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The Mews still had not been given a plan or a say-so from the Captain or Akio, and as such had to continue fighting the Chimera Anima as originally planned. However, everyone knew of the situation and it made things far more difficult to bear the burden of such knowledge. It didn’t seem so to anyone else, but tensions ran high throughout the colonies; amongst the captains and especially amongst the Galaxy Mew Team. However, they did not let fear or worry deter them from their duties.

Though Ehne had made a grand appearance to the Mews before Nexus came along, she refused to appear since. She only appeared during an influx of Chimera Anima, which she had used to draw the Mews out. But nobody quite knew where she was or if she was watching them from afar, and there were no other influxes since that day. All that was known since the mews had last met with her was that she was dangerous and needed to be stopped. Nexus had yet to actually meet this supposed alien girl face to face, but though she was curious, she knew that Ehne was a threat and that letting her guard down for a moment could be the end of her or her new friends. The Mews had taught her everything they knew about the situation, helped her understand what it is they were dealing with, and Nexus did not like it one bit. In fact, it made her very angry to know that someone would do this for any reason. Then  again, the Ajra were a parasitic race. She’d heard of them before, but only really in horror stories and through word-of-mouth. She never really thought much of them back home, as no Ecorian person ever had dealt with them before.

Missions and missions went by for almost more than a week. The Mews began to wonder if they were even trying anymore and why the higher ups were refraining from giving them a useful command. Not only this, but even the Chimera Anima themselves were smaller in number. Or at least they started getting easier to defeat. The Mews were quite bored, really. But they did as they were told; which was nothing.

On one day, Akio called for a training session as opposed to a real mission. The Mews asked him why, but Akio just shook his head.

“The Captain gave me an order to keep you here today,” he said simply, shrugging his shoulders. “He wants to pop in and observe your progress, so it would seem. I’m not quite sure why, but, that’s what he told me.”

“It’s not really like him to do this sort of thing,” Hotaru noted, rubbing her chin in thought.

“But if he says something, we have to listen,” Hikari sighed. She twitched her tail to and fro, letting the bell on her bow jingle as it swayed. “Any Idea what this is about, Akio?”

“None,” their mentor answered. “Just get to training. He’ll probably be here shortly.”

And so the Captain was. The Mews observed him as he shook their hands and watched them train. They even listened in to his conversation with Akio and there didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary.

After a long session, the girls gathered around and on the railing in the gymnasium to talk while the Captain continued to chat with the doctor. Every so often, Niji would catch a glimpse of him, and every time he would be looking in their direction for a split second before locking eyes with her and going back to Akio hurriedly. It was fairly odd. Perhaps there was something wrong?

“The Captain’s acting real weird,” Niji noted, leaning on the railing. She took a sip of water from a bottle in her hand. “He keeps looking at me...or...us...I don’t know.”

“Ah, he’s probably got something on his mind,” Chrysalis shrugged. “I just wish he’d tell us to do something already...you know, other than waiting around for the date of the next...uh...‘hatch’?”

“You mean when Ehne’s ‘children’ are created,” Hikari pointed out. “Ugh, that girl...I can’t stand her!”

“Where has she been, anyway?” Nexus pondered, holding her head in her hand. “I have yet to see the creature. It has been over one of your Earthly units, after all.”

“You mean a week?” Chrysalis raised her brow. Nexus nodded sheepishly.

“I dunno,” Hotaru groaned. “I kinda just wanna go ahead and do our own thing, you know? Forget the Captain’s orders!”

“Hotaru shh!!!” Hikari shushed. “He’s right there, you know!”

“Sorry.”

“What could we do, anyway?” Niji questioned. “Now that I think about it. I mean, sure, we could disobey orders and do our own thing, but...where would we even start? Our goal right now as it is is to find Ehne’s ship, right? But since she can move it wherever she wants, and because it’s invisible of all things...”

“Yeah, we know,” Chrysalis rolled her eyes. “I don’t know, though...I’m just really afraid of what’ll happen if we wait too long, you know? What if the parasites are spread out? How are we going to get Ehne in time? Will we ever even see our families again?”

The other mews groaned. There was a brief silence before Hotaru spoke up and changed the subject to a more lighthearted one.

“Hey, I mean, we’ve had some good times with everyone right?” she encouraged. “Me and My sister fought a lot and then she was never really totally around...and I haven’t seen my mama or papa in years but that’s not going to stop me from keeping my head up!”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Niji smiled. “I remember my friend James and my other friends...”

She looked down.

“I really miss them. Playing cards together, chatting about stupid mundane things...”

“I wonder how Soren’s doing...” Hikari mused. “Without him, I don’t know where I’d be! Probably too afraid of my own shadow!”

Nexus looked down but said nothing, remembering the tragedy that had befallen her kind.

Hotaru pouted.

“I was talking about the good stuff!!” She shouted. “Come on, there’s tons of good memories, right? You shouldn’t let your fears or sadness get you down!”

Chrysalis laughed.

“Alright, squirt, calm down.”

She ruffled Hotaru’s hair.

“C’mon, we’re still positive,” she went on. “We just miss everyone is all.”

Nexus mustered up a smile and Niji nodded. Akio walked in then to greet his team. The girls turned to him with surprise, having forgotten about his talking with the Captain.

“Hey, what have you and el capitan been discussing?” Chrysalis inquired.

“El what...?” Akio looked at her in confusion. The blue-eyed girl shook her head.

“Ah, forget it.”

“Anyway,” Akio coughed, looking away, “The Captain didn’t really say anything about his request to watch you train or anything. He just started talking to me about the Mew Project and you guys and then just sort of left. Wonder what he’s planning?”

“Hopefully something good,” Nexus chimed. “We must take action soon. We have done nothing but mundane missions when there is a tyrant to stop.”

“I actually wholeheartedly agree,” Akio nodded. “But it’s not really my call. For now, all we can do is keep sending you to different cities until I’m told to have you do otherwise. There’s no real plan.”

“Maybe we should make one,” Niji suggested. “One of our own. Nobody has to know!”

“Maybe.” Akio pondered, holding his chin. “We’ll see, girls. For the moment, I think you should get back to your cabin and wait for tomorrow’s mission.”

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

The next day, the girls were sent like always to their ship and down to Earth. Akio had picked up a slight influx in Chimera Anima on the Radar and he thought it worth checking out. The Girls found themselves in a misty area with old crumbled stone buildings. The land around them was lush with green grass, but the air was horrendously humid. Hikari kicked one of the stone chunks on the ground, perking her ears up slightly.

“What is this, some sort of village?” She questioned. “It looks too oldstyle to really be modern. Like something you’d find in a medieval fairytale or something.”

