Kim dodged a kick from Mai, countering with a quick triple palm strike, then jumped and flipped over Mai, grabbing her in an arm bar and forcing her to her knees, all while struggling to maintain her own footing on the twisting, undulating moonserpent. "Listen, you!" she snapped. "In case you didn't notice, we're on a flying death snake, a fall from this height could kill either one of us, and somehow or another we've gotta get those three Dragonballs out of this thing or everything we've been through today was for nothing! Now do you wanna keep fighting, or do we work together to get the Dragonballs back?"
Mai stopped struggling and inclined her head. "You're right," she said. Kim released her, and Mai stood, swaying, her hair blowing in the wind from the beast's wings. "So, how do you propose we remove the Dragonballs from this serpent?"
"First, give me the Monkey Crystal," Kim said, holding out her hand. "I don't want it getting lost in all this."
Mai frowned, taking the Two-Banana Crystal from her pouch. "This? The fake Dragonball?"
"It's not a Dragonball, but it's every bit as important and it's the thing my friends and I came here looking for," Kim said. "The main reason we teamed up with Bulma and her group is because our tracker and her Dragon Radar can't tell these crystals apart from Dragonballs."
"I see," Mai said, stroking her chin. "So the other Dragonballs we were detecting from Bulma's group—"
"The other Rainbow Monkey Crystals we've collected," Kim said. "And before you ask, no, they don't do the same thing the Dragonballs do. They're not even all here on this world." She swiftly pocketed the Crystal.
"I see," Mai said. "And yet you say they're important?"
"We need them to save the world I come from," Kim said. "They're the only way to stop a rampaging demon from destroying everything. That's all you need to know."
Mai nodded. "I can believe that," she said. "Now, what do we do about the Dragonballs here?"
Kim looked up and down the sinewy body of the serpent. "I can...I can only think of one way," she said, her face twisting in a grimace of disgust. "Do you think you can tick this thing off enough to bring it down to the ground?"
Mai flicked the safety on her submachine gun. "I can try," she said.
"Do it, but be careful where you aim," Kim said. Swallowing, she added, "I'm going in." And with that, she darted up the length of the snake's twisting, weaving body, grabbed hold of its snout, flipped down and over, and threw herself straight down its throat.
* * * * *
The unstable ground made the mad scramble for the remaining Dragonballs more treacherous, but for Bulma's party, the real danger turned out to be each other. Pilaf and Shuu simply weren't agile enough or nimble enough to pose any real threat, while the sheer number of people on Bulma's side kept getting in each other's way as they raced to salvage the Dragonballs, which were in serious danger of falling down the prism moonserpent's exit tunnel.
"SHUU! YOU IDIOT! GET THOSE DRAGONBALLS!"
"RON! WATCH IT, YOU KLUTZ!"
"OOLONG, TURN INTO SOMETHING USEFUL, YOU LAZY PIG!"
"JACO, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE HERE WHO CAN FLY, HURRY AFTER THAT MOONSERPENT!"
"WHEE, YELLING IS FUN!!"
A Dragonball rolled across the ground, knocked by many shuffling feet. Tights and Pilaf both made for it. Just as Pilaf was about to reach it, Tights hauled him up by his collar and, with a fierce shout, hurled him across the desert, then scooped up the Dragonball and tucked it down her shirt. Shuu jumped at her, his shortsword drawn, and slashed, cutting the front of her shirt and splitting it open. Tights shrieked, covering herself with one arm and opening fire on Shuu with the other. The Dragonball rolled down her stomach and bounced across the ground; Twilight dived in and scooped it up, juggling it for a moment before tossing it in Bulma's general direction. Bulma caught it and added it to her pouch just as Sonata skipped over to her with the other two.
"Okay, that's all of them," Bulma said. She frowned. "Oneesan, a woman your age shouldn't be wearing underwear like that!"
"Keep your nose out of my bra, Bulma!" Tights retorted, pulling a face and sticking her tongue out.
"Wow. Don't hear that every day," Ron commented, face red. The others all laughed, snickered, facepalmed, or groaned.
