#include <disclaimer.h>

Quinn, Sandi, Stacy, Tiffany, Daria, and Lawndale are copyright MTV, Viacaom or whomever it is that actually does own them right now.  That isn't me.  They are used here without express permission.

Special thanks to Lawndale Stalker, Roger Moore, Robert Nowall, THM, and The Daria Hunter.



Fashionably Clubby

Part 3 - FuriKiri

"Mizue… Mizue…" Stacy called out quietly.

"Who? Stacy? Where are we?"

"We got caught."

"Oh. Right." Mizue looked around.

"Listen, come over here."

Mizue managed to drag herself to a sitting position.

"Don't think I can walk yet."

"I can, if we can get these chains off."

"Wow. Looks like someone has a pet elephant." Mizue said, looking over Stacy's bonds. "You can't break them?"

"No, I can barely move."

"Then how can we get them off?"

"Look…" Stacy closed her mouth and rooted around inside it with her tongue. A moment later, she opened her mouth and stuck out her tongue, which now had a key sitting on it.

"How did you get that?" Mizue asked, wide eyed.


"Oh, right." Mizue managed to crawl close enough to get the key.

"I stole it from them." Stacy said as Mizue started on the locks.


"You know. From his pocket."

"You're a pickpocket?"

Stacy blushed. "No! Well, now… no, I mean… I learned how for the magic act. I could take something out of a pocket and pass it to Charles, so he could make it appear. Or stick a card in someone's pocket and stuff."

"You'll have to show me some more of your tricks sometime."

"When we get back to your place. Right now we need to get out. Can you stand up now?"

"Yeah. I'll be fine in a bit."

"Good. Now we just need to get the door open."

"Did you steal more keys?" Mizue asked.

"No, he only had one. And that door looked thick. I don't think I can break it."

"We could wait for Tiffany to get up. Then she can put the guards to sleep."

"They've got headphones on. Probably listening to music."

"So they can't hear her. They really planned this." Mizue paused, then added, "So why are we whispering?"

"Huh? Don't know."

"Oh. Well, if we can just get them to open the door, we can get out. The two of us should be able to handle the guards."

"How can we get them to open the door, though?"

"Well… I've got an idea. It's an old one, but it usually works. These guys planned that ambush very well, though. It might not work on them." Mizue paused, then added, "Hey, where are Quinn and Sandi?"

"Don't know. They said they were in special cells."

"We'll have to find them, then. But I don't know how."

"We could ask."

"The guards, you mean? They might lie, or not answer. If only Cerinthe were here, he could find them." Mizue said with a sigh.

"Where is he?"

"Probably with our stuff. He was in my pack during the fight."

"We don't know where our stuff is, either."

"Well, we'll just have to break out first, then worry about it. Maybe Tiffany's luck will help."

"Is she okay?"

Mizue checked. "I think she's just sleeping."

"That's good." After a pause, Stacy added "So, what's your idea?"

"Oh, sorry! Well, we'll wait for Tiffany to wake up, then…"

A guard change later, Mizue banged on the door. "Hentai! Hentai! I mean, taihen! Taihen!"

After a few moments one of the guards noticed her. He pulled an earphone back and growled, "What?"

"My friend! She's real sick!"

"You have got to be kidding."

"No, look! She can barely move!" Mizue pointed.

The guard glanced into the cell. "Yeah. That's cause of all them chains."

"But she looks really bad, and she keeps moaning!"

The guard sighed. "I open the door, then you try to clunk me, right?"

"Hey, what's going on?" The other guard asked, removing his headphones.

"She says her friend is sick."

"Sticking with the old favorites, eh?"

Mizue blushed.

"But she's really sick! Your boss wanted us captured, not killed, right?" Mizue asked.

The first guard sighed and said, "She's got a point."


"Well, we can chain her up first. Then she can't clunk us."

"Alright, alright." The guard turned to Mizue. "You go stand over by those brackets."

Mizue complied. The first guard opened the cell and went in to lock Mizue to the brackets while the other guard watched carefully. That done, he went to look at the chained figure.

"Wow, she must be sick. She looks really jaundiced."

Tiffany, dressed in Stacy's outfit, looked up at the guard and asked, "Does this make me look fat?"

"Hey, wait a sec!" The other guard said. "Wasn't there supposed to be three girls in here?"

"Yup!" Stacy said cheerfully, from her perch above the door. The second guard looked up just in time to see Stacy's feet coming down. Stacy bounced off him, flipped in midair as the guard hit the floor, and landed by Tiffany and the other guard.

"Shit!" he said an instant before Stacy hit him.

"Stacy! Attack names!"

"Oh, sorry." Stacy giggled. Turning to the guard by the door, she said, "Stacy Sole Surprise!" Turning back to the guard at her feet, she added, "Eat-yourself-poor Chop!"

Mizue gave her an odd look, then asked, "Are you drunk already?"

"I'm hungry." Stacy said with a shrug.

Mizue looked expectant. After a moment, Stacy asked, "What?"

"Oh, I was just waiting for your stomach to growl."


"Guys… chains." Tiffany said.

"Sorry, sorry."

After freeing the other two girls and swapping her clothes with Tiffany, Stacy stuck her head out of the cell and looked around. The prison was empty, so the three girls moved out.

"What do we do now?" Stacy asked.

"We need to find our packs."


"Tiffany, what are you doing?"

"These chains are sooo shiny."

"That can't be a good reflection." Stacy said.

"I've got an idea," Mizue said. "Tiffany, our mirrors are in our backpacks. Think you can find them?"


"Yes, mirrors." Mizue repeated.


"But what?"

"Where are our backpacks?" Tiffany asked.

"We don't know. Just pick a direction." Mizue said, exasperated.

"That way?" Tiffany asked, pointing at a door.

"It's a start."

Mizue walked to the door and pulled it open. After a moment's pause, she asked, "Who puts a broom closet in a jail?"

"That was your plan?" Stacy asked.

"I figured her luck would work." Mizue shrugged.


"Hey, Tiffany, if you can get us to the backpacks I'll give you my mirror."



Tiffany studied the other exits for a while. "This way," she said, opening a door.

Ten minutes later, Stacy asked Mizue "Are you sure this was a good idea?"

"No, but it's our best chance."

"But I'm sure we've gone through here before."

"Why do you say that?"

Stacy pointed to something on the floor. "You dropped your handkerchief."


"Maybe this way?" Tiffany turned off down another corridor.

"I saw this movie once," Stacy said conversationally as they followed, "where there was this alien in this ship, and it always got anywhere it wanted."

"Did it have a map?" Mizue asked.

"I don't know. But it went around inside the air ducts. Maybe we should try that. They might have better signs in there."

"Um… I don't think they would." Mizue said.

"Why? Have you ever been in the air ducts?"

"Well, no." Mizue had to admit.

"Then they might, right?"

"I guess so."

"In here," Tiffany said, pointing at a doorway.

"Did you find it?" Mizue asked.

"Not yet."

The three girls filed through the doorway.

"Um… it's a dead end." Mizue said.

"I was sure this was the right way." Tiffany said, leaning against the wall.

The door closed, causing a brief panic until Stacy spoke up. "Hey, the room's moving. Maybe it's an elevator."

"The buttons are weird, then." Mizue said.

"What do you mean?"


Mizue pointed to where Tiffany was leaning. Rather than a grid of round or square buttons, the panel was a solid rectangle of variously shaped and sized buttons.

"How can anyone use that?" Stacy asked.

Mizue shrugged. "Maybe that's the point. To make it hard for intruders."

"Isn't that bad for us?"

"Depends on Tiffany's luck."

Tiffany was patting her pockets. "I'm out of lipstick."

"There's more with the packs." Mizue reminded her.

The elevator came to a stop. The doors opened and Mizue peeked around the edge. Tiffany simply walked out, followed by Stacy. Mizue shrugged and followed.

A short distance ahead was a cross-corridor. Loud male voices were engaged in an argument a short distance down one branch.

