Makoto hadn't been able to get any sleep since Minako's tragic death. As near as anyone could tell, the soldier of love had died from asphyxiation, yet there were no marks of strangulation anywhere on the body. It just didn't make any sense.
Security had been stepped up inside this end of the palace, to say the least. It seemed ridiculous to have to be this guarded when there were so many Senshi around...though now it appeared that they couldn't even trust one of their own. It was the only way to explain how someone had managed to effortlessly get in and out of Minako's room without being noticed.
The phone atop her coffee table abruptly rang.
With a weary sigh, Makoto fought the temptation to not answer it and just go to bed. But the events of the past hour had left her shaken. As much as she didn't want to admit it, she needed someone to talk to. To reassure herself more than anyone that this wasn't terrifying the hell out of her.
"Moshi moshi?" she said as she answered the phone.
That unexpected response made Makoto scowl. Was this some kind of prank phone call? "Who is this?" she asked.
The voice on the other side changed--and the new person's voice was smooth, almost purring. "You tell me," the caller said.
Makoto blinked in surprise, as she didn't recognize the voice at all. And that was odd, since she felt certain it was one of the other soldiers. "I don't know," she confessed.
"Chilling night, isn't it? With all those suspects in the palace, it's like right out of a new season of Sailormoon or something, chuuu."
A weak smile etched itself onto Makoto's face.
"Iron Mouse, you kinda gave yourself away," she said. "But I don't think this is the time, nor the place to do something like that."
"Do you like new, scary youma?" the caller asked.
"I like that thing you're doing with your voice," Makoto replied. "You haven't gone into a high-pitched whine yet."
"So what's your favourite scary youma?"
"You know I don't think about such things."
"Why not? Too frightening for the big bad protector of Neo Queen Serenity?"
Makoto shook her head as she wandered around her bedroom. "No, I just don't find any good reason. And besides, what's the point? They're all the same: some stupid-looking female monster that shouts out some stupid-sounding phrase, and always gets their butt kicked before the end credits to any given SM episode."
The caller seemed to concede on that point. "Do you...think what happened to Minako is part of a new evil plot, Makoto?"
"Iron Mouse, that's so unoriginal," Makoto sighed. "That's always the case with any new season for a Magical Girls show. I'm disappointed in you."
"Well maybe that's because--" The voice suddenly became more sinister. "--I'm not Iron Mouse."
Makoto stopped walking, a shiver involuntarily running down her spine. "So who are you?"
"The question isn't: what sort of youma am I, but where am I?"
Casting a glance over her shoulder, Makoto scanned her suite. Yet there was just her and the main living room filled with its couches, potted plants and coffee tables. "So...where are you?"
"Underneath your bed."
"Why would you be calling from underneath my bed?"
"That's the original part."
One of Makoto's eyebrows went up. "The monster under the bed? That fear's been around longer than any of us." She headed around the corner to where her bed was situated. "Oh yeah? Well I call your bluff."
She moved through a small hallway and then into her bedroom. Nothing looked out of place. Everything was as it should be. Then Makoto noticed something with the covers, how they had been pulled over to once side...as if to hide something beneath the frame of her bed.
A surge of adrenaline raced through her blood. Biting down on her lower lip ever so slightly, Makoto cautiously inched towards the bed. She tried to calm her erratic breathing; the last thing she wanted was for someone to hear her coming. Though with such a vantage point they would have already seen her enter the room.
She drew closer to the bed, trying to keep a safe distance from whatever hand might snake out and grab hold of her ankles. If this was a practical joke, it was getting out of hand really fast. Makoto reached the side of the bed, pausing for a moment to psyche herself up.
It was time to meet whomever was hiding beneath her bed.
With a determined shout, she pulled back the covers and dropped to her knees, glaring at the darkness beneath her bed.
And found it empty.
There was nothing there but an old pair of shoes.
Makoto scowled as she heard the caller on the other side chuckling. "So where are you?" she asked into the phone.
She looked around and still saw nothing out of the ordinary. A row of potted plants were next to the large picture windows that leaked in the lights from the city. A dresser covered with pictures of her and her friends remained undisturbed. Whatever clothes had been hanging up or left on the floor hadn't moved in the slightest.
"Kuso," she muttered to herself.
The caller sighed. "Aw, giving up so soon? I thought you more than any other Senshi would refuse to back down from a challenge."
Makoto reflected how this wasn't a challenge, but a stupid game of cat and Iron Mouse. "Can you see me right now?" she asked her mysterious caller.
"Okay, then tell me what I'm doing." Makoto started to twirl the ends of her brown ponytail. "Come on, tell me what I'm doing."
There was silence on the other side.
She laughed, ruefully smiling about Iron Mouse's somewhat failed attempt at scaring her over the phone. "Nice try, Iron Mouse. Why don't you call Seiya or the others, and try this on them? They have a better sense of humour than I do right now."
