A Sailor Moon/ Ranma ½ crossover story by
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.
Already a week of the new school term had gone by and Ranma found himself more miserable than any time in recent memory. Ukyou and Shampoo spent all their time at school pestering him, and all their free time out of school pestering him. Akane still wouldn't forget his fight with Ryoga, and seemed even more upset when she found out that the directionally challenged boy was being detained at a local psychiatric hospital. Akane made life at the Tendo home a living hell of attempted abuse— thankfully the training Cologne had subjected him to made him mostly impervious to her attacks— and constant verbal warfare. Only the time he spent at the Nekohanten— which also drew flak from Akane— provided any relief. And that was not in the least bit pleasant. Not after the ice sculpture joke. He still shuddered at the memory of the following day’s training. Who knew that steel plating and cannon balls could be so painful? Now there were reports of an armored chick prowling the city at night.
On the ground Akane bristled at being ignored. For the third time she said, “I’m coming with you to the Nekohanten today. I don't trust you and the bimbo to be alone together!"
Ranma snapped out of his reverie. “Don’t even go there, Akane. It's none of your business and you know it," he replied to Akane's demand.
"It's none of my business that my fiancé is screwing around behind my back?!" Allowing him no time to respond, Akane pulled her mallet and drew it back to belt him across town. Her white-knuckled grip went slack, turning into a clenched fist as the wooden handle disintegrated into a fine powder.
"Didn't even have to touch you," taunted Ranma. "That's what Cologne has been teaching me."
Akane disregarded the pile of dust that was once her mallet and asked coldly, “And what is the bag of bones getting out of the agreement?"
Ignoring the question, Ranma ran the last few feet of fence and with a prodigious leap alighted himself upon front steps of Furinkan. He turned around to wave spitefully at Akane who was running to catch, but had barely entered the school grounds.
Makoto was sitting under a tree with Shampoo eating lunch like the pair had been doing for three days. The bubbly Chinese girl had asked to sit with her when Ranma had made it plain to all his fiancées that he was to be left alone during lunch.
"For stealing my Shampoo, Die!" The cry was the only warning that Makoto had, as a glowing yellow disk whizzed over her head by the scantest margin and passed cleanly through the tree she was leaning against.
Shampoo was up in an instant, her bonbori— as Makoto had learned they were called— in hand and a look of absolute fury on her face. “Stupid Mousse," she called out to the unseen attacker. “Shampoo no yours! Mousse almost kill Shampoo's friend Mako-chan."
Makoto eyes caught sight of the weapon that had nearly beheaded moving in a wide arc towards the school roof. A moment after she pointed it out she was stunned to see her friend launch herself to the top of the school from with a single flat-footed leap.
Ranma saw the attack to late to interfere with it, but he did manage to see its origin. He found Mousse gazing expectantly over the edge of the roof, no doubt waiting to see his hated rival for Shampoo's heart killed. He cleared his throat loudly and announced himself, “Over here, Quackers."
Mousse spun around and without hesitation threw a ten-yen coin sized disk at Ranma from each sleeve of his robes. Each one erupted into two-foot blades of energy a moment later. Even as he dodged them, Ranma noted that the metal they were composed of had the same dull sheen of the sword he had taken from Kuno and that the energy they produced was the same bright yellow. His danger sense barely saved him, though, when as the two deadly disks passed him they doubled in size, forcing Ranma to throw himself back onto the roof.
"Stop being a coward, Saotome, and fight me like a man."
"A coward!" roared Ranma in the process of standing. “Who’s the one throwing around magic Frisbees?" Ranma saw the first of the disks that Mousse had curving around and decided to himself that he wouldn't warn Mousse if the boy happened to be in its path. The hope of avoiding a fight was dashed when it stopped above his attacker's head, reverted to its inert state, and began floating just above his shoulder.
"Mousse!" Shampoo stood on the roof's edge, glaring at Mousse with a look that promised so much pain that Ranma nearly felt sorry for him.
"Sh-Shampoo, what are you doing here?" Mousse stammered. The other two disks took a position similar to the first over his shoulder while his back was turned.
"Mousse almost kill Mako-chan. Better have good explanation!" She raised her bonbori menacingly.
"I was just trying to free you, my love, from Saotome's evil clutches," he pleaded.
Shampoo began advancing on him. A pleased smile bloomed on her face when she noticed that Mousse had started to tremble.
