Episode Sixteen

Looking for Trouble

It was a normal day after school, but it was anything but normal for them. Today, they planned to meet Sailor Uranus, Neptune, and Saturn at the Crown Fruit Parlor. Hopefully, the seven of them could formulate a plan to get Ami back from their enemies.

The four inner Sailors awaited the arrival of their friends in one of the booths of the restaurant. Raye sat, leaning way back into the booth with her arms crossed over her stomach. Mina, by contrast, sat straight up, bouncing anxiously on the plush seat. Lita sat occupied with her terrible habit of biting her nails when she was upset while Serena found many tempting items on the menu to comfort herself with. It was nothing short of tense as they sat there quietly waiting.

The door chimed, but it was not for whom they were waiting. Instead, a group of guys wearing the same uniforms as Serena, Lita, and Mina's school came into the snack shop. Among their ranks, Akira walked with them as they were talking about something excitedly. He nodded in their direction when he saw them and went to another booth to sit with his friends.

It wasn't much later when the doorbell chimed again. This time, it was whom they were expecting. In the doorway stood a tall, lithe, and strong blonde haired figure dressed in a sharp jacket, jeans, and dress shirt. Michelle, looking radiant in a red dress, looked over and saw them. The younger girl with them was dressed in a soccer kit and carried her cleats with her. They headed over to the booth to join the inner scouts.

"I see you've ordered," Amara said, looking at all of Serena's food. She smirked as she watched Serena's arms raise up to protect her bounty. Amara then looked back and motioned for Michelle and Hotaru to climb in the booth first.

Mina and Lita scooted over to let the three newcomers into the booth.

The waitress came over immediately. "Can I get you anything?"

"A cappuccino for me," Amara said.

Michelle nodded. "That sounds lovely. I will have that as well."

"Me too," Hotaru chimed in.

Michelle and Amara instantly turned their heads towards Hotaru with disapproving looks.

Hotaru sighed. "Apple juice."

The waitress finished writing down the orders. "Alright then. I'll have those drinks out to you in a few minutes." She walked away.

They were aware of the story—Ami was captured and taken to the Negaverse by that General Draco. they needed now was a plan or a strategy to get Ami back. It was just too bad though—the one good at strategies and plans was the one they needed to save.

Amara primly put her folded hands on the table. "At this point in time, considering that there is no resource that could be of help to us, I believe we need to go on the offensive."

"How do we do that?" Mina continued to bounce nervously in her seat.

"We need to be searching for those Generals. They could attack at any moment, and we need to be there."

"Of course," Lita said. "We need to stop whatever it is that they are doing."

"It's more than that," Amara said. "We need to confront them."

Michelle spoke up as confused looks washed over the inner sailors' faces. "As far as we know, there are only three of them. There are seven of us plus Tuxedo Mask."

"And Tuxedo Samurai might even show up to help," Serena added.

Amara nodded in agreement. "That is a possibility. Although, we cannot count on his support since we do not know exactly where his allegiance lies."

Raye frowned.

Michelle continued. "With our superior numbers, we can overwhelm them. It is possible that we can take one of them hostage and force an exchange."

"Hostage?" Raye questioned. "Where would we keep a hostage?"

"How about your house?" Serena suggested.

Raye sat up straight in her seat. "You always volunteer my house without asking, Serena! One of these days, Grandpa is going to walk in on the wrong thing!"

"He hasn't yet! And it's not like he could see it anyway since he's so blind!"

"The hostage will obviously have to stay at our house," Hotaru said, wisely—much too mature for someone—well, who looked her age. The others only blinked for a moment as they looked at the young girl sitting in the large booth.

"How are we supposed to get a hostage then? And which one are we going to take? I hope it's not that annoying pink-haired girl!" Mina said.

"We will have to take the one that is easiest to capture," Michelle said. "Pink-haired girl or not," She winked at Mina.

The waitress came back with the drinks. Everyone immediately shut their mouths and fell silent. She passed out the drinks and walked away.

Hotaru looked bright eyed as she clasped her hands around Michelle's coffee cup; however, the ocean-haired girl grabbed ahold of the small hands and pried them off the cup.