The caller laughed, taking an odd pleasure in that remark. "That's a good idea, Makoto. But it's you I've come for tonight."
Makoto's head snapped around as she heard a low, almost inaudible thump from inside her closet. So that was where her caller was. Her patience wearing thin, Makoto stormed across her bedroom and threw open her closet--and was immediately dumped on by a bunch of SD Gundams piloted by the Spiders from Mars!!
Chaos: o.O;; "What the?"
"Cut!" was unceremoniously called out as Pesti-chan and a number of the other Senshi lounging around backstage raced onto the set. They started to dig through the Spiders from Mars. The frantic li'l otaku managed to find Makoto first.
Pesti-chan gently cradled her head. "Mako-chan, speak to me!"
Makoto: @.@ "Pretty lights...."
Pesti-chan glared at Chaos. "The next time you're going to throw in another Chaosfic cameo, warn us first!"
Chaos gave a helpless shrug, rather confused himself as he walked onto the set. "I didn't do that. Michelle was supposed to be in the closet posing at the Tuxedo Kamen-type killer. Someone in the prop department must have gotten their orders botched up."
"Who would stuff this full of the old plushies you tried to sell in hyping your Ziggy Stardust Memories fic?" Aluminum Siren remarked.
Chaos picked up a Spider From Mars plushie and started to absently play with it. "I could have sworn these guys were in a warehouse, pending someone buying them from EBay."
All the Senshi rolled their eyes.
"Chaos, what's the score?" Cameraman Dan called out.
Chaos could only shrug in response. "Does it look bad?" he asked Pesti-chan.
Makoto: @.@ "The fic's going around and around and around, and look out Omake theatre, because I think I'm going to lose my homemade lunch."
"Mild delirium, I'm guessing," Pesti-chan answered. "She looks more stunned than having suffered a concussion. Even still, we should get her a doctor."
Ami nodded in agreement. "Take her to the Club Anipike infirmary and get her checked out. Have Ritsuko try and perform some kind of brain algorithm test to make sure she'll be all right soon."
Chaos groaned at the prospect of losing another cast member. "Go ahead. We'll try to find a stand-in for Makoto during her death scene. Does anyone know if Tiara is available?"
Minako: [sweatdrop!] "Ano...she's a Shamanic Princess, not a Senshi."
Hotaru: "Chaos-chan, Tiara doesn't even vaguely resemble Makoto either."
Chaos: [???] "I don't quite follow your logic."
As Pesti-chan and Ami helped escort Makoto to the infirmary, Michelle casually strolled onto the set. She glanced down at the dazed and swirly-eyed brunette. "What happened to Makoto?" she asked. "And what's with all the Spiders from Mars?"
"Chaosfic plot device gone awry," Pesti-chan replied.
Chaos pouted. "Someday they'll recognize my brilliance. And then I'll show Zeon who had the better pilots for their Taku mobile suits too."
"Where were you?" Seiya asked Michelle. "You were supposed to be in costume for this scene, and hiding in the closet."
Michelle looked confused. "But...I thought Haruka was supposed to be doing that. She told me it was her turn, so I took a lunchbreak at a nearby Cat Café set. I got to be an extra in a Ranma fic."
"Haruka told you?" Iron Mouse said skeptically.
Haruka nearly choked on her donut. "It wasn't me!" she protested amidst chews.
"Ano...was it Haruka specifically, or was it someone dressed up in the Sailor Scream tuxedo costume?" JunJun asked.
"The costume," Michelle answered.
"Hey, we've still got a Chaosfic to make here," Chaos said in an attempt to placate the other nervous Senshi. "Come on, it's just a coincidence. The story must go on! It's not like someone's taken my Chaosfics one step too far. Sure we've lost Setsuna and Makoto by means of two different Chaosfic plot devices, but I'm sure it doesn't mean anything."
Chaos: ^-^ "Hey, when have I steered you wrong before? Come on, you can trust me!"
Minako: "Then why are you standing on the set's emergency catapult?"
Catapult: [launching Chaos!] *KAPWING!!*
Hotaru: [shaking her head] "I have a bad feeling about this Chaosfic...."
Will Sailor Scream 2 be completed? Will any more of the Senshi become victims of Chaosfic-styled smites?! And even more importantly, what about that man, Yang Wen-li?!?! Tune in next week when these and more questions might actually be answered in the thrilling conclusion of the Fanboys Irrelevant Halloweenfic.
Same Babbit time, same Babbit channel!
[Cue the eyecatch!]
Much rejoicing goes out to Nightbreak who held me at Beam Cannon-point to make sure that I didn't botch on the Club Anipike continuity.
17-Oct-00. It was on this commemorative date that His lordship Chaos took the Utena Personality test and was thusly declared to possess this personality:
RABBITS OF DOOM
You are a sad, sad little person.
We fear for your life, your sanity,
and hell, we fear YOU.
His lordship Chaos: ^^v "Domo!"