Author's Note

Hello all readers! Happy New Year 2011!

Being the second story I've done from scratch, please again pardon me if you spot any grammar or vocabulary errors here and there as I do admit my command of the English Language is not that perfect.

Important Note: For readers who have not read my earlier story "Velvet Moon" before, I will encourage you to spend time reading that story before proceeding with this story, because "Dark Moon" is a continuation from that story. "Dark Moon" is also written based on the assumption that you have read "Velvet Moon" before and know some of the terms that are explained in that first season, so I will use those terms as and when required in this story without explaining what they mean again. Note that I'm merely encouraging you to read "Velvet Moon" first, not forcing.

Changes from "Velvet Moon": "Dark Moon" is written from a more general perspective without focusing too much on one particular character. The settings will be indicated at the top of each section in bold as I will be switching between both worlds quite frequently. The line divider is now used whenever there is a change in scene in the same world. Time is also adjusted to suit the world the characters are currently in. For example, the character is referring to ten Earth years if he says "ten years" with the setting on Earth, or he is referring to five Celest years if he says "five years" with the setting in Celest.

Words in italics refers to the thoughts of the characters.

I hope you enjoy reading "Dark Moon"!

kiyo


Chapter 1: Barbecue

Earth

Despite being a weekday, the streets are crowded as though it is a weekend. In the month of December, many students are enjoying their end-of-year holidays. This is however, not the case for a young boy looking out of the glass window that is as tall as the walls. The room is quiet except for the soft music from a portable radio. He stands beside the window and looks down at the streets from five stories high. His short spiky green hair is combed neatly and he is wearing a very formal black suit, with a grey tie to match. His yellow eyes scanning the streets downstairs when a knock on the door makes him turn around.

"Kazuki, there you are." A middle-aged man enters the room. "Are the slides done?"

Kazuki shakes his head. "Not yet. I'm just waiting for the coffee." He signals at the machine, that is currently still brewing some coffee.

The man notices the coffee and turns back to him. "I'll get you a cup as soon as it's done." He approaches Kazuki and stops when they are standing side-by-side. Despite their age gap, Kazuki is almost as tall as his superior. "Go on and finish up whatever that's left. I don't think you want the presentation to end badly later on."

Kazuki merely nods again and walks out of the staff lounge. As he steps out of the door, the man calls out. "You have another ninety minutes before the meeting starts."

Kazuki returns to his cubicle in the busy business office. Occasionally, a phone ring can be heard in the entire office as his colleagues serve their respective clients. For Kazuki, they have an important client visiting later in the afternoon and he has not finish the preparations for the presentation. He yawns and takes a quick glance at the table calendar beside his computer. Today's date is circled in red and marked "BBQ" in his messy handwriting.

Kazuki sighs as he recalls the day when he received a phone call and ended up marking it as such. Having a barbecue is one of the last things he had in mind at the moment. But since he has promised to attend this event earlier, he feels reluctant to back out now. He clears his mind and turns his attention back to the computer screen, eager to get the presentation done and over with.

Celest

At a small town at the base of the mountain, the people are worried. A group of soldiers have been gathered in the town square and people are starting to guess if another war is about to break out soon. However this does not affect the business of the town. In a small busy clinic, an old lady makes her way into one of the room to consult a healer. The small clinic has too many patients and there are insufficient seats to go around.

After a few minutes, the old lady leaves the room and the healer looks out of his window. He frowns as a group of soldiers, accompanied by two carriages, walk by the clinic. He presses a small button in his left pocket and whispers into a small device hidden in his face mask. "They're here."

At the top level of the clinic, a girl peeps through the curtains and catches a glimpse of both carriages. Her blue eyes narrows and she quickly closes the curtains again.

"Do you think he's in one of those carriages?" She whispers. There are about ten people in the dark room.

"Sources do indicate that they are transporting him back to the capital for execution." Another female voice can be heard. "Shall we proceed according to plan?"

"Be careful, Kiran." The sound comes from the device in her ear. Downstairs, Kai removes his face mask as he walks to the window side, a scar is visible just above his left eye. The soldiers have passed the clinic and they are about to join their comrades in the town square. "When they reach the town square, there will be at least thirty of them."

