Lost Library Email Form Lost Library Mailing List
Lost Library Home Page
 
A Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon story
by Benjamin A. Oliver

Disclaimer: Sailor Moon is owned by Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.


Chapter 9-I


~Gruff tone~

Dear Sir,

We would like to protest the editing of the portion from that last scene. Any and all translations to Anime collections should be made without modification or deletion, and any violence we may see as a result is an integral part of understanding any story.

Violence and graphic material is a staple of daily life and we should not coddle and shield our children from life, leaving them unprepared to deal with reality.

The same goes for lemon material. Most of us are mature males around or rapidly approaching the tender age of eighteen, and don't want or need to be deprived of such things.

We should not remove vital words and plot points simply because we do not believe that others will be able to handle it.

—Tarou, ______, Mr.

P.S.
As a matter of fact, we should add
more violence and lemon material to the next scene just to make it up to me for what we lost in the last one.


~High-Pitched Saccharine Falsetto~

Dear Sir,

I would like to protest that last letter. I think that all of us would be much better off if we didn't have to look at such things and could all just be happy with what wonderful material we do have, and enjoy every moment of it.

The important parts of the story will remain, and all of us will be able to watch and read it without having to worry about having our minds polluted by any such graphic material.

—Saotome… er… RANKO, Ms.

P.S.
I think we should add more violence and lemon material to the next scene to make up for what we just lost.


~~~ At the same time, a thousand years in the future ~~~

Ranma-chan yawned, looking up exhaustedly from the small sheet of paper she was writing on. "Why am I doing this again?" she asked the sailor-suited woman sitting next to her.

"It is beyond your comprehension," Sailor Pluto replied mysteriously, taking the redhead's composition off the table in front of her. "Try not to think about it too much. You might hurt yourself."

Ranma-chan raised a tired eyebrow at her. "You've been saying that a LOT lately…"

"Only because it's true. Only a small, feeble mind such as the one you possess could fail to notice that I do NOT like you, and most certainly do not wish to be engaged to you," the Time Senshi said emphatically, only to notice that the girl had fallen asleep at the table. Sailor Pluto inwardly screamed in frustration, digging her fingernails into the table's polished marble surface. "Ranma…"

"Hmm?" Ranma-chan asked, sitting back up.

"Would you please stop that? It's driving me insane!"

"Stop what?"

"There you go… You're doing it again!"

"What?"

"Stop it! Stop it, NOW!"

"What are you talking about?"

"AAAAAAAAHHHH!!!"

*Thud*

Ranma-chan blinked at the actions of her fiancée, then yawned and slumped to the table, once more falling unconscious.

Neo-Queen Serenity glanced sideways at the Time Guardian, who now had her face squarely planted on the table. "Setsuna, please control yourself. The ceremony is about to begin."

And so it was!

The Grand Post-Battle Awards Ceremony began with a long, drawn-out speech by the elegantly dressed, purple-tuxedoed Endymion (Who died and made HIM King?!) concerning the great valor of the troops, and even though "I couldn't be with all of you brave soldiers today," his courageous fighting spirit was… or would have been, had there been a need. Really.

An hour into the speech, the crowd couldn't take it any more and started chucking milk-duds at him, booing and hissing, so he decided to come down from the podium and let the Queen speak.

"Ahem," Serenity began in an uppity English accent. "We are not amused."

There was much applause. Several people held up signs that read, in this order: 10.0, 10.0, 10.0, 10.0, 10.0, 10.0, and 9.9. The people with signs looked at each other, then leapt upon and proceeded to pummel the one who gave the 9.9.

"Off with 'is head!"

*BAM*THWACK!*

"Get the saw!"

The rest of the crowd shrugged and spontaneously leapt at each other, erupting into a mass scuffle.

The Queen blinked and frowned. "Ladies, gentlemen?"

All those included in the categories mentioned froze in place, mostly midair.

The Queen looked down at the table where all the Senshi were sitting. "Sailors?"

"Yavolt!" all the Outer Senshi except for Sailor Pluto shouted, kicking away their chairs and jumping up onto the table, waking up all the half-napping Inner Senshi except for the new Sailor Earth.

The three standing Senshi struck poses, flowers and chirping birds appearing in the background.

"…" Serenity said wordlessly, raising an eyebrow. She cleared her throat and turned to her left. "Crossover cast?"

"Yo!" the Knight Sabers, Juraians, Lovely Angels, Sayajin, and assorted other odd characters and Sentai groups said in unison.

The Queen nodded, then looked to the side of the Great Hall, at the window. "Er… You, in the corner… ArbyFish… Arby!"

"'Ail ta th' Monarch!" the little Great Green-patterned Seal said, giving a quick salute and toasting his glass of partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Toast, as in bread. Okay, fine! He stuffed his drink into what the migratory pigeons next to him were eating. "Yer rump'z as big az th' Queen'z… n' twoice az fraigrant!"

Arby tapped his glass with one of the pigeons' and proceeded to spill the contents all over his head in the traditional ArbyFish gesture of congenial human brutality. "In-deed!" he said, smashing his glass on the windowsill.

"Now, that's a toast," one of the pigeons said, then started pecking at Arby's head. The other birds nodded and joined in.

"Ooookay," Neo-Queen Serenity said, turning back to the general crowd. "And… I know everyone is excited—"

"Death to the opposition!" Sailor Saturn yelled, summoning her Glaive and shaking it emphatically above her head.

The crowd cheered, waving flags and oversized foam rubber hands. "We're number one! We're number one!"

"What is this?" Luna muttered, slapping a disbelieving paw to her forehead. "High School Spirit Week?"

"Well," Artemis said, "this is really a big deal for them. I mean, this is the first time our regular military has made a difference in a big battle. To top that off, aside from a few broken bones here and there, I think we made it without any casualties. Sure, the airborne fighters were destroyed, but the eject pods worked out great, and in the ground forces, I think there were maybe… twenty broken pieces of armor, total. So—"

"I get the point, Artemis."

"So let us continue," Serenity said, making exaggerated motions for the Outer Senshi to stop making those embarrassing poses and sit down.

The Outer Senshi took a bow and regained their seats. Saturn still had her Glaive out, though. Sailor Uranus took out and started polishing her Sword, and Neptune began looking into her Mirror, doing a touch-up job on her makeup.

Neo-Queen Serenity looked somewhat embarrassed at the behavior of the Senshi, and at the same time, confused by how her subjects were acting. She glanced at the conscious Inner Senshi, who shrugged.

Mercury looked around the room, then glanced at her watch and frowned. "Maybe it's just late…"

Venus smiled semi-maniacally. "Maybe it's what I put in the tequila…" She coughed nervously. "Er… uh, I mean, the punch."

Jupiter chuckled. "Just after the battle, a near perfect victory… Everyone's pumped… But hey, they wanted to have an awards ceremony, and have it now, so of course the thing's going to be disorganized!"

Mars shook her head and sighed. "Well, it shouldn't be this disorganized, but I think it would be wishful thinking to blame it on Chaos getting loose or something like that." She looked up at the Queen. "Anyway, it's your call, Serena."

Serenity looked toward her husband. "Endymion?"

There was a red flash and a rose imbedded itself in the floor between the audience and the Queen.

"The people love and respect you," the King said, idly picking a milk-dud off of his tuxedo. "Believe in yourself, Queen Serenity, and you can do anything."

"Right," Serenity agreed, then confidently turned back to the populace, posing and making hand gestures. "I am Sailo—" She broke off and glared at Endymion. "You promised that you would never do that sort of thing again…"

Tux-boy chuckled. "Sorry, Serena. I couldn't resist."

The Queen glowered. "For making me look silly…"

The King shrugged. "It was just a joke."

Serenity took out the Crescent Moon Wand. "…in front of the entire military of Crystal Tokyo…"

Endymion backed off a little. "Eh, heh… Now, don't do anything rash…"

"…On behalf of the Moon…"

"Sazuki knee kawaii," Arby translated in pidgin Japanese to his friends, who nodded intently, still pecking at his head.

"…I will punish you!"

The ArbyFish listened and nodded. "Oh, sh'up, you."

The birds 'cooo'ed in response.

*BZZZZZZZZZREOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!!*

"Whoa, Cajun Cookin'!" Sailor Venus exclaimed, standing up and smiling wide-eyed at the blast that engulfed King Endymion.

When the energy cleared, a blackened Endymion coughed out a puff of smoke, holding his hands out in a gesture that I think meant something like 'May danger pass without harm'. He fell to the floor, twitching.

Luna fainted.

Artemis stared in shock.

The crowd gave a standing ovation.

The crossover cast cheered, making fireworks near the ceiling with their respective weaponry.

"Yeah! Show 'em 'oo'z boss!" Arby shouted, hopping up and down in sync with the birds around him.

Mars shook her head in disbelief. "Now, that's just… plain… wrong."

"Oh my heck…" Mercury whispered. "That was rash."

"'Bout time she nailed that evil, evil man," Jupiter said half-jokingly. "Poor guy should've learned to control himself by now. How long've they been married?"

Neo-Queen Serenity stood still for a moment, still holding out her wand at where her beloved had been standing. She gasped as she realized what she just did. "Endymion!" she shouted, rushing to kneel at his side.

The King coughed hoarsely. "Niiice shot, Meatball Head."

Acting on instinct, Serenity powered up for another shot.

*ZZZZZZZRRRR* Power lanced from the fabric of reality into the Crystal atop the Wand.

"Serena, no!" Sailor Mercury shouted.

*ZZZRRRrrr….* The Queen heard the cry and shook herself out of her trance, letting the power she was gathering fade.

Endymion groaned as he sat up, holding his head. "This is the last time we hold a public ceremony this late. Everyone starts acting like they've gone insane."

"In-dubidibly!" Arby concurred from across the room.

Serenity closed her eyes and ran her face over with her hands. "Good idea… And Mina?"

"What?" Sailor Venus asked.

"So let it be written, so let it be done: Tequila is never again to be served at public functions. Understood?"

"Aww…" Venus whined, slapping her hand against the table in disappointment.

Ranma-chan and Sailor Pluto continued to bask in their respective unconscious states. The former had started to snore.

The rest of the crowd seemed to be enjoying all of this immensely, as they continued to clap.


