Much improved (in my opinion) sequel to The Appearance of Giant Chibi(?) Moon
|Legal Note: This is a fanfiction based on the Manga/Anime series Bishoujosenshi Se-ra-mu-n/Pretty Soldier Sailormoon by Takeuchi Naoko. The author wishes to express his gratitude to Miss Takeuchi. All characters have been originally created and are owned by Takeuchi Naoko.
Now They Got Ami
(Sequel to "The Appearance of Giant Chibi(?) Moon")
"Have you heard the latest? Eudial has failed again."
"The professor will probably be mad at her."
"And she claims to be one of us."
Eudial heard every single word uttered by the shadows in the locker room. She was getting angry at those arrogant jerks who just didn't know what she had to put up with. Reminding herself that she would prevail, she managed to calm down.
Yes, the most recent incident was a failure, but it had also given her an idea which may enable her to get rid of those stupid Sailorsenshi once and for all. And if it hadn't been for their meddling, Eudial would certainly have completed the mission by now. Snickering to herself, Eudial arrived at her desk and sat down. If the doctor would give her the demons she needed, everything would be just fine.
"And you, my sweet, will finish the job, right?"
Eudial smiled down onto her desk.
Ami was enjoying the evening walking back from the seminar. Things had been quiet for a few days now, and although they knew that something was up, all the girls were happy about this respite from the constant fighting. As there was no word from the enemy, the battles somehow began to fade away behind a comfy fog of everyday incidents and necessities. Ami just recalled their last meeting where Usagi and Rei clashed like never before. Still their antics were quite amusing.
Ami's thoughts were disrupted when a man bumped into her. Before she really had any time to react, he was up and running again, in a rather odd hurry it would seem. Turning around, she saw more people heading her way. Immediately, the tranquility of the past days was gone and Ami recalled her duty to protect her princess and this world.
When a young woman came by, she quickly stepped in her way and stopped her.
"What's going on?"
"Monsters! Terrible monsters! Let go!"
As the woman continued on her way, Ami grew even more determined to investigate this incident. As the number of people heading towards her decreased, she was able to see some red shimmering ahead where there should be a plaza. Carefully making her way past the last few civilians, she reached its edge. There she was. Eudial, together with two spider- like demons. And she was firing around with that freaky gun of hers rather wildly. Most shots disappeared harmlessly on walls and trees surrounding the plaza, but there were also a few bodies lying around, their heart crystals floating above them.
Quickly, Ami hid in an entrance and activated her wrist communicator.
"Eudial has appeared. She is in the middle of town shooting around like a madman. I will try to keep her busy."
Turning off the communicator, Ami looked down and concentrated. She knew she wasn't very strong, but she knew that this was her duty and that she could do it.
"Mercury Planet Power Make Up!"
Sailormercury turned towards the plaza, her eyes filled with determination.
Eudial was losing her patience. Where were those brats? Usually they showed up just as she zapped a single guy, but now she has been pulling the trigger so often that her finger was hurting, but no sign of the pests yet. Could they somehow have found out about her plan? No way, after all, even the doctor didn't know the details. Well, that's typical Murphy's law for you.
"Having the water planet as my guardian star, I am the warrior of knowledge, Sailormercury!"
Eudial nearly sighed in relief as she finally heard those words. Instead, she slowly turned around to face the enemy.
"You are late! DEMONS!"
Without hesitating the two ugly beasts ran towards Sailormercury, their long, hairy arms raised and their mouths opened in howling screams. Seeing the danger approaching, the girl instinctively went in a defensive combat position but then quickly shifted into the beginning of her attack. As she closed her eyes, she didn't notice the broad smile spreading across Eudial's face. She concentrated all her strength, took a deep breath and ... At that moment, another demon broke through a window right next to her, grabbing her before she could start her attack or even turn to face it. Although its arms were pitifully thin, it had incredible strength and no matter how much she struggled, she couldn't get loose.
"Let go of me."
"My, my, my. Now we are not the powerful warrior, are we? "
Slowly, Eudial walked over to her captive savoring every single moment of this. It would be easy to dispose of that stupid brat right now, but that would probably not be enough to get rid of the others. No, although the thought was tempting, Eudial decided that it would be best to stick to the original plan.
As she arrived at Ami's side, she bent down, bringing her face close to Ami's. Looking at her from her right side, she continued.
"It seems as if your friends have abandoned you this time. Too bad. But you know what? There is someone I want you to meet : Terror Bug!"
Raising her right hand, Eudial held something before Ami's face. Though she had trouble focusing at an object that close to her, Ami still saw enough to stop breathing for a second. The thing was black and silver and looked like a big beetle. There were two small red dots on his head, which seemed to be its eyes and it glittered as if covered in some liquid or something. Slowly, it raised one of its legs which ended in a relatively long claw. But all in all, it was about 5cm in length and stood just over 1 cm tall.
"What ... are you up to?"
"Well, Terror Bug here was hoping to become real close friends with you. Really close. Hohohoho!"
The creature that had been holding Sailormercury's arms suddenly released electric energy. Bolts of lightning shot all across Ami's body which twisted and bent in agony. She opened her mouth wide in a scream echoing over the entire plaza. This had been the moment Eudial had been waiting for.
The bug-like thing unfolded its wings with a metallic sound remniscient of a sword being drawn. Then it started buzzing with them until it rose into the air. Quickly, it rushed towards Ami and disappeared in the cavity of her mouth. Seeing this, Eudial nodded at the spider thing which stopped its attack, leaving only the smell of burnt hair and the nearly unconscious warrior in its arms as evidence.
It was just a small movement, a reflex really, but Eudial's triumph was perfect as she saw Ami swallow. She bent down to look at her face again, this time using her left hand to raise Ami's head which had been hanging down ever since the attack. There seemed to be recognition somewhere in these eyes, but instead of determination or anything there was only exhaustion in those clouded orbs.
"Now, you have ensured my success my dear."
Eudial began going through Ami's hair with her right hand as if petting her.
"Ah, don't worry. YOU will be fine."
Having said that, Eudial gave Ami a light kiss on her brow and then retreated. As she winked with her hand, the demon released Ami from its claws, allowing her lifeless body to fall to the ground. Then the creatures left along with their master.
