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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 10-2D


He'd taught protocol courses to several Terran princesses, and had a few girls that had bothered him a great deal by trying to be excessively 'cute' as acquaintances, but he got the feeling that he would need to know a great deal more about that sort of psychology to truly shatter the hold of this blasted general.

Guardian Jadeite thought about what he was doing. Was taking revenge in such a manner in any way wrong?

Recalling a few of the atrocities committed by the General, that question was soon put to rest.

It wasn't really revenge, though he savored every moment of winning the battle. It was taking back what was rightfully his; taking back what had been torn from him thousands of years ago.

Even though 'his' body was now a cute little girl, it was still HIS body, gosh darn it, and he wanted it back!!!

He could deal with the gender identity crisis later. It was far more important to have control of some sort of body before worrying about any other aesthetic features. Besides, it wasn't like he was going to be an aardvark or a (shudder) pygmy marmoset.

Jadeite really thought it would have been over quicker, but it was too late to stop now, and he doubted that his enemy would want to negotiate.

Had this been a physical confrontation with a serious offender back in the Earth or Moon Kingdoms, he would have brought this… this THING before the tribunal and seen to it that it was locked away for the rest of its miserable life.

But, seeing as how this was NOT the Moon Kingdom, and took place inside his own head, he WAS the law, and wanted the invader GONE.

Besides, the Guardian thought, I don't bargain with murderers.

"Takin' law to the lawless," he said to himself.

The second burst would soon be ready for release any time now.


The Norse Valkyries were bad enough, but the Chinese Valkyries were just plain out of the question.

*Ring-ring* "Endy-chan!" *GLOMP* "You come back to stay, maybe? Marry Xian Pu now, yes?"

It had been a very long afterlife for Darien so far. Just as he'd gotten off the unwanted ride up to what he assumed to be the pearly gates of heaven, he had received a great, big, hearty welcome by a crowd of people whom he didn't know, but seemed to know him quite well. They said that they were his dead relatives and that they were SOOOOOO proud of him and everything like that.

Then they went away and the girls came. A lot claimed to be his old girlfriends in a past life, but he knew better than that. He didn't have a past life, did he? Of course, it would explain a whole lot, but Occam's Razor demanded that—

"Aiyah!" Xian Pu gasped. "No, Endy-sama! Thinking bad for soul!"

Darien paused. Under other circumstances, he might have been flattered or even enjoying himself, but to be proclaimed dead, be swept-up on chariots of fire and taken to Valhalla was quite sufficient without being ethereally groped by some weird girl. Therefore, it should come as only slight surprise when he asked, "Would you mind getting off of me, please?"

The voluptuous, scantily armored, purple-haired Chinese Valkyrie looked into his eyes and batted her eyelashes at him. "Why Xian Pu want do that?" She snuggled in closer. "Xian Pu want be together with Prince-husband forever!"

"Prince-husband?" Darien echoed in disbelief. "I'm not a—"

A hearty, long, nearby bellowing laugh interrupted Darien's train of thought. He turned to see a tall, beardless man with his arms folded and a huge axe strapped to his back. He had a definite straight-standing, confident, kingly bearing about him. "Forgotten the whole thing, eh, boy?" the large man asked. "Dying the first time was rough, wasn't it? The second time has to be killer."

The axe-carrier laughed at his own pun.

Xian Pu giggled at the joke and removed herself from the man to whom she had attached herself. She went back to put her arms around the other man. She kissed him on the cheek and looked back toward Darien.

Darien's shoulder's slumped. "Okay, what's going on?"

The tall man shook his head and let out an agonized sigh. "What's the matter? Too high and mighty to give Mom and Dad a hug?"

The ex-college student's jaw dropped a little. "Mom and Dad?! They were killed in a car crash!"

"They were not!" Xian Pu shot back, the ditziness completely gone from her voice. "That's just the cover story for what really happened." She placed a fist on her curvy hip. "Besides, we're not them. We're your other Mother and Father."

"From where? How? Who?" Darien was too puzzled to make any sense of the situation.

"A past life, where you were the Prince of Earth."

"Prince of…?"

"Still don't remember, huh?" the man who claimed to be Darien's father asked. He looked a little disappointed. "It'll come back to you when you want to hear it."

"I think what he needs is to see a familiar face," Xian Pu whispered to her husband.

The bearded man nodded. "That's right."

"We're just confusing him."

"Too true. My boy never was a fast one, was he?"

"Sadly, no."

The pair waved goodbye. "Farewell, Son. We will see you again when you're ready."

With that, they and everyone else present vanished. The gates and the clouds flickered away to darkness.

A moment later, a sunrise peaked over distant mountains. Darien could see that he was now in an open and seemingly endless grassland.

Looking around, Darien could see a long wooden fence enclosing a large portion of the grassland. A whitewashed building, with a nearby barn and silo, was visible in the distance.

Suddenly, there was the sharp noise of an impact. A round metal pail flew out of the depths of the tall grass. The pail spun around midair for a time, then as if attracted by a magnet, it was flung toward Darien, and twanged into his forehead.

The man fell flat on his back. He realized that it should have hurt, but it didn't. He supposed that was one of the advantages of being dead.

Near his face, Darien caught sight of a small, well-tended flowerbed, but he found that he wasn't alone.

A small, seal-like creature with a black, white and green pattern on its back and a gold halo over its head hopped around amidst the flowers. It went up close and carefully examined each plant one by one. Upon discovering something amiss, it stood up tall, balancing on its tail, and proceeded to straighten up the flower.

Finishing one, the seal nodded with satisfaction. "There ya go!"

"ArbyFish," Darien mouthed. There were some things that simply could not be forgotten, no matter how much effort one puts into it.

Arby turned to see him. He sat up and saluted. "Oh, 'ello, guv!" he greeted informally. "’Ow is yew?"

"Dead," Darien replied.

The Green ArbyFish smiled pleasantfuliferously. "Great, innit? Where the fungus grows n' the worm doyeth not."

"Uh, yyyyeah. How are you?"

