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Prologue

A Ranma Ĺ / Oh, My Goddess crossover story by
Dark Phoneix

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Oh, My Goddess © Fujishima Kosuke, Kodansha, TBS and KSS films; Animeigo, Studio Proteus, and Dark Horse Comics.

Author's notes: This was my first published fic, so please don't be too harsh. C&C welcome at dark_phoneix@hotmail.com.

I almost forgot, this is gonna be dark, and possibly violent.


Throughout the village sounds of children's laughter could be heard, bright banners and lamps in a rainbow of colors hung between huts, and the ceremonial drums beat a steady, merry rhythm. The year's harvest had been greater than any in recent memory and ensured that no one would go hungry in the coming winter. All ready the heat of summer had been driven back and autumn would follow soon after.

In the village square, a large gathering of women pooled around the rope-suspended log that would be the stage for the nightís entertainment. For an Amazon, entertainment usually meant a fight, so bets on who the various victors would be in the separate age brackets were being hastily conducted. Two of the young women— teenagers really— broke from the crowd, giggling and generally having a good time.

"You're no fun, Ku Lon! He's just a stupid man. There's plenty of them in the village, and not a single one that wouldn't worship the ground you walk on," said the girl with short pink hair.

"Happosai is different, Mia. He's an outsider, but he's so strong and cute, and his eyes…" Ku Lon sighed forlornly.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you're in love. But that can't be right; you're Ku Lon, future matriarch of the Joketsuzoku and all-around hardass," claimed the girl identified as Mia. As they walked towards the main gate, Mia made a point to add a little extra sway to her hips whenever passing a man.

"Exactly. Future matriarch. My life is already planned out for me, even who I'll marry." Ku Lon absent-mindedly threw a rock at Mu Tsin. The boy just couldn't get it through his blind head that she wasn't interested.

"Have you thought of challenging Happosai? If he is as strong as you say, then maybe he can defeat you, and then no one will be able to force you into an unwanted marriage," said Mia, trying to cheer her friend, who only minutes ago had been her normal bubbly self, but was now acting like that Hibiki man that visits every so often.

" Ha ha ha, "laughed Ku Lon bitterly. "Great-grandmother would find him, and that would be the end of his life. You know that the ruthless bitch would do anything to see our clan joined with Elder Lo Xian's."

Passing the gate guards, who acknowledged them with a curt nod and a slight tilting of their spears, both girls noticed four cloaked figures approaching by way of the main road. Representatives of the Emperor weren't due for several weeks, and the border guards or patrols should've stopped any outsiders from coming this close to the village unescorted. Envoys from one of the sister villages would have been announced and heavily escorted. These observations, combined with the fact that even in the midday sun, the figures seemed surrounded in a pool of writhing shadows, alerted Ku Lon and Mia who quickly turned to warn the guards.

The warning, however, was unnecessary. Not only had both gate guards noticed, but a few archers stationed along the walls, and half a dozen elders also. The old women were drawn by the extremely focused negative emotions, and the massive imbalance created by the valley's chi being drained.

"Signal all those outside the village to return at once. I want the village sealed now," called a trollish old woman.

Instantly people leapt into action, literally. A young girl with short black hair, not yet in her teens, bounded over to a raised platform where a massive horn sat. With all the power her lungs could muster, she blew three short bursts signaling the return command, then a minute later followed with another longer blow leaving the girl breathless.

The drums immediately ceased, and children were herded to the communal buildings where they could be more easily guarded without diverting valuable warriors. Each entrance was closed with huge ironbound wooden gates, and then barred from the inside.


"What do you think is going on?" asked one of the men to another who was tidying up the armory.

"It is none of our concern. Our place is not to ask questions about matters that are obviously women's business," answered the other man.


Ku Lon just rolled her eyes as she removed a sword from one of the racks along the wall. She met Mia outside the underground weapons vault. Her friend's hut had been closer, allowing her to retrieve her own bonbori; but Ku Lon, who lived on the opposite end of the village, had to settle for a standard sword.

