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Chapter 4

A Sailor Moon/ Ranma ˝ 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.

No one had moved at the Tendo residence when the Senshi returned through Setsuna's portal.

"You wouldn't happen to know where I could find my duffel bag, would you?" Usagi asked Nabiki.

Nabiki shook her head slowly and asked, "Who are you people? What did you do to Ranma? Where is Ranma?"

Kasumi, the only other Tendo conscious at the moment, left her father's side and hurried off to the dojo. The blonde girl must have left it in there.

"That's none of your concern," Rei snapped. She wanted to get as far away from this place as possible.

"Oh no, I believe it is. You girls show up, Ranma goes berserk and almost kills his father, and then you kidnap him. I'm sure the authorities would love to ask you a few questions. Hmm, if you would hold on just a moment." Nabiki pulled a small cell phone from her back pocket and flipped open the cover.

"Why, you—" Rei growled and made a lunge for Nabiki, but Makoto caught her by the arm and pulled her back.

Ami looked at her friends and asked, "Can we trust her?" Of course they wouldn't mention anything relating to the Senshi; that was an unspoken agreement, but enough truth could sate Nabiki's curiosity. They all eventually agreed, though it was with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

Before Ami could tell Nabiki anything, Kasumi came walking through the new garage-sized door in her home with the duffel bag that held Luna and Artemis. She was holding the bag as far away from her body as possible to avoid whatever was inside of it that was hissing and screaming.

"Thank you!" Usagi said to Kasumi, then she casually punched the bag a few times. "Heheh, all better."

"I'm waiting," Nabiki said. She wanted to know what in hell was going on, but the sooner these girls left, the sooner she could call a construction contractor.

"Oh, my!" Kasumi saw Akane and rushed over to her.

"The simple truth of the matter is that Ranma is Usagi's grandson," Ami told Nabiki, pointing to Usagi who waved brightly in acknowledgment. "Rini," she indicated Rini, who gave a shy nod, "is Usagi's daughter, and Ranma's mother."

Nabiki looked from the ditzy looking blond to the little pink haired girl and burst out laughing. After she calmed down, she asked herself, "What has the jerk gotten himself into this time?" To Ami, she asked, "And are you all superheroes too?" They all started shifting nervously. Oh, this was rich!

"I'm not asking you to believe me. In the future Usagi will give birth to Rini. Rini is just visiting the past as a sort of educational vacation. When Rini is older she will have Ranma during a war and bring him into the past to keep him safe. This has already happened and will continue to happen in a never-ending cycle. Rini didn't count on Genma stealing Endymion— which is his real name by the way— and we've just now tracked him down." Finished, Ami breathed a sigh of relief. She hadn't 'really' lied, just warped the truth in a couple of places.

"Suuure, whatever you say." Nabiki raised the phone and prepared to dial.

"Keep in mind what you saw Usagi do," Rei said. "And the portal: where did it come from? You're dealing with forces beyond your control or understanding, so why not just save yourself the trouble of dying, and leave us and Ranma alone."

"You obviously haven't come through Nerima lately," Nabiki quipped. "We have people that can do magic visiting at least every two weeks. A little less than a month ago we had a fight between Ranma, an ancient war goddess, and a giant Minotaur, so you can see how your little threats wouldn't bother me."

"What about your family?" Rei asked nastily. "How would you feel if you woke up one morning and they were all dead? Never mind that, we can just go ahead and get rid of you now." Rei hoped that her friends knew to go along with her. "Who wants first shot?" she asked.

Usagi said, "I would, but I'm feeling a little tired. So why don't you do it, Rei?" Wow, pretending to be evil was fun!

Rei grinned to herself. The meatball head did have a brain after all. "Oh, well, guess you have to burn now." She held her hand out and focused all her concentration on the sacred flame back home at her temple. Silently, Rei called out for its assistance, reminding it who had kept it alive for the past decade.

No one had any idea what Rei was doing, but they weren't going to spoil her performance by asking.

With an explosion of breath, Rei clenched her fist then reopened it. Fire exploded into being, the miniature blaze roaring and throwing off sparks. "Don't worry, I won't kill your father; he didn't see anything. But you and your sisters are another matter entirely."

