It was lunchtime at Country Club High and Krystina, who snuck to school in Mallory's backpack, demanded that the senshi hold a meeting to discuss the strategy they'd use to defeat the enemy residing in Nakodish. (Which seems kind of pointless because they never seemed to have any strategy).
"I say we get new disguises," Mallory suggested. "I mean, the bad guys never seem to have any problems figuring out who we are. Have you noticed that? We should wear masks or something."
Krystina shook her head. "That won't do any good. The new enemy already knows who you are. By now, I bet they even know where you live!"
"If they know where we live and they've seen where we sleep, why don't they just, like, blow us up or something?" Valerie asked.
"Because the bad guys are somehow even stupider than we are," Niki explained.
"Ah. I see."
Krystina leapt up onto the picnic table and began pacing slowly. "What we need to do is come up with a plan that uses each of your strengths, and that will allow us to infiltrate the enemy's base at the Nakodish school."
"Wait a second . . ." Niki looked confused. "What strengths? We have strengths?"
"Yeah," Mallory said. "Remember? Bob can become invisible, I have semi-psychic abilities, Valerie--"
"I can bite people's ears and or heads off," Valerie filled in. "It really is a talent few are blessed with."
"And I can see the future in fires!" Vanessa piped up. "Sort of."
Niki frowned. "What about me?"
"You . . . you . . . um . . . someone help me here."
Mallory jumped up. "I know! Niki can sleep through anything! That's her super, special, cool, secret power! Sleeping!"
Niki shrugged in agreement. "I guess so," she mumbled.
"Why the glum face? I wish I had sleeping powers." Valerie thought for a moment. "Actually, I guess I kinda do. I can't stay awake for more than five minutes in French class. But, you know, that's because it's French."
"Well, I used to have super sleeping power, but I haven't been sleeping well lately." Niki sighed. "I guess I'm the only senshi without a strength."
"If it makes you feel any better, just remember that my power doesn't work well," Vanessa said. "Yesterday, I leaned in to get a better look at the future in the flames, and my shirt caught on fire. I could have died! Luckily, it's happened before, so I keep a fire extinguisher close by in cases of emergency."
Niki grinned. "You're right. The fact that you set yourself on fire does make me feel a little better. Thanks."
Deep under the Nakodish school cafeteria, B*tch #2 entered the large, dark office and stood before the desk. She cleared her throat. She wasn't sure why B*tch #3 had requested a meeting, and to be honest, she didn't want to find out.
The swivel chair on the other side of the desk spun around, revealing B*tch #3's icy glare. "According to our most recent reports, you still have not succeeded in destroying the Sailor Senshi."
Mrs. MicChan swallowed nervously. Surely, our great leader hasn't given up on me yet! "That is correct."
B*tch #3 narrowed her eyes. "You know that our great leader does not have a high tolerance for failure."
"Yes, I realize that. I was very surprised when the senshi managed to escape from the evil dimension the space portal led to. It seems that we may have underestimated them."
"There is no we involved in your failed plans, and all that has been underestimated about the senshi is their idiocy!" Still glaring, B*tch #3 folded her arms. "The only thing our great leader has asked of us is to rid her of a few annoying, little teenagers. How difficult can it be?"
Mrs. MicChan forced a laugh. "Obviously more difficult than you would think."
B*tch #3 was silent for a moment. "I have a proposition for you."
"How about you and I join forces? It seems like the more we B*tches argue amongst ourselves, the angrier our leader becomes because we have not yet destroyed the Senshi." She grinned wickedly. "And believe me. You don't want to see what happens when our leader gets really angry. So, we have a deal?"
B*tch #2 pondered the possibilities silently. Perhaps with two of us, the senshi won't stand a chance! She nodded. "Alright."
B*tch #3 smiled sweetly. Oh, that stupid fool! She honestly believes that I am willing to join forces. However, it doesn't matter what she thinks. I'll be rid of her soon enough!
Julie stared up at the ceiling, happily envisioning herself frolicking among the fields of goats. Technically, she was supposed to be studying, but she thought that pretending to be frolicking was much more fun.
