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“Hotaru, I’m going out,” a dull voice called. “Keep the door locked and stay here.”

The head of a young girl poked out from behind the edge of a bed, which she had been under looking for something. The girl’s eyes flickered towards her simple sibling at the cabin door, sack slung over her shoulder and a weary expression on her face. The young girl jumped up from her hidden edge and plopped belly first onto the bed before her. She turned over and tilted her head backward to look at her sister. Her brows crinkled down and she puffed up her cheeks in annoyance.

“Arisu, I thought you guys were taking the day off!” She whined.  “I wanted to play with you today.”

“Sorry, Hotaru,” Arisu apologized, tucking a loose bit of hair behind her ear. She rolled her eyes. “Esteban let me know at the last minute that I had to come in after all. It turns out we got some extra things to sell and so we’re going to. I won’t be long, I promise.”

“That’s what you always say,” Hotaru groaned, lifting her arms above her head dramatically. “Fine, I’ll have fun myself, like always. You’re boring anyway!”

“Look, I’ll do something with you later,” Arisu sighed, opening the cabin door. “Just stay here ‘til I get back, ‘kay?”

Hotaru rolled over again and stuck her tongue out at her sister

“God, you’re such a pain, sometimes,” Arisu groaned. “Honestly, Hotaru…If mom and dad were here, I doubt you’d be the way you are.”

“Well they’re not!” Hotaru shot back.  “They’re on another ship and they can’t do anything, so nyeh!”

Saying nothing more to her kiddish sister, Arisu shook her head and left the cabin. As soon as the door closed, Hotaru jumped out of her bed and pressed her ear against the door. She waited until her elder sister’s footsteps became silenced before grabbing her keycard and leaving the cabin herself.

This routine was all too familiar to Hotaru; her sister Arisu was always busy working with a merchant during the day, and she was too tired to do anything else but sleep when she got back to the cabin. Arisu was never any fun to Hotaru, who always thought her sister as too busy, bossy and boring to do much of anything. And staying in her cabin all day was no fun either. So what was a little girl to do with all this free time? Pull pranks, of course!  At least that’s all Hotaru could think of to do, as she never seemed to be the kind of girl who’d want to spend her time with ample, quiet hobbies like reading or drawing. She had far too much energy and passion for something she considered so mundane.

 So, Hotaru went on her pranking sprees on a daily basis, having fun in her own way and messing around with other people on her colony. She enjoyed being sly and quick to outwit others, and every prank she pulled seemed more grand to her than the last. It was her favorite thing to do, aside from disobeying her sister, of course. And whenever Hotaru felt bored of her pranking, she’d take some time to explore the colony, whether she was allowed somewhere or not. She’d been approached before by officers and other authority figures, trying to tell her what to do, but Hotaru seemed to have a talent for outwitting and outrunning them. Because she’d never been caught, she was actually quite cocky and even teased others for their inability to catch her. They were all just stupid adults as far as she was concerned. Stupid, stupid adults. But that’s not to say she didn’t know how to respect them- She just didn’t want to!

At the end of every day, Hotaru would hurry home to her cabin before her sister ever found out that she had been gone. Arisu was never one the wiser to Hotaru’s little games. She knew her sister well, it’s true. She knew that Hotaru was very energetic and silly and, dare she say, exasperating, but she never once expected her to be so mischievous and disorderly as she were! And sometimes it felt pathetic to Hotaru that her sister was much too busy to care what she did anyway. There were times that she really wanted her sister to catch her in the act; just to see what would happen, she always thought. But at the same time, she wouldn’t want to have to deal with a long lecture from her- especially her.

While she did have her fun every day, Hotaru often found herself wondering how her mother and father were. She never acted like she cared much about them, but she really, truly did. During the rush to the colonies four years ago, when her sister was merely thirteen and she six, the girls were separated from their parents and put on different colony ships by mistake. They managed to keep in touch every once in a while, but the connections, while constant at first, became fairly rare as time went on and the whole family seemed much too busy to keep up with each other most days. Hotaru often wished she could return to her home back on Earth, continuing her gymnastics lessons, going to school with her friends, spending time with her family and just continue being the little bundle of energy that she always was made out to be. But despite all the misery that had befallen her, Hotaru never once let her spirits sink. She felt bad sometimes, but it never stopped her from doing what she loved to do.

Today felt much like any other to Hotaru. The same old sights and sounds occurred to her, and she even felt good enough to say hello to some strangers on her walk. While moving about, she decided to look around for someone to prank and get some inspiration for how to do so. Hotaru had access to basic materials, but she never brought them with her. She enjoyed working on the spot, looking for things to use or ways to take her surroundings to her advantage. Doing so always made her feel much more creative. But today, she felt very unimaginative and stumped. She couldn’t think of anything new to do, and it bothered her. Hotaru found herself dramatically  pacing the colony, hands behind her back and head down looking at the floor. She walked for a while, ignoring the curious stares of other people until she found herself in the market; the very place that her sister worked in. And knowing this gave her a rush of energy. She gave a little devious smile and thought of all the things she could do. Although she’d been there before, Hotaru had always avoided going to the market too often because she never wanted to get caught by her sister, but because she felt so very stumped today that she figured that perhaps it might be fun to do something there once again.

Quickly, Hotaru took a look around the market, searching for anything of use to put a wondrous prank together. She found some basic materials like rope and cables, but not much else. Hotaru almost felt disappointment until she came across a peculiar object- a very small grappling gun with a very dull hook. It was far from any stalls and nobody seemed to care much about it, so she took it. Hotaru smiled at her find: what fun she could have with one of these! She’d used grapples before, but never had she found a grappling gun; especially not one just lying out in the open. It was very old and worn, but it looked like it would still work and Hotaru felt that she should put it to good use before it did break.  She sat in a corner of the marketplace with the thing in her hands and thought of something she could do that wouldn’t get her too much or too little attention. Surely there was something, wasn’t there? She took a look around the stalls and the hoards of people walking about and soon found herself locking onto a stall nearby very much full of beaded jewelry and clothing.

“Oh, that might be fun!” She giggled to herself, clutching the grappling gun on her lap.

I can shoot the grapple at the stall, she thought.  And then I’ll pull it down and all the beads will fall and break apart and everyone will slip and slide all over the place! Not a very good prank, but it should be funny!

Hotaru giggled and giggled at the thought of it, and she soon found herself aiming at the stall. She had never used one before, but she had played video games back home with fake guns and the stall wasn’t all that far away, so she figured aiming shouldn’t be so hard. Hotaru held the grappling gun steady and waited until people stopped passing by to shoot. Nobody seemed to notice her, as they all had their own things to tend to. Eventually, Hotaru got an opening, and she took it. She pulled the trigger on the grappling gun, but shockingly, nothing happened.

