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Chapter 11

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.

The large wooden double doors at the top of the wide steps swung open before we were halfway to the top. Soldiers in black and green uniforms, armed with shields and some kind of sidearm— a sword, axe, or mace— and others with crossbows, poured out onto the steps ahead of us in double ranks. They formed a wall of men to block us, with shields held in interlocking positions on one level of steps and the crossbowmen a couple above it. Without our pokémon clearly visible, it seemed that there was a little bit of courage floating around this place after all.

The girls were behind me in case of a projectile attack, but as close together as the soldiers were, even if the steps were relatively wide, I planned on just hitting them with a extra large vacuum blade. The steps would be slippery with all the blood and other bodily fluids; none of it would be ours, though.

"Halt!" was the simple command barked by a guy wearing the same uniform as his underlings, with the exception of a silver star over his heart. He stood in the doorway, well above what would soon be a massacre if his men attacked.

They obviously spoke Japanese, even though they looked European in origin. That's been another little mystery of this whole dimension-hopping trip. This would be the second world, excluding the one with the space ship because they used some kind of implant to translate, that spoke Japanese. I would have previously said that the Senshi and I would have been lucky just to run across a world that spoke a language as common to us as Swahili. Sigh. No point in complaining about fortuitous coincidences, I guess.

"Nah, I don't think so," I said in a voice as close to that of the man's as possible. "We'll be needing to see whoever's in charge. Now." That came across with a kind of implied threat that had gotten me through the gates of Hell once.

Heh. He wasn't used to being disobeyed, that's for sure. Minako and Makoto snickering behind me probably contributed to the man's face becoming a mottled portrait of red and purple splotches. Talk about high blood pressure. Ami soon joined in. I think that Usagi was just too worried about whether or not the man's head was going to explode to make fun of him.

"Ah, damn it," I sighed. I wasn't in the mood for really getting violent and I could feel Ami's accusatory stare pressing against the back of my head. "Go, Slammer!" I cried, turning loose the large Golem. The steps shuddered under the fantastic weight of the compact, yet massive pokémon. Oh, yeah, lots of running, screaming men. Polka-dot face managed to stand his ground, though the large stain spreading across the front of his green pants sort of gave away his fear.

Pokémon, or something very much like pokémon, had really put the fear into these people. I was almost starting to feel sorry for them. Still, it was funny.

"Begone foul demon, I abjure thee!" Piss-pants screamed, his voice trembling pathetically. He'd drawn his short sword, not that it would do much more than break against Slammer's shell/hide/armor, whatever the stuff was.

"Bwahahahahaha!" I roared, laughing almost uncontrollably. Slammer pounded on the ground and spit a couple rocks at Piss-pants' feet. That broke the man. He ran screaming back into the building, not bothering to close the doors behind him. Slammer reluctantly returned to his pokéball. He was having fun. I really should let him have more time out.

"That wasn't very nice, Ranma," chided Usagi. "He didn't look very healthy. What if you made him have a heart attack? If I was a doctor, I could tell you for sure, but I'm almost certain that his head was about to explode." Damn, I'm good! The other Senshi had to turn away and start coughing to cover up their laughter.

"He was going make a fuss and I would have had to kill some people. I think Slammer and I did a pretty good job." Usagi had the grace to blush slightly. "Well," I gestured to the open door, "shall we enter?"

The inside of the building was nice, in a stuffy, old way. Tapestries hung from the high ceilings, depicting the floating city hovering over various locations, only one of them water. Most, though, showed men fighting hordes of ravening demons. I recognized most of the breeds, all of them in the lower echelons of the demonic hierarchy. None were particularly powerful, maybe a few times stronger than a normal man and occasionally armed with a few killing spells, but when looked at from the perspective of normal men with no magic to speak of, an army of that type can be intimidating.

The bottom floor was nothing but a single cavern-like room, supported by marble columns. A spiral staircase rose to the next floor and above, wrapping around one of the marble columns.

"My pokémon do not look like any of those beasts!" Usagi loudly proclaimed. She was right, they really didn't. She stroked her pokéball belt. For a few delicate moments, I feared that she would unleash the beasts in the room. It's not a good idea to smash the support columns for a large seven-story stone structure.

