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.
"The Almighty will see you now," the bored, white-robed female receptionist informed the only other sentient beings present in the Greek-style waiting room. She put her legs back up on the desk and went back to doing her nails.
"Oh, goodie!" the Green ArbyFish exclaimed in delight.
As he stood, Darien's breathing grew shallow, which was quite a feat for a dead man. "The Almighty… I've never met a god before."
"'Course yew 'az!" Arby corrected him. "Yew just don't rememba'."
The twin stone doors slid open, revealing a blinding white light. Angelic singing suddenly burst forth, singing praises and whatnot.
Nervous as Hell, Darien edged forward, Arby dragging him along by the hand, fluttering ahead into the light.
*BOOM!* Suddenly the doors slammed closed, the light shut off, and the singing ended.
A glowing green hue lit the cavern. Jagged, moss-covered rocks jutted from solidified igneous outcroppings and a great central circular pit dipped downward into the darkness.
Darien struggled to maintain his footing while gale-force winds rushed out at him. A gigantic, moss-covered THING with scales and great nasal cavities emerged from the black pit.
*SNORT!* The huge beast drew in a deep breath and trumpeted its own coming. It placed its head on the rock, just in front of where the human and the ArbyFish stood. "GREAAAAAAWWWWHHHH!!!"
Arby smiled. "Oh, 'ello sez Oye ta yew ta me; ta me ta yew ta Oye."
"Grew - oh - OUGH - OUGH - OUGH!"
"Well, grew ow-ough n' sum fungus ta yew, too!"
The beast looked puzzled. "GRAwreeeh?!"
Arby nodded. "Grew. Fungus, y'knowz."
Darien froze, paralyzed with shock. "THIS is the Almighty?!" If so, he was REALLY going to have to rethink his position on religion.
"Shh!" Arby put a flipper to his mouth and turned back to the green monster. "Artuwah-dowgma. Teetah, mouscha n' jigglypuffs fer brekfist?"
"What's it saying?" Darien whispered to his companion.
Arby ignored him and accepted a pair of long sticks from the creature. He proceeded to use them as stilts and walked around in a circle. "Mushy-mushy n' 'ave a pyice a' poie!"
"WATAS - HISMHAWL - TALAUGHER - WAUGHER!!!"
An hourglass appeared midair, grains of barley tickling down from above.
Arby stood tall. "Pinkie-winkie-wizzlebumz."
"YASOYA - MUSHAL - MICKALEKAHAI - MECHACHEINIOBA!!!"
"'N 'Abbajug salutes ya majah tew!"
"Aren't we here to find out how to get back to Earth, alive?!" Darien cried.
The moss-covered incarnation of strangeness drew back and called through its nose: "RETATAL - TAMUNA - MULAMULA - KANEWAH - DESU - KAKE - MAARA - MARAFUJU - WUUJU - EZEEWEEZIE - BORABORA - BUDHIBUSHI - MITSUBISHI - HONDA - BARBKUE - SPRITS - LAMA - UNBGHER!"
Arby glared at Darien for a moment, then looked back at the big THING and said, "Borah borah n' potahbellows fer a foiva’?"
"'Ey! 'E iz not!"
"PYAHNO - KOKKORIN - DODO - MORETIN - SHUPREAS - JKEAMENH - HEN."
"Pure no kokkorin?"
"KOKKORIN - SHEAEM!"
"Oh, well, then. 'Tis furrinshikim, eh?"
"N' Boomchackalakalakaboom ta yours n' moine."
Arby turned around and started to leave, but Darien grabbed him by the tail, saying, "Wait! We still need to find out—" He broke off when Arby bit him. "Ow!" As Arby fluttered upward, the man examined his hand. There was no bite mark.
*Hish-hish-hish!* The ArbyFish chuckled like a snake and turned back to the big beast. "Rotten' 'am n' beans n' such?"
The beast nodded. "GRAWLHHH!"
*Blink!* The giant thing vanished.
Darien blinked, frowning at the whole setup.
*ROAAAAAAR!!!* Three minutes later, the titanic green creature reappeared, the oddly scented wind from his return knocking Darien flat on his back. "GUSHALAMBAH - FREINLAY - VINHSKI - TSURANI - MANIFAUN - NILAUND - YAHJK!"
Arby blinked a few times. "Whaussenmeeistreo bistros!?"
"Oh, thank you, Sir," Arby said, saluting, then grabbed Darien by the wrist and led him out again. The doors opened to let them leave, and closed behind them when they did.
"Well, that wuz pret'y quick," the ghost ArbyFish commented as he and his human companion exited the cavernous meeting office.
Darien seemed to be caught up in deep meditation. As he walked, he examined the floor intensely while keeping his lips pursed.
"'E'z kept 'iz moss noice n' trimmed 'ere n' there, 'E 'as," Arby continued.
"WHAT was that?" Darien breathed.
"'E wuz th' Almoighty, 'E wuz!"
"He… looked different than I imagined."
"Ta YEW 'E would," Arby replied, crossing his front flippers while he fluttered over to perch on top of the man's head. "Th' Almoighty Great Green Arkleseizure's presence iz not ta be unda'esta' ma'ed."
"Almighty… Great… Green… ARKLESEIZURE?!"
"A'course! Gotta 'ave the Arkleseizure's blessin' whoile troyin' sum'in as kooky az wot yew wontz ta do. 'Simply wouldn't be propa' otha'woize."
"Couldn't we speak to some other 'almighty' being here?"
"Nope. That'd cost extra. N' YEW just couldn't take it wit'cha, couldja?"
"So yew'z gots what'cha get."
"But I didn't understand anything he said, Arby."
"How? How could you make any sense out of that jabbering?!"
"Well, y'know, Aye IZ fluent in ova' six billion forms a' miscommunication."
Darien groaned within himself. "It figures. What did he say?"
Arby cleared his throat, gearing up for one of his patented long-winded explanations™. "Well ya see," he began, "'E sez that'cha dead." He said no more, merely looking into Darien's eyes.
"Yes, I'm dead. I know that. What else?"
"We were in there for two full hours and that's all he said?!"
Arby shook his head. "No, no, no, that's just the condensed version. The long version 'as a 'ole lot'a nonsense that'cha don't wont ta 'ear."
Darien ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. "Well, tell it to me anyway!"
