A Ranma ½ / Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon / Ah! My Goddess crossover story
by L. S. McGill
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ characters property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Sailor Moon characters property of Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC. Ah! My Goddess property of Fujishima Kosuke, Kodansha, TBS and KSS films; AnimEigo, Studio Proteus, and Dark Horse Comics. Other characters who may cameo are property of respective owners. All are used without permission. I did not write this for profit, but for practice. Will be removed at request of original creators or authorized rep.
Zhu Shu (who shoo), Tao-Ching (dow ching), Xi'an Chi (zy-an chee), and Clans Dragon and Skorpion are mine, and may be used so long as I am asked beforehand.
Book Two: The Dragon's Child
Chapter Seven: Unintended Consequences
Urd blinked as she looked around the devastation. What had happened?
She hadn't left her home the last several days, trying to come to grips with the encounter she had had with Hild, but something had finally prompted her out of her funk, a nagging sense of something missing. It had taken her several hours this morning to narrow down what it might be, but finally she had come looking for Mara. Regardless of how strange the demon had been acting, or how frightening she had been since the Terrible Master had possessed Urd, something had told the goddess that Mara needed her.
No matter how she had fought it, that sense wouldn't go away. It had nagged at her, and finally driven her to the apartment complex where Mara had made her lair. There had been no answer, but all her senses had screamed at her at the residuals of power within. It had taken her all of three seconds to pick the door with a credit card.
Now, surveying the ruins of what had once been an apartment, she wondered if she had come too late. At a guess, this had happened days ago. She looked at the scorch marks on the wall, and the two wooden spikes embedded in the wall, trails of blood dried under them. So much blood.
She touched the dried stain cautiously, and shuddered at the torrent of pain that clung to the blood and the sure knowledge that it was Mara's. What could have done this to a Demon First Class?
A faint groan came from the bedroom. Urd blinked, then pushed on the badly scarred door. A soft golden glow came from the bed. Urd started to move forward, then stopped at the flare from a magical circle on the floor. The golden glow flared brightly for a second as a pair of burning eyes floated above the circle, seeming to stare right through her. Urd took a step back as the eyes closed and the circle faded. She recognized the signature on the ward, though she'd never seen anything like it before. What was the Dragon up to?
Another groan drew her attention back to the bed, and she cautiously tried to step forward again. This time, the circle raised no protest and she crossed into the ward.
Instantly, she felt the world outside fade from her senses, the ward sealing even her goddess powers. She staggered for a second as she felt herself cut off, but concern for the still figure in the bed overrode her wariness. She knelt next to the still form of Mara and brushed the hair back from the demoness' face.
She breathed a sigh of relief as she reassured herself that Mara was alive, the silent dread that had driven her here fading. Regardless of how Mara had been acting, they had once been friends. She examined the sleeping form more thoroughly, and her breath drew in as she noted one very minor, but very significant change about the demoness's face.
Mara's demon marks had changed. The scarlet split v and paired triangles on her cheeks had vanished, to be replaced by golden teardrop shaped designs, almost like
Mara tossed again, and moaned slightly, then her eyes fluttered open slightly. As she focused on Urd she smiled weakly. "Urd?" she said softly, just barely loud enough to hear. "He said you would come. He promised me you would be here when I woke."
Urd blinked, but nodded. "Yes, Mara. I'm here."
Mara's hand shakily rose and touched Urd's. "I-I'm sorry. I never wanted Ragnarok. Hild — Hild clouded my mind." She coughed weakly. "She clouded my mind with hate."
"Don't try to talk, Mara. You're weak. Let me take you back to Morisato's. Bell and I can help you get better."
"Never hated you, Urd. Never "
Urd nodded. "I know, Mara. Rest. You need to get better."
The demoness nodded. "He said you'd come." She smiled. "He promised."
Her voice faded as her eyes closed again and she drifted back to sleep. Urd sat back on her heels as she contemplated the demon's words. Legend had been talking to Mara? And promised the demoness that she was coming?
Whatever was up, Mara wasn't the psycho she'd been lately. And she was weak and injured. She looked down at the hand that was still holding hers, and shuddered at signs of that they'd been healed from being pierced. Had Hild done this to her?
She gently extracted her hand and went to the window, looking down to where Keiichi was patiently waiting by his bike. "Yo! Morisato! I need a hand up here."
Keiichi was up a few minutes later, blinking at the rubble. "What happened here? She blow herself up?"
Urd gave him a dirty look. "No. I think she was attacked by my mom. She's been healed by someone, but she's too weak to take care of herself. We need to get her back to Bell."
Keiichi did a doubletake. "Whoa. She's a demon, Urd, and our biggest headache! Even you said she's been acting crazy."
"She's hurt, Keiichi. And I think she's back to normal. I can't leave her here. What if my mom comes back? She's defenseless!"
Keiichi looked at the blood on the wall and nodded. "Okay. I think there's room for you both in the sidecar, but you're going to have her on your lap."
"That's fine. Let's just get her out of here."
She led him into the bedroom, noting that the ward had already faded. As Keiichi looked at Mara, he did a doubletake. "Hey, what happened to her markings?"
"I don't know," Urd confessed. "This is how I found her." She lifted the sheets to slide Mara out of bed, then dropped them again. "Oh cripes. She's naked."
Keiichi shrugged. "Just wrap her up in the blanket. I'll come back to grab some clothes for her."
Urd grimaced, but nodded. She put her hand on Mara's shoulder and gently shook her.
"Mara? We need to move you. We're going to take you to Belldandy."
