A lone woman stood before a huge set of double doors and wearily sighed. As Sailor Pluto, she knew it was her duty to defend the portal of time and space, but that didn't mean she liked it. The last two years or so had been particularly tough on her. With Galaxia defeated, the Sailor Senshi were finally free to live in peace and continue their normal lives--and she'd had to return to her post. Small Lady had recently traveled to the past for now to visit Usagi and Mamoru, so she hadn't even had a single visitor in so long.
Had it truly been only two years? Time moved so strangely in this place sometimes, especially lately. For the last few weeks, without warning, the doors would spontaneously open and close.
Setsuna Meiou, Sailor Pluto, missed her friends back on Earth so much. She sighed again, thinking about her Princess, Serenity, the future queen of Crystal Tokyo. She was so absorbed in her thoughts, she almost missed a faint crackling in the air. Someone was coming . . .
"Ah-h-h!" a woman with dark auburn hair screamed.
"I'm sorry, Miss Lina!" the girl with her, Amelia, apologized.
"What the hell are you trying to do?!?" Lina Inverse continued yelling. The two men in the background, Gourry and Zelgadis, wisely remained silent.
Amelia looked sheepish and only mumbled again, "I'm sorry, Miss Lina." Suddenly she brightened and stated, "I'll do better next time."
Zelgadis sighed. "You almost killed Lina this time."
Amelia's smile just grew. "The hand of justice is on my side! I will triumph!"
Lina shook her head in defeat. "That girl's going to be the death of us all," she drily commented, sitting down near the two men. From there, it was apparent why Gourry was silent; he was asleep, and that didn't seem like such a bad idea to Lina, either. She laid back on the grass and stared at the sky, trying her best to ignore the fledgling sorceress.
Amelia kept tripping over the words for the teleportation spell she'd designed, so badly in fact, even she didn't really know what she was saying. Nothing really seemed to be happening, and she stomped her foot in exasperation, throwing her hands up in the air.
That was when the sky went black directly above the group, and gravity suddenly reversed itself. All four started upwards toward the large, dark circle of clouds. Right before they were pulled into the void, the next-to-last thing they heard was Lina yelling, "I'm going to get you for this, Amelia!"
The last thing they heard was Gourry snoring.
The doors flew open again, and Sailor Pluto jumped to attention, already working to get them shut again. They seemed to be jammed open. Four shapes flew past her, and the doors began to close behind them, stopping only when there was maybe an open inch. Try as she might, she could not completely shut the door. She looked back over her shoulder to see if she could still see the figures, but they were out of her sight. She should warn the other Senshi, she nervously thought, but she really shouldn't leave her post, not with the gate's current misbehavior. Luna would probably think it was the Dark Kingdom (What hadn't she thought was the Dark Kingdom?), but she'd prepare the other Sailor Senshi.
So much for their time of peace. Something big was about to happen, something that *could* completely change the flow of time . . .
Usagi Tsukino checked her watch and sighed wearily, 9:11 p.m. She was getting home later and later every night for the past few weeks. Night classes were killing her, but she knew it was for the best, in the long run anyway. If she were going to rule Crystal Tokyo someday, business management would be helpful. She smiled as she paused to think back to her junior high days when she hadn't even been able to pass a simple math test. Her mother would already be turning in for the night, and dinner would be cold. There was an all-night buffet on the next block; she could eat there then maybe, maybe, drag herself home.
As she stepped closer to the restaurant, she collided into a woman only a few inches taller than she was. Usagi blushed; she thought she'd outgrown her clumsiness at long last. She looked up and noticed the woman sitting on the ground next to her. She was dressed very strangely: a black cape and some strange outfit, complete with a black headband around her auburn hair. Her eyes were the same color as her hair.
"It all looks so good," the stranger commented.
"It tastes as good as it looks." Both women stood up, and she smiled. "Actually, I was about to go in."
"Mind if I join you?"
"Come on." As they started in, she extended her hand. "My name's Usagi."
"I'm Lina Inverse."
The two young women went inside and began filling their plates before taking a table. Each had nearly completed eating their third course before Usagi spoke again. "That's an interesting outfit."
Lina looked up and thought fast. "I'm from out-of-town."
"Oh." Usagi looked puzzled and almost commented that the Four Weird Sisters dressed closer to normal than her, but instead she asked another question. "Where?"
"Are they putting out chocolate cake?" Lina whispered in awe, ignoring the question.
Usagi spun in her seat to look, and her jaw nearly hit the floor in amazement. "Oh, my," she weakly commented. Half a second later, they were both at the counter with empty plates and huge eyes, begging for the first piece of the five-layer chocolate-on-chocolate creation.
Lina ended up with the first huge piece, and Usagi got the second. While Lina busily ate like someone would steal it off her plate if she didn't finish it in ten seconds flat, Usagi's pace became slower and slower with every bite. Soon she was asleep beside her plate, her trademark odangos touching the floor.
A waitress came by to collect the used plates. She smiled at Lina and asked, "Who shall I leave the check with?"
Lina smiled evilly. "My friend Usagi here has it. Good night," she looked at the name tag, "Megumi."
Usagi woke up to someone poking her in the ribs, hard. She didn't have to think hard to figure out who it would be. "Knock it off, Rei," she muttered sleepily.
"Odango atama!" Rei chided her with a hidden inner smile. "You've been asleep at your plate for two hours!"
Usagi sat up and looked around. Spotting her waitress, she signaled her over and asked, "Where did Lina go?"
"Lina?" Rei questionned.
"Your friend left several hours ago. She said you'd pay the bill."
"She stiffed me!" Usagi whispered in surprise. "She left me with the bill!"
"You are such an idiot, Usagi," Rei commented, already fishing in her purse for her credit card to help out. It was fairly common knowledge Usagi was desperately saving up for an apartment of her own.
Between the two young women, they settled the debt, and Rei started walking Usagi home, just in case she might doze off along the way. It was Rei, not Usagi, who froze in place along the way, though. "What is it, Rei-chan?" Usagi asked, stopping just a few steps ahead of the other woman. Suddenly a sense of dread filled her senses, and she shivered with unexpected cold. "I guess that's it. Trouble?"
"Definitely." Rei pulled out her communicator and called the other Senshi, waking up a majority of them. Tucking the communicator in her purse, she lifted her transformation pen and called out, "Mars Crystal Power, MAKE-UP!" In a few seconds, she became Super Sailor Mars. She stared at Usagi, awaiting her change.
Usagi nodded and gently touched the brooch that had lain dormant on her chest for two long years. She hated to fight, but she was so used to being Sailor Moon, it was difficult to give it up. "Moon Eternal, MAKE-UP!" Her transformation took closer to a minute, but soon Eternal Sailor Moon was visible, wings and all.
That's when the cause of their distress popped into view. It looked like every other youma that they'd ever faced, only it was about fifteen to twenty feet taller. It was a dark green color and did not seem to have any real face.
Eternal Sailor Moon continued her appraisal of the monster and, as she looked down, she saw someone that she really wanted to hate. "Lina Inverse!" she whispered under her breath.
"That's Lina?" Mars asked.
"Yes. I'll distrace the monster; you get her out of here."
Mars smiled. "Sure."
Eternal Sailor Moon vanished then reappeared a few seconds later a few feet away, standing on the back of a park bench. "Stop right there, ugly!" she called out. The monster and Lina both looked over at her, neither noticing Mars sneaking closer. "I am an agent of love and justice--"
"Not another one," Lina interupted, shaking her head.
"--a pretty Sailor Senshi, Sailor Moon," she continued. "In the name of the moon, I'll punish you!" She struck a pose, pointing at the monster. Her weapon, the Eternal Tier, appeared (apparently from thin air), and she prepared to start her move. She glanced at Mars, who was almost to Lina. She needed to keep the youma busy for just a few more seconds. "Who sent you?"
"My master," it replied from its . . . Sailor Moon wasn't quite certain how it managed to speak.
"You're a real brain, aren't you?" Lina retorted. The monster's head tilted down towards her. "Fire Ball!"
Although Lina was clearly expecting the attack to be fatal, it only mildly damaged the creature. Sailor Mars grinned sheepishly at Sailor Moon. "I guess she doesn't need our help. Mars Flame Sniper!"
Sailor Moon mentally shrugged and started her own finishing move. "Silver Moon Crystal Power Kiss!"
Any other time, the attack would have had as much an effect as Lina thought hers should have; now it only gave the daimon a limp and a laceration across what would be its stomach.
"That does it!" Lina yelled. She crossed her hands at the wrists, lowered them, then raised them above her head. She softly chanted:
"Darkness beyond night,
Crimson beyond blood that flows,
Buried in the stream of time
Is where your power grows.
I pledge myself to conquer
All the foes who stand
Before the mighty gift bestowed
In my unworthy hands."
She extended her hands before her. Alarm shot through Sailor Moon, and she grasped her transformation locket which housed the Moon Crystal. Lina yelled, "Dragon Slave!"
"Moon Crystal Power!" Sailor Moon yelled simultaneously.
As a result, the blast that destroyed the creature (and would have destroyed the city) was somewhat contained by the power of the Moon Crystal.
"Sorry about the mess," Lina apologized to a pair of shocked Sailor Senshi. "It was getting on my nerves." She looked closer at the one with the wings who was apparently the leader. "You seem very familar."
"The Sailor Senshi were very famous a few years ago," the other one interrupted, stepping closer to the one called Sailor Moon.
"No. Besides, I wasn't here a few years ago." She took a step closer and then noticed the hairstyle. "Usagi?"
Sailor Moon's eyes widened considerably. "How did you know?" she stammered.
"Way to go, odango atama," the other Senshi yelled, hitting Sailor Moon on the back of the head. "Trust you to give it all away."
"Shut up, Mars. It's not my fault my hair stays the same when I transform. Now I think we should detransform and go to the temple. All of us," she called out to a retreating Lina.
"Miss Lina!" a new, considerably younger voice called. A young woman dressed like Lina, except in white with some sort of blue balls at her wrists and throat, almost literally appeared on the scene. She tackled Lina. The Senshi started to move forward to help, until they realized she was only hugging her.
"Amelia!" Lina choaked out. "Amelia, I need air!"
"I'm so sorry, Miss Lina. I didn't mean to. I'm sorry." She looked so pitiful even Sailor Mars wanted to forgive her anything. "I was afraid I was the only one who'd survived the trip, but then," she brightened considerably, "I found Mr. Gourry and Mr. Zelgadis."
"Two more?" Mars whispered to her friend. Sailor Moon shrugged as two men showed up, apparently exhausted. One was tall and blond. He wore blue armor and carried a strange sword. The other had somehow covered most of his face so that only the area showed. He almost seemed to be some sort of a bluish-grey color, and he too carried a sword. Mars looked closer at the blond and smiled. She leaned closer to Sailor Moon and whispered, "It's a good thing Mako-chan isn't here."
"You think he looks like her old boyfriend?"
"You'd better call the other Senshi and tell them to meet us at the temple."
Mars complied, surprised. It seemed, at long last, Sailor Moon was finally acting like their leader.
About thirty minutes later, all the Inner Senshi had arrived at Rei's temple, along with Tuxedo Kamen and a little grey kitten. It puzzled Lina to no end that Usagi and Mamoru let the little pink-haired girl, ChibiUsa, in their tight embrace. The three of them made a cute picture. Another blonde girl had shown up with a tall girl with brown hair in a ponytail. The blonde, Minako, had sat down near Usagi's group and set down the two cats she was carrying. One cat was white and the other was black, but both sported crescent moons on their foreheads, just as Sailor Moon had. The brunette, introduced as Makoto but generally called Mako-chan, had stared at Gourry for a long time until Sailor Mars, Rei, hit her on the back of her head and said something about Makoto's old boyfriend.
The last girl to arrive wore a white coat that proclaimed her to be "Dr. Mizuno." Minako jumped up and hugged the blue-haired woman. "Ami-chan! We're so glad you could make it!"
"Rei said it was important, and besides, my shift was almost over." She sank down on the other side of Minako, apparently exhausted. "So why did you call this meeting, Rei-chan? And who are these people?"
"Usagi knows better than I do."
"I guess that's my cue. Lina, I vaguely know. You told me you were from out-of-town. From where?" The black cat almost looked ready to speak, and both Usagi and Ami held a hand to her mouth. "I doubt the the Dark Kingdom."
"What's the Dark Kingdom?" Zelgadis asked.
"A long story," Usagi stated. "Where're you from?"
"Seyruun," Amelia replied, "but I don't know about the others."
"There is no place on this planet called Seyruun," Ami commented almost absentmindedly.
The suspicious look on Rei's face only got stronger. She seemed to size Lina up then commented, "Maybe not the Dark Kingdom, but certainly not anywhere in this dimension."
"So that's what you did," Zelgadis commented to Amelia. Gourry just looked around, very confused.
Lina just barely resisted the urge to hit Amelia as Rei had hit Makoto and Mars had hit Sailor Moon. Therefore, she took it up herself to explain things to the group assembled before them. "Somehow Amelia sent us here."
"From where?" Usagi continued.
"How?" Minako asked at the same time. Both girls sat forward. The pink-haired girl copied Usagi.
"Those are a little harder to answer. Amelia, Zel, and I are kind of sorcerers. As for--"
"Wait, Miss Lina!" Amelia yelled, jumping to her feet and startling everyone. "How do we know we can trust these people?"
"They're the Sailor Senshi," the pink-haired girl stated, standing as well. She couldn't be more than seven or eight by Lina's reckoning with pink hair and red eyes. She must be Usagi's cousin or something; there was some resemblance between them.
Lina smiled evilly. "Why don't you introduce yourself, Sailor Moon?"
Usagi blinked in confusion then slowly stated, "An agent for love and justice, a pretty--"
That was as far as she got. Amelia's arms were suddenly around her neck, and the girl was practically sitting in her lap. "Miss Usagi, I'm so glad you're a fellow champion of justice! Together we will--"
The little girl pushed Amelia off and claimed her spot. "We're all soldiers for justice," she retorted, sticking her tongue out at Amelia. "We're the Sailor Senshi."
"Don't be rude, ChibiUsa," Usagi scolded. The tiny, smoke-grey kitten settled on ChibiUsa's lap, and she started petting it. It too had the crescent moon symbol on its forehead.
"Do all your animals have moons on their foreheads?" Lina asked.
"No," a male voice answered. It seemed to eminate from the white cat. "Just us three cats."
"Artemis!" the black cat scolded, popping him very lightly while the Sailor Senshi looked on in amazement and Lina's group in shock. The black cat cleared her throat and stated, "Well, I guess the cat's out of the bag, so to speak."
"Luna," Makoto commented, "you are a master of the understatement. I guess you and Diana can talk now too."
"Silly Papa," the sleepy kitten commented.
"Back to business," Luna continued, "where did you come from?"
"Best I can figure," Lina commented, "we come from an alternate version of your Earth."
"And exactly how did you get here?"
"Amelia?" Lina prompted.
The little sorceress looked sheepish as she admitted, "I was trying to do a teleportation spell, and it got really messed up."
"Suddenly I'm glad we don't do the Sailor Teleport much," commented Makoto.
"You know what they say: 'Anything you can walk away from makes you stronger'," Minako stated.
Artemis shook his head in apparent shame. "And this is the great Sailor V. I'm not even going to comment on that one."
"Do you have any idea how to get back?" Usagi asked softly.
"Yeah, wring little Amelia's neck till she figures out what she did that sent us here," Lina threatned. Amelia cringed.
Usagi and Rei exchanged a curious look then burst out laughing. "You two remind me of us," Rei gasped in response to the questionning looks.
"Well," Usagi commented a few minutes later, straightening up, "there seems to be very little we can do to help you guys. I would like to ask one more question, though."
"Yeah?" asked Lina.
"That monster, do you happen to know where it came from?"
"It looked like the type of monsters from our world, except it wasn't a particularly strong one." Usagi and Rei blanched. Mamoru and ChibiUsa held Usagi tighter, and Makoto and Minako placed a sympathetic hand on Rei's shoulders. "More than likely, it was the minion of a greater demon or monster."
"So something's floating around out there that's stronger than that monster?" Ami asked.
ChibiUsa hugged Usagi tightly, bringing her mind firmly back to the present situation. "Rei? Can they stay here at the temple until we can find them a place?"
"And Minako and I may need to stay here until this blows over. Our parents tend to worry about us being out late."
"And we may have to get them some new clothes," Minako offered.
All the Senshi sighed.
Usagi was trying to get to sleep the next night at Rei's temple when the communicator started beeping. Her parents hadn't been too happy about her decision to move into the temple temporarily (neither had Minako's parents), but it was easier in the long run.
The communicator woke Luna who growled at it groggily. Usagi sighed, grabbed it, and answered, "Hai?"
Ami's or rather Super Sailor Mercury's face appeared on the tiny screen. "There's another monster. It has Jupiter pinned down. We could use the rest of you. We're about a block away from you!"
"We're on our way, Mercury!" Usagi answered. She shook ChibiUsa awake and whispered, "Transform while I go get Minako and Rei."
"Okay. Moon Crisis, MAKE-UP!" ChibiUsa yelled. Usagi smiled, remembering her days as Super Sailor Moon, when she'd shared this transformation with ChibiMoon. Before it could finish and ChibiMoon could strike a pose, Usagi was running down the hall, tapping on Minako's door. She had no doubt Rei had heard the call and was even now becoming Sailor Mars, but once Minako was asleep, it was difficult to awaken her.
"Minako!" Usagi called, finally just sliding open the door.
"I heard the call," Venus replied calmly. "We're just waiting on you." She paused, gently touching Usagi's arm. "Are you all right, Princess?"
Usagi weakly smiled. "It's just that something feels different here."
"Besides the new monsters and our strange new friends?" Usagi nodded. "Well, we'll have to find out later. Mercury and Jupiter need our help. Transform."
"Okay. Moon Eternal, MAKE-UP!"
"What the . . . ?" Venus whispered.
Mars stopped outside the door. "What's taking you guys so long?"
"I can't transform!" Usagi cried. "Look! Moon Eternal, MAKE-UP!" Again nothing.
"Look," Venus whispered. "Your locket's changed again."
All three girls inspected it before Mars wonderingly commented, "It looks like your old locket." She shook herself. "Stay here with the newcomers. We'll handle this monster."
Venus and Mars ran out to join the fight, and Usagi stood in the temple door watching her friends as the battle drew closer and closer to her.
"Why are you still here?" Lina's voice asked from behind her.
Usagi's eyes never left the battle before her as she answered, "I can't transform. I think I've powered-up again, and I don't know the transformation phrase for this one."
The monster was about six feet taller than the previous one, Usagi noted. It was a much darker shade of green that the last (rather like the shade of green that Pluto's hair was), and it at least had eyes. It seemed resistant to all the Senshi's attacks except Mercury's and Mars's.
"Shine Aqua Illusion!" Mercury called in an attempt to freeze the monster.
For a monster of its size, it was surprisingly agile. It jumped far to the side, landing within the temple area, and sent out an attack of its own that threw Mercury fifteen feet into the wall surrounding the temple.
"Mercury!" Usagi screamed. All eyes turned to her; even the monster was startled by her outburst. Suddenly the words popped into her mind, and she knew how to transform. "Moon Cosmos Power, MAKE-UP!"
It felt like some unseen force lifted her into the air. The locket glowed then released familiar pink ribbons that formed the main part of her uniform. The sleeves were puffed ones like her fuku as Eternal Sailor Moon, but blue in color. The rest of the main part was her original fuku. The gloves formed next. Again they were like on her Eternal Sailor Moon fuku with a red circle and a crescent moon on her wrists, without the feathers at the top. The boots came next; again from her Eternal Sailor Moon uniform: white with heels, a red stripe and a crescent moon on the top. The skirt formed next. It was like her original one, solid blue, only shorter, about the length of her Eternal Sailor Moon skirt. Two red ribbons hung down from the back of it, reaching to her feet, like Eternal Sailor Moon. Real feathered wings appeared on her back, stretching forth a few feet to either side. Her crescent moon formed on her forehead, then it was covered with a new tiara, which had a crescent moon on it surrounded by a small field of pink. Finally the barrettes formed, and blue balls covered her odangos. A blue choker and short gold earring that almost looked like part of her hair completed the outfit, and the tranformation ended, leaving everyone to stare in shock.
Sailor ChibiMoon smiled faintly then turned to the rest of the group. "Hit it with all you've got, Mars!"
Mars nodded, her too smiling. "Burning Mandala!" The rings of fire hit the distracted monster, and it struck back in pain, throwing her a few feet.
Sailor Moon turned to Lina. "Do you think your Fire Ball might work? Can Amelia and Zelgadis do anything with fire or ice?"
Lina smiled, apparently very happy to get in the action. "Sure. Hey, Amelia, Zel! We get to help out!" As Amelia stepped forward, Lina added, "No speeches, Amelia. Leave that for the Sailor Senshi."
"Of course, Miss Lina."
