A Ranma ½ / Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon crossover story
by Benjamin A. Oliver
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
[Begin Part Two.]
"…Usagi?" the black cat repeated, inching closer to the blonde girl.
Tsukino Usagi, a girl of fourteen, had but two days ago been given a magical pendant/brooch-thing, with which she could transform into the Pretty Sailor-Suited Warrior for Love and Justice, Sailor Moon.
She had already managed to repel one attack from the Dark Kingdom, ruled by the evil Queen Beryl, who was going to need either energy or some doohickey called the Ginzuishou to revive her Great Leader, Queen Metallia.
The girl with two very long blonde pigtails snored softly in her seated position on her bed. She was fully dressed for school, but had apparently slipped back into unconsciousness when she found out that she had actually gotten up early for once.
Luna stared momentarily, then groaned and leapt up on the bed. "Usagi…"
Usagi slumped backward onto the bed, her arms and hair splaying haphazardly across it.
Luna padded toward the girl's head, and placed her front paws on Usagi's face. "USAGI!" she shouted, shaking the other individual wildly.
The girl stirred, then turned aside and continued to sleep.
The cat sighed, and opened her mouth to speak—
*WARK*WARK*WARK!* [NUCLEAR LAUNCH DETECTED!!!!!!!!!!!!]
Usagi bolted upright. "Waaah!"
Luna blinked. "What was…"
*BLAAAAM!*BLAM* [Need something destroyed?! Yavolt!]
Usagi narrowed her eyes. "Shingo!" she called. "Turn the sound down on your game!"
*PTOW-TOW-TOW!* "WHAT?" her younger brother called from another room. "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"
[Need a light? …Let's buuurn!] the game's sounds continued. [Prepped and ready. Stat!]
"I SAID…" Usagi began, but broke off when she saw the clock. "AAAH! I'M GONNA BE LAAATE!!!"
With that, she rushed out of the room and down the steps.
"Usagi!" Luna called, following her. "This is very important!"
In the kitchen, Tsukino Ikuko watched patiently as her daughter snatched a piece of toast and stuffed it in her mouth.
"Mph-rphhhe!" Usagi mumbled through her stuffed mouth as she grabbed her lunch bag and ran out the door, waving goodbye.
"Bye, dear. Have a nice day," Ikuko called, not turning her attention away from whatever arcane project it was that she tinkered with on the countertop, also ignoring the talking cat…
"Usagi, wait! Come back here!" Luna called, sprinting out the open door.
Tsukino Kenji, a black-haired man sitting at the table, and appearing to be more or less on the younger side of middle age, looked up from his newspaper. "Notice anything," he began, then paused as he tried to find the right word, failing, he continued, "strange about Usagi's new pet?"
The dark-blue-haired woman sighed. "Well, it's not as bad as the Bengal Tiger she brought home when she was four."
"Right." Kenji nodded. "I've still got scars from that." He reached up and massaged his shoulder, laughing as he said, "But she was so cute, looking up with those big eyes and her arm around the hulking thing's neck… 'Daddy, look what followed me home. Can I keep it?'" He shook his head in amused remembrance.
[Ghost reportin'… You got it.]
Ikuko looked toward the stairs. "Shiiingooo! You really should be going now!"
[Nuclear Missile ready.] *WARK*WARK*WARK*
"Just let me finish this scenario, Mom!" Shingo called down.
"Save your game, honey. Remember what happened last time you were late… That maniac truant officer—"
*BLAM-blam* "Oh, come on. He wasn't that bad!"
"He drove a police car through the front door to get at you. You let that happen again, I'm taking it out of your allowance," Ikuko admonished sternly.
"Oh, alright, I'm going, I'm going!" Shingo called, appearing at the head of the steps, then muttered, "Spoilsport."
"I heard that!" Ikuko snapped.
"USAGI!" Luna called after the running girl.
"Can't," Usagi replied between panting breaths, "talk now, Luna!"
The black cat growled, then reared back on her hind legs and leapt at the back of Usagi's neck, claws extended.
*WHAM!* The sudden impact threw off the girl's already tenuous balance, sending her slamming face first into the sidewalk. She sat up and started to cry, rubbing the shallow scratches in her neck. "Waaaaaah! Why did you have to do that, Luuunaaa?"
"That's because you weren't listening," Luna hissed.
"Looks like someone missed their catnip this morning," Usagi sniffed. "Well, what is it?"
"Do you remember your mission?"
Luna made sure the pigtailed girl got a very good, up-close look at her claws. "Usagi!"
"Oh! That mission! It was," Usagi fidgeted, "to fight for love and justice against evil, just like Sailor V!"
"And???" Luna pressed.
"And," Usagi said, panicking as the claws drew closer, "what? That was it, wasn't it?"
The crescented cat cleared her throat. "You forgot about the MOON PRINCESS!!!"
Usagi frowned, then lit up in realization. "Oh! Right!" She frowned once more. "What about her?"
Luna sighed and looked at her. "I know where she is."
Far away, in the Furinkan district of the Nerima ward of that same city, a dark-haired girl in a blue school uniform looked with a raised eyebrow at her recently drenched companion.
"Do you always end up in that same dress?" Rei asked.
Ranma tugged in obvious discomfort at her beautiful white gown. "No," she muttered, "sometimes I end up in something worse, like the sailor-suit when we were sparring." She looked up at the window from which the water fell. "Couldn't you have LOOKED before dumping all that stuff on me!?"
*SPLASH!* Another bucket of water came cascading down on her.
An elderly woman wearing a huge, jeweled turban poked her head out the window and started shouting angry Arabic phrases at them, shaking her fist.
Rei sighed, shook her head, then took Ranma by the hand and started to lead her off. "Come on, let's go. We don't want to be late."
The pigtailed blonde didn't take her gaze away from the old woman. "What's she saying?"
"Enough expletives to make a Russian sailor blush," Rei replied. "It looks like Mika-san hasn't taken her pills today."
Ranma blinked. "Sorry I asked."
"She's a linguist: A very good one, but when she's in one of those moods…"
"I get the picture," the drenched Moon Princess said.
"It's none of our business, though, really. We should be at Furinkan High School by the time she starts throwing rubber chickens."
The blonde raised an eyebrow, stopping and gently pulling out of Rei's grip. "Rubber chickens?!" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
Rei nodded gravely.
Ranma grimaced. "But," she began, fingering her wet, clinging skirt. I REALLY don't want to go to school like this."
"Don't worry," the raven-haired girl said as she turned towards her and examined her with a critical eye. "The material doesn't look that thick. Your dress will probably dry off enough before we—"
Ranma scowled. "What I mean is, I don't want to go as a GIRL!"
Rei folded her arms. "You didn't seem to mind coming to my home, sparring with me, and almost getting engaged to me and my sisters as a girl."
The other girl narrowed her eyes. "Hey, I didn't want to come. My pop, the spore, had to knock me out and drag me in, if you didn't notice! And I didn't exactly have a whole lot of chance to explain, either. And I said I didn't want to go along with that whole engagement thing."
Rei closed her eyes, sighed, and held up a hand. "I'm sorry. You're right. I apologize." She looked away. "And besides," she continued pensively, "who knows how I might have acted in your place."
"So, can we go get some hot water somewhere?" Ranma asked.
Rei nodded. "There's either," she paused as she thought, "Doctor Mizuno's office or the Nerima Shrine. We don't have much time, and the temple's closer, so let's go there."
The Nerima Shrine was a peaceful, humble setting, nestled in the middle of a quiet little park.
The chirping of birds was augmented by the trickling of water from a natural spring in the center of the temple courtyard.
The priest of the shrine smiled, carefully and cheerfully sweeping the building's porch and walkways, pausing only to drop a few acorns for the resident squirrels to feed on.
The caretaker was a short man with a dark complexion. He was mostly bald, with a few grey remnants of hair at the boundary of his head. He had a short, catfish-like mustache. In his white and blue robes, the priest's wrinkled facial features reflected a profound inner peace…
The old man blinked, looking at a passerby: a rather beautiful young redheaded woman. "Hey, baby," the priest greeted cheerfully, "wanna come work at the…" He paused, thinking something over. "Oh, forget it… SWEETO!!!!"
He leapt forward, propelling himself toward the woman, his arms wide and his hands forward, then stopped as a black-haired girl stepped in his path.
The woman shrugged, and moved on.
*Thud!* The priest fell to the ground, his face red and a hand behind his head. "Ah—heheheh… Hi, Rei!"
Rei narrowed her eyes at him. "What did you think you were doing!?"
"Why," the man replied, smiling nervously, "practicing, of course… So, what brings you here? Don't you have school this morning?"
"We just came by to get some hot water," a blonde girl said. She had an 'odango' hairstyle and two pigtails which went down to her ankles. She brushed back her bangs, revealing a crescent moon marking on her forehead. Also, her long white gown was just a tad wet, and clinging to—
"Say," the priest began, glancing sideways at the girl, "who's your new friend, Rei?" He grinned, a little too deeply. "She looks really…" He paused and shook his head in a rapid motion, assuming a pious expression. "She looks like a very charming young lady."
The blonde's face fell into a pout.
"…Right," Rei said. "This is Ranma. Could you please get 'her' some hot water?"
The priest nodded. "Be back in two shakes of a squirrel's tail!" He bolted off to the temple. Two seconds later, he sprang out, holding a steaming kettle. "Good thing we had that hot water line put in. Never know when a guest might need some tea." He graciously handed the kettle to Ranma.
"Thanks," the blonde said. She held up the kettle in preparation to pour the contents over her head, but was stopped by Rei.
"A-HEM," Rei said, indicating the presence of the old man. "You don't want everyone to know about that, do you?"
Ranma frowned. "'Course not," she said.
"What is it?" the priest asked.
Rei looked at him. "Just… go inside and meditate in front of the fire for a while, okay?"
