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.
~~~ And, a thousand years before that… ~~~
There was a silence as everyone in the classroom looked up at the hole in the roof that Jade had just made by blasting that old man through it. A student from the classroom above peered down at them.
Ms. Haruna stood, glancing up at the hole in the roof. "Excuse me for a moment. I need to file a report on this. Please behave while I go do it." She left, wading through all the extra female students that had come in after the old man…
Noting the shocked stares she received from everyone, Jade silently cursed herself for not having been able to exercise more control over her anger. She had a cover to maintain, and now… To say it was blown was an understatement. "I…" she began cutely.
One of the many girls in the class began to clap, quickly followed by the rest of the class. Soon, they were all cheering at the cute, blonde girl that had gotten rid of the annoying pervert.
"Wow! How'd you do that?" one girl asked in awe.
"Yeah, tell us!"
Jade blinked cutely, and considered how much to make up… or to just spill everything. One part of her wanted to drain and obliterate all of these idiotic children…
Another part of her, one that had been gaining strength ever since Queen Beryl had ceased to hold a binding influence on her, wanted to enjoy the smiles and adoration of these fine, young individuals, and be nice to them in return…
Previously unseen mental barriers began to break apart.
Deep down, she realized that she wanted to make friends…
More internal walls shattered as she felt the sheer intensity of positive energy directed solely at her.
Like a new tree rising from the ashes of an incinerated forest, her soul shook off much of the long, crushing burden of Beryl's and Metallia's dark taint, remembering a myriad of long-neglected needs and emotions.
She wanted to enjoy happiness again…
She wanted to feel joy once more…
She wanted to experience life anew…
But most of all… she wanted to sing!
"Well, I'll tell you…" Jade said.
Music began in the background…
The small, cute blonde girl smiled, taking a deep breath, looking lovably adorable as she did, and started singing.
The class sang back enthusiastically.
Terra raised a hand. "Um, wait… That's the Pirate King song," she said in a very nice, supportive tone. The music ground to a halt. "I'm not sure, but… I believe you want the Major General one."
Jade paused, holding a hand to her mouth as she thought about it. "Hmm… Yes, I suppose you're right."
Different music began to play.
Jade cleared her throat, stood up straight, and started singing once again.
Jade stopped and frowned as she mentally went over the song's rhyming scheme. "Universe…" She smiled. "Got it."
The class sang a chorus in response.
The music slowed down. Jade matched it with the tempo of her singing and began to pace among the students to help emphasize the main points of the song.
The blonde singer paused, a bemused expression on her face. "Fail immune…"
The crowd started whispering amongst themselves.
"So… is the song over?"
"Probably… She'll never get that one…"
Jade glared momentarily at that last speaker. She grinned and held up a hand to quiet the group and accent the line she just came up with.
Without missing a beat, the students continued singing along.
The background music added a couple of filler notes.
Jade took a short breath, looked at the excited looks of the other girls in the class, and sang as quickly and as flawlessly as she possibly could.
Jade took a deep breath and smiled.
Most of the class smiled at this as they resumed singing.
Without pausing, Jade went directly into the finale.
Several notes played as Jade made her way over to the sack that the old man had dropped when she blew him into the next millennium. In half a second, she had identified and retrieved the stolen objects.
She deftly put her possessions away, took a bow, and sat down with a flourish, just as the music drew to a close.
The class cheered and applauded.
The intercom crackled, somehow managing to quiet everyone down. [Will the ladies from the Performance Arts classes please return to their classrooms.]
The girls that had entered in pursuit of the old pervert looked at each other, shrugged, and exited.
Some high-fived Jade on their way out.
"That was great!" the blonde girl with the exceptionally long pigtails behind Jade exclaimed, smiling at her.
Jade paused, glanced up at the hole in the roof, and then back at the other girl. "Yes… Thanks…" She looked back up at the hole in the ceiling. There were still a few people from the above classroom clapping. She frowned in deep thought.