"I know a guy who runs a hot dog shop in New York," I said, stabbing a finger at a short little demon with purple skin covered with pink patches of hair who wielded a warhammer nearly as big as he was, "who is really one of those. Makes great hot dogs. Heh, and you can be sure that they don't really have dog in them. His species go into convulsions when anything canine gets near them." Useless piece of information, I know, but I felt like saying it.

"Hmm, he's sort of cute," Rei commented. That goes to show just how bad her tastes are. I mean, look at the ugly monster rat of hers.

"Yeah, sure. Anyway, let's not stand around here." I didn't look back to see whether the girls were following me, I could feel their presence, and it's more effective being dramatic like that.

I was expecting some kind of landing or doorway leading off from where the second floor should be. There wasn't one. I would have been able to sense any hidden doorways. We kept on going. No third, forth, fifth, or sixth. The stairs topped off on the seventh floor. There must have been a back entrance to the other floors. Space in a walled, floating city had to be at a premium, it wouldn't be wasted so stupidly.

A brass railing surrounded the top of the stairs. The floor in question was a smaller, columnless version of the bottom floor. The tapestries were different, though, and it was furnished with a number of desks of varying quality, and sitting behind most of them were men in green, black, and purple robes. They looked up at me with little interest and went back to doing their jobs.

Piss-pants was wildly gesturing, spittle flying from his mouth, to an older man with silver-gray hair and a wrinkled face worthy of the most worldly of prunes. The bare floor was polished to a mirror-like shine. It's a bit irritating to see yourself looking at yourself when you are trying to look serious and vaguely threatening. I managed, and amazingly, so did the Senshi.

Mr. Wrinkly— it fits— waved Piss-pants off with an imperious flick of his wrist, somehow getting his aged faced to look disbelieving. This didn't seem like the best place to pull out one of my pokémon. The floor probably wouldn't support Slammer or Gyarados, and Demon couldn't squeeze into this confined space for all the pokémon on PokéWorld. The others had plenty of ugly pokémon if the need arose, though.

"Hey," I greeted politely… as politely as I ever get, at least. "You must be the guy in charge. I'm Ranma." Piss-pants seemed torn between attempting to murder me, and re-watering his breeches.

"What are you?" Wrinkly asked. "Mr. Dumas (love that commercial) here seems to think that you and your lady friends," and the bastard raked a lecherous stare across the Senshi, "are demons in disguise as mortals." When his attention returned to my face, my eyes were burning with black and red fire. He swallowed heavily and pulled back in his heavily cushioned chair a little.

I always have been good at making lasting impressions. Just look at Setsuna. Anyone think she'll ever forget me? "I could say my friends and I— and I'll rip your heart out if you ever look at them like that again— are travelers from another universe. Though it is true, I doubt you would believe the story." Happosai's trick was working pretty good. Next step. The air around me darkened slightly, giving my features a shaded appearance. "What matters to you and all the people in this city, is that the creatures we command are not demons, but beings from another plane more powerful than demons. If the need arose, we could bring down this puny little floating dirt ball. In return for not doing this, all we ask is help in restoring our energy to a level that would allow us to go home. The spells keeping this city afloat make that impossible. So, if the city were to explode, there would be no more spells and we could leave. If we get the needed help, no one has to die." I'm not the most terribly diplomatic of people, running more towards a terrible diplomat, really. I didn't want to make the head honcho shit himself, so I cut off the demon illusion.

A rustling of cloth and the scrap of chairs across stone alerted me to the mass evacuation of this floor. They weren't as indifferent as they had appeared. It couldn't have worked out better. Soon the whole city would know that I'd hijacked the boss' place.

"Cowards!" Dumas, and what a fucked up name that would be if this were an English speaking floating city, called to the escapees. His head really did look like it was about to explode.

"The, ah… terms of your arrangement include help, you say?" I nodded. "What kind of help would that be?" Old people simply weren't supposed to act this way. It was just too out of character. He was being obsequious and sounded more like he was trying to kiss my ass than save his own.

