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.
Foreword: G'day again! Rantage first. Got some commentary on the previous chapters that Arby's characterization may have been a bit excessive, and his dialogue's painful to read and such. So… I may modify a few of the choppy bits in future chapters such that it's the translation from his unique brand of Cockney into dictionary-perfect English. One reader was actually hoping for a version of NETTG without any ArbyFish in it. ^_^
But… NETTG without ArbyFish? That'd be like having a flambé without lighting it on fire! Wouldn't be proper. Gotta take your silliness with the story. Else there'd be no ups and downs and such. But… if I wrote NETTG in pure seriousness, with lots of dark, it'd be a radically different creature. Much more depressing, and perhaps WAFFy in parts.
Later on, the story does turn sort of dark-ish. Larry F, who works with me on the comic and hosts my fanfics, warned me to warn the readers that this story isn't quite like your typical NETTG. It's like reaching for a drink and expecting Kool-Aid, he mentioned, only to discover that it's been spiked with Everclear. The story at the end is quite different than the story when it starts. The one codenamed Chesu, who works on the sprite comic, says it's like it was written by 14 different people. I fear I may have employed different personalities in a similar way to how some of my own characters have difficulty sorting out their thoughts.
Now a bit about the story where it's at. Terra Incognita started as a ditzy girl without working access to much of her brain. That changed radically when the Star Light Knight came up and whacked her in the forehead with a gas-powered electric guitar, unsealing the portions of her mind that had been locked away. Now, she's become a magical girl of the classic sort. She even has a cute animal sidekick to boot!
Unfortunately, this magical girl doesn't get a very helpful assistant. She would have absolutely loved to have someone like Luna or Artemis to work and reason with. She would have done well with someone such as Mokona, and would have done great things with a creature like Ryo-Ohki…. Had she had been given the opportunity to work with Yuuno from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (who can freeze time, trap enemies, travel through dimensions, use esoteric magic, and who's really a cute boy, to boot!), Terra would have been eternally grateful….
However, she's not that lucky. This is NETTG, so that means she has to work with Arby the ArbyFish.
Arby (snuggles up to Terra): Roight! We'z gonna be chums, we is! (Terra cries)
I know. I'm mean. And it only gets worse. ^_^
Having said that, I present…
Chapter 3: Whack the Negamafoozles!
As Terra rushed toward the burning jewelry shop, a part of her mind chided her for not having called the police or fire department. Another part of her psyche retorted by saying that if the building was on fire, the automatic systems would have already tripped alarms, not to mention any passers-by that might have already called.
No, as Sailor Chibimoon, she'd have a different task ahead of her, namely that of eliminating any monsters that might impede the progress of the fire department when they arrived. In the words of the ArbyFish that flew closely behind her, there'd be Negamafoozles, and she'd have to whack them.
What kind of a name for a group of villains was Negamafoozles, anyway? She pondered. Weren't real villains supposed to have some sort of dashing, frightening name? The Legions of Darkness, now those would be awesome to fight against, or even the Xenon Predators. Something fearsome to honorably fight against, and become known as a heroine throughout the land.
Searching her feelings, she discovered that despite half-abandoning her superstar idol model dreams, she still craved for a bit of fame. She wanted to make a difference in the world, and get recognized for it. Power to change things, skill to do them well and in an impressive manner, and notoriety gained by those virtues. The life of an adventurer was what she craved, and it was a kind of life she would easily be denied of in this modern, dull society.
On the other hand, she considered as she glanced down and fingered the material of her skirt, Sailor Chibimoon wasn't quite the right name for the best and brightest of heroines. Even being called Supergirl would have been an improvement over what amounted to "Mini-Moon." Plus, where there were great battles, people got hurt, most especially the key players in them. And when it was all over, sometimes all that was left was an empty battlefield and razed landscapes. There really was no good point to fighting, in the end.
On second thought, maybe she really didn't want to be a heroine.
"No!" Terra shook her head and fought to regain her determination. "Naru's in trouble and I have to save her." Besides, even if all that was left in the end was a blackened landscape, not fighting at all would be much worse. After all, that's why the fighters were willing to leave behind razed villages in the first place: in giving up, what the enemy could do to you paled in comparison dying in battle. It was this line of reasoning that brought forth a certain battlecry.