"Oye'z congealed!" Arby said with great satisfaction. "Oye bought th' farm, Oye did! Went ta the big mushroom patch in the skoy; kicked the bucket n' Oye've been pushin' up daisies eva' since!" He pointed at the flowers he'd been adjusting.

"That's," Darien searched for an appropriate way to convey his feelings, "great, Arby. Now that we're both here, we can figure a way out of this."

"Oh, we CAN, eh?"

"I don't want to be dead. I have too much to live for!"

"'Ave we, now?"

"We need to find a way to be revived!"

"Yeeech! Who'd wanna do that?"

"I would!"

"Eeew," Arby looked repulsed. "Well, all roight. Oye s'pose we could go 'ave a word wit th' Almoighty n' see if 'E'll letcha do sumin' loike that. Oye mean, yew 'az gone back once before."

"I have? Err, I mean, we can do that?"

"Well, a'course! Oye'z gots privileges, Oye does!"


Ukkyo slaved over a hot stove, creating a masterpiece with a lot of mixed-up dough, meats, vegetables, and the newest addition to the menu: Cheese™.

[BEHOLD THE POWER OF CHEESE™!!!] read one big banner strung up above the cash register. [Eat Okonomiyaki, NOW.] Below that, it read, [Or else.]

The work was tough, the cook had to admit to herself, but she loved it! There was some sort of inner fire that just couldn't get enough of cutting things up, barbequing them, frying them up on a hot skillet and selling them for ninety-nine cents each. Plus, the pay was good.

"What a life," Ukkyo said to herself, enjoying every minute. It helped that she now had a boyfriend. She really liked 'Tim, even if he did turn into six-and-a-half-foot-tall armored youma-killing menace. The Atomic Starlight Knight was a ruthless warrior, and when he changed back, he could be a little unfocused and clueless, but he could also be the sweetest, most self-sacrificing person she'd ever met. "But we've all got a few quirks," she added to herself. "Yes, we could make this work."

Ukkyo had basically quit the Dark Kingdom. Bad pay, no dental plan, no stock options, just 'You do what we say or we'll lock yer sorry carcass in a crystal prison'.

With 'Tim, however, when she asked, for example, for a raise, he'd just pause, think about it for a second, then shrug and say, "Okay," and go off on another one of his own pursuits. Plus, even though he technically owned the business, she did just about everything. When she saw that there wasn't a sign out in front, she asked if she could have one put up, and she did. She even got to choose the name, albeit with a slight addition.

Her boss/boyfriend got back just a few minutes ago, looking a bit down, saying that someone else beat the monsters before he could get to them. Ukkyo suggested another one of those holographic opponents, but he didn't seem too thrilled with the idea. So, he just sat moping around outside at a table, trying to hide the fact that he was seriously ticked off.

Meanwhile, Ukkyo continued working, feeling sorry for anyone that decided to get on her boyfriend's bad side within the next couple minutes. She held a small hope that it wouldn't damage business when it happened.

"DARN the luck." 'Tim idly hit his hand against the table, bouncing the salt and pepper shakers into the air. "Darn!"

Oh, yes, he'd left the battlefield gracefully enough, but was regretting having let Sailor Neptune just get away and taunting him like that. So what if he had trouble finding the danger before she did? It was still his turn to nuke something, and he really, really wanted to test his powers some more. A hologram just would not do! He needed some LIVE action to stretch his unwieldy muscles, like one of those youma, or even better, a general.

Maybe a Norse god. Yeah! He was feeling pumped and ready for something tough. He hadn't gone up against a Norse deity since, well, since just after the Third Mazoku War. Thor was his name, wasn't it? Yeah, he remembered: Atomic Starlight Knight kept on mocking that puffed-up hammer-guy, tossing around lightning, calling him a pansy and stuff like that. Hoo-baby, was Thor ever ticked off.

That was fun, actually. Sitting around and doing nothing while everyone else got to blast all the nice, fruity-chewable monsters was not fun.

'Tim was getting bored, and that was making him angry. To make matters worse, in this form, he didn't have his thousands of support-voices to distract him or try to calm him down. All he had was some seething cauldron of disappointment building up and just daring anyone to come up to him and make his day.

The powered-up pink-haired guy reached down into his gi-jacket and switched his firearm's clip to something with a little more 'kick'. Powered-up as he was, it was always recommendable to have alternate methods of attack.

This morning, he had also reviewed a few Hidden Weapons Techniques that all the masters said were forbidden. That'd make a nice chapter for a martial arts book, actually, if he were to ever write one.

As 'Tim considered all this, through the wide windows, he saw a young girl pass in front of the restaurant, who looked like she was searching for someone. Blonde hair, tied up in a pair of shin-length ponytails with a bun/ball-thing at the beginning of each. She was approximately fourteen years old, in a casual dress— not in a school uniform. She looked familiar. Yes, from the Moon Kingdom. She was that annoying—

'Tim blinked and looked at her again. No, she was Terra's transformed mode, Sailor Moon in a different outfit—

No! That was that Juraian princess with a make-up job and her hair dyed.

Nooo, that wasn't it. She was one of Terra's friends. He even knew her full name. First name Serena, last name…

Last name…

Last name…

Last name…

Actually, he didn't know her last name. Didn't she have one? Had Terra ever asked? To his knowledge, he'd never met this girl personally, so the only explanation as to why she looked familiar had to be because Terra knew her. There was something about her that made him feel strange—

*Zrr-bling!* The yellow crescent moon on his forehead flickered for a second.

'Tim frowned and watched the girl walk by, his chest muscles tightening up and heart rate increasing. "What the—?" His breathing deepened and quickened. He clenched his teeth and struggled against what was affecting him. Whatever it was, he didn't like it one bit.


A pair of highly intelligent American infantrymen parked their loaded semi in front of 'Tim's Ucchan. They stepped out, taking care to lock the doors, and decided to go in for lunch.

The lower-ranking soldier still had some misgivings, though.

"Hey, Sarge! We supposed to leave all this unstable ordinance alone in front of this here eatin' joint?"

"That's right. That's what we're gonna do, Lester."

