Tonraq: Dat reply!
Schulmanator: He's so sleazy! It could be no one else but him! How could they not see it??
PREVIOUSLY on The Best Defense: Morning Angel made her escape from The Mines, destroying almost all of Fort Mison in the process. The Defenders are bickering while Gragus is trying to 'lead' the team, and Coyote Versus' timing could not be more suspicious. Oh, and Naruki has Hoshi-Hime with him, and he is definitely up to no good...
Serena laid next to Naruki content against his chest. She felt warm and safe there, protected from the chaos of the world. All her troubles and worries seemed to have evaporated into nothing. There was nothing except where she was at that moment, no one except for who she was in that room. She sighed happily and kept her eyes closed, ready to fall asleep once again.
Naruki: Serena, we're going to have to get up again soon.
Hoshi-Hime: Hm? Why?
Naruki: Well... There are plenty of reasons.
Hoshi-Hime: Oh... I guess you have to do something about your apartment, don't you?
Naruki: I'm not worried about the apartment.
Naruki: No. There are more important things to think about.
Hoshi-Hime: Like Kylie?
Naruki: Kylie served her purpose. She's in good hands now. They'll be able to help her more than we can.
Hoshi-Hime: I hope so...
Serena shifted away from him slightly, thinking of Kylie's panicked, powerful reaction to the taser. It was kind of a bad idea in retrospect, but it seemed reasonable to her when he said it. Her eyes opened and she bit her lip as she gazed at the ceiling, starting to come out of the happy spell she had been under.
Naruki: It's not our place to worry about anymore. We're going to have things to do to keep us busy anyways.
Hoshi-Hime: Are there more girls?
Naruki: Yes, but not like you.
Naruki: You're one of a kind.
Serena looked at him and he smiled at her. She melted against him once again, safe and warm and completely relaxed.
Naruki: Anyways, come on. We gotta get moving. Things to do, people to meet.
Hoshi-Hime: We can't just stay here? Not just a little while longer?
Naruki shoved her away from him and got up out of bed. Clutching the blankets to her she watched him, confused.
Naruki: Up, Serena.
He met her eyes with a hard stare and she felt an uncanny danger grip her heart. He yanked the blankets away and she was propelled into motion, following his example and getting dressed.
Naruki: The city is in unbelievable danger, and you have to trust me and do what I say when I say it. There isn't time to play little games with each other, to waste laying in bed. There will be plenty for that when this is over.
Hoshi-Hime: Over? When what is over? What is it?
Naruki: Everything is going to change, Serena. It's already started. You keep up with me or you get left behind. It's as easy as that.
She gave him a wounded look and hurried after him. He didn't look back. He knew she was following him. He was glad. Much better to go through the change with something so pretty always behind him. Time to move the plan forward...
Naruki led a very anxious Hoshi-Hime down a tunnel somewhere beneath Port Matthew.
Hoshi-Hime: Why can't we just go back to your apartment? Where are we going? Why are we down here?
Naruki: It's not safe above ground. And I can't go home to Gray Rocks, not with the curfew and martial law. We have to go somewhere safe, and I know a good place near here.
Hoshi-Hime: But this is just a tunnel...
Hoshi-Hime dragged her feet as Naruki pulled her along behind him. His grip on her hand was like iron, and it helped give her some confidence. But in her heart, she was scared. Scared and, despite his presence, lonely.
Hoshi-Hime: What about friends? Airi and Tomi, where are they? Don't they care about me? Why don't they come after me? What's go-
Naruki: This way, Serena.
Naruki stopped and walked towards a door hidden in a nook off of the tunnel. He looked at her and smiled and she felt her heart warm again. Maybe it wasn't so bad to be with him in times like these.
Naruki: We're going to meet my friend. She's going to help us. I'll go see her first, so you just wait where I tell you, okay?
Serena met his eyes again after they walked through the door and trusted him completely. He had not led her astray yet, she thought.
Inside it was bigger than she would have imagined an underground chamber to be. They were in what appeared to be a lobby of sorts, with an abandoned reception desk in front of them, artificial greenery, and some comfortable-looking sofas scattered about. Naruki sat her on one of the sofas and walked towards a door near the back of the lobby. Just before opening it, he glanced back and smiled at her. She smiled back and resolved to wait patiently. He wouldn't be happy if she disobeyed him. That wouldn't do at all. Even as the minutes stretched on, she kept herself seated. Even at the sound of an ominous rumbling behind the door, she stayed seated. There was a part of her that wanted nothing more than to walk through the door at the rumble, to investigate, to call her friends, the Defenders, even, and go in there to see what was going on, but she stamped it down deep inside her. Now was not the time for rash actions. Naruki knew what he was doing, he seemed to know what was going on, and following him was the best thing she could do. Her heart bloomed with warmth at the thought, and she smiled at nothing in particular. Then the door opened and Naruki motioned for her to come inside.
She rose from her seat and smoothed her skirt before walking quickly over to him and entering the room. It was smaller than she imagined it would be, and machines hummed and glowed around them. At the back of that room, there was a computer, in front of which stood a woman. The computers cast her in shadows for Hoshi-Hime, so she could not clearly see who she was. The room rumbled again, apparently it was the machinery doing it, and Hoshi-Hime gazed at the figure tending to the computers.
?: You have been doing a most excellent job. Naruki has nothing but kind things to say about you. Do you think you're going to be up to doing what needs to be done in the coming days?
Hoshi-Hime: Oh, yes.
She surprised herself with the earnestness of her voice.
Hoshi-Hime: I'll do whatever it takes, I trust Naruki completely. He has taken very good care of me.
?: That is good to hear, little girl.
The woman stood and walked forward, slowly coming into view.
Morning Angel: We have a very important mission. We are going to bring everlasting peace to the island, and spread it to the world. We can end the suffering they inflict upon each other, bring justice to those who need it. It is your destiny to do so.
Hoshi-Hime: Morning Angel!
Hoshi-Hime gasped, recognizing the woman. Morning Angel came to stand inches from her, smiling kindly down at her.
Morning Angel: The Defenders don't do enough, they never have. They never will, it's in their nature, their very name. But I can. I've had time to... think about things. And now the time has come to act upon those thoughts. I will bring into existence a perfect world, and do away with the imperfection everyone seems to be content with. You trust Naruki, and he has brought you to me. Can you extend that trust to me? Will you accept your destiny? Will you help bring peace and justice to this world?
Hoshi-Hime: I, uh, I mean-
Hoshi-Hime looked up at her helplessly. She could feel how powerful the woman was, and her heart was beginning to fill with fear. How could Naruki bring her here? Why was he working with her? Wasn't she a villain? Hoshi-Hime was there when they last fought! What was going on?
She glanced over at Naruki and he smiled at her. Her heart melted again, her anxiety washed away by the look in his eyes, and she nodded.
Hoshi-Hime: Yes. Yes, I trust you, just as I trust him. Whatever you say, I will do it.
Morning Angel: Excellent. You keep that strength of spirit about you, and I will help you achieve your destiny...
Morning Angel looked at Naruki and smiled.
Morning Angel: You are everything our mutual friend promised you'd be. Can you keep this up?
Naruki: No sweat, Morning Angel.
She did not intimidate him. Almost nothing did.
Naruki: Are you sure it's safe to be here, though? I mean, we're right under them!
Morning Angel: Our mutual friend has assured me that we will go unnoticed. Besides, in this whole island, only this building has rooms that are properly shielded against that infernal girl and her dangerous powers. The best place to hide is right under the nose of your enemy. The Defenders will never think to look inside their own building.