~~~ In the past… what seemed like just yesterday… ~~~

Nephrite chuckled evilly.

He paused, considering what to do next…

And he chuckled again.

The stars had indicated through the Kurozuishou… Star Crystal that Molly would lead him to the Ginzuish… Empyrean Silver Crystal, and the stars know everything.

That little girl had, a short while after he appeared to have left, contacted one of her friends: Serena, who was undoubtedly connected to Sailor Moon… As a matter of fact, judging from the current stellar alignments, she probably was Sailor Moon.

All that he had remaining was to confirm this, and once he had, he would destroy her.

Nephrite smiled, watching the pigtailed blonde approach the paved bridge he was standing on. She hadn't noticed him.

Oh, she would soon enough.

She had proven to be quite powerful in the past, but Nephrite was ready for her this time. With her out of the way, his search for the Crystal would be just that much easier.

The general gathered his energies raised his hand toward the unknowing girl…


Serena rushed along the street, huffing and puffing from the effort. It was rough, but she had to get to Molly before something bad happened. "Why… does… the Negaverse… always… have to… do this stuff… so late… at night?!"

Arby fluttered next to her. "Well, I s'pose they could do it durin' school hours, but it's gots so much more effect at noight! Ya know… gotta 'ave stuff at noight—"

Luna was keeping up rather well. "Arby," she cut in, "that's all very interesting, but… stay out of sight!"

"Nope," Arby said, turning his head, "I don'ts wants to! 'Soides, what'd they care if they saw me? 'T worst, they'd 'ave a mental breakdown n' they'd grow mushrooms on their 'eads. So, wa'srong with'em seein' me?"

*Zrrrrr…*

Sight soon became irrelevant, however, as that particular sensory input began to shift and swirl under an unseen dark power.

Serena wobbled back and forth as she struggled to maintain her balance.

Luna recognized the feel of the power. "Serena, it's the Negaverse! Quick! Transform!"

"Ullllhh…" Serena was mesmerized by the swirling landscape.

*BONK!* Arby quickly whapped her on the head with his patented Heavy Blunt Object™. "Come along, then!"

"WAAH!" the blonde girl cried, covering her head. She paused, realizing what was going on. "Right!" She did her best to stand up straight, and raised her hand dramatically.

"Moon… Prism… Power!"

Serena was bathed in a prismatic glow. As the glow surrounded her, ribbons exploded from the locket on her chest, wrapping themselves around her. In a flash, they formed an almost swimsuit-like white sailor-style leotard with a big red bow on the front. Ribbons wrapped her arms up to her elbows as she held her arms in front of her. More ribbons formed around her feet and legs, becoming long red boots, each adorned with a gold crescent moon at the knee. A short, blue skirt rippled as it formed on her outfit. Another ribbon wove itself together into a bow on the back of her skirt. A red gem appeared and glowed on her forehead, from which a gold tiara formed. Red jewels appeared on each of the "meatballs" of her hair.

