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Chapter 14

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.

Cologne's eyes narrowed as she examined the blue crystalline egg that Saffron had produced. Though not a sorceress herself, Cologne could feel the magical energy bound into the egg, layers upon layers of intricately woven force. The entire crystal was energy, energy given form and purpose, but energy nonetheless. What that purpose was remained a mystery. "How is this object supposed to aide us in the coming war?" It would have to be something similar to the hand of the Goddess coming down to smite their foes, otherwise their superior skill and power would be totally overrun by sheer numbers and the amount of machinery that the Chinese and other world governments could throw at them.

Saffron's voice was respectful as he addressed the ancient Amazon. He may be an immortal demi-kami, but that little old lady could very likely hold her own against him. "It is a simple tool from the long-dead Silver Millennium. One was placed on each inhabited world, and through a series of spells that I am unfamiliar with, negated all artificial electricity and suppressed all chemical reactions explosive enough to power a projectile. These crystals kept the ruling family and its allies in power for more than a millennium, suppressing any development of technology that may have eventually challenged their power."

Herb, the young Dragon Prince of the Musk Dynasty, said, "This single crystal, it will render all modern technology useless?" The situation was almost too good to be true. When the only thing that can possibly win you the war shows up right when you need it most, something isn't right.

Cologne understood just how 'not right' things could quickly become. "Saffron, if I may be frank, why would you seek an alliance with my people and the Musk?"

Saffron chuckled. "I understand my peoples' strengths and weaknesses better than anyone. We have greater numbers than either of your peoples combined, a greater range of mobility due to our wings, and a higher ratio of magic wielders. But even with my power, great as it may be, combined with the nullifying effects of the crystal, there would be very little chance of a successful military campaign within China, much less the entire world. Your Musk, Herb, are all possessed of extraordinary abilities, some of which allow them to fight foes with much greater skill than themselves and still emerge victorious. Your power, too, is nothing to be frowned upon. The Dragon blood runs strong within your veins." Saffron turned to look at the Matriarch. "The skills, powers, and magical weapons of your tribe may be the greatest advantage of all, though, honored elder. Your fellow Amazon leaders are each near the equal of Herb, and you may be my equal, if for a short time. Together we shall be unstoppable."

Cologne saw the logic in the abbreviated explanation, but asked the relevant question. "And who shall lead this new Jusendo Alliance?"

"I shall, of course," Saffron answered.

We'd reached the point in our research that for a significant amount of recorded history, no hard copies existed. A metal bin filled with tiny ceramic disks, discovered by Minako as we searched for the missing documents, had turned out to be some kind of back-up database, and Ami's computer was running around the clock to decode the information. This break in activity allowed the Senshi and I, with Telerin tagging along, though not really wishing to, to explore our temporary home in more detail.

Maps found in the Archive had helped tremendously in locating our general location on this Earth. The river that cut through the giant field of grass was the Amazon River. Yep, the one and only, the river that was supposed to flow through the rain forests of South America. That was all gone, though, thanks to a mutated strain of bole weevil introduced to the continent by ecological terrorists. What they were hoping to accomplish besides destroying all kinds of potential cancer cures and eliminating a very large oxygen factory, I don't know.

"Earth— yours, not mine— is similar to that of my Earth's past?" Telerin asked late one evening. He was really starting to integrate into our little group, so much so that I had observed him playing with some of the pokémon, the idea of which would have sent the man off screaming like a frightened child earlier. He'd also participated in a few of the sporadic martial arts lessons I was forcing on the Senshi.

"Yeah," I confirmed. "I can't really be too sure about some stuff, mostly because the time differences are still too great, but the geography and general culture appear to be an almost exact match. The differences were most likely small and insignificant. That's why it's hard to believe that a planet that was practically covered with humans and all the things we like to have around us, cars, building, etc., would go down the hole like this one." Weeks of looking for some tiny remnant of civilization had turned up completely zilch. I would have been happy to find an old rusty spoon.

