Purity Drive

Purity Drive

A Story by Gisette
"

The Zodiacs are not who you think they are. Unions bound forever break, love and betrayal abounds. As the wars begin, so we end.

"

-.*.-

I keep having that dream.

Capricorn.

That dream where the world gets destroyed...

Ceeehhhreeehhhsss.

Capricorn shifted uncomfortably, rolling over. Another deep rumbling stirred through the silent air to disturb her. She groaned slightly before lashing out with her black combat boot, striking nothing. Another deep rumble sounded, its vibrations startling her into consciousness. Chestnut-red eyes fluttered open, sifting from a sandy gray to opaqueness stained with blotchy and organic colors.

Capricorn. That omniscient voice filled her mind, and she blinked again, aware of herself gripping and grasping a scaly ridge. She gasped in surprise, shooting upright from her awkward catnap. She was in the cusp between two large scaly ridges that could only be the brows of...

"Sorry, Chronos," she said apologetically, scratching a hand through her snow-white, boyishly cropped hair. She was careful not to dislodge her precious clips just above each fringe that draped over her ears, the curled decorations like mini curled ram's horns.

Capricorn sighed, defeated, as she flopped back down on the rigid scales of the legendary Chronos. Her eyes batted away as filtered light from the mangrove-like trees, many in number that were a several miles high.

It's hard to believe he tried to consume all of his children in the thirst for power, Capricorn thought, reflecting on Chronos' past, the god named Cronus who tried to devour his own godly offspring.

That was the me of long ago. You have gentled me, my child, Chronos hummed deeply in her mind, causing Capricorn to smile slightly.

Chronos was amazingly large, with a long, snake-like body. He was about two kilometers long, the body like the height of a mountain. The head was like an crocodile's, roughly two hundred meters long from the tip of his large snout to where the great, backward curving horns like a ram's began, those things a third longer than his head if stretched out. Two tusks jutted from his abysmal maw, beginning where his horns ended. All of these bony features were weathered and splintered in places, revealing his old age. How old he was, he refused to reveal.

Blackened razor teeth, the five times her height from base to crest, filled his mouth, eight total, four adorning each side, revealing themselves as his mouth moved slowly up and down in speech. Two smaller horns jutted from each temple, both very close to the scaly ridge of a brow she was clasping now. His face was somewhat of an oddity in the way his lower jaw swept inwards down to a very long length, like a backwards sail, reasonably thick. His scales glinted and shone like the inside of an oyster shell's husk, gleaming with an opaque beauty, like a rainbow submerged in a metallic cream.

"Do you remember your past very well?" she asked the god of Time, dipping her body to her waist over the edge of his brow and into the range of his vision, his horizontal pupils dilated from a feminine silhouette blocking much of the light.

Instead of a direct answer, she could feel Chronos rising. His immensely long neck rose higher and higher into the verdant forests of her explosively large Paradise. A deep rumbling filled the length of his throat, causing Capricorn's precariously dangling body to quiver. Daringly, she peeked warily downwards to the darkened waters below, beholding the spectacle before her.

The water was quivering like it had been exposed to high sound frequencies, large raindrops leaping high before arcing pitifully down again. Sunlight glinted beautifully off each drop, each unsettled wave, dazzling her like a cut diamond beneath the sun, light reflected and refracted in a plethora of color and vibrancy.

Capricorn smiled enthusiastically, letting her grasp drop so she could applaud at the amazing show of color and water, the sleeves like a morning glory's petals dancing and fluttering.

"You did that on purpose, show-off!" she playfully accused. She pulled herself back up, careful to avoid nicking the well-kept tri-plated hip and leg armor, the clasp of the brown belt that bound them cutting painfully into her gut. The loose end of the white chong-sam-like dress dangled over, showing a full view of the leather shorts she wore beneath.

I did no such thing, Chronos replied. To this Rima, Capricorn, raised an eyebrow.

She heaved her body upwards, flopping back down on the hard cusp that was his forehead. Capricorn gently fingered the three rectangular metals of tiny sizes, two, one, a small ribbon that were fastened to the left side of her chest. Sweat began to bead on her neck and upper lip, causing the form-fitting upper half of the white, naval style dress to stick uncomfortably to her skin. Why was she feeling so anxious?

My child, you are the inheritor of a memmetic legacy. You are a member of the famed Western Zodiac, stewards of the Earth. Rima drew herself away from her emotions and focused on his comforting, rumbling voice. She laid herself back down, trying to lose herself in his words.

This Paradise is the heaven so many human souls yearned for, and you are their shepherd. Rima nodded slightly. Paradises were the havens for souls of those born to a certain zodiac, resembling Earth yet defying natural law. The entrances were the ruling planets of certain Zodiacs, each a place for the dearly departed. Originally, there had only been four, for the elements of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. All twelve belonged to an element, three Zodiacs each. Recently, four Zodiacs had struck out from the main four to start anew on their own: Pisces, Gemini, Virgo, and herself, Capricorn.

"But..." Capricorn trailed off weakly. She looked around, quieted in wonder at what she saw.

From her impressive perch, she could see the mangrove-like trees dozens of kilometers high with ink-dark bark, maybe several kilometers or more around. Their extensive and delta-shaped branches spread far, gigantic leaves of a sun-warmed jade, filtering through sunlight to the water below. The water was several hundred feet deep, ideal for trees of such amazing sizes. Millions of these trees populated and flourished in her Paradise, rooted deep in mysterious and dark waters. The canopy was emerald and jade, mere splotches of pure light being allowed through. So the souls would have somewhere to live, non-parasitic structures, rounded with metal-like materials, able to support a hundred thousand souls total, suspended themselves from the bark of the trees. Millions of these existed in this Paradise, as they did in many.

At night it was the most captivating. The bark of the trees revealed their luminous veins, pulsating beautiful cobalt. The leaves were enveloped in a transitioning aura of greens; fish, smaller than Chronos but much larger than she, let their scales glow from below, a rainbow of underwater lights. A soft accent was always the human souls who assumed their "Lumin" forms, spheres of light with wispy tails of light like an icy comet plummeting with graceful defeat through space.

He was right; this place was her own and for her to protect.

"I don't feel ready. We naively think that we're so powerful, but in reality we're capable of dying," Capricorn practically whispered, her voice waning like a trickling stream. Her hand unconsciously began to reach towards the decorative clip in her hair, numbingly stroking the backward curve of it.

"Chronos, I know that there's something out there. The memories of the Capricorn before me…he died so horribly. The same could happen to me…" she confided in him, becoming swallowed in miserly thoughts.

"Chronos, what can I do?! I can't do this alone!"

Chronos began lowering his neck, the water seeming to steadily ascend to meet them. A final splash sounded as his massive head collided with the water, massive tusks poking through the believably impenetrable surface. She could see the water lapping gently on his dished face as they maneuvered through the water. From behind, she witnessed his massive finned tail catching light like the flapping of a dragonfly's wings, his body weaving through the water.

Why not have more faith in yourself, Daughter Seagoat? Chronos inquired, voice resounding in her mind like dull thunder. The sound of water cascading from his ascending tail fin filled her ears, followed by the sound of its splashing descent, like the majesty of a blue whale in Atlantic depths.

You have me to guard and protect you. Do you not also have dominion over the organic powers of the earth? And these Lumins who aid you greatly in battle? Chronos pointed out, great voice ricocheting with an echoing dissonance in her mind. She turned her head to observe the wide wake spreading from Chronos' great head and body like the wings of a bird in flight.

She stood up, striding slowly and carefully to the middle of Chronos' head, talking a few moments to do so, before settling herself with ease to the ground. She began to untie and remove her combat boots, setting them aside, safely away from the water. She hoisted her dress upwards, away from the reach of the waves, setting the tresses aside. She lowered her warmed feet into the cool water, eyes lowering in relaxation. They created miniscule wakes in comparison to Chronos, but she enjoyed the cool water nonetheless.

"Yeah, I guess. But it might not be enough. There's something terrifying out there…I can feel it try to pull me in like a black hole," Capricorn said, hugging herself, sighing shakily. Chronos was doing his best to soothe her, but fear continued its relentless climb up her numbed mind and body.

You have comrades, Chronos reminded her quietly, rumbling deeply in his throat.

He was right. There were eleven other Zodiacs she could rely on, fourteen in all.

Yet it didn't seem to be enough.

"We're charged with defending six billion human beings, Chronos. There are also the Chinese and Celtic Zodiacs and we don't exactly get along very well. Libra even says that we may even be embroiled in a war with them soon, along with this old and reoccurring threat." She began to lie down on her back, feet still drifting like buoys tethered to the side of a boat. She swallowed thickly, throat tightened by anxiety.

Perhaps you may all make peace and reconcile your differences so that you may face this new and alarming danger, Chronos replied, a murmuring rumble sounding. It shook her to the core, but she had gotten used to it in the long years they had known each other.

"When the meeting for today is over, I'm going to consult the Celtic Tree Zodiac," Capricorn decided resting her hands on her ribcage beneath her bosom. The Celtic Tree Zodiac was one that never took sides on any issue concerning the three humanoid zodiacs, Western, Chinese, and Celtic Animal, and instead chose to regulate the condition of the Earth, protecting it from celestial or worldly harm. Capricorn was of an Earth element and able to commune with plants, so they allowed her access to their knowledge, acting as an omnipotent consul.

Chronos still doesn't get it. He doesn't understand the burden that's been foisted upon me. I never wanted this. I never wanted to be responsible for so much. It's too much.

"Why do we have to protect humanity?" she voiced her thought aloud, rubbing away bitter tears that threatened to flow.

Because it is the will of one unknown to us, Chronos replied cryptically. None of the Zodiacs knew the reason of their creation, just as science couldn't fathom why life existed.

