Created by December Lewis, Chivon Ruddock and Horosha
Written by December Lewis and Horosha
Disclaimer: "Sailor Moon" is the property of Naoko Takeuchi, Kodansha Ltd. and Toei Animation Ltd. As such, I'm getting no compensation for writing this fiction other than my own enjoyment and to bring pleasure to the fans of this wonderful series.
If you have any comments, our e-mail addresses are:
I also want to thank December Lewis for deciding I'm good enough to work with her and create this series. I would also like to thank Amy and Fate Testarossa for inspiring me once more.
WARNING: Moon Over Chicago is a violent series with adult situations,
slang and bad language. As such, this series is rated R and anyone under the age of fourteen should get parental approval before reading it.
A tired groan and the rustle of papers came out of the soundproof room when its door was cracked open by a middle-aged lady in a conservative business suit. The study room in the library of Northwestern University was one of several places throughout the Greater Chicago Area reserved for the state study on public and private schools. Looking through the thick-panned window in the door, the woman can see a tired young man with ruffled black hair, his steely blue eyes staring at the screen of a laptop while leaning back in his chair. It is a chance look in the direction of the door that brings a smile on his face, "Oh, Doctor Shabon, you're up late?"
"Doctor, Darien?" The Asian woman with the petite body slips into the room, waiting for the door to close before she leans down and lightly kisses the young man's lips, "Why so official when we know each other on more intimate terms."
"Because the door was open, Rikomi," the young man returns the kiss with the same lightness, "and because I broke off our relationship."
"I know but I wish you hadn't," a disappointed sigh comes from the woman as she pulled over the other chair in the room, her raven hair sliding over her shoulders as she sat in the seat, "my marriage to Jehu had already failed thanks to our combined high intellect egos."
"Your daughter hates me, plus you and your husband are only separated,"
Darian's voice is polite, "so it would do horrible damage to your career,
if word got out about your relationship with a student at the university you're teaching at."
Rikomi sighed from hearing this old argument, "Ami would've gotten use to you, everyone knows my husband is now living in Arizona with a girl half his age, whose career is to make him happy," her black eyes show she has resigned herself to the situation, "and furthermore I could always return to being a pediatrician. With my accomplishments, any hospital in the world would want me on their staff, so there wouldn't be this teacher-student issue between us."
Darien turned his seat to face Rikomi, his eyes never leaving her eyes,
"I saw Ami yesterday at her school, the rage in her eyes was so horrible, I'm sure she would've sent me to the coldest part of Hell if it was in her power." He saw the petite woman cringed, before he added, "She loves her mother and her father and anyone who gets in the way of her plans to reunite them is dead meat."
Rikomi sighed again, running her hand through her hair, "You would think the genius of my daughter would be enough to show her how futile those plans are," the long day starting to show in her voice, "the only reason I've not divorce Jehu is because it would complicate how we would raise her. The last thing I want is to put her through is a custody battle."
"Love doesn't take a backseat to anything," Darien smiled softly, "it was why I let you go, Rikomi. I refused to break the bond that is between you and Ami."
Rikomi's dark eyes look away from the young man and out at the view of the campus from the window, "Well, maybe Jehu can talk some sense into Ami when she goes to visit him during Thanksgiving." She paused for a moment when she saw the stitches along the bottom of his chin, "I hope my daughter wasn't responsible for that cut."
Darien blinked before he chuckled, showing a real smile to his ex-lover, "Oh,
you mean this," he touched his chin with one finger, "although Ami might approve of this wound, it didn't come from her, it was a reward for getting myself mixed up in teenage love."
"Oh?" Rikomi's expression turned curious, "Did some boyfriend object to you being friendly with his girlfriend?"
"Nope," Darien leaned his chin against his pressed fingers, "just a girl with this strange hairstyle and angry blue eyes." When he noticed Rikomi was smiling and seemed to be waiting for more, he continued, "She was in the first class I gave out the questionnaire for the study," his smile touching his fingertips, "sitting next to Ami by the way, and looking very comfortable with her."
That statement from the young man increased Rikomi's interest big time,
"A new friend?"
"I think so, but I don't know for sure. I don't even know her name until I pick up the questionnaire tomorrow," he glanced at the pile of papers from the two other schools he was handling, "but she was bad mouthing boys in general in front of Ami, so I decided to drop in my two cents."
"And the wound was the result?" Rikomi's tone showed she wasn't sure she wanted her daughter sitting next to someone who was violent in class.
"No," Darien slowly shook his head, "we traded barbs with her getting in the last shot by asking Ami what was the Japanese word for moron, which your daughter happily supplied."
"Happily? You mean Ami actually smiled?" A small smile appeared on the black-haired woman's lips. Ever since the separation, the mother hadn't seen her daughter's smile.
"That quick smile of your daughter has refined so well. And no, I got this cut later when I caught the blonde peeking around the corner of the back of the gym." His smiling turning lopsided, "you know where the students go to do their kissing while at school."
"Oh," Rikomi blushed and broke eye contact with her ex-lover, seeming to be remembering her own time in such a situation.
"Anyway, she put on an innocent act, accusing me of ruining her friend's first kiss," Darian leaned back as he put his hands on his knees, "and I told her that I wasn't buying it and even gave her permission to correct me, which she did with her lunch box."
Rikomi giggled softly, her right hand covered her ruby lips, "So sparks flew between you two."
"In a matter of speaking," Darien leaned back in his chair, "I will say she doesn't seem to be afraid of anyone," his eyes shift to the screen of his laptop, "if I may use your daughter as an example."
Rikomi nodded and stood up, "I better let you get back to your work." It looked like she was about to kiss Darien but added instead, "Would you like to go out for a late bite of food?"
A broken smile was a part of Darien's reply, "Too much of a temptation,
Rikomi," a knowing look in those orbs of blue steel, "and I don't want Ami to be right about me being a home wrecker."
There is heartbreak on Rikomi's face, "I wish it could've been different,
"It could've been if you gotten a divorce in the first place but not now," the young man watched the lady open the door, "too much water over the bridge."
"I understand," she slipped out of the room, "Good night."
Only when Rikomi is gone does Darien's eyes fill with soulful pain. He stares at the laptop screen until he notices that the door didn't close.
Looking back he saw a FTD man standing there with short-stem red rose in his hand. He was startled for a moment, which allowed delivery man to say, "Darien Mamoru Terra-Daniels?"
"This is for you," the African-American with the afro hairdo held a single red rose out to Darien.
Darien looked at the rose and then at the man standing before him, "So it begins?"
The man nods somberly, his green eyes flash with approval when Darien stands and takes the thorny rose, "A sword to be carried, a cup to be drank from, and a book to be read."
A gasp comes from Darien at feeling the thorns of the stem prick his fingers and thumb, his eyes getting wide as he watches the rose blend and flow into the wounds. He can feel his soul awaken to a level he had never experienced before and a flood of knowledge washing into his consciousness that sent him to his knees. His hands clawed through his raven hair, "This...hurts!"
"A crown of thorns," the ebony man's voice sounded unearthly, "a heart blooming."
"Protect...who?" Darien fell onto his side and curls up in a ball, tears dropping to the floor as the pain grew more intense.
"Your soul already knows, my son," the sound of the door can be heard by Darien, "let its light guide you."
A click of the door closing can be heard, just in time to prevent anyone outside to hear Darien scream.
A note: The telephone in the lab at Northwestern University ringed and a middle-
aged woman with dark red hair picked up the receiver, "Northwestern University Lab, Doctor Bellamonte's office. How may I help you?" She listened to the voice over the phone before adding, "I understand, sir, I will tell him immediately," another pause, "thank you, sir, he is very interested about the results it will produce as well," she licked her ruby red lips, "goodnight sir."
The tall woman left the small office to enter the main lab. It is a huge place, located in the basement of the school's science building and separated from the lab used by the students. The division not only is a means to protect the advance equipment from the students but to keep innocent eyes from seeing the experiments done here. The lady in the white lab coat seemed to know where the doctor is because it took her only a few minutes to find the man with the messy mane of white hair,
standing next to another woman dressed in a lab coat, "Professor Bellamonte?"
"Yes, Professor Kali?" a slight French accent to his words. He turns his attention back to the technician, "You may go now, Miss Eugene."
"Yes, Professor Bellamonte," the technician glanced at the redhead, her green eyes blaze with emotion to match her orange hair before she left.
The look the redhead gave in return was one of a greater being to a lesser being.
Once the technician was out the door, Kali joined the doctor, "That was President Peel on the telephone, Richard," her East Indian accent harmonized the way she spoke his name, "he wanted me to inform you that Operation Reawaken can commence as of now."
An evil smile appeared on the pale man's face, "That is good news,
Kamilla," he used her first name while placing his right hand on her left shoulder, "it means we will bring about the end product of a experiment which has been planned for twelve thousand years."
There was a cold fish tone to the man's words but the squeeze of the hand on her shoulder and the passionate expression on his face melted Kamilla's insides, causing her to lean a little into his grip, "I'm just glad to be here to help you, Richard," she paused for a second before looking up, "but I'm worried about that the Masters are moving us too fast on this project," a serious look on her face, "this one appearance of Sailor Moon could be a deception set up by Sailor V to discover our plans."
A demonic chuckle came from Richard, "Done worry, Kamilla," he let go of her and began to walk further into the lab, the redhead following on his heels, "it is the nature of the beast which tells me that this is the real thing."
"Nature of the Beast?" the tall woman was taken aback by Richard's statement.
"The Sailor Scouts are predictable by their goody-goody nature, Kamilla,"
professor Bellamonte stopped at a huge machine filling the back of the lab, his coat billowing out as he turned back to his assistant, "they know human civilization on Earth has reached a critical condition thanks to the Fallen, as well as mankind's own incompetency."
Kamilla nodded with her own contempt for humans showing in her gray eyes,
"True, our own projections show human civilization will destroy the Earth and thus themselves within fifty years and they won't be able to stop it as long as we are here."
"A selfmade genocide," More chuckling coming from Richard as he turns back to the machine pushing a big red button. A deep gurgling sound from above draws the attention of both to the human-sized glass cylinder held over twenty feet from the floor by shining metal tubing and panels with pulsating lights. It wasn't hard to follow the tubing to the many smaller cylinders with liquids of various colors inside them. The redhead is so taken by the marvel of the machine that she is taken off-guard by white-
haired man's next words, "Even if this is some plan thought up by the spirit guides it will give us a chance to test the prototype against Sailor V."
The causal way in which the man said those words ran delicious chills down Kamilla's spine, , "Is it good to test a prototype against the Sailor Scouts, Richard?" Her expression showed a great deal of worship for the professor, "since your daughter will be involved, shouldn't we refine the combat capabilities with computer simulations before live combat?"
Another loud laugh came out of Richard, "Don't be absurd, Kamilla, these Sailor Scout are not even close to the level of those we faced when we attacked the Moon Kingdom." His hands furiously typed in commands at the machine's control console, "Up until recently the cultures which dominated human civilization thought it was idiocy to train women for combat, believing females are too emotional to be any good beyond taking care of the home, working in the fields like animals and producing babies," the tone of his voice heavy with scorn, "as such our prototype should clean their clocks ," the professor paused his work to look up with adoration at the large cylinder, barely able to make out the small figure submerged in bubbling sea green liquid , "for after all you should fight fire with fire."
Kamilla's eyes glowed with awe at the professor's words but it didn't stop her from saying, "But your daughter," she moved a little closer to the man, "to risk her in open combat without knowing the full extent..."
Richard scoffed and turned to face the woman, "Oh I will know the combat abilities of the Sailor Scouts by the time the prototype is ready," he smiled wickedly, his face veiled most in shadows, the light of the computer monitors makin the lens of his glasses appear to glow "but why should you be so concerned about my daughter, Kamilla," her hand slipped under her lab coat and caressed her tummy through her white blouse,
"after all, I can always make another daughter."
A gasp came from Kamilla and her legs shook with excitement, "Yes...
A cool late summer breeze came off of Lake Michigan, its breath cooling off the buildings, concrete and blacktop so only a fragment of the day's heat could be felt. It being so late in the evening, only a few people were still awake near in the old brownstone apartment buildings near the old port and none seemed to notice when two costumed figures landed on the roof of a neglected warehouse, one that would soon be demolished.
The two had slid down a gold heart-shaped chain from one of the apartment building, over the heavily barb-wired fences and onto the flat tin roof.
The two did make an interesting pair, a slim bodied blonde wearing a red-
white-and-blue costume with a vague resemblance to the school uniforms worn by Japanese teenage girls, and a equally wiry white-haired young man wearing an white tuxedo with a black demono perched on his nose. The female wore a similar mask except hers was crimson lined with pink rhinestones.
"This looks like something out of an old movie serial," the young man frowned as he looked around the cracked and chipped roof.
"You sound positively boring Artemis," the blond teenager smirked as she skipped over to the warehouse's skylight and looked inside, "besides this is where our informer told us that firebug kept his goodies."
"I wouldn't call the Chicago chief of police an informer V-chan," the man in white knelt by the dust covered skylight, took out a roll of duck tape and tapped the window pane next to the latch, "after all he is helping us because of his friendship with that Scotland Yard inspector fan of yours."
"Police are just like men ," the costumed girl gave her companion a wink,
"even the female ones."
Artemis grumbles at Sailor V's saucy statement while his right fist gives a quick blow to the middle of the taped glass, breaking it with very little noise, "You should be more considerate of people's feelings, V-
"The bobbies only care about enforcing laws and their pints of warm beer ," her baby blues watch as her companion slowly removed the broken glass from the frame, "they forgot what those laws are suppose to do."
The eyes behind the black mask narrowed slightly , "If I remembered right I had to pledge my body to your lust," he reached inside and undid the latch, "to get you to wear that red mask."
"Just your human body, you hunk of spirit guide. especially since I'm not into furries."
"Have I've ever told you that you have a dirty mind for a Royal ," his white cape billowed with a sudden chilling breeze as he slipped in the open skylight and dropped down on a catwalk just a few feet below.
"Many times," her pleated skirt fluffed up as she landed next to him,
"and I keep telling you that I'm the one with the rod up my pussy."
"The rod up your..." Immediately Artemis stopped from finishing his remark. His charge might have a garbage mouth but he didn't, "Never mind,
let's just hurry up."
"Tallyho," A playful wide grin grows on Sailor V's face as she took the lead but Artemis used his better dexterity to get ahead by leaping to one of the hanging warehouse lights to another, his white cap billowing behind him and the lights swinging barely from his landings and takeoffs . From her angle the blonde superhero couldn't miss the frown upon his angelic face, "Why the sourpuss look?" The grace of the costumed girl's own young legs moving would have left many drooling, "Fur ball in your throat?"
"I feel like a corporal impersonating a five-star general," he landed next to the metal stairs leading down, waiting, "whenever I'm dressed like this."
Sailor V rolled her sapphire eyes as she joined her comrade , "I wish you would get over this thing you have for this guy," the two went down the stairs together, "It's sort of gay and just a little ghoulish to have feelings for someone who's been dead for... eh... well... forever."
Artemis gave Sailor V a flash of irritation with his masked face, "Prince Endymion was the greatest to hold the title of Defender of the Faith!" There was pride in his voice that Sailor V recognized whenever Artemis spoke of the prince,
"It was only because of his deeds did the title survive the dim and shadows of the centuries until it was recreated by the Catholic Church and given to warriors who fought against the enemies of Christianity."
"A bloody bunch of Popist poppycock," the sound of high heels and hard shoes upon concrete announced the two reaching the ground floor, "Though I will say that white tux, top hat and mask makes you look like the cat's meow. " Artemis was about to retort when he got a snout full of what he was breathing in while they were coming down to ground zero, sneezing loud. Sailor V waved her hand as she looked at all the broken fifty-pound bags that were thrown about the place and the piles of white substance that covered the hard floor, commenting, "What's this?" She pressed her right fingers into the closest pile of dust-like substance taking a lick of her forefinger, "Flour?" Her blue eyes confuse, "Did someone plan to break the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest cake?"
"Maybe someone smug..." the guy in the white tux sneezed again, "smuggled cocaine in the bags," but then he frowned, "but there is something about..." followed by another explosion from his nose.
The blonde giggled as she took hold of her comrade left elbow, leading him toward the enclosed room located under the staircase, "We better get you inside the office before you air mail your nose back to London."
Once they entered the office, Artemis' sneezing did subside and he tied a handkerchief around his head, covering his nose and mouth, "I hope this helps."
"Hope so," the magical girl commented over her shoulder as she continued to scan the room, spotting discarded wafer boards, electrical lines and microchips. She also spotting a number of different gutted cell phones on the desk located in the back of the room, "It looks like we found our mad bomber."
"Eyolf James is a high class arsonist," Artemis' muffled words correct his partner as his eyes spot several large canisters, "who suddenly sets fire to two youth centers in Chicago in the last four days without warning or ransom demands."
"Aye, I don't think his bread and circus slumlords would pay for something like... that..." Her eyebrows go up at the sight of the yellow box on a banged up table surrounded by rusty metal chairs, "Baking soda?"
Artemis' head snapped over to look at the table and his blue eyes go wide at spotting the white tin next to the yellow box, "Run!"
The man in white doesn't waste time explaining, he grabbed Sailor V by the waist and in a quick stride his hand is about to close on the door handle when he spotted the wires running from it, "Oh-oh."
"My turn!" Sailor V raised her right hand with her palm up, "Sailor V Love Me Chain!" From the hand a gold chain of heart-shaped links shot straight up, stabbing through the ceiling and erupting out of the roof to wrap around a railing near the skylight. Artemis wrapped his arms around the curvy blonde's body, his eyes scanning around the room as he tried to find any kind of timer or what could be a bomb. "Hold on, Kitty!" There is jerk causing him to squeeze his teammate tighter and the glittering metal lifted the two out of the room as the insides explode into an inferno but what came next was even more unexpected; the air of the warehouse exploded as well.
A whoop of sheer pleasure came from Sailor V as she and Artemis smashed through what is left of the skylight as a flash of light and air blasting carried the two several feet above the building. Quickly the man in white gathered the blonde in his arms and with twists and rolls of his body he successfully landed on another warehouse without incident .
"That was so cool!" Sailor V grinned wide, jumping out of Artemis' arms,
"Can we do it again?"
Artemis groaned and sat down hard on a vent, lifting his top hat off his head as he pulled the handkerchief from her face to use it to dried his brow, "You are..." then her sneezed, looked confused by it until he noticed the change in color of his partner's uniform, "V, you're covered in flour."
The red-white-and-blue heroine blinked before she looked at herself,
making a face, "Eww..." she takes out her crescent compact and popped the lid, scowling at her partner when he chuckled before sneezing again,
"Listen here, Little Boy White," she expression darkened at every inch of head being white, "I want my fans to see me at my best," then she smirked, "besides you're probably covered in it too."
"Tell..." sneeze "me..." sneeze, "about..." sneeze, "it..."
Raye was lying on her back at the foot of the altar in the church. The white cloth of the bridal gown she wore glowed thanks to the bright moonlight coming through the pentagram window over the main entrance.
She felt at peace, relaxed, but that didn't mean she wasn't curious about why she rested on the stone steps , especially when her dark eyes watched as the main doors creak open and the soft light defined a figure standing just outside the archway. With footfalls reaching her ears, her gaze followed the figure coming toward her. She wondered why she didn't stand to meet this person but for some reason her body wouldn't move. Instead she noted the richness of the black tuxedo, walking cane in the left hand and the dignified motion of the tall body surrounded by a billowing cap although she felt no wind. This produced an impression to her of this being a man, who stopped a few feet from her, despite her inability to see most of his face due to a black mask he wore.
He stood for several minutes, staring at her and, no words of greeting,
no sound within the church, just the moonlight filling the air around them. Then he raised his right hand and she could see a beautiful red rose held delicately in the hand. Her heart skipped a beat, the feeling of the flower as an offering, the expression upon his lips gentle. Again she wished she could stand to accept the gift, to blush and give some words of thanks, yet her body wouldn't do either.
Suddenly there was motion from the red rose. Was it dew trickling down?
Was it a ladybug creeping out? No. It was the petals themselves, before her eyes the velvety leaves began to fickle and weave upon the thorny stem. The awe of the sight was quickly replaced with concern as she saw the man lift the fire flower to his face, his lips look ready to kiss it.
She wanted to shout at him, to tell him not to, to break whatever enchantment that held both of them, but no matter how strong her compassion, she couldn't form a single word. She was sure her eyes were wide with horror, ready to see a face scarred, yet at the last moment,
his hand stopped. He held the tiny flames less than an inch from his face, her dark eyes saw his mouth opening through the transparent blaze and in the dead silence she heard him breathe out.
In an instant Raye's vision was awash in orangey-red cone of fire,
everything she saw before had disappeared to be replaced by the conflagration, its roar of primal hunger came to her ears and its flesh eating heat made her dark hair dance under her veil. She waited to be consumed, wondering how long the agony would last before she was incinerated, but it wasn't to be. Instead she felt her body lifted from the gray stone, the hot wind sending her hair billowing but what shocked her to her very soul was the roaring red tongues were doing. No longer did she wear her virgin bridal gown, instead from neck to ankles she was draped in elemental flowers of volcanic creation, the petals in constant motion, the living energy crackling in a thousand voices, yet she was left unharmed. Out of the firestorm she burst out, her body still horizontal, fiery petals stroking over her body and cloaking her modesty.