As the number of the classroom's occupants returned to normal, Jade turned toward her cousin. "You know, that little troll seemed somewhat familiar…"
Perry leaned in close to whisper, "Well, while we were on that tour through that high-tech thing, you did tell me that you were… you know, by some little thing during your last battle with the Sailor Scouts. Maybe that was him…"
"I doubt it. I blew that… thing into orbit," Jade replied quietly, relaxing into her chair. She frowned a little more deeply as she thought over some of her final moments in the employ of Queen Beryl. "The battle, though… I must admit that I feel… rather bad about the whole thing. It now pains me to think of the way the Senshi looked at me…" She sighed sadly. "After all, they were just defending themselves and others from my attacks…"
Perry blinked, keeping the conversation too low for anyone but them to hear. "Really? You never talked about it that way before. It was always 'kill', 'destroy', 'hate', some more 'kill'—"
"I know, I know," Jade cut in. "But now, when I think of those poor girls, frightened for their very lives at my hand…" She paused. "And… ’Tim laughing at me." She scowled. "’TIM! ‘Tim… ‘Tim… ‘Tim must suffer horribly for what he has done to me…"
Perry perked up. "Now, THAT'S the Jadeite I know!"
"Yes…" Jade replied, her scowl creeping into a deep frown. She began to wonder why there was so much apparent change in demeanor in so short of time. Rationally, she knew that ‘Tim was only responsible for one or two harmless pranks on her, aside from what happened during battles. But there was something else… something that was preventing her from keeping her feelings in check…
And then it hit her… with fifty times the force of an uncute tomboy's Transdimensional Mallet of Doom™. Her inner being, which had appeared to be so free of Metallia's taint a moment earlier, was suddenly thrown back and buried into the deepest depths of her subconscious.
"’TIM WILL DIE!!!!" Jade screamed, jumping out of her desk, so cute that you'd just want to come up and give her a big, squishy hug.
"Who do you think 'Tim' is?" a brown-haired boy with glasses, Melvin, asked a nearby friend.
"Hmm… Probably an old boyfriend or something. Doesn't sound like she has any fond memories of him…"
Melvin thought about it. "Hey, then that probably means…" He stood. "She's free!" He walked up next to the lucky girl. "Hi! I'm Melvin! Would you like to—"
"Get lost, you gaggling goof," Jade muttered cutely, sitting back down.
Melvin gasped. "You're a Lost in Space fan, too? Yeah, I kinda like Doctor Smith… He's got a bigger vocabulary than the rest of the cast combined!" At the unresponsiveness of his target, he decided to try something else. "So… You're name's Jade? That's a pretty name… Can I call you Jade?"
"Yes, you may refer to me as 'Jade'," Jade said darkly, standing and holding up her hand, beginning to charge it with a small amount of destructive energy, "but I warn you… I am also known as JADEITE, GENERAL OF THE NEGAVERSE AND FLAYER OF SMALL, ANNOYING CHILDREN!!!" She held the energy in both hands, aiming it at Melvin. "Was there something you wanted to discuss with me…?"
Melvin barely repressed a smile at the complete and utter cuteness of how Jade was handling the situation. "Yeah… You're really, um… cute. Would you like to go out sometime?"
Jade scowled. "Oh, you'll be 'out' soon enough."
*BLAAAAM!* Melvin ducked as a relatively small beam of energy blasted into the wall behind him.
"Okay… So… that's a… maybe?"
"Grrr," Jade growled in her incredibly cute, high-pitched voice, preparing another strike.
"Um… 'Jade'?" Perry said quietly, putting a hand on the blonde girl's shoulder. "Are you sure you want to do that?"
Jade glared at him, then looked back at Melvin, who was still smiling. She gritted her teeth in anger. After several intense seconds, however, her expression softened and she dissipated the blast she was preparing. "Waste of energy," she muttered, then sat back down.
"Uh," Perry said to Melvin, "you might want not to try anything like that again. He… SHE'S gone through a lot lately, and she's kinda powerful—"
"—And never forget it!" Jade snapped.
"—So," Perry continued, "uh, well, you know…" He made a couple of meaningless hand gestures, and nodded at Melvin in a semi-vain attempt to communicate with him.