"VICTORY OR DEATH!" Sailor Chibimoon shouted as she charged into the burning Osa-P, a fist raised above her head.
People were passed out all over the place — customers from earlier, having fallen prey to their energy-draining jewelry. Amidst charred debris and shattered glass, a withered monster grasped Naru by the neck, squeezing and extracting a fine white mist from her body.
"Stop right there!" Terra shouted at the monster.
"What?" the monster said, turning its neck around one hundred eighty degrees. "Who are you?!"
Terra took a deep breath. She had been waiting for this. It was time to pick a new secret superheroine name she could be proud of, one much better than the one she'd been given. "I am… the Eternal Warrior, the Defender of the Earth and Paladin of Justice. In the name of my ancestors and the honor of the righteous, I am the Holy Warrior—"
"Nope! Don't listen to 'er," Arby interrupted, fluttering in front of her. "She's really just th' li'l anklebiter, Sailor Chibi-moon."
"Little Anklebiter Sailor Chibimoon!" Naru choked. There were just some things, apparently, that one must balk at, no matter how short of breath one may be. "What kind of superheroine name is that?!"
Chibimoon glared at Arby, who smiled pleasantly in return.
"Wot?" Arby asked innocently. "Yew's quoite chibby, yew is! Oye'z seen you, packin' away all that oyce cream."
"No you haven't!"
"Well, Oye moight 'ave."
"Then, 'Sailor Chibimoon,'" screeched the monster, "you will die along with her!" It released its grip and dove at Terra, but then slowed down and smiled a fanged grin. "No, I know your type. I've got something much better in mind." It raised its claws high and, amidst the burning wreckage, the former customers arose with evil grins and vacant eyes. "Perish by the hands of your fellow humans!"
"Oh my," breathed Terra. She hadn't counted on demonic possession. Energy-draining monsters with claws she could deal with, but innocent people being forced to attack her? That… that, well, simply wasn't proper. It wasn't very nice, either.
Sailor Chibimoon turned around and bolted, the possessed victims in hot pursuit. Arby grabbed onto her trailing hair as she fled.
The Negamafoozle turned back to Naru. "Now, where were we? Oh, yes. I was going to take your energy, and you were going to die."
"Some rescue that turned out to be," Naru muttered as she backed away, nearly tripping over burning debris.
"Stop right there!" another girl's voice shouted from the entranceway.
"What now?!" cried the monster, turning to face the new silhouette in the doorway.
"I am… Sailor Moon, Champion of Justice! I right wrongs and punish evil, and in the name of the Moon, you're punished!"
Naru sighed. "Oh dear, here we go again."
While this "heroine" thing hadn't gone as well as Terra had hoped, she still wouldn't have felt nearly as bad if her strange new mascot wouldn't keep taunting her about it.
"Wot koind a' chicken is yew?" Arby inquired while hopping on the girl's head. "Froied chicken? Baked chicken? Roast chicken? Curry chicken—"
"You're not helping, Arby!" Terra panted.
"Well, yew's a chicken a' sum koind, isn't'chew? Ya's runnin' loike one. Left a yellow streak trailin' clean back ta Oyereland, yew did!"
"There was nothing I could do! And look, they're after me!" Despite the girl having sprinted away, the possessed people had kept up with her quite well. During the chase, her mind kicked back in again and started thinking, informing her that she couldn't run forever. She wasn't overweight or anything, but she didn't exercise much and wasn't in the best of athletic form. Plus, she didn't feel any different than she did before "transforming." If she got any powers from it, she certainly couldn't feel them. What she got amounted to basically just a costume — and not much of a costume, at that. It was more like what young gold-digging Japanese socialites might wear to impress rich, lecherous old men that might happen to pass their way. Actually, if that were the case, then….
Terra grimaced. "ARBY! WHAT HAVE YOU GOTTEN ME INTO?!"
The ArbyFish fluttered in front of her as she ran, smiling the same catlike grin he always wore. "Oh, well, ya's gots ta dress up teenage girls in miniskirts and send 'em out ta foight Negamafoozles. Wot'd th' ten'acle monsters do if we didn't? Can't 'ave cheerful li'l snorts goin' about their daily loives wi'out a roight noice challenge ta prove their worth. Then they'd get awl stuck up n' worry about makeup n' gettin' good grades in school, gettin' a good job… can't 'ave that! Wouldn't be proppa' if we did!"