Mara's eyes fluttered open and focused on Urd again. "You're still here?" she whispered. "I thought it had to be a dream."
"No, Mara. But we need to move you. We can't carry you. You have to stand."
The demoness smiled and nodded. She did her best to help Urd and Keiichi as they managed to get her on her feet and down the hall to the elevator. Getting her into the sidecar with Urd was tricky, but finally the goddess had Mara arranged so that Keiichi could drive with out having a wreck. Mara giggled softly as they pulled out of the lot.
"He said you'd come for me," she whispered, so softly Urd barely caught it over the sound of the engine. Her next words were lost to the wind as they merged with traffic.
But Urd still did a doubletake at what she thought she'd heard. Looking down at the demoness as she laid her head on Urd's shoulder and fell asleep again, Urd blinked.
Then she passed it off as a trick of the wind. There was no way Mara could have said "I love you".
Kasumi came in from shopping and stopped as her ears twitched at a faint noise. She put the groceries down and listened.
Was that water?
Yes. It was the sound of someone bathing in the upstairs bathroom.
Curious. Soun and Genma had taken Sandal out to a local gaming room, so the house should have been empty.
She quietly crept up the stairs and approached the furo door, rolling pin in hand. As her hand touched the door, there was a sound of the water bucket falling over.
She slid open the door to find a wet and bedraggled kitten on the floor, looking up at her curiously. The overturned water bucket was lying next to her.
"China? Whatever happened?"
The kitten meowed, as if to say "I got wet!"
Kasumi laughed. "You poor thing. Here, let me get you dried off." She picked up the wet kitten and stepped towards the towel draped over a hook by the tub. Noting the strange fact that the furo was full of fresh water, she failed to see the bar of soap, and with a "Whoops!" and a yowl from China, she pitched forward into the tub.
She rose up out of the water and wiped it out of her eyes to find herself face to nipple with a very full breast. Her eyes rose to look into the violet eyes of a very worried Amazon.
"Please not be angry. Great Grandmother say must do to cure Ranma of cat fear, and learn more about Airen!"
Kasumi blinked, noting the sudden absence of China. "Oh my." She wrung out her hair as she stood. "Did she curse you just to do this?"
"No. Shan Pu be cursed many years now. Since thirteen." She frowned. "Musk who attack village. Shan Pu meet before. Make fall in spring. Part why cousin hate so much." She sighed. "Is why so upset when find Ranma fear cat. Do not want Airen run from Shan Pu. Run from Shan Pu enough already."
Kasumi wrung out her skirt as she nodded. "I know, dear. But are you sure this is the best way?" She finally gave up wringing the water out and began undressing. "I mean, Akane is really happy with having a pet. I don't know how she'll take it, finding out it's you. She's not always the most rational or forgiving person." She settled into the water across from Shan Pu. "I mean, I know I told you that you need to work on being subtle, but not outright deception."
Shan Pu hung her head. "Great-grandmother say need learn more about Airen. She say if be pet for while, can be close to Airen, not be pushed away like have been. Learn how make Akane and Ranma love like Shan Pu love. Learn how win heart."
Kasumi sighed. "I'm sorry she's like that, Shan Pu. But you were a little bit of a surprise for all of us. Then again, so was Ranma. Father neglected to tell us about him until he was on our doorstep." She sighed again. "Then there's the fact my last advice led to the pair of you destroying the dojo." She laid her head back against the tub. "Oh dear. I don't know, Shan Pu. Your grandmother could be right. I guess for now I will keep your secret. But please, don't do anything to abuse Akane's trust while you're a cat."
Shan Pu nodded. "Not wish to abuse trust. Not even sleep in Akane bed. Sleep under so not even hear words she say in sleep."
Kasumi smiled at her. "Very well. I will keep quiet and help if I can. Just be careful."
"Shan Pu try very hard."
The warehouse was old and rickety, like the dock. Tao-Ching looked it over and grinned. According to his source, Herb's boat would be here by dusk.
The Prince had done a good job of seeking unobtrusive entry to Japan, having hired a private luxury yacht last night to take him across to Japan. His only mistake had been paying in gold. The yacht crew had been replaced while Herb slept and he had boarded it this morning unaware that the crew was under orders to bring him directly to Tao-Ching. Five million American dollars could buy a lot with the Yakuza. Twenty million, all told, if you took into account hiring the mercenaries of Area 88 to blow up the Musk fortress.
Tao-Ching felt the scar along his side and smiled. A small price to pay for revenge. Mint and Lime had already paid for his humiliation at their hands. They should have made sure he was dead. This time, he wouldn't give Herb a chance to use his fancy chi techniques and throw him over a cliff. That had cost Shan Pu a lifetime cursed to be a cat and him six months healing from being impaled on a bamboo pole. Herb had a lot to answer for.
"I can't believe you asked her to introduce you to Venus!" Ayeka screamed, causing Kyoko to wince.
Ai looked at her coolly. "Yes. And we talked about the Senshi. I needed information on exactly how involved with them she is. The last thing I want is to beat her down only to have to fight five superpowered magical girls. It's called intelligence gathering."
"It looked more like flirting!"
"Enough, Ayeka. Attractive as Zhu Shu is, until this matter of challenge is settled, she's off limits."
"Attractive! What does that little Chinese bitch have that I don't?!"
"She does have bigger breasts," Kyoko added helpfully from where she was busy massaging Megumi.
Ayeka glared at the chestnut-haired girl. Ai waved her off. "I said enough. Seriously, Ayeka, you're acting jealous. You've never raised a fuss like this over anyone else I was looking at as a playtoy."
