Continuing Tales

Dark Kingdom Renegades 8: Titanite's Bogus Journey

A Sailor Moon Story
by Mark Latus

Part 3 of 7

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Titanite's Bogus Journey

Titanite stepped through the warp then glanced around the new world in confusion. It took her eyes a few moments to adjust. There must have been a shift in time. It had been afternoon in her own world, here it must be the middle of the night. It was pitch black. She'd never seen the sky over Tokyo look so dark. She was in the same park, or rather this world's equivalent to the park but things had changed drastically. The trees hadn't just lost their leaves they were all dead. Some had been burned down to stumps. The grass had browned and died beyond hope of revival. The empty walkways were cracked and twisted. Earthquake damage? It was so quiet. So utterly silent. No traffic noises, overheard voices, the thousand background sounds of a teeming metropolis. Just the rustle of the wind. Nothing more.

It was such a dark night. Where were the lights? On closer examination most of the surrounding buildings looked damaged. With dawning horror she realized many of the buildings that had bordered the park had been reduced to piles of rubble.

Titanite shivered though the cold didn't touch her. Where was everyone? She was far from an expert but this damage didn't look fresh. Why weren't they rebuilding? Had this area been evacuated because of some threat? But the probe hadn't picked up anything harmful. At least nothing harmful to her. She was in the equivalent of the synchronistic zone. How far this one extended she didn't know, the probe only scanned a radius of 20 km. Could there have been a plague? Human diseases couldn't touch her so the probe wasn't set to look for those.

Plagues don't wreck buildings. An earthquake and a plague? War? An invasion? Were there creatures from another world in this city? Apart from her. That is creatures from other planets that belonged in this universe but not on this world. Of course interdimensional invasion was always a possibility as well ...

She realized she was distracting herself. Trying to find out what was going on was a good first step. Her first impulse was to call out. Of course that might attract the wrong kind of attention. Were those bones over by that tree stump? She didn't feel the urge for a closer look. What she needed was a quiet way of checking things out. Of course! Aura reading!

All sentient lifeforms produce auras. If this had something to do with souls or was some side effect of brain activity she didn't know. Perhaps animals produced auras and she simply couldn't sense them. Human auras "looked" like yellow outlines around the person. Senshi auras were bigger and brighter versions of human auras. Youma auras (normal and renegade were indistiguisable) "looked" blue. Unless glamour was used in which case they'd pass for human. Normally she didn't look for auras. In a city as crowded as Tokyo they all merged together with any sort of distance and all you'd perceive would be a bright blur. Besides why look for auras? She already knew who all the other youma in the world were and the Senshis' real identities. If you suspected an ambush you could look for the concealed lifeglow but otherwise what good was this ability? Perhaps now she finally had a real use for it.

She reached out with her mind probing gently for auras. One kilometer ... two ... three. She was at her limit now. Her mind swirled around and around feeling for the slightest trace. Nothing. No intelligent beings with three kilometres of this place. What had happened here? And did she really want an answer to that question?

No. All things considered what she wanted was to get the heck out of this world. She touched the key and clicked the coordinates up a notch. Once again a small gate opened and she tossed the probe through. The sooner she was out of this spooky place the better. It gave her the creeps.

And yet ... yet there was something eeriely familiar about this place. Which was crazy as the only way she'd have visited this city would be in her nightmares. The probe returned and she hurriedly jammed it into the reader. Good, the next world was reading excellent conditions for youma survival. She widened the gate and stepped through.

Several hours passed. The park remained empty apart from the odd rat scurrying through in the unending search for carrion. There was none here. Everything had been picked clean long ago. Then suddenly there was a new presence in the park. All the rats downwind smelled cat and ran.

Margrave staggered slightly and Calcite steadied her. She pushed his hands away and snapped, "I'm fine." A lie but she hated admitting weakness. Calcite withdrew and studied his surroundings. After a moment he began scanning for lifeglow. Margrave fought off the disorientation. She hadn't expected the change to be so extreme. Well she'd been unconscious on her previous dimensional crossings. She'd adjusted to the change in worlds while she slept. There was a stench of decay underlying everything. Probably Calcite couldn't smell it. The odour of the humans' smelly vehicles had faded to a minor background scent. That wouldn't have happened overnight. Something unpleasant had happened here months ago.

