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Lunatic Cage: Melancholy of the Azure Paradise

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The Lunar Capital stood brilliantly as ever amidst the backdrop of a starry night sky. It's a legendary city where the present, future, and past converge. A world where ancient traditions push the path to the future. Even the city's architecture is a mixture of modern skyscrapers and ancient temples, houses, shrines, castles, and palaces.

Its citizens, the Lunarians, have a diverse range of occupation. Some are meant to work on the city’s maintenance. Some are artists who aspire to create the next great work. Some are scientists who aim to discover great inventions and unlock the secrets of the universe. And more. Meanwhile, the heavenly gods watch over the city, reveling in the magnificence of the pure land. Finally, there’s also the all-too-familiar poundings of the rabbits.

Such is the daily routine of the Lunar Capital. The Lunarians certainly enjoy their life free of impurities. A life free from death and decay. A life where they escape the fate of those "lowly earthlings," giving them all the time in the world to endlessly focus on their crafts.

It’s almost easy to forget that it was only a while ago when the capital was threatened by the vengeful Junko. Yet, the capital has already continued on with its perpetual state.

However, not everyone has forgotten about it... not everyone has moved on.

 

Thus, Watatsuki no Yorihime walks along the streets of the capital. Today, she intends on spending most of the day training again. Like yesterday. And the day before that. 

As she thought about the recent events, the moon princess clenched her fists. 

The incident made her realize just how fragile the capital can be, despite how it looks on the surface. It made her realize how everything can easily be taken away.

“It’s useless! It's all useless! Even after all this time, I am still lacking... Lady Yagokoro would be very disappointed in me…” She cursed her powerlessness, recalling how she wasn’t able to do anything when the capital was threatened. 

For as long as she can remember, she has failed time and time again. Her former master, Eirin Yagokoro, had left and betrayed the moon. Since then, she failed to gain anyone else's acknowledgment. Furthermore, she hasn't made any progress in capturing her old master, the traitor. In fact, she refused to do so. Thus, she lost the trust of her own people. And, most importantly, the safety of the moon has been compromised several times as a consequence of her carelessness. 

She can’t help but wonder… has she even improved at all?

“Even so… I have to keep on improving. I just have to... I have to protect the world Lady Yagokoro created… no matter the cost.”

In spite of her uncertainties, she was able to cast away her lingering doubts with this conviction.

And thanks to that same conviction, she was able to block out the unpleasant glares that were directed towards her, along with the hisses of insults. "The traitor's conspirators," "the moon's biggest shame," "the downfall of the moon," they said of her.  

Amidst the harsh whispers, she felt someone’s body pressed against her back, and a pair of arms were wrapped around her waist.

“Hello, Yorihime~.” Her elder sister, Watatsuki no Toyohime, greeted cheerfully. 

“Hello, sister.”

“Hmm. Are you off training again?" asked Toyohime, releasing her younger sister from her hold. "Hm, hm. How diligent but you should take it easy sometimes.”

“We don’t have that luxury, sister! We were careless last time, and look what happened! If it weren't for Lady Kishin and Lady Yagokoro… a-and those earthlings... ”

“You always worry over everything, Yorihime. Hmmm… you know what? Forget about your training. You should come with me today. Relax a little.”

“Did… you even listen to what I was saying?” Yorihime let out a heavy sigh. “Who am I kidding… of course not.”

“I understand your concerns, but there’s nothing wrong with taking it easy once in a while~.”

“Once in a while? But you’re always way too relaxed, sister! You’re always taking it easy! 

“Just come with me today, okay?”

Yorihime just barely managed to stop herself from groaning. 

“Fine... It’s not like I have a choice anyway. You’ll just keep pestering me until I say yes. So, where do you want to go?”

Toyohime clasped her hands together and let out a gleaming smile.

“The usual!”


 

As Yorihime expected, “the usual” turned out to be the Sea of Tranquility. For the two of them, it has a rather special charm. It’s the place where they often come to visit in secret.

While visiting the Sea of Tranquility isn’t necessarily forbidden, it could easily arouse suspicion for someone in their position. It goes without saying that it’s an open secret that they still hold plenty of respect and admiration for their former master. And while it's their duty as leaders of the emissaries to monitor earth, one could simply accuse them of going down on earth and colluding with the traitor. In other words, they're stuck in a job no one even allows them to do properly.

Nevertheless, they're here to "relax" today. They stared at the sea which bears no impurities. Along with that view, there’s the blue planet and its reflection on the sea.

“The blue planet... It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Toyohime remarked.

“Yes… only if you look at that planet from the outside. Inside, that planet is poisoned by impurity. It’s a world of death and decay. With that knowledge in mind, it's hard to think of that planet as beautiful.”