Sailor Moon gave a backhanded salute against an ornate crescent moon background, and her standard transformation sequence was finished.

"It makes absolutely no sense!" the ArbyFish screamed in bemusement, quickly — almost frantically — diving off the side of the bridge, and splashing into the water.

The visual distortions stopped.

Sailor Moon saw her enemy: Nephrite, who was standing against a lamppost with his arms folded.

"So," the general said, "Sailor Moon is nothing more than a little school girl…" He moved toward her with a malevolent smile. "I know your identity, Sailor Moon… or should I say… Serena!"

Sailor Moon gasped, wide eyed as she realized that she had just transformed in front of him. "Uhhh… oops!"

"I'm sure Queen Beryl will love to hear about this."

"Aheheheheheh…" Sailor Moon laughed nervously, her hand behind her head. "Um, noooo, you don't need to do that!"

"Not that it matters," Nephrite continued. Without warning, he dove forward, throwing a small blast of blue energy at the Sailor.

*BLAM!* Not having time to dodge, Sailor Moon took the blast right on her chest. She cried out in shock as she was blown back against the street.

Nephrite powered up for another shot.

"MREOW!!!" Luna quickly leapt on his face, clawing frantically before he tore her off and threw her off the side of the bridge, into the water.

"Splash!" Arby called from below.

Sailor Moon groaned as she struggled her way back to her feet. "Luna!" she shouted. After a quick pause, she straightened, glaring at Nephrite. "All right, buster, you asked for it!" She concentrated. "Moon… Ti-araaAAA—"

*BLAM!* Sailor Moon broke off as Nephrite blasted her again. She sailed back several yards, skidding to a halt on her skirt. "Ow! That hurt… that hurt!"

Nephrite narrowed his eyes. "And it's still not enough!" He closed his eyes and held his hands together. "I ask for power from the stars!"

*ZRRRrrrr*

The general was surrounded in a pulsating blue aura as he drew strength from various Zodiacal sources. He opened his eyes, gritted his teeth, and held his hands in front of him, palms facing outward toward his enemy.

*Zrrr-ROAAAAAAAR!*

Sailor Moon gasped as she looked up at Nephrite and noticed the stream of energy headed toward her. She frantically scooted back along the road as quickly as her legs would push her. "Ayieee!!!"

She bumped up against the curb, looking on agape as the blast faded, mere centimeters away from her. The blue-skirted Senshi nearly hyperventilated, seeing that the blast had taken a rather large, semi-circular gouge out of the street. She looked up and saw that Nephrite was powering up for more.

*KABLAM!* Sailor Moon threw herself aside just as a large ball of energy vaporized a two meter radius of the street where she had been lying, blasting debris into the air from the force of the strike.

"Humph," Nephrite commented, glaring at her. He held up a hand and clenched it into a fist, creating a blue, sparking cloud above the Sailor Senshi.

Small pulses of destructive energy from the cloud began to rain down toward her.

*BLAM*BLAM*BLAM*BLAM*BLAM* Sailor Moon reflexively jumped into a standing position and started running around in panic, barely managing to avoid the falling charges. "Aaaah-AAAaa-AAAH!! Can't we please just talk this over?!?!"

"Talk is cheap," Nephrite said, crossing his arms as he once again powered up for another strike. "Death is too!"

Caught like a rabbit in the headlights of a really huge, gas-guzzling American car, Sailor Moon froze as she watched the massive, roiling blast head toward her.

*Whoosh*SNAP!* There was a red flash, a sonic boom, and a red rose flew toward into Nephrite, blossom first.

*SMACK!* The small rose smashed into the youma general's face, knocking him off his feet and sending him crashing through one of the bridge's large steel supports, and over the side.

*Da dah, da daaaaaah!* Dramatic music played as Tuxedo Mask made his entrance, jumping in front of the blast, effortlessly twirling his cane at impossible speeds, dissipating and deflecting the energy that was flowing at Sailor Moon. *Da dah, da daaaaaah!*

"WHAT?!!" Nephrite shouted in anger and confusion as he levitated back into view, shrugging and snapping off cables that had entangled him from the bridge's structure and pulling the rose off his face, which had made a rather nasty, red imprint.

"I am Tuxedo Mask!" the tuxedoed man said. "And I will not allow you to harm this girl!" He looked at Sailor Moon and continued in a more demeaning voice. "Even if she is such a helpless, whiney, spaghetti-brained meatball head…"

Sailor Moon breathed a sigh of relief, then glared at her rescuer. "You just had to wait until the last minute, didn't you?!"

Tuxedo Mask chuckled. "Oh, come on! What's the matter with the save I just did, Meatball Head?"

"MY NAME IS—"

"Yeah, I know your name: Meatball Head!"

"OOOOOH, you better stop it now, TUX-BOY, or I'll—"

"You're gonna what, Meatball Head? I just saved your life!"

Sailor Moon steamed. "Yes, and I was going to thank you, but now, you can forget about it, you creep!"

"Suit yourself," Tuxedo Mask said, then smiled. "Meatball Head."

"Grrrr…" Sailor Moon forcefully chewed on her gloves to keep herself from trying to massacre her colleague against the Negaverse.

"How touching," Nephrite growled, "a lovers' quarrel."

Sailor Moon glared at the grey-uniformed general, advancing toward him with a flaming background and all the other anger special effects. "He… is not… my—"

"Whatever," the brown-haired general said with half a shrug, holding his ground… or air, actually, as he managed to control his outward fear of the two warriors in front of him. Tuxedo Mask, most especially. What happened to him?! He had been able to block that strike like it was nothing. If he had dodged, that would have been one thing, but he had blocked the blast entirely. And how had his little roses gotten so powerful so quickly!? Yesterday, he was struggling just to pull Sailor Moon up from off the edge of a balcony!

Tuxedo Mask turned back toward Nephrite. "You can't fight both of us, 'Neflyte'." He chuckled. "Or even me."

Nephrite narrowed his eyes in rage as he realized the truthfulness of that last statement. "Perhaps," he admitted, then looked toward Sailor Moon, "but I know your identity, Serena. I can pick you off at any time I wish." He levitated higher. "Until then, FAREWELL!"

Nephrite vanished in a shadow of black energy.

Tuxedo Mask frowned, then looked at Sailor Moon. "He knows your identity?"

The blonde, sailor-suited girl nodded grimly.

Tuxedo Mask thought about that. "That could turn out to be a very bad thing…"

Sailor Moon nodded again, then started shifting uncomfortably in her fuku.