Telerin turned a little defensive thanks to my last comment. "Chicago may not be terribly civilized to you, Ranma, but it's all we have, and when you come right down to the point, the last home of humans on this entire planet. Our way has helped us to survive for millennia and we'll continue to do so."

I waved my hands around, trying to head of any argument. "Look, Chicago is nice, sorta, but the Chicago I know on my Earth would completely overwhelm you. The thing that upsets me, though, is that the Archives have plans and instructions for the building and operating of most advanced technologies. If you and your fellow Chicagoites had just tried, the whole place could have been a paradise when compared to its current state."

The older man seemed to slump, withdrawing within himself. "I know. I, too, have seen the knowledge you speak of, and I know what we are missing out on, but what can I do about it?"

I shrugged and let that conversation lapse into silence. No sense in making the guy any more depressed than he already was. The ground beneath my feet shook slightly, and I looked over to where Slammer was trying to teach Minako's Geodude, a poor pokémon named Darling, how to create small earthquakes. My Golem noticed my attention and waved one of his massive stone arms in my direction. I returned the gesture and went looking for something to do.

Something found me, in the form of Ami and Rei. They were both breathing hard, and their faces were flushed with excitement and exertion. "Ranma," Rei called, waving her arms to get my attention.

I jogged over to the girls, giving them time to catch their breath. "Trouble?" I asked. I'm gonna have to get one of those wrist radios whenever we get home, or the Senshi were going to run themselves ragged getting in touch with me.

Ami shook her head and began, "The Chancy we left at the camp with my computer and the disks, it signaled that my computer has found a match to the parameters I set it to scan for." She smiled at me, in triumph mostly, but the gleam in her eye told me there was more to it than that. She's mentioned introducing me to her mother a few times in the last week. I think that was somehow involved.

"I just know that Grandfather is worried sick about me," Rei said. "The others are out gathering their pokémon together now." Her hand went to her belt where a lonesome pokéball hung. Usagi has three eggs produced by her horde. Hopefully the princess will give those first few to Rei. The girl was just a little too attached to her rat.

"Couldn't Chancy be in trouble and calling for help?" I asked, unwilling to get everyone's hopes up for nothing.

Ami shook her head. "No, she didn't look worried on the communicator, and she was waving my computer around and pointing at the indicator light," clarified the Senshi of Mercury. Even the pokémon get communicators. It's not fair. Eh, probably can't get TV signals anyway.

"If we fly in spurts, allowing the pokémon to rest for short periods of time, we should be able to get back in a couple of days," I said. I was much more eager to get back and get the information needed to get us home than I let myself show. I suppose Ami could feel the restrained excitement, but there was no helping that now. Without the power of magic coursing through my body like I had become accustomed to over the years, a part of my being felt withered, nearly dead. This world was getting to me.

Usagi flung her arms around the rotund little Chancy, picking it up and twirling it though the air. "Thank you so much, Cinderella!" she exclaimed happily. Every one of her pokémon had crappy names like that. They didn't mind, though, so I never said anything about it.

"Do you recognize this?" Ami asked Telerin, pointing to the floating 3D image generated by her computer. The device was round and made of a series of metal disks, each lessening size as they neared the pointed top. It slowly turned on an invisible axis, giving full view of the symbols carved in its shining surface.

Telerin nodded, a look of foreboding coming across his face. "It's embedded in the Altar of the Wings, in the main temple. That temple is guarded constantly, day and night, ever since an attempted break-in over a century ago."

I shrugged that little inconvenience aside. "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go turn the dial, or whatever it is we have to do, and get our asses home," I suggested.

"It's not as simple as that, Ranma," Ami objected. "The key sequence, due to the immense number of possible combinations, is going to take my computer days, if not weeks to decipher." I knew she regretted the words, that didn't make me any happier.

"We've waited this long, a few days won't matter."

