if  we manage to pull this off, it’ll be worth it, and we’ll have won.”

The Chimera Anima that Nexus had possessed began to come back to their senses, and they stopped attacking the incoming enemies.

“Whatever we do, we need to do it now!” Nexus cried out, noticing the approaching monsters. Chrysalis groaned and finally gave in.

“Fine, let’s do this!” She exclaimed, flying into the air. The other Mews each separated and went off to their positions while Hikari and Hotaru ran toward the monstrous beast.

“So exactly how are we gonna get on that thing’s back?!” Hikari questioned between pants. The Electric Mew grinned as Ehne’s guard began to charge like before, and as it came close, she grabbed Hikari and ducked. As it passed over them, its sharp claws barely missed the girls’ feeble bodies. When its hind leg passed, still holding the Sunny Mew, Hotaru jumped up onto the beast’s limb and grabbed a patch of its mangy, matted fur. Screaming wildly out of fear and in shock, Hikari clutched whatever fur she could feel and clung to it immediately.

WHAT KIND OF PLAN WAS'' THAT?!” She anxiously shouted at her friend, trembling. Hotaru smiled and shrugged.

“I dunno, but it worked!” She called back happily. “Now start climbing, kid, we've got a back to get onto!”

“They’re on it!” Niji cried out as she observed the Mews ascending on the leg of their prey. She turned to Nexus, who stood by a large chunk of rock that had come from the impact of the mangy Chimera Anima’s previous landing, and nodded. “Get it in place! I’ll grab onto it when that thing’s head turns to look at the Mews on its back!”

 She waved at Chrysalis as well. “Mew Lunar Dream, get in the air and get ready to strike the ground!”

Each mew did as told, and once the younger Mews had gotten in place and created a commotion, the creature turned its head as predicted, and both Niji and Chrysalis used their weapons. Niji grabbed hold of the large rock across from her with her whip, and Chrysalis launched her bow into the ground, covering it with ice. The mighty beast then slipped on the ice and slid before its legs snagged on the whip. As it ungraciously toppled over, Hikari grabbed Hotaru and jumped down from its back, being caught by Nexus who quickly thought to aid them when she caught sight of the two girls. When the enormous Chimera Anima had fallen, the mews ran toward the others that had been guarding Ehne and began to cry out their attacks.

“Ribbon Nebula Squall!”

“Ribbon  Lunar Strike!”

“Ribbon Lightning STOMP!”

“Ribbon Flame Blast!”

“Ribbon Spectral Divide!”

                With so many Chimera Anima compacted together in their attempt to protect Ehne, the Mews were able to obliterate them all. Only the few that had remained on the other side of the plateau were safe, including the gigantic one. With this, Ehne was exposed. Though she’d been protected from the attack, the Mews now had her pinned. When the Ajran entity was uncovered, the girls could see her eyes were wide with shock, and she stood motionless, too stunned even to tremble. Niji, galactic whip in hand, slowly but assertively stepped toward her greatest enemy, and Ehne took steps back to avoid her until she tripped and fell backward. Panting, she waited for defeat, but when the Galactic mew did not budge from her position, the alien began to scowl.

                “Aren’t you going to kill me?” She hissed angrily. “Isn’t that what you want? You finally caught me, and yet here you stand, like a coward!!”

Niji’s team looked on at their leader with the same question—why wouldn’t she do it? For all the grief Ehne had caused them and the entire human race, they’d only imagine their friend would be as seething with rage as the pitiful creature before her. Only Nexus understood, having spoken to Niji before about it. She remained standing still with eyes locked on the two girls, hoping her friend could make the best possible decision.

The galactic mew was taken aback by Ehne’s crude backlash, and she couldn’t help but wince as she was reminded of her grim duty. However, Niji did her best to keep calm and remained in a physical state of dominance, keeping her head up. It was then that she spoke,

“You’ve done nothing but run away from us, Ehne. Every time you knew we were getting close to defeating you, to saving our kind, you decided to run and hide behind your pets. You have no right to call me a coward.”

“If you had to carry the same burdens as me, you’d be doing the same thing!” Ehne shot back, scowling. “I’ve told you stupid Mews time and time again, I am only doing what it takes to stay alive by any means necessary. It’s all I know how to do. I had to do whatever it took to keep my children safe!”