"Nothing alive within five kilometers. At least nothing human."

"I'm not picking up any fresh scents. And I wouldn't miss them here, the air's a lot cleaner. I've got Ti's scent though."

"Oh?" He tried to sound casual.

"Not much to report, she doesn't seem to left this point."

"Guess she took a look at the local scenery and departed."

"It's not exactly encouraging is it?"

"No. Not in the slightest."

Margrave saw what he was looking at. "Are those bones?"



"I think so."

Fascinated Margrave strode over and picked up a ulna. There were bite marks all along it where the meat had been chewed off. Rats most likely. Amazing. "Imagine leaving this much behind when you die."

"Human remains crumble to dust eventually. It just takes a lot longer."

"I suppose." She dropped the bone back into the heap. "What happened here?"

"Could be a lot of things. That sky could be a clue."

She looked up. "How so?"

"There are no city lights to wash out the sky but we still aren't seeing stars. Maybe it's just extremely overcast but I don't see any hint of cloud."

"Me neither. It's just black." Was she hearing something? Margrave glanced around but there was no one there. She was feeling edgy. Why? No discernable threats, this place was as quiet as ... as a graveyard.

"Perhaps it isn't night."


"The upper atmosphere could be full of dust which is blocking sunlight and shrouding the world. In which case it could be high noon."

Nasty idea. She'd come to enjoy the feel of relaxing in sunshine. Even if it did fufill catgirl stereotypes. "What could cause that?"

"Several things. A large meteor crashed into the earth throwing gigatons of dust into the air. Not to mention causing global earthquakes.

"Unpleasant thought."

"That's actually the best cause of the shrouding."


"Because that would be a cosmic accident. No one's fault. The alternative is global thermonuclear warfare. Hundreds of massive explosions shooting radioactive dirt into the stratosphere. Triggering nuclear winter."

"So they could have done it to themselves?"

"It's a possibility."

"Ah ... that probe would have checked for radiation, right?"

"Yes. No environmental hazards. This place is clean."

"Good. The air's certainly better." Margrave paused as she sniffed the city scents again. The voice still seemed to be there on the edge of her hearing. Yet there was no sound. Was she cracking up? Of course not. She was too strong willed for that. "One thing I can tell you is the auto scents aren't ancient. This place was a functioning city not too long ago."

"How long ago?"

Margrave shrugged. "Months ... perhaps a year. I'd estimate 18 months at the most." Did it really matter? A minor mystery of another world. Nothing to do with them. It was curious though.

Right now there was another mystery which concerned her. "Do you hear anything?"

"Apart from the wind?"

"Yeah. Not exactly a sound. More like ... whispering that you can just hear but not make out."

"No." Calcite looked puzzled. "If there's anyone out there 'grave they're too far away to hear."

"I know but it's so ... familiar." It was and yet it wasn't. Suddenly the words poured out. "It's like ... like you've always lived by the sea so you've always heard the waves and it's so regular that you tune it out and don't hear it with your conscious mind. Then one day it stops and you know something's missing but you can't remember what. So you move to a city and you forget it but one day you go back to the shore and you hear the tide again and you know what you've been missing."

Calcite looked at her. "I can honestly say I've never felt like that."

"There's no whispering?"

"Not that I can hear. Your hearing's sharper than mine but there's no one alive for miles. No one human or youma anyway."

"I know that but ..." But what? It wasn't really a sound. Just her imagination? Perhaps. Could be a side effect of the disoreintation shifting worlds had caused. Where had she heard it before? She suppressed a shiver. She wasn't going to let this place get to her. Still there was no reason to hang around here, was there?

"Cal ..."

The device in his hand beeped. "I've tracked her second gate. Here we go." The new gate opened and the probe zipped through. Now they just had to wait. They surveyed the wrecked city in silence. Calcite was beginning to think everyone in this Tokyo must be dead or gone. All those millions ... what the hell could have happened?

Margrave broke the silence, "Deja Vu all over again."