What?!” She gasped. “Oh come on! This thing’s busted!” Hotaru heaved a heavy sigh, turning the gun around and hitting it on the side. This time, it shot out, and rather abruptly. The hook zipped past her head and latched onto something. Hotaru turned around, and without thinking to check where the hook had gone, pulled the cable to try and reel the hook back in. However, she soon found that she couldn’t pull it, and still, instead of looking for where the hook went, she pulled harder. This time, the cable snapped back and hit her on the head. In the distance, she heard a loud CRASH!

Hotaru quickly snapped her head up in surprise and widened her eyes at the sight before her. She had accidentally hooked and pulled on a rather large stall a few yards behind her that had fallen managed to take other stalls around it down as well. The merchandise on the stalls, however, managed to keep intact. Various people; merchants, customers and officers heard the commotion and turned to see the wide-eyed brown-haired girl with the smoking grappling gun in her hands.

Oops. Hotaru thought.

An nearby officer shouted at Hotaru and ran towards her. Promptly, she dropped the gun and started running.

“I didn’t mean to do it!” Hotaru cried, trying to escape her pursuer. “I swear!”

The officer chased her through the marketplace, and for once, Hotaru was extremely frightened. She had usually been able to outwit officers and the like in the past, but this man was extremely fast; almost as fast as she. She had to jump over obstacles and swiftly dodge other people in her way. The officer still hurriedly chased her, not showing any signs of stopping. Hotaru soon began to feel herself run out of breath, and she knew that she couldn’t keep the chase up for much longer. If she got caught, would she really be imprisoned? Would they banish her to Earth with all those monsters? Would they really be so cruel? She didn’t want to find out.

Eventually,  Hotaru found herself in a section of cabins that families and large groups often resided in. It was there that she bumped into two very familiar faces. Hotaru stumbled backwards clumsily and took a look before her to see two of the three Galaxy Mews eyeing her with confusion. On her left was Mew Lunar Dream, and on her right, Mew Spectral Galaxy. Before she could react, the girls helped her up and asked why she was In such a hurry .

“I’m in trouble!” Hotaru exclaimed in a panic. “I did something bad and now there’s an officer after me!”

“Wow, what the heck did you do?” Chrysalis inquired, placing a hand on her hip. “I know they get after people a lot for the tiniest things but I guess that depends.”

 “I accidentally messed some stuff up in the market and now they’re gonna arrest me!” Hotaru quickly replied. She began to bounce up and down. Not from excitement, but from anxiety. Niji bent forward to face the young child directly and placed her hands over her knees.

 Arrest you?” she proclaimed with astonishment “You’re too young to be arrested, don’t you think? And besides, what you did wasn’t necessarily a HUGE thing, but it was a little unacceptable.”

“I know!” Hotaru whined. “But I don’t wanna get in trouble! I really like you guys and I don’t wanna ask for stuff from you but can you help me, pleeeaase?

Niji and Chrysalis exchanged brief glances for a moment before coming to a decision. As soon as the officer caught up with Hotaru, he grabbed her by the shoulder.

“Young lady, you are in big trouble,” he warned.

“Hold on,” Niji stopped the officer. “We’ll take responsibility for her. Please don’t be so hard. She is young, after all.”

“But she damaged a couple of stalls!” The officer shot back.

“A couple?” Chrysalis repeated. “I’m the stalls can be quickly replaced or repaired since they’re very easy to put together. As for the merchandise…well was a lot of it damaged or broken?”

“Some…” The officer sighed. “Well….no…actually…”

“I’m sorry about what happened,” Niji apologized. “You know how kids are.”

Hotaru pouted at being called a kid by one of the Galaxy Mews.

“Yeah, but that’s how troublemakers start,” the officer sneered, letting Hotaru’s shoulder go. “I’ll look the other way because I trust you girls. But you better keep a close eye on her and make sure her parents hear about this, alright?”

“Sure thing, ace,” Chrysalis  agreed. As the officer walked away, Hotaru began to beam.

“Oh thank, thank you, thank you!” She bounced with delight. “I’ve never been caught before but this guy was really fast! You guys are so cool!”

“Wait, you’ve done this before?”  Chrysalis mused, rubbing her chin. “Gee, you’re a regular troublemaker, ain’t ya? But I can relate.”

“Really?” Hotaru smiled. She began to find interest in Chrysalis.

“Sure,” Chrysalis nodded. “I used to be a lot like you when I was little.”

Little… Hotaru thought, slightly insulted. She quickly shook the thought out of her mind and smiled.

“Hey, why are you guys out here, anyway? I thought you would be out on Earth or something by now.”

“Yeah, actually, we’re running a little late!” Niji responded with humility. She scratched the back of her head. “But today’s more of a training day since we got pretty messed up in our last fight.”

“No kidding,” Chrysalis scoffed.”I still have the feeling of being thrown into the ground by that chimpanzee. Urgh…”

Hotaru tilted her head.

“Are you out here alone?” Niji inquired, shrugging. Hotaru shook her head.

“No, I live with my sister,” she admitted. “But she’s working right now.”

“Oh!” Niji spoke. “Well, I don’t think we should leave you by yourself. Especially if you’re going to get into more trouble with these officers!”

“Why not take her with us?” Chrysalis suggested. “She’s alright. Besides, she seems to be a huge fan of us, huh?”

“Oh, can I can I can I?!” Hotaru began to jump up and down in utter delight.

Chrysalis laughed.

“I don’t see why not,” Niji said, smiling  “Come on, you can watch us train. Would you like that?”

“YES!” Hotaru squeaked, grinning from ear to ear. Delighted, the Mews took Hotaru through the laboratory and into the Gymnasium. There, they were met by Akio and Hikari, who had been training for quite some time already.

Akio turned around when he was called by Niji and found himself surprised to see a small, skinny little girl smiling wide with shining eyes.

 

“Is this where you train? Is that Mew Radiant Sun? Oh wow this is cool! Ooh, what’s that for?”

 

“Now who do we have here?”  Akio questioned curiously, tilting his head at the young girl.

Chrysalis began to speak.

“This is…”

However, she stopped.

“Oh, wow, we didn’t even ask your name yet!”

“My name’s Hotaru!’ the little girl introduced herself eagerly. “They let me come here!”

“She’s a real big fan of us Mews, apparently,” Chrysalis laughed.

“We bumped into her in the cabin area,” Niji explained. “Or rather, she bumped into us! She got into an accident and she was trying to run away from an officer.  We thought we’d help her out.”

Akio chuckled.

“Not unlike how I met you, it seems,” he said. Niji smiled.

Akio turned his attention to Hotaru and spoke.