The black-haired man noticed her discomfort. "Something wrong, Sailor Moon?"

"Yeah," Sailor Moon replied, reaching down the back of her outfit. She probed around for a moment, and then pulled something out. She frowned, looking at it.

"'Ello, Madam!" it said enthusiastically.

"Arby? What were you doing in there?"

The ArbyFish looked up at her. "Well, ya see… I woz concocting… pineal juice— ya know, drawin' offa' ya spinal column for me genetic 'xperiments. Swallowed plutonium, I did! 'Elps with the mutations n' stuff. Sure, it's poisonous… but then again what isn't, if we come roight down to it? Ya drink billions a' gallons a' wata' ev'ry day, n' ya think it'll make ya feel bett'a'? No, it'll kill ya. So that's wot I wuz doin' there, thank you very much!"

Sailor Moon blinked. "Arby… I worry about you."

Arby smiled brightly at her. "You should." He gave her a quick kiss on the lips and fluttered off to the sidewalk, examining a rather fascinating strain of mildew between the cracks.

Sailor Moon raised an eyebrow, wiping off her mouth with the back of her glove, then wisely decided not to ponder the odd little creature's behavior, and turned her attention back to Tuxedo Mask, who was equally confused at the explanation. "Tuxedo Mask… that was… great… what you did earlier. You never really did much fighting like that before. What… How did you do that?"

The formally dressed man shrugged. "I don't know… This morning I woke up and I was… something like ten times as strong for some reason. I think that it has something to do with my dreams…"

"Your dreams?"

"Yeah. Besides this one I keep getting about this… princess that keeps calling me, telling me to free her—"

"A Moon Princess?" Sailor Moon asked, thinking that perhaps he knew something about who she was supposed to be looking for.

"—Right, a Moon Princess. Princess… Serenity, I think. I don't know how I know that, but… Anyway, besides that, there's this other one I've had recently… There was this pirate ship and… No! It wasn't that one… The one that seems like it has something to do with my fighting ability was about this one short blue guy on some really tiny planet that has me catching monkeys and trying to smash crickets with heavy mallets. Really wacky imagery, let me tell you. I don't know how that relates to fighting, but for some reason it felt like it did." He sighed and gave a half-hearted semi-salute. "Goodbye, Sailor Moon…"

Tuxedo Mask jumped into the air and flew off.

"Tuxedo Mask, wait!" Sailor Moon called. "Tell me more about the Moon Princess!"

It was too late, though; he had already disappeared.

Sailor Moon sighed in disappointment. She was really close to getting something about the Moon Princess. She'd have to ask him about it next time she bumped into him before class. Maybe she could get him to stop calling her "Meatball Head", too. He could be a real jerk like that most of the time… but he sure was cute… especially in the tuxedo. Not as cute as the Starlight Knight, but… "Hmm…"

For a moment, Sailor Moon was absorbed by a fantasy involving flying through the clouds with both Tuxedo Mask and the Starlight Knight. Really innocent stuff, actually…

Arby looked up and stared intently at her. "Wot're you thinkin', youn' 'snort?"

Sailor Moon quickly shook her head to clear the dream-like state she was going into. It was kinda late. "W-what? H-huh?"

"Didn't you 'ave ta go do somethin'?"

"Like…?" Sailor Moon asked, then gasped as she remembered. "Molly! Right!"

She resumed her rush toward the Osa-P jewelry store where Molly lived. With her enhanced Senshi capabilities, she went very quickly, leaving a dust trail as she ran.

Arby watched her leave. "Eighty-eight moiles an hour!" he exclaimed, quoting his favorite movie. "Of course, if ya go more'n eighty-eight moiles n' hour, ya moight get me stomach mushrooms upset…" He stopped and blinked.

The ArbyFish coughed and choked. "Ack-ack…"

*PHOOOOOOOOOOOOO*SPLAT!*

And then he spat up a huge, black, slimy, fuzzy mass onto the sidewalk.

"Ewww," Arby said in surprise. He walked up to the mass and prodded it with one of his fins. "That's the ugliest 'airball I've eva'…" He trailed off as the mass began to stir.

"Arby…" it mewled softly.

The small, green seal smiled. "Oh, it's you, Luna!"

Luna uncurled herself from her compacted position, attempting to wipe off some of the semi-corrosive ooze that was covering her. "Arby," she repeated, "we are going home, and having a long, hard lecture about the PROPER use for a digestive tract!"

"That wuz propa'! Yew'z quoite tasty, aren't'cha?"

"Let's have that talk now, shall we?"

"Alroight, we'll 'ave a debate. I'll give my reasons n' you give yours. You start."

And so the worst night in Luna's life began as she dragged the small creature along, leaving a thick slime trail all the way back to Serena's house.


"WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Quiet, Raye!" Grandpa Hino said, covering his ears. "Do you want me to go deaf — again?!"

"Aheheheheheheheh…." the raven-haired priestess laughed in a combination of uneasiness and insanity. "I… don't think you really understand, Grandpa… There's this… EEEEEEVIL, MONSTROUS guy out there, and there's nothing we can do to stop him, unless we act RIGHT NOW!!!"

"I'm not listening!" the small old man said, keeping his ears covered and turning away. "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA—"

"STOP IT, GRANDPA!" Raye yelled, violently grabbing and shaking her grandfather by the shoulders. "THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!"

"I'm not talking to you until you calm down!"

"Okay…" Raye replied, and backed off, all the while twitching with a maniacal look on her face. "I'm calm, Grandpa… I'm calm…"

The elder Hino tentatively took his right hand off his ear, then when there were no sudden sonic outbursts, he took the other one off and turned toward his granddaughter. "Okay, what is it?"

Raye pounced upon him, knocking him to the floor and looking directly into his eyes. "THE STARLIGHT KNIGHT IS REALLY AN EVIL CREATURE THAT'S COME TO DESTROY US ALL AND HE'S GOT ALL THIS POWER THE POWER TO DESTROY ENTIRE GALAXIES AND HE'S ON EARTH AND MY FRIEND SERENA'S SO VACUOUSLY INFATUATED WITH HIM THAT SHE WON'T LISTEN TO THE DANGER THE WARNINGS I'M TRYING TO GIVE HER AND SHE JUST THINKS THAT I'M DOING THAT BECAUSE I'M JEALOUS OR SOMETHING AND I'VE BEEN HAVING IMPRESSIONS THAT SOMETHINGS WRONG WITH HIM FROM THE BEGINNING AND I RECENTLY DID A FEW FIRE READINGS AND ALL MY FEARS HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED!!!"