Ranma took the opportunity to come behind the blind boy, smack him in the back of the head, and grab the disks. He slipped them into storage along with Kuno's mysterious new sword.
Shampoo tried to run up and glomp him, but she saw him shake his head and stop. She could respect his personal space like he had told her too. It was just really hard.
He offered her a slight smile and glared at Mousse's unconscious back before jogging to the edge of the roof and jumping down.
Makoto had recovered from her earlier brush with death— it happened often enough— and was about to part ways with Shampoo to meet with her friends from Juuban when a red-headed girl wearing the same Chinese clothes that Ranma usually wore, darted past them. Akane, Ranma's only mean, unaffectionate fiancée, followed closely behind the girl, waving a now familiar mallet. Maybe she was a new fiancée. "Hey Shampoo, who's Akane chasing after?"
Shampoo scowled at Akane's departing back. "Violent girl should be nice to Ranma."
"I agree, but who's the girl that she's chasing?"
"Oh, you don't know about Ranma's curse?" Shampoo laughed. “Shampoo surprised you not find out by now."
"Jusenkyou curse. Shampoo, Ryoga, Mousse, and Ranma each have one. Shampoo turn into a cat when hit with cold water, Ryoga turn into pig, Mousse turn into duck, and Ranma turn into girl."
Makoto was tempted to believe the girl. After seeing what she had in her short life, she'd learned to have an open mind about supernatural stuff. It was this philosophy that that kept her sane. “Quit pulling my leg, Shampoo. There's no such thing as curses."
What did pulling her leg have to do with anything? Shampoo shrugged it off as a Japanese thing and said, “Come to Nekohanten with Shampoo. Shampoo show her curse. Mousse still in full-body cast so you just see Shampoo."
She didn't think they would care if she were a few minutes late so Makoto agreed. The Nekohanten was empty of customers, as it usually was at that time of day, and they had no trouble getting into the kitchen. Cologne, Shampoo's great-grandmother, was stirring a large pot of steaming broth.
"What are you girls up to?" Cologne asked as they passed.
"Mako-chan no believe in Jusenkyou curse. Shampoo prove to her."
Cologne smiled. “So you finally found out about those. May I ask from whom?"
"I saw Akane chasing this girl wearing Ranma's clothes. I asked Shampoo who the girl is and she told me. It is hard to believe." Makoto felt uncomfortable in Cologne's presence. She felt like the woman was constantly scrutinizing her. Not to mention that there was an almost tangible aura of power around the woman.
"Ah, Son-in-law. It surprises me that you hadn't found out sooner."
Shampoo had handed her two glasses. One was full of hot water and the other cold. Her instructions were simple enough: Pour the cold water on Shampoo, then pour the hot water on Shampoo-neko. Simple, really. But when she finally brought herself to pour the water over the girl's head she was unprepared for the transformation that took place. Shampoo disappeared into pile of clothes. A moment later the clothes began to move around until a small, white and purple cat popped its head from under the skirt of Shampoo's school uniform.
"S-Shampoo." Makoto jumped back causing some of the hot water to slosh out over the rim of the glass. It splashed the cat, which in a flash was a naked Shampoo.
Shampoo scrambled to get into her wet clothes. She said to Makoto, "Shampoo tell you so." She smiled at her friend’s slack-jawed appearance.
Waiting for Cologne to arrive, Ranma rolled one of the disk weapons that he took from Mousse over the back of his knuckles. He held another in his left hand, examining the tiny symbols etched on its to faces. He heard the 'tap, tap' of Cologne's staff as she approached and was about to stow the devices away when he felt a tap on his shoulder made him jump.
"What have you got there?" Cologne asked curiously.
Damn, she'd used that trick again. It couldn't really hurt to show her the things; it wasn't like he knew what they were. Ranma held the two small disks out for Cologne to see and was rewarded with a look of such utter astonishment on the woman's face that it would have been comical if he wasn't so worried about what could actually surprise her so much. She'd barely raised an eyebrow when he had told her about the fight at Jusendo.
"Where did you get those?" she demanded in a fierce whisper.
"Mousse tried to kill me with them today."
Cologne looked really, really angry. Come to think of it, he'd only seen her make a battle aura twice. “Do you have any more of them?"
Ranma pulled the other one and after thinking about it, Kuno's sword, from subspace. Now she knew that he'd mastered Hidden Weapons, but there was really no helping it. Really big battle aura.
"What exactly do they do?" Her voice sounded strained.
