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Keeping any quizzical expressions to himself, the old man unrolled it and began to read. Moments later, he handed it to the man next to him and eyed his King uneasily. Gradually, the piece of parchment passed through each of the advisor's hands. When it finally returned to him, the King leaned back in his chair and regarded his counselors somberly.

The monarchy has come to the conclusion that it is in Earth's best interests for us to request admittance to the Silver Alliance. What say you? There was perfect silence for a few seconds. Then, one by one, the counselors nodded their consent, all except for Sidon. He stood stiffly. The King dipped his head in acknowledgment. This petition is only a request. We will of course withdraw from any proceedings should we find ourselves at a disadvantage.

When no one spoke, he reached for a pen, dipped it into a pot of black ink, and scrawled his signature across the bottom of the parchment. He rolled it up and affixed the royal seal. There was hushed silence for a few minutes. After a lengthy pause, Zaman ventured to ask, "Your Majesty, once again I must ask how this missive will be delivered to the Moon.

A hint of a smile played around the corners of the King's mouth.

They filed out of the room one by one and after they had left, the King called softly, "Come in, Luna. Luna crossed the tapestry-covered floor and gracefully leaped up onto his desk.

Love or Duty

She perched before him, her black tail curled regally around her feet, and inclined her head. The King picked up the parchment and tapped it on the desk. Luna saw that it was already folded and sealed. A good sign. Her whiskers twitched. He met her gaze. Earth once belonged to your Silver Alliance and we are contemplating renewing that ancient tie. Luna was perfectly still, her golden eyes unblinking, keeping the rising elation in her chest firmly tamped down.

Luna bowed, her legs bending in an action that would have seemed comical had they been in any other situation, and took the missive gingerly into her mouth. Her mind was already flashing to how she was going to sneak this out of the castle. A firm knock sounded on the door and the King looked over in that direction, frowning at the interruption. Luna, who was supposed to appear and disappear discreetly, saw her chance and took it.

She couldn't risk being apprehended by some dim-witted servant or guard and have the parchment taken from her. The royal seal was too visible. Her eyes narrowed with determination. The Golden Kingdom had, for some reason, decided they wanted to join the Silver Alliance and they had crafted a petition to let the galaxy know they were interested. The very least she could do was make sure the Alliance actually saw it. In one graceful movement, she took a flying leap off of the desk over to the window, which the King had left slightly open, despite the early spring chill in the air.

She slipped through and crouched on the edge of the windowsill. She was out of sight here and had a moment to consider viable courses of action. As she had discovered the last time she used this particular method of leaving the King's study, her only possible option was a beautiful oak tree growing a good twenty feet below.

Luna made a face.

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She hated having to jump down there—it was by far her least favorite method of exiting the castle—but it would have to do. She hurled herself out in the general direction of the leafy branches below and her mouth tightened on the petition, holding back the wild caterwaul threatening to rise as she dropped with sickening speed. She tumbled into the branches and bounced from one to another until she landed on the ground in a dizzy heap.

Luna shook herself and crossed her eyes slightly in an attempt to check on the parchment still firmly grasped in her teeth. She nodded to herself. It seemed only slightly worse for wear. The Queen would be pleased. The black cat acquired a better grip on it and darted off along the palace wall. Since Selenity never attempted to retrieve her until nightfall, it would be best if she disappeared until it was time to go home. She vanished into the gardens and trotted around until she found a suitable tall tree to settle into for a nice nap.

High up in his study, the King turned back to his desk to find both Luna and the parchment gone. He shook his head, a bemused smile on his face. He still wasn't quite sure how she managed that. Pluto considered restoring the timeline to its original existence, but as she probed the extent of the differences between the two times, she saw the problem was more complicated than it first appeared. Everything was so closely entwined that removing the changes would be a massive, well-nigh impossible undertaking. Perhaps it would be best to take a different approach.

After careful scrutiny, the Senshi of Time made the decision to leave things as they were. There would still be great sorrow, she could sense that much, but there would also be great happiness. More happiness, in fact, than she could see in the other timeline. However the Silver Millennium's destiny had changed, it had been none of her doing and she had found no signs of outside interference. A rare smile flitted across her face.

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Of course she would change nothing. Clearly, this was fate. Pluto stood straighter at her post and watched the new Destiny of the Silver Millennium unfold with avid interest. Story Story Writer Forum Community. AU SilMil. Forced to marry as a part of Earth's acceptance into the Silver Alliance, Mina and Malachite can't stand each other. War with Beryl is brewing and soon they'll have to make the ultimate choice. With that said, welcome to the new and improved For Love or Duty.

I hope y'all enjoy. A new Destiny. A new fate for the Silver Millennium. Yet it had. Crimson eyes widened in surprise. Luna, Mauan advisor to the Moon Queen Selenity, crouched hidden under a heavy, ornately carved wooden armchair in the antechamber to the King of Earth's private study. She was motionless, straining her ears to listen, even though she knew quite well no discernable sound would come through that heavy door. Her whiskers twitched as she wrinkled her nose.

This wasn't the first time she had visited Earth and she doubted it would be her last. However, there was something different about this particular meeting; some grimly satisfied gleam in the King's eyes when he bade her wait until his meeting was over that warned her things were about to change. King Edmund sat motionless behind his desk, watching his advisors argue amongst themselves. He had proposed a plan to petition the High Council of the Silver Alliance for admittance and it had thrown his advisors into disarray.

