Cyber Moon: Dark World.
Episode 9: Absolute darkness.
By Razor Knight
Last update: November 1, 2012
He had been, in a way, avoiding them, but he knew it was only a matter of time before he had to make a choice. But he had also observed them. A friendship had formed between the two, and he knew it could complicate things.
Still, it would be unfair to keep hiding any longer. "I suppose you two know why I called you."
"Yes," Ami said.
"And I suppose you've been expecting me to make a decision."
"We were hoping you would, if given time," Hana admitted.
"Well, that's the issue. I can't. No matter who I choose, I'll hurt someone I care about. And if I don't choose, I'll still be hurting them."
He looked at Ami. "I asked Rei a few things, and she answered them as well as she could. We... We don't have what those from that alternate reality had, but I still care about you, a lot."
Ami sighed. "I knew it."
He turned to look at the other girl. "Hana, you were the first true friend I had, and losing you hurt me a lot, but... I moved on. I care about you, but not as I used to."
Hana frowned at that. "Wait a minute, what are you saying, then?"
"That I won't choose either of you. Things changed, neither of you is the same, and I've changed too. I can't make a choice like this, but I also don't want to lose you as friends."
Ami looked at Hana. "Can't say I don't agree with that train of thoughts."
"I don't want to hurt either of you, Hana. But I can't keep avoiding you, either."
"I can live with that," Hana said.
Rei walked in right then, and flinched. "Damn. Sorry, if I'm interrupting..."
"No, we're done here," Ami said.
"Good," she looked at Ami and knew things had not worked as she expected, but there was something strange about the way her friend looked at her. "In any case, just letting you know Usagi got to Twilight level."
"First one to get there, who would have thought," Terry joked.
"When she puts her heart into it, she can be quite a good warrior," Ami noted, "at least that's what we've seen from her alternate self. And given enough time and training, she could... No, she will be the strongest member of the group."
Terry looked at Rei. "I've been wondering, though... Your magical power is impossibly high, but what about physical power?" As an answer, Rei casually punched through one of the thick metal walls of the room like it was made of paper. "Question answered?"
"Yeah, I'm not getting into a fistfight with you."
"You don't have to keep an eye on me."
Usagi sighed. "Naru, I'm worried about you. But not because of what you did... I know you won't do that again."
"You're right about that. So, how do you feel now?"
"You mean, my powers? The difference is amazing, but still... I'm not quite good with numbers, but I don't think I come up to one percent of what Rei and Ami have. And yet, I can feel my magic's many times stronger than before."
"Guess I'll try training too. Rei must be a good teacher."
"I don't know, but at least she's not sending me to stand in the hallway if I'm five minutes late."
Naru laughed at that. "I guess that's an improvement for you."
"But she was quite softer than I would expect her to be while training."
"That's because I want you to improve, not to die."
Usagi almost jumped at that. "Rei? How long have you been there?"
Rei shrugged. "Nevermind. I'm as good a teacher as I can hope to be. Maybe I should ask Terry to help. Power levels aside, he's a better fighter than Ami and I are. We had to teach ourselves, after all. I can get you to a higher level, but as far as fighting and tactics go, I'm not that good."
"You're selling yourself short, Rei," Usagi said.
"No, I'm aware of my flaws. Almost got myself killed twice, even after reaching Holy level, because of my temper."
"Think there were others like us...?"
Rei looked at Naru, then at Usagi, and bit her own lip. "I... We kept quite a bit of information when we told you about all that had happened. We told you about those 'alternate reality' Senshi, but we never told you that there were more members in that group than we have right now."
"Anyone we knew?" Usagi asked, though Rei's eyes were telling her she would not like the answer.
"Yes. Shingo was meant to be one of us. And that pink-haired girl..."
"Shingo?" Usagi sank to her knees. "So if things had worked out like in that other world..."
"He was Dragon Moon," Rei explained.
