Sailor Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Absence ❯ The Longest Night, Act II ( Chapter 13 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
Absence - By Kirika


Thirteenth. I don't have anything to say for once.



- Kirika


Chapter 13 - The Longest Night, Act II

Tsubasa increased his pace to keep up with Megumi as she marched purposefully towards the entrance to the Ragnarok nightclub, the beat of rave music matching their footsteps. Tsubasa was still soaking wet from the emergency sprinklers at the Yokohama Daily and his shoes squelched uncomfortably with his every step. Megumi was in the same condition, but it didn't seem to bother the raven-haired girl.

The nightclub looked like a standard raver's hangout constructed out of a large, unused warehouse. Not a place that Tsubasa would have gone to willingly... at least not before his acquaintance with Megumi, 'Fighter of Justice', that is. Tsubasa imagined that there were probably all sorts of debauched things going in the building. Tsubasa surmised that there were lots of youma in the nightclub, but there had to be some innocent people in the club as well. Tsubasa looked apprehensively at Megumi, hoping that she wouldn't just torch the place as soon as they entered.

The duo approached a heavy-set bouncer who was standing guard at the double door entrance of the club. As Tsubasa and Megumi got nearer the bouncer's eyes widened, then bugged out of his head. He was clearly shocked at the sight of them for some unknown reason. The man quickly unfolded his arms, barged through the doors of the nightclub, then ran into the Ragnarok screaming something Tsubasa couldn't quite catch over the loud music that streamed unimpeded out of the entrance before the doors closed again.

Tsubasa frowned in confusion, and, not without a little suspicion. Megumi wasn't dressed *that* strangely... not enough to cause that sort of reaction. Perhaps it was the sight of the pair of them, both sopping wet on a clear night, which had elicited the reaction. But Tsubasa sincerely doubted it....

"I'll be right back," Megumi announced, interrupting Tsubasa's speculations. She walked over to the double doors of the Ragnarok nightclub and pushed them open. After she entered, the doors swung shut behind her.

Tsubasa nodded to Megumi's retreating figure and leaned against the wall beside the doors to wait for her... he didn't really want to wind up like Sanjuro anyway. Tsubasa hoped the reporter was okay; he had seemed pretty messed up. The ugly purple youma must have done something pretty horrible to the irritating man, Tsubasa reflected as he began to wring out his sodden shirt.

All of a sudden, the double doors of the club burst open and swarms of frantic people flooded out, all screaming in panic. Inside, the air was filled with inhuman cries and whooshing noises that rose above the manic music. Every now and then, the sound of Megumi's voice was mixed in with the cacophony as she yelled out incomprehensible phrases. The exiting ravers continued to run out of the Ragnarok and Tsubasa pressed himself as close as he could against the building's wall, trying not to get swept away in the crowd. Then a frosted glass window unexpectedly exploded outward next to him and some sort of blue energy blast flew out, careering off towards the night's sky. Many of the people ducked reflexively as the bolt and flakes of glass sailed over them.

Tsubasa looked anxiously to his right as a flaming figure staggered blindly through the doors and out onto the street, causing the mob of fleeing ravers to part before it. The blazing figure gave guttural shouts of agony as it stumbled about aimlessly, wildly flailing its arms all over the place. It then fell forward to the ground, unmoving, the flames still burning high on its body. Tsubasa covered his mouth and nose with a wet sleave, attempting to block out the stench of burning flesh. People had now stopped running out of the nightclub, and all had dispersed into the night, leaving Tsubasa as the only one standing around.

The brown-haired man jumped when an arrow, which seemed to be made entirely of fire, startled him by slamming into one of the Ragnarok's doors. The door swung outwards momentarily before ripping completely off of its hinges from the fierce impact. The wooden door immediately exploded into a ball of fire, sending chunks of flaming wood flying in all directions. The debris clattered down the dark street to burn themselves out.

Tsubasa was considering whether or not to run like hell when everything went relatively quiet suddenly. Only the dance music could be heard clearly, but over that noise, he could still detect muffled, far away, shouts within his hearing range. Tsubasa gathered up his courage and decided to take a peek inside the club. He prayed he wouldn't see any charred human bodies courtesy of an overzealous and uncaring Megumi.