Zelgadis didn't waste any time talking. "Freeze--"
"Wait, Zel!" Lina stopped him. "She's going to give us a distraction so we'll have the element of surprise," she continued, refering to the suddenly conspiciously absent Sailor Moon.
"Hey! Tall, dark, and ugly!" Sailor Moon yelled, suddenly appearing on the wall above Mercury, the crescent moon a brilliant backdrop behind her. "These are my friends, and I won't let anyone hurt them. I am an agent of love and justice, a pretty Sailor Senshi, . . . um," she floundered for a second then rushed on, "Cosmic Sailor Moon! In the name of the moon, I'll punish you!"
"Now, Zel!" Lina yelled. "Fire Ball!"
"Freeze Arrow!" yelled Zelgadis.
"Flame Arrow!" Amelia screamed.
The three attacks hit the monster at the same time. The Fire Ball and the Flame Arrow hit it hard, but the Freeze Arrow bounced off the Fire Ball and headed towards Sailor Moon faster than a thought.
Right before it could hit her, light shot out of the locket on her uniform. A wall of this light formed between her and the attack. When the Freeze Arrow hit, it dissipated, but the force of the blow still threw Sailor Moon off the wall. There was a very undignified gasp, almost a scream, of pain from behind the wall a few seconds later.
"Sailor Moon!" Venus screamed.
"Usako!" called Tuxedo Kamen. He'd arrived at the fight just in time to see the attacks go from Lina's group.
"Tuxedo Kamen!" Mars called. "Go get her! We'll try the Sailor Planet Attack!" He ran to try to get Usagi.
The five Senshi joined hands, Mars and Mercury swaying just slightly, unsteady on their feet. ChibiMoon, who was between the two, tried her best to steady them. "Toughen up, Sailors," Venus encouraged. Mars and Mercury straightened. "Venus Crystal Power!"
"Jupiter Crystal Power!"
"Mars Crystal Power!"
"Mercury Crystal Power!"
"Moon Crisis Power!"
"Sailor Planet Attack!" Venus finished.
Lina couldn't see what happened exactly, but suddenly there was a huge wound on the monster and the Senshi were falling down. She threw her hands into the air and chanted, "Darkness beyond twilight . . ."
"Not yet," a deep female voice ordered. Lina looked up to see two women standing on the wall. The Senshi's eyes lit up. "A planet far up into the sky is my guardian deity . . . the Senshi of sky . . . Sailor Uranus!" the tall one with tan hair and a deep voice stated.
"A planet with the sea of sand is my guardian deity . . . the Senshi of embrace . . . Sailor Neptune!" continued the one with wavy aqua hair.
"For daring to hurt . . . Sailor Moon, the Outer Senshi will make you pay!" Uranus finished.
Zelgadis sighed. "Can't they do anything without making a speech?"
Uranus raised her eyes to glare at him then called, "World Shaking!"
At the same time, Neptune was yelling, "Deep Submerge!"
The two attacks hit the monster at the same time, and it finally exploded. When the blast was over, Lina opened her eyes to see the Outer Senshi helping the Inners to their feet.
"Sailor Moon!" Venus yelled.
Neptune smiled gently. "Saturn's out there with her and Tuxedo Kamen. She'll help her out."
"How long have you two been watching?" Mars scolded.
"We sensed Usagi was in danger and came as quickly as we could. We only just got here."
"How is she?" Uranus asked, turning toward the temple gate. Tuxedo Kamen was carrying Sailor Moon toward the temple; she was completely limp in his arms, her wings dragging the ground. A Sailor Senshi dragged herself along behind him, carrying a weapon longer than she was tall that resembled a staff with a metal top shaped like a "G" with her. "Will she be all right?" Uranus continued.
The younger Outer Senshi smiled weakly then frowned. "She's hurt very badly, Papa." Lina blinked in surprise. "The blast threw her into a tree. I healed what I could, but she still has broken ribs, probably a concussion, and a dislocated shoulder. That's not counting all the bruises and aches and pains she'll have soon. I stopped the internal bleeding, though. I'm sorry. I did the best I could."
Mercury lay a gentle hand on her shoulder. "No one asks any more, Saturn. I'll take it from here. Take her inside." Tuxedo Kamen nodded and obeyed. Saturn, Mercury, Uranus, and Neptune immediately followed.
Lina managed to snag Jupiter on her way in as well. "Just how many Senshi are there?"
"Ten, unless you count the Sailor Starlights. Pluto still isn't here. Excuse me." Jupiter stepped past her and into the temple.
"Will the others show up?"
"Pluto probably will," Mars answered, sliding past her.
"I doubt the Starlights will, though," continued Venus. "We haven't seen them in two years, since we helped them get their Princess back."
"It's a very long story that I'd rather not explain now. Come on; let's go inside and see how Sailor Moon is doing."
Usagi slowly and painfully opened her eyes. The first person she saw was ChibiUsa. The little girl's red eyes were dark with worry at first, then they changed. "Baka Usagi!" she scolded. "That was very stupid!"
"We did destroy the monster, though."
"Saturn?" Usagi looked past ChibiUsa to see the second-youngest Sailor Senshi. "How are you h---? Are the other Outers here too?"
"Just Haruka-papa and Michiru-mama. Setsuna-mama should be here soon." Hotaru smiled. "You need to rest here. ChibiUsa will stay with you. I have to go join the fight."
"Fight? I thought you said the monster was destroyed."
"The last one was. There's a new one over at Tenth Street Park, Princess."
"You called me . . . ? Lina and her group aren't here, are they?"
"No. Haruka-papa thought it would be a good idea to keep it a secret from them. I must go, Princess." Saturn ran out of the room.
"I should . . . ," Usagi started to say.
"No!" ChibiUsa yelled. "Saturn and Mercury both said I shouldn't let you move. You were asleep all day."
"You mean it's the next day?" Usagi sighed. "I hurt all over. ChibiUsa, can you get me some aspirin?"
"Rei doesn't have any."
"There's some money in my purse. Could you please go get some? I'll stay right here." She had her fingers crossed beneath the sheet where ChibiUsa could not see.
"Sure. Stay put, Usagi."
Usagi listened carefully to the sounds of ChibiUsa running out of the temple carrying her purse. Once there was absolute silence, she whispered, "Forgive me for lying, ChibiUsa-chan, but I have to help my friends. Moon Cosmos Power, MAKE-UP!"
Nearly a full minute later, her feet lightly touched the ground, and she took off running as fast as she could toward the fight . . .
"This is not good," Sailor Pluto murmurred to herself. The Sailor Senshi would need more help than just these sorcerers and a swordsman. They would need another group of Senshi with very offensive powers.
"The Sailor Starlights are needed on Earth," she whispered to the elegant figure next to her, whom she had brought to the Time Gate for this specific reason. "Can you spare them to help Sailor Moon?"
Princess Kakyuu smiled serenely. "To help Sailor Moon? Of course. Besides, if Fighter knew she were in trouble, could we honestly keep them away?"
"Keep them a while if you like. The time of the diaster is coming, is it not?"
Pluto sighed. "Hai, it is. And with these strange twists in time and space, it may come sooner and it may change form."
Kakyuu-Hime gasped. "No!"
"Sailor Moon needs the Starlights to defeat this new monster."
"They will be there before she can use an attack."
Sailor Moon arrived at the battle immediately after Saturn. Both were panting. Lina and Amelia were the first to spot her, each of them between attacks. "Is she crazy?" Lina yelled. "What is she doing here? She can't fight in her condition."
"I'll protect her, Miss Lina, if you can get me over there, over the monster," Amelia offered.
"Kind of busy right now, Amelia. Fly yourself over. Flare Arrow!"
Amelia winced when the attack did nothing to the monster; Miss Lina was going to be mad. Without hesitating, she decided to try her teleport spell again. Chanting softly, she started.
She didn't stop, even when there was a yell of "Star Serious Laser!" from somewhere nearby.
"Fighter!" Sailor Moon happily yelled.
There were the distinctive sounds of fingers rhythmically snapping. "Penetrating the darkness at night . . . ," started one of them.
"The air of freedom breaks through . . . ," continued the next.
"We are the three sacred shooting stars . . . ," finished the last.
"Sailor Star Fighter!"
"Sailor Star Maker!"
"Sailor Star Healer!"
"Sailor Starlights," all three leather-clad women shouted in unison, "stage on!"
"Again with the speeches," Zelgadis commented.
The leather-clad Sailors jumped down to land near Sailor Moon. "I'm glad you could make it," she commented, smiling at them.
"We wouldn't miss it for the world, Sailor Moon," Healer commented.
"Besides, why should we let you have all the fun?" She winked. "I like the new outfit, odango."
Sailor Moon gently punched her on the arm. "That's not funny, Fighter. Do you know what's going on here?"
Maker nodded. "Our princess filled us in before she sent us here. She told us to take good care of all you guys. Star Gentle Uterus!" she called out her attack. It scratched the monster and nothing more, just as Fighter's had only distracted it.
This monster was a dark pinkish color. It was a good thirty feet tall and easily half that wide. It managed somehow to repel each of the Senshi's attacks or only be hurt slightly by them. Saturn slowly stepped forward and raised the Silence Glaive. "There seems to be no other choice," she stated.
Amelia stomped her foot and threw her hands up into the air. "That does it!" she screamed in frustration. "I can't do it! It just won't work!"
Directly above the creature, a dark circle formed, opened, and dropped out a solidary figure onto the creature. Whoever he was, just that blow alone took the monster to the dirt.
Sailor ChibiMoon ran faster toward the fight, cursing Usagi in every possible way she could think of under her breath. She slowed down as she saw a familiar dark circle formed over her, and she wondered if Puu was calling her to the Time Gate for something. She watched it uneasily, fully expected to feel herself being pulled up into it.
A body fell out of it and landed on her, knocking her to the ground with him on top of her. Very briefly, the thought ran through her head, "Now I know why Usagi got so upset when I landed on her and Mamo-chan."
He got up almost immediately and started apologizing. "I'm sorry. I didn't see you there. I didn't mean to fall on you. I'm sorry."
She looked up at him. He looked like he was roughly her own age with black hair, and he wore a strange, torn blue suit. "It's okay."
Something floated in front of her face as he spoke again. "My name's Goha-a-a-a-a-n!" he screamed as she grabbed what she had seen floating and used it to stand up.
She looked down to look at what she still held. It rather resembled a tail. When she let it go, he finally stopped screaming. "Sorry." She saw a flash of light from the park then another. The fight was still going on, and the Sailor Senshi might be needing her help. "I've gotta go."
"There's a fight a few--"
"Then that's where my dad is! Can I go with you?"
She winced. She didn't want to be responsible for him, but she knew how it was to miss your dad. "Can you stay out of the way?"
"I can do better; I can fight."
She sighed and almost told him that the only men who could fight were Tuxedo Kamen and the Starlights. But they didn't count because Tuxedo Kamen was. . . well, Tuxedo Kamen and the Starlights fought as women. "Well, then, Gohan, let's go. It's a long run."
"What's your name anyway?"
"I am Sailor ChibiMoon."
"Moon?" He looked up at the crescent moon in the sky then at his. . . tail! "This is so weird. Well, then, Sailor ChibiMoon, I can fly us there in half the time."
"Fly? But you don't have wings!"
Gohan smiled and floated up in the air, grabbing her by the arms and lifting her as well.
The monster seemed stunned, at least, by the new man's appearance. It seemed as though it might have been knocked halfway unconscious, just from them banging their heads together. The man looked to be considerably better shape; he looked slightly dazed but nothing more except suspicious.
There were huge hearts in Jupiter's eyes as she stared at him. "He looks just like my old boyfriend."
"Jupiter!" half the Senshi complained. Neptune smiled at Uranus and shrugged. The other Senshi coughed into her head, a little flustered.
"I thought Yogurt Brain here," Lina asked Mars, pointing at Gourry, "looked like her old boyfriend."
"Every cute guy looks like her old boyfriend. What do you make of him?"
"He's powerful. That's all I can get. What about you, priestess?"
"Loads of power." Mars blinked in surprise. "What is she doing?"
Sailor Moon took another step closer to the new figure. He had strange hair, she noted, and he was wearing orange pants and an orange sleeveless shirt with a blue shirt under it. "Friend or foe?" she asked, coming no closer.
He looked around at them. "Friend, I hope."
She smiled serenely. "Good. Then I am. . ."
The minion regained its feet then and neatly backhanded the man with a hand easily as big as he was, sending him flying into a tree. Sailor Moon winced in commiseration. Surprisingly, though, it was the tree which gave way.
"What is he made of?" Maker wondered aloud. "Solid steel?"
"I think he could break solid steel with his head," commented Healer.
"I wouldn't be surprised."
Sailor Moon and Fighter laughed at their conversation.
The man turned and stood up. All the Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen gasped at the realization: he had a tail! He put his wrists together, his hands open, pointing at the creature, and yelled, "Kame-hame-ha!"
A stream of light shot out of his hands, hitting the monster and throwing it out of sight. Everyone stared in surprise, yet somehow Sailor Moon was the first to recover her voice. "I hope he's a friend too." She cleared her throat. "Welcome."
"Sailor Moon, be careful," Uranus warned.
"Yes, do be careful, Sailor Moon," continued her partner, Neptune.
Sailor Moon moved no closer as she continued her introduction. "I am an agent of love and justice, a pretty Sailor Senshi, Sailor Moon."
He looked impressed. "That's quite a speech."
Maker glanced over at Zelgadis and commented, "That is why we do the speeches." He rolled his eyes at the leather-clad woman.
"I'm Gokou. Your name is Sailor. . . Moon?" He looked up at the sky, then at his tail, then back at her. "This is so strange." He cocked his head to the side as if he heard something they didn't.
Sailor Moon glanced around in confusion. Mars shrugged. Neptune and Uranus just looked suspicious. Saturn's Silence Glaive seemed to be slightly pointed in Gokou's direction. Venus and Jupiter even seemed distrustful as they glared at the strange man. The Starlights never seemed to trust anyone, so she was surprised that they did not immediately speak up for him. Mercury was punching buttons in her mini-computer, taking readings on Gokou from her VR visor. "He's powerful, all right," she announced. "Someone else is coming, though."
"They're air-borne and headed this way. There seems to be two of them, one of which could be ChibiMoon."
"ChibiMoon!" Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen called at the same time, each rushing forward a few steps.
"Daddy!" a boy's voice called from above their heads. A boy about ChibiUsa's age appeared; he was carrying a very excited ChibiMoon. As they set down on the ground, Gokou grabbed up his son, and Tuxedo Kamen and Sailor Moon embraced ChibiMoon. "Daddy," Gohan continued, "what's going on here?"
"Yes," Gokou stated, turning toward the three people on the ground, "Sailor Moon, what is going on here?"
"A long story," she replied with a meaningful glance at Amelia.
"Sailor Moon, before you start explaining," Mercury interrupted, "you should know that someone else came through." As if to punctuate her statement, there was a loud explosion from deeper within the city.
"What was that?" Sailor Moon asked, leaning closer to Tuxedo Kamen and pulling ChibiMoon closer to her own body.
Gohan and Gokou exchanged a look and said one word at the same time, "Vegita."
"Is that a good guy or a bad guy?"
"Depends on what kind of mood he's in," Gohan answered.
"Sounds like he's in a bad mood," Sailor Moon commented.
"I need to go get him before he kills someone. I'll be back soon," Gokou stated.
"We won't be here," Uranus stated.
"We'll be here," Venus answered.
"Can you watch Gohan?" he asked, looking at Sailor Moon.
"Sure." The boy wasn't much shorter that she was, she noticed as he nervously stepped over to her. Suddenly Gokou was in the air over their heads, and then he was just gone.
Mr. Yamada felt sorry for himself right now. It wasn't his fault some kid with gravity-defying hair had landed on the hood of his car just a minute ago. The completely vertical hair had been the first thing Yamada had noticed, followed closely by the fact the kid wore some sort of a shredded blue jumpsuit with broken armor over his chest. He didn't look happy when he landed, severely denting Yamada's car; he looked downright hostile when Yamada asked where his parents were.
"You think I'm a kid?!?" he yelled, floating (yes, floating!) up to look Mr. Yamada in the eye. "I am Vegita, prince of the Saiyajin."
Vegita didn't seem to like that question. He pointed his hand at Mr. Yamada's car. There was a flash of light from his hand, then the car blew up, loudly. When it was quiet again, Vegita repeated, "The Saiyajin." He moved so that his hand now faced Mr. Yamada. "And now, I think your time is up."
"Oh my God," was all Mr. Yamada was able to whisper. At the same time, though, his mind raced: Where were the Sailor Senshi now that Tokyo needed them again, to protect against this powerful kid? Vegita grinned evilly.
"Don't, Vegita!" another man's voice called. Mr. Yamada couldn't see him yet; all his concentration was on Vegita.
Vegita rolled his eyes in apparent disgust. "Kakaroto."
The second man came into view far over their heads. His hair too defied gravity, but instead of being vertical, it stuck out wildly to all sides. He wore mostly orange, and he seemed to be twice as tall as Vegita, at least from where Yamada stood, anyway. He grabbed Vegita by the arms (the grip had to be painful) and flew up out of sight.
Mr. Yamada sighed in relief. He didn't know how lucky he was.
Sailor Moon finally looked down from the sky where Gokou had disappeared to look at the little boy he'd left behind. Gohan was quite a cute child and much quieter than ChibiUsa. She smiled gently at him and bent over to his eye level; it wasn't a far bend. "Hello, Gohan."
"Hello, Ms. Moon," he answered.
"You just can call me Usagi. Almost everyone else does." She cast Mars and Fighter disapproving looks. "It's my real name."
"Your real name means Rabbit?" She nodded pleasantly. "Why did you tell my dad your name was Sailor Moon then?"
"It's sort of a codename; I only use it when I'm fighting."
"And speaking of fighting, odango atama," Mars stated, "you shouldn't even be here. You're hurt too badly."
"Actually, I--," she started to say, turning toward her friend.
"Sailor Moon," Tuxedo Kamen interrupted, "Mars is right. You're in no condition to be here."
"I'm fine!" Sailor Moon screamed.
"No, you're not!" he returned. She stiffened in surprise; Mamoru rarely yelled, and hardly ever at her. "You're--"
"Gokou's back," Neptune said, stepping closer to Sailor Moon protectively. Uranus moved closer as well. "It seems he's found Vegita."
Two figures appeared in the sky above them. The one that was being sky-dragged finally kicked his way free and dropped to the ground. So that must be Vegita, Sailor Moon thought to herself. It amazed her that, without counting her boots or his hair, they were almost the same height; he was a few inches taller. He looked kind of scary, but fascinating at the same time. All in all, he seemed very interesting. Scary, but interesting.
"I don't like the looks of this guy," Jupiter whispered to Uranus.
"I don't know. I've got a strange feeling about him," countered Mars. "I think he'll be okay."
"I agree," added Neptune.
Vegita looked at each of them in turn, as if measuring them up. It was a most uncomfortable moment. Finally he turned to Gokou and dryly commented, "What have you gotten me into now, Kakaroto?"
"Kakaroto?" Sailor Moon couldn't help asking. "I thought his name was Gokou."
"It is," Gohan answered. "Vegita just always calls him that."
"I didn't do anything this time," Gokou explained. "It wasn't my fault, Vegita."
There was a faint crackling sound through the air, and everyone stood to attention. Usagi could feel the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. "Something's--"
A dark strip opened behind Vegita, and an all-too-familiar pink arm shot through it, sharply backhanding him far away. The Senshi surrounding Sailor Moon scattered to better use their powers.
"Mercury Aqua Rhapsody!"
"Jupiter Oak Evolution!"
All the attacks hit the demon as it fully appeared; when the smoke cleared, it looked only singed, and it sent out a tendril of its power to throw its attackers a few feet.
A blast of power shot from the direction Vegita had been thrown. Vegita's reappearance gave the ones who had not attacked before time to try to attack.
"Mars Flame Sniper!" Mars.
"Moon Gorgeous Meditation!" ChibiMoon.
"Venus Love and Beauty Shock!" Venus.
"Star Serious Laser!" Fighter.
"Star Gentle Uterus!" Maker.
"Star Sensitive Inferno!" Healer.
"Fire Ball!" Lina called out.
"Elmekia Lance!" Amelia yelled.
"Ra Tilt!" was Zelgadis's chosen form of attack.
Even Gohan let off a burst of power, Sailor Moon noticed, and Vegita was throwing balls of power in like they were nothing. Only she and Saturn were not attacking. If Saturn attacked, though, there would be more devestation than the monster alone could cause, and Sailor Moon didn't know her . . .
She knew, she realized, as the monster sent out a huge wave of energy that left only her, Gohan, and Saturn standing, thanks to the shield the Crystal kept providing. She lifted her right arm high into the air and called out, "Moon . . ." The crescent moon suddenly turned full, and energy poured down into her hand, returning the moon to normal. "Halo . . ." The energy formed itself into a staff about the same length as Pluto's Time Staff and Saturn's Silence Glaive. The main staff looked similar to the Silence Glaive, but the top seemed to combine the Eternal Tier and her first weapon, the Moon Stick. She pointed it at the monster and shouted the last word, "Illumination!" Energy, bright and powerful from her worry for her friends' safety, poured out and disintegrated the monster.
