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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 10-2H


Young Queen Neherenia looked at her two followers, her face a mask of disdain. "You are all too careless! I told you to destroy her right away!"

Sailor Jares blinked a couple of times, then coughed out a little puff of smoke. "A-*cough*-pologies, Queen Neherenia-sama."

In the far-off corner, the adopted Moon Princess lifted herself onto her hands and knees. Grimacing, she gritted her teeth and stared intensely at a single point on the floor. The yellow glow in her irises pulsed with increased frequency and her breathing sharpened.

Neherenia looked over at the girl. "Don't bother trying to repel my curse, beast. It's useless."

"Hah," Terra spat quietly, continuing her efforts to expel the magic affecting her. Straining, she continued to fight. "That's it, got it!" The flashing yellow glow turned solid.

*Vrr*Vrr* A black shard phased its way out of the girl's left eye, followed by another from her right.

*Kssh*Kssh* A moment later, the fragments disintegrated.

*Vrr-kssh*Vrr-kssh*Vrr-kssh*Vrr-kssh!* Several crystals fell out of Terra's eyes, and her irises returned to their normal color.

The sailor-suited princess breathed a relieved sigh, and stood back up. She put out her right hand, and with a flash of light, the Pink Sugar Cardiac Arrest Glaive reappeared.

Terra resumed her attack stance. She cocked an eyebrow at the two Asteroid Senshi. "Now, where were we?"

*SLASH*SLASH* The girl stumbled and her eyes bulged when she felt twenty sharp blades slice their way across her back with tremendous force. She dove down and rolled forward to escape whatever was doing that. "ARGH!"

A pair of eerie, windy giggles erupted from the darkness. Out of the shadows stepped a pair of crystalline golems whose appearance and figure approximated that of Neherenia. Their hair was about half the length of the queen's, and there were no distinguishing marks on their bodies. They also had sharp six-inch-long black claws at the ends of their fingers.

Terra checked her wounds. The slashes had ripped through her outfit and the cuts were deep, but bloodless.


Sealing blood vessels… Owwwwwwwwwwww!

Show no weakness!

Show no mercy!

Show no thigh!

Whaaaat?! With THIS skirt?

Yeesh. Boots with a miniskirt…

Do you realize what I look like in this outfit?

A strawberry and vanilla ice cream cone with a cherry on top?

Mmmmmm. Yeah…

I'd look a lot better in it if my humanoid development status were advanced to post-adolescence…

Since when do I have a fashion sense?

Since we assimilated Catseye and Jares.

Actually, it was before that—

Ughh. After I extract all useful information, I'm deleting whatever's left.

Shh! I'm in a battle, remember?!

DEEE-STROOOY!

ANNIHILATE!!

POWER OVERWHELMING!!!

Yyyyyyeah. That. Who do we get first?

Hoo-yeah, baby! I'll take the golems, you take the Senshi!

…Starlight?!

Just kidding.

…?

Knight in Shining Armor, quit going all lovey-dovey on your wife and get down here NOW!

Nah, you're doing fine. We're happy where we are.

NO, we are NOT happy where you are.

I was talking about me and my fluffy-numpkins. Have fun! Toodles.

*Click*

Grrrr!

Ignore it. Gotta get back to work.

Okay, target priorities: Get Neherenia first, then target the Asteroid Senshi and then worry about the golems, if they're still around.


Terra concluded her inner debate in only a few seconds, then glanced around once, twirled her staff in the air and chucked it blade-first at Neherenia.

*Ching* The sixteen-year-old put out her hand and caught the glaive at the gem, the blade a centimeter away from her face. "That was truly pitiful, monster." She tossed the weapon aside.

*Clang-clang* The Pink Sugar Cardiac Arrest Glaive clattered off into the shadows.

"I'm not through yet," Terra replied calmly, rolling out from the way of a swipe from the crystal golems. She paused. "Wait, did you just call me a monster?"

"Yes," Neherenia replied, and shot an intense glare at her.

A series of large rectangular black shadows rushed at the sailor-suited girl.

The golems grabbed both of Terra's arms in a lightning-fast movement, preventing her escape.

"Arrgh," Super-Duper Sailor Chibimoon growled as the claws sunk deep into her arms.

*Kssh!* The back shadows solidified around Terra. The crystal creatures let go of her and a moment later, she vanished.

The evil queen's golems laughed their eerie, gleeful laughs.

A six-foot-tall dark mirror holding the adopted princess's inert form appeared beside Neherenia.

"Amateurs," Queen Neherenia whispered, looking disapprovingly at the two Asteroid Senshi.

Sailors Akis and Jares knelt before their queen, their gaze downcast and holding up their hands in a gesture of reverence and prayer. "Please forgive our weakness, Neherenia-sama."


Smooth move, X-lax.

Well, we're caught again.

DUH!

Oh, gee, what was our first clue?