“This isn’t safe!” Niji responded, her voice rising. “Not for you, not for us, not for anyone!  Haven’t you taken a look at what you’ve done? I mean, what good’s being here when you’re all alone? What were you intending to do? Live here with your children forever and ever, eventually killing off everything on this Earth? There’s no purpose to it! Your people are gone, Ehne! You just can’t let go!“

“It doesn’t even matter.” Ehne looked down and clenched her fists. “Nothing you can say to me will change my mind. I figured you of all people would know that."

She shot up her head and shot back, almost pleading,

"If you really want to stop me, then do it now. Because I will never stop trying to destroy you.”

This struck the Mew team’s leader, but she knew the Ajran girl was right. Niji turned to her friends, all of which who nodded, except Nexus. Even then, they weren’t entirely sure it was the right thing to do—but there was no other way. After gaining approval, Niji raised her whip with preparations to strike, but before she could destroy Ehne, something unusual caught her eye. To her right, in the distance, she noticed that a ship from one of the colonies had begun descending, near where the Mews had landed earlier. Someone had followed the girls here, and when she realized it, Niji’s heart dropped. She darted her eyes back to Ehne, who had turned her head to avoid meeting her enemy’s gaze, and realized that she hadn’t noticed the ship. Nor did the other Mews for that matter, since when the galactic Mew looked at her team, she could see their gaze still focused on the situation before them. The only one who had noticed the ship was Niji.

Nexus reached her hand out to her friend when she saw her hesitation transforming into panic,

“Mew Spectral Galaxy—“

However, before she could speak, the Mews could hear the thunderous roar from behind them, and everyone turned to see that the large Chimera Anima had risen. In addition, even more of Ehne’s creatures had finally arrived from beyond the plateau and even the canyon, ready to aid their mistress. Seeing this opportune moment, Ehne grabbed a rock nearby her and thrust it at the Mew before her, causing her to keel over and hold her head in pain long enough to for the Ajran girl to scurry back up and away, toward the safety of her Children. Still somewhat anxious from almost losing her life, Ehne attempted to regain herself and reverted back to her cocky, wily nature. She sneered at the Mews, who had rushed to Niji to make sure she was okay, and called out,

“Pathetic. Even when you had me on a silver platter, you just couldn’t kill me. I told you I wouldn’t stop trying to destroy you.”

“Mew Spectral Galaxy, are you okay?” Hikari held her friend as she stood back up, still clutching her head and wincing.

“Yeah….I’ll be fine,” she replied. Chrysalis lightly hit Niji on the arm and frowned.

“What happened to you?!” She reprimanded her friend. “You had her right there!”

“I…..”

“G…guys!” Hotaru exclaimed, pointing at a herd of Chimera Anima charging toward them. Quickly, the girls separated again to avoid the attack, but this time only barely. They were knocked back without being severely injured, and Hotaru began to wince.

“It’s no good!” She cried. “That attack took too much out of us to keep going like this!”

“If you hadn’t hesitated this wouldn’t have happened!” Chrysalis shot at her leader, ducking from the swing of a nearby claw. “What were you thinking? Did you forget our entire plan?!”

Niji didn’t respond, instead holding her head and panicking as the Mews began to huddle against her, each with their backs facing each other.

“We have no time for accusations,” Nexus reminded her lunar companion. “It was not an easy thing to do, besides. You would not have been able to kill her so easily if you were in her position, I assure you.”

“Okay, well what do we do now?!”  Chrysalis kept firing rapidly around her as the Mews kept huddled together.  “We can’t keep going like this!”

It was then that Hikari got an idea, and she pointed below in the direction of the rocky slope the girls had climbed to get on the plateau earlier.

“We can hide in there for a while!” She cried, using her flame to strike an approaching Chimera Anima.

“But wouldn’t that mean we were retreating?” the lunar mew questioned, striking a nearby boar. “I thought….”

                “No, maybe we should take the opportunity,” Nexus opposed Chrysalis’ claim. “We came here to save your people, even If that means running for a little bit.”

Niji lashed at several Chimera Anima before chiming in, now seeing this opportunity to get back to the ship that had landed so she could tell whatever astronaut that was sent to get out of the area while they could. She called to her team, loud enough for them to hear, but not so loud that Ehne could.

“We’re going to need a distraction,” she said. “Mew Onyx Storm! I need you to muster up as much strength as you can and create a big cloud so that we can make our way to the alcoves. We might not have a ton of time to rest, but I think it’ll be enough to keep Ehne busy looking for us. Think you can do that?”