From a chair near Julie's bed, Jeff glared at her. "Julie?" She didn't register that he had said anything. "Julie?" he said again, a bit louder. No response.
Julie looked over at him, a dazed expression on her face. "Hm?"
"Are you gonna help or not?"
Jeff gestured to the huge book that was lying in his lap. For the last several hours he had been searching for some sort of clue as to what the B*tches were planning and how to stop them. "Help me figure out what to do about the B*tches!"
"I told you already, Julie replied. "We do nothing and let them kill each other off. It's that simple."
"Just because the first one down wasn't exceedingly brilliant doesn't mean that the others are all that stupid. Or, well, it could . . ." Jeff sighed. "At any rate, will you at least do something?"
"I am doing something. I'm daydreaming about Tuxedo Dego."
"And how is that helping anything?"
"Well, if for some reason Tuxedo Dego and I were to no longer be madly in love with each other, then we would never get married, and your girlfriend would never be born!" She closed her eyes. "Now, leave me alone! I'm trying to concentrate."
Jeff glared. "Fine. Do whatever. But there's a lot more you're gonna need to know about the B*tches before you can defeat them. Besides, we still don't know a thing about that mysterious crime fighting team from the 80s."
"Who cares about them? The 80s sucked, remember?"
Later that night, a secret meeting was being held within the premises of Country Club High in a dark, filthy portable that smelled strangely of cat pee, old coffee, and gym socks . . . among other things. Dozens of posters, all with the slogan, "Weather for President, Mack for God," were pinned up on the grimy, dust covered walls. The only source of light came from a small, rusted lantern propped up against the door.
Three men and a woman were gathered around a table at the center of the room. It was the first time the four friends had held a meeting in over sixteen years. They had last met on the eve of Pharaoh 130's attempted resurrection which they had somehow managed to prevent.
Now it seemed their superpowers would be needed to save the world yet again.
The woman wrinkled her nose in disgust as she turned to the extremely old man who sat at the head of the table. "Why couldn't we have met in your room?"
The extremely old man shrugged. "I provided the refreshments." He pointed at the bowlegged man to his right. "It was his turn to provide the meeting place."
The bowlegged man only smiled. "Boy, how I've missed this place since I went on sabbatical. Doesn't it have such a homey feeling to it?"
"Only if your home reminds you of cat pee, old coffee, and dirty gym socks."
"Well, see, that's kind of funny because, in fact, my house does--"
"Enough!" the other really old man, (who was not as old as the extremely old guy, but still really old), said as he hit his gavel against the table. "Let's get down to business."
"Right." The woman shuffled through a stack of files and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. "It has been confirmed that, yes, the B*tches have all posed as teachers in various schools around Lousyana. It seems that the middle school, along with Nakodish and our own dear Country Club High, has also been infiltrated."
"Their base of operation, being?"
"Nakodish, in what I believe is a large system of rooms located deep under the Nakodish school for the gifted."
"So, their targets are gifted students?"
"Well . . . I believe that other than reviving Pharaoh 130, the B*tches main intent is to destroy the Sailor Senshi."
"According to our sources, the Sailor Senshi are a group of teenagers who, along with fighting evil, (often unsuccessfully), also pose as regular girls, hiding their true identities."
The extremely old man stroked his chin thoughtfully. "These girls, have their identities been revealed yet?"
"No. Although sources lead me to believe that they not only are located very near by, but that they also might have information about Pharaoh 130 that could prove to be very valuable."
The other really old man nodded. "Then that settles it. Please add discovering the Sailor Senshi's identities to our agenda." He hit the gavel against the table again. "This meeting is adjured."
Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away, a lone figure paced. Every few minutes, the figure would pause and stare out into the empty gloom, hoping against hope that someone would appear through the mist. But no one ever did. Sighing, the figure continued to pace.
Sailor Chocolate glanced miserably at the dull dimension she had been assigned to guard for all eternity. For as far as she could see (about twenty feet), all that surrounded her was hazy mist. Though she had never ventured far into the mist, she was under the impression that beyond the mist she could see, there was just a lot more mist.
Oh yeah, and there was that door.