"Just thinking there's something about this place that seems so familiar. Which is crazy as the only other Tokyo I visited was MegaTokyo and there's no correspondence."

"Wasn't there a massive quake some years before your arrival?"

"Yeah but they started rebuilding almost immediately. This place has been left to rot." After a pause she continued quietly, "You really think they could have done this to themselves?"

"It's a possibility."

"It is, isn't it." A moment's silence then she continued in the same tone. "It's funny ... in a black humour sort way ... I mean ... well back in the Kingdom I just took it as gospel that we were worse than the humans. We were youma! The baddest of the bad! More vicious, more violent, capable of any mayhem while they were sniveling peace loving cowards. Now ... I've been looking through those history books of yours and I can see why they disturb you."

Calcite nodded. "My original view of humanity was a little on the optomistic side. There's never been a lack of good among them but throughout their history there have been no shortage of people who'd have fit right into the Kingdom."

"Yeah. I mean when you get right down to it, compared to what they've been doing to one another for centuries, what did we do that was so bad?"

"Only because Beryl didn't get the opportunity. As for humans, I suppose it shouldn't really surprise us. Our race derived from humans. The difference being normal youma get born evil. Humans get to choose."

"So you think I'm evil?"


"That's a relief. I was afraid you thought I was going soft."

"I'm sure you'd be raising four kinds of hell if the Senshi weren't around to stop you."

Margrave frowned at him. "Are you making fun of me?"

"Wouldn't dare." The probe reappeared. "Looks all clear. Ready to go?"

"Sure. Watching rubble isn't a lot of fun." Besides thinking what might have happened is getting to me. She couldn't believe she'd just thought that. She was getting way too sentimental.

The gate expanded and they stepped forward. The park was empty again.

Calcite had been wrong in both speculations. Humanity had not wrecked the world by their own actions. Perhaps they would have but they'd lost their chance. Nor was the city empty of humanity. There were two prowling the ruins beyond Calcite's sensing range.

Miles away and a few minutes earlier the pair had threaded their way through the crushed remains of the supermarket. With a grunt the taller of the two forced the wedged storeroom door open. Eyes glinted in the darkness beyond and the rats hissed. They weren't giving up this treasure trove without a fight.

"Back off!" The rats didn't budge. They didn't fear the tall ones anymore. Nothing hunted them anymore, no traps to avoid. Besides they'd glutted themselves on the tall ones carcasses and knew they tasted good. They were many ... perhaps the pack would dine on fresh meet tonight.

There was a crackle, a brief flare of light then the smell of burned meat and fur filled the air. The remaining rats fled and she nodded. Her companion's cold voice whispered, "Watch it!"

"If they can track that little power then we're screwed for sure. Besides the vermin weren't backing down."

"The rats are are getting bolder. See if they left anything."

"Like I wasn't going to do that? I'm not a complete idiot ..." As she turned she caught the expression on her friend's face. "What's wrong?" Not another fight, please God no! They were still recovering from the last raid.

"I ... I don't know." It wasn't like her to sound uncertain. The cold feeling increased. "I picked up something ... could just be a sensor glitch. It wasn't a teleport signature but something similar. Almost like the spacial warp to D point but again it doesn't match. Whatever it was it's messing up the readings." She consulted her old city map. "It's centered on a park in Juban ... I used to go there every chance I got. Beautiful spot. They never did demolish it." She sounded wistful. It wasn't like her to sound sentimental these days. "At least it didn't get wrecked until Tokyo died." The icy rage was back. "No sign of activity beyond that point and the readings are clearing. Could be a glitch." Neither wanted to think what they'd do if their equipment broke down.

"So what now?" As always she deferred to her friend. She knew was neither a leader or strategist. All she could do was bust heads when pointed in the right direction. She was very good at that.

"No sign of enemies or detection. We might as well keep scavenging."

"Right." The storeroom was a disheartening sight. It looked likethey'd got into everything. She stooped to pick up a soupcan. Punctured. The rodents had very sharp teeth. Was anything left? "At least there's no shortage of rat."

"Too tough and bony." An old joke. Given what the rats around here had been eating neither felt like touching them. They weren't that hungry. Not yet.