She wanted a moment to absorb what all this meant, yet she didn't have the time for what she descending upon her took her breath away.
The church was gone but the moon was still there, full, bright and filling most of the heavens above her, and in-between there was another,
an angel of ice. Clouds of white fog swirled tight around the divine figure, giving glimpses of a feminine body, her long blue hair dazzled with the structure of ice icicles, her face as white as snow, her eyes of icy oblivion and her lips the color of a mountain lake. Raye felt her heartbeats within her chest as the distance shrank between them, the ice angel descending while flame-cloaked girl ascending, her eyes becoming more fix upon what was held in the supple right hand of the angel: a silvery short spear.
There was only a few inches between Raye and the angel when they stopped moving, the divine female hovering above the floating fiery girl. The raven-haired girl looked up, not sure what was going to happening, the expression she saw above her showed no emotion, no anger, no love, no fear, no joy. The angel's pale face was pure cool when she pulled back her right arm back, raising the short spear above her ice-sculptured hair and brought it down, plunging the spearhead into Raye's forehead. There was pain of skin pierced the blood of flesh punctured and the sound of bone fractured. The arctic freeze of the invading metal in her brain spread throughout her arching body and a scream ruptured from her wide mouth, but it wasn't agony she heard, it was rapture.
Raye awoke from her dream, almost rolling out of her bed with only her right hand grabbing the bedpost to stop her fall, her eyes stinging with cold sweat as she pulled herself to sitting position, "Lo que siembres cosecharas ..."
A gentle knock came from her door, "Are you alright, granddaughter?"
"I'm fine, granddad," The raven-haired girl struggled to get a handle on the emotions raging inside of her.
The door opened a crack, "May I come in?" the Irish lithe of the old voice showed Patrick Deiria noticed her distress.
"Please," Raye turned on the lamp next to her bed, thinking the comfort from her only relative in this city would help her.
Raye's lip twitched in amusement at the sight of her fifty-something elder coming in wearing the threadbare housecoat he brought in Dublin,
the mix once bright orange and Kelly green having faded. He sat down next to her and his leathery right hand taking her clasped hands, "Another dream?" She looked guilty at him and he chuckled, "It's alright, lass, I don't mind being wakened," he leaned over and kissed her forehead,
"although they do seem to becoming pretty lively."
A tint to her cheeks showed the result of her grandfather's words, "I know..." she hesitated for a moment before adding, "they are becoming stronger... becoming true," she glanced down, having trouble looking into his Irish gray eyes, "but I can't tell you why... it... it involves the confessional."
Bushy eyebrows go up to silvered red hair, "Aye... I see someone else besides Alithea knows our little secret," his affection showed when he squeezed her hands.
Raye smiled and she paused for a moment before asking, "Granddad, is it normal for dreams... prophetic visions... to be erotic?" Rayed quietly,
her cheeks rosy once more.
Patrick reached up to rub his chin, "Well, since I never had dreams or visions like yours, lass, I can't say yay or nay," his voice thoughtful,
"but my own research has shown visions operate on the receiver's emotional core," his hand dropping to his lap, "and you have always been a passionate lass so I don't see why a little honey wouldn't part from your hive."
"Father!" Raye's cheeks burning bright as she used her elder's title,
which she did whenever her anger was raising. In some way, the old man thought she did it as a way to channel her temper away from him and toward the person she hated and blamed for every bad thing that happened in her life, her father.
"Oh, you mean you didn't notice the musk?" Patrick decided to defuse his granddaughter's anger.
"Aye, women sense of smell isn't as sharp as a man's" he used a matter-
of-fact tone, "but I would think the wetness would give it away."
"Wet..." her eyes go wide and her right hand slipped out of her grandfather's hold, "I..." the hand touched the crotch of her pajama bottom, "I think I better take a shower and a change of clothes."
"I think so too," he watched his grandchild get up, grab a clean set of night-ware from her dresser and rush out the room, "See you in the morning, Raye." The old Irish Priest stood, his knees popping, "I thought it might be something like that," he murmured to himself as he walked toward the door, "I haven't heard a girl squeal like that since the first time me and my departed wife made whoopee."
Chapter Three: Defender of the Faith Unfurled
First Period: Room 222 Japanese Language Class, Juuban High School
Molly, Serena and Luna had stayed up for several hours after returning to their room following the ice cream desserts with their parents and Sammy.
They planned out what they were going to do the next day, Luna making sure the two teenagers worked out the details in their heads, but at the same time they were able to get a few more concessions out of the spirit.
It took the combined effort of the redhead and the black cat to get the odango blonde on her feet when her alarm clock went off the next morning.
Since Molly was being kept from school by doctor's orders, she finished up on the questionnaire given to them byheir science teacher while waiting for her friend to get out of the bath, also checking to make sure Serena had filled her copy out. Thanks to the early morning help, Serena got out of the house on time without having to rush through her breakfast, although she did find her nose itched a little at having a fresh split and bandages applied to it. Her parents made it abundantly clear to their daughter that she was still going to their family doctor after school even though she showed no outward appearance of a broken nose or a concussion. The extra time also gave Serena a chance to pick out her clothes, dressing in a butter yellow blouse, knee-length teal green skirt held to her midriff by cross-crossed straps decorated with white bunnies and finished off with butter yellow socks and white sneakers. At the entrance of the school she met Lita and they chatted for a moment, the petite girl noticed her tall friend was checking her over before they parted for their first period classes.
Serena had just sat down at her desk when she spotted Ami entering the classroom, looked directly at her and came over, "Ohayo, Odango-kun," her tone had that self-confident ring Serena had come to expect from the Goth girl.
"Ohayo, Idzumi-kun ," she notices her pale friend was dressed in full-
length purple leather coat, with three top buttons undone to show the top part of ruffled cyan blouse while her feet and lower calves were encased in light leather boots of the same color, "I wanted to thank you again for your help yesterday."
Ami's head bowed slightly but instead of acknowledging the compliment,
she asked, "Do you know how to play chess?"
"Chess?" the odango blonde is caught by surprise, "Ano... hai... I learned chess in India."
The slight move of her thin eyebrows show the answer did surprise Ami,
"Then would you like to join the Chess Club?"
Serena was both surprised and delighted by the offer, "Hai!"
Ami's dark eyes flash, which the petite girl was starting to recognize was the only yield to emotion the pale girl would allow herself , "Good,
the club meets during lunch time." The Goth girl watched the odango blonde blink several times before she asked, "Commitment problems?"
"I planned to eat lunch with Lita... Lita-chan..." she remembered to add the honorfic to the name.
"No problem," Ami's voice remained calm, "she can join too."
Serena wasn't sure, the emotions in Ami's bottomless eyes looked different but she couldn't put a name to it. In the two days she has been around Ami and the reactions from Molly and Melvin, it seemed to suggest to her of someone who carefully planned things out with contingency plans on top of contingency plans, "Alright, Lita-chan is going to meet me at my locker so I'll fly it by her before I give my final decision."
Another thing Serena noticed was how Ami kept her neck covered all the time, this time with a ruffled neckerchief of the same color of her blouse, but before she would ask about it, the pale girl caught the odango blonde off-guard, "So ka, Odango-kun wa te o kakete, ran o sodatete imasu ne?" With that the teen headed for her seat.
Serena watched Ami go to her desk before the petite blonde grabbed her Japanese-American dictionary, "Damn! Leave it to Idzumi-kun to wrap a clue in a mystery." When Mr. Takei entered the classroom, he was both surprised and pleased to see Serena's bandaged nose press to her opened dictionary, looking at it and at a pad of paper while she wrote.
Third Period: Room 322, Biology Class
Serena had picked The Hobbit from the list of books her English teacher had given her yesterday and made a quick trip to the library to check out their copy. She hadn't read the book before although she knew about it and watched the animated version of it, liking the music created for it.
Once she reached her biology class, she gave Ami a puzzled look as she came up to sit next to her classmate. She was still having trouble figuring out what Ami meant with those last words before the first period class started, and the look of superiority the pale girl returned to the odango blonde showed she knew it. Serena had worked out what the Nihongo word meant but she was still having trouble with the meaning. She knew the word, hands, was probably an idiom but for the life of her she didn't know what Ami meant by orchids .
"Oh, Melvin," Serena looked up at the boy with his bottle-bottom glasses.
"How is Molly doing?" Serena closed her dictionary at Melvin's question.
"She's doing well, Melvin," she noticed the bulge of the cellphone in his skirt pocket, "although I would think you already knew that."
Melvin looked sheepish, "Well, you know, Molly," he had his laptop up and running , "she never wants people to worry about her."
Serena smiles a little wider, "Don't worry, Molly ate almost as much as I did for breakfast." Then she noticed Melvin had the questionnaire out,
"Oh, I better get mine and Molly's out so I don't forget to turn them in."
The bell ringed and Andrew's voice drew Serena's attention, "Please take out the questionnaire and..." her baby blues spotting Darien sitting next to the standing science teacher, "Serena, would you please gather them and bring them to my desk?"
"Okay, Andy!" Serena bounces to her feet with hers and Molly's questionnaires in her hand. She went to each student, smiling and taking the stapled papers from them before she returns to Andrew, the ruffle sound of the neatly shuffled papers being placed on the teacher's hardwood desk, "Here you go, Teach."
"Thank you, Serena, but please call me Andrew when you..." from the corner of her eye Serena's train-of-thought is derailed by the glare coming from Darien, losing the rest of her teacher's words. She returned the expression with spades, her eyes almost glowing with glee at the sight of the bandage on the man's chin, at least until her teacher coughed. She blinked at the break of concentration, hearing from Andrew,
"Darien, from the looks you and Miss Guerisser are giving each other and the bandages on both faces, do I assume you two duked it out somewhere?"
Serena spotted raven-haired young man's jaw tighten at the almost bullseye by his friend, "I was taught never to hit a girl," Darien scolded at the odango blonde, "although I might make an exception."
"You asked for it, mister," a shark's grin on Serena's lips, "you even pointed at where I should hit you," then her baby blues spot what Darien is wearing, "and why the tux? You going to some fancy dance ball?" The tuxedo the young man wore wasn't from some rent-a-tux either, the blonde could tell from the lack of diminished color due to constant washing. The midnight black, the glitter of silver buttons on the double breasted vest and the polished perfection of his shoes spoke of it being custom made.
"You could say that," Serena frowned at the vague answer from the man in black, but before she could fire back a smart ass answer, Andrew motioned her to go back to her seat. With a parting stare she turned on her heel and went back to her seat. Once more she noticed the nasty look on Ami's face at the exchange of words between the trio before it disappeared behind that gothic mask. This was starting to get her blonde radar going big time but she just wasn't sure how to go about to find out if there was a history between the two.
Serena was surprised to find Lita already waiting at the blonde's locker,
"That was fast Lita," she bit her lower lip before saying, "Mind if we do something besides eating?"
Lita's green eyes flash with curiosity, "Depends on what it is, GF," she grinned, "although I do have to tell you that despite where I live, I'm still a virgin."
Eyes go wide, ears perk up and a few of the surrounding students half-
turn, "Whoa, too much information!" Serena blushed, pulling out her lunch and shutting her locker, "Why I'm asking is because Ami invited me to come to the school's chess club and they meet during lunch and I wanted to see if you might like to go too."
"Well... I could seduce you with my chicken pot pie and chilled orange sherbet to make you forget about anything so anal as chess," Lita almost giggled at the drooling look coming from Serena at the mention of food,
"but I'll relent and go with you.
My parents wanted me to play chess but I couldn't stand just sitting around, moving pieces on the board and hitting a clock," Lita fell in-
step with her blonde friend. When the ebony teen spotted Serena's nervous look, she asked, "What does chess mean to you?"
"A way out of poverty," Serena answered simply as she spotted Ami standing by the door of the Mathematics Class.
"Oh... How?" This time Lita sounded very interested.
"I don't know about here in the United States, but in the big world chess can get you out of a whole lot of horror," Serena's tone showed she was perked up by Lita's change of attitude, "boys and girls can write their own tickets by becoming masters at chess."
"No jive ?" Lita's reddish eyebrows lift.
"May a lightning bolt make me twin," Serena grinned up as they joined Ami, who's owlish expression showed she heard the last part of the conversation, "you should see five-year-olds playing with sixty-year-
"Hey, Ami," Lita's attention switched to the Goth girl, "is Serena right about chess being a big game outside the US?"
Ami's expression didn't change but Serena noticed a sparkle in those dark eyes that never left the odango blonde's face, "The current retired grand master, Gary Kasparov, is a major political force in Russia as well as very wealth, including his own commercially successful computer chess game." Then she looked up at the redhead, "are you thinking of joining the club, Lita?"
"Now I know you're jiving me, Ami," Lita held up her lunch box, "but are there any rules where I can't watch you and Serena play while I'm eating?"
A rumble came from Serena's tummy as a plea and Ami's tiny smile curled her black-coated lips before nodding, "No rule against watching and eating," she turned and led the two into the room.
The first thing Serena noticed, besides the numerous chess sets placed on bunched up desks, was the fact there was only three girls in the room,
her, Lita and Ami. Her ears pick up a mumble from Lita, "Now why do I feel suddenly naked?"
"We're ready for you, Shabon," the arrogance in those words drew Serena's baby blues to three guys up front where six desks were pushed together and three chess sets put together, "just remember the bet you..." the one speaking, the middle one with the pierced left eyebrow, then looked at Lita and then Serena, "Oh, I see you brought a couple of small brains as witnesses."
"Small brains?" Serena blinked and then blinked again when she heard Lita's growl, "What's this small brain stuff?"
"I haven't seen this fox here before," the one on the left commented, the waving one of his hands in front of his face showed off his multiple gold rings, "but her uniform suggests she's from Saint Mary's School for Snobbish Bitches."
"Eh?" Serena hadn't really looked that closely at Lita's clothes, the black blazer worn over a plain white blouse and black shirt going down to her knees along with white ankle socks and black shoes. The blonde even missed the ripped threads where once a school emblem would have been,
"Does he mean Raye's school, Lita?"
"Another reason I don't like chess," Lita's green eyes burned bright in her ebony face, "full of Richie Riches who don't know about things like saving every penny and nickel or not throwing away perfectly good clothes."
"I'd bet the one with the wooden nose could be a cutie if she dump the crazy hair," guy with the gold braces in his mouth commented from where he stood on the right. His blue eyes shifted from Serena to Ami, "Is this your attempt to make your own clic in the club, Ami?"
"Well, it would take two small brains to equal one big brain," the one in the middle spoke again, his brown eyes show nothing but contempt for the girls, "but on the other hand we could use more members just so we have backups for tournaments."
It didn't take any more comments for Serena to figure out what small brains and other rude words meant, "Lita, I think we should find another place to eat our lunches."
"I'm ahead of you, GF," but instead of moving backward, Lita had edged forward to protective position just in front of Serena.
"Furthermore I am resigning from membership with the club," Ami clasped her hands to her stomach, "I recently found the climate here eroding to my chess skills," the words were delivered so smoothly that Serena momentary surprise was replaced with suspicion.
"Hey, one fucking minute," the boy with the rings made a grab for one of Ami's arms, "we had a be-" he stopped when Lita grabbed the guy's outreached hand by the wrist, "Fucking let go of me you nig-" he let out a gasp of pain when Lita's hand tightened.
"What was that, white bread?" Lita gave another squeeze which produced another gasp of pain and a fury of curse words from the boy. Serena watched the ebony teen scan the other two, making sure they weren't going to butt in before she opened her hand, "All bets are off. Clear?"
"Crystal..." the boy with the injured wrist whispered out, holding it with his other hand, "but you three are asked for a whole lot of trouble," his pain laced eyes lock on Ami's calm expression, "Get out of here, freak."
Ami turned on her heel and headed for the door with Serena next and Lita's covering the rear. This was totally unexpected by Serena but there was something about Ami's expression that got the blonde thinking and wondering if this was all planned out by the Goth. She drifted back just a little, whispering to Lita, "Did Ami know ahead of time that we were eating lunch together?"
"Yeah," Lita showed a thoughtful expression to Serena, "you thinking what I'm thinking."
"Probably," Once out in the hallway, Serena spoke up, "Now what, Ami. You going to set up your own chess club?"
"Can't," Ami stopped and waited for the two to reach her, "the school only allows one chess club."
"We could set up another gaming club," Lita nodded her head toward the staircase leading to the roof, "I'm willing to join despite not liking board games."
"Yeah... a different gaming club," Serena chewed the inner side of her lower lip, wondering if the rooftop might still stink of what she did yesterday, but she headed in that direction, "a girls only club?"
"Won't the vice-principal get on our ass about that?" Lita pointed out as the three started going up the stairs, "Unconstitutional and all that."
"The chess club can be used as an example of abrasive male environment where teenage girls can't have good clean fun," Ami followed the other two, "and we could select a game very few actually play but can be easily taught."
Silence followed for the rest of the journey before they reached the stairs, "What about Go?" Serena asked with a billion dollar smile on her face.
"Go?" Lita echoed as she opened the roof door, "Never heard of it?"
"You wouldn't, Lita, Go is highly competitive board game in China and Japan," a touch of a frown at the corners of Ami's lips at the brightness of the September day upon the roof, "but outside of those countries only a few play at a non-professional level, although its popularity has grown recently."
"I learned to play Go when my family was in the Tibet and from what my teammates told me," Serena noticed Ami made a beeline for one of the umbrella-covered tables, "Go has existed as long as chess but because of China's purposeful isolation, it didn't spread."
"It reached Japan when Asian pirates established homes on those islands,"
Ami sat down at the table with Lita and Serena joining her, the redhead slowly nodding her head, "since then Go hasn't made any inroads because of the popularity of chess and Western board games, plus the culture Go represents, China and Japan, hasn't been impressive until the last thirty years."
"Sounds interesting," Lita was about to ask how easy it was to learn how to play Go when she got a peek at Ami's lunch box., "That's a lot of sandwiches!"
"I like sandwiches," Ami calmly commented, her lunch box a simple blue workingman lunch bucket, "I fix them in the morning and snack on them for the rest of the day."
"Don't you eat with your mother, Ami?" Serena asked as she pulled out her red apple, using a small knife to cut it in thirds.
"My mother works most nights," Ami's expression showing a hint of pride,
"and when she isn't working, she is doing volunteer work at the free clinic."
Serena smiled at how those good vibrations from Ami seemed to be spreading to Lita, "So, Go uses a two-colored checkerboard with two sets of colored stones, black and white," she rides those feelings with her description, "and unlike chess pieces, the stones have the same abilities so the objection of the game is to take and control territory by placing the stones on the lines of the boards in a pattern," she gave Lita and Ami a piece of apple, "black is given three points because white goes first and there are four key points on the board where you can build your pattern from."
Lita kept glancing at either Serena or Ami as the two took turns explaining Go, "It sounds more complicated than chess," she smiled a little as she pulled out plastic containers and opened them, "and more interesting."
"It's actually very easy to learn and like chess, timers are used in tournaments," Serena noticed Ami pulled out a container of grape juice while the pale girl spoke, "but unlike chess there are various strategies you can use to capture your opponents stones if he or she isn't careful,
although it could be a trap by your opponent to distract you from his or her goal."
"True," Serena cut her sandwich in thirds, "skill levels is more determined by strategy and concentration than by execution of a offensive pattern known by all," Ami noticed what Lita and Serena are doing with their food, dividing it into thirds and giving parts to the others to each, getting her to follow suit and share her food with the others, "so except for the four points, the combat between black and white can be different from board to board."
"Combat" Lita's eyebrows go up, "I know chess is like a rumble but so is Go?"
"Yes, Go is based on Chinese strategy and tactics," Ami waited for the others to be ready before she picked up a piece of food and took a bite,
her owlish eyes blinking and then the corners of her lips perk, "so think of the stones as fortresses being built upon territory claimed by opposing rulers, who are trying to keep the territory they have taken but at the same time they each are trying to reduce the control of the other."
Lita ate but Serena could tell by the way her friend was leaning forward in her seat that she was hooked on the idea of the club, "Okay you got me, but who is going to be president?" her gaze shifted between Ami and Serena
"I'm unranked," Serena sighed before looking at Ami, "How about you,
"I'm ranked third in the United States," the jaws of the other girls dropped from hearing this, "and I prefer Go to chess, where I'm ranked tenth in the United States, but there wasn't a Go club nor anyone interested in starting one."
"So who's going to be doing the legwork for this new club?" A mild look of dismiss on the ebony face, "I can't because I'm already involve in a lot of after school activities at my church and I'll probably be involved in the school's women basketball team once that gets going."
"I'm limited by my need to maintain a high level in my studies so I can achieve my goal of entering Oxford University," Ami added her two-cents between bites of food , "Thus I'm limited to giving minimum time for the club."
