Chapter 17: A Sacrifice

Ryo ducked as Talpa tried to grab him with one of his large hands. Sage swung his sword, the blade attempted to cut through Talpa's palm. The sword shattered in Sage's hands, making his eyes grew wide. "Shit!" he exclaimed, rolling out of the way when the hand tried to come down on top of him. Sage looked at the hilt of his destroyed sword before throwing it aside and dodging another attack Talpa aimed for his head.

Kento swung his bo at Talpa when Talpa grabbed his weapon right out of his hand attempting to grab Kento. Rowen fired an arrow but Talpa batted it away as if it were nothing. "I will have that armor!" Talpa snarled as he reached for Ryo. Ryo dodged the hand, rolling across the roof but rolled too far.

"RYO!" Sailor Mars called out

Cye slid over, grabbing his friend's forearm. "I've got you!" Cye assured him. Ryo gripped his arm and Cye pulled him back up.

Talpa laughed as he used his armor's power attacking all five of them. Ryo stood in front of his friends, getting hit with the attack.

Sailor Jupiter turned towards Sailor Moon, who was still clutching her chest. "Sailor Moon, what's going on?" she asked as she crouched beside her friend. The pain was almost unbearable, searing hot like someone stabbed a fire poker through her chest. From behind, a frozen sensation like the icy tundra of Antarctica, was driven into her, freezing her from the inside out.

Kento swung his bo around his head aiming another attack at Talpa when the Emperor grabbed the bow, ripping it right out of his hands. Talpa reached down to grab him when Kento rolled out of the way. Suddenly, Dynasty Soldiers surrounded him and he was now weaponless. One attacked him from behind, Kento grabbed the soldier by the arm throwing it over his head before kicking another away that tried to grab at his middle.

Sailor Venus ran towards the battle. "VENUS-" Sailor Moon started to shout when she hit a barrier that threw her back physically.

One by one, the girls were forced to watch until Ryo was the only Ronin Warrior left not absorbed into Talpa's armor. "This can't be happening…" Jupiter said in disbelief, her entire stomach twisted in knots after knots. Talpa reached for Ryo, but Ryo, even though his body was growing weak from trying to fight Talpa on his own.

"We have to help him!" Sailor Mars insisted.

"We can't get pass the barrier," Sailor Jupiter answered.

Sailor Moon slowly stood up from the ground, looking towards her brother. "We have to distract Talpa," she told them, "Long enough for Ryo to figure out how to free the others."

"Jupiter and I will flank him on the sides," Venus stated.

"And I'll get him from behind," Sailor Mercury answered.

"I'll get to Ryo," Sailor Mars stated.

"How did we get through the barrier though?" Sailor Jupiter asked.

"You don't," a voice stated from behind.

The Sailor Scouts looked over to see Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Pluto standing there. "Soon Ryo won't be able to run from his fate and the Emperor will have control over the world at last," Sailor Neptune stated happily. Sailor Mercury glared at Sailor Neptune before looking back at the barrier. She twisted her earring and her visor appeared over her eyes.

"The barrier was made from the Nether Realm, Talpa's spirits are controlling it," she stated.

"Where is the spirits?" Sailor Jupiter asked.

"URANUS WORLD SHAKING!" Sailor Uranus shouted, aiming her attack at Sailor Mercury.

"MERCURY!" Sailor Moon shouted, shoving her friend out of the way and was struck instead.

The attack sent her back into the barrier and she screamed in agony. The barrier felt like thousands of needles stabbing into her skin.

Ryo could hear her screams and Talpa just laughed at him. "Give it up, boy, you have no power here," Talpa sneered at him.

"Not a chance," Ryo answered.

Talpa swung his sword around his head, aiming it at Ryo. "THUNDERBOLT CUT!" he shouted. Ryo held his katanas up in the attempt to block Sage's attack from striking him. The attack threw Ryo off his feet and onto the ground below.

Sailor Moon slid down the barrier and the girls surrounded her. Sailor Mercury removed her glove and pressed her fingers against Sailor Moon's neck. "She's alive!" Sailor Mercury assured them.

"Move her away from the barrier," Sailor Jupiter insisted as they pulled her away.

Sailor Moon's skin looked pale, her eyes were closed, but she was still breathing. "What are we going to do?" Sailor Venus asked, looking at the barrier.

"Shall we?" Sailor Uranus asked.

"We won't have another chance," Sailor Neptune answered.

The three Sailor Scouts aimed their attacks at their enemies when a glaive swung by Sailor Pluto's head. Sailor Pluto gasped as she threw her staff up and Sailor Saturn's glaive struck the middle of it. "Traitor!" Sailor Pluto hissed at the girl.

"You are the traitors!" Sailor Saturn answered.

She kicked Sailor Pluto in the middle before doing a backflip away from Sailor Uranus when she swung her dagger at her legs. Sailor Saturn rushed over to Sailor Mars. "I can only hold them off for so long, but I can break the barrier," she told them, "I just need you to distract them."