"Look, I can't give you anything until you fill out requisition form 29B/1919."

"But that thing is twelve pages long!"

"In triplicate too. Press hard."

"I just need a shirt!"

"No kidding. Fill out the form and you'll get the shirt."

"I'll die of a cold by the time I get the form filled out!"

Mizue and Stacy looked at each other.

"Sounds like a supply clerk," Mizue whispered. "Maybe our stuff's in the storage room."

"Should we check?" Stacy asked.

"Yeah, there's only two of them. Tiffany…" Mizue looked around. "Wait, where's Tiffany?"

Tiffany's voice came from around the corner. "I need a mirror. And, like, some lipstick."

"Do you have form 29B/1919?" The first voice asked.

"Hey… you're one of those magical girls!" the second voice shouted in panic.

"Stacy, quick!" Mizue pushed Stacy forward.

"Right!" Stacy started to run, and turned the corner only to run right into a man running the other way.


"Oh, I'm sorry. Oh… wait…" The impact had knocked the man against the wall, and he currently lay unconscious, slumped against it.

"Look, If you don't have the form, you don't get the supplies." The remaining man said.

"Your pendant is really shiny." Tiffany grabbed a large silver pendant the clerk was wearing, trying to check her reflection.

"Hey, stop that!"

Stacy jogged the short distance to the end of the hall and tried to gently nudge Tiffany out of the way. "Um… excuse me. We need to get our packs." Stacy said.

"Do you have…" the clerk started to ask, but was interrupted by Mizue, who came up behind Stacy.

"Don't talk to him, hit him!"

Stacy shrugged and looked at the man apologetically. She then struck him on the side of the neck with her hand, saying "Chop."

"Hey!" Tiffany protested as the pendant was pulled from her hand by the man's collapse.

"Don't worry, we'll find you a real mirror now." Mizue said.

Stacy jumped over the counter and looked around the room beyond.

"Um…" Mizue said.

"Sorry." Stacy said. She opened the door next to the counter to let Mizue and Tiffany in.

"Look at all this stuff." Mizue said, gaping at the huge room. Shelves stretched off in every direction, covered with various items.

"Where do they keep the mirrors?"

"How are we going to find our stuff in all this?" Stacy asked.

"Well, if Cerinthe is here, like this…" Mizue stuck two fingers in her mouth and whistled loudly. Stacy and Tiffany quickly covered their ears.

While this was still echoing, Mizue cupped her hands over her mouth and shouted "Oy! Cerinthe!"

"No need to shout." Cerinthe said mildly from a couple aisles away.

The girls rushed to the aisles to find Cerinthe sitting calmly on top of their backpacks.

"You're safe! You had me so worried."

"I had you worried?" Cerinthe asked, hastily vacating his seat as Tiffany dug for her compact.

"You can say I told you so all you want later. Right now we should hurry."

"Where are the other two?" Cerinthe asked.

"Well… we don't know?"

"I suppose you're expecting me to find them."

Mizue shuffled her feet. "Well… um… yeah."

Cerinthe sighed. "Well, I haven't heard any explosions, so I must assume they are being effectively confined. We should look for the prisons first."

"We just came from there." Mizue said.

"This place seems really big." Stacy added.

"Perhaps there is more than one prison. It would require more personnel, however it would offer more security in the case of a breakout."

"We could be looking for ages. Maybe we should just capture someone." Mizue said.

"You already have two, if you wish to wait for their awakening." Cerinthe pointed out.

"Hey, that's right."

"However, I would suggest a simpler solution. Surely the supply depot has a map of the facilities."

"That's a great idea! Stacy, Tiffany, let's look for a map."

"Maybe it'll be at that guy's desk."

In short order they found a map.

"There's no names on here!" Mizue said.

"What do all the numbers mean?" Stacy asked.

"Mail stops, maybe."

Cerinthe coughed politely.

"What, Cerinthe?"

"If we can cross Quinn's trail, I should be able to track her. She has had a rather strong scent of matches lately. More so after using her powers. After the fight her scent should be quite noticeable still."

"You should have said so earlier! Then we wouldn't have wasted time on the map."

"On the contrary, we still require the map. We must find our way to a hallway Quinn has likely been down."

"I wonder which door we came in." Stacy said.

"Five… ten… twelve levels. Three of them have doors leading outside. Guess we'll have to figure out the elevator."

"Where are we going?"

"Anywhere's good. Guess we'll just have to keep moving until we pick up the trail."

"What about guards?" Stacy asked.

As long as we don't run into a big group we should be fine."

"Okay. Tiffany, let's go."

"Um… leave the backpack. We should move quick, and they'll just slow us down." Mizue said.

"Just a second." Tiffany said.

She set her pack on the ground and dug inside it, pulling out a purse that managed to go with her magical girl outfit. Hanging it over one shoulder, she put her mirror and some makeup in it, saying "That's better."

"Maybe we should start at the elevator." Mizue suggested, as they wandered back into the hall.

"But we don't know how it works."

"That's okay. These guys don't seem like the stairs type, and there's only one elevator on the map. Maybe they brought Quinn down in it."

"That is an excellent idea, Mizue," Cerinthe said, "But it is no longer necessary. Quinn certainly came through this hall. The scent is quite strong, as is the scent of fire-fighting chemicals."

"Is that what the purple stuff was?" Stacy asked.

Mizue shrugged. "It would explain why she couldn't use her powers. Which way do we go?"

Cerinthe sniffed around for a moment. "The elevator lies that way, so we should proceed this way first."

The girls followed Cerinthe further down the hall and around the corner. "How far away do you think they are?" Stacy asked.

"Shouldn't be very far," Mizue said, "According to the map, most of this hall is the supply depot."

"It didn't seem very big."

"We didn't go into the main warehouse."


"I'm almost out of cran-raspberry lip-gloss." Tiffany said.

"Huh?" Mizue asked.

"Maybe they have some cotton balls, too. We should go shopping after we get Quinn and Sandi." Stacy said.

"What are you two talking about?"

"You said there was a warehouse store, right?"

"There's a warehouse."

"You mean it's not a store?" Tiffany asked.


"So… it is?"

"I mean, 'no, it's not a store'."


"Shh." Cerinthe whispered.


"There's someone up ahead."

They all stood silently for a moment.

"Sounds like a guy." Mizue whispered.

"At least two," Cerinthe corrected. "In addition, we appear to be quite near Quinn. Her trail leads around the corner."

"I've got an idea. Tiffany, give me your compact." Mizue whispered.

"These colors clash with your hair."

"I don't need the makeup! Just the mirror."


Tiffany handed over her compact. Mizue knelt by the corner and slowly edged the mirror past the corner, holding it near the ground. "At least two guys. They're working on a fish tank or something."

"Let me see," Stacy whispered. "I love aquariums."

They traded places and Stacy took a look. "What kind of fish need pink water?" Stacy asked.

"How should I know? Anyway, if Quinn's trail goes past them, we need to get them before they can sound an alarm."

"The hallway is pretty long. Won't they see us coming? Maybe we can go around them." Stacy said.

Cerinthe whispered, "That may not be a wise choice. I think Quinn is in that room."


"Hey, Stacy…" Mizue smirked.


"Remember the other night, when you were telling me about your Christmas vacation last year?"

Quinn was very upset. She had woken up floating in a tank, wearing nothing but an oxygen mask. She found out quickly that she also had headphones on, when one of the guards noticed she had awakened.

"Don't try to use your power," he warned her. "The only oxygen in there is coming in through your mask. If you damage it, you'll drown or burn. The boss'll want to talk to you later on, so we're a bit busy. Just knock if you need something."

They had been ignoring her ever since. Although she was starting to get hungry, she didn't have any idea how long she had been unconscious. Luckily, whatever she was floating in wasn't water. She had been awake a while and hadn't yet turned into a prune.

She was, however, bored and angry.

Quinn was trying to figure out a way to escape when the routine outside the tank was disrupted. Quinn heard a familiar but muffled scream, then saw a familiar figure slide quickly by.

