Act 2: Ami -- Sailormercury

First publication: Nakayoshi, 3/1992.
Published in tankoubon form by Kodansha; acquired by the webmistress in the summer of 1993. ( :

We begin... an endless hall of dark, stony arches and pillars...

...where a crystal ball of smoky glass is cradled by a curving stand...

A woman's face is half-visible as she moves her hands over the crystal ball. Jewelry lies about her throat, and her long hair flows around her bare shoulders. "You have not yet found the ginzuishou," she states.

"Yes," agrees the blond man kneeling before her. He bows his head. "I apologize."

"Our great ruler longs to increase his power. Gather more energy, and find the ginzuishou at once."

"I understand," he answers confidently. "I am Jadeite, commander of the Far Eastern part of the Dark Kingdom. I will not break my promise, Queen Beryl."

"I'm home!" Usagi announces, skipping into the house.

"Welcome home," her mother replies. "Hey, cat-with-the-bald-spot - your dinner's coming soon."

Luna leaps up and scratches her face. "Ow!" cries Usagi's mother.

"I'm telling you, Mom, her name is Luna," Usagi says. "If you call her moon a bald spot, she'll scratch you."

Sidenotes: I'm Tsukino Usagi. I'm fourteen years old, in the second year of junior high. I like eating, sleeping, and playing. I'm a little bit of a crybaby, a normal cute girl.

She pushes open her door. On the knob swings a sign: Usagi's room. (There's a bunny head on the sign... <grin>) "I'm hungry," she says to no one in particular.

Luna follows her into the room.

"Luna... do you have to watch me all the time?"

Luna waves a paw wildly. "What are you saying!! Usagi-chan, you're still new at being a soldier of justice! The enemies will return again! There are still many things I have to teach you!"

"Huh?" Usagi remembers being attacked. "Oh, it's so terrible! I don't want to be scared again..."

Because of Luna, this talking cat, I'm a soldier for justice. It's unbelieveable!

"Who are these enemies, Luna?" she asks.

"They are not human. But you know that by now, right!? They are evil. They must not exist in this world. You have to find your fellow soldiers, and then search for the princess and protect her!"

"A princess?" Usagi repeats, impressed. "Oh, I know! Tuxedo Kamen! And Sailor V-chan! They must be my allies, too!"

Luna looks away. "I've already seen the second soldier," she says.

While Usagi is sleeping that night, Luna heads down to the Crown Game Center. She jumps up onto a chair, and starts typing into a computer. A file comes up onto the screen, and a picture of a girl with short hair is displayed:

name: Mizuno Ami
birthday: 10 Sep
blood type: A
age: 14

A girl with short blue hair walks through the school halls. She does not look up, but stares down at a book while she walks. Around her, people are gossiping.

"Did you see the test results?" ... "Oh, look! There's a genius in class five!" ... "Mizuno Ami!" ... brief flash of test results; Mizuno Ami has the top score of 900 ... "Top scores in every subject. She's the best in the country!" ... "I've heard she has an IQ of 300!" ... "I don't think she's human!"

"Huh?" Usagi blinks. "A genius?"

"Hey, Usagi. Good morning," says Naru.

"The Crystal Seminar worked for her," Umino says excitedly.

"Oh," Usagi nods. "The really elite cram school."

"Mizuno-san attends it," Umino agrees. He folds his arms and looks annoyed. "It's down by the game center. My dad says it's really expensive. But she can afford it because her mom's a doctor."

"She's smart, and rich..." Naru muses. "She must live in a different world."

Yumiko frowns. "The difference being that unlike you, it's hard to get to know her. I hear that she doesn't have any friends ... She just studies all the time."

Later, Usagi is holding her test results. (They're abysmal, btw. "Language: 52; English: 20; Math: 10; Social studies: 32.") "Oh, no," she says. "These scores are horrible. Mom's going to kill me." A brief mental picture of her mom with horns flashes to mind. "She's been so bossy lately."