Cologne reported the development back to the Council as soon as possible. They weren't happy about the demands, but they saw that to decline the offer would be foolish. Saffron would be in charge of the war to come, and he and his people would hold Asia and Europe at its completion. Herb had been furious, and nearly to the point of throwing a royal temper tantrum. Good sense won the day, though, and he finally agreed to take North America. The Amazon Nation would have plenty of resources and room to expand in South America and Africa. Jusendo, though, would retain its original borders and the areas controlled by each people would stay intact.

Cologne and the other Elders didn't expect peace to last long between the three factions once the war was over, but that situation would have to be attended to at a later date. A much later date. They were looking at several decades of genocide as it was; there was no need to plan for more.

Leaving the Council Chamber that night, Cologne passed the training field where the first group of warriors that would soon be departing practiced. Her great-granddaughter stood far apart from the others, the mystic sword created by Ranma held before her. Cologne stopped to watch her heir.

Shampoo's face tightened and a mask of concentration slipped across it. Then, in a blur, the girl's arm whipped out, passing the sword through the air several times, all the while alternating its blade from hot to cold. In a handful of moments, a gale force wind erupted in front of the Amazon, followed almost immediately by a cyclone that grew from a pencil thin mass of swirling air, to a three-foot wide conflagration. With deft movements, Shampoo directed the cyclone, forcing it to slowly lower itself until the deadly attack was parallel with the ground.

Sweat soaked and panting, Shampoo halted the continuous amaguriken speed sword strokes, causing the cyclone to rapidly dissipate. Whistles and cheers greeted the young warrior, courtesy of her fellows. With a smile, Cologne departed. She knew that her great-granddaughter could just as easily have created a tornado a hundred times that size.

At her doorstep, a thought struck her. If they could find Ranma and enlist his aide, his weapons alone could end the coming conflict years sooner. His rapport with demons, abominable as the creatures were, could also prove extremely valuable.

Maybe she should send Shampoo on a separate mission. She and Ranma had been close during his stay in the village and the relationship, as one-sided as it had been, was a close enough link that the girl could successfully scry him.

Demon came flying into the camp—well, as close as something his size can manage— early the second morning after we had returned at Darling's request. The giant pokémon had finally ceased growing, at least noticeably, and had even learned to drain the life and energy from the surrounding grassland, sharply reducing his daily food intake.

Today, however, he had something large and furry clasped in his enormous fist. As he lumbered to me, I caught sight of a yellow furred head, a head belong to a species of feline demon that I had once had a run-in with. Demon dropped the groaning demon at my feet and said, "No anmaal." He gently nudged it with his foot, the claws thankfully sheathed. "Likez prrrsun." With a shrug of massive shoulders, he hunched down and waited for my examination.

I guess he wanted me to tell him whether he could eat the thing. I looked up at him and said, "Sorry, buddy, but these aren't food." He looked regretful and was about to go hunt, mostly for fun, when I asked, "Did you see any more like this?"

Demon nodded. "Thhot wrayy," he said, pointing south, toward the forest. I'll be damned; demons, here. Telerin'd told me that there hadn't been a demon sighting in over a millennium. I jumped up, barely reaching Demon's shoulder and scratched him behind his ear. His purr made the ground tremble.

"You did good, Demon. Let's wake this guy up and see what he has to say for himself." I retrieved a bucket of water from the river and poured it on the demon. We didn't have anything that could properly bind a creature of its physical strength, not that Demon nor I would have any trouble with this pathetic creature.

Cats don't like getting wet, and this one wasn't an exception. It came awake with a YOWL, which promptly became a scream of bestial fear when the first sight it saw was Demon, sitting cross-legged with his chin resting in the palms of his hands. I reached over and grabbed the demon's shoulder, careful not to badly startle it and possibly lose my arm.

"Don't worry, he won't hurt you," I told the demon. It turned around and was hit full force by my demonic presence. Most demons of this species would have positively delighted in torturing me for days, but this one just grinned and extended its furry hand. He probably thought I was a shapeshifter in human form.

"That'sss one hell of a pet you got there," it commented. He swept an appreciative glance over Demon now that he knew the larger than life pokémon wouldn't attack him.