Down the hall and around the corner, Mizue had explained her idea. After convincing Tiffany that she wouldn't break a nail, they set the plan in motion.

Tiffany stood right at the corner, while Mizue and Stacy retreated back down the hallway. "Mizuniukabuawa Shield!" Mizue said.


"Sorry, Stacy. It's a habit." Mizue whispered.

Holding her hands in front of her, she formed her shield, letting it grow to roughly two feet in diameter. She knelt to place it on the ground, concave side up. "Remember, I can't hold it long once I let go. You'll want to get off as soon as you're in the room."

"Okay." Stacy jogged further down the hallway, then stopped. Turning, she set herself to start running, then hesitated. Walking back to a now confused Mizue, she asked nervously, "You're not going to pull it away, are you?"

"What? Why would I do that?"

"Well, you know… Sandi's favorite comic is Peanuts, and… oh, nevermind."


Stacy jogged back down the hallway again, and got set for her run. She sprinted down the hall to Mizue and jumped on the magically created sled, landing sitting with her legs folded under her. Mizue released the sled just as Stacy jumped, and the sled slid down the hall at high speed.

Tiffany, standing by the corner, had avoided her mirror. She held out one arm, which Stacy grabbed as she slid by. The yank knocked Tiffany off her feet, but sent Stacy around the corner and down the hall towards the tank at a slightly increased speed.

The two men guarding Quinn looked up when Stacy whooped in delight. They stared at her, stunned as she slid through the doorway. Stacy leaped to her feet and was tensing to jump off the sled when it disappeared. She barely had time for an "Eep!" before her shoes hit the ground and she went tumbling.

By the time the guards reacted, it was too late. Stacy's out of control tumble took her right over both of them, sending all three straight into the far all with a resounding crash.

Mizue ran into the room, followed much more sedately by an irate Tiffany. "Stacy, are you okay?"

"Uhh…" Stacy moaned, trying to stand but falling right back down. "Dizzy…"

"I'm sorry! I couldn't hold it any longer from back there!"

"Quinn?" Tiffany asked.

"You found her?"

"Over there."

Mizue looked up at Quinn, who was trying to pound on the walls of the tank.

"What's she doing in there?" Mizue asked.


"Ow… I think I hit my head." Stacy said, finally regaining her sense a little.

"You sure did." Mizue pointed at an indentation in the rock wall that was roughly the size and shape of the back of Stacy's head.

"Wow." After a slightly groggy moment, she added, "Is that Quinn?"

"Yeah. Are you okay?"

"I think so. We should probably get her out of there."

"Tell me, does she always have this much trouble keeping her clothes on?"

"Only since we got here. It's really strange."

"Hey..." Tiffany said, "What's this?"

Mizue and Stacy stepped over to look at the pedestal Tiffany was standing by. Mizue said, "Looks like a control panel. Maybe it controls that thing Quinn is in."

"So… will this open it?" Tiffany asked, pushing a button.


There was a click, followed by the sound of rushing water as the liquid drained from the tank. "I don't see a door or anything. I wonder how they got her in?" Mizue said.

"I can probably break it open." Stacy said.

"Are you sure Quinn would appreciate a shower of glass shards?" Cerinthe asked.

"Eep! I didn't think of that."

Inside the tank, Quinn started tapping her foot impatiently.

"Um… we should hurry." Stacy said.

"Maybe this." Tiffany pulled a lever on the panel, causing the tank walls to sink into the ground.

"Cool! I guess your luck finally kicked in." Mizue said.

"Quinn, are you okay?"

Quinn removed her mask. "I'm fine, Stacy. But this "boss" of theirs won't be when I get done with her!"

"Um… calm down, Quinn…"

"I'm wet, I'm naked, I was put in a damn fishbowl, and you want me to calm down?"

Mizue looked impressed. "Wow. I've never actually seen smoke come out of someone's ears before."

"WHAT…" Quinn shouted, shocking herself into silence by breathing out a jet of flame.

"I didn't know you could breathe fire, Quinn." Stacy said calmly, safely out of the fire's path.

"Um… me either." Quinn said, taken aback, although not nearly as much as Mizue, who had seen the flame pass inches in front of her face. "I'm just glad I didn't do that while I was in there."

After a moment, Mizue asked, "Do I still have eyebrows?"

"Hey, Quinn."

"Yeah. Mostly."

"What, Tiffany?"

"What do you mean, "Mostly"?"

"Can you use that fire breath to dry hair?" Tiffany asked.

"Don't worry, they're just singed a little." Stacy said as Mizue cautiously felt her eyebrows.

"I wouldn't want to try it, Tiffany. It might cause frizzing. But speaking of dry…"

"Well, we don't have any towels. Can't you just do the fire bath thing?"

"No! It's fireproof!"

"Well, you could use one of their coats or something." Mizue suggested, indicating the two concussed henchmen Stacy had bowled over.

"Ew! Have you smelled them? Maybe there's a bathroom nearby, or something."

"Speaking of clothes," Stacy said, "Where are yours?"

"You didn't bring them?" Quinn asked.

"I'm sorry, Quinn!"

"We didn't know you were missing them." Mizue said.

"Damn! Now what am I going to do?"

"I'll go get your backpack." Stacy said.

Before she could run off, Mizue put grabbed her arm. "Wait, we should stick together."

"But Quinn's…"

"She can wear one of their jackets or something. Right, Quinn?"

"No way! Even if they weren't smelly, they're ugly! It's not far, right? I'll just go like this. I'd rather wash before I get dressed, anyway."

The girls started off, Stacy in the lead.

"You don't mind being naked, Quinn? What if someone sees you?" She asked.

"The whole point of the Fashion Club is getting people to look at you. People can look all they want. But anyone who tries to touch is going to get burnt." Quinn punctuated this sentence by breathing another jet of flame.

"I'm really jealous," Mizue said. "You must be really confident about your appearance."

"Why shouldn't I be?"


"You look pretty good too, Mizue." Stacy said.

"You really think so?"

"Of course!"

Quinn turned a critical eye on Mizue. "Well, an extra hour a week of power yoga wouldn't hurt, but you've got most of the necessary basics."

"In here," Cerinthe said, leading the girls back into the supply room.

"Good. Now I just need a towel or something. Where's our stuff?"

"Over here." Tiffany stood by the pile of packs.

While Quinn started looking for her clothes and a towel, Mizue sidled up to Stacy. "Um…"


"Do you really think I look good?" Mizue asked, blushing.

"Sure. You're really cute, and that hair is perfect for drawing attention to your face."

"Thank you!" Mizue said happily, grabbing Stacy's arm.

"Why thank me?"

"Don't worry about it."

"Ugh! This stuff is hard to get off." Quinn was toweling herself down vigorously. "I need a regular bath this time."

While Quinn was cleaning and dressing, the other girls started looking through the shelves at the supplies. Mizue said, "Wow. Somebody has a sweet tooth."

"Did you find some candy?"

"Pocky. See?" Mizue held up a box. An entire shelf behind her, floor to ceiling, was full of identical boxes.


"It's really good. Here, try some." Mizue ripped open the box, and offered it to Stacy.


"Yeah. Looks like they've got the strawberry and almond covered ones too, but this is my favorite."

"Hmm. It's pretty good."

"Can I try?" Tiffany asked.


"I thought you were dieting." Stacy said.

"Chocolate doesn't count."


"Mmm. Can I have more?" Tiffany asked.

"There's plenty here." Mizue said. Tiffany started filling her purse with boxes. Mizue and Stacy shared a puzzled glance, then went back to Quinn.

"Are you ready to go find Sandi?" Mizue asked.

"Just about. I still need to fix my makeup and check my hair. Where did all the mirrors go?"

"Tiffany has them."

"What, all of them? I should have known. Hey, Tiffany!"

"So how can we find Sandi?" Stacy asked.

"Cerinthe, did you pick up Sandi's scent while we were looking for Quinn?"

"Unfortunately, I did not. However, her scent is somewhat difficult to distinguish in here. Of late, she has smelled of a freshly oiled gun, and there is an overabundance of oiled metal in this facility."