As Tsubasa was about to have a look inside, more people hobbled out of the now doorless entrance. But these individuals were raggedly dressed and looked badly hurt... their wounds appeared old, though, to Tsubasa's eyes. Their bodies were caked with a liberal layer of dirt and grime, also. Upon closer examination, he noticed that some had shattered chains dangling from manacles clamped to their wrists and ankles, the edges of the broken links still glowing hotly. The youma... they must have kept prisoners, Tsubasa realised with terrible understanding. And by the looks of it, the monsters' unfortunate inmates had not been treated well at all.

The music in the Ragnarok nightclub began to wane, getting more distorted as time went by. Tsubasa peered inside the building. He really hoped the owners had insurance. The interior of the place was like a war zone. Small fires burnt nearly everywhere and the fast decaying bodies of strange, barbecued creatures decorated the dance floor. The bar was a roaring inferno and Tsubasa thought he could see blackened limbs sticking out from behind it that resembled gnarled tree branches. The DJ booth was partially aflame, causing the music it still beat out to be detrimentally affected.

Tsubasa turned his gaze upwards to the ceiling and saw waves of fire creeping along it, slowly consuming it. The blaze currently gutting the building also sent flaming showers of debris all over the large room. Any tables or chairs that had escaped initial conflagration were now set alight by the raindrops of flame. It was obvious to Tsubasa that the nightclub's structural integrity wasn't going to last. Wherever Megumi was, she had better hurry up!

From somewhere in the back of the club, Tsubasa heard a bestial scream that was cut off abruptly. Megumi then appeared from a door near the stage. She walked over to him, nonchalantly stepping through the many small fires dotting the floor, but avoiding the larger ones.

"He wasn't here," the Fire Senshi declared, "but there's a Honda factory not too far from here. That's where he is."

Tsubasa assumed that Megumi meant the leader of the youma and would have asked, but the raven-haired girl was already moving past him to reach the exit. Tsubasa hurried after her, dodging coals of fire that rained down as he went... his former neighbour didn't even seem to be bothered by them.

Tsubasa noticed that Megumi's clothes had dried off--probably from the heat caused by all of the fires burning inside the building--the majority, most likely, being caused by her own hands. He could also see that she had sustained a few more injuries, but decided not to mention them; it would be pointless. It didn't take the most observant of individuals to tell that Megumi was determined to finish off all of the youma tonight. It was the look in her eyes; in the things she had said. Hell, her intentions were blatantly clear through sheer body language alone. Tsubasa just hoped that the whole ordeal wouldn't finish the fire warrior off permanently as well.


Khairephon shouted out rousing encouragement--or rather, compelling threats--to hasten his three youma lackeys' efforts in preparing to open the primary interdimensional passageway that the great warrior and his siblings had used to invade this plane several days before. He was growing impatient; he should have been back at the Ragnarok nightclub by now. Santhesis would be waiting there with new information for him on the whereabouts of the human female that was meddling in their affairs so much....


Without warning a fiery arrow burst through the back of one youma's head, which then erupted into flames. The youma collapsed over the pattern it had been drawing on the concrete floor of the factory, its ruined head quickly burning to ash from the blaze.


Khairephon, with an almost casual indifference, turned around to face the entrance of the car factory as he felt the heat of another arrow sail past him. The flaming projectile slammed into the stomach of a second youma, exploding on impact. The blast propelled the creature backwards and into a stack of empty metal drums, its roasting remains obscured from view by the scorching flames that engulfed it. The remaining youma minion growled low in its throat and prepared to attack, but Khairephon raised a hand, signalling it to hold back.

"So. You must be the human that has been fighting my youma. You don't seem very special at all," Khairephon mocked the girl standing at the entrance of the factory a short distance away. He observed her curiously as she lowered her arms from where they had been previously wielding a bow crafted wholly out of fire.

"You don't seem special either," the female replied, directing a cold, piercing stare at the thuggishly dressed man.

Khairephon smirked, a cocky half-smile coming to his rugged, somewhat manic features. He spared a glance at her male companion a couple of steps behind her and then dismissed him from his mind. The pathetic weakling was no threat; he appeared to be a mere normal human who could be easily crushed at his leisure.

"How did you know I would be here?" Khairephon asked.

"I asked someone," the girl stated simply. "By the way," she continued, "I wouldn't go clubbing at the Ragnarok for a while. Seems it's become a real fire hazard...."