“I dunno if I can make a cloud that big!” Hotaru shook her head, “But maybe if Nexus could help me I would!”

Nodding, the Ecorian girl positioned herself with Hotaru and they both expelled their energy. With the use of Nexus’ power, Hotaru’s cloud of haze amplified and began spreading across the plateau, blinding the Chimera Anima’s paths and allowing the Mews safe passage to the alcoves below.

“Let’s go!”

Being careful but still quick, the girls grabbed hold of each other so nobody would be lost and followed as Niji led her team back from whence they came. The Mews slid down the rocky slope and began tumbling downward as they slipped on some of the smaller rocks. Luckily, they made it to the bottom without injury. Upon recovering their wits, they continued to run past the alcoves that slipped beneath the earth. As they fled from the scene, Chrysalis once again questioned her friend,

“Mew Spectral Galaxy, why did you hesitate back there? After everything Ehne’s done to us?”

Panting, Niji mustered a response.

“I wasn’t sure I was ready to do it,” she said. “But when I finally decided to, I saw something that distracted me. I got worried.”

“You did?” Hotaru proclaimed, curious. “Like what?”

“A ship. I saw one of the colony ships coming down. I don’t think Ehne noticed, which is good, because we need the astronaut they sent to get out of here before she does notice. If she gets to us before we send them off, we’ll have cost the colony another civilian. I can’t have that on my conscience.”

“But…why would they do that?!” Hikari cried. “They know how dangerous it is to be here with that thing around, especially after Akio made such a big deal about it!”

“Oh,  I dunno, probably because we stole their ship!!” Chrysalis responded with condescension. “They’re most likely miffed that we just up and broke so much of their protocol, Plus I bet Akio got really mad at us for not listening to him.”

“But we had a reason,” Nexus added. “He knew what we had to do. We are a team for a reason.”

Niji shook her head. “He’s just worried.”

After what felt like an eternity, the girls managed to reach the outside, near the hill. Hotaru turned around for a minute, jogging backward so she could see what was happening back on the plateau. The smoke was still in effect, though she was unsure how long it might last. Once it faded, she and the rest of her team knew there’d be little time before Ehne would come looking for them, and another battle would begin. As they climbed the hill, Nexus inhaled and exhaled rather happily, absorbing the energy from the plant life around her. She stopped the mews for a moment and gladly took each of their hands to provide them with a small amount of energy. With mostly rocks back on the plateau, she had little to nothing left to rejuvenate herself, so being out here where there were actual living things for her to use provided a needed feeling of refreshment. She could only give away so much energy, but it was enough for the Mews to pick themselves up a little and harness more power for attacking. Had they continued to fight back where they were, they would not have been able to keep up.

After the brief respite, the girls hurried back over the hill and soon found themselves faced with a sealed colony ship settled closeby to the one they’d arrived in. They all gathered around it while Hotaru banged on the door, calling,

“Hey, hey! You gotta get outta here! This is no place for non-Mews to be!”

Niji chimed in,

“I know you guys are mad that we took your ship and everything, but Mew Onyx Storm is right—that Chimera Anima is enormous and it has caused us a lot of damage as it is without even trying! On top of that, there are more chimera Anima swarming around here. I don’t care how mad you guys are, this is serious! Punish us when we come home, but right now, you gotta go!”

There didn’t appear to be any response, much to the girls’ surprise. Curious, Hotaru pressed her face against the glass windows next to the door and called out again,

“Is anyone there? Hellooooo?!”

“Wait, I hear something,” Niji pulled back her teammate as she pressed her ear against the door. Intrigued, Hotaru did the same, though the two girls were stricken with sudden surprise as they heard the loud click of the door’s hydraulics beginning to work. They jumped back as it opened, and once it had reached halfway, Niji shook her head in disbelief when she caught sight of Akio. He stood, appearing upset, but also fearful, as though he'd seen a ghost.

“W…what are you doing here?!!” The galactic mew cried. She wasn’t sure whether she felt terrified or furious. “You—You make such a big deal about this being extremely dangerous and then you just show up out of the blue? You can’t be here!”

The man did not speak, still unsure of what even to say, and his friend shook her head and grimaced, frustrated.

“Akio, you need to get out of here!” Hikari called out, her eyes wide with fear. “It’s dangerous, didn’t you hear them?”

“Why would you come here when you had told us how risky it was to do so?” Nexus inquired. Only she seemed the most collected of the group, though perhaps it was because she was better at hiding it. The Mews couldn’t quite tell.

