"I can't believe she's gone," Bob said quietly, safely on solid ground. "She saved us and now she's . . ." She choked back a sob.
Special K looked at Bob in surprise. "Wow, you're taking this really hard. I didn't think you even liked her."
"Oh, what, I'm not allowed to have feelings? Is it because I'm blonde?" she yelled back. "It just so happens that I really liked Eva! She was the only one out of all of you who never treated me excessively badly."
"But she knocked you unconscious with her staff," Jeff reminded Bob.
"It was an accident. At least she didn't try to shove me off any cliffs." Bob glared at Special K.
"Neither did I!" Special K said. "I merely suggested that you jump off one."
Bob dried her eyes. "Either way, I did like her, okay? I even, sort of, kind of, maybe a little, considered her a friend."
"Oh, how touching," came RA's sarcastic response. "The loss of a teammate brings forth unexpressed feelings of friendship. Blah blah blah. It's all a bit too sappy for me. Save it for the Lifetime channel."
"RA!" Special K shouted in surprise. Ah! She always shows up at the worst possible times. "Where did you come from?"
RA shrugged innocently. "Just thought I'd pop up and see how everything was going. It seems my plan worked. You've lost your most valuable weapon against Pharaoh 130, and you didn't even realize it!"
"Weapon? We had a weapon?"
"Sailor Chocolate, you dimwit!" RA yelled. "Or did you not realize that as the Senshi Of Time, she was the most powerful of all of you?" When she saw their blank faces, she grinned evilly. "You had no idea? Pathetic fools!"
"So is that what you came here for?" Bob asked, crossing her arms over her chest. "To mock us? Or are you here to fight?"
"I'm here to settle a score. I was sent by Mistress 13 to punish the one who betrayed us. You can't just turn away from the dark side and expect to live a long, happy life. It's payback time."
Special K put her hands on her hips and took a step forward. "Alright then, let's do this!"
"I'm not talking about you," RA said, rolling her eyes. "You made a lousy bad guy anyway, ex-partner. I'm talking about him!" She pointed a finger at Jeff.
Jeff, Evil, Evil, Jeff looked surprised. "Me? You came all the way out here to destroy me?"
"Of course I did! Not only did you fail to complete the mission set upon you by Mr. Mister, but your joining with the Sailor Senshi helped lead to his demise. He brought you back from the dead, and look how you repay him! You are a traitor who deserves to die."
"Don't worry, Jeff," Special K reassured him. "We'll protect you!"
RA snorted. "I'd like to see you try." She pulled out what appeared to be a paintball gun and aimed it at Jeff. "ROOTBEER AND ALMONDS SPLAT!" A huge, sticky mound of Rootbeer and almonds shot out of the gun and smacked Jeff right in the chest, sending him sprawling backwards.
Bob rushed to the unmoving Jeff's side and felt for his pulse. She stood up slowly, her eyes wide and she stared at Special K. "He's dead."
Weeping, Valerie ran to where Mallory lay on the ground, as still as death. Julie hurried to her, kicking pieces of killer rabbit out of the way. She coughed as the smoke from the explosion filled her lungs. "Well, I think it's safe to say that the rabbit is dead," Julie said, picking a bloody rabbit ear. She threw it back on the ground. "Yuck."
"Mallory! Mallory!" Valerie cried. "Speak to me!"
Mallory opened her eyes and felt the side of her face which was slick with blood. "What happened?"
"You blew yourself up."
"Oh, that was intelligent of me."
"No, it really wasn't."
"Yes, I know, I was being sarcastic." Mallory tried to prop up her head so that she could see the rest of her body, but it was too painful. "I've lost a lot of blood, haven't I?"
Valerie watched as blood poured from Mallory's head and formed a pool around her body. She grimaced. "Just a little."
Mallory breathed heavily and she closed her eyes again. " I think that it's time for me to go on to a better place. But I need both of you to listen to me very carefully."
"We're listening," Julie reassured her. She squeezed Mallory's hand. "Don't worry, it will be okay. Except for, you know, the fact that in a few minutes you'll be dead."
"You really suck at the comforting thing." Valerie informed Julie. Not that she was one to talk.
