Sailor Moon Expanded : The Next Generation presents
Version 2.0 by Mark Latus

2. What Goes Around ... While he didn't have any morning classes at CTU Alan was up early as was his custom on schooldays. As was also his custom he was unobtrusively watching the gate of Sakurada Haruna Memorial High School. Most of the students had gone straight through but there was a band of six standing this side of the para-exclusion line. They were waiting for something and most wore sports gear. It was obvious to Alan's trained eye that several had strength and agility amplification spells that would get them banned if used in competition. It was equally obvious who they were waiting for but Alan wasn't concerned. Though they didn't know it they were hopelessly outclassed. Or possibly they did know it but were too stubborn to give up feeling the prize worth the effort. No pain, no gain and similar macho idiocy. At any rate his intervention would be unnecessary but he would stay to witness the contest. Which would be soon as classes would begin soon and the gates would start logging latecomers in ten minutes. Sylvite flickered into existence several metres beyond the gate wearing her school uniform and a resigned expression. If she could teleport directly into school she could have saved herself a lot of hassle but there were rules against that. As always she comforted herself with the thought that at least when you can teleport you don't have to get up too early as it's a very quick trip to school. She looked over the six and sighed. Then somewhat wearily said, "Anyone who doesn't want to get hurt should either leave now or not get in my way." Nobody moved which didn't surprise her so she reached out her hand. A glowing baseball bat materialized in her grip. "Here we go again." She took a step forward as her opponents did likewise then stopped. The six looked puzzled until they heard the hum of a scooter. The teacher driving it didn't look much older than Sylvite though in her case appearance and age matched. She called cheerily, "Good morning students." "Good morning Ayumi-sensei" "Finish your rough housing quickly because the bell will be going soon." With that she drove past unconcerned that six hulking boys were about to attack a single girl. That impression was false. Actually Ms. Ayumi was mildly worried about the impending fight. She hoped Sylvite wouldn't hurt them too much or they would have to miss the day's lessons and education was important. Outside Sylvite was saying, "Last chance to be sensible." She tried flashing her eyes but that didn't cut it. It might work for her mother but it didn't for her. Still while red eyes can be intimidating glowing pink eyes just don't cut it. To make matters worse one of them said, "You're cute when you're indignant." Okay, that was the last straw. "Here I come!" She charged and the six surged to meet her. Thirty seconds later Sylvite was stepping over the twitching boys muttering something about idiot jocks. She stopped short of the white line, clipped a small badge on her blouse, faded out her energy bat then stepped into the school grounds. On the wall the sign that had been flashing, "No paranormal capabilities or magic on school property!" faded as it stopped detecting mana utilization. From long experience the Crystal Tokyo school board found a ban the simplest solution to maintaining a healthy learning environment. Those who possessed paranormal strength and/or agility were required to wear monitor badges that warned them, their fellow students and (most importantly) their teachers if they were exceeding human parameters. Which, Alan remembered, had meant neither he nor any of the elder members of the bratpack had been the star athletes of their school years. They had overcompensated trying to stay within the limits which handicapped them. Unfortunate but school policy was that sports were to promote teamwork and cooperation rather than individual achievement and competition. Actually that was the policy at many schools around the world but in Crystal Tokyo they really meant it. Sylvite paused on the threshold then looked back at the bruised upperclassmen and shook her head. "How you idiots got the idea I'll date any boy who can beat me in battle I'll never know. For the last time ... for the latest last time it doesn't work like that!" With that she turned and stalked across the common grounds to the junior high side of the school. Alan smirked as he remembered the source of that story, it was amazing how stories got distorted. Putting all the pieces together had taken a while. In some ways it was all the fault of both Rhiannon McIntyre, mother to half of the bratpack and of his aunt Titanite. In another way the whole thing was the fault of one of Rhiannon's daughters. But the two senshi had started the whole mess. During one of their many ancient animation discussions (it seemed all the immortals had hangups on some aspect of late twentieth century culture) they had agreed that Sylvite resembled a quasi-fictional character with the unlikely name of Shampoo. Quasi-fictional