Although the door was what she was put in the dimension to guard, the senshi chose to remain as far from it as possible. It wasn't that it was a tacky door, it was just that after the first thousand years of having nothing to do but look at the door, Chocolate had begun to hate it immensely.
For thousands of years (she lost count after a while), Chocolate spent most of her time pacing and wondering why on earth she was sent to guard a door that no one ever bothered to bloody go through. She wasn't even sure why the door, (which was really a gateway through time), was so important. And then suddenly, all her questions were answered.
Only a year before, for the first time someone ventured through the doorway. She was Alexia, princess of the future Moo Kingdom, and the one who was sent back in time to aid the Sailor Senshi in their mission to save the world of the past. Alexia had gone back to the future shortly afterwards because her mission had been a success. The world was saved.
Or was it?
Sailor Chocolate wrung her hands nervously. For nearly a month now there had been signs that something was using space portals to transport to and from the past and the future. It shouldn't have been possible, of course, since the doorway she guarded was supposed to be the only transport from one time to another. Only a very powerful evil force would have the ability to tamper with the dimensions and time travel.
But why? Chocolate wondered. What could this great evil be trying to do? She only knew one thing for certain. The Sailor Senshi who had once again reincarnated their mortal lives were in great danger.
And there was nothing she could do about it.
As the senshi who guarded the door through time, Sailor Chocolate was forbidden to do four things, two of which actually held some merit. First of all, she must never leave the doorway unguarded. Ever. And most importantly, she must NEVER, under any circumstance, STOP time. If she ever broke the taboos, she would pay with her life.
But that didn't mean she couldn't cheat around them.
There was no taboo that said she couldn't communicate with anyone through their dreams. The information she had provided Sailor Ecco had proven to be most valuable. It saved the senshi from the alternate dimension, but now they were in trouble again. Sailor Chocolate had learned of the destruction of the Old Moo Kingdom, and she refused to let anything like that happen again.
Oh well. If I can't go to them, I'll simply bring them to me.
Valerie hurried as quickly as she could through the crowds of people to the picnic tables. She was already late for yet another meeting Krystina had insisted they hold outside. Valerie would have preferred that they continued the tradition of holding the meetings in the AV room. If you stood in a certain spot in the middle of the room, everything you say would echo.
It was very cool.
"Excuse me, pardon me," Valerie said as she shoved people out of her way. Angry voices shouted after her, but she didn't care. Bob was supposed to have informed the others of her lateness, however, Valerie was pretty sure she had done no such thing. Bob usually demanded pay for favors, no matter how small.
On the other side of yet another large group of people, Valerie caught a glimpse of a blonde head. Speak of the devil . . . "Hey you!" she shouted.
The blonde turned and she froze. It wasn't Bob. Valerie stopped trying to push people out of her way and stared. It can't be . . . A pair of familiar eyes widened in surprise and a split second later, the blonde was gone.
"Why are you late?" Krystina demanded the moment Valerie reached the picnic table the secret meeting was being held at. "We've been waiting for you."
"Sorry, I was under the impression that someone was going to inform you that I'd be a few minutes late." Valerie glared at Bob who smiled brightly in return. She looked at Mallory and Vanessa. "Well, at least Niki's later than I am."
"She went home last period."
"She thinks she has an ulcer," Mallory replied. "Either that or mono. Or it could be a rare and deadly disease with no cure. Whatever it is, it's painful. At any rate, she'll probably be missing a lot of school."
"Well, that sounds like Niki, with or without an ulcer."
As Valerie sat down next to Mallory, she felt as if a pair of eyes were studying her every move. She looked up at Vanessa who was squinting at her. "Stop looking at me."
"Sorry. I was trying to see your aura."
"You can see auras? That's weird."
She grinned. "Did you know that when you inhale the gas from whipped cream cans, you usually see lots of weird things?"
The others stared.
Vanessa's face grew red. "Okay. Um . . . that didn't come out right."
Valerie shrugged. "As far as I know, I haven't been inhaling harmful substances, but I have been seeing things."
"Does the name Mountain Dew and Cashews ring a bell?"
Mallory's eyes widened. "You're kidding me! Where?"