Sudden inability to move…

There's some sort of neural inhibitor trying to block all synaptic functions—

Maybe it's blocking YOUR synaptic functions, but mine are just fine!

Hey, it's just TRYING to put me into stasis. I'm fine. You fine?

We're all fine here. How are you?

My back still hurts.

Yeah, those cuts went pretty deep, didn't they?

No, it's my spine. Stress, family problems and all that.

…?

Hoookaaaaaaaay, isolating containment device's energy pattern and breaking points…………… Done.

Mirror reverberation from outside. Sound waves determined…

Visual input is down…

Listening in on the conversation… It's about us.

Containment device is nontoxic. We have the advantage of surprise on our hands, let's not waste it.

Be waiting for the appropriate time, then.

Wake me up when we're ready.

We're ready.

What? Already?!


Neherenia sighed and took several slow, purposeful steps back to sit down on her throne. "Now do you see why I told you three to be so very careful while abducting her?"

Sailors Akis and Jares nodded grimly, still kneeling.

Jares sniffed sadly. "Catseye…" A tear formed at the edge of her eye.

"Catseye was a buffoon!" Neherenia snapped. "It would be best to forget about him."

JareJare tilted her head downward in halfhearted agreement.

AkiAki pushed her gem-studded turban back into place. "Is it true, Neherenia-sama, about what they've said about her?" She looked toward the motionless girl suspended in the mirror. "Is she really—"

"She is," Neherenia replied, "an ancient creature of darkness that has come to destroy us all."

"But," JareJare began, looking at her queen, "if she's truly so evil, then why would Queen Serenity adopt her as her daughter?"

The seated young woman slapped her hand against the aim of the throne. "Do NOT mention that name again."

Sailor Jares jumped back a little. She demonstrated surprising quickness, especially considering her recent injuries at Terra's hands. "N-no, Queen Neherenia-sama, I will not mention the accursed White Moon Queen's name again in your presence— please forgive me!"

Neherenia relaxed slightly. "Good. In answer to your question, the White Moon Queen is obviously unaware of this being's true nature, else she is being controlled by it." She examined her handiwork in sealing away the girl in question. "However, the most important thing is that when all is revealed to the rulers of the solar system, the White Moon Queen will be discredited for harboring such a beast, and I will be—" she paused, unable to think of the proper words, "I will be—"

"Supreme ruler over all of the solar system, m'lady?" AkiAki suggested.

The pale girl looked upward, stars in her eyes. "Yes!"

"But you have your special mirror that keeps you company all of the time," JareJare protested, swaying back and forth, obviously experiencing an extreme form of vertigo. "What do you need with the solar system?"

Young Queen Neherenia held a hand to her chin, pondering JareJare's insight. "That is a good question…"

"Do you really want to rule solar system?" Jares ventured to ask. "Aren't we more into this to get rid of the evil and save the solar system, Queen Neherenia-sama?"

"That does sound like a better reason," Akis added. Her expression was very serious, and for once she did not seem to be in the mood for any laughter.


Oh my…

They know my dirty little secret!

Oh no, they've figured it out!

Naaaaaaaaaaw, really?!

Geeee, THERE'S a big surprise! As if we weren't being obvious enough or something. Maybe we should've been shouting it from the hilltops— nobody would have noticed! It's just—

Quiet, you!

Well, that has been the main driving force behind the other assassination attempts during the past year.

Think there's a connection between them?

There might be.

Think I should thank them? I mean, they ARE about the only source of entertainment I'd had since Starlight helped fight off that Drazi invasion force…

Oh, yes, that was quite fun… Wait a sec, THANK THEM?!

Yeah!

Weeeeeeeeeell, considering that, right now, the buggers're tryin' to kill us and have a decent chance of achieving their goal…

Uhh, right! How about a thank you card? From a safe distance?

Hmm, let me think about that one— NO!

Awww!

Wait a minute. Just how sure are they that I am who I really am? Do they know, or are they just guessing, going off rumors and hints?

Shhh, they're just about to reveal it all!


"When we began this st-struggle a year ago," Sailor Jares slurred, "I was under the impreshessshion that we would be secretly defendedinging the solar system from the threatet-tie. I know that our first attem-attem-attem… TRIES were not successesseful. The robot wos too easily beaten by some vigilante from outside a'da soler systum, and nothing else we've sent even got close to har."

Sailor Akis waved for her mentally damaged companion to keep quiet. "What Sailor Jares is trying to ask is what we plan on doing with Princess Terra, now that we finally have her."

The acrobatic Asteroid Senshi bounced up and down in agreement. "Right! Something like that. What shall we do?"

Neherenia cleared her throat in a dark, ominous way that only few can manage to perform. "We shall do the same thing we have planned to do from the beginning, Sailor Jares. All of you have failed so badly in the past, so the task falls to me."