I sense the presence of another Zodiac, my child, the god of Time announced, though it was light and non-threatening. Capricorn sat up and looked around her, puzzled by this. She didn't see anyone.

She had no time to react when two arms wrapped themselves around her shoulders, a warm flush flooding her features. Strong arms, muscular yet still soft and covered with long sleeves, held her tight, heated and loving. She could feel the other person's warmth as they rested their chin on her left shoulder, most likely a blush mimicking the intensity of her own. She knew who it was all right.

The person was a Zodiac, like her, and he was Cancer, the Crab. His "human" name was Avi Meir, a man of about 5'10", a few inches taller than herself, and perhaps one the most motherly and affectionate of the Zodiacs. He was number four in the Zodiac, and was also a first generation Zodiac. Had he been human, he'd be twenty-two to her fifteen or so, she being one of the youngest along with Virgo.

He looked fairly Asiatic with familiar almond eyes and ink-black hair that shone blue in direct light. He was one of the shorter men, with an elongated face and jutting cheekbones, like her, only his face was more rounded and curved. His lips were full and plump, nose long and aquiline, with a prominent, rounded chin, and eyes like pools of honey-soft chocolate. His hair was extremely long, reaching almost to the small of his back, tethered low by a braided tie. Two side bangs on either side of his face reached past his chin, sometimes curtaining his face or brushing on the skin of any who had the privilege of being as close to him as she was now. He wasn't very muscular; instead his body was soft and squishy but not fat. His weight was always an issue for he loved eating food. Loving and clingy, a lover of food, this was who Cancer was.

His clothing consisted of a kimono-style robe, thick with wool that reached to his knees. The sleeves were extremely large, with geometric patterns adorning those sleeves, a small obi wrapped around his upper waist. Baggy pants flowed to his knees before being suffocated in tight black boots that reached just to his kneecaps.

"Hi there," his voice, whispering like a breeze, greeted. She turned around, letting her arms reach around his pillow-soft ribcage, hands able to feel the jutting ridges of his spine. He let his arms reach around her upper back, great sleeves blanketing over her. He leaned back enough to study her face with a smile on his, closing his eyes as his lips made a fast descent to hers. Her heart beat giddily as their lips touched, tender yet chaste.

"Ow," he whimpered as she poked him in the stomach when they broke apart, a mischievous smile gracing her usual calm, smothering the hopeless emotion she truly felt. She had to keep her feelings from him; no one else needed to know.

He sighed and flopped backwards, sprawling himself on Chronos' snout as she had earlier. She gladly rested half of herself on his chest, which hopefully wouldn't be weird or anything.

"What's up?" he asked casually, rolling his head to the side so he could eye her. A smile flickered on his face, friendly and casual.

"Oh, nothing," she replied unhelpfully, forcing a grin upon her visage. She rested her head on folded arms on his chest, pumping her legs back and forth in the air. Moments such as these were rare in times that constantly needed attention.

"We don't have to go to the meeting for a little while, so I thought I'd come see you," he said, displacing her as he propped himself on his elbows, causing her to move aside. She decided to sit on her legs, ready and willing to launch into conversation with him.

"Did you get the message Libra sent out a while ago?" she began, remembering the telepathic warning for them to be on their guard while upon Earth. Apparently, the Chinese Zodiac was certain to begin a war should the Western one, in any way, should they disturb the now precarious harmony upon Earth. Each Zodiac seemed content to frame any other one with the unbalance the Earth had been thrust into.

Cancer sat up a bit more, leaning closer to Capricorn. His face was set tightly, lips pursed. He knew that Ceres had never before seen devastation, the likes he saw long ago when he was young and newly born, witnessing the final fall of the previous Zodiacs. That had been twenty thousand years ago.

She didn't know what had happened so long ago, but she felt the feelings of her previous reincarnation ringing throughout her mind.

She looked into his eyes, a lost vulnerability filling hers. There was a pleading in them that spoke louder than fear. He understood her, for he had experienced it, those consuming feelings of despair, just before the fall of the old Zodiacs. Old mixed with new and over the course of millennia or more, the enemy had killed the old off. He clearly saw the face of the previous Capricorn, a male who had been like a father to him, and the grief etched across his face. Cancer remembered when that previous Capricorn died, the snow…the blood and shower of passing Lumins. It filled him with an intangible sadness that haunted him to this day.

He had to protect her. He had to protect their love and the vow he made to Ceres' predecessor.

"Come here," he whispered as he sat up. Timidly, not very used to romantic encounters, she settled on his lap. Like a door closing as a person entered a room, he wrapped both arms around her, sleeves adding a cloth-like mass to the already warm sanctuary. One was wrapped around her waist and the other around her rounded shoulders. He rested his cheek on her head, preserving the quietness of their encounter for a moment more. She could feel the tension in his body melting away; muscles relaxed and a clenched breath released. His eyes were most likely closed, his breathing calmed, tendrils of hair brushing with a tickling sensation past her cheeks. Despite a calm exterior, she could hear his heartbeat take off and his temperature rise to dizzying heights, an aura of heat sizzling away the cool breeze produced by the motion of Chronos' swim. His scent was like a tropical ocean fused with the sweet scent of flowers, but that did nothing to calm her. He was her shell.

"Are we really going to go to war?" she asked, speech slightly impaired by his muffling sleeves. Determinably he kept her down like she'd be hurt upon release. Her voice was so quiet and sad sounding that he held her tighter, closing the sweet trap even more. He really was like the mother of the Zodiacs, taking the place of the previous Capricorn who had been the previous fatherly figure.

"I don't know," he said honestly, refusing to lift his head. He seemed to want to be frozen like this forever. However, his seriousness startled her slightly; she wasn't used to this side of him.

She knew how possessive and overprotective he could be, but the force at which he held her spoke volumes of his own fear.

Ceres started to struggle, prying herself fiercely loose from his sheltering vice, toppling him to the ground. Her face was fierce and determined, hovering over him like a wrestler conquered, hands holding his arms down in a vice of her own. The emotion she felt now was the culmination of the confusion and restless fear within her, threatening to overflow.

"Avi Meir!" she cried, beginning to feel flustered. Cancer stared at her like a doe in headlights, eyes wide, innocent and shining. Although it made her soothe her flaring exasperation, there was still a level of concern needing to be addressed.

"What's wrong?" she asked softly, eyes wide with worry. She released her bindings upon him, letting him free. She gently stroked the side of his face, his eyes suddenly coming into focus. It was as if he were returning from an out-of-body experience.

He slowly sat up, one hand covering his face, trying to hide his shame from her eyes. His bangs shifted downwards, further casting his face in shadow.

"Rima, I'm so afraid of losing you. The world is in turmoil, and I'm afraid that you'll be caught in the middle of it all." His words were filled with honesty, but also laced with the poison of mind-devouring fear. He removed his hand, slumping his head, once more letting hair cascade over his countenance.

"Avi…" she whispered almost inaudibly, voice cracking and tears beginning to build.

He looked up to face her, brows creased low and etched with a painful worry, like he was being stabbed in the heart. It hurt so much to see; hurt so much to feel those feelings herself. Was there really no way out?

As stubbornly as he had clung to her, she embraced him. She gently held his head and he clung to her sleeves of billowing chiffon, much like the child he refused to reveal. Despite being so loving and protective, he hardly ever let his emotions on anything be known. He was afraid of being hurt and used, something she had seen happen to him.

"We'll get through this, right? It'll be okay. Yeah, everything will be fine…" Rima said, very much to herself, the tears unable to flow despite such need for such a catharsis. She was speaking her mind, the voice coming from a source numbed by anxiety.

They held each other for what seemed like an eternity, never wanting to let go.

But moments such as this never last.

*

As per the prediction, the moment didn't last for long. It wasn't long until Chronos warily announced the arrival of an unexpected, not particularly liked, Zodiac. Air and Earth are much too different, after all.

Cancer and Capricorn broke apart from the other's embrace after they felt the airy presence.

"Well, what do you know, if it isn't the little lovebirds," Anemone, one half of Gemini, cheerily intruded. Capricorn was thoroughly irritated by this, taking the Air Zodiac's entrance as an offensive jilt back into painful reality.

Anemone Levia was one half of the Air Zodiac Gemini, sister to Janus Levi. Her long, almost silvery straight hair was tied into two rings that rested upon her head, loose tendrils snaking through like a belt through its buckle. Bangs hung slightly over her eyes, pupils and irises shrouded in a white mist, the whites of her eyes tinted like a black pearl. A translucent black, high-collared halter top was bound by a bandaged chest. Short black shorts were halfway hidden by a long half-dress tethered around her waist by a decorated leather belt. Black thigh-high socks and white boots accented by black piping completed the outfit.

"What do you want?" Capricorn demanded icily, not on very good terms wit the Air Zodiac. Anemone folded her arms, a smile in an effort to placate the Sea goat upon her face. There wasn't anything particularly hostile about her, but the communication gulf between them was almost impossible to breach.

Anemone held up her hands in mock surrender, trying to be passive. "I had some news I thought you might want to know," she said, her eyes resting upon the two of them. Cancer started to rise, along with Capricorn. Rima's expression softened, and an apologetic look was cast Anemone's way.

"I'm sorry," Capricorn began, walking to Anemone, "but I'm just really on edge." Anemone worked up a small smile, shrugging in response.

"Yeah, we all are, but""she looped her arm around Rima's ""we first generation Zodiacs are affected the most." Capricorn stiffened a bit at the contact, but then forced herself to relax.

"What's the news, Levia?" Cancer asked. He was on good terms with all of the Zodiacs younger than he, especially to the second and third generation Zodiacs to whom he played a major role in helping to raise.