“It’s something like that,” Akio answered from the other side. “It’s actually a landmark of sorts. There’s an old castle nearby, too. It’s pretty old but it’s very nice and it even has a garden maze and a fountain and everything.”

“Wow, that’s pretty cool!” Chrysalis retorted. “I’ve read a lot about this kind of stuff but I’ve never actually been to one of these places. Maybe one day I’ll hike an area like this with my brother.”

“Well, we’re not really here to sightsee,” Niji reminded everyone. “Sorry to break the mood.”

“Mew Spectral Galaxy’s right,” Akio agreed. “All beauty aside, you five are here to fight. Only problem is I can’t seem to see those Chimera Anima on my radar anymore...”

“What?” Nexus questioned. “Did they just disappear?”

“No...I don’t think they disappeared... More like-“

The ground rumbled beneath them without warning, and the Mews found themselves being pulled under. When they realized what was happening, several mole Chimera Anima had caught them and began to drag them through a large burrow. They had no time to react before they were pushed up onto land again and left alone. They all drew their weapons quickly once they had caught their footing, but the Chimera Anima had gone away. Still poised for action, the girls looked around and found themselves in the middle of the maze that Akio had mentioned before. The bush, having been unkempt for so long, had grown rather large and was very uneven and grotesque looking. The humidity made some of its branches wilt and wither, and some of the leaves had fallen off. The land beneath them was paved with stone, and in the middle of the area was a small, broken fountain.

“What are we doing here?” Hikari panicked. “What was that?!”

“What happened?” Akio called anxiously. Niji shook her head.

“I...I think we just got attacked by Chimera Anima?” She said with uncertainty. But they dragged us into this maze and they sort of just...left.”

“Something is not right,” Nexus stated, shifting her eyes with alertness.

Just then, the mews heard a familiar voice.

“Oh, so this is your new member, huh?” It called out from above the girls. They looked up to see Ehne in her human form, standing atop the thick bushes of the maze. She had one hand on her hip and her brow was up with impression.

“I have to admit, I didn’t think I’d see another alien,” she chuckled. “Well aren’t you special!”
Nexus bared her teeth and the other mews gripped their weapons with readiness.

“Ehne!” Hotaru called angrily, clutching her onyx ring tightly. “What do you want?!”

“Oh, don’t bother trying to attack me, girls,” Ehne laughed. “If you do, my mole Chimera Anima will tear you apart right here and now! They’re waiting just beneath you, see.”

Ehne put her hands behind her back and began to pace about. The leaves made a harsh crunch sound under her boots with each step she took.

“I want to play a game, Mews,” She giggled. “Simple as that! I thought I’d attract you here by making some suspicious activity show up on your monitoring devices...whatever it is you people use.”

“What are you getting at?” Niji demanded angrily. Ehne chuckled.

“Do you know how big this maze is?” She inquired. The Mews did not answer her.

“It is surprisingly big,” the being went on. “You could get lost if you’re not careful. So naturally, I figured it would be the perfect setting for our game.”

“What game are you talking about?!” Chrysalis scowled. “Start making sense, right now!!”

“Hold on, won’t you?!” Ehne snapped at her. She shook her head.

“It’s a game of challenges,” she went on, still pacing. “I’m going to run you all ragged with little challenges, designed specifically for each of you!”

She giggled.

“Won’t that be fun?”

“What are you-“

“Shut UP!” Ehne screamed, scowling. She quickly returned to a calm attitude and continued to pace about.

“Now, your goal is basically to complete my challenges- to make the right choices.” The vile girl continued, smiling. “If you win, I’ll let you go back home. If not...I’ll kill you.”

The Mews scowled, except Hikari, whose eyes widened in fear.

“And of course, the other aim of the game,” Ehne added smirking at Hikari, “Is to overcome your weaknesses.”

“You know nothing about us!” Nexus shot back angrily. “How can you expect to do such a thing?”

“Oh please, I know plenty,” Ehne rolled her eyes. “Just wait and see dearies.”

She stopped and put a finger over her lips in thought. The young lifeform gazed a Chrysalis for a moment before snapping her fingers.

“Oh yes!” She exclaimed. “There are a few rules. We don’t need anyone to cheat, now, after all! You can’t talk to each other at all, so you’ll have to give up the funny voice that talks to you through those things you have on your necks.  You’re also not allowed to go through the bushes, under the maze ...or over it.”

Just then, one of the mole chimera anima jumped up from the ground behind Chrysalis and swiped at her wings. Chrysalis yelped and clutched her back in pain. Niji tried to attack the creature, but it went back into the ground as quickly as it had come.

Ehne grinned.

“Are we ready?”

“You vile-!“

“Alright then, let’s get started!”

Ehne snapped her fingers, and from the bushes, there came a large plant-type Chimera anima. Before the Mews could react to it, the creature opened up its mouth and released a gas around the mews. They quickly fell unconscious. Akio tried to call for them, but he received no answer- only the sound of  Ehne’s giggling could be heard. She plucked the devices off of the girls’ chokers and stuck them in her pocket. Shortly after, five different moles came up and grabbed each of the unconscious mews. They were pulled into separate burrows and separated in different parts of the maze, completely scattered.

Niji was the first to wake. She groggily rose from the ground in a large area of the maze. She started running her fingers along her choker to see if her radio was still there. When she realized that it was not, Niji widened her eyes and grew anxious. Terrible thoughts about what could have happened to her team crossed her mind. However, before she could act upon any action, She heard a crunch crunch from above her. Niji looked up to find Ehne, bent over on top of the bushes, staring down at the Mew with her blue eyes in thought.

“What do you want?!” Niji called with surprise. She wasn’t quite used to being caught off guard.

“I was wondering when you’d get up,” Ehne sighed. She stood up and wiped her pants off.  “Human joints are much too painful to stay in one position on!”

Niji summoned her weapon and prepared to attack, but Ehne raised her finger and shook it.

“No, no, no, none of that!” She warned, grinning. “If you try to hurt me, the moles will quickly dig and pull you under...and maybe kill you. Who knows! You wouldn’t want to risk it though!”

“Where are my friends?!” Niji demanded, not letting the creature deter her.

“Tsk, you think you’re so strong, huh?” Ehne grunted. “Fine. Your challenge is the Strength challenge!”

“The...what?”

“Strength? You know, that thing you always pretend to have. The strength to carry on, to protect your stupid friends. To never give in. Let’s test that, shall we?”

She snapped her fingers, and five Chimera Anima jumped over the bushes and surrounded Niji. She gazed around at them with shock.

“These are all wolf Chimera Anima,” Ehne explained. “They’re very plentiful here. So, you will fight them. Fight and fight and fight. If you can stay strong and keep going, I just might show you the way out of here. If not...well...you’ll probably be torn to shreds. It’s up to you, though. Are you strong enough?”

“Why don’t you come here and fight me yourself, coward?!” Niji taunted.