The man frowned momentarily, then smiled and shrugged. "Okay, whatever you say, Rei." He walked back into the shrine and closed the door behind him.
*ROOARR* The skies seemed to darken as a massive power struggle took place inside the temple…
The effect subsided within a few moments.
"I still don't understand how he gets past the wards all the time," Rei muttered, then turned to Ranma. "You can change back now."
"Oh, right," Ranma said, then overturned the kettle above her.
"Oh no," Luna whispered, "I've lost her!"
"Does that mean I don't get to cut class looking for her?" Usagi whined.
A very young girl in an oversized white gi, with a pink, 'rabbit-ear' odango hairstyle sat in front of a chessboard, across from a black-haired man with a mustache.
"Your move," Soun said.
"Okay," Genma whispered, staring intently at the game pieces. Suddenly, she looked up, gasped, and pointed over Soun's shoulder. "AAAH! WHAT'S THAT?!"
"Where!?" the man shouted, turning around, coming face-to-face with the most awful visage he'd ever laid eyes upon. "GAAAA-AAAH!" He fell out of his chair, onto his face.
Genma took the opportunity to rearrange the pieces on the board into a more favorable setup for her.
*POOF!* Soun looked up to see the horrific, green demon-head vanish in a puff of white smoke, replaced by a purplish-black, cat-faced balloon with an antenna, which floated back around to hover just above and behind Genma's left shoulder.
Genma chuckled slightly, which came out as a cute giggle. "Oh, sorry, Tendo. Luna-P gets into these moods sometimes."
Soun paused, then smiled, sitting back up. "Ah, of course. Like Mika-san. Now, let's get back to our game." He looked at the chessboard and frowned. "Hmm…"
"My turn!" the pink-haired girl exclaimed, moving her queen into a position that intersected her opponent's king with both of her rooks, two pawns, and one bishop. "Checkmate!"
Soun rubbed his mustache. "Wait, I distinctly remember that you were in check, and—"
*WHAM!* The Luna-P dove forward, crashing with skull-shattering force to the side of the man's head, sending him burrowing through the floor, leaving behind a plowed trench until his face and shoulders slammed through wall. Setsuna smiled slightly as she watched him slide across the front yard, ricochet off a passing car hard enough to puncture it and put a spark in its gas tank on the opposite side of the car.
*BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!!!* The car exploded in a giant red plume of fire and sent its driver sailing over the horizon, white eyes blinking as he held the steering wheel, trailing black smoke in a seated position.
On his return flight, Soun punched another hole in the wall and landed at Genma's feet, little birdies fluttering around his head.
Luna-P settled back down behind Genma.
"You were saying?" the girl asked, narrowing her eyes slightly.
Soun slowly sat up, dazed for a minute. Slowly, his vision returned to normal, allowing him to look back at his friend. "Oooo-kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, you win, I guess." He coughed. "Medic!" The man slumped onto his back.
Genma closed her eyes and smiled. "Waiwai!" she squeaked, overjoyed.
The black-haired man rubbed his head and sat up again, momentarily raising an eyebrow, then shrugged. "Oh well. My fault. Shall we play again?"
The little girl thought for a moment, frowned, then slumped forward in disappointment over the game table. "Naaah… This is boring."
Soun pursed his lips. "Would you like some hot water to change back?"
Genma sat up, paused, then nodded. "Yeah, I'd like that."
Soun nodded. "By the way, have you noticed anything," he paused, searching for the right word, "different about the way you act when you're… Well, when you're a little girl?"
The little girl in question folded her arms, narrowed her eyes at him, and pouted. "What's that supposta' mean?"
Soun's eyes widened and he frantically waved his hands around defensively, desperately wishing to avoid another concussive trip to the outside world. "I was just saying that—"
A green-haired woman carrying a bo-staff entered. Setsuna was dressed in her normal business wear. "Weather forecasts strongly suggest that there will be heavy precipitation today," she warned in a carefully controlled tone.
Genma looked up at her. "Uh, yeah, so?"
"We will need the wall fixed." Setsuna looked down at the pink-haired one with a disdainful expression, as if berating the girl for her ignorance and stupidity. "And, of course, Ranma is out there."
"So…?" Genma pressed.
The green-haired woman turned away, then paused and gazed back over her shoulder at the pink-haired girl. "I have said what needs to be said."
Soun watched as his daughter moved away in such a fashion as to make one believe she vanished before his very eyes. He looked at Genma. "She's right, you know."
"About what?" the girl asked.
"Once my HEAD recovers, the wall will need to be fixed, and if it rains before your son gets to school…"
Genma gasped as the implications hit her. "Then Ranma'd go to school as a GIRL. He'd disgrace the family name!"
Soun nodded. "Oh, the sad day when your son goes to school wearing a dress…"
Genma narrowed her eyes and stood. "Not in this lifetime." She looked at her friend. "All right, boil some water. We can't let that happen!"
Rei glanced at her watch as they approached the gates to Furinkan High. "Well, what do you know…" She showed the timepiece to Ranma. "Four minutes to spare."
"Oh, that's nice," Ranma replied, taking in the scene. He frowned. "Did I get a schedule or anything?"
Rei looked sideways at him. "You mean… Setsuna didn't give it to you?"
The raven-haired girl sighed.
"That gonna be a problem?"
Rei nodded. "Yeah, it would be," she said, "if you weren't in exactly the same class as mine."
Ranma blinked. "Huh?"
"My sister showed me your schedule earlier this morning. It looked just like the one I have."
"A little too convenient, if you ask me… I think she's planning something. Since last night, she's been even more distant than usual."
Ranma shrugged. "Eh, probably nothing I need to worry about." He grinned cockily. "I can handle anything."
Suddenly, there was the distant crash of ominous thunder. The young man looked up and noticed that the skies were getting dark. It was probably going to rain soon.
"Oh, really?" Rei asked, then pointed toward the horde of young men ahead of them, waving pitchforks, voodoo dolls, crucifixes, burning torches, and an assortment of other objects that would have had 1930’s movie monsters quaking in their boots. "How about them?"
"BURN THE WITCH!!!" the group called, their voices seething with hatred, malice, and an underlying fear.
"Them?" Ranma asked, raising an eyebrow at his companion.
Rei nodded. "Umm-hmm. I'd consider it a great personal favor if you'd please go massacre the whole lot of 'em."
"They want to burn me at the stake," Rei noted, then looked down and frowned, showing obvious signs of fatigue. "After last night, I really don't want to deal with them today."
"Why would they want to do burn you at the stake?!?!"
"It's a long story, but… You remember my ki attack?"
"It was bigger," Rei said, then sighed as the group of zealots began their advance. "Let's just leave it at that, okay?"
Ranma glanced between Rei and the mob, agape. "Isn't there some kinda law against—" he began, but broke off when the swarm was finally upon them.
"BURN THE WITCH! DESTROY THEM ALL!"
Ranma sidestepped a pitchfork-wielding High School student, only to get singed by torch. He winced, then gritted his teeth and glared at the collected group of individuals. "Awlright, you asked for it!"
*BAM*WHACK!*THWACK!*BAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAMBAAAAAAAAAM!!!!* A cloud of dust arose as Ranma proceeded to, shall we say, get medieval on the scrawny hides of the attacking group. Much of the action could not be seen, but the sounds of battle echoed across the scholastic campus, confirming the fact that it was, by any standards, one heck of a fight.
Soon, the dust cloud died down, leaving Ranma standing, red-faced, huffing and puffing over a mountain of defeated foes.
Rei watched from a short distance away. "Wow," she said, "you just beat my record by half a minute…"
"Do… Do you do this every morning?!" Ranma asked, running a hand through his bangs.
The raven-haired girl nodded. "Yeah, just about. A new experience for you?"
"Well… in the morning, yes. I thought this kind of stuff only went on during lunchtime!"
"You're thinking of Junior High. Lunch is actually pretty calm around here."
Ranma climbed off the human hill, making sure to step on as many heads as he could.
"Don't… Do not succumb to her wiles," one warned.
"Redrum," another lost soul muttered.
"Whatever," Ranma growled. "Get lost!"
One by one, the battered and beaten male students crawled out of the pile, stumbling away and groaning.
A few staggered toward Rei. "Must… destroy," they chanted.
Rei looked at them passively. "BOO!" she suddenly shouted.
"AAAH!" the small approaching group screamed, scattering. "She's a monster!!!"
Another young man, who had been watching the fight from the sidelines, approached. He carried a long, slightly curved wooden sword, and wore a white and blue cloth outfit that could be described as resembling either a priest's outfit, or, if you tilted your head and squinted for a bit, something an ancient samurai might wear.
"Hmm… Though this be madness, there is method to it," he whispered, then continued in a loud oration, "Oh, Rei, fair and beauteous sorceress, repent thy evil ways, so that I may date thee!"
Rei looked at him and narrowed her eyes. "Maybe… some other time, Tatewaki."
Ranma glanced at the last attacker to depart, then looked back at the other boy. "Who's this guy, Rei?"
The young man dressed as a samurai immediately whirled to face Ranma. "Who am I? Who am I?"
Ranma looked him in the eye. "Yeah. Who are you?"
"Wait," the other boy began, appraising Ranma for a moment, "who art thou?"
The pigtailed youth folded his arms. "I asked you first."
The other thought about this. "Quite correct… It is proper to introduce one's self…" He drew himself up to a straight posture. "Come from honored family lines, trained in the finest swordsmanship, Kendo, and experienced in the manner of the court, I am the Shooting Star, the Raging Beetle, and the Rolling Stone…"
The young man raised his wooden sword high above himself, both hands grasping the bokken as clouds began to gather in the sky. "FOR THE HONOR OF MY HOUSE, MY CLAN, MY FAMILY… I AM THE BLUE THUNDER OF FURINKAN HIGH!!!"