"You had better be joking!"
"Well Oye moight be. If ya really wanted me ta be, y'see."
Finally, Chibimoon's stamina ran out. Leaning over against her legs and gasping for breath, she slowed to a halt.
Arby perched on Terra's shoulder. "Loike Oye said, yew's quite chibby, yew is. Just a li'l froied chibby sushi."
Terra wanted to cry. She was out of breath, being chased by innocent people controlled by an evil force, and she'd just left a friend to die. It was horrible. Still, she wished Arby would quit rubbing it in.
"Yew calls that croyin'? 'Ere, OYE'LL give ya somethin' ta croie about!" The ArbyFish in question spit on his flipper and rubbed it onto the girl's neck. "Don't wash that," he advised when he had finished.
"What?!" Terra's confusion grew. "AAAH!" Her neck burned with an extraordinary pain. The burn spread to her forehead and her eyes were blinded for a moment. She wept from the shock and sank to her knees. "What… what did you go and do that for?!"
"Sendin' a distress signal," Arby explained.
"Causing me pain and making me cry?!"
"A'course! Perfectly proppa' procedure. Can't make a mushroom wi'out breakin' a few 'eads."
Terra stared at him. His statement made very little sense indeed. She saw the possessed horde draw near, but that's when something wonderful happened.
There was a flash and a red, long-stemmed rose embedded itself into the asphalt between her and the possessed people. High in the air, atop a lamppost, stood a masked man in a tuxedo. The mask didn't hide too much — it covered his eyes but still left much of his face exposed — but that was enough to conceal his identity… not that Terra would recognize him anyway, just having come to town.
The advancing horde stopped and looked up towards him.
Something about his appearance made him seem incredibly attractive to Sailor Chibimoon. She was a little farsighted — she might even need reading glasses in a few years — so she had no trouble seeing the concerned expression the man wore.
"Who are you?" Chibimoon inquired.
"I am Tuxedo Kamen," the man replied. "Believe in yourself, Sailor… Moon?"
Terra nodded. "Yes. Chibimoon. How did you know?"
"That's not important," Tuxedo Kamen said quickly. "But what is important is that you have the power to stop them if you only believe in yourself—"
One possessed woman chucked her heavy purse at him and hit him squarely on the chest.
The masked man fell off the lamppost, but reacted quickly to roll into his fall and landed without any harm. He got back up and was about to fade into the all-concealing shadows when the group of mindless drones fell upon him en masse.
"Tuxedo Kamen," Chibimoon repeated dreamily to herself. Her mind once again lay dormant as she watched him struggle against his attackers. "Yay, Tuxedo Kamen! Go for it! All right!" Looking at her eyes, one might have imagined that they were beating hearts, full of love for her rescuer.
"GAARGH!" the man yelled as he was beaten in sensitive areas and mercilessly clawed at. He took out his cane and frantically retaliated. His jacket got ripped off and his shirt torn in the violent scuffle.
Now, Terra liked a good-looking guy in a tuxedo. If somewhere along the line, he mystically ended up wearing less than that, so much the better. She continued cheering him on. Part of her mind reactivated and wished that she had a camera.
The clicking next to her drew her attention and she saw Arby focusing in on the battle with a large mushroom with a lens in it and labeled indentations on the side that he kept pushing.
"How ingenious. A 'mush-camera'," Terra whispered. "Promise me you'll give me copies of those pictures."
"Roight!" Arby nodded. "Oye'll 'ave 'em ready at th' gift shop in less n' a week."
"Well ya gotta sell postcards. Wot'd th' economy do if we didn't?"
"Ah, the economy. Right." Chibimoon started to think about that, but then shrugged and decided against it. Life was considerably less painful around Arby if she didn't think too hard about anything he said. Turning back to Tuxedo Kamen, she saw that despite him missing most of his shirt, he still had his top hat and mask on. "Ooooh, beefcake!"
Despite having knocked out a couple dozen people, there were still a large number of attackers Tuxedo Kamen still had to deal with.