Amara took a swig of cappuccino and wiped the foam from her lip before speaking. "We go out looking for them. We patrol the city and when one of us finds them, we contact everyone else. We outnumber our opponents and take one of them with us."

"When do we start?" Lita asked.

"Tonight," Amara smirked, leaning forward.

The Sailors soaked that in for a moment.

"Tonight?" Raye grimaced, after thinking about it for a moment.

"What's the problem?" Amara asked.

Raye slapped her hand against her forehead in grief. "It's my chore night tonight. Between homework and chores, I'll be up until eleven o'clock tonight."

"We need you," Amara said. "This plan is only going to work if we have the strength of our numbers."

"I know," Raye immediately looked stressed. "You just have no idea how much trouble I'm going to be in if I neglect my chores or my schoolwork."

"Hey," Lita perked up. "I've got an idea. Why don't you ask Akira to do your chores?"

"What?" Raye raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah!" Serena said. "That's a great idea."

Raye crossed her arms over her chest. "No, it's not."

"Who's Akira?" Michelle asked.

"Oh." A playful grin appeared on Mina's face. She nonchalantly pointed over to the booth across the room. "He's the cute blonde over there with that group of guys."

Michelle causally turned her head for a moment, acting as if she was just glancing at the decorum of the café. "Oh, he is quite the handsome one," She smirked, looking in Amara's direction.

"What does this have to do with anything?" Amara huffed.

Mina leaned in closer, as if it was a secret. "You see, that cutie over there works at Raye's Shrine. They take turns doing the chores. All she's got to do is ask him to do the chores for her tonight."

"You're forgetting one major detail." Raye tapped her fingers on the table, annoyed.

"What's that?" Mina asked.

"Why on Earth would he agree to do my chores for me?" Raye snapped. That should have been obvious, but it wasn't to her clueless friends.

"Oh, I'd think he'd do it." Lita smirked and gave her friend an elbow. "Personally, I think the guy's kind of sweet on you."

Raye's face went red. "No, it's not like that! He works for my grandfather, for goodness sake! Nothing is going on!"

Michelle giggled at Raye's reaction. "Perhaps you should rectify that?"

Mina nodded in agreement. "If I wasn't so involved with Shin Honda, I'd definitely be moving in on him."

Raye looked over at her blonde friend for a moment. Why did she feel like punching her in the face all the sudden?

"Wait a minute! You're involved? With Shin Honda?" Lita asked. "What does that mean?"

"Well," Mina sat up straight. "I dropped my books in art class, and he specifically stopped to help me pick them up."

"So?" Everyone replied.

Mina rolled her eyes, as if it was obvious. "We had great eye contact! You just wait, Shin is going to say 'hello' any day now."

"Well, Raye, I don't think you have any choice." Serena turned to her friend. "You're going to have to ask Akira to help you."

Raye closed her eyes and sighed. She knew Serena was right. She stood up and waited for her friends to move so she could get out of the booth. She took a deep breath and walked across the café to the table with five conversing boys.

When the boys noticed her, they all fell silent—perhaps a little dazed by the fact that a girl approached them. Akira looked up in her in concern while the others seemed a bit confused at first. They realized quickly enough that Akira and this girl knew one another.

"May I talk to you?" Raye said to him.

"Yeah, sure." Akira nodded.

Immediately, the boys started making "oooh" and "aahhh" sounds as they shifted in their seats to let Akira out of the booth. He shot them dirty looks as he passed by them. Soon, he was free from the booth.

Raye walked away from the booth, showing that she wanted the conversation to be private. He followed her away from the table. When she found a place in the middle of the restaurant, she turned to him. "I need a favor."

"Sure, Princess. What is it?"

"Don't agree, yet," She said, raising her hand to him. "Not until you hear it."

"Okay." He rubbed the back of his head. "I don't have to commit any crimes, do I?"

"No, you don't have to commit any crimes," She sighed. "Is there any way possible that you could do my chores tonight? I can switch with one of your nights. It's just that something came up. It's really important."

Akira pondered for a moment and glanced back at the table of boys. They were being obnoxiously loud with their kissing noises and cat-calls. "What night do you want to switch?"

"It doesn't matter. I'll do anything you want…"

"Anything, Raye-hime?" He smirked.