“Oh, there you go,” Ehne chuckled, shaking her head. She held her hand to her cheek and smiled. “Poor thing, you. But remember, dear...everyone has a weakness. Yours? Probably your old oafy friends and coworkers. You’d do anything to protect them. To stay strong for their sake, right?”

Niji widened her eyes.

“How do you-“

“Doesn’t matter,” Ehne scowled. “Your challenge begins now, Mew Spectral Galaxy. Hop to it.”

Ehne turned to leave while the wolves surrounded Niji. At first, she was scared, but she knew that she couldn’t give up now. So, she clutched her Galactic Whip tightly and exhaled, preparing for her fight.

“Ribbon Spectral Divide!!!”

Next was Hotaru- Unlike her friend, she woke up in the middle of a maze pathway. Hotaru quickly jumped up and looked around her to make sure there was no danger. Nothing seemed to be around, so she began to walk forward. However, the child soon noticed that her footsteps didn’t quite sound right. She stopped walking and heard the unsynchronized crunch above her, which took her off guard. Hotaru jumped and wailed in shock only to see Ehne above her, smiling and waving.

“Onyx Ring!” Hotaru summoned, regaining her senses. Ehne rolled her eyes.

“Am I going to have to explain this to all of you?” She sighed, crossing her arms. “You aren’t allowed attack me here. Otherwise I’ll have to kill you!”

“I got that!” Hotaru shot back, scowling. “But if you want us dead so bad, why don’t you get down here and fight instead of being so lame and hiding up there?!”

Ehne crossed her arms.

“Bah, you’re just a stupid kid,” she taunted.

“I am not!” Hotaru yelled. “Now what have you done with my friends?!”

“Well, your leader just started her challenge,” Ehne answered politely. “So, it’s time to start yours. You think you’re fast as lightning? Better than everyone else? Well fine. Let’s put it to the test! Your challenge is the agility challenge!”

“Oh yeah, what’s that?” Hotaru inquired cockily. “I can take anything you dish out!”

“Oh really?” Ehne laughed. “Well good. You better start running and pray that you don’t hit any dead ends!”

“Wha-“

From behind her, Hotaru saw the ground begin to crumble. The moles from before had begun to dig the ground up and chase her.

 “Woah!”

“If you fail to outrun them, you just might fall into their burrow and get shredded!” Ehne called out. “Try not to let these guys catch up to you, mm?”

Hotaru began to run for her life.

“That’s...not...faaair!!!” She whined as she disappeared around a corner. Ehne raised her brow.

Third up was Chrysalis, who woke up in a space as large as Niji’s. She began to get up before flinching in pain, Her wings were temporarily injured and so she could not fly.

“Darn witch,” Chrysalis muttered to herself, slowly pushing herself up. She rolled her shoulder around and checked her body to make sure she was otherwise fine. No evidence of tampering was there, aside from her radio being gone.

“When I get my hands on-“

“Me?”

Chrysalis gasped and turned to face her enemy.

“You!” Chrysalis shouted. “Get down here, I’ve got a bone to pick with you!!”

“I’m sure you do,” Ehne raised her brows. “But for now, let’s take a moment to warm into your challenge, shall we?”
“I’m not doing anything you want me to!” Chrysalis retorted angrily. “What have you done with my teammates? Where are they?!”

“Ugh, the same question!” Ehne groaned. “Look, why do you even CARE? You’re always looking out for yourself, aren’t you? You always were.”

“What do you mean?” Chrysalis felt insulted. She balled up her fists.

“I mean,” Ehne continued, “When you were blind, you had to fend for yourself, didn’t you? It was always me, me, me. I can do it myself! No help from anyone!”

Chrysalis widened her eyes.

“Shut up!!! You don’t know anything about me!”

“Oh come now, Mew Lunar Dream,” Ehne grinned. “You think you can do anything- you think you can overcome any obstacle? Well fine then! We’ll put it to the test! But you’ll have to play the blind girl one more time, dearie!”

“What are you getting at?!” Chrysalis demanded. “Spit it out already!”

“Gladly!” Ehne laughed.

She exposed one of her hands- which Chrysalis had not noticed was balled tightly. Ehne opened it up to reveal an unknown powdery substance, which she blew into Chrysalis’ eyes. Suddenly, she found herself unable to see. And not like before- this time it was all pitch black.

“What...what did you do to me?!” Chrysalis cried, holding her head. Ehne chuckled.

“It’s a temporary blindness,” she said. “Don’t get so hysterical over it.”

“What is this stuff? It hurts!”

“A combination of different things, really,” Ehne shrugged. “But what does it matter? What’s done is done! Now, your challenge, dearie, is the Blindness challenge. It’s actually fairly easy! All you have to do is prove to me that you are indeed capable of anything.”

Chrysalis heard a loud thud and a growl from behind her.

“Even fighting while blind!”

“Why you-“

“Tick, tock, girl,” Ehne warned. She snapped her fingers and the unknown Chimera Anima swiped at Chrysalis with impressive claws, sending the mew flying across the area. She hit the bush, which scraped her arms, and fell to the ground. Ehne skipped merrily off to the next Mew while Chrysalis slowly rose and cracked her knuckles.

“Fine, I’ll play along,” She muttered bitterly.

“Cosmic Bow!”

Within a few minutes, Ehne found herself at the next Mew. She felt giddy, believing that she might just win this battle against the Mews, and excited to torture the next one. When she arrived, she found the sunny Mew already awake- and already frightened. Her tail and ears were straight down, and she held her arms to her breast with insecurity.

“Well what have we here?” The alien called out to her, making Hikari jump.

“W-what have you done to them?” She tried to assert herself. “Where am I? Where are-”

“You all ask far too many questions, you know,” Ehne narrowed her eyes. “Look at you- scared as a little kitten.”

Hikari blushed nervously.

“Well then, what shall we do with you?” Ehne tilted her head, tapping her chin with her finger. “Oooh, I know! How about we scare you with a fear challenge!”

“What...?”

Ehne chuckled.

“You’re far too weak to be allowed to have such power,” she taunted. “Why look at you! Frail, meek, pointless! Cowardly. You couldn’t protect anyone, not even a flea!”

“I...I am not!” Hikari attempted to assert herself again. Ehne narrowed her eyes and grinned. She snapped her fingers without responding to the Mew.

The sound of rustling and slithering came from behind Hikari in the bushes, and she turned around and screamed briefly. She summoned her weapon and held it in front of her, worried.

“What is that?!”

“Fear,” Ehne grinned. “You can fight or you can run. If you can overcome the beast, your challenge is won and I’ll let you go.”

She leaned in from where she was standing and silently called out.

“You should run before it gets you.”