*BOOM!*CRASH!* Lightning flashed and thunder crashed about him for several seconds, before the effects finally died down.
He closed his eyes and held his weapon in front of him, then lowered it, placing the tip in the ground. "I am Kuno Tatewaki, age seventeen."
"That was… pointless," Ranma said, then continued with a thoughtful look, "Nice effect, though. You're going to have to teach it to me sometime." He turned to the girl beside him. "C'mon, Rei, let's go."
Rei shrugged. "Might as well."
*WHOOSH!* Within a flash, Kuno had placed the bokken at Ranma's neck, his expression suddenly turning to that of great anger. "But today, you will die, foul demon."
Ranma blinked, looking down the wooden blade aimed at him. "Where'd that come from?" He ducked a swipe.
*Riiiing!* The first bell rang, issuing a five-minute warning: ‘Get to class… or you will regret it’.
Rei sighed, shaking her head. "We don't have time for this, you two!" she yelled at them.
"I am willing to risk anything to free thee from the malevolent powers of this unholy demon, fair Rei!" Kuno proclaimed, diving in for another strike. "It is he who hast enslaved thee to his will, forcing— OOMPH!"
Ranma withdrew his fist from the kendoist's face.
Kuno Tatewaki slumped to the ground, dazed.
"Okay, that'll work," Rei said, then indicated the school. "We've only got four and a half minutes. Come on!"
"What's the big deal about being late?" Ranma wondered aloud. "I mean, what're they gonna do? Make us hold buckets outside class?"
Rei grabbed the boy by the arm and pulled him along as she rushed toward the school doors. "If only we should be so lucky…"
*Rumble* Thunder roared briefly. Ranma glanced up to see more black rain clouds gathering.
*WHAM!* The young man slammed directly into the wall by the school doors in Rei's hurry to get inside.
"You can stop delaying any time now, Odango-atama," Rei said, pulling him through the open door.
"Hey, don't call me that!" Ranma blurted out, then paused to watch the rain begin to fall. "But yeah, let's go…"
The large metal doors automatically closed behind them.
Within a few seconds, it finally began to rain, the sounds of the droplets hitting the ground echoing throughout the nearly empty school ground.
Kuno Tatewaki groaned, pushing himself off the ground. "Alas," he whispered, "the demon is too strong to face directly." He gritted his teeth and stood. "Nevertheless, I must redouble my efforts, for he has threatened to…" He paused, holding the deep bruise on his face. "He… has control over my fair Rei… and must be destroyed."
The young man trudged a few steps in the rain, walking to the wall, and leaned on it. "The cur will feel the righteous wrath of…" He sighed. "But I know nothing of him, and he has defeated me with impunity. This may be a battle even the Blue Thunder cannot win alone…"
Kuno closed his eyes, knelt down in the grass, and held his bokken in front of him. "I pray to the gods and my ancestors… There is one who threatens the will and chastity of a young maiden. There is none left to oppose this foul demon but I. My circumstances are indeed dire, for he has far more power than I, and I fear that I may not be able to defeat him. I pray to you, those that will hear me, to send me aid… I ask that… you send me someone to help and guide me through this… I wish—"
*Whump!* Suddenly, a little, pink-haired girl carrying a kettle jumped over the wall, landing on Kuno's head.
"All right," the girl muttered, looking around, "Soun-kun said he'd be here. So where is he?!"
"Ah!" Kuno exclaimed, standing. "My great ancestor, Kuno Sounkun, sends to me a sprite, to assist me in my quest against the foul spawn of the netherworld!"
The cute little girl looked down at him. "Hey! You seen Ranma?"
Kuno put away his bokken, then took the child off his head and held her before him. "Ranma, you say, young sprite? Who, or what, I pray you, is that?"
The girl didn't so much as bat an eyelash. "Ranma! Saotome Ranma. He's this boy, a little shorter than you, black hair in a pigtail, red and black Chinese outfit, or if not him, this blonde girl in a white dress with two pigtails that go down to her ankles—"
Kuno's expression focused. "Saotome is his name, then, young sprite?"
The girl nodded. "Yeah. Did he come to school? Seen 'em?"
The black-haired teenager nodded in response. "I have." He gritted his teeth. "He was with my fair Rei when—"
"He's with Rei?" The girl smiled. "Good, there's hope for it to go through after all…"
"Hope, you say?" Kuno asked. "Of what?"
"Oh, yes, how could I have missed it… Hope of freeing Rei from his clutches, so that we may be bound together forever in the holy bonds of our eternal love!"
The 'rabbit-eared' girl blinked. "Ummm… Kinda." She held up the kettle. "So, since you know where Ranma is, could you give this to 'em?"
"Ah… An artifact to bring about the destruction of that accursed Saotome… I will be honored to deliver it!" He placed the girl on the ground and took the kettle. "I thank you for your assistance, young sprite! May we meet again!"
With that, Kuno marched with determination toward the school. His purpose was clear in his mind as he banged his fist up against the massive school door. "LET ME IN!"
*WHOOOSH-KATHUNK!* A large tube descended from above, lifting him inside with gale-force suction.
"Well, that guy was a wacko," Genma muttered. "And where do people get around calling me stuff like that!? It's either 'spore,' or 'sprite,' or…" She paused, brushing some of the rainwater out of her hair. "And wouldn't you know it? I forgot to bring…"
*Poof!* Luna-P hovered in close, turning into pink, frilled umbrella, which the girl caught and opened above her head.
Genma looked up at the sturdy parasol. "Ah, Luna-P! You're the only one that understands me." She thought about that for a moment. "Well, 'cept Soun-kun, but…"
*Riiiing!* The school bell rang, signaling the beginning of class for some, and a horrible, screaming doom for everyone else.
"I should probably get back," the little girl said, then hunched over and leapt back over the school wall, and without missing a beat, started walking back to the Tendo home, her umbrella held firmly above her.
*Vroom-vroom!* There was a brief revving of an engine behind her.
Genma slowly turned around and saw something that made her gasp.
Sitting upon a Harley-Davidson motorcycle was a tall, muscular man dressed in black leather. His hair was dark brown and his eyes were covered by a pair of black sunglasses. His square-jawed expression remained motionless on his clean-shaven face. Faint red dots hued the centers of his eyes through the dark shades.
"Hello, little girl," the man said in a firm Austrian accent. He held out a hand. "Come with me if you want to live."
"Umm…" Genma started to say, then took off running in the other direction as fast as her legs would carry her, which was actually pretty fast.
*Vroom-roooom!* The man revved his motorcycle, kicking it into gear.
And the chase was on!
A man in a white lab coat stood, laughing maniacally above his equipment. The room's lighting was arranged such that everything from just below his shoulders up to the top of his head could not be seen, except for his eyes, which burned a bright blue color.
Just to his side stood a woman in a somewhat smaller lab coat. Her long hair was a very deep shade of red, as were her lips. She smiled as she observed the work being done.
The man in the pocketed white lab coat tuned his laughter down to a slight chuckle as he looked to the large beaker in front of him.
The beaker contained a reddish fluid, and what appeared to be a very large organic cell. The cell pulsated slightly.
The man took a test tube containing another reddish liquid, and slowly poured it into the beaker.
The cell began throbbing wildly, drawing in small pieces of material surrounding it. Suddenly, it gave off a bright flash.
*Crash!* All at once, the beaker shattered, leaving the fluid to pour out onto the floor.
Only a small, white, ribbed ovoid structure remained, hovering a few inches above the table where the beaker had been.
The man cupped his hands around the ovoid, examined it, then lifted his head, and let out a new peel of wide-mouthed, roaring laughter.
The red-haired woman looked on in fascination.
A student's hand shot up. "Excuse me, Tomoe-sensei. Is this going to be on the final?"
Tomoe-sensei turned toward the rest of the class, cleared his throat, and looked to his assistant. "Kaolinite…"
The woman looked at the student. "Otaku-san, I'm surprised you would ask such a question. This is a vital step in fully understanding the course."
Atsukamashii Otaku, who considered himself the most perfect, pure-hearted, and all-knowing member of class, nodded. "Okay." He began to take notes in elegantly-drawn characters, manipulating his pencil in ways that he was sure would make most deities jealous.
Kaolinite looked at him, smiled, and winked at Tomoe-sensei, who smiled very broadly in return, raising his hands in front of him and erupted into another fit of maniacal laughter.
The ovoid levitating above its broken beaker tilted in Otaku-san's direction… and floated toward his pencil.
Atsukamashii was too absorbed in his task to notice the sequence wherein the white object rotated into place, and latched onto his writing implement in a smattering of clear reddish goo. Finally, the egg absorbed into the wood and graphite structure.
A dark flash struck the room as Otaku-san's pencil tore itself from his grasp, quickly warping into a humanoid shape. Within seconds, the pencil had changed into a voluptuous woman with a black, pointy pageboy haircut, wearing a tight grey business suit and carrying a brown briefcase in her left hand. She wore a pair of round eyeglasses on her face.
She was also about eight inches tall.
Atsukamashii blinked, looking at her. "Hey… that's cute!"
"REPORTINATOR!" the tiny woman shouted, then wasted no more time and leapt into the air, keeping Otaku-san in her sight. She flung open her briefcase, sending hundreds of pencils at him, knocking him out of his seat and pinning him to the wall.
"Whoa!" Otaku-san shouted in surprise, attempting, but failing to pull out of his restraints.
The transformed pencil landed on an empty desk, lined up with her target, and placed her hands on the lapels of her suit-jacket.
*Daa-da-da-da-daaa!* Somewhere, the London Symphony Orchestra played the first few notes of the Superman movie theme as the "Reportinator" pulled her jacket fully open, revealing an orange, red, and silver leotard with a large black star covering the chest.
A flickering black beam shot out from the star, and hit directly on Otaku's chest, creating a dark energy bubble where it impacted.