As Sailormoon and the others arrived at the site, a few people were beginning to move closer towards the plaza. Though everything seemed quiet now, fear and worry were clearly dominating their faces, often mixed with curiosity, however. Stepping into the open, the Senshi immediately saw the glittering heart crystals which were only reluctantly returning to their rightful places. And in the foreground those two misfits Uranus and Neptune kneeling around Mercury's form. Uranus was actually holding her torso in her arms and trying to speak to her.
Ignoring everything else, Usagi rushed forward to embrace her fallen friend. She was crying while looking at Ami's unconscious form. She was slightly started when feeling something touch her shoulder, but then was comforted by seeing Tuxedo Kamen kneeling down next to her. She didn' really notice Chibi- Usa clinging to his other arm, concern for her friend not allowing for childish rivalries.
"What did you do to her?"
Makoto moved towards Uranus and Neptune in a threatening manner, backed by Venus and Mars, all of them ready to start a fight. While Uranus still held Mercury in her arms, Neptune stood up and went into a fighting pose, prepared to meet any challenges.
"We didn't do anything; we arrived just a few seconds before you and found things like this."
Neither side showed any sign of retreating, angry looks on the girls' faces as a groaning disrupted the growing dispute. More tears welled up in Sailormoon's eyes as she saw her friend coming to.
"What happened to you?"
Usagi was a bit confused by how cool and untouched Tuxedo Kamen's voice sounded. His face did not betray any feelings as he examined Ami who was beginning to recover. But there was fresh sweat on her face and she was breathing irregularly.
"Eudial...ha ... shot the people...ha ... demons ambushed... couldn't stop... ha"
"It's alright, Ami. Don't worry, everything will be - Ami!?!"
Ami closed her eyes as her body shuddered in a fit. Tears were running down her reddened cheeks mingling with the sweat as she released a scream of agony. As the Senshi looked at her in horror, her size suddenly doubled. Surprised by this sudden change in weight and balance, Uranus let her slide down from her knees onto the ground.
"Quick, we have to get the people out of here!"
Venus was the first to overcome the shock and realize what needed to be done. As Makoto and Mamoru joined her running towards the middle of the plaza, Usagi was still transfixed next to the twitching body, now holding her hand and calling her name again and again. Chibi- Moon hesitated at first, but finally turned around and followed Minako and the others. Then it happened again, a scream accompanied by Mercury's body bending to its limits followed by her size increasing again. Amazement was replaced by realization and Uranus and Neptune nodded at each other before joining the others pulling the lifeless people away from Ami. All who remained were Usagi and Rei who was just as helpless about Usagi as Usagi was about Ami.
"Aaah..." - Wamm - "Ugh!" - "Usagiii!"
As Mercury's body grew yet again, she threw around her hands violently, hitting Usagi in the torso. Caught by surprise, Sailormoon was thrown back a few meters. Rei was immediately at her side.
"There is nothing we can do right now, so we better get away from her right now."
"I understand, but if Ami hurt you now, she would feel bad as well. You don't want that either, right? So, come now."
As she talked gently to her, Rei began stroking Usagi's hair as an older sister would do to calm a crying child. Slowly pulling Sailormoon along, she retreated to the street.
A few minutes later, the place was completely abandoned except for Ami who had grown to about 150m in size, filling the entire space. Fortunately, the growth seemed to have stopped, just before she would start bashing into the buildings surrounding her. Her breath was still quick but not irregular and there were no signs of twitching as she began looking around, obviously not really aware of all that had happened.
"What ... ? The pain ... stopped ...? Where ... WHAT!!!"
As Mercury moved her head to see all her surroundings, her eyes suddenly lost the daze they had but moments before as realization spread through her mind.
In the meantime, Mamoru was doing his best to reassure the police officers.
"...So, we are to keep people away and cover this whole thing up? And you will not tell us anything about it but that this is an accident and only temporary..."
"...Well, yes, even if I told you the entire story, you wouldn't believe it.(^_^;;; She doesn't mean any harm, but if people got too close, they might get hurt accidentily."
"Alright, I guess it can't be helped. Even now I don't know what to write in the report without sounding ridiculous. Just try to be quick about it. (^_^;;;"
"Thank you, officer.m(_ _)m"
Mixed feelings were on Tuxedo Kamen's face as he returned to the girls; he was glad that things had went relatively well with the police, though he didn't like the thought that he had to reveal his personal data in conjunction with such an incident.
The Sailorsenshi were just standing there, at the edge of the plaza, unable to do anything but watch as their now colossal comrade slowly stood up. Uranus and Neptune had once more disappeared during the final phase of Ami's growth. Mercury's face looked pale, and it took her quite a while to rise to a standing position. Her movements seemed insecure, weak, and she nearly fell down during the process, sending a shout of fear through the people nearby.
Her legs still shaking, her standing form was still a very impressive sight. Even the largest building surrounding the plaza would just barely reach her thigh while the others didn't even make it to her knees. By now, a croud of spectators had gathered, making it difficult for the police to keep people from actually entering the square. Seeing Ami's full size and realizing it, some people dropped to their knees, others started praying, while some even ran away or cowered on the ground.
"If it worked for Chibi- Usa, it might work for me as well, so here ...
While considering her options, Mercury prepared herself to cancel her transformation returning to her normal form (and hopefully size) as Mizuno Ami. However, her thoughts were interrupted by pain ripping through her torso as if someone was trying to cut her apart from the inside. It was realesed (together with her fear) in a terrible cry as she lost her balance and tumbled to the right.
Seeing the human collosus suddenly cry out loud and then falling towards them, the people to her right started to panic, running away screaming and trampling those who weren't fast enough or had tripped. No matter how cute the girl was, getting squashed under her gigantic form couldn't find any friends.
Just as suddenly as the pain had started, it subsided again, just like a flash of lightning going through her body. It was replaced by a slight feeling of numbness - and the sensation of falling! Instinctively, she reached out with her arm so as to keep herself from hitting the ground. Her hand impacted on the pavement sending shock waves through it that shattered the last windows that had survived the previous incidents. In fact, the tremendous force was big enough to drive her hand right through the surface, digging a hole maybe 10m deep before coming to a halt. However catastrophic this last- minute maneuver had been for the plaza, it had keep her from impacting on the buildings lining one of the streets leading towards the square. As it was, her head was now only a few meters if not less away from those buildings' rooves as the last people were trying to get away from the endangered street.
Carefully shifting her weight back towards her legs and thus the center of her space, Mercury was able to return to a squatting position. Then she examined her body and her surroundings, sweat showing on her face and a worried gleam in her eyes.