Nabiki's calm exterior and icy expression of skepticism began to get some serious cracks in it when Rei's hand had caught fire. Ranma wasn't here to protect them now, and she was outnumbered by a group of witches. Just as Rei had her arm drawn back as if she were about to through a baseball, Nabiki hurriedly said, "Okay, okay, you win, just call off the firebrand!" She snapped her cell phone shut and pocketed it. "I won't tell anyone about Ranma. I'll even make sure that everybody thinks he ran away or something, deal?" Nabiki had learned the art of the bluff years ago, but you could only take a bluff so far before you had to lay your cards on the table, and Nabiki's cards were her and her family's lives.

Rei let her hand fall to her side, the fire gone as soon as Nabiki had spoken. "Good. We'll be going now."

The girls were a block away from the Tendo home when they all dropped their dire expressions and cracked up. Rei had tears in her eyes from laughing so hard when she hugged Usagi, "You were great, meatball head! Did you see how scared she was?" She started laughing again.

After everyone had regained their composure, Ami thought to ask, "Rei, how did you do that? With the fire."

"I summoned part of the fire from the temple's sacred flame."

"I wish I could do something like that," Usagi whined.

Rei and all the other girls looked at her in confusion, then Rei said, "Usagi, are you an idiot? You can do stuff like that!"

Usagi was about to scream at Rei for insulting her again, but movement in her bag alerted her to Luna and Artemis' return to consciousness. She unzipped it and looked down to see both felines glaring up at her, their heads each crowned by a huge lump.

"Usagi, have I ever told you that it's not polite to mistreat your advisors?" Luna asked calmly. Before Usagi could answer, though, the cat sprang out of the bag, followed by Artemis, and began a systematic mauling of her princess.

Ranma regained consciousness a few hours after the Princess brought him to her. Setsuna had spent the time acquainting herself with events that had led up to the revelation of Ranma's true identity, and reviewing some of the more momentous events of his life. Who would have thought Saffron, a pitiful fire elemental during the Silver Millennium, would achieve such power?

As Setsuna had sat before the Time Gate watching Ranma's life fly by, she couldn't help but curse herself for not dealing with many of the supernatural relics and entities of the Silver Millennium. They could have been used against her fellow Senshi and the Princess on numerous occasions, but luckily their enemies had never thought to look for such remnants. They appeared somehow drawn to Ranma, though. It was nice to see that Queen Mercury's efforts to splice human DNA with that of certain species of the Draconic race that had once inhabited her planet were at least partially successful. The Musk Dynasty would be a powerful ally in the future if the traits in their rulers continued to breed true.

The Amazons of Jupiter, too, seemed to have found a home on earth, and were keeping their martial tradition alive. It was as if the whole valley of Jusendo had somehow weathered the storm of the downfall of the Silver Millennium. The same magic that had cloaked it from her time sense had obviously kept it hidden from Beryl’s forces. Setsuna felt sorry for Ranma. Almost every bad thing in the last two years that had happened to him were because of the Silver Millennium, but the struggles he had fought were also responsible for awakening his true soul.

"Argh, what hit me?" Ranma groaned from his place on Setsuna’s bed. He sat up, resting his back against the carved headboard and surveyed his surroundings. The walls weren't visible, draped as they were in black and purple silk. The floor was a single unbroken slab of marble, and the bed he was in was sheathed in dark purple like the walls. There was also a tall, green-haired woman with a regal bearing sitting in a leather chair against the wall. "Who are you?"

"Setsuna, a friend of your mother’s," Setsuna answered with an almost imperceptible smile.

"She never mentioned you," Ranma said warily. He threw back the heavy comforter and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. His slippers were waiting for him by the bed.

"Your real mother, Ranma, not Nodoka Saotome," Setsuna corrected.

Ranma continued to sit on the bed. "Oh… Is she here?" Wherever here was. Ranma remembered bits and pieces of his actions before passing out and the image of Genma's bloody body froze in his mind. "Setsuna, do you know if I killed Oy— Genma?"

"Luckily, no. Usagi stopped you and healed most of his wounds. But that's why you're here; to learn to control your new power."

Usagi had stopped him? Damn, beaten by a girl. Well, she did have the crescent, so she must have had some kind of power like his. "I can't believe I lost control like that," Ranma sighed.

"We will soon correct that problem, but now I need your help," Setsuna hated asking for assistance from anyone, but this time there was no helping it, she could not use the crystal key by herself. "If you would follow me?"