Khairephon blinked at her, then frowned, his red eyebrows forming a deep V. She couldn't have destroyed his headquarters. Sure, the youma there had only been made up of a few of his warriors and the rest of Thrinakie's bookish types, but still... there had to have been a dozen there at least. Out of the corner of his eye, Khairephon saw the youma beside him tense. It was, apparently, his last surviving youma in this world and it was obviously a little disturbed by the news.

Khairephon walked closer to the human, dismissing her claims. It didn't matter if his headquarters had been wiped out and, with it, his youma forces; they could be replaced once he had dealt with the interfering girl. Besides, those of his followers who had been slain were clearly not worthy to be in his ranks anyway; the human had done him a service, really.

"Well, it is time I faced you anyway. I've been dying to test this human body out in real combat. Shall we dance?" Khairephon challenged the female, his smirk returning.

Without waiting for an answer, the brilliant warrior moved his body into a rather relaxed fighting stance, reminiscent of street brawlers, his smirk becoming a full, confident grin.


Sailor Mars positioned herself into her own combat stance in response to Khairephon's, looking grimly and unwaveringly into the punk's burning red eyes all the while.

"You had better run," she whispered out the corner of her mouth to Tsubasa who, after witnessing the prior scene of her pyrotechnic displays, had been unable to move or speak while watching the verbal exchange between Khairephon and herself.

Then Tsubasa, evidently coming to his senses and finally finding his legs, ran off to the right to seek refuge deeper into the plant. Mars lost sight of him when he sprinted between factory equipment and headed towards the abundant boxed, and unboxed, car parts stacked high about the area. Sailor Mars noticed, too, that the surviving youma darted after him; no doubt to hunt down the brown-haired man as a tiger would hunt a deer. She ignored the predatory monster and refocused on Khairephon, who was the bigger, and primary, threat. Tsubasa would have to fend for himself.

"You know, I have never lost a fight...." Khairephon remarked matter-of-factly, still grinning at her.

"You know, I've heard that before... back in Tokyo. The youma who said it, died," Sailor Mars responded emotionlessly.

Khairephon's eyes widened in a mixture of recognition and confusion. "You're... you can't be..." he started, clearly perplexed and somewhat amazed, his bravado vanishing.

But Mars had had enough of talk and waiting; she wanted to fight.


A fireball streaked towards Khairephon, the opening attack jogging the man out of his stupor. He darted effortlessly to the side and out of the fiery projectile's path, then ran at Sailor Mars. He moved like quicksilver, striking at her face with a leather-clad fist.

Mars redirected the blow away from her with an arm and countered fluidly with a left hook to her opponent's own face.

Khairephon ducked and executed a leg sweep, catching the miko unawares and tripping her onto her side.

Mars rolled hastily to her left as a heavy black boot crunched down on the floor where she had just lain, leaving a crumbly footprint behind in the concrete. Sailor Mars flipped to her feet and preformed a spinning heel kick at Khairephon, catching him firmly on the side of his head. However, the Fire Senshi's adversary shrugged the hit off as if it were nothing, and then smashed both of his palms into Mars' now vulnerable chest. She was knocked violently off of her feet and back onto the floor. Sailor Mars rolled her body quickly backwards, sprung to a standing position, and then strafed to the right just as Khairephon flew past her, while trying to hit her with a crippling flying kick.

Sailor Mars shook her right arm painfully. It ached badly from redirecting Khairephon's first punch. It also hurt to breathe--she was sure she had two palm shaped bruises on her chest by now. Mars couldn't afford to let Khairephon get any more solid blows on her. It seemed the creature possessed an unnatural strength that far surpassed a normal human being's....

Khairephon spun around, kicking at Sailor Mars' head, interrupting her very short respite. She quickly jumped backwards and out of her opponent's range.


A globe of fire crashed into Khairephon's chest, the close proximity making it impossible to dodge. The only immediate reaction the thug had to the hot flames that licked at his torso, was a feral growl through gritted teeth... more in anger than pain.

Sailor Mars ducked and rolled to her left as Khairephon's juggernaut fist rammed into a thick, steel support girder behind her, the metal buckling with a dull metallic thud. Mars sprang to her feet, kicking him swiftly in the face as she did so.