Ami walks by, on her way out the door. Oh, thinks Usagi, it's the genius girl from section 5...

Luna jumps into Ami's arms. "Huh?" Ami says. "Oh, you scared me. A cat?"

Usagi stares. "Luna!?"

Ami cuddles Luna and strokes her fur. "Oh, you're so soft. If I didn't live in a condo, I would've had a cat."

Usagi watches, thinking, Maybe everyone else is wrong about her...

Luna jumps onto Usagi's head. "Ow!" Usagi cries as Luna scratches her. "Luna..." She grins at Ami. "I'm sorry, she always greets people this way. I hope she didn't bother you."

Ami smiles. "Oh, the kitten dropped from the sky so suddenly, it seemed to me as if she were an angel."

Usagi blinks. "Luna, an angel?"

Ami puts a hand over her mouth and flushes. This girl seems so cute, Usagi thinks. The next frame shows Usagi looking devilish, sprouting horns and a tail. If I can get her to help me with my tests, she thinks, maybe I'll be a genius too. "Hey," she says, "you're Mizuno Ami-chan from class 5, aren't you? I'm class 1's Tsukino Usagi. The cat's name is Luna."

Luna jumps out of her arms and runs towards the game center. "Uh, Mizuno-san," Usagi offers, "do you want to go to the game center?"

"Sure," agrees Ami. "I have a little time."

At the game center, Usagi plays the Sailor V game. Ami stands by and watches; equations seem to scroll across her large dark eyes, and she smiles slightly. Meanwhile, Usagi's action figure dies. "There goes another hundred yen..." she sighs. "This game is really hard, and I always lose! Ami, do you want to try?"

Ami sits down at the arcade and plays. People start crowding around her. "What's this?" ... "Look at that!" ... "Wow..." Ami finishes the game, gaining the highest score of all time. "You're amazing, Mizuno-san," Usagi says.

Motoki shakes his head. "That's really something, a girl being able to finish in such a short time..."

The game machine dispenses a beautiful pen into the prize slot. "What's this, a prize?" Ami picks it up, and uncaps it. "It's a pen."

Usagi gasps. "A pen? Oh, it's so nice! That's not fair - I want one too!" She punches the machine and kicks it. "Come on, come on, give me another one..." Finally, the machine dispenses another pen. "Oh, look, it came out!" She holds it up triumphantly. "How pretty!"

"Usagi-chan," pleads Motoki, "don't break it..."

Ami laughs. "Tsukino-san sure is funny."

"Call me Usagi," Usagi offers. "Can I call you Ami-chan?"

"Of course," Ami answers, looking at the clock. "Oh no, I'm late! I have to go to my cram school!"

"Oh, do you have to go to class today?" Usagi asked. "It's the Crystal Seminar nearby, right?"

"That's right," says Ami. "I attend it every day."

"Every day?!!" echoes Usagi, completely stunned.

"Oh, yes," Ami nods. "If I'm going to be a doctor like my mom, I have to work very hard."

"A doctor, huh?" Usagi repeats as Ami rushes out the door. "That's really cool..."

Inside the Crystal Seminar, students are sitting in rows and typing at computers. The instructor comes over to stand by Ami. "Mizuno-san," she says, putting her hand on Ami's shoulder. "My expectations are high for you. It's people like you that lead the world of tomorrow. Everyone looks to you as a role model. Keep it up, and you will improve."

"Yes, ma'am," Ami answers.

In the locker room, Usagi and Naru and a couple of other girls are changing out of their gym clothes. "Anyone want to go to the corner shop and get some ice cream?" Naru asks.

"I will!" Usagi volunteers.

"Me, too," Yumiko smiles.

Usagi turns and notices that the remaining girl is leaving, rushing out the door.

"Kuri-chan is going to the Crystal Seminar," Naru says.

"The whole neighborhood is going now," Yumiko agrees.

"Does it work that well?" Usagi asks.