Ranma shrugged and followed Setsuna out through the break in the wall hangings that served as a door. The long corridor that they traveled down had no visible walls, obscured in the same way as the room they had left, and the floor was still a single unbroken piece of smooth marble. They finally reached the end of the corridor, and with it the end of whatever building they were in.

Ranma found himself in a featureless landscape composed of a marble floor and endless gray mist. He looked back towards the exit of the corridor only to find that it was gone. "What is this place?"

"This is no place. We are in a pocket of limbo where time does not flow," Setsuna answered.

Ranma had no idea what limbo was, but decided to wait a while to ask. For now he would simply observe. Perhaps a minute later the mists began to part and Ranma saw the oldest structure in existence. Of course he didn't know that, but he could feel the age practically radiating from the simple hoop of gray metal.

"This device predates our universe, Ranma. Through it, the winds of time are funneled and the endless strands of probability are woven into a coherent destiny for creation."

"Whatever you say." Ranma wasn't about to call her a liar. For all he knew she could be the goddess of Twinkies, or just as easily some loony chick with magic powers, but she hadn't tried to kill or marry him yet, so he went along with her.

Setsuna had never honestly believed that she would have to ever give up her position as the Guardian of the Time Gate, but as the only one of the Senshi who could actually give her powers to another, the possibility had always been there, nestled deeply in the back of her mind. Maybe it had been that small piece of knowledge that had driven her to choose a favorite replacement for herself every generation, and not just boredom like she had believed. The current favorite was a bit on the elderly side, but the Time Gate could correct that. "Stand away from the Time Gate, Ranma," Setsuna ordered.

Ranma obeyed, taking several steps backwards. He watched Setsuna pull a funny looking little stick from somewhere and hold it above her head.

"Pluto Planet Power, Make Up!" she called out loudly.

To Ranma, Setsuna was enveloped in a column of energy for a fraction of a second, but when the woman was once again visible, the black slacks and green blouse she had worn were gone and in their place she were a stylized school uniform, with too many bows and a shorter than regulation skirt. In her hand she held an ornate staff that looked something like a giant key.

Setsuna touched the Time Key to the edge of the gate and opened her mind to the time stream. Once she had located her target, an image flickered into existence within the metal hoop.

Further to Ranma's amazement, the image in the Time Gate thing was of the interior of the Nekohanten. It was closed for the night and no one was visible. At some ungiven signal, the picture shifted. First it alighted on a duck sleeping in a small bamboo cage in the kitchen, then on a familiar purple haired girl who was slowly brushing her long purple hair and staring at a poster-sized picture of Ranma, and finally, the image shifted once more to reveal the small form of Cologne, meditating upon a tatami mat.

Cologne's eyes snapped open and she asked, "Who's there?"

The large garnet gem on the head of Setsuna's staff flashed with blood-red light and Cologne disappeared from the picture in the loop and reappeared, tatami mat and all, beside Setsuna.

Cologne didn't move, only eying Ranma and Setsuna evenly. "Son-in-law, I wouldn't have expected you to deal with dark forces."

"You mistake my intentions and my identity, Cologne," Setsuna said. "I have brought you here merely in hopes of naming you my successor."

Cologne raised an eyebrow at the claim and asked, "Successor to what, may I ask?"

"Why the Guardianship of the Time Gate of course," Setsuna answered.

Cologne's proportionately too-big eyes grew a couple sizes larger, but she controlled her obvious surprise, asking, "And what does the boy have to do with this?"

"His grandmother, my future queen and the eventual ruler of the earth, has commanded me to train him in the use of his powers. To do this I must give up my position as guardian so that I may access my full powers." There was no point in lying to Cologne. The woman would eventually find out anyway.

"Grandmother? Queen? Ruler of earth?" Ranma spouted the questions rapidly, unable to comprehend the information.

Setsuna, who for so many years had been without humor that she had nearly forgotten what it was, the look of complete astonishment on Ranma's face at her next words actually made her laugh. "Oh, yes, Ranma. One day you will be prince of the Earth, and eventually king."

She spoke with such certainty that Ranma couldn't help but believe her. With her laughter bubbling helplessly behind him, Ranma sat down roughly on the cold marble floor and buried his face in his hands, muttering, "Damn," repeatedly.