Kaede looked over from where she was filing her nails. "No one else you've played with could fight us to a draw. Akane doesn't count, because you weren't ever interested in her. She's always been too much of a tomboy."
"She certainly isn't acting that way as much since Zhu Shu started living with the Tendos," Kyoko added. "She's nowhere near as violent." She sighed. "Which makes Kuno give her googly eyes worse than ever."
Megumi gave the cute brunette the eye. "Why you care that Kuno chases her is beyond me."
Kyoko gave a pretty little pout. "He's only done that since he came to Furinkan. He always used to chase me when we were in junior high."
"And I remember him being just as obnoxious about it." Megumi shook her head. "And you playing hard to get just made him worse. Now he assumes every girl is doing it."
Ayeka growled. "And all of that is beside the point!" She turned to Ai. "When are we going to challenge that bitch?!"
"When I can find some way to cancel out those chi attacks!" Ai exclaimed. "As good as we are, none of us know any chi-based attacks that sophisticated. We need some way to counteract those."
"We could always insult Ayeka until she explodes," Megumi suggested, to a glare from the dark-haired girl. "It worked against your sister's school."
"Mariko's squad got cocky. She needed to be reminded who the real master of combat cheerleading was in the Konjou family," Ai said. "And Ayeka is uncontrollable when she's berserk."
The dark-haired girl glared at all of them, the faintest hint of a violet aura shimmering around her. "Keep it up and you'll find out just how uncontrollable I am!"
"Calm down, Ayeka. We will redeem ourselves against Zhu Shu as soon as I feel we are ready," Ai said as she picked up her bra and got dressed. "You all did well in practice today. I just need to figure out how to even things up in our favor, and we'll teach the entire school who's still the best."
The rest of the squad nodded, except for Ayeka, who fumed still. "I won't wait forever, Ai!"
Ai fixed her with an icy glare that dissipated Ayeka's aura. "You will wait until I say or I will do something far worse than punish you." She made very sure Ayeka was looking at her. "I'll stop."
The cowed girl nodded as Ai left. Megumi looked at her. "Stop pouting. Ai's never let us down yet. She's right. You're acting like you're jealous. Ai's had plenty of other girls and guys and you've never acted like this."
Ayeka looked at her. "Why shouldn't I be jealous? That bitch has all the guys in school drooling over her, and half the girls! And ever since she's come, Ai's barely even looked at me!"
"Zhu Shu's not even interested in any of them, Ayeka. Haven't you noticed she's barely noticed anyone other than Akane or Ranma?" Megumi said. "I don't think you need worry about Ai dissing us for the little tramp."
"Besides, " Kaede added, giving the tall raven-haired girl a significant look, "We all know how obsessive she gets over anyone challenging her martial arts prowess. Or any other prowess she has. She'll figure out how to counter those chi attacks, and then turn Zhu Shu into our personal pet. Once she's been broken in, she'll make a fine addition to the squad, just like you were, Ayeka. Just like we all were."
"Exactly," Megumi added. "Think about how much fun that will be. Just like it was breaking in Kyoko here." She reached down to stroke the curly chestnut hair of the other girl
Kyoko nodded, too polite to speak with her mouth full.
Kaede watched for a few seconds before setting next to Ayeka. "Just watch," she purred in Ayeka's ear as she rubbed her shoulders. "Ai will find something to handle Zhu Shu."
Ayeka nodded, surrendering to the other girls kneading fingers. "All right, but if that wench makes a move on our Ai, I'm gonna kill her."
Ranma looked around the dojo, then down at her watch. "Okay, so where are the girls?"
Akane shrugged. "I don't know. Zhu Shu said they were going to come by and to handle their lessons this week. I don't know where they are." Her ears twitched in aggravation. She turned. "Hang on, Kasumi's calling."
Ranma blinked, not having heard a thing. "Okay."
Akane was back a few minutes later. "Kasumi said Mr. Tsukino called to let us know the girls apparently went to Hong Kong. Something about a school project."
"Oh, man. Zhu Shu's gonna kill em."
"Especially after she made them swear they'd stay here until she had a chance to scout it out."
"Oh, I take it you heard the girls went to Hong Kong?"
They both turned to see Luna coming into the dojo. Ranma eeked and backed up to the far side of the dojo in one leap. "She talked!"
Luna gave the red head a curious look. "Usagi said you knew about the Senshi."
Akane laughed. "Ranma does. We forgot to tell him you talk, though, and he has a phobia of cats."
Luna gave Ranma a curious look. "Oh. I'll be quick then. Sorry I'm late. It's ever such a long walk on foot. The girls tricked us and took off. We don't know what's going on, but they're okay so far as we've been monitoring. I just came to let you know that we felt a major surge of Silver Millennium energy a few days ago, when you went to China. Artemis and I are sure it came from Zhu Shu."
Akane nodded. "We were attacked at the Amazon village." She pointed to her rabbit ears. "These are a remnant."
"Oh my. I thought they were a headband. Usagi has a pair just like those."
"Well, these are real. Zhu Shu saved the village. Shan Pu said that she had run to Jusenkyo for water from the spring of drowned girl to turn everyone back from being bunnies. I was in the village square and she just appeared on the dais in a small explosion of light."
Luna blinked. "Oh? Interesting. It takes all five of the girls joining powers to teleport."
"She collapsed afterwards, exhausted."
Luna nodded. "Well, I just wanted to let you know what was going on. Artemis is waiting outside and it's a long walk back."
"Why's he outside?"