The Green ArbyFish brightened. "Oh! Gladly. Ya see, when Oye told 'em that yew wuz dead n' wonted ta live again, 'E said that 'E knew awl about it. Oye thanked 'Im koindly n' asked 'em for 'Iz auta' graph. Then 'E gave me two chopsticks n' Oye 'opped 'round 'bout for three measures of barley ta signifoy that we wuz good chums. Remember that?"
"Yes," Darien replied, his eyes blank and shaking his head.
"Oh. Roight. Ya see, afta' that, Oye asked 'im if 'E wanted ta shoot a gerrymanda' er two ta win the next elecshuns. 'E told me that 'E wuz confident that 'E could win with sum 'shrooms on 'iz back, but that 'E didn't care one way or the other 'cos Green Karma always votes fer the incumbent official." Arby shook his head. "Then YEW just 'ad ta break up the conva'sation asking about ya dimwit loife again."
"It's why we're here, isn't it?!"
"Maybe fah yew, but Oye 'ad a few issues Oye felt would be best resolved with the propa' authorities 'n such." The ArbyFish stood up proudly on his tail. "'Snot ev’ry day that Oye gets ta talk ta 'Im."
"Okay, okay, get on with it."
"Roight. So we doigressed inta a discussion of loife, liba'ty, n' the pursuit of hoigh-velocity mushrooms. Oye explained that the Magical Mumbling Moscow Clown Mushroom wuz the best toype in the unaverse! 'E said that 'E didn't believe that for a nanoshroom. Then 'E told me of the wonda's of the Great Celestial 'Shrooms, also known as the Peta' Poipa' Picked' Apecka Pickled Peppa' Polygonal Progress Pushing 'Shrooms that can transmutate a gallon of grade B castor oil into a solvent that cures awl forms a' bawldness n' flea colla' problems. Oye thanked 'Im very much n' made prepa'rations to go me way."
"But what about MY life?"
"Oye wuz gettin' ta that. Ya see, 'E cawled me back in ta discuss the dynamics of loichen-bonding ta 'oigh temperature pink spore molds n' they didn't loike ta be disturbed to be awakened to the tolling of the porta'bellows—"
~This went on for a while.~
"Then 'E commented that the South Ugumbrian duchesses needed more oyeshadow ta woipe out the stains made in their ear lobes due to overcrowding a' the cranial subconstruct. Oye disagreed, explainin' that the propa' usage of oyebrows includes barbeque sauce ta be spread from the ankles directly up the vena cava."
"Get on with it…"
"Roight. Anyway, we discussed ya loife n' 'E got a merry chuckle outta ya wisdom tooth removal proceed'yas. Then we spoke on n' on about wot it would take ta get'cha ya loife back. 'E excused 'imself for three minutes ta tawlk with the ones who 'ad propa' papers n' oyedentification. When 'E came back, E' said that'chew really can come back ta loife—"
"Yes! That's what I wanted to hear!"
"—n' yew can get revoived the day that'chew can stop being a shrew-monger n' defeat the real tough guy that killed’ja."
"Wait, defeat who?!"
"The level ten Supa' Sayajin that blew yew inta' a bunch of tuxedo fritta's."
"…defeat THAT guy?!"
"In single-armed combat wit one leg toied 'roundja back!"
"With one leg tied around my back!?"
"And an arm."
"In-deed!" Arby nodded. "So basically, 'E said," Arby took a breath for effect as he concluded, "ya dead."
"'Swot Oye sed. In yer 'ead. With a poie. In yer oye. With a 'shroom. In ya tomb. Wi'out a key. In ya knee."
"Quit'cher rhymin', ya bundt-cakin' 'shroom-flogga'!" Darien shouted in complete and utter frustration at the seal-like creature. Suddenly, the ex-college student froze.
*Wink*Wink*Wink* Arby blinked a couple of times, an amazing task, considering that he barely ever used his eyelids. He tilted his head. "Ey, wot'chew just say?"
"Oye…" Darien grimaced and threw up his arms. "Oh, great! Now you've got ME doing it!"
Arby looked pleased. "Gotcha speakin' roight propa' now, Oye doez."
Darien groaned. "Leave me alone."
"Well, then," Arby straightened. "G'boye."
R.B. Fish, the First and second most powerful of the unstoppable ArbyFish species, saluted and fluttered away.
The Roman arches and the rest of the Greek Parthenon slowly vanished, replaced by a calm, fine mist.
Darien sat down in the aether, trying to make sense of what had just happened to him.
Somewhere, a famous pop star from Jamaica met Death, and finished his life with a sad, yet amazingly hip song. Darien watched the tall embodiment of life's end and the singer walk by.
"Ya canna take me down, mon!" the Jamaican singer protested, tearing away from Death's firm grasp.
EVERYONE HAS TO GO SOMETIME.
"Yah! But I got to finish my song, mon!" the pop star insisted, running his fingers through his thick, black dreadlocks. "Johnnie Jamallie's down in the dumps ann'e needs to hear my music!"
Death pointed at Darien.
MAYBE YOU COULD CHEER HIM UP INSTEAD.
"You got someone mo’ sad, mon?" the Jamaican asked, looking over to the distraught ex-hero. "Whassis name?"
DARIEN SHIELDS, ALSO KNOWN AS TUXEDO MASK, PRINCE DARIYAN AND ENDYMION.
"What?!" Darien shouted. "How do you know that—" He stopped, suddenly remembering to whom he was speaking. "Oh…"
The black pop star nodded. "Ah! Den I got just da ting! But, like, I'll need some backup 'ere!"
Death backed off and vanished, summoning in his place a big, top-level Caribbean voodoo band. The band was equipped with a full battery of steel drums, leather drums, bongo drums, trumpets and a marimba.
The band played a catchy Reggae intro.
The Jamaican singer pulled out a microphone and danced around Darien, pointing occasionally at him to emphasize his words.
The band sang along.
As Darien tried to ignore the song, he realized that he didn't know half of what was really going on. He could tell that something very important had been discussed during his visit to this Arkleseizure-thing. Unfortunately, he didn't speak its language. But, if what Arby had told him was true, reviving himself was not going to be an easy task.
It sounded like he was going to have to defeat the beastman that had killed him without a second thought. Either that, or he really couldn't go back to life. It was a confusing dilemma. He didn't even have a clue where to start.