Within moments, an ornate, yet jagged glowing red crystal withdrew from where the beam hit, and levitated toward the woman, who closed her jacket, and then to Kaolinite, who examined it.
"Is it…?" Tomoe-sensei asked.
The redhead frowned, looked at him, and shook her head.
"A waste of resources, then," the teacher muttered, and looked toward the motionless boy attached to the wall. "We wouldn't want to lose this source of income, so you may as well return it, Kaolinite…"
Kaolinite smiled. "Now, why would—"
Suddenly, the door was flung open as Kuno strode inside and leveled his bokken at the teaching assistant. "Unhand that boy's pure heart, foul creature!"
Kaolinite was unable to keep herself from smirking. "Oh?" She turned to the modified pencil. "Reportinator…"
Reportinator nodded, and with an attack cry, leapt toward Kuno, her briefcase ready for another strike.
Kuno also dove forward, swinging his bokken at the creature.
*THWACK!* The boy's blow struck long before the small woman had a chance to fire off any pencils.
Kuno swung around, then raised his wooden sword above him, and slashed down at the Reportinator, a thick bolt of blue lightning trailing his weapon.
*SMASSSSZZZZZZZZT!* Kuno's strike connected straight-on.
"LOVELY!!!" Reportinator shouted, before flickering and vanishing, leaving behind a small orange pencil, which clattered down onto Otaku-san's desk.
The white, lined egg squeezed out of the pencil, fell onto the desk, and broke in half.
*SCREAAAAOWWW!!!* A black shadow clawed its way out of the shattered ovoid, screamed, and dissipated into the air.
Atsukamashii's restraints vanished, leaving him to slump to the floor.
Kuno turned back toward Kaolinite. "Return that crystal to its owner, demon-spawn!"
The red-haired woman smiled at the boy's brave stupidity at destroying the weak creation. "Well… alright. Just this once."
She tossed the heart crystal over to the prone Otaku-san, where it slipped silently into him. In a moment, he sat up, looked around, and stumbled over to his desk, groaning and muttering something about "the third time this week."
"Now, depart, foul witch!" Kuno spat.
Kaolinite laughed, her long hair extending and wrapping around him, picking him up and flinging him into a wall. "You're a cute kid, you know that?" She laughed again, then shook her head and disappeared, leaving her white labcoat to float to the ground.
Slowly, Kuno pulled himself out of the wall. "Truly, her spirit has fire within it," he whispered, somewhat dazed. "I… I would date with you, fair…" He trailed off, shaking his head in a valiant effort to clear it.
Naturally, Tomoe-sensei laughed at this.
Rei glanced to the other attentive students, then leaned over to whisper to Ranma, "Did you get all that? They're going to test us on it later."
"ZZzzzzz," Ranma snored in return, his arms folded and his eyes closed.
"Ranma," the raven-haired girl whispered urgently, "this isn't a good time for that."
At the mention of the name 'Ranma,' Kuno looked around and spotted his nemesis. "SAOTOME!" he bellowed in anger.
Ranma bolted upright. "Huh??? I was listening! Really!"
"SAOTOME," Kuno repeated, "I WILL RID THIS WORLD OF YOUR MALEVOLENT PRESENCE NOW AND FOREVER!!!"
Ranma leapt out of his desk and landed in front of the bokken-wielding boy in a ready combat stance. "All right, so ya still wanna fight, huh? No problem!"
Rei stood, glaring at him. "Sit down, Ranma!"
Kuno gripped his weapon in both hands and narrowed his eyes. "Prepare yourself, demon!" He raised the bokken and dove forward with a battle cry.
*SLAP!* Ranma caught the bokken with two flattened palms and with barely an afterthought, wrenched the wooden sword from his opponent's grasp, tossing it aside, then followed up with a kick to Kuno's chest, knocking him back against the wall. "Hah! gotcha!"
The young man dressed as a samurai slowly stood, a hand at his chest as he tried to take back the wind that had been knocked out of him. "Yes… Yes, Saotome, but victory will not be thine… Not this day." He reached into the folds of his robe and prepared to pull out his secret weapon.
Tomoe-sensei merely watched in fascination, as did a majority of the student body.
"Stop it, you two!" Rei shouted. "Unless you want a squad of Stormtroopers breathing down our necks!"
Ranma looked sideways at her. "Stormtroopers…?"
"Big guys in white armor with guns? Yes, Stormtroopers!!!"
"Enough," Kuno spat, and pulled out a brass teakettle that gleamed in the fluorescent lighting. "Your doom is at hand!"
Ranma raised an eyebrow at him. "A kettle?"
"Wrong," Kuno smiled, "it is an artifact given to me by an angelic young sprite, sent from the famed Kuno Sounkun for thy destruction, nether-spawn!"
The pigtailed martial artist blinked. "Oh…" He tilted his head at Kuno. "Are you just crazy, or is that something you have to practice?"
"I know not what thou speakest of, Saotome," the kendoist replied, and held the kettle forward like a talisman. "But now, it is I who have the advantage!" He began to advance.
Rei rolled her eyes, her shoulders slumping. "This is getting ridiculous, you guys… Oh, forget it." She sat down.
Ranma stayed tensed as Kuno approached, dodged as the kettle was swung at him, then rebounded for a kick that knocked the container away and sent the other fighter crashing out the window.
"Wait, what are you doing, Odango-atama?!!?" Rei yelled as Ranma jumped out the window after Kuno.
The students rushed to the window to watch the fight continue. Since the rain had stopped, the view was clear.
It wasn't until halfway down that Ranma remembered that the classroom wasn't on the ground floor.
There was no problem, though. He still had a fraction of a second remaining to grab a conveniently placed flagpole, and swing himself to land comfortably on the ground just beside the swimming pool that his opponent had just crashed into.
Oh, sure, he could have skipped the entire procedure and used the water to break his fall, but for some unknown reason, he simply had no desire to be a princess at the moment.
Kuno Tatewaki poked his head out of the pool and coughed the water out of his large, powerful lungs. "Curse you, Saotome!"
Ranma folded his arms. "Yeah, whatever."
The kendoist narrowed his eyes and slowly sank down into the water.
*WHOARSH!!!* All of the sudden, Kuno performed a powerful leap, bringing with him massive amounts of the pool's contents splashing out with him.
"YAAAH!" Ranma shouted, wide-eyed, jumping upwards in an attempt to avoid the onrushing liquid.
*Splash!* This time, though, he had reacted too slowly, and was hit by the top edge of the mini-typhoon.
Kuno rushed forward, then stopped as the blonde girl in the white gown plopped directly into his arms. "What vision of loveliness is this?!"
*KERRUNCH!* Ranma smashed her dainty Moon Princess fist into Kuno's bemused kendoist face.
"Ah, but she commands great power," the young man breathed in awe, then collapsed backward onto the ground.
The students observing the battle watched it with no small degree of shock.
Finally, a male student by the name of Hiroshi spoke up. "Hey, check it out! Ranma's a Metamorphic Jadacha Hermaphrodite!"
His friend, Daisuke looked at him. "A what?!"
"A cross-gender shapeshifter! With shapeshifting clothes, too!"
Daisuke looked back to the girl below. "Oh. Cool, I guess…"
Hiroshi grinned. "I dare you to ask 'er out!"
"Whaaat?! No way!"
"Hey, I don't know about you, but I think she's cute!"
"She's a guy!"
"Heh… Doesn't look like it from this angle!"
"Yeah! You can see right down her—" *WHAM!*
"But, you're right, maybe I'd better check from more angles… AND use my camera for an objective record." *Click*Click*Whirr*
"And how do you know she isn't really a she and she's just disguised 'cause she's looking for her prince or something?"
"Oooh, good point…"
Similar discussion went on throughout the group.
"Well, that's warped."
"I still think Futaba-kun's a cuter girl than Ranma."
"Yes, but you don't get to see something like this that often."
Tomoe-sensei had his attention directed elsewhere, and being the giggling loon that he was, he continued to laugh.
Rei gritted her teeth as she watched Ranma look around and depart. "Hoo-boy… He's never going to hear the end of this." She shook her head and started to walk away from the window. "I tried to warn him, but—"
*Chink* Rei's shoe tapped against the kettle that Kuno had dropped. "Hmm…" She picked it up and popped open the lid. "Just hot water. No wacky surprises, and I'm not getting any weird vibes from it…" She nodded to herself. "He could probably use this."
Luna's ears pricked up. "She's back! I can feel her again!"
"Shhh!" Usagi hushed the cat. "Haruna-sensei's talking."
The brownish-red-haired woman at the front of the class turned to her. "What was that, Tsukino-san?"
"Er, nothing, Haruna-sensei!"
"Oh," the woman said, turning back toward the chalkboard, silently thanking her lucky stars that the school hadn't switched to that annoying whiteboard-thing with the colored markers yet. Suddenly, something struck her as very odd, and she turned back to Usagi. "Tsukino-san, you are aware that there's a cat on your head, aren't you?"
The pigtailed blonde blinked. "Umm… It's a new fad!"
Haruna looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "Really?"
Usagi nodded. "In, like, just about a week, EVERYBODY'S going to be wearing them!"
"Cats, Usagi-chan?" Naru asked, scratching her head.
A young, pink-haired girl ran in sheer terror through the streets, huffing and puffing as she tried to get away from whoever it was that pursued her.
Having eluded her pursuer for the moment, Genma leaned against a tall wooden fence to catch her breath. It had stopped raining, so the scenery wasn't all that ominous anymore, but still, that man had looked scary to her. But, why would—
*Rrrrr* The roar of a nearby motorcycle jolted her back into action. She quickly glanced around for a place to hide, then jumped over the fence.
Taking in her new surroundings, Genma found herself on the outskirts of what looked like a construction site: A framework of riveted metal girders supported a bare wooden structure, which had apparently been put into place to help the workers walk around on the six-level proto-building.