"Arby?" Terra asked. "Is there any way I can help him?"
"Well, a'course!" Arby handed her the "Moon Prism Power for Dummies" brochure.
Sailor Chibimoon took it and flipped through it. "Hey, it says here I pull out my wand and say, 'Pink Sugar Heart Attack.'"
"But Arby, you didn't give me a wand!"
"Is yew loicensed for one?"
"I… don't think so."
"Well, then, we can't very well be givin' yew a wand if ya's not loicensed for it. A wand's a deadly weapon, it is. Ya could get foined for carryin' somethin' loike that." He handed Terra a large mushroom. "'Ere, troie this instead."
"This?" The sailor-suited attempted heroine took the giant 'shroom and pointed it at the possessees. "This isn't going to hurt them is it? Pink Sugar Heart Attack?"
"Nope," said Arby. "Just a Portobello."
Terra gave the ArbyFish a meaningful, unflattering look as she beaned him on the head with the mushroom, which squelched in response, leapt out of her hands, and ran off into the bushes.
"An 'orribly mutated Portobello," Arby explained proudly. "It'll burrow unda' th' ground now n' start subterranean colonies."
"What… but… no! No, that's not… right?" Terra gave up and stopped thinking for the moment. She turned and saw her rescuer knock out the last of their attackers. "Way to go, Tuxedo Kamen! You won! I knew you could!"
Tuxedo Kamen looked at her strangely. He had a few cuts on his bare chest, his mask was hanging at an angle, and he looked about ready to fall over. Terra ran over to support him. She took his arm and put it behind her neck, effectively helping him support his weight.
"Thank you so much for rescuing me!" the girl beamed at him. He smelled nice, too, she noted to herself. He was good-looking, heroic, and liked formal wear. All in all, this fit well into her definition of a "cute boy." She wondered if she should call home and get her mother to fill out that permission slip before she could bring him over to visit.
Tuxedo Kamen regained his breath and stood up tall under his own strength. "Thank you, Sailor Moon—"
"Chibimoon," Terra corrected.
"—Sailor Chibimoon. This is obviously your first time at this. But what I said was true. If you believe in yourself — and perhaps train a bit — you can beat any enemy. These people here will be all right when they wake up." The man looked a little chagrined. "But next time, please do some of the fighting yourself."
The redhead quickly nodded. "Yes, yes, of course!"
"Now I must go," Tuxedo Kamen said as he walked out of the radius of the lamplight, and disappeared into the night.
"What a nice guy," Terra whispered to herself. Her mind kicked back in and informed her that maybe, perhaps, she should go back to the Osa-P to see if there was still a chance to save Naru. Of course, after all the time she just took, the place would have burned down without help. "Naru…."
Tuxedo Kamen's head hurt, and not just because of all the heavy briefcases and purses he had been hit with. On his quest to find himself, he had suddenly felt the incredible urge to protect someone — someone very important to him and key to unlocking his memories.
Her name, he somehow knew, would be Sailor Moon. The perky redhead he'd encountered hadn't been at all what he expected. He thought he'd find some sort of typical damsel in distress, not an incompetent, cowardly Sailor Senshi. Still, if protecting her would help him uncover his past, he would do it without hesitation.
The pillar of light that came from her — a beacon of sorts — had been unmistakable, though. She had the sort of power that could help him. At least now, he knew who to look for. As he thought about this, his own mind seemed to waver and fade, and he woke up as Chiba Mamoru, in bed in his apartment.
"Weird dream," he moaned. "VERY weird dream."
Then he saw the gashes on his body from the fight. "GAH!"
"Wow, Sailor Moon," Naru gushed, stars in her eyes. "Not only did you manage to destroy the youma and rescue me, but you also dashed into the fire, broke into the safe, and rescued my mother who was being held there!"
Sailor Moon brushed back one of her ankle-length blonde ponytails and blushed. "Aw, it was nothing."
Naru turned towards the Knight in green Shining Armor, adding, "And when that monster called for its master, who opened a gate and summoned dozens of evil creatures into our dimension… Star Light Knight, it was really incredible when you pulled out that huge gun and blasted them all to kingdom come. And taking on their master like that? I thought you'd have been a goner, but no, you sent him running back to his home dimension with his tail between his legs!"