                After so long of not answering, Akio finally spoke, his voice almost trembling.

“I...was worried,” he said, his hands shaking. “I didn’t know what I was doing…but…you girls went off on your own after I told you not to, and then you disappeared. I was afraid of losing you, but I couldn’t have known that….”

He held his head and shut his eyes.

“I…I saw how big it was on the radar, but how was I supposed to know it’d be this bad? I didn’t even know what I was going to do when I got here. I wasn’t thinking—I just wanted to make sure you were safe, and you left me with no way to contact you. I was scared.”

“Akio…” Niji cooed.

“I saw it when I landed,” the young man went on, still holding his head. He opened his eyes. “I was terrified when I did. I didn’t even want to get out. I didn’t know what to do or what to tell the others back on the colony.”

“Please, just…calm down, okay?” The Mew leader instructed him. “It’’ll be alright. Just—Just go back home, please.”

Akio shook his head and looked up at the mews with disapproval.

“You girls can’t do this,” he said. “That creature is too much! You should never have left in the first place until we had a plan!”

“Well we couldn’t just sit there!” Chrysalis called back, growing anxious. “It’s like Niji said, I mean, what were you gonna do, send people here to die? We’ve been fighting for years to survive as it is. It wouldn’t have been fair to involve everyone even more.”

“You made us for a reason!” Hikari added in agreement. “It’s not easy, but it’s our job. I know it’s kinda hard to think about the possibilities of everything going wrong, but if there’s anything I’ve learned in all my time in this team, it’s that you can’t let that fear get to you! Sometimes you have to do the right thing, no matter how risky It is!”

Nexus stepped forward and placed a hand on her anxious friend’s shoulder, nodding. “You have trusted us so far, so why should now be any different?”

“Yeah!” Hotaru exclaimed. “I mean, all that matters now is that we save the world and do our job, right? So don’t worry about it! As long as we win, you don’t have to worry!”

Akio looked down, though he nodded and picked his head up.

“So…what’s the situation?”

Niji looked over her shoulder, toward the smoky plateau and spoke quickly,

“We’ve been trying to cut down on the smaller Chimera Anima,” she explained. “The big one’s practically untouchable. I guess we could try our combined attack, but last time we did, it stopped us from doing so. But despite how difficult it is to even touch it, we did find something out.”

“Apparently Ehne’s connected to all her creations,” Hikari added, crossing her arms. “So, basically if we take her out, we’ll not only defeat her, but all her Chimera Anima will die too.”

“Are you entirely sure that it’ll happen?” Akio questioned. He still seemed fearful, Niji noticed, but it appeared that he had reverted to his typical critical working state in which all he was focused on was progress. If she weren’t so anxious about the situation herself, she might have smiled like she always did when she and the girls were able to help him out of his worries. But this time, there was little to smile about. It wasn’t until she had saved her people that she knew she could.

“Mew Spectral Galaxy was the one who made the connection actually!” Hotaru responded with a confident nod. “She noticed that Ehne would always hide behind her monsters and that when she would manage to get hit by us they would react even though they weren’t actually hit.”

“And Ehne’s guard dog made a mistake when it jumped and a big rock sort of hit her in the leg,” Chrysalis added. “When she did, the Chimera Anima stopped attacking and acted like they were in pain too or something.”

“When we found out about it, Ehne appeared to be furious,” Nexus nodded. “So we have little reason to doubt it now.”

Chrysalis shrugged her shoulders and looked away. “Thing is, we wasted a lot of energy trying to get to her, and because Niji saw you coming down, she got distracted and we missed our chance.”

“I-I’m so sorry!” Akio held his head again. “It’s just that I-“

“Don’t apologize,” Niji interrupted him, shaking her head. “It’s not your fault, it’s mine. I got distracted and then…”

She sighed.

“Mew Nebula gave us some of her energy, but there’s only so much she can give. While it’s probably enough to keep fighting for a little while longer, we won’t have nearly enough to do what we did again. I’m…I’m not even sure what to do now aside from just fighting to survive. I’m the one who cost us this battle, so don’t put any blame on yourself. You were just looking after us, that’s all.”

“Well, there still might be time to get you Mews out of here!” Akio exclaimed. “You know what you’re up against now. If you get away and rest up, maybe you can…”

Hotaru looked behind her and bit her lip as she saw the cloud of haze beginning to falter. Turning back, she cried,

“It’s too late for that now! The cloud’s fading and pretty soon Ehne’s gonna come leaping over here on her bear-thing and we’re gonna be in real trouble if Akio’s still around!”

