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A Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon story
by Elsa Bibat

A story set in "A Dance Set to the Music of Time" sequence

Disclaimer: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC. This is used without permission.

This disclaimer also applies to several intellectual properties referred to in the text. Please be guided accordingly.


"It seems to be a prerequisite for a goddess to have a horde of devoted cultists, no matter what they look like."

— Overheard at the Centro Studi Sulle Nuove Religioni, Torino, Italy

1997:

Tomoe Hotaru looked around her.

And she bowed her head in defeat.

She just couldn't pick one. All of them seemed to be so… so…

…Not her.

The puppies were cute, and she'd have picked them a few years ago if faced with the choice but now they just felt wrong. The cats, too. The fishes, the birds, every one of them seemed to be… wrong for her. It was an instinctive feeling, as if a part of her disliked all the pets in the store.

"Picked one yet, Hotaru-chan?" Haruka asked as she also looked around. The other Outer Senshi had decided to reward her for her performance in the recent school musical. The play was still the talk of the town, and Kazeguchi Gakuen had received requests for repeat performances. The Outer Senshi felt that Hotaru deserved a present for all the hard work she put into the play. A pet was what was decided on; the thought of both the lessons of responsibility and the joys it would bring were good recommendations. Hotaru had been delighted at the prospect.

"Um… Haruka-papa, can I take a rain check on choosing a pet? I think I need to think this over a bit more."

"Okay, Hotaru-chan. We'll come back when you've decided."


"Setsuna-mama, have you ever had a pet?"

The Guardian of Time looked away from the special batch of exotic mushroom soup that she was cooking and regarded her young charge.

"Having trouble with picking a suitable pet, Hotaru-chan?"

The girl nodded, looking downcast as she sat on the counter top.

"I mean I used to like the idea of having a pet. I wanted a cute little puppy. But, you know, Dad wasn't exactly himself those days and asking for a puppy wasn't exactly something I could do then. When you told me I could pick a pet, I thought about getting a puppy."

"So what's the problem?"

"Well, when I got there, I went over to the dogs and… well… they didn't feel right."

Setsuna just arched an eyebrow.

"I mean, dogs are great and all; cute, cuddly, obedient. But I had this feeling that they weren't the right sort of pet for me."

The Guardian of Time nodded slightly and returned to her cooking. "Well, Hotaru-chan, choosing a pet is sometimes a difficult thing. But your problem seems to be a bit like mine."

Hotaru blinked and looked at Setsuna. "You mean you had a pet when you were young, Setsuna-mama."

"I still have a pet, Hotaru-chan. Pets, actually. Several dozen of them. I can understand what you're feeling. Sometimes, it's not you who chooses the pet, but the pet who chooses you."

"So what do I do?"

"Well, for one thing, you finish your homework. We'll be going out later tonight. I just might have the pet for you."

With that Setsuna ended the discussion and Hotaru went off to her homework.


"Er… Setsuna-mama, what are we doing here?"

Here was the roof of the Ten'ou tower where they lived. At thirty stories, it was high enough for it to be cold. Setsuna had expected this and they were both bundled up in jackets. Stars were twinkling high above, seemingly reflected by the bright city lights of Tokyo below.

"Well, first I'll have to show you one of my pets. Then we'll see about getting one for you."

"Setsuna-mama, you're being enigmatic and mysterious again." Setsuna just chuckled at the look on Hotaru's face as the younger girl pouted.

"Don't worry. I'll call Keroberos now." With that, Setsuna put two well-manicured fingers to her lips and whistled. It was a long shrill note, with a surprising vibration to it.

For a moment, Hotaru wondered if Setsuna had gone nuts. This was the roof of a thirty-story building; you couldn't exactly call a pet with a whistle from here. Then there was a green flash from the corner of her eye. She looked at where it came from. A thin green line had appeared, running up the corner of the low cement wall of the roof. Suddenly, with an audible crack, the line irised out into what could only be called a hole in reality. It seemed as if the air had suddenly become a convex lens that distorted the cement wall. Then with a whistle that was disturbingly like the one Setsuna had used, the hole disgorged a dog.

