• ****(Squee)
    Miscenco was laughing. She was also rolling about a bit in the grass. Her grey dress wasn’t getting any stains, though. Heh. I already knew it wouldn’t. My dress wouldn’t, either.
    “I am so sorry, Mirari.” She looked like she was going to die laughing. “I... I played a...” She burst out laughing again, and then stopped herself by squeezing her sides. “...I just played a nasty trick on your Alex...” I raised my eyebrows in shock.
    “What did you do?”
    “He thinks he’s just sacrificed himself to revive you.” She began giggling. I was surprised, and a little upset.
    Has he?”
    No! No, no-noooo-no-no-no.” She smiled. “Nope, I just sent him and the others back to Earth for a bit.”
    “And what happens to me?” She sat up.
    “I’ll revive you. Simple as.” She grabbed my arms. “Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease don’t spoil the joke when you get back.” She smiled. “Well, I’ll be there, too. I’ll send a telepathic prompt when you can wake up.” She giggled again.
    “You have a real mean streak, sometimes.”I pouted, and then I smiled. “Mean, but oh-so funny.” She smiled broadly.
    “Mirari...” Her change in tone surprised me. I thought we were talking about a practical joke here? She now sounds serious... “...I have a confession to make.”
    “Why, what have you done?”
    “I was very cold to everyone.” She looked sad. “I didn’t mean to be, but...”
    “You just wanted to get on with your business, didn’t you?” I smiled at her. “I’m sure they understand. Dexie can read minds, you know...” She smiled.
    “But also... Mirari, I’m worried.” She looked into my eyes. “Things aren’t going to be the same, you know. You’ve been revived by me twice now, and you are still me vessel...” I cocked my head to one side.
    “I don’t... Why aren’t things going to be the same?”
    “You’re going to be much more powerful... I’m afraid you may be targeted... you may be alienated, like I was...” I smiled warmly at her before hugging her.
    “Thank you for worrying, Miscenco...”
    “That’s what I do. Especially about my vessels.” She kissed my cheek.
    “I’m sure things will be fine. I have Ri-chan, and we have friends that can do things as well.” I smiled again. “And you’ll keep watching us, right?” She nodded.
    “Of course we will. You’re technically one of us now.” She smirked. “And you’re just adorable...” She made a ‘squee’ sound as she squeezed me. Everyone makes squee sounds nowadays... Everything went white, and I was aware of being held to a soft chest...
    I had returned to the arena with Mirari in my arms. This was a sorry scene... So much left to sort out. Wandering spirits, souls to return, tricks to play... Alex ran over to me from his sitting position. Yeah, he looked like his world was ending. And for all intention purposes, it was. But there was hope in his eyes. I think he planned to watch over her from the other side. He ran over to me, and I could see that he wanted to take her. So... yeah. I put on a really stern, serious look.
    “I will tell you when it’s time, Alex.” Right, to business. I decided to walk to where Jessica and Michelle were lying. No, they weren’t breathing yet, but that was all going to be sorted in due time... I noticed that I had been followed. Samantha, Samuel and Katherine. Raphael was fiddling with the lift, trying to get it working again. Useless, because they weren’t going to need it.
    “Yes, I am back.” They drew closer to me. “...And you can’t threaten me. Not like that.” They came even closer. Samantha even put her hand on my shoulder, and Kat came around to my left with a very annoyed look on her face. Samantha tried to start an illusion, but I shattered it almost instantly, violently. Katherine tried to use her hypnotic powers on me. Again, smashed by my whim. Samuel sighed. He’s not even going to try.
    “Fine. What’s going to happen?”
    “I’m going to bring these two trouble makers back to life.” I said, gesturing to Jessica and Michelle.
    “And of Alex?”
    “What about him?”
    “He said... that he was going to pay a price to bring Mirari back.”
    “He has.” I could sense the immediate surprise. “Or, should I say, he is at the moment.”
    “You mean Mirari-chama’s going to be comatose? That-”
    No, I mean...”
    “You mean what? Are you going to be a cruel-” I spun around to face Katherine. If Samantha had still been holding onto my shoulder, her hand would be shattered. I looked angry, and my anger startled them. I smiled, if a little deviously.
    “I mean that I’m being a little prankster. The price was paid many, many years back.” More surprise. There was a long pause. “Now, can I get on with this?” I glanced over at Mirari. Go on then. Make pretend all sad and stuff. You break the news to him... hehehe... I smiled as I released the seal on the two souls I held. They began to breathe, and opened their eyes. I put my finger to my lips. Oh yes, I think my simulation of Mirari’s death should stop them from doing anything like that again. “Now, shush.” We all turned to face the pair...
    I was sitting down in the arena, waiting for the inevitable after I had told everyone else. Am I going to get a last chance? Will Miscenco let me say goodbye? There was a flash of light, and Miscenco appeared in the middle of the arena, holding Mi-chan to her chest. I was partially relieved to see Mi-chan breathing gently, but worried – how long do I have? I ran over to Miscenco, who passed her to me.