"Why are you helping us?" Sailor Jupiter snapped.

"Talpa has been using his Nether Spirits to control me, but after Amadeus's words to Anubis it broke whatever power he had over us both," Sailor Saturn replied.

"And why should we trust you?" Sailor Venus demanded.

"You don't have much choice!" Sailor Saturn replied.

Ryo's armor felt heavier than usual when he felt someone grab his arm. "Get up, Wildfire, he is coming!" Anubis told him. Anubis was able to get Ryo up and hidden away just as Talpa's hand reached down to grab them.

"What are you doing?" Ryo demanded.

"Help you, what does it look like?" Anubis answered.

"Yeah, but why?" Ryo asked.

"We are brothers in arms, our duty is to protect each other as well as this world," Anubis replied.

Anubis reached his arm out to Ryo. "Trust me and I can help you retrieve your friends," he added. Ryo stared at Anubis's hand and then at the former Dark Warlord.

"NEPTUNE DEEP SUBMERGE!" Sailor Neptune shouted.

Sailor Saturn swung around and blocked the attack. "I can't hold them off much longer! If you want to get to Ryo, you have to help me!" she called to the Sailor Scouts.

"How do we know this isn't some sort of trick?" Sailor Venus asked.

"We don't but what choice do we have?" Sailor Mars answered.

Sailor Mars was by Sailor Saturn's side. "MARS CELESTIAL FIRE SURROUND!" she shouted, aiming her attack at Sailor Neptune. Sailor Uranus grabbed Sailor Neptune's arm, pulling her away from the attack just before it could strike her. The other Sailor Scouts stood by Sailor Mars's side as they were forming a barrier around Sailor Moon. "You can get me to Ryo?" Sailor Mars asked Sailor Saturn.

"Yes," Sailor Saturn replied.

"Then do what you have to do!" Sailor Venus told her.

"JUPITER THUNDERCLAP ZAP!" Sailor Jupiter shouted.

"VENUS CRESCENT BEAM SMASH!" Sailor Venus shouted.

"MERCURY BUBBLES BLAST!" Sailor Mercury shouted.

"MARS CELESTIAL FIRE SURROUND!" Sailor Mars shouted.

Sailor Saturn looked at the barrier. She swung her glaive and slammed it as hard as she could into the barrier. She let out a scream as sparks flew off and it sent an electric shock down her arms and into her body.

"URANUS WORLD SHAKING!" Sailor Uranus shouted.

"NEPTUNE DEEP SUBMERGE!" Sailor Neptune shouted.

"PLUTO DEADLY SCREAM!" Sailor Pluto shouted.

All seven attacks crashed together, creating a fireball of power that was pushing against each other. "DON'T LET UP!" Sailor Mars shouted.

Sailor Saturn removed her glaive from the barrier, her entire body was shaking from the amount of power that was pumped into her.

Anubis pulled Ryo from their hiding place. "Follow my lead!" Anubis called out to him before they both dodged Talpa's sword.

"Your lead is about to get us killed!" Ryo answered.

"I will use my attack on him, that should distract him long enough for you to destroy him!" Anubis told him.

Ryo froze. "Are you crazy?!" he exclaimed, looking at Talpa, "If I destroy him, I will kill everyone inside him!"

"Do we know that for sure?" Anubis asked.

"I'm not willing to risk killing them!" Ryo answered, "You said you are going to help me!"

"I am! This is the best plan we have," Anubis told him.

Ryo looked at Talpa. "IRON ROCK CRUSHER!" Talpa shouted, throwing the attack towards them. They both dodged the attack.

"He isn't as strong without our armor!" Anubis answered, "If he absorbs us both then we have lost!"

"If I kill my friends I lose either way!" Ryo told him.

Sailor Moon found herself in a white, misty abyss. "Where am I?" she asked, looking around. She looked down at her herself to see that she was no longer in her Sailor Scout uniform, she was Princess Serenity.

"Serena," a voice called to her.

Turning around, she saw Rowen standing there wearing his Silver Millennium armor. Her heart sped up as tears rushed to her eyes. Running over, she threw her arms around her love in a tight embrace as he lifted her up off the ground. "You're alive," she said with her voice shaking.

"I am, but I am trapped," he answered.

Releasing her, Rowen held onto her hands. "Listen to me, Serena, we don't have a lot of time. Ryo is growing weak and now his personal emotions are getting in the way of what has to be done," he insisted.

"What's happening?" she asked.

"Ryo refuses to use his attack on Talpa, he won't risk hurting us or even killing us," he replied.

Serena stared at him. "What do you need me to do?" she asked.

"Convince him to kill Talpa, no matter the price," he replied.

Dread filled her at what he was saying. "No," she told him.

"Serena…" he answered.

"No! I just got you back, I'm not losing you again!" she insisted.

"And then what we fought for in the last year has been for nothing if Talpa wins now," he replied.

Tears fell down her face. Rowen wiped them away. "You have to be strong, you have to do this," he told her.