meaning she was not real in this reality but had allegedly existed in another dimension they had visited long ago. Apparently this individual belonged to a tribe that required the women to marry any man who could defeat them in combat. Mara, one of Rhiannon's triplets and something of a troublemaker, had overheard this and mentioned the story at school the following day to a few friends. It had then made the rounds on the gossip circuit but, as often happens, it had been distorted along the way. With the result that soon everyone at school knew it was a Dark Kingdom tradition that youma girls must date anyone who challenged and defeated them. Sylvite had denied it on several occasions but no one seemed to believe her and the challengers had started appearing. It had become a regular feature of school life and, as long as neither the challenger or challengees officially protested and the fights happened outside of school grounds, was considered healthy adolescent exuberance by the school officials. After all these were all children born and raised in Crystal Tokyo and everyone knew their city produced the most stable people in the world. So it must be all right and perfectly natural. Not wanting to make waves and seem like a crybaby by running to the teachers Sylvite had decided to handle matters herself. She was sure that was what her mother would have done. She was right though she severely underestimated the degree to which her mother would have enforced a "hands off" policy. In her case the first challenge would have been the last as all potential challengers would have been terrified by what she did to the first batch. But Sylvite had grown up in Crystal Tokyo not the Dark Kingdom so that never occurred to her. Her mind simply didn't work that way which was fine with both her parents. So though she had threatened to dismember whoever had started the "dating game" at worst she would beat them up if she ever learned the name. Still Mara was keeping very quiet rather than owning up. Though this was probably less from fear of a beating than from concern over causing a permanent division in the bratpack. Alan surveyed the boys struggling to their feet and frowned. Perhaps it was not good that Sylvite always vanquished her adversaries so easily. It could well have given her an exaggerated concept of her own prowess. Perhaps a few defeats would provide a salutary lesson. Still were he to challenge her she might feel he was expecting her to date him when she lost. That was not the impression he wished to convey. He wanted her to go out with him because she chose to not because she had to. That was unlikely to happen anytime soon but he was patient and could wait. Time was one thing he didn't lack. As for Sylvite's easy victories those required further thought. In any event he had witnessed his true love in all her vibrancy so it was time to depart. He felt absolutely no sympathy for the battered boys who were just getting back to their feet. Challenge the tigress and you have to expect a few claw marks. As he started to withdraw Alan noticed a rapidly approaching blur that quickly resolved itself into a familiar figure. "GETOUTATHEWAYI'MGONNABELATE!!!!" With that his sister plowed into the already suffering sextet at top speed scattering them in all directions. She zoomed through the gate and screeched to a stop to give the victory sign as she'd beaten the bell. Her grin slipped as a buzzer went off having detected a paranormality infraction. Alan chuckled slightly at his sister's plight. After all it was all her own fault she was always late. She was the one who had rejected Sylvite's offer. While Sylvite's parents, like their own, worked within the Palace they resided outside it. Since both of them could teleport commuting was never a problem. So after the war when Serenity conferred Guradian rank to them they had politely turned down the offer of apartments in the Palace. Explaining that after centuries of living in the city amongst the citizens of Crystal Tokyo they had grown accustomed to it. Serenity had understood and the matter had never been raised again. Having inherited the power of teleportation from her parents Sylvite had no problems with distance and could easily have attended any school in Crystal Tokyo. Or indeed anywhere in the world once she had visited the campus once by more mundane means. Not surprisingly she had picked the same school her friends attended and was always on time. She found it so easy that she had offered to alter her route, making a diversionary jump into the Palace to pick up Kodachi and carry her along with her when she completed the teleport to school. The offer was a long standing one and still remained open. But, not wishing to seem like deadweight, Kodachi had refused saying she could get there easily enough by herself and the exercise would do her good. That was certainly true but things would go a lot smoother if she set out earlier. Instead, despite not being able to teleport, she kept setting out at about the same time as Sylvite. Leading to their parents