"This," he waved the light saber, “made an energy sword when Kuno twisted the bottom part and the disks made really big energy disks that came back to Mousse like boomerangs."
Cologne began mumbling to herself.
Ranma could only catch small pieces of what she said like, “They’ll be pissed," and "Ranma will be inducted."
Finally, Ranma lost patience and asked, “What are you going on about?"
"Follow me inside, Ranma."
Ranma followed Cologne up the stairs that led to the sleeping quarters above the Nekohanten. They stopped in front of a door that had symbols carved on its edges that resembled those from the weapons Cologne had confiscated. She opened the door with a tap of her staff, revealing a room that easily rivaled the size of the entire building.
"How?" he gaped. It was impossible. Okay, maybe not impossible, but damned close.
"Get in here and I'll explain it to you later."
Once again Ranma followed the Amazon. She led him down a haphazard path, between stacks of books, tables piled high with unusual devices, and around roped off areas where cauldrons full of foul smelling substances bubbled. On the far side of the room they stopped in front of a large silver ring that was partially imbedded in the stone floor.
"Are you going to explain all this to me now?" he asked exasperatedly. What was going on?
"Be patient." She placed her hand on the ring and glowed for a brief moment.
Ranma felt Cologne channel her chi into the ring, but couldn't figure out what she was doing.
When the ring started to emit a slight humming sound Cologne drew her hand away. “Now, Ranma, follow me."
Ranma was getting tired of being told to follow her around like a puppy. It was kinda nice being referred to by name, though. With a sigh he walked through the ring, expecting to run headfirst into the wall.
He dropped into a low combat stance and hardened the air directly in front of himself to dampen any physical blows while lacing it with chi to protect himself from any minor attacks.
The room that they had appeared in was close enough in size to the one they had left so that Ranma couldn't see a difference. There were also a dozen men and women, all armed with staves, swords, and other assorted weapons, each with a bright battle aura surrounding them. He looked to where Cologne should be and was confronted by a woman in her early thirties with jet-black hair who bore a striking resemblance to Shampoo.
"What in the hell is going on?!" Ranma abandoned his earlier defenses and brought his battle aura to bear. It flowed around him like golden fire, turning to mist along its blurred edges. He moved so fast that the only sign of his passage was a golden trail of chi and dived through the ring that had brought him to wherever it was. Nothing happened. Ranma was forced to flip around and kick off the wall to avoid an embarrassing collision.
"Calm down, Ranma," the woman said after he settled down on top of the ring.
"Cologne, if you really are Cologne, you have about ten seconds before I start hurting people." Much to Ranma's chagrin the other people in the room began to laugh. “You think this is a joke?" he demanded. White fire engulfed his arms and coalesced into a pulsing globe of white light in each hand. They shut up.
"This place is where those weapons came from. We came to find out who supplied them to Mousse and Ryoga."
"And why are you young? Where are we? Who are all these people? I don't like being kept in the dark."
"Show some respect, boy!" demanded one of the men. He leveled his plain wooden staff at Ranma and a bolt of lightning erupted from it towards him.
Ranma reacted only by raising his right hand and the white energy sphere over his head. The lightning changed directions and was absorbed by the sphere when it made contact. “Cologne. I thought we had some mutual trust."
"Indeed we do. If you still trust me, please come down here and I'll explain what I can."
The two spheres transferred themselves from Ranma's hands to a place above each shoulder, he then flipped forward to land next to Cologne. “Call off the goons," he told her. The sound of multiple sets of teeth grinding together reached Ranma easily.
"The 'goons' are actually an escort of honor for you and I. They are here to lead us to the Council Hall." She started walking towards the only exit in the smooth gray walls of the room.
This time Ranma walked at her side, determined not to be led around. “That’s one question answered." They were walking down a dimly lit hallway now. Ranma could still see that the walls were made of gold veined marble, even in the low light.
"We're currently several hundred miles east of the Bermuda Triangle, in the underwater city of Atlantis. Not the original Atlantis, mind you, but that's what we called it when we found it two thousand years ago," she replied evenly.
Ranma didn't know who was crazier; Cologne for expecting him to believe the story or himself for actually believing it. “And your age?"
She smiled at him for no reason that he could fathom. "Oh, I'm about three hundred and seventeen." Their little party reached a cavernous room. The six men who were in front of them veered to the right and the six women behind them turned to the left, but Cologne made no move to change her course, and she and Ranma continued walking straight.