"They learn everything from a computer. They take disks home, and use them like anything. I wonder what's in them."

"Disks..." Usagi says to herself.

Inside the school, Ami is frowning at a computer screen. "I can't learn from this, my mind is clouding up..." She removes the disk and takes out paper and pen. "I know, I'll write it down. That way, I'll remember it better."

Usagi runs into the classroom, still in her gym clothes. "Ami-chan," she sings out. "Class is done and you're still studying? Oh, you're using your fountain pen from the arcade - look, I have one too!" She points to the pen clipped to her shirt pocket. "Want to go out for some ice cream?"

A pair of students walk past Usagi, their eyes blank. "I'm going to the Crystal Seminar." ... "Me too!"

Ami stares after them, and remembers what the teacher had said. Everyone looks to you as a role model ... Keep it up ... "I should go to the Crystal Seminar," she apologizes, and leaves.

"Meow," Luna comments as she walks up to Usagi.

"Ami-chan turned me down, Luna," Usagi said. "She looks so tired from studying so much... oh, what's this?" She leans down, and picks up a disk. "Did Ami-chan drop it?"

She walks to the Crystal Seminar. Outside, a woman is handing out flyers. "If you enroll now, you don't need to pay admission!" she cries. Usagi takes a flyer. "You can fulfill all your potential," the woman tells her.

"Ami-chan's face is in the flyer!" exclaims Usagi. "Now open..." she reads. "You'll be a genius with the Crystal Seminar..."

"If you enroll..." Luna says, "you'll have to study more."

"No way," Usagi answers. "The class is weird." She crumples the flyer up and throws it over her shoulder.

"Don't throw that in the street!" Luna reproves her.

The paper flies into the face of the dark-haired man behind her, who frowns behind his sunglasses. "Hey," he protests. "Odango Atama! I am not a garbage can!"

Usagi whirls. "Oh no," she says. "Not you again!"

He takes off his sunglasses and looks her directly in the eye. "Just now," he says seriously, "was that cat talking?"

Usagi and Luna get very wide-eyed. "Uh, no, of course not!" Usagi says. "Uh, good-bye..." They walk away quickly. The dark-haired man stares after them, his gaze measuring.

The woman hands him a flyer. "You take one too!" she says.

Luna is staring at the flyer. "Usagi-chan, the disk that Ami dropped is from the Crystal Seminar. Let's use a school computer to look at it; it seems suspicious." Luna inserts Ami's disk into a computer, and looks through its contents. "Is this all? These equations seem normal enough to me..."

Usagi thumps the computer a couple of times. "Is it hiding something?"

"Don't break it, Usagi-chan," cautions Luna.

Suddenly a voice comes from the computer, and the screen goes fuzzy. "Dedicate yourself..." a voice says from the computer.

"What's this?" Usagi cries.

"Dedicate yourself to become a student of our great ruler. Find information about the ginzuishou. Find it!"

Luna's eyes widen. "This thing! It's the enemy's brainwashing program!"

Meanwhile, the dark-haired man is staring at his own computer. His screen is also fuzzy. "Find information about the ginzuishou!" his computer says. "Find it..."

Usagi looks out the window and gasps. "Luna! A whole crowd of people from school are going to the Crystal Seminar!" She sees Ami with them. "Ami-chan... her face is so pale! Did she also get brainwashed? Luna, I have to go save her!"

"Usagi-chan," Luna says. "The pen!"


"That pen you got from the arcade! Throw it high into the air, and shout the transformation words!"

"Really?" says Usagi. "I can do this kind of thing with this pen?" She tosses the pen above her head. "Moon power!!" she shouts. "Make me into a doctor!"

In a sparkle of light, she is dressed in a doctor's uniform, the pen clipped to her pocket. Grinning, she poses. "Hurry, Usagi-chan," Luna says impatiently.

