Part 5: Off to Terra's House We Go
Quick Copyright notes: This is a fanfic based on Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon, an anime/manga created by Takeuchi Naoko. Characters belong to her and all others associated with rights [Toei, Bandai, Kodansha, etc], but the storyline, ideas, and any other characters are created by me. 1996 - Jackie Chiang
"Mizuno-san is not here?" the Sensei asked, surprised, peering at the class from his glasses.
"She's sick, Sensei," Makoto said, as truthful a tone as she could muster, from the back of the class. She sighed, relieved, when Sensei nodded, marking her absent.
Usagi was silent throughout the entire school day, her friends noted worriedly. Ami's kidnapping must have shocked and hurt her deeply. At lunch, they sat outside, eating, while the two cats ought over an ice cream bar Hotaru brought for them.
"Don't worry, Usagi-chan," Minako said, placing her arm around Usagi's shoulders. "We'll get Ami-chan back and toast those weird Senshi Kurai."
Usagi smiled weakly. "I can't stop worrying about Ami-chan... Earth said that they wouldn't kill her, but she didn't say whether they would hurt her..."
"Earth seems familiar..." Hotaru said. "It's as if I've met her before."
Makoto nodded. "I have that same feeling..."
Just then, Terra walked by, her nose stuck in a book written in an odd language, heading towards the door. No one could identify what language it was.
"Hi, Terra-chan!" Minako said, waving at the girl.
Terra looked up, startled, and nearly ran into Miten, who was walking outside from the same door.
"Watch it," Miten whispered viciously to Terra. Terra nodded, her eyes flashing as she recognized her fellow associate.
Miten watched her, smiling without humor. The spell was working perfectly; Terra's personality was drastically changing. In another week, she should no longer remember anything about her former life and instead, be dedicated to Hecate.
"Hi, Minako-chan," Terra said as she walked towards them, smiling at the blonde. "Where's Ami-chan?" she added innocently, knowing perfectly well where she was. She looked down to see the cats. "What cute cats!" Terra reached down to pet them on the head. Luna and Artemis purred.
"Um, well, she's sick," Makoto filled in quickly.
"That's too bad. When will she be back?" Terra asked sympathetically, inwardly enjoying their discomfort. That gave her a start. What's wrong with me? she wondered. These are my friends. Why am I torturing them?
Stupid girl, a foreign voice said mockingly. They don't like you. They're just like the others, pretending to be nice when they'll backstab you. Your true friends are Hecate and her followers. They need you.
You're right, she answered dully, her control over her old self slipping a notch.
Of course I am, the voice said soothingly. Now why don't you just pretend to be their friend... Just like Hecate said to.
Terra focused back on the conversation. Haruka had just answered a quick answer.
"I'm sorry," Terra replied, filling in an appropriate response. "Hey, do you guys want to come over to my house after school?"
"You have a house?" Makoto asked incredulously. "That must have been some inheritance!"
Terra shrugged. "My parents were very rich. They left me their house. All I really have to do is pay the bills and taxes, and that's easy enough."
"Sure we'll come over," Usagi said enthusiastically, quickly changing moods from depressed to ecstatic. "Is that all right, minna-chan?"
Everyone nodded, smiling. They were evidently excited about it.
"Great," Terra said, smiling in genuine delight. "I'll be waiting outside near the front, OK?" She waved and walked away.
Miten, who had been silently observing the scene, quickly came to Terra's side. "Remember, cousin," she whispered viciously, "what your job is."
Terra nodded slowly, disappointment flashing in her eyes before being erased by a confused blankness. Miten paused. Just another week, and she'll forget all about them except for her burning hate for them, she thought. Another week...
"That was nice of Terra-chan to invite us over," Hotaru said, watching Terra leave, reading her book as she left. "She must be very lonely." Her eyes grew a trifle sad remembering her own friendless childhood.
Makoto nodded. "Poor girl, not having any friends. We all remember what that was like."
The others, except for Usagi, agreed with Makoto's statement.
"Usagi-chan?" Luna said, slapping Artemis on the paw as he tried to get the ice cream. "Are you sure you want to go? You're still not depressed over Ami-chan?"
"Not really," Usagi said happily. "We'll get her back... Besides, I think Terra-chan needs some friends."