However, Khairephon reacted fast to the attack by grabbing the Senshi of Fire's leg, ready to bring his elbow down upon it and snap it like a twig.

Sailor Mars leapt into the air and delivered another powerful kick to her foe's face with her free leg, forcing him to let go of her other one. She landed on her stomach and struck out with both feet behind her, supporting herself on her hands. Sailor Mars' double kick made hard contact with Khairephon's midsection, bashing him back a few steps towards the bent steel girder. Mars flipped over and onto her feet, then followed up her manoeuvre with a spinning side kick, ramming her foot into Khairephon's skull.

The brutish man shook his head and then smirked smugly at Mars, before cart wheeling to his left and smoothly following the move by lashing out at the raven-haired girl with an arm as he became upright.

Sailor Mars nimbly evaded the attack, dropping into a crouch, then punched with all her might into Khairephon's groin. Khairephon's smirk was instantly wiped off of his face and replaced by a very painful expression. That, too, was soon wiped off as Mars gave the youma leader a final devastating uppercut as she rose.

Khairephon staggered backwards and fell to one knee, breathing heavily. He reached up to touch his face gingerly, then looked in astonishment at the blood that had appeared on his hand. Khairephon glared at Sailor Mars with pure hatred.

"Human bodies are weak anyway," he seethed.

Khairephon let out a cry of excruciating agony as his clothes started to split apart, the black leather ripping as though it were tissue paper. There was a crackling sound as bones elongated and strengthened. His human skin ruptured, revealing dark red flesh beneath, the colour of brimstone, and decorated with a network of hideous blue veins. Khairephon's eyes bulged and grew, turning yellow as each pupil was squashed into a black vertical line. A quadruple set of horns erupted from his skull and a bright red mane matching the hair on his human head sprouted in a line down the middle of his back. Khairephon sustained his unholy cry, its pitch turning more bestial with every passing second. His jaw cracked and lengthened, his teeth turning into daggers. Khairephon continued to grow larger; his hands now twice the size of a human's torso and having nails like sword blades. A tail grew from the small of his back, the end adorned with lumpy, bony protrusions.

His transformation complete, Khairephon stood up on his powerful new legs and gave a mighty, unearthly roar, flexing muscular arms that could pass for thick, dark red, tree trunks. The windows of the Honda plant shook and some even shattered with his animalistic bellow.

Sailor Mars looked at the shredded skin and clothes left behind by Khairephon, then back up at the huge beast that had replaced the figure that had once resembled a man. How such a huge creature could fit into a human form was beyond Mars' comprehension. Her first impression was that he was some kind of demon straight from the pits of Hell. But whatever Khairephon was, he had to be destroyed.

Khairephon grinned evilly down at the diminutive Sailor Mars, the gesture making the beast's expression all the more demonic, if that were possible. "Now you see the *real* me... and why I've never lost a fight!" he roared, clenching one hand into a colossal fist, his huge muscles making thick, rope-like cords on his arm.

Sailor Mars looked up at the demon and swallowed hard, trepidation demolishing her apathetic persona. This was certainly not good.

"See me... and know fear...." Khairephon whispered, the low rumbling of his still substantially loud voice causing the foundations of the building to vibrate.

Mars' heart was suddenly gripped with an unnatural terror. It was like she was reduced to a child afraid of the dark, cowering in a corner. She collapsed to her knees, her head bowed. The Fire Senshi couldn't even look at Khairephon; he was fear incarnate. She was paralysed, all will to fight fleeing from her mind. Her heart beat faster and faster, as if trying to rip out of her chest and flee from the terrible fiend before her. Sailor Mars heard Khairephon's booming laugh echo around her, causing the terror inside her to strengthen its icy grip on her quivering heart, and in turn, freezing her body. The energy was drawn from her limbs, leaving them about as effective as heavy lead weights. There was no fight left in her.


Tsubasa ran a little faster when he heard a truly nightmarish howl come from behind him. It was so powerful that the floor beneath his feet quaked. He hoped the sound was because Megumi had struck the youma leader with a killing blow... or something like that. Tsubasa stopped his frantic dash and leaned against a car chassis to catch his breath. While he was contemplating whether to flee the factory all together, he felt a sudden urge to look behind him.