"I need to draw power from one of the spell constructs that levitate the city. Simple as that. I don't know how to do that without making it drop like a rock, though. If that's going to happen, why not just blow the place up now and get the trouble out of the way?" I paused, waiting for any objections. This wasn't as fun as I'd thought it would be. An Amazon elder would have this guy for lunch. "Someone has to maintain the constructs. They would know more about them than me. There could be alternatives to the first plan."

"And if there isn't anyone who can teach you to manipulate the… constructs… properly to send you home?" Only the barest hint of steel was present in the old guy's voice.

"Boom!" I chuckled as the horribly lined face went from gray to semitransparent. "My friends would probably hate me, with good reason, but they have important destinies on our world, save humanity and rebuild civilization kind of stuff. If they're trapped here, that isn't going to happen."

"Ranma…" growled Rei. I think it was Rei, but the tone was so low that any of the Senshi could have produced it.

"See?" I asked, gesturing behind me. "They don't like this part of the plan. They don't have a choice, so don't get any hopes of subversion going." Just so you know, I'm bluffing.

"I believe that the constructs you refer to may be the Wings of God, our most holy objects. Their Caretakers are rather militant in their belief that only they should ever have contact with the Wings. I fear none of them would help you." Wrinkly wasn't lying. Damn.

"Well, you better get up off your scrawny little ass and find one that will help us, before the alternative becomes more attractive." Wrinkly didn't seem able to decide if he should stand or crawl, but finally decided his dignity couldn't take the beating it would receive from his ego if he were to crawl away. Heh, I bet no one has told this guy what to do in years and years.

Once the old man reached the stairs and the sound of his slippered feet could no longer be heard, Usagi snapped, "Ranma, how could you be so mean to such an old man?" If Blondie started acting like Rei the wonder bitch, I was going to find myself a nice set of earplugs and nail them in place.

"I did get a little carried away, I admit, but I did get the idea into his little old head, didn't I?" I took a seat on the edge of Wrinkly's desk.

Minako shivered, hugging herself. "When he looked at me, I almost felt his slimy old hands grabbing me. Ugh." The Senshi nodded in agreement— even Usagi, who had sorta taken up for him.

"Usagi, why did you take up for him with Ranma if you felt so uncomfortable with his attitude and nature?" Ami asked. The straightforward question forced Usagi to think about her answer more than she would have to a question from me meaning the same thing but voiced in different words.

"I guess he just looked so old and fragile, at first, then he looked at us like that and I didn't really associate the two images, one of the old man, and the other of the perverted old man, as the whole image." AAAAIIIIYYYYAAAAHHHH!!!! It's the end of existence!

Really, though, what the shit was up with Usagi? That answer had been inspired. "Usagi," Rei asked, gently (yeah, wow), "did you hit your head and not tell us about it?"

"No, why?" Maybe there was some kind of time-release intelligence booster in that mind block we'd gotten rid of. There weren't any better explanations even worth pursuing.

Worried glances and resigned shrugs were exchanged.

The first three Caretakers that Wrinkly (never did learn his name) brought in weren't the religious fanatic types I had expected. The first didn't appear to have bathed in at least a decade, his beard was filthy, reaching almost to his waist, and a fist-sized boil grew from his left cheek. You could literally see the thing throbbing! I had to break his arm when he tried to rape Minako right there on the floor. Women must have one screwed up place in this society, or these Caretaker freaks held lots of power.

After number one ran away bawling like a baby, Wrinkly escorted the second guy in. He at least knew how to use soap and kept any thoughts about messing with the Senshi to himself. He kept his thoughts to himself right up until I asked him about recharging my energy. Then he wanted Rei as a sex slave. This was really getting aggravating. I didn't even have to hurt him, he ran away screaming when I started glowing. Rei's super rat may have contributed.

Number three was a nice old man who really wanted to help us. Unfortunately, he was a nice old man with bills to pay and wanted lots of gold. Since I didn't have lots of gold, I didn't even have to scare him off.

"This isn't working," I said sourly to Wrinkly. "Are there any of those bastards that aren't corrupt? Just one?" Wrinkly had built a small barrier of desks and books between himself and I, out of some hope it would protect him from me, I guess. Heh. I let him have his comfort.