"Trying to get a handle on the moment?" a soft voice behind Darien asked. He remembered whose it was from earlier.
"Xian Pu?" the man asked as he turned toward the slender, beautiful Chinese Valkyrie.
"That's not my real name," the woman replied with a shake of her head.
"What do I call you, then?"
The purple-haired Valkyrie folded her arms and tilted her head at him. "In a past life, you called me 'Mother'." She sighed. "You really don't remember, do you?"
"No," Darien replied. "I don't even recall who any of my parents are. I've seen some photos, but—"
The woman turned away. "It doesn't matter," she dismissed the idea with a wave of her hand. She looked back at him. "Do you intend to attempt a revival?"
"I had something like that in mind, yes."
"What was the condition? Was it to make the Queen of the Ettins cry?" The woman almost smiled. "Or perhaps was it to guide a young warrior on the Earth to victory?"
Darien shook his head. "No. Nothing like that."
"It looks like I have to defeat the one who killed me."
"Oh, is that all?"
"Somebody said he was a level ten Super Sayajin. What's that?"
The Chinese Valkyrie winced. "Ouch."
"That bad, huh?"
The armored female nodded grimly. "Yes. Fighting him had to be rough."
"Tell me about it. He killed me in one hit."
"Level TEN did you say? I'm surprised you even lasted long enough to take that hit. Most people simply burn up if they get too close to one— like, within eight miles distance."
"So how am I supposed to beat HIM?"
The armored woman shrugged cluelessly. "Beats me."
"I don't even know where he is or how to get to him."
"Was he evil?"
"Yyyyyeah. I'd say so."
"Then there is probably only one place where he would be."
The beautiful woman who claimed to be Darien's mother winced from the pitch of the music in the background. "But first, let's get away from this racket. Your father will explain it all."
"The former King of Earth."
"Mother, could you please turn off the Reggae music?" Terra begged, snuggling down into her bed and trying to cover her ears with her pillow.
"Oh my," Kasumi Incognito looked worried, putting a hand to her cheek as she turned off the CD player, "I thought you loved Reggae music. I hoped it would help you feel better."
"I like it," the redhead slowly sat up and looked at her mother, hugging tightly her favored Sailor Stylin' and Sailor V plush toys, "but it's possible to have too much of a good thing."
"I think you're right," Kasumi smiled down at her daughter. "How are you feeling now?"
Terra turned to the side and put her feet on the floor and tugged at the sleeve of her pajamas. She thought deeply, taking a few deep breaths. "I'm feeling better, but I'm still a little woozy from last night."
Kasumi nodded. "Well, that's what happens when a level ten Super Sayajin comes up and puts a brain-scrambler on your head. It takes some rest for your synapses to relax and your nerves to reconnect." She looked relieved. "It's a good thing you're young and resilient. It shouldn't last more than a of couple days."
Terra gave her mother a quizzical look. "How do you know about all that?"
Kasumi blushed. "I read about it in this month's Discover magazine." She turned, reached out the bedroom door, and picked up the latest copy. "Here, this issue is very interesting." She handed it to Terra. "Be careful about what you read in this one, though. It's the April volume. They always manage to slip in one false 'joke' to keep us thinking."
Terra thought it odd that such a widely published scientific magazine would have something as strange as what had kidnapped her last night. She flipped it open and read through some of the article titles. Cover story, Fact or Fiction: The Moon Kingdom Origin Theory, Vital Signs: A Full Body Regeneration in Seconds, several pages full of Radio Shack ads: Mercury One Thousand-X laptops, Mars cellular phones, upgrade your telescope with a brand new Neptune ultra-powered mirror, more bang for your buck: Saturn assault rifle shells, Light Elements: Asteroid Senshi Circuses, Dark Queen Magical Amplification Through Sapphire Crystals…"
The list was on, and the magazine was thick. "My, my, my," Terra read through the cover story, her eyes wide, "this explains everything, Mother! There was a Moon Kingdom in the past! I was a princess! There was a battle in the past, and it was all taken away. We're fighting against the ones who did it."
Kasumi continued smiling. "How do you think I knew about all of you, and how to call them to help you against the Super Sayajin? I read Discover!"
Terra was feeling three kinds of giddy. First, she and her friends were okay, then the secrets were being unfolded to her all in one big rush. "This is wonderful!"
Kasumi's smile turned into a snarl. "It's too bad you'll not live long enough to use it!"
Terra's expression fell. "What?"
*SMASH!* "GRR!" Kasumi's arm turned into a long, steel spike, which she drove through the bed's headboard, missing Terra's cheek by barely a centimeter.
"DIE, BEAST, DANGER TO THE HUMAN RACE, GRRRRRR!!!"
Kasumi thrust her hand at the girl, blue sparks flying. Terra closed her eyes, feeling the damage done as the bolts went through her and the spike parted flesh and broke bone.
"WAKE UP, YOU LITTLE MONSTER!!!!" Kasumi shrieked, continuing the onslaught. *SCRUNCH*
"Wake up, sleepyhead."
"Stop being such a crybaby."
"Aaaah?" Terra opened one eye.
Little Princess Serenity smiled down at her. "Terra! You're awake! It sounded like you were having another very bad dream."
Princess Terrifying sat up, took in a few breaths, thinking over everything she had just seen. Having recovered for the moment, she turned her head and looked at her adoptive sister. "Hmm? Oh, it was nothing."
"Nothing?" the ten-year-old Moon Princess asked, incredulous. "You were screaming your lungs out for over ten minutes, you big crybaby."
"Really? If I was screaming, then where are the guards?"
"They saw that you were sleeping and asked me to come wake you up."
The redhead shook her head, trying to figure out what went wrong. First, she would have to double-check a few set values, to make sure she wasn't doing any more Future Vision-Quest things. She had copied the energy pattern from a visitor a few days ago, and was anxiously working to expand and adapt it for her use.
"Ah, Sister, what is the date?"
The dual-ponytailed blonde looked at the other girl, shrugged, then counted on her fingers. "Day before yesterday was the thirty-fifth, so today is the thirty-seventh of the tenth month of the year of Our Peace nine hundred ninety-two."
"How old am I?"
"When you got here, you said you were nine, so now, you'd be ten and a half."
However fascinating, the time-examining tool did not seem to be of that much practical use. What she saw were only possible futures of herself, and if she dedicated too much time inside them, they became somewhat akin to childish nightmares. Therefore, their usefulness of determining what really could happen to her was sharply limited.