"Aren't we due back at the base in a couple minutes?"

"Nah, don't you go worryin' 'bout that, son. Let's go get some eats."

The two walked on in, and didn't take notice the approach of a certain stunningly beautiful brunette.


Belldandy brushed a speck of fluff off the skirt of her white-collared blue dress. Well, this was it. She looked up at the restaurant's big sign, then took a deep breath, opened the door, and walked inside.

It was just like the practice runs. There were a few people sitting down and eating, the cook was in the back room enjoying her work, and 'Tim was nowhere in sight. Cautiously, she placed a small television set on a table by the entranceway, where it would look obvious that she was just leaving it there for a moment.

The First Class Goddess pursed her lips and scanned around. There was nobody in a green traveler's outfit and a green bandanna sitting, walking, or standing around. Surely he wouldn't have stepped out. He was supposed to be here— Oh, there he was!

Belldandy began to move toward the man. He was sitting at one of the tables and dressed a little different than she expected, but he was the one they were looking for. He must be getting ready for a costume party or something. He was dressed a lot like Goku from the Dragonball series, not that she watched it, but she knew what it was.

'Tim was breathing a little irregularly and clutching at his heart, with an intense look in his eyes. A thin line of sweat trailed down one side of his forehead. Maybe he'd just gotten back from jogging or a fast run. Then again, maybe he had been lifting weights. His arms had a bit more muscle on them than in the simulation.

No time to waste, though. Belldandy walked up to him, showed off a bright smile and said, "Hi!"

The pink-haired man turned his head, slowly and ominously, toward her and with wide, almost glowing eyes intoned, "Spiders, snakes, and a lizard's tail." He shook his head in a futile effort to clear it. "Er, HI," he spoke through a forced, clenched-tooth smile. His left eye twitched and a big vein on his neck was throbbing.

Belldandy frowned. This was not exactly what she had been conditioned to hear from him, but, according to plan, she pulled out a dollar bill, stuck it in his face, and pleasantly asked, "Can I have change for a twenty?"

"Can she have change for a twenty?" echoed 'Tim in disbelief. "I don't know. CAN you?"

The goddess had run into one of these sorts of responses on the second time through. The right way to handle it was to not get into a long discussion about it and say… "Oh. May I please have change for a twenty?"

"That's better," 'Tim seemed to calm down a little. He didn't even look away from her when he called, "Hey, Ukkchan! Someone here wants—"

"No, no," Belldandy quickly stopped him. That was just like on the seventh attempt. She placed the money in 'Tim's hand. "I would like you to do it for me, please."

"I'm going through a crisis and she wants me to give her change for a twenty," muttered the man and stood, staggering over to the cash register. "And who knows what she wants. Four fives, two tens, ten twos, or what. So she's getting her change, and I'm going to see the doctor." He grumbled on. "Haven't killed anything for a week." Mumble, grumble, mumble, grumble.

Okay, this was it. "Spirit of Rest," the goddess began, "help this man be—" she broke off, ending the incantation. The magic faded away.

There was something very strange written on the back of 'Tim's outfit. It was in Kanji, and could mean a couple of different things, but at first glance, it just seemed very comical to Belldandy. She laughed quietly and politely when she read aloud, "Pansy."

'Tim stiffened.

The environment suddenly grew darker.

The air became heavy.

Right on cue, John Williams' Duel of the Fates started playing on someone's radio.

'Tim stood up straight and turned around to glare at the goddess, his hands held slightly away from his sides. "What did you just call me?"

A few hours later, Belldandy would remember that the proper response was, "I didn't call you anything. I was saying the word on the back of your jacket aloud. If that word is supposed to signify your name, then that is what I called you. If you do not like it, change your name."

Instead, the goddess only frowned, realizing her error. "I-I," she stuttered, taking a step back. She braced herself. It was now or never. "Spirit of Rest, help this man be still for a moment."

*Bling* A green spherical barrier flashed around the man for one-half-second, and he was most definitely not frozen in place. 'Tim made a pair of long, menacing strides toward her, bloodshot eyes demanding her absolute attention. "What are you trying, you rude little thing?"

The Goddess of the Present was worried. There were only a very few people on the face of the planet that were strong enough to block that sort of magic, and 'Tim Knight was not supposed to be one of them. Even if he was the focus of a large bug-rush, it should not have made him that powerful.

Belldandy started thinking logically. All right, so the planned magic would not work on him. She didn't think he was a bad person, so if she were to talk to him, he might calm down enough so that they could work together to resolve the problem. "Ah, maybe we can—"

That thought cut off when Urd teleported in via the TV set. "My turn!" she called with a practiced flair and raised her hands.

"No, Urd!" Belldandy called, waving a warning, "Wait!"

Urd's voice echoed, "SHIFT AND CHANGE! HE TO—"

'Tim thrust a hand out toward the new arrival. His hair stood on end and there was an eerie whooshing sound.

*KEEERASH!* Urd flew back, imbedded by an unseen force three inches deep into the wall, leaving a long spider web of cracks throughout. "Ullmhhhh," she drawled in wide-eyed, bruised shock.

"No! Urd!" Belldandy cried. She held her hands together, generating a small whit sphere of light between them. She held it out in front of her in preparation to use it. "I'm sorry— You don't understand!"

"Oh yeah, I get it," 'Tim said, a crackling yellow energy ball of his own coming into view between his hands. "It's simple: You've come for me." The light between them continued to intensify. "WELL, COME AND GET ME!!!"

After a moment, the act of intensification halted. The two merely stood in front of each other, the situation growing tense.

"Go ahead; make my day," 'Tim confirmed in a threatening voice.

Belldandy, devoid of any guile, said, "Okay. What would you like me to make it?"

"Try anything. I dare ya."

"I don't want to have to hurt you," Belldandy insisted. While she did not have as much battle experience as, say, Thor, she could tell that this was a critical moment. She would have to choose her words very carefully to be able to talk him out of it. He had attacked Urd, so she had to be ready for anything.

At just the wrong moment, a sparkling portal appeared in a tub of dishwater. Skuld arose out of it.