"The news is something you probably don't want to hear," Anemone said carefully, offset by the suddenly loud splash of Chronos' tail. It startled all of them, but Capricorn was careful to keep herself within reserve, her emotions something rarely shown to others.

"What is it?" Capricorn pressed, her arms staunchly folded as she put forth a guise of impatience. It was really only a mask to her insecurities.

Anemone's tattooed eyes lowered, small black clouds with a single, curling wisp below the lower lid, her face cast in a sudden gloom. This was completely unlike her, for a girl was usually so spontaneous and energetic. Just like her brother, Capricorn thought, swallowing thickly.

What is troubling you, daughter of air? Chronos interceded with his rumbling voice, capturing the uneasy silence in talons of wisdom, his consul ready to be dispensed to the very young.

Anemone lifted her head, starting off at an unexpectedly angry pace. Her fists were clenched; the way she was trying to hide her tears was painfully obvious.

"Anemone""Cancer started, gently capturing her arm before she could stalk away too far. A sudden, wheezing breath escaped the young half of Gemini, the clear indication of the start of tears. She stood limply, letting Avi hold her arm in the familiar way that he did when they were still very young. The hundred years Avi had spent being the paternal figure to the third and last generation Zodiacs had fostered within them a sense of vulnerability that revealed itself whenever Cancer pressed his concern upon them.

She hiccupped loudly, long white fringe cloaking her face from being viewed. Cancer gently turned her around, Capricorn striding to their sides. She put a comforting arm on Anemone's, and found herself quickly engulfed in the older Zodiac's embrace. Anemone's body shook with sobs.

"S-She's dead, Rima! She's dead a-and never coming back!" Anemone practically whispered, her face stiffening and choking red. Her hands clutched Capricorn's shoulders tightly.

"Rima, Avi…Riva is dead!" There came another choking sob and a stronger emotional vice.

Capricorn tried to hold back the emotions, Cancer shocked and unable to move. He was trying his best, but the emotional Crab was struggling to contain the small tears that flowed down his cheeks. She was supposed to be emotionally cold and able to push away emotions in favor of practicality…but, it was too much.

Raven's black, medium length hair reflected the light, side bangs swept back like folded wings. Almond eyes caught hers, those black eyes kindly returning her gaze.

"What are you doing here alone? You were just born, right? I'm Choon-Hee Riva, half of Pisces. You don't have to be alone. I'll take you to someone kind, who can help." The older girl's was voice golden smooth like honey, calming to the newborn Zodiac. The dark-skinned, white-haired girl shyly took the older girl's hand, a mere toddler in comparison. Baby Capricorn began suckling on her thumb, the picture of such vulnerable innocence. The young woman guiding her through the inky womb of darkness slowed her pace to make up for the young Sea goat's waddling, small legs unable to match pace with long strides.

Choon-Hee took the young girl to another place, the darkness vanishing in a bright spectacle of light. They were in a beautiful place, a jungle where the flowers were as thick as skyscrapers and as tall as mountains. Sunlight beamed through monstrously sized leaves the size of mansions, as if they were microscopic aphids traversing through towers of grass, or blades of grass next to a looming castle. Everything was simply enormous, and tiny Capricorn, already wise beyond her years, knew better than to question this place. The answers would find her.

They walked a ways, their sights filled with leaves of sun-warmed jade and cool emeralds, thick mists creeping around their feet and the dull thunder of far-off waterfalls pounding in the distance. The tang of the humid air filled Capricorn's lungs, making her sneeze slightly. Choon-Hee smiled endearingly at the young girl and Capricorn blushed from her motherly affection. They continued to walk in silence through the warm jungle that dwarfed them, the soft loam betraying no sounds of their footfalls. Capricorn admired the gigantic flowers and orchids that clung to green stalks thicker than most trees.

"You're one of the last Zodiacs to be born, little one. Aside from Virgo, this new Zodiac is almost complete," Riva said suddenly, halting. She wore a thick strip of dark cloth that bound her chest, a translucent sash covering her shoulders to just a bit above her exposed navel. She wore loose, dark colored shorts bound by a loose fitting belt. A long stretch of white cloth was tucked into the back of her shorts, cascading behind her where it reached to her ankles. High-heeled sandals adorned her feet, thick leggings bound tightly to her legs beneath her calves, ending where the sandals began. She turned to face Capricorn, dropping into a squat, balancing on the tip of her toes. Her medium length hair was swept back and spiked at the tips, although it looked natural, bangs swept back like wings. Her left eye was like Gemini's, with black whites with a white pupil and iris. In place of a tattoo, shining scales grew around the lower part, tipping into a slight triangle, the right eye black and almond-shaped. Her face was long and pointed, with high cheekbones and a nicely shaped nose and lips. To Rima, she most the most beautiful person she'd seen yet. On her left arm, cascading lines of beads tinkled together like wind chimes, entrancing. On her right were rings of similar beads loosely ringing around her arm, only they were bound beneath it, clipped to the strapless top like bracelets.

Rima said nothing, silent and unassuming. She lowered her head, pretending to be distracted. Her mind bounced with questions she wanted to ask, but no words wanted to be spoken. She had to figure out things for herself, she resolved.

"What's wrong, little one? Do you have a name?" Riva asked, eyes concerned and lips slightly pursed. She let herself sit on folded legs, young Capricorn mimicking her. Small insects tickled as they skittered past, trying to avoid the two Zodiacs.

"My name is Ceres Rima," she squeaked, the eloquent words marred by an extremely underdeveloped voice. Capricorn averted Riva's eyes in embarrassment.

Riva laughed warmly, calming Rima of her initial insecurities. Rima lifted her head shyly, a shadow of a smile flitting across her face. Riva propelled herself from the ground with her long legs, erecting herself quickly. Capricorn watched with awe as the young woman elegantly walked, enraptured by the grace and flow of it. Eager to please, Capricorn bounced to the balls of her feet, skinny frame lurching from the sudden movement. She instinctively righted herself, walking with exaggeration, her underdeveloped body unable to copy the young woman.

The female half of Pisces turned around, encouraging her to follow. Capricorn smiled eagerly, besides herself at how wonderful her new friend was. She broke into a sprint, much to the amusement of Riva.

"Come on, Capricorn!" To this, Rima tried to extend her strides as long as the short legs would permit, skipping merrily to Riva's side. Rima loped over to the older girl, leaping with exuberance over small pebbles, dodging around the monumental batholiths of green. She slowed slightly to gape in wonder at the sky shyly peeking through, wisps of clouds drifting by like empyreal schooners in a sea of intangible aquamarine. Her gaze shifted to the flower stalks seemingly miles high, so thick around as to encompass several city blocks. Leaves the size of football fields, many in number, filtered through the rich glory of sunlight, inundated with peridot hues and warm jades, slight veins of a darker green seen as well, nature at the full height of its glory. Rolling mists wafted above, breezing through and around the massive flower petals proportionate to several city blocks. Some sunlight filtered through those petals of many a rich color, making Capricorn wish childishly she could fly up to those heights and traverse across the many leaves and petals.

Riva watched as Rima stood transfixed at the beauty of her Paradise, the first to ever be seceded from the water Paradise. Numerous Lumins glittered in the tropical airs, adding beautiful luminescence to a place already so rich with natural beauty.

Riva gently coaxed Rima from her rapture, not really blaming the small Zodiac for basking in such a way. The Paradise's size wasn't just to accommodate the large influx of Lumins received on a daily basis; it also served as a therapeutic place where souls who once held the beauty of their Earth for granted could appreciate nature at a perspective much simpler beings then themselves held.

They continued to walk a ways before coming across a massively spanning lake easily the size of an ocean, the shores impeded the familiar risings of plants that could easily touch the heavens, radiant with organic colors. The waters were a crystalline sapphire, deep and glowing with radiance unparalleled to the waters on Earth. Nearer to the shore, shimmering shades of cerulean sent refracted, irregular scales of light to the opalescent sands below.

"Why are we here?" Capricorn braved asking, cascading cloth from her white dress billowing in the warm breeze. They were overshadowed by the monstrously sized blooms, dappled shadows shading them, warm temperatures heating their skin. Riva turned to her, smiling enigmatically, eyes alight with mystery. The older girl wasn't going to be saying anything. She simply turned away, leaving Capricorn mired in confusion.

"Follow me," she instructed, holding out her hand to the infantile Zodiac. Rima ran to her side, clutching the elder girl's side. She said nothing as they began to walk towards the great expanse of water, unheedingly, nearing closer and closer.

Riva stopped when they were at the very tip where the water gently lapped the shore, her stance calm and stoic. She let loose a high whistle spanning far, deceptively small breath used. Rima could clearly hear it echo with dissonance over the water, trembling waves on the mirror-smooth surface. There was a moment of silence, Riva's eyes slowly searching the circumference of the oceanic lake.

Out of the blue, there came the rush of wing, wings pounding the air. Rima looked up and saw the strangest creature alighting to the ground, taken aback by its strange form. It was a serpentine thing, wings like the sails of a Chinese junk, or a Dimetron, with four long spines that had membrane stretched between them, spanning so that the never connected to the body. Two small jutting spikes at the base of its neck and tail held the membrane like the last threads of a suspension bridge. Its head and were neck long and pointed, lower jaw jutting far forward tipped by a hook, small eyes contemplating them under wide-ridged brows. Its scales were like that of a snake's, small hind legs like an inverted cricket's. It made a neat landing, barely stirring up dust in the wake of the winds stirred by its wings. Its hide was like distorted water, a variety of warm colors like blood adulterating water, free-flowing like a cloud of particles, a rich tuft of long plumages erupting from the crest of its head like a bird of paradise.