"No!" She hissed, crossing her arms. "And don't call me that!"

Akira faintly laughed. "Alright, how about this: I'm supposed to scrub and wash the deck on Saturday. If you do that, I'll do your chores tonight."

"Deal!" They parted ways. She headed back over to friends and stood before them with her hands triumphantly on her hips. "It's on!"

Darkness surrounded him except for the faint glow that encircled him. He floated in the darkness of his cavern sitting in a lotus position, meditating—well, trying to meditate. Meditation was one of his only ways of escaping consciousness. A Negaverse General like him did not to resort to sleep to replenish his strength. Sometimes that was a curse. Sleep allowed the mind to escape—it allowed some peace. Orion, however, did not have the luxury anymore. His body and mind didn't grow tired anymore. He hadn't slept in years.

Instead of sleeping nightmares, he had visions that haunted his soul all during his waking hours. The particular one that he tried to escape from kept clawing at his memory night and day. It used to be only when he was around water, but now, it was all the time. There was something different about it though—something different than the usual images that haunted him for the past thousand years. There they were—his family. His mother was floating in front of him—peaceful, serene, dead. His two older sisters were there too—one on each of his mother's sides. They looked just as peaceful but lifeless. He was drowning, gasping for air, desperate to save them. He was powerless. He could not. Darkness was closing all around him.

And then she came. The Sailor in blue broke through the darkness and reached out her hand to him. Their hands joined. She pulled him into the light.

Orion opened his eyes, gasping for air as if he were drowning. There was no water in his private abode, but the visions that haunted him felt so real—even causing him to gasp for air. Meditation would be impossible today. He stretched out his legs and touched them to the ground. The energy bubble produced during his floating exercise disappeared. He closed his strained eyes for a moment and listened to the nothingness of the cave. He then disappeared.

He reappeared before her cell. The prison cell that the two Sailors were kept in was behind a large metal wall. Nobody was the wiser if he teleported into that isolated section of the prison. She, however, heard the faint popping sound that accompanied teleportation. Ami rose from her sleeping position next to Trista and walked over to the cold metal bars of the cell. "What are you doing here?" Still her voice was harsh.

Orion ignored her tone. He took a step closer to the bars. "How is your friend?"

Ami looked back at Trista. "A little better but still very weak." She turned back to Orion. "She needs medical attention." She grasped ahold of the bars and looked down at her feet. "I'm afraid she might die in here."

"You said she was a little better…"

"She needs medicine, a proper diet…" Ami started to get flustered. "…she needs…sunlight!" Ami stopped herself from ranting and sighed.

"I understand."

Ami looked up at the purple haired man that stood on the other side of the bars. A mixture of emotions swirled within those ocean blue eyes—fear, anger, hurt, disappointment. "Don't…"

He cocked his head to the side. "Don't what?"

Ami shook her head. "Don't pretend you feel sorry for us. We're in here because of you—because you choose to serve Beryl." Her eyes started to well with tears. "I don't think I can stand any more false motives or compassion."

He understood some of what she was talking about. It was true—she was in here because of the Negaverse and he was aligned with them. There was intense emotion, even passion, in her voice—that was something that he could not understand.

The confusion was obvious on his face so she enlightened him. "You attended our school, lied about who you are, tried to befriend us—and might I just say you did a terrible job of it—and then you attacked us!" She looked at him, incredulously. "All I thought I knew about you is a lie, and what I do know about you now is terrible!"

"Not everything was a lie," He said quietly. Orion always hated lies for as long as he could remember. Now, here he had to explain the lies he created. He sighed and looked at her, defeated. "My name really is Orion."

Now she started to feel embarrassed. That was Ami though. The fact that she made someone uncomfortable and feel ashamed—even if that someone was her enemy—made her feel upset with herself. "I'm sorry," She was all she could manage to say.

Orion kept his head down, his purple bangs covering his eyes. "No you're right. Many of the things you know about me were a lie. I had to create an identity so that I could infiltrate your school."

"Why were you there?" Ami looked a little stunned that he admitted something like that. However, if the enemy was going to talk, she wasn't going to let an opportunity like that pass by. Something pulled at her on the inside though—would she ever see her friends again to relay this information?