The Star Light Knight blew the smoke off the barrel of his large gatling weapon, hefting it on his shoulder. "We really went ahead and kicked some righteous donkey, didn't we, Sailor Moon!?" He high-fived the blonde Sailor Senshi by whom he stood.
"Thank you for helping me, Star Light Knight!" Sailor Moon squealed with gratitude.
"Anyway, it's been fun," S.L.K. said, patting his companion on her back. He gave her a kiss on the forehead and began to walk off. "See you some other night, okay, kid?"
Sailor Moon giggled and hopped up and down for joy. "All right! It's a promise!" She calmed down when the tall man vanished into the darkness. "What a great guy…."
"Don't worry about the mess," Naru added, indicating the burned-down ruins of the Osa-P. "We're fully insured. Mom and I are safe, and that's what matters."
The cat standing next to Sailor Moon tugged on the rim of her blue boot. "A-hem!"
"Oh, right!" Sailor Moon whispered back. She saluted Naru. "Anyway, we have to be going now, but… wherever there's evil youma to fight, we'll be there. Wherever there's people in trouble, we'll be there!" She started to back off. "I am Sailor Moon, and… aaah!" She tripped over backwards into the bushes at the edge of the sidewalk, tumbled down the hill, and fell out of sight.
"Now that's a superheroine," Naru commented. She turned towards her mother. "Hey Mom, think we should find a hotel, or go visit my uncle Al?"
Mrs. Osaka was just recovering from the shock of it all. "Hmm. Your uncle Al's still in New Mexico working on some top secret project again, so let's find a hotel instead."
In the distance, Sailor Chibimoon saw Naru and her mother get in their car and calmly drive off. The pink-sailor-suited girl sighed in relief. "Good. They're all right."
Arby fluttered up next to her and grinned. "Yup! No thanks ta yew. Left 'em 'oigh n' droie, yew did!"
"Let it go already!"
The ArbyFish fluttered barely out of reach. "Nope! Gotta remoind ya 'bout this for th' rest a 'your loife. Otha'woise, ya'll neva' learn."
Arby shrugged. "Oye dunno. 'Spose yew could learn somethin' from it. Yew's th' one with th' opposable thumbs."
"What do opposable thumbs have to do with it?"
"Mushrooms, a'course! Mushrooms!" He took out a plain dinner mushroom and demonstrated it to her.
"What do… no! You're changing the subject again."
"Oye iz not. It's a roight noice mushroom, it is!"
Terra ran her hand through her hair in exasperation. Her fingers collided with one of the jeweled barrettes. "You know, you make it so hard to think—"
Down the small hill, out of the bushes, tumbled Sailor Moon, whose forehead collided with Chibimoon's.
Terra staggered from the blow. The other girl fell onto her back. Both held their heads and cried in unison, "WAAAAAAAAAH!!!"
"Oh, yew's good at that," Arby commented, and fluttered off.
Chibimoon tried to focus on the other girl. "Who are you?"
Sailor Moon blinked, dazed as she tried to sit up. "That's a good question. Who am I?"
A cat jumped out behind her and said, "Sailor Moon!"
The blonde nodded in sudden remembrance. "Ooooh, right! I'm Sailor Moon."
Terra frowned. A cat had just talked in her presence. One part of her mind slapped the other part and retorted that she shouldn't be shocked at all about a cat talking. After all, she'd just met her first talking, flying, mushroom-obsessed ArbyFish. Anything after that really ought not to faze her. Besides, when she was young, she'd been ill now and again and sometimes had to take strong medicine — seen talking Frisbees — so surprise really was out of the question.
"But," Terra whispered. No buts this time, she had to keep her wits about herself. "You're Sailor Moon?" The other girl nodded, but Chibimoon stared at her face for a few seconds. She looked awfully familiar, but there was something extra shrouding proper examination and recollection of her face. She could see the expression without a problem, but identifying details kept getting dismissed. It was as if key impressions kept getting pulled straight out of her mind.