Serena grinned at Lita, "Don't worry, Lita, since this is my hair-blonde scheme," Lita grinned a little wider at the pun while the blonde gave Ami a Gracho Marx look, "same for you, Ami, I can get Molly to help me with designing, printing and handing out flyers." The odango blonde giggled at her own humor before she paused for a moment to think, "Where and when should we have the first meeting of the Go Club?" Then she noticed Lita looking over the roof edge, "Something catch your eye?"
"Sorry, GF," Lita grinned embarrassed at Serena, "I thought I saw Raye down there?"
"Oh..." it was Serena's turn to look over the roof edge, "Where?"
"There," Lita pointed with a sandwich wedge, "by the fountain."
Serena looked at the fountain in the square and it only took her a moment to spot a raven-haired girl dressed the same way as Lita, it also took her a second to note something else, "It looks like Raye is looking for someone."
"Indeed," Ami commented as she joined the two lookers. Raye's head was turning left and right as she walked clockwise around the fountain.
"Shit!" Lita halfway got out of her seat as she dropped the sandwich from her hand, "she doesn't see them coming."
"Uh... what..." then Serena saw what Lita spotted, the three boys from the chess club, heading in a sideways path toward Raye, "why are they going after her?" Not getting a reply, the petite blonde glanced in Lita's direction and then locked in that direction when she found Lita not there. She did see Ami pointing behind her and pointing to the roof door and seeing Lita dart in.
"Wait for me!" Serena took off after Lita, already hearing the thunder of feet on stairs. Snowballs chance in Hell, Serena knew her chance of catching up with Lita matched the old saying, especially at the sight of those ebony legs taking the steps three at a time, " Lita! Don't break your neck!"
Despite Lita's recklessness, Serena did close the gap between them on the stairs, probably all those times she played tag with her little brother over fallen trees and crumbling rocky paths, but when the redhead hit the ground floor first, it was like watching someone do a one-minute-mile.
Serena didn't have much choice, she followed her friend down the hallway,
breaking the rules of no running in the halls and praying the hall monitor wouldn't catch her. She lost sight of the crimson ponytail when the tall teen crashed through the doors , the petite blonde going through the same doors two minutes later.
Serena slowed as she came out into the daylight as her baby blues adjust before she caught sight of Lita halfway across the school square, but she caught sight of the three boys around Raye, the three towering over the raven-haired girl, who frowned at them. Raye's frown turned into surprise and a shout when the guy, the one who suffered at Lita's hands, shoved her backward at the shoulders hard enough to send her stumbling backwards, her arms wind-milling. So close yet so far, she could even see Lita slowing, knowing the redhead couldn't save their friend from a watery doom. This focus, this narrowing of vision by Serena stopped her from seeing anyone else so she was startled in a good way when the glittering, bubbling background behind Raye was replaced by darkness, the teenager impacting against a tall figure, two strong arms, gloved hands,
enclosing around her. A blooming smile appeared on Serena face only to turn into a scowl at recognizing Raye's savor, Darien Terra-Shields.
Now confronted by a college student in front of them and noticing Lita had renewed her charge, the three boys shattered in different directions.
It wasn't hard for Serena to see Raye and Darien exchange words. She spotted the grateful expression given by the nun-in-training, which was rewarded by a modest smile by the young man. Serena even noticed how reluctant Raye was to leave the protection of her rescuer's embrace. A sour look was upon Serena's face by the time she reached her friends,
even with Darien already leaving, "Are you alright, Raye?"
"Yes..." Raye's cheeks were rosy and coupled with her gaze having trouble leaving the back of the retreating Darien, she gave both Lita and Serena an inquiring expression, "What just happened? Those three boys seem pretty angry at me after they asked me if I was Lita's friend and I replied yes."
"I'm sorry, Raye," Lita sighed as her hands carefully held Raye's hands,
giving them a gentle squeeze, "Those boys slammed you because of me."I sort of helped one of Serena's friends against them."
"I see," Raye smiled, squeezing Lita's hand in return, "then it was a worthy cause."
"As for the guy who saved you, well, I would just forget about him,"
Serena bitched, "the guy's a real creep."
"But Mr. Terra-Shields saved me," Raye blinked several times at Serena's harsh words.
"Even a bandit can act like a white knight," Serena blistered out, "if he thinks he can get something out of it."
"Well, you are a hot chick in that uniform, girl," Lita's teasing sounded like she was trying to take the edge off of Serena's own tone.
Raye blushed at Lita's compliment but she gave Serena a puzzled look, "He didn't seem the nasty sort when he spoke in front of our science class about the university project."
"Well..." Serena didn't really want to tell the nun-in-training what she did to Darien, but her glancing gaze looking for comeback spotted her hook, "if you don't believe me, just ask my friend, Ami. I don't know why but she seems to think of him as something on the level of cat dodo."
"Oh?" Raye turned to follow Serena's line-of-sight. Serena began to raise her hand to wave at Ami but never finished. First came the gasp followed by the odango blonde staggering under the weight of the raven-haired teenage, the nun-to-be swooning and clinging to Serena's arms, those fingers digging into the balls of her shoulders and Raye's warm breath filling the petite blonde's ear, "Behold the pale messenger... her body shrouded by wings of ice."
Sixth period (room 124 Algebra class)
The incidents of lunch period left Serena's head in jumble of thoughts and emotions and she found herself going through her Home Economics class on autopilot, doing the same thing for Physical Education. She had expected to see Mina during the last class but found the other blonde wasn't there. Lita was worried by what looked like Raye's near collapse and Ami's penetrating gaze showed she was curious too, but the nun-in-
training smiled and waved off all concerns by saying she tripped. It was clear to Serena the raven-haired girl didn't want Lita to know about her visions, knowing their tall friend was intelligent enough to figure out who those images were about. So Serena smiled and nodded, accepting Raye's apology with grace. Now Serena was searching for the room where her Algebra class was located. Thanks to the first day assembly and her ill-timed encounter with a volleyball, her schedule of classes had been truncated; and, since there was a state law that physical education classes were required for all high school Freshmen and sophomores, Juuban High cancelled the only period where there were no gym classes scheduled,
sixth period. Serena was already a little worried about the class; math wasn't her strongest subject, and trying to concentrate after rushing out of gym would most likely prove to be difficult.
Just as Serena settled into her desk, the teacher walked into the room.
Tall, with red hair pulled back into a loose ponytail and flashing green eyes, the teacher looked approachable while still conveying that she was no nonsense.
"Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to Algebra. Or welcome back, to a few of you. My name is Hattie Smith and I will be your teacher. You may address me as Ms. Smith. And, before anyone asks, yes there is a Revered Smith who is pastor of a church in the area. Yes, he is my ex-husband.
And yes, I would prefer he was never mentioned in this class or in my presence."
As she was introducing herself, Ms. Smith had been walking around the room. As she reached a desk in the back right of the room, she pushed a set of boots, attached to a student's feet, off of a desk. "Mr. Heming. As you are repeat offender, you should know I do not tolerate feet propped up in my class. Or sleeping in class."
"As I was saying," the teacher continued. "This is Algebra. This is also a required course for graduation. Now, I am available for after school help and I can put you in touch with tutors, if you need them, BUT I expect you to work hard in this class as well."
Ms. Smith continued her monologue, walking around the classroom. Just as she was about to take role, she stopped at a desk to Serena's right.
Sitting at the desk was a girl with chestnut brown hair who seemed to be a little distracted.
Clearing her throat, Ms Smith tapped on the student's desk. "Excuse me.
Your name is?"
"Oh!" the girl turned to face the teacher, clearly startled. "Scarlett. Scarlett Arnold, Ms. Smith."
"I see," Ms Smith said. "Well, Miss Arnold, this is Algebra, not Chemistry and not a restroom. I'll have to ask you not to put on makeup in my class." As the student nodded and closed her mouth, a popping sound was heard. "And you can spit out your gum while you are at it," Ms. Smith added.
After Ms. Smith had finished dealing with Scarlett, she returned to the front of the room and began to take roll. All through class, however,
Serena kept finding herself looking over at Scarlett. She wasn't sure of what to think of her classmate. She sported what seemed to be a great summer tan the girl was showing off in a tight, mid-rift baring blouse and mini skirt. She also seemed to working more at flirting with the guys in class than paying attention to the teacher. But, she had smiled in Serena's direction, and there was something about her.
But, before Serena had much time to think about her classmate, the bell indicating the end of school rang. Knowing that she had promised to meet Lita after school, she quickly gathered up her things and left. She made a mental note to ask Melvin about Scarlett tomorrow.
Location: Heaven's Crown Center
Serena was relieved once school was over and she was picked up by her mother in their SUV, with Molly along with them with a large bamboo-
weaved bag next to her, a bag was large enough to carry a black cat with the weave loose enough to give both air and light. The lunchtime events had given her lots to think about and she wanted desperately to talk to her redheaded friend and her Spirit Guide, but she knew she had to wait until after visiting the doctor. Molly greeted her friend from the backseat while Ilene kissed her daughter's cheek as the blonde sat in front. It was a thirty minute ride to their new family doctor, Dr. Jola Stone. The examination only took a couple of hours, X-rays and prodding,
with the white-haired old woman of thirty years of experience reporting the nose was never broken, saying the school nurse probably overreacted.
All three women smiled, thanked the doctor for making time for them, paid the bill and left. Of course Serena knew her nose was broken and it was healed miraculously by Raye. How? Serena believed it was her friend's role as a priest, the raven-haired girl's representing Christ on Earth,
able to heal the body and the soul and to forgive sins and to have visions of things hidden.
"We're here, sweetie."
"Eh?" It took a few seconds to get Serena back to the here and now,
"Thanks, Mom!" A kiss on the cheek and the odango blonde quickly slipped out of SUV followed by Molly, "We'll make sure to be home for dinner,"
anticipating her mother's reminder.
"Alright, Serena," Ilene gave a knowing smile before she looked at Molly,
"I'm depending on you to keep her word, Molly."
"I will... Ilene ..." the redhead wearing a pink jumper giggled at the put-upon look Serena gave her mother.
Once the SUV disappeared from sight, Serena turned to Molly, "How is Luna doing?"
Molly's eyes sparkled as she opened the bag hanging from her right shoulder, "I lined the bottom of the bag with a cat blanket," there was no mistaking the snoozing out of the black cat, her small satin body curled and her tummy moving slowly up and down, "I think we should let her sleep until we can get that room from Andy. What do you think?"
"Luna can't really help us so I see no harm," Serena straightened as Molly closed the bag, "but are you sure we can sweet talk Andy and his sister into letting us use the room?"
"Only one way to find out, Serena," Molly moved toward the entrance of the Royal Crown complex.
The last time Serena was inside of the entertainment complex, she hadn't known about the private karaoke rooms located next to the first floor bathrooms, where the arcade center was located on the other side. The entrance to the movie section was located on an elevated platform that could be reached by a short staircase or wheelchair ramp once you paid for your ticket at the ticket booth positioned in front of them. After the movie the family watched on Saturday, they had gone through the twin glass doors to enter the Heaven's Crown Creamery. The sandwiches were simple but very tasty. It was the ice cream creations that even after the intervening days still made Serena's tummy rumble with desire,
causing Molly to giggle and Serena to blush, "Down, girl," the blonde rubbed her tummy, "business first, treat later."
"Hi there Andy!" Molly's greeting helped Serena spot Andrew sitting behind the cashier booth for the arcade center.
"Well-well, nice to see you, Molly," the young man looked up from the books and papers he had spread out over the glass and metal of the booth,
"I see you are well enough to play hooky."
"Please, if I had a choice I would've been in school today," Molly playfully let the tip of her tongue to stick out, "but the nervous neilies at the hospital want me to rest for the rest of the week."
Andrew chuckled as did Molly, making it pretty clear to Serena the two were old friends, "I'm glad you are doing better," his gaze shifted to the blonde, "and I see a lack of bandages on your part, Serena."
"Yep!" Serena lightly rapped the side of her head, "Knock on wood!" That got more sounds of amusement from the other two.
Andrew relaxed even more as he lean back in his seat, "So did you two want to play an arcade game or see a movie," his smile got a little bigger, "I would suggest the creamery but I don't know if my sister recovered from the last time Serena was in there."
"Hey!" Serena stomped her right foot, "It wasn't that bad, it was just a banana split."
"Yeah, the Celestial Bull," Andrew's smile getting bigger and bigger,
"and Lizzy told me in a dazed state of how you down it in five minutes."
Molly burst out into laughter and then Serena heard a muffled giggle come from the bamboo bag hanging from her friend's shoulder, "What's this,
Pick-On-A-Blonde-Month?" Truly with the way September had started, this blonde was starting to wonder about that.
"I'm... I'm sorry, Serena," Andrew got control over his humor, "but from what I witness between you and Darien, I would think you can give just as good as you can get."
Serena frowned at the mention of the satin black-haired man, but Molly opened her mouth first, "Andy, I was wondering about how things were going with booth number seven?"
"Don't ask." He slumped more when he notice Molly's expression showed she wasn't going to take that as an answer, "We just spent two-thousand dollars to replace the music system inside of it after it caused a hair raising experience for the last group to use it."
"Hair raising?" Serena blinked a couple of times.
"A group of girls used the booth the last time," Andrew nodded slowly,
"and someway, somehow, the music system produced a substantial charge of static electricity."
Serena's eyes widen, "They got jolted?"
"Let's just say their skirts cling to their shirts, blouses and tank tops," the expression on Andrew's face told he wished the circumstance wasn't so dire, "crackling sounds was coming from inside their pants or panties."
Molly blushed and Serena tried to hide hers by glancing into the arcade center like she was scoping out the games, it took a couple of minutes for them to get the image of those revealed girls out of their heads before the redhead asked, "What happened afterwards?"
"My Dad gave each girl a year pass and gift cards before they signed legal papers so their parents couldn't sue us," Andrew ran his right fingers through his hair, "but this is just the last in a string of accidents involving number seven since we added those karaoke rooms."
"Geez, sounds like the number seven isn't so lucky," Serena peeked between the books and papers on the booth to look at the prizes for the arcade games.
"I'm sure no one will use number seven," Andrew's tone spoke of resolve,
"already we had clients come in a wait for one of the other rooms to free up instead of using it."
"What if someone was to rent the room on a monthly basis," Serena heard the cunning in Molly's voice was when she made the offer, "do you think your father would accept such an offer?"
"Let see..." Clearly Serena wasn't the only one who spotted the gleam in Molly's eyes, "I am in charge of the arcade as well as the karaoke rooms," his smile showed it, "but Dad will want a reasonable rental so I really couldn't give you that much of a discount, Molly, despite me knowing you such a long time."
"We're quite willing to work here," Molly cleared her throat at Serena's interruption. "Well, we are, aren't we, Molly?"
"I think Molly wanted to do a little bargaining," Andrew chuckled, "and use you working here as one of her chips."
"Oh..." Serena gave Molly an apologetic look, "Sorry, Molly."
"It's alright, Serena," Molly sighed as her gaze shifted to Andrew,
"What about it? Part-time work, in exchange for a monthly rental of room number seven?"
"Have either one of you held a job before?" Andrew rubbed his chin.
Molly shook her head while Serena said, "Well, I was offered one a couple of times in India but Dad told me I was too underage for that kind of profession."
Fly-catching expressions was Serena's reward from the other two before Andrew commented, "Okay..." he shook his head to clear his thoughts before continuing, "Dad does believe young people should learn how business works from the bottom up so I don't see any problem both of you working here."
"What hours?" Molly leaned forward a little, giving Andrew a flirting look.
Andrew laughed a little at Molly's teenager attempt to influence him,
"Turn off the sex, Molly, I know Melvin is your boyfriend." Then he blinked a little, "By the way, where is he?" The college man looked about, "I wouldn't think he would let you out of his sight after what happened."
"Melvin couldn't get out of the first meeting of the Science Club this school year," Molly did sound disappointed, "since he is club president.
"Cool!" Melvin's stock kept going up and up by Serena's opinion, then the odango blonde shifted back to Andrew, "So about our offer?"
A serious expression returned to Andrew but both girls could tell he was trying not to smile, failing, "What about ten hours a week?" His smile got bigger at the eager nod from both, "That way you get some pocket change plus discounts and the job won't have a big impact on your study time," then his voice turned serious, "but you will have to work Saturdays." Pouts were their reaction to the last word but when he didn't relent, they both nodded, "Then you're hired."
Both girls grinned and hugged each other followed by Molly asking, "When do we start."
"Well first you both need to fill out job applications while I call Dad and give him the lowdown on the deal for his approval," Andrew pulled up the job application forms and a couple of pens followed by his cell phone, "and even after that we'll need to work out a contract between you two and Heaven's Crown."
"Okay!" Twin shouts of glee coming from the girls and they dived into filling out the forms.
Halfway through the girl's paperwork, Andrew spoke up while he held the cellphone to his ear, "Dad just approved the deal," he listened some more before adding, "He wants me to handle it since I'm in charge of this section."
Serena and Molly nodded, followed by another fifteen minutes of intense pencil-pushing before each gave back the job application forms,
"Good," Andrew accepted the forms from both girls before he took a form from a printer and put it down in front of the teenagers, "Here is the contract." The heads of the blonde and redhead touched as they read the form, carefully studying it before they each took turns signing it. When the blond young man put his signature on it, Serena and Molly bounced on their toes and hugged each other, not noticing the gasp coming from the bamboo bag being compressed between the two teens. "Why don't you two go see the place you just took responsibility for?"
With key in hand, Andrew led the two girls pass the bathrooms and down the hallway where the booths are, each with a number over the door. Upon entering the room with seven over the door, Molly blinked hard while Serena let out a squeal, "It's just like a Japanese one!"
Indeed, there was a huge and very expensive karaoke machine fixed to the left side of the room with a LCD monitor for various uses, from grading performances to watching videos to viewing television; in fact Serena spotted a keyboard under a monitor probably to allow the user to create their own music videos. Of course there are several cordless microphones,
each in their holder upon an oblong table located in the middle of the room, and finally the seating was a long curved sofa of bright blue upon black steel legs, the same style as the table. There were strobe lights located at each corner of the room with multiple-colored lens along with tall corner speakers. Following Molly further into the room, Serena felt her feet sink and looked down to notice the floor was covered by spongy white matt.
"The rubber matt is meant to make it easier to clean," Andrew answered Serena unspoken question, "and the walls and ceiling are covered with easy clean paint."
"The ceiling too?" Molly asked while she bent down to look closer at the brand name of the karaoke machine.
"You'd be surprised how high a drink can spatter or food thrown," a knowing tone coming from Andrew as he came up the rear. He paused for a half-a-minute before asking, "So how you like it?"
"It's groovy!" Serena bounced around in the middle of the room.
"I second the motion," Molly giggled at the blonde's enthusiasm, "can we use it now?"
"With all the paperwork done, I don't see why not," he motions at the surroundings before holding his hand out to the girls, "Welcome to the entertainment business."
"Thanks!" Serena shook his offered hand.
Molly shook Andrew's hand after Serena,, "So when is our first day of work?"
"Saturday, five p.m.," Andrew switched to a business-like tone, "I will need you to bring written permission from your parents and I'll need your measurements for your uniforms," a touch of a smile on his lips, "Dad likes to have his employees wear a custom made uniform so they can work in any part of the center."
"Gotcha, Boss Teach!" Serena nodded as she picked up one of the cordless microphones, "I'll be here with bells on my toes!"
Molly giggled a little more, "Same here..."
"Then I'll leave you two to get acquitted with your room," Andrew headed for the hallway, "Hopefully you guys can break the jinx."
"Me too," Serena shivered a little at the prospect; she really didn't want an accidental meeting with static shock.
Andrew was about to close the door behind him when he said, "Oh, the door doesn't have a lock so you should keep things in here PG unless you don't mind an audience."
Serena gave Andrew a hurt look while Molly groaned, "Andy!"
"You'd be surprise what teenagers think they can get away with here,"
Andrew closed the door.
There was a paused of activity in the room ended by Luna poking her black-furred head out of the bamboo bag hanging from Molly's arm, looking about, "So this is our new headquarters?"
"Yep!" Serena put her hands on her hips, "You like it?"
Luna hopped out of the bag with little effort, "It looks okay," she peeks under the sofa, "doesn't seem to be any rat droppings."
"Okay?" a letdown tone came from Serena, "Our headquarters is a teenager dream, Luna."
"Not mine, Serenity, I'm more into silk, goose feathers and oak," she went under the table, "this is like a Roman Consul visiting a German chieftain's camp in the wilds of the Black Forest after living in the Eternal City of Rome."
Serena muttered something about spoiled furballs while Molly covered her smile with her hand, then she cleared her throat before saying, "The karaoke machine is top of the line."
"Then we go to phase two," with those words Luna's form became an image of translucent sparkles, then it begun to grow, larger, fuller, and in a few heartbeats Luna is standing before Molly and Serena in her humanoid form, her long, tumbling curly black hair caused her porcelain skin to glow like moonlight. You could have heard a pin drop, so soundless the room, Serena felt so enchanted by Luna's beauty and the gasp from Molly's direction reflected the same feelings. Luna opened her eyes and checked out the canary yellow dress, "Do I look good enough to be mistaken for an American?"