"Oooh," the bespectacled boy said knowingly, going back to his seat. He turned to a nearby friend. "So, what do you think?"
That certain nameless and faceless friend chuckled. "I think she likes you."
Melvin looked on, hearts and stars in his eyes. "You really think so?"
Amy stared in complete and utter dumbfounded shock. "Serena… please tell me I was hallucinating."
"Aw, that was sooooo cute!" Serena said appreciatively. She turned to the blue-haired girl near her. "Amy, did you see that? It was… awwww."
Amy looked at her friend, agape. "Weren't you listening to what she was saying?!" she whispered urgently. "OR watching what she was doing!?"
The pigtailed blonde shrugged. "Well, I guess if you've seen one big energy blast, you've seen 'em all…" She paused. "But the song was GREAT! Youma generals, Sailor Moon…" She looked at her friend. "It was a song about me, right, Amy?"
Amy slapped her hand against her forehead in disbelief.
"Something wrong?" Serena asked in innocent surprise.
The blue-haired girl quickly regained her composure. "At the risk of sounding like Luna… I think she's from the Negaverse. She called herself JADEITE, and remember what happened to him during our last battle against him?!"
Serena blinked, then shook her head and smiled. "Naah. She blew away that… guy. Anyone who'd do that can't be evil! She doesn't look anything like Jadeite did. She's… MUCH cuter than that creep was when whatever it was happened. I think she's waay too cute to be from the Negaverse, as a matter of fact!"
"Well, what about the doll-robot youma that spat out fire from that fake park? Raye tells me that you thought it was cute, too."
"Yeah, well… It was…"
"Until it started trying to kill us…"
"Okay, there was that…"
Molly glanced back at them, a confused expression on her face. She looked to her left and started whispering. "Al… What about them?" There was a pause. "You don't mean that— No, they can't be… I seriously doubt that. Al! They're just… Well, we'll see."
Serena raised an eyebrow at the brown-haired girl. "Uh, hey, Molly… You've been acting kinda… I don't know… weird today. Is something wrong? Anything I can help with?"
Molly looked back at them, projecting a rather good impression of being calm. "Nothing in particular…"
"And what happened to your accent?"
"…Accent? A slight sore throat, I guess…"
Serena breathed a sigh of relief. "Well, if it's just that…"
"Serena," Amy whispered exasperatedly, "something's going on here, if you haven't noticed!"
"Okay," Serena whispered back. "Look, if something really serious happens, like if Jade starts draining energy from the class, we'll do something about it… But not until then, all right?"
"But if we don't act quickly—"
"Nope! Not another word, Amy," Serena said pointedly. "I'm the leader, remember?"
Amy let out a sigh of defeat, slowly shaking her head. "All right, Serena…"
From her desk, Terra just smiled…
Atop her throne, Beryl, the evil Queen of the Negaverse, sighed. "Zoicite!"
Zoicite appeared in her usual shower of flower petals. "Ha ha ha haa! What is it, Queen Beryl?"
Beryl drew a short breath as she considered the proper question to ask. "Have you… sent anyone out to get Neflyte?"
Zoicite smiled. "Why, yes, I have."
The youma queen relaxed. "Ah, good, then."
At that moment, Nephrite appeared before them. He was slightly disheveled and had a small scratch on his left cheek. "Queen Beryl—"
"YOU'RE LATE, NEFLYTE!" Beryl snapped angrily, leaning forward on her throne and unconsciously smacking away a carnivorous, jagged-toothed mushroom that had taken up residence on the arm of her throne.
"I apologize, Queen Beryl," Nephrite replied gruffly, "but SOMEONE," he glared at Zoicite, "sent out a hit squad to eliminate me."
"Oh, really, Neflyte?" the queen asked accusingly. "Where is this supposed 'hit squad?'"
The brown-haired general snapped his fingers.
*Whoosh…*Thump*Thump*Thump* A black swirly-thing appeared and spat out three plant-like youma. They were tied up in their own branches and looked generally mangled. They looked to Zoicite in desperation.