"Said he smelled a strange cat."
"Oh, that's China. She's mine. Shan Pu gave her to me."
Luna looked over at the still cowering Ranma. "And he's afraid of cats?"
"We're hoping repeat exposure will help him overcome the phobia."
"Ah. Well, I suppose that's all to the good. Anything I can do to help?"
"Don't really know. Right now I guess not."
"Well, at least now we know why he had a fit the first day I came with Usagi." She tilted her head at the unmoving boy. "Good luck with the phobia, Ranma!"
"Gah!" was the redhead's response.
Akane sauntered over to the smaller girl as Luna nosed back out the dojo door. "Well, it looks like we're stuck with no class to train. Care to spar?"
Ranma's eyes stayed glued to the door until Luna's tail disappeared, then let out a sigh. "Damn it, I did it again!"
Akane rubbed her shoulders. "It's going to take time, Ranma. You did very well. Especially considering that we didn't warn you about her speaking."
"I hate this. I used to like cats!"
"Give it time. No one but you expects results overnight." She paused from rubbing Ranma's shoulders as she untied her gi top. "Now, are you going to spar with me or not?"
Ranma watched as Akane removed her gi, admiring the curves her body was developing, and smiling as Akane's bunnytail came into view. Akane noticed her watching and gave her rear a shake. "So, do I have a nice tail?"
Ranma gulped hard. "Umm "
Akane laughed as she reached behind her back and pulled her swords. Ranma barely had time to blink as she blurred and moved towards him.
She stopped when she was pressed against her back, her breasts pressed against Ranma as her arms encircled the other girl, swords once more put away. Ranma gave the grinning girl a raised eyebrow.
"What was that about?"
Then, her clothes fell off, the garment sliced neatly into pieces. Akane giggled.
"I wanted you naked," Akane giggled.
Ranma gave her the evil eye. "You could have asked."
"It's more fun this way." Akane smiled. "And besides, it gives me a chance to let my hands wander," she added as her hands began to do just that.
Ranma blushed. "Um, are you feeling okay? I mean, Kodachi wasn't even in school today, so I don't think she slipped you something."
"I'm horny. It's a natural thing for most people, Ranma," Akane murmured as her fingers began playing with Ranma's curls. "I've been horny since we left China, and this is the first time I've been able to express it."
Ranma gasped. "Ah, okay. It's just your usually so— so—"
"Sexless?" Akane teased. "I thought I broke you of that idea."
"Ah yeah um well I just never expected you to be so forward."
"So? I want to make out like bunnies. I " Akane stopped and blinked. "Oh my god." She looked at Ranma. "That's exactly what I want to do." Her ears twitched. "I've been wanting to drag you off and play with you ever since I got cursed."
The redhead blinked. "Huh?"
"Since I got cursed, whenever I'm not doing something, I've been daydreaming about having sex. With you, with Shan Pu, even Zhu Shu. Gods, I've been fantasizing about just about everyone, and getting hornier and hornier."
Ranma blinked. "Everyone?"
Akane gave him a sour look. "Get over yourself. Like you haven't done it too. I have noticed your tendency to let your eyes wonder towards pretty girls."
Ranma blushed. "Okay, okay."
"Besides, the only people I'd actually try something with are you, and eventually Shan Pu. I love you, and I never meant to hurt you."
Ranma smiled. "I know. I'm sorry. Just have a hard time accepting that you really find me desirable."
Akane blinked. "Jeez. I should have known the overbearing ego had a hidden insecurity problem."
"Hey, I ain't insecure!"
Akane giggled. "Of course you are. When it comes to me, anyway. I think it's cute." She hugged Ranma tighter for a second, then her hands began wandering again. "Anyway, I wonder if being a bunny girl has side effects, like an increased sex drive."
Ranma leaned back against Akane. "Umm I dunno. Maybe. I ain't complaining."
Akane nipped him lightly on the neck. "Of course not. You're the one being molested."
Nabiki growled as she closed the cell phone. Tao-Ching still wasn't answering. And after she'd gone and spent so much effort buying clothes!
She looked down at the pair of stiletto heels she had bought, and sighed. All dressed up and no place to go. Stepping in front of the mirror, she examined the deep "v" front dress she'd bought, the neckline plunging down so far that she'd had to shave, and the lower hem barely hiding the fact she'd dispensed with underwear. The black nylons accentuated the ensemble, and left her feeling incredibly sexy.
A shame Tao-Ching couldn't see it. She turned and looked at her tail. She'd even gone to such effort to get a dress that worked with her tail!
She sighed again and headed down to the kitchen to tell Kasumi she wasn't going out after all. She paused at the kitchen door when she realized Kasumi was wearing her apron, but little else. Nabiki blinked.
Kasumi smiled at Nabiki. "Yes?"
"Um did you realize you weren't wearing anything but that apron?"
Kasumi blushed prettily. "Oh my. I was well I took a break for a few minutes. If you must know I was fantasizing. I was so caught up in my daydream I didn't notice I hadn't gotten re-dressed." She took in Nabiki's clothes. "My. That's a new look for you."
Nabiki thought about it, looking down at herself. "You're right." She looked around. "Good thing Genma and Sandal aren't here. I'm practically giving a free show, too."
"Mr. Saotome is currently rather occupied, with Mrs. Saotome. She actually came over and dragged Mr. Saotome upstairs to his room." Kasumi nodded out at the dojo. "And if I'm interpreting the noises coming from the dojo correctly, I believe Akane is entertaining herself with Ranma-chan."
