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Flame

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All was darkness, all was silence.

The great battle in Townsville. Blinding pink shockwaves of the little girl's cataclysmic resurrection. It had brought him near death.
He now lay still in the deep, quiet chamber of stone and fire and shadow. He would feed off the essence of this timeless, nameless space and grow strong once more. Soon, soon, he would be restored upon his throne in the Pit of Hate. The samurai, too, would keep.

The little girl. He had immediately recognised her as the progeny of his enemy – so sweet and pure and a perfect icon of the samurai’s legacy. The proud bearing, the rigid energy of her moral convictions, embodying all the hubris of the arrogant and violent human race. Eyes the colour of cherry blossoms, hair the colour of flame.

It should have been his pleasure to mow down this haughty little creature, as well as the sisters who shared in her Imperial ancestry. To make their paltry home, so preciously guarded, an annexe of his own great intergalactic Empire. He had presumed that delegating this task to his beautiful nameless concubine would have yielded the desired fruit. However, the accursed red imp betrayed him, revealing his true alliance in sacrificing his life to rescue the young Imagawa princess. Well, that infernal little whore’s corpse was now vapour and stardust. He had gotten what he deserved.
And yet… and yet…

She had heard his cries of agony. Was the little brat truly aware just how greatly her tranquil thoughts had comforted him? That his pangs of distress, some of them the vestiges of millenia-old wounds, have been appeased by her espousal of serenity?

This frightened him more than anything. Never before had an entity managed to affect him in this manner. Against his will, in one inexplicable moment, his very core became a faithful mirror of the girl’s own heart. Though the reason for this is a mystery, some element in this girl’s life force could potentially hold remarkable sway over him.

He dared not approach Townsville again. At least not unless he could find the reason for this uncanny link between the two disparate beings. No. For now, he would rest, and dream of further conquests in worlds far distant.

Aku will rise again.

***

Venus. The second planet from the sun. 7,520.8 miles in diametre, with a dense atmosphere composed of approximately 96.5% carbon dioxide and 3.5% nitrogen. Earth's sister planet, Venus is the second brightest object in the night sky, producing light that is strong enough to cast shadows.

She has been revered by the inhabitants of Earth since antiquity. The Great Star of the Mayans, the Metal Star of East Asia, 'Divine Lady of the Scarlet Heaven' to the Babylonians. Given her proximity to the Sun, she can disappear and shift from one end of the horizon to the other. The Romans mistakenly believed she was two seperate entities: Hesperus and Lucifer: the evening and morning star.

At 6.16am, on the morning of April 20th, 2003, she did something completey unprecedented in the history of her observation.
Professor John Utonium squeezed his eyes shut and hid his face against the eye-watering glare. The gentle meadow around him disappeared in a flood of light. A keening, high-pitched knell rang across the heavens.
Blood pounded in his ears, cold sweat prickled the back of his neck. After all his family had gone through in the past weeks, the last thing they needed right now was another monster to contend with.
He prayed his life would be spared, and that his girls could summon the strength to face this.

Several moments passed, and the light and the noise faded into a drowsy lull.
The Professor uncurled his hunched posture, daring to open his eyes. There, in the centre of the meadow, a bloom of celestial pink light remained. It held within it a sweetly curved, beautiful form - almost human, were it not for the scarlet skin and leaf-shaped ears.

Shaking, near-insensible with shock and fatigue, the Professor carefully approached.

The last of Venus' light faded, and the figure's feet touched the earth, deposited tenderly in a bed of wildflowers.
She opened her feline eyes, and took her first desperate breath of the chilly morning air.
Her gaze lit upon him, filled with a love that warmed his blood.
'John!'
He was immobile, at the mercy of powerful sobs wracking his frame. A thought fell upon him: that the Gods had seen the distress of the mortals in their care, and they had been merciful.

'Are the girls okay?...'
'Yes... they're fine... all fine...'
She fell into his arms.
He clutched his precious imp tight, his lover, the defender of his children. He made a silent, fierce promise to the Gods: If they would now let his little family be, he would never again ask them for a miracle, great or small.

As a red sun rose, The Professor took his Venus home.