"Nothing has changed... Good.
The realization that whatever had caused that last attack of pain had not done any further changes to her body made Ami release a sigh of relief, sending a hot, humid breeze through the street in front of her which left everything covered with a sheet of liquid.
Activating her computer, Ami began to analyze the situation. Except for her being 100 times as big as usual, there was nothing extraordinary about her when compared with her usual form as a Sailorsenshi. No hint of whatever had caused her to grow or had caused that terrible pain. But then, she found it, an unusual energy concentration. Quickly checking the numbers and changing to another window, she got the answer.
"This ... can't be... inside my ... stomach!?!?!?!?!"
The other Senshi had been in a street in front of Ami as she had stood up. No matter how much this was their trusted comrade, seeing her standing half as tall as the Tokyo Tower right before them definitely caused awe in all of them. Everyone held their breaths as she finished standing up and thus making her size clearly visible for the first time.
Looking up, Sailormoon and the others were able to see Ami's face. It was obvious that she was thinking about her options. As she began to move her hands, they all realized that she was going to end her transformation. The incident with Chibi- Usa not being that long ago, they all remembered that this had been a sufficient cure for the giant size then.
They were startled when Ami suddenly released a loud cry, her body momentarily stiffening before falling to the side like some piece of freshly cut lumber. Usagi immediately started off towards the giantess. Having always been careful so as to keep an eye on her friend, Rei's response came quickly and strongly as she lurged forward and tackled Sailormoon, sending both of them onto the ground.
DA DONK! kiri kiri
Just as Usagi began to struggle against Rei lying on her, there was a thundering noise and the ground shook as if a bomb had exploded next to them. Some people even lost their footing and fragments of glass were falling into the streets as the windows in the surrounding buildings shattered.
Twisting her head back as far as possible, Sailormoon was able to see that Ami had been able to stop her fall the very last second. Just now, she was moving again, shifting her torso back towards the plaza until she was squatting in its center.
Usagi was startled as she felt movement on top of her. Watching Ami, she had completely forgotten about Rei lying on her. As she turned her head to face Rei, she saw her smiling down at her while getting off.
"You won't do anything stupid, okay."
After standing up, Rei knelt down again, to help Usagi get up. As they were standing there, they heard a loud howling or something, accompanied by a warm and wet wind. Their hair and clothes wet and sticky, they turned to see Ami starting to type things into her computer.
"Usagi. Rei. Are you alright?"
Usagi had totally forgotten about Makoto and the others also being there. As Ami seemed to be alright, they had come up to Rei and Usagi, all drenched as well.
"It looks like this is going to be more difficult than before. ..."
"... Well, we should get in contact with her then. I will call you when I am ready."
Turning away towards Mercury, Jupiter left Minako and the others standing there, boldly (?) walking ahead.
"THIS ... CAN'T BE... INSIDE MY ... STOMACH!?!?!?!?!"
Looking at the screen, Ami's face went white. Hoping that she had made some mistake, she checked the numbers again, then looked through all examinations the computer had done. But no matter how many times she checked, the machine left no doubts about what it was telling her. There was still a demon around, and it was sitting right inside her stomach! Although being as near to her as possible, there was nothing she or anyone could do. She was utterly helpless against it, completely at its mercy.
"No, I can't give up that easily. There has to be a way. I am sure of it. Ara?
Trying to shake off the dark thoughts welling up in her mind, Mercury looked away from the screen she had been staring at. Some movement right in front of her caused her attention. It seemed as if someone had walked up to her and was doing something she couldn't quite make out. In order to get a better view, she bent forward.
"Jupiter!? ... I understand."
Makoto scolded herself. Though talking with so much self- confidence, approaching that colossus in front of her was making her legs wobbly, and there was even some sweat mingling with the sticky wetness covering her face.
"What are you afraid of? This is Ami, your friend. You know she could never hurt anyone, and she really needs your help now. Get a grip of yourself.
Stopping square in front of the giantess, Jupiter looked up. She was still several meters away from the huge form, so as to ensure that Ami would see her once she looked up from the computer she was wildly typing at.
"AAAA - miiii!! AAAA - miiii!!!"
There was no reaction as Makoto shouted Mercury's name. Realizing that the difference in size was just too great for Ami to hear her right now, Jupiter stopped shouting and began waving her arms. As she saw Ami's fingers ending their dance over the keyboard, Makoto began jumping up and down as well, so as to become even more visible. Finally, Mercury began to raise her head and then ceased her motion as her eyes focused on Makoto.
"She has seen me. Now to get a lift.
Instead of simply waving, Makoto now began raising one hand repeatedly while pointing at her ear. Then she held her hands before her mouth as if shouting, only to start that routine anew.
"JUPITER!? ... I UNDERSTAND."
Mercury had bent forward so as to get a better view of her comrade. As she confirmed her friend's success, she carefully lowered her right hand to the ground only a few meters away from Makoto.
Jupiter felt every breath Ami took as a breeze moving away from her and then back again. As Mercury spoke, it was like booming thunder, although her face looked as if she was only whispering it. The blasts of wind that accompanied the words nearly made Jupiter loose her footing, but she tensed her muscles and stood strong.
With this in mind, Makoto was quite surprised how quiet and gentle she had lowered her hand to the ground. Quickly, Jupiter walked up to it. With the hand resting firmly on its back, each finger seemed 1.5m broad and 1.5m tall to Makoto, who climbed onto it after only a moment's hesitation. Once atop of it, she looked around, amazed by the view. It seemed as if she was looking at the hand through a looking glass. She could see the individual threads making up the glove reminding her of cables. And below that net, she could make out Ami's pale flesh the heat of which was radiating all the way up to her. But the glove was not perfectely clean as smaller and larger bits of concrete had been caught in its threads. Makoto couldn't help but shudder as she recalled the booming noise as this very hand had dug itself deep into the street.
She lost her footing as the ground began to move. Sitting on the palm of Ami's hand, Makoto felt as if in a starting air plane. Looking at the quickly moving buildings around her, she realized she was not only going up, but also moving forward. Then, only a few seconds later, the movement stopped, the sudden acceleration shaking Jupiter's entire body. Turning around to face Ami, Makoto first only saw a thick wall of black ropes. Continuing her examination, she saw it replaced by flesh. And there it was, the tunnel of Ami's ear.