Purple in the face, the temple maiden rolled over, flat on her back and took a series of long, deep breaths. "So…" she continued, "can… can you help me?"

Grandpa Hino paused, deep in thought, and then stood up and looked down at the girl. "Well… If it means that much to you, Raye…" He smiled, pulling out a couple of fans and waving them around in a seemingly unordered fashion. "Sure, I'll help ya!"

Raye took another breath, this time a sigh of relief. "Thanks, Grandpa…"

The old man's smile shifted to a grin. "I've got some old Shamanistic scrolls buried down in a my special hiding place!"

"Sha… manistic scrolls?"

"POWERFUL magic! The best stuff there is without pledging your soul to darkness or anything like that. I hear it's GREAT, once you learn it! Fireballs, spiritual lances, and a lot of other magic that can bend the astral plane to destroy one's enemies! They're all written on the scrolls, with instructions on how to call upon them!"

Raye blinked. "You have something like that lying around?! Why didn't you tell me before?"

"Well, I try not to think about it. You never know when a psychic might walk by and find out about it!"

"Well, I guess I can understand that…"

"They're all over the place, you know!"

"Right, uh, thanks, Grandpa! If those… scrolls work out as good as I think they will, it'll be a BIG help."

The short man nodded emphatically. "Yeah! They're an old family heirloom, dating back to before recorded history! The secret of their location has been passed from father to son to cousin to second great uncle for tens of thousands of years. They're so powerful that it was decided that nobody should ever so much as look at them! Nobody at all! But, for you, Raye, I—" He stopped, and slumped. "—can't make an exception. Sorry, it's too great a risk. Good night."

The priest stumbled out of the room.

"Grand… pa…" Raye half-growled, sitting up. "Why can't you tell me?! It's a matter of life and death! GRANDPA!!!" She began to stand up, then stopped, glancing back at the constantly-burning fire in center of the room. "Hmm…" She walked over and sat in front of the fire. "Sacred fire… Tell me the location of—"

Raye's grandfather poked his head back in. "—and there will be no using the fire to find them, either! They're too dangerous!" He backed out and closed the door.

Raye stared at the door for a moment, then shook her head and turned back to the fire. "Sorry, Grandpa… but this is an emergency. I'm sure you'll forgive me later. Sacred Fire… Show me where the scrolls that Grandpa just told me about are!"

The fire flared up, and words; very definite words appeared in it. [You… don't want to know. Trust me on this one. You really don't want to know.]

Raye blinked. "Either I'm going crazy, or something's wrong with the fire…"

The disembodied head of Alec Guinness floated by. "Use the force, Lu…" He trailed off. "Sorry, wrong galaxy." The head fell on the floor, bounced a couple of times, then vanished into the fire.

Raye opened her mouth to say something, then decided against it. The thought came to her that it might possibly be time to get to bed. "Hmm…"

Then, her communicator beeped.

She pulled it out and punched it on. Sailor Moon's face appeared on the small display. "Sailor Moon! What is it?! Did the Starlight Knight—"

"Would you please quit bugging me about that, Raye?" Sailor Moon cut in. "I called because I need your help! I just talked Molly's mom. Molly's missing, and she stole one of her mom's jewels, too! She's been acting kinda weird lately, and I think something might be really wrong with her. It's definitely the Negaverse. I'm near the jewelry store. I already called Amy and Terra. Can you make it, too?"

"Of course I can make it," Raye replied, pulling out her transformation wand. "I'll be right there."

"Thanks, Raye!" Sailor Moon said, and the display winked off.

The priestess raised her wand. "Mars… Power!"

Once her quick, flame-filled transformation sequence was completed, she quietly opened the door and left the room, hurrying toward her destination. Her friends needed her help.


Doctor Sam Beckett ran along the street, cradling a small, spherical gem in his hands. "Al, what am I doing with this?"

Al moved along with him, though appearing to be standing in place. "I do, I do, Sam. Don't worry, it's all according to the plan."

"WHAT plan, Al?"

"THE plan, Sam! There's this idea that the new gal on staff—"

Sam blinked. "Wait… New gal?"

"Yeah. Susan," the hologram replied. "You know, the new girl in town… Tina's second cousin? The fashion designer turned temporal specialist?" He frowned at his friend's blank look. "I thought I told you about her on your last leap."

Not breaking his run, Sam shrugged in confusion. "I never heard about anyone called Susan working on Quantum Leap…"

Al sighed. "Eh, well, I guess that's not surprising, Sam. Your mind's Swiss-cheesed, remember?"

"Yeah, I remember that, but… what does Susan do?"

"She's our new project manager, and has this really big non-interference policy she's planning on implementing." Al chuckled. "You wouldn't know it by just looking at her, but she's a real fanatic when it comes to not messing around with the timeline. Don't do this, don't do that. You shouldn't prevent this and that…"

Sam frowned. "And we're following her plan for saving Maxfield Stanton?"

Al opened his mouth to say something, then returned his friend's frown. "Hmm… I can see how that could be a problem," he said, and casually glanced to his right. He gasped and pointed. "Oh! Look, Sam! There he is!"

"Is it Maxfield Stanton? Nephrite?" Sam asked, looking toward where the hologram was pointing at.

Al rolled his eyes. "No, it's the Good Humor Man," he said sarcastically. "Yes, it's Maxfield Stanton! Now get going and save his life!"


Standing by a park bench and disguised as a casually dressed Maxfield Stanton, Nephrite fingered the bruise that was beginning to form on his forehead.

He winced, growling slightly at how much pain it was causing him. Where had his enemies gotten so much power?! First, it was Sailor Earth, then Sailor Moon… and now Tuxedo Mask. At this rate, Sailor Mercury might be able to beat him!

A girl's voice broke off this train of thought. "Nephrite?"

Nephrite turned around, somewhat surprised to see her. "Molly?"

Molly nodded, a concerned expression on her face. "Yeah, it's me."

"I'm glad to see you again," the disguised general said, feigning friendliness. "How did you find me?"

The reddish-brown-haired girl paused. "I—"

"That doesn't matter, though," Nephrite cut in, starting to smile. "Does this mean you've decided to help me?"

"That's what I've been trying to tell you: I really do want to help you, but I'm not sure what the problem is."

"I already told you."

Molly sighed and shook her head. "You were lying, Nephrite." She looked up at him. "I know that you're in danger… and I'm willing to help, if you just tell me what it is you need."

"I wasn't lying, Molly."

"Oh, yes, you were."

"I'm in danger from the evil people from the Negaverse! I'm not like them, so they want me killed!"

Molly looked like she was losing her patience. "Stop insulting my intelligence, Maxfield… Nephrite… whoever you are! I'm not that gullible."