The bushes rustled violently this time, and Hikari began to run. She didn’t know from what, but all she knew was that she had to find her friends, and fast.

Before Ehne could head toward where she left Nexus, she heard a yell. She turned and barely managed to dodge an attack from none other than that who she was about to visit.

“You!” Ehne called. “I thought you were still unconscious!!”

“It does not take me long to recover,” Nexus stated, not faltering from her attack stance. “Get down here!”

“Well, I suppose it doesn’t much matter,” Ehne mused, ignoring the other alien. “I mean I did need to see you any-“

Nexus launched another attack and this time, Ehne had to fall backward to avoid it. Nexus quickly caught up and prepared to attack again, but a mole came up and swiped at her.

“THAT is a warning!” Ehne yelled, clutching her arm which had been slightly damaged from the fall. “Do NOT fire at me again, you vile wretch!”

“And don’t you dare harm me or my friends!” Nexus warned back, regaining her stance. “Where are they?!”

“You don’t even care to know who I am?” Ehne scoffed, rising. “Why, I’m insult-“

“Don’t you dare move!” Nexus cried. “I will attack if I must!”

Ehne raised her brow and scoffed.

“Are you kidding?” she taunted, beginning to slowly step around the Ecorian girl.

“You really want to kill me?”

“If I must!” Nexus called, baring her teeth. Ehne shook her head.

“Why, I thought you’d be more keen on keeping a species alive after they’ve been devastated.”

Nexus widened her eyes, but did not reply. Her adversary grinned.

“Yes, I know what happened to your people,” she went on, continuing to pace around the Ecorian girl.

“I know that YOU were the cause of your people’s deaths.”

“Be quiet!”

“I know that if YOU had been brave enough to step in and save your queen, you could have-“

“ENOUGH!”

Nexus unleashed a wave of energy, and Ehne had to hide behind her Chimera Anima to avoid it. Much to her surprise, it was defeated. Ehne grabbed hold of the little parasite that emerged from the mole and frowned.

“You are weak,” She said.

“I am NOT!” Nexus shot back, balling her fists. Ehne smiled.

“Your challenge is the guilt challenge,” she said simply, petting the creature in her hand. “It’s not much of a challenge at all, really- more of a...question- one specifically for you, Mew Nebula.”

Nexus scowled.

“Could you kill off the last of a species?” Ehne taunted. “Could you ever bring yourself to do that? To anyone?”

“Could you?” Nexus retorted. Ehne laughed.

“Of course I could,” she said. “That is all I exist for after all. To make more of my kind and not care what happens to anyone else. In fact, my kind could have taken over yours if you weren’t all harnessing pure energy. We are not immune to it, and so your home was always safe.”

Nexus looked down. She didn’t know what to say.

“But you are the only one left, aren’t you?” Ehne went on, beginning to pace again. “Look at you- feeling defeated already? By what- words?! How pathetic. Your kind is weak. Maybe they deserved to die.”

Nexus did not move, did not even get angry and instead asked one question that had come to her mind.

“How...can you ...know all this?”

Ehne chuckled and released the parasitic being from her hands, letting it flow around freely.

“Let’s just say a little birdie told me,” she grinned. Another Mole Chimera Anima came to retrieve its mistress.

“Or rather- he told the Captain,” Ehne said finally before disappearing underground. While she left Nexus with nothing but guilt and despair, she also left her with worry.  A horrifying possibility made its way into her head, and it filled her with uneasiness.

“I must find the others,” Nexus told herself, beginning to run off.

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

Hotaru ran and ran, trying her best to avoid turning into any of the maze’s dead ends. Even though she was out of breath just about, her adrenaline pushed her on. She didn’t want to fall and get caught by those creatures. If she could just have the chance to turn and attack them, they’d be no problem!

Unfortunately, they were moving far too fast for her to have time to do much of anything except run, run, RUN!

This is just too much! She thought to herself, panting heavily.

Suddenly, she heard panting that wasn’t her own, and she tried to catch up to it. Within a moment, she turned a corner into a long pathway, and in the distance she saw Hikari, running frightened and straight toward her. Hotaru was overjoyed to see her friend, but she knew that there would be disaster if they ran into each other. A Chimera Anima was frantically digging after her, and no doubt Hikari was running from a Chimera Anima as well. What could she do?

Then, she thought of something. Though she was almost out of breath, Hotaru inhaled and screamed:

“MEW RADIANT SUN! ATTACK ME!”

At first, her teammate was confused, but she lifted her bell, still running, and attacked

“Ribbonflameblast!” She quickly blurted, also out of breath. The fire came from her Blazing Bell and was sent ricocheting Hotaru’s way. The young girl timed it just right and jumped right over it. The Mole that had been chasing Hotaru was hit and defeated instead, and Hotaru immediately collapsed with unconsciousness- relieved to be safe from the creature, but tired from running for so long. Hikari, once she caught up to her friend, whimpered. She knelt down beside Hotaru and cried.

“Mew Onyx Storm? Mew Onyx Storm! Please, wake up! I need help! I’m so scared! I’m being-“

A venomous snake-like Chimera anima slithered out from the bushes and began to head straight for Hikari. She squeaked, not knowing what to do. She couldn’t leave her friend behind, but she couldn’t have had enough strength to carry her for too long!

Hikari, with a rush of adrenaline, quickly decided to carry her companion on her shoulders and run. She didn’t care that Ehne might have her head for “cheating”- she was going to push her way through a wall of bush and hide from that snake until she was ready to fight it!

As soon as she rounded the corner, she quickly jumped through the bush with Hotaru on her back and waited for the snake to pass. Hikari couldn’t help but let out a frightened whimper as it slithered by with such speed. Luckily, she was not noticed, and breathed a sigh of relief once the moment had passed.

In the distance, she heard yells and grunts, along with roaring and shuffling. Hikari looked around to make sure it was safe before dashing off through the walls of bushes to find the source of the noise. Perhaps she’d finally find her friends!

She did just that- Hikari passed through one wall and found Chrysalis, rapidly firing her arrows all around her in frustration. She was horrendously bruised and battered.

“M-Mew Lunar Dream!!” She cried. Chrysalis moved her head toward Hikari’s voice in surprise before being swiped at by the Chimera Anima.

“Mew Radiant Sun, help me out!” Chrysalis demanded. “I can’t see here!”

“What?!?!!”

The Chimera Anima tried to swipe at Hikari, but she quickly rolled out of the way and fumbled for her weapon.

“R-RIBBONFLAMEBLAST!” She cried quickly, aiming at the Chimera Anima. It was thusly defeated, and Chrysalis flopped down on the ground in relief.

“Oh thank god...” she sighed. “That was terrible...”

“W-what happened?” Hikari questioned, picking up Hotaru’s body again.

