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A Ranma ½ / Slayers crossover story
By Aaron Bergman

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and all characters therein belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Slayers and all characters belong to Hajime Kanzaka, Rui Araizumi, Kadokawa Shoten, TV Tokyo, Softx, and Marubeni.

Principal Kuno was not, as some might suppose, insane.

Rather, he possessed a specialized form of sanity that honestly thought everything he did was really for the good of everyone he did it for. Haircuts for all? It made you feel like part of a group. Punishing delinquents? Why, if one child were to run amok and not be punished, ALL the children would do the same!

If the road to hell was paved with good intentions, people like Principle Kunou would be the highway maintenance crew, always ready with a "Keep Left" sign, a sadistic grin, and a new layer of asphalt…

And with his new friend to help him…

He looked down at the ballpoint pen he clutched loosely in one hand. Really, it wasn't nearly as impressive as his old scissors had been, but hadn't the famous Barber Kenneth the Lightning Trim once written that the Pen was mightier than the Shears?

He glanced up at the sky, remembering the Voice that had spoken to him as he'd lain bleeding after his son had finished. "You an' me, brudda, you an' me… togedda we's gonna teach my son a lesson he ain't neva gonna forget!"

After all, hadn't the Editor told him so?

Part the Ninth:
Old Acquaintance Should Be Forgot

Akane awoke… to a sharp poke in her side.


It nagged at her senses, not letting her get a moment's peace, making her want to…

Poke. Poke.

She rolled over, seeking an escape from the annoyance, not wanting to wake up…


"WILL YOU QUIT THAT?!?" Akane reached out and grasped the offending object, snapping it off in a fit of rage… then woke up fully when she realized that she'd driven a splinter into her thumb. She looked around her still-dark room and saw Ranma standing about six feet away, clutching one end of a staff.

"Um… Akane…"

"And WHAT are you doing in my room, Ranma?" She set the broken end of the pole to one side and started counting on her fingers. "Five… four… three…"

Ranma dropped the pole he'd used to poke Akane and waved both hands frantically. "No! Wait! I've got a good reason!"

Akane stopped counting, but didn't lower her last two fingers either. "I'm waiting to hear it…"

"I…" Ranma lowered his head. "I've… gotta go away for a while."

Akane arched one eyebrow dubiously. "And this means what to me? It isn't as if I care what happens to you." At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Ranma didn't rise to the bait, strangely enough. "I… I dunno if I'm comin' back, all right?! I just… well…" He coughed nervously and stared down at his hands. "Wanted to tell you that… I didn't really think you were THAT uncute. Um…"

Was that supposed to be a compliment? "I guess that, well, when you wanna be…" Akane felt her cheeks grow hot. "Um… where are you going?"

Rather than answering right away, Ranma looked out of Akane's open window and sighed, his face taking on a noble mien. "Y'know… Pops useta say all kinds of stuff about a 'martial artist's duty' and a 'martial artist's honor.' I thought it was all just a buncha crap until about half an hour ago. I gotta do this 'cause I gotta do this…"


"Ow ow ow ow…" Akane released his shoulders, and Ranma thought for a moment. Then, he suddenly grinned and said cockily, "I'm gonna go save the world, of course!"


Ranma dropped his grin and said seriously, "You didn't see Kuno two nights ago, Akane. He was… Evil. Wrong. I could 'feel' somethin' wrong about him…"

Akane sighed. "This isn't just because he beat you, is it?" Honestly, he's such a poor loser!

"Naw. I mean, if he'd beaten me, that'd just mean that I could train some more and get stronger, then twist him into the Samurai Pretzel he deserves to be. But he… he… he didn't even fight me, Akane! It was like… like… like that first time I fought you, remember?" Before Akane could get too angry, Ranma hurried on. "An' after swattin' me like a bug, he put the smackdown on two people that shoulda been able to cream him without raisin' a sweat!"

Akane began to see just what he was saying, but it just made her even angrier, if only for a reason she didn't want to admit… "If he's that far above you, then why are you going to challenge him again? This time, he might kill you!"