Luna's professional tone pulled both girls out of their daze, "Eh... yes,
Luna," Molly answered.
Serena then spotted the oblong black case in Luna's dainty hands, "Is that the moon crystal you told us about, Luna?"
"Yes, Serenity," Luna walked over to the kaoroake machine, "although calling it a moon crystal does make it sound too much like a piece of magic than a complex scientific device," she put the oblong box on top of the entertainment center and opened it, "I just hope the different technological level of this," inside the box Serena and Molly saw a transparent eight-sided or octagon crystal that looked like it was built by smaller and smaller versions of itself until the last one was too small to see, "isn't too great to merge with this," she motioned at the what the box was sitting on.
"Only one way to find out, Luna," Molly sat down on the sofa and picked up the largest pillow she could find within reach, "what worse could happen than a city wide power outage."
At the mention of possible consequences, Serena realized they might have forgotten something, "Luna, what about the Fallen?" She looked deep into the Spirit Guide's golden eyes, "Could they detect the moon crystal power-up or trace its signal."
"No, when the sky kingdoms fell, their destruction also destroyed the culture the Fallen had used as their pawn, thus sending themselves along with human race back into the depths of ignorance and superstition," Luna looked away from the large crystal as if its existence was a reminder of a task left unfinished, "nor do the Fallen supernatural abilities give them the capacity to sense the creations of sky kingdom science," the glitter of her long polished fingernails showed her stroking the clear crystal, "but I am pleased you asked that question, Serenity, it shows you have an deductive mind." At this moment Luna turned to Molly, "What of you, Molly Eve? Once I active this ancient relic, there is no turning back for you either?"
Serena's baby blues flash with anger at Luna's question, thinking they had already gone over this subject the night before, but her own protest was stopped by a look from her redheaded friend. Molly smiled and faced Luna, "Luna, I know you think little of me as an aid in the holy war you are taking Serena...Sailor Moon into, but I do have a question for you."
Luna's long lashes flow as she blinked, "Which is?"
"Could it be by your stubborn reluctance to include me," Molly kept her voice soft, "you might be denying the destiny given to me by God?"
Serena smiled at the surprised look upon Luna's face, both knowing Molly was flinging back at the Spirit Guide the argument used on Serena to accept her destiny. Those amber orbs stared deep in emerald eyes before three words whispered, "Let it be."
Was it the words or Luna touching the moon crystal in a certain way?
Whichever was the cause a sparkling glow appeared in the center of the octagon object before the shine slowly spread to filling the transparent structure with a soft glow. Serena felt the hairs on the back of her neck raise at the soft sigh she heard at the crystal descended into the karaoke machine, seeming to pass into the device of plastic, silicone chips, wires and power supply. What followed was described on the local evening news as a brownout, a power flux of unknown origin causing the lengthy flickering of lights and the rebooting of many-many electrical devices. As to what the moon crystal was doing to the insides of the karaoke machine, Serena could only guess and a quick glance at Molly told the blonde her friend was wondering too. Only when beams of light came out of the corner strobe lights and converged in the center of the room,
the white incandescent core taking on a three-dimensional form of humanoid mass; a woman crowned with lunar bright hair. Only then Serena understood the transformation of the simple earth device. To Serena, the woman held the same embodiment of elegant femininity she saw in Luna. In the lost past some Michelangelo or Raphael created this image of the perfect female body, the clothes she wore looked like something from China's Chin Dynasty, colors of white and pale yellow with trappings of silver, yet the material so wispy it did nothing to hide the light brown tan of her full-figured body. Her eyes so blue even the upturned horned moon upon her forehead couldn't break the enchantment those pools reign in Serena's thoughts. In fact it wasn't until the teenager noticed what style the newcomer's hair was in that the spell broken.
"Luna!" Serena wheeled about on the startled Spirit Guide, "You told me I wasn't royalty!" She then pointed at the equally startled woman standing on the table, "Then why does her hair copy my hairstyle?"
"Serenity," Luna hissed as her own cat-ear buns flattened , "you are being impolite."
"Listen, furball," Serena leaned forward, "I want a better answer than one of my ancient ancestors was a refugee."
"Serenity, I would think your teenage shop-til-you-drop nature would recognize a trend when you see one," Luna leaned too, their noses almost touching, "and odango hairstyle was a trend half the women in the Moon Kingdom indulged in!"
A chime-like giggle cut off Serena's retort, "I see God has given us an interesting Sailor Moon." The white-haired woman turned and held her hand out to Molly, "Child, could you help me down?"
"Of course," Molly blinked out of her daze and took the hand with one of her own, blinking even more as she helped the lady to the floor, "Ooo...
I can feel you... but I thought you are a hologram."
"I am, child, it would take too much energy to solidify my body and it is not necessary at this point in time," she smiled gently at Molly and gave the redhead's hand a little squeeze, "what you feel is an electrical stimuli of the nerves in your hand."
Serena straightened while Luna's form shifted to her cat form and jumped onto the table, "Lady Selene, I am glad you are still functioning," a sigh of relief coming from the black animal, "your inactivity made me worried."
"Selene?" Serena knew that the use of the moon crystal was to make contact with what Luna described as a super computer existing under the ruins of the Moon Kingdom, at least a hope to make contact, "That name sounds familiar but the only Selene I know is the singer from Mexico."
"The name should be familiar to you, Lady Serenity, since it is the name of the Greek moon goddess as well as the name of the co-founder of the royal family of the Moon Kingdom, Selene Serenity." She giggled again at the hot glare Serena gave Luna, who rolled her amber eyes, "And yes, I have examined your DNA chain and family history," the depth of her blue crystal eyes made her look so wise, "and I have come to the conclusion your ancestor is from the Moon Kingdom with a 55 percent chance you are a surviving member of the royal family."
A shit-eating grin appeared on Serena's lips, a look of putting one over Luna, but then her eyebrows went up, "Examined?" The clogs spinning inside her blond head, "You were able to hack into the internet in the few seconds after Luna activated the moon crystal?"
Selene shook her head, "No, Lady Serenity, when you first used the transformation wand, it sent a sample of your DNA to me and I analyzed it."
"So you have been active since her use of the wand?" Molly asked, still holding the hologram's hand and marveling at the feel.
"I have been active since Sailor V was awakened," A sad expression appearing on Selene's ivory face as she looked down at Luna, "and I have come to understand you and Artemis have been having one of your differences of opinion on that subject."
Luna looked down, mortified, "Yes, Lady Selene."
"Please try to be patient with him, Luna," Selene slipped her fingers under Luna's chin and gently rubbed it, "both you and Artemis scored genius level on your scholastic tests but like most geniuses, you both have ideas on how to solve a problem."
"Geniuses..." Serena felt a little proud, having been selected by Luna.
Her baby blues gained a curious look, "Selene, can I ask some questions?"
She drew the attention of the black cat and the hologram, "I know we don't have much time today but there are a few things I'm curious about that I haven't asked Luna."
"I will answer your questions, Lady Serenity, but first," she turned her attention fully on Molly, "Lady Molly Eve Baker, I don't know why Lady Serenity let alone Luna are allowing you to be here, but I presume it is because you know who is Sailor Moon, correct?"
"Yes, I know Serena is Sailor Moon, she saved my life," Molly felt the weight of her words on her young shoulders, "but even more I want to help, I believe God is calling upon my generation to save the future and I can't let Sailor Moon and the other Sailor Scouts be the only answerers of that call."
"Your parents should be very proud of your decision, Lady Molly," Serena saw the air ripple between Selene's face and Molly's face, the hologram's eyes flashing sky blue followed by Molly's eyes glowing neon green,
It was a lightning move by Luna, her cat form going to her humanoid form in mid-air as she leaped from the table, sliding under Molly's falling body and let out an oaf as the redhead collapsed in her arms. Looking down at the shaking body in the Spirit Guide's embrace, Serena's own eyes flood with anger, "What did you do to MOLLY?"
Selene looked over her shoulder at Serena, "For Molly to use the wand given to her by Luna at maximum effectiveness, it was necessary to alter her body and DNA." The hologram knelt next to Luna, "Lady Molly, can you hear me?" A shaky nod came from the redhead, "You are now a Guardian,"
her pale hand reaches across raven-haired woman and strokes Molly's sweaty forehead, "your duty is to protect the secret identities of the Sailor Scouts and their families." Molly's expression changed from confusion to weak delight before her eyes close and her body relaxed against Luna, "She will sleep for a while as her body finish its transmutation." Selene turned back to Serena, "I'm sorry if my action was so abrupt but my source of power isn't infinite."
At seeing how sincere Selene was, Serena nodded and even smiled, "I think Molly would've been disappointed if you hadn't." She moved over to Luna and looped her arms around Molly's calves, "Let's put her on the sofa,
Luna." Luna nodded and helped to lay the redhead upon the sofa with the Spirit Guide's lap as a pillow. Serena then turned to Selene and she was about to ask the first of her questions when her gaze caused her shyness about the hologram's lack of underwear to kick in, "Eh... Selene," the blonde blushed, "could you make your clothes less see-through."
More chime giggles and in a blink of an eye Selene's clothes were solid in weave, "Now for your questions, Lady Serenity."
"Yeah..." Serena composed herself before asking, "Were the Spirit Guides created by God and how much have they and the Sailor Scouts changed over the centuries?"
"Yes, the Spirit Guides were created by God," Selene smiled at Luna, who gently combed Molly's crimson hair from her forehead, "and they have changed over the centuries just as the Sailor Scouts have," her voice was gentle, "some of the existing Spirit Guides are the offspring of unions between Spirit Guides, both Luna and Artemis are from such unions."
Serena's mind became more interested due to Selene's answer, "How many of the original Spirit Guides remain?"
A sad expression appeared on Selene's face, "Only three are left," her crystal blue eyes take on a distant look, "unlike the Sailor Scouts, the Spirit Guides are vulnerable to the contrary exposure of time and the continuous hunting of them by the Fallen," a spark of anger flicker in the hologram's eyes at the mention of the Fallen, "two of them you most likely will meet but the third one has withdrawn from the world, its grief at the lost of so many comrades and friends has left it unwilling to bear any more pain."
Sympathy stabbed into Serena's heart and to avoid more bad feeling, she turned her attention to another question, "Luna mentioned an earth kingdom used by the Fallen to bring about the destruction of the sky kingdoms."
"Yes, Pacifica, or at least that is how the name would be translated into your tongue, Lady Serenity," Selene raised her right hand, palm up, and a ten-inch blue globe appeared above it. "what remains of Pacifica you call Australia and Southeast Asia." Her tone once more becoming sad, "But Pacifica wasn't a desert or a chain of islands, it was once a land with an inland sea of immense size and freshness, immense forest of giant trees, high tech farms and cities built on artificial islands."
"Did the people of the sky kingdoms come from Pacifica?" Serena kept glancing down at Molly every so often.
"Yes at first, the drive exploration took the first people of Pacifica into space and to establish the first outposts upon the Moon and the planets," Selene nodded, "but the ebb-and-flow of politics and public attention upon these first settlements, forced these first astro-settlers to become independent and this self-efficiency drove their science."
"You mean Pacifica took for granted their colonies?" Serena guessed.
"Correct, Lady Serenity, they established settlements in what became China, Egypt and the Middle East, becoming involved in something similar to what happened here on this continent," Selene frowned, her voice showing disapproval, "the native population becoming servants, slaves and farmers for the Pacifica born rulers." The pale woman paused for a minute for her words to sink in before adding, "By the time Pacifica turned their focus back to space, those space colonies weren't any more, they were independent kingdoms, able to support each other as well as offer goods and services Pacifica could only get from them."
"What happened?" Serena had a bad feeling what the answer would be.
"A single pebble dropping into a pool." Selene glanced down at Luna, her eyes very sad, "The people of Pacifica and their leaders could barely stomach the idea that their neglect and hunger for new lands caused the space colonies to become the sky kingdoms. They couldn't understand why the people of the sky kingdoms and their leaders felt resentment at being maltreated by them," suddenly her tone turned icy, "but what really turned Pacifica's hubris attitude into anger and loathing, the pebble,
was the birth of the Sailor Scouts in the sky kingdoms."
Serena heard two gasps and sort for the source of the other, finding slits showing Molly's green eyes, "How you feeling, Molly?"
"Like I have a front row seat at a progressive heavy metal concert," her words groaned out more than spoken, "I think the drummer is using my skull."
Luna began to gently massage Molly's temples, "The transmutation can be very painful, Molly Eve," the Spirit Guide kept her a whisper, "I'm glad a headache is your only suffering."
"Thanks..." Molly let out a positive sound as Luna's fingers work their magic, her teenage eyes closing, "please... continue... Selene..."
"Alright," Selene smiled at the prone girl's pain being soothed by the loving care of the Spirit Guide. "To understand the outrage of the people of Pacifica at the birthing of the Sailor Scouts amongst the populous of the sky kingdoms, I will need to give you some religious background of the nation," her expression a little regretful, like she knew she was about to go into a subject most people find boring.
Serena sat at Molly's feet, looking up at the hologram, "Go on, Selene,
I'm actually curious about this subject."
"Very well but let me know when it gets too much for you," Selene cleared her throat, "The first book of what is called the Torah, Genesis, only contained a thimbleful of the early history of the religion given to Abraham by God, in some ways this was a second chance for the rebirth of direct worship of him by Adam and Eve and their descendants."
"A rebirth?" Serena interrupted, "Like how one of the names for God,
Elohim, is plural in Genesis?"
"Correct, Serena," Selene leaned against the table, "From the history of the Garden of Eden, Adam, Eve, their children, the Fallen and the Sailor Scouts, a religion grew where God wasn't worship directly, it was even considered a sin to even mention his name even in prayer, and so you had the development of a religion with God as a godhead while aspects of him was worshipped under different names."
"Sounds similar to what I saw in India," Serena's hands upon her knees,
"the Hindu's gods and goddesses representing different parts of the godhead."
"It reminds me of that dualistic religion of the Persians," Molly added weakly, keeping her eyes closed, "Zoroastrianism I think it's called."
"The religion of Pacifica remained monotheistic instead of becoming pluralistic or dualistic as what happened to those two religions,"
Selene's hands held the edge of the table, "but a major part of the religion was the worship of the Sailor Scouts as God's appointed protectors of the children of Adam and Eve."
"Like the worship of the saints and Mother Mary?" Serena's fingers squeeze her knees.
"Yes," Selene leaned a little forward when she spotted a frown on Serena's lips, "Is something wrong, Lady Serenity?"
Serena sighed, looking down a little, "I just don't like the idea of me being worshipped like those Sailor Scouts were," her frown deepened, "I can understand it happening, I've read several biographies of the saints so I sort of understand how it could happen," she shrugged a little, "I just don't see myself as saint material that's all, kind of makes me feel like a pretender, a fake."
Serena heard a soft, protested groan followed by a hand touching her shoulder. She looked up and found Molly had struggled to a sitting position, "Don't worry, Serena, I'm sure those saints thought the same thing."
"Really?" The bright-eyed surprise on Serena's part showed she didn't consider that possibility.
"Sure," Molly winced at the volume of her own voice, "besides I think Luna will keep your head from swelling up too much," she painfully looked over her shoulder at Luna, "right, Luna?"
"Right, Molly Eve," Luna smiled at Molly and then looked at Serena, "I will double my efforts to make sure Serenity won't get big headed."
"Jezz..." Serena grinned wide, "you guys are all heart..."
Serena couldn't finish her statement due to a knock on the door followed by a feminine voice, "Molly, are you and your friend still here?"
Serena's eyes go wide and she waves her hands to get everyone's attention, "We'll meet here tomorrow," she looked at Luna and then Selene, "Okay?"
Selene smiled and nodded, her form fading into nothingness, "We can begin your training then too."
Serena blinked at the idea of training and turned to Luna, but the Spirit Guide had already changed into her cat form and made a beeline to the bamboo bag. Molly got in a more comfortable position on the curved sofa,
saying feebly, "We're still here, Lizzy."
The door opened a crack and then was pushed slowly wide by a foot with Elizabeth carrying a tray with two ice cream sundaes, three scoops each with whip cream crowns and chocolate ribbons, "I'm glad you two are here," her brown eyes matching the cute smile upon her lips, "I wanted to treat both of you to a welcome aboard desserts."
Serena's smile turned into a big bad wolf grin, "I think my sweet tooth is going to like working here."
Molly giggled at the way Serena picked up the spoon and dug into her rich delicacy "Thank you, Lizzy, I hope you and Andy won't regret having us here."
"Of course not," Elizabeth tucked the tray under one arm, "you were the best kid I babysit, always ready to do your homework, take your bath and go to bed," her shoulder-length brown hair frosted with rusty red, "the only thing I think I'm going to have to worry about is your friend's bottomless stomach."
Molly and Elizabeth giggled while Serena winked, "Could be!"
Location: Room 222 Japanese Language Class, Juuban High School
Friday rolled around and by the first period class Serena was on pins-
and-needles. Her baby blues kept glancing over at Ami, the pale girl wearing another of her gothic creations: a violet English riding dress with equally dark purple leather knee boots, pale purple ruffles where the skirt ended just above her her ankles. The pale girl was typing away on her laptop, her bottomless blue eyes watching the teacher and seemed to be taking down the oral exercises when the students did them. Once the school bell rang, Ami slightly inclined her head when the blonde nodded to her. They both stood almost at the same time with Serena saying,
Takei-sensei, can we have a moment of your time?"
"Hai," the teacher's old eyes watched as Serena and Ami came to him.
Ami's expression remained aloof, making Serena a little nervous when she asked, "Me and Ami and a few of our friends and other students are going to start a Go club and we were hoping you would be our teacher supervisor."
Takei's expression became thoughtful as he took his time studying each girls face, "A Go club?"
"An all girls' Go club," Ami clarified, "I was a member of the chess club but found the male members lacking in maturity."
"They're a pain in the ass," Serena knew she wouldn't forget what those three boys did to Raye.
"The girl students here need a club where they can compete in an international game," a drop of acid in Ami's tone, "without harassment from boys."
Those eyes in Takei's Asian face hardened at the mention of the treatment experienced by Ami and Serena, "Hai, I can understand such occurrences,"
then a thin smile appeared on his lips, "so I will be your teacher supervisor for the Go club."
"Awesome!" a flash of a smile appeared on Ami's face at Serena's cheer,
her dark eyes saw the blonde pull a sheet from her backpack, "Takei-
sensei, do you think you could do something for the club?"
"Oh?" Takei blinked at Serena's eagerness.
"Yes," she handed the sheet to the teacher, "Me and a friend of mine worked on this flyer all night." The white sheet had a Go board as background with the printing overlapping, pleading for female students to join the club. "Could you use the school printer to run off some copies so we can spread them all over school and some of the hangouts?"
Takei took a moment before replying, "I believe this can be done,
Serena," a concern look appearing on his weathered face, "but have you thought of where you would like to have your first meeting? You might get more lookers than actually ones wanting to join so you might need a large meeting place." Both girls looked at each other before shaking their collective heads, "What about the old Levy Center ? The place is about one hour walk from the school."
Serena liked the idea but was a little worried, "Can we get it on short notice? I was hoping to have the first meeting Monday." She pointed at a spot on the flyer, "See, we left a spot where we can put the date, time and location."
"I'll call," Takei looked over the flyer, "and if it is available, which one of you should I page ?"
"Me," Serena touched her chest, "Ami is going to be the commander-in-
chief while I'm going to be an elite scout!" The grinned wide, looking back and forth at the thoroughly confused looks other two faces, it took a moment for her to realize what she said, "Ah...I mean Ami is going to be club president while I'll be club vice-president." The puzzled looks cleared so the petite teen added, giving the teacher a CD disk and a piece of paper with her cell phone number on it, "Will fifty copies be alright? I can get a few of our friends to help post them."
Takei nodded slowly before glancing at the wall clock, "You two better hurry to your next class. I will let you know soon about the hall."
"Takei-sensei ," both girls bowed and departed as befitted their personalities.
Location: Fountain Square, Lunchtime
Takei contacted Serena by cell phone to report the Levy Center would be available for the Go club recruitment meeting, even revealing the guy running the place was an old army buddy when the teacher was a three-
stripped sergeant in Vietnam. Serena smiled and turned to Ami and Lita,
"Well, it looks like we got our club up, I just hope there are enough girls here interested in Go to join."
"Don't worry, GF, I'll help you get those flyers out," Lita held a plastic container in one hand and a fork in the other, the aroma of black bean sauce arising from it, "which reminds me, how many playing sets do we have?"
"I have three sets I can donate to the club," Ami used chopsticks to daintily take a bite of piece of glazed roasted pork. She chewed slowly,
swallowing before saying, "This is very well done, Lita, the texture and taste is very much like pork."
"Yeah..." Serena picked up once more her share of their lunch, "I didn't know going vegetarian could taste so good!" She picked up her own fork,
pausing for a second to add, "I have three sets I can bring if Mom allows me to use her set."
"Ah... come on, sisters, you're turning my head," the wide smile and blush upon ebony cheeks showed Lita taking the compliments to heart. She used a moment to eat some of her food before she continued, "I hate to say this but if we really want our club's recruitment drive to work, we might try to get a popular girl to join," her expression showed she didn't like the idea herself, "while Ami is well-known she isn't popular,
you're totally new, Serena, and I'm a transfer from Saint Mary's so my rep is limited to those into women sports."