There was a very quiet moment as all the others got to their feet, staring at her in surprise. Saturn, though, was smiling. "Congratulations, Sailor Moon," she calmly stated. "You have tapped into your true powers. Much sooner than anticipated, of course, but you have used them. It gets much stranger from here though."
"Stranger?" Sailor Moon asked, lowering her Moon Staff and staring at it in amazement. "How can it get any stranger?"
A ball of light formed around Vegita, and he shot into the air. "What was that all about?" Lina asked, looking to Gokou for an explanation.
"He's angry. I should follow him just in case."
"There's a temple shrine on Sendaii Hill," stated Mars. "We'll all be there."
"Okay," he agreed then shot into the air after Vegita.
"Well, Gohan," Sailor Moon said pleasantly, "I guess you come with us."
They soon arrived back at the temple, and everyone found a place to either sit or lean. It was pretty apparent that there were groups within this crowd: Lina, Gourry, Amelia, and Zelgadis sat together; Sailor Saturn stood near Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus; and Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus sat together with Sailor Moon and Sailor ChibiMoon. The three cats sat near their respective owners. Tuxedo Kamen stood a little away from the Moons, and the Sailor Starlights stood together.
"I suppose we'd better detransform while we wait for Gokou and Vegita," Sailor Moon finally stated.
"I don't know," Tuxedo Kamen stated. "We're taking an awful lot on faith here. How do we know we can trust these people?"
ChibiMoon jumped to her feet. "I'll vouch for Gohan!" she yelled.
Sailor Mercury smiled shyly. "Zelgadis seems trustable enough, Tuxedo Kamen-sama."
"And we know Amelia is a soldier of justice," added Jupiter with a smile.
"And Gourry probably wouldn't know how to be evil," Mars stated.
"Hey!" Gourry yelled.
"And I'll vouch for Lina and anyone else who needs it," finished Sailor Moon. "That should be more than good enough." He watched all the others, except ChibiMoon, blink in surprise, then one by one, they started nodding in agreement. Sailor Moon smiled faintly then closed her eyes in concentration. After a split second, her uniform and wings disappeared, and a fairly ordinary young woman sat in her place with a bandage on her shoulder, dressed in a long blue skirt with a white blouse. Oddly enough, her hair stayed the same. ChibiMoon followed, then the Inners, then the Outers. It was amazing how similar they still looked to their Senshi form, he though, but if he hadn't seen this, he probably wouldn't believe they were the same people. "Aren't you guys going to detransform?" Usagi asked, looking past Gohan at the Starlights.
"Maybe we don't want Minako attacking us," Healer commented.
"You have to admit she spent a good portion of that time we were last here stalking us," said Maker.
"Now if you'd been stalking us all that time, odango, I might not have minded," flirted Fighter. Tuxedo Kamen fumed visibly.
Usagi laughed. "Why would I want to stalk you?"
"Oh! You hurt me to the quick!"
"Keep that up, and you'll be hurt, quick. Detransform; I'll keep Minako off you." Faster than a thought, the three leather-clad women were replaced with three well-dressed men.
He couldn't help but be shocked.
"Now that's a good disguise," Gohan commented.
"That was the idea," said the man with silver hair who had been Healer.
"Be nice, Yaten-kun," Usagi scolded lightly. "I guess some more introductions would be nice. I told you all our codenames on the way here. Now for our real names."
"I really don't think this is a good idea," Tuxedo Kamen stated.
"Well, we do," the girl who had been Mars countered.
"And besides, Tuxedo Kamen," Fighter's words were tight with contempt, "you look rather silly as the only one still transformed."
Tuxedo Kamen glared then finally turned into a man in his mid-twenties. "Happy?"
"Infinitely. I'm escatic."
"Stop it, both of you. Gohan, this is Ami Mizuno, Sailor Mercury, and Rei Hino, Sailor Mars," Usagi introduced, gesturing to each person as she said their real name. "Rei owns this temple, and Ami's our resident genius and doctor. This is Makoto Kino, but we call her Mako-chan; she's Sailor Jupiter and a great cook. This is Minako Aino, Sailor Venus. They are the Inner Senshi, and Venus is their leader. Moving right along, this is Haruka Ten'ou, Sailor Uranus, Michiru Kaiou, Sailor Neptune, and Hotaru Tomoe, Sailor Saturn. They're most of the Other Senshi and the strongest of the Senshi. Lina, I didn't know if you'd officially met them or not." Lina shook her head. "Gohan, this is Lina Inverse, Gourry Gabriev, Amelia wil Tesla Saillune, and Zelgadis Graywords. They come from another dimension as well. And these guys are Kou Seiya, Kou Taiki, and Kou Yaten, the Three Lights, also known as Sailor Star Fighter, Sailor Star Maker, and Sailor Star Healer, the Sailor Starlights. And I, as you know, am Sailor Moon and Usagi Tsukino."
"And Tuxedo Kamen?" asked Gohan.
"What are you doing, Vegita?" Kakaroto's voice asked from behind him. Vegita just barely resisted the urge to jump.
"So you finally decided to show up, Kakaroto?" he countered.
"I've been trying to find you. You decided to follow them?"
Vegita shrugged. "Might as well find out more about these people. Did you know those three guys there transformed from women?"
Kakaroto looked a bit shocked. "Really? Sugoi."
Vegita rolled his eyes in disgust. "So how do we get back?" he asked, not entirely happy to have to do so.
"I don't know."
There was a yell, then Gokou flew through one of the wall of the temple. At the corner of the building, Usagi noticed Vegita and wondered how long he'd been standing there. However long it had been, though, he looked rather angry. For just a moment, she was terrified enough to hold onto her transformation locket and consider transforming again. She took a deep breath and lowered her hand, determined to remain calm. Rei, on the other hand, was livid.
"My temple!" she screamed.
"I'm going to regret this," Haruka muttered as Usagi and Michiru dragged her into the mall.
Both of them turned and looked back at her. While Michiru looked a bit offended, Usagi looked like she was about to cry. "Don't be rude," Michiru scolded. "It's got to be done, and you're the only one who has money on them."
"Please, Haruka-san?" Usagi pleaded, latching onto her arm tighter and looking up at her with her saddest eyes and most kawaii face.
If Michiru's reasoning hadn't worked, this tactic certainly would. Haruka sighed. "I can't fight both of you."
Rei laughed as she came in the mall door with Minako and Makoto. "You can never fight Usagi when she does that to you, Haruka-san."
"And what is that supposed to mean, Rei-chan?" Haruka asked, turning towards the younger Senshi threateningly. Michiru giggled, and Usagi straightened up, releasing her arm.
"Just that Usagi and Michiru-san have you twisted around their little fingers. You don't stand a chance."
Haruka sent her a glare that should have fried meat, but Rei just shrugged it off.
"How did I get drafted into this?" Lina asked, looking around the mall.
ChibiUsa grabbed Lina's and Amelia's hands. "Come on! I know where we can get you guys some clothes! It's where Baka Usagi shops!" She started dragging them off toward a petite store.
"Hey! Did I agree to this?" Lina yelled.
"No, but don't you want to blend in, Lina-san?" ChibiUsa asked, using the same expression Usagi had just used on Haruka.
Lina relented and allowed the little girl to drag her along. She looked over her shoulder at Usagi, who stood with Haruka and Michiru on one side of her and Mamoru on the other. "I wonder how the boys are doing."
"With Seiya leading them around, I can only wonder," Usagi replied.
"Usako," Mamoru said softly, "I need to talk to you in private."
She really didn't like the sound of that, but still she agreed, saying, "Okay, Mamo-chan." She let him lead her away, in the general direction Seiya had taken the men.
"I hate this," Zelgadis stated.
"It doesn't look bad," Gohan replied, looking at the brown suit the older man wore. He fiddled with the collar of the new blue shirt he wore.
"I hate this," Vegita said, gesturing to the jeans and blue shirt he too wore.
"I can't believe it's the Three Lights!" the salesman raved on. "And all together! After you guys split up a few years ago, I thought that was the end of the Three Lights for good." He paused and frowned, absentmindedly setting down a pair of slacks beside Gourry. "It's strange that you should show up now."
Seiya, Taiki, and Yaten exchanged a slightly confused look. Yaten shrugged. "How so?" Taiki finally asked.
"The Sailor Senshi disappeared right after the Three Lights disbanded. They were spotted fighting monsters a few days ago, and now you're here. It's weird. A lot of weird things have been happening."
He didn't even notice the look the men exchanged.
"Isn't that Usagi and Mamoru?" Gokou asked. They all looked in the direction he'd indicated. Sure enough, there stood Usagi and Mamoru, just far enough away that even the Saiyajins couldn't hear their conversation. It appeared to be quite animated, though; Usagi seemed to be nearly in tears. Seiya's fists clenched. "You don't suppose we should break it up, do you?" Gokou continued.
As if she heard him, Usagi turned to look at them and smiled weakly but serenely before turning back to Mamoru. She apparently ended the conversation then because she left him and walked over to join them, stopping between Seiya and Taiki. "So, how's it going, guys?" she asked with a smile.
"They're going to break us," Yaten complained.
"Is she one of yours girlfriend?" the salesman asked.
Seiya wrapped an arm around her waist and answered, "Don't tell anyone." As the salesman turned his back, she shoved him. "Don't be mean, odango." He cared for her a great deal; that much was obvious from the affectionate way he said her nickname.
"Why do you call her Dumpling?" Gohan asked. Seiya petted her hair. "Oh."
"Where are the others?" Gokou asked.
"ChibiUsa has them," Usagi explained. "She'll probably drag them to every shop in the mall before they get through here."
"Lina won't mind," Zelgadis commented.
"As long as it's someone else's money," edited Gourry.
"It's Haruka-san's money," Usagi laughed, "so everyone should be happy but her." She stepped over to the window nearest to them and gazed out across the horizon of Tokyo. There were days, like this one, when she could almost see Crystal Tokyo out there. The thought was almost scary.
"That's quite a frown," Gokou commented. "What are you thinking about?"
She jumped to see his reflection in the mirror next to her own. Either she'd been so involved in her thoughts she hadn't heard him move--or he was just that quick or quiet. "Crys. . . Somewhere else. Another place, another time." He nodded like he understood, but he looked confused. She didn't and couldn't explain, not without getting into the Silver Millenium and revealing that she was once Princess Serenity of the Moon Kingdom and she would become Neo Queen Serenity of Crystal Tokyo. The Outer Senshi were right, for the moment, at least. They shouldn't know. She smiled again, placed a hand on his arm, and said softly, "Thank you for asking, though, Gokou-san."
"Just call me Gokou."
"Then just Usagi." She turned her back and leaned against the window. "I like that suit, Zelgadis." He sighed mightily. "What?"
"I hate it."
"Oh. Sorry. I'll just keep my mouth shut."
The salesman finally returned, bearing a white shirt up to Vegita. "This should fit, sir."
"I hate this one."
The salesman continued with practiced patience, "It looks fine, sir. It's just that belt." Gokou and Gohan both seemed to jump to attention, and Usagi involuntarily straightened as well. Despite Gohan's brief explanation of Saiyajins during the walk to the temple the previous day, she still didn't quite fully understand all she'd learned; she had picked up, though, that their tails were quiet sensitive. The man grabbed his tail, and Vegita froze in very apparent pain. Half a second later, Gokou grabbed on of his arms. A moment later, Usagi had a hold of his other arm as the salesman slowly released his grip. "It's attached."
Vegita sneered at him then turned to glare at Usagi silently. She slowly let go of his arm, followed by Gokou, and he turned and walked toward the window. He stared out for a brief second then flew through it.
"That wasn't smart at all," Gohan commented.
"No," continued Gokou, an unusually serious look on his face. "He could have easily killed you."
"Death again," she surmised. "I've been threatened with that enough in the past few years."
"Especially from Galaxia," Taiki commented.
"But you did save her in the end," Seiya continued.
"You save everyone, all of us, in the end, even Kakyuu, even us, didn't you?" asked Yaten.
Usagi turned beet red and shrugged. "I knew there had to be good left in her. I wonder if we could call her to help us."
"She's probably still guiding those Star Seeds to their owners," Seiya commented.
"You've lost me."
"Sorry, Gokou," she apologized. "I forgot you weren't here three years ago. Galaxia was our last enemy."
"Should you be discussing this in public like this, Usagi?" asked Gohan.
"No one pays any attention. I could yell at the top of my lungs that I'm Sailor Moon, and no one would believe me. My own father didn't believe me when I told him."
"You know, Usagi," Zelgadis commented, "you are very good at dodging the point."
She turned even redder, if that was possible, and looked away. "That's right," said Gokou. "We were scolding you for doing that."
"For doing what?" Haruka asked, coming to stand behind her. Before Gokou could answer, all the women had assembled near Usagi.
"Stopping Vegita from killing the man who pulled his tail."
"Tail?" asked Minako, looking a bit lost. Rei rolled her eyes; trust Minako not to look any further than their chests.
"Long story," Usagi explained. "Come on, ChibiUsa. I'm waiting."
"Baka Usagi!" the little girl screamed as if on cue, then she ran to Usagi and threw her arms around her. "You could have gotten killed, and what would have happened to me?"
"Forgive me, ChibiUsa. I acted without thinking. I'm sorry."
"Are you two related or something?" questionned Zelgadis. "You look a bit alike."
"And you're both Sailor Moons," continued Gohan.
The two girls exchanged a "How much can we tell them?" look, then Usagi answered, "We're related. I like that outfit, Lina."
"ChibiUsa said it would look good. I'm not too sure about it," she replied, fingering the brown suit she wore. It looked a bit like Zelgadis's. "I'm hungry."
"Me too. Haruka-san, can we--"
Haruka handed her a handful of money and said, "Go. Just stay with Lina, koneko-chan."
"How did you end up being Rabbit and Kitten?" Lina asked as they walked away.
"And Dumpling and Dumpling Head? Haruka-san is the only one who calls me koneko, and Rei-chan and Seiya-kun are the only ones who call me odango or odango atama. Most people do, in fact, call me by my real name, Usagi."
"And what about Mamoru?"
"You sound sad, Usagi. What's happened?"
"Mamo-chan and I had a fight. He thinks I can't fight because I got hurt," Usagi explained.
"You probably shouldn't, although I must admit you look a lot better now."
"What can I say? When I transformed, I started healing. By the time I got to the battle, I was tired but almost better. When I used my new power, though, it completely healed me. I feel wonderful--and maybe even stronger than before."
"Is that what prompted you to try to stop Vegita from killing that man?" Lina asked.
"I know it's crazy, but I don't think he'd have hurt me. Besides, I didn't stop to think before I grabbed his arm; I just did it." She ordered the food, paid for it, and took it to a nearby table. "Mamo-chan didn't even ask how I was."
"Why are the other Senshi so protective of you?" Lina asked between mouthfuls.
"I'm the over-all leader, and I'm the one who the enemies tend to focus on killing or changing."
"Why isn't there a Sailor Earth? And why are you Sailor Moon. The moon isn't a planet."
After Lina's first question, Usagi started laughing. "I'm sorry," she apologized. "I was just picturing Mamo-chan in a Sailor Senshi fuku. He's the protector of the Earth."
Lina paused a moment then burst out laughing. "That's a pretty funny sight. You ought to get back at him, you know."
"You ought to get even with him."
Usagi considered this as she ate. "Doesn't sound too bad. I've never done something like that before."
"You've never gotten even with a guy before?"
"No. I've never needed to."
"Go out with someone else."
"You heard me. Go out with someone else, like Zel or Gokou. Mamoru can't have been your only boyfriend."
"For a thousand years and then some."
"You're so strange, Usagi. Do it."
"I think I will, if one of the guys will agree to it." She cracked a smile. "Think Gourry'll go out with me?"
"No!" Lina quickly answered.
"I didn't think so. I'll ask Gokou later. I don't think Amelia would appreciate me asking Zelgadis out on a date."
Lina chuckled. "Probably not." She paused. "Gokou does have a kid, though. He's probably married."
"True. That narrows it down a bit. I'll still ask him though."
"You're not going to ask Vegita, are you, Usagi? You're not that crazy, are you?"
"Well, I'm not going to ask Gohan out!" She managed to sound quite indignant as she laughed. "Mamo-chan knows I'd never date any of the Three Lights. Yaten and Taiki are just friends, and as much as I like Seiya and he likes me, we've only gone out once."
"How did that go?"
"Pretty interesting. He showed up late, then we went to an amusement park. He can eat almost as much as we can." Lina managed to look shocked. "Then we went to a dance club. But, then Sailor Iron Mouse attacked him."
"Sailor Iron Mouse?"
"She was a good Sailor Senshi until Galaxia enslaved her. Galaxia showed up and threatened us and destroyed Iron Mouse."
"How many evil Senshi were there?"
"Sailor Iron Mouse, Sailor Aluminum Siren, Sailor Lead Crow, Sailor Tin Nyanko, and Sailor Galaxia."
"That's how you knew there was good in her," Lina stated. Usagi nodded. "How much money is left?"
"Enough for two desserts."
"What sounds good?"
Usagi contemplated this for a moment then decided, "Ice cream."
"I'll go get it. Will you be all right by yourself for a few minutes?"
"Of course. Haruka-san's been teaching me self-defense. According to her estimate, I'm a brown belt. Go on." She handed Lina the money and watched as she walked past her toward the ice cream shop. That was when the others showed up and pulled up chairs. They were about to sit when Usagi felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. She looked around and noticed most of the others seemed to have noticed it too. "What was that?" she asked, completely interrupting Haruka's question about Lina's location.
"It felt like when that monster appeared behind Vegita during the last fight," Gokou commented.
"Something like a teleport," Zelgadis mused aloud. "A dimension rift, maybe?" Amelia shrugged.
"One of those monsters is here, in this mall?" Usagi whispered.
"Lina!" yelled Usagi, whirling quickly around in her seat.
There was no sign of Lina Inverse anywhere in sight.
The minion who liked to call itself Akurei had been sent with a mission--or rather, with a message for the leaders of this world, the Sailor Senshi. Akurei thought itself smarter than the previous three minions to come here, even though it was physically weaker: it would not attempt to confront all the Senshi and their new friends at once; instead, it would wait, as long as was necessary, for one of them to be alone.
Akurei did not have to wait long. It soon spotted the one called Vegita walking alone, apparently--it thought the word was either brooding or sulking. Baka, it thought to itself, out all alone. Too bad it wasn't allowed to just kill the shrimp. However, the master had said not to kill anyone, especially any of these warriors. It slowly made itself visible in front of him.
It was the recipient of a very angry glare. It had been hoping for at least a little fear, abject terror would have been even better. "What do you want?" Vegita asked, contempt in his voice.
"My master has a message for you and your friends." Vegita almost interrupted, but Akurei pressed on regardless. "We have Lina Inverse, and soon you will all die."
Vegita rolled his eyes. "Is that all?"
Akurei blinked its eyes in surprise then answered, "Hai."
Vegita smirked and raised one hand, palm facing Akurei. A blast of energy shot out. That was the last thing Akurei ever saw.
"No word yet?" Makoto asked, finally running in the room of the temple where everyone was sitting. She and Ami had been the only ones not at the mall.
"Nothing," Rei answered, "and Ami-chan's still not here." She and ChibiUsa sat very close to Usagi: ChibiUsa in her arms and Rei beside her, trying to calm her crying.
"We should be doing something to find her," Gourry announced. Makoto nodded in agreement.
"How?" returned Zelgadis. "The closest thing we have to a teleport is what Amelia did to bring us all here."
"Let's not add this resource," Haruka stated. She and Michiru sat behind Usagi, and Hotaru in front of her.
"What about a Sailor Teleport?" Minako suggested. "We have enough Senshi to handle taking everyone."
"That's true, but we have no idea where to go," Hotaru said, in effect disgarding that theory. "It was a good idea, though, Minako-san."
"Shouldn't we be worried about Mr. Vegita?" Amelia asked.
ChibiUsa nodded against Usagi's chest. "He's been gone a long time, and since Lina's disappeared. . ."
Gokou almost laughed. "He'll be fine. No one gets the better of Vegita."
Usagi set ChibiUsa on the floor and started pacing. "There has to something we can do," she muttered. "All together we're so powerfull; we have to be able to do something."
"Usagi-chan," Michiru whispered, "try not to worry so. I'm sure Lina can take care of herself."
"That's for sure," commented Gourry dryly.
"I was right there. I should have done something."
"Usagi," Makoto scolded lightly, "you couldn't have just transformed in the middle of the mall. If anyone had seen it--"
"It would have been no different than when Aluminum Siren and Lead Crow found out!"
There was a knock at the door, and everyone's attention was drawn to it. "Do demons make house calls?" Makoto asked a little nervousluy, pulling out her transformation pen.
"They kidnapped our resident monster expert," Zelgadis answered, "but they could be trying to draw us out. Someone answer the door, and Amelia and I will cover them."