"Hah! Sandi smells like a gun? She'd love to hear that." Quinn said.

"Um..." Stacy started.

"We'll tell her later, Stacy," Mizue whispered. "Sometime when there's perfume around. And water. And burn ointment."

"What are you two whispering about?"

"Oh, nothing."

"Anyway, I wonder if Sandi's even on this level. There's not much room left for another cell."

"We shall likely have to attempt acquiring her trail at the elevator." Cerinthe said.

"You guys have a map? Let me see." Quinn said.

The four girls looked over the map again.

"I wonder why they didn't put any names on anything." Quinn said.

"Maybe they know who is where." Stacy suggested.

"Then why have a map at all?"

"Nothing on here looks like a prison. Where could they be keeping her?"

Tiffany pointed at the map. "Here."

The other girls stared at the location Tiffany picked out.

"Um… Why?" Mizue asked.

"It's near all these bathrooms."

"Well… it is, but so what?"

"Sandi's always looking for the bathroom."

"I noticed, but why would she have any say in where she's held prisoner?"

"She's very particular about things like that." Tiffany said.

"It's as likely a place as any," Cerinthe said, "In addition, it's not very distant. It gives us a place to start, at any rate. Unless someone has a better plan, we may as well start there as anywhere."

"Well, whatever. I just want to get moving." Quinn said, back in her full magical girl outfit. "I really want to blow something up."

"That may not be a bad idea." Cerinthe said.

"Cerinthe!" Mizue said. "When did you get so destructive?"

"If we start a fire in their warehouse, it would certainly draw attention. A large number of legionnaires would be occupied in fighting the blaze. On the other hand, it would alert them to our escape. However, they are bound to notice this sooner or later in any case."

"Sounds good to me," Quinn said, conjuring a fireball.

"Wait! Let's at least get our stuff out first." Mizue said.

"Oh, fine."

The girls gathered their stuff, as well as a few things they found on the shelves that might prove useful or were particularly cute. Quinn asked, "Who's going to carry Sandi's stuff?"

"Stacy, you said yours felt light, right?" Mizue asked.

"Sure. I'll take it, Quinn." Stacy picked up Sandi's pack and slung it over one shoulder.

As they moved out of the warehouse, Quinn asked, "Isn't that awkward?"

"Not really. I can't wear them both at once, but this'll do."

"Quinn," Mizue said, making a sweeping gesture at the doorway, "If you would do the honors."

"I'd love to."

Seeing the look in Quinn's eyes, Mizue quickly backed away from the door.

"Flame thrower!" Quinn shouted, making an elaborate gesture that ended with her arms held straight in front of her, palms out. A huge jet of flame burst outward from her palms, rushing through the door and into the piles of merchandise. In no time at all the warehouse was blazing merrily to the sound of fire alarms. The sprinklers kicked in, but didn't last very long before Quinn melted them closed.

"That should keep them busy," Quinn said. "Let's go rescue Sandi."

The girls ran towards the elevator, hiding briefly in a side corridor to let a group of minions run past.

"This is an elevator?" Quinn asked, starting at the unlabeled controls. "Which button goes where?"

"We don't know." Stacy said.

"Hey, Tiffany. Push a button. Any button." Mizue said.

"Push." Tiffany randomly poked at the panel. Soft music started playing, although it sounded like the kind of music meant to be played quite loudly.

"Brittany?" Quinn asked.

"I hope not. Try again, Tiffany."

"Push." This time the doors closed and the elevator started moving. The girls stood in silence at first, then Stacy started humming along with the music. Mizue had just started tapping her foot in time with the music when the elevator stopped and the doors opened. The girls found themselves looking at two very startled Legionnaires.

Without interrupting her humming, Stacy reached out and knocked their heads together. As they collapsed unconscious, Stacy giggled. "I've always wanted to do that."

As the other girls filed out into the hall, Stacy grabbed each man by an ankle and dragged them into a nearby room. Mizue said, "You're really getting the hang of your powers, Stacy."


"Or she's still tipsy from earlier." Quinn muttered.


"I didn't say anything."

"I think we go this way," Mizue said, consulting the map.

"Does it really matter?" Quinn asked as they started moving. "We don't know where Sandi is anyway."

"But I need to use the bathroom." Tiffany said.

"Amazing." Cerinthe said.


"I believe I detect Sandi's scent."

"I told you so. Near the bathrooms." Tiffany said.

"Lucky guess. Still it's a good thing. Who knows how much time we have before they start looking for us." Mizue said.

"We're getting quite close," Cerinthe said. "If you'll all wait here for a moment while I scout ahead…"

Cerinthe stealthily hopped down the corridor, soon turning down a side path. As soon as he disappeared, Tiffany said, "I'll be right back."

"Where are you going?" Quinn asked.

Tiffany pointed at a nearby door. On it was a familiar symbol.

"Oh. I bet they have big mirrors in there. Coming you two?" Quinn asked.

"I'll wait here for Cerinthe."

"Um… me too." Stacy said, before the other two girls disappeared into the bathroom.

Cerinthe soon reappeared. "She's not far. Where are the other two?"

Mizue pointed.

"I see. Well, we don't have time to wait. I overheard the guards' conversation. They discovered the breakout, and don't want you to reach Sandi. They'll be getting reinforcements in a matter of moments. We had best effect the release before they arrive."

"How are they guarding her?" Mizue asked.

"Two guards outside, one on either side of the door. Sandi is trapped in the room beyond, but I could not see how, and they didn't mention it."

"Can we sneak up?" Stacy asked.

"There isn't time. You'll just have to blitzkrieg."


"Rush them."

"Shouldn't we wait for Quinn?" Stacy asked, setting her packs down.

"We can handle two." Mizue said. Turning to Cerinthe, she added, "Lead on, MacDuff."

"I believe you will find that the correct quotation is 'lay on MacDuff'." Cerinthe said.

"Fine, whatever. Now's not the time for a classics lesson."

"I was merely…"

"Who was complaining about time?"

Cerinthe muttered and took off down the hall, Mizue and Stacy following behind. A few turnings later, Cerinthe quietly said, "Just around this corner." The hall ahead turned at a right angle.

Mizue and Cerinthe slowed down, but Stacy accelerated. "Stacy, watch out!" Mizue said.

Stacy jumped in the air and twisted, landing feet first in a crouch against the wall. Pushing off with both her hands and feet, she flew straight down the hall at the surprised minions. Stacy landed long enough to build up speed with three quick strides, then jumped again. She led with her knees, driving one into each minion's solar plexus. All three hit the wall with a thud. Stacy bounced back from the impact to land in a wary crouch, but she needn't have worried. Neither minion was in any shape to attack, not only have their breath driven out, but having hit their heads against the wall.

"Wow! That was sooo cool, Stacy!"

Stacy giggled. "Thanks. Now to open the door!"


Stacy stood up and launched a mighty kick at the door. "Stacy kick! Ow, ow, ow!"

The door wasn't much affected, but Stacy was left hopping up and down on one leg. "I was gonna say, if it can hold Sandi's blades, you probably won't be able to kick it open." Mizue said.

Still hopping, Stacy asked, "Then how do we get in?"

Mizue quickly rummaged through the minion's pockets. Holding up a key ring, she said, "With this."

"Oh." Stacy tentatively put her foot on the ground and gently put weight on it.

"Are you ready?" Mizue asked. "There might be more of them inside."

"Yeah, I think so."

Mizue unlocked the door and pulled it open a crack. The girls listened for a moment, then froze.

"Damn. There goes the camera again." A male voice from inside the room spoke.

"Your turn to replace it." Another man replied.

"Rock, paper, scissors?"

"No, I did it last time, it's your turn."

"Better give her another shock. Make it stronger, though. The electrified mesh around the camera isn't stopping her."

"Good thing the boss got this watchamacallit stuff. Kevlar."

"Not kevlar. That's for bullets. This is something else."

"What, then?"