"Ranma-chan?" Nabiki grinned. "How cute. I can't wait to call him that."
"Her. We really need to treat Ranma as a girl when he's female. After all, she's not going to get rid of the curse any more than we are."
Nabiki nodded, then did a doubletake. "Hey, wait a minute "
Kasumi nodded. "You didn't realize being a bunnygirl was throwing your sex drive into high gear." She smiled. "Yes, I noticed that earlier. I was going to warn you before you went out." She looked down at herself. "And as you can see, I got distracted."
Nabiki laughed. "So I see. Nice to see you're normal in that regard too."
Kasumi blushed again. "Well, I am human, Nabiki. I'm just not usually so blatant about it."
"Well, hopefully, if Tao-Ching isn't home, he got some lead on where Herb is so we can get this damn lock broken."
Kasumi nodded as she wiped her hands on the apron. "Well, I should defiantly get dressed before anyone comes in."
Nabiki gave her an evil grin. "Want some 'help'?"
Kasumi raised an eyebrow. "Nabiki!"
Nabiki shrugged. "Hey, I'm incredibly horny, and you were the one to kiss Zhu Shu! And run around naked! Can I help it if the entire Tendo family has the trait of being at least curious about lesbianism?"
Kasumi wrung her hands. "Oh my. I can't say I'm not tempted, but I know it's just the effects of being a bunnygirl. Besides, we're sisters."
"Don't give me that. I heard you talking to Akane about geisha stuff. Did it ever occur to you that I might be interested too?"
"But Nabiki, Akane and I aren't doing any thing like what you're suggesting."
Nabiki hiked her skirt to reveal what she wasn't wearing underneath. "Does this tell you how horny I am?"
Kasumi blushed. "Yes, but we'd probably regret it later."
"Now you're rationalizing," Nabiki said. She continued pulling the dress off and tossed it on the table as she sat down on it with her legs spread. "Now, I wanted Tao-Ching tonight, but he's not available, nor has he actually even asked me to be his girlfriend yet, or out on a date, and I am getting rather tired of waiting. And in retrospect, he's not as safe to play with as you are. Akane is playing with Ranma, and even Genma is getting some. Now I could just go and find some random individual to play with, I suppose. But then I'd never be absolutely sure they wouldn't use this little weakness I've acquired to blackmail me, and there's always the possibility I'd get pregnant "
Kasumi's apron landed over her head. "You're terrible. I just want you to know that."
Nabiki just smiled as she sauntered out of the room after Kasumi. "Of course I am, but you love me anyway."
China watched the two girls disappearing down the hallway and laughed internally. She really hadn't meant to spy, having just come down to beg some milk from Kasumi and catching the show Nabiki had just given her sister. She didn't think Kasumi was actually going to give in to Nabiki, considering she'd seen the mischievous look in the older girl's eye as she'd taken off her apron, but she wasn't sure why the older girl was being resistant. Must be another of those weird notions these Japanese had.
It was amusing watching some of the antics her Japanese sisters went through about something as simple as sex. Sex was a natural expression of love, whether it was between sisters or mates. Amazons kept it simple. Sex for fun was fine between fertility periods. Sex for procreation was for marriage. She'd been surprised that Zhu Shu had never been trained to read her body's own signs of when she was fertile, but she'd remedied that during their two months hunting Ranma. Now, judging from Nabiki's comment, it looked like she would need to educate her new sisters as well.
She nosed the refrigerator door open and stood on her hindquarters to reach the bowl of milk Kasumi had promised her she'd leave and drank. Thirst satisfied, she returned to contemplating, realizing she needed to let Kasumi know about the lecture her great-grandmother had given her about avoiding being in her cursed form as she approached her fertile phase, as the animals instincts could become strong enough to overcome her rationality. The Tendo girls were unprepared for anything like this, and were locked in cursed form. And like most women who shared living spaces, their periods were probably fairly close to each other. This increase in their sexual appetites was probably going to get worse as their periods drew closer.
She wandered over to the dojo and climbed up to the sill of one of the high windows, watching as her two beloved fiancées played with each other, wishing she could join in. Comforting herself with the hope she'd learn enough about Akane and Ranma to win their hearts, she laid her head down on her paws to study what her fiancées seemed to enjoy most for future reference.
In another part of Tokyo, Ai was rummaging through the dusty shelves of a curio shop, indulging in her secret vice, antique jewelry. She had quite a collection of rings and brooches, and one could never tell when one might find something nice in a little shop like this. She had been on her way home from school grumbling about her squad complaining and the way Ayeka had been bitching about her talking to the Chinese girl instead of fighting her. If it hadn't been for the fact that she was such a good sub
She sighed. The problem was, she did want to beat Zhu Shu, but she wanted to do it more to save face for the cheerleading squad than pure animosity. As aggravating as losing to her had been, she had to admit that Zhu Shu had fought fairly, and had been graceful enough to call it a draw when she could have possibly won. She still had to be defeated, but Ai couldn't make herself hate Zhu Shu like she did most of her enemies.
She had to find away to soundly beat Zhu Shu, to humiliate her like the squad had been, so that there was no question of who the ruling beauties of Furinkan were, while still leaving a means for her to talk the Chinese girl into introducing her to Sailor Venus!
"Hmm. I sense a spirit searching for answers." A voice said from next to her. Ai turned to see the shopkeeper, a wizened old man of indeterminate race. "You seek to best a rival?"
Ai nodded. "How did you know?"
The old man laughed. "You get to be my age, dearie, it's a lot of 'been there, done that'. You're looking, but not at what your hands are touching. Deep in thought."