The creature like an insect straightened itself, folding its wings like a bird, hide shimmering richly in the grand hues of sunlight. Rima started badly as it let loose a loud chortle like a violent distribution of the call of many birds at once. Riva soothed it by speaking in low tones, its head darting in slight movements, anticipating her every move. Riva finally stepped to its side, gingerly touching its nose. The creature bumped her hand with its snout, opening its mouth to let its long tongue, like a snake's, dole out carelessly like a dog. Riva laughed, speaking in her strange language again, as it began coiling its neck and rubbing against her side and arms.

"What is it?" Rima asked inquisitively, taking a step forward to Riva's side. Riva shushed the girl and simply took her hand, rubbing them together. She took the hand that had touched Rima's and held it to the creature's snout. Instead of sniffing it like Rima thought it would, the long tongue began to lick around the hand, leaving it surprisingly dry, like it was sandpaper.

The beast began chortling excitedly, bucking and lashing the ground with its long, fanned tail. Sand seemed to leap with it as it rejoiced giddily, Rima's deduction of its behavior, and Riva began to laugh as it did.

"He likes you a lot! I've never seen him so excited meeting someone. You must be fairly attuned to nature, and he can sense that, since you are of the Earth Zodiacs," Riva said, ushering Rima towards the being, the flying being even more delighted. Rima couldn't help but dissolve into giggles as the creature began nuzzling her with fervor, as if she were a long lost friend.

"Does he have a name? Does he belong to any sort of species?" Rima asked as the being began to nuzzle her as he had Riva just a moment ago. Riva smiled at this. It seemed that this incarnation of Capricorn would be someone with high expectations upon her shoulders.

"He's of the raptour, a species that generally has this sort of characteristics. However, kin with this sort of coloration are extremely rare. Most of them have muted tones, and ones like this are like black sheep; very rare and very coveted by the females""she winked at Rima, too naïve too understand""as well as their ability to be more easily tamed. Fostering a relationship with ones of normal coloration take longer to bond with, while ones like this have an acute sense of judgment and can tell if the one who wishes to tame them is gentle or not. He takes better to Earth and Water elements since we're a calmer bunch of people." Riva ruffled Rima's hair, making the younger Zodiac shy away slightly.

"Why is he here? Did you simply want to explain this concept to me?" Rima asked, absorbed in her affections of the beautiful raptour. It let loose a streaming hiss like a deflating balloon, contented.

"That's partly the reason. We're actually going somewhere," Riva said, scooping Rima up in her arms before the little Zodiac could wage protest. Riva walked quickly towards the raptour, he immediately lowering his upper body to accommodate their smaller bodies. She nestled them at the crook of his neck at its base. Rima thought his scales felt soft to touch, like silk with a mirror finish, but the smoothness belied their density, a trait that would defend him in any battles. Earlier, she was sure she'd seen a maw filled with small teeth that flexed like cat's claws. She couldn't help but involuntarily gulp.

With nothing to grip on to, Riva resolved Rima's fears by looming over the young Zodiac, pressing her close to his silken hide. Gripping around its neck tightly, Rima couldn't help but worry that she might suffocate him.

"Raptours don't have lungs. Almost all earthen creatures have the necessity to breathe, but this isn't Earth." This immediately quelled Rima's fears, so she decided to wrap her legs and arms as tightly as she could around the raptour's neck as well.

Riva didn't have to spur the creature to impetus as it began flapping its mighty wings to create lift, easily becoming airborne. They began to achieve flight, skimming over the mirror-smooth lake, close enough for Rima to reach down and brush her fingers across the surface. Tilting his body rightwards, his rightmost wing floating just at a narrow margin of surface, mist lightly cascading over its wing because of impossible precision, awing Rima. This new existence seemed to full of thrills and excitement.

"Raptours are the most intelligent fliers of this Paradise," Riva explained over the howling rush of the wind. "It's not unusual for them to build sophisticated nests out of anything they find; those nests are often known to coincide perfectly with any weather condition and withstand the strongest of anything nature can throw at it. They can even communicate like humans; what I was speaking earlier was their language. They are extremely wise, yet choose to live humbly because they have a high appreciation for nature."

"Then why is he letting us ride him like this?" Rima asked, perplexed as to why such an intelligent raptour was letting itself be ridden.

"It's like a parent carrying their child from place to place; he's told me I'm like a daughter to him, as are you. He's an old man," Riva joked. She repeated the last of what she'd said in the alien, yet beautiful language, the raptour responding similarly, his voice like pebbles raining upon glass.

The raptour finished his indignant reply with a defensive huff. Suddenly, with a tilt of his long neck, they were spiraling upwards, Riva whooping merrily and Rima silent in fear as they neared the halfway point of the heights of the smaller blooms alongside the "lake"; for the record, that's really high. Rima could see that the raptour made no effort to flap his wings, simply twisting and turning his body was enough to accelerate anywhere he wished, catching glimmers of sunlight like the metal sidings of military aircraft.

Straightening, Rima was able to relax as the raptour flew level, still high above the lake, but with a more comforting predictability. Riva relaxed her protection over Rima just the slightest, allowing the young Zodiac spectacular views of the sentinel stalks like organic skyscrapers still high above them. The wind was surprisingly gentle even at such heights, the sky still far out of reach, but the sun warming them where the wind chilled them. No, even the wind was still refreshingly cool, even though down below it was much more relaxing. Hugh aloft it was exhilarating.

"Where are we going?" Rima shouted above the wind, her voice still very feeble but gaining more confidence.

"We're going to meet some other Zodiacs," Riva explained, "my brother, Asariel Shen, Gemini, Aries, and Cancer, our guardian. He'll be taking care of you and Virgo as well once he or she is born. But that will be another 30 to 50 years. Before you came, Aries was the youngest."

In the air delightfully crisp and organically scented, Capricorn was starting to piece together the puzzle that was to be her new life. The blue above and below was like her understanding: they were similar in color yet of a different substance.

They flew for what would have been another hour across the vast lake, the raptour racing the wind as fast as he could manage, but even such a passionate outpouring could not conquer the infinitely expansive lake. Upon reaching the other shore, the raptour simply slanted its body to achieve landing, gliding across the ground until the extension of his legs from being tucked in brought them to a sudden halt.

"That was amazing," Ceres gasped as Riva cradled her, the young woman adroitly leaping to the ground. She was let to the sandy ground, collapsing heavily, extending her limbs like a snow angel, catching her breath, mind still enraptured with flight and not ready to land.

"My brother, Amariel, made me ride with him when he was your age. Thing is, he's younger than I am and yet he's got enough courage for both of us. We rode Rhodes, this old guy here," Riva said, affectionately petting the crest of Rhodes's head, the raptour gratefully accepting the gesture of friendship.

"His name is Rhodes?" Rima piped, eyes alight at the sound of the name. She liked it; it sounded wise and authorative, traits that were suddenly attractive to her.

"Yeah," Riva replied distantly. She spoke softly in the language of the raptours, Rhodes replying in a voice that was a flurry of birdsongs. He turned away from them and with a single, mighty flap, he was airborne once more. As he flew away, Rima couldn't help but stare transfixed in wonder at the way Rhodes flew, like the ribbon of a ribbon twirler, so effortless and breathtakingly beautiful.

Rima couldn't help but follow Riva's gaze as Rhodes reflected sunlight like glass, blinding them.

"Could I someday tame one of my own?" Rima asked, tapping Riva's arm gently. Soon Rhodes was far out of sight, soaring through the towering blossoms.

"No," Riva said suddenly, "they're not beasts to be domesticated. You can befriend one, but not keep it as a beast of burden. To ride one is mutual consent. Rider and ridden are both intelligent, so there must be a bond of trust."

Rima nodded, her heart content with that. Something inside of her was glad; at peace. This whole new existence was so beautiful and exquisite; harmonious.

*

It wasn't long until they arrived to the place of meeting, trekking through the walls of green and light, Capricorn's eyes adjusting to the streams of sunlight that occasionally glared, piercing through where the monumental leaves shaded them with their multitudes of warm green shields, growing at different levels and sizes. The thick drone of insects buzzing above caught the light like hordes of glass beads suspended from wire. If she was directly below this armada of shining beads, she could see through their diaphanous wings, thin veins stark against the gossamer membranes.

Soft grasses and other such undergrowth tickled past their legs, microcosms in a world of colossal sizes and volumes that only the heavens could contend with in size. Riva leaped and bound over small and large impediments alike with familiarity unmatched. Capricorn had to content herself with necessary dodging and aversion, unable to scale the obstacles Riva matched with ease. The sky soon became blotted away entirely by the canopy thick with light emeralds and starry Lumins, their forms accenting the greenery with speckled orbs of light, like countless tiny suns.

Occasionally the wayward stars brushed past Rima and she could distinctly hear a chorus of disembodied voices, each a unique pitch or depth; the voices of men and women.

"These are the forms the souls of every corresponding Zodiac. My brother and I, our Paradise seceded from the Water Paradise for personal reasons, so the souls of those who belong to our sign migrated with us. If you decide to secede from the Earth Paradise, you, too, will have a Paradise to call your own. However, such a choice is one you want to consider carefully. Either you do it for a stalwart reason, or it simply feels right. Always follow your intuition, Capricorn."

"Riva, why should I 'follow' my intuition?" Capricorn asked, a troubled storm crossing her visage. The logical Zodiac wasn't accustomed to such philosophical reasoning. A slight breeze warmed its way over her dress, ruffling it with careless glee.

"Because, the voice you hear is the one of your past incarnation is very wise, Ceres. To ignore it would be denying yourself a vast wealth of knowledge. He's very wise, your past incarnation." Riva turned to assess Rima for a moment, waiting for the young girl to catch up. Rima broke into a brief run, soon matching place with Riva.