A frown appeared at the corners of Serena's mouth as she took a sip of her milk, she knew Lita was right and with her hand coming down , she spotted a tight knot of girls sitting at a stone bench and table on the other side of the square from where the threesome sat, "Hmm... maybe one of those girls would like to join."
Lita looked over her shoulder while Ami looked around the tall redhead.
Those emerald eyes belonging to the tall teenager spotted each girl of the group wearing a canary yellow ribbon in their hair. "Go get them,
GF," Lita grinned very wide.
Serena was too eager in getting into her backpack to noticed Ami's mild puzzlement nor the wink Lita gave the goth girl. Molly helped her print out several copies of the flyer so the blonde pulled out one of them,
scribbling in with a black marker the time, date and location of the first meeting, "I'm off!" Her first stride carried her from her friends,
a nod from Ami and Lita trying to cover her grin with a fork loaded with food was their response. The odango blonde noticed the yellow hair ribbons the girls sported and she even spotted the very baggy white knee socks they wore, what many viewers of anime mistaken for leg-warmers wore by Japanese school girls, but her keenness to get her feet wet in this venture kept her going. "Excuse me?" Those yellow-ribboned girls turned to face her and while the curious looks from some of them was something the petite girl expected, it was the hostile looks, bordering on possessiveness, which caught her off-guard, causing her to take a step back, "Ah..."
"Yes, can I help you?"
The voice echoed inside of Serena's memories, coming out of the blinding fog of pain and loathing she experienced two days before, a feminine quality yet brash, boyish in tenor. The rampaging of emotions left Serena's voice as fragmented as she felt inside, "Would...would you..."
"Girls, please part."
A name, Serena could remember there was a name connected to that voice.
What was it? Was it...was it...Alex? The girls gave the odango blonde a wary look, very reluctant to move, the wall of blue jeans, skirts,
blouses, shirts, flesh and colorful hair opened slowly to reveal a figure sitting with a stone table before her. It took a moment for Serena to really see the person seated there, a face of healthy continents, very short blond hair in a sporty style, high cheekbones, prominent nose,
gentle lips and a Kirk Douglas cleft chin. The faded green shirt looked old, baggy, washed often, covering her shoulders and arms with the rest of her body hidden by the table and the lunch boxes and bottles covering it. There seemed to be a staring match between the two blondes before a clearing of a throat got Serena to say, "You are... Alex Kennedy?"
A manly smile appeared on the person in question, "Yes, and you are the one I carried to the nurse's office a couple of days ago," amusement in those blue eyes, "Serena, right?"
The feelings Serena experienced being carried upon Alex's back, how nice it felt being carried by a supple yet muscled body, the flowing gait of the run from the gym to the nurse's office, but then she saw the looks of some of the girls standing around Alex go from hostile to green-eyed jealousy and a couple of them even looked like they were about to burst into tears. These daggers of negativity Serena was getting from them burst her bubble, causing her to hold up the Go club flyer by the upper corners, acting like she was trying to hide behind it, "Eh... Alex... do you think your friends might like to join a Go club?"
Questioning looks spread over the girls faces but not Alex, who folded her arms and leaned back, "A Go club? Interesting, but why just my friends?" Alex glanced around at all the roses surrounding the seated youth , "Why not me?"
"Umm..." Serena didn't want to insult Alex, not after what the youth had done for her, "you see..." she shook the flyer like a bullfighter does his cape, "it's a girl's only club."
"Oh?" Alex smiled a little wider, "Then I say again, why not me," she held her hands out, palm up, "I'm a girl after all?"
Jaw-dropping shock plastered upon Serena's face, triggering a cascade of giggles from all the girls around Alex, the odango blonde was even sure she heard Lita's high-pitched laugh, making the girl shut her mouth with a loud click and her cheeks rosy. Then she noted Alex had stealthily unbuttoned her shirt when she unfolded her arms, the rumpled slit between the folds of cloth revealed what look like a sport bra and the slight valley between the breasts hinted at the smallest mounds she ever saw on someone of Alex's age. When the laughter faded, the short-haired blonde licked her lips, "It's okay, kitten, almost everyone thinks I'm a boy when they first meet me and I sort of get a kick out of how long it takes someone to find out the truth," her blue eyes glitter, "it can get even more funny if they meet my twin brother."
Brother? Twin? Serena blinked several times before she made the connection, "Gilbert?"
Serena was really surprised when Alex slowly clapped her hands,
displaying fingers with blunt, unpainted fingernails, "I see someone has told you about me and my brother," those sapphire eyes looking behind Serena, "Did you, Alithea?"
"Nope," Serena glanced over her shoulder to find Lita standing close enough for the petite girl's left shoulder to almost touch her tall friend's very ample chest, "and Alex, its Lita."
The teeth in Lita's correction reminded Serena of the last exchange between the two athletic girls so to head off another such an encounter,
the teenager asked, "So, Alex, you want to join our Go club?"
"I don't know, kitten," Alex ruffled the back of her head, "I'm involved in women sports and I'm on several of the boys practice squads," Serena noticed a hoodedness in the lean blonde's gaze, a pretense to reluctance, "so I'm not really sure I'll have the time."
Serena nibbled her lower lip, already believing she knew a way to get Alex to join, if Molly was right about what the Kennedy twins were doing,
"How about a kiss from me, Alex?" She noticed the boyish girl's relaxed look slip a little, "It would be my first kiss."
"Holy Shit!" Lita's shout caused Serena to cringe, making her look even smaller next to the tall mass of black, "GF, he's ...she's not worth your first kiss!" Lita waved dismissively at the grinning butch blonde. Serena noted the mixed reaction of the girls around Alex, the temperature of jealousy going up for some while others having expressions of envy.
Alex stood up, her kaki pants so baggy that only her wide black belt around her narrow midriff kept them up, "First kiss eh?" Serena couldn't miss the way those sapphire's eyes was scrutinizing her as if she was in her birthday suit, "Probably means you don't know how to even pucker right."
Pride. There was so many things Serena knew she couldn't do, she wasn't sure about being Sailor Moon despite the support coming from Molly, Luna and now Selene, but there was a few things she thought most girls should be able to do naturally. She heard a huff coming from Lita, "Full of yourself aren't you, Alex," she felt a hand, probably Lita's, touch between her shoulder blades, the ebony youth continued, "forget this..."
Nope, that wasn't in the odango blonde's plan, which was made clear when she deliberately stepped forward, Lita's hand slipping from her back,
pushing through the girly crowd to leave her nose to chest with the boyish girl.
'Jesus H. Christ, how tall is she?' Serena's eyes went wide. Alex stood head and shoulders above the groupies around her, taller by a good eight inches than Lita , and here she was, four feet eleven inches of bouncy blondness, having to look up at what she found to be a very fine-looking face, even bishonen in an anime way if it wasn't for the fact Alex was a girl, 'She does have a twin brother and all of those other brothers and only one sister, maybe that's the reason she looks so much like a boy?'
A smirk lined Alex's lips, her eyes seeing Serena standing so close to her, seeming to hesitate. She turned her head, her legs binding slightly as she began to lean down, "Virgins, got me doing all the..." the boyish girl didn't even get a chance to look surprised when Serena stood on her toes, wrapped her arms around Alex's neck and yanked her head down into a smothering kiss.
Serena was using everything she could remember from watching movies all those winter nights up in the Yukon, all those black-and-white classics with the passionate kisses, because she wanted to make Alex eat her own words. She meshed her lips against those other lips, slowly turning her head to rub her mouth against the other mouth. She was even feeling a little giddy at catching Alex by surprise, but she was also enjoying the feel of the short hair her right fingers comb through, enjoying the light scent of jasmine coming from her skin. It was only when she felt Alex responding, feeling those lips opening against her lips and the tip of a tongue licking just the inside of her mouth, did Serena break the kiss off. Serena couldn't miss the looks and sounds of dismay coming from the groupies, and then there was a dazed look on Alex face, the expression causing Serena to gasp out, "How...this...virgin...do?"
Alex licked her lips, tasting the apricot flavoring of Serena lipstick smeared there, taking her time to recover her senses from the soft yet firm assault upon her butch nature, "I'll say you got basics down pat..."
a lopsided smile appearing, "you're going to be scary after you get a some more lip locks under your belt."
Serena giggled while Alex looked about her, "Alright, girls, it looks like I'm joining the Go club," she pulled out a plain white handkerchief , "anyone coming with me?" Serena gawked when all of the groupies raise their right hand, despite the jealous or envious looks they were giving the odango blonde. Alex bent down and picked up the flyer from where Serena had dropped it, "So when are the rest of the flyers going to be ready?"
"Oh... eh... I'm suppose to pick them up from Mr. Takai after school,"
the effects of the kiss was starting to catch up with Serena, her cheeks blushing at all the envious and outraged attention she was getting, "at the school office...fifty copies."
Alex nodded and lifted her eyes to the group, saying, "You heard her,
girls, we meet at the school office after school," to Serena there was a charismatic quality to the boyish girl's pose, "I'm sure we can distribute fifty copies without any trouble," her tenor voice strong,
The outburst from the girls around Alex caused Serena to back up quickly,
her eyes blinking as she felt her backside bump into another, obvious feminine body. Two hands clamped onto her small shoulders and slowly turn her around. She wasn't really surprised to see it was Lita moving her with those strong ebony hands. She half expected a disapproving look on her tall friend's face, Serena having used her first kiss to bribe Alex and kissing a girl on top of that. Instead she saw two green pools rippling with humor which matched her words, "So this is what happens to sisters who live in the land of the midnight sun?"
The moon was barely bigger than Serena's baby blues , vigorously shaking her head as her mouth rapid-fired,
"I was just teasing, Serena," a few muffled, flustered sounds came from the petite blonde, "Ami told me about the contest," Lita kept her hand flat to Serena's mouth as the blonde look to one side and saw the goth girl had joined them, "so we're cool, GF."
Serena nodded and Lita's hand dropped from the blonde's lips, allowing the petite girl to pout, "Am I so black and white?"
"Is Martin Luther King Jr. black ?" Lita chuckled softly before she looked at Alex, "You heard her, Alex?"
"Too bad, she going to melt her future boyfriend's lips," Alex shrugged but Serena noticed the girls around the boyish girl weren't disappointed.
Then the short-haired blonde moved forward and gave Serena a hug around the shoulders with one arm, "Of course we can be friends," her eyes were shifting to Lita, "with your permission, Lita?"
"My permission?" Lita's hands coming to rest on her hips covered by her old pleated skirt.
"I saw the pitbull stare you gave me," Alex's face was alite with good humor, "one false move on my part and I might have found myself flying without wings."
"Eh?" Serena turning so she could face both tall girls.
"You probably haven't had a chance to notice how calloused your friend's hands are or feel the killer handshake but I have, kitten," Alex's teeth flashed in the sunlight, "That's not from just women's sports either."
"Pitbull eh?" Lita frowned at first but it melted into a grin, "I do know judo, Big Sister," then her eyes glittered like gems, "and if you or your bro even try to kiss me, I'd be happy to give you a demonstration."
A hearty laugh came from Alex, "Okay-Okay," she lifted her hands in mock surrender, "I get the message, no kiss-kiss for Lita from myself or my brother," one of her hands did come down to rest on the back of Serena's neck, "maybe one of these days I can invite you two to my home and you can meet my family," her gaze shifted to Ami, "you can come too, Miss Shabon."
"Unfortunately, Miss Kennedy, with my busy schedule of school, study and club activity, I prefer any social activity to stay at a minimum," Serena blinked at the cool words coming from the girl genius, "besides I believe your twin brother has yet to forgive me for what happened to his bicycle."
"Bicycle? Oh..." Serena remembered the Melvin-Molly-Ami exchange about the boy's science project.
"Dad was really impressed how you expertly disassembled Gilbert's bike down to its individual parts without any sign of damage to them," Alex bowed slightly to Ami, "he even wondered if you might be interested in becoming a Mechanical Engineer?"
"I did it to remind you and your brother there are limits to this contest you two are indulging in," Ami ignored Alex's compliment, "which is why I left the note there with suggestions."
"And we took to heart your suggestions, Miss Shabon, as well as the hint from the sight of the pile of metal," Alex motioned her head at her groupies, each one of them displayed either confusion, insight, jealous,
envy, amusement or a mix of any of the above, "especially the one about us becoming sport stars."
"Both you and your brothers are exceptional physical specimens," Ami speaking like a professor, "especially you, Miss Kennedy, despite lacking an extra male chromosome, your female body is sixty percent male."
Pressure came from Alex's hand upon the back of Serena's neck, the petite blonde could feel the tension radiating off of boyish girl, realizing that Alex found the issue of her gender a sore spot, "Hey, let's stop all this Miss Kennedy-Miss Shabon stuff," Serena moved out of giantess' grip,
looking at Alex and then Ami, "we are all going to be members of the Go club so bury the hatchet and start anew." The odango teen skipped behind Ami and without asking she hooked the pale girl's elbows, pushing her friend into Alex's shadow, "Ami this is Alex," her voice almost purring,
"I don't know much about her but she does seem to be a good person from a large family," Then her baby blues look up at the short-haired blonde,
"Alex, this is Ami," a big time smile on her lips, "she is really smart and her fashion sense is the cat's meow !"
These are small words to compare with what Serena saw in those eyes belonging to Ami and Alex, both of them forced out of their cool or charming shells by a girl with a unique hairdo, for a moment they felt vulnerable and Serena could sense it. She took hold of both of their right hands and press the palms together, "Come on, buds, we're too young to act like this." For a long moment Serena held her breath, wishing she could cross-her-fingers yet not wanting to let go of the hands. Finally she saw a ghost of a smile on Ami's black-painted lips while Alex's cheeks turn the color of sunset. Serena internalized her hooray when her hands felt the hands in her grip tighten and slightly shook.
"Looks like we got no choice... Ami," Alex's smile returned, shook Ami's hand a little firmer before letting go.
"Indeed... Alex," Ami's mask was back in place and her gaze turned from one blonde to another blonde, "Serena, is this your way of showing your displeasure of what happened with the chess club?"
"Displeasure?" Serena gawked at Ami, shocked so bad she let go of the two hands, "Well...eh... I wasn't happy thinking you might have steered me and Lita into that situation," the odango blonde was looking everywhere except to Ami and the others, "and I wasn't happy with what happened to Raye because of it," her baby blues returned back to Ami's dark eyes,
"but it's not the reason for this, Ami." A gentle expression on her lips,
"Maybe it's too early to say this, but I...I would like us four here to be friends," she slowly looked at Lita, Alex before returning to Ami, "I know I really don't know much about you three but each of you have helped me beyond what strangers would do. Lita is such a nice person, a great cook and I feel safe when she is with me. Alex helped me to the nurse's office when my nose got smashed due to my own fault and she didn't have to let me use her kissing contest on her or honor the agreement but she did. Then there is you, Ami..." Serena hesitated for a second before she squared herself in front of the goth girl, "I must appear like some mental midget to you, but at the same time I think you are so special, so much so I feel like I have to find a way to have you as a friend and a friend for my friends." Serena knew she was taking a gamble with Ami, but she remembered what Raye told her yesterday, about the pale messenger shrouded in wings of ice. She was sure the rider was Ami not only because her complexion but also the symbolism of the messenger as being part of the myths surrounding Mercury as the messenger of the gods. She was also sure the reference to wings of ice meant Ami could be one of the Sailor Scouts, which one she didn't know since she hadn't asked Luna nor Selene specifically about each scout.
There was murmur of sound rippling through Alex's groupies but neither Alex nor Lita said anything, both seem to sense what Ami would say outweigh anything they could say right now. Ami seemed to notice the waiting. To the petite blonde those eyes were animated, relishing the attention in her aloft demeanor. Finally rising her right hand so the back of her fingers could gently stroke the back of Serena's left hand,
"I have never had anyone ask me to be their friend."
Serena nodded and gently took Ami's soft fingers in her left hand, "You told me," giving them an affectionate squeeze before letting them go,
"and I hope you can forgive any miscues on my part." Before anyone else could add anything the school bell rung, telling the end of lunchtime,
Serena saying, "Oops... looks like anything more we'll have to save for later!" Each nodded and the group scattered to what was left of their lunches and their backpacks.
Location: Girl's Gym
Was it Volleyball Demon Two being played? Serena was starting to get that kind of feeling and it all seem to start the moment Lita, Serena and Ami stepped out of the locker room and into girl's indoor gym, "Return!"
A white and black-stripped ball was coming down out of the heavens, the shout giving Lita enough time to form her arms and hands into the classic position in front of her bent legs, shooting the ball back up into the air and when it came down. It was caught by the person who sent it up there in the first place, Mina. "Nice return, Lita-kins," the red hair-
ribboned girl complimented as she walked around the volleyball net, "your form was perfect."
Lita gave Mina a long look before replying, "We missed you yesterday,
A soft giggle came from Mina, "Got involved in the family business," but then she spotted Serena coming from behind the redhead, "Jolly Good, you are here, Serena-kins," she tossed underhand the volleyball to Lita, who easily caught it, while the pony-tailed blonde took hold of both of the petite blonde's hands, "I wanted to apologize to you for ringing your bell."
"Its...its alright...eh...Mina isn't it?" Serena was a little confused by the -kins being attached to her name, "It was my fault more than yours. I was having a really bad blonde day."
Lita blinked as she looked over the white orb at the two blondes holding hands, faces so close together, "You know, Ami," she whispered as the pale girl came up her left side, "I wonder if Serena and Mina are distantly related."
"I agree, Lita, except for their accents and slang usage, their voices are very alike," Ami whispered back as she glanced across the gym and spotted Alex with her twin brother, once more playing basketball in the far corner, "Speaking of twins, I see our gym teacher is keeping Alex separate from the rest of the class."
"I wonder why?" Serena asked as she continued to hold Mina's hands.
"You don't know the answer?" Mina blinked at Serena, "I would think Ami-
kins would've clued you in by now?" Her grip on Serena's hands pulled the odango blonde forward as she stepped back, "You must not be a sport fan."
"Sports? Well... I didn't watch many sports up in the Yukon," Serena looked questioning at the other girls, "except for some of the anime sport series like Princess Nine and Slam Dunk."
Lita looked a little surprise at the glee coming from Mina and the bored look coming from Ami, "if I remember correctly, Alex said she was into girl's sports."
"And the girl wins a biscuit!" Mina let go of Serena so her right fist could punch the volleyball up out of Lita's grip so ponytail blonde could catch it once more, "While her brother Gilbert is a great American football receiver and a good point guard in basketball, Alex is simply astonishing," her crystal blue eyes burn with excitement, "basketball,
volleyball, track and field, you name the sport and she can ace it."
Serena gawked at Mina, "Wow..." her baby blues turn to watch Alex and Gilbert, "is that why Alex is on those boy's practice squads? Because she is good enough to play with them?"
"On the snoop, Serena," Mina toss the black-strapped ball with spin,
catching it upon right index finger, "I'll bet my last schilling Alex will probably make it to the next Olympics, she broke all kinds of records for her age group in junior high and will the do the same thing now she is in high school."
"In other words our P. E. Teacher sees Alex as a professional while we are the amateurs," Ami's dark eyes mirror the stillness of her voice,
"she doesn't want Alex presence to cause any problems."
"Righty-O!" with a flick of her right hand she sends the volleyball up and begins to bounce it repeatedly with the top of her head, "Except I'm... the professional...Alex is a...superstar."
Serena studied the twins but then an odor hit her nose, not able to stop from wrinkling her little nub of flesh and cartilage, "Peu...what's that smell?"
Lita blinked and took a sniff, "It smells like someone burnt a loaf of bread."
"Strange," Ami took a step forward, turning her head from side to side,
"It seems to be getting..."
"Oh! It looks like class is about to begin!" Mina rolled the ball off her head but fumbled catching it with her right hand, "See you tots later!"
The three girls watched Mina trot away, yet Serena thought she heard the ponytail blonde mumble, "Bugger shampoo... five times... bloody five times."
"That girl has some issues," Lita frowned just before the sound of the teacher's whistle.
"At least she did apologized," Serena commented as the three went over to where everyone was gathering around MacClean.
Location: Heaven's Crown Center
"There!" A big grin framed upon Serena's face, her baby blues looking at the poster she just pinned up on the public message board at the center.
She felt really proud of her accomplishment. She didn't realize when she roped in Alex that she would get the superstar's posse in the bargain.
Sure, she did expect a popular girl like Alex would give the club much needed publicity and get a few more students interest in joining, but she didn't expect the mob she found at the admin room, standing with Alex and a surprised Takai. Luckily the teacher printed up more posters when he saw the group arriving.
"That's not a good idea you know."
It couldn't be!
Serena turned on a dime to find herself face-to-face with Darien,
"You..." the word loaded with venom.
"You do you know this little ego trip of you and your friends," there was a stoic look on Darien's features, "is going to put all you chickens in one coop for a fox to raid."