Jupiter took a deep breath. It was not as if she hadn't done this kind of stunt before. But when she had contacted Chibi Moon, Usagi's life had been in danger and every little delay could have doomed her. Now, there wasn't that feeling of urgency, no rush of adrenaline. Thus, there was more than enough space for claustrophobia to raise its head.
"You have to do this. You owe this to your friend.
Overcoming her hesitation, Makoto walked over Ami's hand. When she reached her head, she got on all fours since the tunnel ahead of her was only a little more than 1m high, definitely not big enough for her to stand up. Swallowing down hard, she began to crawl in.
The flesh beneath her hand and feet was soft, giving way whenever she shifted her weight. Somehow, it seemed even softer than the threads of the gloves, though this seemed rather unlikely. It was hot, really hot, as Ami's warmth came from all around Makoto. Actually, breathing was mostly hindered by the temperature and not by Ami's sweet smell that permeated it all. Blocking off what little light had previously been able to enter with her own body, Jupiter was crawling forward in utter darkness. If it hadn't been for the warmth and the sensation of the soft flesh beneath her, she could just as well have been in space. As she slowly moved on, her searching hands touched fine hairs which bent to make way for her.
Finally, figuring that she was in deep enough so as not to fall out if Ami moved or anything, Makoto lay down in a comfortable position (as comfortable as lying inside a friend's ear can be, that is) and gave it a try.
"Ami! Can you hear me?"
Ami's answer resounded through Jupiter's body. Everything around her had started moving as Sailormercury gave shape to the sounds. She really felt at ease when things calmed down after Mercury had finished her comment. However, she had to go on, make it count.
"Listen, Ami. I will do the talking, and you simply respond with single words. Understood?"
Makoto really hoped that she wouldn't have to ask too many questions; her stomach just needed too much time to recover from each answer.
As Jupiter climbed onto her hand, Ami couldn't help but marvel at how small she seemed. Although the cloth of her gloves was very thin, she could hardly feel Jupiter moving around on her hand. With this in mind, she remembered how Chibi Moon had swallowed Usagi by mistake.
"Swallowing someone whole without noticing it had somehow seemed absurd. But now, I can't really feel Makoto walking on the palm of my hand. Everything is so tiny - so vulnerable. If I am not careful, I could easily hurt people, or even kill them. Even my friends. What should I do if something like that happened? Or if there was no cure? ...... I have to snap out of it. This is no time to despair.
Seeing that Jupiter was standing in the middle of her hand, Mercury carefully lifted it towards her ear. Pressing it against it, she began to wait. She didn't notice any movement. Had Makoto falled off? Fear began to rise in her, and she began to hold her breath. Just then, she felt some tickling in her ear. Something was crawling around in it. Ami found it hard to concentrate as both the urge to laugh and the urge to scratch her ear tried to get the better of her.
After what seemed like ages to her, the movement stopped.
"Ami! Can you hear me?"
The voice was weak and distant. It lacked all the strength she associated with her comrade. Still, there was something incredibly comforting in the fact that she was able to hear her, know that she was there for her. Awakening from her joy, Ami realized that she hadn't answered Jupiter's question yet.
Knowing that Jupiter would hear all she would hear, Mercury spoke as softly as she could.
"What is this like for Makoto? Especially given her strength, it will probably feel odd for her to be lifted by me with a single hand and to actually lie inside my ear. At least it is a strange situation for me.
"Listen, Ami. I will do the talking, and you simply respond with single words. Understood?"
There was that tiny voice again. It really didn' fit in with the image of Makoto's strong arms which had scared both her fellow class mates and the demons they had encountered. It was nothing but cute.
"Well, communication is established, so now we only need to find a solution for this mess.
Quite some time later, all the Senshi knew about the details of Ami's predicament. By now, a real crowd had gathered around the plaza. Reporters mingled with common folks and the Japanese Self Defense Forces were also there. In the end, a lot of commotion without anyone being able to do anything. Big search lights had been positioned in all roads leading towards the scene, their pale light making Ami look ghostly white.
However the most annoying thing were probably the helicopters circling the area, their lights blinding Ami's eyes time and time again. And even with them being so small, their constant sirring was making all concentration impossible. But there was little Ami could do about them. If she were to wave her hand at them, there would be no telling what disaster she could cause.
"I agree with Minako. ... Yes, I know, but we have to do it. ... Alright."
"I wonder what they are talking about. If only I could think of a reasonable way to solve this problem. I am the brain of the team. Of course, what a fine brain I turn out to be.
Waiting through the other's discussion was hell for Ami. It might have been better had not Makoto been in her ear. While she couldn't hear what the others said, she caught Makoto's answer. It seemed as if they were getting somewhere, but she couldn't hear what it was.
"Alright. You get mine, I'll tell her. Okay. ... Ami!"
"AH. SORRY. YOU ALRIGHT?"
Makoto suddenly addressing her startled Ami, making her twitch. Though only a little movement to Ami, it sent Jupiter flying in all directions. Fortunately, the walls of the tunnel were soft enough to avoid any real injury (though Makoto was sure she got some bruises at that moment). Though it hurt, Jupiter was befuddled rather than really angry.
"I'm fine. Listen, we are going in and destroy that demon."
"I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS! IT'S TOO DANGEROUS!"
"Calm down. Please."
Hearing of the other Senshi's absurd decision, Ami forgot all caution and shouted out her reply. Accordingly, Makoto's head felt as if it would explode. As she called out to Ami, her voice sounded distant, as if not her own. Ami had thought of that option, of course, but if anything went wrong, it would lead to her digesting her friends! She could kill Usagi, Rei and the others. No, there had to be some safer way to get rid of her size - or herself.
"Listen. We know it is dangerous, but it is the only way we can save you. Besides, it had worked with Chibi- Usa, why shouldn't it work with you?"
"BUT WE DIDN'T HAVE TO FIGHT THAT TIME!"
"It's alright, we will put on some extra clothes to buy us some time. Trust us, please."
"Okay. Now, when the others get back, we will attach a rope to your teeth, climb down to your stomach, destroy the demon, and climb back out. All you have to do is give us a lift up and down and otherwise stay still, no matter what happens. Everything will be alright. Okay?"
Deep inside, Mercury had her doubts. Makoto and the others, they had always been covering her, always helping her. And now they were putting their lives on the line just because of her shortcomings. It was all her fault, and still they were supporting her. She really didn't deserve this. Tears began streaming down her face. All in all, she looked rather miserable, puzzling the crowd far down below.
