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Chapter 3

A Ranma ½ - Sailor Moon crossover story
by Dark Phoenix

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.

"Rei told us why you wanted to meet so early, Ranma," Ami said. I think she was the only one of the Senshi capable of forming coherent words right then.

"Good. She might have already told you, but from now on always travel in at least pairs. That probably won't really help you if these people are seriously interested in grabbing you; however, it will give one of you a chance to escape and tell me. You girls aren't my favorite people, but I still have that deal to teach you magic, and you're all basically good at heart, despite your many, many faults, so I will come to the rescue." Ugh, I hate playing Good Samaritan. Not that I would leave anyone to be experimented on by a bunch of incompetent scientists.

Usagi sniffled in fear, I thought. Then she said, "Y-you really care!" That diving glomp/bear hug of hers is pretty effective. "Does that mean you don't hate me? Would you like to come to dinner with me tonight? The other Senshi and me are going to the mall tomorrow, wanna come?"

Ami to the rescue. I saw the soft blue light of a spell form in her hands, and the next thing I knew, Usagi was snoring on my shoulder. Ami was too good to be stuck with that bunch. I started making plans to begin giving her private lessons. She was far enough along to learn from books without my help, and if she improved as quickly as she had so far, I would soon have a teaching assistant. Listen to me, sounding like a real teacher. Setsuna would be getting that demonic yeast infection I'd been saving for a special occasion.

"Nice work. Might want to work on the amount of visible energy produced by the casting," I told Ami. I didn't exactly drop Usagi. It's not my fault that she lost muscle control when she fell asleep. All that grass and mud broke her fall just fine.

"When she wakes up, tell her she was just dreaming, will ya?" I asked no one in particular. "We're going to go off the lesson plan today…" Damn it, I just keep getting worse every day. "…and I'm going to try to teach you all a very minor shield spell that you can keep active all day without draining your own energy. It'll give you a little protection from the weapons the hunters are using. Don't worry about waking Usagi; she won't be able to grasp this for at least another month."

The Senshi would be starting school again in a few days, and out of the kindness of my heart I had been giving them half days. I kept this in effect even with the present threat. They wouldn't be very effective if they were burnt out, after all. They were piling out of the small back yard to the shrine residence when I mentally impressed a desire to talk to Ami on her mind. It's not mind control, especially on someone as intelligent as the Senshi of Mercury, and she knew what it was anyway.

She was still trying to stuff books into her backpack when she walked over to me. That's something I don't understand about the girl. She's smarter than me (really sucks to admit that), and I finished high school when I was eleven; so she could have easily been through college and making lots of money somewhere by now. "Sensei? Did you send me a mental summons just now? I'm not sure if I wasn't just imagining it," she said as shyly as ever. Real confidence problem with her.

I made sure none of the others were in hearing range and said, "Ami, as I'm sure you've noticed by now, you are making much better progress than your friends. Rei and Makoto aren't bad, but honestly, you're the only one of the Senshi that I would have willingly chosen to teach. You're a natural sorceress. If you would be willing to take the time, I could teach you at a much faster pace than the others. That would help everybody. You could help me teach your friends in the afternoons after school starts, and I could teach you in the evening."

Ami didn't take any time making her mind up, contrary to the hemming and hawing I had expected. She nodded her head enthusiastically and said, "That would be wonderful!"

It's not like I had anything better to do, so I said, "I don't have any plans tonight. It would be as good a time to start as any."

"That's fine. My mother is carrying an extra shift tonight at the hospital, so she won't know if I stay out late."

She ran and caught up with the other Senshi and told them something along the lines of she was getting some extra tutoring or something. I couldn't tell exactly with the traffic going by on the sidewalk.

"Setsuna got it for me," I told Ami when I saw her staring at my huge apartment in awe. "Heh, I bet she wishes she had been a little more forthcoming with me now."

Ami looked at me oddly and asked, "Why's that?"

It probably wouldn't be good to tell her what a mess I had made of her semi-mentor. "Oh, nothing. Complex magical stuff you wouldn't understand." Well that was partially true. "Make yourself at home. I'm gonna fix a sandwich. Want one?"