"Yeah? So? It's that duty thing I was talkin' about before. We got responsibilities ta go along with all the abilities being a martial artist. An' if I just get all scared of Kuno, what kinda martial artist does that make me?" He shook his head slowly. "Not the kind that I'd want ta take over my dojo, that's for sure."

Before Akane could say anything, Ranma jumped to the window. He gave one glance back; a glance that Akane could easily imagine was out of a bad novel where the man was trying to memorize every detail of his beloved before he went to war…

And then he leapt out the window, and was gone.


Akane looked down at the floor and saw P-chan sitting there with the same look she thought was on her face. She picked him up and cuddled him close to her chest. "I wonder… do you think he meant it, P-chan?"

Naga looked down at the burning town, her face uncharacteristically solemn. "Kodachi my dear…"

Kodachi stood beside her. "Yes, Naga my hetero life partner?"

"We will never, NEVER tell anyone the events of the last few days. It would be just too, too…"

Kodachi nodded as Naga trailed off. "Yes, I understand." She kicked at a small burning sign. "Besides, who would believe us? I mean, if what we found out down there is the real Question of Life…"

"The Universe…" Naga added.

Kodachi glared once before finishing, "…and Everything? Even if it was the real thing, what could the answer possibly be?"

"Forty-two?" They both shared a brief chuckle, and Naga picked up the small sign and brushed off the bits of dirt and soot that clung to it. "SQUAREville, population 9,000… truly, this town held a terrifying secret that is best left destroyed…"

She put the small sign in her cloak as a memento, knowing that without something to prove to herself that she had been here, she'd never believe it herself…

Loxim was starting to have doubts about the wisdom of trusting these two girls to lead him where he needed to go.

Actually, 'starting' was the wrong word. 'Continuing' might have covered it, but still wouldn't have done justice to the sheer feelings of doubt and anxiety that assailed him every time they started moving faster, shouting "It's this way! It's this way!" only to be confronted with another dead-end street.

And Loxim had the disturbing feeling that there was some subtext in the glares the two girls tossed back and forth, a feeling heightened by the rise of dark, tasty emotions inside both of them…

As has been mentioned before, the Mazoku as a race only feed on the… less noble emotions of the human race. The Mazoku as in one individual named Loxim had problems dining on those emotions, so he avoided the process unless absolutely necessary, and then he only took enough to keep the hunger down, as it were.

The emotions of these two girls, however, were almost too much to resist. It was as if another Mazoku had already nurtured these two carefully, priming them for maximum reaction and flavor…

Distracted by so many things, it wasn't too surprising that he failed to notice the magical war going on until he was practically on top of it.

"I'm sure it's right around this corner! I'm sure of it!"

Loxim raised one hand. "No! Wait!"

In defiance of all the laws of drama, Ling-Ling actually stopped before turning the corner. "What?"

Then the building fell on top of her.

And the rage, pain, and fear that both of them suddenly released in a copious flood were too much for the Mazoku to bear…

Gods are well known for possessing two things in infinite (or so near as to make no never mind) quantities.

This is not, in fact, true.

But the third isn't one they like to talk about…

The first is omnipotence, infinite strength and power. As anyone who's been on the wrong side of a plague of boils or a thunderbolt can tell you, gods have a LOT of power to toss around, and they aren't shy about doing it.

The second is omniscience, infinite knowledge, but just because they HAVE it doesn't mean they can make use of it… sure, the god may see the sparrow suffer a spontaneous cardiac arrest, but He's usually too busy to make more than a note of it and move on with something a bit more important, like forcing statues to leak perfectly useful blood.

The third (and far from the least) is omnipuerilisence, the infinite ability to act childish. A god can make a two-year old who's just been told "NO!" seem a paragon of self-restraint. A god (the real thing) is a combination Big Beard in the Sky/ Whiny Voice Around Your Knees…

Right now, the God of Order was throwing one heck of a tantrum.