"HEY!" Pilaf cried, running back onto the scene and flailing his stubby arms. "WE'RE NOT DONE HERE! GIVE THOSE BACK RIGHT NOW!"
Roshi blurred behind Pilaf and cold-cocked him with his staff, then blurred behind Shuu, hauled him over his shoulder, and threw him in Pilaf's direction. "Say goodnight, boys," he said. He then looked over at Tights and raised an eyebrow, a thin trickle of blood rolling down from his nose. "Well now," he said. "You're Bulma's sister alright..."
Tights shot him in the face, and he laid down for a little nap.
* * * * *
"Oh, this is so gorchy," Kim grumbled as she crawled along the snake's innards. Her flashlight shone off slimy things she'd have nightmares about forever as she searched for the Dragonballs. Outside, she could faintly hear Mai's machine gun biting into the snake's scales just behind the head. She quickened her pace. "Shoot the wings, you stupid—"
The snake lurched violently, and Kim nearly lost her flashlight. She flipped end over end, brushing up against the grotesque muscles of the serpent's tract, and fought to keep her lunch down as she pulled a handkerchief out of one of her pouches and tied it around her nose, tightening it.
After what felt like an eternity, she finally found the Dragonballs, clustered together in a thick knot of earthen detritus that had partially clogged the serpent's tract. Squirming her way through the squeezing mass of muscles, Kim pocketed the slippery, slimy Dragonballs, then reversed course and pushed her way back up, fighting the pressure of powerful digestive muscles trying to crush her and force her through the snake's body. The beast's constant lurching and twisting around in midair wasn't making things any easier for her, and she found her own flexibility pushed to the limit.
With difficulty, she made it back into the serpent's mouth. She could only just catch thin glimpses of the night sky outside, whirling and spiralling as the snake thrashed and writhed. "I need to make this snake open wide," she muttered. Frowning, she pulled out the handgun Tights had given her. With determination, she aimed at the softest-looking spot she could find on the roof of its mouth and fired twice.
The mouth dropped open as the serpent let out an unholy screech. The sky outside jumped suddenly as the feeling of being on a rollercoaster plummeting to the ground seized Kim's stomach and dragged it up into her throat. The serpent's screech abruptly trailed off into a gurgling death rattle. Eyes wide with alarm and horror, Kim made a headlong dash for the open mouth and jumped out.
It took a few seconds for it to register that she was still way too far up, and had no means of slowing her descent. "Oh no," she muttered.
The hawk pendant around her neck suddenly gave off a piercing shriek and emitted a brilliant golden glow which spread out around Kim, covering her in a ghostly golden aura. Her eyes lit up with a golden flash, and a strange calm settled over her. She spread her arms wide, and etheral hawk wings formed, stretching from her arms to her hips. She pulled into a smooth, even glide, soaring through the night sky.
She spotted Mai flailing around on the back of the serpent, which despite being dead was still thrashing and twisting even as it fell. She swooped around and dived low. "GRAB ON!" she yelled. Mai jumped off the snake and grabbed hold of Kim's legs, holding on for dear life. Wobbling slightly, Kim righted her course and circled, gliding gently toward the ground. Below, she could see her friends looking up at her in amazement. As she neared the ground, Mai let go and rushed over to Pilaf and Shuu. Kim landed, stumbling slightly. Her etheral wings vanished, and the golden glow receded into the pendant before fading away entirely.
Nobody spoke for a long moment.
"Wow," Tights said. "That was pretty cool."
"How'd you do that?" Bulma wondered.
"I don't know," Kim said, blinking. "I..." She looked down at her pendant, fingering it. "This must be what those guys from the other world were talking about," she mused.
Ron gaped, looking down at his own wolf pendant. "Wait, you mean those hair metal dudes actually gave us magic 80s music powers?!"
"Apparently," Kim said. She looked around. "So, uhh...are we done here?"
Mai's machine gun clicked loudly in the silence. Everyone turned to see her aiming at them with steely determination.
"I've been through too much tonight," she said. "You're not leaving here with those Dragonballs."
Kim sighed. "Look...Mai, was it? What is it your boss wants with the Dragonballs?"