Standing partially in the darkness between two piles of car parts was the last youma Megumi had left unscathed. It was green and resembled a humanoid lizard, possessing a thick covering of scales. The monster looked like a giant upright crocodile. Oh no, Tsubasa panicked... where the hell was Megumi? She was supposed to save him from this kind of stuff!

Tsubasa bolted at the same moment the youma's extra long tongue flew out of its mouth towards him, just missing his leg. Tsubasa ran as if his life depended on it... which, in fact, it did. The brown-haired man's mind raced with his heart, trying to think of what he should do. He couldn't go back to Megumi; what if she was still fighting that punk guy? He was on his own. That thought alone was enough to make Tsubasa instantly despair and a small, pitiful moan escaped his throat.

Tsubasa screamed when he felt something grab his ankle. He reflexively latched onto a yellow forklift's blade in front of him with both hands and quickly looked over his shoulder, expecting the worst. The youma's long, flexible pink tongue had wrapped itself around his ankle and was attempting to pull him into its fang-filled mouth.

Tsubasa whimpered loudly at the horrible sight and held on even tighter to the forklift, madly praying to every deity he could think of to save him. He was going to be eaten by a youma! Oh god, what a way to go! Tsubasa had known this was going to happen, damn it! Why hadn't he stayed with Sanjuro at the Yokohama Daily, or better yet, stayed in the reporter's apartment in safety, Tsubasa mentally berated himself as he struggled to retain his grip on the forklift blade. Though he tried with all his might to hold on, the youma met his increased resistance with its superhuman strength. The youma's pulled so hard, the man felt that his leg could be torn off. God, he was such an idiot. Tsubasa just *had* to stay with Megumi, didn't he? Sap! She didn't even like him! What if the lizard monster digested things the way a snake did?! His poor broken body would be slowly dissolved by acid for days within its stomach!

"Oh nooooooo!!" Tsubasa wailed at the awful thought, becoming hysterical as he desperately tried to maintain his gradually loosening grasp on the forklift, his knuckles whitening in the effort.

Tsubasa heard a whisper behind him and felt a gust of wind. He suddenly lost his grip on the forklift blade and fell flat on his face upon the floor. The youma soared over the top of him, having been blasted in the back by something with tremendous force.

Tsubasa covered his eyes as the youma was impaled on the two forklift blades, its dark green blood splattering all over him. Tsubasa blinked up in confusion at the creature's skewered corpse dangling on the forklift, still twitching slightly. It was a welcome, yet nauseating, sight and almost made him lose his dinner. What... what had just happened? Had Megumi...?

Tsubasa pried the dead youma's tongue from his ankle gingerly, not really wishing to touch the slimy thing, then tried to wipe the green blood from his face. He turned around to face his saviour, expecting to see the irritated expression of his former neighbour.

"Megumi, you have the best..." Tsubasa started, but suddenly stopped at the sight of the statuesque figure before him. "You're not... who are you?"


"Such a pity," mocked Khairephon, "and here I thought I had finally met a worthy opponent; but it looks like you'll die like all of the others who have faced me."

Sailor Mars had never felt such fear before in all her life. She knew in the back of her mind that it wasn't real, that the terror was some sort of power Khairephon possessed, but the knowledge didn't help--she was still completely petrified. Mars' breathing was quick and shallow as her rapidly beating heart pumped adrenaline through her veins at a frenzied rate. Sailor Mars knew she had to move or she would die, but she just couldn't muster the strength or will to do so.

Khairephon chuckled and swatted the Fire Senshi like a fly with a large hand. The warrior was knocked onto her back and slid along the floor, unresponsive.

Sailor Mars curled into a ball, her eyes tightly shut. She was aware of blood trickling out of her nose, but it only served to heighten the unnatural terror that gripped her even more. She heard Khairephon laugh evilly above her once again, the demon taking a perverse pleasure at the sight of her quivering form. She didn't want it to end like this....

Sailor Mars wondered where that thought had come from. Hadn't she wanted it all to end? Her miserable existence? She had believed that she did... yet Khairephon was still alive. But Mars had fought so hard already; didn't she deserve to finally rest? Her body throbbed all over, her wounds humming in constant pain despite the amount of adrenaline shooting through her veins. The demon was still laughing at her, his voice echoing around her. Enveloping her. Closing her in....

Mars squeezed her body into an even tighter ball. The miko's heart was pounding so hard in her ears. No, this was the end. She had always thought she would go out in a blaze of glory... not shivering on the floor like a coward.