"Is the pervert like you? I mean does he look old, but is really young?" Ranma asked, while at the same time gaping at the room they were in. The ceiling, he realized, was transparent, allowing him to see a multitude of fish and even a shark swim by. The room was illuminated by hundreds of glowing glass balls that floated randomly a dozen feet above the floor. The walls were the same gold streaked marble.
Cologne laughed heartily. "Oh, no, not by a long shot. In fact, I modeled my aged appearance after his."
Ranma didn't ask any more questions as they walked to the huge gold doors on the other side of the room. Instead, he sorted through all the sights he had seen and things that Cologne had been hinting at for almost a year. An idea, not a good one, but an idea nonetheless, came to him. "It's magic," he said when they were halfway to the door.
"What is?" she asked in response.
"What you've been teaching me. You've been teaching me magic all along, and I didn't even know." It really was a bad idea.
Cologne arched an eyebrow. “What is magic?"
"I don't know for certain. I know that what you've taught me is magic, but I know that it can't affect my curse, which is also magic. Maybe it's a lot of different things." He shrugged helplessly.
"Very good. I wasn't expecting you to figure that out for a few more months. Magic comes in as many forms as you can imagine, but few people believe in it."
"So, you're a sorceress or witch or something?"
"Those of us who practice our particular brand of magic prefer to be called mages. You and I are warrior mages."
"Brand of magic? What does that mean?" A good idea after all.
"As I said, magic comes in many forms. Those who can control magic control different forms. Mages, for example, use their internal energy, their ‘chi’ as you and I recognize it, to attack and defend in an infinite variety of ways, but are limited by how much energy they have within themselves. Channelers draw from external energy sources. They tend to be linked to a specific location, drawing a particular form of mana from that place and can channel it until they exhaust themselves; a man linked to a volcano would have a number of heat and fire based spells or abilities. Witches and Warlocks use the psychic energy of their minds to cast and create spells. Most Witches and Warlocks are very gentle and peaceful because they need a perfect mental balance to cast their spells or they risk destroying their own minds. Some people form a powerful psychic bond with an animal. From this bond they are able to draw energy and form it into an elemental form of attack and its equivalent defense. They are called sorcerers or sorceresses and are only limited by the strength of their familiars. Anyone with inborn magic is called a magi. They tend to be confused with mythological gods. Saffron was magi— the most powerful in history. Artificers have no magic of their own, but for some reason anything that they craft with their hands gains random magical properties. They range from being able to turn the user invisible to making the user double in size, but the one constant among them all is that they act as a lens for all forms of magic. My staff is such a lens. It's my staff's ability to create small illusions that has kept my agelessness hidden."
Ranma's head was nearly spinning. He'd never suspected there to be so much to magic. Before it had been curses, potions, and some miscellaneous junk. Now there was a whole world of it. “You said that there were a lot of different kinds of magic, but that's not that many different kinds of magic-users."
"Most magic can't be controlled." The doors that now loomed over them began to swing open. “Now, be on your best behavior. You may be more than a match for any one of them, but they outnumber you a thousand to one."
"What's happening now?"
"You are being presented to the Council as a new mage. Once you gain membership in the Order, you'll be gifted with a weapon and I'll be able to petition the Council to take action against the Attendant who gave Mousse and Ryoga their weapons."
"What's an Attendant?" Ranma could through the partially open doors, see a room easily as big as the one he was currently in. This one was filled with people sitting in stadium seating, though.
"Attendants are people who have enough Atlantean blood in them to operate the technology left here when the city was abandoned. Much of the remaining machinery is in disrepair and we have no notion of how to fix it. Most of what still functions generates power and maintains an atmosphere of fresh air for the city. A few things do, however, still operate. It's one of those that made the weapons."
The doors were fully open now and Ranma could see that he was outnumbered more than a thousand to one. It was closer to two thousand. “Do all these people stay down here?" he asked.
"No. While we were in transit they arrived. I purposely slowed us so they would."
"Just how much time has passed?" Even though he asked the question, Ranma feared the answer.
The only thing that kept Ranma from screaming in dismay was that he didn't want to embarrass himself in front of so many people. The last time he'd disappeared from Nerima, an unlucky case of falling asleep on the train, troops had been called in to stop the rioting. No one was even looking at him, Ranma noticed. They were all chatting among themselves. “Do you know what kind of hell Nerima is going to be when we return?"
"I have some idea. I was there last time, after all."
Fighting the urge to cry, Ranma continued on.
To be continued.
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