Mallory sighed as she began her death speech. "I want to stay in this world, God knows I do. But I don't have the time anymore, and I think that someone else should take on the job as the temporary leader of the Sailor Senshi. I don't do much. I have no idea how I even got the position. But I don't regret it. I've had the best time, but now I'm dying." She paused. "I'm like an artist who has to stop painting."
Mallory continued. "I may come back someday. I may not. Whatever happens, I won't be in this world any longer, but I still consider you guys - except Bob - to be my family. You guys - except Bob - have all been so great to me, and I appreciate it so much. Don't forget me because I'm not going to forget any of you. Goodbye."
"She's not breathing anymore," Valerie said after a few minutes. "I guess she really is dead."
Julie hit the ground in frustration. "I can't believe this is happening! First Vanessa, now Mallory. It's like episode seven, all over again! Soon I'll be the only one left."
"Not necessarily," Valerie said. "I mean, I suppose that at this very moment, a black knight could come riding up and he could challenge me to a duel, and seeing as how I don't know how to sword fight, I could lose and then die, but what are the chances of that happening?"
A funny thing happened just then.
"You b*tch!" Special K screamed at RA, but she had already vanished.
Bob stared down in disbelief at Jeff's body. "I can't believe he's dead. After only one attack?" She kicked his still body. "You wuss! Get off your fat a$$ and help us get out of here!"
"In Jeff's defense, paintball guns really do hurt," Special K said. "But I agree with you. Dying after just one hit? He really is a wuss. Or, I should say, was a wuss."
"What do we do now?" Bob asked a moment later. "Should we keep walking or should we give up while we're ahead? I'm personally all for the giving up thing."
"Let's head for that castle in the distance," Special K suggested. "If anyone's there, they should at least be able to tell us how to get back to the underground laboratory."
Bob nodded in agreement. "Alright, but if there are any Frenchmen living in that castle, you're on your own. I've had bad experiences with Frenchmen who throw cows, among other things."
"Unbelievable!" Julie shouted in annoyance the moment a black knight on a horse rode up and aimed his sword at Valerie. He challenged her to a duel and she accepted. Now the two stood facing each other preparing to begin, Valerie holding a sword she had borrowed from the black knight.
"Are you insane?" Julie asked, even though it was a stupid question. "You've never used a sword before! You're going to die!"
"I had to accept the challenge!" Valerie said. "If I had refused, it would have been dishonorable. I wouldn't be able to live with the shame. I mean, what would the people at school think if they found out?"
"They wouldn't care, trust me. It's not like anyone likes you, anyway."
Valerie considered that for a moment. "Good point. But it's too late to back out now. Wish me luck," she added cheerfully.
Julie put her hand on Valerie's shoulder. "I wish you a quick, painless death."
Valerie smiled brightly. "Thanks!" The duel began. And somehow (though Julie couldn't see how it was at all possible), after a short fray, Valerie managed to cut off the black knight's arm with one swipe. "Now, stand aside, worthy adversary," she said.
"'Tis but a scratch," the black knight said from under his helm.
"A scratch? Your arm's off!"
"No, it isn't!"
"Well, what's that then?" Valerie pointed to the bloody arm which was lying at the knight's feet.
"I've had worse."
"You liar!" Valerie yelled, lunging at the knight. She cut off his other arm. "Victory is mine!"
"Come on!" the armless knight said, running towards Valerie. "Had enough, eh?"
"Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left."
"Yes I have! Just a flesh wound" The knight headbutted Valerie in the chest. "You chicken! Chicken!"
"Stop that!" Valerie commanded. "I'll have your leg!" She chopped it off.
"Right," the knight said, hopping on his remaining attached foot. "I'll do you for that."
"You'll what? What are you going to do? Bleed on me?"
"You're a loony."
"The Black Knight always triumphs! Come on then!" Valerie chopped off his other leg and he fell to the ground. "Alright then, we'll call it a draw."
Valerie rolled her eyes and, still holding the sword, she started running to where Julie stood.
"Oh, I see! Running away, eh? I'll bite your legs off!" The limbless knight threatened.
Valerie turned around and yelled back. "Oh yeah? Well, I'll bite your ears and/or head off!" When she turned back to continue running, she tripped over her own feet and fell to the ground. On top of her sword.