“My name is Akio Fujioka. I’m the one who watches over and helps out the Galaxy Mews when they’re on their missions.”

“Are you a doctor?” Hotaru proclaimed curiously.

“Well, sort of,” Akio admitted. “I’m more of a scientist. I developed the Galactic Mew Project and I helped make all of these girls into Mews.”

“That’s super cool!” Hotaru exclaimed with excitement. Her excitement grew more so when she saw Hikari walking over to their group.

“Mew Radiant Sun!” She squealed. “You’re so pretty! I can’t believe I’m seeing you in person!”

Hikari blushed and smiled.

“Thanks!” She happily replied. “What’s your name?”
“Hotaru! I already know who you are.”

“Well then,” Akio interrupted after a moment, “This is wonderful and all, but you two… Why are you so late?”

Chrysalis and Niji looked away from Akio, who had crossed his arms while awaiting a response.

“They stayed up late talking,” Hikari answered for them. “They kept me up, too!”

“And yet even though none of you slept, Mew Radiant Sun still came early?” Akio mused. He shook his head. “You two are starting to slack off.”
“Aw, c’mon, Akio, we still know what we have to do,” Chrysalis reminded him. “We wouldn’t forget that. Don’t worry about it, we’ll keep up, we promise.”

“Alright, I’ll let it slide this time,” Akio replied, uncrossing his arms. “Go ahead and get started. You invited Hotaru here after all, so we might as well give her a taste of what you girls can do close up.”

Hotaru’s face grew bright with excitement.

“Sure, let’s go,  Mew Lunar Dream,” Niji called, walking off to the center of the gym. Hotaru and Akio leaned on a rail close to the entrance as they watched the girls fight test dummies as well as each other now and again.

“So cool, so cool, so coooool!” Hotaru exclaimed in delight. Akio found her amusing, and he couldn’t help feeling pride in the fact that his Mew Team that he had created had fans as involved as Hotaru,

“You really like them huh?” Akio proclaimed, turning his head towards Hotaru.

“I love the Galaxy Mews!” Hotaru answered loudly. “They’re really cool and they get to fight monsters and nobody tells them what to do!”

“Well, technically someone still has to take charge and be responsible for them,” Akio reminded the young girl. “And things like this usually require someone telling you what to do.”

“So, what are you like their old man or something?” Hotaru inquired innocently. Akio hung his head.

“No,” he sighed. “I’m more like their other teammate who leads them from afar…but I’m not…all that old…”

“You’re older than me,” Hotaru pointed out.

“Of course…” Akio sheepishly responded, unable to disagree.

As the duo watched the three Galaxy Mews express their powers and show their skills off, Hotaru grew increasingly excited. She was awestruck and mystified with the Mews’ capabilities and unique fighting styles, and she found herself wanting to join in. In the midst of a three-way brawl, Hotaru stepped onto the gymnasium floor and began to show off her own skills. She closed her eyes to focus and began flipping around in the air. She jumped before and past some of the mews’ attacks and flaunted a marvelous display of gymnastic skill and suave movements. Hotaru did her best to execute her movements flawlessly and as she had learned them in gymnastics, along with adding her own touch to them to make the display reflect her spirited personality. At the end, she jumped backwards and landed on her feet. Slowly, she opened her eyes to see all three mews standing frozen where they were, staring at her in complete confusion. From behind them, close to the entrance, Akio was folding his arms and stroking his chin in thought. Hotaru smiled brightly at first, but when nobody replied or responded for a while, her smile faded, and she began to wonder if she had done something wrong. Seeing this, Niji spoke up.

“Hotaru, where did you learn to do that?” She proclaimed with interest. Hotaru smiled again after realizing she wasn’t in trouble.

“I took a gymnastics class back on Earth,” she answered happily. “And then when I came to the colony I started pulling pranks and I did a lot of stuff with my gymnastics because it helped and it made it easy to get away.”

“Oh?” Chrysalis responded curiously, giving a devious little smile.

“Yeah!” Hotaru bounced. “And I’m always so fast that nobody could ever catch me either! Well…except today…but still I’m really really fast!”

“No kidding!” Hikari exclaimed.  “You really scared me when you came out here suddenly! I almost hit you!”

“But she was too quick for that,” Akio spoke suddenly. The mews turned around and found that he had walked towards them while they were speaking with Hotaru.

“You’re very good at what you do,” he admitted. “How long have you been practicing?”

All the Galaxy Mews had their eyes on Akio, remembering the same look in his eyes as he had when he met each of them. They all knew that as soon as Hotaru had stepped out that she may very well be their next new team member.

“Uh…a few years I guess,” Hotaru replied, shrugging her shoulders. “It’s not super hard once you get the hang of it though.”

“One thing I don’t get though,” Hikari spoke up. “Does your family know you’re out doing this stuff?”

Hotaru looked away for a second.

“Not…really,” She muttered. “My mom and dad aren’t here.”

“Oh…” Hikari responded, a hint of sympathy in her voice.

“No, no, they’re not…gone gone,” Hotaru reassured everyone. “We got separated from them. They’re on another ship.”

We as in you and your sister, right?” Niji inquired. “You mentioned her before.”

 Hotaru nodded.

“She takes care of me,” she said. “But she’s not around a whole lot ‘cause she works. And I don’t keep in touch with my parents as much anymore ‘cause they’re busy too.”

“I see,” Akio mumbled, putting a hand on his chin with thought.

“But it’s okay,” Hotaru stated. “I’m used to being by myself!”

Niji and Chrysalis exchanged worried glances.

Akio bent down and faced the young girl.

“Well, Hotaru,” He began. “You don’t have to be if you don’t want to. I- actually, all of us saw what you did today and to be quite honest, we’re impressed.”

“Yeah, you’re really good!” Hikari complimented with a smile. Hotaru beamed.

“And quite frankly, I think you could do well,” Akio went on.

“Well with what?” Hotaru asked curiously, tilting her head slightly. Chrysalis chuckled.

“He wants you to join our team,” She explained. “We think you could be a Galaxy Mew.”

Hotaru  failed to respond for a few seconds, but soon she began to bounce up and down with utter excitement.

“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!!” She exclaimed. “That would be so cool!”

But as quickly as her excitement was kindled, so quickly it fell. Hotaru stopped bouncing for a moment and groaned.

“But…I don’t think I can!” She sighed.

“Why not?” Hikari questioned.

“My sister!” The eager young girl whined. “She wouldn’t let me do it! And even if I didn’t tell her she’d know I’d gone missing!”

“I suppose that is a problem,” Akio exhaled. “I don’t suppose she’d believe what I told her if I said I wanted you to work here or shelter you for any reason…”

“Probly not,” Hotaru sighed. “She’s so unfair!”