"Oh," replied the still semi-coherent Sailor Jares, ignoring the fact that the edges of her outfit were still slowly burning from her experience with Terra. "Dat makes sense." She looked down and stuck out her lower lip, pouting.


Okay, so they're planning on killing us.

I sorta knew that already.

Oh no, look! Jares' condition is degrading! If she doesn't get some help soon, she'll… she'll…

We did sort of slice out half of her brain, you know…

Good riddance!

Well, if she gets synaptic therapy within the next few hours, she'll be back to normal in no time, but if not… hey, one less threat.

Heh. Yeah, fortunately for us, right now the only one in the room that is powerful enough to seriously hurt me is apparently taking a break.

That's funny. Neherenia doesn't sound tired.

Why else hasn't she finished me?

Good question…

Maybe she likes garish wall ornaments?

Could be…

Hmmmmmmmmmm, sensors indicate that Neherenia is charging up an attack.

All right, initiating Preemptive Strike.

Atomic batteries to power! Turbines to speed!

Lunar Tap at maximum…


"Enough of this prattle," Neherenia spat. "I am ready." In a fluid motion, she lifted herself off the throne and virtually floated over to the mirror in which Princess Terra hung encased. "Now, monster, is the moment when you die."

Queen Neherenia lifted a hand, charged with black lightning.

In the floating mirror, the Moon Princess's body jerked to face the enemy trio.

*BLAAAAAAAAAAM!!!!* *WHAAAAAAAAAARRRSSH!!!!*

An intense whirlwind-fireball flared up around the mirror, vaporizing it and spreading across the gigantic chamber.

"NO!" Jares and Akis shouted, diving in front of their queen to absorb the blast.

*WHRRRROOOAAAAAR!!!* The blast wave parted in a V-shape around the two Asteroid Senshi. They strained, huffed and puffed as they did their best to resist the onslaught. Inch by inch, they skidded backwards, closer and closer to their queen.

Neherenia shook her head, sighed and pointed her hand at the eye of the storm.

*KEEEEEEEERACK!!!* A single bolt of black lightning flashed through the fire.

"AAAAAAAAAAH!" a ten-year-old's scream split the air.

*CRASH*WRRRrrrraaaaa* The energy around them slowed and dissipated, allowing AkiAki and JareJare to take a breather. The smoke cleared to reveal Super-Duper Sailor Chibimoon imbedded upside-down in the wall on the other side of the chamber, her hair splayed out and a dazed expression on her face.

"Ow, ow, ow," Terra repeated aloud, grimacing. "That hurt, that HURT!"

"Hah!" Jares jeered. "How do YOU like it, huh?!"

In the next instant, the redhead had extracted herself from the dented wall, rolled out of the way of a few slashes from the blue crystal golems, retrieved the Pink Sugar Cardiac Arrest Glaive and pointed it at Neherenia.

*BLAM!* A swirling ball of black ribbons shot out from the Glaive's blade at the young ruler. The recoil from the blast pushed Terra back nearly a foot.

Without a word, Neherenia lifted a hand and sent another lightning bolt at the girl.

The shock dashed Terra's attack to pieces and continued on to hit her squarely in the chest.

"AAAAAAAH!" Terra screamed as she was again sent flying backwards, her Glaive torn from her grasp. She hit the ground square on her rear with a loud smack and skidded to a halt, lightly touching a pillar with her back. "Owwwwwwww!"

"I do not know what is worse," Neherenia spat and advanced a few steps forward, "your foul deeds, your pitiful defense," she hurled another wave of black energy at the girl, "OR YOUR SEETHING ARROGANCE!!!"

*BZZZZZZZZZZRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOW!!!*

"Feel my power, o 'ancient one'!"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!" Terra yelled, flailing around against the pillar in genuine, writhing agony as the bolts tore through her.

Mercifully, the shocking stopped after a few moments.

Her eyes wide and her heart beating like the oscillation of a cesium atom, Terra took a few quick, gasping breaths.


Oh… Okay. At… exactly… what point… did I lose control here?!

When were we in control?

No… there's no way!

She's… too strong!

I've seen worse!

A human… with so much… energy. How?!

Wheaties! It must be! I'm doomed!

…?

Those bolts… that lightning…

It burns… it burns through all my defenses!

Is it just me, or is this prism we're using really, REALLY pathetic, even at second-level super modes?

Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw! Really?! Like, I had NO idea!

Exactly… exactly the right frequency… Like Queen Serenity's crystal… I can't block it!

No, it's ALMOST the same frequency as Serenity's crystal, but it's off by a bit… but my defenses SHOULD have been able to blunt it at least SOME!

Well, it wouldn't have gotten through if a certain SOMEONE hadn't punched a hole through them so big you could fly a Juraian battle cruiser through it!

A side effect of using Senshi powers, I'm afraid.

What?! You mean this dinky crystal's breaking down my real powers?!

Not breaking down. The transformation is not toxic to us, but it does make us vulnerable.