"That doesn't concern you," Mai said.
"Yeah, it kinda does," Bulma said. "If Pilaf wants to waste a wish on ruling the world or a pile of money or fancy castles or something like that, what we need them for is a little more important!"
"Mai," Kim said calmly, motioning for Bulma to be quiet. "We just went through something really messed up together. I think that deserves a level of respect between us, right?"
Mai frowned, but nodded slightly, lowering the muzzle of her gun a fraction.
"Your boss...he wants the Dragonballs for his own glory, right?"
Mai sighed. "Yes," she admitted.
Kim looked Mai directly in the eyes. "These people, they need the Dragonballs to bring a friend of theirs back to life," she said. "And...from what they've told me, this friend of theirs is the only thing standing between this entire world—which includes you and your boss and dog-boy there—and total annihilation."
Mai frowned, brow furrowing in thought. She looked at Bulma. "Son Goku...is dead?" she asked.
"Yes," Bulma said sadly.
Mai glanced over at the still-unconscious Pilaf and the glazed-eyed Shuu, then back to Bulma. "What...what killed him? What finally managed to kill him?"
"His brother," Bulma said. "He died protecting the Earth from his evil brother. But there are two guys coming who are from the same planet Son-kun and his brother came from, and they're even stronger. They're going to kill everything on Earth, and Son-kun is the only one who even has a chance of stopping them."
Mai blinked. "That monkey-tailed demon boy...was an alien all along?"
"I know, right?" Bulma said, laughing softly.
Mai bit her lip indecisively. She looked Bulma's group over, then looked at Kim's sincere eyes. She looked back at Pilaf. She sighed, thumbed the safety on her gun, and shrugged. "Go," she said. "We'll...we'll definitely get the Dragonballs next time. We've waited this long, what's another year?"
Kim sighed with relief. "Thank you," she said. "You heard her, gang, let's roll."
* * * * *
The next morning, far away from the crashed airship and the desert, Kim Possible's group said their farewells to Bulma's group. "You sure you'll be okay?" Kim asked. "We can put our thing on hold a little longer to help you get that last Dragonball."
Bulma waved her off. "We'll be fine," she said. "You've got your own quest to get back to. Besides, I've narrowed the last one down to Yunzabet Heights. There's nothing out there. It'll be a quick, easy grab. I don't think we'll have to deal with Pilaf again, and if we do, we can totally handle him." She smiled. "Besides, I can always get Yamucha or Kuririn to come help out for a bit, and that's more than enough muscle for those three."
"Okay then," Kim said. "This was fun. I hope...I hope everything turns out alright."
"It will," Bulma said confidently. "I'm sure of it."
Kim looked around to Ron, Twilight, and Sonata. "Are...are we ready?" she asked.
"We're ready," Twilight said. "We've double-checked to make sure we didn't lose any Monkey Crystals during that whole mess, and I'm locked onto the next Zodiac World. We can go any time."
"Take care, you guys!" Oolong called, waving.
"Stay safe!" Roshi added.
"Right," Kim said. "Twilight? Let's go."
Twilight opened the vortex. The four teens stepped in...
A rumbling sound rushed into their ears as they landed in a dusty, musty, dark place lit by torches and thick with cobwebs and creeper vines. They landed in a tangled heap. As they began picking themselves up, Sonata let out a scream. The others followed her gaze, and found they had landed in a pit of mangled human bones.
"Oh, hell no," Ron complained, pale and wide-eyed as he scrambled at the slimy edges of the pit.
"Uhh...okay," Kim said shakily. "This is...ominous." She pulled out her grappling gun and aimed it overhead. "Grab on, everyone." She hauled them out of the pit; her grapple gave way as the ceiling crumbled, and they sprawled in a pile on the edge of the pit.
The rumbling sound grew closer. The stone walls around them were shaking, raining layers of ancient dust down on their heads.
Another sound joined the rumbling: a man's voice, screaming two words over and over again:
"BAD DAY BAD DAY BAD DAY BAD DAY BAD DAAAAAAAAAAAY!!"