Equipment lay scattered around the site, and there were no other people present.
A large, white sign leaned against an earth-mover read, "Coming Soon: GENOM Enterprises, Inc." In much larger text below that, it continued, "A subsidiary of Disney."
A picture of Mickey Mouse dominated the entire left half of the sign.
Genma blinked. "So… Disney isn't just one company?"
*Zrrrr!* Something made a whirring noise next to her.
Genma gasped, then turned to see what it was. "Oh, Luna-P!"
Luna-P tilted forward in a way to make it look like it was nodding, then hovered off toward the incomplete building.
*CRASH!* A large, black-gloved fist smashed into the thick, teak wood fence, punching a hole through the 'Closed for Refurbishing' sign and grabbing hold of the back of Genma's gi.
"AAAAH!" the girl screamed as she was lifted into the air by her pursuer, who shattered the rest of the fence section to get at her.
The tall, muscular man turned her around to look at her, his expression showing the same unwavering focus as it did before.
Genma flailed at him with a flurry of her strongest punches and kicks to his chest, arms, and face…
"Ow!" the rabbit-eared child said as her attacks took no other effect than to make her hands and feet sting. The man was like metal!
"You," the man began in a deep, menacing tone, "are—"
Genma turned her head toward the building. "LUNA-P!!!"
The catlike ball in the distance turned toward her, then nudged a precariously balanced metal girder off its resting point, the rope it was attached to swinging it in an arc toward the biker.
*WHAM!* The steel plank just barely missed Genma, tearing into the man's shoulder, knocking the girl out of his grasp in the process.
Genma landed safely in the soft dirt. She took a moment to catch her breath, and looked back toward the man. "AAAAAAAH!" she screamed as she saw him stand, yank the girder out of his shoulder in a hand-over-hand motion and turn back to face her, his shaded eyes glowing red.
The man pulled his jacket tighter around the gaping, bloodless wound and began his advance toward her.
Genma began to turn and run, but stopped, narrowed her eyes, gritted her teeth, and faced him. "Remember the Master's training," she whispered to herself, then paused and shuddered. "I can do it, though, I can do it… But those things…"
The pink-haired girl shook her head to help clear her doubt, then raised her right hand into the air, beginning to glow with an off-red aura. She spun around, bringing her hands back together. "Momoiri," she began, forcing her hands forward, her aura intensifying, "Satou… Iki Batsu!!!" Her Ki flowed to her palms, glowing even brighter than before, and…
Nothing. The aura faded before anything could happen.
The man continued to walk ominously nearer to her.
"Errrrr," Genma whispered uneasily, and brought her hands back, and thrust them forward again. "Momoiri Satou Iki Batsu!"
Again, nothing happened… until a second later when a stream of small, light-red ki spheres pulsed out from her hands at the man, a few cute music-box notes playing in the background.
*Boink-boink-boink-boink* The spheres bounced off of him without effect, not even working to slow him down.
Genma gasped, wide-eyed, and seeing that it did no good, she shut off the attack.
The biker stopped, then reached down to pick her up again.
The little girl swung around, only to be caught by him by the back of her gi, looking for all the world like a trapped, frightened bunny as she was lifted up. "Luna-P!" she called in desperation.
*Wrrrr*WHAM!* The kitty balloon flew up and slammed into the man, knocking him down and allowing Genma to get away.
The leather-clad man stood, took one look at Luna-P, and backhanded it away. He then turned to see his target running to the metal structure and clambering up the supports to a more concealed location.
He pushed his sunglasses back into place, reached into his jacket and drew out a shotgun that looked entirely too large to have fit in there.
*Chk-CHK!* The man cocked his weapon and began his slow walk toward the structure.
Once more, Genma found herself hiding and struggling to catch her breath. She sat against a vertical metal and concrete pillar, down on the wooden floor.
The girl took a quick peek around the pillar and nearly froze.
The man was still coming, and he had a gun now…
A very big, long, and shiny gun.
Genma began to hyperventilate, her frightened thought processes running wild.
What was she going to do?!
He wasn't HUMAN! He was going to kill her!
Tears would have welled up in her eyes, but she was too scared to even cry.
Suddenly, it struck her:
A long time ago, she had created a new, powerful style of martial arts techniques. However, she had sworn to herself that those moves, the Forbidden Techniques, would be sealed forever when she had seen the unintended, and very unfortunate, results of its use by another man.
As the heavy footsteps of her enemy neared, she quickly decided that it was time to reconsider her oath.
If that thing wasn't human, well…
She quickly shook her head. Who cared if he was human or not?!
She wanted to LIVE!
"Come out willingly, little girl, and I will make it painless," came the oddly accented voice of the man behind her.
Genma turned, and seeing how close he was, she freaked. She dashed away from the pillar and jumped on a nearby rope that was hanging from a few rafters, intent on reaching higher ground.
What she didn't count on was the man shooting the rope mere millimeters above her hands.
She crashed back down and blinked at the piece of rope in her hands, then glanced behind her.
The man continued his relentless walk towards her, ejecting the spent round from his shotgun and loading it anew. "It will all be over soon," the man added in a dead voice.
That was enough for Genma. Forget the oath!
The girl took the piece of rope in her hands and ran towards the man, hoping to get a few moves in before he had a chance to aim the gun at her.
"Kinshi Kinbakushou!" Genma shouted, quickly tying up the black-clad biker with the rope, which was now glowed with a bright aura.
Next, she took a few steps back to check her handiwork. The man was now immobilized, having been tied rather like a sausage.
"Ha! Gotcha!" Genma said in a defiant, and very relieved tone. "Whatcha gonna do now? That gun won't help you now!"
The biker flexed his arms, causing glowing rope to snap.
Genma's defiance fled twice as quickly as it had come. "LUNA-P! HELP MEEEE!!!"
The cat-shaped balloon responded to her call, speeding at the biker, turning into a thick, black cloth that wrapped itself tightly around the man's head.
Genma quickly sprang into action. "Dokuja Tanketsu Shou!" she shouted, thrusting out a palm towards and man's heart, and…
"OOOWWWIIIEE!!!" Genma cried in pain, holding her small fist with her other hand. "What're you made out of?!?" she shouted at him, in a daze from the pain. "Reinforced titanium?!"
The man did not respond, and, apparently unhurt by Genma's attack, ripped the cloth off of his face and looked at the girl with his glowing red eyes. "It is over now, little girl," he said, leveling his shotgun at her chest.
Genma let out a quick "EEEEP!!!" then took off running… but didn't get very far.
*CRACK!* The girl suddenly stumbled to the floor, unable to keep moving. For a split second, she considered the horrifying possibility that the man had shot her in the legs…
"That was a warning," intoned the biker.
Genma looked at the smoking hole in the boards by her feet, then back up at the man, and did the last thing she could.
"KIJIN RAISHU DAN!!!" she called out in a banshee-like wail, separating her hands as quickly as she could with her injury.
The vacuum-blade created by the rapid movement exploded forth and hit the biker dead-on, sending him flying off the building and across the construction site. He hit a metal support girder dead-on, bending it backwards, causing a precariously balanced load of heavy 8 x 8 x 16 bricks to fall on top of him as well, obscuring him in a cloud of dust.
Genma sighed in relief, cradling her wounded hand.
It was over.
It was finally over.
She had used the most powerful weapon in her arsenal… and it was over.
Just to make sure, though, she climbed off the incomplete structure and made her approach the fallen brick stack.
As the dust settled, she finally got a good look at her attacker and gasped.
Instead of being bisected by the vacuum blade, the man's skin had been sheared off in a vertical line…
And beneath the parted flesh was a silvery-grey metal.
Genma whimpered as what she realized was a killer robot out to get her stood back up, shook off the brick fragments, looked down at its destroyed shotgun, then turned back to her, pulling out a much smaller handgun and pointing it at her.
*Chk-chk*PTTHT* A small, sharp, grey projectile shot out from the gun and stuck in her shoulder.
The pink-haired girl took a shocked breath and pulled out the dart as quickly as she could, tossing it aside. She then turned and ran back towards the building.
The deadly machine did not waver it its determination to pursue her.
Genma rushed past the building, and momentarily glanced back to see that the robot was standing just beside one of the edifice's main supports…
"KIJIN DAI RAN BUU!!!"
The little girl spun around wildly, releasing Ki blades at key points along the building's superstructure, utterly destroying its ability to stay upright.
In a scattering of falling metal girders, metal boards, and concrete, the entire building collapsed sideways on Genma's pursuer, the dust cloud from this obliteration flowing out through the streets.
Genma fell to her knees, exhausted from the effort. She shielded her mouth and eyes as the choking dust passed her.
After a moment's thought, she decided that she had experienced more enough for the day. Killer robots were most definitely NOT her cup of tea. Looking up to notice that Luna-P had rejoined her, she started back to the Tendo Dojo, seeking to lose herself in a game of Shogi with Soun. Maybe it'd be more diverting than that chess game was.
And she needed something to take her mind off all this…
Her thoughts in that arena trailed off and her eyes widened as she heard heavy footsteps behind her. She turned to see a pair of glowing red eyes staring back at her from a half-metal face.
The robot had been slightly damaged, but only in its organic component. It wasn't even limping.
Genma let out a quick, frightened squeak and continued her sprint back to the Tendo household.
Standing on a thick branch of a tall tree and clad only in her white, princess-style shoes and surprisingly modest white slip, Ranma tossed her pigtails back over her shoulders and started to ring out her clothes.
"Stupid curse, stupid hair, stupid DRESS!!!" she muttered to herself, rolling up her gown and twisting it, trails of water dripping down its ornate folds.
Ranma took another quick look around to make sure nobody could see her, then continued her task.
"Well, Odango, it certainly looks like you've made yourself at home," a somewhat deep female voice came from next to her.
