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Chapter 5

A Ranma ½ - Sailor Moon crossover story
by Dark_Phoneix

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.

My mood improved enough to interact with other people as soon as I saw what Hong called his Archives. The 'Archives' were in a vault the exact size of his toy room, but there were shelves lining the walls and forming narrow corridors across the floor. I mean, wow! I was left to myself, Hong wishing to tinker with some stuff for Ryu. I swear the guy is gonna end up looking like a Christmas tree before long.

It wasn't until I began to look for some kind of reference section that I started to get worried. A thorough search revealed that there wasn't one. Okay, I could handle this without getting any help from Hong. All I had to do was go through each section until I found what I needed. That would work.

It didn't. Not only was there no reference system, there was no organization at all, unless you count the fact that the books were all on shelves. Over the next three hours I found some pretty interesting stuff, mainly weird spells that were either stupid or useless. Why would anyone want a spell that would turn a baseball bat into a toothpick? And the complexity of the spell was almost incomprehensible. It was the idiots that wasted their Talent on things like that that gave sorcery a bad name.

Giving up, I headed for the exit to find Hong, but the man walked in when I wasn't even a meter from the door. Ryu was following the older sorcerer and looking happy, and smug, definitely smug. "Did you find what you were looking for?" Hong asked offhandedly. Like he could possibly have found his way around in here. Bastard.

I scratched the back of my head nervously (a habit I've never been able to break myself of) and said, "No, not really. I couldn't find anything. You've just got everything thrown up on the shelves."

Hong looked puzzled, then asked, "Why didn't you just use the computer?" Computer. Oh, he really is a bastard.

"What computer?" I asked in reply. Of course I had seen the computer, but it wasn't powered up and I didn't really expect it to work, despite what I'd already seen of Ryu and the electricity Hong's home had.

Helpfully, Ryu pointed to the computer monitor and keyboard that sat on a desk in the nearest corner of the vault. Yes, it is once again beat-down time. "Don't worry about it," Hong said, gesturing towards the computer. "Lots of people don't know how to use computers. It's nothing to be ashamed of." Hong made his way over to the computer and pressed a button on the desk. A minute later and we were looking at a Windows 98 screen. "I'm sure glad I didn't buy that new Windows X when it came out, or Bill Gates would have had access to my system."

Yadda yadda, blah blah, with a yeah, uh huh thrown in for good measure. I listened to him geek out for a few minutes while he ran some command or other. I had to re-engage my brain when he asked, "What exactly are you interested in searching for?"

I didn't want to just leave it at stripping the Talent from the poison's soul (that's damned freakish— poison with a soul, I mean) so I told him to look for anything to do with destroying souls, stealing souls, or communicating with them. I'm not entirely new to the library system and was prepared to go appropriate whatever books the computer indicated as soon as I got directions to it, but, to my surprise, a three foot high stack of books, most of them ancient and decaying, appeared on the desk next to the computer.

Magic is your friend. Remember that, it may save your life one day. Ryu was still new to most of this kind of thing and couldn't keep himself from gasping and hopping back a foot or two. Heh, he'll fight gigantic mutants that want to eat his brains, but magic still gives him the creeps. And I've been teaching the stuff to him for almost two months.

"I designed it myself. I was thinking of introducing it to the world and passing it off as some kind of technological breakthrough. Saffron screwed that up, though." Hong began to pull books off the stack and laid them across the desktop. Most were bound in leather, with parchment sheets instead of paper serving as a writing surface, but some were newer and relatively unmarked.

For so many books on the subject, there was a surprisingly small amount of info besides the general kind that you would expect from something that had only used a few sources, then had been itself used as a source and so on and so forth. There were a few promising leads, but that didn't by any means say those leads could be followed up on. One, a soul transference technique, was last known to have been in the possession of a crazed voodoo witch doctor. The secret had died with him in America. An ancient crown that stole its wearer's soul was last seen sinking into a pool of lava. There was even mention of the fabled Black Sword, a weapon that hadn't existed since before the Chaos, was once again tamed by successors of the Lords of Law, the Kami of Light.

The Black Sword, one of several rumored to exist, was a big taboo subject down in Hell, and pretty much in any hell. All I knew of it was that it stole its victim's soul, giving its wielder power and vitality beyond what any normal human could imagine. The Lords of Chaos and Law (the Almighty's first attempt at brewing up some fellow kami) both suffered at the hands of a wielder of the Black Sword. That's why it wasn't talked about, I guess. A sword capable of stealing the soul of a Kami or even a Demon Lord on his own plane would be worth entire universes. That much power would kill anyone except for a very powerful sorcerer, but the threat was still a potent one.