"Sure, that'd be great." She sat down and began flipping through the channels on my TV. She looked shocked. I understood the feeling. I never would have believed there were three thousand channels.

We ate our sandwiches and finished watching a news program on the Sailor Senshi. I couldn't help but laugh at some of the ideas people had about these girls. 'Secret government super-soldiers' was the best, though. I mean, super-soldiers? It was too funny to believe. I had to keep myself from falling over laughing because Ami appeared flattered by the show and I didn't want to hurt her feelings.

"You're going to need an athame before we can go much further," I commented when the program was finished.

"A what?" Ami asked.

"Ritual knife. It helps to focus energy into finer and more coherent patterns. There are a lot of spells that can't be performed without one until you have a lot of experience." I pulled mine from its wrist sheath. "You've seen me use it to draw the spell patterns in the air?" Ami nodded. "I could have done it without the athame, but it would have taken more energy and the image wouldn't have remained legible for nearly so long."

"Uh, where can I get an… athame?" she asked.

"I'm pretty sure there are at least a few shops in Tokyo that sell them, but for now I have one you can borrow." It took a minute of digging through my luggage to find the plain copper bladed dagger. "Copper doesn't draw and focus as much energy as iron," I told her. "It'll be easier to learn with it."

Ami took the proffered blade and tested the weight and feel. As she stroked it through the air a blue spark leapt from the blade. It's nice to be right all the time.

"What do you think about ice flame?"

Wouldn't you know it would be just like Usagi to decide to walk to the store for a quick ice cream fix in the middle of the night? I knew I should have put that mental block on her earlier. Ami, being the only member of the Senshi to know where I lived, arrived early— like 6 a.m.— beating on my door frantically. It was their first day of school, and I was sleeping in late, content with the knowledge that I didn't have to see the meatball-head for an extra six or seven hours.

"All right, all right!" I shouted. "I'm coming! Hold your horses!" I threw open the door, an invisible blade of force gathered in my free hand.

Ami rushed in, nearly knocking me over in my sleep-fogged state. "Usagi's missing," she informed me. "We always get her up especially early on the first day of school at the beginning of the new semester, so that she can find her way to her classes. It was my turn today," she rambled on while I was getting dressed. One day I was going to get caught without that damned ring on, and there would be a world of trouble for me. Thankfully she didn't see me in the darkened apartment until I had activated its enchantment.

"Are you sure she didn't just go to school on her own?" Even I knew that idea was a joke.

The look she shot me made me proud. It was my 'what kind of idiot are you' stare.

I didn't waste any time. If Usagi felt sufficiently threatened and was frightened enough, she could start up the magical howitzer act again. She still had more than enough control over that crystal. They, whoever they were, would probably just kill her instead of trying to subdue an energy and speech-spouting weapon of destruction. "Where are the others?"

"They're waiting down in the lobby. Luna and Artemis are with them." She knew that I didn't like the moon cats and that they didn't like me. I think they could smell a similarity between my female form and my natural male form.

I nodded and we headed out the door. The Senshi were indeed waiting in the lobby already transformed into full battle armor, with their weapons drawn and a primed spell crackling in the free hand. Ami activated the modified transformation sequence and within minutes I was leading four pissed-off Senshi down the nearly abandoned street. If it had been any of the other girls, I would have had to perform a spell to locate them, but Usagi and her crystal were easy enough to track down that I could just follow my nose— figuratively, of course.

At the speed we were traveling, we arrived in the warehouse district within half an hour. That's quite an accomplishment when you consider that it was on the other side of the city, with all those big buildings in the way.

"No mercy. You see someone in black, they die. If any of you have a problem with that, then go home now and leave the rescuing to me." I thought that at least Minako— and probably Ami— would bale out. I was wrong. If anything, their expressions became fiercer, and they followed along right behind me. Damn, how can someone like Usagi inspire such loyalty? Must have something to do with pity.