Usagi nodded and stepped to the door. "Ready when you are."
"Elmekia--," called Amelia.
"Freeze--," Zelgadis yelled. Both held their attacks as Usagi took a deep breath and opened the door.
She found herself once again almost eye-to-eye with Vegita. Gokou and Gohan nearly fell over in shock, apparently that he could display such manners as to knock. The two sorcerers dropped their attacks and returned to their seats. Usagi just stared at him and then lamely said, "Vegita-san."
He smirked and stepped past her. "Do you people always answer the door like this?"
"Only when Lina Inverse has been kidnapped," Minako answered, putting up her pen.
The smirk only grew, if that was possible. "I know."
"How?" Gokou sounded very suspicious.
"One of those monsters told me before I took care of it. Oh yeah, and it said you will all soon die."
As if to punctuate his statement, there was a loud explosion outside. "These guys are getting way too predictable," Zelgadis commented.
"Transform!" Artemis yelled. All the newcomers, even Vegita, blinked in surprise.
"Do all your animals talk?" he asked, looking over at Usagi.
It was Minako who answered though. "Just the ones with crescent moons. Venus Crystal Power, MAKE-UP!" In a few seconds, Minako was replaced with Sailor Venus. "You heard the cat, Sailor Senshi. Transform!"
"Sure thing, Venus!" Makoto answered, lifting her transformation pen. "Jupiter Crystal Power, MAKE-UP!"
When she had become Sailor Jupiter, Rei called out, "Mars Crystal Power, MAKE-UP!"
At the same time, Haruka was yelling, "Uranus Planet Power, MAKE-UP!"
A second later, Michiru also was yelling, "Neptune Planet Power, MAKE-UP!"
That was when Hotaru called out loudly, "Saturn Planet Power, MAKE-UP!"
"Go on, everyone!" Usagi yelled.
"Yeah, we'll be right behind you," continued ChibiUsa. "Moon Crisis, MAKE-UP!"
As the Senshi ran outside, Usagi called her transformation words: "Moon Cosmos Power, MAKE-UP!" When she landed on the ground, everything seemed to be tinted an odd shade of pink, and she nearly hit Gourry with her wings in her confusion. "Na--nani?" she whispered.
"Come on, Sailor Moon!" Saturn yelled. "We need your power!"
Sailor Moon straightened up and quickly called out her attack. "Moon. . . Halo. . . Illumination!" She ended it aiming at a little minion. It was easily disintegrated, but that still left two much more powerful ones in sight. As she studied each of them, tiny numbers appeared before her eyes. "Nani? What does 'Power level: 700,000' mean?"
The three new warriors skidded to a halt. "What?" Gokou whispered.
"Where the hell did you get a scouter?" Vegita demanded.
"I don't know." She grabbed the goggles and threw them off her face. "It showed up when I transformed. What is it? How powerful they are?"
"These two are yours, Kakaroto. I'll take the third one inside," Vegita stated, ignoring her questions. He flew past her, and she barely resisted the urge to swat him. Just as well, she thought; she'd have probably broken her hand.
"Sailor Moon," Mars scolded loudly, "please quit staring inside and start helping out!"
"But that's where Vegita went," Saturn teased.
"Alone," Sailor Moon argued, trying her best not to blush. She took aim at one of the monsters and yelled, "Moon. . . Halo. . . Illumination!"
The attack bounced off, and she leapt into the air, using her new wings to raise her up higher to avoid it. As she went up, she noticed a strange event through the temple window. The monster inside was twice the size of the two out here--and twice as ugly. Vegita threw a punch at it, and it teleported away.
The blow went up.
The temple roof came down.
Mars's temper flared. She began yelling some choice phrases about monsters in general and then about Vegita's heritage. Once she finally began to wear down, she yelled, "Mars Flame Sniper!"
As Mars attacked, Saturn pulled Sailor Moon aside. "You can still use all your old powers."
Sailor Moon's eyes lit up. "Really?"
"Yes. Just use the Moon Staff like whichever weapon you had at the time."
"Good." She moved a few steps away from Saturn. "Rainbow Moon Heartache!" One of the monsters was dissentigrated, and she cheered.
"Moon Gorgeous Meditation!" ChibiMoon yelled. The attack bounced off. "No!"
"Shabon Spray Freezing!" came from not so far away. A cold mist covered the entire battleground, effectively blinding everyone.
"Mercury!" Sailor Moon yelled happily. "You made it!"
"Finish it now, Sailor Moon!" she returned.
"Sure! Starlight Therapy Honeymoon Kiss!"
Zelgadis stared in her general direction with a curious expression. "Who came up with these powers?" She shrugged. "Well, you wounded it."
"That's it?" she pouted.
As the white fog began to fade, Amelia yelled, "Dark Mist!"
"Darkness beyond twilight,
Crimson beyond blood that flows,
Buried in the stream of time
Is where your power grows."
"Is that. . . Lina?" Sailor Moon whispered to Zelgadis.
"It sounds like her, but it can't be. They wouldn't just let her go."
"I pledge myself to conquer
All the foes who stand
Before the mighty gift bestowed
In my unworthy hands."
"Isn't that the Dragon Slave?" Mars asked. "Then Lina's free!"
"And there she is!" Sailor Moon yelled, pointing to the temple gate.
"Let the fools who stand before me
Be destroyed by the power
You and I possess!"
"Oh no!" Sailor Moon screamed, taking herself back up into the air. She clutched her locket tightly as she called out, "Moon Crystal Power!"
The blast was contained, but just barely, to the last two remaining minion.
Once the dust settled, Sailor Moon, Gokou, and Gohan set down on the ground softly. Vegita glared at the all from the remains of the temple. "What was that?" Gokou asked.
"Why the hell doesn't the Dragon Slave work right around you, Sailor Moon?" Lina yelled.
"You can't just go around blowing up Tokyo, Lina," she tried to argue.
Mars practically growled as she gared at Vegita. "Why not? He does."
"I'd love to help you, Usagi, really. I would, but Gohan would tell one me, and I'd get in trouble with my wife. ChiChi would kill me!"
"But. . . please, Gokou!" she pleaded. "I've already asked all the others but you and Vegita, and they all said they couldn't or they wouldn't. Please!"
She pouted, then she heard someone stalking up behind her. She put on her best pleading, teary-eyed face, the one that always worked so well on Haruka, and turned to face him. "Vegita. . ."
"Are you out of your mind?!?" Gokou exclaimed. "You can't ask him!"
"Ask me what?"
"I need some help."
He smirked. "I don't exactly help damsels in distress."
She smiled at him. "It's not that kind of favor. I need to get even with Mamoru." He raised an eyebrow. "I need help doing it."
"It'll cause him great emotional pain."
"Okay." She turned back to Gokou. "I guess you'll have to come, Gokou."
"You would take Kakaroto over me?"
She returned his glare. "You just turned me down. Didn't you?"
"She's talking about going on a date, Vegita," Gokou advised. Vegita cocked his head slightly to the side. "Movie, dinner, etc.?"
"How exactly is this going to hurt him?"
"It's the kind of thing he and I would normally do to take our minds off a new enemy. He's likely to see us or hear about it if we stay out long enough," she explained.
He was quiet for a moment. "What time?" he finally asked.
She smiled brightly and almost skipped out of the room.
"So you talked one of them into it?" Lina asked as she helped Usagi sort through her closet for something to wear.
"Yeah. This might just be easier than I thought. How's this?" She held up a short black skirt and a pink sweater."
"Good. What will you wear with it?"
"I think I have a pair of grey thigh-high stockings and black shoes I normally wear with it."
"That sounds good. Wear it."
"You don't think it would be too much?"
"This isn't serious, remember, Usagi?" Lina laughed. "Why won't you tell me how you keep changing the Dragon Slave?"
"Is it that thing you always say, that 'Moon Crystal Power'? When I broke out of the place they were holding me, the Dragon Slave left a huge crater. When I used it in the fight, though, it only blew up the monsters."
"And made Vegita mad. I think he wanted to finish off the monster he'd had."
Lina laughed shortly. "Why were you staying at the temple if your parents had this house?"
"They don't know I'm Sailor Moon. I mean, if my little brother knew, everyone in Tokyo would know too. Shingo would tell everyone. Besides, we're all going to the mansion the Outers live in until the temple is repaired. You'll love it, Lina; it's huge."
"We'll be moving while you're dating."
"How do I look?"
Lina turned and inspected her. "What happened to the stockings?"
"I couldn't find them. It's not that cold tonight anyway. I'll take a jacket, though, so Mama won't say anything."
"Good idea. Is he coming here?"
Usagi laughed, nearly dropping the powder blue jacket she held. "Oh, no! Papa would probably try to kill him! I'm meeting him at the theatre."
"Another good idea. Why do they call you 'odango atama' if you have so many bright ideas?"
"Because, until not so very long ago, my brains never showed up until I transformed."
Lina chuckled. "That's a pretty good reason. What time should you be back at the mansion, so I can tell the others?"
"I don't know. We're going to a movie then to eat, then we'll play it by ear. Eleven?"
"Okay. Is everything set up?"
"Yep. Naru and Gurio are going to be at the theatre. By the time he's through, Mamoru's sure to have heard before the night's out."
"So when do you expect to hear from Mamoru?"
"Sometime tomorrow, probably early. He'll probably wake us up."
"If he wakes me up, I'll hit him with a Dragon Slave," Lina promised.
"Please don't. I'll be in the room next to you." She checked her reflection in the mirror and was apparently satisfied. "I'm twenty years old. I shouldn't be so nervous about a fake date."
"Then don't be. Go. Have a good time. We'll see you later, around eleven."
"Naru-chan!" Usagi exclaimed, hugging her oldest friend. "I'm so glad you could make it. Hi, Gurio-kun."
"Hello, Usagi-chan!" He pushed his thick glasses back up on his nose. "My information tells me you're here on a date, but not with Mamoru-san." Usagi and Naru grinned. "Start talking."
"It's true. I'm waiting on him to show up now."
"Where's Mamoru-san?" Naru asked.
"Mamoru and I had a bit of a falling out."
"Over what?" Gurio asked, notebook out ready to record her answer.
"Does it really matter?" Vegita's voice asked from very close behind her. She jumped and whirled to face him.
It looked as though Rei had made good on her repeated threats to slick his head down. She couldn't help wondering just what lengths had been employed to produce the effect. He was wearing the same blue jeans and blue shirt--or else an exact copy thereof. As nonchalantly as possible, she smiled as she greeted, "Hi, Vegita."
"Who are your," he paused and smirked, "friends?"
"Naru and Gurio." She leaned closer to him and whispered, "Mind your manners, Vegita."
"Are you scolding me?" He seemed surprised by the idea.
"Why not? That never happened before?"
"No." He looked around. "So what now, Usagi?"
"I've got the tickets, so inside. Gurio has the best information network in Tokyo. Mamoru will know by tomorrow." She smiled. "Let's go."
She didn't notice Mamoru's best friend, Motoki Furuhata, and his fiancee watching them. With a brief glance and explanation to his date, he stepped over to the nearest telephone and dialed Mamoru's number.
"This is going much better than I'd dared hope," Usagi commented happily.
"Kakaroto was convinced it would be a diaster."
"Why do you call him that?" she asked, taking off her shoes as they stepped on the beach.
"It's his real name, his Saiyajin name."
"Are all Saiyajins like you?"
He chuckled derisively. "Kakaroto and I are the last two full Saiyajins. His brat is half-human. Kakaroto's just a low-class soldier anyway."
"What's your rank then, Vegita?"
"I am the prince of the Saiyajin," he stated proudly.
She paled. "P-prince? You're kidding me, right, Vegita?"
"I'm not the kidding type." He glanced around the almost-deserted coastline then back at her as she stood with her bare feet on the water's edge. "Tell me about this place."
She blinked sharply, caught off-guard. "What do you want to know?"
"Why do you fight so hard for it?"
Why did she get the feeling it would probably give Gokou a heart attack to hear Vegita asking philosophical questions like that?
"Well, it started out because Luna said to. But it was the right thing to do, so we kept fighting," she explained.
"What's the Dark Kingdom?"
That one caught her off-guard. "Why?"
"I heard Luna and Artemis discussing the possibility of whether or not Saiyajins are from the Dark Kingdom and me in particular."
"Luna thinks everyone is from the Dark Kingdom. Well, there is the Universe and there is the Dark Kingdom, its opposite, I think. That's where Metallia and Beryl were from. I believe it made Luna paranoid. She thinks every bad guy is from the Dark Kingdom--and some of the good guys too." He sent her a prompting look. "She thought Ami was from the Dark Kingdom."
"Tell me about Metallia and Beryl."
"They were our first enemies. They sent Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoicite, and Kunzite after us. Once we got past all Beryl's generals, I--we fought the two of them combined at the North Pole. We did not fare well."
"We all died, but we were brought back to life without our memories as Senshi. Why do you want to know all this?"
He glared at her; she was getting the feeling that this was a regular expression for him. "Because I want to know who I'll be fighting with. Tell me all of it."
That was definitely an order. "Of course, Vegita-sama." He scowled at her. "Our next enemies were the aliens, Ail and Ann. One of their monsters attacked Naru-chan, and Luna had to bring my memories back. Eventually the Senshi's memories were returned as well, and Ail and Ann were sent off. Then came the Black Moon Family from the future and the Death Phantom. After that were the Death Busters. That was when we discovered there were other Outer Senshi aside from Sailor Pluto and when ChibiUsa started really fighting with us. After that was the Amazoness Quartet and Queen Nephrenia. We banished her, then she was mysteriously released. Her reappearance reawakened Sailor Saturn, who had been reborn into a baby after the Death Busters. We healed Nephrenia, then Galaxia attacked. That's when the Outer Senshi returned once more and the Starlight appeared. It was a long, terrible battle and most of us died during it, but Galaxia was released from Chaos and she is now setting right all the evil she did. The battle with her ended in October 1995, and we had been living in peace until these monsters started showing up. And the rest, as they say, is history." Pretty good explanation, she thought, for not telling everything. Not a word about the Moon Kingdom or Crystal Tokyo, Princess Serenity or Neo Queen Serenity.
"That sounds like a condensed version," he commented.
"I didn't think you would want all the sordid details. Did you?"
Another smirk. "Not particularly. Why do you put up with Mamoru?"
"He's usually not like this at all. I don't know what's wrong with him. We hardly ever really fight like this. A few misunderstandings every now and then, but no worse than any other couple." She shrugged as a wave touched her bare toes and changed the subject. "What were you doing when you came through?"
"Why am I not surprised?" she said, throwing her hands in the air in mock despair. He glared sharply at her, and she laughed softly. "Fighting who?"
"Rekoome of the Ginyu Force."
"Doesn't sound good."
"He pounded me then the cueball then Kakaroto's brat. Don't you dare repeat that."
"Wouldn't dream of it. Cueball?"
"Some shrimp that was with Kakaroto's brat. I think he called him Klillyn."
"So then Klillyn is back there along with Rekoome," she deduced.
"And Jees and Burter. The rest of the Ginyu Force."
"You're not worried about him?"
She'd knocked the smirk right off his face; this was apparently a new concept to him. "Why?"
"I'd be worried if I left someone behind like that. The Senshi are a team; we fight together. We're a family. I'd protect them all through thick and thin, even Rei-chan."
"You are a strange girl, Usagi."
"Thanks, I think. Strange is good from you, right?"
He chuckled. "I guess so."
Usagi jumped, dropping her shoes in the sand. "Mamo-chan!" she said in disbelief, staring at the dark figure above her. "What are you doing here?"
"What are you doing here--and with him?"
"Is it any of your business?" Vegita interrupted smoothly, sounding calmer than she'd ever heard him. She had the ominous feeling it was the calm before the storm. "She's not here with you."
Mamoru seemed taken aback by that. He jumped down to the beach and looked down at her. "We need to talk, alone, Usako."
"The last time you talked to her alone, she almost ended up in tears."
He sounded almost. . . protective. Yeah, right, she scolded herself. He's just acting the part. "Thank you, Vegita," she whispered.
"Usako," Mamoru pleaded, taking one step closer and seizing her arm, "for destiny's sake, hear me--"
The rest of the sentence never came. Faster than her eyes could follow, Vegita's fist connected with Mamoru's face; the blow knocked him hard into the wall he'd jumped off of. Vegita ever so calmly stepped further in between them and stated, "Leave her alone or deal with me, Mamoru. Usagi, let's go."
"H-hai." She picked up her shoes and followed him, keeping up with him as he left Mamoru there. "Vegita?"
"For what?" He slowed down a bit as he looked curiously at her.
"Taking up for me like that. It was very kind of--"
"How do we get to the mansion?" he interrupted her. He seemed vaguely uncomfortable. "Fly?"
"I'll call a cab. Thanks for the date. Even if I did have to admit defeat at dinner. I didn't know anyone could eat more than me and Lina, let alone three servings more."
"You eat almost as much as a Saiyajin," he muttered.
"Is that good or bad?" she asked, slipping on her shoes as they stepped on the pavement. As they got in the cab that stopped in front of them, she gave the driver directions to the Outer's mansion then asked, "What time is it?"
"Koneko-chan," Haruka scolded, "you were supposed to be back over an hour ago."
"Driver got lost?" Usagi offered.
"Not good enough, odango atama," Rei chimed in.
"Mamoru showed up, at the beach, while we were talking," Usagi finally stated.
"What?!?" all the Senshi's and Lina's voices chorused.
Comprehension dawned on Rei's face. "I bet Motoki-san called him."
"Why?" Usagi asked.
"Because he called me when he saw you two at the theatre. He's Mamoru-san's best friend; he must have called him."
Usagi smiled weakly at Lina. "Well, I guess you won't have to use a Dragon Slave on him for waking you up."
"I may use a Dragon Slave on him anyway." She paused, apparently deep in thought. "No, a Giga Slave. Yes, definitely a Giga Slave."
Amelia, the only one of her group still up, paled. "No, Miss Lina! Remember: if you mess up casting it even a little, it could destroy the world!"
"I won't mess up, Amelia. Quit worrying."
"But you used it to destroyed a major demon! What would it do to a human?"
Lina grinned evilly. "Horrible things."
Michiru shook her head, an almost defeated look on her face. "Bed, everyone. I believe Usagi has learned her lesson."
One by one, the girls filed up the stairs, leaving Usagi alone downstairs with Vegita. He still sat silently in his chair, eyes closed and arms crossed. As she stood to go upstairs as well, he looked up at her. "Usagi?"
"Next time, I'll take you flying."
"I can't believe you went on a date with Vegita!" Rei exclaimed. Usagi shrugged and poured herself some of Hotaru's hot chocolate.
"I can," Minako answered. She slid over so that Usagi could sit next to her. Artemis and Luna sat on the table, totally absorbed in their own breakfasts. "So how was it? I didn't get a chance to ask last night."
"Fine. Kind of nice, actually."
"Details, Usagi-chan. Details," Minako prompted. Rei sat down opposite Usagi and nodded eagerly. Even Artemis glanced up at her before returning to his food.
"First of all, I think it was a bad idea to let Lina pick the movie. I hate scary movies!" She shivered, and the other two girls laughed. Luna muffled a giggle in her food. Usagi glared at each of them in turn, practically daring Artemis to join in. He wisely remained silent. "We went to eat at that new Chinese restuarant after that."
"How did that go?" Rei asked. "Did you appall him with the amount of food you ate?"
"He ate almost twice as much as me!" Usagi exclaimed.
Minako and Rei almost collapsed; Luna did. "You're joking, right, Usagi-chan?" the black cat asked.
"No! I stopped at three full servings, and he ate three more than me in nearly half the time!"
"I saw Gokou eat," Artemis commented. "I think this month's food bill will be more than it will take to repair the temple." The white cat shuddered. "I thought he might try eating me."
Minako laughed and hugged him. "No way, Artemis! You're too tough to be a good meal!"
"Plus I bet you'd taste kind of sour," added Usagi.
"Even Mako-chan couldn't turn you into a good meal, Artemis," Rei finished.
He glared at them and was silent.
"So after. . . dinner," Luna asked, redirecting the conversation back to Usagi, "what happened?"
"As you know, I forgot my watch, so I had no idea what time it was. We decided to go to the beach and talk. We weren't there very long before Mamo-chan showed up. He was acting pretty wierd. He grabbed my arm, and Vegita decked him. Then we left, and that's all of it. You know what happened after we got back."
"Hai. Gomen nasai," Minako apologized.
"It's okay. I'm just glad Gokou or Gohan weren't still up."
"What are you girls gossiping about in here?" Lina asked, stepping inside the kitchen, looking more than a bit sleepy.
"Usagi-chan's date," Minako answered.
Lina poured some hot chocolate and sat down beside Rei. "You really pulled one on me last night, Usagi. I thought you were going out with Gokou."
"You never asked who I was going out with," Usagi countered. "I never said I convinced Gokou; you just assumed I did."
Rei blinked in shock. "Is Ami's brain walking around in that body? This person sounds way too intelligent to be our Usagi."
