Someone's taken the Chaosfic one step too far....
Crystal Tokyo be thy name.
The distant rays of the setting sun were almost all but swallowed by a blackened horizon that would refuse to give up its luminescent prisoner for another eight hours. The fact that it was a new moon--and thusly no moon at all--made the impending night all the more ominous.
The world around the city may have been dark, yet humanity's lone sanctuary was like a beacon in the night. Crystalline buildings shimmered in a haunting ripple of light. Should a wayward airborne traveler have stumbled across the place where an old Tokyo had once been, they perhaps might have mistaken this haven for a mirage.
Down on the streets below, the street lamps flickered to life. The few stray night owls among the city's population pleasantly milled about. Some visiting friends and family. some still on matters of business. And still others were just out for an evening constitutional.
Within the boundaries of Crystal Tokyo there was little to fear about the darkness. Even at night the world seemed to radiate an almost unnatural glow of magic. And there could be no more an epicentre for this aura than the central palace where Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion ruled, along with their court of Senshi.
Floors upon floors and mazes of corridors were only seen by Senshi eyes--or else people of great importance. Security was very high whenever the royal family or the sailor soldiers were involved. Tonight marked a special occasion which gave rise to more heated levels of paranoia.
Minako sighed as the door to her private chambers slid open, allowing her access. With a fatigued air about her, the blonde girl flopped out on her bed. Today had proven to be incredibly exhausting, even for someone as vivacious as she was.
A delegation from Kinmoku had arrived, bringing with them the three Sailor Starlights as well as a number of the reformed Sailor Animates who had once been under evil bitch-queen Galaxia's control. Scheduling the many tours, meetings and dinners with this large ambassadorial troupe was taking its toll on poor Minako.
Yet she knew Makoto would be on edge for the next two weeks, so long as the Kinmoku group was here--Makoto being head of palace security and all.
Aside from that, all was more or less well with the world.
The city was (as usual) idyllic and quiet.
The Outers were gone on their usual nightly patrol of the city. Uranus, Neptune and Saturn always acted as the guard dogs, revered and feared all at once for their daunting effectiveness at breaking up the extreme Serenity-worshipping ceremonies. The quartet of Asteroid Senshi (formerly the Amazoness Quartet of the Dead Moon Circus) were still busy training to become the future bodyguards for Chibiusa. And somewhere else in the palace, the king and queen were enjoying themselves and the city they had helped create.
Suddenly her bedside phone rang.
Minako groaned and quickly grabbed the cellular phone resting on the endtable next to her large fluffy bed. Ideally it would be one of her friends/fellow Inners asking to come over tonight; she didn't like the idea of having to attend another evening political debate.
"Konban wa," she said as she activated the cell phone.
Came the curious reply: "Who is this?"
It was an oddly clear yet ambiguous voice. Minako couldn't tell if the caller was male or female, but they certainly had a playful tone to their words. Though Minako's latent curiousity was piqued by the fact that her caller didn't know who she was, even though her room had a specific private number which made it rather obvious as to who
"Who is this?" she asked.
The caller responded with a question of their own. "Well who is this?"
Minako laughed, figuring it to be some kind of practical joke. She'd done it before on virtually everyone in the palace; this might be payback. But who was playing the prank then? "I think you have the wrong suite," she said, hanging up.
The phone was tossed onto the bedspread, and Minako started to strip down. At times like this, the best way to close off a hectic day was to take along soak in a warm bubblebath. However, she didn't even feel that she had enough power to will herself to transform out of her Sailor Venus uniform.
"Looks like I'll have to resort to manual labour," she remarked as she rolled onto her back and started to wriggle out of the outfit.
But the phone rang again, interrupting her a second time. One hand still working on removing her sailor battle fuku, Minako reached over and grabbed the phone. "Moshi moshi?"
"Oh, I'm sorry," the caller from before said. "I guess I dialed the wrong palace suite."
"Too bad," Minako said, trying not to swear over the receiver as she got her bow knotted up. Her thumb moved to hang up the phone again.
"Wait," the caller said. "Don't hang up. I want to talk to you for a second."
Minako laughed and shook her head.
"Why don't you want to talk to me?" the caller inquired, sounding a little hurt.
"Ami, if this is you, sorry--but it's been a long day for me," she sighed.