    “I will tell you when it’s time, Alex.” She had such a serious look on her face. She looked pretty scary. Nothing like the kind, merciful goddess I thought she would’ve been. She walked away, to the computers that Libra had been at, and to Light and Libra’s bodies. Sinistra, Dexie and Kat approached her. Raphael went off somewhere else. They began a conversation, which I couldn’t hear. It seemed as if Ren and Athe didn’t come back. I held Mi-chan close... this’ll be the last. This is the last chance I’ll get to smell Mi-chan’s sweet scent, or feel her hair or touch her skin...
    “Mi-chan... I don’t know if you can hear me...” I kissed her on the forehead. “I don’t know if you can feel any of this...” I stroked her cheek. “But... this is my last chance to tell you... This is my last chance to show you... that I love you Mi-chan. You came when I was depressed; you brightened my life when I thought all was lost. You made me whole. You are all I ever needed... Oh, Mi-chan...” I could feel tears slipping down my face. “Oh, Mi-chan... I’d sacrifice myself infinite times over to make you happy, I would... No matter how messy or painful... I would not stop to think...” She began to stir... I could see tears in her eyes. “And I would watch you, even in death... My love is forever...”
    “Ri-chan...” She began sobbing into my chest. I couldn’t make sense of what she was saying. Something about romantic, and gushy... and silly. WTF? I put my arms around her.
    “It’s okay, Mi-chan... I promise to keep watch...” I then realised she was laughing. I went bright red. I’m actually angry with her! I let go of her, half turning away. “I’ve just vowed to always look out for you from the beyond and y-” She put her arms around me. I pushed her away...
    “Ri-chan...” Damn it! I can’t... stay angry at her. I turned to look at her. She looked really sad, and she moved away from me, kneeling on the floor a few meters from me. “Miscenco was joking with you...” She bowed her head, her hands curled tightly on her lap.
    “Wha-” She bowed her head further, and her hair fell around her beautifully... I can’t stay angry at her... not when she looks like that.
    “She was playing a practical joke... Ri-chan... The price was... paid years ago...” She looked like she was going to cry. I sighed, and then smiled, walking over to her. I kneeled in front of her. “I’m sorry... it was just... that...” I put my arms around her, resting her head in the hollow of my neck. I could feel the tears fall.
    “You little trickster...” I smirked. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with you...” Miscenco appeared behind me. She giggled.
    “I’m sorry, Alex. I just couldn’t resist.” She laughed out loud. “You’re too serious. I didn’t ask for a price, you know...” She walked around so that I could see her. She smiled. “...But it is as Mirari said. Your price was paid. Such a simple wish, too.” Mi-chan murmured. She knows already, I think.
    “What was the wish?” Mi-chan nuzzled my neck.
    “Athe’s wish was...” She moved to whisper it in my ear. ...So, that was the wish? I chuckled, kissing her on the cheek.
    “I really aught to thank her...” I squeezed Mi-chan again. “...and such a simple wish...”
    “I’m just happy to see this.” Ren and Athe had appeared next to Miscenco. Mi-chan turned to face them.
    “Thank you... We are in your debt.”Athe smiled.
    “I am in yours, trust me.” They smiled and the world went white. “You are one of us, and your power... well, you know by now...”
    “I wish I was Beautiful... I wish I was Strong... I wish I was...”
    Imagine looking at the world when you are potentially a GOD. Strength, beauty, intelligence. The lot... no limits...
    Imagine a set of devices that allows this to happen. Now...
    Imagine an organisation that possessed this technology.
    Imagine the power they would wield.
    If you had the power to change the world in your hands, what <i>would</i> you do?
    Change it for the better? Or for the worse?
    Would you change it to your whims? Or to the whims of others?
    Or at all?

    The world began a new chapter in its history.
    The events of that night were long forgotten, all the souls were released and most of those involved think they went out on a large bender.
    ETHER never existed. Project Repa was never thought of.
    The Mithrim, the Mod Units and the Senran Artefacts were put away.
    Everyone remembers everything, this time. Including the after effects of the alcohol...
    Harken Laboratory was turned into Trainee flats, Medical labs and the basement was turned into a Physics lab. Everyone has a well paid job doing what they love.

    And the powers that be?
    The remaining ETHER members and Raphael were at peace, and very happy.
    Very, very happy. Much procreation between a certain pair. Leave it at that description.

    If you see shadows moving, or a dark figure on the eave of a building, you can rest easy.
    They’re watching. The figures on the eave won’t let you be harmed. The shadows in the corner aren’t there to hurt you, either. No, they’re there to protect people.

    The world hasn’t really changed. Just people’s view on things.
    All in all, it’s a happy ending.