After a moment, Minako caught on and started teasing her too. "You're right, Rei-chan! Oh, Ami-chan, how could you play such a cruel trick on us?"
"I think it's the invasion of the body snatchers," commented Rei.
"Knock it off, you guys. I just think it's time I started acting more mature. You know what's coming."
Rei, Minako, and the cats calmed down and nodded gravely. Lina seemed a bit confused. "What's coming?"
"Trouble," Artemis summarized.
"How can you know for sure?"
"We are never at peace for long, and it usually gets worse each time," explained Luna.
"Lina," Usagi asked, changing the subject, "what is that spell you threatened to use on Mamoru? Not the Dragon Slave but the other one?"
"The Giga Slave? It's one of the strongest spells in Black Magic. It's my most secret spell. It's dangerous to use; the last time I used it, it turned my hair white."
Usagi looked at Lina's auburn hair and whispered, "Masaka." She was in complete amazement. "Are you the strongest sorceress in your dimension?"
"Nah, my sister's stronger. But I'm right up there." She paused to sip the hot chocolate. "Why?"
"I'm trying to figure out why we were each chosen."
"Ami-chan has taken over her brain," Rei commented.
Usagi stuck her tongue out at her and continued. "From what Ami-chan's told me and what I've gather talking to everyone, we're each the strongest from our different dimensions. You, Lina, Amelia, and Zelgadis are all powerful with Magic. I haven't figure Gourry out yet. Lina?"
"The sword he carries is called the Sword of Light. It was used to slay the demon beast Zanafar, and it's part of what is necessary to do the Giga Slave. Besides, despite how incredibly stupid he may be, he is a good swordsman," Lina answered.
"The Sword of Light," Usagi mused. "Then that explains Gourry. According to Vegita, Saiyajins are some of the toughest fighters in their universe, and we've seen what they can do, both with physical and energy-based attacks. I'd hate to have one of them mad at me."
Rei's face twisted into a teasing smirk. "I don't think Vegita would get mad at you, Usagi."
"Shut up, Rei-chan. I'm trying to be a good leader like you're always talking about."
Flabbergasted, Rei looked over at Lina. "You guys should have come sooner. You seem to have increased her brain cells."
"Anyway, can you guys manage without me for a while? I have to go to classes, then I'm going out."
"With Vegita?!?" Lina exclaimed.
"Again?!?" continued Rei.
"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Minako asked, quieter than the others.
"Do you want me to go with you?" questionned Artemis, leaving his meal to stare her in the face.
"Or both of us?" Luan finished.
"In order: yes, yes, yes, no, no. Vegita's okay, guys, really. And I don't need chaperones. I'll be fine."
"Usagi, Mamoru knows now," Lina advised. "There's no need for you to go out again."
"It's not that I have to; I want to. I've got to go get dressed before I'm late to my classes." She stood and left the table and a group of shocked people (and cats) behind her.
"Was that really Usagi?" Rei asked, dumbfounded. "Vegita didn't switch her with a double or anything last night, right?"
"It's her," Luna answered. "She's gotten so much stronger. She barely seems like the whiny teenager I found years ago."
"It's been a long few years, Luna," Minako answered. "We've all changed." She brightened up. "You know what they say:" everyone groaned, "'Life is short; experience the fish climbing the falls.'"
"And this is the great Sailor V," Artemis complained with a smile and a shake of his feline head.
"The original Champion of Justice," Minako proudly stated.
"A Sailor Senshi an entire year longer than even Usagi," Luna drily commented.
"And she still can't get the stupid sayings right," finished Rei.
Usagi closed her text book and massaged her temples; math always gave her such a headache. She looked up at the wall clock, and she immediately jumped out of her seat, dashing toward the outside door. Late! She'd promised to meet Vegita at Tokyo Tower ten minutes ago.
She threw open the door and nearly collided with someone. "G-gomen," she choaked out between gasps for breath. "I'm sorry. I'm late."
"I know." She looked up at Vegita. She had been paying too little attention and had almost run into the very person she was trying to find. "Vegita? What are you doing here?"
"I got tired of waiting on top of Tokyo Tower. I heard Rei mention where your school was, so I came to see if you were still here. Let's go." He turned away from her and started walking.
"Where?" she asked, catching up with him, all the while shoving books into her bookbag.
"Have you forgotten already? I said I would take you flying."
"Flying?" She first turned red then pale.
"Hai." He winked at her evilly. "Unless you're scared."
"No. I've just never been flying before."
"First time, huh? We'll have to make sure it's special then."
This time she couldn't resist it and hit his shoulder. "Quit being weird," she complained, shaking her sore hand.
"Are you sure you're Sailor Moon? You act pretty wimpy when you're not transformed."
"Don't you start it too! I get enough of that from Rei."
"Why are we still walking?"
"We're still in public. It's bad enough you blew up that man's car where everyone could see. Besides, I think there's a law against flying within the city limits."
"You're kidding, right?"
"Maybe. But seriously, let's at least get off the school campus. I don't want to have to explain something like that to my teachers or worse, Gurio-kun."
"The one with the information network."
"Hai." They walked a bit further, until they were well off the campus, in fairly companionable silence. "This is far enough. What are you up to?" she asked, stopping and staring at him.
"Nothing, yet. Are you ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be."
He frowned at her bookbag. "Is that thing really necessary?"
"Do you need to keep it?"
"Then find a way to secure it, or else it wil blow away." As she slipped it on her back, he eyed her seriously. "You're going to get very dirty."
"I think you're wimping out."
She'd really caught his atention again. "Nani? What did you say?"
"You heard me. Payback for that 'first time' comment."
"I am not wimping out."
"Then let's go, Vegita-sama."
"Will you quit calling me that?" he growled at her.
She smiled back at him. "How else am I supposed to get your attention, Prince?" he muttered something under his breath. "What?"
"Nothing. Let's go, before you drive me crazy."
Without another word, he floated above her and gently lifted her off the ground, holding her aloft with one arm around her waist. She screamed for a second, clutching onto his arm tightly, nails sinking in, then she yelled at him, something about warning her first. Finally she started laughing happily, holding her arms wide as if she were flying herself.
"You are crazy," he commented.
"I'll take that as a compliment from you."
"You do realize I'm not going half as fast as I could, don't you?" he commented a moment or two later.
He smirked and began to speed up. She clutched his arm again, screaming and laughing at the same time.
A few minutes later they set down on the top level of Tokyo Tower. "Wow," she breathed as they both leaned against the railing. "No wonder you don't like to walk."
"Hmn," he grunted notcommitally. "I still want to know you act so different when you're transformed."
She smiled and answered, "Secret identity. Not many people know I'm Sailor Moon. If my little brother even suspected I'm Sailor Moon, he'd tell all of Tokyo. And my father works on a newspaper."
"Does your brother fight too?"
"Shingo the brat? No way. No one in my family except ChibiUsa knows I fight."
"So why Sailor Moon?"
She shrugged. "Luna said so, and she's my guardian and trainor. Besides, there can't be a Sailor Earth."
"Because earth's protector isn't a Sailor Senshi; it's Mamoru."
"What's the story with the Sailor Senshi?"
She smiled teasingly. "Are you sure you're a prince and not a reporter?"
The glare he sent her almost seemed a bit softer. "Tell me," he growled.
"Long ago, or so I'm told, there was a Sailor Senshi for every planet and every star everywhere. They all together defended the entire Universe against evil and Chaos. Many of those numbers dropped after Chaos--what's the word?--infested the strongest Senshi, Sailor Galaxia. Some of them even agreed to follow her, rather than die at her hand."
"Not very brave."
She rolled her eyes at him. "You're too kind, you know?"
"Sarcasm doesn't suit you." He glanced around. "So, where do we got now?"
"Where can we go?"
"Where can't we go? Anything, any place on this planet you want to see?"
"I always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower," she admitted.
He stood up straight. "Where is it?"
She pointed. "West."
Several hours later, the odd pair returned to the Outers' mansion. Both looked a bit worse for the wear: his clothes were completely messed up, and most of her hair had escaped her odangos.
"Usagi!" Ami yelled, grabbing her by the shoulders and pulling her over to where the Inner Senshi were waiting for her.
Rei immediately started in on her. "What have you two been doing?"
Usagi blinked in surprise, then she got a sinking feeling she knew what they were thinking. "Nothing like what you're thinking! We went flying!"
Ami's eyes widened. Makoto scowled and sat down hard on the steps. Minako looked a bit intrigued, and Rei looked shocked. "You admit it?"
Now she was confused. She stopped a moment to puzzle it out. "Not like that, Rei! Flying! We went to Paris and London and New York, then we came back here. That's it!"
"It's true," a new voice said from behind Usagi. As warm hands touched her shoulders, she looked back and smiled. "They did nothing."
"Setsuna-san, I'm glad you're here," Usagi greeted.
"So all the Senshi are together now," Haruka stated as she and the other two Outers stepped outside as well.
Rei nodded. "We're all here."
Minako grinned evilly. "Where's Taiki-kun and the other boys? I think I'll go find them. Come on, Ami-chan." She set off in search of the Three Lights with Ami firmly in tow.
Rei and Makoto went inside the mansion without another word. Usagi stared behind them in silence for a long time. "They don't believe me," she whispered.
"Usagi-san," Hotaru said firmly, "we do."
"And I rather like Vegita," Michiru teased. Haruka rolled her eyes, and Michiru eased closer. "But now as much as I like you, Haruka."
"Usagi," Setsuna stated, a warning tone in her voice, "the arrival of these. . . visitors is changing the timeline more every minute they're here. We must find a way to send them home before too much damage is done."
"Amelia is the one who brought them all here. Every time she tries to do some teleporting spell, she ends up bringing more people here," Usagi noted.
"Then don't let her try anymore! I just got the doors to the Time Gate shut again after that last stunt."
"I can only imagine what happened when Gokou and Gohan and Vegita came through," Hotaru stated.
"They're all so powerful," added Usagi.
"You haven't told them, have you, Usagi-chan?" Setsuna asked, staring down at her.
"No. I haven't breathed a word about it."
"It's for your own safety, Usagi-chan. They probably won't be here long enough to begin to wonder."
"Do you have any idea how to get rid of them?" Haruka asked. Setsuna slowly shook her head. "Then we just have to keep it a secret."
"I'll do my best, Haruka-san," Usagi stated, "but I don't care for this business of half-truths and white lies. They've helped us fight and they've all been very nice to me, but I won't tell."
Haruka nodded briefly, as if to show she understood Usagi's dilemma. Michiru smiled. "It is rather nice, though, that we've had peace ever since Usagi started dating Vegita."
"It is kind of nice," Haruka admitted.
Hotaru nudged Usagi gently. "So when are you going out again?"
She laughed softly. "In a couple of days. I've got some major exams coming up I need to get ready for."
"Need any help with them?" Setsuna asked, smiling now.
"All I can get."
"There! You're finished!" Lina declared after putting the finishing touches on her creation.
"I feel weird," Usagi stated. "This is more Minako's type of outfit than mine."
"It looks wonderful on you, Miss Usagi!" Amelia declared. She sat on the desk, swinging her legs back and forth.
"Really, it does," agreed Hotaru from where she sat on the bed.
Usagi looked at herself in the full-length mirror. She had, for some reason, agreed to let these three dress her up for her third date. Most of the clothes were hers, but combined they looked like someone had been dipping out of Minako's closet. She wore a white sweater and a knee-length black skirt and would soon put on Lina's white boots. Hotaru had come up with the idea for her to wear stretch pants beneath the skirt because it was so cold tonight; they were the same black as the skirt, only slightly shiny. Amelia had somehow found gold crescent moon earrings for her to wear. "I still say I look like Minako," she complained.
"You do, a bit," Minako replied, sticking her head in the door. "I found a jacket for you." She tossed her a short leather jacket and watched her slip it on. "Looking pretty hot, Usagi-chan."
"Thanks. I have my communicator with me," she stated, slipping it into the skirt pocket, "so let me know if you need anything." As she talked, they all walked downstairs. "And I'll try to be back by midnight."
"Eleven," Haruka stated firmly.
"Demo. . . "
"Hai. Eleven," she relunctantly agreed from the door as she slipped on the boots. "See you guys by eleven."
It took her thirty minutes at the amusement park to locate Vegita, who was staring at each of the rides critically. She stepped up beside him and raised an eyebrow in a silent question. With a nod toward the Ferris Wheel, she stated, "I can jump higher than that."
"You cheat. You can fly."
A brief scowl, then he nodded to a roller coaster. "I can run faster than that."
"You cheat. You can fly."
"I believe you were impressed by the flying, weren't you?"
"Are you going to make a smart comment if I say 'yes'?"
"No comment then. Are you hungry? I can see about getting us some food."
She'd barely stepped out of sight when they both felt the sudden chill of a monster's arrival. A second later, it took form a few feet behind her. One woman screamed, and everyone panicked, running for the exits. A hand extended toward her quickly--
--and was nearly blasted off. Vegita appeared between them. "Usagi, transform now!"
"Hai! Moon Cosmos Power, MAKE-UP!" she yelled, silently wishing the transformation took less time.
Sailor Moon's feet touched the ground, then she shoved herself back up into the air to avoid one of Vegita's energy blasts that had bounced off. Vegita was cursing loudly; she was sure the entire park heard him yell, "Kusotarre!" as he had to dodge one of his own attacks.
"Moon. . . Halo. . . Illumination!" Sailor Moon yelled. It hit the monster from behind. This one was powerful; she and Vegita were throwing everything they had at it, and it wasn't even scratched. She had to bite her tongue to keep from screaming too.
Then again, they seemed to be driving the monster crazy as well. It ripped up part of a bench and threw it at Vegita, who neatly blasted it without even blinking. It fired off a blast at her at the same time, and her barrier shield formed to block it. While her mind was on the shield, however, it threw the rest of the bench at her, hitting her across the chest. One piece hit her locket hard enough to jar the Crystal, and her transformation was lost, pink ribbons streaming out behind her. With her wings gone, there was nothing holding her up in the air, and she began plummeting toward the ground.
Almost without thinking, she cupped her locket between both hands. The ribbons swirled around her, forming a long white dress with shell-like sleeves and rings across the top. A huge white bow floated out behind her. As a crescent moon formed on her forehead, her wings reappeared and straightened out to catch her fall.
It would be difficult to say who looked more surprised: Vegita or the monster. She held out her arms, palms cupped but not too close together, and a clear, white stone that resembled a rose in bloom formed. She extended her arms in front of her without a word, and waves of light came from the stone. The monster yelled and flickered out of existance.
Her eyes fluttered closed, and her entire body went limp, again falling toward the ground. She faintly felt someone grab her before she hit it and hoped it wasn't a bad guy.
She slowly opened her eyes and looked around. Wherever she was, it wasn't the amusement park. Not even the Ferris Wheel was this high. She sat up carefully.
"Who are you?"
She turned toward the familiar voice. "Vegita. So it was you who--"
"Who are you?" he repeated. He didn't raise his voice, but it did reveal his impatience in its increasing hoarseness.
"Serenity," she finally admitted with a sigh, "I'm Princess Serenity of the Moon Kingdom." She looked up at him as he sat on the railing above her. "Gomen nasai, Ouji-sama. It was not my wish to lie all this time."
"There is no kingdom on the moon. It's dead."
"It is now. Remember when I told you about Beryl and Metallia?" He nodded. "They attacked and destroyed the Moon Kingdom a thousand years ago. We all, all the Senshi, everyone but Luna and Artemis, died in the battle. My mother, Queen Serenity, banished Beryl and Metallia with the Moon Crystal--"
"The crystal you used against that monster."
"Hai. After Beryl and Metallia were gone, Queen Serenity used the rest of her strength to send all of us a thousand years into Earth's future to be reborn without our memories of the Moon Kingdom, in the hopes we might lead normal lives here."
"How does Mamoru fit into all of this?"
She looked down at her dress and picked imaginary dirt off it. "They attacked the night we announced our engagement. He is the Prince of the earth, Endymion."
"This crystal of yours, what does it do?"
"The Moon Crystal can heal people of dark energy. It helps me transform."
"It obviously stops monsters."
"Hai. I remember hearing once that the Moon Crystal is powerful enough to destroy a planet completely or completely heal it."
"I take it, then, that the only ones who don't know about all this are us."
It took her a moment to realize he meant the newcomers. "Hai. Gomen, Vegita. The Outers thought it would be best if you didn't know."
"They don't trust anyone, much less strangers. It's their job, all the Senshi's job, to protect me. So they try not to let anyone find out."
"Good idea. So, that tale you told me the first night, why don't you fill in the empty parts now?"
"The Inner Senshi and I went to the North Pole to fight Metallia and Beryl and to rescue Mamoru from Beryl's clutches. . ."
Nearly an hour went by as she gave him a full story of the battles for her world, from the Dark Kingdom to Galaxia. "So the little brat was the Light of Hope?" he interrupted her eventually.
"Hai. She was Galaxia's Star Seed. ChibiChibi-chan returned my Star Seed to me. I tried to use the sword she gave me to fight Galaxia, but I couldn't kill her; I knew there was still good left in her. The sword was broken, but I did manage to heal Galaxia, free her from Chaos. She's returning all the Star Seeds she stole to their owners and setting right all the evil she did. All the Senshi and Kakyuu-Hime came back to life. The Starlights and Kakyuu-Hime left to repair their planet. We were at peace from then until now." She glanced up at him; he still sat on the railing, but she'd moved so that she now sat on a bench beside him. "And that's all of it: all our enemies, the Moon Kingdom, Crystal Tokyo, everything. Mind if I detransform? My arms are getting cold."
She closed her eyes, and after a second's concentration, Princess Serenity was replaced with Usagi. "That's better," she breathed, rubbing her hands together.
"We make a fine pair, don't we?" Vegita said very softly. She wasn't even sure she was supposed to hear. "A princess without a kingdom and a prince without a planet. A prince and a princess of two dead worlds."
Very hesitantly, she reached up and touched his knee. He glanced down at her, without a scowl for once, and she just whispered, "Vegita."
"Let's get back to the mansion," he stated, hopping down off the railing and standing in front of her.
"Sure. How do you want to get back?" she asked. "If you want, I can call a cab."
"I don't think so, not after that last cab ride. How would you rather go," he smirked, "Princess?"
She grinned. "Fly, Prince."
"You ought to find a way to keep your wings all the time, Tenshi, so I don't have to fly you around so much," he commented.
"I've seen a few pictures of them since I've been here. As Princess Serenity with the wings, you look like one."
She stepped closer to him, really expecting another flight like their first one. Instead, he almost gently lifted her in his arms and took off, flying away from Tokyo Tower and toward the Outers' mansion.
Haruka and Michiru were outside sneaking a private moment while everyone else was inside and before Usagi got back. Gokou was outside as well, but he sat on the steps trying to figure out the strange power he'd picked up over an hour ago. It certainly hadn't been evil (in fact, it had been the most "good" power he'd ever sensed), but it had been so powerful and had lasted such a short amount of time. He and Gohan had struck out trying to identify it; he'd be glad when Vegita got back so he could ask his opinion. "Kami-sama, did I really just think that?" he muttered.
"Gokou looks like he's having a long talk with himself," Haruka stated.
"And it looks like he's losing," returned Michiru. "How much longer do we have until Usagi and Vegita are due back?"
Haruka checked her watch. "Two hours. Where do you suppose they went this time?"
"Usagi asked me for junk food money. She said something about craving chocolate ice cream and blue cotton candy."
"Separately, I hope. Sounds like the amusement park." Haruka laughed. "I wonder how she talked Vegita into it."
"Probably told him a time and a place and said, 'Be there'," Michiru laughed. "I think he's a good challenge for her."
"She's not exactly treating this as a challenge to her ability to make people like her--"
"Her natural charisma, you mean?"
"Hai. She seems to be quite serious about this." Haruka sighed. "And I don't know why I trust Vegita with her when I didn't trust Seiya."
"Because Vegita isn't a Starlight, he doesn't spend half his time in a female form, there is no ambiguity as to where his loyalties lie, and last but certainly not least," Michiru winked, "he isn't popular. You know you hate popular men."
Haruka wrapped her arm around Michiru's waist, and Michiru lay her head against Haruka's arm. "Arigato, Michiru."
"You're welcome. . ."
"Hi, Haruka-san, Michiru-san!" Usagi yelled. They looked around but were unable to spot her.
"Usagi-chan!" Michiru called. "Where are you?!?"
"Up here!" returned Usagi, from high above their heads. They looked up in time to seee her and Vegita lower then land in the middle of the driveway. He set her on her feet then crossed his arms. "We're back!" she continued, trying to smoothe her hair back into her odangos.
"Early too," Haruka commented, again regarding her watch. "Why? What happened?"
"Did you run into Mamoru again?" continued her partner.
"No, no, we didn't," she stammered, her hand sliding behind her head. "Actually, Haruka-san, Michiru-san . . ."
"What is it, koneko-chan?" Haruka's eyes narrowed.
"Don't you mean 'Princess Serenity'?" Vegita commented, looking up at them.