"Huh?!" Ranma blurted out in surprise, then struggled to keep her balance as she looked toward the speaker.
Haruka grinned back at her, standing on another branch and leaning against the tree. She looked at the surrounding landscape. "There's a nice view up here, wouldn't you agree?"
The pigtailed girl took a quick glance toward the ground. "Uh, yeah, I guess. But I can't fight right now. I'm kinda… in the middle of something."
"So I see…"
Ranma went back to drying off her dress, then paused and turned to her. "You wouldn't by any chance happen to have any hot water with you now, would you?"
"I'm afraid not."
"What are you doing here, by the way?"
"I just came to apologize for my outburst yesterday."
"You're… not going to hold some endless lifelong grudge against me?" Ranma asked, deeply surprised.
"On the contrary," Haruka smiled, "I like you."
The Moon Princess blinked. "Oh… Okay, so you're not mad about that engagement deal?"
The tall blonde shrugged slightly. "I could get used to it…"
"That's not what I meant!"
Haruka stepped onto the same thick branch as Ranma. "It's what I meant, Odango."
Ranma's eyes widened as the taller girl came closer to her. "Uhh… That's nice…"
"I'm not kidding," Haruka whispered, still smiling, "I'm attracted to you."
"Umm… Maybe we can talk after school and when I've changed back."
There was a slight gleam to Haruka's eye. "You don't have to worry about that. I'm happy just the way you are," she breathed, her face barely an inch away from Ranma's.
The princess backed off, trembling slightly. "Err…"
The masculinely dressed woman took one of Ranma's hands in hers and looked directly into the girl's eyes. "Odango, you would have to be the most—"
"Haruka," another voice interrupted, this one undeniably feminine, "I think you've teased Ranma quite enough for now."
Haruka gave a soft chuckle and glanced through the concealing leaves of the tree. "Why? Getting jealous?"
"Mmm… Just a little."
"Well then," Haruka said, turning back to the pigtailed girl, "we'll have to meet again sometime."
Ranma slowly nodded, hesitating as she stood in shock.
In the next instant, the tall woman had passed through the leaves and vanished from view.
It took another moment for Ranma to recover.
"Oh! Teasing! She was just teasing," the blonde girl finally realized to herself with a sigh of relief.
"Hey, there you are, Odango-atama!" an annoyed girl called from below.
Ranma shifted her drying dress around to hold it under her arm, then looked down to see Rei. "Could you please not call me that?!"
Rei glared up at her. "Oh, but it's the perfect name for you! Think about it: You've got odangos on the outside of your head, to go with the diced apples inside!"
"Well," Ranma shouted back, "that's a fine thank-you for the guy who saved you from a rampaging bunch of paranoid Transylvanian villagers this morning!!!"
"Okay, thanks for taking them out for me! Now, can you tell me why you felt the need to get into a fight on campus!?"
"He was going to fight me anyway, Rei! What's your problem?!"
"My problem is that you haven't even made it past the first day, and you're well on your way to making things even more complicated around here than they already are!"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean: Whenever things start getting out of hand, the people who run the schools do things to try and make sure they don't."
"Uh… Like what?"
"Well, you saw the big doors out front, right? Use your imagination!" Rei called up to him, then muttered under her breath, "You probably couldn't think of half what they've already done."
Ranma sighed. "So, going to do anything besides yell at me?"
Rei nodded. "Yes, actually. I was wondering if you'd like this." She held up the still-steaming teakettle she had been carrying.
The pigtailed girl's eyes widened. "Yeah! Pass it up!"
With a flick of her wrist, Rei tossed the kettle to Ranma, who had absolutely no difficulties catching it. "If I understand your curse right," the part-time priestess said, "you'd probably want to get back into that dress before you change back."
Ranma looked down at her, gown in one hand and kettle in the other. "No I wouldn't. Then, I'd just have to deal with being all wet again, and…" She paused. "Eh, whatever." She set about the task of getting back into her ornate Moon Princess gown while holding onto the hot water container.
Rei looked away… and noticed the approach of one of the most annoying people in her life. "Ranma, you might want to hurry up with that."
"Oh, 'tis a curious day," Kuno said as he approached, holding his bokken with one hand and his face with the other. "It has seen the revealing of not one, but two oddities… The one, the captor of my fair Rei's soul, the other…" His posture straightened. "She can be none other than—"
"Ergh," Ranma grunted in an unconsciously refined tone as she struggled on with her gown, "could you hold 'em off for me, Rei?"
"Okay, no problem," Rei replied, then took a few steps toward Kuno before looking back. "Oh, by the way, you're putting it on backwards." With that, she walked up to kendoist.
Ranma stared at how she had been slipping on the dress. "Hey… how could I have missed that?! "
Holding a red rose in one hand and his bokken in the other, Kuno bowed before the raven-haired girl. "Ah, Rei, fair and—"
"—Beauteous sorceress," Rei completed. "I've heard it." Suddenly, she grinned. "You know, Tatewaki, for someone stuck in a fantasy world, you're surprisingly unimaginative…"
"I know not what thou meanest," Kuno replied, "for now, I search for my Osage no Hime. She is undoubtedly in danger with the vile Saotome afoot."
Rei folded her arms and raised an eyebrow. "Osage no Hime, huh? Speak Japanese, Kuno. I can't understand you."
Kuno blinked. "Surely Saotome hath bewitched thine ears!"
Rei held one hand to her chin and the other on her hip, looking at him quizzically. "There you go again… what are you saying?"
Meanwhile, Ranma had just finished climbing back into her outfit, grumbling all the while about how much she hated it. "Finally," she whispered in triumph as she held up the still-hot kettle… then paused. "Wait, there's no way it's this easy…" She experimentally tipped the kettle's contents on herself…
*Splash!* The hot water poured over her, transforming him back into his normal self.
"Yes!" Ranma shouted, then flung the kettle away.
"Tell me, Rei," Kuno continued, "hast thou seen the Pigtailed Princess?"
*WHAM!* The kettle nailed the kendoist directly in the skull, knocking him down.
"Yes," Rei answered, smiling at this, "she's over there, up in the tree. Her name's Saotome Ranma, she's really a boy that's been cursed to turn into her, and I've been distracting you to keep you from finding him because you're becoming so much of an annoyance to both of us. There, how's that?"
Kuno was too busy to do anything other than groan and hold his heavily damaged head.
Rei looked down at the kettle. "Hmm, that looks just like…" She picked it up. "It is ours. I wonder how it got here." She turned back to Ranma. "Okay, let's go. They might not miss us if we get back in another couple of minutes."
Ranma leapt out of the tree and landed by her. "Works for me."
Together, they walked back to the school doors… only to come face-to-face with a large group of students with questioning and fascinated looks on their faces.
"How'd you do that?! "
"Do it again!"
"Didja see how he took out Kuno? He's tougher than Rei!"
"Wow! Ranma! I had no idea you were so cool!"
"Are you really a girl, or are you one of those creepy 'farce' things?"
"Are you the one controlling Rei's every action?"
"Yeah, are you really the transforming demon that's enslaved her?"
"Can you turn into anything else? I wanna see your Urd impression!"
"Quiet, Otaku-kun! I want to see her Belldandy one!"
"No, you're both wrong, I think he should do Skuld!"
A young woman in a business outfit, carrying a tape recorder, walked up to a stunned Ranma. "I'm working for the Furinkan High School Grand Inquisitor. Torturing minds want to know: What are your measurements in both forms?"
"Yeah! And how much can you bench press!?"
"Do you sing any songs?"
"Uhhhhh," Ranma began, but was unable to finish.
"No comment," Rei said, pushing through the crowd, dragging Ranma behind her.
Tendo Soun sighed as he looked sadly at the shogi board that lay on the floor by the table, unused for years.
He had wanted to enjoy just one more game with his recently returned friend, but for some unfathomable reason, Genma had insisted on playing chess… There had simply been no reasoning with her— HIM.
Soun shook his head. He really wished Genma would get back soon. While he knew that his friend could take care of himself, having spent multiple years on the road, training his son… not to mention having survived the Master…
The dark-haired man shuddered, not wishing to go beyond that word.
In any case, though, Soun worried about his friend… The only chance they had in getting the engagement to work out was for both of them to work together!
Soun laughed, shaking his head. He had almost thought that he worried about Genma, like he was his own daughter. Truly, what an odd thought!
Though, with the curse, it actually made a bit of sense, but—
*CRASH!* The door was knocked open as a 'rabbit-eared' girl in a white gi rushed in, spotted him, and jumped at him, grabbing onto his neck and looking desperately into his eyes. "Soun-kun! Hide meeeee!"
"There is no escape, little girl," an odd voice called from outside.
"Err… why? Saotome-san, what did you do?" Soun asked, pulling Genma off of him and holding her up under the arms.
Genma's breathing grew more rapid as the seconds wore on. "Okay, fine, forget it!" she shouted in the man's face, and jumped out of his grip. She snatched a cloth sheet that had been lying beside Soun's chair and wrapped itself around her, trembling.
Soun blinked. "That's not a very good hiding—"
"Goshin Dai Ryu Sei Fu!"
Genma vanished, the cloth dropping to the floor just as a humanoid figure in black leather, tattered flesh, and shining metal strode in.
"Where is she?" the man demanded of Soun.
"Uhh," Soun began, his hands raised, "I don't know!"
The robotic figure looked around, his eyes flashing red. Finally, he looked back at Soun and said, "I'll be back."
With that, the black-clad man walked out.
Soun frowned, considering whether to burst into tears or not. After a single neuron tilted the deadlock vote over to the 'no' side, he stood and decided that he should probably consult with Setsuna over what to do about all this.
"Is he gone?" Genma asked, climbing out from under the table.
Soun looked down at her. "I—"
*VROOOM!*CRAAAAASH!!!!!* A black and white car drove through the front of the house, breaking through the door and only stopping mere inches away from a shocked Genma and Soun.