Sailor Mars gasped suddenly. She felt something... something deep inside her. It was as if some sort of force was pulling her, calling her. It wasn't strong, it was barely there in fact; the tiniest pinprick. But she still felt it.

Sailor Mars blinked her blurry lavender eyes open. Her photo was in front of her face; the one of her and Usagi. It must have fallen out of her coat pocket sometime during the fight. No. Mars couldn't give in. She couldn't let that beast win and let it wreak havoc on the world because she had failed to stop it when she'd had the chance. Sailor Mars couldn't die now... not when she was needed.

The stray thought was growing stronger within her mind. Sailor Mars was *needed*. If she died here, who would destroy Khairephon? He would be able to re-establish his hold on Yokohama; bring more youma. The other Sailor Senshi didn't even know about him. But that didn't feel right... was that why she was truly needed? It didn't matter; Usagi would be put in danger regardless of why she was needed.

The raven-haired girl's gaze focused on the image of her beautiful princess in the photo on the floor. Khairephon was a powerful being; if Mars fell here Usagi, and the other Sailors, would have to fight it. Usagi could be hurt or even killed. Sailor Mars trembled; not due to the terror caused by Khairephon, but from the fear of what could happen to Usagi if she faltered here. No fear from a monster could ever compare to that.

The icy grip of fear on Sailor Mars' heart evaporated. Khairephon abruptly ceased his booming laughter, roared angrily, and then brought the sword-nails of one hand down at her. Mars uncoiled her body, rolled backwards and onto her feet, the demon's talons raking four deep scores in the floor.


A bird of fire flew up at the demon, colliding with his wide chest and spreading flames around him. He laughed at Sailor Mars' useless attack and took another swipe at her. The miko ducked desperately, knowing that a single strong hit would be enough to kill her outright. Khairephon's claws tore a steel girder asunder, the ravaged metal squealing loudly. Sailor Mars needed a plan right now.

Mars leapt over a conveyer belt... just before a raging Khairephon ripped the whole thing from the floor it had been bolted to and threw it effortlessly at her. Sailor Mars desperately dove, and then rolled under a tall, wide shelf that stored crates full of heavy car engine parts. A fraction of a second later the conveyer machinery smashed into the shelf, causing it to topple. Mars hurled herself out of the way as crates rained down and cracked open on the hard concrete floor, spilling their contents everywhere.

The great beast roared again, making the very foundations of the factory tremble and causing more items on other shelves to fall from their perches. Sailor Mars stopped running and turned to face Khairephon, her feet skidding slightly backwards on the floor. She whipped out an ofuda.

"Rin, pyou, tou, sha, kai, jin, retsu, sai, zen. Akuryou taisan!"

Sailor Mars tossed the ward at the demon, the paper landing on his leg.

Khairephon sniggered as the ofuda disintegrated when it touched his dark red skin. "Did you really think that a pathetic ward could stop a being of my strength? My power?! DIE WORM!!" the demon bellowed as he charged forward, trampling everything in his wake. The concrete floor shook, its surface fracturing with every heavy footstep.

Mars cursed and ran, the demon stomping after her, roaring furiously all the while. The Fire Senshi ducked as a half finished car sailed over her head and crashed into a mountain of oil drums, scattering them like bowling pins. Sailor Mars had no idea what she could do. Khairephon seemed to be unstoppable. She wished Sailor Mercury were here with her mini supercomputer to help find a weak spot on the creature. A weak spot... a weakness. Maybe Mars could use the demon's size against him, turning his asset into a disadvantage.

Sailor Mars gasped in shock as something grabbed the back of her long coat, lifting her completely off her feet and into the air. She could smell sulphur. Sailor Mars turned her head to see that Khairephon had snapped her coat up into his mouth and was ready to swallow her entirely within his gaping maw. Mars reacted fast and slipped her arms out of her coat, falling into a crouch on the floor near the great beast. She dashed quickly through his legs and behind him.

Khairephon let her empty coat fall and lashed out at the nimble Mars with his tail, but his adversary dove forward and his bony tail swung above her with a whoosh of air.

Mars curled into a roll, then turned to face the demon.


Sailor Mars drew her fiery bow and shot an arrow straight into Khairephon's back. The arrow struck the demon and exploded into hot, searing flames.