having to deal with almost daily complaints from palace staff, pedestrians and anybody who lived between the palace and the school about the frantically running girl zooming through their midst. Aunt Titanite's suggestion that they transfer her to Graviton Junior High had been met with blank looks as there was no school by that name in Crystal Tokyo. Meanwhile Sylvite was walking through the schoolyard trying to ignore the usual attention and brooding when someone in a similar introspective mood walked into her. "Oh, excuse me Sempai! I'm very sorry!" The boy was about 16 and unfamiliar so Sylvite reined in her immediate urge to slap him. Maybe it was just an accident though she'd had other experiences with boys who noticed their facial height about equivalent to her chest. "You get the benefit of the doubt one time so don't make a habit of it. And I'm not your sempai!" With that she stalked off glowering leaving a very confused transfer student behind. One of the veteran Sylvite watchers sidled over to have a word. "Nice move man. Most guys take weeks to try that but you did it the first day!" The newcomer looked perplexed. "It was an accident! What did she mean she wasn't my sempai?" "You really don't know?" The other shook his head. "She meant she was one of the grade eights. That's why she's heading over to the junior high side." "She's still in grade 8? Wow, she must be incredibly dumb!" "Unfortunately no as that would make things a lot easier. Instead she's only fourteen years old." The newcomers jaw dropped. "FOURTEEN!?" At the veteran's nod he sputtered, "But ... But ... But she ...?!" "Looks like she could be a student teacher and if it hadn't been for uniform you'd have called her sensei?" "Well ... yeah ... I mean what else could she be?" "I can see I need to fill you in on the Sylvite rules. I'm Gurikazu Amano by the way." "Ryo Saeba. Her name's Sylvite? Weird name." "Compared to her appearance at fourteen? 'Sides there's plenty of people named after minerals living in the palace." "The palace?! Uhh ... Her mother's not a senshi is she?" "Nope, a Guardian. So's her dad. Now Kodachi over there is the daughter of Sailor Venus and kinda touchy about boys bothering her." A pink haired girl clutching a demerit card walked by looking morose. "Push her too far and you get the infamous 'Kodachi haircut'. It's a sorta reverse mohawk when she uses this energy beam to burn a line along your scalp." "Urk!" "Yeah, that's why we give her some distance. Likewise Mara but she's not around to point out. Just watch out for a girl with orange spiky hair. Now Sylvite's a bit more easy going but there are limitations on how much you can get away with." "Rules?" "Right. Plain old looking is okay but peeping has side effects. I know a guy who got some great locker room shots but someone threw a flower through his camera." "A flower?" "That's what he said but he couldn't produce any evidence. Whatever it was it destroyed his camera and the memory chips before he could download anything. Where was I? A formal challenge is okay, you win and she has to date you but not recommended unless you think you've got an edge. Better be careful about that edge too. Nothing too unethical." "Meaning?" "Well I heard about a pair of biochem geeks from CTU who had a younger brother in this school. He got hold of a blood sample and they were planning to cook up pheromones that would make her fall for them hard when her adrenaline got going. If that really would have worked we'll never know." "Why not?" Amano shrugged, "Just what happened nobody's quite sure but the story goes something that lurks in the shadows paid them a visit, destroyed the sample and all their records and basically scared the crap out of them. They never dared repeat the experiment. There's a few rumours like that about guys who overdo it." "This is sounded less attractive all the time." "Come on, built like that and naive. That doesn't suggest possibilities to you?" "Well ..." "That's settled then. Where was I? Okay, standard seduction is in but remember how old she is and don't overdo it in public. Also don't get in her face too much or you'll get pounded. Groping isn't recommended unless you've got an escape route handy. Accidental bumping she'll give you the benefit of the doubt the first time but after that you'd better hope she's in a good mood. That's the public stuff, if you want more detail on past attempts and near successes you'll have to join the Sylvite fan club. Apply to Kenji over there, he's the treasurer and he'll quote you the membership fees. Right now it's time to get to morning assembly. Oh and welcome to our school." Meanwhile in the locker room Sylvite was approaching her locker with the usual trepidation. She reached for the door with the "No mail!" sticker and flung it open. The usual flood of love letters spilled out and scattered over the floor. She sighed and reached for her school shoes intending to change then clear up the litter. "Want me to take of that?" Without waiting for an answer Luke Mcintyre- Muraino stooped down and scrambled