The vehicle's right-side door was flung open and the killer robot stepped out, snagging Genma by the front of her gi.
"LUNA—MRPH!" Genma began, but was silenced when a gloved hand came over her mouth.
Now was when Soun decided to start crying.
The robot took a quick glance at him, "Is this yours?" it asked.
The black-haired man sniffed. "That's my only—"
The leather-clad individual turned back to its quarry, staring at her with a focused, unemotional expression.
"A girl your age should be in school," the single-minded death-machine said simply.
Genma blinked as she was placed on the floor, the robot withdrawing a few steps as it took out a yellow notepad and a pen.
"You are in violation of school attendance rules, charged with multiple counts of attacking an officer, resisting capture, guilty of destruction of private property, and of being out of uniform during school hours," the robotic man continued in the same threatening tone it had used before.
"However," he added in a slightly lighter tone, "since this is the first occurrence, leniency is required."
Soun's tears died down as he noticed the badge on the machine's jacket. "You're… The Truant Officer?"
The Truant Officer nodded, his expression not changing. "I am a tee-eight hundred unit, model one-zero-two alpha. Records of this incident have been relayed to relevant authorities. Further infraction will not be tolerated and will be punished to the full extent of the law." Light gleamed off of his shades. "And I mean the full extent."
The T-800 looked back at Genma. "You have been registered in fourth grade at the White Dove Academy. An IV tracer has been implanted into your bloodstream. I will know whether or not you have attended. You will go to school." His eyes gleamed meaningfully at her. "Or else."
Soun and Genma looked at each other, not quite knowing whether to be relieved or scream in terror.
Luna-P continued to hover by Genma's shoulder, making happy whirring noises as it glanced between all present individuals.
Somewhere, a certain Time Guardian was laughing her head off.
"Oh my, this is better than Candid Camera," Sailor Pluto commented, dabbing a tear from her eye.
Usagi groaned as she trudged home from school, carrying a recently failed test in a lowered hand.
"Usagi," the cat lying across her shoulder said, "we really should have gone after the Moon Princess while I could still sense her. Who knows what could happen if the Dark Kingdom finds her!"
"Luna," the pigtailed blonde whined, "how can you talk about the Moon Princess at a time like THIS?" She held the test up in front of the black cat's face.
"A fifty-one," Luna said. "You're improving, but you still need to study."
"I hate studying!" Usagi declared, then held her hands up to her cheeks and sniffed, tears in her eyes. "And my mother's gonna KILL me. I failed two tests in a row…"
Luna glared at her. "Would you be quiet about your personal problems for a moment?! We can worry about your study habits later. For now, we have to be ready for our Princess to appear again."
"We find her."
"And," Usagi fidgeted, "then do what?"
Luna blinked, as if not having seriously considered that. "Well, er…" Luna trailed off, then straightened, clearing her throat. "I will need to speak with her. And you will need to protect her if the Dark Kingdom attacks."
"But what if they send a whole bunch of evil monsters and not just one like last time?"
The skittering of a small, rat-like creature was the only sound to be heard in the cavernous Dark Kingdom room.
A very tall, red-haired woman in a purple gown was seated on a large, garish, skeletal throne as she waved her hands over a staff topped with a crystal globe, which levitated inches above the floor in front of her.
"This troubles me," Queen Beryl said, looking up from the globe toward the assembled throng of shadowed youma, "and yet, it is a great opportunity."
Murmurs concerning what troubled their queen spread across the youma horde.
"Enough," the redheaded woman said, her one word being more than sufficient to quiet her subjects. "There is no mistaking this. I have sensed the presence of the Moon Princess. If left alone, she will undoubtedly become a nuisance to us, as I suspect this Sailor Moon that Jadeite encountered will be."
There was another quick discussion among the youma.
"Therefore," Beryl continued, "I will need her to be taken care of immediately."
The room fell silent.
A group of five scantily dressed, butterfly-winged women appeared in front of their queen. "We, the DD Girls, will—"
Beryl narrowed her eyes. "No."
The leader of the DD Girls frowned, opened her mouth to say something, then quickly decided against it. She bowed her head. "We understand, your majesty."
The quintet vanished.
"What I require for this," the purple-clad woman said, "is the attention of one of my generals. The Princess is not to be underestimated, as we once did her mother. Jadeite, your presence is requested."
In the next heartbeat, a blonde man wearing a purplish-grey uniform flickered into view. He closed his eyes and bowed slightly, before standing straight and looking back at Queen Beryl. "Your majesty, I have been tracking the Moon Princess since her first faint detection just over a month ago. She appears at regular intervals, and does not travel far between the times when we can locate her. A plan has already been set in motion to ensure her apprehension."
"I want her brought here as soon as possible," Beryl said.
Jadeite gave a slight frown. "My youma, Lenta, will not be ready to face someone of her capacity for several weeks."
"Then deal with it personally, Jadeite."
The general bowed once more. "As you command, my queen."
Beryl glanced down at her globe for a moment, then turned back to him. "And Jadeite?"
The blonde man looked up at her. "Yes?"
"If she resists… then bring back only her head."
Jadeite returned a malevolent smile. "I understand."
The man vanished into a dark portal.
"Don't worry," Soun said as he attempted to comfort the small, traumatized girl clinging to him. "I'm sure we can work this out… maybe explain the curse to them…"
Genma's eyes were still wide in shock from the realization of what had happened… and what was going to happen. "Right… Yes, we have to talk to them, tell them that I'm not really a little girl. I'm Saotome Genma, father of Ranma, husband of Nodoka—"
Setsuna looked up from her magazine, New Fashions for a New Age. "And the third least convincing individual in this world," she intoned. "Even with repeated demonstrations, you will never make it past the bureaucracy inherent in this district's school council." She tilted her head, a mysterious glimmer in her eyes. "Once you have been placed into the system, there is no hope of escape."
Genma's pink hair drooped slightly as she looked at the green-haired woman. "No escape…?"
"None," Setsuna replied, "unless you are very clever." A hint of a smile came to her lips. "You are not clever."
Soun sniffled. "She's right!" he cried.
Genma's frown deepened. "So I'll really have to go to school?"
The eldest Tendo daughter nodded. "Yes. Think of it, though, as a new beginning. I am certain you remember the long, difficult times you had through your first fleeting experience with your small education. You now have an opportunity to correct that."
Genma hopped out of Soun's grasp and walked toward her. "I don't wanna… I don't need to go! I'm through with all that. I'm married, I have a son, and I need all the time I have to get his marriage to you worked out!"
Setsuna actually looked somewhat amused. "Do you, now?"
The diminutive girl narrowed her eyes up at the woman and began a retort, but broke off when Ranma and Rei walked in through the large hole in the wall.
Ranma glanced at the debris where a wall had once been. "What happened?! Did you have a run-in with a wrecking-ball?!"
"It seems," Setsuna replied, "that your father was caught failing to attend his classes today."
The pigtailed boy looked at her. "Pop? Why would he have to go to…"
Rei, after examining the debris and turning to stare at Genma, started laughing.
"What's so funny?!" Genma demanded.
"You," Rei chortled in disbelief, "got caught playing HOOKY?!" She tilted her head back and lifted her arms, a wide smile on her face as she proclaimed, "Yes! There IS justice in this world!"
"You're more right than you think," came Haruka's voice as she ducked through the hole in the wall, smirking. She walked over to Ranma, holding out a scroll that had been sealed with a wax imprint. "I've got a message for you, Princess," she said coolly as she handed it to him.
"Okay," Ranma said, frowning as he broke the wax and unfurled the scroll, then read it aloud, "To the beauteous Pigtailed Princess, who has graced my presence earlier this day…"
"Oooh, sounds like Tatewaki's got a new crush," Rei grinned.
"Wait, there's a lot more," Ranma said, and continued, "I regret the shortness of our encounter, and request to continue the arbitrament on the field outside the Furinkan High School building. I will be waiting. Yours, Kuno Tatewaki." He put down the scroll. "What's 'arbitrament' mean?"
"In this context," Setsuna said, "it means the final decision or deciding battle. However, he is using the term improperly. What he is trying to say—"
"Battle, eh?" the black-haired boy said, his expression becoming very confident. "He wants to finish our fight!"
"Maybe," Rei said, picking up the scroll, "but this is to 'the beauteous Pigtailed Princess.'" She paused. "Then again, there's no telling what he believes now, with all that happened at school today."
"Yeah, right," Ranma said quietly while grinning inwardly at the chance he was going to have to practice his skills again today.
Haruka grinned. "You don't want to back down now, do you?"
"No way!" the boy blurted out. "I'll fight 'em and beat the tar out of 'em, too!"
"But it looks like he wants to see you in your girl form," Rei added.
"Hey, I could beat 'em blindfolded with my arms tied behind my back! So I can take 'em down as some prissy girl in a stupid long white dress. Just watch me!"
"That's the spirit!" Genma exclaimed. "ANYTHING for the Art!"
The young man stood patiently in the schoolyard, his bokken rested against his shoulder.
"This will be a day long remembered," Kuno Tatewaki whispered to himself as he watched the approach of the pigtailed blonde girl in the flowing white gown. "It has seen the discovery of Rei's foul master, and the appearance of the fair Princess. One wonders if the young sprite will return as well…"
The 'Princess' in question stopped a short distance away and moved into a combat stance. "All right," she said, "let's finish this!"
"As you wish," Kuno said, and jumped high into the air, lunging toward her.
Ranma raised her arms to block the move… but it never came. She looked down to see the boy kneeling before her, his face down and his right hand holding up a red, long-stemmed rose.
The pigtailed young woman raised an eyebrow. "What kind of attack is that?!"
"I come not to fight thee, my Pigtailed Princess."