There was a cardboard box on the top righthand shelf which looked intact. She scrambled up and hauled it down. A look inside confirmed the rats hadn't got to it yet. She felt a sour smile form. Well it was better than nothing. "I hope you like instant ramen."

"Beggars can't be choosers. What's funny?"

"Just remembering someone. She never got her quotes right."

"Don't think about them. It just makes it harder to keep going." A single tear rolled down her cheek. The only crack in her expressionless mask. Her friend shut up and began transferring the pot ramen into a large sports bag she'd looted earlier. They were both skating the edge and dealing with it in different ways. It would be far too easy to fall. Then she heard her friend swear explosively."

"What is it!" Instinctively she dropped into a defensive posture and looked for enemies.

"That glitch reappeared! It's gone now but the exact same thing twice in a row is more than coincidence. Ten minute interval between occurrences!"

"What does it mean? More important what do we do?"

Her friend studied her screen for a moment then spoke. "We go and take a look for ourselves. Onsite inspection might give us some answers."

"Is that wise?"

"Maybe not. This could be a trap. But I don't think so. Whatever it is it's an anomoly and we need answers. Ignorance could get us both killed. This is one of the few places on earth we can remain undetected. If that's changing we have to know. We'll also need to find somewhere else to resupply."

"If you say so." Her friend and follower sounded uneasy.

"Look Zeus we have to know what's going on ..."

"I'd appreciate it if you used my name! Maybe you won't answer to anything but Hermes but I'm not throwing away my past just yet!"

"... As you wish. At any rate knowledge is power and ignorance is death! We have to know what's going on or it could get us killed. We're all that's left! We have to survive at all costs until we learn how to put things right." Her friend nodded and she hid her thoughts behind her emotionless mask.

She wants to believe me so badly. Once again she cursed her intelligence. She knew damn well they didn't have a chance in hell. So why keep going? Just for the chance to get as much vengeance as possible before the end. Which she didn't think would be much longer. What else did they have left?

Zeus hefted her bag and the two moved silently out of the building. Following Hermes silent cues she moved quietly and quickly through the dead city.

Her friend was wrong. They weren't the last. At least not just yet. Still it's a big world and she had no idea what was happening in England. By a twist of destiny a fateful battle was concluding in Wiltshire.

The two faced each other before the massive castle. Once the megalith circle known as Stonehenge had stood here. It was gone now. The stones crushed to gravel and incorporated into the walls of the Citadel. The battered challenger didn't know why he'd built here nor did she care. All that mattered to her was destroying him.

The woman who'd called herself Setsuna Meiou poured all her energy into the sphere forming between her hands. Nothing seemed to faze him, this was her last shot. It had to work!

The name was one of many she'd borne. The latest in a very long string. Once she'd know all the names she'd wear in the future as well. Now everything had collapsed into chaos. This wasn't supposed to have happened! How had it all gone wrong? A single day and everything that was to have been was shattered.

But all she'd seen was possibility. The future was not fixed and who should know that better than her? Still she'd refused to accept it. She'd braved the time storms attempting to salvage the future she'd seen. She'd known in her heart she couldn't beat the paradox wave but for once she'd refused to accept the laws of time. Barely, only barely had she escaped erasure. Re-entering normal time had been nigh impossible. She'd managed at last but at a point months removed from the disaster. The world had been remade during her absence and she seemed the only one left to put it right. Two others remained but they weren't strong enough to help her. Perhaps she wasn't either. He'd shrugged off all her attacks with little effort. Could she beat him? She had to! Now!


He stood silhouetted against the bulk of the citadel as the sphere shrieked towards him. One hand raised to meet the onrushing ball. His fingertips brushed it and there was a massive explosion. Masonary sprayed everywhere as the blast ripped open the walls. Setsuna's knees buckled and she leaned on her staff for support. She'd thrown all her remaining power into that. It must have worked!

She couldn't see anything except a haze of smoke and powdered wall. There was the crash of falling masonary and the cries of the injured and dying. Human cries. Oh dear God he'd been standing in front of the servants wing! Screams and prayers for intercession echoed out to a deaf heaven. She hadn't known. Even if she had she'd still have blasted him. There had been no choice!