Though, the music she had heard with the name of 'Reggae' sounded interesting. Perhaps she would ask one of the royal musicians to try and duplicate it someday. In any case, the Future VisionQuest was essentially useless. In her five attempts, she always ended up seeing herself brutalized in some fashion. While she didn't mind the concept itself, it was not any fun experiencing pain.
Pain, like when these pitiful little bipedal hominids somehow discovered the exact energy frequency required to defeat her. No creature, no species, no combined galactic cluster in nine billion years had ever dealt such a blow. It still hurt her to think about it.
Princess Terrifying forced her nicest smile at her 'sister'.
Princess Serenity returned it. "How are you feeling now?"
"Fine, just fine," the redhead replied with a secretive look in her eyes. <When I regain my full strength, you will be the first to know how I feel, and to feel what I felt.>
<And then, I will take revenge on the one who forced me to take this form.>
Terra stood up and flexed the delicate, girlish muscles in her arms, legs, and fingers. She suddenly recalled something. "Princess Serenity, did you call me a 'crybaby'?"
Serenity blinked. "When?"
"When I was 'sleeping', what did you call me?"
The Crown Princess thought back a couple minutes. "Well, yes, I think I did call you a crybaby, but it was just because you were making so much noise. If it hurt your feelings, I'm sorry."
Princess Terrifying began to lift her right index finger at the blonde.
<I'll show you who's a crybaby!!!>
Terra's other hand reached up and caught the raised arm.
<No, not now. Later.>
<But I have enough energy!>
<We must not reveal ourself at the present time.>
<But… she… called… me…>
<The NERVE of that girl!>
<It is not a serious infraction. Calm down immediately.>
<Perhaps you are right…>
<If we did, they would destroy us in a matter of minutes.>
<You have a point there…>
The redhead's arms dropped limply to her sides. She sighed, then smiled back again at her sister.
"Why are you smiling so much at me?" Princess Serenity wished to know. "You've been looking at me funny ever since I woke you up."
Terra went through another few introspective moments. One thing about trying to see the future was that it also made one reevaluate the past over and over again. Normally, she tried not to harbor such vindictive feelings towards the ones she had to live with, but all this was bringing up some painful memories.
Thinking negatively was bound to show up in behavior eventually. However, as she had reviewed thousands upon thousands of times before, she had to act like a cute little princess so as to not arouse suspicion. She thought she had been doing an excellent job, though there were still many members of the royal court that gave her half-concealed suspicious looks.
In this state of review, Terrifying considered it appropriate to ask a third party to see how she was doing. She looked down for a second, then looked back at the white-gowned girl. "Could you please tell me something?"
"How would you say I've been acting in the past year and a half?"
"You, Terra?" the princess thought it over. "Well, at first, you were really quiet, then when you got more comfortable, you started getting into things, being waaaay too forward—"
Serenity nodded. "Remember what you said to Duchess Cassiopeia a month ago?"
"You looked at her big, round stomach and asked her if she was about to 'spawn'."
Terra looked down and held a hand to her chin. "Oh."
<Well, she was HUGE!>
<Yeah! Isn't that how humans look before they reproduce?>
<I'm getting bored here!>
<Calm, calm. We must review more information.>
"Anyway," the blonde princess continued, "if you're done asking questions, Mother wants you to know that breakfast is going to be ready in a few minutes."
"Breakfast?" Terrifying pondered.
"Yes, breakfast," Serenity confirmed.
"Right, right. Look, I've got a lot to process. Can I meat— MEET you in the dining hall in a few minutes?"
"Okay," Serenity agreed. "I need to get ready, too." She brightened, puffing out her chest proudly. "The Younger Inner Senshi are coming over!"
Terra smacked her lips. "Delicious," she said, then paused. "Err, I mean, thanks."
The blonde princess nodded and walked out, shutting the polished grey wooden door as she left.
Princess Terrifying held her head. She had to take a moment to sort everything out amidst the confused chorus of voices going off inside her. The Future VisionQuest attempts always scrambled everything. She'd probably have forgotten what name she'd chosen if her sister didn't keep reminding her after each of the five tries.
The ex-galactic destroyer drew her hand back a little and examined it. Flexing her fingers one by one, she probed the intricate system of tendons, bones, and blood vessels. Looking deeper, she sensed tiny cells, and even deeper, bits of DNA and other molecules.
Underneath all that was a force that only she knew existed. That force was what made her what she was. It was her. The human body inside which she resided was something she had created. From the brief contact with humans she had before her defeat, she had ample opportunity to analyze them and figure out exactly what made them 'tick'. The Senshi of Saturn and the inner planets had proven most informative in this aspect, and from this and them, a human shell had been simple— almost reflexive— to create.
From a mental link with one specific human, the one who had defeated her, she had learned something that surprised her: The individuals and civilizations she had been destroying over the past nine billion years didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much as she did.
As such, reprisals had been anticipated, and from her defeat, she knew that she could be killed. Therefore, she had to take immediate action to eliminate aggressions against her. Clothed in her newly constructed body, she did all she could to act in a way that humans would find difficult to harm. Appearing as a young, helpless girl was the optimal way, she determined.
Nevertheless, many humans remained suspicious of her. Several refused to believe that she was human. At first, when what was to be done with her was discussed, the general consensus had been to seal her away in a magical chunk of quartz until they figured out what to do with her.
Fortunately, the skills gleaned from the link with that one human had enabled her to defend herself. In short, she pleaded for mercy in front of everyone.
For plausibility's sake, she had to explain who she was and how the "beast" came to be. It went something like this: She was a poor girl whose family had been killed by some evil sorcerer who had turned her into a great, almost unstoppable beast. Her homeworld had been destroyed and she had been left to roam the heavens without control or direction. She omitted some details, like what had happened to the evil sorcerer, the names of her family, and exactly how long she had been wandering. Careful wording and magical defense helped evade the lie-detection magic in place.
Even though her explanation had been effective and the decision to imprison her had been overturned, many problems remained. She was still very weakened from the battle and would need time to recover before doing any serious fighting again.
Plus, she discovered that she had contracted social problems: Children needed parents. After a few weeks of observation, most major fears of danger had abated and a search for suitable foster parents was made. The search went far and wide. Hundreds of families were asked if they wanted to take her in.