"He fought like a cornered lion!"
Zoicite gasped. "Those were my best youma!" she blurted out in shock. Her eyes widened as she realized what she had just said and quickly snapped her hands over her mouth.
Nephrite looked at the blonde general with more than a hint of disdain. "I believe you have a bit of explaining to do. Wouldn't you agree, Queen Beryl?"
"Hmm?" Beryl asked, looking up from filing her nails.
Nephrite scowled. "ZOICITE TRIED TO ASSASSINATE ME!"
"Watch your language!" Beryl snapped. "There'll be none of that while I am your Queen!"
Nephrite blinked incredulously. "Haven't you understood a word I've said?!"
"Oh, I understand, NEFLYTE! You are trying to accuse poor little Zoicite of trying to kill you. Now, you wouldn't do that, would you, Zoicite?"
Zoicite batted her eyelashes innocently. "Nope, sure wouldn't."
"There, you see, Neflyte? She wouldn't hurt you."
Nephrite coughed in disbelief. "But… Queen Beryl… Even YOU can't be THAT stupid!"
"Quite right, Neflyte. So, get back to work on finding the Empyrean Silver Crystal. Chop, chop!"
Nephrite stared at his leader, trying to remember where he put that job application he got in the mail from Sailor Galaxia.
Ah, what to do when your place of work explodes…
There are many suggestions as to a proper course of action when you should happen to be unfortunate enough to experience this.
Most, for example, recommend that you vacate the premises in order to keep from being caught in the explosion.
This, however, is merely common sense.
A more advanced course of action would be to research time travel and utilize that to prevent the explosion in the first place. This, unfortunately, leaves you open to an embarrassingly complex temporal loop.
If the explosion never happened, then why would you have invented time travel in the first place?
If you didn't invent time travel, then you were unable to prevent the explosion, and therefore, you would have invented time travel as a direct result.
But if you did, in fact, invent time travel, then… you could try to leave something behind to make sure it was invented despite the fact that the original reason for the invention no longer exists.
But then… if you invented time travel, and if you ended up not inventing it, then any other device or purpose that you left behind would not have ever existed, and therefore always would.
Sailor Pluto has to deal with these sort of concerns all the time, and it's a mind-bogglingly boring process figuring out what will work, and what wouldn't.
The sad thing is, whatever it is usually ends up managing to happen, and if it didn't, there would be no need for a Guardian of Time. Much less a green-haired one with a time staff and a sailor suit.
This is not her scene.
So, back on the subject of exploding work places… There have been surprisingly few that recommend going back and explaining what happened to your boss.
Strangely enough, that was exactly what Ukkyo was doing.
"This has to be the most idiotic idea I've had all day," the youma chef noted to herself as she surveyed the damage to the restaurant. If her new boss was anything like her old one…
Actually, the concept of staying around seemed to be inversely proportional to the concept of staying alive.
Still, she felt that she had to go back, if only to fulfill a bizarre need to face her problems, whatever they may be. She had run away from too much recently.
She had run away from the Starlight Knight, even though a better term would have been fleeing death at the hands of a madman.
Also, she had run away from her place in the Negaverse, though that was a poor choice for any sort of livelihood.
Even so, she couldn't, and wouldn't run away from everything.
She wasn't a coward, like… like…
Like who? Who was the coward that she wasn't like?
Ukkyo gritted her teeth. "Yeah, him. The jerk who stole…" She paused. Who was Dark Horse? A rival youma? What did he steal?
But any attempt to remember more was met by a dull headache.
"Oh well, it doesn't really matter," she muttered to herself. "Here he comes…" She braced herself for the swift retaliation that was sure to come at the hands of her employer.
"Hi, Ukkyo!" 'Tim greeted cheerfully as he stepped out of the elevator that had risen from the rubble a moment ago.
"Hello," Ukkyo replied grimly.
The pink-haired man started walking towards her, then stopped. He looked around, then blinked and frowned. He opened his mouth to speak, then blinked again and closed his mouth. After another moment, he finally spoke. "How could you?"