Ai raised her eyebrow. "Yeah, so?"
"I might have something that can help." He waved at the back of the store. "Come, let me show you my real stock, not this useless trash I keep out here for the common herd."
Curious, Ai moved in the direction indicated. The old man took her to a small room behind a curtain, and turned on the lights. Ai stopped and blinked.
The walls were filled with shelves containing a vast array of nick-knacks ranging from grotesque to indescribably lovely. Rings, mirrors, daggers, shrunken heads, and other less identifiable items crowded the various displays, and the very air felt strange, like it was filled with static electricity just below the level of lightning.
The old man crackled. "Here, my dear, you will find a means for what you seek."
Ai looked at the disarray. "In here? How?"
"Magic. I have charms for all sorts of things."
Ai blinked, then grinned. "That would be rather appropriate. My 'rival' uses magic. She turns into a dragon-girl."
"A dragon girl?" The shopkeeper chuckled. "I've always appreciated a fine piece of tail."
Ai sniffed. "What am I, a side of beef?"
"Not at all. Not at all. But I never molest customers, however much I might want to. Bad for business."
Ai nodded, mollified. "So what do you have that can help me beat her, without actually permanently hurting her?"
The old man rummaged the shelves for a few moments before emerging with a flask. "This. Dragons are very magical. This is the juice of a rare berry that affects only dragons. It will disrupt her magic, and cause it to fluctuate wildly. She will be unable to use her dragon magic for a time. But be aware, its effect is short term. A matter of fifteen to twenty minutes, then she will experience a surge that she will not be able to control. It will leave her weak."
Ai raised an eyebrow. "I see. Will it harm her?"
"No more than you drinking an entire bottle of sake, sweet cheeks. It'll leave her with a huge hangover. It's not called Dragon Wine for nothing."
Ai's eyes glittered. "That will be perfect. Imagine her trying to fight me drunk."
"Make sure you give it to her in dragon-girl form. It won't work otherwise."
Ai nodded. "That can be arranged."
Tao-Ching watched as the yacht pulled up towards the dock at a slow pace and a lone figure jumped to the dock. His eyes narrowed as the yacht bounced off the dock and veered off into night. He studied the figure on the dock.
The figure turned. "You may as well show yourself, assassin. I can sense your presence. You do not wish to anger me, as your friends aboard yon boat found out."
Tao-Ching didn't move from the shadows. "Saves me some money paying them, then. Long time no see, Herb."
The cloaked figure turned more fully. "Your voice is familiar, assassin."
"Yours is a bit higher pitched. Mint's words make sense now, 'princess'."
The figure lashed out, a line of explosions crossing the dock to shatter the crate Tao-Ching had been behind, but he'd already moved. His last encounter with Herb had taught him the value of not being seen until he was ready to strike.
"You are quick, assassin, but you cannot hide forever. I will kill you," Herb said.
"You make a lot of threats, Herb. Last time you swore you'd douse me in Nannichuan and lock me as a woman for your amusement. I see the worm has turned."
The figured reached up and lowered its hood, revealing Herb's face. Tao-Ching blinked. Other than Herb's hair coloring, she could have been a twin of Zhu Shu's cursed form. Herb finished drawing off the cloak, revealing the dragon scale armor she had always favored.
"Yes, I do indeed find myself in an unpleasant situation, Tao-Ching. But I am still more than a match for an orphan castoff that the Amazons took pity on."
"I have found my family name, Herb. But it seems you have lost yours. You were a fool to join with the Skorpion."
Herb turned further, her eyes probing the darkness trying to find Tao-Ching's hiding place. "The Skorpion have their uses. When I have retrieved the Kaisuifuu, I will dispense with them."
"It's much too late for that Herb. They have already dispensed with the Musk. I slew Lime not four days ago when he dared to assault the Amazons. Mint died two days after, sacrificed by your ally to keep us from questioning him. You are the last, Herb. When I kill you, the Musk will be gone."
Herb lashed out again, destroying a large pile of crates. "You will pay for this murder, Tao-Ching."
Tao-Ching laughed from another shadow. "Murder? You dare accuse me of murder? Your assault left twenty Amazon warriors dead, and half the rest of the village cursed. Ripping out Lime's throat with my teeth has barely even begun to repay the debts you owe, Herb."
Herb lifted off the dock as the air swirled around her. "So have you brought more Amazons to their deaths in a futile attempt to best me? Even as a woman, I am far your better!" The wind lashed out destroying all the crates between the dock and the warehouse wall.
The warehouse groaned as the explosion shattered the wall as well, leaving a huge cloud of dust. The wind grabbed it and blew it away, leaving Herb a clear view of the devastation, but no sign of Tao-Ching.
"Your fortress looked a lot like that as it slid down the mountain," Tao-Ching's voice mocked from the depths of the warehouse. "It was very pretty how it fell apart."
Herb began to glow. "I will slay you and every single Amazon who ever drew breath for this outrage, Tao-Ching!" The glowing wind tore the warehouse apart.
"I've heard your threats before, Herb. Like your attacks, they're full of flash and fury, but you keep missing the target."
"Coward! Face me!" Herb screamed. "Fight me like a man!"
There was the sound of a metallic click. "I see you've misunderstood the situation Herb. This isn't a fight."
A red pinprick of light touched Herb's temple, and she started to turn as Tao-Ching continued.
"It's an execution."