Khairephon growled in annoyance as the fire marginally burnt some muscle tissue, his tough hide having only been slightly penetrated by the projectile.

Good, Mars thought; she had pissed him off. She leapt onto the main car production line and sprinted along the conveyer belts.

Khairephon turned and clomped after her, smashing the conveyers aside or simply stomping them flat into the floor as he went.

Mars ran through a large, cube shaped, spray paint machine that was surrounded by thick, solid metal on all sides. As she had hoped, Khairephon continued his enraged charge and rammed his huge red form into the machine trying to get at her.

The Senshi of Fire kept running like crazy, breathing rapidly. She raced through the other end of the machine just as Khairephon's gigantic mouth took a chomp at her, his teeth lightly scraping her back. Mars cried out and stumbled forward, falling onto her stomach with multiple lacerations now marring her back. Despite the pain of her freshest wounds, she rolled over and glared into Khairephon's slanted, narrow, demonic yellow eyes. The demon's torso was wedged tightly in the, now distorted, paint machine, with his head and part of his shoulders sticking partially out of it.

"Gotcha," panted Sailor Mars, a ghost of a smirk on her grimy and sweaty face.


Khairephon's reptilian eyes registered shock as Mars fired an arrow of flame from where she lay, holding her bow horizontally. The arrow soared true piercing one of the demon's bestial yellow eyes, then bursting alight. Khairephon howled in agony as his eye was destroyed and part of his brain was cooked.

"NOOOOO!! You can't! I don't lose!! I DON'T LOSE!! I NEVER LOSE!!" he roared in disbelief and defiance. He thrashed desperately in his metal prison, trying to break out of it with brute force.

"First time for everything," Sailor Mars smiled grimly.


A second arrow ripped into Khairephon's other eye--despite him quickly closing the eyelid--giving him no chance to escape his confinement in the spray paint machine. He screamed an unearthly death cry as the arrow detonated, frying the rest of his brain.

As Khairephon's last sulphurous breath enveloped Sailor Mars--its odour almost overwhelming the battered girl--the demon's huge head collapsed onto the conveyer belt and lay still, smoke billowing out of the empty eye sockets. As Mars watched, Khairephon's body turned a sickly green and began decaying at a tremendous rate. It was over.

Sailor Mars rolled over and lay back on the conveyer belt, relaxing her fatigued and injured body. She had won. She had killed the youma leader, Khairephon, and stopped whatever the creatures had been planning to do in Yokohama. Sure, there were probably still some youma survivors out there, but she doubted they could do any real damage without their commander. Mars let out a deep breath, disturbing the wisps of smoke coming from Khairephon's carcass. She had won and she was still alive. Sailor Mars didn't know how she felt about that.

The Senshi of Fire frowned. She still felt that tiny pulling deep inside her... that minute call. But Khairephon was dead; there was nothing else she was needed for. So why did Sailor Mars still feel the call? She had an urge to get up and move, but to where and for what purpose, she had no idea.

Sailor Mars was roused from her thoughts by footsteps approaching her from the right. She turned her head languidly towards the sound, expecting to either see Tsubasa... or the last youma. It was Tsubasa, looking a little worse for wear, and someone else was beside him. A woman with long dark green hair and dressed in a Sailor Senshi fuku. The ornate staff she carried rapped on the floor as she walked purposefully towards the miko. Tsubasa and Sailor Pluto came to a stop a few feet from Sailor Mars.

"She... she saved me from that other youma," Tsubasa said, shooting nervous looks at the huge rotting corpse of Khairephon.

Sailor Mars gazed up at Sailor Pluto from the conveyer belt, her stomach tightening in fear. The Guardian of Time had come to get her... that could only mean one thing: Usagi was in some sort of trouble and needed Sailor Mars. And not just any trouble; but trouble that was seriously dangerous and would threaten her princess's life.

Pluto first studied Mars' battle weary body for a moment, the faintest of creases marring her brow, then took in the raven-haired girl's lifeless, lavender eyes. Sailor Pluto opened her mouth to speak the words Sailor Mars already knew were coming and dreaded nevertheless.

"That time has come...." the Senshi of Time said quietly.


To be continued....

Author's ramblings:

I hope I got Sailor Pluto's dead scream attack right.