Wrinkly spread his hands and looked apologetic. "The Caretakers with the necessary political power to have even a chance at meeting your ultimatum are the corrupt ones." Then he started bowing to me. Respect is good. Even fear is good. Ass licking brown-noses just aren't any fun.

I sighed. "Well, find me a Caretaker with absolutely no political power who isn't a pervert, and get his ass up here. No freaks, either!" I called to him as he scurried down the stairs. I almost felt sorry for all that running I was forcing the old man to do, but at his age exercise is a rather important activity…

Ami separated from the Senshi, who were talking about various ways to make their pokémon hunt down the earlier Caretakers who had visited, and intercepted me while I paced from one end of the chamber to the other. "You've got to relax, Ranma." She ran her hand down my back. That's really not fair. "You're much too tense. We'll find someone to help us get home, I'm sure."

I allowed Ami to drag me over to a chair and seat me. Her small, delicately boned hands felt wonderful as they massaged the rigid muscles in my back into a semblance of normalcy. Ack, she's doing it again!

Ami chuckled lightly as I tensed, and I couldn't help but lean back and enjoy the treatment. Could she have heard my thought? I mentally shook my head. We were friends, lovers, companions, not a couple, though.

*Silly Ranma, what do you think a couple is?* laughed Ami's voice in my head. She squeaked in fright as I disappeared from the chair. Her head swiveled rapidly from side to side, seeking me out.

I was planted firmly in the upper corner where the two walls furtherest from the girl were. This was too much, too damned much! We couldn't be bonding on THAT level! As people, in form and spirit, we were too different. Hell (I guess that's a pun, sorta), I'm virtually assured reincarnation as an upper demon lord should I ever die. Ami… well, Ami fights for love and justice. The two just don't mix.

I stayed in my darkened corner for however long it took for Wrinkly to return. When I heard footsteps echoing from within the stairwell, I slipped from my perch and rushed to the seat I'd had when Wrinkly left. Ami was back with the Senshi, looking a bit dejected, but I could feel the determination she held for something. Me.

The man Wrinkly led into the room was in his early-to-mid thirties, with an unremarkable face, crowned with muddy blond hair. His eyes were the same color blue as the robe he wore.

Wheezing and sweating profusely, Wrinkly managed to say, "This is Caretaker Telerin. He works as Keeper of the records at the Supreme Temple." He plopped down in a discarded chair. "You asked for someone with no power, and I found you one with so little that this chair outranks him."

Telerin didn't exactly turn a look of hatred onto Wrinkly, but it was damned close. "You can leave us now, Chancellor." I think that was a title, not a name.

I briefly outlined the situation to Telerin and waited for his demands. "Fascinating." That was a surprise. "And you could recreate the Wings of God, the constructs as you term them?"

I shrugged. "Now that I've seen the spell, sure, if I had enough of that crystal they're made from to work with. Why?" I allowed a glimmer of hope to wiggle it's way to the surface of my mind.

"As the Chancellor so eloquently stated, I have virtually no political power within the Caretaker organization. The reason for this isn't incompetence on my part; no, my opinions aren't held in high esteem by my fellow Caretakers. If you speak truly, my radical views could be confirmed." Telerin looked a little happy and significantly more hopeful than I.

"What radical views would those be?" I didn't want to get caught in some internal power struggle with a bunch of amazingly corrupt priests.

Telerin shrugged. "There's nothing really radical about them. I simply do not believe that God created the Wings of God. I have found several references within our most ancient manuscripts that speak of people with awesome powers. They were called Magi'i, and you sound very much like one of them. I believe they created the Wings of God to give Chicago a means to escape constant demonic invasion."

Chicago? Oh, goody, we could very likely be trapped in an alternate future within an alternate universe. But Chicago? When has Chicago ever had anything but Rust demons and Wind sprites? Then again, Chicago could have been the world capital of magic here. "Well, then, will you help us? I may even be able to prove you right before this is all over."


To be continued.

Author's Notes: In other news, I have a mostly completed prologue to a Ranma/X-men crossover in the works. It's gonna be a kind of alternate universe that starts off with Ranma being twenty and married to Kasumi, but he's probably going to get dumped into the normal Ranma world. I just love those kinds of fics. Don't you? Until next… C&C welcome at dark_phoneix@hotmail.com

Chapter 12
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