The youngest goddess flailed at a nonexistent person that she had expected to be there. She quickly took notice of the standoff taking place in the middle of the room. "AAAH!" She instinctively grasped at the red and yellow mallet tied to her back.

"Skuld! Stop!" Belldandy half-shouted, but it was too late.

*Twang!* Without discharging his energy-ball, 'Tim's hand shot out, caught the mallet by the handle, and wrenched it from Skuld's grasp.

Skuld gasped.

*Crack!* The pink-haired guy effortlessly snapped the handle in two between his thumb and forefingers.

The Goddess of the Future stood with her mouth hanging wide open in shock when her bisected tool was handed back to her. 'Tim looked down at her, smiled, gently patted her on the head a couple times, then clenched his hand into a fist.

*SMACK!* A mean right hook to the bridge of her nose sent Skuld tumbling backward to crash upside-down against a support beam. She slid down and flip-flopped into the floor, stunned. "Uhhhhh…"

"Skuuuld!" called Belldandy, suddenly letting loose the prepared strike at her target.

'Tim also let-fly with his blast. "MELEE CALEEKY MAKA!!"

*CRASH!* The two spheres met midair, struggling against each other. Yellow devoured white and sped toward Belldandy.

*KR-RRRRR!* The goddess crossed her arms in front of her, the ki-blast dissipating a few inches away.

'Tim's image flickered and vanished.

"BOOT TO THE HEAD!"

*KEERACK!* Belldandy discovered in the next instant that nothing cleared up jetlag faster than a flying kick to the back of her skull. She fell forward, swooning to the floor.

"NOW WHO'S A PANSY, HUH?!?!"

Urd had been given a moment to recover and pull herself out of the wall. "HEY now, that's no way to treat—"

*BLAAAAM!* The eldest sister didn't get a chance to finish, due partly to the firestorm that suddenly engulfed her.

Skuld got up on her hands and knees, then pulled out a small metal sphere with a button on it. "You better stop beating up on my sisters, mister!" she threatened in a wavering, frightened voice.

*Shwing* 'Tim grinned evilly at her, his crescent moon-mark gleaming. "Try it, shrimpy." He kicked lightly at Belldandy's still form.

Skuld started panting, eyes still wide in shock. She pushed the button on her device and threw it as hard as she could at 'Tim. “Take that!"

'Tim caught the ball and it began to glow red. He pulled on a rope hanging nearby.

A trapdoor suddenly shot open beneath the girl. "What?! WAAAH!" With a whooshing sound, Skuld fell down, and landed with a fortune-cookie crunch. There was a silent pause. "AAAH!" she cried after a moment. "BUGS!"

Without missing a beat, 'Tim tossed Skuld's device down the trapdoor, which slid shut.

*Blam!* Small puffs of smoke outlined where the trapdoor had been.

"Ouchie," echoed Skuld softly.

"Why are you doing this?" Belldandy asked softly from below.

'Tim, still with a frenzied look in his eyes, reached down and picked Belldandy up by the collar of her dress. Her eyes opened and his gaze locked with hers. He bared his teeth.

*Crash!* The crazed pink-haired man yanked her upwards, smashing his forehead down against that of the goddess. "Can't—"

*Thrack!* He did it again. "—you—"

*SMASH!* Again, harder. "—READ—"

*WHACK!* "—SIGNS?!" 'Tim thrust Belldandy's bruised face in front of a small, obscure poster on the wall that read, [Insults Will Not be Taken Lightly!]

*Bzzzreow!* A medium-sized beam of light singed the man's shoulder, burning a black spot into his gi-jacket, but causing no other damage.

'Tim turned his head to see a somewhat singed Urd recovered from the last attack, her hands raised and her lips in motion for a spell. "Back for more huh?" he looked pleased, pulling out what looked like a .45 Magnum handgun and aiming at her, one eye twitching.

*Click*Chk-Chk!* He turned off the safety, and it cocked automatically. A little light on the side turned red and the gun began to hum.

Belldandy, still managing to hang onto some shred of consciousness, saw the irrational hate and cold-blooded malice in 'Tim's eyes, and was shocked and confused by his sudden assault. He was not responding anything like what his profile said he would. This man was acting more like some sort of horrible monster that had to be stopped!

"NOW DIE LIKE THE INSECTS YOU ARE!!!" 'Tim's voice became much deeper, darker, and more malevolent. He pulled the trigger twice.

*BLAM-BLAM!*

"NO!" Without thinking, Belldandy raised her hands and fired a quick, deadly burst of magical power.

*Breow!* At that moment, the crescent moon mark on the muscular man's forehead flickered out.

Time seemed to slow down from that second on.

'Tim fell back and skidded away on the floor from the force of Belldandy's blast. He clutched at the smoking five-inch-diameter hole that went clear through the middle of his chest and out the back. He frowned, and looked down at it, puzzled that he would have been taken down so easily. "Whoa…"

His gun spun backwards in the air, landed behind a counter and exploded. Splinters and sawdust sprayed into the air, along with a flurry of papers full of financial information.

The bullets missed Urd by a fraction of an inch, shattering the glass behind her and puncturing both gas tanks of a parked semi truck.

*BLAAAAM!!!* The semi went up in a cloud of overdramatic Hollywood slow-motion special-effects flame.

*KER-BLAM!* The section of the trailer behind went up in smoke!

*BLAAAAM!* Another section followed!

*BLAAAAM!* And another!

*ROAAAAAAAR!!!!* A rush of fiery napalm poured out the back!

*KER-POW!* A gas tank on top of a nearby building blew up.

*KABLAM!* And another one!

*BL-ba-ba-ba-BLAAAAM!* Several Gremlin cars followed suit.

*KEEEERBLAAAAMMOOOO!* A nearby gas truck exploded as well.

*WRA-KRASH-BLAAAM!* A poorly-maintained sewer connection blew, decades of pressurized methane igniting in a fraction of a second.

A pillar of flame half a mile high rose into the air.