"You told him!" Haruka exploded.
"Usagi!" Michiru exclaimed. "Princess!"
"I had no choice but to transform!" the younger woman returned, glaring at Vegita. "We were attacked tonight!"
"You're a princess?" asked Gokou. Haruka flinched to hear him behind her. Usagi nodded, apparently still less than happy with Vegita. "Vegita tell you he's a prince?"
Now Usagi giggled, mostly at the shocked expressions on the two Outer Senshi's faces. "Hai, Gokou, he told me. I've known for a while."
"He's a prince?" Michiru gasped, apparently unable to think of anything more to say. Gokou nodded, and Vegita's usual smirk grew. "Masaka."
"This is just too weird," Haruka muttered. "I think we need to have a long talk, koneko-chan."
"Yeah, we all do," Usagi agreed without all her usual cheerefullness. "As Luna would say, the cat's out of the bag. It's time to confess everything."
"I'll get Setsuna," Michiru offered, heading inside.
"She's the Sailor Pluto you were telling me about, right?" Vegita asked.
"Hai," Usagi answered.
"There's some questions I want to ask her."
"Like how our tails came back?" Gokou added.
"I'm not even completely sure, Gokou-san," Pluto stated. "I didn't see too much when you three came through the Time Gate."
"When we came across," Lina put forth, "I know I was exhausted and low on power. It was all restored when we landed here."
"This dimension does have a habit of boosting its heroes' powers every so often," Setsuna admitted, "Sailor Moon more than the rest of us, and it does have a habit of attracting powerful enemies, though not as powerful as your dimension, Gokou-san."
"How'd you know that?"
"I'm the guardian of time and space. I know about all dimensions and all possible variations of them."
"Sugoi," Gokou whispered. In the back corner of the room, Vegita rolled his eyes, muttering something under his breath about a low-class baka. Usagi laughed very softly.
"Gokou-san," Setsuna continued, "the best explanation I can offer you in regards to your tail is one of two options. One:) Something obviously thought you'd be better off with it, stronger perhaps; or two:) It happened when you came through the Time Gate and therefore, if you ever lose your tail while in this dimension, it always will grow back."
"That makes sense," he stated, apparently satisfied.
"So, Sailor Pluto," Vegita began, "why didn't you tell us?"
"Nani?" She actually seemed confused and glanced over at Haruka.
"He knows," Uranus answered.
"You told him?" Setsuna cried, turning to Usagi.
"I didn't have a choice in the matter! We were attacked, I lost my transformation, and it was all I could think of to do!" She took a deep breath to calm herself down. "It's time we told the rest of them."
"Yeah," added Lina, "before I go crazy trying to figure out what the hell you mean, Usagi!"
"Actually, Lina, the truth is. . . Luna, how do I start this?" she asked, turning to face the cat.
The black cat looked perplexed, then Artemis chipped in, "Maybe with visual aids."
"Thanks. The truth is, I have a second transformation."
"Well, let's see," prompted Lina.
Usagi closed her eyes, her form shimmered, then she was replaced by Princess Serenity. "To be honest," she stated, opening her eyes to see many surprised faces, "I am also Princess Serenity of the Moon Kingdom."
"Usagi. . . Serenity, explain," Lina ordered.
"Well, you see, a thousand years ago, on the Moon. . ."
"Ne, Usagi, why didn't you tell us about all this?" Lina asked as the pair walked toward a restaurant Rei had recommended to them.
"The Outers thought it would be safer. We didn't really know you, Lina. We didn't know if we could trust you."
"That makes sense, I suppose. It just--"
There was a beeping from Usagi's jacket pocket. She pulled out her communicator and said, "Hai?"
Minako's face appeared on the tiny screen. "Trouble, Usagi-chan. We could use Sailor Moon."
"I'm on my way."
"So are the rest of us," Rei stated, her face momentarily appearing.
"Gohan and I are on our way too," ChibiUsa added.
Usagi smiled then pocketed the communicator. "Is anyone looking, Lina?"
The sorceress took a quick look around. "Iie. Hurry up, Usagi."
"Hai! Moon Cosmos Power, MAKE-UP!" She didn't even strike a pose when her transformation was complete; instead she took off running northwest.
"Do you know where we're going?" Lina asked, running to keep up with the winged senshi.
"I'm following the power readings."
"This would be a lot quicker if we flew."
Lina could have sworn she heard a quick giggle from Sailor Moon before she stated, "Then let's go, Lina!" She stretched out her wings and took to the air.
"Ray Wing!" Lina yelled, quickly catching up with Sailor Moon. "How far?"
Even as she asked it, there was a bright flash of light from a park below them. "Right there. Come on."
The two of them dropped to the ground and quickly surveyed the scene. Jupiter was on the ground, half unconscious. Uranus was being helped to her feet by Neptune; she's apparently been thrown into a bench. Saturn's Silence Wall was firmly in place between the Senshi and the newest monster. Only the Saiyajins seemed to be having any effect on it, and that was negligible. One well-placed Kamehameha split it into two smaller monsters, which quickly grew to the size of the original one. "Kakoroto!" Vegita yelled. "You baka!"
"I guess it's our turn to try," Lina commented. "Dimilar Wind!"
"That one did pretty good. Where're Zelgadis, Amelia, and Gourry, I wonder?" Sailor Moon commented.
"We'll find them later! Just attack!"
"Hai!" Sailor Moon agreed with a smile. "Moon. . . Halo. . . Illumination!"
Mars grinned as her leader's attack destroyed one of the monsters. "Not bad, Sailor Moon!" she called.
Sailor Moon frowned, apparently concentrating on the readings she was getting. "What is it, Sailor Moon?" ChibiMoon asked, stepping close to the older woman, who remained silent. She touched the top of Sailor Moon's glove. "Sailor Moon?"
Utterly without warning, a furious barrage of black roses with deadly sharp tips flew at them all. Sailor Moon pulled ChibiMoon close to her body and turned her back so that she would absorb the brunt of the attack. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Gokou protecting Gohan in a similar manner. [A.N.: And, of course, losing a majority of his shirt in the process.] Several flowers embedded themselves up to the bud in her wings, and she couldn't hold back a scream of pain. She wasn't going to be doing any flying without help for a while; her right wing didn't seem to be able to move, much less hold her weight.
The assault broke suddenly, and the two Moons looked up. They were inside some sort of barrier. Zelgadis was apparently the one holding it, and Amelia was the one pulling the roses out of her. She looked at the pink-haired girl in her arms, ignoring the pain in her overly sensitive wings, and asked, "Are you okay, ChibiMoon?"
She hugged Sailor Moon tightly, avoiding her wings. "Thanks to you."
"Aren't roses Tuxedo Kamen's specialty?" Zelgadis asked, scowling at the roses that still flew at them.
"Hai." She paused, easing up on her grip on ChibiMoon. "Do you think they have him or something?"
"It seems likely."
"Hold still," Amelia advised. "I'm going to cast a Recovery spell on you now that I've got all the roses out."
"There isn't time." There was a very set expression of determination on Sailor Moon and ChibiMoon's faces as they got to their feet. "Can Lina cast a barrier like this around herself?" Sailor Moon continued.
"Yes. I believe she's got Gokou and Gohan inside it."
"How do you think we can beat this one, Zelgadis?"
"You took out one. Can you get the other?"
"Perhaps, if I was at full power. . ."
The scream broke everyone's concentration, even the monster's. The attack stopped, and two Air Valm spells were dropped. Saturn's Silence Glaive was lowered. Everyone looked at ChibiMoon.
Then through ChibiMoon. . .
"No!" Sailor Moon screamed, gathering the girl up in her arms. "ChibiMoon!"
"Small Lady!" Pluto called, rushing that way.
"ChibiUsa-chan!" Saturn yelled.
ChibiMoon was trying her best not to cry as she felt herself being erased from existance--again. She looked up in Sailor Moon's eyes and whispered, "It's Mamo-chan. Promise me you'll get him back."
Sailor Moon nodded. "We'll get him back and set things right, I promise." She was silently crying as ChibiUsa's nearly transparent body detransformed and she came closer and closer to being gone.
"Now you're acting more like my Mama."
Sailor Moon shook her head violently. "I don't want to act like Neo Queen Serenity! I want you to be all right, Small Lady!"
They both ignored the sounds of shock around them (this part had been left out of Usagi's story). "Baka Usagi," ChibiUsa sighed then dissolved into white sparkles.
Pluto and Saturn stood behind Usagi's shoulders, and each knelt beside her. "Her existance has been cancelled out," Pluto commented.
"Something has happened to change the future," continued Saturn. "Princess?"
"It's Mamoru. Something's happened to him, she said."
"Explain this one to me," Zelgadis requested.
"ChibiUsa-chan," started Saturn, then she floundered for the exact words.
"Small Lady is my future daughter," Sailor Moon stated firmly, climbing to her feet. "She comes here from 30th century Crystal Tokyo."
"You left that part out," Amelia said.
Hard blue eyes fixed on her. "It was my business, not yours." She looked around at the faces staring at her. "Let's finish this bakemono."
At the exact same time, everyone of the Sailor Senshi called out their most powerful attacks with a bit more force than usual, especially Sailor Moon. A second later, everyone else joined in. When the dust cleared, though, the creature was still unharmed.
Saturn stepped forward, extending the Silence Glaive before her. "I suppose there is no other choice." She closed her violet eyes and took a deep breath. Her eyes snapped back open a moment later, and she yelled, "Silence Glaive--!"
There was a sudden flash of light, and the monster was gone. Saturn forgot about her attack and found herself staring at where it had been standing. The girl had everyone's attention. She looked a lot like ChibiUsa, except that her hair was black and her eyes were blue. Even the Sailor Senshi fuku looked like ChibiMoon's, although it was blue everywhere ChibiMoon's was pink. Sailor Moon found herself looking around for Pluto, who suddenly wasn't anywhere to be seen. Then she noticed the tail. It was wrapped so snugly around the girl's waist that it looked like part of the uniform.
"I did it! I did it!" the little girl cried out, delighted, jumping up and down. Suddenly she was in the air and head straight to a startled Vegita. Her arms wrapped around his neck, and he suddenly looked very angry. "I did it, Papa! Aren't you proud of me?"
"'Papa'?" Sailor Mars questionned as she turned to look at Sailor Moon.
"Hey, we didn't do--"
"Mama!" the little girl screamed. Sailor Moon looked toward Vegita. He was trying his best to pry the girl off him and was beginning to glow. "Papa's trying to go Super Saiyajin."
"I'm going to kill you, you little brat," Vegita hissed as the little girl's arms around her neck became tighter.
"Now calm down, Vegita. She's just a little girl," Gokou replied.
"Shut up, Kakaroto!" growled Vegita.
"Mama?" the little girl asked as she released her hold around Vegita's neck. She suddenly seemed unsure of her surroundings. Sailor Moon watched as she glanced her way several times and then back to Vegita. "Did you two get into another fight?"
"No, Koneko, they haven't gotten into another fight," Pluto answered as she stepped forward.
"Pluto!" the girl, Koneko, called as she threw herself into the older woman's arms.
"You have to remember, Koneko, that this is the past. Your parents aren't married yet," Pluto explained to the child. Sailor Moon glanced at Pluto, who shook her head slightly. They would get an explanation, just not now. Vegita didn't look like he could wait. Quickly Sailor Moon walked over to him, hoping he was in a controllable mood.
"Does that mean Papa won't take me shopping?" Koneko asked Pluto.
"Take her shopping? That. . .," Vegita started.
"She's so cute, Vegita. Looks just like you," Gokou commented.
"Why didn't you tell us you had a kid?" Gourry asked. Lina hit him on the head with her fist. Vegita looked like he was going to explode. "You should calm down. The danger's gone, isn't it?"
"Well, if Papa can't take me, can Uncle Haruka and Aunt Michiru?" Koneko asked Pluto.
"Why not the others?"
"Aunt Rei is so mean to me. All the Inners are," she stated plainitively.
"Aunt Minako only likes to shop for herself, and she makes me carry the packages."
"I think you should drop the 'Uncle' and 'Aunt' bit. You know how much they hate it."
"But I want to go shopping! I killed the monster, and they won't take me shopping unles I bother them to death," she complained. She looked over the group, and her blue eyes stopped on Sailor Moon. "Or unless Mama tells them to."
"Mars, would you please take Koneko shopping?" Sailor Moon asked, her back to Sailor Mars, as she wondered what to do with a quickly-getting-angrier Vegita.
"So this is the life you had planned?" Mars demanded, startling Sailor Moon and the others. "Vegita instead of Mamoru-san? Koneko instead of ChibiUsa-chan? Tell me: did you ever really love Mamoru-san, or was it all an act until Mr. Right came into you life? We all noticed how you changed when you started dating Vegita. And now a little girl shows up calling Vegita father. . ."
"Leave my Mama and Papa alone!" Koneko exclaimed as she flew from Pluto and headed straight to Mars. "It's not Mama's fault your husband died! He knew what he was. . ."
"Koneko, Mars doesn't know about that, and it's forbidden to tell them their possible futures," Pluto firmly stated.
"But. . ."
"No buts, Koneko. Not a word. Understand?" Pluto demanded. And when the girl didn't reply, she threatened, "I will send you back if you don't obey, Koneko. You know I will."
"You sound like my Mama after a big fight with my Papa," she said, defeated.
"I'll take you shopping," Sailor Moon offered. Her eyes told everyone she was still hurt by what Rei had said.
"Really, Mama? I promise I won't kill anyone this time," Koneko declared, flying into Sailor Moon's arms.
"I think you'll make a wonderful father, Vegita. Why don't you go with them?" Gokou asked.
"Hurry up, Mama. The mall will be closed," Koneko whined as she walked into the living room. She stuffed something into her pocket just before she attached herself to Usagi's arm. "Mama, you're so slow."
"I'm coming. I'm coming," Usagi answered, wincing just a little bit. The kid had a good grip. "I'm not as fast as you Saiyajin."
"I can fly us, Mama. It's easy. All I have to do is watch out for trees," Koneko responded as she lifted Usagi off the ground. "I can't wait until you really become my Mama. You'll be able to fly by yourself then."
"You sound like Vegita. . . Fly by myself? With or without my wings?"
"With, of course. It's not like you're a Saiyajin or anything," she replied as she hovered above the mansion. Usagi didn't reply so Koneko flew as fast as she could until she reached the mall. A few people screamed and ran off when they saw her. She wondered if it was because she was flying or because she was carrying her Mama by one arm. Usagi's feet touched the ground just as Koneko released her. "See, I got you here in one piece. If that was what you were worrying about, I mean."
"That too. Come on, Koneko," she beckoned, leading the dark-haired girl up to the mall. "Can you tell me about your time, kitten?"
"Why do you want to know?"
She shrugged and then winced as pain rolled down her back. Present or not, her wings hurt. "It sounds a lot different from every other possible future I've ever heard of."
"It's not possible! It's real!" Koneko declared.
That's what I get for asking a kid, Usagi mentally declared. "Well, then, if it's real, you should have no trouble describing it."
"What do you want to know exactly?" Koneko inquired.
Usagi sighed. "I'll never win," she muttered. "Where are you from? Exactly?"
"The Moon, of course."
"Hontou ni? That's strange," she mused, her left fist against her cheek, that elbow resting on her crossed right arm. The pose made her look a bit like Ami. "So I suppose the Crystal Tokyo Kingdom doesn't exist at all?"
"What's the Crystal Tokyo Kingdom? I've never heard of it. Is it stronger than the Moon Kingdom?" Koneko asked as she grabbed Usagi's arm and half-dragged her into the mall.
"I wouldn't know. I haven't been to the Moon Kingdom since I was thirteen. Tell about your time's Moon Kingdom, okay?"
"Well, what do you want to know?"
"Kami-sama, give me patience," she whispered. "Tell me about your parents--I mean, me and Vegita there."
"Mama, you are beautiful. Your hair is solid white, and you always have your wings. Ambassadors from all around come to tell you their problems. Most of them are what you like to call 'pretty boys.' Papa hates the ambassadors and wants to send them all to the next dimension. Papa is very brave and very proud. You like to call him 'Vegita-sama' and 'kisama' when you're angry, and he calls you an ugly woman. Most of the time Papa behaves himself. Could I come to the wedding? I promise I'll be good."
"'Send them to the next dimension'?" Usagi asked, latching onto the phrase that made the least amount of sense out of the whole rapid speech. "And why is my hair white?"
"'Sent to the next dimension' means to kill them. You both say 'next dimension' because I'm too young or something along those lines. And your hair is white because. . . Well, you've always had white hair from the day I was born," she stated as she dragged Usagi into a children's clothing store.
"That's so strange. Sounds like Queen Serenity," she said, looking around at the clothes blankly.
"You are Queen Serenity, baka," Koneko muttered as she picked out a blue skirt and a matching blue tank top from the rack and head toward the dressing rooms.
"I meant my mother, Kone--what's your real name?"
"My real name." It wasn't a question. Koneko stopped and turned partially toward Usagi. "Princess Small Lady Serenity."
"I thought so. What were you doing when you came here?"
"So then why did you come here, kitten?"
"I don't know. One moment I'm at home, and the next Pluto's telling me to transform, and she sends me here," she said as she closed the door to the dressing room.
"Your time's Pluto or this Pluto?"
"There's only one Pluto I know of, Mama," Koneko informed her.
"Nevermind. Bad question. When did you come from?"
"The end of the thirtieth century."
"That does make sense, I suppose. Why do you live on the Moon?"
"Because you're the ruler of the Moon," Koneko answered as she walked out of the dressing room wearing the outfit she'd picked out. She took the tags off and gave them to the salesperson along with Haruka's credit card. Then she turned around and seemed to stare through Usagi. "Papa and most of the Inners say you were a baka before the cleansing. Are they right?"
"I don't know. Do I act like a baka?" And should I find a way to get Vegita back for that? she continued in her thoughts.
"I'm not really sure, yet."
"Thanks, I think. Where did you get the nickname Koneko anyway?"
"Papa said he heard Haruka saying it a lot, and he thought, at the time, she was talking about me. It turned out she was talking about you, and Papa got angry. Somehow he convinced Michiru that Haruka had dumped her and found herself a man. To make matters worse, Michiru thought it was Rei's husband. They all got into a huge fight, and they all ended up in the med lab. Michiru and Haruka made up quickly, or so I was told. Papa had to find his own food for a whole month. And that's the story, but I really don't understand why Michiru and Haruka had to have a private corner of the med lab. If they were all close together, they could have talked to each other," she finished quickly, taking the credit card from the sales lady and starting for another store.
"Who's Rei's husband?"
"Mamoru." She dragged Usagi into a toy store.
"Mamo-ch--" She paused. "Where did you get a credit card?"
"Where else? From Haruka. She's the richest. I'm sure it won't even put a dent in her bank account."
"I take it you do this sort of thing often?"
"Not really. On the Moon, I get whatever I want. Here I have to fight for it."
"Oh." She was silent for a moment. "Tell me about the wedding. It must have been interesting for Vegita-sama to remember it."
"Papa said he loved the wedding night, which is the same
thing, right? Anyway, he said that he started out slowly, and by
the end of the night, everything was fast and wet. Papa said you
two were exercising because you both ate too much cake." [A.N.:
Usagi was blood red. "Really?" she gulped. "I think someone needs to explain to Vegita when to keep his bakana mouth shut."
"Why? He didn't say anything bad, did he?" she questionned.
"Never mind. I need to learn when to keep my own bakana mouth shut."
"I know you're not married to Papa yet, but I was wondering why you two exercise all night long and into the next morning? I mean, there's nothing you could really do in your bedroom for that long," Koneko asked as she walked out of the toy store.
If it was possible, Usagi went even redder, blushing all the way to the roots of her hair. Vegita is dead! she thought to herself. "Are Lina and Gokou still there?"
"They're still there, I think. Lina is anyway. Now, is Gokou the one Papa calls Kakaroto?"
"Umm. . . hai."
"Yeah, he's still there. He's the protector of the earth, and so is Lina, but Lina is a bit violent. All right, she's downright evil. After the cleansing, she went insane and killed Amelia and Gourry. Zelgadis was lucky he wasn't quite human. You had to heal her, but she blamed you for Amelia's and Gourry's deaths. Zelgadis and Lina sort of became a couple until Zelgadis came down with some sort of a cold and died. Gohan and Uncle Kakaroto found a nice woman to take them in. A year later, Gohan had a little brother. I don't really know too much more, except that Lina comes to the Moon often and tries to kill you. You always send her back to the earth. Papa says you can't change them or be blamed for what happened. He also says he should put the poor woman out of her misery," Koneko said as she headed toward the closest cafe.
"Lina killed Gourry? Masaka. . . Gokou got remarried? To who?"
"Some woman who looks a lot like some woman called ChiChi. Uncle Kakaroto goes on and on about her," she muttered as she sat down at the closest table and picked up a menu.
"That makes sense," Usagi commented again, sitting down across from the girl and seizing a menu for herself. "He does the same thing here sometimes." Ramen, definitely ramen. "Do you like it there?"