"OK," Haruka said briskly. "We'll go to her place after school. Let me just call Setsuna. Michiru, you call Rei."
Haruka and Michiru got out their cellular phones and called their other two friends. Both girls were quite agreeable, even though Rei was upset that the call had come during class.
"Great," Usagi said, smiling. With that, she settled back into eating her (and everyone else's) lunch.
"So, where do you live, Terra-chan?" Rei asked. They had all met in front of Juuban High School and were currently following Terra. Luna was riding on Usagi's shoulder, and Artemis was on Minako's.
The girl said modestly: "Juuban Gardens."
"What?!" Minako stopped abruptly, causing the girls behind her to collide into her. They all fell in a heap onto the ground, including the cats. Michiru, Setsuna, and Hotaru laughed at the others.
"Is something wrong?" Terra asked anxiously, turning around. "I mean, you still do want to come over, don't you?"
"No! I mean, yes, we want to see your house!" Rei sputtered, getting up.
"You live there?!" Makoto squeaked out at the same time. "That's one of the richest areas in Tokyo! And they have houses there!"
"I do believe that's where Ami lives with her mother in her apartment," Haruka said casually, glancing at Michiru.
Michiru smiled at her partner. "That's where we used to live, ne, Haruka?"
"Yeah, before we got bored with all those people there and moved."
The Inner Senshi ran into each other again. Hotaru giggled at the sight.
"I guess the people there are rather stuffy," Terra laughed. "We turn here."
The group started entering the entrance of Juuban Gardens. The younger girls gasped at the sizes of all the houses and apartments.
"That's my house," Terra said, pointing to a secluded house at the end of the street. As they walked closer, it became larger. They finally got a good look at it when they stood in front of the gate. It was large with many windows, surrounded by trees. It was made of all red brick, with black shutters. A huge gate surrounded the outskirts of the property. The land itself was huge, spanning to at least six acres.
"My parents favored large land and an American style home," Terra said, shrugging.
Even the older girls were impressed and amazed.
"Terra-chan," Usagi said, tearing her eyes away from the mansion, "what exactly did your parents do?"
"My father was just in charge of some large company that expanded into the five continents. My mother was a successful painter, musician, and actress."
"Is that all?" Haruka murmured sarcastically under her breath.
Terra didn't hear the comment. She was busy entering the code for the gate to open.
"What happens if the electricity goes out?" Setsuna asked curiously. "Aren't you stuck outside?"
Terra shook her head and smiled. "The house has an emergency generator. If that's out, I just climb over the gate."
The gate swung open silently as Terra punched in the last button. The girls walked inside slowly and quietly, awed by everything. Inside, there was a large garden and a fountain. A path led straight to the front door.
"All the nice things, like the lake, maze, green house, and outdoor gardens, are in back," Terra remarked. They finally made it to the front door, where Terra unlocked the front door.
"Voice check," a voice said before they could enter, startling everyone.
"Yukiru Terra, coming home from school," Terra said calmly. "Entering with eight friends and two cats."
"Confirmed. Proceed." the artificial voice said.
"What was that?" Makoto asked, impressed as they were let in.
"My security system. My parents lived in America for many years and were paranoid about safety for obvious reasons. They loved technology."
"Surprises around every turn," Haruka whispered to Michiru. The blue-green haired girl laughed.
Once inside, no one could say a word. It was all white. The floor was made of marble, and a large stair case looped around so that you could climb them from two sides. A marble fountain was in the middle, and the water constantly circulated. A large golden chandelier hung from the ceiling. Several doors led to various parts of the house. Paintings of flowers, people, and scenery were on the wall.
"You can leave your things in the closet," Terra said, showing them the closet, which was actually a small room with hangers and shelves.
Terra waited patiently while everyone deposited their things. "What would you like to do? Look around or do something?"
"What do you have to do?" Usagi asked. I'll bet this place has everything, she thought, not too enviously.
"You can go swimming, play some video games, visit some of the things outside that I mentioned, or whatever."
"May I look at the greenhouse?" Makoto asked. "I love flowers and plants."
Terra smiled. "Sure. It's out in back. Just follow the hall straight until you reach the kitchen. Take your first right, then your first left into the sunroom. Then go right again, and your third right. You go out of the patio doors, take the path straight in front of you, go past the maze, through the gardens until you come to the greenhouse. It's right next to the lake."