Well, that was Hotaru's initial impression. Hotaru blinked and looked at it again. It did faintly look like a dog — rather like a greyhound or a German Shepherd — but this was no dog. Its muscled hide was a shade of black that hinted at a more reptilian nature. The head of the creature was obviously saurian, something Hotaru remembered from her father's lectures about biology and evolution. It was also the size of a lion. Plus, its eyes glowed an eldritch green. This was definitely not a dog.

"It's… it's a… dog dinosaur. With glow-in-the-dark eyes." Hotaru declared lamely as the creature padded up to them. In the back of her head, something was telling her that she should be screaming in terror, as something that was obviously a predator and had fairly sharp teeth was moving towards her. But after years of being a Senshi, another monstrosity from beyond space and time was not going to hurt. Besides, Setsuna said it was her pet. It would be impolite to render it into its component atoms.

"That's correct. In a way. Kero-chan here is from somewhere a long time ago. Here, Kero-chan, here you go…" Setsuna had produced a rather large piece of what looked like fresh meat from out of nowhere and was feeding "Kero-chan", patting the thing on the head and scratching behind what would have been its ears. All in all, acting like a responsible pet owner. Kero-chan just chomped on the meat, though it obviously took care not to bite the Guardian of Time.

"What is it?"

"Well, their original name is pretty long and unpronounceable, but people nowadays just call them Hounds of Tindalos. Well, at least those who know of them."

"Where do they come from? Wait, stupid question. They come from Tindalos, right?"

"You, my dear, have been hanging around that Ukiya girl for far too long," Setsuna said with a smile, as she affectionately played with the Hound's head. "They come from a prehistoric era, before any human ever walked the Earth. Kero-chan here is usually covered in bluish goo because of that, but she knows that I like her to be clean when I call her up. Want to pet her?"

Hotaru hesitated for a moment then nodded. Stepping up to the beast, she put her hand on its flank and felt the rough skin. Kero-chan looked away from her mistress and regarded the young girl with glowing eyes. The two looked each other over and Kero-chan just flicked her head and permitted the Senshi of Silence to do what she wanted.

"She's rather intelligent isn't she?" Hotaru said as she gave Kero-chan a few rubs.

"Very. Anything that can travel through time has to be intelligent. Kero-chan here is the best of the lot. There are dozens of them from where they come from."

"And they're your pets?"

"More like servants. I take care of them, giving out food every once in awhile and healing them if they ever got hurt. In return, they help me out."

"Help you out?"

"Did you seriously think I could guard the entire timeline alone?" Setsuna asked with a wry smile. "The Hounds watch over certain parts of history and look out for telltale signs of any time travelers or temporal interference. Once they have something's scent, they go after it. Nothing can stop them."

Hotaru was silent as she continued on giving Kero-chan her attentions. To her, having something like Kero-chan would be really cool. She looked to be nice enough.

"So, Setsuna-mama, you giving me one of yours?"

Setsuna chuckled and shook her head. "No, no. This is just to show you that there are sorts of pets that you could have. Not exactly normal, but they're pets all the same. Anyway, I wouldn't be able to give them to you. Want to know why?"

"You're actually offering to explain something?" Hotaru asked with a smile, which was answered by a light bop on her head.

"Hush, Hotaru-chan. Anyway, watch." Setsuna gestured with her hand and uttered a guttural phrase that echoed with power. On her forehead, the sigil of Pluto flared to life. The Hound's eyes flashed a momentary jade before a corresponding sigil formed on its forehead.

"They are my servants, Hotaru-chan. Attuned to my energies, the Hounds are like myself and yet not. The best comparison would be a goddess and her worshipper. I can't exactly give them away."

"So why did you drag me up here?" Hotaru pouted.

"Because we'll be calling an appropriate pet for you. The power of the Senshi of Saturn is attuned to several servitor races, and you can have your pick."

Hotaru blinked. She blinked again then gestured with her hands as she asked Setsuna, "Soooo, you're going to help me get a pet?"

"'Pets' is more like it. You'll probably have an entire species serving you. Do you want to?" Setsuna said as she scratched Keroberos behind the ear. The Hound growled in contentment.