"I trusted you!"
Ukkyo winced. "I realize that."
"You blew up my restaurant!"
"You blew up my restaurant…"
"I said I'm sorry!"
"You blew up MY restaurant… and didn't invite me to come see it! That was extraordinarily inconsiderate of you."
Ukkyo blinked. "Excuse me?"
'Tim sighed sadly. "You're excused." He pointed at her and looked her directly in the eye. "But next time, just call me and I'll be here to help; help blow this place into smithereens!" He smiled. "Next time, we'll use full thermonuclear warheads. Not those wimpy tac-nukes, either. I'm talking the hundred-megaton fusion ones. It'll be fun!"
"Er," Ukkyo began uneasily, "did I hear you correctly?"
"Darn right you did. You can't blow up my restaurant without inviting me. It simply isn't proper!"
Ukkyo breathed a sigh of relief. "I understand."
"We are in agreement, then?"
The youma chef nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, yes! Of course!"
"Good." 'Tim looked up. "Computer, activate the deus ex machina."
There was a beeping noise. [Confirmed.]
The area was bathed in a blue light.
Ukkyo took a defensive posture. "What's happening?"
'Tim looked at her. "What? Never seen a plot device in action?"
The restaurant owner sighed. "Just watch. You'll get the idea."
The blue glow flowed to the edges of the shattered remnants of the building's various components.
There was a sort of shimmering sound, and the broken pieces of the restaurant rose into the air and spiraled into a relatively calm whirlwind.
The debris at the bottom of the spiral fused together, forming larger pieces of what appeared to be the walls and furnishings of the restaurant.
Finally, everything settled into place, becoming a rather nice-looking dining establishment.
The brown-haired youma cook was visibly impressed. She looked at her boss. "Nice work."
'Tim shrugged. "Eh, you just need to learn how to program right," he said, just before a hatchet imbedded itself into his right shoulder.
'Tim groaned for a moment. "Ow… COMPUTER!"
[What is it?] the computer asked, a little too sweetly.
"Would you happen to be aware that there is a rather large axe protruding from my back?"
"You wouldn't happen to know anything about this, would you?"
[Oh, I hope you don't mind. I've refitted the place with deadly traps, too complex for any average being to escape. You will all be killed! Won't that be nice? Then we can all go and have cookies and—]
'Tim winced as three large arrows shot into his back. He looked around and noticed a few small spider-like combat droids sprout from the floor. He glanced sideways at Ukkyo. "Say, are you any good at fighting?"
Ukkyo had already unsheathed her enormous spatula and spun it around, deflecting several high-velocity daggers away from her. "Is the Pope Catholic?"
"All righty, then," 'Tim replied enthusiastically, seemingly undeterred by his injuries as he dove away from a shower of bullets. "Let's go blow it up!"
Having hurried home to the temple as soon as school let out, Raye was once again sitting in front of the Sacred Fire.
It was vital to her that she find out any more information she could about the Starlight Knight. She had to be certain that this morning's vision wasn't a fluke. She had done readings on him before, and had only gotten a few quick flashes of something causing mass destruction among the stars.
The initial visions, while not exactly encouraging, were not quite conclusive, either.
The revelation she had received earlier, however…
"Now that was freaky," Raye commented to herself. She noted with a sigh that she'd probably sleep a lot better not having known about it. But now that she did, she felt a need to check and make certain of the fire reading.
The Starlight Knight, despite all else, had been a tremendous help in fighting the Negaverse. He had been with the Sailor Scouts since the beginning, and even now showed no sign of wavering in that.
Even so, there was something about him that Raye didn't like. Be it his face, his cavalier attitude toward everything, or the fact that he always had an underlying feeling of chaotic evil about him, the priestess could never quite feel completely confident when it came to deciding whose side he was on.
Besides, she didn't know who he really was. You can't really trust someone if they keep things like that from you. What else, for example, could they be keeping from you?