"But how am I supposed to live without you?" she asked.

"I am never far," he assured her, "I have never been far."

Rowen pressed his hand to her heart. "I am here," he added. Serena let out a sob as she hugged him as tight as she could.

"I love you," she answered.

"I love you, always," he murmured, kissing her shoulder.

Pulling away, Serena rested her hands on the sides of his neck and kissed him deeply.

Sailor Moon woke up to chaos around her. Getting up slowly, she looked over at Sailor Saturn struggling to break the barrier on her own. Removing her tiara, she let out a shaky breath. "MOON TIARA MAGIC!" she shouted. Her attack spun and crashed through the barrier, sending everyone to the ground. Sailor Moon placed her tiara back on her head and ran to Ryo. "RYO!" she shouted for her brother, grabbing his arm, "Ryo! You need to listen to him."

"I'm not about to kill the others just to kill Talpa," Ryo answered.

"You have a duty, Ryo! As do I!" Sailor Moon snapped, startling everyone around them.

The tears were showing in her eyes and Ryo felt his heart shudder at what she was telling him to do. "I love them too, but we can't let him win. If he wins then their sacrifice to protect you would be in vain," she told him. Ryo could see the unshed tears in her eyes. "Ryo, please," she begged, "You have to do this for them."

Suddenly, Talpa started shouting. "They're fighting him," Sailor Jupiter said in disbelief.

"Ryo! Do it now!" they heard Cye call out.

"Do it while we've got him!" Kento put in.

"You have a duty as a Ronin Warrior to protect this world! We made a vow!" Rowen called out.

Anubis looked at Ryo to see him staring at his katanas. It was as though he had no control over his own arms as they were being pulled over his head. "DON'T MAKE ME, PLEASE!" Ryo called out. Anubis looked at Sailor Saturn before he leapt up.

"QUAKE WITH FEAR!" he shouted.

"ANUBIS, DON'T!" Ryo shouted.

The attack tied Talpa up, but Ryo still wouldn't attack. "RYO, DO IT!" Sailor Moon shouted at him. Instead of doing the attack, the others lost their grip on Talpa and Talpa grabbed a hold of Anubis. Sailor Saturn watched in horror as Anubis was absorbed into Talpa's armor.

"NO!" Sailor Saturn screamed.

"Saturn! You have betrayed me!" Talpa snarled.

Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune grabbed a hold of the girl's arms, shoving her to her knees. Sailor Mars turned towards Ryo. "Why?" she asked.

"I can't…" he answered.

Talpa waved his hand and the girls dodged the attack and Ryo went in the opposite direction. "Give up, Wildfire, your friends' powers can't help you. The Sailor Scouts' abilities have no effect on me," Talpa said cackling.

Sailor Moon slowly sunk to her knees, letting out a sob to see Ryo giving up. "DAMN YOU!" she screamed at him. Tears slid down her face as she let out a sob. They watched as Ryo tried to give it one more shot at fighting Talpa hand to hand, but then Talpa grabbed Ryo and they watched in horror as he was absorbed into his armor.

"We lost…" Sailor Jupiter murmured.

"I don't believe it!" Sailor Mercury answered.

Sailor Moon shook her head slowly and stood up. "No, we didn't," she answered as she opened her broach.

"If you use that it will kill you," Sailor Mars told her friend.

"I don't care," Sailor Moon replied.

Sailor Moon glared at Talpa. Before she could call upon the Silver Crystal's power, Talpa started shouting in agony. "What's happening?!" Talpa exclaimed. Ryo was out of the armor, but before Talpa could attack him again Ryo's armor began to glow a blinding white light, forcing the others to cover their eyes.

"RAGE OF INFERNO!" they heard Ryo shout.

The power was so strong it threw Talpa off his feet, but suddenly the ground shook around them. Sailor Saturn smiled before she closed her eyes and disappeared. "Sailor Moon, let's go! This place is coming apart!" Sailor Mars called to her. White Blaze followed behind them with Mia and Yulie on his back. They escaped through the gate just as they could hear a loud explosion behind them.

They were back in the city, looking up they saw that Ryo had done it. He had freed the others and Talpa was gone. Kenot placed his unconscious friend on the ground and Sailor Mars was at his side. "Is he okay?" she asked.

"He's exhausted," Sage replied as Sailor Jupiter rushed over, throwing her arms around him.

"I'm not surprised, he saved us all," Cye agreed as he wrapped his arms around Sailor Mercury's waist.

"How?" Sailor Moon asked.

Rowen shook his head. "I don't know, we heard him call for our powers and we gave them to him," he replied.

"It was weird," Kento commented.

Sailor Mars held Ryo in her arms. "Is it really over?" Yulie asked.

"I hope so," Sailor Venus answered as Kento lifted her up and set her on his shoulder, making her roll her eyes.

"Let's get out of here before someone sees," Sage told them.

"Follow me to my house," Mia answered.

They got Ryo up and they left the city before anyone could see them.