All turning to face their mentor, the Mews began to panic. Having a human around during a fight was a surefire way to get him killed. And if Ehne found out he was there, knowing how close he was to them, there was no doubt she could truly hurt them. Niji winced as she considered this possibility. Thinking about losing Akio to Ehne and her Chimera Anima brought about unpleasant memories of Alexander’s death. He’d been lost because of her, for the sake of the Mew Project. If she had been able to, she could have saved him. But now, she’d slipped up. The Galactic Mew had failed to destroy Ehne when she had the chance, and now not only was she paying for it, but her entire team and even Akio could suffer.  She didn’t want to risk it.

However, at this point, flying out in a ship would be a surefire way to get him killed faster. Ehne’s giant Chimera Anima was large enough and strong enough to knock it out of the air in an instant like a cat’s plaything. If anything, all she could do was keep Ehne from knowing that Akio was there at all. If she was lucky, Ehne would be so focused on destroying the Mews that she might not notice the other ship. If not, she’d have to deal with her knowing that someone was here. Even if she didn’t know it was Akio, Ehne knew that the Mews felt every human life was worth something, so she could still use that to her advantage. The Mew Leader didn’t know what exactly to do, but in such a dire situation, all she could think of was to hide her friend somewhere he’d be safer than out in the open battlefield. But where?

It was then that she remembered the way she and the rest of the Mews had gotten onto the plateau in the first place.

“Akio,” she spoke suddenly, “We’re going to have to hide you.”

“Where?”

“ There’s an opening over that hill,” Niji pointed back in the direction of the canyon wall where the hill the girls had climbed was blocking the view of the hidden alcoves. “Over that, there’s an entrance that sort of goes underground where some alcoves are. It’s how we were able to get up on the plateau. I don’t think Ehne knows it’s there, so you might be safe.”

“But what if he isn’t?!” Hikari proclaimed with worry. “What if a Chimera Anima comes that way? Maybe we should have someone go with him.”

“Ehne might know something’s up if one of us is missing, though,” Chrysalis pointed out. “But…I guess it’s the only shot we’ve got. Who’s gonna go?”

“I can!” Hotaru volunteered.

“But would you really be able to fight alone?”

“If anyone comes that I can’t handle, I can use my storm powers and make another cloud so Akio and I can run!” Hotaru nodded at her own idea, convinced it was a perfect plan.

“And then where will you go if that happens?” Hikari inquired, leaning in slightly. “It’d be a bad idea for you to come here in the middle of the battle, but also bad if you run off too far for us to help.”

“Guys, we don’t have time for that right now!”

Chrysalis had caught sight of the cloud on the plateau completely dispersing. She went up to Akio, grabbed his arm and pulled him toward Hotaru.

“You guys need to get going. Just figure it out from there! All that matters is that we keep Akio out of this and fight Ehne for as long as we can, alright?”

Nodding, Akio put his hand on the electric Mew’s shoulder and agreed.

“Let’s go.”

“Be careful!” Niji called out as the two began to run off. Hotaru responded from the hill with a quick wave, and before anyone could say anything further, they disappeared. At that moment, the girls heard a loud roar and caught sight of the large Chimera Anima from the Plateau leaping over the wall and landing in front of it. It began to run toward the girls with burning eyes and an open snout, its teeth bared.

“If that thing gets us, we’re done for!” Niji shouted. She turned to Chrysalis with an idea. “Do you think your ice can protect us?”

“Are you kidding?” Chrysalis shot back anxiously, balling her fist. “It’s only strong enough to hold back a few of the small Chimera Anima. If we use it as a shield against that thing, we’ll be crushed!”

“Wait,” Hikari responded, putting her hand to her chin in thought. “Maybe if we use Mew Nebula’s power again like we did with mine, we could make it a little stronger.”

“It still won’t be enough,” The lunar mew shook her head. She looked back at the charging monster and groaned. “But that thing’s coming in too fast so let’s go ahead and get on with it!”