All right, Terra told herself, it was time to put her brains to good use. She traced the path of Sailor Moon's face from the hair, where it was easy to view what was real, to the eyes and nose, where it was like the whole view was encrypted somehow. Thinking of it that way seemed very odd to the Irish redhead, since encryption just sounded like a very fancy way of putting someone in the ground, like inhumation, but it was the term her mind provided for her.
"Uh, hey," Sailor Moon said, nervously backing off, "why are you looking at me like that?"
"Don't I know you from somewhere?" Chibimoon focused in more intensely. Then, her eyes broke the disguise code and saw right through it. To her, it was surprising who Sailor Moon ended up being. "Usagi?!"
Usagi gasped. "Umm, no, no, you must be mistaking me for… aw, nuts." At Terra's focused, smiling expression, she gave up. "How did you guess? Who are you?"
"It was more a lucky guess than anything else," Terra said in order to not complicate matters further. She could explain later, if it came down to it. "I'm Terra, Sailor Chibimoon."
"Sailor Chibimoon?!" the cat asked. "Where did you come from?"
"Ireland?" Terra replied, but then wished she hadn't. Saying it like that was more of a smart-aleck response she'd expect from Arby. She hadn't been brought up to act like that, even around talking cats. Especially around talking cats, because, well, you never know.
"Terra?" Usagi asked. "But the only Terra I know is some strange foreign exchange student…."
"I fainted yesterday and you had to bring me home," Terra said. "Yeah, that's me."
"Terra-chan!" Usagi greeted in a cheerful, high-pitched voice. She held up her cat. "This is Luna. She gave me a brooch, and I got to help fight evil things, and I met this neat guy!"
"Hi, Luna!" Terra greeted enthusiastically. "I'm Terra."
"Erm," Luna said awkwardly, "hello."
"Wow," whispered Sailor Moon, looking Terra over, "so you're a Sailor Scout, too?"
"Sailor Scouts? Is that what we're called?" Ew, thought Terra. That was such a dorky organizational name. The Counsel of Justice she could take, or even the Defenders of Peace and Love, but Sailor Scouts? She knew a boy once that was a member of the Boy Scouts of Ireland, but all he could do was try to impress her with all the amazing knots he could tie. They were nice knots and all, but hardly the stuff true heroism was made of. "How about we go by something more dramatic, like… Ultra Knight Sabers?"
Sailor Moon wrinkled her nose at that. She obviously didn't like that. "Yuck! At least keep 'Sailor' in."
Terra sighed. She knew Usagi was right. It wouldn't be proper to run around in a skimpy sailor suit without being called Sailor one thing or another. "Sailor Knight Sabers?"
"Sailor Commandos?" Chibimoon tried to bargain again.
"Sailor Soldiers?" Usagi conceded.
Terra smiled. "Deal."
The cat raised a paw. "Er, before you two go on and change everything we stand for, I'd really like to know how this happened."
"Um." The redhead tried to condense her experiences starting with the Star Light Knight through Arby, Tuxedo Kamen, and finally to where she stood now. Words simply could not cram that much information into a couple small sentences. "Despite all evidence to the contrary standing in front of me right now, I don't think you'd believe me if I told you."
"Try me," Luna pressed.
"Well, you see," Terra began, "it all started with this guy, who hit me with a gas-powered electric guitar, and then later I met this thing, that gave me this brooch, and made me read brochures and fill out forms. Then I went to try to help Naru, only I… had to retreat, and then I met this nice man, who saved me from all the people who were possessed by this one monster. Did you get all that?"
"You lost me," Usagi choked, "at the gas-powered electric guitar."
"Brochures?" wondered Luna.
Sailor Chibimoon yawned. Fatigue was finally setting in. A combination of jetlag and physical exhaustion had started to take its toll and demanded to be repaid with interest. "It really is a long story, so can I meet up with you tomorrow sometime, like after school? I'm kind of tired."
Luna and Usagi looked at each other, then back at Terra.
"Fine with me," said Usagi.
"Tomorrow, then," added Terra. "I need to get some sleep. Good night, you two."
When the Irish girl had finally departed, Luna and Usagi headed home as well.
"What luck!" Luna said. "Our first night and we've already found another Sailor Scout—"
"Ah, yes, whatever. Of course, we shall have to verify her identity and find out who awakened her or by what means she discovered her powers. We're going to need a lot of allies in our fight against the Dark Kingdom."