Unfortunately, there was a problem: Nobody wanted her in their home. Not one viable family on any world wanted her. Several Asteroid kingdoms were checked. No one wanted her, possibly due to poor publicity, suspicion, or other factors.
Facing this crisis, Queen Serenity jumped in and took full responsibility for her. Terrifying couldn't figure out why. It was obvious that the queen had nothing to gain, and a lot to lose. Adopting her was a very unpopular decision that did not sit well with anyone.
But, with her foster mother being the main political figure in the solar system, most complaints went unvoiced. As a result, she acquired the added status and prestige of a Lunar Princess, very nearly the highest social position in the solar system. A lucky break, that.
That would have made waiting around for just a few decades to recover a snap, but cravings for destruction quickly arose, and even if nobody else enjoyed it, she certainly did. However, she could not personally perform such an exercise without arousing suspicion, so in a crisis situation, she generated a mentally projected 'Knight in Shining Armor'.
Known to her as her Atomic Starlight Knight, the construct had been her primary venting source. Taking on the pseudonym of 'Timothy StarKnight, or 'Tim S. Knight, he was known to the kingdoms simply as her old, mysterious friend who had pursued her in an attempt to break the magic possessing her.
Actually, to her mother, she had said that he was her brother.
Pausing her inner reflection, Princess Terrifying decided to check up on her favorite plaything.
<Starlight, are you there?>
<You betcha. We're all here; doing just fine.>
<En route to Pluto, to visit my wife and make plans for the honeymoon. My career is advancing, and we have space pirates on our six. I'll send the details when I'm done taking care of them.>
Terra breathed a happy sigh.
<Excellent. Try to capture and interrogate one, if possible.>
Terra thought about her Knight in Shining Armor for a moment. He often times worked independently with limited communication, though a baseline link was always present. Other times, when she had more stored energy available to her, or when they were in close proximity, he, the Atomic Starlight Knight, was merely an extension of her own personal will.
As of late, ASK had taken on an alarming level of independent action. It was incapable of disobeying her entirely, but in sixteen occasions in the past month, he had almost overruled some of her commands. If this got out of hand, she would have to 'tighten the leash', so to speak.
In the meantime, she was living with Queen Serenity and her true daughter. What she had adapted from the first mental link was of enormous use to her as she tried to act "normal." The protocol of the Royal Court was rather complex, though strict adherence was not currently required for her right now.
Plus, Princess Serenity could be something of a nuisance on occasion, but she had to live with her, for a little while. When she regained sufficient strength, she had plans to reassume her old form in a brilliant display of power, vaporizing the presently occupied galaxy to erase the memory of this failure once and for all. Such small beings could not comprehend her majesty and were unworthy of being treated as equals.
Besides, they all kept calling her names. She hated that.
"Okay," Princess Terrifying rubbed her hands together, cross referencing the points she had reviewed and using them to regenerate her memory and reaffirm her state of being. "Now to get ready for breakfast."
The girl snapped her fingers, calling in a pair of eager servants to aid the 'getting ready' process.
"We're here!" the two cheerful young women announced, entering through a pair of side doors.
Terra allowed herself a smile. Well, if her adoptive mother was the most powerful queen in the solar system, she may as well get the royal treatment.
"Curious," the Princess of Mercury prodded at her sunny-side-up Terran chicken egg. "This is most unlike what we have back home."
"That may be because it is new, Hermione," Queen Serenity replied from the head of the table. "However, his majesty, the King of Earth, informs me that, as trends go, it will soon become common fare for early morning meals, along with bovine milk and some special cuts of pork."
"Have the Terrans all gone mad?" asked the Princess of Venus, a blonde girl with a red ribbon tying back her hair. Spreading a sweetened strawberry paste on her soft Venusian Biscuit, she paused to take a delicate bite and placed the biscuit back onto her plate. "I mean, bovine milk? Whoever heard of drinking bovine milk?" She took a sip from her crystal goblet of sugary, lemony sima.
Princess Serenity, who was sitting next to her mother, wrinkled her nose. "Hmmm, sounds icky."
Princess Mars, a dark-haired girl sitting next to Princess Serenity, smiled secretively. "Oh, don't go criticizing Earth peoples' eating habits, puffball."
"I'm not a puffball," the Moon Princess complained with a large lower lip.
Princess Venus kept her nose held high in a very princess-like posture and grasped for the sima jug, but accidentally took hold of the gravy boat and poured it into her goblet. Not noticing her mistake, she drank from it. The Venusian blonde frowned, smacking her lips lightly to better analyze the taste. "This liquid has a very classic bouquet to it, wouldn't you agree?"
Hermione covered her mouth with her hand, politely trying to avoid a laugh.
Princess Mars grinned widely and reached over to squeeze the right bun of Princess Serenity's hair a couple of times, subvocalizing squeaking noises each time. "Puffball."
"Mind your manners, Pyra," the Queen cautioned. "A proper young lady should not tease her friends."
The Princess of Mars grinned playfully at the Moon Princess. "Well, how about if we're enemies?" she asked.
Queen Serenity shook her head. "You two are not enemies."
"Oh, okay," Pyra conceded, quickly hiding her hands under the table, still glancing sideways and smiling mischievously at her closest friend with. "Puffball," she repeated quietly.
"I believe 'puffball' to be more of an affectionate term," Hermione defended Pyra. "She means no harm by it."
"I know, and understand that," Queen Serenity said. "But I want both of you to get along well. I had a few squabbles with my friends when I was young so many years ago, and I'd like for you to be able to avoid them."
"You're still young," commented Princess Mercury. "You are barely thirty-five years old, if my information is correct." She paused to examine the Queen's appearance. "Though you still look nineteen."
Queen Serenity smiled at the young girl's compliment. "Those in my family tend to have that trait."
"I don't know, that's pretty old," Princess Jupiter said.
"All adults seem ancient when you are only ten years old," the white-blonde woman added.
"Nonsense," Princess Venus interjected. "You are only as old as you think your shoes are," she misquoted the old adage. "Three years in the hand are worth two chickens in a bush." She worked out some figures on her fingers. "So I guess together, we're all worth about a hundred chickens."
"Althea! I'm not a chicken," complained Princess Serenity.
"She didn't mean that," the girl's mother whispered to her.