"How am I supposed to know? I'm not a tailor."

"Yeah, I can see that."

"Wise guy. I oughta…"

"Quit stalling and replace the camera."

"Right, right."

Mizue quietly pushed the door closed. "Sounds like there's only two more. You take care of them while I cover you, okay?"

"Um… okay."

Mizue formed her bat in one hand, and studied it critically for a moment. "Times like this really make me wish I could make it look like a hammer."


"Never mind. Are you ready? Let's go."

Mizue pulled the door open, and the two girls ran in. Stacy vaulted over a desk, landing by a man sitting at a bank of controls. He barely had time to say "Who?" before Stacy clubbed him on the top of his head with both fists. He fell unconscious against the panel, his body pushing some of the buttons.

A cry of rage came from beyond the odd heavy fabric partition in the middle of the room. The second man, who was standing on a barely adequate ladder and holding a CCTV camera in both hands, was quite startled by all this and fell off the ladder, hitting his head on the way down.

"That sounds like Sandi." Stacy said.


Above the fallen minion's control panel was a bank of four monitors. One was blank, but the other three showed Sandi from different angles. From the neck down she was wrapped up like a mummy in a thick cloth, which had several large tears in it. This was in turn tied to the floor.

"Why is she wearing that ugly necklace?" Stacy asked.

Mizue giggled.

"What?" Stacy asked.

"Um… I think it's… well, my neighbors have this dog."


"Yeah. And it used to bark all day and all night and everyone in the building complained about it."

"What does that have to do with Sandi's necklace?"

"Well, to stop it barking, they got this collar. A special collar. Whenever it barked, the collar zapped the dog."

Stacy's eyes went wide. "Zap? Like, shock? Oh my god… Sandi is going to be sooooo mad."

"This looks much more powerful." Cerinthe noted calmly.

"We better turn it off."

"I can't figure out the controls. Where's Tiffany when you need her?" Mizue sighed, and hefted her bat. "Maybe this will work."

Mizue swung her bat at the console as hard as she could. The control panel deformed around it, sparking and giving off a thick, black smoke. The roaring from the other room was replaced by a string of loud, lengthy curses.

"Guess it worked." Mizue said happily, trying to fan smoke away from her face. Struck by inspiration, she morphed her bat into its shield form, which worked much better.

"Quickly, now!" Cerinthe said. "We don't want to be trapped in here when the other minions arrive.

"You worry too much, Cerinthe." Mizue said. Nevertheless, she and Stacy crossed to the far side of the room to investigate the odd curtain. They poked at it, trying to find an opening. Cerinthe moved to watch the hallway.

"What is this stuff?" Stacy asked.

"Don't know, but it's pretty heavy."

"There must be an opening somewhere."

"Ah! Here it is."

The girls pushed past the thick cloth, only to find another layer.

"Gee, how many of these are there?"

"Let's find out." Mizue said. "Oh! This one's tied together."

Mizue worked at the knots for a moment, then gave up. "Geeze. How could they get her out without cutting this open?"

"Let me see." Stacy said. She studied the knot for a moment, then said, "Wow, this is really, really good."

"What do you mean, good?" Mizue asked as Stacy started to pick at the knot. "It's a rat's nest. Like Gordo's knot."

"Gordian Knot." Cerinthe called out from the door.

"Yeah, that."

"Um… it's open."

"How did you do that?"

"Well, I used to be a Brownie…"


"Plus, I learned a lot about knots when we were working on the magic show."

"You two can talk later. We're in a bit of a hurry right now." Cerinthe said.

"Okay, okay." Mizue said, quietly adding, "Sheesh!"

The two girls pushed through, finding themselves facing yet another wall of fabric, although this one had a number of tiny holes poked in it.

"They really should take better care of these," Stacy said. "They look pretty ragged."

"I wonder how many more layers there are." Mizue said, as Stacy started working on the next knot.

Just then both girls were startled by a loud whump. The fabric ballooned out in between the girls, who fell backwards into the last fabric wall.

"I'll get you next time!" Sandi shouted.

"Sandi! It's us!" Stacy shouted.


"Yes! We're here to rescue you!"

"Oh. Well, hurry up."

"Right!" Stacy went back to working on the knot, while Mizue muttered darkly about ingratitude. Stacy quickly finished with the knot and the two girls entered the room.

"Hurry up and let me out of here," Sandi shouted, "When I get my hands on the person who thought they could dress me in bondage gear…"

"Bondage gear?" Stacy and Mizue asked in stereo.

"Never mind. Just untie me!"

Stacy knelt to work at the knots. Mizue asked, "Why don't you just cut them?"

"I tried. Whatever this stuff is, it's really hard to cut."

"They used the same knot everywhere. I'll have you out in a minute." Stacy said.

"How did you two get out?" Sandi asked. "Never mind, you can tell me later. As soon as I'm out of here, I have to find a bathroom. Then we can go rescue Quinn and Tiffany."

"We already did," Mizue said. "They're in the bathroom."

Sandi blinked in surprise. "You already rescued them?"

Stacy caught Sandi's tone. "Well, Tiffany was locked up with us, and we found Quinn by luck."

"Yeah. Tiffany's." Mizue said.

"Luck? Hmm. I suppose that is an adequate reason. I seem to be having the worst luck lately."

Mizue and Stacy unrolled Sandi from the lengths of cloth. "But in that case, why aren't they here?" Sandi asked.

"Hurry up! I can hear footsteps!" Cerinthe called out.

Mizue and Stacy each grabbed one of Sandi's arms and started to run, pulling Sandi along. "Tiffany had to use the bathroom, and Quinn wanted to check her makeup. What with being put in that tank and all." Stacy explained.


Mizue giggled. "You should have seen it. They had her floating naked in a tank of something so she couldn't use her powers."

"That does sound like something worth seeing." Sandi smiled slightly.

"I hope they got it on tape." Mizue said.

"Tape?" Stacy and Sandi asked.

"You…" Mizue started, but was interrupted by Quinn coming out of the bathroom.

"Where did you two run off to?" Quinn asked. "Oh, hi, Sandi!"

"We had to get Sandi." Stacy said as they stopped.

"Reunion later.' Sandi said, pushing past Quinn and in to the bathroom.

"Cerinthe said the guards were getting reinforcements, so we had to move quick."

"It sounds like they're coming this way." Cerinthe said.

The girls stood still and listened. They could just make out the tramp of many platform shoes.

"Um… maybe we should hide." Mizue said.

The three girls quickly retreated to the bathroom, where Tiffany was brushing her hair in front of the mirror. She noticed their entrance in the reflection, and turned around.

"Quinn, do you have any eyeliner?"

"Oh, right. Here."

The sound of people running passed by the door.

"They'll be in quite the panic soon," Cerinthe noted. "Perhaps we should use this time for further planning."

"Okay!" Mizue said. "Where'd I put that map? Ah, here it is."

"Where do we go to find this guy?" Quinn asked.

"I don't know. He wasn't in the jail with us." Mizue said.

"Maybe Tiffany can find him." Stacy suggested.

"If I might interrupt, it seems likely that he will be moved soon. The Legionnaires know what we are after, and they certainly know we have escaped. The question isn't "where is he," but rather "Where will he be next?""

"Okay, so where will he be next?" Quinn asked.

"If I might study the map?"

Mizue spread the map out on the floor. While Cerinthe hopped around looking at it, Sandi joined the other girls. She asked, "What's going on?"

Cerinthe looked up at her. "It sounds like they are searching for us. I wonder if they'll be thorough enough to look in here."

Sandi formed a naginata and said, "I hope they do. I have something to… discuss with them."

"We're trying to figure out where to go next, Sandi." Stacy said.

"Then why is Kermit the one with the map?"

"Because I am the one best suited for developing a solution to our present dilemma."

"Are you saying that you're smarter than I am?"

"Are you suggesting that I am not?"

"Um… guys… they're outside the door." Stacy said in a loud whisper.