The entire front wall of the restaurant was knocked down in the process, along with a major portion of the inside furnishings. The competition in front and on the sides was just plain blown away. Chunks of brick, glass, fiberglass, twisted metal, asphalt, stool, cement, and arcade game circuit boards skittered to the ground, creating a brilliant display as they fell.

"No! Not Gauntlet Legends! My character's in there!!!"

"DANCE-DANCE REVOLUTION, DON'T LEAVE ME!!!"

Innocent bystanders watching from a distance screamed and ran from the spinning shrapnel storm.

"AAAAAAAAH!!!"

"We're going THAT way! The bandit-killer HAS to be down there!"

"RANMA SAOTOME, I KNOW THIS HAS TO BE ALL YOUR FAULT!!!"

"Think that was caused by a Clow Card, Sakura?"

"AAAAAAH!!!"

"Oh dear, not again…"

*BLAAAM!* The "BEHOLD THE POWER OF CHEESE!!!" banner floated down in triumph, then exploded.

*Crash*Shatter!* A truck filled with a load of fetid dingoes' kidneys crashed into the semi's burning wreckage, breaking its back doors open and spilling its contents down a smoldering manhole. Little mutated bunnies from the Sewer Beyond snapped up the wretched Australian dog remains.

*KAPOW!* As the final insult, a last explosion caused a load of broken mannequin body parts from inside the semi to scatter all over the city block and inside the restaurant. All in all, the scene had a rather nice post-war bouquet to it when the damage was done.

"Do it now, Urd!" Belldandy called, covering her face with her arm to block the dust and trying to ignore all the death and carnage around her.

Urd nodded and took an exasperated breath. "SHIFT AND CHANGE!"

"Computer," coughed 'Tim, raising himself up on his hands, "activate the Really Nasty Program™!" He doubled over.

[Working,] a melodious voice replied.

*Vzrrr!*VzRRR!*VZRRRRRR!* A sparkling blue light washed over the two remaining goddesses. It began with a slight sparkling shimmer, then intensified more and more as each second passed. The women grew transparent.

"HE TO SHE, so let… it… b…"

Urd's last word faded away as she vanished, along with her sister. Belldandy reappeared after a second, fighting back against the transporter beam.

*Whoosh*Kssh!* There was a grey flash and a small, razor-sharp bladed spatula flew on scene and nicked a stone suspended in a bracelet on the goddess' wrist. The stone cracked and shattered, its unfathomable quantities of stored energy pouring out harmlessly into the matter-stream of the transport beam.

Belldandy looked down at her moon rock bracelet, opened her mouth as if to gasp, and faded away again.

As if in a dream, 'Tim saw his girlfriend, Ukkyo, running toward him in slow motion, her feet crunching across the debris field. "Computer," he whispered in a surprised, echoing voice, his senses fading, "Emergency Medical Beamout, please."

[Confirmed.]

"Ukkyo… I…" He slumped back down and disappeared.

A big rock fell on the radio, finally ending the battle music.

Those eating at the tables finally took a moment to applaud and talk amongst themselves about what had happened. The straight-cut blond guy in camouflage was impressed, as were the woman in the Chinese dress and the green monster. A few oddly shaped individuals in segmented black and silver armor with black and blue spandex didn't seem that affected, though.

"Oh, come on! That fighting barely went along with the music! What kind of martial arts was that?!"

"Humph. He only had a power-level of twenty thousand!"

"But the three women had well over—"

"Look, let's, like, not talk about that until we're finished eating, okay?"

"Oh, all right, Jace."

"Hey, what's this plastic hand doing in my dingo kidney stew?"

"Uhh… the dog-paddle?"

*Da-duhm*Thwish!*

Sitting on the far side of the room, a certain pair of soldiers looked up from their platters of greasy food, startled by the explosion.

"Hey, lookie-there, Sarge!"

"Uh oh, that wasn't what I think it was, was it?"

"Sure was!"

"Hoo-boy, the Lieutenant's not gonna like this…"

"Oh well. Hey, missy! Can we get some more beer-can chicken over here?!"

The cook ignored them all and rushed into the back room, kicked the secret door open, and boarded the turbolift downward. She knew where 'Tim had gone, and had to do all she could to make sure he would be okay. She didn't start up a serious relationship just to lose him right now!

They hadn't even gotten to the good part yet…


The youma surrounding Molly earnestly awaited the arrival of their intended prey. They were all sharpening their claws and stuff. A few were polishing their nails, and a couple were doing their eyeliner.

That was not quite as interesting, though, as the fact that a few were using Molly as a piñata.

"He'll be here aaaaany time now," the red-noduled ninja-girl from the command trio said.

**Okay, fine! We'll give them names. The one with the big mouth and sonic powers, we'll call Scream. The one with explosive red nodules, we'll name BoomBoom. The one with the big, spiny arm shall be called, from this day forth, Llama the WhickerWoman.

"I hate my name," whispered Scream, pulling on the rope that lifted Molly above Llama the WhickerWoman's stabbing arm. She started singing in Spanish, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. "Dale dale, dale dale dio!"

Llama the WhickerWoman flailed around, blindfolded, trying to impale the young brown-haired girl with her big, extending spines. "Grrr!"

"Awwwwwww, she weighs as much as a fat fifty-year-old man!" complained Scream, yanking on the rope. Molly flailed around limply. "Dale-aqui conmigo, ahora sigo yo!"

Llama the WhickerWoman sighed and gave up, allowing BoomBoom to don the blindfold and have a try.

*BLAM-BLAM* "Dale dale dale, dale dale dio!" all youma present dodged and sang out while BoomBoom tossed her bombs, barely missing the hanging girl.

"Wait," said BoomBoom, remembering something, "do we have anyone guarding the front door?"

"No," replied Scream and Llama the WhickerWoman.

*BLAM!* There was an explosion from outside.

"Awwwwww, we did bad," commented Scream, slapping her forehead.

**Were they smart youma? No. They were mostly idiots, actually. It simply wouldn't be proper otherwise! Gotta have brainless monster-types. They make right-nice cannon fodder, they do!

