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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 4: …The Whole Crew Already?

"Not payin' for me services?! Well then ya gets 'em for free!"
—Mr. R. B. Fish

Weeks passed, and the events that transpired the night of the attack at the Osa-P gradually faded into the public background. Naru and her mother moved away to Okinawa to start a new life, far away from jewelry and the youma that used them to drain energy.

As for Terra and Usagi, the two girls got to know each other quite well as they worked, studied, and fought together. There were many more strikes made by the Negamafoozles in an attempt to gather large amounts of human energy. They were all thwarted by the brave Sailors Moon and Chibimoon, helped in generous amounts by Tuxedo Kamen and the Star Light Knight.

The ArbyFish disappeared the morning after that first fateful battle. Just as mysteriously as he came, he was gone, leaving no trace save for the strange mark hidden on Terra's neck. Luna could not explain it and the Irish girl never told her new friends about the truly strange creature named Arby. Some things were best left forgotten.

Usagi gradually gained in strength and confidence as a Sailor Soldier, aided by Luna's insight and knowledge of how the girl's powers functioned. Terra, on the other hand, was left with only a tattered brochure with advice that didn't work. Their kitty companion was unable to help Chibimoon improve her combat prowess, and as a result the cheerful, intelligent teenager mainly joined Sailor Moon as moral support from safely behind the usually present defense of Tuxedo Kamen. Meanwhile, Sailor Moon and the Star Light Knight would typically go up front and whack the Negamafoozle together but good.

In the midst of the battle, Terra frowned at the turn of phrase her mind had produced. "Go up front and whack the Negamafoozle together but good?" she whispered. That sounded very, very wrong, for some reason she couldn't quite place.

"Sailor Chibimoon, get down!" Tuxedo Kamen shouted urgently in her direction.

"What?!" Suddenly distracted and unable to dodge, Chibimoon got nailed hard in the chest with a huge glob of demon-energy-laced mud. It slammed her against the wall and stuck her there before starting to constrict. "A-A-AH!" she shouted, pathetically gasping for air.

"Chibimoon!" Sailor Moon cried, reaching for her tiara.

"No time for that," the Star Light Knight said. He pulled out his handgun, pointed it at the youma's head, and fired.

The amorphous monster's head exploded in a splash of wet sand, but quickly reformed. Its features shifted from one side of its body to the other as it turned to face the Star Light Knight.

"Normal lead bullets," the youma hissed in glee, "can't hurt me!"

S.L.K. smiled. "Yeah, maybe not." He took out a rectangular cartridge with octograms and runic inscriptions on it, then popped out the round in his weapon and replaced it with the cartridge. "But how about magic exploding tip lead bullets??!?!" He aimed low and fired.

"A-A-ARGH!" the youma cried, hopping up and down and holding its blasted, blackened foot. "YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS!!"

"Your turn, Sailor Moon," S.L.K. invited warmly, waving at their quarry. "BLOW IT TO BITS!!!"

The blonde nodded. "Right!" She took off her tiara, charged it with energy until it was a disc of light, and threw it at the youma. "Moon Tiara Frisbee Action!"

The youma screamed as it got hit, and crumbled into a pile of ashes a second later.

"BOO-YEAH! Great job, kid," S.L.K. whispered to Sailor Moon with a hint of pride. His watch beeped. He looked at it. "Oops, gotta go. See you next fight, okay?"

"Yeah, I'll see you next fight!" Sailor Moon called after him as he departed into the all-concealing shadows. She sighed dreamily. "He's incredible."

Tuxedo Kamen helped pull Chibimoon from the sticky mud that held her. "You still haven't learned how to defend yourself," he lectured. "If you keep this up… I don't know what might happen!"

"I'm sorry," Terra apologized emphatically. "It's just that… I don't know what to do."

The masked man shook his head. "I'm sure you'll figure it out eventually. But for now, I must go now as well."

Sailor Chibimoon nodded sadly. "Until next time, then."

Tuxedo Kamen tipped his hat at her and also disappeared into the shadows.  "Until next time."