after the scattered letters. Sylvite took opportunity to switch shoes and toss her outside ones in the locker. Luke stood up holding a small pile of mail and asked, "Do you want to take a look or are they just junk?" "They won't say anything I want to read. Mind tossing them in the recycling?" "Sure thing. Shall I check to see if there's anything worthwhile inside? Concert tickets or whatever?" She shrugged. "Feel free. If there is they're all yours." "Much obliged. Well you'd better get to assembly and I'll take care of these for you." "Thanks, you're a pal Luke. Shame the other boys can't be more like you." With that she hurried off unaware Luke watched her until she rounded the corner then gave a heartfelt sigh. He stood there for a few moments until a familiar mocking voice jolted him out of his reverie. "A hopeless love that's doomed before it starts. Alas. It's all so romantic." Luke spun around to glare into his sister's grin. "It is not hopeless, Mara!" "Yeah, right. Face facts bro, the only reason she tolerates you is you're a childhood friend and the only boy in school who's never hit on her. Soon as you try to change that it all goes out the window and you get lumped in with all the others." "That's ... but they're all jerks after her for her body! I'm ... that is ... I ... there's a lot more to her than that and that's why I like her." "So you never think about her body?" "Uhhhh ... No!" Basic honesty and the fact the answer was so obviously false made Luke add, "Well sort of ... That is ... there's nothing wrong with noticing ... I mean it's undeniable that she ... look just because ... I mean ... just because she's built like a ... physically attractive ... I mean ... what's wrong with ... it's basic human nature for a guy to look at a girl's body ... even in Crystal Tokyo boys will be boys, right? We can't fight millions of years of evolution and it's not like ... I mean ... what's wrong with thinking a girl is ..." Getting red faced Luke suddenly noticed the recorder his sister was holding. "Hey!" Mara gave another of those annoying grins of hers. "Wonder what Sylvite would think of this. Maybe I'll play it back to her on recess. Of course if you make it worth my while ... HEY!" She'd been off guard, too wrapped up in needling her brother to realize just how steamed Luke was getting. It took her by surprise when he plucked the small device from her hand and crushed it. "You broke it! Nobody breaks my toys!" "Don't push it, Mara. Let it go for now and we'll settle this later." "Like hell! You owe me and I'm gonna collect." Behind them Leia, the third of the triplets gave a longsuffering sigh that neither of them heard. Recognising just how quickly the squabble would escalate she stuck to the background and quietly eased past them without attracting notice. Last thing she needed was another demerit from getting caught up in the latest of her siblings' quarrels. She sometimes thought the best thing to do would be seal both of them in a room together then open it a week later. She figured they'd either have got sick of fighting or killed each other off. Times like this either outcome seemed fine by her. Kodachi caught up with Sylvite as the assembly ended and the students trooped off to their homeroom. She'd been stuck at the back having been one of the last ones to enter the hall. Nearby Luke and Mara were exchanging glares and blaming each other for the triple demerits they received for breaking the power usage rules, fighting in school and missing assembly. "Syl-chan!" "Oh, morning Kodi-chan. I looked for you in the hall but didn't see you." "I got here last minute again so ..." She shrugged and let the sentence trail off. Sylvite sighed and nodded. "You can always travel with me if you're running late ..." Kodachi shook her head. "Don't be silly, I'm not going to be a burden on you. Besides I always make it before the bell and it's sort of a family tradition for Aino girls to rush in at the last minute. At least that's what mom says, dad just sorta rolls his eyes." "It's no trouble, really." "NO!" Kodachi seemed emphatic. "We're friends and partners and that means both of us have to be able to carry our own weight. I can't lean on you and depend on you to keep me out of trouble." This was an old argument but Kodi seemed to me taking it more personally than usual. "Friends are supposed to help each other." "Well, yeah but ... Syl, it's important to me that I ... that I'm an equal partner not a sidekick. I mean ... we're a team but ... because we want to be one not because I can't manage without you. Please?" Sylvite was a little surprised it was such a big deal but shrugged. "Sure, if it means that much to you I'm happy to let you keep trashing everything between home and the school." Kodachi gave an embarrassed giggle. "So what's up? You've got that good news gleam in your eye." Her friend grinned. "What would you consider good news from my house?" "Alan's been sent on a one way trip to the North Pole?" That got a chuckle. "Yeah, that would be good wouldn't it? But I said good not