"As you are aware," Orion said. "Queen Beryl desires to locate the Moon Prince. From what we know of the Moon Prince, his demographics match those of a 16-25 year old male."

"That's all you have to find him?" Ami almost laughed.

"Tell me about it," Orion rolled his eyes. He pulled a stone out from his pocket. "Do you know what this is?"

"It's a moonstone—although, I am unaware of its magical properties."

Orion nodded in agreement. "It has the power to reveal the true nature of those who are of the royal family of the Moon Kingdom."

"So," Ami concluded. "You've been testing random candidates to see if one of them is the reborn Moon Prince?"

"Extremely random," Orion said, almost spitefully. "I infiltrated your school to observe possible candidates."

"Who is the Moon Prince? Why is he so important to your cause?"

"I can answer that," A weak voice spoke up.

Ami instantly spun around. "Trista!" She rushed to her friend's side and helped the woman sit up against the wall.

Orion approached closer to the cell bars. "You know of the Moon Prince?"

"Not exactly in the way you desire," Trista said.

Orion instantly understood, but Ami did not. She looked back and forth between the two trying to piece the puzzle together, but she was missing key points of information.

"The Moon Prince was the second heir of Queen Serenity, twin brother to Princess Serenity, General of the Moon Kingdom's Armies, and the Moon's Greatest Champion," Trista said.

Ami blinked. That was a part of the history that she never heard before. "Princess Serenity has a brother? Then why haven't we ever heard of him before? Why is Serenity destined to rule Crystal Tokyo and not him?"

Trista continued. "The Princess Serenity was born first while Prince Lír was second. Male or female mattered little in the Silver Millennium's succession. Princess Serenity was heir to the throne while Prince Lír supported her as General, Champion, and Advisor."

"Where is he now?" Ami asked. "He could help us!"

Trista shook his head. "Nobody knows that. Presumably he was reborn on Earth, like all of you, but he hasn't awakened yet."

Ami turned towards Orion's direction. "Why does Beryl want him?"

"She had vision—by means of Pluto's staff," He nodded towards Trista. "I didn't see the vision myself, but she's obsessed with it. She said that the Moon Prince is the key to ending her plans."

"And you've been looking around in the dark trying to find him," Trista said, with a tired smirk.

"That's about right" Orion said.

"Trista," Ami said. "You shouldn't strain yourself." She turned back and looked at Orion. "Why are you telling us these things?"

Orion was quiet for a moment, contemplating the look on her face—the way her beautiful eyes stared at him, the way her brow furrowed with curiosity and frustration, the way her ocean blue hair framed her soft skin. "You deserved to know the truth." He disappeared right before her eyes.

She stared at the place he was just moments ago as she kneeled next to Trista. It wasn't until she felt a hand on her shoulder that she tore her eyes away from that place. "Yes?" She forced a smile for her friend.

"We have many things to discuss now."

Ami nodded in agreement. She let Trista sit up more, amazed that the transformation in her friend's condition. She tucked the blanket, the blanket Orion gave her, tighter against Trista's body and sat down next to her friend.

The eight of them met at the designated location—Ueno Park. All seven Sailor Scouts were present and Tuxedo Mask joined them as well. It was agreed upon that teams of two would be formed and the four teams would disperse to the four winds.

"Excellent," Sailor Neptune said, noticing everyone in attendance.

"Now for groups," Uranus said.

"I'll be with Tuxedo Mask!" Sailor Moon instantly took ahold of her boyfriend's arm.

"That's probably not a good idea," Sailor Jupiter crossed her arms.

"Why not?" Sailor Moon pouted.

Venus smirked. "You two will probably spend more time gazing into each other's eyes than looking for trouble."

"She's right," Uranus said. "Odango, you go with Jupiter."

"Then you're not going with Neptune!" Sailor Moon put her hands on her hips.

Uranus bit her lip. That backfired. "Fine! Sailor Saturn will come with me."

"Venus, you can pair with me," Neptune said sweetly.

Sailor Mars cringed before anyone had to say it.