And we just figured that out NOW?!

Yup!

Judging from Queen Serenity's data, it would not appear that the designers of Senshi powers had dark beings like ourself in mind when they met up and sewed the sailor-suits together.

Well, shut it off!

No can do, liíl buddy. Haven't figured out the de-transformation sequence yet.

How long would it take?

It's complex… A few hours.

A few hours?!

A few hours! Yes, I'm kinda hurtin' now. It's not easy to duplicate complex energy patterns with the magical equivalent of A DOZEN FRIGGIN' FLAMIN' ARROWS STICKIN' IN MY ENERGY MATRIX!!!

That's right.

Dang.

So that means…?

Yes, we're screwed. Royally, thoroughly, utterly and completely.

@$#^@$@$^!! GREAT! #$%#@^@^@% PERFECT!!!

We could still try to fight. Neherenia HAS to have some sort of weakness somewhere. They all do. Everyone does.

I don't know, I can't take many more of those bolts…

They make my human body feels like it's being stabbed and twisted and all that nasty stuff…

It damages my true being… I was already badly wounded from my first encounter with this sort of energy. We're about twice as close to dying now as I was then.

We must fight and finish them before it is too late.

All the attacks we are capable of producing were repelled.

We cannot win this fight.

!@$#TF$ %^#@$% #$^@$#^ @^@$ ^@#$ ^@#%^@!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I CAN DEFFFEEAAAT AAAANY SSSMALL CREATURRRE I CHOOSSSSSE!!!


Super-Duper Sailor Chibimoon clenched her teeth, rolled on to her hands and knees, and struggled to stand.

*THWACK!* In the next instant, Sailor Jares leapt at the girl and planted the heel of her right boot into Terra's cheek. "Jarekick!"

"ACK!" Terra was knocked to the floor once more.

"Jarenet!"

A net composed of magical blue fibers glowed into place underneath the fallen girl, then suddenly sprang upward and entangled her within it.

Sailor Akis, her eyes narrowed, pulled out her weapon and pointed it at Terra. "Akis Akiray!"

*BLAAAM!* The focused shot exploded around the girl, burning away the net and sending her limply spinning downward.

"Ohhhh," Terra groaned in a small, weak voice.

"You'll pay for what you did to Catseye!" Jares shrieked, and grabbed Terra's leg.

*SNAP!* Super-Duper Sailor Chibimoon grabbed JareJare's neck.

*CRUUUNCH!!!* Terra went pale. She went limp and released her grip. Her mouth opened wide in shock as she looked down to see her leg, from the knee, bent seventy degrees in the wrong direction.

Neherenia's two golems dove down to assist in the scuffle.

Terra's left shoulder-guards were split and her upper-arm filled with big, long, deep, bloodless gashes.

Summoning what strength she had left, the apparent ten-year-old held out both hands and growled, "Bakusaaaaaaaaaai Tenketsu!" She smashed her index fingers into the golems.

*CRASSSSH!* The crystalline women instantly exploded into a thousand sparkling fragments, which spread out across the room in a double V-shaped pattern. Super-Duper Sailor Chibimoon then delivered a sucker-punch to Jares' chin.

"Owwww!" Jares stumbled backward, holding her jaw.

*KERACKKKKKKKKKK* Then, yet another bolt of black lightning blasted Terra into the wall again. She fell onto her back this time, to see a dozen more giggling crystal Neherenia clones grinning down at her.

"Heeew-boy," the wounded galactic destroyer cursed in Venusian.


ARGGGGGGGGGGH!!!

Thathurt-thathurt-thathurt-thathurt-thathurt-thathurt-thathuuuurt!

ACK!

WHAT WAS THAT?!

EEEEP!

Damage report!

Humanoid: deep flesh wounds on shoulder and back, torn knee joint. True damage: bad—

Can't you FEEL it?!

Pain-pain-pain-pain-pain-pain-pain-pain-pain-paaaaaaaaaain!!!

Not good.

$#@% @#!^%@^ !@^! #^$#^#$ @##@ $@!$!$@ @%@$ ^&&&(*% *%%*^^!!!!

Fighting doesn't seem to be working.

DUH!

Quiet, you!

What do we do?

Turn into a big snake?

Nah, never helps.

Surrender?

It's worth a shot!


"I give up!" Terra announced.

"Akis Akiray!!!"

*BLAAAAAM!!!*


Gee, that didn't work.

They're out to kill me. They're not going to stop until they have done so.

I'm dead meat, then.

Yup!

Buyin' the farm.

Yeah.

Kickin' the bucket.

Uh huh…

Shufflin' off to the happy huntin' ground.

Yyyyeah, okay. Even with the Lunar energy I'm drawing, I don't have enough power to defend against firepower of this magnitude right now!

I can take one, maybe two more direct hits.

Time to consider new options.