fantastic, didn't I? So I'm afraid not but I've got something that'll do for now." She paused dramatically then blurted, "Aunt Ti dropped by to talk to Dad last night and I got a private word with her. She's told me if we drop by her office at five she'll be free to talk to us." "Hey, that's great!" Sylvite frowned, "Well that gives us about an hour and a half to kill after school so ..." She realized Kodachi was looking apologetic again. "What's wrong?" "Ummm, I sorta bent the power rules again so I've got cleanup duty after school again. Sorry." Sylvite shook her head but honestly wasn't really surprised. "You're hopeless. Okay, I'll hang around and wait for you." "Oh, you don't have to help me mop ..." "Whoa! I said I'd wait, not that I'd join the cleaning crew. I'll go hang around the field, maybe hit a few homers." Kodachi tried the puppy dog eyes but it didn't work. "Hey, you just got through telling me you didn't want to depend on me." "Nuts, I've really gotta work on my timing." At this point the teacher came in and they stopped talking and tried to look fascinated by the prospect of spending another beautiful day in school. Fortunately in Crystal Tokyo there was never a shortage of excellent weather. The day seemed to drag more than usual for both of them as they tried to work out what they were going to say to Sailor Polaris. The school day ended and the majority headed home, there not being sports today, while the unlucky few got to work. If you could call it working because unless a supervisor was hovering nearby the cleanup crew were very lackadaisical. It wasn't so much lack of school pride as knowing that cleaning droids would be deployed as soon as they left. Not being particularly fond of make-work projects or particularly tidy Kodachi was grateful when the time came to stow her broom and head out. Things had been a bit more tense than usual with Luke and Mara not speaking to each other and trying to get her to take sides. While she hadn't her natural inclination was to side with Mara. Luke hung around with Sylvite far too much for her liking. Worse, Syl liked him and thought he was okay. She considered him just a friend but as far as Kodachi was concerned he was just like Alan! The only difference was Luke's behaviour was restrained by his shyness. It really aggravated that Syl didn't pick up on that. She got very uncomfortable when she saw them together. Not that she was being possessive but ... but boys were only interested in girls for their bodies. Why couldn't Sylvite pick up on that? "Kodi-chan." Sylvite waved and Kodachi felt her worries fade. She always felt better when Sylvite was near. Luke wasn't any sort of rival. Sooner or later he'd do something stupid and Syl would tell him to get lost. Then it would just be the two of them and ... And what? It was at this point that things always got confusing. "Hoy, wake up! You're getting that dreamy puzzled look again." Kodachi snapped back to reality. "Sorry, just ... you know ..." "Wondering what we're going to say to Aunt Ti, right?" Kodachi nodded. "Me too. I think we should get right to the point. How about you?" "Umm ... actually I think a little build up would be good. Once proud names languishing in the dust and so on ..." "You sure that's not laying it on too thick?" "When it comes to Aunt Ti you can't overdo it. At least that's the impression she gives but who knows? Wish Hem-chan was around to ask instead of studying abroad." "Those are the breaks." "Yeah, so are you gonna jump us over or do we walk?" Sylvite glanced at her watch. "Since we've got half an hour to kill and it's such a nice day why don't we walk?" "Sounds good." The two headed through the gate and started meandering towards the palace exchanging gossip. As always Sylvite lost herself in contemplating the city around them. No matter how many times you saw it Crystal Tokyo remained the most beautiful city in the world. Beside her Kodachi wondered why they had stopped holding hands when they walked together. As children they'd done it all the time without thinking but now they never did. Why? There was nothing wrong with it was there. But she didn't wonder too much being content just to be with Sylvite. Why didn't they walk together more often. "Hey beautiful, why don't you ditch your kid sister and join me for tea?" Oh yeah, now she remembered. In her office Sailor Polaris studied the images before her while she waited for her niece and old friends' daughter. Actually she had wrapped up the day's work some time ago. This was a personal matter. Once again she shook her head and muttered, "The Dire Butterfly?" She was 99% certain that this new lesser senshi was her daughter. The powers matched, the appearance was very close and who outside of their little circle had even heard of dire butterflies? Well, anyone who bothered to read "Encyclopaedia Metallia" actually. Hence the lack of 100% certainty. Okay, so if it was her daughter what was she supposed to do? She could hardly say running around in a fuku fighting evil was a bad idea. At least not without sounding like a