“Ehne BLINDED me!!” The Lunar Mew shouted. “She told me I had to fight blind and URGH! When I get my hands on that little-“

“Where’s Everyone else?”

“I don’t know, alright? All I know is that you’re here.”

“And Mew Onyx Storm...”

“What?!”

Hikari squeaked. She hesitated at first, but then suddenly blurted out.

“I ran into Mew Onyx Storm and saved her and she passed out from running so much and I’m really scared and confused!!! I don’t know what to do, Mew Lunar Dream, I’m scared and I’m worried and-“

“Hey, kid, calm down, okay?” Chrysalis called angrily. Then she sighed.

“You’ll be okay. I’m here. Mew Onyx Storm’s here. We’ll get out of this...Alright? I promise.”

“Okay...” Hikari closed her eyes.

“I really need to get this stuff out of my eyes,” Chrysalis groaned. “It burns and it’s terrible.”

“You and I can make water...” Hikari suggested meekishly.

Chrysalis tilted her head and thought for a moment.

“Oh...yeah...”

She fired her bow at the ground and created a crystal of ice, Hikari hovered her hands over it and melted the piece. She collected the water and handed it to her friend, who hurriedly scrubbed her eyes out. She blinked a few times and sighed with ease.

“Muuch better,” she said. Hikari smiled a little, feeling less scared.

“Thanks, Kid,” Chrysalis smiled back. She rose and slung Hotaru’s exhausted body on her back, carrying her legs.

“Let’s go find the other mews. We need to get out of here.”

“Um, that might not be easy,” Hikari noted. “There is a snake like Chimera Anima that had been following me and I’m sure it’s bound to find us if we don’t hurry up!”

“I don’t even know my way around this place,” Chrysalis responded, looking around. “How did you even find me?”

“I went through the bushes,” Hikari answered, shrugging. “Nothing’s happened to me yet but I’d rather not stick around for Ehne to do anything!”

“Then we better keep moving and find the others- quickly.”

The two girls hurriedly ran through the bushes, stopping every so often to check for any signs of Chimera Anima or their teammates. Once in a while, the slithering would continue from a distance, but otherwise, everything was silent. Within a few minutes of walking through the maze’s walls, Hotaru began to stir. Chrysalis set her down in the middle of crossing a pathway and lightly patted her cheeks, trying to get her to come fully to.

“Mew Onyx Storm!” she called excitedly. “Are you alright? Wake up!”

Hotaru groaned.

“I’m still really tired,” she coughed. “But at least I’m breathing.”

“That was really scary!” Hikari gasped, hugging her teammate. “I’m glad you’re okay though! I was so worried and you fell unconscious while I was being chased and I had to carry you until I ran into Mew Lunar Dream!”

Slowly coming more and more into reality, Hotaru smiled.

“You really carried me?” She inquired with amazement. “That was pretty brave of you, especially in a time like that!”

“Really?”

“Uh-huh!”

She rose, practically jumping up with energy. Hotaru balled a fist a punched the air.

“Now come on, let’s go find the others!”

“Well, first we need to take care of a small problem,” Chrysalis slowly replied, pointing behind the electric mew. She turned behind her and jumped with astonishment as she caught sight of a large snake-like chimera anima slithering quickly toward her and her teammates. Hotaru tried to draw her weapon while the other mews dodged into the bushes, but she was hit by the creature and thrown back. From the bushes, Chrysalis drew her weapon and aimed at the creature, but it swiped its tail at the mew and grabbed her along with Hotaru. Hikari stepped back, her eyes wide with fear. She tried to raise and aim her weapon at the snake, but found herself so flustered that she could not form the right words.

“R..r-r...r...!!!”

The snake raised its head to strike her, but Chrysalis quickly helped her teammate. She forced her arms out of the snake’s grasp, weapon in hands, and fired.

“Ribbon Lunar Strike!”

The Creature’s head became encased in ice, and as it fell over, the tail released its grip on the two mews. Hotaru quickly attacked while the snake was down.

“Ribbon Lightning STOMP!”

She shattered the beast into pieces, and it disappeared. A parasite emerged from the body, which Hikari quickly chimed in to destroy. She looked away nervously once her teammates met back up with her.

“I’m...sorry,” she apologized. Chrysalis raised a brow.

“For what?”

“I...I didn’t react right. I was...afraid....”

Hotaru pounced her friend and grinned.

“You did great!” She complemented. “I mean you were brave enough to save me from that mole Chimera Anima!”

“And me from that...thing, whatever it was...” Chrysalis added with a calming smile. “You did good, you know?”

“I...did?”

Hikari looked at Chrysalis who simply nodded, and she herself began to smile a little.

“T..h..”

She blushed.

“Thank you!”

Her teammates giggled at her being flustered. Chrysalis put a hand on Hikari’s shoulder and lowered her brow.

“Now let’s find the others, okay?”

Nexus, wandering still, came to a halt once she began to hear distant growling. She started to run toward the noise, going through twists and turns to  locate it. Within a few moments, she came across a large open area of the maze, where several wolf Chimera Anima were stalking about. They were growling at something in front of them, although there were so many of them that Nexus could not see what. She quickly summoned her Blinding Castanets and attacked two of them at a time.

“Ribbon Nebula Squall!”

She threw a powerful gust of wind at the wolves, thrusting them against the bushes and the ground. A few of them managed to get hit and defeated, but others remained. Nexus attacked once more.

This time, she managed to slice her enemy with her energy and expel the parasites. She defeated the creatures that spawned from the wolves and ran toward Niji, who the wolves had been stalking around. She was on her knees, breathing heavily. Scratches and bruises covered her skin. Hair had fallen over her face and her hands were by her side. The handle of Niji’s Galactic Whip had rolled from her hand somewhere to the side. Overall, she looked a mess. When Nexus caught sight of her friend, she ran to help her. Niji collapsed into Nexus’ arms with weakness.

“Mew Spectral Galaxy!” Nexus called, shaking her friend. “What’s happened? Are you alright?”

“There...were so many...” Niji weakly responded, tightening her grip on Nexus’ arms. “So many...Chimera Anima...I had to fight...”

“Hold on, Mew Spectral Galaxy,” Nexus cooed. “You are alright. Just take it east.”

Niji chuckled softly

“You mean easy,” she corrected, pushing herself up slowly. Nexus smiled.

“I’ll...I’ll be fine, I think,” The Galactic Mew spoke, holding her head for a moment. “I can keep going for a bit...It was just so many at once that I got way overwhelmed”

She turned to the alien girl.

“What happened with you? Did Ehne tire you out too?”

“I...” Nexus bit her lip.

“She tried to bring me down, taunt me...but she did not do anything otherwise. However,  she did say a strange thing.”

“What’s that?”