Why not?" Author casually looked up from His pad of paper where He was doodling images of Order with spikes driven through His head. "A betrayal at this point is only to be expected; after all, it fits in the…"

Order leveled one finger. "Don't You dare bring up your 'Metastory', Author, I'm in no mood for it. We are GODS!" Had there been a roof above Them, it would have shook with the force of His shout. "We are not part of a Story, We are ABOVE the Story!"

'Whatever You need to believe,' Author most carefully did not say. It would be too early for the temporary pantheon that He had spent many, many years in the crafting to risk breaking it up over a petty dispute…

After all, He had an obligation to His Stories, just as the stories had an obligation to Him.

Luna gritted her teeth in rage, frustration, and pain as she barely deflected another bolt of scarlet energy from Dighe the Corrupt.

Most of the time, she could have picked up a low-level Mazoku like this one and broke it across her knee, even without calling directly upon the might of sleeping Ceipheed. Being the official Knight of Ceipheed grants one a few… perks… here and there, and those powers only added to her own natural abilities as a sorceress.

But right now, she was nursing wounds that no one around had possessed magic powerful enough to heal immediately. While Doctor Tofuu did have some unique skills that had set her to rights temporarily, he'd proscribed several days of bedrest; bedrest that had been interrupted.

Luna sincerely hoped that he hadn't been hurt when the Mazoku had attacked…

And ever-conscious of her duty, she'd set Ceipheed back into His healing sleep. He'd resisted, of course, but even if she died, He would simply move to the next vessel… as long as He weren't awake when she died.

At least, that's what she thought.

Dighe sneered at her, tentacles waving in a dizzying pattern. "Come now, is this it? No attacks? Nothing but shields, deflections, and spot-healing? This grows boring."

Then, a lance of pure black energy that assaulted Luna's senses even from a distance of five feet pierced Dighe's body. He looked down at himself for a moment in shock, then screamed in agony as half his tentacles tore away. His form shivered and wavered as he lost control of it, and he fell to the pavement in the form of a man with wings… well, wing, at least. His left arm and wing were torn away and the stumps were leaking a black mist.

Luna looked around and spotted another Mazoku, this one wrapped in a glamour. He was supporting one girl who was covered in rubble, and another was standing close behind him. Knowing that she didn't have a Dragon's chance on Wolfpack Island of being able to fight this one off, she bowed politely. "Thanks."

Suddenly, a roar sounded from where Dighe had fallen, and Luna turned around to see him standing there, still leaking black mist. From behind her, she heard the other Mazoku say, "I have no quarrel with you. Now stand aside, please."

Dighe spared a glance for his shoulder. "Tis but a scratch."

"A scratch? Your arm's off!"

"No it isn't."

"Then what the hell is it that you're leaking?"

Dighe looked again at his shoulder. "I've had worse."

"You're lying!"

Dighe motioned with his remaining hand. "Come on, ya pansy!"

The other Mazoku flashed into Luna's line of sight and another line of energy, this one much less intense, flashed into being. Dighe managed to deflect it, and the fight was on…

Until Dighe screamed again as his other arm flashed into black mist.

The other Mazoku smiled. "Victory is mine!" Then, he turned to Luna and asked, "My name is Loxim. Do you know where I could find the Restaurant of…"

"Come on!"


A lash of energy hit the side of Loxim's head, making him stagger a bit. He turned around, a ball of blackish energy dancing above his left palm. "You are indeed brave, my fellow Mazoku, but the fight is mine."

Dighe grinned. "Had enough then?"

Loxim scowled. "You stupid bastard, you haven't got any arms left!"

"Course I have!"

"Look!" Loxim pointed.

"At what? Just a flesh wound."

Another weak lash of energy dove at Loxim, who snarled out, "I'll rip off your leg if you don't stop." Another lash appeared, but this one he caught in his free hand and snarled, "RIGHT! THAT'S IT!"

He threw the ball of energy, and it did indeed take Dighe's leg. He remained standing on the other with difficulty.

"Right, I'll do you for that!!"

Loxim blinked, then said slowly "You'll… what? What are you going to do, bleed on me?"


"You're a loony…"

Dighe lunged… er… hopped for Loxim. "DIGHE THE CORRUPT ALWAYS TRIUMPHS!"