"Alright, that leaves Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Mars." Uranus said. She waited for the groups to pair off before she spoke again. "Neptune and Venus, you go north towards the Ginza area. Sailor Jupiter and Odango, you can go west towards Shibuya. Tuxedo Mask and Mars, head east towards the bay. Saturn and I will look south."

The groups agreed and took off into the night.

The Odaiba waterfront was beautiful. The Rainbow Bridge that came out of Minato glowed brightly in the darkness of the night. On that peaceful and warm night, couples held hands and whispered lovingly into each other's ears. Some families strolled along the bay enjoying the night air as well.

Lyra stared at the pink clouds that formed in the spinning machines. It had an uncanny resemblance to her hair. After watching a few customers purchase the treat and watching them eat it as they walked away, Lyra stole a bag of it when the vendor wasn't looking. She walked away and tore a hole in the bag. She didn't need to eat—at least since she was recruited into the Negaverse ranks—but curiosity got the best of her from time to time in the mortal world. After all, those pastry things smelled amazing. This pink cloud substance was no different. She sighed contently as she walked along the bay with the delicious treat.

There were an awful lot of couples. She couldn't help but notice that, and she couldn't help but wrinkle her nose at every female she saw with an attractive male. She walked over to a looking point and gazed over the bay. It was beautiful, but not as beautiful as the sight when she turned her head to the right.

The young man standing there was neatly dressed with dark hair. Within seconds, Lyra had moved from her position right next to him. "Beautiful night out, isn't it?"

He jumped, a little startled. "Oh, I didn't see you there."

Lyra batted her eyelashes and faintly laughed. "I was just admiring the view."

The man nodded. "Yes, the bay is beautiful."

"Oh, I wasn't talking about the bay." She winked at him.

The man cleared his throat while reached up to tug at his shirt collar. "Ah, well, I…uh…"

"What's your name…" Lyra began.

"Daisuke!" A young woman walked up with two ice cream cones in her hand. She handed one of the cones to the man then looked over at Lyra. "Daisuke, who's this?"

The man bit his lip. "Well, I don't know…she…"

Lyra stepped forward. "I'm his girlfriend."

Daisuke dropped his ice cream and threw up his hands in protest.

The girl gasped. "Daisuke! What is the meaning of this?" She looked back and forth between her boyfriend and Lyra.

Daisuke frantically shook his head. "I don't even know her!"

"Oh Daisuke, how could you say that?" Lyra's eyes instantly welled up with fake tears. "After all the special moments we shared together!"

"I don't believe this!" The woman slammed her ice cream cone into Daisuke's chest and ran away.

"Yuuka! No! Please!" Daisuke ran off, but not before he shot a furious look in Lyra's direction.

Lyra only smiled as she watched the couple run away from the crowd. She had a target.

Sometimes she thought she had the worst luck in the world. Out of all the possible combinations, she had to be paired with Tuxedo Mask. As instructed, she and Tuxedo Mask moved east towards Tokyo Bay.

Tuxedo Mask stood quite a few meters away from her watching the north end of their position. She was watching the south. At that moment, however, she was looking back towards the masked man as his cape fluttered in the gentle wind.

She couldn't help but think of the other man in the Tuxedo when she looked at him. There were two of them—Tuxedo Mask and Tuxedo Samurai. Before she knew that though, she was terrified of the implications of her nightly dreams. Now, she knew differently.

She turned back towards the south. Despite it all, she found a smirk growing on her face. Memories of the other masked man filled her mind—the moment he saved her from dying, the moment he guarded her from blazing fire, the moment they kissed on the rooftops of Tokyo. She looked back over her shoulder. She didn't know what role the masked newcomer would play in her life, but the mystery of the future was much more hopeful than the disappointment of the past.

And then a scream interrupted her thoughts. Instantly, she spun around, giving Tuxedo Mask a look of concern. His face held the same expression. They took off without a word. Along the way, Sailor Mars reached for her communicator and pressed a button to alert the other sailors.

The pier cleared out fast due to the screams. At the source, of course, was an unusual pink-haired woman using strange magical powers—that would make most people run; however, there was another girl there.

"You leave him alone, you crazy woman!"

"Yuuka, no….." Daisuke said, losing his strength. The white light of Lyra's crystal drained his energy.