"Here. Just a minute ago."
"Do you think she was sent here to kill us?"
"I don't know."
"Wait," Vanessa interrupted. "Who is Mountain Dew and Cashews?"
"She was one of Mr. Mister's evil henchmen," Mallory explained. "When we defeated her and her partner, they told us they were gonna go kill themselves."
"Well, at the time of the battle, we were freshmen. The two couldn't stand the humiliation of losing to us since they were sophomores, and so they committed suicide. At least, we thought they did."
"It must have been a lie," Valerie said. "And now they're back for revenge!"
Julie glared at Alexia and Jeff who were holding hands while giggling and whispering to each other. It made her ill. Really! Can't they take it somewhere private? At least Gerg and I have the decency to do all that damned lovey dovey stuff in the back of Lauren's car!
Okay, that's it. Julie marched over to the two and pulled Alexia away from Jeff. "Okay, show's over. As your mother, I demand that you do this elsewhere."
Alexia frowned. "I don't have anywhere else to go."
Julie pointed to Jeff. "You know, he has a dorm room too. It's not like my room is the only option. Heck, if his room doesn't work then there's always the broom closet."
"But I'm supposed to stay here and protect you! It's what I was sent in the past to do. I'm not allowed to leave your side for even a moment!"
Julie sighed. "Fine." She glared at Jeff. "Then protect me from that ugly man!"
"Mother!" Alexia cried out. "I know you've never approved of our relationship, but really! You don't have to be so rude!"
"I'm not rude, I'm just brutally honest."
Alexia stood, hands on her hips, and glared down at Julie. "Look, I'm seventeen years old, okay? I'm old enough to make my own decisions. I chose Jeff. Deal with it."
Julie made a face. "But why him? You could have any guy you wanted. I mean, yeah, that whole changing sex thing is kind of weird, but I'm sure that you could find an attractive man who could look beyond that."
"Well, maybe I wouldn't even have to deal with the changing sex thing if I hadn't had such a sucky family life growing up!" Alexia yelled.
"Sucky family life, my a$$ pennies." Julie rolled her eyes. "You're a princess. You have everything."
"Princess or not, it's hard on a young girl when her family is torn in half!"
Julie frowned. "What are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about the fact that my life was practically ruined when my parents separated!"
"You can't mean . . ."
"Yes," Alexia hissed in reply. "That's right, my parents separated! Julie and Gerg, king and queen of the future Moo Kingdom, got a divorce!"
"There she is!" Mallory cried out, pointing to the other side of the picnic area. The senshi, following Krystina's orders, had all been hiding behind a large bush for the last five minutes while trying to catch a glimpse of their old foe, MC.
Vanessa squinted. "Where? Which one?"
"She's the blonde one! Over by the gazebo! On the right!"
"My right or your right?"
"Both our rights. We're facing the same way."
Vanessa nodded. "So we are." She jumped up excitedly. "Oh! I see her!"
"Get down!" Valerie whispered anxiously. "We mustn't be seen!"
"Sorry." Vanessa ducked back down. "Hey, maybe I should turn into a bird or something so I can see what she's up too without her knowing it was me!"
Valerie shook her head. "Too risky. Her partner might be waiting for just that."
Mallory scanned the faces of the students who were sitting in the shade under the gazebo roof. "I don't see RA anywhere. I think MC is alone."
"That's what she wants you to think," Bob said.
"What makes you say that?"
"We're both blondes. Sharing that hair color makes us members of a highly intelligent yet tricky group of individuals. If she's a true blonde, then there's no way this situation is anything less than a highly elaborate trap targeted for those of less fortunate hair color."
Everyone who wasn't blonde rolled their eyes and chose to not reply.
Valerie stood up. "Trap or no, I'm going in."
"I thought you said it was too dangerous!"
"I appreciate your concern, Vanessa, but I refuse to remain hidden behind bushes all my life just because a blonde might have set a trap!"
"Wow,' Vanessa breathed. "You're so brave!"
Valerie sniffed. "Hardly." She turned to the others. "Mal, I'm trusting you to keep a look out in case it really is a trap."