“Oh come on, I’m sure she’ll listen to what Akio, or even any of us, has to say,” Chrysalis assured her. “My brother was skeptical too. He didn’t believe Akio’s story about making me an apprentice so we had to tell him the truth. He was worried, but…eventually he let me decide for myself.”

“You had a brother?” Hotaru’s eyes widened. Chrysalis nodded.

“He was my big brother,” she explained. “He used to be overprotective of me because I was blind.”

“Blind?”

“Yeah, I…well I got blinded on my way to the colony and I had to live with it for four years. Then Akio came along and…things changed. I got my sight back and I got to be a Galaxy Mew!”

“Wow!” Hotaru exclaimed. “Wait…what about you two? What were you like before being Mews?”

“I was working in the boiler rooms,” Niji replied. “Lived by myself in a cramped up cabin and I had to steal my own food. Sometimes we would get food for working but it wasn’t all the time and even if we got some, it was never enough. And we’d never get clothing or anything so I had to steal that myself too.  I got caught stealing at some point and Akio stepped in to help me. He offered to make me a Galaxy Mew and I thought it would be a good Idea so I went for it.”

“Oh, gosh…” Hikari gasped. “I had no Idea you had to steal your own supplies! I feel sort of bad now…”

“Don’t,” Niji said with a smile. “It wasn’t too bad. It’s not your fault, anyway. It’s just the way the colonies work. Even in space things can be a little unfair.”

“Why do you feel bad?” Hotaru proclaimed.

“Well, I worked for a merchant,” Hikari answered. “And I always got spare food and clothing. I’m the only one here who seems to have had everything handed to me!”

“We’ve all had struggles,” Akio reassured her, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Each of us have come from different backgrounds and have gone through our fair share. There’s no need for guilt.”

“You guys have been through a lot…” Hotaru sighed. “But… you’re Mews now! You’re saving the world and the human race right? Isn’t that a good thing?”

“It is,” Akio agreed with a  nod. “And I really would like for you to join our team.”

“Yeah, we could really use that agility,” Chrysalis retorted.

“And energy,” Niji added with a laugh.

“But what about my sister?” Hotaru asked.

“I’ll talk to her,” Akio promised. “Leave it to the old man!”

He chuckled.

“Aw…you’re not that old, mister” Hotaru blushed. “Sorry if I sounded mean before.”

“It’s fine,” Akio reassured the girl. “Now then, can you take me to your cabin? I’d be more than happy to meet with your sister- what’s her name?”

“Arisu,” Hotaru replied, smiling. “She’s real bossy but I guess if you get on her good side you’ll be okay.”

“I’ll be sure to,” Akio chuckled.

“Do you need one of us to come along?” Chrysalis proclaimed. “You know, just in case she needs some more..encouragement?”

“I suppose,” Akio said, thoughtfully. He turned to Hotaru. “Would you mind?”

“No,” Hotaru shook her head. “It might help. She really likes you guys too but not as much as I do!”

The girls smiled.

“Why don’t you let Mew Spectral Galaxy  go?” Hikari suggested. “She’s our leader after all.”

“Sure,” Akio agreed. “You up for it?”

“I’m ready whenever you are,” Niji replied with a nod. “Hotaru, can you lead the way from the boiler room?”

“No prob!” Hotaru beamed, happy to help. The trio ascended from the laboratory and made their way through the colony to the cabin area. When they reached the boiler rooms, Akio asked Hotaru a question.

“Do you mind if I stop by the marketplace for a moment? There’s something I need to get.”

“What?” Hotaru was confused. “Uh…sure…?”

“I’ll be quick,” Akio promised. When they reached the marketplace, Akio headed off for a moment while Niji and Hotaru exchanged confused glances. When Akio returned, he held a small brown bag full of fruit in his hands.

“You held us back for fruit?” Niji questioned, astonished. “Akio, you’re really weird sometimes.”

“You never know when you’ll need it,” Akio simply replied. Niji shook her head, thinking his actions to be silly. Hotaru simply shrugged the event off and continued walking towards her cabin. When the trio got there, they found Arisu, waiting outside with a worried expression on her face. As soon as she caught sight of her sister, she ran to her and shook her.

“Hotaru!” She exclaimed. “Where were you?! I got back half an hour ago and you weren’t home like you promised!”

Hotaru’s heart jumped. She hadn’t expected her sister to have arrived so early.

Arisu looked up from her sister and saw Niji and Akio standing behind her. She rose up and pushed her hair out of her face.

“Oh, uh…hello!” She greeted. “I-I’m…sorry, I was just so worried about her and…“

“I understand,” Akio assured her. “I’m sorry to have worried you. You see, Hotaru here had gone to the market to deliver this to you since she was so worried.”

Hotaru stared at Akio in disbelief as he handed the bag of fruit to her sister. Arisu took it with awe. She turned to Hotaru and smiled.

“You…you got this for me?” She gasped. Hotaru turned to look at Akio, who winked.

So he was just trying to cover up my getting in trouble! She thought, smiling.

“Yeah, I felt bad for shouting at you,” Hotaru lied. “So I wanted to go get you some food but I bumped into these two along the way. They didn’t want me to be out alone so they took me to meet the Galaxy Mews and watch them train. And then they took me to the market to get this stuff and brought me back here.”

“You met the Galaxy Mews?!” Arisu excitedly spoke. “That’s amazing!”

“Yeah, they’re really cool!” Hotaru exclaimed with glee. “They’re really nice and they’re really strong!”

“I’d imagine!” Arisu laughed. She turned towards Akio and Niji. “Thank you so much for bringing her here. I’m just glad that she wasn’t hurt! She didn’t cause you any trouble did she?”

“Not at all,” Niji assured her. “In fact…she did some pretty neat stuff.”

“What do you mean?”

“I showed them my gymnastic skills!” Hotaru bragged. “And they really liked it! I went super fast and everything!”

What?! Did you get hurt? You didn’t interrupt them or break anything did you?”

“I’m not a baby, Arisu!” Hotaru shot back. “I didn’t hurt anyone. They really liked it too, right guys?”

“She’s right,” Akio agreed. “I was very much impressed with her agility and skill. And to be quite honest…”

“What?” Arisu began to grow anxious.

“..Well, before I say anything more, I think It would be best to finish this conversation inside,” Akio suggested. “If you don’t mind.”

Arisu and Niji headed inside, and Hotaru quickly stopped Akio and hugged him.

“Thanks so much for not giving me away!” She beamed. “You’re really cool, Akio!”

The young man smiled at her.

“Anytime,” he chuckled.

The two followed Niji and Arisu into the cabin, which Akio found to be quite empty and clean compared to the others he had been in.