Moments later, Special K and Bob reached the castle which, for no apparent reason, was sitting in the middle of the deserted plain. It looked suspiciously like the castle the senshi had stumbled upon deep within the Loserville woods. Special K and Bob stealthily approached the castle drawbridge, looking out for anything that might prove to be a danger.
"Hello! Is anyone there?" Special K yelled. When no one responded, she looked at Bob. "Do you think we should try to get in? Perhaps there will be some food or something else that would prove to be useful."
"'Allo, daffy Sailor Senshi with the brains of a duck!" an obnoxious French voice yelled down from the walls of the castle. "So we French fellows out-wit you a second time!"
"Not them again!" Bob cried out in exasperation.
"So, you think you could out-clever us French folk? I wave my private parts at your aunties, you cheesy lot of second hand electric donkey bottom biters."
"What on earth are they talking about?"
"There's no chance that we will let you in, you American bedwetting types! I burst my pimples at you, you tiny-brained wiper of other people's bottoms!"
Special K took a step back from the castle. "I say we walk away. Just ignore them."
"And now remain gone you illegitimate faced buggarfolk!" The Frenchman yelled after the retreating senshi. "And if you think you got nasty taunting this time, you ain't heard nothing yet!"
"Why are they so annoying?" Special K asked, covering her ears.
"It's because they're French. It's like an inborn thing." Or should I say inbred? Ha ha. How witty. "At least they haven't started throwing any farm animals yet." But Bob had spoken too soon. For at that moment, a chicken came soaring through the air and it hit her in the face, knocking her to the ground.
The chicken was shortly followed by another chicken which was followed shortly by a sheep, pig, horse, and finally, a cow. Each animal landed directly on top of the animal proceeding it, which was always right on top of Bob's head.
"Bob! Are you okay?" Special K cried after the onslaught of farm animals ceased. She attempted to pull Bob out from underneath the herd, but it proved to be worthless. The blonde was already dead. Special K looked sadly at Bob. And to think, the poor girl's tombstone is going to read: here lies Bob who was smooshed to death by farm animals. It could happen to anyone.
After a moment of silence for the deceased senshi, Special K stood and sighed. She continued the journey to the underground laboratory alone.
"Valerie! You moron!" Julie cried as the impaled senshi stumbled and fell to the ground. "You stabbed yourself with your own sword! Could you be any dumber?"
"At least I didn't blow myself up."
"You're right, Mallory wins." Julie tried to help the other senshi up. "Do you think you'll make it? Your wound doesn't look that bad. I was wrong," Julie said as she noticed the end of the sword sticking out of Valerie's back. "Is it weird that this makes me think of something Niki would do?"
"No, it's not weird." Valerie replied weakly. "The whole impaling thing totally reminds me of Niki." She sighed. "I wish she were here with a fishing pole sticking through her chest. Then I wouldn't have to die alone. No offense."
"So, you think you're dying?" Julie said, attempting to make small talk. I really am lousy at the comforting thing. I mean what am I supposed to do? Lie and say 'don't worry, just because a sword damaged your vital organs and you've lost a few gallons of blood, it doesn't mean that you're going to die'?
"Yeah, I really think I'm dying," Valerie said. "Julie, don't take this the wrong way or anything, but . . . hold me."
"Okay. Just as long as, you know, no one ever finds out." Julie attempted to hug Valerie but the damn sword kept getting in the way.
"You know what?" Valerie said a few minutes later.
"You know how you're not supposed to run with scissors?"
"Well, this is so much worse." Valerie closed her eyes. "Good luck with saving the world alone and all. I wish I could help, but I'm a bit busy bleeding to death." She sighed. "I know that I've always acted pretty much like a pain in the a$$, but I really did respect you as my leader and upperclassman. Sort of."
Tears sprouted in Julie's eyes. "Thanks. That really means a lot to me."
"I bid you a fond farewell." Valerie stopped breathing and was still.
After a moment of silence for the deceased senshi, Julie stood and sighed. She continued the journey to find the underground laboratory alone.