Sandi and Cerinthe glared at each other while the footsteps moved down the hall again. As soon as it quieted down, Cerinthe spoke up again. "Most villains are traditionalists. You four obviously know little about the traditions of this world. Therefore, I should have the best idea of what they will do next."

"Why not Mizue?" Stacy asked.

"Although her knowledge of her rivals, the magical girls, is quite extensive, she has been far less interested in studying her plentiful potential opponents."

Mizue shrugged. "Most villains are so boring. And they have so little fashion sense. All that black and cloaks and really big shoulder pads."

"So what traditions are we talking about?" Sandi asked.

"If you will allow me a moment." Cerinthe returned his attention to the map. After a moment, he pointed to the map and said, "Ah, see this? The lowest level here looks like a traditional evil overlord underground throne room."

"A traditional…" Sandi started.

Cerinthe interrupted her. "Yes, yes. You needn't repeat it."

"But it isn't the lowest level. See, there's more under it." Sandi pointed out.

"Housekeeping." Cerinthe said dismissively. "It doesn't count. It's only located there because of the laundry and garbage chutes."

"So… what about the throne room?" Mizue asked.

"I think Versache will be transferred there. The throne room is always the most heavily guarded area. And see this anteroom? It's the only way to the throne room, so they can set up an effective ambush."

"But won't they, like, be expecting us?" Quinn asked.

"Of course."

"Wait… I'm confused." Stacy said. "If they know that we know, won't they go somewhere else?"

"But we know that they know that we know, and they probably know that, so…" Mizue started.

Cerinthe interrupted her. "Before someone does damage to themselves, allow me to explain. The Final Showdown is traditional. They want to take care of this, so they'll wait there because they expect us to go there."

"The final showdown?" Sandi asked doubtfully.


"I meant, that sounds stupid."

"It makes sense, Sandi." Mizue said. "We've already proven that we're dangerous to them on the loose. If they can get rid of us all at once, it'd be good for them. Besides, it means they can attack us in one big group, so they have better odds of winning."

"Then it's stupid for us to go there."

"But it's the only way we can get home." Quinn said.

"Can't we sneak around them or something?" Sandi asked.

"I'm rather sure they will watch the entrance carefully. Sneaking in is unlikely."

"Um…what about these?" Stacy pointed at the map.

"These what?"

"These laundry thingies. Can't we climb down them?"

"That's a good idea, Stacy," Quinn said. "Then we can go straight in to the throne room."

"Unfortunately, the ones near the throne room only go down. We'd have to get down to the laundry room first, and then climb up."

"Why are there laundry chutes in a throne room?" Sandi asked.

"Well, this area looks kind of like a bedroom," Mizue pointed at smaller room connected to the throne room, "There's a bathroom and a tub and everything."

"Maybe the boss sleeps there. In case of emergencies." Quinn suggested.

"But how do we get to housekeeping?" Tiffany asked from the mirror.

The other girls looked at her, startled. They hadn't realized she was paying attention. They turned to look at Cerinthe.

Cerinthe sighed. "The elevator, obviously. However, there are two problems with the idea. First, it is untraditional to make such an attack."

"So what?" Quinn asked. "If we get to avoid a fight, that's a good thing."

"For them." Sandi added.

"Which still leaves the second problem. If someone inside gives an alarm, everyone in the anteroom will come to help. You'd be caught between two forces with no way to escape."

"We could go back down the laundry chutes." Stacy said.

"What about Versache?" Cerinthe asked. "You five may be exceptionally tough, but is he?"

"We can pile up a bunch of clothes to fall on!" Stacy said. "I used to do it all the time when I was little, and slide down the stair rail into it."

"Didn't you break your arm doing that?" Sandi asked.

"Oh. Right."

"It could work," Mizue said, "But I don't know about breaking tradition like that."

"Who cares about those silly traditions? It's not like its something important, like a date." Quinn said.

"I hardly think climbing up laundry chutes is a suitable activity for the Fashion Club." Sandi said.

"You'd prefer the garbage chutes?" Mizue asked.


"I mean, at least the laundry chutes are for clothes, right? So if old, dirty clothes go down them, why can't new clean clothes go up them?"

The girls considered this for a moment. Sandi said, "Well…"

"Besides, they come out near the bathroom. We can fix our makeup and everything before we make our grand entrance." Quinn noted.

Sandi gave in with a shrug. "Well, we can at least look. If we can get up them without damaging our nails…"

"Or accessories." Tiffany interrupted.

"Or accessories," Sandi continued, "Then we can arrive fashionably late and still make a big splash."

Cerinthe finally spoke up. "The studio won't like this. I do hope that you at least have a plan for dealing with the guards."

"Beat them up." Sandi said, gathering her backpack.

"Ah, silly me. But of course." Cerinthe sighed.

"Now, Cerinthe, don't pout," Mizue said, picking him up and nuzzling him against her cheek. "You know the studios like a new twist from time to time. And we can handle anything they can throw at us. Right, Stacy?"

Slightly startled at being included, Stacy managed a surprised, "Um… right!"

"Fine, fine." Cerinthe grumped. "At least put me down so I can scout the hallway."

Mizue opened the door just enough for Cerinthe to slip out. The girls used this time for one final mirror check. After a moment, there was a soft scratching at the door. Mizue pulled it slightly open and Cerinthe hopped back in.

"The floor seems completely deserted," Cerinthe said. "They must have gathered everyone together to deal with us."

"Good," Sandi said. "That means we only need to find them once."

Cerinthe ignored her. "Still, I expected them to at least try to drive us into their trap."

"Drive?" Tiffany asked. "A ride would be nice. My feet are killing me."

"This is a different kind of drive." Mizue said.

"Guys, shall we get going?" Sandi asked. "I'd like to get home before next year."

The girls were soon back in the elevator. Sandi stared at the control panel before asking, "Which one is it?"

"We don't know." Mizue said.


"It's not like they're labeled or anything."

"I thought you said you used the elevator earlier." Sandi said.

"We got lucky, Sandi." Stacy said.

"Tiffany pushed the button." Mizue added.

"Well then, Tiffany, if you would be so kind?"

Tiffany reached for the panel.

Twenty minutes later, they were still in the elevator. The doors opened on yet another hall that wasn't where they wanted to be.

"This elevator's all wonky." Mizue complained.

"We've been to this floor before, Tiffany." Sandi said.

"But I'm marking them with lipstick, like you said." Tiffany pointed at the controls, now heavily marked with various shades of lipstick.

"Maybe there's more than one button for each floor." Quinn said.

"What would be the point of that?" Sandi asked.

"Well, it's got us confused." Mizue said.

"Perhaps the buttons for the lowest level are hidden," Cerinthe said, "Or, possibly, a key sequence is required rather than a single button."

"We'd never be able to get that right!" Mizue said.

"I do have a suggestion…" Cerinthe said.

"What?" All five girls asked at once.

"If you are determined on this laundry chute plan…" he said enquiringly. At Sandi's insistent nod he continued, "Although the throne level has an isolated chute, they all share a common terminus."

"He means they all come out in the same place." Mizue explained to their confused faces.

"So we can just slide down one chute and climb up the other!" Quinn said.

"It really is like that game." Tiffany said.

"Except you don't climb the chutes in the game." Stacy said.

"I'm not that good at sports," Mizue worried. "I wonder how hard they are to climb."

"Hmm. Perhaps we should see one of these chutes before we decide on a plan." Sandi said.

"That's a great idea, Sandi," Quinn said. "Are we near any?"

"Um… let's see." Mizue studied the map. "I think we're on this floor, so there should be some down that way."

The girls set off down the hallway, leaving the elevator behind. A short distance later, Mizue turned into a hallway lined with doors. "These should be them." Mizue said.

"Looks like a hotel." Stacy said.

Quinn opened the nearest door. "Ew! This is worse than Jamie's room."

The other girls looked over her shoulder.

"Wow, what a mess.' Mizue said.

"Mirror ball." Tiffany drawled.

"What is that smell?" Sandi asked.