"It's more of a mentor/child relationship," I shrugged. "Anyway, what in Hell are you doing on this piece-of-shit world?" Demons are by their nature innately magic, so even being on a magically deviant world like this one would be painful and over time, debilitating.

It growled. "My brothersss and I were trapped here nearly a full moon ago. And you?" I could see a few patches of fur that had begun to become discolored and others where the fur was thinning and would soon fall out completely. Staying here was hitting this guy harder than I would have expected.

"My friends and I were transported to another plane. In attempting to reach our home, we have become trapped here. We may have found a way to unlock the spell that keeps our magic bound and will soon be traveling home. You and your brothers are welcome to replenish your energy if we succeed," I told him. The girls probably wouldn't like it, especially since these weren't the kinds of demons that minded their own business and worked nine to five jobs. Speaking of the girls. "My friends are all human, and female, by the way. Don't get any ideas, though," I warned. "Blood magic won't work here any better than any other kind, and if one of them were harmed— well, that would be bad for your entire race."

It bowed, not even attempting to dispute my demands. It's not hard to see why the demons that come to this Earth always try to attack Chicago. Eventually they must feel the forces centered around the floating city and attempt to seize it, for their very survival. Oh, boy, Telerin wasn't going to like this. Maybe I could pass the demons off as pokémon…

The girls hadn't got back from their dip in the river by the time that the demon, whom I now know to be named Hersh, and I, via Demon, departed for the cave that Hersh's fellow demons were living in.

"So, who's the Demon Lord on your plane?" I asked. FYI, that's always a good question to break the ice with the denizens of Hell.

"Xochial," Hersh answered. "He isn't going to be happy that we have been gone so long." Xochial is one of the first demons to ever teach me any magic and he is the original owner of the athame I now use. I hadn't seen him in a few years.

"How is Xochial doing?" I asked. Demon Lords can travel between dimensions pretty easily, thanks to the thin barriers between realities that exist within Hell. Every dimension has a single Demon Lord as its main bad guy. He, she, or it, is more powerful on this plane, and all demons native to it obey that demon without question. Most Demon Lords stay on their own plane where they're nearly (and I mean that the universe almost has to be destroyed to take them out) immortal, but Xochial and the Dark Prince (nope, don't know his name, but it's probably something stupid like Escobar) are friends and drop by to exchange pleasantries every so often.

Hersh looked at me funny and asked, "You know my Lord?"

"Yeah, he practically raised me for a couple years. Taught me all kinds of neat stuff." I flicked my wrist and my athame appeared in my hand. "He gave me this when I turned thirteen." The vorpal blade was almost as indestructible as Xochial himself, and when the proper magical energy existed, I could summon, at will, nearly any demon from his realm of my choosing.

Hersh's eyes widened as he took in the sight of my simple athame. In a single movement full of feline grace, he prostrated himself across Demon's arm and reverently asked, "Oh, he who is like a son to my Lord and Master, please allow Hersh to serve you?"

Wow. To say the least. I reached down and pulled the demon to his feet. "None of that, man." It's nice to know that Xochial cares so much for me, a mere human. "We're all friends here, right?"

Hersh nodded his head violently enough to make his semi-stiff cat ears flop around wildly. "Yes, yes, of course."

"Well then, since you see it my way, let's find your brothers and see if we can't get you home. I owe Xochial a lot, and this may help to even things out a little."


To be continued.

Author's Notes: Nothing has really happened that was too important to Ranma and the gang in the last few chapters, but they go home next chapter, with an army of pokémon at their back. Won't that be fun? I know that the war being planned by the inhabitants of Jusendo seems a bit hard to pull of, but consider, the world will be in chaos. No technology of any kind more advanced than pre-gun powder Europe in a world almost completely dependent on the modern conveniences. The Amazons, Musk (who for the purposes of this story number in the thousands and not three), and Phoenix Peoples just have to come through and slaughter the tattered ruins of civilization and maybe the occasional group of organized people that manages to pull itself together.

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Chapter 15
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