"Julie! Julie!" Special K cried with joy as she ran to the senshi's side. "Finally! I've found you!" She looked around, confused. "Weren't Valerie, Vanessa, and Mallory with you?"
"Yes," Julie said sadly.
"Where are they now?"
"Dead. Impaled, bitten, and blown up. What about Bob, Eva, and Jeff?"
"They're dead too. Smooshed, vanished, and just dead." Special K sighed. "Wow, this sucks a lot."
"You're telling me. Poor ex-freshmen and ex-ugly guy."
"What do we do now?" Special K scratched her head thoughtfully. "I suppose we could approach that yonder three-headed knight and ask his advice."
"I don't like knights," Julie said, recalling how annoying the last one was. "But, what choice do we have?" The two glumly trooped off to converse with the three-headed knight.
"Halt!" The three heads of the knight yelled at once. "Who art thou?"
"We are the remaining Sailor Senshi," Julie replied.
"In that case, I shall have to kill you," the Left Head said.
"Shall I?" asked the Middle Head.
"Oh, I don't think so," said the Right Head.
"Well, what do I think?" questioned the Middle Head.
"I think kill them," said the Left Head.
"Well, let's be nice to them," suggested the Right Head.
"Who are you?" Special K asked, interrupting their conversation.
"We are the Knights Who Say . . . Ni!" the heads said at once.
"We are the keepers of the sacred words 'Ni', 'Ping', and 'Nuu-wom'. The Knights Who Say Ni demand a sacrifice!"
"Well, what is it that you want?" asked Julie.
"We want . . . a shrubbery! One that's nice. And not too expensive."
"A shrubbery is a small plant," Special K explained. "It's usually used for decoration in a garden or a--"
"I know what a shrubbery is!" Julie said. "I was wondering why they want one and why they expect us to get them one."
"If you don't get us a shrubbery, we will say 'Ni' again!"
"And that's supposed to make us get your shrubbery . . . how?"
"We say 'Ni' and you shrink back in fear because it is a dangerous and extremely annoying word! You fear the 'Ni'! You are afraid!"
Julie shrugged, slightly confused. "Not really. What about you?"
Special K shrugged too. "Not afraid in the least."
The Knights Who Say Ni were furious. "You will never get out of these woods alive!" they screamed.
"Sure we will." Julie pulled out her transportation device and grabbed Special K's arm. "Witness us leaving." They vanished.
"Oh drat!" the Left Head complained. "They're gone. And I really wanted a shrubbery."
"Well, it's your fault they got away," the Middle Head accused.
"It's not my fault!" Left Head argued. "You're the one who didn't say 'Ni' menacingly enough!"
"It's no one's fault," Right Head said. "Let's just go have some tea and biscuits."
"Right," Left Head agreed. "Only no tea."
"And no biscuits," Middle Head added.
"Let's go then," Right Head said. The three-headed knight ambled off to enjoy a nice afternoon tea with biscuits, only without the tea and biscuits.
"They are coming," Caroline informed Mistress 13. "Two of them are on their way here this very moment."
"ONLY TWO? WHAT A PITY."
"We wanted to make sure that you would have enough hearts to bring forth Pharaoh 130, but we wanted to diminish the senshi's numbers so that you wouldn't have any trouble destroying them.
"A HUNDRED SENSHI WOULD NOT BE ANY TROUBLE! I AM A THOUSAND TIMES MORE POWERFUL THAN THEY ARE.
"Of course! Of course," Caroline said humbly. "I was only--"
"SILENCE! I NO LONGER HAVE ANY USE FOR YOU."
"So, I may leave?"
"YOU MAY DIE." Before Caroline could turn and flee, she burst into flames and within seconds, was completely incinerated. Mistress 13 frowned at the scorch marks left on the carpet. "THAT'S A SHAME. IT WAS PRACTICALLY NEW. NOW I'LL HAVE TO GET IT REPLACED.
As the familiar green light transported Julie and Special K through space, Julie said a silent prayer that she had programmed the transporter correctly. It would be a shame to accidently transport into a pit of poisonous snakes or somewhere else of that sucked more than Nakodish. Luckily, she had programmed it correctly. Malcolm would be proud.