“Take a seat on the beds if you’d like,” Arisu invited. “We don’t have chairs or anything at the moment.”

Hotaru plopped down on her bed while Akio and Arisu sat across from each other. Niji simpy stood by and leaned on the wall behind them.

“So, you had something to say?” Arisu questioned. Akio nodded.

“Yes,” he said. “You see, Hotaru is a very special girl, much like each of the Galaxy Mews. I’m impressed with her agility and her skill, and If you’d allow her, I’d like to make her a Galaxy Mew.”

“W…what?” Arisu stared at him in disbelief. “N- no! Absolutely not! It’s too dangerous!”

Hotaru frowned at her sister.

“I knew it!” She shouted. “You won’t let me do anything!”

“Hotaru, it’s too dangerous!” Arisu argued. “I can’t have you risking your life like that! You’re too young!”

“So?” Hotaru shot back. “Mew Radiant sun isn’t too much older than me and she’s a Mew!”

“That’s different!” Arisu  replied sharply. “She…she…”

“Arisu,” Niji spoke up. Arisu perked her head up at Niji, her face worn with worry.

“Don’t you want to see your parents again someday?”

“I…”

“Mew Spectral Galaxy…” Akio warned her, not wanting her to upset anyone. Niji didn’t listen to him.

“I understand you’re worried about her safety,” she went on. “I know what it’s like to have to let go of someone. I know that it’s hard. But we need good people to help us. And I would take care of her. We all would. Besides, she’s tough. Have you ever stopped and watched her? Seen what it is that she can do?”

“No…”

“It seems to me that you keep underestimating her. You think you have to take responsibility for everything because you’re alone and there’s nobody to help you, and you’re constantly busy because of it. I get that. But you have to realize, she’s more than she seems. Yes, she’s still a child, but she’s growing and she’s able to do much more than you ever cared to realize.”

“Mew Spectral Galaxy, please stop,” Akio raised his voice. “There’s no need to guilt her.”

“I’m sorry,” Niji apologized. “It’s just-“

“You’re right,” Arisu interrupted sharply. Everyone looked at her with surprise.

“I never got the chance to know her well because I was always working,” Arisu went on. “I know I’m not always there but life here is hard, you know? I just want to do what’s right. I don’t want anything to happen to either of us and I want this family to be together again one day. But there’s just so much to handle, so much to take care of that it becomes difficult. I never have time for anything that I used to. I’ve grown so apart from her and… I’m so sorry…”

“It’s not your fault,” Hotaru spoke finally. “I didn’t know you were trying to be responsible or anything…I’m sorry too.”

Arisu smiled at her sister. She turned to Akio and sighed.

“I know that you and your team take great care of one another,” she stated. “And I want to see my parents again and live back home more than anything in the world. So… If you promise to keep her safe, if you promise me that you’ll guide her… I won’t mind Hotaru joining your team.”

Hotaru’s eyes widened.

“Really?” She gasped. “You mean it?”

“I do.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!” Hotaru squealed, jumping up and hugging her sister. “I’ll be careful, I promise!”

“I know you will,” Arisu smiled. Hotaru turned around to face Akio and Niji.

“So…?”

“If you really want to,” Akio began, “We’ll take her in. And I do promise to take care of her. We all will.”

“But you do realize, once you’re one of us, you can’t come back for a while, right?” Niji warned.

“For how long?” Hotaru asked. Akio shook his head.

“We can’t tell right now,” he said. “But someday.”

“I’m okay with it,” Arisu promised. “I trust you.”

“Me too,” Hotaru nodded happily. She hugged her sister again. “I’m gonna miss you, Arisu.”

“I’ll miss you too,” her sister replied. “And when we do see mom and dad again, we’ll have a story to tell, right?”

“Right!” Hotaru giggled.

--------------------------

Once the matter was settled, Hotaru had been taken back to the lab to be transformed. She was given a full briefing on her responsibility and the process, to which the child heartily agreed to. The other mews decided to go into the room where the device used to inject them with DNA was stationed in order to watch over their new young team mate and encourage her. They all felt that she might be scared, but truthfully, Hotaru was nothing but excited. She was eager to become a Mew and eager to help them out on their mission to take back their world. And more than anything, much like Arisu, she wanted to see her parents again and live a happy life like before.

Akio strapped Hotaru’s wrists and ankles down as per each past procedure and left her as she were to head to the control center.

“What’s it feel like, anyway?” Hotaru questioned. She childishly swayed her feet back and forth and looked around the room with childlike curiosity. “It doesn’t hurt does it?”
“Not really,” Hikari reassured her. “It’s nice and warm.”

“And pretty relaxing,” Chrysalis added. “I guess you feel a little pressure but it’s not really bad at all.”

“That’s not so bad,” Hotaru decided. “Okay, I’m ready!”

“Alright,” Akio responded. “I’m starting it now.” He executed the procedure as he had thrice before. Hotaru watched as the large gun before her aimed its barrel a few feet away from her body. She watched as the mechanism whirred and clicked, and before she could blink, it fired. Instantly, Hotaru was surrounded by blissful light and warmth, and the ground beneath everyone’s feet trembled. Hotaru’s eyes closed slowly, and she caught sight of the playful figure of a monkey scampering about before she finally succumbed to sleep.

When the light faded and the procedure finished, Akio and his Galaxy Mew team laid their eyes on their new sleeping teammate, draped with onyx and electric yellow clothing. Hotaru’s brown hair was now black, and she had the ears and tail of a monkey.

“Wow, she looks really cool!” Hikari commented. “What animal DNA does she have?”

“That of a yellow-cheeked gibbon,” Akio responded, rising. He walked out of the control center while his Mew team followed.

“She’ll fit that role pretty well,” Niji chuckled. “I know she’ll be a good Mew. She’s got all that energy anyway.”

“No kidding!” Chrysalis laughed. “She’s a real trip though. She can get a little annoying but she’s still a pretty cool kid all things considered.”

Akio began to unstrap Hotaru’s hands and feet, and he scooped her body up in his arms.

“She needs some supervision,” he said, walking out of the room. “But I think she’s very capable on her own. She knows when to respect people and when to be herself. She is still a child and very free-spirited, but she is manageable and easy to work with.”

“Have you ever dealt with kids before?” Hikari inquired, walking beside her mentor. “You seem to be able to handle them pretty well.”

“I have, actually,” Akio admitted. “I had a few girlfriends in High school and they usually had smaller siblings that I’d have to deal with when I came over.”

“You dated?!” Chrysalis was astonished. “What else don’t I know about you, hm?”

“It’s not like it’s a big secret,” Akio chuckled. He reached the room he was looking for and laid Hotaru’s body out on the bed before him.  “I’m still a human being after all.”