Nodding, Nexus prepared her weapon as Chrysalis did the same. She aimed her bow toward the ground and fired an arrow, her companion launching her own attack at the same time. Together, their powers combined, and once they hit the ground, it created a large blast of thick, white ice that extended over the Mews and along the ground, enclosing them within.  Niji shivered slightly as the air became extremely cold inside the cocoon of ice, clutching and rubbing her elbows. Though some of it was cloudy, the Mews could see through the cold wall toward the plateau, and they managed to catch a glimpse of Ehne’s monstrous Chimera Anima leaping up as it reached the hill. Panicking, Nexus huddled around her teammates, hugging them for protection. Hikari held her head and kept it down, afraid to look up. However, much to the girls’ surprise the creature did not land on them. At first, Niji was confused, but when she saw where it was intending to land, her heart dropped.

In an instant, she and her teammates watched as the mangy creature smashed both ships the Mews and Akio had arrived in, crushing them beneath its enormous, black claws. Having been so close to the girls, the force of the monster’s impact as it landed shook the earth and shattered the girls’ fortress of ice. Once they were exposed, the Mews dispersed and ran a little bit further from their larger enemy, not wanting it to take the opportunity to swipe at them since it had now regained itself.

Other Chimera Anima began to swarm in from behind them, where Ehne’s larger creature had come from. Without even allowing the girls to gather themselves, they began to lash out at the Mews. The greater Chimera Anima simply paced back and forth, watching them fight. Forced to dodge the incoming attacks, the girls were separated again and fought their own individual battles, trying to survive as more of their enemies came in from the ground and the sky.

As the girls fought, it wasn’t until Nexus was knocked over by a Crocodile Chimera Anima and looked upward at the towering Chimera Anima that she began to realize that something was amiss. She stood , ducking from the talons of an airborne crow, and used her gust powers to push away the creatures that had been preparing to strike her. The Ecorian girl turned quickly behind her, facing the plateau, and realized that Ehne was not here with her Chimera Anima.

“Where is she?!” She questioned, causing the other girls to almost halt. “Where is Ehne?”

Hikari was suddenly knocked back by a fox Chimera Anima as she ‘d stopped to look at her friend in confusion, but Chrysalis swiftly flew up and shot at it with her bow, coming back down to help her teammate up. She looked at Nexus, and then back to the plateau where she’d been gazing.

“That’s…a good question…” She said. Unfortunately, the girls had no time to think on it, as the creatures continued their onslaught without any chance of letting them rest. But they were getting tired again. Even the small amount of energy Nexus had provided them could not last forever. It was then that they grew even more concerned on how they were going to manage with their power depleting and the fighting depleting the status of their physical forms. They knew they couldn’t do this forever.

Niji worried most of all—She kept glancing back at the Canyon wall, wishing she could see through it and into the plateau so that she could be assured Ehne had not left and thus was not doing something unpredicted. Knowing her, anything could happen, but she wished that just for once, it wouldn’t. However, chance evaded her as her fears were confirmed. Within an instant, the Mews heard a loud, muffled discharge of electricity from the direction in which Hotaru and Akio had gone, and though she knew that something terrible may have happened, it took her a moment to actually believe it.

Suddenly, a roar was emitted from the alcoves underground, as muffled as the jolt of electricity from Hotaru, and the girls heard a distant grunt from their teammate before they caught sight of her body flying in the air and landing just below the peak of the hill. Weakened, she rolled and tumbled down the hill before she came to a stop, groaning.

“Mew Onyx Storm!” Hikari cried, rushing toward her friend to aid her. She helped her companion up, hoisting the child’s arm over her shoulder, and Hotaru let out a quick cough. Her body was faintly covered by a dusty coat of dirt from rolling down the hill, and he hair was in a bit of a disheveled state, though otherwise, she appeared okay, but weaker.

“I’ll be alright,” She promised her sunny friend as she caught sight of her anxious face. “Don’t worry about me.”

Hotaru turned toward the hill and began to try climbing it again, holding her stomach as she walked. Niji, seeing this, began to run after her in hopes of helping her and reaching Akio, but she was stopped by two wolf Chimera Anima. A third one had snapped at Hotaru, pushing her back and causing her to fall on her bottom. Hikari went over to help her again, but the child held her hand out to stop her and stood on her own. By now, the other Mews had averted their attention to the scene, looking on at their defeated friend with frightened faces. The other Chimera Anima had halted their attacks, resting quietly as they awaited their mistress. Instantly, she emerged from beyond the hill, clutching Akio by the neck and hoisting him high above her like some trophy. She’d remained in her human form, though despite having a reason to smile, her profile remained monotonous and focused. In her grasp, Akio appeared to be struggling, clutching Ehne’s hand with both of his in a desperate attempt to break her grip. Though he was choking, he was still able to take in some air In between struggles. Ehne was allowing him to stay alive for the moment.