"What about that pink-haired Senshi..." Usagi frowned and stopped as she stood up. "Wait. You said her hairdo was like mine, her powers were like mine and her name was 'ChibiMoon.'" She thought about that for a few more seconds. "As incredible as this may sound, was she... My daughter?"
Rei stood there, staring at Usagi for a few seconds before chuckling. "I told Ami you would figure that out eventually. Yes. And the truth is way stranger than you think. She's your daughter, but from the future, she was back in the past helping our alternates when we showed up in their world."
"Things were rather strange in that reality, then," Naru said.
"It's not like everything makes sense in this one, either," Rei noted. "In any case, I heard you wanted to train."
Naru smiled at that. "It's not like I have anything better to do than being kicked around by someone with a thousand times my power."
Rei looked at her and rose an eyebrow. "A thousand? Underestimating your foes, first thing you must never do in a real battle."
Naru's eyes widened. "Then how stronger are..."
"Ami keeps track of it better than I do, but from what I recall, if our standard form was taken as 'one' then my current form would be around the 'ten millions.'"
"Wow. How do you manage to blink without destroying the planet?" Naru joked.
"Practice," Rei joked back.
Things were calm for the next few weeks. Almost too calm. But said calm allowed Rei and the other high level Senshi to train everyone up to Star level. And right now, Mercury was training Moon, who was eager to reach the next level.
But eagerness did little when facing the Ice Senshi. Even while limiting her power to Cosmic, she was still far better than Moon in combat. Right now, Moon was holding her left arm, as an ice spike had hit and cut a rather deep wound near her elbow.
"We can stop if you want to rest," Mercury said.
"Enemies won't let me rest while fighting," Moon said, wincing at the pain.
"That much is true, but..."
"She's right. Being driven into a corner can sometimes cause a Senshi to power up."
Ami looked at Terry and frowned. Setsuna and him had been helping with training, although Setsuna was often busy guarding that place . But she knew he had something else to say. "And?"
He walked to them. "And if the scanner you created is right, then she's quite ready to get an upgrade."
Ami sighed. "Okay, if she insists on getting beaten up like that, then..."
"You, Rei and the others keep forgetting something, something Hakko taught me. While being reckless in training can be bad, we don't need you to be our friends when training. We need you to be our mentors."
Ami looked at Usagi. Still flinching, yet still defiant. "Right. I understand what you're trying to say, guys." She summoned a dozen ice spears. While she had to limit her power to Cosmic to avoid overwhelming her opponent, she could still attack in any way she wanted, instead of having a limited set of attacks. "Break time's over!"
Moon leapt to the side, dodging the first three spears, but the fourth grazed her leg, causing her to stagger. She was hit by another spear straight in the chest, and even though her suit absorbed a lot of the damage, she was still sent sailing back.
Mercury leapt up, ready to attack from above, and Moon cringed. Her head was ringing, as she had hit it on the ground when she landed, and she knew she had little energy left. There was no way she could win against Ami. No! She couldn't start thinking that way, she would not be the lazy girl relying on her friends to win her battles for her. Not anymore.
"Moon Cosmic Power! Moon Guardian Power!"
Mercury looked down as Moon transformed. Sure, she was aware Moon was close enough to Cosmic level, but upgrading twice in one go like that could be dangerous.
Moon was standing up as the transformation ended, and smiled at Mercury. "Moon Crystal Retribution!"
Mercury took the attack without flinching. It wasn't like a Guardian Senshi could hope to even hurt an Aeon Senshi, but she was still impressed. "Usagi, that was amazing."
Moon shook her head. "Not really, I'm still too weak to beat you."
Mercury floated down. "Of course, but upgrading twice in a row..."
"I was still seeing this as hopeless. What point is there to a fight if you can't win it, right?"
Terry had been listening, but decided to give his thoughts on that. "What point is there to a fight if it's easy to win?"
Moon shook her head again. "Both views are wrong, I know that now."