Chibimoon walked over to her companion, thinking about her own situation. "He worries so much about me, but I can't do anything…"

Usagi stopped staring towards the space where Star Light Knight had disappeared and looked at her friend. "Aw, don't be too hard on yourself. After all, you've been with me from the start." She thought about that. "Okay, maybe not the start, but just after the start. But still, you've kept coming with me. You have no idea how great it is to have someone I know behind me!" She blushed. "Even though the Star Light Knight helps me fight, you're there for me if I need you."

Terra attempted a pleasant laugh, but it came out half-hearted. "Thanks, Sailor Moon. I appreciate you trying to help me feel better."

Right about then, a little girl in a puffy pink dress came up to Terra excitedly and exclaimed, "Sailor Chibimoon?! I can't believe I'm really meeting you! I'm your biggest fan! You're the greatest! I've got all the newspaper clippings of stuff you've done, my mommy makes me costumes like yours, and I just love you so much!!"

Perking up immediately, Chibimoon smiled at the cute little groupie, almost embarrassed at the praise being heaped upon her. "Why, thank you—"

Then the child looked a little puzzled. "But I've got just one question. Why do you suck so bad?"

Terra's expression fell. "Ah, that is, I—"

Sailor Moon slapped her forehead as all her ego-boosting efforts fell apart with six simple words from a clueless child. "Uh-oh, look at the time!" she cried, pointing at a clock on the wall. "We're gonna be late!" She grabbed Chibimoon by the wrist and tugged her away.

The two soldiers for Love and Justice found a good hiding spot, changed back to their school clothes, and made it with five minutes to spare. Nevertheless, something Terra's groupie had said about her kept cycling through her mind. "Indeed," whispered Terra sadly as she slumped over her desk, "why do I suck so bad?"

"Um, hey, you don't suck," Usagi tried to console her.

The not-so-plucky Irish lass looked at the other girl. "Really? In what ways don't I suck?"

"Oh, well, that is," Usagi began, but stopped and was unable to come up with anything for a while. She finally ventured, "You've got good hair?"

"I do?" Terra pulled a pinch of her coarse red hair over and examined it. Again, she'd wasted excessive amounts of conditioner trying to get it to behave to no avail. She'd even gotten an intense perm a few days back, which turned out instead to be a temp five minutes afterwards. It wasn't that her hair was messy. It was actually fairly well ordered, but ever since she had her mind tampered with, her locks just seemed to have ideas of their own incompatible with her preferences. Her hair really liked being evil lately.

"No," the blonde relented, "I guess you don't have good hair." She brightened. "But don't worry! I'll think of something."

Terra sighed. "Thanks for trying, though, Usagi."

"No, I've got it," Usagi thrust back into the conversation. "You're really smart!"

"Hmm." Terra considered that. "That's… I guess that's a good quality of mine."

Haruna-sensei waved to the class as she came in, took out the essays that the class had turned in the previous week, and started to hand them back.

Usagi got a seventy-four and she breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh, good! Mom's help paid off."

Terra got a seventy-one. Her lower lip trembled. "But! But… I put so much effort into it!" She raised her hand. "Excuse me. Why did I just get a seventy-one?"

The teacher brought herself up tall and cleared her voice channel. "Incognita-san, despite your poor manners in debating grades in the middle of class, in front of everyone else — some of whom would be glad to have a grade as high as yours — I will, in deference to your nigh-incorrigible ignorance of Japanese etiquette, tell you. First of all, do you remember how many pages it was supposed to be?"

"Four pages?" Terra thought back and kicked herself. So, that was why. "All right, I admit that giving you ten pages was a bit much. But it's good to have lots of detailed information, isn't it?"

"Oh, yes, I agree. But that wasn't the worst thing. Do you recall the theme of the essay I assigned you?"

"Of course," Terra said. "Just like you said in class, it was contrasting the policies of ninth century feudal daimyos with two other forms of government — one more ancient and one more recent."

Haruna-sensei nodded. "Very good! Now, I loved how you compared Japanese feudalism to the modern British Parliament. Since you're from there, I can see why you chose to use that form of government in your essay."

The Irish girl frowned. "What was the problem, then?"

"It was the five pages of sci-fi novel you wrote after that. Interplanetary monarchies founded ten thousand years ago on the principles of love, magic, peace, and Earthling repression? You're a good student, but please, try to take the next assignment more seriously. Good writing, though. That's why I didn't take off fifty percent, which I probably should have."