"WELCOME," a voice greeted Julie and Special K the moment they appeared back in the laboratory before Mistress 13's throne. "I'VE BEEN EXPECTING YOU. IT'S A SHAME NONE OF THE OTHER SENSHI COULD MAKE IT TO THE PARTY."
"WHY, PHARAOH 130's OF COURSE. IT'S NOT EVERYDAY THE WORLD ENDS, AFTER ALL. I'D SAY THAT'S A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE."
"It's too bad the Pharaoh won't be able to make it!" Julie yelled.
Mistress 13 frowned. "AND WHY WOULDN'T HE?"
"Because we'll destroy you first!" Special K leapt into the air. "FROSTED TURBULENCE!" A wave of icy wind flew from her hands and struck Mistress 13. Nothing happened.
"PATHETIC." With a flick of her wrist, Mistress 13 sent Special K flying across the room. Her head hit the wall with a sickening thump and she fell, unconscious, to the floor.
"Special K!" Julie cried. But there was no response.
Mistress 13 smiled at Julie. "COME ON NOW, I KNOW YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT. I NEED TO WORK UP MY APPETITE. THEN I'LL RIP YOUR HEART OUT AND EAT IT. IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE."
The Holy Milk Pail appeared from the glowing jewels on Julie's wrist. "When I'm through with you, you won't even have a stomach - much less an appetite!"
"OH, I'M SO SCARED," Mistress 13 said sarcastically. "THE LITTLE SAILOR SENSHI'S GOING TO TRY AND BEAT ME UP WITH THE UNDER-SIZED BUCKET."
"It's not a bucket, it's a pail!" Julie yelled. "And, damn it for Christ's sake, it's holy!"
"OH, WELL THAT JUST TOTALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE. NOW I'M REALLY TERRIFIED. BUT I KNOW THAT YOU DON'T HAVE THE GUTS TO HURT YOUR LITTLE FRIEND."
"You're not my friend!" Julie shouted. "You're a scary-looking woman with way too much hair!"
"WHAT MAKES YOU SO SURE?" For a second, the excessively long-haired, big breasted, Mistress 13 vanished, and in her place stood Niki as Julie remembered her, her mouth open in a silent plea for help. Mistress 13 reappeared. "I KNOW YOU'RE NOT WILLING TO TAKE THAT CHANCE."
Sighing in defeat, Julie lowered the pail. "You're right. I won't let anything happen to her. I can't attack you, not if she's still there, somewhere.
Mistress 13 smiled wickedly. "I THOUGHT AS MUCH."
"However, I haven't given up quite yet."
Mistress 13 frowned. This was not what she expected to hear. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN!"
A determined look crossed Julie's face and she raised the glowing milk pail up. "Niki!" she cried, staring straight at Mistress 13. "If you're in there, listen to me! Fight her! Fight Mistress 13! Look inside yourself, and you will find the way!"
Something deep within Mistress 13 stirred. Niki awoke suddenly to find herself once again surrounded by mist. "What's happening?" She wondered aloud. "Where am I?"
You are in the twisted kingdom, came the reply. Niki looked up in surprise to see her mirror self standing before her.
The twisted kingdom. Deep within your mind. You have lost yourself. You must find your way.
"Find my way where?"
Out of the twisted kingdom. You are lost, but now you must return. Reclaim what is yours. Fight the darkness.
"I am so confused!" Niki yelled at herself. "Don't speak words ever!"
From far away, another voice came echoing through the mist. Fight her! Fight Mistress 13! Look inside yourself!
"You people keep saying that, but you're not explaining anything! Unless you have x-ray vision, it is impossible to see through anything. Believe me, I know. I've tried."
Mirror Niki pointed her scythe threateningly at the other Niki. Silence! You must find your connection to the world above! Find a reason for living, and live again! You're running out of time. You must - she vanished.
"A reason for living, a reason for living," Niki muttered to herself. "Let me think. My family? Hah! My school? Screw that! My life in general? Yep, that sucks too. My cats?" Niki's eyes widened. "My cats! My babies! Left all alone in my house with those horrible people for all eternity? I could never do that to them!"
Niki threw her arms in the air. "Take me back, world! I want to live again!"