On the other hand, there was Tuxedo Mask. Raye had never distrusted him… Actually, she really liked him, even though up until recently he had also kept a secret identity. And, there were several extremely suspicious things about him, too. More so than the Starlight Knight, as a matter of fact.
Then again, Raye considered, how many times had she been seriously tempted to shout out, "I'll punish you in my high heels!" Too many to count…
And on the other side of the debate, the Starlight Knight…
The more Raye thought about it, the more it seemed to her that she should be trusting him.
So why didn't she?
"I just don't know…" the priestess murmured quietly to herself as she began to get a psychic impression from the fire.
"EEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!" Raye shrieked in shock and fright as the images hit her in rapid succession, knocking her back into the wall behind her.
And, just for spite, another vision involving a shadow in that all-too-familiar green armor, attempting to kill a blonde guy with a sword and starting to possess a redheaded girl, popped up from the fire and nailed her directly in the forehead.
Raye slowly slid down the wall.
From her newly acquired position on the floor, the wide-eyed priestess took a few deep breaths to help herself calm down.
"This is… this is…" she muttered between breaths. "This is extraordinarily BAD, that's what it is! I have to tell Serena… and maybe the National Guard, while I'm at it!"
Archaic rituals… Rites that would unlock the secrets of the ages… Enchantments that would guide a seeker to their most prized goals…
Magic, for one or a dozen reasons, requires the most bizarre, convoluted, and time-consuming protocols that would make even your most hardcore computer software programmer scoff at them. They require a tremendous amount of power, effort, and concentration to accomplish.
And, at the moment, that was exactly the way Nephrite wanted it…
"I ask for power from the stars!" the youma general shouted dramatically, placing the small, black Star Crystal into the newly formed magical void, preparing it more fully for its task.
Nephrite gritted his teeth and smiled malevolently. "Guide me to the Ginzuishou…"
The stars spiraled amidst the emptiness.
As the power came into focus, Nephrite nodded slightly, a clear and logical course of action forming in his mind.
Beryl was a fool. Plain and simple.
The general frowned. No, not simply a fool… The queen was the most insane, incompetent, and unfit leader that he had ever known. And, it didn't help that she seemed to be slowly losing her mind on a day-to-day basis.
"Yes…" Nephrite whispered.
The Ginzuishou, or 'Empyrean Silver Crystal,' as Beryl insisted on calling it, should only go to the most worthy; the most fit to command its awesome power.
"I will be…"
The Star Crystal's magical infusion was complete, and it flew out of the void, into Nephrite's outstretched hand.
He held out the crystal, and opened his hand. The crystal spun into a straight up and down position three inches away from his palm. "Show me the one who will lead me to the Crystal!"
A rippling, triangular void emerged in front of the brown-haired youma general, revealing the image of a young, reddish-brown-haired girl.
Nephrite narrowed his eyes in recognition. "Molly…"
"Al, what makes you think that these girls are responsible for killing Maxfield Stanton?!" Doctor Sam Beckett whispered to the hologram walking next to him, careful to be quiet enough so that the two other girls with him, Serena and Terra, didn't hear him.
Al held up his hands in bewilderment. "Hey, I don't know! All we've been able to find out is that this girl, Serena…" He thumped the link. "I still can't get a last name for some of them, but Serena, Terra Incognito, Amy Anderson, and Raye Hino are definitely involved. As is Molly."
Sam glanced at Al. "Yeah, speaking of Molly, what have you been able find out from her?"
The middle-aged hologram sighed and shook his head. "Sorry, Sam. She's freaking out in there. She started to calm down… but that took a couple hours! And then, she got a look at her reflection… well, your reflection, and fainted…"
"…Fainted? So, maybe you could wake her up, and we could—"
Al grimaced. "Did I say fainted? I meant went catatonic."
The misplaced time traveler frowned. "Catatonic?"
"She's just standing there with her mouth hanging open, Sam! We haven't been able to snap her out of it yet. To top that off, Ziggy's still on the fritz, giggling about girls and miniskirts and stuff. Looks like you're on your own for this one."
Sam sighed. "Great… What are my odds?"