Hotaru looked at the Guardian of Time and then looked at the hulking monstrosity from beyond space and time at her side. Having something like that for a pet would be really cool.

"Hell, yeah!!!"

Setsuna just smirked and shook her head at her young charge's enthusiasm. "Well, first we'll have to send out a call to see what you could get. You have been practicing with your powers like I taught you, haven't you, Hotaru-chan?"

"Well, yes." The rudimentary meditation and focus exercises that Setsuna had taught all of the Senshi a few years back had given her better control over the primal energies that seemed to be the root of her powers. "What do I have to do?"

"Very simple. Remember the spirit candle exercise?"

"Where I pretend to be a candle?"

"Yes. That's the basic form of the beacon. To set up a call for the appropriate… creatures… you'll have to do something like it. But this will be more like building a bonfire than lighting a candle."

Hotaru frowned at that. The spirit candle exercise was one of those paradox exercises. It required her to emanate the energies that she could harness, but for it not to manifest physically in the material world. It enabled her to heal people without glowing like a purple lamplight. But if she needed to flare up her energy like that…

"Setsuna-mama, I don't think Tokyo needs to have more unexplained lights in the sky."

"That is why I'll be helping you out. Don't worry. I'll make sure there you won't level the building or something."

"Ha ha. Very funny," deadpanned Hotaru as she stepped a few feet away and closed her eyes. Focusing her energy, she felt the veins of power in her body start pumping and she started to focus it into her center.

Setsuna watched as the young girl before her opened the channels within herself to the power of the First One.

She was doing it like she had been taught, but adding more energy to it, as was required. She started to glow faintly but the Guardian of Time added her own skill to the mix and redirected the leaking energies to the primary purpose.

Five minutes passed before Setsuna heard the wing-beats that meant success.

"It's all right, Hotaru. Open your eyes. It's here."

The first thing that struck Hotaru about her pet was the wings. Large, leathery, bat-like wings still spread out from its recent landing, the creature before her gave her an inquisitive look. Well, Hotaru thought it was inquisitive.

Multifaceted red eyes, vaguely insectile in their construction, regarded her over mouthful of steel pencils set in a skull-like head. Black chitinous skin gave it a body like that Alien thing she saw in that gaijin movie. Its hands and feet were roughly identical. Prehensile fingers and toes, seven digits per hand and foot. Five 'fingers', if you counted claws that seemed to be over a foot long as fingers, and two opposable 'thumbs'. Hotaru noted that they were constructed in such a way that they were all perfect for clinging to branches and other similar objects.

Two long antennae swept back over the head, faintly twitching. It had a huge wasp-like thorax that seemed to glow faintly in the moonlight. All in all, a rather impressive sight.

"Er… my pet is a insect-bat thingy?"

"Actually the proper name is Byakhee. A rather excellent specimen of one, at that."

The thing that Setsuna called a Byakhee stepped forward, folding its wings behind it. It approached Hotaru and knelt before her. Hotaru could see ice on several parts of the creature, as if it had come from a very cold place. Touching it, she could feel the hard, smooth exoskeleton. The Byakhee warbled slightly.

"Good. He recognizes you. I suppose you should set your mark on him."

"Er… How do I do that?"

"Just impart a bit of your energy to him. And give him a name. That way he will recognize you as his mistress."

Hotaru looked at her pet, whose current kneeling position made them almost eye-level. A touch of her power manifested in her hands as a glowing ball of light. A name? Hmm…

"Well, with the power vested in me, I therefore name you… Bob." With a grin, the young girl touched the creature right between the antennae and released her power.

There was a flash of light and a sigil flared on the Byakhee's forehead. The light of her power caressed the creature all over and then it purred something in a vaguely human-sounding tone.

"B—bb-b-b-boooowwwwb-b-b—bb."

Hotaru blinked, shaking away the feelings she got. "Hey, he can talk!"

"A parcel of your power does wonders, plus the link that you have managed to establish with him. Look at him and notice the difference. Though I have to question the choice of name."