They walked in comfortable silence for the rest of the duration of the trip, enjoying the continual splendor of nature. They soon came upon a place of utmost importance, an entrance into the ground. The entryway was an elaborate circle with alchemical characters writ in a translucent script that seemed to melt into the circle with a wan glow, pulsating with occasional flares of strengthened light. Riva ushered Rima on to the clear platform, the Sea goat peering down into an endless abyss, hastily removing her version of it in fear of heights that wasn't present when she had been astride Rhodes in what seemed to be so long ago.

Riva hunkered down, balancing on her toes, placing the tips of her fingers to its surface. A responding glow of beautiful sapphire emanated from the tips of her fingers and spanned forth into the edges of the sheer ring. She stood tall again, not starting as ring jolted downwards suddenly. Rima squeaked fearfully, automatically grabbing for Riva's hand with two of hers. Riva couldn't stifle a soft smile as the white-haired did so.

The made a slow descent into the chasm below, Capricorn trembling like a leaf before the shivering winds of winter. The darkness engulfed them until the light of the sun was reduced to a gaping, yet perfectly circular, opening above them. Steeling herself to bravery, Rima gingerly looked down, taken aback by the warmness of the subterranean glow.

It wasn't long before the narrow tube gave way to a monumental cavern, large enough to swallow a city whole and still have room for a sky. The ceiling must have at least been a mile or more high, with many amazing structures. Dead center, suspended like a stalagmite, was the largest reverse-tiered metallic half-sphere she'd ever seen. It must have been dozens of miles around, hundreds of bands of inorganic light dimly aerating from it, sides sheltered in tones of muted chrome. From tip to top, the metallic, suspended city must have been miles in length, those wreaths of light chasing away any subterranean darkness. If she peered closely enough, multitudes of Lumins were dancing on summer breezes.

Around this suspended city were four icicles, tiered in descending levels. They shared the colors of the great circular prism, only enveloped in a calming green aura like seawater. They were like the four candles surrounding an advent wreath, sentinels. Below them, a terrific distance below, was an unfathomably deep, underground ocean of water. It cast a perfect reflection of those suspended cities of Paradise, distorting them only by the subtle ripples of waves. However, from the tiny perspective someone as little as she had in a place like this, those subtle waves could be the violent swirling of stormy seas for all she knew.

The inky darkness wasn't threatening to the warmly lit cities; it was more like a meditative silence, a quiet contemplation.

Their descent ended abruptly as they floated above the water on an enormous dais. The circle that seemed so solid melted into the dais, fusing with it, the pulsating characters now indented into it. Riva calmly stood as a bright flash of light enveloped them, Rima shrieking, so many new experiences overtaking her at once.

As the light faded, they were in what seemed to be an enormous room the size of an open mall. It was shaped like the interior of an egg, multiple levels of recessed walkways ringing around the egg-shaped interior. From the very zenith of the large space hung a colossal petrified splash of water, natural light beaming in from unknown sources setting it ablaze with light like the many facets of a diamond, casting ethereal glows throughout. Ceres caught glimpses of many people milling through the several levels of inset walkways, leaning on glassy balustrades or speaking in many languages with partners in promenade. Lumins flitted in this place as well, floating idly like the seeds of flowers riding strong winds. From sudden intuition, she knew that the people before her of many skins and speeches and dress were the solidified forms of the Lumins, souls who were the vagabonds from Earth. To confirm this, from the corner of her eye, on one of the nearer levels, a Lumin flashed brightly, a handsome man quickly filling the void the Lumin left.

The shield encompassing the perimeter of the dais liquefied away, revealing their presence to the thousands of people present. At the sight of Capricorn, happy as well as hushed gossip soared throughout, many pairs of eyes entranced upon her. Capricorn immediately felt self-conscious, engaging in a thorough study of her bare feet, remarkably intact, considering the nature they had just trekked through.

"They're just curious. Many of the people here haven't been here long enough to witness the incarnation of a Zodiac occur," Riva said reassuringly, gently squeezing Rima's hand. Capricorn shyly lifted her head, a worried expression still affixed upon her face. Snippets of gossip wafted past like the brief scent of flowers, the young Zodiac filtering it out.

Riva led Rima down a steep flight of stairs, hewn tiers revealing themselves. Sumptuous flora was gardened here, young plants significantly smaller than the ones borne of the world above. Anxiously, Rima proceeded onwards, careful to avoid tripping over steps hewn from perfectly measured marble veined by gold. Arches of vines and light gently sheltered them, illuminated streams of water running honey-gold past, shaping to the descent of the stair. Dark greens cloaked them in a tunnel of comforting mystery, leaves intruding and bright flowers nosy in curiosity. They walked a bit further, finally coming to a circular plaza, decent in size. Ceres could distinctly hear the laughter of many children, along with the concerned but jovial pleas of a teenage boy. Riva broke from Rima's grasp and enthusiastically ran ahead, gleefully shouting her approach. Rima was tempted to stand stock still, but the only person she could trust in this place was ahead of her. This prompted her to continue walking, swallowing down her apprehension.

The embankments of jungle dissipated to reveal a cloistered plaza, a burbling fountain dead center, and right beneath the translucent shadow of the ornamental splash above. The heads of many children were scampering about, all older than she. She caught sight of two white-eyed, black rimmed twins, Anemone and Janus, chasing past her in a frenzied game of tag. The girl wore her hair identical to her brother, at the base of their necks with long fringe overhanging their ears, bangs covering their brow. An older boy clad in white trousers with a face and an eye similar to Riva's, only on the right, reversed, his medium-length, raven's hair bound in a ponytail, long fringe cupping his face with bangs growing as well. A dark-skinned boy with a narrow face and symmetrical features as well as tousled, wavy brown hair ran past her in hot pursuit of the white-haired twins. A man, taller than them all, was the one trying to keep the rambunctious young Zodiacs in line.

His face was long with high cheekbones, although it was soft. His almond-shaped eyes danced as they darted from child to child, his full lips never far from a smile. Long side-bangs hung over his face, past his chin, even longer hair tied in the back by a low, braided tie. Escapes of that black hair drifted over his shoulders, resting on the folds of the constantly bunching kimono tied by a low obi. He also wore long, thick pants stuffed into tight, knee-high boots. Aries, the one with the bouncing, wavy brown hair, excitedly began jabbering, grabbing and tugging the hem of the man's kimono, pointing in Capricorn's direction. Rima balked at this, and only Riva's encouraging gestures to 'come here' prompted her forward. Janus grabbed her hand, causing her to flinch, dragging over to Cancer.

Caught in a spell of shyness, Capricorn affixed her eyes to the ground as the Gemini twins began annoyingly poking her, wondering aloud if she was some kind of statue.

"Hey, mommy Cancer, the new girl's actually a statue!" exclaimed Janus, jabbing his finger into her arm, a grin plastered to his face. Every child Zodiac here, including Capricorn, was clad in white, but for the pale twins it only intensified their presence.

"I think she's not gonna move," Anemone quipped, raking her fingers through Rima's short hair. "If she didn't wear a dress she'd just be a really pretty boy."

Capricorn seemed to explode at that last snide comment, shoving Anemone to the ground, the Air Zodiac starting to bawl from the sudden shock of impact, mentally reeling. Capricorn darted away from their teasing advances, ramming into the Cancerian and hiding beneath the loose folds of his kimono like it was a curtain for hide and seek. She was waiting for the consequences of her actions, peeking slightly to see that Riva has scooped the young Zodiac into her arms.

She felt the warm security of the darkness being pulled gently away from her, a pair of soft yet strong hands lifting her upwards. Perched on the lower arm of Cancer, a hand supporting her back; Capricorn buried herself in his shoulder, refusing to face the other Zodiacs.

"Hey, Cancer, what's up with the newbie?" came Asariel's concerned voice, silently appraising Capricorn. Cancer just shook his head, smiling, defeated.

He turned to Capricorn, taking a finger to wipe away a stream of tears on an exposed cheek. "Hey, what's wrong? Why don't we do over and apologize to Anemone, the girl you pushed? She's really like that." Capricorn was too proud to admit that his soothing voice made her want to obey, but she still felt grudging bristles of emotion towards the blunt older girl.

"She called me a boy," Rima protested weakly, letting herself look shyly up at Cancer, still hiding most of her face.

"That how Gemini is. They do things they don't mean sometimes, okay?" Against her silent wishes, he began walking over to Riva who held Anemone, the female half of Gemini greeting Capricorn with a glare. Her mouth was pulled into an angry frown, unfitting of such a cheerful Zodiac.

"Why do I have to apologize?!" Anemone demanded, a whine evident in her voice. When Riva answered with an enigmatic shrug, she fixed another glare to Capricorn. "She's such a baby. When we were born we were never so immature." Her voice was spiteful, referring to herself and her brother; Gemini as a whole.

"You weren't born alone, Anemone. Only Pisces, Asariel and I, and you two understand what's like to be born with another half. It's not very lonely, is it?" Riva said pointedly, smiling as she saw Capricorn lift her head to look at Anemone.

"No," Anemone pouted, hated to be proven wrong.

"I'm sorry for pushing you, Ane," Capricorn said suddenly. She struggled slightly until Cancer let her to the ground; she still gripped the hem of his kimono tightly like before. Anemone did something similar, sighing as she walked towards Capricorn.

"Sorry for calling you a boy. You're just a girl with short hair," Anemone said, quickly reconciling. The teenagers so above them shrugged and shared knowing smiles; all little kids seemed to forgive things very quickly.