"Okay. The others are back. Give me a lift down; I will put on the clothes, then we climb onto your hand and you lift us up to your mouth. And then you just wait. Don't worry, we will be fine."
Makoto began to wriggle back towards the exit of the ear. Although Ami was feeling sick of worry, she nearly started giggling, as the tiny body kept on tickling her. Finally, it stopped. Then she felt a gentle touch on her hand which she had raised to her ear again after hearing Jupiter's commands.
Slowly, she lowered the hand to the ground. Though the strong lights were blinding her, she watched as Jupiter climbed off to meet the others who entered the plaza at that very moment.
Waiting in the warm darkness of Ami's ear for the others to return, Makoto had broken out into a sweat. Even waving her hands couldn't pull in fresh air so deep inside.
"Minako. Are you back?"
"Yes, we are making our way to the plaza right now. We got all we need, so we will proceed as planned. You better get ready yourself."
"Okay. The others are back. Give me a lift down; I will put on the clothes, then we climb onto your hand and you lift us up to your mouth. And then you just wait. Don't worry, we will be fine."
Having said that, Makoto rose a bit, just enough to be able to move backwards. Slowly, she slid back over the soft flesh, brushing along the fine hair sprouting from it. The bruises ached, and her muscles complained about the sudden activity after the long period of rest. But the prospect of the fresh air outside, the freedom, was more than enough motivation to keep her going.
Finally, she felt a cool breeze touch her legs, then her back, which was when her feet found a step. Turning around, she was able to see the bright lights pointed at the hand which was at the ear's exit again. She slid half way out of the ear sitting on its edge. Her clothes drenched in sweat, the cold night air made Makoto shiver. Quickly, she jumped onto the hand, and started stretching her muscles. Though she had expected it, the movement of Ami's hand caused her to lose her balance again. Trying to ignore the odd feeling in her stomach, she continued her exercises.
Climbing down from the hand which was now resting on the ground, Jupiter saw some people approaching her. Since all the lights were pointing her way, they were but vague shadows closing in quickly. For a moment, the shadows seemed to distort, but then, Usagi's voice called her back from her revery.
Makoto nearly lost her balance as Usagi jumped at her and embraced her. That child would never really change. Now that they had reached her, the shadows had become her friends, sort of. All of them wore rain clothes, big boots, and seemingly thick trousers as are used for fishing. Rubber gloves and ski goggles completed the weird get- up.
"Put these on. They will give us a little bit of time, but we still need to be careful. We will have to really stick together and look out for each other once we get inside."
Carrying a large coil of cable and a big flash light, Mamoru joined the girls. His mood seemed specially grim and there was something in his voice that did not allow for any delays. Makoto took the bundle Minako was holding out to her and began putting on the unwieldy clothes.
Mamoru looked up at the huge form in front of them, then scanned the ragtag band around him. His eyes came to rest on Chibi- Usa, who was hardly looking human, hidden almost completely by the gear.
"Chibi- Usa, you don't have to go, really. We will be ..."
"No, I will go and save Ami. I am a Sailorsenshi, right? So I will be strong and fight."
"Chibi- Usa. ..."
"I will go."
"Alright then. Let's go."
Without looking around, Mamoru walked towards the gigantic hand that was still resting on the pavement. The others followed him, although Makoto actually hadn't put on her second boot completely. Feeling the general urgency, she jumped on one leg while trying to pull up the boot with her hands. Reaching Ami's hand, she was able to get into the it so that she wouldn't have trouble climbing the obstacle. The scene was really bizarre. There they were, all the Senshi and Mamoru, standing on the palm of Ami's hand.
"Do they really understand what they are about to do? Do they really see the risk? They are trying to help me, but if anything happens to them ... But I can't really stop them. They are determined to do this. What should I do?
Ami felt extremely uneasy looking at the small figures moving around on the ground before her hand. She couldn't hear anything they might have been talking about, and thanks to the odd clothes they were wearing, any actions of them would be invisible. Thus all Ami could do was wait and ponder the different aspects of her problem. She knew the others all too well. If she wanted to stop them she would have to use force. But as things were right now, her using force would cause them injury, no matter how gentle she would be. Thus, she had run out of options.
Finally, the group began approaching her waiting hand. One after the other, they climbed onto it. With their entire bodies covered, Ami couldn't tell who was who. But then again, what would have been the meaning for her anyway. There was no use stalling them, they might do something stupid, so Ami gave in to her fate and started to lift them up.
Shifting her torso back into an upright form, Mercury tried to find a comfortable sitting position she could maintain over the next minutes or even hour. After all, there was no telling how long the entire operation would take. She didn't even really know what the others were up against since the data she had been able to retrieve was rather sketchy. At the same time, she started raising her hand as slowly as possibly, so as not to lose her tiny passengers. As it aproached her face, she swallowed hard then opened her mouth slightly.
With her hand moving towards her mouth Ami found it more and more difficult to keep it level. Again and again she started tilting it automatically as her arm resisted the odd position she had in mind for it. But somehow, she managed to reach her mouth without anyone falling of. Pressing her hand so hard against her lip as to rub it against her front teeth, Ami began waiting. It didn't take long until she noticed some slight sensation on the tip of her tongue. Concentrating all her strength, she forbid herself to make any movement. It was at this point that she realized this would be a very long night.
Although Ami was obviously doing her best to make this a slow ride, it still was a strange feeling. Makoto noticed though, that Mercury was getting better at it. The others didn't seem troubled at all. Chibi- Usa and Usagi walked towards the edge of the hand as soon as it started moving and enjoyed the view. Rei had followed them shouting at her friend. Mamoru and Minako didn't seem to pay any attention to the others on the hand as their heads were turned towards Mercury's body which was flying by like an absurd landscape. The hoods of their rain coats pulled low over the ski masks, their features disappeared in utter darkness. And the wide clothes would hide any small movements that could be betray their thoughts.
It was not a perfect ride, though. From time to time, the ground would start tilting, making everyone fight keep their balance. Fortunately, it never took long for things to return to normal as Ami's watchful eyes noticed her mistake. Still, those phases were enough to keep the Senshi alert and aware that they weren't here for their amusement.