From behind a voice cursed her. Four translucent figures stood watching her. Two male, two female. The four quadrants of the circle. Their images transmitted from their palaces around the world. This was the end of the line. Her powers were exhausted and so was she. Any of the four could teleport here and finish her with ease. They were apt to be upset at losing their center. Though they wouldn't have to bother. She couldn't handle the approaching guards in her current state. She clung to her staff for support. Neither weapon nor badge of office now, simply a crutch.

Her life was forfeit but she'd killed their god-king. A fair trade. With him gone things would change. Humanity stood a chance of regaining the upperhand. A pyrric victory but far better than defeat ... why was only the eldest of the four cursing her?! She glanced urgently to the right where the image of the youngest stood. She was smiling at her! It couldn't be! He had to be dead! She tried to straighten up as she glimpsed movement behind her.

The agony hit an instant before the hand exploded through her chest. In the instant before her eyes filled with blood she saw it clutched something in its' grasp. Something whose regular pulsations were becoming irregular spasms. Through the haze of the pain she heard his voice saying, "If you truly are the mistress of time this is your last chance to rewrite history."

A normal human would have died almost instantly. Setsuna's magically enhanced constitution kept her going for several agonizing moments. Long enough to realize she was dying having failed utterly. Her fingers went limp and the staff slipped from her grasp. It toppled and arced towards the ground. The instant before the orb on its' top could strike the ground it winked out of existence.

The eldest of the four watchers chuckled. "Now that has to hurt!" He began to laugh then stopped. None of the others had joined in. The three silently watched the Overlord with expressions of concern. The Overlord's own gaze remained fixed on the place the staff should have landed. He seemed oblivious to the slumped woman impaled on his outstetched right arm.

To the Overlord's left the older man saw his junior (who wielded far more temporal power) talk quietly to no one visible. Giving orders to some flunky standing by the hologram transmitting stage. The female members of the circle stood to the Overlord's right.

The two women exchanged glances. Then the younger cleared her throat loudly. The Overlord didn't react. She tried again, making very loud and overdone coughing noises. Still nothing. she was about to try a third time when the older women made a "wait" gesture. She spoke loudly.

"Excuse me oh supreme lord and master of us all ... but you appear to have some debris caught on your sleeve." The sarcastic tone got through. The Overlord glanced to his right arm then shook his head. He looked as though he'd realized he'd forgotten to zip his fly or some other minor embarrassment. He braced his left hand on the dead woman's shoulder then heaved his trapped arm backwards. It tore free with an unpleasant slurping noise bringing blood, muscle and fragments of bone with it. He looked at his bloodsoaked arm and shook his head again. This shirt was a writeoff, better call for his dresser. Realizing he was still holding her heart he let it drop. He released his grip on her shoulder and Sailor Hades fell in that artless, boneless manner that only the newly dead can manage. His gaze flicked to her momentarily then he turned to his left and spoke to the younger man.

"There's a problem. I want you to take a closer look." The other gave a respectful nod and stepped backwards. His image flickered out.

The Overlord's gaze went back to the dead woman. He shook his head. "That was far too easy."

The older woman snorted. "You're forgetting the power levels you operate on these days. If she'd hit you with that thing in the old days we'd be breaking out the dustpan." The younger woman (youngest member of the circle, period) nodded.

"Back then I wouldn't have been stupid enough to just stand there and let it hit me. Still I expected her to be more of a threat. She has ... had a very dangerous reputation."

"Which we knew by legend only." The younger shrugged. "It could be like the seven ... the six. They were supposed to be hot stuff but the fact is they're nothing very special."

"I suppose that's true."

"You didn't want to face a real threat did you?"

"No, no. It's just ... I expected more."

The missing man reappeared. He was now wearing his customary black crystal armour and surrounded by hovering equipment. The Overlord turned to him.

"Examine her." He nodded and knelt over the body. Various crystals moved to surround the corpse. After a moment the Overlord asked, "Well?"