Mistress 13's eyes bulged as she stumbled and fell to the ground. "NO! THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!" She beat her fists against her head. "YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD! DIE ALREADY!"
Julie smiled. "I was right, wasn't I? She's inside of you, and she heard me! Niki!" she yelled. "Niki! Fight her!"
"NO!" Mistress 13 screamed in agony. "IT CANNOT BE! NO!" She glared at Julie. "THIS IS YOUR FAULT! I MAY DIE, BUT YOU WILL NEVER DEFEAT PHARAOH 130! HE WILL AVENGE ME!"
"Shut up already!" Julie commanded. "And get a haircut!"
"AH!" Mistress 13 screamed one last time. Then she vanished.
"Woo hoo!" Julie shouted, jumping up and down. "I did it!"
Thank you, my friend.
Julie gaped at the girl who stood before her. She looked like Niki with shorter hair, but Julie knew that she wasn't really her. Not entirely, at least. "Who are you?"
I am Sailor 24601's future self. The self that she will never know. I must die to save the world.
"What are you talking about?"
It has begun. Pharaoh 130's ascension is happening right now. If I sacrifice myself by backflipping into the growing mass of energy behind you, then all will be saved.
Julie glanced back and sure enough, a dome of red energy pulsated and grew larger every second. She looked back at Sailor 24601. "You can't! I won't let you!"
You can't stop me. Sailor 24601 soared over Julie's head and flipped into the dome and disappeared from sight.
Julie stared in shock for a moment before running towards the dome. But something stopped her.
"What are you doing?" Special K asked, trying to pull her away from the energy. "If you leap into that, you'll die!"
"I have no idea what the hell I'm doing, it's just this feeling I have. I know that I have the power to save Niki - to save everyone. It sounds crazy but as the main character, it's my responsibility to do it."
Special K hung her head. "I know that nothing I say will change your mind. You can be a really stubborn b*tch, you know."
Julie nodded. "I know." With the Holy Milk Pail in hand, she ran for the growing dome of energy. The moment she stepped into it, a swirling wind lashed against her body, trying to drive her out of the energy. Pain greater than she had ever known racked her body, but still she pushed forward. She reached the center of the energy's power, which she knew to be Pharaoh 130's formless self.
Struggling to not be blown off her feet by the force of the energy, Julie raised the Holy Milk Pail up and threw it at Pharaoh 130. "Die, you bastard!" The pail shattered into a million pieces. In an explosion that knocked Julie from her feet, the mass of red energy contracted into itself and disappeared.
Pail-less, Julie fell to the floor of the underground laboratory. Her senshi outfit looked as though she had taken a pair of scissors to it, but besides that she was fine. Smiling, she closed her eyes. "I did it." she said softly before sleep consumed her.
Julie awoke to find the other senshi (all living) gathered around her. Overcome with joy, she sat up, and she saw that she was no longer in the B*tch's laboratory but in her own bedroom. "What happened?" she asked.
"That's what we'd like to know," Vanessa replied. "The last thing I recall is creeping outside the b*tches's underground laboratory when suddenly, bam, I'm here."
"It wasn't really a bam," Special K said. "It was more of a boom."
Julie stared at her in surprise. "You mean, you don't remember any of it?"
"Any of what?" Bob asked.
"When Niki became the Sleeping Messiah? And when she ate Alexia's heart?"
Alexia gasped. "Really? She ate my heart? Weird. And you'd think I would remember something like that, too."
Julie looked around. "Where is Niki anyway?"
"Hi guys!" Niki said as she walked into the room. "Guess what! I got a haircut!"
"I noticed!" Valerie gushed. "And it's really cute too!"
"Thanks." Niki walked over and stood beside Mallory. "What's going on?"
"Julie's just telling us about all this stuff that happened that none of us can remember. Hey, did you shrink or something? You look shorter than usual."
"Niki was reincarnated as someone several inches shorter!" Julie shouted. "Of course!"
Niki frowned. "I was reincarnated? When?"
"You were all reincarnated!" The other senshi looked confused. "When you died!"
"We died?!" Niki yelled.
"We die?!" Mallory screamed.
"We're going to die?!" Bob cried.
"Don't you hate when that happens?"