"Of course. It's the only place I've ever lived until now," Koneko replied. She quickly told the waiter her order.
Usagi placed her order as well then continued. "Ne, Koneko-chan, are you going to tell all this to Vegita?"
"Why not?" she asked as she watched the waiter walk away. "If Papa asks, I'll tell."
"Just don't tell Rei-chan or Mako-chan any of it. They don't really seem to like Vegita that much, and we wouldn't want to get him in worse trouble, would we?"
"I know about Rei and Makoto. They didn't even go to the wedding, from what I heard. They even tried to throw Papa through the Time Gate, but Pluto got there before they got thrown into it. Makoto and Papa get along now. Rei, she's an entirely different story," Koneko said. The food arrived, and the pair stared eating.
"Yeah. I know Rei-chan's temper. I don't think Luna or Artemis like him much either," she continued almost to herself between huge mouthfuls. "In fact, I think only the Outers like him."
"Mama, I know you like him. If you didn't, you wouldn't have married him. Besides, Ami and Minako like him, but they won't admit it," answered the little girl as she stuffed the food quickly down her mouth and ordered seconds.
Usagi promptly followed suit, ordering another large serving as well. "I guess I still like him, but I think I'm going to have to find a way to hurt him."
"Papa says you hurt him a lot. Something about playing with him until he can barely stand it. He told Uncle Kakaroto once that the games you play are worse than Kakaroto defeating him. It's not nice to play those kinds of games," Koneko replied just before her next serving of food went down her mouth. [A.N.: T.M.I.]
Usagi choked on the noodles. "W-well, I need some other way to hurt him in the meantime. Do you always listen in when Vegita's talking to Kaka--Gokou, or just when he's--?" She stopped, remembering she was talking to an eight-year-old before going on with the "being a hentai" part.
"I always listen to Papa and Uncle Kakaroto. They have interesting stories. One was about Rei and Mamoru and how long they could do it and how many positions they could do it in. Mamoru joined in the group and in details told them how to play pony," Koneko stated, as she finished her drink. "Mama, how many ways can you play pony?" [A.N.: T.M.I.!]
Usagi's face went an interesting shad of maroon, and she spit out the ramen. "Koneko-chan. . .," she floundered. I think I need to find a way to hurt all three of them, she thought, right after I get Mamo-chan back. "Does your mother know about all this?"
"Of course you do, Mama," Koneko answered, trying to get the waiter's attention.
Usagi whistled at the waiter. "And what do I--does she--think about these conversations?"
"Papa gets in trouble, and so does Uncle Kakaroto. Mamoru never gets in trouble. Well, let me take that back. He got in trouble with Michiru and Haruka when he asked Papa how they do it. Haruka was standing behind me when he said it. She told me to go inside, saying a lady should see what was about to happen. I ran off and found a good hiding spot. Haruka hit him across the face and said something about Vegita coming to save Usagi from a horrible mistake. She hit him across the stomach then and walked off. I have never seen Haruka so mad before," Koneko said. She gave the waiter Haruka's credit card.
"Keep charging up her credit card, and you might see it again," Usagi muttered. "How did Mamo-ch--Mamoru die anyway?"
"He died saving you," she replied as she got the credit card back. "And Haruka might get angry, but not that angry."
"Usagi shrugged then winced again. "Saving me," she mused. "Some things never change, I suppose. You wouldn't happen to know where he is now, would you?"
"No, not really. He never talked about the dark time much. All I really know is he came back about ten or eleven months after the cleansing, and he was really bad off," Koneko replied as she grabbed Usagi's arm again and dragged her toward another children's clothing store.
"More shopping?" Do I dare suggest she try some of--No. Not all of ChibiUsa's clothes are skirts, and she'd need some place to put that tail of hers. "Don't you ever slow down, Koneko-chan?"
"I'm going rather slow, Mama," she informed her as she headed for the children's corner. She immediately found two skirts she like both were blue, one a bit darker than the other with lace at the bottom. One even had pockets in the back. Net she grabbed a handful of blue and black tank tops and one black skirt, then she tried on several pairs of boots. Two were black, and one was pale blue; she ended up getting all three. Haruka's credit card bill was getting bigger by the minute. As Koneko started to walk out of the store, she found herself staring at a star-shaped locket. Soon that too was added to the bill. "See, all in under five minutes."
"Koneko-chan. . . Haruka-san's going to kill me, and Michiru-san'll probably help her do it!"
"No, they won't. You're their queen. Do you want to buy anything?"
"Iie. I'd better not. I think you're getting enough. Besides, I'm saving up for my own apartment, so I don't have to live with my family or Rei-chan or the Outers."
"Why? You live with them on the Moon. Wait; I got that mixed up. They live with you and Papa."
"Well, if I'm going to have to live with them later, why would I want to live with them now? Besides, a place is a lot bigger than the temple--and certainly a lot bigger than my parents' house."
"Well, the cleansing will start in about four or five years, and then you'll be all alone for about a thousand years. Why would you want to spend what little time you have left alone?" Koneko wondered aloud as she head toward the exit. "I wish Hotaru were here."
"Would you settle for Haruka-san and Michiru-san?"
Usagi pointed. "Because they're right over there."
Lina looked around the living room. It certainly seemed empty. "Usagi?"
Blonde hair appeared over the back of the couch. "No, it's the Easter Bunny." She collapsed again, disappearing with a soft moan.
Lina cautiously stepped around the couch and sat in the chair next to it. "You look like you've been run ragged, Usagi," she commented.
Usagi moved her arm off her eyes and stared at the sorceress. "Shopped ragged, you mean. And I'm still trying to find Vegita; there's a few things I want to discuss with him."
"Like the fact he thinks I'm a baka, for starters. And I spent an entire afternoon getting graphic details from an eight-year-old about the kind of marriage--and wedding night--we would have. And--"
"I don't think I want to know anymore. What are you going to do when you find him?"
"Tear off certain vital parts and feed them to Gokou," Usagi stated, dark promises in her eyes. "Ano... Lina..., if you're still here after this huge crisis that's coming," she paused, sitting up stiffly, "promise me you won't go crazy or absorb any dark energy or kill anyone you might regret killing later, okay?"
"Is that what happens?"
Usagi nodded grimly. "In this possible timeline. I think we can change it, though, but I'd still like a promise."
"I promise. How can we change the future, Usagi?" she asked, leaning forward.
Usagi leaned closer as well until their noses were almost touching. "We save Mamo-chan."
Lina was silent for a moment as she thought this over. "It just might work. Do you have any idea how to go about doing it?"
She nodded. "Hai. Ask Pluto. She should know."
Lina nodded in agreement. It did make sense, even if it was the simplest plan she'd ever heard. "What about Koneko?"
"She said she was going to find Vegita," Usagi answered, grinning devilishly. "I can't wait to find out everything she's going to tell him."
Koneko sat in a tree, swinging her legs back and forth. Her father and Kakaroto were fighting, again. She moved her attention from the fight to Gohan. He was on the opposite side of the battle field. Sighing, Koneko wished she knew a bit more about Gohan than she did. Most of the information she had was from the one time she'd visited him on earth. Of course, her mother and father had no idea she'd gone there, and she'd had her mother's Sailor Senshi running around in circles. She'd convinced Rei that her mother had punished her too harshly. Then she'd asked Hotaru to tell the Outers that she was tired of being treated like a child. The Inner Senshi, from what Hotaru had told her, spend the entire day searching for her, while the Outers spent the entire day looking for Hotaru. No one had even noticed that she had left the Moon.
Earth was very different in this time, Koneko mused as the fight stopped when Kakaroto announced that he was hungry. It had only been a couple of hours since she ate with her mother, but she was still hungry. She smiled to herself as she attached herself to her father's back, knowing she was making him angry. Kakaroto told Vegita to calm down. She knew exactly what buttons to push and when to push them.
She was quite pleased with her mother's reactions earlier today. It'd taken all her self-control not to laugh. Hotaru was right; correctly placed words could cause strange reactions in people. She wondered what Vegita would do if she did the same thing to him. She quickly dimissed that idea. If Pluto heard any of her stories, she and Hotaru would be in big trouble when she went back.
"I wonder where the kitchen is," Gokou muttered.
"Kakaroto," hissed Vegita, "we've been here over a week, and you still don't know where the damn kitchen is?"
"I can't smell it."
"That's because the Senshi are too busy to be cooking," Koneko interrupted before they started fighting in the hall. "Let's go out to eat. There's a cafe I know of just a few blacks from here."
"Who's going to pay?" Gohan asked, stopping both his father and Vegita.
"I will," she replied as she pulled out Michiru's credit card. "Come on."
They followed her to the cafe, Vegita fuming the entire trip. Koneko only caught a few sentences of her father's muttering. It had something to do with a freezer, annoying little brats, and a Super Saiyajin; she hoped he wasn't talking about her. Her father's tone suggested he wanted to kill them all. Quickly she turned away from him and found the furthest seat away from him, just in case. As it turned out, she found herself across the table from him.
"Welcome to Corner Cafe. I will be pleased to take your order," their waitor stated. "What would you like?"
"I want a number two with hot tea," Koneko ordered as she put down the menu.
"A very good choice, young lady, but could you eat all that?" he asked.
"I guess you're right. Make it two number twos, then."
"Wait! Don't you think that's a little too much for a little girl?"
"I'm not a little girl," Koneko said as she looked over at Gokou.
"I would like three number twos, two number fives, and five number sixes. I'll have coffee to drink." The waitor's eyes bulged.
"I want the same," Gohan quickly put in, "except I want tea."
"You might as well give me the same," Vegita stated as he threw the menu at the shocked waitor. "Hurry up, will you? I don't have all day."
"Yes, sir," the waitor quickly said as Vegita tossed an energy ball up and down several times.
The waitor returned ten minutes later, balancing several plates. There were at least five more waitors behind him, also carrying their food. As the waitor quickly set down the food, Vegita threw the energy ball behind. The waitor dropped the rest of the food and fell backwards into everyone else. Everyone dropped. Behind Vegita was a loud explosion as a gas station burst into flames. Gohan immediately left the table to help people get away from the fire.
"Papa! Are you crazy? You could have killed us!" Koneko yelled as she stood up. Sighing, she watched as Gokou took care of the fire and her father just sat there.
"Vegita," Gokou called out, "you could have killed someone!"
"Well, I didn't."
"Papa," Koneko said as she picked up the only thing left standing on the table: her tea. Quickly, before Vegita could react, she swung the hot liquid in her father's face. "You ruined our lunch."
Without another word, she flew as fast as she could away from the others. Normally, she enjoyed her father's unpredictable attacks of violence, but she decided, she must be getting homesick. She missed her friends and the parents that knew her.
After a couple of minutes, she landed in what remained of a park. She found the only tree left standing and sat down against it. She like her own time much better than this one. Maybe, she wondered, she could ask Pluto to send her home. Home to her parents and home to her Gohan. She smiled, remembering the first time she met him...
Usagi frowned as she listened to Pluto's plan. "What about Koneko?" she asked softly as soon as the older Senshi was finished explaining.
"I knew you liked her better," Rei muttered.
"Iie, Rei-chan. I don't like one better than the other. I'm just worried about canceling out her existance when we do this."
Setsuna frowned. "The only way that won't happen is if we leave the Prince where he is, Princess."
"I promised ChibiUsa I would rescue him, so I've got to do it." She sighed sadly. "Setsuna-san, can I speak to you alone?"
"Of course, Princess." The pair quietly stepped outside and sat down on the steps. "What's bothering you, Usagi-chan?"
"Setsuna-san, I know so much about my life in Crystal Tokyo. All this is changing that though, right?"
"Yes, it is."
"Koneko-chan told me about her time, and I'm not sure I don't like the sound of it better."
"What has she told you, Princess?"
"Nothing that will cause any great effects on her timeline," Usagi replied with a smile, staring at the ground. "Just some little stuff."
"Hentai-type stuff Vegita--um, Mirai Vegita--let slip around her, like our wedding night. That he thinks I'm a baka and so do most of the Inners." She sighed. "And I've with Mamo-chan all these years, and he's rarely told me he loves me."
"She told you all that?"
"I think she was trying to shock me. She did a good job of it. I think it's like how ChibiUsa always acted... acts like a brat..." She trailed off, unable to speak and not cry at the same time.
"Princess," Setsuna said softly, "maybe you should come--"
"Iie. I'm going with you tomorrow. I'll see you right after first light. Gomen, Setsuna-san. I think I need to be alone."
She was remembering...
Gohan was around eighteen when she first met him. Koneko was just turning six. She had the Sailor babysitters running around the Moon like crazy. No one had any idea she was on Earth. Of course, there would be hell to pay when she returned.
She spotted Gohan sitting outside, reading a book. Inside the house, Koneko could see the woman Kakaroto had married and Kakaroto himself. Her Papa had told her many things about him. He told her once that Kakaroto was the protector of the earth and that he ate anyone he deemed a threat. Papa, she remembered, had stressed that he also ate little girls. She knew better than to believe all that. Besides, Kakaroto was a good guy, like her.
As she spied on Gohan through the bushes, she wondered what he would think of her. He looked so serious as he slowly turned the pages. She wondered what he would do if she decided to blast the book to hell. Books, like the one Gohan was reading, were evil. They possessed the mind of anyone stupid enough to read what was in them. Quickly she glanced at her wristwatch, something she'd found in an old glass case, and realized how late it was. Her father was going to kill her.
When she looked up, she found Gohan face-to-face with her. Letting out a sharp cry, she fell backwards. Gohan smiled at her. "Are you all right, Koneko?" he asked as he held out his hand.
"How do you know me?" she demanded, rising to her feet on her own. Her eyes narrowed slightly, and she smirked. Of course, Kakaroto must have told him about her, she decided.
"You haven't gone to the past yet." It was a statement, and she wondered what the hell he was talking about. "You do look younger than I remembered."
"The past? What do you mean?" she demanded.
"You don't know?" He sounded shocked.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she hissed.
"You smirk just like your father."
"What? You know my father? But he has never come to earth."
"You really don't know much about your father, do you?"
"I know enough."
"Koneko. You've gotten shorter." The voice came from behind her. Suddenly she was being picked up by Kakaroto. All the awful things her father had ever muttered about Kakaroto immediately came to mind. She tried to escape his grip and failed. "You look just like your mother and father."
"Put me down," Koneko demanded.
He immediately released her. If Koenko didn't know how to fly, she would hav hit the ground. It's a wonder Gohan's still alive, she thought to herself as she landed on her feet.
"Father," Gohan stated, "I think Mia wants you."
"I think you're right," he agreed. He disappeared and reappeared next to his wife. Koneko watched as the woman leaned against him and wrapped her arms around him. She'd seen Mama do that to Papa sometimes. "Be careful, Koneko. I've lost track of Lina."
"Who's Lina?" Koneko asked Gohan.
"You don't know?" Again, she heard the shock in his voice. She tried to give him her father's angry look. When he started laughing, she knew she had failed. "Lina is a very powerful, very angry sorceress. She has something against your mother."
"Oh, you mean the crazy lady that killed her friends. Did she really kill her boyfriend too? Everyone talks about it like it's a myth."
"It's real," Gohan replied.
"That's funny. Maybe I can find her," Koneko muttered to herself.
"Are you crazy? Lina would kill you!"
"Maybe or maybe not." Koneko rose into the air, wondering where Lina was. Suddenly Gohan grabbed her around the waist.
"I'm not letting you do something that stupid. Besides, Vegita would kill me if I allowed you to go."
"No, he wouldn't. He doesn't even know I'm here. So he can't kill you." Koneko smiled. "Besides, Papa's not that bad. The worst he would do is throw you in the gravity room at six hundred times normal gravity and leave you there for several hours."
Gohan's face turned white. "Don't want to try that," he commented dryly.
"You're no fun," Koneko muttered as Gohan released her. She landed on the ground again. "So, how do you like your new mom?"
"She's not my mom," he stated. "She's Mia."
"Oh. So how do you like Mia?"
"She's all right, I guess."
"You miss your real mom," she stated softly. "What was she like?"
"I don't want to talk about it," answered Gohan.
"Oh, I see," Koneko muttered. "My mom never has any time for me. She's too busy, and when she's not, she spends that time with Papa. Everyone's too busy to play with me. That's how I escaped the Moon; no one was paying attention to what I was doing."
"If I ever get married," he began, "I'll spend as much time with my children as I can."
"What do you mean 'if'? Shouldn't it be 'when'?"
"I don't know if anyone will marry me," Gohan answered, glancing at the house.
"If no one else will marry you, I will. I think I will make a good wife, don't you think?"
"Yeah, Koneko. You'll make a good wife," Gohan laughed.
"You don't believe me?" She tried her best hurt look.
"I believe you."
"Then say you'll marry me," she demanded.
"If I never find someone to marry, I'll marry you. Are you happy?"
"Promise," she insisted.
"All right, I promise."
"Good," Koneko had replied. At that moment, she felt someone behind her.
As she turned ready to attack, her father held out his hand and shouted, "Big Bang Attack!"
Koneko jolted out of her sleep and sat straight up. The loud explosion was too close to be from the gas station her father destroyed. There was another explosion, and the people, those few who would be in a destroyed park, ran as fast as they could. Then she noticed the car pile. The car at the beginning of the pile-up had been blown up. Then she saw Vegita. The father she'd grown up with wasn't so destructive; she liked this Vegita better than her real father in that respect. She wondered what happened and if it could be changed. When he reached her, he sat down next to her. She smirked slightly. Her father had come to seek her out. That was good.
"You look a thousand miles away," he commented.
"More like a thousand years away," Koneko corrected and then blushed. She didn't like to recall what happened after her father attack Gohan.
"So, brat, when are you going home?"
"I hope not soon. I like it here," Koneko softly replied, suddenly tired. "What was it like on your world? You never really talk about it."
"What do you want to know?" he asked, avoiding eye contact.
"Tell me about fighting. Did you ever fight other people?"
Koneko came up with a thousand or so questions, and by the end of the day, Vegita had answered all of them. After a couple of hours, she had convinced him to fight with her. They didn't return to the mansion until dawn.
"I feel really bad about this," Sailor Moon moaned. "Shouldn't we have at least told them?" Gohan nodded apparently agreeing with her.
"We should have at least told them," he put in.
Sailor Moon looked around her hesitantly. Their entire group seemed to have split into subgroups of surprising memberships: Amelia, Gokou, and the Inner Senshi, even Mars, were steadfast in the idea of immediately rescuing Mamoru; the Starlights, the Outer Senshi, Gourry, and Lina were resolute not to further upset the timeline, although Gourry seemed to just be agreeing with Lina; Zelgadis was silent as to his opinions, as were the cats; and she and Gohan were undecided. And they hadn't even told Vegita and Koneko where they were, even to the point they had slipped over to the temple's remains while the pair were out.
"I feel horrible about this," she whispered. "I know something bad's going to happen; I know it."
"You just don't want to go," Mars accused.
"Princess," offered Pluto, "maybe you shouldn't go."
She closed her eyes for a brief moment. "No, I think I need to go." She stood resolutely. "And if we stay any longer, they'll catch up with us." She glanced down. "Artemis, Luna, wait here for us. It shouldn't be too long."
"Be careful, Usagi-chan," murmured Luna.
"I will, Luna. Minna, let's go."
One by one, the Sailor Senshi joined hands, each one of them beginning to glow a different color as they began to summon their powers. The sheer amount of power was comparable to nothing the others had seen them do before.
Then, in a bright flash of light, the temple faded, only to be replaced by a dank-looking cave. "Why do these things always choose caves?" Lina complained.
"'Always'?" Usagi repeated, then she shivered as the word echoed in the darkness. When she spoke again, she whispered. "Do all these bakemonos live in caves, Lina?"
"A lot of them do," Zelgadis answered. "It shouldn't be too hard to find him down here."
"A location spell, Mr. Zelgadis?" Amelia asked softly. She apparently wasn't too fond of the echo either.
It didn't seem to bother Lina in the least. "Of course, Amelia. But first. . ., Lightning!" A small ball of light formed and floated above Lina, illuminating the immediate area. Sailor Moon breathed a small sigh of relief. Lina stepped closer to the winged woman and asked softly, "What?" The entire group followed the pair as they moved deeper into the cave.
"Nothing. I just thought it might be horrible, but it's really not that much worse than what Galaxia did to Tokyo."
"Remind me to ask you all about Galaxia after this is over."
Usagi smiled. "Only if you tell me how you know so much about monsters."
"Deal." Lina winked and grinned. "While I'm at it, I may tell you why they call me the natural enemy of--"
Usagi hit her side, and they both fell to the cold ground. A second later, a white beam streamed through the place Lina had just stood. Eyes wide, the sorceress stared at her in wonder. "Wha-- How did you know?"
Sailor Moon tapped her goggles briefly then sat up and considered the readings she was getting. "Whatever it is, it's powerful," she finally stated. "I can't tell where it is, though. Gokou, Gohan-kun, can you tell anything?"