Terry smiled at that. "It's not the fight that matters, but what you're fighting for."
"I'm supposed to be the leader," Moon said, "I can't run away."
"Remember, though, that we'll always be there to help."
Moon sighed. "Yeah, I know that. And right now, there may be things I can't defeat on my own."
Just as she said that, the whole base went dark. Mercury looked around. She could still see her friends, using senses other than her sight, but she knew that might not be the case for them. And she could also sense what her scanners were telling her. "This darkness isn't natural."
Moon was moving her head to the sides, as if she could sense something. "What is this?"
"Ami, I can see you. Not with my eyes, but... I can also 'see' everyone else in the base. And I can see a few creatures out there, close to our base."
Ami's scanners were also sensing the creatures. But Usagi... She was only in Guardian level, there was no way she could already sense magic that well. Unless...
Terry was as good as blind right now, but had focused on what the others were saying. And he figured out what had happened to Usagi. "Maybe being able to sense things like that is her... Special power?"
Ami nodded, then realized the others couldn't see her. "That must be it, but we don't have time to think about that right now." She looked straight at the base's computer. Even from several rooms of distance and through several walls, she could still handle it as a normal human would through a keyboard. No, even better than that. She used it to relay a message to everyone, through the speakers.
"Guys, if you're unable to see right now, don't panic, and don't move. We'll fix this as soon as we can. Those of you who can still see despite this darkness, gather outside the base."
She turned to those in the room. "Terry, stay here. Usagi... I'll teleport you out there."
As Ami and Usagi appeared outside, Rei looked at them. "Wait, what is Usagi doing here?"
"I can sense magic, Rei. No, it's more than that... I can 'see' you in my mind. You're making a funny face right now."
Rei smiled at that. "You just won't stop surprising us, will you?" She looked at Mercury. "So, what's the plan?"
Mercury blinked and looked around. Her eyes were adapting to the darkness, she could now see the others with her bare eyes. "We go get whoever's doing this and kick him, her, or it around until we're bored."
"I like that plan," Chie noted.
"Those things I detected," Moon said, "are weak. A bit stronger than me, but I could easily defeat one of them now."
"Good, that means we'll have no trouble beating them."
"If the universe's still the same bastard it's been thus far, then these are just weak underlings."
Mars looked at Mercury and smiled. "Yeah, I thought that too. Let's get them."
Five creatures, surrounding what looked like some sort of large, black box. The box was made of an unknown material, but it was clearly responsible for the darkness. Its energy spread for miles in all directions, swallowing everything in its absolute darkness.
And the five creatures were apparently ready to defend their artifact against them. Mercury smiled at that. "Begone."
Moon almost took a step back as she saw the creatures and their box turn a solid blue, and then shatter into countless small shards. "Wow."
"And that's why we don't use our full power when training you," Mars noted.
Pluto appeared right then. "All the world's shrouded in darkness right now. Even with Aeon Senshi on our side, dealing with each of these machines will take a long time... And more of them are being sent in as we speak."
"We need to take the fight to them, then," Moon said.
"They're coming from a pocket dimension, much like the Dark Kingdom was," Pluto explained.
"Okay, we'll go and-"
"There may be too many of them for you to deal with," Pluto warned.
"We don't need to enter their dimension," Mars noted.
Pluto looked at the two for a few seconds before smiling. "I understand."
Moon frowned. "Hey, what's the deal? I could help too!"
"Usagi... I wish we could all fight as a team, too, but these enemies are just too strong."
"Fine," Moon shook her head, "go take care of them, then."
"Usagi, please understand..."
Moon looked at Mercury. "I understand what you're saying, but I don't have to like it."
The three Senshi were floating right in front of a 'portal.' It was simply a disk of darkness, a few miles above Tokyo. "Okay, if I understand what you want to do, then I would say this is as close as you need to be."
Mercury looked at Pluto. "Then you really understand."