"Is that so," Serena stalked over to where Darien was leaning against the gift display for the arcade center, "for your information we girls don't need macho brats to take care of us."
"Do all girls from Canada act this way," Serena noted Darien was still dress in formal wear, the black tux, "or just the blonde ones?"
Serena's baby blues flash but she gets no farther, "So I see Darien is getting to know you better, Serena," Serena jumped when Andrew comes out of the arcade and stood behind the counter, the young man already switched from his professor's clothes to the theater uniform.
Serena waved one hand at Darien as if she was trying to shoo him away,
"Andy, Why is he here?"
"I work here," hard black beads are Darien's eyes.
"What?" Serena's eyes narrow at the smug expression she was getting from the raven-haired male, "When did he become the curse of my life?"
Andrew chuckled, "Actually Darien has been working here since he graduated from high school," the paper towel he was cleaning his hands hit the garbage can, "that is when the orphanage gives you your walking papers and tell you to take care of yourself."
"Orphanage?" the fire inside of Serena immediately cooled. Her eyes glanced at Darien, seeing an irritate look on his handsome face, like he didn't like hearing Andy playing the pity card for him. That look got Serena to say, "Well, didn't they teach Mister Black there any manners?"
Was that a half-smile on Darien's face? "They taught me to use my head,
Buns," nah, it must have been a mistake Serena concluded, "better than any pair of parents could."
Serena scowled at Darien before she turned her attention to Andrew, "Bad enough I have to see him at school, now I have to see him here," she pouted, "next you know he will be haunting my dreams."
Andrew chuckled, "Darien is our bookkeeper so you shouldn't see him unless Dad has a massive sickout," he clasped his hand on the young man's shoulder, "then you see him down here helping."
"May I not see the day," Serena muttered only to catch the sound of someone coming in and turned, "Molly!" the odango blonde brightened considerably and trotted over to her friend, giving the redhead her one remaining flyer, "They liked your design."
"Our design, Serena," she has the heavy bamboo bag with her. "Do you think your Go club is going to take off?"
"It already has," Serena clasped the back of her neck, "I got Alex Kennedy to join the club and all of his groupies followed on his... her heels," she giggles nervously, "and all I had to do is give him I mean her, one little kiss."
Molly covered her lips as she giggled, "At least this time the masher had to give something to get something."
Serena giggled more, "Why didn't you tell me Alexandra was female?"
"Just to see your reaction when you first met her," Molly's expression turning a little serious, "but you do know she was the one who carried to the nurse's office the other day?"
"I know, I remembered her voice," Serena began to lead the redhead down to the karaoke booths.
"Good afternoon, Molly," Andrew waved while Darien stood like stone next to his friend, "You well enough to work your first day here?"
"I'm not skipping school on purpose, doctor's orders," Molly showed the tip of her tongue to the male blonde, "I just glad me and Serena have some of the same classes and Melvin comes over with the rest of my school work."
As soon as the two girls are out of earshot, Serena said, "Speaking of keeping secrets from me, what about that guy Darien working here?"
Now Molly sweat-dropped, "Ah... I knew if you knew he worked here, you wouldn't accept my idea of this being the Sailor Scouts headquarters."
"You're right," Serena grinned as she opened the down to room seven, "so I'll forgive you this time."
"Don't talk so childish, Serenity," a voice came from the bamboo bag,
"you know as well as I do, you would have still agreed to use this place," out of the item leaped out Luna as soon as Molly entered the room, "this decision is too logical even for you to deny."
Eyebrows touching the bridge of her nose, Serena closed the door, "Watch out, Luna, I'll see to it Andy makes you this place official rat catcher."
"Hunt those awful flea-ridden rodents?" Luna looked like she was about to caught up a hairball, "Your hair buns are wring too tight."
Molly giggled but Serena's retort was cut off when chime giggles echo in the room and a human-sized globe of light appeared next to the sofa, "I see everyone is doing well today." The orb condensed and took on the continents of Selene, those blue eyes full of mirth, "Are Serena and Molly ready to begin their training?"
"Training?" stereo voices coming from Molly and Serena with the petite blonde adding, "Well... before we get going with that I do have some good news."
"Oh?" Luna jumped onto the table and turned around to face her charge,
"What kind of good news?"
"I've found two other Sailor Scouts," Molly grinned wide while Selene smiled sweetly. On the other hand Luna gave the blonde a hard look, which caused Serena to add, "At least I pretty sure they are Sailor Scouts."
"Who are they, Serena?" Molly asked, "Do I know them?"
Serena sat on one of the sofa's armrest, "One of them you do, Molly," she put her book bag on the floor between her bent legs, "They are Ami Shabon and Raye Perez."
Molly let out a whistle, "Ami... I can see her as a Sailor Scout," she rubbed her chin with one forefinger as she sat next to Serena, "She is a out-of-this-world type of girl already."
Serena smiled at Molly's estimation of Ami, nodding, "Raye Perez goes to Saint Mary's, plans to be a nun and is a friend of Lita."
"Which Sailor Scouts do you think these two are?" The way Luna asked the question made it clear that she was testing Serena's skill of observation.
A funny look appeared on Serena's face as she thought, "I'm not really sure... Raye seems to have prophetic visions and mentioned seeing, 'a pale rider cloaked in wings of ice'."
"If you have seen Ami's pale skin," Molly looked at Luna, "and felt her icy personality, you'd know that description would fit her to a tee."
"There are two Sailor Scouts who have water as their primary element,
Sailor Mercury and Sailor Neptune," the other three turned to listen to Selene, "as for prophetic visions, there are many who can have the ability to see the future. That alone would not be enough to deem on a Sailor Scout."
"Raye told me she had been waiting for me... for Sailor Moon to come and help save everyone..." Serena's shoulders fell a little as the burden of her words weigh on her, "she healed my nose after it got smashed in PE."
"Healed?" Luna's eyes wide before they narrowed, "Serenity, you let me think your nose wasn't broken," those orbs narrow more, "like you did your parents."
"She is already a Catholic priest," Serena decided to bypass Luna's outrage, admitting, "so her healing powers and prophetic visions might come from there," some passion returned to her words, "but Raye also has seen the Fallen in her visions."
Selene's translucent eyebrows went up, "There are two Sailor Scouts who have the gift of prophecy, Sailor Mars and Sailor Neptune, each drawing upon the power of sight their element has, fire and water."
Luna nodded at Selene's words before turning back to Serena and Molly,
"Is there anyone else who might qualify to be a Sailor Scout? Anyone who seems to feel special to you, Serenity."
"Jezz..." Serena's expression became more studious, "there's Lita of course, I feel safe and protected when I'm with her. Alex Kennedy might be but nothing's there to say yes or no about her..." then he eyes light up, "but there is one of the school councilors, Wynona Tempus, she sends off a lot of strange vibes."
This brought Molly's eyebrows up, "You mean more than just the way she dressed?"
"She has two pet ravens and the perch she has for them looks really strange," Serena nodded, "the crossbeams look like my hair and the face in the middle doesn't look Native-American."
Luna licked one of her forepaws but then she looked up at the mention of the perch, "A crossbeam? Does this perch look like a cross?"
"Yes..." Serena closed her eyes, trying to remember what the perch looked like, "the pole looked like a tree... an old... ancient tree... each side of the face had a hair bun like mine... there were images... birds and squirrels... in the crossbeam."
Luna's expression showed she was listening carefully to Serena's words before she looked over her shoulder at the white lady, "What do you think, Selene?"
"The Tree of Redemption," Selene rested her elbows on her knees and her chin on her fingers, "one of the few symbols besides the title, Defender of the Faith, to survive the destruction of Pacifica and the sky kingdoms," a soft sadness to her voice, "later the symbolism connected with it merged with those symbolisms surrounding the Cross of Christ. You can see the same symbolism surrounding the Norse myths associated with World Tree, Yggdrasil."
"Yggdrasil?" Serena's baby blues blink several times, "I watched an anime series where the name of a world supercomputer was called that," she smiled a little, "even had a three girls who were goddesses and a young man who was a boyfriend to one of them."
Luna rolled her eyes, "Focus, Serenity, focus. We don't have time for your pop culture."
Molly giggled as did Selene before the redhead asked, "So Miss Tempus having this ancient symbol in her office might mean she is connected to the Sailor Scouts or Pacifica or both?"
"Could be," Luna answered along with a thoughtful look, "but we are going to need more evidence before we can be certain." Then the black cat smiled as much as a cat can, "Good work, Serenity, I'll checkout Ami and Raye."
The sun couldn't have glowed as bright as Serena's smile thanks to Luna's compliment, "Thanks!" It was followed by a more subdued look as her vision shifted to the holographic image, "Selene, could you tell us more about the Sailor Scouts? Luna told us the Sailor Scouts of the sky kingdoms were different from the way they were on Earth when they protected Adam and Eve from the Fallen."
Selene nodded to Serena's question and with a wave of her left hand, a cup and saucer with stream rising from it appeared in her right hand,
"That is correct, Lady Serena. The first appearance of the Instrument of Peace and her guardians were in the form of angels, and the people of Pacifica saw them as protectors of mankind and built temples to worship them," she brought the cup up to her lips, taking a little sip, "the Instrument of Peace and the Sailor Scouts were worshipped and looked upon as physical manifestation of God's Will," she rubs the edge of the cup against her full pale lips, "so you can imagine the shock and outrage amongst the population of Pacifica with the rebirth of the Sailor Scouts occurred not on Earth but in the realm of the sky kingdoms."
"A real kick in the gut?" the curiosity of watching Selene drink could be seen in Molly's green eyes.
Selene smiled over the cup, "The real kick in the gut as you say, Lady Molly , was the fact the Sailor Scouts were fighting the Fallen on Earth while they lived in the sky kingdoms," another sip from her cup, "and when they died, they were reincarnated within each of the Royal Families of the sky kingdoms."
"So the Instrument of Peace was born as Sailor Moon of the Moon Kingdom?"
Serena piped in.
"Very close to the truth, Lady Serena," whatever the hot liquid was in the cup, it seemed to be relaxing Selene. "In a vision sent to Queen Selenity, God told her the Instrument of Peace would be born to the House of the Moon and be known as Sailor Moon . She would be raised with love and taught to carry on her duty as protector of mankind from the Fallen,"
once more the warm liquid filled her mouth, "each of the Queens of the sky kingdoms received the same vision, each was told a Sailor Scout would be born into their Royal Family."
"So each of the Sailor Scouts are named after the sky kingdom they came from?" Molly wetted her lips.
"It was more than that, Lady Molly, it was also the merging of their angelic powers with the elemental life force of the planet as well," with a simple flick of her fingers the cup and saucer disappeared, "For instance, Sailor Mercury was the Sailor Scout of Ice but she also represented healing, travel and in its darker elements, she also represented thievery and trickery."
Serena's baby blues became like saucers, "Ami is going to become a thief?"
Chime giggles came from Selene's lips which caused the odango blonde to realize her leg just got pulled, "No, your friend isn't going to become a thief," it didn't help with Luna snickering at her too, "but it is possible as each Sailor Scout is awaken, their powers and abilities will take on new parameters, some cosmetic, some major, due to the nature of your present world."
At the mention of change, Serena was reminded of something, "Selene, you said you had to change Molly's DNA so she could use her Disguise Pen to its full power. Is that also true of the Sailor Scouts," she licked her lips nervously, "will we change too?"
"Yes, Lady Serena, your body as well as the bodies of the other Sailor Scouts will change even when you are in your human guises," a gentleness to the moonlight lady's words as she stood, "even from the time you were born, each of you are physically unique from other humans." With grace she walked over to Serena and knelt at the surprised blonde's feet, "You and the others had to be, not only because of the divine powers within your souls but also the elemental powers sealed within your flesh and bones," her shimmering gown pools around her and Serena's feet, "without the metamorphosis caused by becoming a Sailor Scout, your human bodies would burnout."
To Serena it felt like everything inside of her had gone as silent as the room around her, "Would... would I have died... if... if I hadn't become Sailor Moon?" her own voice sounded so loud in her ears.
"No, you wouldn't have died, Lady Serena," Selene put her hand on Serena's right knee, "but you wouldn't have lived a normal life," the hand was so cool upon the blonde's warm skin, "and if the Fallen had found you, they would have made you their creature."
Shudders ran through Serena body, from the corners of her eyes she could see Molly going very pale but there was a horrible sadness in Luna's eyes, a more muted version in Selene's crystal blue eyes, "Did... did it happen before?"
This time it was Luna who answered, "Yes, Serenity, it did," her black head drooped down, "Sailor Saturn... there was something wrong with her mother, inside the head. When Sailor Saturn was born, her mother took the child and fled from the Cassiel Court on Titan, one of the moons of Saturn."
"Didn't anyone stop her?" Serena blurted out.
"The court knew about Queen Hadassah hatred of living on Saturn. She loved her husband but she was born on Earth and raised to believe the sky kingdoms were realms belonging to elitists and people who weren't fully human anymore," Luna's head dropped lower, "and she wanted her child to grow up on Earth."
"The Fallen found her and the child," Serena couldn't stop herself from stating the obvious.
"Not at first, Hadassah hid from her own family and used her skill as a herbalist to find a job in a town called Eridu in the delta area of the Tigras and Euphrates Rivers," gently Molly lifted Luna from the table and onto her warm lap, stroking the black cat's back as she talked, "but it was only a matter of time before someone found her and it was the Fallen who found her."
"Oh... no..." Serena's hands clutch her knees.
"Hadassah hid her eight-year-old girl just before the Fallen captured her," Luna's voice became more and more sad, "but where the child was,
she could watch as her mother was tortured by them because they wanted the child as well, knowing the girl was Sailor Saturn." Luna stopped, the words to heavy for her to speak them.
"The Sailor Scouts found the girl, Agiel, and the dead remains of her mother," Selene's voice not much better than Luna's, "but the damage was done. While the Fallen didn't get their hands on the child, they left a darkness inside of her by what they did to Hadassah, a darkness greater than what each person carries, a darkness that made her powers even more destructive and horrific."
"The Sailor Scout of Destruction and Rebirth," the words ring with grief from Luna, "even after her death and rebirth, the darkness remained. I pray after seventy thousand years the mark of Cain has left that noble Sailor Scout."
For a long time there was silence, reaching a point of dominance, until Serena ended it, "Did someone say something about training?"
The ice broke.
The pain, the loss, the darkness, gone for now.
Old wounds closed once more.
"Yes, training," Luna stood and leaped from Molly's lap to the table,
turning around, "We do need to get you two on a regular training regimen," there was forced professionalism to the black cat's voice. "Let us start with you, Serenity."
Serena made a face at being picked first, a goofy look, which got Molly and Selene to giggle despite the fact it looked a little forced, "Okay-
okay, I'll go first." Today Serena was wearing a peach-colored blouse with short sleeves, a knee-length green cargo shorts, white knee socks and green mary jeans. She stood up and unclipped the jeweled broach from her top and held it over her head, "MOON HOLY POWER!"
It was just like before except Serena wasn't in a panic this time,
adrenaline coursing through her veins, instead she could savor as her soul was filled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing, her senses revealing the world as God first created it and her body freed of shadows, the divinity of the release caused the petite girl to raise to her toes, arch her back and lift her face to the heavens.
"Amazing..." Molly breathed out, her green eyes glowing with the light of God coming from her transformed friend. If the redhead weren't sitting,
her butt would have kissed the floor.
"Very good, Sailor Moon," Luna nodded slowly, her golden orbs showing approval.
Serena looked down her body, teenage energy in the way she posed, showing how much she loved the way her costume looked on her: the navy blue mini-
skirt hugging her hips and rear, her crimson chest bow clinging to the curves covered by her virgin white blouse, her candy apple red knee boots encasing her strong thighs and feet, and her sailor collar shaped to the roundness of her young shoulders. Serena was so taken with the way she looked, she even took hold of the edge of her skirt at the sides of her thighs and did a little curtsy, getting some clapping from Molly along with several wide grins. Letting go, she asked, "What now?"
"Next we will see how Molly Eve will handle her disguise wand," Selene suggested, her crystal eyes showed she was curious about how well the redhead would do.
The humor fled from Molly's features, becoming very serious as she pulled out her disguise wand from her skirt pocket and stood up. Today the redhead was wearing a little Chinese number with a silky lightning blue shirt, black baggy pants with elastic at the ankles and heelless black shoes. When Serena first saw her come into the entertainment center, she had to bite her tongue to keep from calling her friend, Ranko. Molly looked nervously to her companions, saying, "Who should I transform into?"
"Sailor Moon," Luna supplied the answer, the black feline waited as Molly blinked with surprise as did Sailor Moon before she added, "The reason to do Sailor Moon is two-fold: one, since she is standing before you, Molly Eve, it should be easier for you to get it right the first time. The second reason is you are probably going to be helping Sailor Moon to cover her Serenity identity. There will be times when she either is unable to transform due to crowds or because the Fallen are watching her because they are suspicious. Either way, Molly Eve will help by appearing as Sailor Moon."
Now it was time for two set of eyes to pop wide, "What?" Molly and Sailor Moon leaned toward Luna, who face looked like it was set in stone, while Selene remained silent. Then the two girls looked at each other before they turned by to the moon cat, "Luna, I... I think I can act like Sailor Moon," Molly began, glancing at Sailor Moon, "but what if something happened and I had to fight as Sailor Moon?"
"You will be able to fight, Molly Eve," Luna stood up on all fours, a look of confidence on her feline face, "the Disguise Wand will give you all the powers and knowledge of Sailor Moon or whatever person you have transform yourself into," her confident look became a little serious,
"although it is only temporary as I told you when I gave it to you."
Molly looked at the Disguise Pen, than at each of the others before smiled, "Okay, how do I activate it?"
"Hold it above your head and say, 'Holy Moon Transform Me Into..." Luna's tone on a ritualistic sound, "and include what you want to be transform into."
With ears forward Molly listened to Luna before she straightened and held the Disguise Pen above her head, spreading her feet, "HOLLY MOON TRANSFORM ME INTO SAILOR MOON!"
Sailor Moon's heart leapt into her throat when Molly's clothes burst from her body like colorful confetti and the light of the Holy Spirit drowned out most of the redhead's features... but not all. The odango blonde could see the pure joy in her friend's green eyes, the power of the feeling causing the girl to slowly spin upon her toes and move her hands along her glowing body. Flames radiate from petite superhero's cheeks at how beautiful her friend's nude body looked while she performed her dance, how her soul revel in God's grace. The heroine's lips part as slowly swaying body before her changed, the hair changing, the face changing, the body changing and then came the uniform, a perfect copy of Sailor Moon's clothes. The holy aura faded, colors returning and before the group stood another Sailor Moon, those baby blues blinking rapidly,
soft panting from her ruby red lips.
Luna smiled in that cat way, "Well don... Molly Eve!"
Selene must have expected this. As soon as Molly's eyes rolled into the back of her head and her legs gave way, the moon lady was off the couch and effortlessly she caught the transformed Guardian in her pale arms,
slowly sinking to the floor, her gown billowing out to give Molly a silky place to lay. Sailor Moon was only seconds behind Selene, not even thinking about the amount of energy it took Selene to take on solid form,
her attention was fully on her friend as she knelt and took Molly's right hand between her soft hands, "Molly..."
Even Luna was kneeling on the floor once more in her humanoid form, her curly raven hair made her standout vividly with all the pale hair around her, with her right fingertips pressing to the jewel in the gold tiara.
Those cute lips murmur softly and her polished nails glow softly followed by Molly's eyes moving under her closed eyelids, finally she groaned,
"Owe... did someone get the number of that truck?"
It was so weird to Sailor Moon to hear her own voice speaking and it wasn't her talking, but it did make her look more closely at her transformed friend. Yes, she did look older as Sailor Moon, maybe in her thirties; the lankiness of a teenager was replaced with a look of full maturity. Serena also spotted details she missed the first time she transformed in the heat of battle, including the white forearm gloves with crimson elbow pads. Making sure her friend was all there, Sailor Moon leaned down to her copy, kissing the other Sailor Moon on the forehead, "Are you okay, Molly?"
"Err... my head... my brain feels like mush," Molly tried to open her eyes but she immediately shut them, "damn... my eyes hurt."
"It is the intake of information from the transformation, Lady Molly,"
Selene continued to hold Molly's upper body on her folded legs and lap,
"which have made your eyes supersensitive, but the effect will fade shortly once your brain organizes the data."
"Once you practice enough with your Disguise Wand, Molly Eve," Luna's hand gently ruffles Molly's white bangs, "the data intake will become painless."
"Hope so..." Molly blinked her now baby blues rapidly, "how long will I remember it?"
"As long as you use the form, Lady Molly," Selene replied tenderly, "the duration of the transformation is based on how active you are in it,
approximately thirty to sixty minutes."
Molly moved her head slightly and her blinking slowed until she could keep her eyes open. She then looked at Sailor Moon, "So, Sere... Sailor Moon," a cupid smile on her lips, "how do I look?"
Sailor Moon grinned, "You look exactly like me, Sailor Moon," a twinkle in her baby blues.
A ripple of a giggle comes from Molly and she struggled to a sitting position, helped by Selene and Luna, "You look pretty good too, Sailor Moon."