Tao-Ching's finger tightened on the trigger of the AK-47, and the first three round burst of steel jacketed armor piercing rounds left the muzzle of the machine gun, propelled by high velocity charges. Blood sprayed from Herb's temple as she was twisted around in the air, and the object she had clutched so tightly in her hand flew away to clatter to the dock. A second round of bullets flew, striking Herb in the shoulder. The glowing wind around her flickered out as the bullets impact threw the dragon princess through the air like a rag doll. She crashed into the waters of the bay and floated face down, blood staining the water around her before she slid beneath the waters of the bay, pulled under by the weight of her armor.
Tao-Ching stood on the dock grimly watching as Herb sank, waiting nearly ten minutes before lowering the weapon and putting the safety back on. Finally sure Herb wasn't going to resurface, he walked over to the object Herb had dropped, picking up the narrow bucket and fishing the ladle out from under the boards it had wedged into. He held up the bucket and laid the ladle across the handle like Lo Shen had advised him, and smiled as a beam of light shone off into the darkness. With a smile, he took the bucket to his Humvee. With a guide like this, there was no way he'd get lost! He'd have the Kaisuifuu back to the Tendos before morning!
As the lights of the Humvee faded into the night, silence reigned across the devastation. Hours passed before finally the scavengers came out. Dark shapes combed the wreckage pulling out whatever valuables could be found, before scurrying into the darkness again. One of the scavengers looked up as a faint noise came to his ears. He motioned to one of the others and they moved off in the direction of the noise. After several minutes of searching, they found the source.
Under the dock, tossed carelessly by the tide, was a naked girl. Blood was clotted from a bruised cut on her temple, a long line that creased her skull just above her ear. Another obvious bullet wound pieced her left shoulder blade, the wound far cleaner than any the men had ever seen. She was pale from blood loss, and unconscious, but didn't seem to be in danger of dying immediately. The first scavenger grinned. "Well. This is a pretty happenstance."
The other nodded. "Indeed. He'll pay nicely for a beauty like this."
"Truly. But we certainly can't deliver her untested, can we?" The first said as he used his foot to roll the girl over and spread her legs to reveal her virginity.
"Absolutely not." the second grinned nastily. "Let me get the rope."
Several days passed without word from Tao-Ching, and Nabiki was starting to get worried. And even hornier. Despite teasing her, Kasumi had so far been unbeddable, and she was getting enormously frustrated, and was even contemplating seducing Kuno. Tao-Ching needed to show up before she lost total control of herself!
It had become obvious that Kasumi's theory about her animal instincts getting worse as she came closer and closer to her period was correct, but it didn't make it easier to deal with. She had a week to go before her period, and already the drive to mate was getting unbearable. Her reputation as an Ice Queen was already in peril with Tao-Ching chasing her, but if he didn't get back soon, she'd end up with a reputation as a slut worse than Ai!
Of course, if she seduced Ai
The thought was broken off before it could lead into the inevitable fantasy that would have followed by the sound of a vehicle pulling up outside. Nabiki ran downstairs and threw open the door to see a weary, battered and bruised Tao-Ching coming up the short walk from an equally bruised and battered Humvee. She paid no attention to the muck as she threw herself on top of him, actually knocking the solid man down despite his larger mass.
"WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?" Nabiki yelled. "Oh never mind where you've been! Are you ever going to actually ask me out officially? Are you going to be my boyfriend? And if the answer's yes, DO YOU HAVE A CONDOM?"
Tao-Ching blinked, and calmly smiled. "Nice to see you too, Nabs."
"DON'T CALL ME NABS! You have left me here for days with a rabbit's sex-drive! DON'T GRIN LIKE THAT!"
Tao-Ching held up an old brass kettle. "Will this help?"
Nabiki looked at the kettle and blinked. "Is is that it?"
Tao-Ching tipped the kettle over and a stream of hot water poured on Nabiki. Instantly, she felt a twist as her rabbit ears and tail vanished.
Along with the overwhelming urge to Well, you know.
Nabiki sighed in relief. "Gods. Thank you. You have no idea how maddening being a bunnygirl is."
"I turn into a smilodon, Nabs. I do have some idea. I can smell a feline in heat for miles."
A cleared throat caught their attentions and they both looked to the house. Soun was standing there with his arms crossed, Kasumi peeking over his shoulder. Soun took in the fact that his daughter was straddling the older bay and raised his eyebrow. "Well, young man. I think I need to ask what your intentions are towards my daughter, since it seems she's made her intentions towards you rather clear."
Nabiki rolled off Tao-Ching and blushed. "Umm."
Tao-Ching waved her to silence as he stood and bowed. "My intentions are the same as they have been since I first met her, Soun-sama. I intend to woo her and win her heart, and eventually to win her hand."
"I see." He took a long drag on his cigarette. "Very well, I approve the engagement. It's a suitable one for Nabiki, as you come from a fine family, and Akane has accepted her familial duties to the School." He took Tao-Ching's hand and pumped it. "Welcome to the family, son."
Nabiki's jaw dropped as she stared at her father, "Hey But What " she sputtered.
Tao-Ching grinned. "You've been waiting to do that since I got you drunk to tell you about Shan Pu, haven't you."
Soun puffed his cigarette, not saying a word.
"DADDY!!!!!" Nabiki yelled. Soun gave her a calm glance.
"You can't just engage me like this!"
Akane poked her head around the door. "Why not? It's what happened to me."
"But, but, but " she sputtered.
"Nabiki, you asked him if he had a condom. That certainly tells me you wanted to marry him. And at least I'm certain that one of my daughters will be in something approaching a normal relationship. Now kiss him, for pity's sake, and drag him upstairs. I'm not getting any younger you know."