Suddenly, Lyra was hit in the side of the head with a shoe. She dropped the crystal on the ground. The light that emanated from it died down. The magical hold on Daisuke also broke, giving him the freedom to move again. He stumbled for a moment but tried his hardest to move towards Lyra.

Lyra rubbed the side of her head. "That hurt!" She moaned. She whined for a few more moments as the couple huddled together before she decided to go on the offensive. "You're going to pay for that!"

But as she took a step towards the couple, a rose struck the ground at her feet.

"This place is a haven for love and beauty, but you have turned it into something ugly. Couples come here to celebrate their affections, not to be attacked by the likes of you!"

Lyra stared up at Tuxedo Mask with her head cocked to the side. "Is this your strange way of asking me on date? If it is, I accept."

"What?" The masked man scratched his head.

She knew this wasn't funny, but Sailor Mars turned her head and quietly laughed anyway.

Lyra frowned. "So, you're here to fight then?" She pouted her red lips and sighed disappointed. "Fine, I'll just have to kill you instead."

"We are here to fight," Tuxedo Mask said. He looked towards the couple. "And I suggest that you two get out of here."

Daisuke nodded. "Right." He and Yuuka locked hands and ran away from the pier. Yuuka hobbled with only one shoe, but they managed to get away safely. There were now only three people left.

"Ohhh," Lyra moaned, watching Daisuke run away. "He might have been the Moon Prince!" She sighed deeply. "And he was sooo cute!"

"You might as well give up on the idea of finding the Moon Prince," Sailor Mars said. "He probably doesn't even exist."

"What would you know," Lyra said snidely. "We've got things to tell us otherwise—things you don't have."

"Like what?" Tuxedo Mask's curiosity perked up.

Draco appeared right before them at Lyra's side. "Don't answer that!"

"I wasn't going to!"

Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Mars both cringed. This fight just got a lot more serious. Hopefully, they could hold out until some of the other Sailors could arrive. On the contrary, Draco looked extremely pleased with the moment. Well, the odds were in his favor.

Draco nodded at Lyra. She responded with a nod. She clasped her hands together then slowly pulled them apart. A silver mirror formed in her hands. Instead of using it to attack however, she began checking her the back of her hair.

"Lyra," Draco growled a few moments later. "What are you doing?"

She kept at it for a few more seconds. When she was satisfied, she lowered it and looked over at Draco. "Okay, I'm ready."

Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Mars exchanged awkward glances.

Impatiently, Draco ignited his hands into flames and began the assault. He charged first towards Sailor Mars. Perhaps this could be his chance to capture her and please his Queen. The Sailor was ready however.

There had always been something of a vendetta between the two of them. Well, the first time they met, Draco had brought Sailor Mars to death's door. That was not something easy to forget. And then there were more encounters between the two. Draco earned a few wounds himself during those encounters—mainly at the hands of Tuxedo Samurai trying to protect Sailor Mars.

So when Draco attacked, Sailor Mars was ready. The punches he threw at her, she skillfully blocked. Her strength was growing, but soon, his strength began to overpower.

Draco was nothing short of a powerhouse—a blazing furnace that consumed everything in its path. Sheer unrequited fury would overcome his opponents as his fiery fists would fly. Soon, his fist flew into her face.

She shrieked, stumbling back. She felt blood instantly trickle down her face and past her chin to her uniform. Luckily, magic was good at getting stains out. She reached up and wiped her nose while keeping an eye on Draco. His hands were still cackling with fire. Round two began shortly after.

Lyra was an unusual opponent to fight. Her strength did not lay in physical confrontation, but that did not mean she wasn't powerful. It was quite the contrary. The waving of her mirror, the batting of her eyelashes, or the humming of her sweet voice could bring an opponent to his or her knees.

He had to be careful. Tuxedo Mask continually kept his guard up when confronting her. Her powers were definitely more potent on men, but nevertheless, still quite effective on women as well. Every time he'd try to get close for an attack, she'd wave her magic mirror and send a gust of strong wind his way. It was like her own personal zephyr at her command. By the fourth time getting blown away by a stupid mirror, Tuxedo Mask was furious. He charged forward with his cane in a maddened frenzy.