Teleportation? Blocked. Distress calls? Blocked. Energy drain? No time. Self-destruct? Oh, yeah, like that's gonna help…

Last option: Deploy the Knight in Shining Armor.

Atomic Starlight Knight: Your services are required.

…Work it out yourself. I've got my own life now.

?!?!


Terra, breathing slowly and shallow, whispered through clenched teeth. "Oh. No. You. Don't."

"Do you give up?!!?!" Sailor Jares screamed at the fallen, injured girl.

"She's despondent and incoherent," Sailor Akis said.

"Who? Me?" Jares asked, as spaced-out as ever.

"Err, yes, you too."

"My," the redheaded Super-Senshi breathed in a harsh, ragged voice, "survival… is… yours."

Neherenia edged closer to her prey, a cruel smile crossing her lips as she watched the little one suffer.


My survival is your survival.

You were created to serve me.

If I die, you will soon follow.

What do I need to do?

You are near the Gate of Time and have its Guardian very close. Dispose of the Guardian and use the Gate to warn us of the assassination attempt. A split second in the past is all that will be necessary to send the message.

Dispose of…?! That's my WIFE you're talking about!

Correct. Not even the Senshi of Pluto would suspect such a thing at this point. Do it.

I will not!

If you do not, we will die.

I love her more than life itself!!!


Terra's struggling form let off a low, burning growl.

Neherenia seemed amused. "Are you still trying to win? How extraordinary!"


There is no 'you.' There is only 'we' and 'I.'

Find another plan. I'm not hurting her!

There is no other plan. Your vessel is not equipped for time travel, and it would take too long to construct a device to send the message. You do not have enough energy by yourself to do it. For all intents and purposes, we are already dead. You will go back to reclaim our life.

NO!

YES!

NOOOOO!!!

You will obey.

I'll resist you!

We will carry out our mission.

I have my free will! I'm strong to fight you off!

Your will is my will, minion.

My desires are your desires. Not the other way around.

But… I. Love. Her!

We do not concur.

You are but an energy construct. You have no will. Your will is mine. Our wills are one. Our will is to dispose of Sailor Pluto and take control of the Gate of Time.

Move it, flunky!

Resistance is futile.

All your base are belong to us.

What you say?!

You have no chance to survive. Make your time.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! ! !


Sailor Jares looked down at the girl, puzzled as to why it seemed that she was fighting and had just concluded some sort of intense, bitter internal with herself. Terra breathed an exhausted sigh and tried to stand, but found that her rent knee-joint was not up to the task.

*THWACK!* Sailor Akis rushed forward and kicked Terra in the ribs, tumbling the ten-year-old girl head-over-heels a meter backward.

The girl's facial muscles tensed. She held her side to make the others believe that the pitiful physical attack had really hurt. In fact, it did, but it was nothing compared to the damage that Neherenia's lightning had caused. "Unnnh!" She sat up as best she could, grimacing.

Three minutes, she calculated. All I need are three minutes time for Starlight to get rid of the Guardian and use the Gate. Aloud, she called to Queen Neherenia, "All right," Terra breathed hard, "I've fought you and found your inane little powers useless and hilarious. I'm willing to negotiate terms of your surrender!"

The black-clad, pale-skinned queen of darkness stared at her, as did the two Asteroid Senshi.

"Surrender now, and I might let you live," Terra repeated, lunging forward and swinging her arm and hand in a clawing motion. "Pitiful little creatures!"

Neherenia shook her head and her lips twisted into a snarl.

Please let it work, please let it work, Terra prayed to whoever might be listening, bracing herself for the worst.


Somewhere, in a trans-cosmic role-playing game that is beyond all comprehension by ordinary mortals, the Lord of Nightmares rolled a pair of dice. As they landed, She frowned at the results. Across the Table, the Great Green Arkleseizure snickered at Her.

Soon afterward, L-sama threw a fit, tore up all Her cards, knocked over the table and refused to play anymore, going off into the corner to pout.


The sixteen-year-old queen's expression softened and she started to giggle. "Hee-hee-hee-hee!"

Sailor Jares thought about it for a second, then chuckled along with her queen.

Sailor Akis frowned for several moments, but finally got whatever joke it was that the other two were laughing about. "KAH KAH-KAH-KAH-KAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

"Yes!" Terra whispered, clenching her fist in triumph. She crawled away as fast as she could.

Queen Neherenia threw her head back as her giggles intensified into a loud, malevolent chuckle. Her two companions were similarly affected.

"OH!" Jares laughed a deep belly laugh. "THAT's rich! Hah hah!"

"BWAHA-HA-HA-HA-HAA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!"

"KAH-KAH-KAH-KAAAAAH!"

"Hah! Ha-ha-hah!"

Terra hurried over to hide behind Neherenia's throne. Trying to breathe as quietly as she could manage, she dialed up her Knight in Shining Armor.

Status report!