With a contemptuous, backhanded gesture, Loxim took the last leg off, and Dighe fell to the ground perfectly upright.

"Right, we'll call it a draw."

Loxim turned back to Luna, who'd been watching this with an incredulous expression on her face, and asked, "Do you know where the Restaurant of the Cat is?"

"Three blocks th't way, turn left, keep goin' til you see it on th'right."

"Thanks." Loxim turned to the two girls that he'd come with and gestured. "Let's get going."

For a moment, neither of them moved, but then Luna watched amusedly as the left one's mouth started moving soundlessly for a second. "That… was… COOL!"

The Mazoku looked uncomfortable at this sudden praise, which was no surprise to Luna. "Umm… right. Let's go."

As they walked away, Dighe shouted, "Running away, eh? You yellow bastard! Come back here, I'll… bite… your…"

Luna looked down at Dighe, grinned, and cracked her knuckles. "Time t'learn some manners… D'you feel lucky, punk?"

Amelia sat three feet from where an invisible wall prevented her from leaving the springs, rubbing her nose ruefully. "Owwie… why does this always happen to me?"

*Got me, kid.*

Amelia smacked the side of her head. "I wasn't talking to you!!" Just because she couldn't get rid of the voices (well, voice) in her head didn't mean she had to take insults from them.

"Excuse me, fair maiden…"

Amelia looked up…

And should have fallen in love.

He was tall. He was handsome. His muscular frame was contained in a blue practice outfit of some kind, and he held loosely in one hand a wooden sword. He had a shine in his eyes that made Amelia glad she was already sitting down, because it made her knees feel weak.


What was this sudden feeling of fear that came over her?

"Dost thou know any way that a noble samurai such as myself could cross this barrier?"

*Don't tell him ANYTHING!!*

Not about to mention that she agreed with the voice in her head, she looked at the warrior and said in her brightest, most absent-minded voice, "Not a clue! I wanted to get out, but…"

In a flash, the warrior suddenly slammed his wooden sword into the invisible wall. Magical energies flew up from the point of contact, both white and blue warring with each other as the warrior leaned into his blow.

Amelia jumped back. "What the…"

"I WILL take the Keys from you!!" The warrior's once-handsome face was twisted in a snarl of insane hatred. "My Master desires them, and He will have them!!"

Amelia backed away slowly, then suddenly ran away, not knowing what else she could do…

Lina tapped her foot impatiently, shifted the weight of her cloak again, and glared at Xelloss. "She isn't here yet."

"I know."

Ranma shifted the weight of his backpack, glared at Xelloss, and leaned against a nearby tree. "You said she'd meet us half an hour ago."

"I know."

Zelgadis didn't move at all. "So where is she?"

"I… DON'T… know!" All three of the people there took a step back as Xelloss got angry for the first time that they could remember. "And I'm worried, dammit!"

They could all see something else in his eyes too, something that Lina and Zelgadis didn't like remembering the last time they'd seen it glimmering in those seldom-open orbs.


Fortunately, someone chose that moment to appear out of the darkness.

"Hey, Xelchan, howya doin'?" Luna glanced around the small group and smiled. "See ya managed to get 'em all t'gether." She reached out and touched Zelgadis on the shoulder. "Gotta talk t'you." She guided him slightly away from the other three, and the two started talking in low tones.

After a moment, the two separated, and Zelgadis walked over to Lina. "I'm… going to take care of things here, Lina. Don't you worry about anything."


A second later, Gourry appeared in a cloud of dust. He faced Lina and said loudly, "I'm coming with you!"

Everyone's reactions were predictable.

Ranma couldn't care less.

Luna couldn't care less.

Xelloss just smiled.

Zelgadis couldn't care less.

Lina freaked out.

"No WAY!"

A sudden ray of light from the near-full moon struck Gourry's face, and he looked years older; a solemn warrior with lines of hardship and experience etching his face as he spoke softly and seriously. "Lina, I swore to protect you always. You can't tell me to stop doing it now."

Lina said softly, "Gourry…"

Gourry continued, just as seriously, "Besides, I can't risk letting you loose on the countryside without someone to glrg!"