It would have been a very smart thing to immediately form a defensive perimeter. Don't get me wrong; they all formed one: a circle, which was sure to detect any anomalous activity entering from outside. However, the main flaw in establishing such a perfect line of sight was that they were all turned away from their bait.

*Whrrr*ching* Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone whatsoever when Nephrite, dangling from a glistening magical cord, descended from a hole in the ceiling. He cut the lines suspending Molly, and began to haul her out, sharing Scream's opinion about the girl's excessive weight.

*Cough!*Oof!* The youma paid no attention to Nephrite's agonized sounds as he balanced trying to hold on to Molly and scale up the rope. For some reason, he had completely forgotten that he could levitate and teleport. Perhaps it was the fact that youma generals were famed to have very thick skulls.

The small army of youma present were trembling, very edgy, looking to their left and to their right. They all had their varied weapons ready, from bombs to blasts, to basketballs to spiky, thorny th'angs and back again.

As Nephrite edged up the rope, the Star Crystal started edging its way out of the fold of his Youma General Jacket™. "Uh oh," he whispered, unable to do anything about it since both his hands were occupied. He tried to lower his jaw enough to bite down on it, but it was JUST out of reach.

**Come ON, levitate, you doofus! Your skull can't be THAT thick!

"Someone hear something?" asked Llama the WhickerWoman, eagerly fingering her spined arm.

"Duh, no?" replied BoomBoom.

Nephrite flailed around, spinning on his magic rope. The unconscious girl slipped out of his grasp and slumped over his leg. He lifted that appendage, trying to maintain an angle so she wouldn't fall off. The Star Crystal slipped ever so much more out of his jacket.

"Someone should keep an eye on da girl," Llama the WhickerWoman commented. "Okay, on da count a' tree, two of us is gonna turn around and look at her, 'kay?"

"Oh, yeah, yes, good-good," the army nodded in agreement.

"One."

Nephrite's eyes went wide, and he started scrambling around even more frantically.

**Uh oh. Better teleport, guy!

"Too."

Molly began to slip off the general's leg, and the crystal had about a centimeter left before it fell out.

**Hey, get out of there, Nephrite!

"Tree!"

No one turned around.

"Hey," said Llama the WhickerWoman, "I said that two of us is gonna turn 'round when I said 'tree!'"

"Which two of us?" asked BoomBoom.

"And besides, that's bad grammar," added Scream.

Llama the WhickerWoman had to think that over.

Nephrite breathed an agonized sigh of relief. Bouncing his leg a bit, he inched Molly back up. His free hand went to help pull them up the rope. He completely forgot about the crystal, which finally fell out of his jacket.

**NOW would be a good time to teleport, guy!

There was a big, dramatic, slow motion sequence filmed by a mutated gnat with a camcorder that followed the crystal's descent. The crystal gleamed brilliantly in the air, slowly spinning on its way down, and it hit the concrete floor with a small *ting* sound.

"Did you hear anything?" Scream asked.

"No," replied BoomBoom.

"I heard something," Oclulon the Destroyer, a youma with very big ears, said. "It sounded like an imitation Star Crystal falling out of an impostor's pocket from a fake rope!"

"Hey! It's not a fake rope!" blurted out Nephrite from above.

*PFHOOOMP!* Every last monster in the room spun around and aimed at him.

"D'oh!" Nephrite cringed.

"Put. The girl. Down," Scream tried to talk him out of it.

Llama the WhickerWoman looked at her companion kinda funny. "No, no!" She aimed her spined arm at Nephrite. "GET HIM!!!"

Everyone began to fire things off. Sticks, badgers, gophers, little bits of strings, and long, dangerous-looking spiky-th'angs flew at the general.

Nephrite swung around on the rope, explosions bursting all around him and spiky-th'angs coming way too close for comfort.

**Oh, snap out of it, Nephrite! Teleport! Levitate! Fire something off! Call up a constellation! Do ANYTHING except act like you're some clueless amateur!

*ROAAAAR* Leo, a gigantic glowing-blue stellar projection, jumped down through the hole in the roof, followed by Scorpio and Orion. They crashed to the floor and did their stuff, quickly knocking over just about all the youma there.

**Heh. Now THAT's more like it!

In a pair of seconds, Nephrite rose to the ceiling, someone from above hauling up the rope. He and Molly vanished into the hole.

"Don't just stand there!" called Llama the WhickerWoman. "Get Him!"

Everyone rushed outside to try to climb onto the roof.


"Nice work, kid," Nephrite said, hauling up Molly and his double.

The disguise rapidly failed, and Paracite shifted back into his usual brown-hared boyish self. He gasped, staring straight into the general's eyes. "Uncle Nephrite!"

"Now get lost!" Nephrite picked up the unconscious girl and placed her on his shoulder, then kicked the shapeshifter back down the hole.

*Sproing* The coiled rope went taut. "Uh, you're welcome?" called Paracite from below.

Nephrite quickly found that teleportation had somehow been blocked, so he leapt off the building into the bushes, barely avoiding detection by the youma death squad.


It was a good team-bonding experience, Raye had to admit. Even though Serena was a complete and total clumsy crybaby, they could both have a good time. It was nice to not be shouting at each other. Much.

"I want that dress!" Yank.

"No, I want that dress!" Yank-RIIIP!

"Ooops!"

Hey, Raye's grandfather had given her a big wad of cash to spend. They had to use it! It's the law, y'see. There'd be prosecutions otherwise. People'd be locked up in the funny farm and whatnot.

Therefore, when the bill came due, they were able to make a full accounting. Barely.

After paying the lady at the cash register under the watchful gaze of Mister Nice Eight-Foot-Tall Nightstick-Wielding Security-Man, they walked outside the Great Big Huge Gap™ store.

"Okay," said Serena, carrying a few bags and things that looked like big, wrapped gifts. "That's all your Grandpa gave us. So, in total," the blonde put down the bags and went through them, "we've got the dress you lent to Jade, another one we bought for her, and let's see: One, two, three, ummm, lots for you and… Whoa, what a haul." She paused. "Jade, did we miss any of yours?" She waited for a response. "Jade?"

Raye looked around. "Jade? Jaaaade!"