Mallory nodded. "As temporary leader of the Sailor Senshi, I will make sure no harm befalls one of my sidekicks! Good luck, Sailor Psychopath."
Julie felt as if the world was crashing down around her. It's not possible! No, it can't be! Shaking her head fiercely, she backed away from Alexia. Not the "d" word! Anything but that! I can't even bring myself to say the horrid thing. Gerg and I would never . . .
Alexia smiled evilly. "What's wrong, Mommy? Feeling a little ill?"
Head spinning, Julie reached blindly behind her, trying to find something to support her weakened knees. Breathing hard, she sank down onto her bed. It can't be! she shouted over and over again in her head.
She has to be lying! Julie decided. She's just jealous of what she can't have! Julie glared up at Alexia. "How dare you, you lying, stupid b*tch!"
Jeff's eyes widened in surprise at Julie's viciousness. "Alexia, love, maybe you shouldn't be doing this. You know there are consequences when one finds out about the future before they're ready."
"I don't care!" Alexia yelled. "I'm sick and tired of her always passing judgements on me! She's my mother! But instead of trying to train me to be the leader of the senshi when she's gone, she told me I could never be one because I was different!"
"Well, excuse my future self!" Julie shot back. "But, you are different! Krystina told me that all senshi are girls, so it makes perfect sense that the future me would be under the impression that due to certain circumstances, you couldn't be a senshi!"
"Don't make up excuses! No matter what you say, I'll never forgive you!" Alexia narrowed her eyes. "This is the end, Sailor Moo!"
Julie frowned. The end? She wouldn't dare attack me! Or maybe she would . . . Julie looked up in surprise and tried to throw up some kind of protection, but it was too late. The last thing she saw was a blinding flash of pink light and then everything went black.
Valerie gulped nervously as she crept nearer and nearer to the gazebo. It'll be okay, she reassured herself silently. I just got to keep focus ahead. Mal's keeping a look out behind so she'll let me know if I'm in any danger. She glanced around the gazebo, but MC seemed to have vanished. Where is she?
"Looking for someone?" A voice asked from behind.
Valerie screamed and spun around. "MC!"
"Shh!" MC put a finger up to her lips. "You'll draw attention!"
"You're about to murder me!" Valerie whispered hysterically back. "Of course I want to draw attention!"
MC rolled her eyes. "If I wanted to murder you, I would have done it by now (oh sure, that's what they all say). I just want to talk."
"Honest." MC's eyes darted around nervously. She grabbed Valerie's arm and started pulling her away from the picnic area. "Not here. It's too dangerous!"
"LET GO OF HER!"
Valerie turned in surprise. From out of nowhere flew two figures and a bunny. The two figures tackled MC to the ground. The bunny ran to Valerie.
"Run for it!" Vanessa, in bunny-form, screamed. "We'll save you!"
"I'm not the one who needs saving!" Valerie grabbed Mallory and Bob and pulled them off of MC. "Are you okay?" she asked MC as she helped her to her feet.
"Are you insane?' Bob yelled as she pushed MC to the ground again. "She was trying to kidnap you!"
"No she wasn't!" Valerie yelled back as she once again helped MC to her feet. "We were just going to talk!"
Bob shook her head sympathetically. "Oh, you poor, gullible fool!"
"Are you sure everything's okay?" Mallory asked worriedly. "I mean, when we saw MC sneak up out of nowhere, heard you scream, and then saw her start to drag you off, we were under the impression you were in trouble!"
Valerie nodded. "Yeah, okay, I guess I can see how with the whole sneaky and screaming thing, you'd mistakenly think I was being attacked. Well, all I can say then is, good job! Had I really been in trouble, you would have probably saved me. Thanks!"
"Any time." Mallory turned to MC, who was staring at them perplexedly, and glared. "Why are you here, and what could you possibly have to say to us?"
MC looked away, mumbled something along the lines of "I can't believe we lost to them as freshmen because even as sophomores, they're still morons," and then looked back at Mallory. "It's too dangerous to say anything out here. There could be spies everywhere. We need to talk inside."