Terra flipped through the pages of her essay and confirmed her teacher's assertions. "Oh my. I'm… sorry, then."

"Don't worry about it," Haruna-sensei beamed.

A buck-toothed boy in the back with a bowl-cut raised his hand. "Miss Haruna? Why didn't I pass?

"I'm very glad you asked, Takeda-san. Quite apart from the fact that you didn't answer the essay question, type it, or put your name on the paper, you only wrote twelve words. I even memorized them and considered putting them to music. You wrote, and I quote in your charming rural accent, 'Feudalism's bad. My granddaddy died in a feud once. Feuds are bad.'"

The boy turned red with embarrassment. "That was wrong?"

"Sorry, but yes, it was. So, you see, I couldn't quite bring myself to give you a passing grade on this assignment. In fact, please talk to me after class. We have so much to discuss." Smiling, the teacher shuffled the papers on her desk and said, "Would anyone else like to complain about their grade? No? Good, then let's continue."

When the next lesson started, Terra was still trying to track down the source of her error. She remembered writing every word of her essay, but right now she wondered where she'd gotten it all from. Since her mind had turned out to be such an excellent source of facts, she'd taken to writing her assignments straight off the top of her head without consulting much in the way of outside materials. Though it had never happened before, she supposed that she could have slipped into a fiction-writing mode without noticing it. But she'd felt so calm and sure that what she wrote about had been real, despite never having heard about it in her life.

"Curiouser and curiouser," Terra whispered. Her mind referenced her situation and comment back to the works of Lewis Carroll, and found the comparison very appropriate. It was like she'd fallen down a rabbit hole and her life had been flipped upside down since the incident with S.L.K. and that gas-powered electric guitar.

Outside, during lunch, Terra fell down a rabbit hole. Or, rather, she slipped into one and her leg got caught and twisted a bit. "Ow! I didn't see that one." She squirmed around in an attempt to get out, but she was at a really bad angle for such a feat. "Ah, this is deep. Um, help? Someone?"

Terra had gone behind some bushes to eat her lunch in solitude so she could further analyze her essay without interruptions, but it looked like those plans would have to wait. "I hope there aren't any snakes in this hole." She had a modest fear of venomous serpents, stemming from stories she'd heard about her homeland and Saint Patrick. But then part of her mind comforted her by saying not to worry. A snake down a rabbit hole? Preposterous. Why, the very idea…

…suddenly didn't seem such a remote possibility when Terra felt something scaly caress her calf. She screamed in mortal terror.

A brunette in a uniform with a light brown skirt came around the corner. She was a little tall for a Junior High student, a part of Terra thought, but then again, she herself was considered by many to be somewhat more developed than average for a girl her age.

"Excuse me?" Terra called in an urgent voice. "Could you please help me out of this hole?"

Having heard the scream, the tall girl immediately hurried over, grabbed Terra's arm, and yanked her out of the ground. In the same motion, she swung the redhead through the air, shaking off the dirt and placed her lightly on her feet.

Terra held herself tense for a moment, not daring to move after witnessing the sheer strength of the young woman in front of her. "Hot dang… er, I mean, oh my."

The shapely teen titan laughed softly. "Pretty strong, huh?"

Terra nodded wordlessly.

"You're welcome. Say, I'm new around here. My school exploded — but it wasn't my fault, so don't get any ideas — so I just transferred over today. I'm Lita. What's your name?"

"Call me Terra," Terra said. "I'm very glad to meet you, Lita." She then glanced at the other's new student nametag. "But your nametag says Kino Makoto."

"Hmm?" Makoto glanced down at her blouse. "Oh, Lita's my stage name. I used it when I tried to become an actress. That didn't work out, but still, I like it a little better than Makoto. Makoto sounds too much like a boy's name."

Terra thought about that and discovered that she wouldn't enjoy having a boyish name, either. So if it happened to her, she would probably likewise search for a more feminine nickname. "Oh, I guess that's all right, then."

Another girl, this one wearing a private school uniform, dashed through the bushes to their location. "Was someone here screaming?" she asked urgently.