“Yes, indeed.” Toyohime agreed. Then, her lips curled into a mischievous smile. “It’s also the world Lady Yagokoro has chosen to live in.”

Yorihime frowned. There’s nothing she can say to refute that... no matter how much she wants to deny it.

 

“Hmph. Yagokoro is a foolish woman.”

An exquisite-sounding voice expressed behind them.

A voice that sent chills down their spine.

They froze in their tracks and widen their eyes.

It’s been a while since they heard that voice, but it’s a voice they know too well.

They turned around and bowed their heads in respect towards the figure standing before them.

Standing in front of them… is none other than Tsukuyomi.

“L-Lord Tsukuyomi!” 

He has long black hair that extends down to his waist and pale skin. A silver band was wrapped around the top of his forehead, containing crescent-shaped jewelry in the middle. He wears black robes decorated by several silver ornaments. His appearance can appropriately be described as someone who can pass as both a handsome man and a beautiful woman. Ultimately, he's thought to be the night's most alluring figure.

Despite his beauty, he also emits a very frightening aura. Perhaps, he’s even more intimidating than Eirin. Even the well-trained poise of the sisters easily falter before his presence. 

“W-What are you doing here, Lord Tsukuyomi?!” Yorihime asked nervously.

“Am I not allowed where I wish to be?”

Yorihime gulped. “N-No. Not at all! Of course not! I-I mean… that’s not what I meant!”

“I should be the one asking you this. Why are you two here?” He turned their own question on them.

“Ah… well, you see… umm…”

Even Toyohime who’s always so composed and in control of the situation was at lost for words. 

“I was the one who invited Yorihime here.” She admitted. If she’s to get into trouble, she hopes that Yorihime will be spared, at least. Then, she finally managed to come up with an explanation. “And well… we wanted to take a look at the impure planet. We wanted to remind ourselves what we’re fighting against. It would make us even more productive in our duties. Besides, it's in our job description to monitor the situation on earth every once in a while, is it not?”

“Hmph. Is that so? Well, I came because there is something I wish to ask of you.” Tsukuyomi revealed. “Along with Kishin.”

Yorihime and Toyohime’s nervous gaze crossed one another’s. Neither of them has an idea where this is leading to. Did something happen, perhaps?

Thus, they waited until Sagume arrived. Fortunately, they didn’t have to wait long.

Soon, she descended down on the moon’s surface, appearing before them.

“Lord Tsukuyomi. How may I be of service?” She asked as soon as she touched down.

Tsukuyomi took a few moments before he spoke.

“I wish to speak with Yagokoro. Take me to where she is.”

Upon hearing his words, the other three almost collapsed from shock. As if the sisters weren’t anxious enough already. Even Sagume wasn’t able to maintain her trademark composure, and she appears visibly tense.

This was the last thing they expected to hear.

“I advice you don’t even bother with lying and tell me that you have yet to discover Yagokoro’s whereabouts. I’m already aware that the three of you have paid visits to the traitor before.” He added for good measure.

His words caused them to flinch.

They’re at lost about they should do. No matter how hard they look, there’s no escaping from this situation. It almost feels like Tsukuyomi is testing their loyalty... are they more loyal to the moon? Or Eirin Yagokoro?

 

“Well? What are you waiting for? Are you disobeying my command?”

“What… do you intend to do, Lord Tsukuyomi?” Sagume managed to ask.

“I don’t intend on capturing Yagokoro. Nor do I intend on causing her harm, if that’s what you’re worried about,” assured Tsukuyomi. “There’s merely something I wish to discuss with her. Nothing more, nothing less.”

"You should have mentioned that from the start, my lord..." 

Sagume regained her composure and carefully thought over his words. She considered her options. Refusing Tsukuyomi's command is simply not an option. However, can his words be trusted? If not, will she be able to rely on her ability to "fix" the situation? Then, after considering her options, she finally reached a decision. She took a deep breath and turned to Toyohime. She gave her a nod, signaling the princess to go ahead and transport them to Eientei.

“Are you sure about this, Lady Kishin?”

Sagume gave her another nod.

 “Very well. Please, allow me to rely on your judgment once again.”

 

Toyohime composed herself. 

She formed a path between the mountain and the sea... the earth and the moon... connecting them together.

Hence, a portal opened up before them.

Without wasting a second, Tsukuyomi stepped in. He was closely followed by Sagume.

Yorihime hesitated before she entered. “What’s going to happen now, sister?”

“I don’t know. But I’m certain it will all work out, somehow."

“That doesn't sound too comforting...”

"Well, if everything goes horribly wrong, we can always rely on Lady Kishin~."

"I suppose..."

And with that, the sisters stepped in.

They didn’t know, however, that this moment could be the last time they’re allowed to step foot on the moon.