"Let's go. The elders seem very… agitated. Something interesting is bound to happen." Ku Lon followed at Mia's side.

The outsiders were only a dozen yards from the gate by the time Ku Lon and Mia had attained a place on the wall to watch the approaching conflict.

"Be gone from here, dark ones," Su Lin Mao, the current Matriarch, ordered.

A deep, and somewhat disturbing in nature, laugh was the only response.

"You will not be warned again," responded the Matriarch.

One of the outsiders threw back the hood of his cloak, revealing a boyishly handsome man in his mid-to-late twenties, with a raven's mane of black hair tied in a lose ponytail. His eyes even from a distance shone with an eerie bluish-white hue that only served to emphasize the two blood-red inverted teardrops at their corners, matched by a larger one on his forehead. "Damn; I guess we'd better be leaving, guys. Us demons really have to be careful around four-hundred-year-old trolls." His voice was rich and deep, betraying none of his dark intentions, if indeed there were any.

The outsider to his direct left threw back his hood at some unseen signal. "Yes, perhaps this paragon of matronly hideousness has a point. I fear that if she were to look upon my visage much longer, I shall turn to stone, for surely she is a descendant of the gorgons of old."

The first man looked momentarily bewildered but then said, "Uh…. sure. Whatever you say, Kuno."

"Enough of this!" growled the man to Kuno's left. He sounded strained with emotion, rage in particular. "Get on with it, Ranma! Our time on this plane is short, and my thirst for vengeance will be sated!"


Quietly, so only his companions could hear him, Ranma said, "Jeez, you need to stop hanging around Kuno. He's getting' to ya." His voice rose again, "Here's the deal. You have an hour to give us the Amazon Ku Lon, or you will all be destroyed. Not that we aren't gonna kill you all anyway; but if we get to torture her for a few days, I might just make your deaths painless." The words were carried on an unnaturally bitter and fetid breeze that promised untold suffering and pain.

The other three nodded in agreement.


At first she wanted to laugh. It was just too funny. Four men, obviously sorcerers or something, pretending to be demons. Then when Ku Lon saw her great-grandmotherís eyes fixed on the man who had just spoken, and she followed the gaze, only then did she pay any attention to the strange tattoos he possessed. Swiveling back to her great-grandmotherís face, something struck her as odd: The old bitch looked ready to piss all over herself. Then the conversation picked up again.

Ku Lon gasped as she heard her name and against her will she began to cry. The way the demon or sorcerer or whatever he was had made his demand had assured her that she would die.

All eyes turned from the quartet to Su Lin Mao, the oldest of all elders and undisputedly the greatest warrior in Amazon history. She began to draw herself up to speak, but a sunbeam breached clouds no one realized were there and carried with it a vision of divine beauty only marred by the combat golden combat armor and massive broadsword she wore.

Ranma sneered at her. "Ah, Bell-chan. I was wondering when you would show up. It won't change the outcome of this day, but your presence has served to lighten my spirits greatly."

"What a vision of loveliness. So much like your sisters, yet so innocent and… delicious," said Kuno. He looked at her hungrily and continued, "Are they well? When last I saw them, they were rather distracted." The four men laughed uproariously.

Belldandy, trembling in impotent rage, drew her massive sword and lunged towards Kuno at incredible speed shouting, "Die, bastard!!!" She never reached him as an upraised hand from Ranma and a bolt of pure, demonic blackness drove her through the wall and into the village.

"Remember; one hour. And don't think of resisting. If a goddess can't stop us, what will you do?" With his message delivered, Ranma, Kuno and his two yet-to-be-revealed companions disappeared in a cloud of acrid black smoke.

 

To be continued.


More author's notes: Whaddya think of the prologue to 'Demon's Dawning'?

Chapter 1
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