The group of four met outside the school at the end of the day, and set out towards the arcade. Serena was overjoyed. Two new friends in one day? She could hardly believe it. They deserve to have a good first day, and I can make it happen, she thought. Everyone needs a friend! Being lonely is never fun. She was even willing to take a side trip so Lydia could pick up her new uniform, and Serena got the full story of what the morning's 'incident' had been.
"I didn't know things were so strict here," Lydia was saying, holding up her bag and pointing at her own uniform. "What's so bad about green and purple? They're lucky colors!"
"At least they could find your size," Lita said, as they approached their destination. "I'll be wearing my old one for a while, I guess."
"Oh, here we are!" Serena opened the doors to the arcade and waved her friends in. "Time for some major fun! Lita, Lydia, do you guys play videogames?"
"If there's plenty of action, I'm in," Lita grinned.
Lydia looked confused. "I can't say I've played these...'videogames' before," she said. "Didn't really have the chance back home."
"Then we can teach you!" Serena said happily. "Oh, this one's probably the easiest to pick up. Sailor V is the coolest! It's almost like she's helping the player learn."
Lydia turned to Lita. "You can go first, I think," she said. "I'll watch for a bit, see if I can learn before I try it myself."
"Sounds good to me," Lita replied, hopping into the seat and starting up the game. "Bring it on, bad guys."
The others clustered around to watch her, until Serena felt someone tap her on the shoulder. She turned around to find Tori looking at her, gesturing towards the door. There were Amy and Raye, with Luna, walking toward her. Did someone call them?
"Serena, we were supposed to meet you at your house after school," Amy said. "Did you forget?"
"I met some new friends," Serena explained, pointing towards the occupied game cabinet. "I was showing them around for a bit. Lydia's kinda quiet, but Lita's really cool! She's way better than what those rumors are saying about her. I think she's really a nice person."
At that point, Lita let out a howl of protest at the game, mashing buttons, and the others exchanged a look. Serena giggled. "Guess we're not the only ones who take our games seriously," she said. "Hey, come over and say hi!" She all but dragged her friends towards the game.
They recognized Tori first, staring intently at the ginger-haired girl next to her. "This is Lydia," Serena explained, pointing at her. "The one in the seat is Lita. They both showed up at school today, and we really hit it off. Say hi, you guys!"
"Nice to meet you," Lydia said. "Quite a city you have here. Without Serena, I'd be lost forever."
Amy looked over the girl's odd green and white uniform with the purple bow. "She said you went to our school. Where did you say you came from?"
"Oh, I'm from Ireland," Lydia stated proudly, standing up straight. "Land of green. I hate to put this away, but apparently the powers at your school frown on lucky colors."
Raye rolled her eyes. "If we're not having this meeting after all, Serena, some of us have other things we need to do," she said.
Lita rose from the game seat, stretching her arms and smiling at the girls. "Nice to meet you, and sorry I got a little too into the game back there," she said. After a moment, she noticed Luna, carried in Amy's arms, and almost ran over to go pet her. "Awww, kitty! Is she yours?"
"She's mine, actually," Serena answered, watching a happily purring Luna leaning in against Lita's hand. "Usually she's really skittish around new people, but she really seems to like you."
Before Lita could say anything else, there was a loud cheer from somewhere in the arcade. A crowd had formed near the door, and several girls were chattering in excitement to each other. Something about a champion game player.
"Oh, who's that they're all making a fuss about?" Lydia asked.
"They're talking about Game Machine Joe," Serena explained. "He comes here a lot to play the crane games, and I heard he gives his winnings to charity. That's a really nice thing to do!"
"A generous young man, indeed," Lydia added. "Wonder if he ever keeps one or two for himself."
Amy glanced at her watch, handing Luna to Serena. "I have to get going," she said. "Very nice to meet you, Lydia, Lita. I wish I could stay longer, but I have other things to get to. Hopefully we can meet again soon."
"I should get going, too," Raye said. "My chores won't do themselves, no matter how much I wish."
Tori quickly ducked over to Raye's side. "I'll keep an eye on things here," she whispered. "When you get home, can you send Keine here? I have a feeling something's going to happen."
Raye nodded, setting off after Amy and passing the message on to her. No reason that fellow soldiers shouldn't be aware, right?
In the meantime, the crowd watched as Joe made catch after catch, plush toys filling the bag he had brought with him. When it was completely full, he stopped.
"He has such incredible luck with that game," Lydia commented. "The ones he gives them to should consider themselves very lucky as well."
"Generous and cute," Lita said, a dreamy look on her face. "Wonder if he has a girlfriend."
"If he's so famous, wouldn't people be talking about that?" Lydia asked. "He's a...what do you say, celebrity, right?"
The crowd moved aside to let Joe pass, and he left the arcade with his full bag over one shoulder. Several girls made happy sounds, and others waved.
"I think I want to go talk to him," Lita said, waiting for the crowd to move a bit more before heading for the door herself. "I'd like to get to know him."
"Well, he's probably--wait, Lita, wait for me!" Serena yelled, ready to follow until she remembered the others she had come with. "Are you two coming?"
Lydia had one hand over the round locket she wore. "No, no, you go on ahead," she said. "I just remembered I have something else I have to go do. Good luck to you, though."
"I'll catch up to you guys later," Tori said. "You should hurry, or she'll get away."
Serena nodded, running for the door. "Lita, wait for me!"
"So she didn't say what was going to happen, just that she was on guard?"
"She told me to come get you and have you meet her out there," Raye said, standing in Tori's borrowed bedroom. "Two new girls showed up at her school today, and your partner was staring at one of them like she was an alien."
Keine sat up on the pillow, very alert. "The rival must be here," she said. "I should get going. Where were they?"
"The arcade, last I knew," Raye explained, opening the door. "If they left, are you able to track them like real cats?"
"I'm sure I can find her," Keine answered, hopping from her pillow and heading for the door. "After all, remember that magic smoke? I've grown used to it."
Raye continued opening doors for her, watching the cat cross the yard and dart away. "Hopefully you can catch them," she said.
If the rival is here, something awful could happen before I get there, Keine thought, running along. I hope I'm not late!