"I'm sorry, that was me." Terra looked at the new entrant. She was also somewhat taller than the young Irish woman, with a thinner build, and had long raven-black hair. In the presence of both her and Makoto, Terra started to feel a little short. She smacked her head and tried to stop thinking when her mind started compiling estimated height, weight, and other statistical data. "Stupid me, I slipped down a hole and thought I felt a snake."

The black-haired girl pointed at Terra's foot. "About that. I think you should stand very still."

"Why?" Terra looked down and froze in place. There was a three-foot-long red and black snake coiled around her ankle. "EEK!"

In a smooth, graceful movement, the girl in the private school uniform reached down and grasped the snake by the head and pulled off its ankular resting place.

Whimpering, Terra ran around and hid from the reptile behind Makoto.

"This isn't poisonous," said the snake-handler. She knelt down and let it slip back into its hole. "It's a constrictor and doesn't hardly ever bite. It eats vermin and it's small. I don't think it could hurt you even if it got wrapped around your neck."

Terra peeked over Makoto's shoulder nervously. "Eh-heh. Yeah, sure. Is it gone yet?"

"Pansy," the brunette muttered at her.

Still clinging to her arm, Terra whispered back, "Umm. I'm deathly afraid of snakes, okay?"

"Hey, don't worry about it," Makoto said. "A lot of people are."

"And Pandas," Terra added, shuddering. "And clowns!"

Makoto helped her over to the edge of a garden wall where she could sit down.  "Ri-i-ight. There aren't any clowns or pandas around here, so don't worry about them. Calm down, okay?"

Behind them, past the bushes, a clown chased a panda through the school grounds. The panda held up a sign that said, "Don't look at me; I'm just a harmless panda!"

Terra breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you, you two, for helping me."

"No problem." The raven-haired student nodded at Terra, looking her over thoughtfully. "Hmm. We've just met and I can already tell. You're a real basket-case, aren't you?"

"Yes, yes I am," Terra admitted. Guilty as charged, she thought. Unlucky in combat, struggling through school, and lugging around a sack full of uncertainties, phobias, and doubts. No amount of thought or intelligence could fix that, it seemed. "And I suck really bad, too."

The medium-tall girl looked puzzled by Terra's statement, but then her eyes glistened with understanding and her shoulders started to shake when she giggled and then laughed. "It's good to meet an honest person, for once. What's your name? I'm Rei, by the way."

"I'm Terra."

Makoto lifted a hand when Rei's inquisitive gaze refocused on her. "And I'm Lita."

Rei bowed slightly, in a rather proper manner.

Terra looked between Rei and Makoto. "Pardon me for asking, but why haven't I seen you around here before? And those aren't Juuban uniforms."

"My school got blown up," Rei replied.

"Mine too," added Makoto.

"We transferred in temporarily until they can find the bomber," explained Rei. She tilted her head at Terra. "Didn't you hear? More importantly, didn't you see the police and security guards who are here to make sure this place doesn't blow up, either?"

"Eh-heh." Terra rubbed the back of her head. "I've been kind of distracted all day, so I guess I must have missed them."

Makoto chuckled. "You're funny, Red."

"Please, call me Terra," Terra protested. "Or I'll start calling you Makoto."

"Oooh, touché."

Terra smiled. Her mind might not be able to give her a perfect life, but at least it could supply her with witty quips. She turned towards Rei. "That was… amazing, what you did with the snake. How can you move so quickly?"

"I eat right, exercise, and work at a shrine," Rei replied, shrugging. "In other words, I just do."

The Irish girl nodded at that. There were things that just came naturally to some people. She turned toward Makoto. "And where'd you get so strong?"

"I did martial arts with my old boyfriend," Makoto said, and then peered at Terra curiously. "Actually, you kind of remind me of—" Her eyes started to get sparkly and dreamy, but then she caught herself and pounded on her head. "No, no! What am I thinking?!"

Terra blinked at the brunette, and looked over at Rei. "So, did you just come in today, or have you been coming for a while?"

"I don't know about Lita, but I've been coming here for a week."

The three talked at length and became fast friends. Usagi joined them and brought yet another friend. The next one to come was named Mizuno Ami, whose school had not spontaneously combusted, but she moved in and this was the nearest educational institution to her new home.

Ami bowed in greeting. "It's nice to meet you three."

"I wanted to meet Ami-chan after so many people were talking about her in the hall," Usagi said. "Then my cat Luna got attached to her, so we started talking, and then finally we came over here."