"Err, Queen Serenity-sama," Princess Jupiter picked at her food, resting her cheek against her hand while leaning against the table, "when's the circus starting?"
"In roughly three hours."
"What kind of circus is it?" asked Princess Mercury. "Though we were all eager to accept the invitation, I believe that most of us would like know the whole story."
"That's right," Princess Mars agreed. "Is it like one of those flying snake circuses or a three-ring thing?"
"Do they have horsies, elephants, or butterflies?" asked Althea. "Do we get to see any clowns?"
"I will be happy to explain it all once Princess Terra arrives," Queen Serenity replied.
Althea blinked. "Princess Terra? Who's that? One of Fireball's relatives?"
Princess Jupiter leaned over and whispered to the blonde, "Have you been living under a rock for the past year and a half, or what?"
"Well, sort of. The roof back home's made of granite."
"No! I mean, haven't you heard about the big monster that came in, beat up everyone, and turned into a girl?"
"Wow, that's a new one."
"Don't you remember when our mothers came back home after being gone for a couple of weeks, babbling on about how there was 'this horrible beast' and how the solar system was doomed and all that?"
Althea thought back to the event. "No, she just walked in, sat down, and didn't say anything for a month. One day she went off somewhere quietly by herself and came back with this huge grin on her face," she leaned her cheek against one hand, an elbow on the table while she drummed her fingernails on the handle of her fork. "Then she started taking me and my brothers over to see the coolest spot on Venus, where the air smells like warm root beer and the towels are oh-so-FLUFFY!" She tossed her head to emphasize that last point.
"That was when Terra got to the Moon Kingdom," Iolanthe added mysteriously.
Queen Serenity cleared her throat. "Princess Iolanthe, please do not believe everything you may have heard about my daughter. Althea, elbows off the table!"
The Jovian Princess froze like a Uranian megasquirrel caught holding a glowing stellar core fragment. "Ummm, I wasn't saying anything!"
"And I didn't do anything," Althea lied, snapping to attention and removing her elbow from the dining set.
"Which daughter?" Princess Serenity asked. "The real one, me, or the fake one?"
"Fake one?" echoed Pyra.
The Lunar Queen sighed and looked down at the Moon Princess. "Serenity, as far as I am concerned, Terra is as much my daughter as you are."
Hermione piped up. "Actually, since this 'Terra' is not related by blood to any royal planetary line, she would not be quite as much a real princess as Serenity."
The Queen did not respond to that.
"That's right," Iolanthe agreed. "I mean, even if 'Terra' were human, just saying that she's a princess wouldn't give her any special powers. She couldn't be a Senshi, she couldn't use the Ginzuishou, she couldn't—"
"You two could not be any more wrong," Queen Serenity cut off the debate. Her tone suggested a great displeasure with the girls' attitudes, though her expression remained calm.
"What's she like?" Althea asked.
"Is she violent?" Pyra wanted to know. "Or dangerous?"
"Does she demonstrate intelligence beyond her years?" Hermione also wished to know.
"Not really," Princess Serenity replied. "She mostly just walks around the palace, being mysterious. And she's been having some bad dreams for about a week."
Althea leaned forward urgently. "Can she dance the Funky Chicken?!"
Hermione glanced sideways at the Venusian Princess, an eyebrow raised at the question.
"I suggest you all reserve judgment until you have gotten to know her," Queen Serenity cautioned.
Iolanthe nodded. "I guess you're right. After all, we've never even met her. But…" she held up a hand "…my parents half didn't want to let me come after all they've heard. They really seemed to think I'd be walking into some sort of big monster's jaws."
"Your parents, too?" Pyra seemed surprised.
"This is really odd," Althea added, "mine never have mentioned anything about the Queen adopting anyone."
"I believe you are exaggerating the situation," Hermione interjected. "On Mercury, we accept the fact that—"
"I'm here," another voice announced from the entranceway. It wasn't a rough voice, but it was not particularly sweet, either. However, all present at the breakfast table could tell that it belonged to a ten-year-old female.
A redheaded girl in a casual green knee-length dress walked in under a five-guard armed escort. She smiled and waved at the group as she took her seat beside Queen Serenity.
"Thanks," the girl said to the guards, dismissing them with a shooing motion.
The guards stiffly saluted and the one on point replied, "For the Queen." In a practiced style, the quintet spun around ninety degrees on one foot and marched out.
"What was that all about?" Princess Serenity whispered to her mother.
"I will tell you later," the elder Serenity whispered back.
The four visitors remained cautiously silent, their hands over their mouths as they observed the newcomer.
"Younger Inner Senshi," Queen Serenity addressed the princesses and motioned toward the redhead, "I present to you Terra, Princess of the Moon Kingdom and second in line to the Lunar Throne. Terra," she addressed her adopted daughter, "these are the Younger Inner Senshi. Say hello."
"Hi," Terra said informally and waved.
"Hello," the Younger Senshi replied together in monotone.
"You are late," Queen Serenity observed.
"Yeah, well," Terra shrugged, "the servant-hairstyling-people—"
"Your personal assistants?"
"Right!" Princess Terra nodded. "Really nice girls, those. They don't give me any dirty looks, they obey my every command, but, well, they were trying to do my hair up into a pair of balled ponytails again."
"It is the Royal Lunar Fashion," Queen Serenity reminded her adopted daughter, touching her own long tresses. "Perhaps they thought it would help you make a good impression since we have visitors."
Terra shook her head. "It makes me look like a puffball!"
"Too true," commented Pyra.
"It is traditional," added Queen Serenity.
"Maybe," Terra agreed, "but my hair isn't long enough for that. I look ridiculous in it." She shook her head. "So, I had to tell them to redo it, then they came up with these 'rabbit-ear' things. I didn't want to end up looking like some sort of overgrown rodent, so I told them to redo it again." She looked thoughtful. "The braided ponytail with a bow was kind of nice, but I didn't feel like it."
The white-blonde, twin-ponytailed Queen nodded. "Then, you asked for your hair to simply be left straight."
"After a couple more tries," Terra agreed, "yes."
"Was that all that kept you?"
The redhead thought for a moment. "No, actually. We spent a long time choosing my clothes."
"They were nice about it and all, and we started off with the green gown— you know, the one that's like yours and my sister's?"