"I know," Sailor Moon giggled as well, then she blinked and looked at Luna, "I didn't know how 'revealing' the transformation was," her eyebrows came down, "Why?"
"Serenity, God created man in his own image and that image is pure and noble," Luna put her hands on her hips, "there isn't anything wrong seeing it nude."
Remembering what Luna said about the Holy Bible and a few other things,
she nodded and turned her attention back to Molly, "Feeling better,
"Yeah," Sailor Moon stood and helped the other Sailor Moon to stand. Both looked the other over and both grinned, saying together, "We look like twins."
Luna cringed at hearing both of them, "I think I created a monster."
Selene's chime giggles filled the room as she stood up, "Now it is time for your first training session, Sailor Moon." Both Sailor Moon looked nervous while the moonlight lady turned to Luna, "Lady Luna, could you give Sailor Moon her mask."
"Mask?" Sailor Moon blinked and the watched as with a wave of her white-
gloved hand, Molly produced a crimson domano mask and slipped it onto her nose. The action took Sailor Moon's full attention so she is startled a little when the raven-haired lady gave her the same type of mask, "Eh...
thanks, Luna..." She turned it over in her hand, staring at it, "Why the mask? I didn't have it when I transformed the first time."
"The mask is part of your auxiliary equipment, Sailor Moon," Luna frowned at how Serena's face lightened up at the mention of auxiliary equipment,
"since the Sailor Scouts have a glamour that changes their features enough to prevent the loss of public identities, a mask to hide their faces isn't necessary."
"Okay!" Serena put in on and posed a little, which got Molly to grin more while the original super-girl asked, "So what does it do?"
"Besides making us look good wearing it," Molly added with a grin.
"Along with enhanced vision," Luna trying to be matter-of-fact, "each Sailor Scout will be able to see what other Sailor Scouts are seeing."
"Cool!" white eyebrows touch the horned moon upon Serena's brow.
"I agree," Molly nodded, "it'll make it easier for the Sailor Scouts to help each other."
"More so once Sailor Mercury becomes active," Selene added as she sat back down on the couch, "part of her equipment is an advanced visor instead of a mask along with a portable supercomputer."
Serena almost burst out in laughter at the puzzled look on Molly's face,
the play of emotions on a face like her own tickling her funny bone more than her face reflected in a mirror, "I think the reason Sailor Mercury has the visor and supercomputer is the Greek God Hermes, called Mercury by the Romans. Correct?"
"Very true although not the way you think it is," Luna smiled approvingly at Serena's insight, "many of the myths, legends and folktales of the gods is based on the Sailor Scouts of the Sky Kingdoms so many of the areas and powers of these gods were modeled on them."
"Interesting," Molly nodded to Selene before she turned to Luna, "Next?"
"Alright, Molly Eve," Luna acknowledging the Sailor Moon copy shift of the discussion back to the original subject, "both you and Serena take on a battle stance, giving each of you plenty of room," her cat-like eyes shift to Selene, "then Selene will activate a shooting gallery so you can practice your Holy Tiara Attack."
"Holy Tiara Attack?" both Sailor Moons blurt it out, looked at each other and giggled with fingers touching their chins.
Luna shook her head and touched her forehead, "Give me strength, God."
Selene's bashful glee got a look from the spirit guide before the parttime cat cleared her throat, "Yes, Holy Tiara Attack, it is your level one attack, Sailor Moon."
"Level one attack?" this time Serena spoke by herself, "like in Final Fantasy games?"
"If that helps you, yes, Sailor Moon," Luna was finding Serena pop culture knowledge more helpful than she originally thought, "each of the Sailor Scouts have levels of attacks, which they can access as they gain experience and skill with their powers. Some will even have abilities due to their biological nature."
Something went off in the back of Serena's mind, something about the last part of Luna's words reminded her of Ami, but she wasn't sure what,
"Okay." She thought for a moment and with an amount of uncertainty she took up her battle stance, which Molly copied. She jumped a little when everything around her, except for Molly blurred, drained of color before snapping back into focus.
"Wow...did we just go into the Matrix?" Molly asked.
Serena was speechless, what was in front of her was some kind of high-
tech shooting gallery but it was what else was now around them. It was simply gorgeous. The walls weren't just simply marble or stucco, not by a long shot. Every inch, including the ceiling, was covered by murals. For some reason the one on the ceiling gripped Serena's attention. In the left corner stood a nude angel with an uplifted sword with its back to a luscious grove of trees, brushes and flowing water. Two figures wearing only fig leaves kneeling on barren ground in the center. Black-feathered winged humanoids flooding the right corner with swords of black flames and whips that crackle with lightning. Swirling around the kneeling man and woman there were white-feathered winged girls, each as nude as the rest of the figures of the mural, their eyes blaze with compassion and a couple of them touching the pleading man and woman with sympathy. Above all of them was the Instrument of Peace, upturned faces alit by its holy light, downturn faces cloak in darkness.
"Selene... the ceiling..." Molly spoke again.
"The first triumph of the Instrument of Peace," Selene's voice echoed in the two Sailor Moons' ears, "those girls surrounding Adam and Eve are the first manifestation of the Sailor Scouts," respect was her tenor, "its holy illumination gave them birth."
Insight, just like the dream Serena had before, the dream when she accepted the Instrument of Peace into her body, the depiction emptied her of all doubt while moon queen's words fill her, "My children..."
Molly's face mirrored Serena's face, the shock of revelation there,
followed upon its heels by Luna's voice, "Yes, Sailor Moon, when you accepted the Instrument of Peace into your bosom, the Sailor Scouts became your children."
It took superhuman effort for Serena to take her gaze from the ceiling,
her eyes dazzlingly scanning the wall murals and finding they were also about the Sailor Scouts, but this time they wore the school girl uniforms like they had stepped out of some Japanese anime or the world of Harry Potter . She didn't miss the figure wearing the Sailor Moon uniform nor did she miss the figure's hairstyle, the twin buns and pigtails, but she decided not to let it distract her. The murals were more depictions of combat, the way the Sailor Scouts' bodies were posed and the expressions upon their faces suggested these were images of victories. Finally her head tilted down, her heartbeats rapping in her ears as she saw the floor was beautifully tiled with the astrological symbols of the Sailor Scouts,
each done in the cardinal colors of the rainbow .
"Selene... Luna... is this why the people of Pacifica hated the Sky Kingdoms," once more Molly gave voice to what Serena was thinking, maybe "they believed the Instrument of Peace and the Sailor Scouts abandoned them?"
The sigh came from Selene, "Not all of them, Lady Molly, but enough did believe just that, and they became vulnerable to the influence of the Fallen."
"A boil of doubt festering and spreading its poison in the body until the corruption becomes the body," Luna's words made Serena's heart hurt.
Was this how a Jew, a descendant of Abraham, felt when he or she heard a Christian declare Jesus Christ was the only path to God? Was this how a Muslim felt when he or she heard a Christian declare Mohammed was a fake prophet? Did the person want to strike out to defend their beliefs? To show God was on their side? To take back what was taken, to destroy the Sky Kingdoms? Was this how the Fallen work? Was this what made the Fallen evil?
"Lady Serenity, are you ready to continue?" Selene asked gently, "I know this must be very heady for you."
"Yes... I..." she forced her eyes and mind upon the shooting gallery in front of her and Molly, flashing a weak smile to her friend, "I'm ready to learn my Holy Tiara Attack."
The targets of the gallery were simple yet complex, three-dimensional images outlined in white light with red dots on the foreheads, necks,
chests, abdomens and groins. There were also green dots upon shoulders,
elbows and knees while there are yellow dots on the hands and feet. "We are starting with something simple here, Sailor Moon, Molly Eve," Luna nodded her head to the display, "to gauge your eye-hand coordination as well as judge what is your accuracy with the attack and improve it." The guardian waited for the two blondes to nod their agreement before she continued, "Now concentrate, find the spiritual center of your the Holy Spirit in your soul awakening as you reach up with your right hand, take hold and remove the tiara from your forehead."
Serena felt it, the electricity, power in-tuned with her, her blue eyes saucer-size at the transforming of the tiara in her right hand into a disc of energy floating millimeters above her fingertips. "Don't let the moment overwhelm you, ladies, concentrate" Luna's words sharpen Serena's focus, "look at the target, aim at it as you cock your arm for a underarm throw," a quick glance from the corner of her eye showed Molly following the commands, "pull back as far as you can and then release, shouting,
'Holy Tiara Attack'."
"HOLY TIARA ATTACK!"
She could feel it, a bowstring release running out of her body, down her arm and out of her outstretched hand. Excitement was only followed by pouting look at Serenity hitting her target but missing only a yellow dot of the left hand , "Shi..." a groan cut her off and she bare had time to turn to see Molly dropping to her knees, "Molly!"
"I'm... I'm okay..." Serena and Luna were at each side of the faux Sailor Moon,
holding her by the elbows, "feeling... so drained... dizzy..." the skin an unhealthy white, eyelids droopy, "just need... to rest."
"Power down, Lady Molly," Selene spoke softly, her moon-glow eyes holding Molly's glassy orbs, "relax your mind, let go of the Holy Spirit as you would a butterfly."
"Bullseye..." A spent sigh from Molly, her magical girl body melting back in the mortal form, which sagged into Serena's arms, the blonde's neck could feel how clammy the redhead's face was.
"Bull's-eye?" Serena blinked first at Molly before shifting to Luna, "Bull's-
eye." The guardian smirked and motioned at the shooting gallery. Looking, the petite heroine pouted at the blinking red dot on the chest of Molly's target,
Location: Heaven's Crown Center.
The weekend was a whirlwind of activity for Serena and Molly. At no time did they get a chance to go the Sailor Scouts headquarter for more practice of the Holy Tiara Attack or more information from Selene. After getting home Friday evening, a still weak Molly ate dinner and went to bed without complaint or even making an attempt to stay up and discuss things with Serena or Luna. Feeling the need for Molly to be with her,
Serena put off any magical girl brainstorming until later. Of course later came too quickly, their parents decided a family outing to the Chicago Zoo was in the cards, which ate up most of the extra time before the two teenagers reported for their first day of work at Heaven's Crown Center. Serena wasn't sure about Molly, but the blonde was higher than a kite about her job, full of adolescent energy at learning everything Andrew and Elizabeth taught her. Of course mistakes and accidents did happen, but by the time their shift ended early Saturday evening, the petite girl was still imitating the Energizer Bunny, much to her redheaded friend's amusement. After work Molly got a chance to practice with the Disguise Pen but following Luna's advice, she didn't try to copy Sailor Moon and stayed with simple alterations to her physical body: skin tone, hair color, eye color etc... Sunday wasn't as excitable as the previous day but still full of activity. First form them was church, then a Sunday dinner followed by work at Heaven's Crown Center.
Serena banged open the door of the employee's entrance and literally hopped out of the opening with all the impatience of youth, "Let's get home, Molly, so we can talk..." she froze in the doorway.
"What Serena?" Molly bumped into her friend's back, "Why you blocking..." the redhead wiggled around the odango blonde, "the exit..." her green eyes catch what her friend's baby blues did, "Oh, Melvin..." hearts in the redhead's voice.
Not in a million years would Serena think of Melvin as a biker, but here was Molly's boyfriend, leaning against, "Whoa, this isn't a Harley?"
Serena took a couple of steps toward the kid in a red-white-and-blue crash suit.
"Nope, it's a 1948 Indian Chief," Melvin pushed off the parked motorcycle so he could meet Molly in a hug, "with a 74-inch V-twin side-valve, three-speed transmission, sprung frame, front end girder, 16-inch wheels, drum brakes, six-
volt battery and valance fenders."
"You can make a geek into a biker," Molly grinned at Melvin as she lightly kissed his chin, "but you can't take the geek out of the biker."
Melvin blushed at the greeting, the crimson strengthening at Serena's giggle, "Aww... no fair..." he stuttered but continued to hold Molly, "I wanted to make up for not being here yesterday and I figured Serena might like to see Grandpa's bike."
"Family heirloom?" Serena's closer look revealed a classic motorcycle kept in perfect condition, including the DuPont paint job, a combination of brickyard red and reddish-orange. Then she caught sight of something more, "Oh, Cool! A sidecar!"
Molly giggled a little more, "Yes and its very comfy," she slipped from Melvin's arms as the two turned to their blonde friend, "Melvin has a driver's permit for it so it's all legit."
"Nice..." Serena stroked the front fender before she blinked at the two bags in the sidecar seat, "Oh, what are those?"
"Crash suits for you and Molly, Serena," Melvin retrieved them and held one out to both, "both are in bright pink."
Serena did several bunny hops, "Great!" clapping her hands before taking the bag, "Boy am I glad our uniforms are pants and tight vests."
"I thought it was because the tight uniform made your body sexier, Serena," Molly held up her crush suit and shook it out.
Serena giggled, the late dusk of the evening barely showing her blush, "I got to have something to make up for being so petite." She looked at the hot pink crash suit, blinking, "Melvin, this suit looks like something out of an anime show."
"The original Bubblegum Crisis actually," Melvin acknowledged while Molly unzipped the suit, "I ordered them online for Molly but you shouldn't have any trouble wearing them."
"So you are an otaku like me?" Serena unzipped her suit, "This does look like the crash suit Nene wore," her twin ponytails swirl around her as she wiggles her way into it.
"Otaku?" Melvin helped Molly into her heavily-padded suit, "Oh, you mean a fan of anime," he shook his head slightly, "nope, I liked Bubblegum Crisis and its remake."
"Melvin is a motor-head, Serena," the brown-haired boy blushes as the redhead slipped her arms into the sleeves, "what with his father once being a motorcycle cop, as was his grandfather."
Picking up the helmet, Serena noticed it looked like the helmets from that particular show, "Does that mean you are going to go into the family business, Melvin?"
"I'm not sure," he zipped up Molly's suit for her, "my parents and Granddaddy want me to go to Northwestern, get a degree and make a career for myself," he watches Molly pick up her helmet and slip it over her red hair, "yet the phase,
'to serve and to protect', does mean a lot to me." Then a frown appeared on his face, "Plus I have some bad news, Molly, Dad and Mom told me your family won't be able to move back into your home for probably another week or two."
"Why?" The blonde girl pulled the pink sleeves down her slim arms.
"Since the guy who attacked Molly died in the hospital," Melvin gave Molly her helmet, "the home has been upgraded to a homicide scene."
Serena knew her eyes reflect her dark despair over the man's death, "It's okay, Melvin," she put up a happy smile front, "I'm sure Molly's family can stay at my home as long as they want to," then she ups the ante, "and I'll even let you two neck in my bedroom."
Blazes of scarlet painted both of Serena friends' faces, Molly trying to hide her face while Melvin laughed nervously, saying, "Please...
Serena... we haven't gone that far!"
"If you say so, Stud," Serena teased more, "I'm sure Molly wants more sugar on her lips," the blonde got into the sidecar and buckled in.
"Serena!" Mortification was plain in Molly's voice but then she broke into giggles, "Maybe..." Serena couldn't miss the gentle squeezing of Melvin's hand by his girlfriend.
"We better get going before it gets any later," a husky sound to Melvin's voice,
letting go of Molly's hand and getting onto the motorcycle, followed by the redhead getting behind him.
The ride home gave Serena time to watch how Molly snuggled against Melvin and how her hands held his waist. Clearly the two have ridden together on the Indian without the sidecar and even with the helmet buttoned down,
the petite blonde couldn't miss the blissful expression on her friend's soft lips. It was a short ride, not even forty minutes with Melvin staying at the speed limit. During the ride Serena thought about what Melvin told her. A homicide scene, it would mean the police now look at Sailor Moon as a dangerous vigilante, something she hadn't expected but now realized she was na ve about it. After everything Luna and Selene has told her, has shown her, this was a war between the Sailor Scouts and the Fallen with the future of mankind held in the balance, which would mean people were going to die, some of them innocent victims, some of them not so innocent.
Once the threesome reached the Hope residence, Serena was the first out of the gate, bouncing out of the sidecar, "I'll go ahead and do a little blocking to give you two sometime together."
"Wait!" Serena dropped her helmet in the sidecar, blinking at Melvin's cry.
Twisting around on the motorcycle seat with Molly still tight against his back,
"Serena, you have a black cat with a moon on her head?"
"Luna?" Molly turned around on the machine, her arms around Melvin, "Yeah I do,
how do you know and why?"
"I asked Molly this morning over the cell phone if she knew who owned a cat like that," Molly nodded to acknowledge Melvin's words, "I was curious because I've been seeing the black cat all over town the last few days."
"Oh? Where?" Only the darkness of the night kept Melvin from seeing the curiosity in Serena's eyes.
"Over at the library at Northwestern and the campus church at the Saint Mary's School for Proper Ladies," Molly took her helmet off, dropping it into the sidecar, "I wanted to warn you about your cat wandering so was a little amusing seeing the cat dropping from the top of a book shelf to land on Ami's shoulder."
"What was Ami's reaction?" Serena blinked at this news.
"Positive, actually," Melvin's expression becoming a little distracted from having Molly snuggle against him, "after getting over the surprise, our local Goth girl petted, chatted softly and even fed part of her lunch to your cat."
Serena stored away this information before asking, "What about over at the church."
"Didn't see anything..." Melvin words fade when Molly popped his chin strap and pulled off her boyfriend's helmet.
"I'll remember to tell mother to make sure Luna doesn't get outside anymore,"
Serena grinned as she back away from the lovebirds, "but now I will give you two some kissing space." Serena jumped the fence without waiting for a farewell and didn't stop her retreat until she reached the welcome mat. Serena didn't miss her mother peeking out of the window for a moment, causing the petite girl to sigh with relief when her parent pulled back from the window. Her redheaded roommate didn't join her until after ten minutes, with the blonde asking, "Feeling better?"
"Much better..." the green mirrors to Molly's soul shined brightly, "Why do you ask?"
"After the Disguise Pen sucked you dry like some vamp in a cheap horror flick,"
Serena fished out her key to the door, "I was hoping Melvin could recharge your battery."
"Oh, he did," a purring tenor was in Molly's voice.
"Oh..." Serena giggled as the door's lock clicked open, "does that mean you're glad the suit's padding is protecting your honor?"
"Serena!" Molly giggled back, blushing and jostled her friend through the front entrance, where both saw their mothers, Ilene and Mary, both amused at the display of affection between their daughters, "Oh, hi Mom... umm... Ilene."
"You know my husband, Ken, wouldn't be very calm if he saw our daughter having a kissing session in front of our house," Ilene's arms were crossed over her chest but her smile was sweet.
"I think Morgan accepts it because he knows Melvin's parents," Mary was close to laughing at the look her daughter was giving her, "and their son knows where the line is drawn in the sand."
Molly rolled her eyes and began to drag Serena toward the stairs, "Come on, Serena, before I give our moms anymore target practice." That brought the laughter from both mothers, "Jesus..."
Stumble-footing behind her redheaded friend, Serena was having a hard time not busting a gut, "See you in the morning, Mom, Mary," she waved back.
"Goodnight, dear. Goodnight darling."
Once both were out of their pink crash suits and work clothes, they made a beeline for the bathroom for evening baths, with Luna in tow, "So anything happen at work?" the black cat asked once they bathroom door was closed.
"Nope," but before Serena could add more, she was wrapped in the gentle embrace of her taller friend from behind.
"I saw the pain in your eyes, Serena," even wearing their bathrobes, Serena could feel her friend's youthful body, "the way Melvin spoke of my home as a death scene."
The darkness... the grief... the forgiveness... Serena could feel the barely healed wound on her heart. Sister Raye gave her penance, Molly gave her support, affection, "Thank you... Molly..." the blonde reaches behind her, gently stroking her friend's wavy curls.
"No, thank you, Serena," a tender squeeze before Molly released her friend,
"You... Sailor Moon... saved me," Serena turned to face the other teenager, "and now we live like sisters."
Serena blushed deeply at Molly's open display of affection, "We are all brothers and sisters..." she rubbed the tears from her eyes before they could fall, "we all come from the womb of Eve."
Molly nodded at Serena before her green gaze switch to Luna, "Oh, Luna,
Melvin said he saw you over at the university library and at the Church of Saint Mary."
The look on Luna's face showed the guardian approved of Molly's support of Serena, "I was carrying out my mission of checking out Ami and Raye,
Molly Eve," the black cat jumped onto the dirty clothes hamper, "to see if either one of them are sleeper Sailor Scouts."
"Yeah, Melvin saw you at the library, Luna," Molly was doing the same thing Serena was doing , saying, "He even saw you doing your attack from above on Ami's head."
Serena giggled as she got a sponge, squeezing the bottle of soap while Luna rolled her cat eyes, "I had to get close to Ami to make certain,"
Molly sat on the stool and began to wash herself, "I was getting a lot of feedback from the girl."
"Feedback?" Serena paused with her sponge pressed between her developing breasts,
"Was it because Ami has a genetic disease... eh... what she called..." she fought to get the word out, "vitiligo?"
Luna blinked at Serena's words, "So Ami does know she is different from others?"
"Yes, Luna, for as long as I've known Ami," Molly worked her own soapy sponge over her soft stomach, "she has done everything to increase her difference from others."