Nephrite clenched his fist and glared at her with narrowed eyes and clenched teeth. "Don't make me—"

"You see?" Molly asked, not appearing at all frightened. "You're so sure of yourself that you thought I'd believe you right off, and now that I don't, you're getting angry. I want to help you, but I can't if you won't let me!"

Nephrite stayed tensed in barely contained rage for a moment, then his expression softened and he let his hand drop. He managed a smile and gave a wry laugh. "Was my acting really that poor?"

Molly nodded with half a smile. "Umm-hmm."

The brown-haired man sighed. "All right, then. Molly, there is only one thing I need from you, and that is the Ginzuishou."

Molly blinked. "Ginzuishou?"

"Empyrean Silver Crystal," Nephrite corrected.

The girl thought about it. "Silver Crystal…" As if hearing something, she glanced to her right. "Okay, Al," she whispered, and looked back at Nephrite. "Is this it?"

Molly held up a spherical crystal, which was rather large by gem standards.

Nephrite took the crystal and pulled out his own, pointing it at the other. He frowned as nothing happened. The Star Crystal didn't react to it; it wasn't what he was looking for. He looked at Molly. "It's…" he began, then trailed off. After all that had been said, he really didn't want to disappoint her right now. The crystal she had given him hadn't come from nowhere. For whatever reason, she was really going out on a limb for him. So, he smiled at her and said, "Thank you, Molly. This is just what I'm looking for."

Molly glanced to her right again, then looked at the crystal Nephrite was holding, and frowned. "Oh no, I didn't," she whispered in dread, below Nephrite's hearing. She opened her mouth to say something to him, but…

"Not so fast, Nega-Scum!" a girl called in an authoritative voice.

Nephrite turned to face the speaker, and narrowed his eyes. "Sailor Moon…"

Sailor Moon stepped into the light.

"Got that right, buster!" Sailor Moon said, beginning to do some of her patented poses. "I am Sailor Moon, Champion of Justice! I right wrongs and triumph over evil. Brainwashing innocent girls to steal jewels for you is wrong… and cannot be allowed! On behalf of the Moon, I will punish you!"

Molly blinked, then stared, raising a bemused eyebrow, having completely missed the speech in light of the confusion caused by the odd sailor-suit the girl was wearing. "Um… Who… What are you supposed to be?"

The pigtailed blonde stepped forward. "Don't worry, Molly, you'll back to normal soon! I'll dust this creep!" She looked at Nephrite, and moved into another pose, pointing at him. "And that means you!"

Nephrite stood in place, glaring at Sailor Moon. "Not enough power to fight her," he whispered to himself. He closed his eyes and pressed his hands together. "I ask for power from the stars… Dark Matter, conceal me!"

Within a matter of seconds, the entire area was shrouded in a black fog.

"Maxfield? I can't see you! What's going on?!" Molly asked, trying to see through the darkness. She soon felt a presence near her.

"Stay back, Molly," Nephrite whispered into her ear, then moved away.

"How long, Al?!" the girl whispered frantically. She gasped. "Three minutes?!"

Sailor Moon tried to take a step. "Uh, hey, where did you…"

*WHAM!* She stumbled and tripped directly onto her face. "Waaaaah!"

Nephrite almost groaned, peering through the haze at the girl. "Such power in such a crybaby…" Being outclassed by an experienced opponent was one thing. Being overpowered by someone like Sailor Moon was downright embarrassing. He held his hands together in preparation for something that had a chance at getting rid of her. "I ask for—"

"Mercury Bubbles… Blaaast!!!"

"Not again!" Nephrite shouted, running his hand over his face in frustration.

A blue fog swept away the blackness, rendering him unable to see.

"Mars Fire… Ignite!"

Nephrite was barely able to duck as the blast of flame swept past him.

The fog faded and the combatants were visible to all. There were three new Senshi on the battlefield, and Nephrite had switched back to his grey uniform.

The blue-highlighted one struck a pose. "I am Sailor Mercury!"

The red one moved into a similar position. "I am Sailor Mars!"

"And on behalf of Mars…"

"And Mercury…"

The two finished with another dramatic stance. "We will Punish you!"

The pink-highlighted Sailor Earth helped Sailor Moon off the ground.

Off to the side, Molly blinked, shook her head, and stared at them. Somehow managing to shrug that off, she glanced around and caught sight of Nephrite. "Two minutes… I know, Al… But doesn't this seem a bit… odd, to you, though?" She paused, and then frowned. "Oh, really?"

"So," Nephrite began, gazing at his opponents, "this is the way it's going to be, then?" He raised a hand above his head. "Starlight Attack—"

"Earth… Glistening Aurora!" Sailor Earth blurted out, swinging her right arm forward, throwing a twirling surge of energy at the youma general.

Nephrite's Starlight Attack dissipated in several flashes of brilliant, exotic colors as Sailor Earth's "attack" surrounded him.

The redheaded Senshi blinked as she noticed what she just did.

"All right!" Sailor Moon said, deciding to take advantage of Nephrite's current distraction. "Moon… Tiara… Action!"

Sailor Moon's tiara flared up, then rose off of her head. It flared once more, becoming a shining, almost Frisbee-like oval of golden energy. It dove at its intended target at a nigh-impossible speed.

"Nephrite, look out!!!" Molly shouted.

Nephrite took his attention away from the shimmering sphere around him and noticed what was headed toward him. His eyes widened as he realized what it was, and that he couldn't do anything about it; all of his powers were somehow being blocked! He was frozen in place as an attempt to teleport backfired. He paled, knowing that now, there was only one thing left to do: "AAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!"

Time seemed to take on an entirely new dimension for him as he felt the searing heat of Sailor Moon's tiara draw closer.

His life flashed before his eyes. Long-forgotten and neglected pieces of his past flowed through his mind.

He remembered his service to the Kings of Earth and Prince Endymion… and felt no regret at having joined Queen Beryl.

He remembered the damage he had helped do to the Kingdoms and peoples of the Silver Millennium… and felt no guilt.

He remembered the vicious struggle and burning pain at the end, and felt no fear.

He remembered his childhood; his friends… and felt no joy.

He remembered his beloved wife, and how awe-inspiringly beautiful his young daughter looked, as he held her up above him, cherry blossoms blowing around in the breeze through her strawberry-brown hair…

And felt a dull thud as he was knocked to the concrete.

The tiara sped past him, then slowed and flared again, circling back towards him.

Against the streetlights, a very familiar silhouette of a girl stood, lifting herself off of him and holding her shoulder in pain. "Stop!" she called.