The other shrugged then remembered the armour hide the movement. "I'm not sure what you want me to say. Her first to fourth thoradic vertabrae have been shattered, the lower half of her left lung has been shredded, most of the lefthand ribcage has been destroyed, her heart's been removed by rather crude surgical means and there's a hole through her big enough to stick your arm in. It is my considered opinion that this woman will never play the violin again."

"Thank you for that in depth analysis doctor." His tone was dry but amused. "Getting serious we have two problems. I didn't see where her staff went and I can't find her soul."

The other frowned. "One moment." At his command a stasis field covered the body preventing further deterioration. He reviewed his indepth sensor scans and his frown deepened. "What the hell?"

"Karmic track hasn't failed us yet. We retrieved the other reincarnates with no problem. So what's gone wrong?"

"I can offer a theory ... but it's fairly far fetched."

"Let's hear it."

"According to legend Hades had either control over time or time travel abilities. Perhaps at the moment of death she somehow projected her soul through time. So she'll be reborn at a later date. Perhaps years from now."

"Or she sent herself backwards in time. In which case she's already reborn and perhaps a battle capable adult."

"Unlikely. If that was the case the new Hades would be registering on the global net. Same soul after all. Besides interfering in the past risks time paradox."

"She might have been willing to take that risk."

"Then why face you at all? She could have gone into the past and destroyed us as children."

"A good point. We'll leave the network scanning. If she reappears for rebirth we'll find her host and do the usual."

"A wise decision." Pause. "I'd like to remove the brain for analysis. There's still active braincells in there so I might be able to download some answers. It'll be best to do it while she's still fresh so I'd like to remove her from the field and get to work."

"You brought a braincase with you, didn't you." The Overlord seemed amused.

"Well it's a shame to waste the chance ..."

"Go right ahead. Can't deny my right hand man."

The oldest watcher's face momentarily reflected his anger. Why did that pup rate ahead of him? The older woman caught the expression but held her peace. Patience. Now was not the right time.

"I'd like to dissect the rest of the body. I realize you'll want to display it but there's a lot I'd like to know about Senshi anatomy. It could be useful to the hunt teams."

"Eternally curious, eh? Fine but leave the face intact and preserve it. The rest is all yours."

"Much appreciated." He began checking his equipment.

"Well we are family."

The elder bristled again. Past time to assert his own presence. Flattery and praise amusingly expressed should do it. "Nicely done, my Lord. Nicely done indeed. Heh, to think the humans call us heartless! What about their guardians?" He began to laugh uproariously. The Overlord smiled, the kind of smile you give to a bore when you're too polite to tell them to eff off. The second joke concerned Valentine's day. A shadow of distaste crossed the armoured man's face. The elder continued, making a complicated pun on aorta. The youngest member of the circle sighed quietly and looked to the Overlord's back.

"Why do you permit that fool to remain among us?", she thought. "He has long outlived whatever usefulness he once possessed. Besides you don't like him any more than the rest of us."

"He lets him remain for our sake." The words were spoken quietly. She realized her elder's image stood beside hers. She must have been letting her dislike show. Her friend continued, "He set conditions for terminating our jester over there. Unless the funnyman breaks them he will not act against him. After all if he breaks his word to him how can we trust him not to do the same to us? Trust is what binds us together and made us strong."

"But he's not one of us! None of us trust him."

"True but it's the principle of the thing. We both know he always keeps his word." The younger woman sighed with resignation. The elder smiled and continued. "I wouldn't worry too much, he won't be with us much longer. He's overly ambitious and nowhere near as smart as he thinks. Within a year he'll overreach himself and when that happens ...", she chuckled, "... you'll have to get in line if you want to execute him."

She smiled herself, it was a pleasant thought. "Perhaps", she thought, "I can speed things up a bit."

Meanwhile the monologue was interrupted by the belated arrival of a contingent of palace guard. The scientist, busy opening the skull didn't look up. The Overlord turned lazily to face them. The captain immediately flung himself facedown in the moss.

"Oh Avatar of Supreme Darkness the hem of whose garment I am not worthy to touch ..."

"Captain ..." Spoken quietly but the other silenced immediately. "... Let's skip the part where you spend ten minutes telling me you're not fit to share the same universe as me and get right to the bloody point." The captain opened his mouth. Sensing a flowery declaration the Overlord added, "And address me as 'Overlord' or 'My Lord'. It'll save time.