"What about the Star Light Knight?"
"He's something of an enigma. We'll need to keep our eyes open, but I for one am glad he was there to help tonight."
Usagi sighed dreamily. "Yeah, me too."
The Star Light Knight, in invisibility mode, surveyed the wreckage of the Osa-P jewelry store.
Sailor Moon! He couldn't believe that Arby had saddled Terra with full-on Sailor Moon powers. Those abilities always did weird things to peoples' hair. He knew Terra supposedly liked ponytails, so she probably wouldn't care about that, but still, the whole thing could make the road to unification that much more difficult.
At least, he thought wryly, she had a decent attack.
"Moon Tiara Magic?!" he shouted back at himself. "What kind of attack is that?"
"A fashion move," he replied. "They're fairly rare. I haven't seen one of those in such a long time."
"Not since L—"
"Don't bring her up again. She's gone, and I'm alive. Let's look forward to the future, shall we?"
"Very well. For the immediate future… it'll be no good bugging Terra at home or school. She hates me when I interfere like that. Let's just work with her during battles. She doesn't seem to mind quite as much."
"Yeah, she likes me when we're fighting together."
"We'll have to do it more often."
"Maybe we should stir up the ol' hornet's nest some more to make sure we can fight alongside her more often."
"But not too often. She needs rest to recover her strength after a battle."
"Well, yes, frequently, but not so much that she can't stand back up, right?"
S.L.K. looked around. "But in the meantime, where do I go?" He sighed. "I miss my old base. Takes too much energy to teleport all the way over there now. Oh well."
Sailor Chibimoon finally made it home, waved to her mother as she walked in, and headed upstairs to her room. In front of her mirror, she attempted to remove her fuku, but discovered that her outfit changed back to normal if she just pulled the brooch off her bow. She nodded to herself, satisfied by her discovery, then turned and flopped down on her bed, exhausted.
"I should exercise more," Terra told herself, but it was her mind speaking; her words didn't really come from the heart. She sighed. "That was a rough night, and school's early tomorrow. I'm just glad I got my homework done!"
A slimy munching noise on the floor drew the girl's attention. She peeked over the edge of her bed and saw her bookbag crawling with oozing, squelching mushrooms. "AAAH!" Most notably being consumed were her books and her homework.
Terra frantically kicked the mutated fungoids off and threw them out the window. "No! It's ruined! And these were worksheets! There's no way I can redo these now." It wasn't like she could redraw everything. Despite recent improvements, her memory wasn't quite that good.
Thoroughly depressed, Terra headed over to the bathroom to wash off her hands. She ran the water and looked into the mirror. She stopped when she saw a green mushroom-shaped mark on her neck where Arby had rubbed in a bit of spit during the fight. She took some water and rubbed at it, but it stung pretty badly as she did, so she decided to stop for the moment. Vaguely, she recalled Arby's warning not to wash it.
"Aye-yi-yi, what next?" she wondered. Shrugging, Terra took the soap and did the best to clean off her hands.
"'Ello, madam," the soap said.
The girl glanced down at it.
It was Arby.
"'Ello, sez Oye ta Yew ta Me n' Yew back in return!"
"Arby, your mushrooms destroyed my homework! And ate my bag!"
"Ey, they wos 'ungry! Besoides, can't 'ave 'em raid yer refrigerator. That'd be rude! Gotta eat yer 'omework, wot koinda pets'd they be if they didn't?"
"Mutated mushrooms? They're not pets. They're pests!"
The ArbyFish fluttered onto her shoulder and replied, "A'course! Quoite proppa' pests, they is. We'z gonna 'ave a roight noice infestation in th' basement in a couple a' weeks!"
"Arby, that's horrible!"
"No, no, no, it's perfectly proppa'. It's Survival of th' Fittest!" He said the last phrase proudly, as if it were some sort of marketing buzzword. "Natural evolution at its foinest."
"There's nothing natural about it!"
"Well, there moight be."
"Argh! You're very troublesome, you know that?"
"In-deed!" His work apparently done for now, he fluttered out the window, leaving Terra a sack full of confusion in his wake.