"I wonder why?" Luna sounds thoughtful, licking one paw.
"Ami told me she was always treated differently by others," Serena vigorously worked the sponge over her trim arms, "even going so far as saying she never had anyone ask her to be her friend."
Molly shared a gaze with Serena before nodding, "It's true, Melvin and I sort of adopted Ami as a friend," going back to scrubbing her coltish hips, "we never asked her and at times Ami didn't act like a friend."
"Like the volcano thing?" Serena grinned as she began to work her own legs.
Molly giggled, nodding, "Yeah, Ami has a sneaky side to her as you probably know by now," Serena nodded too before she dumped a bucket of cold water on herself, letting out a shout at the quick freeze of her body. Molly grinned wider, finishing her feet, "Luna, you make it sound like Ami's difference is something more."
"It is, Molly Eve," Luna watched Serena begin to wash her long blonde hair,
"Ami's genetic code tells me which Sailor Scout she is."
"Selene told us each of the human host has to change to contain the Sailor Scout divine power." Molly started on washing her own hair, "So what you are saying,
Luna, is the genetic differences from when the Sailor Scouts were a part of the Sky Kingdoms has been passed on?"
"Yes but Ami's genetic fingerprint is even more unique," Luna pulled her head back as a few drops of water reached her whiskers from Serena dumping another bucket of cold water to wash her hair clear, "if she is the Sailor Scout I think she is."
"Which Sailor Scout do you think she is?" Serena asked as Molly washed the shampoo from her red hair.
Location: Levy Center.
Monday started out nice and calm for Serena and Molly. This was the first day for Molly's return to school. It was also the date for the first meeting of the Juuban Go Club at the Levy Center. As beginning of a school week, it did start out fortuitous. Thanks to Molly both girls got to breakfast on time as well as making sure their homework was in their backpacks. Both even decided to have a little fun by wearing the same type of outfits for school: pale pea green blouse with lemon yellow vest and matching knee-length skirt, dark green ankle socks and neon pink moon-shoes; only their hairstyles were different, Serena with her buns-
and-tails while Molly has a forest green hair bow. Once the pair reached school and all of Molly's friends welcomed her back, things went smoothly until lunchtime when Lita told her friend she wouldn't be able to make it to the first meeting of the Go Club, due to her prior commitment to choir practice at her church. Not having her tall brunette friend at the meeting did disappoint Serena, but she was still a bundle of energy at trying to get everything ready with help from Ami and Mister Takai. Even Alex took a moment to make sure where she and her groupies would need to be after school, much to odango blonde's delight.
The Levy Center was located at the cross-streets of Dodge Avenue and Mulford Steet, in the south-east corner of James Park, where the city's animal shelter is located on the park's north-west corner. It was clear by the building's design that it was built sometime after World War II,
named after a war hero who came home and became a political and social bigwig in this sleepy college town and suburb of Chicago. The building offered two stories, with several glass doors for the front entry into the wide gallery. Two ornate oak staircases took people to the second story where balcony seats set at the back and balcony boxes along the side. Clearly at one time this place was used as a theater but was later converted into a multipurpose room with most of the first floor seating removed to expand usage area. Besides the emergency exits for the second floor, there were two more fine-crafted staircases which took people to the several small rooms used for group meetings and office space.
Serena walked through the entrance of the low brick wall surrounding the grounds of the Levy Center with Molly in tow, saying, "Ami and Alex are already here and set up everything."
Molly nodded slowly, having spotted all of the posters located on telephone poles, mail boxes and etc...declaring the use of the main room at the Levy Center for the Juuban Go Club, "I still find it a miracle you were able to get Ami and Alex to work together after the history between them."
"I had to do a lot of puppy-eyes to get them to agree," Serena looked about the parking lot located to the side of the building, "and Alex must've really liked my kiss."
"Kiss?" green eyes go wide before Molly giggled, "So the twins got their kissing game turned on them?"
"Yep!" Serena couldn't keep from blushing at how it felt to have Alex's lips against hers. She tried to turn her thoughts to something else, "I'm just glad Ami let go of her grudge against Alex."
"Ami did get her pound of flesh already from Gilbert," Molly noticed several teenage girls standing in some groups just inside the entrance, "so it was in Alex's court to make the first move."
Serena was about to talk more but when she entered the building, several of the girls came to her and began to ask her questions about the Go Club. The odango blonde at first was caught off-guard by all the teenage horde's attention, but then she shifted gears and politely told everyone to follow her into the main room. The girls had neutral expressions as they followed Serena and Molly through the swinging doors and into the main room, where they found twenty tables and at least a couple of dozen folded-out chairs along with several set of cheap Go sets. There was also a seventy-inch projection screen along with a DVD player and speakers in front of the layout, which was where Ami was standing. It took a moment to spot Alex, who was moving slowly between different groups of girls with an easy smile on her lips. There was also Alex's groupies with stick-on badges on their chests, Go Club Organizers, who where helping the continuous stream of girls coming into the huge room, giving them little pamphlets and where to sit.
For a moment Serena was stunned by the number of girls coming in and sitting down, some of them with bored expressions, clearly showing they were here just to see what was going on, but there were many here with looks of eager excitement. A quick head count of Alex's groupies showed there were twelve of them , hopefully willing to learn the game as well.
"Wow..." Molly whispered to Serena as the two headed for Ami, "There must be around twenty to thirty girls here."
Serena nodded but held her tongue until she was with Ami, "Hi, Ami," a little smirk appearing on her lips, "I'll bet you didn't think this would happen, right?"
"Actually I did," those facial features of the pale girl not changing but her voice had a subtle glee to it, "unlike the other clubs at the school, there isn't one where girls, who aren't involved in sports, to come and compete and bond together."
"Oh, what about Alex?" Molly countered, picking up one of the pamphlets from a table.
"Alex is the other reason for girls to come," Ami glanced at the tall blonde making her way to where the trio stood, "many girls are still trying to figure out their sexual orientation and would find an all girls club a place where they can relax and be themselves."
"Eh... okay," Serena sweated a little at this hint of lesbianism from her pale friend. When Alex joined them, the odango blonde grinned, "Thank you for helping us organizing this club, Alex."
"My pleasure, kitten," Alex placed her hands upon her blue-jean covered hips, her strong legs covered by patch-riddled leggings , "besides I couldn't pass up the opportunity of being in the same room with so many kissable cuties,"
she flashed her wonderful white teeth and winked at them.
Ami rolled her eyes, Serena and Molly giggled, blushing, only for the redhead to get in the first words, "Oh... who brought in all the movie equipment?"
"I did," Ami keeping her voice neutral, "it will help in teaching the basics to our members," the girl wearing a rich purple and night blue dress with light pink stockings and violet tresses around her knees and elbows, "along with these," she moves over to the table, reached into a box and pulled out a single DVD case.
"Hikaru No Go!" Several of the girls in the huge room reacted to Serena's joyful sound, her hand snatching up the DVD case those pale, dark-dark purple painted fingernails, a mysterious expression on Ami's black-purple lips, "So you are going to use episodes of this cool series as a teaching aide?"
Ami retrieved the item from Serena, "Yes, it should help in showing Go is an enjoyable game."
"Great idea!" Serena gushed while Molly touched her own lips to hide the small smile at the blonde's gaiety.
Serena did notice Alex scanning the crowd, the petite blonde turning and noting the sports-girl's groupies nodding in return, then Alex said,
"Okay, everyone is in and seated, Serena," her glittering blue eyes come to Serena, "it's your show now."
Unease rippled through Serena at how much attention was focused on her,
but then Molly squeezed her upper arm, saying, "You can do it, Serena."
"Thanks, Molly," Serena looked at Ami, "Ami?"
"I'm not much of a social speaker, Serena," a cool tone from Ami, "and your sunny and energetic personality wins more winning then my persona."
"Oh..." Concern etched on Serena's face at Ami's harsh judgment of her own social skills, but quickly Serena grinned and tenderly held one of Ami's hands, "I'll do my best, Ami," then looked at Molly and Alex, "everyone."
Serena let go of Ami's hand and took a moment to concentrate before she did her bouncy walk to the main table in front of the group and picked up a wireless microphone, waving to the group, "Hi-Hi! I'm Serenity Hope but you can call me Serena!" She flashed her million volt smile and waved to everyone, "I'm the vice-president of the Go Club and it's my duty to introduce you to the fun of the game of Go!"
Those baby blues of Serena scanned the crowd, noticing how several of the girls were already responding to her words, before she went into the main part of her pitch, "I'm glad you have decided to come and see if an all-
girls Go Club would be something you would like to join," she waves her empty hand at the Go sets on the tables, "Go is a very old game, dating back further than chess but it is much more flexible game and is played internationally. So if you think this club is only here for fun, think again. There will be competitions and contests against other Go clubs as well as using the internet to compete against other Go players in other nations." There was a change in the expressions of the audience, Serena could see several of them straightening, many bored expression turning to interest, "Before I do any further, our president, Ami Shabon, will show you the first couple of episodes of an anime series that uses Go as a key element of the plot, including many of the basic concepts and moves," she turns to her pale colleague, "Ami?"
With a proper gait Ami walked over to Serena and accepted the microphone,
leaving Serena to step away, "Good day, I will be showing you Hikaru No Go. While it is in Japanese, there are English subtitles so please pay attention to the screen."
As Ami went over to the DVD player to start the teaching aid, one of the girls near the edge of the crowd stood and walked to the closest organizer, this being Serena, "Serena?" Her voice a little nervous, her brown eyes shy, "Can you tell me where the girls bathroom is?"
A blank expression was Serena first reaction to the brown-haired girl's question, "Oh... eh..." the petite blonde spotted a partial of a bathroom sign on a door, "This way... eh..."
"Okay, Galya," Serena turned and led the tanned-girl toward the bathroom, "Here you go," she stood next to the entrance of the hallway to the bathroom.
"Thank you," Galya said before hurrying towards the restroom.
From this angle Serena could still see the anime on the projection screen and the reactions from the seated teenagers, seeing many more becoming interested in the subject matter. Glancing up she could see the ceiling went all the way to the building's roof, the top covered by several layers of curved glass held in place by steel beams. She also noticed the third story conference and office rooms had glass walls facing the main room so anyone could see what was happening down below... "Who?"
"What is it, kitten?"
Startled by Alex sudden appearance next to her, Serena turned fast to face the tall blonde, "Someone is up..."
First came the muffled explosion, second came the scream and third came the two blondes turning in the direction both occurrences came from, the girl's bathroom. "Stay here!" Alex shouted as she bolted for the bathroom with another blonde hot on her heels. Only after going a couple of feet inside Serena froze, her eyes like saucers at the sight of Galya shivering upon the bathroom floor and a pillar of fire shooting out of one of the bathroom's trashcans.
"Galya!" Serena slid to a kneeling stop next to the crying girl while Alex pulled off her shirt, buttons flying, and after dowsing it in water from a basin she threw it over the flaming trashcan, smothering the fire. The smell of burnt flesh, the skin melted upon Galya's hand, her body writhing in pain, "Don't worry, Galya," Serena tried hard to be reassuring, "me and Alex, we're get you to the hospital."
"Guarantee," Alex voice was calm, the tomboy kneeling and with Serena's help,
scooped up Galya, "next stop, Saint Francis Hospital."
Serena couldn't take her eyes off the charred hand Galya tried to hold.
Serena opened the bathroom door, shouting as Alex went by her, "Anyone with a cellphone, call 911! Galya is hurt bad!"
The reaction was immediate, several of the girls look confused but Ami;
she was pulling out her cellphone as was Molly abet more slowly. Serena noticed some girls heading for the exits; her insides tighten at the sight of trashcans next to each of the doors, "No! Don't use the exits!"
It wasn't enough. Those leaving froze just far enough from the exits to avoid the jetting towers of flame erupting from the tops of each of the trashcans. Shouts of surprise and gasps were drown-out by the thundering sounds of whatever was producing the flames. The odango blonde was just able to hear Molly yelling, "I can't get through, something is wrong with my cellphone!" Serena's gut knotted more when Ami nodded to her. Her baby blues scanned the room, saw girls clumping as they tried to get as far away from the fiery gushers, but it wouldn't last as Serena saw the walls around the hellish geysers turning black .
"WE GOT TO GET OUT!" More than a few voices were shouting this. Serena glanced at Alex, the buzz-cut blonde arms occupied by the trembling Galya, her attention pulled by Molly reaching where the odongo blonde stood, whispering against Serena's ear, "Sailor Moon."
A magic phase.
A magic door opened in Serena's mind, the growing panic disconnecting from her psyche, "Thanks..." Molly smiled at Serena just before the odango blonde turned and ran from her.
"Serena!" It was Alex, making Serena smile, probably thinking her fellow blonde had lost her marbles.
Cool air hit Serena face at entering the girls bathroom, she hoping there was only one booby-trap here, but the temperature difference between the auditorium and the bathroom told her things were going to get worse very fast, the white cross on her broach glittering in her hand.
"MOON HOLY POWER."
If there was one reason for Serena to become Sailor Moon, this was it.
This feeling, the sensation of every inch of her being harmonizing with the Holy Spirit, her senses open to the divine world, the shades of gray gone. Once more she had to grab out for support, finding the cool ceramic tiles of the washbasin. Her eyes focused and found a face in the mirror looking at her, one with a crimson domino mask with bright blue eyes,
pink skin vibrate with color, red lips perfectly made and her moon white bangs ripple with the glow of a crescent moon, its horns pointing upward,
before it faded into her ruby-crested gold tiara.
"I got to get going..." Sailor Moon stumbled out of the room and found Hell-on-
Earth. Girls were screaming, trying to get their cellphones to work, eyes full of tears and not from just their emotions. The superheroine caught the smell of chemicals in the air and a concentrated look at the walls closest to the flaming trashcans told her everything. "EVERYONE! Get down on the floor and cover your mouth and nose with handkerchiefs or anything!"
Sailor Moon jumped a little at the volume of her words, just realizing her odango hairpins had acted as loudspeakers. One result it caused every girl in the room to turn to the blonde, their eyes showing disbelief.
"You heard Sailor Moon," Thank God for Molly, "everyone on the floor and cover your face," not as loud as Sailor Moon, it didn't need to be with only the noise of the fire to deal with.
Still some were slow to act until, "Get down!" Alex added her two cents as she lay on the floor, taking out an emerald green handkerchief and pressing it to Galya's nose and mouth.
The automated fire sprinkler system should have kicked in by now, Sailor Moon knew it, but what got her attention was the shadowy figure she saw earlier was still there, watching the drama down below, "Time for a little frisbee action."
Despite her words, the blonde's stomach was doing flip-flops and she was more than a little scared, not for her life or harm to herself, it was the gut wrenching dread of letting her friends down, of fumbling her hold on the tiara, of stumble-mouthing her attack words or just missing her target by a country mile.
"Holy Tiara Attack!"
The surge of power, it was nothing like when she and Molly had practiced,
it rattled her brain like a gong, made her feel out-of-control of her throw. She stared at the spinning, whirling disc of gold, swearing she saw it wobble, saw it curve in flight, "Go... go... GO!" She jumped in the air and pumped her fist when her tiara ruptured the glass wall into a thousand pieces, the shadowy figure disappearing at the same time.
"Sailor... Moon... the sprinklers..." Cold ice hit Sailor Moon at hearing the ragged coughing mixed into Molly's words.
"On it!" the odongo heroine acknowledged, noticing the chemical smell getting stronger, a backward glace showing her that everyone was huddling together on the floor, except for Ami, she was kneeling on the floor, clutching herself so tight that her head was almost touching her knees. Something was wrong with Ami, Sailor Moon could sense it.
The cry from one of the other girls put Sailor Moon into action, "Can't take the low road so..." her red boots clack on the floor, quickly building up her speed and she could feel her body tensing up before she jumped up, her arms reaching for the second tier of seating, "Yes...
yes... YES!" Grab and pulling, in one action she was crouching on the brass railing, her leg muscles tight as cords, before she leaped straight up, throwing one arm up and reaching as far and she could. Her fingers clinched the edge of the broken window, glass crunching under her gloved hand and with strength she didn't know she had, she was able to vault into the toothy opening, "Sailor Moon is here to PUNISH YOU!"
"I got news for you, Instrument of Peace," The shadowy figure turned out to be a man, wearing what looked like a security uniform, his middle-age face covered with bleeding cuts with slivers of glass in them, his right hand holding a small black box with a button, "punishment is handed out in Hell."
Sailor Moon froze, her baby blues wide, her mind desperately searching for a solution, her gaze searching the room, realizing she was in the center's security room, the walls full of camera and control boards,
keyboards, mice and LCD dials, "You don't have to kill them!"
"Kill..." his eyes, there looked to be something going on behind them, causing Sailor Moon to remember what Luna told her about the Fallen.
"No, you don't need to," her eyes continue to search for an option, "I'm right here at your mercy."
"Instrument of Peace..." he twitched and looked away from Sailor Moon, but then he jerked, his body going rigid as a dog does by its leash, "sheep slaughtered for the sacrifice," he holds the control device high over his head. The petite heroine could feel icy freezing eat at her mind, struggling to come up with an idea when her eyes zeroed in on a small four-legged critter of black fur creeping, stalking behind the man, the door into the room jarred open.
A rolling wave of cold slammed into Sailor Moon's back just seconds after she heard the scream, causing her to stumble forward, the same impact sending the man to one knee, "Wha..." he mumbled, then a scream of his own as Luna locked hour set of claws to his bare hand and her feline teeth into his trigger thumb.
Everything was jerking into the Twilight Zone for red-white-and-blue Sailor Scout, sensations piling on sensations. The man dropping the device, Sailor Moon twisting to look over her shoulder, the ring of fire transformed into a ring of blue ice and the walls along with the steel doors layered in ice. She also saw Ami, the Goth girl's head now flipped up and her arms slack around her. There was no doubt in the blonde heroine's mind, the scream and the power came from Ami, the icy holy light burning from the pale girl's forehead, the horned circle and cross symbol of Mercury there.
"Come on everyone, now's our chance!" Alex, Sailor Moon saw the tomboy roll to her feet, still holding Galya. A dam of passivity broke, the other girls following the blonde's lead, following her while picking up chairs to break the ice, not thinking about the amazing transmutation which they had just witnessed.
Only Molly had wits enough to go to Ami, helping the shocked girl to stand,
saying something to the Goth girl, but Sailor Moon was too far to hear it.
"No... I will not be... defeated..." Sailor Moon turned by to the man, the corner of her eye spotted a couple of the screens showing what was happening below, "you will... still die..."
Sailor Moon grabbed up the dropped trigger and crushed it , "So much for the Forth of July." Her hot breath freezing to fog in the freezing air ,
taking on the characteristics of a Yukon winter she knows very well.
"You are wrong... Instrument of Peace..." Sailor Moon spun on her heels but it was too late, the man had another black box in his hand, "This room... will be your cremation urn..."
From the cascade of images, Sailor Moon's mind was able to only piece together bits and pieces of the details. There was a man squeezing the box... another man bounding into the room from the scattered window... in a tuxedo? How... how dashing, like some hero out of old black-and-white movie or shojo anime. Was he holding her? His hands... his arms... his body... they were so comfortable, and strong... she remembered the times her father held her like this... hearing the beat of his heart... how secure... how safe it made her feel... like now.
Then the crimson around Sailor Moon swirled open and for the first time she looked up into the face of her savor, his raven mop of hair crowned by an equally black top-hat and a white domino mask covered his dark eyes. He was much taller than she was, yet he seemed so gentle to her,
not a towering body of intimidation. She also noticed for the first time she held Luna in her arms, an amazed look on the cat face, those eyes wide with reverence. Not saying a word he helped her to a stand, the girl keeping a firm hold on her guardian, "Tha... thank you... ah..."
"Tuxedo Mask," his voice, it sounded familiar yet not familiar, his lips , his expression so much like a Victorian aristocratic, noble, as his white gloved hands continued to hold her by her elbows.
"Tuxedo Mask," Sailor Moon nodded, smiling at him.
The odongo heroine turned at the calling, "Molly!" she waved at the redhead coming toward her, Sailor Moon able to see Alex and the other girls in the background, the tomboy laying Galya under a tree and the sound of sirens getting louder. "Tuxedo Mask this is..." she stopped as the space where her rescuer had stood was now empty, "where..."
"I saw him running away ..." Molly stopped next to Sailor Moon, "Who was he?"
"He called himself Tuxedo Mask," Sailor Moon adjusted her own domino mask,
looking at what was left of the Levy Center, smoking pouring out of the top floor, "Did everyone get out?"
"Yeah, some cut and bruises and a few asthma attacks," Molly's crimson locks stained with smoke.
"I hope Galya will recov-" the sirens got noticeably louder "it looks like it's time for Sailor Moon to exit and Serena to return," there was a happy smile upon those red lips as she gentle dropped Luna to the grass.
"No regrets this time?" Molly asked, her hand squeezing one of Sailor Moon's hands.
"None this time," Sailor Moon squeezed back before letting go disappearing into the landscape with a black cat bounding after her.
End of Chapter Three.