I refuse to fight my dearest love any longer!

Terra groaned, her back to the throne. Oh, don't start THAT again!

I mean it!

Your will is irrelevant, minion! Get through to the Gate.

"Stupid distracted energy construct, I should have made it a neuter," Terra muttered as she effortlessly squashed the new rebellion through quick exercise of her inner being. Now get back to work.

…Yes. Our will be done.

That's better.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the throne, the trio continued their jittery bouts of jocularity.

"OHO HO HO HOOOOO!" Neherenia nearly doubled-over, desperately holding her sternum in an effort to keep it from splitting apart.

"She," Jares said between hyena-ish fits, "thinks that— hah hah hah!"

"Kak-kahkahkah-kaaaaah!"

Terra closed her eyes and concentrated, sending as much energy as she could spare to aid her Knight in Shining Armor. Through the link, she could tell that he was in trouble. By the closeness of a set of high-pitched, eerie windy giggles, she could tell that he wasn't the only one.

The injured galactic destroyer rolled from her seated position, barely avoiding the skewering claws of two blue crystal golems. Though laughing, these minions did not seem to be impaired in any manner whatsoever.

The girl made a quick, sweeping glance, checking around her. In her few seconds of carelessness, she had been surrounded by them.

Oh my…

Oh dear…

Oh @#%@…

Two golems grabbed each of her legs, another two got hold of her arms, and one more made a quick, succinct slash at her heart with its claws.

Terra clenched her teeth.

*CHING!* A magical barrier sprang up a centimeter from the ten-year-old's chest, deflecting the stabbing implements. One thing she really didn't need right now was for her human body to die. That fragile carbon-based shell was one of the only things protecting her true self at the moment.

*Ching-ting-ch-ch-ch-ching-ting!* Repeated attempts by the crystal monsters resulted in the same effect. Giggling in their strange manner and never dropping their smiles, they brought Terra around the throne and threw her at the feet of their master.

*Whump* Terra's face slapped into the floor and she skidded along the polished stone floor in front of Neherenia.

"Haa, eh-haah," the pale queen finally gained the upper hand in her battle to stop laughing. She took several deep breaths and looked down at the injured princess. In the next instant, her sense of humor vanished. "So, you thought that such a simple mind trick as that could save you?"

Terra glanced sideways at the young woman.

Uh oh…

She's powering another bolt!

Shields!!!

*KRACKLE!* Black lighting lashed from Neherenia's fingertips, blasting into the girl's body and sending her flying back several meters.

Princess Terrifying felt a pain beyond even what she had experienced before assuming a human form.

AAAAAAAAAAH!!!

AAAAAAAAAAH!!!

AAAAAAAAAAH!!!

Shields were ineffective.

No kidding!!!

*CRASH!* Another bolt sent her against the wall.

IT'S BURNING ME AWAY!!!

@%##^$@ #%&^@$& @$%& @$%&@$% &%!!!!!!!

*KRAAASH*CRACK *KERRRRRRRRACKLE-CRACKLE-KRACKLE-CRACKLE!!* Several barrages more of the dark energy lashed out, knocking Terra every which way.

Neherenia stopped, allowing her target to slump to the ground.

Terra found that her abilities to move had suddenly become seriously hampered. "Ugh…"

Can't… move!

The sixteen-year-old queen of darkness walked ominously toward where the redhead lay. She reached down and snapped a viselike grip around the girl's neck, lifting her upwards and staring her in the eyes. "You are mine."

Drained and damaged as she was, Terra could barely keep her eyes open.

This is the Atomic Starlight Knight, reporting failure.

Wh… what?

Sorry, I lost. My… The Senshi of Pluto lives, nearly unharmed. Mission aborted: Mission was a failure. I'm returning all the energy I have left over.

WHAT!?!

That's right.

Terra drew a breath as the small rush of power trickled through her. She stared Neherenia straight in the eyes and frowned when she found out how the battle for the time gate was conducted.

Starlight, you wasted your energy doing practically nothing to stop Sailor Pluto!

I sure did, didn't I? Heh heh heh.

Terra grimaced.

Then we die together, minion!

If that's what it takes, kid.

?!?!?!

The queen shook her head as she saw the fire in Terra's eyes. "Defiant to the last, I see."

Negotiate! Negotiate! Negotiate!

"Look," Terra whispered weakly, "maybe we can work this out."

"Too late for that, BEAST!" Neherenia said through bared teeth, showing off a pair of short, fang-like canines. "Die, suffering in agony!"

She's powering up!

I CAN'T take another hit like that!

This is it!

Game over, man! Game over! See ya on the other side!

All we can do now is die gracefully, no whimpering, no bribe attempts or blubbering…

?!!?!?

Forget THAT!

I don't wanna dieeeeeeeeee!!!

"You wouldn't blast a girl with glasses, wouldja?" Terra asked, donning a pair of blackened spectacles.