"Uh, is that… stuff… on the floor supposed to be a carpet?" Stacy asked.

"I am not going in there." Sandi said.

"Maybe the other rooms will be better." Mizue suggested.

They weren't. Three rooms later, the girls started to worry. "If they're all like this, do we really want to come out in a bedroom?" Sandi asked.


"Not really."

"The leader is a girl, right? She wouldn't have a bedroom like these."

"Maybe we should come up with a different plan." Mizue suggested.

"Let's check a room at the end of the hall first." Quinn said. "Maybe one's still empty."

"Well, we're already here," Sandi said. "Might as well."

A few minutes and several doors later, Tiffany found an empty room. The girls quickly gathered inside to see the laundry chute.

"Wow," Mizue said. "I hope no-one's claustrophobic."

"That might be a little tight to climb up." Sandi said.

"It'd be easy if we had a rope." Quinn said.

"Going down, it would. Besides, we don't have any rope." Mizue said.

"Um… I saw some earlier.' Stacy said.

"Where is it?" Sandi asked.

"Um… it was in the warehouse."

"Let's go get it."

"We can't." Mizue said.

"Why not?" Sandi asked.

"Er… because I burned it." Quinn said.

"Why did you want to burn the rope?"

"Not just the rope. The whole warehouse."


"We thought it'd make a good distraction." Mizue said.

"I guess we'll just have to keep trying the elevator." Stacy shrugged.

"Perhaps not." Cerinthe said.

"What do you mean?" Mizue asked.

"If you're determined to be unconventional, there is a flashier way to go about this."

"What is it?" Sandi asked testily.

"Quinn, do you think you can produce a flame hot enough to melt rock?" Cerinthe asked.

"Gee, I don't know."

After waiting patiently for a while, Cerinthe asked, "Would you mind giving it a try?"

Quinn shrugged and summoned a corona of flame around her hand. She concentrated, changing the color of the flame from orange to blue, and then to white. Placing her palm against the wall, she leaned against it. The rock around her hand quickly started to glow. In a few moments, the rock began to run and Quinn quickly pulled her hand away, leaving a handprint melted in to the wall.

"Looks like I can."

"We'll need a larger opening than that, but it should work."

"What should work?"

"We go to the floor above the throne room and melt through the floor." Cerinthe said.

"Cool!" Mizue said.

"It is less sneaky," Cerinthe warned. "Someone is bound to notice the molten rock dripping from the ceiling. Nevertheless, if we make the entrance just behind the ambush they'll have to reorganize in a hurry. It is a better chance than a head-on assault."

"If we can find the right floor." Sandi said.

"That would be the next step, yes." Cerinthe said.

"Hey!" Mizue said.

"Hmm?" Stacy asked.

"I just remembered something. I still have some fireworks left. We can toss them down before we jump!"

"I'll provide some fireworks of my own." Quinn said.

"Burning through the floor will take a lot of energy," Cerinthe warned.

"Don't worry," Sandi said. "We're the Fashion Club. We'll figure out how to make a suitable entrance."

"Are you sure this is the right place?" Quinn asked.

Cerinthe was awkwardly marking a circle on the floor by holding a marker in his mouth. Finishing his circle, he spit out the marker and replied, "Assuming the map is correct, this should place us right behind the most likely position for an ambush in the anteroom."

"I thought we were coming out in the bathroom." Tiffany said.

"Unfortunately, there are no rooms directly above the bathroom or bedroom on this level." Cerinthe said.

"Stacy, make sure to get rid of any magnets as soon as we get down there."

"Okay, Sandi."

"It's a pretty big room, but I don't think it's big enough for those." Mizue said.

"In this situation it would make more sense to mount them above the ceiling and below the floors," Cerinthe said. "However, we did not find any up here. Perhaps they have created a new stratagem."

"What about fire extinguishers?" Quinn asked.

"I'll let you borrow my raincoat, Quinn." Stacy said.

"Thanks, but I don't think it would help much. Not to mention the smell of burning plastic."

"Can we get started already?" Sandi asked.

"As I mentioned earlier," Cerinthe said, "This will use a large amount of energy. You really should eat something before we start."

"But I'm tired of curry!" Quinn complained.

"You had four helpings last night." Mizue said.


"Pocky." Tiffany said.

"Oh, that's right! Do you still have some, Tiffany?"

"Most of it." Tiffany started to pull box after box out of her purse. She discarded about half of them, passing the rest to Quinn.

"Wow, you ate all that?" Mizue asked.

"I said chocolate doesn't count."

"Hey, this is good." Quinn said. The other girls stared at her as she chewed her way through an entire fist-full of Pocky in a few bites.

"Are you supposed to eat it all at once like that?" Stacy asked.

"Not really. At least, I've never seen anyone do that. But we are in a hurry."

Soon Tiffany's entire supply had disappeared, everyone grabbing a quick snack.

"Now I'm ready." Quinn held up a fist. A brief spark of flame coursed around it, then stopped. "Hey!" Quinn concentrated, and another spark of flame played around her hand. Growling, she tried again, this time snapping her fingers as the flames danced. A column of fire jetted down from her fist, stopping about a foot away. Quinn knelt by the circle drawn on the floor and concentrated again. The flame quickly shifted to blue, with a white core. Quinn pushed this blade into the floor, then used both hands to slowly pull it along the drawn line.

Shouts and curses could be heard from the still increasing hole.

"Sounds like you'll get your fight, Sandi." Mizue said.

"Good." Sandi said, leaning on her naginata.

"Fireworks ready!" Stacy said, finishing laying them around the circle.

Quinn had nearly completed the cut when Sandi said, "That's good enough."

"I'm almost done Sandi."

Sandi responded by stepping forward and raising her naginata. She smashed the blunt end against the floor, near the center of the circle. With a loud splintering sound a crack appeared, bridging the two ends of the cut Quinn had made. Quinn scrambled backwards as the circle of stone began to fall, only to stop about an inch lower.

The girls stared at it for a moment.

"That would have worked if you had just let me finish." Quinn said.

"Are you saying it's my fault you don't know how to cut things?"

"Where's the hole?" Tiffany asked.

"Girls!" Cerinthe shouted. "We don't have time for this. Quinn must have held the blade at an angle. However, it should be weak enough to break."

"How?" Mizue asked.

"See?" Sandi asked.

Quinn muttered in response.

"Sandi, lend Stacy your naginata." Cerinthe said.

"My what?"

"That bladed staff you made. Don't you know what it's called?"

"Actually, I was trying to make a spear. I thought this was one."

"Not exactly. In any case…"

Stacy took Sandi's naginata and repeated her performance. On the third blow the wedge of stove gave way and fell to the floor below.

"Now, Quinn!" Mizue shouted.

Quinn flicked a line of fire across the ready fuses. Stacy returned Sandi's naginata as the other girls kicked the fireworks down the hole. A series of pops, bangs, and whistles were punctuated by even heavier cursing than before.

Not even waiting for the flashes and smoke to clear, Stacy leaped down the hole shouting "Bonsai!"

"Stacy! Get back here!" Quinn shouted.

If the thuds and smacks were anything to go by, it was obvious that Stacy wasn't listening.

"We should help her…" Mizue said, after it was obvious no one else was going to.

"We should have stayed safely up here and taken them out from a distance, like we planned." Quinn said.

"I could still…" Sandi started.

"You might hit Stacy by accident. I can't even tell where she is half the time."

"Then let's go help her!" Mizue said.

"After you…" Sandi motioned towards the hole.

Mizue turned and leaped spread-eagle through the hole, like she was aiming for a belly-flop. Materializing a shield in front of herself, she shouted, "Mizuniukabuawa Body Slam!"

This was followed by several "Oof"s, a thud, and a noise that can only be described as "boing-oing-oing-oing".

Mizue shouted happily from below, "Cool! Awesome! Battle aura! Look everyone, I made a battle aura!"

Sandi, Quinn and Tiffany looked down to where Mizue was standing on a pile of prone men. Her entire body was covered by a shimmering, translucent surface much like one of her usual bubbles, only fitting skin-tight.