Lina removed her fist from Gourry's stomach. "Fine, you can come."

Ranma shrugged. "Whatever. So, how are we leaving?"

Suddenly, a wind swept the road they were on, blowing dust up. A giant shape that glimmered golden in the moonlight settled onto the open field, and a voice that was familiar to everyone but Ranma spoke. "So, these are the people I'm carrying, Lady Luna?"

Lina spoke first. "Filia!"


Lina peered more closely at the shadow. "What's with the saddle on your back?"

Filia shifted self-consciously, trying to hide it. "Umm…"

Then Luna spoke up, earning a glance of thanks from the dragon. "We gotta get goin'." She turned back to Zelgadis. "Y'know what t'do." The chimera nodded, and Luna motioned towards the dragon. "Everyone on!"

It went without incident until…


The Mazoku shrank back a bit and smiled nervously. "Ah, hello, Filia-chan."

"DON'T 'FILIA-CHAN' ME!!!" She turned to Luna. "Do I have to carry this… this…"

"Yeah…" Luna turned to Xelloss. "Xelchan, where d'you know Filchan from?"

"Oh, here and there, here and there…."

Filia peered down at Luna. "Lady Luna, where do YOU know Xelloss from?"

Luna visibly winced at the title, then said a moment later, "Now tha'sa secret."

Xelloss whined, "Aw, c'mon, will you stop stealing my lines..?"

Lina grinned as she called down from her perch, "If you three are done down there, Lady Luna, maybe we should get moving!"

Luna glared up at her sister. "Y're never gonna let me live that down, are ya?"

Lina's grin widened. "Funny you should mention it…"

The Jusenkyo Guide never wondered how he knew the names and locations of all the pools he tended.

Sometimes, this struck him as a bit odd; it wasn't as if there were a map to have learned all the locations from, and he certainly hadn't even known were MOST of the pools were before becoming the official Guide, but…

Now that he was the Guide, he only had to look at a spring to tell what had drowned within.

Also, there was this pouch of signs that always produced the right sign for a spring whenever he reached into it.

Had the Guide before him, old… old…

What had his name been?

What was his own name, come to think of it?

That was about the point that he started to get the feeling of… disconnection, as if it would be a bad idea to think further…

And so, he was sitting, watching the pools in the setting sun, and trying very hard not to wonder about anything, just as Amelia came running down the path that led to the outside world.

"Ahh!!! Mister Gui—"

Then, the girl tripped over a rock in the path and went flying.

The Guide watched her trajectory with some interest; he made a personal bet with himself as to which spring she would fall in….

And lost as she splashed into the Spring of Drowned Water Buffalo.

He stood up and moved to the side of the spring. "Ah, too bad! You fall in…"

At that point, Amelia's head broke the surface of the water, and she glared up at the Guide as she pushed her wet hair out of her face. "Could you please give me a hand?!"

The Guide's mouth worked for a moment, then he finally managed to say, "Oh my…"

Lina loved flying.

Really, it was such a rush! The wind in her hair, the smell of the sea in her nose, the glint of the moon off the waves, the crushing pain in her arms as Ranma clenched his fists a bit tighter…

"Will you RELAX?!?"

Ranma's grip did indeed relax for a moment. "Sorry 'bout that… I hate flying; it reminds me of falling… couldn't we just've SWAM through the ocean?"

Luna shouted from her position at the front of the five-person saddle, "Naw! We've got no time!"

Lina grinned again. "Sure thing, Lady Luna! Now, where are we going?"

"T'visit Grandma!"

Lina slumped down in her saddle. "Aw, man…"

Gourry turned around and looked down at her. "I didn't know you had a grandma, Lina."

Lina waved her hand irritably. "Everybody has a grandmother, melon-brain!" Xelloss cleared his throat, and Lina added, "Well, almost everybody. It's just that… well…"


Lina muttered, "Shpnchsm'…"

Gourry leaned closer. "What?"