*WHAM!* Neherenia's spare fist crashed into Terra's face, shattering the girl's spectacles.

*CRUNCH* The Queen tightened her grip.

"Hey," Terra forced out through what, by now, should have been a thoroughly crushed larynx, "c'mon, what kind of person would beat up on an innocent little girl?" Little fragments of her glasses fell off of her face as she spoke.

"HAH!"

"And you!" Terra glanced over to the Asteroid Senshi. "Why are you helping her?"

Both Asteroid Senshi shot her an evil, pitiless glare. "Die!"

"Can't you see that this is wrong?" Terra choked as the grip around her neck tightened. "Is this… is this…"

The air suddenly grew very still.

"Is THIS what you call honor?" a richly angry, deep voice asked.

Neherenia stopped, her expression growing puzzled. "What—"

*SHRIIIIIIOOOOOONG!* In the shadows, a yellow crescent moon illuminated the handsome face of a blond man.

*KEEEERAAAAAAAAAACKKKKKKKKKK!!!*SMACK!*THWACK!* The man dashed forward and imbedded his knuckles deep into Neherenia's cheek, snapping her head back. He followed up with a pair of kicks to her stomach, knocking her down onto her throne.

Terra landed lightly on the floor. Exhausted, she could only watch as the new fighter proceeded to make mincemeat out of her attackers. "Whoa…"

*BAM!*THWACK!*POW!* A punch, a kick and a knifehand brought down Sailor Akis. "AAAAAAH!" *SLAM!*CRUNCH*WHAPP!*

*WHAMMMMO!* Sailor Jares was flung against a stone support pillar, splintering it. "GaaaaaaAAAAAAAAH!" *CRACK-CRACK-CRACK!* *CRAAAAAAAAAASH!*

*SHATTER!* The mystery man smashed his hand through a golem's head and blasted it aside with his knee.

*CRAAASH!* The golem was obliterated.

*KSSSH-KSSSH-KSSSH-KSSSH-KSSSSSSSSSSREOW!!!* One by one, the other crystal creations were eliminated by the muscular blondís feet and fists. *BAM-BAM-BAM!*SHA-SHA-SHA-SHATTER!!!*

The fight, from start to finish, lasted about ten seconds.

"Neherenia!" the blond man called out, placing himself between Terra and the queen. His stance was that of a warrior who had seen, and won, countless wars and battles.

Recovering from the initial shock and coping with the stinging sensations of her broken ribs and cheekbone, Queen Neherenia stood back up, narrowed her eyes, and glared at the man. "Giles!"

"I'm so glad you remember me," Giles shot back. "Now explain yourself, young lady!"

"I," Neherenia began, trying to dab away the beyond-crimson-red blood going down the side of her mouth, "am ridding the solar system of its greatest threat. That is what I am doing!"

The blond guy, his crescent moon still glowing, glanced back at Terra, who was looking very badly hurt and forlorn at the moment. He returned his gaze to the woman. "Uh huh. Right, I believe you." His expression reflected the opposite of his words.

"Believe it, Giles!" Neherenia demanded. "This girl is a BEAST!"

"Yeah!" JareJare agreed with a cough. "She killed Catseye! Giles, do you remember Catseye?" She pointed to a pile of ash off in the corner.

"I didn't kill him," Terra forced out. "He committed suicide, right in front of me!"

"Catseye?!" Giles exclaimed, and shuddered. "Well, if he was attacking this fine young Sailor Senshi along with you, I say: good riddance!"

"Y-you can't mean that!" Jares cried.

"It does not matter!" Neherenia half-growled. She lifted her hands toward the man, gathering together a portion of her immense powers. "Die with her, if you like her so much!"

Giles took a two-foot-long by three-inch-wide leather scabbard off of his back. The heavily worn, yet sturdy material showed signs of constant, extended use.

"Ha!" Neherenia called back. "Even with your sword, you are NO match for my powers now!"

*Shiiiinnnn!* The man grasped the sword's handle and began to withdraw it. The exposed blade glittered a bright, gold color.

"Ah, I see you've found a new one, Giles. I am not impressed."

*SHIIIIIIINNN!* After about four feet of metal were exposed, the blade kept on coming.

Neherenia's overconfident smirk shifted into a frown.

*ShhhhHHHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIINGG!!!* Finally, the sword's tip was exposed. Giles tossed aside the scabbard and pointed his sword at the young queen. *Vrrrooo-vrooo!* The massive blade hummed, ionizing the air around it as it moved.

Terra's eyes sparkled in appreciation. "Hot dang…"

Su… SUGOI!!!

That's not a sword. That's a SWORD, man!

I've seen better.

Hey, it's better than that wussy junk the Juraians had!