Still suspicious, Mallory gave a slight nod of agreement. "Alright, but try anything fishy, and we'll defeat you. Again."
"Fair enough." After Vanessa retransformed behind a tree, the four senshi, accompanied by their ex-enemy, headed for the school.
"Hey, look!" Mallory said once they were all inside the dimly lit building. "The talented art students put up their new exhibit!"
The others stopped and looked to where Mallory was pointing. The wall that was usually covered in several different drawings or sketches now had only one painting. The mural stretched from the ceiling to the floor and was several feet wide.
Valerie studied the mural. "Is that a painting of a door?"
MC stepped forward to get a better look. "Why yes," she agreed. "It does seem to be a painting of a door."
Julie opened her eyes, only to see the faces of Alexia and Jeff looming over her.
"Ah!" she screamed. Julie screamed again, leapt out of bed, and in an attempt to get away, tripped over her sheets and fell on the floor. "Ow."
"Mother, are you okay?" Alexia said as she ran to Julie's side.
"Murderer!" Julie made the sign against evil. "Back, demon! Back, I say!"
Alexia frowned and looked at Jeff who only shrugged. "Mother, what are you talking about?"
"Don't play dumb!" Julie cried out. "You tried to kill me!"
"I would never! You must have had a nightmare."
"A nightmare?" Julie sighed with relief. "Yes. A dream." She looked around. "But it was so real . . ." She pointed at Alexia and Jeff. "And you were there . . . and you were there . . ."
"Maybe you should lie down," Alexia suggested as she helped Julie to her feet.
Julie glanced at the clock. "Geez . . . it's almost lunchtime! I totally slept through all of my morning classes! What are you doing here, anyway? Are you skipping?"
"Well . . . actually, yes. Jeff and I found the entrance to the B*tches' underground lair. We thought now would be a good time to do some investigation, but maybe we shouldn't. We had no idea you didn't go to your classes this morning. You might get in trouble for playing hooky."
Julie shook her head. "Hey, if I missed half of my classes, I might as well miss the rest! I'm fine, honestly." Actually, I'm great! This means that all of that "d" word stuff wasn't real! Gerg and I are going to be together forever!
Alexia didn't look convinced. "Are you sure?"
"Positive! The B*tches need to be stopped, and I, Sailor Moo, am going to help!"
Niki groaned in pain. When she left school she had hoped that maybe the ulcer would magically go away since the evilness that school radiated couldn't affect it. But, it didn't go away. It got worse. "Ow!" she moaned. "My ulcer. My ulcer."
Pain, pain, go away, a practically delusional Niki sang in her head. Come again another day. Or better yet, give one of my brothers an ulcer! I don't care which one. She managed a weak smile. Yeah, I think that would make me feel a little better . . .
"Okay! I get the hint!" Niki yelled. "I'll NEVER eat bacon again. I swear!"
Maybe I'm already dead . . . She looked over and saw Drossel happily purring while sucking on her hair. Ah, well, death's not as bad as they say it is. Another burst of pain. Let me rephrase that. Death sucks. I want to live again!
"I want to be free!"
Okay, I'm now yelling out pointless things with no purpose. I think I've finally snapped. "Damn this ulcer! Damn it, I say!"
And for the first time in what seemed like days (but was really only hours), Niki slept.
"A door. How strange."
The four senshi and their ex-enemy stared in fascination at the painting of the door. It wasn't that they had never seen a door before (in fact, they see them regularly), they just had never heard of anyone painting a door.
"There's just one painting," Mallory commented. "Do you think it was, like an art project that all of the art students worked on? I mean, it is a very large door."
"Look! There's a signature!" Vanessa peered closely at the scrawled writing in the bottom right corner. "It says, "Eva Deness, '01." She must be the artist!"
"Just one signature for this huge painting? How strange."
"Eva Deness . . ." Mallory frowned. "The name sounds familiar, I just can't place it."
"Perhaps she's that mysterious student that no one has either seen or heard, but whom everyone knows exists, regardless of the fact that no one's ever met her," Valerie deduced. She shrugged. "Or, you know, maybe she's new."