A giant lizard Chimera anima quickly crawled up over the hill and stood by its mistress, its forked tongue quickly poking out of its mouth and receding again. Hotaru grimaced as she caught sight of it, still upset that she’d been caught off guard by the thing. Ehne had not been fooled for a second.

“I really didn’t think he’d be dumb enough to come here,” the alien girl jested, chuckling. “But it was a nice surprise, to be honest. I do love meeting new people.”

“How did you…?” Nexus put a hand to her mouth. She didn’t know whether to be furious or horrified. Ehne threw back her head and laughed with amusement.

“Do you honestly think I was going to be fooled that easily?” She questioned, tilting her head and smiling. “It’s true, I didn’t know that tunnel was even there—that is until you arrived from it where I was. Just because I wasn’t looking at you doesn’t mean I didn’t notice. I just didn’t say anything. I honestly thought we were going to end it all back there.”

She frowned.

“But I was wrong. Still, I have your stupid friend here. It was nice of you to gift him to me, Mews.”

“Don’t do this, Ehne!” Niji cried in desperation. She’d always tried to remain collected in these situations, especially when dealing with the enemy, but the girls could see that this time she was unable to control herself. Though they all cared about their Mentor, Niji was the one who’d spent the longest with him. Nexus couldn’t blame her friend for reacting this way, and in fact would have done the same.

The girls’ thoughts were then interrupted by another one of Ehne’s giddy laughs. The Ajran entity smirked and thrust her arm forward, forcing the girls to look closely at their struggling comrade.

“So what will you do, then, Mews?” She taunted. “This is horrendously one-sided, but I suppose I can offer you a choice. Either you drop your weapons, surrendering and letting me finally kill you, or I take Akio’s life and you can attempt to defeat me in some pathetic revenge. Though, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you haven’t noticed, you’re already surrounded!”

Hikari and the others looked in all directions only to realize their enemy was correct—her Chimera Anima had halted their onslaught, but they stood around the girls, waiting for a single reason to attack. Ehne’s newest giant creation stood behind them as well. They knew that if she wanted, she could be rid of the girls in one fell swoop.

Then, still attempting to fight her choking grasp, Akio mustered up the air to talk, calling out to the Mews,

“She’s standing…right there! You have…the chance to…attack her!”

Chrysalis shook her head and tightened the grip on her bow.

“Akio, if we do that, you’ll get hit too!” She cried. “We’ll figure this out, don’t worry!”

“Shut up!” Ehne shouted, throwing the man to the ground. He gasped and held his neck as he was released, but before he could rise, Ehne stepped on him and pushed him down, pinning him to the ground with unnatural strength. Niji ground her teeth at this, but didn’t move in fear of what her enemy might do.

“I can’t risk losing you!” she cried out, fighting back frightened tears. “Akio, you’re important to us just as everyone else out there is. I’ve already dealt with the guilt of losing Alexander, and I refuse to lose you too and have to deal with those same feelings again!”

Nexus quietly turned her head toward the others and questioned, quietly so Niji would not hear,

“Alexander…?”

Hikari shook her head so as to indicate she didn’t quite know, but otherwise didn’t respond.

“It wasn’t your fault, Mew Spectral Galaxy!” Akio cried out, balling his hands into fists His voice quivered as he attempted to regain himself after being choked. “How were we supposed to know?”

“I know I could have done something to stop it!” Niji shot back, shaking her head. “If I had just done something….”

“I said shut up!”

Ehne kicked Akio hard in the stomach with annoyance, causing him to hold himself and clench his teeth in pain. Niji tried to run toward him in fury at her alien enemy, but Hikari grabbed her arm and stopped her, shaking her head.

Ehne growled in frustration. In one hand she grabbed Akio by the head and pulled him up a bit.

“So what’s it going to be, Mews?” she questioned, grinding her teeth in fury. “You already know what I want. Right now, it’s him or you.”

The other girls looked at Niji worriedly, but she remained silent, her face wrought with fear and agony as she gazed at Ehne holding her friend hostage.

“I DON’T have all day, you know,” Ehne scoffed, crossing her arms. Akio could barely muster up the energy to, but he still attempted to speak.

“Finish the mission,” he pleaded between grunts of pain. “All of this was started to save our world. You have to finish this, regardless of the consequences.”