“What were you like when you were younger?” Hikari asked with interest, her little tail flicking to and fro.

“Same as ever, really,” Akio admitted, hooking Hotaru up to a heart monitor. “I used to play a lot as a kid, I unintentionally got into fights as a teenager, and I became a hard worker as an adult. In fact, If not for Alexander, I’d probably be-“

“Alexander?” Chrysalis interrupted. “Who’s that?”

Akio smiled weakly and Niji put a hand on his back in concern.

“Just…an old friend,” he replied quietly. “He was a very odd man. But… if I hadn’t met him, I’d probably be so pent up in my work that I’d be an absolute mess.”

“He sounds nice,” Hikari noted, smiling. Niji looked down.

“Well then, it shouldn’t be very long until she wakes up,” Akio moved on, perking his head up and turning towards Hotaru. “It seems she’s In fine condition at the moment, as expected.”

“I hope she doesn’t bounce off the wall too much,” Chrysalis chuckled. “I know how excited she gets for stuff like this.”

“I can’t wait to hang out with her!” Hikari grinned. “She’s closer to my age after all. Everyone else is way older than me.”

“Aw, c’mon, kid,” Chrysalis laughed, putting a hand on Hikari’s head. “You should be happy. Being older ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be.”

At that moment, Hotaru began to shift around in her slumber, and within a minute, she opened her eyes. Hotaru slowly lifted her body up and shook her head, still groggy. When she fully came to and realized that her form had changed, she smiled.

“I’m a Mew now!” She gasped with surprise. “Oh this is amazing, I love it!”

“You look good in black,” Niji giggled.

”Well, technically it’s Onyx,” Chrysalis mused. “Oh, but who cares, welcome to the Galaxy Mew team!”

Hotaru beamed.

“This is gonna be awesome!” She exclaimed. “I can’t wait to see what I can do!”

“And neither can I!” Hikari agreed. “Everyone always gets such cool powers!”

“Well, if you’re feeling alright,” Akio began. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to get started on your training.”

“I feel fine, Akio,” Hotaru insisted. “C’mon, let’s go!”

The Mews all gathered in the gymnasium while Akio instructed his new teammate. Chrysalis perched on the railing while the other two leaned on it. Hikari more so, interested to know what her new teammate was capable of.

“Now that we have more members,” Akio began, “The other mews can train amongst themselves. However, since you’re new to this, I’ll have you start with practice dummies so that you can get the hang of your powers and weapon.  Once you start getting more accustomed to your mew form, you can start your training sessions with the other girls unsupervised. Now, first things first, you need to summon your weapon, which is what you will be channeling a lot of your power through in battles.”

“Okay,” Hotaru nodded. “Uh..how do I do that?”

“Just think for a minute,” Akio explained. “The words will come to your head. It’ll take some practice, but soon you’ll be able to draw your weapon quickly in the midst of battle.”

“Okay, I’ll try,” Hotaru said. She shut her eyes for a minute and within a few moments, she shouted out,

“Onyx Ring!”

From the air, an onyx tambourine-like ring with electric yellow cymbals came down, and Hotaru caught it without a second thought.

“Good,” Akio complimented. “Now try the same with an attack. Words will come to your head to summon the attack as they had to summon your weapon. Aim your attack at one of the practice dummies.”

Hotaru nodded and focused once again, clutching the Onyx Ring in her hands. As before, the words came to her suddenly.

“Ribbon Lightning STOMP!” She cried, flipping into the air and  thrusting the ring into the ground. It created a storm of haze and lightning. The lightning seemingly rode a shockwave and ripped the practice dummy apart. Its limbs detached from its body and scattered across the floor.

“Nice!” Hikari called excitedly from behind the railing.

“So her powers are electricity?” Niji noted, folding her arms.

“Storm, from the looks of it,” Chrysalis added, crossing her legs and grinning. “That’s pretty wicked.”

“I love these powers!” Hotaru bounced. “Oh this is awesome!”

For the rest of the day, and three days after, Hotaru continued to train in her mew form, growing accustomed to it and her newfound power. Akio and the Galaxy Mews supervised her and guided her each day (when they weren’t on missions, anyway), and soon she mastered her form completely. Hotaru was able to apply her agile gymnastic ability in her fighting, and learned to conjure storm and haze at will with her weapon. After each session, Hotaru hung out with her fellow teammates by the front of the gymnasium and chatted with them.

“You’re really something,” Chrysalis complimented. “Do you think you’ll be ready for the real deal tomorrow?”

“Of course I will!” Hotaru boasted. “And I have you guys there to help me so it should be easy.”

“Just remember, it’s not a game out there,” Niji warned. “It’s a very dangerous environment and sometimes unexpected things happen.”

“I’m sure we’ll all be okay,” Hikari said. “She’s capable.”

She stretched and yawned.

“Anyway, you know,” she went on, “It’s been a few days, and yet I don’t think we’ve told you our names, Hotaru.”

“No, you haven’t!” Hotaru agreed. “You told me what you were like before you became mews but not your names!.”

“Well, I’m Niji Harada,” their leader spoke first.

“I’m Hikari Yamamoto”

“Chrysalis Müller.”

“And I’m Hotaru Kojima!” Hotaru burst out with a smile. “Nice to meet you all!”

She tilted her head.

“But do we have to call each other by our mew names?”

“Only when you’re around other people,” Akio explained. “When you’re here at the lab amongst each other, it’s perfectly fine to use each other’s real names. And in battle, you usually stick to your mew names.”

“Aw, I don’t have a mew name yet!” Hotaru whined.

“You’ll get it soon, kid,” Chrysalis reassured her teammate. “We all usually get our aliases after our first battles. I guess it’s sort of an introductory thing…like an official welcome to the team.”

“Something like that,” Hikari agreed.

“Hey, we should get some rest for tomorrow,” Chrysalis noted. “We’ll have to start early.”

“I’m still not used to getting up early,” Hotaru sighed. “I don’t know how you do it. Even Hikari gets up early!”

Hikari giggled.

“Hey, trust us,” Niji laughed. “It’s not easy. Even we’re late sometimes.”

“Which is not a very good thing,” Akio reminded her. “If you don’t mind my saying.”

“Aw, we’re still responsible,” Chrysalis nudged him. “You worry too much.”

“Not enough, if you ask me!” Akio responded hastily. The girls laughed. Hikari pushed herself off of the rail and brushed her hair behind her.

“Well, we should get going,” she suggested. “We’ll see you tomorrow, Akio.”

Akio nodded as they headed off. Niji stayed behind, still leaning on the rail by him.

“Did you need something, Niji?” Akio inquired, turning his head toward her. Niji looked down for a moment.

“The other day…” She started. “…You didn’t seem to really want to talk about Alexander. I mean, I know you’re upset about him, and I am too..but….”