After that day of play and casual introductions, Cancer accompanied Riva and Capricorn, followed by the three younger Zodiacs, back to the surface where they found a parasite city dangling from the pollen chamber of a flower, one of many. It was significantly smaller than the underground one, but an exact duplicate in design. Because of its enormity, like the subterranean one, no one was sure of all the kinds of places it contained. In Pisces's apartments, many new and review things were explained to the young Zodiacs, stuffing their minds chock full of information regarding their legacy, but it seemed futile for minds who passed out before they could witness the rainbow glowing of the nighttime.

*

Many years later, Virgo was born. Like Capricorn, she was unsure and afraid, but the other Zodiacs took her in and answered her every question. Where Capricorn had taken a strong liking to Riva, who had found her, and Cancer, who was inseparable from her, Virgo found similar relationships in Riva and Asariel. As soon as they became of a preteen age, they joined the Earth Paradise. A few centuries later, they seceded from the Earth Paradise and created their own Paradises, Gemini joining them a time not long afterwards.

Riva was very precious to both of them.

*

Those had been the most treasured moments of her life; a beauty only the organic aesthetic that constantly surrounded them could match.

"You're lying," Capricorn denied, all emotion draining into bleak melancholy. She looked at Anemone, pleading, into her eyes. "Please tell me this is some kind of joke." Her voice was choked and numb, and yet her mind and heart and soul knew there was no denying this. Anemone couldn't look away, her eyes bubbling over in tears.

No amount of happy memories, no amount of reassurances, could bring her from this cold yet painfully tangible truth.

Anemone looked away, stepping back. She understood how much deeper the younger girl had in connection to Riva; Ceres had been found by her. Riva, along with Cancer, had raised her. Where Cancer was like a soul mate Riva was a soul friend. Their bond was like that of sisters, only stronger.

Cancer tried to circle his arms around Rima, only to be rebuffed by her walking away. She sank to the ground, shaky breaths escaping her. She hated showing the vulnerability of her emotions, hated showing them to anyone who could take advantage of her. Not even loved ones were exempt from this sudden coldness. Chronos rumbled deeply in his throat, the water trembling away from him.

Anemone began to walk towards Rima, Cancer sending her a pleading look for her to stop. Anemone just shook her head, tenacious in her resolve. She took one of Rima's arms and hauled her upwards, a sudden shift in emotion.

Ceres looked at her, bewildered, but didn't proceed to shake her off.

"We're going to find her," Anemone said, piercing Rima with her eyes. "Libra said she was dead. I realized just now that it's because the search was inconclusive and no evidence was found. Rima, she could be alive."

"How? Why did she go missing in the first place? How could she be alive?" Ceres drilled into Anemone, the ferocity of a buried wish for Riva to be alive burning brightly. It was a wish so recently formed.

"Can you think back to when you saw her last, any mention of her mission?" Anemone tried, hoping to spark some sort of recall.

Ceres looked thoughtful for a moment, thinking deeply yet finding nothing. How long had Riva been gone; how long since she saw the female Pisces?

She was sent on a mission to investigate the Earth city of Venice of the twenty-first Earth century, Chronos rumbled, voice cascading over them like the mighty tumble of a waterfall.

"Thank you, Chronos," Anemone said quickly, bending down to affectionately scratch the impenetrable and opalescent scales. Though it would be impossible for him to feel it, a shower of twinkling particles of light poured over her, his way of expressing gratitude without speech.

Ceres could only smile; Chronos returned to an observable silence as he had before.

"Venice? Venice is the famous Italian city situated upon water, am I correct?" Rima said aloud, hoping she could answer the question herself. She paced closer to Anemone, than to Cancer, who had been relatively silent through the whole conversation.

"Rima, Anemone, I've been to Venice before," Cancer said, not at all shy in taking Capricorn's hand and holding it tightly, though it wasn't painful.

"Oh, you have? What's it like? Can you think of where she'd go?" Capricorn said in a breathless rush, eager for any and all information on Venice.

"Venice is a very romantic city situated on the water with period architecture that reflects the height of the old times. It's cris-crossed by canals, like the weaving of a net, although there are some signs of modernization. The primary mode of transportation is gondolas sculled by their gondoliers, back when that was the only way to get around. Nowadays motorized watercraft is the way to go. The city isn't as beautiful as you'd think, since commercialization and heavy tourism have changed the face of it greatly," Cancer concluded, the entire summary sounding like a statistical lecture.

"Have you been there recently?" Anemone asked, intrigued as to why he knew so much about it.

"We're Zodiacs; we travel to Earth on a common basis. I went there recently just to update Libra since the world has been changing dramatically in the last twenty or thirty years. Humans aren't the way they were," Cancer said, holding his chin in hand, like the famous sculpture. "I can't say exactly where Riva would go other than to places necessary to purely achieve her mission."

"Well, it's final then," Capricorn said finally, shakily wiping away the last of her tears. "As far as we know, she's either alive and missing or dead. We need to find the truth before making any sound judgments."

"Hey, Chronos, can you take us to the meeting?" Capricorn asked, lifting her head so her voice might project better.

There was no vocal or mental reply; instead he answered with silence. The small flickering of soft, ethereal light from before emanated from nowhere, gently surrounding them in noticeable ring like those that famously orbited Saturn or Neptune. Automatically knowing what to do, the three of them closed their eyes and awaited arrival at the place they now secretly dreaded.

*

The meeting place was never fixed, always somewhere arranged by Libra, the chosen leader of the Western Zodiac. Today their meeting was to be held at Pisces's Paradise in the exact same place Capricorn had first met the first and second generation Zodiacs"at least most of them. As per the mandate, everyone was ordered to wear simple, white-washed clothing. Their normal outfits immediately were stripped away, replaced by billowing white garments, sometimes taking a simpler form of their everyday clothing.

Capricorn wore a dress slit high up until it touched her lower torso, the translucent fabric flowing away from her when she walked quickly. Beneath it she wore a form-fitting white sheath that reached slightly above her knees, high heels adorning her feet. Anemone wore something more or less the same, only it was a strapless, shimmery white top revealing much for her navel, a mini skirt of a flouncy pleated material reaching well-above her knees, a pair of white boots finished it off.

Cancer wore simple pants and a top, still simple yet elegant. "Why do I have a feeling that Libra thinks every meeting is a formal occasion?" he stated, tugging at his hair which was bound in a ponytail, his long hair twisted like a rope so it magically stayed taut in place, his lengthy side bangs pulled into it, what that could escape was slicked back. A single strand of hair was allowed to grace his face, a bid of untidiness that actually looked fairly suave.

Anemone and Rima's hair was left in place, both glad that Libra didn't play dress up to the point of obsession.

"You look handsome," Rima said. Doting on him, she made sure everything was left in place. "We only have to put up with this every once in a while."

"Let's do it for Riva," Anemone quipped cheerfully, fingers self-consciously tugging the hem of her garish skirt. Cancer took Rima's arm as all three of them descended the stairs in unison, footfalls echoing in almost perfect synchronization. The jungle trees of so long ago were much taller than they were in the past, arches still holding the same height and light, sweet stream burbling past them like a friend beckoning them forward.

Before them stood all other twelve Zodiacs, seated in sequential order; Anemone and Cancer left her side to take their respective seats. Capricorn felt eyes staring into her, subconsciously realizing that Janus was gazing at her with critical eyes.

Janus Levi, Anemone Levia's twin brother, looked very much like his sister, sharing her skin, hair and eyes. The tattoos at the lower lid of his eyes were like Yang without the white dot, accenting his sister's. His face was more angular, lips thinner, eyes narrower, but he still resembled his sister closely. He retained the hair that Capricorn recalled from those earliest memories that touched the nape of his neck with long fringe and bangs framing his face. His eyes left her as soon as Rima glimpsed him, he turning to his sister, now choosing to ignore her.

Capricorn averted her gaze from him, the torrent of painful memories settling in her mind, despite her valiant efforts to make them dull their tortuous tirade.

The other Zodiacs were now seated in low-back chairs, still tasteful and ornate in design. Libra presided over them in a slightly more decorated seat, her delicate red lips pulled into the slightest of smiles. Almond-shaped eyes appraised them all, her oblong face lifting to see them better, the shadows of prominent cheekbones upon her cheeks. Her long, black hair was braided thrice and bound by a single tie, shining with a healthy sheen. She beheld them with the regality of a queen, such presence only to be matched by Leo.

"My fellow Zodiacs, we're gathered here today to mourn the loss of one of our own. We do not grieve necessarily for the loss of life, but rather for her missing presence," Libra began grandly, her voice eloquent and her words carefully chosen. There was an eruption of gossip among them all, only a few remaining to be silent.

"Amaryllis," Scorpio began, "where's Riva?" Scorpio was the last of the Water Zodiacs, along with Cancer and Pisces, a man of the second generation. By appearance he looked to be twenty-one or so, although his chronological age far exceeded that, like everyone present. Everyone was older than one thousand years old, the youngest of the 4th generation being between one thousand and three thousand years old, the first generation no more than 20,000 so far.

Scorpio was a very handsome man with a strong square jaw and large cheekbones, skin healthily tinted and light, hair almost reaching the nape of his neck, wavy and blonde, slight tufts seeming to be bangs, eyes a piercing blue. He always had a confident swagger about him, but today his face was marred by worry and exhaustion. He and Riva had been in a relationship prior to her departure and his love for her was still very strong, she reciprocating similar feelings towards him.

Libra heeded the call of her name, drawn and silent. She looked away from the most emotional Zodiac's powerful gaze, unable to give him a definite answer.

"We're doing all we can to find her. I've sent many legions of Lumin from the Air Paradise to lead the search for her." Among them, despite Libra's important position, formalities didn't exist. Everyone was seen as equals, for everyone regarded the other as family.

