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   VOLUME 7

Sailor Moon Cyber - Volume Seven - Strange Days

aw_sunfire_sm.gif (10491 bytes)Leti sat on the edge of Usagi's bed, flipping through old photo albums that had been brought up from the basement. Usagi lay on her stomach, with her head propped up in her hands, Chibi-Usa sitting on her back. Leti looked up from the photos, and smiled at the two, then turned to the next page.

"So strange," she thought to herself. "Her life seemed so normal before she retained her memories of the moon kingdom. Usagi doesn't seem anything like the princess she once was. Sure, it shows through every now and then, but more often than not, she just seems like an average teenager. Sometimes I find myself forgetting just why I am here, and who I am supposed to be protecting."

Leti sighed and closed the book. Stretching, she looked over at the two princesses.

"It's too beautiful a day outside to be cooped up in the house. What say we go out and enjoy the sunshine?"

"And maybe get some ice-cream!" the two said in unison. Leti laughed, like mother, like daughter.

"Yes." she nodded to Chibi-Usa, "Ice cream sounds like a wonderful idea!"

The trio went downstairs and out the door, into the warm air of the afternoon. Leti picked up Chibi-Usa and piggybacked her down the street. They soon reached the crowded streets of downtown Tokyo. People scurried everywhere, looking at things in the windows of the stores, going in and out of the doors to shops that sold all kinds of wonderful items. Leti was still a little overwhelmed at the size of it all. They browsed from store to store, Usagi dragging them over to show them new shoes, comic books and make up of all kinds. Laughing and carrying on as if they had been friends all their lives.

The last few weeks on earth had been so wonderful for Leti. It was as if she had a family again. The Senshi had accepted her and made her feel at home. Well, there was that tense moment with Hotaru, but that was under the influence of CyberWarlock, and she seemed to have forgotten all about it.

Almost as if she had heard Leti think her name, Hotaru walked around the corner. Right beside her, as had become a regular occurrence, walked Nick. Leti grinned; poor Nick looked more lost and confused in the hustle and bustle of the city streets than she felt.

Hotaru waved and the two of them walked over to join up with the others.

"Hota-chan!" Chibi-Usa yelled happily and threw herself into Hotaru's arms. Hotaru kneeled down and hugged Chibi-Usa tight.

"Hello my little friend. How are you enjoying the day?"

"Great!" Chibi-Usa smiled. "We went shopping and played in the stores and Leti gave me a piggy-back!"

Hotaru grinned and ran a hand through Chibi-Usa's hair.

"Chibi-Usa, this is my friend Nick, I don't think you have met him yet."

The small child looked up at Nick and smiled. "Wow! You are as tall as Mamo-chan! Will you buy me ice-cream?"

"Chibi-Usa!" scolded Usagi. "Where are your manners?"

"No... it's alright." replied Nick. "I would be glad to buy ice cream for a friend of Hotaru's. Just one thing though. What is ice cream?"

"WHAT?" Usagi's eyes nearly popped out of her head. "You have never had ice cream?"

Nick shook his head. "Should I have?"

Usagi grabbed Nick by the hand and pulled him towards the ice cream parlour.

"Darn right you should have! It's sooooo yummy!"

Leti, Hotaru and Chibi-Usa followed along. Hotaru and Leti both held on to one of Chibi-Usa's hands as she sang "Ice cream, ice cream I'm going to get some ice cream!" at the top of her lungs.

Nick's mind was spinning as he found himself being dragged into a sweet smelling shop and Usagi began ordering strange concoctions, smothered in dark syrup. The last week for him had been one of the strangest of his life. He had coerced Hotaru into trying to destroy her friends, only to be defeated. Then, when he thought his life was forfeit, Sailor Moon had let him escape. Stranger than that, Hotaru still wanted to be his friend and had spent alot of time with him lately. He was unsure what to do about it all. Part of his mind still wanted to destroy the people of this planet for the pain they had caused him and the Sailor Soldiers where on the top of that list. And yet here he was, standing beside Sailor Moon, about to partake of some human eating ritual. He remembered telling Usagi that they would not be friends when next they met, yet, here he was, acting as though they were.