"This is so cool! I am so glad I ran into you guys!"

It wasn't clear whether she was talking about the Fashion Club or the guys who had accidentally contributed to her success, and she didn't get a chance to clarify. A Legionnaire who had just encountered Stacy flew into her. Mizue was staggered, and the man rebounded with the sound of a rubber ball hitting a wall to fly off in another direction.

"Sorry!" Stacy shouted.

"No problem!" Mizue responded, wading into combat herself. She wasn't very good at hand-to-hand, but her new battle aura meant she didn't really need to be. The enemy's blows had about the same effect as hitting an anvil with a rubber hammer. Her newly found bounciness left her attackers worse off than she was from their strikes.

"Guess it's our turn." Quinn said to Sandi.

"What about me?" Tiffany asked.

"You just stay here and work on your makeup or something." Sandi suggested.


Sandi and Quinn jumped down the hole and joined the fight, doing a large amount of damage in a very short time.

"Shit! There's the rest of them!" One of the Legionnaires called out.

"How rude." Tiffany said from upstairs, never looking away from her mirror.

"Fall back!" Another Legionnaire shouted. "It's time to use it!"

"Huh?" Quinn and Sandi asked.

The other Legionnaires shouted out variations on "Yes!" and "It's about time!"

While most of the Legionnaires pulled back to the far side of the room, five stood their ground in the center, forming a line between the girls and the others. Large speakers rose from the floor all along the walls, accompanied, by a thumping bass backbeat. One happened to rise right into Stacy's current flight path, and was destroyed in a shower of sparks.

"Oops! Sorry about that!" Stacy giggled, caught with one foot stuck completely through the speaker.

"Stacy, are you okay?" Mizue asked.

"Okaly dokaly!"


The speakers having completely risen, a melody - to use the term loosely - started and the five men started dancing. The girls paused to watch, except for Stacy, who woozily managed to free her leg from the speaker, breaking it apart in the process.

"What are they doing?"

"Maybe they're sick."

Then the men started singing. "Hey Sister, Go Sister, Soul Sister, Go Sister…"

Four of the girls immediately fell to their knees, clutching their heads, including Tiffany upstairs. Tiffany even dropped her compact, which slid down the side of the hole and was barely stopped by falling through by a half-melted piece of rebar.


"Make it stop!"

"La la la la la! It's not working! I can't drown them out!"

"Quick, everyone sing "Mmm Bop"!"

"Too… late…"

Mizue stared at the others for a moment. "Um… what's wrong?"

"Music… horrible, horrible music!"

"Oh." Mizue advanced on the five singers, who eyed her warily. As her approach continued, they looked more and more nervous. They tried singing even louder.

As she got within reach, they tried to run for it. Mizue reached out and slapped the one closest to her, sending her spinning and sending him staggering into his companions, who went down in a heap. The music stopped, and the other girls looked up.

"Shit!" One of the Legionnaires shouted.

"That wasn't supposed to happen!"

"Mizue…" Sandi asked.


"How did you do that?"

"Um…" Mizue shuffled her feet. "Um… well… you know…"

"You don't like disco, do you?" Sandi asked.

"Huh? No, no, that's not it!"

"Really? What is it, then?"

Mizue nervously touched the tips of her pointer fingers together, and pushed them together as she said, "I'm…"




"Tone deaf…" Mizue said quietly.

"Tone deaf?" Stacy asked.

"Yeah… Um… please don't tell anyone! You have to be able to sing to get a role these days, and I'm working really hard, and I don't sound that bad, really!"


"Honestly! My voice trainer says so! It's not just me."


"Who cares about singing?" Quinn asked. "It's a good thing you were tone deaf, or else…"

"I'm sure this is all extremely fascinating," Sandi interrupted, "But we have some business to take care of."

"Oh, right."

Up above, Tiffany was looking around for her compact

"Don't worry," Mizue said. "They won't bother us while we're talking."

The other girls stared at her. Stacy asked, "Why not?"

"Um… well, tradition." Mizue said.

"It wouldn't be polite to interrupt." One of the Legionnaires volunteered.

"Yeah. We may be evil minions, but we've got our pride."

"I can't believe someone wearing a leisure suit just said that." Sandi responded.

"Hey! We didn't say anything mean about those spangly, frilly, indecent things you girls are wearing. Leave the threads out of it."

"Like, we're the Fashion Club. How can we ignore fashion victims?"

"Alright, are you guys done talking?" Another legionnaire asked. "We can settle this by finishing the fight."

"Good idea." Sandi said, launching a pair of blades.

"Sandi! I mean… Pretty Sandi! Attack names!" Mizue shouted.

"Fine. Pretty Coquettish Slasher!"

"Shit!" Another Legionnaire shouted. "Time for our Ultimate Weapon!"

Up above, Tiffany had finally spotted her compact. She knelt by the hole and reached down to get it.

One of the Legionnaires hit a switch on the wall, shouting, "Dancing Disco Disorientation!" The floor of the room suddenly lit up with different colored squares of light every couple feet. In addition, several mirror balls hanging from the ceiling started spinning, and the lighting began to strobe and change colors.



"Wha… what's going on?"

One of the LSL muttered, "I hope none of them are color blind…"

The Fashion Club was completed disoriented by the lighting. One of Stacy's attacks clipped Quinn, who shouted "Hey, watch it!" before firing a burst of flame at what she thought was a Legionnaire. Sandi, who assumed anything attacking her was an enemy, fired back, narrowly missing Quinn but nailing Mizue in the back of the head. Mizue was knocked off of her feet, right into the arms of Stacy, who had stopped moving to try and figure out where to go next.

"Alright! It's working!" One of the LSL called.

"We got 'em now! Get 'em!"

As the LSL moved in, Tiffany finally grabbed her compact. This put her very off balance, something not helped by the shifting lights reflected upwards. "Headache…" Tiffany said, slipping. She grabbed out with both hands, one catching the compact, and the other snagging a power cable attached to the underside of the ceiling. The mounting brackets gave way with a series of pops, slowing Tiffany's fall considerably.

Tiffany hit the ground with an, "Oof!" She tried to stand up, managing to get tangled in the cable before falling over. This gave the cable one further yank, pulling the plug completely from the socket.

Immediately, all the lights in the room went out, leaving only the light shining through the hole in the ceiling. The advancing Legionnaires paused as the girls cautiously opened their eyes. One of the Legionnaires spoke. "Oh… poopy."

Omake Theater


Marinara is Watching Over Us


The shot opens on the prison cell containing Stacy, Mizue, and Tiffany.  A clapperboard is held in front of the screen for a moment.  "Prison scene, take one!" is called out, and the clapperboard is pulled out of the way.  Stacy, lying against the wall in chains, calls out quietly, "Mizue... Mizue..."
Mizue sits up, holding her head.  "Who?  Stacy?  Where are we?"
"We got caught."
"Oh, right," Mizue said, looking around.
"Listen, come over here."
Mizue drags herself over to Stacy, saying "I don't think I can walk yet."
"I can if we can get these chains off," Stacy said, rattling them.
"Wow, looks like someone has a pet elephant.  You can't break them?"
Stacy shakes her head.  "No, I can barely move."
"Then how can we get them off?"
"Look..."  Stacy closes her mouth and roots around inside for a moment, then her eyes open wide.
"What's wrong?"
"Um... I swallowed it..."

The shot opens on the room containing the tube full of fire-retardant liquid and a naked Quinn.  A clapperboard is held in front of the screen for a moment.  "Quinn's rescue scene, take three!" is called out, and the clapperboard is pulled out of the way.
Mizue, Stacy and Tiffany are standing beside the control pedestal.  Mizue says, "Looks like a control panel.  Maybe it controls that thing Quinn is in."
"So... will this open it?" Tiffany pushes a button.
All of a sudden, an agitator raises up from the floor of the tube.  It starts to spin back and forth as Quinn looks down in surprise.  In moments, Quinn is left spinning back and forth inside the tube.



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