“She said something about a Captain?” Nexus put a hand to her chin, pondering. “I had asked her why she knew so much about me- Ehne had taunted me with the tragedy of my people...but even if other planets found out about it, she could not have. She came here before I did. When I asked her how she knew, she said something about the captain...”

“But how is that possible?” Nexus questioned, shaking her head. “She can’t have come into the ship. We would have seen her, right? There’s no way she could have brought her ship- I mean I think someone would have noticed that it were there in the launch bay. This is very weird...”

“I do not know,” Nexus gravely responded. “But this is very serious regardless. She knows us more than she should. We must escape this maze and make it back to the Colony to warn Akio of what has happened.”

“Right. Come on, let’s find the others.”

Niji walked toward one of the walls of bush, lowered and cupped her hands.

“What are you doing?” Her friend proclaimed with confusion. She tilted her head a bit.

“I’m giving you a boost,” Niji explained, motioning Nexus forward. “You’ll get on top of the bushes like Ehne and then you’ll pull me up.”

“But what will happen if she finds that we have ‘cheated’ her ‘game’?”

“That doesn’t matter- As long as we keep on moving, we’ll be okay. Those Moles probably won’t be able to sense us if we’re not on the ground, anyway. And even if Ehne does rear her ugly head, we’ll be ready.”

“Very well.”

Nexus ran toward Niji’s hands and jumped up. Her teammate gave a grunt as she pushed her up onto the bushes. Once Nexus was stable and steady on top, she reached down to pull up her friend.  The two gazed around at the maze before them; There were plenty of pathways and open spaces, and it was quite large as Ehne had said before- almost a mile stretch or so.

“Is that them?” Nexus suddenly called out, squinting her eyes. Niji turned to look in the same direction as her and found a group of familiar colors moving through the bushes.

“Yeah, let’s go!”

The girls ran atop the bushes, heading for their teammates. Hotaru, Chrysalis and Hikari were at first cautious when they heard the crunching of leaves and twigs coming toward them, but soon became surprised when their missing teammates jumped down before them. The entire team was once again gathered- and in the center of the maze, they found.

“You guys, oh, I’m glad you’re okay!” Hikari jumped with joy. She hugged Nexus and Niji with happiness.

“What on Earth happened to you?” Chrysalis questioned, raising her brow at Niji. “You look like an absolute mess!”

“Gee thanks,” Niji chuckled, guiding her hair behind her. “Ehne had me fight a hoard of chimera anima by myself. She said it was a strength challenge of sorts. I got through it thanks to Mew Nebula. If she hadn’t found me, I’d probably be dead.

“That’s terrible!” Hotaru frowned.

“What about you?”

“I had to run for a long time!” the electric mew responded, pouting. There was a mole chasing me and if I stopped for a second, I would have fallen in and been clawed or something!”

“And Ehne blinded me with something and forced me to fight against a Chimera Anima!” Chrysalis angrily blurted out. “And she had the audacity to send Mew Radiant Sun into an anxious frenzy with some huge snake!”

She shook her head.

“But she managed to save Mew Onyx Storm and me which I’m glad about.”

“Are all of you okay now, though?” Niji asked. The other mews nodded.

“Well, now that we’re here...” Hotaru pondered, “Where’s Ehne?”

“Speak of the devil,” a smooth voice called from behind the bushes. Ehne, in her gelatinous form, moved her gel-like body over the bushes and reformed her humanoid Ajran shape when at the top.

“Ehne!” Niji scowled, gripping her weapon tightly.

“Cool it,” Ehne sighed. “You’re not going to be able to take one step before you’re dragged down again by my children. So just don’t bother!”

“Ehne, tell me!” Nexus cried. “How do you know so much about us? How did you obtain such information?”

Ehne threw her head back and laughed hard.

“Do you really care that much?” She called. “I’m surprised you didn’t already figure it out!”

“What did you do?!” Hotaru demanded angrily. Ehne shook her head.

“I snuck into your stupid colony, that’s what!” She blurted out. “Isn’t that obvious?”

What?!” Niji gasped. “But...how could you have with your ship? Someone would have noticed if there was an object blocking them from entering or exiting the colony!”

“Well maybe I didn’t come in with my ship, stupid!” Ehne teased, giggling. “Ever think of that? If you’re really so curious, I snuck aboard a different ship--one of yours!”

She held a hand to her chest and began to pace about with the other hand closed into a fist and placed on her hip.

“One of your stupid ‘Astronauts’ got too close to my ship for comfort,” she went on. “He was with another group, scavenging for Earthly supplies of sorts. I was going to kill him, but then I had this interesting little Idea... You see, I knew nothing about my enemy, and knowing is always half the battle, isn’t it? So, I decided to use this opportunity to see if there was a way to get to you. I lured an astronaut away from his group and consumed him! I took his form and his knowledge, then rejoined the other group and pretended I was one of them.

“I went with them, then back to their colony, and nobody ever suspected that anything was amiss. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that you humans were all up there in different ships, so I had to do some digging to find out just where you were located. I had to go through so many ships, so many humans just to find your home. It took some time, but I finally managed to get it right. I got onto your crummy little colony and made my way toward the Captain’s quarters, disguised in the form of someone apparently important enough to get close to him. I found out that only certain people were allowed near you, so I figured- him being the most important person in the ship, I could use him to get to you and observe you. I took your Captain while he was alone. I consumed him!”

The other mews gasped in shock, and Niji and Chrysalis began to grind their teeth with fury.

“I gained access to everything he knew,” Ehne went on, chuckling. “Then I went and paid you girls a visit. I learned about your previous lives through Akio. He never happened to give me your names, however... Not like I really need them, they’re probably just as stupid as your oh-so ‘heroic’ titles!

“But all of that aside- I pretended to suddenly care about you and asked him more about the personals of your group. Because I was the ‘captain’, he gladly shared that information with me. Of course, I already knew about you before I even spoke with Akio.”

She pointed to Niji.

“Niji,” The Alien sighed. “Your captain was present for your transformation since he wanted to see the progress of the project and so you were the only one whose identity he knew.”

She giggled.

“Do you...” Niji began, glaring at Ehne. “Do you know about...Akio too?”

“I know only what your Captain knew,” Ehne scoffed. “And he didn’t seem to know much about Akio other than ‘He’s working in the ship’.”

Niji closed her eyes for a moment, relieved.

“Well we got through your stupid challenges, Ehne!” Chrysalis called out. “So let us out of here!”

“Uhm. Excuse me?” Ehne scoffed, almost laughing. “You didn’t play my game fairly at all! First of all, every single one of you broke the border rule! You went through and over the maze, thinking I wouldn’t notice. And SECOND of all, none of you completed your challenges on your own as was the rule!”

She pointed at four of the mews.

“You had to be saved! All four of you! You and you and you and YOU!!!