"Let's do this. Mars Aeon Power!"
"Mercury Aeon Power!"
Pluto stared at the energy wave in shock. It was just as wide as the portal, and shot into it. A focused wave of ice and fire, but it wasn't the kind of attack that surprised her, but that she could see its source, and its effects. They were flooding that pocket dimension with all the mana of their planets, and it was overkill.
The two were done with it in only a minute, and didn't really look as tired as she would expect them to be. "Amazing."
"Didn't know we could do that?"
"I can see all futures, but seeing it that way and having my own senses tell me what's going on are quite different experiences."
"Now we just have to deal with the ones back on-" Mars stopped and looked at Pluto. "They're gone?"
"I phased them all into that place while you were flooding it," Pluto explained. "I guess I can also surprise you."
"And tiring," she noted. "Go back to Earth, I'll go rest at the time gates."
Mars smirked at that. "That place needs a better name."
"No, it doesn't," Pluto said before vanishing.
Usagi stared at the crystal. "There we go."
Ami looked at her, then at the small item in her hand. "You actually did it, cleaning the crystal at your current level..."
"Galaxia was right, when the crystal does accept you, then you can do a lot of things that may otherwise seem impossible."
"Nothing's impossible for us Senshi," Ami said with a smile. "And I've seen what that crystal can do..."
"You've only see a small part of it," Usagi said, her form changing into that of her Senshi self in a second. "Let me show you something I just learnt... But you better transform."
Ami complied. "Okay, what did you-"
"Moon Guardian Power!"
Mercury was knocked back by an energy blast from Moon's crystal. Now she knew what the other girl meant. Being knocked back by anything a Guardian Senshi threw at her? And it wasn't just that, but that the attack had hurt (quite a bit,) and that Moon didn't look tired. "What was that?"
"I used raw mana and chaneled it through the crystal to enhance its power output greatly. I can't use this many times in a row, but..."
"You could have hurt even Galaxia with this." Mercury said. Now she could understand how the Senshi from the other reality could have won against the Senshi Queen. "I see now that I hardly understand how that crystal works."
"It's not like I understand it all, either," Moon said, "but I can simply 'ask' it about what I want to do, and it will 'tell' me if I can do it, or if I will ever be able to do it."
"And you can knock me around in Guardian level. By the time you get to Aeon, then..."
"I've asked. I could probably rebuild the whole Earth with it."
"And now I see why those other Senshi had that motto. Because the crystal itself is an impossibility."
The large spaceship moved at a slow pace, at least from a galactic perspective. Those within it weren't in a hurry. They were eternal beings, at least in the sense most civilizations seemed to use it, as they would not die due to aging.
"There's a planet in the nearby Sol system which has Senshi. But these Senshi are simply out of the scale."
"Stronger than a Holy Senshi?"
"There may be a stronger level above that, yes."
"Finally, a challenge."
"You don't quite understand. They're a hundred times stronger than a Holy Senshi. They could kill us off rather easily."
"Then let's not underestimate them. How many of them..."
"Two, and several more who range from Holy to Star levels."
"We may not be able to beat those strong Senshi directly, but maybe if we kill their allies, we'll break them."
"Sounds like a good plan, Rex."
"Do I have any other kind of plans?"
"Yes, the ones where we get badly hurt by underestimating our foes."
"Shut it, Hyena. That happened only once."
All in all, Rex smiled. It had been almost too long since they found a world where those evil Senshi creatures were a challenge. But none would survive their Hunt. Not even these Senshi.
A/N: Yep, old friends come to visit even in this reality... And I think that answers just for how long the Hunters were doing their hunting.
But I guess I run out of Cyber Moon enemies quite fast. Black Lady, the New Dark Kingdom and the Alliance won't be around, for obvious reasons. That should answer an anon review I got, I suppose.
And yes, Terry had to choose between Ami or Hana, and he chose "or." Hopefully not many of you saw that coming.