Unfortunately, the Black Sword, and its brother swords (they were sentient, so I probably shouldn't say duplicates) hadn't existed in about a billion years, and little else but the memory remained to the most powerful of beings. Heh, I'm in that bracket. Stupid sword— mine, not the Black Sword— if I hadn't made it, I'd one day have truly existed as an immortal, not just an un-aging human who has to take care not to die, else he'll be stuck as a ghost.

"You found anything yet, or do we have to stay here another week?" Ryu asked impatiently. It hadn't taken me a whole week to read the books, but after translating or unlocking the codes that most of the books were written in, I had spent a good six days on them. Poor Ryu, he'd liked Hong at first, but now that the sorcerer wanted to start messing around with his vital internal mechanics, the cyborg wasn't nearly so enthusiastic. Hong had improved Ryu's plasma system and a few things that I don't know how to pronounce; now, though, he wanted to 'improve' Ryu's power distribution system, his external sensors, and the list went on.

I was ready to leave, myself, so I didn't make a point of mentioning to Ryu his current predicament. I'd copied down nearly all of the spells I'd ever have to use from Hong's archive and nearly exhausted the 'credit' I'd earned by constantly adding things to my wish list (I couldn't help it, the stuff was there and practically free). We could leave tomorrow.

"Are you a warlock?" Willow asked. She and Buffy were sitting a few feet away from Ryoga. The fire the young woman had started with a spoken incantation was burning merrily and the chill night air was being kept at bay.

Ryoga looked at the redhead as if she were crazy. Buffy and Willow were nice, and together they'd fought their way out of the city, but they still made him nervous. Willow did it just by existing. He couldn't help it if magic freaked him out. He had reasons. Buffy, on the other hand, had superhuman speed, strength, stamina, and endurance. None of her skills were on his level, but that wasn't unusual. Buffy had little to no training, and yet she possessed the physical skills of someone trained in the martial arts for their whole lives. That was more than unusual. It was unnatural.

"N-no, why would you think I was a w-warlock?" Warlocks did magic, Ryoga thought. At least in the cartoons, they, along with wizards, sorcerers, and witches, did magic. Willow must be a witch.

Buffy, who was nursing a zombie bite, snapped, "Probably because of all the magic you keep throwing around."

Willow nodded shyly and looked at Ryoga expectantly. "That's not magic, really. I'd never do magic!" Ryoga exclaimed vehemently. "I use my chi to fight." That had to be what the girls were mistaking for magic.

"What's wrong with magic? And what's chi?" asked Willow a little peevishly. Ryoga had seen the girl shoot a few fireballs, call down a couple lightning bolts, and even make a bridge collapse on a mob of zombies, but she just didn't seem to have the aura of irresistible power that Ranma so blatantly flaunted.

"Uh… not that you're… evil, Willow, but m-my experiences with magic have always been bad… very bad. And chi is the energy of my spirit, I guess. I can do stuff with it that's sorta like magic, but isn't." Now that Ryoga thought about it, the more he learned of chi and how to manipulate it, the more the skill seemed to resemble magic. Could he be using…? Nah, not possible.

They accepted the chi explanation readily, if with a questioning frown, but Willow immediately asked, "How have you been involved with magic? I don't mean to pry, but I've been teaching myself the Art and anything I can learn is helpful."

Ryoga glanced between the two girls. They didn't seem like the type that would laugh at him or try to turn him into a sex slave. Why not tell? They would find out the first time it rained, anyway. "Well, you see, there's this really evil guy I know from when I was a kid, he doesn't like me for some reason, and he tries to make my life hell whenever he can. He's blown me up several times and makes demons attack me, but the worst part is the curse." He paused, scared and ashamed to continue, but finally he triumphed over his doubts and finished, "He cursed me to turn into a pig whenever I get splashed with cold water. Only hot water can turn me into a human again."

"Take this," Hong said, pressing a small, thin book into my hands. "I have the original, and it may aide you in your quest." I looked over the slim volume and saw that the cover was made of a pinkish metal that gleamed brightly if the light hit it at certain angles. The pages were also of metal, thin but strong. Flipping through it, I realized exactly what Hong had given me. The unintelligible scrawl that etched the pages in their entirety was the written form of the energy patterns that would form stable dimensional portals between this plane and many others.

"All of them were still habitable last time anyone checked, and the specific coordinates in that guide are to magically-rich worlds where a cure for Ami might be found." Good man, Hong. I shook his hand in gratitude and said my goodbyes. I'd be back someday, but someday isn't too accurate.

Ryu thanked the man for giving him a nice never-ending energy supply, even though with a little practice, I think, he would have been able to keep himself charged.

I slipped the guide into my spatial pocket and floated into the air, carefully staying within the temporary corridor that Hong had opened in his ward system. Ryu followed close behind.