"Um, ok... What happens if I get lost?" Makoto said, worried, and her eyes were bright with confusion and terror of never finding her way out.
"That's right," Terra said suddenly. "I forgot. My parents had some miniature computers made for guests in case they did get lost. I believe they were made after my former great aunt was lost for three days. I've never used them since I never have had guests over before. Be right back."
"Her aunt was lost for three days in here?!" Minako exclaimed. "This must be really big!"
Haruka studied the front entranceway. "It certainly is," she said, glancing at the fountain. "Bigger than I imagined."
"Can you believe someone actually lives here?" Rei said, turning around. "It seems like a museum, not a home."
Michiru grinned, remembering her old house with her parents. "Reminds me of home," she said. The others stared at her, and she sweat dropped. "-Except a trifle bigger," she amended quickly.
"No wonder she doesn't have too many friends," Hotaru murmured quietly. "All the girls must be intimidated by her wealth or been using her."
Luna spoke for the first time since they had entered the subdivision. "I'll bet the house doesn't have any mice."
Usagi laughed, petting her feline affectionately on the head.
"I think I saw some squirrels, Luna," Artemis said, too eagerly. "Wanna go chase some?"
Minako rolled her eyes, thinking about Artemis's one track mind, and bopped him on the head.
Makoto went up to one of the paintings on the wall. "These are beautiful. I wonder if her mother painted them?"
Just then Terra came rushing back. "Here are the mini computers," she said, handing everyone one. "See, you press this button to see the map of the inside, and press it twice to see the outer map. If you get really frustrated, you can press this other button to speak to the main computer, which will answer any of your questions. You can keep them if you want. It's not like I'd ever use them again."
"Thanks, Terra-chan," Usagi said, and the others thanked her as well. The black haired girl flushed, unused to being thanked for anything. Makoto smiled and left, heading towards the greenhouse.
"How about we all go to the maze?" Minako suggested. "It would be fun."
The others agreed. Terra said she had to do something, so the girls started messing with the mini computers to find their way to the maze.
As soon as they were gone, Terra transformed into Gaia, and teleported to Hecate's throne room in the nether regions. The Princess and her guardians were all seated on their thrones, Hermes, Aphrodite, Hecate, Ares, and Zeus, respectively. Hermes had her glasses on and was reading a book, while Aphrodite was playing with her super miniature computer. Ares was playing with her yo-yo, and Zeus was reading a cook book. Hecate had been petting Cynthia while Phoebe was sleeping on his bed.
"These primitive Terran books are remarkably informative," Hermes remarked, glancing at Hecate. She noticed Gaia, as did the others.
"Hello, Gaia," Aphrodite said, smiling. "How is everything?"
"Everything is going according to plan, your Majesties," Gaia said respectively to the Hecate and the other princesses. "Jupiter is in the greenhouse, and the others are wandering in the maze."
"Very good," Hecate said, nodding. "You have done well, Gaia. You will be recognized for your loyalty. Now what about this Sailor Earth you promised to destroy?"
Gaia squirmed inwardly. Drat. Hecate just had to remember that minute detail. "She's quick," Gaia hedged. "I am carefully studying her and hope to find her true identity soon."
Hecate smiled coldly. "I hope so, Gaia. I have waited more than enough time for you to get rid of her. This plan better not fail, unless you want to end up like Narcissus."
Gaia shuddered. Narcissus was the commander she had replaced. He apparently had failed Hecate several times, and had been "transferred." Last she heard, he was lost somewhere on Mercury.
"I will serve you well, my Princess."
"Dismissed," Hecate said, and Gaia vanished.
"You heard Gaia?" Hecate said casually. "That the Sailor Senshi have been split up?"
Zeus nodded, setting down her book that she had been reading. "This would be an excellent time to strike, Hecate."
"Exactly," Hecate said, smiling approvingly. "That's why I want you, Aphrodite, and Ares to attack them, and bring back three of the girls."
Aphrodite groaned. "Ares is sure to mess up again."
Ares shot up. "What's that supposed to mean?" Her lovely face was marred by her childishness, Hermes thought. Too whiny for her own good.