Niji fought back tears, shaking her head and pleading in return,

“No, Akio…I can’t let that happen. I have all the responsibilities you do, but I won’t let you or anyone else die by my hand, from my mistakes.”

She smiled weakly, though she felt nothing but dread.

“You can always replace us. All that matters is that  somehow, humanity can return to its rightful place. Ehne has no more monsters left. Even though they’re still here, we stopped the source.”

Ehne  cringed at these words.

“Even if we die here, you still have the Mew Project. There are other people who can do this job better than I ever could.”

Failing in keeping back her tears, Niji began to shiver as she felt them rolling down her cheeks, and she turned her head away so that Akio couldn’t see her.  However, he had already fallen unconscious from the pain.

“All I care about is that you’re safe.”

She grasped her weapon and held her arm out slowly. Before any of her comrades could protest, Niji dropped her whip and asked her team to do the same. Seeing this, Ehne began to smirk.

Hikari shook her head and cried out,

“Mew Spectral Galaxy, please, don’t! We can’t just give up now!”

“This isn’t right!” Chrysalis chimed in, clutching her weapon tightly in anger. “This isn’t going to solve anything!”

“Please, just do what she says,” Nexus pleaded in Niji’s defense. She closed her eyes and held her castanets to her chest, looking down. “I don’t believe this is the best choice either, but it is all we can do for Akio now. Even if we were to resist, we are in no condition to fight for much longer.”

“I…I don’t think we should,” Hotaru called out from ahead, still holding her side. “But we can’t keep doing this either.”

Chrysalis looked to Hikari and Nexus in disbelief, refusing the want to surrender to Ehne’s demands. But the girls simply looked down and tossed their weapons aside as their leader had done, knowing what the consequence would be. Hotaru did the same, though she fell to her knees as the injuries she had began to get to her. When the others called out to her with worry, she reassured them that she would be fine.

“Mew Spectral Galaxy, you can’t let this happen!” Chrysalis continued to fight against her wishes. The galactic mew continued to remain silent with her head down, though she knew her friend was right.

“We came her to fight as long as possible, didn’t we?I sn't that what you said? We’re supposed to defend our planet! I care about Akio too, but can we really just give up like this?”

“We have to,” Hikari responded with pain in her voice. “We can’t lose Akio. Mew Spectral Galaxy was right—We’re replaceable. And we’ve done a lot, right? Ehne’s monsters aren’t infinite now.”

Chrysalis looked back and forth from her teammates to the Chimera Anima that surrounded them, and then to Ehne, who stood smugly but seemed to be growing impatient. The Lunar Mew held her head and growled in frustration, throwing her bow to the ground in anger.

“Fine, if that’s what you want!” She cried, burying her face in her hands. She refused to let her fear show, but Chrysalis’ emotional state began to crumble. “Just get it overwith before I change my mind!”

Finally, Niji looked up at Ehne, eyes still wet but tears no longer falling, and spoke harshly,

“You have what you wanted,” she said. “Now let him go. We’re giving you our lives for his. You’ll be able to live on earth for a little longer. Isn't that all you wanted?”

Ehne laughed lightly, amused at the girls' defeat.

“You know, if I had any emotions of my own, I might have actually felt bad for you,” she grinned. “But I must admit, it’s noble of you to abandon your own people just to save this worthless fleshy creature.”

“Just stop,” Niji begged, looking away. “Let him go and take what you’ve wanted for so long.”

“Truth be told, I would have been somewhat honorable earlier,” Ehne rolled her eyes. “But you know, seeing how he’s so important to your people, I think I’ll keep him. After all, as much as I love the hunt, I don’t really want to deal with another crop of Mews like you.”

“What?!”  Niji cried. Nexus clenched her fists and shouted at Ehne,

“You cannot do that! We are cooperating with you for once. Are you really such a coward that you cannot do the same?”

“You’re really calling me a coward?” Ehne scoffed, putting her free hand on her hip. “After all, you’re the ones who just surrendered to me. Did you honestly think I was that trustworthy?”

“Let him go, Ehne!” Niji demanded, her anger rising. “We made a deal!”

Laughing, Ehne reverted back to her gelatinous form and answered simply,

“No.”

Before anyone could act against her, the Ajran creature laid her gelatinous frame against Akio’s unconscious body and engulfed him.

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Next Chapter

Previous Chapter

First Chapter

Created by AnnikaDoll

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