Cancer stepped forward, waiting to see that no one intended to speak. Assured that no interruptions might break him off, he spoke, "I pledge that Lumins of the Water Paradise shall also take part in the search for one of our own."

"I also wish to do the same," Rima bravely put forward, stepping from her seat to stand forward, gaining an approving look from Cancer.

"I'll do the same," Virgo agreed. Virgo was a pretty girl just slightly younger than Capricorn, her face elongated and cheekbones high, frame extremely slender, like many of the other girl Zodiacs. Her hair was blonde and straight, reaching to the middle of her back. Long fringe cascaded over her small ears that rested below her shoulders, she too sporting bangs. Her eyes were also blue, but were had more of a greenish tint about them, almost aquamarine in coloration. She and Capricorn were best friends.

"Don't you dare think of leaving me out! This lioness is ready to hunt!" Leo exclaimed proudly. She looked nineteen years old and one of the more effervescent of the Zodiacs, always wanting the spotlight in whatever she did. Where Cancer was like a quiet and understanding mother, Leo was everyone's big sister always ready to launch into a pep talk to anyone feeling blue, burning to shoot for the top like Aries, only in a much more spectacular way. Her face fairly square in shape, her profile long, cheekbones high and rounded. Her eyes were dark brown, her skin like hot cocoa, warm and radiant. She was slim, not gangly and awkward like some of the younger female Zodiacs.

"I'm getting my girl back whether she's completed some dang old mission or not! She's our friend." Leo folded her arms, smiling with dark, plump lips.

"Do we even know where we could find her?" came Taurus's query. Taurus was a first generation Zodiac, a handsome man with hair braided in cornrows, then left to grow naturally, short in length. His skin was like a dark chestnut, eyes like Leo's. His body was muscular and definitively toned, his face strong and angular. He looked to be about twenty-four, the oldest of them all.

Another chimed in reply, "She was sent to Earth. If she had left we'd have known if she had returned here." Sagittarius was the one who had spoken, another Second Generation who looked to be a year younger than Leo. His skin was lightly toned, straight hair a vivacious red like rebellion, mussed in backward tufts that flared into a slight Mohawk, settling into bangs on his face. His face was long and slender, almost gaunt, but only at the precipice. His eyes were an impenetrable black, but up close you could see faint streaks of color like gasoline floating above water. He was Aquarius's lover and dearest friend.

Scorpio fixed his gaze to Libra, expectant of a reply. "It seems we've all pledged the use of our Lumins, some offering to go in the stead of others""Leo smiled brilliantly, certain that Libra was praising the younger Zodiac""and yet, no one seems to be quite certain where she is exactly." Cancer, Anemone, and Capricorn all exchanged looks in unison to the others, flying under the radar of the other Zodiacs. Perceptive Levi gave his sister an inquiring glance, to which Anemone densely ignored. When he sent his gaze to Capricorn, she averted his gaze quickly, pretending to have been focusing on Libra. He knew something was up.

"Why was she sent out in the first place? Libra, you seem to be withholding that information from us," Aquarius challenged, Asariel giving her a questioning glance. The other half of Pisces was always uneasy in the face of conflict.

Libra's eyes narrowed and she folded her arms defensively, pinning Aquarius with a fierce rebuttal with her penetrating eyes. "That information is confidential," she said with harsh truth. "You all know where you stand here. I will not tolerate any disturbances. I'm doing anything and everything within my power to locate her. If you all panic and go to Earth in a frenzy, you jeopardize the security or your Paradises, especially of those who seceded."

"Aren't you the one who told us we're family; why can't you tell us?!" Levi said, face pulling into one of growing anger. "There are secrets spreading among lesser ears! Can you tolerate such suspicion? Do you want us all to destroy ourselves with personal agendas?!"

"Brother, please!" Anemone pleaded, seizing Levi's arm, keeping him from launching into a hot-headed attack, or something worse.

"Shut up!" A strong reaction came from him, he slapping his own sister with ferocious brutality. Anemone reeled to the ground, everyone stilled by a sudden fear, unsure of what to do.

"Do you all remember when Capricorn's previous incarnation died? Virgo's? How did they die?! They were sent to Earth on singular investigations, were brutally harmed, and died trying to protect the Paradises from destruction!"

"Brother, stop!" Anemone cried, tears erupting from her eyes. Her face was reddening from pain and tears, a hand clenching her smarting cheek.

"Be quiet!" Levi bellowed, aiming his fist at his own sister. Capricorn couldn't even gasp before she darted with immeasurable speed to Anemone's front, absorbing the hit with her own body. Rima collapsed to the ground after impact, unable to hold her ground. When she was truly fighting, she was stronger. She couldn't bear harming another Zodiac, even in situations like these.

"Levi…" came Rima's weak voice, broken of wind, the breath lost from her lungs. She hacked violently.

Cancer reacted faster than believably possible, a clenched fist slamming with Levi's face. Virgo flew to Anemone and Rima's sides, cradling their heads, intending this time to be their shield.

"You b*****d!" Cancer roared. "How dare you raise your hand against your own kin! I never raised you to resort to violence!" He had Levi seized by the collar of his shirt, raising him off the ground, Levi's face squeezed in pain.

Taurus also had come to their sides, talking quietly, taking Capricorn from Virgo and into his arms. Aries stood by Anemone, lending his shoulder for her to sob shakily into. All of this happened in less than a minute, if gauged by Earth time. Everyone else was in a stupor, unable to comprehend what had just happened.

Virgo hovered protectively near her friend, glaring daggers of hate towards Levi.

"Avi," Libra cried, "put him down this instant! He's only a child!" Libra's noble voice was now shrill and distraught, hysterical. Two orbs of light floated to where Cancer stood, an arresting grip still imprisoning the youthful Zodiac. Those formless beings flashed into bright spectacles of white, shimmering away to unveil two burly men, one dark-skinned and the other darker still, who took Levi away from the seething Cancer. "Take him to where he can calm down. I'll be there to speak with him later," Libra ordered, her voice regaining some of its composure and strength.

The Piscean souls led a dejected Gemini away, the boy hanging his head, remorsefully silent. Meanwhile, Anemone was starting to recover herself, standing up. Capricorn was still in Taurus's arms, the older man sighing regretfully, seeing the young girl as a little sister. Virgo stood by, unable to tear her eyes away even as Asariel quietly wrapped his arms around her.

"Please don't blame him," Anemone said, lifting the pal of voiceless shock. Aries released her as she drew herself away, ready to speak. Aquarius, Leo and Sagittarius had left with Libra to assist in possibly restraining Levi.

"Why are you forgiving him for hurting you?" demanded Cancer with uncharacteristic bitterness. He had convinced Taurus to release Capricorn, holding his lover tightly in his arms, struggling to hold back emotion.

"There's no need to apologize for him, Anemone. You can't take the blame for his sin," Virgo said with equal bitterness, the scene replaying with haunting vividness within her mind. Her arms were folded; she refused to be very far from her best friend, Asariel quietly behind.

"You don't understand! We're Gemini! We each contain what the other lacks! Don't you see? I'm his weakness, the vulnerability he hates! He's scared!" Anemone crumpled to the ground, shoulders shaking in a brief respite of tears.

She cast a heart-rending gaze over them all, pleading for understanding. "We can feel each other's emotions; each other's memories. There's a reason why he was so angry."

They all waited in silence.

"Capricorn's previous incarnation found us when it was our turn to emerge from the darkness. The previous Virgo and he were our family! When they were the last to die, during the last years of their life, we grieved for years! They were half our heart, our home, our family. Cancer, you understand, don't you? You were close to him, too! You and we were young when he died. You can understand our grief," her voice dropped its emotion; the passionate spiel ended. "You all can understand our grief."

"That doesn't justify anything!" Virgo responded. "You all are lucky to have been able to meet the last Zodiacs! The past Virgo was already dead even when Rima was 'born'! We don't have any memories to return to; we can't reminisce in your pain or joy. Riva found us; we have more of a reason to find her more than any of you! She's that someone the past Virgo and Capricorn are to you."

"She's my older sister," Asariel said quietly. He had been largely withdrawn through the entire ordeal.

"And I love her! None of us has a better reason than anyone else to see her back among us. Some of us remember the pain of the past; others are experiencing it now. What's important is that we all have the passion necessary to push us forward through this. It's no different for Levi, either," Scorpio said, cutting through the sadness with reason. Everyone, if not lifted in a good way, all hardened with a steely resolve. Scorpio had summarized what everyone had been struggling to say.

"You're right, Scorpio, but now isn't the time to act when we're all clearly troubled," Aries said pointedly. "We'd act rashly, blinded by our emotions."

Taurus nodded. "We should all return to our Paradises and wait for the morrow. Get to rest, everyone. If Libra is unfit to give orders, I have permission to take her place. Should that happen we'll assemble back her and I'll assign tasks. Riva must be found, but those remaining must be safe." Taurus was wise, his suggestion agreeing with everyone.

Cancer, Capricorn, Virgo, and Asariel departed separately, deciding to return to Capricorn's Paradise.

*

The Paradise of Capricorn was alight with the powerful form of Lumins chasing away the subtly of night. The trunk of every tree, innumerable, pulsated with mystifying, neon cerulean light, pumping upwards like veins of the heart. The leaves above were all sent into a wonderful jade glow, like millions of emeralds held beneath a million suns, each shining brightly with a fierce yet gentle light. Enormous fish, the smallest the size of Chronos's snout, swam slowly below, as if moving through molasses. Their scales were illuminated with ethereal light, radiating from within, sending playful light reflecting off of Chronos's beautifully opalescent scales like billions of fanned shells. The sheer size of the flora and fauna sent shivers of delight to those who witnessed their incomprehensively beautiful display.