"So do you accept?"

"How could I not? The legends still speak of the Guardian who rides the Winds of Time. This is an honor beyond all imagining, though I'm afraid I won't hold the position for very many years." Cologne chuckled slightly at her jest.

"Your youth will be returned to you in full when the mantle is passed to you. Though I'm asking you to fill my place, there are restrictions on your future actions that I must tell you about now. The future has been planned in advance for over a thousand years. You will have to carry out those plans exactly as given for the world to have any lasting peace."

"What of my Amazons?"

"Until very recently they have been hidden from me by magic ancient and powerful, therefore I do not know what the future holds for your people, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that if you any in way seek to interfere with their fate, you will be placing the world in grave danger and destroying thousands of years of careful work. Even knowing this, do you still consent to the position?"

"I may be old, but I'm no fool. I could never put a single tribe of Amazons over the welfare of the entire planet," Cologne answered earnestly.

"I believe you, but still I must warn you. Misuse the power granted to you and the Queen, Ranma, or myself, anyone of us, could destroy you with a thought. It is the nature of our power that allows a bond between a human and the Time Gate." Cologne nodded. "Ranma, get up. I need your help."

Ranma climbed to his feet. So much for a peaceful existence. At least no one would try to kill him if he were a king.

Setsuna gave Ranma the blue crystal key and drew its twin from a long silver necklace. She unclasped the necklace and held the key in her hand. "Okay, Ranma, go to the other side of the Gate and find the little black box with a key hole in it, then stick the key in." Setsuna followed her own instructions but on the box on the other side of the Gate. After Ranma was in position, she said, "On the count of three, turn it clockwise. 1… 2… 3."

As they turned the keys, the space inside the Time Gate became milky and distorted. Setsuna released her key and beckoned for Cologne to step forward. "Cologne, take the key, and once again when I count to three you and Ranma turn them, but this time counterclockwise."

Cologne had to stand on the very tips of her shrunken little feet and reach as high as she could to turn the key, but as Setsuna's count reached three she turned the key as commanded and allowed herself to relax.

"Is that it?" Ranma asked. From what he had heard from Setsuna, there were some major powers changing hands. Shouldn't there have been some flashing lights or something?

"What did you expect, fireworks?" Setsuna asked. Ranma nodded. "Nothing actually happened that would cause any energy to be released, Ranma. All that little ritual did was to split my bond so that Cologne is now getting a trickle of the same power I get from the Time Gate." To Cologne she said, "You won't be able to feel it for a while, but the magic will begin to revitalize your body within a week. You must have your affairs in order by then."

"I had best be getting back to the Nekohanten then, if you don't mind?" Cologne asked, pointing a wrinkled finger at the Time Gate.

Setsuna placed the Time Key on the Time Gate and the image of Cologne's room at the Nekohanten reappeared. "Just step through."

As Cologne stepped through the portal, she said, "Thank you, Guardian, for my youth and the honor and trust you have given me. Farewell, young prince."

Setsuna led Ranma through the mists for a couple minutes until they came to a normal looking wooden door. Beyond it was a small, windowless apartment. "Within the mists, I can control reality to a degree. I've placed these rooms here for your comfort, since until you gain at least rudimentary control over your powers you can not return to earth for fear of losing control again."

"Can I go outside to practice?" Ranma asked. If the prospect of a little peace didn't sound so appealing to Ranma, he would have been more than a little upset at being confined like an animal in the zoo.

"It's best that you don't. You would become lost within the mists easily. If you wish to practice your martial arts, go out the door in the kitchen. There is a dojo there."

"Cool. How about telling me some stuff about this whole prince and king business? And I wouldn't mind meeting my mother."

"All in good time, all in good time. But now, with my bond to the Time Gate diminished in power, my old powers are returning and the process is exhausting me. I will return tomorrow and we will begin your education." With a small wave, Setsuna, her face drawn and her red eyes weary, left Ranma to himself.


To be continued.

Author's Notes: I was gonna use Nabiki, but the more I thought about it the less I liked that idea. I honestly hadn't even thought about Cologne as the new Pluto until one of my readers sent in the idea. Thanks, whoever you are (too lazy to go back and check, but I'll put your name in the next post). C&C welcome at dark_phoneix@hotmail.com

Chapter 5
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