“I just don’t think it’s a good Idea to down their spirits,” Akio admitted. “I miss him, but I didn’t avoid the subject out of grief. I just didn’t think it was the right time to bring him up. Maybe when this is all over and we can all tell each other our stories, I can share mine.”

“If you say so,” Niji sighed. “As long as you’re not hurting yourself over it, okay?”

“I’m alright,” Akio promised. “Now, why don’t you go get some rest? You have an important day ahead of you, after all.”

“Yeah...I’ll do that.”

Niji stood up from the rail she was leaning on and started to walk off.

“See you tomorrow,” Akio called, smiling.

--------------------------------

 

“This is a really tiny radio!” Hotaru examined. She poked at the little device that Akio handed her.

“It’s compact and convenient,” he told her. “And they’re very valuable, so I’d be very careful with it if I were you.”

“It’s how we keep in touch with each other,” Niji explained to Hotaru. “Each of us gets one. We usually return it after we come back and Akio keeps them safe.”

Hotaru stood there in the launch bay along with her teammates, awaiting their departure to their home planet. Hotaru was excited to return to Earth and fight, but she couldn’t say that she wasn’t also a little worried. She knew that she could take care of herself and that she now had friends to protect her, but not knowing what the Earth was like now after all this time or what monsters awaited her in the future scared her.

“Hey, don’t worry,” Hikari told her team mate, giving her a smile. Hotaru was surprised. Was she showing that she was afraid? How did Hikari know?

“It’s a little scary your first time,” the sunny-eyed girl went on. “I was terrified on my first mission. But you’ve got us to back you up. It’ll be alright.”

“Thanks,” Hotaru grinned. Knowing that she wasn’t the only one to feel this way assuaged her.

“The ship can autopilot itself according to the coordinates I send to it” Akio explained. “But in the case that something goes wrong with it, Mew Spectral Galaxy and Mew Lunar Dream are able pilot the craft. Consider one the pilot and the other the copilot. You only need one person to fly it if needed, but it’s always important to have more in any case.”

He opened the bay door to allow the girls to enter the ship.

“Do you really think I can do this?” Hotaru inquired, beginning to doubt herself as she caught sight of the vast space behind the glass.

“Definitely,” Akio promised, flashing her a warm smile. “You can do anything if you really put your mind to it.”

“Let’s go, Hotaru,” Niji called from behind her.

“Coming,” Hotaru replied, turning to walk away from Akio.

“Good luck, Galaxy Mews,” Akio called as the girls boarded the craft.

When they were launched, Hotaru pressed her face against the glass, much like Chrysalis had her first time out of the colony. This made her chuckle.

“How do you like it?” She questioned, crossing her legs

Hotaru’s eyes widened.

“It’s so pretty….” She gasped. “I’ve never seen it up close like this before!”

“You’ll be seeing it a lot,” Hikari told her friend, flicking her tail to and fro. “But it’s still really nice to look at.”

“Hey, where are we going, anyway?” Hotaru proclaimed, turning away from the window to Niji.

“The coordinates are set for Africa,” Niji replied. “Not sure exactly where, but I don’t think it’d be anywhere too densely populated by Chimera Anima. Akio tries his best not to send us anywhere where we might get surrounded on our first missions. But that doesn’t mean accidents don’t happen. So be prepared for anything, alright?”

“Alright.”

Within a couple of hours, the girls landed in a grassland type area, behind a large hill. The sky above them was orange, as it was relatively early in the day. The wind was blowing slowly, creating a cool breeze in the heat of the grasslands.

“This place is really bare!” Hikari noted as she stepped out of the craft. “If there were any Chimera Anima, you’d probably be able to see them from miles away!”

“Well, there are hills and trees for them to hide in or behind,” Niji reminded her. “And it looks like there’s a lot of elevated platforms around this area.”

“So, are we supposed to hunt them down or wait ‘till they find us?” Hotaru questioned, crossing her arms.

“Sometimes they come to us, sometimes we have to find them,” Chrysalis shrugged. We’re actually pretty lucky not to land anywhere near a Chimera Anima. We’d risk the ship if we had.”

“I guess.”

The girls decided to climb the hill they had landed behind and found themselves face to face with a beautiful African sun. And not too much farther from them were trees, which had grown quite tall.

“There’s our best bet,” Niji decided. The team followed her into the thicket of trees, and shortly after they arrived, the Mews heard a sound, much like laughter, circling them.

“What was that?” Hikari squeaked, her tail and ears perking up.

“I don’t know,” Chrysalis stated, preparing herself for an attack. “It sounded like-“

“Hyenas!”

The girls turned to  see Hikari pointing at three large Hyena-type Chimera Anima before her. The beast bared its teeth and swiped its paw at them, knocking the lot of them over.

“Are you alright?” Akio called from the other end of their radios.

“We’re fine,” Niji assured, quickly rising from the ground. “Spectral Whip!”

She lashed out at one of the hyenas, who quickly stepped aside and tried to bite her. Chrysalis flew in front of it and stuck her weapon between its teeth. She pushed the Hyena back and attacked.

“Ribbon Lunar Strike!”

The Hyena jumped to avoid the attack, but was instead hit and had one of his paws frozen into the ground.

Hotaru and Hikari were busy with the other two Hyenas. Hikari had already summoned her weapon and kept firing at her stalking predator.

“Ribbon Flame Blast!”

Her attack missed the Hyena, but she set the grass before it on fire, trapping it for a moment. Hotaru jumped through the flames, wielding her weapon, and struck next.

“Ribbon Lightning STOMP!”

She thrust her Onyx Ring into the earth and blew the flames aside. The lightning struck the Hyena, but it did not disappear.

“These things are tough!” She cried.

“Hotaru, watch out!”

Another Hyena came up from behind Hotaru and attempted to bite her, but Hotaru swiftly jumped aside and struck with her attack once more. The Hyenas new better and swiftly dodged it again.

The first Hyena, its paw still in Ice, began to thrash about, and it soon broke free.

“Ribbon Spectral Divide!” Niji cried, attempting to strike the creature. She missed , however, and was quickly swiped at. The Hyena threw her to the ground while Chrysalis tried to defend her. She aimed her weapon at the beast, but it quickly hit it out of her hands and tried to bite her. Chrysalis flew quickly past the Hyena to retrieve her weapon.

“This isn’t working!” she cried. “We have to try something else!”

“Ribbon Flame Blast!” Hikari shouted. Again, she missed the Hyenas. They began to circle the Mews, cackling again as they had before.

 “W-wait, let me try something!” Hotaru called out. With her weapon, she conjured up a vast puff of smog and haze, clouding the area.