Then, when she got to Nexus, she slowly dropped her hand and relaxed her shoulders.

“And you....”

Nexus lowered her brows.

You haven’t given me an answer yet.”

“What is she talking about?” Niji proclaimed, turning to Nexus.

Ehne raised her hand again and pointed at Nexus.

Could you really kill the last of my kind?

“The last of...your kind?” Nexus suddenly spoke. She then shook her head. “That is not the question you asked me bef-”

Answer...my...question” Ehne’s hand began to tremble. Though she had no face in her natural form, the Mews could see that she was consumed with fury.

“Wait...” Niji pondered. She remembered what she had discussed with Akio the first time that they had encountered Ehne- That she had said her kind existed to expand, instead of exists to expand. She looked up at Ehne with eyes wide.

“Are you...the last of your kind?”

Ehne slowly dropped her hand and tilted her head down.

“You have all failed your challenges,” She said simply, ignoring Niji. “You have cheated while playing my game. You’ve disobeyed. Now you have to be punished.”

She raised her head.

“Kill them.”

The Mews watched with horror as a horde of Chimera Anima stomped through the maze, destroying the bush all together and surrounding the mews entirely.

“Oh no, there’s so many of them!” Hikari cried. “What do we do?”

“We’ll have to fight!” Niji bluntly replied.

“Ribbon Spectral Divide!”

She lashed out at one of the Chimera Anima, which prompted the other Mews to do so as well. They at first were able to defeat a few, but more Chimera Anima began to step in and wear them down. Chrysalis had trouble fighting with her wings in constant pain, but she tried her best to freeze as many of the creatures as she could while the others worked to push back the others. However with Niji, Chrysalis and Hotaru already slightly weakened from their challenges and Ehne’s antics, it became clear that they would not make it out of here alive.

“Mews!” Hikari called, dodging a Chimera Anima. “We’re not going to last much longer at this rate!”

“What are we supposed to do then?” Hotaru grunted, attacking a different creature. “Just give up?”

“You might as well,” Ehne chimed with a singsong voice.

“We cannot!” Nexus shouted, ignoring her. She lashed out at several Chimera Anima with her power. “We will get out of here alive- do not give up!”

Niji jumped backward to avoid an attack and breathed heavily. She remembered an instance before where she and Hotaru combined their powers to defeat three Chimera Anima. From this, she decided on something out of desperation.

“Everyone, get together!”  She commanded, weaving through the legs of various Chimera Anima. The other mews followed and all met in the middle of the area.

“Aim your weapons up and attack when I say so!” Niji called, raising her whip. “Ready?”

“What are we doing?!” Hotaru questioned tiredly.

“We’re...combining our powers !” Hikari guessed. Niji nodded, and the other Mews decided that it was better to try it than nothing at all.

“Attack!”

“Ribbon Lightning STOMP!”

“Ribbon Flame Blast!”

“Ribbon Lunar Strike!”

“Ribbon Nebula Squall!”

“Ribbon Spectral Divide!”

The Mews all unleashed their attacks upward and combined them. The energy of their attacks combined was almost ten times as powerful as any other of their regular attacks. A beam of energy shot up and exploded, sending a blast coursing through the battlefield. Ehne immediately jumped and hid behind her Chimera Anima to avoid it, but soon found that it disappeared from her. While she’d been protected, she watched with terror as the Mews’ attack siphoned out and destroyed her parasites from all of the animals they had taken over. With Ehne out of nearby Chimera Anima, she had nothing left to protect her. She took her human form and scowled at the Mews, her eyes flaring with fury. The Mews looked at each other as if they weren’t sure what they’d just witnessed. The attack made them feel more exhausted than before. However, when they finally realized it, they cheered and smiled, for they’d won this battle. Not only did they have an effective weapon to use in a pinch now, but the Chimera anima had destroyed the maze while coming in and cleared an exit. They were free to go. Ehne ground her teeth. In her hand, which had been balled up, she held the mews’ radio devices. She threw them onto the ground before the team in anger.

“Here! Take these stupid things back!” Ehne growled. “You mews may have won this battle, but you haven’t won the war. You don’t have much time left before my children come to fruition- Don’t forget that!”

She stomped her foot on the ground, and a mole Chimera Anima came up and took her away before the mews could react.

“Is everyone okay...?” Hikari inquired, still in disbelief at the success. She picked up the radio devices from the ground and handed them back to her teammates.

“I believe so,” Nexus answered, dispelling her weapon. She pinned her device back on her choker, as did the others.

“Doing just fine!” Chrysalis sighed, stretching her arms. “Man that did a number on me.”

“At least we’re finally free!” Hotaru beamed. “Look, look! The ship is that way! We can get to it and let Akio know we’re okay!”

“Good Idea- Come on, let’s get out of this crazy place!” Hikari agreed, running to the ship with her friend.

Chrysalis followed, while Niji and Nexus slowly trudged behind.

“Are you alright?” Nexus asked her companion. “You look weak.”

“I need rest,” Niji answered. “I’ll be okay once we get home.”

She sighed.

“Ehne’s becoming a major problem...”

“Yes, but we have ways to combat her tricks,” Nexus reminded her. “Do not lose hope. “

She put her hand on Niji’s shoulder and smiled.

“We can overcome anything that she throws at us.”

Niji returned her friend’s smile and nodded. The group finally reached their ship, which thankfully had been unharmed during their endeavor. Niji then remembered Akio and tried to contact him through her radio device.

“Akio?!” She called. “Hello? Are you there?”

There was brief static for a moment before a voice responded.

“Hello?” it called.

“Akio?!”

“No...He’s...not here,” the voice said. “There’s been a situation here on the colony and he’s trying to deal with it. I’m an officer that was sent to keep an eye out for any signals or communication from you. Are these the Galaxy Mews?”

“Yes!” Niji hurriedly replied, growing anxious. “What happened? Is Akio okay?”

“Yes, but... you had all better come back straight away.”

“Roger.”

Niji turned to her team. They stared at her with worry, all with different questions in their eyes.

“Let’s go,” Niji said, walking into their ship.

The journey was silent. All of the mews kept to themselves as they pondered in their heads what they had just dealt with, what the circumstances were and: more importantly, what they would do now that their Captain was gone. When they finally reached the docking bay, they quickly exited the craft and were greeted  by some officers, who led them to Akio in the Captain’s bay. When the Mews arrived up top, they found a flurry of officers around the area, investigating something. Soon, they were greeted by Akio. He ran towards the girls with a worried expression plastered across his face.

“You’re alright!” He called. “I was going to send a ship after you but I needed the Captain’s say-so. I tried to look for him but...he’s gone missing!”

“He’s not missing,” Niji shook her head. The other mews looked away, not wanting to say it.

“Wait...what’s happened?” Akio inquired, not catching on to Niji’s suggestion.