Curled on the laps of their loves, safe on Chronos's long muzzle, Virgo and Pisces, as well as Capricorn and Cancer, all took in the quiet splendor of the night's gorgeous display. Rima had healed terrifically thanks to Virgo's healing abilities, the dark-skinned girl never tiring of this nightly gift that no conceivable pleasure could ever amount to.

Several Lumins floated around them like bubbles, slow and beautiful. A few voices would waft through their minds, whispering secrets or tidbits of conversation. Since human souls could only leave their tree-gripped cities in Lumin form, they served to beautify both night and day, their presences beloved everywhere.

"We have to protect our homes; we have to do it for all of them," Capricorn said quietly, holding out a finger, a Lumin settling on it for an instant before floating away again, carried away by a soft breeze.

Virgo snuggled closer to Pisces; they were still in the white clothes from the meeting, too exhausted to change. "Why were we born into this?" she asked.

"None of us knows; you know that after being alive for so long," Asariel replied, stroking Virgo's hair tenderly. She buried herself closer towards him despite the constant state of warmth Capricorn's Paradise provided.

"We're made to suffer, aren't we? We alone have to protect billions of souls, protect those still alive on Earth, and constantly contend with forces sometimes beyond our control," Cancer said, Rima looking up at him endearingly.

"It feels so good to know that we can protect them, though. It makes me feel like we weren't born purely by accident," Capricorn said, fingers absently coiling around tendrils of Cancer's long hair, he having reset his hairstyle from the restraint of Libra's concoction.

"It makes you feel like you have purpose, doesn't it?" Pisces said, lifting his head to gaze at the majesty soaring and sparkling above their heads. Virgo did the same, silenced for a moment.

"We're not much different from humans, are we?" Cancer speculated. "They were born with no recollection of how they came to be. Our previous reincarnations' memories are sealed, so even we can't dig up our own past lives. Humans remain in the present, and they've created their own world. The wage wars; so do we. They look to the past for answers; as do we. They've created an existence to fill their lives; they're born, live, and learn, working for a living, then retiring and eventually dying. No matter what they do, no matter how advanced or estranged they think they are from each other, they all live their lives in the same way. We may be live to be older, may have powers to grant us strength and beautiful havens to call home, we're no different. We have families to protect, however large, and we live our lives by doing what has been innate to us ever since we were first created."

"We know no more than they do. We've never traveled anywhere but between our Paradises and Earth. We're almost as confined as they are," Capricorn realized. She let her sight focus upon the night sky above, loving the dense concentration of organic, luminous emeralds, Cancer mimicking her. Everyone lost themselves among those leaves, longing to dance and fly among the greenery. Though it was entirely possible, they felt so humble, so human. Humans couldn't jump or travel to many places without encountering some limitations; but their ingenuity carried them far. They sent themselves into space recently, sixty-nine years into the 20th Earth century. All of the Zodiacs remembered that day; they had congregated like satellites in the still breadth of space, faint stars twinkling, watching as this pointed cylindrical thing pushed itself through the Earth's atmosphere from the thrusts of flaring rockets. Each of them had felt a sense of pride, especially for those people involved who had been born under certain Zodiac signs. Afterwards, Virgo had made a week-long journey to Earth, learning as much as she could, Leo and Aquarius joining her. Soon all of the Zodiacs knew that what they had seen and what composed such a feat.

Compared to humans, Zodiacs were much more limited. If Zodiacs could become humans, they would forever be children in school, never accelerating or faltering, simply learning. That's what Zodiacs did; besides protecting the celestial balances of their tiny solar system, they were all charged with learning as much as they would, becoming the compendiums for every aspect of human existence. No one knew why, but they were all instinctively programmed to do such a thing.

"The Earth's become very unsettled. Can't you all sense it?" Pisces asked aloud, breaking their almost meditative study of the nightscape.

Virgo shifted uncomfortably. "Yeah, the other Zodiacs, Chinese and Celtic Animal, can sense it, too. That's why they're bracing, threatening, for war. There's something bigger than all of us combined coming; or maybe it's already here."

"Gaia is very unsettled, isn't she? She uncomfortable with the rapid changes while many people are facing despair, tumultuous despair," Cancer said, pulling Rima closer. His body felt very tense to her.

"We won't know what is until it comes," Capricorn practically reasoned, snuggling closer to Cancer. "First, we want to find Riva. From there we'll unlock the answers, or questions that need answering."

Virgo was speaking briefly in hushed tones with Pisces, beyond the hearing range of Cancer and Capricorn. It didn't sound argumentive, but the concern over something was there. They broke apart, but it wasn't because of hostilities. Capricorn took the same iniative as them, prying herself free from a reluctant Cancer who had been enjoying the rare moment of tenderness that were so fleeting for beings such as themselves.

"Guys, Pisces and I think there's something bigger than just Riva's disappearance going on," Virgo began, her voice laced with worry. She glanced at Pisces, encouraging him to speak.

"There's something going on beyond the possible war or cosmic threat; it's happening to us."

Capricorn nodded, the four of them now gathered in an exclusive circle. "What is it?" she asked.

"It's this Zodiac, isn't it? You've noticed it, too, Asariel?" Cancer asked.

"Yeah, I told you about it a little while ago, Avi," Pisces said, rubbing the scales beneath his right eye, those things growing beneath the negative/positive space of an eye. That eye sent Capricorn and Virgo longing for the possessor of the other half. Those eyes reminded them that Pisces couldn't be whole without both pieces.

"What is it?" Capricorn prompted, she and Virgo eagerly awaiting this revelation.

"Our Zodiac…has become divided," Asariel said finally, glancing at both Virgo and Capricorn, their faces frozen in confusion for a moment.

"Do you mean something like a struggle for power?" Virgo tried, sharing Capricorn's speculation.

"The interests of the Water and Earth, Air and Fire Zodiacs…we've always had some division in terms of agreements, but never like this. I overheard Aries and Gemini speaking of it. Taurus wants to believe that it's just a rumor, but I think he knows there's some stock in it," Pisces said.

"Rima, Terra, the Air and Fire Zodiacs are trying to take total control. Libra thinks that we're too divided and that some form of superiority will better balance us," Cancer supplicated, shooing away Lumins who were trying to eavesdrop on their conversation.

"That's not always bad, is it?" Capricorn said, unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

"Cap, total control means what it means; if they take control, a war with the two other Zodiacs will erupt. Libra and her posse want to take control to better face their threat. The other two Zodiacs want to establish their superiority and are willing to go to war that will involve all three Zodiacs. Libra, Sagittarius, every other Air and Fire Zodiac know of this plan and will act upon it," Cancer better explained.

"What will happen to us?" Virgo pushed, goading Cancer and Pisces with her strong gaze.

"Inferiority and servitude. We'd be no better than true subordinates. The familial, equal bond that makes us understand the other so well will dissolve under such a regime," Pisces answered, lowering his eyes. He could see it in his mind.

"We'd have no choice but to fight back. Guys, we can't let them do what they dream of doing. This Zodiac has existed for so long because we've been equals. A shift in power in either direction would make us weak and vulnerable; no one wants to submit to one side's rule," Capricorn concluded.

"Cap's right. We'll need to act before they can plan too deeply into this," Virgo agreed, resolving herself to a plan she had formulated just now. "In order to thwart them, we'll need to act on our own. We'll find Riva on our own; we'll plan for it tomorrow before the others can anticipate it. Just the four of us for now, but we'll include everyone else of the Earth and Water Zodiacs later on."

"So that means we're going AWOL for awhile?" Cancer asked, Pisces waiting for a reply.

"Not just AWOL. We're going to divide ourselves up and take on the problems of the world in a way that suits us and our methods," came Capricorn's excited response.

*

After a long time of tirelessly planning in hushed voices, Pisces and Virgo left, wishing to return to their homes to prepare and sleep. Cancer had remained for awhile longer until Capricorn had convinced Cancer that she was fine enough to be on her own. Before he'd left, they had shared the most warm, tender kiss since they had first become lovers. While it made her instantly feel reassured and safe, she felt troubled shortly after he left.

I'll be here to support you every step of the way, my child. You're friends have their summons to protect them as well, Chronos rumbled, he having been asleep through the duration of their talk. His voice was always comforting and fatherly to her; he was her mentor and friend.

"Do you really agree with us, Chronos?" Capricorn asked, mind entertaining many negative outcomes of their decision, as expected of her personality and traits. She began trekking to the comfortable niche between Chronos's brows, lying down in the cusp shaped like a cradle that cupped her curled up body comfortably.

You need only be sure of it within your heart. This decision comes from the genuine desire to assist and rescue your friend as well as quell the Earth's distress, is it not, daughter Sea Goat?

"If it was to harm someone, I wouldn't do it. If it was, would you still stop me?"

Yes, my daughter, I would. Chronos rumbled loudly, frightening Lumins away from their private sanctuary within a sanctuary.

"That makes me glad, Chronos." With a final shifting, a final study of the beautiful setting around her, the many forest fauna lulled her to sleep, insects chirping, birds twittering, and summon rumbling with each breath as he slept. The world faded to black and Rima gladly faded into a restful sleep after such a tiresome day.

-.*.-

© 2010 Gisette


Author's Note

Gisette
Please go here for original story and character designs, if you're interested:
http://www.fictionpress.com/u/715169/Gisette

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Added on October 26, 2010
Last Updated on October 26, 2010
Tags: Zodiac, Purity, Drive
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Gisette
Gisette

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I'm here to enjoy writing, same as all of you here! Enjoy my stories! Purity Drive: The Characters: The Western Zodiac: Kaehi Caelan/Aries: http://s234.photobucket.com/albums/ee235/Dete.. more..