"Oh, it's a Sack o' Confusion," Arby called back. "Koinda loike a Bag a' 'Olding."
The girl walked over and picked up the container. It was about the right size to replace her destroyed bookbag, but would it contain any more unpleasant surprises?
Terra could only shake her head and sigh sadly. Intelligence, it seemed, came with a very high price. For her, that price was an ArbyFish. "Was it really worth it?" she wondered, looking out at the stars.
The next day, at school, Terra still had drag her new, potentially dangerous bookbag to school and explain her distinct lack of homework to her teacher.
Haruna-sensei tapped her feet impatiently. "Well? What happened to your homework, if you finished it?"
Terra fidgeted uncomfortably. "Umm… my ArbyFish grew mold on it and fed it to his pet mushrooms?"
The woman stared at Terra for a while. "You know," she finally said, "that's the strangest excuse I've heard all week. Well, second to what Usagi just told me."
"But it's true!" Usagi interjected. "Aliens did abduct my homework! It's probably out in the middle of a cornfield by now, naked, beaten, and lonely! Don't you have any sympathy?!"
Haruna-sensei chuckled maniacally. "Oh, yes, I have sympathy." She pointed at the door. "Both of you, take these buckets, wear these signs, and stand out in the hall."
Both girls sighed and decided not to debate it. They complied with their teacher's unreasonable demands and went out into the hallway for their mandatory embarrassment session.
"So," Usagi eventually whispered, keeping her voice down so that the corridor's echo wouldn't carry it far, "how did you become a Sailor S…soldier?"
Terra shook her head. Besides it being a very strange tale, it was quickly becoming to her a very unpleasant one. It wasn't so much that she couldn't figure out how to say, it was more that she preferred not to relive the experience in her mind any more than necessary. "It's a long story."
"You promised you'd tell me." Usagi looked at the clock. "And we've got time."
The Irish girl looked at her feet, thought it over, and finally nodded. "All right. First of all, do you know what an ArbyFish is?"
"Um, no. What?"
"You don't want to know. You don't ever want to meet one. If you do, it'll curse you, make your life a living torture chamber, and there's no way to stop it. Ever. Second, have you ever become smarter by getting your head bashed in by a musical instrument?"
"Didn't think so. Well, now that we've established that, I can tell you what my life's been like for the past couple of days."
The two girls chatted softly. Terra told her story, about how she'd come from Ireland not knowing what to expect, and how things had become progressively more confusing… but then she finally got a hold of herself and discussed how great it was to have met new friends like Naru and Usagi.
"Terra-chan," Usagi said.
"Just Terra," the other corrected.
"Oh, right. Terra, I'm glad you and I can be friends."
Terra Incognita looked at her companion. Just staring into those sweet, innocent eyes of her, she could feel the warm welcome, and smiled back. "Yeah, me too."
Suddenly, despite the rotten things that had happened, even outside in a form of undeserved detention, the world didn't seem so bad after all.
To be continued.
And now it's time for… MIND YOUR MANNERS!!! with Sailor Nuke:
(Scene of Terra running toward the burning Osa-P with the determination to become a heroine.)
Sailor Nuke: Some people just act too brainy for their own good.
Sailor Kawaii: Terra's been so sharp lately, she might cut herself.
(Terra bolts from the oncoming possessed horde.)
Sailor Nuke: And nobody likes a smart-donkey!
(Tuxedo Kamen comes in and beats down all the attackers.)
Sailor Kawaii: But she did get one thing right today. She acted cute and made that nice man do all the work for her.
(Arby smiles and stuffs a sack of mutated mushrooms down the back of Terra's pajamas)
Sailor Kawaii: And, we have to remember, cute takes all kinds of forms. See? That was really 'cute.' And he got away with it!
(The Star Light Knight blasts away at dozens of youma)
Sailor Nuke: But take this guy, for example. He doesn't have any of those problems. You know why?
Sailor Kawaii: He's… cute in an aggressive masculine sort of way.
Sailor Nuke: He goes ahead and blows stuff up! That's how you're supposed to deal with problems! Sailor Nuke sez. BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAA!!
Sailor Kawaii: But if you can't do that, then focus on looking pretty and make someone else do the work. Sailor Kawaii says! Tee-hee!
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