The shopping pair frowned, it becoming painfully obvious that they had lost their charge somewhere along the way.

Raye slapped the palm of her hand to her forehead. "Oh no, we need to find her, quick! What if she gets repossessed?!"

"We can't let that happen!" worried Serena. "It'd cost way too much to get her back at the auction!"

"Huh?" Raye blinked. "What?"

Serena looked at her friend urgently, holding her balled-up hands in front of her. "Dad says that when things get repossessed, they get taken to an impound lot by the bank, behind a fence with big gates and locks."

Her mind and a little thought cloud to her left went through a few scenes involving Jade getting taken in chains and locked up to a rail beside a bunch of cars, "and then after a few months being kept there," the bubble showed Jade, looking very disheveled with beard stubble coming in on her chin, ringing a tin cup against the bars and scratching tally marks on a Nissan Pathfinder to count the days, "they get auctioned off to the highest bidder!"

The image-bubble finished with Jade, in chains and ripped clothes, being sold as a slave to a big, fat, scary laughing guy with a chain-whip. "Noooooooo! Jaaaade!" Serena cried at the idea, a heavy waterworks of tears gushing out. She threw her arms around Raye, looking for comfort on her shoulder.

The priestess raised an eyebrow, confusedly patting Serena on the back. "There, there, don't worry. We’ll get…" she trailed off, her expression suddenly falling.

*Poof* Raye held up a pin and popped the thought-cloud/bubble. She shook around Serena by the shoulders. "That's NOT what I meant by saying 'repossessed', meatball-head!!!"

*Slam!* Serena fell away, face-first into the floor. "Ull-llllll," she sat up, little spirals going around in her eyes and her tongue hanging out. "You didn't have to yell, Raye."

A black cat ran up and leapt upon Serena's head, looking at Raye. "Raye! Good, I've found you! Where's Serena?"

Serena reached up and snatched the cat, pulling her down and hugging her tight. "Oh, Luna! There you are! I've missed you so much!"

"Nice to see you too," said Luna in a muffled mreowing voice, her nose and mouth being nicely scrunched up against the girl's neck.

"Where have you been, and—" The blonde stopped hugging her kitty for a second, noticing something odd. "Hey, why's your fur all singed?"

Luna paused, thought about it, and couldn't figure out a way to put it that wouldn't sound bad. So, she lied. "Er, a rodent I was chasing exploded." The cat suddenly winced at what she just said, remembering that she always was such a terrible liar.

Serena smiled. "Oh, that makes sense," she blinked, "I guess."

"But that's not important right now," Luna said quickly. "We have a very big emergency on our hands."

"What kind of emergency?" Raye asked, helping Serena up.

"Don't you know?" Luna asked, hopping out of Serena's arms. "Amy has been trying to contact you for an hour. Use your Sailor Communicators!"

"Amy? What's wrong with Amy now?" Serena looked worried.

"Just talk to her!" Luna urged.

The two girls frowned, patting around on various parts of their bodies, searching for their pocket calculator communicators.

"I think I left mine at home," muttered Serena.

"I think I lost mine at the fight last night," admitted Raye.

Luna gave an exasperated sigh. "Oh, all right. It's urgent, so just use this," she leapt up into the air, spun around twice, twirled and flipped, and landed into one of the girls' shopping bags.

A miniature red cell phone with a stylized Mars symbol on it flickered into existence with a magical puff of dust and fell on top of Luna's head.

"Ow," Luna rubbed the top of her head with her front paws. "It's th' Magik'l Mars Metey'physical Mult'y-communications Monita'!"

Raye looked down at the cat. "What?"

"I said," Luna repeated, "it is the Mars Multi-communications Device." She thought about finding a comparison. "You see, it's like one of those cell phones, except of a much, much higher quality and better range. Be careful with it. It is a very powerful, irreplaceable artifact from the Moon Kingdom."

"Ooooh neeeat," Serena was about to pick up the phone when Raye stopped her.

"No, look, it's mine," the black-haired girl indicated exactly whose symbol it was on the MMD. "Hah."

"Awww," Serena snapped her fingers in disappointment.

"You got the wand, I got the phone," Raye smiled smugly and extended the antennae. She looked over the device, finding it to have twelve buttons on it, like a normal telephone keypad. It had numbers, but it also had little symbols under the numbers. She dialed '6,' for Mercury, and held it to her ear.

*Brrrr* It toned. *Brrrr*Click*

"Hi, Amy," Raye greeted warmly. "Aww, you're better, that's so nice! And you got a new computer. Gosh, that's great. Omega Soldier Recovery? What's that?" She curled a stray strand of black hair around on her index finger, "Dancing with Puff the Magic Dragon on Venus at a beer kegger, licking pixies?" She raised an eyebrow. "It sure sounds trippy, Amy-chan." She drummed her fingers against her cheek as she listened. "And you didn't think to invite us? Yes, I am studying French, why do you ask?"

"What's she saying?" Serena whispered.

"Shh," Raye glared back at her and clapped her hand over the blonde's mouth, demanding silence. Her smile returned. "Oh, that's neat! Totally Cosmic Crystals?" She looked impressed. "Super Sailor Mercury, wow…"

"Whatph ifff going on?" the blonde continued to prod through a zipped-closed mouth.

"Oh, sure! We'll be right there. Bye-bye!" *Click*

Serena had her arms folded tensely in anticipation. "What was she saying, huh, Raye? Huh?? Huh???"

"Well," replied Raye, "it looks like Molly's been kidnapped and a bunch of monsters are tearing up the town, trying to hunt down Nephrite. Sailor Mercury wants us to meet up with her down at the storage areas on the other side of town."

"Wait, wasn't Amy in critical condition in the hospital with broken ribs and stuff?"

"She got better."

"Oh. How?"

"She didn't tell me much, but it sounds like she'll have a long, weird story to tell us when we get there."

"And what about Jade? Won't she get," Serena's eyes half-watered at the idea, "repossessed?"