"Then why did you…" Ranma began, then trailed off, a sinking feeling welling up in the pit of her stomach. "Oh, no… You're not gonna try to date me, are you?"
Kuno shook his head. "Alas, no… I am unworthy of such a wondrous pleasure. I come, rather," he said, slipping the de-thorned rose into the shocked girl's hands and holding up his bokken in an open-palmed gesture of offering, "to serve thee. From this moment onward, I swear my unwavering devotion to thy protection and thy will. As I have been shown great favor this day, so I show to thee my willingness to obey. I await thy command, my princess. I will serve thee in any way thou wishest."
Ranma's jaw dropped. "Serve me?!" she whispered incredulously. "One minute, he's trying to kill me, the next minute he's swearing to serve me!?" She grinned. "Uh… Yeah, Kuno. Why don't you—"
"Heh heh heh," a malevolent laugh resounded throughout the area. "There you are…"
Kuno stood and Ranma looked up to see a shorthaired blonde man wearing what looked like a hyped-up boy's school uniform levitate to a patch of ground near her. "Who are you?" the girl asked.
"You don't remember me?" the man asked in an amused tone. "Why, Princess Serenity, I'm crushed. Surely you remember the first of Queen Beryl's generals, don't you?"
"Uh… no?" Ranma replied.
"Ah!" Kuno said in realization. "Then, my princess, thy name is Serenity? Such a name… I will remember it for all eternity!"
"Look, pal," the blonde princess called over to the general, "I ain't no princess, and my name's not Serenity!"
The man's expression took on a slight smile. "Shall I call you Serena, then? You were always so picky about how we referred to you."
"He speaks very impudently," Kuno commented, turning to Ranma. "Shall I dispatch this fool for thee?"
Ranma shrugged, her gaze not leaving the blonde man. "Sure, knock yourself out."
The kendoist let out a war cry and rushed at the newcomer…
*WHAM!*Bam!* Before he could so much as land a blow, Kuno was backhanded against a nearby tree. He slumped over, dazed.
The man looked at Ranma. "Another one of your incompetent guards… They didn't save you last time, and they won't save you now!" A faint blue aura began building up around him.
The blonde girl glanced at Kuno, then narrowed her eyes at the general. "So you wanna fight, huh?" she asked, cracking her knuckles and getting into an appropriate defensive posture.
The blonde general smiled and raised a hand in front of him. "I see you don't intend to go along peacefully…"
*Whoosh*BLAAAM!* Ranma dove aside as a large blue strike of lightning blasted out from the man's hand, tearing into the landscape behind her.
Immediately, the girl recovered by making a handstand flip toward the general, leveling a fierce kick at his face.
The man took one step to the side, causing her to miss completely. "Fighting in your long gown," he commented, "not very ladylike… but very picturesque."
"I ain't no lady!!!" Ranma shot back as she landed, rebounding back at him for a series of fast punches.
The general dodged each of the blows, before finally catching one of the girl's fists. "Now, why would such a delicate daughter be speaking so roughly, hmm?"
"Grrr," Ranma growled, wrenching her hand out of her foe's grip. She took a quick hop back, then crouched down and made a flying leap over the man's head, landing behind him then jumping back and diving at him with an intense kick.
The grey-clad general held up his hand.
*Bing!* "Whoa!" The pigtailed girl bounced off of a transparent barrier between her and her target, falling to the ground.
*Thwack!* The general kicked her aside.
"AAAaaah," Ranma cried in pain, holding her injured ribs.
The blonde man looked down at her in disgust, and began to take a step towards her…
"Stop right there!" an authoritative female voice called.
The general turned to see a girl with exactly the same hairstyle as the Princess, wearing a sailor fuku with a red bow and an abbreviated blue skirt. She also wore a golden tiara and a pair of red boots.
"Agent of Love and Justice, the pretty soldier Sailor Moon!" she announced with a few gestures and poses.
"Is this girl for real?!" Ranma muttered.
"Sailor Moon?" the general asked. "The same that destroyed Morga?"
"The one and only! Attacking the Moon Princess and her guard is unforgivable!" Sailor Moon declared, then pointed at him. "In the name of the Moon, I will punish you!"
"And I am Jadeite, general of the Dark Kingdom. Delightful to finally meet you, Miss Moon."
While Jadeite was occupied with Sailor Moon, Ranma closed in for another attack, but was sent back down by a precisely placed, magically enhanced elbow-jab into her midsection.
Sailor Moon decided not to waste any more time. She took of her tiara and held it beside her, where it flared and became a glowing disc. She drew it back, calling out, "Moon Tiara… Action!"
The sailor-suited girl flung the charged tiara at Jadeite, who held up a hand.
The tiara slowed down, losing its energy, then clattered powerlessly to the ground.
Sailor Moon gasped. "Nooo! It's supposed to work every time!"
Jadeite made an upward clawing gesture.
Thick tree roots burst forth from the ground, entangling Sailor Moon in their unyielding grasp.
"WAAAAAH!" Sailor Moon cried in shock, unable to do anything else.
The Dark Kingdom general turned and picked up the injured princess… by her neck.
Ranma drew her legs back for another kick— one that was sure to connect— when…
A wave of black sparks wracked the girl's body. Ranma went limp.
Jadeite turned toward Sailor Moon. "Now, Sailor Senshi, watch your princess die." He looked back at Ranma and tightened his grip.
*BZZZZZROOORRRT-RRT-RTT-RTT* More dark energy coursed though Ranma.
"NOOOOO!" Sailor Moon shouted in horror as this happened.
*WHROAR!* Then, out of nowhere, a huge, ringed orange ball of energy rocketed toward Jadeite's back.
*BLAAAAAAAAM-RRRRRK-KSSSSH!* The force of the blast knocked Ranma from the general's grasp and threw her several meters away.
"What the…?!?!?" Jadeite was staggered for a moment as the energy tore into him, cracking the ground beneath him. Wide-eyed, he took a shocked breath, turning to see another ringed sphere, this one blue, speed at him. "AAAAH!!!"
The singed general held out his hands, creating a barrier in front of him.
*WHOOOSH*CRASH*ROAAAAAAAAAAAR!* The ball blasted through his defenses and ripped through him, the damaging effects lasting for several seconds.
When this was over, Jadeite found himself on the ground, writhing in complete and utter agony.
His mouth wide in a shocked and surprised gasp, he looked up to see two silhouettes standing back-to-back in front of the setting sun.
"Heralded by a loud explosion," one said, "I am here: Tendo Haruka, acting, heh, violently."
"I too am here," the other said, "Kuno Michiru. Acting rashly."
"Never attack her brother," the first added with a chuckle.
Jadeite dragged himself to his feet, blinked at them, unable to make out any features in this lighting.
When they started their approach, he suddenly couldn't think of any good reason to stick around.
He flickered, vanishing and appearing several meters in the air, where a black portal appeared. He went through it, and it was gone.
The aqua-haired young woman, Kuno Michiru, hurried over to her brother.
Haruka rushed to an unmoving Ranma, a genuine look of concern on her face. "Ranma!" she shouted, kneeling down and checking for a pulse. "Are you alright? Can you hear me?"
The downed girl coughed, opening her eyes. "Just WHAT was that attack," she demanded weakly, "and WHERE can I learn it!?"
Haruka's eyes narrowed. "Can you walk?" she asked in a monotone voice.
"Yeah," Ranma replied, turning over and pushing herself up until she was standing. She winced, holding her ribs. "But those were some kicks that guy had."
Michiru had her unconscious younger brother over her shoulder. "Tatewaki will be fine," she said, and looked to Ranma. "Did he say who he was?"
The pigtailed princess nodded. "Yeah. He said his name was Jadeite."
The aqua-haired girl turned to Haruka, who shook her head.
"Doesn't ring a bell," the masculinely-dressed woman said. "Probably not one of the Musk, though. Still, we should head back."
Haruka snatched a surprised Ranma and threw her over her shoulder. "Let's go."
The two rushed off with their respective burdens.
"Ummm," Sailor Moon called after them, still stuck in the tree roots. "Can I please have some help over here?"
Luna ran up to her, huffing and puffing. "Sailor Moon! There you are! Did you find the Moon Princess?"
"Yeah, but she was attacked and—"
"Did the Dark Kingdom capture her!?"
"No," the sailor-suited warrior said. "At first, it looked bad," her eyes suddenly burst into heart-shapes, "but then, two big blasts came in and toasted the guy, and a handsome man and a beautiful woman came out and scared him off, carrying off the Princess and her guard. Ooh, I wish I could be in a team like that with Tuxedo Kamen!"
"She's safe, though?"
"Umm… I'd say so."
"Can you be sure?"
The pigtailed blonde nodded emphatically. "Oh yeah, she'll be fine." She sighed. "Wow, that guy looked good!"
Luna began to shake her head, then something occurred to her. "But wait… how did you get here so fast?"
"I took the bus."
"Can you still feel the Princess?"
The cat felt around mentally, then slumped sadly. "No. She's gone."
"Oh well. Better luck next time, huh?"
Sailor Moon smiled. "Anyway, can you help me out of these roots, Luna?"
The Queen of the Dark Kingdom was growing impatient. "Jadeite!" she called. "Come immediately and report!"
The shorthaired blonde general appeared in his usual place before her, then began to bow.
*Thump* Jadeite collapsed into a kneeling position, his head hanging down.
Beryl sweatdropped. "Er… what happened to you?!"
Jadeite looked at her, attempting to appear as uninjured as possible. "There was," he coughed, "unexpectedly strong resistance. A more powerful assault with," he winced, holding a swollen hand, "additional planning will be required to ensure success."
"Oh," Queen Beryl breathed with a frown. "Proceed, Jadeite." She tilted her head at him and pursed her lips. "And for Metallia's sake, put some ICE on that!"
[End Part Two.]
|Layout, design, & site revisions © 2005||
Webmaster: Larry F