Nabiki raised her eyes to heaven. "Am I the only one in this family who's sane?"
"So far, I haven't seen anyone who matches that description," another voice broke in.
Tao-Ching straightened like he'd been shot.
The rest of the group looked over at the woman who was casually leaned against the Humvee, dressed in a simple Amazon style tunic and breeches, holding a long shaft topped by a massive blade. Despite its size, the woman carried it like it weighed nothing. Tao-Ching turned slowly.
"Mother?" he whispered.
"Long time no see, son. I hear you've been a bad boy. Lo Shen sent me to collect you, and the Kaisuifuu."
The woman moved in a blur, bapping Tao-Ching on the head with her spear. "What did I teach you about cursing?!"
Tao-Ching rubbed his skull. "All right, okay. I'm sorry. I went after the Kaisuifuu alone because I wanted to get it for Nabiki and her family. I was afraid if I told Lo Shen first, she'd demand I bring the Chiisuiton back first and that would take forever. I've seen the elders work, mother. They'd have debated for days on who would need to be sent to retrieve this." He shook the kettle.
"That was not for you to decide, son. I have been sent to bring you back to the Council. Don't make me have to tie you up and spank you."
"All right. I submit, mother. You know I can't beat you."
"Good." She turned to look at Nabiki. "So, my son has chosen you as a mate?" She stepped around the younger girl, looking her up and down. "Not a warrior, is she?"
Nabiki let out a "Hey!" in protest as Tao-Ching smiled. "Indeed she is, mother. A warrior of the mind and intellect. In our first meeting, she bested me in fair combat, mind to mind."
"So what's this business about engagement? You should already be married."
Nabiki gulped. "Oh my. You mean those rules apply to the men too?"
Tao-Ching smiled. "Yes, but you didn't know, and I wasn't about to try and force them on you. This is Japan, mother. I can't apply all the Amazon laws to modern life."
The Amazon raised her eyebrow, the dark violet blending into her pinkish lavender hair. "Since when, son?"
Tao-Ching sighed. "Since I'm a legal citizen of Japan. I don't have the diplomatic immunity you have. Bribes only go so far. I can't just insist Nabiki marry me because she beat me in a deal. And besides, I want her to have a chance to make her own fortune, so she won't feel like I'm richer than she is anymore."
The Amazon nodded approvingly. "At least you haven't succumbed to these foolish outlander notions of female inferiority. I'd have had to beat you senseless."
She ignored him as she stepped around to face Soun. "So, you are the father of my new daughter-in-law? I am Rin Se, daughter of Lat Her. Mother to this mannerless lout."
Soun blinked. "Um Pleased to meet you."
"Is Tao-Ching in trouble?" Kasumi asked. "He did get the kettle, after all."
Rin Se shrugged. "I don't know. Lo Shen was hopping mad when she ordered me to retrieve my son. He's always been trouble ever since I found him. Makes me wonder sometimes why I adopted him."
"Because you could never be bothered with any of the Amazon men, mother. It was either adoption or nothing."
"Paugh, weaklings all. I brought Tao-Ching up to be a real man, almost the equal of a woman. Not a shy retiring man like most males."
"Well, that explains most of the arrogance," Akane muttered.
Nabiki poured water from the kettle over her head, far more than was necessary to unlock her curse. "You're one to speak."
Akane glared at her as she moved on to Kasumi. A few seconds later all the Tendo girls were back to normal. Kasumi took the kettle back to the kitchen to fill a bottle with the water to unlock Nodoka and for emergency purposes before returning the kettle to the Amazon.
"Is Tao-Ching going to be punished for bringing this to us first?" Nabiki asked finally.
Rin Se gave Tao-Ching a stern glance. "I don't know. I suspect that to gain the Chiisuiton he had to kill Herb "
Tao-Ching shrugged. "He deserved death. The warleader was going to kill him anyway."
"Which, as my son is not an accomplished enough fighter to meet him in a fair fight, means he has acted dishonorably and ambushed the prince."
"Princess," Tao-Ching noted.
"Ah. Still, you were ordered to report to Lo Shen and instead took matters into your own hands. None of the Elders have much tolerance for that. I'm sorry, son, but you brought this on yourself."
"What will happen to him?" Nabiki asked worriedly, visions of executions running around her head.
"The usual. An impossible quest, righting some great wrong in repayment for his transgression. Something like that. Still, he's a male. They'll go easier on him than they would a warrior. Don't worry, daughter-in-law. They'll leave enough of him to make sure I have grandchildren."
"What? Your mate's father is correct. We're not getting any younger."
Tao-Ching shook his head. Stepping up to Nabiki, he reached out and took her hand, raising it to his lips. "Don't worry Nabs. I'll be back. If they were really all that mad, they'd have sent a whole troop instead of just my mother. Whatever punishment they set, it was still worth it to repay Herb for the debt he owed Shan Pu for her curse, and for nearly killing me. And if they punish me for bringing you the Kaisuifuu first, well that was worth it too, considering the greeting I got."
Nabiki smiled. "Don't get used to that. I wasn't entirely myself."
"I'll see about that."
He turned back to the Humvee to leave, only to have his mother push him towards the passenger door. "What, you think I trust you not to get us lost? Lo Shen said with all haste."
Tao-Ching rolled his eyes before giving a "what can you do" shrug and climbing in the Humvee. Nabiki watched as they drove off, hoping he wouldn't be gone too long.
Then she did a double take.
Shan Pu's curse?
To be continued.
|Book 2, Chapter 7.5|
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