Hotaru glanced from her guardian to Bob. The black chitin was now much more… polished, giving him a healthier sheen. Red eyes peered at her with more intelligence and there was a healthy light dancing behind those eyes.

"He will be the first. He will spread your power among others of his kind, until all serve you."

Hotaru nodded blankly as she suddenly felt a hollow emptiness in her stomach. For some strange reason, she could tell the feeling was coming from Bob.

"Er… Setsuna, I think he's hungry. Though I don't know why I know that."

"The link is recently established and still quite strong. It will fade in time. As for his hunger, I expected that. Here, take this." From out of nowhere, Setsuna presented her young charge with a thermos.

Unscrewing the cap, she offered it to her new friend. Bob grasped the thermos and drew it to his mouth, opening his gaping, tooth-filled maw and chugged down the contents. Satisfied, he gave it back to his mistress. Hotaru tasted something faint on her tongue.

"I think he thinks it's too bland."

"I would be surprised if he didn't. The closest thing that Bob here can feed on in this solar system is blood."

Hotaru blanched. "Then how am I supposed to take care of him?"

"Don't worry. Your link to him should change his biochemistry enough for him to feed on other liquids."

"Liquids? With teeth like that?"

"Try the link and find out why he has teeth like that."

Hotaru blinked then nodded. "Okay. But how do I do that?"

"Just follow the lines of power like in the tracing exercise."

"Well, if you say so…"

Hotaru closed her eyes and felt for the light tracings of power that Setsuna mentioned. She found it and she opened herself up to it.

Trees. Lots of trees. Well, they looked like trees, but they were obviously not trees anywhere on Earth. She looked down and saw twin stars through the pseudo-leaves of the pseudo-trees. The smaller star (Hyades, a voice in her mind whispered) was joined with the larger one (Aldebaran, the voice intoned). Looking at her hands, she saw the seven- fingered claws of her people, holding a fruit that looked like a coconut but tougher. She was hanging upside down and was about to feed. She bit down on the k'tol'a fruit and even with her teeth she still had difficulty in getting to the liquid center. She savored the iron taste on her tongue and was content.

Hotaru shook her head, feeling a slight ache in her jaws. "That was one very tough nut."

"The Byakhee live on a primarily liquid diet. Their stomachs can't handle solids very well."

"Okay, so how do I take care of Bob here?"

"He will take care of himself. He does stay nearby. There's a nest of Byakhee near Mt. Fuji, and he will probably stay there."

"A nest here?"

"Where do you think all those stories about Tengu came from?"

"Er… all right."

"Don't worry. He will come when you call, and you can do several other things with the link that would be quite useful. Now, though, I think I should leave you two alone so that you can get acquainted."

"Okay." Hotaru nodded with enthusiasm. Setsuna smiled and she dismissed Kero-chan with a pat and a guttural word. The Hound nodded and bounded for a nearby angle and disappeared. She started to walk away, leaving her charge and her newly acquired pet. She stopped before reaching the door down off the roof and looked at Hotaru and Bob.

"And by the way, Hotaru…"

"Yes, Setsuna-mama?"

"You cannot bring Bob to school for show-and-tell." Setsuna deadpanned with a glance at the two of them.

"Biii-dah!"

Setsuna just laughed, and moments later, Hotaru joined her.

 


Author's notes: More Mythos fun in the Dance sequence!!! Waiwai!!! By the time Crystal Tokyo comes on the stage, each Senshi should have an appropriate servitor race. Hehehe. Bob the Byakhee will probably be a regular member of the cast, once I figure on moving beyond the Dance vignettes into the Dance chapters. Anyway, this is a more streamlined version. The original was a fun romp all over the Mythos universe as Setsuna and Hotaru go around looking for an appropriate pet. Memorable line from the original:

"Fuuuuuck ooooooff, Tiiiiiiime Bitch!!!"

from —BUZZZ!!!— the Mi-Go, before Setsuna gets medieval on his fungal ass. ^_^!!

The original would have had too many spoilers for the Mythos parts of the Dance sequence so I just cut it down to this. Hope you enjoyed it.

A Temple Meeting
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