There wasn't much I could do about any surveillance cameras, not while keeping myself wrapped in the equivalent of a magical nuclear bomb shelter, but the people set to keep watch were another story. I dropped three of them before the Senshi even knew they were being watched. A man rose up from a pile of garbage to my left while I was flinging silent blades of air into a building across the street that had housed two lookouts. Before I could react, Makoto had roasted the man alive and we were moving on.

I hung back and let the Senshi work off a little steam on the next dozen. They worked better than I would have thought. I choose to believe much of that was due to my influence. I didn't spend any time looking for a way into the windowless warehouse that my senses told me was our destination. A flexing of magical muscles, you could say, and I ripped the shorter wall off and threw it onto another warehouse.

Oh, boy, what a slaughter! I had inadvertently freed a whole freakin' bunch of captured demons, super-powerful martial artists, and devil hunters. They were all in a bad mood. They were all much more powerful than their captors. The Senshi and I flowed through the massacre, looking for Usagi before we let ourselves have any fun.

The girl in question was unconscious and strapped down to a metal table with some kind of force field generator forming a bubble around her. Technology may be improving, but it is certainly no match for good old human ingenuity combined with lots and lots of power. I would have used some of that power to destroy the bubble if Ami hadn't found the power switch and flipped it off. Sigh; at least I got to kill some people.

By now the various groups had gathered together. Demons of at least a dozen varieties were feasting on dead and dying men and women. Devil hunters, who I guess had been confined in the same kind of force field Usagi had because they weren't holding back on their mystical retribution, were taking turns blasting their captors. The martial artists, some I actually recognized, were just beating the ever-living shit out of their victims. I saw a couple moderately powerful chi based attacks in the melee.

Someone was going to learn a lesson not to mess with their betters. A little technology just wasn't going to cut it.

With Usagi over my shoulder, I said, "We better get out of here before the demons and devil hunters notice each other." Rei started to protest. "Remember the 'minding their own business' rule? That's still in effect. Some of those demons are children that were probably taken right out of their beds in the middle of the night. Besides, the cops and very likely the government are going to be showing up soon. I don't want to be here when they do."

I got silent and grim nods from the girls and we began to cut our way through the mob. Along the way, I saw a pair of chaos demons trying to get out through the hole I had made in the wall. One was injured and being helped along by the other.

"Phil!" I called out. "Is that you?" The demons turned around and started waving to me. Yep, it was Phil and Cindy. "Be on your best behavior, girls. These are friends of mine."

"I can't believe she's friends with demons," I heard Rei mutter to one of the other Senshi.

"Ami said that she told her demons saved her life when she was a kid," Makoto responded. Good girl, Ami is.

We caught up with the pair of demons and I passed Usagi to Makoto, throwing Phil's arm over my shoulder. "When did they get you?" I asked.

Cindy answered, "Phil was having a craving for liver the night before last, and it'd been a while since I had any, so we went out and…" The female demon finally seemed to notice the company I was keeping.

"Don't worry. They won't bother you," I assured her. "Senshi, meet Phil and Cindy. Phil is one of my oldest friends, and Cindy is his girlfriend." I still haven't figured out how Phil managed that. "Phil and Cindy, these are the Sailor Senshi. I'm still teaching them magic."

"Hey," Cindy said awkwardly. "Sorry we got off on the wrong foot last time. I guess I can understand where you're coming from, though." Cindy must be one of those human-rights demons.

"Yeah," Phil agreed, groaning through the pain of a smashed leg. "Thanks, by the way, for getting us out of that hellhole." That got a laugh from me and the girls.

The streets were slowly starting to fill with morning commuters and people going about their business. We were already drawing more than our fair share of strange looks. "Cindy, can you heal Phil up good enough to hold him over until tonight?"

"No problem," she responded.

"Good. You two are going to have to hide out somewhere today. My place is too far away, and there are too many people out on the streets already." I had already begun mentally going through likely places for them to lay low.

"That alley over there," Phil pointed to the alley in question. "Someone must've died there recently. It's still got a fair amount of negative energy swirling around. Cindy'll be able to work better there."

