“We comprehend,” Lunais’ voice seemed to be everywhere at once. Filorya found it somewhat disconcerting. But she kept a stoic expression, not wanting to offend the woman and fail in her mission as a result. “Our old friends aboard the Cerberus wish to grant these two happiness within our garden.” She turned to the Princesses. “And you both consent to this knowing you can never return home nor to space without forfeiting our protection?”
“It was made clear to us,” Azilla said.
“But our staying together is more important,” Vivuna added.
“We have no guaranteed safety from pursuit anywhere else,” Azilla said.
“And if it means being together, we’ll accept a limited place,” Vivuna stated. “It’s preferable to free rein of the galaxy apart.”
“Then your asylum is granted,” Lunais decreed. “So long as you wish to remain in our garden, our protection shall be yours.”
Filorya nodded in appreciation. Her mission was successfully completed.
“They seemed eager to leave,” Ophelia noted.
“They were scared off by our powerful Baron,” Grace stated, stroking the small dog. “Weren’t they, Precious?”
“They just didn’t want to waste time,” Lucy pointed out. “It was already clear they’d lost and they aren’t the type to waste time.”
“In any case, we’ll go get Yuri, Leon and Farah,” Ophelia said. “Paul, I’ll be counting on you to check them for injuries.”
“Of course,” Paul said. “Send them Farah and Leon to Medical after they arrive.”
“I’ll give Yuri a full diagnostic,” Grace said. “Her self-repair systems are pretty advanced, but it’s best to make sure.”
Ophelia nodded. “All right. Lucy, let Filorya know we’ll be coming to the garden to pick her up. We should probably thank Lunais in person anyway.”
Aside from some minor bruises, Farah and Leon were unharmed. Likewise, Yuri’s diagnostic showed no problems.
The fighters were another story. They’d taken heavy damage and it was going to take Grace quite some time to repair them. Even with Yuri’s help.
Suffice it to say, she was not happy.
Filorya was waiting when they descended. She gave Ophelia a quick salute. “My mission was completed successfully.”
Ophelia nodded. “All right. Get the shuttle back in our bay. Lucy, Yuri and I are going to have a few words with Lunais.”
“We felt you might come,” Lunais greeted. “There is no need to thank us. We have merely helped friends.”
“You may think of it that way,” Ophelia said. “But we can’t help but see it a bit differently. You really helped us out and saved those girls. We wish we could return the favour, but what can you do for a woman who can control basically anything within her own sphere of influence?”
“It is undeniable that we need nothing and want for very little,” Lunais said. “However, there is one thing we do desire. We would have you stay for a couple days and tell us of your adventures. We are most curious as to how you acquired the pacifican woman. We re also interested in how Yuri reunited with you.”
“That is a pretty interesting story,” Ophelia said.
“And we could use the time to get the fighters back in tip top shape,” Lucy added.
Ophelia held a hand out. “You’ve got a deal. We’ll tell you all kinds of stories.”
Filorya wasn’t sure how to respond to the whole scenario. She was used to finishing a mission, moving on to the next and maybe, maybe celebrating a victory if it were worthy enough.
The Cerberus was more lax than that.
“Is something troubling you?” Yuri inquired.
“I don’t understand why they’re having a big celebration,” Filorya said. “If the Cortex had chosen to take revenge on us, we wouldn’t be here.”
“Perhaps,” Yuri stated. “However, it is also true that Lucy made her plan based on knowledge of how the group operates. It was a very calculated risk and it paid off.”
“It doesn’t seem like that great a victory,” Filorya said.
“You are upset that things did not become overly physical,” Yuri observed. “Please excuse my saying so, but it has been my observation that the greatest victories are often gained not through force of arms but by cunning and knowledge. Even the trials we encountered in the Mausoleum had one that relied on wit.”
“It is one of the aspects we must strive for to be perfect warriors,” Filorya stated. “However, we wouldn’t consider it a great victory to win off of it alone.”
“Is there something wrong with celebrating a smaller victory?” Yuri asked. “We were all unharmed and we are spending time with a friend of the crew. Both are small things in the grand scheme of the cosmos but both are very dear.”
Yuri glanced at the group. “It appears to be my turn to tell our host a story. Please, consider what I have said.”
Filorya listened while Yuri recounted a rare creature hunt she’d gone on with Captain Taiwag. It was an interesting story. She’d have to think of a better one when it was her turn.
She was starting to enjoy herself.