It wasn't till later that night, after I'd done a few kata to work out any kinks from a long day of flying, that Ryu asked, "That book, what's so special about it?"

Thumbing through the pages, I stopped and answered, "It's kinda like a map. With it, I'll be able to go to other dimensions without searching for them and using mirror portals. Hong thought that since I couldn't find anything here to help Ami, that I might find something in another universe." There were at least a hundred such coordinates in the book.

"So, you plan on going to these other universes soon?" Ryu asked. He was spraying some kind of lubricant he'd gotten from Hong onto the joints in the upgrade module he always wore on his back.

I shrugged. "There's still most of Earth to check out, but I may take a side trip to a few alternate planes for a while." I slipped the book into the pocket and said, "It all depends on my mood, I guess. Why?"

It was Ryu's turn to shrug. "Can't go with you, that's all. Hong says that he knows of at least seventeen Umbrella facilities in the world. That's not including the company's competitors. I can't blame you for wanting to help Ami, but I need to stay."

I nodded in agreement. Ryu was far enough along and intelligent enough to teach himself magic, and I'd already imparted upon him the majority of my knowledge of chi manipulation. It would be slower, but he would appreciate the knowledge more. He was also best suited to dealing with Umbrella's rejects. I had to constantly screen out their virus; Ryu was immune. There may be some people naturally immune, or with the power or natural gift that allows them to resist it, but Ryu was aware of the threat and able to deal with it.

It had ascended. It was aware. It was alive.

He had made it for personal gain, but it would no longer be used for such. It would have the power, where before power had been held over it. They were weak, of flesh and blood. Only it could survive unaided in the void of space. Yes, soon they would learn.

Cologne swept into the Council room like she owned the place. She did own the place. The only remaining Elders were either too smart to oppose her, or too weak to pull it off. Today's meeting had to do with a rather sizable amount of their treasury being wasted and the loss of yet another Elder. The Amazon Nation was down to ten. Elders weren't that easy to come by, so the loss was felt strongly and affected the entire tribe.

"The expedition is long overdue." And the meeting began.

"Honestly, Xiao, the expedition is not only overdue, it most likely no longer exists," countered another Elder. "We should have heard from Mia weeks ago at the latest. The Musk and Phoenix People report similar losses in communication. We have to face facts. They are dead."

Cologne silently agreed with the other woman. Mia was reliable, resourceful, and most importantly, loyal. She wouldn't have deserted the cause. The Musk and Phoenix People were just as fervent in their loyalties. Something, a rival party with great skill, or someone with great power, had destroyed the Alliance force. With the loss of the warriors, the loss of the valuables meant to be traded for powerful weapons also had to be taken into account.

"This can not be tolerated," seethed Jun, an Elder from across the valley. "We must take revenge for our lost sisters and return what is ours."

"And how shall we do this?" Cologne asked reasonably. "No one knows where they were attacked, whether they ever reached their destination, or pretty much every other piece of vital information."

"The route traveled is known, and surely someone along the way has knowledge which will prove useful."

And from that, Cologne sat back and watched the anger resolve itself into a plan to take revenge on whoever had damaged their ranks so badly. Cologne agreed, generally, with the others, but was totally outvoted when it came to how to deal with the sorcerer with whom the deal had been made. For now, everyone assumed that he had been the cause of the disappearances, and that line of thought led to the possibility that Ranma was involved. He had taken an unusual interest in crippling Amazons, and could easily be seen participating in such an action as to destroy a peaceful guard force. What disturbed Cologne was the callous way her fellows spoke of dealing with Hong. Didn't they know the deadly nature of pissed-off sorcerers? Did no one remember what Ranma had done when truly provoked into anger?

This time, they felt secure, though, secure in that the Senshi, who were now almost never equated with having known Ranma, would be involved. Cologne knew, though, that the Senshi had been Ranma's students and were only pale shadows in comparison to the original. And with the Senshi came the pokémon.

By now everyone knew of Saffron's battle with the monstrous creature of Ranma's. That Saffron had barely been able to fly back to his mountain was not so widely known.

Yes, the force would be large, deadly, and totally overpowering, but she knew a mistake was being made. Now, how could she correct it?


To be continued.

Author's Notes: Short chapter again, sorry. It's pretty obvious that this is about to begin being crossed with lots of other series, mainly books I've read that I liked. Many of what I'm planning to cross it with is what provided me inspiration for this Ranma's personality and the magic system that I've sorta cobbled together. Right now I'm looking at WoT, Black Company, Eternal Champion (specifically the Elric books), and the Chronicles of Amber. Any other suggestions would be nice. Hell, if anyone knows any books out there that are kinda like these, attitude wise, tell me about them. I'm always looking for a good read. C&C me at dark_phoniex@hotmail.com

Chapter 6
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