"Yes," Ami added, petting the black cat curled around one of her shoulders. "I'm surprised how much it likes me. It's like it knows me from somewhere."

"Wow, neat," Makoto said in awe. "So, you're that one genius girl."

Ami nodded shyly.

"Well, it's been nice meeting you," Rei said. "But I have a few things I need to study for before lunch break is over." She started to walk off.

"No, don't go!" the cat on Ami's shoulder called after the private school student.

Everyone stopped. Now, this was rare. When felines started spontaneously speaking perfect Japanese, it was time to start listening. Even if it were just asking for catnip, by golly, you gave it catnip and asked if it wanted milk with that.

"Oh my," said Terra at the unexpected situation. She was the first one to break the silence.

Ami turned quizzically toward Luna, but cautiously didn't say anything.

Rei looked at the others and pointed at Luna. "Did that thing just—"

"Yes, I did," Luna said.

"Hey, where'd you learn to talk?!" exclaimed Makoto.

"Shh!" Luna hushed her. "I'll tell you all about it, but right here and now is not the place. Is there somewhere private we can talk about this? All five of you together?"

Caught off-guard, Rei stuttered for a second and said, "T-there's the Hikawa Shrine. I work there and it's usually very quiet. We could go… right after school?"

"Yes, that would work," Luna agreed. "I know where the Hikawa Shrine is. Can I get you all to agree to meet me there just after school, which if I am not mistaken, ends in about three hours?"

Rei, Ami, and Makoto wordlessly nodded.

"Good, then I will meet you all there. Before then, I have some things I need to check and take care of." The dark-colored feline leapt onto the school's perimeter wall, glanced back, and then jumped away.

"That was rather unusual," Ami finally said.

"We do not see that sort of thing every day," Rei agreed.

"Cool," whispered Makoto.

"What's gotten into Luna?" Terra asked Usagi.

"I don't know," Usagi replied. "Maybe she got bored?"

The remaining classes went by uneventfully. Terra got a math quiz score back. It wasn't perfect, though, since she'd somehow mistaken the divide sign for an ancient letter that signified "thousand." She berated herself about it all the way over to Rei's shrine.

"I can't believe I missed those problems," Terra cried.

"You still got a better grade than I did," Usagi whined, showing her highest math score yet of 43. She had apparently broken all kinds of studying records to do that well.

Rei greeted Usagi and Terra at the door. "You're late," said the dark-haired girl. She was wearing the red and white robes of a shrine maiden.

"We didn't run," Terra explained. "But we came as quickly as we could."

"Come inside," Rei urged. "Your cat's been quite informative."

"She has?" Usagi wondered. "That's strange. She usually isn't."

They entered, walked past a snoozing elderly priest, and came to a private room. Rei followed and slid the door shut behind them. Luna was in the middle of lecturing and answering questions.

"Hey," said Makoto, "if I'm a mystical warrior reincarnated from the past, then how come nobody told me?"

"I'm telling you now," Luna noted.

"Oh yeah," Makoto whispered to herself. "That makes sense."

"This is all very interesting," Ami said, pausing to take a brief sip of her tea, "but if we're going to be joining you to battle a large group of evil youma, we'll need more proof than your word alone."

"What more proof do you want?!" exclaimed Rei. "This is a freaking talking cat we've got here."

"But it's true!" whined Usagi. "I've fought these things. They're really, really bad."

"The strange phenomenon and witnesses are compelling evidence," conceded Ami, "but at the very least, we'll need weapons with which to fight these creatures."

"I say yeah to that, too," Makoto said, pounding her fist on the table. "One or a dozen monsters I can take, but armies of 'em? We're gonna need some serious firepower."

"You will have exactly that," Luna said, looking quite pleased that the conversation seemed to be going her way, overall. She jumped into the air and did a quick somersault. In a sparkle of magic, three pen-like wands of different colors with planetary sigils on them dropped onto the table. "You'll use these."

"Pens?" asked Makoto.

"They're magic. Call them Transformation Rods, call them Morphing Sticks, it doesn't matter. They are what give you access to your powers."

"Our powers?" Ami inquired.