"We'll just make it quick then." Kiran answers her brother. The group leaves the room in silence as Kai continues to look out of his window downstairs.

At the town square, the soldiers from Pandemonium gather as the horse carriages reach the area. Kiran approaches them cautiously at the roof of one of the houses in the area. Mika follows her daughter in silence. Her chocolate brown hair is short and untidy as it blows in the wind. The soldiers did not notice them as they proceeded to one of the larger inns to rest.

When the soldiers enter the inn, a small round object rolls to the middle of the floor. The men look at it and it bursts, releasing a mountain of smoke. The people in the area panic and the soldiers rush to find the person who is responsible for the commotion. The smoke makes the area cloudy and it is difficult for the soldiers to see what is going on. The rebels take the opportunity to fight their way through the soldiers and reach the carriages.

After a few minutes, the smoke clears and the soldiers look around to see the place empty. The civilians had ran away in fear and the furniture were in a mess.

"Is everyone alright?" One of the superiors shouts.

"The prisoners are gone, sir!" One of the men replies and everyone turns their attention to the horse carriages, which are now empty.

Earth

Kazuki turns off his table lamp as he organizes the documents on his desk. Upon doing so, he takes a look at the clock on the wall, which shows half-past six in the evening. He grabs his briefcase and heads to the car park, removing his tie at the same time. He drives down the street and turns on his car radio, listening to the headline news. He then parks at a small public car park beside a small beach and heads to the nearest washroom to change into some casual clothing. After that he proceeds to the beach where a group of people are having a barbecue party.

"Kazuki!" Saki calls to him when she spots him in a distance. Her orange hair is now shorter and she is wearing a sleeveless grey shirt and a denim short skirt. "You're finally here!" She puts down the tray of drinks that she is giving out and runs to his side.

"I promised you, didn t I?" Kazuki says with a smile. Saki leads him to the rest of group and everyone moves forward to take a better look at him.

"You do seem to have changed a lot." Saki comments, taking a quick look at him from top to bottom.

"Really?" Kazuki asks, surprised. "I don't feel any different."

"For your information, we have not seen you for ten years." Saki adds. "And all of us has definitely changed in one way or another." She passes him a small cup of drink.

Kazuki takes the drink and takes a seat on one of the benches. "I guess so ..." He says, his voice soft as he recalls everything that happened ten years ago.

"What are you doing now, by the way?" Saki asks, curious to know what he had been doing for the past few years.

"I'm working part-time for a small insurance company." Kazuki answers. "What about you?"

"I see." Saki nods. "I'm an assistant veterinarian now."

"That sounds fun." Kazuki compliments. "And I do think it suits you."

"Do you really think so?" Saki smiles in return. She ponders for a moment in silence. "Oh yes, I just remembered. Did you inform the four of them regarding this class gathering?"

Kazuki's smile vanishes from his face as he turns away from her. Saki just continues. "You know ... KSA4? Takashi, Kai, Kiran and Mizuki."

Kazuki keeps his eyes on the ground as Saki tries to take a good look at his expression. "I ..." He starts, thinking of how to answer her question at the same time.

"He sure did." A voice interrupts and they turn to see Kiran walking towards them with a wide smile on her face. Her long brown hair is tied up at the side of her head and the ponytail goes down neatly in front of her right shoulder.

"Kiran?!" Saki's eyes light up in delight as she stands up to approach her old friend. "It's been so long." Saki's eyes looks as though she is about to cry.

"Sorry for not contacting you all this time." Kiran apologies as Kazuki stands up slowly, not keeping his eyes off both girls.

"No." Saki rubs her eyes. "It's alright ... I finally get to see you ..." She takes a overall look at Kiran. "And you're ... you look so different now ... so much prettier ..."

Kiran laughs. "You look more beautiful now too."

Saki calms herself down before continuing. "Since you're here, what about the other three of them?"

"They want to apologize for not being able to come tonight." Kiran explains. "But I thought I should at least come as a representative."

"I'm so glad you think that way." Saki laughs. "Or else who knows when I'll ever get to see you again."

Both girls laugh for a moment before Kiran continues. "Mind getting us something? I'm famished."