Lyra only gave one flick of her wrist, and Tuxedo Mask went flying again. This time, he went flying straight into Sailor Mars. The two of them landed in a tangled heap.

"You're crushing my arm," Sailor Mars moaned, her lips scraping against the pavement.

"Sorry! Sorry!" Tuxedo Mask tried to stand and regain his balance, but he lost it and fell right back down on Raye again.

She groaned as his weigh came crashing back down on her sore legs.

"Sorry!" Tuxedo Mask winced.

"Just get off me!"

"What's going on here?"

Sailor Mars' eyes flew wide open. She knew that voice. Quickly, she shoved Tuxedo Mask off of her and sprang up like a daisy. There he was approaching with his sword drawn for battle—Tuxedo Samurai. Suddenly, she noticed it. Her heart was pounding wildly in her chest like a drum. She didn't want him to see her all tangled up with Tuxedo Mask. The thought brought a deep shade of embarrassed red across her cheeks. Why—she asked herself.

"This doesn't concern you!" Draco raised a fist towards Tuxedo Samurai.

The Samurai ignored that typical response from Draco and instead turned his attention to his allies. Tuxedo Mask finally managed to get himself off the ground and was now brushing the dust off his clothing. Tuxedo Samurai looked him and Sailor Mars over for a moment, checking to see if they were harmed. They were not so he turned his attention to the Negaverse Generals.

It was like a staring contest for a few moments. All was quiet until the sound of footsteps against the pavements came to their attention. Draco and Lyra turned around. They were about to be surrounded by more approaching Sailor scouts. With only two of them, this would not be the time for an attack. They disappeared from the site.

Sailor Uranus reached the scene first. She leaned forward and put her hands over her knees while she breathed heavily from her run. "Damn it!"

It took the other sailors a few more moments to reach the scene. Sailor Jupiter looked around and sighed. "Well, that was a bust."

"I thought it was going to work," Sailor Mars said. "At first, it was just her."

Tuxedo Mask nodded. "That's right. She was alone, but then Draco showed up."

Sailor Jupiter crossed her arms over her chest. "I think we're just going to have to face reality. They're probably never going to be alone, and this is going to be a lot harder than we thought."

"For as dumb as they look," Sailor Venus said. "You wouldn't think they'd be so clever."

Sailor Neptune smirked at that. "Still holding a grudge, are we?"

"Ah, no," Venus put her hands on her hips.

Sailor Moon stepped away from the crowd—her attention was elsewhere. She looked up at the bright moon and clasped her hands together.

The conversation died. Everyone turned his or her attention to the Princess looking at the moon. Sailor moon closed her eyes as tears began to leak from them. "Please mother, if you can hear us, please help us find Ami."

Sailor Saturn came behind the princess and reached up to put a hand on the girl's arm. Sailor Moon turned back with a saddened smile. "I really hoped that this would work."

The other nodded, feeling the weight of their failed plans. They did not have a hostage to bargain with the Negaverse.

Sailor Mars pondered deeply, staring at her red high heels, for a moment until an idea struck her mind. Her head jerked up and she turned towards Tuxedo Samurai who was standing on the outskirts of the crowd. Acting before thinking, she walked straight up to him. Her hands came out, and they were instantly received into his. "You once told me that you would do anything to help. That if was in your power, you would do it, right?"

Tuxedo Samurai nodded. "Yes, I did."

"I need your help." She almost choked on her emotions. "We're trying to get our friend back, and we think we have a plan."

Tuxedo Samurai looked past Sailor Mars for a moment towards the other Sailors. They were watching closely. "You want to capture one of them—force an exchange."

"Yes, that's right." Tuxedo Mask nodded.

The mysterious Samurai pondered on that for a moment. "Do you think the Negaverse cares enough about its Generals to exchange a Sailor scout for one of them?"

Nobody thought of that.

"What choice do we have?" Sailor Jupiter failed her arms. "We've no other option."

"I know you don't," The Samurai said. "And that is why I will help you."

"Thank you!"

Tuxedo Samurai was instantly embraced in a hug by Sailor Mars. His arms came up around her, slowly relishing the feeling.

"Thank you," Sailor Mars repeated again. Tears rolled down her cheeks and onto his black jacket for her friend, Ami.