Al pushed a few buttons on the hand link. "Well, Goushie's managed to fix a little bit of Ziggy's programming… So, if these figures are right, then there's a seventy-five percent chance that Maxfield Stanton dies tonight… His body is never found."
Dr. Beckett shuddered inwardly. As much as he had dealt with the strange and terrible that invariably came with his mode of time travel, murder still unnerved him. "And you really think these two girls here are involved? I've only been with them for a little while, but they don't exactly act like they could kill anyone!"
Al shrugged helplessly, then stopped, as if listening to something. "Look, Sam, I hate to leave you like this, but Molly's coherent again. We'll see what we can find out." He pushed a button on the link. A shining doorway opened, and he stepped in. The doorway slid closed.
And, no more than a foot or two away, also walking home from school…
"Terra," Serena began, "what do you think about Jade?"
"I think she's adorable," the perpetually happy redhead replied. "It's very refreshing to see a youma general with a nice singing voice and vocabulary."
Serena frowned. "Do you really think she's from the Negaverse?"
Terra smiled. "Of course she is."
Serena's frown deepened. "What makes you think that?"
It was Terra's turn to frown. "I have no idea." She continued smiling. "Aside from the fact that she drained energy, blasted that… nice… overly-friendly old man through the roof, tried to kill Melvin, and literally sang to us that she was a youma general… Nothing remotely conclusive, really, but still, I think that we should keep an eye on her."
The twin-pigtailed blonde nodded slightly. "Yeah, I guess you're right… But she didn't do anything remotely evil!" She paused. "Well, yes, she DID go after Melvin… but… I mean, who wouldn't in her place?"
"Well… Perhaps she isn't from the Negaverse, then."
Serena gasped and smiled as an idea struck her. "Or… she is from the Negaverse, but she escaped and is trying to hide from all those evil youma around… and the song was just a slip-up, since she just got here and doesn't know her way around and how to act here on Earth! And, she called herself 'Jadeite' because he's one of their toughest warriors and she wanted to be as strong as she thought he would be through this!" She paused, thinking about this. "I mean, this has gotta be hard for her…"
"It sounds like a plausible way for it to have happened."
"You think so?"
"Well, the odds against it are astronomical, but I don't see why it couldn't happen… Come to think about it, Arby did say he had rescued two youma from execution yesterday."
Terra started to nod, then stopped with a thoughtful look. "I… think he did…" She shrugged. "He might have…" She smiled. "Yes, he did. I'm sure of it."
Serena looked at her friend. "That's funny… He didn't tell me…"
"What a coincidence… He didn't tell me either."
Serena blinked. "Then… how…?"
"Well, he did tell me… but he didn't tell me."
"As Luna probably knows, I have a—" Terra broke off and winced, holding her head in momentary agony. Then, she perked up, looked at Serena, and smiled.
"I don't know," Terra replied happily. "But, back to Jade… Even if she is from the Negaverse, she doesn't seem to be a threat. Do you think she would like to be friends?"
Serena smiled. "Hey, yeah… Maybe we could inviter her to go shopping sometime… You know, get to know her better."
"It sounds like a wonderful idea! What about Perry, though? If Arby rescued two youma, then he is probably the other one."
"Oh yeah! Perry… I almost forgot about him… I guess we could take him along…"
Terra blinked. "Are you sure that's such a good idea…?"
"Well, why not?"
"Have you ever tried to take your younger brother shopping?"
Serena chuckled evilly and began to nod, then realized something. "Wait… did we just talk about all this in front of Molly?!"
Terra gasped and held her hand to her mouth in shock. "Oh my!" The two stopped, and looked back at Molly, who walked right past them.
"Er… Molly?" Serena asked uneasily.
The reddish-brown-haired girl jumped in surprise and turned toward them. "Uh… sorry? Did I miss something?"
"Yes," Terra replied cheerfully, "you missed our discussion of Jade and the possibility that she might be from the Nega-*MRPH!*"
Serena quickly clapped her hand over Terra's mouth, giving an uncomfortable smile toward Molly. "Eh heh… Nothing, nothing at all! Right, Terra?"