“But Hotaru, we can’t see through this!” Hikari called.

“I didn’t mean-“ Hotaru felt embarrassed.

“How can we fight them if we can’t see them?” Chrysalis demanded. Then, Hotaru had an Idea.

“Akio!” She called. “Is it possible to amplify my attack with someone else’s power?”

“Yes, I’m sure,” Akio responded quickly from the other end. “If you combine it with the right element, it could be awfully powerful. Mew Spectral Galaxy, you harness powerful energy, and you can control and conjure it through your weapon.”

“You’re right,” Niji agreed. “Alright, let’s give it a try. Everyone, get in the middle!”

The mews all did as instructed

“Hotaru, now when I count to three, aim your lightning up!”

“Okay!”

“One, two, three!”

Hotaru did as told and let out a burst of lightning. With Niji’s power, the lightning was amplified and had a further reach. All three Hyenas that had been circling them were hit and destroyed. The haze subsided and before them were three little jellyfish-type creatures. Niji, Hikari and Chrysalis each destroyed one while Hotaru watched in surprise.

“What were those things?” She questioned, disgusted.

“They’re the parasitic things that take over their hosts and transform them in to Chimera Anima,” Akio explained. “They appear after you defeat each Chimera Anima. They are expelled from the host’s body after defeat, which is then left unconscious as you see there before you.”

Hotaru looked at the three Hyenas, now simply normal Hyenas, lying unconscious on the ground and tapped one of them with her foot.

“And when they are in that state, away from the host,” Akio went on, “They’re completely vulnerable, and so the Mews destroy them when they appear. They’re ultimately what we’re after.”

“They’re really scary looking,” Hotaru shuddered. “I’m just glad it’s over.”

“You all did a marvelous job,” Akio complimented. “Why don’t you head on back?”

“Will do,” Chrysalis sighed, stretching out her back. “Ah, that feels better.”

“You did a good job!” Hikari admired. “And that lightning was really cool!”

“Thanks!” Hotaru giggled, beaming. The team made their way back to their colony and were again greeted by Akio. They walked back to the lab and chatted as Akio treated their injuries.

“You should have seen it!” Hotaru exclaimed, bouncing excitedly. “The lightning was like, REALLY bright and really big! I didn’t know that was even possible!”

Niji and Akio flashed each other smiles as Hotaru prattled on.

“I had no Idea we could combine our powers like that,” Hikari mused. “I wonder what kind of attacks we can make together?

“To be quite honest, neither did I!” Akio admitted. “But To be fair, something like that didn’t seem impossible.”

“Well, it worked,” Chrysalis chuckled. “I gotta hand it to you though, you handled things relatively well all things considered, Hotaru.”

“Thanks, Chrysalis,” Hotaru smiled. “I’m still not used to being out there but I know I’ll get the hang of it!”

“Still, think about it-“ Hikari went on.  “If just two of our powers combined like that is powerful enough to take out three Chimera Anima, imagine what we could do if we all combined out powers!”

“Now that would be something,” Akio mused, patching up a few scratches on Niji’s arm. “I suppose we should give it a try sometime during a training day. You could all give your combinations a try and then essentially try out a combination of all four.”

“Sounds fun,” Hotaru giggled. She looked at her fellow teammates and frowned. “But hey, do I get my own name now? I’m one of you guys now after all, right?”

“Sure are, ace,” Chrysalis agreed. “Time to give you your title!”

“How about Mew Lightning?” Hikari suggested.

“That’s too boring,” Chrysalis argued, shaking her head. “Look at her outfit, it’s like…Onyx and stuff. How about Onyx…uh…Onyx…”

“Onyx Storm?” Niji suggested.

“Oh, yeah that sounds much better!” Hotaru agreed. “I like it!”

“Well then,” Akio began, grinning, “I suppose from now on, you’ll be known as Mew Onyx Storm.”

“Welcome to the team!” Hikari giggled, pouncing her new friend. “Oh, this is going to be fun!”

Hotaru laughed.

“So, when can we introduce her to the other colonies?” Niji questioned.

“I’ll have the captain set up a transmission feed tonight,” Akio responded. “Hotaru, why don’t you come with me? We’ll show your face to the other colonies and let them know that we’ve found our fourth Galaxy Mew.”

“Okay!” Hotaru agreed, nodding. “I hope Arisu sees me! I wonder what she’ll say…?”

“She’ll probably be really proud of you,” Chrysalis said. “I know my family is. At least I hope so.”

Niji flashed her companion a smile, and Chrysalis returned it.

In a few hours, Hotaru and Akio met with the Captain, and he authorized a live feed to everyone’s cabins on all colony ships. Mew Onyx Storm was then introduced to the rest of the human race as their next heroine, and everyone rejoiced. Before the feed could end, Hotaru took charge and said her piece.

“Hey, big sis!” She called. “Can you hear me? I just want you to know that I love you and I’ll miss you! But don’t worry, ‘cause me and the other mews are gonna save the world and then we can go back home and see everyone again, okay?! Hang on!”

In Hotaru’s old Cabin, Arisu sat on her bed, watching her little sister encourage her. She was proud that Hotaru was doing good for their kind, and she knew that she had nothing to worry about now that she was in safe hands.

“Good luck,” Arisu told her sister from the other side of the transmission, although she knew she could not hear her.

 “I know you’ll do everyone proud.”

She continued to watch as the feed ended on Mew Onyx Storm’s smiling face, and once it was gone, she couldn’t help but feel like she had lost something important. But she didn’t worry, because Arisu knew that she’d get to see her again someday, along with her mother and father.

Back in the Mews’ cabin, Hotaru sat on her top bed unable to sleep after the events that took place. She was excited about being a mew. Excited to help her people get back to Earth. Excited for the future.

From beneath her, Hotaru heard Hikari’s groggy voice.

“Hotaru, are you still awake up there?” she called.

“Yeah,” Hotaru replied quietly. “I can’t sleep.”

“Why?”

“I’m happy.”

“Happy about what?”

“I’m happy that I have you guys now,” Hotaru replied. “That I have something to look forward to. Going home and seeing my family again…and helping you guys see your families and friends again. I dunno. I’m excited.”

“I can understand,” her friend agreed.

“Hikari?”

“Yeah?”

“What do you think will happen when we all get back to Earth?”

“Nobody knows,” Hikari answered. “But one thing’s for sure, at least we’ll be home. We’ll have a future.”

“Yeah…” Hotaru murmured. She didn’t hear from Hikari for a while longer, and assumed she had fallen asleep again. Hikari’s words burned in her mind, and she felt glad to know that things would be better soon. Hotaru laid herself down and bundled up, and within a few minutes, fell asleep with a smile on her face.

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Created by AnnikaDoll

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