Shaking his head, he paid the anxious shopkeeper for the treats and carried the tray full of goodies over to a table by the window. As he was about to sit down, his eyes fell on Leti. In all the hurry he hadn't even noticed she was there. He drew in a breath. Every time he saw her, he was reminded of J'areele. Her hair, her eyes. The way she smiled. He shook his head and smiled back at Hotaru before anyone could notice he was staring and sat down to try this strange dish they called Ice Cream.

An hour and 4 bowls later, the girls stared wordlessly at him as Nick finished the last mouthful and looked up.

"Until now," giggled Hotaru, "I have never seen anyone who could eat as much as Usagi. I'd say she's met her match!"

"I can't help it!" Nick grinned sheepishly. "It's just so good! How can anyone not want to eat more of it? I have never tasted anything so good in my life!"

"Which brings me back to my first question." said Usagi. "How could you have never had ice cream before?"

"Well," replied Nick, his mind searching for an appropriate answer. "I was... uhm... raised in a small village in the woods. We didn't have all the luxuries of the city."

"Oh." said Usagi. "What do your parents do then, that you moved here?"

"I... don't have any parents." Nick replied sadly.

"Oooh, there's my big mouth again." Usagi smiled apologetically. "I'm sorry Nick. I know what that is like. Mamo-chan was an orphan too you know?"

Nick shook his head. He hadn't known that. Why was she being so nice to him?

"Well, of course dummy." he thought to himself. "She doesn't know who you really are. She doesn't know what you really are. None of them do. You know darn well they wouldn't be this nice if they did!" But, then again, his mind flipped around, they did let you go. He was more confused than ever.

"This has been... fun." he said after a moment. "But I should really get going, it is getting late and I have some things to... uhm... take care of."

"Want me to walk you home?" asked Hotaru.

"That's ok, Hotaru-chan. You stay and enjoy your company. I'll be alright on my own." I always am, he thought. Nodding to the girls, he stood up and walked out the door.

Hotaru watched him leave, then turned to Leti.

"He likes you, you know?" she said.

"What are you talking about?" asked a stunned Leti. "He is your friend!"

"Yes I know." replied Hotaru. "He is my friend, but that is all he is. I could see the way he looked at you, trying to pretend he wasn't."

"I never noticed." Leti shook her head in disbelief. "You sure you aren't imagining things?"

"No. I can tell. He really is a nice guy you know, if you give him a chance."

"But, what about you? I thought you guys were an item?"

"If we were, as you all claim, then whatever CyberWarlock did to me has erased all traces of those memories. It's ok, I enjoy having him as a friend. I don't know what I would do if there was more!"

Leti nodded and turned to look at Usagi and Chibi-Usa who had been sitting with their mouths wide open since Hotaru had spoken.

"Well," Leti said, hoping to change the subject. "Shall we get going then?"

The three other girls nodded and they wandered back out into the busy streets in search of something to do.

Nhicodima stood on the top of a tall building, looking out over the city as twilight settled over it like a blanket. His long hair blew about in the wind, and he brushed it from his face with a hand. His mind was still reeling from the conflicting emotions and thoughts of the day.

"Should I tell them? Would they understand?" He half felt they just might. Mamoru knew how he felt. He should not have been as rude to him as he was. It was difficult to make it all on your own. Nhicodima found himself creating a new respect for the masked hero. "We are similar creatures you and I. But then, you are human."

He sighed and looked up at the stars that were beginning to twinkle in the grey sky. Did they hold the answers he sought? He thought it highly unlikely.

Suddenly, his sensitive ears picked up a shrill scream, coming from somewhere below. Looking down, he focused his cybernetic eye and zoomed in on the direction of the shout. 50 floors below him and across the street, he beheld a scene that set his blood on fire.

In a dark alley, two large men stood over a young woman.

"Gimme your purse lady, or that first punch will feel like a kiss!" said the first man.

"You'd better listen to him." nodded the second. The woman just whimpered and clung to her purse, looking up at her attackers.

Memories of that day in the forest so many years ago, flooded into the front of Nhicodima's mind and he howled in rage. He dove from the side of the building and calling on the magickal energies around him, slowed his descent and flew towards the alley, seeking vengeance. He landed silently at the end of the dark pathway and slowly walked forward, his footfalls echoing menacingly off of the walls.