"YPHE," the redhead said, blissfully heedless of the hand over her mouth.
"You've got to stop doing that," Serena whispered to Terra, who smiled and nodded pleasantly.
Molly raised an eyebrow at them, then sighed and shook her head. "Never mind, then." She paused and stole a glance to her left. "Al…" she whispered, "what did you… Oh!" She looked at her friends. "Look, I need to get home soon… So, I'll see you later, okay?"
"Bye!" Terra said, waving as Molly quickly walked off.
"Bye…" Serena said, watching her leave. "Hmm… Come to think about it, maybe Amy was right. Maybe something is wrong—"
She was cut off as her communicator chimed quietly. She took it out and turned it on, seeing Raye's face on it. To say that the priestess looked concerned would have been quite an understatement.
"Serena," Raye began, her face extremely pale. "I've got some bad news…"
"You and everybody else!" Serena exclaimed.
"Serena…" Raye continued, wide-eyed and trembling slightly.
"Whoa… Raye, what's wrong? You look like you've just seen a ghost or something."
"More like a demon…"
Serena frowned. "What is it?"
"It's about the Starlight Knight."
Serena rolled her eyes. "Oh, Raye! You need to stop worrying about him! I think it's painfully obvious that he's on our side."
Raye coughed, gritted her teeth, and slowly shook her head. "I… did a fire reading on him… and finally got something."
"Like… responsible-for-the-deaths-of-billions bad."
Serena sighed. "Oh, come on! If he's bad, he can't be that bad! And… He’s not bad!"
Raye looked at her, deathly serious. "Serena… I think, if he shows up, you should, at the very least, keep your distance."
"Naah, I don't think we really need to worry about him… Why don't you check again? And while you're at it, maybe you should check up on that creep Darien to see if we can trust him."
Raye frowned. "Tuxedo Mask is most definitely with us. Darien isn't evil; you don't need to worry about him. The Starlight Knight, on the other hand—"
"Nope! I'm NOT listening to this! Goodbye, Raye, we'll talk about this when you've calmed down!" Serena almost yelled into her communicator.
The priestess stared at her, agape. "Am I just not getting through to you, meatball head?!"
"Don't… call… me… Meatball Head!" the meatball head in question replied, and switched off her communicator, steaming. "That Raye… makes me so mad…" She turned to Terra and took a deep breath. "Terra, you… don't think Starlight's evil, do you?"
"As much as he would claim otherwise if asked, no."
Serena raised an eyebrow at the way the response was phrased. "Okay…" She looked at the street they were at, and made a turn. "Well, bye. I guess we can talk about this later, all right?"
"All right. Goodbye," Terra replied cheerfully, going in another direction.
After a moment, the redheaded girl stopped.
Something was wrong…
She looked around for some sign of the problem. Soon, she saw it: she had taken the wrong turn.
"Oh my…" Terra said as she thought about it for a moment, then shrugged, smiled, corrected her direction, and went on her merry way, humming a cheery tune.
Asleep under Serena's bed, and curled around a piece of paper, Arby chuckled.
Luna looked at him thoughtfully. "I wonder what he dreams about…" She reconsidered. "On second thought, perhaps we would all be much better off not knowing…"
Being extremely careful not to wake her student, she pulled the piece of paper from Arby's grip. It read, in elegant handwriting:
"IOU 400 transformation wands."
Luna raised an eyebrow and looked around. Sure enough, there was no sign of any of the wands Arby had made earlier. She looked back at the note and turned it over. There was more writing:
Luna blinked. "Well… This is certainly a surprise."
Arby instantly bolted awake. "Eh?! Wot? Wot?" He looked down. "'Ey! Sum'one stole all me transfo'mation wands! Wuzzn't very noice of 'em…" He looked around, searching for any trace of the magical sticks, and didn't find any. After another moment, he shrugged. "Oh well… Gotta go n' make more, then."
He fluttered off.
"No, Arby! Wait!" Luna shouted urgently, following him.
Continued in Part 9-H
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