Finally the movement stopped. Looking around, Makoto was able to see the roofs of the surrounding buildings. They were quite high up now. Turning away from the cityscape, she saw the enormous background of Ami's face, a broad wall of white flesh, everything cut out sharply by the lights pointed at her. And there, right ahead, was the mouth, a gaping hole ready to devour them all. The opening stood two meters tall and several meters wide and was lined by lips that were only slightly darker than the surrounding flesh. The inside consisted of utter blackness, only disrupted by a patch of flesh in the roof of the mouth brightly illuminated by the light entering the mouth. A crimson ghost inside the night.
"Yes, Ami never applied strong cosmetics. Always shy. Having her fight those monsters has always been somewhat out of character for her. But now her looking like Godzilla. It's just wrong. ... Well, I better get going then.
Makoto joined the others who had started to climb into the dark cavern. Although compressed by the hand, the lip was still more than 50cm broad. It was followed by the teeth, which were about 30cm broad and surrounded the tongue which lay in utter darkness a meter below as their searching feet found out. As Makoto entered, she noticed that it was not quite as hot as inside the ear. Ami's breath kept the air in constant motion. A rather cold wind entered behind the Senshi and was then replaced by a warm and humid one going out only to return moments later.
Suddenly, a stream of light cut through the night as Mamoru turned on the flash light. moving it around, he inspected the huge cavern they were in. The walls were red glistening with moisture. The teeth formed two rows of fences opposing each other while the ground slowly rose towards the back until there only was but a meter between it and the roof.
Without any comment, he handed the lamp to what seemed to be Usagi, and took the cable from his shoulder. It seemed very heavy and was made of several intertwined metal strands which themselves were composed of finer strands. It ended in a cap with a steel loop. Walking to the side of the mouth, Mamoru began to losen some length of it. After some examination, he knelt down in front of Ami's teeth and shoved the rope in a little gap between two teeth and the flesh they protruded from. After moving quite a length of it through, he dropped the rest of the cable and climbed over the teeth into the space between them and the cheek. Soon thereafter, the end of cable re- appeared in the next gap, covered by some yellow slime. Climbing back into the main part of the mouth, Mamoru produced a grappling hook from somewhere in his clothes and attached it to the loop. Then he bent the cable so that he could catch it with the hook, embracing the tooth in a tight snare. The hook firmly entangled in the cable itself, he tested the stability of the construction carefully before picking up the rest of the cable and heading towards the back of the cave.
Makoto and the others had watched him in silence all the time. Although she wasn't able to see any of the faces, Jupiter had come to the conclusion that it was Rei or Minako who was holding the light. Usagi herself was easy enough to identify, her not standing still for a single, always walking around, touching things (well, probably pushing them, since touching was rather pointless given that thick rubber gloves covered her hands) in her typical, childish manner.
As Mamoru neared the top of the tongue he had to get on all fours to proceed. The girls followed him at a short distance. While the ground did give a little bit, the slippery wetness that covered it had greater impact on their climbing. Makoto nearly lost her footing twice and she saw how Usagi fell down and slid back a meter before being able to stand up again. The force of the wind grew stronger the higher they got and when Jupiter reached the top she found it to be of considerable strength. Looking back a last time, she could see the exit as an illuminated line, the upper lip and teeth gleaming cheerfully. Facing the path before her, there was nothing but darkness, disrupted only by a single beam of light pointed at Mamoru who was already 3m below. Some of the light didn't hit him but rather carried on to be reflected by glistening red walls or to simply faint away in the bottomless darkness of Ami's throat.
With the only available light source focused on him, Mamoru's activities were easy to see, even at a distance. He had already gone past the point were he could stand on the tongue's surface and was now hanging from the cable, his feet planted on the wall before him. Giving only one additional meter of cable at a time, he slowly began climbing down, not jumping like the mountaineers you could see on television, but rather walking down the wall. Next to go was the person with the flash light, Minako, Makoto figured, though she hadn't asked her. Somehow, this entire situation had filled her with an uneasy feeling that forbid any conversation. The others seemed to feel the same, since no had spoken a word ever since they had entered the mouth. It wasn't completely quiet, though. There was the constant sound of Ami's breath going back and forth, the distant thumping of her heart, and the squiking of their clothes, steps, every movement.
Finally, Makoto found the slope too steep to stand on herself. Gripping the cable she had only kept track of thus far with both her hands, she started climbing down. Having watched Mamoru's descent, she knew that the opposite wall was about 3m behind her, and there had been no bottom to this tube. The flash light directed at Mamoru's descent, there was no one to give light to her. Her world just consisted of a neverending night full of strange sounds and sensations. All she had to go by was her sense of gravity and the feeling of the cable in her glove covered fists.
The first stretch was rather interesting. Initially, the ground tilted more and more, until it was completely vertical. Then it tilted even more, moving away from her as she passed the base of the tongue. For a moment she was worried, since her grip on the cable was not that good, given the thick rubber gloves she was wearing. If the wall receded so much that she couldn't reach it with her feet, there would be a real danger of her slipping down. But even as she fought off those meddling thoughts, the wall stopped its flight and became vertical again. Her boots however found that things had changed a little bit. Compared with the surface thus far, the walls of the throat were even more slippery. Realizing her precarious situation, Jupiter proceeded extremely slowly.
Not that much further below, there really came the point for her to worry about her grip. Without her noticing it, the cable had gradually been moving away from the wall. Only when she had to straighten her legs completely in order to really stand on the wall did she realize what was going on. The wind, which had become weaker after she had passed the top of the tongue had picked up in strength again, indicating that the entrance to the wind pipe was nearby. Recalling biology class, Makoto envisioned the structure of the human body. There was the throat leading to the divide between the wind pipe and the esophagus. And the esophagus was ... behind the wind pipe!
As she continued, it became impossible to use the wall for stabilization. Thus, she slung her legs around the cable, embracing it as hard as possible. Wary of the danger of slipping down and maybe messing up the others below her, she moved only one limb at a time, her progress coming to a virtual standstill.
At last her boots found an obstacle. As much as this was comforting, it also marked another small challenge, as the cable was pressed tightly into Ami's flesh for a small distance, making it impossible for her to surround it with her fingers. But this threat also ended. giving way to what should be a simple climb.
Closing her eyes, Ami had focused on the slight sensations coming from inside her mouth. Even her sensitive tongue had a hard time keeping track of the other Senshi moving around, and there was no way for her to determine any of their other activities. She tried to imagine what would be necessary for this kind of mission and how it could relate to what she felt, but in the end, this was all just too vague. Besides, there was no way for her to help except by being a good girl and sitting still and motionless.