Nephrite felt a peculiar energy, and looked to his side, where the Star Crystal had fallen.

It was flashing.

"It's reacting!" the youma general whispered, snatching it off the ground as all else fled his mind. "It's reacting… to… her?" he said, pointing the crystal at the silhouette. "To… Molly?"

Molly knelt down and attempted to move him, but made little progress with her nicked shoulder. She glanced back and noticed that the tiara was headed right at her… her head, as a matter of fact.

"Ayieee!!!" Sailor Moon shouted in shock, coming out of a trance. "Stop, Tiara!"

The tiara continued on unabated.

"STOP!!!"

The small disk kept right on going…

Molly gritted her teeth and closed her eyes, clearly attempting to shield the brown-haired general beneath her.

"Molly, no!" Nephrite shouted, trying to push her out of the way, but having little success. It was almost as if she were made of lead…

The glow from the rapidly moving object dampened… and the plain gold tiara bounced harmlessly off of Molly's forehead.

The brown-haired girl opened her eyes, looked around, and breathed a sigh of relief. She tentatively stood, then winced as she remembered the nick she had inadvertently received from Sailor Moon's attack.

Sailor Moon gasped as she saw it, and rushed toward her. "Oh no, Molly… are you all right?! Please say you’re all right please please please!"

Molly raised a hand, motioning her to stop. "I'm okay." She stood up more or less straight. "Now… why on Earth are you trying to kill him!?"

Sailor Moon took in a couple more gasping breaths. "It's…It's because… He's… an evil monster from the Negaverse… and… I… I was afraid for you, okay, Molly?!"

Molly frowned. "I didn't quite… hear all that."

"He's evil," Mars said, stepping forward.

Molly looked at her. "Oh, really? I've seen worse."

Mercury sighed. "He's involved in a plot to steal all of our energy and use it to resurrect a force that will be used to take over our world… and then the entire universe!"

Nephrite stood, watching the pulsing of his crystal slow, and finally stop. "Who cares about that?" he half-growled. "Beryl wants to bring back Metallia… and believe me, she can have her. I want nothing to do with that nutcase…"

"That's news to me," Mars said, her eyes narrowed and her arms folded. "Last I heard, you were working for Queen Beryl."

Nephrite rolled his eyes. "Beryl," he said, "is an imbecile. She is growing more mindless by the week… but her powers are just as strong as ever. She wants the Empyrean Silver Crystal to bring back that demon-failure to help her on a futile quest to conquer everything that exists."

"Silver Crystal…" Sailor Moon whispered.

Mercury frowned. "So… what do you want it for?"

Nephrite laughed. "I've set out to find it for myself… to master the powers it holds." He smiled. "Neither you nor Beryl will so much as stand a chance against me once I have it."

Looking on, bemused, Molly opened her mouth to make a comment, but before she could…

"Ha ha ha haaa!" a blonde woman laughed as she appeared above them in a spiral of cherry blossoms. Smiling, she looked down at Nephrite and the Sailor Scouts. "So, Nephrite… Turned traitor, have we?"

"Zoicite," Nephrite said, "run back to Beryl and tell her whatever you very well please. You can't do anything about it, and I know she won't."

"Humph," Zoicite replied, continuing to smile as she caught sight of the dark crystal in Nephrite's hand. "So, you've found it…" She rose higher into the air. "Spikey, sic 'em!"

Nephrite narrowed his eyes and moved into a combat stance. "You didn't…"

"Didn't… what?" Molly asked.

Sailor Moon frowned. "Uh… what's a 'Spikey?'"

*GRAAAHHH!!!* There was a throaty, hissing growl from the shadows, away from the lamppost.

"That," Nephrite whispered, deathly quiet, "is Spikey."

*HISSSSSSS!*

Sailor Moon took a step back. "Eeep…"

Mercury had activated her computer and started to scan the unseen creature. She gasped.

The horrifying creature leapt into the light, giving everyone a very good look at its appearance. Its smooth, shiny skin was black-hued and translucent, stretched tautly against its long, continuous head and almost skeletal body. Its thick tail was approximately half its length, extending back from its thin hind legs.

Spikey was also about ten inches tall.

The beast curled its lips back on its relatively small mouth, revealing a row of jagged teeth, then narrowed its two small, beady red eyes and gave a terrifying hiss… then smiled as it put on a red-banded tap-dancer's hat and pulled out a cane.

The black monster pulled off its hat and held it up in a showy manner, twirling its cane and beginning to kick its feet high into the air in a sort of dance as it began to sing.

o/Hello, my baby,
Hello, my honey.
Hello, my rag-time gal!\o

Sailor Moon smiled and laughed as she watched the small creature sing. "That's… almost cute!"

o/Send me a kiss by wire.
Baby, my heart's on fire!\o

"It's evil," Mars reminded, then had to cover her mouth to keep from snickering too loudly.

o/If you refuse me,
Honey, ya lose me.
Then you'll be left alone, oh baby!
Telephone, and tell me I'm your own!\o

The creature danced off into the shadows.

Sailor Mercury slowly blinked, looking rather disturbed. She twitched for a moment, then fainted.

"Oh my," Sailor Earth said, catching the blue-haired girl as she fell, holding her up. "Are you all right?"

"It… makes… no… sense…" Sailor Mercury muttered, still twitching. "Mary… had… a rather large lamb… It's fleas… w-weren't really… white as snow… they were more of an off-white beige…" She exhaled, shivering.

"Oh," Sailor Earth said, beginning to frown, then smiled. "Would you like a cookie?" She held a large chocolate chip cookie in front of her friend's mouth, which reflexively opened. She happily stuffed it in there.

Sailor Mercury, her cheeks stuffed, began to chew… then woke up and swallowed. "Thank you," she said to the redhead, "that was an excellent cookie." She stood, out of Sailor Earth's support.

Sailor Earth smiled even more brightly at the compliment.

Zoicite looked on, speechless for the last few moments. "I… don't think it was supposed to do that." She took in a deep breath. "SPIKEY!!! KILL THEM AND BRING ME THE CRYSTAL!!!"

*Grish*Grish*Grish* The monster off in the shadows half-growled, almost seeming to mutter.

"What was that?" Zoicite asked in a reprimanding tone.

*NaaaaAAAH* The growl became deeper as the unseen creature shifted around.

Mercury reactivated her computer, and made another scan. She almost recoiled. "It's grown nearly nine-hundred percent!"

Nephrite visibly yawned and looked up at Zoicite. "Bye, Zoicite. I don't have time for you." He vanished.