We felt it was necessary. The King had adjusted to the fact she was a talking cat remarkably well and she had never seen fit to show him her human form. She looked up, taking in her surroundings before moving closer. The early evening sun streamed through the room in golden shafts; illuminating dust mites, which danced and twinkled languidly in the air. The King sat staring down thoughtfully at a piece of parchment. He held out the parchment to her, his face unusually grave.

The images in the view portal swirled away into nothing. Pluto continued to lean on her staff, a speculative look on her face. She glanced at the deviations in the time stream and found that Luna had indeed delivered the petition to Queen Serenity, who had in turn presented it to the High Council.

The end result was that the grimly pleased Terran King found an ambassadorial invitation to the Moon on his desk two days later. Wasn't she forbidden to meddle?

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All relative. Prologue 2. Part 1: And So It Begins 3. Part 2: Of Balls and Gardens 4. Part 3: Confessions From the Heart 5. Part 4: Farewells and Surprises 6. Part 5: Wedding Bell Blues 7.

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Part 6: Loves Me Not 8. In every other area of life, reasonable adults expect young people to make mistakes and learn from them; mistakes are the fastest and the most efficient way to learn. And yet, young people are often expected to choose the most important person in their lives correctly from the first attempt, or to hold on to an uninformed, less-than-thoughtful decision forever. Besides, children are often involved, as well as the question of financial security which is less important from an ethical perspective, but might be greatly relevant from the practical point of view.

As for compatibility, in theory most people can be compatible, if they both show tolerance, respect, responsibility and healthy communication. In reality, though, no matter how strongly they declare their love, people rarely give up their behavioral patterns, immature reactions, even simple habits.

Love is obviously not enough for developing partnership skills. Add to this unrealistic expectations, childish emotions and biology which is an immensely complex influence all by itself , and we get the kind of chaos that few people manage to skillfully navigate. Well-informed readers might say: why even defend the concept of marriage? Marriage was historically founded as an economic contract that controls people so that a family can increase material wealth and control who inherits it.

Still, a stable family makes raising children easier, and many people do want to create a long-term relationship in which understanding, trust and respect would grow with time, rather than superficial short-term ones. Love is a particularly abstract word. The concept if love is often twisted and manipulated in many ways.

Most types of love include some kind of need or yearning, a pleasant expectation of receiving something that was missing in our lives. Such love usually dissipates with time. All the confusion and disappointment involved makes some people adopt a philosophical approach to love, which is based on the idea that love is a conscious choice, reflected in day-to-day effort and behavior.

This philosophy sometimes includes the idea that we should stay with one person, no matter what temptations and circumstances might occur, dedicate our lives to that relationship even when we are unhappy and frustrated. The idea is that unhappiness and frustration are likely to happen in any relationship ; if we stay with one person we at least have the chance to constantly deepen and improve that relationship, find new levels of learning and trusting; actively create happiness rather than search for it in the world around us.

This is all beautiful and true — in some circumstances and for some people. Usually in ideal circumstances, when both people are at least moderately compatible, considerate and well-meaning. If a relationship is basically good, people can suppress and reject superficial desires and urges in favor of more important values their primary relationship fulfills. But what if such a choice demands suppression of deep, essential needs and values?

What if all that effort and investment results in disappointment over and over again? With time, this will result in either depression, or bitterness, occasional explosions, or physical disease. Sometimes accumulated frustration can be expressed in indirect ways, for example towards children. Love could be described as a feeling of fulfillment, happiness, integrity, or perhaps as a desire for the other person to be happy. That would mean taking a parental role towards your partner, which damages not just the giver, but the receiver too.

If it was so easy to love someone just because we choose so, then, in theory, we should be able to be happy with most randomly chosen passers-by. Even if we ignore biology, hormones and early childhood impressions we fight those influences most of the time anyway there is still the question of compatibility : compatibility of intellect, emotions, desires, needs and values.

Even small incompatibilities and disappointments can accumulate and simmer inside given many years; how could we not expect it with significant incompatibility? Even biological incompatibility can be detrimental to a relationship: some people might be anxious and sensitive to stress while others seek excitement and risk; some people might be very physical while others live in their minds, some people can be emotionally sensitive and very empathetic, while others can lack either or both.

Deep understanding and companionship is very difficult to achieve in such circumstances. True, emotions are volatile and short-lived, influenced by biology and childhood memories which are much more powerful than most people realize. Can we choose our emotions? My suggestion is to seek balance, not extremes; explore what each of your inner voices is saying and why, and which of those is worth following; what do you want in the long term, not just temporarily.

Reality is rarely so poetic and inspired as idealism, but in the end few people manage to escape it. The nice philosophy I described in the beginning of this section presumes maturity, responsibility and effort from both sides. Reality is often different, and many people are immature and unwilling to cooperate and change.

Our choices and our efforts do not automatically deepen a relationship, but the sense of fulfillment when the partner appreciates them and responds in similar ways does. If a relationship does not deepen and grow, can we still call it love? If one feels ignored, dismissed, used or abused even after years of loving and responsible effort, is it fair to deny them happiness for the sake of theories? Besides, why would stability be more important than compatibility? Why should we have to bond someone to us till the end of our lives?

Why not end them with love and respect while we still can? The quality of a relationship is not necessarily measured by how long it lasts. People are different, and life is complex. And what is marriage than a promise that a relationship will be stable and expected, under control? That growth through challenge is more important than security?