Finally, the feeling of a fine string pressing against the back of her tongue told her that the others were starting the descent. Her throat not as sensitive as her tongue, the incidents of her really feeling the feet pressing against her flesh became fewer and fewer, and she had to rely on her imagination to keep track of the expedition.
"I wonder where they are now. I hope they are alright. It should be about 25cm to the entrance to the stomach, that would be about 25m at my current size. Like a 9- story- building. This is just so weird. Queen Serenity, please protect your daughter and the others.
Ami felt a tear running down her right cheek. For the people watching her, it was like a crystal ball glittering in the strong light focused on her.
But as her mind got lost in her own world, her body responded as it always did. Before she was even aware of it, she had swallowed the saliva that had accumulated in her mouth. A moment later the shock of the realization made her bend forward only to stop when she realized that this was the biggest mistake she could make. Slowly returning to her former position, Ami prayed the others were alright despite her unbelievably stupid mistake. Frowning, she tried to concentrate even harder than before.
Jupiter was only two or three meters down the esophagus when she heard a rumbling noise. Before she had lifted her head completely, the flood was upon her. Instinctively, her hands tightened around the cable. Even then, she felt as if she was losing her grip. Just then the liquid was replaced by flesh no longer soft as the muscles of the esophagus constricted all around her. It felt as if her chest was being crushed, her ribs reaching their limit. And her legs were nearly broken as they were forced towards the center of the shrinking tube she was in. Fortunately, the torment lasted only a moment before the muscles released her from their grip. Although her entire body hurt and some of the thick liquid had entered her lung, all Makoto felt at that time was relief and happyness.
Not all fared as well as Makoto, though. When Usagi tried to hang onto the cable, it was already too late. The wave hit her hard and swept her right off the cable as if she was a leaf caught by a storm. She felt herself being surrounded by a thick liquid that was pushing her down making the sensation of falling even stronger. Since she hadn't been prepared for this, Usagi couldn't hold her breath and tried to inhale. But her getting tighty squeezed from all sides made it nearly impossible for her to expand her lungs, and the little room she could make was filled by nothing but the sticky liquid that surrounded her. Panic welled up in her head as she was tumbling down.
Mamoru, who was leading the expedition, was the last to be hit by the saliva. But since it happened so quickly, there was only the rumbling noise to warn him as none of the others had been able to shout a warning before it caught them. Clenching his teeth, Mamoru did all he could at that point, which was simply to hang on and wait for the flood to move on. It was impossible for him to notice that his girl friend and his future daughter were passing by just a meter away from him, hopelessly lost in the stream of spit. Fortunately for him, he had dropped the rest of the cable the moment he had entered the esophagus, since there would be no further branches in the tunnel he would need to worry about. Had he been encumbered by its weight, there would be no telling what could have happened.
As he recovered from the pain in his chest, he noticed that Minako had turned the light away from him and up the throat.
"... No. Don't waste any time Minako. If someone got caught in it, we have to move onward to help her, so hurry up. All of you."
Mamoru shouted the words angrily. He was aware that this entire stunt was far too dangerous, and if he had had the power to do so, he would have stopped the others from setting out on it. He was worried about Ami as well, but there were just too many things that could go wrong, too many ways one or all of them could get killed. There simply had been no way to discourage Usagi, no argument that could counter her devotion to her friend. And he hadn't been able to come up with a better plan so quickly. Cursing their bad luck, he continued his descent.
Finally, the tube ended with the cable disappearing in the ground as strong muscles kept them outside the stomach. Clinging to the rope, Mamoru began hitting the ground as hard as possible. After a dozen kicks, maybe more, the muscles losened a bit. Quickly, he eased his grip and allowed himself to slide into the opening. But before he was through entirely, the ring of muscles closed again, pressing hard against him. Taking advantage of the flesh being slimy and a little bit soft, Mamoru was able to wriggle his way through and disappear into the stomach.
It took Usagi's dazed mind several seconds to realize that she was breathing air again. The next revelation was that she wasn't falling anymore but rather floating inside some hot slime. Everything was dark, and the only sounds were a constant thumping coming from all around her and some obscene noises. Moving her arms around, Usagi found that she could kind of swim in whatever she was in as it was much denser than water. While this fact kept her from going under, it also meant that every movement below the surface required quite some effort. As her heart beat slowed down and her thoughts cleared, she noticed the smell. It was an odd mixture of the smell of food mixing with the sweet smell of decay and an extremely acidic note.
Mamoru had warned her of the strength of the stomach acid, and the stench would fit her image of it nicely. As panic began to besiege her mind again, her fingers touched something hard. Finding that it was some hard object floating in this swamp, Usagi quickly made up her mind and climbed aboard. The slime tried to hold her back, but fear and determination gave her the strength to win her freedom.
Sitting on her little island of hope, Sailormoon looked around. Everything was dark around her and she was all alone. She recalled how she had lost her grip. The feeling of suffocating, and that of falling. She couldn't really remember when she entered this swamp, or when she coughed up the liquid that had blocked her lungs. She had no idea how long she had been here and what had become of the others. And she didn't know what she was to do.
"At least no one will scold me for crying. Rei is always just mean to me, as is Chibi- Usa. Always hanging around my Mamoru. Mamoru...
Sniffing, Usagi continued to shed tears in the dark.
She was roused out of her misery when she noticed some light coming from above. But when she raised her head, it was gone again. Still, it had filled her with hope again. Quickly she stood up, waiting for its return. Actually, she nearly toppled the piece of food she was standing on. But this didn't matter. If she had been able to see light, that would mean Mamoru and the other would be there soon.
She was overjoyed when the light appeared again, centering on the cable a few meters away. And there, bathed in the light, which shone much brighter than usual in this abyssmal darkness, was her saving angel. No matter what his clothes looked like, he never seemed more beautiful. Looking down, Usagi found that the cable dropped down into the ocean of food near an island similar to her own. And standing atop of it was a slime- covered form. Seeing how small it was, there was no doubt about it, this had to be Chibi- Usa waiting to greet Mamoru. Envy replacing the joy she had felt but moments before, Usagi fervently looked for the fastest way to reach that cable. Now that there was some light, she realized that the stomach's contents were not a uniform mass but a mixture of various colors and forms which were dissolving at different speeds. There seemed to be a lot of islands floating on this murky sea, seemingly bits of cookies or something like that, allowing her to practically walk over to her destination.