True…

In total, the sword was about seven feet long and glowed with an immense, rippling yellow energy. Arcane and detailed runes shimmered along its edges. The elegantly decorated hilt curved upward in the shape of a crescent. The handle was large enough for Giles to grip it with both hands. However, despite the length and thickness, the sword's wielder moved it around as if it were light as a feather.

"Are you impressed yet?" Giles asked, his voice impatient.

"Yes!" the two Asteroid Senshi replied, raising their hands in the universal gesture of surrender and backing off. "We're impressed! We're impressed!"

"Then," Giles growled, his voice like an enraged lion, "LEAVE!"

Sailors Akis and Jares knelt down quickly, facing their queen. "We're so sorry, Queen Neherenia-sama! We are no match for him! Please forgive us! PLEASE!"

Neherenia ignored the two, not tearing her eyes off of the tall, blond man in front of her. "Humph!"

"Bai-bai!" the Asteroid Senshi cried, then held hands, concentrated, and vanished in a puff of grey smoke.

"Go home, like them, and I might forget I saw you," Giles added, tilting his sword for emphasis. "Now."

Terra rubbed her injured shoulder as she watched Neherenia's scowl return and the dreaded black lightning crackle between her long-nailed fingers.

"This is your last chance, Rennie," Giles insisted.

Neherenia, the Dark Moon Queen, laughed. "No, Giles. It is yours!" She clenched her teeth, drawing her lips back, and put all of her strength into her assault.

*KRACK!* The lightning zigzagged toward the tall man.

Unflinching, Giles turned the flat of his blade to face the strike.

*Whaa-shiiiiiiiiiink!* The dark energy reflected off of the sword's surface and returned itself to its sender.

Neherenia blinked. "What?! This cannot be!" She crossed her arms protectively in front of herself.

*BZZRRRRRRT!!!* The young woman skidded back on her feet as her own energies were turned against her.

"NO! THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!" Neherenia screamed. She thrust out her palm at Giles.

A series of black, shadowy rectangles sped toward the man. Once more, he inclined his sword to intercept the attack.

*Bling!* The evil magicks didn't even get close to Giles, bouncing off a barrier two meters away from him. The darkness in the rectangles shifted to a blinding white and sped twice as fast back at Neherenia.

The pale woman only watched, agape, as her spell headed toward her. At the last moment, she raised her hands to block it, but it was too late. The magic slammed into her head-on.

*WHAAAAAAaa-SHIIIIIIIIIINK!!!* In the next instant, Neherenia's inert form was enclosed in a large, white mirror. Then, mirror and all, the pale woman vanished in a nebula of sparkling dust.

Giles paused to take a breath and swept his gaze around room to check for additional threats. Finding none, he took up his scabbard and sheathed his sword.

*SHHHHHHHHHHiiiiiiiiiinggggggggggk!*

The glowing crescent moon on the blond man's forehead decreased in luminosity, reverting to a solid yellow color.

"The battle is over," Giles announced, placing the scabbard on his back. He turned to kneel down by Terra. "The forces of good triumph again, eh?"

Terra nodded slowly while the handsome man started to help her up.

"Can you walk?"

Terra checked her injured knee. She winced as she touched it and shook her head.

*Rumble* The room started to shake and bits of stone fell from the supports.

Giles carefully placed his arms under the small girl and lifted her up, her head resting against the silken fabric of his vest. "Then I shall carry you to safety, young Sailor Senshi."


Whoa…

Giggle. Drool. Giggle!

I like this guy!!!

He reminds me of my last…

?!?!?!

Errr, elder Jupiter's last… overfriendly upperclassman.

He's cute!

And he DOES look kind of familiar, y'know.

Like we used to know each other in a past life or some junk?

Yeah…

Life is good!

YEAH!

I'm gonna live! I'm gonna live! I'm gonna live!

And Starlight, you're gonna die. Horribly, slowly, and in ways that even I cannot comprehend. And I can comprehend a LOT.

…?! WHAT!??

For insurrection and stupidity, you will be terminated.

?!!??!

But until I execute you, I have a job for you, since you're a free, single bachelor now and've got a starship.

Uhhhh?!

Hunt down the Asteroid Senshi, Sailors Jares and Akis.

Errr, they're already on the run. They'll never trouble us again.

Unless they blab to someone else about what we did. We don't want any evidence or witnesses lying around, do we?

Now, be a naughty little minion and slaughter them brutally for me, will you?

Dismember anyone they may have told, while you're at it.

…But…!

There's a nice chap. Jolly good!

I've already lost my… Sailor Pluto. I'd lose my commission and blow our cover if I were to do such a thing.

Make it look like an accident, then!

Do it or face the penalty.

Good lad. Off you go, run back to your starship like a wounded puppy with your tail between your legs, blast off, and get those pesky Asteroid Senshi for us.

Do it, conquered soul-husk!

Hmmm??!?

Yes. Our will be done.

That's better!

 


Continued in Part 10-2I

Chapter 10-2I
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Old Gray Wolf