Minako blinked a few times, confusion mixed in with a bit of embarrassment. "Oh, gomen nasai! I mistook you for someone else."
"Daijobu," the caller answered casually. "I an someone else."
"So who are you" Minako pressed.
That only garnered a chuckle from the mystery caller. "Why don't you tell me? Tell me your name and I'll tell you mine."
This was starting to get fun. Not to mention, Minako found the voice oddly sexy. Who knew? Maybe Rei was feeling a little frisky tonight and didn't have the opportunity to join Serenity & Endymion in a scandalous threesome.
The bubblebath kept softly calling to her, and so Minako accepted the invitation. She kept the receiver cradled against her cheek as she slipped her arms into the fluffy white sleeves of her housecoat.
"What's that noise?" the caller asked.
"I'm putting on my bathrobe," she said, trying not to yawn and possibly offend her caller. Though now she was pretty sure it was a mischievous Rei scouting around for a good time.
"Your bathrobe?" For once the caller sounded intrigued. "You going to take a bath? You know, even if you are a Senshi, you'll still have to peel off your sailor fuku."
"Well I just finished doing that," she countered.
"Do you like being a Sailor Senshi?"
"And what about the others? Do you have a favourite?" the caller asked.
Minako paused, surprised by this sort of question. "Na ni?" Certainly each of them had quite a number of cheering fans among the people. But they didn't like to compare who had the larger fanclub; they all were flattered by their admirers, but it ended there.
"Oh, come on, you have to have a favourite Senshi."
After a moment of consideration, Minako inquired, "Can I pick myself?"
"Hey, that works. At least you're honest."
That made Minako smile. She started running the water for her bath, quickly testing to ensure that the temperature wasn't scalding hot. "So who are you?" she asked, starting to undo her bathrobe.
"Just a new villain wondering who I'm looking at."
Minako froze, a chill running down her spine. "That's not funny," she stated. "Who is this?"
The laughter on the other side resonated through the receiver, teasing her cruelly. "Who do you want me to be? A lemures? Or how about a youma?"
"So what are you trying to say?" Minako demanded, feeling an unusual panic slowly creep into her system.
"I'm saying--" The caller's voice suddenly dropping to a frighteningly low tone. "--do you want to see if you can get resurrected a third time?"
Minako was clenching the receiver tightly, the playfulness of this entire conversation now over. And she wasn't liking the turn of events in the slightest. "Is this some kind of sick joke?" she growled.
"More of a game, really. Can you handle that...Aino Minako-chan?"
Minako hung up on the caller instantly.
"Baka," she muttered tugging the edges of her bathrobe back up over her shoulders. If it was Yaten or Seiya, those gender-bending soldiers had overstepped their boundaries by a landslide. Minako vowed to punish them in the morning.
The phone suddenly rang.
Minako jumped, realizing she was still gripping the receiver. Against her better judgement she answered the call. "Don't you study your past battles?" the caller snapped. "You never ignore even the most trivial of plot devices. It's a deathwish. You might as well go out in search of a daimon to rip out your pure heart. And as I recall, you weren't entirely objecting to that when it happened."
That struck a nerve with her.
She was the soldier of love, and had fought a helluva lot of battles in the past to protect countless lives. Even now she was working to protect the future. And now someone was criticizing her about it?!
"Listen, you bakemono wanna-be, you had better stop this," she stated. "I'm a Sailor Venus. I bet I can kick your mutated monster butt, and if I'm feeling vicious enough I'll call my fellow soldiers over to help. And they'll all be pissed with you for threatening me."
That didn't seem to instill any fear in her antagonist. "Oooh, I'm shaking. I thought you soldiers were supposed to be the best," the caller nonchalantly remarked, more amused than scared off by this fact. "Surely you can take me on all by your little pleated skirt self."
Minako's eyes narrowed, her own personal thirst for retribution sparked. She'd show this idiot who was the real agent of love and justice...by kicking their ass across Crystal Tokyo!
"What do you want?" she demanded in a low voice.
"I want to play a game with you."
"What kind of a game?"
"Go back into your room, and you'll see what kind of game." The caller waited until after Minako had complied and left the bathroom. This guy was definitely watching her. But from where? And who could be this evil if it wasn't a Nemesis operative? It had been decades since they annihilated the Death Phantom.