Ehne happened,” Chrysalis interrupted, her face grave. “She killed him in order to get to us.”

“But how could...?” Akio shook his head. “I don’t understand! There’s no way she could have gotten here without anyone noticing!”

“Ehne took over the body of an astronaut,” Nexus explained. “She used her species’ main ability to make her way to us undetected. She took over the Captain and assumed his form in order to be able to get access to the labs. Yesterday, when the captain called for observation- when he spoke with you;  that was Ehne.”

“She used you to learn about us,” Hotaru looked down.

 “Is that why she trapped you in that maze?” Akio questioned. “She said something about your knowing more about you than you thought before I lost connection with you.”

“That was exactly it,” Hikari responded, crossing her arms. “She tried to weaken and kill us with those stupid challenges! We managed to escape them and meet up with each other, but then she unleashed a horde of Chimera Anima on us!”

“We would have died if not for our combined attack,” Niji added. “We were all very weak and tired, so I decided to try combining all of our attacks together in hopes that it might help us. And it did. We managed to defeat so many Chimera Anima with just one blast of energy. It even destroyed the parasites that it drew out.”

“That’s incredible!” Akio exclaimed. “I’m just glad you girls are okay. I got scared once I lost contact with you, I didn’t really know what to do myself!”

“But what do we do now that the Captain’s gone?” Niji inquired.

“A co-captain has been chosen to take his place,” Akio answered. “But he doesn’t seem to know himself how to handle this project. He’s left me in charge. Now I’m making all of the decisions about these missions.”

“That’s...” Chrysalis shook her head. “That’s good news, but... do you even have a plan?”

“I can come up with something, I know,” Akio replied, nodding. “We’ll do what we have to, don’t worry. Now...why don’t you girls head back to the lab so I can fix you up? You look unwell.”

The Mews did as told. Akio stayed behind to inform the officers and the new Captain of the situation before following the girls. He met with them back in the same room as always and began to tend to their wounds.

“Chrysalis, your wings are terribly damaged!” Akio noted with shock. “What on Earth happened out there?”

“Ehne played dirty,” Chrysalis scoffed. “She inured my wings so I couldn’t fly, among other things. She blinded me and forced me to fight a Chimera Anima that I couldn’t see!”

“She had me fight a horde of Chimera Anima by myself,” Niji added.

“And I had to run for my life until my lungs practically burst!”

“She tried to scare me and sent a Chimera Anima to hunt me down!”

“That girl is growing desperate,” Akio muttered, paddling Chrysalis’ wings with his hands to straighten them out. “She was so sure she’d be able to kill you with that trap- But you won’t go down so easily, will you?”

“Definitely not,” Niji agreed. Akio, without turning his head, simply asked.

“What about you, Nexus?”

The alien girl looked up then and shook her head.

“She only asked me a question,” Nexus said. “She tried to guilt me and deter my spirit. Though at first she succeeded, I recovered. Ehne had asked me whether or not I could kill of the last of a species. I did not realize that there was trouble with her statement until she had gathered us all together again.”

“What do you mean?” Akio inquired.

“She had asked me that question, and then followed it up with taunts about the death of my people,” Nexus explained. “I at first thought she was talking about the Ecorian people. But when she had gathered us all again, she asked if I could bring myself to kill the last of her species. It was then that I realized that her original question was not about my species, but hers. She may very well be the last of her kind...”

She closed her eyes.

“...Just like me.”

“So Niji’s suspicions after the other four Mews first encountered her were correct,” Akio guessed, dabbing Niji’s arm with an alcohol soaked cotton swab. “But if she’s the last of her species, couldn’t she just replicate herself after consuming other lifeforms? Ehne has made it clear that she can do so, so why hasn’t she done it instead of unleashing monsters all over our world?”

“Maybe she can’t?” Hotaru suggested, scratching her head.

“Yeah, I mean we don’t know a lot about her species,” Hikari agreed. “Maybe there’s a reason.”

“Or maybe she’s just waiting for the right time to do it,” Chrysalis mused. “Either way, we can’t let her keep on with that project. Those parasites are going to spawn soon, and if we don’t take action, we’ll never clear them out! Even with our most powerful attack, it would still take a long time to clear this planet of the Chimera Anima. Not to mention, it takes a lot out of us to do that. If we constantly use it, we might just run out of juice, you know?”

“We’ll figure it out, don’t worry,” Niji assured Chrysalis. “The only thing I’m worried about is Ehne coming back to our colony to do who knows what else...”

“That won’t be a problem, actually,” Akio spoke up. He unrolled a small piece of gauze and ripped it off with his teeth.

“I told the new Captain about the situation,” he went on, wrapping Niji’s arm in the gauze. “Before I came to meet with you here, he told me that the least he could do was alert the other colonies and issue a checkpoint for the ships that come in. Each Astronaut will be subjected to a simple DNA test. It might be tedious, but it will be necessary to filer her out in case she ever decides to come back. Even if she were to give the substance drawn from her the appearance of blood, her genetic code is still different from that of the person she assumes the form of. She has the ability to take someone’s appearance, but not their genetic code. Does that make sense?”

“Yeah, I think so...” Chrysalis replied, nodding.

“Are we going to have to be subject to that too?” Nexus proclaimed.

“No,” Akio told her. “You are genetically modified to combat those parasites, which are spawned from her genetic code, aren’t they? If she were to attempt to consume you, she would most likely die. Your bodies are harnessing immense energy, and that is her very weakness. So there wouldn’t quite be a need to really check you.”

“Oh, good!” Hikari sighed, holding her chest for a moment. “I really hate needles....”

Akio chuckled. He stepped back from the other mews and crossed his arms.

“Feeling any better?”

“Incredibly,” Niji happily chimed. “Thank you, Akio.”

“Anytime.”

“So...what’s going to happen now?” Hotaru asked, shrugging. “You’re in charge of our missions from now on and yet we don’t really have a plan.”

“You’ll have to leave that to me,” Akio told her. “I’m going to start working on that after you head back to your cabin, actually. Our main goal, really, is to find Ehne’s ship and destroy the source of those Parasites. We’ll need to track her somehow.”

He shook his head.

“But forget about that right now, Mews. You need to take a break. Today was exceptionally difficult for you. I’m very proud of you girls for your hard work and I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to help you!”

“Don’t be!” Hikari exclaimed. “We care about your safety too, you know!”

“If Ehne had decided to, Akio, she could have taken you too,” Niji pointed out, looking down. “I’m just glad that she didn’t.”

Akio put his hand on her shoulder.

“I appreciate you caring,” he said, smiling. “But don’t worry!”

Niji looked at him with uncertainty, but Akio persisted.

“I’ll be okay, I promise.”

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First Chapter


Created by AnnikaDoll

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