"Yes," said Luna. She pushed the blue one towards Ami. "You are Sailor Mercury. You control the powers of ice, water, and fog. Hold the pen high and, say Mercury Power, Make Up." She pushed the red one toward Rei. "You are Sailor Mars. You control the power of fire. The phrase to activate this is Mars Power, Make Up." Finally, she gave Makoto the green rod. "You are Sailor Jupiter. You control lightning, wind, and plant life. Say Jupiter Power, Make Up!"

The three girls took their pens one by one and thoughtfully considered what they were doing, and each decided to accept the challenge.

"Mercury Power!"
"Mars Power!"
"Jupiter Power!"

"Make Up!"

Luna looked at Terra and Usagi. "You two as well," she urged.

The blonde and the redhead nodded. "Right!" They held the brooches on the bows at their chests and said in unison, "Moon Prism Power, Make Up!"

The light and power, which filled the room, lasted for seconds, and after what seemed like minutes, the sequences were all complete.

"Will you join us in our battle against the Dark Kingdom?" Luna asked the three new Sailor Soldiers.

Sailor Jupiter looked over her new outfit, shrugged, and said, "Sure, count me in."

Sailor Mars pursed her lips as she thought over the various implications of what her next decision would mean. "I don't know all we'll face, but somehow, this feels right. I will."

Sailor Mercury took a deep breath, examined her gloves, looked at Luna, Terra, and then Usagi, and said softly, as if she were asked to take someone's place at the gallows, "Yes."

Sailor Moon jumped for joy. "Yay! All right!"

"I'm very glad," Luna said, breathing a sigh of relief.

Sailor Chibimoon clapped her hands together and smiled the smile she had been born with and used for years. "Isn't this so nice we're all together again?"

She didn't have time to think of why she had appended "again" to her statement, because she remembered that she still had chores she promised her mother she would do before the day was out. "Oh my, I have some things I need to take care of. Does anyone mind if I head off? No? Good, then I'll see you later."

Sailor Chibimoon undid her transformation and hurried out.

A couple of hours later, at home, Terra finished up her chores by sorting through some old newspapers for her mother. There were the usual things, like kidnappings, political discord, terrorist activities in Ireland, but there were also brief mentions toward the back of hers and Usagi's occasional vigilante actions. The media had apparently decided that Sailor Moon was the leader, and that Chibimoon was the sidekick.

"Well, it's not like I actually do anything," Terra muttered. The papers didn't have much to say about the occult enemy against which they'd struggled — the unknown aggressors she'd come to think of as the Negamafoozles, thanks to a certain someone's odd manner of phrasing things. Thinking of which, where was Arby, anyway? Had he been just a dream… or a nightmare, rather?

It was right about then that Terra heard the pet entrance on the front door flap around. This instantly worried her, partly because she didn't have any pets, but mostly because she distinctly recalled not having a pet door anywhere in her house.

The girl felt an odd presence behind her, the likes of which she hadn't felt in weeks. The only way to describe it was as completely, utterly wrong, and against everything she believed was real.

Terra was about to turn around to face this malignant thing when, almost like a sprouting slime mold, Arby the ArbyFish jumped up in front of her, wearing a safari hat. "G'day, Madam!"


"'Ello sez Oye ta Yew ta Me n' Yew back in return!"

"Arby!" Terra gasped for breath. "Where have you been all this time?"

"Oh, 'ad ta go on a research trip. 'Ere, lookit this." He took out a sack and produced a large white-segmented mushroom. "It's a Horrible Hooded Huffing Hessian Hissing Horde 'Shroom. It's venomous!"

The mushroom hissed, bore its fangs, and tried to lunch at Terra's neck before Arby grabbed it and stuffed it away again. "'Ere, get back in there."

It was true that Terra had missed Arby. She missed him the same way one typically missed a sharp kick in the shins and punch in the nose by a beloved and cherished friend. She missed him like all the nasty, unnerving habits her grandmother had, she missed him like mold on a moist bagel after a particularly humid week. Actually, come to think of it, she didn't miss him at all, but it simply wasn't proper to think of an acquaintance in negative terms the first time she'd seen him in such a long while.

Before she could stop it, her mind processed all of the clues Arby had given her, and it still made no sense. "Let me get this straight," Terra said evenly. "You went on a safari… in Germany?!"