"Right," I agreed. The Senshi stayed where they were as Cindy and I helped Phil across the street. Once they were comfortable, I spun a kind of illusion that wasn't really an illusion, just a kind of blurred after image of the buildings beside it that would encourage people's eyes to skip over it. I couldn't do much better than that.

"They seemed pretty nice," Minako said when I returned. They had changed back into cute little schoolgirls, complete with uniforms and school bags. Usagi was still out of it and in her pajamas. I sure as hell wasn't going to volunteer to do the honors.

"They are. Most demons are like normal people. It's the screw-ups that give them all a bad name. I'm sure you all have plenty of time before school starts, but she," I indicated Usagi, "isn't even dressed…"

Ami spoke up. "It's my turn to get her ready. If we hurry, we won't be late."

I left them to decide how to work out their arduous task of taking the meatball head to school. Ami sure wouldn't be able to carry her across town, not without transforming. I wondered what they would tell her parents. Sleepwalking, most likely.

I was sitting in one of those tiny little street corner cafes sipping a cup of atrociously sweet coffee and watching an old episode of Dragonball when the broadcast was interrupted by a special news report. Turns out that those dead guys were government after all. They were claiming that a terrorist death cult that the guys had been investigating had made a preemptive strike and slaughtered them all. All the shredded and partially eaten, blown up, and burnt bodies leant that story a lot of credit.

I was just hoping that they had kept whatever file they had on me in that warehouse. Doubt it, though. Life had been getting a little stagnant lately. A couple years of making the hunters into the prey would be fun. I could even get the Senshi and some demons in on it.

"What happened?" the Emperor demanded shrilly.

The older man dressed in a cliché black suit bowed repeatedly, finally bringing himself to say, "The base was overwhelmed, sir. We have only fragments of the remaining security tapes, but it appears that case number 54687, Ranma Saotome, led case number's 34532 through 34535 on a rescue mission for case number 34531. In the process they freed all captured individuals."

"Fools, all fools," the Emperor snapped. "You were specifically instructed to enlist the aide of all supernaturally gifted citizens in Japan, not to hunt them down like demonic scum! Now you and your incompetents may have made an enemy of Our most potentially powerful allies."

"Yes, your Highness. Whoever misconstrued your decree shall be immediately dealt with," the man replied.

"Of course this fiasco was not your fault, correct? No, not your fault at all. I want those who were held against their will contacted and properly reimbursed with whatever they feel they are owed. The time is coming when We will need them all to fight for Us willingly. Now get out."

(I have no idea what Imperial protocol is in Japan. This will have to do. Oh, and I know that the Emperor is really just some kind of figurehead, but this is my story so he could be a three-headed monkey if I wanted him to.)

"Ami, I want you to take Rei, Makoto, and Minako through the first spell I taught you last night. I'm going to try to get Usagi caught up." Somehow.

"I still don't see why you get special lessons," Rei muttered. She likes to do that a lot, talking about people behind their backs, I mean. Enhanced senses can pick up all kinds of nice things.

"Ranma-sensei just thinks that I learn faster," Ami responded to the jab. That Ranma-sensei bit is pretty cool. Not too many people give me much respect. I admit that not too many people who know me are human, though. If I had been in Ami's position I would have just told Rei the simple truth that I was ten times the sorceress she would ever be, and for her to kiss my ass. Too bad there aren't more people like me in the world.

"Now, Usagi, I'm going to draw this spell in very simple pieces. I want you to tell me when you understand one, so that I can add the next part." At this rate she would be able to cast the spell in a week.

"Sure thing, Ranma," she said cheerfully, showing no sign that she had been kidnapped only hours earlier."Thanks for rescuing me. Those men were going to dissect me. What does dissect mean? Would it have hurt?"

I sighed. Another long day, in a series of long days.


To be continued.

Author's Notes: I think in a few chapters I may to try to cross this over with The Black Company by Glen Cook. Somewhere in the Shadow Games book. If you haven't read the series I highly recommend it. I've gotten lots of responses on this and some pretty good suggestions. Keep them coming. C&C welcome at dark_phoneix@hotmail.com

Chapter 4
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