The blonde general frowned. "Eh… That wasn't in the plan… but…" She looked down. "Spikey! Finish them off!"

*SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEECH!!!*

Molly's eyes widened as a very large, very hungry-looking black… thing advanced toward her. Its body gave the impression of an elongated human skeleton, but the head set it far apart from anything remotely human. The head was smooth, round, and shiny, not having much width, but having enough length to curve over its back. It had no visible eyes, yet it appeared to be looking directly at her.

However, the most frightening thing about it was that it was smiling at her, its jaws dripping a thick saliva.

"Al…" Molly called, looking around frantically. "AL!"

The creature pounced past her, slamming into and knocking down Sailor Mars, pinning her to the ground with its weight.

Sailor Moon gasped. "Moon Tiara Action!"

The tiara on the ground flared instantly into action, speeding toward Mars' attacker.

*KSSSH* Sensing the approach, the monster looked back, then swung its long, black, spiny tail, smacking the glowing disk away.

The oval of energy spiraled off, then lost power and clattered to the ground as a plain golden tiara.

"That's not supposed to happen!" Sailor Moon cried.

"Mars… Fire," Sailor Mars began, pressing her hands together in front of her, "Ignite!"

*KAAAAAAAH!* The spiky thing screamed as flames blasted it, knocking it off of the Senshi and engulfing it in fire.

The beast quickly rolled away on the moist ground, dousing the flames. It made a spiraling flip to land by Mars and backhanded her away, sending her crashing into the branches of a tall tree.

"Oh my," Sailor Earth said, and rushed to help Mars.

The skeletal monster reared up to its full height, drawing the skin back away from its teeth in a calculating expression as it glanced to its left, then its right, deciding on other prey. Pointedly ignoring Sailors Moon and Mercury, it swung around and saw Molly. Another grin came to its mouth.

Molly started to back off, the wound on her shoulder forgotten for the moment. She looked around for a possible way of escape… and found none. "Erm… Uh oh."

As the monster pounced upon her, her head hit the ground, knocking her unconscious.

The beast quietly hissed in anticipation of its next meal. It opened its mouth, another jaw sliding out of it, dripping saliva, which landed just by Molly's face, sizzling as it slowly burned through the concrete.

Sailors Moon and Mercury looked on in horror, and decided at once that they had to do something now.

As one, they leapt toward the creature, feet first. Sailor Mercury was silent, but Sailor Moon…

"Sailor Moon Kick!"

The monster, its attention attracted by the shout, turned and smacked the two away as easily as if they were made of cheap rubber.

Sailor Mercury landed in the bushes, and Sailor Moon fell hard against the sidewalk. "Ow-ow-ow…"

The beast turned back towards the girl underneath it. It hissed… then pulled out a monocle and put it over its right eye.

"Oh dear, this will never do," it said in an upper-class English accent, looking over its victim. It took out a saltshaker and sprinkled some on Molly. It nodded, putting away its monocle. "Much better."

Sailor Mercury crawled out of the bushes and gasped as she saw the attacking monster lean down and open its jaws…

*ROAAAAR!!!* And a sparkling, ethereal blue lion leapt out of the darkness, knocking the creature off of Molly and fought bitterly with it, clawing at its body and head.

The beast made quick work of the lion, tearing it in half.

Leo, the lion, vanished in a scattering of blue sparks.

Nephrite stepped out of the shadows. "I ask for power from the stars," he said, focusing. "Orion the Hunter, come forth!"

A glowing blue man with a bow and arrows appeared above the general. Orion fired repeatedly at the black creature, imbedding two arrows in the beast's head and three in its body.

Undaunted at these slight wounds, the creature reared back and sprang toward Orion, shredding the constellational projection like paper, then turned and jumped at Nephrite.

"Starlight Attack!" Nephrite growled.

Dozens of small bursts of energy lanced from the sky, knocking the beast out of the air and puncturing its thick, shiny skin.

The monster shrieked, then went limp as it sustained too many hits, its acidic blood sizzling into the ground around it.

Above, Zoicite gasped.

"Humph," Nephrite said, turning to Zoicite, unimpressed. "Is that the best you have to send at me?"

The blonde general trembled in shock. "I… will ruin you, Nephrite!" With that, she disappeared in a shower of flower petals.

Nephrite began to walk toward Molly, then went down on one knee, breathing roughly, exhausted at having used so much energy in such a short amount of time.

Sailor Earth finally got Mars out of the tree. Mercury stood, as did Sailor Moon. They gathered in front of Nephrite, near Molly. They were quiet, not quite knowing what to say.

Behind them, the creature hissed, stirring. It stood back up and dove directly toward Molly, swinging its claws down at her.

"NO!" Nephrite shouted, whirling around and thrusting an energy-charged palm toward it. A continuous red beam blasted outwards from the general's hand, tearing into the creature… but not stopping it.

Nephrite gritted his teeth and brought his other hand forward, intensifying his attack. His hair blew back in the wake of the amount of power being used.

The beast screeched, slowing down… then burst into flames from the fiery assault being blasted through it. It backed off, flailing in agony as the fire rapidly consumed it. By the time it finally fell, it had been almost completely incinerated.

Exhausted from the strain, Nephrite went back down, leaning on one knee, breathing deep and raspy.

There was another shocked silence from the Senshi.

"Spikey," Nephrite muttered, "Kunzite's pet Xenomorph." He took another deep breath and stood, then turned to look at the Senshi. "Goodbye," he said harshly, then turned back around and started walking away.

Sailor Moon looked down at Molly, then at Nephrite. "Wait," she said. "Molly's hurt."

"Humph," the general replied, not stopping.

Sailor Moon frowned. "Don't… you care about her?"

Nephrite stopped and glared back at her. "I saved her life… Isn't that enough?" He looked down at Molly, and his expression softened for a moment… before once again hardening. He continued walking off, and disappeared into the darkness.

Sailor Moon watched Nephrite depart, then looked down at Molly, wincing at the wound on the girl's shoulder that had been caused by her tiara…

The pigtailed Senshi paused, deep in thought. Nephrite had just saved Molly… and the rest of them, by destroying that monster. There was more to him, it seemed, then just draining energy; There was at least some good in him… but there was also an underlying hatred… Of what, she couldn't tell.

Sailor Moon looked up at the stars, hoping for answers, and saw a trace of light shoot across the sky. She held her hands together… I wish, I wish, o shooting star… Help Nephrite fight the bitterness within him.

 

Continued in Part 9-J

Chapter 9-J
Layout, design, & site revisions © 2005

Webmaster: Larry F
Last revision: May 21, 2007

Old Gray Wolf