complete hypocrite considering she had started her own senshi career at a much younger age. Besides this new senshi seemed to know what she was doing, someone had trained her well. The logical suspect was Azurite given their similar powers and the time they had spent together but that didn't seem to quite fit. She wasn't sure why but ... She sighed. Something was going on, Azurite was mixed up in it along with Hem-chan and the Princess and she wasn't alone in thinking this. But whatever it was Serenity obviously knew about it so that gave it an unspoken seal of approval. Which was okay for most people but, like Rei, she found it frustrating being out of the loop. The intercom flicked to life and she saw the two girls in the lobby. "Let them in." Her secretary nodded and waved them through. Now, what was this all about? Kodachi had seemed very serious for a change when she had approached her last night. She wondered if her niece knew the source of her name. Both her parents had been stuck trying to come up with a girl's name they could agree on. She had suggested the name flippantly and they had both been taken with it. Fortunately that had not been an omen as Kodachi showed neither interest in poisons or a seriously unbalanced personality. Ironically if anyone resembled the quasi-fictional Kunos it was Kodachi's brother who bore something of a mental and physical resemblance to Tatewaki Kuno. Luckily it wasn't an exact match and she suspected things had become exaggerated when Alan decided Shakespeare and Hemingway were the greatest writers of all time. A dangerous combination in her opinion. Looking a little hesitant but resolved the two girls entered her office. Reminding herself that they were both the same age Titanite asked, "So what can I do for you two?" They looked at each other then Kodachi plunged into a prepared speech. Titanite was more than a little surprised by the request they laid before her. Perhaps she should have seen this coming. After all Alan had revived the Tuxedo Mask identity not that long ago. She remembered Cal asking Endymion if he minded during an informal get together. He hadn't having not used the name for centuries and claimed that, with hindsight, he had come around to the majority opinion that the name was a bit silly to start with. Which had kicked off the usual rambling discussion of how Sailor had become integral to the names of Senshi. As Ferrite wasn't around to answer definitively everyone had laid out their favourite theory. Which ranged from the plausible to the downright ridiculous. But that had nothing to do with her young visitors' request. "So what do your parents think of this idea." Kodachi beamed, "Mom's all for it and Dad didn't object. Of course he couldn't after letting Alan wear that tuxedo but I really don't think he minds." Sylvite nodded, "Mom said she's got no more use for Sailor Arcturus so if I want to use the costume that's fine. Dad was kinda leery but he made us both transmuters so he must think it's okay." Ti hid a chuckle, Sylvite could bend her doting father around her little finger but hadn't picked up on that yet. Probably just as well. She steepled her hands and looked thoughtful. Kodachi and Sylvite were holding their breath waiting for Titanite to speak. It was impossible to tell what she was thinking. At length she said, "A very long time ago when I was your age I decided I wanted to be a Sailor Senshi. Neither my brother nor Sylvite's parents were particularly keen on the idea but they trained me anyway so I wouldn't get my fool self killed. They did a good job though I didn't appreciate it as much as I should have with hindsight. But if they hadn't then I'd never have made it past being a teenager and I owe them for that. So it seems the least I can do to show you some of what I learned. Now this won't be intense combat training, I'm not really qualified to do that, but more how to be a good lesser senshi. So if that's what you want, that kind of training I can provide." The two broke into grins and began thanking her profusely. Titanite smiled back and tentatively began working out when she had free time and just what she would teach them. She wasn't planning anything too serious. Basic posing, adlibbing and a few neat moves should suffice for girls who wanted to look like senshi but didn't have any enemies. She would also stress the importance of not venturing outside the city to look for adversaries until she pronounced them ready. In a few months, a year or two at the most, they'd either have lost interest and given up or realized how little they actually knew and sought real power maximizing training from her nephew Daisuke or their parents. But for now it couldn't hurt to teach them a few things they would never have to use for real. After all this was Crystal Tokyo, the safest city in the world. What could possibly go wrong? End of part 2 Next : Titanite gets her answer and has to mallet a few wiseguys. Plus why a girl who doesn't want to attract guys will dress like a senshi.
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