Raye frowned at her companion. "Maybe I should have used a different word," she regretted her use of terminology, then went on to say, "Yeah, that's something to worry about, isn't it? But it's an emergency. We'll just have to hope she'll be okay until we can get back."


Jadeite hugged her teddy bear close, frantic eyes darting left and right. "All right!" she shouted. "Nobody move!"

On the yellow school bus, a bunch of penguins that filled all the rows blinked, looked at each other, then stared back at the girl. "Wark, wark wark?"

Jadeite pointed her teddy bear at the driver as if she were threatening to fire. "Take this bus to 'Tim's Ucchan, now!"

"Wark, wark, wark," the driver muttered something that sounded vulgar, then straightened his cap with his white and black flipper.

*Vroom-vroom* The penguin started the engine and pushed down on the extended gas pedal.

General Jadeite panted, trying to figure out what to do. She knew that her only chance really was to get to 'Tim and hope that he had some way to get rid of whatever was attacking her. In a fast, frantic search, she couldn't find Raye, and had doubts that she would really be able to help anyway. "Charlatan," the girl spat. "KEEP DRIVING!" she yelled at the penguin.

"Wark, wark, wark war-war wark!" the penguin shot back at her, rapidly turning the wheel to the right.

*SCREECH!*Crash-crash* The bus rounded a corner, smashing through a fire hydrant and plowing through a couple cars. Even so, the yellow monstrosity continued on.

*HONK-HOOOONK!* The driver pushed on the horn a couple times, muttering things in a grouchy manner. "WARK-WARK!"

"Yesss, just keep on going," added Jadeite, trembling wildly. Taking a few deep breaths, she worked on trying to figure out who would or could take control of her like this. It could be Beryl; perhaps she'd tracked her down and was going to kill her. It could be aliens, it could be demons; heck, it could be a dozen different things!!!

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! a voice inside her head whispered.

Jadeite scowled. WHO ARE YOU, INVADER?

I am not an invader. You are the invader.

The blonde growled internally. THIS IS MY BODY, AND NO ONE IS GOING TO TAKE IT FROM ME. I SWEAR IT!

You took it from me first.

The General was trying to make connections at a deeper level. Finding out who was attacking him would go a long way toward discovering a weakness and arranging a defense. So, problem number one, whose body did he have? It was his, and yet not— of course! ARE YOU BY ANY CHANCE THE DARLING GIRL WHO DROWNED IN A SPRING THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO?

BAKASAMA! KING OF ALL IDIOTS, you really don't remember… the voice shouted, but stopped and trailed off before beginning again. Ahh! Yes, so you've discovered me, General Jadeite. Yes, I am the girl who drowned in the spring so long ago. My name is… Jane, and you have my body. I was four years old when I drowned, and I don't like people being mean in my body!

"Hah, I knew it!" whispered General Jadeite triumphantly.

I died in pain and anguish, and you're hurting me, mister!

YOU HAVE AN AWFULLY LARGE VOCABULARY FOR SUCH A YOUNG GIRL.

I… always won first prize on spelling bees, mister.

"Now I can arrange a defense," the general commented to himself. AH, WELL THEN. LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, LITTLE GIRL. YOU SEEM TO BE A VERY BRIGHT CHILD, SO I SHALL EXPLAIN IT TO YOU. I AM A VERY IMPORTANT PERSON IN THIS WORLD, ONLY YOUR PRESENCE IS STOPPING ME FROM DOING WHAT I NEED TO DO HERE.

What do you do?

I… HELP PEOPLE, JANE. ONLY I NEED TO BE IN MY TRUE FORM TO THINGS, LIKE GIVING CANDY TO CHILDREN, PRESENTS ON CHRISTMAS; THINGS LIKE THAT.

The general wasn't sure, but he thought he heard something like a disbelieving mental cough.

Okay, mister. I trust you. I like candy. It's tasty and all that. And I like presents on days like Christmas? Yes, Christmas. When are we gonna do it?

ALL IN GOOD TIME, CHILD. ALL IN GOOD TIME. FIRST, HOWEVER, YOU MUST STOP TRYING TO HURT ME. I AM NOT AN EVIL MAN.

O-okay. I believe you. I don't like fighting, so I'm not gonna hurt you no more.

"Excellent," Jadeite rejoiced. GOOD GIRL, JANE. GOOD GIRL.

But there's one thing that's bothering me, Jade-guy.

WHAT IS THAT, GIRL?

I don't like not being able to control my body; not being able to breathe, smell a flower, or go play with my friends.

WE WILL WORK SOMETHING OUT, MY DEAR.  I PROMISE.

But I trust you. You could show that you trust me. Are you willing to let me walk around, y'know, just for a couple minutes. I wanna laugh, I wanna sing, I wanna—

NOT RIGHT NOW.

No, now! I wanna-wanna-wanna-wanna-wanna-wanna-wanna-wanna—

The general winced. Well, he'd established that he was only up against a four-year-old girl. How much trouble could she possibly be? OH, ALL RIGHT.  I’M LETTING GO, he relaxed, NOW, FOR JUST A COUPLE OF MINUTES, TRY TO TAKE CONTROL.

"Tee-hee, sure, mister," the other being said aloud. "Sucker." She grinned. "Pulse number two," the blonde put her hands at her sides, "GO!"

WHAT?! NO!!!

*BZRR-RRRR-RRR-ZRRR!* Sparks flew around the little blonde girl, and she glowed a blinding pink.

AAAAAH!

"So tell me, how does betrayal feel?" the girl asked.

Sparks continued to crackle around the bus.

"Ooooh," the passengers were in awe at the show.

"Wark, wark wark!" the driver looked ticked, so he started driving really angry-like. He swayed back and forth from one side of the road to another, passing a red light and speeding toward the end of the street, where there was a T-junction, and slammed directly into the big, red brick wall.

*Crash!* Jadeite was ejected headfirst from the vehicle, breaking through the windshield and smashing through the wall. "WAAAAH!"

"Wark? Wark wark wark?" The penguins pushed back their airbags and started emergency exit procedures, leaving in an orderly fashion out the back door.

 


Continued in Part 10-2E

Part 10-2E
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