"Yes oh Great ... Yes My Lord!" The frown disappeared. "Do you wish a report on security?"

"Just the highlights."

"Very good Overlord. The dungeon remains secure. All present and accounted for."

"Excellent. I wouldn't want my guests rejecting my hospitality."

"Ah ... yes, My Lord. I have a squad stationed there in case of a followup raid while security remains compromised. The stasis tubes are also secured and under heavy guard."


"Do you wish the casualty figures among the guard?"

"Not right now. Chamberlain!" He'd been awaiting the summons and materialized immediately. Two terrified servants stood with him. One held towels and a washbowl. The other carried a fresh shirt. At the Overlord's nod he indicated for them to remove the blood sodden shirt and clean their master.

"My Lord?"

"Consult with the captain and organize what we need for replacements."

"Very good, My Lord."

The Overlord turned to look at the shattered wing. "Bring workers through from the enclave and get this mess cleaned up. Dispose of the bodies and take the wounded back to the enclave. If they're salvagable fix them up. If not ..."

"As you command Overlord."

"Then get the workforce busy on rebuilding. I have an image to maintain. Captain ...?"

"Yes, My Overlord?"

"Make sure the workers are guarded. Just in case any get ideas about sabotage."

"Very good, My Lord."

"Chamberlain ....", the other bowed again. "Get replacement staff. You know what I want."

"Female and within the specified parameters."


"How decadent." The Overlord turned to smile at the youngest of his four deputies.

"I understand all your servants are handsome young men."

"I didn't say there was anything wrong with decadence." He laughed and turned back to his courtiers.

"Get busy." The Chamberlain bowed and teleported. The captain backed away bowing constantly and assuring the Overlord his wishes would be carried out. The Overlord sighed. "I'm all for proper respect for authority but this is getting a little ridiculous."

"After what you did to his predecessor you're surprised?" He looked over to the image of the older woman and shrugged.

"Idiot tried to assassinate me. He got off easy."

"True but a death that flamboyant is bound to scare the shit out of them. Particularly if they've had disloyal thoughts."

"Let them think what they like. They'll never be loyal but I'll settle for obediance."

"Well you've got it. So don't complain." He grinned and the comedy relief brindled. How could she get away with that? If he tried it they'd be talking about disrespect for the Overlord! She continued, "Y'know you could just wave your hand and the wall would be fixed."

"What's the point of being Overlord if you have to do all the work?"

"Good point. Course it'd be a lot less drafty."

"Heh. Guess it's time for a tour my domains until the Citadel's fixed."

"Great. I'll tell the maids to break out the good silverware." They both laughed. It had been a good day. So what if Hades did come back again? She couldn't touch him. He'd just have to kill her again. The toughest Outer Senshi and he'd wiped her out with ease. Life was good. And once the Circle had ditched the blowhard life would be perfect.

Meanwhile in another dimension a few hours earlier:

Titanite looked around in confusion. This wasn't a park, it was a paved courtyard. The surrounding had shifted too. It looked like the gatepoint on this world had a different spacial location. The salaryman who'd been about to walk into her stared in confusion for a moment. Then he realized the girl could not possibly have materialized in front of him. Gaijin don't appear out of thin air. She'd been there all along and he just hadn't seen her. As he hadn't plowed into her there was no need to apologise. He stepped around her and dismissed the matter from his mind. The other half dozen people who'd seen her arrival came to the same conclusion and forgot about it.

Titanite deactivated her gate and tried to get her bearings. This could be the right world merely the wrong place. Perhaps she should find a phone directory of Nerima and check for a Tendo Dojo or a listing for Soun Tendo. Or just check a booksellers. If Ranma 1/2 was being published as a manga they wouldn't be real on this world.

Across the courtyard something caught sight of Titanite. Unknown female ... alone .... targetting ... Lock on! It blurred towards her unnoticed.

Dark Kingdom Renegades 8: Titanite's Bogus Journey

A Sailor Moon Story
by Mark Latus

Part 3 of 7

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