"What are you doing?" he thought to himself as the two men looked up at his approach. "You are not a hero. Look what happened the last time you tried to play one? It cost you the only life you knew!" Paying little attention to the conversation his mind was attempting to have with him, he kept walking straight towards them.

"A little early for Halloween ain't it?" laughed the first attacker. "You'd best mind your own business kid before you wind up getting hurt."

cw_cyborg.gif (15175 bytes)"Oh, I don't think it is me that you should be worried about!" replied CyberWarlock as his eyes suddenly shone bright red and he grew his teeth to their full length. "If I were you, I would be deeply concerned for my own wellbeing."

The two men's eyes grew wide and Nhicodima could see the fear in those eyes.

"Yes." he growled as he stopped directly in front of the terrified would-be muggers.

"See the face of true evil. Is this the path that you would take? Then you must look upon it and see yourselves."

"H-hey... we were just having a little fun man!" stammered the second man. "We'll leave... see? We are leaving now... no harm done right?"

"Wrong!" snapped CyberWarlock as his hand whipped out lightning fast and grabbed the mugger by his shirt. Picking him up, he tossed him like a child's toy into the wall to his right. The man slumped into unconsciousness in a pile of garbage. "A fitting place to rest. Trash in the trash!"

The first man turned and started to run towards the exit of the alley, but CyberWarlock lifted his hand and a sudden, fierce wind blew the mugger back towards him. CyberWarlock spun around and connected a roundhouse kick to the man's stomach, knocking the wind out of him, and sending him to the ground. Nhicodima glared down at him and brought his boot up, intending to smash it down, when he heard an all-too-familiar voice behind him.

"Hey, CyberDweeb! Care to try that on someone who can fight back?"

Nhicodima turned around to see Sailor Moon and Sailor SunFire standing in the alleyway. Both Senshi's stared and gasped as they saw him in his true form.

"And I thought I looked awful when I had a bad hair day!" said SunFire as she regained her composure and pointed her staff in Nhicodima's direction.

Realising what he looked like, CyberWarlock closed his eyes and returned to his more-humanlike appearance.

"This does not concern you Sailor Brats!" he spat, anger building up in him once again at their reaction. No, they could never accept him for what he was. He could see that now. The day, indeed, the last week, had all been an illusion. They were nice to Nick, but to Nhicodima? Never!

"When you harm innocent people, it concerns us!" replied Sailor Moon.

"Innocent? Innocent? You should get your facts straight before you open your meatball mouth!"

"Insults won't help you. You are going down!" Sailor Moon spun her sceptre around in her hand and pointed it at CyberWarlock.

"I..." Nhicodima stared at the two Senshi. It was not worth explaining. Shaking his head he made a dismissing gesture in their direction and faded from sight, stepping back to his silent, lonely home between time and space.

"Oooh, I hate it when he does that!" Sailor Moon sighed and walked over to the frightened woman who still lay on the ground, clutching her purse. "It's all right now. He is gone, he won't hurt you anymore!"

"Hurt me?" the woman looked up at Sailor Moon in confusion. "He saved me! It was these two men here that tried to hurt me. They were trying to steal my purse, and then he showed up and beat them down!"

"What?" SunFire and Moon asked and stared back and forth at each other. "He saved you? But, that doesn't make any sense?"

"Whatever you say!" replied the woman as she got to her feet and began walking quickly out of the alley. "Apparently you know each other, so I suppose you would know. But I know what I saw, and that Cyber... what was it you called him?"

"His name is CyberWarlock." replied Sailor SunFire.

"CyberWarlock, " nodded the woman. "Saved me. I owe him for that."

The woman walked out and back onto the street, walking swiftly for home, leaving behind two very confused Senshi and two very bruised muggers. Sailor Moon handed Sailor SunFire some change.

"You call the police to clean up this mess... I gotta think about this."

SunFire nodded and walked towards the nearest public phone booth. As she hung up the phone, she retained her normal form and hung around the street waiting for the Tokyo police to arrive.

"CyberWarlock a good guy?" she thought to herself. "I just can't see it. But, still, stranger things have happened I suppose. Who knows?"

As the police car arrived to pick up the assailants, Leti wandered off down the street towards home. It had definitely been a strange day.

The End of Part Seven

SERIES ONE

SERIES TWO