As she reached the cable, Sailormoon took a deep breath, preparing to scold the little girl before her. But when she stepped onto the island, Chibi- Moon turned towards her, jumped at her and embraced her. Though she couldn't see them, she heard the tears in this single word. And within a blink of an eye all her anger was washed away as she hugged her daughter, comforting her.
"Are you alright?"
"Ha? ... Yes... , yes, I am fine. And you, Chibi- Usa?"
"Un, I am fine."
Mamoru's voice suddenly addressing her startled Usagi. Concentrating on calming Chibi- Usa, she had completely forgotten about him, as well as about their surroundings. Actually, she had been a bit worried about Mamoru. Ever since this incident had started, he had seemed so distant, so cold. Even now, he didn't really talk to her. But then again, she felt some warmth in that final word, some relief in his tension. This could be just as well her desire making her hear things there were not really there, however.
It took quite a while for all of the others to arrive inside the stomach. As soon as Minako had released the cable, they had checked on Usagi and Chibi- Usa. Fortunately, the location where they had entered the stomach had not yet been dominated by the stomach acid, so that they were uninjured and the clothes didn't show any signs of damage either.
With everyone together, they started looking for the demon. As the beam of the flash light explored the walls and ceilings, Makoto realized that the stomach was nearly empty. Thus, the point where they had entered it was several meters above their heads, beyond their reach hadn't it been for the cable that was forming a straight line which seemed rather lost in the weird and bent forms all around them.
They had explored but half of the walls which were glistening as they produced fresh acid when those very walls suddenly started moving, sending waves through the thick, slimey mass and rocking the fragments of food the girls were standing on. After overcoming their initial surprise, the Senshi didn't have a problem to stay on board, though the effort to keep their balance certainly hindered them.
"Wa!? What is Ami doing? You told her not to move, didn't you?"
"Idiot! That's her stomach movements. There is nothing she could do about that."
"Up there! Look!"
Minako's shout disrupted Rei and Usagi quarreling. Following the light with their eyes, they saw a gigantic black and silver bug hanging at the wall. It seemed 7m long and its sinister red eyes glittered in the flash light's beam. It hugged to the wall sitting there on its six short legs.
Jupiter was the first to react. As her voice cut through the unhealthy sounds of their surroundings, a second stream of light erupted as a bolt of lightning formed above her head before winding its way towards the creature. The thing didn't even try to evade the attack, and it didn't flinch when the energy engulfed it. As the flow of electricity stopped, the bug seemed unscathed. It calmly unfolded its wings. With a sirring sound, it left its position, pulling its legs out of the stomach walls, leaving six red wounds were they had penetrated it.
"Burning Man ... ugh!?"
The next moments were utter chaos, and there was no telling what happened when. Minako was trying to keep track of the creature as it swooped down the Senshi, disrupting Rei's attack and throwing Jupiter off her island into the swamp. At the same time everything tilted and large waves threatened to topple the pieces of food Usagi and the others were standing on. This was accompanied by the rumbling thunder of Ami's voice.
With all the Senshi on their knees, Minako tried in vain to keep the light trimmed on the enemy. Whenever they saw it blinking in the light, it changed direction and flew away quickly. An attack was impossible under such circumstances, and all they could do was brace themselves to defend against its tackles as it tried to finish them off.
Just then, an enormous amount of liquid fell into the stomach, rocking the pieces of food. The Senshi and Mamoru were barely able to keep from falling off, but the monster didn't get a chance to exploit that situation as the saliva had dropped right on top of it, pushing it down into the swamp. For a moment, it seemed to have disappeared, but then it resurfaced and climbed onto a fragment of food covered by slime.
"Yes. Moon Spiral Heart Attack!"
As the bug started flapping its wings, the force of Sailormoon's attack hit it hard. Its shell cracked as it was blown right of the cookie it was standing on. Resurfacing again, it tried to climb back onto a piece of food, but its movements grew weaker and slower, and it sank back into the slime, not to return.
"Makoto! Are you alright?"
"I am fine, don't worry."
With the immediate threat gone, the Senshi had time to worry about themselves. Somewhere during the battle, Jupiter had climbed back onto another piece of solid food. Though she answered Usagi's worried answer with determination, she seemed somewhat odd.
"We better get back then."
Again, there was that cold Mamoru as he turned around and walked towards the cable.
The climb back up was even more tiresome and terrible than the way down. Fortunately, Ami didn't swallow this time, so that they were able to reach the mouth without any further mishaps. The mouth itself was filled nearly completely with saliva, and they felt the ground shaking a little bit. Mamoru quickly ran over to the sling and removed the hook, allowing the cable to slide away into Ami's throat. No one spoke as they quickly climbed back onto the hand that had been waiting for their return all the time.
Makoto used her technique to send a flash of lightning up in the air. As the hand began its descent everyone was relieved as they realized that the trial was over.
Ami had been waiting quite a while without knowing what was going on and whether her mistake had had any impact on the expedition. Suddenly, there was a stinging pain in her stomach. Without thinking, she bent forward, gripping her stomach with her left hand. As the pain stopped, she was still too befuddled to keep herself from swallowing hard. As she recovered her senses, she slowly returned to an upright position, seriously worried now.
"What was that pain now? Are the others alright? What if my sudden movement... ? No, I mustn't think that, I have to trust them.
Still, the next minute was hell for Ami as she waited for any hints of what was going on. Finally, she felt something in her throat. Then there was the sensation of tiny feet moving around on her tongue. And there it was, the bolt of lightning that told her of the success of the mission. Though her heart was about to burst in joy, she simply swallowed and slowly lowered her hand to the ground.
After seeing that all of her friends had stepped down from her hand, Ami stood up. Taking a deep breath she prepared herself - for the transformation, but also for a possible failure.
As she opened her eyes again, she saw Usagi running towards her arms spread in a welcoming embrace and tears in her eyes.
"Is Mamoru still upset?"
"Odd, after all, the city decided not to investigate this matter any further after realizing that it was pointless. And besides the cable and three rain coats, we didn't lose anything. Makoto got a bad skin rash in her face, but this is also completely gone now."
"Maybe if you took him out for a date to cheer him up."
"I will be the one cheering him up!"
I am surprised myself how big this story has become. Previous stories have all been around 23KB as text files, and now this. And the plot is not that complicated (maybe a little bit more complicated than 'The Appearance of Chibi(?) Moon, but not that much).
Special thanks go to ghosthunter0 for making suggestions for this sequel.