"I can't hear you…"

"SHE PINCHES MY CHEEKS!!!" Gourry reeled back at the sudden shout, and Luna barely managed to grab him before he fell off. Unnoticing, Lina went on, "I hate it I hate it I hate it!!! I'm not a little kid…"

Ranma patted her head. "Of course you're not…" he said with a silly grin.

He almost lost that arm as Lina grabbed it and started pulling. "OWOWOW!!"

Xelloss said, "Come on, this is no time to be rough-housing around!"

Luna shouted, "Yeah, stop it or I'll turn this dragon aroun' right NOW! I mean it!"

Gourry asked, "Are we there yet?"

"No," Luna said, trying hard not to sound angry.

"Oh." After pondering this for a moment, Gourry asked again, "Are we there yet?"


With a sadistic grin (does he have another kind?) Xelloss started singing, "This is the song that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends! Some people started singin' it, not knowin' what it was, and soon they couldn't stop, simply because…"

"Are we there yet?"


Zelgadis sighed as he stopped in front of the Restaurant of the Cat.

It was all well fine and good of Xelloss to have said to meet two little girls that would show up soon, gather the best warriors of this small town (and there were more than a few, he had to admit) and bring them to someplace called Jusenkyo, but…

The only person that he knew in town was Ryouga.

Amelia had disappeared who-knows where, and the rest of their small group had left just an hour ago a-dragonback.

No one around, no one that he had to depend upon, no one to depend upon him…

It felt good.

REAL good.


For a fleeting moment, he seriously considered just… walking away.

After all, this land was filled with magical treasures; he could spend the next few years seeking out a cure and quite possibly find it.

But then, on the other hand, there was his promise to Xelloss. And if the Mazoku had been serious about what might happen…

His resolve firmed, he nodded and pushed open the door…

Into madness.

Loxim, the Mazoku from the Millennium Balton, was standing nearby. Well, Loxim had a glamour over him, but that was nothing to his chimera senses. The lady who ran the restaurant was buried under the attention of two young girls, and Xellos's words flashed through his memory. "What I need you to do is go with two little girls that will show up soon…"

Zelgadis put his hands together and sighed. "Well, I guess I have no choice now…"

He strode forward to do his duty and fulfill the promise he had made to Xelloss and Luna.

Strangely enough, that felt good too.

The mighty Lord Dynast Grauscherra was seriously contemplating the mass destruction of all his incompetent minions simply for the dubious pleasure of starting over from the beginning, and doing it RIGHT this time!

First, there had been the total failure of ANY Mazoku to pierce the barrier around the puny Human village from whence had come the warriors who had humiliated him (HIM! Dynast of the North!) and then managed to flee.

Fine. He could accept that there were magicks out there that only time and long, long effort could pierce; when they had to be, Mazoku were the most patient beings in the universe.

Second, there came the total disarray of his forces from someplace called the 'Scent' castle. Or… something like that, at least…

Fine. He could even accept that some powers were beyond his minions. Of course, HE could have taken the field at any time and crushed his foes like the insects they were, but THAT'S what minions were for. He had better things to do…

Now, in a seemingly minor side note to the whole thing, but one that Dynast had the nagging feeling was far more important than it seemed, the power he had granted Dighe had returned to him. Which meant, of course, that he was dead.

Couldn't ANYBODY do ANYTHING right around here?!

It was at that point that he received a Holy Mission from God.

Well, the Lord of Nightmares at least, which made Dynast shake in rage and fall to his knees in worship at the same time.

Most beings venerate their Creator, sending praise and worship in abundance as a gesture of thanks or fear.

Out of those two, the Mazoku only felt fear.

You see, they have against their creator a few… grudges (to put it mildly), for what they considered very good reasons. First and foremost was the fact that they even EXISTED at all. Your average Mazoku hated everything, himself first and foremost, and the self-hatred only increased the more power that he obtained.

Of course, they didn't look at it that way, but if it barks and sheds fur all over the furniture and humps your buddy's leg…

dynast grauscherra

"Yes, Lord?"

