Chapter 29

"Dead..." Sailor Time repeated.  "But... we can bring her back or something,... right?"  She looked around the group wildly as her eyes began to tear.  "R-right Mercury?  Serena?  ...please..."  Serena took the child in the adult's body and comforted her.

Tuxedo Mask rose.  "This isn't a game.  This is real life, and in real life, people get hurt."  His tone softened at the stricken expressions of the group's younger and more sensitive members.  "Whoever's done this... has struck a great blow.  We've lost the leader of the Resistance.  But we have no time to mourn now.  We must assume the killer-- Neo-Mercury you say-- will strike again until the entire Resistance is eliminated.  We must protect Cyllene.  And Neo-Mercury must be found and punished.  Where is Cyllene," he commanded.

Venus was the first to recover from the general shell-shock of the group.  "Cyllene...  She had located another piece of the Time Key.  Mercury and I were about to join her when..."  She let the sentence dangle.

"Good," Tuxedo Mask replied.  "You two will keep your appointment.  Take Time, Earth and Serena.  Your job is to retrieve the pieces of the Time Key and protect Cyllene...  The rest of you, our job is to make sure they don't have to."  He whispered something to Earth, and flipped a small device to Venus, who nodded in understanding.  "Rendezvous here in 48 hours," he called as the two groups set off on their separate ways.

"He's become quite a competent leader," the watcher commented.  "But then, what less could I expect from my husband?" Sailor Moon stood and stretched from her vantage point high above the Scouts.  Garnetia doesn't need to know about this little development...  Darien would dispose of Neo-Mercury, and the other Neo-Scouts were of no consequence, despite Garnetia's orders.  Sailor Moon decided instead to follow her newfound daughter.  You will be mine, Sailor Earth...

* * * *

The wind swirled in the Wiseman's chamber, and a dark mist formed. Mistan congealed out of thin air, and was left panting for breath on the floor.  The Wiseman's coughing brought her to attention, and she immediately stood, although pained.

"My apologies, master...  The regenerations are becoming more difficult."  Wiseman looked on impassively.  "My strength drains as the conjunction approaches."  Once again, Wiseman was emotionless.  "I NEED more power!"

At last the Wiseman spoke.  "Garnetia and Rubeus are not the only ones who can channel the conjunction's power.  You will gain more power in time.  Unfortunately, it seems Rubeus has now sided with his treacherous sister..." he was stopped by another coughing fit.

"Master?" Mistan said, her voice betraying concern for once.

"I will be all right." he said sternly.  "Worry yourself with finding Venus.  She is pivotal to this whole matter.  When I crafted you, I did not expect to rely on you so much..."  His voice faded, and he lay back in his throne, seemingly exhausted.

Mistan bowed her head, a single tear emerging from her mask-like face, then disappeared.

"At least I can stil rely on someone..." he whispered hoarsely.

Chapter 29 was submitted by Double E and Jinas.

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