"Right, so then one of my assistants tells me that we're going to a circus later, and so it's not right for the occasion. I said, 'Okay', and we swapped over to a pair of bib overalls hidden way in the back of the wardrobe."
"Ah. I am sorry. That was my brother's, from when he was young."
Terra paused for a second. "Brother? You have a—?" She straightened and continued. "Oh, right. Then, the other girl said it wasn't appropriate to go and meet the other planets' princesses in, how did they put it? 'That ever so boyish set of paaaunts.'" She experimentally stretched the muscles in her mouth. "Hmm, it feels quite liberating, the way she said it, you know, 'paaaunts.' A good 'chewy' word, isn't it, Sister?" she directed at the Moon Princess.
"Sounds 'tinny'," disagreed Serenity.
Queen Serenity motioned for the table bussers to bring in Terra's food.
All through this, the Younger Inner Senshi stared on, not daring to say a word.
"How come you never cook anything?" Princess Serenity asked her mother.
"I mustn't take the palace assistants' jobs away from them."
"Plus," Terra muttered, "you yourself know you couldn't cook so much as a Lemon Curry to save your life."
"Terra," Queen Serenity blushed nervously.
"I-I mean," the redhead corrected herself, "you like the ambiance of a well-served meal."
Terra's food arrived and was set before her. It was a pair of sunny-side-up eggs with bacon, matted shredded potatoes, biscuits, and a tall, frosty glass of nonfat bovine milk.
"Hmmm," Althea's gaze became a little more narrowed and intense.
The adopted princess poked at her food with a fork, then cut off a section, picked at it, and finally lifted the morsel into her mouth. Chewing slowly, she shook her head disapprovingly and said, "This food has absolutely no fight in it." She looked up at Queen Serenity. "When are we going to have more Gaaagh?"
"Gaaagh, yucky," Princess Serenity grimaced at the memory. "Serenity smash wormy food!" She halfheartedly thumped at the table with a knuckle.
"We will have it whenever the next delivery comes in from Praxis," replied Queen Serenity. "It is a very long voyage."
Terra nodded. "Well, if it's from Praxis, then it's worth the wait. They sure know how to get the worms blended together right."
The Younger Inner Senshi continued to stare at Terra, not quite knowing what to make of her.
"So," Terra half-smiled at the four princesses, "you're the Sailor Chibiscouts, huh?"
Hermione winced, as did Pyra. "Sailor… Chibi… scouts?!"
Iolanthe and Althea slammed their fists on the table. "Watch your mouth, commoner!" they snapped, standing up and pointing at her from across the table.
"Iolanthe, Althea," Queen Serenity motioned for them to calm down. "Actually, she is most definitely not a commoner."
"Commoner, eh?" Terra snapped, not having taken the epithet well. "I'll show YOU who's a commoner!!!" She picked up a tasty, buttery biscuit and prepared to throw it.
"Terra!" Queen Serenity quickly put up a hand and stopped her. Terra caught herself and sat back down, smiling nervously. The Queen looked at everyone, one by one. "Please, no name calling."
"She started it," justified Princess Jupiter.
"Did not," replied Terra.
Queen Serenity held up her hands, motioning for everyone to be quiet. If the action could have caused a noise, it would have sounded like a blown whistle.
"By the way, what's a commoner?" Terra needed her memory refreshed on that term.
"Someone not of royal blood," the white-blonde explained.
"Descended from king or queen of any sizable world in this solar system."
Terra paused, mulling something over. "Hey," she glared at Althea, "my blood's ten times as royal as any of yours!"
"Hah!" replied Althea, pointing at her. "Hah-hah. Hah!"
"And what are you complaining about?" pressed Terra. "Your blood's just about as royal as any old primate, anyway."
"Terra," Queen Serenity cautioned, "you do not want to do that."
"Primate?!" Iolanthe asked, aghast. "Are you calling us a bunch of monkeys, or what?"
Terra nodded. "That's right. That's exactly what you all are, a bunch of semi-evolved monkeys, mushrooms, and fungus," she said it like she meant it.
"I am NOT fungus!" Princess Venus snapped.
"But you admit to being a mushroom princess?" Terra asked.
"Well, yes, but—"
"There you go."
"Humph!" Althea glared at Terra. "I demand satisfaction!"
"Heh. That's what primates like yourselves always want."
"We are not monkeys," Hermione affirmed. She had also been a bit offended by Terra's words.
"Are too. It's a proven fact," the adopted princess affirmed.
"We don't have to take THIS!" Pyra declared.
"Yeah!" agreed Iolanthe.
"It's agreed, then," Althea said. "As leader of the Sailor Chibiscouts—"
"Younger Inner Senshi," Pyra corrected.
The Venusian Princess glanced at the Martian. "Uhh, right! Younger Inner Senshi." She looked back at Terra. "I challenge you to a duel."
Terra folded her arms. "Agreed. Me and you, in the courtyard. Glaives at sunrise. To the death. Winner takes all."
"To the death?!" Hermione asked. "Are you serious?"
Terra nodded. "Yeah!" She folded her arms. "Under the Law, I adjure you to a blood struggle. You, whatever-your-name-is, shall do battle with me until the other ceases to breathe."
Queen Serenity coughed.
Princess Serenity leaned over to whisper to her sister, "Umm, Terra? That's not how it works."
"Yes it is," Terra replied, "according to the Jurai codebooks, all responsible adults may—"
"We are not on Jurai, and you are not a responsible adult," Queen Serenity reminded her adopted daughter.
Terra paused, thinking that over. She cringed at her mistake.
"According to Lunar Kingdom law," Queen Serenity explained, worried about what Terra had dragged herself into, "disputes between members of the ruling classes are to be settled between the offended and the offenders, however many they may be on either side."
"All of us against you," Althea clarified. "We'll show you what a bunch of monkeys and fungus can do."
"Looking forward to it!" Terra half-shouted back. "I'll take you all down and put you back up into the trees where you belong!"
"Two hours, in the courtyard," Iolanthe declared. "We'll meet you there. Be ready."
The Sailor Chibiscouts all stood up to leave, but Queen Serenity stopped them. "Wait. You mustn't leave it like this!"
"Why not?" asked Pyra. "We have to make up with her?" She pointed at Terra, not looking at all happy about the girl's insulting behavior. "After all she said?!"
"You cannot expect us to simply sit back and do nothing," Hermione added her complaint.