"Here's how we play," the caller explained. "I ask a tactical question about your powers. If you get it right, you won't wake up dead or missing some important part of your soul tomorrow."
"There's no chance I'll let you win," she stated.
"If you're that confident, why is your voice trembling? It's an easy game to play, Minako. Come on, I'll give you a warm-up question: when did you first learn your Venus Meteor Shower?"
She thought frantically about what the answer could be.
"Come on, the next best thing to your starseed depends on it."
The answer came to her in a flashback of revelation. "When I was fighting against a Cardian," she answered.
"Very good!" the caller congratulated her. "Now for the real question. What variant of your Venus Love-Me Chain has been used on occasion?"
"Ano...the Venus Ball & Chain?" Minako hazarded a guess.
The caller sighed in disappointment. "I'm sorry, wrong answer. You should have known it was when the fanboy Havoc took over your body and turned it into the Venus Spank-Me Chain! I guess you're not going to be around for any Sailormoon OVAs."
Half-frantic and half-infuriated, Minako raced across her suite. "You coward, why don't you actually face me!" she exclaimed over the phone before hanging it up. She then threw open her suite door and scanned the hall. Yet the corridor was deserted. No one was around.
Her anger forced back her urge to call the other Senshi. This was a challenge made to her personally, and now this was too far gone for her to simply call in reinforcements. There was an issue of stung pride at stake here. Fuming, Minako stepped back into her suite and let the door slide shut behind her.
Suddenly the phone rang again.
As much as she didn't want to, she answered it. "Moshi moshi?"
"Hey," the caller stated, sounding rather unimpressed with her attitude. "We're not finished yet. Because I'm a sporting badass villain, I'll give you one last chance. Final question: what stupid catch phrase do I have?"
Minako stopped walking, a puzzled expression on her face. "What?"
Suddenly the bathroom door exploded into hundreds of small pieces of flaming shrapnel, and out from the burned doorframe emerged her assailant.
It looked like Tuxedo Kamen.
Yet Minako knew that Endymion was no longer Tuxedo Kamen, but King Endymion. He'd retired that piece of formalwear a long time ago. This had to be an imposter with a cruel sense of irony: the guise that had helped protect them for so long was now being used to try and kill her.
And curiously enough, Tuxedo Kamen had a peculiar feminine look about him--er, her. The cleavage straining against the white dress shirt was Minako's first clue. Not to mention she could see bangs of hair sticking out from the tophat. Such a distinctive colour....
The eyemask was working some kind of enchantment, ensuring that Minako couldn't recognize the rest of the exposed face. She instinctively stepped away as the tuxedo-clad assailant reached back and then drew out a large peacock feather.
Minako stumbled back, the receiver dropping from her hands as she tried to scramble away from the attacker. Yet the woman advanced cooly, quietly, brandishing the feather.
And then suddenly Minako's eyes widened in unexpected terror and disbelief as she recognized who her attacker was. "Masaka!" she exclaimed. "It can't be. Why are you--?!"
Her words were cut off as the feather was raked across the exposed part of her chest. Instinctively Minako shrieked and tried to force back an unexpected giggle. The Tuxedo Kamen imposter pounced, pinning the helpless Minako to the ground and mercilessly tickling her with the peacock feather.
Minako thrashed wildly about, unable to contain her giggles. The laughter quickly grew to the point of being near maniacal babble. Minako tried to plead with her assailant between frantic gasps for air, but to no avail. The lack of oxygen finally got to her.
Minako's laughter ceased.
Her body went limp and then laid still upon the floor.
The tuxedo-clad killer chuckled to herself and then stood. She ran the tip of the feather against her lips before smuggling it back behind her cape. And with that, she silently turned and left the room.
Chaos: ^-^ [sitting in the director's chair] "And cut! That was brilliant!"
Minako: [sitting up] "*hic!* Oh great, now I've got the *hic!* hiccups thanks to all *hic!* that laughing."
Standing next to the director's chair, Pesti-chan tried to piece together what had just transpired with that last scene. A sweatdrop appeared next to his head when he failed to discover the method to the scripted madness. "Ano...you had Minako tickle-tortured to death?"
"Too cliche?" Chaos asked, adjusting his French beret hat--which would have looked rather suave on him had it not been for the black nylons and low-cut mini-skirt he also happened to be wearing.
Pesti-chan shook his head and walked away. "No, I don't think you have to worry about that."