MC studied the mural carefully. "It's a very good painting. The usage of shadows and highlights creates a very vivid and realistic three dimensional image. I mean, it almost looks as if this door could truly open and close."
"Yeah, you're right," Bob agreed. Then she gasped. "Funny you should say that, because LOOK!"
The senshi and their ex-enemy watched with shocked surprise as the paper outlining the door tore away, and the door, no longer two dimensional, opened. Instead of a bare wall behind the door, there was a lot of hazy mist.
"It's another portal!" Mallory cried out. "There was a portal behind the door! How strange."
Valerie stepped back. "Out of my way, everyone."
"What? You're going to go through? Are you insane?" Mallory rolled her eyes. "Sorry, a bit redundant, wouldn't you say?"
Valerie shrugged. "I think whoever went to all the trouble of making this elaborate doorway through space wanted us to actually go through the door."
"Yeah! Because it's a trap, you nitwit!"
"Bob, shut up and go away." Valerie turned to Mallory, Vanessa, and MC. "The rest of you are welcome to follow me." She took a running start and leapt into the mist. The others watched as she disappeared from view.
"There she goes." Mallory grinned at the others and made a little bow. "After you."
Grumbling, first Vanessa, then MC, Mallory, and finally Bob, all leapt into the painting and vanished into the mist. The paper door closed once again and then disappeared.
Side by side, the five girls gazed in wonder at the world that now surrounded them. For as far as they could see, gray, hazy mist surrounded them. Behind them loomed the door they had transported through. Only it wasn't a painting now, it was a real door.
"It's so weird," Mallory commented as she stared at the door. "It's a door. A door that's just sitting here. No walls. Just mist and a door."
Just as Bob was reaching out to touch the door to make sure it was really there, a mysterious voice, seeming to come out of nowhere, stopped her.
"Do not touch the door. The door does not wish to be touched. Keep the hands away from the door."
"Did you guys hear that?" Bob said. They all nodded.
"It was a mysterious voice, seeming to come out of nowhere," MC said, even though they had already established that fact.
"It wasn't just any mysterious voice, seeming to come out of nowhere!" Vanessa said excitedly. "It was the voice. The one from my dreams!"
"The one that told you that you were a bird?"
"No! The other one. It's her! The senshi of time!"
"Ohh . . . ahh," Valerie said. The others looked at her. "Sorry. I thought it was the appropriate time for impressed sound effects. Continue."
"That is correct, Sailor Ecco. I am indeed the one they call "the senshi of time"."
"Oh, she knows who I am!" Vanessa said happily.
"I know far more than you can imagine. I am known as Sailor Chocolate. That's Sailor Choc-o-la-TE, with an accent on the "TE". It's Spanish."
"Why are you so picky about how your name is pronounced, Chocolate?"
"Because my name is NOT Sailor Chocolate, it's Sailor Choc-o-la-TE, with an accent on the "TE"."
"Right," Bob said snootily. "That's what I said. Chocolate."
"Hey, Sailor Onion, say it right, okay?"
"My name's Sailor Unknown, NOT Sailor Onion!"
"Well, now you know how I feel."
"Not to be rude or anything," Mallory said. "But, is it okay if we can talk to you face to face? This whole mysterious voice thing is kind of annoying."
"I am afraid that is quite impossible."
"Why? You're not invisible, are you?" Valerie asked warily.
"No. I simply am not allowed to be seen by others. No one is even supposed to know I exist."
"It may be strange, but that is how it has been for thousands of years. Just by calling you five here, I have nearly broken one of the taboos set upon me as the senshi assigned to protect the doorway through time and space."
"If it's forbidden, then why did you do it?" Vanessa asked.
"Because certain things have been happening in both the past and the future. Things that must never be allowed to occur. Things that may destroy the world as we know it!"
"Dum dum dum." Valerie smiled. "More ominous sound effects. I'm getting pretty good at this, huh?"
"That is why I have brought you here! So that you can meet up once again with an old comrade who will assist you in saving the world!"
"The Fairy Who Likes Coke and Peanuts!"
Mallory groaned. "Please tell me you're joking."
"So, Alex is coming here?" Valerie shook her head. "Poor Julie. I can't believe she's going to miss this."