Gokou shook his head mutely. "It's like it's all around us," continued Gohan. "I can't really pinpoint anything."
"Whatever it is," Neptune interrupted, "it's all around us." Uranus nodded, and the pair, along with the other two Outer Senshi, started forward once more. Lina and Sailor Moon climbed to their feet and followed silently, each wrapped in their own thoughts. Lina was still wondering how she, Lina Inverse, sorceress supreme, had been caught off guard so easily. Sailor Moon's thoughts were a bit deeper: the battle ahead of them, what would happen to Koneko, ChibiUsa, Vegita, and Mamoru. With an inward sigh, she set aside all thoughts except for the fight she knew was coming.
Koneko knew something was wrong the moment she woke up. The mansion was strangely empty. She took a good fifteen minutes looking through all the rooms in the hall she was staying in. They were all empty. Where did everyone go? And why did would they leave her father and herself here? Both of them were good fighters. Unless. . .
Unless, Koneko decided, they were doing something they didn't want them to know about. And the only thing Koneko could think of was Mamoru. If they found him, she would. . .
"Papa!!!" Koneko screamed as loudly as she could.
Vegita came out of the closest room to her, wearing loose black pants. He looked like she'd just woken him up. They had just gotten back less than two hours ago, and they'd gotten even less sleep. His eyes narrowed slightly as he stared at her. The glare, which could normally cause his enemies to back away, had no effect on the girl. Strange. It hadn't worked too well on Usagi, either. She smiled sweetly at him. "What do you want, brat?"
"They're gone. They all left," Koneko announced. "Let's go after them."
"And how are we going to find them?" he inquired as he turned back towards his bedroom.
"Find their ki. I know you can do it," Koneko started. Vegita slowly turned around and looked at the child, his daughter. All she was wearing was a knee-length that belonged to Haruka. She had forgotten to buy night clothes when she'd gone shopping with Usagi, her mother. Her smile grew bigger. "Can't lie about it, Papa. You always used that trick to find me."
"Fine. Get dressed, and meet me out here," Vegita hissed as he went back into his room and slammed the door closed.
He got out of his pants [A.N.: Yum!!!] and went to take a quick shower. When he got out, he found Koneko dressed in her sailor outfit, sitting quietly on the bed. Quickly he grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist.
"I'm ready," she announced.
"Didn't I tell you to wait outside?"
"Hurry up, Papa. Mama's doing something she really doesn't want to do."
"And what is that?" he questioned as started getting dressed in the bathroom.
"She's trying to kill me."
They turned another corner--and froze. Usagi's eyes widened as she took in the numbers, pulling off the goggles, awestruck. There had to be hundreds of these creatures, maybe thousands. Half of them were only slightly bigger than Gokou; the other half were twice again as tall as he was. Some were humanoid; others bore no resemblance to anything Usagi had seen before in all her eighteen years. No youma ever looked like most of these creatures.
Very faintly she could here Gohan muttering something under his breath. "Nande, Gohan-kun?" she whispered, backing a step closer to him.
"This place, it's too small to fight in. If we let off any big attacks, the whole thing could collapse."
The implications of what he said sunk in quickly. "It was a trap, to lure us here, where we'd be easy to kil," she breathed. "And we fell in it so easily."
We're going to die! her mind screamed. This was all my idea; it's all my fault! I'm killing us all! Vegita, Koneko, please don't come here!
As one, the creatures moved forward, and all the fighters all prepared for the battle.
"Fireball!" Zelgadis and Lina called out at the same time.
The monsters they'd been aiming at were destroyed but were quickly replaced. Someone screamed in pain. "Amelia!" Zelgadis was at her side in seconds.
"I'm all right, Mr. Zelgadis," she assured him, but she was holding her arm tightly.
Mercury and Venus were fairing slightly worse than the small sorceress. Mercury's leg was broken, yet she kept to her job of analyzing them for weaknesses, while Neptune and Uranus found hard to cover her place in the battle. Venus, on the other hand, was glad all her attacks required only one hand, although she was having to modify them to accommodate a right arm that hung limply at her side, utterly refusing to work.
"Take out the leaders," a voice in the darkness behind the monsters ordered.
"The leaders?" Venus repeated, confused. She looked at the group before her, trying to puzzle it out. Then, in a moment of sudden clarity, it hit her: Sailor Moon, Gokou, and Lina, the so-to-say leaders of each dimension. She opened her mouth to scream a warning, turning to where she knew her princess was, in time to see a creature easily three times the winged woman's size backhand her viciously. She flew back and hit a cave wall and bounced off to the floor, unmoving.
Minako shook her head, not wanting to believe what her eyes were telling her. "Usagi!" she screamed, and her voice echoed.
Everything seemed to stop, and all eyes turned to Venus. Running faster than she'd ever managed to do before in high heels, she wound her way past ally and enemy alike to her fallen leader.
Gohan was there before her. "She's just unconscious," he stated. "I'll stay with her."
Her head was beginning to spin. That was her clue that she waking up. She sat up slowly, opening her eyes as she did so, and she looked around.
It hadn't been a dream after all then; they were all real, her new enemies and her new allies. A small shape blurred back and forth before her, making her head hurt worse than it already was. She climbed onto one knee, feeling more than a little sick, and suddenly Gohan stopped in front of her, already in an attack position.
"Usagi-san," he breathed, rising slightly. "Are you all right?"
"All right" might be pushing it, but she didn't want to tell that to Gohan. Then again, she was a horrible liar. She decided on a brief nod of her head and ignoring the wave of nausea that action brought.
"If you need me for anything, Usagi-san, call me, okay?"
She nodded again, and he disappeared, only to reappear at his father's side. None of these creatures seemed to be taking the young boy very seriously, and that was the downfall of the ones he faced.
No one seemed to be noticing the fact she was moving limitedly, so she took advantage of this and examined her surroundings. The cave was maybe thirty feet high and about the same width. She couldn't see too far, but she thought she saw something glowing in the back. Within the light it let off, she could faintly see a figure, a man.
Mamoru. . .
Lina had her hands full. She knew something was coming at her back, but she had two monsters attacking her from the front. A Fireball quickly eliminated one; the other was killed just as easily. Quickly she turned and found the other monster almost on top of her.
A small flash of white blinded her for a few moments. When she could see again, the monster was gone, only to be replaced by a very angry Koneko. The young girl looked like she was going to give Lina a yelling, but another monster go in her way. Soon, both of them were fighting again, and yelling was forgotten.
Sailor Moon noticed Koneko's arrival, but she couldn't see Vegita anywhere. Like she had time to look now. Everytime she got a chance to, she found herself face-to-face with another monster. They were easy to defeat; it was just the sheer overwhelming number of them. For every one she killed, two more too its place.
Soon she found herself completely surrounded by the enemy. The others were too caught up in their own fights to notice how badly she was outnumbered, and as far as she could tell, Gohan was down and not moving, Koneko covering him, placing neat holes in any creature that got too close. She felt proud, in a very savage way.
Suddenly, she felt someone's arm wrap around her waist and lift her off the cave floor. A yellowish light destroyed half the monsters that had been attacking her.
"You're too slow," Vegita whispered, tauntingly, close to her ear. She glared over her shoulder at him and almost retorted, when something flew towards them. Never releasing her, he rolled out of its way. The ceiling exploded near where they had just been. "You picked a damn poor place for a battle," he commented as he set her down.
She glared at him as best she could. "I didn't pick it. Why're you here?"
He didn't answer, opting instead to continue the fight.
Rei turned to check on her leader's condition. Sailor Moon and Vegita were fighting back to back, like they had been doing this forever.
There was something beyond them, a light glowing brightly, and there was something inside it. "Mamoru-san," she whispered. She stood resolutely and called out, "Mars Flame Sniper!"
The attack flew right between Usagi's and Vegita's back; both turned to glare at her; and hit the light surrounding the man. "What the hell are you doing?" Vegita yelled.
Mars didn't answer, keeping her eyes on the glow instead. The arrow hit it, it expanded briefly, but then it came quickly back into its original shape. And then the light seemed to spit the arrow back out, sending it back at her, on a direct course that would again take it between Vegita and Usagi.
A second before it would have reached them, Vegita suddenly pulled Usagi close to him and moved back a few feet. The arrow moved past where they had just stood and continued on its path to the senshi of fire.
She too jumped out its way, but she couldn't even compare to Vegita speedwise. The arrow missed her almost completely, clipping her ankle, but hitting the wall behind her hard. The entire cave began to shake then, a huge piece at the time, fall.
Sailor Moon coughed, tasting nothing but dirt and grit in her mouth. Her already pounding head protested that simple action, but she pushed the pain aside for the moment and tried to organize her thoughts. She attempted to move, but that seemed to be impossible. She coughed again.
The weight suddenly rolled off her and groaned ever so slightly. "Vegita?" she whispered.
"I'm fine," he answered before she could even ask if he was all right.
"Koneko," she called out next as loudly as she dared, "daijoubu ka?"
"Hai, Mama." As the dust began to clear, she was able to see her daughter, still near Gohan. It was questionable who had protected whom when the collapse came.
"What?" a deep gravelly voice complained from the darkness on the other end of the cave. "None of them were crushed? And I thought it might have at least taken out two of them." A pair of red glittering eyes appeared in that blackness, but nothing else was visible. "Time for a new strategy, I suppose."
As one, the creatures began to move together, seemingly merging into one single monster. Each of the warriors got to their feet, Mars only with a bit of help from Amelia. None of them were doing very well. For the most part, it looked like a strong breeze would knock them all over.
"We've thrown all we have at them," Amelia whimpered. "What else can we try?"
Usagi stood perfectly still for just a second then raised a trembling hand to the locket on her chest. "Minna," she said softly, "I have an idea."
"Are you out of what little remains of your mind?" Mars shrieked after Sailor Moon had finished explaining her plan.
"It'll work," she stated simply in response.
"Of course it'll work, but it's sure suicide!"
"We can't do it, Usagi," Lina continued.
"It will work, and it's all we have left if any of us are going to get out alive."
Setsuna sighed, and all attention shifted to her. "Unfortunately, it seems she's correct. Nothing else has worked, and we have very little power left separately. But together. . . together, we might just stand a chance. I stand behind you, Princess."
"For the record," Zelgadis put in, "I dislike this, but I agree."
"I really don't like this, odango," StarFighter stated, "but I'll go along with it."
Usagi stilled, changing forms into Princess Serenity, and waited, an all too peaceful expression on her face. Both hands were extended before her, and the Moon Crystal formed. "I'm ready," she whispered.
Lina's eyes dropped, and she couldn't even look at Usagi as she listened to each attack being called out and as she recited the words to the Dragon Slave. She paused near the end of it and whispered, "Gomen, Usagi. I can't do this."
Serenity looked over her shoulder, ignoring everyone else, and her hard blue eyes locked on Lina's red ones. "Don't you dare back down now, Lina-chan. I'm counting on the Dragon Slave to stop all these bakemonos." Her eyes turned sad. "Onegai, don't let me down, Lina-chan."
By the power you and I possess!"
She closed her eyes before calling out the last two words, "Dragon Slave!"
Serenity jolted as the full-powered blood-colored energy hit her, knocking her a few steps forward. Absorbing it afterwards was not a problem; the Moon Crystal seemed to be eagerly drinking in all this power then, just as eagerly, sending it against the creatures before; the Crystal seemed to be stronger than it ever had before.
Princess Serenity closed her eyes. This fight had lasted too long as it was; the energy coming into the Crystal wasn't going to be nearly enough. With a mental sigh, she offered up what remained of her power; the concussion she could now clearly see with her mind's eyes screamed in protest; and when that began to fail, she released the strength of her soul, her true power. "Onegai," she prayed brokenly.
A faint aura began to encircle the woman dressed in white, suddenly forming an opaque ball around her. A moment later, it exploded, replacing the princess with a new woman. The one wore a dress similar to Neo Queen Serenity's, but instead of the faery wings-like bow, she had her angel wings. Her hair was solid white and streamed out behind her nearly double the length of her body.
"Queen Serenity-sama," Pluto breathed. The timelines were beginning to settle into place. Too much longer, and there would be no bringing back of their original timeline or ChibiUsa. She also couldn't help wondering if the princess had known what she was doing when she chose this form. It was true that this Queen Serenity was much more powerful than Princess Serenity or even Neo Queen Serenity, but the consequences of using her could be dire.
Koneko stared at the woman before her in silence, at her new form. It was her mother, the way she was in her time. Her eyes narrowed, wondering what Usagi was up to. She'd better not get herself killed, Koneko mused, knowing that if her mother died, she wouldn't exist.
"Get out of the way, Koneko!" a voice screamed out. She didn't even turn towards it. It bothered her that her mother was using that form. In her time, that form wasn't used until after the Moon Kingdom was rebuilt. "Chibi Tail!"
Koneko suddenly turned just as Gokou quickly grabbed her just before the ground she'd been standing on exploded. When Gokou set her down, she turned and stared up at him. What the hell is going on here? she wondered. First her mother's true form appears, and then Uncle Kakaroto starts calling her by that evil pet name he'd called her since she had been born in her time. Quickly she turned her attention to the fight, looking for Pluto. She would get an answer out of her.
Serenity's blue eyes opened, and she took a quick stock of her surroundings. Cave, dark, allies behind her, enemies in front of her. Darting another glance behind her, she located her daughter. She seemed to be okay: a little dusty, a few bruises, and very angry, but definitely all right. She'd have to deal with her daughter later; the first matter she had to deal with were these enemies. She heard a small noise behind her and turned once more, this time to see Koneko whispering to Pluto. Serenity smiled, shaking her head as she turned back to face her enemies, and sighed, "Small Lady. How are you always so much trouble, kitten?" Wisely enough, Koneko didn't answer.
The Queen of the Moon Kingdom shifted her attention before her. These creatures were continuously merging into one being, then there was the master of them all in the dark background, and then there was Mamoru behind all of them. This could be tricky.
The Moon Crystal reappeared before her, and she smiled fondly at it. "One more time, old friend." Even her voice sounded different to the Sailor Senshi as all of them but Pluto stared at her in nothing less than dumb-founded shock. "Ima! Hayukuu, minna!"
She raised the Crystal before her, and the energy began to pour off it in waves. One by one, they resumed their attacks, all of them but Koneko, who hung in the group behind her. Serenity hadn't really expected her to help in this anyway. The possibility was too good that she, even as powerful as she was as the Queen of the Moon, could die in this time, and if she died here in this past time, she'd never marry Vegita, and Koneko would never be born; to help her mother fight in this way would be a sure way of killing herself.
"It's not working!" Amelia cried, pouting. Serenity smiled. Strangely enough, she had missed the little sorceress she'd only known for such a short time.
A hand fell on her shoulder, and she whirled to face it, never dropping her attack. The face she saw next, she had seen very recently. Not so very long ago, this woman had tried her best to kill her. "Ne, Serenity," the familiar voice of Lina Inverse stated, "let's finish these bakemonos, okay?"
"Of course, my friend," Serenity responded with a smile; it was good to be with all these people, her friends, to be fighting with Lina instead of against her. Her eyes narrowed as she let the fullest extent of her power fly out of her. Beside her she could hear Lina casting a spell.
"Darkness beyond twilight,
Crismon beyond blood that flows
Buried in the stream of time
Is where your power grows.
I pledge myself to conquer
All the foes who stand
Before the mighty gift bestowed
In my unworthy hands.
Let the fools who stand before me
Be destroyed by the power you and I possess!
"Source of all souls
Which dwell in eternal and infinite
Everlasting flame of blue
Let the power hidden in my soul
Be called forth from the Infinite...
Ra Tilt!" Zelgadis and Amelia called out in one voice.
The strongest spell in in spirit magic, Serenity mused, and two of it at that. The Dragon Slave. Plus Vegita's power, and Kakaroto-kun's and Gohan's power, and all my Sailor Senshi's, plus the power of my Moon Crystal. These creatures will fall!
Finally she saw it. There! With a sudden burst around the combined powers, the merging monsters disintegrated, yet the arch of light continued, piercing the creatures' leader, though not killing it, and shattering the field of light around Mamoru.
Near Sailor Pluto, Koneko shivered. Something wrong was happening here. . .
"How the--" the demon leader sputtered, staring at them all in shock before its wide, pained eyes landed on the two women at the front of the group. "How the hell did you do that? What kind of--"
A white beam cut through the creature, slicing it neatly in half. As it slowly fell to the ground in two perfect pieces, Gourry became visible once more, his Sword of Light still held at ready, in case it decided to get back up. Lina grinned more brilliantly than anyone had ever seen her do and yelled, "Yatta, Gourry! You--"
Whatever else she was going to say was cut off as Serenity collapsed.
"Usagi!" Rei screamed, trying to rush to her fallen leader and falling to the stone ground as well.
When the white-haired woman's body hit the ground, she detransformed, from Queen Serenity of the White Moon Kingdom back to Cosmic Sailor Moon. Her wings vanished, and she slowly drew herself up into a shivering ball. Hurridly, Lina dropped to her knees and tucked her own cape over her before looking up at the group behind them, her eyes settling on the Sailor Senshi. "What's happened to her?" she demanded, red eyes snapping, although she too waas at the point of sheer exhausion.
Unsurprisingly, it was Pluto who answered her. "She brought her own future form across the time barrier to give us the power to end this fight. It used up almost all her life energy."
"Almost all?" Gourry echoed, finally returning the Sword of Light to its sheath.
"If she'd used all of it," explained Saturn, "Koneko wouldn't still be here." A majority of the eyes turned to the small, dark-haired Sailor Senshi who, beside shivering nearly as much as her mother, seemed perfectly all right.
Rei blinked in surprise as Sailor Moon slowly got to her feet, every motion completely silent. The blonde woman's hair seemed a few shades lighter, and her eyes were completely glazed over, almost as if she were sleepwalking. It was obvious Usagi was running on auto-pilot as she took one step after another shaking step towards the man in the far corner of the small cavern. "Usagi," Rei whispered.
Koneko looked up, her eyes following those of Sailor Mars, and her blood froze. No. . . "No, Mother! Don't!" Koneko screamed as she ran towards her mother. Immediately the Sailor Senshi hurried to block her; after all, only Sailor Moon could wake up Tuxedo Kamen. She had just broken past them when Vegita grabbed her, apparently not knowing what was occuring. She twisted, kicked, even bit, trying to escape her father's hold. "Mother, no! Don't kill me!"
Dead blue eyes stared down at the unconscious man below her. Sailor Moon slowly bent down and touched Mamoru; he started awake at her touch, to find her helping him to his feet, yet all but ignoring him. He followed her line of sight. She was staring at an angry-looking little girl with black hair who was dressed in a blue copy of Sailor ChibiMoon's fuku and was being held back by Vegita. The girl was struggling, trying to escape him.
Then suddenly she was gone, disappearing within a sparkle of light, as if her total existance had been cancelled out. Which meant the future had been reshaped in his absence. Usako had . . .
Vegita took a few steps back, fixing Sailor Moon in an accusatory glare, then turned and stomped away to the other end of the cavern, just within the light.
"We did it," Rei whispered, coming closer to the group only with Amelia's help once more.
Usagi was silent. She released Mamoru, forcing him to either stand alone or fall back to the ground, and turned to where Vegita had just been. He was gone, vanished.
She faintly saw a sparkle of light, then ChibiUsa hugged her tightly. Koneko, her mind whispered. That's why he left. Usagi, you. . .
That was the last thing she remembered thinking.
"Usagi-chan?" Lina called out, snapping her fingers before the other woman's face. There was no sign of recognition; her eyes showed that her mind was a million miles away, if it was anywhere at all, if it still existed.
"The little girl was an alternate ChibiUsa?" Mamoru asked Michiru, who merely nodded. Which meant his suspicions had been correct. He turned a glare on the catatonic woman across the room; Lina was the one who returned it.
"You keep glaring at her like that," Lina threatned, "and I'll show you why they call me the natural enemy of all living things." He immediately dropped his gaze to the floor.
"I can't believe she fought with this severe of a concussion!" Ami complained. "It's no wonder she's gone catatonic. It's a miracle she's alive!"
"How long do you think it'll be before she's back to normal?" Lina's eyes sparkled with worry.
"She should be completely healed within a few months, physically at least. In all other respects. . ."
"Tadaima!" Gohan's voice called out from outside the mansion. "We're back!"
"Any sign of him?" Minako yelled, rushing out onto the doorstep and leaving the front door open.
Both the young man and his father hung their heads, but it was the smaller Son who spoke first. "Iie. It's like he vanished."
"He doesn't want us to find him," Gokou continued. "He's completely hidden his ki."
Lina sighed loudly and allowed herself to collapse on the sofa next to Usagi; the other woman didn't even blink. "Vegita's gone," she complained, "and Usagi-chan's practically a zombie. What else can go wrong?"
Coming soon, in Sailor Moon Next:
It's been two years since the
main demon was destroyed. Ne, what's wrong with Usagi? And
where's Vegita? Earth's great crisis is coming. Can Gokou-tachi
and Lina-tachi get back to their own times before it's too late?