The Queen shook her head. "No, it is because you have not finished what is on your plate yet." She pointed at the table. "If you do not eat up, there will be no circus for any of you this afternoon."
The four visiting princesses froze and slowly looked down, large sweatdrops forming on the backs of their heads. In a flash, the sat right back down, scrambling for their forks. "Yes, yes, right, right, right."
"Awwww, Mother!" Princess Serenity pouted.
"Althea, do not slurp. Iolanthe, mind your manners. Pyra, you have had enough dessert for now. Hermione, do not be afraid to eat your chicken egg. Yes, Serenity. Good, just like that. And Terra?"
"Perhaps if you ate a little more aggressively, your food would fight back harder."
Terra shook her head, continuing to pick and prod at the exotic imports. She snatched a bottle of eight-alarm chili sauce, dumped out a huge glob onto her food and took another bite. A small puff of smoke came out of her mouth. She sighed and shook her head. "Nah, needs a lot more help than that." Something occurred to her. "Mother, could you please lend me your crystal for a moment?" She held out her hand.
Queen Serenity drew back and thought about that for a second. "Perhaps," she hesitated, "later."
"Spoilsport," Terra grumbled.
After completely cleaning their plates, the guest princesses made their way to their rooms, where they retrieved their Official Symbols of Senshi Authority (or chibi-henshin sticks, as most adults referred to them). Not wanting to miss any time in getting ready for their upcoming duel, the quartet found a nice spot by the fountain and set about their business.
"All right, everyone, we're all going to warm up!" Althea announced enthusiastically. She held up a five-inch-long yellow rod with the Venus sigil engraved on the tip. "Just like we practiced at home, girls!"
"’Ladies’ is the proper term," Hermione reminded her leader.
"Not for this lot," Pyra muttered softly so nobody could here her. Aloud, she giggled out, "Or 'guys' if you wanna be nasty."
"I once knew a soldier that called everyone stuff like slime, wart-ridden toads, and shoe leather," recalled Iolanthe.
Althea's expression fell. "We're supposed to be showing that brat Terra who the better princesses are, you know!" she deadpanned while staring at her companions.
"Uh, right!" everyone else quickly agreed, straightening their posture.
Althea raised her wand aloft, as did the other three.
"Venus Prism Power!"
All four took in a deep breath. "Make up!"
A yellow light engulfed Althea while she held up her wand. A twirling of bright, flashing stars wrapped around her, and in a flash, her outfit formed. The girl struck a pose, clothed in a white, orange-skirted leotard with a blue bow tied at the chest underneath a hemisphere-shaped jewel. A large orange bow adorned the small of her back, and an orange-jeweled golden tiara graced her forehead. She also wore orange lace-up sandals.
Circles of reddish-orange fire burned around Pyra, then contracted to form her outfit, which was exactly like Althea's, except for the high-heels and red-highlights.
Green mists swirled around Iolanthe while a large electrical spark flashed into a pattern, forming into her sailor suit. Green and pink highlighted her garb, and the brunette wore boots that were slightly above ankle-length.
Blue water washed over Hermione, generating her apparel. Blue was the theme, through and through. Blue boots went up to her knees. She ended up with a blue skirt, a blue-jeweled tiara, blue-rimmed gloves, and her short hair stayed ever-so-blue.
Each finished by standing and holding their hands up in varied dramatic positions.
"Check in!" ordered Sailor Chibivenus.
"Do what?" asked Sailor Chibimercury.
"Y-you know," Chibivenus stammered, trying to find some better descriptive terms. "Team spirit! Let's show that we know what we're all fighting for."
"Ah," Chibimercury replied. "So, in this case, I would say," she placed her hands on her hips and called out to the world, "I am Sailor Chibimercury! Our honor has been blighted by the carelessness of a false princess. On behalf of the planet Mercury's future, I will chastise you with my whips and my chains?"
"Whips and chains…?" Chibimars and Chibijupiter whispered with raised eyebrows and their jaws hanging open.
"No, that's my line," Chibivenus said, shaking her head. She paused, thought it over, then shrugged. "But, it's close enough." She turned to the others. "Everyone else now!"
Sailor Chibimars nodded slowly and wobbled around on her high heels for a second before overcoming her balance problem and managing her best menacing pose. "I am Sailor Chibimars! I fight on behalf of the Fiery Red World. Our good name has been blighted, and…" she wobbled around a little more "…even in my high-heels, I'll punish you!"
Sailor Chibijupiter clenched her fists. "I'm Sailor Chibijupiter, and you made me MAD! I'm gonna beat you up, in the name of Jupiter!!!" she half-shouted, really getting into it. She crossed her fingers and a little lightning rod shot up from behind her tiara's gem. The rod started sparking a little.
Iolanthe winced when she saw how little energy was being generated. She mulled over the fact that it was a pity that her mother would only let her control static electricity instead of giving her the ability to generate any real power.
"And I am Sailor Chibivenus," Chibivenus mock-preached to the nonexistent foe. She shook her little fists around. "I fight for love, justice," her tone grew more excited, "dance parties, all-night wine keggers," her breathing became more labored, "fairies, drunken stardragons," a tear came to her eye, "dwarves with unshaven beards, elves that love to play the lute," she sniffled, "magic pixies that you can suck on, carnival attractions, ponies that you can ride on," her voice started to crack, "toga parties, butterflies, unicorns that use bad language," she covered her heart with her right hand, "Venus, I love you! I fight for you! I fight for Truth, and Justice, and, and…"
The other three Sailor Chibiscouts grew nervous as Sailor Chibivenus went on and on about details from her homeworld, and started to sweat when she broke out into a full-blown chorus of "Venus the Beautiful," the Venusian Planetary Anthem. Her vowels became longer, dropping back into her native drawl.
o/Oh, Veee-ee-nus, oh, Veee-ee-nus, Mah love gawt shed on yooou!
Sailor Chibivenus went to her knees, weeping huge tears of joy. She took a few breaths in an effort to contain herself. "I'm sorry," she whispered to her friends, her voice returned to normal, "it's just that," she explained, "home is such a wonderful place."
"Hmm," all three hummed in semi-agreement.
"All right," Chibivenus stood back up and wiped away her tears. "But this is no time for nostalgia." She puffed out her little chest as best as she could. "Training exercises, everyone!"
Continued in Part 10-2F
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