Usagi runs to the Crystal Seminar and barges past the person at the door. "I received word that someone is sick here," she says. "Please let me in!" She chases after the group of dazed students and grabs Ami, who has all but fainted. Usagi slaps Ami's face to wake her up. "Don't be brainwashed, Ami!" she cries. "It's all in your head! Get up!"

The instructor laughs evilly as she surveys the classroom full of brainwashed students. "With these special disks, I'll collect energy. With the mind of this genius girl, I can control Tokyo - maybe even all of Japan. I'll find the ginzuishou in no time at all."

Usagi bursts into the room. "Everyone - get away from the computers! They'll cripple you!"

"Who are you?" the teacher asks. She's looking more and more evil by the second.

"Usagi," Luna says, "you have to transform into Sailormoon!"

"Why?" Usagi asks.

"This form can't fight," Luna answers in frustrated tones. "Be Sailormoon, quickly!"

"I have to fight again?" Usagi says unhappily. "Oh, all right..." She grabs her brooch. "Moon Prism Power! Make up!" There is a flash of light, and Sailormoon appears. "You're taking away the minds of innocent students - using the love of learning for evil! It's unforgiveable. I won't allow it! As Sailormoon, the soldier of love and justice, I'll punish you!"

The evil instructor sends a ream of papers flying at Sailormoon. "Ow!" Sailormoon wails. "These papers have razor-sharp edges! Oh, stop it! I hate schools, I hate test papers! Oww!"

She starts crying in earnest, and supersonic waves emanate from her hairclips. The papers shred. Glass shatters, flying everywhere. "Luna!" Usagi sobs.

Luna is ducking from the shards of window glass. "Usagi-chan!!" she says. "Don't cry blindly, you'll hurt the other students and Ami-chan..."

"Oh, right, Ami-chan -" she looks around and sees her friend. "Ami-chan!!"

The instructor has Ami by the throat. "Why aren't you brainwashed?" the instructor snarls. "You were slacking off! You weren't studying the disk!"

Ami struggles. "I wasn't slacking..." she says. "I rely on my own ability to study... oh, it hurts..."

"Ami-chan!" cries Luna. "Your pen! Throw your pen into the air!"

The instructor extends a hand tipped with long, sharp clawlike nails. "Die, then!"

The pen in Ami's pocket glows brightly, and the sigil of the planet Mercury appears on her forehead. A mist blows out from around her. The instructor is blinded, and falls back.

"Mist!?" Sailormoon says. "Luna? Where are you? I can't see! Luna!"

By now the instructor is completely demonlike, with fangs and claws. Peering through the fog, she spots Sailormoon. "There she is... I'll slash her to pieces."

Strong arms take hold of Usagi from behind, steadying her. "Now's your chance!" someone says. "Kick it!"

"What!?" Sailormoon leans into the firm, friendly grip, and does a marvelous split-kick. "Sailormoon Kick!" she cries. Her boot hits the instructor on the head.

She is flipped around, and comes face to face with a familiar dark-haired man. "The enemy was right in front of you," he warns her. "You have to be careful!"

"Tuxedo Kamen!?" she says. "Wow!"

He is startled by a sudden feeling of recognition. It couldn't be... he thinks. He sets her on her feet. "Now go and save your friends," he smiles.

The instructor charges at her, fangs and claws ready.

Usagi reaches for her tiara. "Moon frisbee!" she cries. The tiara slices the demoness in half, and it dissolves. She turns back, but Tuxedo Kamen is already gone. Who are you? she thinks.

"Usagi," Luna calls.

"Luna?" Usagi turns. "Ami-chan - how is she? The mist is gone..." She sees Ami getting up, dressed in a blue sailor outfit much like Usagi's own. "Ami-chan!? Your clothes..."

"I knew it!" Luna exults. "She's the brains of the group! With control over water, she summoned the mist. She is under the protection of Planet Mercury. Sailormercury! We've been looking for you. You're a soldier, Ami!"

"Sailormercury?" Ami repeats slowly. "Me?"

"You're a fellow soldier?" Usagi grins. "That's great!"

On to Act 3

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