"You heard me," Aphrodite said callously. She played with the arrow in her hand. "You're such a baby, Ares. Hit once and you're reduced to tears."
"Aphrodite, you-" Ares shrieked.
"Poseidon," Ares said sarcastically, as they did not like each other, "and what have we done to have the honor of your presence?"
Poseidon smiled sweetly. She was above resorting to trading silly insults with a childish girl. "Hecate requested me," she said. "I am pleased to be of use to the Princess."
Hermes and Aphrodite snickered, noticing how Poseidon emphasized 'use.' Ares sulked, noticing the carefully placed slight. Zeus shook her head, smiling. Poseidon always did have the elegant way with words that Ares lacked.
"Poseidon," Hecate said, glancing at the princess, "we have a situation with our prisoner. She is acting up, and none of our spells seem to be able to control her."
Poseidon declined to comment that Hecate had enough power to control her, but she knew that Hecate was saving her power for another. It was not even worth mentioning the fact. "Very well," Poseidon said, flipping her short blue green hair over her shoulder. "Let me see Mercury."
Hermes led the way to the dungeon, followed by Poseidon, Zeus, and Aphrodite. Hecate knew Poseidon would accomplish the task, and Ares was still in a sulky mood.
"Here she is," Hermes said, her voice bitter and angry, as she showed Poseidon Mercury's cell. Her eyes shot out sparks at the glaring prisoner. Poseidon nodded and teleported into the cell. Mercury looked up at her, glaring.
"Greetings, Mercury," Poseidon said, her voice bland. "My name is Poseidon, and I'm here because you seem to have a small problem with cooperating, ne?"
Mercury glared at the girl, who looked exactly like Neptune. "Why am I here?" she snapped.
"You will find out shortly, Mercury," Poseidon said, twisting her trident easily in her right hand, "when you are all together. Now, let's try a sleeping spell. That should suffice for several hours. Don't want to overdo it."
"It will never work," Mercury said, forcing bravado. "My friends won't be taken so easily."
Poseidon ignored her comment, and started concentrating. Aphrodite, Zeus, and Hermes, only level 3 magicians, watched with interest as Poseidon, level 1, cast a sleeping spell. Poseidon closed her eyes and chanted under her breath. A blue green mist surrounded Mercury's face. She tried in vain to resist, but eventually succumbed to the spell.
"I'm impressed," Hermes said, impressed. "I've never seen anyone work one like that so fast."
Poseidon smiled briefly but honestly. "Sunaru can do it faster, but it's not as effective," she admitted.
"She's a level 1 magician as well, correct?" Aphrodite said, watching the enemy sleep. You'd never know how hellish she really was, she reflected.
Poseidon nodded, her eyes softened as she thought about her partner. "Cronus and Hades are level 1 magicians too."
Zeus laughed. "And Ares is only level 5..."
Poseidon smiled, but a little sadly. "Unfortunately, if she doesn't improve, there is no way that she will ever defeat Mars on her own. Mars is dangerous and strong, and, I must admit, a great deal better than Ares."
"Do you think you will have problems with Neptune?" Hermes asked. She had heard much about the Outer Senshi; they were more powerful than the Inner Senshi.
"Maybe," Poseidon said. "It depends. Neptune is clever, strong, and fast, and her Talisman holds much power. Plus Uranus is always with her. Sunaru and I are working on a plan together."
Very good, Poseidon. I thank you for your help. Hecate's voice said through telepathy to all of them.
You're welcome, Poseidon answered. I am glad to help my Princess.
You may leave if you wish. Hecate's voice was sweet and kind, just like it had been so long ago. It was the voice of Hecate when she wasn't obsessed with revenge. Poseidon allowed herself a private, bittersweet smile. They had all been that way, even Ares, before. So nice, gentle, and helpful, full of love and consideration. Before the Sailor Senshi had ruined their lives.
Thank you, Hecate, Poseidon said, her voice gentle in return, and she vanished away.
Zeus, Aphrodite, Hecate said, Ares has already left for Gaia's home. If you wish to catch her, it would be advisable to go now. Her voice was annoyed, but tinged with amusement.
Zeus rolled her eyes at Ares's little stunt, but she and Aphrodite left, thirsting for their turn at retribution.