"No problem! Hold on!" Saki rushes off to the barbecue pit to get some food.

In the meantime, Kazuki approaches Kiran from the back. He is approximately a head taller than her. "I don't think you come back specially for this."

"And I don't recall you telling us about this gathering." Kiran whispers in return. She turns to look at him in the face.

"Sorry about that." Kazuki answers. "I don t think ..."

"We're in the mood for a barbeque?" Kiran finishes the sentence for him and sighs. "It's good to attend something like this once in awhile."

"How's your end?" Kazuki asks.

"We've rescued Ren on time before he got executed" Kiran summaries when she sees Saki walking towards them with two full plates of food.

"I've got a bit of everything ... since I'm not sure what the both of you want." Saki says as she passes them the plates.

Both Kazuki and Kiran express their thanks before helping themselves with the food. Saki sits beside them and watches them eat. "Just out of curiosity, have you met the right guy and girl yet?" Saki laughs as she wonders.

Kiran laughs along with her and shakes her head. "Not for me."

Saki turns her gaze to Kazuki, who answers a moment later because he is chewing a piece of meat. "I'm still single ..."

"Oh really?" Saki interrupts him and points at the ring on his right ring finger. "I don't think you're the type of guy who wears a ring because of fashion."

"You're attached?" Kiran asks, her eyes widen and judging from her voice, she does not know about it either.

"It's not like what you think." Kazuki answers and hides the ring from view.

"Who is she?!" Saki exclaims. "You have to introduce me to her sometime!"

"No way." Kazuki answers as he turns back to his food.

"Come on, spill it." Saki insists. "It can't be Mizuki, right?"

Kazuki sighs and Kiran looks disturbed. However Kiran quickly smiles again, hoping that Saki did not notice her earlier reaction. "No, Mizuki is with Takashi." Kiran answers. In a way, that reply feels like the truth at the moment.

"Just like I thought." Saki says to herself. She has not notice their reaction earlier. "Then who is she?"

"It's none of your business." Kazuki replies. "You have not tell us about your relationship status either, so why should I tell you anything?"

"So you're saying, if I were to tell you about mine, you'll share your love story too?" Saki clarifies.

Kazuki considers for a moment. "That depends."

"So it's true that you have a girlfriend!" Saki exclaims so loudly that some of their ex-classmates seem to be interested in their conversation as well.

Celest

"Where is she?" Clare walks up and down the small wooden house. Kai turns to look at her when she stomps down the narrow stairs from the second level.

"Kiran has gone to Earth. Didn't she tell you?" Kai asks as he cuts the vegetables in the kitchen.

"Since when?" She pops her head into the kitchen.

"About an hour ago." Kai replies as he puts the vegetables into a frying pan and starts frying them. "How is your brother anyway?"

"He's asleep." Clare answers as she walks back to the small living room where there are two sets of sofa and an old-looking coffee table by the small fireplace. "Guess he didn't get enough sleep after getting captured."

"What kind of sister are you?" Mika walks through the front door and closes the door behind her before hanging up her scarf. "Can't you say some caring words for a change?"

"Did I say something wrong?" Clare throws herself onto the sofa and looks into the fire. "After what happened five years ago, there is one more reason for us to hate Pandemonium."

Mika remains silent as she makes her way to the kitchen. "When did she start throwing temper again?" She whispers to her son.

"It just started." Kai continues to fry the vegetables as his mother puts the bags of groceries on the counter.

Mika sighs. "And how is Ren?"

"According to Clare, he's asleep upstairs" Kai puts the fried vegetables on a clean plate with a spatula. "Do you think we should keep some food for him now, or should I cook again later?"

Mika looks at the dishes that he has prepared. "What about keeping some for him now?"

Kai nods and carries the frying pan to the sink. Mika leaves the kitchen and goes to the second level. She slowly opens the door to one of the rooms near the stairs and takes a peep inside. This room is small and a small wooden chair can be seen beside the bed. Mika walks in and closes the door quietly behind her. Ren turns in the bed and opens his eyes.

"Sorry, did I awake you?" Mika asks as she takes a seat on the small wooden chair.

Ren moves the blanket off him and tries to sit up. He leans against the bed frame and smiles at Mika. "Thanks for saving me."