"I have summoned him here. It is time you learn what it is you must do to prevent the destruction of the world. He arrives."
A low rumbling noise drew the girls' attention to the door they had just entered through. The outline of the doorway shone brightly as the door slowly creaked open. In the shining opening, they could just make out the shadow of a figure with a pair of wings attached to his back.
The Fairy Who Likes Coke and Peanuts nodded in greetings as he stepped from the doorway into the mist. "Hey, what the f%#k's up?"
Mallory groaned again. "I can see you haven't changed much."
"Actually, a lot's f%#king changed. I got a f%#king raise. Check it f%#king out." He gestured to his wings, which to Mallory and Valerie's surprise, were no longer cardboard. They were made of real feathers.
"Awesome!" Valerie exclaimed. "So, can you fly now?"
"F%#k no. I didn't get that much of a f%#king raise. They're for decoration and sh*t, remember?" The Fairy shrugged. "It's not like they're the best f%#king quality or anything, but at least they're not from Wal Mart. That f%#king cheap a$$ store."
"Hi," Vanessa said. "I'm Sailor Ecco. I don't believe we've met." She smiled. "So anyway, I was just wondering why you curse so much, and if you'll please stop."
"You think I f%#king curse too much?" The Fairy frowned. "Hey, you know, I think you're f%#king right. I never really f%#king realized it and sh*t before now. I guess I can handle not cursing too f%#king much."
Mallory made a face. "Now, how come that never worked for me?"
The Fairy looked at each one of them in turn. "Sailor Moo's not with you. Well, that's kind of f%#king inconvenient." His eyes fell on MC. "Well, at least you have found your newest senshi."
MC, who was standing a few feet from the others, (probably because she was afraid of them, not that anyone could blame her), looked up in surprise. "Excuse me? I'm a WHAT?"
The senshi exchanged looks. "She's one of us?"
"It's the damn bunny analogy all over again."
"But she was evil," Bob said. "She can't be one of us."
Valerie rolled her eyes. "Oh please, Bob. Much to my dismay, you're one of us, and you're far more evil now than MC ever was."
"Wait, wait wait," MC said as she turned to the Fairy. "Are you sure I'm one of them?" He nodded. "Damn. This greatly saddens me."
"We're really not that bad once you get to know us," Vanessa reassured her. "Hey, what's your name anyway?"
Valerie made a face. "Oh, no. That's not gonna work. The cat's Krystina. That's far too confusing."
"Oh. Well, you can call me Special K."
Mallory reached out and shook Kristina's hand. "Alright, Special K, welcome to the group. I'm the temporary leader in Sailor Moo's absence, by the way."
"Okay. That's good to know."
"Kristina, as you have just found out, in actuality you are the reincarnation of Sailor Special K, one of the Outer Senshi, an elite group of warriors who have fought in the past to save the world. You will join now with the senshi you see before you."
Kristina nodded. "Got it. And you're the mystical, disembodied voice also known as Sailor Choc-o-la-TE. See, I catch on quickly."
"Now, Fairy Who Likes Coke and Peanuts, reveal to them the secret of the Holy Milk Pail."
"That's my cue." The Fairy eyed the senshi. "So, how much about the Holy Milk Pail do you know?"
Everyone was silent.
"Not much," Mallory replied.
The Fairy sighed. "Do you at least know of the talismans?"
"Only that there are three of them," Valerie said.
"Is that f%#king all?" He took a deep breath. "There are three talismans hidden throughout the universe. When gathered together and then fed to a cow as white as milk, they form the Holy Milk Pail, the legendary device that will be used to save the world."
"A cow as white as milk? How strange."
"You must listen closely now to what I am about to tell you," the Fairy continued.
"Have no fear, Mr. Fairy Man! We're listening!" Vanessa exclaimed.
The Fairy cleared his throat. "Go to the woods and bring me back; one: the cow as white as milk, two: the cape as red as blood, three: the hair as yellow as corn, four: the slipper as pure as gold. Bring me these before the chime of midnight in three days time, and you shall have, I guarantee, a milk pail as perfect as milk pail can be."