The creature nodded. "A'course! Great place ta observe ecological evolution n' societal welfare a' th' local woildloife. Went big game 'untin', too."

"Big game hunting?" Terra asked. "In one of the most developed countries in Europe?" Then she looked down at the old newspaper she was about to toss out. One of the front-page stories was about a wealthy CEO of a European automotive company who had gone missing. Her eyes widened. "Arby, no! You didn't!"

"'Course Oye did! Took pictures, too." The ArbyFish held up a slice of a mushroom with a picture of him standing triumphantly beside a German businessman that had been strung up by his heels.

"You killed him?!"

Arby looked offended that she'd even consider such a thing. "No, that'd depreciate th' stock! They's an endangered species, they is! 'E wos just a li'l stunned." He placed a thick scientific report on the table. "Oye took some measurements, collected sum blood n' stool samples, then tagged 'em, put a radio collar on 'em n' released 'em back into th' woilde roight noice n' proppa'."

"Oh, well, I guess it'll be okay, then."

"Oye injected 'em with tracking 'shrooms, too. Left a warning on 'is desk about not ta leave town or travel faster than four'ee moiles n' hour, 'cos if 'e does, the 'shrooms'll explode!"

"Arby, no! That's horrible!"

"No, no, no, it's perfectly proppa'. Gotta keep track of ya endangered species. Wot'd th' environmen'alists say if we didn't?"

"But… but!! They'll explode, the… mush…rooms?" Terra struggled to stop herself from thinking. Whenever she was around Arby and she tried to think, things just seemed to get worse. Just smile and nod, she coached herself. Just smile and nod.

Mercifully, a rumble outside caught Terra's attention. She went to the window and looked out to behold the entire city broken and aflame. Her mouth formed a big 'O' and she placed her hands at her cheeks. "OH NO!"

Arby fluttered over and perched on her shoulder, watching the event take place.

People burned alive, buildings fell, and monsters ran through the streets. Above it all hovered the giant wavering visage of a blond man in a grey uniform. "Sailor Soldiers," his voice bellowed across the landscape. "I am Jadeite, First General of the Dark Kingdom! What you see before you now is just an illusion. But you have become quite a bother for us as of late, so we challenge you personally to a battle. Meet us tomorrow evening at Tokyo Airport, or what you have seen before you will become reality. Be ready for us. One way or another, tomorrow night, blood shall be spilled!!"

The man, the fire, and the carnage vanished, leaving Terra wide-eyed and wondering what in the world she was going to do now. On the one hand, there were three more Sailor Soldiers to help out with the fight, but on the other, she still had nothing to work with.

"Oh, looks loike yew's got'cha work cut out for ya," Arby said. "'Ave fun. G'boie!" He started to flutter out the window, but Terra caught him by the tail.

"No, Arby. You're not leaving this time without telling me how to use my powers!"

The ArbyFish looked at her. "Wants ta use ya powers roight proppa, does yew?"

He took out a newspaper clipping and handed it to her. "'Ere, read this."

Terra read it, but as she did her brow furrowed in impatience. "This is an ad for anger management courses! How do you expect me to— HEY!" The ArbyFish had slipped out of her grasp and once again gone out of sight.

With a useless newspaper clipping in one hand a tuft of moldy fur in the other, the girl asked rhetorically, "So what do I do now?!"


To be continued.

It's time for… MIND YOUR MANNERS!!! with Sailor Nuke.

(Scene of S.L.K. shooting the sand youma in the foot.)

Sailor Nuke: Today, we learned that we can get anything done with enough brute force.

Sailor Kawaii(yells): NO, WE DIDN'T! Today's where we learned that if you're a cute talking kitty cat, you can get people to believe anything!

(Scene of Luna lecturing to all of the prospective miniskirt-wearers.)

Sailor Kawaii: You don't think that they'd have listened if Luna were some big, ugly dog or crow, do you? No! They listened to Luna 'cause she was cute!

Sailor Nuke: Whatever! It was still about blowing things up. Sailor Nuke sez. BWAHAHAHAHHAHAAA!

Sailor Kawaii: Remember to look nice and be cute when asking people to do things. Sailor Kawaii says! Tee-hee!

Chapter 5
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Old Gray Wolf