I have a duty for you

"What is it, Lord?"

you must pierce the barrier around the springs of jusenkyo

Dynast considered that for a moment. "But Lord, what ARE the springs of…"


Lord Dynast Grauscherra, one of the most powerful beings on the world, was driven against the floor by the force of his Creator's anger. "I… will… obey…"


After a moment, the pressure started to lift, but just when Dynast was raising himself off the floor, he was pushed down again.

do not fail me

Then, he was released, and he lay on the ground for a moment before standing. He glared at the sky for a moment, then called to his general.

He had orders to give.

Jenni, Kawaii Incarnate, looked over at Her sister/daughter. "Are You sure that was the right thing to do? It wasn't… very nice. Couldn't You have simply broken the barrier Yourself? It is Your dimension, after all…"

The Sea of Chaos sighed deeply. "It… isn't possible. That area belonged to Jusenkyo, and if I broke the barrier Myself, it would leave Me exposed to the being that stole Jusenkyo's power. I must conserve Myself for the battle against Him…

Then, She rubbed Her hands together. "This way, I will weaken Him and keep Myself strong. When the time for confrontation comes, I will crush the being that dared to steal My roommate's power and kill Him. Then, vengeance will be Mine."


*Are you all right?*

Amelia rubbed her nose. "I think so… but being dunked in that spring must've given me a cold…"


"Now, are YOU all right?"

*I suppose so… maybe I'm linked more strongly to you than I thought…*

Naga sat at the bar, lost in thought, nursing a tall beer. Finally, she said, "Well…"

Kodachi set down her mug of apple juice and said at the same time, "You know…"

They both looked at each other for a moment, then both said in chorus, "You first."

Naga chuckled and waved one hand. "Fine, then. I think that we are on the mainland somehow."

Kodachi nodded. "Yes, I would say that the… town… somehow brought us to the mainland. But how?"

Naga shook her head. "Why, it's no mystery; magic does things that not even one as experienced and powerful as I can…"

Suddenly, the front door to the inn banged open, and a woman's voice said angrily, "Okay, we'll stop f'TWENTY minutes, but that's IT!!"

Kodachi didn't even bother to turn towards the door, but a few seconds later, she heard Naga gasp. "It's… Ranma-sama!"

"WHAT?!" Kodachi turned to look for herself, suddenly joyful at the prospect of seeing her love, but as she looked at the doorway all that joy turned to hate. Her hands hooked into talons as she spat, "What is SHE doing here?!?!"

For standing in the doorway, shaking water from her hair, was that despicable wench, that foul stealer of Ranma's name, the pig-tailed girl! "You're DELUDED if you think that's Ranma, dear heart! That foul… woman has dared to sully the name of fair, fair Ranma, and she must pay for it!!"

Kodachi stood up, fully intent upon making the girl pay right then and there, but she felt a hand upon her arm. Looking down at Naga, who was still seated, she said, "Let me go!"

"No. I have never seen Ranma-sama before, but I knew that I would know him the moment I saw him. That is the love of my life, and I will greet him with the token of my love." Naga reached into her cloak and removed a white rose.

Kodachi hissed, "Have you gone mad?! That's a woman, just in case you haven't noticed!"

Naga said airily, "A minor setback. RANMA-SAMA! OHO HO HO HO!"

Not one to be left behind, Kodachi leapt into the air with a shout of, "PIGTAILED GIRL, PREPARE TO DIE!!!!"

To say that Ranma had not been expecting something like this right now would have been an understatement. To say that she'd sooner have expected Genma to bust down the door and say, "Ranma, I'm not your real father. You see, there once was a mighty samurai named Anakin Skywalker. I was a friend to him…" would…

Well, it would have been an understatement too, because there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to cover the sheer shock of two leather-clad women bounding towards him, one wanting to kill him, one wanting to… well, you know… aside from one simple exclamation:



To be continued.

Author's notes: I'm sorry I didn't write the Naga/Kodachi side story, but… hey, you can't have everything… I tried writing it, really! But it just didn't come together like I wanted. Oh well, I'll try writing it some other day, I suppose!

I can't think of anything else that might need explaining. Sorry.

Aaron Bergman

Part 10
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